Thursday, September 30, 2004

Now that's cool.

Wordcount - English words sorted by frequency of use. A random sample tells me the IBM is used more than brain [and the implications of this are?]. I'm not sure what sampling they used though.

Yes this link is hurriedly nicked from GfB.


Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Ah, there's nothing quite like testing something just before you take it back to the shop as faulty, only to have the thing work continuously for longer than it has ever done before.

And I had my indignant rant all prepared. It's not fair. So, in a follow-up to the recent moanings (someone could have told me I was repeating myself), the wireless ADSL contraption thing is apparently working. Just when I had finally confirmed that the fault is with the router, and not my computer. How can I tell? Because resetting the router or changing the settings on the router means my computer picks up the lost signal, whereas the signal never comes back if left alone.

And there's only one problem with using the BBC's streaming radio to test the connection. I have to listen to it. Radio 1 play some distinctly not very good music. I'm also wondering if the constant traffic of the radio is what is keeping the connection up. But it can't be, as some of the previous cut-offs occurred in mid-download.

Now all I need to do is figure out what is wrong with Mozilla that it can't cope with the BBC's radio player. It claims it needs more plug-ins and then can't find any it wants to use. I've obeyed the BBC's help section including copy various files with names and formats I don't understand, and yet it still doesn't work. Oh well. So back to my aeons old version of IE then (which means I was shocked when I had pop-ups coming up).

Anyway, having been trying to find non-descript things to read (is everything in your cache what you want PCWorld staff reading? Some not-work-safe and some not safe to leave work), here are a couple more media things. From the Indy this time.
Quirky Gaelic things. Some good stuff buried quite far in. I especially like cupa tì, which means, um, cup of tea.

When I say couple, I of course cannot seem to remember, nor find a clue as to what exactly the other article was. So here's something on McDonald's instead [I've been there a grand total of 3 times in my life so far. I've been to Burger King more, although not much more, as every time I go there everyone I'm with gets food poisoning. I've been in a KFC once, and ran out because the smell made me retch. Fast food junkie. I can't even manage a whole Mars bar (although being frozen and knackered from sailing gets me nearer completion). Spot who was raised on wholemeal pasta (it's harder to overcook, and tastes nicer). Pathetic aren't I? Either that or tweely middle-class].

And now it's up to an hour and a quarter of solid communication. There's only one way I know of to guarantee the connection will fail - clicking Blogger's "Publish Post" button.


When I commented about leaving renewing my car insurance on the 31st, someone could have reminded me the letter actually says noon on the 27th. Hence a slightly panicked yesterday, whilst I try to figure out why Direct Line think charging me £150 more than Norwich Union is a good idea. They even quoted me £40 less when I got a quote as a new customer on the Direct Line website.

I only found out about the cheaper prices via, which actually is surprising good for an odd little Google-ading dot-com.

In other news - a couple of things from the Guardian:
Firstly, tales of by-election jinx[1] in Hartlepool in two parts {and in typical Grauniad style the link from the end of the first half is a 404, so click here instead). I shouldn't laugh should I?

[1] If you can have high-jinx then surely there must be a jinx Just like people can be whelmed.

Secondly, a woman who claims the sandwich toaster is a mere gadget [scroll down]. Have you no shame? Admittedly I haven't used mine recently, but that's because I tried cleaning it, and gave up. Also the only cheese I have went from being cheddar to stilton, and then on being parmesan.

From the same page: leucippotomy. I quite agree that it's a great word. Now if only I could find a spare chalk down. [It means to carve figures in hillsides by exposing the underlying rock, which is probably chalk, judging by the leuc- bit. The G claims it's just carving of horses, but where is the equine-derived part of the word?].


Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Golly. Someone using references on this blog. Real actual ones, with dates and everything. Just a shame it wasn't it me.

Thanks for correction Neil - I was a bit dubious about whether the classical model of an amino acid mirrored the definition [but Wikipedia said so, so it must be true]. So amino + acid = amino acid or only ones on the amino-carbon+other stuff-carboxyl[ic acid] pattern? I think this could end up getting into degrees of amino acidness. I usually get distracted by the sound of the word zwitterion.

Is this the point to admit that I was never passionate about biochemistry? I only perked up in the lectures when I suddenly heard the lecturers mentioning how she narrowly avoided becoming a sexual conquest of either Watson or Crick [as in, I can't remember which was the womaniser, not my lecturer escaped the pair]. I still haven't figured out if she was name-dropping, or trying to work out how many of the massed first years were actually asleep. Despite her attention grabbing, I'm still not utterly sure about why it matters that the bases on nucleic acids are either purines or pyrimides.

On to other stuff. The West Wing. Um well, it's basically a programme about a load of people in the White House, who all have this terribly unfashionable habit of caring about things. Apparently the show used to have very close links to the Clinton administration, and has carried on along the same lines.

One American friend described it as "relentlessly gung-ho and optimistic". I think she was criticising it [the sarcastic comments about the "stirring patriotic music" gave it away].

The convoluted script that sends the unaware reeling has caused it to be described as [again the Alabamarite speaking] "Dawson's Creek for grown-ups". Without all the boring love stuff.

It's just not-quite-mindless diversion. When the Walker-with-an-N crew seem too worrying depressing, why not watch people who believe in being fair and just [and being left-wing for America, which reads as just-about-sensible for everywhere else].

I like it, but then that really is no indication of quality.

The Flickr thing. The lovely caterina has sent me an email telling me I qualify for a free upgrade. Huzzah. (But only for 3 months).

[They obviously don't check their registration records too rigorously. Or maybe they don't discriminate against schizophrenics].

So thank you to those who did email, boo-hiss to the rest of you [I know, I know, you all already had Flickr], and ignore yesterday's posting.

Anyway, I'd better be going, so I can get on with uploading pictures from across the ages.

Oh, and I got a bit confused until I remember it was last year I blogged about it [1,2]- Mesh is back. Mesh is an animation competition, shown on Channel 4 right after the news [so that's at about 7:55pm]. I've only seen one of the current crop, which was last night's entry. I still prefer "Disposable Freinds".


PS. Hmm, that's not fair. Blogger doesn't do automatic emails to me when someone comments without using a Blogger sign-in. Hence missing Stuart from autoblography's addition. How on earth did he find the time to do that, in between deciding which of his possessions are New Yorkable?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Buy one, get one free.

Except there's no buying involved.

As I've just noticed the free upgrade offer on Flickr expires on the 22nd, I'm now seeking any willing volunteers to be invited to sign up. All you have to do is email me at any[underscore]hoo[at]hotmail[dot]com, click a link and follow the very quick and simple instructions. And voici your new Flickr account, which is pretty funky [go and play]. Flickr promise no spam, as do I.

As an added "please help me get a free upgrade" incentive, I'll even bung in a gmail invite, which one needs to sign up to email. Aren't I rather stunningly generous? [please don't point out that Blogger gives invites too].

And as for my own photographs on Flickr, it shows the latest uploads first - so they were all the one-offs that I used to take up this month's upload allocation [to potential Flickrers: it's 10MB, which is quite good, if you don't add sillily big pictures, like I did]. Basically if the leaf shots aren't quite doing it for you, scroll down, and play around in the different sets.

So to anyone how reads this [it doesn't matter how or why you came here] please email me to sign up.

Ah, the glorious sound of desperation.


Friday, September 17, 2004

Channel 4 gives you wings.

The Almond Blossom FairyHurrah, the West Wing is back.

Except since the last series I've forgotten pretty much everything that had happened, and of course, being The West Wing, it's not quite as "for the hard of thinking" as the average American television programme. This wasn't helped by me being tired and hungry, but too tired to do anything about the hunger. And being so tired that I stayed up till the end of Green Wing.

In case you haven't seen it, Green Wing is a new comedy set in a hospital. It's a little odd, but it's Channel 4. I find it quite funny, but then I'm usually tired enough to find the Mini Ha Ha adverts funny [Mini sponsors Green Wing]. There's a certain degree of painful embarrassment, and a fair bit of familiarity. And gallons of people scavenged from the world of comedy, and Coupling. Including the woman from Black Books [Tamsin Greig, 1], who apparently was Debbie in the Archers, but she doesn't look like Debbie ought to look. Most of the people in it are the type who have been in umpteen bit-parts, usually in sketch shows. Hence the overwhelming "what was she in?" disrupting the programme. I'm still waiting for the rest of the cast of The Book Group to turn up.

Looking round on the IMDB site for it, and it gets ridiculously incestuous. You'd be lucky to find 3 degrees of separation between the cast and crew members, not via the obvious link. [TVTome's equivalent site].

Oh, I've just found out that the stammering, piccolo-playing consultant was the voice for Stressed Eric - which was a brilliant cartoon [whatever happened to...? Though "Arseburgers!" is still around]. I told you it was incestuous.

[1, getting distracted: she was also in that Lenny Henry one-tube-ride-too-many thing, along with a Peter Capaldi, he of "we have an injured rabbit also" fame, which gets us to This Life (via the Crow Road), Indiana Jones (via Star Wars), and Trainspotting. What was the name of that Ewan MacGregor folding bits of paper thing?].

So before I sink completely into potential pub quiz trivia, both series are worthwhile, so go and watch. And don't drink Red Bull, as it doesn't really taste that nice, and the much-hyped magical ingredient is taurine "a conditionally essential amino acid". And the definition of "conditionally"? It means if you are not taking in other sulphurous amino acids. To do this you probably would have to be not eating.

[Looking at the structure here. Um, I thought amino acids had the generic formula NH2-CH(R)-COOH? Where's the COOH in taurine? If it hasn't got a carboxyl group, then it's not an [amino] acid. Does this mean I can sue Red Bull under the trade descriptions act?]

This a good time to point out that taurine is one the most frequently excreted molecules, via both the kidneys and the bile duct? Unless you happen to be vegetarian, you probably have a perpetual excess. So what happens when you drink the taurine in Red Bull? It might pass into your bloodstream, it might not. If it does, it'll probably go straight out of the kidneys. Oh, and of course Red Bull contains caffeine. And what is one noticeable effect caffeine? Rinse well with warm water.

The other ingredients are a stunning selection of, er, stuff you'd get from a cup of tea and Marmite or possibly Cornflakes. You could just eat some chocolate instead, and you'd get the same sugar rush.

Oh and there are some interesting things about the neuroreceptor impact of taurine, in invertebrates. So if you want to really feel the full effect of Red Bull, become a fruit fly.

All of this is about on a par with cosmetics firms selling rejuvenating cream with anti-oxidants, and skin toners, such as vitamin C. The mere fact that a concentration of vitamin C high enough to haul about proteins in the skin, would blister said skin ... well, that's a minor detail. It's the same thought process that claims that despite diluting chemicals so much that there might not be a single molecule of the chemical in any sample, the diluting fluid will retain the character of the chemical. There is an actual name for this technique, but strangely I can't recall it. [Explain it in terms of spin, or possibly string theory, and maybe I'll reconsider].

But whatever you do, don't mention the placebo effect, or the word fat to the cosmetics industry, nor sugar-rush or caffeine-rush to Red Bull GmbH.


Such a good day.

I have:
A. Finally added some scans of some of my photographs to this site. Well, to Flickr's site actually, but Picasa wanted a download, which I wasn't doing. Flickr is pretty damn cool. Except for me using the 10Mb monthly limit in a few minutes. Serves me right for making such big scans (I didn't mean too, it's just that 100dpi seems so blurry). Anyway, a selection of pics can be found here (hope I've got the public access URL, if not yell), or from the cunning plug in the side bar (all I need now is an Amazon ad or two).

Apologies in advance for the poor quality scanning, but I only got better a long way into it, and for the blurry whitish patch on many of the images (usually at the right, or on the bottom). It is a fault of Boots' development process, and has become more apparent with scanning. I'm not best pleased about it, especially as it ruins some of the best shots. And developing at Boots isn't exactly cheap (though it is the cheapest on the High Street, including the "cheap" chains).

Before you ask, I can be sure that fault isn't at my end, as it occurs on films that were used in different cameras [one SLR and one very old, very cheap point and click camera]. The films themselves were from different brands and of different ages.

Oh, and if you want a free account, can you email me first, so I can invite you, and hopefully I get upgraded. Ta muchly if you do.

One quibble with Flickr - they use the alt descriptor, not the title descriptor inside the img tags. Which means the mouse-over comments don't appear in Mozilla (and presumably Netscape). Alt is what should be displayed when the image isn't displayed, for example "The image could not be displayed. An image of X was included here". Title displays when the cursor moves over an image (and it displays this in both Mozilla/Netscape and Internet Explorer). So when you want to add sarcastic comments to pictures, such as those featured on GfB, title is what you should be using. It's quite annoying when one has to right click and select "properties" to find out what is being said. Can you tell I'm a Mozilla-er?

B. I have had long enough staring out of the window at work (due to the stuff I'm supposed to be working on being in Hellaby. It's in Yorkshire apparently), that I've managed to figure out the flight routes and holding patterns into Heathrow. At one point they had three planes circling on the same route, all directly above each other, and all incredibly synchronised. And a very worrying distance between them. When planes are so big, the standard of 2,000 ft vertical clearance doesn't seem quite so big. Even more worrying was the straight flight path that clipped the top of the holding cylinder. I'm sure it can't have been that close.

C. I have been giving serious thought to the optimum structuring of elastic-band balls. Haphazard or organised core? Layering of types and sizes? Layering of tension? Is crocheting [hooking an errant loop round the back of the ball, rather than taking the band off and starting again] ever acceptable? Does it have to be spherical at every level? Of course I haven't actually done enough sampling to find an answer to any of these yet - I wasn't that board (and I hurt my hand yesterday).

D. Glad it wasn't me stories. That big yacht which sank in the Irish Sea. In the news coverage of it, they had a clip of an interview of one of the older members of the crew, in which he said the following:
"I filled the wheelhouse with petrol and threw a match in to it. I'll never do that again". What both the BBC and ITN didn't show was the comment after this, which was something along the lines of "because it knocked me backwards". Channel 4 did show it, and it casts rather a different light on the comment. The newspapers by and large ignore it, except the Telegraph has the sentence continuing in a comment about having half his eyebrows left. (Are they allowed to edit quotes?).

And as for the trawler that ignored them ...

D2. World's largest yacht hits rocks. Oh dear. Just as long as it wasn't that rock near Australia.

D3. Batman on Buckingham Palace. How dull. They could have at least let a corgi or two have a go. Makes it a bit more sporting than having a middle-aged man with a paunch being watched by a middle-aged man with a paunch, which is being held up by his gun.

D4. Men in t-shirts shock! In House of Commons. The best part of all of this was the various media organisations being indignant that they were contacted when the BBC had been told about it in advance. The BBC apparently treated it like most of the tip-offs they get, and put it in the "yeah right" pile. Whereas organisations like Sky and ITN were both claiming they would never have done such a thing and would have reported it immediately to anyone who might have needed to know. Yeah right. They would either have ignored it, or sent a camera crew out to scavenge information, and then sat on it until the time was right, and they'd secured enough syndication deals.

D5. Fears raise Dome security.
David Blunkett declared today that protecting the Millennium Dome was a "primary concern" of the government. Whilst there has been no official comment on the new measures, sources close to the government have confirmed that a special corps of Dome protection personnel is planned.

In an address to the Welsh police servicepersons’ conference, Mr Blunkett stated that "We must protect normal British life from the terrors of such attacks. The welfare of the public is our key priority. As such, it is vital we increase the safety of public institutions, including our most honoured and high profile ones. It is my intention to keep Britain safe for Britons. Our first step in this must be to ensure the survival of the Millennium Dome, the unassailed face of Britain".

Mr Blunkett has been under increasing pressure to act to protect keystone sites following a spate of high-profile security lapses. In a further blow, this weekend the News of the World is expected to reveal that one of its staff secured a wide-access job in Downing Street. This succession of embarrassments has lead to speculation that the Home Secretary is facing an internal campaign to oust him, following what was termed as "blundering" during the run-up to the European elections.
[Full story, free subscription may be necessary].

Something to make me smileVandal daubs DNA code in street. Of course the BBC get it wrong and call it DNA. It's a purine base. Just a base, none of this ribose malarkey. Muppets.

Remind me to move to East Anglia soon - other stories from that section:
- Amnesty for traffic cone thieves.
- Sugar beet harvest to crowd roads.
And I thought our local paper, featuring a sunflower story on its front page for about the 6th time since July, was bad. It's a weekly paper by the way.

About the pictures - I'll get round to sorting out a guide to them at some point, having never quite finished, nor published the details of the 27th June, and corresponding set.

Does anyone else get half-done blog entries for certain weekends, only to not have enough time during the week to type during the weekend, and then another entry generating weekend occurs. Somehow blogging has turned into homework (including the not doing it, and feeling guilty about it).


Monday, September 13, 2004

I was reminded of City Comforts by this BBC piece on the rebuilding of the World Trade Centre site, which states that the new transit station is set back from the street, for security reasons. I wonder what Mr Sucher makes of the impact of terrorism threat on the urban environment. As one of his central tenets of urbanism seems to be that buildings should meet the street, how does that mesh with pedestrian plazas to fend off vehicular access? And what should one make the of occurrence of concrete blocks to do the same? How long will it be before we see public art flanking the road, which looks an awful lot like those trapezoid world war 2 anti-tank lumps of concrete, that still dot occasional beaches and haphazard bits of countryside?

Or perhaps cities will become adorned with neoclassical colonnades, with 4 foot gaps between the pillars. Actually I started this train of thought off jokingly, but it could so easily happen. Somewhere near here already has a line of metal trees purely for decorative purposes (what was wrong with real trees?). Why not take it a little further and have metal flowerbeds skirting bits of pavement? Make sure it's strategically strengthened, and it'll work quite well at blocking access. Perhaps there might be problems with occasional pedestrian injuries, and people invariably climbing the thing, but that happens with anything left outside [and strangely all the straight lines start to gain anti-grind lumps of metal. I've even seen these applied to a stone wall between two grass terraces. Obviously whoever fixes them on hasn't figured out that soggy grass isn't really an ideal skateboarding surface]. If pointless squiggles of plant-like metal aren't the right thing for your town [though if it's good enough for China...], then obviously substitute random lumps of concrete.

Or simply build some cunningly robust benches. There seems to be a fashion at the moment for solid blocks of stone or metal, both of which I imagine would slow anything trying to ram explosives into a building (and both of which are incredibly uncomfortable to sit on, being resolutely hard, and invariably stone cold, literally. But what does comfort matter when the design is so simple that the architect can render images of them with the oldest computer in the office?).

Whilst milling about the CC site, I found a link to this article, which contains a curious turn of phrase I hadn't come across before. The use of the word "wholecloth" in the following:
Originality is not synonymous with creativity. Both require imagination and resourcefulness, but creativity is less about generating wholecloth or from scratch, and more about working with givens or within a system.

I've never heard of wholecloth as a word [4,320 ghits], and its use appears to be analogous with colloquialism "wholesale", as in: in its entirety.

Oh words and stuff found somewhere round the there:
Eroei - energy return on energy investment. Funky word (well, acronym, but EROEI looks too confrontational for modern tastes), but hands up if you can pronounce it. It sounds like it's either Ireland in Cornish, the name of some Indian tribe (I meant as in "Native American, formerly known as Red..." sense, though the "people from India" sense could equally apply), or some svelte elf from Tolkien.

And one from the comments: chicken little. From the context, and from the similarity of the sounds I'd guess that he meant Chicken Licken, from children's story (basically the sky's going to fall, and er, it doesn't. Sorry for the spoiler).

But consulting Google I am informed that the Disney corporation thinks it's "Chicken Little". However I've seen a 1920s edition of the book (it'll be around somewhere in family), and that definitely used the -licken version. And when did Disney start up? Oh, apparently the Disney version isn't even out yet.

I can't understand how the old version I know of, and know to be pretty old, is currently the minor version. Chicken Licken gets 4,760 ghits, Chicken Little 86,400 ghits. This seems like somewhere along the the name got amended by some publisher somewhere (or possibly a Disney) in order to get round some awkward piece of copyrighting.

It certainly does seem odd that the rest of the cast have names like Goosey Loosey, Gander Lander, Turkey Lurkey and Foxy Loxy[1], and when the main character is Chicken Little.

[1] There appear to be separate forms which either use the ending in an "ee" sound, or don't. I think the version I've been exposed to didn't, as I remember having far too many problems with the apparently simple Hen-len.

Hmm, is that why chick-lit seems such a comfortable phrase for so many people? Because it coincidences with a shortened of something they remember from childhood? Whereas if I apply the same model I get chick-lick, which doesn't seem as convenient, and might carry the risk of salmonella (or, taking the other sense, worse).

This -cken/-ttle dichotomy could just be based on one side of the Atlantic using one version, whilst the other side uses the other. But I suspect that it is the influence of one particular popular edition, maintained by some suitable company.

[Of the top ten Google results for the -licken version: an cites a 1919 edition; another .com cites the same book as 1909; 4's; 2's; a UK based .com; and a .com discussion board which suggests that Chicken Licken is the original 1849 English version. The same sampling for the -little version brings up: Disney; a Geocities site narrated by an American voice (and the author's page gives an apparently American phone number); a .com run by a New Jersey woman; a subsection of a Texan .com; a Guam based site; the NYT;; a Canadian .com; a Canadian .com that mentions the Disney film; and a defunct AOL homepage. So that's 6 US sites, 2 Canadian, 1 from Guam, and 1 I can't find out about. So -little is obviously the Americanised version, hence the plethora of webpages].

And while I'm on the us and them angle (well, I can't have the US and us, can I?), Language Log once again weighs in with how they Americans are better. They have stricter publishers enforcing grammatical rules, whereas the British don't care. Um, has it occurred to them that the reason that British publications differ grammatically from American ones, is not through sloppy application of the US rules, but perhaps because they use different grammatical rules? Everyone I know has always been taught that the author's punctuation goes outside speech marks. Hence if I quote the man who said "Quote", then my punctuation goes outside his speech. It's not his comma or question mark. For example: do you agree with "quote"? American usage apparently puts it as: do you agree with "quote?" Which if the quote was a statement, is misquoting the quoted person. And which leaves the sentence unfinished.

Even in the more grammatically correct new paragraph quotes, as in dialogue, receive the same pattern.
"Rhubarb rhubarb", said Jeremy.
Kate replied "Custard".

However for all this "I'm right, you're wrong, sorry, different, and possibly special", I'm still never very sure what one does with quoted punctuation marks, such as exclamation or question marks, or ellipses (that the plural of ellipsis?).
"US model?" Looks lopsided and unfinished.
"UK rules logically applied!". Looks too complicated.
"The probably correct UK version"? Looks a bit tangled too, but theoretically the author can take up the inflection of the quoted person, just not vice versa.

Now I've started thinking about, I'm not even all that sure about the commas by speech marks. Does one need them before and after, or only after?

Why is it that more one thinks about grammar, the worse it gets?

Anyway, I'd better give up this train of thought now, as I'm no longer quite sure of anything, and have already done enough to provoke a widespread "you're wrong and stupid" response. But as the English and Americans can't even agree on what to call the punctuation marks. Period? I mean, seriously? A period's not a full stop, a period is ... something involving Tampax (and they're probably not even called that in America. Even something simple like Sellotape becomes Scotch tape [does it come from Scotland?]. But then not even the Australians get that right [is it made from condoms then?]. But I suppose they are all preferable to that famous Blue Peterism, "sticky tape", which, while it may be descriptive [2], just sounds so foreign - a bit like people calling 0 "zero" not "o", or at the outside "nought", or pronouncing first party of as "see oh", not "coe" [the only people who persistently use "c o" are the world service, which is understandable. The other people who pronounce it as that usually have just read out something along the lines of "www dot name at name2 dot c o dot u k dot", to demonstrate they are truly au fait with such technology].

[2] Personally I think of a better description of Sellotape, largely based on its ease of use, but it might not be entirely suitable for a children's programme.

Does this all mean that American telegrams used to travel slower? Well, if "STOP" is four letters and "PERIOD" is 6, that's a 50% increase every time a sentence finishes.

But if you want really confusing names for punctuation marks, just look to computer code. Why are exclamation marks called bangs? I can understand it's because things go "bang!", but why not something more fun like "ka-pow!"?

In other news, recent search engine hits:
- winning slogan weetabix mini cooper competition. "Shit a brick!" perhaps?
- euro slider+door opener+schematic diagram. Have you tried Homebase? Ah, they haven't conquered the Americas yet? You'll have to busqueda elsewhere then.
- damien hurst bigger than god. Is that a question or a statement? Did he say that, or just his ego?
- Bigger than God — Damien Hurst Text Painting. Oh, I get the picture now. Not literally of course, because I don't think I've seen it. But I tend not to remember names of artworks, and usually struggle with the artists.
- vasectomy, puns. I ought to be able to milk this easily, but I'm sorry I just can't come up with anything.
- with prostitution there is the whole pathetic customer(male) feeling sorry for his scabby cunt whore who destroys so many happy-families she is a nasty spiteful mailicous piece of dog shit not a poor little girl who don't know exactly what she is doing. The Ask Jeeves answer: Your car keys are where you left them.
- "mouse trap" christian object lessons. Play or game? I'm not sure either would provide a very Christian lesson. Or did you mean an actual mousetrap? In which case I think Sunday School attendance might drop dramatically.
- sage 50 accountancy programme download +crack. Skinflint accountants - woo!


Sunday, September 12, 2004

Rain on glassAh, the wonder that is the late English summer [1].

I had washing out. I had just thought that it was still looking very bright, considering the weatherman [2] said it would be raining for most of this morning. It doesn't look like there's any rain around.

3 minutes later. [Swearing]. Frantically gather the washing in, standing in the middle of a mini-monsoon. I am literally pummelled by the rain. Not nice. And then it stops, and I've still got three socks to go. That's just being rude.

And due to some quirk of physics, the clothes I'm wearing are wetter than the ones that were hanging up in the rain.

[1] Now which version of "late" did I mean?
[2] Who is new, and ever so slightly camp. It's the constantly far-flung eyebrows that get to me. Maybe he's the latest attempt to counter weatherblindness - an affliction that means the viewer sits through the weather forecast, and once it's over realises they have no idea what the weather is going to be. Basically think Sian Lloyd [as pointed out by 2DTV]. And having said that, I now realise I have no idea who he was - pick a name, any name. I think it might have been him, but I can't tell until I see him swooshing the horrid rain around. Oh, he's from US TV, that explains it.

Good god.

Somehow I was looking the other way when this came along: William Shatner covers Common People by Pulp.

It's the type of thing that would even have a rock whimpering in the corner. The Shatman doesn't bother singing, he just reads the words out, in a voice that's having problems with the autocue. And despite this being theoretically music, his timing is ghastly - which, given this is a Pulp song, crushes some of the best parts.

This concept was obviously nicked straight from Cas-Av, but I can't get the link to work, so here it is from another source.

Pretty darn hideous. But at least it wasn't Hasselhoff. I can't figure out if the video in the first result is the real thing, or simply a B3tad version, which I originally assumed it was.

Is this where I discover that George Clooney's music is big in Korea?

I was joking when I said that. Yet Google tells me that there's some odd CD which features someone called George Clooney (no idea if it's the right one). And Amazon. sells a few CDs of his, though admittedly they are just voice recordings. Including a curious one called CD Clock. Is that just a CD of Mr Clooney reading out every time in existence? At the third stroke the time will be four nineteen p.m. precisely. For those who think a Bart Simpson answerphone message is a bit infra dig.

Anyway, I'd better get back to stressing out every dog for miles around, by using the scanner. Which I've discovered doesn't actually scan all the way up to the edge of the glass, which is where the alignment marks are.


PS. From the "and in other news" section (well it ought to be): Horseshoe sale for flood village. They do things differently in Cornwall.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Hello Language Loggers.

About that post, and Mark Liberman's comments upon it.

Having spent a while trying to figure quite what it is that I did wrong, I can now announce that it wasn't a joke (if only it were). I think it was probably the dyslexia kicking in. That, and my laziness in not checking the correct version. I'm now acutely embarrassed.

Sorry for mangling your term.

Egghorn ... eggcorn - let's call the whole thing off.

The panhagglety thing, with the umpteen multiple spellings, was a blatant attempt at boosting search engine hits. Being a Googlewhack can be useful.

Anyway, I hope you'll forgive my error [or my obviously intentional witty subversion. Maybe].


Monday, September 06, 2004

Pawn StarPawnstarOooh, that's handy - Copyscape a thing to see if people have been nicking one's content, courtesy of Google. Of course I haven't yet used it exhaustively on all the archives, but still, given the frequency with which computer-generated search-engine maulers pop up, it'd be nice to know.

Having said that, nicking someone else's text can do wonders for the hits. Except the recent example has now put me as the top ranking pawn baron for various searches. No, I'm not going to illustrate them here. I think it's also got me registered as "not work safe", as all the recent Googles have been "safe=off".

The Copyscape link was cribbed from somewhere in the PetitHiboux/Autoblography complex of Aqualungness, which recurred in my awareness via a little Moroccan.

Having partially Copyscaped myself, I've decided to stick one of those Creative Commons Licenses on here - I've been meaning to for ages, but always thought it was a bit egotistical. But as I'm intending to start adding scanned photographs in the near future (er, that's "intending" as in I have been for some while), and as they might be slightly less pointless than the text here, it seemed worthwhile.

Basically the license is pretty much along the lines of: if you use stuff from here, give me a nod (or a link), and please don't use any of it to make money (or in an attempt to do so). Although on that last point I am open to negotiation [what a surprise]. Actually I would be surprised if you could make money for this thing, but that's not the point.

And does any know of a decent photohost service? That doesn't involve me paying them? I've just created an account with Flickr because it seems quite cunning, and it says "beta" beside the name, and that's always good.

But not in this case - apparently there's 3 month retention rule, whereby anything older than 3 months disappears; and there is a 10MB monthly limit. I've no idea how MBs connect to picture size, but I think in experimenting with the scanner I was going beyond this. Hmm, now I'm confused, elsewhere it claims they don't delete photos, merely drop them from non-direct-URL access.

I guess the only thing is to try it (and then swear at it). And then remember that, hang on, didn't I sign up for something similar about a month ago. Oh yes. To do the A-Z thing [under the DoE]. Can anyone remember my Village Photos log-in?

And while researching images, I was very tempted to use this, from here.


PS. Go and check out Cas-Av's tube map extravaganza. The mirrored one is simply freakish (Does it really got out as far out as Farnborough, only northwards?).

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Yay for 10-hour days! I know that doesn't sound like much to some [namely the guy who is currently giving me a running commentary on the Australian election build-up, in-between doing all the stuff the commentary is on], but when they start at 6am, and grow incrementally [just a bit more], I start not caring whether it's a one or zero. The whole work thing is not helped by the big boss (both senses) being a complete hypocrite. And delegating her arse off (hmm, I wonder if she's tried that? Mean I know, but I have low blood sugar).

Anyway, having been very remiss (can one be remiss, or is it only "very remiss of me"?), I've not been paying much attention round here - ok so the tracker telling me that the world did not exist, or if it did, I was not authorised to access it, probably helped. And somewhere along the line both Syria and Saudi Arabia sneaked into the hitlist (list of hits for various countries, not the other type, unless you happen to be Bush's right hand man). Hi or salam al-I'mnotsurewhichvowelscomenext-kum [sorry, if that's completely the wrong language]. And since when has Syria been the Syrian Arab Republic?

[Random thought: How long before some right-wing American is on the search for regimes which produce bioweapons (always sounds like it ought to be a well aimed cabbage), and happens to notice that there's a country called the SAR, and a disease called SARS. A-ha, the pathogen has obviously been sponsored by the SAR, why else would it be called SARS? It's the SAR'S disease. Quick, to war!].

Hmm, remind me again how conspiracy theories start. I read it on the internet, it must be true.

Speaking of the Internet (good segue subject for a blog, huh?), I discovered another egghorn - keyholed for keel-hauled. Unf'ly I can't find it now (yes, "unf'ly" is used in tribute to someone - who read it out as "unf-ly" and then "un-fly". At no point did they seem to twig that it was in any way connected to "unfortunately").

Following the egghorn trail, and I'd just like to plug Pom du Cap - an English guy living somewhere [with authentic vegetation] near Cape Town.

Recent web stats stuff has shown a worrying trend - which I'm trying to ignore, as any comment willl only make it worse. Think imposex, a Some Like It Hot actor's daughter, and vicious rumours. Now add in the magic word pawn. Instant net success.

But on the good side, there is someone out there searching for "Panhagglety" +pictures. Which reminded me that I've never quite explained exactly what it is that panhagglety is. [Ok so the other result spewing vile lies besmirching the name of panhagglety did it].

Panhagglety/panhaggalty/panhaggelty/panhaggerty/panhaggarty/panhaggaty/panhaggatty/pan hagglety/pan haggalty/pan haggelty/pan haggerty/pan haggarty/pan haggaty/pan haggatty/pan ad nauseum. As you can tell, it's a name that's drifted over the years, and isn't normally written down. Even Google isn't sure which version to suggest. So therefore we will use the name my family uses, which is obviously the right one, and is still the accurate Northumberian version (um, well, via, Dorset, Kent, London, Birmingham, somewhere I've never figured out where it is, and assorted ex-colony type places). So panhagglety it is then [that's pronounced pan-haggle-tea].

The recipe:
My method of cooking it is a thorough corruption of my mother's version. Basically, get a large, deep frying-pan, and put some oil in it (I use whatever is available, so either sunflower or olive oil. You're probably supposed to dripping or similar, but pretty much any grease will do [provided it doesn't have bits of engine in it]). Heat on the stove until, er, hot. I tend to use the first signs of smoke as a fairly good indicator.

Now add chopped onion and bacon (one of them is supposed to go in first, but I can never remember which - whatever I do, one of them is never browned enough). Once again, you're supposed to finely chop the onions, but I use my patented not-quite-rings technique. Streaky bacon is preferable to back bacon, but use what is available (I'm not sure if streaky is preferable in terms of the taste and texture, or merely because it costs less, and you can get away with in this). Oh, by the way, scissors are infinitely the best way to go when tackling bacon [assuming you don't already have lardons - in which case, stop always shopping in Waitrose, or stop being French]. BTW, I use unsmoked bacon.

Anyway, cook the onions and bacon until they are softened and beginning to brown. This means quite a low heat for a while (but I get bored, and keep giving it bursts of flame and rapid stirring). If you're using herbs chuck them in here - though this recipe is strongly connected to the mindset where herbs are herbs, usually in a jar saying "Mixed herbs". Basically, herbs are optional (and unnecessary).

Once that's all done, turn the heat down or off, whilst you layer sliced potatoes on top. Keep going till you fill up the pan. Obviously, like the bacon and onions, it helps if you prep them beforehand, but I invariably end up doing it as I cook. I can't remember if waxy or floury potatoes are best (prob waxy?), but any big old potatoes will do [I'm fairly certain no-one has ever attempted it with Jersey Royals]. Spot who tends towards Sainsbury's "white potatoes" [i.e. the cheap ones].

Now add boiling water until the potatoes are covered (if you've forgotten to boil the kettle, cold water works too, but it just takes ages to heat up). Simmer the whole thing until there's not much water left - the potatoes should be cooked by now, but check them (and if not, you're on your own here, as that's never happened to me).

Simmer a bit more until there's really not much liquid left. I never go quite far enough, as I can't stir it, and would have to spend ages scrubbing the de-non-sticked pan if it burns (and also the burnt taste spreads throughout the food).

Serve, and eat with a fork, feeling all warm and snuggled up, safe inside condensation coated windows (extractor fan? Why would anyone need one of those?). A remarkable lack of vitamins, but very, very nice. It's probably the salty, fatty, starchy goodness that makes it taste so. It's a dish for winter evenings, when you've had enough and just want comfort food. It's quite good for getting [vegetarian] flatmates to comment, in an initially disgusted tone "What is that? Smells nice though. Can I...oh, it's got bacon in. Oh well. Would it work without the bacon?". And as for explaining the concept to an American friend, I never figured out what grits are, and she never quite got the concept of panhagglety.

I think my mother's version involves layering everything in raw [bacon and onions, then potatoes on top). Then adding cold water, and covering, and simmering up the potatoes are cooked. The lid then comes off and the water evaporated, hopefully browning the bottom layer along the way. I have no idea how this differences from her parents' versions.

A. I don't have a lid big enough for the frying pan. B. I'm a coward and so wouldn't what for the bottom to brown, and nearly burn. C. Being cowardly means it's doesn't get brown, and partially stewed streaky bacon isn't as nice.

Doing it my way can take anything from just over half an hour (once), up to 3 hours (though I was chatting for most of that, and the gas did shrivel away pathetically as everyone else in the uni tried cooking at the same time. The joy of minute pipes coming from the mains, which then served 16 fully functioning cookers, complete with ovens and grills).

Other versions I've heard of involve various combinations of cheese, mushrooms, carrots, cabbage and tomato ketchup. All of which are horrible travesties of the idea of panhagglety. Yes, I'm a purist, but then it does taste so in it's unadulterated form.

And how come I'm posting about midwinter food when it's hot and sunny outside? Because someone searched for it, and the world doesn't look so hot and sunny when you leave the house at quarter to six in morning. It does however look very pretty in a misty pre-dawn way.

Still no help on finding pictures of panhagglety (wait a couple of months till I start cooking it again, and until I get a digital camera) - but it looks like pretty much one would expect it to. Tends not to linger enough to allow effective photography.


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