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Saturday, February 11

A whole lot of tasks to be done, to be done
Setting myself up in a different part of the country has not been going exactly to plan. I have managed to secure myself a room, but I feel like I need some sort of sovereignty - a little piece of the world I can call my own. The room has to be in some sort of a state as truly suits my needs for it.

So, I woke up in Reading with a series of tasks to achieve to take a little control over life - at least as much as one can when living between a variety of addresses, none of which you own.

First things first. I needed to take the car to be looked at. Mechanically? No. This is a shame, as it's running like a dog at the moment. The last service (Thursday) appeared to achieve very little. The front headlight was not replaced - I forgot to mention it, and they most certainly didn't even bother to look. The oil-burning problem was described as worthy of over £1000 spending on rebuilding the engine... er... let me see... no. The running problem was attributed to the oil-leak. I have hydraulic tappets, which will not work properly with low oil. So the fact that the car is still bubbling along, occasionally refusing to accelerate in higher gears, and doing so with a full complement of oil... well, it smashes that theory.

However, on top of £1000 worth of engine shiteness, I also have the damage caused when a dozy driver (being distracted by her children) ran a junction and hit my car. This too, according to the repair company I drove to this morning, will cost £1000. However, it's £1000 I don't have to pay. The purpose of bringing the car to these people was for them to estimate the damage and then contact my insurance company, who will, in turn, contact her insurance company and someone, other than me, gets to pay for it all. I get to pay an excess to the repair company, but I get to claim that back at some point.

So it's all very convenient.


After this trip to Bracknell, I continued on to Farnborough. Now, this was going to get complicated. I wanted to set up wireless on my girlfriend's computer back in Reading. She has a desktop PC. I had already set up wireless on the laptop of a house-mate's computer in Farnborough. This wireless connection had a problem - it defaulted to connecting to a completely different wireless network than the one it was sitting next to (literally less than 10 inches away from). So, every time he restarted his computer, it required about 2 minutes worth of intelligent reconfiguration before the network connection worked again. Not good enough.

So, here was the plan. Remove the wireless card from the laptop. Replace it with a wired card (I had one which I happened to have bought on ebay for £10). Take the wireless laptop card back and replace it with a wireless desktop card, that would then go into the computer in Reading and bingo. Only one de-installation and 2 installations to make all that shit work.

The swap from wireless to wired was remarkably painless (in fact, it was no more painful than unplugging one card and inserting another - the hard part was finding my spare network lead). I then measured the alcove by my bedroom door for shelves.

Heading to B&Q and Maplin involves going to the same business park. At Maplin, I swapped the annoying wireless card for what proved to be a different annoying wireless card. I got £5 back for my efforts, which was nice. At B&Q, I bought shelving stuff and then went to the wood-cutting bit. The woodcutter was out to lunch. I don't mean that in a derogatory sense, like he was a bit mental. I mean he was literally out to lunch. I had to hang around the store for 30 minutes until his return.

I got a coffee and managed to stop myself buying anything that wasn't on my original shelving shopping list. I nearly bought a drill... well, 2. But I didn't.

I also drew a cut-diagram. This broke my piece of MDF down into the exact cuts and dimensions I needed for my shelves. I wanted 4 shelves. I ended up with 6 and an off-cut. The whole trip cost me £20 for materials and a couple of quid for the coffee and muffin. I didn't need them, but I truly enjoyed them.

Then, back to the house. Lots of drilling. I didn't need to buy a new drill. My existing drill did a smashing job without running out of battery power. I saved on some battery power by putting the screws in manually. Such was my commitment to getting the shelves up. I only made 2 mistakes. Each of these caused me huge grief.

The first mistake was to totally mis-measure the gap between the first two shelves. I managed to get a gap approximately twice the height of a DVD, when I wanted one approximately 1.2 times the height. After careful remeasuring, I discovered that a shelf placed exactly between the first two would have exactly the right dimensions to fit DVDs/books/CDs. A couple of MM either way, however, would mean that the shelf would be obstructed by the brackets of the shelf above or below. The intermediate shelf went in with total precision.

The top shelf was decidedly lop-sided when it went in. I must have been cock-eyed when I put the right-hand bracket up. Luckily, a second set of bracket holes, exactly one plug's height below the original plugs, and my top shelf was dead centre on the spirit level again.

I think the purpose of my mistakes is to give the fucking-it-all-up gods their dues, but without giving me anything more than irritation. The end result is always fine, but I just have to endure some unnecessary effort and extra holes to get there. All the extra holes are not even visible, except by x-ray!

I populated my shelves and returned to Reading.

The wireless network worked pretty much first time.

It had been a day of random tasks and they all seemed to be successful.


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