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Pat's Blog

Annoying Realisation

Wednesday, June 29, 2005 at 4:32 PM

After being at Glasto for only 5 days I've decided that I'm much MUCH happier outside and away from computers:

I spent much of Monday afternoon (once I had got back home) relaxing in the garden reading a book. After a while I decided it'd be good to pop online for a chat with guys from Uni (aka The Vobble Crew) and after only 1 hour of chatting (whilst trying to book tickets for Edinburgh Fringe shows online) I was already feeling stressed and irritable.

For at least an hour afterwards I wasn't really much good in conversation with people, feeling oddly preoccupied with my mind buzzing. I remembered: THIS IS WHAT I'M NORMALLY LIKE ALL THE TIME.

It's such a shame, because computers are obviously a big part of my life - at work, and at home (for playing games, chatting to uni mates, creating stuff when I'm bored)... I'm a lot happier without them, but I'm addicted.

Perhaps I need to just spend less time on them, taking more time to read in the garden, go for walks in the countryside and watch mind numbingly crap evening telly... although less of the last one.

In fact, I'll start tonight.

But first, I'll just need to work out which events I'm going to at Edinburgh via Oh and upgrade Gallery on my webserver. And prepare some jingles for an online radio show. And see how my Uni mates' days have been. And relieve tension by playing a bit of Quake 3...

On a serious note, though, operation Start Questioning Using pcs And Generate Elation (what? WHAT?) has begun.

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Glastonbury Blog

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 at 9:20 PM

I went to Glastonbury. I had one of the best times of my life. Over the next few days, I'm going to tell you all about the event.

*cracks knuckles*

Here we go, then...

Day One, Wednesday 22nd
Part One – Getting To Glastonbury

Amazingly, the day got off to a relaxed start. In a major aversion from my normal “Shit! I’m leaving in 1 hour, I’d better start packing!” methods I’d managed to pack almost everything the night before, so after getting up at 7:30, I idled about for a while before Gareth came around to pick me up for our food and beer shopping trip at 9.

Gareth, by the way, is one of the guys I went to Glasto with as you can probably guess. He’s a mate from school who I hang around with in Da Hood that is my lovely home town (blimey, it was 1991 when I first met him… oh dear I feel old).

Other guys I went up with were Ian and Paul, who were both mates of Gareth’s at college and who we both hang around with now (although less so Paul now as he lives up in Suffolk with the farmers).

They are below, sporting our lovely Chas N Dave Tshirts with yours truly:

The Gang with our TShirts
From left to right: Gareth, myself, Paul and Ian.

After our shopping trip we set off for the festival at about 10:30. The journey was great as a) the traffic was really good and b) we had all made compilation CDs of tunes to play on the way. Tunes on my CD were a bit of a mixed bag, including Mylo’s “Drop the Pressure”, The Darkness’s “Giving Up”, Goldie Looking Chain’s “Your Mother’s Got A Penis” and Genesis’ “Jesus He Knows Me”.

Naturally I’d wasted a large amount of time mixing my CD on the computer and making some piss-take “More Variety” jingles… here and here if you’re bored. Put it this way, Gareth (who hates listening to the same Maroon Five and Joss Stone songs on his totally-anonymous-Essex-based-FM-radio-station) found them very funny.

After 3 and a bit hours, we got there and as we unpacked we were amazed at how close to the gate we were! According to a steward we asked as we unloaded our stuff, the gate was “just over there” at the edge of the field!

Delighted, we walked to the edge of the field... into another large field.
We walked across the large field... into another field.
We walked across that field to the site’s perimeter fence.
We walked for 5 minutes around the perimeter fence and found the entrance.

Essentially, the steward was made from a cake of lies.

We’d’ve gone back and shouted were we not knackered from carrying Gareth’s bad-ass heavy six man tent (should’ve been 4 man but thanks to a bloke in Argos being too grumpy and lazy to swap the wrong item when it arrived, we got a 6 man)... and in need to get the disposable BBQs out and have some tasty Linda McCartney burgers! (N.B. this specific case may have only been me).

After finding a spot on the hill looking over the Pyramid Stage (and feeling amazed at the amount of tents already pitched at 2pm) we pitched the (huge) tent, Gareth answered a call of nature in an inappropriate place, we cracked some beers open and got the barbies out.

We knew then it was going to be damned good few days.

Phew, right that'll do for now... not used to this "staring at a computer screen for hours on end" lark yet!

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SMap Media

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 at 3:55 PM

Following the merger of my beloved ex-money provider GWR with Capital to form GCap, it transpires that Emap have decided to buy-out Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH):

Read the Guardian article here

Could it be a good thing?

My fecking arse.

Job losses, less choice, more networking... give it a few years and it'll be GCap-smap, a company fully owned by Clearchannel and networked for 18 hours a day from New York, with jingles allowing "local" shows:

[DJ] Hey, how're you doing today?  It's a -
[Jingle] Cloudy
[DJ] day in
[Jingle] Wolverhampton
[DJ] which is
[Jingle] a bit bad.
[DJ] We're here on
[Jingle] Wolverhampton's Beacon Radio
[DJ] to provide you with great songs and a real local
feel for your area here
[Jingle] In Wolverhampton
[DJ] A great tune next that I heard on my way into
new yor-er, here this morning - next.
In fact, what am I saying? We'll just have a DJ-O-Matic at all the stations in the UK. At least Homer Simpson would enjoy it ;-)

Yep, I'm totally not bothered about radio anymore now I've decided to give it up. Totally not bothered.

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Essex Massif: On Tor

Monday, June 20, 2005 at 10:02 PM

In two day's time I will be sitting down on a fold-out chair, back to a 6 man tent a couple of feet behind me, beer can in one hand and barbecued veggie sausage in the other staring down from the top of a huge hill to the Pyramid Stage.

Glastonbury rocks.

I'm going up with some mates from home (although a fair few Uni mates are going too!) - Iain, Gareth and Paul - and we're going to be making the most of it this year. Going up on Wednesday will give us a chance to relax, have a wander around and see some of the cool things going on (such as Lost Vagueness (a mock Las Vegas, do you get it???), which has such things as casinos and tux-requiring ballrooms (tuxes are for hire for £1)) before the festival kicks off proper-style.

SO looking forward to some of the bands - New Order, Coldplay, Fatboy Slim, GLC, Doves, The Killers, Royksopp, Chas N Dave... the list goes on.

We've also decided to get some TShirts done this year. If you see the "Essex MASSIF", that'll be one of us ;-)

I just hope it doesn't rain. I reckon it won't, just so long as... ooooh I dunno, it's not Tuesday tomorrow.

Ah, bugger.

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Well, who'd've expected that?

at 4:50 PM

I went out for leaving drinks + curry with the SGR Colchy peeps on Friday, which was really nice... great to see lots of the SGR Crew again and the curry (at the Alishan in Colchester) was luurrvely.

Amazingly, however, my list of "things I'll probably do" wasn't quite as full of "Yep, did that"'s as I had expected. Based on what I'd anticipated on Friday:
  • Speak in The GWR Voice
    NO - Actually, none of that occured. I KNOW!!!
  • Be sarcastic about networking
    YES - There was a fair bit of sarcasm regarding me always having a nice chat with the guy on before me (who networks from Essex FM)...
  • Rant about networking
    NO - Kept my cool on that. Felt the audience *probably* wasn't right
  • Take the piss out of networking mistakes
    Not Sure - Hmm... might've done one about jingles not going out sometimes...
  • Speak again in the GWR Voice
    NO - Seriously!!
  • Rant about the restrictive playlist
    NO - Again, didn't feel like they were the right audience
  • Continue to speak in the GWR Voice
    NO - etc
  • Rant about the radio industry being terrible
    NO - blah blah audience blah blah!
  • Feel like leaving radio is the biggest mistake of my life
    NO - I'm not right for radio. I just don't have the high confidence or understanding / care for the commercial requirements of it. I just want to do radio I like and enjoy. Which, frankly, just doesn't work in a commercial environment unless you're stunningly good, which I know I'm not. Who knows, I might've been one day, but meh... I really can't be bothered to throw away a good career in IT to risk it.

So... on the Nerdy GWR Bashing Scale, out of 9 (well, really 7 ;-) ) I only scored 1.5.

Hooray! I'm getting better ;-) *

(* N.B. This is a lie. If I was surrounded by RaW people I'd've scored at least 8. *clears throat* <GWRVoice>It's the Nerdy GWR Bashing Scale, with Betterview Windows and Conservatories - Brighten Your Day the Betterview Way</GWRVoice>)

Somebody help me :-)

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Kill the Frog! (and become addicted to it)

Friday, June 17, 2005 at 4:33 PM

Do you remember the "Toss the Penguin" game? (No, not the one on Fantasy Channel: Beastiality... er... not that there was one. Well, I mean, there MIGHT'VE been one. How would I know? (Help))

Well, it's back and through the magic of simple-to-edit embedded flash pictures and sounds, we can do it all over again whilst enjoying shooting the f*** out of that fecking frog:

Hate That Frog? Shoot it!

I've got 92 (well, the head was JUST touching 92)... my workmates have got 92.5. Can you beat it?

(You can tell it's a Friday can't you?)

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Leaving do

at 4:21 PM

Having left SGR Colchester about 3 weeks ago, I'm actually having my leaving do tonight. The delay is all due to my wonderful toes (see previous blog entry) and I must say I'm really looking forward to it!

It's going to be at a curry house in Colchester. BT Gary's kindly offered me a floor to kip on, so unfortunately (for everyone attending) I'll be on the beers...

This leads me to feel concerned that I will do a number of things:
  • Speak in The GWR Voice
  • Be sarcastic about networking
  • Rant about networking
  • Take the piss out of networking mistakes
  • Speak again in the GWR Voice
  • Rant about the restrictive playlist
  • Continue to speak in the GWR Voice
  • Rant about the radio industry being terrible
  • Feel like leaving radio is the biggest mistake of my life
I'll try to keep a note and let you know which of these I did-or, as it'll be easier, which of these I didn't do.

"It's more variety from the Rices, Naan Bread and Curray."

Eh? EH?

It's going to be a long night...

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Quick "Oh for f***'s Sake" Moment

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 at 5:57 PM

"Citizen Cards" are a new exciting form of photo ID that people can use to prove their age/who they are to be able to get into ID strict festivals like Glastonbury.

As mentioned, you use them to prove who you are.

So, it would make sense for the online "Fast Track" ID request form (for Glasto access next week) to be secure, right? You know, maybe not 1024 bit encryption, but at least say 256 bit?

Try zero bits.

Yep, if you apply for a card for Glastonbury at, it's all in glorious, unencrypted, insecure HTTP.

Such tasties as your full address, mobile + home number, education history, Doctor and credit card details are needed.

I think a message to Citizencard is required:

A message to

Needless to say, I'm going to bring another form of ID to Glastonbury.

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Phil and Jude McCallister

Monday, June 13, 2005 at 5:31 PM

What a lovely day Saturday was. Uni mates Phil and Jude got married and I was honoured to be there to witness the fantastic event.

They got married in a church, which was great as we got to have the fun (well, I was finding one lady's MENTALLY LOUD singing funny, at least) of singing hymns that gradually got harder and harder... and meant that I was about half a second behind everyone else for the first two verses most of the time.

The speeches were ace too, MarkT in particular doing a legendary job as best man, and the food were damned fine also.

I was DJing the evening party thang, which I think went ok (at least, I'd managed to get Martyn Rosser dancing to some cheesy 80s songs so that must be ok :-) ).

There's so much I could tell you about the event but frankly I'm so bloody tired right now I think I'm just going to go home and crash out. Perhaps a bullet point list of highlights?

Yeah, ok:
  • The lovely ceremony and specially written vows Phil and Jude did (tear to eye n everything)
  • The priest's genuinely amusing banter (and ranting about people not getting married in church enough)
  • The speeches in the hotel afterwards
  • Getting to the hotel in time for the speeches (despite forgetting I was supposed to be at them and only realising when Chan phoned me from the hotel as I sat down to a pint in a pub next to the church(!))
  • The first dance, with everyone holding a candle each to watch. Really lovely!
  • Russ H declaring that I "wouldn't want wax all over my equipment". Wax from candles on my CD decks. Clearly.
  • Markt, RTJ, StuC and a-guy-who's-name-I-forget dancing to such things as Peter Andre's "Mysterious Girl" in an effort to be crowned "Sex Machine"
  • Stu going topless to try to win
  • Stu winning and wearing a Sex Machine "Medallion" (CD with "Sex machine" written on in CD pen)
  • Lots of other stuff I've forgotten.
Congrats to the bride and groom!

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Without City *

Friday, June 10, 2005 at 4:12 PM

Awww man. Once in a while a film comes around that really makes you go "wow". Prior to Wednesday evening, the most recent film to do that was Hotel Ruwanda, which was a very powerful, emotionally gripping film that I *must* get on DVD when it comes out.

On Wednesday evening, yet another one came around: Sin City.

It's a film made based on a collection of comic books (the Sin City series, surprisingly enough) and focuses mainly around three stories. I'm not going to describe any of them here, because I don't like spoilers of any kind and you should just see it open minded. Oh and it's explained in the Empire website. If you can't be bothered to read a full review, check out my Good points / Bad points brief review below:

Good points
  • Amazing style (direction and post production) - it actually felt like a comic book transferred directly to the big screen
  • Fast pace, sexy and kick ass - no boring moments throughout
  • Excellent acting all round, the characters are really strong (Ellijah Wood's face is now haunting me when I close my eyes)
  • Jessica Alba plays a pole-dancer
Bad points
Mmm there are some I'm sure:
  • Er… it's too long if you like films to be less long than this film is?
    Nah, that's rubbish, how about:
  • It's in black and white mainly, which makes your colour receptors feel underappreciated?
    No, that's balls too. Ah, I know, how about:
  • It's quite violent.
    Not really a negative point in my eyes, mind. Oh hang on, I know:
  • Jessica Alba doesn't get naked.
    Yep, that's the one!
And, if you haven't quite got the message: SEE THE FILM

(* Translation of Sin City from Spanish to English within Google Translate. I was kinda hoping City was a Spanish word I could translate back to English, but it's not. It's a mini adventure!)

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"I'm gonna miss this"

Wednesday, June 08, 2005 at 6:00 PM

My final words on a radio station ever. Thought I'd be uttering them when I was about 60, but actually uttered them at 25. Two Sundays ago, to be precise.

Well, for a number of reasons:
  1. Money
  2. Stability
  3. Comfort in my current job
  4. Needing to settle down
Of course, I've known about these for ages but the knowledge that doing radio was What I Wanted™ and My Dream™ meant that, really, these mattered not. You've got to follow your heart.

Thing is, having some time off work and radio with my recovering toenails meant I had lots of time to watch big brother live and play Sonic on my gamecube review my life. I realised that, actually, radio's not what I'd dreamt. It's all about the money, not about the passion. Of course, that's fine and I'm not trying to say that stations should be the other way round because, realistically, they'd never last as businesses. Maybe you could have both the money-making and the passion, but that's probably only at the big beeb stations; I've not seen it myself and really doubt that in the account-lead world of commercial radio that's going to happen. BBC local radio just doesn't turn me on either.

Surely I should strive to get to the hights of national? Once I've fought through the crap it'd be worth it, and I'm good enough to do it, right?

Perhaps. But I don't know. And frankly I just need to get on with my life. There's more to it than radio.

But why leave SGR Colchester at weekends?
Free time. Simple as that. I really do enjoy the shows but it meant I was working 6 days a week (get into SGR for 10am, prep solidly for 2 hours then get rushed off my feet answering/editing calls, doing links, backtiming and playing stuff out for 4 hours). I'm already enjoying the knowledge that Sundays are My Day now.

As I said, I'm gonna miss radio, but I'm going to enjoy my life more than I have for years.

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Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

at 5:28 PM

I've been most enjoying this series of Dr Who. It's very different to previous incarnations and I think Eccleston and Piper work really well together.

Some somewhat dodgy script writing (particularly the explanation surrounding nanogenes in the second "Muuummmmyyyyy" episode, where the nanogenes could do pretty much ANYTHING IN THE WORLD purely to fill the gaping holes in the explanation's logic), but aside from that: great.

However, in a shock departure from my usual astute and fully-aware-of-everything-going-on-around-me nature (ouch! who put that desk there?) I didn't notice one thing:

Bad Wolf.

I'd heard a mate mention it a couple of weeks ago and thought it was just something inconsequential in a previous Dr Who episode. However, on watching last week's Power-Station/Rift based ep with a "What? Bad Wolf? Hmm, I'm sure I've seen that in lots of other places" scene, I realised that perhaps there was more to Bad Wolf...

There is. Check this out: It's spoiler-free if you've been watching up til now and it's quite interesting.

Particuarly check out the "Disclaimer" page, select all the text and scroll to the bottom of the page... odd, huh?

Rose - hello? Hello? Hello? Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me...

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Bilateral Wedge Resection

Tuesday, June 07, 2005 at 5:48 PM

I've had both sides of my ingrowing toenails on both big toes removed from the root! Mmmm!

Had the op nearly three weeks ago, which was fine apart from the rather(!) painful local anaesthetic injections - 4 on each toe. The phrase "HOLY FUCK THAT HURTS LIKE A FUCKING BASTARD" pretty much does it justice.

What didn't help was before the op I was sitting on a hospital bed waiting (and shitting myself, if the truth be known - twas my first ever hospital visit (aside from that time where I came into hospital in a womb-shaped container)) and the head surgeon came to see me: he looked down at my notes, eyes widening and proclaimed "What? Local anaesthetic on BOTH toes? Blimey, I can't believe they suggested that, I mean one is ok but you really should be under general for something across both". That was a nice test of the bowels, I can tell you.

Fortunately the head of the ward came in to watch / keep me company, and was keeping me amused by egging me on to swear during the injections (they wanted swear money for their pub outing fund). I think my efforts to try and chat normally "Yeah well I was exPEEEECCCTING this to be a BIIIIIITTFUCKINGhell painful" kept him amused, also.

Anyway, all went ok and the toes have been healing nicely since. I drove to work today and everything, but still wearing open-toed sandals cos a) I'm wearing dressings on the toes making it a bit painful with shoes on and b) it's a fashion statement unlike any other!!!

Well unlike any other good ones.

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Probably should blog more often

at 5:23 PM

Right, ok, I'm gonna try to force myself to blog every day. It's been nearly 6 months now since the last one and that's rubbash.

Let's see what I can write, then.

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