News and comments from Arthur

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 Wednesday 30 Jan 2008, 9:27 AM

Following hos recent "Pocky delivery returned to Japan" tragedy, Arthur has found today that his water bill direct debit failed to be paid. Contacting the bank they once again informed him the`d decided to delete his direct debit payment as it hadn`t been used for a while (they did a similar thing with his credit card a while back too). Arthur simply hadn`t needed to pay a water bill for over a year as he had built up so much credit paying monthly that when he switched to a water meter it took 18 months for that credit to be used up! (Arthur regrets waiting so long before deciding to switch to a meter - he could have saved loads over the years)

Fortunately the water company were OK with it and neither they nor the bank applied any charges to Arthurs account (thre would have been big trouble had they tried).

And in the ongoing Pocky saga, JBox seem to be answering (or attempting to answer) only one question per email even though Arthur asks 3 or 4 at a time. This results in yet more emails being generated. And annoyingly it has been taking 2 days to get any sort of answer. And even then it`s not clear what the answer means as the English used isn`t particularly clear (don`t get Arthur wrong, their English is better than his Japanese, but the fact is it is making getting this problem sorted a whole lot more difficult than it should be).

And, unsurprisingly, Arthur still hadn`t heard back about his hospital appointment, so he called again and once more has been assured they will call back later on today. Yeah... right....

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Bloody Royal Mail

 Monday 28 Jan 2008, 8:20 AM

Arthur`s lastest Pocky delivery hadn`t arrived even though it was ordered from Japan just after Christmas, so today he contacted who have told him that the parcel was returned to them! The postman had obviously attempted delivery but not bothered to put a card though the door. And thus it had sat on a shelf at the sorting office awaiting collection until it was sent back. Now JBox want Arthur to pay more (Another $18!) to get it sent back again!

Just after Christmas Arthur had another delivery where the postamn did actually bother to put a card though the door for but when he went to collect it, the man at the counter only gave Arthur one box even though the delivery consisted of 2. He went back and checked and found another identical box, even though the card made no mention of multiple boxes. Thus Arthur now suspects that there may in fact have been 3 boxes waiting for him. Unfortunately without any mention of this on the card, no-one had any way of knowing. Wouldn`t be the first time this has happened to Arthur either - he`s been to collect a parcel before only to be told "we`ve got another one for you as well".

Arthur will now have to wait until Saturday until he can get to the sorting office to try and see exactly what happened. He will also have to wait for all his questions from Jbox to be answewred, such as "why didn`t thwey bother to tell him his parcel had been returned?"

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Hilter and nuts

 Monday 21 Jan 2008, 7:46 PM

Arthur thinks there is a definite pecking order in the world of dry roasted peanuts (and to a lesser extent regular salted peanuts and other such nuts). The lowest of the low are the half nuts that have split apart in the packet meaning that whilst they have the nice dry roasted coating on the outside, the internal face where they split in two is baren, naked and just downright unappetising.

The middle class of the nut world are half nuts that were split in two at the factory and were dry roasted that way ensuring an all over coating of flavour. And at the top of of nut heirarchy are the whole nuts; unsplit, complete and perfectly coated all over.

If Hilter were alive today he`d ensure only the finest, perfect whole nuts would be eaten in his utopian society. Unfortunately he isn`t so Arthur has to make do by making sure he eats the lesser nuts first leaving only the perfect specimins until last. This also has the added bonus of slowing down Arthur`s nut eating which means he can`t shoehorn quite as many down his throat in a given time leading to a marginally healthier diet and smaller waistline.

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On shopping and feeling old...

 Sunday 20 Jan 2008, 1:50 PM

Arthur popped into London at the weekend to do a bit of post Christmas/birthday shopping. After his usual drive to park up at Acton (an even more traffic free and easy journey than usual for some reason - possibly becasue it was slightly drizzly and no one wanted to go shopping perhaps?) he was soon on the Picadilly Line tube to Leicester Square and was somewhat ammused by 2 teenage girls who, displaying typical anti social youth bevhaviour as depicted by every tabloid newspapar on a daily basis, were listening to some music on their mobile phone but without the use of headphones so everyone on the entire train got to "enjoy" it.

Now Arthur didn`t mind the music so much but it he just cannot understand why people feel the need to do this given that the sound quality from mobile phones is so utterly crap. Whilst these girls were doubtless thinking how cool they were, everyone else was thinking they were brainless cunts and that you could get better sound from a portable radio 30 years ago. Arthur suspects it is all down to an attention seeking "look at me - aren`t I great" attitude. But what was even more amusing about these 2 was that they were busy painting each others faces every time the train stopped or slowed down with Amy Winehouse style black eye makeup (i.e. lots of it with spikey black bits somewhat reminiscent of a cut-back KISS makeup from the 70`s). And even more amusing still was their huge makeup kit which had swatches of approximately 50 different coloured makeups yet the only one they were ever going to use was the black!

As for the actual shopping, Arthur didn`t get as much as he expected as all the books he wanted were not out yet or ridiculously overpriced compared to online (Arthur doesn`t mind paying a pound ot two more but a £7 or £8 difference is too much to ignore). He grabbed another small Panda toy, a nice little steampunk book and a bargain Nightmare Before Christmas figure and a few Japanese snacks (for once the Japanese snack shops seemed to have a better selection of stuff) but that was about it. He also saw some expensive but nice Princess Mononoke figures that he may well go back for next week.

One shop he did visit was the newly opened TokyoToys shop in the Trocadero. This was a very strange shop. It sold the same kind of stuff as Orbital Manga but seemed to have less than half the range but in more than twice the amount of space. At the back of the shop was a large deserted interent/LAN area and the rest of the shop was just filled with 14 year old semi-COSPlayers hanging out for the day. Arthur says "Semi-COSPlayers" because, although a couple of them had made an effort to get dressed up in a half decent Manga costume, most just had the odd item like a bandanna, gloves, or belt buckle. One kid was dressed in a relatively smart casual type goth outfit and would have gone unnoticed amongst the standard London crowds apart from the large black cat whiskers drawn on his face with an eyeliner pencil...

Arthur suspects the shop won`t be there for long as providing a refuge for 14 year olds with whiskers to hang out all day really isn`t a good economic prospect especially for a shop occupying prime retail space in the most expensive city in the country.

Arthur really does feel old now and out of touch now (especially after his recent birthday). Maybe he should start his midlife crisis by investing in a black eyeliner pencil - he can decided later whether to use it for spikey eye makeup or whiskers.

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Eyes still wonky

 Friday 18 Jan 2008, 6:22 PM

Well it`s over a month later and Arthur still hasn`t even been given an appointment date for his return to check on the progress of his retinal haemorrage, depsite the fact they said they wanted to see him after a month.

Maybe it takes longer to process all that blood he had to give. Maybe the letter has been lost in the post (Arthur`s post has been a bit slow of late and he is still missing a Pocky delivery from Japan which he would have expected to have turned up by now). Or maybe the NHS are just a bit useless (this seems to be the most likely scenario).

Arthur will have to give them a call in a few days time if he hasn`t heard anything as the blurry blob in his vision still hasn`t got any better. On the positive side though he doesn`t think it has got any worse...

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Pizza Cake

 Monday 14 Jan 2008, 7:52 PM Pizza Cake

All birthdays should have cake and Arthur`s was no exception. On his birthday Arthur attempted to cook himslef his favourite type of cake - a plain white spnge with plain butter icing (very dull but very tasty). It was an OK effort but it wasn`t quite right. Still, he ate it all as some cake is better than no cake.

Then, a few days after his birthday, he got another cake from his mum but this was an altogther higher quality affair. The cake was made to look like a pizza and was exceptianlly nice. The base was a plain sponge with butter icing coloured red for tomoat sauce. on top of that wasd a mixture of fondant icing falvoured/coloured with chocolate for meat, more icing shaped like peppers, grated marzipan for cheese (a stroke of genius as not only did it taste great but it looked just like reasl grated cheese too) and some green colured coconut sprinkled on top for herbs.

It was very sweet and too big a slice would probably have induced a sugar high that required hosptial treatment but Arthur thought it was great (although possibly not quite as good as his favourite plain white sponge).

At the time the picture was taken only one quarter of the cake remained. And this was less than 24 hours soince he`d received it!

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Stupid Warner Brothers...

 Friday 4 Jan 2008, 10:36 AM

Warner Brothers, long time suporter of HD DVD, have announced they are to go Blu Ray exclusive from the end of May. Right from the start they have supported both formats although they have tended to favour HD DVD because, at the moment, it is technically better (there are a number of titles they haven`t released on Blu ray becasue of the lack of interactive features).

Becasue of their infulence over the HD market, Arthur thinks that this has effectively ended the format war; HD DVD is as good as dead. Whilst it is good that this a big step closer to a winner, Arthur finds it somewhat annoying for several reasons:

a) (most obviously) Arthur owns a HD DVD player, not Blu Ray!

b) As things stand at the moment HD DVD is still technically a better system as Blu Ray still hasn`t been "finished" yet.

c) Arthur wouldn`t mind so much if he could find a decent Blu ray player to purchase but there isn`t one - there isn`t a single Blu Ray player available that doesn`t have a number of problems/missing features, whatever money you are willing to pay and he refuses to spend £400 on a player that is essentially crippled from the day he buys it.

Arthur hopes some decent new players will appear at the big CES electronics show this week but he expects it will still be some time before their price drops enough to make them a realistic option. Grrr... stupid bloody region coding....

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Happy New Year?

 Tuesday 1 Jan 2008, 8:43 AM

Well, Christmas and New year are over and done with once again. Arthur has pretty much intergrated all his new gifts into his house (although his parents say they are still waiting for a Roomba they ordered to arrive so Arthur still has one nice gift to come at some point!) and is recovering from New Year.

Did Arthur have too much to drink? No. He actually nearly killed himself at a friends party playing Mario & Sonic Olympics on the Wii. Arthur was king of the sprint events but it came at a price; very sore limbs. In fact Arthur has been plagued with injuries all round this holiday season from the ladder induced lump on his head that meant he couldn`t get his Christmas cracker paper hat on properly on Christmas day , through to slicing open his fingers with a bread knife and pulling a muscle in his neck. Still, at least he had plenty of time off work to sleep and recover.

And as usual Arthur can`t really go shopping in the New Year sales as it is his birthday in a week or so so he can`t risk buying anything that was on his Christmas gift list that hasn`t yet arrived as it may turn up as a birthday present.

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