Miscellaneous Personal

Michael From Accident Compensation Department

*Ring Ring!*
*Click pause click*
“Hello this is Michael from Accident Compensation Department, phoning in regards to an accident you or someone in your household has been involved in” 


So…what do you do?

I am at a party, I start talking with someone, we’re having a great time, to-ing and fro-ing. There’s a lull in the conversation. They eventually might ask ‘so what do you do?’.

I have trouble answering this question. Am I alone?



We went to Venice.

We did  a lot of gazing over the lagoon and at each other. We slept a lot. And my SO finished off his Straight8 Project. I got increasingly pregnant. I mean I was pregnant already, I just got more so, swelling like a great big happy blimp. I did say I got married in cream, not white…


April 16th

  • Plan A: A small wedding at the registry office, then go out for a curry.
  • Plan B: A big wedding with celebrations at various venues on several days. Perhaps with elephants.
  • Plan C: Small wedding at registry office, and a relaxed, happy bloody big party somewhere else.

Plan C was the one we went with. We’d have a buffet, beer, and Ceilidh. And plenty, PLENTY of friends.

I got married in cream: be-trousered with lacy wrap. He got married in a tartan skirt, as the Scots are wont to do.

I smiled and laughed so much that my face ached for days afterwards. Ow.

All my brothers and sisters were there – by blood, half-blood and love – and many many kids.


Hello world…

I am married now.

Married to a most fabulous man with a hairy face and a delightful sense of humour.

I believe I loved him from the first moment we met.

It took him a while to get used to me, however.

We would have probably continued to live together for years if it wasn’t for a lovely couple that we just met in a pub at New Year asking “so, when are you going to get married?”.

“So is there ever a good time to ask?” whispered my Significant Other.

“Now?” I said.

And that is henceforth how it shall be remembered.





Massive sucking sound

OK so I’ve decided…I cannot possibly squish the entire ton of news I have for the past few years into one blog post. That might create a super-dense object. Perhaps it would collapse in on itself, like a neutron star, and pull everything with it. And that would be bad.

I will try to avoid this.


The problem with not updating your blog for a while…

Mysteriously pointy-headed

…is it gets harder and harder to update your blog.

And then there’s the difficulty of how much to write, how much to give away. I am a grown-up (or convention would dictate that by my age I really really should be), and a bunch of people may be reading this that will judge me professionally or personally. I mean, who are YOU, anyway? And why are you reading this?  If we are friends, would you not already know all my news from Facebook?



Local Commercial Radio Playlists

180px-45rpmI’m listening to a lot of stupid pop these days, seeing as my downstairs is frequented with workmen that need constant nurturing with  sugary tea and very loud radio. And by the way, they are all doing a fabulous job, and I don’t begrudge them cuppas and pop.

BUT Oh dear god. I am now intimately familiar with the playlists of Radio Cambridgeshire and Heart FM.  I think HeartFM is run by a Winamp playlist of, tops, 30 songs, with occasional advertising and promotional interjections.  Every once in a while, someone presses the “shuffle” button.

Songs I wish they would stop playing on the radio
  • Belinda Carlisle – Heaven on Earth. Unpleasant raspy voice.
    Whoever told this lady she could sing at an impressionable age has done a great disservice to the world. Her video is all cute and 80s though. She keeps rolling around in a dark corner, and making f*ck me eyes at the camera.
  • Daniel Merriweather – Red. It just goes on and on and on and on.
    Daniel doesn’t agree with some lady’s style decision. She paints his thing red or something, and he says that it was perfect the way it was. And then he gets all whiny and upset about it and calls her a crazy, lying bitch, where he’s all “you’re just making all of this shit up” and “I’m doing all the work round here”, and “you’re a bitch”. I paraphrase.   Daniel should stop wasting his time with this lady who treats him bad, and stop singing this damn song.
  • Madonna – Like a Prayer. Something about the slightly sharp “Life is a mystery” at the beginning causes fingers to curl.
    Madonna has always struck me as a good for Media Studies GCSE and filling middle-brow newspaper columns about “post-feminism” and “women on top”, but ultimately she makes crappy music. I liked her on Letterman
  • TI ft. Rihanna – Live your life. This combines many annoying components of the modern pop song.
    1. Rihanna’s odd nasally monotone lingering on D.
    2. The rap hook of crowd shouted “hey” and “ho” in the chorus.
    3. Overuse of autotune pitch corrector.
    4. To top it all off,  borrowing a hook from the Numa Numa (Dragostea din tei) song
  • Sugababes – About You Now. Very repetitive. Boring after a while. Oh yeah, and all that auto-tune. I kinda like the raw cutting synth in the background, my electro receptor nodes in my brain gets all excited. Oh and the video is good, apart from the scenes with the Sugababes in them, which are annoying and plays badly visually with the dynamic outside urban setting of the rest. I quite like the remixes though. Like this one!

Oh there are others. Will just have to wait til they annoy me again so I can write them down.


On stripping wood

Don’t do it.

So you might be preparing to decorate, and you might cast your eye around your staircase and notice maybe the thickly and sloppily painted staircase posts, maybe the slightly hairy and grubby skirting on either side of the steps and think ‘hang on, that looks like really nice wood’.


I know what you are thinking. You are thinking wouldn’t it be nice to strip that back, maybe stain it and give it a few coats of varnish.

Really. Stop right there.

You might be embarking on a journey that will last at least three weeks, and make you grubby, sweaty and miserable, probably give you lead poisoning, ruin all your clothes, take you on countless trips to the hardware store, go through acres of sandpaper, seas of paint stripper, and increasingly expensive machines for stripping and sanding.

Yes children, it happened to me. and my hell is not yet over.

The tragedy is that the finished effect (if it does finish) will probably not inspire a great deal of comment, appreciation or admiration of anyone. It won’t look particularly special for all the hard work. The only people that recognize the hard work for what it is and the curse you voluntarily took upon yourself will be those that trod the path before you. They might give you sympathy, a chuckle of shared knowing. But that is it.

So by all means, sand a little to take the decades of painty hair and fluff off.  Fill a little, to smooth out the chips in the remaining paint. And then do the only decent thing to preserve your sanity. Paint the f*cker white again.


Cambridge Geek Night! Two!

Cambridge Geek Night 2 in the Cambridge Evening News on 4th August

The second of the Cambridge Geek Nights, organised by Vero ( after the successful Oxford geek nights, was last week. Again I was one of the few women at a techie event. It was a popular, lively evening, and I am definitely looking forward to the next one.

There were some interesting talks, including one by Michael Brunton-Spall of the guardian open platform. Of course, as an audience we were particularly warm to him as his employer kindly picked up the bar tab – particularly yummy cocktails at the Maypole! Richard Boulton gave a good introduction to open source search library that he is coding, Xapian. There were some lawyers who talked about IP too.

There was a write-up in the Cambridge Evening News on 4th August, disappointingly I could not find reference online. Vero, thankfully tweeted about it and posted a scan on flickr. Here it is!

Geekettes at the Cambridge Geek Nights