Wednesday, February 23, 2005

What are the "dark ages"?

That's a term used by adult LEGO fans to describe the years between putting down LEGO as a child and picking it back up as an adult.

[Lego Church]

Friday, February 18, 2005

Style, not fashion

Kashpoint with Raquel was amazing. A cacophany of style, garb, fabric and skin, with a gay-err-straight-err-whadever attitude. Russian Army cap + corset; frilly pink bloomers; shredded black body stocking; beadle; "Diana Lives" hippy; Arabic freedom fighter; 80s leotarded gym freaks; bored 60s Jewish housewives, complete with ironing board and squeezy absinthe: glam, glam, glam!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Get brain

Supersize me

Received via email today:

You remember the discussion we had about 
the RSS and the tag <newItem>. Well look 
that [snip] mail below.
Their RSS is now 2 GB, this is ridiculous.

I don’t think that I have seen any RSS 
feed of this size on the web before.

Naming conventions

[17:25] lzz: I don't know.  Did I tell you about 
the very small boy who comes to the library with 
his parents?
[17:25] lzz: he can't be more than about one, and 
his parents who otherwise appear to be reasonable 
people have landed him with the name MAGNUS HOLE

Earthly Delights

Monday, February 14, 2005

Groundhog day

From our man in Kabul:

Last Wednesday was Groundhog Day in the US as well as the sceduled date of the state of the Union Address. As Air America Radio pointed out, 'It is an ironic juxtaposition: one involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to a creature of little intelligence for prognostication and the other involves a groundhog'.

Into the swing

Several posters for tomorrow's rally, and other events, have mysteriously appeared around my 'hood. Couldn't be anything to do with a nice new Staple Gun from WHSmith, could it?

Met Dot and Tuelin for ice cream at G n D's. Dot is now Chief of all things Old and Shiny in the North West. She was handed a Skirt Lifter the other day, which has to be the most hilarious instrument ever. I have decided to adopt the title Skirtlifter Pursuivant for myself. For obvious reasons.

Back in London, imbibing and inhaling a house a friend of mine was housesitting, we watched Business is Business. Suffice to say that the final scene with the pink rubber gloves, the meat cleaver, the businessman and the ketchup was a perfect ending.

Also met Kat, then Bagsy for food/drink whilst in Oxford - I was evangelising the Idle book, as usual. The Taste of Palestine evening was pretty successful. I was doing the PA; I could happily do more of that - nice mix of tech and music.

Acquired a nice new t-shirt, too ;o)

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Idleness in life

From lzz I received "How to be Idle". I cannot recommend this book enough. It takes a leisurely trip through the development of WASP busy-ness, and how we can avoid it in our lives today. Revolt! Stay in bed!

Idleness in programming

Paul Graham has the following to say:

...the Python paradox: if a company chooses to write its software in a comparatively esoteric language, they'll be able to hire better programmers, because they'll attract only those who cared enough to learn it.

I have spent the last six months of my working life in a kind of "battle for idleness" in the company for which I work. Given the success of my first big ASP.NET deployment, it looks as if some of my suggestions (automated builds, Unit Testing, skills profiles, etc.) may well receive time for enactment.

In particular, the astonishment with which people viewed a nifty bit of Python indexing a directory of Word documents (with metadata) was revelatory. That script took me about 90 minutes to write, on-and-off, at home. I cannot really understand why people are happy to perform that same tedious tasks over again, when an hour or so with (something like) Python can solve these things for good. I despise boring repetition; if I have to do someting twice, it annoys me; three times, and I look for a simplification ;o).

The sort of idleness I have in mind is that which leaves my mind free to concentrate on producing lots of good, cunning, solid code. I actually find that tedious reptition makes me "stupid", but coding in Python makes me "smarter".

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Since xmas

I went over to CH for New Year with Almut, Tom, and others. It was a great lark, and - thrown together in an old chalet with somewhat basic facilities (e.g. outside loo; 30 minute walk to the car) - we all got on famously.

The fireworks on the mountains were utterly spectacular - whole peaks were ignited with reads, greens, yellows... as we buried each other in the snow. Four of tried snowboarding for shits; the feckin ski-lift thing was the most difficult thing to master!

I stayed around afterwards for some cafe life in Zuerich: dancing in a plush, velvet-clad ballroom with A, M and E; German cinema in the shape of Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei (hilarious, dark comedy about young socialist types); and climbing in (what was) Europe's largest Kletternzentrum - grade 4+ was possible with a bit of help from Almut ("no, I will NOT lower you down - climb to the top!"). Discovered that in Zuerich, one can buy half-an-hour's sleep - isn;t that the ultimate commodification?!?

I helped raise about £700 for the Tsunami appeal, by singing with the ffortissimo! types; will be doing similar again with Coro in a couple of weeks. Kind of a baseline minimum activism, though that should now bgein to change. Visited V in Brighton with B; fine, fine, fine, as always. Escaped to hills in Derbyshire with lzz. blagged a free meal out with young Chris, down in London on a freebie from his company. True to form, he's workinng his way through the talent at work, but seems like it's hard going.

Caught Rammstein in Brixton; first time I have seen them, and was suitably impressed by the stage show, what with infernos, fireworks, HR Giger-inspired industrial-nightmare stage, complete with 7ft vaginal entrance. I had half-hoped for some Spinal Tap moment where the bassist gets stuck in plastic cocoon, but all was (slightly disappointingly) very polished. I suspect that many of the fans don't speak German; the album sleeve notes translations are a poor approximation to some of the more subtle meanings in the original. Apparently, Sehnsucht contains a reference to Francois Villon. Certainly, they went out of their way to avoid the "nazi" accusations, by dressing the dweeby one in kurzelederhosen and having him being boiled alive in a big pot! Apocalyptica were impressive as support - the sight of several thousand butch-metal fans jumping about to four cellos was hilarious.

A highlight was seeing the Larry Love Show Band at the Windmill. My hero, D. Wayne Love himself, was RIGHT THERE, singing his country acid house music to, what, thirty of us. Magic.