JTA with glasses

Today: praise for doing what we ought. Tomorrow: Caecilius condemned in hedge-fund scandal

Originally published at Electric Quaker II. Please leave any comments there.

It’s been a busy Bank Holiday weekend so far. Not least because yesterday we drove up from Oxford to Helwith Bridge, for a Jubilee Barbecue. It threw it down with rain the whole day.

The rain, I think, was pretty much inevitable from the point at which Mal announced he was moving the annual barbecue forwards from the August Bank Holiday to the June one in the hope that he’d actually get some sun this year. It rains every single time Mal runs a barbecue.

(It’s not raining here, because this photo is taken neither at a barbecue nor at Mal’s house. But it is a good photo of the guy, and he has a nice coat).

I’m not entirely convinced that Dan and Ruth, who I dragged out of the house at 09:00 hours, were entirely convinced, when we got back home at 23:56 that the 465-mile round trip had been entirely worth it for the three and a half hours we spent sitting inside an old mill and having barbecued food brought in to us by people who braved the wind and rain to save us from going outside.

I, on the other hand, am listing yesterday as one of the top five bits of good work I’ve managed this year. It turns out it’s been five years since I made it up there, and as well as meeting some cool young people (I’d forgotten, in the years since I was 18, just how very certain I was about everything, and it’s kinda sweet to see someone so idealistic and full of determination, and be able to see how nice they’ll be once they’ve got a few corners knocked off) it was nice how strongly I felt that it couldn’t possibly have been that lond.

More than that, though, I feel better for having seen Mal, and other old friends like John C and John B (one of my earliest understandings of the complexities of life was the day I was told John was coming down to visit, and then discovered that the other John had come instead. Valuable lesson about the importance of filing by surname, that was). Plus, of course, John C was the guy who picked my up and carried me, howling, back down to the house, the time I tried to set up an obstacle course in the garden and ran full-tilt at a broom balanced on a pair of bricks, failed to clear the jump and stripped the skin from both my palms when I rejoined the path on the other side. And Mal recounted a humerous but embarrasing story from a time when I was very small and didn’t know any better.

I don’t see these people often enough, but I like it when I do, and they’re very old family friends so it feels important that I do so. (Yay! Issues!) Plus, after the past few weeks, which if they haven’t been the worst I’ve weathered, have nevertheless been Godawful, it’s good to be reminded that there are representatives of the previous generation who aren’t seriously imbalanced.

 

In response to some phenomenal asshattery from crazy relatives I’ve found I called in a lot of favours in the past few weeks, and it got me thinking: I am really glad that life is not like the Sims. Especially Sims 2. I find the Sims kinda fun, if I’m honest, because you can create some wonderfully art deco houses,  but Sims 2 had a real problem, because it was impossible to have any friends in it. Or, rather, you could have friends in it, and often needed them for career progression, but they were all abhorent narcissists and if you didn’t call them up every day, or spend at least half of your free time with them in any given week, they’d go away and sulk and become “distant friends”.

(It was usually easier for me to ramp all my skills up over a period of time, create a house of 10-or-so clones, dump them in a neighbourhood and grind the befriending process until I got to the top of the career tree than it was to play “properly” – because you only need to take a couple of days where you didn’t call them before they’d decide you’d never been friends in the first place, regardless of how long you’d spent maintaing the relationship in the past.) In Sims 3, they’ve fixed this a bit because you can spend some of the “happy points” you build up on a perk called “make the game like real life, which ensures that friends never become distant friends, even if you don’t have time to call them on a nightly basis. I think it’s awesome that real people can manage to work like that: I’ve not seen Mansbridge since his wedding, nor for about five years before that, but within ten minutes of catching up with him at his reception I was mocking him for something or other and he was trying to punch me, and it was like we’d never been apart. It’s an awesome thing when that happens.

That was nicely in evidence yesterday, because I’ve not seen Mal for a little over 18 months, and I’ve not seen Christine for five years, and I think I last saw John B at some point in the early 90s, but we all seemed to get on OK, and sure there was a bit of procedural upkeep while we updated each other on stuff, but it never felt awkward: things just slotted back in to the dynamic.

It’s nice when that happens. It’s important, too, since I’m such a terrible correspondent (I have emails sat unread in my inbox so I can reply to them which have been there since October, no joke). It’s even nicer when I can call in a favour (and by that I mean “request a favour, since I still owe him for getting help when I broke my wrist in 1995″) from someone I’ve not seen in person for about a decade and a half, and it’s nice that when I did drop Jason a message to get some advice on his special area of expertise he didn’t mind and he just dug up the information and passed it on and hoped I was OK. Probably not for my sake, I think, because strictly he doesn’t really know me that well anymore, but he did it for the sake of the friendship we used to have.

I got to thinking this way because I think that’s why it’s important to give people good funerals. It probably doesn’t make much odds to the actual deceased, and I know it’s often valuable for the bereaved, but I think it’s good to be able to demonstrate, too, that this person was worth the effort. What existed between you doesn’t exist in the same way any more, but for the sake of what it was, it’s important to take the time to do what you can.

I do like Mal, and I had a good time yesterday, but I couldn’t say how much of the time I invested in that trip, or how much of the fun I had, was being paid off by the knowledge I was doing keeping an old friendship alive even after one of the friends in it had died. And, the brilliant thing is, it doesn’t matter. Because of what it was, I’m doing what I can to honour it. But because I’m taking the time to honour it, it’s turning into a really solid friendship.

‘s funny how that works. Makes me kinda hopeful.

 

Anyway. I should really be trying to get a totally different blog updated. But the About Me was giving me gyp, so I figured I’d come over here and be introspective. And now I’ll go away again, possibly for a very long time, and when I come back the blog will still be here and we can pick up where we left off. Hooray!

 

 

JTA with glasses

The fish pie’s snoek, got it? Snoek.*

Originally published at Electric Quaker II. Please leave any comments there.

So, I think possibly I just panic bought fuel. That’s a bit disappointing.

I legitimately needed fuel, mind: since mostly Isis just commutes back and forth round the ring road for work and shopping I tend to keep less than a quarter of a tank in at any one time (because otherwise, it feels like I’m driving past two filling stations in four miles and burning fuel for no reason other than to carry the weight of extra diesel that I don’t need).

Normally I fill up all the way if I’m actually going off somewhere. But my warning light came on this morning, and I need to get to Reading in good time on Monday, which I could do by public transport, but I’m going for an interview for what is possibly the most awesome job for me in the entire South and I’d rather not risk my arriving on time to the tender mercies of First Great Western. So I figured I’d pop back out this evening and stick 20 quid or so in the tank, to tide me over.

We’re lucky, in Oxford, because you actually can get places by public transport: we’ve got awesome buses to London, and trains that aren’t as bad as others I’ve seen, and just about everything is flat so you can cycle. (I’ve been off cycling with my busted wrist, but helpfully got the green light from the physio just today so I can cycle in to work tomorrow, which is probably wise. Add to that the fact that Isis is pretty damn fuel efficient, and my expectation that things will be back to normal once the distribution infrastructure recovers from the beasting Maude lovingly doled out to it, and I figured twenty quid would see me right enough.

Which, probably, it would. But by the time I’d sat listening to the whole of Bottom Line, and the 9 o’clock news, and most of an interesting programme about whether or not rooks are as intelligent as apes, slowly creeping forward from Cowley junction to the Tesco filling station at what I genuinely believed would be a quiet point in the day, I rather thought I’d better fill up after all. Isis only has a 40 litre tank, and I put 39.11 litres into her, so I think I’m probably being more rational than someone who, say, sits with their 4×4′s engine idling for just as long as I did, and then drives away having only put in a tenner’s worth of unleaded, but I still feel bad about it.

However, I got to Tesco by way of Sainsbury’s, where the forecourt was closed for a tanker to unload, and when I got in and popped into the shop over the way I had a very nice chat with the guy who runs it (interrupting his stressed debate with the woman manning the till about whether or not they were going to have to charge VAT on some of their baked goods or not), and was able to clue them in to the possibility that they might have some fuel at Sainsbury’s, if the tanker had finished re-supplying them. That pleased me because apart from giving me the chance to Be Useful it felt reassuringly like the Shropshire grapevine where you might find out that Mr Pope was slaughtering a pig and maybe there’d be sausages in the offing, or perhaps a few cuts of lamb. All pull together, and what-not. Very Home Front, very sweet.**

 

Sigh. Like I say, bike tomorrow.

 

* Yeah, that’s a pretty obscure reference.

**That one too, probably.

JTA with glasses

I think it’s only fair to warn you…

Originally published at Electric Quaker II. Please leave any comments there.

Well, this past month has just been all over the place. What with the whole broken wrist thing, and then Peter’s being killed February turned out pretty appallingly.

March, on the other hand, is going kinda well. For starters, I’m almost better: I’ve not got my full range of movement back in my wrist, yet, and it’s still a struggle to bear weight on it for things like shoving doors or getting in and out of chairs, but I can type and use a mouse and write and hold a straight razor without severing anything essential. That’s pretty cool.

Then HMRC wrote to me and apologised for overtaxing me not just for the last two tax years, but also for an unspecified tax year back in the past, and sent me a cheque which I can now use to clear all of my overdraft, which will save me plugging away at it in small, ill-affordable chunks each paycheque. That overdraft has been sneaking along behind me pretty much since I was first a student, so I’ll be glad to see it sling it’s unecessarily barbed hook.

Plus, as a confusingly-right-in-the-middle-of-funeral-preparation bonus, I got my results from the Masters (I handed the Diss in way back in August, but had to wait for an Examinations Board meeting before they could confirm the results not-quite-three-years after I set off along this route). Apparently I never troubled to blog very much whilst I was doing either the course or the Diss, probably because I was stupidly busy with a combination of either coursework and two part-time jobs and two voluntary jobs, or just coursework and one full-time job and two voluntary jobs. But, anyway, pretend there’s a link here to me saying that it seems to be going well but I’m nervous about results.

Well, boy, was I wrong. I’ve passed with a Merit. Which has a pleasing symmetry, because it was getting a Merit in the Scholarships that took me to Aberystwyth in the first place. If I had any use for business cards I could now get ones with “BA (Hons), MSc (Econ)” written on them, which is very snazzy.

I am slightly self-conscious about being pleased over this, but I think on reflection I’m entitled to be. It hasn’t actually been easy all the way along, and apart from the screamingly painful errors in the Diss – like the bit where I moronically say “staple” twice in as many sentences, and which nearly makes my eyes bleed – I am actually pretty pleased with how well it reads.

So, aye. I am, in fact, a Librarian. Awesome!

JTA with glasses

What I Did On My Holidays

Originally published at Electric Quaker II. Please leave any comments there.

This post proposes to be bigger on the photos than the words, and brief nevertheless. Still, time I did an update.

Ruth & I postponed honeymooning after the wedding, going for a more traditional ‘save up for a bigger one later’ motif, which had the added benefit of giving us time to learn German first.

Then we decided not to go to Germany after all, and spent one week at a spa in Wales, and one in La Clusaz, a ski resort in France. I tried skiing in Chamonix with Gareth & Penny a few years back, and crippled my knees something shocking; given the unhelpful twist my shins make it’s about twice as much work for me to snowplough as it is for everyone else, which severely hampered my capacity to enjoy it.

Then last spring we went out to visit Owen in Meribel, where I continued to think the Alps are amazing, but was too busy with reading for my Diss to try and improve things (besides which, last year was afwul for snow late season). While we were out there, though, we met some awesome people who put the case that I should try snowboarding as something liable to combine the fun going-fast-downhill-with-spectacular-views bit of skiing with all the reduced horrific-boots-and-knees-discomfort of boarding.

So we took a couple of intensive jump-start lessons at Milton Keynes and duly headed out in search of some actual mountains.

 

After a lesson, and looking consequently tired. Also slightly distracted by the two people in the background who, if I remember rightly, couldn’t agree on whether or not Savoie belonged to the Nords.

Ruth & JTA at the top of Beauregard

 

It was really good. Button lifts confounded me all the first day, and I fetched myself a whacking great bruise when I came straight down on my tailbone, and when we had a powder day I had to take my hired board back for a wax, but Daniel, our awesome mountain/ice/anything that looks insanely hard work-climbing instructor did a really good job and I was doing pretty damn well by the end of our booked lessons on Wednesday (we wanted some free time to relax, too!). Plus there is something tremendously satisfying in going fast enough to create the sensation of wind whilst not on some mechanical thing.

 

I don’t remember exactly what Daniel (in blue) is saying here, but I am 100% sure it is either ‘tourne, tourne,’ or ‘compass!’. Awesome guy.

JTA & Daniel during a lesson

So aye, after a few years of feeling thoroughly grumpy because I wasn’t physically cut out for skiiing I have found a snowsport that fits! Give me a while to save up, and I shall have to get back out there (althoughI’m also thinking a post-season return to MK to keep my hand in wouldn’t hurt, either…)

 

Also, our chalet was awesome, which does make a difference. Plus, we got some killer views from the balcony, particularly in the sun towards the end of the week:

Just behind my head is the gondola up to the Beauregard Plateau, with the tail end of the long black run La Noire to its left. At right, the blue Guy Périllat also returns from Beauregard whilst Les Riffoids is a very gentle nursery slope.

 

JTA on a balcony with his arm in a cast

 

Oh… Yeah. Also I fell somehow and apparently rolled over my own wrist and fractured the only rarely buggered pisiform bone. Apparently you can tell it’s broken on an X-ray, if you avoid the pitfall my lovely French doctor fell into and don’t get too distracted by my weird knuckles.

Not Owning a lightbox, I had to jury-rig one with a velux window. I’m pretty sure there aren’t really any trees visible in my bones.

An X-ray of JTA's hand

Breaking the right wrist turns out to be a bit of a bugger, since my left arm is not only fairly malcoordinated but also unused to work, and liable to get tired quickly. And I can’t hold books properly at the moment. So I have bought a Kindle.

Mmm. We’ll see how that goes. But, in the event I turn out to like it, having one will save a significant quantity of luggage space next time we go out, which I can instead devote to the wrist guards they told my not to buy in Milton Keynes (don’t get me wrong, my doctor was awesome, but was totally cheated out of a run down Périllat, and that wants fixing…)

And that is what I did on my holidays. Which is a good title, because writing with my left hand does make it look like I’m back in Mrs Sutton’s class again…

 

JTA with glasses

Fresher’s Week, again.

Originally published at Electric Quaker II. Please leave any comments there.

Today’s fun fact: I’ve now owned my little battery-powered FM/LW/MW/SW radio for six years. Bought it in Dixons, back when we had one of those in Aber. Well I find it interesting, anyway.

Induction gubbins carries on apace. Yesterday, out to Llanbadarn for what turned out to be a slightly strange seven-strand induction lecture, the highlight of which was the woman the Careers service sent along who tried very hard, but failed to make the leap from “This is a lecture theatre packed to the gills with naught but postgraduate students about to start their Masters courses” to “therefore I should address them as such.”

Thus, after we’d been sitting and listening to people address us for a little under 40 minutes, she began her skit by getting us all to stand up, and stretch and yawn theatrically (Heaven forfend that PG students should be able to sit for under an hour and listen to people!) and then followed that up with the suggestion we were all liars.

We would all like to think we’re there to bolster our skills, she reasoned, but actually we’re just doing it to keep ourselves off the jobs market until the recession is over. Isn’t that right, she asked, as a multitude of hands - three in number - rose in bemused agreement. “How nice,” she said, “that there are three honest people here.” Yeah, thanks for that. You do realise that we’re paying out for this, right? We’re not just sitting here for to while away the next twelve months of an already finite lifetime.

Sigh. She’d've gone down a treat with undergraduates, I’m sure, but like I say she didn’t make the link. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen her before; she gave us an incredibly annoying handout on the importance of getting jobs done, which I’ll blog about as soon as I’ve dug it up, because it was such appaling nonsense it damn well deserves to be on the Internet. Probably is somewhere, actually, it’s the sort of bollocks they like to save up for when someone wants to make a website out of clever managerial witticisms…

Anyway, today I went and registered, and am thus officially re-enrolled. Registration by paper always puts me in mind of the Copy Protection Scene in Spellcasting 101 where you have to queue up and then one of the professors says “Ah, yes, Mr. Eaglebeak. Tell me, what was your Oral Aptitude score?” and if you don’t look sharp and say “590″ like what it says on the paper you fish out of the box they push you off to the Restore : Undo : Quit screen fast as you please.

Anyway, they didn’t ask me anything like that or even what my Health Score was (Ernie’s is 91), but I did have to queue twice over, because they forgot to sign the first of my three forms in addition to the second, at least on the first attempt. Hey ho.

I’ve landed myself a 50:70 split, because neither of my two option modules run in Semester 1, but they reckon that won’t be too much of a problem, and if I’m honest it’s the 60-credit diss that’s worrying me, if anything.

Still, I’m all registered up. I returned home to find, in Inbox A, a email from the University in the form of a confirmation to let me know that they have updated my records and I am officially a student and, in Inbox B, an email from the University in the form of an Alumni Newsletter to let me know about all this new students they’ve got sloshing about the place and signing up for all manner of silly modules.

All rather strange, and it’s only Tuesday. Still, see how we go, shall we?

JTA with glasses

‘Inspector–’

Originally published at Electric Quaker II. Please leave any comments there.

I’m too much of a barometer, is my trouble, and everyone else seems to be having it unremittingly grim just at the moment.

Sigh.

It’s not as though I actually like writing people off; I do try not to. Still if people will go around being… Ah, damnation I do wish you scunners wouldn’t pull tricks like that, y’know? It ain’t helpful for any of your people, and it’s sure as Hell not a good idea for any of mine. (On the plus side, y’bastard, I only met you once so you’ve spared yourself the bit where I figure you know me well enough that pulling this kind of stunt counts as a personal insult to myself. On the downside, I only met you once so I ain’t in a position to execute a proper stick-rip-twist on you. Yeah, it’s that bad; I’ve not done one of them for years, thank Christ. Never reflect very well on anyone those do and you can never be certain that they’ll float back into their conciousness at 0200h as intended or if they’ll just drift out the other side. Or be certain which to hope for, really…)

Hey, I said I’d honed being loyal to a fault into a form of art. I never said I was nice.

Meanwhile, I’m going to go slump over, polish off the last of the whisky and have a bit of a read before I turn in. An’ that ain’t going to make anything better, either. But, then, it’s late, my knees have been playing Hob all day, even before the standing up, and the rest of the background stress isn’t helping with the more immediate backstabbery. You’re all permitted to ignore me, y’know; I’m due a busy week, I’ll be right, betimes; I just needed to be incoherently stroppy with the world.

JTA with glasses

Reasons Why It’s Bad To Sleep With The Radio On

Originally published at Electric Quaker II. Please leave any comments there.

#1 in a series of at least #1:

Only realising at midday that there was actually a plausible explanation for half-waking in the middle of the night before sinking into a dream about Puff the Magic Dragon.

And there was me thinking it was reading LXG getting tangled up with the comedown from opiates. I should be so lucky. (Note for chemists: Stop mucking about with flu vaccine and make some Codine that actually works, you lazy sods.)

…incidentally, does anyone else see the crowd of 20-somethings singing along in the audience in that Youtube clip? What kind of way is that to run a decade?

Next Episode: 101 Reasons Why It Isn’t Fun To Wake Up To James Naughtie On Your Pillow.

JTA with glasses

(no subject)

Originally published at Electric Quaker II. Please leave any comments there.

Ah, Red Alert 3: Soviet March, I grow fonder of you as a ringtone day by day.

In this case, look you, because you’ve contrived to be the ringtone heralding an offer for part-time work. More than that, for convenient take-it-or-leave-it-and-be-paid-accordingly part-time work, which is liable to be dead handy for me with my collection of other commitments and overdrafts to satisfy all at once. Huzzah!

Therefore, presently, and assuming a clear health check and a green light from the CRB people, I return to work as a cleaner-type person (Undertakers, prostitutes and cleaners: always in demand, that’s us. And, considering the alternatives, cleaning’s not a bad job to be engaged in, all fun aside)

(Alarmingly, by my reckoning this brings my all-time interview:job offer ratio to, er… 9:8 (that’s what not having a driving license will do to you, that is). The reason I say alarmingly is because I assume my luck’ll have to turn eventually, and if it’s going to I’d much rather it dropped out now rather than when it super-really counts, but there you go - I don’t propose to complain too much, I just worry that it’s one of those things that only works when you don’t bank on it, and I’m not sure how to look like I’m not banking on it!)

Betimes, I’ve netted myself perhaps the most cool voluntary work I could have contrived, as a sort of giving-advice-and-opinions bod for a fictioneer. Can’t say I’ve got much experience of that sort of thing per se, but it’s giving me a chance to brush up on some very rusty skills I’ve not pressed for some time, so that’s nice.

O, and a heads up to the guy who just came up the drive and stuffed a ‘Do you want your drive to be pressure-washed?’ flyer through the door: talking loudly on a mobile below an open window kinda diminished the secrecy of the sentence “Mate, can you keep a secret, yeah? I’ve actually got another girlfriend she doesn’t know about.” (Bonus tip: if you must go about keeping secrets, you’ll find they work better if you don’t tell people regardless of how close you are to other bodies)

(A heavy blonde day even for someone as fair-headed as you, huh? You square-set late-teens six footer, you…)

JTA with glasses

Pfeh. I laugh in the face of statistics.

Originally published at Electric Quaker II. Please leave any comments there.

We’ve had Miriam for a year now, which is nice, and ironed out most of the interesting little kinks.

The sunroof hasn’t leaked for ages, which is good (and all it took was vaseline, then tack grease, then a bathroom sealant and then even more bathroom sealant while I worked through the options of gumming up the seal, fixing the outer edge of the seal and finally glueing it shut. It’d probably come undone with a bit of careful knife work but I’m not sure it’s worth just to get a hole in the roof).

The vents don’t seem to flood as much as they did; they get a little soggy in really heavy rain, but I’ve not had a footwell full of water since I, er, blocked up a couple of backwards-facing drainage channels with, er, bathroom sealant (seriously, that stuff is like Duck Tape in a tube).

The juddering feat. alarming rocking of the engine block has been resolved - hole in the exhaust just below the CAT meant the, er, burntfuelsmoke wasn’t getting out of the tubes properly, which was causing something of a suck-squeeze-bang-coughspluttershake effect and at the same time the spark plugs were on their last legs so she was running after the manner of suck-squeeze-rollD4andbangona1-cough&c, in consequence of which I apologise for swearing at her when she refused to give me the oomph to get round a tractor.

I’ve not yet had an accident (and I’ve only had about three near misses, and one of them wasn’t even when I was going fast, which is nice), although I am starting to think I’ve inherited my father’s habit of going at a reasonable rate of knots which you’d think would’ve got beaten out of me, but there you go.

And, of course, I’ve driven through no end of absurd floods, first in September, and then again on the way back from Gregynog when Newtown got decidedly soggy, and I ended up forcing through an insanely deep bit of flood with water slapping itself up the bonnet to hit the windscreen (there’s still all mud flecks in there, but I can’t be bothered to mop ‘em up. And I wonder why the exhaust got rusty…)

O, and I nearly died on a level crossing, an’ all. Bloody thing stopped working. Although, in fairness, I think we were mostly over the up line at the point I realised that there didn’t ought to be rapidly oncoming lights to my left.

’s good stuff this drivin’.

And, honestly, I’ve not really done much more interesting than that. Except, of course, Ruth’s gone off to Oxford, and I’m trying to patch the holes in my shoes up with, er, black bathroom sealant.

Anyway, that washing up isn’t going to do itself. O, and I’ve not got a headache, so No Worries. The list of things that gives me hangovers stays stuck on ‘99 Moet. On the downside, the list of things that gives me headaches appears to have grown to include Not Drinking Coffee. Which I guess means I need to drink more coffee.

JTA with glasses

Misc

Originally published at Electric Quaker II. Please leave any comments there.

Re-installed CoD4 the other day, for first time since my computer last bricked itself (way back in February or so I discovered it is Not Good for the electric meter to run out at the same time as Windows is updating itself, and when I do a reinstall I things tend to get put back when I want them). All my multiplayer goodies have vanished. Lame. (I had all sorts of cool gubbins with fancy camoflage and nice perks and things, and it’s all gone.) On the plus side, I’m actually more skilled than I look because of this. Snrk. (I shouldn’t be smug, however, because I had a kill:death ratio of around 8:37 in one match yesterday. That probably goes into smaller numbers, if you care about such things, but meh.

I promise I am not saying this to wind people up, but 40 years since we landed on the moon leaves me brimming with indifference. I guess it is nice that we went up on comparatively lame technology, but it happened a long time ago - I think that might be the problem, for me; everyone who can actually remember it seems to see it as a massive thing, whereas I’ve grown up in the age of We Have Been To The Moon, so Going To The Moon doesn’t seem that awesome. That said, I started to understand better thanks to this strip, which actually does make it seem kinda cool. Especially the bit with the steam engine.

Serveral nights this week I’ve not managed to get to sleep until gone 02:30. Yeeeah. That’s going on the list, I fear. Still, it’s in good company; Hollywood Pizza’s been on there for months.

If you do not read PostSecret, I recommend it, for it is awesome, and likewise FutureMe… In consequence of which I’m going to keep an eye on Letters Anonymous, which is knew, and kinda fusiony. Will see how it pans out, might be interesting.

I got (half of) this week’s Piano Puzzler, and am pleased. I never get the composer, mind, but even the tune is kinda a step up for me, plus I got it on the first playthrough. (I was, of course, listening to KUSC, which appears to hand over to American Public Media’s Performance Today for the night shift (09:00 - 14:00ish), which means I keep listening to the Morning Show on my afternoons at work. Confusing stuff, time travel.

The press is full of dead soldiery. It is, of course, very sad that - what is it, now, 19? -people have died in Afghanistan this month, but on the other hand we’ve been out there for a decade, and this is our worst month yet? Jeez, we are kicking arse. It could be considerably worse, you know. I find the fact we’ve got such a very low death toll rather encouraging. Aye, it sucks for the families, I’m not saying it doesn’t. But there aren’t many such families, which is worth remembering…

O, and you’ve probably all heard this one by now, it being a massive hit and all, but if not take a dekko at United Breaks Guitars, about the shoddy treatment of baggage (& customers) by staff of United Airlines, whose shares have - not surprisingly - dropped a whopping 10%. Do not mess with stubborn people is the message there, I think…

O, hey, my break’s nearly done. I wonder if I can nab a mug of tea before I nodd off…