Saturday, May 31, 2003

God, it's tragic these days that MTV is more political than the BBC... Ban the Blair.

Comedy website of the day, Jon's website of rather interesting and things and little known facts. 'Jon' wants to be a Jedi and has a girlfriend who he hasn't met who looks after the 'girl issues'. To over the top to be genuine but very amusing none the less.

Doctors have assured me that I'll soon grow out of the need to do these stupid 'Which x are you?' quizes, especially when they are for a film that I thought was crap. Meanwhile...

Find out which But I'm A Cheerleader girl you are.

I just know that everyone that knows me will fall about laughing when they see that result...

Meanwhile, keen investigative journalism of the kind you really don't see in this country any more, The Rockall Times lot investigate the reports of Colonel Tim Collins being nasty at Iraqis.

Desperate to see some good news about the Iraq war? An early indication of exactly how much money some of Bush's cronies are making out of the 'War on Terror' thus far.

From his expression in the picture it seems that Cheney has heard this and thought "that's not enough, let's find another country to bomb back to the Stone Age".

In Italy, McDonalds dares to sue someone who said their food tasted foul. Isn't this like a murderer suing a newspaper for saying he kills people?

Oh and supposedly I'm

take this quiz.

But then it was a twee manga site, so what do they know about anything?

Gah. Sore throat again. And considering that I'm a good person and not putting anything in my throat that shouldn't go there I have to wonder why I'm getting these sore throats. It's not normally a problem with my hayfever. When I was at school I was the kid who normally only had one day off ill from school a year, so this downgrading of my immunity now is almost two decades too late to be useful.

And of course there was the attack of insomnia, lying in bed in the heat in the very early hours of the morning before I could drop off again. And work today, blah. But, I did write a prayer to Ochun and sent it to her with a gift of honey on my way to work this morning, so hopefully she/it/my subconscious will get to work and I'll be a happy bunny by next weekend.

Friday, May 30, 2003

How Would YOU Take Over the World?

Russia appeals it's third placing in Eurovision. No no no, you guys don't understand, Eurovision is stupid, full of talentless dullards and doesn't matter! For God's sake don't start taking it seriously! Although I suppose we should be grateful the US don't take part, there'd be extensive lobbying for votes, anyone who didn't give the US full marks would face trade sanctions and a cut in aid and in a worst-case scenario they'd end up clusterbombing the venue.

Damn. Well, just found out that I haven't outgrown my hayfever. Been snorting and sneezing like... like... something that snorts and sneezes a lot but isn't too hot and tired to think up similes.

Even the children's librarian showing me this book

only momentarily stopped me sneezing.

Anyway, been meaning to do some work with my flower goddesses so I'll ask them to help out with the whole hayfever thing.

It's sweltering in the library and due to it's age and bad design there aren't enough fans for the various points where staff have to work. I'm currently lurking in the workroom where it's nice and cool. And thinking about going to the pub for a quick pint when we finish work this evening.

I've been waiting all day to see if a parcel of books that was supposedly dispatched to me wednesday morning is going to arrive. The augurs aren't good. I invariably tend to have stuff sent to me via work so I don't get some over-enthusiastic young postman trying to force a package through a letter box that is smaller or have to trek halfway across London to the sorting office. Quite why I want them now as they are books which I wouldn't be reading until next week at the earliest because I'm currently trying to read three simultaneously anyway, I guess I'm just spoiled. I want them and I want them now! But it is the Law of Sod, they may not arrive in the last delivery this evening, but they'll probably turn up in the first on Monday morning.

Meanwhile in the United States... US 'faces future of chronic deficits' and White House aware of debt burden threat, in which outgoing Bush spokesliar Fleischer tries to gently suggest that it's not because of the tax breaks given to the rich and big business, but the fault of the poor wanting basic healthcare or social security.

But if you thought the fact that they're broke might make the US administration consider stopping it's policy of bombing the crap out of the Middle East, country by country, Rumsfeld pushes for regime change in Iran. In previous years officials that have been found to be lying to the public might have been expected to, I don't know, resign in shame? Not Rummy...

Auditors say Conservative party no longer 'viable'. Ha ha ha! Find your nearest Tory politician and wave some notes in front of them. See what you can get them to do for the continued financial wellbeing of their party.

Thursday, May 29, 2003


Someone should teach that child that you shouldn't let your mouth get too close to shit...
(from Reuters.)

Q: How likely is it that Loz could resist checking out a blog called 'Creepy Lesbo'?

A: Not likely at all.

Damn, Pin wrote a damn good rant about the evils of the Murdoch press machine versus the BBC yesterday. Go and read it. I'd link directly but his archives seem to be playing up.

Law of gravity challenged by uphill running water at Chelsea Flower Show.

What have I been doing today?

Aphex Twin- 26 Mixes For Cash

I've always found myself deeply ambivalent about the work of the Twin, which this collection does nothing to dispel. Despite the sizeable body of work available I've always found it difficult to dispell the notion that most of the time James isn't putting much effort in to what he produces. There's the story of how, called up by Saint Etienne for a remix that he was supposed to have delivered by that day he simply gave them a track he'd done himself and said it was a remix. When he put out the Drukq's double album last year there was barely enough decent material to fill a single album. Too much of the time he not only foregoes tunes, fair enough, but then also neglects to replace them with interesting sounds instead. It's as though he feels making music is beneath him.

Thankfully this collection is a little better, though not knowing most of the source material it's difficult to judge whether they are good remixes or 36 Saint Etienne's. However, it's only with the remix of the orchestral version of David Bowies 'Heroes' that it grabs one's attention, mainly due to the dynamic nature of the original, which shines through the Twin's faffing about. It's not awful by any means, simply unremarkable, and if it were almost anyone else I suspect questions would be asked as to why they'd consider such a collection of remixes worthy of being put out.

Donnie Darko

If you didn't see this when it was at the cinema, get the video or DVD. If you did see it at the cinema, get the DVD or video and watch it again. A second viewing has raised this film in my estimation from 'good' to 'extremely good'. For those who don't know, Donnie is a 'disturbed teenager' who is saved from certain death when an airplane engine crashes into his room by a six-foot tall deaths-headed rabbit called Frank who calmly informs him that the world is going to end in four weeks. Oh, and it's set about 14 years ago. 'Invisibles' comic fans should definitely watch this film, as should Lynch-heads.As Donnie Jake Gyllenhaal is superb, imbuing his performance with a tension so that you're never quite sure if he's going to flip out at any moment. There's also a performance from Patrick Swayze that should do for his career what Pulp Fiction did for John Travolta.

I differ from some of my friends in feeling that the fact that a certain amount of 'whys' are left unexplained by the film and this is a bad thing but the supplemental material on the disk helps. In the end this is not a fantasy story but a love story, and a very good one. And in places a funny one as well. Beautifully shot, it's only let down by occasionally uninspired music, rather bland orchestral scores against some 'period' music,such as Joy Division or Duran Duran, which I think it should have been all the way through (and I never thought I'd hear myself suggesting that there should be MORE Duran Duran music in a film).

Oh, and I appear to be

Which Donnie Darko character are you? by Shay

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

What drugs is Donald Rumsfeld on? "Saddam destroyed his WMD just before we invaded! It's obvious, don't you see?! It shows what an evil genius he is- sorry, was!" If you've got illegal weapons, would you destroy them just before your country is invaded by thousands of people who's stated intention is to kill you?

"You can't use your mobile phone here, please take it downstairs"... "You can't use your mobile phone here, please take it downstairs"... "You can't use your mobile phone here, please take it downstairs"... "You can't use your mobile phone here, please take it downstairs"... "You can't use your mobile phone here, please take it downstairs"... "You can't use your mobile phone here, please take it downstairs"... "You can't use your mobile phone here, please take it downstairs"... "You can't use your mobile phone here, please take it downstairs"... "You can't use your mobile phone here, please take it downstairs"... "You can't use your mobile phone here, please take it downstairs"... "You can't use your mobile phone here, please take it downstairs"... "You can't use your mobile phone here, please take it downstairs"... "You can't use your mobile phone here, please take it downstairs"... "You can't use your mobile phone here, please take it downstairs"... "You can't use your mobile phone here, please take it downstairs, if I have to tell you one more time then I am actually legally empowered to break one of your limbs and stuff chilli peppers up your bum crack."

Wow, if the news of Elton John's 'Vampire Lestat' musical wasn't scary enough, some idiot wants to turn the 'Lord of the Rings' movies into another musical. What's next? 'Back to the Future- A Rock Opera'?

Bush puts money into fighting AIDS in the third world. Might be a bit more impressive if the money wasn't going into efforts to promote the idea of no sex before marriage. Seeing as stories coming out of South Africa tell that it is popularly believed that sex with a virgin cures you of AIDS exactly how helpful is this really going to be?

All the Web has an almost useful feature. Put a web address in the search box and it will give you information about the site and who links to it and so on. At some point in the future the information might become more accurate...

US Steps up pressure on Iran. Wow, the US administration is really playing it close to the chest about which country they're going to attack next. Maybe they're going to try for both at the same time, after all, how do you improve on Gulf War II but a sequel that's even bigger and broader? Maybe Bush saw Matrix Reloaded a few weeks back and is now going around thinking he can turn people into clones of himself.

Anyway, I'm sure that when News 24 reported this yesterday afternoon they said that the main threat that Rummy was issuing was to the Shia Muslims IN IRAQ, that they would not be allowed to turn the country into another hardline Muslim state. However, five or six hours later there was still no report anywhere on Rummy's speech and this morning the only report I've found thus far is directed against Iran. So perhaps News24 was wrong yesterday, I misheard or the News report today is less than accurate.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

In the news, actual bull in china shop incident.

In breaking news, Anthony Worrall-Thompson announces he's leaving the BBC program Food and Drink citing 'fundamental incompatability'. "I don't know how to describe it to you," Mr W-T said earlier today, "I've said there were too many chefs on this program and I feel it's compromised the quality of our food."


In order to try and justify their continued existence as a professional organisation CILIP (the UK body for Librarians) is very in to it's staff being professionally developed meaning you jump through metaphorical hoops for a few years, write a report, send them money and then they might announce that you can call yourself a Chartered Librarian. This means very little, you don't even get heat vision or telepathy or anything, but you can go for management jobs which, obviously, pay more money.

Do you know that according to CILIP stats, less than fifty percent of library staff in the UK are members of this professional body? I think that's supposed to be a secret.

Anyway, I've been involved in this professional development thing since I started work at the library in 2000. This meant a year of not doing much but calling it experience, and then a year and a half or so of again not doing much but during this time writing a report about that year of experience. Finally finished it in January and sent off with a cheque for forty-five pounds to CILIP. They have a group which mark these reports which meet every two months and basically just go around saying 'yay' or 'nay'ed to the reports. Due to a few administrative problems my report wasn't marked for the meeting in March and they just got round to it at the meeting last week.

And it wasn't passed. On the one hand I'm not fussed because, as you can probably tell from all this I'm less than impressed with CILIP and feel the whole organisation a bit of a sham. On the other hand I'm incredibly annoyed because it means that I can't get a management post without being chartered. I spoke to my 'Careers and Development Officer' at work today and he has said it's a borderline case, so the two people who marked it didn't think it was good enough ('too descriptive' apparently, I knew I shouldn't have written it in the style of Charlotte Bronte) but it was close to the borderline between pass and fail so at the next meeting in two months time the rest of the board will be given copies and it will be a casting vote thing. So I have to wait another two months. And may still fail then. I really don't want the hassle of having to go through the training scheme again and compiling another report. Wasting another two years of my life.

I really wish I was at the university in 'Doonesbury' where they made it mandatory to pass people with flying colours...

Monday, May 26, 2003

Wow, it's difficult to believe that someone has the willpower to do this, mind you, it's equally difficult to believe we're trying to deport the man... An Iranian Kurdish man living in Nottingham has sewn up his eyes, ears and mouth in protest at the possibility of being deported.

Forget The Matrix. It's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade on telly tonight. A mighty film. Sean Connery sleeping with women forty years younger than him (well, you would, wouldn't you?) ridiculous traps, cartoon cutout Nazis (including Mr Bronson as Hitler) and John Rhys-Davies as Sallah. And River Phoenix... Mmmm, River Phoenix... Just please don't make a fourth film.

"We called the dog Indiana!"

Oh I want this so much I ache. Not so sure I want to buy it direct from some web-store and pay through the nose for Trans-Atlantic postage. Time to start pleading with my American friends I think, see if I can get things done cheaper...

Sunday, May 25, 2003

Managed to write 1500 words today, which is a lot for me, over a period of about three hours. It became a rather intense little scene, set in a dungeon. Hopefully I can carry this momentum on to tomorrow. I was intending to go see the new Matrix film, but the Odeon website seems to be broken and unuseable at the moment, and I have no intention of going and either queueing for ages or hanging around in Camden any longer than absolutely necessary.

Besides, I bought myself a DVD player today, so no more having to watch them on my computer.

England gets null points in Eurovision, 'Iraq war backlash' blamed.

I did write a heck of a lot of crap yesterday didn't I? Unfortunately for you lot, blogging seems to have become my default activity when I'm bored. That and looking at my Nedstat thing and trying to work out who would be looking at my stuff from the Netherlands (Hi whoever you are!). This is not really a good thing, especially if I use it to crowd out other stuff I should be doing, like work. I had pretty much all yesterday afternoon and evening to write, in the end I did about an hour after The Great War on BBC 2 (worth watching if you have the opportunity BTW). Managed my five hundred words, which is the absolute minimum, but I could have easily done a few thousand more. The ideas are bubbling away in my head, I don't see the full story yet but I know the key points, it's not that I have writers block, just a strange lack of impetus. Still, if I keep forcing myself, at some point it'll become easier and then hopefully these double entendres will stop rearing up as well.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

And now some gratuitous beauty.

That should make Plums happy...

And while we're on the subject of The Sun... Singer stalked by Tatu. Well, one of them at least. After months of looking in their thesaurus under 'raunchy', the Bun finally gets to do a scare story about Tatu and looks through it's files for the scariest photo it can find.

Urgh! She's a bit of a minger ain't she lads? Because, unless they're in the bed with a virile young stud like you, lesbians are revolting ain't they? Bet they change straight in to dungarees when they take those schoolgirl uniforms off, probably fancy Myra Hindley and Rose West too...

Whatever you do, don't play 'Walk Like an Egyptian'... BBC defends decision to show footage of dead soldiers in program on Al-Jazeera. Apparently some of the families have complained about this, mainly it seems to The Sun. Perhaps we can stop all wars by getting the troops to insist when they join up that they under no circumstances want to risk their life? Mind you, that will probably just mean more 'precision' bombing. They went out there to do a dangerous job, they died. Don't go complaining to the tabloid that was most vocal in it's support for the killing and most strident of it's deriding of those who wanted a non-violent solution when a program happens to show that it's not just the nasty slant-eyes that die in war.

And Major Gen Ken Perkins, The Sun’s military adviser, said: “Once again BBC TV is plumbing the depths. It should be renamed the Baghdad Broadcasting Corporation.

However, The Sun themselves inadvertantly put this in it's context:

A military source added: “Is eight seconds of footage in a documentary on editorial decisions in wartime more important than the welfare of families who have lost their loved ones at war whilst serving their Queen and country?
“To the BBC it obviously is — to anyone else, I think not.”

Scrap a program about the war because of 'eight seconds' that could upset a few people? Maybe the Sun think Greg Dyke is going to go round the dead squaddies families houses and force them to watch the show, then Tivo those eight seconds and make them watch them for the rest of the week. Or maybe The Sun wants to stop any broadcasting of anything that might possibly suggest alternative perspectives on the bombing of Iraq. I think they're rating the BBC as much more left-wing than they actually are.

Oh all right, so the Dr. Seuss website is just there to flog you the books, but it's nicely designed for all that, in the classic style.

So I got a copy of The Story of Art by E.H. Gombrich from the library. This was mainly because I felt my ignorance of the state of art was a terrible thing and I was finding it difficult to articulate exactly why I disliked so much of modern art (though I don't think this has so much to do with art as it is with personality. The twentieth century was the first era when artists could first expect to achieve fame in their lifetime, the Sensations crew are just the logical extension of that). So, get an overview of art, which I learnt nothing about at school, then concentrate on the state of the art in the twentieth century.

So far, I'm a hundred and eighty pages in, at the start of the thirteenth century. I heartily recommend this book by the way, I thought it was going to be dry and dull but it's actually extremely readable and enjoyable. Reading it I've realised that on the one hand there was stuff I knew which I didn't realise I'd known, because when I was learning it I wasn't coming it from the art perspective, and on the other things which I should have realised myself. I thought that up to the end of the nineteenth century the quest in art had been for a true representation of the human body and the things the artists saw in the world around them (think Turner, think the Mona Lisa), that it was only when the camera was invented that artists began to experiment with other forms of expression. As the second millenium opens Gombrich talks about how Church art deviated away from the search for 'realism' that had run through the Greek and Roman artists as they looked for a way to represent the truth of the Holy stories they were commissioned to paint. Great stuff.

As if the concept of The Middle-Earth Sock Puppet Theatre wasn't strange enough, I think the 'interests' section goes in to a little too much detail...

I have seemed to have had a lot of dreams recently with a post-apocalyptic vibe to them. I think I mentioned here a few weeks ago about the dream of surfing round a castle and ending up in a small cave with a few friends and Madonna, well that started with running to get into an underground shelter (though that was just I was in a hurry to get in, not that I was being pursued or there was any imminent danger). Last night part of my dream was about rebuilding after some great cataclysmic event. Maybe it's having the Matrix vibes flittering around the media mind over the last month or two. Maybe last nights dream was influenced by the Dispatches program from last Sunday. Another possibility is that I dream often of travelling on the London Underground and maybe those dreams have changed so I now think tunnels, loud noises, lots of people= post-apocalypic society.

I'd like to take it as a positive sign with regards to my self improvement thing, building the new me out of the rubble of what stood before, but it doesn't seem right, especially as I'm really still just starting that.

No matter what sort of bisexual you are, come to BiCon 2003

Take the What Sort of Bisexual Are You? quiz!

Followed a link from Mordant's blog to Radio 1 DJ Scott Mill's page where he's set up a Gay Bar, after the Electric Six song. Quite fun and harmless really, and any DJ that's banished to the early part of the morning where he won't be heard by anyone other than insomniacs and those coming home very late from clubs needs all the fun he can get. It's only the descriptions of who is eligable to apply for membership of Scotty's Gay Bar that make me want to staple him to a rhino.

Come join Scott Mills' Gay Bar. It's for people who aren't necessarily "gay" but have done something a bit camp recently.
For instance, you may have found yourself using your girlfriend's moisturiser. Your favourite shirt might be fuchsia, or you might have a tendency to file your nails and pumice your feet while you're in the bath.
If you do any of the above or more (maybe your choice of drink is a 'woo woo'?) you can apply to join the gay bar.


Friday, May 23, 2003

Tried this quiz to see how they thought I used my brain. Apparently I have a bias towards the right side of my brain.
Holistic Processing information from whole to part; sees the big picture first, not the details.
Random Processing information with out priority, jumps form one task to another.
Concrete Processes things that can be seen , or touched - real objects.
Intuitive Processes information based on whether or not it feels right know answer but not sure how it was derived.
Nonverbal Processes thought as illustrations.
Fantasy-Oriented Processes information with creativity; less focuses on rules and regulations.

Well, the nonverbal bit is completely wrong and depending on what they mean by the concrete, that may be wrong too.

So where's my little graphic to put in my blog? You just haven't considered the rules of doing a quiz on the net have you?

We love Luke. We love him for many varied reasons and wish he was over here so we can take him to the pub. But specifically we love him for pointing out this MP3, with a soft-rock reinterpretation of the Transformers theme tune. My bank holiday weekend is complete already!

A couple of interesting articles, for various reasons. Firstly there is this one, which talks about how as the left wing in Israel has collapsed it's been replaced with a left wing coming from American Jews. Then we have the Marx Brothers of Anti-Anti-Semitism, Honest Reporting, explaining how the use by some media outlets in America of the term 'bystanders' to describe the unfortunate people who get caught in Palestinian suicide bombings is a grave insult and a sign that the US is this close to rounding up all the Jews in the country and firing them in to the sun.

When I checked my dictionary it defined bystander as: a person who does not take part, a mere spectator. Damning evidence of bias I'm sure you'll agree.

I know that everyone that reads this thing are hard-arsed anarchists who smoke dope while overthrowing the system maaaaan, but please FaxyourMP about David Blunkett's plans to introduce ID cards and make us pay for them. We told them we didn't want them last year, even though they were doing their best to run a consultation without telling anyone who might disagree with them that they were doing so. The STAND report on why ID cards are crap is here (in .doc version, sorry!), so read and suggest to your spineless representative to quote some bits in Blunkett's direction.

A cretin from the Conservative party (yeah I know, doesn't narrow things down for you) on News 24 has claimed that if the police didn't put these concrete blocks in place and the HoP was blown up tomorrow then we'd all be complaining about why the police hadn't taken these measures before. These concrete blocks seem to be about four feet high and a foot thick. Just think, if they'd had these in America two years ago, on the ground outside the WTC, those two planes would not have been able to crash in to them.

Interesting. Stopped at a pub for lunch and, because there was nothing else to do, read their copies of 'The Sun' and 'The Mail'. Both had double page spreads on how these claims about him mistreating Iraqis were all products of an 'arrogant' American army major out for revenge against our hero. They somehow neglect to mention how he's being investigated on the seperate matter of the suicide of one of his soldiers. And while The Sun would have us believe it is all the fabrication of this jealous American, the Guardian is able to find people willing to go on record about his behaviour.

Police stick some concrete around Houses of Parliament, democracy is saved.

The best quote is: "It is not going to stop a determined attacker with really subtle carefully worked out plans, but it is certainly going to deter the casual bomber,"

Thank God the big brains at the BBC are on the case.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Well, Plums and Auntie S have mentioned it already but I've just read it and wanted to share, The Guardian's reaction to The Sun offering money to the first hetero couple to shag on the new Big Brother series. It's a shame that if you click on 'Gender Issues' at the bottom of the report you don't go to a page which is blank except for the words 'our one, about transexuality'.

Watched Con Air this afternoon. What a load of crap that was! Probably the second-worst thing Nic Cage has been in (after Windtalkers, in which they killed many innocent miners opening deeper seams of absolute crap than have previously been mined) but Malkovitch had some good lines, there were a completely superfluous transvestite who seemed to have NO REASON TO BE IN THE FILM and looked like he just turned up at the set one day and was mistaken for an actor and, of course, John Cusack and Chief O'Brien. "Finally, a part where I get to drive a car and swear a lot!" He may well have said.

Words of wisdom from Le Flyboy on how to improve the first Matrix film.

Especially the bit about Switch.

Ashley Hamilton- Wimmin. This is irony innit? Sweet poseable Christ, tell me this is ironic.

NLP- The saga continueth. Day Four- Matching and Rapport Building. Yep, a stroke of genius, on a day when I don't go to work so therefore don't have to talk to anyone, I learn about how to get ahead by talking to people. Or specifically by matching them. Apparently this is how salesmen work to make you trust them and therefore buy their product, by making you feel they are just like you, copying your stance, way of speaking, representational style (visually, auditory, kinaesthetically), shared experiences. This is about the only thing I remember from when I investigated NLP a few years ago and have occasionally tried it myself. Presumerably this isn't best to do at all times, someone with crossed arms and a defensive/aggressive attitude is probably not best dealt with in a similar matter, unless you fancy starting a big fight.

What with the bank holiday weekend I may not get many opportunities to experiment with this but I'll give it a go, matching can be done on phone calls as well, so I'll let you know how it goes, if it does, next week.

Thanks to Pin I'm all signed up with Nedstat to help me discover whether any is reading this or, as I suspect, I'm just talking to myself.

Channel 5, in their 'showing one program a year to justify why they should be allowed to continue to broadcast' mood showed 'Final Flight of the Osiris' last night, the very short film that is set about half an hour before 'The Matrix Reloaded'. And very nice it was too. Not being big on Japanamation I have nothing current to compare it to, (I've seen 'Akira', 'Ghost in the Shell' and 'Princess Mononoke' and that's it) but it looked lovely. The first half of the thing is a training session between the two main characters whose names are so unimportant I've forgotten already. Think the dojo scene from Matrix weapon, with swords. The second half is more in the real world as in their Neb-like craft they come in contact with a LOT of Sentinals. Very nicely done. And it's whetted my appetite for the main thing. I'm just deciding how long I'm going to wait before I go and see it. I don't want to be surrounded by whooping fanboys but the longer I leave it the more chance I've got of being spoiled on the contents by friends. Choices choices.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Mary Bell granted lifelong anonymity. The relatives of her victims aren't happy but at least they are just disappointed that the court didn't ban Bell from making money from her crimes (one book over some thirty years, written by someone else who interviewed her, she's not exactly Frankie Fraser here). It's not like Ralph Bulger threatening and inciting people to track down the killers of his son and kill them. Maybe I'm just a bleeding heart liberal who has been fortunate to never lose a friend or relative to violent crime, but in that case there was a legal process which was followed and those two boys were released at the end of it. You can argue until the sun grows cold about whether that was right or wrong but it was done and they have to live the rest of their lives with the knowledge of what they did and the decade or so they spent inside for it. It's ironic that the papers and people that tend to call for exceptions to be made so that 'really nasty' people can be killed and who claim that prison isn't a punishment, are the ones that back up the rest of the system when demonstrators march through London against the War or against Capitalism. When Ralph Bulger wants his sons killers killed, what he's really saying is "fuck the rest of you, I want special treatment!"

Like I said before, I'm glad that the relatives of Mary Bell's victims aren't disputing her right to be out now that she's done her time (or at least not talking about that at the moment).

Hmmm. Weird blog action going on today.

Anyway, Eric decodes the U.S. President. And when you're done, go to Eric conveys an emotion.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

OK, this is interesting, London Bloggers by Tube Station.

Monday, May 19, 2003

I briefly transform into my full geek glory to bring you Galactus' blog.

Odd. We have this this story from, basically trying to scare up the idea that Arafat on his own could scupper peace in the Middle-East yet no British sources, including, or the Murdoch news sources who are strongly pro-Israeli, are running this story. And this story was filed about five hours ago now, so it's not like it's breaking news either. Hmmm.

Another Labour fading star criticises Blair.

If you are one of those few people that haven't seen 'The Matrix' and have remained immune to it's multimedia blandishments, why not try the ridiculously easy Guardian Matrix quiz. Warning: This quiz may start you having 'The Littlest Hobo' theme music running through your head.

Virus mimics Microsoft e-mail. Apparently, the tell-tale give away was that even though the actual message was gibberish it was still more informative than a real M-Soft email.

In the brave new library world I foresee, the staff don't wear namebadges, instead they wear badges saying 'I'm not here to take your shit'. Call it real empowerment.

I was just thinking, six or seven years ago I would have been extremely opposed to doing something like the NLP system. Indeed, I disliked a lot of things about me and my life but wouldn't want to change them. It was half my nature and half that I didn't want to 'miss the comfort in being sad'. The great anasthesia of depression that, once settled, barricades you away from having to deal with the rest of the world. Even now I look at psychotherapy askance, in much the same way as tribesmen were supposed to be worried that cameras would steal their soul (though I heard that was a myth I think). I'm not honestly sure why, my early twenties self was supposed to be in to soul searching. I suppose the truth was, if I did it in my own haphazard way I could ignore the bits of myself that I didn't really want to face. Taking on some sort of system would mean eventually confronting these depths.

The other fundamental truth was that I was extremely lazy.

Finally found the web-page for the Dispatches special on Gaza last night.

Reigniting the 'But is it art?' argument. Still, it's a lot better than when actors normally write crap novels. Or people writing Labyrinth fan-fiction.

Forget Syria and Iran, is it Cuba next?

Another good piece from the Independent, Nelson Mandela: Farewell to a friend and a comrade in arms.

Using The Matrix defence. Don't blame Keanu Reeves, blame Baudrillard!

Sunday, May 18, 2003

The NLP is half-done, I swear. I would have finished it too if it wasn't for that pesky Auntie Skater. Day Three was mainly consolidation of what I did on Day Two. One of the exercises was to think of when I've labelled people because of a single behaviour. 'Single' behaviour I'm probably quite good with, and have a low score. Change it to 'several' behavioural things and it climbs a bit.

I got as far as analysing my goals from Day two using Cartesian questions. It's rather hard to visualise but it's along the lines of four questions, which you arrange as though on a graph with an x and y axis. You start at top right, and here you list 'What would happen if you did' (ie; whatever it is you're planning). Top left is 'what wouldn't happen if you did?'. Bottom right is 'what would happen if you didn't?' and bottom left is the most difficult, 'what wouldn't happen if you didn't?'. I found this last one pretty much impossible to answer in any meaningful way. And of my goals only the third seemed to yield anything fresh that I hadn't thought of on day two. The only other thing of value I gained from the exercise was an awareness that my first and third goals, improved posture and increased self-confidence, seem to be slowly drifting towards each other. In terms of the benefits to success in both areas there's a strong overlap between the two.

This analysis makes me worry that I've been too narrow-minded in choosing the improvements that I want to make, chosen small things in the case of one and two Maybe I should have tried to come up with more things. But I don't really want anything else right now, at least not anything that NLP can help me with. I think that if I'm successful with number three that may well inspire me to rerun the system with some broader goals to attempt.

Went and saw 'Phone Booth' this afternoon. Great stuff. Colin Farrell, who has never come to my attention before was wonderful, as were Keither Sutherland and Forrest Whittaker. A really tense battle of wits with an exciting climax. In these days of two hour plus movies, with barely a scene going by that isn't digitally altered in some way, it's nice to have a film that clocks in under an hour and a half with the only special effects being the bangs and the tomato ketchup blood.

In these post-'Seven', post-'serial killer with their own twist' days, the concept is perhaps starting to become a little cliched, a sniper targets people, phones them up and gives them the chance to confess their sins or else they'll be shot. Stu Shepard, a rather arrogant and self-centred but not actually evil media publicist, is number three to be targetted. After the sniper shoots someone attacking Shepherd in the phone booth he's standing in he must deal with the demands of the sniper and the armed police to survive, some of which are in direct conflict with one another.

And at the end I discovered it was a Joel Schumacher film! It's a damn sight better than 'The Client' or 'Batman Returns'. If I have any gripe about the film it's only that Shepherd is being forced to repent over a crime he hasn't actually committed and which it's not entirely clear that he would do in the future. Possibly this is so the audience doesn't lose it's sympathy for him and his plight but it does make the moral conflict a rather difficult one. But this is a minor point. If you want a break from the big showy action films of the summer, try this one out.

Watching the Dispatches program on Channel 4 about life in Gaza. It's probably one of the most harrowing things I've seen for ages. It's not 'balanced', because Israeli foreign policy makes such a concept laughable. Children blinded, mourners crippled, foreign nationals shot at. An Israeli army official claims they are only going after terrorists, yet the evidence here would seem to contradict that.

There are two choices. Israel can try to make peace with the Palestinians, neither side can claim any moral superiority here. Or, they can exterminate the Palestinian people. They could well achieve this thanks to the help from the West, but in doing so it will cause the deaths of many more innocent Israelis before they are done.

The program will be reshown at 4:25 a.m. on Wednesday. If you haven't seen it you should. Based on what happened last time TV tackled this subject Channel 4 need to be supported in this as they'll probably get hate mail for suggesting that not all people in Gaza are actually terrorists intent on overthrowing the Israeli state.

Remember Afghanistan? The allies did such a good job there as well... Women in Afghanistan Fear New Taliban-Like Rule.

When the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan ended the five-year rule of the Taliban in October 2001, Faryal hoped for a democratic government that would make such precautions unnecessary. Less than two months later, that hope dwindled when the United Nations convened peace talks in Bonn, Germany, with the Northern Alliance at the table. As she saw it, the international community's decision to support the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan's new government simply exchanged one fundamentalist regime for another.

More suicide bomb attacks in Israel. Extremely depressing. Of course, if the 'Roadmap for Peace' was in any way balanced and didn't have as it's main proposition that the Palestinians don't get anything at all unless the Israelis are completely satisfied first (in effect asking the starving cat whether or not it wants to eat the plump juicy mouse), which has as a condition the Palestinians eradicating terrorism from their territory, IIRC, then maybe the terrorists would have less incentive to attack and the Palestinians more reason to track them down.

Mr Sharon is expected to seek a number of modifications to the roadmap when he meets Mr Bush.

How more one-sided does he need this document to be?

So, after getting most of Eastern Africa in an uproar, we find terrorists attack Morocco. Presuming this is the same terrorists that the Foreign Office has been warning British nationals about all week. Whether they chose Casablanca because of the large number of foreign nationals I don't know. Maybe Bush and Blair should invade Syria. I mean, as with Iraq there's absolutely no proof that they were involved but we're in the post-proof era now.

Saturday, May 17, 2003

The 'Presupposition of the Day' is that A person is not his or her behaviour and one of the tasks is to think of when I've labelled someone as something because of a single behaviour. God, when haven't I?

Well, that idea didn't last long. Just read Day Three of NLP and realised that it needs more time than I can give it at the time in the evening where I normally turn my brain off and do something non-taxing for the few hours before I climb in to bed. I suspect this will lead to a choice over what I do tomorrow afternoon, stay here and work on this or go and see 'Phone Booth', which I've been led to believe is a good film. It took me two goes to get most of the chapter into my head, I had that thing where you read the words but the instant you've read them they immediately fly out of your head and you realise that you can't remember anything from the last five pages.

I read chapter three and immediately wanted to throw in the towel. Deep analysis of those wants I listed the other day. I firmly believe that at no point in my education was I taught how to think. I was simply taught facts, dates, arguments and vocabulary and my teachers fervently hoped that they would rub together in my brain and light the spark of intelligence within. So, while I can string words together real purdy, I have difficulty with the 'whys' and the logical arguing of points. My brain rebels whenever it thinks it's being asked to do this, which is why I'll need a long run up tomorrow.

As you may have guessed, I didn't do Day 3 of the NLP yesterday. The book assures me that this is okay, that it isn't really time contingent, just three weeks sounds sexy to the harassed middle-manager looking for a solution to why hir life is so stressed but lacking the courage to pills and booze it or redthroatslash in the bath (I need to write a review of Jam as well don't I?). I'm aiming at the moment for at least one chapter every two days, but aiming to do one a night when I have the time.

Honest Miss, and the dog really did eat my homework too.

By the cunning plot of clicking on the tabs I've discovered that ze is a he, and he does indeed live in the uk. It's amazing what you can find out on the Interweb these days...

Aw bless, I think I've found someone angrier than me. Providing helpful grammar lessons to people sending hir hate-mail, shouting at films of Stephen King's work. I just hope I'm not in the same country as hir, because then I would be very scared.

Do you remember the other week when I said you should go play Asteroids? Someone has gone one better, and taken it to the next logical level. "But how could you improve on Asteroids?" you ask, confused. Ah foolish mortal, the only way it would be possible to improve on Asteroids is to replace the large chunks of rock... with pasta!

Who are you calling 'cheese-eating surrender monkeys' boy?

Vive Asterix!

It was a quiet seaside town (oh all right, it's quite a long way inland) and nothing much was happening in Tonbridge Wells. But then someone reported to the paper that there was a new superhero righting wrongs. He dressed as a monkey. He was a hero. Only... he didn't actually exist...

Bah, I'm at work on a rainy Saturday morning so I obviously need something to cheer me up. Enter the blog for It Came From the Sea, which the young things that actually do clubbing assure me is a very good thing, and the entry for wednesday 7th May.
ok, so hands up - ICFTHS03 was not our idea of a picnic in heaven. easter weekend attendance ensured we missed out on a full house, technical problems tore driver's final set into bitesize chunks, and the one person who could save us apparently died on the cross two thousand years ago. what a bust.

I don't know who you are, but I love you guys.

Still, could be worse. Could be a *sunny* Saturday morning.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Wow! For the first time in over a decade, Neil and Christine Hamilton are able to take the moral high ground...

I had literally seven minutes of fun with Wordspy. I'm a bit disappointed that 'upshifter' wasn't as dirty as I thought it was going to be. Oh well...

You'll need a RealPlayer of some flavour to listen to this which is John Reid, the leader of the house of Commons, on the BBC Radio 4 program Today yesterday over the lack of WMD found. Anyone that's been advised by their doctors not to listen to stuff that makes them feel angry should avoid this. Otherwise Dr. Reid's rude attitude from the off, his constant interupting of the interviewer and trying to fudge the issue by trying to repaint the argument as though anyone who disagrees with him is under the delusion that Saddam was a nice bloke, will make you boil with rage. How the interviewer managed to control himself not to lean across the desk and strangle the man I'll never know.

So, this admission by Jack Straw that the British Government is now accepting that there may be no proof of WMD is rather interesting. Especially as Straw tried to suggest that Hans Blix found loads of evidence of what we should probably call 'Weapons of Not as Much Destruction than Weapons of Mass Destruction But Still Pretty Damn Destructive', which Blix himself disagrees with.

So it's back to the 'but Saddam Hussein was such a nasty tyrant!' argument once again, which once again begs the question 'Well why wait over a decade to deal with him?' Do we really have to wait twenty or thirty years, until after Blair and Bush are dead, before we can look back and say this whole situation was unjust and immoral?

Do you know anyone who died during the Allied campaign in Iraq? The Guardian would like to know.

OK, the NLP thing. Yesterday was day 2, all about trying to identify the things you want to change or improve about yourself, making sure you are positive ('I want to be x' rather than 'I don't want to be y'), specific and realistic in your choices. I was supposed to come up with a big list o' things but in the end settled on three. All the stuff that follows each main point is based on what the chapter has said as an aide to visualising it. If it seems odd, it was all written in bits as I read each part of the chapter.

'1. I want to improve my posture, stand straight with my head held up when I walk. I want to do this all the time. This will help me avoid back problems in later life. It will help project an image of me as someone who is confident. If I am confident I will feel happier at times, but will also feel more able to deal with problems when they occur. My life will be physically better due to this. See no. 3. I will know I have achieved my goal when I am able at any time to check and see that my posture is correct. I must be mindful of myself to achieve this goal and keep correcting my posture if it is bad. I have already started on this and can increase my efforts to check myself.

2. I want to be more imaginative when writing stories, both in brainstorming and then in writing. I want to be able to write quicker and not get distracted in the process. I want to increase my ability to focus on the task at hand. I want to do this primarily in time I designate for writing or quiet time, less so when I'm at work and do not want to be distracted. If I am able to write more and quicker I will be able to practise more and develop my skills, increasing my chances of becomming a successful writer. I will know I am achieving this goal if the speed with which I write increases, and I have more ideas for stories. I can start immediately and give myself time every day, or every day when I'm not working all day, to write. I will feel more creatively fulfilled due to this.

3. I want to increase my self-confidence and positive feelings about myself. I want to do this all the time. However, I want to be realistic, so I avoid being an over-confident idiot. This will help me achieve my goals at work, both in dealing with the public and with other staff. Being successful at work will allow me the opportunity to progress my career whilst waiting for the writing to take off. Advancing my career will increase my income, which will allow me to buy a place of my own, rather than rent. A ground floor flat, two rooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. Good area. Small back garden. Secure. Plants and flowers. Good central heating, cool in summer. All mod cons. Comfortable furniture. I will be able to measure the success of this by going for a management post when one next becomes available and getting it. Increasing my self-confidence will also allow me to make more effort to market my work when it's ready to go to a publisher. if accepted this will also increase my income, as above. Success will allow me to take pleasure in my work and my writing. I can start immediately by combating negativity using the exercises already suggested in this book. I can also look for alternatives in case the suggested method is insufficient or does not work for me. I am aware that at times when I become depressed a good way to avoid it is to start working and distracting myself. I should remain aware of my moods and when it looks like I'm starting to become depressed start doing something to occupy myself. However, if I fail to do this I should not then make matters worse by feeling bad for feeling bad. Sometimes it is a natural part of life.'

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Oh good grief, Sky One is doing another season of random episodes of various Star Treks, this time called 'Beam me up Totty' where, you guessed it, viewers vote for which episode they want to see based on which female cast member they want to see wearing not many clothes. Now I know why The Simpsons are always down on Fox...

And this has nothing to do with not getting to vote for any of the episodes where Patrick Stewart isn't wearing much either.

However, while we're waiting for that try this game that B3ta pointed out.

I've been reading 'NLP in 21 Days' and started working with it yesterday. I'll let you know how it goes.

You should probably read this before we go much further.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

US criticises security in Riyadh. You've got to admire the cheek. Considering the amount of terror and lawlessness within Iraq since Saddam was toppled, this is real pot/kettle territory.

Christopher Hitchens in The Mirror and George Monbiot in The Guardian both line up to kick Clare Short. Whether this is a sign that The Mirror is starting to get back on-side with the Blair government after being the only red-top to be against the Allied terror campaign against the Iraqis I don't know. Monbiot has a very interesting opinion on Short's role in the Cabinet over the last few years.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Strangely, the welfare of the Iraqi people doesn't seem to be such a concern now that America runs the country. Funny that.

Terrorist attack, 'probably Al-Qaeda' say Americans, because you don't need proof in the modern world. I suppose it's not a completely unreasonable guess, After all, we did bomb Afghanistan because of the September 11th bombers, who all came from Saudi Arabia.

No, honestly, a badger beat me up.

Madonna and friend. Let's just hope she doesn't decide to get him a bit part in her next video, like Ali G...

[waves to Patrick]

P.S. We should be together too.

Blimey, Clare Short may be going down but she's determined to take the PM with her.

"I think Tony Blair has enormous achievements under his belt and it would be very sad if he hung on and spoiled his reputation."

Which of course begs the question of how, after two bombing campaigns, does she think he can make it worse for himself?

Mr Blair had failed to stand up to President Bush - and was not so much a poodle ("poodles get off their lead and jump about") as a figleaf. "Fig leaves just stay where they are," she told the Guardian.

But the fact that the Tories didn't seem to be making any attempt to make capital out of this yesterday (or maybe they were and the evil BBC was hiding it from us) suggests that the only people excited about this are the people that write the columns for newspapers.

Was having a look at The Daily Prescott again (I'm not going to repeat the link but I mentioned it yesterday) and followed it's links to Moore Watch and from there to Revoke the Oscar. Reading them reminds me of the chapter in Jon Ronson's amusing 'Them' where he goes to America with conspiracy theorist David Icke and talks about how the left-wingers try to disrupt his tour because they believe he's an Anti-Semite. There seems to be a similar mindset here, especially on the first site where one guy angrily complains about Moore's treatment of Chuck Heston. I especially liked the way one of the three bloggers complains about Moore 'attacking Heston's health' when right underneath is a post by someone else poking fun at Moore for being obese.

So the right and left-wing don't believe in freedom of speech for anyone that disagrees with them? No shock there...

Monday, May 12, 2003

OK, I know that the question you really want to ask is "Flowers, who does your hair? And, how did your rune reading go?" I did the simplest reading suggested by Ralph Blum, a 3 card spread (alright, he suggested either picking one card or just tossing the cards in the air and seeing what happens when they fell, but I was willing to put a little more effort in) with no other question than what do I need to live my life? What follows is based on what he has to say on each card, so hopefully I'm not going too wildly wrong here.
1. Overview (I presume, current situation): Ansuz Signals, Reversed.
Failed communication, lack of clarity, inhibition, futility.
2. The Challenge: Jera Harvest.
Encourages and supports activities of change to which I'm committed, but there are no quick results, I must be prepared to wait.
3. The Course of Action: Nauthiz Constraint, Reversed.
Teaching through pain, cleansing needed. Negativity must be controlled, be modest and good tempered.

I'm aware that to sceptics, and I'm not wholly convinced myself, this is such a typical reading, both non-specific yet with enough hooks in it to succesfully snag in my intelligence. It says my present/recent past isn't perfect, but if I knuckle down and work hard, over a period of time, my future will be brighter. The Protestant Work Ethic approach to divination and one that would probably fit any number of people.
And it's just vague enough that I can look at it and see about how, in March, I committed myself to trying to make changes to the way I live and think about the world, due to feeling inhibited and constrained by the way I was, how in the last fortnight I've realised that I'm not in a position to make great changes straight away, that I have to plan where I'm going and make sure I'm prepared before I start, and that change will inevitably bring with it some pain, require me to overcome my own negativity but will, if successful, cleanse me.

The hair is all thanks to electric clippers and God's love.

Aww shucks. I saw The Daily Prescott as I was signing in to Blogger and thought it was a blog taking the rise out of the Deputy PM of the British Government. Unfortunately it's just some unpleasant right-wing American. Mind you, reading his blog for the last week or so was like looking in a distorted mirror...

BBC in 'inadvertantly funny news' incident. Jilted wife 'meant to kill herself' -A jilted wife who shot her her husband's girlfriend dead told a court she had not meant to hurt her. Or, as it was reported in the headlines on News24 just now- "Jilted wife tells court she meant to kill herself, not her victim." That's quite a miss.

I'm who?
Fairuza Balk
Scary in a very good way, you're Fairuza Balk.

What sexy girl are you
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Well, she's got a good set of teeth on her at least.

I'm trying to keep a dream diary at the moment which is made a bit tricky by my habit of waking up, sometimes only briefly, somewhere between 5:00 am and 7:00 am, then, if I'm lucky, falling back to sleep again. This tends to wipe out my memory of what I was dreaming about before and I end up only remembering what I dream about in that last hour or so before the alarm clock rings, if at all.

The last couple of dreams that I can recall have tended to be pop-cultural, which makes a pleasant change from all those dull dreams about work or school. There was the one where I ended up sailing around a castle with friends, which turned into being in a small cave with Madonna leading us out up a ladder to a hole in the ceiling. Then there was the one when I was walking along New Oxford Street looking for the Scientology shop (don't ask me why, and I know it's in Tottenham Court Road) and ended up going into a comic shop where I got the last issue of a Transformers comic, the one where Optimus Prime meets up with megatron at the end of the universe, both having long given up fighting, and together they help to start the Big Bang that creates the new cosmos. Then last night was the one where I volunteered for an experiment to splice my genes a la Spiderman. I had great fun walking up and down walls, though volunteer number two came out more spider than person.

Sometimes I worry about what's inside my head.

Clare Short quits her post over Iraq. Several months too late some might say, she says it's due to the US/UK proposal put forward several days ago at the UN.

The Independent has got this foolish idea that it can charge for some of the content on it's site. Main news is free, but opinion pieces and columnists are now in the 'Portfolio' where you pay £1 per article for 24 hours, or subscriptions between £5 and £60.

Now, they've already changed this once, as when they started it was £1 per article, so Internet users were paying almost double the cost of the whole newspaper for one article therein. But how many people, like me, are now going to forego the delight of reading Mark Steel columns every Thursday because they don't want to fork out £30 a year for it? It would be cheaper to buy the paper each week. Or use my local library of course .

Raed is back.

Blair launches bid to hold Olympics in 2012.

Well, while it would be nice to see if the Olympic Committee give it to the UK to try and encourage it to become a democratic country turning London into a huge Olympic village would be a real pain. But:

How ever, The Observer understands that Ken Livingstone, London's mayor, is considering extending the capital's congestion charge scheme to include drivers going to Heathrow airport, and then using the money raised for the Olympics.

No! I love the congestion charge, haven't been in to the centre of London during the week to see how it has helped/not helped but at the weekend the only vehicles I've seen on New Oxford Street are taxis and buses. The great thing was that Livingstone promised the money would be going into improving public transport in the capital. I would object strongly to money being taken away from the public and put into some meaningless prestige project, such as 'improving' sites for an Olympic bid. If he has to transfer money away from public transport, at least do it for something that will make life better, such as homeless shelters or resources for victims of violence, secure facilities for the mentally ill, not more trinkets for the rich.

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Oh for Christ's sake! Blair gives religious employers the right to sack gay workers. Or, as a friend described it, Tony puts a clause into an anti-discrimination bill making it okay to discriminate. If only The Sun's 'gay mafia in the Cabinet' wasn't a myth we might have prevented this.

Next month: A bill to ban fox hunting that doesn't stop people hunting foxes?

So thanks to a friend I now have a set of Rune Cards, created by Ralph Blum and Jane Walmsley. Reading the book at the moment, haven't tried any readings with it yet. I've got out of the habit of using my Tarot cards, mainly because I always felt that it was something I should do with/for someone else, somewhat tricky when I live alone and doing readings for myself seemed 'wrong' somehow. But the tone of Blum's text suggests that using the Rune cards is ideal for introspective work and self-examination, so I'll give it a go and let you know.

Because I know you're out there right? Waiting, watching my every damn move, I can see you! With your reptilian eyes! But I'm on to you! [ahem] I'm sorry, I don't know what came over me.

Haus draws our attention to another Electric 6 "Gay Bar" parody video, this time with Dubya and Tone, but I may have to wait until I get to work tomorrow to appreciate it in it's splendour.

And before I get down to writing more in depth entries, I want to bring up this Thank You Tony website which wants to thank Tony Blair for supporting the US Invasion of Iraq. You can even sign a petition to Dubya to get Tony a shiny medal for his trouble, or send a personal message to Tony thanking him for supporting killing Iraqis.

Any Americans reading this who may want to send their own alternative message of 'thanks' to Blair, drop me a line afterwards and let me know whether it made it through.

[giggle]. Tony Blair Voted 'Worst Briton' in Channel 4 Poll.

New fire at historic Brighton pier. The arsonists are back it would seem. I was down there last month, there wasn't much left then and what there was was an eyesore. I think they're going to have to admit defeat on this one and demolish what's left, which ought to cheer up whoever is behind these fires.

Saturday, May 10, 2003

Proof that you can find any old tat on the interwebnet if you cross your fingers and pray, someone has collected all the episodes of the Jetman strip ever published in Crash. Loonies ahoy!

Meanwhile, another article on trans/homophobia from someone on the Queer by Choice mailing list.

And while I'm linking to The Guardian in such a bored manner "This industry's not big enough for two bottoms of such magnitude. Kylie's make-up girl has found the elixir of arse maintenance, and there's no way she'll let that awful Lopez woman near it."

You remember that Iraqi minister that had his fifteen minutes of fame for giving reports on the war that at no point matched the reality of what was happening? Ian Duncan Smith warns Tony Blair that 'he hasn't got long left ... so make the most of it'

Meanwhile, on the other side of the house, Short goes awol for vote and cabinet Following her posturing and craven backtracking over the whole Iraqi thing, I wouldn't be that sad to see her go.

Just in from the "Well I never saw that coming" newsdesk (emotionally twinned with the Muppet News Centre) The US and UK have put a draft resolution to the UN which would see the Allies controlling the Iraqi oil fields.

And in case anyone was thinking of accusing me of bias, I wouldn't be happy if the resolution suggested the UN run it either. But an American will run the country, Americans and British troops do something that could charitably be described as 'keep the peace', and the Americans and British will now control the oil. At what point do the Iraqis get freedom and self determination?

your bitch.

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Presumably the system can only determine what swear word you are if it ignores basic spelling and grammar...

Yep, I'm starting to get the hang of this blogging business, reading Need to Know and then linking to weird stuff that they've found as though it were my own.

What amuses me is that, based on the key at the bottom of the page, the world has been Rapture-ready since at least 1999. Yet strangely these guys are still here. Shouldn't someone start praying and ask God exactly what he's waiting for? Dramatic tension?

I did, in a spirit of interest, read the first of the Left Behind books. The first half is fairly competent fiction, exciting with a rather vanilla bunch of characters who were all Christians to some extent but just 'lost their way'. The second half, the theology bit, where the main character, who goes by the wonderful name of Rayford Steele, finds his faith again, while a reporter comes to realise that the new President of the UN happens to be the Antichrist, is just awful. Since this stuff is all foretold in prophecy, where's the drama?

And I've always found the whole Rapture element of Christianity rather distasteful to be honest. Only people who's faith in God is weak would have to invent concepts to make them feel better about themselves. If you really believed your God was the one true God and that good people go to Heaven when they die, would you need to invent a theological subset where non-believers have such an awful time, while 'believers' like yourself get to go to Heaven without dying?

Friday, May 09, 2003

Pah. Having seen the actual video for Electric Six's 'Gaybar' (Six men dressed up as Abraham Lincoln romping about and feeling each other's hammers) I can't help but think they should have just got this one instead.

And this Androids song, 'Do it With Madonna'? Well the lyrics are shockingly bad, but the video is quite fun. And while the real one isn't particularly to my tastes any more I'd rather do it with the Madonna in the video.

Nooooo! Last Monday's Lying in the Gutters column at Comic Book Resources had as a possible the news that 'Automatic Kafka' has been cancelled. I just hope he's wrong on this one.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Admittedly, I was Googling 'Stephanie Theobald' in the hopes that, following the article I linked to on Tuesday, she had a homepage where, under 'dislikes' she lists 'transpeople and transissues' just to make it plain. No luck so far. But I have found a zine article (05-02-03 in the American date notation) written by Dean Spade and ze's not happy about it at all.

Blimes, I think all my most shameful secrets (in the sense of the stuff Freddy Krueger would use to mess around with you before killing you, not in the sense of "and then we had to run through town naked 'cos we were very, very drunk"), all the stuff I wrote in my diary (yes, a real paper diary, aren't I thrilling and retro?) with notes saying NEVER TELL ANOTHER LIVING SOUL THIS EVER, IN FACT, COVER THIS WITH BLACK MARKER SO THEY DON'T FIND OUT ABOUT IT AFTER YOU'RE DEAD, are told to various people. And it's true, it doesn't seem like such a big deal.

Well, that's not quite true, because I've just spent two minutes wondering how much of that to write here and deciding that I don't want to yet, but I might come back to it later on.

Meanwhile, to change the topic, go play Asteroids at Philip K I'm not sure why it's there, maybe destroying the Asteroids is symptomatic of the destruction of characters psyches or something, but it's cool. And I'm just about old enough to remember the arcade original...

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Elton John to produce musical version of 'Interview With the Vampire'
yet [Bernie] Taupin said the stage version would not involve "capes and bats or crosses or tap-dancing vampires".

Then we get into scary quote territory:
"Anne is very excited and has given us her blessing," he said. So presumerably she won't be doing what she did with the first film, bitching about it, changing her mind close to release and saying it's wonderful, then going on in interviews afterwards about how it really was rubbish after all. And most worryingly:
Sir Elton told a press conference: "When I read Interview with the Vampire, for the first time, I wanted to become a vampire." Now that's an image that keeps me awake at night. Vampires, elegant, mysterious, beautiful, alluring... and then Elton John. It's like Thora Hird recreating Marilyn Monroe walking over the grating...

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Grrr, Hulk smash! I'm a girl - just call me 'he' (Thanks to Flyboy for this one).

It's hard to tell whether the writer is getting her genders mixed up with her sexuality or whether she in the first few paragraphs is meeting a load of 'women born, male presenting lesbians', but she doesn't do herself favours with sentences like I was looking at the TeaNY menu wondering how you could have macaroni cheese in a vegan cafe and then reasoning that if a girl can now be a boy and cheese can now be vegan, then maybe the chair I was sitting on was a teapot and the dog that Moby (a "bio boy") was patting was, in fact, an elephant. Because a woman not wanting to present as a woman is just as mad, do you see?!

Chances are that the transboy thing will end up in Britain... The question is, have the Americans gone too far this time?
Call the Queer Morality Police!
On the one hand, the "transboy" movement seems fantastically avant garde -
Phew, just so long as we're all glamorous and look like either Mel Gibson or Julia Roberts we'll be all right then.
- after all, why should it be possible to buy at least six different kinds of bagel in New York city and yet be limited to a mere two choices of gender? Maybe the trend is a way for women to get their own back on all those queenie gay boys who've been going round calling themselves "she" for years.
Yep, it's the fags fault. Next week- Why the Village People made it impossible to want to be a builder.
And certainly, being forced to refer to a woman as "he" as you are being served by "her" in a restaurant makes you reassess your whole approach to the concept of gender.
'Forced'? She makes it sound like these terrible fierce dykes gave her Chinese burns every time she got the gender wrong. If I call the writer a 'he' and she asks me to change it to her correct form of gender, can I sue her for the mental distress of having to taking her opinion into account?

Following on from Sunday's ruminations about Tony Blair's faith that God will agree he's done the right thing...

Israel says no to offer of talks from Syria.
Found this paragraph interesting:

"It was decided that treatment of the matter would be delayed until Syria's true domestic and international situation becomes clear in the fallout of the Iraqi war," an Israeli official said.

Diplomatic speak for "We're going to wait and see if we can persuade the Americans to attack them for us"?

The Labour party suspend Galloway over Iraq allegations. If you're a friend of Tony, you can drive around with a bag of charlie and not get done, because the police will decide they 'can't prove ownership' (Any dealers reading: Try that defense next time you get caught and let me know whether it worked). If you're a thorn in Tony's sole (or perhaps that should be soul?) then the party machine won't worry about things like 'due process' and will go straight for the 'guilty until proven innocent' approach.

Oh this is great. The Calvin from 'Calvin and Hobbes' is young Jack from 'Fight Club' theory.

Monday, May 05, 2003

So, it occurs to me that I should say something about X-Men 2 what with seeing it yesterday. Highly fun, with McKellan as Dame Magneto and Stewart as Good King Xavier at one end, and Halle 'No, I don't know why I keep getting acting jobs either' Berry and James Marsters at the other, though both are better in this one than X-1. And Alan Cumming. Sorry, make that ALAN CUMMING! Lots of little things to make the antenna on geeks twitch like crazy, including clear shots of a list of the names of a large number of the X-Men from the comics. And this time some thought has obviously gone in to how your fighting style would change if you had x power, Storm using the weather to fight off jets and Nightcrawler doing some cool teleport-fighting at the start. And it did seem like an X-Men movie than the Wolverine and Rogue show of the first one.

This review here has some good things to say about the 'mutant as metaphor for gay' aspect of the film as well.

Had a very low-key quiet day today. Cleaned the bath and did some writing, the two extremes of my humdrum life. Yes, I aspire to be the Nicky Wire of British dark fantasy. Just so long as I don't end up as either the James Dean Bradfield or Sean Moore of British dark fantasy. Pies! Pies! Who ate all the pies?

And as we're in the middle of this mutual admiration thing let me take this opportunity to remind everyone how great Plums is. Intelligent, funny and capable of a mean right hook to the brain whenever I need it. It's sort of like Zen without the robes and chanting and with more alcohol.

Sunday, May 04, 2003

And as more Iraqis get killed due to 'misunderstandings' with their new overlords, Tony Blair is sounding ever more like George Bush when it comes to his religion.

The pamphlet, produced by a group called In Touch Ministries, offers a daily prayer to be made for the US president, a born-again Christian who likes to invoke his God in speeches.

Sunday's is "Pray that the President and his advisers will seek God and his wisdom daily and not rely on their own understanding".

Monday's reads "Pray that the President and his advisers will be strong and courageous to do what is right regardless of critics".

God forbid that he should use the gifts God gave him to come to decisions himself then?

And yesterday it was revealed that Tony Blair really does put God at the heart of his politics when he admitted in an interview that he will be judged on the Iraq war not only by the electorate and the pages of history but by 'my Maker'.

It makes me uneasy that world policy is being decided by two such men of 'faith', though I'm aware that such an argument can be made against Islamic heads of state, or atheists. But it suggests an abnegation of responsibility, after all, serial killers often think they're doing God's work too. And considering Blair's craven attempts to make sure that the legal position on the UK involvement of the destruction of Iraq was that it was legal and his desperate attempts to try and get the UN onside suggests that at the time the consequences for his immortal soul weren't top of the list.

And the beauty of the final result being between Blair and his maker is that, as far as we are aware, if such a thing happens it's a private meeting. If such a thing does happen after death and all the people of the world, including those that died under the bombs of the Allies, had a ringside seat to see it, what an event that would be!

OK, the home town thing I couldn't post yesterday. The gist of it was; Maidstone is a depressing place, with crap architecture, a river that barely qualifies as such and little else to recommend it. If you don't grow up wanting to leave it you're already dead. It has no future and is bulldozing it's past in a desperate attempt to lull hapless inhabitants into a narcotised state of believing nothing will ever change. It's overwhelmingly white and overpoweringly straight. If Kent is the Garden of England it is the brown patch of earth over the cesspit. or possibly the cesspit itself. Whenever I go back there to see my folks I feel like I've never been away, like everything I've done doesn't matter, like I'm the teenager I was when they made me leave by going to university.

It was something like that.

Note to self: Prepare t-shirt for the next time you visit Camden. Slogan reads; Make someone laugh. Become a goth.

I swear, there are lots of boys and girls out there that just shouldn't be let anywhere near make-up. And on a hot sunny day too! The poor loves were positively wilting. Quite why I thought it would be a good idea to force myself to put up with three hours of this while waiting to see X-Men 2 I have no idea. However, if you happened to be at the Camden Odeon at about 1745 and were that stunningly attractive black woman that was standing behind me just be thankful I'm so shy or else I would have really spoiled your afternoon.

Saturday, May 03, 2003

On the other hand and the other side of the pond, Celiberal joins the fight to prove that Anti-American foreign policy means you're anti-freedom, anti-humanity and gosh darnit, just an evil sonofabitch that needs to be taken out and shot in the gut and left to die painfully. It's just a shame that's too many words to fit on a t-shirt really.

Hurrah for Terry Jones!

I have to confess, all that time, during the build-up to the invasion of Iraq, when Tony was walking around looking so ill and worried, I foolishly imagined it was because he was wrestling with his conscience...

"And when Loz discovers that White Apples by Jonathan Carroll is finally available in this country joy is no longer adequate and ze is forced to resort to standing in the corner squeeking with glee."
with apologies to the HHGttG.

Hmm. I've just spent most of the last hour trying fruitlessly to post an article about my home town. Only it's not getting through to Blogger. As far as I can tell, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. But it's just like another article I wrote that just wouldn't post. If this doesn't make it over then there's a technical fault at chez Blogger, fair enough. If this does make it then it's very odd that Blogger won't accept that piece and I get page errors instead.

All right our kid?

Just back from visiting my parents for a few days and Nan's funeral yesterday. Yep, that was fun. I had no idea she hated us, but the first hymn we had to sing was 'All Things Bright and Beautiful'. All five verses. The chorus five times. Do you have any idea exactly how inane the song is? And if you're a Monty Python fan you'll of course be unable to avoid thinking of this song and then have to fight the urge to giggle at a funeral.

As when my grandfather died some five or six years ago, I'm a bit perturbed by my lack of feeling about my Nan's death. The fact that I stayed dry-eyed throughout the whole affair while my sister pretty much started crying as soon as we entered the chapel and didn't stop until about ten minutes after we left is a temperament thing. The fact that I don't feel any particular sense of loss, though I loved my Nan, is a bit more unsettling. Because it then leads on to uncomfortable thoughts about what would my reaction be if someone really close to me died, like one or both of my parents. Or is this just post-Di culture telling me that if I'm not wailing and tearing my clothes that there's something wrong with me? Is my lack of emotion just as natural as my sister's outpouring of grief?

But the whole subject of hymns did make me wish Nan was alive again because the one thing I wanted to talk about but never really did was her Christian faith, because despite her work with the church and her involvement in a healing ministry in Catford in the second half of the last century, the impression I tended to get was that her faith was not one that had been examined too deeply. Certainly she never tried to argue on faith issues with any of her children or grandchildren, it didn't seem to be out of any particular respect for our beliefs when I announced my atheism she just said that I'd realise the truth when I was older. I know she nearly turned my grandfather's marriage proposal down because she wanted to be a missionary, she gave in only due to persuasion from practically everyone on either side of the family. But the picture I have of her was a woman that had faith only because it didn't occur to her not to have faith. Which seems deeply unsatisfactory to me.

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