December 10th, 2004


D-I-S-K ... oh.

On Monday, my desktop PC turned up its toes and died, with a noise like small rodents eating through the hard disk. To be honest, vermin (or even this) might as well have the cause of its demise, for all they could do about it. A helpdesk guy came and looked at the disk, said "It's dead, Jim" (or words to that effect) and carted the computer away.

I wasted most of Monday afternoon fiddling around with the old G3 that belongs to the web team (and lives on my desk) -- removing my predecessor's account on the machine (he'd been considerate enough not only to set his password to his CRSid, but in case there was any doubt, to give "CRSid" as his password hint) and setting up my own; running a year's backlog of security updates and software updates; fiddling with Safari's preferences; installing Netscape; and generally doing nothing even remotely resembling work. While the updates were running (the mills of Jobs grind slowly, on a 400MHz G3) I borrowed a spare PC which was on the wrong network for me to use it sensibly, and experimented with Outlook's webmail interface (verdict: it is teh SUxx0r) in the vain hope of answering some webmaster enquiries.

Four hours later I had a new PC. Of course, being helpdesk, they hadn't bothered to reinstall any of the software I'd had on the machine before; I got Macromedia back, but I'm still waiting for my beloved Acrobat Professional and it'd be nice if they'd give me the registration code again for the copy of TextPad we paid for, so it doesn't keep telling me it's unregistered.

Somewhere in all this mess I went to set up a default printer. Start -> Settings -> Printers -> Add Printer, and it basically does it all for you; I browsed the network, selected our catchily-named printer "OLD102A4", and printed. Nothing. Checked settings, turned out I'd accidentally clicked the adjacent "OLD103A4"; oh well, somebody somewhere has a printout they don't know what to do with, but never mind. Change settings, print, all fine.

This morning one of the network guys came over, looking suspicious.

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In other news: I'm tired. It's entirely my own fault, because I'm doing too much ... and loving it. It's getting to the point where I think I'll have been to more gigs, plays, clubs, parties, etc. in the last three months of 2004 than in the preceding three years. Complaining about this would be like complaining that I'm just too damn gorgeous and as a result I'm constantly fighting off suitors; that is, it'd be inviting a slap. The only real problem with this heady whirl of social and cultural activity is that it means I'm left with next to no time in which to write anything up... but here goes.

We saw The Incredibles last weekend; enough people on my flist have reviewed it that I don't think I've much to add. I'm in the fortunate position of not having watched enough films to give a damn about whether it's a "classic" or a "great film", so I was free to just enjoy a thoroughly entertaining, witty and well-written animated superhero movie. Despite my film illiteracy, I'd somehow managed to see enough films to pick up a fair amount of the in-jokes and references; I don't think this was at all necessary to appreciate the film, but it provided us with some fun anoraky conversation over drinks & dinner afterwards at the Zebra.

The Cambridge Concert Orchestra had their last concert of term on Wednesday, at a local nursing home; it went well, the audience mostly seemed to have fun. It did occur to me, though, that there's some kind of unspoken and probably incorrect assumption that people in old people's homes will want to listen to the popular classics of the first half of the 20th century being mutilated by "enthusiastic amateurs". Worse, our audiences at such venues seem to just get wheeled in to listen to us whether they like it or not. I am starting to suspect that my karmic punishment for subjecting innocent oldpersons to this torture will be that, when I am old and dribbling, I will in turn be forced to listen to amateur orchestras performing medleys of Westlife songs, and "novelty" arrangements of themes from 1990s computer games (with hilarious solo for Gameboy).


I feel I should be making more effort to link to exciting things, but you're all so hip you'll be way ahead of me on the cool stuff. Everybody is coming to PopArt at the Junction on Friday 17th, right? In the meantime, if you need a quick fix of INDIE DISCO, Fopp currently have this rather fine double album for that insidious price "only a fiver". I wonder if I could play the Princess card and sue Fopp for selling cartloads of cool CDs at deceptively affordable prices without first checking that my bank balance can stand it?

On a slightly different musical tack, tonight I get to see the film of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera. I confess I'm excited about it: not just because I get a ready-made excuse to wear my opera cloak, but also because it wouldn't be much exaggeration to say that I've been waiting for this film for 15 years -- i.e. ever since I saw the musical on stage. There's no way it's going to prove to have been worth that kind of wait; but the Independent's rather damning review makes me fairly confident that I'm going to love it anyway, for nearly all the reasons that they hate it. I mean, they say "Wedged somewhere between Bonnie Tyler and Adam and the Ants" like it's a bad thing.