bloing The owentams server is up and running   "putting the oin in blog"

Monday, September 30, 2002


I have the day off work today. The idea was to get lot's off stuff done, including some much overdue blogging. I especially wanted to do a proper reply to the "Justify Thyself" post. Unfortunately, I became rather poorly yesterday. Some sort of cold type thing with a throat infection. My head's feeling all grogsome and my eyes all dizzy droopy. The brain's kerflumped and typing painful (achy, breaky fingers). My words are all Bill & Ben-like. Flobber dobber blob. I just can't seem to hold one thought long enough to think through the thought that needs thunking 'cos it keeps slip, slopping away.

On the plus side, I was feeling so rough yesterday that smoking really didn't appeal so I decided to take the advantage and try and give up. I'd been planning on giving up for a while now. Pretty much since I started the stupid habit I guess. Given that was over a decade ago now I guess it hasn't gone very well to date. I'd already decided this year was going to be the year and the plan had been to wait until the duty free ran out. I changed my mind because it seemed to make sense to go through the painful withdrawal process whilst (a) feeling like rubbish already and (b) not being at work.

Currently my brain's thought loops are along the lines of: Bleurgh. Feel poo. Wanna ciggie. Oh yeah, I've given up. What can I do instead? Nothing 'cos my brains full of fugginess. I feel poo. Wanna ciggie ...

I just know a ciggie would make me feel better but having gone more than 24 hours it would just be daft to change my mind now. Let me see if a cup of tea will be enough of a drug hit to fool the old addiction urges .... It helps. Not enough though. On the plus side this hasn't been as bad as last time I tried to give up. So far I haven't yelled, freaked out, cried or any of the usual cold turkey stuff. I just want a little smoke - continuously.

Right time to grab a duvet and curl up in front of some music videos.

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Saturday, September 28, 2002

My Latest Excuse

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Sunday, September 22, 2002

Give it up

I have a problem with words. Don't get me wrong. Words are wonderful and books probably make it into my top 10 treasures of life. I do have a problem with some grammar and spelling though. I was lucky enough to have a pretty decent schooling. So there's been many a figure who's tried to hammer the basics into me. Some words I can spell a treat. Big words don't scare me but some times even the little ones faze me. I can never see the logic behind chose/choose and loose/lose for example. Many who encounter my spelling (pre-spell-checker) scoff at what I get wrong. There's some words I never get right and bug me endlessly. Necessary, occaisionaly, accomodation, truely no truly and others are old enemies (left as I guessed them - oh, dear). Spell checkers get those ones every time though and I quickly adapted a life-style that meant I could type rather than write. I remember confusing teachers with the issue of whether it was appropriate to hand in GCSE English in typed format. It was the first year of GCSEs and no one really knew. I got away with it. :o)

At school, my comprehension was superb. I'd read more than most and could generally glean a lot of what was offered. Composition varied though. I had a tendency to vary my tenses and never got off on the formality of some conventions. There's a lot I learnt and sympathised with but equally there was a wealth of instructions that just seemed nonsensical to me. I consider myself very logical. As far as I'm concerned the importance of the written or spoken word is to communicate. If you say your thing and you are understood, or even better ... accepted, then that's the goal reached for me. Why insist on something if it has no direct benefit. Unlike most Englishmen I applaud our American cousins attempts to simplify spelling. Why shouldn't colour be spelt color? There's no mistaking the meaning. Nothing's lost. It's one less letter to type/write :o). It's just a shame they didn't finish the job.

Trying to help young kids who don't speak English as their first language really drives some of this stuff home. Here's a starter for ten, why would you "read the red book after you have read the other red book"? These are the starting points for reading. What sparked of this rant? I recently read the most exciting chapter to date of the Phillip Pullman Dark Materials Trilogy ("The Theft" in "The Subtle Knife"). It was a thrilling sequence of events. One minor quibble with this superb piece of writing was the use of the word "lighted". This one has always bugged me. It's wrong. Simple as that. I have never heard someone say "the room was lighted". Everyone knows it was "lit". I am aware that "lighted" is technically correct. However, it's a simple observation that it sucks. Deference to "lit" I say.

By the way the Phillip Pullman's are so good that I feel justified in concentrating on this minor disappointment :o). If you haven't read them I highly recommend them. Too old for kid's books? Does that include the Narnia series? Harry Potter? Lord of the Rings? Of those three, my current impression is that this series has most in common with C.S.Lewis. On the other hand, Pullman's subtext seems to stem from a different motive. Lewis was as embroiled in Christianity as Orwell was in politics. Pullman, however, is fusing religion and science in a manner which could challenge atheists and believers in equal measures. That's the kind of challenge I applaud.

Straight into the third one. I'm really hooked now. It looks like he's not going to pussy foot about with his blend of religion, philosophy, common sense, myth and advanced science. A heady mixture all wrapped up a trilogy that seems appropriate to almost any reader at some level and is a fantastically stimulating fantasy.

I have more stuff to say about words. Some good and fun stuff rather than rants. I'll leave it to another time though as this has been long enough. Time to spell check this baby and post ;o). By the way, I recommend spell.vbs if you have Word installed. It allows you to spell check anything in the clipboard via a shortcut or Quick Link in Internet Explorer. A little slow but very handy.

[Update: Thanks to Squodge for the proof-reading and spotting the three further (unintentional) errors in my prose!]

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The ADSL is fixed! Yay! The house is clean(ish)! Yay! Only a three day week ahead of me! Yay! Exclamation marks! Yay!

Thanks to everyone who's commented to my previous post. It's much appreciated. The initial feedback has inclined me towards thinking a little blogging is better than no blogging. For that, I thank you!

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Thursday, September 19, 2002

Justify thyself

OK. The plan is to do this once only and then refer back to here if necessary. My life is pretty busy at the moment. I'm basically splitting my time between four main areas. There's work, the house, sleep and attempting to stay sane (this last also being known as fun, family and friendship). These four areas have me pretty tied up right now and I'm not sure what could give way to anything else. My dilemma is, I'm not quite sure where blogging fits into the current time management categorising. For the record, I guess I got into blogging for many reasons, including:

Well ...:

So what it boils down to is: How do I justify blogging? I'm really struggling here. I want to blog on and I happily would if I didn't have a house that needs almost everything doing to it, a (surprisingly) strong commitment to my job, and a need for a life and sleep. I'd really appreciate any visitors thoughts on this. How do you justify your investment in blogging? Dramatically speaking, I'm looking for the reason to go on ;o).

For now, my lack of Internet activity is further compounded by practicalities. My ADSL is down. It seems to re-sync with the exchange every 5 minutes. That's the best answer I can get from the 'Net. On way or another, there's a lot of disconnecting and reconnecting going on. I assume it's a consequence of the Sparkies rewiring the phones. They seemed distinctly unsure about ADSL. We've had some Cat5 laid down in a configuration that I've not been informed of yet. Basically, the plan is that it will just be used to provide phone ports in other rooms right now. Should we wish to, it's hoped that we could reuse the wiring to extend the network at a later date. (There wasn't enough cash to hand to do a decent patch panelesque set up at this time.) It could be a problem at the exchange. Who knows. All in all, I expect I'll be mouse-like awhile :o(.

On the plus side, yesterday I started the evening by attempting to avoid an inevitable row by drinking port and having a smoke. Well, it seemed better than all the cleaning we were supposed to do. Now I wouldn't condone getting squiffy as the best argument avoidance technique but I have to say it worked a treat on this occasion. I love port. One of the warmest alcoholic glows I know. I drink it more like a philistine than a connoisseur. I'm happy with the bottle of 'alright' stuff and a large glass so I can drink it like wine. Anyway, the upside of that "warmth" was there seemed no point in continuing to clean up. So I got a chance to blog. The words were flowing as freely as the ruby nectar and instead of having a barney we talked rubbish most of the evening. So thanks to the conversational diversions and the artificial muse, I had both the stimuli and the ability to type up a few words. That should mean I've got a few blogs line up for the near future. I've got to finish clearing up after the workmen first though. You wouldn't believe what a task that alone is proving to be!

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Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Johnny Vaughan

Johnny Vaughan proved to be the perfect program after all the September 11th television. His suggestion of taking advantage of the Royal Mail's idea to charge any receiver of forwarded mail 80p got a round of applause from this house. His suggestion was to return all junk mail. I think his words were 'Let's do it! Let's stuff those tree killing bastards!'. Lifted the old spirits. Now if only we could do the same with all that Spam. (BTW Can't confirm the 80p thing yet though. Anyone else?)

It's always a pleasure to see Elvis Costello, one of Johnny's guests. It's prompted me to put his Greatest Hits onto an mp3 for tomorrow. Also downloading some tunes to accompany my latest book, Tony Hawk's One Hit Wonderland. Following his pursuits to get a hit record. He's even touring in October (but no London gigs it seems).

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I just watched the 9/11 documentary as, I'm sure, many others around the world did today. A deeply moving experience.

My better half has already written about our experience that day a year ago. The last day of our honeymoon.

I hope with all my heart that this anniversary will mark an opportunity for everyone around the world to remember the importance of each human's life. My thoughts are with all those who's lives were affected by the tragedy. If you have a god, may they be with you. May peace be with everyone.

Sonic Memorial Project.

c/o BBC Radio 4

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Sunday, September 08, 2002

Home, Abroad and in the Gutter

Another quiet week on the blogging front. Tuesday, as you can see, I demolished a kitchen in preparation for the plumber's arrival tomorrow. Wednesday I was at a work do. Thursday I recovered (and played a little - it's my clan's Counter Strike practice night). Friday we were out. Saturday we tried to clean up some of the layers of dust left by the electricians and catch up on paperwork. In fairness I played a bit yesterday when I could have blogged, but I didn't have much to blog about (as you can see ;o). Perhaps in the future, I can free up some time for blogging by letting my computer play for me. Apparently it learns your gaming style and can just carry on when you're away. Copying my style should be quite easy: Run round the corner; look lost; get killed.

Seeing as there's not much news from home, here's some from abroad. Stuck behind the Great Firewall of China? Just siht yrt. With just three days left till the anniversary of the 911 tragedy, it's interesting to reflect on the changes to American's legal rights during that time. On a related topic, I know Gert's views on the US/Iraq war made the blog rounds recently. Here's another interesting article from a Japanese perspective.

P.S. Wanna see who's the No. 1 Cutiepop in the world (well on Google.Com anyway :o). I enjoyed that so much that I might try it again some day. There's plenty of opportunity. For example, did you know there are only 2 entries for bollicles on Google?

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Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Why I Didn't Blog Much Tonight

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Yay! Cutiepop makes it to number 2 on Google UK. He he.

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Sunday, September 01, 2002

ntl: still crap

I have been catching up on my blogroll but I don't know if I'll ever be able to stay on top of it regularly! So much to read. Thanks everyone for some great posts. I've mainly been leaving comments rather than creating my own posts. One particularly nice find was one from the Guardian Online blog entitled "NTL: still crap. To which my comment was:

Hear! Hear! NTL were appalling for the couple of years I was with them. They never knew what they were doing and they treated their legacy customers (I was Videotron then CWC) very badly. Appalling customer support. They lied to me and then took over 200 which I believe they had no right to. I would avoid them as the plague. Leaving them was one of the most wonderful things I did. Mind you, even then they asked me why I was leaving and I said similar to the above. They then asked me if I was moving to an ntl: area! I suggested that even if I knew there was no chance I would do any business with them again!

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