Monday, 30 April 2007

book shops and the movement of time...

... not quite sure how, but whenever I step into a bookshop, time seems to pass at an alarming rate! I'm sure that I've only been there for 10 mins or so, but when I come out, I discover that over an hour has passed...

Waterstones have some of their great 3 for 2s on at the moment. I got:

Holes by Louis Schar
Girlfriend In A Coma by Douglas Coupland
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Tescopoly by Andrew Simms
Failed State by Noam Chomsky
As Used On The Famous Nelson Mandela by Mark Thomas

So that's my reading list for the next few months... now all I have to decide is which one to start first!

Thursday, 26 April 2007

yay for Good Omens!

there's nothing like re-reading Good Omens when you're feeling sad about the future of the world. Yes, I still think we're all going to hell in a hand-cart, but now I find that thought quite funny!

when they came for me, there was no-one to speak out...

... a poetry professor in a small college in the Northeast decides to recycle old manuscripts and becomes an object of suspicion.

this is scary, and very sad - it just goes to show how the culture of fear that western governments and the media are peddling can only spiral downwards...

if we are fearful, we will elect them.
if we are fearful, we will buy papers.
if we are fearful, we can be controlled.

first seen on Bruce Schneier's blog.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

no Mozart at the Proms...

...what is the world coming to? This evening they put all the details of the 07 season on the BBC Proms website but the only Mozart to feature is two weekday afternoon things... when they can find the time for loads of Elgar or Benjamin Britten - just not fair!

I have requested tickets for a few though - Prom 69 - Beethoven's Violin Concerto and Prom 52 - Handel and Purcell with the OAE look particularly fab!

you can request tickets here.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

I am not alone!

thanks to Jude's recommendation, I am now a member a group on Facebook called "I judge you when you use poor grammar". One posting is transcript of an AIM conversation where a guy (Alex) is trying to explain some basic rules of grammar to someone. It contains the following exchange:

Anon: hey guess what
Anon: i got an acedemic award 2day
Alex: Did you spell "cat" correctly?
Anon: no
Alex: Well, at least you tried.

Genius - pure genius!

UPDATE: Sorry, just realised that the links only work if you're a member of facebook.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

clever body...?

this time of year can be a challenge when it comes to deciding what to wear. The day may start off sunny, but will it last? Will I be too hot if I take a jacket to be on the safe side? Or too cold if I just go with a sun top?

well, my body has obviously thought this through and come up with a cunning solution...

to take away this dilemma, it has decided that I shall be too hot and too cold, all that the same time... yep - since Sunday, it's been hedging all bets on the weather and ensured that I get both options. Sweating whilst cold!

I've also been shaking quite a lot and not been able to hold more than half a thought in my head at once.

oh well... I assume this is one of those "two steps back" phases.

what's slightly more disconcerting is that my vocal chords seem to be getting worse again - so can everyone please "touch wood" that this doesn't turn back into full blown laryngitis again... I've had enough of that!

UPDATE (4.56am): Just seen this quote on my Google homepage:

When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.
Oscar Wilde

mmm... I really kind of wish now that I hadn't been telling everyone that I dreamed of only needing 3 or 4 hours sleep a night (rather than the recent minimum of 12hrs)... logical conclusion of the quote - yup - you've got it: Insomnia! grrr.....

Monday, 16 April 2007

new obsession....

... I finally took Anna's advice and got hold of Season 1 of Babylon 5 (£9 on ebay!).

oh dear.

after only 4 episodes, I know that it's a new obsession. I'm going to have to get hold of all 5 series, and then get hold of lots of essays written about the series...

a week of rest and soup....

... well, after the adventures of last week, I managed to get up for 3 hours on Friday (8pm - 11pm!) and then do nothing on Saturday. Sunday was lovely - we had a baby shower for Jude who is due in the next couple of weeks. It was great, but I faded quite a lot and needed much strong coffee to get me going again. So I've decided that this week is a week of rest.

I've got no work lined up (should be back at that next week), and nothing at all in my diary. I plan to rest, eat lots of soup, maybe try the tiniest bit of pilates, watch lots of DVDs and do a lot of reading. Bliss!

Friday, 13 April 2007

he's not the messiah...

... was just reading the latest on the Virgin/BSkyB thingy and came across this fab quote from the BBC website:

"Last month the National Consumer Council accused Virgin Media and BSkyB of "behaving like children".

fab... just fab!

Thursday, 12 April 2007

flip-flops and bombs... not a good combination!

my feet hurt.

I've had a lovely day - worked on a client site (second half-day in a row!) and then went out for a drink afterwards (yay!) and then had some food, and then had one alcoholic drink (I know that I shouldn't, but I had a blood test this morning and if my liver has improved - test results due on the 24th - then I'm able to drink again, and if it hasn't, then I'll be tested again in 6 weeks and one drink can't be too bad!) and decided I had enough energy to walk half way home (i.e. over a bridge and then get a bus for the not-so-pretty-or-safe part of the journey). I was in Soho, but decided that I fancied walking towards Waterloo Bridge (longer, but prettier walk then Westminster Bridge) so headed that way. It was a lovely evening, so I meandered a bit. Got to the Strand... well actually, I go near the Strand...

...there was a big bomb alert on Waterloo Bridge and the whole thing was shut off (well, they said "police incident", so I'm assuming it was a bomb). So I walked to Whitehall and got a 453 over Westminster Bridge after nearly an hour of walking.

and I was wearing flip-flops today.

and now my feet hurt (yes, I know I said that already, but they hurt a lot and so deserve another mention...).

In other news, I had the most lovely Easter weekend. It was Mum's 60th on Friday and I was over at theirs from Thursday till Sunday. Great party on the Friday, very chilled on Saturday, and then left to go and watch the Malaysian GP at Dunc's on Sunday. Ended up sleeping on his sofa after a chinese take-away and lots of movies and then watching Easter Parade on Monday before coming home. lovely!

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

the beginning of the end of DRM...?

fab article from this week's Economist:

A change of Tune

EMI decides to embrace unprotected digital music, to Apple's delight
WHEN your back is against the wall, you might as well try something unexpected. That, at least seems to be the thinking at EMI, the world's third-biggest record company, which on April 2nd said it would start selling digital music online without the "digital rights-management" (DRM) technology normally used to hamper piracy.

EMI certainly needs to do something. Its sales of CDs are plummeting and it issued two profit warnings in teh first two months of this year. So of the four big record labels, or majors, it has the least to lose by moving to DRM-free digital downloads. This was something Steve Jobs, the boss of Apple, called for in an essay published on his firm's website in February - even though Apple owns the dominant DRM standard, FairPlay.

Mr Jobs grumbled that he had been forced to introduce FariPlay by the majors, which would not otherwise have sold their music through Apple's iTunes, the leading online music store. As well as limiting piracy, DRM makes it hard to move music from one device to another. This annoys people and hurts sales, Mr Jobs argued. Most music is still sold unprotected, on CDs. By ditching DRM, the majors would gain more in sales than they would lose in piracy, he implied.

EMI is about to put this prediction to the test. It says it will make its digital catalogue available through iTunes and other online music stores without DRM and at a higher audio quality than existing downloads. The new tracks will be sold at a higher price - $1.29 per track rather than iTunes' usual $0.99 (and £0.99 rather than £0.79 in Britain) - justified by the improved quality and greater convenience, say Apple and EMI. Protected tracks will continue to be sold at the lower price.

It is a cleaver move on EMI's part, but it is even cleverer from Apple's point of view. It should reduce the pressure on the company from some European regulators, who worry that FairPlay is quite the opposite, and "locks in" customers by tightly linking iTunes with Apple's iPod music-players. Furthermore, the majors have long been keen to raise their prices on iTunes. Mr Jobs has always said no. But he has now, in effect, stated his terms: if they abandon DRM, they can charge more. EMI clearly thinks this is a good deal. But will consumers and the other majors?

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

I'm getting me a cardboard cut-out of a techie...

... oh dear. Interweb disappeared about 45 minutes ago. ADSL said it was on and wifi said it was working, so I rebooted the lappy. Then the ADSL light went off. So I turned off the lappy, the wifi and the router, and turned them back on again in reverse order. Nothing... nada... Next thought - Force9. They had some problems last month with one of their servers, so I thought I'd try them and see if it was at their end.

I ring them and am put on hold (and not so helpfully, their on-hold music includes suggestions to look at their website for hold times on the phone - If I could get online - I wouldn't be phoning.... but that's another rant for another day). 14 minutes later (and about 40 mins after the ADSL went away) they pick up.

As I'm giving them my password, the ADSL light comes back on...

"don't worry miss" says the guy at Force9 - "happens all the time"... I bet it does.

Monday, 2 April 2007

funniest thing EVER.... please listen!

wow - everyone MUST listen to this (before Wednesday April 4th as it's a listen-again from Radio 4).

It's Mark Thomas telling of his campaign against SOCPA.

This is definitely one of the funniest things I've ever heard - enjoy!

(and yes - I will go to bed soon, but I've had a delightful bout of insomnia again - joy...).