2009 — 9 November: Monday

It's already 00:18 or so, and my photo of Christa is again from September 1975, in Penzance:

Christa, 1975

Judging by the relative fullness of the latest black plastic rubbish sack I must have had a reasonably productive tidy-up session for several hours. Mind you, last time I drove past the local tip it was closed, so they must have moved on to their winter hours of "business". I shall find out in just a few hours. Must hit the supplies trail again fairly soon, too. Ho-hum. G'night.

As "Le Show"...

... winds down for another week, I've already been tipped off about revised opening hours (thanks, Geoff), about a source of cheap phono pre-amps (thanks, Brian), and even with an offer to use an existing phono setup (thanks, Tom). It's looking sufficiently brighter out there at the moment (09:59) to risk a quick whizz into town at some point. I have the possibility of a couple of afternoon callers for whom I need to be "in" later on.


... of the millennium:

Sir Gus O'Donnell, the head of the civil service ... told a parliamentary select committee last week: "Some of the relativities [in pay] within the public sector are very, very difficult to understand ... When you look, for example, at the differing responsibilities people have and their salaries, there does not seem to be much relationship between them."

Patrick Wintour in The Guardian

I remember a well-argued piece in "The Economist" many many years ago suggesting that the tax rate, if simply 17.5% for everyone, would yield the same overall revenue with a great deal less complexity.

Drat! Missed 'em

My callers were here much earlier than expected so, of course, I was still out and about. In fact, while they were banging on my door I was still sitting in Waterstone's reading the interview with my chum Carol's chum Fran Allen in Peter Seibel's book1 "Coders at work". No matter; they dropped off the goodies as promised, so I have some comedy listening to accompany the non-comedy reading matter I picked up.


Just had a wasted trip to the tip, too. I could see that the queue was being caused by one of the lorries showing up to remove some skips, so I drove past and had a wander around B&Q for about ten minutes. Alas, this was nowhere near enough time for the lorry to depart and in the meantime the inbound queue was now rather longer, so it was a case of "Home, James" and here I am again. It's only 15:35 but already getting rather depressingly twilighty out there. (And I'm not referring to New Moon though I freely admit I am looking forward to seeing it.) Nothing for it but to make another cuppa. Done.

My chum across the road has just sent me this link. Golly! And it used to be said that nobody got fired for buying (from) IBM...

Listening to a variety of people calling in to the "Diane Rehm" show and the ongoing healthcare debate across the pond, I've just been pointed to, and have read, this very angry article.


I was an early fan of the photographic work of Diane Arbus, so I shall be watching the "imaginary portrait" on Film4 tonight to see what seems to be Steven Shainberg's latest film. (He's the chap who made "Secretary" a few years back.) It's followed by a film directed by Harmony Korine (who wrote two of Larry Clark's films — Kids and Ken Park). I suspect that may be a bit "heavy". Before that, I could always make a start on a lighter note:


The messy squiggle on the Tim Minchin DVD is (I'm assured by Gill) a genuine "autograph", scrawled with a felt-tip on the transparent artwork cover.2 As for the non-comedy reading material...


... I've already devoured it. I've been getting an attack of the "time to upgrade my main PC" feelings so I thought I'd better keep slightly better up with what's new and exciting. I also browsed another book earlier today: "Assembly Language step-by-step (for Intel and Linux)" by Jeff Duntemann (maybe that should have been "byte-by-byte"?)

I've written two complete training packages on programming at this level back in my ICL days — one for the 1900 Series mainframe, the other for the ex-Singer, ex-Cogar 1500 Series desktop machine. And while I enjoyed the low-level programming I went on to do on the latter machine for a healthy freelance income in the 1970s I have to admit I was rather more productive once my client had added enough memory to his machines to allow me to use a high-level language on them. It's quite good fun squeezing function into 4 kilobytes of memory when you're young...

Martian Child

Turned out to be a great little film, based on the account of the real-life situations encountered when David Gerrold (the chap who scripted "The trouble with tribbles") adopted a son. Amanda Peet was ridiculously attractive, as usual, and there's a telling cameo from Anjelica Huston. It's 22:46 and the heating has just gone off. Brrr.



1  Which, by the way, got wrong both the year and the spelling of her well-deserved and more than somewhat tardy Turing Award.
2  I suppose that means I'd better not file this DVD anonymously into one of my space-saving "CaseLogic" folders, had I? <Sigh>