Weight Gain 4000

At the beginning of July, when I moved house, which brought with it “The Smoking Ban” I weighed an unhealthy 8st10, which at 5’9″ is underweight. However since then I have had such an increase in appetite which has craved non stop bacon and eggs, pasta and curries with loads of rice and bread, as well as the usual snacks. I have managed to bulk up to 10st6 in just two and a half months. I am happily reminded of an excellent South Park Episode 😉

“Say it with me, beefcake! Beefcake! BEEFCAKE!!”

Mind Your Manners pt II

Also last Friday, when I went to see Bad Manners (see pt I) CJ and I stopped off at Santiago’s Bar which across the way from Rios before heading home after the show. As I walked in  I saw a familiar face; one with twitching eyes, framed with gaudy purple hair and contorted in an expression of mixed rage, frustration and fear. Guess who?

Their have been several occasions recently where I have nearly bumped into Claire but this was the first where our paths actually crossed since her least appropriate exploits after our little falling out. Despite these I merely smiled, waved and said hello, then turned away to talk to some people we knew. I thought Claire might either come over and start an argument, but she simply ran off to find her boyfriend (poor sod) and high tailed out of the bar.

I thought that was the end of it, though at 1:48am I received the following text message:

Why do you not fuck off and die abit like your parents did. It would be t best thing t world has ever seen!

Those who have been readers of Chris Worfolk‘s blog for a while may recall the similarity to what she’d said to Chris et al last May. Now I could get angry about it, but all I really felt was pity for Claire.

She moved out because she was too inept at trying to resolve an issue and so simply ran away. She blamed me for this. She then had no success in finding someone to take her room. She blamed me for this as well and resorted to endangering the life of my cat to try and punish me. As I understood it, she was even incapable of holding down a warehouse job for three days (she did not leave, she got fired) and has, ever since moving out, been sofa surfing. A year later she is still homeless and jobless. She has not even been able to think of any better insults and hurtful comments in a whole four months.

The girl needs some serious help. Oh well, her spiteful issuing did not detract from my night out and I certainly didn’t lose any sleep over it.

Mind Your Manners Pt I

Last Friday was an excellent night out. My cousin CJ and I went out to Rio’s night club for the first time since he finished working there. The new tech manager who took over from CJ is a good friend so we were still able to get in for free 😀 .

The event on that night just happened to be Bad Manners, a celebration gig on Buster Bloodvessel’s 50th birthday. For those who do not know, Bad Manners are a ska revival band, part of the scene in the mid 70s/80s which also saw such acts as Madness, The Specials and The Selecter. The exploits of their front man, Buster earned them considerable notoriety. They still tour and host an annual music festival in Bedfordshire titled Bad Fest.

In 2006, CJs band, ‘The Attic Project’ (along with their roadie crew, which included yours truly) was invited to play at Bad Fest alongside The Beat, The Selecter along with Bad Manners themselves, who headlined the festival. It was at this event that I first saw Bad Manners and their incredibly entertaining show.

When Buster first walked on stage at Rios last Friday and started the show with his signatured chant “This…IS…Skaaaa!” I was immediately reminded of the first time when I saw him on a much bigger stage in an old airfield.

The show was no less impress despite this. The crowd was just as lively as you’d expect them to be; jumping, skanking and moshing all over the place, chanting “You Fat Bastard! You Fat Bastard!” at Buster, which he actively encourages (note that it is bar-stard not bass-tard even though we are in the north, as Buster is from Hackney). It was the first time in ages that I’d been n the middle of such an atmosphere and I enjoyed every second of it. It did make taking photos particularly difficult mind, so this was the best I could manage from the balcony above.

Not that I really needed more photos of Buster mind you. When we were at Bad Fest we met Buster in the bar backstage along with all the other bands. It really made me wish we could back to that time, it was an amazing experience, one we’re unlikely to be able to repeat these days. Still, I was happy to be able to enjoy the atmosphere last Friday anyway.

Happy Birthday CJ

On Monday, it was time to celebrate my cousin’s birthday, which wasn’t actually until the next day but it was also his leaving do from Rio’s Night Club as well as a day that most people could make it.

We started out at Rio’s, where the proprietor, known as Ziggy to the staff, treated us all to free drinks to start the night off. From here we moved on to the Verve bar which was just across the road for posh beer, or in my case gin cocktails 😛

After this we headed on down to the Fab cafe where we lasted out most of the remainder of the evening. Whilst fun, the night so far was quite uneventful; except for one twat being a complete dick to one of the girls, resulting in her running for a cab, crying. Nice one dude! It wasn’t until the remaining revellers joined CJ and I back at our flat that things started to descend into the sort of chaos we’ve become accustomed to.

A few members of the Rio’s staff who had keys to the stock room, went on a booze mission (apparently with permission), returning with what looked like a lot more than they’d been allowed; People started getting mischievous, occupying the bathroom for long periods (and the garden at one point); I found some blue liquid on the table, which I tried tasting only to find it was thread sealant (not nice!); everyone was becoming totally incoherent not least CJ himself. This was the state of him, at the end of the night.

By the time I said goodbye to the last guests who were not already unconscious in the living room it was light outside. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the sight I saw across the road, though I was sure that our neighbours were going to be less impressed. I actually found it hilarious but then it was not my car.

I think most people over did it that night. CJ, myself and at least one other are still feeling rough two days later. Not entirely surprising given the list of alcohols we each got through which included absinth, poitin, vodka, gin, lager, ale, apple sourz and jagermeister. Ouch!

I can has change plz?

Yesterday I was feeling decidedly under par. I did not feel like cooking, in fact I didn’t even feel like entering the kitchen given its post-party state. So I ordered myself some takeaway from my preferred establishment. As usual the guy on the phone was polite, as usual the delivery was lightening quick, but that’s where usual stopped.

Despite the fact that the takeaway is based just up the road, the delivery driver had to phone me to check he was on the right street and asked me to come outside. This reminded me more of how dodgy drug dealers (as opposed to reputable drug dealers) operate.

When he finally located my house and parked up, he handed me my order and asked for the £3 I owed. On opening my wallet I realised I only had a £20 note, which is often annoying to delivery men (presumably because it uses all their float and they have to return to base) it has never really been a problem. This guy however was really annoyed.

He first tried to give me £5 short (after counting out £2 in 10p & 5p coins) insisting, in the worst English I’ve yet heard from a delivery man (and that’s saying something), that he would return with my change. As I was not at all impressed with the guys performance, even before he started getting stroppy about the £20 note, I declined, handed him the change he had given me and the takeaway, and took my £20 back, and told him to come back with more change. Surely not a big deal if he was going to come back anyway to give me an extra £5, right?

Apparently not. The guy didn’t refuse, but he was not at all happy. He tried to tell me that if I’m only ordering £3 worth of food I should make sure I have a £10 note. Is it just me that feels that is taking the piss? I mean surely if you are running a takeaway business, its not much hassle to give your delivery drivers enough change to handle a £20 note. If I’d tried to pay with a £50 that’d be one thing, but a £20? According to this idiot though, that is the responsibility of the customer! What a wanker.

The Itsy Bitsy Spider

The itsy bitsy spider,
Climbed up the water spout.
Down came the rain,
And washed the spider out.

His giant second cousin,
Climbed up my bedroom curtains….
Well that was stupid wasn’t it?
Death for him was certain 😛

Out came the hardback,
Which hit him on the brain,
The not-so-itsy spider,
Never climbed again

A little poem about stupid, eight-legged things that do not know their place in this crazy world.

Music the transporter

As usual, I had queued up my entire music collection and set Winamp to random play. Though there was an unusual sequence of tracks, none of which were related, none of which were particularly amazing except for one thing; each and every one triggered an old memory from where I first heard, or most associated the music.

I shut my eyes and just listened as I was transported to parents front room, where my dad was proudly showing me his record collection (Deep Purple, Black night); to Cyprus with my mum, driving around the Troodos mountains (Roxy Music, Slave to love); to the school trip to Thorpe Park (Oasis, Hey Now!); to the bus stop outside my flat in Walthamstow on my way to work (Papa Roach, Last resort); to walking to Tessa’s house when we’d first started going out (Electric Soft Parade, There’s a silence); to touring around the UK with The Attic Project (The Ziggens, Fat Charlie)

It never ceases to amaze me how music has the power to do that. It seems so vivid as you don’t just get a few flashing images in your mind, you get a full sensory reminder as if you were actually there. You can remember events and thoughts that were occurring at that time. It helps you remember things about a time in your life, places or people that had completely evaded you previously.

If you listen to music all the time, then any deep and buried memory of your life could be just a song a way

BOINC – volunteer grid computing

After discovering that running my computers (modestly used as they are) cost over half of what I pay for electricity every year, I started thinking about how my computers could be put to better use.

I remembered a little known yet well established concept; volunteer computing, which I used to partake in years ago (I can’t think why I actually stopped being involved before). Which basically involves installing a program on your PC which uses your space cpu cycles to work on scientific projects. A central server for a project hands out small chunks to each volunteered computer over the internet and collates the results.

It would appear that this technology has come along in leaps and bounds since I last looked into it, as there are now dozens upon dozens of these projects, all of which have settled on a common framework known as BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing).

I have a very powerful desktop machine (quad-core Phenom 2.5Ghz) which means during daily use I barely scratch the surface of my computers ability.

With BOINC installed however I am constantly using nearly 100%, though despite this I do not notice any loss in performance while running applications.

This is because all other processes take priority over the BOINC client, it simply uses up whatever CPU power you have spare.

It makes me wonder how much quicker, big scientific problems could be solved if every computer in the world was running this software.

The BOINC client is available on most standard platforms and operating systems and is open source so can be modified to run on potentially any system.

Most linux distributions have the software available from their repositories via package management tools such as Yum and Aptitude. If you have a powerful computer that does not use 100% of it cpu time, can you justify not having this software installed?

Full details and install instructions can be found at http://boinc.berkeley.edu

For *beep* sake!

I often wonder how and why this sort of thing happens to me. I’m sure it must happen to other people but sometimes it just does feel like the world is out to get me in the most subtle yet soul destroying ways.

A few days ago when I woke up I could hear a smoke alarm going off next door. Nothing unusual there, smoke alarms do go off and it was breakfast time. Probably just someone burning their toast. True to form the alarm kept stopping and then going off again a moment later (like all good smoke alarms do when toast is burning near by) however, I started to doubt this after it was still doing this 2 hours later. Who burns toast for 2 hours?

It soon became apparent that something was wrong and so I tried to contact the owners of the house next door [Samara Properties]. Their maintenance office was closed for the bank holiday, though strangely their sales office was open. Either way their was no-one able to help until the next day, after which it still took them another day or so to get the right keys and get into the flat where the dodgy smoke alarm was chirping away all day and night.

It was a minor thing but it drove me absolutely insane. I can’t get over how happy I still feel about the fact that it has stopped. Does this happen a lot or was I just extremely unlucky?

Make some noise for BT

Now I could go off onto a rant about how terrible BT are, and I’m sure there are many who would concur with their negative experiences. I would certainly be fair to say that things did not go smoothly when we first signed up, but it certainly was better then some.

We have had our line less than two months now and I have already had to call BT regarding a fault. I noticed it last Friday, though it probably happened at least a week earlier. Like many people I don’t actually use my landline, I just have it for my internet connection. It was only when I tried to call an 0800 number that I realised there was a loud buzzing. No wonder my router was only syncing at 5mbps for the past week! There as me thinking it was because I downgraded the firmware. Turns out it was some loose wiring somewhere.

Anyway, I reported this to BT who informed me they’d aim to get the problem resolved within 48 hours. Naturally, it being bank holiday weekend, I expected that to mean Wednesday or Thursday. Turns out they were serious, I got a call on Sunday morning, asking me to check the line again. Everything was fixed, hurrah!

So despite their general bad rep, they’re doing something right somewhere; working through the bank holiday!