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Not Lovingfilm enough

 

Shoebox » Chuck & Beans.

So I unsubscribed from Lovefilm DVDs today.

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Boilers and the tyranny of "but it works"

So, our flat’s been out of heating for a week or so. Long term readers will remember our current boiler has never been the most logical of devices. About a year ago it entirely packed up, and various attempts to fix it by our Intrepid Plumber got us hot water but still no heating. For that December (2010), he came around about once every few days, spent a few hours trying a new possible solution to the continuing problem, replacing bits and pieces, fixing stuff with washers and duct tape, and generally roping the thing into some kind of order that would last long enough and be tickable as “Fixed” and to, importantly, enable us to not freeze. The pump got replaced, the control panel which I spent so much time blogging about was bypassed by a new digital interface, and it eventually all came back on, sometime in January last year.

Two weeks ago, when it failed again (when it was snowing, obviously), back came the Intrepid Plumber to fix and screw and replace bits and pieces of the boiler, saying how it needed to be flushed though, and got it back just about working having manually twiddled the filter.

Saturday it died again in exactly the same way. Intrepid Plumber wasn’t well, so our landlord’s agent sent a new company they hadn’t used before. New company took one look at it, listened to what happened when it was turned on (Thunk rattle rattle rattle, *thunk* rattle rattle, *thunk*, [pause], *PHWEEEEEEEEEEEE* as the steam safety valve does its best Ivor the Engine impression). And said, in effect, “Okay, that’s fucked. I’m going to call in for a new one” (By which point it was Wednesday, because the wheels of higher beings turn more slowly than for those without hot water). So, at quarter to eight on this Friday morning I’m waiting for the plumbers to arrive with the new boiler we probably needed a year ago.

(There’s a bit more complication, as our 17th storey status  means that installing a new boiler isn’t exactly trivial if they need to expand the flue, but they appear to have got around the original quote of needing to build scaffolding all the way.)

To drag this back to a relevant point, instead of waffling about boilers, the central problem was that once the dodgy boiler was “fixed” to the point where it provided hot water and heating, all the impetus to do anything further to shore up the system had faded away. My Landlord wasn’t massively willing to throw another few hours of Plumber time on something that was clearly working, and I wasn’t going to push them a lot further because I have better things to do during the working week than harrass my Landlord’s agents into fixing a working system.

Development suffers the same problem. Once a system is up and working, even if some of the ways that happened aren’t ideal, it’s quite hard to justify going back and risking breaking system for the somewhat arbitary goal of making it “better”. There will always be time to scale it, to refactor it, to reindex it, later. Tomorrow, perhaps.

Until eventually you’re sitting in a cold flat without having been able to have a shower for a week with a heater that might as well run by burning five pound notes.

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Our flat looking like a bomb site

While wandering around the net yesterday, I tripped over this video. This video is of a building being incompetantly demolished.

Coincidentally, it’s the tower next to the one I currently live in. It’s really quite weird to watch something that looks like your house being blown up.

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New Flat Adventures, Season Three Episode Three

There is a Very Loud Noise. Someone is driving a piledriver though your skull. There is a tribe of pigmy gnomes playing “Smooth Criminal” using your head as a xylophone. Good morning player, you have scored 0 out of a maximum 120 points for today.

> Look

It is dark. There is no light. There is a loud noise.

> Open eyes

It is not dark. There is too much light. Your eyes are pierced on the rays of the sun like vision-kebabs. There is a loud noise.

[Bedroom. From the bed]

You are in a very bright room, domainated by an unmade bed which you are laying on, and partially in. To your left is an ALARM CLOCK on a table.

> Turn off alarm clock

The ALARM CLOCK is not ringing.

> Up

[Bedroom]

You are in a very bright room, domainated by an unmade bed. On a table is an ALARM CLOCK. Beside the bed is a PILE OF CLOTHES. The PILE OF CLOTHES is making a loud noise.

> Pick up clothes

You are holding the CLOTHES

> Wear clothes

You are wearing the CLOTHES. You have: a set of KEYS, an IPHONE, a WALLET and NO TEA. The IPHONE is making a loud noise.

> Examine iPhone.

7th July: iSmash by scribbletaylor, on Flickr/a
7th July: iSmash by scribbletaylor, on Flickr

The IPHONE is alarming. These are the reasons it is alarming: (a) It is making a loud noise in order to awaken you. (b) There is a spiderweb crack centred halfway down the left hand side, stretching across the entire screen.

> Silence iPhone.

The IPHONE is now 50% less alarming.

In that the IPHONE is still BROKEN.

> Go to Carphone Warehouse

You are in a shop. There are laminate wooden floors, lots of technology, and a HELPFUL PERSON.

> Show iPhone to Helpful Person

“Am I supposed to be impressed?”

> Give give iPhone to Helpful Person

You give the HELPFUL PERSON the IPHONE.

The HELPFUL PERSON gives you a THREE WEEK TIMESCALE TO GET YOUR PHONE FIXED and YOUR SIM.

You have YOUR SIM. NO IPHONE, NO TEA and DISAPPOINTMENT.

> Wait

Time passes. The Helpful Person gives you a replacement PHONE.

> Examine phone

It’s got fifteen buttons, a small screen, and is brown and beige. It is not an IPHONE.

> 🙁

Well, you shouldn’t have broken it then.

> Wait.

Time passes. The Helpful Person sits down and sings about gold.

> Wait for three weeks.

Time passes slowly without an iPhone. The colour is removed from your world. You have no games to play, no internet to muck around on, even twitter loses its shine. Your world is a drab place, you are looking at your shoes. What do you do?

> I press the button again.

No! Forget about the button, you are looking at your shoes.

> I buy a new pair of… hang on, this is the wrong sketch. Also, I’ve borrowed an N95 from Ciaran, so I do have internet and twitter.

You have NO IPHONE.

> Noted.

The HELPFUL PERSON gives you a replacement iPhone.

> Install Sim

You install the Sim. You have an iPhone again.

> Turn on iPhone, listen to music.

The IPHONE won’t work until you connect it to ITUNES.

> How long until I can go home?

FIVE HOURS.

> Wait

You wait.

Time passes.

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Citylink are not useful to me

(I’ve maintained escaped quotes from the email, because I think this is funny)

Dear Nicholas Avenell,

Many thanks for using our website for your customer service query. We are currently replying to all queries within 2 business days, please bear with us while we process your query.

A new eNote, number 1081442, has been raised, which reads:

Citylink have been foiled by a gate with an intercom on the pillar.

They’ve tried to deliver this three times in four days, each time have “left a card”, which I’ve never recieved. Collecting from their depot will take five hours I don’t have.

Since delivering things to my office means I have to lug it home manually on the bus, I can no longer order anything of any great size from you until you stop using Citylink, or at least provide a paid option to use someone else instead.

I’ve lived in places with a good Citylink service. I’ve had a good service from you for the last eight and half years, but your continued use of Citylink without another option is now a major factor against you. I was relying on the delivery of the hard drive over the weekend, and ended up having to spend 33% more for the same model at somewhere within walking distance.

You’ll be receiving the order contents back as soon as Citylink stop holding it for a collection I’ll never make.

You can view this eNote via our website here :
http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/enotes2/index.html?action=[REDACTED]

Regards,
eBuyer.com

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New Flat Adventures Season Two, Episode Two

There’s a cut-scene as a week passes, and we’re on the Saturday after we’ve moved in. I’ve skipped over some puzzles, like "planning how to get to work", "how to get all the books on the bookshelves" (which is a substandard tetris-ripoff of a minigame at most), and "How to cook bolognaise when only one hob gets hot enough to boil or fry anything", but yesterday, this happened.

Current inventory: Nothing.

A credit card has been delivered to the MAILBOX in the hallway, but the MAILBOX KEY is mising.

> Go to MAILBOX

You are in a hallway. There is a redundant array of inexpensive MAILBOXEN in front of you. They are all blue. They are numbered with a selection of the possible numbers from one hundred to one thousand nine hundred and four. They are all locked.

> Examine box 1704

It’s blue. You can see a NEWSPAPER inside.

> Talk to PORTER.

You see no PORTER. There is a SUBSTITUTE PORTER here.

> Talk to SUBSTITUTE PORTER about MAILBOX.

SUBSTITUTE PORTER has no mailbox key. SUBSTITUTE PORTER is APOLOGETIC. SUBSTITUTE PORTER gives you MAILBOX SKELETON KEY.

> Thank porter. Take key.

There is no PORTER here.

> Thank substitute porter. Take key.

SUBSITITUTE PORTER thanked, you have a MAILBOX SKELETON KEY.

> Open mailbox with key.

Opening MAILBOX 1704 with MAILBOX SKELETON KEY. That doesn’t work.

> What?

That doesn’t work.

> Return Key

You give the MAILBOX SKELETON KEY back to the SUBSITITUTE PORTER. SUBSTITUTE PORTER is APOLOGETIC.

> Examine Mailbox.

It’s blue. You can see a NEWSPAPER inside.

> Examine Mailbox slot.

Your fingers will just about fit inside.

> pick up NEWSPAPER.

There is no need to shout. You have a copy of Hackney Today.

> Examine MAILBOX

It’s blue. You can see a PIZZA LEAFLET inside.

> Pick up leaflet.

You have a NEWSPAPER and a PIZZA LEAFLET.

> Examine Mailbox

It is blue. You can see a ENVELOPE inside.

> Pick up Envelope.

You cannot get a grip.

> Up.

You are in your flat.

> Drop mail.

You have nothing.

> Look.

You see a PIZZA LEAFLET, a NEWSPAPER and nothing useful. A spark of INSPIRATION floats by.

> Get inspiration.

Taken.

> Look

You see a SPATULA and some other stuff.

> Take tongs and spatula.

You have a SPATULA.

> Down

You are in a hallway. There is a redundant array of inexpensive MAILBOXEN in front of you. They are all blue. They are numbered with a selection of the possible numbers from one hundred to one thousand nine hundred and four. They are all locked.

> Use spatula on mailbox.

After a short amount of time, you have an ENVELOPE for someone else, and an ADVERT for european style hair styling and waxing from as shop called "Ibiza" down the road.

> Examine Mailbox

It is blue. You can see a LARGE FLAT ENVELOPE inside.

> Take Large Envelope

You can’t get a grip with the SPATULA either.

> Up.

You are in your flat.

> Drop Mail

You have a SPATULA.

> Look

You can see some mail, a roll of STICKYBACK PLASTIC, some STRING and a PAPERCLIP.

> Pick up sellotape and string and paperclip.

You have a SPATULA, a roll of STICKYBACK PLASTIC, some STRING and a PAPERCLIP.

> Examine Sellotape

It’s a roll of STICKYBACK PLASTIC.

> Examine Sellotape

It’s a roll of STICKYBACK PLASTIC.

> Examine Sellotape

You can’t make me, you know. I *like* calling it STICKYBACK PLASTIC.

> Noted.

Good. Next?

> Down

You are in a hallway. There is a redundant array of inexpensive MAILBOXEN in front of you. They are all blue. They are numbered with a selection of the possible numbers from one hundred to one thousand nine hundred and four. They are all locked.

> Use sellotape and string on spatula.

Done. You now have a MACGYVERIAN DEVICE instead of a SPATULA. There is a PORTER here.

> Use device on Mailbox.

Before you do so, the PORTER hands you a MAILBOX KEY.

> Use Key on Mailbox.

You do so. There is an ANTICLIMAX here.

> Take ANTICLIMAX

You have a MACGYVERIAN DEVICE, a roll of STICKYBACK PLASTIC, a PAPERCLIP, some STRING,

and an ANTICLIMAX.

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New Flat Adventures Season Two, Episode One

(Cross-posted from another place, because someone asked me why I wasn’t putting them here, and I have no good reason)

Last time I got a new flat, I flooded the floor and roasted the manual to the new oven.

This time, nothing in the flat is new.

And this time, I have an Easy To Use Boiler.

It has no instructions or labels. It has icons.

It has:

  • A dial of the numbers one to twenty four, with pegs around it in the state of Up or Down.
  • A rotary dial with an icon of a square wave.
  • A rotary dial with an icon of a set of ineffective staple removers.
  • A three state dial with the following possible values: Snowflake, Null, Lightbulb.
  • An icon of a crossed out flame, next to a red light, which is off.
  • A button.
  • An Exciting Rotary Monitor with a black line and and a red line, with the scale in degrees centigrade, in black.

In the state when I arrived, all the dials around the clock are in state Down, square wave is all the way left, staple removers are somewhere in a middle, and we are in state lightbulb. There is no hot water.

Also, I’ve been moving boxes for two days, I need a shower. So. I recognise this, for I’ve played graphic adventures before. This is a Puzzle.

Now, I’ve solved part one of the puzzle, which was that the two rotary dials only have one actual turny-thing between them, and I had to repair the other broken turny-thing with bluetac (acquired as part of a previous puzzle). Traditionally, I should work out what they symbols represent, realise the connection between them, and set the machine to the perfect settings so the hot water happens and I can move into the next location.

Right. Experimentation time.

In state lightbulb, changing the state the pegs around the current time appears to do nothing, as does moving the square wave dial. Nothing I do changes the Exciting Rotary Dial.

Okay, trying with state Null. Still nothing. Must be on the wrong track. The solution is hot water, so let’s try…

So, moving to state Snowflake gives me hot water, so long as the current time pegs are down and the ineffective staple remover level is high. Mucking around with the staple remover settings gives me tepid water.

This is, obviously, a machine for the apocalypse. Lightbulb obviously represents the gods of Knowledge, whose effectiveness is – by the state of the world – currently very weak. Therefore the machine is obviously a torture device, set to cause pain and suffering to those it is pointed at.

The gods of Knowledge are weak to high pitched noises, so playing with the square wave makes their life worse, but it’s hard to know what happens when you torture a god of knowledge, so nothing appears to happen.

The snowflake setting represents the ice gods, trapped in whatever dimension this thing points at. The only way to damage them is with staple removers, which – having been invented after they were incarcerated – is the only thing they have not made themselves unharmable by. Torturing an ice god releases heat – this is thermodynamics – and applying more staple removers creates more heat.

Thus, the torture of immortal beings provides my nice hot shower.

I was hoping for a cut scene, but instead I was thrown straight into another puzzle involving shower controlled by a mixer tap.

Sometimes I wonder why I play these games at all.

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Flatpacked

So, House number 11 has been moved into.

Yesterday, I, my girlfriend Fyr, Her parents, My parents and David McBride all decended on my old flat in Leyton to remove its entire contents.

Keldaby, as the flat was known, was a nice flat. It had nice rooms, in a nice area, with fields around it and bus links to the centre. Its two main faults were that people kept dumping stuff outside, which I could live with, and that it was in no way big enough for both me anFyr to live there, and so we no longer do.

The new flat, which is currently unnamed, has these properties:

  • It’s 17 floors up.
  • From the balcony I can see the new olympic statium being built
  • as well as Canary Wharf, The Dome and the London Eye.
  • It has room!
  • It’s currently ENTIRELY COVERED IN BOXES.

I’m not sure how I filled a large 2 bedroom flat with the contents of a small 1 bedroom one, but it is apparently true.