Wednesday, June 29, 2005
W00t! Withholding the right to marry from same-sex partnerships identified as unfair by Canada. I particularly enjoyed the idea that Trudeau's promise to create a just society is identified by Chatters as where the rot started. This reminds me somewhat of our own lovely Mr. Tony Blair and his evil post-60s liberal consensus.

Before we all strap on our dancing trousers in time for Pride, though, Christians are trying to derail equality for LGBT people in MA. Apparently the Christian Civic League frowns on equality. And, in fact, pretty much everything else bar frowning. Thank God we have our very own Conservative party to remind us that family values happen once as tragedy and once as farce.

And speaking of farce... as observed, it's just like Championship Manager. I can't work out whether my admiration for Laurent Robert is augmented by his readiness to drop 180,000 down the drain in the pursuit of not waiting until his transfer is finalised (tomorrow) before putting the boot in, or whether it merely confirms the thesis that footballers are not the clearest of thinkers. I rather hope they take the opportunity to fine him one more time for luck before the transfer is completed, for having shit hair or not looking good in pastels.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005
via Monkeyfilter - my God, a new All Your Base are Belong to Us. Is that late, retro or eerily prescient?

via Linkmachine - tube disruption reports of turned into a Quicktime movie. Rather lovely.

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Thought. The fourth-generation iPod has a click wheel, which responds to minor events of pressure and motion to perform certain functions. Could one increase the sensitivity of the click wheel to the point where it ceased to be a click wheel and become an environmental gateway?

And why? The click wheel currently has, I think, nine basic functions, seven directional and two rotational - up (a level), back one, forward one, back and forward within current track, down (play and pause), in (select), and then clockwise and withershins. These are all created by either a single point of applied pressure or a combination of pressure and motion (back and forwards within track, clockwise, withershins). Each has a context-derived function, depending on what the iPod is doing at that point. At present, they are activated by a set level of direct or sheer force, that level being based on the amount of pressure that a geek of reasonable spindliness can be expected to apply. Amp that up to the point where an activating level of force can be generated by the impact of an unexpected breeze on (direct) or across (sheer) the face of the iPod. Tracks would then be mixed, volume levels increased or decreased and on occasion the thing turned off completely by air currents, and thus by extension by changes in temperature and air pressure. This decentralises and broadens enormously the impact of external factors on the wearer, who must decide whether to go with it or adapt to minor changes by taking protective action, thus eventually becoming as sensitive and as limber as Wolverine trained by ninjas. Yes, I know Wolverine was actually trained by ninjas. I'm trying not to think about it.

Ladies and gentleman, I give you the aeoPod. Keeping us slim and twisty, or resigned to having our enjoyment ruined by external factors. Either way, we win.

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Sunday, June 26, 2005

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Friday, June 24, 2005
Annotations to "You're the Top". And, on a related note (drumroll), this review of Spamelot does appear to back up my suspicion, honed over decades, that Monty Python gags are not as funny when Monty Python are not making them, and there's a law of diminishing returns even then. In much the same way, the final Radio 4 series of the Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy seemed primarily to be fanfiction with an unusually impressive cast. I want Spamelot to be great, not least because in my fantasy world, Hank Azaria, Tim Curry and David Hyde Pierce bestride continents as if gods, and also combine their robot lion spaceships with Janeane Garofalo and Yeardleey Smith to form some sort of giant underappreciated character actor. with laser eyes.

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Sunday, June 19, 2005
Word of warning - there's going to be something of an annalistic bent to the next few entries of any weight - I'm rather trying to catch up with my own existence, and since LiveJournal is the closest thing I have to a diary at present, it is taking the strain. If you want to start searching these entries for clues as to the perpetrator of the apalling crime to be revealed in a later chapter, please feel free. Otherwise, feel free to skip ahead.

The day after the wedding, that is May 29, was one for last chances (thus reversing the usual progression). First at the National Gallery, to see John Virtue's massy pictures of London. Unfortunately, the National Gallery is one of the only places where these large canvases can look undistinguished. Virtue's London is not my London - he portrays the endless pollution - air, sound, light - as dirty grey and black clouds rolling at ground level and blurring out the details of the buildings. I love the rectilinearity of London - the blocks rising from the ground, interrupted by the slow curves of the occasional alien. Take that away, and you don't really have London any more. Nonetheless, the way he covered the ground of
the canvas was interesting - blocking in with rags and aerosol.

There's an element of "I can see my house from here" with all pictures of London, although in this case only if you live a good hundred feet above ground, on the river, and in a home made of thick lines of black paint. The Virtue exhibition is now closed. London remains available for viewing.

Onwards thence to the British Museum, to see the African Garden - still running, although the idea of outdoors is at present the only thing with the power to chill the blood. Too. Darn. Hot. More Mozambiquan weaponry sculpture, demonstrating that once swords become too structurally complex to be made into ploughshares you are basically stuck channelling half your GDP into art projects. Expect North Korea to start selling nuclear tea cosies within the decade. There are both some beautiful plants - I remain tickled by just how spiky and aggressive-looking the aloe is - and some impressive art - the Carstens' baobab tree is impressive in scale and a superb hiding place - but the whole enterprise is obviously most important as it represents the last time the Ground Force team will work together. Not since the death of Donna Troy have I been so profoundly unaffected by something almost certainly described in press releases as the end of an era. An era of what, exactly? Ground Force, to quote Morrissey, says nothing to me about my life. In fact, they say nothing to me about any life whatsoever. Nelson Mandela had the right idea. Everyone else gets hugs and canapés. They were sent into the back garden to do the weeding.

And to the Sorting Office on Holborn to see Küba, which has now been broken up and is being distributed across London - see here for locations. Theoretically, the stories of the inhabitants of Küba will thus filter across the city until we Londoners feel that the locals whose stories we are watching are our neighbours as much as they are occupants of a Turkish shanty town. I'm not so sure - the fact that the peoople who will see them will largely be Artangel audiences - students and hipsters - makes it feel a bit like poverty porn.

The presence in a single room of all these stories - each a chair, an electric fire, a DVD player and a television, playing out one person's account of life - created a strange babel, but when you sat down in front of them the words, translated from several different languages, seemed the same. The mother of three miserably married to a hashish addict, the twenty-fifth of twenty-five children, the man who described the death of his son in the tones of the hopelessly exhausted, all spoke the language of incidents.

There was an incident, and now he is dead.
Recently, my best friend was caught up in an incident.
There was an incident. I could not leave the hospital until I paid the bill. My husband had no money

Küba seemed to be a state of affectlessness as much as a place. Long stories wandered further and further from sense. Women wrestled then befriended adultresses, men abducted brides, light-hearted capers segued into murder. I am unsure whether the impact will be as great with only one story on display - perhaps a greater sense of intimacy will create its own depth.

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005
It struck me on the way home. "Tell it to the marines" is derived from "tell it to the horse marines". The idea being that there are no such things as horse marines, because trying to stable horses on board a ship would be a silly idea. They take up a lot of space, they are prone to broken legs and they need a lot of fodder. It would make more sense for there to be red squirrel kitten marines.

Red squirrel kittens are small and easy to carry. Also, the red squirrel marines would be incredibly circumspect warriors, because they would not want to leave their red squirrel kittens alone in the world (of course, another marine would take care of them, but you know the sense of fierce protectiveness). Their opponents would be similarly carefui, bitterly missing their own red squirrel kittens, tucked up safe far from the front. Eventually, after a few weeks of inconclusive and casulty-free manoeuvres, peace would be negotiated.

I feel I may be short of sleep to the point of medical emergency. Goodnight.

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Sunday, June 05, 2005
Darth Vader's last train to Clarksville.

United States of Noooooooo!

Thundercats... Nooooooooo.

via Metafiilter. Safe for work, require sound, may include spoilers for Star Wars, if you count "At some point Darth Vader gets his zip caught" as a spoiler. Can't imagine why I'm strangely unimpelled to see this...

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