Wednesday, 30 April 2003

Well now, here's a thing. This, as you'll know, is the concluding day of the national gun amnesty, during which people have been going so far as to hand in BB guns. Now when Andy and James got back from Exmouth, they both had fairly new BB guns in their possession and a good quantity of pellets. Goodness. So they shot each other with them for a while, and after a further... while, Andy managed to accidentally shoot Paul, who, responding with atypical fury, hurled a chair in his direction. I believe that they are now reconciled. This may be a more painful house in general for a while though.
Andy and James have just decided to be daft and go to Exmouth to do their shopping. I was very tempted to go with them, but here I am. At least I should get to see some photos.
My room is entirely free of vermin.
Huzzah :) James has achieved the unlikely, and we are going to look at somewhere to live later on today. This is good, but as they will be checking us out as human beings, I will be thinking of Shallow Grave at various intervals during the day.

Work is going okay so far today.
Being a student who gets up for 0900, lack of lectures notwithstanding, is seemingly to occupy a different universe to the rest of the world. I don't do any more work though.

Tuesday, 29 April 2003

If this were a diary, I don't think I'd have an entry today. I couldn't get going this morning for some reason. I woke up to my alarm, whereas it usually just persuades me to get out of bed. Then I found James downstairs, he said he was going to pay his fees, so I figured that I might as well do likewise, as there was company. I only ever seem to do small errands on campus nowadays. We were too early though, so we wandered around a bit looking at the noticeboards and looking at the ads. I think we found two other places to check out.

After doing some dissertation and getting depressed about it I had a quick walk to the funky bridge by the Mill on the Exe and looked at water moving around in exciting ways.

Some first year girls came round to our house to see what Kingom Mews is like apparently. Gavin showed them round.

Just watched Ferris Bueller with James.

Monday, 28 April 2003

Hello. I've been reading rather a lot of Mark Shea's stuff today. S'very good I think. I reluctantly wandered up to campus to do assorted stuff, including, but not limited to, idly wandering over to accounts to look in the window, see the queue and not bother going in. This is in stark contrast to Nina's response, which was one of anxiety. I was in the process of returning the library's copy of Metaphysics after picking up my very own copy to cherish yet disagree with when I ran across one of my English group who were shambolically trying to get a study group together. So we did that, until we ran out of time to discuss our lack of ideas.

The seminar went okay. In a gimmicky way, Karen Edwards (who is a lovely person - all of our lecturers seem to be) has set up the whole module so that we take responsibility for teaching each other. One of the results of this is that our seminars are a bit samey. For instance, every week we seem to have split into two groups, one of which argues for the sanity of the principal protagonist in the current play, the other for their insanity. We (I) had the easy job today, arguing that Giovanni in 'Tis Pity She's a Whore is mental.
Enter Giovanni with a heart upon his dagger

Its a good place to start from, no? I was really rather vociferous, and despite knowing nothing about the nature of mental disorders, debated said topic not heatedly, but solidly, I think. After this I had a chat with Jess, who's in my seminar group, but with whom I have not spoken properly for some time. This was nice, because Jess is nice.

Some people have been independently suggesting that I'm intelligent today. I don't think I'm particularly modest, but such a convergence of praise makes me feel a little edgy.

Ran into various people and felt nervous today - Jen, who I really only met yesterday, ditto Liam, as well as two choral society committee members who I know. I hope no-one who I do not see on a regular basis takes my irrational anxiety about talking to them personally. Unfortunately it seems rather likely.

You seem to be back in their good books, you can search for your blog again!

Yes, I was going to mention that, because there is an amusing search term ratio jobby going on. I look forward to having huge swathes of even more amusing search terms like at James' blog, which I reccommend you read until I blog again after eleven, when I intend to stop working and blog in a more typical manner.

Seminar today. No longer am I in command of my schedule. Pity. Right, nose to the grindstone - peculiar phrase that.

Sunday, 27 April 2003

Gah. I am hemmed in on all (two) sides by other blogs which have already reported various facets of my life. Ah well - the thing to do, I suppose, would be to ignore them and just blog anyway. Firstly, Gavin and Rebekah fancied a meal out and asked us all if we wanted to come too, which we did, apart from Mino, who is emotionally vulnerable as his computer keeps going bleugggh. I was cooking my tea when they left, and by the time I had arrived they'd only just gone to order despite the fact that James knew what he was going to order, and Paul only had chips, which, amusingly, had some 'erb or other on them. Gavin ate his barbequed ribs with a knife and fork - meat is just wasted on these people. I wonder what he wanted the napkins for then? Gavin was quite amusing, once unintentionally and once intentionally. I forget the latter, but he just said out of the blue that "I've been reading the history of KFC on the internet." Well, I guess you had to be there. And be me. And be in a bizarre mood. For some reason I went back to the house after all this, despite the fact that I was going to be at the Impy later anyway.

I got there bang on time - goodness knows why I think it's necessary to be on time when going to a pub - walked around, saw no-one and got scared so I waited outside and, presently, Nina, Wouter, Hoyas, Liam, Jen, and Jen's boyfriend, whose name I can't remember but to be fair it's the frst time I'd ever met him, appeared out of the darkness. We took a while to get settled down, because chairs were scarce, but after that it was good. Nina thought I was bored, but I was merely reticent, as I tend to be when meeting people.* Listening's good. It was a bit loud though, which is my pet peeve regarding pretty much any kind of establishment where the ostensible purpose is for social interaction. Right, I've spent too long blogging. G'bye.

Oh, but I can't, by any means, leave out that Andy's back. He, as he says, had the most dramatic re-entry. He's bought a new BB Gun (is that how you spell it? - nyeh.) and proceeded to shoot James with it, who responded like a cross between Batfink, in the intro sequence, and a very bored northener. So we chatted and then watched clips from Monkeyball story mode, and then I thought I should go to bed.
Hello. Spent today doing not very much so far. I've got to spend less time in front of monitor's doing nothing - it does me eyes in. After a lot of nothing, including watching James not add a new gimmick to his blog, Neil came round, and we chatted aimlessly in the front room for a bit. Then I remembered that Paul had a car, and that Neil therefore did not have to get the bus to Loyes, so Neil, Paul, myself and James bundled down (up) to Loyes and checked out the facilities. It gave James lots of opportunities to take photos and borrow Paul's card reader again. I'm gonna get some food and then go to the Imperial later, with Nina and her associates, of whom I think I know a relatively small number currently. Gavin and Rebekah are organising a seperate excursion to the Impy. I want to go to an Indian restaurant sometime this term, because I haven't been since the first year, and that just ain't right. I think I'll have a lie down. I'm a bit tired for some reason.
Well, I've just come back from the sung eucharist at the cathedral, where I went with John this morning. It was a good service as well as an aesthetically-pleasing one, the sermon being delivered Radio 4 style. The reading was (partially) on 'doubting' Thomas today. It occurred to me, possibly for the first time, that the gnostic gospel of Thomas is directly antagonistic to Thomas' thinking as presented in the canon. He requests physical evidence before acknowledging Christ. As ever, the local quirks of liturgy threw me a little, but the service sheet was good enough to have musical notation for some of it, which, thanks to choral society, is now actually a small help rather than a compounding of the mystery.

I was in the mood to just wander off, rather than talking to a clergyman, which was an ostensible reason that I was there as opposed to anywhere else, but John helpfully persuaded me to stay. They had apple and cinnammon tea, which was very nice. A clerically-attired guy in red turned up, and John said I should speak to him, which I did, after prodding. It seems that the Church of England is just full of people who approve of the style and pastoral emphases of the C of E without thinking it any more 'right' than any other denomination - including Catholicism. "Follow Christ", they all say, in a community which seems to be doing so itself. Yes, very true, but I wonder if anyone saw which way he went?

Saturday, 26 April 2003

I've just been to the pub with James and Joe, but that's not important right now, thought it was very enjoyable. Thanks for the pint Joe, this blog entry will stand as a (possibly transistory) witness to the fact that I owe you one. Anyway, the main thing is to say that I read James' blog every day, and this rivalry- foolishness it is, hmm? I like his blog, he has pictures, and he's not afraid to blog ordinary things and real things and transcendentally stupid things, and he's just a great guy with a great blog who talks nonsense sometimes, like how Bob Dylan invented everything ever when it was really Captain Beefheart, and this is greatly amusing. And everyone should read it cos it's lovely. Good night all you wonderful people - God bless you every one. I don't say that very often.
Just been out for a spin in the car with Paul and Gavin. I don't seem to be dead, but I have just been in McDonald's, so who can say for sure? First we went to Alphington Sainsbury's so Gavin could do some shopping. He bought some vegetables. Sainsbury's sells, in the exotic fruits section, toffee apples. Paul and myself will shortly be partakers thereof. Thus spake Paul: "The healthier way to eat apples." Then we spent some time faffing around in the aforementioned matter outlet and came back. I wonder what we will do next?
Well, James is back. Wahey! He took his computer (not a laptop) on the train with him - madness. After saying hello and suchlike, he hooked up the Gamecube in order to show me the multifarious delights of Monkey Ball 2. It's looking good. Monkey shot and Monkey boat especially. His hair looks funny.
Today's Gospel (Luke 24:35-48) reminds me of my own weakness at times. There have been times in which I was seeking direction from God, especially during my study of the ancient Church, when I wanted a sign. I needed proof that either I was headed in the right direction or that I was travelling down the wrong road. God never walked into my room and explained Himself to me. There were no streaks of lightning in the sky to spell out God's will for me. When I read passages like this I always wonder why I don't ever have signs in my Christian walk. Then I remember Jesus' teaching, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." (John 20:29).
It's quite reassuring to think that Mr. Shinwa, who has a blog with scrupulously laudable aims, and speaks in Christian*, unlike mine and James' which recount "what someone had for dinner, when they got up etc", had similar issues to myself when he was looking at the early church.
The Queen [of ubiquity, Davina McCall] is dead, long live the Queen [, Edith Bowman]! Huzzah - I always thought Davina was prized somewhat past her worth. I guess she'll still be on Big Brother though. Ah well.

I was half-listening to the new Colin and Edith Saturday morning show on Radio 1, then went downstairs to catch her on Star Buck$ on Channel 4 (I thought that Denise van Outen was surprisingly funny and down-to-earth), and when that finished, a quick flick to ITV revealed Ms. Bowman yet again, this time interviewing the cast of X-Men 2. Within the space of two hours certainly, one hour possibly, she had contrived to be on three of the most significant media networks in the country!

I am such a pop-culture junky. It can't be healthy.
Just back from town. James was not quietly confident about my ability to get to Game for 0900, so he texted me while I was preparing breakfast, to gently urge me in the direction of town. Naturally, I calmly finished my breakfast, strolled to town and got there three minutes early. I emerged at 0902 with a receipt to give to James. I think I'm a fairly reliable sort.

So now I'm back with my shopping. I should point out that there's a good meal deal at Sainsbury's at the minute: two canneloni (or tortellini I think), two fairly small but appetising-looking garlic baguettes and a pre-packaged salad for a fiver. I might try and skank some white wine off Paul to go with it. Paul being Paul, he's already offered me some. Amusingly, though he has every shelf in our fridge except mine, he put his wine on it.
Good morning. I am loving the new Blur single, also the new tATu single which everyone hates*, though not without copious reservations regarding the marketing of it utilising the powerfully emotive figure of lesbian schoolgirls. On a related note, I reccommend that everyone watch Fucking Åmål, a Swedish film about lesbian schoolgirls - No, seriously. Also, why on earth does the new R Kelly single not suck? I mean, it's not actually good, don't get me wrong, but it's not a ballad and it's not nauseating - what's up with that? Now it occurs to me that what this guy wants is a catechism. Right, better go to town and pre-order The Legend of Zelda:The Wind Waker for James.

Friday, 25 April 2003

Derek basically just said that the analogy implied that a part of one's humanity continues into one's resurrection body. Possibly he would have elaborated had he not been shopping in the UTC and I been anxious not to bother him to any extremity.

Have been to the Artful Dodger with John. It was most enjoyable. It was kind of like talking on MSN, but quicker, with less emoticons, and more beer. As ever, we discussed matters theological. Chris and co. turned up after a while and joined us and we stopped talking about theology so much. John has played badminton against Chris. Perhaps I should have done introductions, but I'm not very good at such things. John's kinetic watch is about four hours slow, and I found this so amusing that I creased up for about a minute. Disturbing changes at the Artful: the tables have been altered, they've stopped serving Otter (I have to go to the Ram now then?) and there were flowers at our table in a Pernod glass. John said that it also appeared lighter, but this may have been due to seasonal variation. Disturbing anyway.
I just saw Derek Burnside coming out of Exeter St. David's whilst getting some money out, which was unusual. I said hello in a, "I am one of the many faces that you have encountered during your life and I wish you well" way and passed him by. Then I thought "Hang on, I've just been pondering scripture which has been confusing me, and I've just let Derek Burnside walk past me?". So after thinking for a moment, I wandered into the UTC and asked him what he thought "It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body." meant. He wasn't phased at all, after apologies for randomness, and emphasised the agricultural metaphor, hence an orthodox reading. It was to be expected I suppose, but it made me feel a little easier about it.
Mark Shea has brought it to my attention that I am a little prone to gnostic thought, which is annoying to say the least. In particular the first example given. It seems to me that Paul has something to answer for in this regard, in that even whilst admonishing "some of" the Corinthians for saying that Christ has not been raised bodily, he says stuff like this:
So is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

What a confusing analogy he is using:
You foolish man! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.

Silly of me really.

Just goes to show that you can't dive into this theology malarkey without running across some confusing things. Peter knows the score:
[O]ur beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction[.]

Tell me about it. What occurs to me is that I remember saying to James that transubstantiation seemed a rather unneccesary doctrine, given that the eucharist might as well be a "purely" spiritual gift. Hmm - well I'm less than sure of that now. I mean, there was the incarnation(physical) and his death on the cross(physical), and his resurrection, after which he pointed out in various ways that he was (physical). None of these things, I'm sure, were ad hoc on God's part, things that he would have done differently had he been thinking straight, so whence my disposition to put the Eucharist, which is to say a participation in some way in Christ's physical sacrifice, in another category? Just thinking out loud.

n.p. I'm alive Stretch and Verne > I've got a lovely Bunch of Coconuts mixed with The Beautiful People (ah-aaahh!)
The official House 5, Kingdom Mews Picture of the Day©M'sieur, with these new kitchen appliances you are really spoiling us. First the oven (I think because the cleaner broke it), and now the microwave. Mino said that Vi reported it as being rusty.(?) Fantastic - James, Andy and Paul's abuse of our kitchen is paying dividends. I hope they don't get it into their heads to replace our clockwork toaster. It rules. Not quite so much as the Duryard conveyor belt toasters though.

Also, Rosie's found us somewhere to live.

I've just had one of Paul's strawberries. It was delectable.
Paul went shopping in his shiny new car on the first day back, Wednesday. He went out in the evening to get a teapot as well. Yesterday he offered me a strawberry when I said "Hey Paul, you've got strawberries!*" I declined on the basis that he had no cream; this he had forgotten. Getting breakfast today, I noted the presence of a brand spanking new pot of cream. You know - I think I can see the direction this whole car thing is taking. Alphington Sainsbury's not a 24/7 one is it?

Thursday, 24 April 2003

Hello everybody. Gavin's back now. After a very boring, bedroom-centred day in which I didn't do enough work, I emerged at about 1945 to find Gavin chatting to Mino in the kitchen. It took about 5 seconds from when I went in for them to confuse one another, as they do. I asked Gavin if Rebekah were here; he said not. He also said when she would be coming back (Sunday) and why. So Gavin gets to live it up bachelor style for two full days - three really, while Rebekah does something involving one of those fascist-youth type organizations which keep the minds and bodies of our youth hale and hearty.
Ugh. Better do some dissertation then. It's somewhat grey and damp outside. If I blog half as much again as I did yesterday before 1700, tell me off - I have better things to do theoretically. Have splendid days.

Just something thats been on the periphery of my mind recently: Is the newsreader on RI:SE (Zora Suleman) acting out the seduction of the entire nation, in a Nigella Lawson stylee?

ZORA Hello, listen to my news. You like my news don't you? No, it's okay, I don't mind...

Better stop hadn't I?

Wednesday, 23 April 2003

We're not gonna be living at 34 Fore St. next year.

We're not gonna be living at 34 Fore St. next year.
Well, till now only John Orchard's made an effort to dissuade me from becoming a Catholic, but Mark Dungay's risen to the challenge now too:
Oh yeah - reasons to not be a Catholic:

  1. No contraception.

  2. They talk to God via the Virgin Mary, what did she ever do apart from
    get raped by a Roman soldier?
  3. They park on the double yellow lines outside my house all the time.

  4. Priests and choir boys.

  5. They actually take the Popes seriously even thought most have been
    completely senile for over 10 years of their reign. And when did God
    appoint him anyway[?]

  6. Tony Soprano.

Paul and I are giving the new po it's first task. It'a very nice po - like the last one, but not broken and the plastic bits are black instead, which is nicer. The teacosy's great.
Paul's mum bought him a teacosy. We haven't got a teapot in good condition however, so earlier he was wearing it on his head.

Oh man. I just saw the most gratutitous pop key change in the world ever, fer shure. It was on TotP2 (naturlich) with Craig David and Sting. They were clenching just about everything they could think of, due to their immese soulfulness of course, before launching quite arbitrarily into another key. On the plus side, I don't think it was by a perfect interval, but perhaps I'm wrong. I'm toying with the idea of suggesting arbitrary modulation to Victor - it's the key to chart success, as Mr. Moyles has consistently pointed out. Then the snooker came on; what possessed them to 'impove' the title music? It used to be awesome, but now it's awesomeness is diluted. They don't even use The Chain for Formula 1 anymore. Cheh, I dunno...
Paul is here after all. I went downstairs after my lie down, detecting the almost completely unsatisfying aroma of hot-dog brine on the way, and found him hiding by the side of the fridge. I had a stonking headache, but it was good to see him. I asked him if he had a particular reason to be here and he said it was because he was bored. I couldn't resist looking at his car - it's got "Independence" written on the side (ha!) and the seat decorations look kinda like safety instructions, which, if scandalous rumours are to be credited, would be apt. It's also light blue; "moonstone" says Paul. So if any of you have a Nidorina, Nidorino, Clefairy or Jigglypuff you should bring it round and evolve it.

So then I tried to phone some people about living in Exeter. Couldn't speak to anyone, but I did get to send a couple of e-mails.
I've been in town for aaaaaaages - 4.5 hours. I spent a lot of it going back and forth because my shopping style consists of thinking of one thing I want, trying to comparison shop for it, then forgetting the differences between the various things, then giving up and buying it from the nearest one. The purchase of my new cheap and nasty walkman would be a case in point. It's tanking along admirably. Huzzah.

There are basically two Christian bookshops in Exeter, Wesley Owen and the good ol' Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. Off the shelf I can have The Apostolic Fathers from SPCK or A New Eusebius. While I'm sure they're both very good, I'm not sure they're what I'm after. I'll just read them on t'internet.

I went to the Exeter Inland Revenue Enquiry Centre, and while I can only claim a paltry sixty quid back now, I was dealt with in a very pleasant manner. My clipboard gave up the ghost during the process. I would reccommend the enquiry centre to anyone - and this while they're innundated with people who are confused about whatever the hell it is that Mr. Blair has done with tax credits.

Whilst strolling haphazardly through town, a woman asked me if I had ten minutes to spare. I did, so I answered some questions about ready meals for ten approximately ten minutes and emerged into Exeter's green and pleasant...street one Boots £2 gift voucher richer. This subsidised two cheese and coleslaw sandwiches, and a bottle of "Boots BRECON CARREG* carbonated natural mineral water". I ingested these delights on the cathedral lawn and threw my clipboard away with the rubbish.

So then I went into the cathedral and asked if I could see the duty chaplain - well that threw them. I wandered round with a woman, who kept popping her head into chapels to see if he was in there in almost exactly the same way that I would if I were looking for someone without any real idea of where they were. Priests eh? You can put dog-collars on 'em, but can you ever find one that's been house-trained? Turns out he was in the cathedral refectory on a quick break, drinking hot chocolate (it went cold while he talked to me and was abandoned) and eating biscuits. He was quick to offer me one, and I was quick to accept. He was big on inclusiveness, and said that he regretted some of whoever-the-pre-vatican-2-pope-was's instructions because they seemed to be to the detriment of that. He said that he wasn't an especially high Anglican, and that there were more high churches around than the cathedral, which was actually fairly moderate. I was expecting that to be honest - it doesn't really do to have cathedrals as somehow more 'holy' than your run of the mill churches. Anyway, he was very nice and sincere, and he gave me a biscuit. Then he went off at twelve to bash a prayer out, and I sat in the refectory for a few moments thoughtfully until I realised that I probably looked as though I were posing.

I tried to do some clothes shopping, but I was getting a bit tired by then. When confronted with T K Max, which replaced my favourite Exeter clothes shop, Madhouse, and saw the rows of varying, yet somehow homogenous clothes, I gave up and went home.

I'm knackered, and I'm going to have a lie down and a rehydrate. Think I've got a headache coming on. The fish are back in the kitchen, albeit sans aquatic greenery, which means that somone associated with Paul must have been here. I'd ask Mino if he's seen him, but I think he's on the phone. Not much chance of me getting any dissertation done before 1700 now.
Last night I was chatting for a bit with James. The fact that his eyes are hurting spurred me to change my website design, replacing CSS font face definitions with HTML font face definitions. This means both that James can resize it, and read it more easily and that it should look better in Netscrape. I don't have it installed, and probably never will. Does it look any better anybody? Also, my blog's logo now doubles as a link button, in the unlikely event that somone else a) links to me and b) wants to do it with an image. Nyeh. I'm still not on James' sidebar because I have not complimented his blog in a witty way, and I don't want to be all artificial and do it now. c.f. Cordelia in King Lear I.i.85-98 (i.e. "Now, our joy, [...] Lest it may mar your fortunes.")

Breakfast > Shopping > Phone people with places to live > Dissertation > Arse about

This was my amazing plan when I woke up this morning. I set out to town at around 0900ish, passing a postcard addressed to Gavin from the citizens of Gosport, who seem to be mostly female.

Tuesday, 22 April 2003

n.p. The Wannadies Bagsy Me
n.d. Heineken

Today's gone well, on balance. Firstly, I managed to lay some smack down on my dissertation's candy ass, which was nice. It's even conceivable that I'll do some more this evening, but perhaps its the long-awaited beer speaking. After that, and having lunch whilst discussing commercial European TV with Mino, I went upstairs and put together a shopping/to-do list, then chatted with John and Will for a bit before going to town with Mino. Here's the list as it stands:
Walkman     NAS
Power Lead     Petrock's
Pants and socks
Shaving Foam (Oil)
Shampoo & Conditioner
Church Fathers

Duty Chaplain 1630
Phone places
Inland Revenue

Sainsbury's first. I asked for a tenner cashback, and somehow walked out without it. I didn't notice for about an hour and a half. Doh, you can't just walk into a supermarket and ask for your tenner back, so I guess that's it gone. Mino wanted to buy a sim card for his phone, and we dived into phone shops as and when such a thing was possible. I found a cheap walkman, which I intend to use as a stopgap for my hi-fi, but I couldn't find a power supply cheap enough for it, so I didn't get it. My towel was a hasty purchase from Poundland. It's an 100% beach towel, which has taken up residence in the upper toilet. I only wanted it to dry my hands on - I can't use the curtains forever. I was rather surprised to find that Wesley Owen did indeed stock a copy of some of the writings of the church fathers, The Apostolic Fathers, but I didn't buy it because it didn't have some of the ones I wanted to read in, and it also had the original Greek alongside the translation which is probably more expensive, and not of much benefit if you don't know Greek. I'll shop around. They can also be found on my links page, but I'd really rather not read a lot of text from a screen. I was going to see if the duty chaplains at the cathedral knew of some compelling reasons to not be a catholic, but that would've meant abandoning Mino, so I'll do it tomorrow morning, 1030, together with the other stuff I didn't have time to do. By the time we got to the Inland Revenue, it was 1645, and there were tonnes of people already there, so I guess I'll do that tomorrow too. I expect I'll just need to get a form. When Mino and I were in Virgin re. phones, I was drawn as if by a malevolent force towards the sale section in videos. Mino emerged from Virgin with a new Virgin pay-as-you-go account, and I with Zoolander and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I had expected Zoolander to be terrible, but I liked it when I saw it. I'm not sure anyone else will though. We shall see. So much for me not buying videos anymore. Videos deteriorate too easily - if I'm going to buy films at all, I should really get them on DVD I think.

On the way back we stopped off at the Phoenix. Mino wondered if this was just because I like shortcuts, but it was actually because I want to see a play now that I have some money. Nina said she might see the Iliad there this evening. She clearly can't get enough Iliad, as I saw a production of it with her a bit ago. Then again, she had issues with that production, whereas I thought it was awesome. Here's what grabbed my attention anyway:
featuring Jimmy Carl Black
Sat 10 [May] / 8pm / £8 (£6)
Back by popular request, The Muffin Men "play Frank Zappa music with some Captain Beefheart and stuff thrown in...". [...] Special guest Jimmy Carl Black, original drummer and vocalist with The Mothers also played with Captain Beefheart.

Awesome!!! I'm going even if no-one else does - and they won't. Black's "the Indian of the group" on We're Only In It For The Money, a hefty piss-take of the Beatles and hippy hangers-on generally and one of a select few Zappa albums I would actually reccommend to anyone. I believe he also referred to Beefheart as "the real deal" in comparison with Zappa, which makes him an astute man by my reckoning. Hmm, this is the evening I've just arranged today to go to Tamsin and Martyn's for tea. This calls for a mind with wisdom.
MARK THOMAS presents
What I Did Next
Mon 19 [May] / 8pm
£12.50 (£8.50)

Tutor: Ben Patterson
Introduction to web design using Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Photoshop.
[...] £135 (£115)

You pay someone £135 to show you how to use a WYSIWYG package?!

I also note with interest that Mr. Scruff's gonna be at Timepiece - I forget when. I've heard of Mr. Scruff. I think they/he are/is make the kind of noise that people think I like. I have no idea.

Once back, I had tea and watched some of Richard and Judy. It was like travelling back in time to last term. Highlights included Richard describing himself as "a famous pop star" because he once played guitar in a folk duo and begging Alan Cumming on his knees for another series of The High Life.
I got up fairly early this morning, so I could get down to all the work I couldn't be bothered to do yesterday. I have difficulty getting myself to do work without horribly apparent deadlines. While I was in front room, the man-with-the-moustache-who-does-things came round to empty the bins.

ME [At volume slightly below average] Morning.
GUY [At volume slightly above average, interrupting marginally] K.
[Exit guy]

Work's going slowly because Word has a counter-intuitive method for inserting and numbering illustrations (Titian) and I'm not entirely sure how to reference artworks anyway. Think it's sorted now, just on a quick break. If I get my 500 words done before 1700, I guess I should phone some places and ask if I can live there. I am going to try and get a place in Exeter, and if I can't, then think about alternatives. I'll wait till James gets here before thinking about housing agencies. Right - can't spend all of my break blogging, there's tea to drink.

There's a slightly unpleasant smell in the kitchen, somewhat predictably. Hopefully, now that I've emptied out Paul's rancid milk, it'll dissipate a little. I shouldn't get my hopes up though. He's also got some orange juice in there, but it doesn't smell quite bad enough to warrant affirmative action yet.
Pertinent information.

Monday, 21 April 2003

I say:
there's ants in the carpet
Dirty little monsters
Eating all the morsels
Picking up the rubbish
Ah, well Mino is here. He never went to London at all. I was just putting in a backup comments system (i.e. systematically destroying my template) when Squawkbox started working again. No-one's been able to comment for five days; My blog looks all cold and empty :(

I'd better back up my blog before I forget.
Good morning. Last night, I went to sleep listening to archived Radio 4 programmes. It's a rather splendid service - theoretically, I need not miss another edition of Just a Minute all term. Either poltergeists need to go to the bathroom, or Mino is around, but I haven't seen him emerge yet. I've got a to-do list which seems rather long in my head, but I don't imagine I can do a lot of it till at least tomorrow, so the plan is not to even think about it any more until I've done 500 words of my dissertation. But I'm going to defer it by putting my bedroom in order first. Phones keep ringing, and people not answering. The UTC's shut, and it was all very quiet round the station when I went to get some food from Ozzie's.

Sunday, 20 April 2003

I'm back in Exeter. The train journey was alarmingly hassle-free. I didn't even have to put my suitcase above my seat and wonder if it'd fall on my head for the whole journey. No-one here, but the lights were all on. I think Mino's away in London for the long weekend, but his bag's in the front room. Plus, one of his friends came to the door and asked if I'd seen him about. Someone's been doing the washing up with pink washing-up gloves. How odd. Odd enough that someone's been doing the washing up actually.
Bit rushed this morning, at least after listening to "a special extended edition of Sunday with me Roger Bolton" on Radio 4. It was very interesting. One of the 'articles' was on the encyclical James mentioned. One chap, possibly Bolton, referred to the exclusion of protestants from catholic communion in England and Germany as a "custom more honoured in the breach than the observance". They had an Anglican vicar and his Catholic wife on. Both of them were very disappointed at not being able to commune together anymore. Both Roger Bolton and I were of the opinion that though it is indeed a sad thing, "everyone" already knew, or at least should have done, and the vatican's opinion on the matter was not exactly shrouded in mystery.

Mum asked me if I wanted a cup of tea - I said yes. First was church. I went early to run through the songs, and all the equipment was conveniently left out. Bonus. I didn't feel very 'Easter' - felt quite down by the end actually. Typical. I don't think that I played very well at all, but Dad did. Everyone was very surprised that I was leaving that week, including my family, who said it didn't really seem like I'd been back a month. Had a hasty Sunday Dinner and then got ready to go. Mino mentioned something about a traditional Easter meal on MSN a bit ago. I don't know if there even is one, but we had gammon. Except me, naturally. Right - gotta train to catch.

Saturday, 19 April 2003

If I said that today was so spectacularly interesting and noteworthy that it would be almost a sin to reduce it to mere reportage, would you believe me? I most certainly wouldn't.

I got up far too late, and my head did not engage in a productive fashion with the world. I spent a long time on the internet, checking out Amy Winfrey's other work, finally getting round to watching the Big Bunny series, which was good. Sample quote: "Goodbye, crunchy children." I also spent a fairly long time listening to clips from the Chris Moyles show, which I excuse on the basis that it's much better than what's on telly these days. I saw Antz today. It was okay. From reading my blog up until this point, you might have the impression that I think every film is average. Not so; yesterday I saw two films, both of which I enjoyed in different ways. Ame agaru, which was a calm, warm sort of a film on virtue. It was based on an unfilmed Kurosawa screenplay, which he intended to leave the audience feeling "pleased", and it worked on me. Later was Hannah and her Sisters, which was interesting. I wasn't entirely sure what to make of it to be honest, but it was very engaging. It got round to tea-time without me noticing, so after some prompting, I got Nicholas to show me how to do poached eggs. I'm bored with that method already - I want to cook them like this Old Woman Poaching Eggs (not frying).

I packed, and found that I could fit all my stuff in my suitcase, which is a good thing to know. So it's back to Exeter tomorrow. The weather there looks as though it will be kinda moderate.
Nick doesn't like blueberry muffins apparently. I wonder if he likes bran muffins. This is an untested hypothesis - neither of us has ever had one.

Friday, 18 April 2003

I was gearing myself up to not be studiedly indifferent to Avril Lavigne, because I rather like her new song, "I'm with you", I think it's called. It's nice - Miss Lavigne stops being pseudo-punk to show us her sensitive side. Awww. I'm all in favour of sensitive sides, but I saw the accompanying video on MTV today, and went off her again. She just looks so grumpy. "I'm sensitive," she appears to emote, "and you're not doing anything about it!" At one point she authentically shoves some peripheral guy, presumably for not loving her enough. Good grief. I only wish I could reproduce Great Pop Things' view of famous people who write songs about how miserable they are. Alas, it is not to be. I'd highly reccomend it. Colin B. Morton, co-author, and I are at variance on a few points; Don't you just hate it when someone whose work you admire has you in their idiotic/insane category? Blessed am I, says the Boy Adventurer anyway... Avril's central lyric is slightly disturbing too: "I don't know who you are, but I'm with you." - Run like the wind Avril, this guy might be dangerous! Also, Madonna:
I'd like to express my extreme point of view,
I'm not a Christian and I'm not a Jew.

And what? That's it? I'm not a Christian and I'm not a Jew and here's a million dollars....or I'm not a Christian and I'm not a Jew and here's your own spaceship...
Well, I got back from church, had a think, and then watched the last two chapters of Nick's The Seven Samurai DVD, a film which has almost nothing to do with the crucifixion, except, perhaps, this:
Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death[...].

Ancient Japan had a caste system - you were born peasant, born samurai, most likely born bandit, if you were one, I expect. Throughout the film, various samurai humble themselves for the sake of peasants. Peasants were known to kill unsuccessful samurai, and each party views the other with great suspicion. However, in the final analysis, the samurai put their lives on the line, with room and board for payment, for the sake of the great unwashed. It's a tenuous analogy, but who cares? It's not like the real deal isn't alluded to above in a pink box.

I might also mention that though I am loving the The Lord of the Rings films, The Seven Samurai micturates all over Helm's Deep, as a defensive battle. Also, everyone runs at the slightest provocation in that film. It looks kinda cool. Perhaps I shall. Oh no, the remaining tea in the teapot must be cooling rapidly by now! Run!
Just appalling.

After that cheeriness on Radio 1, I opened my curtains to see Neil picking up litter in the driveway. It seems some scavenger has been doing what scavengers do best, probably a fox. It almost cheered me up, because in the mood I was in, I was assuming vandalism. I pitched in slightly before Neil sorted it all out on his own. He was going to do the washing up after cooking for us yesterday as well, which I also intercepted. He must be in a good mood :) Naturally, I knew it was Good Friday today, but it did not occur to me to practise any songs for church. Luckily there's only four to do, so I'll do that now.

Oooohhh, but I've just stumbled across Captain Beefheart MP3s on Dad's computer - sooooooooo good.

Thursday, 17 April 2003

I should mention that Nick passed his driving theory test today. I forgot to ask him how it went when I got back from town.
Went into Camberley again today. As I ambled down the hill, I heard a rustling in the bushes. I stopped and looked around, and saw a mouse darting into cover. I also saw three squirrels today, and nearby, pigeons pecking around in the woodland, something which I haven't seen much of. It was a spectacularly pleasant and sunny day. Nicholas informs me that there was a bush fire the other side of the A30. I didn't notice it, despite crossing over.

I met Ruth outside the library, and we chatted for a bit while she ate some sandwiches. Comedy Ruth moment of today was when she thought that "Walking on the Sun" by Smash Mouth contained the words "this is an art attack". I found it oddly comforting to realise that Neil Buchanan is still doing that. Shane, at work, could not remember Tony Hart, or Hart Beat, on a related note. Then we sauntered down to the Robins Cinema and I finally saw Johnny English. It being a bank holiday, there was a high quotient of youth. The film neither blew me away, nor did it bore me - it was okay. There were laboured bits and quite good bits. The title track was by Robbie Williams, and this was not something of which I approved.

Ruth went back to Farnborough after that, but I stayed in Camberley to meet up wih Mark. Neither of us could think of anything to do today when we thought about it yesterday, so we just met up in Camberley in the vain hope that something particularly entertaining would present itself. So we just wandered round, talking about various ephemeral things. He spent about £70 on CDs apparently, and bought a card an an easter egg. I bought nothing. We went into a bar briefly, to try and get some food, but iot had gone past 1500 by that point, so Mark just bought a pint of some manner of lager and some balti crisps. Mark noticed a Lord of the Rings fruit machine behind me, but didn't try it out. After a while, Mark got bored and went home, so I did too, pausing only to purchase a Wall's (Unilever) Solero - very nice it was. Some of the neighbours' kids were playing hide and seek in our cul-de-sac, which was good to see.

Wednesday, 16 April 2003

Is Politics Boring?

Of course it is......
if you like to discuss David Beckham's
latest crisis or what is happening in
Eastenders, instead of subjects like the
Health Service, Social Security,
Education, Transport, Defence, safer
streets, care for the elderly, the sick and
the needy!

My ballot papers for the local election came this morning. This was something of a surprise, so I attempted to sift through the assorted kitchen and hallway junk to find some more pertinent, political junk. In this quest for an informed decision, I found

  1. A Residents' Survey - Tory

  2. "Conservative Common Sense for Surrey Heath" - A faux newspaper

  3. A leaflet about "Your Councillor Margaret Moher" - Labour

It's about as much help as I thought it'd be. I still don't know who to vote for. Apparently I vote for no more than two candidates, and my initial response is "anyone except the tories", but having read their newsletter, I am not inclined to be so instinctive. Things which they are taking credit for:

  • Giving "grants worth £100,000s" to dial-a-ride, meals on wheels, the CAB and others which didn't grab my attention.

  • Also grants to improve villages centres. Free parking to encourage their use.

  • Setting up a Youth Council, from which they have organised a "Council run Skate Fest at Christmas" and an annual Battle of the Bands at the Camberley Theatre.

  • Reduced the power consumption of the council offices.

  • Invested in the improvements of local parks.

And things which they say they plan to do:

  • Improve the Rail service from Camberley.

  • Youth facilities such as skate parks, teen shelters(?), sports walls and "Basketball hoops".

These are good things which particularly struck me. However, Margaret Moher, who is one of our congregation at St. Martin's says that the actual charges for meals on wheels and for dial-a-ride are up 7%. Hmm. She also implies that "over £600,000 of your money in subsidies to the Camberley Theatre" has not benefitted anyone. I think I'm in favour of local investment in the arts, but I'm not sure. Fay Storey, one of the conservative candidates, defected from the labour party in 2002, which is interesting - she "discovered that the Conservatives care more about the people of Old Dean", it says here. At this point I was considering voting for Storey, and another candidate, liberal or labour. Margaret was a distinct possibility, but I wanted to avoid voting for someone 'merely' because I know them. I asked Dad for his input, and he said that Margaret was being very thorough in spotting things like broken lamp-posts and other such nit and grit, and was working very hard on local issues, presumably focused on the estate itself. He also said that he thought Storey was a good egg, but not that he would vote for her, for reasons which it seems sensible to omit, but which I can assure you are not scandalous.

This I pondered partially whilst hanging the washing out. Neil's arriving for a slightly longer break from Loyes some time today.

N.B. I seem to have lost the pound sign for the moment. The keyboard's lost track of which country it's meant to be in, so quotation marks are a bit awkward too. Ah well. Update: fixed. You have to wonder why the English and American keyboard configurations are different anyway.

Tuesday, 15 April 2003

When we were in the Monkey Puzzle yesterday, Mark mentioned that he spent a lot of his free time at work on the Farnborough Town Message Board at Apparently he posts as MD, but those are my initials, so it just seems weird. I had a quick look and found this thread on restoring scratched CDs. Wow! All this time, I could have been listening to Moloko's I am not a Doctor. I was also reminded of Mechwarrior issues.

House Mix Listing

It's the House Mix listing, which I thought I'd update as I mentioned it. It's tantalisingly close to completion.

Disc A

  1. Norah Jones Shoot the Moon

  2. Spitting Image (I've never met) A nice South African

  3. Alanis Morisette Narcissus

  4. "Oh, just a little way then?"

  5. Queen Love of my Life

  6. James Darren I've got You under my Skin (excerpt)

  7. The Coral Dreaming of You

  8. Caterina Caselli Insieme a te non ci sto piu'

  9. Spice Girls Saturday Night Divas

  10. Daniele Silvestri Sempre di Domenica

  11. Coldplay The Scientist

  12. Angelica Concubine Blues

  13. Belle and Sebastian She's losing It

  14. Belle and Sebastian My wandering Days are over

  15. Shakira Whenever, Wherever (crazy foreign version)

  16. "All right, all right!"

  17. Emiliana Torrini Gollum's Song

  18. "How many fit on this thing, eh?"

  19. Idlewild When I argue I see Shapes

  20. "Greetings, Lord James."

  21. "Ain't gravity great?"

  22. Russel Watson Where my Heart will take Me

  23. "Greetings, Lord Paul."

  24. The Divine Comedy Sweden

  25. Frank Sinatra(?) Come fly with Me

Disc 1

  1. Victor Lams Farmer Joe

  2. CCCP Radio Kabul

  3. "Greetings, Lord Andy"

  4. Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band Yellow Brick Road

  5. "Greetings, Lord Mark."

  • "Into the blackness!"

  • Bob Dylan Things have changed

  • "Let me guess - digging."

  • "That's quite a run!"

  • James Sometimes

  • Spice Girls Never give up on the good Times

  • Red Hot Chili Peppers Can't stop

  • Bob Dylan All the tired Horses

  • Pixies Where is my Mind?

  • Kenny Loggins Danger Zone

  • Sparks This Town ain't big enough for both of Us

  • Bob Dylan Don't think twice, It's all right

  • "Not enough gold mi'Lord."

  • Daniele Sepe Tarantella del Gargano

  • Spice Girls Something kinda funny

  • Gomez Las Vegas Dealer

  • P J Harvey Dress

  • "Plague has descended on your castle, your Lordship."

  • "I'm off for a nice cup of tea."

  • MC Hammer U can't touch This

  • Pixies Dig for Fire
  • Reactions:
    I just watched TotP2, which is being hosted by Geoff of Marian and Geoff. Apparently he's been given free rein to select stuff from the archives to broadcast, which sounds like a lot of fun. Anyway, it was heavily seventies-based. I'm not sure what to make of the seventies exactly; on the one hand, it looks as if it was very easy to be cool. There is a theory which states that the seventies caught the overflow of would-be popstars who couldn't make it in the sixties because they weren't pretty enough, and I believe this Austin Powers stereotype of hideously-toothed Englishmen derives principally from our cultural output at that time. There's also the clothes of course. Anything which looked stupid - that was cool. You could go into a charity shop, buy mismatching clothing, spray it all mauve - you'd be cool! I mean, that'd be great if you could do that now wouldn't it? You could play the three chord trick dressed in tartan cardigans and women would swoon over you! Madness. On the other hand of course, you'd have to look at the other people doing the same thing and looking stupid. It might get wearisome. Also, one of the videos was of Legs and Co. dancing to Mike Oldfield's Portsmouth. For anyone not familiar with these people, I can only say that ignorance is bliss - investigate no further if you value aesthetics. The absolute best bit was the final track, This town ain't big enough for both of us by Sparks, which I put on the Flat Mix. For those of you who have never seen Ron Mael on the telly, I shall attempt a description, no so much for your edification, but for the joy of the attempt. First picture an archetypal silent-movie villain, the dude who ties women to railway tracks and then sneaks off cackling. For a helpful reminder see Strong Bad in this cartoon. Okay, instead of a Strong Bad-sized moustache, imagine it as altogether more Hitler inspired. This man is behind a keyboard, wearing a white shirt and a severe seventies tie. The song starts. Throughout the performance he sits bolt upright, glaring into the middle distance. Occasionally he deliberatively shifts position, as if he were posing for the cameras, but his eyes move suspiciously, as if he were trying to spot an assassin in the upper tier of the auditorium. He looks insane. He looks as though only he knows that the audience will all die soon in an incident involving a perfectly reasonable keyboard-player.
    I have one CD separate. It's a Philips CD600. Booyah.
    I'm going to get around to responding to Phil's ecumenical post in a bit (if James hasn't - get your act together, you argumentative catholic you), but it's difficult to compose a solid argument in Dad's study. He does work and stuff in it.

    Anyway, today Nick made a cooked breakfast for everyone except Mum, who wasn't around, which was nice. A while after that, we went to Frimley Park Hospital to have lunch with Mum before dropping Adrian at Blackwater to catch the 1300 to Manchester. Now I shall listen to Radio 1 and try to read a respectable amount of 'Tis Pity.

    Monday, 14 April 2003

    Went to the Monkey Puzzle with Adrian, Nick, Mark and Miles. It was fun, but I was tired and not drinking. The place had been refurbished, except for the beer-mats, which we always destroy. This evening, they were destroyed by Adrian and Mark, exchanging e-mail addresses (they both already had them) and attempting to explain topology, the former to the latter. Mark had just got a raise three times higher then his parents thought he could manage so he was buying everyone drinks. I had two lemonades. Mark and myself think we should do something on Thursday, but we don't know what. During the day I'll be in Camberley with Ruth, so I guess I won't do any work then. Miles was almost exactly as underwhelmed as I thought he'd be when I said about the sorting office. Good man. Mark, Miles and Adrian intermittently talked about football, while Nicholas and I, Nick especially, looked bemused.
    Someone just egged the house. Nick is just cleaning it.
    Well, today has been quite event-filled so far. Richard from Workbase phoned again. Somewhat predictably, he had forgotten that I'd told him that I was finishing on Friday. He phoned me later to ask if I still had the shoes I'd borrowed. I informed him that they were on the minibus.

    Receiving your Degree is one of the most important moments in your life. It marks a transition into a world of new experiences as well as recognising the reward of study. It is time for reflection, but most of all for celebration!

    Wow, I gotta get me some of that! When I attended Adrian's boring graduation, there was guy playing the organ, which was odd, and Adam Hart Davies received an honorary degree. Will Exeter be able to compete? Tune in later to see! To this end I've been filling in those forms, and without bells and whistles my graduation will come to £73.90 - Robes; Accomodation; Photos. The degree day booking office seem to think I might want to spend more than this, having "arranged a blend of events and activities to complement [my] special day." Let's play a game - you guys guess how many fingers I'm holding up and also which institution of higher learning they might be pointed at. Click for a hint. £40.90 of this I owe to Mum and Dad currently, because I forgot my chequebook. At one point in the proceedings, I noticed that two forms I was going to send separately were both going to the same address. I had already sealed the envelope, and thus leapt at the chance to steam it open, like what they do in the movies! I boiled a kettle, held it over the spout, and tried to peel it open while, to my consternation, it became rapidly soggy and misshapen. Naturally, it didn't get any better from hereon in, so I ripped it open and sellotaped the mess back together. I think there's a lesson in here for all of us. Somehow I contrived to get Nicholas to post it all for me. In the course of filling in these things, I came to realise that my student card should cover me for discounts for an extra year. Huzzah! It runs out in October 2004, which is the same as the expiry date on card for my student account. Spooky.

    I also learnt that Exeter was the tax office which had dealt with my pay of late. This is great, because it means that I can a) put it on the back-burner and b) deal with the human face of the eater of worlds, and of children, just by walking in, rather than phoning, or - heaven forfend - writing.

    Nicholas was considering moving his room around. I love moving rooms around, as some of you may know, but I can't really change much about my room either at home or at university, owing to their configuration. So I helped Nicholas to re-arrange, moving his computer, PS2 and his dust around. Then we realised that with his keyboard out of the way (he never used it) he could bring his bass up. Awesome. I got very keen during all this, dusting and polishing everything. If his room was tidy, I'd have been able to make it look great, but it does at least look better. I kept on flinging all his possessions onto the bed, berating him for being so untidy, and for having an inability to notice huge piles of dust whilst hoovering agressively into piles of useless junk. It was great fun. I love tidying. I like things tidy too, but of late this has been an impossibility, owing to my association with James and his 'cleaning is a sign of weakness' approach to life.
    Hey. Big up the blog-regarding massive. Well, it's the first weekday of my week off, and I've still got stuff to do, including, but not limited to, filling in my tax return, filling in graduation forms, reading, and trying to skank a CD separate, which I mentioned as wanting before, but has taken up residence in the church office. The thing is, I think it'll never actually be used, so if I mention that I wanted it, it may well be possible to have it. Anyway, better go. Dad wants his computer back to do parochial things on.

    Sunday, 13 April 2003

    Nothing much is happening this weekend, which is the way I like 'em, so long as I'm in good company. However, Nina appears to have gotten herself one of them new-fangled LiveJournals. I don't know much about LiveJournal, so I don't know whether I approve or not. It's definitely much less purple than it used to be, but these are changing times. Apparently, if I'm not a LiveJournal user, I have to leave comments anonymously. Um, whatever. I wonder if there's some really high-tech alternative to just typing my name at the end.

    [Gratuitously late insertion]

    We went to the Squirrel pub quiz again with Ruth. This time, however, all the Dobsons present bundled down to pit their wits againt Quizgo, which I believe is the name of the format. It was going to be just Ruth, myself, and my brothers, but Mum and Dad decided to tag along when we mentioned it at dinner, the mid-day meal. As in Sunday dinner. Roast dinner. I have roast vegetables if you were wondering - roast celery is surprisingly nice. Mum and Dad asked me how to get the the Squirrel. I said I didn't really know. Later, Mum popped into my room, while I was... doing... something... which apparently wasn't exciting enough to remember and asked me how to get there. I said I didn't really know, but we all managed in the end. We had a nice time, and ate an insane amount of crisps and peanuts between us. Mum wanted pork-scratchings, but the Squirrel isn't really a pub, so they didn't have any. I had two lemonades, both of which were £1.40 This tells you all that you need to know about what kind of establishment we were dealing with. We did win one round this time, which was £5 worth of drinks.
    At dinner today, Mum drew attention to the fact that since she bought eight bananas at mid-morning yesterday, I have eaten seven of them. I eat a lot of bananas when they're around. These days I am eating pears relatively voraciously also.

    Saturday, 12 April 2003

    The Times' review of Johnny English:
    YOU HAVE to be a diehard (preferably half-dead) fan of Atkinson's brand of slapstick comedy to enjoy this disappointing James Bond spoof. [...] It is a thankless medley of faintly amusing and entirely predictable scenes involving flashy cars being clamped and high-tech gizmos that don't work. [...] *

    Great - now I don't know what to think...

    I have posted this at Victor's blog, and would value your ideas also, as I gather many of you do not read his blog, let alone his comments boxes:
    I suggest that instead of ceremonies such as saluting flags and stuff, nations could have antithetical "national humility" rituals. I'm sure someone could think of a good one, but my ideas so far tend towards the ludicrous.

    Does anyone have any better ideas?

    One of my ludicrous ideas was that someone in national dress be pushed into a vat of lukewarm custard. Another was that a national flag be drawn on gravel in a playground using Marmite and vigourously yet solemnly jumped upon to the soundtrack that Brian uses to get his creative juices going in Spaced. Maybe your ideas will not involve foodstuffs - who can tell?
    Good morning. I haven't done much yet, except to blog yesterday. Naturally I skanked it because I couldn't be bothered yesterday. Ruth phoned. It seems we are going to the pub quiz. She's been saying that she wanted to see Johnny English for a while now, and following Phil's recent recomendation, I am now quite keen too. Thanks Phil. I'm sorry to hear that you didn't get on Home Truths. As a matter of fact, it reminded me of something I intended to blog yesterday, but forgot:
    Postal vote form sent ok and possible me talking about aspergers for radio program

    This is from Neil. The fact that I have no idea what relevance the first part has to me argues that it was intended for Mum and Dad, and I shall pass it on. The latter half is rather exciting. I wonder if it'd be a paid gig.

    Well, I shall get back to doing nothing, and thinking of ways to spend the rest of the week. It's lovely to have the evenings free again.

    Friday, 11 April 2003

    "blooooooggggggggg more"

    To the person who wants me to "blooooooggggggggg more" - Firstly, it always pays to ask nicely. Apart from that it depends what you mean. If you mean, "blog more frequently, because you haven't blogged for a little while" then I can assure you that it is a temporary lapse, brought about by the fact that a) I have just done a week's work, my period of real holiday commencing at about 11 tonight and b) my brother arrived here shortly before, who I have not seen for some time. Given the choice between blogging and talking to him - well I'm afraid I'm not that geeky. If on the other hand you mean that I should commit more words to blog generally, I can assure you that this will not bring about any increase in quality. Thank you for your concern. Now where was I?

    Well, it was the last day at work today, which was nice. I find that people always try to jolly me along into being ecstatic when they recognise that I have something to be thankful for - sort of emoting by proxy. Before I went to work, I think both Mum and Dad separately said "last day!" in an enthusiastic tone of voice. Nigel at work kept on saying that I didn't seem too happy about it being my last day. The reason I dind't burst out into song and dance was because I was still going in to work/still working. Seems perfectly logical to me. Besides which, it being my last day, I knew it was going to seem like a long haul regardless of how hard I actually needed to work. I am glad that it is concluded now that it is out of the way, but needless to say, I'm not getting too excited about it. It's nice.

    Now that I am finished, I shall complain about local radio a bit [Update: should read "at length"]. There's a commercial station round here called The Eagle. It's practically all I've heard for the last three weeks. Fortunately it was on relatively quietly, so I didn't have to listen to the crappy commercials. Now, these are two things that I am given to understand: Firstly that more people hear adverts on the radio than they do on television, what with channel-surfing, so businesses are advised to advertise on the radio. Secondly that sometime during the eighties, the rise of marketing became inexorable, and advertising agencies suddenly realised they could sell pretty much anything to anyone, despite whether or not they needed it, if they had good enough adverts. This was when advertising became the kind of thing you talked about at the pub for example - c.f. the Lynx Pulse advert, which everyone at work was loving, and also has a spin-off no. 1 on the hit parade, as you may have noticed if you have your finger on the pulse of contemporary popular music. Why then, are local radio adverts all still crap? I do not think I will go into why I think they are crap, but I suspect most people would agree with me. Perhaps not.

    Another thing is this phrase "[Insert region]'s better music mix!" - I don't understand; everyone radio station and their kid brother seems to say it. Do the announcers never think to themselves, "Golly, I've just realised that by saying that we are better than everyone else using this cliche, we are, somewhat ironically, carving a niche (if you can call it that) for ourselves as the most conformist radio station going!"? Considering that everyone says it, it is also a bizarre thing to say - better than what? The other stations? But they say they're quite good too... If everyone is claiming to be better than everyone else, the only logical outcome to belief in their claims is that commercial radio has achieved transcendence over all earthly concerns, and that we should bow down and worship at the altar of absolutely good music. Ahem. I don't think that was very well put, but nyeh.

    The other thing is those things, idents, I believe they're called, when the radio station has a self-referential jingle. Particularly I mean the ones that say "Because we love you, we play more music per hour than other radio stations!". This idea has never taken my fancy. One reason is purely cynical - are we to believe that these station don't only play more music because it means they don't have to employ so many 'personality' DJs, who might want paying? I know some people don't like DJs in general, and I can appreciate their point, but I rather like the fact that humans occasionally interrupt the pre-recorded flow. Xfm, round London (we can just about get it here) has a fair amount of music you don't get to hear on radio 1, and they cut out a lot of the populist filler, but I hardly ever listen to it because the personality DJs seem to have been told to leave their personalities at the door. For this reason I much prefer to listen to Mark and Lard as well as Chris Moyles over on Radio 1. Again, I know many people who would disagree with me regarding the entertaining nature of these particular people, but that's not the main issue. Radio would probably not have taken off so rapidly had it not been for personalities - I'm no historian of radio, but I seem to recall an immensely popular chap calling himself Wolfman Jack* who really popularised radio.

    Not really a problem that I think is radio's fault per se, but the playlists of contemporary stations tend towards the glacial. This is excusable owing to the nature of the industry, but I have, for three weeks been listening to Aguilera at least four times every day. What I want to know is, what kind of people, and I know that they are legion, are so loyal to one such station that they will never, on pain of death, allow you to change over? Don't they ever get bored of hearing the same thing, day in, day out? These are my thought on the subject. They certainly add up, do they not?

    When I got back from work, it was very nice to be greeted by Adrian, in person, who is back for a long weekend from Manchester where he is doing post-grad work in topology. We talked about various things, including the idiosyncratic nature of his department until we thought that we should probabbly go to bed. We, by the way, included Nicholas. It was very odd having the three of us just chatting in a room. Can't have happened for a while. One of the things we talked about was what we were going to do, as Myself, Adrian and Nick are all on time off of sorts, which is very nice, and again, unusual. We think we shall go with Ruth to The Squirrel pub quiz again. There's also Mark and Miles to see. Somewhat more recently than James' entry that day, James said that he thought that Mark (Dungay) was a friend of Andy's. I guess this was because Andy is far more likely than I to invite someone round who encourages one to flick burning matches all over the place. Mark and Miles are Adrian's friends, from school I think, and I have hung out with the three of them a fair number of times now. He was over in Exeter at the time to see Fugazi with me. He keeps on recommending that I see bands playing in the Exeter area. I haven't been to any sort of gig for aaaaaaaaaaaages. Last I heard, Miles was working as a postman, so it is possible some mail I have sorted has gone through his very hands. I'm sure he will be edified and interested if I inform him of this. I have an inclination not to. I have Mark's e-mail address, but have not told him about the blog. I wonder why? Possibly it's because he only has internet access at work (I'm not sure of this) and he probably has other things to look at to while away the time.

    Thursday, 10 April 2003

    Phil found someone called Justin Katz (I've heard of him before, must be a well-known interweb catholic) responding to James' response to the Baghdad statue-toppling here. As you can see, I responded to his contempt with contempt, something that was rather wrong of me. Hmm. Heat of the moment thing.

    Update: Not a "Heat of the moment thing", as I carried on after posting this, but a stupid one nonetheless.
    Well now this is exciting. I'm in Camberley library, blogging, as you may have noticed. Mum offered me a lift down, really early, so here I am bumming round in town again. I accompanied her to the bank to pay in some cheques and wandered around in some card shops trying to find some vaguely religious ones. I saw some quite good sheep in the card shop. In Game I saw a rather nice-looking movie of Zelda.

    Got myself a mains adapter for my GBA as it is irritating to run out of power near a power socket. To have one the same colour as my gameboy required spending twice the amount. As if.

    Just blogging for the novelty really. Have fun.
    Good morning. NTL was down yesterday. This was so lame that I went to bed. Now I am up and catching up with the world blog-wise. Yesterday, at work, I was wearing two t-shirts and felt a little cold. This morning I am experiencing that perennial April atmospheric phenomenon - snow.

    Insane amount of e-mail this morning, or as I am coming to think of it, my 'free, private, webcam of the girl I apparently don't remember having dinner with the other night' digest. Also, Julia Davey, evil-overlord of the English department, well, overlord anyway, has clearly just got back from a break or something, and e-mailed everyone everything. Amongst this mess was a forward from Rosie about Fs, which I disdained to forward, but to anyone who knows what I'm talking about; yes, I am a genius. My brain processes all. In case you were wondering whether this genius is inherited - why yes; yes it is. From the death certificate of my Dad's maternal great grandfather:
    accidentally drowned, by walking into a lodge of water whilst intoxicated

    Phil, if your archives were indeed working properly, this link would take my readers to an entry of yours which I found excessively amusing. On a more disturbing note, I am rather worried by the developments at Nina's diary, hyar and hyar, though presumably not so much as she is.

    There, I think that's it. Now, as it is too early in the morning to be up for a 2-10 shift, I think I should perhaps go back to bed and let Nick on.

    Wednesday, 9 April 2003

    I just got a ChangeDetection e-mail to let me know that had updated. I missed the show too, not because I didn't want to, but because of the inadequacy of their telesales service, which meant that not only did I not go, I paid about £20 for the privilege.
    Good morning. Up slightly earlier than normal this morning. Just got bored. Nicholas was channel-hopping this morning and lighted on "Smells like Teen Spirit", a deeply over-rated and over-played song. I said how weird it was to see Dave Grohl with hair. Nicholas enquired whether said Grohl was in Nirvana.

    After this I went back to bed and ran through some of the games on Konami Arcade Advance. I must be on form today, cos I really kicked ass on Yie-ar-kung-fu!, getting to the penultimate character whereas I had not reached the halfway mark before then. It is a very hard game compared to most contemporary fighters. Older games always liked to throw you in at the deep end didn't they? You start with three lives - if you lose a round, you lose a life - simple. Virtua Fighter 4, which I highly recommend, gets insanely complicated and involved, but it does have a learning curve. I also figured out the controls for Time Pilot and Gyruss, which were both giving me problems, so that was nice. My frog-guiding abilities, however, were not so laudable.

    Perhaps I should eat something and have a shower. Yes, that would be the wisest course.
    Hmm. Archives stopped again. I guess I'll try what I tried last time. I think it might have been a coincidence more than a fix however. Update: I notice James' archive is running down somewhat also. I wonder if it's affecting everyone...

    Tuesday, 8 April 2003

    Andy, he say:
    mood swings are what make this country great

    anyway, my bed is calling to me in tones too dulcet to ignore

    Andy is great. I know of no other who waxes so lyrically with such regularity. On the other hand, he just criticised my blog for not being as "cerebral[ly...] religious" as James'. He should start a blog, and expound his theological views, and then I might think of something to say. For now I refer the reader to "The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; [...] To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion."
    Hear ye, hear ye - Rebekah has earnt my respect. It's official.
    Hi there, pop-pickers. A fairly standard day at work today. Only three left now - Huzzah. Owing to my working at a tedious job, I am, naturally, doing that thing where time is divided into portions, so that an eight-hour shift comes to be a series of mere minutes, or at least tends towards that result. For example, half an hour after my first break tomorrow, I should be halfway through the week. Halfway through the week? Well, by Jove, if I did the first half, I can dashed well do the second. And so on and so forth..

    Ooh Pizza.

    Where was I? Oh yes, illness. Dad is/was feeling poorly today. He's gone to bed now. In his own words it's "just a cold", but I am all too familiar with the wearisomeness of just-a-colds. Poor Dad. Matt, who I had a lift from this morning went home halfway through the day feeling ill just after eating something. Poor Matt. I felt ill yesterday, after he drove me into work, but his driving was much more respectable today. He passed his test (first time) last Tuesday, see. He's a nice guy. He spent some time in a young offender's institute. I forget why, if he did tell me. He told me another time that when he gets mad, he gets mad, so it was probably something to do with that, but he seems fine generally, as I say. Wow, this paragraph kinda loops back on itself, being loosely about institutions and illness. Last illness up is mental illness - on the minibus back, Shane and the driver had a long conversation about Broadmoor. Our driver plays some of the inmates of Broadmoor at table-tennis annually. I didn't quite catch how he got that gig, but I gather he is in some local team that they asked to come along. Shane was very inquisitive, asking about whether they had any cannibals there, whether or not it freaked him out and such-like.

    I'm feeling a bit callous today. Hopefully this is a sign that I'm not as callous as all that really. But you know how it is. There's war in Iraq - did you hear about that? It's on the news and everything. And people die, and they sound like statistics, regardless of the ceremony which "our boys" get on returning and those aerial clips they show of military targets being destroyed with scrupulous accuracy. The Iraqi Information Minister's rather pathetic broadcasts even serve to diminish the notion that civilian casualties really are happening because of the ludicrous hyperbole of invaders being left as corpses at the city walls. And then there are the criminally insane, of whom we know because of Silence of the Lambs and Twelve Monkeys, who are forced to live, by an unfortunate quirk in their psychological make-up, lives entirely apart from the public and from hope of a cure. And you can only feel grief in the abstract, not so fully and authentically as God can and does.
    Regrettably, nothing noteworthy is happening to me this morning. I made myself a cooked breakfast. Have fun days. I might go back to bed.

    Monday, 7 April 2003

    This week's Radio 3 Composer of the Week is/are actually two composers - Chavez and Revueltas, early twentieth-century Mexican nationalists. So I woke up to their compositions. Revueltas' Planos had a great opening. Richard from Workbase phoned up and left an answerphone message [sigh] to ask whether I was working today. Thankfully, this is the last time he should do this. He always asks me twice - without fail. He caught the weariness in my tone when I rang him back to clarify the matter. I believe I may have offended him slightly, but it's easy to get a weary tinge to your voice when you suspect that someone only listens to you the second time you tell them something.

    A man has just come round and asked whether it would be okay to deposit dead leaves and stuff, for composting, in our driveway. The usual answer is "Yes, thanks.", but you can never be sure. I said yes, and they were duly left. Dad just came in so I told him. He didn't seem to object, so all is well.

    Sunday, 6 April 2003

    Hiya! Just back from the pub. Let's blog!

    This afternoon, as both our GBAs had recharged, I engaged in a bit of multiplayer action with Nick. Chu Chu Rocket was first up, but I don't think I really like it as a two player, and Nick didn't seem too fussed, so we moved on to Frogger and Bomberman Tournament instead. I had the upper hand in these electrical amusements. For some reason, I feel quite comfortable gloating when I beat Nicholas, so I did. It must be because I feel confident of his ability to take a joke. Good man.

    At 1930, Nick and I bombed out of our drive in the Micra to go to Ruth's, to pick her up for The Squirrel pub quiz. Ruth didn't know how to get there, and we hadn't even been there before, so we rolled along with Ruth's Dad's directions being mediated through Ruth. This was a bit tricky, as Ruth is not a natural navigator, but we got there in the end. Nicholas has formally requested that he be recognised as the first person to question my blog's title. I can't remember, but he said he mentioned it, so I bought him a pint this evening. John's statutory rights are not affected. He couldn't make up his mind what beer to have, and I recommended that, as in all pubs I go to, he just try one that he'd never had before. He opted for a Worthington's 1744. I think this was a mistake. In the toilets I saw a poster advertising all the real ales that this particular pub sold. They had all won awards with stupidly long names, except for the 1744, which merely sponsored the competition. The quiz itself was fun, but we did quite badly I thought. It was a quiz with a gimmick; like a cross between Blockbusters and Bingo, you had to get a line of questions right to win a round. We didn't come close to winning any of them, but never mind. I don't mind gimmicky quizzes, but to my mind, there's nothing wrong with merely running through an old-fashioned list of questions and answers.

    Adrian has revealed that he should be turning up on either Friday or Saturday. Dad said there was a reason he was more likely to come on Saturday, but I wasn't paying as much attention as I should, so I couldn't say why for certain. Conceivably it involved a Wednesday game. It'll be nice to see him regardless of such tertiary issues.

    G'night chaps and chappesses, I'm gonna read more Calvin and Hobbes.
    Yes mate! My archives are back in business! Blogger is back in my good books.

    Bloglet, however, sucks ass. Goodbye Bloglet!
    Five out of six in our nuclear family sing in choirs - to wit, in order of appearance*:

    As you can see, we are each in our several choirs. Nick's choir is awesome. It was the runner up in the Sainsbury's Choir of the Year Competition. The winners, I recall, were an all-female, school-based choir that sang aesthetically unpleasant music in order to woo the judges, and it paid off, but most of the audience were completely bewildered, thinking that they clearly sounded horrible. Still, that's art for you. Dad wants Mum to join his choir, it being a nice thing that they can do together. I designed the website for my choir, and Adrian apparently may sort his one out. He can start with that title. Anyway, this leaves Neil out, so I asked him whether he might like to join my choir, as I thought this'd be an awesome idea, and provide him with something to do of a Thursday evening. He hasn't said he will, but he hasn't ruled it out. I'm rather hoping that he will. That would rule.
    H-h-hello everybody! For reasons that I will blog, albeit back-to-front, as I've been a bit lax, I've just got back from Mass at St. Peter and St. John's down't road. Using two names for one church building seems excessive, don't you think? The priest, a Fr. Richard Biggerstaff by name, was at the door, so I notified him of my non-Catholic status so that I could receive a blessing without throwing the system into disarray. The service was the most high of the, I think, three Catholic churches that I've been to now. For a pleasing fragrance, incense smells a bit too much like someone's set a can of air freshener on fire. I'm all in favour of liturgy, and being brought up Anglican means there's not even much effort required to know the ins and outs of it, but sung liturgy always confuses me. This is a fact rather than a complaint. Fr. Richard was pulling no ecumenical punches in comparison to good ol' Fr. Paul, with his "Hey, shall we be nice to everybody?" approach to the chaplaincy masses. The homily was on the face of Christ and basically how one can see it in the Catholic church. He used the same trick that Dad did at Southwood - the kid's talk was the sermon, so it involved Q&As with kiddies:

    RICHARD: Who's Jesus looking at in this picture?
    [Lather, rinse, repeat as needed]

    From this he went on to say that you could "see" Christ in the Eucharist and in the priest at the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). It was very in-your-face, which is as it should be, at least occasionally.

    So after a bit of liturgical trial and error, and then a bit of wandering round investigating the available literature and such-like, I emerged out front. Fr. Richard collared me*, his exact words "Don't go." and remembered who I was from about three and a half years ago, he says it was, when he was the new priest in town, and he came and had dinner with us. He said he was available for chats and such-like, so I may do in my week off, such as it is.
    Today is not shaping up to be the super-fun-day one always hopes one's days off will be...

    There's the thing yesterday about the music, which on the plus side, freed me up to investigate the Catholic church over the way.

    I suspected when I received my pay, that it, predictably, wasn't the right amount, but I couldn't be bothered to look at the payslip when it arrived yesterday, so I resolved to investigate this morning. I had not been underpaid, as I had hoped, because I had only been paid for four days* but because I was on, you guessed it, emergency tax. £223.75 Gross - £ 161.24 Nett. Sigh. At least Dad tells me I don't have to wait till the next tax tear to get it back, which would have sucked.

    I also couldn't find any clean trousers this morning, so I'm wearing the same jeans as yesterday. Our laundry system is so configured that you don't know that you don't have any more clean clothes until you need them, unlike my efficient, dirty-festering-pile strategy at uni, where the reality is unavoidable. No-one's fault, but Mum swiftly set to rectify the situation. Thanks Mum.

    There's also the fact that Blogger doesn't want to archive my posts anymore. I am already looking to abandon the sinking ship. I'm not sure what to use, naturally, but I'm considering this which is basically a blogger clone, but hard-disk based instead of on the interweb. I'm worried about backup issues, but I don't think I'm any safer with Blogger's records actually. I think I can transfer my Squawkbox comments with relative ease, which is nice.

    Saturday, 5 April 2003

    Feeling a bit put out.

    Post-event Elucidation: Initially, I should state that Mum took the first opportunity to apologise, and I am not currently seething with rage. Our church is somewhat starved of musicians, so I make a point of chipping in whenever I can - for the past two years I think actually. When I'm not there, there is a nice man whom men call Alan who plays the keyboard, but he can't be there every week. When neither of us is there, there is an old keyboard which plays midi files which they use. As you may well imagine, this is awful, and to be avoided. Okay. Well, you know how I blogged that I was practising those songs yesterday (I'm updating this on Sunday)? It was a large waste of time because my servivces were not required, so I could've been in bed, or doing course work or other things that I'd like to have done after a week of doing very unrewarding work. Mum sorts out the worship every week, and usually puts it up on the notice board. She had not done so this week, so I didn't know that Alan wasn't going to be here. In Mum's mind, this implied that the keyboard was going to have to be used. I said that I would play, but she said that it had all been arranged already. I wasn't very happy. I wouldn't have minded, but the implication that they'd be better off with that cruddy keyboard across as something of an insult. Bah.
    I was running through the songs for church tomorrow on the acoustical guitar. This bothered me, not because I share the intolerance of James and Andy for all music in an evangelical stylee, but because of two words, on quite a few songs: "With feeling".

    Okay, say a musician plays as an act of worship to God, and with feeling - all to the good. However, to have the book in front of you dictate it is just idiotic. Obviously if you're not "feeling" very Romans 12:11 it's very worth paying some mind to, but trying to conjure up passion as and when - daft. I suppose most people just ignore these things anyway of course, or don't need encouraging, but still.

    When I compile my No. 1 best-selling Worship Music to Wind Andy and James Right Up: Volume 1, I will of course be sure to leave helpful worship instructions, like "With insincerity" and "With sneering contempt" to aid my strumming progeny in their quest for authenticity.
    Shortly after waking up, the phrase "ineluctable modality of being" popped into my head. I believe it's from Ulysses. I remember not knowing what it meant, but not bothering to look it up. I think it's stuck in my head because its such a nice-sounding phrase, dinner-partyesque:

    BUTLER Ferrero Rocher?
    ME No thanks, I couldn't. I'm afraid I have a touch of the ineluctable modality of being.

    Neil got back yesterday apparently, and I have seen him this morning. I believe he's back for the Easter break now. He, Mum and Dad all had a good laugh at my T-shirt, which in my first year was ubiquitous. Will and Paul should know the one I mean. Now it comprises mostly of holes. I'm going to go back to bed now. Have fun.