Well, I’ve never missed an entire month before. A couple of months, really.
I received a very nice email this morning from someone asking how I am. It was a pleasant surprise, and it made me think: I really should do what I keep meaning to do, and start posting here again.
It’s been quiet, because I’ve been busy. And quite a lot has changed. I’ve moved house, well away from the family, to the other side of the country. I’m living with someone, someone who I actually want to live with. But on the other hand, I’m living without internet for the first time in five years ago. You don’t realise what you’ve got until it’s gone; you don’t realise how much The Internets are now part of the infrastructure, like heat and light. “Oh, I’ll just look that up on… ah.” “Oh, I’ll just email… ah.” “Oh, I’ll just check the times on their we… ah.”
This is all because we’re living in a flat, which used to be a house. For some years* it’s been two flats, one up, one down. All legal and above board (we’ve read through the planning permits to double-check this), but nobody ever bothered to tell the Post Office this. As a result, getting services involves persuading people that our flat does really exist, first. British Gas: no problem. Phone suppliers: more tricky. Particularly, the Post Office, who are (understandably) wedded to their database of genuine addreses, but (not so understandably) took three weeks to realise we weren’t on it. Bah. Ah well. No need to bother ringing them when we want to change our insurance, at least.
* I could look up the exact number on the city council’s planning department website, but … ah.
The Mother is always fond of saying: “you know, with your brain and your skills, you could have done so much better for a career! You could have done anything you wanted!”
So, when we heard on the news this morning about the teenager who allegedly made millions from internet crime, I was slightly surprised she didn’t say anything. I was almost expecting: “Why didn’t you do that? You’re just as bright as he is! You could have made millions from botnets and fraud by now if you’d only put your mind to it!”
where do military musicians train? – at military band camp, I assume
what is healthy porn? – porn in which all the actors use plenty of fresh vegetables?
devon sandstone looks like this
meaning of “to throw a sheep at” – personally, I thought it sounded rather straightforward
memories of 1930s Herne Bay – don’t ask me, I’m too young. And I’ve never even been to Herne Bay.
victorian gothic desktop themes – I’m sure I could knock up a St Pancras Station background wallpaper or two
registry office bow road – I was at a
wedding civil partnership ceremony there a while back, and it’s a very nice building. The Suffragettes used it as a meeting hall, you know
suzie dent is she married? – I don’t know, but I wouldn’t save yourself for her if that’s what you’re thinking
scary wooing noise – I personally find that wooing can make very scary noises. Although you could try:
bdsm gag – right, that’s enough of that for today.
Chatting to Vee last night, she said: maybe she should cut down on social websites. She showed me the list of sites she’s got profiles on. Seventeen. Maybe she’s overdoing it a little. I have at least five at the last count, at least one of which lies derelict and abandoned.
Gordon, too, recently wrote about this. There are so many social websites out there that, if you’re not careful, they become nothing more than a time-sink. Or, the other extreme; you leave abandoned profiles scattered across the internet like so much silent litter.
Now, social interaction has been on my mind for the past couple of weeks, ever since my friend Maz called me an ignorant and antisocial git. This was largely because I hadn’t popped round to put up some shelves for her like I’d promised; but she’s not the only person to have complained that I don’t keep in touch with my friends as much as I should do. The solution to that, though, isn’t networking websites with long lists of “friends”. What’s missing is deep interaction. Going on Facebook to throw a sheep at someone is meaningless; writing them a letter or two is what counts.
Sites like Facebook are kind of pointless, except as an address book and a distraction. At least, they’re pointless as far as building up real, meaningful relationships are concerned. The social sites that are useful, though, are the ones which have some genuine purpose other than being a list of friends. Last.FM,* for example, or Flickr. I’ve always been too lazy to upload photos to Flickr, although I keep meaning to. I have a backlog of photos going back about a year, that are unsorted and mostly unseen; occasionally I dribble a few onto this site. So, I’m going to use Flickr more.** I’m going to spend more effort on the friends and acquaintances I already have, rather than collect more I don’t really know. I’m going to stick with the social networks I have, but only because, hopefully, I might become less of an ignorant git in the future. The only way to do that is with real interaction, not a quick Facebook poke.
* Well, it’s useful if you’re a music geek
** Partly because I’ve started playing with the maps. I love it. Photos and maps in one place – what more could a geek ask for?
wemyss bay station
why forests need to be saved – I don’t know, they just do
ravens where to see them in south east england – I’d suggest the Tower, personally
steps of doing long division
computer geekery definition
ball gagged police
why was war between bosnia and serbia – trust me, it’s a long story
gothic and depressive computer desktop backgrounds
goose to blame if i lose my balance
the bad things about solar collectors
I think that’s enough of that
Well, I’ve passed a milestone, or so I’ve been told. This site has finally been banned somewhere! If you’re an employee of a certain large courier company, you won’t be reading this, at least not at work. It’s not China, but it’s a start. I was chatting to someone about it in the pub last night; they were mildly disappointed not to have all this rubbish to read when they’re stuck at their desk. Poor thing.
Big Dave’s still here, for another week at least, but his replacement has been announced. He’s also called Dave, of course, and he’s starting in January. I have no idea how large or small he is, but I’m going to have to call him Wee Dave just for symmetry. I’m not really looking forward to it.
Hello to internet friend Angeldust, who starts at university today as a mature student. How she’ll cope with having to be mature, I really have no idea.
It reminded me, though, that it’s ten years this month since I started at university myself. Ten years, and it feels like no time at all. It certainly doesn’t feel like I’ve grown up at all in that time, although I almost certainly have without realising it. And ten years since starting university also means ten years since I got my first email address, and ten years since I first went on the web,* using university public labs with Apple Macs running Mac OS 7.5. I did even, occasionally in that first year or so, browse the web in black and white, because some of the university Macs only had monochrome screens. It wasn’t very impressive, partly because given the state of the university computer network at the time, the effective download speed in a busy lab was about the same as the 56k home dialup connections which were starting to appear around then too.
I didn’t get my own PC until I was in my second year at university, and didn’t get internet access until late in that year. Even when I did, the university was my ISP – I applied for, and was given, access to one of the university dial-in lines, available to any student who was good enough at navigating the university bureaucracy to find and fill in the right form. Somehow I doubt that universities offer that service now – but, then again, offering full network access to hall bedrooms was unheard of ten years ago too.
It really doesn’t feel like ten years that I’ve been on the net – but then again, I couldn’t imagine life without it now. In the past ten years, it’s gone from being exotic and new, to being an everyday part of life.
* Using Pegasus Mail over a Netware network for email, and Netscape Navigator 2 for the web
Not feeling very healthy at the moment; as I said on Monday, I have a nasty sore throat that just won’t go away. I know who I caught it off, too.
Small update: someone called martyn read this (from May), and possibly this, from April, and left a comment, about Christian SF writer Dilwyn Horvat. Which makes me think I should probably dig his books out some time, reread them, and review them properly. If I can find them, of course.
One of the main sources of traffic to this site has always been people searching for the lyrics to the childrens’ hymn “Autumn Days” by Estelle White – you can find them here. The number of searches has jumped a lot in the past few weeks, though, to the point where new visitors were coming in looking for them every five or ten minutes the other day. It took me a while to realise that not only is it just coming into autumn, but all the schools have just started term again. If you’re a schoolteacher looking for the words, you really should go out and buy a hymnbook with it in, you know, such as Come And Praise or something similar. Copying the words off the internet just isn’t the Christian thing to do, honest.
More search requests, whilst we’re at it:
how to secure myself from harm in a forest – don’t go in it to start with! Haven’t you seen Blair Witch?
evan davies piercings
little box big box
covered in gunge
nostradamus prediction of gordon brown
gothic victorian desktop wallpaper
summary operation titan dilwyn horvat – see, I said I should review it
shimura curves pictures – there’s some fairly crap ones here
trafalgar square pervs
I think that’s enough of that for a while.
As I haven’t done it for a while – stop sniggering at the back there – it’s time for Recent Search Requests.
neverwhere – look here, or possibly here.
have you tried turning it off and on again poster – if you give me ten minutes I’m sure I could knock one up
symptoms of hypoxia in dog – I’d imagine they’re fairly similar to the symptoms in humans – irritability, aggression, light-headedness, inability to concentrate, and eventually fainting.
movie shoot on millennium bridge – I took a photo, but beyond that I know nothing
public domain sailing ship images – sorry, none of those here.
british railways sign font – you’re probably after either Gill Sans or Rail Alphabet.
bagpiping sexual practise – I really have no idea. Does it involve horrible screechy noises, and men in skirts? Or is it related to teabagging? The mind boggles.
angel london underground strawberry beer – see, despite staying near The Angel recently, I still don’t know any pubs round there that sell it. Better do some fieldwork, I think.
Takin’ Over The Asylum was the classic BBC Scotland drama series starring Ken Stott and David Tennant, back before he was famous. It really was very good indeed, and I wish I could see it again some time.
naked norfolk girl – that’s definitely enough search requests for today, I think.
It’s the end of the week, and it feels like it; I definitely haven’t been getting enough sleep in the past few days. In lieu of something that needs thought and consideration, here’s some search requests.
what food goes best with strawberry beer: the obvious answer that comes to mind is: MORE strawberry beer. It counts as a type of food, I’m sure, much as Guinness is legally a type of low-grade heating oil.*
girl group harmonies – why don’t you try the Shimura Curves!
land of green ginger is a street in Hull, linking Silver St and Manor St
snog work colleague christmas party – my advice is, “don’t”. It’s not as good an idea as you think at the time.** In fact, before you start drinking, take your best office friend aside and say “I know I fancy [Sam/Lisa/Dave/Amy/Fi] in [Sales/Accounts/Admin/Imports/Alien Abduction], but if you see me going anywhere near [her/him], tie my hands behind my back and lock me in the stationary cupboard for half an hour.”
help posing wedding group photos. Stand everyone together. Fiddle around with imposing-looking camera kit. Spend so long faffing that everyone gets bored, then get someone else to snap them quickly when they’re not paying attention. Trust me, it works.
Edinburgh University posh? Ooh, definitely. When I was there, I was one of the least posh people around.
this aye night fire and fleet and candlelight are lines from the Lyke Wake Dirge, which I’ve written about before. I only found recently, though, that it’s used quite a bit in Neil Gaiman‘s classic book Neverwhere which I read recently for the first time in years.***
Things I haven’t managed to write about this week: the band Montoya – who I have a whole roll of photos of that haven’t been scanned yet – the comic-book hero Scott Pilgrim, the sense of ennui and malaise hanging around the office,**** the effect of Too Many Footnotes, and Big Dave’s latest plan for self-improvement. But that’s enough for today, I think.
* the last bit might be a white lie there.
** if you think about it at all at the time, which is probably unlikely.
*** whilst sitting on a train
**** especially when I get my camera out.