Monthly Archives: April 2005


The more you love someone, the more difficult it becomes to care for them. Michele has gone away for training in Exeter, and I’m left alone with my dear Humphrey. I love them both, and therefore worry about them both when I have to go to work. Michele is in a luxury hotel, surrounded by beautiful coutryside, with crow’s nests outside her bedroom and gourmet meals at the taxpayer’s expense. Lucky girl. Humph is at home, on her own, while I work in my office, controlling computers that are in another room.
It’s a shame that Michele’s away because she’s going to miss my birthday. Not that I’m happy about turning 34 or happy about my little sister turning 30 (she’s only 10!) but because I plan to eat a wicked south Indian curry that night…and I know she’d love it.

Friday afternoon was due to be a double celebration. Not only was Raaaach moving to more verdant pastures, but also Ian was a year older. So Ian and I took the afternoon off work so that we could enjoy the stupidly complete cheese-board Adele had organised. It was heart-crushingly good! Thanks!
Today was the first day back at work, and the first day of term. Consequently, Ian, Llynos, Paula and I went for a few drinks after work. So nice. Humph was very happy to see me when I got home though. Lovely bird. I gave her some nice seeds. Good bird.

Idiot-proof Firewalls

A salesman, from some lame company or other, told me that the reason why a certain brand of firewall was popular was it was less difficult to understand than the alternatives.

Now, think about this: if your network people can’t understand a firewall, do you really want them running your network ? If they don’t understand the underlying protocols then should they be doing a job where the key skill is to understand the underlying protocols ?

The worst aspect of this is that the people who really understand the things are generally much younger, more keen, more intelligent and far more immature. Pity that.

2nd Law

The project I’ve been working on for the last few months has come to an end. At least the funding has, it’s not finished so there’s still more to do and I intend to do it. Not sure why, maybe because I want to see it working properly. Blimey, that almost sounds like professional integrity doesn’t it? In fact, the pressure from the last few days has clearly taken its toll. My concentration has been slipping. Last night, some debugging code got left inside the live version of the software which was published on the web. Today I received a panicked phone call from the project manager asking why all the tooltips (the little messages that appear when you hold the mouse over an icon) all said “ARSE!”. He thought I was having a dig at him! Little did he know it’s because I haven’t had a good night’s sleep for a while.
On the upside I’ve learned a great deal about Java, GUIs and the nature of development work. I’ve also spent a long time at home keeping Humph company. On the downside I’ve not needed to move more than a few metres from the sofa in the last few months and the lack of excercise is taking its toll on my body, which is slowly beginning to fall apart in accordance with the 2nd law of thermodynamics.
So it’s time for a new regime! Out goes much of the red wine and lethargy, in comes excercise and a load of pointless but possibly enjoyable walking. Out go fry-ups and red-meat, in come Bran Flakes and chicken salad…oh god…
Lots of thinking has gone-on inside my rotting brain recently. Sadly the mulling has not produced any fruits worth a mention. I’ll let you know if the situation changes.
The tunnel of U.S. immigration is still concealing any signs of light. No hidden skills have manifested in me, leading me to see the future looking like some Orwellian Microsoft-based nightmare. I’ll die first!
Worst of all, this link from popbitch puts me firmly in the LibDem’s catchment area… I reassure myself that this is merely indicative of how right-wing Labour have become, rather than how right-wing I’ve become. Please ?


One of the most important things you have to do when writing a blog, is to write a blog. If you stop writing a blog, you stop writing a blog, and your readers get bored and go down the pub. This is a major problem for depressive bloggers because depression really inhibits one’s confidence to write a load of objectively bland stuff for the sake of not-much. The less you write, the less frequently people bother to check it…until it rots away to buggery…

Anyway, while Humphrey pecks at the edge of the screen on this laptop, in a (successful) attempt to get some attention, I want to tell you about the City Inn in Birmingham. It’s where I stayed last night (courtesy of the British taxpayer) and it is my ideal hotel:

  • FREE Internet access for all guests with ethernet AND wireless (and a bunch of exposed PCs, ripe for the hacking)!
  • TV, DVD player (with DivX support), Corby trouser press (unused) in every room
  • 24 hour room service, with good, cheap, food
  • A bar that opens late
  • A superb restaurant – haddock risotto with poached egg, followed by poached salmon with roased vegetables and salad 🙂
  • Friendly staff
  • Other things

We (a colleague and I) were in Birmingham for a two day event which could well be the most disgusting waste of taxpayers money ever. It does go on you know. Everyone there was very earnest, of course, and all felt it to be worthwhile, but I can honestly say that it would have been equally productive and far cheaper if the organizer had simply sat in his room at home and burnt £10 notes for a day. Such a pity. There are so many problems within education that need sorting out, and there is so much money to do it. It’s just a shame that the money ends up all getting poured down the khazi like this.
By day-two the tedium and pointlessness of it all had necessitated drastic action. Whilst I was psychologically prepared to sit through it all again, my colleague could bear it no longer and was so desperate to go back and start doing productive stuff again that we shunned the free lunch, coffee, tea and awkward conversations with tedious cretins in favour of going home.

But, it was a great night that involved eating gorgeous food, and then sitting reading some fluffy Tom Sharpe book in the hotel bar with a pint of Guiness or two. This is my idea of heaven.

Before this, there were load of noteworthy events that remain unblogged for various reasons. Just to help jog my memory, here are a few clues:

  • Easter! Some nice wind-down events in various bars/pubs
  • Visiting my parents and indulging in lovely food and company. In fact, last sunday we took Humph over there and sat in the garden…lovely. My sister called too – it was really lovely to speak to her! (Ok Frances ? 🙂
  • A great night in Brockley with Dr J and Petra. After a few in the Brockley Barge we staggered off to the Wickham with Stuart H for some nice arguments. I may have consumed more Summer Lightning than that which could be considered polite…sorry
  • Lucinda’s super-human catering event, where she managed to russle-up enough lasagne for 5,000 people in her house, from only 3 slices of pasta and 2 bits of beef. Great day that was, although I might have had a tad too much red wine than that which could be considered polite
  • [Humph is currently talking to and dancing for my foot 🙂 ]
  • Loads of other things that I can’t currently remember

Spot the Difference

Spot the difference.
Firstly, this from Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
MORTICIAN: Bring out your dead!
CUSTOMER: Here’s one — nine pence.
DEAD PERSON: I’m not dead!
CUSTOMER: Nothing — here’s your nine pence.
DEAD PERSON: I’m not dead!
MORTICIAN: Here — he says he’s not dead!
CUSTOMER: Yes, he is.
MORTICIAN: He isn’t.
CUSTOMER: Well, he will be soon, he’s very ill.
DEAD PERSON: I’m getting better!
CUSTOMER: No, you’re not — you’ll be stone dead in a moment.
MORTICIAN: Oh, I can’t take him like that — it’s against regulations.
DEAD PERSON: I don’t want to go in the cart!
CUSTOMER: Oh, don’t be such a baby.
MORTICIAN: I can’t take him…
DEAD PERSON: I feel fine!
CUSTOMER: Oh, do us a favor…
CUSTOMER: Well, can you hang around a couple of minutes? He won’t be long.
MORTICIAN: Naaah, I got to go on to Robinson’s — they’ve lost nine today.
CUSTOMER: Well, when is your next round?
MORTICIAN: Thursday.
DEAD PERSON: I think I’ll go for a walk.
CUSTOMER: You’re not fooling anyone y’know. Look, isn’t there something you can do?
DEAD PERSON: I feel happy… I feel happy.
CUSTOMER: Ah, thanks very much.
MORTICIAN: Not at all. See you on Thursday.

Secondly, this from the BBC:
“I’m standing here, in the vatican, in the final few hours of the Pope’s life.”
N.B. This is nearly 24 hours since he was given the last rites.
With all the prayers that people are saying for him, through waterfalls of tears, I confidently expect him to live forever! Go Go The Pontiff!
Excuse me, an atheist, for asking such a “naive” question, but, why are people praying ?
To keep him alive ? Surely not! Whatever happens is God’s will! He’s God’s chosen chap, so what can prayer do at all ? Answers on a bogroll please.