Thursday, April 28, 2011

There's something wrong with my wee

(And I'm not talking about the one made in Japan)

OK, for all those of weak stomachs and lily livers stop reading right now.  The following story is not going to reaffirm your belief in God or all things nice and normal.  This story is all about The Good, The Bad and the WTF - continue at your peril.  Can I please also make a personal point (D'oh, this is a blog, it's all personal.)  I'm not writing this for sympathy or empathy or any of those other pathys that I can't spell.  If after reading this you feel the need to add a message of support or condolence then just STOP RIGHT NOW.  I appreciate where you're coming from, I just don't want to hear it, and hopefully I'm not in a position to need it.

A few weeks ago I went to the toilet and peed blood.

I tried to think of a way to ease you into the situation, but I didn't get one so why should you?  I have to admit that it shit the life out of me at the time (luckily I was in the right place for that little event.)  I've spent 39 years peeing yellow, so whilst red was a nice change in scenery, the implications of it weren't.  I considered keeping it to myself, but the Rorschach patterns I was leaving in the bowl were bound to give the game away eventually so I told my wife the following day and agreed that I would book an urgent appointment with my GP. 

Unfortunately it seems that he doesn't work mornings at the moment, and mornings were the only time that I could do this in secret, so I made an appointment with his Spanish colleague Manuel, and hoped for the best.

I'm not sure I could do the appointment justice to be honest.  Just imagine the episode of Fawlty Towers where Basil couldn't mention the war, except it was "Don't mention the Penis."  Then times the embarrassment by 10 and include a prostrate exam in front of your kids, and then you may be somewhere close.  They are still asking me if the Doctor has found his watch yet.

So it was decided by my Doctor that I should undergo a few tests at the Hospital, better to be safe than sorry he said.  What he didn't mention until I was safely out of his office and unable to seek retribution, was that one of the tests would be a cockovisionogram.   For the uninitiated, this is when they stick a camera down your Japs eye and start looking for intelligent life, or something like that.

I entered the room to find the whole camera crew were there, and I have to be honest, I think the need for a guy with a boom mike was a tad over the top.  Ironically the director of this epic movie was blonde, female and Swedish.  I started to worry about standing to attention at an inappropriate moment (I blame my early teen porn usage for that), but upon seeing the size of the camera, and the nurse holding it, all worries disappeared, well shrunk actually.

I asked the Doc if she could Sky+ the proceedings as it wasn’t something I was expecting to watch, and it may make great viewing when paired with my vasectomy DVD, a classic double bill, but she just continued to slap iodine on my knackers and ignored me.

Without a trace of a smile and with ruthless efficiency, the camera was inserted and the feature movie appeared on the screen.  The first thing I saw was two perfect circular shapes on the upper wall of my bladder.  My first thought that was that some microscopic beings had set up a lunar base on their way to Uranus, but apparently they were just air bubbles.

I also got a good view of my prostrate during the proceedings.  It looked nice, pink and healthy to me, but unfortunately the Doctor so enjoyed her view of it that she decided to have a hands on visit - at least it felt like her whole hand anyway.

And just to make matters worse, as it feels like I have been pissing razor blades since the whole experience, I rather fear that she has left one of her false nails behind.  I mean, how am I going to explain that one away when I am standing in a public convenience and I pee out a bright pink fingernail?  She could have at least painted her fingernails blue, then I could have pretended it was one of those plasters they make the Barmaids wear when they cut themselves.

So now I sit here and wait.  For all their explorations, deep sea drilling and other ventures best left to BP employees, all they found was a red patch on the wall of my bladder.  They say it probably means nothing, but what it does mean is that they are going to repeat the procedure again - but this time they're bringing a cutting crew.

I shall endeavour to keep you updated, if you so wish, during these exploratory procedures.  But don't panic, I shall keep the prostate porn pics to myself.  I wouldn't wish that viewing on anyone.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Nice work if you can get it

Again it's me, stating for the moral guardians of the interweblogging world, THIS IS A SPONSORED POST.

For the few out there that didn't read last week’s post (who am I kidding), those crazy but generous folks over at ASUS have given me one of their new Eee Pad Transformer Tablets to review and let you know how I'm using it in my normal day to day life.  Well to misquote a line from The Fast Show, 'This week I have been mostly using it in the garden.'

We are having one of those glorious early summers in London, and we are all desperately trying to ignore the fact that whilst we are having nice weather now, it does means that July and August are going to be as wet, insipid and dull as a wet T-Shirt contest in an OAP's home.

Be that as it may, we English know how to make hay while the sun shines, so me and the Tablet have set up camp in the garden and have been working from there.  Last year I had to stay chained to my PC to work, infrequently rushing outside to catch some rays like Joan Collins catches husbands (and rays.)

This year is going to be so gloriously better, and I am glad the Chancellor has increased the VAT to 20% as Vodka and Tonic is my summer drink of choice, and an increase of them by 20% is more than welcome.

The Polaris Office software the Tablet comes preloaded with is a joy to work with, in fact my last three articles have been written exclusively on it, and they have been easy to send to my home PC or to upload to the MyCloud facility that also came pre-installed.  It has everything I need to access my work email, and the tools I need to create the pieces of art I call email campaigns. 

All that's left to me is to somehow explain my new tan to my Boss when I next have to make a Head Office visit.  I am currently using the Tablet to Google 'unfortunate discolouration', but all it has come up with so far is WAGS and Essex, neither of which I think my boss will find as an acceptable explanation.

I'm not taking the pee though - I know that the Tablet has the ability to store all my chosen music in MyCloud, so that I can whistle, hum and strangle lyrics whilst I work, but I am resisting that temptation in fairness to my office-trapped colleagues.  Although one of them just sent round a 'joke' email at my expense, so I may well re-evaluate that principle in time for the next blog.

I promised you, my avid and rabid readers, some technical details about the Tablet, so here they are.
  • NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2 1.0GHz dual-core CPU for excellent multitasking & 1080p video playback
  • Android 3.0 Honeycomb O.S. with Adobe® Flash® 10.2 support
  • Full QWERTY keyboard, touchpad input with Polaris® Office® for mobile productivity
  • 16 hours long battery life for all day computing with docking station
  • Brilliant IPS panel with ultra-wide 178 viewing angle made from scratch resistant and super tough glass
  • One year of Unlimited ASUS WebStorage, two USB ports, SD and Micro SD card readers for easy sharing & storage expendability
  • 3D stereo with max bass response with SRS premium sound

I have only a vague understanding of what the majority of that lot means, but what I do know is this:

1  I can use it to work in the garden (important)
2  My work colleagues are stuck in a smelly office (oh dear)
3  I'm not (A loud Nelson from The Simpsons Ha Ha)
4  As a result of the Tablet, George Hamilton is going to be coming to me for tanning tips.

Until next week my friends, I bid you Adieu, and don't forget, use sunscreen.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A not so bitter pill to swallow

OK, let’s get this straight from the start.  THIS IS A SPONSORED POST, woe betides me to fall foul of any moral guidelines or obligations.

Those crazy folk at ASUS emailed me and asked if I would to try out their new Eee Pad Transformer and then write about it, good or bad.  I will admit to weighing up the pros and cons of accepting such a task, and 3 nanoseconds later decided I would.

I will also admit that I thought nothing would come of it, and put the proposal to the back of my mind.  I mean who in their right mind would give little old me a brand new Tablet and docking station?  In fact when I told my Mum I was about to be given a free Tablet, she presumed I had joined another Hay fever clinical trial.  To my shame I agreed I had rather than try to explain what a tablet was.

Anyway, this afternoon I returned from a shopping trip, via the pub, all ready to do some gardening, some BBQing, and maybe even playing with the kids if I got bored.  All plans were put on hold when I saw the package my eldest had signed for, could it be, surely not.  It was.  THE Tablet had arrived.

I will freely admit that I am a big kid at heart, and I was more than excited as I tried not to rip the package apart like Henry VIII on his wedding night.  Showing a sense of patience I didn’t know I possessed, I carefully removed my new toy and turned it on. 

I know I'm in danger of sounding quite fawning now, but I was truly impressed with my initial viewing.  The 10" screen was bright and sharp, it sounded good, and I even managed to sync it with my broadband within a couple of minutes, a miracle within itself.

I started to explore the apps when a rather unsubtle nudge in the ribs reminded me that I had a BBQ to sort out.  Feeling like a kid who had to write a thank you card before his Christmas pressie was out of the box, I reluctantly retreated to the garden and fired up the…well the fire.  Eventually food was cooked, dropped, brushed off and distributed - leaving me to make my excuses and pick up where I had left off.

Having had no real experience with Tablets, I was quite surprised about how light and thin it was.  Although the kids were surprised at how big my new 'phone' was and were wondering how I was going to fit it in my pocket.  I did feel a little bit like Gulliver in the land of Brobdingnag, so I added a miniature bottle of Jack Daniels to the table just to really mess with their minds.

Once I had finished messing around and exploring I decided to attach the tablet to its docking station and keypad.  I do love touch screens, but I am still enough of a PC boy to want to write anything substantial on a keyboard.  This seemed like the best of both worlds to me, and I happily sat in the garden and wrote the words you've just read (or pretended to if you're family and just humouring me.)

I could see this was going to change my summer.  Normally I am chained to the PC, due to work demands, but as long as I remembered to wash the suntan lotion of my hands first, I can see this becoming my work place of choice.  Tea breaks are about to be changed, Pimms o'clock anyone?

Just to make sure, I synced the tablet to my home PC, and like witchcraft, my PC's homepage appeared on the screen.  I neglected to mention this to my Wife, and later on when she had logged onto Facebook, I had plenty of fun updating her status in front of her eyes.  According to her status, I am now absolved of any future housework and indeed, men are fully deserving of being waited on hand and foot.

All shenanigans aside, I have been impressed by everything I have seen so far, so I decided that I would put it to the travel test the next day.

The Next Day

It's the day of the London Marathon and we've decided to take the kids up to Tower Bridge to watch it.  As an ex Marathonian, the Mrs always makes us go and watch, and to be fair, it's always a good day out.  The trick is to keep the kids occupied though, so I downloaded some free games from the app store (which incidentally downloaded a lot faster than they do on my PC.)  I removed the tablet from the docking keyboard, another idiot proof process, and put it in its handy travel case.

The tube was quite busy, and the games kept the kids amused for the journey, so far so good.

Tower Bridge was mobbed, the sun was out, and there was a carnival atmosphere in the air.  Well there was on our side of the barriers anyway, the runners were at the half way stage and had long since lost their smiles.  The wife looks back on her marathon with a fondness that belies the obvious pain she went through at the time.  Maybe it's like childbirth, really painful at the time but a pain quickly forgotten?  Either or, it's not something I see myself doing anytime soon.  I won't even run for a bus, I just calmly pull out my phone and call for a cab.  The looks I get from people when I get picked up from a Bus Stop by a mini-cab are priceless.  I took a few pics using the tablet, but I think it captured the pain on their faces too well, so I stopped.

We watched until the throng of runners started to thin out and then went in search of a pub.  Watching people run is thirsty work you know.  From our pleasant seat outside the pub, we basked in the sun and watched the last of the runners (well walkers really) pass.  The kids had moved on from Angry Birds to Bubble Pop, and I thanked the lord for a long battery time - heaven help any device that runs out of juice before my kids get bored with it.

The clear up crews started to arrive and were making so much racket we decided to make our exit.  The barriers had started to come down and the streets were deserted, despite it being central London and only 4pm.  Obviously everyone had moved onto to another spot further down the route, all the better to really witness the agonies of those final few miles.  It did mean though that we got to walk across Tower Bridge in the middle of the road, in the middle of the day.  It was quite an eerie experience, I felt like on was on the set of 28 Days later.

I whipped the tablet out and started to take some pics for posterity (and accidentally one of a Policewoman’s posterior which she made me delete) and Kaede, happy at being allowed to play in the road for a change, duly obliged in posing for some pictures.  All in all it was a good day out and one certainly enhanced (made easier) by the new tablet.

This is the first of a few articles I'll be writing about the new ASUS Eee Pad, and I promise that by the time I write the next one I will be a bit more tech savvy and have some spec details that will make sense to someone other than this technology caveman.