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May 31, 2002

Critical Mass of Blogging Friends?

It's always good when another of your bezzie mates joins in with something you believe about passionately.

Even if it means we'll have nothing to talk about now.

Keep an eye on Mutual Misunderstanding - it's early days, but good things will ensue.

Blimey, even the missus is starting to consider it now - and she regards the whole thing with an enormous amount of suspicion...

Posted by Tom Dolan at 08:47 AM | Comments (2)

May 30, 2002

Exalted Company

Some recent links to this blog reminded me of the following:

"When I'm with you I find myself showing off, which is the idiot's version of being interesting."

(Steve Martin - LA Story)

Posted by Tom Dolan at 06:35 AM | Comments (0)

For God's Sake, It Bloody Should Be Dead!!!!

Thanks to Wherever You Are for tracking down such a beautiful article about Punk actually being rather rubbish.

The reverence this musical form (?) has been accorded my music journalists of a certain age has now become absolute canon. History rewritten. And to be honest, I can't really understand why.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 06:33 AM | Comments (0)

Shared, Absorbed Madness

Lovely quote from Riley Dog

We'd been there for a long time; trains kept going by in the other direction. She squinted at me. "You look like a Monet painting," she said.

I looked back at her through her glasses, which I was wearing. The softened the edges of everything; even squinting, I couldn't read the signs on the walls.
"So do you," I told her.

By being with someone so interesting, sometimes it seems like I can almost be interesting myself.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 06:24 AM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2002

Brain Gawn

There's only one thing worse than forgetting the birthday of a dear friend.

Spending days and days knowing that it's their birthday in the run-up, and *then* forgetting at the last minute because stuff just got too hectic at work to nip out for a card.

So you're now uncaring *and* a complete divvy.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 11:32 PM | Comments (0)

Hidden Knowledge

Two bloggers meeting in a roomful of serious people - it's a bit like knowing that someone else isn't wearing any underwear either.

Hmmm, need to work on the profundity a bit.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 11:12 PM | Comments (1)

Shamed By The Obvious?

I've been painfully aware that for the last few days my posts have been increasingly drivelly - largely consisting of false self-congratulation as a way of convincing myself to carry on with things, or 'coo blimey - having a few server problems, why don't I get some new software?'

Gripping stuff.

So this is the start of a new (or rather older) leaf. There's going to be some effort going into this from now on, so beware. Just let me get up to speed with a few rhetorical questions first....

Oh, and thanks for the unintentional kick.

(The embarrasment was such that this entry was made against strict medical advice. I'm supposed to be deliberately staying away from computers to allow my shoulders to heal after a good pummelling!)

Posted by Tom Dolan at 11:06 PM | Comments (0)

A Curious Combination

While listening to news of Stephen Byers' possible replacements this morning, I couldn't help wondering what a combination of Jeff Hoon, Jeff Noon and Jeff Koons might look like.

(Actually, the missus thought of the last one. Always credit your sources...)

Posted by Tom Dolan at 09:28 AM | Comments (0)

Happy Birthday Mum!

She's 21 again, and as fab as ever.

Inspiring to have a parent who's managed to develop wisdom but still stay as young at heart as they were when I was tiny. I hope I can live up to that!

Posted by Tom Dolan at 12:20 AM | Comments (2)

Take...these broken rings.

GBlogs, Blogging Brits et al...You'll be back as soon as I've got my head round the code to do it. Oh, and once it's not the very small hours of the night.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 12:11 AM | Comments (0)

This 'ere bit of software

You know what, I could rather get to like this. After the raw terror during installation, it's all starting to be jolly lovely!
And you can start leaving comments, so help me God...

Posted by Tom Dolan at 12:09 AM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2002

Ho Hum

So here we go with Movable Type. Normal service will be resumed shortly...

Posted by Tom Dolan at 11:33 PM | Comments (0)

Success, despite one's own self-image

Success, despite one's own self-image

I've had a few people close to me say "Yeah, and?" about this, but I think they must be smitten by a madness, so here's the real truth.

I work in interactive TV. We have a commissioning process. In terms of content areas to make interactive, we're the hard bit. The really hard bit. So we got left till last.

Before that I was in online. We owned brands, but had no money. We were the underdogs. We were a problem. We got left till last.

Big scary departments around me have monstrous funding commitments for their new media activities. We have about a tenth of what they get.

Yet, I found out today that at the last commissioning round, I got more commissions than any other division of the large UK-based media organisation I work for. We even ended up with one of our projects listed under someone else's patch mistakenly, so we actually did even better than we'd first hoped.

Which, to be honest, just doesn't fit with my model of how the world works. I'm the bitter one who it never works out for, and everyone else gets loads of kudos money and fun. I have to sit at the back and say "It's Not Fair". This is, as they say, my job.

But now some awkward sod has gone and believed me. They've got confidence I can deliver. They think I can bring in new audiences. My proposals were well thought out. Other sections had *every* proposal they put in turned down.

Oh fuck...

All the baggage I've carried around with me since the age of about 5 - I feel like someone's just tapped me on the shoulder and said "Don't worry, it's all going to be fine". And meant it. And to be honest, it's just too damn much to take in.

I've never got teary at a spreadsheet before.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2002

Blaine, but not forgotten

Blaine, but not forgotten

You can always rely on Crazy Beautiful to give you something to think about. Even if you don't necessarily agree with it.

I have to admit I feel a little the same way about David Blaine as I do about Britain's resident David Copperfield - Paul Daniels.
The guy is a fabulously talented and accomplished close-up magician, but the stunts are a bit cack really. They're just endurance - and I want miracles. Perhaps it's just the showbiz whore in me, but I can't help feeling that there's simply not the *craft* in the David Blaine stunts. David Copperfield disappearing a Lear Jet - whoo hoo. Even bloody Siegfried and Roy.

But any arse could learn to stand on a stick for that long. What was actually proved?

That it's possible to jump 80 ft with a catheter still in and survive?

Posted by Tom Dolan at 11:27 PM | Comments (0)

More House Stuff

More House Stuff

The Rockall Times has just got it sooooooooo right.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 01:35 PM | Comments (0)



Meg, Meg, Meg. You may be away, but why remove the archive too?

Posted by Tom Dolan at 12:41 AM | Comments (0)

Blaven speaks at last

Blaven speaks at last
Really good to see some new personal content on The Obvious?. There's always loads of good links, but it's the self-penned stuff that's the icing on this cake.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 12:39 AM | Comments (0)

My Worst Trait?

My Worst Trait?

I've worked out that I spend far too much time getting other people to make difficult decisions for me. And you know the sod of it? They probably don't even know it. Whenever there's something tough to do, I always manage to excuse my actions by saying I'm acting on behalf of someone else. I've already told you I need to get off the phone three times, but 'no, I really must go now because someone's waiting' - even if they aren't.

Why can't I have the confidence in my own decision being enough? Why do I always feel the need to give myself a getout clause?

Essentially, when am I going to feel I have the authority to be the master of my own destiny?

Posted by Tom Dolan at 12:36 AM | Comments (0)

Your Biggest Investment - Don't Take It Personally

Your Biggest Investment - Don't Take It Personally

It's getting kind of stressful now. The house has been on the market for two weeks and we've still not had an offer near the asking price. I'm in this wierd spiral of paranoia (those who know me may not find this to be news -it's a *new* wierd circle of paranoia, okay!) where I just assume we've done something fundamentally wrong. This is despite:

But you can't get away from it - it fundamentally is far more stressful than logic would ever let you justify.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 12:32 AM | Comments (0)

Two more days to go...

Two more days to go...

Until my brand-spanking-new Titanium Powerbook turns up. I'm so looking forward to the freedom to be able to think without a little yellow envelope appearing in the bottom right-hand corner of my screen. In fact, to have the freedom to think at all. I don't know why PCs make me so analytical, distracted, and interrupt-prone, but they find a way.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 12:27 AM | Comments (0)

I've Cracked

I've Cracked

Just a few too many failures when I've been pouring my heart out. Just a few too many incompatabilities with my webspace provider. Unfortunately, blogger and I are going to be parting company. I've forked out for full webspace access with CGI, and moveable type beckons.

Just got to migrate all this lot over...

Posted by Tom Dolan at 12:09 AM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2002

Functioning Madfolk

Functioning Madfolk

We've all got them - mad friends. They get through life okay, behave in many ways like ordinary people, but they're fundamentally just-a-bit-odd.

It gave me great pleasure to see two of my odder friends reunited this evening as a result of the disappearance of the girlfriend of one of them.

Who was an out-and-out nutter. It's nice to have perspective, isn't it?

Posted by Tom Dolan at 01:19 AM | Comments (0)

Don't take this the wrong way, okay?

Don't take this the wrong way, okay?

All I wanted was a way to link to various bits of cool media without all my cookie details etc being visible to all and sundry. In the process I've become an Amazon reseller. Which I'm not sure I'm entirely happy about.

In the unlikely event that anyone actually *buys* anything as a result of my recommendation, I promise to put my 0.00001p Amazon voucher towards something useful that you all might like, rather than any old tat.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 01:16 AM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2002

Good Lord...

Good Lord...

Erm, it's been a bit of an odd few days. New Mac ordered, house on market, risible offer hell, cancellations, car madness, wine tastings, hottest Thai food ever, mum's Eight Enormous Elephants being republished in paperback, commissioning of nearly all of my interactive TV projects. You'll pardon me if I'm not sure exactly where to start!

Posted by Tom Dolan at 12:04 AM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2002

Archive still not *quite* working.

Archive still not *quite* working.

Bugger. Now all the archive pages end in .js too. Sod it, it'll do until I give in and install Movable Type.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 11:11 PM | Comments (0)

Archive Working At Last Shocker

Archive Working At Last Shocker

It was a mime type conflict. Now it's picking up the external javascript from a file with a .js extension, everything is fine.

The nice folk at easyspace also told me how to get rid of the so-annoying-you'd-deliberately-not-buy-from-them floating banner and turn it into a lovely animated gif, so I'm dead happy.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 11:06 PM | Comments (0)

Fame...of sorts

Fame...of sorts

The band 'Hundred Reasons' appeared on Top Of The Pops last night, to much hilarity from those that know me.

Lead Singer of Hundred Reasons

Given I always wanted to be a pop star (and failed) I find it odd that my doppelganger has now made it. The missus tells me I'm a better loooking version though. I like biased people!

Posted by Tom Dolan at 10:58 PM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2002

Bad Day at Mac Rock

Bad Day at Mac Rock

It's obviously been a bad day for Powerbooks everywhere. Mine came back from the menders after its fight with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Unmendable.


Posted by Tom Dolan at 11:25 PM | Comments (0)

Your mileage may vary

Your mileage may vary

Completely sympathise with Vaughan's concerns about his writing quality. The same worries plague me, but I'm terrified that if I *stop* writing, then my traditional wall of stoniness will return forever. The missus has a phrase for this - "You've turned back into Silent Bob again!"

Can you fill an awkward silence in a one-sided conversation?

Posted by Tom Dolan at 07:45 AM | Comments (0)

Trembling bottom lip

Trembling bottom lip

It's completely unreasonable, and obviously I admit that, but whhhhhhy hasn't someone bought our house yet? I mean it's been in the estate agent's window for a whole two days. This isn't the London property market I heard about? When we bought it it didn't even get as far as the window! Every bit of my logic says this is fine and nothing to worry about, but other bits of me just want to lie on the floor and go Waaaaah!!!!

It's not healthy when you've already moved in your head. Your current home becomes a prison.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 07:38 AM | Comments (0)

Referrer logs...

Referrer logs...
I'm sure it's not healthy to know this much about what people are saying about you. But nonetheless, I sift through all the new incoming links, and just can't help myself but go and look...

Crazy Beautiful says some very nice things about this blog, and places me in some rather interesting company.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 07:33 AM | Comments (0)

Debussy? Bastard more like

Debussy? Bastard more like

I'm of the personal opinion that anyone who writes a bit of music with six flat signs is just plain showing off. Even the allegedly simple 'Girl with the flaxen hair' is nigh-on impossible for a playing-by-ear fool like me. And is there a single piece in the 'Childrens Corner' collection that could actually be played by a child?

I think he was taking the piss.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 07:24 AM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2002

Today is going to be a good day...

Today is going to be a good day... (Well yesterday in fact)

For the first time ever, I had a Monday that felt like a Friday.

That's what ringing up really scary highup people at indie TV companies does for you...or perhaps it was buying the flowers on the way home. Whatever, for some reason it felt like we'd already moved. And bizarrely, it didn't seem related to the fact that our house appeared in the estate agent's window today.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 12:32 AM | Comments (0)

More on MP3s

More on MP3s

I've been thinking about this a bit more. The whole iPod idea is still lovely, but I just don't want to listen to it on my own. So, in the new house, we're going to have a large chunk of server space given over to "the music", which you can get to from whichever room you happen to be in. Each room has an amp, speakers, ethernet connection and soundcarded PC with a cool bit of MP3 management software.

On that mythical day when I'm rich. Obviously.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 12:28 AM | Comments (0)

The archives

The archives

I feel vindicated. My hosting provider insists on sticking a wazzy banner on their pages as they serve them, but in the process it breaks the archive code. I've spend bloody ages trying to figure out what I broke...and the answer was "absolutely nothing". When it's all brought back to my machine, the sodding stuff works perfectly.

So while Vaughan has been having problems with his browser config, I've been having problems with my whole server config - or misconfig. Which I didn't get to choose. And have to spend another 40 quid or so to have "fixed". Or de-screwed, depending on your POV.

I'll keep you all posted on what the lovely folk say...

Posted by Tom Dolan at 12:24 AM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2002

Why I WON'T be buying an iPod

Why I WON'T be buying an iPod

Yes, shock horror among all those who know me, my musical obsession, and my love of cool tech from Apple.

Bizarrely, I've actually worked out that I have no interest in listening to music on my own while on the move. When I travel, I'm nearly always with someone I could/should be talking to. When I'm at work I can listen to music on the machine there. When I'm at home I've got a hifi in nearly every room.

For me, music is a social thing, and the iPod fundamentally isn't. Much as I love its funky styling, cool functionality, huge storage capacity - I can't justify 350 quid on a posh personal stereo when I don't even use the cassette or CD ones I've got. Kind of sad really.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 10:46 PM | Comments (0)

Pullman thoughts - No 1

Pullman thoughts - No 1

Last night I finished 'Northern Lights' - the first part of Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy. A book I thoroughly recommend. Agree with my ma that it's not *actually* a children's book, but can't see how it could have been published any other way. Contains some great ideas, and some truly brilliant characters - knocking a certain H Potter out flat. But it comes with a caveat...

Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you start the third part of the book ANY later than 9 in the evening.

I finished it at 3:30 this morning, after an unputdownable session, and boy am I feeling it.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 10:42 PM | Comments (0)

Which way madness lies...

Which way madness lies...

I've become increasingly convinced there's a trick I'm missing. Everyone else seems to have it sussed, so it's doubly infuriating that a smug git like me hasn't yet.

I want to work hard at work, and get things done. Not obscene amounts, but enough to feel I'm in control and achieving.

I want the time to spend with my other half; talking, cooking, having adventures, making plans.

I want a chance to spend some time exploring my creative side; getting some music written, spending a little worthwhile time on this blog and actually *say* some stuff, perhaps thinking about some stories I want to write.

I want to get to the bottom of the musical and computer gear I own, rather than flanneling on assumptions.

And a chance to read a book or two and have a decent night's sleep would be good too.

Now there are other sods out there already managing this already. And I want to know how the hell they do it!!!!

Because if I can't do it now, with every chance I've got to control my own destiny, how on earth will I manage to do any of the above when I finally have children to look after as well? on a postcode please.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 10:37 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2002

Philosophical Question

Philosophical Question

One of my members of staff said to me yesterday "In that meeting they kept referring to Blogs - what are they?"

This puts me in a bit of a tricky position. I don't want them to get to see this until they already understand the form and culture, because it contains far more information about my inner workings than I'd normally share with someone I have to lead. Unless they were sharing their inner workings too...

But then I'd never have got into this unless someone else (with potentially a lot to lose) had broken ranks and told me about his experiences.

I think my reluctant compromise will be to set them upon GBlogs, and if they start a blog of their own I'll show my head above the parapet.

A tricky one though. "I'm here to share, but only on equal terms?" Is that what we're about? Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)



One day, when I'm older and wiser, I'll be able to work out why the JavaScript for the archive in this template doesn't work.

It's kind of galling though, to realise that there was a time when I was younger and nimbler that I could have done it too.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 07:47 AM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2002

Stages in your life as a blogger - No 3

Stages in your life as a blogger - No 3

You suddenly get a really prominent or big link and start wondering whether you should begin writing 'for your new audience'.

Potentially alienating them forever in the process.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 12:37 PM | Comments (0)

Stages in your life as a blogger - No 2

Stages in your life as a blogger - No 2

By using some wierd combination of the keywords in the name of your blog, including one that you thought you'd made up, but it turns out someone else had also made up as well, you will find yourself in the first page of search results on google.

This is like being played on the John Peel show. You are famous, unknown, and surrounded by others destined for similar obscurity.

Heartened, you will search for your own name on google, and realise that you are still a nobody.

Deal with it.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 12:12 AM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2002

Stages in your life as a blogger - No 1

Stages in your life as a blogger - No 1

You will start to meet up with friends and tell them about your life, only to be told halfway through the first sentence "oh yes, of course, because you ended up buying that book anyway didn't you?"

Deprived of all the stories that punctuate and form the backbone of traditional conversation, you will reluctantly be compelled to form opinions instead.

Often on the fly.

Deal with it.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 11:23 PM | Comments (0)

May 07, 2002

More RFH

More RFH

Siren Suite - terrible.

Gentle People - a dire mimed PA, but made me interested in the music.

Looper - musically not great, but comedically brilliant. Wish a friend of mine had been involved. Think he'd have loved it. Shame there's 600 miles between them.

Cornelius - absolutely earthshatteringly gobsmackingly brilliant. And so, so, so, so LOUD. An ambient album at home somehow yields a heavy metal album on stage. Hope they issue all the visuals on DVD really soon.

And no arsey Jeff Mills fans in sight. Hooray.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 11:53 PM | Comments (1)




Must try more often.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 11:48 PM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2002

Little black and white sods - part two

Little black and white sods - part two

Those arsing magpies knew something...

Posted by Tom Dolan at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)

As one door opens, another one closes...

As one door opens, another one closes...

We had estate agents round on Friday. They came with infrared tape measures, information packs, and an army of improper uses of reflexive pronouns. ("And should you wish, one of my colleagues can discuss that with yourself.")

The long and the short of it is that our house is worth more than we thought. Um, and more than we hoped. We're free to move to the place we want to move to. Almost immediately if we so wish, because we don't have to save up 9K of stamp duty after all.

This, bizarrely, left me feeling absolutely numb. And emotionally shattered. I've been shoulder-charging my way through all this, not actually listening to anything my body or heart were telling me...for, in retrospect, about 18 months. Ever had that feeling that the tears are too big to come out? I think I'm about to go through a period where random moments of sentimentality will be the triggers for massive outpourings.

It seemed sensible (ha, there I go again!) to try and give all this some form of context, rather than just staring at a spreadsheet and saying 'blimey' for four days, so we went to go and look in estate agents windows in the place we've got our eye on. And in particular to look at the particular *house* we've got our eye on.

Which now has a sticker on it saying 'Sold'.

Not really sure what to think about this really - we may have been saved from the project house of doom, or perhaps a great opportunity. But in some ways I feel glad we aren't going to just go straight from not-knowing to already-bought without looking round first. Would feel a bit like marrying the first person you kissed. (Unfortunate in my case as it was a cat)

Two numbs don't make a right.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)

May 02, 2002

I was asked to pass this on, so...

I was asked to pass this on, so...

When Mark Shuttleworth (the very rich space tourist) returns from
space, everybody dress in Ape Suits.

Pass it on too...
Thanks Nat McBride

Posted by Tom Dolan at 02:50 PM | Comments (0)

Blimey, and less so

Blimey, and less so

Back from fabulous gig at Royal Festival Hall. Radioboy (Matthew Herbert), Super Collider, and Jeff Mills DJing and playing his version of Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis'.

Herbert was absolutely fabulous and I encourage you to hear some of the tracks at The Mechanics Of Destruction. The rest of the lineup - hmmmmmmmm.

More when I've had a chance to consider...

Posted by Tom Dolan at 12:39 AM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2002

Terrible, yet suprisingly subtle,

Terrible, yet suprisingly subtle, joke

Sean Connery has fallen on hard times. All work has dried up and he's just sat at home twiddling his thumbs. Suddenly the phone ring and Sean answers it. It's his agent and Sean gets very excited.

The agent says, "Sean, I've got a job for you. Starts tomorrow, but you've got to get there early, for 10ish."

Sean frowns and replies, "10ish? But I haven't even got a racket."

Posted by Tom Dolan at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)