The improvised card game.
The Foldover Game
Blind communal prose.
Back on the Orion Express
Still coming soon.
The Inheritors
William Golding
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Haruki Murakami
Worldwar: In The Balance
Harry Turtledove
The Origins of Virtue
Matt Ridley
Incidental Music
Lost Property
The Divine Comedy
Other Blogs
AngryBlog Yao's DOT.Home Interconnected Wherever You Are HumanLint Found Digital Trickery MomBlog UK Blue Ruin [UK Blogs]
Supporting Cast
Alice Chrissy Dan Dave Dunx Eperdu John Lori Nik Paul Raven Riana Sandy Simes Tracy Yao
As Above at Stormloader
Banner-advert-ridden drivel.
Weeks Beginning
20.11 27.11 04.12 11.12 18.12 25.12 01.01 08.01 15.01 22.01
Digital Trickster Paul ventures into mad science with The Pineapple Project, placing a pineapple chunk in water and keeping a careful diary of its rotting. My predictions: slight disintegration, dust, dead files, and eventual, inevitable accidental-knocking-over.
A very odd advert on television at the moment - some American woman who I'm probably expected to recognise, sitting behind a picture frame and blithering about how, if she'd been the model for the Mona Lisa, she'd be smiling because she had such lovely hair. During the course of this her mouth alternates between the only two settings it seems to have; "unnaturally wide grin with teeth showing" and "unnaturally wide grin with mouth closed", both of them equally ugly and unsettling. An advertising copywriter's cruel joke?
Sterling untruths from the legendary Dave's Web of Lies:-
"Most buses carried no passengers at all until the invention of the bus-stop in 1972, by Mrs. Gladys Henderson, the famous explorer."

"Water is not, as once thought, essential to life. This was merely a clever scare campaign launched by Water Ltd. about 8 years ago."

"Elvis died accidentally while putting into place the final details of his plan to fake his own death."

"Custard is fixotropic, and thus is sensitive to vibrations in the air around it, so shouting at runny custard will make it set."

"The 'millennium bug' is a direct results of the fact that, when the old software was written, 95% of programmers believed that we would be using 'stardates' by the year 2000."

Amusement with the Goth-O-Matic Poetry Generator [via Digital Trickery] - see also the Goth Quote Generator. The more of this we can safely automate, the better.
Restate my assumptions.
The writer writes for himself,
Not for you."
It took five years, but I finally got to see The Divine Comedy close-up, last night; at a tiny venue in Hammersmith they were belting out everything from their forthcoming album, and none of it fell short of superb. With mot juste lyrics, enchanting imagery and some alarmingly ear-worming music, this is by far the best stuff they've done since Promenade, if not bettering it.

Song of the album; Lost Property, a fairly trivial list song ("It's a song about losing stuff.") that manages to be thoroughly beautiful and emotion-provoking, allegories or otherwise. Very much looking forward to hearing the studio version. (Although Sweden on electric guitars was rather marvellous...)

Ambrose Bierce's masterpiece, The Devil's Dictionary is readable, rather inevitably, online. Not a patch on sitting down with the paperback, of course, but divisions falling at "eat to extinction" and "oath to oyster" are mildly amusing. [via Interconnected] "Do you Yahoo?" "Do I have any choice?" - eGroups gets eaten by Yahoo, and I find myself unable to post to mailing lists due to an apparent bug in their cookie-setting. Feh.
The Anti-Bloggies awards spring up to counter the rather less interesting Bloggies. The former are quite amusing, so far as I understand the questions, but the whole award thing seems wrong when it's for something as personal and unique as a Weblog. Narrowing it down to five per category is bad enough, but actually saying "Person X's blog is better than those of A, B, C, D and every other person in that region" seems awful. Much like the recent Whitbread Book Awards, really, which did the bizarre thing of picking a "Book of the Year", setting fiction and poetry against autobiography and a children's book. How on earth can you compare something like that?

Still, the actual Whitbread award-giving seemed rather less interesting than the preambling discussion, to me - I'll be reading English Passengers because of the things Ian Hislop was saying about it, not because some panel or other voted for it. A sentence from a person whose opinion you respect counts for so much more than a "First Prize" rubber-stamp.

A water company sends a letter to Mr Deceased. "It was purely an error and we didn't do it on purpose." they say, as if we expect them to be sniggering behind their hands about it.
Mandelson resigns, the tabloids are full of snipey headlines, and Hague's being laughably hypocritical about it all (as my other half commented; what about Jeffrey Archer, for goodness' sake?). I really don't know how Blair manages to get through Prime Minister's Questions without punching him.

The resignation seems a bit odd, with the whole passport imbroglio only getting as far as Mandelson misremembering a phonecall - although the run-up to an election is a poor time for something like this to be raked up, it seems just as poor timing for a cabinet resignation. Strange that it's not been fought more. Mandelson was being rather shifty on Channel Four news the other night, mind, saying how he wouldn't object to the log of the disputed phonecall being examined, but how such was an outrageous breach of privacy unheard of since whenever, and whatnot, so maybe there was something dodgy going on.

The first properly communal Foldover game went quite well. To quote perhaps the finest paragraph;
"Nobody makes me laugh like George W. Bush" is a useful mnemonic for remembering the eight steps of making a complete mess of the whole kitchen, not to mention getting everything covered in blood with a sprinkle of Parmesan.
Good work, gestalt authoring entity. I must sort out some stuff to catch simultaneous posting, though.
Aha. The Divine Comedy's Web pages have finally been updated, and rather heavily at that, all disorientating Flash animation and superfluous framing. Good content, though, and the new album looks quite, quite marvellous. And I'm off to see them in London tomorrow night, after years of never quite being able to. Life is good.

There's also a brief NME article to be read, of producers and money and touring. [via Yao]

Person asks for the word sweatshop on his pair of customised Nike trainers, but the request is denied. Someone should make some stickers. Surrealisme du Jour: "How dare you get depressed by my splendid concubine's Morrissey album!"
The Foldover Game is an online version of a thing I used to play at school, and which enjoyed a healthy resurgence during my university years. Take a piece of paper, write a cut-off sentence with the last couple of words on a new line, fold above that line, hand to someone else to write the next bit, and repeat until you fill the page or get bored. I sketched an online version the other week after Yao and I got talking about it; the lack of immediacy drains much of its appeal, sadly, but it's still fairly entertaining. Feel free to submit a line or two.
Three things I wonder about the life-lines on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire:-
  • Is the fifty-fifty random, or do they deliberately take away the two most-obviously-wrong answers? Has anyone ever bothered to ask this before taking it?
  • How long will it be before someone phones a friend with a ready-and-waiting search engine, for one of the straight-fact answers? Or even a friend with a room-full of people, I suppose.
  • When asking the audience; if the contestant is confident that one of the answers is definitely wrong, why don't they ask any audience members who aren't entirely sure of themselves to give that one as their response? Or if the contestant really has no idea, why not ask the audience to use - I don't know - the last digit of their phone number, to determine their response, thus averaging away any ignorance?
Mind you, I was reading a newspaper article the other week that said in the Russian version of the programme, the audience consider it their duty to misguide the contestant as much as possible...
Pathetically unpersuasive protests over embryo cloning, here and there on the news yesterday; a bunch of people with vague "say no to cloning" letter-cards, a few sheep placards and all of them shouting "Baaaa-d Science". Cruelly partisan choice of footage, or were they the only people visibly protesting?

Bravo the Lords for giving further research the green light, anyway; this is just as much a temporary stepping-stone to working directly with adult stem cells as it is to full human cloning, and far better kept under scrutiny in the public sector. Annoying that a lot of people are still speaking of cloning as if it's obviously a terrible and evil thing that we should be really careful to avoid, though. I'm reminded of one of my favourite discussion-panel appearances by Richard Dawkins; the man continually pointing out that a clone isn't very different to a twin, to general deafness.

A splendid Curmudgeonly Guide To Netiquette from Raven, posted to the mighty Hate The Stupid mailing list:-

"Another common reason to use all lower-case is because that way you can type faster, meaning there will be the absolute minimum time for you to consider what it is you will be saying."
Hell is other people buying flatpack furniture, and the road to it is paved with lane-merge arrows. Yesterday was not the best Sunday I've had. At least we'll get a new bed in eight weeks.
More or less everything by Kevan Davis.
As Above is part of the Uncertain Organisation.