Welcome to SpaCeMonKeY UK, the blog of Helen Wells (nee Berrington, aka FieryFred) since 2002.





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SpaCeMonKeY UK

Tuesday, October 28

Hmm, I haven't actually done much to write about. The last two days I've been reading and playing Max Payne 2. I've finished it now, on the 'detective' setting, and although I could play the newly unlocked levels of difficulty I can't really be bothered. The game was great, but I know the story now! Well, I ought to know, to be honest I'm quite confused what with all the conspiracies that seem to be ever more elaborately intertwining. If that's even a word.

I liked lots of things about it. The thing that struck me first of all (apart from the fact Max looks like a completely different person... yeah, they used another model, boo hoo) was the way things fall over when you run into them. The graphics are very pretty, and the graphic novel is as moody and atmospheric as ever. (If you didn't play the first game, between each bit of action you're told things in the style of a graphic novel, with voice actors reading the lines... it's very cool.)

I also liked the way they'd tried to add new elements to the gameplay, although the game seemed a little too easy for some of the new aspects to be necessary. For instance, in two places you join up with other people, but when you can do the job singlehandedly why bother? You also get to play a character other than Max, and at certain times you're working together, which is very well done. And there are babysitting levels, which work well. But it was a little easy. I mean, there was a lot of ammo. Never any danger of running out. And it was very hard to exhaust your supply of bullet time (the slow motion Matrixy effect). These two factors meant that you didn't really have to think about strategy very much.

And I'm still confused about what it all means.


Ho hum... one last thing about the game was the excellent song that plays in the end credits, which is perfectly suited to what you're feeling after completing the game. It's called Late Goodbye and it's by the Poets of the Fall, who don't have a record deal so you can't buy the song. I expect if you download the mod stuff from the game's website you can extract the song from one of the game CD's, but I found it on Kazaa. I like it. :)

So that's about it... for the moment.

I have been mostly.... WATCHING (TV): neighbours (bbc 1); stargate sg-1 (sky 1) / READING: birdsong (sebastian faulks) / LISTENING: late goodbye (poets of the fall); disarm (smashing pumpkins)

Saturday, October 25

Ali pointed out that I had read To Kill a Mockingbird, so I suppose that means it wouldn't be in my top 21. Seeing as I'd completely forgotten I'd read it. :) I'll update the list in yesterday's entry.

Friday, October 24

Since Ali posted the top 100 books on her blog (with the ones she'd read crossed out), I figured I'd do the same. I've read 42, but I wasn't sure about 2... so definitely 40.

Top 21:

Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
Catch 22, Joseph Heller
The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame ?
Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë


22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien

26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll ?
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson

37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams

43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck

53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer

60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton

67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding

71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding

76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

Thursday, October 23

This is the most addictive internet game I've ever played! I've spent hours playing it and my score's a measly 28... I score quite highly every time but then I miss one and... aargh!

Today Rob came round in the morning, and in the afternoon I e-mailed about that website, having decided a sort of fee, and I had a reply about the volunteer work I'm going to do. So that's fairly sorted out now. After that (and various online things) I played Half Life a bit on the desktop PC, Leon. It looks a lot prettier on that with the resolution cranked up than it did on the old PC at home. Nice... Didn't get all that far... I'm working my way through the office complex. I've gotten quite a way through several times, so I've played the beginning a fair bit, but maybe I'll finish it this time. Who knows?

Ali's dad took us out for dinner. We went to the pub where I met Rob for the first time, in December last year. I ate a lot. :)

And that's about it.

I have been mostly.... WATCHING (TV): neighbours (bbc 1) / READING: angela's ashes (frank mccourt) / LISTENING: maybe (emma); hey ya (outkast)

Tuesday, October 21

Having said that people don't update, it's been a few days. What have I been up to? Well... not much. It always amazes me how many hours it takes to do housework. I can see why Mum used to get annoyed when we didn't help her. I spent ages hoovering yesterday. And I made a casserole, which took quite a while. I have some ironing to do, as well. It's not like I have a job, I suppose. I didn't have to make the casserole, it's just that Mark was coming round to watch new Stargate (and all the episodes leading up to 'Orpheus' that had already aired) and I figured I should make one while lots of people are around. Because Rob was here too. When I make casseroles and it's just me and Ali we have to eat it two days running or something. Ummm........ this is interesting, isn't it? :)

What have I been doing since Thursday..? Saturday I went to Safeway with Rob to try and buy Mum a present that was in their leaflet, but they didn't have what I wanted. We also went to a really bad computer fair. It was small and was selling a lot of junk. I've been to much better. I'm still trying to find the stickers that Ali and I saw at a fair once - they looked like Intel ones but said 'Idiot Outside'. Hehe...

Sunday we went to Badby woods after church. We managed to get lost again but (luckily) I suggested the right direction to get out. Rob wanted to go in the opposite direction but Ali thought that I was more likely to be right. And thankfully I was. Phew!

Yesterday I did housework and went through the website that I might have to redo. It has £13 pages... maybe a base rate of £50 and £5 per page or something would be fair. These things have the potential to take a very long time to do. And I need to sort out when I could do the volunteer work. The more I think about it the more I'd like to work in an SMR, and if volunteering there leaves me in the right place at the right time I ought to sort it out ASAP.

See, not much has happened to me. Maybe I should go and do something really exciting.

Or not.

Oh, and I think Rob has fixed my internet connectivity problems. Hooray!

I have been mostly.... WATCHING (TV): neighbours (bbc 1); stargate (sky 1) / WATCHING (DVD): the shawshank redemption / READING: the corrections (jonathan franzen) / LISTENING: maybe (emma)

Thursday, October 16

Me again. Not much to report, but I thought I'd say some stuff anyway. I feel sad that certain people haven't updated lately, mostly meaning Daisy and I suppose Stephanie. I'm sad Ali hasn't updated, but since I live with her I probably know what she's up to anyway. On the plus side Harriet is continuing to blog in a random and entertaining fashion. I know her from church. She's mad. :)

So, I posted Tuesday, what have I done since Tuesday... Well, Ali has Tuesdays off so we decided we should go on an outing. We took Rob with us, because he gets all sad and pathetic when he's away from me for too long. ;)

Anyway, our trip was... interesting. We tried to go to several places but, what with it being October, many of them weren't open. We ended up at Kirby Hall, which I'd been to before, and so had Rob. Strangely. It was fun, though. The trip as a whole. I think Rob is getting sillier. I don't know why. Anyone would think he was happy for some reason! *sigh*

We had to come home in time for Rob to head off to Leeds for his nightshift, so in the afternoon Ali and I watched lots of episodes of The Muppet Show, including the one with Mark Hamill. Conclusion: you watch too much Muppets and your brain melts. I fell asleep by the time we got to Christopher Reeve. Ah well. And Ali didn't feel too well so we didn't go out to the church group in the evening. And that was Tuesday.

Wednesday, well, Rob came round first thing and kept me company until he had to drive off to work. In the afternoon I redid my CV a bit and read for a while. Didn't really do much. Went to a girlie prayer group thing in the evening, which was good. Came home and cooked corned beef fritters for Ali. Read some more. Slept... the usual.

Today, hmm, Rob was round again until 1. (Can you spot a pattern emerging here?) I had this strange thought: I wondered how many people ate breakfast with their boyfriends when they weren't sleeping with them. Hmm. I love him to bits, the big silly man, and I'm not really sure how much to put on here about him... Do people get bored of me going on about him? But he's a huge part of my life now, and I think he might well be around for a long, long time. :)

Where was I? This afternoon I went to see Mark at the university. He told me he'd know my results (the external examiner has to look everything over) on the 5th November. He also said if I cost out the website he wants done and send him the quote he'll try and get me some work. Hooray! He thought my CV was good and gave me a few ideas of people to pester for jobs. He should give me a good reference, when it comes to that. I keep wandering from feeling very negative about job prospects to feeling very positive. It's confusing. Ah well.

And now I'm here. The internet seems to work fine on Leon (the desktop PC), so I think Brian has yet another problem in his ever increasing list of problems. The most annoying thing is that he freezes after a while - it's either caused by him overheating or the fact he's getting very hot is yet another problem... I suppose I've had him a while now but I like Brian. Him being unhappy makes me sad. :(

Um, what else... James has started a nation state. Mine, The Rogue Nation of Dinosaurus, is doing pretty well. The economy's very strong and income tax is only 11%. I'm being quite mean with my decisions. Capitalism must be evil. :)

Ah... hmm... I've been enjoying the new Sting album, Sacred Love, although... oh, Mr Sting I mean... um... it's a bit like everything he's done before. But since I like everything he's done before that's not a bad thing. Has some good songs on and one slightly cringeworthy song... but it's not as bad as the weird country song that was on Brand New Day.

That's about it really.

I enjoyed the new Terry Pratchett book, Monstrous Regiment. It was very good. Funny. Clever. I liked it. :)

I have been mostly.... WATCHING (TV): neighbours (bbc 1) / WATCHING (VIDEO): the muppet show / READING: monstrous regiment (terry pratchett) / LISTENING: sacred love (sting)

Tuesday, October 14

Wow, I'm terribly sorry, I haven't blogged for ages! I'm not entirely sure why. I suppose I've been busy doing things, but still...

We have eaten everything in the freezer except for the ice poles. It's a bit cold for ice poles. I suppose we could turn our new shiny central heating up really high and pretend it was summer, but...

So, if I last blogged Tuesday I must have done lots of things. Hmm. Wednesday I got up and did some room tidying, that sort of thing. I went out to meet some old work friends (Barbara and Cheryl) in the evening. That was fun. They asked questions about
Rob. They were very pleased that I've found someone I love so much. :)

Thursday, hmm, I went to the market with Mum. I bought some cheap wrapping paper and some music magazines (the cover CD's were worth a quid each). Then it was more room tidying in the afternoon before heading off to my grandparents for dinner. They also asked questions about Rob. They seem to approve of him though. I think they could tell how I feel about him. They always pray for me before I leave, and they prayed for me and Rob and
Ali. Grandad told me I had to keep him up to date with any 'announcements'. He's funny... And after dinner my brother John and I went to Lakeside, which was BORING and pointless. As always.

Friday morning I was sorting things out again and in the afternoon Dad drove me back to Leicester. I spent a lovely evening with Rob, who'd bought me some pretty flowers, soppy boy. And Saturday I kind of spent with him too. And Sunday. And he was round here this morning too. He's working funny hours this week. He's here most of the time. I miss him when he's not around. Aaah...

I've probably forgotten things that I ought to say, but... I bet it won't post anyway. The internet's been strange for me lately. Ali can get to websites but I can't! Boo.

Yup, isn't working, I'll just have to keep trying... It says everything's unavailable or alternatively that I'm not authorised to view them, and then it just starts working, for no reason! Bah.

Today's spam subject header codewords are:


I have been mostly.... WATCHING (TV): neighbours (bbc 1); japanese GP (itv); stargate (sky 1) / WATCHING (DVD): matrix reloaded; bulletproof monk / READING: edge magazine

Tuesday, October 7

Ali wanted me to update the freezer list (she's been consuming food in my absence), so here it is:


Minced beef
1 turkey cheeseburger

9 potato waffles
2 cheese quarter pounders
2 crispy pancakes
4 tiny pizzas
8 sausages
Approximately 11 chicken nuggets
A quantity of chips

Vanilla ice cream
A box of ice poles
2 1 slices of cheesecake
2 banana milk lollies
1 very small choc ice


I've been tidying up my room a lot... my brother wants it (it's bigger than his), and since I'm kind of hoping to stay in Leicester permanently I don't need it any more. So I'm throwing out tons of things. I'm discovering lost stuff too, like my share certificate and receipts for ancient things (like the A500 we bought in 1988). I have a lot of junk... ah well.

Not much to report, apart from that...

I have been mostly.... WATCHING (TV): neighbours (bbc 1) / READING: edge magazine; calvin and hobbes

Monday, October 6

Here I am then, in Southend again...

The weekend was full of various birthday related activities. Ali, Rob and I travelled down to Southend on Friday night, ready for the festivities the next day. Mark came up early Saturday. We had to go karting at 10am, you see. You may well have read about the karting on Ali's blog. My brother John won, but only because we let him because it was his birthday, obviously. I was 5th - the top girl... not that being a girl makes any difference. ;)

After the karting we came back home for lunch. John couldn't decide what to do in the afternoon - we'd planned on going to see The Italian Job but decided the cinema might be a bit busy. In the end the five of us went to Cricksea and got blown away whilst observing the little sailing boats. Ali sang 'The Duck Song', which could have resulted in an early death at the hands of Mark. She survived, though. Just.

In the evening we went round Matt and Laura's house for a get together with John's other friends. Most of them go to the church he goes to. We had pizza and talked about random things. John tested his maglite on people, seeing if he could induce epilepsy. Eventually the party broke up... Mark and Ali headed off back to Leicester. The rest of us went home.

Sunday was a bit scarier. I didn't go to church in the morning... I wanted a bath and I wanted to spend a bit of time alone with Rob. My Mum amusingly knocked really loudly before entering the house. She's very considerate, hehe. She gave us the task of putting up the sides to the marquee thingummy that she'd put up in the back garden. She'd organised a BBQ, you see.

The BBQ was a scary family thing. My Dad's mum and dad were there, my Mum's mum, my scary aunt Ruth... that's all my family round here. But Mum invited Diane and John, who are friends of the family and much less scary than my actual family. I don't know how Rob felt about John but John really enjoyed talking to him about computer related things...

Um... after the BBQ Rob went home. I went to the Emmaus evening church with my brother - took my bass guitar. My guitar, the lead guitar and saxophone all experienced detuning throughout the evening, which was really annoying and inexplicable. But it was good to see everyone again. Mum made us take a ton of cake to get rid of it but they gave us more cake to take home... so that didn't really work.

Hmm... today I got up really late and talked to my Mum a lot. I haven't done much at all. Tried to put together the e-zine that I was supposed to send out this evening but haven't finished. It was Stargate night too. Although people kept talking. Boo!

That's about it then. I'd enjoy my time here more if I wasn't so sad being away from Rob. I am becoming increasingly pathetic and have a deep yearning within me to a) eat him and b) squish him a lot. Hmm.

Oh, and over the last 12 hours or so I've had the following spam codewords:


I have been mostly.... WATCHING (TV): neighbours (bbc 1); stargate (sky 1) / READING: the third twin (ken follett)

Friday, October 3

I have to stop slobbing around. Do you ever get that thing where you feel a bit sad so you think you'll curl up with a fluffy blanket and read and watch TV, but doing that actually makes you feel sadder than if you'd done things? I think that was what happened to me yesterday. But, well, I'll have lots of things to do next week.

It's my brother John's 21st birthday this weekend, so Ali, Mark, Rob and I are all off to Southend to do Karting and watching the Pseudo Italian Job and eating jelly and ice cream. I figured I might stick around in Southend until Friday, meet up with old work friends, go to my favourite cheap clothes shop, that sort of thing. And it'll be good to spend some time with my family. I mean, if I get a job I won't be able to pop home and see them. Although I don't want to leave Rob. I can't win, can I?

So with the slobbing yesterday I managed to watch The Crow and The Dish, as well as reading a lot of The Third Twin by Ken Follett, which is a bit like a John Grisham / Michael Crichton thriller. It's good, anyway. Very exciting. The Crow was very good, although I wasn't really in the mood for it. I appreciated the easy going happy story of The Dish a lot more. I really liked The Dish. But I think the way I felt about them was all dependent on mood.

I suppose I ought to pack some clothes and stuff. Get sorted out. Ah well.

Oh, do you think spam has some sort of code hidden in it? I've had two identical ones for cheap cigarettes at the same time, and the subject headers say:

Cigarettes for 1.60 per pack correlate
Buy your cigarettes for less submersible

Correlate and submersible? Submersible's weirder. But what if this is some sort of code? Is there some spy out there thinking, "Right, correlate the submersible." Or is he waiting for more words? Will I get the complete set of words, or will the spy be the only one who does?

Hmm. It's worth thinking about.



Minced beef
1 turkey cheeseburger

9 potato waffles
2 cheese quarter pounders
2 crispy pancakes
4 tiny pizzas
4 sausages
Approximately 11 chicken nuggets
A quantity of chips
Vanilla ice cream
A box of ice poles
2 slices of cheesecake
2 banana milk lollies
1 very small choc ice


I have been mostly.... WATCHING (TV): neighbours (bbc 1) / WATCHING (video): the dish / WATCHING (dvd): the crow / READING: SW NJO dark tide 1: onslaught (michael a. stackpole); the third twin (ken follett)

Thursday, October 2

Still haven't done anything even marginally interesting. Sad.


1 turkey cheeseburger
9 5 potato waffles
2 cheese quarter pounders
2 crispy pancakes
4 tiny pizzas
8 sausages
Approximately 11 chicken nuggets
A quantity of chips
Vanilla ice cream
A box of ice poles
2 slices of cheesecake
2 banana milk lollies
1 very small choc ice

Hmm, I obviously missed something off...

Minced beef

I have been mostly.... WATCHING (TV): neighbours (bbc 1) / WATCHING (video): the definite article (eddie izzard) / PLAYING: star wars galaxies / READING: SW NJO dark tide 1: onslaught (michael a. stackpole)

Wednesday, October 1

Nothing much to report. Need to formulate a 'getting a job' plan. :(


1 turkey cheeseburger
9 5 potato waffles
2 cheese quarter pounders
2 crispy pancakes
4 tiny pizzas
8 sausages
Approximately 11 chicken nuggets
A quantity of chips
Vanilla ice cream
A box of ice poles
2 slices of cheesecake
2 banana milk lollies
1 very small choc ice

He has a bowler hat, go figure.


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