Biggest ramble ever

OK - so I was all set to have a good and proper rant about how shit life is when something turned it around - The worst part about that is my bile has settled and I am not as crazy and angry as I was - But bear with me and I will try to make sense (have been at the pub for a bit to so if it dont make sense thats tough)

Right - so I had a sudo argument with my ever suffering girl tonight - I never know what the hell is going on there and to be honest it stresses the shit out of me but take the rough with the smooth etc etc, so I did what any normal bloke does, and went next door to the pub for a pint and to read my book - Easy


This complete cunt walks in - Right now I am sure you have images of some young out for trouble lad, but you'd be mistaken - guy is about 50 and clearly thinks for reasons that escape me- that the very star at the center of our solar system is beaming messages to all and sundry directly from his anal passage - I suspect he is a lecturer at Cambridge university

God help his students

Like all lecturers he is an expert on every - fucking - thing in the WORLD but when he speaks it becomes apparent he is just an arse - and a loud arse - anyway - all I want to do is sit quietly (stop laughing) and read my book but this bloke is so full of made up stories that defy factual evidence he eventually got to me and I had to go home.

And I know this is just a dig and me being as bad as him but you never know - someone may point him to this *well read* blog
Alpha particals are more dangerous than gamma rays if the source in ingested - Gamma rays may not ionise in your target even if directed through them
in 2003 Rupert murdock was living in the US
marking your students paper in red pen and simply writing RTFQ (read the fucking question) will NOT help them no matter how superior doing that makes you feel.

Spleen vented

Anyway - so I was in the foulest mood I have been in for a while and was ready to be MUCH more brutal than I have just been but as I was sitting down to write this a mate of mine called to see what I was up to - This guy is ace and I think he is a comedy genius as well as a damn good song writer

He told me about a date he went on and the chick he saw - He told me where he was and asked If I wanted to come down - I got the sense he actually cared how I was

And all the anger left me

Damn your friends to hell since they cure the evils of life when what you want is a good vent

But they make you feel heaps better

Anyway - I urge you to check out some of his stuff - its worth it -
You can find it here

And the only appropriate exit to that would HAVE to be
"Hello - fat pizza, Its big its fat its cheesy"


UK Winter - Treatment for Manics

So been really quiet over the summer since summer here seems to consist of waiting for the few hot days and then moaning bout the heat but I may come back to that

So getting all thoughtful and pensive now we are heading back into winter It lacks the fun of summer – A full 8 months of scurrying round in the cold and eating stodgy food – scraping ice of your car etc – Like Canberra but without the crystal days – UK has the business if you are into grey – Someone told me once the Celts had 67 different words for green to cover all the different shades since this little island has so many different greens

What they forgot to mention was they also had 284704988 words for grey

Anyway – in a pensive mood at mo – weathers cold – I have been in Cambridge just long enough to be
A) sick of the place
B) fed up with the way my project is running
C) make a bunch of friends I will have to leave in about 2 months

I think the last one is the real killer but A and B def taking their toll

Its like Russian roulette at a kids party where the host has put a bullet in every chamber so every one wins!

Probably the other problem at the moment is the only CD I have in my flat is coldplay – I really need something happy in here – Nice flat but VERY not my house – Somewhere in between a hotel and a home – A kind of rented limbo – Half way between heaven and hell

GOD DAMN I whine

So what else – Ah the appalling office “Secret” romance – There are a number but (and maybe its just me) if one of you is married and the other is in a live in relationship I reckon you’d be doing subtle up the wazoo. After all its not the thing you’d want to broadcast I reckon. Or maybe they are just crap at subtle – who knows

Funniest bit is the other pair who are both single are SOOO subtle no one noticed for about 2 months and even now it is still an unconfirmed rumour.

Bizzarly I never had much faith in relationships or marrage or any of that (Ok so that is a recent – last few years thing for me) and things like this give me less.

It’s a strange thing to be disappointed in a grown man who has done nothing that affects you but I guess I have always been so crap at relationships I kind of looked at him as someone who had one of those things I had started to believe didn’t exist any more. He had finally cracked it.

But then again maybe we are all as shit as each other and it is unfair to hold others up to standards you have never tried / tested / achieved yourself

And the final kicker on this one – I am going to a friends wedding next weekend

Maybe they’ll crack it

“You see Dr. Wen in there? He's explaining to that family that something went wrong and that patient died. He's gonna tell them what happened. He's gonna say he's sorry and then he's going back to work. Do you think anybody else in that room's going back to work today? That is why we distance ourselves. That's why we make jokes. We don't do it because it's fun. We do it so we can get by. And... sometimes because it's fun. But mostly it's the getting by thing.”
[Dr Cox]


Just when you all thought I was dead

Well maybe not - I am after all the worst person in the world at keeping in touch etc etc etc - But I realised something (small) tonight - I have been using this macgastro handle for so long there are way more traces of me on the net as macgastro than there are as Malcolm - Should I change my name? I think all my old friends have changed theirs

I have this new book - Google hacking (its cool) and I was busy trying out some of the tricks to try and track down old friends (do I sound stalky yet??) and didn't have a lot of luck (a little but when two of them are Andy Smith and Cath Smith you can pretty much give up before the keyboard is exercised).

So I thought I'd look for me (much less stalky and will show I know what I'm doing) After all these days I'm an IT professional and my sticky fingers must be all over this dirty stinking web.

Well not really

But if you search for Macgastro you get a few! (admittedly most come here or to a weird German site where the guy seems to have the same handle but hey)

Such a random post - I must be in a severely pensive mood today - been a very long few months and I seem to be retreating like a turtle - Maybe blogging is a seasonal thing for me - A winter activity for when I am cold and miserable and alone - Mr happy pants today.

Ah well its my blog and no one really reads it (I have the stats - you cant all fool me - I am like Santa I know who has been naughty and nice) SO

I thought I'd get around this by going back to Aus for a few days (well 2 weeks I hope) just waiting on the holidays to be approved and I'm off!! Cant wait - OK so its not till march now (the ever slipping deadline) but I hope it will be fun

Kind of stressed by the whole thing tho - how much have I changed - how much has everyone else changed - etc etc etc - usual stuff that shouldn't really worry someone with as few roots as I have but I fear I am starting to get old - Heaven forbid - And maybe I should slow down and finally stop somewhere.


I might do that when I grow up

Anyway random blog post so a random quote I think

Newbie, If the next two words out of your mouth aren't "See ya" then the third will be "Ouch my crotch, He punched me in the crotch"


L'Otel Bar and grim

Well I am back in the hotel bar - Some sort of evil desire to punish myself must lead me here. It is a catch 22 you go to your room cause the bar is dire then the room is empty so you come back to the bar cause there is people but the people are all WIRED and strange. there are old fat suited sales men lost, looking ladies in corporite atire with short skirts and looooooong jackets - fuck em they are the detritus of humanity and I scoff at them all with gallic derision due to the poor nature of their beings and their sad attempts to fit in to a freaky deal

I realised something today

I am one of them

Another homeless lost sould living out of a bag that you inevitably forgot to stick something in (I have two pairs of shoes and no waaaaaaaarm jackets!)
I have a degree of empathy with them now and I wonder if this is sad or just another of my long held belifs shattered - so far the ages from 29 have done that alot This is I guess the time you realise someone is not going to turn up at your door and tell you you inheretid a fortune from some lost rellie that you never knew who left everything they have to you cause you have a cool name. OK So I realised that at 10 but that just isnt the point. When I was a kid my Dad was away on business often and he used to bring us home stuff from all over the world, I still remember two in particular - A superman T Shirt that I got beat up at school for wearing (What a target I was - A kid with a funny accent wearing a superman t shirt) and a Davey Crocket hat that I loved but in typical Macgastro style it got left somewhere and I cant remember where - I wonder if my mum threw it to save me another superman moment, anyway as a child I thought this was a terribly romantic and exciting thing to do and I always wanted to travel for my work.

How wrong can you be! It is a seemless mirage of hotel bars, tightly strung people (the english do that SO well), and freaky pubs.

Though I did kind of imagine international travel, and even if Cambridge is international from home its not so from London

RIGHT! There are a few things about the hotel situation I need to raise though

some SPANNER has decided that 11:50 is a perfectly acceptable time to allow ones spawn to run around the hotel bar and SCREAM

I dont have an intrinsic problem with children however I do feel that when one decides to breed one must make certain sacrifices (there is an argument that says the reason I have chosen not to breed to date are these sacrifices - the other one is I dont think they do Womb banks yet) One of the sacrifices I think is a given is that one does not decide to let ones spawn cause havock and piss the shit out of 40 people because daddy or mummy feels like having a session in the hotel bar!!

I may have a bad memory and I am certain that if this is not the case I will be put in order promptly by my ever suffering mother but I am DEAD certain I was never running around a hotel lobby at the age of five bawling and annoying every other person in it

At least not at 11:50 at night

Ah The breeder is swaying drunkenly with the SPAWN - Possibility of peace!!

Now these two stories may not seem to relate but in actual fact they do in a big way. The reason

A Massive shout out to my dad! I now get the fact it is not all beer and skittles and is actually soul destroying and painful to live in a hotel all the time.

and an even bigger shout out to my mum who was in her own hotel bar of screaming kids without the benifits like Other adults and someone serving you plonk to ease the pain

A soppy and sappy one for you all but fuck the lot of you - this one is for my mum and dad

A trippple quote for this one

In the immortal words of Coops Dad (Stong Jamaican Accent required)
"Could be worse - Could be you in ere wit all dees ed caases"

And the less immortal words of (a) corleone
"You mess with me, you mess with the whole family" (The Glasgow Mafia?")

And one to for you all to guess
"Thats an EGG, thats a skillet, thats a stove, you're an alco, and I'm tripping right now but that is DEFINATELY an EGG


Bah I am still sheet

Just to prove I am still alive (and to stop Blogger cancelling my account due to no use)

Am off to Cambridge on Tues I think
Will post from there


UK Banks can kiss my ass doo dah - doo dah

I love UK banks.
They re define the term SHIT in new and interesting ways every day. After applying for (and being informed I had GOT) an overdraft facility on my bank account (This costs £10 a month mind) I subsequently discover the overdraft facility is only £10!! (Go figure the economics of this! It costs £10 to get an overdraft of £10 that they can then charge intrest on! DUH) - I emailed the customer service email only to get a bot response with a different customer service email address to email.

Naturally I was quite annoyed! This was my email to the second Customer service which when I re read it thought it was worthy of posting here

-- To Barclays Customer Service ---

Now I have the automated bots response (which appears to be less than useful and does little to appease my state of mind) I will try this one instead.

The issue I have is relatively straight forward. Last weekend on the 17th of December I applied for an additions account with an over draft facility of £250 pounds which I was assured was accepted. The reason I did this is due to the Mickey mouse way English banks transfer amounts between each other which I have discovered means a transaction that took place up to 3 weeks prior can spontaneously come out of your account when you have; A) Forgotten about it or B) can least afford it. THEN Barclays will charge you £25 pounds just to add to the pain.

This happened to me twice in the last pay period – a net loss of £50 to me which I was clearly anxious to avoid again.

All this went swimmingly and the Lady who served me at the Chiswick branch assured me this had been approved and would cost me £10 a month – Which I surmised was better than the £25 if I go over.

Today I discover (being the first Time I have looked at it) that the overdraft facility you have actually provided me is £10 and not the £250 I was advised.

To begin with please feel free to attempt to explain how paying £10 a month for a £10 overdraft is an effective use of my money.

Once you have discovered that that is impossible to do please resolve this situation by either

A) reverting my account immediately to its previous form with an undertaking to NOT charge me £25 for having eaten up the entire of my princely £10 overdraft or indeed for any other payments that may still be pending this month


B) Fix my account so it is the form I asked, for which is the £250 overdraft, apologise profusely, and promise you will never again tell me you have done one thing when actually you have done another.

I am gravely disappointed and considering I intend to stay in this country for some time, purchase a house in London some time in the next 6 – 12 months and prefer to have all my accounts at one financial institution I will be considering moving the entire of my personal banking to another institution that I am sure would not treat their customers with the casual disregard I have experienced here.

Now to follow the instruction on the web site

Name and Address

Account Number and Sort
Sort is 11-11-11 and I am sure you have the technology to find my account details from that

Day time telephone Number
0746 4455 5566

A clear description
If there is any part of my description you are un clear about either respond to this mail with your question or call me (see phone number above)

Details of what I would like to get it put right
I believe that is covered above also – Again if you are unclear in any way please call or respond to this email

--- The reply --

Dear Mr Beaton

Thank you for your email providing us with the further information we need to begin investigating your complaint.

Your complaint, which was received on 21/12/2005 has now been forwarded to a Customer Relations Manager who will respond to you within the next five bank working days. Please note that for security reasons they will respond to you in writing rather than email.

We want to reassure you that we are dealing with your complaint as quickly as possible and will investigate all aspects fully.

Please see our website for further information on how we deal with complaints, http://www.barclays.co.uk/contact_us/leaflet.html

Yours sincerely

-- 5 bank days at this time of year is around 2010!

So I sent this

I would prefer someone to contact me via telephone directly (i.e. today) to, at the very least, outline what they intend to do about this issue and provide me with confirmation they will undertake one of the actions specified in the following section of my previous letter.

A) reverting my account immediately to its previous form with an undertaking to NOT charge me £25 for having eaten up the entire of my princely £10 overdraft or indeed for any other payments that may still be pending this month


B) Fix my account so it is the form I asked, for which is the £250 overdraft, apologise profusely, and promise you will never again tell me you have done one thing when actually you have done another.

Receiving a piece of mail in what will realistically be 2 weeks at this time of year I do not view as prompt and reasonable action.

Yet again I am dismayed by Barclays lack of customer focus. Were I to treat my clients in this manner I would simply have none but then again I would have no reason to use your bank either so perhaps this is actually a blessing in disguise.

Please contact me directly and immediately on the number I supplied earlier.

In case (as I suspect) my earlier email has already been deleted/ignored the number is


-- To be fair they did call. A day later when I was on the tube and left a message so poor I cant even get the number off it

I am changing to Royal Bank of Scotland
All the frikkin call centers are up there anyway!


BAH I am - how you say - sheet


How long since I wrote anything useful on this?

I will be (Hopefully) finishing off a beautifully crafted post tonight but until tomorrow here is a little story about Romanian mentality.

We have an offshore Dev company (doesn't everyone these days? It as de rigeur as fur and clubbing baby seals these days :-)

Any way we had some of the Dev guys over here for a week or so and one of them on his return to Romania became quite ill

Ill enough to find himself in Hospital!

SO we are at our weekly project meeting and the Tech lead of the Romanians informs us of this fact.

There is a brief intake of breath and one of the ladies I work with exclaims with a worried countenance
"My goodness! Is he all right??"

the Romanian tech lead look considerably puzzled

"I guess not!" He replied.

The English (Australians NZ'rs etc) will ask how you are but expect the standard response of "Fine - how are you?"

Ask a romanian

They will assume you actually want to know and will tell you.

I think what she was really asking was "My goodness! Is he going to die"

To an English person that would be considered extremely un delicate

To a romanian I think it would have been a perfectly acceptable question