Consecutive Number Plate Spotting is a very, very silly game.

And now Claire is doing it. And I’m betting that there’ll be others we know who’ll want to try to beat her at it (I’m looking at you, Paul – there’s a number 1 parked on Bridge Street).

This could get very, very silly.

Postcard From Kit And Fi

Received a postcard this morning from Kit & Fi, and it’s as much to many of you lot as it is to me, so I’ll relay it to you here:

Postcard from Mull

Dear Dan, Claire, Paul, Bryn + Ruth, JTA, Andy, Siân & any other Troma fanatics (Jon + Hayley I’m guessing!)
Just thought we would write you a card to say we haven’t forgotten you all! On holiday in Mull, just finished making a Rhubarb crumble and will be planning trips to Iona + Oban. Should get down for freshers, but Fi will have to stay here – being a student and all!
Wish I could be with you all more! I do miss you!
Look after yourselves – say hi to the nocturnal bunch for me.
Love Kit + Fi… (it looks like it might say “Fio” or “Fiona”, but the stamp has been stuck over it)

Thanks for that, Kit, Fi. Made my morning (I usually only get envelopes with windows in them through my door). And yes, Kit, you got the postcode right.

Postcard from Mull×

Top 100 Movies According To Time

Paul: you might be interested in this (just for the challenge of watching them all) – Time have produced their top 100 movies list; take a look.

Claire and I went out with Sundeep last night to Reload at the Students Union, which was surprisingly good fun, apart from that weird man who briefly kidnapped Claire and the queues for the bar.

And in other news, progress seems to be being made on a number of new RockMonkey WikiGames, including Ruth‘s much-anticipated “The Adventures Of Tootie and Sweetie in the Land of the Happy Pixies”, which I’m looking forward to.

Keep Away From Fire

I hadn’t noticed before, but my jeans have a little label in them, sewn in right by my crotch. It reads:

Keep Away From Fire

Yeah; no shit – that’s my knob we’re talking about. Like I need a warning.

Another Quote From Claire

She’s particularly dippy tonight –

Woman on TV shopping channel, talking about product: “This is the R.S.P.C.A sleepshirt…”
Claire (commenting on apparent stupidity of presenter): “I bet she can’t even spell R.S.P.C.A.”

Quote From Claire

Claire: I’m not very confident about my exam this Saturday. That’s why I haven’t done any revision. And why I stopped attending the lectures.

Life Among Stressed Students

It’s exam week, and so I find myself surrounded by stressy students. Sundeep, in particular, worries far too much about her exams; but even Claire‘s not immune: while on the surface she’s fine, she’s been having weird dreams (of missing an exam… of failing an exam… spot a theme?) and has been getting frustrated easily. It took until I pointed this out that she noticed that this could be a result of subconscious stress about the exams. Bless. I remember being a student… while I too would always be cool as a cucumber, particularly challenging exams left me with (more) bizarre dreams for about a week afterwards.

Watched the Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy movie yesterday. It wasn’t as good as the TV series, which in turn wasn’t as good as the radio show, which in turn wasn’t as good as the books. But it was still pretty good: suitably trippy and “out there”, and with some great interpretations of the story and ways of putting it forward (including a stunning-looking scene where Arthur and Slartibartfast zip around the construction site of Earth II). A little fast-paced, it could have spread the story out a little more and thereby left less of the audience so confused, but as somebody who knew the story already, it made great watching.

Played through Full Throttle (on ScummVM) for the first time in years. It’s a short adventure game, with some ludicrously stupid puzzles, but it really is fun. When you’re hanging on the front of an armoured battle truck heading at breakneck speed for a cliff while the driver tries to shoot you with a pistol… and you panic… and look at your inventory… and the best thing you can think of to do is to shove a battery-powered fluffy bunny toy into the air intake… bzzzrrrt… “Fun!”, that game says. Ah, sweet. JTA, I’m assuming that now your exam is out of the way that you’ll be wanting a copy.

Rocking soundtrack, too, mostly by The Gone Jackals.

Work is good: I’m on a nice project that’s keeping me well-enthused, albeit also taking a lot of my time. It’s got polymorphic recursive PHP5 code in, that forms middleware between a relational database and an object-oriented model, so that’s pretty cool.

Speaking of programming, does anybody want to take on Jimmy‘s RockMonkey BigCloud Mapper (scroll down) challenge this summer? I don’t have the time or the inclination myself, but I’ll lend support to anybody who does.


Contrary to what JTA thinks, it’s quite easy to read by candlelight. I couldn’t sleep last night (or, to put it another way, I wasn’t even remotely tired by the time Claire went to bed, which is perhaps more a result of the fact that she’s not used to getting up so early in the morning as she had to yesterday, for her first exam), so I ended up reading for quite awhile to the light of two candles, and the light levels were fine. Perhaps your gamma correction is turned down too low, JTA… I have a screwdriver…

Right now I’m reading A Long Way Down, by Nick Hornby, which is quit un-put-downable. Darker than Hornby’s usual wit, it tells the story of four people who, coincidentally, on one particular New Year’s Eve, all choose the same tower block from which to commit suicide. The story is told, alternately, from their four unique perspectives, using their own unique language, and it’s… well… it’s just a fascinating story, so far.

And now, I’d better get off to work. But I’ll leave you with this satellite photo from Google Maps – what’s the large object in the centre of the picture?

Face-Burning Chilli

Many of you reading this will have eaten one of my chilli con carnes before, where I’ve used my Da Bomb: The Final Answer hot sauce in the recipe before (original recipe). For those not in-the-know, when cooking chilli to feed four or so, I tend to use the following system to measure the hot sauce:

1. Dip last centimetre or two of a strand of spaghetti into sauce bottle.
2. Wipe excess sauce off back into bottle.
3. Dip spaghetti strand into chilli pan, then dispose of.

And this makes a nice, weighty, fruity (it’s not all about heat, y’know), strong chilli. It’s a powerful little sauce.

Anyway, while cooking this evening, I noticed that my upper lip was starting to go numb. This is normally a bad sign, indicative of having spilt an untraceable quantity of The Final Answer (dubbed who dares burns) on my fingers and then accidently having touched my face. I recall the time I hadn’t washed my hands quite well enough before going to bed with Claire, and you should have heard her scream…

A pan of chilli and a pan of rice

…I digress. The stinging spread to my cheeks and got worse, and it took me some time to realise that what was causing this pain was, in fact, merely the habanero-infused steam ascending from my pans. Yes; the capsaicin quantity of this steam alone was enough to cause pain. This was where I became a little alarmed, and opened the window.

Surprisingly, this chilli is really quite mild… but I think I’ve come up with a recipe that makes toxic chilli-fied steam while it cooks, which is in it self remarkable. Now if only I can find a way to condense the steam and collect it into gas grenades…

A pan of chilli and a pan of rice×

Today’s Progress

Today’s progress – at work – has been stunning, compared to the problems of last week. This morning, I came in, plugged in, did the mandatory e-mail and blog checks, read some news, then got down to work. I slapped on some Pink Floyd (Echoes and Division Bell) and the code… just… worked. By just after lunchtime I’d finished everything I had to do today, and I’m now working on a quote for later in the week. Fabulous.

Dan at work, listening to Pink Floyd and hammering out code

And, to those who I may not see, good luck to Andy, Bryn, Claire, Faye, Hayley, Jen, Jen, Jimmy, Jon, JTA, Katie, Liz, Paul, Pete, Ruth, Sian, Sundeep, and Suz (the latter of whom I presume has some) in their upcoming exams. And to anybody else I’ve missed.

Dan at work, listening to Pink Floyd and hammering out code×