Saturday, July 30, 2011

Anyone but Alonso - Germany

Anyone but Alonso – the slightly warped world of the anti-fan – German GP 2011
This week’s action comes from the Nürburgring, a circuit I am very familiar with due to my extensive computer gaming experience.  The circuit is some 500 meters above sea level in the German mountain region, so this should suit our brunette Yeti Alonso.
An excellent start by Lewis as Webber is caught reading the adverts on his overalls, leaving Teflonso and Vettel to duke it out behind them.  For some reason the Teflon Don forgets to turn and Vettel steals back third place.  Can’t help but thinking that maybe Button should change his name to Zipper as we all know zips are faster than buttons, just a thought mate.
Vettel seems to be choking in front of his home fans as he has a pleasant looking spin, or maybe he’s just showboating due to his almost unassailable points lead?  Buemi pushes Heidfeld off the track, further heaping on the pain for the home fans.  The normally happy and comical Germans are starting to look a bit glum and serious.
Webber cheekily passes Lewis whilst Lewis is chatting to his team on the phone, luckily he decides to hang up and he retakes first place.  A whole series of pit stops leaves the un-pitted Massa out front and Ferrari take the opportunity to slow the race down for a bit so we can all look at the lovely sponsorship on the cars.  Massa eventually pits and the triumphant Webber gets to lead his first lap of the year and the Aussie press instantly label him a hero.
It’s a shame to see the BBC have forgotten all of their weather predicting equipment, which results in poor Martin Brundle having to look at a puddle for the whole race just to give us up to date weather conditions.
A brief glimpse of action as the resident octogenarian Michael Schumacher wakes the dozing crowd by doing some doughnuts on lap 24.  After another round of pit stops, Lewis takes first and immediately gives Webber a little kiss to push him off the track as Webber attempts to overtake at turn 2.  Alonso’s pit stop brings him out into first place a lap later but Lewis, always the patient teacher, shows Webber how to properly overtake at turn 2 and whizzes past the pedestrian Teflonso.
A disappointing finish for Button as he retires his car from the race with hydraulic problems, although on the plus side, he can now grab a hot cup of Bovril to chase away the 13C temperature out there.
I feel my eyes getting heavy as we get to the last third of the race and it is starting to look like the race will be decided by the last set of pit stops.  There’s a lot of talk that the teams may leave it until the final lap to put on new tyres, so I take the opportunity to go grab a beer from the fridge.
Lewis takes a gamble and swoops into the pits with eight laps to go, Teflonso waits a lap but not even pedal power could give him the extra time needed to pass Lewis, so he remains in second place.  This now puts Webber in the dark horse position, the only man who can ruin Lewis’s weekend, but knowing his luck, that’s somewhat doubtful.  If Webber didn’t have bad luck he wouldn’t have any luck at all, a statement proved when he re-emerges from his pit stop in third place.
All eyes are now on the battle for fourth place between Massa and Vettel and with two laps to go, and both of them needing to pit; the team tell Vettel to do the opposite of whatever Massa does.  I’m momentarily confused as I thought Vettel had been doing that all season, i.e. winning, but what they actually mean is that if Massa pits then Vettel should stay out and vice versa.  Vettel is obviously as confused as me as he follows Massa into the pits, leaving the speed of the mechanics to decide fourth place.  Now given that Marlboro sponsor Ferrari and Red Bull sponsor - well Red Bull, my money is on the energy drinking crew rather than the chain smoking one.  A hunch that is proved correct as Vettel exits the pits ahead of Massa.
Lewis once again rubs Alonso’s nose in it and takes the chequered flag with a friendly wave.  Alonso’s car then runs out of petrol on the warm-down lap and Webber, clairvoyantly knowing what he’ll be doing next season, acts the taxi driver and picks him up.
Up on the podium Alonso looks like he’s choking on a fur-ball as our National Anthem is played.  He then tries to blind Lewis with his losers champagne spray, but this is thwarted by the wideness of Lewis’s winning smile catching it all.
So on to Hungary for next week’s race, which apparently will suit the Ferraris as they don’t like the cold, poor little luvs.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Anyone but Alonso - Silverstone

Anyone but Alonso – the slightly warped world of the anti-fan – Silverstone GP 2011

The start of British Grand Prix weekend seems to be dominated by all the talk of all the technical changes to the exhaust systems and the like.  My only comment on all this is that it must all surely be Alonso’s fault as he is the only one not moaning about it.  Come to think of it, is it a coincidence that it’s Jean Todt, as head of the FIA, that has made these specific changes that may possibly benefit his old team?  Of course it’s a coincidence, surely?

So race day begins and it’s a race of two halves – half the track dry, half wet.  It’s also a race of two eyebrows as Teflonso settles into third place from the start.  ‘Old Father Time’ Schumacher again forgets that drivers no longer just move out of the way for him and he promptly gives Kobayashi a rather impolite kiss up the butt.  Maybe Schuey should be sponsored by a rhinoplasty surgeon, the amount of new nose cones he’s had this season.
Kobayashi was in the action again a bit later as we see an interesting new pit lane tactic.  He decided to take out Force India’s wheel guns as he drove down the pit lane, a piece of cunning genius that definitely scores a ‘10’ on the Evildeedsometer.
Button mugs off Massa, who’s driving skills seem to deteriorate faster than the ever mentioned Pirelli tyres over the course of a race – then our very own leader of the Brat pack, Hamilton, breezes past Teflonso.  I can only presume he was caught by surprise, presumably because his eyebrows were obscuring his rear view mirrors.
Nigel Mansell in his capacity as Head Steward, proves he’s never one to forgive a slight against the UK and hands Schuey a rather harsh 10 second stop and go penalty.  Too late to give Damon Hill the ’94 championship he deserved, but o how I laughed anyway.  A nice close up of Schuey’s hands as he overtakes Petrov, it actually looks like he’s wearing thick mittens.  Maybe at his age he is starting to feel the cold and his arthritis is playing up?
It looks like Kobayashi didn’t need to nobble the Force India team as they have managed to do that all by themselves – some clown has decided to try to put Sutil’s tyres on Di Resta’s car.  Then, in a Dick Dastardly moment, a Ferrari mechanic manages to disguise himself in Red Bull overalls and manages to sabotage Vettel’s pit stop, thereby giving the master of the fluke unfortunate incident, Teflonso, first place.
Watching on TV it was nice to see the new ‘Cable-Cam’ flying back and forth across the circuit.  Strangely enough, we see more images of the cable cam than from it.  Then again the same can be said of the coverage of Di Resta’s race, as the BBC decides to ignore the latest British hope.  I think his foreign sounding name has fooled the TV director into ignoring any news or action of him.
The chameleon Ferrari mechanic then changes his skin to mimic McLaren overalls and ‘accidentally’ forgets to put a wheel nut on Jenson’s front right (or front left as Jenson thought).  Is it just me that thinks it quite scary watching a driver that doesn’t know his left or right?  Button – one hell of a racing driver, but a really crap mini-cab driver.
The weekend’s misery is compounded by Webber overtaking Hamilton, whose McLaren team had obviously run out of money to put enough petrol in his car.  I’m now gutted I didn’t send them my ‘5p off a litre’ voucher that I got the last time I was in Tesco’s, at least Lewis could have made a fight of it then.  Massa is now threatening to take Lewis’s 4th spot, but as he’s almost certainly forgotten how to overtake a decent driver, Lewis should be alright.
It was nice to see the Red Bulls scrapping it out on the final lap.  Either Webber has improved his driving or Vettel has improved his acting, as it almost looks like there are no team orders.  We then hear the frantic team messages to Webber ordering him to back off and the confusion is cleared up.
At the final corner Massa proves he can’t even push drivers off the track as well as his team-mate, as he attempts to stitch up Hamilton and fails.
Well, thanks to the chameleon Ferrari mechanic, Teflonso sneaks the win - although I hear there was a Stewards enquiry into the caterpillars sitting high on his face affecting the cars downforce.  I’ve actually come to the conclusion that he is the model for the new ‘Gypsy Thunderbird’ figurine, so he should be looking forward to next seasons Romany GP.
And so on to Germany for the next episode of Some Mechanics Do ‘Ave ‘Em.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Double Stuff Oreo Lick Race

For the first time ever it’s competition time on ‘The Life and Times of a Househusband’, or ‘my excellent blog’ for short.  Previously whenever companies have said to me “Here’s one of our products, perhaps you would like to offer this as a prize to your readers?” they have been unable to hear my mocking roar of laughter from their cosy west-end offices.  Like I’m going to accept a freebie and then actually give it away to the great unwashed, not on your nelly.
This time it’s different though – some bright spark at Oreo has had the foresight to give me two kits – one for me (of course), and one for you.  Everyone’s a winner, and by everyone I mean me and the person that actually wins.  OK, they say the devil’s in the details, so here’s the details.
Oreo are trying to find Britain’s ‘Most Entertaining Lick Racer’, based on the ritual of twisting an Oreo, licking off the crème, and dunking the remaining biscuits in milk.  The kit they have provided contains the following:
·         Flip camera with tripod
·         Oreo Biscuits
·         Two tumblers for milk
All you have to do to get your hands on this kit is to leave a comment below and you will be entered into the competition.  To get an extra entry into the comp tweet ‘ Oreo and @goonerjamie are giving away a Flip Camera and Oreos at ‘.  For my Facebook friends that are still Twitter luddites, leave the above message on your profile page and let me know. 
I will put all of the entries into a hat, or cup, or maybe even a bath (dependant on how many there are) and pull out a winner at noon Wednesday 27th July 2011 so you’d better be fast.
Unfortunately this competition is only open to those in the UK, sorry.
You could also win a VIP holiday to Florida & a Nintendo Wii per week (as part of a prize draw for all valid video entries).  All you have to do is film your Lick race and upload your video to and you will be entered for the chance to win the holiday or Nintendo Wii.  The competition finishes on 31st July 2011 so again you will have to be quick.
Your video must be in one of the following three categories – parent vs child; sibling vs sibling; and grandparent vs grandchild.  Record your Double Stuff Lick Race live using your computer’s webcam or film on your mobile and upload later.  To qualify, both entrants must compete all of these steps.
1.       Have ready an Oreo biscuit and a glass of milk (equal measures for each participant)
2.       Twist the Oreo biscuit and pull it apart
3.       Lick the crème filling from the biscuit (tongue only, no teeth)
4.       Show their opponent the ‘clean’ biscuit
5.       Put the biscuit back together
6.       Dunk the biscuit in a glass of milk
7.       Eat the biscuit
8.       Drink the glass of milk
Once you’ve uploaded your entry, get your friends and family voting because there are great prizes to be won, including a VIP family holiday to Florida, Nintendo Wiis and lick race Kits.
Don’t forget…
1.       Each race should only have two family members, no more, no less
2.       Five entrants per category are allowed so all the whole family can take part
3.       A parent or guardian needs to tick the consent box if you are not over 18
4.       And for every upload Oreo will donate £1 to KidsOut charity.
And just to get you all going, here’s my entry
If you don’t fancy filming yourself, you can enter the ‘Who’s the Slicker Licker’ competition where you can win a Nintendo Wii ever day plus thousands of Double Stuff Lick Race prizes.
Visit and opt to play ‘Who’s the Slicker Licker’ Watch to Win game.  Players play a guessing game to determine who is going to win between two pre-filmed Lick Racers.  Irrespective of result, all Players will be eligible to enter their details via an online entry form to go through to the free prize draw.
The full terms and conditions are on the Lick Race website
So there you go, three ways to win and don’t forget to tweet ‘ Oreo and @goonerjamie are giving away a Flip Camera and Oreos at ‘ for an extra entry into the Flip camera competition.
Good Luck.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Anyone But Alonso - Valencia

Anyone but Alonso - the slightly warped world of the anti-fan - Valencia GP 2011
I thought I was watching the Spanish Grand Prix today, but apparently it's not, it's the European Grand Prix.  I can understand the reasoning to having a floating European GP but why pick a sunny country to have two?  Especially after having the best, in my humble opinion, GP ever in the very, very wet Canada.  Maybe we should only have GP's in constantly wet countries from now on?  Strangely that would rule out England, as although the practice would have happened in a monsoon, as we talk the air temp in the UK is the same as Valencia at an incredulous 27C.
Anyway, enough of all that, I'm here to report on how our home warrior Teflonso copes with the pressure of racing in his own country, whilst still maintaining his four day facial growth.  Whilst other drivers have a lackey to hold umbrellas over them come rain or come shine, the Teflon Don employs one to run after him with a part-worn straight razor to keep him looking like a gypsy.
From the start of the race, Teflonso gets himself into third place - and all without arranging for a team-mate to crash for him, and he looks happy to play third fiddle to the Red Bulls.  Massa, once again proving he has no ambition to win a race, lets Teflonso easily pass him.  I've always wondered why the so-called GP fans love Ferrari, as they are the only team with one driver allowed to race.  As much as I admire Schuey Senior as a driver, he wouldn't have won the number of championships he did without the angry, but compliant, Barichello.  Maybe since Sennas death, Brazilian drivers just don't want to take the risks anymore, they're just happy to be the 'also starring' driver?
I still laugh when I watch the pitboard man, manually changing the boards then holding them out for their drivers.  These drivers have buttons on their steering wheels that do everything - I've even heard that, from Silverstone, they're introducing a spark plug change button, yet they still have to rely on a fat, grey haired bloke holding a lump of MDF to find out what position they are in the race.
And whilst I'm on the subject of bad decisions, in what way is constantly talking about the 'quick to degrade tyres', good for Pirelli?  In this sponsor led world, what bright spark at Pirelli thought it was a good idea to associate their name with bad tyre wear?  What next, Ocado sponsoring Team Lotus - 'We get there in the end', or the Post Office teaming up with Michael Schumacher - 'Yeah, we're old, but we still have a car'.
Two weeks ago, Jenson changed his tyres five times in two hours.  Can you imagine how long the school run would take if I was stupid enough to put Pirellis on my Ford Fiesta next time I went to Kwik Fits?
The pedestrian Australian Webber lets Teflonso past and the Italian team supporting Spanish crowd do a Mexican wave.  The next thing I hear from the commentary team is "He's hit the cliff".  Unfortunately they were talking about tyre degradation and not the bearded one taking a nose dive into the sea.
Lewis got told by his team that his wheels were hot, his reply was "I can't drive any slower."  Yes you can mate, you can take Massa's seat.  Another Massa pit stop goes in Teflonso favour, this week’s excuse - a stuck left rear.
The race finished with another Vettel win, which only reminded me that my brother-in-law still owes me £20 from our bet on the result on last year’s championship.  He was even too tight to offer me double or nothing on this year’s result, although based on Sebs 77 point advantage, it's a good job for him he didn't.
I was stunned to hear that the race had finished with all the starters.  I had actually thought that Schuey went out at the first lap, so little was mentioned of him.  Then again, after finishing 17th, I bet he wishes he had.
So a second place for Teflonso, with his eyebrows coming a close third and forth.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer in Space

Last night Kaede and I got to be one of the first groups to go on the Science Museums new Space trail, part of their ‘Summer in Space’ exhibition, that opens this weekend.  I have to say that when the invite came I was more than a tad excited.  The Science Museum has always been a firm favourite since I first visited it as an eight year old Cub Scout (and isn’t that a great mental image for you) and now I was hoping to pass down that sense of wonderment and awe to my unsuspecting six year old daughter.
We were told to arrive 15 minutes before the Museum closed and we patiently (in Kaede’s case anyway) waited for the museum staff to get everything sorted and begin the tour.  I think there was maybe eight other parents, fourteen kids, three staff members, two tour guides and the curator in our party and we had the whole museum TO OURSELVES.
As soon as we walked into the huge Energy Hall she squeezed my hand and took a very audible sharp intake of breath, it had her.  Mind you, every hair on my arms had stood up, so it still had the ability to get me as well.  If you’ve ever been to the Science Museum you know what I mean, if you haven’t, well I don’t really have the words to do it justice.  The size of the pieces, the machinery, the steam engines, the visual avalanche and that’s just the first room. 
Then through to the ‘Exploring Space’ gallery, here 2 rockets hang overhead pointing the way to a full-sized replica of Eagle, the landing pod/ship/thingy that took Armstrong and Aldrin to the moon’s surface.  There are space suits, space food and space diapers, almost everything a space freak could want.  Kaede had been given a flip-cam to use as the museum wanted some film from a kid’s point of view and she was running around filming and gasping in equal measures.  I apologise to the staff in advance, as I’m not sure how much of her footage they’ll be able to use but my guess would be very little.
Next we moved on to, in my opinion, the star of the show - the actual Apollo 10 command module.  To be standing only feet away from something that has actually orbited the moon was mind-blowing.  To see the scorch marks, to peer inside the window into the cramped conditions the three astronauts had to endure, was truly incredible.  We had watched the launch on YouTube before we left, so even Kaede fell silent as she looked at it.  Watching her trying to compute what she had seen to what she was seeing and then see the look of astonishment appear on her face was definitely a magic moment.
After that was the ‘Making the Modern World’ gallery, jam-packed with items from 1750 onwards that have shaped the way we live today.  From the large – cars, planes and Stephenson’s Rocket; to the small – a sample of penicillium mould, a porcelain bowl from Hiroshima and Edison’s filament lamp.  With so much to see you could easily spend hours in there, but we were soon onto the next part of the trail, the ‘In future’ gallery.
We didn’t stay too long here but it did have a couple of big multi-user games in there about predicting the future, although the only future I could predict is that I had to get Kaede to a toilet PDQ.
Next was the ‘Launchpad’ gallery, full of hands on experiments that help explain some of the laws of physics.  There were water bottle rockets that you could help launch across the ceiling, a big grain pit that explained how simple machines help things move easier and more moving, playable, unbreakable stuff as you could shake a stick at.  The kids were all in seventh heaven and I will admit that I took the time to sneakily join in the fun.  I also joined in the groans when we had to move on to the next gallery, spoilsports.
Onwards to the ‘Cosmos & Culture’ gallery, a gallery full of telescopes and all things star-gazing related.  Even Wallace & Gromit’s ‘Moon-machine’ is on display, as well as a telescope made from baked bean cans (only to be used on windy nights I presume?)  Once the kids had filled their eyes with moons, stars and giant mirrors, we went back down to the ‘Exploring Space’ gallery and some much needed refreshment.
The children sat around the ‘Eagle’ replica, munching away on crisps and sarnies and being entertained by someone playing the character of Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon.  He gave the kids a fascinating talk on what it was like to take off on a rocket, walk on the moon; in fact he pretty much covered everything, even the inevitable poop in space questions.  After he had finished his chat he took Kaede around some of the exhibits, including the space diapers and space food that were of primary interest to her.  I was really impressed by the way he was talking to her and not talking down to her, this was definitely going to be one night she would remember.
To say we had a great time would be somewhat of an understatement.  Kaede can’t wait to go back and has rather graciously, by her standards, allowed that even her little brother could come next time.  As for me, any place that can fill me with a childlike sense of wonderment has to be a hit.  The ‘Summer in Space’ exhibition starts on 23rd July 2011 and full (and probably more accurate) details can be found at

Monday, July 18, 2011

The day we met Wenlock and Mandeville

As a daddy blogger I am often contacted by companies or PR firms asking me to look at or review their products.  To the surprise of those that know me in the flesh, I do have a bit of integrity and I normally politely turn down the ones that don’t really have anything to do with me and my world.  For arguments sake, the thought of reviewing a £700 princess throne that would have lasted 5 minutes with my unruly mob, was an obvious no-go.  As was the Breastfeeding book (no breasts or babies that need them), coconut milk dessert (me and hairy shells don’t mix), an airport meet and greet service (am still shell-shocked from the trauma of our last foreign holiday) and the pregnancy care water (a great product I’m sure, but I’m sans fallopian tubes).
Then along came an offer that I couldn’t refuse – would I be interested in popping down to the Adidas office in London to take a look at their new Disney/Pixar range and their London 2012 Olympic collection?  Would I ever, I love trainers, I love Adidas trainers and I love seeing stuff that nobody else has seen yet and then telling my mates about it (I guess that makes me an ocular gossip).  I replied with an air of nonchalance that I would like to take them up on their kind offer and even waited a whole two minutes before replying.  The fact I spent that 2 minutes making a phone call to my trainer freak sister (50 pairs and counting)  just to brag and ended the call with a “ner ner nener ner”, wasn’t one of my prouder moments, but fun nonetheless.
So Saturday found me the Mrs and the little’uns travelling to Covent Garden, all ready to have a nose around the Adidas offices and all the new gear.  Within minutes of arriving, Wenlock and Mandeville, the official mascots of the games, turned up and totally enchanted my children.  Apparently they are made from the last two drops of steel used to make the Olympic Stadium, but the way Kaede was hugging them to death I rather think they are made from something a lot more pliable.  It was good for the kids to meet them though, as since we lost out on the Olympic ballot this will be the closest they get to anything Olympic.
Anyway, with the kids occupied I got to look at the range without distraction.  It’s hard to be all kid-like if you have to deal with kids at the same time and believe me, being surrounded by so many trainers I truly felt like a kid in a sweet shop.  I headed for the Cars 2 range, a series of trainers and clothing for kids with the characters from the film on them.

I’m like a Crow, I’m a sucker for shiny things and I’m sure I raised a few eyebrows with my wows and oohs.  I did try to maintain an air of professionalism and objectivity, but one pair had Lightening McQueen on the sole for god’s sake, how awesome is that?  They also had some pairs based on the Disney Princesses which definitely scored high on the cuteometer.
Then I moved onto the ‘Originals’ section, all those classic designs from yesteryear and in kids sizes.  I still remember my first pair of Gazelles, blue for the first pair and burgundy for the second.  Now I’ve just turned thirty-ten I stick to black, but they have some wicked colours for the kids now (just typing that sentence made me feel 60.)
My sister had charged me with stealing some pink and grey clothing for my eight month old niece Isobel.  I managed to find this (see below) but rather wisely they were watching me like a hawk, so I’ll have to buy it for her instead.
The Olympic 2012 range is looking quite snazzy and by this time Kaede had started tugging me by the sleeves indicating that she wanted this top and that top and those trainers – a monster of my own making.
Both the Cars and the Olympic range are released this month with the Originals either out already or coming soon. 
For the sake of transparency, I will add that as we left they gave us some bags with goodies, plus a pair of trainers each for the kids.  They weren’t expected but very much appreciated, I am now the coolest Dad in the world apparently.  But to be honest (and hoping I’m not shooting myself in the foot here) I would have wrote this piece anyway, so thanks to Adidas for the look around and the trainers, I’m just gutted I can’t squeeze into them myself.