Archive for November, 2005

Well today was a wee bit better…

…We’ve started looking for a few flats, and there’s a couple that look pretty decent. Going to try and sort out a few more viewings tomorrow.

Have also booked an appointment with Caryl Davies, the Deputy director of student support, on Monday. Hopefully she’ll see there’s a problem and let us out of the bloody housing contracts, and then we can go and get somewhere nice.

Incidentally, today I came back from my seminar to get confronted by the girl in the room next to us – apparently “someone” has ripped the pull-cord for the light in the downstairs bathroom right out of the socket (I checked; they have) and the cord itself has gone missing. “Everyone else” in the house appears to be swearing blind that they haven’t done it, and it’s pretty clear she was hoping to blame it on us.

The only snag there is that, like everything else they accuse us of doing, we didn’t do it. I had a shower yesterday, and the light was fine, but that’s about all I know. What I find really strange is that the cord has actually gone, which suggests it wasn’t just that someone caught it on a dressing gown and it snapped by accident – someone’s gone to the trouble of removing the cord. Now OK, it could just be that nobody wants to get stuck with paying for it out of their deposit, but given that they made up all that other shit about us, is it implausible to think they may’ve done it with a view to making another complaint about us?

Honest to God; the sooner we’re out of there, the better.

Jesus Christ, this term just gets worse and worse…

Well I just went to see the Senior Resident. Ruth couldn’t come in… Apparently the entire band of new housmates went to see him last night and complained about us for a whole bunch of the following:

We play music too loud (although we got asked to turn it down once and have kept it down ever since).

We come in really late at night and bang about in a drunken way (I’m especially impressed by my this, given that I don’t drink)

We put shelves in the bathroom (this one we did, because it saves us covering the shelf at the end of the bath with shampoo)

Our “friends” (we don’t know who) keep coming in when we’re away and the housemates “suspect” them of taking their food.

Once when Ruth & I were out “someone” came round with a take-away, found we weren’t in, and sat in our room and ate it. (How this can’ve happened is frankly beyond me…)

O, and apparently we don’t flush the toilets. Hm.

Personally, I’m getting strong “We’ve made this up because we liked having a house with an empty room in it” vibes, but I’m going to go and see someone called… *checks paper* O, yes, Caryl Davies in the morning.

Fucking marvelous.

Well now I’m just *filled* with confidence, huh?

When I gotthis e-mail from the PJM Senior Resident, I sent one back to him explaining that I can’t actually be there at 6:30, because I have to be elsewhere. That was at noon.

So at 16:15 I sent him the following:
ear Dr. Stoker,
Sorry about the uselessness of the last e-mail, I suspect it wasn’t actually as helpful as it needed to be.

I can’t shift the meeting I have at 6:15, and I suspect it will go on for an hour or so, so if it’s possible to meet with you between now and 6pm, that would be great. If that can’t be done, then I’d be grateful if you could e-mail me with a revised time prior to 6pm, so I know how to re-arrange getting to work, etc.
I am very anxious to speak with you as soon as possible, but I can’t change the meeting I’ve already got booked.

Many thanks,

And what did I just get?

“Dear James,

I will be there at 5.45pm

David Stoker”

Yeah, fucking marvellous. Who the pissing Hell is James, then?

Not shaping up too well, is it?

Can I just point out that I’m still waiting for my stressed and feeling crappy mood to pass properly, and this isn’t helping…

…Especially since I’m now too afraid to leave my room, because I don’t know what I’m doing wrong:

Here’s a letter from the senior resident – rarely a good thing –

Subject: House 119
Dear Mr Trevor-Allen,
Your housemates came to see me last night to complain of the behaviour of yourself and your friends in the house. Please would you come to see me at the Amenity Block this evening at 6.30pm to discuss this matter.
David Stoker

I particularly admire the way he doesn’t even tell me what time last night, which makes the entire thing next to useless. All I know is that at some point after about 5pm-ish yesterday (and presumably by appointment) the people in 119 – that’s the *good* house – all got togehter and went to see him to complain about something. Does he tell me what?


For fucks’ sake I’;ve had it with this, I’m practically desperate to get myself into private just at the moment simply to be able to check my e-mails without feeling sick…

Ah, November 27th. Only another 29 days ’till Christmas.

November 27th, huh?

Shit. That’ll be the November 27th that happens 24 hours before my essay’s due in, then.


Still feeling astonishingly drained & listless, which has been bogging me down since the start of October. Very annoying, and I can’t work out how to shift it.

(The letter to the housemates…)

Pinned this up on the noticeboard in 72 about 1pm today. By 3 it had been randomly taken down. Guess it pissed them off… Lovely the damage you can do with a kind word, innit?

“Hey guys,
Well, now, this just isn’t working, is it? It’s pretty obvious that you find our not doing the washing up just as irritating as we find your leaving half-done washing up in a sink full of cold water, and I guess you might even find it slightly more annoying than we do.

Trouble is, Ruth’s got one Hell of a lot of work (yes, yes, we all have a lot of work, we know, but “lot” remains a relative term…) and as a result she doesn’t have much in the way of spare time, after allowing for doing all the projects and assignments she has to get handed in, doing her job on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and attempting to get a half-way reasonable amount of sleep

Meanwhile, I’m in my final year and supposed to be doing huge quantities of reading of critical texts and studies and getting essays and seminars done, as well as working for two hours every evening, and getting a good degree is something I count above having shiny clean plates.

So, no, we haven’t done the washing up, although I do feel at least vaguely entitled to claim a misunderstanding there – sometime back in September, when we were still all new and interesting to each other, you guys put it in a pile in the corner, which to me sends the message “Keep this out of the way until it’s done, please.” Evidently you thought the message was something different, but at this stage, who’s still bothered enough to care about that?

Anyway, this whole ‘in the same house’ plan is pretty obviously dead in the water, so we’re doing our best to clear out of here; staying certainly driving us nuts, and I’d put a very little money on the bet you guys feel the same. Certainly I can’t put up with this for the rest of the year; I’ll just become an antagonistic bastard towards the lot of you, which won’t look good to anyone.

Uni accommodation being what it is, we can’t shift out entirely just yet, however; we’ll still have Room D until another room opens up elsewhere in the village, and we’ll be round to shift things over to our new place on a regularish basis, but by and large we’ll be out of one another’s way, which saves all the hassle of one of us braining one of the others with an unwashed frying pan… You should have a wee bit more space in the kitchen once we’ve hauled all our stuff out of there, too.

Ah well.

I’ll be surprised if you’ve bothered to read all this, but you might do, if you’re waiting for the tea to brew, and if you have, thanks, at least, for letting us point out we haven’t just run off in a huff.

No doubt you’ll get some new housemates moving in, in due course, and with any luck they’ll have less intensive courses, or be more inclined to wash up in the gap before cooking the food and eating it. Ah, but you’re right, we did leave some of it there for a while, when nobody had emptied the cold water out of the sink. That’s me edging towards being antagonistic, I know, and I apologise for saying it.

Still, no point fussing over any of it now, especially since you seem thoroughly disinclined to accept how busy we are.

Good luck with (and to) the new people, and with your courses in general; I’m sure you’d wish the same to us. And thanks again for reading this. We may yet run into you again over the next few weeks, but you don’t have to go losing sleep over it.

Have fun!”

So that was good. Still needing help moving stuff, mark you, but it’s all looking up, and maybe life will get a bit cheerier now we’re not stuck with those wankers…

Things moved fast in Cork…

…So, then, who wants to help us move? The dudes in the PJM Amenities block are toptastic people, and when I went to them and said “I’m looking to move out of the house I’m in” they said “119 C’s free,” without even asking why. This is good. Asking why would’ve made me sound like a whingey git, as I’m pretty sure it did last night, but then, of course, I couldn’t actually do anything, which isn’t nearly as good.

Temporarily, therefore, we’ll have 119C and 72D, until (at some point) the girl who’s in 119E and wants to move to a house with Freshers does so, and leaves another room free there, into which we can move the rest of our stuff…

Meanwhile, therefore, we’ll have two houses, so there’s no huge rush to move things (which is good, because my legs are bloody killing me – see a later post…) , but help shifting essentials (PC, monitor, TV, PS2 &, like, probably some bedding…) would still be good…

And, yeah, we’re taking a risk that the next housemates will be dicks as well, but at least there’s a chance they’ll make an effort back when we try to be friendly to them…

So, yeah. Off to re-jigger the TV lisence and show Ruth the new place.

Brief note:

Not sure how many of you this still applies to, but for those of you in Aber, and up for Troma, we’ve got some films lined up. The theme is ‘Rebels,’ and we’re planning to watch

The Mark of Zorro (1940 version)
High Noon.

So, er, yeah.
Flat, 8, etc.

Gunpowder, Treason & Plot…

Well, now. Went and gave blood, today, which has left me with a slight headache and a raging apetite, which I plan to sate with bacon, and possibly some form of carbohydrate, in the near future. The room is finally getting nice and toasty, after being freezing all day, when the heating kicked in.

I discovered that the heating was on by jamming my bare foot against the radiator pipe that runs along the back of my desk and getting burnt. So then I dug out the pliers on my penknife, and sat for a full minute with air hissing out of the stone-cold radiator, until it actually bled water (or at least black, oily sludge).

Tomorrow, happily, is Bonfire Night, a cheery festival commemorating what’s probably the UKs most famous terrorist attack, which is all the more impressive when you consider that it was an attack that didn’t actually work…

…I feel there’s something deep and intelligent to say about that, but, frankly, I’m not sure many people would listen, these days. I still can’t understand why, post September 11th, the entire world suddenly woke up and went “Wow, a guy on a plane just invented terrorism! Cool, we can all panic!” when it’s actually been going on for centuries. OK, the bit with the planes was new, and more people died than in your average attempt, but that’s mostly because modern society is very keen on putting lots of people in pug-ugly skyscrapers, which tend to be short on viable exits after the third floor…

And then, suddenly, the entire world is panicking. Now that’s stupid. I can see why New York and Washington would be panicking, because terrorist attacks in your immediate location are likely to scare you (it’s what they’re for, after all). To an extent, I can understand why the rest of the US was scared, too – OK, most of it is a stupidly long way from the places that got attacked, but by and large America seems to have got off lightly, in terms of previous terrorist attacks, probably because it’s so isolated.

The bit I don’t really get is why everyone in the UK suddenly got scared because, on the morning of the 12th of September 2001, we really weren’t relevant to anything. We’d been there, and had an empire, and lost it, and got another one, and generally enjoyed the Great Game for a hundred years or so, and then, after a couple of enormous wars we’d lost the men and the money to maintain an empire (and we had to give India back anyway, because that was the deal we’d made in exchange for their fighting for us) and so we all came home and sank into the quiet obscurity enjoyed by most of Europe, caught between the Communist-hating USA, and the risk-of-another-invasion-of-Russia paranoid USSR, hoping that neither side would get bored of Vietnam and wipe us all out.

And over the next few decades we settled back into normal domestic peacetime status, with major cities occasionally getting targetted by the IRA, and we did what Britain always does when that sort of thing happens which is, effectively, to say “O for goodness sake, can’t those people keep the noise down,” and then offer cups of tea to survivors sheltering in the local school gym. And as a result of that, nobody outside the UK & Eire gave a damn.

Then suddenly, a bunch of planes hit things several thousand miles away, lots of British people get killed, along with proportionally more Americans, and just as we’re thinking “That’s a bugger, that is, I’d better take an extra tin of biscuits and a spare teapot when I head over to the school,” the Government has suddenly upped and said “Woo, U.S.A! U.S.A!!” and before we can finish muttering the usual comments of “Tch! 1917? What time d’you call this, then?” and “Never on time for anything, are they?” we’re suddenly back on the world stage shouting about how much we’d like to be next, please, if that’s not too much trouble, because, hey, you know, we’re kind and considerate, and we’re suddenly going to go to war in Iraq.


That was a bit quick, wasn’t it? Think I missed something there… Wind it back a minute… No, no, stop, that’s Nuremburg, you’ve gone too far… Yeah, right, Russians march into Berlin… forwards… Yalta, yeah, right… Beatles, there we go, yep, Carry On films, keep going… Harold Wilson, Brighton bomb, end of the Cold War, Manchester bomb, Tories lose the ’97 election, hysteria about the millenium bug, Sepember 11th, everyone’s really shocked, America suddenly gets cross… advert break… America still cross, nobody can find Osama Bin Laden… everyone says we shouldn’t go to war, lots of protests… we go to war anyway… er… OK, normal play again… er… we go to war anyway… Bugger, we suddenly look important.

Hm. And then there were those divvies on the London Underground, and things got a bit more back to normal, in that we knew where we stood, then, ie, people were blowing other people up, and we know how to deal with that. (“Better make it chocolate digestives, love, not everybody likes hob-nobs. There’s a spare box of Tetley in the back of the cupboard, it was on offer in Tescos…”)

But there was still that really weird bit between 2001 & 2003 or so when the entire country seemed shit-scared, and the Government was saying “tear up the Magna Carta and everything will be just great,” and everyone seemed to be running about saying “Yeah, OK, then, because we’re scared!”

Scared of what, exactly? Getting killed by terrorists, I assume, or the risk that your friends and family might get killed. Which is fair enough, God knows I worry about Ruth all the bloody time, although that’s probably more to do with my own past than terrorists, but why did everyone suddenly panic? I just don’t get that…

…And nor do I really understand why it took a bunch of explosions on the underground to snap everyone out of it. All I can really think is that September 11th made everyone panic because it was new, so the attacks on the 7th of July were like seeing a repeat on the telly – you might not want to see episode nine of “Porridge” for the tenth time, but at least it isn’t another gritty serial-killer drama with a female detective who hasn’t got the decency to cover herself up properly, and keeps using words like “Bastard” before nine o’ clock.

If it’s strange that it took bombings in London to wake people up to the reality that terrorism isn’t anything new, it’s just plain surreal the way the USA reacted to it – not only did they try and shut down the metro in New York (because even terrorists can take the wrong turning at the roundabout, and one underground system looks very much like another when all your wearing is a belt of C4) but they started mass-producing junk mousemats and T-shirts with the London Underground logo on them and slogans like “London Stands”.

Well duh. Three bombs aren’t going to level London, now, are they? Frankly, if the Luftwaffe didn’t manage it, and the Zeppelins didn’t manage it, and Napoleon didn’t manage it either, a few radical Islamists aren’t going to manage it all in one day.

I don’t believe anyone in the UK bought one of those things, but apparently they were really popular in the US, presumably because a large number of people wanted to show how very supportive they were being of the UK in it’s own “9/11” (which is stupid in itself, because, as I’ve said before, quite a lot of British people were in the WTC when it collapsed). I’ve a sneaking suspicion that several of the people who wandered round the US wearing “London Stands” T-shirts will be associated with the people who spent the previous 30 years wandering round the US and helping to fund the IRA who were setting bombs in London, but I imagine it doesn’t feel like that if you’re a few steps removed from the actual detonator, so maybe they don’t spot the irony there.

And yet, a few hundred years after the failing of a terrorist attempt that would’ve serverely fucked up the politics of the UK for a very long time, we’re getting ready to set off a bunch of fireworks, and burn comedy effigies of the guy they caught trying to set the fuse, and tortured until he confessed. Which is fine by me, really – Bonfire night is there to celebrate the fact we’re capable of defending our own democratic freedoms, which we’ve been carving out of the laws for the last eight hundred years…

…And at the same time we’re gaily sitting down and not paying attention whilst a bunch of goons keep suggesting we get ID cards, continue to allow detention without trial and start accepting evidence obtained by torture again?

That’s not the Government rallying round with tea and biscuits, that’s the Government acting like a bunch of panicky toddlers because we had to up and boast about how we were joining Bush and his stupid “crusade” and suddenly a lot of people are looking at us like it’s the middle of the third act of Othello, and our mobile phone’s just started playing the stupid Nokia Tune on full volume…

Better lock ’em up, then.

I think I’m getting increasingly jaded by all this, and it’s coming across in my NaNoWriMo efforts – I suddenly found I’d created a totally dystopian backdrop to the main action, which I’d not really considered when I first started. But then, the whole thing is completely stupid, so I don’t see too much of a problem with showing it’s logical extreme.

Words written: 4061 / target: 50000

so far. I really ought to stop going back and re-adjusting paragraphs and just get on with it…

The NaNoWriMo Wars…

…Weirdness. I have to say I’m still a little confused by Statto‘s anti NaNoWriMo arguments on Dan’s blog

Personally, I’m in it partly for the seeing-if-I-actually-can-do-it element (if I can lash up 50,000 words in a month, there’s a chance I could try getting proper books published, thus avoiding the need to try and do anything with the rest of my life) and for the challenge, (and to support the other guys that are doing it where necessary) and because I think it’ll be interesting.

What’s more I’ve a vague hope it’ll re-spark my capacity to actually write things, which seems to have totally rusted up lately – I think I lost faith in writing things when I did the largely pointless modules in Creative writing, which did a good deal to batter my self confidence by encouraging me to rate my own work (with the result I always said “that’s shit, that is”)… It’s partly because I’ve lost the capacity to invent things to write about that I’ve stopped doing much other than blog posts and essays, I suspect, and I actually used to do loads… JTA the Movie is fairly desperate for an update, I imagine, but I’ve not been able to think of anything to put into it for the last two years…

(as an aside which might appeal slightly more to Statto than my just saying “and I’m doing NaNoWriMo” – I’m using a plot which is a slightly more sophisticated version of that idea I got in what I think was Year 9 [I’d just been to BYM, so that was early 2000] with yonder man who crashes trains…)

I’m pretty certain that there’s nothing I can say that will cause this to make any sense to Statto at all, which is a shame, but I’m happy to take you up on the suggestion that I write a hundred or so decent World Factbook entries in November as well (Hell, I’ve only got a bunch of essays and Civ IV to take care of this month, I can take on a whole other bunch of stuff no problem!)

So yeah – current challenges for JTA appear to be learn bloody “simian OS,” as it’s apparently called, because the 6680 will want a bit of getting used to, do NaNoWriMo, write 100 things for the Factbook (yes), do some essays, do the Real Ale Ramble (bugger, I still need to book time off work for that) and a whole heap of other stuff that still wants sorting. O, and I want to give blood, at some point. Woop.

O well. Lagging a little over here:

Words written: 1631 / target: 50000

Roll on curry…