Archive for September, 2008


…Fun and frolics yesterday when Orange put a bar on my phone, to prevent me from communicating with people.

A service provider that does this when I’ve not paid them for three months I can deal with. A service provider who does this when only the other day I gave them the full balance of my account is something I get stroppy about. Especially when they let me wade through their stupid automated system for ten minutes before it rings at the other end and then cuts me off because “Calls from this number are barred.”


So I called them from Ruth’s phone, sat about for twenty minutes whilst Hold music looped at me and finally got to speak to someone who, to his credit, did a good line in apologising to the curtly civil customer who’d been, it transpired, an unfortunate victim of the automated system not picking up on the payment. Yes, they had taken the money, and they hadn’t lost it, and his colleague was removing the bar even now, sorry for the inconvenience.

…Was there anything else he could do for me?

Actually, yes, thank-you for fixing that mistake. But whilst I was there: when did my contract run out?


I got put through to somebody. Now I was asking because I’ve not treated my N73 very well; I’ve dropped it a lot, and it’s developed some infuriating quirks. Like taking a full minute and a half to show me the contents of a newly recieved text message. Like turning itself off in my pocket. Like waiting for five rings on the other end whilst it has a think, before it actually tells me who is calling and gives me the option to pick up.

No, really. I tested it by calling myself. The landline rang five times before the N73 stopped lighting itself up to no avail and told me the Uberflat was calling. I can’t be having with that, in a phone. I get called relatively rarely but I do need to answer the blasted machine when it happens.

So I asked about getting an upgrade. The availiable upgrade phones at the minute are mostly not great – from an N73 user’s perspective they’re mostly downgrades, with an odd sidegrade thrown in for dubious measure. Except, of course, the N95 8Gb. Which I’ve faniced since El Reg talked about it.

Orange customer services have really gone up since I last checked. They’re sending me out one of them. And a new contract that kicks in on October 15th, which’ll give me 1,200 free minutes, 500 free texts (I was on 100, and I’ve taken to using all of them of late) and a choice of free landline calls, free Orange-Orange calls, unlimited texts or unlimited data. Per month. For about a tenner less than I’m spending now on my current 300 minute, 100 text, 30Mb setup.

Om nom nom*! Sure, it’s not the N96, but I’m getting it now, and it only set me back £30. Win!

I’m really quite chuffed. So much so that I didn’t even mind when the N73 turned itself off for three hours yesterday afternoon, apparently unhappy with the way I’d, uh, laid it down on the desk. I think this’ll be the first mobile phone I’ve ever thrown away; I’ve always given them to other people before but I’m not sure I’d give this raddled playmobil reject to a dog…

Still, N95. It’s meant to turn up on Tuesday. I am, for once, looking forward to the end of the weekend, and the arrival of Next Week. Although I am going to have to do the ironing, later…

The Meme seems to be causing people a strange mix of interest, ire and feelings of isolation. I think I shall do another one, presently, and break the rules by carefully tailoring the results to things I anticipate people being able to get. In my defence, I did wonder when the results started coming out of Winamp, but I figured that whoever thought up the meme might have considered such potential weak points. Remind me to have less faith in such people in the future.

* Review link included solely because spluttered tea once I got to the phrase “A definite improvement on the vanilla N95.” Because that’s how tech [and you could argue, society] works. When the N95 came out you’d’ve been laughed out of town if you called it vanilla. Hell, it did everything. the N95 8Gb does pretty much the same thing, but with a heftier battery hidden in a slinky black number. Quick way to get the older model boosted down a notch, by the looks of it.

I’ve been good and not uploaded a meme FAIL.

But, y’know. I figure this will interest / infuriate at least, er, three of you. So there we go.

It’s one of those memes that has Rules, which I’ll chuck up for your benefit at the start, so you can work out what you’re doing, even if that turns out to be “thumping PgDn good and hard.”

1. Put your music player on random.
(having first loaded all your MP3s into it, I assume)
2. Post the first line from the first 20 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing the song. (Unless it’s spoken word, or entirely instrumental, or has a first line which consists entirely of the title of the song, in which case I’ve skipped it, as it’d be unfair on yez.)
3. Let everyone guess what song and artist (or musical) the lines come from. (Comments enabled. Knock yourselves out.)
4. Embolden the songs when someone guesses correctly. (Uhm. Kay.)

Looking them up on Google or any other search engine is CHEATING! (In capitals, an’ everything. Must be serious…)

I’d just like to point out that 20 doesn’t seem like very many. I mean that’s, what, 1 song opening per 3 Gb of MP3s? [62Gb/20=3.1; please correct me if that doesn’t make sense.]

Still, let’s see what kind of a mood the RNG’s in, shall we? (& nuts to Popular Culture.)

  1. I heard Woodrow Wilson’s guns / I heard Maria cryin’
  2. A cadillac stood by the house, and the Yanks they were within
  3. What was that bang? It was the next big thing / exploding over our heads
  4. They passed me by / all of those great romances
  5. –One of us / ABBA

  6. I’m dancing on the White House lawn / sipping tea by the Taj Mahal at dawn
  7. –Life is a minestrone / 10cc

  8. My mind keeps on telling me that this is no good / and my heart is aching, and tells me I should
  9. [large quantities of saying “Woah”] You’re going round the circle / through another phase
  10. Dusk, is dawn, is day / where did it go?
  11. She had a bad childhood while she was young / so don’t judge her too badly.
  12. Turn away / if you could get me a drink of water / ’cause my lips are chapped and faded
  13. –Cancer : My chemical romance My chemical romance

  14. Everything has a beginning / everything comes to an end / Take it or leave it, you’d better believe it / be my lover, be my friend
  15. –Hero (Sweden ; Eurovision, 2008) / Charlotte Perrelli

  16. O is this the way they say the future’s meant to feel? / Ah, just twenty thousand people standing in a field?
  17. –Sorted out for E’s and whizz / Pulp.

  18. Michael wears his tan like a flasher wears his coat / he’s full of mad adventures, he’s full of anecdotes
  19. –Dangerous / Fairport Convention

  20. Isaac, nice chap / died of cancer / I gigged with him / many times
  21. –Death song / PBH

  22. I tried to come down from you / tried with your voice in my head, knocking me back, every inch I moved
  23. –Curve of the Earth / Matt Nathanson

  24. I still hear your voice when you sleep next to me / I still feel your touch in my dreams
  25. –Every time we touch / Cascada

  26. Papers in the morning / bowler hat on head
  27. –Cardiac arrest / Madness.

  28. A malady / has taken him over
  29. –London lives / Blur

  30. It was eyes down at the bingo / on that lucky Friday night
  31. –Tux on / Marillion

  32. Ron and Nancy got the house, but Sid and Nancy rule / I died eight years ago, I’m still a legend at my high school
  33. –Alleluia / Dar Williams

    … Hm. I’ve erred on the side of verbosity there, because I think the RNG is in an Obscure mood. Well, I say obscure. What I mean is “Things I don’t expect you people to know.”

“I’ve got to start listening to those quiet, nagging doubts…”*

It is currently Thursday. And I am still amazingly tired from last week. Mainly, I’m tired from last week thanks to all the driving I did, which I’m actually finding fairly tiring.

[Out of curiosity, I just ran all my destinations through Google’s patent Evil Maps Of Global Domination (beta), and it turns out I actually drove for something like 720 miles. I’ve got a map, and everything, but since putting an image of the map onto the Internet would require Technical Skill, I can’t. No, really. Hardware I can footle about with, and DOS I’m still pretty hot on, but all this Internet stuff really isn’t my line of geekage. Sorry.]

Anyway, 720 miles. Although there weren’t floods this time. There were BNP rallies, and dual carriageways with inexplicable 40 mph speed limits in the Staffordshire moorlands, and there was an Audi doing 35 mph down a hill (why even buy an Audi then, guys? Why not just get a Ford Mondeo?), but there weren’t floods, so it was a step up on my first driving experience. But it was still really quite shockingly tiring.

That got compounded by Freshers Fair on Monday (back in the Sports cage, again, I see), where I was mostly standing up and waving bowls of sweets at Freshers. And, of course, 2nd and 3rd years. And, inexplicably, students wearing Penglais School sweaters. Uh, no. Kids, if you’re going to blag your way into places you shouldn’t be, and people are going to see you doing that, at least try and dress the part. I worked this out when I was 16. What’s wrong with you people? Also not looking like a beaten rabbit might help.

I got loads of free stuff. It was great.

However, it was also pretty tiring, and every night since, um, Sunday I’ve said to myself “I must get an early night and become Rested.” And every night it hasn’t happened.

This is partly because I wake at 07:30. I suspect, although I’m always too tired to remember to check, that the very first thing I do in the morning is realise the alarm is going off, and promptly swear. I’m fairly sure my eyes keep opening in the middle of some word or other, but I never seem to catch it.

From 07:30 until 08:45ish I’m mostly running on autopilot, I think, and then, as the day goes on, I run on Autopilot but with less and less energy, and more in the way of yawning, and frightening myself when I look in the mirror.

This peaks (or troughs, I guess) in a period of utter exhaustion around half past four, when my limbs get all sluggish and don’t fancy moving much. Then, for no reason at all, it gets to about 19:00 and I wake up. At that point I become fresh as a daisy until at least 23:00, and even if I start to get tired then, it’s more of a “Huh, I should sleep at some point, because I’ll probably be a bit worn out in the morning” than the proper “Seriously, I’m turning off now. Don’t bump into anything while I’m out. Love, brain.” that normally tries to nobble me around mid afternoon.

I’m not sure why this should be the case. I think there must come a point in my sleep cycle where my body decides that since I’m obviously never going to take its advice, it may as well just go with the flow until I finally come round to the idea of bed myself.

…Why it doesn’t act like that in the mornings, when I actually need to be up and doing, I honestly don’t know. But I wish it would.

On the plus side; ’tis nearly Saturday. I’m hoping I can manage to get a lie-in, on Saturday. Probably this will mean I wake up at 8, full of beans, and go and play some Call of Duty until noon. At which point I’ll find myself not only exhausted, but also unnable to have a nap for no obvious reason.

O well. Thursday afternoon. I think that means they’ve got me searching for the finis africae counting shelves up on F. Should be fun. :-)

* This one’s a bit harder than usual. Not just beer but a rare ‘JTA is impressed’ face if you cite it properly.

Service Announcement

I would strongly reccommend that, excepting those few of you who may have reason to believe I’d go out of my way to help you, you all do the sensible thing and keep your distance.

Otherwise, I’m sorry to say, I shall be very much responsible for my actions.

That is all.

And another thing:

My Facebook status, yesterday (following the frankly imbecillic report on the BBC’s website about New Facecoke, to which I have to struggle to react with anything but bile) was something like

[JTA] is genuinely confused by the way people are objecting to New Facecoke.

In spite of that being my status, I still got another two invites to join thickwitted “Have A Mardy Fit About New Facebook” groups. That, frankly, is just insulting. (Because it means either a) you’ve done that on purpose to annoy me or, b), which is more likely, you’ve not actually bothered to think about whether or not I wanted to join your brainless little group in the first place.)


I am in a slightly grumpy mood anyway, though; I’ve been trying to drink slightly less tea & coffee, and I keep getting headaches. You’d think the solution would be to drink more tea & coffee, thus soothing away the headache, but apparently not. Hmm.

No Clever Title for me!

Well it’s been a busy couple of weeks. (I offer this mainly as a reason for why I’ve not managed to update anything, rather than as a warning that a massive post is on its way; you’re safe to continue reading!)

I’ve contrived to buy a car, and to drive it through some truly appalling weather, which was interesting, especially the bit in the middle of Stafford where I had a choice of drowning the exhaust or aquaplaning, whilst driving through a good foot and a half of water.

Still, the machine is still running, which is good. The sunroof has developed a leak, which is less good, although I can see how huddling in the carpark of Morrisons, Stone, with the rain so loud on the roof you can’t hear yourself speak might be a factor in that.

It feels very odd to get into the car and just go somewhere. Admittedly, so far I’ve only gone out to Morrisons, but even that felt peculiar, what with there only being me in the car.

On the plus side, there only being me in the car helps, because I’m still getting the hang of the difference in ‘feel between this new one and Mike’s, uhm. Corsa?

Anyway, I’m being incredibly boring, so I’ll shut up about that.

The reason I was out in the dreadful storm was because I went up and dug Annie out of Cheadle (which appeared to have some sort of a bookshop), and we (viz, Annie + my mother and sister) went to Gladstone. Any AGS people have a recollection of visiting it? I’m sure I went once before, back in the mists of time.

It was really fun. There were tasty savoury oatcakes (as opposed to the breakfast-with-syrup variety I’m used to in South Shropshire), and a light up model, and some toilets. And a gorgeous Sunburst-style deco washbasin. With the same taps as we have at home. And a set of bath taps, the same as we have at home. And a recipie for pobs [hard to find a good link for that].

This happens every time we go to a museum. Just once it would be nice to walk round all the exhibits without having to think “That’s not an antique, that’s our cake tin / jam pan / thing in the back shed. That’s what it does, is it?” But, then, I’d probably miss it, if it didn’t happen.

I made a pot. (Kinda. The Woman Who Pottered did quite a lot the work, with helpful explanations of why I had to do something different, to make sure I didn’t foul it up utterly.) I am quite pleased with it. They can’t afford to run the kilns, even with their pile of Free Coal which is sitting in the courtyard getting damp, but I have got hold of a really nice guy who works in the Arts Centre, and was completely unfazed by my phoning him up to ask if I can borrow his oven. He reckons I should go back after term starts, and put a glaze on it. Annie seems to think it will not explode in the kiln, so I shall try and take it up to the man on Monday, and I shall have a nice pot. Hooray!

Then, at some point many years from now, it will get dropped, or toppled or otherwise accidentally broke, and I can feel miserable about losing it. Sigh.*

Survived, as I said, the storm. Came back to Aber, by dint of giving Dan a lift, and seem to have had a very long week, mainly comprised of resolving to go to bed Early, and then doing nothing of the sort. Badminton was fun, however, and Statto and I got some topical news satire done, which is good.

I know there’s a whole other pile of things which have been going on, but I’m not sure I can remember what else I intended to blog about. I am not now going to York, so I am spared a completely stupidly long journey, and can do a mere stupidly long journey, instead.

EQ is now on a new server, but this should work anyway.

That seems like a broadly opportune point to hit the “publish”-y button. Although I notice, in saying that, that I have stopped using phrases like “marginally sensible” in favour of “broadly.” I am not sure if that is an improvement.

I am hungry. Poxy Llanbadarn and it’s poxy total lack of shops. I shall sulk at it.

* I include this observation because I think it provides a valuable insight into my psychological makeup, and the nature of the bulk of my fretting about everything. (Yes, I do normally trim these things out.)