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» Heroes and villains of 2011

Local Heroes
Although I've got a lot of heroes and villains from the wider world most have been mentioned so rather than repeat those - here's some of my local heroes.

First group of heroes are the members of the local coastguard station at Stornoway who were out and about on Christmas day in 70 mph winds (the helicopter was going backwards at times).

The RNLI guys for going out in force 12 hurricane force winds for days at a time. I can't even stand up in a force 10 but to be out in a boat with 15 meter high waves is a level of bravery that I just don't have.

The local vet. It might seem odd to praise a vet but this is the guy who's out delivering sheep at gone midnight in howling gales and horizontal rain. He's also the guy who refloats whales which makes him a hero in my book.

Villains, the MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency) for attempting to close down the coastguard stations, getting rid of the emergency towing vessels and generally showing a complete lack of understanding about how dangerous it is out at sea and just not giving a shit about anything outside of London (the Minister for Shipping is the MP for Hemel Hempsted FFS I mean he really understands what affects the sea).

SSE Power Distribution. For the six hour power cut on Christmas Day. Bastards.
(Sat 31st Dec 2011, 0:32, More)

» Corporate Idiocy

Corporate Reorganisations.
Not for a company I worked for but an ex-colleague swears that this is true.

The company he was working for was going through one of those reorganisations that corporations like to do on a regular basis to justify the existence of certain middle managers.

The manager in charge of this was both incompetent and lazy and passed the reorganisation work onto his underlings, including the powerpoint presentations but taking all the credit for his hard work even though he wasn't even reading the reports, just passing them off as his own and claiming overtime for all the extra work he was putting in.

Anyway, the minions decided to organise the company into Business Units, each with its own manager.

The piece de resistance was with the naming of the units themselves with Computer Unit: Northern Territories.

The manger went to the reorganisation meeting with a powerpoint presentation reading John Smith: BUM CUNT.

Bit of a bugger considering that John Smith was his manager. Of course he tried claiming that it was his team who'd done it, forgetting that he'd put in expenses claims for doing the work himself.
(Fri 24th Feb 2012, 20:32, More)

» Killed to DEATH

Roadkill is my speciality.
The weirdest thing I've ever killed in my car has to be mackerel. I was driving across a causeway in a storm and a wave deposited a shoal of mackerel over the road ahead of me which I promptly ran over.

The second most unusual road-kill occurred when driving home at night, in a blizzard. I managed to hit a sheep which had unwisely decided that a white animal sitting on a snow covered road was a good idea. (Not an uncommon occurrence here, most people have at least one sheep related insurance claim.)

As the sheep was dead it went in the back of the car for a fitting disposal (I was going to eat it). Unfortunately, a reasonable amount of blood and guts had deposited itself over the engine and resulted in a sickly smell of roast lamb through the cabin for the rest of the drive home and I couldn't face eating lamb for months afterwards.

I know of someone who reportedly did the same with a deer. He hit it and loaded it into the back of his Volvo estate. Pity it wasn't dead and just stunned. About a mile down the road it woke up and as you might expect panicked, totalling the car from the inside. I'd have loved to see the insurance claim for that.

(In a karma balancing moment I once helped refloat a beached whale so in terms of weight of things I've accidently killed versus what I've saved I'm in credit.)
(Thu 22nd Dec 2011, 23:51, More)

» Books

Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach
It's a bit of a weird one to describe without coming across as some sort of New Age Hippy but I'd recommend it to everyone without hesitation. It's a short book and if you see it in a bookshop or a library have a quick scan through and see if it floats your boat.

I've also got a soft spot for "To Kill a Mockingbird." I had to study it for English Lit but surprisingly it didn't destroy it for me. (It's also one of the few books where I'll recommend the film adaptation with Gregory Peck for those who don't read).

Others that spring to mind are "Good Omens", "Excession", "Rebecca" and "Moby Dick". An odd mix I do admit.
(Thu 5th Jan 2012, 17:45, More)