Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Friday, October 31, 2003

Mardi Gras goes bust...

As had been widely expected Mardi Gras in London has gone into liquidation. Good job too. Below is the press release. The other good news is that there are plans afoot for there to be a free Pride festival next year! Hurray! (Hey, if Brighton can do it...) ”At the annual general meeting of the Mardi Gras shareholders on Thursday night a decision was made to commence proceedings to place the company into creditors voluntary liquidation. "The shareholders have formed a view, after careful analysis of current funds, that the company will be unable to pay debts as and when they fall due" said Chairman John Miskelly. The Mardi Gras team has produced a massive Pride festival in London for the last five years. The company also organised the annual Pride Parade through the streets of Central London. Mardi Gras was formed as a limited company in early 1999 in reaction to the financial collapse of the previous organisers a year earlier. The first three events were held in north London¹s Finsbury Park before moving to Hackney Marsh in 2002. Organisers had, meanwhile, been negotiating for the right to hold the festival in Hyde Park. This ambition was finally realised this year. However due to some of the worst weather conditions this summer the anticipated sale of on-the-day tickets did not happen leaving the company financially in the red. London is unique among Prides in that it does not attract grant or fund money. "We were, as shareholders, footing an increasingly unacceptable production deficit each year" said Miskelly. " The one year we did make a profit was far outweighed by the deficit years". Director Jason Pollock said that already discussions were taking place within the LGBT community as widely as possible and that plans are already in place to stage a major free Pride festival in Central London during summer 2004. These plans also safeguard the future of the Pride parade. More announcements will be made soon.”
I know there's something going on...
Abba star to make comeback - the blond one with the nice bum though not the other one that did that thing with Phil Collins.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Some links I like this week...
Fractal mesh

ASCII art collection

Play Poulaga challenge

Jason's comprehensive browser security tests

Extreme Dremel CD experiments

A Peltier beer cooler

Robot plays table soccer

These sculptures are the "pits"

Over 14,000 quotes and counting

The future of RC fun
Erasure - "Oh L'Amour" - Digital single...
"Erasure released a digital single on Friday 24th October. The first release of its kind by Mute, the single is an exclusive mix of Oh L'Amour by Mark Towns.

"Oh L'Amour (Mark Towns Mix) is available from Erasure's official website, erasureinfo.com and mute.com. The single will cost £1, payable by credit card, debit card, Paypal, Nochex, SMS (UK only) and phone.

"In addition to the track, a colour printable CD booklet and CD label artwork is available (in PDF format), allowing purchasers to burn the track onto CD and print their own packaging. The single can also be transferred onto an iPod/MP3 player, etc..."

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

I have it on good authority (OK, it was reported in that esteemed organ the Mail On Sunday last year) that George Smith (a royal servant) alleges that he knows of an anal rape of another royal servant by a top royal or servant in 1989. He then told Prince Charles directly, who did not tell the police.

But then other recent stories traceable to Mr Smith's office were "that the Queen should abdicate, that Prince Harry has been taking drugs, that the Earl and Countess of Wessex are being greedy, that Prince and Princess Michael of Kent should give up their flat in Kensington Palace and that Anne should stop sucking off dogs". And so on. Axe to grind maybe?

Personally I've always been 100% utterly convinced that the person who buggered that royal servant was Prince Edward Prince Philip Prince William Prince Harry one of the corgis the Queen Princess Anne's horse Prince Andrew Prince Charles.

Time will may tell
Paul, Simon, Charlie, Kevin and I went to see Goldfrapp again last night at the newly gutted Hammersmith Apollo. Standing room only now in the stalls. The place was packed. Too packed really. And some people just don't know when to shut up when they're listening to a gig. But anyway. It was a long set (1h 45mins) that included both albums and both their famous cover versions (Physical and Yes Sir, I Can Boogie). A great performance by Alison Goldfrapp with the added bonus feature of a super-sexy stripper on Train and Yes Sir, I Can Boogie who really could make the tassels go in opposite directions at the same time. As ever Strict Machine finished the main set and what a disco stomper it was. Twenty minutes of encores followed, ending with the sublime Black Cherry.

After the show I was dead keen to hear what Kevin had to say. It was Mr Greening's first time and as with most Goldfrapp virgin's he'd thought he might only recognise a couple of the singles. And again like most newbies he had been surprised at how many songs he actually new - from telly adverts, BBC's Holiday programme, dramas - Goldfrapp's music gets used a lot.

As that was the 3rd or 4th time I've seen Goldfrapp this year I've probably had my fill for a while. Roll on the new material, say I.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Bruised knees...
So what do you think this advert is for?

A casual google search will tell you. Hee, hee.
Rescue me...
I just got stuck in the lift on the way to work. It was an exposed glass elevator that looks straight down through the centre of our building. The lift was happy enough to whisk me up to the sixth floor at some speed but once there the doors refused to open. Well, they did open a little bit. About an inch and then they made a grinding noise and stopped. I was stuck. I was left hanging to the side of the building like a quivering limpet. I had to call security by using the yellow alarm button. And ten nervous minutes later I was free. Nightmare.

Monday, October 27, 2003

The scariest moments of all time...
Last night Channel 4 finished off their 100 scariest moments show. I've listed the top twenty (in alphabetical order) below. What would you say is your top five from this list. Viewers of Channel 4 reckoned they were these. You can see all the 100 moments listed here.

28 Days Later (2002) - Fleeing from the zombies.
Alien (1979) - Alien bursting out of John Hurt's stomach.
An American Werewolf In London (1981) - The transformation into a wolf.
A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984) - First appearance of horror icon Freddy Krueger.
Don't Look Now (1973) - Donald Sutherland thinks he has found his daughter.
Friday The 13th (1980) - The killer bursts out of a lake at the film's finale.
Halloween (1978) - Killer Michael's face appears behind Jamie Lee Curtis in a house full of bodies.
Hellraiser (1987) - First appearance of Pinhead.
Jaws (1975) - Severed head pops out of boat.
Psycho (1960) - The shower scene.
Ring (1998) - Sadako crawls through the television.
Se7en (1995) - Discovery of the emaciated man.
The Blair Witch Project (1999) - Heather Donahue in tears in the woods.
The Evil Dead (1981) - General mayhem in Sam Raimi's classic gore-fest.
The Exorcist (1973) - Possessed girl's head spins and she projectile vomits.
The Omen (1976) - The Oscar-winning eerie music score.
The Shining (1980) - Jack Nicholson chops through the door and shouts 'Here's Johnny'.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - Leatherface's reign of terror.
The Thing (1982) - A man's chest splits open as he is being given defibrillation and the medic's arms are bitten off.
The X-Files (1993) - Episode called Squeeze featuring the scary character Tooms.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Lads who lunch...
This being my 2nd Friday off I've decided to be semi-domestic and semi-social. The Telewest man came this morning to swap my new cable box for an old one - the Macrovision protection was turned on for all channels which meant I couldn't record Eastenders or whatever on my Macrovision aware DVD recorder.

Then after checking my work messages (none that needed my urgent attention) I went up to see Roger in Crouch End for elevenses and a then spot of lunch.

I could get used to this easy life.
Some links I like this week...

How to jump-start a car.

Museum of Hoaxes.

The wooden periodic table.

Help find the cure to Multiple Sclerosis, HIV and other diseases.

Images of Earth from Mars.

Play gridlock online.

Computer Talk Shop - power Users Web site and mailing list.

Buy a Minuteman missile launcher.

Install an Xbox running Linux in your car.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

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Do me a favour...
"Can I ask you a favour? You sure you don't mind? Really? That's great. Thanks."

I like doing favours for people. And in my line of business/interests i.e. computing, phones, gadgets, electrical, electronic, games et al I get asked quite a few. It's nice to able to help people out. I enjoy it. To show how something is done or simply just do it for them. It shows a kindness and caring about someone. You're happy to help because you know it'll be appreciated. Well, that's the theory.

In my ideal world all work would be done as favours. Bartering and favours. Like for like with pleases and thank-yous aplenty. But sadly the world is not like that. Or so I've been reminded rather rudely just recently.

A couple of months ago a friend asked me if I would go and see them. Scrub that, they called me on the telephone and started off with that usual question people ask when they are going to ask for a favour, "How are you?" Followed by a slight pause while they wait for the usual reply of, "I'm fine, thanks" before then launching into, "Can I ask you a favour?" Of course what they really meant was, "Do me a favour."

"My PC can't connect to the Internet would you come over and make it work?", they said. It was barely a question to be honest. More of a statement really. Anyway, I was delighted to help. After all, they're a friend and I like doing favours.

So the next day I went round to this friend's flat and did what I could. I needed to return subsequently because in fact the PC was more or less in pieces and needed rebuilding from scratch. So for the next few days I bought over a modem, power adapters, cables, installed all manner of hardware and software and finally got the PC up and running on the Internet. They did say 'thank you' at that point I might add. But looking back I had 'taken ownership' of all subsequent problems.

As the weeks and months have gone by I've been 'asked' again by this person to do many more favours for them on their PC. Each time I've gone to their home to fix other bits of software that have 'broken', reinstall hardware that has stopped working and generally acted as online support guru. The thank-yous have dried up though. And it was becoming obvious to me that my friend never actually used this PC themselves - it was other people that were the main users/abusers - friends of friends, if you like - and it was they who were asking (via my friend) to get me round there and fix the problems they had created.

This week my friend was away travelling. Yet, earlier this week I got a call at 11pm from one of these friends of friends asking me to go round and attend to some new problem on their PC. Being asked a favour by a friend is one thing but when friends of friends call you directly it's madness. And at 11pm too! I was livid. By yesterday I'd calmed down a bit and agreed to go and take a look. I must be crazy. I went round there. A full 5 hours later I was finished. I'd had to pick off all the spyware, viruses and other rubbish that these people had installed to get the PC back to some reasonable working order. No doubt they'll be mucking it all up again. And those calls will start coming. Again.

Do you think I'm being taken advantage of? If so, what do you think I can do about it? This friend is rather temperamental and I don't know how they'll react.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Gest sues Minnelli...
Liza Minnelli is being sued for nearly £7 million by her estranged husband David Gest amid claims that she beat him so badly he now has brain damage.
FAQ: British Summer Time (BST)...
This weekend the clocks go back 1 hour from BST to GMT. So here I give you everything you ever wanted to know about BST but were afraid to ask.

When will British Summer Time (BST) be in force in 2003?
Sunday 30th March 2003 1am GMT until Sunday 26th October 2003 1am GMT

When was British Summer Time (BST) introduced?
British Summer Time was introduced in the UK in 1916.

When was the UK on permanent Summer Time?
British Summer Time was permanently in force during the Second World War from February 1940 until October 1945 and again from February 1968 until October 1971.

Double summer time was in force from 1941-1947 except for 1946.

What are the date rules for British Summer time (BST)?
The rule for 1981-1994 defined the start of Summer Time as the last Sunday in March and the end as the day following the fourth Saturday in October. The time of change was altered to 1 am (GMT).

When do the clocks in Europe change to Summer Time?
In 1996 all clocks in Europe were changed the same date for the first time.

From 1998 BST was kept from the last Sunday in March until the last Sunday in October. This has been adopted as a directive from the European Parliament and was effective from 1998-2001 inclusive.

In 2002 an order was made to link UK summer time (BST) to Europe permanently. This means that the clocks will change over the Easter weekend which historically has not been the case.

British Summer Time Dates (BST) 1950 - 2006
1950 Sun 16/04/1950 02:00 Sun 29/10/1950 02:00
1951 Sun 15/04/1951 02:00 Sun 21/10/1951 02:00
1952 Sun 20/04/1952 02:00 Sun 26/10/1952 02:00
1953 Sun 19/04/1953 02:00 Sun 04/10/1953 02:00
1954 Sun 11/04/1954 02:00 Sun 03/10/1954 02:00
1955 Sun 17/04/1955 02:00 Sun 02/10/1955 02:00
1956 Sun 22/04/1956 02:00 Sun 07/10/1956 02:00
1957 Sun 14/04/1957 02:00 Sun 06/10/1957 02:00
1958 Sun 20/04/1958 02:00 Sun 05/10/1958 02:00
1959 Sun 12/04/1959 02:00 Sun 04/10/1959 02:00
1960 Tue 19/04/1960 02:00 Sun 02/10/1960 02:00
1961 Sun 26/03/1961 02:00 Sun 29/10/1961 02:00
1962 Sun 25/03/1962 02:00 Sun 28/10/1962 02:00
1963 Sun 31/03/1963 02:00 Sun 27/10/1963 02:00
1964 Sun 22/03/1964 02:00 Sun 25/10/1964 02:00
1965 Sun 21/03/1965 02:00 Sun 24/10/1965 02:00
1966 Sun 20/03/1966 02:00 Sun 23/10/1966 02:00
1967 Sun 19/03/1967 02:00 Sun 29/10/1967 02:00
1968 Sun 18/02/1968 01:00 Tue 31/12/1968 00:00 BST all-year
1969 Wed 01/01/1969 00:00 Wed 31/12/1969 00:00
1970 Thu 01/01/1970 00:00 Thu 31/12/1970 00:00
1971 Fri 01/01/1971 00:00 Sun 31/10/1971 02:00 BST all-year ends
1972 Sun 19/03/1972 02:00 Sun 29/10/1972 02:00
1973 Sun 18/03/1973 02:00 Sun 28/10/1973 02:00
1974 Sun 17/03/1974 02:00 Sun 27/10/1974 02:00
1975 Sun 16/03/1975 02:00 Sun 26/10/1975 02:00
1976 Sun 21/03/1976 02:00 Sun 24/10/1976 02:00
1977 Sun 20/03/1977 02:00 Sun 23/10/1977 02:00
1978 Sun 19/03/1978 02:00 Sun 29/10/1978 02:00
1979 Sun 18/03/1979 02:00 Sun 28/10/1979 02:00
1980 Sun 16/03/1980 02:00 Sun 26/10/1980 02:00
1981 Sun 29/03/1981 01:00 Sun 25/10/1981 01:00 Moves in line with EU
1982 Sun 28/03/1982 01:00 Sun 24/10/1982 01:00
1983 Sun 27/03/1983 01:00 Sun 23/10/1983 01:00
1984 Sun 25/03/1984 01:00 Sun 28/10/1984 01:00
1985 Sun 31/03/1985 01:00 Sun 27/10/1985 01:00
1986 Sun 30/03/1986 01:00 Sun 26/10/1986 01:00
1987 Sun 29/03/1987 01:00 Sun 25/10/1987 01:00
1988 Sun 27/03/1988 01:00 Sun 23/10/1988 01:00
1989 Sun 26/03/1989 01:00 Sun 29/10/1989 01:00
1990 Sun 25/03/1990 01:00 Sun 28/10/1990 01:00
1991 Sun 31/03/1991 01:00 Sun 27/10/1991 01:00
1992 Sun 29/03/1992 01:00 Sun 25/10/1992 01:00
1993 Sun 28/03/1993 01:00 Sun 24/10/1993 01:00
1994 Sun 27/03/1994 01:00 Sun 23/10/1994 01:00
1995 Sun 26/03/1995 01:00 Sun 22/10/1995 01:00
1996 Sun 31/03/1996 01:00 Sun 27/10/1996 01:00
1997 Sun 30/03/1997 01:00 Sun 26/10/1997 01:00
1998 Sun 29/03/1998 01:00 Sun 25/10/1998 01:00
1999 Sun 28/03/1999 01:00 Sun 31/10/1999 01:00
2000 Sun 26/03/2000 01:00 Sun 29/10/2000 01:00
2001 Sun 25/03/2001 01:00 Sun 28/10/2001 01:00
2002 Sun 31/03/2002 01:00 Sun 27/10/2002 01:00
2003 Sun 30/03/2003 01:00 Sun 26/10/2003 01:00
2004 Sun 28/03/2004 01:00 Sun 31/10/2004 01:00
2005 Sun 27/03/2005 01:00 Sun 30/10/2005 01:00
2006 Sun 26/03/2006 01:00 Sun 29/10/2006 01:00

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Just spoke to O2 - the official release date for the fantastic new XDA II is now going to be 1st November.

And in unrelated news (now look, I said it's unrelated and unrelated it is! All right!) my current XDA broke down over the weekend and needs replacing. It broke down, I tell ya! It did. And needs replacing. It does. By a new one. A new XDA. A brand new XDA.
And we always knew our head office was full of it...
Below is an e-mail that arrived yesterday as a follow up to an urgent announcement that they were going to be applying Microsoft's latest security patches to all our servers. I sincerely hope the last part was only a typo.

From: IT Support
Sent: 20 October 2003 15:21
To: All Domain Users; *International Support
Cc: *Corporate E-Mail Group
Subject: RE: Urgent: W2K and E2K Required Security Patch To Be Applied Immediately

All servers had been patched successfully. Users will have experienced the fail over time between clusters.

Sorry for any incontinence...

Best regards,

IT Support
Corporate E-Mail Group
A threw for the carch......
The Prue & True (aka Kath and Kim) Pronounciation Guide.
[Thanks to Rich]

Monday, October 20, 2003

Minipops Quiz...
David sent me a minipops quiz yesterday and it is fantastic. See how many you can get. Many more minipops at http://www.flipflopflyin.com/minipops/index.html
Absolutely Fabulous...
Shock! Horror! Friday's Ab Fab was very funny. A real return to form. We laughed out loud. A lot. Since then we can't mention Justin Timberlake without referring to him with a thumb stuck up his arse (you'll get the gag if/when you see/saw it).

Friday, October 17, 2003

Absolutely Fabulous (new season)...
Ab Fab starts again tonight. Rumour has it that this series is way better than the last which couldn't be very hard. The last series was pants.

**beware plot spoilers below**

Tonight's episode is called Cleanin'. Edina and Patsy taste the fruits of freedom whilst Saffy is in Iraq on a humanitarian mission. However Edina's house, career and personal hygiene have gone to pot and her client list has dwindled to Emma Bunton and Queen Noor. Saffy's imminent return forces them all to learn how to plug in the hoover.
The oddest top ten data disasters...
The BBC reports that Kroll Ontrack, the electronic recovery people, have compiled a list of the oddest top ten data disasters of the last year.

01. A man in the US who was so frustrated with his laptop, he shot it in a fit of e-rage, then realised there were important files he needed
02. PC thrown out the window to destroy evidence before police arrived
03. Laptop fell off a moped and was run over by lorry
04. Laptop dropped in a bath of soapy water by a company director while doing company accounts
05. Stolen PCs rescued after three weeks in a river
06. Entire bottle of red wine spilt on laptop over dinner
07. Server rescued after running unchecked 24/7 for years under layers of dust and dirt
08. Computer thrown against a wall in a fit of rage
09. Latte-covered laptop rescued
10. Laptop left on car roof as owner drives off

According to Ontrack in all the cases computer files were rescued and restored.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Action packed...
This weekend just gone was my first every-other-Friday-off weekend so I tried to make the most of it. And not being one to take the task of having fun lightly I set about it with all with my usual vigour.

Thursday night Paul and I went to the DVD launch of Depeche Mode 101 at the Prince Charles Cinema. The place was packed and an eager crowd lapped up the new visuals, the new 5.1 Surround Sound and Andy Fletcher's wit (no really!) in the Q&A afterwards. After that we headed for Bar Code and then Central Station for a beer or three. The weekend was starting well.

Friday I got up late (it'd been a late one the night before) and Paul and I pootled off to the Tate Britain down in Pimlico. I hadn't been there in years and amazing though it was, I couldn't help feeling that it's heart has been ripped out somewhat by it's more spectacular works going to it's sister museum, the Tate Modern, down the river. After the museum we walked through Westminister, St James Park, popped into the ICA and then up to Piccadilly. A quickie in the Edward VI and a night in front of the box lay ahead of us.

On Saturday I was up early and out shopping for clothes to wear for that night. I bought the new Arsenal away kit (yellow and blue), some trackie bottoms and some looky-likey trainer/football boots. All this because we'd promised to start off our night going to Sports Kit Night at the Sols Arms. There was an impressive turn out and more than a few fresh faces too which was nice to see. Paul and I headed off to Duckie after about an hour or so leaving Marky at SKN (he didn't fancy the trek down to Vauxhall). Neither Amy Lame nor The London Readers Wives were in attendance so Duckie was a little flat for me. Even the act (fat lesbian stripper in a fur coat) failed to raise much of a smile either. It was nice to see all the boys there though. At 2am after Duckie had kicked out (and with a little persuasion) we headed over to Fire to Save All Robots. Pierre Luigi and Tim were there which was nice. And by the magic of music DJ Lush who had been playing at Duckie was playing there too. David, Ian, Kevin and I danced until the sweat poured. But by 4am I'd had enough and flagged for a cab leaving them all to it.

Sunday we were off out again. This time for lunch at Marcus's. Great food (as ever) and then we watched the DVD of a film that I'd wanted to see in ages: Far From Heaven. I won't give anything away in case you've not seen it but it's hyper-real colours and great storyline make it for a wonderful film to watch. Which is more than I can say for the DVD we watched when we eventually got home. The Matrix Reloaded is visually very impressive - it's amazing what you can do with CGI these days. But... what the HELL was that all about?!! If anyone can assist in unravelling the plot I'd be very grateful!

So it was a great long weekend. Full of fun and frolics. Roll on the next one.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Laura's 18th...
Last Friday it was the lovely Laura's (our niece) 18th birthday (Happy Birthday, Laura!). Marky, Drew and I drove up the M1 on the Friday night to a wonderful bash held at Anne's (Mark's sister) pub, The George Inn. There was much fun to be had - great food, lots of drinking and all the family was there. The karaoke guy turned up and everyone who wanted to have a go did.

Mark took the pictures below. Click on any for a larger version.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

A Very Special 101 Evening...
Tonight Paul and I are going to the DVD launch of Depeche Mode 101. Can't wait!

A Very Special 101 Evening: Thursday 9th October at the Prince Charles Theatre, 7 Leicester Place, London, WC2H 7BP. Doors open at 8pm, night ends at 11pm

- an introduction from Andy Fletcher
- short presentation by D.A. Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus
- film footage in 5.1 surround sound
- question and answer session with Andy Fletcher

There are 420 tickets available for this screening at a cost of 15.00 pounds each. Tickets are available ONLY from the box office at the cinema. Call 020 7494 3654 (+44 20 7494 3654 from outside the UK) between 1.30pm - 8.30pm UK time ONLY for details.

There will be a merchandise stall in the foyer on the night.

Depeche Mode 101 DVD released 20th October
The Best Chain Letter Ever...
Thanks to Russ for this.

Subject: The Best Chain Letter Ever

Hello, my name is Amber and I suffer from the guilt of not forwarding 50 billion fucking chain letters sent to me by people who actually believe that if you send them on, a poor 6-year-old girl in Arkansas with a breast on her forehead will be able to raise enough money to have it removed before her red-neck parents sell her to a traveling freak show.

Do you honestly believe that Bill Gates is going to give you, and everyone to whom you send "his" email, $1000? How stupid are we? "Ooooh, looky here!
If I scroll down this page and make a wish, I'll get laid by a model I just happen to run into the next day!" What a bunch of bullshit.

Maybe the evil chain letter leprechauns will come into my house and sodomize me in my sleep for not continuing a chain letter that was started by Peter in 5 AD and brought to this country by midget pilgrims on the Mayflower. Fuck them.

If you're going to forward something, at least send me something mildly amusing. I've seen all the "send this to 10 of your closest friends, and this poor, wretched excuse for a human being will somehow receive a nickel from some omniscient being" forwards about 90 times. I don't fucking care.

Show a little intelligence and think about what you're actually contributing to by sending out these forwards. Chances are, it's our own unpopularity.

The point being? If you get some chain letter that's threatening to leave you shagless or luckless for the rest of your life, delete it. If it's funny, send it on.

Don't piss people off by making them feel guilty about a leper in Botswana with no teeth who has been tied to the ass of a dead elephant for 27
years and whose only salvation is the 5 cents per letter he'll receive if you forward this email.

Now forward this to everyone you know. Otherwise, tomorrow morning your underwear will turn carnivorous and will consume your genitals.

Have a nice day.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Is it a games console? Can it play and record music and video? Is it a DVD recorder? Is it a PVR (200 hours)? Is it a TV tuner? Yes, it's all those things. Sony shows off hybrid PlayStation. It'll cost about £450. And all be bundled in a shiny silver box. Nice.
Nokia's N-Gage gaming mobile: Crappy battery life. And the need to take out the battery to change games. Forget it. I give it 18 months.
Sara Cox and Chris Moyles swap jobs...
It can't be easy being the BBC Radio 1 controller. Andy Parfitt has a tough job. And he'll never be able to please everyone. Unfortunately with this decision I count myself amongst the displeased. Sara Cox was good - most of the time. But Chris Moyles takes those worse aspects of modern DJing to a new level. Self indulgent, inane chatter and (I suspect) in radio for all the wrong reasons - namely self glory. I used to listen to Radio 1 for great music, information and entertainment. From Moyles we get little of the first, way too much of the second and recently none of the third. I shall be retuning my radio come the new year. Suggestions anyone?
The biggest name in politics...
'Film star' Arnold Schwarzenegger has won the race for governor of California. First Arnold Schwarzenegger was the biggest name in Hollywood. And now he's the biggest name in politics. The biggest name. 20 letters. The biggest name.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Back after a long absence we went to Duckie on Saturday night. And as ever we had a blast. Besides the fantastic music from the Reader's Wives there were three different activities to enjoy. The first was Drag Speed Poetry - the highlight of which was the "elf shelf". Funny and very, very Duckie. This was followed by blowing up the three worst buildings in London as voted for by the audience the previous week. At number three was the Dome (a large pink blancmange was disintegrated by a 150dB explosive charge in the middle that took nearly an hour for the poor guy to clean off the ceiling afterwards), at number two was Buckingham Palace (the polystyrene model was obliterated in a fraction of a second by an equally large charge) and at number one was a model of David Blaine's box (that was not only blown up but caught fire and required a dyke to throw her pint over it). Great fun. The final activity was the international flower show at the local church. We all filed out of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern at way gone midnight, walked along the road and entered the surreal world of night-time flower arranging. Magnificent displays festooned the church and hoards of poofs and dykes oohed and aahed and had their pictures taken by the gay priest. Wine was on sale and it made a pleasant break from the RVT. And strangely enough the church was cruisier than the club. Go figure.

As ever, Marky took some fantaisc snap shots. Click on image for larger versions.
The gang's all here! Camp? Me?!!!! Spot the straight man The sign says it all!

Very arty With this ring... Poetry in motion Fancy a bang? San Franciso bound

Monday, October 06, 2003

Friday on my mind / New Work Hours...
Our office likes to tinker with the working day.

Six months ago our daily work hours were cut from 9-5:30 to 9-5. Great you might think. That's an extra 30 minutes everyday for ourselves. And you'd be right. Only I tend to work at least a 10 hours days anyway so it didn't really affect me. But I don't begrudge the others. No, really I don't.

Then last week our hours changed again. This time they added 45 minutes to every working day. And they pulled the start time forward by either 30 minutes or an hour (our choice). So now my hours are 8-4:45. That's means I'm getting up an hour earlier every day (boo, hoo).

So what do I get for this new early start and this longer working day? Well, I now get every other Friday off. So starting this Friday, I shall be twiddling my thumbs at home wondering what to do with my new long three day weekend.

So I have a question for you. Would you go for a longer working day to gain every other Friday off if you had the chance? What would you do with that extra Friday off? Meet friends? Take up golf? Lie in? Museums? Drinking binges? DIY? Mini-breaks? I need your help, people! I can't decide what to do!

Friday, October 03, 2003

Sainsbury's Self-Scanning Checkout...
I pop into Sainsbury's every morning on the way to work for precisely the 90 seconds it takes me to pick up my Be-Good-To-Yourself-bacon-and-tomato-cheese-and-onion-roast-chicken-sandwich-next-please!-(smile)-hello-(scan)-(beep)-that'll-be-£2-do-you-have-a-nectar-card?-thank-you-receipt-in-the-bag?-have-a-nice-day-(smile)-next-please!

Well, last week a strange thing happened. The usual smiling checkout-guy-who-sees-me-coming-a-mile-off wasn't at his usual station. He was standing in front of two new checkout aisles with what can only be described as a throbbing bank of technology behind him. He beckoned me forward and ushered me in front of the new machine with a few calming words. "Give it try", he suggested. I stood and took it all in. The self-scanning machines are not too dissimilar to the automated ticket machines at tube stations. Big as a meaty sized photocopier it looked like HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey. I'll admit was a little disorientating to be faced with so many slots and screens and trays and bags and speakers and all manner of distracting flashing lights. But, hey, I'm not afraid of technology. Am I?

A Star Trek type female computer welcomed me with a rather too loud, "WELCOME!" The LCD touch panel flashed a similarly pleasant message. "TOUCH THE SCREEN!", the voice said. I did. And thereby started the process from which it was hard to escape. You get issued with a series of instructions. "INSERT NECTAR CARD!" I did. "INVALID CARD! PLEASE INSERT NECTAR CARD!" Opps! Wrong way round. I tried again. Good. "SCAN YOUR ITEMS AND PLACE YOUR ITEMS IN BAGGING AREA!" You scan everything yourself and put them in a pre-opened plastic bag in the 'bagging area'. The bagging area is basically a hanger with some plastic bags on it that has some electronic scales built in. The machine compares what you scan with how much it reckons it should weigh - fine for heavy things I guess like a bag of potatoes but hard for light things like sweets.

My sandwich scanned fine but then disaster struck. "ITEM NOT RECOGNISED! PLEASE REMOVE ITEM FROM BAGGING AREA!" Oh God, it's only a packet of mints. Too light for the machine to register. I tried again. "ITEM NOT RECOGNISED! PLEASE REMOVE ITEM FROM BAGGING AREA!" I look around. My friendly checkout guy is helping another poor soul struggling with the other self-scanner. I tired once more. "ITEM NOT RECOGNISED! PLEASE REMOVE ITEM FROM BAGGING AREA!" I'm stuck. The machine won't let me continue until it's weighed my mints correctly. So feeling frustrated I push my thumb down on the scales as hard as I can. "WARNING!", it screeches at me. "BAGGING AREA OVERLOADED!" "SEEK ASSISTANCE!" I seeked alright. I grabbed my items and headed for a proper checkout.

90 seconds later I was out of there and heading for work. Not a good start.

Subsequently I've been back and had more success with the self-scanners. But it's more of a relief when it works rather than anything else. You just expect it to fail. And it's no quicker than using a human checkout. And you don't get a smile. Which is why I used to go to my checkout-guy-who-sees-me-coming-a-mile-off in the first place.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Brain Teaser...
First, think of a person who lives in disguise, who deals in secrets and tells naught but lies.

Next, tell me what's always the last thing to mend, the middle of middle, and end of end?

Finally, give me the sound often heard during the search for a hard-to-find word.

Now string them together, and answer me this, what creature might you be unwilling to kiss?
Kylie's Slow...
Kylie's new single Slow is fantastic. A hypnotic techno beat and hot, breathy vocals. Trippy, seductive and very, very me.

I guess I've always been a Kylie fan from Day One. The Stock, Aitken and Waterman years were fantastic. I wasn't so taken with the Manic Street Preachers influences in the 90s. But recently Disco Diva has returned to form / her roots.

Good thing, I say.

Why, I am so taken with this recent outing I even tried out MSN's Music Club to download a copy for 99p. (But no doubt have opened a fresh can of worms as my installation on Windows Media Player has been 'upgraded' with that Digital Rights Management (DRM) bananas. Ugh!)

Maybe I should have waited for the CD: The Slow single is out 3rd November and the LP Body Language is out 17th November.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Gaydar make-over...
Gaydar's had a make-over.
Darryl's 30th Birthday Party: The Pictures...
A couple of weeks ago we went to the very delicious Darryl's 30th birthday party. He'd taken over the Royal Vauxhall Tavern on a Friday night for his exclusive use and we had a riot. Dame Edna even made an appearance to sing Darryl one of his favourite show tunes from Dream Girls (yes, you know the one). Why, there was even a pantomime horse at one point! Below are a few of the photos that Marky took (click on any for a larger version). However if you click on this link you will get a full slideshow of all the pictures he took with options of a filmstrip or previews. How modern.

Shake Your Tail Feather...
Tonight is the last night of SYTF and I shall be there shaking my tail feathers with a vengeance to bid it farewell. Deliciously gorgeous Darren has done a great job there and it's such a shame that the venue, Flip, is closing. Here is the message that Darren sent out.

Hi Shakers

I hope to see you all at the last SHAKE YOUR TAIL FEATHER at FLIP this Wednesday night for a night of unashamedly commercial Motown and 60’s Soul, 70’s Funk and some Rare Grooves.

As a thank you to all of you who have supported the club and stayed up way past your normal bedtime on a school night for the last six months this Wednesday night I'd like to invite you down to the club to shake your tail feathers one last time as my guest.

[OVERYOURHEAD: If you want to come along tonight then let me know ASAP and I'll ask Darren to put you on the guest list]

Be there or Be Square

Juggy x

It’s What’s In The Grooves That Counts

FLIP, 30 Lisle Street, London, WC2 (Leicester Sq underground)

FLIP runs a majority gay and lesbian door policy
Info: juggy@shakeyourtailfeather.co.uk