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...that we haven't got any heating in the office. Again.

See, since I walk in, the building feels warmer than the outside world, and therefore it doesn't immediately register that it's cold. The drivers who've come aways, though (thus discounting the short-hop folk where the cars don't really warm up) definitely do notice.

The same thing happened yesterday; it's just that yesterday, we didn't have snow settled on the ground.

In other news, the tangential discussion on this week's Football Weekly was collective astonishment on the panel's part that Jimbo (the host) hadn't seen Pretty in Pink nor The Breakfast Club nor The Goonies (yeah, 'football' weekly :-) Also good for learning how to poach eggs). He had, somewhat redeemingly, seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off and The Lost Boys. For my part, I've not seen Pretty in Pink, nor the Breakfast Club and I'll also volunteer the cultural disadvantage that is not having seen St Elmo's Fire, nor even Heathers.

Any other 80s classics that I should've seen?
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It's a pretty uninspiring morning here in Hull today - wet and grey on the walk in.

Am very much enjoying Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash at the moment - about 90 minutes in, so far (hard to tell, because the Shuffle's not big on UI), and the recording's a really good reading, too. I like Stephenson anyway (Cryptonomicon is awesome), and the setting appeals, so yes, currently my kind of book. But I've a long way to go (I think it's 16 hours, all told), so it'll be a while before it's finished.

Weekend coming up, which is good and welcome; despite going to bed early these last couple of nights, I'm still tired. Matters weren't helped by Mali having a barking frenzy at 4.30 this morning... why, I know not; normally he's silent overnight, so something triggered him, and maybe he was just doing his job of warding off potential intruders...
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's been a quiet Saturday, all told; I took advantage of being dog-less to have a lie-in, until 7.15am.

It was pouring when I went to fetch the hound, but has since eased off a bit. Nonetheless, given the recently thawed snow will have saturated the ground, it's no surprise that the roads were starting to do the Venetian impression...

I was actually wondering if I was going to be able to get online today at all - the router dropped the net connection this afternoon, and I've been flicking it on every hour or so since to see if the situation had corrected itself. Assuming that this post does, y'know, post, then that should be evidence that a resolution of sorts was found, but it's a bit disappointing to lose access across the weekend - especially when KC have an effective monopoly as the ISP for this fair city.
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The training course is taking place at a farm/conference venue a little way outside Hull, and I was rather surprised to discover, once I'd made it past the outskirts of civilisation* that there was actually quite a bit of snow about. Had I been so forewarned, I'd probably have allowed myself a little extra time for the Castle Fox -> Happy Holiday Home -> Work Training run.

As it is, I wasn't late, arriving about 2 minutes early, but that's slightly closer than I like to cut things.

Anyway, the drive back was through some pretty thick fog as we came up over the hills, and it caught me by surprise. At home, briefly, before heading up to the Farm to collect ex and thence to P's school for parents' evening.
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At the desk three days this week, and then for Thursday and Friday I'm on a training course off-site. This in turn means that Mali gets checked into his Happy Holiday Home on Thursday morning, picked up on Saturday morning, because I can't get back to him at lunchtimes.

It was a very static weekend on my part - it wasn't the snow so much as the ice: the ice was lethal. Put it this way; when Mali, with four-paw-drive, is falling over, you know conditions are dicey. However, the rain started on Sunday and has made substantial inroads on the ice/slush, such that one can walk along with some fair degree of confidence, for the most part, that you'll manage to stay upright.

Finally, Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte were talking on Security Now last week about ShadowServer, a site that tracks botnets across the interwebs. From the graphs, it looks like there was some massive cut-off on New Year's Eve...
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Following on from Thursday's post about 'GodMode' in Windows 7, in transpires that
  • a: the name of the folder doesn't matter, it's the extension that does the trick

  • b: there's a whole host of 'GodMode' extensions that do different things.

However, in one of those early nomenclature designation things, I strongly suspect that whatever technical term Microsoft have for these codes, they'll forever now be labelled 'GodMode'. has the list of codes, although I haven't had either the time nor, truthfully, the inclination to test them out to see what they do. Perhaps in an idle moment somewhen...

In other news, still snowy in Hull.
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*HUGE* pic alert, courtesy of NASA - Satellite photo of the UK, under snow.

Be warned, it's rather large.

Snow again

Jan. 5th, 2010 09:56 pm
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We have fresh snow round these parts - this is preferable to the partially melted then refrozen slush that we'd had earlier, although since the snow has simply settled on the ice, the surafces are still pretty much as treacherous as they were before, but it at least looks prettier :-)

The first book of 2010 proved to be Rachel Caine's Carpe Corpus, book VI of the Morganville Vampires series, and whereas the earlier instalments pretty much finished on consecutive cliffhangers, this one at least feels like it has an ending proper

I say 'feels like', because book VII is out now, and I'm assuming that it's probably going to kick off a new(ish) story arc, since I think most of the plot threads from the tale to date have been, if not exactly resolved, at least touched on in part VI.

They're fun reads (much moreso than Twiglet), although I felt that Book II was a little off-pace, and Book VI, whilst it had its moments, didn't quite gel for me; I felt that we had less of an image of who Claire is, again. On the other hand, certain aspects did work pretty well (Oliver is nicely done, even if he doesn't get enough screen time, and I do like Myrnin, who, as I'm sure I've said before, I'm sure must be Merlin).

So yeah, pretty good series, although I'd say that the Sook is a lot more fun for mature readers... still waiting on the next instalment from Bon Temps, which we've been promised this year. Rest assured; the moment that's published, it's mine :D
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After gingerly walking in through the Snap! Crackle! and Pop! of a thin layer of ice over yesterday's snow dusting, I'm back at the Office (II), and was very much looking forward to warming my gloveless (they went missing over the festive period - must replace. Seriously must) hands opn a mug of boiling water (for I am still coffee-free™), to discover that our 'instant' boiling water machine isn't producing forth vast torrents of instant boiling water... more what you might call lukewarm-ish.

Hopefully normal service will be resumed shortly - the beast has been switched off over the Christmas break, and needs some time to get back up to operating temperature. Of course, since we have instant hot water on tap, we don't have a kettle...

I've got some background processes running on the PC which would've been much better run over the Christmas break, but that only occurred to me once I was home, and I'd powered down the work PC, so I couldn't remote desktop in to set things in motion. So that was a bit shortsighted of me, but nothing terminal.

DVD-wise, The Wire continues to prove rivetting viewing - the cinematography in the penultimate episode of S3 (the showdown in the empty house with Omar and Brother Mouzone) is awesome (Omar rocks), whilst in matters literary, Rachel Caine's Carpe Corpus, Morganville VI is looking set to be my first book of 2010 - I'm about half way through at the moment, but keep getting distracted by both The Wire and Assassin's Creed II.
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Work formally closes at lunchtime today, so it's just a morning stint at the desk, and then the day is mine!

It rained a little last night, so the snow turned to slush turned to ice as night gave way to morning - walking Mali this morning was a little hairy in a couple of places, but I remained upright, so all good on that front.

I set a new PB on Pacifism mode in Geometry Wars2 last night; 12,500,000, which beat my previous high by a factor of 6 (which sounds impressive, but because of the nature of the game's score multiplier collection thing, the points rack up increasingly quickly the longer you survive). To put that into perspective, the current global top score for Pacifism is apparently around the 7 billion mark, so I have a looooooong ways to go. I'd like to break in to the nine digit score range, though...

I switched to Geometry Wars2 after playing a little more Assassin's Creed 2 - a beautiful, beautiful looking game, but I'm finding it hard, er, finding each respective quest's target. Still, it's absorbing, but I'm thinking that Ezio (the Assassin you play) definitely makes different life-choices to me on a day-to-day basis.

Forgot to mention, have received Christmas cards from [personal profile] aome, [personal profile] carolanne5, [personal profile] cynthia_black and [personal profile] uninvitedcat, so thank you muchly, y'all, for those! <3
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Mali and I are in from the evening's second walk - he was having a bit of a rough time on the first circuit; I think he was getting ice caught between his paws every now and again, and we had to stop so that I could massage the stuff out every time he started acting all tripod. The more travelled routes are just wet. Offshoots from those are slush, and the quieter areas still are just sheets of ice.

Tomorrow's just a half-day at work, which is most welcome; we've got the whole week off next week, so don't return until 4 January 2010. Definite call for w00t, methinks.

Incidentally, I'm definitely saying 'twenty-ten' in my head, although lots of people are referring to the coming year as 'two thousand and ten'. My thinking is it's pretty inconceivable to me to refer to the year 2037 as 'two thousand and thirty seven', as opposed to 'twenty-thirty seven.' So, given that we're going to make the shift at some point, it might as well be sooner rather than later. Obviously, it's cumbersome to refer to the single digits in this fashion - hence why I'm predicting that this next year will represent the changing of the guard, numerically speaking.
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Quick update whilst I transfer The Wire 1x13 to a USB drive to watch on the XBox (yes, I could just as easily watch it on the PC, but I prefer the XBox, and it's the one with sound, which is obviously beneficial).

Out walking Mali on the ice this morning, and was pulled flying to land hard in the middle of the road. Predictably, there was a wide and varied audience, and it grieves me to confess that a car stopped to enquire after my health in the aftermath.

Me, I was fine - light bruising to hand, more bruising to ego. Ah well.

Have read Morganville IV, moved swiftly on to Morganville V. P and I went to see Avatar, review to follow tomorrow, methinks. Will note that there were trailers for Percy Jackson and Alice in Wonderland, and a great big display in the foyer for Sherlock Holmes, along with the trailer, which suddenly made me slightly more warmly disposed to the concept...

Am spending this evening finishing off Season 1 of The Wire, which is excellent.
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It's 3pm and it's dark out there - and wet, too :-/

P & I have just returned from a mission to a deli in Beverley where I'd ordered a Christmas hamper for the parental units. Long-term readers may suspect that I'm singularly ill-equipped to judge the quality of a foodie's hamper as a present... and they'd be right, but I figure even if I have, by some stroke of misfortune, managed to duplicate existing beverages and/or consumables in the parental abode, they'll still get used eventually, right? And it looks impressive. Have also got some DVDs and books for them, so I think I'll be calling it a day/week/month/year on present buying on that front, at least.

Comradette K got me into the Morganville Vampires books by Rachel Caine by lending me the first two instalments. I, in turn, suggested to [personal profile] cynthia_black that [personal profile] aki_itsuki might enjoy them, given her prediliction for things vampish, and it so happens that she's now reading them faster than I am. Which means that book 3 has been borrowed from Grimmauld Place, rather than Comradette K's library shelves. 's all good, either way: actually, Book III is proving to be quite fun (it's notable that both Oliver and Monica have both commented to Claire that she's now a proper player in Morganville, as a consequence of her derrings do in tomes previous), and is more than compensating for the suspicion that Book 2 didn't quite have the same 'zing' about it as the opener).

I started a new gamer profile on the 360 - RedDogFever (you have to pick a unique gamer tag, and I chose that because, hey, what were the odds of it already having been claimed? Absolutely), and have thus set about building up my gamer score through the noble art of Achievement Hunting on Braid and Geometry Wars, principally. We've also picked up Defense Grid, a Tower Defen(c/s)e game that's rather addictive, although the achievements on offer in that look as though they're going to take a lot of playing hours. The 'proper' discs at Castle Fox (the aforementioned all being XBox Live Arcade titles downloaded to the hard disk) are Forza 3 and Assassin's Creed II. I've made a start on the former, but I think it's the latter that's going to be taking up my evenings when I'm not Wired.

Speaking of The Wire, the h264 rip of 1x01, courtesy of Badaboom player rather nicely (albeit with a 'watermark' bottom left that I'm hoping the full version dispenses with). What was more noticable, though, was that I was able to understand a little more of the witness speech when he was talking to McNulty in the opening scene...

And finally, I got my hair cut yesterday.
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P was only at Castle Fox until lunchtime yesterday - he had a party to go to Saturday afternoon, and for a change ex and co came to Hull to pick him up, rather than me ferrying him back. Unfortunately, ex not having much practice in the commute, sort of underestimated the time it would take to get here, and ended up being an hour late. But hey, all good in the end.

Today saw me venture into town at lunchtime, just as the skies went almost completely black. I caught a single glimpse of lightning off in the distance, but it would seem that the weather wasn't really that interested in putting in the requisite effort for a storm proper, and instead just contented itself with a spot of rain.

Mali and I have had a couple of brisk walks around the Avenues - if I move quickly enough, he'll walk to heel almost perfectly. And he maintained that for a little while as I attempted a light jog, but patience isn't that dog's strong suit, and he eventually went into Race Mode, so we called a literal and metaphorical halt on that one. But I'm going to try and add some light jogging into the standard walks every now and again, and see how that goes.

Bookwise, I'm currently reading (or trying to read) One Red Paperclip by Kyle MacDonald. This is the tale of that guy who traded items sequentially on CraigsList, starting off with the object of the book's title, and moving ever on up until he managed to trade himself into a house. The parenthetical hesitancy is due to the little 'zen wisdom' nuggets that pepper the end of each chapter. Since we're currently on one chapter per trade, and we're at him having acquired a camping stove, I'm somewhat fearful for my sanity, should I have to endure too many more observations of the calibre of 'now was two words ago' (I actually make that five, and so does Kyle himself in the paragraph explaining this gem, which makes the paragraph's title all the more bizarre).

Anyway, since Christmas is coming up, obviously this is the time of year when I buy myself stuff, and so I now have Assassin's Creed II for the 360... I know all the hype this year is about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, but I am hopeless at FPS titles (seriously, Colleague N lent me Gears of War once, and I couldn't make it out of the training level without being killed. Repeatedly).

So expect the book-reading to tail off a bit as the year closes ;-P
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Work's busy and I'm not here tomorrow because I'm going to old school friend's funeral :-( So I haven't caught up with my flist/reading page, but hope to manage to do so somewhen.

We had our first rain for what feels like a while today, although it's cleared up somewhat now, and remains surprisingly warm. Our office move has been pushed back to 'the end of the month', or possibly November. Was over at The New Accommodation for a meeting just now, and saw that the desks were being built and cables were being routed, so it's looking like the logistics are being sorted.

However, we've still got to weed out the current office, which isn't a task that particularly fills any of us with glee. At least the drift towards online documentation means that some of the manuals can be junked without a second thought (the one I picked up this morning was dated 1991 - that's eighteen years ago).
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I'm not normally a fan of Ginny, but sometimes she's good value (TTK: Ch 48):

"Percy! Percy!" Ginny's voice cut across the still air of the cold December morning.

Percy, in front, stopped and turned round, irritation etched across every feature of his face, "Yes? Miss... Weasley?" he asked, feigning only the barest of acquaintance with his sister.

Harry was desperate for his captors to turn around themselves, so that he could see Ginny (and Dean, Seamus... hell, everyone seemed to be there), but their hold remained resolute. He'd tried looking over his shoulder, but a not so gentle prod with the third hit-wizard's wand, stabbing him right at the top of his spine, told him that such aggressive moves were uncalled for.

"Don't you 'Miss Weasley' me, Percy, you miserable git," snarled Ginny, of whom Harry now felt insanely proud, "this is wrong and you know it!"

In his mind's eye, Harry had a distinct image of Dean physically restraining Ginny from leaping at Percy and clawing his eyes out with her bare hands.


It was pouring in another of Hull's special summer cloudbursts this lunchtime. I'd let Mali out into the yard, where he'd taken up his lounging position on top of his kennel. Then the rain started falling, but rather than come back inside (the back door was open), he decided - shock! horror! - to actually use his kennel, and had curled up inside, out of the elements' reach. This is actually pretty unusual for the hound - the only use he generally makes of the kennel is to sunbathe on its roof.

One of the problems with the Shuffle, which I've mentioned before, is that it's possible to brush the control wheel and skip to the next track... this is a pain when you're listening to a 2hr podcast, for example, and have to fast forward through to the point you were at prior to the unplanned navigational jump. The player gives you snippets of audio to let you know where you are as it zips along the mp3, and it's quite a surreal experience, hearing these disconnected words from the studio discussion (This Week in Tech, a bit geeky, but a fun listen).
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...but weather being weather, the skies had blackened by the time I'd made it back to Castle Fox this lunchtime. And then it poured.

Fortunately, it was but a short-lived shower, so I managed to amble back to work without having to deploy the brolly, but it's certainly warm Out There™.

It has been mooted that we may get to learn of our reorganisation fate, in terms of location (location, location) tomorrow afternoon. That we're being relocated to a different building is a given, the only real question left outstanding is when...


Jul. 17th, 2009 08:08 am
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It's pouring.

So I walked in this morning, with Radio 4's Americana on the Shuffle.

This week's cast had three topics - Al Franken joining the US Senate, Mountain Top Removal Mining in West Virginia and how the CIA's morale's bearing up In These Times.

The Mountain Top Removal Mining thing is something I've read about on and off for a while, now. It stuns me that people can think that there are two sides to the issue: permanent destruction of nature to mine a non-renewable* resource to maintain unsustainable levels of consumption versus... erm, money.

* well, technically coal, gas and oil are renewable - just not on any kind of timescale that's of use to us humans...
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So, just after 5pm yesterday evening, I noticed that the skies were darkening overhead.

And pondered.

I suspected that, no matter what time I decided to head off home - early, late, on the dot of half-five, the rain would hang on until that same instant before starting to fall.

At 5.20, then, I decided to sneak home 10 minutes early.

Glancing out of the window at the top of the stairs, the world was dry, if overcast.

By the time I get to the inner courtyard where the bike gets locked up, spots of rain were falling. And by the time I was rolling, it was raining properly.

No surprise there, then.


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