They are not sentient beings. The fact that they have rooted does not confer on them an unalienable right to light, John Innes and high potash liquid feed. It is sheer chance that they were chosen as propagation specimens while their fellows were composted or shredded. They have no claim on our time, space or consciences.
You all know what I mean. As winter turned to spring we pinched out those jaunty little growing tips and inserted them into pots of gritty compost. As spring warmed into summer and we pruned our evergreens, we just had to spare the strongest, bravest and most deserving shoots and insert them into gritty compost. Even as we complete our autumn pruning we shall compulsively detach suitable heels from overlarge shrubs and reach for the gritty stuff.
And now they're everywhere, balancing on any flat surface that will support them, their protruding white roots demanding attention and making us feel guilty. Well, this is what we're going to do, and we can do it if we all act together. We're going to pot up two of each - one spare and one to swap - and grow them into fine specimens. The rest we shall throw away.
Don't kid yourself that you can sell them for charity. You saturated the local market years ago. Your chosen good cause would prefer the money you'll spend on potting compost. Just enjoy the time and space and freedom you'll gain. The alternative is another summer of drip trays and angst.
Once we stop anthropomorphising our unwanted cuttings we shall cease to be enslaved by them. They are merely a product of horticultural experiment, and when they become surplus to requirements they deserve an honourable end on the compost heap, not a miserable pot-bound existence. Ask any forsythia.
Happlessness, Happlessness the Greatest Gift that I possess...
As I promised in my last review, I've finally finished the second part of my no holds barred guided tour into my near perpetual common-sense free existence.
I'd like to say it's been a struggle to dig out any further evidence of my ineptitude going into adult life, but frankly its much harder to know which ones to leave out. Fortunately I've already reviewed quite possibly my crowning moment of muppetry in Knees up Mother Frown, so hopefully I can cram a few more here.
Good people, brace yourself for "I'm hapless and I know it part II" - the really should know better years (ages 19 to 38).....
Its packed full of helpful hints and tips on how to be a complete plank! (he says rapidly trying to justify this category)
Case sera, sera...
As part of my International Business and German degree I was lucky enough to spend a year studying in Mannheim, Germany, particularly from the point of view of only needing to attend minimal lectures and having plenty of freetime available to enjoy the delights of continental style drinking hours.
Naturally the run-up to Christmas (which included my 21st birthday in that period) was a particularly festive season, and in true student fashion, despite knowing full-well that I had an early flight in the morning I nonetheless succumbed to one more boozy send-off session. Luckily I'd got everything packed the night before and managed to make it, albeit bleary-eyed and fuzzy, onto my coach to Frankfurt with just enough to spare. I did have a minor panic about what to get my big sister for chrimbo, but in my hazy state quickly convinced myself she'd be more than happy with a lollipop with the German Flag on it (hmm that's never been forgotten either!)
Still a little "tired and emotional" on arrival in Manchester, I still managed a mini surge of pace getting off the plane so I could get to the baggage collections as quick as possible. Lo and behold within just a few minutes I could see my bright blue Wilson sports bag winging its way round, and bless my barnacles there was my black Delsey suitcase right behind it. All pleased with myself, I grabbed them both in one stumbling movement, chucked them on the trolley and headed for the door. My Dad had dutifully driven the 100 miles or so from Scunny to pick me up and there he was waiting just past the customs. After the hugs, he made some kind of quick comment that the suitcase looking a bit on the small side, but I quickly put him straight that this was Mum's mid-range Delsey, rather than the larger one that he used to use.
So off we toddled back across the Pennines, with my daydreaming thoughts firmly fixed on the forthcoming Christmas festivities. When we got back, I opened up the boot and as I dragged out the Delsey I spotted something I hadn't noticed before. There on the side was some kind of label sticking out...each letters sending shivers down my spine in an instant "FRAU SCHMIDT" -aaaaaghhh!!!
My heart sank. Understandably my Dad was less than impressed at the prospect of having to drive all the way back over to Manchester let alone to explain how his precious son had managed to escort someone else's luggage through customs, but he quickly got on the phone and sorted it out. Fortunately, my full-sized Delsey was sitting there unclaimed when we got back the next morning, poor old Mrs Schmidt had somehow managed to make it through the night without her travel essentials, and they reassured us that "you'd be surprised how often it happens with these standard cases".
My last minute Christmas present was a bright day-glo strap to affix to suitcase to make doubly sure I'd never be such a donut again, and by the time I'd finished all the Christmas holidays washing up, it had definitely sunk in, always check the labels (including those with the alcoholic strength of those heady German brews!)
The Wrong Trousers - oh Vicar!!
Roll on a couple of years to the summer of 1995 and my beloved sisters dream wedding day. She'd had it all organised for months, all planned right down to the finest detail, everything from the wedding cake with a built-in fountain through to the 4 piece string quartet - perfect...
As one of the ushers, naturally I'd got my measurements done for the morning suit, but somehow had managed to get them mixed up with one of the other groomsmen's order, so the trousers I'd received were way too short and tight around the waist. The backup plan was invoked, the other usher had picked up the right ones from Sheffield and would bring them across to Scunthorpe on the morning of the Wedding.
But time was marching on, and with less than 40 minutes to go, there was no sign of him. Naturally my sister was going ballistic at this point, so while she discussed contingency plans over the phone with her husband to be, I headed down the road to the church in my top hat, suit jacket and jeans. I figured that was the safest place to be, and as an usher I'd need to be meeting and greeting soon enough.
Not that I'm in anyway doubting the eyesight of the top wedding snapper that my sister had hired, but when I arrived at the church he seemed entirely oblivious to the fact that I was actually wearing blue jeans as he frantically took pictures of me pacing about the place. It suddenly dawned on me that even if the trousers did arrive, in such a tiny old Saxon church there was nowhere handy I could get changed so I was really getting in a flap.
With the bridal car less than minutes away, finally a sheepish Dave screeches up and dashes over, gasping out his apologies for taking the wrong motorway exit. I grab the trousers, scramble out of the church yard desperately searching for inspiration. My only option, the final play is to duck down behind the driveway wall of the Vicarage and do a quick change. As I'm cowering in full boxer short transition mode, out pops Mrs Vicar on her way to sort out the flowers - Terry and June and all the finest of sitcom farcery - eat your heart out!!
Thankfully my sister did eventually see the funny side and happy to report that the rest of the day went without a hitch - well apart from it turning out to be a 3-piece quartet due to a last minute illness - but hey - flying by the seat of my pants - that's my motto!
Just to underline my unique incompetence in the wedding measurement stakes, a few years ago friends of ours had a wedding in a Scottish Castle on the outskirts of Edinburgh with Kilts required for all the male guests. We were told to take the knee measurements and send them off, and we'd then collect them from a place on the Royal Mile.
Alas, I entirely failed to consider the effects of bending when recording these, so when our custom measured Kilts arrived mine barely reached the knees. Worse still, after a full Haggis inclusive Wedding feast as my tummy went through its natural expansion processes, my proudly worn attire started to bear a remarkable resemblance to the kind of mini-skirt tartans more usually seen at a Bay City Rollers concert in the 70s! By the time I was twirling away to the traditional Scottish Dancing it was very much a case of Kayleigh it's too late to say I'm sorry!!
Lost and Found
Talking of Weddings, at our own Wedding in 1998 which mercifully (barring my knees up mother frown incident) went very well, one of the main themes of my speech was that in any relationship someone has to be the practical one - and I bet you can't guess who that is...
My wife has had to bail me out so many times when I've lost keys, phones, passes etc that she has almost developed it into an art form. One of my most memorable mishaps actually came on a routine trip to the skip one sunny afternoon back in early 2000. In my miniscule defence, it was at a time when I was suffering with panic attacks, so it did kind of exacerbate some of my more dramatic traits, but there is really no excusing this one.
There I was manfully hauling and hurling sack after sack of black bin linered finery and bits of old cupboard into the skip, hyper conscious of the big queues building up behind us. Then it a flash it dawned on me. Where are my car keys? Feverish fumblings into my pockets produced nothing - have I dropped them by the car - no...
Gingerly I peered over the side of the skip below and there they were -in my agitated enthusiasm I'd managed to chuck them in with the first bag.
Instantly I went into melt-down mode - I turned to my good lady and mumbled my woes "I've d-ropped the keys" - as usual she wasn't yet able to comprehend my complete buffoonery so I cranked it up a notch in my bestest shoutiest wailing tone " THE KEYS ARE IN THE SKIP - WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO - PLEASE HELP ME - GET SOMEONE, PLEASE...!!!!"
She looked at me, calm as you like and simply said "What like you mean this bloke stood here" - In all my flappings I'd completely failed to spot one of the tip supervisors standing right next to me. In classic Northern man style, without the slightest flicker of acknowledgement, he jumped down, grabbed the keys and handed them to me with a curtly "There you go" and a big old wry smile right across his chops - I felt like jumping in that skip and hoping it'd swallow me up!!
My hapless heart will go on
And so to the present day, surely the responsibilities of parenting will have helped put an end to my unenviable record of continual calamities. Well if you still have any doubts as to my special talents, here's my latest misadventure from a week or two back to put your mind at ease. As per usual our little man decided to wake around the 3am mark and so we took him into our bed. I had a bit of a heavy day in prospect, and with him restless and wriggly I decided the sensible thing to do would be to head to the spare room.
Wearily I got up, and thought I'd better bring my moby with me so that I could set the alarm ok. As nature was calling I nipped to the bathroom first, and flipped up the seat in preparation. Like some kind of Matrix manoeuvre as I tinkled away I suddenly spotted the lid was falling, rather than risk universal sprayage I made a grab for it with my free hand and then splash! Turns out that it wasn't entirely hands-free - I still had the mobile in it.....
I managed to rescue the SIM card but not much more, and after borrowing my wife's spare phone for a week or two my replacement finally arrived today - just hope they don't want me to send the original one back!!
I rest my case....
David Cameron - Do's and Don'ts
- DooYoo Review 14-08-08
The political adventure playground is looking decidedly easy for Cameron as for once lack of Conservative political policy is not on the agenda for media scrutiny. All Cameron has to do is look in the camera and show poise and confidence, no policy talking is required. Team GB, on the other hand is a 'car crash' - Economically, Socially, and in my opinion they have given-up governing. Cameron having been in PR, knows the pitfalls at even being too good at demolishing Labour at the moment, which a 5 year old could do without much trouble at the moment. It's time for Team Cameron to keep the over excessive smiles to themselves. It is a position the Conservatives have not been in.. there-fore some deliberate policies is required on the scale of a Dominic Little action plan.
However, in politics anything can happen - so over-doing the photo-shoots on rides at Alton Tours or jetting off to drifting ice blocks - parading the Green message, totally forgetting the amount of CO2 emissions that was involved, just for a pointless exercise. No photo-shoots of shaking hands with the ASBRO hoodie, making him look in-touch with yob culture and knife crime is not required for once. It all looks too easy for Cameron; all he has to do is nothing. The only thing that could cause indecisiveness to the electorate is if he appears too cocky; that could be David Cameron's undoing if Labour pulls itself together instead of all the back-benchers brawling like boozed-up Brits on the Costas, and a particular Mr. Ditherer actually comes up with get-out-of-jail clauses of a scale of 'raising Lazarus'; it is all possible. It will required 'think out of the box' politics that will mean perhaps another Obama visit is in order, or maybe, get a mindset transplant from super-human Michael Phelps.
The camera is on Cameron; it maybe a silent movie but at least there is transmission. The problem is when the electorate takes the mute button off, and starts listening. The conference season is nearly here and Cameron will be advising his party to 'prepare for power' which looks good on paper, but will it have any substance? You could say that if it is over-done it really is proof that the big lead in polls would be proof that it all has gone to Cameron's head, and exposes an overbearing self-worth, that could give a big leg-up for Clegg.
I must admit that another missed opportunity has arisen by Team GB, when the PM decided to take the cabinet out of Westminister for a meeting stroke walk-out in the inner cities of UK; to mix with the public and get in touch with reality. It was going to be the only time a PM had done this with his cabinet ever. Yet there was no recognizable media coverage; except for a bit of after-thought broadcasted lineage which didn't have any pictures let alone footage, that this actually took place. A general election is now only 21 months away, if, that deems as true of course.
Please refrain in your seats please no date has been officially made; but it is not too early to campaign, and the above cabinet school trip' styled walk-about was an opportunity MISSED. - Cameron knows the camera is on him; he has made blunders and has been allowed to sweep it under the carpet, due to the fact the media has not picked up on it. It will be completely different, if he is in power of course. Voters are notoriously hard on candidates who assume they are the chosen one, unless you are Jose Mourinho and that's allowed - maybe because he's a foreigner the media stick gave him a 'tongue in cheek' positive stance. Cameron doesn't have that freedom - He like all politicians are subjected to mass scrutiny all levels. When, politicians start justifying themselves in any arena; it is usually a make or break for their careers. Cameron has the luxury at present to turn around gaffs that normally could prove 'own goals' - Cameron can at the moment show his personality and bring the electorate closer to the unpolished Cameron that could win hearts when making a difficult decision in the ballot box.
Cameron would be silly to think the premiership is in the bag. He is not infallible, nor is he that openly intricately that clever; but he is an opportunist and that could be Team GB's undoing. One of the biggest jokes I've heard earlier this year was not giving the Police any back-pay due to lost income, claiming it would raise inflation. The stupidity of that claim proved Team GB were not seeing the bigger picture, or were thinking of the electorate.
Policy starts at home and when that is damaged oppositions have an easy ride and this is what has happened. A complete re-shape is required by Team GB, going into the last 20 months (allegedly), for the race to Number 10.
It will be complacency that will stop Team Cameron taking Gold at Number 10. The climate is in favor of change, the polls are not all together wrong regarding to public opinion and political attitudes.
Fortunately for Team GB they do have experience on their side. They can stop the rot, by being more transparent and investing in the electorate would be a stepping stone; however, I feel there ethics are beyond recognizing a vision for GB and so the influential, fresh faced lobbyists choose other grounds to fight there cause, and that means the fresh ideas are coming from the Tories.
It is no doubt that Team Cameron's energy levels are souring; and now the Con conference is to be lectured on how to prepare for power. It is a completely different tact to past conferences. If, it is seen as too assumptive the pendulum will swing back to Team GB. However, if the correct amount of tact is employed it would be another triumph; especially as Team GB has their conference a week before, giving them less time to get over their sun-kissed, brain numbing breaks. I will expect lobster color red for next months Manchester Conference, as the MP's enjoy the luxuries of MP status, as for some it could be their last. They need a helium motivated Brown with a rocket up his rear to see off his looming demise; his task is so epic Beijing style smog will have to appear above Manchester, to save his Premiership status.
In comparison, Team Cameron's rally in Birmingham potentially reeks of a victory celebration before anyone has put a cross on a single ballot paper.
The chances of a leadership challenge to Brown is imminent, it will be a disaster to the party and would undermine the UK economic status worldwide now that Bank of England Chairman Mervin King has said that word 'recession', and reported July's inflation rate of 5% and souring.
Team Cameron could in 2010 win the election by default without even competing, to a high level of performance; that is required in government. It is worrying times. However, the real Team GB knows how to compete with the best and is doing our nation proud.
Thanks for reading
I was at my wits end,I had tried Black Pepper,Orange Peel,Stakes in the ground,the Buggers were even crapping on the roof of my Shed,but then someone suggested Mothballs,and hey presto,no Cat Mess for the last 2 days.They're very cheap,they come in like a Big Pill size,and I've put them all around the Borders in my Garden.......Hope it helps......
I have recently found out my dog is pregnant with her second litter of pups and will be having them at the end of this month. This will be the third litter of pups that we'll have had in the house as this is her second but our other dog has also had one litter too.
So having had two litters in the home and with a soon to be third on the way I thought I would share some tips on what it is like to breed your dog and just some of the main things involved and what you should be aware of if you are looking to breed your dog.
First of all let me say: It is hard work!!
You may think that your dog will do all the work and yes you'd be correct for most of it but you will need to do quite a lot too and if you think you'll get away with it being easy you're very wrong.
So I'll details from the beginning to the end as much as I can and hopefully this will help some of you out there to make an informed decision before starting to breed your dog or for those that are going to it will give you some ideas!
When you find out that your dog is having puppies you first need to work out an approximate date of when she will be due - this can be done by going to the vet who can perform a scan if necessary. Personally we worked out our dates from date of conception as we knew when it had happened. A dogs pregnancy which is called 'gestation' and is approximately between 60-63 days.
So you know she's pregnant and when she's due so next is to get all the stuff she needs. You will also need to create an area for her to 'nest' in which is where she will want to give birth. Now as most dogs will want to pick an area where they feel really comfortable it is important to make sure that you don't allow your dog access to an area where you definitely don't want her to be having them such as your bed! So keep all areas that are out of bounds for the puppies birth closed off from her. We made sure with both of our dogs that the spare room was completely open to her and this was where we kept her bed as we were happy for her to have them in there ad we always made sure the bedroom doors were shut and the living room in the night.
So once you've decided on which room is best for her to have them in you'll need to start getting all the things she needs. Start off by buying a bed that is suitable in size for her and the litter she will be having. Some people have been known to use a small sand pit - the plastic type shaped like a shell but it will depend on the size of the dog you have. We bought a plastic oval shaped bed and this way we could line it with newspaper and then place the sheets over it. Then as and when needed we could change the newspaper to keep it clean and the covers without the floor becoming wet because we didn't get a plastic bed!
Here are some basics that you WILL need:
Bed or whelping box
lots of sheets/throws
Tons of puppy food
Vets phone number to hand.
Some things you MAY need:
heat pads/heat lamp
The things I 've listed as above that you will need are just the basics - the things you may need are mainly things that can help your dog or you will need if your dog is struggling.
Your dog will start to nest when she gets closer to her due date which means she will start to get comfy in the spot she will want to give birth in and will generally go to that spot to relax which is why it is a good idea to get her familiar with the room you would prefer her to have them in and to get her bed as soon as possible so that she will get used to it and know it as hers.
When she goes into labour the classics signs to look out for are her panting (which is obviosuly a lot more noticable if you have a dog that odesn't do this often anyway!), pacing around and whining - she may also refuse to eat and lick at her vulva too. The labour can be very quick or as slow so be prepared to be waiting around!
TIP: If it is possible then make sure you have the time around her due date free such as booking maybe a few days off of work if this possible. I was able to do this the first time and I was really grateful for this. Obviously this is not always possible so if not make sure you have somebody who can be there.
Once she settles into her spot where she wants to give birth she may relax a little and the thing to look out for when the first puppy is about to arrive is a squirt of liquid to first come out - usually the first puppy follows this. Most of the work will naturally be done by the dog. It is normal for the dog to lick the puppy to stimulate them and to also clean them. Once she has fully cleaned them you will find they may start to suckle from her - this is really important as the first milk they receive from the mum is full of nutrients to help the puppy and it also helps to get the labour going again when they are suckling. It is sometimes worthwhile moving them slightly if you can when she starts to have the next puppy just so they don't get hurt.
If at any point you do handle the pups you should wear the gloves or just pop a towel over your hand to stop any scents getting on the pup that may make her reject them. During the birth you may want ot note the time and weight at birth especially if you are breeding for the sake of breeding to sell.
Once each pup is born they will be a gap between the next being born that can be short or even quite a while but if at any point the mother is trying to push and no puppy appears within approximately 15 minutes you should be calling the vet as there may be a puppy stuck.
After the final pup is born the mother usually becomes a lot more relaxed and will probably want to drink and may even want t go outside to relive herself so if this is the case make sure you go with her just in case she hasn't finished labour as you don't want any pups born outside in the garden!
The mother will be the main after care for the pups but, it is important that you keep your eye on her and them. First time mums sometimes can squash the young by accident especuilly if there is a big litter. Also even if you dog is the mst loving and caring dog in the worl she will not want your hands all over them for unnecessary reasons so refrain from touching them or picking the up unless absolutely necessary.
Make sure their is plenty to drink for her nearby and that she is getting to go outside when she needs to.
TIP: When our dog had her first litter she hated being left on her own so at night one of us took it in turns sleeping in the spare room with her as normally she sleeps in our room and she visibly relaxed knowing one of us was there. Of course you will know your own dog and so this is entirely up to you!
Until she starts to let you touch them then it is best to leave them to their own devices. Once they start to get a bit older though you may find she cannot keep all of them in check as they will all start to wander in different directions - by all means you will need to start putting paper down and other usual training tactics but you'll also find the mother will clean up after them at first! This is something you might not expect to see the first time their is puppies in your house if you were not already aware of it but don't be alarmed as it's perfectly normal!
Whether or not you are finding new homes for the puppies or if you are keeping them you will need to also think about working anf leaing them and it is best to check at what age to start. Worming for example can start as young as two weeks old as all puppies will have worms to begin with. Also as they get bigger and older the mum will stop letting them feed as much or as often which is where we found the milk to come in handy. You can buy a small craton for about 55p from Tesco's which is designed for weaning puppies and it will also encourage them to start drinking from a bowl although you may find them running after mum everytime she is near!
Finding new homes:
If you are finding new homes for the pup you should make sure you are fully vetting any potential owners - I personally want to make sure they go to great homes and if they don't like you asking as many questions as you can then they are in my book not worth my time! I honestly think you owe it to them and your dog who has endured the labour and caring for them, the chance to go to a great home and this should not be scrimped on!
There is so much to think about when breeding pups but hopefully these pointers will be a good final thought!
Always get your dog checked when you think or know she is having pups - make sure you have the vets number to hand when your dog goes in labour and be prepared for the unexpected.
Be prepared to be in it for the long run - the dog will need proper care during her gestation and during labour.
Make sure you have enough sheets and a bed ready for her to have the pups in and that the room is warm enough for her - a heat lamp or pads are useful.
She won't want to have the dad to the pups near them until they are old enough so if you do own both parents bear this in mind.
If this is a first litter it is not also unheard of for the mum to birth a puppy that may not make it and it has been known for them to try and then eat the pup themselves - thye do this for a variety of reasons the most common to stop the remaining pups becoming infected. If you can try to remove the pup before she does this. Of course if the puppy is not breathing when born even with the mums help it may be worth trying to revive the pup yourself by rubbin their chest and also making sure the fluid is removed from their airways.
If the mum rejects any of the pups it will be up to you to feed them by syringe of milk yourself so again this is a huge responsibility and another thing you should be aware of when thinking about breeding!
Now I know this is not in any way a vetinarians opinion but this is all just from my experience of my dogs giving birth - hopefully it will have helped for anyone who is thinking of breeding or has puppies coming soon for the first time. The one thing to remember is that it is very, very hard work looking after all the pups and as they start to grow they will do what all new puppies do but, until they go off to their new homes which should be no earlier than 8 weeks (although some breeders do allow them to go eearlier) they are your responsibility. Think about it very carefully! The cost of feeding them soon adds up!!
One last thing to remember is to ALWAYS consult a vet - in no way should you try to do anything yourself that you are not sure about - the vet is the best person for advice and help and do not be worried about asking your vet anything even if something that seems trivial!!!
Overall I hope if anyone reading this who's dog is having pups that you enjoy the time with your dog and her pups as it is a very rewarding time!
This is an entirely pointless rant, but it's something I want to say and might be classed as a hint or tip if you see me deejaying and wish to come and say hello.
My first point would be: DON'T COME AND SAY HELLO!!
I'm busy, I'm working, this is my job
oh, sorry, I forgot to say PLEASE
While the song (which you can hear) is playing, I have an absolute maximum of 2 minutes to judge what the crowd wants to hear, obtain the next song, match the beats per minute, cue it up and then play it.
2 minutes really is a maximum time, sometimes I will have nowhere near that especially if I'm doing a quick mix, a live mash or maybe some rhythmic scratching.
You can see that I'm wearing headphones, if they are covering my ears then I'm listening to something on them.
Please don't ask for requests:
If there's a thousand people dancing to the tunes that I have selected why would you think that your selection is:
a: going to be better than my selection?
b: not already waiting to be cued up at a more convenient time?
c: even worth being in my playlist?
seriously, I've been doing this successfully for 20 years
Please don't tell me that you're a DJ too:
I know that you're not as you would know not to come and chat while I'm working.
Please don't put your drinks down near any of my equipment:
You think that this would go without saying, but it has to be said every time!!!
Please don't lean over and thumb through my collection:
Please don't mistake the grumpy look on my face for errrrrr.... grumpiness:
I really am having a great time, but it means that I'm concentrating, I've got to get it right for your entertainment!!
Please don't be offended if any of my assistants escort you away from the DJ booth or even the club:
they will not hurt you, they are removing you for the good of the evening. they are also there should you have any questions, valid requests (grrrrr), possible bookings, to get me drinks.
Please do dance and have a great time:
that's why I'm there, to entertain.
I'm happy for you to watch me work, sing along, clap your hands and of course wave your hands in the air like you just don't care
My sets usually only last for 1 or 2 hours, so there's plenty of time to chat to me once I've finished, tell me if you enjoyed what I did, make suggestions, buy me a drink, slip me your phone number (should you be a funny, clever, charming young lady with a nice smile)
I hope this doesn't sound too harsh, this is kinda like my room 101 for DJs and I'm really not some miserable sod - I'm actually lovely!!
I'm also guessing it's not just me who would feel like this. please tell me if I'm wrong!!!
I will be adding to this list (good or bad) when I think of or experience some more
In case you were wondering, I play Hip Hop and Funk for bars, clubs, weekenders and private functions.
I'm not what's classed as a mobile disc jockey, as I don't do weddings, funerals, birthday parties, Bar mitzvahs (the genres don't usually bode well at those events)
It's really not a case of just playing someone elses songs, there is an art to getting the show right each and every time.
Are you one of the many people in this country that enjoys a cigarette?
Do you really get fed up of having to go outside for a smoke when enjoying a night out at the local pub?
How many of you really get hacked off when you pay for a hotel room and then find that you cannot relax in the room due to a total no smoking ban?
I am afraid there is little we can do about the pub but we can get away with the hotel room if we are clever!
As you know if you just light up in the room even with a window open it can smell any non smoker will tell you that, it can waft outside the room and down the corridor, hotels will now charge customers to have the room fumigated so we are all very wary of doing this and getting caught. Some places even throw you out there and then.
There is a simple way of never getting caught and still be able to have a nice smoke without trailing down to the carpark and standing in the cold and rain......
Now this only works if the bathroom has an extractor fan and most of them have nowadays,so check this out first, they usually start up on when the light is turned on, obviously close bathroom door first, turn shower on full blast with cold water hot doesn't work the same because of the steam, a good tip here is to angle the shower head so that the water hits against the tiled wall it makes far less noise and doesn't irritate better half in the bedroom trying to watch the television.
A very important move is to pull the shower curtain nearly all the way across but leave about six inches open at the bottom end of the bath this gives off an amazing cold breeze and wafts all smells of ciggies straight up to the extractor fan.
I normally put the lid down on the loo giving myself a nice comfy seat enjoy my smoke then start up the shower before I go back in the room.
After ten minutes you can open the bathroom and not a whiff can be detected.
I put it to the test by sending my non smoking better half in to the bathroom he gave it the smoke free zone thumbs up sign.
I hope this bit of vital information is of help to all you suppressed smokers out there and I thank you for reading my review
Absolutly first point: This may say its a guide for house parties but this can also be used for parties outdoor of the same nature as a house party.
Firstly the most important equation in any party that makes the whole party sink or swim is the music. With planning a party i find that half the time goes in to setting up the music play list. To make the party go all night you are gonna need none stop body rocking hits. I find the best music is indie, rock, dance, rave, and maybe even some hip-hop. Most media players that you would use to set up a playlist say the playlist running time, you will want to aim for it to last at least 80% of your party without it repeating. If you have no taste in music however get the most helpful person you know with a good taste in music to do it for you, just remember to appeal to all tastes as long as it is music to dance to. Whether the music is then played on ipod speakers or a big fat Hi-fi system as long as it is good music it will make the party what it is. Also i recommend getting a mates band to play live if its at all possible, only do this if the band is actually good and people like them though otherwise this will just kill the party completely
Next thing to worry about is alcohol, either supply some at the party or tell people to bring their own, or do a mixture of both. Set down some boundaries but bear in mind they will be pushed and broken so set the boundaries below what you actually want to set them at. Also prepare beforehand for people being sick and passing out. If all the prepartion is done beforehand then you can relax and enjoy yourself at the party.
Next, invite people, there's no point in a party if no-one knows about it, unless you live in close proximity with your mates and the sound of your music reaches their ears you are gonna need to invite people. Whether this is done by word of mouth or by a television ad sent out in Skins Series 2 ad breaks, just as long as people get the message where its at and what time.
Food, provide snacks and that will be enough, may vary depening on length of party. Don't buy too much though as there is always too much food supplied at partys. In fact it would probably be best to provide none and just let people walk to a shop if they're hungry. This also means the party costs less for you.
The last thing which is optional is to make a name for your party, rather than it just being "insert name here"'s Party call it something simple such as "insertnamehere"Fest this instantly makes your party much more memorable and also makes it sound like a huge big fat rave that you have to go to otherwise there is no point in being alive. Of course this is just a pyschological thing and so if you ahve very clever friends this will not make much of a difference in the status of your party.
Other things that go down well at parties:
Bouncy Castles: Great for drunks and non drunks alike, no matter what their age is.
Chocolate fountains: Great for people who eat and like chocolate, also appeal to drunks.
Acoustic Guitar: Great item to boost guitar players egos, also a great way to find out that your mate hasnt really been playing guitar for 8 years (more like 8 seconds). also appeals to drunks (they like to singalong (even if they don't know the words)).
Dark corner/Sofa/Hidden Place/Anywhere: Great for lovers or newly found lovers, also appeals to drunks.
Camera's: Your gonna need a way to remember all the crazy things that happened at "insert name here"Fest
If you think i have forgotten anything then leave a comment and i shall try to add it in.
Thanks, I hope your party goes down well and if you use this for advice then i would love to hear back from you at how it went.
So you want to make yourself a very handy and tasty £120 per month (plus) here at dooyoo without too much effort on your part, or having to be glued to your computer monitor 24/7? Easy peasy, so it is!!
As most members will be by no doubt aware dooyoo recently changed the method they employ to reward reviews by members posted here on the site. You now receive a massive 500 dooyoo miles (50 pence) for every single "premium review" you post. (Up from zero!) For "premium review" read a review on any product or service that is over a meagre 150 words in total length!
Unless you are some sort of illiterate moron who has never mastered the primary school basics of reading and writing, (in which case you wont be reading this anyway!) this 150 word review is something you can achieve *VERY* easily. Pick a product or service you want to write about. (Films, DVD's, and Internet sites are usually a good bet) Now simply churn out a review with a minimum of 150 words, think up any title that takes your fancy, and then hit the "submit" button. Provided the review isn't plagiarised (copied) from another source, and provided it isn't total, unintelligible gibberish, you've just earned yourself 50p.
Now simply repeat the exercise another 7 times in rapid succession. (It shouldn't take you too long!) Voila. Mission accomplished. You've just earned yourself £4!
Repeat this very simple exercise for the next 30 days (if it's a 31-day month you can even treat yourself to a day off) and you've just made yourself one of the easiest £120 you'll ever rob. (Oh sorry. Slip of the keyboard. I meant earn!)
To make things even more attractive if any other dooyoo member just happens to click on any review you post (I say "post" and not "write" as to write something actually implies some effort on your part) then dooyoo will become even *MORE* generous, and hand you over a further 1.5 pence every time this happens.
Don't concern yourself about the ratings your review receives. You know, those silly little buttons at the bottom of each review that state "very useful" down to "not useful".
It doesn't really matter a damn how other dooyoo members rate your review, as there's no stipulation or requirement on the part of dooyoo for a review to be rated either "VU" or "U" in order for you to be paid your 1.5p per read! In fact, another member doesn't even have to rate your review at all in order for you to get your extra 1.5p. This extra 1.5p is simply an added bonus on top of the £120 you'll have already earned for the reviews you've posted.
Oh, and whatever you do *DON'T* be tempted into wasting your valuable time by actually reading and rating any of the other member's reviews. You wont get paid anything extra for doing this (apart from maybe a few extra 1.5p's) and your time will be *FAR* better spent typing out your next 150 word masterpiece that will earn you a further 50p. Again, there's no requirement or stipulation on the part of dooyoo that you *HAVE* to be bothered reading and rating someone else's review in order to get paid your £120.
By the way, a Category that you should avoid like an outbreak of the bubonic plague is "Speaker's Corner", as dooyoo have decided they don't really want these reviews cluttering up the site anymore, and so *WONT* pay you your 50 pence posting fee.
Here endeth the user's guide on how to simply and easily fleece dooyoo out of £120 each and every month. Pretty sad isn't it, for a site that used to pride itself on the quality of its reviews, and which treasured and cared for its good writers.
Now all a half decent writer can look forward to here at dooyoo is (maybe) an extra £1.50 if they happen to write what the dooyoo Guides or dooyoo staff think is a "Crownable" review. But it's getting to the stage where it's hardly worth the effort anymore, not when dooyoo seem to value abysmal reviews more than they do reviews which are well thought out, presented and written.
As you have probably gathered from all of the above, I wouldn't be the greatest fan of the highly vaunted new payment system from dooyoo.
Now maybe the dooyoo opmeisters have oodles and oodles of cash they simply can't wait to part with. Or maybe some eccentric millionaire has stepped in to supply them with limitless funds to more or less give away for free. I don't know. What I *THINK* though is that this new payment scheme is fiscal suicide on the part of dooyoo, and that if they don't quickly come to their senses and realise that it simply isn't financially viable then the site I have known and loved for the past seven years I've been a member will very quickly disappear into a money pit.
Oh, and just as an experiment, the review I posted before this one (about the movie Apollo 13) was a wee "experiment" on my part. It's 686 words long, (*FAR* longer than the minimum 150 words) took me about 10 to 12 minutes to write, and I deliberately didn't read or rate much after I had posted it, but simply went off to work for the day. Six hours or so later it has earned me 89 pence (and counting). This is my 50p for posting it, and 26 dooyoo member reads at 1.5p per read. (In fact, it's more than that as dooyoo are still paying the old 3p per member read over the Christmas period, but you get my drift.) It's also rated as "very useful" even though if I was rating it myself I wouldn't give it more than a "useful" rating. (But hey. Each to their own. This review *ISN'T* about how people rate) The real point is that whatever the rating the review is *MORE* than adequate to qualify for the new 50p payout, and it required absolutely minimal effort on my part. Surely that can't be a good thing?
This new payment system will prove to be the death of the site if it isn't revised. (And sooner rather than later)
© KenJ Dec 2007
Hints and tips on what? Well, I am going to write about hints and tips on time management, a bit different I suppose. Hope you find it useful.
Today I received an e mail from a friend who has been retired for a while and now has time to do all the things she has wanted to do, but never been able to fit everything into a busy schedule.
There is an old saying "If you want something doing, ask a busy person to do it for you." How true, if you are busy you may feel like you will never get round to doing everything, but the fact that you have lots to do will actually spur you on to complete all the tasks.
So why is it that when we are working we long for retirement or to have time off work, but then when we have the time we don't use it properly.
Let's start with a plan. When you have to go to work you know what time you have to get up in the morning. But when you have a day off, it is a bonus to be able to spend an extra hour in bed. That is the first mistake, get up at your usual time and you will then be able to do lots more. An hour in the morning is worth two in the afternoon, is another saying. In other words, we all work better in the morning. (Even though it does take several cups of coffee for some of us!)
I have now stopped going out to work and have more time at home. For the first few weeks I was eager to do all the things I never had time for before. However, because I was not restricted to a time schedule I found everything was taking a lot longer. I am sure this was because I had all the time in the world to do things. What didn't get done one day could wait until the next, what was the rush? Before I knew it a whole month had passed and had I done everything I planned? No, it seemed as if I had harldy done anything. Well, maybe to be truthful I was in need of a bit of a rest, but to spend a whole month doing .... err what exactly??
So time to sort myself out. If any of you were told you could have a whole month to do as you like, wouldn't that be great? But I had wasted all that time!
First thing was to I make sure I get up at the time I used to do when I was working. I admit I do have a leisurely breakfast and listen to the news, a luxury I couldn't afford before. The tv is then switched off and I get on with the tasks I have planned for the day.
Yes, planned. I now make a plan each week of what I hope to do throughout the next few days. As I was used to working to a strict schedule, with every part of the day accounted for, I decided the only way to make the best of my time at home was to do a similar thing. In fact, when I worked my whole year had to be planned, but I am not so strict with myself now.
The difference is that now I make a list of what I hope to do each week, but there is no particular order in which this has to be done.
I am not just talking about necessary tasks, such as housework or gardening and shopping. I add in things such as lunch or coffee with friends, trips out, hobbies and even watching tv.
It is all too easy to sit down in the morning and switch on the telly and spend all day watching different programmes. As far as I am concerned this is a complete waste of time. There are far more interesting things to do than watch tv all day. But there are programmes I do want to see, so these are recorded of fitted in to the schedule.
I have made an effort to also catch up on old friends. My more recent friendhips had been with work colleagues and as they are still working I can't see them in the day. Therefore I made a determined effort to make contact with friends I had not seen for a while. It was nice to be able to ring them and arrange to meet. Some of them are working in nearby towns, but now I am free to meet them in their lunch hours or after work, without having to worry about the distance, it is easier to make arrangements. Don't be vague and say "the next few days", get out your diary and make a firm arrangement - just as you would do if it was a business meeting.
I also looked up some of my old school friends and former neighbours. Many of us are now in a similar situation, having stopped work for various reasons, and were finding it hard to build up contacts who are free in the day. We now meet regularly for lunch.
If you need to get organised to spend your non-working week wisely then allocate a certain amount of time in your week to get the essential chores out of the way. Don't think because you have all day at home that you can take your time over the housework. How did you manage when you were working? I found that I was doing housework almost every day, whereas when I was working I did all the cleaning in one day. Now I split it into two half days, allowing me more leisure time.
Of course I have to discipline myself to stick to my new routine. It would be all to easy to sit around doing nothing some days, but if I have scheduled "time for me" into my week, then I can do just that. But then I still have to fit in all the other things at another time.
So now you are probably wondering why I am spending all this time writing a review? Simple, each day I schedule time for putting the computer on. Again, it can be a great time waster surfing the internet and before you know it a couple of hours has sped by. I set aside time each day when I check my e mails and have a look at Dooyoo reviews, and maybe write my own. The computer is then switched off unless it is needed for another scheduled task.
By working out my schedule in this way, I now find that I no longer say there are not enough hours in the day to do everything. I find I have a more organised lifestyle, with time to enjoy myself and to do what I want to do. A typical working week is around 35 hours, plus travelling. That is a lot of time to fill when you stop work, so why waste it.
I once read somewhere that work will expand to fit into the numbers of hours that are available. But this is also true of leisure time. Use time wisely and get organised and you will have time to everything you want to do and everything that needs to be done.
What is Card making?
This is the Craft of making greetings card to either sell for a profit or just to send to family and friends.
Card making is becoming more popular in today's society with supermarkets like Asda and Tesco selling craft products to develop this skill.
You will normally find that people who do card making also do other crafts like Scrap booking, rubber stamping, cross stitch and so on.
I myself do card making and scrap booking and love them both equally, my only problem is finding the time to do more.
I also co run an online Paper craft group called Folditpapercrafts where we share our tips and ideas which helps when you get that mental block, plus a great way to make some buddies.
Card making also comes with its advantages and Disadvantages:
1. You can make a card more Personal
2. Brings out your creative side
3. Something the whole family could get involved in, no matter what age they are.
4. Low costs - You can keep costs down by using any household bits to make cards like old clothes, tin foil, sweet wrappers etc.
5. Making home-made personal items can make the person who receives the card feel more special.
6. Card making can take your mind off things and help with stressful times.
7. You shouldn't be bored there are just hundreds of types of cards you can make.
8. Helps your children become interested and more creative if they see you doing this.
9. It can be as quick and simple or as complicated as you wish.
10. there is a huge variety of techniques you can use to make cards.
1. Can be very addictive
2. Can get expensive at times, when companies bring out new must have craft products.
3. The children hog your craft Box.
4. You end up with craft stuff stuck to everything tables, carpets, children :)
As you can see there is alot more advantages to this craft so why not give it a try.
You can find plenty of card making magazines on the market, look out for them in your local newsagents and supermarkets.
*****Saving Money in Your Garden*****
There are hundreds of ways to save money in your garden, so Im not going to be covering them all here, and Im sure there will be things I havent thought of which you have, so please feel free to comment at the end and share your money saving tops too!
The ideas detailed here are ones which I have been implementing with great success in my own garden, as I love to recycle, and being terribly poor means that I attempt to save money at every possible opportunity!
*****The 10 Best Ways to Make A Better Garden with Little or No Money!*****
1) Compost. A bag of compost from the garden centre could set you back as much as £6.00 if youre being good and getting peat-free organic stuff. So make your own. Its free, its much better for the environment, and youll always know EXACTLY what went into it! Read my review on making compost for some useful hints and tips.
2) Water. A water Butt might cost you £30.00 or less if you buy one direct from your local water board. If you are on a meter, this will save you pounds and pounds in the summertime, and even if youre not, youll be doing your bit for the environment. I dont have one yet, but I have a large collection of buckets, a barrel, and an old dustbin positioned underneath gutters and down pipes and I get LOADS of free water every time it rains! Im sure my plants prefer it, as they seem much happier with rain water. I keep grey water (bath and washing up water) for my bigger shrubs and the apple tree and they seem to fair just fine with this!
3) Seeds. Seeds cost money, do they not. Quite a lot of money sometimes. So collect seeds in your garden to use next year. I do this mostly with Nasturtiums, calendula, sweet-peas, forget-me-not, nigella and alliums as well as loads of others, and I hardly ever have to buy seeds unless its for something annual like lobelia.
4) Plants. Make new plants by dividing up old ones. This is a good time of year to get out into the garden and start digging up and dividing things like Crocosmia and Golden Rod. If you have friends or neighbours who like to garden, consider swopping some of your newly divided plants with them. More free plants! Hurray!
5) Mulch. This is great to keep weeds at bay, nourish the soil and keep moisture levels high but costs a fortune at the garden centre. I have a great hedge trimming machine (called a garden groom Ill review it soon!) which cuts my hedge, shreds the cuttings and collects them in a little bag. I use these hedge clippings as a very effective mulch over the winter by spring, as new growth is coming through, it has already started to turn into a well rotted leaf mould, and does my plants the world of good right at the beginning of their growing and development.
6) Birds. You would be surprised how many plants turn up in your garden unannounced, and mostly these come from birds. They digest the seeds, and then deposit them in your garden. I have had a number of free plants from them, including 5 different colours of Buddleia, as well as small trees, hawthorn bushes, and what I think is possible a wild cherry tree, but is in a pot awaiting more growth till I can identify it!
7) Free garden art. I have various garden ornaments which have either been given to me, found in skips or passed on from other peoples back gardens, or designed from household objects that were past their best. I have a lovely miniature wooden seat which someone in my mums street was throwing out it now has a mosaic bowl on it, and acts as a bird bath. The mosaic bowl was handmade by me, using a ceramic bowl that had a huge crack in it, some broken bits of crockery, and some tile grout left over from when I had my bathroom tiled! It is very colourful, very pretty, and they birds just love to splash about in it!
8) Plant pots. If you are just starting out in your garden, you will probably feel the need to buy huge quantities of plastic plant pots. Take my advice, dont spend any money at all on this, instead recycle old yoghurt pots, fresh soup pots and other food-type containers. The flat square ones that you get your mushrooms in are fantastic too. Pop a few holes in the bottom for drainage and bobs your uncle! A plant pot! For Free!
9) Cloches. I was amazed to discover how expensive these can be, and though a big glass cloche looks very ornamental and pretty on your vegetable plot, they can cost a lot of money. I use empty plastic pop bottles, with the pouring part cut off. They work just as well, and you can reuse them as many times as you like before sending them off to be recycled!
10) Candles. No garden is complete in the summer months without the warm evening glow of a few candles. For candle holders, I use jam jars, with little tea light candles in them. So very cheap and so very effective. Also a very good way of recycling your glass jars. If you are of an artistic nature, you can paint them with glass paint, and send colourful hues out into the evening foliage, or just have them plain. I like being able to see the candle flickering in the darkness on warm summer evenings. Bliss!
So there you have it. 10 ways to save money in your garden. I hope it helps, and please let me know if you have any other ideas that I havent included or maybe you could even write your own review on the subject!
Thank you for reading, and happy gardening.
I hate shopping, or rather; I hate it when other people are shopping at the same time as me. I don't enjoy the scrimmage, the noisy crowds or the danger of being trampled to death. My weekly visit to Tesco is food shopping in the seventh ring of hell. There is something eerie about a place where the odds of going in for a loaf of bread, and coming out with only a loaf of bread are about three billion to one. The second my handbag hits the trolley, I turn into the spawn of Beelzebub. My blood pressure increases, and the other customers become my mortal enemies. If only everybody followed a few basic rules, it would make the whole experience a little less painful.
DO NOT hold reunions with long lost friends and relatives in the middle of the aisle. Im delighted that youve found your long lost twin who was kidnapped by gypsies and taken to Australia fifty years ago, but do you think you could continue your conversation away from the courgettes? This rule also applies to those in the middle of the aisle wearing dazed expressions as they try to decide between super-size, regular-size, scented, unscented, wings, or no wings. Pull your trolley over to the side you inconsiderate fools.
DO NOT use your trolley as a weapon for unprovoked attack on my ankles. I do not appreciate having it slammed against my feet with the force of a charging elephant. DO NOT then look at me as if it is my fault for keeping my ankles close to the ground.
DO leave your rectangular tartan shopping trolley at home. Obstruction is a popular event in the Pensioner Olympics. Extra points are also awarded for the random three point turn manoeuvre , which involves an emergency stop (without signalling), followed by a couple of arbitrary turns towards the shelves, followed by a third turn towards the unsuspecting participant whose trolley crashed into them. Bonus points are given for feigning deafness.
Trolleys are not toys. DO NOT allow your sixteen children to tear up and down the aisles in them. DO NOT under any circumstances allow your child to steer your trolley in order to keep them quiet. It is a well known fact that children will rarely walk when they can run, and will make no effort to avoid banging into things, because that is just no fun at all. DO chain them up outside the shop if at all possible, or handcuff them to some railings. Supermarkets are not play parks, and are lacking in slides and swings for that very reason.
DO get everything that you need before you go to the till. If you havent found the eggs laid by virgin chickens from the Cayman Islands that you came in for, you have not finished. I am not prepared to wait patiently while a surly and incompetent teenager is dispatched to find your damn eggs, only to bring back the wrong kind.
DO learn how to count before joining the express lane. Those schmucks who split up their 30 items into three bundles should be taken to the side and quietly beheaded.
DO hand over your card before you finish packing, so the rest of us dont have to watch you decide if the dog food goes in a bag with the other tins, or warrants a bag of its own. Now is not the time to reorganise your purse as you put your card away either.
And now a special section for those of you who dont know how to use an escalator, and make a trip to the shopping centre quite hazardous for the rest of us.
As fascinating as it is to watch the escalator going up and down, DO NOT stand and gaze at it before you begin your journey. You can always take a picture of this modern miracle, and then share it with your friends later.
Once you've decided to hop aboard, you are probably inclined to stand on the escalator to make the ride last as long as possible. For some reason you like to stand on the left. Don't.
DO make sure there are at least two steps between us. As much as you think I appreciate your face in my ass, I need my personal space.
As you approach the end of your trip, DO begin preparations for your final departure. DO NOT pretend like the end is coming to you by surprise and then stumble over the threshold of steel gnawing teeth and giggle.
As much as you've enjoyed your ride, DO NOT stand at the end of the escalator to contemplate the meaning of your experience. Unbeknown to you is the fact that everyone who you blocked by standing on the left side of the escalator is being thrown at you by the escalator which, by the way, doesn't stop just because you got off.
1. A tanned bum - its just plain wrong
2. Plucked eyebrows - too camp
3. Little French cars - leave this one for the ladies
4. A waxed chest - Sean Connery has a manly mane do the same
5. Hugh Grant movies - if you find yourself at the rack step away and grab action instead
6. Silky boxer shorts - its like wearing your girlfriends knickers
7. A coffee mug inscribed with "Hottie" or "Stud" - too queer
8. CD's by artits with the names Katie, Norah, Lee anne and especially Celine - woman will think you're soft
9. A bit on the side - what's wrong with the bit you've got
10. Fluffy toys on your bed - scary if you don't have kids
11. A dog smaller than a cat - its a reflection of your manhood
12. You should never have a really good knowlege of ANY soap opera's
13. Old photo's and love letters - the ex probably dumped you for being too clingy
14. Self help books from Dr. Phil - you should know yourself by now
15. An office romance - its fun until someone cries or until you are caught in the toilet.
16. Beer mugs with topless tarts on them - So tacky!
17. Bluetooth headsets - have you looked at yourself in the mirror (lol)
18. Grey Shoes - They just suck
19. Kids pictures or crayons - unless you're a dad or uncle
20. Gold Jewellery - unless you have been ball and chained
I am often surprised when I visit other peoples homes how they pay so much attention to the décor of their lounge. You can tell that they have put a lot of thought into colours and fabrics and lighting and furniture. Yet when you cast your eyes over at their TV or HiFi you see a mass of cables and wires and boxes all over the place. If my work place had so many visible wires in places where people could trip over, the health and safety people would close us down.
People seem to plan how their lounges will look to the finest detail yet once the decorating is finished, they just plonk down on the floor the TV cabinet and stick in the DVD and/or video player the Satellite or Freeview receiver, the Surround Sound system dig out all the scart cables and plug them all in. They then plug their gadgets into the mains with socket adaptors trying to connect as many plugs into too few sockets in the wall. Add to that the HiFi system and its network of speaker cables and the result is a complete wiring mess. Yet with a little bit of forward planning it is so easy to redecorate a room and introduce into your decorating plans elements to make the room look much neater once all the gadgets are in.
The biggest problem houses have today is a lack of sufficient power sockets to plug all your bits in. A few years ago I had my house rewired and I asked the electrician to double the number of sockets at every point on my wall where there was an existing socket.
So anywhere where there were 2 sockets became a spot containing 4 and so on. In my study where my PC is stored I asked for the sockets to be tripled. As a result the smallest room in my house contains 6 sockets and is just right for my PC, modem, speakers, printer etc.
A lounge today needs a minimum of 8 sockets, preferably 10. Not necessarily all in the one place, but the majority need to be where the TV is going to be placed.
Once the power sockets are sorted out, the lighting needs to be considered. In my lounge I asked the electrician to completely remove the light in the middle of the room and instead leave a few naked cables sticking out of the ceiling nearer the walls. Once hed finished, I purchased a load of strip lights, connected them up to the wires and hid them around the sides of the walls near the ceiling. In this way I have diffuse lighting in my lounge and I can individually switch on and off the strip lights depending on how much lighting I need in the room. When watching a DVD in the evening I can adjust the lighting to just the correct level without having the distraction of glare from a light bulb in the centre of the ceiling. Not having a light in the centre of the ceiling also means that I have the option at some point in the future to fit a projector to my ceiling so that I can watch DVDs on one of my walls which I painted chalk white specifically for this.
The TVs and DVD players that you buy also have an impact on your room. The more gadgets you have the more wires and hence more mess. When I bought my TV, I bought one with a built in Dolby 5.1 decoder and an optical input. I didnt have a DVD player at that time but I knew that at some point in the future I would buy one which had an optical output. 12 months later I did precisely that. I purchased my Panasonic DVD player/recorder specifically because it had a hard drive onto which I could record stuff (thereby removing the need for my VHS video player) and it had an optical output which when connected to my TV gives me Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound without having to purchase a separate home entertainment system. Ive been to homes where they have a TV, Video Player, a DVD player, a separate home entertainment system and a satellite receiver all connected together with a dozen scart cables and power cables all connected into a single wall socket with multiple adaptors. Its messy not to mention dangerous.
Last year I purchased a multi-room HiFi system with a central server and clients which can be placed in different rooms. No wires (other than the power cables) and it means that up to 5 rooms in my house can play tracks from my CD collection which is kept safely tucked away in my loft. How can it do that? It does that because my CD collection is stored on the hard disk contained within the HiFi. Its a very neat solution to a problem that many home have. The clutter of a CD collection, the requirement to have music in different rooms and the requirement to have each room able to play tracks independently are all resolved by my HiFi system.
I know it sounds like Im blowing my own trumpet here but really Im not. All Im trying to show is that using a little research and a bit of forward planning, you can ensure that you keep up to date with the latest developments in TVs and DVD players etc and still integrate them into your existing set up whilst maintaining a neat, functional lounge that does not look as if its thrown together randomly and is not a hazard to visitors.
For the future Im looking to replace my much loved 36 TV with a flat screen one. It will not be a plasma TV nor will it be an LCD TV. Instead it will be a new type of TV using SED (Surface conduction Electron-emitter Display) technology. Toshiba have built the first one already and they will appear in Japanese shops probably in about 18 months time and will appear here in about 24 to 30 months.
Well the reason I havent purchased a Plasma or LCD is that the picture quality is nowhere near that of a traditional CRT TV. A CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) TV works by emitting a beam of electrons that hit a phosphorus screen. In order to get the beam to sweep across the width and height of your TV screen the CRT emitter has to be a certain distance away from the screen. This is why CRT TVs with a large screen are so massive; the CRT emitter has to be that much further away from the screen.
Plasmas and LCDs are great because they are a fraction of the thickness of a CRT TV but the quality of the picture is the sacrifice you have to make if you wish to own one of these.
An SED TV will use an electron emitter just like a CRT TV does but it will have an array of emitters; essentially one electron beam per pixel. This means that the emitters can be much, much closer to the screen and the thickness of these TVs will be comparable to Plasmas and LCD. However the picture quality will be the same as CRT TVs because they use essentially the same technology.
Is it worth waiting 30 odd months for one of these?
I think so. Picture and sound quality is important to me. It is part of my overall plan to have a home entertainment system in my house that is cutting edge in terms of the technology used but above all is neat and tidy and fits in with the general décor of my home.
High Definition TVs are out in the shops now. However when I visit Currys and Comet etc I find people looking to also purchase a DVD player. This seems pointless to me. Current DVD players do not support High Definition. Why purchase a High Definition TV when there are only a few programs being broadcast in high definition and on which a bog standard DVD player will not deliver a superior picture?.
High Definition DVD players are coming. They are about 12 months away but as with any new technology it will be a while before the price drops to something that the likes of you and I can afford. Hence really affordable High Definition DVD players are about 18 to 24 months away. For me this timeframe fits in nicely with the launch of SED TVs. In my opinion anyone serious about their home entertainment system who is considering purchasing a High Definition TV at this moment in time should consider putting it off for a couple of years (unless they get a really good deal). Similarly anyone who hasnt bought a DVD recorder/player yet should put off purchasing one for say 12 months and wait for a High Definition Sony Blue Ray or Toshiba HD machine.
You have to think ahead and see whats around the corner.
There are lots of people who would look at this and say but technology is continually improving so its pointless waiting for a technology to be released because there will always be something new a few months later
I would largely agree with this sentiment however when SED TVs are launched and High Definition DVD players come on the market, this will be the biggest revolution in the quality of home entertainment since DVD players first came on the market 10 years ago and as such are very unlikely to be superseded for many years.
Hope this ramble is of use to people looking at upgrading their home entertainment systems