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» DIY Techno-hacks

quick one

Don't put the flour, milk and egg in a mixing bowl to make the batter. Put them in an empty plastic milk bottle, put the lid back on and give it a really good shake for a minute or so. Makes them perfectly, and you can just pour it into the pan.

Not really a techno hack, but it's a really easy way to make pancakes.

Mmmmm. Pancakes.
(Tue 25th Aug 2009, 11:26, More)

» Gambling

From working in a Bookmakers.
About ten years ago, I worked in a small office of one of the larger bookmakers. From that time, there's a few tips I'd share with you to make your betting experience a better one.

- DON'T BET IN A BOOKMAKERS. Seriously, if you were buying a computer or something, you'd compare prices online, find the cheapest and then get it delivered. You wouldn't go to Currys and pick one in there, so why would you do the same with a bet? Decide what you're going to bet on, look at a few major sites, find the best odds and place your bet there. OddsChecker is a good site to shop around with.

- BET ON WHAT YOU KNOW. You'd think this would be an obvious one, but the number of people who came into the shop and didn't follow this was astounding. They'd come in at opening time, and place bets on whatever was running on the screens - horse racing, dogs, golf, football, whatever. A bet's essentially you pitting your knowledge against the bookmaker, so you want as much of an advantage as possible.

- DON'T BACK IF THE ODDS ARE BAD. If you think that half the time the team you're backing will win the match, and the odds are 4/5, then don't place the bet. You think it's going to come in one out of every two times, then less than evens (1/1) is a return that is worse than your prediction. Easier way to think about it is with a coin flip - the bookie is telling you that if the coin comes up heads you give him £10, but if it's tails he'll give you £8. See why it's dumb to not think about if the odds match your predictions?

- BET WITH YOUR HEAD, NOT YOUR HEART. I don't care if you're a fourth generation Wolves fan, you'd still be an idiot to put any money on them winning the Premier League next year. Relates to the above, if it's less than thousands and thousands to one for something that unlikely, then it's a dumb bet.

- THINK ABOUT ALL THE OUTCOMES. Number of bloody people who do this. If you back Newcastle to win tonight with one bookie, and Middlesbrough to win tonight with another, you can almost guarantee that the match'll be a draw. Don't be that idiot, think about everything that can happen.

- KNOW THE RULES. This is something that applies mainly to in shop betting, as most sites will cross check bets automatically, but it's not impossible for something to happen. Gambling debts are not legally enforceable, and the wagers are covered by the bookie's own rules. You'll find there are rules surrounding things like related contingencies, which is the main one. A related contingency is where the first bet in an accumulator affects the second one - like if you'd placed Barca to beat Chelsea in the semi-final, and Barca to win the Champions League before the semi. The odds at that point for Barca to win the whole thing are a combination of them winning the semi and the final, so putting that in an accumulator with them to win the semi would be in effect having the same bet twice in the accumulator. Don't think that if you get this past the assistant in a shop you'll get paid out on it either, there's also normally a rule that covers palpable error. If the shop assistant makes a mistake in taking your bet, then the bookie doesn't have to pay out.

- KNOW WHAT YOUR BET IS. Kind of goes with the above, but make sure you know what you're backing. Using the Champions League matches again, check to see if you're backing the result at 90 minutes, AET, for the full tie, or whatever. If you're betting in a shop, make the slip very, very, very clear. Because if you aren't, you run the risk of it being interpreted in some other way - a 90 minutes bet on a draw being settled as an AET draw when one team's won for example.

- STAGGER YOUR ACCUMULATORS AND LAY OFF. If you're putting together an accumulator, try to avoid having every result coming in at the same time. I'll use football as an example here because it works very well for it. If you place a £5 accumulator with four matches kicking off on a Saturday afternoon at 3pm, you're dependant on all four coming in at the same time, and have no control. However, let's say you have an accumulator with a Friday evening match, a Saturday afternoon and evening match, and one on Sunday. The Friday and Saturday results all go your way, and now you've got a £67 pay out riding on the Sunday result to win. You know what you do? No, you don't bloody pray for your team to win, you back the draw and the other team. If the odds for that are evens and you put £10 on them, you're going to be up either way. This is called laying off, and it'll save you money in the long term.

The last two are pretty simple, but are probably the most important. Take these with you if nothing else.

- THIS IS ENTERTAINMENT, NOT A MONEY MAKING ENTERPRISE. Working in that bookies, I reckon there were possibly three or four regular customers out of around 100 to 150 who actually made money. These were people with massive amounts of knowledge on the subjects they bet on, one was an ex-golfing pro for example. They weren't the average person walking in off the street. Again, it's pitting your knowledge against the bookmaker, that's all.

- DO NOT BET WHAT YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO LOSE. This is the saddest one to see people not following. Please don't go to bookies and put down money that you need to pay your rent, even if you know it's a sure tip that your mate gave you. What if this is the one time that it doesn't come in? Don't be the person who's standing there shell shocked, staring at the monitor after seeing the easy money favourite fall after they'd put the deposit for the flat you and your fiancée are buying on it (saw this). Set your limits and stick to them.


Couple of bonus semi-gambling related ones.

- DON'T EVER START PLAYING FRUIT MACHINES. Horribly addictive flashing lights and noises, with a sign on them telling you they will keep 30% of your money. I wish I had never ever played the damn things. Start playing them and you run the risk of putting money back in after winning £15, because you just really need to get that jackpot and see the lights all start flashing, really need to see it. Horrible, horrible things. Manage to go cold turkey for months at a time, and then end up playing one in a pub to kill time and get sucked back in. I need more willpower.

(Mon 11th May 2009, 16:46, More)

» Voyeurism

Reading Festival 2006
They say festivals generally bring out the best/worst in people. The combination of sleeping in a field, drinking large amounts of alcohol and taking copious amounts of drugs tends to lower people's inhibitions quite a bit. Normally, this is a good thing. In some cases it's not. This is one of those cases.

It's mid afternoon on the Friday of the Reading Festival. I'm there thanks to £70 weekend tickets on eBay the week before and decide it'd be fun to walk up from the comedy tent to see Slayer on the main stage. Whoever was on before had just finished, made my way up to the front left. The ground's covered in rubbish. Cardboard beer cups, plastic bottles (some which seem to be full of piss), newspaper, dodgy festival noodles, etc. You don't really even want to sit down on it. Get down to the front and there's a fair bit of room as people are still filtering around. Look around, and there's a pretty wrecked looking couple sitting down and working on getting bits of food out of each other's teeth by the look of things. Wait around a bit killing time, look back over and they're getting a bit more passionate about the necking rolling about on the floor in the rubbish. Shudder and kill time playing spot the parent. Look back over... Oh god... Her skirt's up and his boxers are down over his arse crack... Surely they're not... Yup, they are.

Here's some a couple of pictures for your enjoyment. Just before people started throwing anything they could get their hands on (click for big).

(Mon 15th Oct 2007, 11:45, More)

» I'm going to Hell...

Superman t-shirt.
Open white long sleeved shirt over the top.
Swept over hair.
Thick black framed glasses.
Reporter's pen and notebook.
Plastic tube over ear to mouth taped on with micropore.

Christopher Reeve.
(Fri 12th Dec 2008, 11:09, More)

» Things to do before you die

Conquering fears and all that.
There are two places in Norway that I really want to go to, and I suspect it's partly because I'm scared of heights. There's times you want to do something because it terrifies you, and this is one of them. If you're scared of heights, I suggest you either press page down really quickly, or grab something really solid for reassurance.

The first is Trolltunga. Translates to Troll Tongue, and it's a slab of rock that sticks out pretty much horizontally from a cliff face. It's a 350m drop to the water below...

(picture is from here)

The second is Kjerag, and the Kjeragbolten. The Kjeragbolten is a 5m wide boulder that's wedged between two sides of a crevasse, and people tend to jump onto the top of it. The reason it's a bit terrifying? It's wedged between two sides of a crevasse, and that crevasse has a drop to the fjord below that's nearly a kilometre high. Here's a couple of pictures of someone standing on the boulder, and the view down from the boulder.

(both pictures from Wikipedia here)

I'm half thinking around canvassing my friends to see if anyone else is up for it, and going on a road trip from the UK in the summer. Hopefully then I'll have the courage to get some photos of myself standing on the two for other people to use in "things to do before I die" posts. Being hones though, it's more likely they'll be ones of me lying on the ground, desperately hanging onto the floor for dear life and having to be rescued by other people after freezing with the fear.
(Sun 17th Oct 2010, 15:42, More)
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