Halloween In Aber

I’m a big bad wolf, it seems. And last night I, along with Little Red Riding Hood (Claire), Death (Bryn), Paul (Andy!), Judge Doom [barely] (JTA), Pinocchio (Matt), and Matt (not in costume… grr), went out to the Coopers Arms to see Pagan Wanderer Lu. And he was good – some songs I knew, some songs I didn’t: tried to buy a CD at the end but it was £3 and Claire and I only had a £20 note between us and he evidently hadn’t sold £17 worth (i.e. 6) CDs yet because he couldn’t give us change so he’s holding one for us. Nothing rhymes with ‘Aberystwyth’, by the way.

We didn’t stay for much longer, because by this point the room was very full and very hot (particularly with us all in costumes)… so we bailed and went for a sly drink in Scholars, before retiring to the flat to watch My Neighbours, The Yamadas. Which was good.

Hmm… what’s everybody else saying:

ClaireMelton Wanted Even More Than MisterJTA

I’ve been playing around on RockMonkey a little much these last two days (it’s a wiki-based site I’ve helped Andy set up. Today, while browsing the WantedPages list (a list of pages that have been referenced by other pages but not yet defined) I noticed something interesting: the most-wanted entry is… ClaireMelton: eight pages reference my dear Claire, but nobody has dared to define her. More interesting still is that MisterJTA is also wanted, and the pages that reference him are as follows:

What a wonderful definition is sure to come from this start.

Meanwhile, I’m spending far too little time working, which means that I’ve got lots to do this Friday – servers to set up, code to write, clients to beat off with a stick… still; nearly the weekend now.

Went with Bryn and Claire last night, for the second of their three-day real ale festival. Tried a few fabulous brews, which was a nice distraction from all the things I’m supposed to be getting on with.

Back to it…

The Mathematics Of Woman

Here’s a thought for you. We all know that women seem to take up a lot of time and money – in actual fact, having women is the product of time and money, which can be expressed thusly:

women = time x money

We also know, from the old adage, that “time is money”:

time = money

As a result, we can substitute money for time in our original premise, to give us:

women = money x money
women = money2

And since “money is the root of all evil”, we can go on to state:

money = sqrt(evil)

This derives to:

money2 = evil

By substituting money squared for evil, we can therefore conclude once and for all:

women = evil


A Great Wedding Was Had By All

Bryn, Paul, Claire and I went to Kit and Fiona‘s wedding this weekend. Despite the hideously long drive (almost 11 hours, with driver/navigator pairs driving and sleeping in shifts in order to maintain progress) throughout Friday night – and the equally long journey back on Sunday, it was a most fantastic and memorable experience.

The event took place in Aberlour and Knockando, which is pretty much as far North as you can get in the United Kingdom and still recognise people as being human. It’s actually only about 50 miles from Inverness, where I was born, set in a beautiful string of valleys North of the Grampian mountains.

The service was great – despite a few early setbacks (such as the bride arriving and wondering where the groom was… he hadn’t run away, it turns out, but was with the best man and the reverend, sorting out some of the mandatory paperwork…) – the Knockando church is built in the style of the 700-year old one that stood there until six years ago, when it burnt to the ground. Fiona looked fantastic, everybody sang along to silly Christian verse, Steve didn’t lose the rings, and nobody fluffed their wedding vows. That said, when the vicar who was officiating the ceremony asked Fiona to repeat, “And I promise this in the name of God, the father, the son, and the holy ghost,” she looked shocked for a moment – having just forgotten the first bit – and said, “Umm… help?” to request that he prompted her again. Which was sweet, in it’s own special way.

The reception was held at a lovely hotel in Aberlour – The Dowans Hotel – which, to the joy of Bryn and I – hosted an impressive 80 different varieties of whiskey, including treats like Oban, McAllans, and the very palatable locally-distilled Aberlour. The area is deep in whiskey country and Bryn and I had tried earlier in the day to visit one of the distilleries, without success (seemed to be closed for the winter, despite signs to the contrary, so we instead went and bought four kilos of shortbread, which will keep Paul happy for some time). Kit’s speech – which, as is traditional, spoke of how he and Fiona met – was particularly touching, describing the fascinating story of how they came together, and gave thanks to the project I did for my dissertation, which was in fact what Kit was giving a presentation on (in my absence) when they first met! Steve – the best man – also delivered a good speech: fighting against a moderately-obvious fear of talking to an entire room at once in order to take apart some of Kit’s more obvious flaws, such as his ability to get lose even given a map (he later gave them very carefully-delivered and well-described directions to their honeymoon venue, perhaps just to rub it in).

We ate a great meal, and then took part in several traditional highland dances – embarrassingly, all alien to me, but we soon discovered that the best approach was simply to ask a local to join you in a dance, and you’d soon understand what was going on… or fall over trying. Bryn, in particular, seemed to enjoy dancing with several pretty Scottish lasses, and was actually really quite good (lesson of the day: despite his protests, Bryn is actually a good dancer!). Between the alcohol, the company, and the dancing, Bryn seemed to have a fantastic time – I’ve not seen him quite so happy in many months! Restricted by tight-fitting trousers (I really should have gotten myself a kilt in the Huntley tartan before the wedding) I did a little less well, but still really enjoyed drinking myself silly then whirling around with random party guests.

Kit and Fiona left for their honeymoon in the northern isles (the mad fools!) in style, sent off by a cheer from the hotel courtyard and with tin cans trailing behind their car, and – a few drinks later – we made our excuses to leave, too: we had, it must be remembered, not slept properly since the previous morning, as we’d spent all of the last night travelling up there! Breaking with Scottish wedding tradition, nobody got involved in a fight (although Paul and Steve almost did at one point, and I’m pretty sure that if I’d have worn the Huntley tartan, some long-forgotten inter-clan battle would have begun again after centuries of peace). We retired to our (also lovely) bed and breakfast down in the town, taking turns to carry Claire (who’s feet, squeezed into quite impractical shoes, were hurting pretty badly).

All in all, a fantastic event. I’m really glad that I made it up there to see Kit and Fiona get married, and the party thereafter was wonderful too. Well worth the drive.

Related Links

Amused Me This Monday Morning

Two things of a religious nature that amused me this morning:

The Rapture Index – what happens if you take the models used to predict global stock exchange behaviour and apply them to biblical prophecy about “the last days”. It’s funny, right up until you realise that they’re absolutely serious. Pretty site, though.

How To Tell If Your Child Is A Goth (and therefore worshipping Satan and in great danger!) – hilariously bad, scary how the fundamentalist Christians find these things to blame for the world’s evils and to find Satan in. I particularly love the fact that you can tell that you have “strayed from the path of the Lord” by what breakfast cereal you eat. I originally lifted the entry from Faye‘s blog, but as she’s made it “friends only” I can’t link to it from here. Archived copy.

Dumb McBrainfart

I can’t believe I’ve spent most of the morning wondering why a web site I’m working on (yes… actual work) kept causing Apache to crash, when I realised that I’d made a recursive function with no break condition, which caused the execution of a recursive function with no break condition, which caused the execution of a recursive function with no break condition, which caused the execution of…

In any case, it’s not all bad news, because I seem to have (at long last) gotten the DNS server on Big.McLargeHuge: Andy, Ruth, JTA, Paul and I’s (and maybe Bryn‘s) new VServer, which is nice. Just a pity I don’t have time to finish fixing PHP5/mySQL before Sunday, because otherwise I’d do a test-transfer of the Troma Night web site. Ah well.

This evening, Claire, Bryn, Paul and I are travelling to Scotland for Kit‘s and Fiona‘s wedding. If all goes to plan, we’ll be taking… a very unusual wedding present. Can’t say more here, yet, but watch this space.

Wild Winter For Aberystwyth

Storm brewing over Aberystwyth harbour

All the usual old folks are saying that this winter could be even wetter and wilder than last year for Aberystwyth. We had a hailstorm come in from the sea, today, which battered quite marvellously at the front of our new sea-facing offices. The picture above was snapped just before it started to fall.

Opening the door out onto the sea… forcing myself out into the wind, pushing hard against me… and looking down towards the marina… I suddenly found myself reminiscingOne thousand… two thousand… three thousand… check canopy!

In other news:

  • Claire‘s started working for Game in Aberystwyth.
  • We’re all pretty much prepared to head up to Scotland this weekend for Kit and Fiona‘s wedding.
  • Bryn seems to be getting more and more stressed with the world in general.
  • I’ve been helping set up a new vserver for some friends and I, Big.McLargeHuge.

It’s all a little busy… but that’s the best way, really. Isn’t it?

Storm brewing over Aberystwyth harbour×

Now! And Then

Maybe it’s just me… maybe it’s personal taste… maybe it’s to do with when I was born… but I’ve always felt that all the best dance and trance music was produced between about 1990 and 1996. It’s all there. After that it all got silly and rappy and sounded like the same old stuff. Before that I was too young to care by far, but even so, it doesn’t seem to be up to scratch.

I theorised once that dance music – good dance music – ages: and that the best dance music at any given time was approximately nine years and eight months old. Perhaps that’s just to do with my age, again, or maybe it’s to do with humans and how nostalgic they get about things about ten years ago. Or maybe I’m still too young to develop such a theory anyway. But there’s a lot of people who’ve supported me in this brave little theory.

At heart, I’m a rocker. Give me something with a wild man on a guitar and lyrics that actually mean something and I’m in my happy place. But secretly, I’ve always had a passion for dance music, particularly trance music (or, as I put it – dance music with the bassline removed either entirely, or alternately, throughout the song). It’s great to write code to… and it’s amazing how productive you can be on a long night’s hacking with some dance music thumping away in the background, as I suggested some weeks back. It’s because you don’t have to think when you’re listening to dance music… it just happens. But the thing that makes good dance music good is that it makes you feel happy (discussions about beatrates divided by heartrates and theories about the reasons for this are left for another day).

So; as I said, there’s been a nasty lull in dance music for the last eight years or so, with only a few notable and worthwhile tracks released therein, IMNSHO. But the other day, in Burger King with Gareth, I ended up in a discussion about the music that was playing on the radio at the time. It was dance music, but it was actually good. We suggested that we may be entering a period of revival of “good” dance music. So I’m spending the evening on alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.dance, downloading heaps of randomly-selected new dance tracks, to see if they’re any good.

It’d be nice if they were. I have some big coding projects to do before Christmas, and I could do with some mindless happybouncey music to do it to.

Feel Like Santa

I bet Santa’s busy this time of year, too, judging by the fact that the supermarkets seem to have completely forgotten Halloween and Bonfire Night in favour of Christmas. Let’s see, there’s…

Another Busy Weekend
I’ve spent another weekend helping out those folks at Aberystwyth Nightline with the training of their new volunteers. Despite having graduated and leaving the organisation earlier this year, they still invited me back to help impart some knowledge onto the new trainees. Which was nice – it’s good to still feel wanted despite being an “old fogie” to it all – but draining: I’m not used to working harder at the weekend than I do during the week.

Next Weekend’s Not Much Better
From a being busy perspective, that is. Next weekend I’ll be in Scotland, of course, to witness and celebrate Kit and Fiona‘s wedding. Amazing how fast that’s crept up. In other news, Jon and Hayley are now engaged, and much merriment ensues.

Move To The Technium
SmartData has now pretty-much entirely moved to Aber Technium, a lovely seafront building just 10 minutes walk from my house. Sadly, this means that I now have a whole heap of extra work to do, setting up new server gear and sorting us out with our own online dedicated server. Despite my protests, the company has decided that our first dedicated online server is to be a Windows Server 2003 (Web Edition) box, which means we can’t go with Diogel, my first choice for web hosting.

In Other Web-Related News
And in another almost-as-geeky turn of events, Ruth, JTA, Andy (the rock monkey), Matt and I are working towards getting a virtual server together. The server that currently hosts Scatmania, Abnib, Troma Night, and others, is getting a little crowded these days, so we’re going to alight and find ourselves greener pastures.

And Finally, An Interesting News Item
This amused me today: an Oregon student was surprised to have his house assaulted by police and rescue teams, after his new wide-screen television began to suddenly transmit the international rescue beacon signal. He’s been offered a free replacement.

And on that note, I’m off home.