in a time of chimpanzees i was a monkey 29 april 2002
Good weekend, I thought. In the old-skool stylee, my weekend started at 1pm Friday. I took the afternoon off to be supportive for Heather's viva. Heather met us at my work, and we all toddled down to the Portland Arms for our standard Friday pub lunch. After a rather nice lunch and a wee drinkie, we moved off to the actual viva. Heather went in, I went shopping.
The birth metaphor was rather pronounced at the viva. I was hanging around outside the room where it was happening, looking nervous (actually I was off shopping, but there we go), and when it was over I gave Heather a cigar. Then we stuffed the baby (thesis) in a bag, and went out drinking - parenting a la King's Hedges.
So Friday was a rather drunken night. Started out at the Fort St George, then moved on to the Zebra, from whence we were ejected at 11:20pm. It took us the better part of two hours to get home, which included several detours to various late-night petrol stations and kebab vans. Memorable, mainly because we didn't have the stuffing booted out of us despite our inebriated condition and the rather dodgy bits of town we ended up walking through. Not bad there then.
Saturday was comparatively relaxed. Calm day, did a bit of shopping (bought a new futon), then went to Blair's leaving do. A calm, relaxed evening was had, during which the Reverend Jim did not attempt one of his famous "street baptisms" hem hem. We're all sorry to see Blair going; he's a good wee lad, and it's been fun having him bouncing around the place. Still, Edinburgh's need has been deemed greater than our own, so there we go. Good luck in the big smoke, me laddo!
This painting lark, eh? Spent much of Sunday painting skirting boards, using super-tough white gloss paint. This stuff was so thick that a brush was probably pushing it - I could have applied this stuff with a spoon. Still, it looks great once it's on. It's actually quite satisfying, spending an hour going 'grr' and ending up with something that looks completely different. Like zen lawnmowing, but less destructive. And less chance of mangling your feet.
So the home decoration massif is still going large. We have high hopes of getting stuff finished by the end of this bank holiday weekend. All we have to do is put up three coats of paint and a new floor. Easy. Hopefully.
In other news: Kuro5hin reader in completely and utterly missing the point of Brave New World shocker.
quelle surprise! 27 April 2002
"Heather in very smart shocker."
onward to glory 26 april 2002
Heather's viva is this arvo. This is basically an oral defence of her thesis; a combination of debriefing and discussion with her examiners. It's the last step in the assessment of her PhD: if she makes it through this, it's Dr and Mr Elder from now on. Should be fairly straightforward. Fingers crossed anyway. It'll all be over by 5:30pm today. Expect us to be drunk from 6pm onwards.
In other news: the cows have returned to Stourbridge Common. It's like a seasonal migration - one that was interrupted last year by foot and mouth. But they're back, standing by the side of the river, chewing their cud. There's something about urban cows that cheers me up - although it does mean that I have to take more care cycling home at night, in case I absentmindely hit a cow or skid in a cow by-product. What an embarassing way to get injured - hitting a cowpat while doing a bomb in the dark.
it's all in the wrists 25 april 2002
Irony! I'm reading Fast Food Nation by Eric Schloesser, and I keep getting urges for hamburgers. Chapter on E. coli: want hamburger. Chapter on appalling slaughterhouse workplace conditions and food contamination: want hamburger. Chapter on hideous economic and environmental impacts of fast food production: want hamburger. I haven't actually eaten a fast food hamburger for, hell, at least six months. I did the math, and realised that for £4 I can have a meal at burger king... or I can go to a pub, get a meal there, and have a pint with it. Not much contest, really.
Excellent book though. Piquant. The hype is justified, I'd say.
Speaking of books - I've just pre-ordered the Things My Girlfriend And I Have Argued About book [Amazon link here]. It's published in 5 1/2 months, and is currently ranked #260 in Amazon sales. Go on - buy a copy. It'll be funny. And part of me really wants to see a book that's not published until BLOODY WINTER get as high as possible in the Amazon sale rankings. Go on. And snag yourself a copy of Fast Food Nation while you're there. I'll wait.
i dig that 24 april 2002
New thrill! Cat's set up a web site, the Free Republic of Grey Lynn. Blog is promised. Come on - you know you want to.
Shout out to the Edinburgh massive for the card - nice one, guys. Moral support much appreciated by H (she's counting down hours). Onward to world domination!
Hilarious joke off Popbitch ("Yes I am that shallow"): there are only 10 kinds of people in the world - those who understand binary, and those who don't.
I've changed my mind - not the Skinny Puppy cover of Tainted Love, the The Living End speed-jazz rendition. Yeah. Or Harlot or Silver Screen (Shower Scene) by Miss Kittin. Bloodless electro bollocks, ho!
I'm really getting into this whole responsible-for-the-decline-of-the-creative-industry malarky. It's great coming home, booting up LimeWire, sucking down lots of fun music, and then burning it onto an audio CD. You tend to end up with some wierd compilations, though. "What's on this one?" "Um... four tracks by Front 242, 'Mars' from Holst's 'The Planets', 'Mars Needs Women' by Meat Beat Manifesto, Chicks on Speed, Nelly Furtado, and Jello Biafra and Mojo Nixon's 'Are you drinking with me Jesus'."
It can all get a bit confusing.
Actually, I mainly seem to be downloading cover versions and remixes. For example:
All pretty worthwhile, though. And you'd never find half of them anywhere else.
Cross pollination: MacSlash meets Timbuk2, and reviews the Timbuk2 commuter bag. It's a lifestyle, I tell you. Personally, I'm now quite tempted by a RE.load courier bag - mainly becuase they do 'em with flames. and odd geometric patterns. Tempting.
Weather continues nice. Missing you all. Send money.
cut faster 22 april 2002
Today's motto is: memorise the address of your FTP server. After my annoyance at not being able to update the web page when the iMac went down, I subsequently discovered that I am in fact able to FTP to Corpus's web server. The problem had in fact been that the Corpus web FTP server had a slightly unusual address, which I'd forgotten. Once I remembered it, I was golden. Whoops! All that frustration for nowt. Anyway, having received a polite tip-off from Brian (many thanks!) that I should get around to putting up a redirection page at the old site location, I've just done so. I'd already done the fun bit (designing the redirection page), and so doing the other bit was somewhat of an afterthought.
Headlines I'd love to run: slug-eating pitcher plant stolen. Personally, I'm a little dubious about this - it sounds like a fairly standard Sarracenia hybrid, and I think you'd have a few problems making sure that the slugs didn't just eat the pitchers. Those wacky Dutch people with their rampant hybridisation.
Anything that gets more people growing carnivores, I suppose.
Had a pretty good weekend, actually. Spent most of Saturday in scenic Bury St Edmunds with Blair. Nice little town over the Suffolk border, with a beautiful ruined abbey (site where a number of England's barons swore to make the monarch of the day sign the Magna Carta, and where St Edmund is supposed to be buried), a reading library where Charles Dickens used to give public readings (and The Angel hotel, mentioned in the Pickwick Papers), and a gigantic sugar factory. Not that we were concerned with those (well, we did see the ruined abbey, which is well worth the time); we arrived and made a beeline for the Greene King brewery.
In retrospect, making the beeline may have been a mistake. Due to delays and stuff-ups at the Cambridge end, we ended up getting into Bury at about 1:45pm. With the intent of getting into the 2pm brewery tour. And without having had time to eat lunch. We leap into a taxi (£2.70) and screech to a halt outside the brewery. Getting into the brewery, they start the tour (with only the three of us - self, Heather, and Blair), at about 2:30. The actual informative section of the tour takes an hour (3:30pm). Then we get to taste the ales. As much as we want. In a bare thirty minutes, we each manage to neck down about 2 pints of beer (except Heather, who maintains that she sipped in a civilised fashion and made polite conversation). On, I may remind you, empty stomachs. By 4pm we're giggling messes. Fortunately, the Dog and Pheasant (the official Greene King local pub - it's physically contiguous with the brewery) serves food all day. That helped, but we did still spend quite a bit of the afternoon wandering around laughing at ducks and trying to sober up.
Ever noticed how historic ruins are much more interesting when you're muttocked?
Anyway, Bury was remarkably nice and very historic. And can I just say that if anyone reading this was on the same train as us on the way back into Cambridge: we're really, really sorry.
And a tip to the wise: the Greene King brewery tour was fascinating, and very well pitched. They run in a lovely art deco vertical brewhouse (completed in 1938), which combines cool architectural features such as insane amounts of crossbracing within the structure so that the ground floor wouldn't have any nasty support pillars getting in the way, with a rather lovely art deco decor. Art deco industry: styletastic. And the bit where you get to put your head into the brewing tank was great. Who knew that concentrated CO2 did that to your head?
Today's theme tune: Tainted Love. The Skinny Puppy version.
Didn't get much sleep last night. Alison came over for drinks, which was all very nice but meant that we crashed out at about 1am. At 5am, the phone goes. 5am phone calls tend to be fairly important, so I freak hard and leap out of bed and run to the phone. It's a guy with an accent asking me if I know Pamela Darling - i.e. my mother. As you can imagine, my stress levels are quite high at this point. Over the course of a ten minute conversation, it transpires that Mum has not in fact been involved in some hideous accident, and this is not the casualty department of the local hospital. It's her cleaner. He's set off the alarm. He wants to know her mobile number so he can contact her to find out the code to turn it off. So he's had the brilliant idea of calling through the autodial numbers on the phone until he finds someone who knows her mobile number. And he hasn't realised that he's just called England and that it's 5am.
So having told this idiot what he's just done (and, by the way, realising that I don't actually have Mum's mobile number), I go back to bed. However, getting back to sleep after a serious fight-or-flight reflex such as that triggered by, say, the belief that a close relative has been hideously mangled, is unsurprisingly difficult. The rest of the night was basically a write-off. So now I'm wandering around at about 80% normal brain capacity. It's amazing what Diet Coke can do, though.
hello teenage america 18 april 2002
Most of our corporate HR comes out of the US head office, OK? This occasionally has amusing consequences. One of the more alarming ones is that the US office sent over all our salary details this year in Euros. When our HR people politely told them that the UK uses a quaint currency called the "pound sterling", the yanks pointed out that the UK was part of Europe, and the currency of Europe is the Euro. No, I'm not kidding - apparantly it took us a good few days to get them to send out the pay rises in the currency we actually use.
So a few weeks back I noticed that my rear tire is getting very light in the tread - nearly bald, in fact. Over the last six months of cycling, I've managed to wear down about 5mm of knobby rubber treads from my rear tire. Front tire was still kosher, but the rear was starting to look a little dangerous. As I'm a reasonably safety-minded person, I figured it was time to replace the tire. As I like going like the clappers, I wanted to move to slick tires, which provide less rolling resistance and are more stable cornering on tarmac. So off I trundle to my local bike shop, Ben Haywards. After drooling a bit at some of the higher-spec bikes out there (USPS team replica: ooooh), I wander over to the tire rack and engage one of the staff in conversation. The conversation went roughly like this:
Him: Well, there's these really slick tires, or these slightly less slick ones.
Me: What're the really slick ones like?
Him: Fastest thing you can put on your bike for riding on tarmac.
Me: Sounds good.
Him: Until it rains.
Me: What're they like if it rains?
Me: Righto. What're the less slick ones like then?
I appreciate refreshing honesty in retail.
So I ended up with a set of Specialized Nimbus Ex slicks. Kevlar jacket (less punctures), skinny enough to go like the clappers, and enough grip that I should survive winter. So far, highly recommended -and I've noticed that my normally cruising speed is a gear up from the old tires.
Recently, I have mainly been listening to:
Fun fact I found out when the Pet Shop Boys appeared on Top of the Pops last night: at the time they wrote West End Girls, they were really into hip-hop, and wanted to do a track in the style of Grandmaster Flash, Sugarhill Gang, etc. West End Girls was originally written as a rap; then they wrote an instrumental track and realised that the lyrics would go really well over the top of it. And now you know why the lyrics to most of West End Girls are spoken rather than sung.
Lisa is so on cold tablets at the moment. Dude.
everybody lie down on the floor and keep calm 16 april 2002
One of the advantages of the new hosting set-up (now I've got the bugger working) is that I get much easier access to my site stats. And to find out the funky search strings that people have been using to hit me. So far, the number one search string that people have used to find me "roy lichtenstein style t-shirts". So there we are. More amusing or smutty search strings as they come to light. Though I'll have to be going some to beat Lisa's success with 'Canadian railbabes'.
Blogger quirks: if you set your front page to only contain articles from the last, say, seven days, what would you expect to happen?
a. the front page will contain articles posted within the last calendar week.
b. the front page will contain articles posted on the last seven days-that-you-posted-something.
Surprisly enough, the answer is b. Took me a while to work that one out.
Odd Google categories: Ecclesiastical Supplies. We're trying to kit out the Reverend Jim without him knowing. Could be pricey.
New buzzword: electroclash. Basically, the revival of the early '80s synth-pop sound for the club kiddies. I'm going to start spinning all my old Front 242 and Cabaret Voltaire albums and see if anyone notices - come on, man, that 'Sunglasses at Night' by Tiga and Zyntherius could have come straight off 'Geography'. Not that I'm complaining, mind - I'm as up for bloodless whiteboy electonica as the next man.
OK, this is worth the price of admission. Weblog Bookwatch scans through recently updated weblogs, finds any mentions of recent books, checks for them on Amazon, and ranks the results. Find what everyone else is reading. Or, as some of the books are actually pretty abstruse, what everyone else is claiming to read. Brief History of Time, anyone?
Thank you, the Guardian:
The danger is not Pop Idol or sampling or charts filled with disposable rubbish. The danger is people listening to the moaning of disillusioned hacks and venerating a chocolate-box version of the past instead of seeking out new music.
Article is a very nice criticism of golden age syndrome. Or: the pop charts have always been full of shit, and to claim that music used to be much better back in the day is a load of selective memory bollocks.
While I'm at it: a big thank-you to George & Liz (parents-in-law) for sending me a copy of the Listener article that referenced this site. Ta for that - always nice to actually see the physical evidence that I've been in print. That's going in the clipping file with the photo from the Evening Post back from '83 (age 8, appeared in a photo about the Thorndon Fair). How far we've come.
And on the family tip: mad congrats to siblings-in-law Rob and Ryoko for the recent arrival of Joseph Hisayasu Williams. Many congratulations, and I hope that the teddy bear and blanket we sent come in useful.
Anyone else see that Paris-Roubaix race yesterday? Very, very nice indeed. Stunning break from Museeuw, excellent nailbiting finish at the line for the places further back, lots of mud. The race is known as the Hell of the North for a very good reason, and it was great to watch the finish.
Today's theme tune: the Freebase Sex mix of Satan by Orbital; for the inner industrial teenager in all of us.
My manager at work today referred to me in an email as a 'grope leader'. I thought that stationery cupboard had been securely locked, but apparantly not.
It must be spring. The first crop of ducklings has arrived. They're about 5cm long at the moment (tiny!). I love the way you get a flock of the cute little suckers, spreading out across the surface of the water and then coming back into a tight nucleus at a loud noise. Lovely.
24 hours with the king of snake 15 april 2002
Don't get me started on this bloody domain transfer. Just don't. Finally, it all seems to work, touch wood, cross fingers, etc. Most of the links are fucked, but that'll be fixed by about 1800GMT today (i.e. a bit after I get home from work). Hopefully.
In other news, we see that scientists have come up with a pill that mimics the muscle-building effects of exercise - as in, pop one of these babies and watch your muscles get tighter/bigger. Never happy, those scientists - always off inventing something else to go against nature. One day we'll be able to do everything with pills - and will they be happy? Will they bollocks. Always striving, always working for the betterment of humanity - you think they'd have time to sit down for a cup of tea. Anyway. I love the bit where the scientist is resisting the media-friendly "couch potato exercise pills" angle of the story, is emphasising its therapeutic value for frail patients who are otherwise unable to exercise. His one concession to misuse is to say, and I quote:
It is possible it could become a drug of abuse because it would enhance the performance of athletes.
Possible? Possible? Mate, can you hear that noise off in the distance? That's every bloody soiegneur in the pro peloton scrambling as hard as they can to get some of this stuff to dope their riders up to the gills. Given the amount of drugs in professional sports (especially road cycling) these days, it's incredibly naive to think that this sort of thing wouldn't be used by athletes to increase performance. People are taking EPO - a drug designed to increase the oxygen saturation in the bloodstream - for performance gains. These new pills increase growth in both fast and slow twitch muscle fibres. Of course they'll be popping 'em like there's no tomorrow. But can we test for 'em, eh?
Related: I read the fascinating Breaking the Chain, the English translation of Willy Voet's book about his role in professional cycling. Voet was the soiegneur (support team member) who was caught in 1998 with a carload of performance enhancing drugs, leading to the biggest doping scandal in recent sporting history. Extract available here. Basically, Voet alleges that more or less everyone involved in professional cycling at the time was on various performance enhancing drugs. These allegations have mainly been borne out by the various investigations and trials since then.
drive-by body pierce 12 april 2002
God willing, that should work. A few teething troubles in getting our hosting moved over. We're now being hosted through a commercial service, rather than the sweetheart deal we used to have through Corpus. I decided that it was a good idea to move the site before the new computer officer noticed that we were still there. Hopefully, it's worked. Fingers crossed!
I'm a bit tired today. I can tell this. I can tell this because I keep accidentally pasting the phrase "Good God, who is next, Geri Halliwell?" into some java documentation I'm doing and then giggling hysterically.
This update bought to you by the song Shine by the Rollins Band, and the phrase "when you start to doubt yourself, the real world will eat you alive."
In the sad bastard stakes: yes, we do have tickets to Star Wars. In my defence, I wasn't planning on buying them in advance, but Chris was booking them at work and asked if anyone else wanted to go. So even though we're going to another Star Wars movie on the opening day, we're officially not sad, OK?
Things are gonna change. I can feel it.
Fun couple of days. A major reorganisation at work means that I am now officially an Acting Team Leader **. I don't know what the '**' means, but it's on the org chart. Upshot of this is that I'm doing exactly the same as I was doing before, for the same pay, with the same job title (note the word 'acting' - they don't have to give me more money), but with slightly more hassle. On the plus side, I am now officially in charge of someone, and can do fun stuff like signing leave forms, looking stern, and conducting performance reviews. The long winter evenings will just fly past, I'm sure.
Guess what us fun-ass kids are going to be doing this weekend? That's right: wallpapering. No, really - wallpapering is actually more fun than I'd thought it would be. It's a bugger to do right (I'm averaging having to remove/throw out one sheet of paper for each two I actually paste up), but it's pretty cool to look back at it afterwards and think "I did that". So, wallpapering. Hey, it's a feeling of achievement, OK?
if you can read this 12 april 2002 ...then this has worked. Congratulations, you're reading the new site. Life is good.
onward ho 11 april 2002
Access to this page could be interesting over the next 24 hours. DNS changes should propagate slowly; normal service will be resumed sooner or later. Regardless, email etc should still work fine. Holding page may appear in the meantime, though. Bear with us.
Mere words are unable to convey the beauty of this: the most perfect gem I've found via LimeWire yet. The sublimity. Carter USM. Covering Trouble by Shampoo. Dear, dear god. This is the happiest that any one single tune has made me for a very, very long time.
all a little much 9 april 2002
I get into work this morning and discover that the core documentation team leader - a woman forty years of age, with two young children - has her mother staying with her. How do I know this? Because before she left the house that morning, her mother made her comb her hair flat so that she wouldn't look "like a punk". End result: a mature woman, who normally has faintly spiky bleached white hair, now has her hair firmly plastered down to her skull. Think Liza Minelli in Cabaret, but in white, and looking more pudding bowl. Some people never escape their mothers. And if you're reading this, Mum, I've still not got my hair cut. Ha.
So what about this Queen Mum, eh? Roll on the end of the media frenzy, say we. Two minutes' silence, nothing else on the telly/radio for the last few days, and my employers are - no joke - setting up a meeting room with a projection display so that people can watch the streaming webcast of the funeral in a central location rather than from their desks. Really.
Guardian Finance article on cycle insurance - makes some good points, provides a nice basic overview. The best advice I had was to get my bike insured on our home insurance - cost is pretty minimal (about £25pa, I think), and they paid up without a murmur when some little shite nicked my forks. Issa peace of mind, innit?
Other cycle stuff - Chris From Work was drooling over my bike multitool (Topeak Alien). Nice little bit of kit, Christmas present from Heather. So he's now decided that he wants something similar, and has a quick look around to see what's on the market. First step: a Google search [results here: search for cycle multitool]. As at time of writing, the ninth result down is this very site - the entry for the 4th December 2001, in point of fact. World domination: step by step, kids, little by little.
Heather's learning to play the bass guitar (courtesy of Martyn's old four-string, many thanks from the floor). She's picking it up plenty fast. I wasn't surprised that she quickly learned to play Smoke on the Water (raised in West Auckland - some habits die hard), but I was a little surprised that within twenty minutes she'd worked out the bassline to Hell is Round the Corner (also used by Portishead). I guess we know where the musical talent in this relationship is, then. Nice.
And we've got a health and safety audit at work tomorrow. Management have specifically requested - in as many words - that we wear shoes. It's spring in the UK. It's freezing cold. I've only just managed to brave shorts to work. Who's going to be wandering around barefoot? They've also asked accident-prone people to stay seated, but I think that was a joke. Mind you, given the QM funeral webcast behaviour...
mmm skyscraper i love you 8 april 2002
At the pub on Friday, having a chat with our mate Adam. Adam works with one of our other friends (Martyn) at a company that's doing lots of fun stuff with mobile data. Think AvantGo, but more for branded offerings. Adam was commenting on how it's a funny old world, really. Both he and Martyn are working on branded channels. Him: the channels for two rather large rural newspapers in the UK. Average working day: being paid to trawl through accounts of stock sales, complaints about the council, etc. Martyn works on the channel for one well-known soft/hardcore porn glossy. Average day: being paid to download pornography for several hours (well, you've got to have the reference material). Or: makes you wonder who was off sick when they handed out the current projects.
Went to an excellent party at Lisa's place on Saturday night. Didn't get too drunk, didn't do anything stupid, did hang a 1.5kg cast-iron pulley from my left earlobe. Pictures are on Lisa's site here.
DIY is ongoing. We now have a white ceiling. Next step, wallpaper. Just call me Laurence Lllllewellyn-Fishbone.
I've been asked to be a team member on the official office Diversity Quiz. No, I'm not kidding. Our diversity council are having an inter-office quiz, and my manager stitched me up to take part (he had me over a barrel - I needed a holiday form signed). I was picked as a) I was close and b) he knew that I'd had dealings with these diversity buggers before. Since he also knew that the dealings had consisted only of me writing a polite and reasoned request that they take their propaganda and shove it (pre-Christmas bulk email about the history of Christmas which came very close IMHO to fundie Christian proselytising - annoyed and bored, I emailed them back), I'm not sure the message he was trying to send. Regardless, I am now a combatant in the noble conflict that is the official Diversity Quiz. Or: we're doomed. I'm quietly hoping that we have at least one team member who knows something - God, anything - about sport. My sporting knowledge bottoms out at knowing who won the Tour de France the last three years running. Running on the Diversity Group's past performance (the aforementioned annoying email, a general reputation for arse-both hands interface problems, etc.), we've got utterly no idea what it'll be like. Current bet is that a thorough grounding in useless trivia and corporate ephemera will be useful - normal day at work then.
Chip news: the FDA has approved some implantable chips for human use. Mark of the beast, ho!
get him, you fools! 5 april 2002
Lunch in sun at pub.
The sausages are back on
Beer plus sunshine - groove.
The Fort St George is a pretty nice pub in the middle of Cambridge, just on Midsummer Common (used as a plague pit during the black death, by the way). It's distinguished by a couple of things: it claims to be the oldest pub on the river (The Pickerel being the oldest pub in the city), it allows dogs in despite very large signs to the contrary, and they have a lot of outdoor seating. This is very pleasant when the sunny weather hits. They also do extremely good sausages and mash. Sometimes. Their connection for sausages is unreliable - sometimes they can get them, sometimes they can't. Presumably the local sausage pusher whom they buy from keeps getting busted by the police for selling sausages to children, or something.
Damn good sausages though.
Today's bike porn link: Electra Bicycle Co. Nice. Lovely old-school American-style cruisers, brought back to life by a couple of mad German blokes. Reasonable prices, and pretty much all the bike you need for just cruising around town (one of these'd do fine for Cambridge). Reasonable prices, too - the top of the line bottoms out at £350, which is pretty damn reasonable if you ask me. I'll admit to being fairly tempted by the Sunny Garcia. Just what we need for cruising around in the middle of summer, wearing a hawaiian shirt and chilling hard. Compare them to the cruisers produced by Phat Cyles [UK site], which are a damn site pricier for what looks to be about the same level of bike. Phat do make choppers, though. Tempting.
Of course, the problem is that when you see these bikes, you see yourself cruising around town on a sunny day, wearing shorts and sandals. Kind of like owning a convertible VW beatle. I think me current wheels are a little bit more practical for year-round groove. And if I were in the market for a cruiser, it'd be hard to go past the Merlin Newsboy - disk brakes, sus fork, spare set of wheels - all lovingly constructed out of titanium, no less. And a snip at a mere US$5,500. I notice that Airborne also market a titanium 'comfort bike' (complete bike, Deore build, US$2,113 or US$999 frame only) - what is it with this taking a joke too far thing? Does anyone actually spend buy these things at those prices?
Feck me! I'm checking for domain name availability (few ideas in the background). Doing the fun random word association thing - and, can I just say, quackquackimaduck.com is still available - and I discover that someone has actually registered shortpoppy.com! Maybe I should grab the .org before some other enterprising soul cops it.
the warm is getting weather 4 april 2002
It must be spring - I'm wearing shorts to the office.
Did a search for myself on Teoma. Well, it's a standard heuristic for checking search engines - it's like looking up swear words to check how good a new dictionary is. Anyway, result #2 was for the Jack Elder Memorial Car Show (held in 1998). I'm more well-known than I'd thought. Also more dead.
And with a hearty cry of "bollocks", I realise that I've managed to break a spoke on my rear wheel. That'll be that clicking noise explained, then.
it's like a jungle sometimes 3 april 2002
Funny old world really. Last time we were home in Wellington, we took some of our English friends back to see NZ. They loved it (shell shock at Auckland airport - "Oh my god, we're in the Southern hemisphere!"). They'd had several Kiwi friends, and had heard about the "two degrees of separation" syndrome, where any random two Kiwis seem to know at least one person in common. And so, on our first night out in Wellington (my home town), we ran into five or six of my friends and acquaintances . By about the fourth time, they were starting to look slightly shell-shocked. By the end of the night, they were convinced that I had either been a politician or a pimp to have known this many people.
Saturday afternoon was an interesting inversal of this experience. We were showing our Kiwi mate Meredith and her new partner around Cambridge. And everywhere we went we kept running into people we knew. Everywhere. The Pub. The middle of the street. Magdalene College. The cafe. Everywhere. Now Meredith has this impression that Cambridge is the friendliest city in the UK. I feel slightly guilty.
Why bother going on expensive wildlife treks through the forest to see fascinating animals when you can have the same experience at a convenient urban location? In this case, Jesus Green, smack in the middle of Cambridge. About 2am on Sunday night/Monday morning. As we walked across the green, we heard a pair of owls calling to each other. The kind of throaty gurgle that they make is most impressive (and sounds bugger all like too wit, too woo). As we walked across, the owls kept calling - and it became obvious that they were getting closer to each other. As were we. Finally, about halfway across, we saw one owl fly over and land on a branch next to the other - who promptly flew off at speed. My guess is that we witnessed the owl equivalent of an internet date: they sound great, then you see them, and run. Regardless, it was cool seeing actual live owls. I mean, we used to hear Moreporks all the time in the Aro Valley back home, and we saw one on a trip to Kapiti Island a few years ago. Still though - it's cool to see tough, urban, inner city owls in the *cough* wild.
Actually, it's been quite a good few days for the old wildlife. I'm pretty sure that we saw a watervole on the way to the party on Sunday. And this afternoon, taking a walk at lunch, I found a ladybird orgy - five ladybirds, going at it like knives. Well, four of them were. I think the other one had a camera. Anyway, red hot ladybird action! Which, if you've not seen it, is absolutely hilarious. The ladybird on the bottom just lies there - stop me if this seems familiar - and the one on the top wiggles frantically from side to side in a manner most amusing. It's like they're getting 240 volts or something. Utterly funny - highly recommended if you can see it.
In odd coincidences: on the way out to the party on Sunday, we passed a couple on a tandem. 7pm, Park St, Cambridge. At 2:30am, walking home (just prior to the owls) the same couple passed us going back the other way. On the same street. Now we're worried that they're stalking us. One thing's for sure: they're going to be pretty obvious stalkers unless they lose the tandem.
And it looks like tourist baiting is soon to be outlawed. I need to find a new hobby.
my, how far we've come 1 april 2002
One for the history buffs. Me, 1997 passport photo:
Me, ten minutes ago:
How far we've come in such a short space of time. Picture of me now courtesy of my new digital camera - before you all think 'wanker' and switch off, I should point out that it's basically a toy (one of the el cheapo L'espion efforts - a whopping 0.1 megapixel resolution, no flash, no real viewfinder, but the best £40 I've spent for a long while). Big laugh.
And for comparison purposes: how I feel most of the time.
value added content 31 march 2002
Of course, the Blogger template server is buggered, so I can't update the link structure on the left. That's what you get for using free bloody software. Ah well. Click here to read Heather's sparkling wit and erudition.
quality words since last century
it's deliberately lo-fi
And she doesn't have an email address.
All content © 2001-2007 Jack and Heather Elder. Play nice, kids.