Bellerophon symbol, variation 7
Saturday 1st May 2004

Hmmmm. Just testing something. Sam, you'll have to send that (or 'a') picture again. I still have it, but the encoding's all screwed up.

Monday 3rd May 2004

So, yes . . . fortunately, I wasn't at all hungover this morning (p'raps on account of not drinking anything alcohol- based the night before) and it was such a gorgeous day, me, Anna, M****** and Liz decided to go to Harewood House (well, the park anyway). I took loads of dull pictures as usual, but there were a few good 'uns. This would have been at 14:03, when we had sat down next to some kind of lake for lunch.
Some sunglasses . . . on a blanket . . . I bought these in Australia. They're made by a company called 'Dirty Dog'. The blanket they're resting on belongs to M******. She bought the blanket from Ikea.
14:37 . . . 14:41 (left to right). . . and there was this gorgeous cherry blossom stuff everywhere . . . M****** tried to take a picture but my expression is on account of the fact that the line of sight was right across a rather busy path. I was trying to tell M****** to let the people pass and THEN take the picture. N'e'er mind.
14:42. Another of M******'s pictures . . . seems to be out of focus. Shame. 14:53. Grass. Trees. Lake. Anna. Liz. M******. A bench.
Godamnit. Now it just looks stupid. I've got pictures everywhere and there's no . . . there's no layout and it's just a mess now. Grrrr. erm . . . 14:55. I like this picture. There's water and trees and stuff.
So, left to right . . . we have Harewood House itself (16:53) and some gardens (16:56), more gardens (16:56). . . blah, blah, blah, and on the far right is a time-delay picture (16:59) with (just about) all four of us. You can just make out M****** (between me and Liz). Yeah, okay, so it ain't brilliant, but it's the only I have with all four of us.
And, erm . . . I think I was sitting on the steps, in the shade, whilst M****** ran around taking pictures.
. . . and various other pictures (to the right), taken between 17:04 and 17:11 (am I obsessed with time or something?)
and it seems M****** went a bit crazy, taking loads of close up pictures of flowers, using the macro lens with varying degrees of success.
It's just a building, I tried to tell her . . .
pretty much finally (17:23/24), we popped into this graveyard and church (now out of service), had a bit of a wander around, signed the guestbook and then off we went . . . I'm not sure why my camera freaked out with all the sunlight like that. P'raps I didn't give it time to, erm, you know, 'adjust'.
17:26. I took loads of pictures of that blossom tree . . . they all looked awful though. I'm not saying this one looks any better, but at least it's a bit more interesting than just a tree, in a picture, on its own . . . you know? We went back to the car and were waved off by Noddy and friends. See, erm . . . that's the thing with Harewood House and the accompanying park: it's seen very much as a 'family day out', so you have all these children covered in urine, vomit, mucus (?! somehow looks wrong), phlegm and god knows what else, screaming at their parents, "I WANT AN ICE-CREAM! I WANT AN ICE-CREAM!" and it can get a bit much, as you rest your coffee cup on the plastic table, trying to avoid the detritus of the previous occupants (remants of a chocolate muffin, half a packet of Skips, empty drink cartons, ice-cream wrappers), when your voice is drowned out by the screaming horrors reverberating around what would otherwise be a gorgeous little courtyard. Am I ranting? Well, that was pretty much my opinion of this place: fine, if you can get away from the children.

Tuesday 4th May 2004

The rain awoke me at 6am, which is in stark contrast to the day before . . . my lips still feel sunburnt. Pictures coming up.

Thursday 6th May 2004

Pictures of Monday now up/down-loaded. But I should not be on computer . . . have university assignment due next Wednesday.

Friday 7th May 2004

I don't think I have much to report . . . nothing much to say. The thumbnail is of a curious little design on a new cut-throat razor I bought today from Peter Maturi. Well, you know - better to have a picture of something than nothing at all . . . I think. Incidentally, Solingen is where most of my kitchen knives are forged.

Saturday 8th May 2004

I will not depart from Thee,
When Thy Heart Will break;
When Thy Heart fades away,
In the last blow of death,
Then will I embrace Thee,
In all my body and being.

(Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter 26 or 27 . . . erm . . . one of them)

AAARRRGGHHH - just got back from the barber's (Lez(s?) Robbins) having made the fatal mistake of asking him . . . well, I opened the door, he was cutting the hair of this guy with white hair, looked in his late fifties, early sixties, and there's this guy sat down, waiting for a hair cut, on Lez's retro, cinema-style seats and Lez says, "Sorry, mate, we're closed," so I say, "No, no, I just had a quick question. I don't suppose you sell the paste for, you know, the leather straps for the cut-throat razors." Big, big, big mistake. I'm tempted to go back there, with every single hair removed from my body, and not a single nick, not a single trace of blood, and then to hold out the razor-sharp cut-throat and say to him, "Well, actually, Lez, I didn't need someone to teach me how to use this thing and, funny thing is, I know how to sharpen blades." Grrrrrr, he made me so angry. He was basically saying, "Take it back, get your money back, 'cos they shouldn't have sold it you. I gave evidence in court, yeah? 'Cos there was this guy, yeah? His name was, erm . . . Nick Howson . . . or was it Neil? Oh, whatever . . . Anyway, the point is, Peter Maturi sold him this cut-throat and, erm . . . I testified, said they never should have sold it in the first place. I mean, did they tell you how to use it?" No. "And have you got a strap?" Yes. "30 pounds?" Yes (well, 24.99) "And what about a stone? Have you got a stone?" A stone? What the frig are you on about? "To sharpen it. You need a stone. Trust me. Take it back. Look, see, if you want the paste, I can get it for you. It will be about, erm . . . thirteen pounds . . . I have to get it from Italy, but I use these," as he showed me his cut-throat-cum-disposable-razor affair . . . interesting. And I watched him using this cut-throat, and thought to myself, "Ah . . . so that's how you use it," and I've just done a dry shave on a little patch on my arm and it's now oddly smooth without a single cut . . . I guess it's easier to shave an arm than a face, though . . . the hair is of course much softer, much thinner. But if there's one thing I cannot stand, it's people telling me that I cannot do something. What do you mean I cannot? I don't have the ability? The aptitude? The experience? The knowledge? What? What is it? What is it I don't have? Grrrrrrrr. Anyway, I need a shave. Well, in that case, pay attention to the bit at the end - "Shaving with an open razor is not easy to master and this guide is not to be considered a substitute for being taught by a Barber."

It wasn't easy, no, but not impossible. I cut myself once, slightly. Problem is, though, the blade seems blunt and I don't have any of the paste for the sharpening strip and I don't want to ruin the blade by . . . you know, not doing it properly. I think back to Peter Maturi and, "Erm . . . how are you meant to sharpen this thing? When you gonna get some of this paste stuff in? And why are you only charging three pounds and that crazy Lez Robbins guy wants to charge me thirteen? And why should I mention . . . Neil Howson? Who are these people? Personally, I think if you call something 'cut throat', you're asking for trouble . . . the implies danger from the outset, you know? Erm . . . I guess we kind of fritter our lives away in details and, erm, there was this time once, few years back, as I entered the departure lounge at Washington Dulles Airport . . . I mean, I had no idea, no-one told me . . . and it all happened so fast . . . sorry. Oh yes, the cut-throat, yes."

Sunday 9th May 2004

there's no pictures . . . the Debenhams web-site . . . wedding lists . . . no pictures . . . no details . . . this can't be right. Well, how odd . . . on my brother's wedding list there is . . . there are items listed that return no results when you try to search for them using the search facility at the top of the page. Sebatier. Creuset. Splatter (John Rocha tank top?!). Colander. Chopping. Pizza. Possibly the worst search engine I've ever stumbled upon.

Monday 10th May 2004

Yes, yes, the links page doesn't work, I know, thank you. Is this you, Michael -

Thursday 13th May 2004

Nope - nothing to report. No data. These aren't the droids you're looking for. Move along, move along.

Wednesday 19th May 2004

Apparently I haven't been writing much here of late. Well, I've been busy. It's my brother's wedding this Saturday and I'm the best man. This means preparing a speech and being somewhat organised. I've written a bit of Perl in order to download all the best man speeches from and thence to pick out the most common words. This is not my speech, I must stress. I have a speech already, but I'm just ensuring I have enough to fill in the 5-10 minutes alloted. Right. I better go. Expect some pictures here Sunday or some time thereafter.

Saturday 22nd May 2004

13:31. Oh my god . . . have you any idea how difficult it is trying to get used to a new keyboard layout? This particular layout is known as Dvorak. Easier (that is, less typing) for me to explain by referring to some web-sites, such as . . . this (first result from a quick Google search, but seems pretty comprehensive). But anyway, I'll just have to blunder on for now. I'm sure I'll get used to it. I like the way that all the vowels and common keys are clustered together.
Still 13:31. See, erm . . . I meant to do this ages ago, but I always had loads of university work to do at the time, you see. Anyway . . . the wedding. Now, I was going to go back to Friday evening, as a starting point, when Tania, M****** and myself made the journey, by train, back from Leeds to Lancaster, but then I thought that maybe Thursday evening would be more appropriate, this being when . . .
13:34 and 13:42 (left to right) . . . and of course it was raining loads on Friday night. We went to the Stork in Conder Green, I believe it is . . . I was driving James' car, James terrified in the passenger seat, with my parents in the back. There we met Hilary; Hilary's parents, Ted and Sheila; Hilary's sister, Adrienne; and Hilary's friend, Carol.
13:43. Here's one of Tania and Rob (to the right there). This is up at the, erm, Ashton Memorial, Lancaster, set in Williamson's Park . . . erm, that's the memorial, not Lancaster. 14:19 (left). So, the registrar explained that we weren't to take any photographs during the actual ceremony (or whatever you want to call it), but that there would be an opportunity, afterwards, to take pictures of us re-enacting the important moment. M****** took quite a few of these, but most didn't come out too well; I think because she was using digital zoom. Ah well. Left to right here, we have Adrienne, Hilary, James and me.
14:23 through to 14:37 (to the left there). So here we have various pictures taken after the ceremony, as people made their down the memorial steps for all the photographs. I'm not sure who the guy is in the background in the first picture, but in the second picture from the left you can just make out my uncle Noel to the left of Hilary and there in the background is his wife, Jennifer, then Tony (in the sunglasses) and, facing away from the camera, is my aunt Leslie (married to Tony). And then, erm . . . lots of people walking down steps.
14:39. I think M****** took this one (first left). Here be my parents and a friend of theirs, Petrina. Then, erm, a couple of pictures of me, Rob and Tania. Not sure what we were looking at here . . . but I think my nephews/nieces were playing around down by the fountain, below us. You know, I completely forgot to mention James' breakfast this morning, consisting as it did of a bowl of muesli, a mug of coffee and a couple of cans of beer. Or was it the one can? Whatever.
14:41, 14:42 and 14:46 (left to right). M****** waving, behind the fountain.
14:50. And that, to the right there, is one of my favourite pictures from today. I think if I were to print and frame any of these, it would be that one. There seems to be lots of stuff going on in this picture and I like the curves and angles that the steps make.
14:51/52. First two pictures are of James and Hilary with my elder sister's two daughters, Isabelle and Jessica. Then in the last picture, the back of my other sister's son, Jake.
14:53/54. I like the first (from the left) picture here - everyone seems to be doing their own thing . . . it's like that Sesame Street song.
14:55. Spot the freak. There seems to be quite a few pictures like this, you may have noticed. So, erm . . . left to right, we have me, Jo, Adrienne, Jessica (niece), mum, Jake, Jessica (sister), James, Hilary, Ted, Sheila, dad and Isabelle.
15:01/04. So . . . yeah. I've tried here to delete all the dull pictures but it's still essentially people on steps. I like Hilary's expression in the middle picture here.
15:20. And here we have James and Hilary in the Rolls Royce that was to transport them to the King's Arms Hotel for the reception. The rest of us piled into a vintage bus, cared for and maintained by my dad and fellow bus enthusiasts. The Rolls Royce must have taken James and Hilary from the bottom of the monument up to the top again, at least that would explain the sequence here. The next photo (15:22) is the beginning of a sequence of confetti shots, as people manoeuvred themselves around to take account of the wind.
The first picture on the left (15:26) features the official photographer, John, and I think the woman on the far right was the car driver. The champagne was just for the bride and groom. The next picture along (15:30) is the inside of the bus . . . erm . . . this was M******'s idea. That's my dad up at the front, talking to the bus driver, Dave. Rob and Tarn were sat at the back, behind M****** and I. That's them there, to the right.
And then we fast forward to 17:02, to the main, erm . . . room (?!) of the King's Arms Hotel. This is where the food was served, the speeches were made and then, later on, the . . . erm disco (?!?!) was held. I really don't know what else to call it. Anyway, that's me, just about visible to the left of that large window at the back. I was probably worrying over my speech, if it can be called that. I was my brother's best man, you see.
Bit of a gap now . . . the first picture on the left was taken at 19:09 and the other one (the first dance) at 21:04. Well, erm, I don't think these pictures need much explanation . . . do they? There are a couple of .avi files that go with this second picture (this and this) but I don't M******'s quite mastered that feature yet.
21:06. The picture to the right there . . . left to right, we have H (brother-in-law), the back of Hilly/Jamie/Guy(?!), Drew and Jo.
And then (21:49), things started to get blurry. Maybe I was trying to conserve the twindling battery life, maybe I was trying to avoid the visual instrusion that is the flash (which meant increasing the exposure time), maybe I was trying to convey . . . movement, or maybe I was just drunk . . . maybe a combination of these things. Anyway, the blur to the left of the first two pictures here is M******.
From left to right: 22:28, 23:27, 23:39. So, erm, the first picture, I almost deleted, but then I quite liked the blurry shape in the bottom left of the picture . . . god knows who they are. Middle picture . . . well, this is the traditional sibling picture . . . the four of us. There should be a few pictures like this, for every 'event' where we were all in attendance, but this is the only one I have in my possession. And, er . . . the guest book . . . I'm not sure why I took a picture of this . . . didn't hurt though.
00:42, 00:42, 00:44. This is around where it ends for M****** and me that night. Sorry. M****** and I. In the first picture, I think M****** was just kinda resting her head on the table, as you do . . . the middle picture, I said, "Smile, M******, you're on the internet!" and true to form, she instantly perked up . . . for a few seconds . . . long enough for the camera. The picture on the right . . . that seemed to be the hard-core group that night . . . they were still there when I went to bed. Clockwise from top left, we have Hilly, Drew, Guy (just visible), James and Nicola. Yes - I managed an in-focus shot. I think this was the last that night.
The rest of the pictures I can't be bothered to deal with . . . they were, according to my camera, taken between 00:45 and 00:46 . . . so here you are . . . more blurry craziness . . . great.

Wednesday 26th May 2004

Just been putting up all the wedding photos from the weekend . . . still haven't finished.

Friday 28th May 2004

Ah . . . that's better . . . using a normal QWERTY keyboard now, but I find it rather confusing to look where the keys are. Erm . . . yes. So, for those interested in my health and well-being - the nurse (I've just been to the doctors) said my blood pressure was 'borderline', which was much better than last time. She also took some blood, via an injection in my LEFT ARM. Previously, it was always in the right but . . . no, that was just a TB thing, wasn't it? You know? The whole, "what hand do you write with?" thing, in case there was some kind of reaction . . . oh, I don't know. Anyway, she took some blood . . . dunno why. Maybe she just fancied it.

Today arrived my strop paste and brush holder from The English Shaving Company. I only ordered this stuff a couple of days ago. Crazy. In answer to an e-mail I received today - well, I've just wanted a cut-throat razor for . . . well, at least eight years, and now that I have one, having spent all that money, I might as well use it. I still can't get a fantastically close shave and I'm not sure whether this is 'cos I'm not using it right or I just didn't sharpen it properly. Hmmm . . . Anyway, forget Big Brother, this is so much better (erm . . . well, on second thoughts, maybe not that much):

Saturday 29th May 2004

After all, I expect to see this wall. I thought someone was actually going to paint it. Pah, you're just like all the others.

And there's something very odd going on with my telephone . . . I feel like a character from a David Lynch film . . . let me explain. On 21st May, at exactly 13:40 (BST), someone left a message, but it sounds like some kind of automatic 'your call could not be connected' type of message, only it's in French. Now, I'm not very good at French, but it sounds like, " . . . ne quittez pas un correspondent," and the next bit I can't make sense of but phonetically, it sounds like 'che se bu zan dra'. Uh? What?! The next message, at exactly 13:42 the following day (Saturday 22nd), begins with the same bit of French that I couldn't make sense of that the previous message ended in, only the last couple of syllables seem to be pronounced slightly differently . . . there's more of a rolling r sound. Then, very quietly, you can just make out background noise . . . someone writing on paper, maybe crossing something out . . . I don't know. The next message is at 13:39 on Wednesday 26th. This time, it's English and a woman says, "Hello?", a few seconds pause and then, "Hello?" again and then the message ends. At 13:41 (maybe you're spotting a pattern) on Thursday 27th the message is silence, about four or five seconds worth. At 13:40, yesterday, more silence, but this time only for a second or two. And then, today, most worrying of all, most eerie of all the messages . . . at 13:41 someone left a message featuring several seconds of nothingness and then, barely audible, the words, "C'est gare . . . " (I think) but it could just as easily be "Segar" (with an acute on the E) or perhaps "Cigar" with the I pronounced more as an E . . . but I really don't know. It's a woman (again) but it sounds like it's her last breath, her dying words, the last syllable stretched out. On all occasions, the caller's number is unavailable (I have caller display, but my phone just says 'UNAVAIL'). During the week, I changed my phone message to something along the lines of "Hello, no-one can get to the 'phone right now, so please leave a message. You do this by speaking . . . CLEARLY . . . AUDIBLY . . . AND . . . IN . . . ENGLISH," but all to no avail. No doubt a video tape will arrive on my doorstep soon . . . erm . . . actually, it will have to be a DVD - I don't have a video player . . . but, anyway, it will be a DVD of someone with a camcorder wandering around my house, filming me sleeping and then it will end. Great. I sleep with an axe by my pillow, sometimes a crow-bar.

Sunday 30th May 2004

Now I'm confused . . . who's using a Sun machine, 8:16 this morning? X11; U; SunOS sun4u; en-US; rv:1.7.

It's now 13:44 . . . I'm worried.

So I've changed my answer phone message, telling them they've probably got the wrong number . . . but maybe they don't understand English. Hmmmm . . . you didn't think of that, did you?