We Have Contact (And I Didn’t Use The Crass “Wii”)

Lotten came up on Monday to finalise an article she has written about us, which should appear in a Sunday supplement of one of the big nationals, DN, later this/next month. She brought her laptop with her, and during our conversation she tried to connect to her email client via wi-fi.

Her connection may have been fast, but it took me and my synapses nanoseconds to see how I could exploit the situation, particularly when she mentioned her connection was unlocked.

Suffice to say, I have now set up both Jo’s DS and my Wii to Lotten’s hotspot (must remember to mention that to her sometime). I was terribly impressed at how easy it all was, and, while it’s not as fast as my “other” connection I shall not complain, considering it’s costing me nothing.

I had been considering wi-fiing the flat myself, but due to some rubbish reason my Internet provider has given I’d not be able to use the free wi-fi modem they are offering. I could buy a wi-fi router to plug into my useless current modem, but spending 700 crowns on achieving a setup that other people are getting for free niggles me somewhat. But now I don’t have to.

Chris, Jack and Mark all have Wiis (with only Mark not having it in online mode yet), so I can see the next few months being fairly interesting, especially with Mario Kart being released next month.

Foraging For Finery

The recycling room is in a bit of an over-run state at the moment, and people are apparently sill unable to have the civil courtesy to sort correctly. Another problem/annoyance is people’s willing to throw perfectly good pizza clothes in the “burnable” container, particularly when there is a huge charity shop 3 minutes’ tram ride away.

I was so displeased with this situation that I went down this evening to save a bundle of clothes from incineration, with the intention of taking them to the charity shop myself. I would have probably come away with more than one bin-bag if:

a) there would not have been the disorder that prevented me from effective rummaging;

b) I hadn’t been scared away by the potential of someone coming in on my act of environmental goodness, thinking, instead, I was simply taking for my own requirements (which we sometimes do, and I shouldn’t even be ashamed at the idea, bit it is a bit embarrassing being caught routing through rubbish).

There are often things left in the recycling room, whether it be clothes, furniture or electrical goods. I’m sure a fair amount of furniture gets claimed be fellow residents, less so about the TV’s, CD players etc. It would be very useful if the previous owners could attach a post-it to the their discarded goods, letting others know if something is in working order, or (if not) what the fault is. Within the last few months I’ve seen four TVs, and even the environmental impact of one of them being reclaimed is considerable.

On a positive note, Lotten, our neighbour below us, seems to have got the wheels of motion turning for a communal compost to be installed in the recycling/rubbish room. Details are scarce just now, but the very fact that the idea is being discussed is a step in the right direction. Well done, Lotten.

What The ¤*§ü

I’ve been interested in computers for more than a couple of weeks now, and even get to use the occasional “personal computer” in my day-to-day life. One thing I have newly discovered about this whole crazy IT thing: with so many unnecessary keys on the word-input device, or keyboard (I’m thinking “¤” and “e” in particular), why is there no ™ nor ® key?

It does not feature, truth be told, high on my list of things I wish I knew how to do – I’ve just realised why I used the preterite form, “knew”, and it’s thanks to Johanna (explanation of this eureka moment coming in a future entry) – though it appeals to the secret sciolist in me.

So, a call to computer people and, specifically, keyboard manufacturers across the globe: make the ™ and ® signs a permanent feature on future keyboards, because then I could do cool things like write “F®eya” or “a™osphere”. It’s all about kudos, folks.

Fretting Over A Game

I am, as it is well-known, less fanatical about rock music than the average person. I don’t really like a great deal of guitar music in general, actually, with certain exceptions (thinking Pink Floyd as an immediate example). That said, I have mellowed with age, and I can find myself humming along to the occasional riff, or appreciating a wider variety of music than I once did in my predominantly synth youth and early adulthood.

That said, I did actually mess around with a guitar or two in my music making heyday. I even played bass in a rock n roll band when I was 15, playing in pubs and talent contests (well, contest). I think my interest in guitars grew only as Martin L Gore became proficient, and, after I saw him playing some groovy country stuff in one of Depeche Mode’s documentaries, I suppose I deemed it okay to be seen with one.

Recently, it has not only been okay to be holding a guitar, but fantastically entertaining; I refer, of course, to Guitar Hero 3 on the Wii.

We went out and bought the game plus 2 guitars when Chip was over to celebrate my birthday a few weeks ago. The £100 purchase seemed a bit steep, and I got pangs of guilt at splashing out so much on one game, though I knew I simply had to have two guitars to get full enjoyment.

Since then we have had a number of different people over to try it out, with further plans to make it a central reason for inviting other friends over in the near future, and my current week’s holiday has so far seen a number of solo sessions taking place. I am, in short, hooked.

There are enough tracks in the game to make it interesting, and enough strong tracks to make the absolute dire offerings bearable, if not enjoyable. It has also opened me to bands that I had previously not been giving a chance to, with tracks like The Who’s “The Seeker”, The Killer’s “When We Were Young” and Heart’s “Barracuda”. I find myself mumbling the riffs or various vocal lines from these songs more often than is absolutely necessary or healthy, but I’m happy with my condition.

Happy 40th Birthday To Me

Today is the anniversary of my fortieth birthday, which is celebrated accordingly in Sweden with cakes and big presents.

I can’t remember the last time I had a birthday cake, and Jo did a fine job of making a three layer strawberry & apricot affair to last us the year out. It actually felt a bit strange getting cake and blowing out the candles, as it did to have a few friends over to eat said cake and homemade pizza.

Jo had secretly arranged for Janne, Lotten, Edla and Chris to come over for dinner. It was a little bit overwhelming, in fact. Also, I think, because it is midweek I’d been expecting a quiet, early night. I wasn’t quite up for so many visitors, though I’m still glad they came.

The presents I received were absolutely spot-on. I’d been given a few items that were on my Christmas wish-list, which included The final Harry Potter book and a Fred Perry polo-shirt; the Harry Potter book is a bitter-sweet gift, since it marks the end of a long journey; the Fred Perry is an item I’ve been wanting for a while, and harks back to my Rude Boy era of the early eighties, when a white Fred Perry, black Harrington jacket, white socks and loafers were the order of the day.

The best present, one which I’d been expecting, was the Nintendo Wii. I’d not asked for anything else, despite having ideas about a bigger TV or a flat-screen monitor. The Wii was the obvious choice since a) I haven’t yet bought into this generation’s consoles b) the whole family can enjoy what the Wii has to offer.

I’ve been given an option to chip the Wii, which I don’t think I’ll be taking up. Firstly, I don’t wish to contribute to the piracy that is rife in the gaming industry, and, secondly, it feels like it won’t be a Wii, but a bastardized copy of one. I know it sounds strange, and I do not really expect anyone else to understand, but I think I’ll keep my virgin Wii.

All in all I have had a marvelous birthday, and I thank Jo and my friends for making it so.