November 2003

Not an axe murderer

by Suw on November 29, 2003

I'm happy to say that my friend whom I'm visiting this weekend is not an axe murderer. Just in case you were worried.

Haven't seen much of Leeds so far as it's been kinda rainy and we've not really done anything bar watch films and talk. Watched Amelie last night, which I loved. Also watched Equilibrium, which was ok but I thought a little weak. Revolutions later. Oh. Oh. The excitment. It's killing me.

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The longest day

by Suw on November 28, 2003

Off for the weekend again today. I have the joy of a minimum of five hours on a train, although with only 10 minutes to change at Bristol, there's always the chance that the journey will end up taking a lot longer. Then I've two and a half hours hanging about in Leeds, waiting for the working world to catch up to this whole idea of a weekend.

Tomorrow, off to see Revolutions at the IMAX, an event which is currently leaving me pre-underwhelmed. All I can say is that there'd better be some damn good fight scenes to make up for what I've heard is a predictably crappy end. Still, at least I'll have seen it, and then I'll know, and then I'll forget all about it.

But today is going to be a very long day, not least because my alarm went off at 5.30am instead of 6.30am because I'd forgotten to change the hour on my phone. Just as I started to nod off again, Fflwff decided it was time to get up and started pestering, so I locked her in the bathroom. (It's a big bathroom – I'm sure she was comfy.) But at 6.30am Mum let her out so I gave in and just got up.


Can I crawl back into bed and stay there now please?

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by Suw on November 27, 2003

Today I went past the 10,000 hits per month post for the first time! Yay!! And it's not even the 30th yet!

Of course, hits are not equivalent to visitors, so this probably means that just one person has way too much spare time on their hands.

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Lost kitten returned

by Suw on November 27, 2003

The family at No. 1 lost their little black kitten several weeks ago. They'd searched the ditches on the main road where so many poor, unsuspecting kittens get killed, but to no avail. They'd asked round, checked the vets, but still nothing.

A few days ago, however, the kitty – who had been tagged with an identity chip – was happily returned to them by the police after it was found wandering round in Winchester, 40 miles away.

I know tomcats can stray, but 40 miles? The police apparently said that there actually are gangs that catnap cats and sell them for their fur, so one could conclude that the poor wee bairn was stolen away from its home by some passing rogue, but somehow managed to escape. I actually prefer the idea that it climbed into someone's car, unawares, and found itself in Winchester by accident, but I guess the catnapping is more likely.

It'll be kinda nice to see the cute little thing fronting up to my Fflwff in the garden once more, proving yet again that although she may be the original EnormoMog, Fflwff is in fact just a big girl's blouse at heart.

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Lloyds TSB can't count either

by Suw on November 26, 2003

Shortly after I moved home at the end of August, I realised that I had carefully packed away my paying in book, and had not the slightest idea which of my 40 boxes it was in. After a rather half-hearted attempt to find it, I decided it would just be easier to ring my bank and ask them to send me a new one.

A month or so later I realised I'd not received anything, so I asked again. A bit later, still nothing, so I asked again…

Last Friday I asked my branch why I hadn't recieved a paying in book, and after much faffing about they decided that there had been a 'problem' with the computer but that it was fixed now and I should expect to receive a book or two in the near future.

This morning I got seven.

How nice to know that the institutions to which we trust our money can count, eh?

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You may or may not have noticed quite a bit of disruption on the internet yesterday, with email going all up the swanny and normally reliable websites appearing to just vanish into the ether never to be seen again. (Well, not until after I'd gone to bed, anyway.) Apparently, it was down to a major failure in one of the key communications links between the United States and Europe.

I really rather liked this paragraph from that article:

Vanessa Evans, of LINX, the London Internet Exchange, which carries nearly all U.K. Internet traffic and over half of Europe's Internet traffic, said she saw a drop in traffic of around 2 gigabits per second. At its peak, LINX sees 32 gigabits of data every second. She added that the Internet was not broken, as traffic was rerouted through other networks.

No, no, no, of course the internet wasn't broken. It just wasn't working.

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Drought! Drought!! Drought?

by Suw on November 26, 2003

It’s been coming down stair-rods on and off for the last couple of weeks. The ‘road’ (it’s more of a track really) out front periodically pretends to be a small stream as the water sheets down out of the leaden sky and runs off hills faster than the clay soil can soak it up.

The cats eternally hope that the weather outside the back door will be nicer than the weather outside the patio doors, and are constantly disappointed. I’ve never seen a cat with it’s legs crossed in desperation before, but lately Fflwff’s come close.

So today I suspect that most of the country will have been, like me, rather taken aback by the news that we are heading for a drought. We should, the journalists tell us, cut back. We should use less water each day – turn the tap off whilst you brush your teeth, put a brick in your toilet cistern and use less water to peel your potatoes of an evening.

Whilst all this is sound advice, and whilst we really should cut back on our water consumption, I do rather resent the implication that I as a consumer am to blame for the water shortage when the amount of water I waste on a daily basis is but nothing to the amount escaping from damaged pipes that the water companies are persistently failing to fix.

In 1997, the water companies were losing around 4 billion litres of water a day from leaks in England and Wales. In 2002 that figure fell to 3.4 billion litres per day. That might look like an improvement, but that’s still something like 66 litres a day each – enough for that quick shower before bedtime that you weren’t going to have because you wanted to save water.

(Data from page 13 of this Ofwat leakage report: warning, evilly huge file.)

Even if I do use on average 100 litres of water a day, as the journalists tell me I do, I can’t see how my savings could possibly make up for these leakages which go unchecked by the water companies.

To add injury to insult, at the beginning of November some consumers learnt that they would face increased water bills as utilities companies decided that rather than use some of their profits to fund essential work, they’d just ramp up charges to consumers instead. After all, can’t have the shareholders going hungry, can we now?

Allowing any public utility to be provided by a private company is frankly a big mistake. Instead of taking care of the environment, (I’m not even going to begin on the parlous state of our rivers, which are these days treated as no more than drains), ensuring that we all have safe potable water in our taps and treating our sewerage to the highest of standards before allowing it back into the waterways, these companies are screwing the consumer into the ground to make sure that their shareholders’ nests are comfortably feathered.

Public utilities (not to mention the railways) should be entirely run by a non-profit organisation that is 100% accountable to its customers – us. Instead, Johnny Water & Sons Co. can happily up their prices, bugger the environment and mismanage our national water supplies all they like, whilst Ofwat uninterestedly watches.

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by Suw on November 26, 2003

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Chesney is famous!

by Suw on November 25, 2003

Seems that Frank Paynter of Sandhill Trek has taken a bit of a shine to Chesney the Celtic Dog, to the extent of featuring him in one of his posts.

Our Chessers would like to tell Frank that he’s chuffed as a small horse to be included on Frank’s blog, and that if Frank is ever in the area then he’s welcome to pop in to Chesney’s kennel for a bowl of Chump and a spot of rabbit chasing.

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Job hunt update

by Suw on November 25, 2003

I spent an hour again this morning searching for jobs. The only ones I could find that looked even remotely attractive were ones that I've already been rejected for.

How crap is that?

Still, I've only got another 12 Welsh worksheets left to proofread (out of 42). Once that's done and I've sorted out the Get Fluent CD-ROM and got it up on the web shop, I can start to concentrate on the journalism course, which has really been on the backburner for too long already. I still have that heap of papers to read, too. I have a nasty feeling that if I don't get on with it soon, they're going to be lining the bottom of the cats' litter tray instead.

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RSS agreggators

November 25, 2003

I've decided that Syndirella is a steaming pile of stinking poo and that I'm fed up with it running like a legless dog and crashing my computer every time it tries to update its feeds. Ok, so having an agreggator that allows me to read stuff offline is handy, but the fact that it keeps […]

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Horst Prillinger says

November 24, 2003

That if you mention Michael Jackson in your blog, you get lots more hits. I am, obviously, only reporting this as an item of interest, and not in anyway am I trying to artificially increase the number of hits my blog gets, even if this month I do look like I might break the 10,000 […]

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Why is the comedy boffin not extinct?

November 24, 2003

I love Stargate SG1. Maybe it’s the dry humour, maybe it’s the fantasy of travelling to foreign worlds and discovering new cultures, maybe it’s the romanticism of ancient Egypt. More likely that it’s the hot tottie. Michael Shanks’ arse is not to be sneezed at, after all. Even Richard Dean Anderson could eat crackers in […]

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Laminated floors

November 24, 2003

Are all very pretty, but they're a bit lacking in grip. One false move and you're a flurry of flailing arms in a losing battle with gravity. Most of the words currently springing to mind are synonyms for 'ow'.

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We won! We won!

November 23, 2003

Ok, so I know I'm a day late, but still, we won!! I was in a taxi on the way to Ford to catch the train to Brighton during the last few minutes of the game, but we reached the station before the match concluded and didn't find out the score until two hours later […]

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