Saturday, March 31, 2012

To infinity, and beyond

I'm reading David Foster Wallace's 'Infinite Jest' on the kindle at the moment; a work which, for all its manifest virtues, I am finding easier to admire than to like.

I discovered by accident that that the page numbers appear when you press the menu button when you're in a book.

I'm on page 397 of 981! I had no idea it was such a doorstop. I wonder if I would have entertained it as a physical book that weighed in with that amount of heft?

"I've started so I'll finish."

Friday, March 30, 2012

How low can you go?

Esperanza Spalding: ' I want to dig into Welsh poetry'
The jazz bassist and singer on hanging out with Prince, meeting her hero Yo-Yo Ma and getting in touch with her Welsh roots.
The world's leading aspirational ethnic identity just goes from strength to strength.

I played double bass with the South Glamorgan Youth Orchestra when I was a kid. I settled on the instrument as there was one provided at school and rehearsals so I didn't have to cart it about or, indeed, practice.

The downside of this is that I was no good. I remember playing jazz with some horn players at a residential weekend. They finished when I was exactly half way through.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu

£25 quid a throw is a bit rich for my blood, but the The Mu is such a brilliant design one wonders that no one though of it before; tempted.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Red Carpet

I was on the red carpet last night for the world premier of the 3D version of Titanic. This is proved by the 2D photo of my foot on it above.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Going through my morning IT calisthenics I have noticed a new Play link on the Google toolbar.

Clicking through it I am offered Android apps, books and movies. (Update: I've just realized that there doesn't seem to be any music available on Play in the UK. That seems odd.)

For the UK the movies offered at seems to be pretty up to date and, from what I can see, available for rent rather than sale.

The online movie market is getting very crowded (ITunes, Netflix, LoveFilm, and Zune are already plying their wares). I can't see how they will all survive.

Prodnose (arch): Even the prime minister is offering pay per view in the UK now.
Myself: Ho ho, very satirical.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wimbledon Bookfest

Myself: We need to work on promoting the Bookfest friends scheme. Any ideas?

Cruddas: Thirty quid to fifty quid is premier league ... what you would get is, when we talk about your donations the first thing we want to do is get you at the Friends dinners.

You do really pick up a lot of information and when you see June Whitfield, you're seeing June Whitfield, not the June Whitfield. But within that room everything is confidential - you can ask her practically any question you want.

If you're unhappy about something, we will listen to you and put it into the policy committee at No 1 Archway Mews - we feed all feedback to the policy committee.

Myself: I'm not sure. Is this all above board?

Cruddas: It’ll be awesome for your business. You’ll be… well pleased.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Raid

In 2009 and 2010 I brought you news on Merantau, a martial arts movie from Gareth Evans, a Welsh filmmaker based in Indonesia.

Hiis next film, The Raid, which wowed critics at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival and 2012 Sundance Festival, hits US cinemas this weekend and is due out in the UK on May 18.

The movie follows a SWAT team who infiltrate a derelict apartment block in the Jakarta slums to take down a notorious crime lord residing in the building.

Stranded with brutal killers and gangsters, the elite squad - led by Iko Uwais's Rama - must fight their way through the city's deadliest criminals in order to survive the mission.

Edgar Wright gave it a shout out on Twitter yesterday. I'm delighted everything seems to be going so well.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Strabismus Inc. Ink

Finnish phone company Nokia has applied for a patent on tattoos that would sense when your mobile phone is ringing.
Using metal ores, the ‘tattoo’ would vibrate when a phone call was being received or when a user’s battery was running low.
The US patent application says that a user would have to scratch their arm to dismiss the alert, which would feel like a tingling sensation.As the tattoo is inserted under the skin, however, users would have to commit to a minor surgical procedure to take advantage of the new technology, which Nokia says would only be activated after scars have healed. The technology could also be applied superficially, but would be less resistant to wear and tear.
Communicating using different sequences of single or multiple pulses, the tattoo could theoretically do different things for messages, emails or warnings.
In the application, Nokia says that 'Prior to using the ferromagnetic inks for attaching to human skin, the ink material may be exposed to elevated temperatures to cause demagnetization. Such demagnetized ink is then used for creating an image by dispersing the ink material on or under the skin to make a functional, tattoo like image. Once the apparatus is settled and the skin cured, the user with the functional image may use permanent magnets to magnetize the functional image on the skin again.'
The application was filedthis month at the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

two separate gorillas

Congratulations to Welsh flanker Dan Lydiate who has been named Six Nations player of the tournament after our 2012 Grand Slam triumph.

The Bomber identified the flanker on first sight as the "best player I have ever seen" as we watched the early stages of the Wales/ South Africa game that kicked off the World Cup campaign on TV.

Later he had to downgrade him just slightly when he realized that Lydiate in the pack and Jonathon Davies (in the same scrum cap at centre) were in fact different players and not a single omnipresent game-dominating rugby colossus.

Prodnose: Five years ago, I was a four-stone apology. Today, I am two separate gorillas. No tiresome excercises. No tricks. No unpleasant bending. Wrestle poodles and win! Play beachball!  Knock over walls. Tease people! Brush them aside as though they were matchsticks. Impress your friends ........

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

XBox iPlayer

The XBOX BBC iPlayer has finally broken cover, so I guess the Bomber and I will be giving it a thorough test this evening after rugby training.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

seven pillows of wisdom

According to The Telegraph:
A state-owned Syrian TV channel has claimed that analysis of Barcelona's formation "represents arms smuggling routes"
The clip above (see original report) proposes that an analysis of Barcelona's passing movements gives clues about weapons routes to Syrian rebels attempting to oust President Bashar Assad.
The ball, apparently, represented the weapons. The Barcelona players, allegedly, are the smugglers. Real Madrid's, it claimed, represented blockages as weapons were brought in from Lebanon.
So when the analysts showed the ball moving from one player to the other, and getting round Real Madrid's defence, the rebels were made aware of the location of the weapons.
The voice-over informs us that when the ball is passed by Lionel Messi it means that weapons have reached rebels in Dir al-Zur.
Barking mad as that sounds, it somehow seems less ridiculous than Apple having close to a hundred billion bucks burning a hole in its pockets. A hundred billion here ..... a hundred billion there ..... pretty soon you're talking about a lot of money.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Vampire Hunter

First I was bemused by the Presidential endorsement "seven minutes ago... we, your forefathers, were brought forth upon a most excellent adventure conceived by our new friends, Bill... and Ted".

Then I was I was hornswaggled by "if she were a president, she'd be Babe-raham Lincoln" in Wayne's World.

Nothing, though, began to prepare me for "Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter".

(On second thoughts, it may share some DNA with Bubba Ho-tep; see Icons passim.)

Sunday, March 18, 2012


The BBC: Male fruit flies that have been rejected by females drink significantly more alcohol than those that have mated freely, scientists say. In an article in Science, researchers suggest that alcohol stimulates the flies' brains as a "reward" in a similar way to sexual conquest. The work points to a brain chemical called neuropeptide F, which seems to be regulated by the flies' behaviour. Human brains have a similar chemical, which may react in a similar way.

Prodnose: You're puttinng he hard stuff away as vigorously as ever, Nick.

Myself: I will not dignify that inneuendo with a reply. You sir, are no gentleman.

The BBC: The connection between alcohol and this chemical, which in humans is known as neuropeptide Y, has already been noted in studies involving hard-drinking mice.

Myself: Hard-drinking mice?

Monty Python: Well... I was about seventeen and some mates and me went to a party, and, er... we had quite a lot to drink... and then some of the fellows there ... started handing ... cheese around ... and well just out of curiosity I tried a bit ... and well that was that.

Prodnose: And what else did these fellows do?

Monty Python: Well some of them started dressing up as mice a bit ... and then when they'd got the costumes on they started ... squeaking.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


The Bomber was pondering presenting Your Shape: Fitness Evolved as a Mother's Day gift, but we've had to pu the block on it as I've realised that the burglars took the kinect so she can't play it.

I wonder if there's anthing else missing that I just haven't noticed?

Friday, March 16, 2012

the best dressed man in London

The plan for tomorrow is to get to the pub for half past two ahead of the Welsh showdown against France. This is to be followed by a St Patrick's day contest between England and Ireland at five. Looking through my wardrobe I see that I have clobber - purchased long ago in Dublin - that suits the demands of the situation down to a T.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Warburton back

Wales team to play France in the RBS 6 Nations Championship in Cardiff on Saturday:
L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues); A Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), J Davies (Scarlets), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), G North (Scarlets); R Priestland (Scarlets), M Phillips (Bayonne); G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), M Rees (Scarlets), A Jones (Ospreys), A-W Jones (Ospreys), I Evans (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).
Replacements: K Owens (Scarlets), P James (Ospreys), L Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), R Jones (Ospreys), L Williams (Cardiff Blues), J Hook (Perpignan), S Williams (Scarlets).

You have to feel sorry for Justin Tipuric, who did all that could be asked of him last week I think.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Dude abides

Evoking his character in 1998's "The Big Lebowski," Jeff Bridges will co-write a book of Zen teachings, to be published later this year. "The Dude and the Zen Master," co-written by Bridges (the Dude) and Bernie Glassman (the Zen Master), promises to be a set of casual exchanges on life, film and trying to do good.
The world is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan might be the best of friends with some celebrities - he's been pictured socialising with Katherine Jenkins, Nancy Dell'Olio and Frank Lampard - but Kate Moss is more like an enemy.
So much so, that the 38 year-old model lashes out whenever she sees him.
"She came up to me at some charity thing with Naomi Campbell and gave me a full, haymaking kick," Morgan told his former paper .
"And then the next time we had dinner in a restaurant, she was opposite me... and kicked me again."
Apparently, not even their mutual friend, Topshop boss Sir Philip Green, could intervene.
"I told him it was pointless. She doesn't like me, I don't like her. She kicked me, hard. Right on the shin, repeatedly. I looked at her and said, 'Kate, why are you kicking me?' She said, 'Because I want to' and cackled. She was completely off her head. And I replied, 'Well, can you just stop kicking me, OK?' She looked blank, and gave me another kick. It was a bizarre conversation."
Who knew? Kate Moss now joins Eric Joyce among my personal heroes and heroines.

Monday, March 12, 2012


As a rule I am a Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives kind of guy, but that doesn't mean I'll turn my nose up at Jun Tanaka's Pearl.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Prodnose: Swansea City 1 Manchester City 0

Myself (stupified):: ?!?!?!?!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

a wee scuffly thing

What a man! I'd vote for him in a heartbeat.
The Labour backbencher Eric Joyce told police officers “you can’t touch me, I’m an MP” after drunkenly assaulting four fellow politicians in a House of Commons bar, a court heard yesterday.

The MP for Falkirk cried out “there are too many Tories in the bar” before aiming punches and headbutts at Stuart Andrew, a Conservative MP, and two Tory councillors. He then attacked the Labour whip Phil Wilson, who had attempted to calm his colleague down.

When the police arrived, Joyce landed a final headbutt on Mr Andrew in front of officers. The former Army major later wrote garbled notes in a police notebook about living in a “Tory nation”.

Mr Andrew claimed Joyce was “drunker than anyone he had ever seen in his life”, adding that “his eyes looked like no one was home”.

Full details of the brawl were disclosed yesterday as Joyce pleaded guilty to four charges of assault at Westminster magistrates’ court. The MP was spared a prison sentence and was instead fined £3,000, banned from pubs for three months and ordered to pay compensation to his victims. Having been suspended by Labour since the incident, he is now certain to be expelled from the party.

The attacks took place on Wednesday Feb 22 in the taxpayer-subsidised Strangers’ Bar. Joyce, a philosophy graduate who has been an MP since 2000, had spent the evening drinking with two friends, Stuart Niven and Catherine Beachley, the court heard. At about 10.30pm, Mr Niven, an amateur opera singer, began singing “very loudly”.

Alec Shelbrooke, the Conservative MP for Elmet and Rothwell, apparently glanced at the table “in bemusement” and was approached by an angry Joyce who told him: “Don’t ever look at any of my guests in that way again.”

Andrew Percy, the Conservative MP for Brigg and Goole, then asked Joyce if he could get by to reach his table, only to be told: “No, you f------ can’t.”

Joyce, who had drunk a bottle of wine, then shouted: “There are too many Tories in this bar … this bar is full of f------ Tories!” Mr Andrew, the MP for Pudsey, responded: “You can’t behave in that way,” after which Joyce grabbed him by the tie. Mr Shelbrooke then said: “You don’t treat an MP like that in a place like this”, causing Joyce to aim a punch at him, but miss. That prompted Luke MacKenzie, a Conservative councillor who was drinking with the Tory MP Jackie Doyle-Price, to intervene.

Joyce punched Mr Mackenzie on the nose and the mouth before Ben Maney, a Conservative councillor who was at the same table as Mr Mackenzie, tried to restrain him.

Joyce headbutted Mr Maney who stumbled away “looking as white as a sheet and completely shocked”, Zoe Martin, prosecuting, told the court. She added that one of the victims later said that Joyce’s eyes “looked dead. He looked possessed and completely out of it”.

Phil Wilson, the Labour whip, then put a hand on his colleague’s shoulder and said: “Calm down, Eric. What’s going on?” Joyce spun around and punched him on the chin, causing him to fall into a chair, the court heard.

The attacks stopped briefly when Mrs Doyle-Price put herself between Joyce and the others and said: “If you are going to punch my staff, punch me first. You don’t want to hit a lady.”

Police arrived to find tables and chairs upturned. Mr Andrew told police that Joyce had assaulted him and, when the officer asked if this was true, Joyce headbutted Mr Andrew. He then told officers: “You can’t touch me, I’m an MP.” As he was led away, Joyce kicked a glass door, breaking a pane and swore at officers, the court heard.

At Belgravia police station, Joyce “alternated between being calm and apologetic to aggressive and abusive”, and at one stage had to be restrained by several officers, said Miss Martin, He also wrote a message in an officer’s notebook, which read: “Meant to include this for the moment. We are a Tory nation. That cannot be forever. Good cops tonight but it is [missing word] surely to hate the Tories.”

The next day he was interviewed and said he remembered little of the incident. He said he recalled some “noisy young Tories” in the bar and “some kind of misunderstanding”, adding: “I nutted a guy, it was a wee scuffly thing.” He went on: “I think he was a silly fat Tory MP. He was pushing like a girl and giving me a bear hug.”

Friday, March 09, 2012

Every day I have the blues

I was offline last night back at the ranch last night as my computer was taken in the burgalry. This morning I came in to find that my Windows Live account had been disabled because of "unusual" activity.I am now in the middle of an orgy of password changes, though I can't imagine how a thief could get logged onto my laptop.

In the meabtime, if you get any emails that appear to come from me about enlargement pills please treat them as spam. My knowledge of such things doesn't run much further than "can you take away the pain but leave the swelling?"

Myself (heartfelt): The best I can hope for is that they give up on my portable and throw it in the Thames.

Prodnose (insufferable): A Dell rolling in the deep?

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Single spies

A week and a half ago the trickle of water through my ceiling (Icons passim) became a torrent. I've finally got all the rotted central heating pipe replaced and had to go home at 2pm yesterday afternoon to get a quote from a builder for replacing my ruined ceiling and shorted electrical lighting (insurance claim 201203003613).

I couldn't get in the front door because burglars had put the latch on from the inside after gettingt into the house by jimmying the sash window at the back and breaking the frame, before proceeding to trash the rooms and make off with a lot of my possessions. This will be claim 201203011214.

The police dispatch reference is CAD4451(7March), but I haven't been given the crime number that I need before the insurers will send round their tame glazier.

I think I need a hug. If I'm quiet on cyberspace over the weekend it is because there are no functioning computers at the gaff any more.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


Redlegs is a term used to refer to the class of poor whites that live on Barbados, St. Vincent, Grenada and a few other Caribbean islands. Their forebears came from Ireland, Scotland and the West of England. Many of their ancestors were transported by Oliver Cromwell. Others had originally arrived in the early to mid 17th century as slaves or indentured servants. Small groups of Germans and Portuguese were also imported as plantation labourers. Many were described as "white slaves". According to folk etymology, the name is derived from the effects of the tropical sun on their fair-skinned legs.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The nearly man

I first heard of Amazon Web Services in 2006. It is now central to how we run our systems: "in the past six years, we’ve lowered pricing 18 times, and today we’re doing it again. We’re lowering pricing for the 19th time with a significant price decrease for Amazon EC2, Amazon RDS, Amazon ElastiCache and Amazon Elastic Map Reduce".
Today’s Amazon EC2 price reduction varies by instance type and by Region, with Reserved Instance prices dropping by as much as 37%, and On-Demand instance prices dropping up to 10%. In 2006, the cost of running a small website with Amazon EC2 on an m1.small instance was $876 per year. Today with a High Utilization Reserved Instance, you can run that same website for less than 1/3 of the cost at just $250 per year - an effective price of less than 3 cents per hour. As you can see below, we are lowering both On-Demand and Reserved Instances prices for our Standard, High-Memory and High-CPU instance families. The chart below highlights the price decreases for Linux instances in our US-EAST Region, but we are lowering prices in nearly every Region for both Linux and Windows instances.

I can't help but wonder what nearly means in "we are lowering prices in nearly every Region for both Linux and Windows instances" as we are in the EU region, but Heavy Utilization Reserved Instances appear to be the way forward. I wonder if Amazon will convert our baby to this automatically or if we will have to intervene.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Hunky Dory

Always happy to big up films from Wales. Hunky Dory is set in a Swansea comprehensive in 1976. Over to you Mr Howell?

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Shipping Forecast

"And now with the time approaching 5 pm,
It's time for the mid-life crisis forecast...
Forties; restless: three or four.
Marriage: stale; becoming suffocating.
Sportscar, jeans and t-shirt; westerly, five.
Waitress; blonde; 19 or 20.
Converse all stars; haircut; earring; children;
becoming embarrassed.
Tail between legs; atmosphere frosty;
Spare room: five or six."

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Peter Cook: Genius at Work

the brightest star of a remarkable generation

4 Mar 18:10 NFT3 BOOK
A hapless everyman falls under the spell of the Devil in this Swinging Sixties take on the Faust legend.

Beyond the Fringe
8 Mar 18:10 NFT1 BOOK
A scintillating series of sketches, skits and satirical shenanigans.

Not Only But Also
12 Mar 20:40 NFT1 BOOK
Peter Cook and Dudley Moore star in this brilliant TV sketch show.

Peter Cook: Oddities and Rarities
21 Mar 18:20 NFT1 BOOK
A specially compiled selection of fascinating fragments from all areas of Peter Cook's career.

Peter Cook and Co
16 Mar 20:40 NFT3 FULLY BOOKED
A one-off TV special from 1980 starring Peter Cook and a host of other comic greats.

The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer
18 Mar 18:20 NFT2 BOOK
21 Mar 20:40 NFT2 BOOK
A ruthless but charismatic advertising executive sets his sights on politics in this cult satire.

Friday, March 02, 2012

easy as one, two, three

Looking at the pictures from last weekend's festival I noticed that the photographer had got three in a row showing the bomber breaking a tackle; I've blended them together above.

He scored seven tries for the school in the rearranged Tag Rugby tournament yesterday.