Archive for January, 2007

February Album Writing Month

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

I’ve just signed up for February Album Writing Month (now, that’s a redundant name if ever I heard one. What is February, if it isn’t a month? It should just be “Album Writing Month”, surely. Yes, yes, I’m sure was already taken. But I digress), a project in the spirit of NaNoWriMo which sets the challenge of writing 14 songs in 28 days.

(Update… here’s my FAWM profile page.)

On the face of it, this is a somewhat stupid thing for me to do. I’m far too busy in February to dedicate the majority of my spare time to writing songs. By my current count I have 7 days in which I’m completely occupied, including the first Oxford Geek Night, raww.orgy and BarCamp London; I have talks to write for two of the above (which may entail doing something webbishly geeky some time soon so that I have something to talk about in the first place), and ideally a bit of music for the other; then there’s Forever (website down? ooh, that’s not good) and Breakpoint looming not far ahead and vying for some sort of contribution from me; I’m meant to be doing some webmonkey work on Pouët while ideally not neglecting my own long-promised demoscene database site (and the ensuing Rails core hacking that’s going to be necessary to pull it off); and finally two projects (or is it three?) I’ve promised to do Spectrum music for. Oh, and there’s the whole eating and sleeping thing too.

Best. Spam. Ever.

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

Ah, the joys of having an online pseudonym that’s completely irrelevant to anything…

Dear Gasman,

I am Mr. Alex Ibe, an accountant with one of the reputable banks in
Nigeria. I was also an account officer to late Mr. Gary Gasman, a national of your country who was a contractor with Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG). On 18th May 2003, Mr. Gary his wife and their two Children were involved in a car accident along Kaduna-Abuja express road.

All occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost their lives. Since then I have been trying to locate any of Mr. Gary’s extended relatives, but this has also proved unsuccessful. After these several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to track his last name over the Internet, to locate any member of his family hence this proposal to you in other to assist repatriate the money left behind by late Mr. Gary before they get confiscated or declared unserviceable by my bank.

You can guess the rest.

I’m in two minds as to whether it’s a straight cut-and-paste job, or whether this guy spent some time lovingly hand-crafting this tale of Mr Gasman who works for a gas company. I really wish it’s the latter.

Lloyds TSB: The world’s most pointless travel insurance

Friday, January 5th, 2007

So I’m planning to do a fair bit of travelling this year, and I figured it would be wise to pick up some travel insurance. First port of call was my bank Lloyds TSB, and the online quote form on their website. It started sanely enough: confirm you’re in the UK, confirm you haven’t been told by a doctor that you’re about to die, that sort of thing. Then I was presented with this:

Certain activities you may take part in while away may be considered hazardous.

Click here to see a list of hazardous activities

(Tickybox) I confirm that none of the applicants will be taking part in any of the hazardous activities listed.

I think “Fruit or Vegetable Picking” was the first item to make me do a double-take.

Must be all that genetic engineering they’re doing these days. Those parsnips, they’ll all gang up against you the moment your back is turned. Oh well, that doesn’t bother me. Slightly more inconvenient, however, was the ban on both “Flying (as a Fare Paying Passenger in a Fully Licensed Passenger Carrying Aircraft)” and “Flying (Other Than As A Fare Paying Passenger In A Fully Licensed Passenger Carrying Aircraft)”. I also spent a moment pondering the implications of not being able to do any “Running (Non-Competitive and not Marathon)” – supposing I turned up at Bruxelles-Midi to find that my train was leaving in two minutes, I’d have to quickly find a willing volunteer to race against. Or continue running for another 25-and-a-bit miles after getting on the train, I suppose. And on observing that “Bungee Jumping (within Organiser’s Guidelines)” was right out whereas bungee jumping unsupervised with a slightly-too-long piece of string was presumably acceptable, I sensed that something was amiss.

Fortunately for me, a competitor’s website had managed to get the right idea and correctly arranged the list under the subheadings “you can do this”, “we’ll let you do this if you pay us enough” and “now you’re just being silly”. Unfortunately for Lloyds TSB, I couldn’t alert them to their mistake because their website didn’t provide an email address for the appropriate department. So I had to email an inappropriate one instead. Where it will probably be sat on for the next six months.

Well done Lloyds TSB, you just lost 50 quid of business through having a crap website.