Posted: February 28, 2012 Filed under: Stupid Opening Times of Shops
The day before Christmas Eve 2011 (Christmas Eve Eve) something truly remarkable happened. I was walking past my local butchers and I noticed a sign that said, “WE ARE OPEN AT 6 A.M ON CHRISTMAS EVE.” I read the sign again because I was sure that what I saw first time was a trick of the light. But it wasn’t, the butchers really was going to open at 6 a.m.
For some reason I found this ridiculous. I mean Christmas is a busy time for people, I grant that, but who in their right minds would be up and about at dawn to buy meat? Even if you do have children and lots to do there really is no excuse for this sort of insanity. But the insanity fascinated me. So much did it fascinate me that I decided I needed to witness it all for myself. So at 5.50 a.m on Christmas Eve I was outside that deranged butchers with my video camera (phone) in hand. This is what I saw. It is in 3 volumes, my reporting skills are totally non-existent, I repeat myself and say, “exciting,” a lot. I am truly sorry for all of this.
Butcherwatch Volume 1
Posted: February 20, 2012 Filed under: Science
The object of this experiment is to see if a packet of candy strawberry-flavoured laces are indeed laces in the legal sense of the term. That is to say, they must be ‘fit for purpose’.
From the bag I then took one pair of candy strawberry-flavoured laces.
Next, I took a normal pair of navy-blue boating plimsolls. The kind that you would find lying about in any household.
I removed the laces from the plimsolls….
and in their place I threaded the candy strawberry-flavoured laces.
Next, I got a pedometer, making sure that I had reset it to zero.
I attached the pedometer to my waist…
put the plimsolls on my feet…
and set off for a walk.
I walked until one of the laces gave out. In this instance it was the lace of my left plimsoll.
Immediately I stopped, took the pedometer from my waist and took a distance reading. I had walked a very impressive 1.39 kilometres before one of the laces had given out.
I returned home and took a look at the damaged lace in the light. It was a sorry state.
I then took the strawberry laces from the plimsolls…
and put the original ones back.
Having concluded that I was able to walk 1.39 kilometres (0.86370 miles) wearing one pair of candy strawberry-flavoured laces, I believe that candy strawberry-flavoured laces are fit for purpose and can indeed continue to call themselves laces.
Posted: February 17, 2012 Filed under: Food
It claims to be an egg the Cadbury’s one, so I thought I’d boil it like a real one to see what happens. I went online and followed Delia Smith’s exact instructions on the best way to boil an egg (I went for her soft boiled option). This is what the creme egg looked like after I’d followed the recipe.
Posted: February 16, 2012 Filed under: Food, Science
The object of this experiment is to determine how many normal sized Ryvitas you get in one packet of Ryvita Minis. Further to this, I aim to determine the true price that a packet of Ryvita Minis should cost the consumer based upon the number of normal sized Ryvitas that make up one packet of Ryvita Minis.
To do this, I took one packet of normal sized Ryvitas and one packet of Ryvita Minis.
I determined that there were 23 individual Ryvita crispbreads in one normal sized packet of Ryvitas.
I then determined that there were 14 individual mini Ryvita crispbreads in one packet of Ryvita Minis.
A normal sized Ryvita crispbread measures 10cm x 6cm. Therefore, if all the normal sized Ryvitas in one packet were placed in a line, they would be 2.3 metres long.
And here’s the proof of that.
A Ryvita Mini crispbread measures 3.5cm x 2cm. Therefore, if all the Ryvita Minis in one packet were placed in a line they would be 49cm long.
And here’s the proof of that. You’ll have to take my word here though, as I ate a few as I lay them out. This reduced the total length to just over 30cm. Maths fans amongst you will be able to work out how many Ryvita Minis I ate.
By placing the two types of Ryvita crispbreads together we can determine that it takes virtually 6 Ryvita Minis to make one normal sized Ryvita.
Therefore, if it takes 6 Ryvita Minis to make one normal sized Ryvita and there are 14 individual Ryvita Minis in a packet of Ryvita Minis, it follows that there are 2.2 normal sized Ryvitas in one packet of Ryvita minis. If there are 23 individual Ryvita crispbreads in one normal sized packet of Ryvitas and each packet costs the consumer 92p, it means that each normal sized Ryvita costs 4p. Therefore, if there are 2.2 normal sized Ryvitas in one packet of Ryvita Minis and each normal sized Ryvita costs 4p, the cost of a packet of Ryvita Minis should be 10p. As the actual cost of a packet of Ryvita Minis is 46p, we can only conclude that Ryvita Minis are a rip-off.
Posted: February 15, 2012 Filed under: Putting Food in Pint Glasses
I love a Sunday roast, I really do. But something’s always bothered me. A roast on a plate looks a very big thing. There are lots of different colours and shapes, and it invariably takes up the whole surface area of the plate. So why have I always felt that a Sunday roast doesn’t really fill me up?
I got to thinking about it recently and have reached the conclusion that part of the problem is that, even though there is a lot going on on the plate of a Sunday roast, there are a lot of gaps between the various items. Those gaps are dead air. Dead air that could be used better to accommodate more food that would fill me up. In short, I’ve decided that a roast dinner is not as big as it looks and, as such, it doesn’t fill me up. So I came up with a simple measure to pre-determine which meals would fill me up and which meals would not. This would allow me to be better prepared for any potential hunger pangs after an unfilling meal and make sure I got enough ‘tactical snacks’ in.
The measure was this. If my meal fitted entirely within a pint glass it probably wouldn’t fill me up. If it did not fit entirely within a pint glass, it probably would fill me up. Over the course of two weeks I put most meals I had in a pint glass before I ate them to see how full I was going to be. I also tested other meals that I did not actually eat myself, but were bought for research purposes. Those meals were fed to seagulls and the local fox when I was done with them. Here are the results.
The first thing I thought I’d try was a portion of chips. For good measure I decided to pop a battered sausage into the equation. We can see immediately that this meal does not fit inside a pint glass. Therefore, were I to have eaten this, it would have been a filling meal.
Next up I decided to pop down to Iceland to pick up 3 of the nastiest, cheapest meals I could find. I was lucky to stumble across these beauties as soon as I walked in. Are these meals really Ultimate Snacks? Would they fill you up? We shall see with the aid of the pint-glass test? As you can see too, a dry bath makes an ideal backdrop for taking photos.
First into the pint glass was the chicken curry jacket potato. You can clearly see that this whole meal fits within a pint glass with plenty of room to spare. Conclusion – This meal would not fill you up.
Here’s the chicken curry jacket potato from another angle.
Next to take the test was the fiery chicken melt panini. You can see that, although a tight squeeze, I was able to fit it within the pint glass. In this instance though the top of the panini was protruding, so I think it’s fair to say that, for most people, this panini would have gone a fair distance to filling them up.
And here’s a shot of the panini with one of the pieces of bread removed. This gives a better idea of the ingredients within this meal. Some of the innards spilt onto the bath whilst I was removing the bread. You can see them in the background.
The final Iceland meal to take the pint glass test was the fish finger butty. You can see here that I had to ram the bap down with great force to truly fit it into the pint glass, and even then a couple of the fish fingers were still protruding. This is clearly a meal that does not fit entirely in a pint glass and, therefore, it would certainly fill you up.
And here’s the fish finger butty from another angle.
With this part of the experiment out of the way I put all of the tested food into a pot and then took it downstairs. I emptied all from the pot and left it by a tree for the seagulls and the local fox. I then took the pot back upstairs and washed it out vigorously.
Here’s a photo of the tested meals underneath the tree near my house. It won’t be long before the fox will come around. As you can tell, I decided to eat some of the chips. The battered sausage I gave to the cat downstairs once I had removed the batter.
Next up it was time to test the first proper meal that I was actually going to eat. Here we have one of Julie’s lovely homemade Quorn chillis. Julie is my girlfriend. I cooked the brown rice myself though. What I’ve done here is measure out a Weight Watchers portion. Now, neither Jules or myself are on Weight Watchers, but I wanted to see if a Weight Watchers portion would fill me up (I already know that Julie’s homemade Quorn chilli does fill me up). As we can see here a Weight Watchers portion fits exactly into a pint glass – the fit couldn’t be more perfect. This leads to an interesting conclusion. If more than a pint glass means I will be full, and less than a pint glass means that I won’t be full, what does exactly a pint glass mean? I think it means that Weight Watchers portions are about spot on. Which in turn could mean that Weight Watchers already use the pint glass test to measure out their portions. Well done them.
The next meal I had was a very rushed affair. Due to going out I had to grab this paella from one of those Tesco’s that’s also a petrol garage. However, as it was from the Finest range I was sure there would be a degree of quality to it. Looking at the pack in the shop/petrol garage I was sure that this meal would fill me up. The explosion of prawns and chorizo was sure to be a filling and winning combination. But would it pass the pint glass test? Read on.
I have to admit I was quite surprised with this. Looking at the pack I felt certain there was no way I was going to get the whole thing into a pint glass, but I was wrong. It was a close-run thing but everything went fully into the glass. Therefore, this meal was destined not to fill me up. And that was the right assumption to make because 4 hours later I needed a bowl of cereal.
Here’s the paella from another angle. You can see fully from here the prawns and chorizo.
So, we’ve put a few dinners in a pint glass and we’ve had a few varying results, but I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “This is all very well, but what does a pint glass look like just after you’ve emptied the food from it? Well, it looks like this.
The next thing I needed to do was try the experiment with McDonalds. And here I really want you to appreciate the work I’m putting into this, because I didn’t want a McDonalds. But this is science, and the march of science cannot be stopped by the petty whims of one man. So I bought a McDonalds. I don’t like Big Macs because they have lots of stuff in them I wouldn’t eat, so I got two hamburgers instead because I reckoned 2 hamburgers was about the same as one Big Mac. I also got large fries and an apple pie.
And what a result it was. There was no way that meal was going in a pint glass, no way at. Clearly this was a meal that would seriously fill you up.
And here it is again a little closer up. Note Hamburger 1 at the bottom of the glass.
But I couldn’t rest at just one meal that evening. I should explain. Earlier in the day you can imagine how surprised and excited I was to get a message from Tesco (No.1 UK Supermarket) telling me how much they liked my project and asking if putting one of their paellas in a pint glass the previous night had had any adverse effects on the taste. I assured them it did not. They promised me that they would continue to follow the project. In turn I promised them that the next meal I would put in a pint glass would be a Tesco one. So I went straight down to Tesco, barged past the old people and got myself prime position in the reduced aisle. And boy, was I lucky. I picked up this spaghetti Bolognese…..
and this pizza. I paid no more than £1.80 for the two of them. In fact, I paid exactly £1.80.
I knew from the outset that the pizza was going to be a difficult one, but I felt somewhat placated when I realised that a frozen pizza placed on top of an empty pint glass does a tremendous atom bomb explosion impression.
But, I knew it would be messy, so I took precautions.
When the pizza was cooked I was ready to put it in the pint glass.
I wasn’t wrong. It was a fight to get that pizza in that glass. A fight I lost. This meal would definitely fill you up.
And so onto the spag bol. This little blighter really didn’t want to go in. Wriggled all over the place she did. In the end this is the best I could do. Conclusion – this meal would fill you up.
Finally that evening I had to do a request for a lovely chap on Twitter who contacted me and asked if I could pop a bowl of Shreddies and some milk into a pint glass to see if it fitted. After I told him that I wouldn’t normally do breakfast in a pint glass I agreed on the proviso that a breakfast meal pint glass test was a strictly one-off. He understood.
First of all I measured out a standard size bowl of Shreddies and poured in the milk.
And then I poured it all into the pint glass. A pitiful result. No wonder cereal doesn’t fill you up.
So, with the experiment heading towards a soggy, messy close what was to be the final ever meal placed inside a pint glass? Well, I put this question out to my Twitter followers, (followers – awful word for it) and I gave them two options. The first was a Levi Roots ready meal, the second was a small Cornish pasty from the local butcher. The result was a close-run thing with a number of votes. My favourite vote had this comment attached to it.
“I’d like to see entrepreneur Levi Roots himself forced into a pint glass; contorted like a twisted faux-Jamaican jack in the box.”
In the end however, one meal came out the winner. It was the pasty.
I think you will agree that the two weeks it took me to conduct this research were 14 days exceptionally well spent. Not for me anymore the worry of wondering whether my chosen meal will fill me up. No. I have constructed a method that, although it may only work for me, I’m convinced is a major contribution to tackling potential hunger pangs between meals. I urge you to adopt it and feel the benefits.
Posted: February 15, 2012 Filed under: Fun on Roads
Every time I drive down a motorway I get an almost uncontrollable urge to dance on it with vigorous heterosexual abandon. Of course, for obvious safety reasons I’d need to stop all the traffic first; but once that problem was out of the way, the fun could really begin. And what fun it would be. I’d run around on all that lovely clean, virgin, flat tarmac and wave my hands in the air (like I just didn’t care). Once I’d done that, I’d make sure I did a couple of star-jumps and then rub my chin all over the hard shoulder and get bits of grit in my beard. The main thing I’d want to do though is a forward roll. I would forsake all the other things I’ve just mentioned if I could just do a forward roll on a motorway.
A while back I took the bull by the horns and wrote to the then Transport Secretary Philip Hammond to ask if I could do a forward roll on the M25 (the greatest of all the motorways). He (or rather some low-level office clerk) wrote a right snotty letter back. I won’t bore you with the details, but the short of the letter was that because of health and safety blah blah blah they would have to say no. Ridiculous.
I accepted the Government’s unwillingness to help me with good grace, and promptly forgot all about it. The problem was that my desire to do a forward roll on a motorway has not left me. Yes, I push it to the back of my mind, but it’s always there, like the guarantee of a terrible experience every time you go into Currys. So I’ve decided to have another bash at making my dream come true, not least because a new set of people are now in government and they may take a far more sensible view of my request. So here’s the letter I’ve popped off to Transport Secretary The RT Hon Justine Greening MP this morning. I’ve seen a photo of her and she has a friendly face, so I’m pretty optimistic.
Oh, and another thing. This letter below isn’t the actual one I sent because the font on it is huge. I just made it this big for the photos so it was easy to read. If I had sent her this actual letter with the huge font size she would not only have thought I was odd, but she would have chided me for signing it in the wrong place. No. The font size I chose for the actual letter was 12 and I signed it just where you are supposed to sign a letter (above my printed name, not below it).
Posted: February 13, 2012 Filed under: Joke
I’ve come up with a truly terrible joke. It went down very well on Facebook and not so well on Twitter. This is it.
Oh dear, I’ve created a rod for my own back here.
Posted: February 12, 2012 Filed under: A Brand Logo for Every Human Being
We live in a ridiculous world of our own construction where worth is determined by the value and popularity of the ‘brand’. Rather than get annoyed by this I got to thinking that in the future we’ll probably all be brands, and every person on this earth will have their own individual brand logo – some image that defines them, with a little tag line to sum up the company person. There’ll be a proper phrase for this that marketing folk use I’m sure, but I know nothing about these things.
Anyway, I decided to have a stab at creating my own brand logo. It’s very much a work in progress and I shall be putting in the hours over the coming days to get it….well, looking like a proper logo to be honest. But for now, here’s my first stab. A rough idea to work on if you will. And work on it I will. One day it will be the main engraving on my tomb-stone.
If you come up with a brand image and logo for yourself why not send it to me? I’d love to see it.
Posted: February 11, 2012 Filed under: Lost Stuff Needs Finding
Just when Melvin was getting it together to try and find all the stuff that he’d lost, he goes and loses a whole new bunch of things. Silly Melvin.
Posted: February 8, 2012 Filed under: Lost Stuff Needs Finding
My friend Melvin is extraordinarily clumsy, he’s always losing things. Sometimes though it’s not his fault. Sick and tired of losing stuff, Melvin has decided to take the bull by the horns and try to get his stuff back. Here are his efforts.