God-awful shit in the TV Times


What do Princess Di, the Flying Scotsman and a blue tit hatching out of an egg have in common? They have all been the subjects of adverts for truly dreadful shit, as sold in the TV Times.

Even the people that make this fuck-awful tat can’t quite believe that anyone would be mental enough to buy it, so they wait until they’ve got enough people signed up before they start up the production line and these nightmares become real.

Words cannot describe the awfulness, so in order to preserve these adverts for future generations, I’m collecting the best examples on asshol.es


Blowing chunks

Oh go on then, if you insist. Search strings, as recorded in the site logs, coming up. Here are all of them for October if you like raw data. This list also includes ones from September and, as usual, I’ll do my best to help these poor souls.

  • can you make someone vomit by punching them – I’m not sure. But it’s probably best not to wear your best shirt if you intend to engage in a spot of grievous bodily harm, whether it does or not.
  • carrot size nipples – The very thought is probably enough to give adolescent bunnies wet dreams for weeks. Bung a couple of carrots down a nice tight jumper and parade yourself in front of a mirror. Why not try wearing a pair of floppy ears and some buck teeth? There is probably a name for this particular interest, but whatever it is, I bet your carrots won’t be the only things that are carrot sized.
  • does your toddler vomit deliberately – No, he had an intolerance to eggs. I spent many a queasy afternoon hosing eggy chunks out of the push chair until we realised this. Kids are disgusting.
  • 20 year old in nappies – Right. This is serious. While we were in the process of potty training Wibs I had a brainwave and it was this – why not just keep wearing nappies? Why do we use toilets? It’s just because everyone else does. Has anyone considered continuing nappies to adulthood? Upsides: it’s convenient – you can just let go wherever you want without worrying about finding a toilet. It’s more efficient because you don’t spend time splitting whiskers or splashing boots – everything is just emptied out at the end of the day (if your nappy is big enough). Downsides? There are none. Well, unless you are the sort of namby-pamby that objects to sitting in their own faeces. But then again, if toilets had never been invented, a better nappy would have been. It’s only because humans “graduate” to toilets that nappy technology has progressed so slowly. No-one bothers to make them better because by the time we are old enough to say “I’d rather not sit in my own poo, thank you”, we are coerced onto the bog with chocolate buttons and vague promises of being a “big boy”. If there were no toilets, nappies would be comfortable, stylish and self-emptying by now. So in answer to the original query: right on brother, I’m with you – why the fuck not?
  • drill bit size for dum dum – Sounds like a book about drill sizes for really stupid people, but I bet you are actually looking for info on turning your boring ordinary bullets into those sexy hollow point “expanding” ones that cause larger wounds, the thought of which you use as the “finisher” while you wank furiously over Guns and Ammo Magazine. Well, naturally I can help. Simply clamp the bullet in a vice with the pointy bit facing you. Then take a punch and put a dint in that end, to make it easier to drill. To be on the safe side, better put one in the flat end too, remembering to look at the pointy end as you do so, in case you accidentally pop the first dint out. I’ll tell you how to do the rest of it next week. There. That’s another favour the world owes me.
  • petrochemical plant cat ladder diamensions – It’s about 4’6″. 4’0″ if you give it a tin of tuna first.
  • why do ugly things always seem to involve you – It’s because I have a secret farm of ugly things in the loft. Want to buy one? I can do you a nice deal on that grey one with the crooked teeth and nose that looks like a broken drainpipe bracket.
  • nipples blog – Friday 14th November. Still got 2 of them. You would have thought it would be more interesting than that. But it’s not.

And the rest is just variations on toddler/dog/vomit/phlegm/green/poo theme that brings more people here than anything else. So I’m going to insert some happy fluffy nice clean cheerful healthy words in an effort to attract someone who isn’t currently staring in bewilderment at a puddle of puke.

I collect internets

EU ParliamentThis is the story of how I almost got two copies of the World Wide Web stored on my web server. Yes, the entire World Wide Web. 2 Copies. Now, I’m a geek so I’m not sure how much of this “normal” people (like yourself) will be able to follow, so if you find yourself getting bored, please skip to another blog entry which will almost certainly have nothing more than ranting and swearing in it. For the rest of you, read on…

I had an email waiting for me this morning. Nothing unusual there – despite Spamassassin doing its best, I usually have the opportunity to enralge my mebmer, claim money from lotteries I’ve never entered or help wealthy Nigerian businessmen get rid of colossal quantities of money every morning. This one however, was telling me that the disk space on my server had just run out. So no enormous genitals or wads of cash for me this morning then.

Logging on, it became apparent that about 3 Gigs of hard drive space was being eaten up by something and heading over to the log files showed that the MySQL database had written 3GB of logs over the past couple of weeks. What was puzzling was that the database seemed to be filling up with copies of the European Parliament web site. In Slovakian. Argh! Rooted! Someone with a grudge has got control of my server and is using it to DOS attack the Slovakian language version of the European Parliament web site. Quick! Who is connected to the server? Hmm… Googlebot is getting a page and now there are a load of connections to other web servers. Hang on, what page is Google getting? Ah. It’s charredbadger.php from the sodwork.com site… Ding. Is that the sound of a light bulb appearing over my head? No, actually it wasn’t – it was a coworker stirring his tea. I guess that light bulb thing only happens in cartoons.

But what is charredbadger.php?, I imagine you asking in a manner that makes me look clever and you look stupid. Well, the short answer is that it’s a browser within a browser, designed to let the user pick an image from another web page – the “foreign” page. This is done by showing the foreign page in a frame with all the images extracted and shown underneath. The user can either click on an image to use it for nefarious deeds or click on a link in the foreign page to follow it. Click on that link up there to see what I mean. Try one of the 3 links on that page – you’ll get the idea.

Of course it’s not as simple as it first looks. Any links clicked on the foreign page have to point back to sodwork or the user would simply be navigated away from sodwork completely. So when a link is clicked on, rather than your browser fetching the page, what actually happens is that the sodwork server (disguising itself as an ordinary web browser) fetches the page from the foreign site. It then looks through the code in the page and replaces all the links in it. The links, which would normally look like “foreignpage.com”, are edited to point back to sodwork in the form:


So although it looks as if you are using the foreign site normally, everything goes through the sodwork server before it appears on your screen.

OK, so what has all this got to do with 3GB of log files and multiple copies of the whole web? Well, calm down and I’ll tell you. Now then. The foreign page is stored in a database on the server so the scripts that produce both the frame with the foreign page and the outer page can extract what they need. The frame gets the links and the outer page extracts the images. This is a temporary database entry that gets cleaned up after it’s used.

Except it doesn’t. Mr. Lazy here (that’s me) didn’t get round to doing the clean-up code. And the logs that MySQL produce don’t get cleaned up between reboots either. So every page that charredbadger fetches is permanently stored in the database and the command that stores it (which includes the entire code of the page) is stored in the database logs. So every page loaded by charredbadger is stored twice on my server. This isn’t normally a problem. charredbadger is not used that much so the database doesn’t get that big and the log files are erased before they start taking up any space.

Until Googlebot comes along, that is. Hello Googlebot. Googlebot is a program used by Google. Googlebot gets a page from a server, stores it (“indexes” it) so that the words in it can be found by the Google search engine and then follows any links in that page to index those pages as well. It uses this method to index entire sites and hop from one site to the next, following the internal and external links, until it’s done the whole World Wide Web.

Now, unlike us dumb humans, when Googlebot looks at the frame within charredbadger, it is smart enough to see that the all links in the foreign site web page, as shown in the frame, are actually links to the sodwork website. Every link on the foreign site appears to Googlebot as an internal link on sodwork.com and following them leads to other pages with even more links which also look like internal links on sodwork.com.

So it follows them. All of them. They lead to other pages which have more links on them to other pages with even more links on them to other pages… You get the idea. Googlebot thinks it’s indexing my site because all these links start with “sodwork.com”, but thanks to the way my server fetches the foreign web pages and adds that “sodwork.com” on the front, it’s actually indexing whatever foreign site happens to be loaded into charredbadger. Remember that this could be any site on the whole WWW.

So where does it stop? It doesn’t. There are supposedly 6 degrees of separation between any two web sites; i.e. 6 links will get from any one site to any other site on the internet. So in theory, Googlebot will keep following links in charredbadger until the whole of the World Wide Web is indexed. Again. Via my web server. Which, if you remember, is storing 2 copies of every page.

So Google gets another copy of the entire internet (well, the WWW bit of it), except with “http://sodwork.com/gamepic/charredbadger.php?” in front of it, and I get two copies of every web page in existence stored on my server – one in a database and one in the logs for that database. It’s handy to have a backup I suppose. Except what happens when the sub-internet indexing that Googlebot is doing gets round to charredbadger on sodwork again? Oh yes, it’s going to start indexing a sub-sub internet copy, with me getting 4 copies of the World Wide Web on my server. And on an on it goes in an endless loop until either Google or I run out of hard drive space.

So it turns out we can get up to the Slovakian language version of the European Parliament website before I run out of hard drive space to store my internets in. I wonder how much further Googlebot and I would have got if I had a bit more space available? I’ll never know – I’ve started tidying up the logs automatically and I’ve told Googlebot not to index anything starting in sodwork.com/gamepic.

Like I should have done to start with. That’ll teach me.

Mortgage Help

MoneyOne of my more useful sites is the Mortgage Calculator. Actually, it’s now so useful I’ve renamed it Mortgage Analyser. A calculator is something that sits on your desk which you type 55378008 into and turn it upside down for a juvenile flashback. An analyser however, is something that throws more data at you than you know what to do with.

So what is the point of it? It’s fundamental purpose is to get one over on the banks and building societies. Their goal is to sell you as expensive a mortgage as they can trick you into. Currently, a popular way of doing this is to give you a low rate of interest but hit you with huge arrangement fees. So how do you work out if it’s worth paying a higher fee for a better rate? Well, you could work it out on a bit of paper I suppose.

Or you could analyse it online. Just put the numbers in:

  • The amount you are borrowing
  • How long the mortgage is for
  • The interest rate
  • Any fees

And get the answers instantly. Find out what you will be paying, how much more you’ll be paying if you are on a tracker and the interest rate changes and how much you’ll pay in total. Of course, if you’ve looked at the analyser then you’ll have noticed that it does a lot more than just that.

  • Two mortgages can be directly compared with each other.
  • Fees can be either added on to the mortgage or paid outright. Whichever fees are paid by whatever method, it’s automatically taken into account for the calculations.
  • Discounted rates for limited periods are catered for
  • You can see how much earlier the mortgage will end if you make additional payments into it each month. It will also tell you how much money you’ll save.
  • Because you are borrowing money over decades, inflation starts having an effect on the calculations. While the actual amount you pay doesn’t change over the life of the mortgage, what it’s worth does. In this example, 585 in 40 years time will be the equivalent of what 209 is now. Although you are paying 281019, in real terms the value of the money is only 173823.

There is also a graph which shows how the balance of your mortgage goes down over time.  It’s a bit pointless but it does show that for the first few years you aren’t paying much of it back (the line is quite flat) and it does graphically illustrate how much better off you’d be if you made extra payments each month.

That’s it for this utterly humourless  post.  We now return to the regular programming of swearing and ranting.