Saturday, 26 March 2011

Everything Changes

So when it comes to change I am a hypocrite. I am all for change - why hold on to relics of the past? If it's broken give it a ruddy good fixing. This is for partially ideological reasons, but also because I like to believe in the relentless march of progress. With each version brings more efficiency, and greater outcomes. Unfortunately the most "the relentless march of progress" affects my life is when Facebook implements a slightly different layout.

"I cannot believe "Top stories" is default over "Most recent"! I fucking hate Facebook. Join my Facebook petition if you agree!"

I suppose that kind of thing doesn't matter all that much to me because I am more of a spectator on Facebook - I don't have thousands of friends and millions of photos. And that's not because I am a loner (although it is) but because I don't usually want to advertise my social life to everyone. Sure, I'll post a status update about some Youtube video I have found - but what is the point? Nobody really cares!

If ever you see me daydreaming, or it just seems like I am not really listening, and you wonder what is going through my head - it is this exact thing.

However something has changed that I really do care about - Firefox. I recently upgraded to Firefox 4. I was ready for the address bar being below the tab bar, but for some reason my home, stop and refresh buttons re-arranged themselves into some crazy configuration. Menu items re-arranged, I can focus on some things I wasn't expecting. Such as the weird transparency in the menu bar and tab area. I can sort of understand the change - in a "you know what would look cool?" kind of a way - but I don't understand why there isn't a checkbox or about:config setting to turn it off. Seriously, with my wallpaper it looks like crap. Thankfully I found a forum post that helped me to correct it. Create a file called "userChrome.css", in the folder "C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\fahhwhja.default\chrome" - or whatever your equivalent is. Then copy and paste the following into that file:

@namespace url(""); /* set default namespace to XUL */

#toolbar-menubar {
-moz-appearance: -moz-win-browsertabbar-toolbox !important;

#TabsToolbar {
background-color: -moz-dialog !important;

window, page, dialog, wizard, prefwindow {
background-color: -moz-Dialog !important; }

Save the file, enjoy the difference. There is one more thing - the status bar isn't always shown by default. I like the status bar. Thankfully an extension is available that enables it again - Status-4-Evar. Despite the quite frankly rubbish name it does everything required, so you can enjoy Firefox again.

Well almost - you'll probably want a decent theme that is actually Firefox 4 compatible. MX3 is what I am currently using - it seems pretty good and unlike a lot of the themes of isn't an assault on the eyes.

So I now finally have things looking as they should be - and am able to enjoy all the cool new features of Firefox 4. A lot of the new features appear to be to do with the interface - which I have now mostly disabled. But there is some neat speed enhancements, WebM-compatibility, app tabs, a bookmarks and history sync thingy and a load of other features that I probably won't use but will happily tell people all about.

After this nothing of a post I promise I'll get back to the Things That Are Nice/Shit series - once I actually think of something.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011


Okay so today I log in to Blogger, just to take a little look around the layouts, check on a few things. Out of curiosity I click the 'Stats' button.

And my jaw hits the floor.

Maybe not exactly like this.

I have to double and triple check what I am seeing. However it does appear to be true. I have 657 page views. I know that doesn't sound impressive - loads of people get thousands of views on their blog. But this seems different. I consider this blog to be a bit of relief, some of the posts are really pretty dull. But 657 views? 404 people from the UK decided to look at one of my posts. And 168 from Denmark! 62 from the US! Now I know that those are "views" not unique people but even taking that into account I am astonished. Maybe this just means people will read anything.

Sure looks it.

What I find interesting is the different ways people have come to my site. 5 came from Twitter, one may be myself and some others my friends. I think that's how they found it. There's one from Facebook - I don't remember mentioning my blog so maybe someone mentioned it in a private message? One person appeared to be searching for "villacamp fib" on Google. 7 other searches were for authors of books that I have either read or are currently reading. It appears my most popular post is something that I considered a bit of filler before I started posting real content again. More Ramblings doesn't appear to me to be a very gripping post. But it does mention a then-newly-released film (Robin Hood), a then-months-old film (Where The Wild Things Are), a then-current cause (saving BBC 6 Music), 2 bands (Doves, Cherry Ghost), a music venue (Troxy) and 2 popular video games (Call of Duty and CS:S). I unintentionally wrote a search engine's dream. It makes me feel a little uneasy to consider trying to write posts that will get me page views. Too much pandering to the mainstream, man. Not underground enough.

I'm not worried about being too mainstream - I got 1 page view from just mentioning a Death Cab album.

However I am willing to give this whole "relevant" blogging thing a try. Which is why I have decided to do a blog post about Chris Brown's penis.

Not pictured: his penis.

Most people will know Chris Brown as "that guy that smacked Rihanna about". Some of you may know him as "the guy that's ripping off Calvin Harris' song". It now appears he has a new reason for people to know him. I have not seen Chris Brown's penis. But I am told that, if I were a penis connoisseur, I would be able to appreciate the subtle beauty of his member the same way an art critic would appreciate the evocative exquisiteness of a Van Gogh. I am told it is the sort of instrument that, if put to good use, could feed the starving, clothe the poor and bring about world peace. It is as stunning a totem as that seen in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Only with a bell-end attached to it.

I should make it clear the bell-end I am referring to is not, in fact, Chris Brown himself.

You would think that a man wielding such an impressively grandiose love slug would be in a permanent state of giddy happiness. But no, Mr Brown has a very troubled mind.

Which must be why there are an awful lot of pictures of him smiling like a psychopath.

I seem to remember reading that Chris Brown went on a morning chat show and was incredulous at having to answer questions pertaining to the aforementioned girlfriend-beating. He was so enraged that he fled the studio and voiced his annoyance on Twitter - wishing people would stop dragging up the past. And who are we to argue with this mighty being? We should be kneeling at his feet (not too close, though) and praying he does not unleash the awesome energy of his man cannon upon the earth, ravaging our planet and dooming us all to die from the misery Chris Brown has unleashed upon us.

The same effect can be achieved by listening to Chris Brown's latest single.

Indeed, Chris Brown is a very complicated and emotionally tortured man. Well, I say 'man'. Anyone who physically abuses a woman isn't really a man at all. No matter how big his penis is.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011


I wasn't completely happy with that last post but I think I'll stick with the pictures - despite Blogger making it a bit of a pain to insert them.

As I may have already mentioned, I hate getting up in the morning. There is a problem I have, in that for a good 2-3 hours immediately after I have woken up, I am a complete idiot. My IQ halves during this time and recovers afterwards. I'm not entirely sure if this is normal. But it doesn't exactly seem right that I go to bed as this:

And wake up as this:

Let me explain. I'll roll out of bed, stumble into the kitchen, more out of a sense that the kitchen is a place to do one of the required activities of the morning than out of hunger. I will get a box of cereal. I will get a bowl. However I won't be able to figure out how the two interact to create breakfast. I'll stare at the two items, trying to fathom what I need to do in order to make them create some breakfast for me. I'll slowly pick up the bowl, and begin to insert it into the top of the cereal box. That is usually when the normal part of my brain kicks in. "Seriously? That's what you think you have to do? You're a fucking idiot. Cereal in bowl, not the other way around." For all the abuse that part of my brain gives me it is definitely required. So I'll stop doing that and pour the cereal into the bowl. I'll then get a bottle of milk. And the whole process starts again.

"Oh so THAT's how it's done."

It isn't just confined to the kitchen, however. My morning-idiocy finds other ways to torment me. I'll step into the shower with my glasses on and wonder why the shower has suddenly gotten so foggy. A few seconds will pass before I realise it was my glasses that had fogged up, not my eyeballs. I sometimes find it impossible to remember if I have already used shampoo on my hair, so I will wash my hair again just to make sure. I also find it hard to focus, sometimes spending 5 minutes staring into space. That's why I need to have a clock or watch close by at all times, to remind me that I have to hurry up and stop day dreaming. I also generally have a terrible sense of time.

"5:05? It was 3 o'clock ten minutes ago! No. No it wasn't."

Despite the fact I need them to see I still manage to forget my glasses when I walk out the door. But I won't remember in a normal way. No. I will find ridiculous ways to realise. Such as walking down the road, looking at a car numberplate and thinking to myself, "why that looks very blurry. I wonder if the writing is deliberately like that. Actually it isn't just the numberplate that is blurry, the whole car is. That's weird. It's almost like I'm not wearing my gla... Shit." Or I will be walking down the road and I will idly scratch my face or fiddle with my headphones. But when I realise that the glasses frame I expected to find there is, in fact, not, instead of thinking, "ah, I've probably left them in the bathroom" or "oh bother, they must still be on the mantelpiece" I think: "they've vanished!" This is where the normal part of my brain kicks in again. "Really? You thought that might be a possibility? You thought they must have disappeared, rather than, say, you left them on a surface somewhere while you were getting ready and forgot to pick them up again? What the hell is wrong with you?"

"To be fair I am going to be very well prepared if my glasses ever do magically disappear from my face."

While I was on my placement year I would start work at 9:00am which meant waking up for around 6:15am - I probably could have woken up later but I have to allow myself some more time to negate the morning-idiocy caused slowdown. If it was a bad day the phone could be ringing before you even opened to door to the office. I hated taking calls while I was still in my coat and invariably the resulting call would play out like an argument between a slightly miffed academic and a half-asleep dullard (which, really, it was). You would have to tell the user to wait while your PC started up, some expressed shock that you didn't get into work at 8:30 like they did. The fact that support hours were clearly stated to be 9 to 5, Monday to Friday was of no consequence to them. We weren't paid overtime either, so if a user called with a problem at 10 to 5 you had to fix it in ten minutes or it would eat into your non-support hours, general maintenance, planning and back up time - 18 minutes. If you spent more than 28 minutes on the problem getting it fixed you were working overtime and not getting paid for it. It was a horrible feeling. Anyway, usually I would have to tell the user I would "look into the problem" and then take an hour or two to collect my thoughts whilst performing other, more simple, job-related tasks. Occasionally we would be asked to work before support hours by a user, this was the worst as it meant I would be even more useless. I think I only had to do it once or twice, we shared it out evenly between the team but it turned out I was the only person reliable enough to actually get there when the user wanted. But after that work we still had to work 9:00 to 5:18. I liked the job but the hours and lack of overtime did start to irritate me towards the end.

So, in conclusion, if you want me to be of any use to you I highly suggest meeting me well after I've woken up. Otherwise it'll be like trying to converse with a terse hammer.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Things That Are Nice/Shit: The Third Chapter

So I figure I might as well keep this thing going. So get ready for another underwhelming edition of:

Things That Are Nice/Shit #3

I often find that people can become defined by a certain part of their personality, or something they have a talent for. It is a shame, really to boil someone's being down to a single statement or generalisation - although I am no better than anyone else with regards to this. It just makes things easier for humans, socially.

We all know people who love to think they are the life of the party.

When you are having a drunken night on the tiles that can be pretty cool. They're the first person to suggest everyone gets shots. They are the ones who know exactly when and where to move on from the pub\club\bar\curb where you are currently drinking. Nobody on the dance floor? They'll throw some shapes so wild people run to the dance floor just to get a better look. They are the kind of people who will always welcome a new member to the group, will always talk to new people - open and extroverted, they are the kind of person you want around to make everyone in a group click. However there is a limit.

I bet the girl in the above picture's friends absolutely hate her at times. Because there are times for getting a margarita made in your mouth and there is a time for filling in tax returns and watching Countdown. And LOTP (Life of the Party) never knows the difference. They will constantly try to drag their friends around town, even if it is a Tuesday night and nothing is happening and hardly anyone is around. They'll be the ones arguing with their friends at 3:00am outside of a night club: "Come on! There's gotta be some place open!" "I'm tired. I want to go to bed. I'm completely filled with alcohol. I might get some food from somewhere but that will be the last notable event of this night. I'm going home."

And therein lies the problem. Everybody loves the Life of the Party at a party. But not any other time. Then it's just hassle. Oh sure they're "mental" - in the throwaway, corrupted definition of the term meaning simply "one who enjoys drink and humour" - but they're also a pain in the arse. Particularly if LOTP spends most of their time being pulled up from the floor, flecks of vomit clinging to their shirt and half-digested scraps of food stuck to their face. Then people will remember LOTP less for this:

And more for this:

Nice. Hygiene issues aside there is another problem. Quite possibly a much bigger problem. And this problem is simple. A lot of the time, LOTP is a dick.

Like that guy. Now people are unlikely to tell them to their face. While (mostly) everyone is having fun anything goes. The night after, however, is when they discuss the antics of the Life of the Party. And not the way LOTP describes it. "I was fucking wasted, chundered everywhere, it was classic!" Oh no. They are saying "did you see what that dick did to the bathroom? Didn't even clean any of it up." Now don't get me wrong I love a jape as much as anybody. I can appreciate good rapscallionry behaviour.

I swear that is the second Google Image Search result for "cheeky ragamuffin". Anyway this isn't my beef with "fun" people, or fun itself. I've been known to occasionally indulge in some "fun", so long as it doesn't last too long, cost too much or interfere with my main interest - staring at the wall for hours on end, wishing the house would collapse and bury me under metres of rubble. Joking aside fun and leisurely pursuits feature quite heavily in my own philosophy of life, which I may one day divulge to you, if you don't mind reading socialist-influenced, uninformed claptrap. I really should try harder to be serious. The point is that I am not against fun people. But there is a difference between people who can be fun and people who think they are fun. A person can't be fun. They can experience fun. They can provide fun. They can't be fun. LOTP believes they have an obligation to be crazy because they are fun. It doesn't work like that.

So what can we take from all this? The Life of the Party can be an enjoyable presence, but nobody wants to put up with them all the time.

I stopped about 4 times during writing that to look up more stuff about this Freeman-on-the-Land nonsense. It basically seems to be about using legal loop holes to avoid paying council tax, parking offences and other small taxes. The idea seems to be that your birth certificate is a contract created before you were able to consent to it - therefore there is a difference between a person as a legal entity and an actual person. An actual person is only subject to common law, so doesn't have to pay council tax. There are other loop holes in the legal system they exploit, not standing to recognise the authority of the court, using the etymology of words to justify being uncooperative and demanding court is held in common law jurisdiction. I'm no lawyer but it is basically about trying to get away with breaking the law.

I've spend far too long trying to write this post - so I'm off. Bye.