My Default Apps at the End of 2023

Kev Quirk, Colin Walker, and other cool kids I follow online made it sound fun to share your “lifestack” as we approach the end of 2023.

So here’s mine: my digital “everyday carry” list of the tools and services I routinely use:

  • 📨 Mail Service: Proton Mail
  • 📮 Mail Client: Thunderbird (Desktop), Proton Mail App (Android), Proton Mail webmail (anywhere else)
  • 📝 Notes: Obsidian, Syncthing (for cross-device sync)
  • To-Do: Obsidian, physical notepad [not happy with this; want something more productive]
  • 📆 Calendar: Google Calendar (via Thunderbird on Desktop) [not happy with this; want something not-Google – still waiting on Proton Calendar getting good!]
  • 🙍🏻‍♂️ Contacts: Proton Mail
  • 📖 RSS Service: FreshRSS, selfhosted
  • 🗞️ RSS Client: FreshRSS (Desktop), FeedMe (Android)
  • ⌨️ Launcher: RayCast (MacOS), PowerToys Run (Windows)
  • ☁️ Cloud storage: ownCloud (selfhosted)
  • 🌅 Photo library: plain old directories! [would like: something selfhosted, mostly filesystem-driven, with Web interface]
  • 🌐 Web Browser: Firefox (everywhere)
  • 💬 Chat: Slack, WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram
  • 🔖 Bookmarks: Firefox (easy access), Wallabag (selfhosted, for long-term archiving)
  • 📚 Reading: dead tree format [my Kindle v2 died and I’m seeking a non-Amazon replacement; suggestions welcome], Calibre
  • 📜 Word Processing: Microsoft Word, Google Docs
  • 📈 Spreadsheets: Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets
  • 📊 Presentations: reveal.js
  • 🛒 Shopping Lists: pen and paper
  • 💰 Personal Finance: Google Sheets
  • 🎵 Music: YouTube Music [not entirely happy with it; considering replacement]
  • 🎤 Podcasts: FreshRSS; experimenting with Pocket Casts
  • 🔐 Password Management: KeePassXC, Syncthing (for cross-device sync)
  • 🤦‍♂️ Social Media: Mastodon, selfhosted
  • 🔎 Search: DuckDuckGo
  • 🧮 Code Editor: Sublime Text
  • ⌨️ KVM: Barrier
  • 🗺️ Navigation: OpenStreetMap, Google Maps, Talkietoaster (Garmin Montana)
  • 📍 Location Tracking: uLogger
  • 🔗 Blog: WordPress, selfhosted

Breakups as HTTP Response Codes

103: Early Hints ("I'm not sure this can last forever.")
103: Early Hints (“I’m not sure this can last forever.”)
300: Multiple Choices ("There are so many ways I can do better than you.")
300: Multiple Choices (“There are so many ways I can do better than you.”)
303: See Other ("You should date other people.")
303: See Other (“You should date other people.”)
304: Not Modified ("With you, I feel like I'm stagnating.")
304: Not Modified (“With you, I feel like I’m stagnating.”)
402: Payment Required ("I am a prostitute.")
402: Payment Required (“I am a prostitute.”)
403: Forbidden ("You don't get this any more.")
403: Forbidden (“You don’t get this any more.”)
406: Not Acceptable ("I could never introduce you to my parents.")
406: Not Acceptable (“I could never introduce you to my parents.”)
408: Request Timeout ("You keep saying you'll propose but you never do.")
408: Request Timeout (“You keep saying you’ll propose but you never do.”)
409: Conflict ("We hate each other.")
409: Conflict (“We hate each other.”)
410: Gone (ghosted)
410: Gone (ghosted)
411: Length Required ("Your penis is too small.")
411: Length Required (“Your penis is too small.”)
413: Payload Too Large ("Your penis is too big.")
413: Payload Too Large (“Your penis is too big.”)
416: Range Not Satisfied ("Our sex life is boring and repretitive.")
416: Range Not Satisfied (“Our sex life is boring and repretitive.”)
425: Too Early ("Your premature ejaculation is a problem.")
425: Too Early (“Your premature ejaculation is a problem.”)
428: Precondition Failed ("You're still sleeping with your ex-!?")
428: Precondition Failed (“You’re still sleeping with your ex-!?”)
429: Too Many Requests ("You're so demanding!")
429: Too Many Requests (“You’re so demanding!”)
451: Unavailable for Legal Reasons ("I'm married to somebody else.")
451: Unavailable for Legal Reasons (“I’m married to somebody else.”)
502: Bad Gateway ("Your pussy is awful.")
502: Bad Gateway (“Your pussy is awful.”)
508: Loop Detected ("We just keep fighting.")
508: Loop Detected (“We just keep fighting.”)

With thanks to Ruth for the conversation that inspired these pictures, and apologies to the rest of the Internet for creating them.

× × × × × × × × × × × × × × × × × × ×

How Russia’s Hilarious, Homoerotic “Satisfaction” Became a Nationwide Meme of Solidarity

This article is a repost promoting content originally published elsewhere. See more things Dan's reposted.

How Russia’s Hilarious, Homoerotic “Satisfaction” Became a Nationwide Meme of Solidarity (The New Yorker)

Masha Gessen writes about a series of recent recent Russian parody videos, started by air-transport cadets as a spoof of the music video for “Satisfaction,” by Benny Benassi, from 2002.

A few weeks ago, fourteen Russian first-year air-transport cadets made a parody of a fifteen-year-old music clip, and now it’s all a lot of Russians can talk about. This is a story of spontaneous solidarity, self-organization, and, ultimately, just possibly, the triumph of freedom over bureaucracy.

The original clip, set to the 2002 track “Satisfaction,” by the Italian d.j. Benny Benassi, is itself a parody: of music videos, erotica, and advertising. It features a series of scantily clad young women working with tools, starting with a hammer and graduating to a masonry drill, a belt sander, and an angle grinder. The screen features names and technical descriptions of the tools while the women pose with their bodies contorted and their mouths open, as though they were in a Victoria’s Secret catalogue. In their parody, the air-transport cadets used an all-male cast, the interior of a well-worn student dorm, and the kinds of tools that are found there: a broom, a clothes iron, a spray jar of glass cleaner. Mostly, though, they used their own very young bodies, dressed in underwear, with belts, neckties, and military caps arranged in apparent homage to Tom of Finland.

I Have a Confession to Make

This article is a repost promoting content originally published elsewhere. See more things Dan's reposted.

I Have a Confession to Make | Rob Sheridan on Patreon (Patreon)

Official Post from Rob Sheridan: That goober you see above is me as a nerdy high school kid in my bedroom in 1998, being interviewed on TV for a dumb website I made. Allow me to explain.20 years ago this month, an episode of the TV show Ally McBeal featured a strange animated baby dancing the cha-cha in a vision experienced by the

That goober you see above is me as a nerdy high school kid in my bedroom in 1998, being interviewed on TV for a dumb website I made. Allow me to explain.

20 years ago this month, an episode of the TV show Ally McBeal featured a strange animated baby dancing the cha-cha in a vision experienced by the show’s titular character. It immediately became an unlikely pop culture sensation, and by the tail end of the 90s you couldn’t pass a mall t-shirt kiosk or a Spencer’s Gifts without seeing corny merchandise for The Dancing Baby, or “Oogachaka Baby” as it was sometimes known. This child of the Uncanny Valley was an offensively banal phenomenon: It had no depth, no meaning, no commentary, no narrative. It was just a dumb video loop from the internet, something your nerdiest co-worker would have emailed you for a ten-second chuckle. We know these frivolous bite-sized jokes as memes now, and they’re wildly pervasive in popular culture. You can get every type of Grumpy Cat merchandise imaginable, for example, despite the property being nothing more than a photo of a cranky-looking feline with some added text. We know what memes are in 2018 but in 1997, we didn’t. The breathtaking stupidity of The Dancing Baby’s popularity was a strange development with online origins that had no cultural precedent. It’s a cringe-worthy thing to look back on, appropriately relegated to the dumpster of regrettable 90s fads. But I have a confession to make: The Dancing Baby was kinda my fault.

Internet memes of the 1990s were a very different beast to those you see today. A combination of the slow connection speeds, lower population of “netizens” (can you believe we used to call ourselves that), and the fact that many of the things we take for granted today were then cutting-edge or experimental technologies like animated GIFs or web pages with music means that memes spread more-slowly and lived for longer. Whereas today a meme can be born and die in the fraction of a heartbeat that it takes for you to discover them, the memes of 1990s grew gradually and truly organically: there was not yet any market for attempting to “manufacture” a meme. If if you were thoroughly plugged-in to Net culture, by the time you discovered a new meme it could be weeks or months old and still thriving, and spin-off memes (like the dozens of sites that followed the theme of the Hampster Dance) almost existed to pay homage to the originals, rather than in an effort to supplant them.

I’m aware that meme culture predates the dancing baby, and I had the privilege of seeing it foster on e.g. newsgroups beforehand. But the early Web provided a fascinating breeding ground for a new kind of meme: one that brushed up against mainstream culture and helped to put the Internet onto more people’s mental maps: consider the media reaction to the appearance of the Dancing Baby on Ally McBeal. So as much as you might want to wrap your hands around the throat of the greasy teenager in the picture, above, I think that in a way we should be thanking him for his admittedly-accidental work in helping bring geek culture into the sight of popular culture.

And I’m not just saying that because I, too, spent the latter half of the 1990s putting things online that I ought to by right have been embarassed by in hindsight. ;-)


I’ve been sticky googly eyes to things.

Robot graffiti with googly eyes.
Things like this robot, painted onto the door of the bathrooms of a hipsterish East Oxford bar.

(it looks like one of the robot’s eyes fell off before the bar‘s owners Instragram’d it)

Robot with googly eyes.
See the robot? THE ROBOT SEES YOU NOW!

There are those who would argue that this isn’t true eyebombing, because I ought to be sticking eyes to non-anthropomorphic, inanimate objects, and making them look alive by doing so. But the folks on /r/eyebombing don’t seem to mind: they’re far more-focused on the chaos and hilarity that ensues when you just put eyes on any damn thing that looks like it could benefit from them.

This guy's so angry he's popping his eyes out of his head!
This guy’s so angry he’s popping his eyes out of his head!

When I was on holiday in Jersey, for example, I found an unattended rack of tourist information leaflets that were just crying out for a ‘bombing.

"Does this dress make my eyes look fat?"
“Does this dress make my eyes look fat?”

And because I pretty-much carry googly eyes around with me all the time – in the pocket that generally contains my headphones, a pen, a hair tie, and other everyday essentials – I started sticking eyes onto things.

Soon. Creepy cyclist is watching you exercise.

The game didn’t stop even when I touched back down on the mainland.

Sign at the toilets in the arrivals lounge of Gatwick Airport.
Sign at the toilets in the arrivals lounge of Gatwick Airport.

Where next…

× × × × × ×

At Last

This article is a repost promoting content originally published elsewhere. See more things Dan's reposted.

At Last (

Rating of posts in LiveJournal blogs. LJ Top is automatically generated.

In the same vein as I had the previous month and Matt promised to for a long while, Matt eventually completed the meme in which he replied to me, and various other friends, with (1) something random about me, (2) a challenge, (3) a colour, (4) something he likes, (5) an early or clear memory, (6) an animal, and (7) a question he’d always wanted answered. He wrote:


1. Your hair is longer than mine was. I was intimidated.
2. I don’t know how much Buddhism you’ve studied. If it’s a little then study some more and try some meditation. If you have studied Buddhism then learn to unicycle.
3. A light blue.
4. JTA mentioned it once in his blog and it stuck with me as a perfect example of one of your best characteristics: he called early one morning and asked if he and Ruth could stay on your sofa. Rather than asking what happened and if they were all right you said yes, got the bed ready and put the kettle on. Many people, when helping someone, want to fix the problem and force their help and solutions on others. You don’t and it’s refreshing.
5. My earliest memory was the pre-training meeting. My clearest was about a year later when I shamed myself in how I treated you. I apologised but I don’t think I apologised enough. I’m sorry.
6. If you were shorter you’d probably be an Ewok.
7. You’ve always seemed relaxed and easy about how attached you are to things, but do you plan on leaving Aberystwyth? Would you object to it if Claire suggested it? Where would you live otherwise? I know that’s three questions but I don’t care.

I responded almost immediately:

1. Aww. Someday I’ll get it cut and it’ll be less-long than yours was in it’s hayday.
2. Quite a lot. Unicycle it is, then.

7. Have always promised myself I’d leave before 10 years was up, and I’m still – give or take – planning to stick to that. Claire seems to approve, and even encourages it. We have a few ideas as to what we’ll do after we graduate: one idea that’s being knocked around is to move to Aberdeen, where she can get involved with the university (perhaps a postgraduateship).

Update – 27 February 2019: I replied again, to update on progress.

7. And I managed, give or take, although it wasn’t in Claire’s wake but despite it.

2. I’ve tried a few times but I’m going to have to give up. My unicycle’s sat rusting in the shed; I don’t think I’m ever gonna crack this one, sorry.

So yeah. Still can’t unicycle.

And The Meme Goes On

I promised a few people I’d do this meme with them, you see…

In case you’d forgotten, here are the things I’m writing about:

  1. I’ll respond with something random about you (it’ll probably be something particularly random, because it’ll be the first thing I thought of – it may or may not be pleasant).
  2. I’ll challenge you to try something (I’ve tried to think of something for everybody, but it’s not always easy).
  3. I’ll pick a colour that I associate with you (don’t read too much into this – if you think I’ve chosen wrong, yours was the one I picked at random from a hat: for the rest of you, there was a long and complicated cognitive process involved in selecting your colour, and you should appreciate it).
  4. I’ll tell you something I like about you (not too hard, ‘cos I like everybody who asked me to fill this thing in).
  5. I’ll tell you my first or clearest memory of you (I’ve just used this space, in a few cases, to tell an interesting story or anecdote about us: you may or may not approve, but that was the risk you took when you signed up for this meme).
  6. I’ll tell you what animal you remind me of (like the colour thing, a great deal of thought went into this, unless you think I made a bad choice, in which case you must be the one person I picked at random, which may or may not be the same person I picked a colour at random for).
  7. I’ll ask you something I’ve always wanted to ask you (this was tough, because I’d usually have asked you already, and, moreover, if not, the questions I ask say as much about me as the answers you may or may not give. I’ve tried to make the questions at least two of three out of thought-provoking, genuine, and funny… and I would appreciate answers: by e-mail or if you dare, as a comment – go for it…).


  1. You and Hayley are quite a remarkable couple. Despite your obvious differences you get on in a wonderful way and I’m continually impressed with the seriousness with which you take her (by comparison to, for example, most everything else you do).
  2. Here’s your challenge: try to work out exactly how much money you would need to be earning to be completely happy with it. I’m sure that we can both agree that, for all intents and purposes, it doesn’t matter if you earn seven or eight billion pounds per year: but at what point would there be a difference.
  3. Yellow.
  4. In four-letter words, you have a cheeky schoolboy charm – when you swear, it’s like you know it’s a dirty word and the teachers might hear you, but you’re one of the hard lads and you’re going to say it anyway. It’s a reminder that you don’t have to be young to enjoy youth… every time I see you and Paul calling each other “cockbags” or whatever on #RockMonkey.
  5. Dan and Jon at The BayCertainly far from my first or my clearest (thanks to the alcohol) memory of you, but one that’s certainly worth sharing: we went out with a group of people to The Bay and got at least moderately drunk. Andy was looking melancholy. Claire was drunkenly rambling to anyone and everyone – but particularly Sian – some deep philosophical concept that you probably had to be both Claire and drunk to understand, and you and me sat quietly in the corner and chatted about all kinds of crap. In particular, you were trying to persuade me to join you for a weekend-long “party drugs” session, after which I’d “really connect to the world and just know how much I loved everybody”, which I don’t doubt for a moment. Whatever you’d been drinking all evening must have kicked in by about midnight, when you suggested that it was “inevitable” that one day we’d “live together and have sex.” I don’t know if you were just stupidly drunk and saying whatever came into your head and I don’t know if you remember saying all that… and I certainly don’t know if you’ll admit it if you do remember it, but it was both amusing and sweet, and on a drunken level in the corner of The Bay, between our many silly ramblings of the evening, we reached a connection we that our combined arrogances had previously kept us from. The picture to the right is from that evening.
  6. Chimpanzee.
  7. If you were elected to the position of librarian for the hypothetical library of all of the pornography in the world, and you had to go about categorising it – coming up with a kind of Dewey decimal system for porn, if you will – where would you start? What properties would you sort on first, and why? And what colour would the library cards be?

Incidently, Jon: no, my comment authentication system only has one (non-original) picture, and I don’t seem to get it. It seems the RNG favours you: perhaps somebody rigged it by IP address? Nah.

Matt In The HatMatt (of the In The Hat variety)

  1. You’re a man of high highs and low lows, but it seems to me that you need to better understand the relationship between them in order to be better able to be yourself without thinking that you’re being yourself when you’re not. Instructions for understanding that sentence are as follows: first, pour yourself a glass of vodka (or another strong spirit). Second, read the sentence. One of three things will happen: you might come to understand the sentence as a great philosophical truth and you’ll believe you know what I’m talking about, when in fact you don’t, or you might break down into tears because the world is such a shitty place and I’m just rubbing your face in it. If either of these two options are reached, you’ve succeeded – or come as close to it as possible. The third option is “anything else.” In this case, return to step one, pour yourself another shot, and repeat.
  2. Here’s your challenge(s): (1) Grow your hair back, damnit. (2) Let not a second be wasted until you’re on the track to doing something that makes you happy, damnit! (3) Don’t let your blog get out of date when you’re going to jump country next time, damnit! (4) Come visit us sometime, damnit!
  3. Light blue.
  4. Of all of the theists I know, you’re among the top 10 most rational, from my heathen atheist point of view. This takes some doing; be pleased with it. This actually is a compliment. What, you want a better one? Okay, you’re also a very good comedian who looks great even when he’s quite blatantly (or should be!) shitting himself in front of a hostile crowd.
  5. An early memory of meeting you would be at the very first Troma Night you attended. We’d only met you earlier that weekend, and we’d not meant to invite you to Troma Night (particularly as it was going to be an unusual Troma Night, in which we planned to watch, in order, almost every episode of Futurama ever made, back-to-back). You came and you watched, only slightly scared-looking, through the entire evening, until only you and a few others remained (I’d gone to bed in the next room, but hadn’t managed to go to sleep and could hear quite clearly the remainder of the series and the conversation around it). For a first time Troma Night attendee, that was pretty hardcore, but I found myself wondering for some time thereafter whether or not you might have only stayed because you felt intimidated to.
  6. Meercat.
  7. What would it take to get you back to Aber?


  1. Of all the time I’ve known you, you’ve gone from being a meek, quiet, shy girl to a meek, quiet, shy woman. But at least the latter isn’t as meek or shy as the former. Nonetheless, you’ve always seemed to hide more than you show, conveying a sense of mystery which is only slightly dented by an opposing sense of undue dippiness.
  2. A challenge for you: knit something that has a purpose other than clothing, pure decoration, or a toy. Suggestions to get you started: housing, container for electronic equipment (e.g. PC case), abacus, measuring device. Failing that, I’ve another knitting-related challenge for you: learn to program in C.
  3. Red.
  4. You sit in the background most of the time, interrupting only to give either very witty or very intelligent comments that tend to take folks (well, me at least) by surprise (like when Bryn manages to get a joke right first time, it’s a pleasant kind of surprise). Plus, BTW, you’re hot.
  5. Sian and othersYou know; I can’t remember enough about meeting you to give a very good answer to this question: at the time, I was paying far too much attention to the bigger, louder people around you, and not enough to you. But I do recall the time (picture, right, taken a few hours earlier) that, in The Flat, I tied Paul to a chair and gagged him with your bra. Meanwhile, you tortured Adam with incessant stroking, taking over for Claire who by this point – or not long after – was licking Alec‘s nipples.). Ah; the silly nights-in that happened at The Flat…
  6. Crow.
  7. At what point did you decide you wanted to be with Andy?


  1. Binky distillingYou deserve more sex than you’re getting. Maybe we should set up a Sleep With Jimmy page on RockMonkey to centralise efforts to help you get laid.
  2. Your challenge: distill something with success (measured as being the resulting product is superior that the original, by a measurement like “average of the change of the qualities of drinkability and ABV”). Don’t give up on it: you’ve got all the gear now, and I’d love to see something that isn’t either (a) ham-flavoured [sorry], (b) of the consistency of rice pudding (c) from Lidl vodka [ick!] come out of it.
  3. Black.
  4. You come up with some of the craziest ideas, particularly as part of your strange money-saving plans – from growing your own food in a window box and hunting for clams in the river to brewing and distilling your own sake, you always seem to have some strange scheme underway. Plus, you share your name with a former president of the USA, which is cool.
  5. A clear memory of you… would be at a particular fire we had at the Northernmost end of North Beach here in Aberystwyth. The fire was starting to calm down a bit from the inferno it had been before, and you decided to add a little accelerant in the form of petrol. So you picked up the petrol can and poured some on, and therein lay the problem. There is a technique, as I’m sure you’ve since discovered, of flicking petrol from a can onto a fire in order to give it an exciting burst of flames but without providing a lovely flammable path between the inferno and your hand. The flames shot up the petrol vapours and lit the top of the petrol can, burning the vapours as they escaped like an oil lamp. But better yet: you didn’t notice. You carried on wandering around, holding in your hand a flaming petrol can. The danger, I agree, was minimal: an open plastic can wouldn’t be likely to explode, certainly not violently, but it could potentially spray or spit burning fuel onto clothes or hair if left un-noticed. Claire and I had noticed, and we pointed and shouted to get your attention. Eventually, you looked down, and noticed the combustion occurring near your knuckles, and at this point, you did the most effeminate thing I’ve ever seen you do. You made a noise that can only be described as a squeak, jumped, and flung the petrol can over your shoulder and across the beach, which spun and flailed in the air throwing burning petrol in all directions and forming many small puddles of fire across the stones and on the surface of the sea.
    Paul wasn’t so original – but was even more effeminate – when he later did the same thing.
  6. A cat, of course!
  7. If you were to suddenly be hit with a burst of epsilon rays – the mythical kind of ray that renders human brains incapable of understanding any more than the most mundane of physics – and were unable to continue with your degree, what would you do with your life?

Big Gay Adam

  1. You’re an enormous poofter with a penchant for classic British television and the largest DVD & video collection I have ever seen outside of a medium or larger sized video store. For those who haven’t witnessed it: it covers the majority of his living room wall, stacked with the spines of the cases facing outwards. Plus, you know it inside-out: it’s quite possible to name a Dr. Who episode or a Carry On film and have you walk straight to it and pick it up.
  2. Your challenge: quit your job and get a new one. Nobody deserves to be expected to do “34 hours of unpaid work for a company [they] don’t really like”, and no matter how you justify it to yourself, you could be doing better.
  3. Pink.
  4. You take – or appear to take – criticism admirably well (which is particularly valuable among most of the miscreants I’m found with): laughing off digs but taking genuine concern for any more serious matters brought to you.
  5. A very early memory of you would be when I attended a training session you were running on… listening skills or something like that: I wasn’t paying attention you seemed delighted to have been let loose with a flipchart and marker pens, and you were making full use of the space available to you despite your tendency to write sideways on vertical surfaces after a few words (freakin’ lefty). I recall that somebody else in the group answered one of your questions in a particularly cocky manner: “Couldn’t the answer be anything… or everything?” and you just wrote both words: “anything” and “everything” in huge letters across the middle of everything else you’d written and carried on.
  6. Stick insect.
  7. Suppose you were the manager of your falling-apart workplace: how would you fix it?


  1. Something random; okay – of all of the people I’m doing this meme for, you’re the one for whom finding something random to say about them is the hardest.
  2. A challenge for you: when you get yourself back to Aber, get yourself along to Troma Night once in a while (or Geek Night, or whatever your poison is): we never see you!
  3. Green.
  4. You’re friendly and pleasant and you put up with us all very well, considering what we’re all like.
  5. It wasn’t long after I met you that a group of us went to The Bay and you were blatantly hitting on Jimmy – and certainly getting a response: even getting him to dance, which is a rarity. Although, as we’ve all been told, “nothing happened,” right after we met you you kicked off a lot of speculation within our little social circle as the spectators saw a slightly-confused, slightly-scared looking Jimmy get dragged away by you.
  6. Wallaby.
  7. It’ll be implicit if you do this meme next, but otherwise: what are your first or clearest memories of myself, Claire, Jimmy, and the rest of the gang

Matt P

  1. Matt the pirateYou’re a graduate, a fencer, and a care worker with a charming curiosity and a slightly-imaginary girlfriend. And like so many of us, you’ve gotten yourself trapped in AberWorld. Better yet, you’ve found an excuse to stay for another year!
  2. Your challenge: stop apologising for yourself! You’re great and we like spending time with you, even when you’ve had a shitty day.
  3. Maroon.
  4. You’re a fascinating conversationalist, always full of interesting ideas and always seem curious and happy to discover more about the world and the interests of those around you.
  5. I’m getting old. I can tell, because for so many of the people I’m writing about in this list, I can’t even slightly remember first meeting them. What do I remember clearly about times spent with you? I remember many occasions on which we’ve both found ourselves out of The Game. I remember helping you move house twice in one week, last month! I remember all kinds of things we’ve gotten up to (such as the time you, both bravely and stupidly, agreed to do our washing up in exchange for the use of our washing machine), but picking out one that’s the clearest is an exercise in futility.
  6. Chipmunk.
  7. In his paper “A Designer Universe?”, Steven Weinberg writes “With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion.” Discuss. [33 marks]


  1. Paul, drunkOf all the people I know, you are the single most likely to be hit by a meteorite. You are the living embodiment of the ghost that steals socks from the washing machine. You are the eighth face on every seven-sided die. You are the number that /dev/random is afraid to say. You are the sugar that dissolves in absinthe. If aliens invade earth, you’ll be the one who insists they try some tofu. At the bottom of the oceans are creatures that are so adapted to the intense water pressure and low visibility that have no concept of gravity or vision, but they still have the capacity to dream… and when they dream, they dream of you.
  2. A challenge: learn to make fresh noodles.
  3. Lime green.
  4. You’re very… thorough, to the point of being a little perfectionistic: you ensure we all know about and insist that we see the very best (and very worst) films, and plan events like Troma Night to sometimes meticulous detail.
  5. Here’s a curious memory that sprung to mind. We’d gone to Central Fish Restaurant to buy some food: I ordered fish & chips for each of Claire and I, and then stepped aside to let you get to the counter. You ordered a fishcake and chips, which confused me at least a little because (apart from eating pepperoni pizza, which was a curious but obvious exception to your non-eating of meat) you’d always appeared to be a vegetarian. I quizzed you on this: “My mum called me up,” you said, “And insisted that I ate some fish.” I replied, suggesting that you could just tell her that you ate fish, if you so want to please her but not change your eating habits. “She’d know,” you responded. Having since met her a few times, I believe you’re right.
    The other event I remember is when you first threw a sponge out of the window of The Flat at Troma Night, and the accompanying looks of confusion from everybody else present.
  6. Leucochloridium paradoxum.
  7. We all know what your (rather unusual) favourite number is. The question is: why?


  1. Bryn, the wand-weilding axe-murdererYou know more about the Battle of Stalingrad than almost anybody alive. I recall that once, Claire asked you a simple and innocuous question about the Western front – the kind of question that could be answered with a single sentence. About 15 minutes later (and without having stopped for breath) you’d given us the quantity of information we’d have expected from a lecture on the subject, including showing us several maps and illustrating them with troop formations and strategic points. While it wasn’t what she was looking for, I’m sure we both found it fascinating.
  2. Here’s your challenge: learn Ruby! You know you want to!
  3. Brown.
  4. You’re always willing to help: whether you’re needed for something practical (“move this for me”, “write me some code that does X”) or something somewhat soppier (“I’ve had a shit day – join me for a drink?”), you always make time for your friends.
  5. I don’t remember meeting you for the first time – it’ll probably have been shortly after you moved into your room in Penbryn – but Claire always tells an interesting story about the things you got up to in halls. I’ll leave that for her to relate…
    But I do remember one occasion when the pair of us, pissed off with Claire and Paul‘s perpetual arguing in The Flat, retreated to Kanes’ and drank whiskey and complained about them until they sorted themselves out, noticed we’d gone, and phoned us up to let us know they’d started behaving themselves.
  6. Elephant.
  7. And a question: what are the three most important factors to you in choosing an operating system for home use?

Andy K

  1. As an Earth Scientist called Andy, you’re the perfect target for a game of “Andy, Andy: what kind of rock is that?” As you go by the alias “RockMonkey”, you’re also a great target for the Kick The RockMonkey Game on #RockMonkey.
  2. A challenge for you? Sure. How about: try to squeeze yourself and one other person onto a small inflatable bed in the living room of The Cottage some time later this month. Oh yeah; you’re already going to be doing that, aren’t you…
  3. White.
  4. You’ll lend a hand to moving house at a moment’s notice and work for hours on only a pint of shandy and a few chips. Damn, I love people like that when I’m moving house.
  5. Andy being tickledI remember how ticklish you are. And I remember the night that you were ruthlessly (well; Ruth was there, actually) tickled for hours on end by a pair of drunken girls. There’s a picture to the right if you need a reminder.
  6. Mole.
  7. Here’s a question for you: are you ever going to finish any of the WikiGames you’ve started? Ever?


  1. You’re a cheerleader and a geneticist and you’ve introduced Andy to a life of sin that he won’t soon regret.
  2. A challenge: descend through all 50+ levels of the dungeons of doom, defeat Rodney, and retrieve the Amulet of Yendor, as a tourist, without wishing, praying, reading or eating.
  3. Purple.
  4. Almost every sentence you say could be preceded with “Or, even better…”, and, usually, whatever you say immediately thereafter is even better. Admittedly, if you’re following up one of Bryn‘s gags, that’s Faye is on the right not hard, but even where it is more challenging, you always have a humorous finish to an idea.
  5. Here’s a memory I dredged up… of Ruth‘s 21st birthday and Halloween party. You wore as little as you could probably legally get away with. In latex. In case you’ve forgotten, I’ve linked in a picture to the right. In particular, I like the look on Andy‘s face, sat there next to you.
  6. Kookaburra.
  7. And finally, a question: if you had the chance to give your life a second go, and, in a moment of infinite power and knowledge at the moment of conception, you could change one thing about your genetic structure (gender, eye colour, hair colour, susceptibility to diseases, whatever else); what would you change or, if nothing, what would you consider changing?


  1. JTA as TregardWhat do I need to do to say something random about you? You dress like you were born 100 years too late and carry round keys sufficient to unlock anything from a castle to an office block. You’re a recent English graduate but frequently act more like a Computer Scientist. Oh; and I feel like I have half of you possessions in my utility room.
  2. Your challenge is as follows: get a job. To begin with, any job will do. It’ll keep you out of trouble, earning money, and somewhat cheerier. If you’re qualified for something, apply. If you’re almost qualified, apply anyway: interviews are worth their weight in saffron. Secondly, get a job you can enjoy. That you’re already in work looks far better to a prospective employee than if you aren’t. You’re still young and you’ve got plenty of time to make career mistakes that you can fix.
  3. Racing green.
  4. You have a fantastic temper which you keep carefully bottled away and of which you draw out only a little at a time and only where it is genuinely justly deserved. Conversely, your devotion to the things you love and care about is equally inspiring.
  5. Of particular note, I remember the point on the first day of last year’s Abnib Real Ale Ramble when we, ahead of Claire and Jimmy, reached the summit of the first long climb (just before lunch), and peered out over the clouds rolling out of the valleys ahead of us. It was all remarkably still and clear and the pint I’d drunk not 20 minutes earlier was just beginning to kick in. Marvellous.
    Not as great a story as the cold of the second day, but came to my head sooner.
  6. Ruffed lemur.
  7. And the obligatory question: How’re you doing?

Andy R

  1. You’re an English graduate and a talented singer/songwriter/musician/stuff. You could be described as a music fascist, as you’ve implied on several occasions that unlike you, most people who claim to enjoy music don’t know what music should actually be like. That said, some of your music and the music of some of the artists you’ve recommended on your blog have been quite eye-opening, so fascist that you might be, you’re not all wrong.
  2. Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to write and record a song about blog culture and memes.
  3. Silver.
  4. You’re not afraid to laugh at something funny just because it’s sad, and you’re not afraid to cry at something sad just because it’s wrapped in cotton wool.
  5. The first and most prominent memory that comes to mind is of the heartbreaking speech you gave at your 21st (it was your 21st, right?) birthday party, in which you thanked everybody who’d come and talked a little about how much it meant to you that your parents were both able to be there, together, to celebrate with you. Then I threw a breaded garlic mushroom into Alec‘s eye (I was aiming for Sian‘s cleavage; honest!) and almost blinded him (bet you thought he was brought to tears by your speech, but no, it was garlic in his peeper). Great party, too.
  6. Otter.
  7. Oh yeah, a question: Have you got a job yet? If so, what are you doing and why haven’t you posted it to your blog yet? Reading about everybody else’s workday is the best way in the world to waste away mine.

If I missed you because you were late, you can still put your name down and I might just do you, too, but don’t count on it. I hope I haven’t offended anybody too badly, and I hope I haven’t embarrassed anybody any more than I meant to… it’s been a fun little meme, but it was a lot more work than I expected. Still; I’m glad to see that several other people have begun doing it, too, and I’ll enjoy getting my own back by commenting on their “invitation to apply” message thing. Plus, I’m looking forward to seeing how other people interpret the challenge and what they all write about me and about each other.

If I’ve asked you a question, I’d quite like an answer: leave a comment if you’re brave, send an e-mail if you’re not, don’t send an e-mail if you’re very-not. Oh; and if I’ve given you a challenge, don’t take it too seriously. Or do. Both good.

Update 27 February 2019: Matt had a go at this soon after and I shared my recent thoughts.

I’m Not One For Memes, But…

As you probably know, I’m not a huge fan of most of the memes that float around Blogland (Abnib, etc.), and generally steer clear. But I did this one on Faye‘s blog, and thought I ought to pass it on.

What you do:

  1. Leave a comment. You get to click on a kitten and everything.
  2. Put this on your own blog, later. Or don’t.

What I do:

  1. I’ll respond with something random about you (with most of you lot out there, it shouldn’t be hard).
  2. I’ll challenge you to try something (it might even be something pleasant).
  3. I’ll pick a colour that I associate with you (fuck knows why – bloody wooly questions).
  4. I’ll tell you something I like about you (aww).
  5. I’ll tell you my first or clearest memory of you (if I’m not too drunk to remember anything).
  6. I’ll tell you what animal you remind me of (yay, another stupidly wooly question).
  7. I’ll ask you something I’ve always wanted to ask you (if there is anything!).

UPDATE: Monday 3rd July 2006, 21:43: I’ve had comments from Jon, Matt, Sian, Binky, Adam and Beth, and I’ve started writing responses. If you can get a comment in before I finish writing the responses, I’ll do you (ahem) at the same time. If you’re late, I’ll do you later. Should have these first lot finished (assuming I’m not suddenly swamped with comments) either tonight (if Mario fails to distract me) or tomorrow (if he succeeds). If you want in, get your comment in.

UPDATE: Monday 3rd July 2006, 22:38: Other Matt is in, too.

UPDATE: Tuesday 4th July 2006, 00:16: Well, I’m not going to finish all of these by tonight: I’ve done Jon, Matt, Sian, and most of Binky. I’m yet to start Adam, Beth and Other Matt. And Bryn’s hinted that he might be putting his name down, too. [sob] Ah well; I brought this upon myself. I’ll try to get them out during my lunch break. My response to everything received by that point will appear in a new blog post. I apologise in advance to Abnib readers who don’t want to have their screen cluttered by the whole thing; however, I give no apologies for any embarrasment caused to folks who brought it upon themselves by putting their name below knowing that I’ll be responding with things like “something random about [them]” and “my first or clearest memory of [them]”

UPDATE: Tuesday 4th July 2006, 11:13: Making progress again, but people keep adding themselves to the list! Paul, Bryn, Andy K and Faye are now on the list. I’m working through them all in a pretty random manner: almost everybody’s animals and colours are done, I’ve completed everybody up to and including Beth, and Matt P’s mostly done.

UPDATE: Tuesday 4th July 2006, 14:54: JTA’s on the list. Only him, Faye, Andy K and Bryn left to finish, and most of them have been started.

UPDATE: Tuesday 4th July 2006, 17:48: Andy R’s joined the party. I’ve got JTA to finish, and Andy R to do. This turns out to be harder work that I first imagined. I’m impressed that, having seen what it’s taking, Matt R’s giving it a go too (so… go harrass him as well!).

UPDATE: Tuesday 4th July 2006, 19:12: A 40-minute Aberystwyth-wide power cut slowed down my progress, as well as eating some of it, this evening, but I’m ready to push on for the final stretch now. In addition, the following people have begin their follow-ups: Andy R and Andy K.

UPDATE: Tuesday 4th July 2006, 19:48: Well; that’s everybody done. I’ll be making a blogpost of the responses to you all in the next few minutes (I’m glad to see this meme is already spreading: I’ve put my name in a few comments and I’m looking forward to seeing other people’s responses back to me). If you missed it and you leave a comment “late” I might still “do you”, if I can be bothered. Right… off to post the responses…

Who’s My Daddy?

I’ve seen some pretty stupid test memes. So I’ve made one of my own:

Who’s My Daddy?

Peter Huntley is my daddy.

Generated by the “Who’s Your Daddy?” Test Meme

In other news, “Hook” by Blues Traveler (lyrics) is a spectacular song.

I have an unbelievable amount of work to do today, and I’ve used the morning just dealing with my e-mail and the things that I’ve been asked to do by that medium. Fuck a brick.

The Scat Men

Don’t usually go in for these memes, but this one was too funny not to publish.

<html code=”bad” school=”old”>

The Scat Men Stats

Formed: 29th June 2005
Split: 10th September 2011
Best Album: ‘Supremo’ 7/10 in the NME
Best Single: ‘Unstates’ 6/10 in the NME
Records Sold: 169,413 in total (84,172 albums, 85,241 singles).
Reputation: Obscure
Groupies: vikingjim recently won a contract with a blue conglomerate to market dildos towards the over 60’s market.
Other After realising how shite ‘God Save the Queen’ really was, Queen Elizabeth II instated ‘Barge’ as the new national anthem. Another shit song for a shit country.

The Scat Men Member Profiles


bryn_s sounds like a delicate cross between a recently castrated chicken and Johnny Rotten.

Unable to pick strings individually, restlessboy had to resort to beating the shit out of all of the strings at once to contribute in any way to The Scat Men’s din. And even then…


It is fair to say that reaperkit is a stroppy old bastard. They’ve threatened to pack The Scat Men in after they received a death threat from the ghost of Mother Thersea who reportedly said in a whispered tone “I’m trying to rest in piece here yer prick! Cut with the bollocks before I smear yer pod in shite!”


scatmania’s manages to make an epileptic speed freak from Inverness look co-ordinated.


eskoala posesses the unique ability to detune pianos by simply looking at them.

Single Releases

# Title Date
39 Outgnaw Deflower Enfaces Lyingly Aug 2005
39 Risky Decimate Sep 2005
26 Unstates Oct 2005
31 Glamor Clutch Civilize Carotins Fallouts Dishfuls Nov 2005
31 Repoured Myeloma Usance May 2007
22 Stage Aroused Talcky Patch Blocked Jun 2007
30 Cilium Anurous Aug 2007
25 Sunups Tocsin Wooler Sep 2007
N/A Unawaked Firms Sep 2008
40 Parers Oct 2008
N/A Overlent Croceins Depicted Dec 2008
N/A Bocks Briskly Boras Rebuff Feminist Feb 2009
N/A Nauplii Mar 2010
N/A Turacos May 2010
N/A Crossed Abstract Showroom Khaddar Treks Jul 2010
N/A Barge Oct 2010

Album Releases

# Title Date
74 Supremo Jun 2005
33 Ceboids Mar 2007
27 Nibs Rooftree Jun 2008
N/A Enduring Unusual Wissed Chicle Subbings Dec 2009


Which D&D Character Are You?

I Am A: Chaotic Neutral Elf Mage Druid

Alignment: Chaotic Neutral characters are unstable, and frequently insane. They believe in disorder first and foremost, and will thus strive for that disorder in everything they do. This means that they will do whatever seems ‘fun’ or ‘novel’ at any given time.
Race: Elves are the eldest of all races, although they are generally a bit smaller than humans. They are generally well-cultured, artistic, easy-going, and because of their long lives, unconcerned with day-to-day activities that other races frequently concern themselves with. Elves are, effectively, immortal, although they can be killed. After a thousand years or so, they simply pass on to the next plane of existance.
Primary Class: Mages harness the magical energies for their own use. Spells, spell books, and long hours in the library are their loves. While often not physically strong, their mental talents can make up for this.
Secondary Class: Druids are a special variety of Cleric who serves the Earth, and can call upon the power in the earth to accomplish their goals. They tend to be somewhat fanatical about defending natural settings. (could equally be secondary class: Bard)
Deity: Azuth is the Lawful Neutral god of wizards and mages. He is also known as the High One, and is the Patron of Wizards. His followers believe that a systematic approach to magic is the best, and they strive for calm and caution in order to avoid accidents. They wear shimmering robes, and are well-versed in magic, as well as typical priest spells. Azuth’s symbol is a hand with a raised, glowing index finger.

Which D&D Character Are You?

I still loathe D&D.