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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Sharbing in Vegas

   Interesting snippert from the Martin Lewis Forum:

"Off to Vegas for a holiday tomorrow.

The sharbing there is totally awesome.

Once backed Sebastian Vettel for a Grand Prix at 7/2 when he was trading 2.34-2.36 on betfair!

Literally paid for my trip when he won.

Pity I didn't organise my holiday for the Euros really :("

Monday, 28 May 2012

Back on Ebay

   I've finally given up the ghost on RBS. After chasing again at the tail end of last week o received an email from the adviser to say that he had been off sick and that the branch should have dealt with the paperwork in his absence. I called the branch and they didn't have a clue what the guy was on about. They said they would call me back shortly. That was las Friday!

   I decided to bin RBS and look for alternatives. I had a small savings account with the Co-Op (Smile) that I was using for a rainy day. This account came with a cheque book and a Debit card so I thought I would give it a go. Their online access was pretty good too.

   I'm successfully on Ebay now (but not Paypal yet). Next stop is Amazon.


   Got half an hours Darts practice in today. Scored 140 twice which is good for me. Also, when doing a round the clock in doubles I hit double 2, then double 3, then double 4. Quite a feat!

Crash and Burn

   My run of 30 days without a losing bet and 30 days without chocolate came to a halt on Saturday when I had a terrible Eurovision and also had a Chocolate Marshmallow whilst out in Edinburgh. Eating the Chocolate was a genuine mistake but I though I'd be honest and reset the clock back to Zero.

   Eurovision was my stupid mistake. I had successfully traded out of positions on the UK and Ireland. At one point I was on to win £116 no matter who won. Stupidly though I put on dozens of sidebets which almost all turned bad leading me to a £90 loss overall. My target now must be to reach the end of 2012 without another loser.

   My targets this week are to:

  • Start counting up my days without Chocolate again (current high water mark of 30 days).
  • Start counting up my days without a losing bet again (current high water mark of 30 days).
  • Start counting up my days without full fat juice again (current high water mark of 10 days).
  • Start counting up my days without crisps.
  • Get up Ben Cleuch every day this week (at least part of the way).

Not Just a Pretty Paste

   Aquafresh freebie arrived today.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Thursday 24th May - Stevie Taylor's Birthday!!

Built a Bonfire for Stevie coming to stay tomorrow.

Climbed Dollar Law.

Small Eurovision winnings.

Half an hour's Darts Practice.

Ate a big bowl of Bran Flakes today, a pizza slice, a bowl of ice cream and a bag of crisps.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012


  • Still no word back from RBS - useless bastards. If no word tomorrow I will have to set up a new account elsewhere. That would be 3 weeks with no word from RBS after being told at the meeting that everything was hunkydory.
  • Climbed Dumyat on a glorious Summer's evening last night. There must have been at least 50 people up on the hill.
  • Today I've had a pot noodle and some homemade chicken burgers. The chicken burgers were excellent. Another hit from the Takeaway secret recipe book.
  • Got half an hour's darts practice in earlier. It sounds stupid but I can see an improvement already.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Monday 21st May Grub

   Was a bad boy today and had full fat juice. On the other side of the coin I walked 5miles from Alloa to Alva and then spent 2 hours gardening.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

RBS are crap

Complaint to RBS:

Hi, I visited the Alva Branch on c. Thursday 3rd May to open a Current Account. I met with Mr. Liam Dand. I was assured that everything was ok and that I would be shortly receiving the details of my new account. Unfortunately, it is almost 3 weeks later and I still haven't received any details.To make things worse I have sent 3 emails to Mr Dand (who was very helpful on the day) and haven't as yet received a reply. This is poor service. I only looked to open an account with RBS because of their locality to my home. I could've opened a new account online in minutes. Could I please receive my account details ASAP. Regards, Ross Taylor.

Sunday 20th May - Grub

I didn't manage to post any of my grub picks last week, but need to get back in the habit. So far today I have had a pot noodle and a bag of crisps. Tonight I'm having some homemade fried rice and curry sauce for tea (got recipe from "The Takeaway Secret".

   Another Gillian McKeith Day.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Jedward Trade Out

   Successfully traded out of my Jedward punt. I now win £10 - so long as Jedward don't win Eurovision. Nice position to be in.

   Have been trading BGT final tonight. I'm up so long as Molly Rainford doesn't win.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Keir H. Taylor

looking a bit "paddy kirk"

Thursday 10th May Grub

Pot Noodle, Fry Up and a Double Biscuit. Wonder what Gillian McKeith would make of this!


   I'm really tight for time at the moment. Off to Arran on a family trip tonight, back tomorrow night. Up early doors for work on Sunday then driving to England in the afternoon. Two long days in England before returning to work on Wednesday morning. Wenesday afternoon will be sleep catch up so therefore it'll be at least Thursday before I can crack on with stuff. Things are good now - I'm the happiest I've been in years!

   RBS have still to get back to me with account details so not back on Ebay or Amazon as of yet.

   Got half an hours darts practice in last night.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Calendar Club

   I fancy a bit of this:

Calendar Club was formed in 1993 in the US and has since opened in many other countries in the world, including New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Calendar Club UK was started in 1998 (with 12 stores) and has proven a huge success. This year we are planning to expand even further.

Calendar Club operates shops and mall units. The shops range in size from 300 square feet to in excess of 1,500 square feet, while our mall units come in a variety of sizes and configurations.

In 2010 we also introduced 2 new Puzzle Shop stores specialising in jigsaws and puzzles.

Our self employed operators and corporate staff are known throughout the industry for their dedication to strengthening relationships with shopping mall managers and landlords, through everything from streamlined lease negotiations to thoughtful store design to smooth store openings and closings.

Operating a Calendar Club store gives people an oportunity to run a business as their own, with the support of an experienced head office team behind them throughout the season.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I be the store owner or manager?

■As a Calendar Club operator, you will be both

■We provide you with the location, training, product, displays and all shop fittings

■You build and merchandise the store with your helpers

■You employ your own staff and manage your own stock

How will I learn about the business and what support will I get?

■We offer comprehensive training to all of our successful applicants

■We provide operators with both an Operator's Guide and a Store Operations Guide

■You will be assigned a Territory Manager, who will visit your store and contact you regularly

■You will also receive full head office support throughout the season

How do I get my store and where do I get the calendars from?

■When your application is accepted, we will do our best to find a store local to you - we cannot guarantee to find one - but we will try our hardest

■If we have found a store for you, we will supply you with your opening calendar stock and replenish the stock you sell

When will I be required?

■This varies from location to location. Generally stores are open from mid-October through to mid-January, although some sites may open earlier and/or close later

How do I earn my money?

■Operators are paid a commission rate based on various factors including turnover, site rent etc

■The more calendars you can sell, the more money you can earn

What happens if I don't sell all the calendars you send to my store?

■They will be inventoried at the end of the season.

■All surplus calendars are taken back to our warehouse or redistributed to other stores

Why will Calendar Club be right for me?

■Calendar Club is a suitable option for people in a number of different circumstances - seasonal summer workers, retired people, business owners already located in a shopping centre

■Calendar Club operators often return to us year after year

What's the cost to me?

■An annual registration fee payable in December from your commission (No more than £500 subject to store budgeted turnover)

■A refundable deposit returned at the end of January (No more than £500)

■Your own till float (We suggest £100)

■For Ireland, the costs are equivalent in euros

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Today's Grub

   A cheese toastie, a wee French Fancy, Piri Piri Chicken Fillet with Chips, Lettuce and Onion, and a bowl of Ice Cream.

Betfair Update

£1.11 won tonight on Blackpool Birmingham game.

Call me Worzel

   Planted Chillies, Herbs and Tomatoes today. Fancy making my own Tommy-K. Might call it "Peckham Spring".


   I think I might be becoming a Datasexual:

The same cultural zeitgeist that gave us the metrosexual - the urban male obsessive about grooming and personal appearance - is also creating its digital equivalent: the datasexual. The datasexual looks a lot like you and me, but what’s different is their preoccupation with personal data. They are relentlessly digital, they obsessively record everything about their personal lives, and they think that data is sexy. In fact, the bigger the data, the sexier it becomes. Their lives — from a data perspective, at least — are perfectly groomed.

The pic is Tim Ferriss - the uncrowned God of the datasexuals.

The Nano Workout

   From Blood, Sweat and Cheers:

Kitchen Aid

Turn any room in your house into a gym

Just because you're doomed to a desk chair 40 hours a week, doesn't mean you're relegated to a slug-like lifestyle.

Meet Nano Workout, the site dedicated to transforming everyday spaces and situations into fitness opportunities.

With a totally unique and friendly art style, Nano demonstrates simple stretches and workouts anyone can perform in common situations, so you can develop buns of steel without getting off your butt.

Stuck on the train during your commute? Try the Flamingo to work on your balance.

Watching a Designing Women marathon? Try the Hip Flexor Stretch to work on your flexibility and inner shame regulation.

Nano doesn't seek to replace your gym going experience; they just recognize that sometimes we can't muster the energy or find the time for a full-blown workout. But that doesn't mean we can't make every day just a bit more active.

Now we can get six-pack abs while polishing off a six-pack...of beer! If you know what we mean! (We're going to get hammered now.)

Man of Mystery

   Received an email from Retail Maxim today with jobs all over Stirlingshire - Stirling, Denny, Bonnybridge, Falkirk, Larbert. Email arrived at 14:01. I called in to book the jobs at 16:02, but they were all assigned. You obviously need to be fast in this game.

Tuesday 8th May - Grub

   I need to get in control of my weight - I'm a right Fat Bastard. I'm beyond the age of puppy fat, big man, high & mighty, and now onto the stage of the doctor telling me I'm basically fucked. The fat cells have clogged my, already booze-weakened, liver. I have to lose serious weight or go for a Biopsy to look into why my liver is so crap (answers on a postcard to Ind Coopes, Greenfield Street, Alloa).

   My go-to guru Tim Ferriss recommends that you post pictures of everything you eat. At first this sounds like a piece of nonsense but two days in I can see the sense in it. Already I'm embarrassed that I could quite feasibly go a week without posting any fruit or veg.

   Here is yesterday's intake. I won't post juice here because I only drink calorie free stuff nowadays.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Classic Gypsy Behaviour

   For many years I worked in the Bingo Industry. If nothing else it is a place where you gain brilliant cash handling skills. Every week you will have your fingertips on upwards of £100,000 at even the smallest hall. You'll also drop tens of thousands of coins through a sorter on a weekly basis.

   Anyone who has used a coin sorter will tell you that they spit out the dud coins into a side tray and that these need to be kept for the company auditor. Over time you begin to get used to seeing that dud £1 coins. I would say that the counterfeit coin business in the UK is light years ahead of notes - I've yet to see a half decent fake note - but they are still pretty primitive.

   Tonight when I was at the shows I can guarantee that every one of the £30 I changed into coins was a fake. You can tell by the feel of them before you even look at the article itself.

   Nice racket for the Gypsies. Take in good coin, pay out bad coin. No wonder they can afford £50k caravans.

Back and Lay Jedward?

From Sofabet:

Eurovision 2012: Are you backing Jedward now to lay them later?

When Daniel and I started Sofabet in 2010, I didn’t expect to write any articles on Eurovision. Daniel is the master of this subject, whereas my primary fascination lies more with the autumn staple of Sofabet’s coverage, The X Factor – specifically, attempting to dissect the often-masterful techniques employed to generate hype and manipulate public opinion.

Last year, though, the worlds of Eurovision and X Factor-style hype came crashing into each other in the bequiffed shape of Jedward. The brothers Grimes were, of course, unleashed on an unsuspecting public by the 2009 UK X Factor are are still managed by their mentor in that show, Louis Walsh. A remarkable late gamble saw the twins plummet in the Eurovision 2011 win market from around the 50/1 mark to as low as 11/4 second-favourites on the morning of the big day.

This year, again, Jedward are representing Ireland. And this year, again, they are trading at juicy double-figure odds a couple of weeks out from the contest. So will we see another late plunge bringing them down towards favouritism during semi week? And can we cash in on it by backing them now to lay them later?

Daniel and I reckon it’s a possibility well worth considering. So while he packs his bags for Baku, I’ll lay out the reasoning.

For any Sofabet readers who are not conversant with betting exchanges, here is a quick explanation of how a “back-to-lay” works. Suppose you back Jedward with £10 at odds of, say, 30.0. (At the time of writing, their current odds in the Betfair win market are 32.0). As it stands, if Jedward win, you are +£290 and if they lose you are -£10.

Now imagine that Jedward’s odds come down to, say, 10.0. At which point you go onto Betfair and lay them, to the tune of £270. In effect, you are accepting the bet of another punter who wants to back Jedward with £30 at odds of 10.0. From this bet, if Jedward win you are -£270, and if they lose you are +£30.

Taking these bets together, then, you have just locked in a £20 profit either way. Jedward win, and you’re up £20 (your profit of £290 on the first bet minus your loss of £270 on the second). Jedward lose, and you’re up £20 (your profit of £30 on the second bet, minus your loss of £10 on the first).

In a back-to-lay bet, you don’t have to have any view at all about Jedward’s chances of actually winning the thing. You can be completely agnostic on this question. (For Daniel’s views on this matter, see his review of Waterline after the Irish national final). What you’re betting on is the proposition that Jedward’s odds will contract significantly before the contest.

In this example, effectively you’ve bet £10 at odds of 3.0 that Jedward’s odds will contract from 30.0 to 10.0. Obviously, if their odds contract to a lesser extent, then you could lock in a smaller profit. And if their odds drift, then you would have to accept locking in a loss – that’s the downside.

So, what are the chances of Jedward’s odds contracting significantly?

To answer that question we need to speculate about what caused their odds to plunge last year. There are two obvious possibilities. One is that, a few days before the contest, punters around Europe started thinking “hey, you know, Jedward’s chances have been grossly underestimated in the betting so far.”

The other possibility is that someone with an interest in Jedward’s success started placing some strategic bets, with the intention of causing the odds to tumble. Why might someone do such a thing? In a word: hype. Dramatic odds plunges have the effect of generating a sense of buzz and garnering headlines in the media.

We’ve seen a similar dynamic play out on X Factor a couple of times, most notably with Jedward themselves in 2009 and Wagner in 2010. In both cases, acts which had been deservedly rank outsiders for the win were backed right down to unlikely-looking short odds soon before being eliminated.

As we wrote at the time re Wagner, such gambles are a win-win for all concerned. The show gets column inches, the tabloids get an easy headline, and the bookies get some nice free advertising with their representatives quoted in the press.

With Eurovision, of course, the stakes are somewhat different. There would be no point in triggering an odds plunge on Jedward unless it were going to have some effect on their position in the vote. So, did it? Well, Jedward scraped through their semi-final in 8th place with the hype just starting to build; and then, with the hype reaching tidal wave proportions, they also – much more impressively – placed 8th in the final.

I know there are numerous reasons why you can’t translate directly from semi result to final expectation – different countries vote, one semi may be stronger than another, and so on – and I leave those to Daniel and the many Sofabet commenters more steeped in Eurovision lore than myself. Still, at least one of those reasons – the running order – should have worked against Jedward. They got through their semi from the plum draw of 19th of 19, whereas in the final their strong result came from a much tougher draw, 6th of 25.

It seems fair to conclude that Jedward placed better in the final than you would have expected if you’d known their result in the semi. The question then becomes: is there a plausible mechanism by which we might trace this improvement to their plunge in the betting?

We can find an unlikely analogy in the 2006 election campaign to succeed Charles Kennedy as leader of the UK political party the Liberal Democrats. Frontrunner (and eventual winner) was party elder statesman Ming Campbell. But a then-unknown MP called Chris Huhne was the subject of a remarkable plunge, being backed in from 300/1 to odds-on favourite.

There was a widely-held suspicion that people with a desire to see Mr Huhne succeed might just have been strategically punting on him, with a rationale pinpointed at the time by Mike Smithson on his blog – “that he should get the tag so beloved of journalists – “the bookies’ favourite”.”

In other words, in a world where the media look to the odds as a quick guide to who should be taken seriously as a contender, you may be able to get yourself taken seriously as a contender by engineering yourself towards the head of the market. (Mr Huhne finished a respectable second to Mr Campbell, and failed by only a whisker to beat the current incumbent Nick Clegg when the position next became vacant).

How might this kind of thing work in Eurovision? It seems plausible – although I can think of no way of testing this theory scientifically – that being among the market leaders might cause a song to perform better than it would have done as an outsider. The speculative reasoning is that when casual televoters hear their national broadcaster’s commentator say “and coming up next is one of the favourites, there’s been a lot of talk about this one”, they may be more likely to listen attentively.

Intriguingly, the jury vote increased by even more for Jedward in the final compared to the semi than did the televote. Is it possible that national jurors were susceptible to the hype, too? One would expect them to be more immune to hype than the casual televoter – but, then again, also more exposed to it.

Is this speculation feasible in terms of what kind of sums might be required to bring an act down from the 33/1 to 50/1 range into low single figures in the Eurovision win market, and whether those sums would be likely to be within the scope of an act’s promotional budget? We can only guess – though, to some extent, such a strategy might perhaps partly pay for itself by starting a snowball effect: That is, initial bets trigger price cuts; tabloids report the big gamble taking shape; casual punters jump on the bandwagon, depressing the odds further and allowing the original bets to be laid off at a profit.

One would expect this snowball effect to be much more likely to happen with acts hailing from the UK or Ireland, for reasons Daniel explained in his preview of the UK’s chances this year: Betfair and many other high-profile bookmakers are British (or Irish) based, and likewise much of their clientele – especially their casual clientele, the kind more likely to place an impulsive bet in a High Street betting shop after reading a story in their morning paper. I’m guessing it would take a significantly bigger budget to cause and sustain a similar odds plunge on acts hailing from outside of the British Isles.

There’s also something about the betting patterns on Jedward in 2011 that suggests a highly targeted approach.

Whilst Jedward’s odds plunged in the high-profile win market, this was not mirrored in more niche markets such as the top ten market, where their price remained more static. Had there been a general sense among Eurovision-savvy punters that Jedward were underestimated, you would have expected this to be reflected in the likes of the top ten market as well as the win market. There would, however, be practically no media mileage in “Jedward well-backed in top ten market” headlines.

If this speculation is anywhere near target, then one would imagine that there must have been satisfaction with last year’s outcome among those who set the ball rolling. In the X Factor, if something seems to have worked once, then chances are it will be tried again. Will the same be the case here?

At current odds, a “back-to-lay” makes Jedward effectively a price of about 2/1 to be single-figure odds on the day of the final. Of course, they might get knocked out in the semi (although being drawn in the pimp slot again here does help them), but you could hedge against the possibility by laying them in the qualification market (currently around 1.35, meaning you could pay £3.50 for the insurance of getting your £10 back if they fall at this hurdle).

This hedge means you can get somewhere around 5/4 about the proposition that if they progress through the semi, then Jedward will be backed down to single-figure odds by the day of the final. Are you tempted, or are there holes in our reasoning? Do let us know below.


   Today was a freebie day. Bagged some make-up, toothpaste and a £10 Mamas and Papas voucher.

Sharb available on Liverpool

Back at 5/4 (2.25) in Betfred. Lay at 2.16 on Betfair.

£45 back. £55 Lay gives you a guaranteed 55p profit whatever happens.

Love it. Call me Brown Eye PI!

Innnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn One!

   Half an hours Darts practice just completed. Played a game I learnt off the internet called "27". You start on double 1. If you hit it (with 3 darts) you add 2 to 27. If you miss it you take 2 away. The you aim for Double 2. If you hit it you add 4, if you miss it you subtract 4. You continue around the board until you are bust. After a few tries of this I played round the clock. I wouldn't be comfortable about turning up at a club unless I could hit all of the fat numbers with one dart.

   Off to cut my back grass now.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Jean Genie/ Sunday 6th May

   A while ago (I think) I mentioned the "Jean Genie" idea. Basically, after watching an episode of Storage Wars, I thought about how jeans are actually great at holding their value - in some cases actually increasing in value over time like Wine or Art. Tonight I checked on Ebay and was very surprised by the market on second hand jeans. In the course of 10 minutes there was upwards of 15 sales. I know that Sunday night is traditionally the busiest time on Ebay but I still found this to be impressive. A note of the selling prices seems to show that Levi's command the best prices. So much so that I would recommend that you buy any pair of levi's you happen to find in the Charity shops with a ticket price of £10 or under. Happy shopping.

   Elsewhere today I made £9 on Betfair and walked 3 miles around Gartmorn Dam, Sauchie.

Saturday, 5 May 2012


   Just signed uo at "Guru". Will be interested to see what work they have available.

Saturday 5th May

    Was knackered today so have hardly moved from the settee for hours!

  • Won £16 on Betfair
  • Surveys.
  • Bagged some Freebie perfume.
  • Walked 7.25 miles on the old Alloa - Dunfermline railways.
  • Started to close my old Amazon account down with the view of starting from scratch next week.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

More of the same

   Just done a couple of surveys, won 50p on Diva Bingo (have been playing freerolls all day) and won £2.04 on Betfair.

Foxy Bingo

   Signed up at Foxy Bingo for £10 free (no deposit require) but no joy so far.

My journey to the Ally Pally

   Just got a free membership for Riley's in Stirling.

Recent actions

Loads of surveys and a few comps. I've won 60 Nectar points! I think that is enough to buy a packet of two bob crisps!

Have now clocked up 100 miles of hiking this year so far - 50 of those miles in the last 4 weeks.

Got my dartboard yesterday and did half an hour of practice.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Tuesday 1st May 2012

Today's Actions:

  • Registered as Self-Employed with the Tax office.
  • Cut Grass.
  • Walked 1 mile at Gartmorn Dam, Sauchie.
  • Registered with Retail Eyes and Retail Maxim.
  • Registered with an Extras agency.
  • Called Clacks Council Trading Standards but no one available.