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Random Quote

"What your soldier wants - really, really wants - is no-one shooting back at him."

Terry Pratchett 

Up until the Workstation went live around 2001, i'd never really felt the need to write an "about me" page before but, since every other web user on the face of the planet has one and a few people noted the absence, i decided that it was about time i bashed something together so, after a series of public drafts, here's a few random "facts" about everyone's favourite strange person - at least the more general stuff, more specific thoughts can be found either in the current blog or the old web log.

Taking to the boards at Canterbury cathedral
The closest i've ever got
to snowboarding
First off the generic "about me" stuff; i'm 6ft tall with mousey blonde, shoulder-length hair and sort of blue/grey eyes that don't always work properly. i'm now in my early forties [Ahem...] and have finally settled down, living as i do on the outskirts of Leeds with my beloved, Sue, and two kids (Hannah and Matthew) as well as a very bouncy dog called King and a couple of cats known as Charlie and Barmy, assuming we can find them.

i've been using the C64 for over twenty five years now and my first machine was purchased second-hand in late 1985; it needed a bit of surgery and the power supply from my trusty VIC 20 to make it actually work properly but somehow, despite being an old machine that had been discarded by local software development company Lynsoft, which was populated by chain smokers (and therefore responsible for heavy nicotine staining over the case, mainboard and everywhere else for that matter) and being on it's third keyboard which was scavenged from a deceased C16, it still goes!

i do get asked why i still use the C64 (quite often by friends and family, as well) and i think that comes down partly to comfort since the C64 and the people i've met through it have been a major part of my life for so long i'd be lost without them, especially the people. But it also has to do with how much i've always enjoyed programming on the breadbin. Sadly, it isn't that easy to explain the feeling of achievement when you manage to get a routine working despite the odds, the PC mind-set of "if it doesn't run fast enough, upgrade the hardware" has, to my mind, severely wounded creative programming and indeed appreciation of it over the years. That's probably why i'm such a fan of the C64, VIC20, Plus/4, Atari 8-bit, NES, Spectrum and indeed all the other 8-bit machines, because they takes things to the other extreme; it's a real challenge trying to do things with a machine pulling around a MHz with a sixteen colours and three channels of sound. i think this same bloody-mindedness is probably why i prefer writing raw HTML or PHP too.

Well i watch a bit of telly, i'm a big fan of science fiction and comedy in particular and do a fair bit of channel hopping or DVD watching of a quiet evening. i'm a major fan of Doctor Who and can bore for my country about it, so i enjoy watching whatever UKTV Gold puts out, have so far thoroughly enjoyed the resurrected series with Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Billie Piper and Freema Agyeman and plan to continue watching it and the spin-offs Torchwood and the Sarah Jane Adventures - in fact, one of my small "claims to fame" is that i've slept on the conservatory floor of Paul Cornell, one of the writers on the new series! i've also got both series of Spaced on DVD and watch them quite a bit, enjoy the X-Files (the earlier episodes in particular), Red Dwarf,1980s action classics such as the A Team, Knight Rider, Airwolf, Blue Thunder or Street Hawk and slightly more current action shows like the superb Spooks or Life On Mars. i love a good comedy quiz show, in particular Qi and Mock The Week at the moment. Sue and i go to the cinema occasionally as well, we both share a lot of tastes in films and, although we've had a prolonged break, we usually try to go about once a month when we can. On the movie front, i do love a Bond movie, just about anything with Simon Pegg in, all of Kevin Smith's work and the Wachowski siblings. And yes, i did enjoy the Magic Roundabout movie, i've got that on DVD as well.

I do read quite a bit as well, again it's mainly science fiction and comedy but i do branch into history books and in particular those about computing and games from time to time. A few random fiction favourites are Ship Of Fools by Dave Stone, The Hitch-Hikers Guide or Dirk Gently books by Douglas Adams. On the factual front, repeatedly read favourites include Joystick Nation by J.C. Herz, Hackers by Steven Levy, The The Cuckoo's Egg by Clifford Stoll or Station X by Michael T. Smith.

My tastes (if that's the right word) in music are many, varied and described by others as being somewhat strange; computer generated music for just about every machine from the Atari 8-bit onwards (with preference to the C64, naturally) combined with a mixture of the 1970s (such as early Genesis and in particular Foxtrot or some Deep Purple) the 1980s (for example the Eurythmics, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Howard Jones, Ultravox or The Human League) a couple of pieces of classical, all manner of dance, a little garage, the odd bit of trance, soundtracks from Dance Dance Revolution and an assortment of other Jpop, Gorillaz, David Gray, Eminem, the KLF, Gwen Steffani, kids television themes... retty much anything really, except country and western, boy bands [spit!] and i'm not particularly keen on most forms of rap.

Well, umm, that's it really... there isn't much more to me that can be covered here without inducing a coma or scaring people away; i love Italian and Chinese food (especially the fantastic oriental buffet near Leeds market) and fish and chips from a chippie, tea, Lucozade and apple Tango - i do indulge in the odd bottle of diet or Cherry Coke, but i gave up drinking them regularly along with coffee at the end of 2007. i don't smoke or take drugs (unless caffeine or perhaps endorphins count) and alcohol is limted to an occasional dose of cider for a special occasion, but i have previously had a close to crippling addiction for Safeway Sour Cream and Chive dip which, due to Safeway's ridiculous lack of a global distribution policy, i've had to go cold turkey on. i can occasionally be found on the internet, on IRCNet as TMR{C0S} and hanging around on #OSG, #C-64 and a few other channels as well as loitering around the message boards of various 8-bit websites from time to time under assorted variations of the name TMR. So you can get in touch through numerous means (or failing that lot, there's the contact form on the Cosine site) if you find me strangely intriguing... or just strange like everyone else does.

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