Sunday, November 30, 2003

Oh dear, I feel much too old (and yet strange young). Happened to catch the opening of Flight of the Navigator on television. And then proceeded to watch the rest of the film. Was one of my favourite films when I was young[er] - and even then I think I managed to catch the beginning by accident. I guess it's just a nice film that happened to be around at the right time - it was made in 1986, so presumably first aired at Christmas in 1988/9[1]. Which would make me about 8 or 9, and thus still in the sweet and innocent age (like I ever was, or maybe I never left it).

And it's really bizarre watching stuff from one's youth, and seeing someone in it who is in a not so childish programme today (yet strangely looking much the same). [Sarah Jessica Parker in case you were wondering, she of Sex and the City fame].

[1] Because obviously my parents were too miserly to take me to the cinema[2], except on very rare occasions (otherwise known as we're on holiday, it's raining, and they've had enough of being pressganged into playing Monopoly), such as going to see Bambi, and strangely all I remember of it is Thumper (deer, what deer?).
[2] Admittedly the only film I remember people talking about was Star Wars and they were always on at Christmas (until for some reason they stopped showing any of them, which according to the playground, was because Russia didn't like them, because they were advertising Reagan's weapons scheme, which I think was dubbed Star Wars, and we didn't want to annoy Russia[3]. Pretty complex and informed for playground logic).
[3] Which was actually the USSR[4] back then, when they had Gorbachev, America had Reagan, and we had Thatcher (and her archnemesis Kinnock). It came as a shock to discover that the world hadn't always been so, and wasn't going to remain so.
[4] and her sister ship the HMS S, as the very bad joke went (though strangely it always had to be explained).

IMDBing - whatever became of Joey Cramer (he who played David)?

That mean a repeat of Batteries Not Included is due as well? Well we've already had the annual wet weekend fest[5] that is A Town like Alice [which isn't a children's film, but I remember it from then].

[5] So called because that's when it's usually on.

And unfortunately I can't think of a suitable set up that would allow me to say "Compliance".

Friday, November 28, 2003

Does anyone else find it slightly off-putting to turn on the television and know someone on it? Especially when they're doing better than you in Countdown.

And Google seems to have started liking me (maybe Douwe Osinga has the answer), even if there are some odd things that turn up as searches. Anyone going to own up to searching for jonny wilkinson changing room images? Must have been desperate enough to go through 3 pages of results though. Any of you lot ever heard of Gollum as the name of a band? As in lyrics to gollum's song "a swimming pool", presumably some band in Canada (and I must stop thinking the .ca extension means California). PLoS Sprinkle is a curious one, as I've no idea what they were after. And some poor BBC researcher came and looked me up for Holidays in the Danger Zone. In which list I get to be last. Horray! Fun job that must be, checking out every reference. Also get to be last for Glasgowland.

And for those that get this bit instead of the post where I discuss whatever it is you're looking for try clicking here and then type your search term in the box after the "" bit.

Now this is the bit that confuses me - for a direct search for Anyhoo, I get to be 6th - of very many. Which kinda damns anyone below me. Unless of course Google are rating the fact it's on Blogspot - which just happens to be part of their empire. Ok, so having checked out the opposition, coming 6th isn't exactly a stunning endorsement of this blog, but then some of the other results might be a bit more use to humanity (or very small subsections of it). And I get the added advantage of Google reliably informing me I probably meant "anywho" (which looks like even less of a word). And here I was thinking "anyhoo" is a corruption of "anyhow".

And continuing the theme of self absorbed introspection:
Plot your politics. Me, I'm Economic Left/Right: -3.12, Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.00 apparently. So that's somewhere between the Canadian PM (I think), The Dalai Lama, and Nelson Mandela. Kind of laissez-faire semi-socialist (maybe, if that's possible). Is this good? Possibly I also gave my idealist, not pragmatist, set of answers.
Going though other stuff on the site is quite fun - except for raising questions like, why are all the US politicians on the same axis?
Though according to the UK political spectrum I'm between the Lib Dems and the Greens. Eeek! For a start the Greens, despite some good aims, also have some seriously misunderstood (on their part) concepts, and are a bit useless anyway. The Lib Dems - well they're pretty harmless, a good way of avoiding voting for either Tory Party[1], whilst still voting because it feels wrong not to (unless you've got assessed work to be doing, have no idea who the candidates are, and don't care much anyway) [2].

[1] That was an typing/editing error[3] (and should have read "the tory or labour party", but I think it works better as a Freudian slip.
[2] And when are politicians going to target students in local elections? As where I went to uni they were over a tenth of the population, and did care about politics, it's just the politics didn't care about them. I just found it odd that normal residents would repeatedly get campaign stuff flung at them, and yet there's a large chunk of people registered to vote who can't get information.
[3] Which implies that this gets edited, which, as you may have guessed, is quite simply not true (well much).

Well anyhoo, how or way, I think that's all folks[4].

[4] Until I get bored again, or find something I find interesting.
Speaking of which: The Texan Language. And I can't figure out how to put "speaking of which" in Texan phonetics.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Well it made me laugh - in Creepy Lesbo's post from Wednesday 26th November, there's a very interesting take on various children's cartoons from the 80's. Possibly you have to have been young and in the UK at the time to get some of them, but for those who do, it's probably worth it. It's a pretty long post BTW.

And what does it mean when you have dreams about watching very faint fireworks - and then one arcs round and lands in the bushes to my right, and the next is tumbling as it goes up, and comes down straight for me. At which point I start running, and wake up in mid-air. Hey ho.

Hmm, I can't just start copying all of Casino Avenue's blogger links can I? Well just this once (for the time being). How come some people can do witty coherency, and some (namely the guy who happens to be typing this) can't?
Is coherency even a word? Doesn't sound like it is.

Anyhoo, that's it for now.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Oh what are we going to do with them? According to Channel 4 News (who of course don't have it on their website[1]), a third of all Americans visiting Scotland think haggis is an animal. Ah bless! Sorry to disillusion you, but haggis is not a sort of fox, but a not particularly nice variant of a sausage. Usually oats and miscellaneous bits of sheep chopped up, and stuffed into a sheep's stomach. Often served with such delights as mashed turnips. As produced by psuedoscots the world over, on Burns night, accompanied by a poem addressing the aforementioned sausage. As the poem is like a mix of Chaucer and the Jabberwocky, this makes for a thoroughly enjoyable evening. [And why isn't there a universal font for sarcasm?].
[1] But I'm sure someone else must have picked it up. See SMH is good for something (other than reprinting UK and US articles).

And why is this under "Strange but true" - UK judge finds man guilty of drink driving, despite him only spinning the wheels of his car. Given the law implies that you can been done for being in the car with the keys, whilst over the limit, why is this odd? He put the keys in the ignition, started the engine and engaged the wheels.

And what's this say about Australia - an article about the merry land of Oz having a small town mentality and directly beneath it on the front page of the website, guess what - an article about people going to marvel at a big ship.

And more stats - this from some faceless MP "only one fifth of X object, so that's 90% who support it". Yep you can see why he found it necessary to go into politics, rather than cope with the real world. But then the media can be just as dappy - like certain Newsnight presenters (and some others), when discussing the front pages of newspapers - most of which were at one point covered with rugby related pics, and saying repeatedly "And The Whatever also has a shot of a football boots". This being said when there's a rugby ball in shot, and the accompanying article is about rugby. Yep you play rugby with football boots, just like you play golf with a hockey stick (same difference, it's stick thing with a hooky bit on the end).

And now I should probably type "anal pedant=off", but it so wouldn't be true.

It had to happen, after all people tried to get Jedi recognised as a religion - the Matrix philosophy. I'm going to stop now as CNN is, as per usual, providing more than enough ammo to annihilate it (if you're lucky you might get to see the 5 or 3 legged dog that gets equal footing with stories on Guantanamo, NATO in Afghanistan, etc).

Do you ever get the impression that the world is verging on the somewhat unhinged?

Which reminds me (but don't ask me to explain how) - why do Americans say "I could care less", when they mean "I couldn't care less"?
Anyhoo, I think that's enough being annoying for one day.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

How bizarre - flicking around watching rubbishy TV, when I happened to catch an Anchor Butter advert [Click Techno Cows]. Ok so nothing terribly odd about that, except it was in the style of Weebl and Bob. Which isn't the approach most advertisers would take. And apparently it is genuine Weeblness.

Strangely for an advert about cows, there's no sign of Wee Bull (who's bound to turn up in a Red Bull advertisement).

And one of those is it just me things - Paintings by Michael-Angelo and covers of Terry Pratchett books, strangely similar. Ok so not that there's any reason why they should not be, but it just feels a bit "who'da thunk it". And now can't find the pic I want to back that up. Oh well. And that'll be the Josh Kirby UK paperback versions of his Discworld books.

And how much fun is this - being sent a prototype quiz - on 80's films, designed by a sci-fi biased accountant for her work's do. And she knows some pretty obscure (and boring?) stuff. And isn't all that exact about words and punctuation. And thought bats were rodents. This from someone who got a 1st at Oxford in Biology.

And Hurrah! It's pouring again. Because it's not like having continuous rain over the weekend was bad enough. Having more rain falling in 2 days than fell in the previous 3 months is immense fun.

Hmm, and there was so much more I was going to do, but can only partly remember.

PS. And isn't it great when gas fires give you a headache?

Friday, November 21, 2003

A. It looks like technorati is working again, having checked their news section only to find that it was all Michael Jackson and gay Massachusetts (which either suggests their scanning bot was broken, or the blogosphere is incredibly insular and US-biased).

B. Via technorati - Swedes trust Ikea. And hurrah! Someone else is as anal as me, and looked up their difference in prices (See 7th Sept. post). And does anyone else keep misreading IAEA as IKEA and vice versa? Hence I was rather surprised to see a news story about IKEA in North Korea. So now I have images of Kim Jong-il vs flat pack furniture.

C. It is just me, or does anyone else think the concept of a radio programme having a photo-comp is slightly odd?

D. Somebody else has noticed - Jonny Wilkinson's special pre-kick stance. [Which I've just realised got commented upon in email, but never in this blog. Opps].

E. Somehow I missed this. First G2, now political slogans, so how long will it be before some cunning advertising executive decides to get people to spell out ASDA or Tesco? Although given the colour it really ought to be a group of people spelling out "the future's bright...".

F. They'd better not change them. Weetabix - the most improbable market leaders ever. And yet they've still only got 7%, although strangely most people I know have them (when they bother with breakfast that is). But according to the article some guy soaked his for 12 minutes in milk - that just sounds incredibly soggy. But then I'm odd enough to have had conversations about methods of eating them - and by far the most popular way is to place them on edge, so the milk soaks into most of it, but leaves the top crispy. Oh, and if you want a new building material - try having Weetabix and yogurt - because all the fluid goes into the weetabix and the rest of the yogurt sets solid.

G. Why am I lettering everything?

H. Feel I ought to follow up the Turkey bombings, but I'm not quite sure how. Strange that some aspects of the media are busy rattling away about it being an Islamic country, and therefore not to be trusted etc., but it is supposed to be a future member of the EU. It always has been pretty westernised (heck, it probably helped westernise the west at one point), and is growing more so. Just getting annoyed by so much repetitive stuff. Oh well.

I. So whilst the US continues it's burgeoning trade war with the EU, they've decided to help form FTAA[1] (why's that look like it should be said as Fatter?), although retaining the right to opt out of certain clauses - especially the ones effecting farming subsidies, especially certain subsidies for citrus farmers, who just so happen to keep the president's younger brother in power (and guess what's on the list the EU want to put retaliatory tariffs on?).
[1] It's either that or what I presume is the Latin acronym - ALCA, which sounds like it's missing the -hol-ic.

J. Opps, being dim - was about to say the EU get to get Greenland, but them remembered it's semi-Danish anyway isn't it? Guess it'll keep having to edge eastwards then (at least until they decide the barrier between Europe and Africa is the Sahara, not the Mediterranean).

K. Anyone else see the irony in having to teach Blogger's spell check the words blog and blogosphere? Wish it could do English English though (Colour goes to cooler). And it really didn't like Weetabix.

Anyhoo, that's enough ramblings for now.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

So what do we make of this? The London Bridge Tower. Well at least it's fairly elegant (if a bit Mordor-y at the top).
And how long before the viewing platforms close because of the risk of terrorist activity? (and how much will the owners liberate from the tourists for the pleasure of just looking?).
Don't ya just love English Heritage's complaints about the impact on St Paul's? Well the precedent has already been made[1], and cities either grow, or they do the opposite (and it's the people the city wants who are the first to go). And wasn't Tower Bridge loathed when it was built as a gross ersatz mockery of the Tower of London, and thus destroying the atmosphere of the Tower? Buildings traditionally are treated with contempt when planned, liked when new, start to fall out of favour after 15 years, sink to utter despisal after 30 years, loiter around being arrogant follies at about 40 years, start to become respected after 50 years, and become loved after about 70 years. Assuming they last that long, and they were made with materials that last. Although the timescale varies with society's relationship to design[2].

[1] I suppose we could always knock down Guy's, and anything else that stick up above, say, about 4 stories. I'm sure Tate Modern won't mind you lobbing the top off. Hey we could follow the Parisian model and have virtually every building the same stunted height for miles around, even if that means the city starts to burrow to find room.
[2] Which implies people will start liking 50s, 60s and 70s stuff in that gloriously concretey International style (but maybe by that time we will have discovered that it is in fact 80s buildings that are the root of all evil).

Though reading the architect's blurb on the site - this seems to be a recurring theme in modern design, which I can never fathom - what is arrogant about buildings appearing to touch the ground? (and unless there's cunning levitating magnets and stuff, they all have to anyway).
Anyhoo, have to go, so there might be more on this later.

Obviously the world is conspiring to keep Bush off the front pages - first Jackson, now this - doesn't sound good. BBC version (presumably to be updated), although it was post 45 mins before CNN. NYT. But according to the Guardian it's wavering between 4 and 5 explosions.

Have now completely forgotten what I was going to post today...oh well.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Immensely pissed off. You know how last time Blogger wiped my post. Just did it again. Grrr.
So now onto the other thing pissing me off. Bush.
State visit - why him, why now? Now is because apparently US politicians start producing election publicity materials about now. Roll VT: Opens with wide shot of motorcade[1] processing up the Mall, past the mixed US and UK flags. Cut to shot of Bush talking to white-haired woman as they walk about a big house with lots of glittery bits. Cue the cheering crowds (preferably with an old fashioned phone box in the background)[2]. Switch to shot of Bush and TB in UK parliament, with VO talking about the deeds of the great and the good. Full screen slogan - Britain Backs Bush[3]. Should do nicely to convince the Kansas farmers.

[1] That must be one of the most horrible words in the language.
[2] May require careful selection of shot angle, and redubbing over prominent jeering.
[3] Or "Brits Back Bush" for the more down-market channels. Possibly might consider "GB 4 GWB", if it's not too near any romantic or sexual content.

And what do we get out of the special relationship? Oooh, they think the US will drop the tariffs on EU steel imports. Which the WTO has ruled illegal, and given the US till December to remove, before the EU can impose sanctions. Oh and US manufacturers like Ford are lobbying hard as they have to buy overpriced steel, and still have problems with supply. And the US steel producers have undergone the necessary changes to allow survival in a globalised market. So the tariffs are no longer needed, and are damaging, and about to get more damaging for the US. So show your generosity Mr Bush, and drop them as a sop to your special friends the British. (And which sense of "special" is that? The 'Mummy says I'm "special"', sense?).

Still doesn't negate the rejection of Kyoto, drilling the Alaskan Nature Reserves for oil, refusing to submit to or support the international court (guessing they saw Iraq coming), and generally making a mess of their foreign policy - gotta love their approach to war in Iraq - and them going "what's guerilla fighting?". It's what other people told you would happen, just like in every war you've been in so far (strange that they always take a while to believe it will happen, having said to the experienced people "Heck we're Americans, that don't happen to us").

Quite funny that this guy will also meet the relatives of some of the British war dead, yet refuses to allow media in his own country to film the return of dead bodies from Iraq.

Oh and apparently the USSS are annoyed because they won't get diplomatic immunity if they happen to shoot someone over here. At least we now know what Americans mean when they're being "diplomatic".

And you know how people have a tendency to chuck rotting food at politicians? Well, Ken Livingston's given me an idea. Bird Seed. You know how the president's car is bullet-proof and bomb-proof? ...but is it pigeon-proof? You get to keep your eggs, but still annoy him, although you might get charged £50 for the privilege.

Before you get cross, I'm not being anti-American, just anti the ones who voted for him, and those that have put up with him.

And if we're going to have a "leader of the free world", could the rest of the free world have some input into who gets to be it?

Although if you're looking for a reason to be anti-American - stupid names. Not American, but stupid none-the-less - stupid company names.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

[Much swearing]. Blogger. Saves post. Nearly. Was quite a long post as well. Grr. So building up from what's left:

Oh wow, one of the industrial buildings down the road is on fire. Again. They always seem to be. Must have either a very annoyed or very gullible insurance company.

Breaking News: I bought some clothes. For the first time in about a year and a half (actually probably a bit more). Although it was in M&S, so it's stuff you'd never normally notice. And why do their longer sleeve shirts only come white or blue? Or blue and white checks. Bloody gangly arms.

And the level of busking/street entertainment has improved - there was an electronic 3 piece strings group (electronic instruments, so just the minimal frames plus an amp or two), who actually played quite well. It's interesting watching the reaction of the crowds to the different music they played.
Mucho summarised because I can't be arsed to retype it all (there was other stuff between the stuff below, but I wasn't around).
Proper Jazz (quite fast and fun) = big crowd, much movement, high rate of income.
Famous Hungarian dance = same size crowd, bit more movement, still high income rate.
Quite cool version of the Beatles's "Look at all the lonely people" (not sure if that's the proper title) = Slightly small crowd, higher retention rate, slightly lower income.
Slowish Mozart = Crowd shrinks, low retention rate, erratic, mostly low income.
Some other traditional strings classic, again slow = very little crowd, very little income.
Greensleeves = nearly no crowd, few discernible donations.

I only hope they didn't sink to the level of playing the song from Frogger [Beethoven's Fur Elise].
Frogger [sometimes called Hopper] - simple 80's game which I played on a BBC (back when they made computers). Basically jumping a across a busy road and a crocodile infested river. It was good when I was young and it was new, ok?

Or that bloody bit of one of Mozart's Horn Concertos, which they based an entire series of a music for schools programme around (the one with the annoying gnome cupping his ear). After 8 weeks of the same 4 bars, you really aren't keen on it.

And I just tried spelling gnome as knome. Isn't dyslexia great?

And I've still got the Hungarian dance stuck in my head - but that's maybe because I looked up what it was because I knew it was famous, yet I didn't remember it. Apparently Brahms's Hungarian Dance No. 5.

And as it's cropped up nearly everywhere - Belle du jour.

There was other stuff, but I can't remember, so it probably doesn’t matter.

PS. The fire's probably out now, as this sat as a draft for ages.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Fiendishly addictive - Open House (click enter, then next project, and it should come up, or just cycle through the loop till it does). Highest I've got is 822,150 (not sure about the last two numbers other than there were some). And it's much easier than helping a freind shift one of their sibling's furniture round a room repeatedly (don't ask), especially when they say things like "you were right, it was better how it was". And less dusty as well.

And no fair - the thing from The Onion that's doing the rounds, that I was going to post here is already on blogger's FP. I'm not sure my mother knows what a blog is.
Anyhoo, I need to be somewhere.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Hmm, I'm really doing well on this little bundle of joy thing. First bashing the axle of evil, CNN and Bush, and now today's incredibly happy happy joy joy moments.
Getting changed after swimming (it's got easier again, but I still must look like someone doing semaphore underwater), and a dad comes in with his two children - who are both girls. This is in a male changing room, which is largely open plan. There were some empty cubicles, but they're quite small so only children normally use them. Yes I can understand if the children are too young to dry and dress themselves properly (although usually in that case the father sticks them in cubicle so they can't see or be seen), but these girls weren't that young. And they were standing discussing the assorted male genitalia in the room (in terms of which was better).
Am I being completely odd in thinking this is at best a little strange?

And then as I leave another couple of girls appear.

So now the world is conspiring to make me sound a right miserable sod.

And the CNN thing - ok so maybe some of it isn't exactly accurate (or spelt right), but you wouldn't want me to be right, would you? There is nothing worse than someone who is indignant and right.

And how this for media priorities - We get tonnes on the possible actions and effects of the Bush camp appearing on the country. We also get comment on the Queen opening a new war memorial in Hyde Park, and a passing comment about John Howard presence. Er...after a brief consultation with various normally well informed people, I discover none of us even knew he was in the country. John Howard is the Prime Minister of Australia.
Sorry Oz[1], you may give the world cheap daytime soaps, beer you wouldn't drink yourselves, and a surfeit of people to star in pantomime, but still you just don't count (and as for the solitary confinement wing, or New Zealand as it's sometimes known[2]...).
[1] And am I the only person who thinks calling the place Oz implies that the inhabitants are all friends of Dorothy? [Not that there's anything wrong with that, before the indignant people strike again].
[2] Yes that is in there just to piss YOU off.
And according to my brother don't refer to it as that there's a Kiwi present (person, not fruit or bird). Apparently you get bombarded by bits of cabbage. Of course you could just ensure they don't have cabbage available, but you never know where the next cabbage could come from.

Anyhoo, I think smuggling cabbage is about as far as I want to go today[3].

[3] And how many times in one's life does one get to say that?

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Oooh feel the wondrous presence of the great oracle that is CNN (apparently known to it's employees as Chicken Noodle News).
Be awe-struck as the sage solemnly decrees that "The Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth". Um...are you sure about that? What about that Mariannas Trench thing (if somewhere deeper hasn't yet been found)? Or did you mean on the land? (which given that it's a sea...ok maybe the coast of the Dead Sea is the lowest part of the land surface [being the regions of the solid predominantly ferro-silicate crust which are exposed to the gaseous mixture called air within this language, as opposed to the areas submerged beneath liquids and some solids derived from aqueous solutions] of the planet [known by it's English speaking human inhabitants as] Earth).
Look, it was there own stupid fault for poor editing. Speaking of which: King Herrod made his winter home on Masada, and the towns of Soddom and Gommera once stood before being destroyed by God's wrath. I don't know what or where Masada is so I'm not going to be pedantic about that now, but the second section of the sentence makes no sense. It asserts that S + G once stood, before being destroyed (well they'd have to, otherwise what's to destroy?). What's this got to do with the Dead Sea? It doesn't say where they once stood, or are believed to have stood. There's no connection with the story, other than X was in the bible, Y was also in the Bible. I think there's quite a lot in the bible though.
And what about the other texts that deal with the Dead Sea, surely the Koran makes at least one passing reference? This mean they've decided to try and out-Fox Fox News?
If this is the quality of American reporting from the Middle East, is it any wonder that the world's currently as it is?

But then these are the people who also (in the section labelled World News) have the headline Poll: Bush unpopular in Britain. Really? You do surprise me. We are talking George Walker (that's with an L not an N) Bush here aren't we? Not that annoying band from Sheperd's Bush, or those people who make electronics?
And isn't his tour going to be fun? Yep just shut bits of London with no notice, I'm sure that'll make people like you. Oh and can you make sure there aren't going to be any of those pesky protests he might see (try using your special anti-terrorism laws [aka "you've got dreadlocks, you're nicked"]), we wouldn't want reality seeping in now would we? It's so unseemly.

Sorry, I really shouldn't pick on such an easy target.
Anyhoo, think I'd better stop (for now).

PS. MS Word thinks "aren't we?" should read "isn't we?". Go figure.

Couple of good posts on Signal + Noise - various sexual stuff, and the manipulation of science. Except for the latter link being put up purely to get him quoting someone else (the "this is what anti-whatever groups might say" bit, and yes I am aware that that was horrendously paraphrased). But it's always easier to read the quote not the original (BTW how many biologists have actually read The Origin of Species?). When S+N is talking about genetic influence, I wonder whether he intentionally chose affect not effect.

Wetware's suggestions for the use of nature in developing technologies - pretty much copy the process not the result. The next day's post about using evolutionary techniques to develop banner ads makes an interesting comparison to Douwe Osinga's use of averaging webpages to produce the optimum (and it's beige, which either has implications on the effects of design by committee, or suggests the world aims to be as inoffensive as possible).

Salam Pax has a face. Courtesy of Newsnight. No more strategically placed hands, no more skulking in the shadows. Ok so it seemed more impressive last night when I turned on halfway through - and strangely knew it had to be him (well how many other Iraqis get to be on television talking about buildings?). He was buying Bailey's (oh dear).

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Er...any one else see the rugby?
That whole Wales finishing the first half ahead thing - not good.
But at least England won in the end, just not very convincingly.
For those looking confused - there's a little comp on at the mo, called the World Cup (that’s World as in more than one country, so not like the World Series), it’s a bit like American Football but much better.

And when did the national anthem become "God save OUR Queen"? Is it some sort of backlash against the republicans in Australia? Although I've never heard quite such a hammed up version as the one before the game (complete with people singing lots of Ahs to replace the instrumental bits).

So anyway, other stuff - going to see fireworks yesterday evening - but going to the snobby ones on top of the hill, instead of the ones on the flood plain (which is usually trying to flood around now). Admittedly the ones on the hill were bigger and yet cheaper, although there was a distinct lack of Tannoyed bad pop music. And then getting back home in time to see the flood plain ones from the kitchen (but having to bend down to see the big ones)
Some observations: very few car alarms being triggered this year - don't know why. For some reason sodium was in this year - well there were a lot that matched the streetlights. Strangely in one part of the valley all the bangs sound like someone chucking a tennis ball against a shed - but only in this one place. Couples having rows are funny - especially when it's obvious they've been told the fireworks are at whatever time, by the church by the bridge, which is where they are now standing - Sorry it's the other church by the other bridge. And hills have an incredible warming effect - especially when buried under many layers including gloves, scarf and hat, and being late to having to go fast uphill.

And funny thing - McJob - Sorry MacDonalds but most of your jobs are McJobs (is it only TM if the OB and S are capitalised?).
A message left at Merriam-Webster's headquarters in Springfield, Massachussetts, was not immediately returned Friday evening. Well duh, how many people are still going to be in an office on a Friday night? Yeah there'll probably be someone in on Saturday, but still...
How does one spell Massachusetts?

And the Royal saga continues - in SMH and places - and suddenly it's hit the stage of "that's not what I thought it was", and now it's very, very confusing, and not apparently all that related to the royal family. So I give up trying to work out who was saying what about whom and what. And anyway I'm bored of this story (or lack thereof) now.

There was something that was the going to be the point of this post - but I can't remember it now.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Ah! The Americans have come to drive this potential terrorist out of hiding - using the well known technique of playing awful music loudly until the victim's head pops. Oh wait, sorry it's only the local pre-fireworks PA testing. And why is it the sound engineers of dodgy local DJs/radio stations have abysmal taste in music?

Oooh what sounds like a Shania Twain remix (although the remix effect might be the result of badly set up equipment). What fun!

And did anyone else get that really funky effect on TV on Thursday night? It only seemed to effect BBC1 - but it's very strange watching Question time with what looks like Norwegian TV stuck over the top. So the screen was strobing pure white over the mixed images of the BBC and which ever other channel, and jiggling horizontally over Edwina Currie's eyes where subtitles in a Scandinavain language[1]. Which given that she has scary eyes anyway...
[1] Which I think was Norwegian, as it had to be Northern European, but wasn't German, didn't have the "4 letters where 1 will do" appearance of Dutch, lacked the flailing apostrophes of Danish, and looked too legible to be Icelandic. And also it seemed to only have one accented letter, and that was an "o" with a stripe across it which (like a derestricted/national speed limit sign), that an ex-flatmate who happened to be Norwegian told me only existed in Norwegian - admittedly she was mad, but hey...
Ok so I just stuck what I thought was one of the phrases used into Google, and all the address in the top 10 end in .dk, and some of them have that variant on "o", so maybe it was Danish. Ay well.

And no more will the Conservative Party be listing heavily to Port[illo] (like it ever was) - He is off (well in a couple of years) to pastures new, or at least more fun and more profitable. Was about to ask what he's going to do - but as he was on Newsnight review, I guess Portillo's off to become the new Germaine Greer. Either that or he's going to disappear into high parts of the various EU bodies (and accompanying Quangoism), but he seems to have a touch too much of the theatre about him to do leave the media.

Though he hated the latest Matrix - which to me is quite funny - but that's probably because I may have [after watching the 2nd one] referred to Keanu Reeves looking "like Micheal Portillo in a cassock". He so does, though.

So what do we make of the whole unreportable royal issue - I must say it was helpful of Prince Charles to issue a denial, so we all know who it was about. Although there still appears to be some variation in quite what is alleged to have been stated in a recording owned by one person, held by someone else, made by another person, referring to two other people. Clear? Right so someone recorded someone else gossiping, and the gossiper has made previous claims that turned out to be unfounded - this sound like a good basis for a newspaper story - it does to a tabloid (even the Guardian don't believe it). So what is the point of this (other than to boost the Google rating of various websites)?
Hmm, what else is happening that we aren't supposed to notice (hence the whole "ooh look - superman [run away...NOW!]" spectacle)? Or have we used our actual news quota for this year, so it'll be suggested speculation till Christmas?
So basically much ado about nothing, and even if it was true - it's not without precedent is it?

And speaking about precedent - Top of the Pops on Friday - am I old, or has it all been done before (and was quite bad originally)? For example: Phixx (so called apparently because they didn't win one of the many "I'm dim enough to want to be famous" contests, and so named because it's cool to hilariously misspell something. And someone once told a record executive that the letter "x" is really rad and dynamic) and their stunning performance which consisted in ripping off clothes, to reveal bodies coated in enough baby oil to turn the Johnsons into proper oil magnates. Oh and then they got chained up and writhed a bit. I suppose there was a song, but I don't remember, but as the singers didn't even have microphones I don't suppose it mattered.
But then there's always been really crass music.

Anyhoo, better stop before I find something else to half-heartedly rant about.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

And I'm a reviewer - apparently. For some reason the Southern Cross peeps have decided to quote me - even though it sounds like me damning them with faint praise (which wasn't the intention). Oh well.

And this is truly evil (yes I know it was on B3ta). A quiz on 80s lyrics. Guess who got 30.5 points - 4 of which were from recognising the song from the [spirito de] Punto advert [woah-wa-wa-woah]. So maybe I did shockingly badly, but hey it's biased towards Americans, and people who actually listened to 80s music - hence not having a clue about some of them even when they had the answers.

So...interest rate rises - good, bad or confusing? Depends on what proportion of people did that self-cert mortgage thing[1] and how well they planned for rate changes.
[1] Whereby someone earning £30k can get a mortgage more than the normal maximum of 3.5 x salary, through claiming that they earn £50k (or whatever) - because self cert stuff doesn't require evidence of earnings. Yes it's illegal - but many mortgage advisors recommend it [see the BBC's Money Prog thing from a couple of weeks ago], and provided the homeowners make the repayments the lenders don't care.

Wow, what a surprise - it went up. 0.25% really doesn't sound like it should be so important in such brinkmanship.

And Yukos rumbles on - the Russians investing in English football clubs thing makes more sense now. Originally I assumed it was a tax dodge, but now I've also realised it's a bit hard to freeze a high profile sports organisation in a different country.

A quirky thing. Assuming it was him (well given the amount of stuff trying to prove otherwise...).

Scanning other stuff - Am I supposed to have heard of Paris Hilton? And isn't that going a bit far - I mean giving her the name of not only the city where she was conceived but the hotel they were staying in at the time as well? This mean her other names are The Ensuite of Room 442? Yes I know her surname got given to the hotels, but surely her parents didn't have to pick a name that makes her sound like a hotel?
And looking at the other popular stories on SMH - I obviously don't read Heat enough (ok so I've never read it, but we've all got to have stuff to aspire to right?).

Something in it - or just filling pages?
The power of Prescott?

Anyhoo, that's about it for now.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Oooh wow, suddenly they all come at once.

Hello to Casino Avenue people - who I've just noticed posts as Inspector Sands[1], and who also recommends Holidays in the danger zone - which is one of those good programmes that becomes annoying because they insist on sticking it on after Newsnight (which also gives one a bizarre sense of deja vu in the morning when one sees the newspapers - because you've already seen them yesterday before going to bed). So I wonder where else they are going to do - because they've done the Danger Zone and the Axis of Disneyland next then?
[1] It's a very bad thing to hear when you're one the Tube. B3ta had a big thread explaining all such codes.

And hello to the people from Southern Cross.

And to the certain [presumably] Maloneyites - quit with the hate mail (at least it's an apt night for fireworks[2]). It's not even very good hate mail, although it makes an interesting change from the endless cam live now/need a degree?/cheap organic viagra spam. Though strangely I'm getting a lot of pre-order Finding Nemo ones as well.
And can you get organic viagra - well presumably it's got carbon in, so it must be, but somehow I don't think that's the sense they meant.
[2] It's a UK thing - some guy decides to blow up parliament, and we celebrate ever after (what exactly are we celebrating? That he tried or that he failed?). See the possibly poor taste pic on Casino Av. (which only works because Americans can't get their dates right).
And I've just noticed the truly stunningly awful (though fortunately not intentional) pun.
Anyhoo, I'm off to fail to see fireworks (the joys of hills).

PS. Diving down to rescue parts of someone's goggles from the pool filter is not a good idea when it has not been cleaned in a long time. Especially when you can't find the stuff you were looking for.

Hello Angry People from The Mighty Maloney.

I have a hunch there's been a slight misunderstanding somewhere along the line. The sublime to the ridiculous thing [see the post from 22nd Oct] - it was a way of contrasting two different unrelated links (instead of saying "A link. Another link"). A bit of a cumbersome way of doing it, but hey that's me.

I was about to get all defensive and protest my innocence, but then realised what you've seen.
"But people imposing themselves ostentatiously into novels has always annoyed me" - As it's in the middle of a paragraph about War and Peace, I was slamming Tolstoy not TMM (in the book there's quite a lot of his own personal opinions put clumsily into a fictional plot, which I find distracting and irritating). Sorry for the rambling haphazardness of the topics and any confusion it may cause.

Other than rather tactlessly putting the link under the word ridiculous, and describing TMM's life as very different (which it is, what with the whole him being a confident guy in a different continent), there was no intentional personal slight. I read TMM's blog because it's intriguing, not to allow me to deride it.

And as for the charge of being a hypocrite - well yes I probably am (but maybe not in ways you know), but then isn't everyone?

Sorry for apparently feeding TTM's vitriolic ire.

Anyway that's about it for my futile attempt at damage limitation.

And wow - a lot of people must read that blog.

As for good words - always quite liked plethora myself.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

The Mesh thing (from yesterday) - go to year 03 films - and the one I was talking about is the first. Though having seen the others from this year, I think it's probably the best film and best tie-in. But maybe that's a reflection on my lack of patience with the Glasgowland one (and annoyance at taking so long to figure out the Glaringly one).

A story strangely not involving bestiality.

As I type, on the radio - Jo Whiley interviewing Britney Spears - wasn't really listening, but just heard Jo Whiley give her something [book/diary?] with her initials embossed on it...I do so hope there's another letter to go between the B and the S.

Not really funny - but how many times does this happen?

Only in America (I hope).

And once again forgetting to post this - I blame G2.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Too good to wait:
Disposable Friends, from the first film from Mesh (a Channel 4 animation competition). Methinks me likes this. Haven't checked out the rest yet, but given what Channel 4 normally stick in their post-News slot these should be good.
Anyway I'm off to watch more.

Update: He also put the treacle tart straight on the oven shelf (no baking tray), hence one lightly grated tart when I tried to take it out. And I thought I was being uncharitable in the last post.

Last night TV - Correspondent on Israel (isn't it always?) and the actions of the IDF/IOF (that's Israeli Defence Force, not the now even more quiet man). The usual.
Also Panorama on the South Wales Police. Pretty damning. How long will it be before the police complain the BBC is biased against them, after exposes on racism in London and Manchester, and now them making up very dodgy evidence?

How am I supposed to describe this? Other than possible Ig Noble fodder, or more charitably a marketing gimmick.

Hmm, I know I kept this as draft for a reason, but I can't remember why.
Anyway I'm still in post swim can't-quite-see stingy eyes mode, so I'll give up.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Oooh the joys of helping parents - father deciding to do duck for Sunday lunch [because it was cheap in Sainsbury's]. Well first is the fact he didn't think about starting till about half twelve. Now bear in mind it's 2 and a bit kilograms, and it's supposed to be 20 mins per 1lb/500g plus another 20 for luck. Father: "right so that's about 50 minutes". didn't get much sleep did you? The 2.31 thing is kilograms not pounds [at least he wasn't reading the price]. So...about 2 hours sound right?
Then he decides he needs to take the giblets out first. He can't find them.
"Hang on, there's an odd looking thing here, I'll try and get that out".
"Um, Father...that's the spine".
"Oh", as he prods stuff. "I know what they've done - they've forgotten to do any butchery on it - look there's the lungs".
"Those two dark lumps there".
"Where? These? You know it's a bird and it flies, what do you think powers that? Could they be the pectoral muscles, the thing that makes up the breast?" [did he not notice the lack of tubes and their solidness considering they are supposed to be filled with air?].
"Oh. So they've forgotten to put them in then?".
"Um, you see the plastic bag down there...the plasticky thing in the middle?". After a bit of shaking and hauling a bloody bag emerges.
And then for the fun bit - identifying the bits. Well other than there being two hearts...I'm guessing they just grab a handful of gunky stuff and fling it in. Birds have weird anatomy, especially when it's been hacked to bits.

Anyway after that I left him to it (possibly because I can't stand the pre-gravy simmering giblets smell).

And now it's linky time!
The periodic table revisited. Argh, IE just did that auto-fit window thing on the JPEG version, so now there's very small chaos (looks nearly as fun as that sheet of hormone interacts one can get). And apparently the very good Web Elements is still going (remember using it for college). Anyway it's an interesting take on the table, though there's almost too much information to make sense. Or mistake though - on the JPEG it has when the elements where recognised (yellow pentagon), but the time scale skips from 1862-1963. Opps.
And I think that'll do for the time being.
Anyhoo...can’t go and have lunch because it's not cooked yet.

PS. And stupid MS Word wants to change "bear" to "bare", in bear in mind. And yet they managed to take over the world.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Argh stupid radio news people
"A man has been taken to hospital after falling into a vat of acid. The man fell into the caustic soda...". Now see, if he'd fallen into a vat of acid with caustic soda in it as well he probably would have been ok, what with the whole neutralising thing. Grrr.

So anyway, I'm having a fun Saturday night - getting annoyed with the griminess of the cooker, so deciding to swipe it down. Only there's large bits I can't get clean, but I can't leave it now, because it's obvious that someone's tried and failed to clean it. So decide to make a more industrious attempt, so take the grids off to soak, only to realise that that would mean clearing the sink first. A gunky and pungent while later and there's stuff buried under Fairy foam in the sink and little progress on the stove. So now I've flooded the hob (well ok so it's just this side of flooded, I'm not [that] stupid), and left it to soak. I have a hunch most people don't have to leave their stoves soaking, but hey-ho.

Other stuff: isn't it great the way parents (mothers in particular) can with a few words put one in a state in which listening to Kerrang! radio (the joys of digital) in the cold and dark seems like a good idea. That's nearly down to Placebo album level.

Actually digital radio's odd. Because I just realised that there are tons of London stations (no more not daring to move in case the reception goes), but there is none of the local stuff. Not that that's bad though.
And they have cunning scrolling across the screen things. Which is cunning until you realise only a few stations have dynamic stuff (i.e. now playing X by Y), and most have the same message indefinitely. It's also disconcerting when you happen to catch the screen saying "GH TERROR ALERT". What? What did I miss? I'm guessing that's High..., but why is it? And then waiting through the other blurb (call us, text us, email us, read the website, ring up and talk about the website, ring up to get the email address to ask for a request, your name here, coming up next, what you've just heard, yes those last two were the same, and yes they are the same as what is now playing, dogger, fisher, German bight, moderate at first, becoming poor later, you still here? sierra whisky foxtrot to alpha gamma ray of light by madonna), to get it saying "BAGHDAD ON HIGH...". Oh right, so nothing unusual then. And then thinking I'm not supposed to be thinking that, am I? Oh well, but now it's REM (again - they must be getting more airplay than The Darkness, and that's really saying something (possibly not completely good)), so it doesn't matter because my nipples have gone. Confused? Everybody Hurts, and it always happens, and no I don't know why.

And now for the obligatory link, but as I haven't been on the computer much today, there isn't anything particularly new about it. National Institution (maybe). Still expect it to be Finnistere not FitzRoy though.
Damn useful, especially for those who have problems caused by that amphidrome in the middle of Salisbury Plain. And yes there is such a word as amphidrome - it's an area where there's no tide. There's one in the North Sea, and one in Wiltshire. Yes I know Wiltshire is landlocked, but the amphidromes occur where isotidal lines cross. Isotidal lines = lines linking places in which the high tide occurs at the same time (like isobars do for pressure). Theoretically these should be fairly evenly spaced, but there's these silly things called continents that get in the way and wreck the pattern. So round Britain the tidal flow splits and moves in different directions at different rates, and so you get different effects - like one place having insanely large tides, and another having none at all (because the peak of one tide meets the trough of another). It's just basic interference patterns. But because one of the points without tide is on land you get lots of interference, and so some places get weird echoes of the tide. For example round Poole gets a weird hiccup effect, whereby there are two high tides and usually two lows in the space where they would normally be one.

And it's not fair! I can hear fireworks but not see them. But they're going to be around all week (and having had them for most for the summer [many big houses near here], they don't seem so special, or may it's just I'm not 8 anymore). Yes it's close to Guy Fawkes' night (aka petrified dogs and hyperactive car alarms week).
Anyhoo, off to do oven stuff.

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