November 30, 2002

Dances with Woolworths

Christmas shopping today feels wrong on so many levels. For starters it's not even December yet, and having failed to get up early as I usually promise myself I will do on the weekend, I'm going to have to have to be herded into town along with the flock of big metal sheep by a clan of painfully thin flashing shepherds, which is going to take aaages.

I could of course wait, but it's only going to be worse next week, then the week after and so on till I'm shopping at four o'clock Christmas Eve on the Island, like last year. It's that or I buy all my pressies in ASDA, but I don't know anyone who'd try that...

No, I'm going to plug myself firmly into my Lemon Jelly CD, which I think I've now absorbed to the point of enjoying, and delve in.

November 27, 2002

Killer spiders in grapes a good thing?

The prospect of finding a black widow spider in my lunchbox doesn't fuel my enthusiasm for organic farming. That said, the Sun's quote from a Tesco spokesperson on the issue just goes to show the lengths supermarkets will go to to provide us with all-natural fruity goodness:

'The fact that the spiders are alive is evidence that we’re not using pesticides — because if we were they’d be dead.'

You know, I think I'll just take the chemically enhanced, genetically modified grapes and hold the potentially lethal arachnids, if it's all the same to you?

Constant crashing

There's something very wrong with my little Java project at home. I keep getting stuck and having to resort to jabbing the little biro-stained 'oh bollocks to it' button recessed in the front of my PC case, which is never a good sign.

I take this as meaning one of two things: either I've gotten really, really bad at programming or Windows has become all unstable again. Currently trying to decide which is more likely. It's going to be a close one...

November 26, 2002

Struck down

Another lengthy silence. I promise not to make a habit of it. It's just that I've spent the last couple of days running on a combination of Neurofen and sheer will power having picked up some form of student-bourne illness while at Warkwick uni with Stuart. You know the sort of thing: those wierd little infections that don't seem to effect students, but instead travel home with their parents to infect their families whenever they come to visit?

Was funny, at when I trudged out of bed on Monday feeling like death-on-a-stick I read about this on I suspected I might have fallen victim to some trendy new conditon or become a hypochondriac overnight. Then I remembered that I'd truged out of bed on Monday evening with a head full of psychotic energizer bunnies and the voice of Bob Geldof, having taken my first day off sick in about four years. No, I really was ill.

Still, feeling a a bit better this evening. The bunnies are now covered in a thin sheet of bubble wrap and I sound a bit like Jimmy Nail (hoping to shake the accent before work tomorrow). Looking forward to seeing Bond tomorrow night. Hooray for Christmas cinema!

November 23, 2002

Maneuvers in the dark

Anyone wondering where Stu has been shouldn't worry: he's in good hands here. We're about to head of to Warwick 'put down our funky groove thang' in the student's union tonight.

Recovering from last night where a very drunk Stu and a very sober Dave hit Jumpin Jaks for a night of cheesy merriment. This was the first night of my induction of how to work a crowd, although Stu seemed to treat it an example of how not to do it. He was particularly critical over their use of 'Build me up buttercup' before 12 and the stage dancers un-enthused rendition 'YMCA'.

We are now leaving on the first of today's missions: purchase or otherwise acquire an orange inflatable electric guitar. Stu seems to think I'm going to need it, and for some worrying reason I can envisage two or three scenarios where it's going to be useful.

November 19, 2002

Unleaded blood still high pressure

Not buying this for a second. Via Fark.

Popping up

Been thinking the links on this page should probably open in new windows. Any thoughts or preferences anyone?

Return of the (big) mac

'I'm still in shock at how much of yours and Stuarts lives can be accessed via a modem' was our feedback from a close friend of our's who we caught up with on the weekend. Well, for those of you who missed me for the last few days, the brief version goes: Out to the pub with old friends Friday, out to the pub with family on Saturday, hangover on Sunday, travelling for work on Monday and back today. Ran into loads of friends who I've sort of lost touch with, and they all seem to have been doing really well for themselves, which gives you a nice fuzzy feeling. Nice to know they're all better off without me!

I'm shattered. My stamina is gone. God help me next weekend when I take the decks with Stuey and Ben in their triumphant return to Warwick Union. It'd probably be a good idea to just keep my head down quietly and let them do their thing. That said, I've never been one for good ideas. Bring it on!

Stayed in a hotel last night. Really nice: the sort of hotel where you have different sized towels for different bits of your body, rather than having to go with the one-sheet-for-all mentality you're forced to go with at university. I don't think I've been so clean for months, which will be a nice surprise for people at work tomorrow.

November 14, 2002

Silence is lager-coloured

I may well be absent for a few days as I return to the Island whence I came for family festivities and drinks with old friends. That is, unless I find some devious way of updating without the aid of a PC.

It might not work anymore, but it's secure...

Microsoft take a hard line on security flaws in old versions of their software. Determined to plug the holes in it's older software, the company has decided that it was prepared break older versions of it's apps to make systems more secure. 'You're just going to have to go back and fix it' said Craig Mundie, head of the new initiative.

I can just hear the helpdesk calls now:
User: 'I need help, my [insert name of business critical app] isn't working anymore. The screen just goes pink and it shuts down...'

Tech supp: 'Ah yes. It's ok, because now it's more secure. No-one can hack it now.'

This is not going to go down well. Many companies will have consciously chosen to stay on older, proven versions because of functional or monetary issues, and I'm sure a lot of them are going to see this as a subversive attempt to get people to upgrade to the latest versions of software by piggybacking the current paranoia about security caused by recent high profile attacks and viruses.

Besides, under the older EULAs, I don't think MS have the ability to force security updates on it's user base, so if a user is unwilling to keep is applications patched up to date, what makes MS think they can deploy the fixes?

I'm pretty much up to date, so if anything was going to stop working I think it would have done so by now. I just hope the new versions don't include those ghastly new MS colourschemes that come as default with XP. Gah!

November 13, 2002

Manipulating Graybo

Couldn't resisit: decided to take a crack at graybo's graduation photo competiton. The bar's been raised by some fairly surreal animated entries , so I'm going to have to put my special thinking cap on. Mmmmmm... Monster Munch....

Food to be taught?

As universities in the UK seem to be battling for elitism and making entry harder, a uni in California is inviting students to barter for tuition fees with pigs. Wonder if they'd let me pay off my student loan in sheep?

November 12, 2002


Well, I got back from watching 28 Days Later about an hour ago and it has pretty much rendered me unable to sleep, so here I sit drinking my cafe latte flavoured hot chocolate (a welcome reprieve for the caffeine starved among us) hoping that it'll help calm me down and wondering how I'm going to stay awake at work tomorrow. That is, if we all make it through the night...

Why do we pay to expose ourselves to this? Because we enjoy it. We're all mad.

November 10, 2002

If I were a redneck...

...then this is what my website would probably read like. Try the Dialectizer on your site and discover the redneck inside you. If you dare.

Particularly fun are the translations of the other blog titles in the side panel.

November 07, 2002

CD protection, round 2

BMG are going after CD protection again, but this time they're going the whole hog: 'no more CDs without copy protection' reports The Register. I mean why? They've backed down over this once before, what makes them think that people are going to feel better about it?

I suspect this is going to mean that a lot of people's Christmas presents are going to be copy protected. Having read the back of my new Foo Fighters album, I noticed the small print down the back:

'[This product] is intended for use in only in standard home CD players and may not play in other devices, especially computer drives.'

Then it refers you to the BMG copy protection site, where it explains it's actions. I can't see why this became necessary, especially following the news coverage about Bon Jovi's latest album, applauding it's use of 'exclusive' offers to entice fans to buy. Why then does my Foo Fighters CD have a similar code as well as a free DVD with some videos on it, and still feel the need to copy protect it? No way will they get away with this without a huge consumer backlash. If they couldn't get away with lumping Natalie Imbruglia listeners with copy protection, what on earth makes them think that the worlds Foo Fighters fans are going to slink quietly into the night?

At any rate, I didn't notice the copy protect notice until today, having been enjoying it through my PC for the last week. Better luck next time guys!

November 05, 2002

Remember, remember...

Sheltering in the relative safety of my bedroom as crazy neighbours fire explosives upward in our electrical-pylon-covered street, whilst telling their children that they must wear gloves while they hold sparklers. Oh, the irony.

Just finished watching 'Taxi'. The box was right: hollywood don't make 'em like that anymore. Great stuff.

November 04, 2002

Boys with toys

Today felt like Christmas morning all day. Everyone remembers that feeling from when they were six or seven: the desperate urge to open presents right then at 5 am, but having to wait for parents to finally haul themselves out of bed. That was the feeling while I was at work, eagerly anticipating the delivery of my new gadget.

Of course, when you really want something delivered, it never happens until right at the end of the day does it? So naturally I didn't atually get my mitts on until this evening. But now it's here! Yay!

November 03, 2002

I say again, 'VROOOOOOM!!!!'

In an act of spontaneity the like of which we haven't managed since graduation, James and I decided at about one this morning that we would drive to the NEC for the last day of the British Motor Show. This meant that I was up at obscene o'clock to haul myself to Birmingham to get the best of the day.

It was sooooo worth it! We got to see the Aston Martin from the new Bond Movie, as well as a pack of gorgeous wild TVRs. Pictures will be forthcoming soon.

I'm running on coffee fumes and willpower now. Both have just about run out, so I'm hovering near the bed in case I fall aslee.....

November 02, 2002

End of play

It's been an odd day. The sight of some woman carrying a wide load of M&S; bags up the escalator in Waterstones scared me into buying my first Christmas presents of the year. Got a haircut, which I'm not entirely sure about. Have a feeling it'll grow on me though (oh, I just kill myself).

Did a bit of digging around the alternatives to animal testing research thing from earlier. Seems that the research in question uses existing data. Because scientist already know how certain agents affect our bodies, they can model them using computers or equivalent cultures or chemicals and use them to predict the results from other tests. Smart stuff. I feel better, which is good news not only for bunnies, but for the guys at work as well: it means I can keep showering in the morning.


Got very confused when absent mindedly reading the back of my shower gel this morning. A lot, if not most of, the cosmetic products you buy these days aren't tested on animals, but the stuff from my supermarket goes a bit further by declaring that the store is 'against animal testing and funds research into alternatives'. At first I thought this was a good thing, but as the sentence sunk in I began to wonder: Surely to test if something behaves in the same way as an animal when exposed to a substance you have to compare the results from both an animal test and the alternative? So effectively, I'm funding testing on animal testing, which means experimenting on animals. Does that mean I'm helping animal testing? Is the enemy of my enemy my friend? If a dollar were a chicken, would a chicken be evil?

I'm confused. I need a haircut.

November 01, 2002

How unfair is this?

The three of you that read this site regular-ish-ly will have read about my attempt to give up coffee, and can imagine how much this story narked me off. According to this study, women who drink coffee throughout their lives actually have better memory and mental agility than women who don't. Men, on the other hand, just turn into drooling vegetables regardless of how much coffee they drink. I mean what's that about?