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Final day of Wogan

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It's the end of an era. Things won't be the same again. Terry Wogan is leaving the Breakfast Show on Radio 2. Chris Evans takes over in the new year and I really hope he has matured, or at least stopped being such an annoying tosser, otherwise I'll have to avoid Radio 2 in the mornings.

GPS Hamster Radio

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Today, we went to the Lymm hamster show.

  • Mid-morning, I went for a walk around the village. I recently got a new phone (a Nokia 5800) and installed Google Maps on it. I used the phone's built-in GPS to keep an eye on where I was during the walk. Most of the time it managed to locate my position fairly accurately.

  • In the afternoon, there was the Hamster Racing. We entered Bjorn, who is usually fairly hyperactive so we thought he would do well. He kept winning the races, most of the time he finished before the other hamster had gone halfway around the track. He came 2nd overall - he got through to the final but halfway along the track he stopped to clean himself, then turned around and ran back towards the start.

  • On the drive home we found ourselves listening to the Top 40 countdown on Radio 1. I haven't listened to the charts for years. Most of the time I listen to either Kerrang or Radio 2. These stations usually ignore the charts and play music aimed at their respective audiences*. I think it will be a while before we listen to the charts again - most of the music was awful.

* Kerrang mostly plays guitar-based rock music. On Radio 2 I listen to Terry Wogan (target audience: the insane) and Radcliffe & Macone (target audience: the more mature rock music fan).

How to spoil my morning

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Two things happened today which put a bit of a dampener on my morning:

1) The Comics.com website is still down. I like to get my daily fix of the Pearls Before Swine comic but the site has been down for a couple of days with no explanation.

2) Terry Wogan has announced that he is stepping down from the Radio 2 Breakfast Show at the end of the year. I don't get chance to listen to the programme very often but I get the weekly podcast which has most of the readers letters and funny stories. The worst part of the news is that Chris Evans will be taking over. I make no secret of that fact that I don't like Chris Evans. He is someone who appears to be his own biggest fan. The phrase If he was made of chocolate he'd eat himself sums him up well.

I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue

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The self proclaimed Antidote to panel games made a welcome return to Radio 4 tonight. Stephen Fry replaced the late Humphrey Littleton as chairman and made a reasonably good job of it. Apparently he isn't a full time replacement - there will be other people acting as chairman in future shows. They did a similar thing when Willie Rushdon died. Instead of finding a replacement they used a series of guest panellists. Tonights guest was Victoria Wood.

Despite the changes in personnel, the show has continues in much the same vein as before. There were the occasional touches of genius, such as in the round where the panel give new definitions to old words. Serpentine was re-defined as something for cleaning paint off snakes.

If the show can maintain this quality then there is no reason why it can't continue for many more years.

New idea for a celebrity game show

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Earlier today in work, we were discussing radio listening habits. I mentioned that I sometimes listen to Radio 2 but never in the car on the way home because I don't like Chris Evans.

That may have influenced the dream I had tonight where I came 2nd in a 'Beat up Chris Evans With a Baseball Bat' competition, and won a pile of cakes. The winner cheated by claiming they hit him more times than they actually did.

The Stephen Fry flu jab advert

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I've been hearing Stephen Fry's voice a lot recently. We've been watching his TV programme where he's visiting all 50 American states, but we've also been hearing him on the radio. There is a set of adverts which gets a lot of airplay where he encourages people to get the flu jab. The adverts all follow the same pattern:

Having the flu is compared to an annoying situation, then having the flu when you suffer from a particular complaint is likened to 2 annoying situations. One such advert compares having the flu to having a neighbour's dog bark constantly. Then having the flu while suffering from heart disease is compared to: the neighbour's dog barking while he plays the saxophone.

My first thought was 'how does the dog play the saxophone while barking?'. The second time I heard the advert I realised he probably meant the dog barking while the neighbour plays the saxophone. I would have thought that Stephen Fry of all people would have been concerned by the disconnected pronoun in the sentence. Either that or I'm just easily confused.

In the middle of the night

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I was listening to the radio, moving through the stations trying to find something I wanted to listen to. I had to turn it off after hearing the Billy Joel song River of Dreams twice on different staions. I hadn't heard the song for ages - I don't dislike it but I think once per half hour is enough for me.

I mentioned this to 'Jack' on MSN messenger and she had the song stuck in her head for ages afterwards.

Gardeners Question Time

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I couldn't find any decent music on the radio so I carried on moving through the stations and ended up on Radio 4 listening to Gardeners Question Time. Normally I wouldn't listen to it but as we've decided to do something with our back garden, I took an interest.

One of the subjects covered was growing parsley. Apparently the reason why curley parsley is sold more than 'flat leaf' is to avoid confusion with the poisonous 'fools parsley' which looks identical to the flat stuff...
This was relevent to us because at the weekend we bought a couple of troughs and some pots of herbs to start off our 'garden'. Apart from a small patch of gravel near the back fence, our entire garden consists of flagstones. We've decided to concentrate on edible plants rather than flowers or other merely 'decoratives' so we started with herbs and intend to plant some vegetables soon. Of course with no actual 'garden' we will have to keep things in tubs which will limit us to smaller plants but that still gives us plenty of options.

What does it mean when you see 8 Magpies?

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I saw 8 magpies on my way to work this morning, all within the space of about a minute. The standard magpie rhymes only go up to 7.

They weren't all together but were in small groups along the same stretch of railway line. This was slightly spooky because I was listening to last nights Mark Radcliffe show which I recorded from Radio 2 (last ever show tomorrow night although he's returning soon with a new show co-hosted with Stuart Maconie). On the show, Mark was discussing Magpies with Rick Wakeman and they were debating whether you have to see them all at once or whether you're allowed to add up magpie numbers.

Grandaddy no more

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I was listening to last nights Mark Radcliffe Show on my way to work this morning and he was talking to Jason Lyttle, from the band Grandaddy. One of the things they talked about was the band splitting up. The Sophtware Slump was one of my favourite albums and it was a shame to hear that the band were no more. Hopefully Jason's next project, either solo or with another band, will produce some more great albums.

Tribute Acts

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On last nights Mark Radcliffe Show on Radio 2, he had Badly Drawn Boy as studio guest and coversation got onto the subject of tribute acts. It started off with the possibility of a Showaddywaddy tribute act called 'ShoddyWaddy' and soon got more surreal as listener suggestions started arriving. Somehow, it ended up with joke racist or fascist bands. Mark admitted that it was in poor taste and he probably shouldn't be doing it but went ahead anyway. Some of the funnier ones (or at least, the ones I can remember) were: Ku Klux Klannad, BNP J Harvey, Far Right Said Fred, Barry White Supremacist.

World Memory Champion

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Today on Radio 2, Steve Wright interviewed a friend of ours, Ben Pridmore, currently the World Memory Champion. As well as asking him how he managed to remember things (by associating words or numbers with pictures or images), Steve read out a sequence of numbers, then later in the show asked Ben to recall them. He got most of them right, only forgetting the last 2.

Download the interview (memory.mp3 2mb)

Hats off to Ben - he's done something I'll never be able to do. I've got no chance of developing a memory like his - I keep getting 'senior moments' where I walk into a room and then forget why I went there. I've also:

  • Opened the fridge door, and not remembered what I wanted
  • Opened a web browser window and promptly forgotten what site I wanted to look at
  • Gone to the supermarket and forgotten what I needed to buy
  • yesterday forgot to bring my lunch with me to work. I went into the kitchen to empty the bin but forget to go into the fridge!

Sadly, Ben is no longer the World Memory Champion - he came 4th. As he mentioned in the interview, he didn't intend to enter this year. He was going to memorize pi but unfortunately was beaten to it by Akira Haraguchi who memorized it to over 80,000 decimal places.