Friday, December 19, 2003

"I'm dancing like a Monkey!"

...which is another way of saying I'm happy and exited, and feel like dancing about in a happy excited manner much like this:

(image shamelessly lifted from here)

...'s all Liz's fault. well OK my mood isn't, that's probably sleep deprivation - I have been far too busy and excited for sleeping the past few days what with LOTR and the impending end of term and going away for the holidays and all, but the shape of the silliness is Liz's fault: on Wednesday, as well as seeing the film, I finally saw a couple of episodes of Invader Zim about which she has raved for some time, anyway its dark silliness really struck a chord, particularly G.I.R. (who's the little dancing guy up there and also Liz's favorite character, singer of The Doom Song, and the reason I heard about the program in the first place) so now my referencial little mind is spouting as much Zim-ish silliness as it can lay its hands on.

Hopefully I'll get some sleep on the train and calm down by the time I reach Doncaster.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

somewhat refreshing...

I'm lucky: I don't get much spam, and most of what little I get goes to a spam-sponge account I have on yahoo, to be filtered out by my clever email program. very little arrives here, but nobody is immune and my gaffe at including 'mailto' links in the last version of this site means that handles on average two or three spam messages a day - a nuisance but hardly an unbearable one, considering.

anyway, I just had my first piece of Japanese spam: a very polite version of the 'a sexy single woman (who does not exist) wants to meet you' hoax: "i have not yet married and still have no children. Maybe we can still be friends? or maybe more??" addressed to a non-existent account at this domain - I almost feel bad for the imaginary young lady in question, barking up the wrong (in this case rainbow-barked) tree like that, but at least, unlike her western (fictitious) counterparts, she's polite about it...

Return of the King

well I'm utterly shattered from a combination of end-of-term fatigue and being up far too late last night, but I'm happy!

The film last night was spellbinding! I went with 'nite, Keith, Liz, out to the big Ster Century cinema in Lieth (to mild protestations from Liz, who in true city-centre-dweller fashion seems to regard any journey she can't make on foot as a heroic undertaking, even if it doesn't actually involve leaving the city.) Since tomorrow is travelling south day for Patricks, and tonight is entirely taken up with the business of getting ready to travel south (like wrapping presents and then finding space in my miniscule luggage for all of them, oh and packing said luggage of course...) last night was my last night with my friends before New Year, and the film made it a memorable one.

I shan't attempt a review because a) I know there are certain people likely to read this before they've seen it, for whom I might spoil things and b) I am shattered (as I believe I mentioned,) and therefore my descriptive powers are somewhat diminished. I will however say that if you haven't already seen it you should go and do so as soon as possible if not sooner, and that I'd pretty much guarantee you'll enjoy it... unless you happen to be my mother in which case you'll thoroughly enjoy all of it except perhaps one of the battle sequences which I suspect might upset you, but I don't want to risk spoiling it by saying how.

Anyway the point is that it's great, and that I managed to see it before going away so I won't have to gag my entire family over christmas to keep them from telling me about it! Of course it did mean that I didn't get home until half past one and because I'm travelling tomorrow (not to mention being quite spectacularly disorganised as always,) I couldn't go straight to bed like a sane person, but instead had to do a bunch of laundry and other similarly exciting jobs before finally colapsing into bed much much later than is right or fair for a working night... don't care though. *big happy grin*

Wednesday, December 17, 2003


I'm in a bad bad mood, I keep telling myself to buck up, and there are all sorts of reasons for doing just that:

1: there are only one and a half more days of work left
2: of these I'll only be expected to actually do anything for a fraction of the time
3: I am going to see Return of the King this evening!

... and so on but every time I manage to gear-shift my mood back to anything approaching 'good', it only lasts about ten minutes before I find I'm fuming to myself again.

Mostly this is because my job entails babysitting concieted self-important spoilt-brats, and that they are more than usually unbearable this close to the end of term, but I think there are elements of a few other things in there too... job stuff mostly, like not having found a new one and such but this whole love-life fiasco that's been going on of late isn't helping either... ranting about it to the ether however seems to have ;) I feel much better, thanks. hopefully that'll buy me non-fume-time until closing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003


so OK, I've learned my lesson: the gods and their nasty sense of humour are watching and it's asking for trouble to 'blog about one's naissant relationships, fine. got it. can I get back to having a love-life now please? *sigh* I was enjoying it.

There's still no word whatsoever from the amazing disappearing man, which sucks and makes me think that while I'm ready to embark on that emotional adventure thingy, he, perhaps, is not.


Otherwise all's well, term finishes officially in a few short days and they're mostly just clock-watching since the kids all find ingenious ways of not having to do any work at this time of year, leaving me to get on with nice quiet un-taxing stuff, and the occasional entry on here :)

My tree arrived in the house (after a modestly heroic quest to find roof-bars for the car) on Saturday evening and we (Me, 'nite and my visiting friend Abby) had fun decorating it with lights and baubles - it looks very festive and more importantly it smells like a hundred happy memories... I think that buying the tree is perhaps my favourite part of the whole xmas thing, and this year I get to do it twice because (unlike last year) my family and I will all arrive at the house in France together, and so we'll get to do the tree shopping thing there too. yay!

I almost have this present thing sussed too... still a bit of the actual buying to be done, but I'm not as worried as I had been that I won't be able to think of enough things, now I'm just worried they'll be the wrong things but I always am and they always are the right things, so it's not a real worry, more like a holiday tradition really.

Hamish and Austin have gone back to their respective family homes across the Atlantic, but being here is still a very social experience. I've managed to catch up with my friends Jamie and Sarah over in Glasgow, and will be off with the remaining Edinburgh crowd to see Return of the King on Wednesday... all of which reminds me how good this year has been in terms of having really great friends around to spend time with... essentially life is good.

Friday, December 12, 2003

slightly overcast

It's raining again, I just got really quite wet going out in my lunch break to buy screenwash (because my car ran out of it this morning and the windscreen got all smeary, which I dislike) I come to think of it, should it continue to rain I won't really need to have gone out for the screenwash... rats... also something which sounded like a very long peal of thunder, but which was probably a jetliner just passed overhead.

All of the above is (quite appropriately) what you might describe as mundanely-moody: there's a certain atmosphere to it all and yet it's firmly rooted in the everyday and not remotely dramatic. This is fitting because that's exactly how I feel today.

Last night I was supposed to be going out on a date with this fella who (as I mentioned on Wednesday) I really like a lot, and with whom I feel there is definately some kind kind of emotional adventure to be had... I say 'supposed to' because (for the third time since I met him) he unexpectedly vanished yesterday afternoon, becoming uncontactable having given no indication behorehand that, or any reason why, this should happen. Needless to say it didn't make me happy, which is a shame because I really have been very happy all week up until that point, and expect I would have been even happier if I'd seen him as we'd planned.

I made all reasonable efforts to get in touch and find out what was or wasn't happening, without being drawn into frantically chasing about or becoiming the kind of sad limpit-person that past experience has made me a) aware that I can fall into being in relationships and b) firmly determined never to become again. So I made a few attempts at calling, left a good natured but puzzled message on one of his voicmail services and left it at that, until I hear anything back, which I expect I probably will at some point...

In the meantime I'm leaving it alone - anything I could make up in my head to explain what happened would just be the product of my own disapointment, and we all know how much fun those are. So I'm not doing that... but for now, all that bright optimistic adventuring fearlessness has quietly shifted into neutral: The engine's still ticking over but I'm not going anywhere with this for the time being, and that's a bit sad really - much like getting a puncture when you're setting off on holiday.

Plus of course part of me can't help feeling that this just serves me right for tempting fate and blogging about this in the first place - daft eh?

It's not all drizzle and gloom in splat-land today however: it's Friday for starters and I'd have to be pretty determined to be miserable in the face of that! Friday means that in a couple of hours I'll be off out with my friends, a whole different adventure and one I can't help but smile about. The aparent demise of our Tapas cave the other week has left these Friday gatherings a little more nomadic than they had been, but I find change is usually a good thing, and this particular change has so far prompted some excellent explorations. I'm keen to find out where it'll take us all tonight, but wherever it is it should be fun.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003


One of the things I love about music is the way I don't always hear songs right away, but sometimes a lyric will jump out at me from behind the beat-bushes in a familiar track... the surprise of that is fun in itself, but often I find it also unlocks something for me - possibly because of the excellent sense of timing my subconscious has.

So this lunchtime I was off on my customary wander, accompanied by my iPod as I frequently am. Amongst the tunes it had pulled up to sing to me as I walked was this one, which I discovered I hadn't ever really listened to before, in spite of the fact that I've had the CD since my mate Iain bought it for me about three years ago.

The bit that really leaped out and went "boo" was:

Love, love is a verb
Love is a doing word

which suddenly clicked into place in my mind, twisted, and opened up a whole new room in there. The room it seems was full of pent-up thoughts that gleefully squeeled and ran about given the chance to come out and play in the open air of my conscious mind.

I've mentioned this obliquely a couple of times now, couching it in all sorts of careful-not-to-tempt-fate phrases, but at the risk of dancing on a hilltop with an umberella in a thunderstorm, I think I am in love, or rather I think I'm becoming involved in loving (vb) someone. That of course is the difference, and that's exactly what I hadn't fully articulated for myself, until I deciphered Liz Fraser's peculiar pronunciation, standing in line for the checkout at the Alldays with my packet of cheese and onion.

It's all too easy from the way love is presented to us (in the media mostly, but also in our own accute awareness-of-absence senses,) to fall into thinking of love as a thing, a state to be attained, or a static object to seek out and possess. We see it in terms of a goal, a target to aim at or even sometimes a pitfall to be avoided, when of course, it's none of those things: it's an activity and a process, a journey, or (to use a word recently reclaimed from the depths of cliche for me by my friend Liz) it's an adventure.

In my case it's a very new one, and beyond owning it as exactly that I don't have a great deal else to say on the matter right now. It is an activity which (for better or worse) I'm wholeheartedly engaged in right now, and that feels good to know how to say.

Monday, December 08, 2003

right up to the constructiveness

I built shelves! Yay me, mmm shelves, lovely shelves... I hadn't actually finished them by bed time yesterday (Sunday) so I have more to do when i get home and had to tidy all my toys away before I went to bed so that neither I nor 'nite tripped over them this morning, but I didn't mind because the shelves I've built so far are very very lovely and I was in a really good mood about it all.

I'm (finally) kitting out one of the three large walk-in cupboards that occupies one of the strange intersections of the walls in my odd-shaped house - it's known as the server cupboard because it's where our fileserver and other networking gubbins lives, but up until recently it was mostly occupied with Anita's old fridge. That finally vacated the premises on Saturday evening when her parents very kindly took it away. So now I have a whole big empty triangular cupboard and an intricate plan of shelving to play at building inside it, which makes me happy.

Meanwhile out in the rest of the world, winter has arrived with a vengence - it was a clear crisp morning when I got up today and has remained so, with the ground still frozen hard at almost 2pm which I guess means it's decided to stay that way for now. The sky has settled down from it's technicolour stretching this morning into the kind of bright wintry blue than makes your eyes hurt if you look at it too long, and my ears are just about defrosted from my lunchtime walk down by the frozen canal. Magic!

...might be time to buy a Christmas Tree this week I feel...

Saturday, December 06, 2003


had a great night tonight (Friday) the first attempt at a cave replacement was OK, we found good food and ate lots of it without spending a fortune... probably be trying somewhere else next week but it worked for the night.

After dinner we indulged Hamish's inner tourist by bimbling about the German market that occupies half of Princes Street Gardens this time of year

festive eh? it was actually a lot of fun - we hung around under the lights in the happy bustle feeling all fuzzy and full while Hamish and Keith enjoyed their Gluhwein, than we trundled back up the hill together and went to work with Liz which was exactly the right thing to do with the rest of Friday, we took up about half the bar (it's a very small pub) and chatted until closing when 'nite very kindly drove me and my belly full of Guiness home.

Friday, December 05, 2003

thank Crunchie...

wheeee! it's nearly time for the weekend again! Some of the regular Friday crowd are assembling tonight to try out a possible replacement for our dearly departed Tapas cave - short lived (and on the last visit smokey) though it was, the cave will be a tough act to follow.

That said I'm looking forward to just seeing everyone (well everyone who's coming) - with one thing and another I've been missing my Friday get-togethers recently and I've really felt it.

The weeks seem to have been sliding by at an alarming rate recently - and I don't just mean the acceleration that comes with age (proportional perception and all that) I think it could be a gravitational effect of the upcoming holiday, but whatever it is, it happily manages to ease off a little at the weekends so that my Saturdays and Sundays aren't hurtling past in a blur.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

a watched blog...

hm. Back in August after I visited Belfast I decided that adding a counter to these pages would be fun, I signed up with OneStat, got my free account set up and then completely forgot to actually implement the damned thing. typical.

Anyway observant readers may note that shortly after the overhaul, little OneStat logos appeared in the lower left corners of my pages - I put them there (together with all the clever javascript code that lies underneath them) last night, and now I can read all manner of interesting information about who visits and how often... turns out the answers (so far) are respectively 'nobody' and 'never' unless you count my own checks to see if a couple of minor tweaks (including the counters themselves) have taken OK.

I'm guessing that this is like watching the kettle - so long as it's new and I keep checking the logs, nobody will have been viewing the site, but once the novelty wears off and I stop compulsively clicking up little (empty) bar charts of my site traffic, there will actually be some... maybe.


what a great start to the day - a cake was delivered to my desk this morning, oh and it's actually light outside today too (sorry Mum and Dad - the good weather I ordered for last weekend arrived late)

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

winter migration

This morning as I drove out of the village the skies were filled with birds - Starlings perhaps, Dad would know... whatever they were they seethed across the surface of the sunrise soaked clouds like a re-enactment of a Hitchcock film, only not threatening: these birds were a joyous affirmation, a sign of life's shifting patterns of renewal not a gathering menace: Telephone lines to either side of the road were alive and thick with this teeming, feathered, excited mass of pent-up energy and optimism, and I remember feeling that this should be significant in some way - an augury perhaps, but at the time I didn't know of what.

This afternoon at the end of a long and absorbingly productive work-day (which is unusual) I grabbed a coffee (which is habitual) and checked in on a friend's weblog. There I found the page alive in the same way as those telephone lines were - my morning's sense of portent was bookended into clear and happy focus by an entry dated November 27th (but which I'd swear wasn't there two days ago,) where flocks of words and ideas crowd together, coalescing in swooping paragraphs - almost blocking out the sky with their clamouring mercurial message of movement, renewal and change.

Anyone who's been reading these pages for a while might remember an entry entitled Icarus (September 16th in the archives) and so might perhaps share a tiny fraction of my joy at the news that my friend has now spread his wings again.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

scwewy wabbit

In all the exciting redesign publishing fever last night I forgot about the stretch-o-vision bug that happens with some of the code in my blog page (it only seems to show up in IE on Windows machines, niether of of which I have access to) should be fixed now.


It's still dark. This is not right at all, I mean OK so by some measures I haven't really woken up yet, but I also haven't believed that the day and the night were determined by my own waking and sleeping since I was about two, and it's gone 10am local time! besides which I really don't live that far north these days...

At the weekend my parents came to visit, which was great fun (as it always is,) but it was also really very gloomy for almost their entire visit, which it also always is: we honestly do get nice weather here sometimes folks.

Saturday we started my long put-off xmas shopping by going to Glasgow, where the seemingly perpetual downfall central Scotland has been enjoying of late was approaching biblical proportions. Water welled up and sleuced about our feet from under paving slabs and out of manhole covers - the city's drainage system it seems had decided to try out life as a gigantic water feature... and this was Glasgow I mean it does occasionally rain there, west coast of Scotland and all that you'd expect the city to be designed with the rain in mind and I'm sure it is, it's just that there's so much of it at the moment.

The combination of the darkness (it ranged from being half-light, to being night time, in spite of our starting out before lunch and coming home mid-afternoon) the constant rain, and the seething hoardes of umbrella wielding pedestrians made me feel a little as if I were an extra on the set of Bladerunner at times.

Admittedly there is something quite atmospheric about all this "capital W" Weather we're having, and though it might not sound possible on the face of it (pre-xmas Saturday shopping in the rain) we had a thoroughly enjoyable (ableit soggy) afternoon, but just once when my parents are visiting, I'd like for them not to be reminded of one of the only two bits of the Doric I picked up in Aberdeen - it's always Driech.

new splat city!

woohoo, I made a shiny new and it all works!

This overhaul is essentially a complete demolish and rebuild, OK so I kept a few odds and ends, but I essentially wiped the slate clean and started over, impressed? I am! - the new graphical navigation will probably piss off a few people with slow connections but I feel bound to point out that I myself am stuck using a dial-up modem at home and the pages load fast enough - more importantly the content loads straight off on all pages (you just might have a few seconds wait for the navigation bar to catch up) and all the pages actually have stuff on them!

arguably best of all is the demise of one 'temporary' .gif that's cluttered my pages since the get-go... one last time, farewell little men-at-work sign, we knew you all too well!