Meaning Of Loaf

       Taking the easy road through life

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Still here, just about...

Despite the last post about ambitious plans to open up the PC and operate, I'm still no further forward than just thinking about it. Monday evening I was called to a friends house to help move a fridge, and then spent the last two days working late, which is also the reason for the lack of posts. Not that you've missed much.

It's another week where the weekend can't come fast enough, due to another hellish week of work, made worse by the fact that the guy a couple of desks over has a cold, and instead of just blowing his nose, will just sit there and snort every few minutes. Something heavy will be coming his way soon.

On a lighter note, preparations are underway for the company riverboat party next week. I do have to wonder about logic behind putting 90 people on a boat, with alcohol. It's not so much a question of 'if' someone will go over the side, as much as how long until someone goes over. My money is on myself, somewhere around the second shot of tequila.

And finally, just as I think people can't get any more desperate, eBay is offering you the chance to bid for a half eaten sandwich, reputed to be left over by Brittany Spears. The egg salad sandwich was collected by a waiter, who said:

It (the management) does not say anything about how I am supposed to discard their food when they have me pick up their leftovers.

When I got home, I pulled out the camera, took a few before shots, then vacuum sealed them right away. The vacuum sealer preserves items such as this for years and years.

The bidding is up to £47.52, so head on over to eBay where you can be in with a chance of this much sought after trophy, as well as claiming your place in this years hall of shame. See Ananova for the full story.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Is the patient ready?

Monday morning. Normally it would be about as welcome sharing a shower with a rottweiler, but today is different; it's a bank holiday, and all is right with the world.

In true tradition of the British bank holiday, it's raining. Not that I'm really that bothered, it's a good excuse for not working on the garden, a project for which I've been finding excuses for the past year. I'll start next weekend. Honest.

But it's not all good news; the occasional clicking that was coming from the hard drive has now built up to quite a steady rhythm, which is sounding more like a death march each day. So today, for the fifth time in the five month life of this PC, I'll be opening it up and operating; once again returning faulty drives and re-installing Windows. With any luck, and providing I don't burn out the remaining two drives, I should be back up and running by this evening.

As a bit of a background story; five months ago I decided a home theatre PC was what I needed, and came to the conclusion; "If I can program a PC, surely building one can't be that much harder". How naive.

It started out one Sunday afternoon, thinking I would just buy the case, and get more parts each month. Four hours later and with the help of a friend who is a very bad influence when it comes to spending, I had a complete set of parts on it's way. They arrived, and what first seemed like a couple of hours work, soon went on late into the night.

Attempt 1: RAID setup would not work on the motherboard, forcing me to have four individual drives. Realised the firewire port was not connected. Connected firewire port. Fire ensued. Supplier kindly exchanges fire damaged motherboard for a different make, with the hope RAID setup will work.

Attempt 2: New motherboard, no burnouts, RAID successfully configured. Then the drives start clicking. The clicking drive is identified, but in the process, another drive slips and touches life circuits on the metal case. More fire ensues. Two drives returned.

Attempt 3: New are drives in, no fire, RAID configured and everything looking good. Until now.

So now with some new drives on the way, and fire extinguisher at the ready, I'm hoping this will be the final operation I have to perform on this PC. And the lesson for next time; let someone else build it.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Blogger neglects me

Before I start on why I'm feeling so neglected by Blogger, I have to say I'm on a bit of a high at the moment, and without the use of alcohol, drugs, or a new episode of Lost.

Today, I found the first other blog that links here, that I'm aware of. Thank you Jader! Definitely head on over to her blog, which is off to a great start, and give her some sympathy for her fractured arm. Get well soon Jader.

As it is blatantly obvious from my handful of posts and 2nd grade writing style, I'm new to Blogger. We're still off on our honeymoon together, she can do no wrong. I type, she listens. I misspell, she corrects me. Is there anything she can't do?

Well, it seems if you're anywhere outside of the US, there is one thing she can't do.

I had started to get my hopes up at the sound of mobile blogging; while on holiday next month I could happily post messages and pictures that no-one would care about, while I wander the streets of Florence. But to be sure that I know what I'm doing, and so that I don't have to figure it out after a few glasses of wine out in Italy, I thought I would try it from the slightly less exotic location of our office in Slough. So I take a picture (of the water cooler), string a few words together and hit send. And wait. And wait. And nothing.

After while I decide to take the approach less favored in the IT industry; I read the instructions. No problems there, until I find the inconspicuous note at the bottom, which tells me that the service is only available to US networks.

I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, after all, we get most films a month or so after the US, we are nearly a whole season behind with Lost, and don't even get Twinkies over here. But still, it hurts. So come on Blogger, remember those early days of our relationship where we would spend late nights and long lunches together, and let us in on the mobile blog.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

And the award goes to...

This blog may be dedicated to the search for the easy life, but once in a while, you just have to congratulate someone on just how hard they've worked to make their own lives that little bit harder.

Take for example, an unnamed client of ours; we send them an e-mail, asking how they would like the wording changed on a webpage, and for convenience, we attach a screenshot of the page in question, so that they're clear on which page we're referring to. Now for most people, the following steps would seem reasonable:

1. Read the e-mail, look at the attached image.
2. Send a reply, containing the wording and a description of where the words should appear.

However, to our client, the following steps seemed far more logical:

1. Read the e-mail, and print out the attached image.
2. Scrawl the wording in the desired position on the printout.
3. Scan in the printout.
4. Convert the scanned image into a PDF document.
5. Reply to the e-mail, attaching the PDF.

After a good minute of stunned silence and awe, I feel this is worthy of the award for "Making life that little bit harder".

Karma pays back

After yesterdays complete write-off of a day, the balance is restored.

I wouldn't want anyone reading this site to think it's nothing but pessimistic complaining. Really, I don't. So to redress the balance, today is going to be a good day, based on the following reasons:
1. This morning I make toast with choreographed ease.
2. It's payday.
3. I'll be enjoying acupuncture and a massage tonight.

So as long as nothing goes horribly wrong between now and 4.30, I'll be stress free today.

And one additional point that has just made my list of reasons this will be a good day:

4. The attractive woman in the office has come in with skirt and high heels.

Yes. Today will be good.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A brief reprise

As predicted in my earlier post, the day is turning into one of those which makes you question the merit of leaving the house, and possibly existence itself.

However, in the midst of this, I'm sent a link to a site that is so simple, so straight to the point, and with one image, has brightened my day no end.

Ceiling Cat


Bad Toast Day

This morning has started badly.

If I start the day, unable to butter a piece of toast without burning two of the slices, dropping the butter, then dropping the toast that I have managed to butter, it's hard to believe that the rest of the day is going to go well. In fact when the time comes for a new work contract, I think I will insist on a clause that states if the above series of events occur, I'm entitled to the day off, because nothing good will come of it, and the company would probably benefit from my absence.

To further re-assert this belief in the bad toast premonition, my PC greeted me with a series of hard drive failures, which means this evening I must yet again pry open the box and start poking around, and will no doubt end in another drive going back to the store. Why must technology hate me so?

To keep myself going today, I'll just keep reminding myself that it's only 6 weeks until I'll be strolling the streets of Florence, enjoying good food and fine wine. As for my progress in learning the basics of Italian; it's now about as good as my knowledge of Russian, which means I can count to 10, say yes and no, and ask "Do you speak English?". I have achieved the level of "lazy British tourist".

So I'm off to find a decent coffee before the atrocities of the day begin, and if I survive, will see you again soon.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Sweet Taste of the Weekend

It's been one of those weeks.

I'm sure you all know and have suffered the type, they're the ones that by 5.30 on Friday night, you don't just want it to be the weekend, you need it to be the weekend.

The thing that has really sucked my will to live this week was the unrelenting messages from the follow-up mailer. This is the type of person who will send me a mail, and by the time the message arrives in my inbox, will be stood behind me to tell me that he has sent me a mail, and then proceed to describe the entire content of the e-mail. Why? If I'm of the age where I've held an office job for some considerable years, it's a pretty good guess that I can read, and therefore do not need someone stood behind me to dictate the message, just in case I've missed any little detail of their two sentence masterpiece.

On top of this, I now have another hard drive in my home PC that sounds like it's trying to play a badly warped vinyl disc. I have considered opening up the machine again to try and track down which particular disc is having the tantrum, but last time I did this I not only located the faulty disc, but managed to burn out a perfectly good one in the process. Let this be a lesson to anyone not to attempt computer repair after a few beers and with a cat who wants to help.

Still, it's now the weekend. To be honest, it's almost the end of the weekend, it's Sunday night, and I'm working through some bottles of Carlsberg Export, left over as a gift from a BBQ a few months back. Not the greatest beer in the world, but at least it's helping me to forget that tomorrow is Monday and that by tomorrow, and that I'll have another 5 days to count down before I can cast aside the suit.

The weekend is not without it's achievements however, I spent Saturday afternoon helping a friend get the house ready before they move next week. An activity which has re-affirmed my resolution not to move until it is absolutely necessary. I know the attic is full of junk, and the same could be said of the garden shed, but I'm just not ready to deal with that at the moment, and when that time does come, the thought of hiring someone to deal with it for me is starting to look like it will be worth every penny!

The other success of the weekend; I made bread. Ok, I know most, if not all, people will look at this thinking "What? You've never made bread? How useless are you!", but it's just one of those things I've never felt the need to do before. There's about 30 different loaves to choose from on the shelf, why go to the hassle of making it myself? Well, today I finally decided to try that hassle, and was pleasantly surprised. Not only did my creation look like bread, but after a cautious testing, also tasted like bread! So finally, another thing to add to the list of "Things I Can Do".

So, with the last bottle of Carlsberg drying up fast, and with my stomach expressing a desire to return to proper beer or wine, I'm heading off to cling to the remaining shreds of the weekend before Monday morning comes crashing down like a tidal wave, to take me through the rip tide of another week.

Have a good week all, and bye for now.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Back and up to speed!

At last, back and online!

Well, to be honest, I've been back online for over a week, this is just the first time I've got round to updating the blog. Lazy, I know.

Still, the new connection from Pipex is running nicely, and has surprised me; the original estimate from Pipex was that I should be able to get about 4.5Mb broadband, because of my distance from the exchange. However, after setting everything up, I'm connecting at 7.5Mb, and if that keeps up, I'll be very happy!

So, other than the internet, a few other things have happened this week; I've finally booked a holiday, as I was really starting to feel the need to get out of the country. The destination: Florence, Italy. This does mean I've got just under 7 weeks to try and learn some Italian, and judging by my success with other languages, I'm not expecting any miracles. Still, as long as I can ask basic directions and order a beer/wine, I'll be alright.

Another unusual event of last weekend was a BBQ round a friends house to celebrate their birthday. A BBQ, nothing unusual there then? Well, we decided we'd had enough of regular beef burgers and pork sausages, and so in a bid to taste more wildlife of the world, we had sausages and burgers made of Kangaroo, Ostrich, Impala, Kudu, Springbok and Wild Boar. I have to say, I was impressed, even though never heard of a couple of the animals before. I'd highly recommend Kangaroo and Wild Boar. If you'd like to place an order yourself, head on over to Alternative Meats UK.

That's about all for today, there may be some test posts going up later, as I want to see if I can post to the blog from my mobile, and if it works, I'll try and send some posts while I'm on holiday in Florence.

Until next time, have a good week!