Posts from 01st Nov 2005 to 30th Nov 2005.
I can't work out whether it's the sort of thing one should really blog about. But I've been drinking red wine alot recently, I've gained a real taste for the stuff. And I didn't realise how bad it was (as is tea and coffee) at staining teeth. My teeth have never really been white but this red wine fad has discoloured them to the point I don't like it.
So distracted by the sparkly bright isle of toothpastes whilst walking through Tesco yesterday morning I impulsively had a look at special whitening toothpastes. And there was one there that guaranteed good visible results in 7 to 14 days and was specifically targetted at red wine drinkers. So I threw it in the basket and bought it.
Now, purely in the interests of science, and sharing the most bizzare things about my life with you, in a few days time you could be treated to a "before" and "after" picture detailing the dazzelling improvement!
Sorry Bon (and others)... The reason I've been lapse in keeping you up to date on MMC is that I've been busy with other things in life. I've just placed an order for lots of nice "I've Met Matt Chapman" t-shirts, I've got the website pretty much ready to put live and I've got about 10 people who are just waiting for me to give them dates.
It's so close to Christmas now though that I thought it would be a good thing to start in the New Year. Everyone seems to be busy with preparation for the Christmas holidays and I'm making the assumption that I'll be far more successful if I start in 2006.
But you'll be hearing all about my travels to places in the UK like York, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Glasgow and even further afield across Europe in places like Amsterdam, Olso and Dortmund.
Things are in the pipeline, bear with me! :)
One of the major features of the WIMP environment (window, icon, menu, pointing device) of which Microsoft Windows is one example, is that windows that require your attention will flash in the task bar and place themselves on top of any other windows to ensure you answer any questions they have.
Two examples of this are the deleting files option and installation routines. When I'm typing into a chat program at 95 words per minute and some window flashes up on screen, as soon as I type any letter that corresponds to the button for an option in that screen, the program carries on as if I'd wanted it to follow that particular decision.
It's utterly shit. I don't want to delete those files I had accidentally mis-selected because I'm talking to someone about KY jellY (for the "Yes" button) and I don't want to install to the default location just because I'm typing about porNography (for the installation's "Next" button).
Now I have to re-download all those images I accidentally deleted and re-install that slide show creator into a less conspicuous location!
It's a couple of weekends ago now but I was recently up with ex-housemates Chris and Andrew for a weekend. It's so lovely to see them when I go up there. Having lived with them for two years and become best friends, it's made living away from them incredibly uneventful!
We, as we often do, went to the driving range and whacked the hell out of hundreds of golf balls. The range has these really funky new tee mats. You dump all your balls into a hopper underneath the mat and it automatically puts a new ball on the tee after each swing. It means you don't have to bend down and faff, it's an incredible invention! I'm probably alone in this but I absolutely love the small way that technology rapidly advances and improves the unimportant things in life.
On the Saturday we ended up going into Birmingham city center for a pub crawl. Having huge student debts to pay off, we all decided upon going round all 4 Wetherspoon pubs, twice. It was really nice to have a few drinks and do another themed pub crawl. I was in my “I am Matt Chapman” t-shirt and Andrew and Little Rich were wearing their “I am Not” ones, so hopefully a couple of dozen more people will be wondering just who I am and why I'm so special that people wear my name.
It was also nice to go into The Forest pub near Andrews house. There's something really nice about it in there, a combination of the décor and the atmosphere, I suspect. It's a welcoming and warm place that you never really want to leave after you've had your first pint. I even embarassed myself (again) by trying my polar bear chatup line on two rather attractive girls. The trouble with the line though is that it gets me talking to people, it doesn't (as intended) lead to passionate sex in the pub toilets. And they say men have it easy!
It seems that every weekend at the moment I'm away doing something exiting at some random place in the country. This weekend I've spent some time at my parents in Southwold. My main task for this weekend was to put up the huge array of external Christmas lights my parents own.
My parents take the commercial side of Christmas quite seriously and dress up the front of their house and garden in hundreds of lights. Every year they put some money aside to add to their external lights collection.
This time round though, they've had to completely rethink the layout of their lights. Throughout the course of this year, they have been working hard on landscaping their front garden. They had a professional garden designer draw up plans for a seaside themed garden and after months of toiling, they finally completed it about a week ago.
I have to say it's absolutely superb. The garden is mainly shingle to mimic a beach scene. Centerpiece is a rowing boat nicely planted up with sprawling green plants. To the right of that are three ships sails stuck into the ground. On the left of the garden is an old treasure chest and deck chair. Various pieces of drift wood and bits of ships that my parents found at the harbor have been scattered around to create an authentic aged feel. It really is an amazing garden and I'll have to upload photos soon.
The designer of the garden, Sally Wright, can be found in her own corner of the Internet at http://www.swgardendesign.co.uk
and having seen her work first hand, I highly recommend her if you're redesigning your garden in the local area.
So the Christmas lights this year have had to be totally re-planned due to the new garden. We have the sails outlined in lights, icicles hanging from the guttering, reindeer pulling a sleigh under one window, Santa and a snowman under another, five robin birds perched on the groynes, net lighting over the fishing nets draped over the fence and another net of lights draped over the rowing boat as if a fishing net has been lain to dry. The treasure chest has lights in it that look like pirate treasure and there's a tree, a shooting star and some ringing bells on the front of the house.
It's an amazing sight every year, but with the garden this festive season I'm sure it's going to look better than ever. When I'm next up visiting my parents I'll take some photos and share the beauty with you all.
I've been called a big kid before and this will probably back up the accusation, but I'm excited about a new invention.
A chap called Tim Kehoe has spent 11 years staining himself, his wife, his kitchen and car, dozens of children; he's chemically burned himself, destroyed clothes and had to evacuate his family due to noxious gases.
This was all in the name of science and the development of coloured bubbles. It's an idea that most people will think "Why has noone thought of this before?". Bubbles have been around for decades and have a magical look to them. But bright vibrant versions of them would be amazing to play with!
Part of the reason it's taken 11 years to develop these brilliant things is Kehoe has invented an entirely new branch of dye chemistry. His dyes are atomically structured like a box apparantly, and chemicals are added to this base structure to absorb all but a certain wavelength of light. When these boxes come into contact with friction or water they collapse letting all light pass.
This temporary colour could have so many interesting applications. The article mentions many of these and I especially like the idea of temporary paint for decorating. You can have a few hours to play with colours in your new flat before commiting to a colour.
But colours bubbles just rock so much! They should be in the shops by February (but they're trying to get some manufactured in time for Christmas). In the mean time have a read:
Now call me silly but when I'm presented with a challenge I don't like to be defeated. Early week a colleague of mine brought in a challenge. She had been trying it with friends the previous evening and was completely stuck. The puzzle is an anagram.
Using the letters:
O N R F G S D I T N O T H W E C E K
Make a well known phrase that matches the words: 5, 3, 2, 3, 5.
_ _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ / _ _ / _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ _
Without cheating, of course. It's certainly in English.
It took me over a week to finally get it and I admit I did cheat by looking at some word lists auto-generated from the letters. I was looking for 5 letter words that could go together and then filled in the middle words. But you might find it quicker by selecting the smaller words first.
It took about a week of lunch hours and "fag breaks" to finally crack this one and I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulder!
For those of you who just can't find it, highlight the following for the answer:
[Wrong End Of The Stick]
I've been told about working life in the UK by the media and by parents and friends, and they're not wrong. We really are working more than we used to which I believe is having an adverse affect on life.
How many people you know are truely happy, non-stressed and content with their job? Out of all the people you know, who wouldn't change a thing about their job?
Don't get me wrong, I'm really happy with what I do, but I never realised a full time job with responsibility was so stressful. I've working in a similar capacity at the same place for 5 years now although admittedly my responsibility has increased over time.
But my gripe comes from the fact that I'm a perfectionist. I am not happy with a piece of work wheter it be earning me money or purely as a hobby, be it on the Internet or a drawing or cooking a meal. I don't like it when I know I could do better on something.
But working full time, I have less time to do domestic chors as I had at University, I have less time to socalise and relax and generally keep myself sane.
And then at work, the jobs keep flowing in. I've got so many little bits and pieces that need doing but I just don't have the time. I want to do everything to the best of my ability but I realised today when trying to tidy up one of our subsidary company logos for use on the parent company website that I'm beginning to cut corners in my professionalism to get things done on time.
Also, I couldn't quite update a server at the end of today and it shocked me when I said I'd take a look when I got home and finish the job off. Now as it happens, I've not been able to in the time I had (I'm expecting guests in a few minutes). But I promised to myself that I wouldn't let the boundary between work and home become a blur.
Today it seems I've just added a load of stress to my life by breaking those personal rules I had generated, but realising I can't do much about it because I'm proud of what I do and don't want to compromise the quality of my labour. There just aren't enough hours in the day!
[Edit: Not meaning to be sexist at all, but I just realised the problem... I need to get myself one of those housewife people to take care of the flat and my accounts whilst I'm at work to remove that side of the stress! Then I can work to my hearts content.]
This weekend I had no plans to be visiting friends or have guests. I was really looking forward to it and had superb plans to write about the past couple of weeks on my blog, to do lots of housework, to code lots for Planetarion and generally relax a little after a couple of stressful weeks at work.
But as Saturday draws to a close, I realise I've acomplished very little. I've not done and washing up or clothes washing, I've not done enough PA coding and I've not even thought about how to condense recent events into a suitably concise "diary" entry.
What I have done though is spent some time with Erin. It was the first time her and I have spent an evening together without other people present and to be honest I was quite nervous. Anyway, that was really nice and I look forward to spending more time together. I've watched a few more episodes of 24 season 4, I'm watching through it again (with Stuart this time). But what I wanted to get written down right away is that I've just followed up a film recommendation by Stuarts sister.
I've just finished watching The Butterfly Effect and it's shot straight up to the top of my favourite film list. I think it's the combination of styles that I find so attractive with films like this. There's a bit of sci-fi/paranormal, some romantic love element, some moderate violence and an unpredictable story line. It has my stamp of approval and comes very highly recommended.
I'm about to watch the film Saw (the first one) so I guess my task list for the weekend starts tomorrow. :)