Monthly Archives: January 2007

Single Again

I suppose I ought to tell the world. As of a couple of weeks ago, Mairi and I split up, after nearly 10 years together.

It was Mairi’s idea. It wasn’t a big bust-up, rather a calm discussion about stuff, ending with the agreement that for the moment, I would move into the spare bedroom, we would continue sharing the house and mortgage, and most importantly, dog.

Yes I’m glum, no I’m not angry.

10 years though. Wow. 10 years ago:

  • I didn’t live in London, but in Peterborough. Peterborough, the ‘city’ with a Daily Mail column named after it.
  • I didn’t have internet access (!)
  • I had a different job, which I hated.
  • I had different hair
  • I had fewer friends
  • I wasn’t doing any theatre

So anyway. Here’s to the next 10 years, and what they might bring.

I Am Apparently William Gibson

In lieu of a proper post, I present the result of a short test.

I am:

William Gibson

The chief instigator of the “cyberpunk” wave of the 1980s, his razzle-dazzle futuristic intrigues were, for a while, the most imitated work in science fiction.

Which science fiction writer are you?The only problem with this is that I AM NOT WILLIAM GIBSON. I AM MATTHEW PETTY.

Pink and Blasphemous

I’ve made a terrifying discovery. Leafing through the 2007 UK IKEA catalogue or ‘Necronomicon’ as it shall henceforth be known, I found proof that Cthulhu no longer waits dreaming, but has arisen.

As you know, the blasphemous incantation or ritual chanted by noisome cults in the lesser-known parts of the world is, “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn“. But using the latest in linguistic technology, I believe I have translated this language into something if not entirely pronounceable by the human throat, at least closer to this dimension. I should assure you that I worked on one syllable at a time, with several days feverish rest between each one, so as not to be driven mad by the awesome truth I was unfolding.

Here in it’s loathsome entirety is the full incantation. I know I should not write this, but I feel compelled, as if shapeless forces unseen but faintly felt, are driving me toward the precipice of human experience I know it will reveal.

Original: Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn

Translation: Poäng malmnätt Cthulhu Rulla galejnandor fartyg.

Cthulhu no longer fhtagn!

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu Ikea wgah’nagl fhtagn!

Reality Copies Fiction (Well, A Webcomic Copies Bash.org)

You remember how in this chat transcript posted to bash.org years ago, someone called HatfulOfHollow invented the concept of a machine that will stab people in the face over the internet?

Well, the characters in Achewood have only gone and done it! Check out the story…

Do we hope Nice Pete is alright? He’s a good artist.

A Wizard Wheeze

My name is Matthew Petty, and I am an asthmatic.

Phew, that took some some saying (mainly cos I have no oxygen in my bloodstream). I’ve had it since I was a child, but never very badly. I’ve never gone blue or fallen over or anything. No hospitals or ambulances have been called. Just the wheezing and lethargy.

If you’ve ever wondered what asthma feels like, here’s how to try it. It’s fun! Get yourself a drinking straw. Now, breathe through it. You’ll notice you have to suck hard to get enough air up it, and you’ll also notice you have to blow hard to get the breath out again. The latter is the worst part for most people. This is because normally, you breathe in, your lungs expand, and your diaphragm (pron. DIE – er – fraggum) stretches to accomodate them. Then you release the breath, and the elastic diaphragm moves back, pushing the air out of your lungs – it’s not normally an effort.

But when you have asthma symptoms, your tubes (a technical term) are congested. Not by mucus, but by the tube walls being inflamed. This reduces the size of the hole to about that of a drinking straw. You have to make twice the effort to get the air in, and you also have to force it out again, unlike before. That’s what really chafes.

When I was first diagnosed, I was getting symptoms during school games lessons, which I never enjoyed because I would get very uncomfortable and wheezy. Before they would prescribe medication, the doctor suggested I chew gum while playing or running. This would discourage me from breathing through my mouth, and promote nostril use. It did help a little, but not enough to stop me getting wheezy. Unfortunately, I neglected to tell the sports teacher I had been told to chew gum in class by my doctor. You can imagine the difficulty I had explaining why I was chomping on the Orbit while hurdling. Then again, explaining anything to sports teachers is hard, bless ’em.

Back to the doctor. They put me on two types of inhaler, Ventolin, which I’ve been on ever since, and Intal, which as far as I can remember, was piss-useless.

I was tried on all sorts of combinations of Ventolin, steroids, etc, until finally in the early 1990’s I was prescribed a combination of Serevent and Becotide 100. I still have Ventolin around the place, but only for emergencies. Since then, I have lived a full and exciting life.

One thing that does annoy me is that the powder spray can style inhalers that I use are very wasteful of materials. Each consists of a plastic casing with a small metal spray can inside. As far as I know there are no ways of obtaining just the can, so you could re-use a plastic case. In addition, the plastic cases have a removable cover on the mouthpiece, but not one over the other end. This means that pocket fluff, grit, insects, grime, filth, dirt, mud, blood, sweat, gravy and egg can all get in the top. Next time you take a puff, you inhale it all, and spend the next few minutes rolling on the floor coughing your lungs up.

I did once get a Ventolin inhaler with a lid at both ends. Actually it wasn’t Ventolin, it was generic salbutamol, which is probably cheaper, but GSK probably sued the maker out of existence. After the spray can was empty, I washed the plastic case, then replaced the can with a new one. Sadly this case got lost. So what I want now is a case or pouch which will stop dust getting in my inhaler.

Googling “inhaler cover” gave me PuffaPouch (WARNING – FUCKING ATROCIOUS FLASH NIGHTMARE OF A ‘MYSTERY MEAT‘ NAVIGATION HELLHOLE BASTARD – CHRIST, WHY DO THESE SO-CALLED “DESIGN PROFESSIONALS” INSIST ON MAKING A SITE UNUSABLE WITH THIS SHIT?). This site seems to sell a neoprene pouch that covers the mouth end, but not the other end. This makes it pretty pointless to me. Maybe some gaffer tape will do the trick…

A word about terminology. I’ve never liked the use of the phrases “out of breath” or “short of breath” because they imply you’re simply tired after leaping up some stairs. I get “out of breath” when I dash for the train, and it’s nothing like asthma. That’s just 30 years of not enjoying sport.

I Like A Pavement Song

Mira dragged me along to see Pavement playing, several years ago. I thought it was 1999, and they were supported by Royal Trux. I remember thinking I really liked one particular song they played, and now, over 6 years later, I’ve tracked it down, in my own way, not involving borrowing Mira’s Pavement CDs and listening to them, or any other sensible method.

I could remember how the song went – I seemed to recall a droney guitar and bass riff, similar to some Stereolab stuff I liked. I also remembered them singing the word “Feeeeeeeeaaarrr” during the chorus. I did ask Mira, singing the word “Feeeeeeeeaaarrr” at her, to no avail.

The first thing to do was to see if I could find a fan site listing the set lists from all their gigs. This was key, because without it I would have had to listen to all the previews on iTunes. If I could pin down a particular gig, with a particular setlist, it would be a much shorter process.

I Googled ‘pavement setlists’, and one result was this great site. The site didn’t have a search function built in, so I used the super Google function that allows you to search within a particular site.

So, I searched for ‘london’ and found this. The most likely looking link was this one, considering I didn’t live in London in 1998.

Looking at the Fall 1999 link, I saw that they played a gig in Brixton Academy in November. That was it! Now I remembered! Then it was a simple case of listening to the iTunes previews of each song on the setlist, until I found what I was looking for.

“Folk Jam”. That was it. It sounded quite different from what I remembered, and of course it may have been the different live sound. Anyway, I bought it for 79p.

As it turned out, they weren’t singing, “feeeeeeeeaaarrr”, they were singing, “the feeeeeeeeeeeeeling is mutual”. An easy mistake to make.

Quest Ends.

I preferred Royal Trux.

The Results Are In

The Parsons Brinckerhoff Godalming Office Sports And Social Club Christmas Raffle (P.B.G.O.S.S.C.C.R.) results have been announced! Sadly I didn’t win the Xbox 360, or the LCD TV, or the camcorder, or the Cross pen set, or the champagne and flutes, or the hamper. But I did win some Xmas crackers and mince pies! So that’s Xmas ’07 sorted. Never too early.

Handy Measurement Hint

Handy Measurement Hint
Handy (and slightly sad) Hint – instead of getting the measuring jug out every time, find a mug which holds the right amount, and mark the packet accordingly. Ideally it would be the mug you make your tea in as well – less washing up. Or you could adopt the USA ‘cups’ measure.

365 Photographs

I’m doing the old ‘Take A Picture A Day’ thing this year. Give it a try at least. All the photos will be in Flickr in my 365 Photographs set.

Here’s the first one, from yesterday. Today’s will be up later.

1/365
1/365 – New Years Day Breakfast. Beans & Veg Sausages, Mushroom Scrambled eggs, complete with Holy Toast & Radio 4.

Note: Events of early 2007 caused this project to peter out.