Friday, August 23, 2002

I've been in Reading most of this week, and while my back was turned, Camden turned into Compton. Driving home the other evening I was attempting to take my usual shortcut up Jamestown Road, but found the police cordoning it off and a bunch of paparazzi taking photos. Turns out I'd just missed a drive-by shooting! According to the article there have been six murders in Camden in the last three weeks, but according to H. (who's having a feud with This is London for removing some of his more flagrant posts from their forums) this is "utter bollocks" that they've "just made up". Still there's a police sign appealing for murder witnesses outside the Arizona, which is also in Jamestown Road (and where the video for that irritating "Tequila" song was filmed, pop trivia fans) so there must have been at least one.

Friday, August 16, 2002

It's nearly the end of August, which means it's nearly the end of the summer! I hate the summer, it makes me depressed. To celebrate the impending arrival of Autumn, I have done numerous things. Firstly, I have rented a flat in Reading to live in during the week. Redeeming features: nice fireplace, close to work. Non-redeeming features: it's in Reading, noisy ex-convicts live downstairs. I move in on the 9th September. Secondly, my purchase of my Granny's house in Scotland is now proceeding apace, after a long fallow period characterised by intrafamilial spells, curses and invocations. Luckily it all started up again before we got to nam-shubs. Thirdly, I have ordered a company car - a silver Peugeot 206 convertible with black leather seats. Fourthly, I have signed up for my next Open University course, which starts in November. Get this title: Gender, Technology and Representation - Women, Machines and Cyborgs. Apparently for this course I will be required to study the films Alien, Aliens and Blade Runner. Fifthly, I have decided to spend my imminent week's holiday at my French place, assuming that it is not already occupied by mothers, neighbours, rats etc. Planning to do healthy things like cycling, swimming, canoeing etc. Will probably end up eating pizza, inhaling paint fumes, sweating, being bitten by mosquitoes etc. And sixthly, after a long period of staying in and thinking about Pictish symbol stones, I feel a new bout of gregariousness coming on. So, I'll see you in Camden's new, improved Oxford Arms later, yeah?

Thursday, August 15, 2002

Inspired by charl from EHA, I got myself a room in Habbo Hotel. Apart from the flaky software, the preponderance of teenagers and the frankly unattractive surroundings, it could be a return to the good old days of avatar-based communities! Anyway, everyone's welcome to visit me there - my room's called quinquirama. You'll have to become an avatar yourself though, first. Look forward to seeing you!

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Top Hole! London's new-found guru of underground style, Duncan Bartley, has a new column every month in Shithole* magazine.

Sunday, August 11, 2002

This short but fascinating review of Minority Report in the British Medical Journal turned up at random in the electronic news clipping service I get for my work. The whole premise of locking mentally ill people up because they *might* commit a crime is something that we have totally failed to get to grips with. On the one hand, there are people suffering from OCD who have obsessive thoughts about killing people (but who never in fact do) who are scared to go for help in case they are sectioned, and then you have people like Michael Stone, who allegedly asked to be locked up in case he killed someone but was turned away, with tragic consequences. Funnily enough, on the same day, Jonny sent us the draft of his new short novel, which is on the exact same theme of how to treat people who to the majority of us seem like they are "mad" - are they dangerous lunatics, or are they visionaries?

Monday, August 05, 2002

Had a great idea today - I'll get my mate Steve, who works at the Ordnance Survey, to make me one of those customised maps he sells. Actually, a whole series of Landranger maps of Pictish Scotland, with all of the houses and roads removed, and leaving only the Gothic writing for ancient sites, and the placenames. That way it'll be easy to see what Scotland looked like in the Dark Ages, and see how the stone sites correlate with the Pit- placenames and also the Iron Age dwellings that the Picts were supposed to have taken over. Cos it struck me from looking at the maps of some of places where the stones were found, that they were near to (but not in the immediate vicinity of) Pit-places and ancient settlements. Also, they were all quite low down, and close to the water. Here is a good example. And here is another one. The arrow indicates the place where the stones were found, although that does not mean it was where they were originally placed.

Sunday, August 04, 2002

Oops, I deleted yesterday's post by mistake. No great loss though as it was only some nerdy ramblings about Archaeoptics.

Today I shelved the whole Pictish thing and started back on the Popular Culture MA. The trouble with this year's course - Transformations in Media Culture - is that the whole thing was written back in 1998 by a crew of whingeing Luddites who still refuse to countenance the very existence of the internet, and instead harp on about the "imminent arrival" of digital TV as though we were collectively expecting the coming of the Antichrist. And while I have several axes to grind with Telewest (in particular their random numbering of channels and the broken Excel spreadsheet they deign to call a "TV Guide"), I wouldn't go so far as to consider them the earthly incarnation of Satan. Why, if it wasn't for digital TV I wouldn't have seen the Michael Ventris programme and I wouldn't have started back on the Pictish project - so dumb that down, you tweed-jacketed machine-fearing cretins.

Friday, August 02, 2002

Today was a milestone in internet history - the day that pictures of cats outnumbered pictures of people for the first time. In fact, at any time, you are never more than seven links away from a picture of a cat.

Thursday, August 01, 2002

Pictish Things

Yay, tomorrow I will receive my copy of ECMS! Then I'm planning to maybe take a trip to Scotland in August to have a look at some of the stones close up, oh, and also to buy my grandmother's house, which my uncle is selling to me. If you stand on tiptoe in the garden you can see the Moray Firth and the Black Isle beyond it. Very beautiful. Unfortunately it is taking me so long to getting around to buying it that my Granny has put the Evil Eye on me, and has all but banished me from the family. Maybe I can distract her by giving her the portion of my project related to deciphering Pictish Ogam script.