Friday, December 31, 2010

Crazy Horses


In recording Dec 28 on these pages, I forgot to mention that I also spent part of it demonstrating my Osmonds Crazy Horses Dance moves to a bemused Bomber, brother and family as well as pedestrians and passers by in the Maritime Quarter of Swansea.

That omission rectified, RIP Bobby Farrell who also swung a dashed efficient shoe back in the 70s.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Quorra, wotta scorcher

Does anyone else think that Olivia Wilde as Quorra in Tron: Legacy looks eerily like my sister? I think it is the Clara Bow "It" Girl dark bob cut, rather than anything requiring Dr Freud's attention, that seals the deal.

In a possibly related development, glowing Tron-like white detailing magically appeared on the photo to the left that I took yesterday of the Bomber with the 19 assorted sporting medals he has acquired this year. We took them to Cardiff to show his grandfather. It's just the flash reflecting on the decoration of his Ben 10 dressing gown, but it certainly looks strange.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Linkblogging Yesterday






AC/DC - Back In Black


Joe's Ice Cream



9932024

MBE for J Burke Snr. "I thought it was the case for his spectacles."





"Ethics Precedes Ontology: A debate on Emmanuel Levinas and The Age of Reification". Venue - The Claude, Albany Road, CF24 3RW. Time 9pm.
That is my take on 28 December 2010 at least. I concede it is difficult to discern any coherent narrative thread.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Right Now

Look out kid
It’s somethin’ you did
God knows when
But you’re doin’ it again
Mix you own medicine here.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boxing Day

The Bomber started muay Thai in 2006, the swapped to Judo in 2009. Everything I have seen over the last four and a half years suggest to me that the message of Fight for Peace is correct.

I can't explain it though. It is just an empirical observation.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Clear and Present Danger

It used to be that all the preparation you needed with kids' Christmas presents was to wrap them and make sure that you laid in a supply of a wide variety of cylindrical and rectangular batteries for the big day.

Now I find that you have to set aside an evening for charging battery packs, checking for and installing software updates, deciding if extra memory cards are needed, and craftily testing configuring peripherals and games with PCs and gaming consoles to ensure that your gifts work "out of the box" when unwrapped.

Last night as I was charging up the Bomber's new Xacti HD camcorder, it struck me that I have bought him a camera with easy YouTube integration at the same time as getting the Wii Michael Jackson dancing game for a neice who will be with us on Christmas Day.

A postprandial Christmas moonwalking challenge in the presence of video equipment - with which to immortalise it - and a ready supply of booze may turn out to have been a bad idea.

Islington wishes you and your significant other/partner a very GM-free, organic, locally sourced, carbon-neutral Winterval and a diverse gender/colour-blind, differently abled 2011 CE.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Some kind of nothingness


The Manic Street Preachers perform their new single on Strictly Come Dancing above. It all seems a long way from hobnobbing with Fidel Castro.

In the official video (which I can't embed) James Dean Bradfield walks around in Cardiff while Ian McCulloch strolls Liverpool in split screen. It is hardly the Thomas Crown Affair, but I can certainly identify all the home town locations.

You?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet

Gavin Bryars says:

In 1971, when I lived in London, I was working with a friend, Alan Power, on a film about people living rough in the area around Elephant and Castle and Waterloo Station. In the course of being filmed, some people broke into drunken song - sometimes bits of opera, sometimes sentimental ballads - and one, who in fact did not drink, sang a religious song "Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet". This was not ultimately used in the film and I was given all the unused sections of tape, including this one.

When I played it at home, I found that his singing was in tune with my piano, and I improvised a simple accompaniment. I noticed, too, that the first section of the song - 13 bars in length - formed an effective loop which repeated in a slightly unpredictable way. I took the tape loop to Leicester, where I was working in the Fine Art Department, and copied the loop onto a continuous reel of tape, thinking about perhaps adding an orchestrated accompaniment to this. The door of the recording room opened on to one of the large painting studios and I left the tape copying, with the door open, while I went to have a cup of coffee. When I came back I found the normally lively room unnaturally subdued. People were moving about much more slowly than usual and a few were sitting alone, quietly weeping.

I was puzzled until I realised that the tape was still playing and that they had been overcome by the old man's singing. This convinced me of the emotional power of the music and of the possibilities offered by adding a simple, though gradually evolving, orchestral accompaniment that respected the tramp's nobility and simple faith. Although he died before he could hear what I had done with his singing, the piece remains as an eloquent, but understated testimony to his spirit and optimism."
I may hate Dignity, but I love this post-minimalist hymn. Go figure.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Leeroy Jenkins

Rayburn popped round yesterday lunchtime, which was a pleasant surprise.

He introduced me to the power and the glory that is World of Warcraft's Leeroy Jenkins (over 21 million YouTube views). I thought I would collapse with laughter.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

New Year's resolution

In 2011 I will offer people unasked for advice based on reckless and probably inaccurate assumptions about the most intimate details of their private lives.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

We clicked on comedy

Cato?! Cato?!
(plays discordant notes on bugle)

Pay attention! This is your employer speaking!

I am cancelling the attack orders for tonight!

You understand?

I know that I told you to show no mercy, and to attack, and to pay no attention to what I say!

But tonight...
(karate yell)
But tonight,

I am ordering you to pay attention!

You will not attack, Cato!
(blows bugle)


Blake Edwards RIP. I have lost track of the number of times the Bomber and I have watched DVD's from my Pink Panther boxed set.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Spirit of Christmas


This package comes with all of your stealth warrior essentials.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Get well soon

Chris Howell had an emergency operation to remove his appendix last week and now - I see via Kim in Facebook:
Chris is back in hospital again! Wound infected and may have an abscess - he's been through the mill in the last 9 days. So, back on IV antibiotics and we'll know more after an ultrasound tomorrow.
Considering the corners of the world to which our compadres from university and the Pamplona jaunts of the 80s have scattered, I thought I would note it here as I know that some of them check in to these pages from time to time.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

60% of Cardiffians

BBC Radio 2, 10:00PM Mon, 13 Dec 2010
Hardeep Singh Kohli explores the religious and cultural make-up of the UK by visiting three of its most diverse cities.

His first stop is Cardiff, and he starts his journey at Cardiff Bay, now the home of the Welsh Assembly building and rows of gleaming luxury flats. But this was formerly the site of the docks and the gateway for hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world who settled in Cardiff, making it the vibrant, multi-cultural city it is today.

Hardeep travels around the Butetown district, once a melting pot of nationalities and faiths, such as Somalis, Yemenis, Norwegians and he will hear how 60% of Cardiffians can actually trace their lineage back to the Irish labourers shipped in to build the docks in the nineteenth century.

He will hear how these different groups lived, worked and worshipped together in Butetown before the area was flattened in what is still known as 'the deluge'.

Well worth a listen, as are Martyn Joseph – Cardiff Bay and Shirley Bassey – The Girl From Tiger Bay which I picked up from the show's soundtrack.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bangalore Bubble and Squeak

According to Google trends, 'curry' searches peak on Boxing Day and have done every year since 2005.

Cobra beer has teamed with Pat Chapman to celebrate this with a turkey curry that uses Christmas Day gravy, Bangalore bubble and squeak, Brussels sprout bhaji and Christmas pudding naan.
Bangalore Bubble and Squeak
INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large (225g) onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 teaspoons curry paste
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder (optional)
225g assorted left over cold cooked vegetables (for instance, Brussels sprouts, peas, beans, carrot and parsnip)
225g cold roast or boiled potato coarsely mashed
2 or 3 tablespoons leftover bread sauce (if available)
salt to taste

METHOD
STEP 1:
Put the oil in a pan and stir-fry the onion, curry paste and garlic for about 5 minutes.

STEP 2:
Add the cold cooked vegetables, with just enough water to keep things firm but mobile.

STEP 3:
Add the mashed potato, using it to bind the other vegetables together.

STEP 4:
Season to taste, mix well and serve hot.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Zeal to Transcend

The skiing goggles to our left can provide you with real-time feedback including speed, latitude/longitude, altitude, vertical distance traveled, total distance travelled, chrono/stopwatch mode, a run-counter, temperature and time. The package includes GPS capabilities, USB charging and data transfer, and post-processing software, and the manufacturer has dropped hints of an open API.

They are fitted with an SPPX polarized and photochromic lens. The Zeal Optics frame feeds data to you on a micro LCD screen which appears to hang six feet in front your eyes.

£449.99 gets you an accelerometer, gyroscope, temperature and pressure sensors. GPS chip, micro LCD display, and 3-dimensional lens. All of a sudden 2007 seems a long time ago Brendan.

In tonight's epsiode of the Gadget Show at 8pm on Five, Jason Bradbury and Ortis Deley visit the ski slopes of Switzerland to test navigation technology and outdoor clothing, as well as sledges, snowboards and bikes.

The bomber and I will be watching and fine tuning our Christmas lists for next year's skiing

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Where Phyllis hid the cornflakes

[Chazz and Rex are testing Chris]
Chazz: Who'd win in a wrestling match, Lemmy or God?
Chris Moore: Lemmy.
[Rex imitates a game show buzzer]
Chris Moore: ... God?
Rex: Wrong, dickhead, trick question. Lemmy *IS* God.
Airheads got it right all those years ago. His Indesctructibleness gives us his diet advice in the Observer today:
When I lived in Heaton Moor Lane in Stockport in the early 60s there'd be 35 other people living in the same room, so it was kind of cramped. The basic diet consisted of creamed rice. Punch two holes in the can with an old beer-bottle opener and you can suck the Ambrosia out, no problem.

What can Delia, Nigella, Gordon, Jamie et al offer that holds a candle?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A fast never prevents a fatness

Here is an onituary of Professor Peter Hilton, a Bletchley Park code-breaker who became one of the most influential mathematicians of his generation.

A man of such boundless energy and invention it would seem, that even during the stress of his wartime code breaking, he spent a sleepness night composing one of the world's longest palindromes:
Doc note: I dissent. A fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thursday, December 09, 2010

until my darkness goes

You can see Darkness Revisited, a film about the making of Bruce Springsteen's follow up to Born to Run on the BBC Player for a while.

I haven't caught it yet, and would generally balk at footage of countless hours spent in the studio trying to find the right drum sound, but the possibly similar documentary that came with the 25th anniversary edition of the previous record was fascinating stuff, so I've downloaded its successor for definite future viewing. I think the BBC gives me a month before the DRM expires it.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Girl Who Set the Honey Trap

Am I the only one who on reading the headline "Julian Assange: WikiLeaks chief held in British prison on rape charge," wouldn't be at all surprised if Lisbeth Salander was behind it and Mikael Blomkvist knows more than he's saying about the Swedish warrant?

Larsson left about three quarters of a fourth novel on a notebook computer, now possessed by his partner, Eva Gabrielsson; synopses or manuscripts of the fifth and sixth in the series, which he intended to contain an eventual total of ten books, may also exist.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Insert Beaver joke here



Could a talking beaver be Mel Gibson's salvation in Hollywood? I really don't know where to begin.

Looking at Slate's list of inspiring self tracking projects, I would suggest that moodscope.com seems the best fit for Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Neurogenisis

I had about a new study that might lead to a breakthrough in MS on the radio this morning.

According to the BBC website:

Scientists have identified a way of prompting nerve system repair in multiple sclerosis (MS).

Studies on rats by Cambridge and Edinburgh University researchers identified how to help stem cells in the brain regenerate myelin sheath, needed to protect nerve fibres.

One reason my ears pricked up when I heard of it was that neurogenisis was mentioned and I had read the chapter on it (3. New Neurons for Old Brains) in the book "The Plastic Mind" this weekend.

The stem cells referred to in the study are neural stem cells, not embryonic stem cells, and they are producing new neurons in your brain all the time.

I had no idea.

All hail Professor Charles ffrench-Constant, for his fascinating research and wonderful name.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The stillness flashed

I went to the Real Food Christmas market on the South Bank yesterday and drank some mulled wine as I walked round.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Whatever happened to the sour grapes bunch?

Now that it is out on DVD and you can get it for £7 if you spend £30 at Sainbury's I can confirm I am indeed a member of Grown Men Who Cry at Toy Story 3.

This weekend I will mostly be Doin' the Banana Split.

Friday, December 03, 2010

David Hume could out consume Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Could David Hume Have Known about Buddhism? Charles Francois Dolu, the Royal College of La Flèche, and the Global Jesuit Intellectual Network.
Could anything be more up my street than this? Speculation about Le Bon David and Jesuits who had studied Buddhism in Thailand and Tibet.

Please imagine me gesticulating with a briar pipe as I discourse on the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, and how consilience in what is often called “Ignatian spirituality” and Buddhist practice may have predisposed the Jesuits to such undertakings.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Connected

I've been following Amazon Web Services since 2006. When I read today that AWS had stopped hosting http://wikileaks.org/ "following apparent pressure from the US government" I realised that it had become so mainstream that, inelegantly:
the cloud is the water we're swimming in.

Further Bradley Manning, the prime suspect in the leaking of top secret documents to the WikiLeaks website, is a computer expert schooled in Wales accorning to the Telegraph.

All together now:
Somethin' ain't right
Gonna get myself, I'm gonna get myself
Gonna get myself connected
I ain't gonna go blind for the light which is reflected
I see thru you, I see thru you
I see thru you, I see thru you
Ya dirty tricks, ya make me sick
I see thru you, I see thru you
Gonna do it again, gonna do it again
I'm (gonna do it again, gonna do it again)
Gotta do right (gonna do it again)
'Cause somethin' ain't right
(gonna do it again)
Gotta do right, come on

Prodnoose: I take it you're gonna do it again.

If you make sure you're connected,
the writing's on the wall
But if your mind's neglected,
stumble you might fall

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Christmas List 2011?

After merely skimming "Mind control: How a £200 headset is redefining brain-computing interaction," I know I want one. I will try and read the article thoroughly and look through www.emotiv.com later tonight given a following wind.

It's serendipitous arrival in my life is via the author Neal Pollack who is a Facebook friend of mine since I read his yoga book "Stretch," and it is strangely apposite as I started reading "The Plastic Mind" last night. "Sometimes I just sits," is the post that best explains how I drifted towards that, I think.

For all the internet's prominence, it is interesting that the bound volume is still what I return to in chasing new interests.
A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man's mind can get both provocation and privacy.
Edward P. Morgan

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

dawn: a command line poem

IISRESET /STOP
NET STOP MSSQLSERVER
NET START MSSQLSERVER
IISRESET /START

Monday, November 29, 2010

"Mistah Kurtz, he dead"

MacKenna (Icons passim) was back in town from Kinshasa over the weekend. Alan Doss has retired and Rod is now the Political Advisor to the Force Commander for the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

I find it impossible to hear this without:
Well, you see, Willard, in this war, things get confused out there. Power, ideals, the old morality, and practical military necessity. But out there with these natives, it must be a temptation to be God. Because there's a conflict in every human heart, between the rational and irrational, between good and evil. And good does not always triumph. Sometimes, the dark side overcomes what Lincoln called the better angels of our nature
... reverberating through my head.

It is strange to think I've known him for about a quarter of a century without realizing he can speak French. How did I imagine he operated in francophone Africa?

I couldn't help but explore the Wikileaks US embassy cables database with this in mind today. There is only one single cable from DR Congo, a country as big as Western Europe.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Frozen Pitches

No rugby for the Bomber this morning, due to frozen pitches.

It is worth observing on the plus side of the electronic communications revolution that SMS, email and the web let the club get the message round in double quick time, so we're playing chess in our dressing gowns rather than turning up to find that the game is off.

(He has just taken my queen with a sucker punch of a move. Morning chess without caffeine seems to be a mistake.)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Don't forget to remember

Cardiff City will go to the top of the Premiership if they beat QPR this afternoon.

I can remember walking up from Wimpey in Hammersmith to see the same fixture years ago.

Looking at the record of head-to-heads on the Cardiff City Mad site I can't work out if that was the FA Cup in January 1990 or the League Cup in August 1999.

My sense of when events ocurred before I made daily notes here is - to say the least - fluid.

Friday, November 26, 2010

the value of nothing

While the bomber was doing his maths homework last night, I decided to exhume my legendary mental arithmetic skills and back-of-the-enveloped that I will need to put aside about £290 a month from now until his first day if I am going to save up £9,000 a year tuition fees before he starts university.

Then I realized (is this a reproach to my teachers?) that I had missed a year out of my sum and the figure is actually more like £260.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gross National Happiness

The BBC announces that the "Prime Minister David Cameron is launching a £2m project on how best to measure the nation's happiness," and I join in the general chorus of derision.

Matthieu Ricard, Buddhist monk and world's happiest man, says much the same thing as the PM and I nod sagely.

Mote and beam, Sir? What do you think?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

strange solitary crazy Catholic mystic

Continuing with the Duluoz Legend I have been astonished to discover that Desolation Angels appears to be out of print.

This seems to be a ridiculous state of affair in the age of the Kindle et al. Reputations wax and wane, but Kerouac is surely a significant figure in 20th century American letters.

I can see him on YouTube on the Steve Allen Show, and even hear him singing (I use the word advisedly) "On the Road" via Spotify, but I can't break the spine on a new copy of one of his novels.
“I hope it is true that a man can die and yet not only live in others but give them life, and not only life, but that great consciousness of life.”
Myself: Not if they can't get hold of the book, mate.

Prodnose: “My witness is the empty sky.”

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

St Cecilia's Day

I went to see the Bomber playing the recorder at a Wimbledon Music Festival Roadshow yesterday in the Great Hall at King's College, under the auspices of the Merton Music Foundation.

It was lead by Piers Adams "regarded by many to be the greatest recorder player of our time" and it was great.

Entre nous, I only went out of duty but I enjoyed it tremendously.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Duluoz Legend

I went to see Canaletto and his Rivals in the National Gallery yesterday; a fact I record here only because an earlier post informs me that it was an astounding three and a half years ago that I went to see Canaletto in England at Dulwich.

I finished off Kerouac's The Dharma Bums on the tube on my way to The Embankment. It really chimed with me. Here is a crib sheet that Beat Generation scholars can use to relate the characters from the very autobiographical book with their real life equivalents:

Jack Kerouac Ray Smith
Caroline Kerouac Nin
Carolyn Cassady Evelyn
Neal Cassady Cody Pomeray
Claude Dalenberg Bud Diefendorf
Allen Ginsberg Alvah Goldbook
Natalie Jackson Rosie Buchanan
Philip Lamantia Francis DaPavia
Michael McClure Ike O'Shay
Locke McCorkle Sean Monahan
John Montgomery Henry Morley
Peter Orlovsky George
Kenneth Rexroth Rheinhold Cacoethes
Gary Snyder Japhy Ryder
Alan Watts Arthur Whane
Philip Whalen Warren Coughlin

Kerouac wrote that:
My work compromises one vast book like Proust's Remembrance of Things Past except that my remembrances are written on the run instead of afterwards in a sick bed. Because of the objections of my early publishers I was not allowed to use the same personae names in each work. On The Road, The Subterraneans, The Dharma Bums, Doctor Sax, Maggie Cassidy, Tristessa, Desolation Angels, and the other are just chapters in the whole work which I call The Duluoz Legend. In my old age I intend to collect all my work and reinsert my pantheon of uniform names, leave the long shelf full of books there, and die happy. The whole thing forms one enormous comedy, seen through they eyes of poor Ti Jean (me), otherwise known as Jack Duluoz, the world of raging action and folly and also of gentle sweetness seen through the keyhole of his eye.
I'm very tempted to go straight back up the mountain with Desolation Angels which is the next in the series chronologically - though not in the order of publication.

Then again, I am also hearing good things about Life: Keith Richards

It might be fun to read that using Spotify to listen to all the tracks as he discusses them.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Windows 25

Microsoft first introduced an operating environment named Windows in November 20, 1985. I wonder what November 2035 will bring, given the distance between the screenshot above and the Kinect and Dell Duo I blogged about over the last couple of days?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Only Kinect

I was going to buy the Bomber a Microsoft Kinect for Christmas, but I couldn't stand the stress of waiting so we got one last weekend.

The Burglar came round to check it out in the week. The space I had cleared for it to operate couldn't really cope with all six foot three of him but we grokked the idea and began to speculate about hacks.

We have been overtaken by events.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Could this be the one?

The Dell DUO should be out before Christmas. If it does everything it appears to do, pairing it with the JBL Audio Station dock would seem to make it ideal for all the uses the pub computer (see Icons passim) currently serves in Browne acres. That is to say, I could browse with it in tablet form on the sofa in the living room, unfold it into a laptop for casual work, mount in the dock as a bedside radio alarm, or stream music to it when I'm in the kitchen.

What do you think of the video? I know we've been down this road before with hybrids and convertibles running "Windows XP Tablet PC Edition" and that they scarcely set the world on fire, but we live in hope.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Doing what comes naturally

The Indescribablyboring, reporting on the Royal engagement yesterday, made a sage observation about "the official bulletin being released – naturally – on to Twitter and Facebook."

At the time of the announcement the British Monarchy Facebook page had been live for eight days and three hours, and thus became the natural home for proclamations pretty darn pronto.

I am 969 years old in Internet time.

Sorry to be going on an on about the regnancy but I keep on finding stuff I want to scrapbook here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

the day the world turned dayglo

When Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton plighted their troth at 11 am yesterday a lot of our systems lit up like Christmas trees (see numberless Icons passim since this first for-your-eyes-only teaser).

A story with which to bore any future grandchildren methinks.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Los 33

"Brad Pitt may helm Chilean miners film," says the Guardian.

We can only imagine ........

Monday, November 15, 2010

Zeitgeist

Zeitgeist is "the spirit of the times" or "the spirit of the age." Zeitgeist is the general cultural, intellectual, ethical, spiritual, and/or political climate within a nation or even specific groups, along with the general ambience, morals, sociocultural direction or mood of an era.

The term zeitgeist is from German Zeit- 'time' (cognate with English tide and "time") and Geist- 'spirit' (cognate with English ghost, without being really translatable into English - this is why the German term is used).
All of which is a long winded way of saying that the Monarchy Facebook page got teased on "Have I got news for you" see http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/w0yw7/?t=18m54s.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fathers and Sons

The bomber continues to grow like a weed. In the last couple of weeks I've taken a pair of his tracksuit bottoms to the gym myself, as well as trying to kit him out in a pair of mine for running club. Soon his legs will be long enough to reach the ground.

He scored a try and was awarded the Golden Boot as the best player in the Ruts U10s defeat of Dorking RFC today.

On a sad note, I heard today that Rayburn's father has died in the States. I will try and see him tonight to give him my condolences.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

You're my besht mate .....

This week, web security company Webroot released a new Firefox plugin called “The Social Media Sobriety Test” with the tagline, “Nothing good happens online after 1 a.m.”

The deal is simple, download the plugin and customize the settings for a variety of social media sites — from Facebook to MySpace to Tumblr (for the bloggers among us) to e-mail accounts like Gmail or Hotmail.

Set your hours of intoxication, and if you try to sign on to one of those sites during those times, you’ll be asked to pass a test. I tried it out — about five minutes ago and fully sober — and failed said test, however. You try typing the alphabet backwards. It’s not as easy as it looks.

With the week I have had, I am starting to think this should be compulsory.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Faggots and Peas

What with one thing and another we have had to upgrade our troll hunting and comment moderating skills this week.

See http://www.regular-expressions.info/ for general info, but as an example:

\b(fag)(\b(s)\b(got)\b(gots)\b(ot)\b(ots)\b)
will return any word starting fag and ending with nothing or s or got or gots or ot or ots. You join the dots. Don't assume that people typing through gritted teeth will necessarily spell their rants correctly.

I have also discovered that it is impossible to keep a straight face during any conversation about filtering profanity.

Life on internet time: Monday seems a long time ago.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Effin' Ineffable Part II

Myself:

Prodnose: ?

Myself:

Prodnose: Ho ho, very satirical.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Shut Up!

Thomas Aquinas, who devoted some two million words to spelling out, in the Summa Theologica, the nature of the world, God’s purpose in creating it and our fate in traversing it, ended his short life (short by our standards, at least) in a state of ecstasy, declaring that all that he had written was of no significance beside the beatific vision that he had been granted, and in the face of which words fail. His was perhaps the most striking example of a philosopher who comes to believe that the real meaning of the world is ineffable. Having got to this point, Aquinas obeyed the injunction of Wittgenstein, whose Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus concludes with the proposition: “that whereof we cannot speak we must consign to silence.”

But Aquinas was exceptional. The history of philosophy abounds in thinkers who, having concluded that the truth is ineffable, have gone on to write page upon page about it. One of the worst offenders is Kierkegaard, who argues in a hundred ways that the ultimate is inexpressible, that truth is “subjectivity,” that the meaning of life can be given by no formula, no proposition, no abstraction, but only by the concrete experience of surrender whose content can never be given in words.

The same idea occurs in Schopenhauer, for whom the truth of the world is Will, which cannot be represented in concepts. Schopenhauer devoted roughly 500,000 words to this thing that no words can capture. And he set a fashion that continues to this day.

Let's raise our glasses to Scruton. Who else makes Aquinas, Wittgenstein, Kierkegaard and Schopenhauer funny?

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The trip now longer and stranger

The LA Times weighs in:
How does 84-year-old Queen Elizabeth II -- that iPod-owning royal star of
Twitter, Flickr and YouTube -- manage to get even more hip?

The same way anyone else does: She joins Facebook.
"148,344 people like this" says the page as I write. That has been clicked up at a rate of 540 a minute (coming up for 10 a second) since launch.

Monday, November 08, 2010

What a long strange trip it's been

At last, http://www.facebook.com/TheBritishMonarchy has gone live this morning.

It joins http://twitter.com/#!/BritishMonarchy and http://www.flickr.com/photos/britishmonarchy/ in the social media stable.

That has ticked all the important boxes for the time being I think.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Coming Forth By Day

In a week in which the Queen had been pleased to appoint Mr Neil MacGregor (Director of the British Museum) to be a member of the Order of Merit, I went along to the exhibition Journey Through the Afterlife: The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead at the institution that he heads yesterday.

Judgement, for the Ancient Egyptians, came after a lengthy expedition through the underworld when the supplicant's heart would be weighed on a set of scales against a feather. Fail the test and the too heavy heart would sink down and be swallowed by the Devourer (a crocodile-headed compound of a lion and a hippopotamus). Nice.

I also learned a little about hieratic, a cursive writing system that was used in the provenance of the pharaohs that developed alongside the hieroglyphic system. Being primarily written in ink with a reed brush on papyrus, and allowing scribes to write quickly it seemed familiar in a way that stone carved hieroglyphs never do.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Sold I to the merchant ships

Bob Marley ~ Medium Pastels and Oil pastels

The Egyptian ring wearin', paint slingin', globe trottin' vagabond (see Icons passim) lives in the schizophrenic St Maarten/St Martin in the Caribbean these days.

Two years ago, Paul and I said we'd keep hold of her portfolio until she could send for it. It is still in the office, and a while after that the burglar hung a selection of it up on the walls to pass the time during a slow afternoon.

Last week one of the girls from Time and Leisure admired the portrait of Bob Marley above, so with Tess's permission, we sold it to her.

Any other offers?

Friday, November 05, 2010

people who can't write interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't read

I finished reading The Accidental Billionaires: Sex, Money, Betrayal and the Founding of Facebook yesterday.

It is written using a ridiculous third-person omniscient narrative style that is completely inappropriate for conveying what purports to be a true story. The beginning of every chapter reminded me of the Blues Brothers' Jake had a vision. It was his, the only real one he'd ever had, and he clung to it. Absurd.

Yet the Social Network movie that is based on it is actually rather good. Jaws and The Godfather also spring to mind as fine films made from mediocre books.

What can it all mean?

Next I shall read Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums, which I am finally getting around to after reading On the Road in 1988.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

If you want a picture of the future .....

.... imagine a sequined white glove punching a human face - for ever.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Déjà vu

Paul McCartney is promoting his recent release Band on the Run in the NME.

Jerry Brown is the Governor of California, but the Man is still gonna hassle you over your stash.

Spurs are doing well in Europe.

I think it is 1974.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

A messsage from the Candyman

Hello cats and kittens,

Apologies for the cloak and d. over recent weeks. However as it appears this is going to continue for the forseeable I really ought to offer up some sort of breadcrumbs trail as to what's going on. (As you know I am queasy about introducing vulgar real life onto the vaudeville stage so let's keep this crisp.)

After a pretty mouldy diagnosis about a month back I finally begin chemotherapy on Monday with further radiotherapy from January. Yes radiotherapy; can you beat it? This being so, the old treehouse baggy pants will be donned but sparingly. Once the quacks have soundly thrashed this thing I shall return like a rare gas and as if out of a trap. In the meantime I am watching Tommy Steele box sets (and has there ever been a more lying title to a film than TS's "It's All Happening"?) and urge you all to keep yakking up a storm and laugh extra loud at the incumbents.

Thank you for all the best wishes and concern from those who suspected as much about my "condition" and by all means keep ringing up Baylen and Amy to demand more and more Atomic Rooster and Spooky Tooth records.

So. Manly handshake. Walk right on. In the words of King George, "What what and there it is..."
Danny Baker, my favourite "personality" to use a word he would loathe, has issued the dignified statement above about being treated for the big C. I wish him all the best for a speedy recovery. What I wouldn't give to have him in my team in a pub quiz.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Bringing down the curtain

Ben was playing in the Harequins' Curtain Raiser Cup yesterday. They won their first game against Bracknell, but went down to Ealing and then Cobham.

I think these mini rugby festivals are a great idea. The kids get three or four games in a day, and get to meet an unpredictable variety of teams over a season.

The idea does not seem so great, it has to be said, when you are setting off first thing in the morning in the pouring rain and freezing cold.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mettā Data

I was reading a rather snooty piece in the London Review of Book by Jenny Diski of "Harmony" by the Prince of Wales.

I've not read HRH's latest offering myself, but she quotes him as saying "no brain-scanner has ever managed to photograph a thought, nor a piece of love for that matter" which strikes me as odd because, as I understand it, Richard J. Davidson, Director, Lab for Affective Neuroscience & Waisman Lab for Brain Imaging & Behavior, UW-Madison Psychology Department has.

It is published in Regulation of the Neural Circuitry of Emotion by Compassion Meditation: Effects of Meditative Expertise as figure 2.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

mind body connection

Two years on from What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, I have just finished Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

I think it is a kaleidoscopic marvel of a book, and I'm glad to have enterntained it. Bizarely I was nudged into reading it when I told Miranda the story of Penylan Well (see Icons passim) and she told me that she had just finished it herself and that it was "a book about someone who spends a lot of time in a well."

It took a long time to get through as it weighs in a little over six hundred pages and it fell into the role of the book I read for half an hour every other day when I do my exercise on the stationary recline bike in the gym. This, if I ever lend you my copy, explains why it looks so careworn; there is a lot of sweat on it. The red thumb print that also adorns a page, though it looks like blood, is just paprika infused oil that oozed from a chunk of chorizo.

In an alternative universe Murikami won the Nobel prize for literatiure in 2000 (Icons passim). This year in this universe Ladbroke's had him as third favourite to win it at 7/1, but it went to Mario Vargas Llosa.

Friday, October 29, 2010

mWomen

Hillary Clinton and Cherie Blair launch mobile phone scheme for women in developing nations.
This is wrong in so many ways that I scarcely know where to begin.

1. The proposition that Clinton H, and Blair C should be role models for independent, up-by their-bootstraps women entrepreneurs, is risible.

2. The idea that folk living on $2 a day need smart phones as opposed to - say - plumbing, is incredibly patronising at a let-them-eat-cake level of abstraction and delusion.

3. The notion that giving women in reactionary, misogynist societies mobiles will somehow magically empower them is dangerously disingenuous and Panglossian. A tool that will let men monitor where their women are all the time, and give the patriarchy the ability to summon their drudges instantly for any whim seems as likely to oppress as liberate.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

them chickens jackin' my style

I got up early yesterday and went to the gym to get it out of the way as I had appointments in town.

I took the tube to Victoria and walked to Buckingham Palace for a meeting with the Royal Household.

Then, as I had some time to kill, I wandered up to the British Museum to check out 'Images and Sacred Texts' which is an exhibition of Buddhist sutras, painted scrolls and sculptures from Sri Lanka to Japan.

In the afternoon, I had to go to the Association of Chief Police Officers in Victoria street, then in the evening I attended a discussion on "The Future of Mobile" at the RSA.

The RSA is a charity which encourages the development of a principled, prosperous society and the release of human potential.

This morning I woke up with a Nestlé Milkybar button melted in my hair, though I didn't notice it until just now when I scratched my head.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sunset

The tumult and the shouting dies—
The captains and the kings depart—
Here is Dawn of a New Day, Ray Ozzie's valedictory address to Microsoft.

It is an insightful piece, and well worth a read, but there is no disguising the fact that the software giant's "new brain, new broom" (see Icons passim) has failed to bend the hordes of Redmond to his will regardless of the power of his analysis.

The long decline continues. You can't help but wonder how long Steve Ballmer has left.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

unfriend (verb, transitive)

I went to see The Social Network last night. Much to my amazement - the subject not obviously lending itself to dramatic treatment - it is rather a good movie.

As Facebook continues to devour everything in its path even Roger Scruton is wading in and invoking, by way of explanation and much to my delight, Hegel's notion of Entäusserung. (That's all clear then.)

Last night's programme also included the trailer for Catfish, the other Facebook movie.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Churrascaria

I went to Comida last night. Las Iguanas was the Brazillian stop on eat your way around the world in London back in 2006, but this is quite a different proposition.

It's a churrascaria, a restaurant serving grilled meat, and in this case offering as much as you can eat: the waiters move around the restaurant with the skewers, slicing meat onto the client's plate. This serving style is called espeto corrido or rodízio.

Hugh, whose idea the visit was, discovered the concept in Richmond, Virginia of all places.

Good company and friendly helpful staff, this is one to visit again.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

sometimes I just sits

I read Tim Parks' Teach Us to Sit Still: A Sceptic's Search for Health and Healing recently. It is a fascinating book which has led me (via the its references to the author's Vipassanā retreat I think) to Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, thence Richard J Davidson's experiments - in cooperation with the Dalai Lama - on the effects of meditation on the brain, which introduced me in turn to the wonderful Matthieu Ricard. (Much to my astonishment, a subset of Google Tech Talks - the ones curated by Chade-Meng Tan - is a great source of information in this area.)

It's a subject for another day, but I think that the evidence that is emerging that the mind can change the brain's structure is likely to be one of the most profound discoveries of our age.

The point I want to make this morning is that as I was watching The Big Silence - in which a Benedictine introduces five ordinary people to silent, monastic contemplation - on BBC2 last night I was struck by the amount of overlap there was at the level of practice with Buddhist methods.

I suppose that if meditation really is therapeutic, we shouldn't be surprised - looking at it phenomenologically - if parallel approaches arise in different cultures.

Compare and contrast:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Forced rhubarb

The Odd Boy lay down by the football field
Took out a slim volume of Mallarme
The centre-forward called him an imbecile
It's an Odd Boy who doesn't like sport

Sport, sport, masculine sport
Equips a young man for Society,
Yes, sport turns out a jolly good sort
It's an Odd Boy who doesn't like sport.

I have dropped the Bomber off at an early morning running club before school today. He was signed up after his cross country triumph last week, and certainly seemed keen enough considering the hour I had to rouse him from the arms of Morpheus. From Friday week, he wants to do indoor cricket as well which means he'll be doing judo Thursday evening, running Friday morning, and cricket Friday evening.

Andy asked him to have a trial for AFC Wimbledon, but he has politely binned that notion having given his heart to rugby football. If he'd taken it up he could have been playing or training in some sport or other six days out of seven.

I'm in a bit of a quandry. I can see that - given that he seems to be quite able - it is likely that he will get a lot of opportunities to try out interesting recreations, but I also see a danger of it getting overwhelming.

I'd be perfectly happy if he just stayed with judo and rugby plus whatever he does in school to be frank, but on reflection I think that the prudent way to handle this going forward is to be equally relaxed about him giving things up as well as taking things up.

Note to my future self - the day he says he wants to quit judo or rugby, grin and bear it regardless of what you would actually prefer.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Belabour him at will

How to Defend Yourself, without Running any Risk of being Hurt, if you are Carrying only a Small Switch in your Hand, and are Threatened by a Man with a very Strong Stick.

Just in case the issue ever comes up.

When you are proficient with the small sword and sabre, the quarter-staff and bayonet, you will know at once what to do with the leg of an old chair, an iron bar, a hop-pole, a boat-hook, or even a lady's parasol. Depend upon it that any moderately strong and active man who is a good boxer, fencer, and wrestler may be a very nasty customer for even two or three footpads to attack.

I can't get enough of this stuff.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

she senses I'm shallow

Myself: So, did you do shoot the photographs in there or what?

Prodnose: Yeah, I sorta dabble around, you know.

Myself: They're wonderful, you know. They have... uh... a quality.

Prodnose: Well, I would-I would like to take a serious photography course soon.

Myself: Photography's interesting, 'cause, you know, it's a new art form, and uh, a set of aesthetic criteria have not emerged yet.

Prodnose: Aesthetic criteria? You mean, whether it's a good photo or not?



I've watched all seventeen minutes so you don't have to.

They key quotes are:

  • Gracie Carvalho (nibbling with no shirt on): It’s been incredible. Even though I was partially naked and only 18 years old I’m loving it!
  • Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (jumping out of a pool deshabille): I love doing shoots like this where you’re not representing a piece of clothing or a designer — you’re actually representing yourself, and that’s really exciting. It actually gives you an opportunity to give more of your soul and your heart in the picture.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How beauteous mankind is

By way of a corrective to yesterday's Utopian speculation about computer games, a more cynical diagrammatic appraisal of the congruence of personality traits driving social networking.

You pays your money and takes your choice.

Monday, October 18, 2010

get your game face on

As a planet, we collectively spend 3 billion hours a week playing computer and video games. Today’s youth are contributing a particularly heavy share of that load: The average young person in the UK will have spent 10,000 hours playing games by the time they turn 21. It’s enough to make you ask: Shouldn’t we all be doing something better with our time? Something more productive than, say, slaying virtual monsters, racing virtual cars, and managing virtual football teams?

But the gamers (and they make up more than a third of the UK population) may be on to something: It turns out that gameplay is extraordinarily productive. It may not increase GDP. But it does produce, more cheaply and reliably than almost any other activity, the positive emotions – such as delight, curiosity, pride and bliss – that scientists say are crucial to our health and success in real life.

It turns out that people who experience on average 3 positive emotions for every 1 negative emotion they feel live 10 years longer. They’re more successful at work, school and personal pursuits – and they also have longer, happier marriages. Scientists say it doesn’t matter where you get these positive emotions – it just matters that you sincerely feel them. And if you watch the faces of gamers while they play – whole-heartedly engaged, passionately motivated, and intensely rewarded – you know that they’re not just playing games. They’re also building up their inner reserve of good feelings.

They’re also producing social capital. Research from major universities such as MIT and Stanford show that we like and trust other people more after we’ve played a game together -- even if they’ve beaten us. More importantly, scientists have discovered that we’re more likely to help someone in real life after we’ve helped them in a cooperative game. Games aren’t just making us happier – they’re also building up our social bonds. No wonder 40% of total hours spent on Facebook are spent playing games. Our 3 billion hours a week gaming are producing the two most important aspects of well-being – positive emotions and positive relationships. There’s simply nothing better to be doing with our free time.

I'm not sure I agree with Jane McGonigal, but that is an intriguing thesis, artfully expressed.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Content Management

I am just back from the Camberley Mini Rugby Festival. The Ruts didn't distinguish themselves to be brutally frank, though Ben played pretty well as ever, and the two six minute halves of Guidlfordians versus Sutton & Epsom RFC Under 10s comprised as gripping a contest as I've seen in any sport this year.

Standing on the touchline on a crisp October day, sipping coffee from a polystyrene cup, munching a bacon bap, and watching the kids play rugby is probably as close to content as I will ever get in this vale of tears, so it is worth recording.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock

Restlessly channel hopping on Thursday night (the Bomber was upstairs asleep so I couldn't go out worrying sheep) I came across The Big Bang Theory, a sitcom of which I'd never previously heard.

I thought it was great. Though the shows are completely unalike it reminded me of my similarly serendipitous discovery of Curb Your Enthusiasm all those years ago.

I can get the first three series from Amazon for £26.93 but I've still only watched one episode of The Wire, and I've had that for over a year now.

There are people with worse problems I suppose.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Buying books is fun, with a glass in your hand

Elif Batuman's article on sending alcohol fuelled, late night booty calls to the Western canon is an hilarious confirmation of several WBI memes:

"But hey, enough of my yacking," I yield the spotlight to Ms Batuman:
Before I first acquired a Kindle, exactly one year ago, I didn't usually buy books while under the influence of alcohol. I won't say I never did it, because that would be a lie. But it wasn't a habit. After a couple of glasses of wine, I tend to fixate on the present. I have no use for five to seven days' delivery time. The Kindle is wonderful for drunk people because you can climb into bed, press one button, and The Anatomy of Melancholy instantaneously materialises before you, plucked by the so-called Whispernet out of the surrounding ether.

The number of books I buy while sober is, I have noticed, inversely proportional to the number I buy while drunk. It's a zero-sum game, as Proust once observed of wet dreams: when all the resources are consumed in the night, none are left for waking life.

Counting free samples and e-books from the pre-1923 copyrightless domain, the total number of books I "purchase" per month has actually gone up by about 200%, while the number of books I purchase while sober has dwindled to about 5% of the total. You used to be able to say that someone's library looked like it had been assembled by a drunk person. Now, for me, the metaphor has become a reality.


..... read further......

Thursday, October 14, 2010

coup de théâtre

I went to see Birdsong in the Comedy Playhouse last night.

("Comedy?" Prodnose).

The second and third acts were harrowing and masterly. I can't help but admire Trevor Nunn's technical skill in marshaling his resources on the stage, crass as it may seem to make that remark of a play about the trenches in the Great War.

While I'm on the subject of theatre visits, and for the sake of completeness I also recently saw Cyrano on the Moon at the Wimbledon Studio. It was balderdash.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

hope in our hearts and wings on our heels.

There had been much dark muttering from a disappointed bomber over the last week or so when he found - after being convinced it was in the bag - that he hadn't been picked to represent Poplar at a six school cross country event that took place yesterday.

I also cancelled going along to watch, but come the day one of the three members of his year's team had to drop out and I'll be darned if Ben didn't take the spot as a substitute, grit his teeth and come home first out of a field of eighteen in the boys' year five race. (The school also won the whole event overall on points for the first time ever he told me.)

Cue wild celebrations (apple crumble) in Browne acres.

P.S. He also got four tries against London Scottish on the weekend.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Le Parapluie Uncassable

You have got to watch the video above. I was genuinely crying with laughter. What elevates it to the sublime I think, is the way that our hero looks utterly bored to death throughout, as well as the telling detail of his wordless opening and closing of the brolly before he belabours each consecutive prop.

The Unbreakable Umbrella works just as well as a walking stick or cane but does not make you look funny or feel awkward. Whacks just as strong as a steel pipe but it weighs only 1 lb. and 9 oz. (710 g). And yes, this umbrella resists the wind and will keep you dry in rain just like the best umbrella should. www.UnbreakableUmbrella.com

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ignorance is bliss

Wimbledon Bookfest is over for another year.

Yesterday I went to see Robert McCrum at an event in the extraordinary Southside House (of which I'd never previously heard) where Alex Munthe wrote the, by all accounts extraordinary, The Story of San Michele (of which I'd never previously heard).

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Anyone for tens?

Today is the tenth of the tenth of the tenth and a big day for weddings.
At the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel, the owner, Ron DeCar, has 150 ceremonies planned in five chapels, beginning at midnight. He has had to hire extra Elvis impersonators, he said, to bring the contingent to six.

There was a similar surge on July 7, 2007, and he is already planning for 11/11/11 and 12/12/12.

For those of a geeky bent, the date has another layer of importance — it is made up entirely of ones and zeros, the binary language of computing. Kevin Cheng and Coley Wopperer of San Francisco have been waiting nearly two years for their wedding date to roll around, having realized over dinner with friends in 2008 that, as one suggested, “you could have a binary-themed wedding!” he recalled.

“Both of our eyes just lit up,” he said.

“We’re very much technology people,” Mr. Cheng explained, as if it were necessary to point this out.

The dinner group quickly calculated the more familiar base-10 value of the binary number 101010, and found that it was 42. “That totally sealed the deal!” he recalled.

Footnote: For fans of Douglas Adams, author of the series of science fiction comedic novels beginning with “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy,” the number 42 is instantly recognized as the punch line to one of literature’s most revered shaggy dog stories. In it, super-intelligent beings have created the most powerful computer ever to provide the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything.” The computer labors for 7.5 million years. Finally, it answers: “Forty-two.”

Which means, gentle reader, that Kevin Cheng and Coley Wopperer are truly meant for each other.
So for all the freaks and geeks jumping the broomstick today, I sincerely wish you wish you all the very best.

Wedding vows in Vegas
Weren't meant to last for ages
You've got to be courageous
To play the odds that love will win
Whatever city you're in.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Apophatic

"As tiresome as a child with a taste for religious controversy." Where did I read that?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Soane, and so forth

There is a special candlelit opening of Sir John Soane's Museum on the first Tuesday evening of each month, 6-9pm, and I went along last night largely, I think, because I am a big girl's blouse.

I didn't get in. "Please expect long queues," says the website; accurately.

In the absence of my report on Sir John's collections and personal effects, acquired between the 1780s and his death in 1837, you will have to divert yourself with this video of Bruce Lee playing table tennis with nunchucks.

Let's just relish that again: table tennis with nunchucks. He really was comprised entirely of awesomeness.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Ryder on the storm

Perhaps we have evolved gills in Europe after all?

These are happy days with the Ryder Cup regained in Wales in Welsh weather and a USA team gracious in defeat.

Terry Matthews (Newport 1943) is a Welsh Born Icon.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Zune, just one look

After lunch on a wet and miserable Sunday yesterday, the Bomber and I sat down to entertain ourselves with the remake of Clash of the Titans.

It wasn't broadcast TV or a disc however, it was streamed to the new XBOX over the net. We only stumbled across the feature, but using it was next to effortless, and the quality was fine.

Writing here every day let's me see how much of an improvement that is over four years ago.

I think perhaps my DVDs will have gone the way of my CDs in another forty eight months.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Cancelled

KINGS FESTIVAL UPDATE : 0600hrs SUN 3rd OCT - FESTIVAL OFF. OVERNIGHT RAIN HAS FLOODED ALL HARD STANDING CAR PARKING. MORE RAIN FORECAST FOR THIS MORNING LATER. SADLY WITHOUT ANY ON SITE PARKING FACILITY THE FESTIVAL IS CANCELLED.
First kids rugby cancellation of the year this morning. First of many if last year and the Ryder Cup is anything to go by. I'm surprised we haven't evolved gills in the UK.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Friday, October 01, 2010

Cardiff Internet Movie Database

SEATTLE – September 28, 2010—IMDb.com, Inc. (www.imdb.com), the authoritative source of information on movies, TV and celebrities, and part of the Amazon.com, Inc. group of companies, today announced and launched IMDb20, the company’s 20-year anniversary campaign. Beginning today, IMDb will treat fans to an original video interview with a different A-list artist each day, culminating on Oct. 17, 2010, (the date of IMDb’s 20th anniversary). The goal of the online countdown and companion editorial section is to celebrate the films of the past 20 years.

Yes my pretties, but in 1992 when it kicked away the shackles of rec.arts.movies and launched itself onto the World Wide Web (a network in its infancy back then) it was known as the Cardiff Internet Movie Database and was powered by a database residing on the servers of the computer science department of Wales' Cardiff University.

For IMDb.com is - and will ever remain - a Welsh Born Icon.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Spice Boy

The Bomber is ten today.

I bumped into the life guard from the Virgin Active pool yesterday. When she asked after him, it reminded me that there's a swimming certificate on his bedroom wall from all they way back in 2006.

Tempus fugit.

He wants to go to Jimmy Spice tonight (eat your way around the world in one room), and he's having a party on Saturday.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

FAQ

1. How is it made?
Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer is made from a fermented ginger base. Crabbie’s is made with real Ginger powder and root extract by steeping for 6 weeks, to infuse the liquid with a real ginger flavour. The Crabbie’s recipe is a traditional and guarded one with four 'secret' ingredients added to it.

The product is all natural in terms of its flavoring components.


2. What is the ABV?
4% ABV

3. Who makes it?
Crabbies is still made in Scotland but is wholly owned by Halewood International – who are based in Huyton

4. How many units of Alcohol are there in a 500ml bottle?
2 Units


5. What supermarkets/ stores are stocking Crabbie’s?
Waitrose, Sainsbury, Morrison’s, Booths, Netto, Bargain Booze, Nisa, Select & Save, Spar (Appleby Westward, capper, James Hall) & Botterills (Scotland).

6. Is it vegetarian ?
No

7. Is it gluten free ?
Yes


8. What pubs/managed bars/ bar chains are stocking it?
JD Wetherspoons, Mitchells and Butlers, Marstons, Belhaven Pub company, Yates, Hogshead and many independent bars. Bold

9. What wholesalers/cash & carry’s can I buy from?
Nationally available through Bookers, Matthew Clarke, Classic Drinks, St. Austell Brewery, Parfetts, Batleys, Bestway, Bellevue, LWC, Makro, JW Filshill, United Wholesale, Hyperama, AF Blakemore, Inbev, Global Cash & carry, Morcambe Bay Wines, Molson Coors, HB Clark, Goldspot Cash & carry & many many more.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Our Kath

Katherine Jenkins started the Swansea Bay 10k yesterday and then ran the course with John, me and a few thousand others. I believe it is now compulsory for her to officiate at all public events in the Principality.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

a flawless business model

We sold £1 for £2.

If I could scale that sort of transaction up by a few orders of magnitude we'd be laughing.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

if you're a wild eyed loner

Prodnose: Hey you know there's a lot of talk going around about this hip and hep jive. Lots of people are going around saying "hip." Lots of squares are coming out with "hep." Well the hipster is here to inform you what the jive is all about.

Myself: Today I'm going to the the Great British Cheese Festival in Cardiff, and tomorrow I'm doing the Admiral Swansea Bay 10k run. It's the 30th anniversary you know.

Prodnose: What're you rebelling against, Johnny?

Myself: Nothing really.

Prodnose: But it's a road trip!

Myself (humouring him as the path of least resistance): It begins here for me on this road. How the whole mess happened I don't know, but I know it couldn't happen again in a million years. Maybe I could have stopped it early, but once the trouble was on its way, I was just goin' with it. Mostly I remember the girl. I can't explain it - a sad chick like that, but somethin' changed in me. She got to me, but that's later anyway. This is where it begins for me right on this road.

Prodnose: You The Man!

Myself: Who The Man? No! You The Man!

Prodnose: No, No! You the Man!

(repeat to fade)