Room 101

The BBC had a comedy series called Room 101 where guests picked the things they would most like to erase from existence by consigning them to the 1984ish Room 101. If they failed to provide a convincing reason, they were forced to take home an example of their hated selections.

The guests were always famous, witty and intelligent, but for some reason they neglected to invite me, so for my own self-aggrandisement, here are my selection.

  1. Cables – As noted by Jerome K. Jerome, a rope or cable neatly coiled will, if left for a while, mysteriously entangle itself into a knotted mess. A cable will catch on any available hook, entirely of its own accord (as will a cord). There is no explanation for this but that cables are doing this on purpose, intending to spread frustration and misery to all. I am not generally inclined to believe in good and evil, but cables would definitely fall into the latter category. Overall, they’re enough to drive you loopy (pun intended, but immediately regretted).
  2. Hair – If hair would only stick to its job of providing insulation and looking decent, it would be great. But does it? No, obviously not, or I wouldn’t be writing about it now. A list of hair’s crimes:
    • It grows too fast.
    • It thins and falls out.
    • It straightens or curls against its owners wishes.
    • It goes grey.
    • It needs too much time and money to keep tidy.
    • It grows in the wrong places, and normally too thick and fast.
    • Now, I have to admit a slight flaw in my plan. What if hair does go to Room 101? Will we all just be hairless? Is that really a better alternative? Okay, well, maybe hair just needs to be redesigned to address these issues rather than annihilated from existence. Is that really too much to ask?

  3. Badly Done Children’s Television Programs – It’s a shame when people don’t make an effort in their work and aim just for the lowest acceptable result. What winds me up about this laziness in children’s programs is the unavoidable feeling that they didn’t make the effort because it was “only” for children. As someone who has to endure many hours of children’s television programs, this has come to enrage me. The worst offender, in my perhaps limited experience, is “Make Way for Noddy“. The animation is lazy for a start. The characters feet slide across the ground as they walk in a disturbingly mechanical way. In one episode about a windy day, a few things are animated to blow around in the wind, but other things are not. The acting is generally weak, though I think Big Ears is played quite well. The storylines are often very poor, to the point of not making much sense at all. In one episode, Master Tubby Bear steals a magic eraser and goes around Toy Town erasing peoples’ possessions. When he looses the eraser, the goblins pick it up and attempt to steal some ice cream. They are caught and put in prison, while Master Tubby Bear is just told off. I don’t know, maybe that is a good education for children on the corruption of law enforcement and how who you know is more important than what you do, but I suspect the writers just didn’t put much thought into it. 

That’s it (unless I think of more later). If you’re all in agreement, let’s commend them to the obscurity of non-existence, never to darken our lives again with their tiresome disagreeableness.

The prosecution rests.

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Perfect Sponge Cake

Here’s a recipe my dad got from some TV program for creating the perfect sponge cake. I always had problems making sponges, but this seems to work for me. And it’s quick and easy.

Unusually, there are almost no measurements! Instead, you weigh the eggs and base the other measurements on that. I’ve used two and three eggs successfully. Here’s what I do for the basic sponge, but you really need to try one of the variations below:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 °C.
  2. Put the food mixer bowl on the electronic scales.
  3. Zero the scales.
  4. Break 2 or 3 eggs into the bowl.
  5. Note the weight of the eggs and zero the scale.
  6. Add the same weight of the following ingredients, zeroing the scales each time.
    • Self-raising flour.
    • Butter or spread.
    • Caster sugar.
  7. Add one 5ml teaspoon of baking powder per 3 eggs (i.e. 2/3 of a teaspoon if using 2 eggs).
  8. Mix it all together on the processor for 30 to 60 seconds until well blended.
  9. Scoop into a greased split tin (perhaps 8″ diameter).
  10. Put in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes until nicely browned.
  11. Be careful not to burn your mouth in your frenzied attempt to gobble it down straight out of the oven!

Variations:

  • Chocolate – Add 2 tablespoons (per 3 eggs) of cocoa power at step 7.
  • Fruit – Add 1 teaspoon per egg of ground mixed spice at step 7. Then add some mixed dried fruit before step 9 and mix by hand.

Live for a Thousand Years

Radio 4’s “More or Less” program about statistics had an interesting feature about life expectancy. Apparently, if humans didn’t die of illness and old age, it would take an average of 1000 years to die from an accident, at least in “developed” countries.

Of course, illness and old age are problems that the medical profession are seeking to improve, And they currently doing this at a rate of 3 months increase in life expectancy per year. It’s a sort of “buy one, get 25% free” scheme. That means, for every hour you manage to survive, you should get another 15 minutes at the end, at least of average.

If you’re interested, you can hear more.

Not a Lot

A magician called Paul said, “Guess what,
A fantastic catchphrase I’ve got!
It’s catchy, indeed,
Fame’s guaranteed.
You’ll like it, though perhaps not a lot.

That Difficult First Post

Great, another project to leave unfinished!

I think I have some things to say, but I’m too verbose for Twitter, so I’ve decided to give blogging a go. If I thought anyone would actually read this, I’d ask you to wish me luck, but I’m not even planning to tell anyone this blog exists until I’ve got some content. With a job and a recently incremented family, that could take a while, but who knows what I might achieve in my lunch breaks?

I chose “iknown0thing” as my blog name for these reasons:

  • Remembering Manuel saying “I know nothing!” on Fawlty Towers always raises a smile.
  • To truly appreciate the scale of ones ignorance (in a particular subject or in general) is a lofty and worthwhile aim.
  • The two reasons listed above neatly summarise my way of thinking about life, the universe and everything.

And besides, I really do know almost nothing about WordPress.

By the way, I had to use a zero instead of an “o” in the “n0thing” because “iknownothing” was already taken. I hope the similarity in the names doesn’t cause any confusion of upset.

You see what I mean? This would never have worked on Twitter!