Author Archives: Mark J Daniels

The End of an Era… #schoolsoutforsummer

Today marks the end of an era: my youngest son leaves primary school for the last time, heading up to secondary school in September.

Meanwhile, let six weeks of sibling rivalry commence.

Jacob Leaves School

A Genuine WTF Moment: Oral Sex With A Grapefruit…

While perusing the Huffington Post yesterday and reading a story about a haunted pub, another headline popped up in their newsfeed, one that caught me a little unawares.

This new headline carried the story about the ‘Grapefruit Technique’, a blow job that is a bit weird but not as scary as the Death Technique

Now, I’m a red-blooded male, but anything in the bedroom that might result in my imminent death is a no-no.

That said, however, this video is somewhat compelling, if not for the unseemly noises she makes while demonstrating the so-called Grapefruit Technique

 

Thirty Years Since…

What do The Karate Kid, Never Ending Story, Ghostbusters, Footloose, Gremlins, Revenge of the Nerds, Splash, Red Dawn, The Terminator, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Beverly Hills Cop, Police Academy and Nightmare on Elm Street all have in common?

Along with a whole raft of other iconic movies, they’re now thirty years old…

Find out more by clicking the image below.

thirty year old movies 

To Strike or Not To Strike.

On Thursday, public sector workers – teachers being the most talked about – took strike action in protest of pay, working hours and having to wait a bit longer for their pension.

I posted a tweet and a Facebook status, slightly tongue in cheek, to the effect that it would be more convenient if teachers had taken their strike day during August. Rather than picking up on the sarcasm in my message, friends in the teaching profession instead pointed out it would be more convenient if they got paid a fairer wage for the hours they undertake and the responsibilities they have to endure.

 

I’m never going to argue with that. I wouldn’t want to be a teacher – I find it difficult enough dealing with my own children, let alone being faced with a classroom full of the little blighters. It takes a special person to be a good teacher, and not all teachers can invoke interest in their students as well as others.

However, as with any time anybody strikes, I never fail to be amused – and bemused – by those who strike and their attitude to those of us who disagree with them. “I have a right to strike,” was one comment I heard. Arguments of freedom of speech and the right to express themselves followed; but the utter look of disdain thrown in my direction when I mentioned I had the right to disagree with their action is quite typical.

Striking seems to give people who are normally my friend the right to decide that, for the duration of the strike, they will hate me because I disagree with their decision. And then they wonder why I’m not quite so friendly with them when the strike is over.

Strike action, to me, is little more than organised bullying – something schools go out of their way to say they will not tolerate. It also does little to engender support from somebody like myself who, because of the strike action, has to take a day off work or rearrange my work diary in order to accommodate your decision to not work for a day.

I’d love a payrise too, but going to my boss and saying I’m not working until he gives me a payrise will simply see me being handed my P45 quite quickly.

And, I know this is going to sound shallow, but I’ve pulled in to the car park at the school my boys go to and most of the teachers there driver much nicer and newer cars than I do.

We all have to cut our cloth accordingly and, despite how rich people like to think Britain is, money is not as freely available as people believe.

So here’s what happens when you strike.

If you’re a public sector worker who strikes and is successful in achieving your goal of increased salary and pension, the money to pay for this will have to come from somewhere.

Possibly, it will come from the reduction in other public services to fund your better pay, which will have an adverse effect on you and everybody around you or, more likely, will be funded by an increase in taxes somewhere along the line. Which will put you, and the rest of us, right back to square one. And you’ll probably stop somebody else being employed, which means you’ll have more work to do.

If you’re a private sector worker who strikes and is successful in achieving your goal of increased salary and pension, the money to pay for this will have to come from somewhere.

Possibly, it will come from a reduction in other facilities your company can offer, meaning a reduction in income to the business, or it will be funded by an increase in costs to your customers, meaning your company will become less competitive in their market place and lose business to their rivals. Such outcome will inevitably lead to job losses.

Another way for a private company to raise money quickly is to make people redundant, reducing the overall wage bill to mean the rest can be paid better. Of course, this will mean the remaining workers have to take on more responsibility, and both of these courses of action will enrage the unions, who will start another round of strikes.

Strikes do nothing but cost companies money and damage more peoples lives than they improve.

This is why I fundamentally disagree with strike action, and it is my right to this opinion. So if you’re somebody who’s considering going on strike, think about the longer term ramifications such action will have, and don’t shout at me just because I don’t agree with your course of action.

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How to get Most Recent back in Facebook

It’s been an ongoing battle between Facebook and their users for some time now – users want, scream for, nay demand to see posts from their friends and pages they like in a chronological order.

Despite this, Facebook insist on always defaulting to what they term as Top Stories, although I’ve yet to see what relevance they have as Top Stories for me. All it ever seems to be is promoted posts (Facebook’s income…) and status updates from three days ago. If I’m not careful, I often miss reading posts people have just made.

In their latest app update (on Android at least), Facebook have gone one step further in bullying us in to seeing Top Stories by almost completely hiding access to the Most Recent feed. Finding it really is a bit of a farce.

In the new app, you have to tap on the three bars to the right of the navigation bar and then scroll down Facebook_Most_Recent_Tabuntil you see the Feeds menu. Go careful now, it’s quite a long way down (depending on pages you manage etc.) so you might miss it.

Once you’ve selected the option, the screen will then display your Most Recent feed. But, and here’s the really annoying thing, if you click on any of the navigation buttons, to view friends etc, the main feed defaults back to Top Stories and you have to go through this process again to see Facebook_Most_Recent_Iconyour Most Recent feed. I can see this become a bit of a charade each time we try to keep up with our friends on the world’s biggest social platform.

Perhaps Facebook will realise the error of their ways and make this process easier in a quick update to the app, but I suspect not. They’re hell bent on making us just see Top Stories all the time. Perhaps this is the final push I need to move lock stock and barrel over to Google+…

Facebook_Most_Recent_Locate

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Lawn Mower For Sale

Lawn Mower For Sale

So it’s with great sadness that I’ve had to make the decision to sell my trusty old tractor mower.

Thanks to half our large garden being converted in to a building plot, the old FMC Corporation lawn mower no longer has a place in our home, which is a blooming shame as out of all my vehicles, this is probably the one I’ve loved the most.

You can see the auction by clicking here – it’s on eBay.

Ride On Lawn Mower

FMC Corporation Ride On Tractor Mower, for sale on eBay

 

Any queries you might have on the purchase of this item, please direct them via the auction itself.

But, if you’re thinking about it, does it help if I say it’s Ferrari red? (Sort of.)

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Christine Lives: Stephen King to write a sequel to Christine

I should have known something was up when Stephen King announced that he was going to write a sequel to his 1983 hit, and one of my favourite books of all time, Christine. The catch? He made the announcement on 1st April…

Which is a shame, as this story shouldn’t be fake. The text sucks you in with the line that , following the success of Doctor Sleep, the long-awaited sequel to The Shining, King will write the follow up to the world’s most famous, evil car. Time for the great author to put his fingers back to the keyboard and write the sequel.

Meanwhile, I’m off to read the original. Again.

Christine Lives

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Elgin Park … a town in photographs

Elgin ParkI came across this post on ViralNova this morning, thanks to a link on a friend’s Facebook page. Without a doubt, I find these photographs fascinating – miniature representations of the town that Michael Paul Smith grew up in, using real-world scenes as their background.

Fascinating stuff.

Have a look at the original article: http://www.viralnova.com/takes-pictures-of-model-town/

The town’s website: http://www.visitelginpark.com/

Smith’s Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/24796741@N05/

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Is Formula 1 2014 A Success…?

I got up early this morning, (5a.m. GMT) to watch the first race of Formula 1′s 2014 season. I did so with some trepidation, some excitement, like most F1 fans I wanted to know whether these new regulations would be a success or a disaster.

So I watched the race, thought the racing was excellent, that Valteri Bottas had to be Driver Of The Day, and that the cars sounded interesting, but far too quiet. I’ll have to head to Santa Pod this year in order to get that visceral need I have for a loud engine.

It also worries me that the fastest lap for today’s Australian Grand Prix was nine seconds slower than the lap record, set ten years ago by Michael Schumacher. Nine seconds. In F1 terms, that’s a life time. To all intents and purposes, that’s pretty much the difference between a Formula 1 car and a GP2 car (the junior series to F1) in 2013.

The point of F1 is for it to be the pinacle of motorsport. Yes, we were all worried about it becoming stale. Yes, we all thought it was becoming a bit of a procession. Yes, we were all getting bored of Vettel winning all the time. But then, ten years ago, we were all bored of Michael Schumacher winning all the time.

And guess what? Today’s race, nine seconds slower per lap that it might be, produced yet another run away success by a German driver.

But I digress: while a rule shake up might have been needed, if we start making the cars slower, backing them in to the junior series, then where is the Wow! factor that has always been Formula 1? Drivers have always come from other formulas to drive a Grand Prix car and, when speaking to a journalist, have said “Wow! The power in that car is amazing. Like nothing I’ve driven before. The acceleration, the grip in the corner, the braking!”

It won’t be quite as thrilling if they come along and say “yeah, well, it was quick ‘n all, a bit like my GP2 car but with a longer nose and more buttons on the steering wheel.”

And racing drivers shouldn’t have to spend the race trying to save fuel. I do that in my Ford Mondeo on the A1, trying to hypermile and get as much from the car as I can without going too slow, and eek as much profit as I can from my 45pence-per-mile expenses; but when I go out in a go-kart I don’t think about the fuel, I think about going as fast as I can.

And fuel brings me on to my next rant:

So I got up early this morning (5.a.m. GMT) to watch the first race of Formula 1′s 2014 season. Then I went out for the day, saw some friends, came home, and discovered that the result was completely different.

Daniel Ricciardo DisqualifiedDaniel Ricciardo, in his first race for the reigning constructor’s champions Red Bull, scored a brilliant second place. Which he has now been stripped of because the fuel was going in to his engine too quickly. Or something like that. I’m a bit boggled by it. And disappointed.

F1 constantly strives to improve its image with its fanbase, especially the lucrative American market, which often takes a lukewarm view of the sport. Unlike homegrown racing series, they see Formula 1 as a bit aloof, and dull.

By making the cars slower, quieter and then asking the drivers to ‘lift and coast’ to save fuel, all you’re going to achieve is the American audience scratching its head in bemusement. And then to disqualify a car because it was injecting fuel in to the engine too quickly will just have them changing the channel.

Admittedly, the racing looked exciting, the cars squirmed about, and some big names failed to finish as their engineers failed to find a way to make the cars reliable, but I’m yet to be persuaded that the new rules are for the better.

GP Predictor Results - Australia 2014

 

I also missed out on a £20 win because I’d bet Maldonado would score points, and my prediction accuracy in Castrol’s GP Predictor was just 30% for this race… don’t forget to join my league and see how you get on for the rest of the year. Just click by clicking on the image or the link below:

http://gppredictor.com/league/join/id/5322b0db7f3928c733000ed4/code/07ad834f9225749e40f7cfafcd97633e

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Nissan Leaf Depreciation Costs

Mark J Daniels:

Thinking of buying a brand new electric car? Read this first…

Originally posted on NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT:

By Paul Homewood

image

http://www.eco-cars.net/electriccarforsale.php?selproid=224#

Plug in electric cars have two fundamental drawbacks:-

1) High purchase price

2) Short battery range and long charging times.

The Nissan Leaf, for instance, costs between £25990 and £30490 on the road, depending on model, and before the government subsidy of £5000. In comparison, a comparable conventional car, the Ford Focus starts at £13995. (Ford also now do an electric version of the Focus, which is £14K more expensive than the same specced conventional model).

What has not been clear till now is how much depreciation costs are for electric cars such as the Leaf, as there has not been much of a second market. Now, though, some are beginning to come onto the market.

An outfit called Ecocars specialise in selling second hand models, and I found the advert above on their website.

On this example, a two year old car, with only…

View original 141 more words

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