Sunday, December 14, 2003

Hmm, maybe it serves me right for listening to commercial radio, but Xfm seem to be having an utter mare - some audience voted charted thing, so the format consists of "speaking bit, play song, another speaking bit". Only not today, as during the song you'd here the continuity announcement [that was X, with Y, at number 19. And next is Z and their new track A] when there was about 30 seconds left to play, and then as the song ended you'd hear the same message again[1]. So I'm guessing it's not live then. And whoever was left in charge of pressing buttons on cue got a bit confused about which are the live channels, and which can only be heard in their headset (you might want to move that slider up or down before you check you've lined up the right track, as playing stuff over the live output doesn't sound so great).

[1] Well ok so early on they played the same message before and after the song (and it only applied to the after part), so I'm guessing they were playing it safe from there on in.

Hmm, and for the condnumdrumy stuff - how can someone be caught following a link to another site from this site, at a time when the tracker on this site says there had been no-one around for ages?
And it's the same tracker system so you'd think if someone was caught on one, they'd be caught on the other (and I haven't found a way of changing the timezone for the stats, so I'm guessing the other user didn't).
Not making sense am I? Here's what happened - I've got someone on an Oxford computer coming to this blog having clicked on an referrer link in Southern Cross's tracker (so guessing one of the Mr SCs). So I go to his tracker to check this out, and lo and behold (or maybe just behold) there's a link showing this blog's URL, and claiming that one of the people who'd visited SC followed a link from here.
With me so far? Well it seems pretty obvious, until you notice that (according to the tracker on this page) there hadn't been anyone here for hours beforehand.
Curiouser and curiouser. Perhaps.
So either there's some cloak and dagger[2] plot being planned that requires masking a viewer’s presence, which would mean imminent doom, or maybe the tracker's just crap. Although having malevolent sorts lingering about would be handy for blaming every time I cack something up.
[2] Or blanket and letter opener (well ok so a ruler's more likely) as resources allow.

Oh, and what do my merry readers make of the BBC's The Big Read? Other than an excuse to fill airtime with pretty cheap talking heads, and plug the BBC's various works (Pride and Prejudice on video for Christmas anyone?).
Top five (well six cos I feel like it):
6. To kill a mocking bird, Harper Lee. Very good book, the only GCSE[3] set text that I read as a book, rather than as a series of chapters for homework - I just started and didn't like what was going on in it enough to stop. Weird logic I know, but I was worried about what was happening in it, which is probably a good sign, and so I kept reading until everything finished.
5. Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, J K Rowling - it's amazing where a degree from Exeter will get you (into the job you hate, before you give it up to become an author). Haven't read it (intending to, but the person I was going to borrow copies of the first 4 books off, hasn't taken the cellophane off them yet), haven't seen the film.
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, Douglas Adams. Read it/them aeons ago, and like many people, liked them.
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman. Haven't read it, but know someone who's getting it for Christmas, so borrowing maybe a possibility (although this is the same the person who has untouched Harry Potter books).
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen. Um, I'm going to get shouted at if I admit I haven't read this either, aren't I? Especially if I then admit I've seen the BBC's latest version (that counts right?[4]).
1. The Lord Of The Rings, J R R Tolkien. Read it, once again got worried about the characters, and a bit scared. Ok, so I only read it so that I would have read it by the time I'd seen the first film (I have this thing about trying not to read the book after a film of said book). But in my defence I only read it so late (I was 21, and anyway pretty much everyone I know wanted to borrow a copy, so maybe the whole book then film pedantry thing isn't just me), as when I was very young my father used to read my brother and I The Hobbit at bedtime. "Ah" you might think, except he put on silly voices for each of the characters, and my father isn't very good at silly voices, and tends to do nearly the same one each time, and he can't remember which attempted voice he used for which character. Now factor in that he also tended to forget where we'd got up to, so we would either get the same chapter again, or be apparently starting halfway through the story. My father also didn't tend to notice if we were asleep, and so not listening to the story[5], and thus be incapable of understanding the next day why we have no memory of large sections he's sure he's read.

[3] It's amazing how your estimation of people plummets when they say they like the works of the Brontes.
[4] I'm not being entirely serious with that comment, so please don't flay me.
[5] Or maybe he had read Brave New World, and thought that sleep programming[6] worked.
[6] Spot who can't remember the right word. Anyway the theory of communicating with people's subconscious whilst they are asleep to transfer information (and thus control their behaviour).

And I've just worked out I've read 21 of the top 100, although this includes 2 halves, one for what I'm on at the moment (Middlemarch), and one Far from the Madding Crowd, of which I lost the copy.
Although I've seen various adaptations of many of them, but I'm guessing the point is actually to have read them.

Anyhoo, back to the top 5 - only one deals with reality, and even then it's not a contemporaneous form. And only one hasn't (yet) had some incarnation in another form of media. And strangely the one that tops the list also has a film of part of it out now (well next week). So what do these say about modern culture? As much as you'd expect for a TV poll.

And speaking of modern culture - I'm going all interactive, and doing the BBC's Big Read Quiz. Except I just got the question: Who is not one of Pooh's pals? a Piglet, b Mouse, c Owl, d Eeyore.
Er...I don't remember there being a mouse, but the Owl was called Wol. I know this much, because I had a stuffed owl (that's stuffed as in made of material, not a taxidermied bird) who was called Wol, thus displaying stunning originality, as children are wont to do. It's not fair, they really ought to do some proper research before they set quizzes like this. Said he who can scarce remember the book, having chewed his way through most of it. Except maybe Wol was called Wol, because the bear of very little brain couldn't spell Owl. Which would make this pointless pedantry misguided, and er, even more pointless [7]. Such is live. And only I would be wrong about Winnie the Pooh.

[7] Which reminds me - The Guardian's Guide had and article about diaries and blogs, and immortality (or at least being legible, and just about mediocre), and such, which pretty well damned me, but now I can't find it on their website. There might be more on this later. Perhaps.

Anyhoo, once again I really ought to shut up.

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