Friday, November 28, 2008

2000 tracks in the iTunes library

Following on from Monday's post ... I've been a bit of a bad person today.

I've been after new shoes for a while to replace my work shoes which have been steadily falling to bits on me. Think cheese grater for soles, plus a rip in the leather due to fatigue. It's taken me a while because I wanted something different to the Clarks shoes I've had for something like the last 5 times I've bought work shoes. I ended up getting Clarks again - mainly cos everyone else asks for £40 for the shoe, plus another £40 for the designer label to put on the shoe. And I hate getting extorted for something which adds absolutely no value whatsoever.

That's not why I've been a bad person though :-) The post title gives it away. Got four more albums to add to the collection, which takes me over the 2000 mark in the iTunes library. I'm importing them at the moment while catching up on a few Star Treks. I could have gone through that 2000 before but soundtrack albums don't really work that well on iTunes. So what did I get ?

Good few albums available in the sales at the moment in 2 for £10 offers :

Snow Patrol - Eyes Open
Portishead by Portishead (listened to most of that in the car on the way home)
Evanescence - Fallen
Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare

3 are a good bet and I'm hoping for good things from Evanescence. What I've heard from them so far has been very good. It's just a shame I can't acquire albums from Suzanne Vega, Lene Marlin or Edie Brickell in the high street shops any more. That'll be for Amazon when I get around to it. Oh, there's also a Julianne Regan album out there too that I'd like to get my hands on.

Heh heh heh - at least I didn't walk out of Cabot Circus with any more games today :-)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Games stories again

Games have been in the news again lately :

"Compulsive Gamers Not Addicts"

Interesting story :-) And possibly a little more balance than games usually seem to get. There's a few facets about gaming addiction that aren't shared with the other types of addiction. Chemical addiction usually involves some kind of change to the metabolism that means the addict requires the substance they've come to rely on. Gambling addiction has the promise of big reward that often drives the addict into heavy loss.

Gaming can get people lost in a fantasy world and I've bounced off a few of the bad cases in my time in World of Warcraft. Not seen it so much in Eve. I've suffered from it in the past, where I'd prefer to play the games than to do my studies. So a person who should have walked a First with Hons got a 2.2 instead. As it happens, I've not been hurt too badly by that as I'm working for an organisation that lets me see cool stuff and I get the chance to have a natter with great people.

That's good for the daytime but how about the evenings ? I currently live on my own, so most of my interaction with other people comes from the people at work. Apart from where the games come in ... And this is where the addiction to Massive Multiplayer Online games trap a lot of people. They'll be in the game partly to play it but mostly so they can be around other people. I'd quite happily say that a game like World of Warcraft isn't worth playing unless you're involved in an active group. And most of my breaks from WoW have been due to me not wanting to have anything to do with the community (this time it was boredom with the game - the VR people have always been great to know)

So - gaming addiction is a social thing. It doesn't change your metabolism like all drugs will and it only costs the monthly subscription so you won't lose your home on it. Unless you get lost in it so much that you forget to eat, sleep or get to work (it has happened). I think that's where the addiction has me, I like to be around other people. But I think I manage to satisfy it by being addicted to the forums instead. And to a bit of blogging too ;-)

There's another aspect though to getting caught deeply by games and that's the psychological aspect. This one is a lot more serious, as the real world gets displaced by the fantasy world. Getting that Purple Pointy Hat (there's a Red Pointy Hat too) is the most important thing in their world. I liked getting the upgrades for my characters but never got too excited about it when someone else got them instead. It's only a game.

Bit like last night, picking up the new ship in Eve I'd been waiting to be able to fly. Cost of 166 million and not too long after, saw one for about 155 million. Yeah, that sucks a bit but it's not real money and not a real ship. It's not like buying a heap of PC bits and then a week later seeing those bits £100 cheaper. It's only a game.

Here's another story partly about gaming :

Young unaware of junk food impact

Not sure if they're aware that something similar went into one of the Grand Theft Auto games :-) If you had your character loaf about and eat burgers all day, he'd turn into a bloater. If you did gym time and had him eat properly, he'd go athletic, which had a genuine impact on how the character performed in game.

As addictions go, it's not that bad. I may occasionally forget to have dinner (like last Saturday :-) but as I'm overweight that's probably not a bad thing. Late nights too but I can keep the all nighters for the weekends :-) My addiction doesn't cause me the amnesia of drink or the damage that drink can cause. I'm not chemically addicted to anything apart from maybe caffeine :-) And it doesn't cost me nearly as much as narcotics would do. I don't have to furtively sneak out to a smoking shelter like one or two of the people on the project do (most are open about it, others keep it secret)

Ok - on the cost thing, I've already got a couple of new games I don't have the time to play and a couple more arrived last night. I blame Game for doing special offers :-) The cost aspect introduces an interesting angle on the games thing too - most of them involve resource management of some sort. You can't buy the toys if you don't have the money. So the games that involve a grind teach the player that hard work brings reward. Curious ;-)

Time to get back to that other addiction - telly and music :-) And some really bad acting by the Star Trek people !

PS The new ship is called "Olga never gets laid". Yep - mad moment :-) It's in honour of Olga Kurylenko, who in her last three major blockbusters has been :
Stabbed in the neck with a sedative laden syringe by Agent 47 when she tried to jump him.
Ignored by the British secret agent most notorious for his womanising.
Kicked out of bed by Max Payne.
And after seeing her in all three of those - I don't get it ...

Monday, November 24, 2008

iTunes Marathon

Been having a bit of an iTunes Marathon lately ... The online game Eve is good for that because it doesn't take much focus for the game, which leaves plenty for listening to music.

I blame my sister of course, she's been trying to get me interested in new music by different artists. So it's taken me a week so far and I've only got 38 tracks to go of the new bunch collected when I was up at my mum's and dad's place for birthday weekend. Out of 226 :-)

What's sparked off this entry though is an oldie ... When I'm Sixty Four just came over the party shuffle (from the Sgt Pepper album) and it's still as fun a song now as it ever was. So what's new in the collection and what do I think of it ?

Gorillaz - Demon Days. Not sure about this one. It's a tad ... different. Could take a bit of getting used to and Different can be Very Good. Too much of the same gets boring after a while.

Snow Patrol - Final Straw. Interesting. Some good tracks here and this should be a good one to listen to as an album instead of as individual tracks. That's how I check out the new stuff, I'll listen to each track, rate it and then I'll add it to the shuffle a while later so I can listen to them as an album.

Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not. Not heard much like the lead singer's voice here. Huge amount of character gets injected into every song. I've not listened to much of this album yet but I get the feeling I may be hunting down a few more Arctic Monkeys albums soon ...

Portishead - Dummy. Another highly unusual group performing music that's diametrically opposite to Standard Pop Group 101 (I avoid x-factor and chart radio like the plague). Looking forward to this one as an album, although I think it needs laptop hooked to decent speakers to do it justice.

Peter Gabriel - Security. His 1st and 3rd albums were largely amazing, as was So. But he's also done some stinkers in his time and I wasn't impressed with this one either. Better than his 2nd and 4th attempts, which is sadly about the nicest thing I can say about it.

Enigma - MCMXC AD. I'd got their Cross of Changes album already but haven't had that much luck tracking this one down at an acceptable price. Which is a shame because there's some very sexy music here. (This is the Gregorian Chant music from a decade or two ago)

Coldplay - this is another group I'll be looking to hunt down more of :-) I'd describe it as "Lazy", which also translates into slow and relaxing. Think these albums will be getting more than their fair share of the party shuffle.

Gloria Estefan - ok, this blog entry was partly inspired by the post about Cheryl the dancer on Dianne's blog (see link in blogroll - Forks Off The Moment). If I called Enigma sexy singing above, this is lapdancing. Fun party music, guaranteed to get the stiffest person bopping away. Will have to look up how Gloria Estefan is getting on nowadays, she suffered a road accident that fractured vertebrae her back, which needed to be fused. Within a year she was back on the road on tour (more here). A Gloria Estefan track is almost guaranteed to get me singing along and that's the only recommendation that really counts :-)

Joan Baez - Noel. Ok, this one's not from my sister, it's one of my mum's favourites. It appeals to the purist in me because there's some of the most pure vocals around on show here. My laptop can just about handle it but this is another one where I think I'll have to hook up the better speakers to do it justice.

Talking Heads - True Stories. This one's been lurking at mum's and dad's for years now and it's one of the few of my cd's I hadn't been taking around the country with me. Which is a shame because it's another fun listen. More fun than Stop Making Sense, although it's a little too long ago now since I've watched the movies for Stop Making Sense and True Stories.

The Beatles - Sgt Pepper. Classic Album, full of traditional Beatles character. I have the 1 album too but the sad thing about greatest hits albums is that a) they miss great songs that I like more than what hit the greatest hits and b) they lose the character that a true album has.
(little addon - I hear there's an issue with getting Beatles songs over iTunes ... The Beatles tracks I have in my library are imports from cds :-)

Robbie Williams - Greatest Hits. Some amazing songs here. Robbie Williams has always had an outstanding voice, in whatever mode he's chosen to sing. Whether that be pop, ballad or sixties swing. Will have to queue up Angels, Road to Mandalay and Rock DJ for the party shuffle.

Currently on the shuffle is You Give Love A Bad Name from Bon Jovi before we (spookily for the weather and one of the jobs I need to do soon) get to Here I Stand And Face The Rain by a-Ha.

PS Will also hunting Shania Twain and Sheryl Crow sometime. Just to see if their other music is as good as That Don't Impress Me Much and All I Wanna Do.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cinema killed by credit crunch ?

Watched Max Payne tonight - it's another movie made out of a game ...

The evening started in Preview Bar & Grill, a restaurant close to the cinema. They're always worth going to but tonight, even at about 5.30, it was empty ! There was us Crazies plus about 1 or 2 other groups. Bar man was so bored he was polishing glasses.

It was the same thing in the cinema too, which is surprising seeing as there's a few high profile films out there at the moment. No-one there ! Max Payne had about 10 people in a cavern of a cinema. Ok, it's not Wednesday where there's a 2 for 1 deal going and it's not a Friday night or a weekend but empty cinema ? Felt weird. Maybe it was a little early to get the people in.

Anyway, how was Max Payne ? I think I'd describe it as "better than Wanted", "Punisher with the charm removed" or "wannabe Sin City without the credibility". A shame, cos the game was supposed to be really good (it's a first person shooter and one I missed out on). There's a few game tie ins done, some are much better than others. I enjoy watching the Tomb Raider films for more than Angelina Jolie, because they're good fun to watch. Resident Evil is another "good" film tie in, it's scary as well as a gripping action film. Will be having another Resident Evil night sometime I think.

Hitman's another good film-game tie in, because it retains a sense of style along with its very dark humour. Again, that's a game I've never played too. The film-game tie ins sometimes work well but often you'll get a Max Payne or real stinkers like the Dungeons and Dragons movies.

Ah well - some films are good, some films are poor. Some films are so bad they're actually highly amusing. But I wouldn't count Max Payne as one of those. Right - I'm almost all out of snacks, so it's time to pick up some munchies so I can stare at them while watching the Ice Road Truckers in 30 minutes :-)

Time to close with weird thing of the day. Normal History channel is giving the Blue Screen Of No Signal. History +1 hour channel is giving a crystal clear picture. They're only 1 separate on the box ! My mind is boggling ...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Feral Thinking

Been having one of those weeks where I feel like I've been doing loads but when I look back, I wonder what's actually been done ...

Friday was fun, the cakes and donuts were very well received. And a few people from the team that's been combined with ours said hello too. It's a little strange with the other team, they've been attached to our group without really that much integration going on between us. Even though we sit next to each other now, there's still a bit of distance there.

Good weekend too, we didn't manage to burn out my dad's router but we probably came close :-) Heh - not really, we got him a Linksys router just over a year ago and it's proven bombproof ever since. I'll buy one when I finally get sick of the Philips router I use here. I regularly need to reset my router because it has a habit of blocking me from accessing the net. In comparison, the Linksys has only had problems once in over a year, when it managed to go back to factory default. Apart from that, it's faultless.

I bought myself a few goodies for my birthday too, 2 games and 1 series of Blakes Seven. I've had a look at the 2 games (Fallout 3 and the new WoW expansion) but not really felt that interested in getting in too deep with them. It's not that I'm taking a dislike to them, more that I'm struggling to get the energy or interest to play games at the moment. That'll pass when I get a good rest in :-)

So why the "Feral Thinking" ? And what is that ? You know when you have a problem and whatever you try to fix it only leads to more confusion ? Been getting that over the past day or so. When I get that, I tend to get locked up in trying to bend the problem back to how it should be. Got one of those at the moment and most of today has been spent figuring out firstly what the problem is and how to fix it. It's not a huge problem, just some numbers that have been mixed up.

I'll sort it, even if I have to start from the beginning. And the problem is only in the worksheet I use like a scratchpad anyway, so no big deal if I have to rip it up and start again. I would like to figure out exactly why the numbers are different, although I get the feeling it's a combination of Excel and our work's network playing games on me. That happens too at our place, data integrity is not what you would call "perfect", although we can usually catch issues before it becomes critical.

Currently chilling out to a bit of retro(ish!) TV with Star Trek TNG and will probably give one of the games a bit of attention afterwards. And listen to some more of the 220 odd more tracks I collected for iTunes at the weekend :-) 10 more to hit 2000 in the library.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Around the world in 80 days ?

Every few years, around this time of year, a group of intrepid souls set off on one of the two Around The World yacht races. There's two of these, one of which is a group event with the other being single handed.

That's right - single handed sailing around the world, non-stop in yachts designed for a full crew. This is the event that made Ellen MacArthur famous and its name is the Vendée Globe and I'll be keeping a sharp eye on it over the next few months. It's gotten off to a fairly bruising start too, with heavy storms in the Bay Of Biscay causing a fair bit of carnage amongst the fleet. There's been 4 retirements so far, possibly more to come.

I'm following 3 of the skippers in particular this time around. They're Mike Golding skippering Ecover, Sam Davies of Roxy and Dee Caffari of Aviva. One characteristic of the Vendee Globe is how closely you can keep in touch with the skippers of the boats. The website linked above has a newswire service, which publishes regular notes from the skippers, along with the more regular news stories. It's far more intimate than the connection you get with most sports and it really makes a difference. And the yachtsmen and women are great people too, without the bad attitude that taints many sports with footballers being the worst. It's an attitude that extends into skippers being only too willing to help out in emergencies, where their help literally means the difference between life and death. And they'll give that help without a second thought.

This story about the rescue of Alex Thomson is why I'd like Mike Golding to do well in this race. These people aren't sportsmen, they're heroes.

I started following Sam Davies and Dee Caffari because they're Brits and I like to support the home team. However, after reading some of the logs from the girls (Sam and Dee), I've been caught by the tone. They're out there in the oggin doing something they love, they're having fun amongst all the work and that shines out in the Girls Wanna Have Fun logs that come over the newswires.

I'm hoping the fun continues so we can keep seeing those entries in the newswires. They're a great read.

I know I'll be keeping an eye on this race over the next few months, hopefully it will be as captivating as Ellen MacArthur's race :-)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I did something that was possibly a little daft last night, which was to watch all 3 Resident Evil films back to back. So I was jumping at the shadows last night.

Watching a Deep Space 9 repeat at the moment that's got a bit of an Ahhh moment in it. One of the characters in DS9 is Odo the shapeshifter. He's a fairly solitary fella is Odo, played masterfully by Rene Auberjonois. Probably more accurate to say alone than solitary though ...

I'm kinda feeling the same way at the moment. I'd like to have the chance to share a dinner with someone. All those dvds I watch, I'd like to watch them with someone else (even if that means relinquishing the popcorn bucket occasionally!) And I guess I'm missing gaming with people I know too. I've not really been connecting with the Eve people (well, new/old corp) and I've been on a bit of a break from Warcraft for a while.

Part of it is the new location at work, I guess I've been missing having the pretty girls from the team next door walk past and give me a wave. There's something about a smile and a hello that really brightens the day. The move has put my team on the end of one of the building spurs instead of the middle, so we don't have people from another team walking past. It's not quite as bad as that though, there is still the IT Girl, The Boss and Wild Thing* who I can usually rely on to respond to my strange humour. Even if it's just with a pat on the head.

So the loneliness has set in a bit and its demon has been pacified tonight by a bit of Amazon Treatment. Oh and a tie from the Mall tonight to replace some that are rather badly worn out. Which might tell how old they are ! I may also be suffering from a bug that's going around work at the moment, with it sneaking in under the cover of the severe dust inhalation I got last week while cleaning.

Anyway - it's my birthday tomorrow and one of the project traditions is to procure donuts (and other cakes) for the team. I'll be hoping to lure over some non-project people too :-)

*(I must get around to doing that Cast List of some of the people at work sometime ... IT Girl, The Boss and Wild Thing are just 3 of the people I work with but they are 3 of the best)

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Party Aftermath

It's the morning after now, so how was the party ?

Let's start by listing the films :
First up was Mars Attacks, a bit of insanity by Tim Burton where the Martians come to pay Earth a visit. Hilarious film and those Martians are totally evil on the level of a prank loving 5 year old :-)

Next was Over The Hedge, which is an animated film from 2006 where a rascally raccoon gets himself in trouble with the local bear by trying to steal all the food the bear had laid in for after he came out of hibernation. I missed this one in the cinema first time around and discovered it courtesy of the movie channels. Well worth catching, if the photos on Imdb (link above) are anything to go by, the voice actors had great fun putting this one together and that really comes over on screen.

Third up was Cars, courtesy of a happy CQ :-) Another animated classic, with attention to detail that goes all the way down to aircraft leaving contrails in the form of tire tracks and the insects on the windows being miniature VW Beetles. The climax near the end also makes this one of the few films that gets me choked up. Must acquire this one for me some time :-)

And last, after all the kiddies (except for RCA!) (and I'm due a thumping for that comment!) were safely in the bus heading back to Chez Aginoth, was scary movie Constantine. Not a bad story on this one but let down a bit by weak performances by the two lead actor/actresses. Worth catching this one but it's guaranteed to upset people who may be sensitive to parts of the content.

After Thursday's dusting exploits (next time before attacking room with brush, I'll get a mask!) I wasn't feeling too great, with lots of breathing problems and a big headache that had been building at work. The headache got the DGI (Damn Good Ignoring) treatment and I didn't have to be too energetic so the breathing was just an annoyance.

Since the last time I had visitors, the people I was using as my barometer and inspiration for all the effort in cleaning up were the little people ... I have a semi photographic memory and one of the images that stuck was that of a little girl who burst into tears at the sight of my loo ... That image has been pretty much exorcised now because the bursting into tears happened at home time instead ;-).

Breakout - current iTunes track is "You Only Live Twice", from the Bond film of the same name and sung by Nancy Sinatra. One of the best Bond themes :-) (Nobody Does It Better and For Your Eyes Only are also massive favourites) Kinda fitting seeing as we'll be seeing Quantum Of Solace soon :-)

My Puppies were a big hit with the little ones :

Thought I might lose one for a bit but they all survived :-) And I now have an excellent idea for what to acquire for the little ones for Xmas. Those three live on the back of my sofa and I think I'll be introducing people to the rest of the fluffy menagerie some time in the future. By the way that's Aginoth's jumper that I'm holding hostage until Monday. I have more hostages ! Let's see :

CQ's pen : is now in briefcase waiting for work on Monday
Aginoth's jumper
Kat's congratulations card - Kat's now a qualified Charted Accountant - big grats there :-)
CK's bottle opener
Various munchies

Most of it will be held to ransom, although ransoms tend to be limited to a wave ;-) The munchies however are MINE, ALL MINE ! (CK told me I could keep 'em :-)

What did I get for this part of my birthday ? First one - Iron Man film and an Iron Man figure. Iron Man was one of the best films of this year, with Robert Downey Jr making an excellent Tony Stark. Iron Man 2 (2010) and The Avengers (2011) should both be amazing movies if they carry on the form from Iron Man. Next is HitchHikers Guide To The Galaxy from the BBC, which stayed true to the humour in Douglas Adams' novels far better than the recent Hollywood production did. I also have Blakes Seven series 3 to watch, to catch up on something I was a little too young for the first time around, plus The Complete Robot collecting stories penned by Isaac Asimov.
(all links above will take you to IMDB pages)

Thanks to the Crazies for a great party and all those presents :-) Although my sore head settled down towards the end of the night, I hadn't been feeling too human before then.

PS We had pizza delivered from the Pizza Hut over the road, they get a stay of execution this time as the pizza was just right. Shame their website keeps triggering virus warnings on this PC though ... something to keep an eye on.

Update - Just finished watching Iron Man - definitely as good the second time around !

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Into Temptation

I have something staring at me at the moment.

It's covered with brown cardboard with various Amazon logos on it ... I WANNA OPEN IT ! But I must resist. It must be saved until tomorrow night's party. But I still wanna open it :-)

Hoping that people will enjoy tomorrow night's party. House is pretty much to the best state I can manage, although that isn't quite the state I wanted it in. As in, it ain't perfect but it's a hell of a lot better than what it was :-) There's still work to be done like moving a little furniture around but that can wait until tomorrow. Also gotta do some washing up and clear some space in da kitchen ...

Oh and get some sleep tonight, although I'll need my lungs to settle down before I can think about decent shuteye. I did the vacuuming earlier, plus a bit of ill-advised scrubbing of the floor because the vacuum cleaner needed a little "persuading" (the pipe were blocked so it wasn't sucking). All that dust coming up into the air isn't very good for someone with dust sensitivities :-(

But seeing shiny surfaces instead of mucky ones makes it worth it, as does seeing a clear surface where previously elements of the Dust Bunnie Army was on parade. What will make the work totally worth it is if the kiddie visitors go away happy, instead of one particular small visitor being reduced to tears by the state of the bathroom ...

It's been busy and rather strange at work this week too - our project moved across the site to a new set of offices. The aim is to gather similar projects together so we can benefit from each other better. Whenever a move happens, there's always a bit of friction associated and a bit of awkwardness too. Things like people taking stuff that they really didn't need or could have got recycled because they have it on soft copy anyway ... People are very definitely creatures of habit. There's also friction due to certain elements not thinking of team issues but we've worked around those two people.

The move should be good for us, the scenery is definitely better. From my desk, instead of seeing trees blocking the view, I can see all the way out to the front gate. It should look good come Spring and Summer, although hopefully not enough that I gaze out the window instead of gazing at Windows on my desk. Oh - my stalker of last year might be working for the team that moves in next door to us, which could make life interesting :-)

I've been doing a decent amount of the grunt work too this week, which is definitely good for my psyche. I'm a bit frail and pick up injuries easily, so doing something that lets me use my muscles and therefore confirm that I can still lug things around is excellent for my confidence. Plus it means I get smiles and thank you's from our very own Wild Thing (name acquired through slip of tongue on Monday and no I ain't tellin' !) and from a few other people.

Key Leadership tenet - You should never ask someone to do something that you are not willing to do yourself. Which translates into not shirking the physical stuff because you can't be arsed or you feel that you're too important to be bothered with it.

Right - had a shower not long ago and my too-long hair takes time to dry. Time to chill out to some music while Taking Over The Galaxy ! I started a Moo2 game on Tuesday and it's gotten down to just me and the Sakkra. Victory or Death !

PS Being right close to the best canteen on site (we have 4 plus a shop that sells sarnies) is definitely a bonus to the move.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Winter clean

I've been blitzing the house for the last half a week or so to get it ready for the Crazie Party on Friday. It's been much needed because since my last relationship broke up a few years ago, I'd been a bit static and not really looking after things all that well. Which includes myself plus the house. Also, the chores arrangement before the breakup hadn't really worked that well. Evil Ex was supposed to be looking after the general cleaning type stuff while I did maintenance and surprise, surprise, washing up and cooking. So the house had got into a fairly poor state.

It's happily a bit different now. I've not been on the cleanup job all hours except sleep and work, keeping a little bit of time back for games, film and relaxation. But I'm pretty happy with the progress so far. There's still work to do though, the vacuum has been waiting to come out until most of the clutter is out of the way. No point picking up the clutter to vacuum if the clutter is going to get put right back again.

Bathroom - it's not done yet but that room is starting to freak me out a bit. My loo has been described as requiring napalm, a hammer and complete replacement (beyond hope I believe was one description). I'd gotten kinda used to that, so to see a 90% clean loo is a bit disturbing to a brain that likes to see the same patterns ! But I can live with being freaked out by that and my brain will quickly adjust to a loo that I wouldn't be ashamed to get used by other people. There's still work to do though and I need some stronger scrubbers ...

Living room - there's a clearer path through now ! Although my pooter corner behind the sofa is still cluttered. This is the room in heaviest need of the vacuum cleaner, which will be Tuesday's job when I'm not in work. However, it's easier to get to the back doors now and all 3 of my soft chairs are available again and by Friday, I'll have them moved into positions where they can see the telly. Electronic clutter has been moved out of the way too, I gather wires to connect anything to everything and most of those are now out of the way.

The light fitting is now not hanging off the ceiling by one screw (out of two!) and my two PC Box Boxes are now clear of garbage. I use the boxes that PC cases come in for tables beside the sofa. They're just about the right size for a pint glass and a packet of biscuits without being Too Big. By the way, my Dining Table just happens to be a plank of wood from the back of my desk that had to be be removed to allow a PC to go in the bit that a PC is supposed to go in. It works ... especially as there's not really the space in my living room to get a proper table in.

I'll still be keeping the two PC Corpses in the room. One is perfect for standing on to change lightbulbs (they don't make 'em like they used to!) and I'll put the side plates back on the other. They'll both be available on Friday as tables for drinkz n popcorn n feet. It's going to be a shame to chuck out the Quality Street and Liz Shaw mints but with Best Before Dates of 2005, they aren't going to be around where little kiddies can get their hands on them. (And so Big Quality Street Addicted Kiddies can't be tempted either !)

Kitchen is also on the list for blitzing and I started on that tonight with some overdue scrubbing of the sink ... That's another one that'll benefit from far better brushes than I have available at the moment but I have time to get those later in the week. Tesco better have some good stuff in stock on Wednesday :-)

So - good progress so far, house is no longer in a Repel Boarders state but there's still lots of work to do. Next job after this one - clear the back yard enough to let someone in to fix the SkyDish. But that's something that can wait a bit.

It's long overdue but it'll be worth it when it's done. 3 years is far too long to stay rooted in a routine that allows fixing the neglect to become hard work. It's always easier to keep up with the chores than to be forced to put excessive effort into cleaning up later.

PS I'm not so sure that scrubbing the sink with cleany type stuff was such a good idea considering I have a bit of a poisoned finger ! Time to get that under the hot tap to make it feel a little better.