He didn't get where he is today by stealing somebody else's catchphrase.

Webmaster Stuff

Introducing The Chicken

Say "Hello" to The Chicken.

If you've ever heard of the phrase Scary Cat Lady before, then I'm gradually morphing into Freaky Bird Man. In my autumn years, I'm going to surround myself with birds. I can't surround myself with an entire flock at the moment, though, but have been after a feathered friend to Oz for a while - and this is why I'm introducing The Chicken to you. She's a Galah and originates from Australia (I should add that she didn't come all the way from Australia, she was bred in the UK).

As you can see, she's quite pink and contrasts nicely with my little green friend in virtually every way. Whilst Indian Ringnecks are parakeets, she's part of the cockatoo family and is a shade smaller than an African Grey parrot but with a slightly wider wingspan. Illness notwithstanding, The Chicken should live for upwards of forty years, possibly outliving me. Before being with us, she briefly lived with another family who decided that cockatoos weren't for them.

True to the cockatoo family, she's completely bloody mad.

She's about nine months old now and has been attempting to say a few words, namely "ChickenChickenChickenChicken" and "HappyHappyHappy", although because Galahs aren't the best talkers in the world, she tends to sound a bit like a quiet dalek when she says anything. She loves to eat my ears, watch video on my phone, chew literally anything and dangle upside-down whilst screaming abuse at the dog. She's very cuddly and does a good job of impersonating a ball of candy-floss. Like all chickens, she clucks.

As I mentioned earlier, she's a contrast to Oz. They more or less get on, although at this early stage it involves climbing on top of each other's cage and shouting at each other. Oz is an old man who hasn't had to deal with another bird for about nineteen years, so I guess it's going to take him a while to adjust to having a pink-crested drama queen in the house.

Expect more pictures on Twitter (naturally).


Today I was doing my backups, as all good I.T. people do. As I waded through the many years of crap I keep on my hard-drives, I noticed that I still have most of the data associated with the previous sites I administered. My first (still available on the web if you know where to look) was about the Acorn Computer demoscene. My second was dedicated to my love of travel and the spotting of ladies who wear black and white.

Yes, that's right - nuns. Who doesn't love a nun?

So, in an effort to fill in the gaps in my internet history I've decided to republish Nunspotting, which now exists on its own subdomain. Please don't take it too seriously, but instead look on it as a period in the history of the internet where things were pretty good. Broadband lines were starting to become commonplace, Web 2.0 wasn't really a thing and people didn't continually take photos of their lunch. Happy times.

I used Nunspotting as a way to record my travels around the world, as well as photograph those wonderful ladies of the cloth. Bear in mind that there's probably all sorts of broken links, inaccuracies and cruft within this site, but back in those days nobody really cared. Enjoy.


I share a major birthday with an inanimate object... Read More...


You’ll have seen a couple of posts ago about my impending matrimony. Well, I finally got off my arse and sorted out the photos - here’s a little gallery of shots from the day.


The Mix-Tape

If ever there was a post that’s taken me ages to write, it’s this one. Still, at least you get a bit of music whilst you read... Read More...

My favourite game

Rock monsters - poisonous little buggers!

The screenshot that you see above is a capture from what I believe to be the greatest game ever - Dungeon Master.

Back in 1989, I’d not long since had a motorbike accident. I’d been on crutches with my leg in plaster for about six months, nursing a broken fibia/tibia. My insurers, finding me not liable for the accident, paid me an interim damages claim. Having no fear at that age, thoughts turned to getting back on a new bike and riding again.My mother, however, had other ideas and was keen to discourage me from getting back on the seat and having a repeat incident (or worse). Looking over the shoulders of my peers, I bowed to pressure and spent some of the money on an Atari ST, a more serious computer than the rubber wonder I’d been using before.

I remember a couple of my friends having Dungeon Master. It was the game that sold me the entire computer. Historically, it seems I wasn’t alone. There are reports that over half of people who had an Atari ST bought it. It’s no surprise. It rocked - and it still does.

The game has a simple premise - pick four characters and travel through a dungeon, killing stuff, using magic, exploring, pushing buttons, developing your characters and solving puzzles. Despite it’s simplicity, I still remember how amazingly immersive the game was. I used to make a habit of playing at night with the lights off - it added to the atmosphere. Some levels were exceedingly tough. I remember that on sight of a purple worm, I would “run” like hell down corridors and cast fireball spells from a distance. I remember the comical shrieking of the screamers - and how tough it was to get your character resurrected should one die. Carrying their bones back to the altar on level one to resurrect them was not a fun task.

He eats a lot, strange chap.

At the time, I don’t think anyone realised how influential the game would be. There are so many elements that have appeared in similar games that followed - and the game is still fun to play now. I challenge you to find as much fun that fits on a single floppy disk.

Emulation is a wonderful thing. I’ve recently downloaded NoSTalgia for my Mac and have got back into playing the game again, and I suspect that once I’ve completed it (a fair task in itself), I’ll the continue on to play it’s sequel, Chaos Strikes Back.

I’m probably going to sound like an old man when I say it (and you would expect nothing less, I imagine), but a great deal of modern games seem to focus far too much upon graphical realism at the expense of good gameplay. I’ve actually got a couple of gaming devices, but I’ve pretty much stopped using them in favour of retro gems such as this. Maybe I’m getting old, but when I play a game I want it to look like a game, not some version of augmented reality. It’s probably why I enjoy playing Angry Birds so much on my iPhone. Simple works best.

This probably says an awful lot about me - I’ll let you draw your own conclusions. In the meantime, I’ve got to deal with four blue trolls that would like to club me over the head. And I still have my Atari ST now. Twenty years on, it still works.

An Explanation

For those that still ask about Mr Dalliard - yes, you know who you are.

Watch. And learn.

Second video here.

Words I Hate


That is all. When the New World Order arrives and they start the first iteration of the Newspeak Dictionary, I'll be campaigning for the eradication of these words.

Guilty Pleasures

Today I ended up playing one of those musical games. You know the one - the "guess the artist and track" game. Many of the random tracks played were truly awful, but at the same time strangely enjoyable.

This is the world of Guilty Pleasures - the sort of stuff you know is pure unadulterated cheese, but can't help but enjoy.

Here's my starting list:

1) Kylie Minogue - Can't Get You Out Of My Head. (*link*)
2) Electric Six - Gay bar. (*link*)
3) Big Bass vs Michelle Narine - What you do. (*link*)
4) The Bucketheads - The Bomb! (*link*)
5) Daft Punk & Stardust - Music Sounds Better With You. (*link*)
6) E.L.O. - Mr Blue Sky. (*link*)

If you haven't heard any of the tracks, shame on you - click on the link to have short listen, courtesy of last.fm.

I'll leave you to hypothesise for youself why these are on my list, but in the meantime I'm sure you have some of your own - you just haven't confessed yet.

From The Ashes

What music has had an instrumental/memorable part in your life? Read More...

Painting the world red

I like to travel. Everyone's got their weakness. I was going to do a list of where I'd been to, but then I stumbled over something better - a site that generates a graphical representation of where you've been, with the red bits denoting the countries visited. It also gives you some useless statistics. Apparently, the 30 countries I've been to represent 13% of the planet. I'll keep up dating this as I manage to tick more off.

13% Seems so little. Maybe I should make it a life ambition to achieve as close to 100% as I can get, somehow.

Pasted Graphic

Mr Who?

Here's link to follow when you're about to say, "Where did you get that Mr Dalliard thing from?" - (*clicky*)



"The tendency of a fluid to pass through a permeable membrane such as the wall of a living cell into a less concentrated solution so as to equalize the concentrations on both sides of the membrane."

Or put more simply, a green parrot. Behold.

Oz (no relation to Australia, as he's an Indian Ringneck) is larger than a Cockatiel, but smaller than an African Grey. People sometimes think that he's larger than he really is, mainly because of his tail feathers, which (like so many examples in nature) make him appear to have a huge arse.

He's a very green bird, who likes very green food. Pears and grapes go down well, especially if he can spray them up the walls. It makes eating so much more fun.

Does he talk? Well, no. However, he does mimic some strange things. He can bark well - always a good early warning sign. Plus, the flatulent raspberry sounds he makes are just a little bit too good (who knows where he got that from), which he usually does for comic timing at the quietest point in a film, or when you're bent over and not looking.

You probably want an explanation of his name. It was felt it made a change from the usual boring pet names. Perhaps you should read
this book first, to get some insight. His full name is "The Great Osmosis".

Ladies and mentalmen, meet my feathered companion.

About The Author

Born: 1972, in Plymouth, UK. Only child for 20 years. Lives near the Devon / Cornwall border.

Vital Info: Male. Has two arms, two legs and a head that works most of the time.

Likes: Cinema / Travel / All things Japanese / Music / Silence / Photography / Ju-jitsu / Shiny, geeky computing toys / Parrots / Writing / Snow / Trees.

Hates: Grammatically incorrect taxi companies / Concrete obscenities / NIMBYs / Insincerity / Heat-waves / Virtually all dogs / Linda Barker

Facts: Never inhaled / Married Twice / Divorced Once / Only famous person met - Charlie Dimmock / Environmental nutbar / Can't curl tongue / Left-handed.

+ves: Finally enjoying a sport (the Ju-jitsu), even though I'm only a lowly black-belt (2nd Dan).
Getting an A* at my GCSE in Japanese.
Managing to visit 31 countries of this lovely planet. (So far)
Being happy with life.

-ves: My mothers death at 50. Far too early.