Thursday, November 30, 2006

Was he eating fission chips? (Boom boom)

This whole thing with the Russian spy and the Polonium 90210 seems very strange to me, on a number of counts.

Firstly, if it was a deliberate assassination, then
a) why do it in a way that leaves so many traces?
b) why not just shoot him?
c) why let him have several days to lie in a hospital bed accusing anybody he wants?
d) what's wrong with cyanide

which all effectively boil down to Polonium being a very strange murder weapon (I wonder if it will make it into future editions of Cluedo?).

Secondly... nah can't think of anything. And I don't want to be killed. I love Russia and its Government (best to be on the safe side!).


Running: 16 miles to go.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

How I know there's no hope for me...

I had a a meeting at lunchtime with a chap from our tax department to discuss the VAT treatment of life insurance product charges. I found it actually quite interesting.

I know that this is wrong.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

An Alarming Story

I was staying round at my girlfriend's on Sunday night and before bedtime I developed a nagging worry... I became slowly convinced that I had left my alarm clock on at home. Whilst this might not be the worst thing I could have done (it's not up there with leaving the gas on or forgetting to feed your children) it was still bugging me as when it goes off it's very loud, it annoys my neighbours and it goes on and on and on. Nothing will stop it except for possibly an EMP from a nuclear explosion. Or someone pressing the button (not the big red one). Since there was no attack on the horizon that I knew of and nobody in my flat to press the button there could only be one outcome come 7am the next morning: beep. beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEEP. BEEEEEEEP. All day.

The problem with my alarm is that you can set it to only go off on weekdays, which is quite useful come getting home drunk on Friday night and not being able to remember to turn it off to avoid being woken early on Saturday. The problem is though that this makes it very easy to leave the thing set to go off on Monday morning if you end up not being around then.

Somehow I managed to get to sleep despite this worry, but I set my phone alarm for early so that I would be able to get up and head back to mine to stop the alarm before the neighbours got too pissed off with me.

To be honest, I would have preferred an extra half hour or so in bed, but worriers can't be privy to luxuries such as that!

When I arrived back at the flat, it was to the sound of silence. I then turned off my iPod and found that there was also no noise emanating from the flat. I had not left my alarm on at all! Darnit!

I had left my living room light on though so I turned that off instead.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Where You Put Something You're Proud Of

I managed to set myself off laughing slightly too much earlier - it would definitely have been a prime example of a Giggle Loop had I been somewhere serious rather than just wandering about at work.

One of the teams downstairs had decided to set up a wall for them to display their awards/prizes/certificates etc. Rather than calling this a "Wall of Success", "Celebration Wall" or something equally shit, they had gone instead for "Glory Wall". I saw this and found it highly amusing because it had certain connotations that I suspect did not occur to the creators (ie that it was a wall containing a hole that some men might put something other than Polyfilla in)

Once I'd started laughing it just got worse and worse. I was laughing because I was finding it funny that I was laughing at something so childish. And then laughing more at that. By the time I got back to my desk I had to sit and cry into my hands for a short while until I had let my amusement dissolve.

The only vague silver lining was that when I was able to speak again, and was forced to explain my state of mirth, the guys in my team understood why I had found it funny without me having to explain.

Strangely they didn't find it as funny as I had though.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Ready to Rock

I got my broken Guitar Hero guitar exchanged today, and so now am fully ready for some two player action. First impressions of the new game are that
a) It's quite similar to the first one
b) I don't know many of the tunes

Neither of these are criticisms as such - there wasn't much wrong with the first game that needed fixing, and I'm sure I'll get to know the tunes I don't know so well, over time.

The main problem is that having a large plastic guitar controller propped up by the side of the telly has always looked a little silly. Now there are two of them and it looks like a Fisher Price band has been rehearsing in my lounge.

But anyhow. Let's Rock!

Running: 26 miles to go.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Take That Back

Just two things today:

1. The new Take That single, Patience is great. Full stop.

2. Guitar Hero 2 is out. I bought it with a guitar so that I'd have two in total and so would be able to play the multiplayer game. Sadly however, the new guitar seems to be a bit broken (the strum bar doesn't work properly) so I will have to cart the thing back to the shop tomorrow for a replacement :-(

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Back where I finished

Metroid Prime has gone well this evening, and I am now up to the point where three years ago I either gave up, got bored, got distracted or temporarily lost the use of my fingers. None of these things have happened to me this time around, and I think I have a very real chance of finishing it at the weekend.

Which will be nice, as then I can get back to doing normal stuff and maybe writing something interesting here. Well, obviously that latter won't happen.

Running: 31 miles to go.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Race Through Dark Places

There seemed to be some sort of local power failure near the station the other evening. A lot of the street lighting was out, including all the lighting in the Leeman Road tunnel that goes under the railway. This meant that the tunnel was very dark. There was a literal light at the end of the tunnel, but all this did was serve to make it seem darker in the tunnel itself. You could quite literally see nothing. Because it was dark.

I had to be careful to not walk into the old lady who was walking in front of me. I could just see a vague thing, with roughly the shape of an old lady, but absolutely no detail. I expect she was quite scared. I think old ladies must get scared in dark places.

Or perhaps they are used to it due to the blackouts in The Blitz. Maybe the darkness brought back happy memories for her.

Anyway because this happened a few days ago, before I started replaying Metroid Prime, I didn't think the following thought at the time: "I wish I had my thermal visor". I'd have thunk it now though.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Metroid Prime Revisited Again

And there goes a second evening in a row devoted almost entirely to replaying Metroid Prime. I made more good progress, but have not yet reached the point I had got to three years ago.

I hope there's not something useful that I'm supposed to be doing instead though...

Running: 34 miles to go.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Metroid Prime Revisited

I have a bad habit of buying computer games (that's not the bad part) and then never playing them properly. Not cos they're crap, just because I never seem to have enough time, and I'll often get distracted by other things - sometimes a new game will do it! Or sometimes I just go for weeks without touching a game at all. This means that of the many games I've bought over the years, I haven't finished as many of them as I should have done.

I was tempted to buy Gears of War at the weekend, but in a fit of sensibleness, I stopped myself. Instead, I decided I would play an old game instead and try and finish it. I chose Metroid Prime - a true classic, but one which I never got all the way through the first time I played. I think I maybe did about two thirds of it.

I was surprised on loading it up this evening that the last time I had played was March 2003 - three and a half years ago. It really didn't seem that long...

But it still plays brilliantly. I've just had three straight hours on it, and have pretty much cleared the Chozo Ruins. Now onto the Hot Bit (can't remember it's real name!) and after that... no idea. Things seem familiar as I get to them, but it's been too long since I last played for me to remember what's around every corner.

I can't see me finishing it before Wii is released here, but attempting to do so will be a fun challenge. And if I don't manage it, I can just play the game on the new console instead :-)

Right, back to Tallon IV I go!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I believe that children are the future

I'm not keen on the current trend in TV where shows aren't having proper opening title sequences anymore. Lost was the first one I really noticed - just a rubbish noise with the word "Lost" turning on the screen a bit. But it seems to be becoming more widespread, even on UK programmes. Torchwood for example, has an opening title sequence that's about three seconds long. And the otherwise fantastic Heroes has one that's very much in the Lost vein.

Thinking about it, even 24 doesn't really have a proper title sequence. I guess that's more excusable though, since it all takes place in real-time, which doesn't normally have a two minute break for a song every hour or so.

I don't want shows to start this way. I want tunes. I want songs. I want the main cast members doing things (with optional cheesy smile shots) one by one, with their names and actor names on screen - how else will I ever know anyone's name. Without this, type of thing, Tom Cruise would never have learnt Katie Holmes' name, and he'd still be calling her "that pixie-like girl off of Dawson's Creek". That may have stymied their relationship.

But most importantly, I'm thinking of the kids. I spend approximately 95% of my time singing old tv theme tunes. I'm particularly keen on Mysterious Cities of Gold and The Littlest Hobo. If we are to leave a similar legacy for our own children, we need to act now to restore songs to opening titles. This is actually important.

Someone should start a petition that could be given to Tony Blairs. He could try and sort it out.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Broken Reception

I used to have really good radio reception in my flat - never any major problems. Then earlier this year, it started to get quite bad and much harder to pick up a clear signal. Radio 1 is particularly patchy. Until last night I didn't have any idea why this had changed. I didn't worry about it too much.

Then, last night at a meeting of our Management Company, someone suggested a reason that sounded very plausible:

It's the bloody Yorkshire Wheel. The large 54 metre high metal wheel is probably acting as some kind of waveguide (no idea what that means) or something to mess up all those radio waves. Other people said they were having trouble with TV too. It seems to vary quite a lot within short distances, but the reception of all these devices is definitely much crapper than before the Wheel came.

I'm not an expert at physics (well, ok, I probably am compared to most of the public, but the finer points of electromagnetism are beyond me. I remember there being a lot of upside down triangles in the equations...) but this theory sounds more than plausible to me. Can anyone give an actual expert opinion here?

And can I sue?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Blind Ignorance

I passed a friend in town today. He appeared not to notice me and hence ignore my proffered smile. This could be considered rude. However, since he held in his hand a SpecSavers leaflet, I made the correct assumption that he was merely blind not rude.

Speccy get.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

No "Early Month" in 2006

After my awful sleep two nights ago, last night was much better. I was in bed, drifting off, well before ten. I did then wake up just before midnight 'cos I needed a wee, but it was actually quite nice to wake up in the night at that time and think "Fantastic! I've had two hours sleep already!". After that the night flew by. Still ended up being late for work though due to not getting out of bed quite early enough. Oh well.

Two years ago, in November, I decided to make a special effort to get into work before nine o'clock each morning. And I managed it. Last November I tried to get in before eight o'clock each morning (or possibly earlier - I forget) and I managed that too. Even after nights out drinking.

This year I haven't bothered to even try going in early. A slight shame as I quite liked the idea of having one particular month each year that would regularly be my "early month". But I think I like more the idea of not getting out of bed.

It was always good to be in at that quiet time though, when not many others are in yet. You can get so much more done when there are less distractions. Maybe this time, the others who get in before me (ie most of them) can get more things done when I'm not in to distract them!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Jelly Belly

I had such a f**king stomach ache last night it was untrue. Mainly my own fault, I think. Substituting a proper tea for some crisps and a big bag of Jelly Babies is not a recommended action. I think the babies formed a big jelly lump in me and didn't react well to the two and a half pints of Guinness that joined them soon after.

It was about four in the morning before I was finally able to sleep. Hence I have been a little tired today. I'm having an early night today. Goodnight world!

Moral of the story: Jelly Babies do not a good meal make, whatever Tom Baker says.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

And in today's FT

It's not like the Financial Times to resort to name-calling, but it seems they don't like Mr George Bush. Today, they actually refer to him as "Butt-Crack" on the front page! A bit harsh? No.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Museum of Madness

There's an article in today's Guardian about a Creationist museum that's going to open in Cincinnati. It's very funny. Or at least it would be if the people involved weren't serious. Actually, it's still funny, just in a different way.

These people are just bonkers. No two ways about it. They look at things with perfectly sensible explanations and seem to try and find the most ludicrous explanation they can think of, to ensure they fits in with the daft idea that the world is just six thousand years old and that everything in the Bible is actually true.

The bizarre thing about this museum is that they've got dinosaurs in there and are claiming that they were actually around within that short period but from before the fall of Man. Man and dinosaurs living together in perfect harmony. Isn't that sweet?

I'd actually quite like to go there once it opens, but I suspect I might get thrown out for ridiculing the exhibits.

Apparently, although the museum has a planetarium, it doesn't explain "what God thought he was doing when he made Pluto, or why". And did he mean it to be a planet or not? And if he did, what went wrong?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The final countdown

I've now passed the final (non-literal) milestone in the Run-a-Thon 500, and have obliterated the 90% complete point. Just 49 miles more to go. Still 49 miles more to go. I'm not sure which of those sentences is most appropriate. Sentence does seem an appropriate word though.

Unlike when I went out last Sunday, the skies were quiet and not filled with bangs and explosions. There were a number of times then when I was quite alarmed by the loud noises (this won't surprise anyone who has ever sat beside be during a fire alarm). I'd be a bad person in a war zone. Not bad in a war-criminal kind of way, just kind of generally not best. Please don't send me to war. I'd probably drop the gun on someone's foot.

Fireworks are really annoying. I'm pretty sure most people feel the same way - that they should be allowed to be used on the 5th November (or whatever date in your country you let the lunatics out) and at no other time, no exceptions. Clearly though there are plenty of people who don't agree and they have been out making noise every day this week. It's a shame more fireworks don't accidentally blow up when they're lit, or when you touch them. That would be something of a disincentive to use them.

I'm sure they were more dangerous when I was a kid. I remember all the public information films they had. You had to always, always keep them in a metal tin (preferably a biscuit tin, sans biscuits) and never go near them after they were lit. Now it's all films about the dangers of heavy drinking and having sex with bears. Kids today, huh?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Wii, wii, wii, all the way home

I've ordered myself a Nintendo Wii which is quite exciting. It won't be out for a few weeks yet though, so I will have to just wait.

I'm still not really sure exactly what it will feel like to play with. The controller is like a motion sensitive remote control that you can wave about and point at things. A bit mad. I'm sure it won't be long before I accidentally hit somebody with it. Or maybe even hit myself. I hope the edges aren't too sharp.

One thing I hadn't realised until today is that it will also play Gamecube discs, so I won't have to increase the number of boxes under my telly. I hope it's better at being backwards compatible than the Xbox 360 is with old Xbox games, where half of them don't actually work (yet?).

Friday, November 10, 2006

American Stuff

Twas good to see the Dem's do well in the elections yesterday. I think it was because the Repulicans spent too much time on hanging Sad rather than on hanging chads like last time. Ahem. I'm sure there's a good joke in there somewhere.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Tigger gets told off

This is possibly the best photo of me ever taken.

It's from Matt & Jen's wedding that I went to at the weekend and was taken by my brother in law. We have no idea what poor Tigger had done to deserve such a seeing to.

Perhaps he had been too bouncy again.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

5 Things

1. Yesterday I had my first mince pie of the festive season. Yum.

2. This Life is currently being repeated on TV. I never watched it much the first time round, but now it's mostly entertaining because of Jack Davenport's hair.

3. I'm enjoying series 2 of Prison Break, but surely this has to be the last one?

4. Lost is still going good guns, and the last one I saw was great - Monster! But do the flashbacks really generally add much? I like the way though that they have now introduced two survivors from the original crash who so far have never done anything at all, but are now able to look at things afresh and point out obvious things the regular characters have been too stupid to spot.

5. Speed Quizzing is cancelled on Tuesdays until after Christmas. This is just for information to avoid anybody reading turning up at Kennedy's expecting to put their fingers on some buzzers.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Am I Running Out?

I got the following automatic email today from Lotus Notes. I think it was having a bad day (paths in the following email have been changed for probably no good reason):

"** Directory Space Warning ***

This warning relates to your Personal Data Area \\DATA01\Lint\stuff

This message has been generated because -2.00% of the total allocation of
295.639 MB has been used. Once 100% is reached you will be unable to save any
more data to this directory.

You must now remove any unwanted files resident on your Personal Data Area

If you need help with any of the above please contact your relevant IT
Service Desk.

************* "

I wasn't sure what it means to have exceeded -2% of my allocation. I'm wasn't even sure whether it means I'm using more or less than -2%. I'm just confused. Again. I didn't bother to contact the service desk though.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A Sign In A Coffee Shop

Some signs in toilets are wronger than other signs in toilets. Here's one I found this morning in Costa Coffee in Ely:

Emergency sign in toilet

Here is a list of all the things that are wrong with this sign:

1. (Fundamental!) Since the alarm is disabled, it is unlikely that pulling the cord will have any effect.

2. In the unlikely event that the alarm did work, I find it unlikely that staff will immediately enter the toilet. Assuming they had some way to actually open the door (that I had locked) it would take some time for them to notice the alarm, move from their current location and give aid where it was required. We could be talking up to 30 seconds here, maybe. That is not in any way immediate.

3. The sign is punctuated as two sentences, when in fact it should be just one. The first full stop should be a comma. No excuse for that.

4. It's very red. Too red.

5. It has begun to peel from the wall. This makes the whole toilet appear scruffy and dilapidated.

6. Why would staff enter the toilet? It would be constricted, wet and smelly. I suspect they might enter the toilet room (subject to the constraints mentioned in 2 above), but not the toilet itself.

So overall it was a rubbish sign. It should have said "Here is a cord. Pull it if you like, but nothing is likely to happen if you do. Maybe the light will go off.".

Saturday, November 04, 2006


I'm off down to Ely for a wedding later. Technically when I say later, I mean about half an hour ago. Darn. Is it far?

Friday, November 03, 2006


Yesterday was the thirteenth Pub Treasure Hunt, and for the second time I was helping to organise it. Should have learnt my lesson the first time possibly. I think it went well. Certainly most people seemed to find their way to the end, which is a good thing.

I may well write more about it later. When I've started to remember...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I Smell Winter

Since the clocks went back at the weekend, winter seems to have come on apace. Suddenly there are drifts of leaves everywhere, like the trees were just waiting for a signal from Greenwich for them to drop their leafy loads.

But this is unlikely, because trees do not operate according to an arbitrary external system of time labelling, unlike say trains or video recorders. From the perspective of a tree, nothing would have changed at the weeekend, except that maybe people started passing it at a later time on Sunday morning. Perhaps a tree can actually pick up on this small signal and then start shedding.

Or maybe it was the weather getting cold that gave the trees the signal to lose their leaves. That sounds more likely.

But that begs the question... how did the weather know that the clocks had gone back???

I'm confused.