Tag: <span>ALWAYS</span>

Apparently I’ve not been blogging much. My Dad commented on this last night when I phoned so I thought I’d post a wee update for all my tens of avid readers.

Not much is happening.

I’m working.

I have no internets. I will not have internets until November 23rd. In a royal cock up between O2 (with whom I’d like to have both my home phone and broadband services) and BT OpenReach (the engineer part of BT, the only people allowed to touch the exchange, apparently), I managed to have my new home phone number wrongly allocated to someone else (by BT).

That bit was funny actually. I got a txt from O2 to say my phone line was now connected and “here is your new phone number”. I thought I’d test it by phoning my landline from my mobile. It’s a weird thing to be staring at a phone, as you dial the number that should make it ring, for it not only to not make a sound but for someone to pick up and say “hello?”. Freaked me out that did!

Upon reporting that error, O2 said (after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing) that they’d have to cancel the order and set up a new one (which is where the 23rd November date comes in). I was supposed to have an engineer out today but O2 said, no, it’s cancelled now.

So when a BT engineer phoned today to say he was on his way … I was a bit perturbed. Nevertheless I went home, he fixed the line and got the phone number allocated to me. I happily phoned O2 to tell them this, presuming that as it had been sorted then they could just turn things back on at their end (or whatever it is they actually do) only to be told that as the order had been cancelled yesterday there wasn’t anything they could do and that they would, yes really, have to disconnect that number and issue me a new one (and a second wireless router for the broadband connection too. Yes, really).

Which all seems a bit fucked up and which will be the subject of a detailed complaint to O2 wherein I will ask for compensation as I have websites to fix/design/build and I’m losing money all the time I’m not doing those things!

OK, so strictly speaking I will have internet access via a USB dongle which O2 issued to me but it’s not quite the same!

Aside from that, nothing much is happening. The flat is slowly taking shape (the purchase of some new furniture will help), and I’m reasonably settled into my new routine although I’ve yet to add “going to the gym cos I’m a fat bastard” to that yet so we will see how that goes.

Ohh yeah, and I’m off to Bristol on Friday for a wedding. I fly down Friday morning and, thanks to EasyJet who only do one flight back on a Saturday, I’ll be getting up at 6.15am on Saturday. The day after a wedding. Where they will be serving alcohol. This strikes me as “not fair”. On the other hand I am getting to meet a lot of blogger-type people who I’ve never met before and that’s ALWAYS fun.


I have a LOT of music. I buy a lot, borrow some, obtain others (hey, would you pass up a 4GB download of every “Now” album.. yeah I know, I should’ve too). The one thing I’ve always had a problem with is tracking my short-term listening habits.

I tend to buy music in spurts. I’ll purchase several albums at one time and listen to them when I get a chance, which is where my problem begins. Because I don’t ever sit down to listen to music, it’s always on in the background) then it can take a while for an album to wheedle it’s way into my affections.

I guess I should learn my lesson and cut back on my musical purchases but there is still that part of me that wonders if I’m about to miss the next big thing (when, in reality, I ALWAYS miss it.. ).

Anyway, what usually happens is that one or two albums instantly take root in my brain and remain there for some time. I generally have 5 or 6 albums on rotation but even then some albums slip through the cracks and fall into the depths of my music library (I AM trying to cut back though, I know that 106GB of music isn’t really practical to manage… ahem).

However, having recently purchased a 250GB external hard drive (a Western Digital passport) and backing up all my music there I decided to take it into work as I had a quiet couple of days ahead. Rather than copy the music to my PC, I left it on there and decided to create a new iTunes library. It took about 20 mins to scan it all and then I had a pristine library to browse.

And you know what? All of a sudden I’m actually browsing it rather than relying on various smart lists to filter the new from the old. Without any metadata bogging me down I’m suddenly free to go and find whatever music I stumble across. Yes, I know I could’ve done that before but I guess not having any way to manipulate the tracks, or at least not having my usual methods available to me (smartlists for recently added and recently played) I’ve ended up just randomly scrolling through the library and picking whatever takes my fancy.

It’s been hugely liberating. So much so I’m almost considering doing the same at home.



In a desperate effort to gain some weird form of validation, I stole an idea for a blog post and begged my readers to ask me a question. And they did. The buggers. Now I have to answer them.

Adrian asks “Why I’m glad I’m not single”. I’ll presume he’s wanting ME to explain why I’M glad I’m not single, not point out all his flaws and weird mannerisms that make girls run screaming the second he enters a room.. I’m guessing..

Why I’m glad I’m not single
OK, buckets at the ready. This is gonna be kinda love-dovey. Look, I’ve even coloured it all romantic like. Awwwww.

OK, maybe that’s enough of the pink…

So to answer the question I think I need to start with some kind of definition of what it’s like to be head over heels, still gazing adoringly, ‘she lights up the room when she enters’ in love. And the trouble with trying to do that, is that it’s simply impossible to put into words.

Let’s try an action instead.

Take your index finger and your thumb (they should be attached to your hand already, hence the phrase ‘handy’), pinch them together. Tighter. TIGHTER. And relax. Bonus points if you actually did it…

That gap is how much Louise and I love each other. Hmmm, that doesn’t make much sense… let me try to explain.

The premise behind this action is that, instead of competing with the “spread your arms wide and hold out your hands ‘I love you this much!!!’ ” gesture — you know, like you would if you’d just caught a fish, “it was THIS big” — we quickly escalated things beyond what we could reach with our arms and, pretty soon, we realised our love for each other stretches all the way around the world and back to the start. For a reason which now escapes me, we pinch our fingers together to show this…

We really must get out more.

Anyway, falling in love is great, being with the one person you can’t imagine NOT being with is wonderful, and I certainly don’t think I’d choose to go back to being single. I enjoy having someone to come home to, someone to snuggle with whilst watching crap movies on a Saturday afternoon, or just someone who knows when to listen and when to open the alcohol.

Of course you don’t have to be in love to live with someone, but I’d imagine the early days of any kind of co-habiting relationship are similar.

At first, everything is new and you are both a little on edge, being careful what you do and say, checking and double-checking that it’s OK to leave the mugs to dry on the draining board, rather than hanging them up on that nifty mug rack you got as a moving in present (does anyone still use one of those?).

Soon you learn each other habits, and over time you adapt or adjust your views accordingly. You know that when he gets up he always, ALWAYS farts, and that she always, ALWAYS leaves her jacket and bag in a different place when she comes home at night. The list is endless and unique.

How this develops depends largely on the relationship the two people build (or don’t build). If you remain “just flatmates”, the cautious note remains, always tempering your desire to just bloody well LEAVE the glass on the table without a coaster. If you are “friends that are flatmates” things are generally more relaxed, you are more comfortable with each other and you don’t object too much when she asks you to clean the toilet as she’s got friends coming round. OK, bad example. You know what I mean.

But when partners live together it’s different. Completely. As you share a unique bond, a closeness that, from your viewpoint, few others can match, you start to develop a love/hate relationship with each others habits and foibles (ahh what a great word, foibles.. say it with New Jersey accent, foyybulllsss.. wonderful).

For example, she may always almost choke when brushing her teeth. It’s loud and annoying yet at the same time it’s weirdly endearing that she hasn’t yet figured out how to brush her teeth without jamming the brush halfway down her throat. Weird but it belongs to the partnership (until one of them blurts it out on the internet, but who the hell would do that?).

Or perhaps he never EVER puts his dirty washing in the basket. It’s hugely annoying, but also has a familiarity that is welcoming and… what was that dear? Ohhh right. Apparently there is no upside to this one. Right you are.

This list goes on and on and ariston. But I’m beginning to ramble (imagine that dear reader) and, most importantly, I’ve not really offered you much of an answer.

To summarise, and attempt to draw this nonsense to an end (yeah yeah, I know, why couldn’t I have done that 8 paragraphs ago!), quite simply I’m glad I’m not single because I almost lost her once, and since then every day with her is another day of happiness.

See, I TOLD you to get the buckets ready…

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In a desperate effort to gain some weird form of validation, I stole an idea for a blog post and begged my readers to ask me a question. And they did. The buggers. Now I have to answer them.

Question 4: Neil follows the lead set by Alex and suggests a title rather than a question (honestly, can’t you people read?) but as both were rather imaginative I’ll let it pass, THIS TIME. So, I’ll have a bash at ‘answering’;

The 15th Guinness, table top dancing, questionable headwear and other fun things to do at a blogmeet.

Actually this might be easier than I think. For starters I wasn’t drinking Guinness at the recent blogmeet, there was no table top dancing, nor questionable headwear so that leaves “other fun things to do at a blogmet”.

But what CAN you do at a blogmeet? Well there are some common topics that tend to crop up amongst all the other miscellany and whatnot.

First up there is usually a round of camera drooling. This can feature all or few of the attendees but always ALWAYS happens. Murmurs of f-stops, double bracketing and “nice lens cap” can be overhead at this point. No, I don’t know what they mean either.

After that there is usually some discussion about blogging. Whether it’s “adverts – good or bad?” or dealing with comment spam, or any number of possible related topics, there is ALWAYS some talk of the mechanics and technicalities of blogging.

Beyond that, well it’s difficult to say really as it largely depends on the people who attend. Life experiences and stories are regaled, alcohol is consumed (by some) and general merriment ensues. And then the really weird thing happens. Time zips forward, in a way that would live Einstein baffled, and it’s time to leave. That, for me at least, is the startling thing about blogmeets; you spend a worried hour or so getting to the venue, worrying that no-one will turn up, and as the first of many unfamiliar faces approach you nervously you wonder what on earth you are doing, meeting complete strangers in a local hotel (bloggers? doggers? the comparison was made at a previous blogmeet). All of a sudden it’s dark outside and people are leaving and all you can really remember is laughing a lot and having what is generally referred to as “a jolly good time”.

That’s the real reason blogmeets work. We all share the same base hobby but, unlike other hobbies, we have such a hugely diverse group of people involved. Meeting fellow bloggers offers the safety of a level of familiarity – we all do this weird blogging thing even if some of us aren’t really sure why – whilst allowing us to interact with people we might not normally get the chance to… unless you are the type who will happily chat to strangers on the bus. In fact, you probably are.

To summarise, and try and find and ending to this rambling nonsense (I’d have given up ages ago, so thanks for reading this far) I’d say that there is one fun thing to do at a blogmeet. Turn up.

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Nine years is a long time. Not as long as ten, as short as four or as “itchy” as seven, but it’s a nice length of time.

After nine years you know a person pretty well. You know when she’s mad, you know when she’s happy, you know when you should stop being cheeky, and when a quick wink will make her day. You know how to pamper her, you know exactly how she likes her tea, you know what makes her smile.

You know that she’ll always think of others first. You know that she likes getting up early on a Saturday morning to get the washing done. You know that she ALWAYS gags when brushing her teeth. You know that she prefers doughnuts to chocolate, red wine to champagne. You know that she’ll always be there, just as you know that you can’t imagine being anywhere else.

So, to my darling wife from the silly man you’ve spent the last nine years with, Happy Anniversary.

Personal Musings

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To borrow a phrase from a recent post of Tom’s (a very interesting post it is as well) I guess that the tagline for this site should really ALWAYS be “it’s like thinking in public”.

I’ve been blogging for years, had a “homepage” before that and could bore you silly whilst trying to score silly points because I’ve been “on the web” longer than you. The early posts to my site were usually longer pieces, similar to the kind of thing I post these days, along came Blogger and this de-generated into a two line diary of a very boring man. To the 24 people who used to visit me each week, thanks for doing so (although I’m pretty sure most of them will have disappeared to greener pastures).

Since then I’ve improved, as do most things with practise, but I don’t really see myself as a “popular” blogger. Whether you use stats, incoming links or general awareness, I think it’s fair to say I’m a pretty well kept secret. I quite enjoy that, but part of me would like a little more attention, fame if you will, a hint of the shadow of limelight to fall on this site now and then. And it has, now and then.

But this is a hobby and it should be painfully obvious that I’m making this up as I go along. I don’t have a plan, I rarely know what I’m going to post about the next time I sit down at the computer, let alone in a day or a week from now. I’m shoddy at keeping archives, I don’t email people when they comment here and, on the whole, it still surprises me that I can garner 39 comments on a simple post about leaving home.


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The one thing that always fascinates me about other people is that their opinions can be so wrong.

Of course when I say wrong I mean ‘different from mine’ but it amounts to the same thing. I have fairly set opinions on most things, and absolutely no position on many others – either through lack of knowledge or complete apathy. I’m always willing to question and realign my position though, and I think that’s why I enjoy a bit of friendly discussion now and again.

However there is one type of person who I don’t ever bother with, the type who preach. The type who bully and shout and cajole others using peer pressure. The type who expect you to agree and when you don’t you are demonised and outcast. You know the type, you’ve all come across them, they exist in every walk of life.

Give me a reasoned argument and I may even agree that white is black and down is up, but always, ALWAYS remember that everything is a shade of grey.

Ohh and in other news, I’m still swithering over whether to watch Ms. Burchill ‘defend the chavs’ tonight on Sky One. Part of me knows it’ll be a one way diatribe and I’ll disagree, the other part of me is curious to see what arguments are put forward.

There is also a small part that hates it when I watch this kind of “car crash TV” but knows that I’ll watch it anyway.

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Many many MANY thanks to Adrian and Jann for their sage advice and time.

I tried Jann’s advice first – as it was the simplest, namely adding <br style="clear: both;" /> right before the closing DIV tag. Whaddya know, it worked straight away. I’m not sure which I’m more relieved about, the fact it now works in IE AND Firefox (other browsers and versions still to be checked), or that it wasn’t anything I’d coded but a ‘gotcha’ with the Mozilla based browsers. Seemingly it’s “one of those things”, meaning it’s one of those things you learn once and never ever forget!

Now this does mean that my beloved Firefox browser is flawed slightly but it’s still a safer browser than IE – 12.5 million downloads can’t lie! (yes, I know that statistics ALWAYS lie but that’s not my point).

So, without further ado you can ALL have a gander at the 2005 version of this site. Comments welcomed and bear in mind it’s not completely finished yet.

UPDATE: Apologies to Shelagh, I posted this late last night (early this morning) and didn’t spot the code snippet wasn’t showing.


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