I’m back, baby!

I’m sorry for worrying the crap out of everyone, but I honestly didn’t think it would take SO BLOODY LONG to change webhosts and restore my database.
I’ll not bore you with the details, suffice to say it involved geeks, squirrels, dns settings and Very Bad Words.

It always happens in threes…

So, my coffee machine broke, my comments template got screwed, and because these things come in threes, my computer had a nervous breakdown.
I still don’t know what it was. I narrowed it down to a problem with firefox, and managed to completely stump those clever people at mozilla. My reliance on a nice web browser which is set up ‘just so’ prompted me to format my hard drive – something that I’d been putting off for a while, so not as extreme as you’d think. I hate doing it. It’s not technically challenging or anything, it’s just the whole process of getting things just how I like them takes so long, and little annoyances that had been long forgotten (balloon tips, I’m looking at you here…) pop up and remind you how windows xp likes to walk you through everything in baby steps.
I saved as much as I could onto cd’s, took a deep breath, and pressed the Button of No Return. Everything is peachy now. Squeaky clean, a mite faster, and somewhat empty. I’m adding software as I need it because I’m getting very bored with constantly restarting the computer.
Computers aside, things are plodding along as usual. Last week, my neck started playing up, and as well as the usual sharp pains in my shoulders and weird cold spots on my hand, I started getting dizzy. It has been more of an irritation than anything, but has meant that I’ve avoided going out because it’s really messing with the anxiety levels. I need to acclimatise myself to people, because on Sunday, I’m dragging Mr D to the Knitting and Stitching Show (link has video with sound) at Harrogate. I’ve been in two minds whether to go lately, and when the coffee machine died, my priority was saving as much money as possible to replace it. However, it only needed a replacement steam valve which cost £10.49, so Harrogate is on again. There are a couple of things I want, and I’m hoping to treat myself while I’m there.
Comments are back – dip your toe in the water and we’ll see what happens…

just a note

Another reason I’m not posting as much is that I can’t always get my MovableType thingumy to load. I think it’s to do with trackback spam, but seeing as though I’ve disabled trackbacks at a systemwide level (and even renamed the trackback script) I don’t see how. I’m also wondering if it’s comment spam – while I have every anti-spam tool known to man, I’m still getting flooded, even though they go straight into the junk folder (which only shows up on the MT menu). If you’re trying to comment and can’t, this may also be part of it.
The problem with sorting it out is that 1) I can’t get into the menu to fiddle with stuff and 2) my brain doesn’t always work.
In the meantime, I am lifting my mood by watching all three seasons of Father Ted, so I suppose my reaction to the above should be “FECK!”
update I’ve just installed MTAutoBan, so keep your fingers crossed…

Changes

Three posts in two days?? Mummy, I’m scared! Ah, hang on, that’ll be the Brazil Espresso perfeito coffee…
I’m thinking I might completely change the style of my blog. Part of this is to do with Movable sodding Type 3.31, and the new default stylesheets being entirely different to the old ones. It wouldn’t be too bad, but the litte updates I’ve been planning for some time mean that parts of the script have to be completely rewritten. And I’ve had a lobotomy sometime since I last did this.
If it all comes together, there shall be some spiffy new links and a snazzy new background. If it doesn’t, you’ll find me throwing things at the computer and yelling that nothing ever goes fucking right. I’m not taking any bets at the moment.
I’ve also been considering what I write about. Obviously, the main reason I write is the whole panic and agoraphobia thing. However, I think it’s getting boring and I can’t help wondering whether people who happen on this blog for the first time think “woah, who’s this miserable bitch?” before wandering off again. Sometimes, things happen that give me a reason to write about happy stuff, but there’s not enough of it. There is so much that I’m interested in that I’m sure I can blend them into the mix to make a more appetising stew.
I hope you enjoy it, my myriad of readers – and that means both of you…

test

this is a test post – I’ve finally upgraded to MT 3.31 and there seems to be some problems with it, so I need to know what works.
I’ll probably delete this at some point.

lomogasm

or, “this sort of thing never happens to me”
On Saturday mornings I like to make my pilgrimage to the local charity shops. Despite being on a tight budget I still have an insatiable thirst for reading, and charity shops feed me whilst pandering to my thriftiness. Plus, I love looking at the bric-a-brac, seeing what sorts of things other people throw out. I love being able to say with a sharp intake of breath “Grandma used to have one of those!”
There’s also a long running joke between Mr D and I. For a long time, I have lusted after a Lomo LC-A camera. I’ve seen what can be done with them, but the price of them has meant that the thought of owning one goes on the high shelf in my mind of “things I really really want, but am probably unlikely to get”. Looking around, it seems that people like me who don’t want to spend a lot of money on a Lomo, usually end up getting an Olympus XA. Although the two cameras are fairly different, they can produce similar results. So, it made sense that the XA went on the shelf in my mind marked “attainable, but there’s usually other things to spend the money on”
So, every time I wander into a charity shop, I pipe up with “let’s go in here, you never know, they might have an Olympus XA for a quid…” Mr D laughs in a way that says, “yeah, right” but I still look on the shelves in the vain hope that someone has donated a knackered looking camera to charity without realising what it is.
One of my favourite charity shops locally is Barnardo’s. The small shop is about eighty percent books and some bric-a-brac, mostly teapots and vases. I love it because they have the sense to display their books not only alphabetically, but by genre too, so you don’t have to wade through hundreds of Catherine Cookson books to get to HG Wells. Last week, they were giving away toy flamingos with every purchase, apparently they were donated by a company, and when Barnardo’s realised they couldn’t sell them, gave them away with every purchase as an incentive to buy something. I bought two books, and got two free flamingos.
This morning, we went in and I noticed there were still pink flamingos lined like Tiller girls along the tops of the shelves. I went straight to the fiction section, letter A, because I’m looking for a book by Jake Arnott. That particular section is near the till, and I caught a snippet of a conversation between the shopkeeper and an old gentleman. He’d said the word ‘camera’. I glanced around, and noticed a shelf behind the counter with about ten different cameras on it. Ranging from Kodak brownies of varying ages to cheap nameless plastic tat, and somewhere in between. Then, just as I was wondering whether to get one of the Brownies, I noticed four letters in white – lomo. My first thought was nah, someone’s written that on, but as I continued to look, I realised that what I was looking at was a genuine Lomo. The old man was still contemplating his choice of camera, and was blocking most of the small counter area. I willed him to make his mind up, so I could get to my prize. An eternity later, he sighed and said “I think I’ll leave it…”
I beamed at the shopkeeper and said, “can I look at the cameras?”
(IB claim note – “client has no problems communicating with others as long as there’s a Lomo involved”)
Without hesitation, I reached for the Lomo. It was heavy for a small camera, and was indeed the coveted LC-A model. My fingers ran over the painted metal body and I felt a paper sticker – the price. I nervously turned it over, my heart in my mouth – wondering what on earth they would put as a price. Yesterday, on ebay, a Lomo LC-A sold for £84.
Prices of cameras in charity shops vary massively. Usually, they’re just the cheap plastic 35mm cameras that only cost £5 new – and they sell for pennies. Sometimes, however, the shop thinks it has something of value, and ups the price. Box Brownies, for instance, or anything with a recongisable name. I’ve never seen a Lomo LC-A in a charity shop – it just doesn’t happen. People are cottoning on to the idea that this is a fairly valuable camera, so if they don’t want it any more, they put it on ebay. I guess it’s very much like antiques. Programmes like the Anitques Roadshow and Flog It et al, teach people that things could be more valuable than they think. Troika pottery is a prime example – it’s relatively ugly to a lot of people, yet prices in the last few years have rocketed. Same with Clarice Cliff ten years ago. Everyone wants to find the “oh, I got it at a car boot sale for 10p” item that’s now worth hundreds. But I digress.
I turned the camera round to see the price. There must be some mistake, I think. Maybe it’s not the LC-A I want, but some other model. The ticket says “£2”. I resist the urge to scream out loud. “Ooh,” I say “I think I’ll have this one” and have a quick look at a Brownie so I don’t look over keen. I hand over my money, and leave the shop – the proud owner of a Lomo LC-A found for two pounds. It was a surreal experience, and it was absolutely magic.