What we could do with is a spot of discipline

We need to formalise something. You, me, and the rest of the world.

Okay, so we’ve got Christmas. That’s all well and good – there’s the present-giving, and the Pagan roots, and let’s be generous and say that it runs from the 24th to the 26th, and let’s tie a little bow round that and put it to one side.

And then we’ve got New Year’s, and that runs from the 31st December to the 1st January, being, as it is, comprised of “New Year’s Eve” and “New Year’s Day”.

But for some reason, that’s not enough for us, and they are so close together that we have a tendency to adopt that mentality that one gets when one is ten minutes away from close of business, where you think “well, that’s not long enough to do anything worthwhile in. I’ll just kill time for a bit.”

Take, for example, my local gym and swimnasium. For some reason, they’ve plucked some random opening times out of their arses, printed them out on a piece of paper and slapped it up on the door, and considered that to be a suitable solution. At any other time of the year, it would not be tolerated if a business spent a week opening and closing at peculiar times.

So here’s what I propose. We need to close the gap to something a bit more workable.

Option 1

Scoop up all the National Holidays from the rest of the year and use them to fill in the space between the 26th and 31st December, like a kind of solar grout. Everywhere is closed, and if you didn’t stock up properly on lentils and other pulses, you’re fucked.

Option 2

Shunt Christmas a bit later, and New Years a bit earlier. I know it sounds madness to interfere with tradition, but why not? We all accept that we don’t know exactly when Jesus was crucified, other than “it was a Friday” so we move Easter around within a 4-week period. But for some reason, our knowledge that Jesus was probably born sometime in March means that we have to celebrate his birth on the 25th December?

In fact, I’m going to set the ball rolling on this one. I’m going to stop celebrating my birthday on the xth of August, and instead celebrate it sometime between the 1st and 5th of May. Let’s see if Jesus can follow suit.

Option 3

Change the calendar. If all 12 months had 27 days, then we could have Christmas on the 25th, Boxing Day on the 26th, New Year’s Eve on the 27th and then New Year’s Day on the 1st January. The only downside to this is that 12 months at 27 days each only gives us 324 days, so we’d need to add a new month, called Plongbrambler, with 41 days in it. February would then have 28 days in Leap Years.

Anyone with an existing birthday on the 28th to 31st of the Month would then get to choose a random day in Plongbrambler to celebrate their birthday on. Plongbrambler would be slotted in somewhere in summer, so that we can all go off on our summer holidays and not be forced to buy presents for those annoying gits with birthdays in Plongbrambler.

Option 4

Stop slacking. You’ve got two holidays on that side, and one holiday on the other. Who the hell do you think you are, you lazy sod, shirking your duties and expecting someone else to foot the bill (or, in my case, walk all the way round to the gym only to find it in darkness, and subsequently have to walk straight back again)?

Holidays are great. Holiday Seasons make me want to stub a cigarette out in a squirrel’s face.



Karen is having a hard time dealing with the various symptoms of pregnancy. She’s still suffering from morning sickness, and has decided that this means that it will continue for the next six months. I can understand why this worries her – it can’t be very pleasant. However, at least now we’ve told everyone, there’s no need to tiptoe around – if she needs to run off to barf, no-one’s going to hold it against her.

She’s enjoying shopping for maternity clothes and other such nesting activities. If we owned our own palace, I’m sure that I’d be decorating the nursery right about now, but as we are renting a house I find myself twiddling my thumbs trying to think of something productive to do. I draw a blank, and do the washing up instead, irrespective of how small the pile of dirties is.

She’s also a bit hormonal at times, which can be hard work, as I’m never quite sure what her mood is going to do next. It keeps me on my toes, but I can take it.

Telling the families at Christmas was about as much fun as could be expected. We had it all planned out, with champagne corks popping and hurrahs, but inevitably circumstances would leap up and everything would go topsy turvy. I dunno, I’m not really the centre-of-attention sort – I don’t like being asked all sorts of dumb questions. And the inevitable moment where everyone has said “Congratulations” but can’t think of what to say next… gah. Thank God it’s over.

I’ve tried talking to the bump, but I can’t really think of what to say. I can imagine the little foetus in there, tapping its toe, grumbling “Come on, quit it with all the baby talk. Say something worthwhile, or shut the fuck up.” Perhaps I should grab a good book and read it stories.

Music Music reviews

Albums of the year

It’s been a good year for music, but I’m struggling to put together a “Top 10 albums of 2005” list, for the following reasons.

Firstly, lots of albums which I would have wanted to put on the list were actually released in 2004 or sooner, and I felt that including them would be dishonourable.

Secondly, there are a few albums which I haven’t really listened to enough to be certain of my opinion, so trying to slot them into the order would be hit and miss.

So I’ve decided to make a list of albums what I have liked, and very vaguely categorise them as follows:

**The Best**

* Arcade Fire – Funeral
* Rufus Wainwright – Want Two
* Hard-Fi – Stars Of CCTV

**The Good**

* Foo Fighters – In Your Honor
* Maximo Park – A Certain Trigger
* Bloc Party – Silent Alarm
* Elbow – Leaders Of The Free World

**The Rest**

* Beck – Guero
* Doves – Some Cities
* Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better
* Ben Folds – Songs for Silverman

*Originally posted here*


My Mighty Delete Key

Looking out of the window, it appears that the whole world is still on holiday. My car, and those of my co-workers, are alone in the car park which normally holds vehicles for half a dozen different companies.

Looking into my coffee, little white flecks of ugliness stare back at me, causing me to question exactly how long a life long-life milk is supposed to have. It possesses a slightly peculiar scent, but I try to show it that I am not scared.

A terrifying pile of email has been smote with my mighty delete key. I tidy the christmas detritus from my desk, and crack my metaphorical knuckles, poised to embark upon my tasks, in a very “last three working days of 2005” kind of way, whatever that may mean.

I take another sip of coffee, wince at the spiciness of the milk, and probe my brain to try and reawaken the memory of that exchange on Sunday where Nick and I decided what our New Years Resolutions were going to be. The curtain of beer outfoxes me yet again.



She continues to struggle on in a similar sort of vein. She’s got about enough energy for one hour of usefulness per day, the rest of the time she spends lying on the sofa or on the bed or in the bed.

We’ve started making certain preparations. An opportunity arose to acquire a rather spiffing pram/buggy device, which she capitalised on, as well as picking up some other guff too under similar circumstances. Though this will save us a lot of money in the long term, it does mean that the house is now full of crap.

She remarks that she can now feel the weight of the little fella, which must be quite peculiar. She’s very apprehensive about the ordeal which she faces in the not-too-distant future, but there’s no turning back now. I suppose I should probably rein in all this cocky swagger, because I doubt that it will all be meadows and flowers for me either, but I consider that it’s my role to be relatively optimistic. I think that this might help her.


Resolution Expose

So I was unconvinced of my mobile phone’s claims to have a proper VGA resolution camera. I suspected that the photos taken at the highest resolution were of no better quality than the ones taken at the lowest resolution, and then just scaled up using a rudimentary resize algorithm. I had to know.

I was assisted in my project by Butter Rabbit, as you will see. I started by taking photos of Butter Rabbit at the three available resolutions: 160×120, 320×240 and 640×480.

I then enlarged all these three images up to the same size, namely 1280×960. If my hypothesis was correct, these three images would be practically indistinguishable from one another.

Finally, so that I would be able to present my findings to you, I cropped these images down to the same 300×200 detail. Here they are:


low - sample


medium - sample


high - sample

As you can see, my paranoia was unfounded. Thank goodness for that.

About Me Food

Memes beat whinging any day

Snaffled from [Pix][]:


> Welcome to the 2005 edition of getting to know your friends. What you are supposed to do is copy this entire blog entry and paste it onto a new blog entry that you’ll post. Change all the answers so they apply to you, and then publish! Leave a comment if you do this.The theory is that you will learn a lot of little (random) things about your friends, if you did not know them already.

1. **What time did you get up this morning?**
1. **Diamonds or pearls?**
Diamonds, I guess, but I’m not particularly enthusiastic about either
1. **What was the last film you saw at the cinema?**
Wallace and Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit
1. **What is your favourite TV show?**
I don’t really watch anything religiously. I quite like CSI and Frasier.
1. **What do you usually have for breakfast?**
Honey nut corn flakes
1. **Favourite cuisine?**
1. **What food do you dislike?**
I don’t like the texture of broad beans.
1. **What is your favourite CD at the moment?**
I’m pretty big into [Funeral][] by Arcade Fire, but generally I’ll listen to lots of stuff in rotation rather than one album a few hundred times over.
1. **Morning or night person?**
1. **Favourite sandwich?**
Cheese and pickle – it’s highly practical.
1. **What characteristic do you despise?**
1. **Favourite item of clothing?**
I wear Levi 501s most days, but I’m very attached to this particular pair of brown shoes that I own.
1. **If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would it be?**
I’m not a big holiday person, but I’d like to go back to New York sometime.
1. **What colour is your bathroom?**
Pale green
1. **Favourite brand of clothing?**
I prefer my clothes to have as little branding as possible.
1. **Where would you retire to?**
Not planning on doing so. My mum’s mum is still working, and she’s the only one of my grandparents who is still alive.
1. **What was your most memorable birthday?**
I think birthdays should be low-key and sophisticated.
1. **Favourite sport to watch?**
Hahahahahahahah! Oh, the joys of generic questionnaires.
1. **Who do you least expect to complete this?**
1. **Person you expect to complete it first?**
Pix. She’s already done it.
1. **Person who is least busy?**
Okay, this is getting stupid.
1. **When is your birthday?**
1. **What is your shoe size?**
11 or 12
1. **Pets?**
Just the girlfriend.
1. **Any new and exciting news you’d like to share with us?**
Yes, but you’ll have to wait.
1. **What did you want to be when you were little?**
1. **What is your favourite flower?**
Paeonia Lactiflora.
1. **What date on the calendar are you looking forward to?**
20th June 2006.
1. **One word to describe the person who you snaffled this from?**


Computing TITGIG

Favicon misery – resolved!

I’ve been having trouble with this site in Internet Explorer. It loads fine in Firefox, but when I try to open it in IE, I get a nasty dialog box.

The title is “File Download – Security Warning” and the text in the box says “Do you want to save this file?” with a load of blah blah blah and ultimately “Save” and “Cancel” buttons.

I couldn’t find anything on Google, which is why I’m putting it here. Maybe one day it will help someone. Or maybe one day I’ll forget how I fixed it, and I’ll need this to jog my memory.

Anyway, much investigation revealed that the culprit was the “favicon” – when I removed the line that referenced the icon, my problem went away. It smelled a little as though my problem was with mime types – I’m very insightful like that. As it turned out, I was utterly correct.

Add the following line to the bottom of your .htaccess.

AddType image/x-icon .ico

I understand that you can also use httpd.conf to do this somehow – one day I should sit down and figure out what this is all about.

Wait a few minutes, clear your cache, make a cup of coffee, or stroke a rabbit. When you come back, all will be better. I hope.



Yesterday was our 12-week scan, and I’m very pleased to report that all signs were good, and it was wonderful to watch baby-to-be moving around. The downside of this is that Karen is now extremely conscious of baby-to-be’s existence, and every time we drive over a speed bump, or she goes to the toilet to be sick, she is worried that it is upsetting the foetus.

I’ve told her that the foetus is perfectly used to vomiting and speed bumps by now, but I’m not sure if this is any help. I guess she’s going to try and stay as still as possible for the next six months.

We’ve decided that having made it through the 12-week scan successfully, we are free to get excited and attached. So we’re telling people when the opportunity arises, and also tossing possible names back and forth.

Six months suddenly doesn’t seem like that long. Which is good, because I’m very eager. I’m also hoping that the baby takes on Karen’s tendency to sleep pretty much all the time, and my tendency to spend all waking hours perma-smiling.

As a general rule, babies don’t make me gooey – I think that they are hideous things, with a propensity to defacate into their own clothing and insert anything that isn’t tied down into their mouths. But this one’s mine. Which, quite frankly, makes it the best one, and it’s obviously not going to do any of these disgusting things.