Tuesday, February 28, 2006

2005-07-30 010I know posts are supposed to be more than me-too-istic lookits, but look-it.

I have a stupidly big smile, and I haven't smiled for most of this very long day.

And anyway, he's all slick and has got it built into his blog (I know a quick page source could teach me to do the same, but it's late and my skill in HTML falls with each spasm in my eyelid).

But that doesn't matter now, as I now know what purple pants mean (other than being the third colour in a three part set from M&S).

I'm far too easily impressed. And amused.


Sunday, February 26, 2006

CF8 600 - People - 32 TemptationMouse permitting (see the comment on the last post), I'll try posting.

Recent stuff in my life:
- Work. I've still got a stupid amount to do, and it's only the "by when" which varies. Yep, I'm displacement-activity-ing.
- Party. Last night. Basically a group of us hired (or found ourselves volunteered to help hire) the upstairs of a pub/club thing, paid the deposit, and then hoped fervently that we had enough friends that the bar would meet the minimum take and so we'd get the deposit back. We paid £400 up front. We needed the bar to take more than £800 to get the deposit back. The bar took £1,200. We might have slightly overshot.

And henceforth I will be known as Ye [of little faith], due to being a bit worried when I arrived late (thanks to travelling with someone who wanted to take the bus, which ensured we stood at a bus stop for 40-minutes before getting bored and walking several bus stops down the road before the bus finally caught up with us.

I know logically that it's the same bus, so we might as well stayed at the first bus stop, but inactivity rankles, even if it raises the risk of being between bus-stops as the bus passes. But on the other hand, we get closer to where we need to be regardless of whether a bus comes or not, and we move to a different point on the web of bus routes, so might have the option of taking a different bus.

Spot who has what someone recently termed "control issues". But I have two states with regard to the control of any situation: I am, and I will shortly be.

But getting back to the party, and it was a bit of an odd mix, as I only knew people from the department, who made up the core of the gathered. But that was partly from having discovered that every single person I know in London wasn't in London last night.

And by mix, I should stress that remarkably little mixing occurred, so it was a bit like the dance attended by Montagus and Capulets, only with added Cavendishes, Grosvenors and Throgmortens.

I also wish to officially renounce (well, for a couple days maybe) any attempt at figuring out what the hell is going on relationship-wise between various people I know. Having accidentally gained information (what? She left he log-on details as the default on a computer. But unfortunately they're no longer there. Not that I checked or anything) which illustrated a whole swathe of interlinkages, I tried to build on that knowledge last night. It got a bit muddled by one guy, who is damn near impossible to figure out. I think it's a combination of ADHD and thriving on attention, hence doing anything he can to gain and keep someone's attention (someone did very cruelly wonder aloud what sex would him would be like, but I can't really go into here, as hand gestures were involved, although the crux of it was a wee burst of freneticism followed by him wandering off because he's bored and distracted).

Anyway, it was a bit bemusing, as there were too many other interactions going to decide just what is significant (plus the thorough internationalism of the group does mean everyone has different mannerisms, interpretations and thresholds). But I was having a had enough job of trying to dance to the latest Slavic rock, which could just have been static with added feedback, all played painfully loudly (don't ya just love friends djing while not paying attention to anything beyond their knobs, so not noticing that the entire dancefloor is standing round, as they have been for the past three songs, waiting for the tune to start

Another problem with international groups is that it means I'm the only person who knows [all] the words to Rhythm is a Dancer or other Scout Disco classics. I mean, they didn't even know the words to Common People. How can I be expected to work with these people? And we won't go into the irony of designer clad Greeks dancing to the track.

It's a bit odd. I'm not sure whether any relationship changed as a result of the party. People turned up because they either had a vested interest or because they felt obliged to. And once they got there, they stayed rigidly in their self-affirming groups, so there's half a dozen unchanging clusters and far too many couples, so of whom are even married.

But then watching the assumption people made was intriguing. There are those who change completely. There are those who don't at all. There are those who have come prepared for something completely different, and those apparently unprepared.

Anyway, last night was a party. It wasn't dire, but wasn't as good as it might have been, or even should have been.

So odd then. But it did remind me how much I like dancing. I can't dance but if everyone else is, then I want to and I don't want to stop (and heaven help you if suggest leaving early). Although it can't have been a proper night of dancing, because I wasn't doused in sweat, nothing hurt and still was my bouncy self while walking to the bus-stop (much to the chagrin of someone I was with, even though when I'm really knackered I still find excess energy from somewhere).

Oh, and never try to teach someone to skip when travelling along Pentonville Road at somewhere after 3 am. Especially not if they're short sighted and without their glasses. It was a long legs, short legs, moving between bus-stops (having just had a full one roar past) thing, and I walk fast, so I was trying to find ways to even things out again. Basically, it wasn't entirely successful.

Which probably sums up the entire night, but I did need it, as it's probably the first time I've drunk alcohol since New Year's...

- Indecent amounts of Christmas Cake. Oh, and I've found a way round annoying women on the checkout in Sainsbury's, and hence have just eaten some very cheap hot cross buns: Unexpected item in the bagging area.

- Unexpected swearing in the street area. Thanks Shelter. I know it's the mark of a newbie to complain about chuggers [charity muggers, or people employed by charities to generate direct debit contributions. They loiter on street corners and take money off unsuspecting people], but when they start swearing at anyone who ignores them it does sort of verge on the cusp of tolerable behaviour. Which as in a normal day I pass that street corner about four times a day, and each time get accosted by people after my money, does being to get wearing. And it's hardly as if I try walking through them. I give them a wide berth and everything about my body language says "not now". Look, I even apologise to Big Issue sellers for not buying one (this tactic did of course backfire in Exeter when one thought I saw swearing at him. But Exeter always had particularly savage beggars; all of whom seemed to be Glaswegian), so it's not that I'm refusing to admit knowledge of your existence or denigrate your human status. It's simply that I have the same thing every day, I don't have enough money to give to everyone who asked, and I don't have enough time to explain this.

If it was where I grew up, after a while I'd start to say "Good morning" to them. But as this is London and the only time people speak to each other is if one is trying to sell something, be it drugs or simply a social panacea (I did once try greeting someone I recognised. I'd been stuck in a lift with her the night before. Two words made her rear back like a horse that's met a snake, and then suddenly decide she needed the northbound platform). So what choice have I got? To stop and speak, and be late evermore, or to walk on by and risk slightly nonsensical insults (firstly, does it look like I am? And secondly, my parents were married. Or just the ever popular standard anatomically incorrect). Or should I just start stabbing them? I reckon their branded clipboards could eviscerate fairly well.

It's as bad as that mad woman from the Christian Scientists who stands blocking the exit from a tube station at rush hour trying to stop people so that they can talk about their stressed lives and find ways to avoid the stress. So far I've avoided the most obvious stress-buster of punching her back into three lanes of foul tempered traffic. Someone really ought to tell her not to try it when the Northern Line's been having it's latest glitch (usually signalling failure, passenger action at Bank (what is it about Bank station that makes people what to kill themselves?), a faulty train at Euston or a missing train somewhere on the Charing Cross branch), because most of the people coming out will have spent the past hour trying not to get pushed off a crowded platform while also trying to get more than 5 metres down the platform [surely all the people in the knot can't be tourists?] then being crammed into a tin which is too short for some of them (I know this is heightist madam, but would you terribly mind moving your 4-foot frame, and attendant luggage closer to the edge of the train, so taller passengers don't have to risk being decapitated by the doors when they get on. And if you should choose to do that, then you will also avoid having give vertical glares to the people leaning over the top of you. If ever there was proof that previous generations were shorter, it's Victorian underground railways), and which moves only haltingly before announcing that it's going to terminate at the next stop, and there is another, equally crowded, train about 12 minutes behind it.

And this is all far too long, way too muddled, and substantially lacking in akomeogis, but I'm tired (yep, it still takes a hour to get anywhere in London, even at 4 am) and have stupid amounts of work to do tonight.


PS. How should one set about explaining that a lampshade is made out of a Weetabix box and a teatowel to someone who asks where they can get one? I'd bought a cheap lamp, which came with a shade which provided about 40 degree protection. 40 degrees being not very much, so I had to extend it, and the Weetabix box was in lieu of garden canes until I found some.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I shouldn't do that.

I haven't gone in because I feel awful.
I feel awful because I haven't gone in.

And I'm not sure how much self-reinforcement is going on in that logic. Neither am I sure how much of the awfulness is viral, how much the result of lack of sleep, how much worrying about work, how much anxiety about something else, how much is deadline related (although usually I keel over after the deadline), how much is just extrapolated from an awareness of all this. Is it just my usual inability to cope with being reminded that I am not omnipotent, I cannot do everything, especially not all at once, and that sometimes its fine to know or understand or be immediately capable (I can't even write that sentence without the amending "immediately"; such is my level of assumptions. Competitive, arrogant perfectionist with external confidence and motivation issues seeks someone who will make it alright. Perhaps my response to how good I'll be at anything unknown shouldn't be "I'm me. I can do anything if I try [there are those provisos again, although that is an exceptionally good opt-out clause]. I just haven't tried yet").

I'm fully aware some of it is due to the way some people are treating me, which is of course their problem, yet technically I can't declare it not mine. It's just the tiredness which makes dealing with their stubbornness, foolishness and stupidity wearing. I have no energy with which to fight, no particular desire to either, yet I know I have to, and not just for their good.

But having to work where every word I say gets needlessly translated (she understands what I'm saying, but the self appointed interpreter is a patronising ass, who not only believes women should be in the kitchen, but assumes it too. But hey, he's a Cretin. Sorry, that should read Cretan), every idea spawns discussion in a different language, and is promptly deposed without translation. And the other member of the our international team I originally assumed didn't have quite enough English, but have come to realise, it's not that the message isn't getting through, it's merely that she's dim. And it wouldn't be so unbearable if Greek didn't sound like a machine gun, and each Greek person didn't have a default volume of 11.

My god, I hate opinionated people (said he with great aplomb, knowing full well that that sounds suspiciously like an opinion).

I'm feeling like that Ralph Nader ad, with every dis- under the sun (or unrelentingly amorphous grey, loving tinted with brown. Maybe the sky's just old, and that's why it's yellow round the edges).

But having the usual joyous combination of shivering and sweating, plus a gut which is firmly rejecting all offers, and mouth which is slowly and painfully digesting itself is not fun. The mouth I attribute to something scurvyish. The cure for which is a wide variety of invariably acid things. Why does citric acid have to be so painful? And why do my lips look like I've got half of Hollywood's collagen in there (either that, or they've been worked on by a very thorough wasp). When I start resorting to the logic of "if it hurts it must be good", I know it's pretty bad right? Guess who's been rubbing salt into the wound. It seems to help, although that might just be the pain receptors burn out after a while.

But surely all that can't be the effects of just thought? Can it? But thoughts aren't quite working right either, and I shouldn't be

Confidence always has been intermittent, but this time it feels like the tide draining to its lowest ebb, and magically I'm the curious whale, now stranded a mile inland.

I hate it when this happens. I hate being made to think "is that it?". And I hate when others ask that of me.

And does anyone else have a lot of eggs and milk that might last until next week because they forgot when Shrove Tuesday was? As I normally miss it (well, who put it on a Tuesday?) I sort of over compensated. And when are they going to make Easter decimalised (I'm fully aware that's the wrong word), but I can never cope with the endless bobbing about. I keep being told that apparently it's early, or late, this year but as concept of it is sometime Aprilish, early and late don't really help.

Anyway, I need to go in and show myself, so I can be congratulated on how ghastly I look.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

2006-01-14 017Sorry for the poor blogging - it's a combination of not having time (tonight is going to be yet another sleepless night. If only it was just insomnia), having stuff I'm not too sure I actually want to post here, and having the usual long, unfinished post lurking in the background.

So ignoring all that, the astute amongst you might have noticed the small changes in the sidebar, with a couple of new entries - mostly tentative recips, which means they've linked to me, and I'm not sure why, or quite what to make of them. Let me know who you think should stay (and therefore by inference who you think should go. Heck, why bother with the inference).

But the real reason for this post is, amongst the many other referrals I've had, including the usual requests for Dartmoor cottaging (er, which one do they mean?), the muppet-faced cast of BBC London (although strangely none for the one who really shouldn't wear pigtails, but that's possibly because I've no idea of her name), Portsmouth cottageing, the bizarre "fishing as a verb" - for which I appear to be the sole result, Guildford cottaging, the first lines of nursery rhymes*, and yes the pattern does appear a tad predictable. So just to add a hint of roundness, here's some Norfolk cottaging (anyone else suddenly thinking of those who do not smoke nor drink?).

Anyway, point of post: at 18.24 today, data1.foxtons.co.uk arrived at this site having searched for "foxtons, wankers". Huzzah, they've reached the first stage.


* Vaguely related. #49.

Friday, February 17, 2006

GF8 600 - 34 The PepperpotI shouldn't laugh really.

A young man and young woman are standing on the street outside the building.

They've been having a conversation that's been verging into argument for a while. Amongst the many other details which have been broadcast to anyone inside the M25 is the information that the woman has a wide selection of STDs. And she reckons she got them from [what is presumably] her boyfriend, who in turn must have got them from somewhere. The somewhere apparently being a mutual contact [and by the sound of one comment, possibly the infected girl's sister] with whom he linked up with after the shouting couple became a couple.

The whole blazing-row-in-public thing isn't really being helped the man who keeps having to break away from shouting at her to allow fits tarry-phlegm based coughing.

Who needs television when you can have a talk show live on one's very own doorstep?

Oooh, ooh, ooh! She's hitting him with her handbag!

Burberry no less.

Although it may be fake as the handles just came off.


Monday, February 13, 2006

2006-01-13 004What exactly is the etiquette one should abide by if one should happen to accidentally open someone else's email account, then read quite a lot of it (which rather confused one, as one wondered why one had been sent all this stuff, especially the soppy song with Michael Stipe singing on it from a [male] engineer who wouldn't have struck one as the type) and in the process of discovering one is logged-in to the wrong account then realise that the owner of the account has apparently has two or possibly three concurrent boyfriends, the nearest of which has discovered about another one?

And none of the boyfriends are the one I thought was interested in the owner of the account.

Should one:
A. Send out a flirtatious email to the person one thought was the most likely romantic candidate.
B. Send out a few thousand Fr33 ?0rn* emails.
C. Forward all the exchanges to everyone in the address book (including her boss, grandparents, suitors, etc.).
D. Delete everything.
E. Admit the error to the owner of the account and bankrupt oneself trying to make it up to her.
F. Admit the error to the owner of the account and tell her not to be such a brazen hussy.
G. Admit the error to the owner of the account and congratulate her on being such a brazen hussy.
H. Painstaking ensure that all emails are returned to their original status and hope that one has not marked anything unread which was originally read, and then try to forget all about it.
I. As H, except use the knowledge gained for any advantage possible.
J. Any other action as suggested by readers of one's blog.

One is wavering between H and I (well, one has done the first bit of H) and one is choosing to blame the entire thing on gmail which only shows captions like "Suitor Number 3 to Me" rather than "S#3 to Miss M A Trois".

And what should one do with regard to the knowledge that in Firefox on a certain computer, one will always have access to this unintentionally accessed account, due to the owner of the account not clicking Firefox's "Not Now" button when prompted if she would like save her login details?

Of course, one is far too incompetent at such technical matters to remove the saved information, otherwise one being such a gentleman, and not at all nosy, would have instantly removed the details. And anyway, maybe she meant to save them, in which case it would be positively malevolent of one to delete them.

So perhaps it is best if one should leave things as they are and if that allows for future confusion in which one should just so happen to log in to the wrong account again, then so be it.


* MS Word wants to change this to "Fr33? Orn". Yeah, cos that makes so much more sense.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Concerning Torments. Brilliant.

[via DG]

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Greece 5 600 - 16Things I like:
- BBC News streaming broadcasts, so I can get to loathe Natasha Kaplinsky at the same time as the rest of the nation, and then get confused by the interlude music which comes up if you try access the 1, 6 or 10 O'Clock news programmes too late (or a bit too soon).

You can even watch BBC London News live as well, although you have to go to the BBC London site, and load the stream, which owns in Real Player rather than the embedded RP in the BBC News Player (which when the mid-news trailers for it appear in the main programme...). It is of course lower res than the main feature, as befits its "Call us now" to get onto some very dull radio talkshow (does BBC Radio London or whatever they call it do anything else?) status.

- "logined"
As seen on dodgy Russian/Ukrainian/AVG-tripping sites.

- The German Coastguard.

- Azuric, for mentioning stuff about the Go! Team (if you remember Nerdz [probably highly carcinogenic sweets], the band are like the aural equivalent), which lead to me discovering they have a track called "Junior Kickstart", which brought back all sorts of childhood memories (and I'll carefully not consider why a television programme features so heavily in them). Anyway, for those who missed Kickstart, it was a programme about people, mostly male teenagers, carving up bits of hills and occasionally falling off a log. It was very good.

Stuff I don't like:
- Butter in Morrisson's being 13 pence cheaper than Sainsbury's, but the offer on bacon being far better in Sainsbury's (and only finding this out after buying bacon in M's).
- The fact the only non-smoked bacon Morrisson's sell are slightly manky things called collars. As far as I'm concerned bacon comes in two forms: back and streaky. One's for bacon sandwiches, the other's for panhagglety and turkeys (and making those little rolls were you have to scrap it out over a board beforehand). But having just used some, you can't tell it's smoked. You can't even tell it's bacon. Another reason to hate Morrisson's.

Stuff I'm not sure about yet and am just using this "stuff" formula as a premise to include it in this post:
- My support of the Danes. Also known as I bought some more butter, and following on from an earlier comment, I can now reveal that while the halal status of Lurpack Spreadable is still unknown, the packaging does say it is kosher.

- The way half of In Actual Fact's sidebar appears to be converging on London (except for those who overshoot), along with the postcard winner himself. So if the postcard winner is coming to collect it in person (as he still hasn't given me his address, although I've just figured out that's because the only name and contact details he has for me are Blogger based, which might explain the reticence (or it might not). Sorry, I assumed if Dan knew then everyone knew (that'll be those maternal logic genes kicking in). Anyway, he knows where I used to live).


2005-11-05 Greenwich 052What's going on?

Normally the trains that trundle past the window a piddling little things of two carriages or so. Occasionally there'll be a freight/gravel/EWS* grinding along. Basically, if in the Rev. Awdry books there was a branch line off Thomas's branch line then this would be it. Nothing ever happens, at least nothing ever happens above 20 miles per hour.

* Stands for something like Environmental Waste Services. Does the same job as all those Cory's barges moored downstream of Battersea.

Until just now. Was it a bird? Was it a plane? Was it Eurostar whooshing past? Nope. It was something straight out of an Agatha Christie book, or possibly something by Hornby (and I don't mean Nick). I didn't see the engine, although there wasn't any smoke or steam lingering, so it probably didn't match the coaches. But they were proper, proper coaches, complete with compartments, individual lights and even a dining car. The entire thing was so long it was probably going through two stations at the same time (this line is fairly ridiculous though, as it takes longer to find the nearest station than it does to walk to the end of the line).

Yet despite all this splendour, it was being taken up at the rear by apparently the same engines which top and tail the rubbish trains (and I don't mean any run by South West Trains. I mean actual rubbish trains). Somehow it doesn't seem right.

I've forgotten where this post was going, just like I've forgotten to lots of things recently (maybe not so much forgotten, merely "realigned" thought processes). I'm dreadful (actually really rather good at) doing something like just putting a DVD in see if it works. West Side Story this time.

What can I say? Somehow I had one of the songs in my head while passing a Virgin, and then I sort of might have slightly gone in to buy things in the there 5 for £30 pounds sale (which is exactly the same as Play.com's 3 for £18 pounds sale, except Play say normal price is £6.99 while Virgin say it's £8.99). It's quite odd browsing DVDs and slowly coming to realise I already have most of the good ones in their sale.

Anyway, it's finger clicking good (I've said that before, haven't I?). But it is. And it's still incredible how simple, lithe movements can become aggressive and powerful.

Although if you watch it, do make sure you haven't left any lemons on the floor.

So what else did I end up buying?
- Spartacus (special edition no less), because, er, it's a Stanley Kubrick film, and er, they'd sold out of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. Or maybe I just bought it because it reminded me of someone being silly and of someone else being serious and...

- 21 Grams. Because it's supposed to be good, and I missed seeing it, and because it's described as "multi-layered" and baffling is always good, right? And also because the weight of the soul turned up somewhere else recently.

- Amores Perros. Ditto above (except the multi-layered bit, but it's in a different language, which fulfils the baffling quota. Thinking of which, has David Lynch ever done a foreign language film?). And yes I've only just realised both films are directed by the same guy (yet somehow I knew they were connected).

- Fame. Because... It was a toss up between The Graduate, The Italian Job and Short-Circuit/Flight of the Navigator (although the same shop were selling just FOTN for the same price). ITJ I've seen umpteen times, and it's always going to be repeated (even if I don't currently have a television to watch it on). The Graduate nearly came through, but I thought I might be able to find it cheaper elsewhere, whereas... I don't know. I think my logic was that Fame was more recent and so depreciated less (hmm, let's not look at that logic too hard shall we?). And the children's films are children's films. I never liked Short Circuit anyway, but I couldn't buy something which had less in than the one next door, so I'm stuck between getting something I don't want and getting something which is worse value. So I didn't get either.

And anyway, as I've just discovered, it's got the Feringhee from ER in it (and no, I haven't watched enough of whichever Star Trek it is to know how to spell that). Plus I was already buying men prancing about and men without tights, so if ever there was a time to buy potentially shameful films...

"To buy" list:
- The Graduate*
- The Italian Job
- The Flight of the Navigator
- Monty Python films (Play do a much cheaper boxset. But I've just used up all my unnecessary spending guilt credits).
- Bullitt*
- The Great Escape*
- Flight of the Navigator
- The Goonies
- Any other blatently children's film (preferably from my childhood)
- Blade Runner (yes, via purple pants). Play don't stock it.
- Whichever Stanley Kubrick films I don't already have*.
- Pixar stuff
- Classics (preferably if they're £2.99 like Brief Encounter was. It's now apparently £3.99 if one spends over £20 in Virgin, or £11.99 from Play).
- Copies of what belongs to my brother's flatmate (Saturday Night Fever, Shaft and all the other ones I didn't get a chance to see).
- Any other film I've heard people making a fuss about (e.g. Clerks, except if I've seen it and know it to be rubbish, for example, Labyrinth. Oh, and IF/IAF, you didn't mention that Forrest Gump is the name of a character in the Princess Bride. Not that you should have done, I just read the back of the DVD. It probably makes more sense if one has seen either film). I wonder if people know that I judge them by what films they talk about and whether or not I'm disappointed when I buy them on the back of their comments.

* Never quite got round to seeing it.

So what have I missed? Ok, so this might turn into people guessing what I've already got, but I was after films you think are good, whether or not I might already have them. I probably should have just left it as one question and not brought doubt into the concept.

Anyway, it's cold and I need some food (and huzzah, the heating's working again. That only took a week. And still my room's cold).

And drat, I've just remembered I wanted to go and see Chris Addisson tonight, and assumed I'd go with my brother, only he's in somewhere snowy (I honestly don't know where), and I forget to arrange to go with anyone else (and I can't remember where it is, how much it is, or when it is, and I don't really feel like going on my own).

I need to plan more.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

2005-10-01 024 WindfelledMust stop wasting time: said he, blogging.

Ok, so the time-wasting in question was in response to being presented with a fait-nearly-accompli and wondering about a little research along the way. Quite why I was looking up reviews when the venue's already been booked, I'm not sure. Latent pessimism I suppose.

Anyway, while looking up information for a party (anyone in London the weekend of the 25th?), I also happened to gravitate towards my hometown. Reading reviews of pubs you know, or used to know, is a bit odd. Especially when you discover comments about people you know (all flattering), find out what happened to that slightly psychotic guy from college, who was always fiddling with sharp implements (married/in coupledom, and landlord of one of the pubs) and notice that the comment "used to be good" gets rotated between the ones I know (although I am glad that it's not just me. But have all pubs always waxed and waned amongst certain groups? And it's always the same groups, as looking at abeerintheevening I realised just how many pubs Markettown has that simply don't register on my radar).

But what I ought to worry about was the fact I found myself looking for a pub which closed years ago. Unfortunately, it was the nicest in town, and virtually my local. Whereas now it's a twee and resoundingly empty cottage. Ok, so half of it always was nearly empty due to the room to the left being for the true locals (it being my nearest pub, and the fact I'd lived my entire life in the town simply weren't enough. I was never sure what was enough; a Black Country accent maybe, despite the utter Home Countiesness of the place. One of the "ye dohn wanna be comin' innear laddie" guys did have a strangely incongruous accent, but then I think he lived 3 houses away, so maybe that's what made him exempt from the "a local place for local people" rules)

And somehow I'd forgotten the place where the toilets are the corridor behind the two bars. But that's drinking in a grammar school for you.

Moral of this story: never take your children to the pub - at least not a really nice pub where they can fish apples out of the stream (a habit we never grew out of), and where they can return to throughout their formative years (no comments on underage cider drinkers), then disappear to university, and come back to find the place closed. The new owners of the building must have been some of the most despised people in town, not really for anything they've done (but presumably most of the proper-pubbiness soon got removed) but simply because they emphasise the fact that something good is no more. And we won't point and laugh at them [much] for apparently being very upset to discover that most of the huge garden of the pub was on loan to the pub while it was a public house, and so as soon as it went private, the fences went back up. Apparently neither they nor any of the people hired on their behalf, managed to look at the deeds in quite enough detail.

Back to the moral. Never play the best card first. Not only does it ruin the game, but all the others are only a king. Which is damn annoying (but which does suggest that there might be 3 more to find. I think I know of 1 probable and another potential, unfortunately neither are near here).

Hmm, somehow I've managed to go on about pubs for quite a while, and this is me, who generally doesn't go to the pub, and doesn't really like them (except the ones where I never have to pay, although the cost of that is often finding myself volunteered, and having certain barmaids pinch my chips).

But it's probably better than discussing my studied silence in the face of "women are chimpanzees" monologues, or nearly wanting to cry in Sainsbury's (can you imagine what would have happened if I'd gone to Morrisson's instead?), or how something that wouldn't work suddenly did, and I have no idea why, but that doesn't stop me saying how wonderful it is, or maybe just the joy of having to explain how to roast a parsnip (yes, just the one). I'm writing rubbish because I've got an obscene amount of work to do (if only it was on something obscene. Management structures may generate obscenities, but they're not really up there with... I can't think of anything. Asking for suggestions would be a bad idea, right?), not much time to do, and I'm not really sure where to start.

Plus I've got someone from the other side of the world trying to convince me to meet a total stranger/unmutualised friend because "it would be good for [me]". I know I shouldn't say no outright, because, well, I don't know. But also I'm aware I have problems saying no [it's the whole nuh+ohwa thing which just confuses me], so am I considering it because I should or because I'm not very good at not.

That and I've never met anyone from the internet [ok, so I've walked past them], so how do I know they're real?

Oh hell, I just realised I'm considering using critical flow analysis on my life. Oh, and if, during, say, the course of an interview, someone should ask you "Have you ever done critical flow analysis?", never reply "Of course, we did that at GCSE".

I think he might have meant "have you ever applied...". But that answer is alongside my brother's famed response in one interview to some presented scenario: "Are you asking what I would do? Or what [the company] would do?"*

And to will soon be able to buy the [Ding-dong, Avon calling] brothers' book entitled "Make yourself stand out at interview".

That had better be it.


* But if you knew the company in question, that is a fair response.

PS. What is the etiquette of getting free food from a Hare Krishna surrounded by his Vegetarianism is Great (complete with misleading and wholly inaccurate claims about basic physiology) signs, while wearing a leather coat? Third week running I've done this (it's either that or yet more bagels, or eat in a cheap, but not cheap enough, small, overcrowded and smoky cafe). Unfortunately, it is the warmest coat I have, and while I'll gladly take free vegetarian food (even if I'm then left to wonder the sanity of a mind which curries sprouts [not the beansprout sort] or cooks broccoli until the stems fall apart), just as I take free anything, I do have a tendency to consume cow, even though I can't be sure it was the same cow I'm wearing.

PPS. The sun was very red this morning. It nearly made up for the knowledge of what's making it so red [ah, brown sky, how I inhale you so].

Sunday, February 05, 2006

GF3 600 - 07 Low Road AdaptationThe world is a little bit of an odd place.

It's amazing how a small amount of ink can not only start fires, cause stones to levitate and most importantly generate a whole new load of ink. Now if only we good harness this power of regeneration and work it in to the National Grid, and then goodbye Greenhouse Effect (well, adding to it anyway). Who would have thought that a few poor cartoons in some non-entity of a Danish newspaper who unintentionally create the mechanism which would allow the total abolition of fossil fuel use?

Sales of Danish bacon in Muslim countries may have slumped... Oh, hang on, that doesn't really work. Is Lurpack Spreadable halal? But the only other product of Denmark I can think of is Lego, so I'll have to pretend that the Muslim world is venting their ire by throwing Duplo out of the figurative pram. Anyway, sales of [suitable Danish products] may have slumped, but soaring demand has pushed Danish flag production up 4,000%.

Is anyone else wondering how many of the protestors had to look up what a Danish Flag looks like prior to going out to burn one?

We spit on the infidel flag of, er...
[Whispered] Latvia?
No, no, that's the Isle of Man.
I thought it was Indonesia.
No, Indonesia looks like Poland, that's more Monaco or maybe Malta.
It's Hong Kong isn't it?
Has it got any blue? If so it's the Dominican Republic or possibly Iceland.
It looks like Northern Cyprus.
Are we counting that as a place? I'd say it looks a tad Greenlandy.
Don't you mean Kalaallit Nunaat, which is Inuit for "that which cannot be spoken".
Qatar, innit?
It's Tonga.
No, I'm sure it's Peru.
It's definitely Singapore. Well, maybe Switzerland.
Look, it's obviously Trinidad.
Looks like Sark to me.
I hate to break it to you, but while superficially similar to Denmark, that flag is actually for the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. The proportions are all wrong, see?
Really? Oh look, that one's pretty, can we use that instead?
Where is it?
Um, it says the Seychelles, wherever that is.
Sri Lanka's is quite nice.
Oh yes, I saw that lion thing on some cushions the other day. I nearly bought them, but I can't remember where they were now.
That shop just up the road from the bank had some made with the Scottish lion, although it was the wrong colour yellow for my curtains.
Can you remember how much they were? And it was the single upright one, not the three? I can never remember my rampants from my other-ones.
What? Oh yes, death to the infidels, there is no dog but Spot, yadda, yadda, yadda. Can we hurry it up, I want to be back in time for Lost.
It's not on. It's Desperate Housewives instead.
Really? Is the new series any good?
I don't know, I haven't seen it yet.
Tell you what, why don't you come round to mine - it's nearer - after we finish this pyromania thing.
It won't work anyway; the thing's polyester, so all you'll do is get a big puddle of molten plastic, burnt fingers and slight increase in personal risk of cancer.
Well sod that then. You know I've been wondering about this whole "there is no dog but Spot" thing. Well, what's that make Snowy? And you can't claim Dogmatix isn't a dog because he's even got it in the name. There then's Lassie, who although thick and twee is distinctly doggish. What about the Littlest Hobo? What was the name of the one in the Famous Five...

But for a cartoon which is actually amusing...

Or maybe I'm only saying that because I saw the French translated versions, and my French isn't quite up to being able to get punchlines about running out of virgins. Strangely, while my education taught me to ask for a slice of ham, it didn't ever get round to "have you yet surrendered your virtue?"

Unless "je voudrais un croque monsieur" doesn't mean what I think it means.

But enough about what happened in September (and they call this news?), and on to far more important matters:

You are .html You are versatile and improving, but you do have your limits.  When you work with amateurs it can get quite ugly.
Which File Extension are You?

Fascinating, huh? The quiz turned up in Google under some vaguely work related thing (oh hell, I've just remembered something) and I was feeling easily distracted.

Other recent discoveries include TfL's "The Tube is Screwed"(TM) text messaging service, which I'm sure will be useful at some point, and er... there was something else, but I've mentally mislaid it for the time being, although I'm fairly sure it wasn't anything to do with new diagnostic tests for Alzheimer's. It was one of those "Oooh, that's quite clever and potentially useful" things.

Anyway, in other news, people who leave Die Welt in the bathroom are kunst (as are people who get to vanish off to Vancouver on "work". What's the betting he finds himself in an Irish bar?), because it is a truth universally acknowledged that any person in my family will read any materials left in the bathroom, even the leaflet on Toxic Shock Syndrome from a box of Tampax (we're like that wherever we are, so at breakfast study the terms and conditions of the latest "win a CD full of 80's songs you don't remember" competition, as well as the leaflet on TSS that was slotted into the side of the pack [what are Weetabix trying to tell us? Oh dear, my brain's overrun a bit, and I've just had a not very nice thought. A bit of a crunchy not very nice thought. I might have toast tomorrow]).

One Problem with German Newspapers, is not only do They insist on Capitalising every Thing, but I can't understand most of It, and yet I still try. So end I end up with contextless collections of terroristisches, rassistischen, blasphemische and bombe, with occasional Chirac sprach, and then they go and bung in a "todesbessessen" and I being to wonder if they're just making it up.

Doppelpfugelessenmenchen Nordatlantikpakt im Krankenhaus gegebegevergefreiarbrietungvolkstiengeliebenwirtskraftschaft. See I can do "German" too.

Hmm, where does annoyance with other languages and making stuff up fit on the [name edited out] scale of Blood Sugar Level? And for that matter where does typing one's own name onto a supposedly anonymous (although it doesn't take that much adding up. I mean how many 2s does anyone need before they can get 4?) blog come on the scale of waning energy and concentration?

And with that I'd better investigate cooking.


Antigua - Shirley Heights sunset 2There's nothing quite like sending out a bulk email to all the "other" people in my address book (well, elderly Excel file) only to have a third of the emails bounce instantly, is there? And this was without attempting to use any of the great many which helpfully still all end ex.ac.uk. Even the PhDers who stayed on have finished by now.

Moral of this story: even if one happens to still have the same hotmail address (recently cleaned out; it's amazing how few of the eighteen hundred unread emails actually mattered. And it's even more amazing how pathetic Hotmail's spamfilters are; the messages didn't have to resort to dyslexia or l33t-speak) as one has had since the mid-nineties, it does not necessarily follow than an address last used at Christmas will still be valid.

And it's quire annoying that some of the bouncers are people I vaguely wanted to get in contact with (oh, and that whole Hollywood/American Media thing of X found out that their piano teacher was wanted for genocide in 4 states/Y discovered her husband has 12 other wives/Z found out that her date was heir to Acme Paperclip Company through Google - have you ever tried Googling anyone you know or knew? Unless they happen to be called Tallulah Sheluxlikarula*, you haven't a hope in hell. If you're lucky, you might find someone with that name selling bits off an old Land Rover in Farnborough, but then you've got the problems of trying to work out if A is the type of person to cannibalise Land Rovers, and if they would be likely to be in Farnborough).

* I'd swear that was in a song in Bugsy Malone, but Goolging for "She looks like a ruler" does rather suggest otherwise (although learning how to spell Tullalah might help [er, and I can't even get Tallulah right when I'm thinking about it, although that version is an improvement on my earlier "Tula". Look, I've had a weekend of struggling French, someone lapsing into Danish ("Whipping-boy" in Danish is a classic), played piggy in the middle in a German conversation, learnt which bits mean vowels in both Hebrew and Arabic, had someone try to teach me the Mandarin for what sounds like a banjo, watched a JPG'd French film with Greek subtitles far too late at night, had other people discussing the Hindi-Urdu-Persian continuum, and then had my brother ring up asking me how much tomato puree to put into bolognaise, which completely threw me as he was supposed to be coming here to eat the bolognaise I'd already cooked, which made me a little bit paranoid about whether or not I'd lost the ability to communicate in English. Which given my brain works on "default" and "other" all means my head is beginning to hurt, and I'm probably about to ay aitch-ref someone]).

Sorry, I'm tired, dehydrated, hungry, yet to lazy to buy proper food with actual nutrients in it, got a headache from one flatmate cremating enough incense to mask every smell west of Ulan Bator, worried about various things, but not actually doing them, realising I haven't actually left the building this weekend [a lie, but not by much] and wondering why my computer is being so strange.

But in other news, the heating now works again [said he feeling the radiator only to find it's cold. Uh oh]. On Friday night it was off a few floors up the building. Come Saturday and the entire bottom half of the building didn't have any heat, although cunning highly-illegal, potentially-dangerous use of the oven, stopped it getting too cold, as did leaving on everything vaguely electrical in my room. Huzzah for internal heat gains, and for inclusive rent.

My response to having no heating was:
- Draw the curtains for about the first time since moving in. Briefly popping out made me aware that it was obvious which part of the building didn't have heat as of all the rooms with lights on only those below a certain level uniformly had their curtains drawn.
- Go and buy essentials. These include: rum, raisins, candles [plus mayonnaise, pickled beetroot, fabric conditioner, the last of the half-price bagels (anyone else been living off those?), mango chutney, sugar, lemon juice, milk. Look, I may have a car, but it's two hours away, and I haven't quite got my head round having it here, so instead I have to heft everything back, so if I'm going I may as well carry heavy things when I haven't got potatoes to lug as well].
- Go to buy essentials using the Tube (well, my transport decision making strategy consists of seeing if there's a bus in sight, and if not carrying on to the Tube station) making full soporific use of the inefficiencies of the electric motors (is the heat from conversion losses, or is it simply from all the people?). And why the hell is the up escalator at Oxburrow so cold? Every time there's a howling draught screaming down from the street grating one's eyes and cheeks as it goes.
- Buy thoroughly pointless Euromillions lottery ticket (at 19.33 by my watch), because I was feeling impulsive and rather depressingly realised that despite overwhelmingly unfeasible odds, it represented the most probable means of me ever having £125 million (and because the whole "from a flat without heating, to house in a climate where one doesn't need heating" aspect would make good headlines, even if it's a slight misrepresentation of the truth, and I wouldn't exactly want advertise how much money I might have). Memo to self: restrict future impulsiveness to reduced bakery items, which while less likely to lead to great riches [just think what a hot cross bun would have to do to someone to be worth an eighth of a billion in damages. Unless it was a very fortunate chocolate and toffee pieces fortune cookie] are significantly far more probable sources of gains, albeit low-level, short-term and potentially solely to my waist size.
- Cart said essentials back and up several flights of stairs. Heavy load, plus slightly overdressed, plus a little bit unfit (although I can normally beat the lifts. The lifts are therefore crap) plus yeigh [how does one spell "yay" as if demonstrating displacement with hands?] many metres equals rather warm by the time I dump the shopping on the floor (where much of it has stayed).
- Cook, which added to the omnipresent oven means I end up fairly well done, as well as most of the flat being reasonably warm and smelling slightly of onions.
- Return to room to discover it's not that cold, as I grew up with in a house which fluctuated a fair bit (acres of single glazing and a kaput radiator valve, which drained the radiator whenever it was adjusted, will do that), habitually used to leave my window open in Exeter, lived for a while in house without any form of heating, and in an uninsulated attic room in my brother's flat (which did have heating fitted, but neither of the other people in the flat believed in it), and have been in Scouts and doing psuedo-scoutsy stuff long enough to discover the joys of youth hostels which thought glass (or any other material which might impede the flow of air) was a luxury and the thrill of packing ice-laden tents.
- Get out candles in preparation for using them as heating, only to realise that the sodding cooker is electric and I don't smoke. I contemplate trying to use the element in a toaster to light one, but decide I'll wait for the first icicle to appear before I do.

The heating's come back on with a bang. Literally. And quite a shudder too.

Hurrah! I've got frozen peas! Sorry, only just remembered, and my body's been craving anything which isn't bread (and bolognaise). I must learn that just because it's reduced does not mean I have to buy it. And yes, Morrisson's may reduced everything to nine-pence, compared to a local Sainsbury minimum of 19 p (for some reason some branches only go down to 20 or 25 pence, which is annoying as I know one which regularly marks everything as 10 p as soon as they start reducing, rather than the endless rounds of management sanctioned 10%, 20% and finally 30% off. It's always entertaining when you see the someone has put to their time, and thus the company's money, into taking three-pence of the price of something which they'll have to pay to dispose of anyway), but just because it's cheaper does not mean I need more than what I've already bought, which still is too much.

Anyway, I probably ought to be doing something - and I'm suddenly aware just how cliched that is, having been reading new, and plugged by two blogs I read, Infinite Muppets, which has some good stuff, once you get past the swearing (would anyone find is amusing if I said "They're a load of dearth plethoras. It's all dearth. The plethoraing dearths..."? It's just words. Or is swearing massive?).

Point of order (what? It was an answer in Grauniad's quick crossword in the copy of G2 I found abandoned on the Tube): Mr Muppet contends that "Do you think ANY of you could refer to the (damn fine and very beautiful) film Brokeback Mountain* without resorting to the phrase 'gay cowboy movie'?"

Er, I thought I did, and I managed to avoid using gay, cowboy or movie (ok, so I used gay, but with a different meaning), although I did also make heavy use of the phrase "damn fine". So can any of you describe the film without making use of the words "damn fine"?

Oh wait, Az already did.

I am of course aware that the above sounds a bit childish (nowt wrong wit'at), and hence I. Muppet will probably rip the piss out of it if he ever finds it (and do we think he will? Well, he's a self publicist, and I'm not, which probably explains why he'll be onto his four-hundred-thousandth visitor before I get to 15,000). But one shouldn't ask questions if one doesn't want them answered, should one?

By the way, all questions in this blog are rhetorical - until someone answers them, but the chances of that happening are fairly low, given certain people can recognise magicians they've passed in the night while standing in Covent Garden, yet be stumped when asked "where is this" of a picture of Covent Garden. And that, ladies and gentlemen (although I think my readership has a small bias towards the latter), was why that daft guessing game went on so long, because the person I assumed would get it instantly didn't, which meant the postcard of triumph had to be delayed until heavy hinting lead someone else there. Oh, and Stuttgarter #1, if you actually want your prize, an address might be helpful, unless rumours that you're coming to collect it in person prove true.

And now I really must do something else,


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

2006-01-13 011Ooooh sweary goodness!

Now let's see:
- One entire evening's work which, although apparently saved, has disappeared into the ether.
- The first of the submissions to my private-and-not-for-general-use email address has arrived. Thank god it's Gmail, otherwise they'd be bouncing already (Hmm, can I set it up to bounce anything it doesn't recognise? So tempting, yet so destructive, and they'd just think I was incompetent rather than someone else being remarkably stupid [even for him]).
- The hag/battleaxe/woman-with-glandular-problems in Sainsbury's decided the computer couldn't possibly be right, and so kept a big queue of people waiting for quarter of an hour while she found out whether or not Tariq was on lunch [at 10 pm - gotta love Sainsbury's shiftwork logic]. Ok, so I had just bought 4 packs of hot cross buns marked as 19 pence [reduced price] each but which were on offer as "buy 2 for £1". Can you see where this is going? Yes, the famous ability to get very cheap food which occasionally verges on the getting paid to take it away.

Once she held them up and kept putting them through and cancelling it again, I told her not to bother about them. I think what annoyed me most (other than someone noticing that I'd get paid ten-pence a pack, although she didn't clock the suspiciously cheap quiches. Did I mention this is why I hate Morrisons? It's because their computer programmer is too canny to let this slip through. That and the announcements about the in-store demonstrations of "Theft". Oh and the fact they're not as cheap as they like to claim) was that she ignored my wishes. There's me, a customer, being downfaced by someone who decides she knows better than me what I want. If I really wanted that sort of treatment, I'd be buying make-up.

Of course it's partly my fault for not arguing enough and for picking the wrong cashier. If you pick the unrelentingly thick all they say is "Yoga necker car?". The terminally bored and far too intelligent invariably respond to exploitations of automated systems with "Hell, why not? It's not my money", "Does it work with 2 for 1?" or "That's a good idea". Fat middle-aged women: Computer says no yes, but I say no.

- Her parting line: "'Was only doin'y'a favour, innit?". Sainsbury's have obviously updated their "customer engagement" course (I've probably still got the cards from it somewhere) as well as enhancing the definition of "favour". Somehow I wish my parting comment (if I'd had one) was something along the lines of telling her to go back to breeding shelfstackers (I think at least one of the people she had to check things with was her son).

- Writing a beautifully crafted and artfully honed letter to the manager, only to discover before making a proper copy of it that the main crux of my argument wasn't technically true (I was still tempted to send it just to see how long it took them to notice the fault. I'd guess the other side of the equinox at least). But I'm sure I can salvage most of the good lines, and anyway, I probably ought to complain more.

- And being slightly disconcerted by the way I can sound exactly like one of my grandmothers when displeased. Calm, polite, distinctly well spoken (and a few dozen social strata up from my normal speaking voice) and yet managing to use a voice which could liquefy any susceptible ground in a 15 mile radius. If you ever hear me sound like someone from the 1930s speaking on the telephone*, in a language which permits the use of "whom", there's trouble in them thar hills.

*Because one can't refer to a phone in the 1930s. A 'phone maybe.

- Blogging instead of going to sleep again. Such a bad idea.

Anyway, I really need the loo (I'm sure you wished to know that. And why is it that we think that constant movement is a good way relieving pressure? Ok, so the main receptors are at the base of the bladder, so by keeping the body of fluid vibrating it alleviates some of the pressure. But then surely there's the effect of gravity and reciprocity which means that any pressure removed is only delayed in its effect, and so the signal averages the same but fluctuates more widely? Hmm, some questions just aren't worth the answer, are they? Next time, I'll bring you "why can you see your breath on a cold day if you breathe out through your mouth but not through your nose?"), so I'd better stop.


2006-01-14 017I really shouldn't swear about people - at least not when they're not present. The bloody muppet who made me so happy yesterday by sending out something I was cc'd on which described me as a "very efficient and good guy" [cue much sniggering], has now shown that all things are relative, and compared to him I am efficient.

Guess who sent out my email address to hundreds of people asking them to send in masses of files. Gee thanks for doing that and not maybe, I don't know, running it by me beforehand, oh and well done for using my private and important email address rather than my related-organisation [and internally spammed] one.

And equally well done for managing to send out 7 hefty and mildly contradictory emails in the past 3 hours. Yay you.

Sorry, I'm pissed off enough to lurch into words scarcely used, which only annoys me more.

And another sorry for what feels like lapsed blogging. It's the usual; big posts, not yet finished, which are obsolescing faster than I can write them and Blogger has been losing chunks thus disincentivising me (although not enough to stop taking the piss out of an American I've recently met). I can even fall back on the traditional stats post as there seems to be a wave of people wanting to do dangerous, distasteful or downright confusing things to Matt Barbet (who if the searches are to be believed is not only an inbred hermaphrodite, gay, well-hung and worst of all Welsh, but who also uses a stage name. I'm not sure if they mean Matt Barbet is a pseudonym or if it is his real name and he uses something draggish for his other persona [said he not being able to think of any examples. For some reason "Emily Maitlis" seems apt having the dual qualities of being girly and having a pun at its core, yet I'm not sure "Emily Mateless" really gives the right impression]. Sometimes I wonder if Google's just making it up, but none of the other recent searches are really suitable for public consumption).

I'd better stop as the bile's drained away and left not much energy in its place.


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