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Saturday, May 20, 2006

A belated panorama

I took this a while ago (the 17th of March) from the seventh floor of my tower block on the UCE campus, at about 5:20am or something stupid like that.

Not put it on the web for such a long time because I dumped all the photos I had off my camera's memory card... And promptly forgot about them.

Looks good though, so I'll share. Click on it for the full-size version. We don't get sunrises like these now, it's too close to summer and there's no haze (and not the right kinda dust) in the atmosphere to cause those beautiful rich colours to emerge.

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Busy, busy, busy

Cripes, I've been working recently. I've, unfortunately, not had much time to update this thing, so consider this blog post a bit of procrastination as I should really be working on a 2500 word essay due in tomorrow at 2pm.

I wrote a long email to my Mum earlier detailing the occurences of the past few days, I might as well quote it here as it's entirely relevant...

I think I will be coming back [home] at some point soon, we have one more week of lessons after this and then the Spring bank holiday - which is a week! - and then two weeks for exams. I need to do revision for my Audio Electronics and Signals & Sounds, and I think I'll be coming back and picking on Dad's brains to help me because otherwise I'll just fail. Badly.

What's going on in my world aside from Uni work? Not much; just realised today that I mislaid my bus pass down at the Factory in Digbeth, walked down from the TIC earlier today, hung around in "The Kitchen" (the cafeteria in the Custard Factory) after talking on the phone to someone who said they'd found a bus pass that day which matched the description of mine... only to be told an hour and a bit later that the guy I spoke to was doing the monthly stock take, was busy all day and couldn't come to speak to me.

Great. That put me in a bit of a bad mood, and I left uttering some disgraceful things which I wouldn't want granny to hear, put it like that. I mean, all it takes is five bloody minutes but can she be arsed to go and grab him away from his stocktake for a few precious minutes? For [expletive deleted]'s sake.

Yesterday was a good day though, sorted out my MP3 player troubles with the insurance company [I dropped it and knackered the internal hard drive, fortunately I was insured for accidental damage] - surprisingly painlessly, probably because I was quite proactive in seeking a workable solution. Amazingly I found a brand new identical model to the one I managed to drop on the floor and break, which is pretty remarkable considering they're not being manufactured any more! The alternative the insurance company offered me was both inferior AND more expensive than my old player, so they were happy when I told them how much less they'd have to pay out (a good forty quid) and because the total reimbursement also leaves space for the excess (£25) I don't have to pay it. So, I've bought the MP3 player already and they'll be sending me the cheque for it soon.

I also got my tyre repaired [I managed to drive over a big nail in my Uni car park, thanks to the building work taking place on campus we have builders who leave all sorts of detritus lying around], £17.50 it cost... Well, should've cost, except the nice bloke at Kwik Fit said it was on the house! So me and my buddy Ciaran (who decided to come with me as he was bored) were quite surprised by that. We fitted it when we got back to Uni, and it's rolling along nicely. Yesterday I also made a purchase of a brand new computer mouse for my PC [a Logitech MX1000, it's very spangly and nice], as my old was was so old and worn out that the switch under the left button was breaking - meaning that I'd click, and either nothing would happen or I'd click about six times, ending up with a screenful of Word Documents and slowing my PC right down. Not helpful. So, I have a wireless mouse now which is ergonomically shaped and all, dead fancy

It's pouring down with rain at the moment, it started when I was down in Digbeth (typical, trust my luck) so I've been walking about in it this afternoon whilst walking back to the TIC from Digbeth (10 minute walk) / walking to bus stop / etc.

Not much else to report really, 's about it...

... And that in truth is it for the moment. I have work to do at the moment which I'm avoiding, but I must get done otherwise I'll fail that module (and failure is not an option, soldier!) so this is going to be another long night.

On the bright side of things, I did get in contact with an old schoolfriend from yeaaaaaaars gone back - she rang my mobile number out of the blue to ask for - yes - technical support for her PC.

Haha! Ironyyyyyyy. It was great to speak to her though, and now she has a web site too (which I will duly advertise for free) - I do quite like it, which is somewhat unusual for me, as I usually hate most web sites for one reason or another. This one ain't perfect, but it's got heart and soul in it, and it made me chuckle, which definitely counts for something. Go take a look at Hannah's Café, and share it with your friends. One of the pages I like the most is the Are You Lonely? flyer, if only I could find someone who met all these things and wasn't already previously engaged in a relationship of their own! Get the violin out time.

Are You Lonely? flyer

I just realised... Only four more weeks left of Uni! Yay holiday (although I'll be working through the summer if I play my cards right... Yummy money in my debit card's tummy. We shall see.

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Well, whaddya know?

I've been living in the city which boasts the country's oldest secular building for the best part of a year now, and I never even knew about it.

The building in question is called The Old Crown, and it's been standing since circa 1368. Wikipedia's article on the building has this to say about it,

The Old Crown at 188 High Street (A41), Deritend, an inn, is the oldest secular building in Birmingham, England.

It is Grade II* listed, and dates back to circa 1368, retaining its "black and white" timber frame, although almost all of the present building dates from the early 16th century. It is thought to have been originally built as the Guildhall and School of St. John, Deritend. Heated skirmishes were fought around the building when Prince Rupert's forces raided Birmingham during the English Civil War.

It is a few paces from the Custard Factory media and arts complex, and just under a mile from Birmingham city centre.

The Crown's best years were in the eighties into the early nineties under the stewardship of Ted and Margaret Jones. They came from a tradition of East End London boxers, and the pub was usually packed to capacity every night during their tenure. Although extensive renovations were completed by the new owners, it is felt that some of the spirit of the pub died once the Jones' family left it.

It even has its own web site.

Fancy that. I must go take a photo or two of it when I'm next down in Digbeth :) Speaking of which, I got some rather good panoramic shots today, it was beautifully sunny and hardly a grey cloud in the sky (only the wispy, stratospheric clouds which do nothing but look nice) so I'll have to stitch those together and pop them up.

That's all for now - don't forget to tune in next time, same bat place, same bat channel.

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Monday, May 01, 2006

Bank Holiday Monday. Woo and yay.

So, nothing to report really. I've been back a week now after the Easter holidays, I've spent £265 on a new computer because this one is now beginning to turn off - on its own - at random intervals, which is something I really can't be doing with, especially if I'm in the middle of typing coursework at that point in time. I have five or six impending coursework deadlines, but I'm not working on them at the moment because I really can't be bothered today.

The weather's cold, but sunny now, which is at least an improvement on this morning when it was just plain drizzly. I woke up really early this morning, I seem to be doing a lot of going to sleep in the evening and waking up really early, it's partly annoying but I'm just so tired all the time, and I don't know why.

Made chicken chasseur with potatoes and peas for breakfast (yeah, I know it's a little odd, but what else do you do when you have so much free time to kill). I'm pretty bored at the moment, I don't really go out much because (as I've said before) Broad Street is just crap unless you like that kind of bollocks cheese music they they play in clubs and bars these days, plus you have to dress up like a prat to even get in the door (and even then there's sometimes a cover charge).

Ho hum, I've turned into a grumpy old man.

So, I'm sitting here listening to Leftfield's Rhythm & Stealth album as loud as possible, and just letting the bass shake the room (it is an awesome album). Been reading Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy again, just made it to the chapter where Arther Dent meets the mice for the first time. Such a great book, and I just noticed that Douglas Adams beat Google to the post... As one of his paragraphs reads,

[Magrathean computer programmer named Fook talking to Deep Thought, the second most powerful computer in the universe]

'And are you not,' said Fook leaning anxiously forward, 'a greater analyst than the Googleplex Star Thinker in the Seventh Galaxy of Light and Ingenuity which can calculate the trajectory of every single dust particle throughout a five-week Dangrabad Beta sand blizzard?'

'A five-week sand blizzard?' said Deep Thought haughtily. 'You ask this of me who have contemplated the very vectors of the atoms in the Big Bang itself? Molest me not with this pocket calculator stuff.'

Methinks either Sergey Brin or Larry Page is a serious H2G2 fanatic, naming their HQ the Googleplex as they have ;) And of course, I read that chapter whilst on the bog - further proof that men CAN actually multi-task (and it's one of the few times that men on the whole get time to themselves... It's real quality time, just me, myself and I - why can't women seem to understand that it's almost a man's prerogative to spend at least half an hour in the toilet? It's the perfect time to read a book or listen to the radio (or both), but I'm sure you didn't really want to know that.

TOO LATE NOW, hahahahhahaah I have sullied your hitherto-now pure mind with disgusting thoughts aplenty, I win this round!

So, that has thus far been the sum total of my achievements for today. I half wanted to go for a drive around, but the problem is in Birmingham... Well, it's either drive around the dodgy parts of Birmingham for a while and probably get caught by four speed cameras, or head onto the M42 and just go up and down that for 45 minutes, and I hate driving on the M42 because everybody else seems to think that the minimum speed limit is 90.

Bah and humbug in equal measure.

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