Nature’s answer to a congestion charge

Well, the people of Edinburgh have spoken and have overwhelmingly said NO to a congestion charge; 74% of those who voted in Monday’s referendum said that they didn’t endorse the council’s plans to introduce a £2 congestion charge.

But who needs a congestion charge to reduce the amount of traffic in town when you have nature’s solution: snow! I drove to Murrayfield to preside at the 11am eucharist, and then drove into Marchmont to visit someone. There was so little traffic, it was wonderful. All the council has to do now is install some kind of elaborate snow-making machinery in the centre of Edinburgh and they’ll be sorted! Instantly: fewer cars in town. Job’s a good ‘un! What other problems can I solve for the council while I’m on a roll?

The ‘downside’ of a PC that works fine: Games!

Maybe it was a bad idea to fix my PC — everything seems to be working fine; I’ve had no problems with a fast clock or clicking during MP3 playback since I updated hardware drivers and BIOS on Thursday — I’ve discovered that not only does Star Wars Battlefront now work okay, but it is rather good, and erm … rather addictive!

But to ensure that I don’t get distracted too much with Battlefront I’ve installed Baldur’s Gate and Cluedo! I still have Colin McRae Rally versions 2.0 and 3 to install, as well as Heaven & Hell, and GTA III, and probably a few other gems.

I downloaded the massive (169 MB) Battlefront 1.2 upgrade patch this evening and installed it. While I can’t (yet) account for any of the stability improvements and bug fixes, I can say that the Tatooine Jabba’s Palace add-on is fantastic. It’s my favourite level so far. While I love Hoth (who wouldn’t want to be blasting away at an AT-AT!) the close combat in the confined spaces of Jabba’s palace adds a new level of tension. I love it!

Next, I want to see if we can get a network game going on our LAN. I suspect that the graphics card on Jane’s PC upstairs is going to let us down on that front, but her laptop might be up to the task. I’d like my brother, Eddie, to bring his PC over for a LAN party. I have a spare network port on the router, and an extra monitor he could use. (Are you reading this, Eddie?)

Cellardyke: locks, gloss and two smoking boilers

Back to Cellardyke this afternoon to meet a kind man from Scottish Gas, who priced a new boiler for us (nearly £3,000 inc VAT) while Jane and I tackled our snag list of bits and pieces left to do on the house. I went crazy with a tube of Polyfilla, while Jane began glossing a couple of windows (not the glass bit!), some skirting boards and the dreaded louvered cupboard doors in the main bedroom.

I was particularly proud of fixing the Yale lock on the front door. The trouble was two-fold: first, the lock was really stiff, and second, when the door was closed it didn’t sit flush against the door frame (architrave?). I managed to fix the stiffness problem by adjusting a couple of screws here, a couple of screws … actually, it turned out to be just the first set of screws. The second problem would require some careful measuring, a hammer, a chisel and some prayer. But, do you know, I managed it. I’m getting better at this controlled hacking-bits-of-wood-from-a-door lark. The door now sits flush to the frame when closed (so that it doesn’t bang back and forth when there is a wind) and has the added bonus of you being able to unlock it from the outside, without feeling that you’re a master locksmith carefully picking it open. I’m still glowing from that piece of craftsmanship.

This Thursday we do the mammoth Ikea run and buy furniture: a double bed, a bunk bed, two shelves, a wardrobe, a dining room table and six chairs. Then we may pop into Comet or Currys for a fridge. I can see that after shopping, I’m going to be spending most of my next day off building flat-pack furniture.

A Problem of Waking up to Radio 4

Waking up to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 can sometimes be an upsetting business. I woke up suddenly this morning gripped with what felt like fear and with tears in my eyes. Could I have heard the news correctly: that comedian Jeremy Hardy had died, having drowned in the River Thames??! Jeremy Hardy is one of my all-time favourite comedians.

I staggered downstairs to my study and booted up my PC while I went for a pee. I had to reboot it again when I returned as some integral Windows service hadn’t started and was giving me errors galore. Oh, for goodness sake! It was for MSI Live Update — my motherboard monitoring program. Uninstall and another reboot. I was getting quite concerned and upset by this point.

I heard the ‘news’ on the BBC, so I headed straight over to the BBC News website and tapped ‘Jeremy Hardy’ into the search box … nothing. Well, nothing to indicate that he’d died. Hmmm… Google search next. Nothing. Was I imagining this? How sick am I that I imagine my favourite comedians drowning in the Thames?!

Back to BBC News and I widened my search: comedian drown — nothing. Comedian + Thames returned what I had actually heard:

Comedian’s body found in Thames
The body of comedian Malcolm Hardee has been found in the Thames near his home …

Malcolm Hardee! Not Jeremy Hardy. Now, it’s hard at this point not to feel some relief that Jeremy Hardy hasn’t died, when it’s clear that another talented comedian — hailed by his website, and presumably also those who wrote it, as the ‘Father of British Alternative Comedy’ — with a not too dissimilar-sounding surname has. But, I am.

I’m now a little hesitant about listening to the news in my sleep again. Who knows what I’ll pick up next time: that they’ve put a man on the moon!? or that scientists have invented a radio-like contraption for viewing moving pictures with sound!? or that otters are now eligible for housing benefit!? or …

IRC Bible

My friend James pointed me to this website again. I remember discovering it a couple of years ago, but forgot to bookmark it.

The IRC Bible tells stories from the good book as though they were in an internet chat room. Here’s an example from Epiphany:

* Wiseman1 has joined #Jerusalem
* Wiseman2 has joined #Jerusalem
* Wiseman3 has joined #Jerusalem
<wiseman1> lo
<wiseman2> lo
<wiseman3> lo
<wiseman1> Where is he that is born King of the Jews?
<wiseman2> for we have seen his star in the east,
<wiseman3> and are come to worship him.
<herod> wtf?! that sounds like trouble
<jerusalem> we agree!
<herod> Priests! Scribes! What channel will Christ join?
<priest> lol thats easy
<scribe> yeah, it's #Bethlehem obviously :P
<herod> k, ehm... wise men!
<herod> When did you see this star?
<wiseman1> dunno
<wiseman2> for ages!
<wiseman3> yeah, like already in the east and stuff
<herod> Go to #Bethlehem and check if that king is there
<herod> and if he is, come back here and report
<herod> that I may come and worship him also
<wiseman1> k
<wiseman2> off we go
<wiseman3> LOL WTF!!!1 theres teh star again!!!1!
<wiseman1> /join #Bethlehem
<wiseman2> /join #Bethlehem
<wiseman3> /join #Bethlehem
* Wiseman1 has left #Jerusalem
* Wiseman2 has left #Jerusalem
* Wiseman3 has left #Jerusalem