Monthly Archives: September 2007

Blog censorship and the silovici

Here’s a news item that is probably worth keeping an eye on. Alisher Usmanov, one of the shadowy Russian oligarchs, has bullied an ISP into taking down several high-publicity blogs, including Tim Ireland’s Bloggerheads, Boris Johnson’s blog and Craig Murray’s blog, as the result of an alleged libel. For more informative coverage see SpyBlog, Chicken Yoghurt and
Boing Boing.

Army of autistic geniuses

Recently my once exciting M600 (HTC Prophet) has been giving me jip and the handicaps of Winblows Mobile 5 have been driving me insane, and so I decided to see what could be done. Of course, it turns out that there is an entire army of autistic geniuses out on the net tackling this problem for us. So, I’m now running a custom ROM, based on WM6, but with all of the irritations of the old ROM attenuated. And it looks nice too.

One of the most brain dead aspects of WM5 was the difficulty of listing and killing running programs. Microsoft clearly don’t want you stopping things once you’ve started them, otherwise they’d have provided something other than the memory app for performing this simple task. This means that after checking your email, phoning a few friends, sending a text, and generally using the phone as it’s supposed to be used, you’re out of memory and the bloody camera stops working. But now there’s an omnipresent widget that lists all running apps with a big red cross next to them. Wow, what a power-tool…

So now I have an unlocked phone which works, feels nice to use (even with the fingers), has a newly updated radio ROM and will placate me until I get an OpenMoko or an N800.

Thank you, army of autistic geniuses! You’re my hero!

The first goodbye

Today was the first time I’ve had to say “goodbye” to someone as the result of our move. A really nice bloke in my workplace is going on holiday to France tomorrow and won’t be back until after we’ve left the country.

Now, this is not only a sad occasion because he’s such a nice bloke, but also because it suddenly drummed home to me what we’re doing, and how close we are to doing it. Weirdly I’m not anywhere near as worried or upset as I thought I’d be. The last time we moved house it nearly killed me – really; it dragged me down so low that I really felt I might not make it. This time I just have a weird, excited, fear, like you get when it’s your turn to get into the roller-coaster.

Purging ourselves of a lot of crap is helping. Once you realise that all you really need in life is a load of pants and a laptop, throwing things away feels quite liberating. But it’s not easy! Even freecycle is not as simple as it sounds. But the worst case scenario is that we have to put stuff in the bin rather than giving it a loving new home. We can both cope with that I think.

After some good advice from British Ex-pats, we’ve pretty much decided to use Pickfords. They’re not much more expensive than the alternatives we’ve found and they even come round and do your packing for you! They also sent someone round to assess how much it was going to be. So much simpler.

Humphrey is the only real worry we have. We’ve sorted out all of the bureaucratic details but it’s just the trauma she’ll suffer. Poor, beautiful little bird.


Welcome to a new blog. It’s exactly the same as the old one except that it’s tagged “uk2pa” which means it documents our move to Philadelphia (PA) from the UK (London). At some point it’ll probably get its own URI.

We’re moving to America in just under a month and we’re both terrified about it. Whether we grow old and die there or come back after a month in tears it will all be documented here. In essence the move shouldn’t be too painful except for a couple of things:

  • Missing my family, who are all wonderful.
  • Putting our darling parrot into quarantine for a month…
  • The fact I’ve never lived away from South East London in my 36 years on this tiny planet (or for 4 generations depending how you look at it).
  • We have loads of old crap that needs shipping.
  • Our friends, all of whom we will miss to a ludicrous extent.

But apart from that we should be ok.

In the past few weeks we’ve been involved in social occasions that have had a finalistic air to them. That’s not as bad as it sounds because, as much as I love my friends and family, I really want to try something new, and Michele wants to spend some time with her family. Fair enough really. And teh internets provide a suitably convenient medium for keeping in touch with my 21st century family.

We both love London, and who knows, we may end up coming back in tears after a month, but I hope not. On both sides of my family there has been a presence in South East London for a long time. Time to try something else.

Death of a worthy adversary

Regular readers will know that over the past couple of years we have been battling with mice.
Recently, despite a significant number of murders, I have given up the battle. Our current foe is clearly Mighty Mouse and deserving of some respect. His superpowers have enabled him to:

  • Avoid all traps, both humane and evil.
  • Take the food off of traps both humane and evil.
  • Ignore the ridiculous amount of yummy poison we’ve sprinkled about the place.
  • Managed to break into every full trash bag we place on the kitchen floor within ten minutes.
  • Run by me three or four times a day, just to irritate me.

We were all ready to leave a congratulatory note, a lump of food, a Barbie glass of wine and a little cigar for him until last night. As usual he was running around as if we weren’t there and then going for a shit in the kitchen. But, last night I realised how he was hiding from me. To cut a long story short, I killed him with my fist. I’m not proud of killing the poor, beautiful, little thing, but it had started feeling like an elaborate strategy game, and I had to go for checkmate when the opportunity arose.
The idea that he was still alive and suffering is something I can’t bare so, to ensure his quick demise, I took him into the kitchen and hit the bag he was in with an old wine bottle, which broke into a thousand pieces on the floor. As I was clearing them up I cut my finger which means the little bastard drew blood from me after he died! Mousey, I salute you and apologise for taking your life.

The ambivalence and catharsis I experienced after killing the tiny, helpless little, chap, soon turned to guilt – especially when Michele discovered a tiny mouse in the humane trap later today. Maybe baby mouse looking for daddy who was due home hours ago…

The guilt is awful but I suppose nature is like that. He was shitting in our food! We let the little one go in a nearby park. Good luck mate.

Orwell, MI5 and MI6

Today’s second most significant piece of anti-news: George Orwell was being investigated by MI5. Of course he was! They all were. The biggest mystery is how it’s taken this long to come out in public. The most significant piece of anti-news is that MI5 thought he wasn’t a proper Communist…despite his “bohemian dress”.

Christ al-cocking-mighty we all knew that! He was a public opponent of Communism! Read 1984 if you have any doubts. He even gave MI6 a list of people who had Communist Sympathies! How the bloody, bastarding, fuck did MI5 not realise this ? It’s almost as if MI5 were a bunch of hopelessly ineffective fascist sympathisers or something.


Despite a couple of seriously OTT drinking sessions, leading to several bouts of Post Alcohol Depression, things are going well. We’ve managed to chuck out quite a bit of old pony (mainly via Freecycle and charity shops) and progress project Humph: arranging for Humphrey’s unsolicited emigration. In fact, if I’m being honest, Michele has done most of the hard work on these things. Other good things:

  • The IT Crowd.
  • Memento.
  • Nice walk around Brockley and a couple of superb pizzas at a new place in Harefield Rd.
  • Rediscovering the joy of The Spice of Life Indian restaurant in Lewisham.
  • Rediscovering MAME.
  • Friends – the people, not the poxy, nauseating mess of a TV series which appears to form the entire reaison d’être of Channel Four.
  • Prokofiev.
  • My dad’s good experience at the hospital.

Because I’m in such a good mood at this moment I won’t bother listing the crap things. You can do that yourself if you so desire.