30 March 2009

Jay Brannan - Can't Have It All

Jay Brannan has just released the official video for his song Can't Have It All:

So cuuuuuuuute! "Fuck, did that sound gay?"

This is my favourite Jay Brannan song, closely followed by Bowlegged and Starving, and is the song that got me interested in his music enough to buy his album. And considering he asked specifically for people to blog and share the video as much as possible, and it was his birthday yesterday, I felt compelled to oblige.

Also, it has the added bonus of pushing Robbie Williams' fat face down from the top of my blog, so everyone's a winner.

Can't wait to see him in May! Jay Brannan that is, not Robbie Williams.

27 March 2009

Robbie Williams is a fat loser

Professional fat-face Robbie Williams has apparently been talking up a reunion with Take That. He's such a fat desperate loser! He clearly can't stand that they are successful again while he hasn't had a record for... how long? Maybe if he paused long enough to wipe the gravy from his pie-filled chin he'd be able to do some singing.

I've never liked Robbie Williams. Actually, to be fair, when he was in Take That I didn't mind him, I just thought he was a twat. But then he got these delusions of being much better than them and swanned off on his own, and on top of that was even really mean about them even though no-one would ever have heard of him if it weren't for Take That. So that just finished him off for me.

Yes he had some OK songs, and I'm not saying he can't sing, but his arrogant twattiness completely overrides everything else. All his music videos are really self-indulgent (I'm a James Bond, I'm winning gold at figure skating, I'm stripping off and thinking I'm sexy even though I look like a silverback gorilla, etc.), so I can't even bear to watch them.

And then Take That made their comeback, and have enjoyed quite a lot of success, and oo look! Robbie's having a nervous breakdown. No no, it's not related, they all say rather kindly, but it's rather coincidental isn't it?

And now he wants in on it. Well Gary shouldn't let him, not after he was so mean, and he wouldn't even appear on that reunion TV programme they did or anything. He should say "I'm sorry, but we can't afford to have the studio doors widened enough for Robbie to drag his fat arse in there, so we won't be able to record anything with him".

I hope they say no. And then laugh. And then release an album called "Remember Robbie Williams? No? Neither do we."

26 March 2009

Wedding stress - the slow build up

I just had a rather long conversation with Mum about Dave's wedding. It's getting closer now, and as we approach it she's getting progressively more stressed about how she's going to manage it, which parts she's going to be able to attend, and how only to attend bits of it without upsetting Dave and his fiancée too much (they're being a little uncompromising, I have to say).

Basically, she can't do all of it, not a whole day from 2pm until the evening including a dinner and lots of noise and socialising etc. But Dave wants her to do it all; or at least, in an ideal world she'd be doing everything, and he wants his wedding to be perfect, so he's pitching for the ideal world scenario.

Unstoppable object? Meet my friend the immovable wall.

Neither of them seem willing or able to compromise very easily, so I don't know how it's going to end up really. I've been trying to think up all sorts of different plans that might be doable by Mum and acceptable to Dave, and it isn't really working very well at the moment. I don't know why I'm feeling responsible for sorting it out of course, but that's just what I do. And when Dave's being intransigent, Mum ends up feeling like he doesn't really want her to go at all, and so it all goes on and you can see why I ended up on the phone for ages.

Hmm. So I'm not really looking forward to my brother's wedding right now. If we can come up with a plan then I'll be able to feel better about it. Or alternatively I could try to stop caring and let other people sort themselves out for a change.

24 March 2009

Jay Brannan in London

Ah ha! In September I whinged on about having missed both Lisa Loeb and Jay Brannan perform, despite having signed up to various mailing lists which I then didn't read properly and which therefore didn't help me at all.

But anyway, this time I shall not be whinging because I've managed both to be aware of a gig AND to buy tickets for it, and so we shall be seeing Jay Brannan in London on 9 May. Yay! And I had even moaned that he probably wouldn't be back in the country for ages, whereas in fact it has only been about nine months I think. Clearly that sappy 'please come back to England' email I sent him worked a treat.

He's only doing the one gig in the UK, so obviously it's not quite as good as when he played at the Komedia in Brighton which is about 10 minutes from my house, and yes I will be spending more on the train ticket than I have on the gig ticket, but whatever, it's better than nothing. And we're always saying how we should go to see more live music things and plays and whatnot.

And he is cute, and sweet, although he's a little tortured (not uncommon in a musical artiste).

I'm really looking forward to it anyway, it should be good. My only slight concern was buying the tickets from an online retailer I've not heard of that doesn't send you real tickets only an e-ticket thing. So I'm a bit worried we could turn up and then not get in. But they're linked from the official site as one of the places to get tickets from, so I'm sure it's probably alright.


New blog design

I've been working on a new design for my blog for the last few days, and I've finally uploaded it. So that means you all now have to comment and say how nice it is, and those of you who read this via RSS (yes Lee, I'm talking to you) have to actually click through to the web version for once.

Bear with me while I sort out any little teething problems with it, like bits I've forgotten to style or whatever. Blogger has a complicated proprietary scripting system for spitting out the blog data and it's taken me a while to unpick it all.

Right, better get on with some work now, this has already taken up far too much of my time!

20 March 2009

Stupid Argus scaremongering

Ha, I just read yet another ridiculous article on the Argus website about Google photographing the streets in Brighton for their Street View service ('Every Brighton street to be photographed and put on the web'). It's so stupid! They're such a rubbish paper, they try to sensationalise every story they write even if it's a) not sensational, and b) old news because everyone's heard about Street View already.

And they write idiotic sentences like "How would you feel if you Googled your home address and were confronted with a picture of yourself putting out the rubbish or bleary-eyed at the kitchen window?". Erm, that's the same as saying "How would you feel if you did something in public and someone saw you doing it" - not fucking surprised!

And then you get people chipping in with comments such as "What if you don't want certain people to know where you are? What if you are part of witness protection?". It's not a LIVE fucking video, it's a photo that was probably taken months ago, that probably has your face blurred, and that isn't searchable by person. Yes I suppose criminals could trawl every street in the country in the hope that you happen to have been standing in the street when the Google car went by, but they could also drive around looking for you with about the same likelihood of finding you.

Honestly, I despair, I really do.

That Friday feeling

It's the end of the week at last, after five days of what has been mind-numbing boredom oddly combined with time whizzing past really quickly. I'm looking forward to the weekend as the sun is still shining, but I don't really know what plans we've got for it. Boy watching may well feature heavily, and maybe a little trip to Popstarz tonight, we shall have to see…

I've really wanted to go and try out Boogaloo Stu's new night called Pop Kraft on a Thursday (which has replaced Creamy Fingers, which replaced Boogaloo), but we keep laming out at the last minute. Last night was no exception, so that's three weeks in a row we've missed. It's just so hard to go when you work full time though! One or both of us is usually tired from our Thursday at work, and the prospect of a Friday feeling sick at my desk is becoming less and less appealing as I get older. Maybe next week…? Who knows. I'm suspicious that no photos of the last three weeks of it have appeared on Facebook though, leading me to believe that maybe it wasn't that busy…

Oh yes, and in other news I've decided not to sign up for that creative writing course. The deadline is tomorrow, and I've not done it yet, so I just don't think it's going to happen. In the end it came down to whether I wanted to spend £155 on it, and I decided I couldn't really justify it if I'm meant to be saving up to buy a flat.

So never mind. I'm still quite interested in trying to write a novel one day, and I think they run this course every six months or so, so I could always sign up next time around. And I've saved £155 (sort of), which is good! Now how can I get away with spending that on a Blackberry, hmmm…

16 March 2009

The sun is back!

Yay the sun has returned and it has been a lovely couple of days in Brighton. I can't actually see the sun, or the outside world at all, from my desk at work unfortunately, but I know it's there and that's the main thing.

As it was nice and warm yesterday Chris and I were able to make our first boy-watching trip of 2009 along Brighton seafront. It's not been nice enough until now. Have I written about the analogue boy clock before? Well, it's our system for spotting cute boys anyway. We came up with it after too many frustrating walks involving the conversation "he's nice. Who? Him over there. Which one? He's gone now, you missed him. Damn!". It works a bit like when you're in a jet fighter (a regular occurrence for us all), where 12 o'clock is dead ahead, 3 o'clock is directly on your right, 6 o'clock is behind you, etc. So using that, with a brief description, you can pinpoint anyone in a matter of moments. E.g. "blond hair, 2 o'clock", "grey t-shirt, 10 o'clock", "Dubcek, 1 o'clock".

  • A Dubcek (doop-check) is someone who looks good from behind, but is disappointing when they turn around. We stole it from Third Rock From The Sun.
  • A Butterface is someone who looks good everywhere (body etc) but their face. They can also be called a King Prawn: rip off the head and eat the body.
  • A Monet is someone who looks good from far away, but rubbish close up.
There are other names for special cases, but I can't think of them right now.

So yes, that's the analogue boy clock. It's a fun game.

I've also given up trying to grow my hair longer, it just wasn't looking good. Someone said to me on Saturday "what exactly are you going for with it?", and that was the final straw. So Chris has cut it all off for me and I feel much happier with it short and a bit spikey again.

13 March 2009


Last night was the private screening of Watchmen that I won in a LoveFilm/PlayStation competition, and I had such a good time! We had to travel up to London for it of course, so we actually spent more money on the train than it would have cost to see it at the cinema in Brighton, but that's not the point.

We went up to London straight after work and met some friends at Wagamama, where we had a lovely pre-film dinner, and then we scooted on down to the Odeon Marble Arch for 8pm and met the rest of our friends. There were a couple of nice guys from PlayStation there to meet us and they showed us into our lovely empty screen that was entirely devoid of annoying other people.

They had very carefully laid out a bag of popcorn and a drink for each of us, and then someone came round and gave us each a little tub of Ben & Jerry's which we munched on happily during the trailers while having quiet conversations along the lines of "hi, how are you? fine thanks. why are we whispering? I don't know, there's no-one else here!"

The film was good, I hadn't really been sure what to expect as I haven't read the book, but I really enjoyed it. It was a little long I have to say, because for the whole of the third hour I was thinking "really? you're not finished yet?", but I suppose they didn't want to trim the book too much. I was glad I hadn't read it in a way because it obviously made it all new for me, and it meant I wasn't comparing and thinking "the book was better" the whole time.

Dr Manhattan is obviously way cool with is god-like powers. I quite liked his indifference to wearing clothes, but at the same time his electric blue cock did rather draw the eye and stopped me focusing on some of the dialogue. I was also a bit peturbed by the size of Nite Owl's gargantuan arse and kept thinking "is that part of his super power? surely not..."

And then afterwards, as if the private screening and free food weren't enough, we got party bags! Very much in the vein of a 10-year old's birthday party where you file out one by one, get handed a bag and say "thank you very much for having me" before scurrying off. I was well impressed with the contents though, it's all PlayStation 3 stuff, a mug and a pen and a bottle opener, PLUS two tickets to see another film at an Odeon EACH! The goodie bag on its own would have been quite a good prize I thought!

So yes, that was my prize winner's evening. It may well be the only time I win a competition ever, so I'm glad we made the most of it and didn't say "oh, London, that's a bit far" or whatever.

11 March 2009

Reconciling Adobe Contribute and a pissy web server

I've just been trying to set up Adobe Contribute to work with a website I created, and had huge amounts of trouble getting it to make the initial connection. After lots of web searching, I found this solution which worked a treat, so I'm re-posting it here lest I forget it in the future or in case the original blog gets taken down.

It's from a blog called My Adobe is broken! by Michael Ahgren, so all credit goes to him.

Solution…(Contribute and mod_security)

I earlier mentioned, at this blog, the problem when you configure Adobe Contribute with a site running on an Apache server with mod_security rules enabled. You get the error message "cannot verify your connection information", even if all your settings are correct.

The mod_security rules block access to any folder called "TMP" and that is what Contribute is creating for its tests.

Here is the solution (please note the security warning at the end of this posting!):

  1. In GoLive, Dreamweaver or a text editor create a .txt file with the following content:
    SecFilterEngine Off
    SecFilterScanPOST Off

  2. Save the file as htaccess.txt.

  3. Upload it to your site's root folder.

  4. Through the FTP interface change the name to .htaccess (note the dot before the name, the entire name is a file extension!)

  5. Now configure your site with Contribute.

  6. When the configuration is done delete the .htaccess file from the server.

This technique will open you up slightly to hackers for approximately 2-3 minutes. I think you must have really bad luck to get hit during exactly those 3 minutes…but the decision is yours!

As far as I know this is the only solution to the Contribute and mod_security problem.

10 March 2009

Soul... ebbing... away...

I went home to London to visit my parents last weekend. As usual it was fine, and it's always nice to see them, and they made a particular point of saying how much they enjoy my visits home. It "gives them a lift" they said.

While that's a kind thing to say and I'm pleased I cheer them up, I couldn't help thinking that actually it may give them a lift, but I always come away rather depressed. It is a bit boring at their house, which isn't the end of the world, I'm sure lots of parents' houses are like that. But on top of that it's also rather soul-sucking.

I think it's the bickering really. Mum snipes and nitpicks at Dad a lot, and I know it's because she's feeling ill and depressed, but it's still quite horrible to watch. I pull her up on it from time to time when she gets really out of line, but Dad must have the patience of a saint because he hardly ever says anything. And he does so much for her! With rarely a thank you, and usually a critical comment about why whatever he's doing is wrong. I'm reading The Devil Wears Prada at the moment, and I couldn't help thinking of Miranda Priestly.

Take this entirely average example: Dad goes and gets for her the small glass of wine she'll often have with her dinner. Does she say thank you? No.

"Did you get the wine out of the fridge first?"

"No, I forgot."

"Well it'll be too cold then won't it, you know I can't drink it cold, it gives me a stomach ache." (does it? since when?)

And rather than let this conversation continue and put up with the subsequent complaints of stomach achiness, I ended up going and getting a bowl of warm water and sitting her wine glass in it until the chill had been taken off. How ridiculous is that?? Admittedly, no-one asked me to do it, and I partly did it for my own amusement at the lengths required to satisfy her, but it's still stupid and outrageous, and my main reason for doing it was "for a quiet life". That must be my Dad's mantra actually.

So anyway, by the time I left on Sunday afternoon, the nitpicking had really worn me out. Chris always tells me I go to far too many lengths to appease her, and I know he's right, but the alternative of trying to train her into better habits just seems like too much hassle. I just hope I don't get like that when I'm older. So does Chris actually - he's already warned me of the possible consequences if I turn into my mother. He'd never let me get to that point anyway. I can see it now:

"This wine is too cold."

"Well you'll have to let it warm up then won't you? Or get your own wine next time. Or just deal with it, I'm sure two degrees isn't going to kill you, it's not liquid nitrogen you know."

So at least I know I've got a behaviour policeman to look after me.

I haven't been writing on here very often lately. I think it's because I'm using Twitter more, so I'm doing lots of small updates rather than writing these longer ones. I'll try to be better.

(Days healthy - 19)

05 March 2009

But I never win anything!

I won a competition today, woo hoo!

It was one of those things where you enter online, and you think "yeah right, I'll never hear anything about that ever again" and you put it out of your mind. But this morning I had an email informing me I'd won something, and it wasn't from the daughter of a deceased Nigerian General, and it didn't ask me to confirm my account number or anything!

So anyway, it was a Watchmen competition run by LoveFilm and you had to go back to the website once a week for four weeks and answer a question. If you got all four questions right you got put into a draw for the grand prize of a private screening of the new Watchmen film in London. And I won! So now I get to go up to London next week and watch the film in a cinema screen all to myself with up to 30 friends. And they'll be giving us some refreshments or something as well they said (so, probably a coke. Maybe some popcorn, but let's not go nuts).

But it's good anyway, I never win anything usually! I enter loads of competitions idly, and never get anything back from them. Of course, I probably don't know 30 people who want to see Watchmen AND who want to go to London to watch it when you could watch down here for £7, even if it is a private screening. But that's not the point, I'm still pleased.

Yay me!

(Days healthy - 14)

Confident Speaking

My confident speaking course yesterday was actually better than I was expecting, and may even have verged on useful.

We had a nice discussion in the morning on what makes public speaking difficult, and then we did a small practice presentation just to two other people to ease us into it. The afternoon was run by George Palmer from EastEnders (or Paul Moriarty as he likes to be called), and he focused mainly on how we use our voices, how we project, and ways of engaging with your audience. I probably enjoyed this bit the most, although it involved some weird voice exercises like bellowing "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day" at a complete stranger over and over again. I think it was quite useful though, and we learnt how to breathe in order to add more power to our voices and things like that.

And then we were supposed to end on a three-minute presentation by each of us to the rest of the group about a subject of our choosing. But in a rather anti-climactic way we ran out of time so only half the delegates got to do their presentations, and it rather undermined the point of the whole thing. I didn't do mine, but I wasn't that bothered because I didn't want to do it anyway.

So yes, it was fine, better that lots of other courses I've been on. I suppose one of the key things we learnt was that although we don't like public speaking, we're probably not as bad at it as we think we are, and people don't tend to notice even if you are a bit nervous.

I wouldn't say that I'm now going to be massively confident in speaking in public, but if you need the first line of a sonnet bellowed in someone's face, I'm your man.

03 March 2009

Lack of confidence in confident speaking

I'm off on a confident speaking course tomorrow. I don't really want to go any more, it seemed like a good idea at the time when I booked it. I think I was mostly focusing on the free lunch though and the fact that it's a day away from my desk.

I suppose it will be alright... I don't want to go because I know they're going to force me to stand up and speak in front of the rest of the group, but I expect that's the point. The afternoon part of it is facilitated by an actor from EastEnders, not that I've ever heard of him, but I don't watch it very often.

So anyway, maybe I'll come back tomorrow with a new-found confidence when speaking in social situations and when doing presentations and things. It's possible. But it's far more likely I'll come back and completely disregard everything they said in the course, as is always the case with all staff development events everywhere.

01 March 2009

R.I.P. Boogaloo - this time it's final

I wrote a couple of months ago that Dynamite Boogaloo on a Thursday night was no more and had finally be cancelled. I was able to take small consolation however from the fact that Super Dynamite Boogaloo, its monthly special on a Saturday, would continue, and so at least it wasn't being completely totally cancelled.

Alas, with scant regard for the mental anguish it would inflict, Boogaloo Stu has now pulled the plug on that as well! So after 17 years of Dynamite Boogaloo in Brighton, 10 years of which I'd been going there myself, it really is gone. Last night was its 17th Birthday Party event and also its swan song. They've said it is cancelled "for the forseeable future", and that they'll be back at Pride for the thing they do at the Open House, but more or less I think that's it.

I wasn't all that surprised about the Thursday night; it had had problems getting the numbers in. I thought the Saturday monthly would be alright though because it's always fairly full. I think they've just moved on and decided to do other things - I know that Dynamite Sal is doing some other club nights now, and Dolly Rocket has been hostessing at Legends, and Boogaloo Stu has always had his London nights and is starting some things in Bath too I think. I'm quite sad though - I used to like it being monthly, it made us make the effort to go, because we knew if we missed it we'd have to wait a whole month for the next one.

Last night was OK, but wasn't actually the best Boogaloo I've ever been to. The music wasn't quite as good as it sometimes is, and there were some annoying louty straight boys there making lots of noise and getting in my way. It was also a bit melancholy watching the last cabaret and thinking "aw this is the last cabaret!"

I had wondered if, after 10 years, I would finally volunteer to play the cabaret game. I've always scrupulously avoided it, but thought that maybe one day I would. I didn't though, he'd already picked his participants as being the people who were celebrating birthdays that night. And they were playing shitlips anyway, which I wouldn't particularly have wanted to do as you end up with chocolate spread all over your face, so maybe it was for the best.

So anyway, R.I.P. Boogaloo, taken from us at the tender age of 17. Thank you for the... oh, hundreds of fun nights you've given me. Brighton won't be the same without you.