Archive for December 2006

New Year – What Is The Point?

Posted on Monday 1st January 2007 at 00:00
Well, it is now officially Monday 1st January 2007. A new week, a new month and of course a new year. This is traditionally the day on which we all sit down to contemplate what lies ahead for us over the next 12 months. It is also a time of renewed optimism and hope for the future and an opportunity for us to reflect on what we can do better in our lives in the future. All over the country, crowds are flocking to the self help sections of local book shops, buying every health magazine in the news agents and flicking through the Argos catalogue trying to find the right page for gym equipment.

But why do we both? Every year begins in exactly the same way. For some reason (possibly as a result of alcohol still in our blood from the previous night) we all wake up on New Year's Day and think that because the date has changed and new calendars are going up that somehow we are all going to undergo miraculous changes as people. We are all going to exercise more, eat less, earn more, spend less, treat our loved ones better, wash the car every single weekend and learn to complete the Times CrossWord in less than an hour and without the help of everyone in the room and maybe a sneaky trip to Google.

And you know what, it doesn't happen. The gym equipment is disgarded after the second use and stuck up in the loft a month later. The diet lasts maybe a week if you are commited. First weekend the car gets washed but the next it is raining so you think why bother? Because, whatever we like to think, people don't change; not without a reason. If someone has a near death experience or recovers from serious illness or is visited by four ghosts at Christmas then yea, maybe they will change. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse, but you can expect them to undergo some kind of alteration, however small.

But not because it is New Year. It simply isn't important enough or infrequent enough an occasion to have any sort of lasting impact on our lives. Instead all that happens is we create resolutions, which - far from being the positive forward thinking things we dress them up as - are in fact just a list of things we don't like about ourselves, disguised as a list of improvements We then fail to find the time/money/will power to implement them and then spend the rest of the year feeling guilty about not being able to go against our natures and transform into new people at the drop of a hat. It really is most silly.

So what is the point of New Year? An excuse to get pissed perhaps? Yea right, like we need an excuse to do that! A much needed celebration then? Hardly, we've just had Christmas, and most people are fairly sick of having to be super happy all day everyday by now. If we wanted a second annual celebration we'd have it in the summer in order to better balance Christmas. Perhaps the point is that New Year isn't actually all that different from its infinately more antisipated big brother. Christmas is about hope, belief and faith, even in the face of stark and harsh reality and maybe, just maybe, the same is true of New Year as well.

Perhaps it doesn't matter that everyone completely fails to live up to their resolutions, and that any new leaves turned over are usually turned back the next day, because in fact what really matters to people is that short period of hope, when they believe that actually they are not doomed to be stuck with all their flaws for the rest of the year, but can genuinely better themselves and get a step or two closer to their own ideas of perfection, whatever that may be.

Last week Dad spent the best part of two days putting up coving in the utility room. Why? Because he felt that it would move this fabulous house a bit closer to being perfect. It didn't matter to him that it was exhausting, dirty, smelly work that took a big chunk out of his holiday. It didn't even matter that almost no one ever goes in there, besides the family and that even if they did, the coving probably wouldn't be noticed, not even if they stood in there all day. It didn't even matter that in the long term it isn't going to make him feel any better or worse about life or his position in it. For those few hours and the next few days he will gain satisfaction from the knowledge that he's done something to improve his life, and that is, after all, what New Year is all about.

Happy New Year

to all my readers, commenters, lurkers, friends and family. May 2007 bring you health, happiness and above all, love.

As you can see, the new theme is at last in place. I know that most of you are probably screaming at your screens just now that the image doesn't fit properly, and for that I apologise. I am working on a way of getting it to fit a variety of screen sizes, but this is surprisingly difficult to do and so may take me a while. Until then you'll just have to lump it I'm afraid and be grateful that the tackiest Christmas theme ever has at last been packed away for the year. Believe me, I'm as pleased about it as you are!

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Bye-Bye Christmas

Posted on Thursday 28th December 2006 at 00:00
Well Christmas is over at last, and things are beginning to get back to normal. Mum has decided that enough of the Christmas left overs have been eaten for her to go back to critising me for being fat every time I eat anything, Dad has started worrying about whether his computer can connect to his work network or not, Mike and Tim are back to working/socialising/slobbing and I'm back on the internet every spare moment of the day, and, as you can see, updating my blog again.

Some things have changed however. When I went to open Word to type this entry just now, I discovered that I don't actually have Word anymore. This is because I spent part of the afternoon installing Vista Final on my desktop PC, thus getting rid of all my previous programs and wiping the copy of XP that has served as my backup operating system - should Vista fail me - ever since I installed the beta version back in September. This marks the first time I've not had XP on one or more of my computers since July 2002 when I first purchased it. End of an era you might say. The draw back, from your perspectives as well as mine, is that I am writing this in Notepad, without the aid of a spell check, as i'm sure the more observant of you have probably already noticed.

Another thing that has changed is the state of play in my various friendships here in Yateley. For the first time in about 5 years, it seems we shall not all be together as a group for New Year's Eve. Sadly, this is not because of one or more people being unavailable, but merely the fact that different people have decided not to bothercompromising over what we should do for the evening, and instead have chosen to go their seperate ways.

Big parties having been deemed a bad idea after several years experience, it seems that a select group shall be attending the venue we used last year (I've been officially not invited by the hostess as she and I don't get on nearly as well as we did this time last year), one is returning to university to celebrate with her new friends there, and then there is me. Or so I thought anyway. Fortunately it seems another of our number shall also not be attending the party, and she and I have agreed to do a quiet evening instead, possibly involving movies and only a little drink, which I think will be infinately preferable, even if it's not quite as exciting sounding as bungee jumping off Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Christmas Day itself was a peaceful affair, spent mostly in front of the TV, but with time enough left over to frequently visit my beloved internet. Boxing Day was a little less peaceful, with the arrival of many relatives, one of whom greeted me with the observation that I'd put on a hell of a lot of weight since we'd last met. He went on to advice that I go on a diet as soon as the New Year started, before it was too late. I said nothing but silently contented myself with the knowledge that, as a non-blood relative, there was no way I could possibly inherit his rudeness, and that as an elderly relative, he would probably be dead before the effects of any diet I should care to embark on would begin to make themselves apparent, so why bother. I settled for ignoring him for the rest of the day and cashing the '30 cheque he sent me as a present before he could get too much interest from it.

The rest of the family were far more amiable however, and by the time they departed I was in a good mood. Not that my mood has dipped particularly over the festive period, but this year as last, I've noticed that Christmas doesn't hold quiet the magic that it once did. I guess these days I'm too busy to find time for it, and what time there is during the year passes so quickly that I've not recovered my interest in the season from the previous year by the time it comes round again. Now New Year is fast approaching, and with it the need to take down Christmas decorations. Here that means the removal of the tackiest seasonal theme for a website ever. The plan was (and still is) to replace it with a revamped version of the ordinary theme. However, I can't promise that this shall be ready in time, so for the time being, please don't hold your breath. If the worst comes to the worst I'll revert to the old theme in order to stop any readers from suffering that horrible shiver that comes from witnessing something rather Christmasy when it is about as far from Christmas as you can get.

Watch this space ...

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Christmas Party

Posted on Thursday 28th December 2006 at 00:00
This is the post I should have forced myself to write imediately after the event, while it was still all fresh in my mind. Had I known I wouldn't have time again until now, I would have done so. It concerns a Thursday evening a couple of weeks before Christmas, on which I was planning to go out with some colleagues on what would be my first evening out this academic year. I hope it proves to have been worth the wait.

I step from the bus as quickly as I can and break instantly into a brisk walk. By my best estimates, I am at least half an hour late arriving in City Centre, partly on account of my own poor organisation and partly because of the buses, which are as shockingly unreliable tonight as they've ever been. Much to my annoyance the pavement is infested with young people, some wearing as little as possible and walking as briskly as possible from the bus to their club or bar of choice, before the chill night air becomes too unpleasent upon their bare skin. Others are dressed in all the attire of a hiker, including rucksacks stuffed to the brim, on account of which they are walking slowly and carefully, battling against the weight trying constantly to topple them over backwards.

I've already constructed a hastily thought out and poorly planned route in my mind that I hope will take me to a place I've never been, along a road I've never trodden. I'm aware more from hearsay than any direct experience that their are a series of steps, known as the Christmas Steps, which climb steeply from somewhere just across the road from me to somewhere hopefully near the top of Park Street, which itself is apparently somewhere near a place called the Bristol Triangle, a well known destination for Bristol clubbers that I have never knowingly been near. There I hope to spot a bar called MBargo, the website for which was somewhat less than helpful.

I find the steps with surprising ease and begin at once to run up them as best I can, taking my eyes from my feet every few metres in order to check my watch. Upon emerging at the top, sticky and thoroughly out of breath, I find that I don't know where I am. A sign nearby points me in the direction of the Triangle and I set off at as fast a walk as my grumbling legs will permit me. Eventually I find a road I know and hastly begin to trot in the direction which I assume must lead me to my destination. The helpful sign posts clearly do not go out this far. At one point I observe a car stop to let someone out of a side road or car park entrance. Almost immediately the car behind starts incesantly beeping his horn and making rude gestures at the car in front, seemingly unaware that the car can't go anywhere. This continues until the obstruction has moved and both cars are able to set off, the second following the first closely and reving loudly all the way up the hill. I find myself wondering whether this guy is late for an evening out as well, or if he is just some asshole with anger management problems. As I pass a Shell garage I notice that the price of petrol has begun to climb again and I wish I had a mobile number for someone at the party so I could let them know that I'm on my way.

At the top of the hill I become even more confused than usual and waste 10 minutes wondering around looking for the bar. Luckily my instinct guides me true and I soon find myself just across the street from my destination. I time my crossing well and am able to make it from one side to the other without encuring the wrath of any overactive horn users. Upon entering MBargo, I am immediately struck by how empty it is. Not totally empty, but empty enough that a party of 20 familiar faces should stand out clearly enough.

I walk twice round the stiflingly hot room, once in each direction and soon conclude that I have failed to find my friends. I consider asking the barman if he has seen them, but not knowing exactly who should be there nor wishing to offend him by suggesting that he couldn't miss a large group of customers in his empty bar I decide against it. Instead, I step outside to consider my options. The plan was to meet at 7:30 for a few drinks before moving on to Oceana for the evening. It is now 8:15 so it is possible that I've missed them through my stupid lateness. I check the bar next door quickly to see if they've moved in there instead but have no luck and so resolve to march down Park Street as quickly as I can and see if I can intercept them before the reach the club.

Along the way I look in at the windows of various bars I pass in the hope of seeing them, but have to accept after the third or fourth that they are all far too full for me to stand much chance of spotting them, even if they are there. I then turn my mind to considering whether or not to write about this little mishap on my blog. My gut instinct is to save myself the embarrassment and keep it entirely to myself, but I think of Petite and Sally and others who appear to be able to swallow their pride and write about almost anything, regardless of the cost to their self respect. I resolve that this incident must be written about, no matter how the evening turns out, and from that point my brain records all events as though in preparation for writing.

I reach Oceana without running into anyone I know, all the while wondering why I'm the only person who's alone on the Waterfront this evening. There is no queue for the club yet and as such the bouncers endeaver to kill time by checking my ID, despite the fact that I'm dressed in a shirt and tie, long black coat and sensible shoes, and look nothing like a 17 year old. Clearly they are quite surprised by my actual age and make an embarrassed comment about how by the time I'm thirty I'll look twenty. I choose to ignore this and move on to the counter, where I'm persuaded to part with a fiver in exchange for admittance.

Once inside I learn that almost the entire club is reserved for group bookings this evening and that only the bit within my immediate line of sight is open to anyone else. I quickly scan the almost desserted room and find no one I recognise. I buy a drink and sit down to consider my position. One person I can think of knows of the evening out and might have contact with someone who's going. I resolve to text her as the music prevents me from standing much chance of holding a conversation in the normal way.

After 20 minutes I find my drink finished and no reply to my message. I step outside to enquire about the parties who have reservations and quickly assertain that none of them are likely to be mine. I'm pretty hungry by this point and can feel the alcohol quickly going to my head and so begin to walk away from the club, in the direction of a fast food outlet known as Kebab-U-Like. As I walk past the other bars I consider whether if I enter one later in the evening and try to explain my situation over the music to a group of attractive girls I might be able to score some sympathy sex off one of them, or at least get bought a drink.

I stumble through the centre, slipping on the wet pavement and wooden decoration and turn right onto Baldwin Street. It occures to me that I could always wind up in Bar-Me and sit for the rest of the evening staring at the big screen projector as it displays photos of drunk girls flashing their breasts and bottoms for all to see, while everyone else dances around me, probably spilling drinks all over my head. It isn't the sort of scene I normally aim for, but with plans A, B and C out the window I figure beggers can't be choosers, right?

Sadly upon passing Bar-Me I find the windows boarded up and the sign over the door now reading what I remember as "Pussies Club" in pink writing, although looking back now I can't imagine it could have really been anything so questionable. How much things change when you don't go out for a few months. I wander on to Kebab-U-Like and find myself in an almost empty shop. Two gentlemen appear to be placing an overly complicated order and by the time I am served I've already decided on cheese burger and chips.

These are duely delivered, the latter coming in enough salt to give a weaker man a heart attact, not to mention enough vinegar to drown a small dog. Still, serves me right for adding them myself I guess. The shop is still fairly empty at this time and so I sit down on one of the hard plastic chairs to eat and consider my options once again. A film seems a possibility, but a check of my watch tells me that I'd never get in and out again in time to catch the last bus, and I don't really want to have to pay for a taxi home. Perhaps some late night shopping then, so that the evening isn't a complete waste? That seems more feesable as the shops are open late on Thursdays just before Christmas.

I get up and throw away my rubbish. The bin, I note is not in its usual place but has been moved to make way for a large metal box bearing the label "PizzaMaster". An identical but evidently newer box can be seen at the far end of the kitchen. I walk along the street, turning into the dark alleyways of St Nicholas' Market, apparently not bothered about the risks of being mugged in such a place at night. At the far end I cross the road and am almost run over by a big blue double decker bus that appears to be hosting a party on its upper deck.

When I reach the shopping centre I find it closed. Where as to me "late night shopping" means a closing time of anywhere between say 10pm and 2am, here it seems to be been 8pm, which in truth is actually mid evening shopping, not late night at all. The cinema, which I check out of curiousity turns out to be of equal disappointment, with no films showing all evening and the whole place locked up for the night. Pretty bad for half 9 thinks I.

I now need a drink and the toilet and so begin to wonder the streets trying to work out the best source of both of these things. As my mind changes I keep switching directions, doubling back on myself a number of times and regularly finding myself on the sort of back streets I wouldn't feel comfortable on in broad day light with lots of people around. I don't care though. I'm tired and fed up and a mugging would be an improvement, if only for the brief company.

I eventually decide upon the bus station as my port of call. 20p to use the loos is a better deal than having to go into a bar and buy a drink to be allowed to wee. Upon reaching the bus station I go to the loo and then buy a drink anyway, albiet from an overpriced vending machine that has nothing in it I like except coke. I open the bottle of coke without thinking and its contents explodes all over me, covering my hands, coat, shoes and the white tiled floor with sticky brown liquid before I can do the cap back up. A man looks at the mess and tuts at me.

I wander over to a seat and sit down to drink. The only other time I've been in the bus station was to see off someone I was seeing at the time who lived in a nearby town. Ironically enough, the bus by which I am sat is the one I used to catch to visit her. I briefly consider the feesability of getting on the bus and going over to see her now. I wonder how she'd react if I turned up slightly drunk on her door step unannounced in the middle of the night. Probably not very well. We parted on bad terms. Funny how whenever I'm sad and lonely the idea of seeing her suddenly becomes appealing again.

At 10 the bus pulls away, I finish my drink and put down the copy of the Metro in which I was reading more about the dead prostitutes. The night has been wasted and I want to go home, and so walk towards my bus stop. Once I get there I discover that the bus no longer uses that stop but uses one about 150 yards further up the road, towards which I trapse. Once there I find that the bus doesn't go from that one either. Luckily it goes from the next one up and I only have a short wait before it arrives to take me home.

Once back in Fishponds I begin to walk the 10 minutes back to my house. As is sometimes the case I appear to be behind a young woman who is walking the same way as me. I hate these situations as I know that if I were them I'd be concerned that I were being stalked, especially after the first few turns. I endeavour to walk slowly enough as to stay a good distance behind this woman and eventually she turns into a different road and I am able to increase my pace to a speed that will stop me from freezing to death. The single thought that occures to me over and over as I walk home and during the remainder of the evening is what a waste it has been, getting dressed up nicely for such a dreadful evening. Somehow that always seems to be the worst part of these things for me. I feel like a candidate in a general election who's just found out that the other guy won and is now standing in an empty room by himself, looking round at the wasted party arrangements; the food, the balloons, the sign saying "Congratulations". If I wasn't so tired I'd probably cry.

I found out later that the small group of people who did bother to turn up in the end reached MBargo a full hour after they were supposed to and at about the same time as I was sitting in Oceana by myself, beginning to realise just how ruined my evening really was.

Apparently they had a great time.

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Sleeping In

Posted on Thursday 28th December 2006 at 00:00
Isn't it funny how one's perception of time can alter their behaviour and ultimately how much they get done? I always find I'm unable to use my time as wisely if I don't feel that it is really there. For instance, on a Saturday, I see 3pm as the middle of the afternoon, with several hours to go before I need to start thinking about moving from day time activities to evening ones. However, when I finish work at 3pm, it is suddenly no longer the middle of the afternoon but the end of it, and there is absolutely no time left in the day to do anything at all.

Today I slept in late and didn't get up til half 1. By this time, my family had all departed and I was left alone in the house with no idea where anyone was. Although I was quick to shower and dress, I'd done little else by the time my parents returned from B&Q for lunch. Afterwards I was just about able to squeeze in a trip to the bank to cash some cheques, but that was basically all I achieved with my whole day. In fairness, it turning dark just after 4 was a pretty good reason for not washing my car at that time but even so; what a waste of a day.

Had it been sunny til late into the evening and had I been up at 9, my use of the afternoon would have been infinately more productive. In fact I'd have probably got a whole list of things done which I never even started because from my perspective the day was only around three hours long.

Fortunately I've made up for it this evening by completing my redesign of Ignorminious' Misty Mind's main theme. I must admit I'm actually quite proud of this, although really it isn't anything very special. If you'd like to view it, you may do so here. It is best viewed in a maximised browser with a screen resolution of 1280x1024, which I assume is probably higher than most people have, so you'll not be able to really appreciate it in all its full glory. If this is the case for you, I've taken a screen shot of what it should look like for you to take a look at. I shall do my best to impliment this theme on the 1st January for everyone to enjoy, by which time I hope to have written a script to adjust the site to fit your screen resolution.

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Christmas Moan

Posted on Sunday 24th December 2006 at 00:00
Why is Christmas such an incredibly busy time. Although never totally absolved from blame, it has to be noted that my completely appalling time management is not the only reason why I am writing my blog post at 2:45 am. It is also down to the fact that I simply do not have any other time available to me at the moment.

I'm not entirely sure why, but ever since I arrived home from uni on Thursday for my 'holiday? I've hardly stopped for a second. Thursday afternoon I went emergency birthday shopping for a friend's 21st. I then went straight from there to the party for said birthday, where I stayed overnight before driving to another shopping centre to do emergency Christmas shopping (mostly in Sainsbury's) before going straight to a friend's house to give the newly purchased presents, and eventually went home for the evening, where I spent around 6 hours catching up on a week's worth of blog feeds.

Today I had to get up in time for a haircut at 12 before a meal and drinks in a local pub at 1. When I returned I just had time to put up and decorate the Christmas tree before dinner after which I began the long task of unpacking my uni stuff for the holiday, something I've not yet finished. It is now more or less Christmas Eve and the list of things to do tomorrow is long enough to force me out of bed absolutely no later than 9, and only that late because I'm insistent on not being sleep deprived by the time Christmas actually arrives.

In between all these activities I've been (and shall continue to be) a taxi service for my youngest brother who works an unreliable bus ride away and have also managed to wrap all the presents I've bought for the family, label them and get them under the tree. Although I have loads of festive tasks to undertake tomorrow (the ceiling decorations, polishing the silver, putting up the rest of the fairy lights etc) I also have the more general jobs to complete, like finishing my unpacking, hovering and dusting, as Christmas can't be Christmas unless everything is tidy and smells of polish.

On top of all that, the washing machine has totally died on us, after around 12 years of faithful service. This means we can now not do any washing until we get a new one in the post Christmas sales, which will have to wait a day anyway as we have large chunks of the family descending upon us on Boxing Day and we aren't nearly ready.

I appreciate this isn't a very interesting post, but this is my blog for me to write what is on my mind each day, and right now this is it. I'd try to make it sound interesting, but I'm exhausted. For the first year ever I'm beginning to agree with the Narrator in The Waitresses - Christmas Wrapping. It really is possible to be too busy for Christmas.

All I hope now is that I won't start agreeing with the badge I was given by a friend yesterday, presumably to describe my Christmas personality, and bearing the legend 'Ho Bloody Ho!?

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Christmas Rush

Posted on Saturday 23rd December 2006 at 00:00
Despite my quietness over the last week, I am not (as perhaps previously assumed) dead or in hospital with serious injuries. I have in fact continued to be alive, despite not posting here nor really spending much time reading or commenting on other people's blogs. This is because I've been really busy working, and by that I mean I've been going to work at 10 each morning and working solidly through to anywhere between midnight and 2am every day. Given that my job mostly involves wandering around carrying things and never involves sitting down, I've been too tired to post during my time at home.

This is a shame, because had it been otherwise I'm sure I'd have written many great posts about the various Christmas parties I worked, the frantic episodes of Christmas shopping I've encountered, the insane fog which I've spent so many hours driving through and of course my Thursday evening out (now over a week over due).

I do of course still plan to write about at least some of these things for you, now that I have finished work and returned home for the holidays, but I imagine this will happen in bits and pieces over the next few days of festive insanity, as the list of things I still have to do before Christmas grows longer with every word I type.

As Anna pointed out, many blog readers will have stopped reading for the holidays now, so I hope those who continue to read will forgive me for the slower pace at which I write my posts this next week or so, and all of you will have a very Merry Christmas indeed.

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Good Mood

Posted on Saturday 16th December 2006 at 00:00
It's 2 in the morning and I've got more energy than I've had for days. I'm also in the best mood I've been in for absolutely ages! Odd really, when you consider that all I've done today is work. And sleep of course. Actually mostly sleep probably. Yesterday ended pretty badly so I decided to go to sleep for a long time (but that's another story) and by the time I woke it was nearly time to work my afternoon and evening shift.

To be honest, the shift itself wasn't that exciting. When I got in it was quiet. I wasn't in my usual bar, but in the big refectory, the largest eating place on campus. It is huge. So big it has a whole room, the size of most people's houses just for washing up. The 'dishwasher? itself is out of this world. A colossal machine that you place your dirties at one end of and a minute or so later they come out the other end sparkling clean on a conveyer belt. Big restaurant means big parties and lots of guests. In this case more than 280 would be eating, drinking and dancing with us in one sitting.

The first three hours were spent polishing glasses. Yes, three hours, and three of us doing it. Two glasses for every diner coming. Madness. After that it was the usual mass serving of food (three courses) and then the frantic large scale clearing that is common to all commercial catering operations but which is totally beyond the imagination of anyone who has never been involved in it firsthand.

Two things made the shift for me. One was the disco that they had after eating. I don't know if anyone here has ever been to a disco/party with loud music etc without being involved directly. It's great; you get totally sucked up in the excitement but without feeling totally shagged out from dancing the whole time. I guess this is why I'm so awake now and listening to Bon Jovi on as loud as my little ear phones will allow.

The second thing to make me happy was the people I was working with. Lots and lots of really friendly people, most of whom I'd never met but all of whom were having a good time and enjoying what was (for most of them) the first Christmas party of the year. I've done a few already but that didn't stop me enjoying this one. There were lots of pretty girls working as well, which was a definite bonus. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not a pervert or anything, but when you've been single for as long as I have it is most enjoyable to spend time with people who are pleasant to behold and to get on with them.

Not that there was anything in it of course, just general friendliness, but it is something I don't see a whole lot of these days.

In other news, I'm delighted to announce that in just one post the Christmas Challenge was achieved! This is quite an accomplishment I feel, so thank you to everyone who took the time to write a comment. I'm always grateful for comments, so if ever you have something to say, please don't be shy :-)

Also, for the first time ever, I went into double figures for the number of comments on a single post which is amazing. Thank you to everyone, and a special mention to Jack, Enid and Yaxich, all of whom commented for the first time! Glad to have you here guys!

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Breaking News

Posted on Saturday 16th December 2006 at 00:00
I don't really have time to post just now, what with the urgent need to go Christmas shopping and all that, but I feel that this post can't wait, especially as I probably won't have time to post again today. I looked out of my window this morning and couldn't fathom at first what was wrong. Then it struck me! The BMW had changed somehow. It had gone from small and black, to big and white, with flashing amber lights on top. In fact, it looked exactly like a tow truck.

I rushed outside to enquire what was happening. Apparently the car belonged to the mother of the people next door, or perhaps next door but one, I couldn't quite tell which house the bloke pointed to. Not sure what has happened, but it seems like they've decided to get rid of it. I retreated to the house to take photos, like the nosey little bugger I am.

Personally I'm amazed they were able to get the handbrake off, given how long it has sat there, and the extent of the rust on the brake discs, but somehow they managed it and towed it away, as testified to by the following photo ...

I'm not quite sure what to do now. It feels like the end of an era. I guess the obvious answer would be to damn well park in front of my own house for the first time since I moved in. Yay!

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Ignorminious' Christmas Challenge

Posted on Thursday 14th December 2006 at 00:00
Ok, here's a quick thought. Over the last couple of weeks, the number of comments I've received on each of my posts has increased greatly, and at the time of writing there are just 12 less comments here than the number of posts I've written so far. What I've been hoping for a long time now is that at some point the number of comments will actually exceed the number of entries in the blog, which to my mind is the way these things should be anyway.

A few weeks ago I wouldn't have expected this to be possible til perhaps the spring, so far behind were the comments, stuck for over a month stubbornly at 15. Now that we are at 66 for 78 posts, I put this challenge to you. Could everyone who reads this blog add a comment to this post. If there are as many of you silent readers as I hope out there, we might just pass that target of 78 before the next post. At any rate I'd love to get there by Christmas Day, as that would make me very happy.

Remember, for every post I write, the target is raised and so at least one more comment is needed to reach it. The more of you who comment now, the better our chances of completing Ignorminious' Christmas Challenge.

P.S There are no prizes, although if I win the biscuits from the Insignificant Awards I'll give one to every person who participates in the challenge.

P.P.S I got my coursework in on time, in case anyone was wondering and am now a free man (academically speaking) until the New Year! Sadly this won't mean an end to the late nights as a mixture of work and parties have conspired to ensure that I'm unlikely to ever sleep again .... except for now of course as I'm off to bed.

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Posted on Wednesday 13th December 2006 at 00:00
Sorry I've not posted in a few days. I'd love to talk about all the exciting things I've done (Ha!) but sadly all I've done for a few days, and all I continue to do is coursework. My absolute last deadline for this term is tomorrow/later today, after which normal blogging service will be resumed asap. Not that I have a whole lot to talk about even then, except perhaps the chaos that was work on Monday.

Today I had to go into uni and hand in a copy of granddad's death certificate, which they may or may not need to take into account when marking coursework. Probably not as I doubt it makes much difference to anything, but there we go. Found out a week ago that I needed to submit a copy, so emailed my aunt, who has all that sort of stuff, and asked her to send one, which she did, with it arriving this morning.

I've just been informed that the website has gone offline. Although I'm sure this is just a momentary glitch, I rather hope it'll be back online in a moment so I can post this and then get a few hours kip. Speaking of technical faults, apologies to anyone who may have received unsolicited mail from my server in the last few hours. Earlier it seems someone dumped a load of mailer scripts on my server. Upon discovery of this fact I removed the scripts and fixed the security loop hole that was giving them server access in the first place. I still think it is sad that I'm first alerted to these issues by the fact that my site suddenly starts taking a reasonable number of hits.

Anyway, as you can probably tell from my writing style, I'm dog tired, and so plan sleep now before doing anymore work. Laters ......

P.S The junk mail still continues to come in thick and fast, although it has lessened considerably since I removed some spyware with adaware earlier today. Looks like the threat may have come from within. This being the case, those fuckwits probably didn't read my blog after all. I told you they can't read!

P.P.S Am also rather amused that someone at Micro$oft felt it appropriate to add "fuckwit" into the Word dictionary. Makes you wonder why Ignorminious still isn't there really doesn't it?

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Vote JonnyB

Posted on Wednesday 13th December 2006 at 00:00
This probably goes without saying, but I'm voting for JonnyB in the 2006 Weblog Awards.

I'm doing this because JB is a great writer, keeping us all abreast of life in the strange land of Norfolk. He is witty, interesting and above all, never bores people with talk of politics, like those miserable, humourless buggers over at EU Referendum.

I think it is very important that mainstream blogging remains the preserve of funny writers (and me) and isn't lost to those who feel they can't write for the joy of writing but have to put a message into each of their posts. (I bet their ancestors were the ones who decided all biblical stories had to have a moral. The first draft was good, a collection of humorous short stories featuring the pathetically charming JC, always getting into trouble through hilarious mishaps and all the while bearing an uncanny resemblance to Hugh Grant in Notting Hill. Then the Middle East Referendum people got hold of it and the magic was lost! *sigh*)

So Vote for JonnyB and put the comedy back into blogging!

Yaxich also feels strongly about this issue. So strongly in fact that he has made everyone a special Post-It to stick on their fridge and remind themselves to vote each day:

Go on, you know it makes sense!

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Vote Ignorminious

Posted on Sunday 10th December 2006 at 00:00
For the first time ever, Ignorminious? Misty Mind has been nominated for a blogging award! Not only that but it is one of the most significant blogging awards on the net. Having narrowly (by which I mean widely) missed out on a nomination for The 2006 Weblog Awards, I was delighted to discover that I'm a potential candidate for:

The Insignificant Awards 2007

I was alerted to the fact that I'd been nominated earlier today by Sally, which was news to me as when I shamelessly nominated myself last night, it didn't actually occur to me that they'd take my self nomination seriously and actually enter me. I should stress that this isn't the nomination short list. That has to be decided by the judges I believe, and shall be announced sometime in January. At that point (assuming I haven't totally forgotten about this) I shall badger each and every one of you to vote for me.

Obviously I know I'm not going to win, not least because I'm already up against The World of Yaxich, whose blog is infinitely better than mine, as reflected by his long list of dedicated regular commenters, but if I can at least get a few votes, I shall be one very happy Ignorminious!

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The Car That Never Moves ….

Posted on Friday 8th December 2006 at 00:00
Outside our house is a mysterious car. Referred to only as 'The BMW? by the housemates and I, it appears to be a car without an owner. It has not moved at all since we moved in on the 1st September, and we think it was there during a visit on the 1st August as well. At first we thought it belonged to next door, but they already seem to have two cars, and at any rate, none of them ever seem to go near the BMW. The wheels have been fitted with alloys, which afford us a perfect view of the brake discs, which are rusted. I've never seen this on a car before so I can't say how long one has to not move for this to occur, but I'm guessing quite a while. Inside, everything is coated in dust, which I've also never seen.

This car has been the cause of continued annoyance for us, as by being parked in front of our house, it allows very little room for our own cars, on what is already a terribly overcrowded street. If you are looking at the photo below and thinking to yourself That street isn't crowded please bear in mind that this photo was taken at about 11 in the morning, so most of the cars were out for the day.

We called the police about it back in September to see if it had been dumped, but all they could tell us was that it wasn't a vehicle they had an interest in. Right now all we can do is watch and wait for the tax disc to expire at the end of February, at which point we can call them again and have it towed away.

For a long time we believed that we were the only ones who didn't want the car there, but apparently not. A little while ago we had a frost, and the next morning we spotted the words 'Move Me? written in the ice on the window. A quick interrogation of all housemates revealed that none of us had written the message. We can only speculate about who else wants it moved, as we can only continue to speculate about who owns the car and why they've chosen to leave it there. It isn't a half bad car, so we really can't understand why it should be allowed to get into such a sorry state.

For now though, I'll stop worrying about such trivial matters and go to work for the evening. Have a good weekend everyone!

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Junk Email

Posted on Thursday 7th December 2006 at 00:00
******This post contains more than average amounts of bad language and may offend some readers & especially those called Wayne. Proceed with caution!******

To: Whoever Keeps Sending Me Junk Email

I know you'll never read this, and if you did would probably just start mailing me twice as much, but I don't care. I'm sick to death of you and your counterproductive antisocial cyber behaviour. It's not big and it's not clever to repeatedly mail millions of people with incoherent, not worth reading, probably illegal bullshit. No one reads the crap you write. If you were the only person on Earth to be allowed to send emails as well as receive them and you had the address of every person on the planet, you would still not get any readers. You are a complete waste of time. Not just your own time. Not just mine (which is infinitely more valuable than yours). You are wasting the time of every God-damn computer user whose had the misfortune to wander onto the internet since you've had your computer.

In case you don't quite understand exactly what it is I'm saying, allow me to clarify for you. I am not interested in any of the following 'offers?:

  • Dodgy stock market info & even if it was genuine I wouldn't take it from you because I probably have a far better understanding of finance than you will ever have;

  • Pirated computer software, being sold for nearly the cost of the original & I already download all the software I need for free and if I was prepared to pay for it I'd get up off my fat ass and go to the shops;

  • A new job & unlike you, I already have a job that probably earns me a lot more than you get from your stupid little scams;

  • A Penis Enlargement & although I don't claim to set any records in the size department, I at least have enough of a dick to make it worthwhile going out into the world and using it once in a while, which is clearly more than you do;

  • Cheap Drugs & caffeine is already cheap thank you very much;

  • A loan & I'm not thick as shit, so I don't borrow money from blatant loan sharks;

  • Viagra & I don't have trouble getting it up, although maybe if your dad did we wouldn't have this problem in the first place;

  • I hope this clears up some of the misconceptions you appear to have about me, although I doubt it since there are probably too many long words here for you to understand what I'm saying.

    Just remember this: If the people you piss off every day with your stupid waste of space emails ever catch up to you, you will regret your behaviour for a very long time indeed.

    To: Anyone Who Is Stupid Enough To Be Scammed By Spammers

    I've always felt that using a computer and the internet is rather like driving a car: Not understanding how it all works is not an excuse for doing it badly. If you don't know how to drive you don't shrug and say 'Well, I'm sure it doesn't matter if I drive well or not', you just don't drive. In the same way, if you do not fully understand a computer and the internet, you should not under any circumstances use one unless supervised by someone who does know what they are doing. I'm not saying you need to be a computer programmer to send an email, of course you don't. But you do need to watch the news whenever a feature about spammers is on. And you do need to make a mental note of what to look for to avoid being caught out. And you do need to seek further advice on such things if you?re not entirely sure you know what you are doing.

    If every person who used the internet knew how to protect themselves against spam, and did so, junk email would dry up in a week. There simply wouldn't be any point in these people carrying on their pathetic little habits. But this simply isn't the case. Instead the number of people being caught out and giving away all their money is actually on the increase! It seems yet more and more ignorant people are venturing onto the net without first seeking out proper training and are being caught as a result. As long as these trends continue SPAMMERS WILL NOT GIVE UP! They have no reason to. They are earning a fortune everyday from the sorts of idiots who won't apply a little logic to their time online and do the sensible thing by ignoring them. Like a spoilt child who is playing up; if you ignore them for long enough they will stop whatever it is they are doing.

    Right now I'm sorry but I have to class people who fall for these scams in the same category as people who go on the net without adequate anti-virus software and firewalls & something which I'd argue should be a criminal offense. People, get yourselves sorted and stop being so bloody irresponsible! You?re spoiling it for all of us!

    To: Everyone Else

    Sorry about this. I appreciate that I sound exactly like the young, arrogant, irritating youth that I probably am with this pointless hot headed rant, but it has to be said. At quarter past 4 this afternoon I decided to stop deleting my junk mail to see how many I'd receive. Since then I've had 12, including 2 whilst I've been writing this post. That is well over one an hour. What a complete waste of bandwidth!

    I've decided to name our stereo-typical spammer Wayne, not because I think that is what his name is & I imagine it is something I can't even pronounce, as given the using of spelling and grammar in these emails, I'm assuming they aren't from an English speaking country & but because pretty much everyone I've ever met called Wayne has been a total arse-wipe, a waste of space and an ideal candidate for a new government fast track scheme: From Womb to Prison. No offense to anyone called Wayne of course. If you are reading this and your name is Wayne then it seems you can actually read, which puts you beyond the reach of the illiterate scrote-bags I'm stereo-typing here.

    I used to boast to my friends that because my email account existed on a totally unheard of domain, Wayne had been unable to find me, and for nearly three years this was largely true. Since launching the blog though, everything has changed. It seems I am so damn popular with the search engines that anyone looking for an email address to send turds-in-cyber-envelopes to can find my address. The price of fame I guess.

    If anyone has come up with some good and reliable methods for blocking junk email/hunting down and brutally murdering anyone involved in the sending of junk email, please let me know via the comments form. Until then, we return to our regular programming.

    Thanks for listening.

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    Junk Email The Second

    Posted on Thursday 7th December 2006 at 00:00
    Haha! It looks like I'm paying for my last post now! Apparently, much to my surprise, 'Wayne? does in fact 'read? my blog after all, although I strongly suspect all he was actually capable of was looking at the pictures. When I got home from work I found that my average of maybe 10 unwanted items in my inbox since this morning had risen to a whopping 40 junk emails! Most of them were identical to each other as well, which apart from anything else just shows how incredibly, unbelievably, arse-scratchingly stupid these morons really are. It supposedly hasn't occurred to them that if I don't take an interest in the email the first time around, I'm probably not going to get any more exciting about the other 39 copies.

    Apparently 90% of unwanted emails sent on the net each day originate from just 180 or so individuals. That is quite encouraging really, as even the smallest prisons can usually squeeze that many into one cell. Given that these people don't appear to have developed the level of intelligence common in most multi cellular life forms, they will probably be quite content with the cramped conditions as I imagine they relieve themselves wherever they are sitting/standing most of the time anyway.

    I shall keep you all posted on future developments.

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    Writer's Block

    Posted on Tuesday 5th December 2006 at 00:00
    Why is it that I spend half my life thinking of things to write about on days like today, when nothing noteworthy has taken place, and yet by the time I sit down to write, I've totally forgotten what all these little things were. You think at least some of them would stick around long enough to be tied down to the page, but apparently not. Instead, I'm sat here at the computer with a mug of hot chocolate and a penguin biscuit (naughty) and I can't think of a thing to write about. The lighting is low and warm and jazz music is quietly trickling out of the computer speakers. If I wasn't quite so prone to yawning as I am, this might be a perfect situation in which to write to you about my oh so exciting life, but apparently not.

    Today I decorated a Christmas tree. It wasn't my Christmas tree, just a Christmas tree. If it had been my Christmas tree it would have looked a lot nicer when it was finished, with far more variety in the little hanging decorations. It would also have had lights, which this one didn't. This particular Christmas tree was one of the ones for work. Sadly it was the second one to be done, so the pick of the decorations had already gone, but nonetheless I think I did a reasonable job, considering I didn't have much time to get it done, and most of that was spent stealing paperclips to be stretched out and used as makeshift hooks for the decorations that has lost their original strings.

    Why is it that the Penguin jokes are among the least funny jokes in the entire world? In all my years as a comedy addict I don't think I've ever found such a poor collection. In fact I'd go so far as to suggest that on the sheer awfulness scale they are surpassed only by my brother's first attempt at a joke: What animal hatches out of an egg? A slug! To this day, no one has been able to explain in what way, shape or form, that could possibly be a funny joke.

    Have you ever noticed how your taste buds are a lot less sensitive in the morning than later in the day? I have a vague inkling I might have talked about this once before, so if you are hearing bells ringing, please bear with me. Breakfast cereals are generally full of some quite strong flavours, but for some reason they all taste equally bland at breakfast, as though your taste buds have overslept and are still tucked up warm and tight in bed. I noticed this again this morning whilst having the chocolate from my Advent Calendar, which on this occasion was a Galaxy Caramel, arguably one of the tastiest chocolates on the planet. Much was my dismay therefore, upon discovering that I could hardly taste it, let alone enjoy its rich and chocolatey flavour.

    Do you think that I should add more soft drinks to my drinking repertoire? After years of criticism, it has recently emerged that many drinks are much better for you as drinks because, far from being dehydrating, as used to be thought, you still acquire a net gain in fluid from drinking them, even if individual ingredients can dehydrate you. I've traditionally drunk a lot of squash over the years and not much of anything else. I'm firmly of the view that drinking is something I should do to replenish my fluid levels, rather than simply to give myself something to do & partly because I'm too lazy to keep getting drinks and partly because I'm too lazy to want to go and empty myself of said drinks too often. Since we were all led to believe that water and a few almost water drinks were the only good things to drink, I've found myself sticking mainly to those. By the time I've hydrated myself on squash, I tend to find I don't want another drink, which is why I rarely drink anything else.

    Now, however, I'm wondering about giving tea, coffee, fruit juice etc some of the responsibility for hydration, rather than treating them as extras to be squeezed in as and when I can manage it. In theory there is no reason for sticking to squash when there are other drinks so freely available, and variety is, after all, the spice of life. What say you?

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    The Need For Cookies

    Posted on Sunday 3rd December 2006 at 00:00
    Just a quick post to yet you all know of my dazzling achievements, once again! After a hard afternoon of slaving away on behalf of all my readers, I've finally sussed getting cookies to work on the comments page. This means that from now on, if you have cookies enabled in your browser, you shan't have to type in your name, email address and website every time you post a comment, and better still, I won't have to either, since I end up replying to most comments so have to type in those same old details even more than you do.

    So yea, that is one less hassle for you and I, dear reader. If anyone has any questions about cookies or has any suggestions for future improvements to the site, please comment on this post!

    This site update is dedicated to: Sally Lomax who kindly suggested the need for cookies.

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    Posted on Friday 1st December 2006 at 00:00
    Why is it that bad moods and tiredness are so closely linked? It really bugs me! Why can't I get tired in the evening and not end up in a bad mood because of it? It is really, really problematic from a social point of view. If I get tired I end up in a bad mood and if I'm in a bad mood I'm unpleasant to people and if I'm unpleasant to people I can't get along with anyone because I'm feeling too antisocial and I feel tired every single day.

    I'm beginning to wonder if the sudden and total drop in enthusiasm for forming and maintaining friendship is actually nothing to do with my total disillusionment with mankind as a whole but is in fact a symptom of a long term subtle tiredness which for reasons unknown can't be shifted with sleep. Perhaps I'm just tired of life and everything in it? If I feel like this at 20, God only knows what I'll be like by the time I'm middle aged.

    Unless of course this is the middle of my life already. Perhaps I'm currently going through my midlife crisis and this is why I simultaneously despise being around people and yet need them all the same. Although if this is my midlife crisis, that means I'm going to live until I'm about 40, and the idea of that doesn't appeal much, as 40 is a long way off, and I'm already tired and miserable most of the time. It is only downhill from here.

    In some totally unrelated news, I met Lady Elisabeth Butler-Sloss today. For those who don't know, she is a very high up Aristocracy type who is also a prominent former judge and the person currently in charge of the inquest into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. She was in the news today (Butler-Sloss that is, not Diana & although if you picked up a copy of the Daily Mail today, there is a 83% chance that it would contain another conspiracy about Diana's death somewhere within its contents) something to do with the inquest and Al Fayed getting annoyed about it all.

    She probably won't remember me very well, since she totally failed to acknowledge me when I cleared her plate from the table. She was there on account of her happening to be the Chancellor of my university, which apparently makes her important enough to grace us with her presence just once in a while.

    But that is a side note. The main message in today's post is that I'm tired and miserable and tired of being miserable, so keep that in mind please!

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    Ignorminious Proudly Presents …

    Posted on Friday 1st December 2006 at 00:00
    ...... the tackiest seasonal theme for a website ever! That's right my friends, I Ignorminious hereby declare that it is December and so the Christmas festivities can begin! I don't under any circumstances hold with people going all Christmasy in October or November as that is far too commercial for me, but when December starts I'm as pro Christmas as St Nick, Frosty the Snowman and Jesus all rolled into one!

    It is for this reason that I've created this painfully over the top Christmas theme for my website which I shall be leaving in place for the remainder of the month. If anyone wishes to complain about this, please don't bother to tell me. I honestly don't care that you don't like the colour scheme/theme/Christmas/Jesus/presents/trees/stockings/the Queen's speech. This is my blog, not yours, so if you don't like it, don't look at it. You can always subscribe to the RSS feed, thus cutting out the need to actually visit the site at all!

    As of yet, I've not noticed any other websites with a Christmas theme of any kind. I'd rather like to think that I'm not the only one who is really this sad, so if you have created a Christmas theme for your website, or if you know someone who has, why not comment and tell me about it? If you include a link, Google can throw a party and crawl both our sites even quicker because they are linked together! Sound like a good idea?

    You bet your merry (Christm)ass it does!

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