Friday, October 31, 2008

Rebels for Christ

The population is caught between rebels on the rampage and army on the run, in the eastern Congo.

Here is rebel's website, God help us.

Their leader, Laurent Nkunda "claims to be a devout Pentecostal Christian and says most of his troops have converted as well. In the 2008 documentary "Blood Coltan" about the real costs of mobile phones, Nkunda proudly shows a button he wears that reads "Rebels for Christ." He claims to be a Seventh Day Adventist Priest and that he receives help and guidance from American "Rebels for Christ" who visit the Congo spreading Pentecostal Christianity."

Blood Coltan is here. The general appears 24 minutes in.

There are no good guys in this mess.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Eunoia, which means 'beautiful thinking', is the shortest word in the English language to contain all five vowels. Christian Bök's book also contains them all, but never in the same chapter. Each of the five is univocalic, using only one vowel.

I am dumbstruck by his eunoiac audacity and craft:
Westerners revere the Greek legends. Versemen retell the represented events, the resplendent scenes, where, hellbent, the Greek freemen seek revenge whenever Helen, the new-wed empress, weeps. Restless, she deserts her fleece bed where, detested, her wedded regent sleeps. When she remembers Greece, her seceded demesne, she feels wretched, left here, bereft, her needs never met. She needs rest; nevertheless, her demented fevers render her sleepless (her sleeplessness enfeebles her). She needs help; nevertheless her stressed nerves render her cheerless (her cheerlessness enfetters her).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Nuke Bears

Over dinner on Saturday night, Sean observed that "Welsh born" as a compound adjective should strictly be rendered "Welsh-born". The trouble with that is that not having a double barreled surname (Nicholas Milton-Browne anyone?) good grammar would break my anagram if I changed the title of these spindrift pages.

In my defense it is a nonbasic howler, but given that Nicholas Shearing - senior editor on the new words group of the Oxford English Dictionary - doffs his cap to the Burkemeister, what can I do?

Trusting in your judgement dear readers I have decided to let you vote on my 'blog's title. Choose (if you can be bothered) between "Welsh Born", "Welsh-Born" and some other anagrammatical options below as the question is presented in the great man's authentic voice. (Sorry 'bout quotation marks rendering as gibberish in the question - but I gotta lotta balls in the air just now, and I can't be doing with character encoding conundrums.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Attention Deficit

"More than 20,000 men, women and children have been forced to flee squatter camps and villages after rebels launched a fresh offensive in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo", says the Telegraph this morning.

I only started paying attention since Rod went out there with the UN.

Pay attention.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Catch my breath

When we wandered into the room booked for our meeting in West Dean last week, I was astounded to see the "the labio-morphic Mae West sofa Dali and James created in 1938 in a suggestively shiny version of Schiaparelli's 'shocking' pink" was in residence flanked by their champagne lamps. It was wonderful too see them outside a curated exhibition.

I wish now that I'd caught the V&A' s "Surreal Things: Surrealism and Design" last year.

I must find out more about the estate's Monkton House for which "Dali advised that one room should be designed to pulsate 'like the stomach of a sick dog".

Sunday, October 26, 2008

fun fun fun

I try and write here each day.

I'm just back from Wales. Ben had fun at a party with his cousins on Saturday, and Sean and I managed to meet up over South Indian grub at Punitha's in the evening.

Next day, we went to The Old Barn Inn Charity Horse & Cart Drive (as promoted by my brother), met up with Chris, Kim and Dylan, and then drove all the way back to London with a stopover at my Mum and Dad's in Cardiff.

The end. Goodnight.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Environmental Security Hypothesis

As the credit crunch bites, I naturally turn to Terry F. Pettijohn, II and Brian J. Jungeberg in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 30, No. 9, 1186-1197 (2004) and their groundbreaking "Playboy Playmate Curves: Changes in Facial and Body Feature Preferences Across Social and Economic Conditions":

Past research has investigated ideals of beauty and how these ideals have changed across time. In the current study, facial and body characteristics of Playboy Playmates of the Year from 1960-2000 were identified and investigated to explore their relationships with U.S. social and economic factors. Playmate of the Year age, body feature measures, and facial feature measurements were correlated with a general measure of social and economic hard times. Consistent with Environmental Security Hypothesis predictions, when social and economic conditions were difficult, older, heavier, taller Playboy Playmates of the Year with larger waists, smaller eyes, larger waist-to-hip ratios, smaller bust-to-waist ratios, and smaller body mass index values were selected. These results suggest that environmental security may influence perceptions and preferences for women with certain body and facial features.

Key Words: facial features • body features • physical appearance • physical attraction • environmental security.
Smaller eyes?! Beachcomber! thou shoulds't be living at this hour: England hath need of thee.

Pamela Anderson is probably undergoing ocular reduction surgery as we speak, though I retain a suspicion that Pettijohn and Jungeberg pledge Delta Tau Chi.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bumbling Through

The film about our auction site went out on BBC One last night. You can watch it on the One Show's website here if you like. It was truly bizarre to see Dom Littlewood sitting next to Burt Bacharach talking about it.

The traffic this generates is incredible (as the comments testify) and the site is still running like treacle this morning.

Ironic that Amazon Web Services announced a Beta of Windows Server and SQL on the very same day.

Windows Support - Beta level support for Microsoft Windows is now available on EC2, in the form of 32 and 64 bit AMIs, with pricing starting at $0.125 per hour. Microsoft SQL Server is also available in 64 bit form.
That could have made last night a walk in the park.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Avida Dollars

I'm off to West Dean again this morning, so in honour of Edward James' patronage of the famous surrealist consider yourself reminded that André Breton's sarcastic and anagrammatic nickname "avida dollars" is to Salvador Dali as "A Welsh Born Icon" is to Nicholas Browne.

Thank you very much.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Keep yer Aaron

The Bomber is the Arsenal supporter. I'm, at best, a step-gunner or gooner once removed.

That said, I did settle down to watch the Fenerbahce match last night. The last minute goal scored by Aaron Ramsey (born 26 December 1990 in Caerphilly) has persuaded me to install him as the youngest ever Welsh Born Icon, and to start feeling old.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I found out yesterday that the great Ken Campbell died in August, and then today that Bernie Mac died in the same month.
Invisibility is merely a matter of being able to hide in front of things.
Do not touch my TV, my DVD, my stereo, my dual-deck VCR. Do not touch my old school, my new school, my slow jams, my party jams, my happy rap, and you better not touch ........ my James Brown.
How'd that happen? Both will be sadly missed.

Monday, October 20, 2008

command line kung-fu

Happy as I am with the Aspire One running Linux, it is becoming clear to me that if I am to use it as a day-to-day machine, I am going to need to run some Windows apps.

I could try Wine, which is an Open Source implementation of the Windows API that can run on Linux, but if I do I foresee problems with USB and I want to be able to connect my Garmin 305 and Nokia N95 and run their respective Windows only interface programs.

It seems to me therefore that full virtualisation via Sun's VirtualBox is likely to be the way forward, especially as the burglar runs XP on his Aspire One already and if I can get an image of that I can save some set-up time and aggravation.

Further and better, John Green has already done the job and explains the wrinkles here.

Seeing is believing.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My fascinating life

I cycled to Whitton yesterday (over 18 kilometres in the saddle), and had a couple of pints in the newly refurbished Admiral Nelson with a few of the boys before they went off to see the Harlequins demolish Ulster.

Then I wandered up the High Street with Bondy and paid for my place (and that of the Bomber) in next year's skiing trip to Kitzbühel.

After that I went back to the pub for a few more drinks with a few more mates, then got a cab home early in the evening (with the bike in the boot) and watched Kate Williams (late of this parish) floating around presenting a one hour BBC Timewatch special on ‘Young Victoria’ on BBC 2. She remains as easy on the eye as I remember.

Andrew Sullivan: The blogosphere has added a whole new idiom to the act of writing and has introduced an entirely new generation to nonfiction. It has enabled writers to write out loud in ways never seen or understood before. And yet it has exposed a hunger and need for traditional writing that, in the age of television’s dominance, had seemed on the wane.

Myself: Not here it hasn't mate.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Banking on IT

The World Bank has an Application Programming Interface!
We are releasing this API because we believe this information can be mapped, visualized and mashed up in an unlimited number of ways that will help develop a better understanding of trends and patterns around key development issues.
I don't know if this is genius or lunacy.
I have applied for a key. Watch this space.

Friday, October 17, 2008

My Liege

I can't help but think that the Queen's trip to Google yesterday was a PR triumph both for the Palace and the company.

Prodnose: ???????????
Myself: !!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

No Funny Business

Equinox Drama Productions are hosting New Comedy Scene 2008 this week in the ColourHouse Theatre. "10 original comedy plays by new playwrights will be showcased to make the public laugh", so the burglar and I went along last night to show willing.

We saw "The Man Who Loved Elephants" and "Godplay".
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muß man schweigen.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

No Comment

Up until I moved "A Welsh Born Icon" to Google's servers last year I used Haloscan for comments. You can still see those comments on (ho ho very satirical) oldnick, but they've disappeared from the live site because I've moved to Blogger's native comments system. There are exchanges there that I don't want to lose, and I am sure it would only take a few lines of JavaScript on the template to add them back in the new location where appropriate.

Consider that added to my to-do list.

I've started adding comments to my own posts lately, to collect tips and trick for the Acer Aspire One or to record the continuing career of the Jabmeister etc.

I want to use a comment to link my discovery of Haruki Murakami to his year 2000 alternative universe Nobel Prize.

I was even invited yesterday (by way of a comment on a three and a half year old post) to a party in honour of a hero of mine.

Comments are important, and I need to make them more prominent.

There is an RSS feed of comments at, just as there is an RSS feed of posts at

I've used the feed to pop a list of the last five comments towards the top of the template on the left.

If you've got any thoughts, leave a comment.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's a wonderful lie

The credit crunch can't help but make me think of the bank run in "It's a Wonderful Life". In particular there is a lot more Mr. Potter than George Bailey in our monomaniacal Prime Minister. Remember that we used ant-terrorism legislation against Iceland last week. How the Government be trusted now, not to misuse any other anti-terrorism law?

While the world and his wife is praising the great Economist Statesman to the skies, let's observe that we ain't out of the woods yet. The money to be "invested" in the Government stakes in the banks will have to come from issuing bonds, so it will increase the national debt, but I bet you they'll keep in off the books by classifying it as a financial transaction with no asset implications because the shares purchased have the same value as the money used to buy them. Compare and contrast the Private Finance Initiative con. I wonder what the real National Debt will be at the end of this year?

At least, thanks to the House of Lords, I can't be banged up for 42 days for speculating.

Monday, October 13, 2008

To live and die

There's an interview with the Iraqi Prime Minister in The Times today:
Mr al-Maliki’s harshest words were for the actions last year of British troops in Basra, which came under Britain’s responsibility after the 2003 invasion. “They stayed away from the confrontation, which gave the gangs and militias the chance to control the city,” he said, referring to a decision by British Forces to leave a palace in Basra for their airport base.

“The situation deteriorated so badly that corrupted youths were carrying swords and cutting the throats of women and children. The citizens of Basra called out for our help . . . and we moved to regain the city.”

Asked whether he thought the British move had been premature, he said: “Very.”

I blogged the move at the time. The post and its links are very dispiriting in the light of such a comment.

Michael Yon's reports from the front are a useful corrective because - unlike Press Release and editorial writers - he is actually there.

Read Death in the Corn about C-Company 2 Para in Helmand. "Who whom?"

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The sacred and profane

I am not I; thou art not he or she; they are not they.
I checked out the new Brideshead Revisited movie, in spite of lukewarm reviews and was pleasantly surprised to find it reasonably true to the book. That is to say - ahem - divine grace being the sovereign favour of God for humankind — especially in regard to salvation — irrespective of actions ("deeds"), earned worth, or proven goodness; the errant quartet of His Lordship, Julia, Sebasatian, and even Charles are saved. Changing the plot to have Julia bowl up in Venice, or having Sebastian and Charles swap saliva are comparatively trivial in comparison, though I was bemused as to why the actor playing Bridey chose to model his performance on Groucho Marx.

(Hayley Atwell as Julia made me feel very old as she was a pupil at Sion Manning when Jane was on the staff there. I've probably seen her on stage in school plays though - cries of shame - I can't remember her at all.)

Saturday, October 11, 2008


French novelist Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. I've never heard of him.

Ted Giola has compiled "The Nobel Prize in Literature from an Alternative Universe".
Imagine a world in which such honors are exempt from pettiness, politics and tokenism. Imagine a Nobel Prize in which the contributions of Proust, Kafka, Nabokov and Joyce are not forgotten. Imagine a Nobel Prize in Literature in which genre writers have a chance. Imagine a Nobel Prize in Literature that doesn't bend over backward to exclude native born U.S. writers (only three honored during the last 52 years!).
Let's start arguing:

Year Actual Winner Alternative
2008 Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio Don DeLillo
2007 Doris Lessing J.K. Rowling
2006 Orhan Pamuk Philip Roth
2005 Harold Pinter Milan Kundera
2004 Elfriede Jelinek John Updike
2003 J. M. Coetzee Mario Vargas Llosa
2002 Imre Kertész John le Carré
2001 V. S. Naipaul V. S. Naipaul
2000 Gao Xingjian Haruki Murakami
1999 Günter Grass Tom Stoppard
1998 José Saramago Roberto Bolaño
1997 Dario Fo Hunter Thompson
1996 Wislawa Szymborska Stanisław Lem
1995 Seamus Heaney Isaiah Berlin
1994 Kenzaburo Oe Stephen Sondheim
1993 Toni Morrison Ralph Ellison
1992 Derek Walcott Bob Dylan
1991 Nadine Gordimer Muriel Spark
1990 Octavio Paz Octavio Paz
1989 Camilo José Cela Theodor Seuss Geisel
1988 Naguib Mahfouz Salman Rushdie
1987 Joseph Brodsky Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein
1986 Wole Soyinka Eugene Ionesco
1985 Claude Simon Philip Larkin
1984 Jaroslav Seifert Italo Calvino
1983 William Golding Graham Greene
1982 Gabriel García Márquez Gabriel García Márquez
1981 Elias Canetti Elias Canetti
1980 Czeslaw Milosz Czeslaw Milosz
1979 Odysseus Elytis Philip K. Dick
1978 Isaac Bashevis Singer Isaac Bashevis Singer
1977 Vicente Aleixandre Tennessee Williams
1976 Saul Bellow Saul Bellow
1975 Eugenio Montale Eugenio Montale
1974 Eyvind Johnson, Harry Martinson John Lennon, Paul McCartney
1973 Patrick White Lionel Trilling
1972 Heinrich Böll J.R.R. Tolkein
1971 Pablo Neruda Pablo Neruda
1970 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
1969 Samuel Beckett Samuel Beckett
1968 Yasunari Kawabata Yukio Mishima
1967 Miguel Angel Asturias Vladimir Nabokov
1966 Shmuel Yosef Agnon, Nelly Sachs Agatha Christie, Jorge Luis Borges
1965 Mikhail Sholokhov Jack Kerouac
1964 Jean-Paul Sartre Jean-Paul Sartre
1963 Giorgios Seferis Giorgios Seferis
1962 John Steinbeck John Steinbeck
1961 Ivo Andric William Carlos Willaims
1960 Saint-John Perse Ian Fleming
1959 Salvatore Quasimodo Cole Porter
1958 Boris Pasternak E. M. Forster
1957 Albert Camus Albert Camus
1956 Juan Ramón Jiménez Raymond Chandler
1955 Halldòr Laxness Bertolt Brecht
1954 Ernest Hemingway Ernest Hemingway
1953 Winston Churchill Wallace Stevens
1952 François Mauriac Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
1951 Pär Lagerkvist Dorothy Parker
1950 Bertrand Russell Ludwig Wittgenstein
1949 William Faulkner William Faulkner
1948 T.S. Eliot T.S. Eliot
1947 André Gide André Gide
1946 Hermann Hesse Hermann Broch
1945 Gabriela Mistral George Orwell
1944 Johannes V. Jensen W. H. Auden
1939 Frans Eemil Sillanpää Robert Musil
1938 Pearl Buck Virginia Woolf
1937 Roger Martin du Gard James Joyce
1936 Eugene O'Neill Eugene O'Neill
1934 Luigi Pirandello Luigi Pirandello
1933 Ivan Bunin Stefan Zweig
1932 John Galsworthy Zane Grey
1931 Erik Axel Karlfeldt G. K. Chesterton
1930 Sinclair Lewis F. Scott Fitzgerald
1929 Thomas Mann Thomas Mann
1928 Sigrid Undset Edith Wharton
1927 Henri Bergson Constantine P. Cavafy
1926 Grazia Deledda Arthur Conan Doyle
1925 George Bernard Shaw George Bernard Shaw
1924 Wladyslaw Reymont Miguel de Unamuno
1923 William Butler Yeats William Butler Yeats
1922 Jacinto Benavente Franz Kafka
1921 Anatole France Marcel Proust
1920 Knut Hamsun Rainer Maria Rilke
1919 Carl Spitteler Thomas Hardy
1917 Karl Gjellerup, Henrik Pontoppidan Joseph Conrad
1916 Verner von Heidenstam Sigmund Freud
1915 Romain Rolland Guillaume Apollinaire
1913 Rabindranath Tagore George Trakl
1912 Gerhart Hauptmann William Dean Howells
1911 Maurice Maeterlinck Henry James
1910 Paul Heyse W.S. Gilbert
1909 Selma Lagerlöf August Strindberg
1908 Rudolf Eucken John Millington Synge
1907 Rudyard Kipling Rudyard Kipling
1906 Giosuè Carducci Mark Twain
1905 Henryk Sienkiewicz Henrik Ibsen
1904 Frédéric Mistral, José Echegaray Jules Verne
1903 Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson Anton Chekhov
1902 Theodor Mommsen George Meredith
1901 Sully Prudhomme Leo Tolstoy

Friday, October 10, 2008

Blood River

DR Congo is on on my mind, as inspired by MacKenna's posting I'm reading Tim Butchers's Blood River.

Things are getting desperate again in the East, on the border with Rwanda. See this BBC report including quotes from Alan Doss, Rod's boss.

I wonder if I'd even notice if I didn't know someone involved. I was barely aware of "Africa's World War" when it was going on there. (Did it ever really stop?)

That ignorance is quite an indictment of me.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Phoenix

Wimbledon Bookfest 2008 is running this week, but what with one thing and another I've only been able to get along to one event; Leo Hollis last night on his book (deep breath now) The Phoenix: St. Paul's Cathedral And The Men Who Made Modern London.

I bought a copy for £20, but got him to write "IOU £20" as the dedication when he signed it, thus making the deal neutral.

Perhaps with innovations like that, I should be advising the Chancellor on his £500 billion bank bailout scheme?

Come to think about it, even though I've actually got a postgraduate degree specialising in international finance, I do find myself tempted to shout out "double or quits" whenever a talking head on the TV spouts one of these extraordinary figures.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The New Etiquette

Dear Miss Manners,

In these days of near ubiquitous body art, what are the rules on reading another man's tattoos in the locker room?

ALVY: 'Cause I don't like to get naked in front of another man, you know-it's, uh ...

ANNIE: (Laughing) Oh, I see, I see.

ALVY: You know, I don't like to show my body to a man of my gender-

ANNIE: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah, I see. I guess-

ALVY: 'cause, uh, you never know what's gonna happen.

What is most appropriate; peripheral vision, a glance, or a frank stare? What about spelling mistakes, or grammatical errors? Is it impolite to point them out?


Perplexed: Virgin Active.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

And all be turn'd to barnacles, or to apes

From a terrific Times review:
Many points are so beautifully made in this excellent spoof of a Hollywood memoir that it is honestly hard to know where to start. But one could usefully begin with Cheeta's incisive contribution to the “infinite number of monkeys” theory of probability. It's all very well hypothesising about those monkeys and typewriters, he says: isn't it time for human beings to look around? “You've had a million humans, at least, writing away for much longer than a thousand years, and only one of them ever managed to produce the Complete Works of Shakespeare. Only one! Well, well, what's the big deal?”
What we have here is a showbiz memoir from a star whose gilded cage was no metaphor; who views the great days of Hollywood in zoological terms. It's a brilliant idea. Naturally, as befits the memoir genre, Cheeta defines himself as an actor (“I'm a comedian, not an intellec- tual”). Naturally, too, modesty does not prevent him from pointing out that, in his great middle-period work on the Tarzan pictures, he was a pioneer of “simian thespianism”. How much of his success in films was down to him being an animal? Cheeta will accept it's as much as 10%; the rest, however, was talent. In common with every other showbiz memoirist, he claims never to read his reviews; he then quotes them extensively. He mentions several times that he never won an effing Oscar. He will recall a great star such as Rex Harrison by first calling him “that marvellous light comedian”, then getting down to the more interesting truth (“universally despised, impotent, alcoholic”), before coming properly out with it: “an absolutely irredeemable c*** who tried to murder me”. And, like many another stellar memoirist, he can't resist a vicious sideswipe at a fellow thesp. “For three decades I think I ‘phoned it in' a bit,” he confesses. “It happens to actors. Look at De Niro.”.

Straight in to the top five in my reading list goes Me Cheeta: The Autobiography

Monday, October 06, 2008

What I talk about ....

I read and finished Haruki Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running yesterday on the train to and from a Muay Thai promotion. I picked the book up as an offshoot the idiot-participatory-martial-arts strand of my recent reading, and was very glad that I did. It reminded me, with its deceptively simple but artful voice, of Kurt Vonnegut's non-fiction; and I revere Kurt Vonnegut's non-fiction.

Pleasure indeed to stumble on an author with a twenty year back catalogue for me to work my way through.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


I contacted Urban Freeflow after we saw them at the Thames Festival, to see if we couldn't organise a lesson for the bomber and some chums as a birthday treat. Fate played the straight man, so here he is trying to run up a wall yesterday under the supervision of UF's Cali while his mates look on.

Cali was a real gent; a pleasure to deal with setting the thing up then really great with the kids on the day (which can be harder than it looks).

Good memories. Here's his show reel.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Thinking out loud

Nearly two years after I begged for it, Amazon have announced that "starting later this Fall, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) will offer you the ability to run Microsoft Windows Server or Microsoft SQL Server".

Potentially this is hugely attractive. The One Show has about seven million viewers. When the film about our auction system gets broadcast later this month, our servers are going to get absolutely hammered for a few days. I've got enough bandwidth for the job, but at the moment I'm scrabbling around trying to get hold of extra hardware to rent for the demand spike.

As I understand it (a cursory understanding at best), EC2 works by creating virtual instances of servers. You can boot new and destroy old instances instantly. I wonder how Microsoft's server scaling will map onto this environment?

You pay for the services (monthly in arrears) in instance hours; 40cents for a Large Instance (7.5 GB of memory, 4 EC2 Compute Units (2 virtual cores with 2 EC2 Compute Units each), 850 GB of instance storage, 64-bit platform) for example. Microsoft licenses will be more obviously.

Data transfer is $0.100 per GB – all data transfer in, and 0.170 per GB – first 10 TB / month data transfer out.

Persistent storage is in Amazon S3.

I may have got some of this wrong, and there may be US versus Europe wrinkles I'm missing but a watching brief is definitely in order.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Ian Blair Forced Out

Infuriatingly obscure note to self:
Speaking of skiing companions, I have to pay for the me and the bomber to join Bondy's 2009 jaunt by 25th of this month.

Update: Joe Kinnear for Commissioner

Here's how to run an old-school press conference :

Joe Kinnear: Which one is Simon Bird (Daily Mirror journalist)?

Bird: Me.

JK: You're a c---.

Bird: Thank you

JK: Which one his [Niall] Hickman (Daily Express)? You are out of order. Absolutely f------ out of order. If you do it again, I am telling you you can f--- off and go to another ground. I will not come and stand for that f----- crap. No f------ way, lies.

F---, you're saying I turned up and they f----- off.

Bird: No Joe, have you read it, it doesn't actually say that. Have you read it?

JK: I've f----- read it, I've read it.

Bird: It doesn't say that. Have you read it?

JK: You are trying to f------ undermine my position already.

Bird: Have you read it, it doesn't say that. I knew you knew they were having a day off.

JK: F--- off. F--- off. It's your last f------ chance.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Every day in every way

I've now got my little linux AAA1 driving an external monitor at a decent resolution and running a variety of remote access software. This means that I can plug it in at work and access all my other machines from it. I've also managed to replace the cut-down front end that Acer load on the machine with the more useful complete Xfce desktop.

Next vague tasks are Microsoft interoperability tasks are network access to files (SAMBA?) and PPTP VPN access.

As a University College Swansea graduate myself, I have been delighted to find out that Alan Cox and the Swansea University Computer Society played no small part in the evolution of this operating system.

He sorted out the networking. Only connect.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Louie Knight

I finished reading "Last Tango in Aberystwyth" last night, and will now pass it on to The Profit Burglar who attended University College Aberystwyth back in the day.

The book had lain unread in my house for a long time, but I think I'm hooked on Louie Knight mysteries now. ("Last Tango" is the second book in the series. Poignantly, I remember sending the first to David when he was in hospital. He didn't come out, which may explain volume 2's forlorn languishing on my bookshelves. I bet I got it for him.)

The next installment will be out in 2009:
Hughesovka? Sure, private detective Louie Knight had heard the stories, he'd heard about the legendary replica of Aberystwyth built in the Ukraine by some crazy nineteenth-century Czar. But he didn't believe it. He thought it was all phooey, just a land for dreamers and romantics where every house was an ice cream castle in the air. But all that changed when the museum curator of the fabled Shangri-la turned up in his office with a wild and crazy tale of love, death, madness and betrayal. Forced to swallow his scepticism, Louie is soon adrift in the neon-drenched wilderness of Aberystwyth Prom, pursued by snuff philatelists and a renegade spinning wheel salesman, and clutching two most unlikely talismans - a ticket to Hughesovka and a Russian cosmonaut's sock.Aberystwyth's only private eye and his sidekick Calamity Jane return as they swap the train to Dovey Junction for the Orient Express and try to unravel a murder mystery that is bizarre, even by their own exceptional standards.