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Nov. 2nd, 2011

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psyche!

Not really updating this, just injecting a technorati claim code: UBGAJWB45J7G
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Dec. 31st, 2008

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getting in early

First "Happy New Year" SMS received at 20:35 GMT, followed very quickly by the second.

Dec. 29th, 2008

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Jingle Bells 5k redux

It's been more than two weeks since the race and the organisers still only posted the first 120 finishers. I was outside that (I'm figuring roughly 175th or so of 1,600 entrants) so I still don't have my official time. This is rather slack; they had the full results up the same day as the race last year. Anyway, this afternoon I trawled through 1,600 photos on Flickr looking for any that might feature my running self, and turned up just the one (I'm #512, and this is shortly before the finish, and shortly after my push for the line started flagging). Flickr's search is really painful for this for several reasons:
  • The photos taken by the organisers, or someone posting on their behalf, aren't tagged;
  • There were several events on that weekend titled "Jingle Bells";
  • Flickr's advanced search lacks useful features like "discard any photos by user X from these search results" or "discard any photos with tag X from these search results" (the latter is achievable by redoing the search, but really, it should be dynamic)
I seem to recall whining about Flickr's wimpy search interface some time ago, probably for exactly the same reasons, and as a result of doing exactly the same search. Which would suggest it's not changed in at least a year.

updated to add: according to the EXIF tagging on the photostream, this is about 18:40 into the race, which would put me 40 seconds from the finish line. Which means I was probably still puffing like a steam train and attempting to persuade myself not to back off.

Dec. 26th, 2008

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cooking for blokes, Christmas Edition

How to flambée a Christmas pudding:
  1. Warm some brandy in the microwave; about an eggcupful for ten or fifteen seconds should be sufficient.
  2. Pour the brandy over the pudding; as it hits the pudding, apply a source of ignition, such as a match.
  3. As the eggcup full of brandy ignites, shake the hand holding it involuntarily.
  4. To add to the spilled and flaming brandy now surrounding the pudding, attempt to extinguish the eggcup by blowing sharply on it. If done correctly, your hand should now be flaming nicely. Don't worry, the alcohol evaporates faster than your skin can burn.
  5. Extinguish the flames on the countertop, your hand, the eggcup, and the floor as you see fit.
No damage done, aside from a little wasted alcohol.

Dec. 22nd, 2008

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They'll film anything these days

A novel I found on a public bench in Reykjavik two years ago is apparently being made into a TV movie. I can't remember much about the story, to be honest. Found by accident while looking at cast lists for an entirely other movie.
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Dec. 18th, 2008

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seen in Dublin

While wandering through Temple Bar yesterday: at least 4 dwarves midgets[1] people of diminished stature wearing giant felt leprechaun hats and fake beards, asking some girls if they wanted a photo with them.

[1] I blame "In Bruges" for the strikeouts.

Dec. 17th, 2008

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pass the awesomesauce

It's in rimrunner's Journal.
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(no subject)

So the great P. G. was making his presence felt in my life once more. And I soon learnt that I still had much to learn. How to smoke plain cigarettes, how to drive a 1927 Aston Martin, how to mix a Martini with five parts water and one part water (for filming purposes only), how to attach a pair of spats in less than a day and a half, and so on.
Hugh Laurie on Jeeves & Wooster
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Dec. 16th, 2008

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'tis the season to get annoyed

Et tu, ThinkGeek? Like most of the sites I register for that actually support it, I registered for this one using an email address with a plus-sign in it[1]. Today, attempting to do a little Christmas Shopping, I noticed that the email field on the shipping address was empty, and filled in the exact same address as I'd registered with. And the site not only told me it looked incorrect, but the text of the error suggested that I could go ahead with it anyway, except there was no way to do that. On top of this, my phone number, which, being an international number, I also helpfully added a plus-sign to, had said plus-sign dutifully replaced with a space[2]. Which is the only reason I can think of that my payment was declined when I got to the checkout; I checked every other single bit of information, and it was all correct. I wound up paying via Paypal, and sending the ThinkGeek folks a little friendly feedback suggesting they fix this mess.

[1] For those of you who haven't seen this before, it's a trick supported by some email systems that allows you to receive mail to your regular address, but also allows you to figure out where that mail came from. So if, for example, I'd registered on somesite.com using waider+somesite as the mailbox part of my address, and then I subsequently received spam from another source to waider+somesite, I'd have a good indication that somesite.com leaked my info to spammers. Of course, I'm mildly surprised that no spammers appear to try to fake this.

[2] This is old-school web stuff: once upon a time, you represented spaces in a data submitted to a web form by replacing them with plus-signs. This has various technical explanations, but ultimately it boils down to laziness on the part of the guys who developed the system. As soon as people figured out that, hey, this made it difficult to enter actual plus signs, a new means of submitting data was decided upon, but the old pluses-to-spaces thing remains in place for backward compatibility with, like, the 500 people who were using the web before it was determined that this was a bad idea. And this bad idea still trips people up, even big-name people who really should know better.
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this seems like a pretty basic thing to get wrong

It's time to renew my car insurance; the letter advising me of this tells me I can do it online. And so I go to AA Ireland's payments page and attempt to enter my details - only to discover I can't enter my policy code as it's a 10-character string and they have, for some reason, capped the relevant input field at 9 characters. Classy.

update: renewed it by phone instead. Mentioned to the customer service rep that I was unable to renew online. From his disinterested response I don't hold out great hope for it being looked at, much less fixed.

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