thank you Helen for drawing this

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Welcome to Ali's blog. A blog that has absolutely nothing to do with juggling monkeys. It doesn't really have anything to do with much, just me rambling on about random things.

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Saturday, June 28, 2003
I don't think that I mentioned, I've had my hair cut short. That was on Tuesday. I think I like it, everyone seems very complimentary, but I can never be quite sure. The only problem is that now I look too much like Helen. A couple of people thought I was Helen, I didn't think that we looked *that* similar. I guess they only thought it at first glance, then realised it was me, but still, could be annoying around people who don't know us that well.

Today is Harriet and Will's wedding day. Must go out and buy some wrapping paper as I didn't get enough yesterday. I am actually going to do something that I almost never do and wear a dress to the wedding. I'm not sure why, but I promised I would about a year ago. Think it was because they were going on about seeing me in a dress and I said if they were really that bothered I'd wear one at theirs. Only problem is that they're having a bouncy castle! I might take trousers with me to change into.

Oh, and I started reading the new Harry Potter (Order of the Pheonix) on Thursday. It came in to the library on Wednesday (we're a smaller library so have to wait for it to be sent on) but couldn't go out on the shelf as there was a reservation, we phoned the woman, but she hadn't picked it up by Thursday lunchtime, so I read the first chapter in my lunchbreak. It was quite good. She still hadn't picked it up in the evening, so I took it home and read 3 more chapters whilst babysitting. Had to take it back in to work on Friday for the woman to collect it, she didn't come, but I couldn't take it home again as she might come to pick it up today and I'm not in work as I've taken the day off for the wedding. Anyway, I'm not a huge Potter fan, but I do like the books. I find them quite interesting, but I couldn't really remember what had happened in the last one, which made it difficult as they keep referring back. It is well written, and the new book does make you want to read on. Helen asked if the reason that I'm a bit negative about Harry Potter is because everyone loves it, I think she could be right, maybe I would think it was excellent if it wasn't so over-hyped.

Anyway, I'd better stop messing around and get dressed so I can go to the shop, people seem to think you're odd if you go in your pyjamas.

Friday, June 27, 2003
Finally! I'm on the new blogger too. I thought I was going to be left behind or something. Anyway, late, must go out.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003
Last night I went on a photographic scavenger hunt, it was quite fun. We had to run around (well, run but while seated in a car, otherwise known as drive) Leicester and take photos of 20 things that we'd been told to take photos of. I'll list those things I can remember here (we did a few crossover shots):

  1. A member of the group behind the bar in a pub
  2. hanging from a tree - Dave hung like a monkey in Bradgate park
  3. leapfrogging at Bradgate park (with the sign visible to prove it's Bradgate - one group cheated and didn't drive all the way to Bradgate, they just did it near a sign pointing to Bradgate park, that doesn't count and explains how they beat everyone else back).
  4. A posh car (bonus points if we are in it) - went to Dave's house and borrowed Colin's car, that's posh. Apparently Kate's team had beaten us to it and told him not to let us, but he did.
  5. A funny roadsign - I couldn't find the "frog migratory crossing" sign, and we were running late, in the end we just used up a few photos taking shots of random signs which we will insist are really funny, well one was Birkdale, Birk is funny, though spelt wrong I think.
  6. With a shopkeeper in a shop.
  7. With a policeman/woman (shame Mark wasn't around, our team didn't manage this, we did take a photo of me knocking on the police booth at Bradgate park, we kind of chickened out of going to a police station or anything in case we annoyed the policemen, one of the groups did stop by a policecar and get a photo)
  8. Squashed in a phone booth (we took two of these, the first was in a normal boring new phonebox, then later we saw one of the cool old red ones, so retook the photo there)
  9. A creative photo - we took a picture of a weird shadow on a tree
  10. A group photo - the more imaginative the better - generally just done in crossovers
  11. A fairy tale character or scene - Dave put on a fake beard, teatowel on his head & dressing gown and held a trophy - we said he was Aladdin's Uncle.
  12. A reflection - We took a photo of our feet reflected in a mirror - possible crossover into creative & group shots.
  13. With a statue - got the Thomas Cook one at the train station
  14. Asking a stranger for directions - the first one we asked didn't speak English, so we asked the man who let us go behind his bar in the pub.
  15. Playing a game Outside the Walker's Stadium - we played catch in front of the giant poster of Gary Lineker.
  16. With a celebrity - well, the statue of Thomas Cook, he's kind of a celebrity, plus there was Gary Lineker outside the Walker's Stadium, then we went and got a shot of us with our pastor, acting as if we were in awe of meeting him, we think that's a great celebrity.
  17. An animal - not a dog/cat or pigeon - we got a cow
  18. On a swing, slide or roundabout - I went down a twisty slide in Anstey
  19. In a shopping trolley
  20. A cheesy smile - took a photo of me smiling with some cheese.

    So there we have it, we won't know who won until the photos are developed, so by Sunday. Vinnie wanted to know if any of us had been stopped or anything, we hadn't, everyone had been perfectly happy to help, we even had to spend time talking to the bar staff about the other things that we had to get. One group did have a problem in the first pub they tried, but other than that no problems.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003
You know, I could probably have made my trip to Swansea sound more interesting than I did when I posted about it the other week. I hardly said anything about the filming in silly costumes. I basically filmed Julie and her housemate messing around doing silly stuff in costume and then made a music video out of it. We tried to film in Tesco with Julie dressed up as a princess and Becky dressed as a superhero. However as soon as we walked through the car park in costume with me with the camcorder, a security guard approached us and told us we weren't allowed to film there. What I find amusing is that I was stopped from filming something fairly innocuous in Tesco's car park, whereas last year I filmed Will running around with a fairly realistic looking fake gun in Safeway's car park and no one batted an eyelid, maybe they were scared of the gun. Plus there are never any security guards in Safeway and we stayed away from the store itself, just grabbing a trolley and moving it to a trolley bay and stuff.

The moral of this story is: when filming stupid stunts use a shop with no security guards, or maybe it's: always carry a fake gun?

I don't know why you can't film in Tesco, is it in case you give them bad publicity or something? Or are spying on them? I don't know. I guess they have their reasons.

Monday, June 23, 2003
Okay, still not managing to post regularly, been busy still. Helping with preparation for Harriet's wedding still, plus various other small things. On Saturday it was Harriet's hen do, Helen blogged about that, so sorry if I repeat what she said and you end up reading it twice, I'll use different words though and I didn't have a headache, so it's slightly different. We went for a walk in Bradgate and I had some very nice cake in the tea room, then we saw Buddy Holly (please don't be as pedantic as my Mum and say "That's clever since he's dead", you're not funny you know, obviously I mean the play) Anyway, like Helen, I too hadn't expected to enjoy Buddy Holly and really did. The meal was quite nice afterwards, I had Lamb Jaipur, it was pretty hot, but I liked it, though the garlic naan bread wasn't that great. I spent several minutes entertaining myself by dropping small silver cherub things into Gillian's hair (cherub confetti sort of thing, not like ornaments, that'd be pretty noticeable and odd). She had her hair tied up and I managed to drop several handfuls into the top of the bun so that they'd stay until she took her hair down, she didn't notice. Though at one point she did turn to me and ask what I was doing as she thought I looked guilty. Harriet was dressed up as a pink fairy, well, mostly pink, the skirt was kind of purple net thing, but it was very hard to find a fairy skirt, that was the best I could do, I borrowed it off Brenda at work. She had great wings though and a gold tiara, I bought a lovely pink shirt and made Helen put a picture of Harriet and a slogan on it, she did very well coming up with a slogan ("I love it when a plan comes together" - since Harriet looked thoughtful in the pic, and "I pity the [Will Davies] fool [husband to be]) and designing the shirt, so thank you Helen.

[Hello, I'm Ali's computer, ha ha ha] are you, are you really, I think you're Helen, trying to infiltrate my blog while I was downstairs.

I was having a bad week last week, not that much really went wrong, but it felt like everything did. It felt bad before the first major thing to go wrong, which was the toilet, as you may have read on Helen's blog our toilet stopped flushing. I didn't really want to use my emergency money to pay a plumber to come and fix it as I had been hoping to save up enough emergency money to get central heating fairly soon. Anyway, it worked out okay in the end, 'cos I used a plumbing book at work (Enderby Library) to figure out what had gone wrong with the toilet, I had tried looking online, but didn't find anything very helpful, nothing mentioning what to do if the plunger thing in the tank doesn't seem to be making it flush, turns out it's very common and easy to fix, you just need a new flap-valve. The only problem was that the instructions for taking the toilet apart weren't quite the same as my toilet, thankfully Phil came to help, he had had to do exactly the same thing for his toilet fairly recently. It turned out that the flap-valve wasn't actually broken, so we didn't need the replacement that I'd bought at the great expense of 50p (which is good since it was the wrong shape anyway, the book didn't mention 2 shapes and showed a picture of a round one, so that's what I got) anyway, it wasn't broken, it had somehow turned through 90 degrees and just needed turning back. So Phil did that and then went to put the toilet back together, only problem being that since my toilet didn't match the one in the book taking it apart involved separating the tank from the toilet at the rubber seal and when doing that you really need to replace the seal, of course I didn't have a new one. We tried putting it back with the old one, but as soon as we turned the water back on it leaked. So we had to make a trip to H*mebase sorry Mark it's the closest though, and we didn't have much time. Of course they don't sell things separately that you need, so they make you pay £5 for the whole attachment for the flush pipe kit including the metal bracket thing which didn't need replacing, so I have a spare one now, maybe I'll put it on ebay :-) this having to buy the whole thing caused Phil to have to pay £11 to fix his instead of 50p as they didn't sell flap valves. I went to a shop in Blaby that sells toilets, they stocked flap valves, they probably stocked seals too if I'd known I needed one. So anyway, eventually the toilet was fixed, so that was good, and I didn't have to pay a plumber, plus I know how to fix it in the future as I watched Phil.

I could admit the other really bad thing that happened last week, it was the next day and the worst thing about it is that it was nobody's fault but my own, what I managed to do was incredibly stupid, but please don't inundate me with emails telling me that it's impossible, because it clearly wasn't impossible, believe me, I know it's meant to be, but it happened, I managed it, maybe I should get an award. I think I've got over my sensitivity and upset now though, so I don't really mind ridicule, at the time I was very upset by what I did and don't think I'd have coped with people teasing me about my idiocy. Okay, here's what I managed to do...

I wanted some more memory for my PC, to combat it's ludicrously slow nature, so I toddled along to Crucial and used their handy memory selector to find the right memory for my PC. It arrived very quickly, the next day in fact. The next day was Friday, I'd got up at 6 and gone to take Harriet to the station at 7. Then I'd gone back to Harriet's house to paint her room (this is the house she was moving out of, so yes I was painting a room that she wouldn't be in after that night, reason being it's a rented house, she painted it when she moved in, then they told them that they couldn't paint, so we were painting it back to almost the original colour in the hope that the Landlords won't remember what colour it was, they would notice if we'd just left it as we'd painted it in 2 colours). I was also moving lots of boxes out of her room to the place she'll be staying.

Anyway around lunchtime I was waiting for the first coat of paint to dry, I'd loaded up the car with her boxes and taken them to the place she'd be staying: our friends Phil and Emma's house, just down the road from my house. So I nipped in home with the shopping I'd bought and was excited to discover a package from crucial. I had about 20 minutes before I had to go back to apply the second coat, so I figured it wouldn't take long, I'd just slip it in, a piece of advice, never do this, even simple jobs end up taking longer when you don't have long.

So anyway, I took the case off my computer and tried to put in my new RAM, I didn't bother moving it to a position in which there was a decent amount of light, I figured it'd be fine in the slightly dark position I have it in. It seemed to go in okay, so I closed the case and turned it on and the computer made noises, but didn't load up and I smelt burning, so I turned it off in a panic and opened it up again and removed the now incredibly hot memory. I couldn't work out what had gone wrong, I turned on the computer again to find it still worked, thankfully I hadn't completely killed it, but it still had a burning smell. Not good. I turned it off and decided I must go about my day, so I went and applied the second coat of paint in a much less cheery mood than before and then went to work. All the time getting irritated with myself at being so upset over wasting £50 and killing my computer.

I got home after work and did what I should have done earlier, that is brought a light in above the computer so that I could actually see what I was doing. It turns out that I had put the RAM in the wrong way round, something which I am reliably informed is absolutely impossible. Well, it's clearly not impossible is it? It's always possible for someone to do something that stupid somehow. I don't really understand how it went in, I tried it again the right way round and it went in a bit easier, but it wasn't much easier than the wrong way and since I'd never put any in before I didn't really know how hard it should be. Looking at it I can't really see how it managed to fit the wrong way what with the notches and everything, but it did, it could be because one of the catches was broken, so maybe I was able to lock it in when it shouldn't have. I really don't know.

Anyway, I am not having to use someone else's PC, so obviously mine is okay now, Mark advised me to get a new motherboard because of the burning smell, but said that it probably wouldn't kill the computer if I tried turning it on with the memory in the right way round, so I tried that and it is working, obviously it's not working at full capacity, what with part of the RAM being melted. I put it in yesterday and the computer still had a slight burning smell some of the time, and believed itself to have 365MB of RAM (I think) today there is no burning smell at all and it seems to have 624MB of RAM, don't ask me how, it makes no sense, but it's interesting, I may be the only person in the world with a computer with 624MB of RAM. I think that I'm going to carry on using it as if nothing happened, it seems happy enough now, seems to be working faster than it was with 128MB, so that's good. I don't have any money, so I'll just leave it as it is and hope it doesn't die completely.

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