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Wednesday 31 March 2004

Dentist Fun and Frolics [vagga]

Its no secret that people from these parts of the world are no great fans of going to the dentist. In fact I know more people that never go than I know people that go, no real reason behind it bar laziness I suppose. With that in mind my lazy arse has not been to a dentist in rather a long time, about 15 years in fact! I remember my last visit very clearly, I ate lots of sweets like most kids, I never brushed my teeth like lots of kids and my brothers and sisters seemed to be coming and going from dentists the whole time! So it was with much glee that I received the news from the dentist that I had perfect teeth and I should keep up the good work looking after them! I felt like a man who had just beaten a lie detector test! It was with that in mind that I resolved never to go to the dentist nor brush my teeth ever again!
Now, we all know life is not that easy. Eventually you realise that other people donÂ’t like you when you have breath that smells like a public portaloo late on Sunday at a 3-day music festival for people who like Guinness and curry! So I had no other choice but to start a simple teeth-cleaning regime that I have stuck to with the fierce determination that I stick to every fad that crosses my mind! What IÂ’m trying to say is that while I do clean my teeth, and wash with mouthwash I donÂ’t do it twice a day IÂ’m happy to just do it in the evening before I go to bed and I have been guilty down the years of missing the odd night, or even week in some cases! While I always knew it was a recipe for disaster, and that it would come back and haunt me in the end laziness won out.
Now this becomes even more bizarre by the fact that I work (literally) across the road from a fantastic, modern dental clinic (right beside where your brother works Karen!). I have walked by said modern clinic pretty much every day for something like the 2 years itÂ’s been open. I always look into the window to see whatÂ’s going on, and when IÂ’m on my mobile or thinking about something I stand at the window at my office and stare down at it. Yet I was never inside there, until this morning that is!
I had a late night last night, playing planeside for 4 hours, and then watching a few Series 2 Soprano episodes (swapped my West Wing boxes with one of the lads hereÂ’s Soprano boxes for a while!). So it was not till something like 11am when I got my arse into work, and on the spur of the moment I went onto the dental clinic and asked about making an appointment for a check-up. Now it turns out you donÂ’t even need to make an appointment for a check-up, which makes the last few years of inaction even worse. So I thought I better get into work and show my face and I can venture back there after lunch.
So I venture over there at 2pm this very afternoon. After filling out a pile of forms and paying the “your lazy dole/lazy student scum, therefore were taking advantage of you” charge of £35! Sit about for almost an hour and then the time comes. I really had no idea what to expect. Would I have to get 400,000 fillings? Would the dentist laugh at me and then get his dentist mates in to look at the paddy’s shit teeth!
So I get called into the dentist, and low and behold the dentist is the foxy chick from foxyville. I felt like Wayne from Wanes World when he sees that chick and “Foxy lady” starts playing in the background! She has a German accient, so when I’m down on the dentists chair, she’s like, “vou kun reeelaxxx” and I’m waiting for her to say, “vee ave vays of making vou talk” (Im thinking of the foxy chicks wearing leather and the cool guns in RtCW here) but I’m silly like that and maybe I’ve seen one to many world war 2 movies, and played a world war 2 game too many!
She asks me when I was last at the dentist, and who it was so she could get my records from him, and I tell her that I don’t actually have one and that in-fact I have never been to a dentist before (so I lied, I thought if I’m going have fun poked at me, I might as well make the most of it!). I swear she swayed on her 7” Stilettos for a second when I said that :)
So she started poking around inside my gob, and calling stuff out to her assistant. “Bottom left 1, left 2, left 3..” and I’m thinking “fuck, I don’t need work on every single one of my teeth do I?” Alas no, she was just confirming that I indeed had those teeth! So we get an X-Ray of my mouth and we return and she pokes about some more. You will all know I’m missing two teeth at the roof at the front; I was kind of interested if I could get something sorted out there, and after that I want a proper dentists “boxing” gum shield. They cost a bit, but protect your teeth and gums, and since I’ve been kicked I the mouth twice playing rugby this season, I don’t want to take a chance with the shitty cheap ones I have been using.
But then she says the words I really did not expect to hear. “vour teet are good” Now I’m the one swaying on my feet. She says my teeth are perfect and that I all she would say is that maybe I could get them bleached, and I said fuck that. She can give them a simple clean, I’m not paying £400 so people can see me coming from 2 miles away due to the bright teeth :)
I also have the tough choice between a free (NHS) bridge to fill the two gaps, that would need to be replaced every two years or a fake tooth that would be screwed into the roof of my mouth that would last forever at £2,000 per tooth. I um’d and aww’d and agonised over that one for all of 1 pico second :)
So thatÂ’s it right there, the lesson behind successful teeth is to totally ignore them! Thinking about it everyone I know who does the whole floss, brush, wash twice a day has shit teeth, and all the lazy people who ignore them have great teeth. I think there is a message there somewhere :)

Monday 29 March 2004

Teh future of telly [slim]

So I have sky+ now, and it rocks. Wifes just started watching the episode of changing rooms she recorded, before it finished recording. And I fast forwarded the adverts in corrie, at 32x! Lord above!
Rewinding is also something that didn't occur to me. You know when the wife farts through that really important bit? No problem, just wizz it back a few mins and watch teh fucker again. Seems its constantly recording everything you watch. It must be magic!
Anyway, they're sneaky fuckers, sky. What they don't tell you until the day the smelly scouse installers arrive is that you don't only need a duel lnb on your dish, you also need to run an additional cable back to your telly from the fucker. So it's a bit unsighlty if you've got those wall mounted or anything.
Still, its teh future!

Fantasy must read shortlist [slim]

The sci fi must read shortlist is prolly my fave blog of all time, I'm still working through the books featured in it, and have enjoyed most of them immensely. So I want to give some back. Here's my fantasy must read shortlist for those who like sweaty barbarians in leather as much as shiney space ships and lasers...

  • Lord Of the Rings - Naturally, a fantasy list wouldn't be complete without this, although I could probalby just leave it off and assume folks who like fantasy have read it. Better just include the Hobbit and Silmarilion here too please, ta.
  • Magician - Fiests Magician is simply awsome. Damn shame that he kind of lost it later on, you'd be excused for just reading Magician and nothing else. I gave up after the third riftwar book, are any of the later ones worth picking up on?
  • Elric - Morecock rocks. He also wrote fairly skinny books, so it's fab that the publisher released em all in huge omnibus editions featuring a whole series of books. Elric is by far Morecocks best, a dark and brooding anti-hero that genuinely surprises and shocks. Buy the Elric 'eternal champ' tome and be lost for weeks.
  • Discworld - Again, I'm cheating. There's too many to list, and they're too different to pick a fave. The earlier ones concentrate more on the world, the later ones on the characters. If you're going to start, start at the beginning with 'Colour of Magic'. There's not a stinker amoung em though, they're top.
  • chronicles of Thomas Covenant - A bit like magician where the first three books are classics, but the rest get a bit stinky. This is dark, self depreciating stuff but a good read all the same.
  • Dragonriders of Pern - The Pern books are some of my fave fantasy, and I love the way they have a smattering of Sci-Fi in there too, which comes as a bit of a surprise if you're not expecting it. A must if you're into dragons naturally. Quite tricky to read these in order though, as (like Fiest) she's written some pre-history later in the series.
  • Shinara - Yet again, a superb and classic first trilogy of books starting with 'Sword of Shinara' that decends into generic pap with the fourth and subsequent books. The first three are brilliant though, must read for epic quest lovers.

I'm sure I've missed some, I'll add more as I think of them. I'm also thinking my list is a bit mainstream, anyone got any more reccomendations?

Thursday 25 March 2004

Athena Sword [beej]

Okay, so I've had the game a week and installed it but not played it. Shows how good UT04 is init. But anyway, the blog.
You need to patch AS right, so you find your 'Athena Sword (UK) 1.0 -> 1.01' patch. You run it, and it tells you that you've gotta patch RS first. Oookay. So you dig up that patch, which fucking obviously is 'Raven Shield (UK) 1.54 -> 1.56'. Got that? So two days later, AS is patched again... so you find the UK-only patch (not the others! get it right!) to patch the game you've just bought, but you also need to patch RS again. That's a whole different file and another download.
So, our brave Gallic cousins, are making us find and leech two seperate downloads to patch two games! It's a fucking mod of RS - not a standalone game - but it has its own patches!
The French and their ilk just shouldn't be allowed to make games. That should be the law.

Sunday 21 March 2004

Mobile phones [billox]

For the last 16 months I've been using the superb Nokia 6310i, a tough, no frills handset with a 7 day standby time on it's standard battery with normal usage.
The problem was that I fucked the case up. Fag burns, impact damage and scratches didn't do it any favours. So I got an el cheapo case off of ebay and it turned out to be a turkey.
So I've been on the market for a new handset for a few months now. It seemed that everything on the market was a new fangled colour screen with polyphonic ringtone rubbish. The smartphones were too big, too expensive, bugged and lacked functionality they should have had. Even the Sony Ericsson T610 was underwhelming, they were all phones that did what my old phone did, but they weighed more, had colour screens and the batteries ran flat in a few days. Fuck that.
Then I found this.... - the Nokia 6600. It's basically an N-Gage in a decent case.
It has 10 days standby time, comes with a 32MB MMC card, support for up to 256MB ones and the Symbian series 60 OS. Good start.
Nice large 65,536 colour TFT screen, low weight and snappy performance.
The real killer application of this phone is the N-Gage games. Yup, almost 100% compatibility. They are about 8 megs each. Bluetooth and IR unfortunatly only support writing to the 6 megs of onboard memory by default, but there is a way round this. Fortunatly mine came with a free Belkin MMC card reader so I can directly shuffle games onto the card, install them and they come up as an icon in the main menu, no pulling the battery out to change games ala the N-Gage. W00t!
The keypad isn't designed for playing games like the N-Gage, but the keypad will take multiple simultaneous keypresses, and the specs that count... CPU, screen size and resolution are all identical.
And of course it has all the Java goodies like Opera, XHTML rendering, support for various email clients, MP3 players, Realplayer and all the normal Java games.
Currently looking at getting a GBA emulator working on it, at this point I'm not really sure weather or not its possible, but there is a thriving community so it will happen eventually.
A damn good buy, if you're in the market for a new phone go get, now!

Friday 19 March 2004

The 19th of March [lurks]

And what is so special about the 19th of March? Something that I just noticed as I was compiling the release dates list for PC games in my magazine. On the 19th of March, the following PC games are out;
  • Raven Shield Athena Sword
  • Unreal Tournament 2004
  • Battlefield: Vietnam

For fuck sake! Why do they do this? Three of the big five multiplayer games of 2005 out on the same fucking day!

Thursday 18 March 2004

Winamp and WAWI - share the music! [brit]

Just moved into a new office and one of the things we wanted to set up was an MP3 server; since past experience has taught me an absolute truth - put someone near a stereo and they think it's theirs and theirs alone...
So anyway, we rigged up Winamp on a nice clean Win2K box and grabbed the WAWI plugin from and bunged it on. It's absolutely brilliant; yes it's basic but it allows anyone with the login details to control the central Winamp player (and all the playlists etc) via a web interface.
I know a fair few of the EED guys have looked into various remote control set-top type hardware devices, but for a quick fix, this is just the ticket; and unlike so much these days works exactly as advertised and right out of the box.

Sunday 14 March 2004

New Servah [slim]

Moved the site onto a new server, and beejotech code references the absolute not relative paths, so some shit didn't work. Think I've got it all, but if theres shit thats broke, please bleet to me. ta!
Anyone wanna buy some hosting?

A few things [am]

As some of you know my Gran's been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the liver. I spent this weekend driving 600 miles or so to go and see her and spent five hours with her in the hospital.
Although I was there when Katie's mum died without warning aged 50, this is the first time I've had to experience someone whom I love deeply look the scythe swinging fella in the face. I'm late to that (unwanted) party and recognise how lucky I have been to have avoided it so far.
My gran's got the mind of a thirty year old and is the funniest person I know. She could make the crosshatch piss itself laughing without using a single swearword or blue joke and that she's still laughing along is an amazing thing in its own right. But it's all going to be over pretty soon.
Driving the three hundred miles home it's inevitable that you reflect. Quite a lot really. I wound up thinking as I said in a blog not the other day before I found this out, that if I found the same news tomorrow, I wouldn't be very satisfied looking at my own life. My problem and no-one elses. But boy has it brought it home that I need to sort it out.
So today, right here and now I am actually compiling that list of things you want to do before you curl up your jesus creepers (not that he's go anything to do with it). Yes the list of things to do before you die. And you know what? I'm going to fuckin do them. I'm not going to sit around and pretend I might someday, with a following wind, if it's not too inclement, get to them. I'm going to do it. So expect the list soon. In the meantime, since it's a common thing, life, before it gets too rare, you can post the things you want to do too. Blog you cunts!

Wednesday 10 March 2004

Mains Networking - is it the one [houmous]

Well we had a plan – and the plan was good. It just didn’t work that was all. The plan was wi-fi heaven – wandering on the beach doing my emails/trying to get sand out of the keyboard surrounded by scantily clad females unable to decide whether it was my stunning good looks, sparkling personality or IT prowess that made them admire me so much.
The reality as always was different. It started off well – sell existing second desktop PC – check. Buy Lurks laptop – check. conn onect up to wi-fi – errr Houston we have a problem (unless you, Houston that is, don’t go more than about 3 foot away). So, we buy a card aerial for the lappy. That takes it up to 6ft. So we buy a fuckoff internal booster aerial that is probably frying my brain as we speak. Now this did make it better but the truth is I've got a crap house for wi-fi coverage especially with the main set up in the lair bunker at the back.
I have also discovered that wi-fi has a mind of its own i.e. find precise position on the dining room table where you can get a signal. Do not move anything – within 30 mins for no reason whatsoever the signal will drop out and then for no reason whatsoever will drop in again. The only good thing about this is that it pisses everyone off in Mirc because you keep disconn oning and reconn oning all the time haha.
So last week I found these. I ordered 2. They arrive and I conn onect them - and they work! Well! You conn onect one to your router and plug the other one to the ethernet conn on your roaming device and plug it in to the nearest mains socket. ThatÂ’s it. A solid 10mbps conn on sweet as you like. The instructions recommend you only plug into a sockets direct and not extensions but itÂ’s worked on the extensions IÂ’ve tried so far, no problem.
Verdict? The man from Del Monte – he say yes!

Friday 5 March 2004

1984... [brit]

Sitting on the tube this morning, I ended up people / tunnel wall watching, since I'd forgotten to grab my current read from work on the way out. As people shuffled on and off, I was amazed to see the sheer number of fellow travellers clutching various books; 7 in 10 had a book of some description tucked under their arm or in hand.
Then an old boy gets on, sits down and pulls out a very battered and very yellowed copy of George Orwell's 1984. I remember thinking 'ah, a classic', and reflecting briefly on the absolute crap I generally plough through on my daily tube journeys. It did however get me to thinking; what makes a classic? What other truly classic books are there that everyone *should* read at least once; if not have a copy tucked away on their shelves at home?
The sad fact is, I can't for the life of me offer any suggestions of my own beyond perhaps Animal Farm and Death of a Travelling Salesman; and I fear both of those are more to do with the fact my A Level English Lit & English Lang exams were based on them... so long ago.

Why the office is better than the home [lurks]

I did a stint of working from home, quite a lot of it. It was novel for a bit, then it got boring and then began to do my head in and I got fat. By contrast, now I'm working in an office and it's about the best environment I've ever worked in. What we need is a case in point and as they say laughter is the best therapy, let me tell you of events which had the office in stitches today. Names have been changed to protect... err... me.
Bloke that sits next to me, Brian, says to the four of us blokes that sit in one place;

'Here, listen up. I was in Jenny's car yesterday and she says to me she wants a new car. Why, says I, this one is perfectly good. It's the CD player, she says. It keeps playing songs at random. The random bit twigged me, so I lean over and press the 'shuffle' button on the CD player.'

Now that's quite funny. So we're laughing a lot. Jenny comes into the floor and we're laughing about it, give her some stick and she calls us bastards and so on. I go upstairs to send a fax. I was about to tell Tom about the Jenny Incident but he's on the phone already and yells out RANDOM and begins laughing. Heh, news travels fast.
I send my fax. I recount the Jenny Incident to the ads team, who laugh their heads of of course and say 'bless' a lot. I go back downstairs. Jenny walks in, Brian grasses me up telling upstairs about it. Jenny is indignant. I grass Brian up telling Tom about it on the phone.
Jenny is redfaced and fuming. She yells out 'Fuck you all!' and Jim pipes up 'In order or random?'. Hahahaha!!!
Jenny has just sent out a company-wide email saying 'You stopped laughing yet...? Bastards.'
I've right clicked on my 'internal email' folder in The Bat, and added that as a quote on the bottom of my signature. Work can be fun.

Monday 1 March 2004

Retro eed merch pics [slim]

Folks new to eed might not realise that this is actually the fourth generation of eed webbage. The first site was slung together by Koz, and frankly sucked piss. The second one I did in frontpage, and also sucked piss. The third version was pretty damn leet in a retro clan black background cliche kind of way, but the source was sadly lost when it's original host wend down. I've been hunting around trying to find some of the gear off it. Lots of it's on the way back when machine but sadly the way the site was constructed meant all the images fall below its tolerence for collecting stuff. Bah! The news page is worth reading for a laugh though, it was constructed back when we were competative and stuff!
Anyways, I've actually managed to find a couple of pics in my photo archive. They're just the ones I took, I reacall Koz and Asam took some nice pics of babes at their places of work which are still sadly missing. Anyway, without further ado:
My wife Linda, five years ago (cor, we been around that long?) modelling EED cap, tee and mugs:

And from behind, with no pants on cor!:

Some lassy from work I roped into taking her top off and swapping it for an eed one. I had the touch boys, but now it's gone:

Need more! Anyone still got out?