Saturday 21 May 2022

15 More Questions (from 5000)

Welcome to South Manchester where the weather is cloudy with a very slim chance of rain, but still quite warm. 
Shall we dive into some silly questions from Sunday Stealing
1. Who do you take for granted?
I don’t think I take anybody for granted. I guess if there is a chance that I do then it would probably be Mrs PM. However, Mrs PM is a strong independent woman and I reckon that if she thought I was taking her for granted then she would almost certainly tell me in no uncertain terms. I don’t really want to ask her – just in case I do.
2. Short, knee, or ankle skirts?
If you have read this blog before you will know that I am a bloke. I know that there are men who wear skirts but I am not one of them. In fact, I can honestly say, with my hand on my heart, that I have never worn a skirt or even been tempted to – even for a laugh.
I can answer the question though just shifting the attention to skirts on women. 
I like short, knee and ankle skirts on ladies and I know women who wear all three (not at once – that would be silly). Of course it depends on the occasion and what else is being worn but I am happy with all of them. 
3. Do you wear a hat?
I only wear a hat when it is very hot, the sun is blazing down and I am stuck outside. I wore a hat last Saturday because it was rather warm and sunny in Manchester and I will no doubt take it to one of the four cricket matches I am going to this summer. 
I will also take it to Spain and Greece on holiday later in the year.
4. Who's your favourite cartoon character?
When it comes to adult cartoons – this guy:

And when I was a kid I loved this guy:

5. Does break dancing impress you?
I don’t get break dancing – I never have – but the answer is yes, it does impress me. I couldn’t do it.
6. Are you a miracle?
We are ALL miracles dear reader. When you think about how likely your existence is, given what has happened since the dawn of time and the Big Bang, the probability of you actually existing is so low that the fact you are here reading this garbage is an absolute miracle.
You are special dear reader, as am I.
7. Have you ever eaten tofu?
Yes, I’ve eaten it a couple of time. It’s okay if not a little bland.
8. Does the moon have an effect on your mood?
I used to be a werewolf but I’m okay NOOOOWWWWWWOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
As far as I know, the noon doesn’t affect me personally. I am sure that it does at some deep level. After all, you can see the effect it has on the oceans. But do I feel it’s influence? Not at all. I might miss it when it is gone. Let’s hope this never happens:

9. Many people will say that the Harry Potter books are pure fluff with no literary value. Do you agree?
I loved the Harry Potter books. I wasn’t going to read them at all and Mrs PM was singing their praises having read the first three of them. I thought they were just kids’ books. However, one day I woke up feeling terrible, full of cold and totally unable to work. I lay there in bed feeling sorry for myself and I spied Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on a chest of drawers. 
I was bored so I decided to give it a go and basically devoured it in a few hours. I was ill the next day too so I read the second book. 
And I became a fan. 
The writing isn’t brilliant, I have to say but it does work. 
And I also love the movies too.
10. What are you doing next Wednesday?
Wednesday is a busy day next week. I usually work from home but that day I am going into the office because we are being taken out for a free lunch because a recent project was installed successfully. Later in the evening I am going out for a couple of beers with some of the lads from my team. I don’t normally drink during the week but I thought I would make an exception this time. 
11. Why do so many people think Elvis is still alive?
I honestly don’t know. I don’t think that people have ever been able to come to terms with the fact that he died so young.
Of course it is possible that he is still around – he would be 87 years old – but I seriously doubt that he faked his own death to hide from the mafia (which is the most common one).
You just have to accept it when a musical hero passes away. Some of mine have done so over the years and I just accept it. 
Mind you, I love a good conspiracy theory (even though I rarely believe them) and the fact that some people have invented stories about the so-called king is amazing. Good for them – they’ve kept me entertained.
12. Are your hands cold?
My hands are never cold apart from when I am outside in winter.   
13. Have you ever given blood?
Yes – once. And I nearly passed out. I haven’t given it since and I do feel guilty about that.
14. What Sci-fi books do you read?
I have read hundreds of science fiction books. I favour space operas but I am willing to try anything, even hard science fiction where the science blows your mind.
I’m not fussy really. 
15. Have you ever belonged to a sorority or a fraternity?
No. We don’t have fraternities or sororities in the UK.

Saturday 14 May 2022


Welcome to a warm and sunny afternoon in May. 

Shall we dive into a bunch of silly questions from Sunday Stealing

1. Where do you get your news these days?

Our news channels in the UK are largely unbiased because they have to be. I wish I could say the same for newspapers. There are a few satellite/cable channels that lean towards the left or right but I tend to avoid those.

The channel I usually get my news from is the good old reliable BBC who, to be fair, do approach the news from different perspectives allowing the views from both sides. This is unlike some American channels like Fox News. Obviously I don’t watch Fox news as I am not interested in American politics at all – I just hear about their bias from shows that I watch from there.

As for the BBC, the right wing usually accuse them of having a left bias and the left wing accuse them of being right wing. This is the price they pay for approaching the news in the way that they do.

Personally, I think they are fine.

2. Do you like crab meat? What makes you crabby?

I haven’t had crab meat since I was in Atlanta, Georgia many years ago. I went to a seafood restaurant and got a huge bucket of crab and a weird implement to use to extract the meat from the legs. I had to be shown how to use it. It was lovely I have to say.

What makes me crabby? This cretin:

3. Does freedom mean more choices? Have you ever felt there were too many choices? Elaborate.

Freedom in what sense? As I’ve said before, I don’t think that we are free. We live under the illusion that we are free but when reality bites you will find that you don’t have the freedom described by your government. Certainly some countries have more than others but the bottom line is that we are not that free at all.

I am naturally indecisive and so I hate it when there are too many choices. For example, I recently bought an electric piano and I agonized for weeks about the best one to buy. I am happy with my choice but it took loads of research. Now I am looking for a new 10 inch tablet and the market is flooded with such items so I have to go through the same pain again.

I suppose it’s good to have a lot of choice but there is a limit to my patience.

4. Barbara Millicent Roberts was introduced to the world on March 9, 1959...that's Barbie to most of us. Did you have Barbies as a kid, or did you let your own children play with Barbies? What well known Barbara (living or not) would you most like to meet?

I am a guy so I didn’t have Barbie dolls as a child. I had two sons and they didn’t have Barbie dolls either. 

I know one person called Barbara, someone I used to work with who is now retired. Two guys I used to work with (also retired) have wives called Barbara.  I guess the most famous persons I have heard of called Barbara are Barbara Streisand and Barbara Windsor, so I will say those two ladies would be on my list to meet.

5. What are three things you value most in another person?

I like people who are funny, honest and sincere.

6. How would you define “old.”  At what age is a person old?

I am 59 years old and while cheeky younger people refer to me as “old” I don’t actually feel old at all. My perception of “old” has changed over the years. When I was a kid, I would have thought 30 was old. When I was 20 I though 50 was old. Now I think of 70 as old. 

And really I am old when I think about it as I will be retiring in a few years. Let’s say 65.

7. A place you’ve been that’s “old.”  Tell us something about your visit there.

I have been to lots of old places, like the Palace of Knossos in Greece, the Colosseum in Rome (and the Forum) and the Great Wall of China. The Great Wall of China was the most impressive and there were several things that struck me about it:

First, it is huge. The bit that we saw is the most touristy bit and it was flooded with visitors.

Next, it very old, some parts dating from the 7th century BC. 

Next, it is very steep in places. If you want to walk along it, be prepared to climb some steps and really steep bits.

Finally it isn’t straight. It winds through the countryside sometimes doubling back on itself and I often wondered why they didn’t make it straight.

It is really impressive though. Here are some photos and if you look carefully you can see Mrs PM in one of them.

8. Something you miss about the “good old days.”  When were they?

The good old days were probably the 1980’s and early 1990’s. I miss being young, I miss decent music being in the charts, I miss university life and a general feeling that the future was going to be amazing. I don’t think the future has become quite as brilliant as I anticipated with wars, pandemics, Brexit and all the pain those things are bringing. I am quite happy despite this and looking forward to another time when I feel as positive as I did back then.

9. In what way are you a 'chip off the old block'? Or if you'd rather, in what way is your child a 'chip off the old block'?

I look just like my dad. He died at the young age of 44 but until that moment the resemblance between the two of us was uncanny. In a similar way, that family resemblance has passed down to my two lads who look very similar to me. Myself and my two lads are really close and although we don’t see each other as often as we would like, we still have a lot of fun together.

Mrs PM calls us “the clones”. Judge for yourself:

10. Old fashioned, Old Testament, old timer, same old same old, old glory, good old boy, old wives tale...choose an 'old' phrase that relates to something in your life or the wider world currently and explain.

For the last ten years I have been called a grumpy old git because I have spent a lot of time ranting about all manner of things. This year I decided that I wasn’t going to be grumpy and that I am going to try to be more positive. It is an uphill struggle, believe me, but so far I have managed to take a deep breath and stay silent when watching the news for example. There is so much crap going on at home and in the world at the moment that the need to look for the good things in life is something I want to do. This time last year, for example, when Boris “the clown” Johnson appeared on TV talking utter bollocks I would yell at the TV and hurl all manner of abuse at the clown/scarecrow hybrid. These days I just shake my head and say nothing. Inside I want to scream but I control myself. 

I just want to be an old git.

11. July 5th is National Hawaii Day...have you ever been to Hawaii? Any desire to visit or make a return trip? Pineapple, mango, or guava...what's your pleasure?

No, I haven’t been to Hawaii. Mrs PM has with one of her old jobs. I followed her to Las Vegas but Hawaii was a bit of a stretch given how long it would take to get there and the time I would need to take off work.

I haven’t ruled it out though. If you live in Hawaii you might see me one day.

Pineapple, mango or guava? I prefer pineapple but I love all three of them.

12. Last time you were 'thrown in at the deep end'? Explain.

It’s happened a lot in my job. One example:

I was working in Hong Kong in 1999 and, almost as an afterthought, I was invited to a meeting. The way it was put to me, I was just going for a quick chat with a couple of people. When I turned up, I was confronted by about ten people. The guy who had invited me introduced me than introduced everybody else to me. They were all high level managerial types and I thought to myself “What’s this?”

I found out.

“Dave, we’re concerned about the millennium bug. Can you give us a presentation about your computer system and tell us all where all the risks lie and whether we are going to have an issue on 31st December 1999?”

I had prepared nothing, had no warning and basically had to convince these guys that all hell wasn’t going to break loose come the millennium.

I almost told them to rearrange the meeting to allow me to prepare. Basically I had to describe the system in great detail and convince these guys that the system would be fine. It took me about two hours and I have to admit that I winged it a little bit. Every time I uttered a sentence it was “Will the bug affect that?” 

“No,” I said. I probably used that word several hundred times in those two hours. 

At the end I discovered that some big manager had started panicking and called for several such meetings immediately. And when told to jump his subordinates jumped, giving people no time to actually sort themselves out. 

In the end, as I predicted, nothing happened with the Millennium Bug. The truth is that as software engineers we had been preparing for it for at least ten years. I found it hilarious when people were convinced that aircraft would fall out of the sky or that your toaster would either start attacking you or explode. 

They all thought that this would happen:

13. Sun, sea, sand, salt...your favourite when it comes to summer?

It’s good to get outside in the sun (as I will be this afternoon). I also like travelling and we are off to Belgium, Spain and Greece this year. Spain and Greece in particular will be fantastic and I can’t wait.

14. Bury your head in the sand, the sands of time, draw a line in the sand, pound sand, shifting sands...pick one and tell us how the phrase currently relates to your life in some way.

Shifting sands I guess. Recent things like the pandemic, Putin’s crazy war and Brexit have meant that odd things have happened and continue to happen worldwide. Also, winding down to retirement means more changes in my life. The next few years are going to be – well interesting to say the least.

15. On a scale of 1-10 (1 = make your own rules and 10=like a warden), how strict were your parents? If you're a parent where on the scale do you land? 

My dad was a lot less strict that my mum. I think my dad wanted us to thrive as kids and, quite rightly in my opinion, he used to encourage us to do stuff. Sadly a lot of the time he deferred to my mum and she was strict and put paid to any ideas we had. 

I think she did it out of love because she was terrified that things may happen to us as a consequence. But it could be frustrating and caused a couple of arguments as I tried to rebel against her wishes – which probably explains the rebellious side of me that surfaced between the ages of about 11 and 18. 

It was only when I grew taller than her that I started ignoring her and laughing when she scolded me, which led to a few fallings out. 

When my dad died, though, things changed and my mum and I became a lot closer.

So on a scale of 1 to 10, my dad was probably a 4 and my mum an 8 giving an average of 6.

Saturday 7 May 2022



Welcome to a fairly pleasant South Manchester with a blue sky but the threat of rain later, potentially. I don’t mind – the days are getting longer, the nights shorter, the temperature is rising and we are heading for summer. 

What’s not to like?

Shall we dive into some silly questions from Sunday Stealing

1. Do you like your handwriting?

It’s readable, I think so I guess the answer is yes. Judge for yourself. Here is an excerpt from my university notes (and this is as neat as it gets). It’s the same now but probably a little scruffier because I don’t write as much as I used to. It’s all on the computer now.

2. Do you like roller coasters?

When I was a kid I used to love them. However, something changed when I reached about thirty or forty and now I hate them. I think it was a huge ride somewhere in America that flipped me. I waited to get on the thing and it arrived with the pervious victims, some of whom were whooping and saying “ALRIGHT!” and high fiving each other in the way that our American cousins do. But then I noticed a few people get off with faces drained of blood saying “I am NEVER riding that thing again!”.

That made me nervous – but I got on anyway.

And I hated it. I was hurled around like paper bag in a hurricane and when I finally got off the thing, my heart was racing, my head was spinning and I felt pain when I had been bruised as then thing slammed to a halt. 

I have never been on a rollercoaster since.

3. Do you like scary movies?

I used to love them but now I find them a little boring. I remember watching The Exorcist and it scared me to death and I have never seen one since that has had the same effect. The problem these days is that they are there to make you jump and I find myself trying to predict when such moments will occur. I find films like Saw too disturbing so I don’t watch those gory films.

However, I have enjoyed some fairly recently. 

I liked Ring (the Japanese version is genuinely brilliant), Paranormal Activity and the two “It” movies based on the Stephen King novel. 

Usually I don’t bother unless somebody recommends them to me. 

4. Do you like shopping?

This is déjà vu. I used to like shopping but not now. When Mrs PM says “shall we go shopping?” I usually decline unless it is absolutely necessary. There is nothing worse than shopping with your wife/girlfriend for the following reasons:

(a) It takes hours.

(b) I end up waiting outside a changing room with other depressed and grumpy men. These changing rooms are usually adjacent to the women’s underwear department so there is nothing to see other than bras and panties – and that adds to the depression because you end up looking at the floor so you don’t appear to be a weird pervert.

(c) You have to answer the world’s most difficult question over and over again: “How does this look on me?”

These days I do 95% of my shopping online.

5. Do you like to talk on the phone?

Again (déjà vu) I used to do this a lot but now my phone conversations are limited to calling up companies to help me or to complain or things like that. Most communication these days is face to face or via some form of social media or application like WhatsApp. 

I feel sad about this – I think we are losing something.

6. Do you sleep with the lights on or off?

Mrs PM says that I have “see through eyelids” because whenever there is the slightest bit of light, I wake up. I love this time of year but the one disadvantage is that it gets light at 4am and I wake up early a lot of the time. We do have blackout curtains but occasionally the dawn light gets through gaps. 

I sleep with the lights off – definitely.

7. Do you use headphones or earphones?

I use both. When I am working or practicing the piano, I use headphones. When I am walking, I have my iPod and earbuds. 

I like both really.

8. Do you have tattoos?  Do you want any?

I have no tattoos nor do I want any. 

They are too permanent and I am starting to droop.

9. Do you wear glasses?

Yes. I have to wear them otherwise I would stumble around and bump into things.

10. What is your strangest talent?

I can say the first word of this song:

I learned this when I was a kid and I can still say it:

I am basically a weird person.

11. Have you ever been in the hospital?

I’ve been in a hospital several times to visit people but I have never spent a night in one. 

I hate hospitals.

12. What colour mostly dominates your wardrobe?

I would say that blue is the dominant colour. Mrs PM does her best to change that – I am wearing a red T-shirt as I type and have several other colours. But blue is the main one.

13. What’s your most expensive piece of clothing?

I would say that is the suit that I bought recently for a wedding. 

Guess what colour it is?


14. Have you ever had braces?

What sort of braces?

I have never worn this kind:

but I have worn two different sets of teeth braces. I hated wearing them. They were a right pain in the rear end – and the teeth as well. 

15. Have you ever been on TV?

Only by accident. I have seen myself in the crowd at a football match and also at a cricket match. The last one was hilarious. 

England were playing New Zealand in a 20-20 game at Old Trafford cricket ground in Manchester. I was with two mates and had a full pint of beer. One of the New Zealand batsmen decided to choose that moment to hit a six. Moreover, he calculated that the best place hit it was at me.

The bowler ran up, bowled a loose ball and the batsman caught it perfectly. I watched with a smile as it sailed into the air. Now cricket balls are really hard and as a kid I have suffered with them when they have hit me. So as you can imagine, as the ball sailed through the air towards me, I started to panic. My mate pointed at it and said “It’s coming this way”. It landed about two rows in front of me but for a moment I was convinced it was going to hit my head.

What did I do to avoid this catastrophe?

I didn’t do what any normal man would do and try to duck or avoid the projectile. 

Instead I panicked and spilled approximately a quarter of a pint of lager down my shirt. 

When I got home, I watched the highlights on TV and saw the whole thing again – the look of amusement as the batsman hit the ball, my mate pointing at the ball as it flew towards us, the look of sheer panic on my face as I realized it was on a possible collision course with my head, a tsunami of lager cascading down my pristine T-shirt, the look of embarrassment on my face when I realized what had happened and the laughter of my two mates and a couple of others as they saw my beer-soaked shirt.

Not a good appearance; it’s a good job I’m not famous.