Saturday July 28, 2007

Damnable bureaucracy

I'm finally in the process of rescuing my data from the evil clutches of my dead computer, and of course, the first thing I move over is my Opera folders (the upside of never managing to convince boyfriend to switch to Opera and stop stubbornly clinging to IE: when my computer dies and I need to use his, I can just copy over the email / bookmarks / etc files and just take over the install). And the first thing I do after that, of course, is to check my mail (especially my "reserved for important things" email, which keeps getting sent spam and trojans now - clearly somebody I shared the address with wasn't as smart as I thought, sigh).

Nothing much, but among the clutter, I dig up an email from the university I did my master's at - a notice that "the official graduation papers for the Master's in Writing for Television and New Media for the academic year 2004/05 are ready".

At this point I'm cheering, because they said they would be ready, oh, last September, and hoping the "academic year 2004/05" is a typo (because I did the master's in 2005/06, and if the papers that are ready now - in 2007 - are for the '04/'05 class, I really am losing all hope).

Then I read on, and the email happily tells me that I can go pick up the thing, at my convenience, at the Student Services office of the university - all the way in bloody Turin. Which would've been a pretty long and annoying trip to take even if I were still living in Italy, which I'm not. Augh.

This is particularly stupid because this master's was a long-distance program in the first place, only requiring a computer, internet connection and DVD player to attend, with the exception of the entrance exam (which took place in Milan) and the final exam (which took place in Turin, and which I had to plan a trip for, complete with hotel stay). And they said they would send the papers to us.

The email included a phone number to call "for any necessity", and I will most certainly call it - but the fact that the email mentions the necessity of me bringing both an official stamp (which costs money) and identification makes it sound pretty impossible for the papers to be retrieved in any way that isn't me going there in person. Sigh.

I guess I'll have to plan a Turin trip for my next visit to Italy. D:

Thursday July 26, 2007

Gayer than a tree full of monkeys on nitrous oxide

I was searching for the exact phrasing of the quote from "Good Omens" referenced in the entry title (since my copy of the book is still in Italy, as I keep forgetting about it when I go visit my parents / when my parents come visit me / when my parents send me things, and I invariably remember about it a few days later):

Many people, meeting Aziraphale for the first time, formed three impressions: that he was English, that he was intelligent, and that he was gayer than a tree full of monkeys on nitrous oxide.
From that, I went on to find the other quote that's always stuck in my memory from the same book, which is the "Buggre Alle This Bible" sequence:
Buggre Alle this for a Larke. I amme sick to mye Hart of typefettinge. Master Biltonn if no Gentelmann, and Master Scagges noe more than a tighte fisted Southwarke Knobbefticke. I telle you, onne a daye laike thif Ennywone withe half an oz. of Sense shoulde bee oute in the Sunneshain, ane nott Stucke here alle the liuelong daie in thif mowldey olde By-Our-Lady Workfhoppe. @ *"AE@;!*
(The whole sequence can be found here.)

Poking at Wikipedia's entries for Aziraphale and Crowley also led me to a pretty amusing list of their New Year's resolutions (Crowley commenting on the act of googling oneself is absolutely priceless, as is Aziraphale resolving to find out what an "internet" is), as well as to a list of Bible errata ("Thou shalt commit adultery" is probably my favourite out of them).

The things one finds while googling :)

Wednesday July 25, 2007

I have no luck with computers

This particular tale of woe starts shortly after I moved to the UK in a more-or-less permanent fashion. I took a (back then) almost brand new laptop with me: it was shiny, it worked much better than my old desktop had, and it did what I wanted it to do.

All was well for a few weeks, then the laptop decided to break. While I was playing a game (an old game, at that - Starcraft), it rebooted. And rebooted. And rebooted. It wouldn't even load Windows anymore, nor any of the load-from-CD rescue solutions I tried. So I backed up my data (thank god for Ask Metafilter, that website is absolutely priceless) and asked my parents to mail me my old desktop, so I had a computer to use while the laptop got fixed (as opposed to just stealing my boyfriend's computer now and then).

It took some convincing, but they sent me the desktop. That computer worked briefly, then the videocard died. Fine, we had a spare videocard in the house; we replaced it, and all was fine for a while.

Then the (second-hand) monitor we'd acquired to attach to the computer started turning all sorts of interesting colors. A gentle push (or a not-so-gentle whack) would fix it, and though I knew it would eventually break down, I would be getting my laptop back soon.

Then I got my laptop back. Yay, everything worked again! I moved all my data back to it, and it took less than a couple of weeks for its monitor to start going blue, too. This, of course, was a different issue, not fixed by a gentle push (or a not-so-gentle whack); it quickly ended up making the laptop unusable for me, unless I connected it to an external monitor - which I did, while waiting to get the chance to send it off for repairs again.

A week ago, I pulled all my data off the laptop again, sent the laptop off for repairs (thankfully it's still under warranty) and went back to using the desktop.

And yesterday, while I was innocently surfing the internet, it froze on me (the kind of hard freeze where you have to pull the plug to get any reaction from the computer, as not even the power button will work). And now it doesn't load into Windows anymore (freezes halfway through), nor into any sort of CD-based rescue environments. As the HD Windows is on appears to be fine (booting into DOS and running various disk-checking programs works), I suspect the RAM (running Memtest86 right now to check), but if it is, we have no spare RAM to use, and the desktop is (unless my memory is trying to trick me) using a single 512MB stick - so it's all or nothing, and neither will do me much good.

Sigh. And I don't even know when I'll get my laptop back. At least my data is fine, I guess, it could've been worse.

Tuesday July 24, 2007


"I did not like the book so I shall set it on FIIIIIIIIIRE~~~~!!!!1111oneone"

What the hell, fandom?

Saturday July 21, 2007

So about that Harry Potter book...

Word of warning before I begin: spoilers for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" abound throughout this post. I'll hide them in the extended entry, so nobody (assuming anybody is actually reading this already, which is a big assumption :P) can get accidentally spoiled - just don't click through to the full entry unless you've read the book or don't care about spoilers.

This also gets really rambly towards the end. I tried to keep it coherent, but there's just too much that annoys me, and I've had way too little sleep last night, for me to fully succeed.

That said...

I don't really know how to put in words what I think of the book now that I've read it. "It was a huge disappointment" doesn't really feel right, because you have to have high expectations of something to be disappointed by it, and I knew it was quite unlikely that J.K. Rowling would manage to rescue her writing and plotting abilities from the downward plunge they've been doing for a while now. "Not worth the hype" is probably a better way to describe how I feel: for being the end of the Harry Potter series, this book, although decent in its own merit, falls flat in several respects. Hell, it almost reads like fanfiction in some parts.

One of the things I dislike the most, overall, is that after I turned the last page I was pretty much left thinking "" - that through the 607 pages of this book, J.K. Rowling hadn't even managed to do what should be the chief aim of any fiction author: to make the reader care about the characters and what happens to them.

Continue reading "So about that Harry Potter book..."

Friday July 20, 2007

Speaking of the new layout...

While I like the new layout, I'm not entirely sure it's perfect. It's readable and looks good on my end, and everything (comments and whatnot) appears to work; but that doesn't mean everything is 100% sure to work, especially given how damnably rusty I am with HTML and CSS (nevermind MovableType template tags).

So, if you find something wrong - a broken link, text that's too small to read, anything - by all means drop me an email or a comment. Getting feedback is wonderful.

Hello world

Desire to actually do something with my website: check.
Fresh install of blogging software: check.
New layout: check.

Er. Hello internet, I'm back?