Archive for August, 2008

Wow. This is just frying my brain!

Quick post before I get back to whatever desk I work at on Friday afternoons!

I read a lot of webcomics, partly because it helps me to work out what day of the week it is while I drink my morning coffee (For example; if it’s a day without a new Candi, but with a new menage a 3, and not a new Darths & Droids, then it’s Saturday, and I can go back to bedn without bothering to finish filling myself with caffeine).

But this is the first time I’ve discovered a webcomic told through the medium of a Round Robin game.

Lots of different artists each get one panel to advance the story, and that panel can contain as many frames as they can fit in that one panel. The effect (so far as I’ve managed to read it!) is fabulously anarchic, and very funny. Or, at least, it’s got me sniggering over the keyboard, which is typically a good sign, even if it is confusing everyone else in the room.

O – and did I mention that it’s a round-robin style comic where the only fixed element of the plot is that there’s been a murder? Win!

It appears to live over at, and you can read full pages as they happen from this link here.

Unless, y’know, you were all going to spend your Friday afternoon being super productive, or something…

“Pretty much spot on”…

…and other good ways for an optician to describe the glasses you’re wearing.

Buzzed over to D&A this morning (I say “buzzed;” I was there until the bank shut, which is going to slow everything down a bit). It seems there’s been some very minor shift in my left eye, but the difference is “less than half a lens” so it’s not actually worth changing my prescription. Win.

On the other hand, since they had a sale on, I’ve got some new glasses, because the frames on my normal ones are now three years old and getting a bit fatigued-looking. That and it’ll give me two pairs of glasses that have the anti-glare protection, which I anticipate being useful in the event that I get any insurance, ever. Which, to be fair, I will, it’ll just cost me lots.

It’s not the “costing lots” that I object to, per se, it’s more that the reason it costs lots is because they think I’ll use the car to get drunk and try and impress girls by doing dangerous things. I find that insulting; it’s like they think I’ve got to be 23 without realising that there are better ways to waste petrol than trying to make women fancy me. Pouring it down the drain, for instance, or into the water supply. Bah. I shall cough up nonetheless, and then fling the damn machine off the road when I fail, yet again, to tell my left from my right, I expect.

Anyway, I’m getting new glasses. More encouragingly, the optician woman seemed to think I was likely to stay on more or less the same prescription I have now for the forseeable future, which is a big step up from the last time I went and had lights shone at me.

I’m still finding work fun, and I’m still finding work tiring; come Thursday mornings I’m really having to struggle to get out of bed which, when I’ve got a reason to get up and start doing things, is unusual for me. I think, however, that I’ll get back into the swing of things relatively well; I’m still getting more sleep than I was when I was commuting from Wallingford, so I think it’s just a matter of adjusting to having a routine that revolves around more than “when the CoD4 servers are least busy.”

In other news, I was listening to, er, something, on the Radio yesterday, and caught a fabulous quote, viz:

“The Potteries, in the North of the West Midlands, are an unlikely setting for a revolution…”

Yes, that’s right, there’s never been a Revolution in the Midlands. All those integrated kilns and transport networks are just an example of a cottage industry that was allowed to get out of hand.

Well, it made me laugh. But then I had to slog though an entire Geography project on How The Industrial Revolution Changed The Area*. It seemed to involve a retail-cum-business park, but I could be remembering a different trip.

Ah well. On with the Weekend Tasks of Everything I Didn’t Do This Week…

*I didn’t actually do the project, I think I just handed in a few scrappy sheets of A4. But I was meant to do it, which is good enough for me.

“Some kind of harmony…

…is on the rise.”

D’you ever get one of those days where everything seems to be going well, and then it all goes arse-over-tit? (Usually, we call these ‘Thursdays’)

This isn’t one of those days.* Rock!

Indeed, having Passed My Driving Test, and had someone buy me a beer during a working lunch, I’ve come home and found an official-looking letter.

Reading the sender’s address I concluded “But I don’t know anyone in Worthing!” and chucked it to one side while I rang Charlie, the mechanic, who is “doing some work on the car,” which sounds expensive (although it didn’t feature that scary backwards whistle, probably because he knows I’m pretty broke).

Having then got rid of my coat, switched on the tower, and found there’s no Mountain Dew in the fridge, and that, therefore, I have to crack open the Thatchers, I opened the envelope.

Inside the envelope was a pamplet and a letter.

The letter explained that, after I sent my P45 off to the tax, they didn’t just send it back without looking at it (which is what I’d assumed they’d done, when it turned up again three days later). Instead they got to work Doing Maths And Things.

Basically, I overpaid on income tax last year, so they’ve sent me a cheque. A nice cheque. And, also, a really quite large cheque. Hell, if I cash this thing, I can probably pay for whatever work is getting done on this bloody car. Or else insure myself for three days, or buy petrol for six.

Although, having written this entry, I’ve discovered that Thatchers take orders for cider over the Internet… Hmm…

*Well, it is, I’m sure. But not for me, which makes for a nice change.

“I cannot believe my eyes…*

…is the world finally growing wise?”

I have passed my driving test. Huzzah!

Over slightly-more-than-40-minutes-because-the-traffic-in-town-was-horrible, I got no majors (obv), and lone minors in:

  • Footbrake control (coming through the massive jam in town),
  • Moving off control (thank-you right turn out of Waunfawr),
  • Following distance (down, I suspect, Penglais Hill),
  • Undue Hesitation, and
  • Junction Observation (I have no idea where this was, because if I had, I’d not have clocked it.

Win. I can now go out and start causing real accidents!

Mike seemed glad to see the back of me, an’ all. Examiner was a nice guy, quieter than the last one, and with an intersting habit of marking the sheet only when he thought I’d not notice (eg, not immediately after I did something wrong, but some time later, which was damn unnerving when I realised that was what he was doing it). Friendly enough, though. And I got to find out what it is they say when you haven’t failed. Which was shiny.

More work with cataloguing this afternoon, which is good; I’ve enough experience of that for the lunchtime celebratory Spitfire kindly bought for me by my colleagues ought not to cause much of a problem…

This evening, I must ring Charlie Next Door and ask if that car of his is still knocking about. And the I can and be asked to present my nose for the purpose of offering payment…

‘s a nice day, innit? :-)

* I came up with this post title yesterday evening, as I was trying to go to sleep (“Quote, Unquote” gets rare points for sending me off faster than chloroform). The point being, it’s from “On the Rise,” the song from Dr. Horrible where Dr. Horrible concludes the line “The world’s filled with filth and lies,” and Penny’s line is “Is the world finally growing wise.”

I figured this would be a nice any-eventuality title for the post. Yeah, I think about these things too much.

Hyper linkage*

For those of you some way behind the news, it was widely reported earlier this month that a frankly crazy woman in the USA had spent frankly crazy ammounts of money to get five clones of her dead ugly dead dog, which once, er. Bit a sheep, or did something heroic.

That’s the bulk of your background. And then the Daily Mail, of all things, did a bit of digging into her past, which prompted further enquries and a hotly protesting denial and I find myself confronted, on my nightly-before-I-go-to-bed check of El Reg, by the following headline:

Yes! It’s Joyce McKinney, admits Joyce McKinney,’ which made me laugh so hard I spilled herb tea in my lap.

It’s a shame that I desperately need to go to bed; It’s suddenly occured to me that this is a really good reason to watch Orgazmo, and it seems a shame to waste such a once-in-the-history-of-anything occurance.

On the other hand, I’ve got a warm bed, and pillows, and Tomorrow, Today! is about to start on the radio…

SHOCKER as JTA listens to Radio 4. Because it’s only been happening for the past twelve years. G’night.

* Winner, ‘Best Internet-related Pun of Summer 2008.’

Another weekend gone

But I have to say I’m enjoying the weekends a lot more now that they’re an interlude of time off, rather than just another part of the vast expanse of nothing that forms the bulk of my existence.

Of the five people I’ve spoken to on the phone this week, three have said how much more cheerful I’m sounding (and the other two aren’t people I speak to often enough for them to know how I normally sound anyway).

I discovered yesterday that my little tinny electonic alarm clock, which gets me out of bed by cunningly playing a very tinny, monotone, rendition of one bar of Lone Ranger-y finale bit of the William Tell overture until I stumble out of the duvet and thump it, doesn’t actually require re-setting. I’ve been dilligently making sure it’s primed to go off at 07:30 in the morning every time I’ve gone to bed this week, but it turns out that it automatically re-sets as soon as you hit the ‘off’ button.

That spoilt my plan to lie-in yesterday, but it did put me into a nice shallow sleep full of cool dreams about the Crimea, narrowboats and assorted awesomeness, so I forgive it for waking me on a Saturday.

So far this weekend I’ve had Yet Another Driving Lesson, in preparation for Another Driving Test on Wednesday (*sigh*). I’d really much preffer it if they’d just hurry up and give me a pink liscence now; I’ve been learning since 2004, and I know for a cast-iron fact I’m a damn sight better than some of the bloody clowns on the roads these days. Frankly, by this point, the question of whether or not I pass the test seems to be pretty much coming down to luck.

(F’rinstance, the reason I failed last time, on paper, was “Bad observation on a parallel park.” But the reason I displayed bad observation was that I was parallel parking after starting to move out from where I was pulled up to be told to parallel park, and paused while moving out, to let a cyclist go by in the opposite direction. Which meant I was very slightly on a wonk when level with the parallelising car. Ordinarily that’d not bother me, but since this was The Test I fretted over it1, and was thus gawping out of the back window like mad, trying to make it work out OK. That was Bad Observation, which was a definite fail. Although it would’ve also been just as Faily a Fail if I’d gone out and caused a nuisance to the bloody cyclist. I’m not trying to say I didn’t deserve to fail for the badness, I just think the fact there was badness was due more to chance events than a lack of technical comptence on my part. Actual competence, yes, but I knew what I was doing. It’s not my fault the hypothetical Boy Racer had to potentially slow down a bit.)

Well, ‘s give it another shot when we get to that, shall we? Although “Shot,” in the context of Penparcau might be an unfortunate choice of words.

This afternoon I’ve been doing further ironing whilst watching Firefly, which took me a mere two episodes, instead of last week’s four, so I seem to be speeding up as my arms remember what they have to do.

That doesn’t include the extra 30 minutes I spent trying to force the new ironing board cover to attach itself to the ironing board, though (Paul: we have a new ironing board cover, the old one was manky and wearing thin). Thank-you Woolworths, for your generously providing a one-size-fits-all that doesn’t until you take a Swiss Champ to the bugger (Paul: we have a new ironing board cover. Do not attempt to unpick the string binding it to the underside of the iron-rest. It’s a right pain to sew on with a Victorinox).

Meanwhile I’ve played through the whole of S101 [Link to S101 at Abandonia, a site where a large number of the screenshots seem to be from the Island of Horny Women. Hmm. A better link might be this one…], and am now started on S201, which, though I’ve been playing it for, hmm… *does maths* sixteen years I’ve only finished once, and now I can’t remember much of what to do.

O, and I’ve done all the washing up, although I’m about to create some more, unless I decide to just go hungry. That would be less effort in the long run, I suppose…

Still, given that I did pretty much zilch yesterday, and only really got round to Being Domestic today, I’m fairly pleased. I like having a structure to me life. Even if it does involve getting up at 07-30 and coming back home at 18-00 (and, actually, that’s a big step up on when I was commuting to Oxford, where I’d generally spend at least twelve hours from every day outside the house).

Going to go shower the bathroom in little bits of beard trimmings, now; trying to keep the thing to a respectable, summer-y length, rather than the usual “Neglected Russian Bear” I’ve been touting since October.

Apologies for the minor Meme spate yesterday; I was trying to write this, but it didn’t seem to be getting anywhere, at the time!

1. I do a splendid line in fretting. It is a measure of how concerned I was that I fretted over How The Park Would Go, rather than my more typical background frets of “What If a Plane Loses Its Engine Over Jordan Hill?”2

2. Yeah, an actual HTML-ed footnote for a change. Pretty snappy, eh reader? Doesn’t work in the LJ version, though. Lack of external linkage, presumably.

Mansbridge, I await challenging!

Astonishingly, I did actually find myself having to think for this one. So I’m unecessarily pleased with my result.

Your result for How good of a Calvinball player are you?…

Your Grade= A++ Amazing Calvinball knowledge and strategy!

91% Game_Knowledge and 89% Game_Skill!

Amazing. You are part of the 2.1% of the population that landed in this category.* You are an expert at the game and its history, and you did incredibly well when it came to playing Calvinball strategically.

This suggests that you definitely have a natural talent in Calvinball. You have learned that the trick to doing well in Calvinball is not brute strength, but quick wit. If you wanted to, you could conceivably turn professional right now.

You are definitely already talented enough to beat Calvin. A match versus the quick-witted tiger would be closer. Still, your infinite knowledge of the game and your brilliant strategy would surely propel you to victory.

* This is a made up number.

Take How good of a Calvinball player are you? at HelloQuizzy

In other news, today I have not been very productive. I bought a new ironing board cover from Woolies, which is good, because the old one is tatty, and then proceded to put off everything else I need to do until tomorrow, in favour of commencing a playthorugh of Spellcasting 101: Sorcerers Get All The Girls (Spoilers!).

I’d forgotten how much of a pain the Island of Lost Soles can be. And still I love the thing.

Bedtime now, though. Some of us are having one Hell of a time adjusting to actually getting some work done.

There we go, then. The hair proves it!

Your result for The RPG Class Test…

Mystic Theurge

Brilliant and spiritual! You are a Mystic Theurge!

Score! You have a prestige class. A prestige class can only be taken after you’ve fulfilled certain requirements. This may mean that you’re an exceptionally talented person, but it probably doesn’t.

The Mystic Theurge is a combination of a cleric and a mage. They can cast both arcane and divine spells, and are good at both, making them pretty terrifying on the battlefield. They have more raw spellpower than just about any other class.

You’re both intelligent and faithful, but not violent or deceitful. I guess that makes you a pretty good person.

Take The RPG Class Test at HelloQuizzy

What? I wanted something to do quickly, while the kettle boiled.

“It corners like it’s on rails.”*

For those of you who don’t pick up my semi-comedic status updates on Facebook (and I can think of potentially four of you, and that’s it), I’ve been taking a look at the new version, which they’ve done up nice, and tried to hide all the useless applications away, and things.

By and large I’m really quite fond of this New Facecoke, it really does seem to be neater and cleaner, and if it’s taken away all my beloved Applications That Tell You What I Want You To Think My Personality Is, it’s also shifted all those bloody Zombies off people’s pages (Is there ever a time when a Zombie-related thing is an application you encourage to go near a computer? I can’t think of any).

It has, however, a downside. And that downside seems to be that it was Designed After The Millenium.

At some point in the very late 90s, and unbeknownst to be, who was using Win 3.1 on a Pentium (before they started numbering the sods) right up until January 2002, there was some Council Of Evil that decreed that, henceforth, any new, mainstream, computer software had to come with ugly rounded corners. I’m running Win XP back home, and, thank God, it has a “Windows Classic” setting, which is precisely the first thing I turn on whenever I re-install Windows (as opposed to an Internet Connection, which is precisely the last thing I turn on whenever I re-install Windows).

The UWA AU terminal I’m using at the moment is running Vista, and it’s bubbly as Sin. Blecccch.

What is *with* this, people?

I do not believe that anyone who knew me could honestly accuse me of “not liking curves.” On the contrary, I am a huge fan of curves. Many of my most attractive friends have curves. Indeed, if you asked me to list several things that I find attractive in women, “curves” would be right in at number four-ish, after “being a nice person,” “big eyes,” and “not objecting to overweight librarians with beards.”

But whilst I am an only occasionally slavering fan of curves in their proper place, I do not carry this fandom to excess. Cars, if they do not overdo it, can look very well with curves, and so can smaller things like rubber balls, and larger things like the Cotswolds, and I have no objection to their remaining just as shapely as they are.

Where I get fed up with curves is when they feature in place of sharp angular corners in operating systems or application windows. I do not see the need to take a perfectly good, sharp, crisp line, and spoil it by filing off the edges.

I can accept that we don’t all want the glory days of DOS back (and, actually, since I’ve only just discovered Tab-complete, I was probably never a very efficient DOS user, since I’d type things like “Copy a:\work\eng\chau1.rtf c:\jta\work\eng\xwrk\chau1.rtf” out in longhand every time, which, in retrospect, may not have been the fastest way to do it, and which is certainly slower than “click, Ctrl+c, alt+tab, Ctrl+v”. But do we really have to have curves?

Has there been some study done that “found 63% of people found curvy edges instead of corners made them less afraid of computers,” or something? Or are you developers just doing this to annoy everyone? I’m curious as to where and why this came to be inflicted on us all. (Well, me, specifically, but everyone else seems to have it, too.)

Bloody WordPress is doing it, an’ all!

*Cite me! I was the only quote JTA could think of that involved corners, and I feel lonely and innapropriate!

I’m getting up again in the morning…

…Which is why it’s a damn shame that I’m really vey drunk right now. *sighs*

I know I’m very drunk because I just walked back from Spar, with a bag of delicious pork scratchings in one hand, and a loaf of indifferent Spar bread in the other (for breakfast) and singing (just about under my breath, I’m not a complete spanner), singing, as I say, Fairport’s Time Will Show The Wiser, which my Zen dug out for me, which I can promise you I’ve not sung along to since, uh… well, the VIth form, I guess.

The problem here is entirely my failure to say “No” to other people (I can say no to myself like a demon, for what that’s worth). In this case, the fault lies with Dan, who not only bought me further beer so as to be able to tell me more about Midori (I asked. Damn you, El Reg!), but then also kept pouring his beer into my glass, so as to speed the Drinking Up once the Ship decided they wanted to go to bed.

(Ship and Castle: Draging JTA out of Sobriety since 2003.)

Work continues to go well, and be fun, as I’ll expand upon in a proper sober post (when I’m not just killing time by drinking water and trying to get the QWERTY keys to stay in their appointed places), although I’ve got Manual Handling training tomorrow,which I did not 18 months back with my previous employers (note how carefully I don’t say it’s the Bod, there; this morning’s training on Data Protection evidently held right up to the start of these parenthesese*), so I anticipate a certain ammount of feeling like I know this already. Probably can’t hurt to do it all again, though. At least, I think that’s the idea.

Anyway, it’s getting StupidLate(TM). Metabolism that Won’t Let Me Be Hungover, don’t fail me now!

Night guys.

Edit: 7th August 2008; 08-02
O, and we got given cake. That was cool.

MMM, tea. ‘s All Good.

* Yeah. Drunk, but not completely mortal.


Well I appreciate that the first day in a new job is kinda like the First Day Of A New Year At Junior School, and you spend the whole time learning things like ‘Where the pencils are kept,’ and ‘Avoid Aaron Todd, or he’ll kick you and repeatedly bang your head against the wall,’ but, unrepresentative of a typical day though it was, that was pretty fun.

Met a whole host of people, whose names I don’t even being to recall, and discovered the Hugh Owen is even more labyrinthine than you might have thought it was; even my sense of direction was getting confused enough that I have to really think about where the lines on the map would go, but it’s all good. And I imagine most people won’t mind my going “Er…” at them until they’re good enough to tell me their name for the umpteenth time.

I think I’m mostly going to be hotdesking my way around the department, in a Jack-of-all-trades sort of way (I wanted to throw in a hyperlink to an article about the Stars! race style, Jack of All trades, there, but it turns out there isn’t one.) I’ve not done that before, so I’m a little worried that I’ll get myself mixed up, and lose track of where I’m supposed to be when, but I think that’s just early-day paranoia that’ll wear off once I actually get going.

I have a shiny new staff card, which is a good thing, and I’ve even photographed quite well, which tends to be a hit-and-miss thing, with me.

So, yeah, it’s all good. I am pleased. And, what’s more, in actual gainful employment, in an actual, proper library. There are books, and places the readers aren’t allowed to go, but I am, and everything. And everyone seems to be nice and friendly. Win!

Yeah, ‘s been a good day.

In other news, I just ran the CoD4 Cargo Ship CQD training mission in 16.7 seconds. That, for those of you out there who are Just Plain Weird, and don’t have much to do with computer games, is pretty damn fast.

And now I get a weekend. Rock!