I'm back, baby

Proper blogging tomorrow when I'm not absolutely knackered. Today I have purchased a kettle, and tomorrow I will be buying a washing machine. I am a so the mid-20s professional. (sob)
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On laughter

It's a beautiful summer's day. Hundreds of thousands are starving to death. The song I like is playing in my ears. Someone who doesn't deserve it has cancer. He's still here. She is not. How do you reconcile these things? Do you laugh, or cry? How can you be happy when so many terrible things are always going on? Should you feel guilty for laughing and having a good time, when you know that someone you care about is miserable, and you can't do anything about it? These are questions that have often occurred to me, and are currently being driven home yet again. I say no. Guilt would be the wrong reaction. You can't go through life miserable all the time, and there will always be problems in the world and in the lives of your friends and loved ones. They wouldn't want you to be miserable all the time. If you can do something to help, then by all means do so. But if you can't, then that doesn't mean you should do nothing. You should laugh, if you want to. You should enjoy your health, your...
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Blogging from the dinner table. Either a new low, or a new high. I'm not sure.

Blogging from the dinner table. Either a new low, or a new high. I'm not sure.
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Houseparty: the final score

Party: 1 House: 0 Thanks to everyone who came, and the unexpected (to me, at least) housewarming presents, including the fabulous sodastream machine from Milly, which we have been playing with all afternoon! Mmm, home-made cola! Totally unrelatedly, via Dom, following on the success of Bugs Bunny Extreme, I bring you the latest in totally hip-to-the-kids merchandise:
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Oh dear

I'm being quite remiss about blogging recently, kidlets. At least I've returned to updating the scratchpad, right? Amuse yourselves with it. Other things going on... oh, we get a new washing machine tomorrow! This is exciting to people who've not washed any clothing in 3 weeks, let me tell you. Our last one melted while I was on holiday; apparently that 200-decibel metallic shrieking it made during the spin cycle was not just normal operating noise; who knew? Oh, and I've gone and uploaded a silly number of photos to Flickr; mostly restricted to family, but you can see some highlights of the vacation snaps without needing to log in.
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Chav Detection

Bluewater shopping centre has banned hoodies and baseball caps in an attempt to exclude "antisocial elements" (code for chavs) who wear them, ostensibly because these items obscure their face from recognition by CCTV cameras. Now, while I am far from being a defender of chavs, this "zero tolerance" policy, like all other such policies, is a ridiculous abdication of judgement on behalf of the security staff. This rule is aimed at excluding antisocial teenagers who intimidate shoppers, bully staff, and damage property. However, it will also affect chemotherapy patients who wear them to hide bald heads, American tourists who wear them as an entirely nonaggressive fashion statement, and people who are just wearing a hoodie because they get cold ears. The security staff should be given discretion to decide who can and cannot enter the complex, and if their judgement cannot be trusted then we should find people who can, not place our faith in an excessively broad blanket policy. I recommend Randy...
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Things that have been good recently

In no particular order. iPod-as-jukebox: at home, on holiday, and now at work new washing machine. Mmm, Persil. dinner cuddles flatmates being DJs flatmates, in general plays at the National Theatre specifically, plays that are based on horror B-movies and are endlessly self-referential, pretentious and navel-gazing (as a blogger, I can appreciate all three of these qualities, and in fact could cite particular entries as being all three at once) tea sleep
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An open letter to Sno

Sno is the creator of OUTeverywhere, a community website of which I am a heavy user. It has recently undergone a disastrous interface overhaul. I'm a web developer, and a long-standing member of OUT. I say this so to make it clear that I at least have some idea what I'm talking about, both on the notion of OUT as a community and OUT as a piece of software. The old OUT had problems, both social and technical. Frames aren't very accessible to the blind. To standards-compliance anal-retentives, it was a nightmare: font tags and frames are both out of fashion on the web these days. Socially, the board were full of whinging fuckwits. I will address all of this issues. Firstly: FUCK standards-compliance, and as a web developer, I do not say this lightly! Cutting out useful features just so that you can boast that your site is pure XHTML/CSS is exactly the opposite of what standards are, at heart, supposed to achieve: greater usability for all. Instead, you're getting reduced usability for all -- the...
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Self-correcting

You may or may not have heard of the concept of "happy slaps, a craze of dubious authenticity apparently sweeping the nation. It involves teenagers -- unruly, out-of-control, antisocial, densensitized to violence by video games, insert your pet theory here -- who assault a random stranger with a slap, capture it on their video phone, and then distribute the video (warning: link contains ads not safe for work) via their phones, to gain the respect and adulation of their peers. Apart from jokes about this being a use I'm sure 3 didn't think of when they touted video messaging, this is a pretty horrible idea. Luckily, it's also a self-correcting one, as I discovered when walking home from work the other day and came across a gang of four kids with video phones, slapping themselves in the face and laughing. Because, you see, actually slapping a total stranger is a serious risk -- they could retaliate, and if they caught you, assault is a serious crime. So the easy and risk-free way is to stage an...
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Worship at the altar of Lucas

So, who wants to see Revenge of the Sith with me? The reviews are generally good so far. I'm seeing it at least once (my company is going), but I reckon this will be the kind you want to see more than once. Get in touch.
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Blog watching

Oh dear, I'm blogging about blogging. I'm sorry, I don't do it too often, I know it sends you blind. I was motivated by the BBC's recent launch of a regular blog-watching feature in their generally excellent magazine. This follows the Guardian's wholesale plunge into blogging, with five separate blogs as well as a limited-run election blog. I could turn this into a little gloat, and it's hard not to: there has been no shortage of journalists willing to claim blogs as harmful and to loudly proclaim that blogs aren't journalism. But now the journalists are covering bloggers, and becoming bloggers themselves. A victory for the blogosphere? Not really. What's actually finally sunk in -- to both journalists and bloggers -- is that they are the same. This doesn't mean blogging is journalism, nor does it mean journalism is blogging. I still believe that journalism is material of a higher quality: it is investigative, it is thoroughly researched, it is in-depth, and it is rigorously factual. It is also...
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Ill again

I was baking brownies Tuesday, and Wednesday night I was ill, hence I'm not at work today and hence I didn't blog those days. Sorry. I get ill too often. London is either a cesspit of germs, I'm a sickly weakling, or both. I won't, however, be going to the gym, so the paramedic can take it easy. Beechams' tabs, anyone? Oh, and a very nice young man donated £30 to Gay Geeks last night, paying for a big chunk of that site's hosting fees (since I moved to the cheaper host). Nice to know people appreciate the site.
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Hallo!

This has been on our fridge since it was delivered to us as a housewarming present from certain people. As a result, members of our household find themselves randomly shouting "HALLO!" and "FROM WINDSOR" in very bad fake plummy accents from time to time.
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Announcement

If it turns out, in ten years time, that the Yazoo brand of milk drinks is carcinogenic or causes alzheimer's or is in any way bad for you, I am completely screwed. Mmmm, banana flavour.
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Relay

Catching the skillfully-thrown baton from M (and blogging during my lunch hour, so I need to wrap this up in 15 minutes or less). The last film I saw at the cinema: The Jacket. Pretty good. Well acted, not too cheesy, fairly predictable ending. Keira Knightley is much sexier as a chain-smoking alcoholic than as a bustier-clad pirate's consort. Last film I watched otherwise: Summer Storm. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that can go wrong in a movie about a mainly-straight, possibly-gay German rowing team camping on the same lake as a completely-gay German rowing team. Go see. Films I’m looking forward to seeing: Batman Begins; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Fantastic Four; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; The Chronicles of Narnia; The Island; Zathura; War of the Worlds; A Scanner Darkly; Stealth. What can I say? I'm addicted to Apple Trailers. Total number of films I own: Uh... define "own". I possess copies of hundreds of films, but I think I have paid for about 20. Five...
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Star Wars & Care Bears

There will be no spoilers until at least next week, but for the moment: it was good. Very good. It starts slow, then proceeds to some serious ass-whupping. Go see it. I'm blogging a lot to catch up with recent slackness. Here's an extra meme, from Dom as per usual: Cheer BearYou're the Care Bear cheerleader! Your spunky personality and optimisim lifts everyone's spirit. Though you want everyone to be happy, you stand your ground on issues you feel strongly about and this can bring disunity among your friends. Despite this, you are a true believer in working together.Take the Which Care Bear Are You? Quiz!
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Antisocialite

I've been too busy recently. I'm putting a hold on new social engagements for a while, to allow my brain to catch up... Update: I have discovered that, despite my best efforts, I am in fact already booked up with social engagements every single day of the coming week: Monday - Dinner with friend Tuesday - Cooking with friend Wednesday - Movie with friends Thursday - Housemates' first full night as DJs of Miss Shapes. Come one, come all! Friday - Er, Popstarz, because I wanted to go Friday and was ill. Technically, I could put this off until anytime, but with the first five days already booked, what would be the point, really? Saturday - Barbecue at boyfriend-of-friend-of-friend. I didn't really plan this week, it just sort of happened. So next week, I am planning to do nothing. So to be clear: from May 30th - June 5th, I intend to pursue no social engagements. If you're planning something, please don't invite me. Thank you.
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Caffeine free: Day 2

So, on Sunday I decided to give up caffeine for a few months. This is mainly to give my body a break -- I've been steadily upping my dosage since I moved to Boltblue, and it's become unsustainable: on Saturday I drank 2 litres of Coke, had 3 cups of tea and was still terribly sleepy. I also think it's making me ill in other ways. So work today, which would have been a bad day at the best of times, was hell because I was also going through a caffeine withdrawl headache which is, finally, fading. Tomorrow will be better...
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Chicken stuffed with brie and leeks

I cooked the aforementioned chicken dish this evening, my first cooking unsupervised by M in quite some time. Housemate T needed to intervene a few times (for instance to point out that you don't cook all of a leek, you cut off the top part) but in general it proceeded without disaster and was even quite good. I should have seasoned it a bit more, but I have not -- so far -- died. I can do this cooking thing. It's only taken two years of weekly practising. I should try and graduate to cooking twice a week, I feel.
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Miss-Shapes

Is blogging what I cooked for dinner as bad as blogging my lunch? If so, I apologize. Tonight is housemates' T&J's first nights as DJs at the fabulous Miss-Shapes. I will be going along for great music and morale support. Come one, come all! It was also my boss' last day, after he resigned a month ago. As such, I will be briefly bossless. This may or may not have something to do with my decision to go clubbing on a Thursday... Nicking this style from M: Listening to: Jem, Finally Woken, on the recommendation of the ever-present Dom. Reading: Neal Stephenson, The System of the World. Excellently woven historical fiction, currently featuring Isaac Newton and Princess Caroline of Hanover. Nothing makes history come alive like reading about who she used to sleep with on the side. Drinking: Strawberry Yazoo. I'm a hopeless addict.
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Safe dreaming

Last night I had a non-sex dream. I almost never have sex dreams, so this was by no means surprising. But this was not merely a dream in which I didn't have sex. In a very typically me way, this dream was about me almost having sex, but repeatedly failing. I was horny, there was a willing and available partner*, we were alone in the house, and... I couldn't find a condom. So I didn't have a dream about sex, I just had a dream about running around the house naked, looking for a condom. Obviously, this makes no sense. Safe sex? In a dream? Dream sex is the one type of sex which is 100%, totally safe, in every possible way. But I didn't realise it was a dream. To add insult to injury, halfway through the dream, when my partner changed into somebody else**, and I realised it was a dream, the aggravation of realising that I'd just wasted all that time looking for a condom when I could have been having guilt-free sex woke me up. Aaaargh! This is what a lifetime of scary HIV awareness campaigns have...
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Locking down

My period of enforced antisociality starts today. See you all after the 5th of June! I intend to geek out quite severely, possibly losing sight in what it means to be human (again). Also, I will put up new curtains.
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