Wikipedia Wednesday

As I mentioned last week, I had a cunning plan is to delve into the murky depths of wikipedia using the random page link. Six clicks, six pages, find something interesting to talk about.

Out of this week’s six, this one struck a chord. A slightly… grisly chord.

The page in question is about Andrew St.John, an American actor, who has been in various flavours of CSI, including CSI:NY, my favourite.

I remember CSI:NY starting on Five over here back in… 2005. In February of that year, I got a letter in the post. More of a package, really.

The envelope proclaimed itself to include ‘graphic crime scene photos’. Inside the envelope was a cardboard folder, containing several newpaper clippings about a serial killer in New York. Also a photocopied email, which looked as if it had been sent to me. Photos, of the sort you see in CSI, of bloodstained shoes, a bullet case and a crime scene. A plastic baggie containing a hair sample and a fabric sample.

It was *all* personalised, so that the victims’ names were the same as mine. The autopsy report sheet had my name on it. The newspaper clippings, which looked fairly authentic, had my name in them, circled in pen. Apparently there’s a serial killer looking for people called David Graham…

I was enormously impressed by the effort put into this little pack, which was, of course, promo stuff for the new CSI show. I was also fairly sure that this would offend and upset someone of a more delicate sensibility, which it did!.

I wonder if I still have it?

The other five random pages, for those interested:

A is for…

I’ve been musing on a blog post series with an alphabetical theme – along the lines of A is for… B is for… then waffling about the particular subject. I’ve got a selection of the alphabet covered in terms of things to talk about, but was struggling with ‘A’. I remembered that I’d done this sort of thing before, on another blog. I went back and dug up the old post…

Yes, it’s cheating, re-using content. I know, I know. I’ve revised the content, so some of it is new.

I asked the twitter hiveMind and blog readers for suggestions and I got an… interesting set of responses (I would expect nothing less, mind you). I decided to play along and write something (anything!) about each…

Relatively easy one this – a while back I bought the domain, though I’ve still not decided quite what do do with it. I go through phases of buying domains – I’ve owned, in no particular order: and .com
and now, One day I might even pluck up the $13 to change over to One day. Perhaps I should set up a donations bucket.

I’m open to suggestions for what I might be able to do with any/all of the above. 🙂

I suppose that I was asking for Advice on what to do this post on, which is what I got!

Armadillos are cute. Especially baby ones. I think it’s the ears.
baby armadillo.
photo courtesy of danvas on Flickr. I hope I’ve read the CC licensing correctly!

Attentive antelope assassins, and advanced aerobatics
I can just see a bunch of black-clad ninja antelopes, cartwheeling through a high-tech lair past the traditional mesh of laser trip-wires. Actually, Ed has several books which feature either a set of super-intelligent time-travelling cows, or dinosaurs which fly spaceships. Perhaps ninja antelopes could be the Next Big Thing?

Felt slightly awkward asking for help with this blog post, and for re-using the old blog post. Does that count?

Ad-hoc solution
… which is what this is. ’nuff said.

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. I’m fairly sure that I have a mild form of ADHD, without the H. P will be for Procrastination, I’m sure. Watch this spa… ooh, shiny things!

I like annotating things[1]. Footnotes are awesome.

Hmm. Had to look this one up. Asynchronous. Not really sure I’m any the wiser, to be honest. I quite like the word Plesiochronous though, which is derived from the Greek plesio, meaning near, and chronos, time, and refers to the fact that plesiochronous systems run in a state where different parts of the system are almost, but not quite perfectly, synchronised.

It’s the ‘almost, but not quite’ bit that tickles me.

Had to look this one up too, though wikipedia let me down. According to

1. Befuddled; confused.
2. Eccentric; peculiar
3. Senseless; mad

10 bonus points and a gold star if you can work it into a conversation today.

Fear of public places or open spaces. Not something I suffer from, thankfully. Though I do know a couple of people who do.

yeah, whatever whatever.

Assuming we’re talking about Argyll in Scotland, it’s a beautiful bit of the country. Various other uses exist though, the most familiar of which (to me, at least) is the argyle pattern of knitwear. I used to have several pairs of argyle socks, many years ago. See, don’t you feel better for knowing that?

Adams, Douglas
Famous for The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, naturally. Wikipedia seems to be a modern-day version of The Guide, which when coupled with a smartphone or tablet will be virtually indistinguisable. Except The Guide in the TV series had cooler graphics. Which were all hand-drawn animation, I seem to recall.

My work desks over the years have, without exception, sported a jaunty yellow post-it note with the words Don’t Panic in large, friendly letters. And yes, I do know where my towel is.

I was looking for a suitable quote to go in here, then realised that you might as well just go and read the books. Certainly read H2G2, you could probably give the later ones a miss.

One quote which I did rather like is

The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.

And, on that note, we leave the letter A. Next up, B.

B is for…?

[1] like this[2]
[2] or this[3]
[3] sometimes it gets silly. 🙂 However, I *love* footnotes. You’ll see a lot of them on here, best get used to them.


Monday’s child is fair of face
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.

(Monday’s Child via Wikipedia)

Why is that that we treat Monday like a person? Twitter on a Monday morning is full of tweets like mine, above. Shaking a virtual fist in Monday’s face and challlenging it to do its worst. Others opt for a more optimistic outlook.

I supposed it’s because Monday marks the end of the weekend. Work is set to start again, and it’s a long long way until Friday. I’ve not noticed people treating other days as people though, have you?

So that’s Monday. Tuesday is a bit better – you’ve got Monday out of the way and have settled into the ebb and flow of the week. Wednesday is pretty good – you can tell yourself that you’re halfway there, even on a Wednesday morning where you’ve really still got three full days to go.

Thursdays are my favourite. You’ve broken the back of the week, and Friday is firmly in your sights. You’ve still got time to do whatever it is you were supposed to do be the end of the week and have been putting off since Monday.

Fridays are ok, though there’s always a last-minute panic of ‘oh no, not enough time to finish everything off!’ They improve as the day goes on though, as you look forward to 5pm and the start of the weekend.

Saturdays and Sundays have started to devolve into an amorphous mass of weekend jobs, especially when you’ve got kids. You find yourself faced with the mountain of things you’ve put off until the weekend. Shopping, tidying, those odd bits of DIY, maybe a spot of allotmenteering or the inevitable trip to Ikea.

Sunday morning starts off well, but before long you’re into Douglas Adams’ long, dark tea-time of the soul. a phrase coined in ‘Life, the Universe and Everything’ to describe the wretched boredom of immortal being Wowbagger, the Infinitely Prolonged.

“…it was the Sunday afternoons he couldn’t cope with, and that terrible listlessness which starts to set in … as you stare at the clock the hands will move relentlessly on to four o’clock, and you will enter the long dark teatime of the soul…”

You find yet more things that you’ve put off all weekend – ironing a shirt for monday morning, making sure the kids’ schoolbags are packed and they’ve got a clean school jumper and PE kit, that sort of thing.

It’s no wonder by the time Monday rolls around you’re completely fed up.

Or are you? Are you a Monday person, fair of face and raring to go?

Serving suggestions

Have you ever noticed on food packaging that you often get a little ‘serving suggestion’ next to a picture of the food?

Have you ever noticed how stupid some of them are?

Case in point. Asda’s Golden Vegetable Soup in a Mug. It has croutons. I like croutons.

Ahem. I digress.


Serving suggestion: put it in a mug.

Genius. I had planned on putting it on a succession of tiny spoons and eating the soup off them, one by one.

Another example – Velvet Crunch Thai Sweet Chilli flavour…crisps?

velvet crunch
Serving suggestion: On a bed of fresh bamboo, with a handful of hot red chilli peppers.

Hey, now there’s a great name for a band…

Last, but by no means least, Belvita Breakfast Yogurt Crunch biscuits.

belvita packet
The tagline is ‘delicious biscuits specially designed for breakfast*’

Oh, look. A little asterisk. I love little asterisks. A biscuit with footnotes. Awesome.

The asterisk in question takes me to this:

latte and a banana“* Enjoy as part of a balanced breakfast, eg. with a latte and a banana.”

Or, as I like to call it, breakfast. Damn. And here was me planning to eat them as a mid-morning snack.

I’d been given these Belvita Breakfast Crunch at the train station on Monday morning. You get all sorts of freebies handed out on occasion, and the packaging on these really caught my eye.


NEW FORMAT” it screamed, in large, friendly letters. Err, what? It’s a biscuit. With a creamy live yogurt filling.

Remarkably like a large, oval custard cream biscuit. Not *that* new then, surely?

designed for breakfast

Below that there was a little “Designed for breakfast”, atop a weird stylised graph, the meaning of which I’m still not entirely clear about. The text is so small that I initially thought it said “Descend on breakfast”, which was odd, but not that much stranger than a biscuit designed for breakfast! If anyone can decipher the graph, let me know.

So, dear reader, have you seen any silly serving suggestions?


It seems that I am not alone! Nate Lanxon writes more on the subject

backlogged blog

Right. Hello!


I’m a bit behind with my blogging. I’ve got a load of unwritten blog posts in my head, but haven’t really had the time to extract them and get them down on paper. Screen. Keyboard. Whatever.

So, kind of as a reminder, here are some of the exciting things I’ll be talking about over the next couple of weeks. In no particular order…

  • Birthdays – turning 42
  • Books read in 2013 – progress thus far (3 and a bit)
  • Blogalongabondathon (not as kinky as it sounds, honest)
  • a new project about exploring Leeds
  • thoughts on my new Fitbit exercise tracker
  • the awesome that is le Tour de France starting in Leeds in 2014
  • decluttering the mind, the physical and the electronic
  • more Wakefield-related posts
  • the phrase ‘Twitterati’

[Edited to add]

  • goals for 2013
  • juggling

Phew. I feel better already. So, watch this space[1]

[1] well, not *this* space, obv. Keep an eye on the blog. Or follow me on twitter. Or sign up for emails! Go on, I don’t bite.[2]
[2] honest.

It’s my twitter birthday!

I noticed a tweet this morning from @TwBirthday

@dakegra Happy 5th TwBirthday! You’ve been around since 14 November 2007!

So, in five years I’ve posted nearly 22,000 tweets. That’s about 12 tweets a day, give or take.

Here’s a nifty breakdown of tweets by time of day, courtesy of xefer

Apparently I’m following 1,794 people (lawks!) and I’ve got 1,252 followers (crikey!).

Quite how many of them are really real isn’t entirely clear – the number fluctuates on a daily basis as spammers get caught and blocked or people get bored of my tweeting.

So. Five years, eh? Cor. Doesn’t feel like that long.

I often get asked what the point of Twitter is. People sign up, follow @stephenfry, get bored, and stop using it.

With Twitter, you really do get out what you put in. Following some interesting people, talk to them, interact.

Set up links to Flickr or Instagram. Take some photos & share them. Comment on other people’s stuff.

The more you give, the more you’ll get. I’ve made friends around the world & down the road via twitter, blogging, taking photos.

Go on, give it a go. It’s fun.