Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Bloggery Meetup

This time The London Bloggers Meetup was sponsored by Smirnoff who had some cocktail mixing folk on hand to come up with cocktails based on our blogs.

I wasn't really in the mood, work is a wee bit stressful, or I get too stressed by things that shouldn't stress me, but after waving a flag on Facebook, Merhdad dragged me along.

I was my usual immensely shy self, lurking about two foot away and to the right behind Merhdad, but it was kind of reassuring to see familiar face there. The vibe has changed a little from 'who are you and how can I use you?' to 'oh its you again and how's it coming along?'.

Bloggers who I spoke or silently mouthed hi to whilst bobbing my head or butted into the conversations of include:-
Flash Tom
Peter Marshall
Krista Londonelicious
Dr. Zoe
(Aw man, I think I've forgotten about four people... think think think... later)

Impressed by folk's ever more impressive moo card holders, and got carried away sketching plans for a moo card machine gun

I told the barkeep that my blog was about engineering, so I was expecting something that tasted of motor oil and disinfectant, luckily instead I got a cherry syrup and ginger based vodka thing.

Here's a video of the chap mixing it.

Its about six minutes long, you don't get those minutes back, ever. And the soundtrack is just crowd noise, I ought to edit it, and sling on some tunes. Heck I haven't even watched the video back myself yet, who knows what it sounds and looks like. The mic probably picked up my suggestion at three minutes of using ground up beetles in the cocktail to add bite and tang, and then at five minutes where I'm pouring out my heart to the barman and pointing out who I'm scared of talking to and who I wish I could speak to.

Ooh, free vokda!!!!

At about 9:30pm I became aware, a wee nagging feeling, that when someone asks me what I blog about and I replied Manufacturing Engineering, and then the next person asserts that I blog about pictures of naked women, its a bit disingenuous, and maybe comes across like I talk a lot of shit.

Here's a list of the blogs I currently update
Chris Gilmour's Diary Vol. 14 - Existential crisises and personal random blogging
Last night From Glasgow Indie Eyespy - Live music reviews and crap photos
Naked Chicks on Post-It Notes - Its art, not safe for work
Naked Pigeons on Post-It Notes - Its art, safe for work
Ill Theatre - Personal blog as a webcomic
Man Eng Man - The UK's favourite Manufacturing Engineering blog (this one's new)

Not so much someone with varied interested, more like a child covering the whole house in crayon.

SQL queries

Oh woe is me, I know more about SQL than anyone else in the building, and I'm stuck. It can't be this difficult can it?

Can it possibly be the case that there is a minimum IQ below which SQL is witchcraft, and that this IQ level is something like the 99th percentile? That less than 1% of the world's population are smart enough to comprehend SQL?

There's my table:-

It says that on this date, for this part number, a quantity of this many were 'O' (ordered) or 'I' (received at goods in).

What I want is a wee query which tells me how many of each part number are still on order.

I can do this:-

Which neatly tells me how many of each part I've ever ordered and how many of each part I've ever received at goods in. I just can't figure out how to subtract one quantity from the other.

I'm stuck.

This isn't a puzzle like a Rubiks Cube where there is definitely a solution, this is a mystery where is possible that there is no way I can ever know the answer, no way I could ever have gotten to this stage in my life with the knowledge of how to find the answer, no way to save the company, and destined to have ever shorter and shallower relationships with women until the day I pass away.

Having sufficient SQL knowledge isn't in the usual Manufacturing Engineer's skillset, if I'd spent sufficient time learning SQL to have the answer, I wouldn't be a manufacturing engineer, I wouldn't have this job and so this problem would never have come about, etc.

Any help with these problems greatly appreciated, will pay for dinner.


I'm getting there slowly, in small bite-sized chunks

This is my query for listing parts ordered:-
WHERE ( ( "FLAG" = 'O' ) )

And this is my query for listing parts received:-
WHERE ( ( "FLAG" = 'I' ) )

Now I just need to somehow put them into subqueries and subtract one from the other, aye?

Monday, 29 September 2008


Interesting discussion over on Anorak about voting for Indietracks in the UK Festival Awards.

"We loved your music festival, but don't want you to win any awards for it."

Its kind of like a kick in the balls.

Ooh, at the weekend there, I was reading the Sunday Telegraph and dozing whilst the wean watched Peppa Pig. There was this review of some album/gig in The Review section, they were reviewing Glasvegas, who almost had a number one album the other week, it seems they're doing remarkably well.

I'm not quite sure what they sound like, I only know them by name cos a few years back in maybe 2004, just after we'd released The Plimptons's debut single, Could I Be Loved, we got on Radio Scotland's 'demo' competition, where people had to vote on the BBC website for which song the liked best, ours or whatever Glasvegas were offering.

On the site, after you voted it showed you what the split of the votes, were, not how many, just the split. So if you voted once, and saw it was 50:50 and then ran to another computer and voted again, and it turned to 33:67 you could reasonably guess there had been only three votes.

And if you ran round and voted on 10 computers in the office and the proportions had then gone to 40:60, then someone else must have voted for the other band seven more times to your twelve.

If you deleted the cookie, you could even vote again on the same computer. But that would be cheating.

So I asked around and spammed the internet. It would have been nice to win the votey thing, and get the track played once or twice on Radio Scotland. Some friends voted, some didn't. Some hadn't heard the song but wanted to do something nice for me, and some people had heard the song and didn't like it so they didn't vote, regardless of whether I wanted to win.

After a day or two, and sampling by voting a few times, and doing calculations, there were only a hundred or so votes for each track. Glasvegas had 55% of the vote, Plimps had 45%.

Then it went up to 65:35, then 70:30 in an hour or so. Do the sums, someone was recording multiple votes.

Time passed and it accelerated, so that it was a few of the Plimp army registering hundreds of votes and a similar number of the Glasvegas army doing likewise.

By the end of it, the mighty Plimp won, with I guess 4,000 votes and Glasvegas lost with about 3,500 votes.

We really wanted to win and get our track played on Radio Scotland, so thats what we did. Glasvegas, they went on to have an album that narrowly missed the number one spot the other week.

And the friends who didn't vote because the didn't like the track or the band, their vote or non-vote made fuck all difference to winning the vote, but the sentiment I asked for a favour which would have cost nothing and they refused, that I carry that with me.

Hmm, that's not quite what I was trying to convey when I started writing this.

Has the moment passed? No, I can still convey it.

I liked Indietracks. I liked it cos of the music, the bands, the people, the trains, how everyone was from a band, a promoter, a fanzine, a website, a friend, someone stood nearby at a gig and all of that. Thats what Indietracks was to me, and I liked it.

And if the chap who ran Indietracks it wants to win an award for his labours then regardless of what I think of the award itself ("Anyone can dish out meaningless awards") then I will vote for that festival.

Thats just me , my bitterness and my sense of loyalty though.


The National Health Service
British Rail
British Steel
British Gas
Royal Mail
British Telecom
The Stationary Office
Transport for London

The British Bank
It'll never work.

Sunday, 28 September 2008


T'other night, possibly Friday night, I was thinking about my birthday, and parties there attached. I'd eaten lots of chocolate and was in a good and confident mood.

And I thought, I knew even, that by the time my birthday comes round, in December, I'm going to be racked with insecurity and stuff, its the middle of office Christmas party season, its a Friday, the ideal time for a works Christmas do, so anyone who decides to jack that in and come out with me has to be pretty dedicated, or not really into Christmas or socialising with work colleagues.

Anyhoo, I think getting it staked out now before I lose my feeling on it would be in order.

I set up a Facebook event, here, no location, and vague times.

But then when it got to the inviting thing, I got the fear.

Out of my Facebook friends list, there were only five or six people who I didn't feel awkward inviting. Suddenly, for everyone else, whilst in my head I could see them out drinking, at a party and just having positive vibes, I couldn't see them being there for my birthday.

Some of the following reasons.
I don't know them well enough,
I don't know them any more,
My motives would be unclear,
I haven't spoken to them in years
I didn't say more than hey last time we spoke
Although I can see them there, they have always made me paranoid and jealous
These people will see how empty my life is
Or how empty I think it is

Last year was all right, got back to Glasgow. But this year I'm more on my own, and its kind of painful.


Train home: In frustration I give up reading The17, just before the train reaches Romford. I can see the Vue cinema passing by.

In the book Bill is sitting on a ledge outside a window in his flat in Stoke Newington in 2006, and I'm 420 miles away missing my girlfriend.

It had been the greatest relationship I'd ever been in at that time. The most secure and comfortable, well for me anyway. The girl made all the right noises and thats all I can go on. Sometimes in relationships you get all insecure, you don't know where you stand, or what the other person thinks, whether you're on the verge of getting dumped or if its all in your head. But if you go on face value and she seems true blue then everything's dandy.

And then she moved away and it was all over.

She'd given me a book about the M25 and in the following months, whenevr I read it, I heard her voice, and so eventually I had to stop reading that book too.

Hmm, now I think about it, Bill Drummond has a cameo role in that book too.

I think I'll have to destroy this copy of 17, burn it, video it, sling it online, press the ashes into a brick, mail it out to my brother.

Another relationship, years before, we'd just seen Resident Evil at the Vue cinema in Romford, parted and then that relationship ended for 420 miles.


The voice some way behind me and to the right asks why 420 miles is the end of the relationship.

I dunno, kitten. You tell me.

Critique on the west's involvement in the middle east

Aye, them fucks have been fighting amongst themselves for hundreds, maybe thousands of years. In fact there's a very popular book about conflict in the middle east, you might have heard of it, its called The Old Testament.


Where is Wickford?
Where is Shenfield?

What do these places mean? What should they mean to me?

There's engineering work on the trainlines so I have to get a replacement bus on my way east to visit the niece, my brother and sister-in-law. Its a warm day, you are my indian summer, maybe the last of the year, the citizens of Wickford and Shenfield are out with their friend nd loved ones, drinking and holding. I am on buses and trains on my own, scribbling.

It didn't have to be this way.

Months ago I bought a new mobile phone, a Sony Ericsson K800i, with the intention of being able to send emails and update my various blogs whilst out and about

Those bastards at CarPhone Warehouse sold me a pudding. Battery life is down to 8 hours now, thats with using it for one phone call and two text messages a week, the memory is too small to surf the web and email is impossible to set up. The wee cover of the camera is badly designed, it keeps sliding open in my pocket and taking photies of my shrapnel. How can something be designed and sold so bad?

Those bastards.

Also my own fault for not taking it back to the shop.

CarPhone Warehouse = bunch of cunts

Sony Ericsson K800i = shittest phone ever


A girl sits next to me on the bus, lack of empty seats. She's tall, in her early 20s, blonde hair and kind of stocky. I think I'm in love with her.

Pale skin, small delicate hands, she keeps adjusting her top so it covers the way her tummy bulges over the sides of her jeans.

My mind keeps drifting to wrapping my arms round her, her body soft under my fingers, kissing her neck.

I wonder what she smells like.

Crikey I need a girlfriend.


Back to reading this book, The17. Bill, the narrator, has just moved to east London in it.

At exactly the same I was driving to south London from Glasgow.

What went wrong?

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Music Career To Do List

1. Form an indiepop band called The Post-It Notes

2. For a rockabilly covers band called The Southside Wolf-knuckles based in North London

3. Start a blog reviewing every gig I've been to in order, starting with Cast + Longpigs at the Boardwalk

4. Get my favourite local musos to produce my solo EP MANC_ILL_KID - THE MAN, so each producer produces the same songs, and then lots of different EPs that all sound a little different, come out on various small record labels in limited edition.

5. Do the bedroom-based video webcast thing again, called it "Lose Yourself in London"

6. Write band list for my own tribute night in case of untimely death (Plimps, Sunch, Hibb, Pocketbooks, Hawkeye and the Juggarnaut, The Might Ob')

7. Record Top of the Pop-style video webcast thing recording guerilla-style at gigs (need to sort out audio recording levels)

8. Form a band called Imperial Diamond and Rare Metal Importers Ltd.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Weekend away trip map

Weekend away trip map
Originally uploaded by manc_ill_kid
Trying to explain where's good to go in the UK for a weekend away.

In Dartmor they have werewolves

Thursday, 25 September 2008


Ma heid's no working. Read this:-
The word has its roots in The Three Princes of Serendip, a Persian story about three princes who had the knack of discovering things quite by chance. The British statesman Horace Walpole read the story as a child, and later coined the word serendipity in a letter in 1754. Walpole wrote about learning some news quite by chance, and stated that "this discovery, indeed, is almost of that kind which I call Serendipity, a very expressive word."

In one story, the Three Princes use trace clues to precisely identify a camel they have never seen: they conclude that the camel is lame; blind in one eye; missing a tooth; carrying a pregnant maiden; and bearing honey on one side and butter on the other. Because of their cleverness and sagacity, they are accused of stealing the camel and are about to be put to death by Bahram Gur. Suddenly, and without anyone seeking him out, a traveler steps forward to say that he has just seen the missing camel wandering in the desert. Bahram Gur spares the lives of the Three Princes, lavishes them with rich rewards and appoints them as his advisors.

Its from my pal Aref-Adib's website

I'm pretty sure it makes no sense at all.

It could be that English is no longer my first language or I missed a few chapters of the story, but either way, this makes no sense.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008


Well ladies, I'm pretty sure you won't be quite as impressed or surprised by this as I am.

But my post-it pics are on a porn website, one of the big faceless corporate spammish porn websites of the might world-wide web. Whilst usually they pick the usual photies from the great world of porn, beautiful women, naked and writhing, tits out and playing with their flanges.

But halfway down the page, in amongst the photies of flesh is a flash of yellow and a scratch of biro, something I have manufactured.

I have displaced porn with art.

Ladies, don't all thank me at once.


Spent some time on the Northern Circular Road this morning, it makes me think of ex-girlfriends more than usual. Sad thoughts.

Why am I here now, and not with them? What went wrong? What did I do wrong? and how come other people do the same and it's right for them?

How come I can barely muster relationships lasting as long as four weeks now?

Starting to have teh fear for my birthday in December. How can I evade depression (the natural human emotion, not the serious mental illness which I would never consider making light of in a flippant blog post)? Resign myself drinking wine alone in my room with a packet of chocolate digestives, or make an efford to dig up and re-engage old friends to drink with (seems a bit mercenary to me). Not a chance in hell of having a party at the flat.

Last year was a bit of luck with mental judo and getting to Glasgow, but its too far away now, the light fading.

Thirty years for this?

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

In another world I'd be proud

Was stuck in traffic on the way home and missed going to dance class, and too knacked to go to the HDIF show in Brixton. So instead I hid in my room, found no inspiration for drawing so I made this.

I couldn't find any 45 second songs to use as the soundtrack so I tried to fit the solo from Stairway to Heaven.

Ooh, should point out that the video isn't speeded up or owt, its done in real time.


When I'm a frail and broken old man, months from now, I might look back on this with pride at my abilities, but right now I just feel painfully lonely.

Monday, 22 September 2008


Wasn't this the same as my anecdote about causing the Kobe earthquake and killing thousands and Japanese folk?


Originally uploaded by manc_ill_kid
After the cinema I popped into WholeFoods to pretend to be one of these sophisticated folk that you see holding hands and wearing sunglasses. I picked up some alternative flours, rice flour and buckwheat. Couldn't find any lendil flour, but I'll got for that another day.

Anyhoo, I made two cakes using the same recipe, but with the alt. flour rather than bog standard self-raising flour. Also a wee splash of baking soda to make it rise a bit.

Will go with simple icing, maybe just jam and nutella for rice flour and buckwheat respectively.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

The cinema thing

It was 1:30am last night when I realised I'm doing the cinema thing.

You know about the cinema thing, right? Or maybe you don't.

Right now I'm on a fitness trip, I'm at the peak of my own personal fitness. I'm fitter right now than I was back at school when I was walking fifty miles a day. Every two or three years I get on this fitness trip, do it for a few months then drop off again.

The cinema thing is similar, its happened about four times as far as I can remember, every few years I start going to the cinema regularly, with a friend. Its nice, we watch a film, we eat pop corn, we laugh at the same parts, we chat about the film, and then we go our seperate ways.

And I come away thinking, that was nice, maybe next time we could go for a meal instead or to a gig, and god knows, we might end up drunk and watching DVDs snuggled under a duvet. You remember that, right.

And it all goes tits up, cos we'd just gone to the cinema to see a film, nothing more, right? I didn't know that.

Nuddy chick news

Crikey, over on Alison Tyler's blog Trollop with a Laptop, she's been running short sex story writing contest, where you can win one of my post-it notes. The entries are all in and folk are voting for their favourite today.

Have a look here

#3 strikes a chord with me and #6 is really nice and erotic, #9 is strangely terrifying and #11 is kind of like a Timothy Lea Confessions of a nude artist scene.

What do you think?

Saturday, 20 September 2008


Everything is covered with dust here, great ideas buried under receipts and post-it notes.

There was a plan to set up a Deep Fried Wolfknuckles covers band called The southside Wolfknuckles. We'd do covers of original Wolfknuckle covers and rockabilly versions of your favourite indiepop hits, I'd recruit members from friends in the nearby indiepop scenes. It never happened though.

I searched the internet, but could fine none, so I asked on Anorak for the chords for The Smittens Sapphire, and duly posted, I tried to record me playing it.

I'm not 100% sure what Soundcloud is, but there should be a widget below which lets you listen to my recording and download it too so you can listen on your ipods when you're out running, and remember our time together, wrapped in each other's arms.

Hmm, the recording kind of cuts out towards the end with a string grate, but doesn't it always end that way?



Saw Bill Drummond last night doing a book reading/signing thing for his new book 17.

It was a little bit boring, but he appears to be an identical back of head twin with Gav King of Partick, back of head-wise it's like they were seperated at birth. I tried to explain it to my brother and sister-in-law, but by the time I'd explained allabout why he was called King of Partick and the thing in Friends with Joeys identical hand twin, Bill had gone and it was impossible to see the back of his head. I should have taken a photie.

Anyhoo, throughout the book he's got these musical scores, instructions of how to recreate The17. I thought I'd have a go.

I think, practically, I've only achieved my score with The Plimptons, MJ Hibbett and Pete Green.

Seventeen gigs is a hell of a lot, it gets numbing after a while, that's what the score tries to express. Whilst you can easily listen to an album over and over again over a series of months, seeing a live show, as a more embracing experience, it gets kind of choking.

That popshow in Brighton a few weeks back, I thought it would be a fun jaunt out to the wilds, but it almost killed me. It took about three weeks before I could bring myself to go to any more shows. And even then its like scar tissue, the feeling's no there.

Seeing March of Dimes on Thursday was more about seeing Seaney Boy from university than a musical performance, it was trying to reach back and try again differently.

The music was good and I've been listening to the CD on repeat, kind of like My Sad Captains americana with the starkness and instrumentation of Butcher Boy and was rather nifty epic lead guitar work. If I had a way I get my gig promoter chums to chase them up for more shows in the Sheffield/Nottingham/London scenes.

And seeing MJ Hibbett the other night at the Buffalo, was like a warm security blanket after a crap day at work, the wee nods of 'was there then' and knowing about the songs as I lurked in the shadows.

Actually, it was the first time I'd been to the Buffalo Bar in ages and ages, and I drifted off into the dark days of last year, thinking we'd see each other there more often, hang out at shows, be closer together, but that's a whole parallel universe away.

I think I'm pretty lost right now.

Friday, 19 September 2008

I miss...

I miss wandering around pet shops with the girlfriend, checking out the hamsters and puppies, tapping on the fish tank glass. Wandering around, holding hands.

Thursday, 18 September 2008


I ran 12K last night. Dunno what time I did it in, the first 2K were by mistake cos I had by widget set to 3 miles rather than kilometers. The final sprinted 1600m of the 10K were pretty spectacular, Cheap Trick's Surrender on my headphone and night having fallen.

Got up this morning to find I'd acquired a six pack.

It looks great, almost as good as the one from '98.

On the other hand it does make me want to slit my wrists.

Cheers for that.

There is absolutly no one here who can help me.

I'm stuck.

I don't know what to do.

Waves of despair overwhelm me.

Leave me gazing at the database catatonic.

No one else knows a thing about the database, just the frayed edges, little glimpses of tables, but no idea how it goes together.

I barely know how to use the damned thing.

We're weeks away from getting someone in to look at it.

The crisises are piling up now, and it all takes hours and hours to fix.

This being dark, isolated and lonely thing sucks.

Even the most straightforward discussion about the problem with anyone here leaves me sitting up my desk sobbing, but you don't understand, thats not the problem.

Memories of sitting in a park under the sunshine, my head in your lap, slowly falling asleep.

International High IQ society

Another IQ test, this time from the International High IQ society, a little more robust than facebook iq tests I guess, membership open to anyone with an IQ above 124.

Their test gave me an IQ of 133, you get 90 seconds per question for a 36 question test, about an hour apparently, but as is my way I did it in about 10 minutes.

So averaging up the past few IQ tests I've taken, I'm at 128.

Or if you ignore the result of 78 I got from uni in 2001, its 138. But I guess you gotta catch me at the right time to get me at my best.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


"Okay, what we want you to do, is work faster than you've ever worked before, you can't start until a week later than expected, and we're going to chop one of your arms off and tie your legs together. Now, do you think you'll have it done on time? Cos you know we're fucked if you don't."

I know, I know, whining about it doesn't help, but whining is a neat alterntive to sitting catatonic at my desk trembling, and hoping there was a realistic possibility of holding the girl at some point in the future.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Questio of the Day: Shuffle or Jump?

Personally I think shuffle is the way forward, jump's just a bit too flash, but that's just the way I roll.

Briefly surpassed

For one day last week Anorak got more traffic than my site. The reasons are manifold, the indepop messageboard is slowly becoming more popular, and since I got a google content warning, my traffic's down. Just gotta work harder I guess, I have a few ideas of things to do, but it takes time.

Anyhoo, I've been looking at traffic for this blog, using google analytics rather than statcounter. The breakdowns are better, more interesting. The most popular locale for readers of this blog is London, followed by Nottingham, and then Glasgow. And whilst the blog is one of the internets top resources for information about Facebook IQ tests, there doesn't seem to be ny traffic coming from other personal blogs referring to this one.

What happened? Did the age of the personal blog pass? Everyone's migrated to Facebook and Twitter for their online social needs?

Maybe its just me.

On the other hand I rarely link to other folks personal blogs, maybe I ought to, for a bit of reciprocation.

Over than to a girl called Hayley who I met at a blogger's meetup thing. My brother used to live with Sam Troughton, grandson of Patrick Troughton, the second Doctor Who.

Monday, 15 September 2008


It was 1995 when I first met Bill Drummond, formerly of the KLF. He'd recently burnt £1,000,000 of the KLF millions and was touring round the UK with a film of it, hosting debates as to whether it was art or rock n roll or what the hell he was playing at burning money.

It was early November 1995, I'd just started going out with my first girlfriend, my brother had acquired four tickets for the Burning a Million Quid film thing at Manchester's Quaker Meeting House, he was going along with a chum of the old KLF mailing list and I was taking along my wee school chum Nosni.

The KLF were the fist band I really got into, they had thi whole mythology about them, according to the Pete Robinson's Justified and Ancient History, they'd ripped all thi mythology from a book called The Illuminatus Trilogy. My brother got his copy of the Justified and Ancient History in April 1991, the kind of odd thing was that a copy of book one of the Illuminatus Trilogy appeared in my parent's house in February 1991, two months earlier. I remember seeing it and thinking it was odd.

After I discovered its significance, and read it cover to cover several times, my mind was truly fucked.

Back to November '95, brother took a CD and a copy of Justified and Ancient Histroy to try and get Bill and Jimi the other guy from the KLF and Gimpo the roadie to sign it. I took along the first book of the Illuminatus Trilogy.

After the rock n roll burning money debate and the crowds slowly filing out of the room, my brother lurched in to get his stuff signed. I followed a few steps later to get the book signed.

Drummond just laughed that it was all lies and then that he didn't write my book.

Sometime the next week I wrote a letter to Bill Drummond, got knows where I got an address from. The letter explained who I was, and my aspirations for a career in music, and sought any advice.

A few weeks later a poster arrived in the post, a poster of the Million Quid Burning, and a letter from Mr Drummond, addressed to the Manchester Illuminatus Kid.

When I signed up to hotmail, with the alias manc_ill_kid. And the alias has stuck with me for the last 13 years.

Watch the K Foundation Burn a Million Quid


Over on the nuddy chicks site I've just posted my 800th drawing


Whilst I'm still not sure whether its something to be proud of, commenter Dan makes my heart swell.

Can I pretend to stop doing it when I reach 1,000 pictures?

Should I have a party or something, or just the usual packet of chocolate digestives and bottle of wine alone in my room?

Sunday, 14 September 2008


Weekly (fortnightly) parential phonecall and my mum's telling me about my old school chum Ralf Little's new TV show, its called Massive.

I hadn't heard of it before, thought that young Ralf had dropped off the radar nd was one of these B-list drop casualities that Popbitch alludes to. Luckily I was wrong.

Anyhoo, since the age of sixteen and that fateful night in July '95 when Pnosni took me to a Cast/Longpigs gig at the Boardwalk in Manchester, I've bee going to lots of gigs, three or four a week for great swathes of the last fourteen years. I always dreams of starting a record label, but it wasn't until 2004 with my gran dying, and me using her inheritance to buy a decent printer and all the parephernalia to start making quality CDs in my computer. And weeks later discovering The Plimptons, who with a bit of luck could be bigger than Oasis.

This you already knew.

Over to Massive...
Inspired by the city's local heroes - Tony Wilson, Joy Division, The Mondays - the lads wile away the dreary office hours dreaming of their own record label. But while they put in the footwork when it comes to gigs (three a week) and beer (considerably more than that) time is ticking by and they're on the road to nowhere.

That is until Danny's gran pops her clogs. The mad old bat leaves him £10,000 and Danny doesn't hesitate - he and Shay are going to have their label. The lads jack in their jobs and find an office by the canal. Now all they've got to do is unearth the next Oasis and have a hit record...

Saturday, 13 September 2008


Whilst looking for pics for that last post, I saw this, and for a brief moment I thought about getting in touch with Jax, finding out how she is, if she's keeping well and owt.

But luckily the wee voice in my head that shouts "NO!!!" when I'm thinking "Monopoly, that'll be fun", the wee voice shouted again.

Of course, when I'm talking about the wee voice in my head, its not literally that I'm hearing voices, just some anthromorphic projection of conscience and common sense, and so on.


Here's a thing

Me in 2004

(courtesy of evil DK)

and me in 2008

(courtesy of DirtyVicar)

Same t-shirt


Friday, 12 September 2008

Crocheting with carrier bags

I can get the first row right, but its the doubling back that I mess up with.

Here, I made a video

Every so often the wee voice in my head, not the anthromorphic one, of the one voice that sounds like Emma from the school bus, or countless other folk who've shaped my personality, but the wee self-validating voice, says something like "Get a life!"

Its Friday night (well, Saturday morning) and I'm in front of my computer. I tried, and I failed. I could have gone out to Twee as Fuck and seen Stars of Aviation, from my quiet corner of the bar, making half-hearted small talk with the same folk I usually make half-hearted small talk with. I tried in vain to head out to the cinema with last girl I was seeing, but failed there to. I joisted with the idea of heading to Glasgow for Fabatoir, and Colin and Lynso's club night, but well, my car is about to die, other transport is too painful and well, I could see I wouldn't enjoy being there. I have 18 month old gig review blog and a 16 month old surprisingly successful porn blog, I often go out four nights a week to gigs and stuff. I ran 10K in 42ish minutes last night.

God, what does it take to silence the "Get a life!" cry?



There was an opportunity to go to a ceilidh this evening, but I think I'd rather swim in blood than go to that sort of thing again, even more to with the company I'd be going there with.

So instead, I stay in and try to crochet my plastic carrier bag collection.

I made a video of it too.

Alas, there's something wrong with the way I do it. And after six hours, I still fail.

Also, I constructed a small spreadsheet to figure out whether crocheting carrier bags using a cardboard crochet hook would increase or decrease my chances of procreation. The results were inconclusive.

However, what the spreadsheet did show is that I don't feel this melancholy way when I'm in a secure relationship.

Strange that.

When the idea pops up about messageing Zee on Facebook, and asking if she fancied coming along to The17 thing next Friday, its the same wee voice in the back of my head that says no.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Run run run

Did the old 10K in 43 minutes, the old 10K being the same distance I ran the other week, regardly of what my Nike+ widget says it is.

I'm getting better man.

However, on getting home I had to play Monopoly. Its still as bad as I remember.

Database and server admin #3

Right, so I've started a new table for component properties, where at the moment there are three columns, PARTNO, TYPE, PACKAGESIZE.

Where the PARTNO exactly maps the parts list, one to one. The part TYPE falls into three categories, S, T, and M as shown in the Venn diagram below.

(the just joking subgroups being things like solder blobs instead of zero ohm links and bare wire links respectively - they aren't discrete components)

PACKAGESIZE is kind of more complicated, and I'm not sure what the best way to do it is. For surface mount, everything comes on reels or tubes, in fact some parts can come in reels and tubes. Aw man, sometimes even comes in cut tape or individual bags. It varies. So its a description of the part, 0805, 1206 for caps and resistors, and then SOIC8 or SOT-23 and so on for the ICs. For through-hole parts sometimes they come bagged, sometimes in ammo boxes, and sometimes in reels. But again, its inconsistent, so instead PACKAGESIZE is left blank, I dunno, maybe it could be if the part is axial or radial, but I dunno if that's any use to anyone.

For reeled and cut tape surface mount parts, when we kit them, we need to give about 200mm extra everytime, regardless of kitting quantity. For bagged through hole parts 2% extra should be okay, but what about reeled through hole?

And should I build this into my kitting SQL query? That depending on package size, you need a different quantity?

I know nothing about forms, so every time I want a kitting report, I build it from scratch, going 10% over the required quantity.

Needs to be a bit more sophisticated.

And linked tables, I don't even know if they're possible in OpenOffice Base, but it would makemy life so much easier and save having to spend time every day cross-checking different tables. But every time I search google, there's nothing of any use. Bah.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Guest artists

Running out of steam on the naked chick site, even posting the animated bowlie hookup diagram didn't seem to bring in much traffic, you'd think that the might naked chick army would be well into that sort of thing.

Anyhoo, what I could really do with is some guest artists drawing some naked chicks on post-it notes. Just other folk doing the same sort of thing. Anyone but me.

But is the concept too edgy? Is it too crude for your regular drawingy artsy people?

Chris's secret war on rights #3

As you know, I have issues with people having 'rights', here's me ranting about it a few months back.

Anyhoo, here's a wonderful story from the Telegraph, I think it was bouncing about the blogs yesterday, about how Telford Council are going to question everyone who goes into parks without a child as a suspected paedo.

What really gets me is the wee statement at the end to calm things down.
Ron Odunayia, Director of Community Services, said; "Let's put this whole issue into common sense context. We are not talking about a blanket policy covering everybody who enjoys our Town Park.

"However, and this is the crucial part, if someone is acting in a suspicious manner or acting in an inappropriate way then, of course, our staff reserve the right to ask questions. "

Its a right is it?

Council staff have the right ask questions?
Who else has this right?
Who doesn't have this right?
Why not?

Its not really a right is it?

Its more of a self-evident thing that people can do, if they want.

Tesco labelling

Tesco labelling
Originally uploaded by manc_ill_kid
Is it really necessary to have two different price per weight measures?

Why not just price per Kg on both?

And unless my maths is failing shouldn't both values be the same?

Rather than one being 2p per Kg more expensive?

Database and server admin #2

Right now I have my wee manufacturing database running on Open Office Base, on my laptop. Its only 1.5mb, so I back it up onto several memories cards a couple of times a day. I'm the only person who uses the database, but the reports it churns out are used throughout the company, its neat like that.

This isn't very sustainable though. I think I'm reaching the limits of what Open Office Base can do, I might be wrong, other people use it for far bigger things, but I'm finding it very slow sometimes. Its version 2.3, I understand 2.4 is out, but when I tried upgrading to it, none of my queries would work, that was a dark day.

Anyhoo, I think the situation I'd like to be in is running the database off of a server, and being able to access it wirelessly via my laptop or any of a dozen ucomputers in here. Actually, it would be neat if it was an Oracle database that could be accessed from the web.

So, lazy-web admin crowd, I need a simple plan of how to get from where the database is now to where I want it to be, in small easily affordable and doable steps, where I don't lose functionality of my database for more than an hour at a time.

I don't care how long it takes to do this, as long as it remains in budget of £20 a week.

Can you do it?

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Database admin

I want to hire me a database consultant, I can afford about £20 a week, and whether thats for two hours or one hour, I don't mind, just as long as this database monkey knows their stuff and can either tell me what to do, or do it themselves.

I have wee questions all the time, and I think it'll be money well spent.

This database monkey could be anywhere in the world, doesn't have to be local.

Example #1:-

I have one table, PART NUMBERS, with just two columns, part number and part description
Then I have another table, PART SUPPLIERS, with loads of columns, part number, supplier, supplier description, supplier part number, price, MOQ, manufacturer, manufacturer's part number, and many more.

Should I start another table for PART PROPERTIES, like whether they are surface mount, stored in tubes or reels, capacitance, tolerance, resistance, inductance, etc, which will all be fixed to the manufacturers part number (if I have it) or just our part number?
Or do I just add extra columns in the PART SUPPLIERS?
If I start adding extra columns, this could go on for miles.

Example #2:-
I have a table called BOMs which lists how many of each part is used in each subassembly. Some of the sub assemblies are mechanical, some are packaging and some are PCBs

I have another table called COMPONENT LOCATIONS, which lists where on each PCB each component is used.

I can run a neat SQL queries which counts how many of each component is used on each PCB, and then I manually update the BOMs table from this.

It was be really cool if it automatically updated the BOMs table, every time I changed a component on the locations table. I have no idea ho to do this.

And to complicate matters, it would be neat if each change was time-stamped.

Monday, 8 September 2008

paid content

Hmm, according to this, there's money to be had for the internet.

70,000 uniques a month it says.

Me, I get 35,000 uniques a month. And I promote new and local music. I should be a national institution or something, not neurotic, dark, isolated and lonely.


In other news.

Looks like Linn Products have a wiki and a forum now, like what I suggested two years ago. We could have been so far ahead of the curve, but instead they booted my ass, I got dumped and depressed (the natural human emotion, not the serious mental disorder) and ended up in London.

Cheers for that.

Manufacturing engineering problem of the day #1

Take a look at the three JEC JS-608R rocker switches below.

JS-608R (a) Rocker switch (a)

JS-608R (b) Rocker switch (b)

JS-608R (c) Rocker switch (c)

Whilst they all say on them that they are JEC JS-608R rocker switches, only one of them is actually a JS-608R rocker switch, the others are something else. I dunno if they are fakes, or just from a different batch, but they're crap, we can't use them. Using them would be a bad thing.

Here's the spec drawing for it

Now, can you see which of the photies is the correct one?

Yeah, me too. Now I've got to go through our stock of them and segregate the crap ones. And then figure out how we got the crap ones.


Moments of utter despair last night driving home from Brighton, rather than take the M25 all the way round, I thought I'd try driving straight through the middle, through Brixton and the city centre. It ought to be possible.

But no, it was painful and tedious, I just wanted to go home, have a shower, brush my teeth, sit on the internet prodding people with my magic internet stick.

Took me about four hours.

No food in the house, am quite hungry now.

Have deleted my Bowlii account, and am now in the garden eating worms.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Kids stuff

Out in Burnham for the weekend with our kid, his wife and the wean.

Needed to get away from London.

What was it, anxiety? Stress? Just things and stuff?

Friday, 5 September 2008


Hellish insomnia and anxiety last night.

Headed out to the Pete Green record launch, but wasn't really in the mood, managed to make eye-contact and half a smile to folk who I really should have chatted to and embraced.

On the way out I was accosted by a chap off of the internet who's recollection of me was better than mine of his. We chatted briefly about animation and video software but I fear my amateur knowledge if the subject let him down some, recommending Adobe Premiere over After Effects or Final Cut. Premiere Elements should do the job, but there's bound to be a half decent open source video package out there, if not a decent one.

Anyhoo, I was still awake at 2am, so I started a new policy of trying to switch of thinking about work, spreadsheets, databases, components and spider diagrams, by chatting to anyone who was online on Facebook.

It briefly worked, but I did feel a little like a spammer for my troubles.

I need to be able to switch off from work better, I need something to beat me with a stick to stop doing things, to just chill out in front of the TV and not care when folk walk in and don't stop squawking whilst I'm trying to watch something.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Competition time

This is rather cool

Over on Trollop with a laptop, Alison Tyler, the porn writer, is having a competition to write a short erotic piece to accompany the pic on the site.

Enter and you could win one of my pictures.

My stores video

The boss was saying we should have more work related videos on YouTube. So, I scratched my head, and all I could muster was my enthusiasm.

This is me raving about the new components stores system I've set up at Roksan Audio. The actual set up was inspired by how CDs are displayed in independent record shop, specifically Avalanch Records in Glasgow.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Run run run

Lots of pent up frustration and energy today, so I went out jogging, got my widget calibrated properly and everything. So off I went on my 10k.

Bit knackered.

45 minutes 22 seconds? Just a wee bit longer than the widget said last week. I still reckon I can get it down to less than 40.

But what's the point? To update a spreadsheet?

Fuck that.

It impresses no one, and doesn't even make me feel good.

Back to work ii

Have taken to soothing my singularity by prodding people at work with a stick, need to get out and go to lots of gigs and maybe have a small drink.

Things kind of falling apart, just like they used too, maybe more ill theatre drawings are needed.

Having bad bad thoughts about the Bill Drummond The17 book signing/talk/reading thing, should I invite along the girl I should have invited back in '95? Its crazy, but thats the way I roll.

If ever there's a time to get delerious and replay darks time in my head, its now. Will have to dig out the old books and diaries.

Speaking of which, in response to hearing that the notorious Bowlie spider-diagram doing the rounds is incorrect, ill-informed and not up to date, I sketched out on to the best of my knowledge.

And after slinging it online for a few hours, the little voice inside my head reminded me it was a bad idea. And whilst that voice is the voice of insanity that regularly costs me dear, it has made me the man I am today. Angry, frustrated and bitter.

Cheers for that.

Also diagrams didn't quite get the thousands of pageviews I was hoping for, barely broke double figures. You gotta ask yersel, "Is it worth it?"

This evening, do I just go straight to the gig that's probly sold out or do I try to run 10K again and get the old endorphins flowing?

Monday, 1 September 2008


Originally uploaded by manc_ill_kid
If I pull out all the stops I can get 70,000 in a month, but it is very knackering. Otherwise the last four months have seen a slow but steady rise, which is also quite knackering