2010 — 21 December: Tuesday

Oh, the riches that greet me1 on this grey but barely sub-zero morning. It's only 10:14 and we already have, in no particular order:

And I've only just drunk my first cuppa. Plus Brian is trying to get me to overcome the anti-football prejudice I cheerfully acknowledge (sharing it with the divine Nancy Banks-Smith) and watch a film about Cantona tonight. Like that's going to happen!

Breakfast, Mrs Landingham. I need some calories.

Was it that long ago?... dept.

I was reminded, while reading in this article of a more accurate approach to census-taking...

One best estimate of population comes from sewage: Thames Water says the outflow of rich or poor alike reveals true numbers — and Slough has 30,000 more people than officially registered.

Polly Toynbee in The Guardian

... of a letter I wrote to dear Mama just after the IBM Java team had started its move into what had been the library in Hursley:

I'm now in my new office along with half a dozen colleagues; the rest move in over the next month or so. It's still relatively spacious compared to the chicken coop conditions of much of the Lab, so I'm not complaining. The upper limit on the site's capacity, funnily enough, is governed less by the square feet they can squeeze seats into, and more by the pumping capacity of Eastleigh's sewage works!

Date: 2 February 1997

Time to start my next crockpot if I want a tasty hot meal tonight. It's 11:13 and slightly less grey out there. Just above freezing, too. Nearly +1C to be precise.

We're all gonna die!

I was — as you do — idly browsing the guvmint's well-considered advice to householders on how to clear snow and ice from our drives and pavements. (Should you need it, it's here.) But as I tumbled, yet again, into the surreal wonderland of guvmint info, the page from which I extracted this...

threat levels

... infallibly reminded me of this...

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and hence clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

HL Mencken

What makes a bag "suspicious" (apart from a Hollywood-style large red-digit countdown timer, of course)? Actually, the only time I've been on public transport2 in the three years since passing my driving test was on a train trip with Mike to watch "Avatar" in glorious large-screen 3D at the Imax on London's South Bank.

Thanks, Mr Postie. I'll deal with your little pile of goodies after I've dealt with my growing pangs of hunger. It's 13:12 and the BBC Radio 3 lunchtime concert is tinkling away nicely. [Pause] My prawn salad is about ready to ingest. I see I'd somehow managed to overlook the release of a refreshed version of the elegant Gentium type face. I shall take that out for a spin. (By the way, IE9 seems free of any obvious nastiness. Though it once again slightly dislodges the position of molehole's coloured bar across the top of each of my pages. I suppose it's just possible I could be the party at fault here...)


Some of my entertainment choices for tonight, methinks:


It's 17:27 and stray molecules leaking from the crockpot are already casting their tantalising spell over me. It's dipped below freezing again. I sat out in the car for 20 minutes or so about an hour ago, warming up the poor thing and (I hope) giving its battery a bit of a boost. Mind you, it started without any trace of hesitation — unlike many I've been hearing about on radio bulletins.

A cartoon in the current issue of "Private Eye" reminds me of the Clement Freud story I mentioned when that very witty man died last year:

Prisoner #1: How long you in for?
Prisoner #2: Just over Christmas. I read about it on a money-saving website.

Excellent idea.

I wasn't really surprised...

... after having watched "Inception" to see that it's already #6 on the IMDB Top 250. It's stuffed full of fascinating ideas, interestingly presented, and with clever visual effects. Irritatingly, the accompanying documentary on the Extras disc has bad lip-sync problems, beyond (it seems) the adjustment range of my video scaler — this makes it uncomfortable viewing. It's now 22:52 and feels a bit late to start any of the other titles tonight. How about a cuppa, Mrs Landingham? "A dream is real, while it lasts. Can we say more of Life?" (A neat quote by Havelock Ellis,3 I gather.)

So back to the delights of BBC 6Music for a bit, after doing the dishes and tidying up out in the kitchen.



1  When I finally drag myself away from my sleep debt recovery programme, that is.
2  The Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven should be proud of me :-)
3  It occurs to me that I've only read one book by Ellis: his 1933 "Psychology of sex" (which I have to say is a beacon of rationality and sanity by comparison with my other book of the same title, covering — nominally — the same treacherous terrain and written by a strange chap called Oswald Schwarz in 1949. Pelican should never have published it!)