Tuesday, May 20, 2008

YouTube Notes

Ever wanted a party to just happen but without all the preparation that it involves? Well behold the Emergency Party Button. Insert the key and watch the magic happen. Music, flashing neon lights, and an instant atmosphere.

Web Notes

This is what the interweb is for. Absolutely pointless but great fun websites.


Blog Notes

Graham, erstwhile Ebbw Vale RFC stat man and all-round good egg has joined the blogosphere. His website is http://planetgraham.blog.idnet.com/. If you care about Ebbw Vale, rugby, or Ebbw Vale rugby then this will be the place to keep checking on.

Travel Notes

Travelling home from work last week, I was in one of the endless queues of traffic at lights heading up North Road.

I was cheered to read the graffiti written in the dirt on the back of the white van in front of me:

"Also available in white", and
"I wish my wife was this dirty".

It reminded me of one of Philly's vans a few years ago which had "Pimp my ride" scrawled in the dirt.

Cricket Notes

More classic sledging.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Congratulations to cousin Helen James, who has just become one of the few Legal Executive Advocates in England and Wales specialising in family law.

In an interview for this blog Helen said “This qualification has long been a career goal and I would like to thank everyone that has helped me to achieve this.” Ok, that was nicked off Dyne Drewett’s website; Helen is based in their Shepton Mallett office.

Well done, H.

Silly Season Notes

A certain union appears to be suffering from heatstroke. Word reaches Ponty Towers that new guidance has issued to to ensure that people can cope with the current ‘heatwave’.

This includes:

Take regular breaks to cool down, even if it means a 5 minute break outside

A spray bottle filled with cold water sprayed on the face now and then can make you feel cooler

Drink fluids – particularly water – even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid beverages containing alcohol, caffeine, or high amounts of sugar.

Wear lightweight, light-coloured, loose clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible.

Avoid strenuous activity, especially during the sun's peak hours – 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you must engage in strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, usually in the morning between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.

Cool showers or baths may be helpful, but avoid extreme temperature changes. Never take a shower immediately after becoming overheated – extreme temperature changes may make you ill, nauseated, or dizzy.

If you begin to feel unwell please seek help from colleagues. If the body gets severely dehydrated, symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke may occur. These include
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • An intense thirst
  • Sleepiness
  • Hot red and dry skin
  • A sudden rise in temperature
  • Confusion
  • Aggression
  • Convulsions
  • A loss of consciousness

Most of those apply to me on any given work day. Except that I was never confused. (That's enough Al Murray... ed.)

Election Notes

Last week’s local council elections turned up some interesting results in Blaenau Gwent and elsewhere.

In Blaenau Gwent, the People’s Voice and Independents took control from Labour. Now, if they hadn’t decided to impose all-women shortlists a few years ago…

Where I used to live, Beaufort ward, some upstanding pillars of the community decided to stand. Marco Carini and Greeves the Coal lost out, but Jack the Box’s boy Godfrey Thomas took one of the seats for People’s Voice, incumbent Graham Hughes the other for Labour.

In Rhondda Cynon Taff, Labour kept control of the Council, but lost a few councillors along the way. Notable voting included the emergence of the first Conservative councillor in RCT in recent memory, and Pontypridd and Treforest going Lib Dem.

Rugby Notes

Ebbw Vale’s end of season stats, courtesy of Graham:

Try Scorers (League & Cup Combined)
10 – Simon Hunt
8 – Andrew Bevan
7 – Ian George
6 – Kristian Owen
5 - Aaron Bramwell
Bryan Shelbourne
John Rees Williams
4 – Anthony Lott
Andrew McLaughlan
3 – James Lewis
Penalty Try
Greg Roberts
2 – 8 players
1 – 8 players

Most Points (League & Cup Combined)
99 – Simon Hunt
90 – Aaron Bramwell
86 – Bryan Shelbourne

One worrying stat is that only 86 out of 152 kicks at goal were successful, a woeful 57%. That needs to be worked on during the offseason by whichever kicker(s) we decide to go with for next year.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Yes, I succumbed to the world of social networking.

I’m on Facebook, the MySpace for grown-ups. Anyone who knows me can link to my page on Facebook. Here's the link to my profile.

Why men are just happier people

1. The garage is all yours.
2. Chocolate is just another snack.
3. Car mechanics tell you the truth.
4. You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.
5. Wrinkles add character.
6. People never stare at your chest when you're talking to them.
7. New shoes don't cut, blister or mangle your feet.
8. One mood all the time.
9. Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
10. You know stuff about tanks and engines.
11. A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.
12. You can open all your own jars.
13. You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.
14. Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.
15. You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.
16. The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.
17. You only have to shave your face and neck.
18. You can play with toys all your life.
19. One wallet and one pair of shoes – one colour for all seasons.
20. You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look.
21. You can "do" your nails with a pocket knife.
22. You have freedom of choice concerning growing a moustache.
23. You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24 in 25 minutes.

No wonder men are happier.

When marketing goes bad

The Office of Government Commerce is responsible for improving value for money by driving up standards and capability in procurement. Now, let's see, how would you improve value for money? I know! An expensive branding exercise. That'll do it.

So FHD, a prestigious branding agency, has been brought in to devise, among other things, a new logo. And here, courtesy of The Register, it is. When it was presented to OGC staff it didn't take long for them to look at the new brand logo (emblazoned on mouse mats and so forth) from all angles, including a 90 degree clockwise rotation. A firm grip on finances? Well, a firm grip, definitely.

Cricket Notes

Ah, the cricket season. The sound of leather on willow. A flask of tea and a cucumber sandwich. Oh, and lots of sledging. Here's the first of a few I've collected.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Rugby Notes

A disappointing night at Swansea last Friday. The travelling faithful saw Ebbw turn around with a useful 20-12 lead, only to go to pieces in the second half and let Swansea run riot. It finished up a thrashing 20-42. Only three tries to two, but there was only one team in the second half which the Jacks won 30 point to nil.

Team: A McLaughlin, S Hunt, J Lewis, K Owen, A Bevan, B Shelbourne, G Williams, D Watchurst, R Wilkes, A Lott, M Griffin, W Thomas, R Jenkins, J Bowd, N Aiono.

Scorers: Tries for Anthony Lott and Rhys Jenkins, two conversions and a penalty for Byran Shelbourne.

My man of the match: John Bowd, who had another awesome season for Ebbw.

It contrasts with a great result the previous Saturday when Ebbw saw of the robust, physical challenge of Cross Keys to win 29-12. Robust. Physical. OK, thug-like is probably a better term.

Team: A McLaughlan, S Hunt, J Lewis, K Owen (G Roberts 76), A Bevan, B Shelbourne, R Lewis (G Williams 65, A Lott, R Wilkes (M Williams 40), M Jones (D Watchurst 76), M Griffin, W Thomas, N Aiono (D Watchurst 47-56, J Thomas 56), J McPhail, J Bowd (captain, R Jenkins 71).

Scorers: Tries for Richard Wilkes, Andrew Bevan, Simon Hunt and Bryan Shelbourne, who also added three conversions and a penalty.

My man of the match: Andrew Bevan, who seems to have had a new lease of life this past month.

As REL points out in his column on the Ebbw Vale RFC website, the end of season tally of 15 wins, two draws and nine losses (only two at home) is something to be pleased about. We topped the mini-League of Gwent clubs.

A big question for the future is whether the new plans to develop players for the “regional” teams (their word, not mine) will lead to a thinning of the talent pool in Gwent; a pool to which Pooler get added next term. Congratulations Pontypool, on your promotion. Sorry to see Maesteg go, there were far more worthy teams to go down – just how Glamorgan Wanderers, to name just one, passed the WRU ground criteria is quiet beyond me.