Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Detecting a Wrongitude

Looking around me at work there are probably a couple of hundred people on my floor. Of these I think maybe 3 are black, and maybe 15 are of Asian origin.

However, all, and I repeat all of the cleaners in the building are black. At least, all of the cleaners I've ever seen are black.

I've just got back from having a wee and when I got to the toilet two cleaners (a young man and a young woman) were in there doing one of the twice-daily cleans. After the girl had left I went in and had a wee while the guy kept cleaning. We then both left at the same time and he held the door open for me.

The whole situation felt wrong. It felt almost colonial. There's always this forced politeness that comes from them, as though they have to show respect because we're the "proper workers" in the building whereas they have to sneak in and out as inconspicuously as they can to maintain the areas we frequent.

Every evening as I leave the building there's a guy who sits at a desk in reception checking the cleaners in and out. Unlike other staff who have their own ID passes, the cleaners are issued with theirs as they arrive and have them taken off them as they leave.

The guy who gives it to them sits and chats friendlily to people who walk buy, and to the ladies on reception. Then when a cleaner arrives (always young and black) he adopts the manner of a snobby butler and talks down to them while he gives them their ID badge. And this happens every evening.

As I said, it just feels like wrongitude.

I feel like phoning the facilities department who manage the maintenance of the building and asking them either a) what proportion of their cleaning staff come from ethnic minorities, or b) whether they have a policy of only employing black people for cleaning posts.

Nice Bit of Sunshine

Had a lovely weekend in Burnham-on-Sea with Graham, Paul, Bob, Des, Laura and da boyz.

OK, so pretty much the only people who are going to read this post are the same people who were in Burnham-on-Sea with me, so I'll say no more.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

"Radio Dave!" or "I Am No Idea"

Yep, Paul and I were back on 'the air' last night for the sequel to our first radio broadcast.

You can listen to this week's show here.


And keep your email-checking fingers peeled for future, possibly more regular, shows.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Good Morrow One and All

Yeah, I'm in a good mood today. It is indeed a lovely day.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's radio show.

Looking forward to going to Burnham on Sea this weekend to visit Graybone Utah, Des...Mondo, Loohee Looharhar and boyz.

Also, college is coming to an end, and while this is making some people on the course extremely sad, if not distressed, I'm viewing it as a poignant time of change.

I'm also now starting to look forward to my Cyprus trip in July.

So, yeah, everything's pretty great at the moment.

But then are the any negatives? Well I haven't got my college essays done, so I might have to either a) retake the year or b) utilise a 12 month extension. Also my mobile phone cover's a bit broken. And there's still nothing uglier and more disturbing than the human brain. I mean, you've got one of those inside your head. Ew.

Still ... lovely day.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Challenge Lord Vader

Monday, May 16, 2005

Things You Would Never Know Without the Movies

§ During all police investigations it will be necessary to visit a strip club at least once.

§ All telephone numbers in America begin with the digits 555.

§ All beds have special L-shaped cover sheets that reach up to the armpit level on a woman but only to waist level on the man lying beside her.

§ The ventilation system of any building is the perfect hiding place. No one will ever think of looking for you in there, and you can travel to any other part of the building you want without difficulty.

§ Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German officer, it will not be necessary to speak the language. A German accent will do.

§ A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds.

§ Kitchens don't have light switches. When entering a kitchen at night, you should open the fridge door and use that light instead.

§ If staying in a haunted house, women should investigate any strange noises in their most revealing underwear.

§ Cars that crash will almost always burst into flames.

§ Wearing a vest or stripping to the waist can make a man invulnerable to bullets.

§ If you find yourself caught up in a misunderstanding that could be cleared up quickly with a simple explanation, for goodness sake, keep your mouth shut.

§ Any person waking from a nightmare will sit bolt upright and pant.

§ A cough is usually the sign of a terminal illness.

§ All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red readouts so you know exactly when they're going to go off.

§ When in love, it is customary to burst into song.

§ When confronted by an evil international terrorist, sarcasm and wisecracks are your best weapons.

§ One man shooting at 20 men has a better chance of killing them than 20 men firing at 1 man.

§ Creepy music coming from a cemetery should always be investigated more closely.

§ If being fired at by Germans, hide in a river - or even a bath. German bullets are unable to penetrate water.

§ Most laptop computers are powerful enough to override the communication systems of any invading alien civilization.

§ Freelance helicopter pilots are always eager to accept bookings from international terrorist organizations - even though the job will require them to shoot total strangers and will end in their own certain death as the helicopter explodes in a ball of flames.

§ Most people keep a scrapbook of newspaper clippings - especially if any of their family or friends has died in a strange boating accident.

§ All computer disks will work in all computers, regardless of software.

§ Police Departments give their officers personality tests to make sure they are deliberately assigned a partner who is their total opposite.

§ When they are alone, all foreigners prefer to speak English to each other.

§ Action heroes never face charges for manslaughter or criminal damage despite laying entire cities to waste by their actions.

§ You can always find a chainsaw when you need one.

§ Any lock can be picked by a credit card or a paper clip in seconds - unless it's the door to a burning building with a child trapped inside.

§ You can tell if somebody is British because they will be wearing a bowtie.

§ When driving a car it is normal to look not at the road but at the person sitting beside you or in the back seat for the entire journey.

§ An electric fence, powerful enough to kill a dinosaur will cause no lasting damage to an eight-year-old child.

§ Honest and hard working policemen are traditionally gunned down three days before their retirement.

§ If you are blonde and pretty, it is possible to become a world expert in Nuclear Fission at age 22.

§ The more a man and a woman hate each other, the more likely they will fall in love.

§ Having a job of any kind will make father's forget their son's eighth birthday.

The Radio Show

This is effectively a duplicate of Paul's post, but, yeah, he and I did an Internet radio show on Saturday night.

You can listen to the show here, however please note that it begins with the last track of the previous DJ - The Final Countdown, then there are a few technical hitches with the stream for a few seconds, then we kick in.

It's a cool show apart from the following things that we'll get right if we're able to do it again:

* Sometimes our voices are lost a little behind the backing music we play.
* Our talky bits are significantly quieter than our songs.
* I'm on the wrong side of the mic and so am quiet and muffled all the way through.
* I've got a foul voice, although we won't be able to fix this one, sadly. :(
* The voices need vocal compression applied to give them a more constant volume. I've bid for a vocal compressor / preamp / EQ on eBay for this.

There's a chance that we might be able to get a regular weekly slot doing this, which'd be great. In fact, even if we can't we'll find a way.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

What a Lame Definition

I oft use dictionary.com to get definitions of words that I don't quite understand.

Today I looked up Feudal, and this was the definition I was presented with:

A political and economic system of Europe from the 9th to about the 15th century, based on the holding of all land in fief or fee and the resulting relation of lord to vassal and characterized by homage, legal and military service of tenants, and forfeiture.

Now, to me that's meaningless after about the word 'land'.

Feel free to offer me a better definition.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Mr Inflatable - Day 3

It's now the third day and Mr Inflatable's back, as I predicted, with an electric generator! And his camera's back in the window, and it's looks like this:

He's probably been looking forward to this day the most. He'll now be able to spend the whole day on his chair, without having to a) pump continuously by foot, or b) blow down a tube for eight hours.

Lucky lucky him.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Meet Dave Brown

This is Dave Brown, the violinist:


He's the current high bidder on my digital camera auction (no I won't shut up about it!).

Wish him luck! But not so much luck that he get's it for the current £51 that it's on!

Handbags at Dawn

As you'll no doubt be aware, I'm selling my digital camera on eBay at the moment.

Now, I don't know if you've read my auction description, but my last sentence is:

For personal reasons this item is not available to supporters of either the British National Party or the Veritas Party. :)

Unfortunately I've now received the following "Question for Seller":

You state in your auction "For personal reasons this item is not available to supporters of either the British National Party or the Veritas Party. :)" can I ask a stupid question but how do you intend finding out if these people are supporters of these parties, I mean its not like they are gonna own up now are they, if they wanted a bargain. I don't personnaly support any of these parties but isn't that elitist singling people out by which political party they support, it'll come down to football teams and religions next. GROW UP!

I worked out some time ago that there is absolutely nothing you can do in life without someone, somewhere having a Barney about it. Anyway, I've posted my response directly to the auction page, and it's:

Good evening and welcome to State the Obvious!

You're more than welcome to ask a stupid question.

I would have thought that it was pretty clear by the :) that this was a touch-in-cheek way of stating my lack of support for either of these parties. I find both parties' policies and approaches extremely unpleasant and bigoted.

So no, I'm not going to investigate whether the buyer is a supporter of either party. That was never the point.

Football teams and religions? If I saw a similar sentence on an auction saying 'not available to Arsenal fans' or whatever, then I'd interpret that as jovial humour.

Religion is a totally different matter altogether.

I hope this clears this up for you.

Was this too grumpy, do you think?

Mr Inflatable's Back

The chap who sat on the street behind my work yesterday blowing up inflatable blue cuboids by mouth has returned today .... with a foot pump!

He's now struggling to do this while sitting down, so we'll have to see how his energy lasts, if he's intending to do another full 8 hour day of it.

Also the video camera's back in the first floor window of the Art College.

Another guy from my office had a word with him this morning, and apparently he'll be back here tomorrow as well, although I'm not sure what'll beat a foot pump, unless it's some kind of electric motorised pump.

Anyway, if you want to see this special event for yourself, and I doubt you do, he's basically on the corner of Edmund Street and Eden Place in town. Now I'm sure no one will know where those two roads are, but they're literally just off Colmore Row. And if you know where I work then you just need to walk to the back of my building.

Not that anyone'll be that interested anyway.

If my digital camera wasn't already listed on eBay then I'd take some photos for you all.

So long...

Monday, May 09, 2005

The Only Problem With mp3 Blogs is...

How often to post.

You see I've got about a million great mp3s all lined up and ready to post, but you've got to be careful not to flood the market haven't you?

I suppose a couple a day'd be OK.

Anyway, I suppose for the moment I Should Go.

MP3ing Up My Blog

Yep, I'm going to try the 'mp3 blog' thing.

"But Dave, why not just contribute to the Louder Than War mp3 blog that Phil made you a member of back in December?" I hear you squeal.

Well I could, but I'm concerned that my taste in music will just be too confusing for people. To avoid a combination of scowling and eyebrow raising I'll post them here. So expect weird-sh*t.

Oh, and by the way, the mp3 will always be findable by clicking on the post title. Got it???

Right, well a few years ago I tracked down an album of music from Lancashire that I'd listened to in my drug-ridden teens, and when I bought it it came with a CD of random folk music, I think designed to entice you to buy more albums from their range.

Anyway, I've never really listened to that CD, but I periodically put on random tracks from my mp3 collection and check them out. They're usually lame, but this one I liked.

OK it's not a song you'd define as cool, but it's kind of beautiful if you listen to the lyrics, which are, by the way...

Somewhere along the road
Someone waits for me
Beyond these present storms that blow
Waiting patiently
No secrets held in an open heart
A spirit that soars over mountains
Somewhere along the road
Someone waits for me

Somehow a guiding light
Always shows the way
To those that lose their way by night
Searching for the day
A day away from happiness
Tomorrow will bring a new sunrise
Somewhere along the road
Someone waits for me

Sometime when winds are still
Perhaps beyond this silent hill
A voice will call to me
Raise your eyes to see my world
Raise your voice and sing out
Somewhere along the road
Someone waits for me

Strange Happenings in Town

Right, at 9am this morning, outside my window at work, a gentleman sat down on a chair on the street with two large inflatable squares, each about 3 feet deep, 6 foot long and 6 foot wide - very large in other words.

He then proceeded to inflate both of these by mouth. It's now 5pm and he's just finished. He spent the whole eight hours blowing these up. And now he's just deflated both of them, folded them up and left.

Now you'd think he'd be a local nutter, but he was a very clean-cut fellow in a suit.

Several people have walked past and talked to him. One of the guys from my office asked him what he was doing. He said he was a performer, but wouldn't be pulled in to saying any more.

A few of us just gathered to look at him packing up and we noticed that, across the street there is some kind of art college or art something, and in the 1st floor window is a red box with a video camera on top pointed straight at him.

I can only assume that this is either:

a) A "Beadle's About" type stunt
b) Some kind of lame research
c) Some kind of art project

I favour the third option, and wouldn't be surprised if this is some kind of submission for his college / university course. He's probably has the camera on time lapse mode so he can play the whole day back at high speed.

Either way would you want to spend eight hours sitting in the street blowing up inflatables?

Periodically he put his hand to hit head as though he was getting a headache or was about to pass out.

Very strange.

Dave Lame Film Reviews - Revenge of the Sith

So I went to see a preview of Revenge of the Sith today, and it was great.

OK, that's a complete lie. I actually did no such thing, but here's a bunch of reviews that have been published today on the BBC website.

I expect it will be great.

Finally, this song accurately reflects my mood today.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Random Weekend Post

What a dull weekend. It's Sunday afternoon now and it's raining.

I've just finished losing at an Internet Poker Tournament. I did OK, but far from great. I think I came 455th out of 2500. You know how it is, when you come up against 4 Queens.

OK that sounds really rude, but it's what happened, and I hate losing unnecessarily.

I've also just finished listing my digital camera on eBay. I'll be very sad to see it go, but needs must when the devil vomits into your kettle and leaves you skint mid-month (AGAIN!!!!).

What else have I done?

Well I've cleaned a bit. I'm have a few sink problems at the moment in the kitchen. In fact I've succeeded, just about, in replicating the "stupidest thing I've ever done":

Twas about a year ago, and my sink was blocked. I took the piping under the sink apart and rancid manky washing up water started gushing out. I shoved a washing-up bowl underneath to catch it, although it had already gone everywhere. Then when the water stopped and filled the bowl I, with my mind working on autopilot, thought "what shall I do with this water? Oh yes, I'll pour it down the sink". And I did, and again it gushed out of the open pipes all over the cupboard underneath. So I screamed and again put the bowl underneath, and when it was full, again I thought "whew, that was close. Now what to do with this water ... oh I know, down the sink."

Repeat another half-dozen times (honestly).

Well I've had the same problem over the last week or so - my kitchen sink blocked - and so yesterday I opened the pipes and indeed again the water went everywhere. But for some reason, this time the washing up bowl wouldn't fit under the sink (I don't know why) and the water just went everywhere.

So I let it.

And it stank.

So I left the kitchen.


And now I'm cleaning up the mess, 5 minutes at a time, separated by poker games.

And the big question I found myself asking myself today, that I'm shocked I didn't think of at any point in the last year is:

Why didn't I just put the plug in?

Friday, May 06, 2005

Went to See Derren Brown

OK, it's now five days since I saw Derren Brown, but I didn't feel like writing about it before.

I really enjoyed it. Thinking back I guess it could have been a little more awe-inspiring, but it was still a classy performance.

Now, we're not really meant to discuss the second half of the show much because it'd ruin it for anyone else going to see him before the end of his current tour (23rd June I think). However the following are some of the things he did:

The Psychic Card Matching Trick

Anyone who's seen the first Ghostbusters film will know this one. At the beginning Venkman (Bill Murray) is testing a woman's psychic ability by selecting cards with either a circle, square, star, wavey lines or cross on them. She then has to guess which one he's holding.

Well he did this with a woman, getting her to choose one at a time until they both had a pile of cards. Then when turned over the cards he'd selected and the ones she'd picked matched exactly. Very clever really.

Guess the Animal

This one was cool. It was the first trick of the show and he got a man to stand up in the audience and pick a land-animal. He picked a sheep, and then when he opened an envelope it was indeed sheep that was written on the piece of paper inside.

OK that doesn't sound too exciting but it was well pulled off, with lots of humour and fake planting of ideas.

Derren said that there'd been things on the wall on our way into the theatre that had planted 'sheep' in our minds, but I think he was lying. I was thinking of elephant and tiger.

Hammering a Nail Into His Face

Another impressive one. He got a woman from the audience on stage. He had a hammer and 3 inch nail. She checked them both to see that they were real, then he literally hammered the nail horizontally into his nose until it was completely in, and got her to pull it out slowly. It was totally authentic looking and her hand was shaking soooo much.

Walking on Broken Glass

This one was only OK I thought. It was more like an illusion than the usual clever things he does.

He told us some story about how he'd studied the work of some guy who could suffocate himself nearly to death and then, with his heart nearly stopped, could achieve great feats.

So he put a plastic bag over his head for a minute or so and got a nurse from the audience to monitor his pulse. As he sat there his pulse reduced down from normal to nothing. He then stood up and walked barefoot across a load of broken glass. He then pushed his face into the glass and had a volunteer stand on his back.

Now I don't know how it was done, but it didn't have that 'really makes you think' quality to it and so lacked his usual impressiveness.

He did a whole bunch of other stuff, but I've regained my inability to be bothered to write all about it. There was lots of his usual 'I can tell when you're lying' stuff, and his subliminal messages stuff.

Ooh, it's a game.

Can't Complain

I'm very comfortable with the election results.

OK, I'd much rather that the Liberal Democrats had done significantly better and had become the opposition party, but at least they've had improvements - it's a slow journey to gain really broad support across the country.

I'm particularly pleased with Veritas and BNP results - absolutely bugger all. Neither party deserved to win a seat and neither party won a seat. In fact they were basically whooped whereever they stood. They've also completely failed to update their websites this morning with the news of their failures. Hopefully they'll both shut up and go away now.

So, Tony Blair views the election as a success, and so does Michael Howard and so does Charles Kennedy. It's nice that they're all so happy with their failures / successes.

Did you know that the distance between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons is exactly two swords lengths, in order to help avoid fights? Good to know.

Anyway, this has been a gibberish post.


Thursday, May 05, 2005

So I Voted

Yep I'm all worn out now from my morning voting.

I'm actually a bit p'd off at the returning officer for not putting the polling station's postcode on my polling card. This meant that I couldn't search on Multimap very well. After a walk of about an hour (7 minutes) I eventually found the polling station at "Kenrick Park, Sons of Rest" (whatever that is), and it was actually only 90 seconds from my house the entire time.

Still I was friendly to the frumpy middle aged people who ticked my name off and gave me my card. I even told them to have a good day.

I went for the Liberal Democrats in the end. I'm sure Labour will win, and I want Labour to win. But, as they were discussing on Newsnight last night, voting is primarily about emotion; about how you feel about the party leaders. And, as much as I kind of like Tony Blair as a charismatic leader, I felt I had to vote for the party who had been the most honest, and that was the Lib Dems in my opinion.

As I looked down the ballot paper for my Liberal Democrat candidate I released that I have no idea who he is, or what he stands for. Hopefully he's not evil.

Anyway, is this not the dodgiest picture of Tony Blair, and does he not look kind of in love?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

By The River

By the river stood a tree.
A strong solid oak rooted deep.
One day it heard the cry of a wounded sparrow
that had clipped a wing in a vicious fight.
The predators of the night were circling below.
Looking for prey.
The solid oak reached down with a branch
scooping up his new found friend
carrying her into the safety of the sky.
For days they played.
Until the sparrow's wing healed.
And she tested flight and flew away.
Never to return?
The tree felt sadness.
And then betrayal.
And then incredible shame,
as it realized.
The little sparrow could give nothing
that it hadn't already given.
It was the tree
who was in debt.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Imagine All the People

Check out this tune.. It's been made out of samples of George W Bush's various speeches.

Very poignant.

Here's the website of the creator's, with the rest of the album for free download.