part of me wants to break down barriers, set people free and make the world a better place
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Archive : January 2008


19/01/08 : Tim impresses himself with his typing skills

I think that 65 words per minute (plus two errors) is pretty good for a non office person.

65 words

free Touch typing

There's something I want to know though. Sarah often goes nun-nights before me, leaving me sat at the computer in the dark. Now, touch typing is about not being distracted by having to look down at the keys right, so, why is it that when it's dark I type at half the speed, make twice as many mistakes and keep having to look down at the keyboard (which I can't actually see anyway)?

Posted by Tim at 20:50 [ permalink ]
Categories: Miscellaneous ramblings
Comments [ 2 ]


16/01/08 : On nearly being bummed

I said in an earlier post that my "nearly being buggered in the woods" story deserved a post of its own - and here it is, with a bonus story - for there have been two occasions when I have come close to being an unwilling participant in hot man-on-man action.

The first time was at a cottage (public toilet building resembling a small abode in a rural area - see here for the sexual relevance) in Poole Park. Now, female readers may not be aware of this, but there are two unwritten laws of urinal etiquette.

Firstly, position. If there is no one else standing at the urinal (or "trough" as I used to call them) then one must position oneself at the far end. If another person enters and wishes to use the facilities, he must stand at the other end. If a third person enters, then unless the urinal is particularly wide, he must stand around awkwardly - pretending to adjust his clothing, combing his hair etc. - until a space at either end becomes vacant.

The second rule is simple. Under no circumstances do you look anywhere other than straight ahead.

Anyway, I had positioned myself correctly and was about to "go" when another person walked in and, after standing around for a while, walked over to the middle of the urinal. This immediately made me tense up - and I am sure that female readers will be aware that when one is tense, one cannot go. So, I'm standing there, tackle out, not actually doing what one is supposed to do whilst standing at a urinal with one's tackle out, with some guy dangerously close to me, presumably also tackle out but not actually doing what one is supposed to do in such circumstances.

Then, out the corner of my eye, I saw him edge closer. At this point, I realised that not only was I not going to be able to relieve myself but that it would probably be best to leave. I hurriedly zipped myself up (luckily not too hurriedly - otherwise the story could have ended rather more unpleasantly) and turned around to leave. The other guy was practically looming over me.

The second time was rather more sinister. It was a hot night in the middle of summer and I was at the Neptune bar by Boscombe pier. Me and my then pal Jim decided to leave to get some fags (incase any US readers get the wrong idea I should point out that "fags" is UK slang for cigarettes) from a local shop. We took the shortcut through Boscombe gardens, but instead of using the proper path, we cut through a trodden path through one of the wooded areas. As we were walking along I noticed that there was a man standing behind one of the trees, completely motionless. This seemed slightly odd, but we walked on - and then a little further down the path noticed another man stood behind a tree. At this point we began to think that something weird was going on - I found myself saying "misty up here, init?" just for something to say (it was actually misty). Then we noticed more of them - at least ten - all stood like statues behind trees. I remember hearing myself say "... misty up here init ..." out of nervousness. Our pace quickened and we soon caught up with a guy and a girl and asked them what was going on. The bloke simply said "They're gay".

It took a few seconds to work out what he meant. I remember thinking something along the lines of "So what? Why would that have anything to do with why they're all hiding in the woods as if waiting for . . . . . oh shit."

We ran like we had never ran before.

Still, we laughed about it (possibly with an element of hysteria) later.

UPDATE:  googling the words "urinal etiquette" led me to the urinal test . . .

Posted by Tim at 20:48 (edited on: 13/04/08 22:44) [ permalink ]
Categories: Memories and nostalgia
Comments [ 0 ]


15/01/08 : "Can we have your liver then?"

Searching for something to help Rosie (and Sarah!) get a better understanding of big numbers - something most people don't seem to "get" - I found this video on YouTube. It's about thirty years old and slightly inaccurate in places, but illustrates nicely how much difference adding another zero makes (reminds me of a maths teacher I once had whose favourite expression was "bung a nought in!").

If the increase in distance that the camera pulls back each time doesn't seem like a big deal to you, think of the return journey, where each step is 90% of the total distance back.

Makes you feel so, sort of, insignificant, doesn't it?

The other thing most people don't seem to have a grasp of is probability. I'm sure this is the reason why so many people believe in gods and other ridiculous things - something happens that is unexpected or an amazing co-incidence and obviously that proves that it's fate, or god did it or something. I once had a friend who couldn't grasp the simple concept that the chances of the four-digit combination on his bike lock being, say, 1 2 3 4 were the same (1 in 9999) as them being 3768 or any other four digit number. Luckily he didn't have anything with a three digit combination which turned out to be 666 because that would obviously have been "a sign".

UPDATE: a similar but more up to date video can be found here.

UPDATE 2: I am ashamed to discover that Sarah didn't get the liver/insignificant reference. Explanation here.

Posted by Tim at 20:46 [ permalink ]
Categories: Interesting things
Comments [ 0 ]


09/01/08 : Welcome, 2008

I remember one year the queen stated in her Christmas day speech that she had had an "annus horribilis". Something I'm sure she could have got some cream for.

Anyway, the main reason for my lack of blogging in 2007 was that I was having an annus boringis. Not that anything bad happened, and things were fine domestically, it's just that there wasn't much of interest to write about.

So, one of my new years resolutions is to write more often. Even if I'm writing complete crap. Like most other bloggers.

Also I'm going to:

1. be more organised financially
2. throw away - or at least properly sort out - the vast amount of crap that I keep
3. go to the dentist about the tooth that's been knackered for about two years
4. try harder to eat better (more seasonal, local and organic stuff)
5. learn a new programming language (Java perhaps?)
6. either finish or get rid of all the web pages and programs I've started.

Happy new year!

Posted by Tim at 20:43 [ permalink ]
Categories: Blogging, webstuff, programming, Just me
Comments [ 0 ]


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