Another drug bites the dust

So, I'm still in the tropics, also known as the land of Unbelievably Crappy Dialup Access. Honestly, it's amazing I ever managed to get any work done at all when all I had was a modem. My activity for the last two days has been an attempt to give up caffeine. I've been worried for a while that my poor short-term memory, trembling hands and general scatter-brainedness are signs of an actual addiction to caffeine, so that conversation on Slashdot and all the associated horror-stories of caffeine addiction were a spur to action. So I quit cold-turkey as of nearly 48 hours ago. Lo and behold, last night I had the number one symptom people described as caffeine withdrawal: an extreme headache, the like of which I've not had for years. I took some anacin for the headache -- it contains caffeine in addition to the painkiller, so it worked a treat -- and tonight (so far) I've not needed any, although right now I can sense the beginnings of a headache coming on. I'm not sure whether to head it off with a...
tagged with
0 comment

100,000 words in a cunning order

I've been reading The Salmon of Doubt, a collection of the last works of Douglas Adams. It's an excellent book (thanks Ed!) not because of the story it contains -- the title story was barely half-finished when he died, and the rest of the book is small articles, one-liners and e-mails by Adams and friends -- but because of all the ideas it contains. Adams was a really clever guy, really well-read and thoughtful. In particular -- and it was a surprise to me to discover -- he was very interested in technology, and was surprisingly knowledgeable about it. For instance, the HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy now really exists as H2G2.com, a sort of everything-style community-edited encyclopedia to life, the universe and everything (and arranged into those categories). He also had a lot to say about my favourite topic, user interface design. I get really unbelievably snotty about user interface design these days, mainly because it's so awful. So it was refreshing to find out that Adams thought exactly the...
tagged with
0 comment

Island boy

Just got back from three days "down the islands", i.e. at a weekend house on a little island which is tiny even compared to the already tiny island which I'm on. Down the islands is where Trinis go to get away from it all, so when you consider how far away from everything Trinidad already is, you can imagine that's pretty slow. Really relaxing though, and beautiful: forgive me, I'm about to wax poetic, in a way that will be hugely embarrassing to me once I'm done. Imagine huge, solid hills coated in dark-green tropical forest, crashing steeply into the deep, dark blue-green ocean, sometimes ending in quiet little bays, sometimes ending in sheer granite cliffs a couple hundred feet high, with tiny stunted trees clinging to cracks in the rock on the way down. The sunlight glitters off the tiny waves and the water is crystal clear at this time of year, and you can see down twenty feet to the bottom. At the waterline the islands are encrusted with holiday homes, each a different style and colour with little...
tagged with
0 comment

Supermarket chic

Supermarket checkouts are like a yuppie lifestyle competition. Who's eating healthy? Who's buying too much chocolate? Who can afford the quality crisps, and who's buying the low-price value bread? Are we buying organic milk these days? Are you the kind of person why picks up trashy mags at the checkout? Two girls in front of me today were on a faux-diet for January: lots of Special K alright, but two big bars of Dairy Milk. You're just fooling yourselves! Your shopping basket may say a lot about you, but being the kind of person who pays attention to what's in other people shopping baskets probably says too much about me.
tagged with
0 comment

The Locker-Room Effect

So I'm going to the gym in January. So I'm (even more of) a cliché. Whatever. What really bugs me is the way people need to get naked in the changing rooms. No really. Why? It's not like these people have just been swimming: there's a separate changing room for them. When you've just been wet, you might need to briefly shuck your swimsuit before getting into new clothes. There's no need to wander around full-frontal though, even then. But the "dry" changing room nudists don't even have that excuse. Hello! You've just been exercising! Are your nuts so sweaty that it would kill you to keep your pants on until you got home? And I don't get the showers for the same reason. Don't you people have homes where you can shower? Why must you inflict yourselves on me? And why is it always the mingers? You'd think, with the vast numbers of superfluously naked people wandering around locker rooms I've seen all my life, there would have been at least some hot ones to gawp at and make it all worthwhile. But no....
1 comment

A letter to my boss

Having taken some time to think about the matter... Today, it was clear that I made a mistake. You observed that something did not work as you thought it should, and I agree that it should not have worked that way. However, I respectfully request that you please don't go on about it. When I make a mistake, I expect to take responsibility for that mistake. However, I do not expect to be blamed for that mistake. Blaming me does nothing to repair the error, and does nothing to prevent such mistakes happening in future. In fact, the only thing it does is annoy me, for no more rational reason than nobody likes being yelled at. It drains me of motivation, and takes the fun out of my work, replacing it with resentment, distrust and fear, none of which are conducive to productivity. Blaming me now encourages me to blame others when they make similar mistakes, encourages me to put off or avoid difficult decisions so that the responsibility for any mistakes are not mine, and fills me fear of whatever my...
tagged with
0 comment

Queer Eye for the Spandex Guy

The fab five are now comic book superheroes. Hee hee hee...
tagged with
0 comment

Mikey is visiting. Thoughts from this weekend: Popstarz was fun O'Neill's is not really very Irish at all Michael is funny ha-ha, while Mikey is funny-strange Working on Saturdays sucks The Lord of the Rings would have been much shorter if the hobbits had mobiles*. Paycheck is a very entertaining movie I have become so assimilated to London that I no longer notice how ridiculous it is to pay £10 to see a movie Smallville is excessively self-involved Spam-based art is clearly the Next Big Thing. The Tate Britain is not nearly as crap as everyone makes out, although they do have waaaaaaaaaaay too much bloody Turner. Turner was very talented, but you can only look at so many brilliantly-executed landscapes before being bored. Villiers street has at least two good restaurants: Exotika is amazingly good, amazingly fast food with style, and the random Italian place is not bad either. Graham is still very interesting, and I am privileged to be (apparently) the only person he knows who doesn't...
tagged with
0 comment

Ooops... I did it again

Hitting the ground running as he enters the blog-world comes Colin, who joins Ed to become the second Trinidadian school-friend of mine I've helped set up a blog. Only blogging for three days so far, he's already found time to be introspective, political, amusing, and, er, tedious. One to watch, folks... (hey Giles, what happened?) I seem to blog almost not at all these days. Don't worry, I'm not dead, just busy.
tagged with
0 comment

Oh, well said

In case you haven't seen this already, you soon will: confronting the relentless advance of the police state in the USA, all in the name of "protecting the American people", this guy has hit the nail right on the head with You see, the trouble is, I'm not an American. It brings into focus and scathingly mocks the hysteria and over-reaction currently going on within the American government in response to their belated, horrified realisation that nobody likes them anymore. What they haven't got their head around is the fact that sometimes un-American behaviour is okay, because not everybody is American, and more importantly, not everyone should or wants to be. It reminds me of something I read in a book by Bill Bryson once: the prevailing American attitude is that not only is America the best place in the world, but that everyone agrees with this idea. He recounted a story about a German girl he spoke to who was visiting the states. Paraphrasing liberally, she said "People keep asking me, 'So, which do...
0 comment

Wait... I'd vote for who?

So, according to the Presidential match quiz, here are the possible US presidential candidates, ranked by their similarity to my opinions on an impressively comprehensive array of issues. The results worry me. A lot. 1SharptonScore: 100% 2Kucinich Score: 97% 3Kerry Score: 97% 4Dean Score: 92% 5Clark Score: 90% 6Edwards Score: 86% 7Lieberman Score: 84% 8Bush Score: 26% Excuse my french, but AL FUCKING SHARPTON? Oh my god, I'm a crazy, crazy liberal! (And since when does Reverend Al have such strong support for gay marriage?) But the test itself is pretty good, go try it. For your further edification, here's a full comparison of the three candidates I'd actually consider voting for (plus Bush and, dear lord, Sharpton). If I fiddle with my answers a bit Kerry ends at the top of the heap quite often, but I'm finding it hard to vote for Dean under any circumstances...
tagged with
0 comment

Sometimes... you just click

Gosh. That was nice. Specifically, he is nice. No further details. Ask me again in a week.
tagged with
0 comment

La, sir...

Dear oh dear... he is rather a flatterer. This sort of attention makes me instantly morph into the personality of an 18th-century maiden for some reason. If I had a hand fan, I would be giggling and hiding my face behind it while fluttering my eyelashes right now. He continues to be lovely. Third date on Friday. Still no further details, but you've got his blog now, so what more do you need to know? I swear in real life he doesn't spend the same proportion of his time complaining about his health and his job. He quite likes his current job. And he doesn't live in Wales anymore; the "about" section is out of date...
tagged with
0 comment

Yes, it was a whitewash

Bring Back Greg The Hutton report was a huge kiss on the ass of the government. It was clear from the outset that both sides shared some blame, and the conclusions of this investigation give absolutely no indication of that. The Hutton investigation was supposed to determine one thing: whether or not the government lied to the country. If the government had lied, that was a serious matter, worthy of many resignations on the parts of those responsible: the government is not supposed to lie to the people. But if the government did no wrong, then it was simply a journalistic error. Journalistic errors demand an apology, not two resignations from the highest levels of the corporation. This is a huge blow to the freedom and the independence of the BBC, and it leaves me very angry indeed, and very disappointed.
tagged with
0 comment