Friday, March 31, 2006

auctineer - Google Search

auctineer - Google Search

Carla Gianolini is a Professional Auctineer. Yes, really. Trust her with your money and valuable posessions.

Monday, March 27, 2006

What Day is it Again?

Well, I'm coming to terms with the fact that yes, my body clock is broken, broken, broken.

I'm sure it's a lot to do with bad sleep hygiene, and the ammount of time I spend underneath artificial light at work, and when I get home. Clue: all of the time. It's particularly not being helped by the clocks changing today (not going back, as I've said in three different conversations already, but actually forward...).

There's added complexity to this at the moment. As I spend a lot of time in Warcraft, arranging things on server time (which is CET, or GMT+1) I've got used to mentally performing the maths to adjust to local time. I was rather excited by the idea that finally, BST would mean that Local time and Azeroth time were the same. Oh no - it turns out that Europe jumps to summertime now. I have NO idea whether any of my PC based clocks have changed, either, so I'm in an odd time-approximate limbo. Anyway, the upshot of this was accidentally going to bed at 1am on a schoolnight. It makes the Australian's trouble with Outlook look relatively trivial.

Boing Boing: Aussie timezone switch borks Exchange Server

And then thinking, weirdly, that the London Marathon was yesterday, whereas it is in fact in a months' time. Not to mention my diary slowly creeping out of control...

Something that seems to have slipped into the entertaining curiosity section of the newspapers is Friday's Lighter Evenings (Experiment) Bill reading in the House of Lords.

Now, more sunlight in the evenings is a Good Thing. I hate dark evenings, and long for the extra sunlight of summer. It makes me happier and more productive. But I do wonder about the bill - if, for instance, the Tabliods picked it up, and realised that it is actually a way of getting us on to Central European Time by stealth - can you imagine? it would be worse than giving up avoirdupois for kilos in the shops... I don't mind about the europe bit at all, personally, but I'm always sad to leave GMT for the magic of it being the universal standard, the zero point. It pleases my sense of mathematical balance, if not my sleep patterns.

Anyway, I'm hoping that I'll have woken up by the end of the day; at some point, hopefully, willpower willing, I'll be able to report that I've taken positive action on the whole sleep patterns thing. But I wouldn't set your watch by me.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

How to Become an Early Riser

I'm bad in the mornings.

Well, actually, I'm very good in the mornings - but alas, I'm very good at the wrong thing. I'm good at not waking up, at rolling over, at being completely unrousable and dead to the world. I've been like this since I had a bad bout of depression during uni - around the same time that I developed serious RSI. I don't think the two are connected, but you never know.

Anyway. When I saw Cory linking to
How to Become an Early Riser I got a bit over excited. At last, the internet has delivered me the solution to the curse that's been ruining my life for the last few years - I, too, can become more efficient and successful, and not a complete pain in the bum to get out of bed.

It seems like sensible advice. And I read through it thinking it might be the answer. Until:

When my alarm goes off every morning, I turn it off, stretch for a couple seconds, and sit up. I don't think about it. I've learned that the longer it takes me to get up, the more likely I am to try to sleep in. So I don't allow myself to have conversations in my head about the benefits of sleeping in once the alarm goes off. Even if I want to sleep in, I always get up right away.

Ah. OK. So, fundamental understanding of the problem then. The waking up, fine. The alarm, great. The actually having enough control of myself to move, and not just to roll over and go straight back to sleep? Nu uh. That's actually the problem, love. Not the bedtimes thing, sorry.

Can someone write me a 'how to control your errant willpower when you're only semi concious, and not noted for your self control at the best of times, fatty.' article, please?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

You know you play too much warcraft when...

You get one of these.

And think it's really lovely.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A Long Overdue Post about Nostalgia for Times that Never Were

Scattered around my various hard drives, and also various conversations over the last year, is a blog post. It's one of those mythical blogposts; one that would set a trend, be linked to, be sparkling and brilliant, insightful and timely. Alas, because I am nothing if not the queen of prevarication, I fear that the time for it may be past. So this is a summation, a mere shadow of the blog-that-might-have-been, only written because I find myself at home sick.

Last spring, I decided that I scented a new trend in the air. It didn't have a name, or an organising principal, but it did have some common symptoms. At the time, I tagged it as Faux Vintage, but that may not be the best term.

So - what is it? Well, there's a loose theme of nostalgia running through it, for a time before the 1960s. Roughly, it's any 'reworking' of 1890s to 1950s mainstream culture. It's camp, rather posh, about louche fun and frippery, about properly mixed martinis, about surface, about dressing for dinner, about the lost art of being a gentleman, about authenticity, about being most terribly modern.

If it had a manifesto, it would be Oscar Wilde's Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young

Its visual aesthetic is somewhere between Aubrey Beardsley, sideshow art, cheesecake pinups and the Picture Post.

It sounds like The Real Tuesday Weld, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain or perhaps Noel Coward.

For fun, it likes to go to Lost Vagueness, or The Modern Times Club.

If feeling a little more louche, it may go to the Whoopeee Club, or even become involved with the Aristasians.

It might buy outfits from Danger Dames, or a proper gentleman's tailor.

It reads the Chap.

I'm not sure that there's much to say about it, per se, other than that it feels slightly like a response to so much slick, mediated, shiny culture; that it's a radical position in that it rejects the current mainstream in favour of a mainstream long gone. It isn't like punk, it's not a rewriting or a revolution, but it dismisses all the teenage angst of the underground with a raised eyebrow and a 'Well, I suppose it can't be helped; you are young, after all.' It's not a postmodern reappropriation either; it's not cynical enough. It's about genuinely enjoying the nostalgia, and the safe feeling of better times.

Most of all, it's stylish.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Geofftech - iBlog » All Mapped Out

Geofftech - iBlog » All Mapped Out

I love the tube map.

I also very much dislike the way that LUL's (TfL's?) lawyers have removed satirical sites that should, in fact, be covered under fair use (satire, I belive, being one of the exceptions to copyright, but I need to check the letter of the law on that one) of their prior art.

You know, like THE WORLD FAMOUS WORK OF ART, the Great Bear. Go and sue the Tate already, why don't you?

And re Trademarking; well, last time I checked, TfL weren't in the primary business of non-commercial comedy blogging, so where's the infringement?

I may actually get round to using Write To Them to register my displeasure with my London Assembly representative, the Mayor, and my MP. I encourage you to do the same.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Idiot Customer service, part Oh-I've-lost-count

I tried to join FileFront on saturday. I got stuck in an endless loop of failure to authenticate. So I told them. Here, for your edification, is our correspondance.

Kim Plowright to 4 Mar (2 days ago)
Hi there,

I'm trying to use your service to upload a piece of game video.

Initially, I poked around on your Submit a File link (points to but kept getting directed to which just shows a message 'Please Login'.

So, I tried to register for your site. Interestingly, all through the registration there are large banners informing me that I do not need to register to upload video... but your submit a file link requires a login. How does one login without registering?

Finally, I went through the free registration process. The form submits my info, and returns the result page, but this loads your contextual navigation and a tall banner ad in the right hand margin of the page, then reports 'done' with no content in the content area. I'd take a wild stab at the possibility that your advertising services'
javascript is interfering with your registration system, if only because I've just had to troubleshoot a similar problem at work.

I haven't recieved any 'complete your registration' emails, so I assume that my registration isn't complete, and there was a further stage of information needed.

Can you let me know:
- What is the mechanism for uploading video if one chooses not to register on the site
- When I might be able to finish registering, and what the problem may have been?

Incidentally, I've tried in both Firefox 1.5 and IE6 on a PC running Windows XP. I tried to register using the 'register' link next to the login.

L*** <***> to me, support 18:03

Thank you for contacting customer support.

That is an error. You must register to upload to our site. Our records show
that your account was created. Some users email service blocks are email or
thinks it's spam and it's sent to the junk folder.

If you have anymore questions please feel free to contact me at this email

Thank you for using FileFront.

Customer Support Rep, FileFront
Ziff Davis Media Game Group

So... the answer appears to be 'Our site is wrong - and we think you're too stupid to have checked your junkmail folder, despite the fact you tried on several browsers and could use the word javascript in anger. And we didn't notice your questions, either'.

Sod that, I'll use YouTube, I think.

Peter Serafinowicz does the Oscars

O! News - Google Video

Well, yah, like Robert and Peeeee-ter got in touch to tell me about their latest Proooo-ject, yah?

Peter Serafinowicz, teh ofiishul Look Around You voice of Star Wars Darth Maul (tm) has made a piss take of Oscar night reporting. So here it is. It is silly. He does an uncanny impression of Alan Alda.

Also, he's looking awfully thin. I'm worried. Maybe his celebrity lifestyle is taking its toll.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Artyom Reader » Reverse Evolution? This is Bloody Weird

The Artyom Reader » Reverse Evolution? This is Bloody Weird

I point to this, not because of the inherrent fascination of the subject matter, but because of the comments made by visitors to the site.

This, gentle reader, is the level of debate you'll get around genetics, evolution and human biology in a country where students are taught that evolution is 'wrong' and that intelligent design is a viable alternative.

You get people who are incapable of commenting coherrently on what evolution actually is, means or implies.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Etiquette of Common Situations

The Weekly / Etiquette of Common Situations Archive:
"Situation: Defeat at lawn tennis.

Attitude: Sporting.

Solution: Accept loss gracefully; retire to house pleading heat; belabour servants until racquet breaks."

Sigh. I really should get round to writing that modern book of manners...