Monthly Archives: September 2004

I’m slippin, I’m fallin, I can’t get up

It’s quite possible that I’m going out of my head. Last night I woke up at 3am and didn’t get back to sleep. At 7am I’d ripped the sofa to bits in the search for my wedding ring, which had fallen down the side last night due to my inebriation at the time. I applied a considerable amount of duct tape to it afterwards, but it’s still knackered.
Last night was emotional. The extended family experienced a bereavement which strongly affected everyone; in my case this was responsible for the imbibing of a load of Bells. This forum is not a good place to discuss the current state of family affairs, but we are all very upset. As a result I couldn’t sleep. I know I wasn’t the only person in London staring at the ceiling for most of the night. My thoughts are with the others as I type.
Luckily I’d taken the day off today which afforded me the opportunity to have lunch with some workmates and then sleep this afternoon. Thank god. Sleep is what I needed.

Humph has been really clingy today. It’s like he could tell how upset we all were yesterday. Everytime I left the room he freaked out! When we slept on the sofas this afternoon, he slept on the sofa!
This evening he was all over us. Most of the night was spent on the ibook. In fact the little bugger managed to pull off my ‘escape’ key before I could stop him. I dug out another laoptop for him (a knacked old 386) but he’s not interested. It seems that unless it’s got a G3 or better he’s not up for it. He’s a very lovely bird though. Michele, Humph and I spent some really good quality time together tonight.

Finally – Iraq. Inevitable eh ? Labour won the vote, thanks to some serious palm greasing I imagine. In fairness I don’t know what to think about moving out or staying now. If it had been up to me we wouldn’t be there in the first place. Like we’re not in China, Chile, Sudan, etc etc etc. However, despite the confusion in my head I was gobsmacked to here the UK’s special envoy to Iraq, Jeremy Greenstock, come out with the following two lines on the Today Programme this morning:

Remember it’s no longer an occupation, we are there by invitation of the Iraqis.

We are only there by invitation of the sovereign Iraqi state, and if they want us to leave then we must do so.

Sounds reasonable doesn’t it ?
Until someone stands up and shouts, in a very loud voice, over a very powerful megaphone, that we set up the current Iraqi state! In other words, anyone can invade another country, destroy the government, replace it with another one and then claim that they are there by invitation of the new government. Can we all play this game ? Could I walk into a nice posh house in Blackheath, kill the owners, set up some friends as the new owners, and then claim I was living there because the “rightful owners” invited me ? Could I bollocks! And we’re not talking about killing a nice family of 4 in Blackheath, we’re talking about killing over 12,900 civilians [at the time of writing anyway – of course this figure only ever increases].

Sleep well.


Remember that place ? Oh go on! You do! Just because it hasn’t been in the press for a couple of years. Yeah – you remember, the UK and USA invaded it before they moved to Iraq ? They wanted to spare the citizens from the wicked Taliban (the ones that America gave power to in the first place…like they did with Saddam and the Baath party).
Well, despite the fact we have been victorious in Iraq and Afghanistan, it turns out that we still need to send more troops to both places because the ungrateful bastards still think they aren’t free! Idiots! Surely they understand what freedom means! It means doing what the fuck you’re told and shutting your fucking mouths while the people “with leadership skills” tell the rest of the world what you really think.
FTR – I think the people who are taking innocent hostages are the worst sort of scum. Listen dudes: Don’t opress the opressed!. The people you are kidnapping are as much victims as you. You are using easy, nasty tactics when you should be using your brains. Looks like you don’t have any. Fight by all means, but fight the guilty. Kidnap the guilty! Leave the pawns alone. They don’t understand any of it either. I know that Bush and Blair are both cynical bastards, but punishing some poor sod who has ended up in Iraq will not help the cause.

Who am I talking to ? Myself. I’m just angry. Angry with everyone…including me.

The case of the barred phone, the fillet steak and the evil drawer

Alex was in the country for one day and I haven’t seen him since he went to Mexico. He called me on friday morning and we arranged to meet up after work. All he needed to do was call me on my mobile and we could arrange a time/place. The day passed and no call arrived. At some point I needed to call Steve at work and was informed that my phone was barred. I couldn’t even call the provider to ask about it! It turns out all of our work mobiles were barred…becuase the bill hadn’t been paid. Again! Arrrggghhh. Sorry Alex.

We nearly came unstuck on Saturday night. Michele and managed to pick up some fillet steak for less than half price due to a labelling cock-up (thanks Sainsbury!) So we were going to have Steak and onions for dinner. In preparation, I opened the kitchen window so that Michele wouldn’t suffocate on onion fumes. This meant I had to close the kitchen door so Humph couldn’t get out. One of the kitchen drawers was stuffed tightly withh all sorts of crap, and was blocking the door, so I squeezed it shut and closed the door.
Anyone with a single active neuron would not have done this, because they would have realised that once the door was pulled closed, the drawer would have sprung open, thus preventing the door from opening. I however, am clearly a dullard.
So, I had locked us out of the kitchen in such a cunning way that no amount of locksmith skill, picks or drills would allow us back in.
Aha, you say, but you had opened the window! Why not climb in ?
Because, this being a basement flat in New Cross, we have bloody great iron bars in front of it.
Eventually we hit upon the idea of using some sort of stick to try and push the drawer shut. The only thing that looked like it might do the trick was the hoover nozzle. So, I went outside and pathetically tried to push the drawer in with a hoover nozzle, that was far happier to twist around rather than apply force. Meanwhile Michele kept her eye on the drawer through the little glass window in the door and attempted to open the door just as I managed to push the drawer in. What a couple of pratts.

Anyway, we managed it eventually. Had a delicious meal of the most tender steak I’ve ever encountered, and watched SuperSize Me which nearly made us yak it all down the bog. Worth watching though.

The Joy of Halls

The first SU club-night of the year took place last night. Every one of the over-eager, fresh-faced, optimistic, over-compensating, youthful, little, rosey-cheeked, bastards went along. We know because between about 11 and 5 there was a constant stream of pissed people falling over, screaming, and generally jumping up and down on our bedroom ceiling, exhibiting absolutely no respect for joyless mid-30s miserybags like me and Michele.
At about 3:30 I got up and did some work for an hour.
So, imagine my joy when at 6:30 we were awoken by the piercing scream of the fire alarm. Humph nearly broke his wings off in panic.
However it was all worth it when we saw the state of our Hall mates. It was like Dawn of the Dead.
A couple of hundred kids in pyjamas, dressing gowns, and haggared expressions all huddled together on the opposite pavement looking shocked at the realisation that 6am does, actually, exist. One poor sod who had clearly only just passed out on his bed, in his clothes, curled up in a little ball on the pavement and received a load of motherly attetion from pitying girls.
What a joyful thought that only hours before, every one of this lot was plastering themselves in make-up, perfume, hair conditioner and putting on their best club-wear in preparation for meeting the rest of their hall-mates. They might has well all give up now. They’ve seen everyone at their best and their worst within their first 48 hours. Like speed-marriage. I’m surprised the halls warden didn’t dish out their degree certificates as we all filed back in. There’s no surprises for the next three years now. Go on. Give up! Go home and stop setting off the bloody fire alarm.


As I write, I’m listening to Ray Charles singing the Kermit classic “It’s not easy being Green”. Ray Charles was so, unbelieveably, cool that he could have sung the birdie song (aka the chicken dance) and made it rock. The only reason it’s that song playing is that we are trying to redownload our entire music collection following a HARD DISK CRASH. ARRRRRRRGGGGGH! No warning, no early read-errors, SMART warnings or anything else. Friday night it was playing happily, saturday morning, totally buggered. <geek> Looks like physical damage to the bit of the disk containing the inode table and journal…grrrrr. Yup I tried thumping it, freezing it, dropping it, praying, chanting, shouting….no go.</geek>
So I had to drag my arse up to TCR on saturday to buy a new HD from one of the many computer fairs there. 50 quid for 120G…not bad I spose. Til it buggers up again. Could be worse, I have a lot of the tunes in another location and, thank fuck, Michele’s work (including PhD) was on another drive (and on an old DAT but I doubt it would have restored…)

Hey – did I ever tell you how superb gtk-gnutella is ? Forget Kazaa, gnutella still delivers the goods in record time. And it’s properly P2P – unstoppable!

Work…hmm…ok. The “project” is moving slowly. Partly because I’m still learning about the code I’m working on, and partly because it’s the start of term and so lots of sysadmin stuff keeps invading the development time. This will decrease and, as I believe I have mentioned before, Sue is learning scarily fast; a great comfort.

The US election has received a lot of coverage over here, and it’s very easy to get caught up in all of the bullshit. I keep finding myself thinking “Oh christ I couldn’t bear it if Bush gets re-elected”, and pitying the fools who want to vote for him. Then I get dragged back down to earth by something sensible. Noam Chomsky writes:

The herd does have a “function”: to trample periodically in support of one or another element of the leadership class in an election. Unstated is that the responsible men gain that status not by virtue of any special talent or knowledge but by willing subordination to the systems of actual power and loyalty to their operative priciples — crucially, that basic decisions over social and economic life are to be kept within institutions with top-down authoritarian control, while the participation of the beast is to be limited to a diminished public arena.

However, I think that the late Bill Hicks summed it up far more clearly:

I’ll show you politics in America, here it is right here:
“I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs. I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking…”. Hey wait a minute, there’s one guy holding up both puppets!
SHUT-UP! Go back to bed America, your government is in control! Here’s “Love Connection”; watch this and get fat and stupid. By the way keep drinking beer you fucking morons.

Not as eloquent…but just as accurate I’m sure you’ll agree.

Hens and Cocks

Friday night was Nedene’s London Hen night before going back to Sith Ifrika, to have another one. They started in The Walpole after work. The uniform: denim skirts hen t-shirts (“I’m on a hen night, I need a cock” and so forth). Thoughtfully they also bought me and Rakesh white t-shirts with “I Am A Cock” on them. They fucked off pretty early leaving us all in the pub. A nice night really…I honestly don’t remember a great deal of it though.

Earlier on friday, after spending the morning working on V-MAP I went for lunch at the Walpole (the best satay chicken I’ve ever had) and then went to change the backup tapes (long and tedious story). Sue, my replacement, is picking stuff up at a scary rate. She is the chosen one! Some people can pick things up after only being told once. She can pick stuff up before I’ve finished telling her. It’s incredible, and slightly scary. She was born to do it.
Anyway, we went over to the server room where, we hoped , the DoC guy would be there to let us in. He wasn’t, so we went over to the marquee to rescue the last of the graduation wine from disposal and then spent a pleasant 20 minutes sipping and discussing UNIX…in depth. In one week she has learned more than I could learn in a month.
Nice and relaxing day, but playing with more V-MAP stuff. I’m really getting dependent on my iBook – the best, most enjoyable, fastest, joyful machine I’ve ever used. OK it has problems but I love using it. If it didn’t exist then Linux/BSD is a very close second (for the desktop). For servers you still can’t beat UNIX (Free/Net/OpenBSD/Linux/Solaris etc).
Night yall…


A nice couple of days have elapsed. A nice week in fact.
On Sunday I walked to the Brockley Barge in the hot sun to play on their wireless network, which had mysteriously disappeared. I’d have relocated to another seat/pub had I not bumped into John Hntngdn. So, I spent the rest of the afternoon chatting to him and a few mates of his whilst drinking some delicious wheat beer that was really underpriced. Wetherspoons’ are wonderful if you can deal with the grim atmosphere of desperation they inspire. I miss John.
After that I went to meet Michele at my mum and dad’s. Another good time.
This was the first week of the new regime…sort of. Monday was basically my old job but with Sue in place. I set her a couple of insoluable tasks, and she solved them in record time…despite getting worried and nervous. Anything she experiences in this job will, clearly, not phase her at all. Today I gave her another job…which she finished in about 20 minutes. Damn. I’m out of a job.
Monday was Arthur’s birthday. A drunk night, but most enjoyable 🙂
Tuesday I had the lovely experience of going to Birmingham. Virgin trains were, despite what I would like to believe, excellent. I got up there in good time (despite it costing the British taxpayer 100 quid) in good time, relaxed and comfortable. They even have A/C! And in peasant class too (100 quid doesn’t get you into 1st). OK, on the way back we were delayed, but we were kept informed all the time about the situation and they kept the bar open so me and my new boss, J, had a very pleasant time. Well I did at least.
Last night was pretty cool too. Ian popped in at about 5:30 to see if I fancied a pint. Never…unless someone asks me. So we went up the Hobgoblin and it was as good as the rose-coloured memories. Adele is planning to take the place over after the new geezer blew them out. This is excellent news as she is perfect for the job and deserves a lot of respect for…well…everything she has ever done. A few nice chats with Ali, Ian, Liz, Richard etc and then we noticed Nedene was there with her boss…clearly hoping to avoid bumping into us all 🙂 As it happens, her boss seems to be a really nice bloke…despite insisting on her not smoking.
Now, I don’t smoke, and consider it generally quite selfish and stupid…despite quite liking the smell 🙂 However, I hate the fact that governments (ie public servants) think they can decide on banning it for us. They are our employees! How dare they try and control the way we wish to live our lives. OK, smoke affects other people, but it needn’t. If you really feel that sensitive then go to pubs with either decent aircon, gardens, or a no-smoking policy. Now they’re talking about banning high fat food ? WTF ? No!
I’ll decide thank you very much! And yes if I get ill as a result I do expect the NHS to help me out. The amount of tax I’ve paid over the years, even in my short lifespan, has easily paid for my burden on the state. The problem is that the state has no clue.
Hang on, this is turning into a rant. Another day I think.

Good night!