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When you're 21, you're no fun

Feb. 27th, 2010 12:33 pm Alan through the eye of the camera

On TV, characters called Alan are always twats. This is a marked contrast to real life, where they tend to be rather awesome gay computer scientists. I'm not kidding about the TV thing though; while the TV Tropes wiki doesn't list an "All Alans Are Arseholes" trope, it does seem to exist in practice. Look at the evidence...

Alan Partridge - Steve's Coogan's most famous character, a self-absorbed prick with no social skills and a wardrobe full of blazers and cardigans.

Dr. Alan Statham - Green Wing. Again, a crippling lack of social skills, coupled with pompousness, manic insanity and uncontrolled lust - although as the latter is for Joanna Clore, played by the unceasingly brilliant Pippa Haywood, perhaps I can let it slide.

Alan B'stard - The New Statesman. I've never seen it, unfortunately, but Wikipedia (currently) describes him as "a selfish, greedy, dishonest, devious, lecherous, sadistic ultra-right-wing Conservative back bencher". Can you get much more twattish than that?

"Alan" - from Modern Toss. A sociopathic scribble who spends his time wrecking his brother-in-law's life. I suppose that sketch does have comedy potential, but as it's from the embarassingly feeble Modern Toss, it's pretty thoroughly unfunny in practice.

Alan York - 24. Clearly a complete tosser from the moment he appears, Alan York has a perpetual expression of injured pleading on his annoying face, and starts a pointless fight with a policeman (fucking up any chance he had of reaching his kidnapped daughter in time) just to demonstrate his manliness to the protagonist's sort-of-partner.

Are there really no likeable Alans on TV? Well, there is one, but you couldn't go as far as calling him nice. I wouldn't like to think what might happen if you called him nice.

Alan Johnson - Peep Show. He's quite clearly awesome, although definitely not in a gay computer scientist sort of way. In fact, he's awesome in both the slang and the original sense of the word - as well as being charismatic, he's also pretty damned scary.

Did I miss any?

Update: okay, I don't watch soaps, so I missed Alan Jackson (Eastenders) and Alan Bradley (Coronation Street). The former seems like a nice guy, from what I've gleened from skimming his Wikipedia entry. The latter is a murderous psychopath. Emmerdale also has an Alan. According to Wikipedia, Alan Turner was "[o]riginally portrayed as an inept, boozing and bullying manager for NY Estates at Home Farm [but] he has mellowed throughout the years and is now a 'pillar of the community' type figure". Sounds like a cunt to me.

Perhaps the trope is more refined than I first thought: *black* Alans on TV are alright, but *white* ones are cunts. Has anyone sighted any TV Alans of other races?

Current Mood: irritatedirritated

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Jan. 29th, 2009 01:37 pm Straw houses

Yet another news link; I don't usually do this but today's been a bit odd...


Current Mood: surprisedsurprised

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Jan. 29th, 2009 01:31 pm Those poor record executives...

More news.

"plans to boost the internet and communications industries" ... "It would provide information about people who repeatedly infringe copyright by copying and sharing files, and be paid for by a levy on ISPs"

On a related note, I gather the automotive industry is currently in trouble. I propose we boost car manufacturing by levying a tax making engines. We could use the revenue to pay for more traffic wardens, so parking restrictions can be enforced more draconianly. That should encourage people to buy more cars.

(Nb. While I'm proud of the analogy - and yes, it is meant to be sarcastic - I'm not actually a proponent of subsiding car manufacturers or going easy on parking offenders)

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Jan. 29th, 2009 10:59 am I feel cheap saying this, but still...

Stupid homophobic tabloid news article.

"The ideal for any child is to have a loving father and loving mother" - oh, obviously; no need to give any evidence. I'm completely convinced by this quote from a couple whose daughter grew up to be a drug-addicted single mother.

Current Mood: annoyedannoyed

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Jan. 23rd, 2009 11:34 am Connection problems

Finally, my home PC is back online after over a week of being unable to connect to the Internet. I had to wait till today for a service technician to come out and take a look at my cable modem. The thing is, my computer decided to embarrass me.

As of a week ago Thursday, my cable modem refused (as far as I can tell) to connect to the Internet. When turned on, the "send" light would buzz for a bit, and then the sync light would start flashing, with all the others lights remaining off apart from the power one. And that'd be it; it'd stay in that state till turned off. This has happened a few times before; usually, it'd last for a few days and then mysteriously fix itself again. Occasionally, following the instructions printed on a label on the modem would fix the problem (turn off the PC and modem at the mains, leaving them connected to each other, then turn the modem on first and wait a bit before turning the PC back on). Usually though, that didn't help and I lost my connection for a few days. This week's outage is the longest I've had yet - I'm glad I decided to call their support line this time.

Then this morning, when the technician was due to visit, it started working again. I spent an hour or so surfing the 'net, then got back to programming. After a while of programming, I noticed the connection had gone again. I wish I'd checked the lights on the modem. The technician turned up and tried to get the computer to bring up the modem's interface in Firefox. It couldn't. This turned out to be a (successful) attempt by my PC to humiliate me. The technician plugged the modem into his laptop and it was fine. We plugged it back into my PC and it refused to work for a bit, then started working again. All through this process, the modem lights were behaving in the normal way, not the broken way. That is to say, the lights were different from how they've been for the last week, even during the periods the computer still wasn't working. Of course, I couldn't convince the technician of that.

He did say something about his friend having done something to the cable yesterday, but he's Polish and I couldn't really make it out. Something about the cable being "cut", which sounds a bit drastic, so I assume I didn't hear him properly. So, I think that whatever was done yesterday fixed the actual problem, and my computer decided to have a funny five minutes this morning just to make me look stupid. The technician is convinced I have a broken network card or a virus. I think the network socket might be a bit fussy about the position of the Ethernet plug. It doesn't matter much anyway, I guess; I got given a new modem, so if that was ever part of the problem, it should be okay now. If my computer's faulty I should be able to fix it. I still think the problem was with the cable itself, but that's definitely fine now. I just worry that this will happen again and they'll think the problem's still at my end.

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Jan. 13th, 2009 10:34 pm Gremlins

That RTC problem I mentioned before? It continued unabated, slowly driving me nuts. Then today, I arrived home and found my PC was turned on. As I sleep less than a metre away from it, I found it hard to believe it'd been left on all night without me noticing, and I hadn't turned it on in the morning, so I was confused. When I took a closer look, it turned out there'd been a power cut at some point during the day and my PC had switched itself on after that for some reason.

Because I'd taken out the BIOS battery in an effort to diagnose the RTC problem, and never put it back, the clock had reset itself to sometime in 2002. I set it back to 2009, and since then, everything has been fine. No RTC problems at all.

Not only that...

I set up a Subversion repository on my PC last month, and also installed the TortoiseSVN client and Subclipse. With Subclipse, I only managed to install the internal stuff; the context menu add-on wouldn't install. Regrettable, as I'm not really sure how to use it without context menus. Anyway, it wasn't a big deal just to use TortioseSVN instead, so I let it go.

Recently, I noticed I was refactoring two things at once, so I created a second checkout so I could commit the two changes separately. I wasn't sure whether the new checkout would play nicely with Eclipse, since Eclipse wasn't involved in the checkout process and it tends to sulk if it thinks you're doing things behind its back, but it was fine. In fact, it started letting me use the Subclipse context menus for the new checkout. "Okay", I thought, "maybe it only works for stuff checked out since Subclipse was installed". Maybe. Then I did an update on the original checkout earlier this evening with TortoiseSVN, and suddenly Subclipse started working properly for that, too! I'm not complaining, by any means, but WTF?

Current Mood: confusedso confused

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Jan. 1st, 2009 02:21 pm RTC problems

I left my PC turned off at the mains over the Christmas period. I forget why. On my return yesterday, my PC thought it was still the day I left. I adjusted the time and date settings and started web surfing. A few hours, I noticed the clock had only advanced about half an hour since I started using the computer. I adjusted the time again, and kept a close eye on it for a few minutes. Seemed fine.

A little while later, I noticed it was showing the wrong time again - but it was showing a time *earlier* than what I'd last set the clock to. And that's the pattern it's been following since then. It appears to work fine, but roughly once an hour, it suddenly loses roughly an hour. :) I don't mind too much for the most part, except that it's playing hell with last.fm. Thankfully, the site seems to tolerate my submissions suddenly going back in time (bizarrely, it shows them in the order they're submitted, but uses the faulty timestamps to indicate when they were submitted, so it tends to go something like "17 minutes ago, 12 minutes ago, 1 hour ago, 1 hour ago [then I notice and reset the clock], 5 minutes ago, 2 minutes ago").

I took the BIOS battery out earlier today, and it's had no effect on the problem at all. If it were the cause of the issue, surely removing the battery would either fix it completely or break it completely? I'm confused. It keeps time perfectly, except for occasionally (and abruptly) dropping an hour or so.

Current Mood: confusedconfused
Current Music: The Kokoon - It's Time Now

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Sep. 15th, 2008 12:22 am Sugar Baby Love

I shouldn't type an essay like this, but oh my god this is so awesome...

Okay, so this is a public service short about safe sex, but it's not what you'd expect. At all. [watch it now!] [ahem...unless you're straight, in which case maybe read the next paragraph first and/or give the whole thing a miss...]

Warning: definitely NotSafeForWork :( Oh, and you might need an account, due to age verification crapness...

It's animated, upbeat and doesn't dwell on scary consequences, it just shows you all the fun you're allowed to have if you use a condom. It probably wouldn't even seem like a PSA if it weren't for the message at the end (which was originally in French). It's part of a triptych; that was the gay one, which is the best of the three. There's also a straight girl one, and a mostly-straight guy one.

I'm dead jealous of the French; not only do they actually like anime in France, they get to have perky cartoon PSAs (with amazingly cute guys in) and presumably no-one condemns the "moral depravity" of people being depicted enjoying safe casual sex. Or, better yet, people do complain and get ignored. Can you imagine those ads ever being shown in the US? They wouldn't even show something like that in the UK.

I discovered them via a cracked.com list of disturbing PSAs. It included the gay version of the ad as the 8th most disturbing. The stated basis is the bit with the rollercoaster; I admit it's odd, but it's obvious what it's meant to mean and it's not really that bad. In particular, it's nowhere near as weird as the bit with the straight girl kissing on a park bench, or ANYTHING THE KINKY STRAIGHT GUY DOES, EVER. Especially the last two photos. All the same, I'm very grateful to cracked.com for introducing me to the ads, and their explanation of its disturbingness is clearly tongue-in-cheek (worth reading, btw!).

I like all three, but obviously the gay one is best. Kind of goes without saying. I especially like the way the hero gets his revenge on those girls by growing up to be incredibly hot. It's also particularly well-animated and timed nicely to the music, the bit where everyone mocks him as a kid being a good example. Due to the pace of the short, he does come across as being a little slutty (not that I actually disapprove of that), but it's interesting to note that there are only two occasions when we see for certain that he's having sex - enjoyable sex with gorgeous surfer guy, and tedious, stop-using-me-as-gym-equipment sex with gym guy. He may or may not have stuck around to endure whatever it was not-so-dapper rich guy wanted to do with that glove, there's no literal portrayal of sex with the guy in the alley and we don't see what he gets up to with Doctor McDreamy in that car. Hmm...I was going to say that straight girl and kinky guy get way more sex than he does, but actually, I've realised that straight girl has a remarkably similar range of encounters, albeit no hate-crime-induced full-body casts. Similarly, I was thinking of pointing out that gay guy and straight girl aspire to long term relationships while straight guy just wants endless sex and is satisfied with the discovery of Orgy Land. However, it's occurred to me that straight guy is actually kinky guy; there is no straight guy. That's why he has a different closing message to the other two. So, it's reasonable that the others aspire to something long term and he doesn't.

So yeah, these rock, and not *just* because gay guy and kinky guy are gorgeous. I'd love to hear comments about any of those three ads, but instead I'm going to get comments about all the other videos in that top 8, aren't I?

Current Mood: pleasedentertained

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Sep. 3rd, 2008 10:24 pm Couple of questions

Just noticed that I'm so far behind with my LJ Friends page that it won't let me see some of the entries I've missed because they're too old. That's how infrequently I check LJ these days. Yes, that's because of RSI. I still use Facebook reasonably often, if you do need to get my attention for any reason.

Anyway, couple of random questions...firstly, does anyone reading this have the necessary equipment to play region 1, NTSC DVDs? No, I don't need to use it - all of my DVD hardware is already multiregion, because I care about such matters - but it'd be useful to know who I can and can't lend region 1 discs to, should the occasion arise. Secondly, I'm currently using a Wacom graphics tablet that a friend kindly sold to me several years ago. It's still going strong, and it's still useful to me. I'm not trying to sell it or anything, but...I've realised I've forgotten who it was who sold it to me. I suspect it was probity81 (are you still on LJ, btw?) or browneyedboy00, but I feel guilty for not being certain. Please remind me?

Current Mood: curiousinquisitive
Current Music: The Music - Vision

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Jul. 28th, 2008 11:07 pm Heads up

It's that time again: I've retagged some photos in Facebook. In most cases, these were of people whom I've already tagged in other photos. Furthermore, all of these photos were already tagged with the right names, but the tags didn't necessarily connect up to actual profiles, in most cases because the tagee joined Facebook after I made the tag. For these reasons, I've not bothered to ask permission. I think it's better for the tagees to be aware of the tags' existence and have a chance to remove them, than to keep the disconnected-but-nontheless-accurate tags that used to be there, with nothing to alert the tagee to their existence.

Anyway, long story short, if your name is Lucie, Rachael, Claire, Maria, Brian or (especially!) Briony, you may have been retagged. Hopefully you already noticed. Feel free to delete the revised tags if you so wish.

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