January 2006

Yurt half packed

by Suw on January 30, 2006

I've started packing up the things that I don't use on a daily basis. Books, some of the linen I don't need right this second, clothes it's too cold to wear. I've half-filled one suitcase (it's waiting for the bed linen and pillows that are either in the wash or which I am using right this second), and completely filled a second. Two medium-sized crates of books, one of papers, one half-full of stuff I might throw out. One small crate full of various leads, one of stationery. Two empty large crates for the rest of my as yet unpacked crap. Guitar in case. Boots and shoes in a small rucksack.
Now a few days of limbo, where i can't pack stuff because I'm using it, or because I haven't decided if I'm going to throw it out yet.
Need to find someone who can drive, though, because my brother's unable to help me as I'd hoped. Thinking of hiring a small van because I have just at much too much to fit it all in a car. Unless it was a Zafira or something. Anyway, volunteer drivers welcomed.
And then, once T'Other and I have located suitable permanent lodgings, off we go again. I will likely not unpack anything but the essentials once I get to my friend James', because there's just no point. That's the plan, see: move here to James' spare room, then once I'm back from the States and Ireland, me and T'Other look for something permanent – nicely appointed, close to work, and not too far from the gastronomic delights of Borough Market.
I can't wait for this period of dislocation to be over. But when it is, that will be the end of a very long, very tedious chapter of my life. And as I sit here, looking at ten beautiful red roses, I know that it's all going to work out just fine.

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"Neil Gaiman's our Patron! Squeee!"

by Suw on January 30, 2006

Was the headline that I chose not to run with in today's Open Rights Group press release, despite the fact that's pretty much how I felt about it.
If you're a regular reader of either my or Neil's blog, you will of course already know that Neil's our Patron, but it's nice to finally fess up publicly about it. I'm pleased about it for a few reasons. Neil's very clued in when it comes to copyright, digital rights and authors' freedoms. He even won the Defender of Liberty Award* from the CBLDF in 97. It's wonderful to see someone whose creative processes are so very analogue – Neil writes his first drafts longhand with a nice pen and a Moleskine notebook – becoming so deeply immersed in the digital world.
It's also great because Neil and Cory Doctorow, who is on our Advisory Council, are the very people that the rights-grabbing publishing oligarchies claim that they are trying to 'protect' using that annoying DRM crap, plus they're the people that you are I are supposedly 'stealing' from every time we read their books more than once. I've always found Cory to be quite pleased to have his work downloaded, repurposed and redistributed (within the terms of his Creative Commons licence, of course). And I know for a fact, because he's said so on his blog, that Neil's very keen on people reading his works more than once, turning them into tattoos, and using them as inspiration for interpretative dance.
Plus, of course, and you know how much I love stating the blindingly obvious, I'm chuffed because I've been a huge fan of Neil's for a long time, and finally I have a good excuse to email him and ask for quotes. To wit:
“We're in a world in which digital rights, the world of the internet, and the exchange of information is getting more and more important and relevant to all our lives, wherever we are,” said my new friend Neil. “I'm delighted that there's now a group of people committed to preserving and extending civil liberties in a digital world and to being sane and sensible as we careen into a digital future. I was honoured to be asked to be Patron of the Open Rights Group, and I look forward to working with them for years to come.”
So, don't forget to sign up to support ORG, and especially don't forget that we have an evening of free drinks, nibbles and Cory Doctorow on Feb 7th.
* Hm… wonder if ORG should start a Defender of The Digital Realm awards…

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Second Open Rights Group networking evening

by Suw on January 29, 2006

The second Open Rights Group, featuring ubergeek Cory Doctorow, is set for the evening of Tuesday 7 Feb 2006.
Don't let Hollywood hijack your rights
Cory Doctorow
American entertainment companies say they're fighting piracy, but they're going at it by punishing the innocent to get at the guilty. A pan-European digital television restrictions proposal will turn the studios from companies that can control copying of movies into companies that can control the design of all digital TV devices, that get to define how big your family is allowed to be, that get to take away all the rights you get under copyright law and sell them back to you, one painful, expensive dribble at a time. It's not really a business plan: more like a urinary tract infection. Europe's coming Broadcast Flag will ban open source for digital TV, break the devices in your living room, and turn you into a truly captive audience. Get your torch and pitchfork, for this genuinely sucks — and you shouldn't take it lying down!
This free event is open to digital rights campaigners, grassroots activists, the press and the general public, so please do send this information to anyone you think may be interested.
Refreshments and nibbles will be provided free of charge.
When: Tuesday 7 February 2006, 6pm–9pm
Where: 01Zero-One Hopkins Street (corner of Peter Street), Soho, London, W1F 0HS
Map: http://www.01zero-one.co.uk/map.htm
Note: 01Zero-One is sometimes a difficult venue to find if you've never been there before. On the corner of Hopkins and Peter Street, you'll see a featureless brick wall, with nothing but a black door in it. That anonymous black door is the one you want — just ring the buzzer and it'll be opened for you, if it's not propped open with a brick, that is.
Only 100 people can attend, so please book your place by signing up on the Open Rights Group wiki.

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Four things (for Tom)

by Suw on January 27, 2006

I just read this in my aggregator, and from the opening syllables realised I could steal it. Almost verbatim. Including the disclaimer at the top.
Then I got to the bottom and realised I was supposed to. Possibly apart from the disclaimer at the top.

I'm doing this for Heather Tom and for anyone who ever reads this site because I've been too busy and too distracted trying to get some movement in various areas of my life to post here as much as I'd like. So even though it's filler…
Four jobs I've had:

Waitress (for four hours)
Editorial Assistant
Music Journalist
Social Software Consultant/Digital Rights Activist

Four movies I can watch over and over:

Shaun of the Dead
Wonder Boys
Pirates of the Caribbean

Four places I've liked

San Francisco

Four TV shows I love

Battlestar Galactica
Dr Who (new series)

Four places I've vacationed:

New York

Four of my favorite dishes:

Crepes with cinnamon apples
Chocolate and hazelnut terrine (from the George and Dragon, Burpham)
Mushroom and truffle soup (from The Bistro, somewhere in Berkshire)
My mum's Roast beef

Four sites I visit daily:

BBC News
Open Rights Group (and wiki)

Four places I would rather be right now:

In my own flat with my boyfriend
San Francisco
North Wales
Anywhere hot

Four bloggers minxes cheeky monkeys I am tagging:

Gary (because he doesn't blog enough)
Euan (because he doesn't blog enough about him)

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by Suw on January 19, 2006

Walking towards Bank station just now, my train of thought was somewhat derailed by two fire engines hurtling round the corner. Then an ambulance. A HEMS car (Tom can explain what that is.) Then the police, in cars and on bikes. More sirens.
By this time I'm at Bank and the entrance is closed. More police. More ambulances. Wouldn't be surprised to hear a chopper in a second. No one has a clue what's going on, though. Clearly the station is closed – the cluster of emergency services vehicles and personnel attest to that.
I start walking to the nearest bus stop.
What you have to realise about Bank is that is has about 9 different entrances, and links underground to Monument station. Obviously all entrances are shut. But each one seems to have a fixed sign on it that says 'When this entrance is shut, use X other entrance'. As most of the entrances are out of sight of each other, there's no knowing that there's no point walking to another because it too will be shut, no way of knowing that the emergency services are on site unless you walked past them. I see people going from entrance to entrance, trying to figure out what's going on.
No gate has a temporary sign saying 'Station closed'. There are no LUL personnel around to tell you.
How hard would it be to actually put up a sign on the gates when the station is shut? A little information goes a long way and it'd save us punters from a lot of confused milling about.

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Gi's cash! ORG now taking donations

by Suw on January 17, 2006

The Open Rights Group pledge finally matured on Christmas day, and now we're proud to announce that the supporters' database is up and running and you can officially now give us cash! We've had a surge of donations since the email went out to pledge signatories, so please do join the stampede and let us have your fiver a month.
We have two levels of support: normal is £5 per month, or £60 per year; and concession is £30 per year. You can pay by cheque, credit/debit cards via PayPal, or standing order – we'll even create your own personalised standing order form which you can either send to us or use to set up your standing order via your own online banking system.
The first 1000 people to give us actual cold hard cash will be given a special status, that of 'Founding 1000', which basically means that we will give you special treats as soon as we've figured out what those special treats are. In the meantime, you get a warm rosy glow of satisfaction (batteries not included).
If you can't donate, then please help us by spreading the word and blogging about ORG. We also have, for your delectation and delight, a wiki and a discussion list where you can join in the flame wars fun.

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Do you stot?

by Suw on January 16, 2006

him: Did you eat?
me: not yet. just walked in the door
him: You go nosh then – don't want you fainting
me: nah, i'm good. i've been nibbling all afternoon
him: Your life rhythm been perturbed?
me: i usually nibble. i'm a grazer. like a gazelle
him: You have the legs for it. But do you stot?
me: no, but I pronk.

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Bloggers on telly

by Suw on January 13, 2006

Last time I saw one of my friends on TV, it all turned out to be a wee fib. This time round… the evidence is incontrovertible. And on Flickr.
Someone must have video, surely?
But wow! Our own Tom on telly. Whatever next? (*cough*me?*cough*)

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Evicted twice in two days

by Suw on January 11, 2006

So I moved up to London last year, at the end of September, into a two bedroom flat with someone I met earlier in the year. Then, sadly, at the beginning of December the boiler spewed it's guts, and I've been living with T'Other ever since. I've offered to pay bills and such, but that offer's been rejected by T'Other's live-in landlord.
Got a message from my landlady yesterday saying that the boiler would finally be fixed by the end of this week, but could I please move out by 6 Feb. OK, thinks I. Not a surprise, but if things get dicey I have a place to stay.
Tonight, T'Other gets a phone call from his landlord, who basically throws a fit and demands that I be gone. T'Other requests that we be given til the weekend at least. All gets rather uncomfortable. T'Other is none too chuffed.
So, Saturday I go back to the flat, but then I have three weeks to find somewhere new to live. There is currently one possibility, which may or may not come together, but even if it does it'll be temporary.
I can't express how fed up I am with being pushed from pillar to post. When I moved up to London, I had a feeling that the place I was moving to would be temporary. I wasn't really prepared for this though.
I just want a place I can live in for more than just a few months. A place where T'Other is welcome. A place I can put my own things out and not feel like I'm always invading someone else's space, ruining their life by the fact that I'm still breathing. I want a place where I don't feel bad if I leave the dishes til the morning, where the shower isn't freezing fucking cold, where no one keeps me awake til 1.30am with their noise and ranting and selfishness.
I knew I shouldn't have brought more than just clothes with me to London.
UPDATE: I think I have a plan. All will be well. More news when things are confirmed.

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Back to the beginning

by Suw on January 10, 2006

When I first started reading blogs, I only read a few. A handful. Then I found through those few blogs a whole host of others. More and more and more. Wonderful, intelligent, amusing, interesting… A world of fascination.
Then I got work.
Now I hardly have time to read all the blogs that are in my reader. Don't even have time to thin them out by chucking out all the ones I don't read anymore. Instead, I've just reorganised a little. And I've gone back to just reading the few that I started off reading, with maybe a couple of additions, four years ago. There are about ten, in fact, that I am reading on a daily basis. Well, nine and a half, because Coatse writes too much for me to keep up so I dip in to his as and when I'm feeling brave.
Just reading a few blogs regularly is starting to hook me back into the blogosphere though. I am starting to feel like this is my medium again, rather than a medium that, basically, pwnd me.
The other thing I've done is remove my blogroll. It was way out of date, didn't reflect reality at all, so it had to go. I may do a new one in due course, but I think it needs a holiday for now.
So do I, mind you, despite the fact that today is just my second day back at work. The last three weeks doesn't much feel like the holiday it was supposed to be. I forced myself to take a week off completely, and that turned out to be a strange sort of hard work all by itself.
So yes, there's it all explained. Back to first principles and hope for the best.

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Suing spammers

January 4, 2006

Good to hear that a spammer has been successfully sued here in the UK, via the small claims court. Ben Laurie is going to write a 'How To', and then we can all join in the fun. The sums of money involved are small, with the spammer paying only £270 in damages to Nigel Roberts […]

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Hot Fuzz are go!

January 4, 2006

Thanks to everyone who, before Christmas, sent me the news that Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright's new movie, Hot Fuzz, has been greenlighted by Working Title. The movie, which will star Pegg and Shaun cohort/real-life best mate, Nick Frost as two mismatched cops who team up in a West Country backwater, has been mooted for […]

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Happy New Year!

January 2, 2006

New Year is always a bit of a weird time, as the expectation of a great party usually gives way to the reality of staying in, in front of the computer, and wondering why it was I couldn't get my act together yet again. But this year my New Year's Eve was just about as […]

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