matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Smug)
Mat Bowles ([personal profile] matgb) wrote2007-06-14 02:28 pm

Life, the Universe and everything I've been up to

So, right then, never did get around to that 'what I've been up to' post that LJ kept eating during the DDOS thing did I. So, a summary post, but first, a poll!
[Poll #1003180]
So then; job finished Thursday May 31st (end of calender month), so for my last day [livejournal.com profile] pinkshifter and Paul (who I knew in Exeter but is now employed in Cowley St for LDYS) took me into the House for lunch; went through the staff areas of the Commons then under the subway into Portcullis House to The Debate, very very impressive building and a great place to eat as well; under instructions I piled my plate up with stuff knowing I had a bit of cash and was told it's 'cheap'. Big pile of food, fruit juice, etc. £3.15 Cheap doesn't really cover it. I wants me a House pass just to get into the canteen, was really nice as well. Gift shop was closed (whit recess), so no fudge was bought, but a very nice layout, am impressed.

Friday June 1st - Tate Late and Soho

Hmm, let's see, someone visited, what did we get up to? Yeah, um, for those that don't want to read such things, we might get around to putting it elsewhere at some point. For those that do? Patience grasshopper.

In the evening, went into town to the Tate Late thing I mentioned awhileback, met up with [livejournal.com profile] pinkshifter, [livejournal.com profile] mooism, [livejournal.com profile] geekaboo and others. Unfortunately half the advertised people weren't there; no Shami, no Mark Thomas, no Helena Kennedy. And of those that were there, some were a little, shall we say, underwhelming? One of the participants was clearly only there to plug his book, and the chair of the panel (Lisa Appignanesi) seemed to feel it necessary to look to the audience with a smug "look at my great hairdo" look every time she made a (fairly poor) point. Ah well.

We left the panel discussion for elsewhere, missed the end of Jon Hegley's bit, and there was some bloke doing a weird sound thing, not very impressive. [livejournal.com profile] fracindy arrived, and we tried to pay attention to Adrian Searle's description of Wallinger's State Britain installation, but a) he was very quiet, b) it wasn't very enthralling and c) it was very very luvvy artsy bolloxy instead of about the problem itself. So we decamped to a pub, which was much more fun.

Had many many silly chats, and eventually we all split off, and [livejournal.com profile] snapesbabe, [livejournal.com profile] fracindy and myself ended up wondering Soho trying to find somewhere reasonably cheap, with [livejournal.com profile] fracindy trying to get us into some of her more favoured gay clubs/bars. Eventually we gave up and ended up in a strange rock place behind Foyle's called Crowbar(sp?). Wallpaper was reasonably recent issues of 2000ad as well, and Jennie seemed to enjoy the look some of the men, but not many. Then we went back home by night bus and mostly slept.

Saturday June 2nd - Pirates!

Travelled with Jennie to Victoria, then sat and drank coffee for a bit, before getting on the Tube to [livejournal.com profile] innerbrat's to watch Pirates. For some unknown reason I'd not actually got around to seeing Pirates II, which was both cool and suitably silly, and much time was also spent trying to persuade me to join one of their RPGs to play one of the characters in the Runaways comics. This involved me being made to read some of said comics as well. Still not going to happen. After that went to Wood Green to see Pirates III, was very cool, and for those planning to go but not actually done so yet, do wait until after the (over-long) credits, is a plot point twee disney ending. Also present were [livejournal.com profile] rowanberries (POTCIII review), [livejournal.com profile] requiem2adream (reaction) and others; they'd been dressing up as pirates for a flash mob while we were at the Tate, I think they made the better call :-( On the way home I made this voicepost which adds a bit of context -- probably ought to try to voicepost more when I'm out and about.

Sunday 3rd - Wednesday 6th June - And relax...

Um, yeah. Slept Sunday, did some wandering around and used the bus pass a bit, spent a lot of time online catching up (you may have possibly read more than a few of my posts) and generally bimbling; chased a few employment agencies, read a few books, did a bit of shopping, but nothing major other than, well, being a lazy bastardrelaxing.

Thursday 7th June - Book signing at Waterstones - Steph Swainston, Jon Courtenay Grimwood

Went to the book signing I mentioned, got there and there was no signage and almost no publicity in the store, looks like Waterstones may have dropped the ball a little bit, got upstairs and just looked around; some familiarish faces, Steph had a cluster of people around her, Dave Langford was looking obvious, Jon C-G was dressed up smartly and wondering around being accosted... and I had a bit of a "oh gods, people I don't know in a crowd" panic attack and had to go hide in the SF section itself for a little bit -- that confident persona I project at times? I really need to do new things with people otherwise I go all to pieces, weird really given I never have any problems, but large groups of new people do bother me sometimes if I haven't got a defined role.

So got over that, and Jon was free, got him to sign my copies of Stamping Butterflies and 9TailedFox, haven't bought End of the World Blues yet, which I regret but, dude, priorities! He understood me having bought Steph's book first; he'd been looking forward to it as well, we chatted a bit about Exeter and how classifying his books under Crime really hadn't worked, then he had to sign for someone else so I went to try to catch Steph's attention. I'd only got books 2 & 3 with me, Jennie still had Year of Our War, and resisted urge to buy a new copy with shiny black cover; it was seeing the book again that I remembered why I'd picked it up in the first place, the blurb text on the front is A stunning debut by a certain Jon Courtenay Grimwood, so the reason I like Steph's books is partially linked to my liking the same stuff as Jon. Hmm, wish I'd remembered that when I'd been chatting to him.

Steph was cool to talk to, and the person she was talking to before me turned out to be [livejournal.com profile] tyrell, nice to put a name to a face properly; don't recall if I'd met him in Exeter but it's possible. Steph signed both my books and also some picture cards of herself; she'd been a bit nervous about taking them but it was useful; mostly because I have a card each for [livejournal.com profile] jantshira and [livejournal.com profile] faeriecween who were in Exeter having fun at the time. She also had a fold out very detailed map of the Fourlands, was interesting to look at properly; part of the topography was inspired by her old school playground in Bradford; when she was there they decided to divide the school into two, one for Muslim kids and one nominally Catholic - we all know how well that separation policy worked a decade or so down the line, right? Hence the divided school where you can't get to half the playground inspired the Wall and the Paperlands. She talked a bit about the level of research she does (lots compared to many authors) and also about archaeology; like many professionals, not got much time for Tony Robinson's Time Team. Inevitably she had to sign for others, despite the low turnout, so instead wondered off with Steve for a bit.

There was a BBC camera crew there making a film about fantasy literature and stuff; Steve ducked away from them (the horror of having been in Fabulon 75 still scars him it seems), but I got collared and, well, why not? It'll be on BBC4 at some point according to Chris, no idea if I'll get told if it's on but they've got my details. Interviewer seemed to want to push me in a "I like swords and sorcery" direction, which of course I don't, but seemed to like my justification of liking F&SF as it can allow authors more freedom to explore ideas unbound by "realism" constraints. Completely forgot the Thud/Northern Ireland parallel until afterwards, of course. Ah well.

After that, wondered back through town towards a bus stop with Steve and chatted about friends in common. He mentioned [livejournal.com profile] halcyon_shift and [livejournal.com profile] doccy by real name, and I did a bit of a double take, as after two years talking to them on LJ as "Exeter people I don't know" I found out that they were in fact "that couple I've played games with and were both at [livejournal.com profile] big_blue_bear's 18th". Weird -- LJ can be a strange strange place at times.

Friday 8th June - A family visit and a meeting with friends

Hmm, yeah. My sister visited London. Met her at Paddington, then we went to Portobello Road as a) neither of us had been and b) she likes shopping. Was cool, but I'd forgotten my A-Z so we got a little lost. Then went to check into her hotel, she got talked into the upgrade, then wondered for a bit. She had plans for the evening, so I contacted [livejournal.com profile] innerbrat and went to find her and friends in a Wetherspoons in Holborn. Was fun; everybody present had an LJ, not going to list them all for there were many, but spent a lot of the evening talking geeking internet communication stuff with IB and [livejournal.com profile] mrsneeze, and then after IB left continued chatting; [livejournal.com profile] sunflowerkits suggested when Wetherspoons kicked us out that we decamped to the Intrepid Fox, and we got there just after they closed their doors. Plus Crowbar was full, so we wandered a bit looking for places open then split up; why is it that Soho is the hardest place in London to find pubs open late? You'd have thought there'd be loads but there never seem to be, despite fairly palpable demand for it. Ah well.

Saturday 9th June - Ballet - the Three Musketeers

Having got home incredibly late the night before, spent most of the day vegetating and eating healthy food (seriously, my diet is awesome currently, too much healthy stuff - it has to be bad for me, right?), then travelled across town to Islington to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] innerbrat and [livejournal.com profile] rowanberries, this time for a trip to the ballet. Northern Ballet Company's Three Musketeers. I'm not sure if it helped or not that I knew the basic story (having grown up on Dogtanian and having read the Dumas as a teen), but it was both very easy to follow and great fun to watch. Many of the dancers were very pretty, and the set pieces were very cool, fighting was clear and, well, Dancers!Sworeds!Intrigue!Culture! Hopefully if I can get an income stream sorted out that sort of thing can become more of a regular thing, as I was a lot more impressed than I thought I would be, and definitely worth the £22.

Sunday June 10th - Wandering Wimbledon

Remembered to write happy birthday on my sister's facebook wall, and went to [livejournal.com profile] nadriel's, then on for a wonder around the local area; neiter of us had ever been south of the railway line we both live next to, so we took that route into Wimbledon then bimbled around a bit; some nice discussions - given how long we've been friends, barely seeing each other despite living just down the road is a bit daft methinks...

Monday June 11th

More job-hunting stuff combined with web trawling and abuse of the bus pass.

Tuesday June 12th - Hyde Park with a friend

Arranged to go into town and meet up with [livejournal.com profile] fracindy, met at Marble Arch, walked through and around Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, then wondered back to her for a chat; was cool to get to talk to her properly, definitely nice to get to know online people better now I've the chance, and mutual skintness means not likely to choose activities one of us can't afford, yay!

Wednesday June 13th - Yorkshire bound and zombie avoidance

Megabus journey; avoided any serious zombie entanglements during the journey, although there were some serious delays on the motorway that appeared to be due to cars driven by braindead morons. Got to [livejournal.com profile] snapesbabe's eventually, and I'm not sure but I think Byron the dog was more pleased to see me than she might have been; Teh Shrub was pleased as well; Yorkshire is very quickly beginning to feel like a second home, which is nice, if a little scary. Bus into Bradford to just miss the beginning of the New Statesman.

Rik Mayall - The New Statesman

Jennie had read 7.30pm as the door opening time, but it was actually performance start time, so we were a little late and missed the intro. Set up was very good, and the cast were funny and capable; they're obviously writing topical jokes in as they go around, although my brain currently refuses to remind me of any of them. Mayall fluffed more than a few lines and forgot a few jokes, but handled it well and effectively made it part of the show if not the play. Some of the satire/comedy was a little thick at times, and the anti-Bush/war line was a bit overblown, but the basic premise (invade oil producing countries to push the prices up and thus get rich quick) was sound -- the US invasion of Norway with elite desert troops fresh from Iraq was a nicely done point. Plus the company was great.

Today?

Jennie's at work, took Byron for a walk, had a phone interview for an interesting job based in Raynes Park, which will let me work from anywhere with internet access - he specifically suggested I could work while visiting Yorkshire. Sounds good, we'll have to see.

Upcoming:

many many of Jennie's friends decend upon us for the Fantastic Film Weekend; unfortunately a few of the films we want to see clash, but Soylent Green on the big screen is good enough anyway. No idea how much time I'll have online twixt now and Monday, probably some but, y'know, other things to be doing...

Did I say summary? That's a summary? Oops, probably good job I didn't go for the long version isn't it...
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[identity profile] eldar.livejournal.com 2007-06-14 04:46 pm (UTC)(link)
Blimey. Where was I... oh, the lights thing. Really, with modern wiring and fuse boxes, you can't go wrong.

So... just how efficient are the fire brigade oop narth, will they be pressing charges, did it get on the front page of the local paper? And I happen to know where you can buy a full set of NBC gear.

[identity profile] tinuvielberen.livejournal.com 2007-06-14 04:59 pm (UTC)(link)
When we moved to rural New Hampshire, we wound up doing all the electrical work on our house because there was no one else to do it. We bought the Home Depot Big Book of Home Improvement and just followed the instructions. It's pretty easy, makes sense, and is clean.

Plumbing, by contrast...

[personal profile] rho 2007-06-14 05:09 pm (UTC)(link)
Re the second question: I would assume that she'd done everything practical but then proceed to try to fix it anyway. I have the tech support gene. Even when I know full well that someone knows just as much or more about a subject than me, whenever they report a problem, I automatically try to fix it. Have you tried this? What happened when you did that? It's horribly obnoxious, but I can't help it.

[identity profile] davegodfrey.livejournal.com 2007-06-14 05:42 pm (UTC)(link)
I've never lived in a house with a modern fusebox, so I'm not going near the things. My father was an engineer, once rewired his house, and used to repair his cars, so it's pretty clear to me that such things are left to those who know what they're doing.

(Put me in a house with a brand new fusebox with clear instructions and I might try flicking a few switches.)
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[identity profile] el-staplador.livejournal.com 2007-06-14 05:49 pm (UTC)(link)
Last time our lights went was at my 21st. As I remember, my eldest brother and my godfather sorted it, while my parents saw to my middle brother (who had got rather more trashed than is advisable when you're 15 and don't have a huge body mass to cope with that much alcohol). I was putting the camp bed up. I don't know whether we have clear instructions in there, but if we did and I'd been alone I'd probably have had a go at it.

[identity profile] lokean.livejournal.com 2007-06-14 06:33 pm (UTC)(link)
First off, Mat, you didn't flick any fuses whatsoever, you smug git. In fact, Mat, you're wrong.
If there's something with a switch on it and flicking it makes your lights come back on the fuse hasn't blown, the MCB has tripped. They probably do call them fuses on the instructions to avoid confusing the technically inept, but they're not. So there.

On a lighter note, you're probably in for a spanking anyway, and other things besides, just for being in Jennie's house...

[identity profile] miss-s-b.livejournal.com 2007-06-14 07:48 pm (UTC)(link)
Indeed.
innerbrat: (lesbians)

[personal profile] innerbrat 2007-06-14 07:26 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh bugger, I was hoping I'd come out of that poll impressively manly. Oh well.

[identity profile] silentgreeneyes.livejournal.com 2007-06-14 07:51 pm (UTC)(link)
Silly Mat..

Tech stuff isn't that scary so long as you follow the instructions
They need to make modern fuses idiot proof.. and unless you are a high grade idiot (Which you are not) you can't do anything terminal to the fuse box :)

[identity profile] karohemd.livejournal.com 2007-06-14 10:20 pm (UTC)(link)
see SB's poll

[identity profile] indiana-george.livejournal.com 2007-06-15 01:04 pm (UTC)(link)
That's not a million miles form where I am!

Well, it's vaguely in the county next to the county I live in. Which is quite impressive.