Saturday, March 31, 2007

Doctor Who and Fibbers

Hooray! Doctor Who returned to television today and got off to a great start. It was over too soon though.

I went to see another band last night - SixNationState at Fibbers. I was a little drunk on Cava (I'd had about a bottle) and some beer by the time I got there so my memory of the actual music is a little hazy but I think they were pretty good.

My brother-in-law knows the band a little bit and so I said hello to them (having a heads-up on the singer's name). Don't think I was too annoying.

Blow-powered keyboard!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Barenaked Ladies... are good!

Last night I went to meet an old school friend in Leeds and then go on to see the Barenaked Ladies. I wasn't really sure what to expect from them - I was a fan when I was about 18, but haven't really bothered with them since then.

The support was a good sign - Boothby Graftoe of of the comedy. He was very funny as always, especially the song "I'm a coward (and so's my father behind me)".

The BNL all seemed very jolly and opened with "One Week" which worked for me because I never really liked that one that much. After that there were a lot of songs I didn't really know and a few I knew a bit. Despite them all beiong very good, it probably wasn't until "Brian Wilson" that I remembered why I used to love them in the first place.

I'm tempted to get hold of some of the new stuff.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Getting Up Is Hard To Do

I'd really intended to get into work early today - I set my alarm early and everything. But when push came to shoving myself out of bed, it just didn't happen.

I have a general feeling of lethargy, perhaps brought on by a day filled mostly with meetings when I also have a load of actual things to do.

Oh well, I'll have a cup of tea.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Gnome Quizzing

You've got to love York - the only town in the UK (*) where you can see man called Alan (who used to drum in a 90s Britpop band) conduct a buzzer based quiz in a pub with a slightly rude name but excellent pizza.

We went there tonight and fielded a team called The Gnomes - I myself was not gnomelike but two of the others were on very low chairs and the fourth member had a big red beard. Seventh place out of eighteen. Not impressive and no prizes won. But I did get to have a nice pizza for my tea.

(* apart from Bolton where Alan from Oasis does the buzzer-quiz every Wednesday night in the Fudgepackers' Arms)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Spring Forwards...

Last night we went into town to eat at the new Strada that's opened up. This decision was in no way influenced by the fact that I had received a voucher for a free bottle of wine there. It's a nice enough looking place - smart and modern and the room seems to be shaped in a very similar way to Tuscany Pizza.

Food was mostly good, though one of the fish had a bit too much skin on it.

York itself seemed to be unusually full of idiots though. Saturday nights are normally a bit leary, especially around Micklegate, but it seemed worse than normal this week. Loads of stag and hen nights, and random drunks wandering around shouting at people and things. I'm not sure what had led to this increase - one suggestion was that there are a lot of people getting married at Easter, which is soon (unless the idiot church moves it again).

I think it may have had more to do with the clocks going forward and the fact that this had fallen on a Saturday night this year. I think that when people realised that they would have a hour's less drinking time after midnight, they would have chosen to start drinking earlier. This meant then that at half eight they were actually half nine drunk.

I, myself, wasn't planning to drink after midnight (cos I turn into a Gremlin) and so I was not overtly affected by the change. Except for the hour less of Sunday that I have today.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Playstation 3: Why?

I accidentally bought a PS3 this afternoon. I hadn't really meant to, but when I found that pretty much nowhere had actually sold out I thought I'd grab one. First impressions:

1. It's big, but much prettier than the original PS2.
2. It's shiny!
3. There aren't really any games worth playing on it at the moment.
4. Backwards compatability works ok, but you can't use old PS2 memory cards without a special adaptor. FFXII and FFVII work fine, Singstar works but I haven't checked whether you can plug in the mikes, Guitar Hero doesn't work.
5. The online store seems much faster to access than the Wii one. There's a nice Lemmings game to download. I couldn't be arsed to play more than the first level though.
6. Blu-ray: It has this, but I don't really see the point of it at the moment.
7. Wireless. The Xbox 360 is so crap in the way you have to spend an extra 60 quid to get the wireless adaptor. Like the Wii, PS3 has it built in from the start.
8. There's a door that opens on the front with some slots behind it. I don't know what they're for.
9. I wonder if it plays normal DVDs?
10. It really is very shiny. I think that's actually the best thing about it.

Actually the best thing is Step 4 in the Getting Started guide: "Connect the wireless controller to the system using a USB cable".


Yesterday: Drunk.
Today: Drunk.
Tomorrow: Drunk.
Some time: Will write something.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Idlewild in Leeds

I went to see Idlewild in Leeds on Sunday night.

Idlewild and a light

The set was a good range from across their band lifetime - not too many songs missing that I'd expected to be there.

There was an item of merchandise that I'd not seen before from other bands - a cloth Idlewild shopping bag (£10). I'm not sure how much crossover there is between fans of Scots rock music and people who take their own shopping bags to the shops. Maybe they only had one made up and just have it on the merch desk as a joke, knowing that nobody will ever buy it. I didn't buy it.

Unrelatedly (as far as I know) Roddy has been going through a bit of a folk phase recently and as part of this he has been sporting a particularly silly beard. I'm pleased to say that there was little evidence of it on Sunday and that he is now back to looking like a normal wee Scottish laddie again.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Monday Highlights

I've had a fairly uneventful day 1 of my week off. Here are some of the highlights:

1. The annoying woman in Subway put cheese on my sandwich for no sensible reason. Luckily I couldn't really taste it - I had been a bit worried that it might make the whole thing inedible and lead to me being hungry.
2. I watched Saw 3. Definitely not as good as the first one (or the second one either) but still fun in an inventively nasty way. I like the bit with the cows.
3. I finally got around to contacting my local recycling scheme so they can send me a container to put things in.

Bet you wish you were me.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Week Off

I have a week off work, but no significant plans for it. I'm not going away, repainting, touring York or doing any of the other things that can be done in a week. What I think I will do instead is play Final Fantasy XII (not to be confused with Final Fantasy X2, possibly the silliest named game ever). I'll do this on my sofa and I may shower first. I may not. You can do things like that when you don't have to go out.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Bowling Badly

I went bowling tonight. We played two games and my scores were 56 and 77. Not good. Barely even reaching the realm of s**t. I blame it on the cider.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Dead Tree?

I thought my Bonsai tree had died - all the leaves had dropped off. But now it seems to be making a recovery and starting to grow some again. Are they deciduous? Or do they just hibernate like hedgehogs?

I wish they had bonsai hedgehogs.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Wireless Notworking

A friend who lives in a nearby flat is moving soon and so arranged for his broadband connection to be disconnected. He gave his provider the one month's notice they required. Typically, they disconnected it straight away like idiots, leaving him without t'internet. So I said I'd let him share my wireless connection for a bit.

Now, my router was setup to use WPA security, but annoyingly this isn't compatible with the Nintendo DS - it can only use the inferior WEP. All my other wireless things, the Xbox, the Wii and the computers are fine with WPA. But not the DS. Curse you Nintendo!

So I figured I'd take the opportunity to downgrade the security to WEP so that a) I wouldn't have to give away one of my (oh so secret) passwords and b) so that I could use the DS online.

I should have learnt by now that it's not the cleverest thing in the world to change the wireless security settings on a wireless router whilst connected to it wirelessly. As soon as you change the settings you lose the connection and then things seem to start going wrong. This time I managed to mess things up more than normal and it took me a good half hour to get things working again and in the process I deleted all my keychain passwords. That'll no doubt annoy me for a few weeks.

And through all that I never managed to get WEP working - I just couldn't get the computer to connect with it. No idea why, as I know I've made it work in the past. This time I was a bit annoyed and worried that I might f**k things up even more so I just re-set up WPA with a brand new password and left it at that. Now I think I have everything working again...

Anyway, the connection is apparently working from my friend's flat, so he's happy.

If anybody knows a way to get a DS connected to a WPA network, please let me know!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Mother's Day Presents

Mother's Day is coming up and just like normal I plan to get a lovely present for my mum. Because she is a nice mum, the thing that makes her happiest is for me to be happy. Therefore I plan to give her the best present of all, the present of happiness. And I will do this by making me happy by buying some cool stuff for me, going to see Idlewild in Leeds and by having some beer.

I am so kind!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Turns to stone

Knaresborough is a small town in North Yorkshire. You can tell it's a town rather than a village because it has a Woolworths. It also has the original Petrifying Well - The townsfolk started to franchise these in the 1960s and there are now a number of successful wells around the UK. In my opinion though the Knaresborough one is still the best, and not just because it's in Yorkshire.

The idea is that you take something normally fluffy and nice, like a teddy bear, a hat or a little kitten, and you then hang it up (carefully and gently in the kitten's case!) under a little waterfall thing. Because they add large quantities of calcium to the water, the things that have been hanged go hard and appear to turn into stone after a few months. It works well. It's not as efficient as using a gorgon but those guys are in short supply these days due to the Greeks not playing ball with the EU's labour market policies.

Petrifying Well (1)

Last time I visited this particular branch of The Petrifying Well, I had left behind my friend (the one for whom we've since been using the cover story about "moving to Australia") to transmogrify him into a big rock that would be suitable for display in a museum or sculpture gallery - some of the better museums will pay anything up to fifty English Pounds for a good quality fossilised man - it's a good way of earning extra income!

He was nearly ready but still a bit soft in a few places so will need a couple of months more before he can be moved to a dryer place.

Pointless Lemon Rapping

We visited Knaresborough today. Lunch was in a bar called So! in the town centre. Pretty decent food, and very friendly and helpful staff. We did make a small complaint but they gave us a couple of free beers in return, so that's a result as far as I'm concerned.

A big question I had though is when you have fish and chips:


... what really is the point of wrapping the half of lemon in paper? I realise it'll maybe catch the pips should one decide to squeeze the lemon, but even so, we're grown ups who can easily avoid pip-incidents. If one falls on to the dinner we can move it to the side of the plate. etc. etc.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Nice Music For The Kiddies

I was excited to see that Tindersticks have put together a children's album. Of all the bands I'd expect to do that, they would be in possibly the bottom 10. Just below Slipknot.

I expect it'll be excellent though. I will be getting myself a copy for myself. And if it's good, the nephs may get one too. Or if it's not good they might get my copy.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Introducing The Fat Cage

I don't remember why, but at lunchtime I was walking down some stairs and I was wondering how fat people managed to do that. Not mildly plump people, but the real big fatties. I normally find that I need to look down to watch my feet and make sure that they are destined to hit the next stair. If I was really fat, my belly would obscure this view and I might misplace a foot leading to disaster.

I thought of two possible answers to this dilemma:
1. Fat people don't mind if they accidentally fall over, even down stairs, because they bounce and hence avoid harm.
2. Fat people don't use stairs (this is why they are fat).

So I think that solves it. When we discussed this in the office later, a friend mentioned an invention he'd thought of - The Fat Cage. What this would do is restrict access to certain things for fat people whilst providing minimal hindrance to those of a more moderate size. The sorts of things you might wish to restrict access to include (but are not limited to): nightclubs, nice restaurants, pies, fertility clinics and rollercoasters.

It works by erecting a set of vertical bars (like a cage) between where the fat people are and where you don't want them to be. They would be spaced close enough together so that anyone of a certain size would not be able to pass through without a serious diet, whilst anyone else could just get through without any real hassle. They could be used in conjunction with a doorway for restricting access to rooms or corridors, or in an actual cage-like formation for restricting access to cake bushes or doughnut trees.

It's hard to see a bad point and this invention. The only strange thing is why it does not seem to exist already!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Good Band Names

I won't comment much on the quality of the music, but I heard two bands on the radio tonight with great names. The singles that were played were good, but not as good as the names. This doesn't normally bode well for bands - far too often the successful ones have short boring names (often beginning with "The"). But such is life, and such is the great public.

The names I encountered today were:
- The Strange Death of Liberal England
- Snowfight in the City Centre.

See, both good.

If I was going to name a band tonight... Here are some great band names I've just thought of (not real ones, as far as I know):

1. The Wind Tonight Will Raise Heckles
2. Badgers!? Who Said We Couldn't Eat Badgers?
3. We Bought The Drummer From Homebase In A Sale
4. You Can Abbreviate This To YCATT(IYWTO) (If You Want To)
5. Dough-balls

All great.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Yesterday evening there was a lunar eclipse in the sky. I don't recall ever having seen one before. It was interesting but not hugely spectacular. First the moon went a bit grey, then it went a bit red. Later on it went back to normal. In the meanwhile, I drank some red wine.

I also tried to take a few photos but since I only had my phone camera, and it was dark, they didn't come out well. Like a big black thing with a white blob in the middle.

It struck me that it's a shame Earth isn't shaped like a bat. Because if it was, it would make a bat shadow on the moon during a lunar eclipse and it would be like when they turn the bat-signal on. That would be cool.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

It doesn't age well...

Tonight I found myself watching the STOS episode, The City On The Edge Of Forever. It has a rep, I think, for being one of the best ever episodes. I also remember seeing it as a kid and thinking it was great. Tonight, it was rubbish. There goes that illusion...