October 2003 Archives
October 29, 2003
ADSL is up and running, via a moderately hideous USB modem, some genuinely shudder-worthy shenanigans with WinXP Internet Connection Sharing, more network tricks than I knew I knew, and so many layers of firewalls and intrusion detection systems, I really don't know if I'll be able to find them all myself if I ever want to turn them off again.
I have 196 unread messages, 1456 junk mails (barring a few false positives that have doubtless sneaked in), 1034 unread headlines in NetNewsWire, and hosting requests totally three blogs and one photo gallery.
Much more importantly, I have a kitchen with a wonderful walk-in fridge, a lounge (a lounge!) with sofas and my first non-crap TV, curtains in the bedroom, a blind in the study, and very very little stuff still in other peoples' flats.
Mind you, I also have a mountain of cardboard that's substantially bigger than my car.
Normal service and so on and so forth.
October 20, 2003
Old Farsley proverb say: 'The wise man checks carefully the ground beneath his Transit van, lest there be fox shit amongst the gravel.'
Sorry, Richard, and thanks heaps for helping with the washing machine.
October 19, 2003
You stand in the hallway of your flat, your shoes leaving curiously-shaped marks on the dark-stained wooden floorboards. The walls, in a contrasting scheme of matte plum and gloss dark purple, are less alarming than seems reasonable. A single hanging bulb fights to impose its influence on the light streaming through open doors to the sides. To the south are tastefully built-in display shelves. On the middle shelf, spot-lit from above, is a plastic teaspoon. It matches the walls.
North: A leaded-glass door leads to the stairwell. South: an open doorway reveals the kitchen, all shining white units and careful underlighting. A bin bag lurks on the floor, part-filled. On the counter, a scattering of official-looking paperwork, and a range of cleaning products. On the hob is a small and precariously-balanced espresso pot. South-West: The dark-stained floorboards continue into the lounge, ending at a large angled bay window overlooking the road outside. Happily, the plum/purple walls are not continued, the lounge walls being a more restrained oatmeal colour. There is a picture rail, and a large old fireplace, suitable for leaning on while quaffing port. On the mantlepiece ticks a clock with two faces, one labelled 'Jonathan time,' the other 'real time.' The only other object in the lounge is a director's chair with 'Mr Hitchcock' stencilled on the back. North-West: A bedroom or study, carpeted in pale beige and with the same oatmeal walls as the lounge. A surprisingly small window looks out onto the street. The only object within is a bright yellow bicycle pump, placed upright dead-centre in the room. Perhaps it's an art installation? North-East: A long, very narrow bathroom, with pine that's tasteful in the same way the purple hall isn't alarming. A huge mirror backs the sink, a part-wall backing the shower and bath and almost blocking the snickelway to the toilet. A variety of bleaches, soaps and cleaning products are placed carefully. South-East: the master bedroom, carpeted like the other (or is that a study?). Oddly-shaped, thanks to a defunct chimney breast, a cupboard that, on inspection, contains a combi boiler with initially indecipherable controls, and a bite taken out to accommodate the kitchen. The bedroom is empty.
- A set of keys.
- A receipt for a gigantic fridge-freezer, to be delivered on Tuesday.
- A Post-It note on which is scribbled:
- A British Telecom account number.
- A job number for ADSL activation from Pipex.
- Meter readings from when you moved in.
- A phone number for a shadowy government quango who may be able to tell you who to give the meter readings to.
October 16, 2003
They don't call me 'Jonny Three-Flats' for nothing. Renting in Leeds, lodgings in Glasgow, and now - my own pad in Glasgow. Fan-bleedin'-tastic. And it is the one I thought it was, which is reassuring.
All this, on the day the Daily Express's top story was headlined 'Mortgage Rates to Rise - Decade of Misery for Homeowners.' Oh, well, too late now.
Twelve hours from now, I shall be in debt for the next twenty-five years.
October 15, 2003
Much as I dislike regurgitated linkblogging, Vinay's spot of 'Ugly Wedding Dress of the Day' absolutely cracks me up.
October 13, 2003
Further to Mark's vending machine catastrophe:
At my workplace we have a close cousin of the non-vending machine, in the form of a deceptively posh coffee dispenser. In goes the money clink-clink-clink-oh, it's gone up again-clink. Press the button for 'coffee,' and the little flap thing elegantly servos open. Select coffee from baffling array of choice, taking care to avoid the hazelnut-laced obscenity that surely, any day now, will be impounded by the UN Chemical Weapons Inspectorate. Place chosen pouch of hopeful brew in flap thing, carefully position cup below nozzle... final checks, discretionary clearance from the tower, flaps closed... and we're away.
Glugging. Pressure builds. Steam vents. Inside the flap thing a gentle tearing sound presages a thunderous rupture. Coffee sprays from the flap thing in a scalding torrent, the run-off trickling neatly down the side of the cup. The outside.
When the steam and smoke and grounds and terror dissipate, with luck, the cup contains a scant mouthful of oily richness. Which tastes of burnt sugar and... is that?... yes! A faint hint of hazelnut.
I'll try again tomorrow.
You'll understand what I'm about to write if (and only if?) you've experienced Harvey Nichols' genuinely divine pesto, particularly the version before they took the walnuts out: I've found something possibly even better. Bocca della verita's Coriander and Chilli pesto is, quite simply, glorious. Lots of ginger and lemon going on, just enough chilli to bite, fresh as spring. Wonderful.
There are two problems: first, the jars are rather small. Second, I don't recall where I bought it. Could have been Tebay services on the M6, or one of the specialist shelves in Asda, Safeway, Somerfield or Sainsbury's.
Drat. Only one serving left.
Edit: It's in Sainsbury's.
October 11, 2003
Next week I'm moving home; this week, I'm going to type quick notes of things that strike me as I pack.
- I'm now a very rusty and, thus, completely rubbish club juggler.
- The largest thing I've thrown away so far is an old duvet that's been in the way for months. The second-largest thing is the Granada Production Health & Safety Policy. It's a close contest, and technically the jury's still out.
- Come to think of it, my entire back-catalogue of New Scientist was probably larger.
- I have a terrific solution to the problem of packing wineglasses: break them first. I've only got one left now. Excellent.
- Packing a foot-thick futon mattress back in its giant plastic sack is absolutely as difficult as it sounds.
- Most obscure thing turned up so far that's actually worth keeping: a reprint of Determination of the mechanism of activation of the Ni-zeolite-Y catalyst by computational techniques, from Journal of Computer-Aided Materials Design 1 (1993) 169-176. Authors: AR George, JS Sanderson (sic) & CRA Catlow, The Royal Institution, London. Also, some print-out from the old UCL Cray - the one I crashed.
- Whatever I used, five years ago, to stick my speakers to their stands: it's now the most disgusting substance I think I've encountered. Ugh.
I'm now very nearly done, except for the kitchen which will have to wait until next weekend. Unfortunately, it's half past ten and a four hour drive to Glasgow. So... guess it's an early start tomorrow, then? Bah.
For the record: ratio of bin bags to boxes is very nearly 2:1. I'm so proud. I now know what entire decades of my life amount to: Landfill.
October 10, 2003
Some time ago, I was listening to the incomparable Secret Agent stream from SomaFM, when a terrific track came along. After a while I pinned it down to one Tommy Guerrero, pro-skateboarder turned muso, and I've been a fan ever since. Partly because I like his albums, but also because practically every track sounds like terrific backing to some scene or other.
Tonight, for the first time, I heard one of his album tracks in a TV show. In Sex and the City, alongside a bunch of Zero7 songs.
Bear in mind that the last time I felt this way about music, the song in question was A Little Less Conversation. Which, contrary to popular opinion, kicked off long before the Gilliam-directed Nike advert. So keep an eye on Guerrero. Maybe, just maybe...
October 9, 2003
As the dedicated reader may remember, I've retained my childhood fascination with flight simulators, my current favourite being X-Plane. A curious product, it's written by essentially one chap, by the name of Austin Meyer.
Jealous? Me? Er... yeah, OK. A little. :-)
October 8, 2003
My God, it's full of stars.
Is this the most beautiful blog out there?
I just paged through my junk-filtered mail folder looking for false positives, then purged the remainder. I found two mails that shouldn't have been labelled 'junk' - and binned 3124 messages. This since September 1st.
[update, ten minutes later: Argghh! 83 more!]
October 7, 2003
A little while ago, I posted a scathing little knee-jerk entry about the 'transposed letters' meme that was flying around on the net. If you've not followed the discussion that ensued in the comments, it's worth a look. First, ex-colleague of mine Sophia Collins (great to hear from you, chuck - sorry I haven't replied - being as crap as usual) did what nobody else online seemed to, and tracked down the original paper. Then somebody else weighed in.
And now the original author himself has showed up. Read on. Oh, and er... I think it's me that's had the bouffant hair, though unusually not at present.
Shock! Derren Brown's Russian Roulette stunt might have been a trick? No! Really?
Seriously - if you were the producer, how could you possibly sign off on the risk assessment?
dit dit de dee dit dee de dit de...
Here are the headlines from the last five days of Jonathan's life:
BONG! Mortgage offer received, paperwork in final throes!
BONG! Amusing Get Shorty-inspired car hire moment, as Fiesta turns into gigantic and hideously ugly people carrier!
BONG! Steve and Amanda finally married. Nation says: about bloody time too!
BONG! Lovely event, by the way; ballroom dancing not quite as rusty as feared; oft-missed friends still officially Top People!
BONG! Old chum Ben seen for first time in five years!
BONG! Decisions made at work, progress believed imminent!
BONG! Drop by Alan & Jules' place, give them a hug!
BONG! Mija joins deletetheweb community!
And finally... I've found a small metallic disc that goes 'ping!' and jumps two feet in the air. Which is nice.
October 2, 2003
'It's never dull in Hull', apparently.
But hey, I've done the fish trail - and the brown dust is, I believe, 'seasoning salt,' a mix of salt, pepper, and paprika. Must be a new thing - I don't recall it being common around East Park in the 70s/80s.
'What the hell is wrong with Apple?' asks Mark Morford of the SF Gate Chronicle. Hear, hear.
My friend Violet was so excited by her new PowerBook's box, she had to hide it from herself and wait for company to arrive before she even opened it. As for iPods - the experience of unpacking one should be on the national curriculum.
They don't call us 'Apple Evangelists' for nothing.