last night in Wal-mart (the supermarket formerly known as ASDA) on an ill advised venture beyond the food aisles, 'nite and I found the holy grail of home electronics: an all-in-one remote which can actually talk to all of the screwball AV devices that live in our house.

There are no less than eight devices in my living room that can be operated by remote, seven of these have controllers (the Tape Deck was an end-of-line model that came without) and because of their Byzantine relationships with one another, any simple action like say watching a TV programme, can require the user to juggle three or more remotes! Until now two of the eight boxen have thwarted our every effort to unify them: The TV is an obscure 'ONDigital' branded set with a peculiar hybrid remote that nothing else has ever seemed able to mimic, and our TV is all channeled through Anita's TiVo which has a similarly unique handset. However last night we found a multi-remote that we'd never tried before and, after some pretty straight forward setting-up, it happily conducted the entire digital entertainment orchestra without a hiccough!

OK I appreciate that for everyone else on the planet this is probably really mundane, but I'm thrilled about it so there. Tonight I'm off to celebrate the "blossoming" of Spring with some friends at the Beltane Fire Festival which should provide much more enganging material for the next entry ;)


Slight gap in my hosting service again this week, however the new guys have a really good excuse so I'll let 'em off this once ;)

maybe I'm jynxed? anyway if you've sent me email in the past couple of days and it's bounced or just not been replied to then please resend it - ta!

incidentally while I've been unable to publish them for two days, blogger has still been accepting posts so there are some backlogged entries further down the page...


I just put gutters up at the back of my house. It rained when I'd finished just to prove that they work too (what considerate weather eh?) and I danced in the yard to celebrate (and to make Anita laugh).

Next time it rains at night, it will do so without dripping noisily into the yard outside my bedroom window for the first time since I bought the place two years ago! There were gutters up there back then, after a fashion - old metal ones that didn't fit properly and which leaked like fury - they, and the front door represented my two biggest mistakes in buying the place (the "oops, I should have got that from him in writing" kind of mistakes: the gap-toothed maniac I bought the house from assured me both were being fixed...) and both took me much longer to sort out than I'd originally anticipated, mostly because, well, they're outside. Most of the time I am not outside, so outside jobs end up being the "I must get round to" ones. That said, the yard is now fast approaching the stage where it will be a very pleasant little outdoor space (instead of a tip) so I might spend some of this summer out there, and if it rains on me I won't care because I have gutters!

(whizzy) WOO HOO

finally BT are set to make broadband available to 'the rest of us' and I'm told that by August 4th my local exchange will be ADSL enabled. Either this is a very cruel joke, or else I've just seen light at the end of the rural dial-up tunnel

*patrick does the snoopy dance*


Vital Spark

My spell checker wants to change 'Pitlochry' to 'Vitalizer' perhaps it's trying to tell me something?


Then again, it also wants to change 'Crieff' to 'Crap' so perhaps whatever it's trying to tell me should be ignored.

(I'm cataloguing Maps today)

"Happiness... a tickle of joy on the blue belly of the Universe, yet it must be scratched. Right Max?"

actually I approve, (so long as it's done well) I just wanted an excuse to do a quote. For the benefit of anyone who didn't already know this, it's worth mentioning that I can recite the entire film from memory: mispent childhood infront of a Betamax.

Said Betamax recently gave up its treasure of the lost original edit of the Yellow Submarine (the version available to buy is patched together from the American release and some cutting room bits because by the time the folks at Apple Corps. realised what was happening, most of the original film had decayed beyond salvage) to a DV recorder and was partially mastered into a DVD for me by a good friend. He'd never seen it before however and (understandably) was unable to make sense of what went where so the copy I have at the moment is a bit disjointed.

Hopefully I'll be able to give him a hand soon getting it done the right way up - one of the problems with having the film stored in my brain you see is that the remastered version feels wrong when I see it.

... anyway "I must complete my bust, two novels finish my blueprints and begin my beguine" ;)


I got into work today to find a note on my desk from a couple of the sixth years asking if I'd be prepared to play in an annual charity Rugby match the school holds (this year's being on Thursday.)

For anyone who didn't just fall off their chair laughing at that image, let me elaborate - I work in a public school in Scotland, one which takes its Rugby even more seriously than most institutions of its ilk. This school's fields get used as an alternate venue for minor national (and occasionally international) fixtures when Murrayfield is busy. Also this particular annual event usually involves a visiting professional Rugby player. Add to all that my tiny physical stature (certainly 'tiny' in comparison to most Rugby players anyway!) and the fact that it's well over a decade since I last played anything even remotely like Rugby (I ducked out of the games in PE at school when it became clear that simply being fast wasn't enough to prevent me from getting squashed in contact sports anymore) and you begin to see why I'm having a hard time keeping a straight face!

Mum, if you're reading this I need a note to get out of PE on the 29th ;)

* for those of you scratching your head the title is an extended version of the net abbreviation LOL - Laughing Out Loud. ROTFLMAO is Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Ass Off - and I am, or at least I would be if I didn't have to maintain a veneer of grown-up-ed-ness.

Right up to the brightness

It's a glorious day today, and to my surprise I find I'm well able to appreciate it. The Summer Term at work began today, an event which brought with it the return of bells and pupils to the school. I am heartily sick of having my working life subjected to the institutional clatter of the bells, as much as I am of the frustratingly intractable and often incredibly rude teenagers my job requires me to herd. I knew all that and was prepared to be quite grumpy today but I find (with great relief) that I'm not.

This morning back at home I mounted the stairs on my way to the coffee machine, and found my loft-living room ablaze with morning sunlight. I enjoyed it in a sleepily sad sort of way: thinking what a shame it would be to spend such a brightly spring-like day indoors at all, let alone in the vault-like gloom of the Library here at work. I still smiled though, as I continued to do all the way over the sunny moorland, driving Anita's spunky red 306 and shielding my eyes with sunglasses against the morning glare. 'nite's car had some more work done recently to repair a little more of the accumulated neglect of its previous owner - a new belt or two somewhere in the power steering system I understand - which together with a few other recent few tweaks and fixes have made Lexie (for that's the car's name, yes she's as bad as I am) feel much newer and sharper to drive than any P-reg could really be expected to. While I'm naturally still biased in favour of my own car Bags, the drive into the city is great fun whichever wheel I find myself behind.

The excellent weather held, and we arrived in leafy Morningside under the same brilliant sun which woke me. Anita brightly set out for an interview nearby which I hope has since gone well. I trundled my way to my desk, where I've found to my surprise I've been smiling ever since. There's no particular reason behind it, and the daily business of work in term-time is every bit as unpalatable as I'd expected, but somehow I'm still happy - perhaps it's something about the spring? A bright feeling of renewal and change... whatever it is I'm glad of it.


OK so yesterday I was being a little dramatic. Life is a series of mistakes from which we learn and grow... today I'm feeling brighter and better, the mistake part is done, it's time for the growing part

of booze & barn doors

I learned something about myself this weekend that I should have got figured out a long time ago: I'm a really unpleasant person when I'm drunk. I don't mean just a little bit either, no I'm a thoroughly nasty piece of work when I've had a skinful: a person who does thoughtless stupid selfish things and hurts the people I love... I've had plenty of occasions to recognise drunkPatrick for the bastard that he is before, but somehow in the past "but I was drunk" has always seeemed like an explanation...

Point is I've decided that drunkPatrick doesn't get to exist anymore - from now until I figure out exactly why he's such a git, (and what if anything I can do about it) I'm just not going to drink at all because I'm sick and tired of waking up to the mess that this particular Mr Hyde all too often leaves behind.

As the title suggests I'm a little too late with this in some respects. On Saturday at the end of one of the most congenial evenings I've enjoyed in a long time I inexplicably did something horrible to a very dear friend and I don't expect he's going to be able to forgive me, certainly not any time soon... so it's an empty barn I'm closing the door on here but better late than never eh?


clearing out my pigeon hole at work this morning I found a parcel containing a CD I ordered about a month ago from a mail-order firm in Russia - it's Volumes one and three of the Traveling Wilburys on one CD. As far as I know the two albums were never released like this by Warner who appear to have deleted both from their catalogues (at least this Russian outfit was about the only place I could find selling 'em new and on CD)

The contents of the CD is of course what I'm most excited about ('tis a playing as I type and sounds every bit as great as the first time I heard Dad's tapes of it) but the packaging was unexpectedly exciting too... in fact it's probably the coolest parcel I've ever received - look:

's pretty blurred because I don't have my real camera with me so I snapped it with the phone (and I wasn't going to hold off opening it until I get home!) but you get some idea - the labels are printed in Cyrillic except for the one with my address, it's covered in exotic looking stamps and squiggles and best of all it's tied up with string! 's like getting a parcel from the past... anyway the library catalogue's nearly finished its mammoth update so I'd better get on with some work.

Oh yeah - today's my first day back not yesterday: yesterday morning I woke up to find that stretching was a bad idea and my back felt worse than it had all week so I stayed in bed and lay flat on my back (something I find really difficult) all day which seems to have reduced it to manageable twinging.

Right, work.

note: I originally posted this with the wrong language name - I blame my excitement at all that brown paper


So I hurt my back on Saturday, no idea how - I think I've somehow tweaked the damaged part from a couple of years back when I used my spine as a lever for lifting to old Marine-Ply floor in the kitchen, it feels the same but I honestly wasn't doing anything that should have hurt it... anyway it's put a real crimp on things these past few days and made me all mope-ey, hence the absence of posts here. It's mostly better now: I spent much of today doing gentle stretching excercises and generally footering about (as opposed to lying in my bed feeling miserable.) so I thought an update was in order.

Friday last week I went out with most of the usual crowd and caught up which was great I've really missed them all, and although I did drink rather too much* I had a really good night.

The first part of Saturday was fine, I met up with Anita and drove us home in time for a lunchtime return to bed for each of us... come to think of it I could have slept funny and done in my back... anyway the evening was less fun with twingey-spiney-ness and from there until now it's mostly just me either moping or playing computer games (which isn't worth blogging about)

There's no news about the job yet, other than that I'm still feeling optimistic... back to the old job later today (after I've slept some) but no kids for most of this month so that's not so bad... and that's us up to date I think, I'll try and come up with something more interesting next time.

*Appologies to those of you who made it as far as Nicol Edwards for wandering off part way through the movie - an old (bad) habit which won't be happening again.

Normal Service... (II)

So you'll probably have noticed that things haven't been running smoothly here of late? The casue? My domain hosting has been being shifted, and the service interuptions are because it wasn't planned. Hopefully things should run smoothly again from now on.

road trip!

YAY! rather unexpectedly my holiday is now starting a day early - this afternoon in fact, and the trip south I had planned with my mate Hamish starts today instead of tomorrow... in seven hours and forty minutes I get to leave this place and not come back until the middle of the month! WOOO!

and maybe (just maybe) by then I'll have a new job lined up...


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