keresaspa: (Cartman)
Hell, even I think I've been away too often recently. The joys of growing up in a warzone, I suppose. And let it be known too that the following load of old rambling nonsense should have been published yesterday but my internet provider decided to give me a day of no service just to remind me who the boss is. Thanks as ever Virgin Media, I would denounce you as vermin but recent events have drawn me closer to that class of creature. Intrigued? Didn't think so but read on anyway, it's good for chilblains.

Read more... )
keresaspa: (Nina Wadia)
So I disappear for fifteen days and livejournal tries to sneak its awful new interface for posting entries on me by force. Sod that, switch to old version forthwith. And whilst we are at it, is it a general thing for everybody that clicking on an interest on a userpage always returns no matches regardless or is that just me? This place is falling apart and may God almighty and St Cuthbert be angry with them if they don't get their acts together soon.

As to that fifteen day absence it is explained by a combination of a general ennui at the slow death of this site as well as the fact that my laptop had gone east for a while last weekend. I did have access to a creaking old desktop computer that [livejournal.com profile] queenmartina had long since cast aside like so much mechanically recovered BSE carcass meat but it was used only in fits and starts as I am loathe to touch other people's electronics for fearing of buggering them up, even those that lie unloved. I was without my own for five days or so but I managed to survive fairly well thanks to (in no particular order) a jolly outing to dear old Ballymena, Virgin Media's on demand service being well stocked with episodes of Bo Selecta, another instalment in Donegal Celtic's inexorable rush to relegation (well, it will suit me as I will have a team in each of three divisions next season), yet another spot of painting and another bit of reading this time with the oddball mix of Walter de la Mare (who, like the previously mentioned Hope Mirrlees, was going great guns until a duffer of an ending) and Franz Kafka ("The Metamorphosis" = a masterpiece but "In the Penal Colony" = crap). It was an old fashioned experience not having immediate internet access but if Led Zeppelin have a top ten album and Richard Edmonds is back in the NF (who will they dig up next, Robert Relf?) then perhaps the archaic is the zeitgeist. Or something like that.

Still it was worth it in the end because when the beast was returned to me the transformation was intense. The improved response from the internet was what I had hoped for but a bunch of other problems I hadn't even noticed are now banished to the land of wind and ghosts. Until now I had assumed the myriad time lags I had to endure were all part of the package but every man jack of them has now been exorcised and I have yet to hear the dreaded beep of doom once since the contraption was returned from [livejournal.com profile] burkesworks' dexterous digits. Were we not old chums I would have called for him to burnt as a warlock, such has been the transformation in the hitherto tired old apparatus. I don't know what you did but I'm awful glad you did it because whatever the processes this old monster has never worked as well before, not even when it was fresh out of the box.
keresaspa: (Daffney)
So, a lot of the time now when I scroll with my mouse up or down the page moves at a ridiculously slow rate and in small increments. If, for instance, I scroll up half a page it will move up a couple of lines, stop for a while, move up a couple more, stop and so on until it finally completes the scrolling that properly should take a nanosecond. There isn't really a particular pattern to this - any website, with the possible of exception of Wikipedia, is liable to be effected in this way and generally there is nothing that can be done to fix it (refreshing, for example, makes no difference). This is combined with other faults - general slowness, windows freezing if I ignore them for more than a minute, the computer really struggling if I close a tab, the wrong page or a blank field appearing when I switch between tabs, boxes taking several seconds to appear when I right click, "Shockwave" crashing constantly, the text constantly lagging behind whenever I type anything in a browser (including this post) etc. The old laptop has been generally crap for several months but it is increasingly approaching unusable territory.

I put all this here on the off chance (a) that anybody still reads this and (b) if they do they can tell me if this is likely to be a fault with my internet connection or the laptop itself. It could be that this machine is in its death throes but I really don't want to blow several hundred quid I can ill afford on a new computer only for it to start all over again because it is bloody Virgin Media pratting me about again. So just in case anybody is lurking please help me as this thing is a few minutes away from a high speed trip through the bloody window.
keresaspa: (Alice)
So part of the reason I haven't been on here recently has been problems with the laptop. Allegedly that was fixed by Virgin Media recently when they boosted their signal after it fell to virtually nil but, whilst that has fixed a few problems others abound, all at levels that are confusing the hell out of me. These problems are:

1) issues with using search engines that prevent me from using the site:url function for some websites
2) some sites not appearing in search engine results when they really should
3) a Spybot scan revealing no issues. Now that never ever happens. It always uncovers a few minor things at least but nothing?!
4) one of those spammy warnings about my computer being infested with viruses appearing on a slightly disreputable website. I would have ignored that were it not for:
5) Solitaire or Patience or whatever the hell it is called suddenly wiping its records. I had played it a few thousand times (yes, I know) only for it to suddenly say I had never played it before with all the statistics disappearing into the ether. This resetting happened a few times today but now seems to have stopped and is showing me at eight plays.
6) All sorts of other minor stupid things, including the last.fm thing on livejournal not working (although that might be lj's fault as most everything else that goes wrong on here seems to be their fault).

AVG killed off an infection a little while ago but it looked like something fairly minor and I have no idea if it is connected to any of these five events. The statistics disappearance has scared we senseless as things disappearing like that give me thoughts of worms or other things that eat your files. Sense would dictate I should transfer stuff to a USB stick to be safe but of course I don't have one available with any memory.

To be quite frank all of this is far too confusing for me so I'm putting this crap here in the forlorn hope that somebody might be able to tell me what is wrong and what I can do. So on the off chance that anybody still reads this crap and knows what to do let me know before I go insane

Bored

Apr. 25th, 2011 08:06 pm
keresaspa: (Ivy the Terrible)
Bored. Earlier futile attempts to discover the source of a rotten smell in the kitchen cannot disguise the fact that I am as bored as bored can be. Good lord but bank holidays are pigging! They may be the definition of excitement and freedom in proper cities but in my neck of the woods everything comes to a standstill and you are left only with a crushing, interminable ennui. None of which is helped by our internet connection being as weak a malaria victim on hunger strike and cutting out every lot of minutes for some reason. Blasted Virgin Media and their slapdash service. Even the telly is no release as it seems determined to serve up a choice between God-awful film versions of ropey 70s sitcoms and fluffy nonsense about two over-cosseted shits who happen to be getting married. I get it, some geezer from Bahrain can't come but please stop telling me every five minutes in excruciatingly boring detail.

So in summary - bored.
keresaspa: (Miki Sugimoto)
Two points about the changes in Sky Sports News. The departure of the channel from Freeview means that the only reasons I have for keeping the blasted thing are weekly showings of King of the Hill (which will be ending soon anyway having been axed) and Important Things with Demetri Martin (and I'm getting a bit bored of him anyway). Given that I never watch DVDs now it might be time for my TV to hit the road soon. On the other hand the revamped channel remains on the main TV on Virgin Media and I have to say it looks bloody awful. Horrid widescreen format with all the writing on-screen tiny and illegible and too much flashing and movement going on. The only thing Rupert Murdoch got right and now they've naused it up. Bloody change!

And now because I can think of nothing to talk about but still feel a determination to keep this thing going I will go old school and roll out a survey, as taken from [livejournal.com profile] queenmartina.

Read more... )
keresaspa: (Fran Drescher)
Today, we were told, was going to be all about the Best in the World (right). We have the Best footballing nation in the World, the current Best in the World and the supposed Best footballer in the World all sharing the same stage so all we had to do was set back and marvel. That was the theory at least - the practice proved to be somewhat different.

It's always struck me as terribly unusual that, given their constant trumpeting of all things digital and interactive, the BBC does not have a digital channel broadcasting during the day for anybody over the age of about 12, particularly given that the audience for the CBBC channel tend to spend their days at school or hassling OAPs outside local shops. As a result North Korea-Ivory Coast was hidden behind the mythical red button and for users of Virgin Media such as myself that means it might as well be in China as accessing Virgin's red button resources is a process every bit as slow, arcane and unrewarding as a Find Familiar spell. Heck, you don't even get wide-angled vision out of it! As a result I had to choose one match and ignore the other and so I made what I felt would be the smart move and opted for Brazil-Portugal. Big mistake as it was, to use the modern vernacular, utter pants. After a load of build-up from Lineker it was always bound to be a disappointment but this was a lot worse than anybody could have imagined. The Portuguese are admittedly a technically good side but they are a horrid bunch of cheats and whiners whilst Brazil looked decidedly ordinary. Meanwhile the Coast racked up the goals in a vain attempt to reach the second round and all we saw were shrunken version of the goals. A chore and no mistake and the fact that I spent much of the match playing Snake Xenzia says all you need to know about the quality of what was on offer. It also must be said that Jonathan Pearce's rum habit of occasionally adopting an indeterminate Mediterranean accent whenever referring to a player from that general area or one of their former colonies is incredibly grating and was fundamentally overused in this game. In fairness this match was quite meaningless and both of these are a lot better than this but it is a shame that the Ivory Coast didn't have Drogba fit from the start as they might just have taken the Portuguese down. As for North Korea they were nice in the first game but as soon as the novelty wore off it was clear that they were well and truly out of their depth.

The other Best in the World (or at least the one that was until they lost to Swiss) came next and once again the band made an arse of things by cutting off the stirring "O el asilo contra la opresión" bit of Chile's national anthem with Spain's silent effort. It did the Chileans no harm in the early stages however as their play was excellent and Spain looked like being overwhelmed and bundled out. As the inevitable 0-0 between Switzerland and Honduras rumbled on (a match I was able to watch freely but never felt the need to see) it soon became clear that Chile badly lack a goleador in the Zamorano mould and as such the game became, very briefly, more about duff commentary than anything else. Chris Coleman's ill-omened few months at Real Sociedad made him the Spanish football expert by default, although if the rumours are to be believed Cookie learned only about the Spanish nightlife in his time in Iberia. Meanwhile Clive "that magical night at the Nou Camp" Tyldesley told us that Marcelo Bielsa being a qualified PE teacher was obvious from his habit of wearing his glasses on a piece of cord. Perhaps it's just me but that's a look I have always associated with the stereotypical librarian rather than the failed professional footballers that humiliate fat children in the name of PE "teaching". Still, whilst I was considering that particular conundrum David Villa suddenly belted in a goal from nothing following some comedic hi-jinx from the Chilean keeper. Spain may no longer be the Best in the World after the Switzerland result but they might just have the best out and out striker in the world in Villa. Meanwhile Iniesta soon made it two with an absolute peach of a goal, although he was due something special after a ropey start. Very unfortunate to see Estrada get a red card because the woefully ineffective Fernando Torres fell over during the build-up but there was a violent side to Chile in this game alongside their nice play. The 2-0 half-time score could hardly have been more flattering to the Spanish but they do say that true champions will grind out results even when they're not playing great. The sudden Chile goal at the start of the second half suggested a classic was to follow and Spain certainly improved when Torres, whom you have to assume is injured rather than just suddenly rubbish, left the scene for Fabregas. However before long the game petered out, presumably with word filtering through that the Swiss were doing their usual no forwards routine, and the last twenty minutes or so became very turgid indeed. Still, there was enough time left for Clive to make another balls-up as he proceeded to tell us that apparently North Korea had qualified for a second round tie. Bad news for Portugal, I suppose! God, Brian Moore you are sorely missed at these tournaments. In the end Spain just about shaded it and were probably worthy group winners whilst Chile will be a much more entertaining prospect for the second round than the deathly dull Swiss. Poor old Honduras were never really at the races and I think it's fair to say were actually a lot worse than their results suggest.

The real stuff can begin in earnest tomorrow and isn't amazing how received wisdom has again been proven to be the words of wiseacres. They told us ad nauseam that the South African winter would suit the European teams as the South Americans (most of whom play in Europe) don't know what winter is as they all live in places so hot that even the salamanders complain. Absolute tripe, as all five South American teams have gone through whilst seven of Europe's bloated contingent have buggered off home. In fact given the way the draw has turned out there will only be three European teams in the quarter-finals which is the fewest in the history of the competition. Admittedly 1930 and 1950 did not have anything like quarter-finals due to a lack of participants but, although 1978 and 1974 did not have quarter-finals either, they did have eight team group stages, each of which had more than three European teams. 1982 was even more confusing but their second group stage had ten European teams out of 12 so it was a lot more than this time out. So if three out of eight represents conditions suiting the Europeans I dread to think how they perform when it is held in Brazil.
keresaspa: (Marlene Dietrich)
By God am I ever glad that Virgin Media sorted out whatever problems they had with RTE for the England-Slovenia match as I don't think I could have put up with the BBC's ridiculous coverage. It's no exaggeration to say that the triumvirate of misery made up of Eamon Dunphy, Johnny Giles and Ronnie Whelan was in stitches hearing Gabby Logan going on about England playing without the shackles after watching them labour to a narrow win over a country of 2 million people. Of course to an extent qualifying was all that mattered but any talk of this being a great rebirth for England is clearly nonsense. After throwing away a two goal lead Slovenia, whose best player is so great that even Albion have given him a free transfer, were there to be spanked but instead, a well-taken Defoe goal apart, England looked nervous and out of their depth with the midfield acting like four strangers, Rooney doing his petulant brat routine and only Fabio Capello's whipping-boy John Terry covering himself in anything approaching glory. To be honest were I Terry I would have quit this farcical set-up months ago - Ancelotti recognised his importance and backed his man whilst Capello has consistently treated him like a bitch simply because he doinked somebody. Capello's over the top celebrations and the delusions of Ms. Logan (and, I presume, Lineker, Shearer, Dixon and Brown-noser in the studio) sum up all that is wrong with English football and gives indication, were it needed, that this team has no chance of winning. This group was about as big a gift as England could possibly have been given and yet they could only draw with an Algerian side that needed a play-off to even get here, struggled to breakdown a Slovenia side made up of players that would struggle to get off the bench at Ipswich and even contrived to finish behind the USA. So there was some improvement in this game but there was no way it could have gotten much worse so there are hardly causes for the sudden cockiness. If these are world-beaters I will eat my hat. Incidentally, it was nice of the Football Supporters Federation to send me a free copy of their World Cup special. It wasn't much of a read to be honest, but it is always nice to get something for nothing. One thing did strike me a bit odd about it though. Now I know the English have been occupying my land for some 800 years now but I have yet to come across a geopolitical permutation that includes the territory which they occupy as part of England. Yet on the address label for the free copy it told me that I apparently live in Belfast, England. Must try harder FSF. You do some good work but telling me that I live in England is borderline racist, folks!

Germany-Ghana was chosen as the next match and the first half proved to be the very definition of rubbish. It seems clear why Cacau sought out citizenship of a country other than that of his birth because there is no way he would ever have got near a Brazil side. Ghana for their part were tight enough but clearly second class. Things picked up immeasurably in the second half as it suddenly dawned on the Germans that elimination was a very real possibility. As for the boy Özil's goal it was a thing of beauty which, like Keaton cheating death, Kim Kardashian's backside or Boris Yeltsin dancing, could never be adequately described in words so if you can find it watch it! I saw virtually none of the Australia-Serbia match but it was unquestionably to the credit of Oz that they made such a go of it considering it would take a series of events so ludicrous than even a Greek playwright wouldn't have written it for them to go through. In the end I'm sure they were value for their win (he said, guessing) and besides Serbia's win over Germany had too much to do with poor refereeing for them to go through. The tournament needed an African side in the second round and, whilst Ghana were no great shakes, I'm still glad that they qualified and helped to ensure a couple of interesting second round ties. Their tie with the United States looks a tough one to call as the USA are probably the better side but part of me suspects that Ghana have one great performance in them. Meanwhile according to the (English) pundits England are a better team than Germany, a view that seems to be based on nationalism rather than anything shown on the pitch. Kevin Keegan reckons that England will beat Germany so I guess that means they have no hope. Germany have played great in one game which is one more than England so, whilst nobody can really know how the game will pan out, assuming that victory is a given seems ludicrous on the face of the evidence presented so far. I hope against hope that RTE is still broadcasting in my home when it comes around as the xenophobia scale will probably explode with the snarling invective that will be spewed forth.
keresaspa: (Idi Amin)
Enough work for one day I think. Actually a surprisingly productive day after yesterday's unexpected absence (of which more later) but I feel I how now reached my limit and do not wish to continue. Rather, and in direct contradiction to what I said on Monday about not boring you all with the details, I will provide an outline of how I spent the weekend. Cut for the benefit of those of us who wince when somebody turns their journal over to describing a bunch of random events that happened to them recently (a category I sometimes include myself in, so excuse the hypocrisy). Anyway:

InFest 2008 )

So there you have it. A good time all and all and great to catch up with a number of you and meet various new people. On the negative side I was struck down late Tuesday night by a rather debilitating stomach bug (hence yesterday's absence) but luckily it now seems to have passed so i can concentrate on clearing up the work. And those of you who hate travel reports can come back now!
keresaspa: (Eric Campbell)
An odd weekend all round. I did very little as I intended to put to bed all the remaining work that could be completed at home before the trip to the British Library next week. By and large I just about managed to complete the necessary stuff, although shoehorning it into the thesis looks like it might prove more complicated than I would have wanted. The bees also seem to have been taken care of as I noticed a hole that they could still get into and so I plugged it up with an oily rag, something that apparently puts them to the sword. Touch wood I have heard not a peep since doing that so sleep was back on the agenda, although, this being me, I failed to take full advantage of that opportunity and so I'm still wrecked.

In between work I took some time off to get reacquainted with my old friend television and found him to be just as unsatisfactory as always. The varying joys of Virgin Media's on demand service continue to provide a somewhat frustrating way to kill a few hours. The music section is still overpopulated by too many carbon copy American "r'n'b" singers and whiny indie bands with the same Cockerney/ecky thump/Jamaican patois hybrid accents for my liking, although it did throw up a few gems that I would otherwise have missed, notably A Fine Frenzy and Terra Naomi, both of whom I shall investigate further, as well as old friends who you never see such as the Wonder Stuff. Access to episodes of Karen Taylor when you want them are also a plus - the show is about as funny as trodding on a rusty nail whilst wearing tabi but the buxom lass fronting the show is a holiday for the eyes.

Meanwhile normal TV continued to throw up its share of oddness, not all necessarily good. A Frasier weekend on Paramount was the perfect excuse to avoid work (just what I didn't need really) as it is the sort of show that you can easily dip in and out of out. 3 in the morning repeats of 3-2-1 were also hard to ignore, largely because it is surely one of the worst shows ever committed to film. Where else can you be met with a woefully bumbling presenter, that old school trick of turning contestants' microphones down much lower than that of mien host, Nigel Lythgoe shaking his non-existent thang and Sinitta belting out covers of popular American hits of the time in a "we couldn't afford Whitney Houston but she's a bit like her" sort of way. However the greatest horror show of all was reserved for the sudden appearance of Duncan Norvelle. We often hear people lamenting the death of variety and I have been known to spout about how comedy in the past was much better. Mr. Norvelle, however, proves that such a theory is not universal in its application. His act seemed to consist of laughing at nothing whatsoever and giving a flower to a male patsy in the audience who proceeded to follow him to the edge of the stage and make fist gestures in what was one of the most cringeworthy moments of TV I have ever witnessed. Norvelle then proceeded to mumble a load of gibberish which I assumed was a sudden stroke but then realised was actually an impression of Sylvester Stallone as the maestro said "Sylvester Stallone". Oh Lord! In despair I turned over and chanced upon Jerry Springer where a man calling himself Gary Spivey was doing the old psychic routine. I will pass no comment on the man - sometimes a picture says it all. 100,000 sperm and he was the fastest?!

Well anyway, enough from me. I have been avoiding work more than enough these last few days so I think it is time that I got something constructive done. Cheerio now.
keresaspa: (Eric Sykes)
Virgin Media has its problems and no mistake. The constant cutting out, the incremental but consistent price increases and the lack of Simpsons to name but three. However one half decent thing they have is their free on demand service. So now if there's nothing to watch on the telly there is a load of other shows you can't be arsed watching available at the touch of a button (well a few touches of a few buttons). Within this is a service allowing you to watch music videos on demand, a rather interesting way of keeping in touch with the modern scene without having to listen to the radio or sit through music channel dreck. I finally availed myself of this service at some length on Saturday and I have to say that it confirmed my suspicions that the modern scene is a made up of a bunch of whiners with fake cock-er-ney accents who have very little to say but do so by shouting. A good 30 or so videos were part watched and I came away wanting to hear no more of any them, apart from possibly Amy McDonald whom I may investigate further (notwithstanding the rubbishing she took on [livejournal.com profile] burkesworks recently). All in all the modern scene can be kept by the modern peeps as it says nowt to me.

Sunday, as is traditional at this time of year, was given over to the darts final. A rather enjoyable game of nip and tuck overall, although given that I was rooting for the Aussie with the worst hair since Russ Le Roq the result was less than satisfactory. A shame it's now over but at least we have the Snooker Masters to take its place, although I know [livejournal.com profile] queenmartina will be gutted to hear that her favourite snooker player has been eliminated in the wild card round. Still, at least we can look forward to his incisive punditry and killer one-liners.
keresaspa: (Sea Captain)
Cable TV is a strange beast and often the sheer choice means you end up watching stuff you wouldn't normally be interested in. That being said, the generally pointless UKTV Food does throw up the odd gem. Call me a pervo if you will, but Great Food Live with Jeni Barnett and Lotte Duncan makes for a rather delightful diversion from the humdrum. Mmmm - mumsy! Anyway I digress. Probably the only show I watch regularly on cable is The Simpsons (I watch other programmes on UK Gold but only for something to do). Now I hear that Virgin are planning to drop Sky One and thus my access to the show. Buggers! If it goes that way I might just give up TV altogether and take something more worthwhile like Morris dancing or scrimshaw. Increasingly I find all modern TV doesn't speak to me at all. I'm not sure what the last new show I liked was but it was probably something like I'm Alan Partridge and that was ten years ago. My own TV is still not digital equipped and I can no more be bothered doing it than I can shopping for shoes. Come the switch off it may well be time for me (and plenty like me) to leave the new cathedral behind. Unless Great Food Live: Uncovered gets made of course!

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