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» How nerdy are you?

Time To Grow Up And Get Married
I could bore you all with thrilling tails of BBC Micro programming, mobile phone USSD commands, obscure Mornington Crescent rules - but I won't. I'll tell you a tale of a small, frightened little nerd...

I was about 3 years old and had been asked to be a page boy at my cousins wedding.
I was under strict instruction that my job was to protect the bride! Under no circumstances was she to come to any harm.

Now we all know that 3 year old boys are prone to wander off, to giggle, to start crying for no particular attention. That's just what kids do.

Not me. I stood straight, I didn't make a peep, I discharged my duty admirably. I protected that bride with all my might.

My parents, quite surprised, asked why I had behaved so well.

I pointed at the vicar - he was dressed in black. Head to toe. I pointed and said...

"DARTH VADER!"

Something in my tiny, fragile mind convinced me that this bride - in white - was Princess Leia and this old guy - in black - was the Dark Lord of the Sith himself. I, as a wannabe Jedi, summoned all the powers of The Force to protect her.

Skip forward some 25 years....

~~~~~~~~ <- Wavey Dream Lines to indicate passage of time....

Despite being a grade A nerd. I found a woman who loved me. She loved me no matter how many times I tried to switch her PC to Linux. She loved me even when I bought a TARDIS to hold our DVDs. She loved me when I bought old computers home from work so I could play with them.

I asked her to marry me! She said yes!

She even loved me when I suggested a Sci-Fi themed wedding....

I conquered the fear I felt as a three-year-old.

I got married dressed as Darth Vader.



From L-R
My Mother - Doctor Who
My Father-in-law - Obi Wan (he already had the beard)
My Wife - Jedi
Me - Darth Vader
My Mother-in-law - Professor McGonnagle
My Father - Ming the Merciless
My Brother - Londo Mollari.

Nerdiness runs in my blood. I have it, my parents have it.... My wife has it.

MTFBWY, SMAKIBBFB.

(If you're desperate for more - read the article and watch the video or see me misquoted in The Mirror and ridiculed in Romanian.)
(Fri 7th Mar 2008, 13:31, More)

» Funerals II

Only Sleeping
My grandfather died. The funeral was a solemn affair, as these things usually are. My grandmother, naturally, was distraught. They'd married during the war, he'd been captured and sent to a POW camp, they then spent over fifty blissful years together.

We were chatting about my grandfather with her - laughing, crying, reminiscing - when entirely out of the blue she said, "One thing I won't miss is sleeping next to him. He always rolled over and nearly pushed me out of bed!"

A few years later she died as well. It's hard to carry on when the life you knew for half-a-century has been ripped apart.

As per her wishes, she was to be buried next to her husband. We dutifully trudged down to the cemetery, held a small ceremony, and escorted her body to the grave.

The double-headstone had already been half-filled with my grandfather's details. Underneath the blank half, a six-foot deep hole lay waiting. We slowly lowered my grandmother's coffin in.

It didn't fit.

There wasn't enough room in the grave for the bloody coffin! Despite being dug on the correct side of the grave, somehow my grandfather's coffin had conspired to shift under the earth and encroached on my grandmother's side.

The mourning party excused ourselves from the graveside while "adjustments" were made. All of us giggling about how granddad had rolled over in his sleep again.

Well, it was preferable to thinking the gravediggers were too stupid to dig a correctly sized hole in the ground!
(Fri 12th Apr 2013, 9:20, More)

» The Meaning Of Giff

Woking
The feeling that you've fundamentally misunderstood an important social issue of the day.

"I'm complely Woking over whether vegans should buy crying children ice cream."
(Mon 30th Apr 2018, 15:37, More)

» Get Rich Quick

Stoozing - make money on credit cards
I've had a quick flick through and couldn't see this mentioned before. I was planning on writing an e-book and selling it on ebay for a fiver - but I'll give you the gist of it for free.

This is really *REALLY* simple.

1) Find a credit card which has a long interest-free balance transfer offer,
2) Transfer the balance into an ISA (or any other high interest account),
3) Meet the minimum payments for the interest-free period,
4) Pay back the balance transfer,
5) Profit.

...and now the story...

A few weeks ago I was sat, on a Sunday morning, in bed with my laptop. I was applying for an "Egg" credit card. The deal was 12 months interest free credit.

I plugged in all my details and waited for the computer to say "no".

It didn't say no. It said "£8,600".

Eight Thousand and Six Hundred Pounds.

They were going to give me over EIGHT GRAND interest free for a year. All I had to do was stick it in a high interest account and not touch it for a year.

On a fairly standard ISA at 5%, that's a profit of £430. Not bad.

When offset against my mortgage, a profit of nearly £600 tax free.

It literally took me 10 minutes to apply for the card, 5 to set up the transfer, 5 to move it to my high interest account and another 5 to set up the repayment direct debit. 30 seconds to set a reminder on my phone for a year's time to pay off the balance.

£600 for an hour's work. Sat in my dressing gown. I hadn't even had breakfast.

Rinse, repeat. Find special card offers, anniversary deals, store cards, any way you can to borrow money for free.

To be fair, you need a reasonable credit rating. You also need to be aware that there aren't loads of these deals about.

Currently I've got a few credit cards and a couple store cards on the go. I've borrowed ~£22,000 interest free in total.

Over a year, that's a profit of about £1,500. Assuming you're using an ISA or offset mortgage, that's tax free cash in your hand. Don't be afraid to haggle with your credit card provider - ask for more money and a longer interest free period. A refusal may offend - but an acceptance gets you more free money.

Not enough to retire, but enough for a good holiday, nice TV, odd bottle of champagne and I get to stick two fingers up to the credit card industry.

BIG FAT WARNING
You need to be obsessive over your minimum repayments. If you miss even one, your 0% interest goes to 22% and all your profits are wiped out.

Use a spreadsheet, calendar, direct debits, etc. If you do it right, it's effortless cash.
(Tue 5th Aug 2008, 12:58, More)

» Best Films Ever

Best films *you've* never seen.
I'm guessing that these films are (undeservedly) obscure - so get over to Amazon or your favourite Bit Torrent site....

*edit to put some context to them*

1) Zero Patients. This a Canadian musical all about AIDS. Yup. A cheery sing song all about teh bad AIDS. It even features a singing arse hole. It's actually a really good look about trying to determine the origin of AIDS in the US.

I saw this during my (brief) stint as a film studies student at Carleton Uni in Canada. I'd taken film studies as a bit of a doss subject - as had many people. I was sat with guys who were making the predictable "Urgh! Gays!" noises at the start of the film yet, by the end, they were in awe of the spectacle that had played out in front of us.

The film is outrageous and fabulous and terrifying.

2) The Story of the Weeping Camel. A Mongolian "documentary" all about a group of nomads who breed camels. On of them (the camels, not the Mongolians) gives birth to an albino calf which it rejects. It then falls to the two young boys of the family to go to the nearest town to hire a man to help get the camels back together. It's the most unexpectedly lovely film you'll see.

The cinema in our little town only showed art flicks, so it was always touch and go whether that week's film would be worthwhile. Something about the name drew me to the film. I didn't know anything about it - imdb didn't (and still doesn't) have much info on it. I'll be honest, as much as I like subtitles listening to Mongolian very nearly sent me spinning for the exit. But I'm so glad I persevered. It is, in turn, a documentary, a road movie, a look at obscure culture and the tale of how you make a mother fall in love with its child.

3) The Strawberry Statement. A film all about 1960s radical students at Berkley. It's got an amazing sound track and a fantastic look at young radicalism.

I caught the second half of this on late night TV about 15 years ago. I hate coming in to a movie halfway through. Somehow I couldn't flick away. The cinematography and soundtrack just held me. I didn't even know the name until a few years later when I saw *most* of the fist half. I spent ages trying to track down a DVD (they don't exist) or a VHS (only on US eBay for exorbitant prices) or a torrent (only spam). Eventually, a wishlist on my TiVo caught it being shown on ITV7+1 or somesuch. I was almost afraid to watch it - would the whole movie live up my memories of seeing it in parts?

Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes! The movie is a triumph.

If you don't like any of those, you don't like movies.

The worst film I've seen recently was "Destricted". It was passed as a regular 18 by the BBFC despite containing "Strong Real Sex". Wahey, I thought, arty porn! Nope the film is, literally, a load of wank. There is some very good art - and very good "art" - but this is not it. Avoid at all costs. Even worse the Nine Songs.
(Thu 17th Jul 2008, 16:00, More)
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