30 September, 2005
- I followed the handily placed signs, (admittedly, it should have been a clue that I wasn't walking along surrounded by people in suits and ties, rather than women pushing/dragging screaming young children in school uniform, *but*) -
- when I got to the entrance, it was closed...it turns out the exhibtion doesn't open to the visiting public until 10am, so I had an hour to burn...(curse my early rising overenthusiasm)...
The only people allowed in at this time of day were a constant stream of motorbike couriers, arriving hauling piles of forgotten freebies (pens, stress balls etc.) and boxes of leaflets that didn't make it into the back of the salesperson's cars in error and now had to be rushed to the venue at the last minute (and at great expense) -
- anyway, even though I wasn't *hugely* hungry I went to find a cafe for a bite to eat (plus cup of tea) - once there, I settled at the counter and glancing up at the menu I did rather have to stop myself laughing out loud(!) -
- suffice it to say I opted for the "Breakfast courses" rather than the scary ones - the result arrived by dumb waiter after a heeldraggingly long wait of almost 25 minutes (even though I was only the 2nd customer they were rushing to serve...heaven knows what happens when the place is busy!) but it wasn't too bad and was certainly reasonably priced -
- after reading the paper (dull) and eating my fill (average) I wandered back to the entrance, which was now thronging with activity. I was just in time to watch with amazement as the guys from 888.com turned up (in a huge SUV limo liveried with their logo!) which was, actually, quite impressive -
- and after a short wait in the queue access was granted and I was in. Equipped (ready or not) with a large shoulder bag by the welcoming comitee and started on the really important part of the event - grabbing as many mouse mats, pens, sweets, rubber ducks and key rings as I could from every stall possible -
- got quite a good haul too... ;) Less importantly, got to meet a lot of people in "the trade" (even some who I had/will shortly deal/be dealing with) and saw their new products, had a few seminars (for "seminar" read "hard sell to captive audience in exchange for a small plastic gift")...and was generally disapointed that I couldn't get on a few of the sessions for the paying deligates (there were at least 3 that would have been super-relevent to me, but the price tag for those bits of the event was £900...a bit hard to justify)...anyway, it's been one of the better conferences I have attended and I had a great time... ;) I'd certainly go again...
28 September, 2005
27 September, 2005
Some problems with my salary mean we now aren't going to go away this weekend (for a mini-break - Paris or some such location - as planned...oh well...) so we are settling for a meal at a the "Square Pig & s'wine bar" in Holborn instead, which apparently does rather good burgers (we shall see!)...(menu here... ;)
I'm thinking maybe starting with the olives and chorizo, and then perhaps the blue cheese burger (reminds me of a certain meal in New York... ;)
Anyway, perhaps more on that later - got the London Ad:Tech conference 2005 to look forward to tomorrow (and maybe Thursday if it's *really* good), it looks like some of day one is going to be eaten up by the Google University session in the morning, which kicks off at 0910am, so got to be up super early and on a train to Victoria (pre-6am *groan*)...but it looks like it's going to be a good show... :)
Oh and finished my book about Aushwitz (which was nothing short of *excellent*) and started on "A year in the Merde" (which made me chortle and snort (much to the annoyance of my fellow commuters) all the way into London)...very good... ;)
26 September, 2005
My subconcious had helpfully clued me in to the fact that actually, once the router was configured, it wouldn't matter which PC was plugged directly into it, so I ran through the config process using the one machine that did still work, then unplugged that machine, stuck in the wireless PCI card, re-booted and crossed my fingers, and it worked like a dream! It only took 2 re-boots to get the other machine online (to try both the network cards I had in it), the only mishap was managing to break the audio somehow during the process, took ages to find the driver (it was only an Avance AC'97 onboard'er!), but as of about 4pm yesterday I was the proud owner of a (super fast) wireless network at home! Woo!
Amazingly, when I first scanned for available networks I found *three* in the local area! So, rather than risk anyone piggy-backing my connection I turned on 128-bit WEP (which was pretty straightforward) and secured the router config with a strong password...
A very satisfying session, I can strongly recommend Belkin kit, really easy to implement...it virtually installed itself! ;)
25 September, 2005
No Jonks though...well bad! :(
However, first things first - shamefully - our wonderful interface has no doubt been woefully neglected and this now feels like a terrible personal inbalance - this *will* be redressed...
We drank (Stella and some very wonderful plum based "danger"), we ate (spicy Chinese in the end), we primed and test fired highly dangerous weaponry (within the grounds of a catholic seminary, beat that!) and we talked, catching up on the last few...well, years, I guess, comparing wounds and tales of adventure...
Mate, thanks...*again*... ;) (and thanks Flyingpops for driving ;)
Update - the aftermath of lunch -
- and a shot of the garden -
23 September, 2005
Anyway, it's a lads day, so beer, curry and games (PC/Xbox and otherwise) will be the order of the day (with any luck... ;) Looking forward to it...(and meeting Tommo's remaining woodland chums)...
22 September, 2005
21 September, 2005
Last night I had a really weird dream that I was dreaming about writing a story...so kind of double asleep I guess...it was about a woman called "Jill" who owned a pub in Surrey, she was kind of getting on a bit, living alone, and the pub wasn't doing very well (it was in the middle of nowhere)...so she was short of cash and a bit sad with the way things had turned out. As a result of the financial situation she was selling off bits of the property, most notably the pub sign (which was wonderfully painted-and in my dream at least-fabulously valuable), and some of the other fixtures and fittings (brass, cutlery, pumps etc)...
It was an auto jumble style affair, all the items just laid out by the road where people could stop their cars and peruse...being rather infirm and gullible she was being prayed upon by all sorts of people who were tricking her, paying a pittance for these precious things...meanwhile, the me in the upper dream was monitoring the situation and narrating but was powerless to intervene...
(I know how I interpret it...really odd though, still kind of watching her when my mind slips to "day-dream")
I awoke at 4am and didn't really get back to sleep...
20 September, 2005
On the subject of books, (and diametrically opposed to the above although tenuosly related) I have just started on this little number, missed the TV series, but thus far it's totally unputdownable (wow, that word is actually in the dictionary!) I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but with this subject (Auschwitz) it's actually hard at times to believe it isn't made up...at the same time I also bought "A year in the Merde" for full price and then found it shortly afterwards in the Red Cross charity shop for a quid...double "Doh!"> :(
Note to self - remember in future to *look* in the bookshop and buy from Amazon, it's so much cheaper...curse my impulsive wallet!
19 September, 2005
- (as usual, click it for a bigger version), some quick googling has lead me to those to whom the message was intended and also the probable culprits...anyone looking for someone to foot the bill for the whitewash and person to apply it might want to start here... ;)
Update - just found a write up of the event from the protesters point of view...sounds like it didn't all go as well as the grafitti campaign... ;)
Just for the record, I'm on the fence on this issue (before anyone starts a hate campaign... :)
We were up fairly early and headed over to "Dorking Windows" (Friday night recommendation from Flyingpops' uncle Alan) to enquire about getting double glazing fitted around the house (this has needed doing for quite some time, us having been in the house for a year now). We had measured up, so we handed over the details, took a look at a few designs and settled on "standard white", the chap in the office seemed like a nice fellow, we shook hands and he promised to put a quote in the post...however, as part of getting this done (and really the main motivation for doing so), was to get the rather sticky back door replaced by a nice set of double glazed double doors.
This led Flyingpops to thinking about the placement of the living room PCs (which would be right in front of one of the new doors), so after some discussion we decided (by this time it was Sunday morning) to go round Homebase in Crawley and a few of the other big furniture stores, and also check out Staples and PC World to see if we could find some more compact means of storing them (saw this car in the car park - looks like someone forgot to lock their alloy wheels, I can just picture someone with their arms full of shopping bags standing open mouthed upon returning to their car, hehe...not funny really... ;) -
Instead of coming away with a minature PC desk (they were all a bit too big, or too flimsy looking), we instead came away with a Belkin Turbo (154hbs) 802.11g wireless networking kit (the router was a snip at £50!)...not *quite* sure how that happened...
Anyway, this meant that my job for Sunday afternoon was to rebuild the main PC (it hasn't managed to get on NTL for absolutely months now, couldn't work out why), so I backed up my saves for Earth 2160, bit the bullet and re-installed XP, it took about an hour I suppose, but unbelievably even after the rebuild exactly the same fault occured! It simply won't refresh the IP address! I've even installed a second network card to no avail...so, tonight I'll be on the phone to NTL to see if their experts can manage to help me get the machine online, but until then the wiresless network will have to wait...nightmare...
The weekend concluded with a meal of lovely roast lamb with red wine jus (think I prefer leg to shoulder though), roast potatoes and steamed veg spent in the company of G/S and Alexander (who is just starting on the long road to solid food, weighs about a stone now and is being much more responsive to stimuli)...
16 September, 2005
..."Matchless Gifts" is in full swing now, it's a new brightly coloured shop on Caledonian Road, offering free internet access and free vegetarian food to all...! The area is now buzzing with people with shaved hair and orange clothes giving away curry at lunchtime, the back of the bikes have a space to attach a large solar panel, I guess to power a heater to keep the food hot...I took this shot of the front while they were still getting set up, but peer through the door now and it's lots of robed individuals tapping away at PC keyboards (which I must say does look quite odd) but I guess not a bad way to live your life -
15 September, 2005
"Wait a minute, Doc. Ah..."
Originally uploaded by finkangel.
"Are you telling me you built a time machine...out of a DeLorean?", "The way I see it, if you're gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?"...
(Marty must be somewhere in Kings Cross today... ;)
14 September, 2005
13 September, 2005
...today, still feeling nice and relaxed from my lovely holiday, wonder how long it will take before I'm feeling stressed out by the commute...anyway, nothing could touch me today, booted up "Zoo Keeper" on my DS and got the top score effortlessly on the Time challenge (this is the first time I have even been in the top 5!)...the idea is to match up as many animals (horizontal or vertical lines of 3 or more) as you can in 6 minutes...if you haven't played this (simple but fiendishly challenging) game then do have a go, it requires total focus and today, not a gorilla or elephant could hide...I was in the zone... ;)
Arse...590 emails in my work inbox... :(
12 September, 2005
11 September, 2005
...really are much more for the benefit of those that show rather than
those that just pop in...last night after the band we watched a torch
and flare lit procession parade through the site followed by a
spectacular firework display, that actually felt a little too close to
the tents for comfort -
- it's the evenings when all the visitors have
gone home when the site really seems to come to life... ;) Dry cured
bacon sandwich with ketchup and brown sauce on granary bread for
- with Earl Grey tea and ice cold orange juice, nice having an
LPG fridge...skies are threatening but weather report says it should
stay dry...here's hoping! Looking forward to getting home now, think
I've been in a tent long enough...want to recharge my NDS and catch up
on 'Extras', finish watching 'Lost' etc...oh, grab a copy of 'The News
of the World' today, free copy of 'The Bounty' on DVD, great movie! ;)
10 September, 2005
...this is the last real day of my vacation - I apologise for the
Americanism (if you are touchy- which in this respect I actually am
not, in fact, I think certain Americanisms are fairly 'cute'... ;)
Regardless - forgive my idiosyncratic verve...
Anyway, here we sit, another tribute band, this time shades of
'American Werewolf' with 'Blue Moon'...odd, but spent last night
dreaming of slowly exploring a post-apocalyptic, nasty nuclear-soiled
soviet city, quite enjoyed the dream for some reason...grabbing
supplies, firearms, water, fighting off the barely living zombie
hoard...a survivalists dream perhaps...this has to be to do with the
death of my city of vampires...New Orleans...a tragedy...crap... :(
Chilli Pepper Pete was on the radio this morning feeding the presenters with that dipping sauce that caused me a bit of a problem earlier in the year, he mentioned that he's not at Laughton this time, saving me some potential future pain/pleasure thanks to the biggest catering show in the UK being on in Brighton today, I guess I should be pleased, heh... ;)
Oh, I must re-mention that this year they have turned over the end of one of the fields to the traction engines as their own arena/play pen, which is a great idea-they are, as I mentioned earlier, letting Joe public have a go at driving, and also running races...trust me, it'spretty impressive when they open up the engines fully and let fly, these gentle giants can ROAR! ;)
Weather is hazy and seriously hot again, i'm pitying Kipperfrog and Ninjabathy with their move if it's like this in Brighton...good luck!:)
Just to catch you up - Last night we did the dogems (I hurt my neck on the seatbelt, would have been better off without the blooming thing!) -
- and the Merry-go-round...we drank, ate naughty food and danced
until it was time to drop, great fun and looking forward to the same tonight... ;)
09 September, 2005
...are making us all laugh while we pile alcohol down our throats, not pretending it's in any sort of controlled fashion, in the beer tent...they are attempting to get us 'jiggy' with such classic hits as 'Walk, Don't run...','Flowers in the Rain' and a few of their own tunes...'the audience is listening'...and, fueled as we are, it ain't so bad at all... ;)
...drinking beer - 'stell-o-clock' or something like that ;) - sat in the twilight listening to a small Suzuki petrol generator charging up my new 'super quality' seven quid, one million candle power
torch...not sure how good the advertised 'lead' battery is going to be though...not exactly NiMh... ;) Off to the beer tent/fun fair in a short while, new Ghost train to try out...oo-er! :)
...after a brief stop for Flyingpops to take a phone call - her mum's camper van, fully loaded had broken down just outside Dorking, it is suspected that she might have filled up with the wrong fuel, force of habit, at the pumps before heading off - which I used to pick up some scampy fries and 'nice and spicy' Niknaks for my breakfast which I am snacking on now, sat in the sun...already spotted one new attraction this time - drive a traction engine for two quid!
Oh, and last night, just before I went up to bed a *HUGE* spider crept right next to me on the curtain by the PC, but it escaped before I could capture or kill it...it still lurks somewhere...*grumble* :(
Talk more later... ;)
Update - Just located the tangled remains behind the curtain, looks like my aim was more deadly than I thought - note to self - don't leave back door open all the time, the shock of turning around to find oneself to be staring eye to eyes with a large, dusty menace at a distance of 2 inches, is more considerable than I like to admit...
08 September, 2005
- and so, on to a series of day trips, Church cove on the Lizard was particularly peaceful, aparently 700 cars a day used to turn up during the summer until the National Trust took over and blocked the road, now it's totally devoid of visitors (good/bad/dunno) -
- it still has some wonderful sights to see, even if the church isn't quite under threat of being swept into the sea any longer -
- and the first of the scary signs that seem to dominate the Cornish coast -
- we decided to go on to the Lizard point, and see the most southerly point of the United Kingdom, and happily (after failing miserably to find a clearly signposted "Chocolate factory tour" we happened (happily) upon this (har har!) (I'm drinking some of it, (not quite traditionally) ice cold, right now and it's fantastic) -
- (getting near, I spotted some wag has modified this sign in a perfectly purile way ;) -
- the point itself was amazingly impressive -
- two guys were fishing off the very end -
- oh and another of those amusing signs ;) I have to confess to being a bit of an acrophobe (funny, you might say, being so tall) but huge drops onto hard rocks do kind of worry me, so this walk was on the "interesting" side for me, couldn't turn down the photo op though... ;) -
- I honestly felt like Indiana Jones, climbing up the steps into the aircraft, finding my seat and tipping forward my black cap awaiting takeoff...I didn't wave away the champaign though and nor was I carrying a firearm... ;) Charmingly, the glass of bubbly arrived with a "Ginster's Deep Fill Breakfast sandwich", what a perfectly wonderful combination...!
- take-off and the flight in general just had me grinning like the Cheshire cat from start to finish, unlike taking a "proper" flight, the whole experience just feels like a pleasure trip, almost a theme park ride -
- see, it never really gets too high, it's not just endless clouds - the views of the south coast are just stunning (the whole way) I though this looked a bit like Brighton (with the two piers, if you zoom in) -
- after a brief stopover at Plymouth (where some got on, some got off), we had a ten minute dash on to Newquay -
- apart from whatever airport it was I flew in to on Cyprus, this *has* to be the smallest airport in the whole world -
- I actually laughed when I saw the lilliput-sized luggage collection point -
- and, after watching 2 guys in a transit van drive the bags ten meters from the plane to the other side of that wall and load our bags on, I met up with Flyingpops to start the holiday!
More later... ;)
...on the M4...the colonel called us in for emergency Zinger Tower
Burger and hot wings...getting close to the M25, be home
soon...looking forward to crashing onto my sofa...last few nights have
been a little uncomfortable to say the least thanks to the stitching
on the airbed bursting in a circular fashion near one end resulting in
a huge blister...I'll post a pic later...but it's tough being cooped
up in the car for this long as a result! Skies above are now bright
and clear! :)
...Flyingpops behind the wheel and I'm riding shotgun, we've left the
black skies behind, ahead the sun is lancing through the odd patches
of blue and the distant horizon is distinctly bright, been on the road
almost two hours now, just coming up on Exeter, so almost on the
M5...doing well thus far... ;)
...stuck in traffic on the A30 in drizzle and fog, had to pack tent
away soaking wet, although I think I got all the caterpillars off it -
was finding about six a day trying to find somewhere nice to pupate,
had to relocate them to a nearby hedge - then got half a day to
wash/recharge/replenish supplies then back on the road, just hoping
the weather is a bit better in the South East...right day to leave
here though for sure, forecast is for thundery showers over the
07 September, 2005
...day in the sun, it's even too warm for the wagtails and seaguls to
fight over campsite scraps...played a few half hearted games of boule,
eaten some scrambled eggs and baked beans and done the majority of the
packing ready to head back to Surrey tomorrow - already been here
three days longer than planned, but decided we were going to go back
to Laughton for the last few days of the break in the end. Tin Mine
was deep, dark, cold, wet, cramped to the point of claustrophobia and
full of dangerous looking falls, but ultimately satisfying. Eden
Project was awesome, got lots of pics to post, so will talk more about
those things later...so last full day in Cornwall today...i'm never
coming down here at the height of the holiday season again, it's
almost like having the place to ourselves! ;)
03 September, 2005
02 September, 2005
Been lazing in the sun, reading (Belle de Jour and Long Way Round), done Lands End and the
Lizard, been to a Cider farm shop seen Church cove and today been Quad Biking for the first time in my life (it's GREAT! But got rather muddy, heh..) -
- Tin Mine and Eden Project yet to come...! ;)