That’s how much better off I am per month than I was previously. Or, as I see it, three pints.
Thank you, Gordon Brown.
That’s how much better off I am per month than I was previously. Or, as I see it, three pints.
Thank you, Gordon Brown.
There’s been quite a lot said recently on abnib about class. JTA opened up the debate; Claire followed up by listing some of her least favourite things about the stereotypes of the middle class, and attracted a lot of debate in her comments; Matt P argued that the class system doesn’t exist (or, at least, isn’t relevant) in the UK any more anyway; and even Beth weighed in with her opinions on the whole thing, although it did take me prodding her with a virtual stick before she did so.
I thought it was about time that I rode in like a knight in slimy armour (wearing my helm of peripheral vision, of course) and closed the argument once and for all:
Who says I can’t be a half-middle-class, half-lower-class half-Elf, half-Orc?
(with insincere apologies to those who don’t play Munchkin)
I don’t visit Facebook often. In fact, I usually only log on once or twice a month to clear out the billions of requests to install applications (and block those applications) that people don’t seem to have noticed that I never accept, or to check up on a mis-placed phone number or e-mail address for some infrequently-contacted friend. But in any case, I’m not up-to-date with what’s commonplace on Facebook any more. But this unusual bulge in my list of friends amused me for a moment:
That’s four friends, in a row, who all set their “statuses” to something resembling the lyrics of a well-known song. Kieran may well be the colour of the wind, of course, but he’s still a ginger. I’m not in a position to comment on Owen’s body odour, and I’m doubtful that Adam is the one and only (although it’s genuinely possbile that there’s nobody he’s rather be). And Gareth’s apathy is… well, pretty much standard.
But it doesn’t seem so regular that a block of people adjacent to one another on my seemingly-randomly-sorted (I assume there’s some kind of clever hashing going on at the back-end for speed, or something) would all independently (none of them know one another, to the best of my knowledge) choose to have their statuses inspired by songs. Nobody else on my friends list is demonstrating this.
Perhaps I’m seeing patterns where they don’t exist, like seeing the face of Jesus in a balding dog’s back, or something. Just thought I’d share.
It’s been a busy week or so. Last Wednesday I went out to the first night of the Ship & Castle‘s real ale festival with Penny and Ele, on account of the fact that (a) Yay! Dozens of cask-conditioned beers! and (b) I hadn’t seen much of either of them for an aeon or two. The pub was completely packed, but that didn’t stop us from sampling a good selection of the beers and ciders on offer. Once one became available, I stole a stool to sit on.
Now it seems that some strange wizard must have enchanted that stool on some previous visit to the pub, with a mysterious spell of popularity, because it suddenly appeared that every fucker in the pub wanted to talk to me. The folks I knew (one or two more turned up), the folks I barely knew (“I’m sorry, but I can’t remember how I’m supposed to know you?” territory)… even strangers seemed to know who I was or, failing that, want to. Two people said “hey, you’re that guy with the blog,” as if that in some way cuts it down in this town (abnib disagrees). One woman waved as if I’d known her for years but I can’t place a name to her face. Another chap – his flirtatiousness outdone only by his drunkeness – almost coerced a blush out of me with a particularly charming compliment. And it just kept on going, and going…
When the pub finally kicked us out (and we’d added Lizzie to our party), we hunted for another pub but without success, and so we scooped up beer and wine and took the party to the living room of The Cottage, where we talked all kinds of bollocks, drinking and listening to music – and joined for awhile by Tom, who came in looking drunk and stained with ash, drank half a bottle of beer, urinated in the back yard, and left again – until it was getting close to 4am and I thought it really ought to be time for bed, considering my planned early start at work the following morning. How Penny survived (she started work even earlier) I haven’t a clue.
A major difference between being in your late twenties and being in your early twenties, in my experience, is not one of having less energy for a late night (or early morning) of drinking, but one of responsibility. As a 27-year-old, I’m quite aware that I can still survive an all-night party (although it’s getting harder!). But when somebody spontaneously suggests something like “Let’s stay up and party and watch the sun rise,” instead of saying “Yeah!” I say, “Hmm… I’ve got work in the morning… maybe…” It’s easy to be made aware of this distinction when you’re in a student town, as I am, and it’s easy to be made to feel even older than I am. On the other hand, it helps to give every opportunity to pretend I’m less aged than I actually am.
So then Thursday was the anticipated long day at work, followed by a quick dinner before a rush up to the Arts Centre to see Steeleye Span, on JTA‘s recommendation. Steeleye Span are a “proper” folk rock band: y’know, they’ve had every single member replaced at some point or another and still keep the same name, like Theseus’s ship, and they’ve written songs that they don’t play any more, but that other folk bands do. That kind of definition. They were pretty good – a reasonable selection of songs from the usual slightly saucy and sometimes unintelligble varieties that they’re known for, and a particularly strong finish to the concert with a rousing sing-along rendition of All Around My Hat (which, I later discovered, they played as an encore the last time my dad saw them, about a decade or more ago – I guess that’s the third characteristic of a “proper” folk rock band: that your parents have seen them perform, too).
By now, I was getting to a point where I was tired enough to not be making much sense any more when I talked (as if I ever do), and I slept well, although not for long, because I had to make an even earlier start at work on Friday morning to make sure I got everything I needed to get done done before travelling up North in the evening.
So yeah: Friday evening we travelled up to Preston and had pizza with my folks, and then on Saturday morning I found myself taking my sister Becky‘s place in the BT Swimathon. She’d been suffering from a lung infection for a week or more, now, and had to pull out, so – despite having barely swum at all for several years – I pulled on my trunks and a swimming cap and contributed 1750m to the team effort. And then dragged my body out of the pool just in time for Claire and I to rush off to Formby for her godmother’s funeral, which is what we’d actually come up to the North-West to do.
Oh yeah, and I got a medal, which I’ve been wearing ever since.
I can’t say much about Claire’s godmother’s funeral, because I only met her once, and then only briefly. Her husband – she’d been married for 52 years; they’d been teenage sweethearts – was quite obviously finding her death difficult, yet still managed to deliver a beautiful and moving eulogy for his dear departed wife. Apart from the religosity of the service (not to my taste, but I suppose it wasn’t really there for me anyway) it was very good, and the church building was packed – this was obviously a popular woman.
Her body seems to be going “on tour”: she’s having a second service – the actual funeral – in Norfolk today. I wonder if it’ll be as full. Not many people get two funerals. Perhaps the popularity will wane after the first. On the other hand, you might get groupies… seems to be what Claire’s doing, as she’s down in Norfolk now and presumably went to the second funeral, too.
Later, we found ourselves in Manchester. We’d hoped to go guitar-shopping (Claire’s looking for a new one), but ended up there just barely in time to eat some noodles and go to meet my family, and each of my sister’s boyfriends, at the Odeon IMAX cinema to see Shine A Light, the Rolling Stones concert film/documentary. The film was… better than I would have expected, and the resolution of the IMAX filmstock really showed during long pans and high-detail closeups on the band in concert, although I wasn’t particularly impressed with the editing: too many cuts, too much crossing the line, and (on a huge screen) almost nauseating thanks to the bumps and bounces the cameras made. It was also a little too-much concert and not-enough documentary, perhaps because the band have never really interviewed very well. In one old BBC clip, Keith Richards is asked what has brought the band it’s initial success, and he simply shrugs. In another – in the early 1970s – Mick Jagger‘s only answer about the band’s future is “I think we’ve got at least another year left.”
A few games of Mario Party 8 with my family later (one of which, amazingly, my mum won!), and we were back on the road. Claire dropped me off at Birmingham New Street station so I could catch a train back to Aberystwyth, as I needed to be back at work this morning, and she carried on to Norfolk to visit her dad and to attend the other half of her godmother’s funeral.
My journey back to Aberystywth was pretty horrendous. Trains are cancelled between Shrewsbury and Aber right now, and replaced with a bus service, and I’m not sure I’ve ever been on a less pleasant bus journey in my life. Five-seats wide, I was squished into falling half-off my uncomfortable seat even sat next to somebody as small as Matt P (who I’d happened to bump into on the journey). There was barely any knee-room, and the air conditioning only had two settings, neither of which was particually pleasant but for reasons of completely different extremes.
We finally got back to Aber just in time to join in at Geek Night, where Ruth, Penny, and Rory were just finishing a game of Carcassonne. JTA arrived, too, and the six of us played the largest game of Settlers of Catan I’ve ever played. We also managed to have a couple of games of Hypercube Hop, Ruth’s dad’s first board game published under his new Brane Games label. For those of you that missed it, I’m sure there’ll be an opportunity to give it a go at some future Geek Night.
Then today I posed for topless photos for Ele. But that’s another story and I’ve got to go and eat dinner so I’ll leave it at that.
I finally sobered up sometime this afternoon, right in the middle of some Perl programming. I spent some time staring at all of the symbols and regexen in the code. To be honest, I think I preferred it when I was drunk.
More if and when I can be bothered. For now… back to the pub again!
Strange. Four of the last twenty text messages I’ve recieved have contained just the word “No”. And that’s it.
It’s not even like they’re all from the same person (they’re from three different people). My friends are usually far more articulate than than that. I feel like there’s some kind of conspiracy to fill my phone up with negativity.
Hmm. Now I sound like some kind of hippy.
Last Firefly Night tomorrow (Monday). See you there!
Went out last night for curry and beer to celebrate Paul‘s birthday (yes, we’re all well aware that Paul’s birthday was almost a month ago, but this was the first chance we’d had to really get together and make an ocassion of it). It was great to get together with a handful of folks rarely seen in the same place outside of Troma Night – and in some cases, recently, not even then – and have a good night out.
At the end of the evening I was quite tipsy; a direct result of the fact that or a few hours before the curry I’d been “warming up” with ales in the Ship & Castle with Matt P. And, as you may have noticed by now, there’s a strong correlation between me going to bed drunk and me blogging about particularly unusual dreams. I skipped a dream that I couldn’t be arsed to blog about, near the end of last month, under similar intoxication. I’d made some notes on it, as I try to with everything I dream about, but never found time to write it up to standards of internet legibility (whatever that can be taken as meaning).
In any case, last night was a classic example of me dreaming within-a-dream, which I gather is something a lot of people haven’t experienced (for me, while not commonplace, it’s not terribly rare, either, for me to “wake up” within a dream, or to remember previous dreams as dreams within the one I’m currently ‘in’). Note the double-indentation to ease understanding of which dream I’m referring to:
I had been hosting a house party of some variety, in a somewhat larger (and significantly tidier) version of The Cottage, and it was beginning to wind up – most of the guests had gone home, except for a few small, scattered groups in different parts of the building (I mentioned that it was bigger than The Cottage usually is, right? – there are times that the word “mansion” could have come to hand). JTA, Claire and Ruth were somewhere upstairs; Bryn was talking to Andrew Rawlins (!) in a kitchen reminiscent of my dad’s house; and I was in the living room, talking to Penny.
If I remember rightly we were talking about oral sex technique. So, just a regular conversation for me, you’re probably thinking. And that’s about the time that we kissed.
We hid that we’d been kissing from Bryn and Andrew as they came through the living room, said goodbye, got their coats and left. And again, when Gareth, Penny’s partner, arrived by car to pick her up. And then I went to bed.
And then I woke up. I don’t specifically remember waking up, but I remember having a moment of realisation that everything that had just happened was a dream. It was an unusual dream, sure (although not entirely unpleasant: Penny’s pretty hot), but just a dream, and so I got on with my day. Leaving Claire in bed, I went to work, and I remember thinking about the fact that I would undoubtedly blog about the dream I’d had, and that I hoped I wouldn’t alarm or embarrass Penny by doing so!
And then I woke up. Actually, this time, and there was a moment of confusion as I remembered that it was Ruth I’d spent the night with last night, not Claire at all, and I spent the first few minutes of the morning trying to work out where the dreams began and ended. Perhaps more confusingly, I discovered when I woke up that I’d somehow, in the night, managed to cut my hand and I was bleeding all over the place. I snapped the following photo after I’d cleaned it up a bit.
Ruth theorised that she attacked me in my sleep because she was jealous that I was kissing Penny in my dreams, going on to add that she wanted to be dreaming of kissing Penny. But I’m not sure if she’d approve of me blogging that, so you should pretend that I didn’t.
Do you or anybody you know routinely dream that you are dreaming? Or wake up from a dream with an unusual injury? Or have dreams that involve your friends cheating on their partners with you?
In the middle of their concert at the Cardiff International Arena, 3rd April 2008, The Australian Pink Floyd Show began their 20-minute intermission by projecting the “Intermission” from Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
I took Claire, Ruth and JTA to see The Australian Pink Floyd Show at the Cardiff International Arena last night. Claire and I had seen them before, back in 2005, and they were as fabulous as ever: I maintain that this tribute band is the only one I’ve ever seen that, at times, can be better than the band to which it’s a tribute.
What might be slightly sadder is that for me, one of the highlights of the show was that during the intermission, the screen at the back of the stage showed a recoding of the intermission sequence from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, as shown from time to time at Troma Night by Paul. If you can’t see the recoding below, try over here.
The music was typically spectacular, as was the light and laser show that so-traditionally accompanies it, right down to the biggest glitterball I’ve ever seen lighting up the entire arena with twinkly lights during the final numbers. If only I hadn’t had to pay £3.80 per (plastic) bottle for the privilege of a warm, watery beer, it’d have been even better. Ah well.
After the show, the four of us found the most disgusting food in all of Cardiff from a take-away around the corner from the venue. While you can imagine how they fucked up my chicken burger, it’s beyond me how they could make a mess of re-heating a spring roll for JTA or even of cooking corn on the cob for Ruth, but somehow they did.
I don’t want to stir up trouble, and I don’t have any intention to take sides. I’m going to say a couple of things, for which I fully expect to be misinterpreted and I’m all set for the barrange of comments I’ll get hereafter. But hey, that’s enough disclaimerism. On to the controversy:
In case you hadn’t heard and somehow Bryn’s blog post didn’t give anything away (in which case: what planet are you on?), Bryn and Heather split up last month. From my perspective – admittedly one skewed by being hundreds of miles away and getting most of my Bryn/Heather related news and happenings third-hand – this was pretty much inevitable by this point: it sounds as if their relationship had reached it’s expiry date.
Is it sad? Is it happy? There’s some of both of those feelings in there, I’m sure, but from where I am it’s mostly just a change, and not one that directly affects me. I hope that both of them have long and happy love lives hereafter, and that from the remains of the relationship that they have the choice to salvage or to not salvage a friendship – whichever they prefer.
That sounds cold, but I’ve had relationships that have ended with that choice available, and I’ve had relationships that have ended without that choice available. In my experience, those where my ex- and I have felt able to choose “where we go next” have been orders of magnitude easier than those in which we have not. This has been true even where the choice would ultimately be to go our separate ways, or to never talk to one another again.
But I didn’t write this entry as some kind of veiled excuse to analyse my own past love life within a conveniently post-topical context. So I’ll stop talking about myself.
Heather dropped me a message recently, and asked that it be circulated amongst the abnibbers. As she hints in it that she’d have blogged it if she had a blog, I can only assume that she’d be happy with it appearing here, on mine. Obviously I wouldn’t publish it if I felt it were blatantly offensive or trying to cause upset or harm, but as that doesn’t seem to be the case, here it is:
Subject: In response to Bryn’s non-moderation of my comment re. Sundeep’s comment on his blog.
…And also given that my blog got lost in the ‘great server crash’, and I (understandably) haven’t had it resurrected on Bryn’s site:
I’ve sent this to as many abnib readers as I can think of in my friends list. I’d be grateful if it could be passed around to anyone I don’t have or have forgotten.
This isn’t meant to be an attack on anyone in particular, more a reflection of my complete lack of any other media to communicate in.
I am aware that Sundeep’s comment wasn’t meant in this manner, however the content of it was really quite upsetting. I am still hurting more than I thought possible over this breakup, and reading about Bryn in this sort of context is quite like having something very painful twisted around in the region of my heart. I’m well aware that I cannot prescribe anybody’s behaviour, and in all likelihood, what Sundeep has said will occur, and that Bryn is entitled to dance with as many attractive women as he likes. However, things happening that I know nothing about, and cheerful messages posted in an open forum are entirely different things, and I’d very much appreciate it if, for the time being, we could all try not to rub in my face how very much Bryn is enjoying his new single life, and happy with all his friends, whilst I am at home, lonely and brokenhearted.
I’m not digging for sympathy, or trying to slander, or anything like that. But as I have been denied my most effective method of getting over things by not being able to communicate with Bryn through any method at all, it’s going to take me a good deal of time to get over this, and I’d appreciate all the help I can get.
Thanks for your time.
Before I get the obvious complaint: I fully respect Bryn’s right to censor comments on his blog: it’s his blog, after all, and it’s up to him what passes as a valid comment. Moreover, I’m of the opinion that if Heather doesn’t want to know about the good (or bad) things happening in Bryn’s life, it’s easy enough to simply not read his blog – I certainly don’t feel that blogging counts as “rubbing her face in it.”
If you still wish to complain, there’s a form below. And if you have the balls to do so non-anonymously, all the better.
I’ve always had a thing for big, overcomplicated April Fools’ gags. Traditionally, we’d always play pranks on Penbryn Halls at the University, but it’s not so easy these days to gain access to halls of residence, now that they’ve installed door locks that don’t open by themselves when you so much as breathe hard on them, so I thought it was time to broaden my sights.
I work for a company based in the Aberystwyth Technium on the marina. A few weeks ago, the Technium management had arranged for the installation of a new fence and automatic car park barriers, to allow the building to better control who has access to the offices’ car parking spaces (car parking spaces being a particularly valuable commodity in Aberystwyth). These barriers haven’t come online yet, but apparently they will “soon” (which is regional-government-speak for “someday, maybe”).
Early on the morning of 1st April, I put out an e-mail to all resident companies at the Technium, spoofed so that it appeared to come from Technium management and emulating their writing style and the way that they typically send out bulk messages to the tenants.
Annwyl pawb ,
The key fobs for the new car park barrier system need to be ordered via an online application form . The application needs to be filled in as your key fobs will be uniquely linked to your vehicle.
The application form is only available online at http://www.techniumnetwork.info/aberystwyth/carparking/
Once you have applied, central office will send out the key fobs to us in a week or two. Please fill in the form as soon as possible so that the key fobs all arrive at the same time.
Gweithredydd Technium Aberystwyth
Technium Aberystwyth Executive
The techniumnetwork.info domain name is one that I’d picked up the day before for the best part of 49p on a special offer with a registrar – the real Technium website is at www.technium.co.uk, but I figured that people wouldn’t pay attention to the domain name: even the tenants here probably don’t spend much time, if any at all, on the Technium website. I stole the stylesheet and layout for the official website and adapted it to my purposes: there’s a mirror up now at http://techniumnetwork.scatmania.org/aberystwyth/carparking/ if you want to see for yourself.
The site begins by looking like a genuine application form, asking for all of the key details – your personal and company information, basic details of your car – and slowly starts over many, many pages of forms to ask sillier and sillier questions. “What colour is your car?” is a drop-down with “Red” and “Other” as the only options. “What noise does your car make?” is accompanied by options like “Vroom!” and “Brum-brum.” Later questions ask whether or not your car is capable of transforming into a giant robot and challenge you to correctly identify road signs that have been altered in comedic ways.
The trick worked, and many of the tenants were fooled… some of them well-past the point at which they should have thought the form was genuine; and almost all of them believed, even when they realised that the form was a joke, that it had been set up by the Technium themselves. It was only when one tenant decided to pass a copy of the e-mail on to the real Sion Meredith that the building management heard anything about it, and, sadly, put a stop to it by sending out an e-mail to say that it was all a joke, and not one by them.
After he’d worked out it was me that was behind it… I’d taken steps to make it obvious to anybody who bothered to check up on it, so as to maximise the understanding that it was, in the end, just a joke: the last thing I wanted was some humourless bureaucrat to see this gag (which did, of course, involve feigning the identity of a government employee) as a terrorist threat or something …he got his own back, though. He came up to my office at a few minutes to midday to inform me that he’s had to pass on my details to the Technium legal team, and he managed to make my heart skip a beat before I realised that he, too, was just having a joke.
A selection of feedback so far on the gag after I sent out a “gotcha” e-mail to everybody affected:
I had to leave the room when it first started to catch Simon out: I heard him phoning his wife to ask for a reminder of their cars’ number plates and had to excuse myself so as not to give the game away with my girlish giggling.
So, that was all good, and far more successful than my backup plan which involved passing on missed call messages to co-workers to ask them to return a call to Rory Lyons at Captive Audience on 01244 380280. The number is actually the number for Chester Zoo: I so very nearly made some of the people I work with unwittingly call up Chester Zoo on the morning of April 1st and ask, “Can I speak to Rory Lyons, please?” It’s a good prank, anyway – I’ll save it for another time: or if you want to give it a go (it doesn’t even have to be April Fools’ Day, with a great joke like that), let me know how you get on!
…seems to be to not text me me Google Calendar alerts this morning. So I didn’t get reminded to put the bins out, which I’ve kind-of come to rely on. Whoops!