A week of no more than 5½ hours sleep a night led me to caffienation as an aid to get any work done, this week. It’s kept me awake to work, but has made me feel wierd and unwell, and last night, OD’d, had me get excessivley paranoid and curl up into a crying lump on Claire.

Caffiene is not good for me.

Beach Party Gone Bad

We walked back over the dunes from Ynyslas beach. I lead the way, planning to reach the car, drop off my bags, then go back and help Kit and Paul, who were struggling with most of the remaining barbeque gear. A few minutes behind me was Claire, and a few minutes behind her, Fiona, a friend from Stirling who’s visiting us for this week. Paul and Kit were a few dunes back.

As I climbed the last rise before the car park, an alarming vision appeared before me… water. Lots and lots of water. The tide had come in further than I’d have expected, and the rear half of the car was underwater, sinking into the sand and slowly filling it from the exhaust-pipe upwards with water!

I dropped my bags and ran back to the top of the dunes. “Claire!” I shouted, “Get your keys from your bag, drop your bag, and RUN!” She looked at me quizzically for a moment, but then, noting the severity in my voice and the specificity of my instructions, did exactly that. Meanwhile I ran past her and down into the valley. I raised a hand over my head and shouted to the others: “Fiona! Kit! Paul… FLOOD!”

Fiona and I reached the car together and waded out behind it. Claire revved the engine as we tried to push it from behind, but the partially-buried front wheels (combined with our inability to get a grip against the slippy underwater shore) prevented us from gaining more than a few inches.

Some strangers came by. One commented that “we’d never get it out like that” (helpful!). “Could you three lift the front up?” I asked, gesturing to the larger-looking of the men. They did so, and Fiona and I continued to push, and slowly but surely we extracted the vehicle from it’s watery sinkhole. Not a moment too soon, either – it was an hour from high tide, so there was a lot of water still to come.

Later, at Safeway, we cleaned the saltwater off the car using the jet wash, and went and had A Midsummer Night’s Troma. All in all, a fun day.

Claire also gives an account of the proceedings.

Go look at virtual Ynyslas dunes

Online Banking

NatWest phoned me today in response to my complaint the other day that their online bankings service refused to support Opera, my web browser of choice, seemingly for no good reason. I threatened to take my account elsewhere. Regardless, they’ve promised to look into it and try to make the site Opera-compatible, and I’ve said I’ll give them ’til Christmas.

Let your feet do the talking, people. It’s the only way that big companies (and banks) pay any attention at all.


As Kit relates, too, we made a fab chilli con carne (and, using Quorn mince, a ‘chilli non carne’ for Paul). Recipe as below (feel free to steal, adapt etc.):

serves 8

1 225g tin chopped tomato
1 5-portion bottle “sundried tomato” pasta sauce
4 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 tube double concentrate tomato paste
1 tube chilli paste
1 200g tin kidney beans
6 cloves garlic
12 medium closed-cup mushrooms, sliced
1 tblspn herbes de provence
6 mild green chilli peppers, sliced and de-seeded
1 small drop of “Da Bomb” mother-of-all-chilli-sauces (who dares burns)
2 teaspoons monosodium glutamate
pinch of salt
500g lean beef mince
250g quorn mince
olive oil

Fry the mince, and, in a seperate pan, the quorn – in a little olive oil. Toast the garlic (again, olive oil) in a seperate pan, add the mushrooms, and fry until cooked. Meanwhile, mix together the remaining ingredients in a large pan over a medium heat, stirring frequently. Add the cooked mushrooms and garlic to the tomato/chilli sauce, and heat for a further 5-10 minutes. Pour 2/3 of the sauce over the beef mince, and the remaining 1/3 over the quorn mince, and stir in. Serve with fajitas, tacos, or whatever else you like. Also tastes great re-heated, or with a little Worcester sauce added (not vegetarian, so don’t add it to the quorn pan!).

Without a doubt, Kit and I’s best chilli to date. Not hot enough to injure anybody… Bryn, who considers a medium curry “hot”, went back for seconds… but well-rounded, fruity (if substituting “Da Bomb”, use a good-quality chilli sauce), and warming. Brought my nose-end out in a sweat, and left us all sitting around in a mild chilli-induced euphoria. Fantastic.

Reb Leaves The Country!

It turns out that Reb (my ex-) was trying to get in touch with me to tell me that she was leaving the country: she’d decided on Saturday night that she wanted to tell me that today (Tuesday) she’d be leaving the UK to go and work for six months in Benidorm, returning for a few weeks in January before (if she can get a visa sorted out) moving to Egypt.

This is good for two reasons:

(a) This is something she’s wanted to do pretty-much since I met her, six years ago. She suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder, which causes her to become depressed during shorter days as a result of a dependancy upon sunlight to make ‘happy chemicals’ in the brain. Moving to more equatorial regions – at least for the winter – should make her a happier bunny.

(b) I no longer have to share a country with her. Seriously, it’s a great relief. I’m sure that folks in Preston will be glad to hear this news, too. Apparently she had a party to commemerate her leaving. I wonder if I can organise one, too, to celebrate that she’s gone.

But I suppose that’s excessivley harsh. When I spoke to her on the phone on Sunday I didn’t even for a moment get a compulsion to put a spear through her chest and skewer her to a tree, and I even smiled at the fact that we were talking (and not just at the fact that she was leaving).

She said that she misses me. I said that I was glad that I didn’t miss her, because she’d caused me enough self-abuse in my lifetime. She changed the subject.


Been excessivley busy this last week: lots and lots of work. Pulled a 16-and-a-half hour work day on Wednesday, fixing the entire network where my co-workers were unable to. It’s a lot nicer now. In other news, I won an eBay auction for a copy of the 1974 edition of Parker Games “Careers” board game, which is fab, and Claire, Bryn, Paul, Kit and I have been playing it all week.

Three Rings schedule looks tighter and tighter. Having some doubts about getting it to a stable 1.0 release by next weekend, the deadline.

Tonight, sometime after midnight, my awful ex-, Reb (if you ever hear me complain about my ex-, it’s undoubtedly her) dropped me two text messages out of the blue asking if I’m awake and to call her, in capitals (followed by two “X”s, which I take to be kisses). I can’t be arsed. I’ll drop her a text in the morning and find out what she wants.

Right now, I’m going to coax Claire to bed for rumpy-pumpy. ;-)

A Vasectospectacular Mistake

So this Brazillian man with a ear infection goes in for surgery, and, as a result of his sore ear, mis-hears the name announced in the doctor’s waiting room, and accidently gets a vasectomy.

What? Didn’t he think anything of it when the doctor applied a local anasthetic to the area under his balls and produced a scalpel? Apparently, he thought that the doctor knew best and that the infection must have travelled down that far. And didn’t think to ask. It’s a wierd world.

Dating Agency Stupidity

I saw this dating site today (don’t ask how I came accross that in my daily webtrawl)… the page in question has two major flaws:

1. Why would a dating company offer a “lifetime membership”? If they were truly any good at what they did – i.e. matchmaking – then shouldn’t you not-need to be a member for very long before you find Mr./Miss. Right and sail aay into the sunset? Surely the best dating agencies don’t need to offer memberships that cover more than one date, because they’re that good at matching people up?
2. I don’t think they meant for their legal agreement (see for yourself) to read “TERMS AGREEMENT GOES HERE”. Whooops!

Anyway, it made me smile. And my headache’s almost better now. Shame I’ve got almost no work done today.

How Am I Supposed To Feel?

After my stressy-rant the other day, Claire, Kit and Paul started tidying up Claire and my flat. My suspicions – that they were doing this to try to make my life a little less stressful – were confirmed by Claire one evening.

They mean well, but I can’t help but feel that instead of having lots of things to do and little motivation, I now have somewhat fewer things to do and little motivation. I’m not sure whether that’s an improvement or not. I guess it is. More prominently, for awhile I felt guilty: like by my blog entry I’d, like, emotionally blackmailed them into doing it. I mean: tidying my flat? I don’t know.

Claire’s not feeling well and has taken an early night, but I can’t sleep again.

I do feel a lot better though. I guess my friends’ efforts really have helped. It makes me happy to have friends who care. It makes the corners of my eyes twitch and my stomach try to swallow my heart, all by themselves. I guess this is what friends are for.

I’m going to check if Claire’s asleep and take her some more painkillers if she’s not. Then I think I’ll take a walk, then try to get some sleep.

To friendship.


Working late. I’ve got Club 977 (best 80’s cheese on the ‘net!) playing as loud as this computer goes, slamming out code at a rate more productive than I’ve been all week. Finally got past a bug that’d been troubling me for days. Phew! Just in time for a meeting tomorrow!

I’ve been getting a lot of concerned attention after my post, “Stress!”, earlier (I didn’t think I had so many avid readers). Thanks, all of you; you concern means a lot, but really – I’ll be okay: I land on my feet, remember! Just need to get my head down and get on with some stuff, that’s all, and a little bit of de-stressing onto the web was good, too.

A few more lines of code, methinks, before Claire arrives (she’s kindly giving me lifts to and from work while I’m being a lazy bugger and not sorting out my bike, the star).

Take care, y’all;


Things that are causing me excess stress and reduced sleep:


  • I’m writing program features that have been paid for, but may never be used.
  • I can’t keep a pcAnywhere connection to the client open for more than a few minutes.
  • I’ve been abandoned to sort out the database replication by myself.
  • A colleague insists upon demonstrating how stressed they are about their upcoming deadline, as if I needed reminding about mine (I’m already past it, and the client keeps phoning me to tell me all about it).
  • Pulling extra hours isn’t actually getting that much more work done.


  • I still have lots of Three Rings to go, most notabley a file-storing system, and I can’t find a way to focus on it.
  • I have heaps of laundry to do…
  • …oughta tidy up, too…
  • …and sort some things out with the bank, with my parents, with the Dept. of Comp. Sci…

But, above it all – the killer:

  • I can’t find the motivation to get on with any of it, and it’s all building up into a mammoth heap of incompleteness.

End of rant.