Archive for November, 2003

Something I only just thought about

Am I missing something, or did Will Smith take a cab from West Philadelphia to Bel Air?

map showing that it is quite a long way

Distance: 2757.6 miles Approximate Travel Time: 42 hours 25 mins

I’m not surprised the driver smelled a bit if they didn’t stop on the way. I’m also not surprised that Uncle Phil was always so bitchy, if the first thing he had to do when Will arrived was pay for a nearly two day cab ride. Plus tip. I hope that when Will became a big media star, he paid that back.

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Testing java blog app

from palm…

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Squirrel bin cappuccino

No, I have not been blogging much recently. I haven’t felt like it.

There’s a couple of photos here. Firstly I have a picture of a particularly good swirly cappuccino that I had yesterday. I actually went to a place that served coffee in, you know, cups. Instead of the usual milkshake affair in a waxy cardboard cylinder, I got an expertly-made espresso which then had properly-foamed milk poured into it in a wave pattern.

I didn’t want to disturb this to put sugar in, so I poured the sugar into a tiny heap on the surface, let it sink down through the foam, then put the teaspoon (yes, teaspoon, not wooden stirry-thing) through the hole and swirled it around.

» Continue reading “Squirrel bin cappuccino”

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Media spies

One of my infrequent political posts – I tend to reserve these to put on boards.

Details of government media campaign revealed

Last month Britain made the people of Iraq more secure from terrorism than at any time since the fall of Saddam Hussein. And millions of Iraqis are grateful for having the best public services – from schools to clean water and power – they have had since the first Gulf war.

These were headlines that Geoff Hoon, the defence secretary, hoped would appear in British newspapers during “Big October”, the code name for a media offensive aimed to convert the UK public to supporting the outcome of the Iraq war.

But now, after daily reports of terrorist attacks on the Americans and last week’s killing of 17 Italian policemen, the men and women from the Ministry of Defence are blaming “negative attitudes by news editors” for the failure of the headlines to materialise.

Ex-GCHQ official accused of spy leak says she was trying to prevent war

A former GCHQ official exposed an American plan to eavesdrop on members of the UN security council, to try to prevent an illegal war leading to the deaths of British soldiers and Iraqi civilians, magistrates were told yesterday.

Katharine Gun intends to deny breaching the Official Secrets Act, because she disclosed the information out of necessity…

..(her counsel) said GCHQ had imposed limits on what instructions she could give her defence lawyers, an action which was attacked by Amnesty International for being in breach of her human rights…

…Mrs Gun was arrested after the leak of a report that the US national security agency (NSA), America’s equivalent of GCHQ, was conducting a “dirty tricks” operation.

The operation was directed against UN security council members as part of Washington’s battle to win votes in favour of a war against Iraq.

The secret surveillance operation involved intercepting the home and office telephone calls and emails of delegates to the UN.

The NSA made clear that the particular targets of what was described as an eavesdropping “surge” were the delegates from Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Bulgaria, Guinea and Pakistan, the six crucial “swing votes” on the security council.

A memo sent by Frank Koza, a senior NSA official, said the information would be used “against” the key UN delegations.

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I will die after you, I’ll see to that

Getting to work at 7.30am is in itself a physically bad thing – it’s still cold and dark, you’ve not had enough sleep, you shave badly, trip over things etc – but the fact that you know it’s a bad thing makes it worse. If I wasn’t aware of the fact that anyone who deliberately catches a 6.52 train to work is an idiot, I would be a lot happier. I’m not sure how I could ignore this obvious fact; blunt trauma seems the most likely to be effective. The fact that I did this to make sure I got to a particularly pointless meeting on time that I knew was going to be pointless… that doesn’t help either. If you’re going to abuse your body clock it should be fun or accidental.

(Incidentally, I don’t care if you regularly get to work at 6am after three hours’ sleep. You know what? That makes you an idiot too. Sort your life out.)

Anyway, whilst going to work I felt the need to listen to some music, and spent a long time trying to find a particular Fischerspooner mix of a Kylie song that I’d downloaded last night – Come Into My World, if you must know. I couldn’t do this because I’d forgotten the name and I have twenty million songs on my iPod. This made me swear at my iPod, which is like Dick Cheney swearing at money and rather shocked me.

I have a certain non-bottom-based affection for Kylie, which I manage to maintain by not listening to very much of her music. It comes from a period in my early youth. Picture a small boy travelling by aeroplane to South Africa and being dependent on the piped music channels. As if it wasn’t bad enough having to stick sharp plastic nozzles into sensitive ears, the only people on the playlist were folk musicians and singer-songwriters. I can’t remember names but they probably included Tanita Tikaram.

Except for one entry near the end, which was Kylie. You should know that even at a young age I was a poisononous little snob, and Kylie was about as credible as… thinking about it I don’t reckon there’s an equivalent in today’s market, because even the most formulaic manufactured crap has at least a veneer of credibility these days. More sophisticated marketing, mainly, I think, and better production. Nobody then could have thought Kylie was credible, whereas there are actually some now who think Avril Lavigne is keeping it real.

So I wasn’t looking forward to reaching the Kylie, but when it did come through it was heaven. They’re not playing guitars! There are real electronic instruments! It’s not whiny-treacle slow… it actually has a meaningful BPM figure! Oh sure, it was something that was crap then and crap now – Locomotion, probably – but it was like a blast of pure pop menthol. And that’s why I like Kylie.

Again I would like to point out that this was before she had an arse, when she was just a buck-toothed frizzy-haired cardigan-wearing Neighbour. I don’t think I’d hit puberty anyway.

Chart music in the 80s was crap, though. It’s much better today. I’m right about this.

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Dirty, dirtier, dirtiest

Anyone who thinks there’s too much swearing in my NNNNovel would probably have been enlightened by listening to me wandering around this morning, after waking up as the train was leaving the station, and not being able to find glasses, wallet, lighter, ID badge. “Fuck!” “Where the fuck?” and, my favourite in retrospect, “What the fucking fuck-fuck?” were all to be heard.

My profane vocabulary is fairly restricted on Monday mornings, I’m afraid. As the week progresses I predict being able to call my chair a “bitch arsehole” when I stumble into it at 7am on Wednesday, and by Friday I should be up to “pustulant gorilla fluffer”. Whether this is one who fluffs pustulant gorillas, or a pustulant fluffer of gorillas, is left as an exercise for the reader.

Over the weekend I will doubtless go ironically post-profane. On Saturday I will start calling things “knaves” and “blackguards” and on Sunday I will call them “mouse nests” and “parrot installers”. And on Monday I will have cycled back to just using the word “fuck”. The whole cycle of culture illustrated each week by one coprolaliac.


You know your desk is too dirty when… you spill coffee on it, mop the coffee up with paper towels and find that the desk is actually cleaner now than it was before.


I’m toying with the idea of getting some things from the Conservative Book Service as Christmas presents for people in the UK, where I expect such things are unobtainable. These have of course been heavily blogged and you’ve probably seen them before, but the decision is whether to get the Talking Ann Coulter, or the Talking Donald Rumsfeld. (I think the Talking Bush is a bit too obvious, and everyone’s heard far too much of the man already.)

The Ann Coulter is obviously the superior product, because she actually recorded phrases for it herself, but people haven’t heard that much of Ann Coulter in the UK so might just be baffled. I’m still a bit baffled myself. The Rumsfeld comes with 28 “memorable phrases” (such as “The question you ask, however, is not a question I can answer”) but they were just recorded off the telly, it seems, so not as good.

I seem to have heard a lot of jokes about Ann Coulter being a man recently, and I would like to say that I don’t think they’re funny. As everyone should know, women are just as capable of world-class levels of hatefulness and venom as men are. She may not quite be as manically insane as Sean Hannity but that’s not gender, that’s that she doesn’t have such good drugs.

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Good advice

Slight modification of an existing sign, found on the R6 yesterday: » Continue reading “Good advice”

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Penguins now marching in London

penguin with a sign, marching in London

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Return the chimp protests

strange man and happy cops

More of these on Indymedia UK, though at the moment none from today it appears. Indymedia London rolling report.

Found a webcam of Trafalgar Square that works, despite the police shutting down the public traffic webcams. As of right now, it looks quite busy down there.

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Well, nine to five continuous training-of-other-people-to-do-stuff-I’ve-never-done (almost literally – I did have a forty-five minute lunch break) and then, once I got home, four hours on the phone to Verizon, Verizon, Belkin, Apple and Verizon about my DSL. Or lack thereof. And eventually spoke to a manager who eventually told me that there was some sort of problem with their router and they were going to transfer me to another one, and see if that worked.

Not actually eaten anything this evening apart from a piece of bread.

After the final Verizon call I went out to get more cigarettes, popped in at a bar to pick up some beers to go on the way back (I don’t plan to drink them all but I like to have some in my fridge) and bumped into someone from work, who I don’t know that well but seems cool. That’s something positive. I’m still wiped, mind, and I still haven’t done anything for my birthday except buy an expensive pair of sunglasses on the day before the weather changed from Sunny to Shit. Tomorrow there is a band playing at the place near the station that I may go to see, though I have to train more people the next day so I can’t really make much of a night of it.

So this is a fairly standard blog-type entry without any funny stories or penguins. I just didn’t want anyone to think I’d died.

Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday – I plan to have it at some point. At the very least I’m going to go to the sushi bar down the road, which has a camera on it feeding to a TV facing out into the street. Maybe they want to make sure the staff don’t escape, or pick their noses and put snot in the rolls.

It’s raining like a bastard and has been since this afternoon. I brought my laptop home just in case the track is flooded or subsides or something and I can’t get to work.

Is it really worth me making the effort to go see the Matrix? Maybe I’ll go on Saturday afternoon. I thought the last one was more fun than it was given credit for, I want to see those big mecha shoot stuff, and I have a high tolerance for CGI. I would have thought this made me an ideal audience member.

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