Follow the reluctant adventures in the life of a Welsh astrophysicist sent around the world for some reason, wherein I photograph potatoes and destroy galaxies in the name of science. And don't forget about my website,

Tuesday 28 December 2010

Off the Grid

Attentive readers - if there are any readers at all - will note a lack of posts for the last million years or so. This is not due to writer's block nor even to lack of inspiration, but in fact entirely due to Sky being a bunch of bloody nutters. Deciding that it's simply impossible to have two accounts in one house they decided to turn it off without anything as courteous as a warning. But enough of that. There are already enough cynical complaint letters on the interweb and I have not the time to write another.

Instead, let me turn to that age-old hippie dream of living a life free of the oppressions of technology, or at any rate the internet. How does a chronic net junkie survive when suddenly forced to exist in a world without email, on-demand pornography*, webcomics and lolcats ?

*Why is it called pornography anyway ? Because none of the pornography I've seen has ever featured a graph. None of the actors has ever paused to check their figures or plot tangents to curves. Not using any graph paper, anyway. Am I doing it wrong ?

Ordinarily I'd probably curl up into a ball and beat myself to death with a calculator, but this time fate decided to intervene. Not that it didn't come close in the first week or so. Forced to make my own entertainment, I was on the verge of hitting my head with different sized bricks to see which would be more effective before at last stuff began to happen to stop me testing my head systematically for weaknesses.

Instead, so much snow fell that planes fell out of the sky, the Thames froze over and polar bears destroyed London. At least, this is what I inferred from BBC News, a channel that has become adept at persuading us that shutting Heathrow for a few days constitutes the end of civilization as we know it (while at the same time telling us that flying causes irreversible amounts of global warming so we'd all better stop right away, or else).

Having survived the plummeting aircraft, I was able to frolick merrily in the snow for a few days. Although quite trapped in my mountain-top abode, there are many worse places to be stuck, provided you have television at least. OK, so I was without power for a few hours, so I just pretended I was in Canada and this made everything fine. Even lolcats become forgotten when there are people snowboarding down your road (I'm not exaggerating for comic effect - that actually happened). And then there was Christmas, and then a certain parent of mine decided to smash her ankle by falling over. Then and only then was the internet fixed.

What's the moral of this short but wearisome tale ? Simples : life without the net is not much fun. BBC News is pretty rubbish without the net to supplement it (both to check their "facts" and find out if anything important is actually happening). Email just doesn't work without the net, because training carrier pigeons just takes too long. Trying to make your own lolcats is damned hard, especially without a cat. And the less said about pornography the better. I've completely run out of graph paper.

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