Friday, 24 February 2006

other things

And in other news:

We are going on the Preparation For Adoption three day course Monday to Wednesday next week. I am not going to blog while we are on it. We are effectively having a few days of time for us alone; it is too important to be distracted from.

As the title suggests, it is an introduction to all the pros and cons of the process. You decide whether you want to begin the approval process after you have been on it - and I guess that the agency decides whether they want to take you on.

I am not sure where we are with this - so far I've been pursuing a la la la let's take things as they come approach. I am still taking anti-depressants and I seem to be pretty balanced on them (whatever balanced is, it's so difficult to say, isn't it?). But I don't want to come off them, as last time I tried that, purely for the sake of meeting a particular adoption agency's criteria, I definitely wasn't 'balanced' at all. We'll see. I know I've said this before - I don't mind if they knock us back because they think I am unsuitable; but I DO mind being knocked back because I have a tick in a box on a piece of paper. We are both very excited.

Also:

I've put some more stuff on eBay. I know that eBay Blog Pimping (Rhys' brilliant turn of phrase) is potentially a very unattractive aspect of my personality; but I've got some wonderful sets of Nelson's Navy novels for sale and I'm quite geekily excited about having found a niche market that people seem interested in.

And:

I have just been on the phone to our solicitor re the late payments we are owed from that one particular client. They've paid half the money and the rest was supposed to be in the bank today. It's not. This is doing bad things to my nerves; the production manager who is our contact is very friendly. But either he is lying to us or his accounts department is lying to him. It's making me feel rather grumpy.

I think that that might be all. Possibly for a week or so, depending on how I feel.

ecoballs

I've been meaning to write about Ecoballs for a while.

They're supposed to be a very environmentally friendly way to wash clothes, that work by ionising the water. A couple of people I know have been using them for two or three years and initially I was quite skeptical, as I have no idea about the science behind them and it seems like either a) magic or b) bollocks.

However, eventually I did a bit of internet research and we decided that we'd give them a go.

Allegedly, you can wash on a low temperature and because you don't use detergent, you don't have to rinse; good on three counts.

We've been using them for about a month now and I think they're pretty good on a short wash at a low temperature for your ordinary, dirty-but-not-vile kind of washing.

I've washed towels and sheets with them on a short wash at sixty degrees and that seems to work fine as well.

However: stains don't come out very well using them - tomato sauce, cat footprints from the garden on my white t-shirt, and erm, what I shall euphemistically call sheet stains*. Stuff that I guess would be relatively difficult to get out anyway. A 'stain remover' comes with the pack of three balls that you are supposed to spot-clean with before you wash, if you need to. I haven't used it yet because I've been experimenting to see what happened when I didn't; but that's the next move and I'll report back.

I think the main issue (and it's not really an issue) that I'm having is that I associate the smell of detergent with 'cleanliness'. Which isn't really accurate - detergent just smells of detergent. So it's psychological rather than anything else. Some of the googling I did brought up various discussion threads about them and quite a few people reckon that they DO get stains out. Perhaps it depends on what kind of water area you're in and what kind of material you're washing? Plus variables like machine type and how full you fill it?

In all honesty, I think that we shall probably keep using Ecover Laundry Liquid occasionally for things like bedding and towels and really dirty clothes; but use the ecoballs unless there is specific reason not to.

So, there you go. Adding this to the Ethical Living Links.


* Did I mention that I actually burned the sheets, once PL and PLG had left? Only not at once. Oh no. Just last week. They washed them and dried them the morning they were leaving and put them back in the drawer. Then when I got them out to make the bed up for Semi Invisible Lodger, I discovered that they actually weren't very clean at all. Did you know that burning sheets smell like ironing? Or perhaps, my ironing just smells like burning sheets. Anyway, I digress.

Thursday, 23 February 2006

five mental notes to self

Five mental notes to self:

  1. Do not leave the kitten and the wool for freecycling shut in same room together unless you want to give both away as a job lot
  2. Of COURSE the house is going to feel cold all day if you don't shut the velux window in the attic room
  3. Rhubarb goes floppy if you don't cook it pretty much the day it arrives in the veg box
  4. The label on your knickers goes on the INSIDE*
  5. Lord Peter Wimsey is NOT A REAL PERSON. And even if he was, he wouldn't fancy you
Anyone else?

*Thanks for Ms Mac for pointing out that, actually, the label should go inside. That was what I meant. Doh!

Wednesday, 22 February 2006

go on, try it, you know you want to ...

I'm having a homebrew recipe swapping day with Kitchen Witch today. She has posted her Metheglin concoction, because I said that I have never successfully managed to make without it growing blue-green mold on the top.

My big successes in the wine making department are mostly variations on recipes by a chap called Ian Ball. I have two of his books, 'Wine Making With Herbs' and 'Wine Making the Natural Way', both of which are very good. I've also got a copy of C J J Berry's 'First Steps in Wine Making', which has a lot of interesting recipes, but which I have not had a great deal of success with. I think this is more down to me than Mr Berry - as both cook and home-brewer, my attitude is 'stick it all in and see what happens', and he's a bit more scientific than that.

So.

Two different versions of sage wine, one with apple juice:

Sage Wine
Sage (fresh .75 of a pint or dried, .75 ounce)
1.5 lb sugar (I use brown granulated)
Water to one gallon
Tea, half a cup
Sultanas, 12 oz
Lemons, 2
Yeast

Dissolve the sugar in warm water and pour over the sage leaves in your fermentation bucket. Add the tea. Extract juice from lemons and pour in. Rinse and chop the sultanas and chuck them in. Add water up to one gallon and stir in the yeast. Cover and leave in a warm place for seven days, stirring twice a day. On day seven, strain liquid off solids in to a demijohn, top up to neck with cold water and fit an airlock. Leave until fermentation has finished - probably about four or five weeks, but it could be more, or less. Rack in to a clean demijohn and add two crushed campden tablets. Bottle after six months and leave for another two or three before drinking.

Apple and Sage version
Drop the amount of sultanas to 4oz and add a one litre carton of good quality apple juice (ie, no additives) and a quarter teaspoonful of marmite to the mix and follow the same procedure. Because this has less sultanas in it, you can drink it ten weeks after fermentation has stopped; but it does improve with keeping. You can also leave out the sage and just make apple, which is a very nice light sat- on- the- patio- in- the- sun- during- hot- afternoons kind of drink.

You can also add fermentation stopper at the same time as you add the campden tablets - I started doing this after I had a Terrible Explosive Event one summer - I came down to the kitchen in the morning and found that three bottles of elderberry wine had popped their corks and fountained six feet from the wine rack where I was storing them on their side all over the wall opposite. Funny, but extremely sticky. Plus a lot of it went in the hamster cage against the opposite wall and I think the hamsters were a bit the worse for wear.

I'll post elderberry and elderflower success stories in a week or two ...

Tuesday, 21 February 2006

freegans

Blogging today is brought to your from: The Bedroom
Ably assisted by: Simpkin and Betty, who are sleeping on my feet
Courtesy of: A functioning wireless connection and a laptop. Yay! Sloth rocks!

B has gone off for a couple of nights on a job in Birmingham. R has taken the week off to be with his kids over half-term.

I am alone with the internet.

Bwah ha ha ha ha!

*Coughs slightly shiftily*

Erm, anyway.

I seem to be posting quite a lot of ethical living stuff at the moment - it's not a conscious decision, it's just the things that are catching my attention. Today, there's a news article in The Independent Online about "Freegans".

Freegans seem, basically, to be people who go through bins for food (and most other things, actually). It's a lifestyle choice based on the premise that as a society, we throw too much away. After reading the article, two things strike me about it, apart from the intial "They do WHAT?" reaction:

  1. The amount of stuff chucked out by shops like Tesco and Iceland et al seems absolutely phenomenal.
  2. As a lifestyle choice it seems quite labour-intensive - really a return to a hunter-gatherer style society, where you don't grow your own food; but you therefore have to put more energy in to locating and collecting it. This is not a bad thing - but if I remember my archaeology 101 course from nearly twenty years ago (yipes!), hunter-gather societies do not have so much time to pursue things that aren't necessary to immediate survival - ie, art, literature etc..
In a slightly-related conversation I had with Semi-Invisible Lodger this morning, he was telling me that his family have 'gone organic' after one of their children was quite ill and was diagnosed as having an allergy to food additives.

I'm not really going anywhere with all this, just mulling over what a wasteful, un-natural society we seem to be living in. I don't think it will change overnight; and I think that if it does change, then it will be a change from the grass roots upwards:

People who by increments change their lifestyle so that we are NOT buying so much food that we chuck it out when it reaches it's sell-by date; who plan and cook their own meals rather than buying pre-prepared; who source locally; who make a conscious decision to use cleaning materials that are not harmful to the environment.

Thoughts, anyone, while I go and make myself yet another cup of tea?

Update: Lots of interesting comments, thank you all very much. Also, via Kitchen Witch's post that kind-of-referenced this one, a comment by Lisa, referencing this essay on Freeganism by Barbara at Tigers and Strawberries. All interesting, thought provoking stuff.

Update Two: Barbara has another follow-up essay here.

Monday, 20 February 2006

courting destiny and unconnected sloth

Pia at Courting Destiny has been nominated for a Koufax Award.

I've been a fan of hers almost since I discovered that blogging existed - she writes really evocative pieces about New York and is well worth a visit. The Koufax award she'd been nominated for is for politically left-leaning bloggers.

Today I am practising sloth. I am about to go and drink tea in the bath with my husband.

That's probably too much information, but I have achieved so much sloth that I am unable to delete it.

Sunday, 19 February 2006

what's a gig, then?

Last week, Bedshaped asked for more information about what a 'gig' actually involves.

Well, obviously, it depends on the gig. This is a long post - but most gigs are long :).

Most of our business is lighting for corporate clients. We also occasionally do data, sound or powerpoint - ie, set it up and operate it during a show. B is also involved with lighting for contemporary theatre, primarily the Birmingham-based Stan's Cafe (who, by the way, now have a blog, and would probably appreciate you dropping by to say hello ...)

Shows are, mostly, things like trade shows, conferences, corporate dinners or corporate parties. They take place in purpose-built venues like the NEC in Birmingham, Earl's Court in London or the MICC in Manchester (three very big ones); or in hotels, country clubs, cinemas and theatres. We don't, generally, do rock-and-roll type stuff, as it doesn't pay so well and is, anyway, a particular genre of its own. We also don't own our own kit - we hire in what we need from hire-houses, which a) gives us more flexibility and b) means we don't have to find the budget to buy it, insure it or maintain it.

We basically have two kinds of clients - production houses and our own end-clients. Production houses are themselves hired in by end-clients and then hire us either simply as lighting technicians for simpler jobs; or for bigger jobs as a specialist lighting team that they virtually hand off that part of the bigger job to. When one works for a production house, one is effectively part of their team - you wear their t-shirts and you toe their party-line. It's VERY bad form to give your own card out to an end-client if you are working for them via someone else. A "you'll never-work-for-us-again" type offence.

It's the same kind of work for our own end-clients - but we make a bit more money, we control our own budget a bit more freely and we have a bit more control over our own destiny :).

A small gig will be one of us going along to a hotel at 7am, unloading the truck, setting up a few lights pointing at a lectern on a stage and fading the lights up and down as required. At 5pm, you take it all down again, put it back on the truck, drop it back at the warehouse and are home in time for a late tea.

A big gig will be a bit different.

For example, a three day conference, with evening events, for five hundred people.

The planning can start months and months ahead, sometimes even years, because of the scale. We have a few things on the books now for 2008.

You do a design - where are the lamps going to go? Where will they point? What colours will they be (done with gel)? What patterns will there be in them (done with gobos)? Do you need to be able to change the look of the room, for example for a disco after a meeting? Do you need to fly anything in the air, off truss (big steel beams that you hang from hanging points in the ceiling, usually getting it up there with motors)? Or will you build a goal-post-type arrangement with the truss? Or will you do it the simple way, with lighting stands?. You'll also do a risk assessment at this point - on a big job, the client and/or the venue will ask for one. Otherwise, you just do a less formal one for yourselves.

From the design, you create a kit list - what cables do you need? What power do you need? The lamps don't just plug in to the walls - they are usually run from three-phase power at a venue, which is plugged in to a distribution unit (distro) and then run in to a set of dimmers, which breaks the current up for the individual lamps. This is all controlled from a lighting desk, which lets you fade the light up and down, switch the lamps on and off and move the heads on the moving lights up and down and round and round.

You then work out how many crew you are going to need for the job. Do they need to be technically experienced? Or can you get some big hefty rugby-playing types in for a four hour call, to help you in and then come back at the end, to help you out? There are a couple of specialist agencies that actually hire hefty-types out for just that purpose. We also have a floating pool of trained technicians who we call on to help us, which we are currently expanding. Laurence Wooster being a case in point.

From the kit list, you also work out what kind of transport you're going to need to get it all to the venue. We usually get the hire-house we hire from to deliver it for us. This has the added advantage of not having to load the truck yourself at stupid-o'clock in the morning - the kit arrives on site and you just unload it.

On a big job, it can take three hours, or maybe more, just to get all the boxes of kit in to the venue - particularly if there is restricted access, or other people are trying to use the lift at the same time.

You then start your rig. You put up the truss, you plug in your distro and your dimmers, you run out your multi-core cables (really big, heavy, power cables; I can't carry a long length, they weigh a tonne). And then, finally, you start to put the lamps up, with the smaller cables that run out to them.

Usually by this point, if it's a dinner, the venue are trying to put the tables out - so you have to stop using a cherry-picker or a scaffolding tower to rig stuff (you only use them in very large venues), and go to ladders, five or six meters above the floor.

In my experience, the venue always want to put the tables out before one is ready; there is often a lot of bad feeling between in-house staff and managers and the technical crew. We feel that they deliberately go out out to make our lives difficult; and no doubt they feel the same about us. Again, in my experience, they tend to not want to work as a team - they just want to do their bit and shuffle off, leaving us moving heavy bits of kit around tables covered with glasses and tableware.

At the same time, the set crew will be building the stage, the sound crew will be putting up their speakers and the data guys will be rigging their projectors.

For a big show, it can take two or three days, with perhaps a total of ten or twenty people working eighteen hour days.

The final thing that you do, once the rig is in and before the show starts, is programme the lighting desk. You can set the desk to remember particular 'lighting states', to use during a show. "Managing Director giving motivational speech" state. "Comedian" state. "Eating dinner" state. Various "Awards" states. It makes it easier for the person operating during the show, because they don't have to change all those states on the fly. Sometimes one gets a chance to programme, sometimes one doesn't, because you've run out of time.

If the end-client is organised, before a show you rehearse. This doesn't always happen, but it's good if it does, because it gives everyone time to iron out technical glitches.

Once the show starts, the technicians become invisible. We walk in and out the back way in our black clothes, we sit behind the control desk and make things happen, unobtrusively. If you notice us, it is generally because something has gone wrong.

Some people operate the show; and the rest of us, we wait.

We wait.

And we wait.

And we wait.

Until the dinner is finished or the disco is over and the punters have, finally, been herded drunkenly on to their coaches, or have retired to the bar.

I often sleep under the control desk while the gig is actually on. Being able to sleep in slightly uncomfortable places is a valuable technical skill :).

So, 11pm. Or midnight, or 1am.

We start the de-rig.

It probably takes an average two to four hours to pull out an average sized show and get it back on the truck.

Everything has to be done in reverse. The lamps come down and go back in the flight cases. The cables get coiled and put back in the cable trunk. The dimmers and the distro get dismantled and go back in their cases. The motors come out of their boxes again, their chains get attached to the truss and it gets lowered and banged apart.

By this time, everyone is so tired that we are simply running on adrenaline.

The refreshments normally go home with the end client, so you're lucky if you even have water.

I've started taking a one gallon boiler and tea and coffee with me, to look after the crew.

Very often, clients don't really think very hard about food and drink for us. We do expect to be fed. It's not a perk exactly - more that we are busting our asses to get the show up on time; finding food takes time we don't have. And we need to eat - it becomes a health and safety issue if you are doing eighteen hours of hard physical labour without drinks or proper food.

On the show we did last week, it was specified on the Purchase Order that the client would be providing food. They did - a couple of sandwiches for each person, eight hours apart. No tea, no coffee, no water. It was disgraceful and caused a lot of bad feeling. We don't expect cordon bleu. But a hot meal is necessary if you are expecting your crew to work from eight in the morning to four the following morning, which we sometimes do.

So - the kit goes back on the truck; the least shattered person drives home. If it's a properly organised job, or more than a couple of hours drive from home, you will have a hotel room booked for you and someone else to drive the truck.

We have one client we work for who is very well organised and often plans the de-rig the morning after the job finishes. This is wonderful.

It's fun work. We all enjoy it. It's stimulating, challenging, creative and very much non-routine.

But it's knackering and as we're getting older, it's taking it's toll :).

Bedshaped, does that tell you what you wanted to know?


desk
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flare
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colours
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gobo
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Friday, 17 February 2006

directorial drinking

Kitchen Witch has sucked me in to doing a really absorbing Johari Window personality thingy. I've set one up for myself here, if you want to have a click on it and have a participate - you have to click on the six words that you think describe me best :). It then gives you the opportunity to go and set one up for yourself.

R decided to join B and me as a director of the company today.

We're going to the pub now. Yay!

anxiety dreams

Early morning snuggly conversation we had this morning:

B: I think I'm a bit stressed about all this marketing and stuff.
Me: Oh? What makes you say that?
B: I've been having bizarre anxiety-dreams.
Me: Oh dear, that's not good.
B: No. I dreamt that I had a lighting desk that controlled the size of my knob.
Me: Oh?
B: It was a fantastic piece of kit. There were little LCD screens that showed the relative width and length adjustments that you could make using the roller wheels.
Me: Shall I get up and make a cup of tea, then?

Thursday, 16 February 2006

newsflash

Five things I have discovered this week:

  1. Kittens like to eat fresh cat sick
  2. Spring is coming; there are snowdrops and crocuses in the garden
  3. When your mother-in-law excitedly tells you that she has had a brilliant business idea, the phrase "Oh no, not another one" is not an acceptable response
  4. Composting your compostable stuff REALLY cuts down on the amount of rubbish you put in the bin
  5. Polish Lodger's Girlfriend's Cousin is leaving us at the end of March
I am updating our company website this week, so we can do a bit more marketing. Hence the minimal bloggage. I do have a story about naked cleaners that I am saving though.

For now, that is all.

Tuesday, 14 February 2006

happy valentines

There seems to be a general air of cynicism prevailing about Valentine's Day - and I have to say that I feel much the same way. Why not demonstrate that you love someone by being nice to them all year round, rather than saving it all up for just one day and buying them a scary, dust-gathering stuffed toy and an overpriced, genetically engineered red rose?

Having said that, though, we went to our local Tandoori last night. More as a "how can we justify going out to the Tandoori?" exercise than a celebration of our lurve.

On the way back, we walked past the snooker club at the top of the road, which had this sign outside.

I love Merseyside.

Monday, 13 February 2006

heaven is a warm compost heap

Finally, composting triumph.

After collecting the compost bin from our fellow freecycler ten days ago, we put it together last Saturday.

It's a very basic metal frame that you wrap net around. We were advised by the person that we got it from to line it with something - carpet for instance - in order to keep the compost warm.

Apparently there are two kinds of composting - hot or cold. Hot is better I think, because it works faster and it kills weeds and spores that might otherwise stay alive. However it is more difficult to do and you have to pay more frequent attention to your heap.

Since B seems to have become compost-obsessed, I don't think that this will be an issue.

Any hints and tips from pro-composters out there would be much appreciated - for example, CAN one put banana skins in?

I've found a couple of helpful websites - The Composting Association (UK), The Composting Guide (US) and The Royal Horticultural Society and I've bought a book - Backyard Composting by John Roulac. All we need to do now is chuck stuff on it, follow Good Composting Procedure ... and wait.

Sunday, 12 February 2006

wordcloud

Instead of a post about compost, here is my wordcloud - get your own by entering your blog URL and letting it analyse your text.

I am sat on the sofa, catching up on my blog-reading, drinking tea and putting off constructing the final three chests of drawers for the bedroom.

Sundays are great :).

Thursday, 9 February 2006

still here, just

We're out on a gig this afternoon and evening and are taking the opportunity to give Laurence Wooster a work-trial.

He came for his interview yesterday and I am disappointed to report that he didn't have an enormous handlebar moustache or arrive in a biplane.

However, he did seem a perfectly pleasant nineteen year old chap, who had quite a lot of technical knowledge, less practical experience than he was trying to sell himself as having, and possessing definite potential as a casual technician. Hence the work-trial as the second step of our interview process.

No time to write more, I have to organise myself and polish my steel toecaps.

Tuesday, 7 February 2006

mental note to self

Mental note to self:

Do not accompany Gladys Knight And The Pips doing 'Midnight Train To Georgia' loudly, including the 'Whoo whoo' bits, whilst washing the kitchen floor at 11pm after meeting the WI in the pub and drinking three glasses of wine. Even if the floor is REALLY grubby.

It seems to annoy the sleeping lodgers.

Ooops.

joining some of the dots

My Aunty Edith (mother's cousin, beard, accordion, eighty-six, can't come and stay for Christmas until Boxing Day as she gigs on the organ at three different churches) has just been to the wedding of one of her brother's son's third wife's children.

She stayed with Ma and Pa while she was down for the weekend and we happened to be staying as well. Although we know the branch of the family, we we're not close and none of us were invited - didn't even expect be, although I think Ma was quite relieved. Edith has been quite discreet in not giving Ma's actual address to the family, I think as she thinks they might turn up on the doorstep and get Ma involved in their turbulent lives.

B asked Edith for a recap of family history.

Ma says that Edith always thinks the best of people.

Hence her nephew, who was involved in a drunken car crash in which a girl died; who swindled her out of half of the value of her home and therefore forced her to live in the tiny sheltered housing bungalow she's in now; who has abandoned three wives and six children and who has now disappeared, allegedly abroad, presumably so the CSA don't catch up with him ... is described as a 'scamp'.

I love Aunty Edith to bits. She'd do anything for anybody, she campaigns furiously for the RSPCA and the PDSA, she is dotty in that peculiarly eccentric way that English ladies sometimes are ... (wrinkly stockings or very brightly coloured ankle socks, knee length tweed skirt, hair in bun on back of head with pins always escaping, ex-reception class teacher, very well read, knits for charity, can get a tune out of any instrument, drinks tea constantly, radiates enthusiasm ... Pia, this one's for you!) ... and she is a genuine innocent.

In one way or another, all my mother's female cousins - and Ma herself I suppose - share the same trait. I suspect it might be genetic; in which case, it seems to have skipped a generation in me :).

Is blindly thinking the best of people a good character trait to have? Or is it sometimes a bit dangerous? People I know who exhibit it always seem to be happy. But in Edith's case, it has made her life so much harder.

Thoughts, anyone?

Sunday, 5 February 2006

blah

Endometriosis sucks.

Periods suck.

Not being able to get pregnant sucks.

Having a husband who sometimes works away from home at weekends sucks.

Normal service will be resumed shortly*.

[grumbles off to light fire, find Pride and Prejudice DVD, fill hot water bottle and make cup of tea]


* We have achieved composting lift off. I have photos.

Friday, 3 February 2006

toadying around

The company with the outstanding debt to us still hasn't paid up, despite the assertive phonecalls, an assertive letter last week and a solicitor's letter this week.

There is at least one other person that we know of who is in the same situation with them.

B and the other person who is owed money had a conversation yesterday about winding up orders. Apparently you get your solicitor to ask a court to issue a winding up order to the company which owes you money. Then if they don't have enough money in the bank to cover what they owe you, then they are forced to go in to liquidation in order to pay.

This company has already gone to the receivers once, last autumn, under a different guise, so I am guessing that they will be reluctant to go down that path again so soon.

I hate this, it seems so pointless. B says that it is not unknown for some companies to have a policy of not paying up until one sends a solicitor's letter. A complete waste of time and energy for everyone.

I have bought a three-legged toad to sit by the front door and help with our cash flow.

Also, we have a third lodger. It's kind of complicated. The chap who took the room three weeks ago turns out to want it very infrequently indeed. In fact, he hasn't been back since the day he came to view - so we have, naturally, named him Invisible Lodger.

On Monday, someone else rang and asked if the room was still available. B, ever one for the main chance, phoned Invisible Lodger and asked him if he was ever going to use the room. The answer was 'probably not'.

So B negotiated a drop in rent with him; we are now effectively charging him a token sum to be a forwarding address and a sofa-bed if he does ever want to stay whilst visiting friends in the area.

Then we phoned the other chap back and said the room was still available and did he want to come and view?

The new chap only wants the room on week nights. Therefore we have naturally christened him Semi Invisible Lodger. He seems very nice, is married with children and has a good job.

So I think the toad must be working already :).

In other news:

  • We are interviewing someone called 'Laurence Wooster' for the casual crew list next week, which is causing us great hilarity. Both B and R say that it doesn't matter what his technical skills are like, they're going to take him on regardless just so they can shout "Wooster! Get the tea in, there's a good chap!" across venues at him.
  • Tonight we are going round to B's Mum and Dad for a take-away and to build them a little web page to put up the photographs of the room they have to rent. They are so impressed with our success as landlords that they have decided to have a go themselves. And we are having chinese. Yay!
Tomorrow is Compost Bin Building Day. Wish us luck.

Thursday, 2 February 2006

childhood mistakes and compost

Cheryl tagged me for this a while ago and I've only just got my thoughts together to do it ...

1. Hum a jingle of which you know all the words. LOUDER. Now write it down so we can remember it too:
Double your money
Double your fun
With Double-Mint Double-Mint
Double-Mint gum!

Only it's not a jingle for a real thing, it's from 'Equus', which we were shown at school and which seriously wigged me out. Do NOT watch or read it if you like horses and/or are of a sensitive nature.

2. As a kid, you played a board game over and over. And you cheated. What was it?
I never cheated! No, really. I was too scared of being found out.

3. What was the name of a song you have been singing the incorrect words to all these years. What were you singing, and what should you be singing?
Oh crikey. Millions. Can't think of one that I can tell you WHAT I was actually singing though. I used to sing Karma Chameleon very loudly, and allegedly with both the wrong words and the wrong tune, at age about 12, much to the amusement of my classmates.

4. What embarrassing childhood story do your parents bring out just to mess with you for their own amusement?
The day I dropped the baby in the birthday cake, face down, at a friend's birthday party. Luckily, it was a sponge, so she didn't sustain any injuries - she was quite happy, I think. And also luckily, everyone else thought it was hysterical. I was mortified.



We are off to collect a composter now, that we've found via Freecycle. I can honestly say that if we didn't come across one, I would have had to divorce B; our yard is filling up with pots full of decomposing vegetable matter.

Lovely.

Wednesday, 1 February 2006

accentuating the postive #2

Thank you all for all your kind comments on my last post - much appreciated. I definitely need a part-time job that is relatively low stress and doesn't involve other people who are stressed too :).

And now, the second in an occasional series about channelling pre menstrual tension in positive ways.

(First in series here)

2. Using your PMS to fight spam:

Unsolicited eMail received:

Hello,

I noticed whilst browsing your site that there were problems with some of your links, when I tried again with Internet Explorer the problems were not there so I assume that they were caused by me using the Mozilla browser.

As more people are turning to alternative browsers now it may be of help for you to know this. I have enclosed a screen capture of the problem so your team can get it fixed if you deem it an issue.

Kind regards,

David Adams
Dept. Research



My reply:


Dear David Adams,

*I* would assume that you are talking bullshit, as actually, our website is hand-coded in notepad and tested using all major browsers and a variety of alternative ones. So please take your unsolicited, fishing, grammatically poor and potentially virus-laden email away and consider pursing a career where you actually have to interact with people on a personal level rather than via the internet. If you contact us again, I will be reporting you to your ISP for spamming offences.

With very kind regards indeed

Ally
Technical Director



Lesson taken away: Appropriately channelled aggression can have positive knock-on effects for the entire internet community.