by Karl Bunyan

Programming, PHP, JavaScript, .Net, motorbikes, pubs, poker, football, news, restaurants and anything else


Telegraph Fantasy Football password and progress report

More action in the premiership transfer market, taking some of my team away (again). The Telegraph Fantasy Football password for Wednesday August 31st, for anyone who's in the same need, is LUCKY.

My team has been doing pretty well over the past week and a half, largely due to me giving up on Wayne Bridge ever playing football again and buying Del Horno as my second Chelsea defender instead. As usual, Chelsea haven't let in a goal and Del Horno has scored one and assisted one so has really raked in the points this week. Henry has scored quite a few points, as usual, and Lampard is knocking the goals in as ever.

This has dragged me up to 3rd in the fantasy super league, although the 1st place team leapt even further ahead this week leaving me to think this must be a team with both Henry and Rooney in (and damn the expense). Still, I'm fairly happy with the teams's performance so far given that for a couple of matches I was down to 7 men with early injuries. When Llungberg and James Beattie make it back I expect to be grabbing points more consistently, and not relying so much on Chelsea and Thierry Henry to score all my points.

I can't help thinking that Chelsea have somewhat taken the challenge out of fantasy football this year as it's pretty much a given to put Cech in goal and grab as many defenders as you can afford (and think will play). On the other hand, the large squad means it's easy to spend a lot of money on big name players who may only get to play half a match.

Hopefully someone will work out how to score goals against Chelsea and make the rest of the footballing year a bit more interesting.

Telegraph Fantasy Football

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No goal-scoring ability: Leyton Orient 0-1 Shrewsbury

Leyton Orient vs Shrewsbury

It was a pretty poor performance with virtually nobody wanting to take a shot at goal from anywhere. Plenty of passing around midfield, and plenty of running around in circles, but the Shrewsbury keeper only had to make two saves despite numerous chances in and around the area.

The result is a little unfair as the penalty decision seemed somewhat harsh, and Shrewsbury actually looked worse than Orient. This makes it all the more disappointing, however, as not being able to get a goal against such a poor side is not a good sign for the rest of the season.

There were a few bright spots at least. Efe played with as much energy as ever and seemed to be the only one willing to have a go on goal. Tudor ran well but the final ball was usually lacking. Simpson seemed to play well enough, the first time I've really thought that this year, and Keith looked to be fitting into the side well. Steele was very solid holding the ball up but there weren't any plays that came off. Miller probably had the best performance in defence.

They've got to do better than this to have any kind of a chance at promotion.

BBC SPORT | Football | League Two | Leyton Orient v Shrewsbury
Read Cobra's full match report

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Cannonball man flies over border

Human cannonball files over Mexican border

I liked this story about a human Cannonball being shot over the Mexican border. The whole family seem to be into it.

his son, two daughters and a cousin are all regularly fired from one of five cannons they own

It might be art, but it's still pretty silly.

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Press Your Luck

This is a good story about a guy called Michael Larsen who entered an American quiz show called "Press Your Luck" and managed to work his way up to a record prize.

Press Your Luck

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Jol signs new contract with Spurs

The news that Martin Jol has signed a three year extension to his Spurs contract is very good, I reckon. He seems well suited to the club and they've made a good start to the season. To be honest, there's still not a great deal of hope for getting much of a result against Chelsea tomorrow but hopefully they can make a good show. Chelsea always beat Spurs at White Hart Lane, even when they're not on form, so a draw would be an excellent result.

Jol signs new contract with Spurs
Preview of Tottenham v Chelsea, Saturday, 27 August 2005

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Someone sent me some information on Breatharianism. The philosophy is that if air was pure then we could live on it alone without having to eat or drink anything solid and that thousands of years ago this is exactly what we did. My first thought on looking at the picture on the homepage was 'that guy needs a good meal inside him'.

What clinched it for me was this:

Science has proven that the average person can live 30 days or more on just air and water alone. But only a few minutes without air.


I also like:

Electrons do not eat, atoms do not eat, molecules do not eat, cells do not eat, and the body is built of and sustained by the cells, and not by what man eats.

which seems to gloss over the fact that cells do indeed seem to eat, as is defined as one of the five characteristics of living things. Luckily there is some good advice to be found here:

At this time the Earth is not ready to support a permanent no eating life style. I believe Everyone should continue to eat until the proper time.

So that's a relief. Lunch isn't cancelled.

I know I shouldn't laugh at other people's beliefs, but I will anyway. If you take nothing else from Breatharianism, remember

The Human Body is simply a love machine.

James Brown couldn't have put it better.

Read all about Breatharianism
Some articles on the dangers of Breatharianism

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Fantasy football - two week update

After two weeks and only 2 matches (for most Premiership teams) I'm only in the middle of our super league with 70 points. This isn't too bad as the first place only has 85 at the moment. So far I can't believe how unlucky I've already been with injuries with Wayne Bridge, Freddie Ljungberg, James Beattie and Wayne Routledge all out, so I guess getting 70 points with only a 2/3 strength squad isn't too bad.

I've made some transfers today ahead of this evenings premiership fixtures but I've stuck with Ljungberg and Beattie as there's a chance both of them could be back for Saturday's matches.

For anyone who can't find it elsewhere, the Telegraph Fantasy Football password for this week (August 24th) is OPEN.

Telegraph Fantasy Football

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I've posted this week's fantasy football password here.
posted by Blogger Karl Bunyan : August 31, 2005 8:46 AM  

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It woz the referee wot won it: Leyton Orient 1-3 Luton

Leyton Orient vs Luton

Orient played particularly well for three quarters of the match last night but some seriously dodgy decisions knocked any real chance we had of even drawing against a side two leagues higher on the head. Luton missed a couple of chances early on, although not before Leyton had a goal disallowed for (I guess) offside, and despite the obvious pace of Luton on the break we were keeping good posession, passing the ball around well and more than holding our own. When the first two of their one-on-one chances went wide it was almost looking like we might be lucky, but all that changed when the first goal for Luton followed what looked to be an obvious handball. This was just inside injury time at the end of the first half and came from a free kick which was another dubious ruling.

The O's kept their heads up and carried on playing a close passing game and although there weren't many chances Efe had a serious run on goal stopped by an appalling refereeing decision. The officials were swallowing every line the Luton players fed them, and that continued for the rest of the match. The first nail in the coffin came from a bad goal kick which went straight to the big (and fast) Luton strikers, and the final nail was an own goal by Alexander (harshly, the striker's first of the season). There was a consolation goal for Orient towards the end but once it went to 2-0 the heart had gone from the team and Luton grew in confidence and started to look like the side two divisions higher.

Orient didn't really do enough to win the game, but they played well and certainly made it hard for Luton to get off the ground. The one-touch control of the Luton players, plus the pace and strength (especially versus the Leyton Midgets) just tipped the balance, but I think the O's really did enough for a draw last night and, it may be a footballing cliche, but in the end 'it woz the referee wot won it'.

BBC SPORT | Football | League Cup | Leyton Orient 1-3 Luton

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Friends Of The Orient business networking club

I've just come back from the second Friends Of The Orient meeting. Friends of the Orient is set up to enable businesses connected with Leyton Orient Football Club to network, swap contacts and generate leads, and ultimately to drive revenue into the club through being associated with successful businesses.

The meeting consists of a breakfast approximately every two months which is sponsored by one of the member companies followed by a short presentation by that company. Membership is £300 a year to join, or for the first year is free to gallery members and club advertisers. The first two meetings have been quite successful and have generated some useful leads already. They're held in the new West Stand at the Orient ground on Brisbane Road.

Members of the club are also listed in the Friends of the Orient directory.

The Friends Of The Orient site
Exponetic's listing on the site

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Create wallpaper on the K750i

It's fairly easy to make your own wallpaper for the Sony Ericsson K750i:

  1. Find an image on your PC
  2. Resize it to 176 pixels wide by 220 pixels high
  3. Save it somewhere
  4. Copy it into the Phone Memory/Phone memory/Pictures folder on the phone
  5. On the phone itself, go into Menu -> Settings -> Display and select 'Wallpaper'
  6. Select 'Picture'
  7. Browse through the list of images to the one you've just copied over

You can also make the image 176 pixels by 176 pixels to just cover the centre of the screen.

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Crystal Palace dinosaurs

I didn't know it, but there are model dinosaurs in Crystal Palace park. When I say models, they are pretty much full-size replicas of what they decided dinosaurs looked like back in the 1850's. They're pretty good, it has to be said, and the park setting's good for a stroll.

A panoramic view of the dinosaurs:
Panoramic view of the dinosaurs

This dinosaur looks like it's got a walking stick:
An old dinosaur with a walking stick

A fairly convincing one:
Another dinosaur in the park

More information on the dinosaurs
The dinosaurs in Crystal Palace are located about here London Borough of Bromley: Crystal Palace Park Dinosaurs

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We're not singing any more: Leyton 1-4 Rochdale

Leyton 1-4 Rochdale

It was a good start to the season with 3 wins out of 3, but now reality has hit and we're only on 3 wins out of 4 having lost 4-1 to Rochdale. 9 points from 4 games still isn't bad at this level where the whole league is more-or-less on the same level. The disappointing thing from this match, though, is that the O's played pretty well and certainly didn't deserve the goal difference. Rochdale, however, were just much more incisive when it came to goal action, a lot of this coming from the size and strength of most of their team. Man for man they had a good two inches on every Orient player. Steele played solidly, but Tudor's runs from midfield and Mackie's defensive duties were definitely high points in the side.

So some disappointment that the dream run didn't continue, but there's encouragement to be had from the way the team played and I'm sure most Orient fans would have settled for 2nd after 4 games had they been asked at the start of the season.

There is some consolation from the weekend,though, in that Spurs are now top of the Premiership! (If only on goal difference...)

BBC SPORT | Football | League Two | Leyton Orient v Rochdale
BBC SPORT | Football | Premiership | Tottenham 2-0 Middlesbrough

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No Internet today

My local Costa obviously knows something I don't. Guess we can all go home then.

No internet today

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Freecycle London

Darren pointed me towards the London Freecycle Group. It's a straightforward mailing list where people (in London) post stuff they want to get rid of, the only condition being that it has to be free. It's also possible to make a request for something although the rules around this are a bit tighter. There's a lot of interesting things going through, and in the day I've been a member I've seen such things as:

  • An old Dyson
  • Some household doors
  • Old videos (with and without films on)
  • Some 'hardly used' felt tip pents
  • A payphone.

It's quite high traffic but an excellent way of getting rid of something that you no longer want but someone else might.

London Freecycle Group
The main Freecycle site

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For all of you who like the idea of freecycling take a look at this new site which makes it all a good deal easier! Its called GreenGonzo - Freecycle Search at www.greengonzo.com and it provides a searchable database of things people are giving away in the UK.
posted by Anonymous Mandy : February 02, 2006 1:10 PM  

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Tottenham admit interest in Kuyt

Spurs seem to have quite a bit of money to spend this season, with apparently interested in Dirk Kuyt for in the region of £12m and possibly Jermaine Jenas for £13m. I can't believe that Sir Alan Sugar was paid enough for The Apprentice that he can afford to compete with Roman Abramovich in the buying stakes. Still, Spurs are one place above Chelsea at the moment (okay, first game of the season, and only on goals scored so it won't last).

With Defoe, Keane, Mido and one other good striker Spurs really look like they're trying to break into the top few this season, though. There isn't much room between Chelsea, Man Utd and Arsenal and that only leaves one other Champions League place which is going to be fiercely contested (with Liverpool probably being the main contender). It's early days but Spurs must be hoping for a UEFA cup place this year after coming so close last season.

BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Tottenham Hotspur | Tottenham admit interest in Kuyt
BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Newcastle United | Spurs quiet on Jenas speculation

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Minimal MSN communication

I'm not sure if it's just me, the technology reducing our attention spans or (most likely) a combination of both, but I've developed an increasingly terse response style for conversations on instant messenger. I get much more curt the better I know someone too. As an example:

Tim says:
as I know you're not busy
Tim says:
want to test something for bugs for me?
Karl says:
Tim says:
he he he

Hardly the best chat ever.

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Motorbike hire in London (again)

I usually hire motorbikes from Raceways, Surrey Quays and they treat me pretty well. Now they know me and I obviously spend enough money with them they're more likely to give me a good deal on hiring the extras at the same time as the bike, or making sure I get one of the newer models if I've booked in time.

Around busy times, though, they might be fully booked, so I've been pointed towards Riverside Motorbike Hire. Riverside are based in Bow, just off the Blackwall Tunnel Approach (East London) so are actually a bit nearer to me by road, but not so easy to get to by public transport. They seem to be about the same price as Raceways, and a similar range of bikes. It does look like you're able to take all their models into Europe, though, so I think I may be trying them out sometime in the future.

Raceways motorbike hire, Surrey Quays
Riverside Motorbike Hire

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Already addicted to 'Lost'

'Lost' has only just started on Channel 4 and E4 and I'm already addicted. I watched the first three episodes back-to-back last Sunday and still wanted more. I was expecting something Survivor-like i.e. people marooned with some ensuing drama, but there's a lot more action than that with the introduction of what seem to be strange creatures that give it a bit of a Jurassic Park feel. I can see what I'm going to be watching for the rest of the year.

The Lost site on Channel 4

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JavaScript solution to PNG alpha transparency in IE

Solutions to the problem of PNG alpha transparency in IE6 have been around for a while, as exemplified by this post on Cross-Browser Variable Opacity with PNG on A List Apart. This solution uses script to write in the correct html, or to pass variables to a script and set a property of an object. Other solutions involve using server-side browser sniffing to serve different CSS depending on the browser.

The crux of the problem is that IE6 doesn't support the Alpha channel of PNG files used as an image. The solution is to take advantage of one of the proprietary DirectX filters built into Internet Explorer (for Windows) and to use this instead of the background image. The important point to note is that it is an 'either/or' solution - the PNG is used as a background image for the other browsers, and as a filter source in IE. Including both in IE means the PNG appears but with a nasty grey where all the transparency should be.

I've come up with the JavaScript below as an instant fix solution which means no rewriting of existing code is necessary. The CSS file will contain the background image as supported by Firefox and the other (non IE) modern browsers. (IE 7 is supposed to fix this, by the way.) The JavaScript runs through the stylesheet and replaces all of the background images with DirectX filters. The script should be placed in the head of the page just after the stylesheet tags and works automatically (although I haven't yet tested it in older browsers).

You'll need to remove some of the linebreaks which I've marked with a \n.

 var stylesheets=document.styleSheets;
 for(var i=0;i<stylesheets.length;i++)
  var stylesheet=stylesheets[i];
  var rules=stylesheet.rules;
  for(var j=0;j<rules.length;j++){
   var curRule=rules[j];
    var imageName=curRule.style.backgroundImage;

The way this works is to loop through each stylesheet, then each rule in the stylesheet, looking for any one with the backgroundImage property set. If it's set it takes the image name from it (stripping out the url('') bit) and sets that as the source of a DXImageTransform CSS filter. It then removes the backgroundImage property.

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A new design for this blog

It's taken a few evenings and bits of the weekend, but last night saw the launch of a new design for this blog. What with the categorisation I'd added recently, the right hand column with all the navigation in it was getting a bit cluttered so I've now gone 3 column and hopefully everything fits at an even height on the screen a bit better.

The main thing of note is the large background image, though, which is randomised so you should get a new one each time you view the site (the current image is stored in a session cookie) - close down your browser window and launch the blog again and it should give you a new image. The images in the library will grow over time as they're just being pulled randomly out of a single directory. Alternatively you can click on this link to get a new image. At some point I'll add a button to the site to do that.

Change the background image

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Bizarre experience: 'Moonlight' on Green Street

I'm still reeling from the surreal experience at the Moonlight private members club on Green Street, West Ham (near Upton Park tube) on Saturday night. Five of us (myself, an Indian, a Pakistani, an Italian and an Iranian... this isn't a joke) had met up for a few drinks and then on to a really good place called Mobeen's (Pakistani food, I was told) to eat. Mobeen's closes at 10pm but they let us in at 9:45 and I think we were keeping them up way past their bedtime. The place is strictly muslim so no alchohol allowed either so it was a good job we were half tanked up from the pub.

Scott (the Iranian) had read about a place called Moonlight just up the road along Green Street that was supposed to have an Indian karaoke night so, of course, we decided to head there. After getting the leftovers of our meal wrapped up as a takeaway, of course, which somehow I ended up carrying. We got to Moonlight and there were a couple of guys on the door. "This is a private club." That's usually enough to stop me, but not Uzma (the Pakistani, by origin anyway): "But I've just come from France and I didn't know that." Which is true, if irrelevant. But the fact that she's tall and used to do some modelling obviously meant that this particular line, which wouldn't work for us mere mortals (i.e. blokes), was enough to convince the doorman to let us all in. Well, at least let everyone else in as I was stopped because I was carrying a takeaway bag which we couldn't take inside because Moonlight is also a restaurant. "Never mind, we'll have to throw it away," I said. In case you don't know, to an asian the idea of throwing away food is anathema. "Okay, you can take it in as long as you put it behind the bar." So not only did we get to keep out takeaway, but I didn't even have to hold onto it for the night!

Once inside it became apparent that, bar two of the serving staff, I was by far the whitest thing in the whole room. There were something like 150 asians of various origins, plus the five of us. Okay, the Italian (Salvatore) isn't exactly that dark skinned, and Scott was a lighter shade than the majority of Indian's too, but no-one else quite glowed in the dark the way I did. Luckily the alchohol hadn't worn off yet, and there was more on sale here so that would see me through.

There was a large bar, which turned out to be quite reasonably priced (at the lower end of London pub prices) and a large amount of seating with a wide variety of ages sat around, from around 9 to 90 years old by my best judgement. By far the best feature, though, was the band playing live Indian music consisting of bongo drums, some electronic percussion (making a pretty good sound), a keyboard pre-programmed with all kind of ethnic instruments, plus a male and female singer who took alternate turns at the mic (which was echoed up to the max).

I don't really have a lot of experience of Indian music, but it actually sounded pretty good live. Somehow we found somewhere to sit pretty quickly (luckily, far enough from the dance floor, which I'll come to.) I then spotted another reason why we might have had an easier passage into the members only club: we had virtually doubled the female population of Moonlight. (We were told that only the night before a fight had broken out over a girl and had ended with half the room throwing bottles at each other. Shame we missed that one.)

Once we were settled into our seats we could really pay attention to the acts that were vieing for attention with the singers. Namely, some old asian blokes in outrageous suits. The first one resembled Lionel Blair (to me, at least) but was wearing an all-white John Travolta style suit. Unfortunately, he never really did take to the dance floor for much more than a few minutes at a time, and then his 'act' consisted mainly of waving his arms around slowly as if he was reciting Shakespeare.

The man who stole the show, though, came on with a bright blue jacket, sunglasses, a neckscarf and a fake microphone. Initially I thought he looked a lot like Spock, with the blue jacket and thin face, I guess, but I don't remember Leanard Nimoy carrying a microphone, or wearing shades. Or playing with a neckscarf, come to think of it. He didn't really know the words to the songs enough even to mime to, but that didn't stop him. He couldn't really dance either, but again that was no barrier. Someone told us that he was doing an impression of a Bollywood star but it could have been anything. One thought that crossed my mind was that I wouldn't let him look after my kids (if I had any), or give him a job as a school caretaker. He just had that look about him.

A couple of songs later he was back, this time with a red jacket. I thought 'Oh no, if this Star Trek dress theme carries on he's going to be dead by the end of the episode' but nothing that dramatic happened. Over the next couple of hours we saw him get through a number of other jackets that progressed from the dazzling to the outrageous: first to follow the primary colours was a white affair with a few silver sequins, then completely silver, on to gold... I can't remember them all, and I never did see where he kept them all. I have to point out that this man was definitely a member of the club, not part of the act. This was just how he spent his Saturday night. A couple of times the white suit man got up and I was hoping for some kind of dance-off but honestly he didn't have the moves to back up the claims his suit was making.

On the other hand Spock's dance moves got more and more outrageous as the night went on and I was amazed by the fact that any possible way there was to move the human body could be used on the dance floor. Anything from waving arms, playing with sunglasses, crouching down and hopping like a frog, flapping arms like a chicken, and even something as audacious as standing dead still... If they ever make an Indian version of 'The Office'... At one point he started to lose the audience as the dance floor filled up a bit (usually he was one of 5 people on it) and there was a fairly unassuming guy who could actually dance, but 3 jacket changes all in the same number won us back. I was left wondering what he could do if he ever got to see Buck's Fizz's Eurovision act and learnt some lessons from that.

Other than that, there were a lot of men dancing with each other. I didn't doubt from the start that at least some of them were gay, but then maybe it's a cultulral thing and dancing hand in hand is okay. I know for a fact that playing with silk scarves and hugging other men wouldn't leave doubts in the minds of anyone if they saw it in any other situation, but somehow at Moonlight everything was so strange that I was almost willing to leave my preconceptions at the door. Almost. (Standing at a urinal and being asked 'Do you like Indian music' was never going to get anything more than a non-committal mumble out of me. Ambiguous conversations in toilets could just end badly in so many ways.)

Even now, I can't really say whether the place really was partly an Indian gay bar or perhaps that's just the way things are in that place. I'll be surprised if I ever find somewhere else like that again, but on the other hand I'm fully expecting to end up back there at some point in the future. But perhaps it's best to leave the experience as one of a kind. One thing, though: if I ever hear a joke that starts with "An Indian, Italian, Iranian, Pakistani and Englishman walk into a bar..." then I know I'm going to have a top ending for it.

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Karl, this was interesting. I stumbled over your blog in search of opacity background, remember me from Oyster Partners in 2000. Good to see your out there doing your stuff.
posted by Blogger Ubercoach : February 03, 2008 6:28 PM  

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Leyton Orient still top of Division 2

The O's only have to keep it up for another 43 games.

BBC SPORT | Football | League Two | Darlington 0-1 Leyton Orient
Ling is thrilled to top the table

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congrats to the o's. hopefully, chester will go up as well.

heres one for the diary

Tuesday, 06 December 2005
Coca-Cola Football League Two
Leyton Orient v Chester, 19:45
posted by Blogger chris : August 15, 2005 9:12 AM  

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Crazy golf in Luxembourg

On a recent trip to Luxembourg we spent some time before our flight left for City Airport by playing crazy golf. The players were: Deborah Causton, Susan Engel, Chris Greenway and myself (Karl Bunyan). The scorecards for each of us are below:

Deborah's scorecard:
Deborah's crazy golf scorecard
Deborah's total: 86

Susan's scorecard:
Susan's crazy golf scorecard
Susan's total: 78

Chris's crazy golf scorecard
Chris' total: 116

My scorecard:
Chris's crazy golf scorecard
My total: 61

The important fact from all of this is that I won, of course. The golf course wasn't bad but a few of the holes were really difficult (having to hit perfectly straight up a small mound etc).

The crazy golf course in Luxemourg is somewhere around here

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it was a very difficult course, especially holes 2 and 14 where freak weather conditions hampered the round ;-)

congratulations karl, the luxembourg skydiving open winner 2005
posted by Blogger chris : August 15, 2005 9:08 AM  

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Stringray Globe pizza restaurant, Hackney

Hidden away (kind of) on Columbia Road in Hackney, just off Hackney Road, is a small pizza restaurant called Stringray Globe. We've been there for Friday lunch a few times now and it's been very good every time. I can't comment on the non-pizza menu (which looks comprehensive enough) but the pizzas themselves are very well made, being thin crust and a good size. I've had first hand experience of the proscuitto, american hot and calzone and these are all very good.

There's also a good selection of beer from Budvar in large bottles to Nastro Azzuro on tap. Both are perfect for a Friday lunch. Friday lunchtimes also don't seem to be particularly busy with plenty of room even at 1 o'clock either inside or out. The setting is quiet, being at the mainly pedestrian end of Columbia Road. Prices generally come to around a tenner per person for a pizza and a beer which is pretty reasonable.

Stingray is a nice little find and a pleasant surprise to find so close to Bethnal Green and Hackney.

Stringray Globe, Columbia Road on Streetmap

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Leyton Orient top of Division Two

Since Orient are the only side in Division Two to have won both of the first two games of the season we're now top. Two games into the new season is certainly too early to tell anything, since football is 'a funny old game', but it's a good start. Enjoy it while it lasts!

BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Leyton Orient | Ling sings praises of his players
BBC SPORT | Football | League Two | Bury 1-2 Leyton Orient
Match report for Bury 1 - 2 Leyton

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More JavaScript haiku

I first published a JavaScript haiku called 'Fear of tomorrow' here. Well, I've written some more. Apparently these are more likely to be classed as Senryuu, but what do I know. Anyway, here are some others that I've written, with the code first and the way it's supposed to be read following it, and then an explanation of the 'meaning':

A baker's dozen?

var i=1;
var i equals one
while i is less than 13
alert i plus plus

Although on the face of it just a script which displays numbers from 1 to 12, there is some ambiguity of meaning in the use of i++ which causes the reader to think and question whether the value of i will be alerted before being incremented or the other way round. It is, of course, alerted before being incremented but this moment of doubt reflects the author's questioning of the logic behind the term "baker's dozen" (being 13) and the discord it has with a 'true' dozen of 12 and the indecision as to which one to count up to.

The value of being together

i equals point 5
u equal math dot random
alert u plus i

This short piece raises questions of the value of two people joining together and whether the sum is greater or smaller than average. The first person (i) is an 'average' person and if the second person (u) is of above average value then the total will be greater than one. If not, then the value will be below one. This poem can be applied to anyone's life and if you give yourself a score of 0.5 and then rate your partner accordingly the same equation can be used to determine whether you should dump them or not.

Eight days of sailing

var course="straight";
var course equals straight
navigator equals true
alert course dot length

A straightforward nautical tale where the navigator confirms that the voyage will consist of eight days of straight sailing.

More dubious works will doubtless follow...

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A decent motorbiking road out of London

Hiring a motorbike in London always has the disadvantage that you have to go quite a way to find a decent road to ride down. Well, I've found one now with the route from north-east London to Saffron Walden. The 'easy' way would be to take the M11, since Saffron Walden is only a couple of miles from it, but that is distinctly not interesting on a motorbike. Instead I took the A113 (starting from Snaresbrook) through Chigwell, under the north circular, and then on to Chipping Ongar. This seemed like it would be quite a good place to stop off with some pubs and restaurants. Just north of Chipping Ongar is a roundabout and the route goes straight across this (passing the A414 exits on either side) and onto the B184. This is where the road starts getting more interesting.

The B184 eventually hits the A1060 (not signposted) and you need to turn right there and then left once you hit Leaden Roding about a mile down the road. Leaden Roding itself looks another good place for a stop. From there, it's a case of following the B184 to Great Dunmow (signposted) and then through there to Thaxted and on to Saffron Walden (all signposted). There are a number of good looking pubs on the way so I'm sure I'll be heading out there again.

The ride is good firstly because the roads are mostly of good quality with a few decent bends and not too many speed limits (bar through the towns and villages, as expected). It's a bit lacking in good straights but you can't have everything. The best thing, though, comes I think from the fact that it runs north to south along a route that's much better served by the M11, meaning that it's quite empty. There were a few Sunday drivers around but there are a reasonable number of spots to overtake (on a sports bike, anyway).

It's about an hour to Saffron Walden from Leyton going this route, compared to around 35 minutes up the M11, and the ride is definitely worth it.

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How many more of you idiots have to die before you realise that there are better ways to spend a Sunday than ruining our weekends.

Another near fatal motor cyclist induced accident on the A1060 (Wed 7th June 06) still won't stop you will it?

There are many advertised track days - why don't you go there instead
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : June 10, 2006 9:36 PM  

I'm glad to see that the last person to leave a comment here said such nice things about bikers and then failed to leave his/her name. Very big of you.

What Joe public fails to realise is that there are idiots in all walks of life. With bikers most people only ever see the nutters and never notice the majority that ride sensibly & safely.

We're just ordinary people like you. I don't get drunk every weekend and vandalise town centres. I prefer to ride my bike instead.
posted by Blogger Chris Pittock : September 22, 2006 9:32 PM  

Dear Mr Nonymous,

Anyone with half a brain will notice that bikers fall into two distinct categories: (1) speed-crazed idiot fools (who sooner or later tend to perish...); (2) the rest of us, who just enjoy the freedom and exhiliration (yes, even at 60mph) of a motorbike.

Both groups are fully aware that the most endangered species on the road is the biker himself - no half ton of metal around us to protect us from sleepy, foolish, unobservant and uncaring car-drivers. If we have an accident with one of you, WE lose, full stop.

Of course, if you prefer to sit in traffic, that's your prerogative, but I would agree with George Orwell when he wrote, "Two wheels good, four wheels bad" (or words to that effect!)

Fot the time being, get off our backs and go and moan about something else...!
posted by Anonymous John Ford : April 18, 2007 10:41 AM  

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Review of Honda CBR600

I've ridden Honda CBR600's quite a few times now and I have to say that I think for riding pleasure I enjoy this bike more than the others I've tried. After riding the Blackbird recently, which is an exceedingly well balanced bike for its size, the CBR600 felt extremely light. That is the real benefit of the 600's - small size and excellent manouverability. I really like the riding position which feels like you're right over the front wheel and is very stable.

The 600 has nowhere near as much low-end power as the Blackbird's big 1100cc engine and to drop down takes a bit of getting used to. It all becomes a matter of picking the right gear, though. At around 50 to 60mph you really need to change down to 3rd gear to get some good power for overtaking and the bike responds instantly. At this speed in 4th there's a bit of a lag and if you're short of road you really don't want to have to wait for the engine to catch up. The good news is that 3rd gear will then take you past 100 easily, which should be enough to get past most things.

I'm often riding with a pillion passenger, not something that's possible (realistically) with an R6 or GSXR600, but Honda's seem to consider versatility much more in their motorbike designs. As a result the bike handles exceptionally well although there is a noticeable reduction in torque (making choosing the right gear even more important) but it's a perfectly good ride all the same. The exhaust pipe is also low enough to carry some luggage. The only downside of middle-distance travelling is the tank capacity which doesn't have much past around 120 miles. A small tank is the price to pay for good balance and riding position, I suppose. The front faring is also not really up to long-distance at speed as the wind hits your head fairly hard at around 80mph and can give some serious neck strain after an hour.

If I was going to buy a bike now, the CBR600 would be the one I'd go for. It's got more than enough power and cornering ability for riding more agressively but is also smooth through the gears and evenly powered enough to make slow speed, bad weather or in-town riding all quite easy. It's also possible to travel mid-range (a couple of hundred miles) carrying luggage and a passenger (although the high revving can leave your arms tingling after a couple of hours). The Blackbird, with its bigger faring and bigger engine, is much better over longer distance but to be honest I don't find it quite as much fun. I think possibly I just enjoy having to work the gears a bit more to get speed out and the riding position of the smaller bike really makes it.

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I notice you quote 120 miles as being to magic distance to the fuel light. From this I'm guessing you are talking about a post 2000 injected model.

I have a 1999 FX with carbs and my light doesn't come on until somewhere between 150 & 160 miles. Although this figure has seemed to increase with age. When new she was only giving the stated 120 miles.

I rode an F1 (injection) model last year while mine was being re-built after an altercation with a car and I noticed that the mixture was set noticably richer that mine. As a consquence 110 miles was all it could manage.

I enjoyed your Blog, keep up the good work.


posted by Blogger Chris Pittock : May 07, 2006 11:58 PM  

It was indeed a new model, and generally I'm riding with a pillion (and sometimes luggage) as well. I imagine if I didn't wring its neck quite so much then I'd have gotten more miles out of it, which might explain why as the bike ages and slows a bit you get more miles out of it. Having said that, I managed 30 miles on the reserve tank (because I had to) with 2-up by sticking to about 55mph in 6th gear... that wasn't fun.
posted by Blogger Karl Bunyan : May 08, 2006 11:43 AM  

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Leyton Orient 2 -1 Macclesfield Town

Leyton Orient 2 -1 Macclesfield Town
The first match of the season, and the first match to watch from the new West Stand. The building is pretty much complete, give or take some 'finishing touches', and the new central block of padded seats are a great place to watch the game from.

Leyton started well, scoring in the second minute, and looked to be playing a lot better than last season. There was some good passing going on (and any passing at all in this league is pretty good) and decent build-up play. The finish was still lacking and so it was still 1-0 at half-time.

The second half reverted to the more familiar hoofing style with Macclesfield threatening to score a few times (including hitting the crossbar) before they finally equalised. A few more chances came and went for Orient but eventually the substitute Echanomi scored in extra time having intercepted a wayward backpass, sidestepping the keeper and holding the ball on the line for show. As we found out, his main motivation for scoring appeared to be to demonstrate his backflipping abilities.

Although not convincing in terms of goals scored, Leyton played pretty well and there's some reason to be optimistic about the rest of the season. It also leaves us in third place which is the best for some time...

Brief match report of Leyton Orient vs Macclesfield on BBC Sport

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Jasmine B&B, Southwold

I stayed last night in the Jasmine B&B in Southwold. It was actually closer to Reydon, an adjoining town, and about 20 minutes walk from Southwold high street and seafront. The B&B was tiny, with only 3 rooms (en-suite), but a friendly welcome. In fact, the whole thing is more like staying in a friend's house (or rather, bungalow). The rooms are nice, though, and have a homely feel about them, and being a smaller outfit you don't get the kind mass-produced of accessories you get in a normal B&B but more the kind of thing you'd have at home: proper mugs, real towels etc.

The only downsides with such a small place are that, for obvious reasons, the breakfast window of opportunity is fairly small (between 8 and 9), and check-out is also quite early (10am). The breakfast was much better than many B&B's I've stayed in, though, so worth making it to.

The Jasmine B&B website
The Jasmine B&B is located here

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The world is getting weirder

This story of a boy fascinated by rubbish trucks and wants to be a dustman when he grows up is just too weird.

Gordon, who has a growing collection of toy refuse vehicles, said the best part of the trip was "putting the bins on the back of the dustbin" and "pressing the big button".

Though judging by the picture, he looks like he'll settle into the job really easily:
Boy as binman

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Kerala Indian restaurant, Central London

I've been to Kerala (Indian restaurant near Oxford Circus in Central London) again and it's just as good as it was when I first went and wrote about it here. I just want to make sure enough people go there to keep it open (it seems busy enough) so hopefully this should appear in some search engines. The dosas are really good... in fact, I think it's all really good if you like authentic south Indian food.

Kerala Restaurant, 15 Great Castle Street, London, W1W 8LT. Nearest tube Oxford Circus

Review of Kerala on London-eating
Review of Kerala at Curry House Reviews

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PHP 4 foreach as references

PHP 4 doesn't seem to create references for objects in foreach loops. e.g. the following will not change the original objects:

foreach($placeholder as $contentBlock)

The value of the position property in the original object will remain unaffected. This is quite rubbish. To get round it you need to get all the array keys and then create a separate variable to store a reference to the object you want to change:

foreach($placeholder as $key => $value)
 $contentBlock =& $placeholder[$key];

The variable $value isn't used at all but if you're stuck using PHP 4 then this is the best you can do. Luckily PHP 5 works much more sensibly, but we don't always get a chance to use that so I'm stuck with this slightly messy alternative.

Foreach in the PHP docs

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Hey, let try:
foreach ($array as $key => &$value){
// change your $value
posted by Blogger Nguy?n Qu?c Qu?nh Khôi : February 22, 2008 11:55 AM  

Not for PHP4, this only works in PHP5 and later
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : February 20, 2010 11:29 PM  

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PHP 4 annoyances ( = rant)

After working with PHP 5 for quite some time now, I've had to go back to PHP 4 to develop a CMS for a client's site where we don't have much over the hosting environment. Going back to the old version has annoyed me quite a few times already and it's probably made worse by the fact that I never really did much PHP 4 anyway (I'm quite new to the language, even though I have been programming in it on and off for 2 years) and lately I've been working in a combination of PHP 5 and C# (as well as various others) and generally being a bit more object oriented about everything.

First off there's the whole not really object orientedness of PHP 4. PHP 5 isn't that object oriented, but PHP 4 is miles off. Passing variables by value instead of reference unless you put stupid & symbols everywhere... whose idea was that? Also it's obviously a bit hacked together behind the scenes, as exemplified by the fact you can't do things like $this->getThing()->getOtherThing() without it barfing. Instead you have to put the returned value from the first thing into a variable and then call the next method... not a good sign in an interpreter.

You can just about force yourself not to access member variables of objects directly, even if you can't set things to be protected or private, and make get() and set() methods everywhere, but sometimes it's really useful to put things into static classes. Database routines would be really useful, for example. Instead I've taken to creating a great big global variable to hold an object and refer to it everywhere and use the member variables of that object to store other useful objects. At least methods can be called statically, but without static member variables they're not as much use. (I use a similar technique when programming in Lingo to save having to reference all my globals in each script: store them as properties of another object that keeps state for the whole application.)

And very little XML support either... Even ASP could handle XML well, and even XSL, four or five years ago, and ASP as we all know is the lowest form of programming language ever invented. (Okay, there are worse languages than VBScript, but not many that site behind so many important web sites. I once worked on a half million pound project that was built in ASP... Scary!)

Rant ends

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i love you
posted by Anonymous Anonymous : August 26, 2006 5:42 PM  

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The best London bomber funnies

Out of all the joke images sent around following the July 7th bombs these two are my favourites

Mind the bag

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Excellent :-)
posted by Blogger Andy Hardy : August 03, 2005 9:09 AM  

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Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (for the worst writing)

These awards for the worst writing of 2005 make excellent reading. Some of my favourites

Captain Burton stood at the bow of his massive sailing ship, his weathered face resembling improperly cured leather that wouldn't even be used to make a coat or something.
Bryan Semrow, Oshkosh, WI
It was high noon in the jungles of South India when I began to recognize that if we didn't find water for our emus soon, it wouldn't be long before we would be traveling by foot; and with the guerilla warriors fast on our heals, I was starting to regret my decision to use poultry for transportation.
Eric Winter, Minneapolis, MN
Because of her mysterious ways I was fascinated with Dorothy and I wondered if she would ever consider having a relationship with a lion, but I have to admit that most of my attention was directed at her little dog Toto because, after all, he was a source of meat protein and I had had enough of those damn flying monkeys.
Randy Blanton, Murfreesboro, TN
A column of five hundred Roman foot soldiers - a column held together by the plaster of courage -- advanced on a teeming sea of rebellious slaves -- slaves who had, ironically, built most of Rome's columns, although they actually used lime and not plaster to cement the structures, and though it is perhaps more historically precise to describe the soldiers' column as bound by the lime of courage, that doesn't really have the same adventurous ring to it.
Mark Hawthorne, Rohnert Park, CA
After she realized the man she had fallen in love with was her long lost twin brother and they must break up immediately, they shared one last kiss that left a bitter yet sweet taste in her mouth--kind of like throwing up after eating a junior mint.
Tami Farmer, Rome, GA
Billy Bob gushed like a broken water main about his new love: "She's got long, beautiful, drain-clogging hair, more curves than an under-the-sink water trap, and she moves with the ease of a motorized toilet snake through a four-inch sewer line, but what she sees in me, a simple plumber, I'll never know."
Glenn Lawrie, Chung-buk, South Korea
Looking sideways at Thomas, Mireille slowly removed her scarf, waiting . . . hoping . . . praying that when he came close enough to smell the delectable fragrance of her long, luscious waves that he wasn't going to start sneezing or sniffling or rubbing his eyes, because those were tell-tale signs of his allergies acting up, and if they did, he would know that she had been out rolling around in the lavender fields with Luc again.
Keriann Noble, Murray, UT
As soon as Sherriff Russell heard Bradshaw say, "This town ain't big enough for the both of us," he inadvertantly visualized a tiny chalk-line circle with a town sign that said 'population 1,' and the two of them both trying to stand inside of it rather ineffectively, leaning this way and that, trying to keep their balance without stepping outside of the line, and that was why he was smiling when Bradshaw shot him.
Keriann Noble, Murray, UT
Derwin Thoryndike vowed to place a 14-carat engagement ring on the finger of Glenda-Sue Ellington, so now all he had to do was save up enough money to buy the ring, get it inscribed, and then locate a person named Glenda-Sue Ellington and convince her to marry him.
Harvey McCluskey, Vancouver WA
"So you see" concluded Lance "there are certain things that every woman regardless of personal situation should do at least once in their lives and I am foremost amongst these things."
Hywel Curtis, Abercarn, Caerphilly Wales

Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest 2005 Results

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