Thursday, 31 July 2014

No TV Either

Which means reading (the rather excellent "The Gun Seller" by Hugh Laurie; is there nothing this man cannot turn his hand to?), playing cards, chatting with good company (including drinking beer out of tins) and finally getting around to watching some films I have transferred to the laptop.

It's fun, different and not missing Izola too much yet.

Can't Wait to Try This

Friday's treat, aside from being back in civilisation, will be to try out a new bar along the seafront in Izola.  We saw Fuller's London Pride being advertised and can't wait to give that a go.  At 3.20€/pint it's a bit more expensive (local hooch is 2.20€) but it will be worth it as a treat and ironically, that is still cheaper than back in the UK.  Go figure.

By coincidence, I left a Fuller's Pride shirt in Izola in 2007 after our first visit and not only does it still fit 7 years on, it will be pretty cool to walk into the bar wearing that.

Six Whole Days

Talk about cold turkey- no internet access for almost a week and quite frankly, I've not been fussed.  As said, we can access wi-fi from one or two hot spots around the site but it's been my choice not to and I have had a really relaxing time without it.

Saying that, I am looking forward to uploading these drafts and start browsing my usual news pages.  It's going to be a fun weekend.

Prices

It's been a constant theme of the posts while away on holiday and they are rip your eyes out expensive.  However, there are one or two items that we have indulged ourselves as we simply cannot get them in izola and it would be unfair to ask friends coming over to bring along due to weight.

Can you believe we have paid 1.80€ for a tin of baked beans?  And they're not even Heinz.  We also paid a shocking 2€ for a bottle of Fanta Zero to give us a change from the Coke version.

*sigh*

Nothing Like Home Cooking

We're being spoiled rotten with Olivera's excellent cooking.  Having brought along huge amounts of food she whipped up the best cevapcici and home made pizza quicker than any professional chef.  The kids, all four of them, and all the adults (6 of us) loved it but I feel quite guilty as it is meant to be her holiday too.

We'll spoil her today, she really deserves it.

Aqualandia

The biggest attraction in the area attracting water sports fans from far away.  We headed over yesterday and due to the off/on weather, hit pay dirt as the park was almost deserted.  No queues, no hassles and plenty of fun.  At least half a dozen rides and slides, a large swimming pool, a sandy lagoon (with wave machine) and a dedicated kids pool.  Live shows every couple of hours from midday onwards helped keep sunbathers amused and even sunny periods to top up the tan.

A good day out, BUT...

Don't take the piss with prices once inside.  

At 30€ per person that should entitle you to a free sun lounger (instead pay out another 7€ for the privilege) and I don't think a bog standard burger and Coke is worth 12€ either.

Fair price would be 20€ all in, but the rides are fun if a little energetic as we have to lug up floats/rafts all the way to the top of the steps (a good workout) and the acrobats and divers in the shows were very impressive.

One final gripe- unfair to make all rides multi-person.  Not everyone goes in a group and certainly not everyone can muster three others for the main drop.  Of all the slides, only two were single person options.  Poor.


Hanging in There, Penultimate Day

The weather is still playing Russian roulette with our days under "canvas" but on the whole we've had good sunny periods during the day and the evenings have almost been blemish free.  A couple of cracking thunderstorms late at night have been timely as we've been in bed, so all in all, nowt to complain about.

Going home tomorrow, back to creature comforts including:
  • wi-fi
  • cable TV
  • TV in any case
  • big beds
  • fair prices
It's been fun, the kids have really enjoyed themselves and it's been a memorable holiday for all concerned.

And all is Well Again

Arrival day, glorious.  Second day, washout- rain all day.  Third day, dodgy start but back to wonderful by lunch,  Fourth day (today) another overcast day but warm and dry, so hopefully the sun can poke through and the kids can play on the beach.

Love it or Hate it?

My wonderful-sis-in-law brought over vital supplies in the form of red Peperami and Marmite.  Having some form of manners, we introduced the O2s to black gold, expecting them to recoil in horror.  Not quite the case, they loved it and has been a regular visitor to the breakfast table ever since.

Supplies rapidly diminishing but thankfully Carolyn, wifye's oldest school friend is coming to visit next month and she has promised to bring over a new pot.

Unreal

There aren't swarms of mosquitoes but squadrons of the bastards and for some reason they are particularly evil and painful.  I've been bitten on places I wasn't aware existed (how do the evil little gets find there way there in the first place) and also on the cheek, jaw, neck and the top of my head.

No matter what precautions you take, they will get you and it rather spoils the whole holiday.  :-(

I'm Sorry?

I know we are in Italy and they are the masters of the long lunch, but does that have to extend to the camp site too?  The supermarket and shops all close at 13:00 until 15:30 and we get repeated Tannoy messages to "remind" us this is a quiet period and to keep the noise down, not ride bikes or skateboards or do anything else one could expect to do when on holiday.

Excuse me, I pay a king's ransom to take a vacation here and you're telling me to go to bed for two and a half hours every day?  How does that work?

Hhmm...

Wonder how C & H are getting on?

Can't be Bothered

It's 3.50€/hour for wi-fi which is pricey.  Better value is the 10 hour package at 14€ but I really have no wish to connect to the internet at the moment.  I've gone cold turkey for the third day and haven't missed it too much.  I'm writing a few Blog posts off-line which will go off when I next connect and for the moment, that's fine by me.

Perhaps this will be a proper holiday for me after all?

Just Too Much

Being a bit canny,  shopping we brought a whole car full of shopping from Izola before we left.  It's just as well.  Italy is more expensive than Izola anyway but add the proximity to Venice into the equation and the fixed prices an captive audience can expect and we're looking at a major scam.

Prices are at least 200%, usually 300% higher and we are so pleased to have beaten this blatant rip off.  I feel sorry for the holiday makers who haven't been so fortunate to drive over or just thought it would be fair.

It isn't.

What to Do

Plenty.

Two large pools with slides and features and the beach a short walk away with proper sand.  Tennis courts, kids' playground, restaurant, pool and beach bars, gym, kit fit classes, supermarket and probably a load more I haven't seen as the rain has made it a challenge to go out and explore.

I'll be heading out shortly as the kids have been taken to Venice for the day with wifey ("to get some culture") and I have stayed at home.  Mainly 'cos I already fully cultured, innit, but more to the point, I am not a fan of Venice.  It is so far up its own arse with a pricing structure to shame even the most arrogant that I'd rather keep away and enjoy myself elsewhere.

That said, it's a city worth seeing once and I am glad I have- several times.

Off We Go

Being dragged kicking and screaming to the car- I don't like to give up my wi-fi and cable TV so readily, we packed in our kit for the six night stay and off we went.  It is only 170 km to the Eurocamp and Orhan reckoned around 2.5 hours at a leisurely pace.

I figured the way he drove and it only being slightly over 100 miles, under two hours.  I won the sweepstake.

We arrived in glorious sunshine to warm conditions and an even warmer welcome from the family, and already old hands at navigating around the sprawling complex and looked forward to a fun week away.

It's so nice to be optimistic, isn't it?

"Compact"

No one expects a mansion on a camp site and we got just what we were expecting.  Two small bedrooms, one with a double bed, the other with a single and bunk bed, plus a living area with kitchen space.  A closet doubled as a bathroom.

But do you know what?

It all worked well and we had some extras we weren't expecting such as air con and even heaters.

We've managed to cook meals simply enough, there is plenty of light (both natural and artificial when the sun goes down) and even showers and the like are manageable between four adults sharing 20 square metres.

The only real shame is that is rained the second day and the forecast is for much the same the entire week.  Luckily, it has turned out slightly better and the third day (today/Sunday) is starting to clear up.

The Eagle has Landed

Sis-in-law arrived at the camp site, Eurocamp, a day before us (on the Thursday), and texted wifey to say she had landed safely,  Of course, as soon as the plane touched down, it began pissing down and it was so heavy that they had to duck into a restaurant for shelter and a bite to eat after getting the shuttle bus to nearest bus stop.

The longer it rained, the bigger the cost of the meal went up- two adult and four kids will even do that at McDonald's, never mind an Italian diner, until in the even the owner took pity on them (and the ever increasing bill) and rallied round a couple of cars to take them to the venue down the road.

While wifey read the text out I glanced out of the window.  Yip, sunny, dry and warm.

Aye, We're Back

You'll be seeing a few post a la Blue Peter style (as in "here's some we've done before, off-line and they're now scynched") shortly but we'll be back with a bang for the new month, tomorrow.

It's so good to be back in the real world...

Monday, 28 July 2014

Friday, 25 July 2014

C & H

Make the most- this is it until we get back in August.  Unless we find some kind of a wi-fi hotspot...

Calvin and Hobbes

Mashups

1
Big news, Matt Groening fans: the worlds of The Simpsons and Futurama are about to enjoy a televisual coming together.
Indeed - Fry and his plucky band of intergalactic pizza delivery colleagues and the residents of 742 Evergreen Terrace will be colliding for a one-off special episode in November, confirmed by legendary Simpsons producer Al Jean yesterday while on a panel at a Television Critics Association event in the US.
While there’s no word on which location the action will unfold (we sure would love to see Bender knocking back Duffs in Moe's Tavern), it's certainly got our appetites whetted.
Additonally, the show's makers have also hinted that one key Simpsons character will be killed this year, with Krusty The Clown, who inadvertently once faked his own death, the much rumoured victim. Whether this tact is simply a ratings ploy akin to when Family Guy killed off Brian only to bring him back recently remains to be seen, but they do have previous in this regard - remember Maud Flanders' demise?
First up for the Simpson clan, of course, there’s the small matter of a tussle with those very troublemakers from Family Guy, for another special episode due in September which you can see the first glimpse of here.
We imagine Matt Parker and Trey Stone are checking their voice-mails intently.
SL

Dilbert

The Official Dilbert Website featuring Scott Adams Dilbert strips, animations and more

#1



It's one of the Holy Grails of the comic book world - and it could be yours for £1.5m.
A pristine copy of Action Comics #1, a legendary comic book notable for the very first appearance of Superman, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, is going on sale via eBay from August 14th through to the 24th and is expected to beat the previous record of $2.16m (£1.27m). It is also notable for the first appearance of Lois Lane.
Dealer Darren Adams is selling his first edition copy of the DC Comics title, with the quality rated at a huge 9.0, the same as the copy sold in 2011. This makes it the equally highest-graded known copy of Action Comics #1. It is estimated by experts that there are only 50-100 copies still in existence.
CGC Comics have made a scanned copy of the book available to view online, with the CGC primary grader Paul Litch saying that, "the book looks and feels like it just came off the newsstand. It is supple, the colours are deep and rich and the quality of the white pages is amazing for a comic that is 76 years old."
It is believed that eBay will be donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, so that makes us happy that a portion of our money will be going to a good cause. Now we just need to raise that £1.5m.

Bad You

Scientists have discovered that watching television at the end of a long day can make you feel guilty and like a failure.

The study, published in the Journal of Communication, found that people who were highly stressed after work did not feel relaxed or recovered when they watched TV or played computer games.

Instead they had high levels of guilt and feelings of failure.

Researchers at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany and the VU University Amsterdam in the Netherlands asked 471 study participants how they felt after work or school the previous day and what media they had used.

They found that those who were especially fatigued were more inclined to feel that they were procrastinating by watching TV or playing games instead of doing more important tasks.

This led them to feeling guilty, which in turn made them feel less recovered and revitalised, diminishing the positive effects of using media.

Previous research has shown that using entertaining media can produce a “recovery experience” that helps people relax and detach from the stresses of work.

But the latest study highlighted the paradox of using various media to relax after a stressful day, with those who might have benefited most from using media to recover instead experiencing lower levels of recovery, because they felt doing so was a sign that they had failed to exercise self-control.

Dr Leonard Reinecke, from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz who co-authored the report, said: “We are beginning to better understand that media use can have beneficial effects for people's well-being, through media-induced recovery.

"Our present study is an important step towards a deeper understanding of this. It demonstrates that in the real life, the relationship between media use and well-being is complicated and that the use of media may conflict with other, less pleasurable but more important duties and goals in everyday life.

“We are starting to look at media use as a cause of depletion. In times of smartphones and mobile internet, the ubiquitous availability of content and communication often seems to be a burden and a stressor rather than a recovery resource.”
TInd

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Stand Up if You Hate The Arse- 10

1. Emmanuel Adebayor

Jon Super/AP/Press Association Images
Jon Super/AP/Press Association Images
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In 2009, Emmanuel Adebayor used the torrid abuse he had received from Arsenal fans to justify his controversial goal celebration during Manchester City’s 4-2 win over his former side. Adebayor had joined the Citizens earlier that year from the Gunners, evoking fury among his former supporters.
And when City and Arsenal eventually came face to face in the Premier League, the Togo international was naturally afforded a white-hot reception before and during the game as a torrent of abuse rained down from the terraces. “I was being abused by people who six months ago were singing my name,” Adebayor later reflected. “It wasn’t my fault I left, it was Arsene who wanted to accept the offer for me. They were all clapping Kolo [his brother] but they were shouting personal abuse at me before the match had even kicked off.”
With the game locked at 2-2, Adebayor would silence the taunts however by scoring his side’s third goal, running the length of the pitch to slide on his knees in front of Gunners fans. “I scored and wanted to show people it is not a good idea to abuse me.
I really didn’t understand it at all. I was running on pure emotion and when you take emotion out of football we are going to have a big problem. People say I had time to think about because I ran the length of the pitch but that is not true. I was abused all match and scored a goal I knew would win the game for us. Ten seconds is nothing – your emotion is going to last a lot longer than that.”
The celebration might have been cathartic for Adebayor, but it ensured he was further reviled by Arsenal fans – even more so following his move to Tottenham Hotspur in 2012.

Stand Up if You Hate The Arse- 9

2. Ashley Cole

Sean Dempsey/PA Archive/Press Association Images
Sean Dempsey/PA Archive/Press Association Images
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In 2005, Chelsea, their manager Jose Mourinho and Arsenal defender Ashley Cole were all found guilty of secretly meeting at a London restaurant without the Gunners’s prior permission as the Premier League was engulfed in a bitter tapping up storm. Cole was punished for going behind his club’s back to engineer a move away from the Emirates and as a result became something of a judas figure among fans.
Chelsea’s chief executive Peter Kenyon, Mourinho, Cole and his agents Pini Zahavi and Jonathan Barnett were alleged to have been present at the meeting and Cole received a £100,000 fine for his infringement. The scandal resulted in Cole’s controversial move from Arsenal to Stamford Bridge in 2006 after the defender attacked his former manager Arsene Wenger in his autobiography for “feeding him to the sharks” in the aftermath of the tapping up storm, as his relationship with fans and manager alike descended into irreparable disrepair.

Stand Up if You Hate The Arse- 8

3. Samir Nasri

Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/Press Association Images
Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/Press Association Images
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In 2011, Samir Nasri joined a growing number of former Arsenal players to ditch the club in favour of the money of Mancehster City and in doing so alienated himself from Gunners fans everywhere. The move has never gone down well where those in north London are concerned and in 2013 the midfielder was accosted by a furious supporter and confronted over his perceived treachery. Supporters have made their ill feelings known to Nasri in slightly less aggressive ways, unfurling banners at the Emirates bearing the Frenchman’s image with pound signs in the background, while the midfielder himself recently waded into the argument by taunting:
“People at Arsenal tried to make out that I came here for the money, I hope they are watching me now, collecting my Premier League winner’s medal. I believe they have not won a trophy for many years now.”
It was an ill-advised mood because resentment toward Nasri has only grown ever since, with supporters refusing to forgive him for ‘having his head turned’ by Manchester City and their Abu Dhabi revolution.

Stand Up if You Hate The Arse- 7

4. William Gallas

Tony Marshall/EMPICS Sport
Tony Marshall/EMPICS Sport
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William Gallas was never going to be a popular figure considering he played for three London clubs in the form of Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs. Whichever section of support you ask, they’re all going to tell you there hated the Frenchman for joining their derby rivals.
At Arsenal, Gallas was embroiled in a series of controversies. He left Chelsea in 2006 following claims that he would deliberately score own goals if he was not allowed to join the Gunners and when he did get his move, things again turned sour when he was stripped of his captaincy after publicly attacking the team. It was claimed he argued frequently with Samir Nasri during the pair’s time together at the Emirates and that he was not on speaking terms with some of the Arsenal dressing room by the end of his time at the club, and he then went and joined Spurs in 2010, thereby ending his relationship with Gooners for good.

Stand Up if You Hate The Arse- 4

7. Nicklas Bendtner

Adam Davy/PA Archive/Press Association Images
Adam Davy/PA Archive/Press Association Images

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Nicklas Bendtner became a source of mockery among his own fan base during his highly forgettable nine-season stay at Arsenal – with some supporters flabbergasted he lasted that long. The not-so-great Dane did little to win over fans with a series of anonymous performances and found himself loaned out three times.
Off the pitch, he was dragging Arsenal’s reputation through the muck by ending up splashed over the back pages of tabloids due to a series of controversies that included him being snapped with his pants round his ankles stumbling out of a nightclub at midnight and wrapping his car around a tree off the A1. Bendtner became more known as a fool than a forward and all-but killed his already dying relationship with Gooners when he said last year: “I want to get away from Arsenal.”
The striker then prompted scenes of mass hysteria when he said he wanted his next career move to be either to Real Madrid or Barcelona, spawning a deluge of hilarious internet memes. Bendtner is currently a free agent after being released by the Gunners this summer.

Stand Up if You Hate The Arse- 6

5. Patrick Vieira

Sean Dempsey/PA Archive/Press Association Images
Sean Dempsey/PA Archive/Press Association Images
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Like Cesc Fabregas, Patrick Vieira will always go down as a club legend at Arsenal, but will be forever hated by Manchester United fans. Vieira was the villain to Roy Keane’s hero where things were concerned at Old Trafford at least with the two fiery midfielders  frequently coming to blows.
Through the rose-tinted spectacles of United fans, Vieira was a bully – and maybe there was a little truth in that. In a typically-heated exchange between United and Arsenal in 2005, the Frenchman famously ‘picked on’ Gary Neville in the tunnel prior to kick-off – prompting Keane to ride to his teammate’s rescue before yelling “I’ll see you out there!” as he was restrained by officials. Arsenal fans will give you a different story and tell you Keane was unhinged and that it was all too easy to press his buttons. Whatever way you look at it, there is no love lost between Vieira and United fans.

Stand Up if You Hate The Arse- 5

6. Gael Clichy

Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport
Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport
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Arsenal fans have good cause to resent Gael Clichy. Had it not been for the Frenchman, their club might have signed Gareth Bale. Bale was playing left-back for Southampton at the time and Wenger revealed he had the opportunity to snap the young Welshman up, but passed up on the offer as he already had defensive cover. Questioned on whether he could have had Bale, Wenger said:
“Yes, but we had full-backs at the time. We had [Gael] Clichy, we had [Ashley] Cole.”
Did Wenger’s faith in Clichy pay off? Not a little bit. In 2011, the fullback became the latest player to jump ship and join the Manchester City revolution, ensuring he alienated himself from not only Gunners fans but Wenger himself, it would seem, as the Arsenal chief would later snub the defender in the tunnel prior to a Premier League game against the Citizens.