2010 — 18 August: Wednesday

Happy anniversary, cousins!1 Somehow it's already 10:20 but who's keeping track? It's quite bright out there, and the first cuppa is as delicious and much-needed as ever.

A small flurry of overnight emails reveals that Big Bro's next visit is in just over two weeks. Not ideal in some ways as the Power of Attorney registration isn't the speediest legal event in the repertoire and selling a house without it is (as it should be) essentially impossible tricky. At the moment, however, my highest priority is breakfast.

Zombie ants

I've lived in blissful ignorance of a fungus called Ophiocordyceps, though its described life cycle ("behaviour", when anthropomorphised2 by the writer) is not unfamiliar from several SF short stories of many years ago. Mind you, some of the comments the article has attracted are actually scarier than the original piece, in more ways than one. "Guardian" readers can be funny, but not always. (Source.)

Guvmint of the people

Maybe I should stop watching West Wing, but what can one make of this?

However, housing minister Grant Shapps believes the English figure is too low — arguing that, under the previous government's system, councils with fewer than 10 rough sleepers were not obliged to count them, and that vagrants sitting up in sleeping bags were not counted as homeless.


I was no great fan of the previous guvmint even before I learned of their novel approach to a "rough sleeper" census. Incredible.

Book shelves

Just ordered eight tall 4-shelf units to be placed, back to back, along the middle of the ex-study where they will fit very neatly. I'd had initial thoughts of fitting twice as many shelves in until I realised lighting, as well as floor loading, might well become a bit of an issue. But since I really will have to cull a significant number of my books, I should be OK. Staples' web site suggests "next day delivery". We shall see! They are self-assembly, but will have to live briefly in the garage first before I take them upstairs one at a time, and definitely in pieces. I found out the hard way (10 days ago) I really don't want to be a furniture shifter.3

I've now been placed under house arrest all day tomorrow (having just been rung by a young Miss Staples to confirm my order was indeed a genuine one, what with me being a Staples virgin [as it were]) — that "next day" delivery is by a third party and takes place "during business hours".

It's 12:45 and nice and sunny out there. Perhaps I shall have me a little adventure. [Pause] Next time I look, of course, it's clouded over. Typical!

Declaration of disinterest

I've never been to Turkey, don't ever expect to, remember a little about it from TE Lawrence, and loathe "Turkish Delight" (the edible stuff, not the Paul Verhoeven film I watched with Christa in Staines 35 years ago). This article describes a weird state of nuclear affairs. Source and snippet:

From an anthropological point of view, this is all very interesting and curious. From a strategic point of view, it's a disaster — for the West, of course, but much more so for Turkey, which will find out soon enough that whatever anyone might feel, two plus two does equal four, every single time, and the difference between half and all the uranium is actually quite significant.

Claire Berlinski in World Affairs Journal

It's 16:11 and I'm about to start shifting more stuff around ahead of the delivery of the shelves. Then it will be time for another cuppa.

Well past time, in fact. I've been shopping, got wet (what did I ever do to the rain god, I wonder?), made some space in the garage, and shooed Herbie off what he clearly regards as his personal latrine, but which Christa always preferred to regard as her front garden. It's 17:53 and I'm thirsty...



1  It's already their third. Christa and I had to bale out of attending the ceremony even though she'd borrowed a beautiful bright red sari. She was a bit too poorly, alas.
2  Not a good idea to anthropomorphise PCs, either. They hate it when you do that :-)
3  My chronic episodes of back pain date back either to the Intelligent Designer's fabrication choices when working on the human spine, or (more likely, I feel) to a disgraceful episode in 1972, as an engineering apprentice, when I was used as cheap and untrained labour by a senior Hawker Siddeley manager to shift some of his heavy household goods from A to B on company time.