"I've never been asked to be a juror - I must be on a list somewhere of Undesirable People.

I'd like to be asked, just so I can decline with completely uncalled for rudeness and get put on the list of Undesirable People."
- Me, on Eroswing's blog, four days ago.

They want me for jury service. A official pink letter dropped through the door informing me of the fact.

In one paragraph they assure me it's my civil duty and very important. In the next they threaten to fine me GBP1000 if I don't respond.

So, does anyone have any ideas for how I can tell them to go fuck themselves?

That film night/party/fund-raiser last night - with lots of food and
drink. And that jeans size I went down last week.

Yes, I'm back to normal. And there's four different kinds of cheese in
the fridge that no one else seemed to want.

With luck, one of them will give me food poisoning again so I can go
back down a size.

I'd like to be the first to posit a Michael Jackson/Princess Diana/9-11 conspiracy theory.

Diana was assassinated by Mossad, which is a front for MI5, under instructions from the British royal family who are shapeshifting alien lizards, to ensure the next leader of the Bilderberg group wouldn't be contaminated with popstar DNA because...Diana was carrying Jackson's secret love child.

The twin towers were destroyed by mistake when an agent was instructed to prevent completion of the Lord of the Rings movies, which contained coded hints about the Diana conspiracy. He was ordered to stop The Two Towers and, well, got confused.

Jackson, piecing the truth together from clues provided by his worldwide network of boy-spies - codenamed "special young friends" - was about to reveal the truth in his comeback album, but the Illuminati kidnapped him in one of their flying saucers, leaving behind a false body - a waxwork of Latoya Jackson.

You know more theories are on the way.

Neither do I.


On Saturday I'm going to a film evening. There will be food, drink, conversation, and almost certainly a film.

Two weeks ago it was agreed to hold a small fundraising event. The host-to-be of the event approached me after the meeting.

Host: So what do I need for a DVD? Do I need a DVD for that?

Kap: Um. Well you'll need a DVD player. Have you got one of those?

Host: No. Do you?

Kap: I do have a spare one but I'm not sure it still works. But comrade X has a small portable player, comrades Y and Z have one, and I think comrade Q could lend us his.

Host: Could you ask them to borrow theirs then?

Kap: They'll be coming to the evening and they're all over there, so it might be better to ask one of them to bring their player with them.

Host: Oh okay then. If you say so. Can you sort that out?

Kap: [Sigh]. I suppose so. Now, you'll need a SCART lead.

Host: Ah, right. What's that?

Kap: It's a thick black cable, about half a metre long, with large rectangular plugs on either end. It connects the DVD player to the television.

Host: Oh. I don't think I've got one of those.

Kap: Whoever brings their DVD player should also bring their SCART lead.

Host: Can you sort that out?

Kap: Alright. Now, how large is your television?

Host: Um. Well. I don't know.

Kap: Is it large enough for everyone here to watch a film on?

Host: I don't know. Should we ask if anyone's got a big TV we can use?

Kap: That might be a bit difficult. Now, you'll need a place to plug in both the TV and the DVD player - do you have enough power points?

Host: Power points?

Kap: Electricity sockets in the wall.

Host: Oh, right. Probably.

Kap: Well if you don't you'll need a splitter with an extension cable.

Host: A what?

We eventually sorted out who would bring the DVD player and SCART lead, and the host said she'd check her power points.

One week later, a small leaflet was produced and distributed, just to remind us of the location and date of the film showing. The location and date were both wrong, so the next week we got a revised leaflet.

This means there are two otherwise identical sets of leaflets floating around, with different information. I'm 95% sure the one in my pocket is one with the correct information.

Tonight, after another meeting, the host did a little final checking with me.

Host: Are we all set? You're bringing the DVD?

Kap: No, comrade Q's bringing the DVD player, and the SCART lead.

Host: Oh okay then.

Kap: And you're sure you have enough power points?

Host: Power points? Oh, oh yes. I do.

Kap: Good, we're all set then.

Host: Just one thing. Who's bringing the DVD?

Kap: [Blinks]. The player?

Host: No, the DVD.

Kap: You mean you don't have the disc?

Host: ?

Kap: The movie. The disc with the film on it.

Host: Um, well no. Who's bringing that?

I've been told not to worry, that a very capable young lady is sorting everything out - which means when something fucks up on the night, just for once I won't be blamed. Though I probably will be anyway.

Subtlety is good.

Yes, We Cam

My phone gets dropped into a bucket of water, together with my MP3 player. The I lose a memory stick and the laptop gets a virus. Cue familiar sinking feeling.

I get a new phone and a new memory stick and reinstall windows - which I've now got down to a painless half-hour process after lots of tinkering and practice.

I plug in my webcam and the network stops working. The network refuses to start working again no matter what I do, and then the webcam stops working. More familiar sinking feeling.

So I reinstall windows, set up the network, find it works perfectly...and try plugging in the webcam again. The network stops working, won't start again...and the webcam stops working too.

Right. So my network has suddenly become fatally allergic to my webcam. So I reinstall windows again, get the network working...and go out and buy a new webcam - which turns out to give a picture slightly worse than CCTV, but doesn't crash the network.

Oh hang on, yes it does.

It so happens that a friend has a super-duper digital camera which they've never used since buying it two years ago, so I ask to borrow it. After hunting down the drivers it works...but two years in a kitchen draw have left it without the ability to see yellow. So it sees everything in sharp, high resolution shades of purple.

Then I notice while checking something else that my system partition is formatted to FAT16. Now, FAT16 is "16 Bit File Allocation Table", and for the last twenty years has been used only on some plug-in memory devices. I have no idea how my C drive got formatted that way, and I wouldn't know how to do it again. But...some functions of networking and external devices like webcams don't work with it.

My C drive is now formatted to NTFS (and one day I might find out for sure what that stands for), the network's fine, my new phone is full of useless functions that I have to scroll through, the MP3 player is dead forever, the new memory stick is now permanently attached to my keyring...and I've got two deeply crap spare webcams.

Seven years ago I spent a week exprimenting with animated gifs.

How many email addresses have you got? I've got nine currently active. Some of them seemed good ideas at the time.

Facepalm Friday (19/06/09)

This edition of Facepalm Friday is a selection of things said personally to me over recent weeks.

A slow running clock is occasionally right, and the biggest moron in the world occasionally makes a good point.

The other side of the coin is that sometimes someone who really really ought to know better makes a damn fool of themselves, and for me, it's a lot more shocking when that happens.

"If you think nothing bad will happen to you, nothing will."
- Comrade 1

Bureaucrats are professionally dumb, in the same way that librarians are professionally quiet.

They may be quite smart people, but their job consists of asking dumb questions, translating the dumb answers into dumb cliches, filling out dumb forms that exist for dumb reasons, and trying to make the whole dumb system work while simultaneously pretending it isn't dumb and works already.

So sometimes they forget to switch off the autopilot.

"So you're looking for jobs abroad. Are you prepared to travel to other countries?"
- My jobsearch advisor

People ask me, "Kapitano, what is bullshit?", and I tell them, "Bullshit is saying things that don't mean anything, as though they're profound and important."

Howard Beale had a different definition, you may remember.

"The difference between God and the devil is, the devil gives you happiness, but God gives you joy."
- A mormon who tried to recruit me today

Mormons in recruiting mode are all identical. They're young, superficially friendly, and dressed in sharp office clothes that are almost painfully clean.

They're well scrubbed and trimmed themselves, with interchangeable haircuts and the kind of blank-faced politeness you get from teller machines and psychopaths. Think "Stepford Evangelicals". Oh, and they always travel in pairs.

"Marijuana isn't like God because marijuana takes away your agency."
- The other mormon

And finally, something I don't know how to adequately introduce.

"If you're a gay man, and you like looking at two men together, does that mean you like looking at two women together too?"
- Comrade 2


Mother's a beta tester for Windows 7. Having spent an half an hour just figuring out how to set up the screen icons, I can reveal that it combines the annoying graphics of Vista with the annoying misorganisation of Vista and the annoying unconfigurability of bloody Vista.

It also takes up 7.31GB, and seems designed around the notion that the most important thing computers do is receive streamed video. This from the company that's trying to oust Google five years too late, with an inferior search engine.

Typical Microsoft.

I should get food poisoning more often. I've gone down a jeans size.

The Devil in Me

I'm never busier than when I'm unemployed, never happier than when figuring out how to solve a problem...and I never watch so much crap on TV than when I'm ill.

I've seen a lot of crap this last week. Currently I'm ploughing through both seasons of The Collector. The plot is that the devil buys people's souls for ten years of whatever they want, after which he takes them to hell. The devil gives them what they want by shifting their misfortune onto someone close to them, but they can evade hell if they undo this damage before the contract ends.

He employs a few damned people to collect contract-signers for him and one, our hero, decides to help those who've signed the contract gain "redemption" this way. The devil lets him do it because he likes playing games.

There's exactly one interesting thing about this setup - the hero fails about half the time. There's subplots about a cocaine addict prostitute the hero helps, a journalist who's after him and her creepy autistic son - who may or may not be the angel Gabriel - but the interesting (to me) thing about The Collector is that you can't be sure the bad guy - the ultimate bad guy - will be defeated at the end of the hour.

So that's what I do when I'm ill. I catch up on five year old trash TV culture, and wind up enjoying it probably for the wrong reasons.


Having now seen all the first two seasons, I've one or two more thoughts.

Eroswings asked how the story ends. The answers are:
(1) Only the first two of the three seasons are available to me on TVOD, so I don't know how it ends, and
(2) There might be more seasons in the pipeline after season three, so no one knows how it might end.

However, from what I've seen, the second season doesn't so much reach a conclusion as...dissolve. The journalist gets taken to hell, her sister replaces her as the third lead before disappearing offscreen, and the angelic/autistic son become simultaneously all-seeing and irrelevant.

The last three episodes are, in order:
* A mish-mash of some of the sillier Jack-the-Ripper theories - The lodger, Walter Sickert, and the prostitute killing other prostitutes.
* A time-travel predestination paradox story about the holocaust
* A flashback to the collector's first case - in which we learn that it's forgivable to kill defenceless women if it's to save your soul, but not to touch up children, apparently.

So we don't get any conclusions or progression towards resolutions - we get the series breaking up into sidelines. Oh, and we get the hero's pining after his lost love examined and revisited long beyond the point of tedium.

One thing to notice in the credits list is that nearly all the names are Hungarian. Evidently porn wasn't the only thing to come cheaply out of Eastern Europe in the zeros - we got film crews, nonspeaking extras and rustic medieval settings too.

There are a few recurring themes. Addiction and relapse (to drugs, power, alcohol), single motherhood (the journalist and several one-episode characters), and miracle disease cures (AIDS, cancer, the plague). I'm not sure these constitute an arc - more a series of tropes.

The biggest theme of all is of course that of the Monkey's Paw - that the devil gives you exactly what you ask for, in ways that negate what you hoped for. A comic-book fan wishes for superpowers, which wind up killing the people he's trying to save. A woman wishes to prove that she's as good as any man, and so becomes a series of men. A UFO-watcher gets proof that aliens exist, when he goes to hell and meets alien souls.

I think the thing which appealed to me - which kept me watching in spite of the dodgy dialogue and hammy acting - was the way the show kept unflinchingly to it's premises. There's no deus ex machina (literal or figurative), and no sudden reversals in the final five minutes that magically make everything all right.

God is invisible or absent, unable or unwilling to make the world less horrible. The devil always tells the absolute truth - but never the complete truth. There's no easy distinction between good and bad people. The rules are arbitrary and unfair but unbreakable - irrespective of what may be just.

A serial killer gets off scot-free by following the rules of his satanic contract to the letter, a career criminal similarly avoids hell, and a yogi sees his followers suicide when they take his philosophy of peace literally.

Anyway, I've no wish to see any of it again, but I'm glad to have been laid up in bed long enough to see it once. Now can anyone explain to me why all the American sci-fi/fantasy I've enjoyed for the last decade...has actually been Canadian?

Kapitano Has Sex

I've had some lousy shags in my time, and I've been in some absurd situations. And oddly enough the two tend to coincide.

Last night I logged onto a certain friendship/dating/shagging site I sometimes use, just to check email. And found myself chatting on IM with a local guy who'd liked my profile and wanted to "meet up". I saved the conversation so here's a few highlights of his chatup technique:

  • "hey buddy how you doing. i LOVe sucking on big balls."

  • "i would love to have you cum in me or my mouth. just have you work my nipples while i suck you off"

  • "you let yourself in and i can suck you off no strings cum in my mouth and go"

  • "i love to suck a guy off and work tits""

  • "love big balls to suck

  • Clear, direct, no BS - what more could you want from meaningless sex? He's a great felateur, I'm lazy, he's desperate, I'm desperate too easygoing.

    He wanted me to drive out there and then, I said I didn't have a car, he said he'd pay for a taxi, I said thanks but I was tired so could we do it tomorrow...he said okay.

    So the next day (today) we exchange a series of text messages to the repeated effect of...

    Him: You coming today?
    Me: Sounds good. What's a good time for you, and by the way where exactly do you live?
    Him: Anytime.

    Him: When are you coming?
    Me: Is 7pm okay? Where are you?
    Him: Anytime is good.

    Him: You going to come today?
    Me: Be there at 7 - as soon as I know where to be.
    Him: Great.

    Eventually I got him to tell me where his home was - he sent the postcode, and I got the street from Google Maps. A few more texts, and I had the house number too. It was ten miles away - thirty minutes by car, or three hours on foot.

    I called a taxi, texted to say I was on my way, and got the response "OMG your in a taxi?! Don't u have a car? I only want suck n go!". Sigh.

    The taxi driver was a helpful, friendly Indian guy - who didn't know the area we were going to. I'd brought along a map, and he navigated with it perched on the steering wheel. Eventually, between us we figured out how to work his swanky new GPS gadget too.

    Meanwhile, every five minutes or less my partner in erotic rondezvous texted to ask me where I was and what I was doing...and whether I'd got the last text asking me. He also had the brainwave of kneeling blindfolded with mouth open on the floor, waiting for me to silently arrive. Um, okay.

    I was just starting to get a bad feeling about the whole thing, when the driver found the street...and charged me 175% of the estimated fare. And offered to stick around with the engine running and the meter ticking in case I found we'd come to the wrong place. I politely declined.

    I found the house, went in, and had sex with the big red faced man in front of the television. The whole thing lasted less than five minutes before he looked up and said in a squeaky, apologetic voice, "I'm gonna cum". And proceeded to do so.

    He'd completely forgotten his promise to reimburse my fare, in any case had no cash, and wanted to me to leave as quickly as possible. He didn't even want to shake hands.

    So, unwilling to spend another GBP20, I started walking home - consoling myself with a box of overcooked chips from a kebab shop. There was a bus stop, with a timetable announcing that I'd just missed the last daytime bus, and the night service would start in an hour - and end two hours after that.

    After ninety minutes trudging I did catch a bus to save my aching feet.

    So there you have it. My sexual appetite not so much quenched as squashed. And another answer to the eternal question, "What could possibly go wrong?"