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Part of me wants to break down barriers, set people free and make the world a better place. A bigger part of me wants to sit on the sofa, drink tea and play through old Nintendo games.

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Category : Just me

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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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10/06/07 : She tagged me

I appear to have been tagged. Apparently I'm supposed to list eight habits or facts about myself before asking eight other people to do the same.

I'm not going to ask anyone else to do it as hardly anyone I know reads this blog. As for the facts and habits, well, I don't have many habits that don't come under the OCD banner, and I've already written a fair few facts about myself here. Still, as I don't have anything else to do at this exact moment in time, here goes:

1. I fidget a lot. Apparently people who do this stay thin, which is great because ...

2. I have to eat at least one piece of cake a day. I just don't know what would happen if I didn't, and I don't intend to find out.

3. Some people play air guitar, I play air drums. Accurately and sometimes quite flamboyantly (but not if anyone else is around).

4. If nervous I find myself repeating sentences. When I was about 15 my maths class was filmed by the BBC for some schools programme. I made the mistake of answering a question. Suddenly the camera was moved onto me and the director asked the teacher to repeat the question so I could be properly filmed giving my answer. The question was repeated. I gave the same answer which, strangely, was "the petrol". My teacher, the git, then decided to continue with further questioning, resulting in me giving further answers of "err ... the petrol ..." several times whilst my classmates tried not to piss themselves and I grew increasingly more embarrassed (fortunately they edited my additional answers out).

5. On another occasion, several years later, I repeated the sentence "Misty up here init?" several times whilst almost being buggered by several men in the woods. This fascinating story probably requires a post of its own.

6. I nearly always wear black.

7. I like old fashioned text based adventure games. Incase you have no idea what I'm on about, here is a version of the first game of this sort which you can download [UPDATE: Original file removed (doesn't work on 64 bit machines) - play online here].

8. I can be very shy in certain situations, which is odd because I have no problem performing on stage in front of hundreds of people.

Posted by Tim at 18:37 (edited on: 13/04/08 22:41) [ permalink ]
Categories: Just me
Comments [ 0 ]


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16/05/07 : Obsessive-compulsive disorder

... or OCD if you prefer acronyms. I thought about writing about this psychiatric disorder and how it affects me following a TV programme about phobias (different thing entirely) and because it's something that most people just don't "get".

There are a number of things that I find myself doing that would just make me appear a little anally-retentive to the casual observer. My CDs are in alphabetical order. If you open my kitchen cupboards you will find all the tins and packets neatly stacked with the labels facing forward (I'd like to point out here that I in no other way resemble the psycho husband from the film Sleeping with the Enemy!)

I often walk past something - an ornament for example - and feel the need to move it slightly so it is at the "correct" angle. I also organise things in groups of four - even my steps as I'm walking along. This sometimes means that I will suddenly have to take an extra long (or short) step to finish a group of four before reaching a kerb. I do this as discretely as possible though - if other people are around I'll make it look like I'm tripping up or something (I'd guess that a lot of people would think that all of this is an attention seeking thing, which it certainly isn't - in fact I've been rather embarrassed on the occasions that I've been "caught out").

Sometimes I might pick up a packet of something in a shop, walk a couple of steps away, then feel the need to return and exchange the packet for another packet of the same product because I'd taken the "wrong" one (usually because I had broken some sort of pattern on the shelf by taking the first one). I even find myself apologising (not out loud thankfully) to the inanimate object for disturbing it ...

The thing that affects me the most is the need to constantly check things. Switches in particular. Before I go to bed I have to go around the house checking that every electrical device is switched off at the plug. I'll stare at the switch for several seconds to make sure it definitely is off. I'll probably have to touch it just to be really sure - usually four times, often sixteen (four groups of four). The fear (I guess) is that if something is left plugged in it will somehow overheat and set the house on fire, although I'm not actually thinking about any such consequence whilst carrying out the checking.

Someone once saw me doing this and told me to get my eyes tested. It's not my eyes that are the problem though - and this is the bit that most people don't get - I am fully aware right from the start that the switch is off. There's just a part of my brain that doesn't quite accept what I can clearly see, forcing me to do more to be completely sure (which I never entirely am).

This may all sound rather extreme, but for the most part I deal with it. I may (for example) check the plugs every night but unless I'm having a bad day it only takes a few minutes. It's frustrating but doesn't run my life. There's no cure though - and I can't see how behavioural type therapies can work because I'm completely aware of the problem and that the things I do are irrational.

[Wikipedia article]

Posted by Tim at 18:20 [ permalink ]
Categories: Just me
Comments [ 3 ]


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08/08/06 : Tim gets a job

I lost my last job on the day April (youngest offspring) was born.

In some ways this was a bad thing. I liked the job. It was at a small music shop selling printed music, accessories and some instruments. There was a friendly, relaxed atmosphere (although it did get very busy at times) and many of the customers were professional musicians who I knew fairly well already.

In other ways it was a good thing. New born babies are a lot to cope with and I was around to help out (and watch her development). Plus of course I'd rather be doing what I want at home than wasting my life away at some job . . . unfortunately, once you've been out of work for a few months you get hassled by the Jobcentre to apply for any old shitty job. And they send you on pointless courses.

Anyway, I am now a delivery driver for a wholesale food company. I'm mainly covering the weekends, so I get lots of time off in the week - and the job itself isn't too bad. Getting up at 4 a.m. isn't particularly pleasant, especially as I have to be in bed the night before by 11 p.m. rather than about 2 in the morning (I'm naturally a night person) - and driving to work on virtually empty streets in the dark is just weird. The advantage though is that I've finished by about lunchtime and have the rest of the day free.

The first couple of hours work are generally boring - picking orders from the warehouse and loading them onto the van. It's much better once I'm in the van though - I like being on my own just getting on with it, I can listen to the radio and I quite enjoy driving a big van around (it's amazing how much less crap you get from other drivers when you have a larger vehicle).

The van is long as well as just big, and there are some tight spots to get into. There are restaurants right on the seafront for example - the picture below (taken on a rather overcast day - autumn is on it's way) shows the steep, narrow slip road down to the beach at Southbourne.

down to the beach

Another regular drop is on the beach front near Bournemouth pier - easier to get down to, but once there you have to reverse for about 500 metres along the beach road avoiding all the other delivery vehicles, stacks of deckchairs, canoes - and the blind/suicidal holidaymakers.

The sad thing (in a way) about doing this job is that, after thirteen years, I've had to give up my position as organist at Iford United Reformed Church. I did actually like a lot of the music, and I'll particularly miss the services at Christmas and the Easter cantata. And being an atheist church organist was a interestingly bizarre experience ...

Posted by Tim at 16:49 [ permalink ]
Categories: Just me
Comments [ 1 ]


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24/07/06 : Tim does a course

I have just finished a two week course that the Jobcentre insisted on sending me on.

I was sent on one of these courses when I was out of work some years ago. I was taught the "proper" way to write an application letter, fill out forms and write a c.v. - all very patronising stuff - and I remember having to take back the c.v. produced on my behalf to get them to correct all the grammatical errors. It wasn't quite so bad this time, although the whole thing could have been compressed into a few days if all the irrelevant stuff had have been left out.

There were nine of us in the group, with ages ranging from eighteen to fifty-something. They all seemed pleasant enough, but none of them were people I would normally hang around with. Presumably to overcome any awkwardness, the second day of the course consisted of "team-building activities" at some place in the forest, where we helped each other around obstacle courses and stuff. This was almost fun, although no one managed to work out how any of it was supposed to help us get back into work. There was also an archery competition (I was almost chuffed at winning this) and absailing.

The c.v. I had done was actually quite good, but pretty much everything else was pointless. For example, there was video about how to overcome the problems of applying for a job if you have a criminal record. Which no one in the group had. I made no effort to hold back the laughter at what was the most badly acted thing I had every seen.

The course must have cost the Jobcentre a fortune - it was in a conference room in one of the posh hotels in Bournemouth, and we had a cooked lunch provided every day. There was this manager-type person carefully watching us during breaks, presumably in case we nicked something or trashed the place. It must have been awful for him having such undesirables soiling his hotel.

Anyway, as a result of spending more time than usual actually looking for jobs, I got one ...

Posted by Tim at 16:45 [ permalink ]
Categories: Just me
Comments [ 0 ]


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16/05/06 : Been busy

Helped Sarah re-write one of her websites (here).
Finished Zelda 1 (NES) and Eternal Darkness (GameCube - excellent game).
Started re-playing Conker's Bad Fur Day (N64).
Accompanied / played in a church social evening for the minister's retirement (deluded in his beliefs like the rest of them, but a nice guy - shame to see him go).
Did a recital for (mainly) old people at the church.
That's about it.
Interesting stuff to follow soon hopefully.

Posted by Tim at 16:22 [ permalink ]
Categories: Just me
Comments [ 0 ]


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08/05/06 : My deadly sins

I think the results are quite accurate ... I particularly like the last bit!

Your Deadly Sins
Sloth: 60%
Lust: 40%
Envy: 0%
Glutton: 0%
Greed: 0%
Pride: 0%
Wrath: 0%
Chance You'll Go to Hell: 14%
You will die with your hand down your underwear, watching Star Trek.

How Sinful Are You?

Obviously hell is a mythical place - although if such a place did exist, it would be rather more interesting than heaven. Hell would be full of the people who had done cool stuff and heaven would be full of Christians.

Having said that, I bet most Xians would get a higher figure than me if they took this test - and are sloth and lust really that bad compared to the others?

Posted by Tim at 16:17 [ permalink ]
Categories: Just me
Comments [ 0 ]


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04/05/06 : Sunny day

Ahh, Beclomethasone dipropionate . . . the taste of summer . . .

Posted by Tim at 16:15 [ permalink ]
Categories: Just me
Comments [ 0 ]


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30/04/06 : Well, hello there!

Ok, this is my personal blog - not about any particular subject, just life in general, with the occasional expletive filled rant thrown in for good measure.

So, a bit about me:

Name: gee, see if you can work this out . . .
Birth year: 1972
Location: England, south coast
Family: Married, 2 kids

Many blogs have a post called "100 things", where snippets of information are given about the author. This is my version, cunningly entitled "73 things". If I write a post on the subject of any of these "things" I'll add a link to that post by the side.

  1. I'm an optimistic pessimist.
  2. I expect the worst to happen but don't care enough to worry about it.
  3. At my best, I think I look rather dashing.
  4. I rarely look my best.
  5. Employment wise, I do as little work as I can get away with.
  6. People think I'm lazy.
  7. "Non-depressive lethargic" is probably a more accurate expression.
  8. Besides, I actually like spending time at home with my family.
  9. And I'm against the whole concept of "wage slavery".
  10. If I cared about politics I'd be a radical progressive liberal socialist type person.
  11. I don't care about politics.
  12. I tend to do what I want and let others get on and do what they want.
  13. I like playing through old Nintendo games.
  14. I suffer - fairly mildly thankfully - from OCD.
  15. Before going to bed I have to go round the house checking that everything is switched off at the plug, having to stare at each plug for several seconds to really make sure it really is off.
  16. I then return to check again a few minutes later.
  17. I am fully aware that these things are switched off from the start.
  18. I'm a very strong atheist.
  19. I play the organ at a church ...
  20. ... it is a very liberal church and they know I don't share their beliefs (although I don't imagine they are aware that I have a website entitled Religion is Bullshit!)
  21. I like to cook.
  22. And eat.
  23. Italian, Chinese, Indian.
  24. Cake.
  25. I should be a bit on the podgy side.
  26. I'm not.
  27. I like real beer and red wine. And the occasional vodka and orange.
  28. I drink lots of tea.
  29. I am ... THE TEAMAKER ... I could walk into a complete stranger's house and within a few minutes would be making them all a cup.
  30. I started piano lessons at the age of eight.
  31. I passed my Grade 8 at fifteen.
  32. I wasn't a good enough performer to go to one of the musical colleges and didn't get good enough A-level results to go to university.
  33. I think my mum is under the delusion that I could have been a famous concert pianist.
  34. As well as music, I took maths and physics at A-level.
  35. Somebody told me that you could do anything if you passed maths and physics at A-level.
  36. They didn't tell me that this is because you have to be a genius to pass maths and physics at A-level.
  37. I failed maths and physics at A-level.
  38. For several years I played keyboards in a rock band called Vagabond Kiss.
  39. We could have been really good.
  40. We weren't.
  41. We played 80s style rock.
  42. It was the mid 90s.
  43. When the drummer left we decided to change style slightly and do without keyboards so that I could play drums. My greatest regret of the time was that the band split up before doing any gigs with me as the drummer.
  44. On two occasions I have been arrested and had to spend the night in a police cell.
  45. The first time was when me and a group if friends were chilling out on the roof of a building we had climbed on to.
  46. Large numbers of police - with dogs - arrived to arrest us. They thought we were trying to break in.
  47. The second time was when I lied to cover for a friend over a driving offense.
  48. I had to be in an identity parade.
  49. I was number 8.
  50. The witness picked out number 2.
  51. I bumped into number 2 in the pub a few days later.
  52. The experience taught me that most police officers don't actually care about the truth, they just want to make an arrest and get a conviction.
  53. I relate to "80s culture", presumably because I was a teenager at the time.
  54. The fashions (and the music) were colourful and fun without the tackiness and huge-brown-flowery-wallpaperyness of the 70s. The politics might have been scary but at least that gave the alternative comedians some good material.
  55. I was seriously into electronic music (Pet shop boys, Erasure, Depeche mode, Human League etc).
  56. When the acid-house / rave / dance / whatever-you-want-to-call-it scene started I starting listening to rock music.
  57. I also like 80s films, from teen stuff like Ferris Buellers Day Off to blockbuster stuff like Back to the Future.
  58. I spent a lot of time back then sat in front of a computer (firstly an Acorn Electron, then a BBC Micro) playing games and writing programs.
  59. I also spent a fair bit of time in video games arcades.
  60. I like "britcoms" - from Fawlty Towers to Blackadder (I can probably recite the entire script to series II!) to Red Dwarf to Coupling, I'm Alan Partridge etc.
  61. I was obsessed with Star Wars as a kid.
  62. The Star Trek films were also good (although the original series seemed dated to me even as a kid).
  63. I've got a bit of a thing for The Next Generation.
  64. And Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which is probably the best TV series ever made.
  65. I feel more comfortable in the company of women that I am with men.
  66. Perhaps because I don't like the "macho" thing - I don't care how "hard" someone is, or how many "birds" they've had (I have sex because it's kinda nice, not to prove what a man I am).
  67. I can appear quite shy.
  68. But I'm an extrovert ... on the inside ...
  69. I like the expression "a dark horse".
  70. I like night.
  71. I hate morning.
  72. My mum - a rare genuine person - thinks I'm a misfit.
  73. I'm not a jigsaw piece!

Posted by Tim at 16:10 [ permalink ]
Categories: Just me
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