Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Email and sundry communications probs.

This is just to let everyone know that I am having the devil's own job logging into EVERYTHING right now. I can read my evil email address, but for some reason it times out when I try to send anything. Also, I can't log into a couple of the messageboards where I post. Mine seems to be okay though.

Those of you waiting on tenterhooks for replies: better upholster those tenterhooks, guys.

Monday, June 28, 2004


Okay, so Im in Marseille, which is pretty cool. I'm in a caff with a keyboard that's Tunisian or summink: the layout is odd as anything and all the keys have to do for about 4 characters each. Iùs very frusrqting1;


Yesterday was great. we drove out to have lunch in Auberge, which was pricey but fantastic. There was a Smart Car convention going on so the place looked like a playpen for a giant toddler. It was seriously gorgeous out there. Took a few pix but I don't know if I'll be able to upload them before I get home.

Lurid is off doing some sort of math thing so I've been left to my own devices. Might take a boat out to the Chateau d'If or climb up the hill or something.

Friday, June 25, 2004


Things are looking increasingly shaky. The TEFL is the most recent "looking increasingly shaky" thing. Examining the timetables of all the TEFL places in Barcelona, I find that if I don't get on a course, like, NOW, I shall have to wait till August. If we are leaving sunny Spain, I shall need August to pack and generally sort stuff out, and therefore I may not fill August up with TEFLing. So I have to do the TEFL now, immediately, or not at all. Arrrgh. All is not yet lost, but all is looking a bit "had it here a minute ago, now where did I put it"-ish.

There is also the little matter of the interview process. I have a head start there because I am so articulate, so suave, so magnetically attractive that--oh hang on, that was in that dream I had on Wednesday, the one with the tiny pink bicycles and the singing carrots. But I remain upbeat and optimistic. Or at least, some of me does. The rest of me is looking on glumly, with jaundiced eye, folded arms and doing-that-thing-like-backwards-whistling-lips.

Upbeat, optimistic me: I can do it. It's just one little interview.
Rest of me: Suuuuuurrrre you can.
UOM: No, look, if I talk up the writing as evidence of my Love of Language--
ROM: Your writing is evidence of very little beyond a worrying fixation with headless sex robots and your deep desire to have a job with no co-workers.
UOM: Sure, but I won't tell them that. The interview is only 20 mins. I can fake being a people person for 20 mins.
ROM: You sure?
UOM: Yeppers.
ROM: Sure you're sure?
UOM: Sure I'm sure!
ROM: Twenty whole big fat 60-seconds-each minutes? Are you sure you can do it? Are you sure that, 17 mins. into the interview, you won't suddenly stand on the chair, only not really standing, more like crouching, poking the interviewer with a stick and going "VROOOOOOOOON!"?
UOM: Hey! That only happened once.
ROM: *Looks at UOM with tilty head and squinchy eyes*
UOM: *Stares at shoes, mumbles* Maybe twice. Anyway, I think it's a telephone interview.
ROM: It's your only hope.
UOM: Maybe I could teach some carrots to sing.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Fun fun fun in the sun sun sun.

Okay, so it looks like I've blagged a free holiday to the South of France. Nyyyah! Theremin circuit is going well except for bloody buggering bastarding filter grrr. Not going to buy parts till I get back from Fr. now anyways, tho' I may pop into town for a couple of 2300 millicandela LEDs.

Staying in Spain is now in doubt. I really thought we would be staying on, but things haven't quite gone according to plan, so we'll probably be back in the UK come autumn. Ho, hum. Think I may bite the bullet and squeeze in a quick TEFL before then; courses are a mite cheaper here, and entry requirments less harsh.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Just a few links I want to keep handy.

Theremin World
Maxie's pages: theremin tech articles
Thereminvox.com Technical Reference Links

The more I look at this the more do-able it seems. Most of the circuit design is stuff I've covered already; I need to brush up on filters, but I was going to do that anyway. This is cool. I get to combine two projects, the "sell stuff on eBay" project and the "revise electronics" project, into one. Idly toying with the idea of a small, battery powered toy-type model...
More pondering...

Selling stuff on eBay, part II.

Right. Stuff I could sell on eBay:

Theremins. Sure, some theremins go for plentymuch money, but there's theremins and there's theremins. There's ickle kiddy science-project type theremins, and then there's amazingly complicated theremins that have loads of whistles and bells. Now, one could buy in a few kits and build from those, but that requires a little outlay: most of the kits I've seen go for between 40 and 50 quid. Now, I've looked at the parts lists and frankly they're ripping the mick; most of them shouldn't cost more than 15. Which leaves building from scratch. However, before I rush out to the local electronic hobby shops, I need a circuit. All the circuit diagrams I have seen online seem to be copyrighted, so it's reasonably illegal (and dashed unsporting) to make and sell theremins constructed soley from those diagrams. I posess enough knowhow to do some reverse-engineering and thus create my own original circuit, but this will be time-consuming.

(A pared-down baby theremin with only pitch control and no volume is another possibility. I can design a Wein bridge oscillator without moving my brain; all I'd need to do is replace one of the variable capacitors with a suitable antenna. Then there's just the filter to get shot of any r.f. muck, bung on a speaker and away we go. Woudn't really be a musical instrument as such, but I bet half the people who buy these things don't want to play them. They just want to put them on the sideboard next to their Hulk lunchboxes and lava-lamps and go "look everyone, a theremin! WooIIIEEEooOOOoooIIIeeee!" The other advantage to this is that I already have most of the componants floating around somewhere, including a shedload of op-amps which I really ought to use up.)

Hacked torches that shine brighter than everyone else's torches so you get the best seat on the alien spacecraft and they let you sit up front instead of having to ride in the back and get probed and stuff: Still costing the parts. But if I decide to go for it, there's my sales pitch.

Other stuff with LEDs: Like, I dunno, wands and stuff. A wand with an LED on the end would rock.

Beadwork: Hmm. Not sure I'll get much interest. My stuff is nice, but is it supernice enough to attract a price which will compensate me for work, parts and postage? Maybe sell ensembles, that way I could charge more but incur lower overall shipping costs.

Dolls: Again, hmmm. Now, I like my dolls, I think they're cool, but when you get right down to it they're still just 20c Barbie knockoffs that I took a craft-knife to. Not sure how happy the Lucky Bidder is going to be with that. I certainly didn't sell any fly-pitching.

Other toys: Slightly higher-pitched hmmm. I'm quite good at making ugly little felt critters with pipe-cleaners inside. Now, you wouldn't think people would buy many ugly little felt critters with pipecleaners inside but it turns out that if you stick a lot of googly-eyes on them, and feathers, and maybe some porcupine quills or something, and give them a name and make up some stupid story about them, where they came from and everything, people will pay actual money for that. But only on the internet.

So, in conclusion: I need pipecleaners and super-bright LEDs.


I didn't make it to Sitges this weekend coz it pissed down, but I did see the new H*rry P*tt*r flick. Nice hippogriff.

Friday, June 18, 2004

I give up.

I'm going to make theremins and sell them on eBay. grant b. said I could.

Been thinking of seriously getting into selling stuff on eBay, really stupid stuff, shit nobody would ever want but giving it a backstory that will make people buy it. This is completely amoral, of course, but wotthehell. My only concern is that some lucky bidder might sober up to find ze's the proud posessor of an anomolous haunted fossil made from Pla-Doh and decide to come round and do me an injury. I should just do it. I have a huge wobbly bunch of ideas, and I should just do it.

Hey, look at this torch I saw in Nerdular Nerdance. (Actually I saw it on BoingBoing first but whatever.) They suggest three 2300-millicandela LEDs which might be all right if you had just a little penlight... or one of those keychain torches... and you were a complete and total WIMP. I mean, come on! You could get one of those heeeeeUUUUGE torches, the boxy kind with a handle on the top, and go to town. I bet you could get 150 2300-millicandela LEDs in the reflector of one of those! Aliens would be QUEUEING UP to abduct me if I had a torch with 150+ 2300-millicandela LEDs in the reflector. If I wasn't going to Sitges tomorrow I'd totally be shopping for 2300-millicandela LEDs. However, I feel I have been sadly neglecting my "slouching around on the beach doing fuckall" duties. My people need me.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Places which are not here.

Mmmmmm, Fafblog. It cheers me as the shadows close in, the Lack of Toast and Kettles* grips my heart in an icy claw of misery and the whiff of 23p a packet biscuits grows ever stronger in my general vicinity.

Yes, I realise there are other things to blog about besides my lack of work--wars, torture memos, conveniently dead former Presidents, ect--but I am Special and Important, and I have people to do these things.

*That might make a good picture, you know. Something like Ernst's Europe after the Rain**.

**One Rain. Just one. I am right about this. You are wrong.

Monday, June 14, 2004


Rejected! Rejected AGAIN! Well, not exactly rejected, but timed out on a couple of submissions ("after six weeks assume we've binned yr drivel and submit it elsewhere, loser.") And actually properly rejected by a youth hostel, via email.

This is just so unfair. You know what'll happen if I don't get a job soon? I'll start to smell of cheap biscuits, that's what! The unmistakable aroma of 23p a packet Nice will be foisted upon me by a cruel, uncaring fate.

On the upside, all this has done wonders for my Spanish comprehension. Think I might hit the Goth bars (goth bars goth bars goth bars) next, where my baldy head will attract less opprobrium. Doubt much will come of it; they either want huge scary muscly blokes who can deter trouble, or itty-bitty lil gothettes who can fit into a size ZERO of PVC dresses. I hate getting turned down for jobs on the grounds of insufficient Gothness. It hurts my feelings.

Edit: I worked out the other day that since coming here I must have handed out approximately 400 CVs, not counting other kinds of application like phone calls, emails ect. I have made roughly 50-60 story subs., of which 2 were purchased, netting me a grand total of £30.

Someone just shoot me, okay?

Tuesday, June 08, 2004


Did some more work on the red book. Odd, very odd... I was getting different layers of communication; first, the words and phrases the popped into my head, then what the pen wrote on the page. This beastie seems to have superglued the Caps Lock in place and has a blind spot for vowels.

It was nasty stuff, very ugly and threatening; precisely what I expected. But behind it, I got the sense of something small, weak, needy, like a kid. A mean, hungry, angry, messed-up vicious little kid, a kid who's ready to shiv you for glue money--but still and all, a kid. You know, it may be that my perception of this excercise has been all bassackwards. Maybe this isn't a binding at all. Maybe it's a rescue mission.

The guides warn caution, however, and I shall heed them. Could be that this persona is just another scam.

Felt good afterwards, tho'. Like when you've been feverish and the fever breaks, or when you pull out of a really nasty migrane, or when you've suffered through a particularly harsh period cramp and you get a breather. Wobbly but cleansed. This is something I need to do.

Had an excellent, and very cheap, weekend. Lurid's work organised a jaunt to Núria; it was heaven. Spent the day rampaging around in the mountains with my digicam (pix here). Came back with strained muscles and a sunburnt head but it was sooo worth it.

Saw loads of Nice Flowers, including gentians. Went ape over gentians because they were so ridiculously, unfiesibly blue. I mean, really blue. Think of a really blue thing, like the bluest blue thing you've ever seen in your life--that's just peanuts compared to gentians. Practically mauve, your blue thing is. Your blue thing is PWNED by GENTIANS. Also saw some marsh-marigolds which cheered me up no end, coz they're going a bit rare back home. And goats. I like goats. And I had a ride on the cable-cars.

Friday, June 04, 2004

More work.

Yes, I am obsessed with jobhunting right now. I am an obsessive person. ("No, rrrreally?" I hear you cry.)

I've put requests for magickal aid in this regard elsewhere, so I may as well throw off all pretence of shame and post one here. This has gone beyond a joke.

I know I should try to free my mind from this one tiny track, because I´m getting into serious Lust For Result(TM) territory. Trouble is, the longer this goes on the harder it is to put it from my thoughts and focus on other projects.

I feel like I'm being poked away from conventional employment, and have been thus poked for some time. Which is all well and good, but whatever is doing the poking (spooky perverts, fate, grotty little corners of my own mind, etc) has neglected to supply any hints as to what I should be doing instead. I feel like I´ve stepped off the cliff and now I'm haning in midair, waiting for my Acme Rocket Pack to kick in... or for the rabbit to hand me an anvil. Not falling; not flying. Just hanging around.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

"Nada para chicas."

That's what I got told yesterday, during my afternoon's temp agency bothering. What the...? What the hell do you mean, "Nothing for girls?" For one thing, I'm not a 'girl' anymore--I'm a grey-haired 30-year-old. For another... Goddammit, I have experience of "male" jobs, like street-sweeping, portering and light repairs. It's on my CV! It's on the form you made me fill in when I signed up! Unless a person's going to be carting iron girders around or something, it doesn't bloody matter. Stupid people. I hate temp agencies.

They stand between me and TOAST. They shall fall. I'm just going to turn up every other day until they give me a job out of sheer desperation.

Frikkin' frakkin' "Nothing for girls" grummble grumbler grrrr.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004


Nope, sorry, still haven't posted that entry. Why? I'll tell you why. I'm holding it HOSTAGE, that's why! Spooky green book people don't get blogged anymore until they either help me find a goddamn job or sell some of my stories or otherwise provide me with money! HAH!

(PS: no sneaky bumping off relatives so I get the insurance, oh the guilt, oh the irony. That gag's got whiskers on it.)

I'm kidding. I'll post the entry soon.

However, this is getting a bit ridiculous. I have now been sans gainful employment for over a year, and it's depressing me. There are things I would buy, like Photoshop and webspace and socks and a kettle and a toaster.

It's true. Not only do I have No Job, but I have no kettle. They don't like kettles in Spain, they all drink shedloads of coffee made in espresso pots. I have to use the metal jug thing for boiling up milk if I want a cup of tea; worse still, should I wish to make more than one mug of tea--say for myself and Mr Adjective Noun and any friends who may happen to drop by-- I needs must use the saucepan, which for some reason creates a nasty scummy foam on top of the tea. And not only do I have No Job and no kettle, I have no toaster. And since there's not a proper cooker in my flat, just a hot-plate, this means that I have no toast.


No. Toast.

Yes, that's right. Laugh. Go ahead! Mock my miserable toastless state. Make merry over the SHATTERED RUIN that is my non-heated-bread-product-having life. One day, I will show you all. I will get a job! And I will get a kettle and a toaster! And as God is my witness, I will never go toastless again!