Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Come back here, so that I may brain thee

Love at the Docks: On Wednesday night my sis discovered that The Darkness had announced to their mailing list their next UK tour, and were offering pre-sale tickets right then. What wasn't included in the announcement was something which had been leaked earlier - The Wildhearts and Ash would support on this tour.

So after trying to get somewhere with a frankly pathetic website, cclinks.co.uk, I switched from MSIE to Opera (something I would never expect to make a site work better!), we finally got 2 tickets. I'm fair chuffed to say the least.

I may shock some people with the following: I can take or leave The Darkness most of the time. I only know 11 songs by them, and overplay can make them quite grating. But they do have good tunes, and they are extremely good live.

But the real prize is The Wildhearts. This will be the 8th time I will see them live (not including seeing Silver Ginger 5, the lead singer's offshoot, and Ginger himself play an acoustic show at last year's Fringe), and I just can't tire of the experience. Last time I caught a plectrum thrown, quite some distance, by CJ, so I was a happy bunny! (Though "caught" is stretching it a bit - it hit my shoulder and landed beside me. I had to wait for people to move around before I could clock it on the ground.)

Birthday Girls: Apologies must go to Julie and her friends for quitting early on Saturday night. I went to Julie's/Julie's sister Lynsey's/her friend Jenni's birthday bash at Kublai Khan's, then went on to Spy Bar. I had agreed with everyone that Spy was a decent place to go for drinks before the Shack (which I had also agreed to go to), forgetting that they play music. Loud.

Call me an old fart if you like, but I can struggle to follow a one-on-one conversation in a bar at the best of times, but when it's many-on-many with such loud music, I have no chance.

I just lost most of this post (eedjit that I am, I closed Opera when I went to the Velvet Revolver site - there's women with no clothes on in there! Anyway, I'm at uni, and didn't want to lost access in my last 3 weeks).

I said stuff about going to VR tonight, my eyes failing on Saturday night, and probably other stuff too. My paper being accepted for a journal - it'll be published in December, with a conference at the same time in Miami.

I'm a fool. I hate retyping stuff. Damn yous. Damn yous all to hell.

Remember kids: Say no to drugs, stay in school, and backup your data!

Monday, August 23, 2004

7 Mathematical Sins

For those of you not attuned to the world of numbers, bear with me hear.

I have often been heard to state (usually when drunk) that maths is the universal language that would be used for communication with aliens, if such things existed. (I also siad that linguistics is what would poison the process, but I know I was being a divot). This can in part explain why I wanted the domain etotheipi.com originally, but someone beat me to it (for those that don't know, check the site for why this name is nice).

Anyway, back in my primary school days, being taught times tables, my teacher at the time told the class that the 9 times table is easy to remember, because if you take the digits of any answer between 1 and 10, they add to give 9.

If you've never noticed this before, check: 9, 18, 27, 36, 45, 54, 63, 72, 81, 90. It works.

A slight extension to this idea will give the same result for every poistive multiple of 9. Example: 9*11 = 99. Add the digits to get 18. Add those digits together to get 9.

I always thought this was a nice little twist to the world of numbers. Then sometime in secondary school I noticed a little trick with the 7 times table. Adding the digits together for these values gives an odd-even countdown kind of thing. Observe:

07, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, 49, 56, 63, 70 GIVES:
7,, 5,, 3,, 1,, 8,, 6,, 4,, 2,, 9,, 7

Again, this sequence repeats for quite a while. Cut to yesterday, when this quirk pops into my head again. I wondered if this would extend to other number bases. If you use hex encoding, you get:

Decimal: 07, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, 49, 56, 63, 70
Hex:.... 07, 0E, 15, 1C, 23, 2A, 31, 38, 3F, 46
Added:.. 7,, E,, 6,, D,, 5,, C,, 4,, B,, 3,, A

A swapping countdown. I haven't tested this further than 10, because Excel on this machine is severely lacking in hex tools.

The 9 rule is also adaptable. Using hex again, and F instead of 9, all positive multiples of F give answers whose digits add to give F.

Right, I'm sure that bored the hell out you, but you've read it, and you can't unread it!

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Putting Bad Meat to Good Use

More ambling around the internet has unearthed this little gem: Spamusement. While being almost unbearingly funny, it makes you realise just how quick you can be to dismiss emails as spam from their subjects. I'm always telling people to make sure their emails don't look like spam just in case I chuck them automatically.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

What does Terry Pratchett say SGM stands for?

After a mention last night of the Geek Test, I went and took the test today. My score was 20%, classing me as a standard geek. This seems fair enough - I know people who fit the geek bill far better than myself. Especially since the site referred to Geek Code, which I looked up, and tried to follow but the page of instructions was too long for me to continue caring.

The site also included a few definitions of the word Geek, and a link to Wikipedia's definition. It turns out that most geeks are thought to have something called Asperger's syndrome, a weak form of autism. Some of the description of this was quite startling:

"Asperger's Syndrome involves an intense level of focus on things of interest and is often characterized by special (and possibly peculiar) gifts"

Sounds a bit familiar!

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Arbeiten fur Alles

Some good news from the fray this week is that Julie got a job. She's working for at least 3 months in Carlisle, and getting paid handsomely for it too.

Meanwhile Rachel is in Germany, erm, enjoying the Germans I imagine. I've failed to teach her any German with my crypticity (is that a word? Dictionary.com say's no, but I'll keep using it until Oxford have no choice but to include it) in emails, so it's just as well most German's speak English anyway.

Back in my world, I had a fairly good time at the weekend. Friday was Craig's birthday, which involved a curry at Ashoka (haggis pakora rule!), drinks in Oran Mor, some korma-coloured projectiles from Craig shortly after 2 Sambucas and shortly before his exit, and the remaining sailors (and me) drinking on, at the same table beside Craig's work of art on the floor, until closing.

One thing I must mention about Friday night is that one of the (few) lasses there, Sam, told me she was vegetarian except for fish "because they don't have feelings". This comment flew totally over my head until Monday lunchtime, when Nirvana Unplugged arose on my iPod, and the lyric "It's okay to eat fish cause the don't have any feelings" came up.

It annoyed me that someone had done what I always want to do (work song lyrics into conversation), and I didn't even realise. If I tried to do it I'd just spout out whatever song was in my head. ("You know that you can and will lick my doo.")

On Saturday I went out in Aberdeen for a few drinks with Keith and Peter, but I for one was shattered after trying to catch up on sleep for the last week, so we didn't last long. We ended up in Exodus, listening to the most hideous collection of indie I can remember hearing a DJ subject people to. This is why it's always better to go home on a Friday - Saturday's suck in Aberdeen.

Sunday came along, and I got to see my mother's side of the family, including the new addition, Liam Thomas Arris (this may well earn Liam his first Google hit). Cute doesn't quite describe him! Aww, aww, aww.

This week's been quite quiet so far. I got contact lenses on Monday, after swithering about them for about a year. They're a trial set for a week, and I can only wear them a few hours a day, but they seem to be improving. The only problem is that I've been told I can't wear them for more than 10 hours even when my eyes are used to them, so I don't see much point in keeping them unless perhaps toric lenses are different in this respect (I have an astigmatism so may need funcy (translate: expensive) lenses!).

Friday, August 13, 2004

Happy Black Days, Here's The Summer

I took a stand against the stifling summer (it stifles me - I'm from Aberdeen, and not used to positive figures on a thermometer) in Glasgow the other day, by buying a little desk fan for my office. Now all is breezy.

I know that I've always been good at getting song lyrics wrong, and Manics songs are a prime example of a singer I generally can't understand. But near at the end of the song Epicenter is a little piece I was certain I had pegged, and was going to title this post with:

Happy Birthday, Here's the Summer

This seemed perfect for Craig's birthday being today (HB2U), and for the fan purchase. But I try to avoid eggy faces, so checked the lyrics first. Damn.

The Site: I've managed to get a bit more work done on my website, though it's still not close to finished - I need some serious time with a decent connection and a decent machine, which is not an easy combination to find these days. Broadband may seem a fantastic thing, but if it's connected to a machine that would have trouble keeping up with hair growth, it's not so good. And the uni has the admin IP for my host blocked, so I'm scunnered there as well.

Anyway, since the site's domain is now registered, here comes a link: rebootmenow.com.

Weekend (5 Long Days): Looks like my weekend is going to be busy. Tonight is Craig's birthday bash, with dinner at Ashoka (a curry house, which thankfully does a sweet and sour dish, as I'm not a curry man) then some drinks afterwards. The drinking can't be too heavy for me since: a) I got tanked last week and ended up with my head in Stephen Strowes' lap (there are photos to prove this! When I get copies, they will be made available here); b) I have to get up early on Saturday for...

A trip to Aberdeen to see the boys, and maybe the girls too if I actually remember to get some texts out. But the main reason for going up North is...

A visit to Inverness on Sunday. My cousin Gail just had a baby boy, named Liam, so I'm going up to visit with my sister (who's heading up the road to Aberdeen with me,a and so giving me a lift) and the folks. The bad news is my sister is staying in the North until Monday, but I can't get Monday off, so I have to get a 3.5 hour bus from Inverness to Glasgow on Sunday.

Teenage Mutant Mocking Turtles: Last night I went to Waxy's with my flatmates Kristen and Hogie for a friend of their's birthday, and to see the Mock Turtlenecks - a duo who play loads of upbeat covers on acoustic guitar. They came out with a few decent tunes, but concentrated too much on Barenaked Ladies. Apart from that, and sitting right in front of a speaker, they were pretty good. The big problem with sitting in front of a speaker is I couldn't hear anyone else around me, and I'm generally poor at hearing in pubs at the best of times.

I'm sure I'll start blaming my iPod for this - it would have been nice if you could program your own equalizer settings, but you can't, so I'm stuck with the Rock EQ which seems to lose almost all the bass.

PS: I found out last night that I got funding for my Masters in Aberdeen. So I'll definately be getting paid a fair chunk of cash for the year. Yay for me!

Monday, August 09, 2004

This Drinking Will Kill Me

My iPod arrived on Friday while I was at work. As per usual, I went to Curlers then the QM straight after work with all the other poor shmoes working in the department this summer, so I didn't get to see the iPod til around 4am. I'm not sure what I did to it at that time, but all the menus were in Japanese by morning. Luckily Apple give instructions on how to change the language when you can't understand what you see (though these instructions were a little off, I could still follow them with a hellish hangover).

From what I remember of Friday night, I was quite merry from an early stage, even acting drunk when playing John at pool around 7pm. Despite this, I continued drinking into the wee hours (I think we stayed at the QM til 3am, thanks to their new license). I then proceeded to collect my bag from my office in Lilybank (which I was amazed to find today was not trashed - I had fears of a casual spiage (sp?) in the building somewhere).

I'm not sure if much happened that night, beyond the end of BB (a welcome addition of an extra free hour every night!), and me stotting about so much that it took quite some time for a taxi to take me on. I'm sure if I did anything of note, I'll be reminded at lunch.

So all of this pointed to the inevitable hangover on Saturday - and what a monster it was. My worst for a long time. I was out at Rev on Tuesday night, and headed back to Neil's flat afterwards. Gus was there, and spoke about how he'd given up drinking because the hangovers were too much for him. Maybe there's something in that. It's been a while since I last spewed my ringer, but if I did again in the near future I might head to partial wagon-riding. For one thing it might stop me making a tit of myself at the weekends (or at least thinking I did).

So now I have an iPod, something that frustrated me for much of Saturday until I realised my new Firewire card must be buggered. Thankfully one of my flatmates has a PC with USB 2.0, so I've been able to make speedy transfers of music. After copying all songs from my MP3 CDs, my laptop and a large bulk of my sister's CD collection (since my CDs are almost all in Aberdeen), I've managed to nearly reach half capacity (10 Gig).

Aside from my Firewire card (which only cost £13, when I was expecting to pay about £40) not working, it seems iTunes, while being just about the best media library program I've seen, likes to hang when you try to do a lot at once, or if it simply feels like it. And the hanging requires a total reboot of the PC and the iPod to let you back in. Also, the iPod almost always needs rebooting when I disconnect it from a PC. It seems that the reset only switches a few settings to default (like the clicker sound being diverted to speaker), but that's bad enough - if you can store some settings like the chosen equaliser permanently, why not store everything? It's not like they're tapped for space.

It would also be nice if the volume went low before muting. When out and about on Glasgow's noisy streets, having a high volume range is very useful. But when in a minaiture office, with dead air all around, the lowest volume setting is too loud!

All I have to do now is shell out on the headphone remote (taking the iPod out of your pocket every 30 seconds is just plain annoying, as is the size of the hold switch), and perhaps the carry case too. Serves me right for buying the latest model I guess - no extras with it. And finding the accessories in town will be tough since no one stocks it yet.

So other than getting tanked and copying music, I've had a really quiet weekend. I finished reading Quite Ugle One Morning again, and started A Big Boy Did It And Ran Away again, both by Christopher Brookmyre. I reread Quite Ugly because when I'd first read it, I thought it was a prime candidate for being adapted for the big screen, and had sketched out how I would rearrange the chapters for a screenplay - about as close as I've gotten to written creativity in many years. Anyway, after a second reading it seems less suited for film, mainly because the story is about character development and gore humour, both of which would reduce public interest in the film.

A far more suited candidate would be One Fine Day In The Middle Of The Night, which I intended to read next, but it must be in Aberdeen, so I settled for a story set partially in (and very scathing of) Aberdeen instead.

Playlist: Absolutely everything!

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Terms, Conditions, and a Sizeable Wait Apply

This morning I won a console game with a bottle of Lucozade! They don't specify the console or games selection the prize is from, and the delivery deadline is April, so it could be a while till I get my Sonic game for the Megadrive! Ideally I'd have won Driver 3, though I'd settle for anything half decent for the PS2.

My work-time listening has changed quite a bit recently - instead of listening to minidiscs and burned CD collections, I've been on TotalRock a lot.

I decided yesterday that going to the gym after work just to use a treadmill (as I have done a couple of times recently) was a bit of a waste considering the good weather and the distance between work and home (about 3 miles as the crow flies). So yesterday I changed into shorts in my office and jogged home (with frequent breaks into walking). A few things to note from this:

1. I take ages to cool down after exercise - even after a cool shower I'm still beetroot and feeling the heat
2. Even though it was overcast yesterday, I was quite hot running home so I doubt I'll chance it when it's sunny (I even ended up with a minor layer of sunburn)
3. A lot of Glaswegians find the idea of a pale-white/blue skinned man jogging and looking fair puggled rather funny, and will discuss this with friends. But never mind them - I'm getting fit(?), they're getting fat.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

iWill have a iPod, oh yes, iWill have an iPod

I have just started eating into my recent paycheck with a purchase at apple.com. It seems strange that Amazon and Apple are the only places I could find the fourth generation model. It took me a while to decide on buying the iPod, but I'm sure it'll be worth it - it's just a shame that most of my CDs are still back in Aberdeen. Plus I hope I can handle a mere 12 hour battery life - I'm used to leaving my MD walkman for a week without charging it.

I've finally got webspace and a domain for my website sorted out. I hadn't planned on spending money on it (I've not spent money on software in many years, only hardware and net access), but caved when every host I came across offering PHP and MySQL either rejected my hosting request or turned out to be really poor.

The domain isn't fully registered yet, so there's no point giving out the address. Also, the content needs serious work! Instead, I'll let you peruse the deaths of many teddy bears:

Ready, Teddy, Death

I just remembered seeing a news report about the upcoming US election, and Kerry's tour of select states. There was some muppet in the crowd who was holding a home-made sign which read "Thats my boy". It's probably the first time that person had been on TV, they'd made international broadcasts, and they had such poor grammar!

Playlist: Machine Head, Mark Lanegan Band, Eleven. Expect this to become much fuller once the iPod arrives!