Monthly Archives: October 2003

Pumpkin head

For some reason, I am the only person in the whole world who can open the lock to our flat, using my keys or the spare set. Today, Michele decided that finding her own keys was too much hassle because she had left them them somewhere stupid so took the spare keys. Last week she did the same thing and getting into the gaff was no problem. However, today sunspots, or something , prevented the lock from working. So, to cut a long story short, I left work and went home to help Michele get in. I’d already insisted that Michele come up to my work and meet me (in the SU bar) to get my keys; which she did. But these sunspots had really done a good job on the lock. Oddly, when I arrived, the lock worked perfectly first time with the spare set of keys. Maybe a cloud was blocking the sunspots ?

A great weekend. Friday Mod, Ian, Rach, Sid, Michele and I went to Kaya house and again had a really excellent time – not to mention really excellent food. Getting this meal organised had taken weeks. This is because we are now all over 30. In fact we nearly didn’t eat at all because, as I never answer my mobile, I missed 2 calls from the owner of the restaurant confirming the booking.

Saturday I worked in Farringdon with Ralph and Emma. However, I did get time to play. Any idea how many open wireless networks there are in London ?
I’d agreed to install any patches on Ralph’s cobalt and so on sunday morning I started the task armed with a cup of chai. For the second time in one week, I ended up trashing the system by sticking to the rules. The story is essentially very dull and so I wont relate it here – if you know what libc is, then you might be geek enough to be interested.

Michele is American you know. As a result we have just been carving a massive pumpkin for Halloween using a really rather cool pumpkin carving kit that Michele’s brother sent us.He also sent us a scary film of the pumpkin that he and Alexandra did. Whooooooooo!

At this time of year it is customary for self-righteous tossers to start banging on about how halloween is an American invention for inspiring people to go out and buy pointless stuff. Well I suppose it is. However it is nowhere near as much of a capitalfest as Christmas or easter and it seems to me that in the US it’s intended more as fun. Sadly, what we have in Britain is a poor pastiche by comparison, created entirely by tat manufacturers. But I love it and wish we had it here like it is in Philly. If we ever have kids we’ll be taking them out trick and treating. That reminds me, I must put our carboard dracula up at the window 🙂

Cheer up you miserable sods – it’s just a bit of fun. You wait til you see our pumpkin.


Last night was a much hyped documentary on BBC1 that involved a reporter going undercover and joining the police. The astonishing discovery made by the reporter was that apparently the force is packed tight with racists. Well bugger me, who’d have thought it ?
Despite the apparent obviousness of this revelation, I’m glad the BBC showed it because I firmly believe that some people don’t have a clue about what goes on.
Michele was pretty shocked by it, and I don’t think it’s because her dad’s a cop either. It really does appear that things are different in the Philadelphia police. As far as I can discern, the British police is composed almost entirely of nasty bastards. Of course there is a proportion of people who join for the “right” reasons, but it is a very small proportion – I would say negligable. Nearly all of the racist comments and actions were directed at “pakis”. As the white recruits became more comfortable in each others company the comments became less vague and more shocking with one particulary odious shitbag (and proud BNP member) talking about wanting to “bury pakis if he could get away with it.” Once he had graduated and been given a beat in North Wales he bragged about the pakis he’d thrown the book at for offences that he usually let white people off for. He even laughed that he made one old asian man cry. Here are some of the enlightened comments expressed by the brilliant new recruits:

  • A dog born in a barn is still a dog. A paki born in England is still a paki
  • Pakis cause racism
  • I’d stop him, because he’s a paki. Because he’s not english.
  • I’d go as far as I could get away with, if I could call him a “paki bastard” and that was as far as I could get away with that’s where it stops. If I could get away with burying the fucker under a train track, he’s fucking going under the train track [laughs]

The last comment was in reference to a fellow trainee officer. The only asian recruit in the whole of the intake. He ended up leaving and getting put back five weeks. He was the target of a spectacular amount of, what I can only describe as, bullying.
Yes the force is trying to combat racism, but in a really hopeless clumsy way – all they do is push it underground and so it’s only spoken about in “safe” enviroments. On the streets they’re still the same racist thugs and you can still get a beating.

And predictably this lead me into thinking about the whole nature of police. These people have been ordained with the power to interfere with other peoples’ freedom in the name of what is right. When it clearly isn’t.
This programme made me realise that I had long ago completed the journey from being unsure and confused about the issue to being firmly, firmly anti-police. hear me out.
Even if the force was totally composed of righteous, selfless people, it would still be wrong. The police are not there to protect people, they are there to defend the state against change and shield the privileged from the unprivileged. The Metropolitan Police have even gone as far as to say that they no longer investigate burlgaries and minor thefts.
So what do they do exactly ? Rest assued that if a private, profit making company needs assistance, for example Connex with its with “revenue protection officers” there’ll be fucking millions of coppers mobilised to protect the shareholders. There’ll be hundreds of coppers patrolling the red-routes today making sure the economy can function properly with nice clear roads. At the recent international arms fair in East London there were literally tens of thousands of them protecting the arms dealers, dictators and terrorists from the peaceful demonstrators.
So, next time you get mugged, burgled, raped or harrased in the street you will understand why the only help you get is a crime reference number from a civilian desk worker and the offer of a letter from the victim support charity. The real coppers are out doing important police business. You see.

The free bus

The 436 bus, around these parts, is commonly known as “the free bus”. This is because of the revolutionary system uncle Ken has introduced where you buy a ticket before you get on and then no-one checks it. Consequently no-one ever bothers and just gets on and off at will. This system radically speeds up the buses as they don’t have to wait for everyone to pay, and radically reduces the cost to the consumer by being free. Brilliant!
On the way home from the union tonight, I started to question the morality of fare dodging and came to the conclusion that it was totally justified and that I have nothing to lose sleep over. Disagree ? Let me know.


Now the sun is over the yardarm, I’m enjoying a glass of vino collapso while Michele drifts in and out of the room, and Humph drifts in and out of his sleep. It seems like a good time to list some media that is currently on my mind:

  • SPACED series 2 DVD – the only problem with buying this is that now I have to buy the series 1 DVD, even though I’ve got the video.
  • Dude – Where’s My Country – Michael Moore. Chapter 1 is pretty damn good anyway. Half price from Amazon you know. Spent an hour this afternoon in bed reading it.
  • Heroes of Comedy – Leonard Rossiter
    On now and a great tribute to someone who made me laugh a lot as I was growing up
  • TV Ark
    which has loads of archive TV stuff including old adverts. Watch out – there’s a Humphrey about.
  • Bill Hicks – Sane Man
    The best Bill Hicks video out there. If you like Bill, you must see this – in front of an American audience he really gets angry – the less the appreciate it the better he gets.
  • Bill Hicks – Rant in E minor
    A compilation of a lot American stuff – another classic

Time out

Every day at work I get to fix a random selection of problems from an ever expanding set of potential problems. It’s bloody frustrating knowing that after fixing a problem, it will only be a matter of days weeks or months before it needs fixing again. Some of them could be fixed “properly” with an investment in hardware, time or interest; none of which we can spare. Others are just caused by bogons that occur too infrequently to discover what’s causing them. It’s like the pressure loss in a central heating system. No-one knows what causes them to loose pressure, but as long as it doesn’t need filling up more than once a month no-one’s going to be bothered/able to find out what’s wrong. Without wanting to extend this dodgy metaphor to new-Labour levels: I have to run about 30 similar central heating systems at the same time.

Tensions in the department are high, mainly due to management; not that it’s bad, it just doesn’t exist. As people get more uptight and stressed, they take it out on the people with whom they work, and the vicious circle continues to turn. I’m just as guilty as anyone for loosing my temper, but it’s hard not to.

Anyway, on thursday evening I went to Brighton straight from work – Ben had got a couple of tickets for Mark Steele doing stand up. It’s been many, many years since I’d seen him live and I remember thinking he was brilliant. Well it’s been a long time since I belly laughed as much as that – superb. After the gig, we had a few pints in the pub and went back to Ben’s where he managed to make a gourmet quality meal of bangers and mash. I wish I ever had the energy and talent to knock up a really together meal like that…at midnight…when half cut. I drifted off to sleep watching a rare Bill Hicks video. A Satiritastic evening.

Friday morning, Ben was ill and so didn’t go into work. We started the day slowly and comfortably – tea, more Bill Hicks and a couple of Trisha lie detector results. After this I walked along the sea front and up to the station, stopping breafly at “Bites Cafe” for an egg and bacon sandwich. The weather was absolutely perfect; just how I would have it every day: very bright, cold and not a cloud in sight. I don’t care what anyone says, autumn is the most beautiful time of the year.

From Brighton I went up to Dorking. Adele, her sister, and Stuart had brought Peter down to see his dad. So Brodie went out and bought a massive pedal-power JCB-type-tractor thing and Peter nearly exploded with excitement. Later on, Fino turned up from Wolverhampton and we all had a good day. For weeks now I’ve been working on a picture for the wall of the pub and the day before I’d managed to get it printed out so was able to present it, framed. Printed on that high quality photo paper it really did look good. I also managed to get Brodie’s PC together at last and hook him up to the Internet which provided enough smugness for me to not worry about spending the day in a pub.
But, it was very knackering,I fell asleep on the train and had to be woken up when we hit Waterloo. By Lewisham I was dead and spent the best part of 5 bloody quid on a black cab from the station…worth every penny. I just wanted to fall into bed, but Humphrey had other plans for us.

When I got in he was very pleased to have the full complement of his flock back in the house and so when I left the room he tried to fly after me. Sadly, due to lack of experience, he’s a really, really crap flyer. He ended up on the curtain rail. To cut a long story short we both slept on the floor of living room…with the light on.. in case he tried to come down in the night and hurt himself. Every hour or so the discomfort of our landlady-fitted parquet flooring, coupled with the fact that light was on, woke us up and we spend some time calling him and making bird noises.

We didn’t manage to get him down until late this morning. I had to get the step ladder out and coax him down. Even then it took three or four goes before he actually got down. One time I got him perched on his food bucket and halfway down the ladder when he panicked and flapped off…straight back up to the rail…pillock. He really wanted to come down but was just so scared – I don’t think he managed to sleep last night. Anyway now he’s back down and sleeping on one leg while I end up doing a bunch of work that I didn’t do on Friday and seemingly no-one else there could do. God how irritating….

Shooting Fascists

Last night I had a long dream that involved firing a handgun and an UZI pistol at lots of fascists. Sadly, and despite hitting quite a few of them, I didn’t manage to kill or injure any of them.

So imagine my delight today when I discover, quite accidentally, that the original Fascist, Mussolini, was shot exactly 26 years to the day of my birthday! This site provided the answers.

Bird, Java and the Lewisham Moron Convention

One one side of our house we have a student house. We know the young adults that live there are students, not because we have spoken to them (this is London), but because the front bedroom has a Betty Blue poster, right next to a Radiohead poster. Bloody shtewdents.
Last night they apparently had a party. Being wacky funsters it was apparently an “80s” party which meant lots of really, really shit music all night. However that didn’t piss us off. Apparently there were lots of people there. Not a problem either. However, as the evening went on it became evident that this was in fact the annual Lewisham Morons Convention. All night long, delegates from the convention wandered out of the house, into the street and shouted to each other in an attempt to win the “South East London Biggest, Most Annyoing Moron” competition. A very inventive set of entries this year:

  • Wretching Girl: Wandered down to our front step and tried to puke as loudly and bizarrely as possible. Michele’s comment through the window: “Ooh That’s attractive”.
  • Random Name shouter: Stood in the middle of the road and repeatedly shouted “Dan” about 50 or 60 times. After this he switched to “Mike”.
  • Cab girl: Cab girl wandered down to outside our bedroom window to call her and her dim mates a cab. Being a sharp-minded student she realised that she must first find a cab number so rang 40 or 50 different numbers in an attempt to find a service hat could provide her with a number. Each time she used a phone-voice:
    “Oh…you’re going to text me the number ? Oh cool – he’s going to text me the number. OK so you’ll text me the number ? Cool! He said he’s going to text me the number”. The number arrives with a loud SMS ringtone.
    “Hello can I order a cab please…oh…where are we again ?”

  • Mark.
    Mark was our favourite. At about 5am he turned up and spent half an hour knocking on our front door. Quietly, but persistently. At first we assumed it was for the downstairs flat, but there was no answer. After Michele couldn’t take it any more she stormed over to the window and yelled “WHO IS THAT!”. Mark was bewildered by the disembodied voice and did his best impression of a dog looking for where the whistle was coming from. “UP HERE!” yelled Michele helpfully. “Oh…it’s Mark” he said unhelpfully. His voice sounded like he had just woken up from a 100 years sleep. “Are you looking for the party ?”
    “Next door mate!”.
    By this time I’d woken up and asked michele who was outside – “Some DICKHEAD” she shouted.

Confusing. A dark house with 102 on the door, right next to the illuminated house with 104 on the door. which one is the party at 104 in ?
Today Michele drew a picture of Mark to illustrate what a moron he looked.

Humphrey has continued to be very loveable. Last night he climbed up my leg, up my t-shirt and onto the top of my arm. This followed a dream I had the previous night where he climbed onto my shoulder. I nearly cried! This morning he did he same.
He’s been squawking a lot – someone on one of Michele’s birdy boards suggesed that this may because Humphrey might actually be Humphrette…and about to lay some eggs. Eeek.

Anyway I plan to do some Java this weekend. Earlier in the week Suzanne managed to blag 3 6310i phones from Pat W*** in return for unlocking a boxload of old phones. I was lucky enough to be given one; my first pocket Java machine! Certainly not the coolest phone in the world, but it has a high hack value.Yesterday I wrote my first mobile Java MIDlet – very, very uninteresting but I got excited.


This week there have been at least two programmes on the BBC concerned with Guantanamo Bay. This is, as any right-thinking patriot knows, because the BBC is run by communists and is therefore biased and anti-American. I can’t imagine either programme being shown on mainstream US TV…despite the fact that one programme was actually American. Rupert Murdoch, Ted Turner and Wanker Bush are far too patriotic to allow such filth to be shown to the general population. They need protecting from the evil anti-american lies you see. Obviously they aren’t capable of disinguishing fact from fiction so the U.S. government has graciously taken on the onerous task of filtering what the people can be exposed to. Much like they used to do in the USSR, Nazi Germany and Iraq before they were all “liberated”. The difference is that whilst the American people are being sheilded from these bad thoughts, they are all Free(tm).

Anyway – two interesting things came out of these programmes; one I already suspected, the other I would never have guessed.

  1. Camp Delta is essentially a concentration camp. The inmates are tortured and are being kept without trial or any rights – even constitutional rights.
  2. The CIA routinely send certain classes of prisoner to Syria – yes, Syria – to be “interrogated”. As you may know – Syria is part of the axis of evil. This is because they have a regime that does bad things…like torture people using methods so inhumane that no respectible country would consider using them.

So why would the CIA contract out interrogation to Syria ? It certainly is a poser isn’t it ?

Chai chai chai

Ah, lovely chai – what a nice way to start the day.
Humphrey has got into the habit of squawking before his covers are off in the morning – this is a bad habit and I’m doing my best to ignore him. Not easy considering how nice he’s been recently – the other night he did his usual trick of waddling over to where I was sitting, and hopping up onto the ibook keyboard, preventing me typing. He then pecks at the keys until I give him either some attention or some seeds…the latter provides the perfect way for him to cover the keyboard in bits and dust…this time though, he decided to hop up on my leg and wander around my lap, looking up at me. As Michele would say, “What a sweetie”.

On tuesday, we went over to say happy birthday to my mum. They’d had the idea of having a kebab and it was a great evening. While Chris was ordering the food, I went up to the pub to get a couple of pints in. I know it’s a Wetherspoon’s but 3.75 for 3 pints really took my breath away. I had to ask if the barmaid had undercharged me – she hadn’t.

When we got home, and after the aforementioned touching Humphrey moment, I watched an hour and half of superb telly on BBC4. The first hour was probably one of the most intense, un-nerving and stressful things of seen for years. It was a JG Ballard play called “home”, about a suburban man who decides to perferom an experiment that involves not ever leaving the house again. Needless to say it’s a trip down the path to madness and it was done so well. By the end you were just sitting there, all tensed up and uncomfortable as he ate the local cats and dogs, dicovered the attic had become infinitely large and murdered the Sky TV engineer (an nice cameo from Keith Allen btw).
From the point of view of Mark Steel (who presented the following programme) I doubt you could get a more deadly warm-up act. But it was still excellent.