2007 — Day 98 - I can see the carpet!

For reasons not unrelated to my idiocy, I had to spend quite some time yesterday engaged in massive cable re-routing having narrowly escaped an arse over tit exercise from the top of the stairs. Had the cup I was carrying been full, the best case would have been redecoration of an awkward wall. Had the recovery action been less slick, the worst case could have been a broken neck. It only now occurs to me that running cables past the top of the stairs like that was very much akin to setting a trip wire. Still, I have now dispensed with three extension leads, each with multiple sockets, and the space is now so comparatively clear that the worn state of the carpet is all too evident. And all plugs are neatly labelled. And I can switch everything off at one point, just like the ever-so-tempting emergency power off buttons in many a machine room. Though I admit it's a bit of a stretch.

On the plus side, I also successfully re-installed Linux from what I have indeed confirmed was a working live CD, so now I must further cannibalise my poor little Shuttle to swap its relatively recent Sony DVD drive into Junior's waiting server and then retry the Linux shuffle. Of course, if the hardware problem lies within the IDE controller rather than the disc drive my problems will not be over.

Viewing pleasure

We enjoyed two (aka "Un couple épatant") last night, but are both now sorely puzzled as to how the loosely-linked stories can possibly continue. Watch this space. You've got to love IMDB. I was sure I remembered Ornella Muti (who plays the "Cécile" character) from some escapist nonsense (such as a Bond movie). Close, but no cigar. Turns out she played "Princess Aura" in that 1980 epic intellectual masterpiece1 Flash Gordon. Call that "total recall"? Pah!

Don't bank on it

Last Monday I casually asked my bank to let me have my house title deeds. I did this three years ago, too, but as I was in no particular rush I failed to follow through — as did the bank, evidently. This time, I shall push a bit harder as I intend to leave the clutches of this particular institution. I shall report progress, but I shall also put the request in writing this afternoon if they persist in being so dilatory. Which reminds me of a John Brunner quip from his wonderful 1970 novel The Jagged Orbit2 "An obligation is like a muscle: when you contract it it gets bigger and harder."

RIP, Ian Richardson

What a very fine actor he was. I still relish the memory of his three rôles in the 1981 TV series "Private Schulz" by Jack Pulman, who'd earlier worked on "I, Claudius". And he did an interesting Sherlock Holmes, too. But his Francis Urquhart character will be his legacy, I expect.

99 ways to tell a story

A couple of months before I started this diary I bought a book by Matt Madden: 99 ways to tell a story: exercises in style which was, of course, a clever borrowing (but in graphics format) from Raymond Queneau's 1947 Exercises in style (beautifully translated by Barbara Wright) that I bought so long ago that, though I can remember the cover, its exact shelf location eluded me for nearly three minutes! (Believe me, my mean time to locate a book can be frustratingly higher than that.) Where was I? Oh, yes.

Young Mr Madden (who keeps an excellent blog here) has a delightful illustration of one of the exercises publicising the availability of prints:


9 February 2007  


1  I'm pretty sure I know two or three readers who will concur with this opinion. "Pathetic Earthlings... who can save you now!"
2  I remember some lucrative unpleasantness between Harlan Ellison and the makers of the first Terminator movie regarding plot similarities: an entity from the future returning to the past to manipulate events to suit the future situation. In Ellison's case, he won $400K plus proper story credit as he successfully argued two of his The Outer Limits stories ("Soldier" and "Demon with a Glass Hand") from 1964 had been infringed. Brunner's Orbit contains a similar chronological causal loop predating Arnie's first outing as a robot, but seems to have slipped under the Ellison litigation radar tracking system. Mind you, until recently not one of Brunner's many excellent books was still in print in the UK.