Friday, November 12, 2004

I've just bumped into a ghost.

What an amazing experience!

I just wandered out of the house to see if there were any meteors about (leonids peak tomorrow, IIRC) and while I was walking across the lawn in the dark, looking at the sky, I bumped into something fairly solid at chest height that was completely invisible. . . It felt like I'd walked into someone but there was nothing and no-one there at all. Damned spooky.

I recoiled, rather shaken, and retreated back into the house. A few minutes later - this is the really amazing bit - when I went back out I found a stunned owl sitting on the lawn. Now, what are the odds against that? Not only do I walk into a ghost for the first time in my life, but this owl must have flown into it as well ;)

(from cix:noticeboard Nov 2002)

How soon they grow up. . .

Today I arrived home from the office exhausted, collapsed on the couch and idly watched Gurgle, our three-year old daughter, playing some self-absorbing game. Perhaps foolishly I felt some acknowledgement was called for - the heroic bread-winning father arrived back from the front after several hours facing down the enemy - so as soon as I'd washed some caffeine tablets down with rocket-fuel coffee and otherwise recovered sufficient energy I attempted to communicate:

crem: "Baah"

Gurgle: [no response]

crem: "Hello, gurg"

Gurgle: [no response]

crem: "Who's a gurgly wurgly squergly urgle, then?"

She stood up, put her hands on her hips and declaimed: "I'm not a squergly urgle. My name is SARAH BRATTEL". She then sat down again and, after a considered pause, continued sotto voce: "And daddy is a pumpous old wind-bag"

Well, that's me told ;)

(From cix:noticeboard Nov 2002)

It's that time of year again. . .

The car in front, holding you up, is a toymota. And these days it'll invariably have it's thrice-damned fog-lights on because the buffoon driving it saw some fog once, turned the fog lights on even though they could clearly see the tail-lights of the car hundreds of yards ahead and lacked the wit to turn the damned things off again when the fog's gone. Yes, it is possible! Amazingly, you *can* TURN THEM OFF AFTERWARDS!

Fog lights. The name's a clue. Fog. F-o-g. Not rain. Not vague mist, not drizzle, fog. Not yesterday's fog. Fog now. Fog thick enough to obscure your tail-lights. Fog.

Gah. . .

Various of crem's ramblings, culled from cix

[on the subject of animal husbandry, fnarr fnarr]

> Am I not correct in thinking that having sex with animals
> has always been illegal???

Several of the women I've approached have used this as an excuse, certainly ;)

> who regularly does his bit to widen the gene pool with the sheep.

Don't you mean widen the sheep with his gene pole?

[on the subject of motoring]

> Which hazards would you expect in towns, but not in the country?


[pithy phrases]

Because it's reigning kant and dogma?

Publish and be dumbed ;)


Windows is a bag o'shite. So is Linux, but at least the bag's transparent...

Transport nostalgia.

One of the A-roads in Cheshire has recently been widened slightly, thus facilitating the flow of traffic. No - really. The amazing thing is that this wasn't accompanied by any new speed restrictions, so the traffic actually moves more freely than it did before. It fair brought a lump to my throat seeing a road-improvement that actually does improve the road; quite how they got such a radical idea past the motorphobic luddites in power is beyond me.

I wonder how long it'll be before the red-tarmac, speed-bump and camera fairies pay it a visit :(

What's worse than a dumb child ? A smart one. . .

A while ago my 18-month old daughter (Gurgle) announced 'farty-poos!' just as I was changing her, and then let rip a burst of explosive diarrhea that wrote-off a couple of items of furniture and gave me a thorough appreciation of the phrase 'I will be dipped in shit'. This event also expanded her vocabulary, though people usually manage to convince themselves the angelic-looking child said "fork!", but I digress:

Tonight, just as I was changing her and breathing the traditional sigh of relief at finding an empty nappy, out she comes with the dread phrase "farty-poos!" - total panic ! I quickly refasten the nappy, grab her off the floor and head rapidly for the bathroom.

She-who-can't-be-ignored senses something's up and bursts into the hall with a cry of "What's wrong?"

"Farty-poos!" I shout. "Farty-poos!" Gurgle echoes. I optimistically hold Gurgle out to mummy, but she is already making good her retreat and closes the door on a sniggered "Your turn!". Fine. To the bathroom. Quickly.

Into the shower cubicle goes Gurgle, off comes my t-shirt and after a short but desperate struggle my pony-tail is subdued and safely hair-clipped out of the way. I approach the beast from behind the shower-curtain. . . she giggles. . . I loosen one side of the nappy. . . she giggles. . . I loosen the other side. . . Nothing. Not a sausage.

"You said farty-poos, you little rat! When poo ? Poo now ? Poo later ? When ? When, dammit ?"

She tenses - I retreat - there is a tiny squeak, the sound of a mouse farting - "Fart gone daddy. All gone" and then she bursts into laughter. The cunning little rat-bag was winding me up. . .

(from cix:noticeboard (Oct 2000))

Thursday, November 04, 2004

PCB design

Idly read an article in Electronics Times today that discussed a PCB design package that allows several designers to work on one PCB at the same time. Interesting idea, though their example was a VME interface on a 16-layer(!) PCB with 12,500 vias(!!) being designed by two people... Wouldn't surprise us if one person could have done the same job in a fraction of the time using four layers and a few hundred vias. Ho hum, I suppose it was only a matter of time before software inefficiency clawed its way into hardware design. Ah, progress...

Friday, October 29, 2004

Sponge puddings - the dangers...

Never mind asteroids, the greatest danger facing mankind are those tinned sponge puddings - the sort you cook by putting the unopened can in a saucepan of boiling water - they are not to be trusted...

The first time this happened to me was back in '82 or so. There were a bunch of us getting quietly stoned while watching the Blues Brothers, and as it finished I suddenly remembered that I'd put one of those damned puddings on to boil before the film started. I let out a startled cry of "Pudding!", which caused everyone to look at me rather strangely, except for a guy called Jim - who wasn't into drugs and so reacted faster - who did a classic double-take "Pudding ? Pudding !" before leaping to his feet and charging off.

The sound of his footsteps could be heard as he ran down the stairs, then just as they stopped there was a dull thump as the pudding exploded. There was a pause, then we heard footsteps slowly returning back up the stairs, and Jim appeared in the doorway with one side of his body covered in steaming bits of treacle and sponge.

I was laughing so much it nearly didn't hurt when he kneed me in the groin. . .

Two years later I made the same mistake again. This time I wandered into the kitchen having completely forgotten about the two puddings I'd put on earlier and came face to face with the damned things myself. They'd already boiled dry and the tins had swollen up until they were nearly spherical. They were jumping around in the saucepan, with droplets of solder sweating on the seams. I took one look at this vision of hell, ducked below the top of the cooker and scuttled out of the kitchen in blind panic. I ran into the living room where Jim was reading and shouted "Pudding !" at him. His book went flying, he jumped up and ran into the kitchen with me following close behind, and there was another cartoon moment as he rushed up to the cooker, peered down into the saucepan then tried to back away hurriedly only to collide with me as I arrived. After a moment or two of sliding about on the floor we managed to turn the cooker off before they exploded.

"What the fuck did you call me for ?!"

"Don't fucking ask me ! Pudding, man ! Pudding !"

It was decided to give puddings a miss after that. Jim told everyone that I couldn't be trusted anywhere near one, and even I couldn't deny that I'd panicked and run round like a headless chicken.

Some months later, I arrived back at the flat to be met at the door by Jim.

"Don't come in"

"Why not ?"

"Don't ask. Just bugger off for a few hours"

Behind him, I noticed the kitchen ceiling was liberally covered with strawberry pudding. After all the shit I'd put up with he'd gone and done it himself. Revenge was sweet ;)

Bad Brain day #2

While wandering round a book shop with my fairly sizable wife today I was caught looking at a picture of some scantily-clad female celeb or other. SWMBO gave me a pointed look and caught on the hop I muttered:

"Just being curious dear - it's a bit like a woman but thin in the middle"

Is that the time? Better creep into bed and hope she doesn't wake up...

Bad Brain day #1

Today, for example, I wandered out of bed at about 1pm, as is my wont, and meandered downstairs to find Jan waving a box with what seemed to be a roll of scented wall-paper inside it. Apparently she'd been buying presents for my mother's birthday:

"Uh?" I grunted, brain firing on at least one cylinder.

"It's lining paper. For drawers. Makes them smell nicer"

"Ah. Isn't that rather uncomfortable?" <- Missing the point mode.

Then when that was explained she produced various scented soaps.

"She'll think you think she stinks" <- SOH failure mode.

Then she produced a ceramic, well, thing. It was teapot shaped and flat, with a recess. A bit like a squashed ashtray. She waved it at me and said rather belligerently:

"Last time we were there I noticed she didn't have one of these"

[Look of total incomprehension. Why the fuck would a non-smoker have a squashed ceramic ashtray?]

"It's for teabags. You put them in it."

[Even blanker look. You clearly wouldn't get more than a mouthful of tea out of it. What is she going on about?]

". . . after you've used them. . ."

[Simon decides today is not to his liking. Returns to bed.]

Monday, October 11, 2004

Hot melt glue - it shrinks

Aaargh. One of those days... I spent a while lining up this thrice-damned switch before gluing it into place. Had to be careful, it's the only one we have handy for this 'ere prototype. It was perfect, if I say so myself. But now, a few hours later, when I try it again the damned thing doesn't toggle, presumably because the glue's shrunk just enough to screw the alignment up. Poot! Pootitty poot!! Oh, damn it all to heck ;)

Friday, October 08, 2004

It's a brain, Jim

I'm starting to hate dreamweaver. It creates tables it can't even preview properly, so what chance does anything else have?

And I'm almost sure it's responsible for some very dodgy Javascript. Hmmm...

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Not-so-dynamic HTML

Well, just spent a happy hour writing some Delphi code to take a list of files and descriptions of them and make a HTML document out of them... There's probably a million other ways to do this but at least this way I can tinker with it ;)

Stunningly unexciting example of a generated filelist at http

And now on with something to generate photo pages...

Wednesday, October 06, 2004


Well, yet another thing to learn. Joy...

Hmm. Interesting, you can edit existing blogs. That might make for some creative reinterpretation...