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It’s a knockout

On Sunday I took part in the annual ‘It’s a Knockout’ competition whose aim was to raise funds for St.Catherine’s Hospice. I got roped into it by staff from Home Housing, who were short of a team member. Whilst I was initially a little apprehensive, it turned out to be a great day. I got very wet, and very sunburned. Nine teams took part in our heat, some of which had taken part in the competition for the last four years. Despite their prior experience we finished as runners up. I’d like to say that this was down to exceptional teamwork and the superior fitness of our team, but really I think it was down to luck.

Things on the house front are beginning to take shape. I rang Willmot Brown this morning and they said that the house was just about ready. The keys will be available for me to pick up on Monday, but I think I’ll leave it until Wednesday which is the official moving in date anyway. I rang Kingston Communications this morning and got the phone line activated and applied for ADSL. As you can see, I’ve got my priorities right 🙂

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Unix Terror

An account of the War on Terror, rendered through the Unix command line:

$ cd /middle_east
$ ls
Afghanistan   Iraq          Libya         Saudi_Arabia  UAE
Algeria       Israel        Morrocco      Sudan         Yemen
Bahrain       Jordan        Oman          Syria
Egypt         Kuwait        Palestine     Tunisia
Iran          Lebanon       Qatar         Turkey

$ cd Afghanistan
$ ls
bin  Taliban    
$ rm Taliban
rm: Taliban is a directory
$ cd Taliban
$ ls
soldiers
$ rm soldiers
$ cd ..
$ rmdir Taliban
rmdir: directory "Taliban": Directory not empty
$ cd Taliban
$ ls -a
.            ..           .insurgents
$ chown -R USA .*
chown: .insurgents: Not owner
$ cd ..
$ su
Password: *******
# mv Taliban /tmp
# exit
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Update

Why is it that when you’re using the internet, you rarely achieve what you set out to do? Take this for a typical example of my surfing habits. Ten minutes ago I sat down to read through the Make: magazine weblog. I read an article about something-not-very-interesting and a couple of the comments. Five minutes later I realise that I have unconsciously left the Make: site and am reading about the lack of understanding the script-writers of 24 have about the blowfish cryptographic algorithm. I know nothing about cryptography, or 24 and I have no intention of blowing fish (yet). I turn into an info-maniac as soon as my browser opens, devouring whatever wanders onto my path. Maybe I should stick to the dead tree version. Maybe I have a problem.

I didn’t get chance to speak to Michael Foale, but pretty close to the subject of space farts is space poo. See this great NASA video for a demonstration of a shuttle toilet. I’m really not sure about that toilet cam. The potential for abuse is just too real.

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Update

I completed my nursery funding forms today and posted my student support notification to the GSCC. That just about concludes this round of paperwork. Phew.

There are still a few broken bits on the site, I’ll hopefully get them sorted today. It’s not like I have a right lot else to do .

There are some great pictures at the Nasa ‘Gateway to Astronaut Photography Site’. It must be a great feeling to be up there, floating about, taking pictures of the earth from above. I wonder how far a fart travels inside the International Space Station? Does it hang around in invisible bubbles waiting for the next innocent passenger? If I ever get the chance to meet Michael Foale, that’s the first thing I’ll ask him. He’s a Brit, and all Brits love farting. Fact.

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Moving forward

So, plenty has happened since I last posted. I found a house. Woo! I found it through a company recommended by a pleasant lady at a local housing association. It’s quite expensive at £90 per week and it doesn’t have a garden but the location is perfect for university and Alicia’s nursery. Move date is set for 3 or 4th August but it could be sooner.

My student loan stuff came through last week. It looks like they are going to give me everything that I asked for. Nursery fees are still up in the air, but the student loan company have sent me some forms and guidance material. The university nursery have written to confirm that she has a full-time place allocated, so things are really starting to come together now.

Yesterday was something of an extraordinary day, not only did I get to go to a wedding, but it was my good friend Trev’s wedding. I really never thought I would see it happen. My congratulations to them both.

We also went camping at the usual spot in Raincliffe Woods. I think we were the first group up there this year because the site was nice and clean and there was no sign of previous fires. The grass was quite well grown, which provided a nice comfy surface to sleep on. The journey back was difficult. We SERIOUSLY underestimated the distance between the site and Scalby Road. A journey that long, by foot, is never fun with a couple of under 5’s, but overall a good time was had.

It’s really feeling like it’s time to leave this house now. We have been living under the protective umbrella of my sister and her husband (my brother-in-law) for far too long and we owe them too much already. 3 weeks left!

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June

Well, the search for a new house is well and truly underway, despite a rather languid start. Last week I spent a few days at a friends house in Hull so that I could get around the local letting agencies. What a depressing experience. It’s not like there is any shortage of housing in Hull, but the moment you mention your going to be receiving housing benefit they can’t wait to get you out of the door. I realise that there is a stigma surrounding people on social security benefits, if anyone should know, I do. Seven years working at a housing association showed me that a lot of people that choose not to work, also choose the neglect their accommodation. I’m not one of those people!

Anyway, from today onwards I’m not going to waste a single day. I spoke to a nice woman from a Hull housing association. She said that a property advert in the Hull Daily Mail can generate between three and four hundred responses, which means that I have seriously underestimated demand. I need to stay ahead of those other four hundred people. Given the standard of secondary education in the area, it shouldn’t be that difficult.

I’ve been pointed in the direction of a company that provides student accommodation (companies that I have avoided in the past) who are said to be happy to let their small houses to private individuals. I shall start with them tomorrow.

I’m feeling quite negative about the whole experience of looking for a new house. I really could do with a little positive news to pump up my motivation. Fingers crossed for what the next week brings.

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Last night, at Nalgo Bay

Last night, in an attempt to aid revision by distancing myself from the distractions at home, I packed my camping gear and headed down to Nalgo Bay for the night. It was coming on 9.30pm by the time I got down to the beach. I didn’t have very long to get set up but I managed to pitch the tent and get a small fire going before before darkness fell. My lack of foresight continued to be apparent as I realised that I had arrived just in time for high tide. I didn’t get very much (any) revision done because I was a little worried that my tent was going to float away. Luckily it didn’t and everything seems to still be here this morning.

Toshiba Digital Camera

I woke this morning quite unexpectedly at 5.30am – extremely unusual for me. It seemed to me that it was quite late as there was plenty of light in the tent but when I poked my head out of the door I was greeted by the sight of the sun just peeking over the horizon. What a sight to wake up to! Despite my good fortune it was much too early for any sensible person to be awake, so after snapping a few photos I went back to sleep.

Toshiba Digital Camera

I was greeted by another high tide when I rose again the sea was literally no more than twenty feet from my front door and the beach was empty apart from myself. I spent a lovely hour walking along the beach and taking some photo’s before packing up to come home. I thought to myself at the time that I should take something away with me to remember one of my favourite places in the world – but of course, I forgot.