Weblog entries for August 2002


I've got it on constant repeat

“Come up to meet you, tell you I'm sorry
You don't know how lovely you are
I had to find you, tell you I need you
Tell you I set you apart
Tell me your secrets and ask me your questions
Oh let's go back to the start
Running in circles, coming up tails
Heads on a silence apart”

The new Coldplay album is amazing.


That's out of stock, I'm afraid

So there I was, in HMV, minding my own business, looking for the new Mr Scruff album. Then this guy says to me, “Do you work here?”

Naturally I was slightly taken aback. “Huh?” was about all I could muster before he launched into a description of the CD he was trying to find. Eventually I had a chance to get a word in and pointed out that I was a mere customer, not an assistant, and he left me alone.

The same thing happened to me last week in the History section of Borders. Some bloke walks up and asks me where he can find such-and-such a book before I point out that I don't actually work there.

By contrast, any time I go to buy any vaguely expensive clothes (that is, a suit) the assistant will, without fail, ask me if I'm looking for work. That's happened to me twice now, too. I'm still trying to figure out the perfect comeback: it's a bit disconcerting and I can't quite think fast enough. “Are you looking for work?” “Why, have you got any vacancies?”

So shop assistants think I'm unemployed, but the general public think I'm a shop assistant. I'm not sure what conclusions to draw from this. I think I'll take it as a compliment: being able to stand in a record shop and look like you know what you're doing is no mean feat.

And the CD? He should have tried looking in the Soul section, under J. But I didn't tell him that — well, it's not my job, is it?


This envelope will change your life

Ten years ago today, I was in school. (Not the most exciting opening sentence to a weblog you'll ever read, but it gets better, trust me.)

I was there, as a fresh-faced 16-year-old, to collect my GCSE results. (Honestly, it gets thrilling any time now.)

Sibling rivalry is a wonderful thing, isn't it? I'm not sure that either of my siblings care too much, but I'm very interested in their results. It's purely in the hope that I've done better than them, of course.

My sister is ten years younger than me, and as I write she's on her way to school to get her results. In a couple of hours I'll find out if I'm still number one. :-)

Bah, who am I kidding? It's not a competition with anyone other than yourself. As long as you did your best that's all anyone can ask.

Best of luck, Amy. I'm sure you'll do brilliantly.


Here we go again

This summer has seen some troubled times at Fulham. Internal power wranglings, failed transfers, legal challenges to the new stadium plans, the lot. Ever since what the Observer recently called “a spine-crackingly awful, gormless and goalless draw against Leicester” which brought the curtain down on last season's home games, the doom and gloom merchants have been out in force.

Every time there's a bad result I go through the same set of emotions during the following week, from dejection on Monday morning to blind belief on Saturday afternoon that things will be much better again. Having a long summer break has magnified that process a hundred-fold.

Walking down South Africa Road to get to Fulham's temporary home, Loftus Road, I found myself giddy with anticipation. Yes, me, giddy! Fortunately I was not to be disappointed. The blisteringly hot sunshine was matched by Fulham's attacks, slicing past Bolton's defenders like hot knives through butter. Fulham 4 Bolton 1, final score.

In the whole of last season we never scored four goals in a League game, and now we've done that on the opening day. We scored two penalties, compared to scoring just one in the whole of last season; and conceded one, having gone through the whole of last season without doing so.

Unbelievable stuff, and needless to say I am now brimming with optimism, unlike my dad who, even when Fulham were 3-1 up and Bolton were totally out of the game, continued to voice his concerns that Fulham could still throw away their lead. Of course he's seen many more Fulham games than I have, so perhaps he knows their track record better than me. They do have a remarkable tendency to do things the hard way.

Four goals, three points, two new signings and a very impressive display. It was the start of a new season, and I hope it was the start of a good one.


The neighbours are loud

Tomorrow is a big day for our project at work, so this afternoon I've been giving it the once over to look out for any little niggles. There are no real show-stoppers in it, so no real problems, I'm just doing it to give my project manager and myself some peace of mind. First thing in the morning we're going to the client's office to present them with what we have so far.

I was listening to Test Match Special while I worked, but it's a bit difficult to concentrate on coding when there is speaking going on in the background. Incidentally, I'd like to take back everything I said about England yesterday — 617 is a mammoth score. Good work!

Shortly after I switched off the radio, as if by magic my neighbour downstairs started using a power drill. It was only partially drowned out by my upstairs neighbour playing U2 and Eric Clapton extremely loudly. There's nothing like a nice quiet Sunday afternoon, and this was nothing like a nice quiet Sunday afternoon.

There was only one thing for it. Some very loud music of my own. It seemed to work: not ten minutes had passed before I heard them switch off their music and go out. Victory is mine!

Tonight will mainly consist of me tidying the house before Matt gets home from Spain (not that it's the remotest bit untidy, you understand) and then a bit of West Wing and 24 before the big day tomorrow.

Actually, I've had to keep the house pretty tidy this week, to make a good impression on the landlord. He's been in painting Matt's room and uh, putting the finishing touches to my excellent efforts at repairing the bathroom light. Honestly, the man's a genius. He's re-done the sealant around the bath and rigged up a cunning bit of wood around the light switch to stop it falling off the ceiling.

Is there some kind of landlord school you have to go to? Where did he learn this stuff? I'm just not ready to be a landlord yet, I have no idea how to do any of these magic things. Perhaps I'm just not suited to DIY. That's the more likely option. Still, if you need a computer taken to bits just let me know. (Just don't ask me to put it back together again…)


Nobody else is a geek

I hate people who say things like, “I never thought I'd say this, but...” because it's such a cliché. Unfortunately, I have to say it myself now.

I never thought I'd say this, but I would quite like a Mac.

Well, not quite. I love Linux too much for that, and I can't quite bring myself to buy into any big computer corporation's vision just yet. For my parents, though, a Mac would be brilliant, and I've been dropping a series of subtle hints in their direction for a few months now.

I haven't used any Microsoft software on my home computer for maybe two years now, and on my work computer for just over a year. Every time I go back and use someone else's machine with Windows on it I'm reminded of how awful Windows is, and how glad I am that I don't use it any more.

Windows is awful. Shoddy. Buggy. Clunky. Annoying. I realise that I'm in danger of sounding like a Linux zealot here, so I'll try to stop that. But once you've stopped using Windows and used something else — whether Linux or Mac — you'll realise how bad Windows is too.

Just now I was looking at Apple's 'Switch' site which shows videos from their latest ad campaign, featuring people who've switched from Windows to Mac. Of course they all love Mac, and I'm sure I would too.

But it really made me realise how much of a geek I am. All these people, maybe a dozen of them, and they're all talking about how intuitive it is, or how nice the hardware looks, all that kind of stuff. But they're all missing the point I think is the most important one: that MacOS X is based on an open-source BSD core.

Mmmmmm, Unix. You know it makes sense. I want to run around and smack Windows users over the head. “You just don't get it, do you! Computers can be so much better than this!” But I'd be branded quite rightly as a freak.

It's very simple really: do yourself a favour, don't use Windows.

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