Monthly Archives: September 2003

The phrase “To coin a phrase”

Pink is her “own worst enemy”…

…not while I’m still alive* – bah boom.

*Apparently this phrase was first coined^ by Bevin about Peter Mandelson’s grandfather Herbert Morrison.

^The phrase “To coin a phrase” came into common usage in the 1940s. The verb “to coin” originally meant to mint a coin, the verb first appeared in the 14th century but by the 16th century it had become generalised to become to create or invent something.

Mellon University

“People who spend time online are not sad, lonely individuals with no social life.” – According to the BBC.

They said:
“One report by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University suggested that even spending an hour a week surfing the internet could increase depression.”

But this bloke that they interviewed has decided that “It’s all garbage”.

The nerd, Professor Keith Hampton, an expert in cyber-sociology actually lived inside the internet for two years claim the BBC.

“Professor Hampton found that living in a wired community encouraged greater community involvement, strengthened relationships with neighbours and family, and helped maintain ties with friends and relatives living farther away.”

However the BBC news web site have not suggested that writing articles that make web surfers look good might encourage people to visit their web site. (That’s enough – ed.)

Bated from abated

I obviously hate to sound like a pedant

But I am one so here goes: it’s “bated breath” not “baited breath”. Bated from abated which means “To reduce in amount, degree, or intensity; lessen”. So the saying means that you are lessening the number of your breaths perhaps through fear or perhaps through anticipation rather than that you have the smell of worms on your breath.

Unless of course you do have the smell of worms on your breath, but I don’t see how that is exactly relevant.

Does it contain more than one ingredient?

Does All-Bran have an ingredients section on the box? Does it contain more than one ingredient? I always thought that the commercial product with the least ingredients was Appletise which contains only Apple Juice and CO2. Although there is always the honourable mention of the diet version of said drink which contains Apple Juice, CO2 and water. It costs the same, so surely you could just buy a bottle of the regular stuff and add your own water and be better off. However I’m guessing that the average diet junkie isn’t going to care about a few squids down the drain in exchange for a bit of water…

Hurrah !! Somnambulism.

So as I think we all know, BT are terrible people, but I really was surprised to find that it would take them two and a half weeks to connect our phone line. But connect it they have, and I am no longer isolated to the barren wastes of no internet. Hurrah !!

Which leads me neatly from an actually reasonably non-violent whinge about BT to a harsher whinge about university entrance requirements. I was talking to a fellow student about phone bills, he was having financial burdens and had this theory that he was going to set up a premium rate phone line instead of his normal number. His idea was that most people are crazy enough to think that those numbers sound like mobile phone numbers and so would call him anyway and he could pay off his bill that way. So far so, in a slightly strange way, reasonable. But then he proceeded to say that he was telling as many people as possible about his plan, because the idea was so great, and it was a perfect way to end all phone bills. So I said to him, providing of course that you don’t tell anyone in your calling circle about it. But this was something that he evidently hadn’t considered. Not only had he spent the entire last week convincing his friends to get premium rate numbers which would suck him dry, but he’d also effectively warned them off calling him on his number. How stupid is that, I mean really… ? And I don’t think it will work anyway, I don’t think BT allow that kind of thing to go on, or rather you need a lot higher volume of calls than this idiot was ever likely to get. How do they get into to university? Who can tell?

I now have a brand spanking new espresso maker. I may never have to go to sleep again !!

Of course these things are sent to try us, and almost set us on fire. I have had this maker for a couple of weeks now (even though it still looks brand new – stainless steel is a marvel) and this morning, I had just poured one shot’s worth into my coffee cup and left the other shot for later. The maker being very hot, I put it back on the stove but on a different hob obviously, but it slipped and coffee started pouring everywhere. Over the walls, the cooker, the floor and the bin, and some neatly stacked empty pizza boxes. Obviously the coffee on the floor wasn’t staying put, and was creeping around the back of the oven, so I had to stop it fast. So I moved the pizza boxes out of the way and put them on the only non-floor surface I could reach. Yup you guessed it, the oven, and yup you guessed it, in my panic I hadn’t turned the gas off yet. (How I got in to University is anyone’s guess) Well the fire’s out and everyone is safe… For now…

Somnambulism

If only I could sleep, then at least I could walk…

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

I don’t know if the calendar bothers you but it really upsets me. It seems such a random design, and I reckon there has to be another way to set the whole thing up. So I’ve come up with a new calendar by explaining what I’ve changed I think you’ll see what I don’t like about the current one. It’s been changed before so it’s not that unreasonable. The current calendar hasn’t even been around that long… so anyway…

There is a pair of the sun rising and setting. This pair happens approximately 365.25 times every time we circle the sun. Each time the earth rotates on it’s axis is a day, each time the earth orbits the sun is a year. These are the only constants in our calendar.

There are two solutions to the problem of the 365.25 problem. One is to make a calendar which works over 4 years. This seems like it would be too radical a change for most people. The other solution is to have 1 leap day every four years as we currently have. This is not a fault in a calendar system it just involves the number of times the earth rotates on it’s own axis not being directly connected to the number of times that the earth rotates around the sun.

If there were 13 months in a year instead of 12 then all months could be unified at 28 days length. This would mean that that there would be one less day in the year than there should be. The last month of the year would have 29 days. Leap years which would have another month which would include an extra day.

It is probable that the reason that the 12 months were chosen was for religious reasons. I.e. the twelve apostles. Even though 13 would make a lot more sense. Somebody has to come up with a new name for this new month. And decide where they want to put it. I think they should put it as the fifth month i.e. between April and May. Because then my birthday will be in the new month which I would like I think.

Another problem with the calendar having 365 days in it is that the seven days of the week do not fit into a year exactly. There is a one day overhang which means that the days associated with different dates change each year. This is quite annoying and could be solved quite easily. New Years Eve becomes a day of the week or rather the year. In this new scheme of 28 day months every month starts on a Monday and ends on a Sunday. Except in the last month of the year when it still starts on a Monday but instead ends on New Years Eve which has no other day name and comes after Sunday and before the following Monday. Leap Years work in the same way but with the day being called something like Calendar Day or Leap Day or whatever. A list of what days are which is included below for quick reference. As is a converter so that you can work out which days of the year your special dates are now.

I think things would be a lot better with this system. Things would be so much simpler. But just imagine though what this would mean for computers the millennium bug would seem simple to fix compared to this! Or perhaps not?

Days of the Month:
1 – Monday
2 – Tuesday
3 – Wednesday
4 – Thursday
5 – Friday
6 – Saturday
7 – Sunday
8 – Monday
9 – Tuesday
10 – Wednesday
11 – Thursday
12 – Friday
13 – Saturday
14 – Sunday
15 – Monday
16 – Tuesday
17 – Wednesday
18 – Thursday
19 – Friday
20 – Saturday
21 – Sunday
22 – Monday
23 – Tuesday
24 – Wednesday
25 – Thursday
26 – Friday
27 – Saturday
28 – Sunday
29 – New Years Day

Conversion of Dates:

Format of the Table is

Old Day : Old Month : Day of the Year : New Day : New Month

e.g. My birthday is the 24th of April – so on the table it’s:
24 : 04 : 114 : 02 : 05 – So now it’s on the 2nd Day of the Fifth month.

01 : 01 : 001 : 01 : 01
02 : 01 : 002 : 02 : 01
03 : 01 : 003 : 03 : 01
04 : 01 : 004 : 04 : 01
05 : 01 : 005 : 05 : 01
06 : 01 : 006 : 06 : 01
07 : 01 : 007 : 07 : 01
08 : 01 : 008 : 08 : 01
09 : 01 : 009 : 09 : 01
10 : 01 : 010 : 10 : 01
11 : 01 : 011 : 11 : 01
12 : 01 : 012 : 12 : 01
13 : 01 : 013 : 13 : 01
14 : 01 : 014 : 14 : 01
15 : 01 : 015 : 15 : 01
16 : 01 : 016 : 16 : 01
17 : 01 : 017 : 17 : 01
18 : 01 : 018 : 18 : 01
19 : 01 : 019 : 19 : 01
20 : 01 : 020 : 20 : 01
21 : 01 : 021 : 21 : 01
22 : 01 : 022 : 22 : 01
23 : 01 : 023 : 23 : 01
24 : 01 : 024 : 24 : 01
25 : 01 : 025 : 25 : 01
26 : 01 : 026 : 26 : 01
27 : 01 : 027 : 27 : 01
28 : 01 : 028 : 28 : 01
29 : 01 : 029 : 01 : 02
30 : 01 : 030 : 02 : 02
31 : 01 : 031 : 03 : 02
01 : 02 : 032 : 04 : 02
02 : 02 : 033 : 05 : 02
03 : 02 : 034 : 06 : 02
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08 : 02 : 039 : 11 : 02
09 : 02 : 040 : 12 : 02
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15 : 02 : 046 : 18 : 02
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20 : 02 : 051 : 23 : 02
21 : 02 : 052 : 24 : 02
22 : 02 : 053 : 25 : 02
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24 : 02 : 055 : 27 : 02
25 : 02 : 056 : 28 : 02
26 : 02 : 057 : 01 : 03
27 : 02 : 058 : 02 : 03
28 : 02 : 059 : 03 : 03
01 : 03 : 060 : 04 : 03
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10 : 04 : 100 : 16 : 04
11 : 04 : 101 : 17 : 04
12 : 04 : 102 : 18 : 04
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15 : 04 : 105 : 21 : 04
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27 : 11 : 331 : 23 : 12
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01 : 12 : 335 : 27 : 12
02 : 12 : 336 : 28 : 12
03 : 12 : 337 : 01 : 13
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25 : 12 : 359 : 23 : 13
26 : 12 : 360 : 24 : 13
27 : 12 : 361 : 25 : 13
28 : 12 : 362 : 26 : 13
29 : 12 : 363 : 27 : 13
30 : 12 : 364 : 28 : 13
31 : 12 : 365 : 29 : 13

Anyway, talking of sidestepping I seem to have for some reason totally sidestepped taste.

[Editor’s note: just so you’re aware in advance nothing scary happens in this story, just in case some of the juxtaposition makes you think of scary things and me walking in dark alley’s by myself with strange men] So on my way home last night I was walking back from Clapham junction, and I decided to take the route through the estate for some reason. I’m never sure which way is the best way to go so I’m pretty inconstant. My brother thinks that through the estate is safer because there’s more places to escape too as apposed to the tall walls the other way. Where as Nick just thinks that being on “their” territory is why it’s a bad idea. Anyway so I was walking along in there and there was just this one other bloke who was walking, some distance away, on the other side of the street going the same way as me (so his back was facing me) and all of a sudden he says very loudly (or at least it seemed loud on a very still night in a very echoy place) “I’m just going to have to take a piss”. And then he does. He just stops walking whips down his trousers and starts – in the middle of the street! Now I know that sometimes you just have to go, I know that these things sometimes just suddenly happen. BUT! Honestly! Really? Everyone surely knows that the best way to deal with these things is to go into some corner and try and to attract as little attention to yourself as you can. Surely? But no apparently. He was just standing in the middle of the pavement as free of shame as the day he was born. He wasn’t even against a wall!

The only time this kind of thing has occurred in my life before (not people relieving themselves in public and trying to hide it but the other thing) was in fact at a tube station (for some reason the name of it’s gone at the moment but it’s the one which is one further North on Tottenham Court Road than Goodge Street – Begins with a W [Warren Street in case you were wondering -Ed]). I was travelling up the escalator to the street level (last set of escalators) and the woman in front of me suddenly started going. It was incredible. I quickly sidestepped the cascading waterfall that she had created and wooshed away up the stairs but I feel that some of my fellow travellers were not so lucky.

Anyway, talking of sidestepping I seem to have for some reason totally sidestepped taste. But I’m going to blame the guy in the street last night. If it hadn’t been for him we’d have just ended with the story about the toilets in the crossed keys. Actually this reminds me that I haven’t been back to the Crossed Keys for ages. Every time I hear that name though I can’t forget the fantastic occasion in which I lost my brother while I was sitting in that pub. It was my birthday last year I think and there were a number of us in there. The group certainly included Stewart and Rod to begin with but I can’t remember who else. But Joe and Kris weren’t there. Anyway Pete arrived late, completely steaming with a mate of his that he’d met up with down in a pub in Kensington. I’d met this guy once before, but didn’t know him very well and he didn’t know any of the other people who were there but that was fine – at first. Rod had to go early for some reason (early squash game, early meeting etc) and so he was about to toddle off and my brother said that he needed to go to the cash machine. This was not necessary, I mentioned because we were only going to stay for one more beer in the pub and then go off to the restaurant and there were plenty of cash machines on the way there. But he insisted and when my brother is a bit drunk he’s a hard man to argue with. I don’t by the way mean to imply violence or difficulty, what I mean is that once he’s drunk he just looses all normal reasoning functions. He tends to veer off into outright surrealism. Which is great fun but does tend to mean that sense is left a bit by the wayside.

Anyway so off he goes to show Rod the way back to the Covent Garden Tube (Rod knew where it was but Pete insisted) and then to find a cash machine. Now in April it was quite warm and Pete left his jacket (and his phone) in the pub. And by the time he’d found left Rod at the tube station and had had one more drink inside him than he’d had when he found the pub the last time he’d totally lost his bearings. Sadly however – family trait – he couldn’t remember the name of the pub either. He kept thinking it was called the Crossed Ts. And if anybody said the Crossed Keys to him then he would assure them that he was certainly the one who should know what pub he was looking for not them. We couldn’t phone him because he’d left his phone with us. When his coat started ringing we realised his mistake. Anyway in the end he made it back and we made it to Signor Grilli’s although that wasn’t the only time that we lost my brother that night. Later on, just when the food order was about to happen Pete was suddenly missing. We assumed that he must have just gone to the loo. But when he didn’t show up after a bit we were beginning to get worried. Eventually the waitress came up to me and asked if the reason we were waiting to order was because one of our party wasn’t with us. When we said yes, she revealed that Pete had already placed his order with her and that she knew exactly where he was. He’d gone to Tescos (also on Goodge Street) to buy a packet of cigars so that we could all celebrate my birthday properly. Ignoring the fact that he was the only one who smoked at all!