Thursday, August 31, 2006

Life escaping art 

Yesterday I changed my blog photo and promptly had a severe haircut (no.1) and took my beard down to a goatee.

I think I like the look but have reservations. The slight breezes in the air feel like gales of cold air on my face and scalp and my head sticks to my pillow like velcro.

We'll see if I get used to it.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I saw Evita on Saturday. I was quietly reluctant as I thought it was something that I thought David and our friends, John and Martin, would like more than me. I was wrong. I loved it. I loved it from the moment the curtain went up and the music and singing swept me away.

I loved the way that I could be made to feel sorry for Evita but at the same time realise that she had manipulated many people to get where she was.

Our Evita was Jodie Jacobs and she was simply amazing.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

McAfee and email 

In case anyone reads this because they are thinking of using McAfee's Spamkiller product - don't.

As you know, I upgraded my McAfee Internet Security Suite recently. Part of this upgrade was Spamkiller, something I hadn't used or had need to use because my email client, Eudora, was really good at identifying spam.

Anyhow, for the past week or so, I've been noticing that emails haven't arrived at home even though I could see them on my mail server. It was almost as if there was something between the server and the client interfering with my emails.

On a hunch I did a bit of research on Spamkiller (the McAfee upgrade was the most recent thing to change) and found that it intercepts email before it reaches the client. I thought this suspicious and uninstalled it.

Things seem a lot better now.

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Friday, August 18, 2006


Someone is scratching my car. I don't know who and I don't know why. Nor am I entirely sure where. It could be in the public bays in my road (most likely), outside my garage or in front of David's house.

I'm going to have to empty the garage but that will have to wait as that's a fairly big job. I'm also probably going to have to get a respray. That won't be cheap.

Bastards. Why can't they leave other people's things alone?

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

There, there, there and back again 

David and I have had a holiday at various spots around the UK.

First off, we went to Buxton in Derbyshire for the 13th annual Gilbert and Sullivan Festival. I liked the productions we saw but I wasn't too keen on the people. They reminded me quite heavily of some of the obsessive types you meet at science fiction conventions. Most were fine and lovely but others were a little odd.

It was refreshing to be able to HEAR the WORDS for a change. We saw a kids performance of The sorcerer which was excellent; the older 'children' (17-ish so hardly kids) were very good indeed and the boy playing John Wellington Wells (the sorcerer) was just inspired. Then we saw my third Ruddigore, which was a vast improvement on the other two I have seen this year. Finally we saw Patience which I loved as well although I sometimes didn't follow all that the lead (Patience) was singing but then I always do have trouble with sopranos.

After Buxton we drove on up to Elgin in Scotland to see my nephew and his wife. It was nice to be back in Scotland again and great to spend time with Rich and Jenna. I loved their cats as well although I discovered my cat allergy was a lot more severe than I had expected. On the first night there, I was lying in bed listening to my breathing and worrying about my eye (more of that in a minute). Allergies hadn't affected my breathing since I was a child and so, as an ex-asthmatic, I was more than a little concerned. Fortunately, an increased dose of antihistamines and fresh air made the cat situation bearable.

Why is it that I love cats and dogs yet react like crazy if I am near one?

Just before I went on holiday a blood vessel in my eye popped and made my eye red. Not just bloodshot but red like my eyeball was bleeding. It looked terrible but didn't hurt at all. I saw an optician who likened it to a drop of ink on a tabletop with a pane of glass placed on it. I've had this happen before and so I wasn't really concerned until I got to Scotland and discovered that it had happened again. That's right, twice in one week. Then I was worried.

Since I got back I saw my doctor who reassured me that this was just one of those things and that I didn't have high-blood pressure. That could be a cause, according to the optician, but only in septuagenarian according to the doctor. My BP was OK in any case.

While in Scotland, encouraged by Richard and Jenna's camera use, I took lots of photos and despite having a day at home yesterday I still haven't sorted through them.

We had a good time there and it was a lovely way to spend my birthday.

To break the trip back we stopped off in Glasgow. Our trip was a bit hurried although we saw lots of Charles Rennie Mackintosh related material. We're both fans of Art Nouveau and Art Deco so that was a bit of a treat.

We also saw my friend Paul rather hurriedly and had a drink in Glasgow's celebrated Polo Lounge. It was fairly empty when we were there but then it was early on a Monday evening and there were hardly any opportunities for me and Paul to be bitchy about the locals.

I can't say I'm overly enamored of driving in Glasgow. Driving in cities, especially unfamiliar ones, tends to bring out the worst in me. Doing circuits of George Square trying to find out whether the car park we had found was the one we were supposed to park in for a cheap rate from the hotel was taxing.

Anyhow, I enjoyed it and my recovery day yesterday. I was even smiling on my way to work. That's a first.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Beard forum exile 

I decided to stop visiting the BCBB, at least for the next couple of weeks.

I found I was getting a little too annoyed with the new guy and felt that I would not be able to hold back from dishing out insults and making myself look stupid. In theory, I could just not reply to his postings but that's not really possible. If I feel offended I tend to react. I'm like my Dad in that respect.

The easiest way to stop making a fool of myself is to avoid the BCBB entirely. I can't just not read his postings - unfortunately my eyes are drawn to them like a tongue to toothache.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Beard decision 

I've had some form of facial hair for nearly the last seven years and I am currently shaving the smallest part of my face (about half an inch of ragged cheek) that I ever have.

However, I'm starting to not like having a beard. I would shave it off or sculpt it down to a goatee but, now, that seems an even bigger step than growing it in the first place.

Watch this face!

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

California and UK in climate pact 

This is all very well and very laudable but just more than a tiny bit surreal. Our Tony (Yo Blair!) and Arnie Schwartzenegger (you check the spelling!) have signed an agreement to reduce carbon emissions. OK, Arnie is signing in his capacity as governor of California and not, as The Terminator but surely this sort of thing should be done at a national level? Isn't this like Brazil signing a trade treaty with Cheshire?

It is a start, I suppose, and shows that Bush doesn't entirely represent his people's views on climate change. There is a glimmer of hope but it's just a little tainted.

BBC NEWS | World | California and UK in climate pact

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I forgot my iPod 

It's shocking to realise how much I've grown to depend on being able to drown out the noise from my fellow passengers. Last night I left my iPod on my desk at work and didn't realise until I was on the train.

I spent the journey sitting opposite a man who had just started a new job and had to tell all his ex-colleagues about it. Further along was a girl who was talking about the break-up of her relationship (I think - she wasn't at all upset) in one call and then about a holiday she had to delay because she couldn't afford the flights.

What annoyed me about both, apart from the volume, was the sheer affectation in the way they were speaking. Nobody speaks like that in real-life.

The girl spoke in a way that would be called "camp" in men but in women is called "soppy cow". It might also have been a bit "mumsy".

The man had this false jolly middle-class blokiness. I can't describe it but it's annoying. It's where you call a mate Mr So-and-so instead of Keith.

A lot of people put on acts when they talk to other people. Why?

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