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Not dead yet ...

Moving house: just say no!


(That's my living room, in case you hadn't guessed. Spot Little Miss Underfoot, circled in red.)



What are you worried about? Currently we have a full size container in our front garden containing stuff we don't have room for while the extension is being built.

Thankfully the bookshelves are in the front room and my office which are the only untouched places in the entire house otherwise we would be looking for homes for 10 billy bookcases worth of books.


Er, that was the second truck-load waiting for uplift, Ben. (We're only moving from a three bedroom flat to a slightly larger one!)

NB: I'm borderline asthmatic, and the dust this raised has given my breathing some interesting harmonics for the past week.

Two more days and you can bury me ...


Did you use this opportunity to toss some of the junk stuff that has piled up over the years?


Looks horribly familiar.


I recently moved from a house in Orlando to an apartment in the East Village and I was stunned by the amount of Shit I had accumulated. I still throw out rooms full of stuff - amazing what you can live without when you dont have the room for it.


Three cheers for that coffee table, it deserves a bloody medal for what you're asking of it.


Johan: I personally tossed ten large rubbish bags full of stuff today alone.

Let me emphasize, this is the stuff we want to keep. It's absolute hell, because we could rely on the removals firm to pack for us ... but they wouldn't know what to throw away!

Thankfully, it's now at the stage where we can pull the trigger and tell them "pack everything that's not already in boxes" without burying ourselves under too much rubbish at the new address.


Does your Little Miss attempt to jump into the boxes and/or suitcases as you're packing them? Most cats seem to have an absolute mania to find out what it would be like to be shipped someplace.


We moved this last weekend - threw out somewhere in the vicinity of 20 large contractor-sized garbage bags of crap and still filled a large U-Haul truck with stuff. Ended up with 60 liquor boxes of books. Man, I never had a tenth this much stuff before I got married.

The unpacking is proving to be even more traumatic than the packing - toward the end we started sweeping things into boxes, and that's killing us now. But, happily, kids, cats and dogs are adapting well to the new digs.


Buckethead: I feel your pain.

Clifton: thankfully, neither of our current feline owners are cat-in-the-box types. Mostly they just sleep, being aged 10 and 12 respectively.


Charlie, it's *unboxing* that's the new porn. Jeeze, no one wants to see pictures of sealed boxes! Well, actually there's this guy in Canada I heard about...

P.S. Good luck with the unpacking, and don't forget to take lots of photos okay?


"Two moves equals one fire."

-- Mark Twain


It's truly impressive the way your cat has adapted to blend into her environment, no? Or was she intelligently designed?

Anyway, I was expecting you'd have (apart from the books) the following worldly goods: 1x Powerbook, 1x Cat, 1xCthulhu-related item. It's the geek way - virtualise your possessions.


Alex, I'm a virtual pack-rat too.


Furry madam isn't going to like it ....

How would you like a picture of the Fluff-widening project who usually tries to capture my mouse-hand whilst I'm typing relies like this?
( Unspeakably cute BTW )


Update: the flat looks like a bomb hit it -- some kind of anti-neutron bomb that destroys structures and leaves people intact.

I do believe we're going to make it out of here on time ...

I do believe we're going to make it out of here on time ...
Oh, man, you shouldn't have said that. Think of what would happen to Bob Howard on the next page if he said something like that in the middle of an adventure. Good think you're not writing this move, just living it, no?

Sometimes it's best to sacrifice some small item to the movers; that tends to drain away the bad energy. Last time I moved, it turned out to be our old refrigerator; we tried all the exterior doors on the new house, and couldn't get it through any of them. The woman moving into our old place got a little bonus left behind.
Although, damned if I can figure out how we got it in there in the first place.


"refrigerator... damned if I can figure out how we got it in there in the first place."

By the same algorithm used by Doug Adams for moving a couch (sofa) around the corners of a staircase. Which, by the way, is an actual mathematical computer science subject.

Weisstein, Eric W. "Moving Sofa Problem." From MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource.


Croft, H. T.; Falconer, K. J.; and Guy, R. K. Unsolved Problems in Geometry. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1994.

Finch, S. R. "Moving Sofa Constant." §8.12 in Mathematical Constants. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, pp. 519-523, 2003.

Gerver, J. L. "On Moving a Sofa Around a Corner." Geometriae Dedicata 42, 267-283, 1992.

Sloane, N. J. A. Sequence A086118 in "The On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences."

Stewart, I. Another Fine Math You've Got Me Into.... New York: W. H. Freeman, 1992.

Trott, M. The Mathematica GuideBook for Programming. New York: Springer-Verlag, p. 104, 2004.



If I'm understanding the Weisstein paper correctly, I need to find a refrigerator designed by Calder, then find a couple of extremely thin and extremely limber moving persons. Is there a result to show the maximum number of moves required to get the sofa through the door? Is that number known to converge for arbitrary sofas? Don't want to have to make aleph-null moves, after all. Paying the movers for that amount of labor would not be cost-effective.


Just looking at that gives me the urge to go into the garage and start chucking things into the garbage bin.


Charles: Congratulations to all involved humans, felines, Lovecraftian fauna, and fictional characters in moved books. I think of Jonathan Swift's "Battle of the Books." Several 2nd rate movies seem to be clumsy partial adaptations, though the magical books in the Harry Potter films are pretty well done.


"extremely thin and extremely limber moving persons" sounds more like Frtitz Lieber's "A Spectre is Haunting Texas."

Pity that Weisstein didn't show Gerver's diagram. Of course, that's a 2-dimensional sofa, useful only in A. A. Abbott's Flatland (or its sequelae by Rucker, Ian Stewart, et al.). I've used "Starving Students" for a move. Except they were not my kind of students. I'd specified in advance that I had "literally thousands of books" so they would need to bring extra boxes. They assumed that I meant "figuratively thousands of books" and, with the meter running, I had to take them to a store that sold cheap boxes.

Paying for aleph-null hours is no problem, if the hourly rate is infinitesimal. But then one squabbles over which nonstandard analysis invoice to use.

This is related to the Piano Mover's Problem, but at least there's a good Laurel & Hardy film for reference.


Moving into the country, or at least what passes for country on the east coast of the US, also involves dealing with less than sharp utility customer service drones.

Our (new) local broadband provider couldn't, for example, determine that they actually provide service to our address. And once we convinced them that they did - our evidence being cable jacks in several rooms - we had to physically go to their stealth office with a copy of our mortgage, just to prove that we weren't the deadbeats who hadn't paid for the service that the cable company wasn't all that sure that they provided in the first place.

But at least I won't have to deal with expensive high latency satellite broadband.

The full story, if you will forgive a small plug, is here.


Well, personally I don't find moving THAT traumatic. Which is good cos I've also lived in 9 houses in 5 towns in the last 7 years. 10 houses if you count my parents place both times..

(Mostly University-related...)


Gawd. That brings back memories of my last move (the apartment wasn't ready, and the staff didn't seem to realize that I had three guys and a truck idling).


Two more days and you can bury me ...

My retirement plan depends on it.


I was wondering where the cat was! Oh, peekaboo!

I've made up my mind if and when another move comes along that "furniture and appliances belong to the house. Books and things on my mental A-list belong to me. The rest is for either gifts (if quirky) or yard sale (if boring).


... And not only am I in, but so is the broadband and the wireless router (not to mention the cable TV and the washing machine)!

Andrew Crystall: I, too, have moved a lot from time to time -- there was one two year period when I moved four times. Alas, I am no longer a student, but a married not-quite-middle-aged guy with all the complications that implies (except children -- and trust me, cats are quite bad enough) and I hadn't moved for 11 years and 10 weeks.

I doubt we'll be in this flat for quite that long (although a whole decade wouldn't surprise me too much), but it's not something I have any appetite to repeat any time soon.


I haven't been a student for three years either, Charlie. I'm just ruthless about getting rid of stuff I don't use. Most of my books go into storage after a day I might have them all out again, but that'd involve getting a job which paid enough to get a house...

(I'm a computer game designer. No, the pay's not very good. And I live in Oxford. Little bit expensive!)


If you're into getting furniture for the new place, Charlie, I just found a link to this Evil Villain Chair at Digg. Is this what Blofield was sitting in when you interviewed him?


Your phograph strongly reminds me of:

New lower bounds for the three-dimensional finite bin packing problem

Discrete Applied Mathematics archive
Volume 140 , Issue 1-3 (May 2004)
Pages: 241 - 258
Marco A. Boschetti, Department of Mathematics, University of Bologna, Via Sacchi 3, Cesena 47023, Italy
Elsevier Science Publishers B. V.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands


The three-dimensional finite bin packing problem (3BP) consists of determining the minimum number of large identical three-dimensional rectangular boxes, bins, that are required for allocating without overlapping a given set of three-dimensional rectangular items. The items are allocated into a bin with their edges always parallel or orthogonal to the bin edges. The problem is strongly NP-hard and finds many practical applications. We propose new lower bounds for the problem where the items have a fixed orientation and then we extend these bounds to the more general problem where for each item the subset of rotations by 90° allowed is specified. The proposed lower bounds have been evaluated on different test problems derived from the literature. Computational results show the effectiveness of the new lower bounds.


"I'm a computer game designer. No, the pay's not very good. And I live in Oxford. Little bit expensive!"

Would that be working for Rebellion, by any chance? I don't know of any other games companies based in Oxford (not that I'm particularly well informed on the subject).

Either way, you have my sympathies -- Rebellion interviewed me for an editorial position after they'd acquired 2000AD and the Megazine ... as much as I would have loved the job, a quick review of property prices quickly informed me that I could trade in my three-bed terrace in Nottingham for either a shitty one-bed flat twenty-plus miles from the office, or a time-share on a small cardboard box in the gutter somewhere in central Oxford. I think that there may have been a bird bath in someone's garden that I might also have been able to afford ...

There was that, and, of course, the fact they gave the job to some other fucker solely on the basis that he was better qualified and had loads more relevant experience than me. It was discrimination, I tell you!




Hi Jim, while there are other (far smaller) computer games companies in town, I do indeed work for Rebellion.

And yes, Oxford is *expensive*.


Hi Charlie - I know you've currently got your mind on higher things, but I just thought I'd drop you a line to say I got the Atrocity Archive yesterday, and sat up 'til 0115 hours reading it from cover to cover. Since I don't want to get mentioned in Private Eye's O.B.N. column, I'll stop there.


Three moves = one fire... 8-). Hang in there!


Moving story - last move but one (with another on the horizon)

Lorry parked outside new house. Wheelchair bound mother in law outside new house. Wife and three kids outside the new house. Purchasers in the old house.

Solicitor (by phone) - 'I don't think we can complete today.'

Me (by public phone, this was before mobiles became ubiquitous) using the voice Susan used on the bed monster in the first episode of Hogfather - 'I believe you'll find we will.'

We got the keys, only half a day late, but no jury would have convicted me (is there such a crime as solicitorcide or is that classed as public service?)



It's legally (!) equivalent to pest control: you're responsible for making sure the poison or other instrumentality doesn't affect nearby humans.



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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on December 12, 2006 8:09 PM.

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