The Blog of Zakspade

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  World Cup Report
Thursday 21 June, 2018

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I have decided to use my Blog as a place where a fully and truly comprehensive account of the progress of the football World Cup tournament can be read.

 - o - O - o -

Someone lost, someone won. Some very rich people fell over. Some were pushed, some were tripped, and some threw themselves to the ground and rolled about like children screaming for sweets.

People argued, people cheered, people pointed. Everyone agreed to disagree.

Monday 18 June, 2018

The World Cup started on Thursday 14 June. So far – at the time of my writing this – a number of football matches have been played – twelve, apparently.

I know none of the results of those matches. I don’t know who scored how many; how many fouls there have been; nor whether any of the matches ended in bloodshed (I do know it is being held in Russia – so the latter question isn’t as silly as it might seem at first).

Apparently the final is being held on 15 July, 2018 and I am hoping I don’t get to learn the names of the participants before the end of that month. If I get lucky, maybe I won’t learn the score until Christmas.


Monday 11 June, 2018

Yes, I saw Superman the other day. He may have been wearing his underpants over his trousers, but as he was sat in a car, I cannot be sure.

Had he been wearing a pair of underpants on his head, it may have been more fitting. His car windows were down and he drove past really slowly so that the rest of the street and I could enjoy his music and the amazingly powerful bass tones his in-car sound system was capable of reproducing.

Other than his head, I cannot imagine he would have anything to put in a pair of underpants.

  Social Engineering at its Very Best
Friday 8 June, 2018

For a magazine: all true, and very much of its time (mid-eighties).

After a 9 month delay getting the keys to my new 80s house, I relaxed – once I finished moving stuff in. The builder debris peppering the surface of the very big garden left me unhappy, but it was just the tip of a very big iceberg.

On Monday after the wedding it rained at 4:30am. The guttering above the bedroom window leaked and loudly deposited rainwater on the flagstones at the back. I had booked a week off work to get the new house in order, so, with no need to get up for work, I decided to have a lie-in once it let up. I rose at 8am because I got bored waiting for it to stop.

The developer was still in the area finishing a final phase of building. After breakfast I traipsed off to the site office to arrange to have the guttering sorted. The site manager, a very nice man, assured me that he’d have someone fix it by the beginning of the following week. With the weather forecast suggesting more of the same to come, I grimaced.

Working at the height of the guttering was not an option, so I decided to check my garage to see if I could place something on the path to deaden the sound in the meantime. Entry via the courtesy door was not possible because the garage guttering had been fitted with the lowest section over it. Rain from the roof never made it to the downpipe. I used the main garage door instead but was unable to find anything suitable.

The rain stopped mid-morning so I re-hung the garage guttering because it only required a step stool. The return of the rain proved it to be fixed. However, the main guttering was dependent upon the nice man.

The following Monday and Tuesday passed. On Wednesday – after being woken at 4am –prior to driving to work I walked into a meeting of suits taking place within the site office.

‘Er, I’m a little busy right now, Mr O’Hara’

‘No worries. I was woken last night – again – by the leaky guttering you promised to have fixed. And your promise now?’

‘Er, I assure you it will be done by the end of today.’

I was happy, even if he wasn’t.

Thursday I was woken at 4am by the sound of water cascading onto the slabs. I was being lied to by the nice man, and those lies continued a couple more weeks before I decided enough was enough.

I obtained his home phone number. At 3am on Sunday morning, the following telephone conversation took place:

‘Hello, Mr B. My name is Phil O’Hara. I’m the chap with the leaky gutter.’

‘Er, who, why, how did you get my number?’

‘Rest assured, Mr B, that every time it wakes me, I will phone you.’

It was raining when I arrived home from work on Monday and the gutter was fixed.

  Best Shot
Monday 4 June, 2018

I watched the knee-jerk reaction after the Cambridge Analytica scandal involving Facebook and the recommendation from various IT experts for people to close their personal Facebook accounts. There can be few people more security and privacy conscious than myself, but I chose not to panic, and soldiered on.

One of the reasons I felt able to continue in the light of the high profile news that Facebook is capable of collecting a huge amount of data on us that can end up in the hands of corporations, or empires seemingly hell-bent on world domination, is that none of the data on my own account is real. Any organisation trying to work out my political leanings, or shopping preferences based upon my personal details is likely to be led quite wide of the mark.

Facebook isn’t my only immersion into the online world. Up until a short while ago I ran a Twitter account. That wasn’t in my own name, nor was it in line with my own character. It was a fiction used as platform to spout reactionary, revolutionary, and as controversial-as-possible rants. Whenever something struck a chord with Followers then it made its way into my database of ideas for written pieces that would be destined for publication in old-fashioned print.

However, more recently I found myself unable to ignore the movement of the total of Followers I had. Overall it was on the way up. It wasn’t a huge number (not yet four figures), but it was a growing figure, and I didn’t consider it too bad given that the account made no attempt to even suggest that it was a true-to-life person running it. Unfortunately I got to watching that figure very closely and whenever it dropped by one, I imagined a Follower dropping off for all manner of reasons.

Talk about stress!

With the disconnect between it and myself in terms of reality, I should not have even been giving it an ounce of thought, but I did. In the end I was obsessing over what made individuals want to unfollow my account, so I closed it.

After it went, Facebook became my focus. The problem there was that ‘followers’ are not unknown to me, and the name on the account is actually me – so not really anonymous. Consequently I don’t feel the freedom to post nonsense designed to provoke reaction in order to gauge the value of an idea or thought with regards to written work. Then I started to watch the number attached to my Friends List and when someone I knew a while back and with whom I never interact these days with, defriended me, I took it hard – much harder than I ought to have.

Now I’m considering dropping Facebook. Maybe the time is right. My original introduction to Facebook was in the course of employment in an IT-related field, and as a result, I have always been aware of the security and privacy implications of its use.

If I do give up on it, no one could say I hadn’t given it my best shot.

  Pinch, Punch!
Friday 1 June, 2018

I’m sat here, early, writing today’s Blog entry.

Little does my daughter realise that I am acutely aware that it is the first of the month and I intend to make it known to her instead of me being caught out by her.

Sometimes it is the simple things in life that make one’s heart feel warm.