Monthly Archives: December 2004

Up yours 2004

2004 is nearly dead, and I say good riddance. Personally, it has been one of the shittest years of my life. Just when I thought nothing more shitty could happen, something did. Right up until last week in fact when for me it all started perking up, just when over 100,000 people were killed by one of the worst natural disasters for many years. As shocking as that figure is, may I please remind people of some of the man made achievements that make this massive number look pretty small:

  • Nanjing Massacre saw between 100,000 and 200,000 chinese killed by the Japanese in 1937
  • 160,000 killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki
  • 800,000 killed in Rwanda – Almost no UK/Europe/US aid.
  • over 3.5 million killed in Cambodia between 1970-1987
  • 4-5 million Jews murdered by the nazis during the holocaust
  • 20 million Russian civilians killed in WW2 – Russia became the enemy after WW2

Not to mention the massacres that are “only” in the tens of thousands such as Iraq. The numbers stop meaning anything after you get to about 10. And I’m not suggesting that we discount the current tragedy – quite the opposite. I just wish people would care about stuff like this more often…you get a bigger crowd at the average football match than you do at most of the protest rallies.
Our gracious Government is sending a pisspoor amount of the national budget over to asia as I type. Meanwhile they are helping to kill even more people in Iraq…damn I wish there was a point to this.

Maybe there is. Maybe it’s time for some New Year Triteness. So how about this for trite: count your blessings every day. Every day! I’ve been trying to do this recently and it has the interesting side effect of making me feel a lot happier. That wasn’t the intention. Really!

So get stuffed 2004 with your wars, murders, torture, nob operations, suicides, evictions, and systems crashes.


You don’t mess around with Jim

Well I’ll admit that the Mitsubishi ad got me hooked. Sadly I can’t find the version they used in the ad apart from the one you can download in that link. Jim Croce does sounds like a top bloke tho’.

A great christmas day. Top food, champers, wine, sherry and more wine followed by a nice sleep, more wine and a great load of chatting. Humph is staying there the night. Nice texts from a few top people – thanks! This is my ideal christmas. If I didn’t send you a crap ecard then it was either a technical problem (too technical to explain in a blog) or I forgot you, which was clearly a mistake and only because at the time my head was f*cked.
Merry Christmas again folks!

Christmas Balls

The last day of work was pretty predictable. It has been the same for the last 10 bloody years. One pub or another, only with far fewer people than anyone anticipates, because people get on trains, go home to pack, or just can’t be arsed. The false memories of pubs packed with laughter, friendly faces and jolly japes stem from two sources: firstly, the few occasions where Christmas lands on the weekend, so we have more pre-Christmas break, and secondly, rose-coloured bullshit composite memories of previous pissups. The pubs were depressingly empty. I was utterly knackered, following the recent work stresses, and the relaxation affected me, causing me to be extremely bored and disconnected. I would probably have fucked off early had I not prearranged to meet Tony and Andy. As it turns out, I had a second wind and once they arrived it was pretty good fun. We went down to Madras (q.v.) and had a wicked meal, then all piled into Andy’s car and came back to ours, where I promptly fell asleep on the sofa. And snored like a chainsaw apparently.
Today was great though. The first time away from a CRT/LCD for months. Christmas Eve, and I went up town. If you’re thinking “what a twat – it’ll be jammed”, then I’m afraid you have fallen into the trap that has caught so many before you. The trap that says “don’t be stupid, the west end will be rammed. Why not go down to Sainsbury’s – that’ll be much more pleasant”. Did you go ? Was it ? Was it bollocks! The West End is emptier than a normal weekday and extremely pleasurable. The pubs are busy, happy but not so busy you can’t get a seat. So I went to the John Snow based on a peculiar desire to celebrate an extraordinary man. Andy was doing some last minute xmas shoppery so we met up and had a pint and a chat. Afterwards, we went our separate ways and I bought a couple of presents and then…went to the pub. In these 30-something days, there is nothing I like to do more than go to a nice pub, have a pint or two of bitter (“Boot Warmer” in this case), and read a book. Top stuff. Try it, really!
Eventually I came home and wrapped our presents. We didn’t have any wrapping paper so I used newspaper. We didn’t have any sellotape so I tried, unsuccessfully, to use pritt stick and ended up using Gaffa tape. These could possibly be the worst wrapped presents ever.
Michele, being crap with presents, got all excited and unwrapped hers. It’s like living with a 4 year old 🙂
Now here’s a thing. Michele has developed an amazing maternal/sporty skill. If Humph does his little pre-poo dance, she can get her hands under his (her) arse in time to catch his warm jobby 🙂 Keeps the carpet clean, but OTOH forces her to run to the bathroom screaming.

To Frances, Dave, Tobe, Tina and all of the other people who won’t be around this Christmas:

Merry Christmas

Please get in touch when you get dahn the smoke next time.

Political Correctness

Add Widdecombe was just on the telly banging on about the main problem with christmas being political correctness. And I agree! I long for the days when I could have called her an ignorant, white, ugly, deluded, frigid, neo-nazi, fat-arsed, reality-detached, tragic bitch, without fear of being branded a “sexist lefty” by the PC brigade!
You couldn’t make it up. We’re going to hell in a handcart etc.

John Malcolm is, in my opinion, an impotent tosser

For some reason, suprnova has packed up. A typically ill-informed Guardian article quotes someone called “John Malcolm” as saying:

These people are parasites, leeching off the creative activity of others. They serve as traffic cops connecting those who want to steal movies with those who have a copy and want to provide it.

In my opinion, the only thing Johnny-boy has to worry about losing is his job, when people realise they are being ripped off by the industry. When the day comes that the RIAA, the MPAA, the BPS, Dr Dre and Lars Ulrich end up on the scrap heap, I will join with the masses in dancing in the streets…to music that has been produced by people who will be earning more than they would have done under the fascistic control of the record company scum.
Anyone wishing to discuss any of these topics with me would be:

  • Most welcome to join me in the pub at some point
  • Ill advised (I’m an argumentative mf)
  • Probably the sort of person to take Lawyers seriously…and therefore a very foolish individual
  • A tragic character, as my opinions are totally worthless

A great night at my parents. My mum is the best cook in the world, and they are both the best entertainers. If Christmas is half as much fun, it will be the best of all time. If only my sister was there too…
But I’m happy as I type, especially as I’m watching my second favourite film of all time: Jabberwocky. The only sad aspect of this is that it reminds me of a lovely person called “Andrea” who died too young. The good do die young you know. As far as I can tell, nothing in life is fair.
Good night.


The final file restore really hurt – it was only 134G but it took nearly 48 hours! Mainly because of one particular pillock who had over a million messages in one mailbox. Yes a million. And as the mailboxes are actually stored as directories with each message a file, it meant that poor UFS had to keep adding files to this million inode directory. The one folder took about 20 hours. I haven’t looked up his photo on the stalker^H^H^H^H^H^H^H user database in case I should happen to bump into him. If I recognise him, the bump might result in bloodshed.
But mail is now back, more or less, and we survived it, more or less. We also managed to have a staff party and two birthday drinkups in the mean time. Now I have to get back to my project….arrrrggghhh


The last two days have inflicted the highest and lowest possible emotions on me. From working out how to top myself, without distressing relatives, to wanting to dance through the streets naked, with a santa hat on. All related to fucking work. Working from 6am to 9pm really does make it difficult to separate oneself from one’s job. It’s been going like this: tape restore. Hours of pacing and coffee followed by a read error and having to start again. Tape restore. Hours of waiting…it worked! Change to next volume…read error….fuck we’ve got to start again! Arrrrrrrggh. My life is ruined, I’ll never work again. Tape restore…hours pass…it worked! Wooooohooo! Tape restore….hours pass….it worked! Wooohoo! One more and we can get “aries” back! Tape restore…arse…it’s all going pear shaped and it’s nearly 9am…fuck..start again…tape restore…it’s working! Yay! It worked! Bring aries up…people can login and use their network filespace. Phone rings – when’s the mail going to be back ?

One of the biggest problems facing computer people (note that I didn’t use the phrase “IT people”; there is a difference) is that we have had 5 years with minimal interruptions. We regularly used to have uptimes of over a year which were interrupted by deliberate reboots. Nobody ever says “thanks!”. Actually they do…when they move jobs and go to some Microsoft based hellhole and then they realise what a good service we do (did) provide. But when the shit hits the fan now, people think it’s “unacceptable”.
Millionaires out there please send me some money so I can spend my days at home with Michele, Humph and red-wine. That’s all I ask. Is that too much 🙂

Jif’s birthday today.

Good night.


Skip this’s a miserable dirge of a blog…

After another shit night’s sleep and a massive amount of stress about work. I dragged myself, through the greyest of grey winter mornings, into the office, early, to do some urgently needed systems work [switching the main external web server from an old Ultra 1 to a scarily desirable V20z dual Opteron – Phwooaar]. I knew it was going to be problematic…these things always are, and this has so many dependencies that something major was bound to go wrong.
But it didn’t. In fact it went really quite well and afforded me time to explain to John, my project colleague, why I was behind on the current deadline. He was extremely good about it and made me feel marginally better about the state of things.
Just then, something bad happened. Bad in the sense of the worst possible systems catastrophe I could imagine. My room 101 of technical nightmares. As it turns out, this is the worst technical problem I have ever been involved with, in any job, ever. For the geeks: Our RAID5 array which was, ironically, purchased to provide redundancy, had three concurrent disk failures. This means that the two systems using it, that are also the core of all of the IS Infrastructure, were totally fucked. No option for recovery except….backup tapes. Experienced geeks will be crying in sympathy. Thank you. So after many hours of extreme stress and struggle, we still have no computing service to speak of. Believe it or not, I do have a considerable amount of professional integrity. And, together with my pride and sense of self-worth, it can’t take much more of a bashing I can tell you. Leaving work at 9pm, with everything still busted, another long day of stressful misery ahead and a bank account the colour of a Routemaster did make me think

for gods sake make it stop! I’ve had enough! Please, please, please! There must be more to life than this!

So, if anyone out there has a million quid or two that they really wouldn’t miss, I would be very grateful if you donated it, and you might even save a life. I’ll even draw you a nice thank you picture and write you a lovely song.

P.S. apologies to flurble. You weren’t supposed to see that…well not that soon anyway.

Sports personality of the year

Don’t you sometimes think that the stimulating, insightful observations sportspeople come out with during post-match analysis should be rewarded somehow ? Not only are these people athletes, but they’re also philosophers. We, the listeners, wonder how it felt to have lost the match, and they explain that, at the end of the day, they did their best but it wasn’t good enough. Obviously they’re sad about it, but they’ll just have to go back to the drawing board and make up for it next time. We, the listeners, now have an insight into the game, deeper than we could ever experience first hand.
Fortunately, the BBC annually award a prize to The Sports Personality of the Year, which isn’t an oxymoron, but a serious award to recognise the importance of these great people. Congratualtions to Kelly Holmes for winning this year and proving that, apart from running faster than some other people earlier this year, she also has a great personality. Here are some examples of why she was the obvious winner:

“I hope to take part in the indoor season, and that really will depend upon how much I train and my progression,”

“The hardest thing was focusing on the race and pretending that I hadn’t already won one.

“Every single year I’ve said ‘oh, if only I hadn’t had that injury I’d have done even better,'”

“The most important thing now is to enjoy my sport and appreciate all the things it gives me.”

There’s just not enough of this inspiring stuff on TV and Radio.

Kernel promiscuity

A stupid little anecdote, probably not funny to anyone but me…
A friend of mine was telling me about how he recently tried to get all facets of his laptop working under Debian, and hit a couple of brick walls. A couple of Googles later he found someone who had successfully got Debian installed on exactly the same model laptop. He was slightly shocked to discover that it was a woman at least 20 years his junior 🙂 Swallowing any vestiges of macho-pride, he contacted this “girl” and they had a geeky exchange during which she agreed to send him her .config file. For the uninitaiated, the “.config” is the file that describes how the core, or kernel, of your operating system is to be built. Everyone struggles to perfect their .config, and it can be a very personal, time-consuming journey. And let’s not even start on the XF86Config….shudder…
He told me that he felt there was something slightly uncomfortably intimate about being sent a strange girls .config. In his own words, “it was a bit like asking someone to send you their dirty knickers in the post”.
I nearly had to change my own pants laughing.