If you've no listened to it, go find a disc, download, or stream to enjoy Bleak Expectations. It's hilarious, ridiculous, and highly entertaining.

That's all for today for I've worked very hard over the last three days in order to get my business ready for initial orders (not the proper launch, per se, but a few test runs with friends to see what goes tits up).

Annoyingly PayPal have yet to deposit anything in my account meaning my verification has yet to occur, preventing any kind of launch. I've also applied for online banking with Lloyds TSB so we shall see what that experience ends up being like.

Amusingly I may ask my mother for technical advice in that sphere as she has years of experience with online banking for businesses. Apparently the UK banks could learn a thing or two from those of New Zealand when it comes to online stuff.

Right, time for me to sleep. More work tomorrow.

Please help me if you can, I cannot manage colour theory on my own and need to build a set of colours for the site using multiple fixed base colours, not just one. If that makes sense then perhaps you can help me.

Zzzzz...



Leaving the lodge

23 September 2011

I'm heading back up North now from Northumberland, having helped pack up the house we use there. It's an odd place, but not in a bad way, but more in the way that even with high speed internet access it still retains its feel of being a microcosm.

Whilst the rest of the world may go at one speed the house there stands in stark contrast. This is hardly a unique phenomenon but one that I felt would be diminished by access to modern amenities.

Maybe it's the bleak landscape that can be seen through every window or the way the land never feels far away. It's nice though, a welcome physical retreat from which to marshal one's thoughts and muster a renewed strength to deal with the world.

Yes, I know, I'm getting needlessly prosaic, that's too bad.

The other thing about the place is the way it has so many "ghosts" inhabiting it. Not ghosts in the traditional sense, more like in the echoes of the many, many people that have been there. Looking at the living room one can feel the huge number of people over the years who have sat around the fire after a day's hawking, picking off the odd stray louse (accursed filthy crows!) and discussing the best flights of the season.

This is particularly prominent as the last time I was there was for the barbecue, wherein a hundred or more people bustle around the place.

The house itself feels a little melancholy once everyone has gone, but more in a "I hope they'll come back soon!" way than mourning for years gone by.

It may only be properly inhabited for a few months a year but in that time a lot more living gets done than many places see in the same time.

Sleep well, house, we'll be back soon.



Staring into the gaping mawe

22 September 2011

I don't know about anyone else but when I'm talking to someone I don't know I find myself staring at their teeth whilst listening to them. Perhaps I should be making eye contact or something like that, but what I'm noticing is their teeth and lips, more than anything else.

For example, during my weekly meetings as part of my enterprise scheme thingy, my adviser always seems to wear a shade of lipstick that doesn't gel neatly with the natural shade of her lips. While she's talking I'm listening but the rest of my mind is noticing the visible line between the bright red of the makeup and the much paler shade beneath.

Similarly I notice that my own teeth, whilst healthy, are not overly neat and tend to have a more rounded quality to them which I dislike. Perhaps one day I will endure braces to have this corrected.

As I get to know someone I do this less and less, but I suppose part of me is gathering data about the expressions they make whilst talking, building their profile, as it were.

Just a little something I was thinking about.

I really enjoy the show Bob's Burgers, as you may already know, however it's only this evening that I started considering why I'm attached to it.

I think it's the accessible nature of the show, by which I mean the lack of epicness. Episodes do not generally involve events which require a huge world to exist within. Now don't get me wrong, I love a richly populated and well developed world/universe for a book/game/film/TV show/bacon sandwich but the world of Bob's Burgers has this small-town feel to it.

Instead of taking the cast into vastly important exploits or relying on improbable deus ex machina it's mostly just feasible stuff. There's something deeply comforting about a show that doesn't leave me feeling "Oh wow, I wish things like that could happen in my life". Instead the situations presented are twisted into hilarity by wit, delivery, and the interplay of personalities.

The Simpsons used to feel more like that to me but in recent years it feels like it's getting more outlandish and not in a good way. I still enjoy the series but in a very different way.

In other news, I'm really enjoying Sons of Anarchy season 4 and Breaking Bad is quite enjoyable too.

Perhaps it seems silly that I watch many TV shows rather than living, but as it stands at the moment I'm in transition, creating a new status quo in which I operate my business. Once that's done I should be in a position to start putting together the Wooden Dice podcast, doing some work on Wooden Dice itself, learning to dance, geocaching, and the many other things I enjoy doing.

Hopefully I'll eventually have time to get back to learning to knit and play the guitar too. It may seem these things are forgotten but they really aren't, I just need to focus on some other more pressing business first.

I must say my abilities at finishing projects I start are vastly improved. There's still a way to go, but it's night and day compared with how I used to be. My Gorkamorka projects have helped massively and it's carrying over nicely into my approach to my business. My work ethic isn't as good as it was when I was 14, but it's closer to it than when I was 22, which is a relief and really helps my self-esteem.

I may have rambled but that's because this keyboard makes it so much easier to write comfortably and get my thoughts flowing.

At last, a bluetooth keyboard!

20 September 2011

I think I've finally managed to get something rather awesome working. A virtually full-size wireless keyboard for my iPhone!


It's a little clunky it seems to integrate with iOS natively after a few initial issues. The hinge could also use some love but it was significantly cheaper than the keyboards I've seen for sale online, I am simply not willing to pay forty quid for a keyboard. I can't seem to get the pound sign working, alas, even using Alt Gr, all I get is π, but I think I can live with that!

The next fun bluetooth-based project for my iPhone is to try to get my Pogo printer working with it. Celeste now exists to enable OBEX bluetooth file transfers but it seems unhappy with iOS 4.1, although I've read of a few people getting it working. Personally I've had no luck.

Bizarrely it doesn't show up in Windows, but I know my bluetooth dongle works as I was able to use this keyboard under Windows. I can print pics under Linux, of course, but it's rather infuriating, I must say!

Earlier I referred to the bluetooth file transfer project as "fun". What I meant was complex, frustrating, and in no way fun whatsoever.

This should make for some interesting blog posts though as I can now comfortably type on the move in a way I was unable to before. Nifty, eh?

One last complaint though - my question mark key is inexplicably on the other side of my right shift key. Yeah, I've got no idea why either.

I was listening to Just A Minute today and had a good laugh at one of the panellist’s attempts at the subject “Skinny dipping”. Later I wanted to send the quote to a friend of mine and it occurred to me that not only would I have to transcribe it myself but more so that if I didn’t, no one else would.

What I mean by that is if I don’t write it down now it will not be available in text form in future. Yes, that probably sounds very mundane but it’s more interesting due to the mindset surrounding it.

Once I became an adult the world I lived in was highly connected and became more so over time. These days if there’s something that makes me chuckle I can do a quick search and find the quote written down on any number of websites making sharing it very easy. That’s the world I’ve become accustomed to and as an adult, it’s the only world I know.

Nicholas Parsons, chairman of Just A Minute has been on every episode since the show’s beginnings in 1967. He’s 87 and is still doing a remarkable job. He and the panellists did not grow up in the world I did, their words do not have the permanence I’ve come to associate with multimedia encountered through the internet.

A television show usually has subtitles available somewhere, but radio?

It’s the concept of tangibility and permanence that I found so interesting. Our daily conversations are not generally recorded or transcribed, but it is common for the media we consume to be permanent. It used to be that if one missed a television show one could wait for it to be repeated, or in later years purchase it (should it be released) on a home media format. With the advent of digital media pretty much anything can be recorded and distributed online with ease.

I’m struggling to couch this concept in text, for which I apologise. A live radio show may well be recorded, but given that it is significantly more difficult to skim through an audio-only medium (it is, trust me) there’s more freedom in the format today. The audience and performers may remember it but beyond that it floats free from anchors to history.

You there! Reword this to make more sense.