Archive for February 2007

Work And Play

Posted on Thursday 1st March 2007 at 00:00
An acquaintance of mine has the coolest home office I have ever seen. It is a reasonably sized room, maybe 12 foot by 8, with a pine floor, light coloured walls and wooden office blinds at the windows. Along two adjacent walls are a length of custom built fitted desk units. They've been designed and installed with a clear understanding of their use, and everything is in exactly the right place. Granted, the main computer in use is a Mac, but that almost doesn't matter because everything is so lovely. The desks themselves form a single, unbroken surface along the two sides of the room and are nothing short of massive. I'd guestimate that they are nearly a full metre in depth.

All the cables for all the computers have been run down the back, through specially positioned holes, and are kept totally out of sight, thanks to panels at the back of the foot wells that run from the desk surface right to the floor, seemingly without any gaps and leaving none of the ugly stuff showing. It must be a pain if you ever want to switch anything around, but it is so perfect that I can't imagine ever wanting to. With the aid of a wireless desk set it has been possible to totally obscure all the wires in the room.

That's not to say you can't get to stuff if you really need to. I once spent an afternoon in there working on my laptop, and as you'd expect after a couple of hours the battery ran flat. I looked around for a mains socket to plug the machine into but couldn't see any. Eventually I asked my neighbour if there was anywhere I could plug in, and he pointed at my legs. I was confused at first, until I felt the underside of the desk at which I was sat, whence my fingers grasped a four-way extension lead, screwed upside down to the underside of the desk, in exactly the right position to plug in any portable equipment you might choose to bring in with you.

Not that you really need much, it has to be said. It would take quite some imagination to think of a device that has been forgotten, either on the desk itself or hidden away in a convenient cubby hole. Pretty much every gadget, peripheral and tool ever invented for use with a computer is there and you know what? It is one of my highest life ambitions to have a home office like that.

The problem comes down to a different outlook on life. This acquaintance of mine has every gadget under the sun, but rarely plays with them. The computer is never switched off, but equally never has a computer game on its display. The gadgets, the computers and the office are strictly for work. Understandable perhaps, given that the guy works from home, but I can't imagine a time in my life when I'll be able to do that.

Right now I am supposed to be writing a 2,500 word research project for my degree, which must be handed in no later than 2pm tomorrow. That isn't very long away, and if I want to get any sleep tonight I really should get on with it. But instead I'm writing this.

You see, I love computers. Absolutely love them. I love the technology life style, the always on connectivity, the broadband, the wireless, the general greatness of it all. Hell, I even love Microsoft Word! At least, when I'm writing my blog I love it. Since starting this blog, I decided it was necessary to put a little more thought into spelling and grammar and so I started writing all my posts in Word before copying them into my browser, thus getting use of the spell checker. Now Word has become my most used app. I have it open every single day.

Yet, the second I start having to do some work with it, I hate it. Absolutely hate it. The computer becomes shit, the software is shit, the gadgets are crappy and even my new wireless keyboard is a pile of junk. The problem is that computing is a hobby of mine, and as such I can pick it up and put it down whenever I feel like it. But when I have to do proper work, I'm forced to use the computer and Word etc whether I want to or not. There is no freedom, no waiting for the right mood. I just have to get on with it. It is for this reason that I'll never be able to get that office, or if I do, I'll never be able to appreciate it. Work takes the fun out of everything, no matter how great it is.

This is a problem I need to address. It occurred to me recently that I don't dislike my degree, or even having to study for it. Give me a Wikipedia entry on it and I'll happily kill an afternoon reading as much as I can on the subject. I think what I hate about it and about work in general is not having the choice. I may choose to blog every day, probably more than I've ever studied, but I choose to do that. Anytime I want to stop I just do, and that will never be true of work, no matter how my career pans out.

What can one do about that?

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The Dangerous Game

Posted on Wednesday 28th February 2007 at 00:00
I've long held a theory that says that watching football leads to temporary brain damage. For many years I'd felt that this was probably a condition restricted entirely to the male species, but apparently not.

Yesterday there was a football match in Bristol. A big one, apparently. The two main teams, Bristol City and Bristol Rovers went head to head in a game that was so important that GWR arranged their whole schedule around it, with a special post match show and everything. As usual I was keen to avoid the evil sport as much as possible and so sat on the internet with the radio off for much of the evening.

My housemate, J, does not share my view of football. Quite the reverse in fact. As she so frequently reminded us upon her return from the game last night, it's 'fucking genius?. And that is odd, because J isn't usually one to swear all that much. Nor is she generally into being loud, bellowing or punching people on the arm. Yet she was doing plenty of all of these things upon her return from the game.

It was almost as though she'd been given a massive injection of testosterone at some point during the evening. Even her voice had gone unnaturally deep. In essence, this intelligent, calm, well spoken girl had transformed into a butch, manly, rowdy, football loving bloke.

Luckily the effects seem to have worn off now, but it's clear to me that the 'beautiful game? is in desperate need of a health warning on the label.

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Unusual Dread

Posted on Tuesday 27th February 2007 at 00:00
As I was dozing in bed this morning, missing a lecture, I began to slip into a dream ....

I was standing in an office, dressed in a suit with a large desk in front of me, behind which sat an interviewing panel, all donning dull suits and bored expressions.

Oh shit I thought, this is a job interview, I'm screwed.

The man in the middle of the interviewing panel is shuffling some papers, reading through my CV.

'Please sit down, Mr Ignorminious' he says. I comply and wait, breathless for his first question.

'I understand you have a degree from the University of Ignorminious. What classification did you receive?'

Shit! thinketh I. Bugger, fuck, shit, tits, wank!

'Ummmm .... 3rd Class Honours' I murmur.

& I see' says the suit, 'and what was the reason for you only obtaining a third class degree? Why not a second or first?'

Oh dear I think Should I pretend that that was all I was capable of, or should I tell him the truth and admit that I couldn't be bothered to do any work?

'I ... I .... I didn't really put in as much effort as I should have done.'

'Why not?'

'I didn't like the work, III mean I didn't really feel I belonged in education' I stammer. 'I wanted to get out into the real world, not waste time on boring education.'

'I see' he says again, 'And do you think we'd want to employ someone with that sort of attitude to work?'

'No Sir'

'Do you think anyone would want to employ someone with an attitude like that!?' he bellows.

'No Sir' I whimper.

'Too right, now get out!'

Perhaps I need to start putting more effort into my degree again ......

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Contented Coffee Shop

Posted on Monday 26th February 2007 at 00:00
On Saturday 18th September 2004 I left home for the first time in my life and moved to Bristol to begin my degree course. I spent the day unpacking and gradually getting to know my new flat mates. By the early evening I'd been out shopping, having located the nearest shops on a map I'd been given, and was now itching to see some more of the city that was to become my home for the next few years.

Lizzy - a rather round Welsh girl - and I, met a few of her friends from another hall of residence and we set off for a look around. The original plan was to go to a Star Bucks we'd seen nearby, but it was closed, so instead we found ourselves on a small coffee shop which stood, and still stands, on the corner of Baldwin Street, Clare Street and Colston Avenue. I ordered a hot chocolate, as I didn't drink coffee at the time, and we sat outside in the fading light of a chilly September afternoon and watched the people go by.

Ever since that day I've been most fond of the idea of spending one's time in coffee shops and other similar public places. It seems the right way to spend one's youth, whether it be with a book, a laptop, or simply with a drink and maybe a small cake, observing humanity all around you. I often hear or read of people employing their free time in such a manner, either as a source of inspiration for some creative work, or simply to fulfil the desire for a change of scenery once in a while, and they always paint the most appealing picture of urban leisure time I can possibly imagine.

It was partly for this reason that I found myself in Star Bucks in Broadmead at around 4pm on Saturday afternoon. I'd had a fairly fruitless shopping expedition and was cold, tired and thirsty and so decided to take refuge in somewhere where I could correct all these ills at once, whilst also planning out the rest of my afternoon.

It was busy inside, so I immediately went upstairs, where I expected to find more of the small, hard chairs and tables that occupied the lower level. Here though there were leather sofas, and soft arm chairs, and easy listening jazz music. It was as busy as downstairs, but for some reason didn't feel so. The atmosphere was happy and relaxed, and I gradually felt the stress of the shopping melting away, if you'll excuse the clich'd description.

I found a sofa and sat down with my medium size latte and a chocolate chip cookie the size of a dinner plate, noting with a sense of well contained joy that my chosen seat was as comfortable as it looked. To one side of me was a girl of around 20, a fellow student maybe, curled in an arm chair and reading what may have been a thick novel, pausing from time to time to send the odd text message.

My neighbour on the sofa was another young girl, maybe slightly older than the first, with one foot resting on the leg of the small round table in front of her, and an air of complete bliss. She was chatting casually to a companion in the chair opposite, and the collection of bags between them suggested a break from the retail jungle not entirely dissimilar to my own.

I pulled out a book I'd thoughtfully brought with me and began to work my way through more of the short articles by Clarkson that are proving to be such compulsive page turners. By the time I next looked up, the shopping girls were getting ready to leave, commenting as they did so that if they didn't get on they may never leave. I knew how they felt. They were soon replaced by a couple with matching salad pots, who smiled and chatted quietly as they ate.

The girl with the book was still in her seat, seemingly with no coffee mug anywhere to be seen. Clearly it had been removed by a passing waitress. This got me thinking. How long can one sit in a cafe or coffee shop after one has finished consuming their purchase before it becomes rude for them to remain there? Surely there must be a point where sitting a little longer to add to the enjoyment of the visit becomes squatting, or at least a nuisance to those wishing to sit down.

How often must one buy a drink to permit the continuation of their stay? I'd guess that it isn't acceptable to sit there all day after only buying one drink, but where is the line drawn, does anybody know?

I began to worry about this more and more as the afternoon continued, not wishing to outstay my welcome, but always using the girl with the book as a benchmark. After about an hour and a half I was considering leaving in a chapter or two, but was not really able to persuade myself to depart the happy environment. I suddenly felt my enjoyment punctured by a cold breeze, as though an outside door had just been opened nearby.

After a few minutes it occurred to me that this was not possible, given that we were upstairs, and I looked up to see an air conditioning unit on the wall, blasting out chill air for all it's worth. As you know, I'm not fond of air con when it is used out of season. Given that in winter it never ever reaches the highs of summer, even indoors, it seems most rude to burden us with such unpleasantness, especially in coffee shops.

After that I left quickly, but even as I walked out, it occurred to me that I've not been so at ease with the world in general in a very long time indeed.

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A Moral Dilemma

Posted on Saturday 24th February 2007 at 00:00
A few weeks ago we received a text from A that informed us that he'd cancelled the TV license on the house since none of us were prepared to buy it from him when he left. On that fateful day the TV was unplugged and has not been watched since.

A few days ago we received a letter through the post from the TV licensing people. It wasn't addressed to us, but we opened it anyway. It was to inform a previous resident from last year that their TV license would expire at the end of April. The letter seems to be suggesting therefore that actually there is a TV license on the house at the moment.

Now, our moral dilemma is this: Is it ok to use our TV under a license that isn't ours and which we haven't paid for? After all, it isn't our fault that it wasn't cancelled when it should have been. And money has been paid to ensure that this house is covered by a license so the BBC aren't loosing out.

On the other hand, some might argue that we are technically stealing, even if it is a case of finders keepers. We don't know the owner of the license nor why they paid up until this April, nearly a whole year after they left.

We want to watch TV, but none of us are prepared to pay for it because of the stupid way in which TV licenses are managed and the lack of worth watching stuff on the box.

Would it be so wrong for us to watch TV using someone else's license without their permission? I put the question to you, oh internet.

P.S I STOLE the picture from the TV Licensing website

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Honest Blogging

Posted on Tuesday 20th February 2007 at 00:00
I'm often made to wonder, having read a variety of blogs on the web, how many users feel they are able to be completely honest in what they say. Do a lot of people feel they can blog bluntly, without worrying about what those around them might think, or are most of us writing in fear of the repercussions of our words?

As I see it, one of the fundamentals of blogging that most appeals to me is that you can say whatever is on your mind. It doesn't have to be nice or polite or politically correct, so long as it is what you really feel. But is this actually the case anymore? I know from speaking to other bloggers that many of us are proud of our blogs and so advertise the fact that we are bloggers to people we know. Sometimes we will even go so far as to hand out the links to people in order to better show case our work.

But in doing this, are we perhaps shooting ourselves in the foot rather? Could it be said that one of the best things about our blogs is their anonymity? The problem, I think is that if you tell a friend about your blog and they go online and read it, and keep on reading it, you can never again write anything about them which you wouldn't wish to say to them face to face.

All very well and good if it is just a friend, but what if it is a family member, a work colleague or perhaps a lover? These are the people we spend most of our lives with, and not surprisingly, they tend to be the ones most likely to get up our noses. You can like someone as much as you like, but if you spend a lot of time with them, they are bound to wind you up eventually. It is only human nature after all.

Basically the problem is this: How can we let off steam on our blogs if the very people we need to rant about are our readers? For example, there could be lots of stuff I'd like to say about living here. As is often the case with student living, there is loads of complaining to be done, and perhaps I'd do so once in a while, to make me feel better, if the house mates didn't regularly log on for a read.

Alternatively what about work, that other place where I spend so much of my time. Everyone likes to rant about the people they work with. It is just the done thing. Not surprising really, given that work is usually a fairly stressful part of our lives, and whether or not we enjoy it depends largely on those around us.

But, have a bitch about your job or the people you work with and suddenly you find yourself fired. Doesn't matter what it says in your contract (if you even have one) about blogging, if you are caught talking about work, most bosses will show you the door.

And so, we find ourselves stuck in this crazy world of talking about our lives, without ever actually talking about them, or at least not the bits we'd like to talk about. That being so, I'm left wondering, what is the point exactly?

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Dangerous Drivers Dissected: Part One

Posted on Friday 16th February 2007 at 00:00
In the first part of a new series Ignorminious examines his pick of the most dangerous acts of total stupidity seen on a regular basis on Britain's roads. In Part One we look at how not to pass parked cars on a narrow road when there is traffic coming the other way.

I've chosen to start with this particular sin of the road because it is one that I see at least half a dozen times every time I drive to or from uni. It is the sort of careless mistake that so often results in a near miss and could easily end in a smash, but is so easy to avoid, just by taking your time and being aware of the other driver's intensions.

Picture the scene if you will: You are driving through a residential area. Every hundred yards or so are a group of three or four cars parked outside their respective houses. The road is not too narrow, but in order to pass the cars you will need to put your wheels a little way over the centre of the road.

Just as you are approaching this minor obstacle, you see a white van coming the other way. Time seems to slow down before your very eyes and for what feels like minutes you stare at the van and the parked cars, trying to judge who will get there first. You are still doing 30 at this point and you?re not looking to slow down because if you don't, you might just be the first through the gap.

A split second before you reach the first of the parked cars you realise that the van has not slowed down either and that you will be forced to pass the van and the cars at the same time. You start flicking your eyes between the car and the van, trying to imagine your car going through the gap. The van has loads of room on his side, but he seems pretty intent on making you squirm.

Snap decision: at the absolute last moment you call chicken and slam the brakes on hard! You don't have time to stop, but you slow just enough to give you the millisecond needed to jerk the wheel first one way and then the other, hardly knowing if what you are doing is right or wrong. You glance from one side to the other and fancy you can hear the air rush as you miss both the car and the van by less than an inch.

You've gotten away with it this time, but suppose you aren't so lucky next time? Whose fault would it be then? The van driver's? Yours? The owner of the parked car? Odds are as you?re pulling away, you mutter under your breath about the stupidity of the arse hole van driver for not giving you enough space. I know because I did earlier.

Let's run the scene again, but this time from the point of view of the van driver: You are driving through a residential area. Every hundred yards or so are a group of three or four cars parked outside their respective houses. The road is not too narrow, but in order to pass the cars, vehicles coming the other way will need to put their wheels a little way over the centre of the road.

You come up opposite a row of these parked cars and just as you are getting close you notice a car driver coming the other way. He doesn't have a lot of space to get through without venturing onto your side of the road, and no one in their right mind would try and squeeze through a gap like that when traffic is coming in the opposite direction.

You carry on going and are astounded to see that the car isn't slowing down at all. If anything it is speeding up and pulling out to overtake. Pulling out onto your side of the road. Your van is quite large and heavily loaded, and the road dips down at the edge. Go to close to the curb and you?re going to end up steering into it.

The car keeps coming at you and at the last minute swerves erratically, passing with barely an inch to spare on your side. You've made it through this time, but will you be as lucky next time round? Whose fault was it this time?

I'd argue that the most difficult of these scenarios is this third and final example: You are driving through a residential area. There are groups of cars parked every hundred yards or so along both sides of the road. At one point, the end of one line of parked cars is almost exactly opposite the start of another line, leaving a gap roughly one car wide.

You are approaching a line of cars on your side of the road and you notice a car coming the other way, preparing to overtake the cars on the other side of the road. You are in a hurry and so don't want to wait for the other car to pass both queues before you can pull out. The road is reasonably wide once you get past the cars on your side of the road. If you can just get there before the other car passes you, it may be possible for you to pull in and give way.

You keep your speed up and pull out to pass the cars, as does your opposite number coming the other way. As you near each other it suddenly becomes apparent that he's planning exactly the same trick and you?re going to meet right in the middle of it all.

You keep in to your side of the road as much as you can, but it is clear you won't be able to pass him like this. Finally you reach the end of the line and pull sharply to the right, almost clipping the last car in the row with your passenger door.

Luckily you got away with it this time & just. What about next time though? Do cats really only have nine lives?

I guess the point I'm trying to make here is that who is in the right and who is in the wrong largely depends on your perspective, and that even if priority is *clearly* yours, not every driver will see it like that. Never assume anything when attempting tight manoeuvres on busy roads. I doubt anything I say here will have changed the way anyone drives in Bristol & myself included & by the time I battle through the rush hour to get up to uni tomorrow, but if I'm able to make just one person stop and think, and perhaps be a little more careful and a little less selfish next time they go out driving then I've achieved something really special.

Next time on Dangerous Drivers Dissected: Ignorminious looks at roundabouts and how not to decide who really has right of way!

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Thoughts On Valentine's Day

Posted on Thursday 15th February 2007 at 00:00
Alas I had hoped that Valentine's Day would come and go without me noticing it, let alone writing a whole blog entry on the subject. Sadly nothing else has happened today, and as I alluded to a little while ago, couples do tend to have an awful habit of rubbing days like this one in your face. I did all I could to escape it, what with working for 10 hours and not mentioning the day to anyone I saw, but I guess those with luck on their sides can't leave things alone. Whether it was a parting comment wishing me a 'romantic evening? or a query about how many cards I received, everyone seemed determined to remind me that it wasn't 'just Wednesday', no matter what I'd like to believe.

So in light of this, I'm going to follow in the footsteps of Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and record my thoughts on this Valentine's Day 2007.

This time last year I didn't bother to record my thoughts, so I can only guess at what they were. I was probably grateful for the few cards I received from friends who were also single, and as with all the years previously, I most likely put on a brave face, hopeful, if not confident, that in a year's time I would have found someone.

Perhaps it is the passing of the years that really sends the message home. So many times I get my hopes up that I may have found someone I like; that a better life is just around the corner, and every time the flicker of hope is quickly extinguished. I'm left wondering, even now, how long one should hold out hope for, even as the elapsed time since my last relationship passes the three and a half year mark.

On occasion I express these feelings to those around me and they do their best to consol me. Responses range from 'You always find love when you least expect it? to 'Perhaps you are just meant to be on your own. Surly it can't be all that bad?? Well yes actually, it is that bad. In fact there a few things worse.

For reasons I cannot even begin to fathom, those people around me who are in relationships seem to view being single as a time of freedom and fun. Clearly their memories of such times really are cack. It is not fun to be single. It is lonely and depressing. It is a hollow, empty existence that drones on and on, seemingly with no obvious conclusion. It is so bad in fact that when people who've experienced it finally escape to a relationship, they are so over come with relief that they go all dizzy and say stupid things like 'It isn't that bad?.

The only people who are more annoying are those ones who stop trying to eat their partner's face just long enough to look over at you, put on a condescending voice and say something along the lines of 'There is more to life than love you know?. No. There. Isn't. I'm sorry, but there really is not. Love is the single greatest human emotion. It is the thing every person alive strives to find before they die. It inspires more art, poetry, music, film and literature than any other feeling that has ever existed. It is more than that. It is the sum total of everything our lives mean and everything we are worth as people. The merest hope of it is the single force that allows us to cope with life on this God-forsaken lump of rock. In short, it is everything we are.

So, next time you feel like telling a lonely person that what they seek isn't really all that great, or that what they need to do is stop looking, please pause for a minute and make the decision to hold your tongue. Whether you believe your own words or not, no one wants to hear such unhelpful sentiments. I'm off now to watch romance films and hope that the world is looking a little happier by the time I get the first smug git or smart-alec comment in my inbox.

P.S I realise that it is slightly past the 14th as I post this. It was all written before the day ended, but server problems led to a delay in the actual posting.

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What About Content?

Posted on Wednesday 14th February 2007 at 00:00
Following on from my post about the style of my blog, I now find myself questioning its content, and the way it is delivered. I've recently noticed that different bloggers have very different approaches to deciding what to write about, the effect of which can drastically alter their blog's place in the blogsphere. Some, for example, like to write about a single aspect of their lives, or perhaps several aspects. They will write entirely about these subjects without ever touching upon anything else happening to them at the time.

This seems to me to be a good way of ensuring a dedicated fan base, by promising a particular type of reading for them, on a subject which presumably they enjoy. It is possible for them to appreciate and be inspired by one little safe topic, without ever running the risk of encountering a depressing post about some other problem. The downside of this is that you always have to have something to say about this one subject, and I can't think of anything in my life that would inspire me to talk about it every single day.

Others choose to talk about their entire lives and pretty much whatever is on their minds. This gives you a lot to talk about generally speaking, but it does leave your readers open to a fair bit of abuse when you?re on a low point. Again this can cost you an audience, as reading blogs is basically a form of entertainment, and there isn't a lot that is entertaining about someone feeling sorry for them self.

A recent theme among bloggers is serieseseseseseseseseseseses (sp?). A great example of this is Smaller Than Life's hugely popular Bathmatwatch; a series which ran for over a month and had us all on the edge of our seats by the climatic end. He's since moved onto a new series in which he publishes a book he wrote when he was 6 and then adds a critical analysis at the end.

I quite like this idea actually. A series gives you a basic theme to write about for a time, without having to tie you down to a single topic for too long. It can also be interspersed with pictures and video to divide up the content, which brings us onto our final idea for content: varied media.

There are some blogs out there which focus entirely on pictures and video. Whilst I can't imagine I could go to those extremes, I think it should be an aim of mine to vary the content from time to time, either with a picture or a sound bite or something, just to keep the blog looking fresh.

If anyone has any ideas of the sort of thing they'd like to see from Misty Mind in the future, I'd be very glad to hear from you. After all, as YouTube have shown us, it is the users who really make a site work.

I leave you now with a video which a friend of mine shot in the summer when she was supposed to be working. I'd forgotten all about it until she sent me a link to it a few weeks back. It is a dramatisation of Paradise Lost, but anyone who knows the story of Adam and Eve will hopefully enjoy it.

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One For The Mums Perhaps?

Posted on Sunday 4th February 2007 at 00:00
Ok, here's the deal:

I've gone and gotten myself in a bit of a pickle with the cling film. That's to say, somewhere along the line it seems to have torn down the middle or something and now I've got some of it coming off the roll as it should but the rest has just turned into a nasty mess on the roll and has made it impossible for me to get any more cling film off.

I tried cutting the excess off with a knife, I tried unwrapping it, I tried feeding it along the roll to try and get it to come off at the end. I've tried everything I can think of. It's a nearly new roll so I don't want to chuck it away, but what I can still get off is far too thin to be usable.

So, what I want to know is: is there a trick for fixing a roll of cling film when it all goes tits up? I'm sure there must be a method to it; some closely guarded secret that only those who frequent the kitchen regularly know. I'm sure this problem comes along all the time, so there must be someone reading this who knows how to fix it.

Any ideas?

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Down Time

Posted on Sunday 4th February 2007 at 00:00
I've noticed recently how my life seems to go in cycles. Some are long, lasting maybe a year, such as my enthusiasm for my university course, which slowly decreases week by week from September through until May, before gradually building up again over the summer. Others are shorter. The washing up cycle tends to last for no more than about a week, after which point I realise that I'm going to have to do it or I won't have any clean cutlery left to eat with.

There are of course many cycles that fall in between those two extremes, and this is definitely one of them, the sleep cycle. I honestly don't know how long this one lasts, as I don't tend to remember from one month to the next how much sleep I get or at what times, but I'm guessing the cycle must be quarterly at least.

When I think back to September, I remember deciding to myself that I was going to be up by no later than 9 o clock each morning, regardless of whether I needed to be or not. I remember this because my house mates had a habit of being up fairly early, and I felt lazy if I stayed in bed longer than them.

By the end of October I was beginning to slack a little, because I wrote a post in which I mentioned that I'd stayed in bed til nearly 10 on a Sunday morning. These seem like happy days of enthusiasm for the land of the living by my current standards though, as both yesterday and today I failed to get up before 2 in the afternoon. I'd love to excuse such extreme laziness with complaints about my cold or needing to catch up on sleep, but I'd be lying. I was in fact just being bone idle.

The reason why this matters is that I feel bad about myself when I resort to such a life style. My parents brought me up to believe that time is precious and shouldn't be wasted, and that to stay in bed when I'm not in need of the sleep is a bad way to spend one's weekend. In some ways I have to admit I am actually ashamed that I couldn't haul myself back to the waking world in time for The News Quiz yesterday lunch time.

Apart from anything else it isn't healthy, over sleeping. It stops me from eating as much or getting any exercise at all (not that I get much when I'm awake) and so upsets my metabolism. There is no way I'm ever likely to bring my weight back under control like that and I know it. It says a lot that on all the occasions when I could have heard Sally's radio show, I've been fast asleep until at least an hour after it finished, and it doesn't start until 12pm.

It has taken a toll on my university attendance as well. Last term I went for weeks and weeks without missing a single lecture or seminar, only skipping a few in order to meet coursework deadlines just before Christmas. This term, actually attending has been a rarity, with staying in bed to sleep through being the norm each time. I remember falling into the same state about this time last year, when my attendance was again very poor.

Luckily though, this cycle has begun the slow and painful crawl back onto the upside once again, as is proved by this post. You see, as my behaviour becomes worse and worse, I grow steadily more and more irritated by it. Eventually the irritation and guilt boils over and forces me back into a good life style. It is the same with sleep, work, diet, exercise, blogging, socialising and pretty much anything else you can fit into a cycle.

As comforting as it is to know that I'll always bounce back from any low I reach, it is a sad truth indeed to discover that however keen I am to get my life back on track each time I reach this point, I will always begin to let things slip before long, and all my efforts will always end up getting me nowhere but back where I started.

How do people become good? How do they get in the habit of doing all the right things at the right time and manage to stick with it? I'm sure it is possible, but I'll be damned if I can find the way by myself.

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And After That Rude Interuption …

Posted on Saturday 3rd February 2007 at 00:00
...... wow, I'm back .......

Yep, definitely here it seems. Thank God for that! Well, what with one thing and another it has been a pretty awful week for me, technology wise. It started with Vista being a pain in the arse over Windows Genuine Advantage which eventually led to me having to reinstall the OS from scratch and was then followed by my website being suspended for two days, as anyone responsible for the 2.5 million (no exaggeration) hits during that time may have noticed.

Sadly it seems that although I have a huge amount of bandwidth given to me per month, I'm not allowed to use it all in a day, as this causes things to break, and so when a bunch of complete toss pots hacked into my site again and emailed half the planet with the address, my hosting company cut me off until things returned to normal, as they have now, finally, done.

So, sorry for the lack of posts for the last few days, but it has taken until today to get things live again. In that time I was able to take delivery of my new monitor, a 20? TFT, which was my present to myself for working so hard in December and eventually getting paid for it at the end of last week. This, combined with the new wireless deskset I bought last weekend has really made my desk look pretty cool. So cool in fact that I'm going to show it off to you all:

Wide screen is pretty amazing on a computer, but sadly I've discovered that this website doesn't take to it very well. I guess I'm going to have to have another crack at making it size friendly for everyone. I've got some ideas of how this might work, but we shall see over the next few days. Don't hold your breath though (it can lead to brain damage).

In other news, I am attempting to re-acclimatise myself to British winters by not switching the heating on. This stems from an argument with H yesterday morning about whether or not the heating should be on in time for when people get up. Although I am uncomfortably cold, it isn't nearly as bad as I expected, despite the cold night we've been forecast. I'm hoping that if I can learn to adjust to being cold more of the time I'll stop feeling it as much, and so avoid anymore disagreements about gas usage.

Over the last week I thought of lots of things to say and failed to write any of them because of these problems. This is something I need to sort out, as catch up posts are really boring to read all of the time, and rely totally on my very shaky memory. So, for the rest of February (at least) I intend to follow in the footsteps of Anna and post at least once a day, every day. I know this is doable as I did it last April on Ignorminious? Scrap Book. Ok, it wasn't easy thinking of things to say, but I'm sure I can pad it out with memes and photos and such like. A variety of content would probably be a good idea for this blog anyway.

Peace Out.

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