Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fecking Computers

I'm in a frenzy of excitement here in the Dungroanin' sitting room at the moment.

The reason for this excitement? Sega has released the demo version of Football Manager 2008, which I am currently downloading.

Only there's a problem. My steam-driven laptop is notorious for freezing completely, leaving no option but to turn off the power and reboot.

And, having reached the 30% mark in the 523MB download, this antique piece of crap decided to take a rest, forcing me to switch it off and back on. And cancelling the download in the process.

So I've started again. And at a download speed of less than 30k per second, it's going to take a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG time.

The download manager is estimating that it will take a further five hours to finish downloading. So, from 6pm tonight, you can expect no further communications from this humble outpost of the worldwide interweb for a while....

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Who Answers?

I'm still alive and still on holiday, which I hope will explain, if not excuse, the lack of postage here at this far-flung outpost of the worldwide interweb.

Visits to the central belt, visits to Dungroanin' by Mrs Wife's faither and mither, two games of football and repairs to a car have limited the free time available to yours' truly, but I'll be back soon, promise....

Anyway, to pass some time, here's a good reason why Lego is STILL the coolest toy in the world:

Monday, September 24, 2007

Bill Gates Could Be A Terrorist

Seeing as how no-one fancied stepping into my shoes and contributing to this webs(h)ite over the next few days, I'll leave you with this little funny courtesy of

Five Things Hollywood Thinks Computers Can Do - my personal favourite is Independence Day's Mac-compatible alien civilisation....

Friday, September 21, 2007

We're All Going On A (Post) Summer Holiday

Next week, Mrs Wife and I have a full week's holiday for the first time in what feels like ages.

No firm plans have been made beyond a couple of days in Falkirk visiting friends, and probably stopping in at the Falkirk Wheel and Stirling Castle.

As I'll probably not be within reach of a computer for some of the week, I'm throwing out an invitation to any of you strange people of the worldwide interweb who would like to have a bash at filling the empty space and time here at Groanin' Jock.

Anyone who'd like a set of keys to this humble site for a guest post next week can let me know in the comments or email me at

I'm ready for anything....

The Sixth Groanin' Jock Lyrical Challenge

For the first time, more than half of the tunes in the Groanin' Jock Lyrical Challenge were correctly identified. Misssy led the way with two correct answers, after The Tomahawk Kid had recognised Motorhead's Ace of Spades. Answers to that quiz are now in the comments on the post.

Here are this week's lyrics. The object of the game is to identify the artists and tracks plucked at random from the Magic Tune Box. Answers in the comments. No Googling.

1: I was gonna take the time to sit down and write you a little letter, but I thought a song would probably be a little better.

2: I know how you want it, hot, sweet, and tight. The girls can't stand it when you're doin' it right.

3: Now my advice for those who die, declare the pennies on your eyes.

4: Why don't you kneel me down, why don't we try, try, try?

5: And I know it's getting harder for you to choose - who will lie?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Smiley Smile

Some of you strange folks out on the worldwide interweb apparently find this site funny - probably just very occasionally.

In recognition of this, Tish over at The Kat House has presented me with the You Make Me Smile Award.

Says Tish: "Groanin’ Jock has a wonderful sense of humor, and I can always expect a laugh when visiting his blog."

My sense of humour is built almost entirely on sarcasm, which I have been told is the lowest form of humour, but the highest form of wit.

Anyway, to keep the torch burning, I should really nominate a couple of folks as recipients of the same award. Two of the sites where I can always expect a laugh are Horton's Folly and The Misssy M Missives. And what do you know - both Horton Carew and Misssy are Scots. I guess we're just the funniest race on Earth.

The Naked Footballer

You know that feeling you get when you see something you wished you hadn't, and long for the ability to unsee it or claw your own eyes out?

I've got a similar feeling at the moment - except, because I've been forced to think of something, I wish I could yank my own brain out through my nose or ear, so that I never have to think of it again.

Yesterday afternoon, someone arrived at this far-flung outpost of the worldwide interweb having searched on Google for "naked pictures of Ian Durrant Rangers".

Aaaaaaaaaggggggghhhhhhh! The pain - make it stop.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mobile Madness

Oh the joys of predictive text messaging on my mobile phone.

Yesterday, I attempted to send the following message to a friend:

"I'm on holiday all week, so free any time"

Which my mobile thoughtfully translated to:

"I'm on holiday all week, so free boy time"

Which is a completely different message entirely, I'm sure you'll agree....

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Quizzical Education

Tonight, in an effort to forge bonds between co-workers where there were no bonds before, our company is holding a quiz night.

My team of four, which includes Mrs Wife, one of my colleagues and his own Mrs Wife, will be up against everyone else from the office as we attempt to prove we're the brainiest of the lot. (In fact, all we should be aiming for is to avoid finishing last).

A quick spell of random questions this morning between myself and my colleague proved one thing - I don't know half as much as I thought I did, and I know considerably less than I did when I was a kid.

As a teenager, I represented the whole of the Brechin area in the Masterkid of Angus competition. And whilst at high school, I appeared on Radio Tay several times as a member of our school's quiz team. (Good God, why didn't anyone tell me to STOP BEING A GEEK!)

Back then, I think I had a pretty good grasp of 'general knowledge' - ie, loads of useless crap that somehow lodged itself in my brain.

But I'm finding that nowadays, that crap doesn't stick as well as it used to. Maybe it's because I have to work for a living and remember relevant facts about the oil industry, not to mention deadlines, which reports I should be working on, which databases I need to update and the like. Or maybe I just don't have the time to sit and read newspapers and magazines the way I used to, devouring information for information's sake.

These days, when I get home from work, I'm quite content to sit in front of the television or play computer games. And no-one ever won a general knowledge quiz through their ability to recall the plotlines from Lost, or the best players in Football Manager 2007.

Or perhaps I'm just getting stupider. Brain cells die and are never replaced - that's a fact of life. And as my head fills with new knowledge, such as information about mortgage rates, the price of fuel and the ins and outs of squirrel sex, maybe there's just no room in my head to remember which is the most common element on Earth (it's hydrogen) or what the Rolling Stones' first single was (I Wanna Be Your Man).

I'm sure we'll found out this evening.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Soundtrack of My Life

Each month, Mojo magazine interviews three celebrities or musicians for its All Back To My Place page, asking the same questions each month. I figured I'd prepare my answers just in case they ask me for the next issue.

What music are you currently grooving to?
I don't know if it can be classed as "grooving", but I'm listening to The Enemy's debut album We'll Live and Die In These Towns a lot. It reminds me of The Jam, in a kind of vitriolic, call-to-arms, sound of the suburbs sort of way. Nowadays, I listen to music most when I'm driving to and from work, but I have a car share, so I tend not to subject her to anything too outrageous or loud. I'm also waiting for my copy of Hard Fi's Once Upon A Time In The West to be delivered.

What, if push comes to shove, is your all-time favourite album?
The Stone Roses' debut album has been my favourite album since I was about 18. I can't really put into words what it is that makes it so important: the whole package transcends the individual songs and the individual players. But the opening rumble of I Wanna Be Adored, the psychedelic punk of Made of Stone and the epic closer I Am The Resurrection are enough in themselves to make it the greatest record of all time.

What was the first record you ever bought? And where did you buy it?
It was the soundtrack to the movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on cassette from John Menzies in Dundee (now replaced by a Tesco Metro) in 1990 or 1991. I'm always surprised when rock stars are interviewed and asked what their first record was, and they say The Jam, or The Beatles, or The Sex Pistols. I went through a long phase of liking shite pop music, a phase I call "being a kid". Kids don't buy Sex Pistols records - they buy novelty records, movie soundtracks and pop. Anyway, the soundtrack to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles included the awesome T-U-R-T-L-E Power by Partners In Kryme, This Is What We Do by MC Hammer and 9.95 by Spunkadelic, all of which I have recently downloaded from the internet. I think I might still have the original tape hidden away in either Mither's or Faither's loft.

Which musician have you ever wanted to be?
Anyone who can play an instrument. I envy people who can pick up an acoustic guitar and rattle off five or six songs faultlessly to entertain a roomful of people. I'd love to be able to play drums like Dave Grohl, bass like Flea or guitar like John Squire.

What do you sing in the shower?
I always used to sing in the shower, but nowadays I get up at 6.15am, which means that I tend not to, for two reasons:
a) 6.15am is not a "singing in the shower" time of day
b) The bathroom at Dungroanin' is en suite, and Mrs Wife would probably not care too much for being woken up at 6.15am by me running through a medley of Super Furry Animals songs.
On the occasions when I do sing, I find that Elvis songs sound great in the shower, as the cubicle makes my voice, which is quite deep (especially when I'm tired), echo. So I'm quite partial to belting out Devil In Disguise and Suspicious Minds. I also like singing Reef's Naked, for someone reason that I haven't been able to fathom, but which may well be Freudian.

What is your favourite Saturday night record?
If it's one record that I'll put on before going out, it's The Stone Roses' debut album, cranked right up so that the bass rattles the windows. I have to listen to the whole thing, finishing with the instrumental at the end of I Am The Resurrection. However, in this age of CD burners and MP3 players, it's all too easy to make up a playlist especially for Saturday nights. When I was at university, my flatmate and I made a going out CD that included Primal Scream's Kill All Hippies, Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit, The White Room by Cream and White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane, amongst others. No-one else liked it, but we thought it was ace.

And your Sunday morning record?
I tend not to listen to music on Sunday mornings, but when I do, it can be almost anything. A bit of Motown can start the day nicely, as can The Beatles. Probably not Metallica, Motorhead or Probot though.

I know many of you can't stand memes, but if you want to play along, feel free. I'd be especially interested to hear how The Tomahawk Kid and Erica would answer.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Fifth Groanin' Jock Lyrical Challenge

Time for an update on the non-famous game no-one is waiting for.

Misssy was the only entrant in the Fourth Groanin' Jock Lyrical Challenge, correctly spotting some of Morrissey's finest non-Smiths lyrics. Answers are now in the comments for that post.

So here's the next batch of words for this unheralded worldwide interweb-based game of "Name that tune".

It's easy to play: identify the song and artist chosen at random by the Magic Tune Box from the lyrics given. Post your answers in the comments. No Googling!

1: I'm rich, like a hot noise.

2: Playing for the high one, dancing with the devil, going with the flow, it's all the same to me.

3: Where have you gone again my sweet? Everybody wants to know.

4: The crap rolls out your mouth again, haven't changed, your brain is still gelatin.

5: Out on a limb in the carnival of me, raising the temperature 100 degrees.

10,000 Maniacs

Shortly after 9.30pm last night, the 10,000th visitor crossed the threshold here at Groanin' Jock.

Anyone who's been paying attention will know that this far-flung outpost of the worldwide interweb was a year old last week, so it's taken just over a year for you hardy souls to venture out here 10,000 times.

It wasn't one of my regular readers who reached this momentuous landmark, but someone from Germany looking for a picture of Uluru.

Thanks to everyone who bothers to check back here now and again. Here's to the next 10,000 visitors.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Nerd Herd

I've got a stinking cold and an atomic fuckload of work to do, so in lieu of a proper post, I'm just going to prove that I am a nerd, courtesy of a quiz I encountered over at Blog d'Elisson. says I'm a Slightly Dorky Nerd King.  What are you?  Click here!

A slightly dorky nerd king? Hey, at least that's better than being a nerd wannabe....

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lost Classics II: The Music - The Music

Briefly, at the start of the 21st Century, a handful of British bands threatened to throw off the shackles of Britpop and emerge as heirs to the thrones recently vacated by Blur, Oasis, Suede and Pulp.

Starsailor, Turin Brakes, Alfie and The Cooper Temple Clause were all bestowed with the tag of "the next big thing". And, for one reason or another, none truly ascended to the level which had been predicted of them.

Amongst those bands were The Music. Four teenage upstarts from Leeds, their sound was a mix of The Stone Roses' early guitar somersaults, heavy beats and Robert Harvey's high-pitched rock howl.

All 1,000 copies of the band's vinyl-only debut single Take The Long Road and Walk It sold out almost instantly. The song encapsulated The Music's sound in one five-minute burst: one scintillating guitar riff backed by a disco beat and Harvey's screaming, barely-decipherable vocal.

The single was followed by the You Might As Well Try To Fuck Me EP and The People EP, both of which suggested that a classic debut album was in the offing.

But, when debut album The Music arrived, it was distinctly underwhelming. (As an aside, is it strictly true that if an album has no title, it is simply given the name of the band that recorded it? Or should it just remain untitled and be referred to as "the band's debut album"?)
The first disappointment was in the track listing. Neither You Might As Well Try To Fuck Me - a great, rollocking, rock'n'roll tune - nor electronic masterpiece Karma was included on the record - a terrible oversight on both counts.

But the biggest travesty was in the production. Live, The Music are powerful performers, the rhythm section to the fore and Harvey breakdancing and bodypopping between lines. However, on the album, the production is muddy and fails to bring any of these aspects to the fore.

Listening to the album on the way into work this morning, I had to crank the car stereo up way beyond its normal setting just to hear what was happening. On a record that could have had a huge aural impact, that's inexcusable.

Setting aside the production gripes, the quality in the songwriting is plain to hear. An inferior, re-recorded version of Take The Long Road and Walk It is included, with the closing slide guitar refrain masked by unnecessary layers of guitar. The track follows opener The Dance, which stands as one of the record's strongest moments. Glacier-like walls of guitar open, to be joined by a Harvey mantra and delicate cymbal taps. Then, almost a minute in, the bass thunders in and the band is off at a gallop. Of all the tracks on the album, it is The Dance that is most reminiscent of The Stone Roses, and it is the track on which the band sounds most confident.

Elsewhere, there are hints at what the record could have amounted to in different hands. Human, which follows Take The Long Road and Walk It, fails to properly test the band's strengths, relying on guitarist Adam Nutter's best John Squire impression to carry a weaker than expected Harvey vocal.

Stand out track from the record is The Truth Is No Words, a furious bass groove combined with Harvey's most absorbing vocal. And it is on moments like these that it becomes most apparent that poor production severely limited what should have stood as a landmark record.

Part of the record's problem is that the band sometimes can't seem to decide whether they want to write a dance record, a rock record or an acoustic record. When they weld the guitar histrionics to the disco beats, such as on Float, The People or Getaway, they are peerless. When settling into a slower-paced ballad such as on Turn Out The Light, they fail to capture the imagination.

As it opens, Disco could almost be vintage Black Sabbath, so towering is its riff and assured its vocal. Two minutes in, the band accelerates into a Led Zeppelin rock storm and Harvey is given free reign to indulge his inner rock god. But, instead of using the track to close what could have been an outstanding record, the band follows it with the ponderous Too High.

Whilst Elastica's The Menace could never have been considered a classic by any stretch of the imagination, The Music's debut record should have been. The strength and tightness of the band and the quality of their songwriting could have seen them elevated immediately to the rock'n'roll A-list, their debut sitting comfortably alongside Definitely Maybe, The Stone Roses and A Storm In Heaven.

Instead, it merely hints at what might have been.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Fourth Groanin' Jock Lyrical Challenge

What with all the hubub and hooha over the last week, I completely forgot to post the answers to the The Third Groanin' Jock Lyrical Challenge. The answers are now in the comments on that post.

And now, here's the fourth instalment in the quiz that no-one is waiting for....

It's simple - identify the songs from which these lyrics are taken. Post the answers in the comments. No Googling!

1: Reggie Kray - do you know my name ? Oh, don't say you don't.

2: She's got hair down to her fanny. She's kinda jet set, try undo her panties.

3: If I don't last this one tell them when I've gone, that playing with you was incredible fun.

4: What can you say, millions apart and miles away.

5: The stiller the oxygen the harder you breathe, the draining away just like an old man's dream.

Friday, September 07, 2007

What's Up Doc?

Can anyone guess what Mrs Wife and I brought home with us last weekend?

Bearing in mind that we were at a music festival, the obvious answers are:

a) Two tonnes of genuine Inveraray Castle mud

b) Stinking hangovers

c) A car boot full of food that we took with us and never got around to eating

d) An unusual disease unseen in Western Europe since World War I.

In truth, we may have returned from deepest, darkest Argyll with the first three (maybe the fourth as well - you never can tell), but the most important thing to arrive back in the comparative metropolis of Montrose with Mr and Mrs GJ was....

....wait for it, it's good....

....a rabbit.

Yes, a genuine, living, breathing, shitting, rabbit.

Mrs Wife decided long ago that our lives weren't complete without something small and furry to clean up after. And, following a recent trip to an Aberdeen pet emporium, set her heart on a rabbit - a house rabbit no less. (How one trains a rabbit to do its business in a litter tray is anyone's guess, and Mrs Wife's problem.)

I've never had a proper pet before. Back when I was a wee laddie, Faither was a gamekeeper, and always had at least three dogs to assist in various hunting activities. But as they were working dogs, and therefore employees, they had to live in staff quarters, namely kennels outside. This was probably best for practical reasons - have you ever tried to eat your dinner when watched by two labradors, two spaniels, a Jack Russell and two border terriers? And also because working dogs stink.

Anyway, I digress. Dungroanin's smallest bedroom has a new lodger, going by the name of Pepper. Her name was going to be something else entirely during the two days when Mrs Wife thought she was a boy (the rabbit that is, not Mrs Wife), but a quick trip to the vet ascertained that Pepper is and always will be a girl.

The first few days living with this black bundle of fur have been entertaining, for want of a better word. To begin with, she was terrified of us, hiding permanently in the bed box at the back of her cage. But, left to her own devices to explore Dungroanin', she's gradually coming out of her shell. She's still at the stage where she'll bolt if she suspects that someone wants to touch her, hold her, pick her up or prise her gums open in an effort to stick a syringe in her mouth to facilitate the administration of antibiotics (I think I'm probably with her on that point).

So hopefully, as she settles into the laidback lifestyle at Dungroanin', she'll start to earn her keep by doing useful little tasks around the house, like fetching beer from the kitchen.

And if not, she'll make a lovely stew.

(If you're reading this Mrs Wife - THAT WAS A JOKE!)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Rumours of My Demise....

....Are greatly exaggerated.

Seeing as how it's been a week since I last spouted some nonsense on these hallowed pages, I guess an update is well overdue.

Thanks to all those who thought to check I was still alive (well, Erica did anyway). It's been a pretty hectic week, all in all.

The festival was as good as I expected it to be, although a tad quieter than both myself and the organisers had anticipated. The highlight of the weekend for me were Primal Scream, who rattled through a furious greatest hits set.

Seth Lakeman played a great hoe-down set in front of a receptive audience doing a drunken Strip The Willow in the mud, the Super Furry Animals managed to include Power Rangers helmets and crisp eating into their repertoire, and Teenage Fanclub showed everyone why they should have been the biggest band in the world.

Bjork's set wavered between out-of-key Icelandic yelping backed by a fluorescent horn section to a spectacular laser light show during the majestic bass-driven splendour of Venus As A Boy. And The Go! Team were the best surprise act of the weekend, bringing the opening Friday night to a moshpit-bouncing close.

Seeing as how the festival site was knee-deep in mud by the end of the first day, it was a good feeling to be staying in a caravan with a shower, cooker and real beds. I must be getting old, but the prospect of standing in the pishing rain all day before walking through a dark Scottish version of the Somme to get to a tent that has collapsed and flooded just doesn't appeal any more....

Anyway, a three-day pear cider bender isn't the ideal preparation for a week-long oil industry conference and exhibition. Offshore Europe is essentially just an excuse for a bunch of very rich companies to get together and give away lots of tat. The Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre this week is awash with free pens, sweets, stress balls and key rings. Hats off to Edda Accommodation for giving away leather attache cases containing USB pen drives and calculators and to Eni for CD wallets - at least their free shite is almost worth keeping.

So, I'm a tad exhausted, which is the reason for the complete lack of postage over the past week. If I'd had any foresight, I'd have handed the keys to the blog to someone else for a week to keep y'all amused - but I don't, so I didn't.

Oh, and Tuesday marked the first anniversary of this far-flung outpost of the worldwide interweb. I'm still surprised that anyone bothers to stop here at all, but for those who do - thank you. Please come again. (And have a nice day.)