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"Like my father and his father before him, I am a geek. It's remarkable that my ancestors even managed to breed."

Steven Gross 
 .:[ Telly flashbacks... ]:.Posted: 21:31 on Friday, 01 October 2004 
State: amused  Music: She Sells Sanctuary 

i've just spent an interesting couple of hours sat in front of the telly, watching Challenge? TV; Takeshi's Castle (which i've been watching of a night anyway and love) followed by the fabby Fort Boyard (with Leslie Grantham as Boyard) and, to ice this televisual cake, the immortal Ted Rogers and 3-2-1...! i remember watching it back in the olde days and it was almost a family event, sat in front of the telly trying to do that hand gesture without breaking any fingers and i've just been through a timewarp, doing the same thing with our Hannah (showing her how to cheat like Ted Rogers did, see Victor Lewis-Smith's TV Offal for footage of Ted Rogers slowed down...!)

But i'd forgotten how... well, how crap 1980's television was; "celebrities" like Kenny "R2-D2" Baker, some singer i'd never heard of, the Brian Rogers Connection and Shane bloody Richie! On the plus side, there were a few songs and a slightly sanitised stand-up from the timeless Ken Dodd (with contestants who worked for the tax office and inland revenue... the irony!) and those incredibly "cryptic" clues... Was all Saturday evening telly back then quite so... "variety", i wonder; it almost makes me want for repeats of Cannon and Ball so i can see if they were as dodgy as i remember...

 .:[ There be cows here... ]:.Posted: 15:26 on Saturday, 09 October 2004 
State: well happy!  Music: Bette Davis Eyes 

PictureYesterday i spent a while fighting with a spare set of CDs for Windows NT Terminal Server - the school i do I.T. work for had a fully licenced set left over because they're losing the box now that all the Acorn kit is going (the Arcs were running Windows sessions via Terminal Server, quite sneaky...!) so i asked for the disks and got.

So now, in true Andrew Braybrook Paradroid diary tradition, i'm going to award Windows NT and Microsoft with the Mickey Mouse Award for October. The reason is simple, despite the NTFS file system having support for truly vast hard drives, during installation the software doesn't just format the install partition as NTFS; instead it starts setting up on a FAT16 partition (which has a pathetic maximum size of four gigs) and then converts it to NTFS so, basically, the fantastic file system is crippled by it's own installer...

On a far more positive note the Boss, two of the little ones and i wandered off to Burger King (i've just got back, actually) and whilst i was waiting at the counter i saw a little Ermentrude peeking out of the jacket pocket of a fellow consumer. Me being me, i wandered over and asked where he'd got her from and he gave me directions for a small shop fairly near here that specialises in dolls and so forth. She was a McDonalds toy from about three years back it seems.

Anyway, i went back to our table and told the Boss about the doll and the shop and, as the chap walked past on the way out i can only assume he heard me telling her, because he turned around and gave Ermentrude to me! Surprised doesn't cover it and that's her in the pic, getting to grips with the second hand Dual Shock controller i got for my PS1 (Ray Crisis with analogue and shock, woo!)... After a week of watching people bitch on forums or television, in the street and so on, little acts of kindness like that do a vast amount to restore my faith in people as a whole - i doubt my anonymous benefactor will ever actually read this, but if you do thanks very much... =-)

 .:[ Bit of an odd day... ]:.Posted: 14:11 on Monday, 11 October 2004 
State: slightly smug  Music: First Attack 

It's been noted in the past, possibly by me more than anybody else, that i'm not one of those people who are good with their hands; in fact i'd go as far as saying i'm pretty shyte when it comes to anything practical and i take what could almost be described as pride in that fact in a similar way that certain people feel really pleased with themselves for not understanding computers. With that in mind, when the Boss said "can you put this chest of drawers together while I'm at work", my first thoughts revolved around faking a serious disease and preferably one that made wielding tools impossible... My previous attempts have been more than a little cack-handed and, even with help, the book shelf in the front room has a rather alarming lean to the right and my attempt at putting up an "easy to fit" shelf has merely resulted in five holes in the wall, four of which aren't the right depth and the fifth is in the wrong place!

So yesterday i started unpacking the parts for said chest of drawers with quite a bit of trepidation and set to work assembling bits of wood, cams, cam legs (do cams have legs...?) and the occasional screw or blob of glue. Much to my surprise, i actually managed to knock out seven drawers with no hassle and, after borrowing Hannah to hold bits up, had the frame together. Then i had to wait an hour for the glue to set and in the process ran out of light and, since the final job involved hammering things into other things (something i possibly shouldn't attempt when i can actually see what i'm hitting) i left everything stacked in the corner.

Jump forward to today and i spend the morning arguing with NT 4 Terminal Server again because, even after i give it a 2Gb boot partition, it simply cannot format the thing as NTFS and, after i install it to a FAT16 drive and get NT all the way up, it can't format the other partition as NTFS from Windows either! So i come home to pout a lot, feed myself and watch a little Power Rangers Ninja Storm, then i remember that the back still needs to go onto that chest of drawers...

PictureOkay, so i couldn't actually find a hammer and instead made use of a defunct Motorola phone charger whilst holding the pins in place with a pair of pliers. And granted, i nearly knackered the side panel with a badly aimed pin. And it's probable that the drawers aren't 100% straight (they're out by a millimetre or two, but the coder in me is a perfectionist who works at the pixel level and notices these things) but the overall effect (in the picture there) isn't all that bad is it...? Okay, so getting smug about assembling flat-pack furniture is pretty daft and i'm no Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor (can't even do the grunt...!) but at the same time i'd like to think i've done a reasonable job and i'm happy about that. The question is, can i actually get that bookshelf straightened out or the shelves up finally...? The answer, of course, is "no bloody chance" because i'm still crap at this stuff! =-)

 .:[ Playing with balls ]:.Posted: 09:37 on Monday, 18 October 2004 
State: sniffly  Music: Arcade Trivia Quiz 

The Boss and i have been keeping an eye out for a second hand copy of Super Monkey Ball for the 'Cube and we finally found one yesterday courtesy of one of our regular software "pushers". For anyone who hasn't played it, think Marble Madness but viewed from behind and with a likkle monkey inside the ball; there's a lot more to it than that, but it gives you the gist. The basic objective is to hammer around the levels, getting to the exit within the time limit (which is pretty tight on some levels) and grabbing as many bananas as you can on the way past.

What made this game stand out for me is the huge attention to detail, not just the graphics (all the bananas in the game are sponsored by Dole!) but the way the entire thing is kept within AiAi and friends' "world". Entering your name for a highscore is done by rolling around and bopping the right letters in the ball and even the staff roll is a sort of mini sub-game that involves collecting bananas and avoiding the letters from the credits!

Speaking of sub-games, there are three available (race, fight and target) and a further three that can be unlocked as the player accumulates points from the main game; last night i unlocked Monkey Billiards and spent an hour challenging the other monkeys to play! All in all, the main game seems worth the twelve quid we paid alone, so it's a bargain with six extra games and all the multi-player support!

 .:[ We're going out now... ]:.Posted: 18:09 on Friday, 22 October 2004 
State: tired  Music: Battle Squadron 

Well strictly speaking, we're going out tomorrow but i'll be away from my computer until about Wednesday to visit my family down south. If i get time and bandwidth, i'll add a small update whilst i'm down there... =-)

 .:[ Dahn t'Margit ]:.Posted: 13:00 on Tuesday, 26 October 2004 
State: happy  Music: Robocop 2 

Well, here we are in sunny Kent... actually, it is pretty sunny albeit a little cold. Yesterday we wandered over to Margate to have a ponder up the sea front and play in the arcades (and some fabby freshly made doughnuts from a cafe on the beach) and today we're off out to a farm that's turned itself into a sort of wildlife reserve...

i'm cheating a little on the music entry for this post, i was listening to it earlier on one of the C64s i've had set up in the front room for testing; our kids seem rather taken with Robocop 2 and, surprisingly, Jungle Hunt running from cartridge!

 .:[ We're ba-ack...! ]:.Posted: 20:13 on Saturday, 30 October 2004 
State: about average  Music: Uridium 2 

Oops, nearly forgot to say that we're back from Kent safe and sound and that i've added a selection of the the piccies we took to the photos page. i've got a large pile of "analogue" photos that need scanning so that some can be added as well, must get around to that at some point... i've added Reaxion NES to the projects and Creepshow 2 to the Ye Olde section (there's more information on those additions in the news with direct links) since they're ongoing and released respectively. A more involved web log entry is due at the beginning of next month, assuming i get around to writing it... =-)

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