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September 27, 2004

Bend and Stretch

Yesterday (and a bit of the day before) I cemented my dadly old-mandom.

I put up a door.

It used just about every single tool I owned, and quite a few that I didn't.
It also pulled just about every muscle I knew about, and quite a few I didn't.

But today, bruised and aching, I feel part of a special secret club. There is carpentry in my house that is mine and mine alone, and that works as though it was supposed to be there. Where I planed off that corner that stuck, and chiseled out the grooves for the hinges. Mwahahaha...

Shame I can't convince the cats to use their new catflap though - it's held open with masking tape and thereby negating the whole draught-stopping exercise.

(Two tips: 1. Immediately make yourself some little wedges to balance the door on, it makes the minute adjustments to get it to line up much easier. 2. You'll be amazed just how little blade needs to stick out of a plane, and how often you'll need to sharpen it. Particularly if you got a cheap one like me.)

Posted by Tom Dolan at 10:28 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 26, 2004


It was apparent that together we were an unstoppable force of righteousness against corporate double-think and that we would lead the nation's EastEnders and Doctor Who fans on a shining path to interactive nirvana.

Luckily other, less travelled, paths opened up.

Jamie pays tribute to the departing Martin Trickey.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 08:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 21, 2004


You know that old Radiohead video where the man is lying on the ground but won't tell anyone why. And then he does and the next shot is everyone lying on the ground around him? I warn you, this post will be like that.

In our house, we've discovered a new, scarily powerful meme. One that can block out all other thoughts, and will go round and round and round and round and round...Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. Your head just won't shake it off.

It's contagious too. Like Neal Stephenson's "speaking in tongues" virus from Snowcrash, it's compact and can be easily passed on from person to person. In just three easy syllables.

The classic of it's genre is of course..."Muhnah Muhnah" - the intro to the Muppets theme. But oh, that's small fry compared to this.

The muppets can of course be easily destroyed by - and Mr Jokl knows this well - the theme to Terry and June. Sounds easy, but there's that awkward semitone and it could be almost anything until the main tune comes in. So, powerful stuff, but hard to pass on.

So we come to the winner - no nasty semitones, no hard-to-imitate xylophone/oboe textures, just three simple cheek-flapping "bom" noises.

I'm talking, of course, about the opening notes to the theme from "Curb Your Enthusiasm".

No, surely not, you cry? It's the plinky piano tune and Tom-and-Jerry-style flute/bass drum fills where all the power lies!

All I ask is that you try it for yourself. If you dare. Shall I start you off?


(I did warn you...)

Posted by Tom Dolan at 10:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Stop the Script, I want to get off...

There are times when life feels like a movie. When it's exciting, dramatic, and you're up against huge challenges and you, yes - only you, are going to be the person to turn it round. Often in our work lives we are paid according to the level of movie-ness we can handle - how much of a superhero we have it in us to be from day to day.

That Mr McKee talks about this as the classical plot - he says the reason why so many people like The Standard Action Film Script (as opposed to 'art' films) is because we see ourselves in the mode of the characters. We move through life in linear time, acting against external factors (with a bit of internal conflict), and where we have control over our own destinies.

But very occassionally you have rumbles of things happening that could completely turn your life around. And not in a good way.

And then you have to remember *not* to want the story. That life *isn't* a movie. That you *don't* want the drama.

It's hard being dull at times. But necessary.

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

September 20, 2004

What I Did On My Vacation

The Staying-Alive site is now live in Simplified Chinese.

By comparison English was remarkably easy.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 02:12 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 03, 2004

Slow Multimedia

Even though most of my readers will undoubtedly have already heard about it from Yoz (don't have time to check you these days mate :-( ) news that the infocom 'HitchHikers' game - with original-tv-series-style graphics by Rod Lord - is coming to the radio 4 site has to be good.

(This blog has been pish recently. Sorry about that. Sadly blog spam handling means this homepage continually gets rebuilt and I knew trouble was afoot when 21 days wasn't enough to get a decent homepage any more. There will doubtless one day be time to relate at length much of the wisdom learnt the hard way in recent weeks.)

Posted by Tom Dolan at 08:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I'm Dead Cultured, Me.

The BBC Russian site has a link to 'learn english'. As I'm trying to learn Russian (as well as simplified chinese - I like making things easy for myself) at the moment I was faintly fascinated, but was fascinated by their Proverbs and sayings page.

Some of these I have heard of, and others are complete strangers to me...

"No flying from fate"?
"No fence against a flail"?

Posted by Tom Dolan at 04:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack