Sunday, April 19, 2009

The car is gone

I got up this morning and I decided to have a bath. I wanted to relax and let the hot water melt away the stress from my soul. Well the hot water and bubbles worked. My body was tingling with happiness.

From my kitchen window I can see a convenience store. In front of the store there used to be a silver sports car with its tires slashed. I found that sight to be comforting, as it was a pleasant mix of unattainability and wanton destruction. But today when I looked out the window, in place of the sports car, there is a van with "dial a keg" written on it.

Anyway my day is ruined!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

legacy of Jonathan Richman

You know when you are getting old, when you start worrying about your historical legacy. I bought my first Jonathan Richman album in the Virgin megastore in Liverpool. I didn't shop there that much, but one Sunday, I was taking a break from work, and I needed some new sounds. For some reason, I got a modern lovers CD on spec I really like Jonathan Richman's velvet underground inspired sounds, and super-smart lyrics.

These days I have wireless at home, so I don't need to go into work at the weekend. Also I download music. I was disappointed to see that the first result for Richman on youtube is "Dancing at the Lesbian Bar" It is a great clip, but he has done so many other great tracks, such as Roadrunner (that Bob Dylan even played). It is a great video, but...

As part of "my research" for this post you can see another side of the modern lovers.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Last weekend I read "The non-designers design book". This was an useful short book on making documents look cool and interesting. The book was all about choosing fonts and layouts . As I write most of documents using latex, where Knuth has made most of the design decisions for me already, this may be of less relevance. However for talks and seminars, I am getting bored of seeing the same style files constantly in use.

I was intersted to see that it is better not to center everying on the page, but it can look better to either left or right justify text and pictures.

There are four basic principles

  • Contrast
  • Repetition
  • Alignment
  • Proximity

Perhaps I will now try reading Designers Are Wankers

Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter morning blues

When I got up this morning, I opened the blinds. On top of the aerial of the house opposite from me was a nasty black crow. It stared at me, but didn't move.

On a red roof close by, a fat bloated seagull pottered about. Two bad omens for the start of good Friday.

Thursday, April 09, 2009


I am really enjoying renting and reading graphical novels from Hillhead library. For example I have read 3 volumes of a series called "the invisibles" written by Grant Morrison.

The invisibles are a 5 person cell fighting authority using violence time travel, and various other chemicals and meditation highs. Pure fantasy reading, well perhaps not.

The bus stop for the bus I take to work overlooks a canel. One day there was yellow sign on the grass by the canal warning people not to walk there, because a company was spraying for Japanese wank weed. On the other side of the canal men in huge black gas masks were marching up and down with huge yellow casks on their backs. People mostly ignored the signs, when their dogs need to shit, no deadly weed is going to stop them.

At work more workman walk outside my office on the concrete balcony wearing huge shiny gas masks and muttering to each other in some strange topologically twisted language. The building manager said they were removin asbestos. But that doesn't seem likely for a building built in the 1960s.

One day I walked out to the bus stop. There was a cracked car, its windows were all shattered. White silky fluid was sprayed all over the car. When I came home at night, the car was gone. Perhaps someone was trying to reach me, to give me some kind of message, but was stopped. Too many strange things are happening close to the canal.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

death and beans in the afternoon

I don't want to ring your depression bell, but I have predicted my own death. The picture is of my stove top. If you look at carefully you will see that gas is still on. I only use the minimum amount of gas, so that my beans come slowly to the boil. However sometimes I forget to turn the gas off, partly because it not very noticable. One day I will forget and the flames will start, and my bones will become crispy.

Note that one of the reasons that I have survived past the age of 40 is that I know that cooking hot food after coming home from the pub is as dangerous as smoking cigarettes. I am talking about normal day time cooking.

It is very hard to focus on my life, when I know that it will be ended by my need for a can of beans.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Why I am a master non-criminal ?

I was planning on showing a picture of an expensive car, perhaps a Porsche, that is parked in the parking area of my flat. This was to demonstrate that I live in a reasonable area. However, I thought that if I went outside and took a photograph of an expensive car, that would make it look a bit suspicious, as though I was planning on stealing the car. What if I posted a picture of the car on the internet tagged with the location, then a crack team of car thieves would come and nick it. This is the type of thing that makes Daily Mail wet their pants with cowardly rage.

So I took the picture of the car from my window. You can't really see anything, but I don't need to go to prison. The next time you meet me, you may call me "Professor Moriarty", and if I remember this post,I will chuckle wildly.

Where my energy is sucked away

I was forced to move last year. I am now living in a more sedate area. There is a rural canal (convenient for drowning) at the entrance to the crescent where I live. The view is a bit crap, because of the skyscrapers. I can't feel that I am losing my edge because of the village atmosphere hidden away in the Maryhill area of Glasgow.

Google street view doesn't too close to my flat (bastdards). If you are interested and the technology works, you can see that I have to pass through a dark wattery tunnel to get home. This middle class life really is hell.
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The final programme (software still lives on)

While on holiday I read "The final programme" by Michael Moorcock. When I was between 18 and 24 I used to read many books by Moorcock. He wrote a more literary and confusing kind of science fiction, that fused 60s hedonism with surrealism that warmed my loner heart.

I am surprised that I hadn't read this book before. It is the first novel in the Jerry Cornelius quartet. Even with the ravages of time and overslurped wine, I am sure that I have read the other three books in the series. I always wanted to read the first book, because Jerry had a non-stop party at his house for a couple of months (this was actually a bit of let down, as it is described in a single paragraph).

At the end of the book Jerry, either died or became everyone. So I don't think that the Cornelius quartet has a linear time line. The programme in the title refers to software.

Feel the fear and do it anyway (again)

I admit it, I read self help books sometimes. I needed some "positive self talk" to counteract my usual reading about: death, narcotics, torture, software, and business logic. On my books to read shelf I found "Feel the fear and do it anyway" by Susan Jeffers, so I opened it and put it on my reading in progress table. When I started reading I realized I had actually read it before, so the first time I had read it hadn't changed my life. So now I am feeling positive, and if I didn't have a hangover I would really be productive.

Pole dancing

I was in Tesco on Thursday. I dropped my bank card on the floor. I was just gearing up to bend down and pick it up, when a little old lady picked it up for me. "Are you having problems bendind down?", she asked. I didn't thank her! I limped away in shame. I am so unfit at the moment. Too many late night cocktails, eating big meals at lunch, and taking the lift,rather than the stairs. But I can change (hopefully). There used to be a shop near me that rented cars. Now it offers "pole dancing" exercise classes. I could be so fit (and maybe sexy too).

Party on

So the QCDOC is finally switched off, for some of us at least. This was the occasion of the wake for the QCDOC held in my office. The evidence is below.

Invitation to a wake

Invitation to the wake for the QCDOC

On Tuesday 31st March we get kicked off the Edinburgh QCDOC
.To celebrate this event, there will be drinks and snacks in office 527 (Craig's office) at 16:30 on Tuesday 31st March.
A short obituary of the QCDOC
The QCDOC was born two and a half years late, to parents who had already divorced. The QCDOC was a sickly child. It would only work for brief periods of time (20 minutes). However it was guarded by jealous and proud parents. After a great  deal of pain for its carers, the QCDOC  started to be slightly useful, just as  the money to keep it in electricity ran out. So on Tuesday 31st March we celebrate the death of the QCDOC, although technically the QCDOC is still alive, as some  people are unwilling to switch off the life support machine. We are still waiting to see whether the QCDOC will be survived by any  dependents (new computers).