Bellerophon symbol, variation 7
Wednesday 8th December 2004

Yay! At last - web server back up and running. See, following the change to NTL as my ISP I thought I would rearrange the network topology. Didn't I already explain this? Hello? So, erm . . . it's still not properly arranged as I would want, but the various port-forwarding stuff is obviously working. Right. So what's been happening recently in my life? Erm . . . well, the decorating seems to have come to a stand-still. Why is it so difficult to get a roofer to tell me what's wrong? Is anything wrong? Do they know? How many cracked tiles? Do you just not want to do the work? I just don't know . . . so, I figure there is no leak, and it's just a load of damp, so . . . plasterer, you can come back now. And there's all these tubs of paint lying around, doing nothing. Spending £100 on computer bits doesn't seem nearly as bad as spending £100 on paint, for gawd sake. Anyway, Robert's coming over tomorrow evening. We go for drinks in town, I think.

Friday 10th December 2004

Erm . . . that picture on the left was taken at 00:31 . . . I dunno what it is, or what's going on or anything. Hey, I just write this stuff. The other two pictures below illustrate the 'damp problem'. The night before Rob and I had ventured to a few strange pubs around Leeds . . . like that one opposite the hospital . . . Ward 12 or Ward 13 or something. I think my camera got a bit confused as to what angle these pictures were meant to be at. Poor thing.

Saturday 11th December 2004

So this was M******'s birthday weekend, her birthday falling on the following Wednesday, you see. A meal was booked for 20:00 at this Tin Tin place. Or Tin Tin's. I just don't know. There were a few of us . . . eight or nine. Let me think . . . M******, me, Anna, Mouse, Simon, Simon, Simon, Liz, Anthony and . . . no, that's nine. That must be it. They had these freaky gel candles there, one of which (a green one) is visible in front of the waitress in that picture to the right there.
So that's Anna, Simon and another Simon (Mel's brother). M******'s brother has featured somewhere before in my web-log. In fact, what am I on about? All of these people have. Well, whatever. I don't know who those other people are in the picture. They were on another table and had nothing really to do with us. In the right, M****** and Simon pose behind the other gel candle on the table. As you can see, the wick was at a, er . . . difficult angle, shall we say. Took me ages to light that one.
So, yeah . . . Simon (not M******'s sister, not Mouse's boyfriend) was going a bit crazy with the camera at this point. That's one he took where M****** was kind of waving him away. I think he took the previous one with M****** and Simon, but obviously not the last one . . . unless he had it on 10 second delay, which is perfectly possible, but then Simon wouldn't really have taken the picture . . . would he? Would he?
and then various people . . . left to right, if you're interesting . . . Anthony and Liz, Mouse and Simon, Anna and Simon. Seems like we were at Tin-Tin's for just over two hours. Crazy. Food was okay, though. Me and M****** had a quarter of a duck for starters. Mmmmmmm, duck. Duck, pancakes, cucumber, spring onion and plum sauce . . . lots of plum sauce. Yum yum yum.
Erm . . . and then we went to this pub, a fairly new one. We're on Eastgate, yeah, so we just went up the road, towards the Headrow, and there at the corner, opposite Greggs, and where (I think) Fish (hideously overpriced fish restaurant) used to be, next door to when used to be Bar 39 (38? 37? god knows . . . ) used to be, but is now Baby Cream, which sounds a bit creapy to me, like baby oil . . . how many babies does it take to make a bottle of baby oil? Anyway, it was good. They had loads of freaky German and Belgium beers there, I seem to recall. They had this last orders thing at 23:00 (or more like 22:55) which meant we were thrown out at 23:20 (well, actually 23:15, but everyone had gone by 23:15).
. . . so then we went on to someone else, walking via the Light. Simon needed the toilet, and was running around (doesn't like he's running here though), up and down the escalators, trying to find somewhere. I thought he looked kind of funny, and I once saw a guy getting hassled by the security guards for walking through the Light even carrying a camera, so I was wondering what would happen if I took a few pictures of their precious complex. But nothing happened.
so then we went to the Lounge. £2.90 for a pint of their cheapest lager, something like Carlsberg or Carling. Disgraceful. The Lounge, you are named and shamed. No doubt due to these prices, we stayed just for one drink and then headed for the, er . . . Bar Santiago, or whatever it's called today. I'm not sure what the thing on Simon's head is. Some kind of Christmas decoration? That's me in the background in the middle picture and the right-most one, so I'm not sure who took them. Ah well. I know I took the one on the left.

Sunday 12th December 2004

And then we get into Sunday . . . this must be Bar Santiago, the last pub/bar that night for me, M******, MouseSimon. I remember trying to get a whisky here, saying to the bar-man, "Yeah. Can I have a, erm, whisky? Something like Glenmorangie but not Glenmorangie, if you know what I mean," and then this girl waiting at the bar to my right goes, "You're very rude, you know," but I didn't know, and her tone of voice wasn't at all accusatory . . . more as if she was saying, "You're a very odd person, you know," as if it was neither good nor bad. "Sorry, were you waiting to be served? I thought that, er . . . " but I think she was drunk and I couldn't work out what she was going on about. Then when I was trying to decide what whisky to get, she kept going, "Yeah, get one. It's nice. My dad likes that one," which really wasn't helping. Anyway . . . that last picture there, those are mysterious orbs, evidence of psychic phenomena, the spirits themselves, lost souls, ephemeral lifeforms at the very edge of human perception . . . or is it just water vapour? Rain, or something . . .

Monday 13th December 2004

Erm . . . don't really have time right now. The web-server is working though . . . honest.

Tuesday 14th December 2004

Again, no time . . . I have some new photos as well, from Saturday night. And, erm, it's not like I'm busy or lazy or anything . . . p'raps just badly organised. I've noticed that all those automated web-bot thingies seemed to have stopped visiting my site since I moved over to this new IP address . . . and an IP address that changes whenever I reset the cable modem. Hmmmmm. How exciting. Right, better go. I'm late already.

Wednesday 15th December 2004

Hello. It's M******'s birthday today. Happy birthday, M******. Also, we had a treat at work today. As we were tucking into our 'christmas lunch' on the ground floor in the canteen, who should turn up but none other than one of the hardest working and most professional acts in Britain. Yes, Kwantum themselves!!!! After about 45 minutes (was it that long?) they ran out of Christmas songs and had to start all over, but that meant playing two or three songs twice. I worked out then if I ever go to Hell, this band would be playing the soundtrack. I realised this as I was sat there, bathing in a post-Kwantum after-glow, thinking to myself, "I feel like some part of my soul has been taken away . . . almost as if laughter will now be much less forthcoming . . . " and then I thought, "Do this 'duo' go home at night, after a hard days work and think to themselves, 'Well, another successful and productive day' or do they get back to whatever hotel they're staying in that night, open up the whisky and start screaming, 'Why? WHY?! WHY??! PLEASE GOD TELL US WHY?!?!?! AAARRRRRGHHH!!!!' as they smash their heads against the wall." I just don't get it, I really don't. But then I haven't even explained what they were doing . . . it was a man and woman, playing cover versions of popular Christmas songs (you know the kind . . . Slade, Winter Wonderland, something by Shakin' Stevens, et cetera), the woman largely doing the vocals, the man on guitar and, erm . . . it seemed like they had a keyboard going . . . but from the first floor, where I work, it kept sounding like they were just fading out, as if they too were failing to see the point of what they were doing. Their audience was only captive in the sense that they were simply sat there, eating their lunch. When lunch was over, when there were no more people eating, then the music ended. Almost on cue, when the last 'cranberry sauce' stained fork was put down beside the losing end of a cheap Christmas cracker, there besides some god-awful bit of plastic, vaguely in the shape of . . . lord only knows . . . is that a cherub?
So, anyway . . . in the evening, M******'s dad came over and we went out for a meal at, erm . . . Pizza Express, the one behind the Corn Exchange. How do you get behind an ovular building anyway? Oh, it doesn't matter. There were a few large groups at Pizza Express, one of which seemed to consist largely of women over 50 years old. I think there were three or four people in their late twenties, but that was three/four out of about 12/13. Odd. Anyway . . . after that, a drink or two at, erm . . . Cafe Rouge, I think it was. I like that last picture there. You can just about make out Anna and M******, and it's obvious there's a long exposure going on, but somehow I managed to keep the camera relatively steady. Very unlike me.

Thursday 16th December 2004

So, in the morning, M****** and I went to the Clarendon Wing of the hospital to check out what was growing inside M******. It appeared human, and kept leaping around all over the place. As the operator of the ultrasound machine observed, "Wow - we've got quite a wriggler here." She wasn't going to give us a picture (maybe it's not 'policy') but M****** asked, and she kind of went, "Well, we would usually throw them away but . . . yeah, whatever, here you go." (why didn't I think just to film the ultrasound display with my camera?) So, from about 09:15 until 11:00 that morning, we were there, at the hospital. Everything was fine, normal and on-track. Then, when I got back to work, it wasn't for long. To complement the 'live music' from yesterday, we had this fantastic . . . erm, Mexican-themed duo playing in the canteen. I assumed they were Mexican themed, as they were wearing sombreros (oh, and Santa outfits, of course) and playing some trumpet-like instruments. They were playing fairly typical Christmas tunes, but . . . well, I couldn't really have cared too much what they playing. I was in a pretty good mood that day, and whatever they were playing was fantastic compared to Kwantum. I wanted to take pictures and applaud them, but they was very little time that day. Damnit, these pictures are getting ahead of me. The first picture (the potato) shows, of course, the semblance of the Virgin Mary, as spotted by Matthew. Don't look on eBay though - the potato has been eaten (a few minutes after the picture was taken). The second picture . . . erm - I'm not sure. That's something Michael did, so you can blame him. Seems like the macro lens on my camera is far superior to the normal lens. Hmmmmm. Anyway, then we have several pictures of various people from our Christmas meal . . . we're at the Wardrobe here. Sorry - did I not say that already? Michael took quite a few of these. And those three pictures to the left there, yeah? Looks like I took those . . . I like the middle one best - everyone in the picture looks fairly normal, in focus, you know? And there's Steve . . . well, being Steve, I guess.
and then we have this sequence, carefully crafted by Michael, showing the untimely death of green-cat-with-club-thing by yellow, plastic Concorde. Tragic. Looks like me and Lisa are oblivious to the disaster unfolding in front our very eyes. Do people say, 'in front of our very own eyes'? That sounds weird. Our very own eyes. Hmmmm. Anyway, after the meal, we stayed at the Wardrobe for a while, but just moved over to the main bar area. So where did we go after that? Was it Mook? Oh yes, I remember now. See, Mook do cocktails at two for one, but only from 17:00 onwards. Looks like we got there around six-ish. I'm not sure if you can really call them cocktails, though. More like interesting fruit drinks, but with very like actual alcoholic content. But, hey, they also do pints of Stella (or maybe it's just generic lager . . . I forget now) for something like £2 so it's not all bad. I think we went to 'Jake's Bar and Grill' (or whatever) after Mook . . . did we? Drinks were a bit too expensive here, but they had this interesting raspberry beer stuff, and only £4 something for a pint. Bargain. I think we went on the Angel after that, but there were now only six of us. I left after the Angel (20:55?) and walked home, thinking the walk would kind of sober me up a bit . . . which it may have done, but the two double vodkas I had once home cancelled all that. Clever. That's Michael to the left there, when we were at Jake's Bar, but I'm not sure what the other picture is of . . . taken at about the same time, but I don't know what's going on there. Still, it wouldn't be the same without at least one blurry picture.

Sunday 19th December 2004

I been Christmas shopping today . . . oh, and putting in photos and words for 11th December . . . and helping M****** move out of her previous address, up to my place. Most of my friends, colleagues and family are aware now, but M******'s now 12 weeks pregnant . . . pretty much to the day. When we went for the scan (damnit, where's the picture?) on Thursday, they said, "Eleven weeks and five days . . . plus or minus five days . . . that's measured from the crown to the rump," so there you go.

Monday 20th December 2004

We found something in M******'s womb . . .

So, I must apologise for the appalling quality of this image. I can't get my scanner to work right now. So, instead, I had to photograph the image from the ultrasound print-out. A photograph of a photograph. Well, maybe I could (get the scanner working), but I can't be bothered (recompiling the kernel and all that . . . Linux is great sometimes). Tonight I've just been updating the web-site with recent . . . erm . . . events, I guess. I think this qualifies as the image of the youngest ever person on my web-site. And if you're looking at this, thinking, "Eh? What the frig? Which grainy bit of this photo is what? I don't get it. I can't see anything," then . . . well, the head's to the left of the picture, if that helps. And that there to the right, is a strange image we found in the same picture, to the lower right-hand corner (I've had to rotate it slightly). If you click on the image to the left, you might be able to make it out . . . maybe. I think it's some kind of mask but the mouth's completely askew. Askew? Lopsided.

Thursday 23rd December 2004

Hello. Jonathan here. Not much happened today. Woke up. Had breakfast. Went to town. Came home. Went to Beer Ritz. Came home again. Went to the Royal Mail sorting office. Collected a parcel. Came home yet again. Last night I shifted so-called 'node zero' into the space underneath some stairs in my house. There's some pictures here, but they're not very interesting. No, really, they're not. Note the gorgeous pink carpet. Mmmmmm. So, left to right, we have web-server, on which all this is stored and, erm . . . what's the word? Administered? Managed? Whatever . . . then that thin dark grey box is obviously some kind of hub thing. Then on the right is the DHCP server . . . that thing connects to the internet via the CAT 5 cable connected to the lower down ethernet card which leads to a NTL cable modem which is in a wardrobe somewhere (out of shot) . . . then the other ethernet card acts as a kind of bridge, I guess . . . between the LAN and the WAN (the Internet) . . . when computers want an IP address in my network, they have to go via this network card . . . currently only two machines connected though. As you can see, I've got room for expansion . . . another thirteen machines, but I can't really see that happening . . . somehow. Right. Better finish wrapping things then.

Saturday 25th December 2004

So, it's quarter to four in the morning, and Rob and I are trying to make garlic toast. I used to make this a lot a few years ago (ten years ago? 1997? 1998?) when I was still living with my parents. I would just get a load of garlic, cut it up (very, very finely) and then kind of pound it in with a load of butter and olive oil. This would then be spread on a slice of bread and toasted. Mmmmmm. Gorgeous. My mum would complain the smell would wake her up in the middle of the night. Anyway, by this stage, we had had a bit of wine, a bit of beer, some of Lucy's homebrew, some of Lucy's home-made cider, some of Ian's (Lucy's dad) home-made cider, some whisky, some gin . . . so, we were a bit confused, hence the use of the blender. It didn't really work. I think somehow we ended up with garlic toast, but . . . well, my expression in that middle picture might kind of explain how we were feeling. Not good.
This picture was taken at 15:41. I think I was awoken shortly before Christmas lunch was being served up. I have a feeling it was around 12:38, but I really couldn't be sure. I didn't feel too bad, considering. Oh yeah - and it had been snowing, hadn't it? Yeah, I remember. Anyway, this was my parents' nativity scene (to the right there). Some of these characters don't belong, but who are they?
So this first picture was taken at 15:44 and represents my first useless attempt at photographing snow. I was at the top of my parents' house and couldn't even be bothered to open the window or anything. That's pretty bad. It looked cold outside, you see. After dinner, and ritual unwrapping of presents, I headed for James And Hilary's. That second picture was taken at 16:19 and, guess what, I left the flash on. Oooops. Still, you can just about make out the shape of some church in the background . . . silhouetted. And the last one . . . well, that's all blurry. Damn it. Anyway, that's the church on Scotforth Road, opposite the bottom of Palatine Avenue. You know? Opposite the, er . . . some kind of parish hall. So I put the camera away for the rest of the day. Seemed the best plan. The rest of the evening I was with James and Hilary, watching films, playing Scrabble, drinking beer . . . blah, blah, blah.

Sunday 26th December 2004

14:07 (left). So, this is the same kitchen I was in . . . erm . . . roughly 22 hours ago with Rob, under slightly different circumstances. That's my dad there and another of my nephews, this one being Thomas, my elder sister's youngest child. Thomas was born barely over a year ago, see. To the right there, a couple of minutes later, we have my mum, my brother (James) and Thomas again. James, Hilary and my elder sister's family had gathered over at my parents house for lunch. Me, James and Hilary were the last to arrive. James might say this was on account of the treacherous conditions - the snow had M******ted slightly but then froze overnight so that there was ice everywhere. However, we would have set off earlier had James spent less time (or woken up earlier) faffing around with his hair. But hey . . .
21:42, 21:43, 22:21, 23:17 (left to right, ever-obsessed with time). So, later on, I found myself at M******'s mum's place at Halton. Did I mention this somewhere else? No. Oh, okay. If there's someone unfamiliar in any of these pictures, then it could be Stuart (Helen's (Mel's mum) boyfriend), who Simon's playing guitar with or it could be Beccy (Simon's girlfriend) or it could even by M******'s mum. How should I know? How would I know who you recognise or don't recognise?

Monday 27th December 2004

so continued from the previous day . . . the picture with the dice in was taken at eleven minutes past midnight and the other one two minutes before that. Looks like we were playing Yahtzee. I think Yahtzee went on for a while. Eventually most of us got bored of it, seeing no end in sight and went to bed. I think Stu was declared the winner as he was the one with the scoresheet but also had loads of points, but I think it was a close run thing with Simon.
13:44, 13:50, 13:52. We had a small breakfast and then went for a walk . . . me, M****** and Simon. We were following a path along the Lune, heading for the Crook O'Lune, I believe. However, the bridge you see photgraphed here . . . well, that was closed and that would have taken us in a direct line to the Crook O'Lune so instead we had . . . erm . . . I guess we just followed the Lune for a bit longer, looking for the next bridge. Simon kept going on about Gray's Seat, which we was gradually leading us towards.
14:05. So this is the view from Gray's Seat. You should be able to make out the Lune snaking around the countryside there. Shame it was a bit cloudy. Ah well. Those pictures to the right were taken around ten past two. I assume the curved bench is Gray's Seat, but I don't know. Could be anything. Then there's some trees. I think I lost the battery cover to my mobile phone somewhere up here. I had the thing on vibrate and had completely forgotten about it, as you do. Then I noticed this strange vibration coming from my coat and I'm wondering what the frig is going on. Turns out it was Sam, checking whether M****** and I would be able to make it up to Bolton for Sam's birthday party.
oh, and these are some more pictures . . . some rocks with stuff engraved on them, perhaps it was a line of text by, erm . . . William/Thomas/whatever Gray. That would seem to make sense, you know? And then, erm . . . Simon took a cute little picture of a stone wall, using the macro lens. Seemed to come out very colourful, somehow. Hmmmm. And then a tree. I took that picture. Some of the clouds had cleared, and you can just about make out some blue there, so that's good.
left to right, these ones were taken at 14:18, 15:51, 15:52 and 15:52 (again). More tree shapes, but less cloud this time. Then the other three . . . well, it would a pretty good view, with a bit more light, bit less cloud, but hey . . . I tried overexposing (as you can probably tell), but it didn't really help all that much. So, after that, we were getting peckish, but had to decide where to go . . . eventually opting for, er . . . was it the Ship Inn? Yes, the Ship Inn, just on the edge of Brookhouse . . . you go past it on the way to Leeds from Lancaster, going the back way, along the A653. Anyway . . .
18:58 and 18:54 (left to right, blah blah blah). And after dinner, back to Halton and M******'s mum's house. Simon and I were messing around with the camera and television for a while, but you can never take pictures of video feedback when you turn the camera onto the television screen, so that was a problem. Instead, I was trying to demonstrate the freaky green rectangles that appear when you try to take a picture sometimes and the camera gets all confused about what to focus on, hence my hand being there, you see.

Tuesday 28th December 2004

So I think we went back to Lancaster today. Maybe we had to be back at my parent's house for midday. Then we had lunch at the Boot and Shoe (pub just down the road) with my younger sister, Jessica and her family. Yeah, that sounds about right. In the evening, we went to see Darren and his girlfriend, Kate. They both live in Carnforth. This picture here must have been taken on the way back, as the time was 20:02 (yeah, I know, but that's according to my possibly slightly slow camera) and I think the last train back to Lancaster was at about 20:05. God, I don't know. Unfortunately, I still had the resolution at the lowest possible setting, so that picture came out pretty awful. Oooops. I remember we were skimming through books at my parent's house, sat in the front room, possibly waiting for everyone to be ready to go over to the pub. I was going through '1000 Films You Must See' . . . it mentioned 'Kill Bill' but not 'Zatoichi', which was odd. And no mention of 'Oldboy' and I don't think 'The Battle of Algiers' either. Hmmmmm. But then 'Spirited Away' got a mention . . . but then so did 'The Jungle Book'. And M****** was going through some kind of 'guide to photography' book . . . blah, blah, blah. Well, that was interesting. Glad I mentioned all that. Yep. Anyway, it was Anna, M****** and I who went to see Darren and Kate. Darren's got his own house there, you see. I have no pictures, though. See, erm . . . M****** was saying I should have taken more pictures, of like nephews, nieces, family and then Darren and Kate, but I kind of forgot. Anyway . . . back in Lancaster, we were starving again, so went to the Shabab for a late dinner . . . and then the John O'Gaunt.

Thursday 30th December 2004

So, left to right, that's obvious M****** and I (yeah, the camera was on 10 second delay, you see). I don't think M****** was really in the mood for being photographed. Maybe I had just said something wrong. I dunno. Anyway, then there's some records. I like this picture . . . nice and colourful. I think I was just messing around here, trying to run the battery down again. I ought to point out that not all of these are records that I actually parted cash for. Some of these were given. The Bach, Tori Amos and Aphex Twin (Ventolin) records are definitely mine . . . erm . . . okay, and the Vangelis. I was very young at the time, see. My teens. I was also buying loads of Pink Floyd and Krautrock at the time, so I don't feel so bad. And that last picture is some dull moon I was flying over recently, during a frantic search for copper ore. Or is it wood-chip? Hmmmmm.

Friday 31st December 2004

So, anyway . . . today was our, erm, 'dinner party'. M****** had to go to the doctors in the morning for something and, meanwhile, I had a few items to buy from town to enable the meal to happen, as it were. We needed weighing scales, an electric hand-whisk, side plates, a table cloth, bacon, and some kind of baking tray thing. From about 1pm onwards (or whenever it was I got back from town . . . maybe 13:30 . . . I dunno) it seemed we were doing pretty much nothing but preparing this meal. The main course involved loads of peeling and slicing up of vegetables, you see. Also, the main course could be made in advance (good job it was, as it turned out) and also the pudding, as that was just a roulade.
All these pictures are getting ahead of me. That first picture was taken at 19:49. People were meant to turn up at 19:30. I think Anna turned up first, followed by Mouse and Simon shortly after. And then that second picture, at 19:51, that's not long after the, er, starter was served up. The starter was this kind of cashew nut, apple, watercress and avocado salady thing, served in avocado half-skins (see picture) with some kind of vinaigrette dressing (lemon juice, olive oil and French dijon mustard) . . . erm . . . is this too much detail? Anyway, that third picture was taken at 20:11, probably not long after the starter. Lots of hands moving around here. The picture above on the right (with the wine bottle) was taken at 20:15. The picture with Mouse and Simon was taken at 20:53 (yes, I know it's an awful picture, but it's kinda funny). And that one of me, at 20:57, when I was doing an impression of a kind of hunchbacked, leary waiter. You kinda had to see it, really. Oh, and looks like the cheese board turned up at 22:20. Must have been a four-course meal. Was the cheese last then? I dunno. Anyway, looks like Wensleydale with cranberries, some kind of Bavarian smoked something . . . erm . . . that must be Boursin, in the foil dish thing. Not sure what the blue one was or the other two . . . probably mature Cheddar and 'Lancashire'. That last picture (well, until New Year's Day) there (to the right) was taken at 23:30 . . . things are starting to get blurry. Looks like we're playing the 'Rizla Game' or whatever you call it. You get the name of someone famous stuck on your forehead and using yes/no questions you have to work out who the hell it is. I'm hopeless at this game, asking questions like, "Was I a silicon-based life form?" Anthony and Liz had arrived whilst we were in the middle of the game, but I think it ended soon after this picture was taken.