Monday, May 31, 2004

Rush of blood to the head

"Up above my head I hear music in the air
Up above my heard there's a melody
So bright and fair
I can hear when I'm all alone
Even in those times when I feel all hope
is gone
Up above my head, I hear joy bells ringing
Up above my head, I hear angels singing
There must be a God somewhere..."

God's Property

I decided to dig up this one and listen to it. This is one song that I always find myself singing, especially on a day as nice as today.

I was good. Despite having a valid bus pass, I walked to the supermarket and back. This morning I searched the BBC website for the play I didn't manage to finish listening to the other night. It was an hour and a half long, so I left for the supermarket later than I would have.

Tomorrow is Shell's birthday, I took out my birthday paper, which consisted of dinosaurs saying happy birthday. Yes, it's kiddie paper, but it was the only one I could find sometime back and the adults I've given it to haven't objected.

Had to work this evening. Started off by mowing the lawn, and by the end of it I'd completed most of the accounts except this confounded 40-something pounds and pence. I hate it when that happens. And my other column is 3p out.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Up above my head

Went to Dixon's this morning to see what was left of the sale. Got there around 11:30am, it was pretty busy with people pottering around trying to find anything worth buying. Boxes were opened and bits were out - you'd think that people would at least be a bit considerate about the stuff.

I think I managed to get me a few good bargains, spending more than I had planned: a new ADSL modem, a USB connector for my Palm, a surge protector and, best of all, Project Gotham Racing for Shell's birthday. It was a bargain at a tenner, in fact I was looking at PGR2 at Game but it was too expensive. And that was in the used games section.

In the wee hours I found myself listening to a play on the BBC World Service, play of the week: "The Amen Corner" by James Baldwin. It's interesting when you realize that some of the cliches in the church back then still go on (the hollering, the tonal inflection).

Had to force myself to go to bed, but it is side when you think of things from so many different views. A fiery woman preacher finds herself having to deal with the past when her husband returns. Even then you are confronted with two things: a man who fights with God and the past, a religious woman who fights with her human side and the past. Two people who need to confront their past and be reconciled to God, to each other and to the past.

"I sure hope you make it to heaven gal, cos you too late to catch any other train".

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Time trails

My internet connection has been a source of trial for the past week.

First, on last Saturday afternoon, I was just reaching out from my info for my application to look up something online. Then realized my connection was down. At 16:40, called Pipex. Said yup, there's a fault, will try to get it up and running. In the meantime, had the dial-up number.

After the weekend, called again on Monday. It was then accelerated on the system, but because it took so long to do stuff on my computer, I didn't realize that I had to check the etracker online to find out the status of my order. There was an option to request a time for the BT engineer to come around to sort out my line. In fact, by the time I read this it was the wee hours on Tuesday morning, after I had finished work. So another day without the line, and the engineer was due between 10am and 1:30pm.

Wednesday I yearned to be at Dixons, caught up in the melee, but I was stuck indoors just in case the engineer came around. And I had to remember to unplug the modem from the telephone line (kept finding numerous messages left for me because I'd forgotten).

Whilst sorting out something on my pc, I noticed the icon had turned green. Not to be fooled (as had been the case previously), I waited to see if it would change again, and it did. After a few minutes, it turned green again and stayed green even when Sarah from Pipex called. I told her the line went faulty the first time, but it was now over an hour since then and it hadn't changed again. She said if it happens again to call them, and I haven't had to so far.

And the first thing I did this evening was...order tickets for the THIRD DAY CONCERT in Kentish town on the 10th of next month!!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Dancing on the floor

I am now the proud owner of one tidy floor! It took almost all of my day, but it was done.

Went to the supermarket, walked there and back. Once I returned, it was a matter of breaking the mould (read: habit of procrastinating), exercising some discipline and decidng what to clear. First, I had to sort out some of the boxes left by Sherree, and then the papers that have been on my floor since I moved my pc. I tidied up, then piled more on, then tidied up again. So I recycled, shredded and bagged it all up, put the CDs away... it was great.

So now the corner looks like a nice little "quiet" corner, near the hi-fi, a reading corner even. Got a bouquet of flowers from Effie and Ben as a "thank you" for Sunday. They came on Monday, I'm keeping them watered well. I think the buds are beginning to open.

Thought of doing the ironing, thought that was simply too enthusiastic. Finally seeing the floor is enough!

Sunday, May 23, 2004

The long weekend

It’s been one of my more busier weekends. Well, at least I didn’t have the hassle of traipsing up and down North London like last week!

It all started with a bit of tidying up. That was to delay the inevitable, namely filling out the application. I’m sure it must have taken me about 4 ½ hours in total to type up my response to the waffly paragraphs, then to transcribe it to the application. By the time I had completed it all it was almost 6pm. I made my way to the shops and to M & S, where I was looking for my hold ups for the wedding. In my haste (and surprise cos the shops were still open!) I forgot to get a card for the wedding.

By the time I got home I was chopping and changing outfits trying to figure out what to wear. Didn’t make any difference, because on Sunday I picked a totally different outfit to what I had decided the night before. Woke up much later than anticipated, still managed to make it to church for about 45 minutes, then took the 73 into central London. Got on the underground at Euston to Victoria, from there a train and from the train station got a cab to the venue.

Along with the groom’s family, I was one of the first people day. During the day, as I fulfilled my role as usher, people kept asking if I worked there (must have been the black jacket). One person even asked if I was the bouncer for the day, and said I would be if it came in handy!

The wedding was beautiful, Effie was resplendent and Ben looked rather noble in his morning suit. The interesting thing about a civil ceremony, here at least, are these two things: first, no photos or filming is allowed. Only during the exchange of rings and after they had been pronounced husband and wife. Second, no references can be made to God or any other deity by name during the ceremony. Don’t know why that is, but I guess that makes it a pretty legal process and secular.

I read my poem, four lines, which up until the day I had no idea how to read it. Also met the Maid of Honour and another Uni friend of Effie’s, and we travelled home together. The best man’s speech is one of the funniest and best I’ve heard in a long time. Also met a friend of the best man’s, Ad, who lives not far from me. I had approached him to see if he was going in our direction, but it turns out that he and Dan (best man) were travelling together, so there was wouldn’t be any room in our taxi. But that then led to a 15-minute conversation that was only cut when we were both interrupted by other people. By about 8:15pm it was all over, most people had left and there were a few of us. I got home around 11pm, and am absolutely shattered. Early night for me methinks.

Friday, May 21, 2004

The best laid plans...

I have it in mind to fill in my job application tomrrow. Today I got the other application form, don’t know when it’s due to be completed but it’s got one of those biometric tests to also complete.

Was hoping to sit and do it tonight, but been working on my wireless network. Setting up the access point is the hard part, it’s pretty temperamental. As with the previous night when I leave it pretty late, I could finally log on and set it up. I don’t know why it works at some times and not at others.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Place in this world

Today has been an interesting day to formulate thoughts, develop ideas, question things. And enjoy my cordless keyboard Had to squeeze that one in :)

Whilst strolling to the supermarket, I bumped into an ol' resident - Flo. Was quite surprised really, all I saw were these open arms and I was thinking "it looks like Val but she doesn't live in these parts". We chatted for about 10 minutes, she gave me her number and I have to call.

Then this afternoon Cyril and I got into a conversation as to why people choose to go for New Age practices rather than Christ. Well, we came up with lots of reasons, which, at the end of the day, weren't reasons that made me feel were good enough but hey, that's life. There's a lack of knowledge when it comes to Christianity and what it's about. And primarily, people would rather do the things that make them feel better (even if it's a placebo), than try Christianity. Then there's the old argument of hypocrites in church, Christianity being a "white man's" religion (which to me smacks of incredible ignorance of the roots of the religion), Christianity is a middle class faith with middle class aspirants and wannabes, and Christianity demands the impossible of the individual. We then got into the whole thing of the faith movement and she asked an interesting question. If, in my travels in Africa, I ever found that the Christians were financially better off than others. Truth is, they were in the same position, it's just that they had a relationship with Christ.

So then we come back to: if God wants us all to be successful as prosperity teaching/faith movement proponents seem to suggest, then does that mean that poor people are cursed? I have yet to find out the answer to that one. And in any case, do God's blessings always have to be tangible and physical?

Monday, May 17, 2004

Another day to...

Finally, at last, my long-awaited keyboard has turned up! On Saturday I saw the Parcelforce vehicle outside, I had expected it to be delivered then, but looking on the packaging today, the van I saw was correct, but they didn't know where to find a building! My brother was telling me that Islington is the worst place to live when it comes to the correct deliveries - apparently they get it wrong quite often in our neck of the woods. Surprise surprise, when no one can find a building, that's worrying.

The problem is, as with all things delivered to me on most occasions, is that I never get to play with it properly because I have to go to work. So far I've enjoyed reclining in my chair with my keyboard propped on my leg. Still have to lean forward to use the mouse though, and the keyboard layout is a bit different to the Microsoft Natural keyboard I've been using for about 6 years. The shift keys are smaller, not that I miss them, but I used to cheat when I had a finger on the shift key. Now I have to attempt to type properly. The space they've cut out at the end have let to the "t" key being larger (Logitech keyboard incidentally). The good thing is that I haven't had to install the software as it mimics the Microsoft keyboard, so the hotkeys, for the most part, function as expected. Which is probably why I'd end up going to bed in the wee hours just typing a random e-mail, despite the fact that I'd have been working tonight.

In true fashion, my connection was down again. I don't understand why, the thing just refuses to function for some unknown reason. Even installing another modem doesn't make any difference, still initializing the line... I'm hoping not to have to spend the rest of my week calling my ISP and going around in circles again...SIGH!

Saturday, May 15, 2004

When plans go awry

My weekend started off with good intentions.

Woke up at a pretty decent time, and left home to go find the hi-fi I had seen the day before. Dixon's has a 20% sale off everything (probably closing down), and you know me and electronics...

So I turn up in the shopping area after 9:30am. Dixon's is closed, so I walk around a bit. I just realized that Effie's wedding is next Sunday and I haven't really planned what to wear, so now was as good a time as any to have a look for something interesting. Returned to the shop around 9:50am, but figured it wouldn't open until 10am, so killed a few more minutes. Went all the way up to Matalan (and resisted the temptation to get anything), by the time I had returned it was after 10am, it STILL wasn't open. By this time there were about 6 or 7 other people wanting to get in. One guy was waiting with his pregnant wife, and gently rattled the protection screen thing. In fact he did that quite a few times before someone opened up just around 10:10am. I went in and...what I wanted wasn't there.

So, I guess this is where I made my first mistake. I asked the (I assume) Manager where the nearest Dixon's was, and he said Camden. In hindsight, I had guessed there might have been one along Holloway Road, but to be on the safe side I traipsed up to Camden. The pricing was correct this time around, unlike the one in the other Dixon's where I couldn't tell the sale price from the actual price. Paid for it, then got a taxi back home.

Mistake number 2. The people carrier I got to tote me and my hi fi home didn't seem to know how to find his way to my address properly, so we end up approaching my house from the longest possible route and getting stuck on Green Lanes. And yes, there was an Arsenal match on, so we were stuck in traffic for ages. I paid £13 for the privilege of taking one hour to get home. In retrospect everyone said I should have questioned the price, but I was just glad to get home and couldn't be bothered.

My day was pretty messed up, called Charles whilst I was putting the hi fi together and moving it around. Was supposed to drop these keys off at his house but was late getting to Effie's so cancelled that plan until next week. Got to Effie's before 5 (was supposed to have been there around 3pm). Still, we had time to go to Croydon and visit Allder's and Debenham's. Nice stuff, she has a kitchen gadget fetish thing going on, she gets as excited about them as I do about techie stuff. But I could dig that funky Denby thing, and as for those nice reduced pasta dishes....ahhhh.....

Got home late and shattered. The end of an adventurous day. Still shattered, hope tomorrow isn't so tiring.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

What's going on?

It never fails to amaze me how boring the news can become. And it never fails to amaze me that, what the media thinks the public wants to know, we really don't want to know and really don't care about. In the big scheme of things it makes not a jot of difference in our daily lives.

I really do not care when the Minister of Defence reads what document before it became "public". Neither do I care about what the leader of the opposition thinks about what the British people think is important (normally I think "eh?"). I am not interested in the background noises, the aggression in place when John Humphrys decides to interview ANOTHER politician and or Jon Snow decides to ask dumb questions. "The public wants to know" really means "we need an excuse to milk this one and make a big deal over anything just to generate news". And no, I'm not referring to photos taken (whether reputedly or not) of prisoners in Iraq by whomever - most of that smacks of prejudice and racism anyway, what's new there. I'd like to see if Iraqis did that to allied troops if the allies would be as forgiving.

There is nothing that has come about in this war that wasn't predictable. And there's nowt as blind as those who choose not to see. My opinion of it now has not changed from over a year ago. The allies go on about their sons and daughters, forgetting that whatever activities they perpetrate are against the sons and daughters of other people. There are no winners here, no one has the moral high ground. This has little to do with religion and a lot more to do with politics. Two topics, supposedly, you're not supposed to talk about (and that's nonsense!). When combined, they make a volatile cocktail. As Wole Soyinka said in his final Reith Lecture, the position of George Bush differs little to that of someone like Osama Bin Laden. They both think they're right, and the fervour for their causes (at its roots) are similar.

Little wonder the lecture was entitled "I am right and you are dead". Once again, and eye for an eye leaves everyone involved blind, neither attributes I would think are Christian or Moslem.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Working 9 to 5

I wish. I would probably update this more often if I worked "normal people" hours. Instead I work awkward times and by the time I get in, I really do not want to think or talk too much. I'll watch the news, some cartoons, read a bit, bed. Last night I was really good, finished work after midnight and just after 1am I was in bed. Was reading my PC Pro mag, but that's besides the point - I was in bed. Normally, I would be up for at least another two hours, then wake up for work shattered. I still woke up tired, but it wasn't so bad.

I've had my mobile for a few months now, and as a rule I avoid the games because they're mainly rubbish. Yesterday I came across two interesting ones I was really enjoying. Erix, but then it wouldn't run because there isn't "enough memory", so says the phone. I haven't got that many pictures on it, I get rid of my text messages each month, so what that is I don't know. Will have to investigate.

I did discover a game of minigolf. And, as with Donkey Kong Junior back in the 80s, it has my attention. If ever there were a good reason to switch your phone on, that is it. I was so into it I was looking online for other minature golf games. Last week I was in Game, should take a look in their bargain section to see if there's a game of minigolf going as well. When my sis got her pc with Windows 95, I was always at her house playing computer golf. One day I promise myself that I will play the real thing.

Though I have to say, my sense of direction is terrible...

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Round and round I go

Well, so far I've done a great job of accidentally resetting my pedometer. If you leave the setting on the step counter, you can easily switch it off and erase all of your hard earned paces. Which I did - at least twice. I must have done pretty close to my 10,000, just short at around 9,000. Not bad.

Had some camera research and recommendation to do - digital camera that is. If I could do this for a living I'd be laughing! I was juggling quite a few tasks recently, it's gotten to the stage where I sit in front of the computer with a blank expression. I walk to and fro between rooms, trying to recall what is was I was sitting here for. Then I remember, walk back, and I forget again. It can be very dizzying...

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

10,000 steps and counting...or not

Yesterday my sister and I had a conversation about the Kelloggs 10,000 step challenge. She said it was 10,000 steps daily, I said weekly. Boy was I wrong, we got out a box of cereal and it was a 10,000 step daily challenge!

I had my work cut out for me today, made easier by the numerous workmen in the building plus the fact that Cyril was away for the week. Running around after the painter (reading the paper while he painted doors), walking to and from the bank (missed the bus both ways), then walking in the other direction to the bank, got the bus part way cos I thought I'd get to the fishmonger's late. They were just putting things away by the time I arrived and I got what I wanted - good stuff. Missed two buses home, by the time I got here I knew I had passed the 10,000 step mark - I'd been walking for well over an hour by this time.

Halfway in the day I had already passed 5,800 mark, but the pedometer kept slipping out of my waistband. On the way to the shops, I had to keep pushing it back down with my thumb in case it tried to slip off again. Would you believe it, I got home, feet tired, took it off - and I had inadvertently reset it AND switched it off! I know I did well over 10,000, but I don't know how much for sure. What a pain!!!

Monday, May 03, 2004

Have you ever...

Recently I've been wondering what goes through people's minds when they decide to emigrate. And where does reality set in once they arrive at their destination.

All too often it seems that people are under the illusion that, because they have lived in a certain manner where they are, that travelling to the other side will remove all of their problems. They assume that, because £10 translates into a lot of local money, they'll be making a lot in no time. They go to major cities and assume that, without any references or experience, they'll get a good job.

Then they arrive, and reality paints a different picture. They are just another face, another person trying to get by, trying to make it in the big city. That ol' Stevie Wonder song wasn't so wrong after all these years. They realize that their qualifications don't mean anything to the employer here, that they'd have to study for another three years in order to get a qualification that will be identified as useful. Even then,they have to start at the bottom and work their way up. They don't have any contacts who can help them "make it", like they would back home. If one person can make it through the system honestly, that speaks a thousand words.

Sadly, under pressure people are happy to break the rules, and then have the gall to say "God has helped me make it". There's nowt I dislike more than someone who will lie and cheat, and then tag God onto it. God becomes a lucky charm, a talisman to ward off...what? I had a conversation with someone whose licence was suspended for a year - d.u.i. He then goes and borrows a friend's car to go out, drinks three beers and two glasses of wine. Then ends up giving a whole bunch of people lifts home. Before he went out, he said to me "I just pray that God will protect me tonight". I said I hoped he wouldn't, in fact I hoped the police would stop him. He sounded horrified and said "don't say that!" I said, why not? You're doing something illegal, and you're asking God to protect you from breaking the law? Interesting though, he did see some policemen that night as he was going to the car...and walked right passed it as if he wasn't.