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December 31, 2002

*Fairly* perfect timing

So the washing machine did at least wait until everyone had left us after Christmas before it packed up. It would have been a bit more ideal if it had also waited till we'd washed the carnage left by having four different sets of people to stay but hey-ho...

(God, how horribly domestic. Must try to be more profound in future)

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December 28, 2002

Dramatic Irony

While listening to the lemon jelly album for the 840th time today, I couldn't help but remark to the missus that all this joy, coupled with their use of guitars, might mean that they could be the people who did [my favourite track I don't know the name of, but keep watching the tail end of the last episode of Spaced to listen to].

"Well, you never know", remarked she. "Why don't you go and have a look online?"

And I did - going through the site in detail, listening to all of the music clips...and there it was.

'The Staunton Lick' - possibly the happiest and most wonderful piece of music ever created.

It's holding your loved one. It's a pint in the country when you should be at work. It's turning on the christmas lights. A kiss. A tear held in, but only just. The knowledge that it's all going to be all right. That people love you. That it's not just you. And that the world carries on spinning and we'll all muddle through to find a happiness and joy that's uniquely shaped just for us.

Um, I suggest you track it down. And when you've checked what I've said, why not actually buy it?

Posted by Tom Dolan at 02:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mac butterfingers

Sitting on my living room floor is a Mac 7600/120. It's got composite video in, SVHS out and has been upgraded with an ultrawide scsi card. Old, but usable and lovely.

Sadly it's passing through. Despite my best efforts. Its going up north so my pa can learn more about how macs work firsthand. A noble cause. I guess.

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Wheeee! - first coda.

Showed 'Griffin and Sabine' to my dad today. He let out a vocal 'whoaaaa' at the last page and then started laughing at the cleverness of it.

Why is this book no longer readily available in the UK. What's the matter with us?

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December 27, 2002

Vital Signs

A Mutual Misunderstanding seems to be twitching in that hmmm-might-start-posting-regularly-again-soon kind of way.

A good thing.

Though obviously I'm in no position to comment. Just to emotionally blackmail. :-)

Posted by Tom Dolan at 11:54 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Long and winding slide - wheeeee!!!!!

Christmas is a time for giving gifts and seeing the joy in the faces of others. And this has been a real year for that. But it's also been one that's had a few rather wonderful ripples in my own life.

Thing One: Griffin and Sabine
I was finally given the first book in Nick Bantock's wonderful series of Griffin and Sabine books. As a regular at a lot of new media gatherings I've repeatedly seen a demo of 'Ceremony of Innocence' - the RealWorld CD-ROM of the books, and while I was never that fussed about the CD-ROM, I fell utterly in love with the artwork.
When the book arrived in my lap I found myself turning it over as a respected precious object - there's just something about the format, binding and cover art that means you can't help it.
And then you start reading. And studying the beautiful artwork.
And you finally get to your first letter.
Reaching into the little envelopes feels like an almost violating act - and the sensuousness of the writing gives it an electric, erotic, exciting charge.
I had to ration myself - it felt too much to read the whole book in one go.
And, like the daemons in Philip Pullman's 'Dark Materials' trilogy, you accept the fundamental mystical construct of the books and trust in it.
By the time I came to the last page I was on the edge of my seat...and actually said 'No!!!!' out loud.

Suffice to say, the remainder of the series are now on order from amazon in America.

If you've got any sense you'll get them too!

Thing Two - Lemon Jelly - Lost Horizons
What an album of joy! You know the way that you can put an album by Radiohead or Dot Allison (or even Natalie Imbruglia) on in the background, and - even at almost subliminal volumes - it'll slowly drag the mood in the room down till you're wondering why you bother with anything at all. Until you realise it's because you've got that bloody fab-but-so-effing-maudlin album on again.
This is the opposite.
It's like having a lovely great hug. The world seems a lovely place just by its very existence. Yes, even more so than Royksopp.

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December 25, 2002

Obvious, but...

Happy Christmas, everyone.

(In 72 hours, a tidal wave of planning and stress will have subsided and normal live can be resumed once more)

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December 19, 2002

Real Xmas No 1

Having heard at least one of the slightly-generic songs from 'Popstars the rivals' (I think I've heard the other but I'm not sure) I can quite relate to FridayThing's Campaign For A Real Christmas Number One.

Cheeky Girls is everything a crap Xmas No1 should be. You either want something fabulous, or utter cheese.

Cheeky Girls is a prime example of the latter. It's instinctively there. You know, like that moment when you first heard the 'Mr Blobby' single and just *knew* it was going to hit no1.

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

Tips for Teenagers

When watching Channel 4 rudies turn the volume to zero, put on Ceefax subtitles, and set the colour to black and white... your parents will think you are watching a French art house film and actually encourage your viewing habits.

(From wonderful budding comedy writer, and erstwhile Weakest Link questionwriter Steve Saul. Who should have a blog)

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

Tips for Teenagers

When watching Channel 4 rudies turn the volume to zero, put on Ceefax subtitles, and set the colour to black and white... your parents will think you are watching a French art house film and actually encourage your viewing habits.

(From wonderful budding comedy writer, and erstwhile Weakest Link questionwriter Steve Saul. Who should have a blog)

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

December 12, 2002

It's not Cal, but it's not bad...

I have to admit I'm rather fond of the pub crawl generator on

Shame the site doesn't break down pubs by postcode or anything - the search is a little weak - but giving users the ability to rate pubs is good.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 04:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Good Lord

I'm back at work. Not a job, so don't get excited, but I'm going into an office, and have a bit of a purpose. People are starting to look after me, and give me things to do. I'm talking to people again, rather than shouting at a blank wall...

It's lovely.

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December 10, 2002


Watching Jamie's Kitchen this evening, and I can't stop involuntarily crying. I've even had to pause so I can regain some composure.

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December 05, 2002

You'll never get that time back, you know

I can't believe I'm sitting here waiting to see if the TiVo is about to automatically change channels to record Last Of The Summer Wine. Only so I can tell it that I don't want to watch it. Ah well.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 01:44 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Beware No2: iPod

If you've got an Apple iPod and your smart playlists either don't work, or have stopped working, it may well be because the clock's reset itself.

Unlike clock radios from the early 80s, the time on an iPod doesn't start at 12:00 AM on 1/1/02 the moment it reboots. The system decides it will stay having *no* time until it's set, so all your syncing will be for nowt.

Put your time in the clock, and suddenly things you've listened to in the last month will stop dropping out of time-based smart playlists, just like they were supposed to!

Posted by Tom Dolan at 02:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Beware No1: Tivo

If you happen to buy yourself a lovely TiVo, or in my case get bought one as a fab Xmas pressie, it's worth knowing that

1) you can't use it for at least 4 hours after you get it out of the box. It's got to download and index all that metadata for a week.
2) only say your package contains channels you'd consider watching stuff from. Otherwise it's yet more data to download and index.
3) If you're on NTL, in a former Cable&Wireless area, with a Pace 4000 box - good luck. The channel switching doesn't work properly yet. Boo.
4) Have a really good look at the totally top and search out the UK section.

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December 04, 2002

Soooooo cute

I know I shouldn't, but the BBCi Nature Kitten Webcam is just gorgeous.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 11:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Okay, so a lot of other people have done a lot of really fab work on it since, but Thunder Road, the BBC's first interactive TV drama, was originally my idea.

Tune in to BBC4 to see the full version on Thursday night, or have a play with the broadband-styled version of the iTV app on BBC Four's site.

If they had blogs I would link to Gabriel Gilson and Nick Copus. They did the hard work of making the thing real while I sat back and criticised their UI in an executive kind of way.

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Hurry Up Colin!

Still waiting for Colskee to report on the iPod DJ deathmatch party thing he went to.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 08:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Face of Adversity

Inspired by Euan's favourite radio station, I thought I'd finally track down a widget to put my iTunes tracks into my blog.

Step forward TuneCam-O-Mat...

Hopefully this will reveal me as someone you listens to lots of cutting edge groovy stuff, rather than a grandad who wallows in Yes and Duran Duran.

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