Blogging Computing

Bye Bye, SiteMeter

I was doing some changes to my site when I noticed a completely unexpected message in the status bar. Upon further investigation, I discovered that Site Meter have started incorporating services from into their javascript. It’s your common or garden site-tracking cookie-based bollocks, and I don’t feel that my users should have to endure that, so I’ve removed the Site Meter code from this site, and it will not be coming back.

I’m going to try surviving without a stats tracking package for a little while, and we’ll see how it goes.

Apologies for all the meta, but I felt that it was important to get the word out about this, so that other Site Meter users are aware of it.

About Me


I love pens.

I’m pretty big on the whole paper thing too, but it’s the pens that really make me spooge my pants.

The pen thing really kicked into gear when I was at University. I developed a system from quite early on that I maintained throughout the entirety of my Maths degree, and I still have my notes to prove it.

I would purchase, from the University stationery shop, a small number of blue Pilot G-1 0.7mm gel pens, a small number of red Pilot G-1 0.7mm gel pens, and a large quantity of black Pilot G-1 0.5mm gel pens. I used the red pens to write headings. I used the blue pens to write statements of theorems, corollaries, lemmas &c. I used the black pens (with the finer tip) to write the proofs of the aforementioned, and any further miscellaneous notes.

The end result was sheer brilliance. The notes were about as beautiful as you could get without going the whole hog and typesetting them.

I still have, in my pencil pot, one blue Pilot G-1 0.7mm gel pen, one red Pilot G-1 0.7mm gel pen, and one Pilot G-1 0.5mm gel pen. These are the last pens that I ever wrote with at University, and have not been used since then. Maybe they don’t work any more, but there’s not much ink left in them so I don’t feel that I’ve been unforgiveably wasteful.

Since then? Well, I’ve tried numerous other pens, but I’ve kept coming back to the black Pilot G-1 0.5mm. I bought a box of 12 back in 2002, which is nearly empty (yes, 5 years is a long time, but I’ve been using other pens in the meantime as well, you fool). But there is a tragic twist to our tale – obtaining Pilot G-1 0.5mm gel pens is not as easy as it once was, and I am having to deal with the sad fact that once this box is finished, it may no longer be practical to buy more. I’ve already invested a lot of hours into trying to find these pens at a reasonable price, but to no avail, and I think it’s time to cut my losses.

What kind of person gets so worked up over a pen? Sad loser types like me, that’s what.

About Me My Teenage Years

My Teenage Years: 17

My final year at secondary school got off to a good start. I managed to get a handle on my obsession with Nicola, and my social circle widened a little further.

There was a very important day in September which is not recorded in the diary, as it did not seem important at the time ((CRUCIAL NOTE: as this event isn’t in the diary, it’s feasible that the exact date was actually a few months earlier, during the previous academic year. For the sake of a coherent story, I’ve gone with my hunch and put it here)). On the school bus one afternoon, I leaned over the back of the seat in front which was currently occupied by Craig. He was holding his copy of Different Class. “You have the version with the interchangeable covers,” I said, “I would kill you for that.” He looked up at my stony face, unaware whether to laugh or wet himself in terror.

By October, Craig and I were close friends. One of the Wednesday afternoon PE options was Squash, so we played together every week. We lived in the same village, just a ten minute walk away from eachother, so we would hang out, write songs about masturbation and Santa Claus, and watch Frasier together. On the 4th October I bought my first bass guitar, and in November Craig bought his first guitar. By the end of the year our band had a name, I had passed my driving test, attended a number of University open days, and I had also learned to accept that Nicola and I would never be an item, so was now pursuing a remarkable young lady called Carly. I was still close friends with Nicola, Nathan and Adam, and barely spoke to Tam, Vijay, and the two Martins. I no longer suffered from self-esteem issues. I had started going into the city again, though now it was not to play arcade machines, but to watch gigs.

About Me My Teenage Years

My Teenage Years: 16

I was now a sixth-former. Initially, Adam was still my only real friend, though I was on good terms with his friends, including the gorgeous Nicola and the oft-mentioned Nathan. Early on in the year I attempted to woo the new girl, Cheryl, only to be turned down promptly. Upon reading my journal, it’s clear that I had been watching too much Red Dwarf, as I apparently emulated Arnold Rimmer’s romantic technique down to a tee. I also continued to lech after her for a few weeks, which must have made her incredibly uncomfortable, and if I had any sense it should have made me uncomfortable too. By now I’m past my phase of ranking girls according to fanciability though, which is healthy. I would tend to pursue one girl for a fortnight or so ((notable instances being Kay and Ruth)), eventually plump up the courage to ask her out, and then get turned down. I’d be miserable for a while and then the cycle would repeat. Meanwhile, I’d periodically go to a party, get drunk, and then get off with some girl that I had never met before, so it wasn’t a world devoid of contrast.


A night out with Bob

A combination of events on Thursday found me on the phone to Kathy. “Hey, Pete, here’s Bob” she said, and passed me over.

“Hey, Pete, ” said Bob, “I’m ready to step out into the real world again. Take me to the pub, and please can it be soon.”

We agreed to meet in my local at 9pm on Friday. It’s a 5-minute walk for me, 10-15 for him. It’s a nice place – not too rough, but not too pristine either. I did once have a very unpleasant experience there when a large dog wiped its droolsome mouth on my trouser leg, but I guess that’s my own fault for not bashing it around the head with an ashtray when I saw it approaching.

Bob was already there when I arrived, nursing a near-full pint of lager and watching the cricket. I equipped myself with a suitable drink and joined him. We discussed his ascent to Level 51, and thankfully he didn’t seem to have an irresistible urge to bore me to tears with details. As the bottom of the glass approached, I mentioned that I had only come out with a tenner, so I would probably need to head into town at some point. In retrospect, I wish that I’d kept my mouth shut, had three and a half pints, and gone home when the money ran out.

In town, our next venue was a pub which was, once upon a time, frequently patronised by Karen and I. It’s slightly too pristine for my liking, but it has an excellent menu. It was busy, but Bob and I found a couple of leather chairs in a corner which appeared to be available. We sat and continued to discuss matters of great import until the glasses ran dry. “I definitely don’t want to go clubbing tonight, ” said Bob, “but I would like to go to the nearby Lloyds No. 1 bar.”

Well, he was a recovering WoW addict, and I’d had two pints already, which is enough to blunt the edges of my judgement, so I acquiesced. It was important that Bob have a good time tonight, to realise how much fun there is to be had in Real Reality.

We fought our way into the throng at the nearby Lloyds No. 1 bar. “Crikey, it’s crowded in here, ” said Bob. “Nonsense, ” I said, “there’s enough room in here for another eight people, easy. Fetch me a beer.”

Within seconds, Bob bumped into a very nice friend of his and we got talking. Bob asked her what she does for a living these days, and she said that she was a bait girl. Bob immediately looked very nervous. “Don’t worry, ” she said with a smile, “I’m not working tonight.”

The evening progressed, and soon midnight was imminent. “Hey, Pete, ” said Bob, “I’m having a great time.” I looked over at him, stood by the cigarette machine in his grey fleecy jumper, through which his pot belly betrayed his sedentary lifestyle and encroaching years. And it was evident that he was having a great time, for he was swept away by the music and gyrating to the beat like somebody’s dad (specifically, mine). I had already had too much to drink – I was beyond the point at which the alcohol made me mellow (which we can all agree is the perfect time to stop) and was now at the point where I was destined to feel pretty rough in the morning.

“I am very glad that you are having a great time, Bob,” I said.

“Let’s go clubbing!” said Bob.

I wish that I’d muttered something along the lines of “oh crap” but the truth is that alcohol does funny things to you, and at that point, clubbing seemed like a very good idea. Bob’s bait girl friend had invited us earlier in the evening, mentioning that the bouncers might turn me away due to the fact that I was wearing jeans and trainers, but such things have long since ceased to worry me. In fact, at the time when bait girly said this, I recall having opened my mouth to say “but they are 501s!” Mercifully, the conversation moved on before I had a chance to speak, and make a fool of myself.

We were in the club sometime around midnight. I had no problem getting past the bouncers, though Bob made it hard for himself by insisting on showing ID and then struggling to find his driver’s license in his wallet. We deposited our coats in the cloakroom, and then made for the bar.

I don’t remember much after that, but to be honest I don’t remember much before it either. I remember dancing a lot, doing my best to imagine that I was 19 years old again, and harnessing the energy, purpose, co-ordination and lack of inhibition which I recall possessing in my youth. I’d like to think that I was successful, but to be honest I never really knew what I was doing back then either, so it’s possible that I still looked like a tosspot. I dunno, my friends used to tell me that I was an ok dancer, but then friends tell you what they think you want to hear, so it could mean nothing. One thing I do know for certain – Bob still dances like somebody’s dad (specifically, mine).

I got bored at about half past one. I could feel myself deteriorating, so I located Bob and shouted “I’m off. Are you coming?” at him. I was a little surprised when he said “No” because I figured that he must have been feeling a bit rough too, but perhaps that little pot belly contains magical properties, or it could have been his +3 Enchanted Grey Fleecy Jumper of Alcohol Absorption.

I reclaimed my coat and staggered home. Once indoors, I sat on the sofa and drank water until the worst of it passed.

Saturday morning was a bit of a loss, and I slept through most of it. Mid-morning I treated myself to a “tactical chunder” to cleanse my system, after which I felt much better, and by late afternoon I was feeling human again.

About Me My Teenage Years

My Teenage Years: 15

In my fifth year, my out-of-school social life takes a turn for the uneventful. Trips into the city with friends end abruptly. I can imagine that this must have been a pretty miserable time for me, but my diaries are too stiff-upper-lip for me to be able to confirm that. I spend more time at home, with my family, probably annoying them to high heaven with my surliness. In January, I buy this CD that has been out for a couple of months. It’s called Different Class and it tells me everything that I ever needed to know about my life. I retreat from the world, watching, nay, obsessing over Red Dwarf and inventing more imaginary girlfriends to keep awkward questions at bay. I also get obsessed with Pulp and hunt down their back catalogue.

Blogging Computing

Buy Shaggy Blog Stories

Mike’s book, as mentioned here, is now available to purchase.

If you want to buy it, go to If you want to find out more first, Mike’s written a summary on his site.

Kudos, by the pint, to Mike for making this happen.

About Me My Teenage Years

My Teenage Years: 14

As I mentioned in an earlier installment, only one other boy progressed from my primary school to my secondary school at the same time as me, due to the tendency of RAF families to disappear from one year to the next. Imagine my surprise when, on the first day of my fourth year, I discovered that one of those families had come full circle and returned to the UK. After three years, I would be reunited with my old pal Martin (not to be confused with the Martin referenced in the previous year’s entry). I pretty much dropped Tam overnight, which I think he was secretly happy about because he really preferred the company of Martin (evil Martin, that is) and Vijay.

In my school, you could head into town at lunchtime if you had a signed note from your parents (sixth formers exempted, of course). Early in the year I figured that my dad’s signature was pretty simple, and forging signatures on downtown notes was a victimless crime, so I indulged with no compunction. Upon telling my dad about this, years later, he laughed and said that he would happily have signed those notes himself. I replied that I’m sure he would, but I didn’t feel the need to inconvenience him.

About Me My Teenage Years

My Teenage Years: 13

In my third year at secondary school, we welcomed to the class two more boys, called Martin and Vijay. They had been attending a boarding school in my home village, and had reached the age at which the school would send them back on their way.

For the first few months of the year, Tam was my new best buddy. Sometimes I’d go over to his for the night and we’d play on his Mega Drive. Sometimes he’d come over to mine and we’d play on my Amiga 500. Sometimes we’d go into the city and squeeze coins into the arcade machines. All in all, this was quite a happy time for me, as it was the first time in a while that I’d felt that I had a good friend at school.

Over the year, it gradually went from Tam and I doing things together, to Tam and Martin and Vijay and I doing things together. The same kind of stuff: sleepovers, hanging out in the city spending money and playing arcade machines, and playing Laser tag. Unfortunately, this was a time in my life when I was much more comfortable in a one-to-one situation than in a group, so I didn’t fit in as well into this new arrangement. Inevitably, in 12 months’ time it would be just Tam and Martin and Vijay doing things together.

About Me My Teenage Years

My Teenage Years: 12

In my second year at secondary school, changes were afoot. My best friend had moved away, and my form ((in case you are wondering what my terminology means, the term “form” denotes the 30 or so people with whom I took registration and most of my lessons. There were 4 forms in my year)) group were assigned to a new teacher who, in my opinion, looked like Paddy Ashdown. Whereas our classroom where we took registration in the first year had been up in the languages department, in the second year we inhabited a cold, crumbling portakabin in the corner of the car park, next to the kitchens. This portakabin contained one classroom, a small storeroom and a locker room, which basically constituted the nerve centre of the school’s Religious Education operation.

The space that Stephen left was filled by a new arrival, Tim. Tim’s family had moved up from London and settled down in my village. Tim played the guitar, and was full of stories of sex, drugs and rock and roll. He had a phenomenally high opinion of himself. It seems strange, therefore, that Tim and I formed a relationship, but in retrospect it all makes sense. Firstly, he hadn’t ever known Stephen, and wasn’t aware of just how bad my reputation was. And once you stripped away that exterior, I was actually quite a nice guy. Secondly, I was probably the only person in the school who didn’t find him to be an obnoxiously cocky fuckhead, for reasons unknown. Perhaps I was seduced by his guitar-playing abilities. I remember one incident vividly, where it was in the middle of a lesson and the teacher asked each of us in turn for an anecdote satisfying some particular criteria. Tim told a story that involved a hole in the classroom wall at his previous school, and was fighting back the tears as he told it because it was the funniest thing that he had ever been witness to. The rest of the classroom sat in stony silence. I, too, was the kind of person who frequently told jokes only to discover too late that they weren’t actually funny, and so as a result I felt his pain. I guess we had a lot in common.