Avatar Can’t Stop the River Force 5

Avenging bunged-up watercourses across the north east of England, the River Force 5 are on hand with their collection of sticks and poles to slowly move rocks and piles of leaves around, allowing the water to flow more directly and efficiently.

Now you too can revel in their escapades and benefit from their wisdom in this, their first non-fiction publication, Can’t Stop the River Force 5.

In this charming volume you will discover:

  • Kev’s Sleeping Bag Deluxe
  • The Grn
  • How to deal with a gay issue
  • The tale of Robert Flandersnoof
  • Plenty of tug and tumble

You can, as ever, read it on our magnificent Books page.

Avatar Mistakes in marketing

Let’s say you own a company. Let’s say you’re involved in JCBs and tipper trucks, shifting muck around. Let’s say you get yourself a nice white van for moving kit about and you get your company’s name written on the back, and maybe a nice photo of some JCBs and tipper trucks in action so everyone can tell what line of work you’re in.

For now we will overlook the fact that you name your company something daft like ”Kellands” when, if sense prevailed, you would clearly have called it something like ”John’s Diggers”.

You have space on the van for a slogan. Something positive and dynamic that tells everyone what your company is about and how great you are.

What slogan will you choose? Think carefully.

Avatar Jolly good: free wood

I started the ”jolly good” series a couple of years ago when the world seemed less than jolly good and we all needed a nice cheering up. It only lasted a couple of posts, but actually it’s nice to see something positive, so I’m going to carry on labelling my good news under the ”jolly good” banner.

Here’s some good news now. Our house came with a wood burning stove in the living room, which is great but more difficult to use than the central heating, since we have mains gas, but no way of getting logs delivered by underground pipeline direct into the stove. Logs have to be bought, which isn’t always cheap, and have to be brought home somehow, which isn’t easy in a small car.

The people next door are landscape gardeners. The man over the road had a large pear tree in his garden that needed to come down. The people next door were happy to cut it down for him, but couldn’t be bothered going to the hassle of getting rid of the bits. We got a knock on the door. Could we take some of the wood, maybe, and save everyone a trip?

Yes. Yes we could. In fact we could take all of it.

I am treating this windfall as a birthday present from the universe. Jolly good.

Avatar Sheriff Rockingham raises the stakes

I see that Ian is trying to start a new rap battle, maybe to make up for the fact that he lost the last one.

That’s fine. I’ll take him on any time, ready to fire my sick beats and dope rhymes his way. Like Kev, I’m gold on the floor and gold on the mic. But unlike Ian, I have nothing to prove.

In the couple of years that have passed since we last duelled, I haven’t felt the need to go showboating around with my rap skills. In fact Sheriff Rockingham has been putting his time into something far more wholesome.

I decided it’s time rappers did something more to help the environment. To stand up for the little creatures out there who are just hustling for a seed here, a seed there, trying to make it through the winter. That’s why I’ve been investing my rap riches in the bird table biz.

That’s right. It’s easy to assemble. You heard, the wood is from well managed forests. It’s even got a carry handle, fool. The grounds of Rockingham Palace are stuffed with these things and the birds love them. Time to get yourself in on the action before you get left behind.

Peace.

Avatar ‘Shed Avengers’ – mini review

Like Ian, I recently played a new game, and I wanted to tell you about it, but unlike Ian, I didn’t enjoy mine very much.

‘Shed Avengers’ is a highly lifelike simulation game in which you take on the role of a new homeowner who discovers that the felt covering the roof of his already poorly built garage is now being peeled away by the wind and causing items stored in the garage to become damp.

It has to be said that the graphics are incredibly good, as are the haptic feedback techniques used through the game controllers which really do make you feel like you’re climbing around on a flimsy wooden structure while alone on the premises. I really did feel like there was the potential to fall through the roof, sustain severe injuries and then lie there undiscovered for many hours.

The early part of the game is all about solving puzzles. It begins with the apparent aim of doing the job from the sides, safely standing on a ladder, but it quickly becomes apparent that this isn’t possible, and your hapless protagonist is forced instead to find a way to climb up onto the rickety roof using a ladder that’s a bit too short for the job. Once you figure that out, the first level, removing the tattered felt sheeting, is easily completed, but the game quickly becomes much harder. Level 2 involves painting a layer of wood preserver onto the roof while crawling around on it, but without the layer of felt to stabilise things, the unsecured timbers move around like the keys of a piano when your character’s weight is placed on them, and each must be painted all the way up to the apex of the roof before you can move on.

There then follow several more levels where the puzzles are less difficult and the gameplay less enjoyable, including lifting 20kg rolls of felt onto the roof without them either rolling off or falling through; hammering 400 clout nails into very flexible woodwork that bounces away when you try to strike it; painting a layer of bitumen adhesive under the felt joints while trying not to slide off the roof because it’s started raining; and finally, attempting to secure the last sheet of felt along the apex even though the flimsy stupid god damn roofline is like a rollercoaster so the stupid bloody thing won’t lie flat.

I will admit that my enjoyment of this already frustrating game was marred by my relatively low score on the final level, where I was unable to fully solve the puzzle and ended up completing the game with two wrinkles nailed in to the final felt sheet. If I were truly committed to the game, I’d go back and play it again to try and get a perfect score, but for me this was one to play once and then move on.

I’m not sure I want to play any more in the roofing and tiling series, and anyway my attention is now mostly taken up with the forthcoming release of Impossible Floating Shelf DIY Master, which is coming out in the next couple of months. When I’ve tried it I’ll let you know how I get on.

Avatar Christmas wrap-up 2020

Another year is over, Christmas has ended, and all that remains is to sweep up a large quantity of pine needles from the carpet, move an item of furniture over the conspicuous mulled wine stain in the middle of the living room, and plant a boot firmly in the arse of 2020 to make sure it departs on time and never returns.

What’s left, now the stocking has been emptied, the wrapping paper is off and the dust has settled? Let’s have a look.

House fixables

  • Large Stanley sorting box with starter collection of screws, bolts, dry wall fixings and other DIY essentials
  • Bird table camera for capturing visiting wildlife in HD video without having to leave my iPhone on a windowsill and then spend 20 minutes looking for it even though it was me that put it there
  • Bee hotel

Tasty eatables

  • Chocolates intriguingly shaped like walnuts and acorns
  • Odd coffee bags that make very fancy coffee by pouring hot water into a paper bag, somehow
  • Large bars of marzipan. I fucking love marzipan

Thrilling enjoyables

  • Husky ride where I get to drive the huskies (not sure how you drive a dog but since I basically like having a go at driving anything I’m allowed to climb into I am well up for this)
  • Segway safari

Well done everyone. Now let’s buckle up for 2021. It can only be better than 2020.

Avatar Investment opportunity

For a while now I’ve been looking for my next big business idea that will expand my already substantial entrepreneurial portfolio and take me to the next level. I’m ready to be the next Jeff Bezos and I think I’ve come up with the product that’s going to get me there.

Now, excitingly for you, I’m offering you the once in a lifetime opportunity to get in on the ground floor with the biggest idea of the century. Throw your cold, hard cash my way and reap the benefits. No more work for you. Once this idea takes off the hardest you’ll ever have to work is when you decide which of your tropical beachfront homes you’ll visit next week. Will it be Bermuda or the Seychelles? Goa or Bridlington? The choice, and the gold-plated superyacht, will be yours.

Here’s the pitch. Brace yourself.

What’s big right now? What is everyone into? The internet.

Where are people spending their money? What’s right on the fashions? Internet-enabled objects.

But everything’s on the internet now. Cars, fridges, electric toothbrushes. What part of your life hasn’t been connected to the internet yet?

Easy. Grass.

Grass: worthless without Bluetooth connectivity

Introducing iGrass™, the internet-enabled lawn.

  • Webcams are embedded in your lawn, equipped for 4K video streaming and with nightvision capabilities
  • Microphones at soil level capture every glorious rustle and every growing blade
  • IntelliPoke™ probes infiltrate the underlying strata of leafmould, mulch and root systems to provide real-time feedback on moisture levels, nutrient balance and worm density

These key technologies connect to the iGrass HD app (available for iOS and Android) via Bluetooth, allowing you to monitor your lawn in real time, from wherever you are, and receive automatic push notifications whenever an unwanted weed takes root or a cat has a wee nearby. You can also share pictures, beautiful data infographics and animated GIFs of your digital grass on social media straight out of the app.

Everything is better once it’s connected to the internet and if your frankly mediocre lawn is ever going to turn into something you can be proud of you need to get it online pronto. iGrass™ is the product to help you do it.

Convinced? Of course you are. Quick, chuck me your life savings. You won’t regret it.

Avatar Letter to the RSPB

Way back, many moons ago, there was a suggestion from myself that Chis and I had written to the RSPB to complain about the lack of dinosaurs. The conversation can be found in the comments below the post An Admission of Sorts, a summary is included here:

“It is a letter that needs to be sent. I imagine that much like the one me and Chris wrote to the RSPB about the lack of dinosaurs at Fairburn Inngs, it will be ignored, but it must be sent nonetheless….”

Kev

“Two things are needed here… The second is more information about the letter to Fairburn Ings, which I have no memory of.”

Chris

“Is the letter mentioned on here, Kev?”

Ian

“I’ll have a chumble[sic], it feels like it should be.”

Kev

It wasnt. There was no mention of it which led to comments such as…

“Maybe the right thing to do now is ask whether it happened at all, or whether it’s some sort of weird dream.”

Chris

Well today, I have BIG NEWS. I found it. Just the letter mind, sadly the enclosed drawing must have been a one off and is lost to the mists of time. It’s a doozy let me tell you.

Sadly Mr. Steven James never received a reply to the RSPB, it’s almost as if they didn’t take us seriously.

Clicken for Big.

In a side note, the little bit in the comments below the throw away bit about a letter that might not exist, is an excellent little ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ riff from Chris and Ian. Well done chaps, it made me lols all over again.