Small gifts.

18 December 2007

There's not many things I still want, materially. Years ago there was lots but through some sensible choices I've got basically all the consumer stuff I want. I've got a well spec'ed laptop, a brilliant mobile, plenty of clothes and access to all the content I could want.
So I compiled a list of small things. Pretty much all of them would cost less than five pounds.These aren't things I'm asking for, but I would be happy to receive any of them, as long as they're given with sincerity.
-A new hairbrush
-Several pairs of socks
-Vanilla Sky on DVD
-A cheap USB mouse for the media centre
-Lunch with soup and a chat
-A couple of shots of tequila, one each.
-A second hand copy of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 for my PS2
-Four packs of Wrigleys Extra Fire chewing gum and four packs of Dextrose sugar tablets
-A photo that you like, with yourself and me in it, but only if you like it.
-A poster of one of my three favourite films.

21

16 December 2007

I'm trying to decide what to do about my 21st birthday.
I very much doubt that anyone will organize anything for me or even remember that it's my birthday. Everyone seems so busy.

Tuesday night, maybe?
Does that work for anyone?
Any suggestions as to what should happen?

Hmm, a nice evening, a coffee that is actually tall, rather than Starbuck's interpretation of tall, oh and free wifi. Score.

I've been filming at the drama society tech setup, not much to see there, not until the lighting is finished at least. We're going to be filming the show tomorrow, hopefully it'll work out well.

It would seem everyone is ridiculously busy at the moment, they always are at this time of year. I've got a few things on, more than usual but I've still got spare time.. This isn't directed at any single person, it seems most of my friends are busy. Chris is running around like a crazed thing, Lydia's schedule is equally hectic and I've only been able to steal Hatty's attention away from her affairs for about half an hour this entire month.

I should probably book my hotel room in Trondheim too for my journey back from Sweden.

I've got a couple of questions though; mainly which events am I missing in order to have free time? But also - what kinds of Christmas presents do normal people buy each other?

Night person.

10 December 2007

Whilst I know that the chances of getting any useful replies to this are on the slim side, verging on eating-disorder, I might as well ask.

During the day it's easy to get a coffee, I can barely go five minutes walk without a Costa, Cafe Nero or Starbucks, but after about seven in the evening, with a few exceptions. However, during the day I'm usually either really busy or asleep.

So what I'm wondering is - where can one go for a comfy seat and coffee in the evening/night?
The caveat of this is that it's got to not be too loud. I don't want to go to most bars because it's too damn loud.

So, does anyone know of anywhere in Edinburgh that would be suitable?

I could be at my HRM lecture.
I could be planning to go to the tutorial afterwards in room 3/10.
I could be lying in bed thinking about how I've not been back to Brecon since CCB's Prize Day back in 2005.
That small town was in many ways my home for the best part of a decade. It'll be very weird to return, especially as I know I'm not bound by any rules or time limits. There's lots of Brecon I never really explored because of those, that and I had no real reason to.

I suppose that having never really had the chance to wander alone in a town as a child (having lived in the countryside) I readily accepted the rules and limits the school imposed.

I often say that the strongest things binding us are the invisible walls in our heads. We seem to train ourselves to see what we can't do and then just accept that. A friend pointed out that the analogy can be improved by stating that these aren't walls really, they're doors. All it takes to open them is the realisation that we can.

Episode ten of our podcast has just been released..
Ye gods, it's an odd feeling, especially when I watch our opening montage. Series three is going to need a longer montage because right now it is a case of having to remove clips to fit in new material. I really like it as it is at the moment though; a nice balance of events, stuff on campus and society stuff.
The idea is of course to portray a positive, fun and overall active image for both the show and the society as a whole which I think it does pretty well. I'd like to get a live version of the opening music, possibly played at our planned "live" show.
I like the idea of taking over the student union, doing our best to get it absolutely packed and then film the show in chronological order (we often DO film in the order the show is presented in, but only when it works conveniently to do so).
It'd probably be a longer show than any other with lots of audience participation. It doesn't seem unreasonable to forses Morning Coffee being 15 minutes long, depending what happens in it.
As long as everyone has fun it shouldn't matter too much.
Our night out at Red seemed to work out very well, although it wasn't really my thing.

I like to think that despite being a fledgling society we're not cutting any corners or slacking off when it comes to events. I want to do more events that don't involve drinking to broaden our appeal but that's got to wait until the new year.

I think I've said it before but I'll say it again, being able to comfortably blog from my phone is absolutely fantastic. Brilliant.

Between Matt and myself, I do wonder how we ever have time to play any games, watch any movies or do any uni work. We seem to spend an inordinate amount of time hammering out ideas for movies and games.

That isn't to say it's boring.
Gods no, it's exactly the opposite, hence the amount of time it eats!

I just feel somewhat bad when I stay up until 0700 talking, or keep Matt awake when he has an exam in the morning.

Our current idea is based around a movie - a religiously orientated one and correcting the travesties committed in the name of religion. It takes place in a timeline up to and including an end of days, biblical apocalypse type scenario. Whilst Jesus himself is an important character in the plot, it's critical to realise that neither myself nor Matt is or are religious, Christian or whatever.

However, that said we still appreciate the positive aspects of religious teaching, after all, that is what it is supposed to exist for, not to create barriers, pain, hatred and so on, a fact so often missed by the powerful and corrupt institutes that plague this Earth.

I don't particularly want to give away too much of what we've planned, but the underlying themes are tolerance of others, unity with our fellow humans, appreciation that wisdom is not always found in scripture. Another important factor in it is balance (which is especially important in writing the screenplay) .

Chosen homes

02 December 2007

As I lie in bed, vaguely attempting to ignore the racket the flat above me is making, I wonder how much they actually like this city.
I'm not a big fan of any cities in the UK but as it stands, I really like Edinburgh. Glasgow makes me feel somewhat unsafe and I've no real desire to visit any other cities up here. Why should I when this city is my home from metaphorical home?

Sometimes, when I've been at uni for many hours and the sun is long gone (The sun sets at around 1530..) as I'm leaving campus I step outside and just stand looking out across the city as it lies, laid out in front of me. The glittering lights and, the tops of some of the more prominent buildings look so beautiful to me. I'd love to post a photo but I don't think I even can set my camera to have the kind of exposure time it'd require to capture it. Maybe Chris could help me with that.

I wonder how many people actually intentionally chose to go to uni here in Edinburgh taking into account the city itself and how many people merely chose the university itself?

Multilingualism FTW.

20 November 2007

Whilst sitting on the bus I found myself compelled to eavesdrop, there were three girls chatting in front of me. Normally I'd not find it interesting, but it was the fact that they were speaking English, Spanish, Italian and a smidgen of Polish.

I don't speak any Italian, but the majority of the conversation was in English and Spanish. I noticed after a little while that I didn't have to really think to understand the Spanish at all. I haven't used my Spanish in practice in a fairly long while, a couple of years at least, but I just found myself understanding what they were talking about.
I kinda miss speaking Spanish, hopefully at some point I'll get to use it again.

I had a point somewhere..

Let's burn.

19 November 2007

I still love that sound clip ( http://woodendice.org/flamekebab/Firebat-LetsBurn.mp3 ).
Speaking of burninators and similar nonsensical critters - Trogdor rawks. Yes indeedy. TROGDOOOORR!

I was probably aiming for some sort of point, but I think the main thing on my mind that I feel like sharing as that the iPhone calls to me. It really does. It's the first gadget in years to actually appeal enough for me to save up cash to buy it.

Fortunately, the contract costs are no big deal, I already pay that much per month for my current contract, but still, ~£270 is cash I currently don't have (although hopefully the society will shortly be paying me back some of the cash I loaned it).

To raise cash (and to get rid of some junk), I'm selling off my PSP games (and eventually my PSPs). Why the hell do people buy UMDs of things like The Office on ebay? I mean, I'm charging £9 including postage for a second-hand UMD. You can get them on Play.com for £7.99 (inc postage!).
Hell, I got them from UMD for £5.99 several years ago!

Very odd, but I'm not complaining. Hopefully I'll get a decent price for my PSPs, I don't want to lose too much on them, but I don't expect to make a profit, they're just not worth that much any more. I have no reason to keep them though, I never use them any more, they just sit there gathering dust like expensive paperweights.

I don't have a money problem, but cash flow can cause problems too!

Rock in Moderation!

18 November 2007

While trying to name my band for my first proper Guitar Hero sesh, Chris said "not too loud, dude, rock in moderation!" and thusly Rock In Moderation came to dominate the virtual stage and stuff.

Only took me a couple of hours to play through the majority of songs, the majority of which I'd never listened to before making it an exercise in both co-ordination, listening and sight-reading.

Why is that blog-worthy? Well, as I said, I've not listened to most of the music in Guitar Hero 2, I missed that generation of music and didn't have an older brother or sister of similar age to recommend it to me.

It's kinda surreal hearing the Rolling Stones, The Police, Iggy Pop, etc. as new music, although not in any way a bad kind of surreal. More like "this is awesome..".

I wonder how many other young people (arguably younger than me, hehe) have discovered artists from the late 60s/70s era of rock through the Guitar Hero franchise.
It's certainly helped me appreciate music a little more (I need to be kinda drunk to not get bored at concerts, at least at all the ones I've experienced so far).

Santa Lucia - December 13th

16 November 2007

When I was a child nearly every year my parents would take me to a university campus about an hours drive away during the middle of December. This uni was fairly remote and I feel sorry for any student stranded there, however, what it did have was a Swedish language school.
The knock-on effect of this was that on the 13th of December, every year, they'd have an evening open to the public with traditional Swedish St. Lucy celebrations.

These days there's no particular religious significance, that's not the reason the occasion is observed. From what I've read, the 13th of December was the longest night of the year according to the Julian calendar, but regardless, it's still bloody dark!

It's fairly true in Scotland too - the winter is dark. Like, getting dark at 1530 dark. You know, don't bother getting up from that lie-in dark, that sort of thing.

Right, tangenting here! Sorry!
The procession of girls dressed in white robes carrying candles is certainly pleasant to see, especially if you've been in Sweden and seen it (*cough*), however, that isn't why I love the occasion so much. It's the songs.
When I went to it as a child, I liked the songs, but could never understand why they made my mother cry. I do now.

If I make it past "då i vårt mörka hus, stiger med tända ljus" without having to hold back tears, I'm doing well. That and Forrest Gump.

Anyways, I would really like to attend a St. Lucy's day celebration here in Scotland, but despite lots of googling, I can't seem to find anything. Damnit! Come on Swedish Napier students! Sort your acts out! I know you exist because I've chatted to you!

(I'd do it myself if I wasn't so busy with other things - the night before I'm filming the Drama society's Christmas show, for example)

Uni assessments (coursework)

05 November 2007

Most of this week's podcast is currently in the planning stages, as we like to say. Some might say that could be considered "enhancing" the truth. They might also say that it just means its not been filmed yet.

The main barrier to progress has been the fact that both Chris and Tom have been beavering away at their accounting coursework thingy.

It seems that I, on the other hand, selected modules with ridiculously easy assessments. Yay, go me, etcetera.
But then again, even if the assignments were hard (like one of mine last semester) I just don't really get stressed about it.

Ooh, Chris seems to be ready to film Morning Coffee. Right, let's do that!

Why would anyone fund this film's production?
Was the screenplay not read by anyone before shooting?
Didn't the director have any previous experience?
Didn't one of the video editors question why the footage was utter wank?

Seriously, how does a film this bad get released?

For a film titled 30 Days of Night I vaguely expected time to pass during it. It seemed really like one long night. Yes, part of the story's premise was that it stays dark for the whole film, but that doesn't mean seven days pass just by having a quick fade-out and slapping on the caption "Day 18" or similar when the shot fades back in to reveal the characters in roughly the same positions.

Then of course we get on to the comical vampires. The whole screaming/howling, the way they talked, the fact that they looked like Marilyn Manson's redneck clones..

The only two redeeming factors were the rather amusing punch delivered by the male lead towards the end of the film (straight through a vampire's head, there, now you don't have to see the damn film). Ooh, the second thing, yeah, right, uh..

Well, Mark Boone Jr. played a rather manly man. I mean, pump-action shotgun in one hand and several beartraps slung over the other shoulder. So 'ard as nails was he that in attempting to kill himself and a group of vampires using explosives, he still wasn't able to kill himself (think Marv from Sin City).

If you enjoy wasting time and money on films so bad they don't even deserve B-movie status, watch this festering turd of a movie.

Schrödinger's Fridge

22 October 2007

How many of you find that several times per day you walk to the fridge, open it, see nothing of interest and close it again? Do you find you do it again a short while later?
It's not like the contents have magically changed..

Because of this, the fridge in our flat is now labelled Schrödinger's Fridge. It either contains food you want, or doesn't, but it's not determined which is the case until you open the door.

Geeky?
What's your point?

No, I've not died, become a troglodyte or decided to dine solely on chips of concrete, I've just been damn busy this week.

Without Tom by my side here at the NSS there's no way we'd have got things done. Chris and Callum have done a lot for the society, but Tom has gone ridiculously above and beyond the call of, well, not duty, but you get the idea!

Essentially, the NSS has been consuming my time and energy this week. I've done some uni work as well, but I can't say that it's overly taxing. Fortunately, stuff for the NSS gets easier the more we do it as we quickly learn what works, what doesn't work and where to go next.

Also, not that anyone is likely to read this, if I've not replied to messages, it's nothing personal, I'm just cream-crackered at the moment. Normal service will be resumed shortly.

Finally..
*points*
You.
Update your blog, some of us are nosey about what you're up to and how much drama you're causing.
You know who you are.

Losing data.

07 October 2007

Part of this is going to seem rather geeky to those of you who aren't geeky and un-geeky to those of you who are geeky. Mandatory "confused yet?" remark.

The other day, Thursday I think it was, my external hard drive started making very odd clicking noises. Long story short, I may never be able to recover the data from it.

What does this mean though?

Well, it means I've lost whatever was on there that wasn't copied to the media centre in my flat. So that basically leaves photos and some video footage.
I've lost all my photos from my old camera and my current camera.
As I'm very visual, that kinda means I've lost a lot of memories.

I feel it's somewhat sad that I don't really care that much. The photos were mostly of Zoe and those times. Sure some of those times were a lot of fun, but now they just stand to remind me of what drove me to break up with her.
The photos aren't that interesting and there's not many of me.

Maybe that's arrogant, but I'd like to look back through my photos and see that myself enjoying life, taking part in things. It's not that I haven't done so, but when I've done stuff no one has bothered to take photos.

While the rest of you remember it, I don't. I've just got big fuzzy spots in my memory in between big events and there's no photos to fill it in. Please don't make me ask you to take photos, don't complain when I take photos. Aww, you don't look good in photos? You look fine. Really. Even if you don't know it. All of you.
Don't always pose. Some are fun posed, but I want some of actual events, not just how you want to present it.

On the plus side, last time a hard disk crashed I lost a hell of a lot more data. M'eh, the most important stuff is on ZD-Harriet's hard disk or online.

The NSS.

03 October 2007

It begins.
Our first season 2 podcast isn't out yet, it would have been out tonight, but Chris went out before finishing our jingle, so it'll have to wait until the morning.

That said, I'm not resentful in the slightest, as he was at the NSU with the Drama Society and the Snowsports Society (another NSS!), in an official capacity, networking, making us known, making friends for us.

A certain friend of mine, the one who knows me better than anyone else, has faith that I can pull this off. I know that if we play our hand carefully and fortune favours us, we can reform and rebuild the Napier student culture. Based on my previous experiences, either I make my own luck, or Lady Luck has her eye on me.

We've got good people that I have faith in who are enthusiastic about our cause. We've got allies and contacts. We've even got events planned.
All we're going to need now is you.

Also, for the couple of people that made us chuckle by asking how the NSS found their email addresses to add them on Bebo.. Good one, guys. You wrote down the addresses on our clipboards! Remember?

The Freshers Fayre.

29 September 2007

My first, most important point is a thank you.
Thank you, Callum.
Thank you, Matt.

Without you guys, we wouldn't have been able to make things happen.

Hey man, don't you realize in order for us to make this thing work, man
We've got to get rid of the pimps, and the pushers, and the prostitutes and then start all over again clean?


Well no, but that quote sprung to mind when I was thinking about how to phrase this next bit:
It seems some of my friends and contacts don't realize that in order for us to make this thing work, we need them. We need you guys to believe.
I'm sure we all have our doubts from time to time, but it seems that I have to prove at every corner that I can do what I say I'm going to.

I'm not expecting it to go away and a little doubt is certainly a good countermeasure against complacancy. Some of you may be aware that my father organised a massive falconry festival, encompassing thirty seven nations and bringing together thousands of years of falconry history. When he was planning this, even some of his own staff doubted him. They seemed amazed that it actually happened.

I had no doubt it would happen, although I was curious as to how successful it would be. I'm guessing that I'm going to have to deal with this idea that no matter how many projects we discuss, brainstorm, plan and execute, there will always be people who doubt us.

How many of YOU have your own projects? How many of YOU have come up with an idea and then actually done something about it?

I'm not trying to suggest that the things I try and do are effortless or easy, if they were then it wouldn't be fun. What I'm trying to say is that if you're going to try and hedge your bets all the time, please don't. I'm not a politician, I try and not make promises I'm not willing to try to keep. To use a rather crude expression - either shit or get off the pot.

Anyone amongst you who is under the impression that I just talk about things, hear this - I talk about my ideas for projects because it helps me visualise them. To explain them to someone else forces me to sort through the concepts in my mind and try and martial them into a sensible structure that can then be vocalised. The other person doesn't need to actively listen, but I cannot talk to myself. I need sounding boards.
If you can contribute your ideas, chances are I'll listen. I may not agree, but hearing another take on the matter can be very useful.

Changing tack, the Freshers Fayre went swimmingly. We've pages and pages of sign-ups, I've processed three of those pages, only another seven or so to go. Flyers were handed out, ideas pitched, events discussed, alliances forged.

On our documentation, I'm President of the NSS now. Or Chairman, or tyrant, dictator-for-life and so on and so forth.

Our DVD is nearly finished, we need to film some stuff as an intro for it, but otherwise shooting is done, much of the editing is still to do, but the toughest bits are arguably done. Hoodies are to be sorted out tomorrow. It's all full steam ahead for the start of the academic year.

Loads of things we wanted to put on the DVD have been cut, but nevermind. Plenty to put on the show!

If you have a laptop with a DVD burner, or are at Napier and can donate some time to helping us out at the Freshers' Fayre, we'd be most grateful.
Perhaps some of this should go on the NSS bebo, but I'll see about updating that one in the near future.

I'm not that much of a music fan. I like music, certainly. I like a lot of music, my tastes are broader than most people mistakenly assume.
Earlier a friend of mine was discussing Offspring albums, which made me consider that perhaps today I should try and compile a list of albums that I like every song on (excluding intros, outros and skits). The list has a vague order, but mostly it's just vaguely which I prefer.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication
An album I first listened to back when I was in second form, I believe, but I'm not certain. The release date makes it feasible, but I can't clearly remember. I definitely remember Sennett listening to it when I was in third form. I like every song on it and it was one of the small losses I incurred when I shared a room with Simon Parry. His apparent love of the chilis irritated me to the point where I simply did not feel inclined to listen to them. I've not really listened to anything before this album or after this album. I prefer to keep it as a time capsule of that time before we had the "privilege" of milling around the campus, when my evenings were more fun. They're starting to be fun again these days, but for a long time they weren't.

The Offspring - Americana
This album harks back to my early days at CCB, when I was eleven. The album was released 31 days before my twelth birthday, so I reckon it's more likely I first heard it when I was twelve. I associate it with Owen Evans, I think, but I think later Jon Wells owned a copy. These names probably mean nothing to you, but I'm writing them down whilst my memory holds. I don't think I bought a copy until second form, but it was one of my favourite albums of the time. I'm not so interested in the final track, Pay The Man, but all the rest I adore.

Dr. Dre - 2001
I bought this album at the same time as a couple of Eminem albums (The Slimshady LP and The Marshal Mathers LP). The eminem albums I like, but they didn't make the list. This album though.. I still love this album. I have no silly aspirations to be a "gangsta" or anything like that, but I still appreciate this album. I remember listening to it in, uh, fourth form? I was in School House at the time, before it was done up and made to be quite as fancy as it ended up being. Back when the only door to the changing room was in full view of the main entrance to the house (Smart idea there..). I forget the name of the sixth former I randomly quoted a line at, although the names "Matt" and "Dan" spring to mind, one of those. Some rugby lad, one from the year group I never liked. I've still no idea why I did that, not that it had any consequences, he just said words to the effect of "WTF?".

Infected Mushroom - IM the Supervisor
I think I was in upper sixth when I acquired this album. I was in Stockholm at the time, spending a week with a friend of my mother, a teacher who is, for all intents and purposes, my aunt. I spent a bit of time in the city and a bit of time in her school (it was half-term for me, but not for the kids there). I didn't take any classes there, but I did wander around the school a little, which was interesting (I believe my oldest sister went to this school). I'm not tall by Swedish standards, I'm average. Of course, here in the UK, I seem to be taller than lots of people. More importantly, I found that Stockholm is where I feel at home. It feels more like home than anywhere else I've ever known. While I was there I was in a music shop in a fairly large mall. One of the sets of headphones in the store was hooked up to this album and I had a bit of a listen and loved it. A few days later I came back and bought it. Never regretted it, although the tracks remind me of loneliness, albeit not in a way that is all bad. Hatty also loves Infected Mushroom, particularly their track Dancing With Kadafi.

Jack Johnson - In Between Dreams
Towards the end of my time at CCB, one of my best friends, Tom, nabbed the disc from the newspaper the boarding house would get each day. I think the disc was The Times' "The Month". On there was an article and some music by Jack Johnson. Within days he'd bought the album. I quickly grabbed a copy of the tracks and listened to them. I remember eating white chocolate chip cookies and listening to "Banana Pancakes" on a lazy afternoon. More recently I got hold of the album on vinyl. Nice.

M.O.P. - Warriorz
This album took me a while to really listen to. I think I ripped a copy in fourth form, way back. I borrowed it along with a load of other CDs from Rob Dennis, I seem to recall. A Tribe Called Quest was also in that stack of discs, but I don't adore their album enough for it to make it onto this list. Almost though. I'm not really sure when I properly listened to it. Originally I liked "Anti-up" most, but as I listened to the album properly I came to love every track.

Blink-182 - Enema of the State
ANOTHER story behind this one. Yes, sorry. Stop reading if you're bored!
This album belonged to my original "best" friend (now I have too many to choose just one). Ashley Tapp. Back in the day, when I first started CCB, when we still occasionally saw each other (I've not seen him recently - every time I go down to Wales we never seem to manage to meet up for a drink). He burnt me a copy of this album and told me I'd like it. He was damn right.
I only have vague recollections of most of my time in Mongolia, although the memories are fairly vivid compared to some of my time at CCB. Over the summer when I was 13 I left school a week or two early at the end of the final term of second form. Heathrow to Moscow. Moscow to somewhere in Siberia. Siberia to Ulan Bator, capital of Mongolia. Throughout my time in Mongolia I listened to this album. Even though I've listened to it countless times, I still love it.

Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American
The version of this album I listened to was called "Jimmy Eat World", not to be confused with the 1994 album. It was renamed to "Bleed American" after the twin towers came down. That said, "Bleed American" contains a few more tracks. If you click the link you'll see, but all the tracks after 10 weren't on the version I got my hands on. Anyway! I was staying in Northumberland over the summer and back then we had staff staying there with us. One of the guys had a copy of this album and I borrowed it one afternoon. Good move, because it turned out to be one of my favourite albums of all time.

Panic! At the Disco - A Fever You Can't Sweat Out
This album probably ranks as the most recent in my personal history. I was talking to Hatty on MSN one evening and she sent me "Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off". I can't say I've heard many songs that I liked so much, so quickly. She probably dislikes it by now, but I still adore this song. Later I got hold of the whole album and found that it was one of those albums that I adore. I recall listening to it on my PSP in GaZ's living room in Bangor, damn it was cold there.


I don't know how many of you have counted, but that's only nine albums. There's one more that doesn't fit on the list like the others, because it isn't by a big name band. I'm not even sure if it counts as an album, as it's mostly just a demo tape with five tracks on it.

Section8 - Right Here Now


This album was put together when I was in first form in CCB. It was sold by members of the band and I got my copy from Jochen himself, I think I paid three quid for it. The original tape was black, but I made a copy. The original escaped, sadly. One of my classmates, Gabrielle Walker, had a stereo in our common room in second form. I left the tape in there one day and she took the stereo up to the girls' dorm in Alway. Upon asking for it back she had a look and couldn't find it anywhere. Either that or she never looked. Unless she reads this, I doubt I'll ever know.

I lamented my loss of the tape for a long time. I asked around CCB but no one else had a copy it seems. Then, this year I think it was, I was poking around my room in Wales and found the copy I made! Woop! Whacking it into the tape deck I recorded it to my laptop and carefully labelled each song. I hope I never lose it again. I still have the original album artwork though and had scanned it some time before, click the link to see it.

..and that's the end of the list. It's nearly half four in the morning, my head hurts and I need sleep, but damnit if I was going to leave this list half-finished.

Who makes you feel vulnerable?

14 September 2007

Whilst waiting for "Death Sentence" to get to the fun parts in the cinema this evening, I was having a little think, as I always do. Far too damn often.

I wondered - who makes you feel truly vulnerable?

Perhaps for some of you it's everyone, or nearly everyone. Others maybe don't feel emotionally vulnerable around anyone. I don't feel emotionally vulnerable very often. I do my very best to choose to surround myself with people I can trust, who I can relax around. Low blood sugar aside, it's rare that they make me feel insecure or like they could hurt me.

I can only think of a very tiny minority of people who make me feel unsteady and insecure, but I try hard to make sure that those that do, do so because of good reasons, rather than because I fear them.

Certainly, some people make me a bit nervous, but at the end of the proverbial day, I don't feel vulnerable, just a tad edgy. I find it irritating when things make me nervous, especially when my mind is relaxed but my body is getting all shakey.

That's your lot for today.
I hope you didn't think I'd name names. Silly rabbit.

Being geekily-inclined, I'll occasionally blog about video games. It says in the title though, so if you're still reading, it's your own damn fault if you get bored.

Chris and I recently finished playing through RE4 for the Wii, well, that suggests we were both at the controls, which wasn't the case. It was more a case of him playing whilst I sat in the background occasionally giving advice, but mostly just adding colour commentary.

You see, as dark and creepy as RE games are supposed to be, it's difficult to be on edge when your mates are constantly taking the piss out of in-game characters, inconsistencies and the sheer silliness of some situations.

We didn't want too much of a challenge, so the whole game was completed on easy mode. Admittedly, until right at the end, it was ludicrously easy. The amount of ammo we had for our three to four weapons was at times measured in triple figures, despite the fact that the game didn't seem to want to allow us to buy ammo from our merchant.. uh.. friend.

This merchant is seen wearing a trench coat with a hood as well as a scarf:



He seems to either be the victim of a cloning experiment, or be ridiculously fast, as he shows up throughout the game in unlikely places carrying enough weapons to arm a small battalion.

He was instantly given the name "Comrade Rapist", partly due to the way he whips open his coat saying "WELCOME!" and the fact that he never learnt our character's name, even at the end of the damn game. There's something about a guy with an unplaceable accent (a combination of English, American, Australian and possibly Russian) wearing a long coat who refers to you as "stranger" and chuckles..

Boss enemies included a pair of middle-aged women brandishing chainsaws, a giant thing that looked a lot like Golem and a high priest wearing a goat mask, armed with a pair of miniguns in an anti-aircraft setup.. ..indoors.

The only enemies that gave us the slightest problems were things called "regenerators" and their even more vicious brethren (or possibly sistren..) in the shape of the rather prickly "iron maidens"

To kill them you need some sort of special thermal scope for the rifle. We never found the scope, so we first dodged and then discovered that our ludicrously over-powered pistol could kill the fuckers anyway.

You're supposed to aim for their hidden parasites using the scope. We did what we do best - blast indiscriminately!
It would seem that those two are possibly the only zombie-like creatures ever to roam the Earth that are, in fact, shotgun-proof. Bastards.

Towards the end of the game it did get to the point where we sighed and said "COME ON! IS THERE ANYTHING LEFT TO KILL?!". Perhaps it dragged on a tad too long? Or maybe we're impatient.

We'd run out of shotgun upgrades by that point though, so there was little more to strive for. When you've got a shotgun doing 28 damage per shell and with a capacity of 18 or so shells, neither zombie or mutants stand in your way.

When we finally did finish the game and I had a chat with a friend of ours.. Well.. apparently our kill count of over 800 was a bit, uh, OTT?
He'd killed in the region of 160 to finish it.
I don't know about him, but Chris and I are of the school of thought that dictates that if they're still shambling towards you, keep firing until they don't. Doctor Remington's Cure-all, if you will.

Zombie-licious.

Smokin' Aces in HD.

09 September 2007

How many of you saw Smokin' Aces in the cinema?
If you did, I hope you enjoyed a fast-paced, constantly accelerating, insanity fest. I did. I actually sat there open-mouthed for much of the film.

As you might imagine, I wanted to see it again and I've been too strapped for bandwidth to get a copy of it, erm, I mean, uh, it wasn't out yet..

"Putting in the disc" and taking a seat on one of our sofas, about two and a half metres from our 32" 720p HDTV*.

Then it all went a bit slowly for a bit until the film got up to speed, about twenty minutes in, give or take.

The hitmen are introduced, Soot, no problem. But then Pasqual Acosta.. Cold killer dude. Very much shortened torture sequence for his introduction. Well, not to worry..

The Tremors wrestled with each other, as per in the cinema and one of these insane, neo-nazi rednecks did his amusing "dialogue" (a monologue utilising Ben Affleck's corpse as a second person).

Minor cuts here and there, but nothing too drastic. But then.. But then..
The major point of the film, once all the foxes are in the henhouse and it's all about to go, erm, for want of a better term "off the hook".

WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED TO MY FILM?!

It was attacked by some sensitive flower-child with an editing suite!
The Tremors barely did any damage at all! Sharice's rifle rounds did half the damage of in the cinema!

So, what was somewhere in the region of ten to twenty minutes long last time was around five to ten this time. What the hell, man?!

What was an ace action-flick in the cinema was reduced to a 65% review scoring piece of generic bullshit. Guess I should see about getting a "screener" copy instead. Maybe they'll have left the good bits in.

(*Yes, it sounds like I'm bragging, which of course I am, but that's not why I mention it. I mention it because there's also 1080p TVs which show even more detail, standard def content looks like shit on them. My copy of Smokin' Aces was a proper 720p copy. It looked amazing at a distance of one metre. Sitting on the sofa I could see no difference between it and a DVD. None.)

How many people feel like they're not really in control of their lives?
Or that they only have a small degree of control?

How many people are running from what they see as their problems?

Thinking about this, apparently lots of people just chug along through their lives, doing what they think they're supposed to be doing, reacting as things happen, events develop.

Perhaps that's not true.
Gods, I hope not. How godsdamn* depressing would that be?

It's been a long time since I've not felt in control of my life, the events that happen to me and the path I choose. Certainly, I have no control over the smaller events, whether a friend is busy and cannot come for a drink, for example. But other things I can control. It's my life and I live it as best I can.

Our lives are what we make of them. Don't like how yours is going? Take a step back for a moment - chances are, you can change it. The only thing stopping you are the invisible walls in your head.

(* a note for Lydia - :P - I will defame the name of as many gods as I see fit, considering I don't believe in any, it would follow that for me anything vaguely religious that I use as a curse is just words. Words without meaning, other than to express the sentiment in mind. If you choose to believe, that is your choice and I applaud your faith, I have none. I wish I could believe the endlessly translated stories of ancient men and see them as the work of some higher power, but to me they appear as just a set of sensible rules for the times in which they were written, wrapped in a story. A spoon full of sugar, so to speak. How better to have influence over people? Once you have their hearts, their popular support will follow. One day I hope your merciful, loving god convinces me that we're on this lonely rock for a good reason and that there is paradise once we die, but until then.. Well, I suppose it's a good way to stop people losing their minds. Mortality is a bitch like that.)

Little things.

08 September 2007

I was having a chat on MSN with a friend of mine. We have a lot in common and he often finds that we're very, very similar. Worryingly so, hehe.

One thing we noticed we have in common is our dislike of making small decisions. Big decisions, no problem. What kind of sandwich should I have for lunch? Erm..

This lead me onto something I recall coming up many times before - my dislike of choosing music. I don't mind choosing it for myself that much, as long as I have a shuffle function to hand. However, if I'm playing music for other people, there's so many factors to take into account and I am paralysed.

I recall this coming up when I was hanging with Rachel.
We were sitting on my sofa idly watching music channels and I ended up having to choose. I really cannot say how much I hate doing that.
Music preference, in my mind, doesn't often correlate with lots of things I can analyse. Therefore, knowing what someone else might like or dislike is very difficult for me to know without memorising it.

Even with close friends who I'm not trying to impress, I struggle to choose music.

It's one of the few things I feel bad about, with regards to my short time with Rachel. What's worse is that I don't know what I could have done differently. I'm just me and that's all I can be, just me.

I was having a browse through my photos just now, the old ones, the really old ones.
I bought my first digicam during the Easter holiday of 2002, I think it cost around £160 and was a measly 2MP. It gobbled through AA batteries like popcorn.
However, it was worth it, as spending my holiday working putting up fences around the estate was better than sitting around alone, which was my other alternative.

At that time it wasn't common for young people to own digicams or phones with cameras.

I used my cam a lot, often around school and then when I reached the sixth form, I used it in the Sixth Form Centre, our student bar.
The first occasion in which I was there properly was the Heroes and Villains party, I believe.
Something that might please Chris if he reads this is that I went as Rimmer - a hero to himself and a villain to the rest of the Red Dwarf crew.
The H was superglued to my forehead (having been a wargamer, I'm well versed in the nuances of superglue).
Due to my glue skillz I knew how to easily remove it without any marking, even if most people seemed convinced it would leave a load of red marks or something..

Those of you who know about my past might know I fell for a German girl named Lara a short time after this party. However, at this party I didn't really notice her. I recall she went dressed as a devil, but I've no proper photo of her from that night. I think her face appears in the background of one of the photos, but otherwise she's not in any.

I was looking through to find a suitably fun picture to post on my blog when I found this one:


I can't believe I've never noticed who's standing directly behind me. Hell, after she left the school to return to Germany I remember looking through these photos to see if I had any of her from that night. Well paint me unobservant!

The girl holding onto me is Rhian, an old friend of mine, one of the first girls I got to know at CCB as our desks were next to each other in the boarding house during 1st Form (So I've known her for nearly a decade now.. holy shit..).

To her right is Rhys, a guy I used to go climbing with who would spend a fair bit of time with my friends, Laurence and Gwion, so we're kinda friends too. Nice guy.

Shoving his head into the photo above is Ryan.
Whilst I never liked him, I can certainly think of people I hated more.

Hmm, I think there's three other German girls in the background, they went as Bond girls, I think I see the back of Laura, Anne-Sophi and I think that may be Victoria there too.
The black guy talking to Lara, hmm, I think he was German too, but I'm not certain. "Chris" suggests itself, but I really don't recall his name. If anyone from CCB remembers him, comment and tell me who he was, because it's bugging me!

I've also just noticed that the pic is entitled "Old Centre Pic" here on Bebo.
I must have added that custom caption but have no recollection of doing so..
*sighs*

With a memory like this it rather explains why I try and take so many photos..

Cotton-eyed Joe

28 August 2007

This song should be familiar to most of you, but it wouldn't suprise me if at least a few people wouldn't know it from the title.

"Cotton-Eyed Joe" by Rednex
(apparently you can hear a sample here: http://www.amazon.com/Sex-Violins-Rednex/dp/B00000057K )

My earliest memories of it are from a school disco, in the early nineties, I seem to remember. I can't have been very old, eight maybe, if that?
My memories from that time are very blurry, but perhaps that's normal.

Anyway, I remember this song being around that time. It was quirky, fun and rather cringey, some how. A horrible mixture of the 80s and old songs from the 50s with a bizarrely compelling violin thrown in for good measure.

I recall my classmates really liking it, but I don't think I found it that cool at the time, which probably made me horribly uncool, or would have done had I expressed an opinion on the matter, in between the air-violining they did..

More recently I remember the song appearing on a minidisc, mix-tape style. It was played in Christ College's Sixth Form Centre when the bar was open.
On such nights the digital decks were manned by sixth formers (I don't think it was only upper sixth, I think lower sixth were eligible for the job too).
Music was played from CDs, minidisc and occasionally someone's laptop, sitting in the DJ booth.

Anyway, the song was on minidisc and was played many times, I seem to recall, through the drunken haze, that the air-violining returned in many cases. It even induced dancing, which was certainly rare, Centre Parties aside (mainly due to numbers).
I remember that towards the end of one of the evenings, many ciders and beers later, the minidisc breaking. Not the machine, the specific disc containing the song. It was brought outside the centre and a small stake erected next to it (gods know where the guys found it..).
The amount of reverence they placed on it was trying to go for comedy, I think..

Even though I was rather worse for wear, it just wasn't that funny. Perhaps they didn't commit enough to make it funny, because damnit it should have been pretty godsdamn amusing.

I think someone got hold of the song later though and played it from their laptop, but it was never quite the same, although I'll wager that the air-violining was still present..


It's quite suprising how much stuff I keep in this small, leatherbound thing. Well, I think it's leather at least. Seems like it. I found it in a cupboard at some point, so I'm not really sure about much else other than it says "Fabretti" on it (Wikipedia says "Raphael Fabretti (1618 - January 7, 1700) was an Italian antiquary.").

First off, the obvious, money.
The amount I carry varies, but I rarely carry fifties for the simple reason that they don't bloody fit! An amount between nothing and £60 is about the usual for me, in a mixture of twenties, tens and fives. In this case I've got an English £10 note and two fivers, one Scottish, one English. There's also £3.55 in mixed change.
Additionally, there's two debit cards, one for Lloyds TSB and one for, uh, Natwest (fairly useless, but not as bad as Halifax!).

Working clockwise, the rest of the contents:

-Four IWC UK business cards with my smirking mug on the back with my name, job title and email address.
-A nearly expired Odeon card entitling me to a further discount on top of the student one (used, uh, once?).
-My driving license complete with an ancient photo and a miniscule copy of my signature.
-One durex branded condom.
-HMV student card (actually worthwhile).
-GAME reward card (actually worthless).
-My Napier student card with a rather more up to date, slightly photoshopped pic.
-My Lothian Buses student bus card. Pretty much required for life in Edinburgh.
-One mini-map of Lothian Buses' routes throughout the 'burgh. Very useful for the wandering podcaster.
-One National Rail card wallet thingy containing the two bits that make up my Young Person's Railcard. Discounts FTW.
-A Caffé Nero loyalty card, 7/9 stamps filled in.
-An odd little card from Lloyds TSB to do with emergency coverage for cars or something. I've no idea what it's for or why I carry it around.

So there you go, a little insight as to what I carry around most days.

On Gang Culture

25 August 2007

Listening earlier to "Any Questions?" I heard a discussion about gang culture and young people in modern Britain.
One of the points brought up caught my attention - gangs act as a family of sorts for the young people who form them.

Whilst some families are certainly strong units, it seems increasingly that family is either not sympathetic to the pressures faced by young people today, or simply not there at all. Families may be physically together, but how often is time actually spent together?

It is interesting to hear some of the points raised by the older members of panels. Some of the points raised seem valid others seem silly at best and utterly preposterous at worst. Things such as increasing the power of people who are traditionally authority figures seem to have some sensible basis (how much effective power do teachers, police officers and adults have to combat "anti-social behaviour"?) others, such as "ban all violent films and videos" seem rather, well, totalitarian and oppressive.

Looking at how our society has changed over time it is clear to see that we've moved very much away from a community culture and into the culture of the individual. The 1960s heralded an embrace of individualism; the legacy of this seems to be the extremely consumption-orientated culture we're seeing in Britain today. Sure, individualism has lots of merits, but we seem to have let the pendulum swing a little too far.

Whilst our affluence and material wealth has increased incredibly over the last century, I can't help but feel that in some ways we're trying to replace something most humans need with escapism. A bit of escapism can be nice and is nothing new. People have been reading for millennia, storytelling, that sort of thing, entertainment and escapism often go hand in hand.

I'm straying from my point somewhat though, I'm afraid. What I'm attempting to head towards is the lack of things we do together as groups. When you're in school you might be in a class together, but outside of that, what do you do together as a group when you're too old to play together?
Sports are good for this sort of thing, but they aren't always available and of course, they don't appeal to everyone, or the particular ones that appeal aren't available.

Young people are often seeking an identity. Perhaps not consciously, but it's clear to anyone who pays attention that many young people find them trying to find somewhere they fit in, a peer group.
Gangs are a manifestation of this. The problem being of course that young people are not known for their rational thinking and good judgement. Couple this with peer pressure and a small quarrel can get blown out of all reasonable proportion. Pressure to not look weak, to not let the group down, to retaliate the only way they know how - with violence, of course. The old an "eye for an eye" principal.

I don't imagine that the way our culture glamorises violence in film, music and video games does much to help this. I doubt very much that they [i]cause[/i] violence, but I imagine their influence certainly helps grease the axels of this kind of behaviour.

One thing I can't personally empathise with is this kind of anger. I get angry at times, but I don't get to the level of the anger of most people it seems, getting angry about pointless little things, like they matter. Let it go, people..

I wonder though, nature or nurture argument - am I naturally like this?

Another interesting point raised was the arrogance of young people. I can certainly empathise with this one, hehe.
It is true; we are a lot more confident, often over-confident. Hell, half the people I speak to who come across as arrogant are probably bluffing. It's all part of this peer pressure to not appear weak, it would seem. It ends up as a self-perpetuating problem.

I don't have a direct solution, hell, why should I?
However, I do think we need more activities together, not just sports.
We need someone to take a cynical, pragmatic look at what interests young people today.

It's all very well saying what they SHOULD be interested in, but one might as well be sitting around stoking a fire consisting of bundles of crisp fifties when it comes to some of the projects I've heard of.
These sorts of things are region specific and should be treated like that. What works for Manchester might not be as good a solution for Brixton.

While we're piling funds into upgraded WMD programmes we're cutting expenditure on the community front.
To draw on a culture I've studied somewhat, the hip-hop culture in NYC through the 70s and 80s, there's a lot to be learnt.
For those who don't know, although it is somewhat open to debate, hip-hop consists of many facets. There's the "spoken" side, being rap, the "written" side, graffiti and aerosol art and then there's breaking (break dancing) there's numerous other bits that fit in various places as well, but these are the most prominent pieces.

Why is that relevant? Well they were things that would be done together by the young people. There would be contests with teams of b-boys, rap battles and so on and so forth. Friendly (for the most part, hehe) competition. There's always going to be some fighting amongst young people, but at least by implementing these sorts of things there existed ways rivalries would go before descending into violence. Furthermore, the most talented individuals became role models for the younger ones, giving responsibility, something sadly lacking in many aspects of our culture. We're very much into a blame culture.

This hip-hop example is just one, of course, but I hope it gets the idea across.
More skate parks, youth clubs, teams of all sorts. My school provided a lot of this sort of thing, although less than it used to by the time I left, which was a damn shame, to be honest.

KateModern..

23 August 2007

I recently said something like "How do I get rid of this KateModern crap?" on my Bebo profile.
Today I logged on and found a little "close" link in the newest KM thing. Woo!

I've never watched it, perhaps I'd like it, perhaps not. What I don't like is having it appear on my "changes" page. Fascinating as it may be, I did not sign up to it and I don't want it mingled in with my friends, thank you very much.

When I get a connection with enough bandwidth to view it, I may have a look, because it may be quite good. If it isn't, I can hate it with the passion that I hate everything else with.

I was in Newcastle today, at the Metrocentre (a large shopping centre). Nothing much to say there, other than that I am gripped by the fact that I have virtually everything material that I could want. I don't walk into HMV and feel the urgent desire to own more music. Shiny laptops hold no appeal. Shirts, jeans, video games, it's just like "m'eh".
I like to think this is a good thing!

Similarly, when I was in Ikea (after leaving the Metrocentre) the nice layouts that they had there, which normally really appeal, didn't. Why?
Because I'm about to move into a really, really nice flat.

I did find time to pick up a cupboard of sorts, well, eventually it may be a cupboard. For now it's just a big shelf thing. We're going to have an Xbox 360, a Wii and a PS2 alongside our media centre, we need shelving of some sort. Oh dear gods, I'm boring myself talking about furniture! Argh!

Counting down the days now until I move in on the 30th. I hope the rest of you are doing well.

Cards.
Birthday cards, mainly.
Places like Hallmark and Clinton Cards..

Why do people buy half the utter trash sold on their shelves?
Do people honestly find the so-called humour section funny?
They like cards covered in designs so tasteless that they put traditional British cookery to shame?

I appreciate that most of us don't necessarily have the time or the skill to make our own cards however, with the virtual ubiquity of digital cameras the excuses barrel is becoming rather empty.
I also appreciate that these shops sell some cards that don't give me the sudden urge to stab in artist in the face with a jagged shard of glass.

That doesn't change the fact that whenever I'm given a card, or I see others given cards, the cards chosen are these insultingly unfunny, garish monstrosities. I mean, jesus, do you people just stand in the right section, close your eyes and lunge wildly at the card rack?

Perhaps it's another one of these little facets of British culture that I struggle to understand. Some things are quaint. Others are interesting.
This one is bollocks.

That is all.

Too much choice.

16 August 2007

I've been here for nearly a week now and I've only been to a single show.
Why?
Because there's so much to choose from, basically.
All these comedians that I've no idea if it's worth however much to see them. I've no strong feelings in either direction.
I don't know if Chris or Fraser have seen anything else, but I've not been with them if they have.

I don't even feel that upset about it. I guess, much like music, I can take it or leave it. I'm just not feeling that enthusiastic.

It doesn't really help that Chris has a job now (Fraser has had one for quite some time). Apparently Chris was planning a trip to Germany with his friend in September. I don't mind, but it would be nice to be vaguely informed of these sorts of things, especially when I'm trying to plan things too. "Oh, actually, no, we can't do that then.."

I'm thinking of just calling time on being up here and going back down to Northumberland tonight, rather than staying until tomorrow. Chris and Fraser aren't coming with me down, so I can go whenever.

On the plus side, I guess I should be glad that I don't have a hangover. The amount I drank in relation to how much I ate made for a scarily quick trip into intoxication. One that I wouldn't like to repeat any time soon.

Title aside, I'm in good spirits. Well, aside from being hungry.
Chris is away and Fraser's at work, so it's just me at the JKCC, catching up on some intarwebz stuff.

The last 48 hours have been rather, illustrious?

I'll disregard the minutia of yesterday morning as it was mostly just me trying to find an earlier train, wandering around Haltwhistle with my luggage and other boring stuff.
Let's just skip straight to arriving at the station, to be greeted by Chris at the ticket barrier at Haymarket.

We stopped off and picked up a record deck. Fifteen quid each, boosh. Excellent, I love vinyl. But I'd left my records down in Northumberland. We don't have a record deck, why not leave them until I move in?

I'm still trying to figure out what we did after that. I think we met up with Fraser and wandered around town a bit, as we are apt to do. It feels good to be back in the city. I love this city, it's my favourite in Britain. The glorious sunshine certainly helped!
We did take a moment to pick up a shirt at Route One. Fraser acquiring a rather apt "Quite Emo." shirt and myself finding a rather amusingly crass "I <3 Your Mum" shirt which I got changed into, more on that later..

It's worth noting that I'm not in my new flat properly yet because Chris' family is staying there. So when we went back to drop off a few things I had to zip up my leather jacket. Somehow I didn't want to introduce myself to his mother wearing that shirt..

The plan for the rest of the evening quickly became clear in our minds. A mandatory viewing of the Simpsons movie, as I'd not seen it yet. It's fairly shite, but you've sometimes just got to do these things.

By this juncture I was getting onto ravenous. Not a good thing if you're me. A pizza was in order and a bottle of red cola. Sadly we were unable to smuggle the pizza into Transformers. We had ten minutes until it started.
Do you know how quickly an extra large pizza lasts in the hands of three hungry students?

What we did manage to bring in was a few bottles of pear cider. Good stuff. Stompy robots, rock music and alcohol. Not bad.
Fraser wandered off to Opium after that, I think, but Chris and I were a bit tired out by that time. Not sure what he'd been up to, but I'd been running around all day and spent most of the morning lugging around my bags, so by midnight I was thinking sleep, rather than booze.

Let's cut to today, circa 1030, waking up.
Actually, no, a little later.
One shower and a fresh set of clothes later and I was ready to face the world. I didn't want to get baked again, so I wore light clothes and skater jeans. A rather stupid choice, it would turn out.

It pissed it down all day. Hell, it's probably still raining. I hope not though. Forecast fox tells me it's going to piss it down tomorrow too. Fan-bloody-tastic.

The plan was a simple one - Chris and Fraser had tickets to see Simon Amstell. I would have had a ticket, but by the time I'd decided to come up to Edinburgh, it'd sold out. No worries though, I'd come with them up to the venue and then wander off for an hour or so.

--interlude--
A quick honourable mention to Adam - cheers for the sandwich!
--interlude--

I wandered off and within a minute ran into a middle-aged lady who asked me, "Would you like a ticket to see Simon Amstell?", profferring a single ticket. I paid her a bit less than the ticket price, although it was probably worth considerably more than that, judging by how long it'd been sold out for.

Chris and Fraser were having some trouble finding the specific hall for the performance and we quickly met back up and hunted it down. It was totally packed and understandably so. Any comedy show featuring continual references to clown rape can't be bad.

Tsunamis, homosexuality & Judaism, philosophy of the self, boring photos (except the ones you appear in) and comedian rapists. Excellent.

Fraser wandered off to work leaving Chris and I to trek back across apparently infinite streets to the JKCC over at Merchiston. I swear it's never taken so long to walk here. Maybe it was the soggy jeans, well, drenched jeans. Maybe it was the laptop bag. It was bloody heavy going though.

Chris stayed with me until it was a suitable time for him to get going to his job interview. If he gets it we should be able to get cheaper booze. Woo! His commute will be excruciating though. Poor guy..
(The off-license is literally a minute from our door step. If that. You could run it in thirty seconds or less.)

That's it for the Fox Chronicles. For now at least.

Taste of Chaos, eh?

07 August 2007

Well, Fraser has asked me a couple of times before and I wasn't sure, but today I agreed to go with him.

I've no idea what I'm letting myself in for, but I imagine it'll be a good laugh regardless. I'm not sure if Chris is coming with us, I hope so, the more the merrier!

I'm currently trying to decide how much to have my hair trimmed by, whether to keep my beard and if and when I might get a small tattoo somewhere...

..or if I should go for some UV ink flames along my forearms..

I'm currently staying on a farm near Hadrian's wall, where my parents spend a couple of months every year for a change of scenery and some crow hawking.

Previously the phoneline had been bad, giving nothing more than slow dial-up. However, this year it's reached an all-time low. The connection drops every few minutes, the line quality is so poor that speaking on the phone is a real struggle, basically, it's shit.

Well, at least I'll be moving back to the 'burgh shortly. Get that connection sorted, Chris!
*waggles bottle of rum in front of him*

Webcomic Guest Strips

27 July 2007

Just a short little entry here and it'll probably be fairly meaningless to anyone who doesn't read webcomics, but then again, I don't think most people who have me added as a friend on Bebo tend to read my blog entries. Hope you sort things out with Phil.

One of my favourite webcomics appears to be doing a guest strip week.
The thing is, if I wanted to read comics done by the other artists, I would.
Sure, occasionally a guest strip is good, but most of the time they seem to be half-arsed attempts at humour that fall flat on their faces.

It'd be fun to see the storyline continue, as dictated by the main artist, but drawn in a different style, but most of the time I find that when the guest artist tries to be funny using characters that aren't their own, they make a pig's ear of it.

Synopsis: Guest comics suck.

Will sucks. :P

21 July 2007

I was hoping to go to Cardiff to misbehave and generally act my age today, but it would seem Will is skint. Git.
There's always next weekend I suppose, well, until I'm leaving for Edinburgh again..

Thursday and Friday were excellent though, as I had my old friend, Ben, to keep me company. Drinking and watching war movies, woo.
I did find time last night to make some Benmoticons, you can view the files here:
http://woodendice.org/flamekebab/benmoticons/

The Falconry Festival

18 July 2007

Fairly late yesterday evening I arrived back at IWC base camp in West Wales with the final load of tents, food and other assorted gear left over from the festival. The festival was only two days long though - Saturday and Sunday.

That said, I had been on the site since the previous Monday. The site was a large field on a country estate just outside Reading (Englefield, to be precise), where I camped for eight days, before travelling back and forth several times with my mother moving equipment.

I've still not quite recovered and ache all over. It was really only the last two days that were bad, as it was cold, wet and windy, not so nice to wake up to.
To add to my discomfort, I was quarter master for our camp there, a fairly essential job, considering the amount of equipment we had and how easily it could be walked off with by any unscrupulous passerby. What this entailed was sitting in a tent from about 9am, to 9pm. Sometimes longer.

I'm sure that doesn't sound too bad to many of you and I will say that I have done worse jobs, but the thing with this one was the fact that I didn't have any internet access whatsoever. Furthermore, with everyone else busy, I was on my own.
One of my colleagues did wander in at one point and I mentioned that I apologised for if I was a bit irritable, as I hadn't eaten (I needed people to bring me food, as I couldn't leave the tent unless I could find someone to cover for me!).

This matters as based on this he raised an interesting point - I might be hypoglycemic. I've always been very susceptible to mood swings and an assortment of other symptoms when I'm in a state of low blood sugar. It seems that my blood sugar level descends lower than anyone else I've ever met.

On the Sunday we had satelite broadband at the site, so I took the opportunity to check up on this and if Wikipedia's fairly lengthy set of symptoms is correct, it seems quite feasible that I do have the condition.
Fortunately it doesn't seem to be particularly dangerous, more of a persistent nuisance (but I've been used to that, having lived in my body for over two decades now!).

It would seem the festival received an extremely positive reception from all who attended, even if the website is utter shite. NO RLY, it's fucking atrocious.
I only managed to see the second "grand parade of nations" (a parade of 30+ nations in national costume with their respective birds of prey). It was rather impressive, I must say, even for me, someone uninterested in falconry.
Sadly, it was the only event I saw, but I doubt I would have enjoyed the others anyway, so no big loss there.

When it finally dawned on me that LRL 2007 was creeping up on me and that if I was going to go I was going to need to get my arse into gear and sort myself out with a room and transport, I realized that I had absolutely no clue what time I'd need to be there on the Saturday to not miss too much.

Fortunately, LUGRadio has its own fairly active IRC channel on Freenode, so firing up my IRC app I bashed out a question to the resident lurkers. Sure, I got my answer, but more than that, I was greeted by my old friend, Dave2. I'd not spoken to him in three years. Hell, I'd not been anywhere near #uplink where we used to waste our days since November 2004 (my quit-time was coincidentally 13.37. Leet o'clock, as Dave2 insists on announcing on #lugradio every day).

Dave2


Not only that, but another old mate of mine, Ebola was there too. You may have seen his banner on WD's front page ("I make people bleed").

Dave2 was going to LRL but Ebola hadn't planned to. Of course, the three of us ended up there, staying in the same hotel too (unintentionally). I'd managed to secure a concession in order to get into the event for even less than usual (three quid!) and the large gents hadn't managed to find much to take the piss out of my name for my troubles. They did however state that we would probably just spend most of the time sitting in the cafe chatting..

Ebola and myself in the venue's bar

Well I wasn't standing for that, so Wolverhamptonwards I did go, video camera in one hand, tequila in the other.
I manage to not only film their live episode of the show from beginning to end, but I got my turn on the mic to tell Aq to fuck off about using Cedega for games under Linux.

Because it's BOLLOCKS.

The crowd for the live show

Hopefully that was suitably LUGRadio-y, I don't quite remember my other loud interjections, I should probably review the tape soon to find out what utter crap I came up with, but I refused to be shy and quiet.
I also managed to appear fairly prominent on HashLugradio (a podcast about the podcast) including a tangent about how Wikipedia is "fucking shit".

The Hashlugradio podcast recording

An "Oh my fucking god I didn't realize you'd actually do it" has to go to Adam Sweet.
The programme had an hour long block marked "ADAM SWEET'S GONG-A-THONG LIGHTBULB TALK EXTRAVAGANZA".
Little did I realize that this meant Adam Sweet being the MC for a series of short talks, punctuated by loud bangs on a rather awesome gong..
..wearing nothing more than a thong and a lot of body oil.

Of course, that was just during the day. The Saturday night was something else..
There was the three of us, of course, but there was also Christal, controller of Freenode (as far as I understood it), several great Irish guys and rather awesome Irish lady too ("Jono proposed to me today.."). Jono even found the time to hang around with us for half an hour, amongst others who I've sadly forgotten the names of.


That and more sambuca than we could burn, lots of cider, more tequila, Yagermeister, shit, I get dizzy just trying to remember what else we drank. The bar was so cheap though, you're trying to give us all liver damage, aren't you, guys?
I practically lost my voice shouting "GOAT!" with Dave2, but more on that later.

Ebola has got to get the award for the most drunkenly drunkard, rather over-doing the sambuca (I had a LOT, but I think he had at least five more than me). Ooh, I remember there being whiskey too at some point and something called "Purple Death"..

But, despite our rather damaged immune systems we managed to soldier on through the second day, including the hour of power, the #lugradio podcast I rambled about earlier and the Great LUGRadio Quiz ("Community! Community! Community!" and the excellent segment "Beard or chin?", thank you, Bruno).

Finally, FREE STUFF!
Whilst I didn't manage to grab myself a GPX2, I did manage to get a DefectiveByDesign hard hat lobbed in my vague direction for my anecdote of the previous evening ("You mean the previous goating..").
The hard hat thankfully protected me from a lanyard that ricocheted off it, although I didn't manage to get a copy of Red Hat thrown at me, I really wanted one so I got throw it back!

Well, to close, I've got to thank all the crew that put in the hours to make it all happen, my good friends, Andreas and Dave and of course, the large gents, Jono Bacon, Ade Bradshaw, Stuart Langaridge and Adam Sweet, who aren't actually that large in person, aside from Aq, hehe.
Finally, after nearly over two years of listening to the show I can finally tell their voices apart enough to be able to put a name to the voices, even if Ade has a very knobbly bald head.. like he's incubating some bizarre alien child under the back of his skull..

Packing up my stuff..

09 June 2007

I'm off home soon, which in some ways is nice, but really I just can't wait for next year. Summer is likely to be both lonely and boring. Sorry to sound so emo about it, but as I'm going to be stuck in Wales for two months I'm not really that happy about it. At least I'll earn some money, I guess.

Currently I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to leave here and what's coming with me back to Wales. It's a bit hectic, to say the least.

I'm also trying to decide what to do with my hair and when to shave my beard off (I say when, as I don't plan to keep it forever, but I don't know how long it'll be until I shave it off. Maybe a week, maybe a year..).

I hate this time of year.

"You are evolution's bitch until further notice."

Use your loaf.

I had an hour to spare today at Craiglockhart and so stopped by to be in the audience for what Napier billed as something akin to The Apprentice or Dragon's Den.

It wasn't though, was it?

It was more like a handful of fairly unsure candidates and a panel of experts with only a couple of people who'd justify the term "expert". The concept wasn't really explained to the audience.
Hell, I didn't even get any good footage.

Come on, Napier, try a little harder next time. What's this "Graduates for Growth" company all about?
Why didn't they take the time to explain?
Why the fuck should anyone want to work for you?

Pish, to put it in local slang.

Dax wax make a pot of red gunk that is utter evil. However, it is handy for gluing long hair into insane configurations. The pic below is one of the less flamboyant styles I managed to achieve.



That said, to remove the stuff is a nightmare. Not to worry, thought I, the special dax shampoo will remove it..

Not a hope.
"Completely removes all oils, pomades, etc." my fucking CHIN.

I've washed my hair at least twelve times in the last 48 hours and whilst I'm making slow progress, I've STILL got wax in my hair. It's like a perpetual bad hair day!

Back in 'burgh

20 April 2007

I'm back in Edinburgh as of about 2020 tonight. The journey went fairly smoothly, even if my backpack was WAY too full (and consequently my shoulders hurt like hell now).

Zoe welcomed me at the station, but after that the evening went less well and now I'm exhausted, annoyed and alone. Urgh.

Well, hopefully things will be more fun here than down in Wales. I've got a podcast to make, a society to organise and rollerblade skills to learn.
Once more into the breech dear friends, once more.

I'm back home, that is to say, in South Wales.
Not that that matters in the slightest to many of you, but I figured it could be handy to know in the off chance that anyone wanted to buy me a drink. Yeah, right..

I might finally get a bit of a trim, cutting back my mane a little, not too much, mind you. Of course, it doesn't matter much anyway, as it'll grow back quickly.

A little too much RTS?

07 March 2007

I think I may be overdoing the Dawn of War playing..
I'm starting to see fog of war on things I shouldn't.

If you don't know what "fog of war" means - Ben's been playing one type of videogame too much. KTHX etc..

Single-ness

27 February 2007

I'm not sure how many of you know, or how many of you will even read this, heh, but I've broken up with Zoe.

I'm not totally certain how long we were together for, but something in the region of 10 months.

That's all I have to say, I guess.
Get back to work!

Apologies and gloatage

14 February 2007

I apologise to Fraser, now that he's told me what's going on it's fair enough.
It's not my call to disclose it here, but rest assured, things are cool now.

My new lappy arrived yesterday.
As of about right now I have both XP and Ubuntu running on it.

With Ubuntu looking waaaay blingier.
I <3 Beryl.

Vista's Aero bullshit can lick greasy donkey cock.

Change of Plan..

11 February 2007

Mood: Pissed off. Like. VERY FUCKING ANGRY.

What the hell?! Fraser bailed on us!
One of the only people who were in it 100% from the beginning has suddenly decided that he can't afford to go.

Great.
Cheers, mate.

Now the rest of us are screwed.
We need six people. Where are we going to find two other people at such short notice?

I don't like to be pessimistic, but honestly, I have no idea where we could get two other people.

Some of you might be vaguely aware that I'm working on going snowboarding next month.
Does that make me cool enough to be seen outside yet?

Anyway, we were going to be scoring lift passes for a quid each, but unfortunately this offer seems to not apply. We'll do our best to get it anyway, but otherwise the holiday could be a bit more costly.

But still, damnit, we're going!
We have one free place..

YES THAT MEANS YOU! DAMNIT!
COME SNOWBOARDING WITH US!

It'll be about £220 for flights and accomodation and a further hundred or two for gear and lift passes. We shall persevere to get it cheaper though.

My sister may be able to bring a friend, so there's still an open place!
JOIIIINNNN USSSS!!