Archive for September, 2005

Hm. Not sure about this one; I liked being a .ogg better!


What herb are you?
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Hooray! Am having a good day. Already I have killed the fat bastardy dragon, and I still have many turns left!

Heh. I like having special powers. Skeleton crew is especially good, because of the way a whole bunch of people suddenly materialise and fight for you. And regeneration helps, too,..

O. Sweet!

Which File Extension are You?

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Living With The Postgrads

New housemates are all doing Masters courses. Hence calling them “postgrads” to distinguish between the “flatmates” (in Caerleon over the summer) and the “housemates” from last year.

I have to say, things looked pretty ominous when they first turned up, because unwarranted posters suddenly turned up, which put Paul on edge (but that’s going to be fine, because I’ve got a 2×3 foot print of The Garden of Earthly Delights by dear old Ronnie Bosch, which I think will look nice in the kitchen.

The real warning came when they moved all our spices onto the edge of one of the shelves above the worktop, where they were a) impossible to tell apart and b) in grave danger of falling off. So we moved them back down again.

And they moved them up. So we moved them down, and they moved them up. Last night, it happened again, so we moved them down, and left a note reading Guys, if you put our spices on the shelf then [points given above]. Please leave our stuff alone!, because we were well sick of it.

Today, on returning from Booker, I discovered the following: Sorry we moved things but we only did it as there is no worktop space. Can you please put all recycling neatly in bags & tidy up washing up! This is only fair as we need space to do things. Also can the bin bags please be returned to on top f the fridge! Thank you.

Which, if nothing else, suggests they are at least aware of the less vague social niceties. Indeed, it’d be a cracking good note, if there wasn’t a good four foot of spare worksurface down one side of the kitchen, but never mind. It does, at least, look as if they may not be quite the arrogant brainless twerps I’d begun to suspect them to be, which is good, because I’m not really in the mood for pitched battles on the domestic front…

Also, I remain very tired, have to register at some point tomorrow, and the chair they’ve given me in PJM is terrible, and relies on a screw thread to hold the back steady, meaning that it tilts back as soon as you put any real weight on it, in a not-good-for-your-backish way.

Hey ho.

And so it begins…

This is going to be a tiring week, I suspect; especially since I woke up this morning and had to really strain to keep my eyes open. *sigh* O well.

Room C, the big huge one, is now taken by some girl doing a postgraduate course in fish, according to her chum. In some ways, this is good – we’ve three housemates, and they’re all postgraduates, which suggests they’re not too loud and crass, because at some point they’re going to have to do some work this year. First years, on the other hand, would’ve been a nightmare. Still, I’m a bit cheesed off by the way PJM said they’d look into letting me swap rooms, and then fobbed me off with sappy excuses each time I pestered them until they gave the room to a girl with so fewer boxes than me it looks like she’s never even seen Amazon, and wouldn’t know an impuse buy if the bank manager hit her in the face…

Today I bought new shoes, hooray! New shoes! At long bloody last… Entertainingly, the woman in Clerks spotted the state of my current shoes (really, absolutely, falling apart at the seams, and where there aren’t seams, they’ve fallen apart anyway, plus the soles are wearing through…) and watched me try on a new pair of, uh, exactly the same design, but with something called “Active Air,” which seems to be a sole full of gaps, at a cost of £20. When I started pulling my old shoes back on…

Assitant: Are those new ones OK, sir?
JTA: Er, yes, I think so. Very comfy.
Assistant: I’ll just take them to the checkout for you, shall I?
JTA: Er… Yeah, OK, then.

I feel a little offended that they assumed I needed another pair, though – I could have had lots of other pairs of shoes, some of which with marginally fewer holes in. Still, I’ve got a new pair, now, so I’ll slap some polish on ’em over the next day or so, and start wearing them when I’ve got a minute to sit down and change pairs without falling asleep!

Christ, I think I’m supposed to register at some point. Somewhere I have forms I need to take. O dear…

Wotcha all.

On behalf of some girl who was in the year below me (and actually, now I come to think of it, in Clive, but never mind) back at AGS, I figured I ought to put word out in Aber (that’s you, then, Dan), to see if anyone can answer her search for a good download-limit-free broadband provider.

Anyone? (Er, you can comment on here, but I guess it makes more sense to go to her blog post and say it there. Ta)

O dear…

…Just been emptying the stuff in the bathroom to take it back and pack.

There’s a little netted ball thing for the shower made by Nivea. And I saw the name out of the corner of my eye and thought “nVidea make shower kits?”


I hate packing, I’ve got a headache, and I need to sleep. Up at 0900 on Monday, of course…

Still, only another nine months, and I’m no-longer a student! Expect I’ll get a minute to sleep, then…

You arrogant menopausal *bitch*…

…God’s teeth the people in reception down here pissed me off just now. We haven’t, you see, been given the e-mail giving us 48-hours notice of our need to move out and transfer up to PJM. And Ruth, it turned out last night when I went down to find out why there wasn’t a transfer notice on my door, found out that whilst I was due to transfer on Sunday, Ruth wasn’t.

So today we went down there and asked if this was true, and could Ruth be put on the transfer list and the bitch at the back there – Mary, I think she was – said “no, you have to move out by 10 o’ clock this morning.” Said this, mark you, at a quarter past nine, without our having had any notice of moving! Christ, we’d only started packing because we thought it was probably this weekend; nobody had actually told us anything.

And then the jumped up little fuckbitch tried to suggest it was all our fault, and we couldn’t have Ruth stay another night because “who’s going to pay for it”!

Frankly, I’m up to here with being shitted about anyway, and I’m not standing for that bollocks from anyone too incompetent to extend a transfer like the ones they do at least twice every year, just because they can’t find a name on the list…

…Contrast this with the dude I just spoke to in PJM about transferring, a dude who knew all about what was going on, and add to it the poor ruddy porter they just sent round with a chitty telling him that I was due to move out today (despite the fact that I was told only last night I didn’t have to leave until the 20th at the latest, and my place in PJM wouldn’t be availiable until the 18th), and we suddenly find ourself deep in Speaking To Elaine Watkin territory with a Complaint.

Because, frankly, I’m paying money I still don’t really have for putting up with being crapped over by these dicks, and I had to get up before 9am to boot, despite not getting to bed until 3am because of trying to tidy the fucking flat. And a ruddy complaint, frankly, is too good for the arrogant cretinous bitch.


Weeeellll… I just rang Spar and told ’em I’m leaving. (yon manager warn’t in on Sunday) Boy was he disappointed.

O dear.

Also, he said could I still do this weekend. I said I’d see what I could do, but it might be hard because of probably moving house.

So I’ll ring up tomorrow, I imagine, and say I can’t. I’m not ruddy well going back to work in that heat with people sighing at me and looking let down the whole time; it gives me a headache as it is.

In cheerier news, I appear to have lashed together a fairly solid list of PC components, and only gone over my £750 budget by eight quid (and that’s for a fan) so I’m feeling fairly cheerful. When I get more money, I shall buy me some new HDDs, and give one or two of my old ones to Robin. And to my mother, I suppose. But I don’t have to worry about that until October anyway.

And in secondary cheerier news, Everything Australian, the cheerful [Ashes-less, woo, go us! Still can’t believe that…] family-run Internet sales firm who sold me my Driza-bone have dispatched it, and it should be here in 3-4 days, I’m told. This is pretty cool, not least because I’ve paid for the most expensive, fasted, international shipping possible, and bought a woolen liner for the coat, and bought the hood as well, and it’s still a fiver cheaper than buying it from the cheapest website in the UK. International currency variations are weird.

Also, they sound like nice people, who upgraded to doing Internet sales alongside the market stall they’d run for twenty-odd years. Bryn, if still interested in getting a Driza-bone, is welcome to have a dekko at mine, once it turns up at The Flat.

And they shouldn’t have been such crappy employers, if they don’t want me to jack it in after three weekends of repetitive heatstroke. Still, ringing tomorrow isn’t going to be fun.

Now this is really clever…

Last Friday (Geek Night) Dan made mention of something called Pandora. It’s fantastic stuff, although it does need broadband, so sorry if you’ve not got that…

The people who developed it did so on the back of the Music Genome Project, a project where a group of people got together, listened to music, and categoried it based on a whole heap of different categories (major/minor key tonality, importance of vocals, and a whole heap of things I never paid attention to before dropping music in the third year).

You get a ten-hour free trial of it (and you can get a years membership for 36USD, which is just under 20 pounds sterling, at the current rate). So Go visit it and set yourself up a “station;” a radio channel based on an artist or song you tell them you like. Assuming they’ve heard of it (they’ve not done the Oyster Band, yet, which was my first choice) they’ll scan the artist or song through their files and pick out a few key elements.

They then find other songs with similar elements, and play those. So I started off giving them Warren Zevon as an artist, and they played me his track ‘Excitable Boy’ to begin with, presumably to check that it was a song of his that I did like. Then they started sifting through the files and pulling out other things they expected me to like (and I got to say whether or not I did).

Five tracks later they were playing Richard Thompson, which was fascinating, because I do like Thompson very much, but I’ve always seen him as being Folk Rock, because he started off in Fairport. In retrospect, of course, there’s a lot of Thompson’s stuff which sounds like Zevon, which is the whole point of Pandora: it doesn’t actually matter what genre an artist’s been pigeonholed in, because all songs are different, which means songs by two totally different artists are capable of sharing several similar elements. My version of “Warren Zevon Radio” (you can, by the way, re-name them) just played a nice track from Fleetwood Mac, and now it’s doing an equally dinky one by someone called James Kochalka, of whom I’d never heard until two minutes ago.

It’s fascinating me, because it’s drawing in things I’d never be likely to run into, and which most people I know probably know even less of (the bulk of the people I know probably wouldn’t know Zevon to begin with, but I imgaine they’re even less likely to go “Cool, Richard Thompson!” – It took me ages to get over the fact Ruth wandered into my room one day back in the first year [at a time now mentally bracketed as the “confused bit”] and said “Is that Fairport Convention?!” thus becoming the first person under forty-odd I’d ever met who recognised them…).

It’s fascinating, too, because you give it tips on how it’s doing, and it chalks it up to experience without doing a full write-off. So if it plays me something from, uh, the Divine Comedy, and I say “no, I don’t like this,” it’ll skip right to the next song, and not play that one again. But it might play another Divine Comedy track at some point, to see if I like that more. And if I say “Yes, this is good,” then it’ll contrast that with all the other opinions I’ve given it, and add it to the list, so the stuff it plays gets closer and closer to the type of thing I really like, but keeps giving me new artists. You can ask it why it’s playing a certain track, and it’ll give you a vague idea – it turns out, for example, that I’m fairly keen on “a busy horn section,” which I never knew, but which keeps coming up on some really good tracks. And it took less than twenty songs before it played me a track because, amongst other things, it featured “political lyrics.”

It’s a bloody clever thing, frankly, amd I’m grateful to Dan for pushing me in the right direction. If you’ve got Broadband, do go and give it a whirl, and see what comes out of it; you’ll probably run into a few new things somewhere along the way.

In other news, I’m working 15:30-23:00 at Spar today, and plan to go and say “Er, by the way, I’m leaving you” shortly after getting there. I imagine they’ll make me stick out the shift anyway, but it’s not really something I can sustain. Especially not with the air conditioning broken and keeping the heat in there at a constant 30-plus centigrade, but I’m not really cut out for doing nine-hour shifts standing up the whole time, either. Christ, at least Halo gave you seats and regular breaks.

I suspect they’re going to be bloody livid with me, but they’re really not paying me enough to make the dehydsration headaches I keep getting anything like worthwhile, and they probably couldn’t afford to, even if they wanted to.

‘s all yours Andy. Get in there with a CV, I should.


…Which one of you buggers is this, then?

Rockmonkeyorguk on LoTGD


California becomes the first American state to make suitably tolerant noises! Another fifty or so and they might start to pull level with, uh, the 20th Century. MMM.

In fairness to America, however, it’s not entirely their fault they’ve got a society on a par with the more intolerant bits of C. 14th Europe, because they’re only new. The trouble is they will go coupling that with a conviction that they’ve got God’s blessing on this one *cough, Carder, cough, cough*…

Still, I’m pretty impressed by that… Now they just have to, uh, actually put it into law. But with any luck…

Does you good to remember that American’s aren’t actually the bastards Bush keeps trying to make ’em out to be. Incidentally, uh, Annie seems to have gone quiet. Hope things are looking up a bit. If not, I’d recommend against killing US Embassy workers in the current climate; it’ll only make Bush look popular again. Good luck with it. (And you can probably come to Aber again, if you need to escape!)

C’mon, c’mon… Bloody well pay me already!


OK, now I’m definitely upgrading this bloody box. Graphics card first, I reckon, and then the case and what-not. At the moment, the graphics card’s most important because it needs to be about twice as powerful to even meet the minimum spec for Battlefield 2 (although you could just about get by on a 64mb job back when I threw this thing together…)

I’m hoping to run some rolling upgrade system throughout the year anyway, though; if I buy a new motherboard and a new CPU, plus a DVD writer at some point before I graduate (and, actually, maybe a couple of 512 RAM sticks to boot) I reckon I’ll have something that’ll last me from graduation to getting a decentish job in a few year’s time.

*sigh* Tates have given me a paltry 50 quid for working there the weekend before last, so I’m now a mere £35 over my overdraft limit… Presently, some daffy sod will give me some more, and then I’ll get a loan! Hooray! I really, really do need cash, just at the moment; I still need:

1. A new graphics card.
2. A Drizabone before the weather turns.
3. A new case for the PC, probably with a couple of fans thrown in.
4. New shoes, because they continue to fall apart (the toe’s now open by a good three inches, and the die of the other is splitting away from the sole all the way along). Happily, the new shoes can wait until I’ve bought the other things.

O, and I need £133 for bloody Income Services, before Friday. Or they’ll cut off my library access. (O, how terrible, woe is me, for there are no other libraries in Aber. Huh.) Unfortunately, they’ll also cut off my e-mail, and I do need that, just at the moment. O, and I owe Orange another 54 quid, as well.

I want my money from the council!


…Actually an interesting quiz, in the way it makes you think, rather than randomly click based on gut reactions. I’m interested by the main mix I seem to have dug out, though; given the general lack of a “Quaker” option on the test I reckon a Christianity/Buddhism mix… The Paganism, I reckon, comes from my innate tendancy to believe there’s a quid-pro-quo that ought to be inherent in pretty much any form of worship.

Ah well. Kudos to Jon for bringing this one to my notice.

You scored as Christianity. Your views are most similar to those of Christianity. Do more research on Christianity and possibly consider being baptized and accepting Jesus, if you aren’t already Christian.

Christianity is the second of the Abrahamic faiths; it follows Judaism and is followed by Islam. It differs in its belief of Jesus, as not a prophet nor historical figure, but as God in human form. The Holy Trinity is the concept that God takes three forms: the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Ghost (sometimes called Holy Spirit). Jesus taught the idea of instead of seeking revenge, one should love his or her neighbors and enemies. Christians believe that Jesus died on the cross to save humankind and forgive people’s sins.



















Which religion is the right one for you? (new version)
created with


It’s the middle of the night, and I remain pretty damn wakeful. Ah well… As far as I know, I don’t have to be up tomorrow until a) 16:55, when I need to get dressed, go downstairs, and walk 100 yards to clean for the Council, or b) 09:38, when someone’s going to ring me up and be angry at me.

I’ve already foiled that plan, however, by being booked up with a full morning of Not Getting Chewed Out right up until lunchtime. Even so, I’d ask you to forgive me if I suddenly start bashing out a heapload of ire under the good old “tolerance” tags.

FRAG rocks. That was probablky the best game of CTF I’ve ever had, so many thanks to everyone for that; we’ll have to get some more rounds in presently!

Food, soon, or so I’m told, and then Scrubs (which, it turns out, I do like after all; I’d always assumed I didn’t like it in the least, because the only episode I’d seen was actually an episode of “The Green Room,” and was pants.) and then, at some point, sleep. Hah, that’ll be the day…


O Jesus..

It’s 0730! And I’m about to go and spend 9 hours standing up… O dear. I think when term starts, Spar might have to go, jobs-wise. Never mind.

Happily, I slept like a log, on the back of the bottle-and-a-bit or so of wine I drank last night (there were eight of us. We drank nine bottles. Hooray!). Was a very enjoyable evening, from where I was sitting, so many thanks to everyone for getting so into things, and especially to Paul (for researching the part) to Not-Gay Gareth (for the voice) and everyone else for showing up. And, of course, to Ruthie, without whom there would’ve been no food, and precious little anything else.

It was all good, really, and there’s some corking photos (Bryn… :p) which I’ll upload at some point, when I get round to it. See you later, I imagine.

I wonder if I’ve got time for breakfast…

When “Push” becomes “Shove,” how do you react?

It’s an interesting question, and one which has been vaguely floating in my head for the last day or so (and by God, that was a fantastic episode of Evangelion…) mostly because the interesting part, from where I’m sitting, is not how you react, but why.

For most people, of course, I can’t answer, and I’m not especially good at answering for myself either, but I’m getting better. The reason I can’t always answer for myself is firstly because I’m not sure anyone can ever give an honest answer to a personal question, and secondly because I know very well that there’s a large gap between who I was at one time, and who I am now. It’s not a chronological gap, of course, but it is a little unnerving when I wind up in an introspective mood.

Those of you who kept track of my LiveJournal posts a few weeks back might recall this vaguely unpleasant mope, which unnerved me at the time because it’s a nasty flashbacky sort of post, and unnerves me still more now, for pretty much the same reason. But that’s not my normal “push=shove” reaction, all things considered… It’s occasionally a reaction I get when a shove turns nasty, and I feel I’m getting driven backwards into a pit, but it’s not my normal response, because that’s generally more bloodthirsty.

In retrospect, this makes a reasonable ammount of sense. It can take very little for me to start shoving back; back at school once I was coming out of the VIth form corridor, when Major T [head of the CCF] tried to barge past me. I can distinctly recall thinking “I’m not taking any shit from someone who’s trying to force me back through the door,” and I jammed both my arms accross the gap at pretty much the same time, with the result I forced the old sod back out, with him swearing every inch. That’s generally my reaction, although I’ve had it on a greater or lesser level as a result of everything from people pushing into queues ahead of me, right up to gut-wrenchingly awkward situations.

Sometimes it’s not quite so awkward, of course; during the trip to Edinburgh I ran into some large American tourists who demanded I walk back down the Walter Scott monument “because we’re Americans, and we want to get back to the hotel for lunch,” which was actually fairly entertaining (partly because the people behind them looked horrified, and partly because, when I explained I was on a trip from a school older than America by about 150 years, and should therefore have priority, they, er, crashed, frankly. It was an interesing example of cultureshock in action, and a little sad for ’em, but they shouldn’t have been such arrogant sods, all things considered.)

I imagine this bloody-mindedness was something I always had tucked into my character somewhere, to an extent. But it’s nothing like a reaction from my mother’s side of the family, unless it’s about something big, and I can’t see any traces of it on the other side, either… Presumably, therefore, it’s something I’ve developed under my own steam.

The first time I clearly recall finding myself in a situation where there were two choices, and neither was a good one, and I would not accept the choice people were trying to force on me will’ve been at some point in 1998, at Shrewsbury Magistrate’s Court. My mother & I were there because Nigel Hughes, a man who, seven months before, killed my father with a lorry, was appealing against a sentence for something called ‘driving without due care and attention.’ Apparently, he didn’t mind the £400 fine, but he’d also lost his driving liscence for twelve months, and that put his job (driving lorries) at risk.

Oddly enough, the judge didn’t actually think dear old Nige was especially good as a professional lorry driver, and kept things pretty much as they were. And so my mother & I filed out of the spectator’s gallery, followed by those members of the Hughes family that didn’t have to exit via the cells. Or, at least, we would have been, but the sods went and hung about and tried to avoid us, with me stood there holding the door open for ’em. Bear in mind, please, it was a heavy door, and I was only just thirteen, and fairly weedy, and I could’ve done without hanging about waiting for them.

After I’d coughed, in a pointedish way for a couple of times, and they’d taken notes for their PhDs in Carpeting of Municipal Buildings Studies, it dawned on me that they were, in fact, pretending I wasn’t there, presumably because they were too embarrased to look at me. Impolite little shits. And I rapidly went from very hurt, to specifically much more hurt, and then to rather more angry than I could ever remember being. About that time I gave the door what I thought would be a fairly gentle push, and it jumped back six inches, hit the stop with a smash, and then slapped back into my hand, where it bounced.

They looked up at that. And then away again! Jesus… I don’t actually remember my exact words, but I think I said something like “Get through the fucking door, please, I need to go and comfort my mother.” So they did, although I noticed they were still fascinated by the pattern on the carpet.

I’ve had pretty much the same reaction to similar situations ever since, which is fair enough, but it does worry me sometimes. I’ve long since got over the worst of it, where I could find myself a stray insult away from bloody murder (anyone remember the dark old days, when my blazer was full of drawing pins?), but there’s still a fairly solid core of steel somewhere in me, and it tends to find its way to the front when people start to push…

…But I can fairly confidently defy anyone to attempt to wander vaguely adolescentwards surrounded by the chaos I went through (I had my grandmother, grandfather and father die within eleven months of one another, and then the battle to keep the life insurance [it was in trust, but try telling that to the fucking Reciever] and then the battle to get compensation [which got settled about eight days before I came to Aber, six years later]) and not develop an innate distaste for people trying to fuck you over.

Unusually, for one of my long rambling posts, there isn’t very much of a point to this (although if you’ve got a different reaction [or, indeed, middle or lower -gear reactions!], I’d be very interested to hear it…) but I vaguely needed to let off steam. And, all things considered, I think it’s a fairly useful reaction, because it does tend to get people if not listening, then at least bloody worried that they ought to have been paying more attention when I stopped shouting at them and suddenly got calm…

Going to play something called “Wesnoth,” now, and trust the package manager installed it properly.

No doubt I’ll see many of you tomorrow. Have fun!