Sunday, 26 April 2009

15 miles

At 12.43pm.

At the 18 mile point

Cathy crossed the start line at 10.01am.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Friday, 24 April 2009

A marathon runnist...

...looks like this. Try and spot one on the telly on Sunday.

Just in case you forget...

...they even give you safety pins when you collect your race number! Seven of them, for some reason.

At the Marathon Expo

Cathy has her number, her goody bag, and we're all full of pasta!

We're in London!

It's marathon weekend, so Cathy and I are now in London, and are about to trot off to the Marathon Expo at Excel to collect Cathy's race number, timing chip, Asthma UK goody bag and anything else free that we can get hold of!

We'll also be taking advantage of the pasta party that they're hosting, our first of two this weekend (the other being Asthma UK's party tomorrow afternoon).

So, with the aid of my trusty mobile, I'll be blogging from here, there and everywhere over the course of the weekend - you can follow us, and then on the race day you can follow Cathy's progress - here, as it happens. Ish.

Right - train time. See you later!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

America the Daft

There is uproar in the US. Not about the Middle East, or the price of oil (which is also about the Middle East) or the continuing threat of terrorism (erm... that's the Middle East again, isn't it?).

No, this is about something much more important to your average John Doe. Something as important as apple pie, soda pop, free guns for all and oppressing minorities: the Miss USA beauty contest.

This year the contest was won by Kristen Dalton - Miss North Carolina. But no-one cares about her, because she's as dull as you expect a beauty contest winner to be. Like Barbie, but slightly more plastic.

All attention this year turns to the runner-up: Carrie Prejean, Miss California.

The trouble started during the "judges each ask the contestants a question" round. Perez Hilton, one of the judges, asked Miss Prejean what her thoughts were on gay marriages.

Before we get to her answer, let us stop and consider Perez Hilton. As you might have guessed, that's a pseudonym - his real name is Mario Armando Lavandeira Jnr, which frankly sounds more made-up than Perez Hilton. Why was he a judge? Because he's a "celebrity blogger". A celebrity because of his blog. Which is about celebrities. Which probably means he can now get by simply by blogging about himself. Which he frequently does. This in some way qualifies him to judge a beauty contest, possibly in the same way that owning a lawnmower qualifies you to become an official Formula One race steward. When judgement day arrives, people like this will instantly disappear up their own arses, the world will instantly become a better place, and the human race will be saved.

But I digress.

Back at Miss USA, Perez Hilton asked Miss Prejean what her thoughts were on gay marriages. Her response was honest:

"I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offence to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised."

Unfortunately, this response got scrambled as it was broadcast live across the USA. What viewers apparently heard was:


And so the US is up in arms about this. ABC News informs us that this comment was what cost Miss Prejean the Miss USA title. Perez "not as funny as my real name" Hilton accused her of "alienating millions of gay and lesbian Americans, their families and their supporters". The bloke who organises the Miss California contest put out a press release stating that he was disappointed by Miss Prejean's views on the subject of gay marriage.

Two important questions:

1 - Why do we give a shit? Seriously, why should a woman's personal opinion on a subject which has split the entire nation be of any great interest to anyone? She has no say in whether gay marriage becomes legal in the states where it is currently outlawed, or vice versa. She is a runner-up in a beauty contest.

Which leads me to:

2 - She's the runner-up in a beauty contest! A bloody beauty contest! The things that Europe gave up in the 80s, and that haven't really been remotely culturally accepted since the 50s. Why should we expect the sort of person who wants to enter such a contest to have liberal, 21st century views? They've just entered a fucking beauty contest! Did Germaine Greer ever enter a beauty contest? What about Sir Ian McKellern? No. Because there comes a point in some people's lives when they realise that, no matter how hard they try, they will never be "clever". They will never be able to hold an intellectual conversation because the man they're trying to talk to can't stop looking at their chest. They will never be taken seriously because everything that falls from their lips is unutterably banal, and makes most grown-ups want to drop them into a vat of battery acid. And at this point, and only at this point, do they consider entering a bloody beauty contest.

(If you want my own, personal opinion on gay marriages, here it is in two unimaginative words: They're good.)

Not that all rubbish about, or of, gay marriages stems from the US of A. Here in the UK of GB and NI we are pretty good at liberalised numptyness and spouting bollocks too.

After the civil partnerships law was passed in the UK, Liverpool Register Office took down all of the heterosexual marriage photos from the waiting room so as not to offend gays. This ridiculously stupid act succeeded in offending everyone. Straight couples complained that it made it seem as if the register office was suggesting that only gay couples were now welcome, and Stonewall (the UK gay and lesbian rights group) pointed out that, were it not for heterosexual relationships, there would be no gay people at all, because they would never have been born.

But my favourite piece of bile regarding civil partnerships came from that bastion of middle-England, everyone's favourite fearmongering cack-rag, the Daily Mail.

One of the columnists (I forget who, because I only remember useful stuff) suggested that civil partnerships were an abomination for one reason and one reason alone: he had a 41-year-old friend who had three children with his common-law wife, and owned a home with her. Now, gay couples could get all of the benefits such as inheritance tax avoidance and better tax relief, that were being denied to his friend.

He failed to point out one thing: in order to qualify for these benefits, the gay couple would need to get married...

...something that his friend had legally been able to do, but had avoided doing, for the past 25 years.

Perhaps the USA have the right idea after all - if all the narrow-minded morons are confined to beauty contests, it makes them much easier to ignore.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Embracing technology like a technology embracing thing

My new phone lets me create "picture blogs" and upload them in just a couple of minutes. This is rather cool, although it's worth pointing out that my old phone could do this too - but when I got that phone I didn't have a blog, so I never set it up.

The previous entry to this one was sent from my phone. By the nature of the way my phone lets me make these mini entries, they will consist of a title, a photo, and couple of lines of text. You'll be able to spot them in amongst my "made on a PC" posts, because the latter all feature either no picture, or a picture with a (possibly) amusing caption.

What this means is that whenever I see something that amuses, annoys or just interests me, I'll be able to post about it. Woo. And, indeed, hoo.

Note to self:

Waiting at bus stops during the school holidays is a Bad Idea - they are reserved for chav teenagers that have nothing better to do.

Having said that, I have now learnt that she definitely never got off with Sam at the top of Windmill Hill on Saturday evening.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

The difference between radio and TV

Although there are obvious differences between radio and TV (for example, David Mellor has the perfect face for radio), there is one that I wasn't particularly aware of before now.

As far as the ASA are concerned, the main difference between these two media is that young children watch TV on their own, but don't listen to radio on their own.

Hence, complaints about the Government's current "I'm scared" anti-smoking campaign have been upheld as far as the TV advert is concerned, but not as far as the one on radio - despite the two adverts using the same scripts.

Apparently, the ASA "considered that the ad could cause distress to children if they were watching TV alone, without their parents or family to explain the ad to them." But the radio advert doesn't have this problem, because "any child listening would likely be in the company of family - over breakfast or during the school run in the car".

Proof, if it were needed, that - officially - the TV is the child minder that every home already employs. And radio is the weird bloke in the park that you're not allowed to talk to.

Now, forgive me if I'm missing something, but isn't this the point? I'm not really one for scaring children to prove a point, but the ASA assert that, without an adult to explain it, young children watching the advert think that the death of their smoking parent(s) is imminent. Thus, parents who are prone to leaving their young kids in the sole company of a TV set end up having to - heaven forbid - do some proper parenting for a change. They don't like this, so they complain to the ASA. Which, in a BBC-over-the-Ross-and-Brand-incident display of feeblemindedness, they uphold. Tossers.

Thing is, I don't think the "I'm scared" adverts go far enough. I think a child coming out with the line, "I'm scared my mummy will die, and I'm scared that breathing in her smoke will kill me too" would hammer the point home nicely.

Don't want your children scared by anti-smoking adverts? Here are my top tips:

1) Stop smoking
2) Don't leave your children unsupervised watching the TV
3) Try doing both - and embrace the radical art of "good parenting"

And stop blaming the government - who lose masses of tobacco-sourced tax revenue if they succeed in their aim of stopping people from smoking - when it all goes tits up.