2011 — 13 January: Thursday

I've noticed that the level of Scotch in the bottle bought for dear Mama by Big Bro1 has remained static for a while. I took along a pack of double cream peppermint chocolates yesterday and also noticed that she still had a few of the previous packet remaining. She keeps them on her windowsill behind the curtain and I can't help wondering if the "out of sight, out of mind" principle is in operation. (Leaving to one side the issue of how much mind is still there for her to be out of...)

It would be a pity. Personally (despite what I say here) I wouldn't actually want to live in a world lacking both Scotch and chocolate. What would be the point?

Sleep tight! G'night.

Much as I admire Mozart...

... it's nice to hear a bit of something else by someone else on BBC Radio 3 this morning (it's about 08:25) as I watch (helplessly) while BlackBeast downloads Visual C++ and Java updates that are a direct consequence of putting OpenOffice on it yesterday. I do hope it knows what it's doing! It's just told me that the Java update (from the "20" that came with OO yesterday to "23") may not have installed properly and that I should check for a version suitable for my version of Windows. Can't it even get that right? I hope I don't end up having to ask the Oracle.

If I wanted proof of the relentless "dumbing down" of science on the BBC, I might examine the background material (here) to the episode coming up tonight about "The Brain: a secret history". Leaving aside the inane title, why does most of the information consist of noting the music played and linking to the musicians?

Right. The school kiddies should all be safely in school by now, so I shall venture out on a fresh supplies sortie. [Pause] And now it's time to saddle up for a ride out to the wilds of IBM Hursley for lunch. Hope they let me in! [Pause] Well, they reluctantly accepted my "retirement" card in lieu of the membership card. Perhaps they should check their own rules. No matter...

... a pleasant chatter, and back home in time to catch part of the sublime Schubert Piano Trio in E flat, while I brew my next cuppa. It's 13:45 and uniformly grey out there. But +11C and my first daffodils are about 3" tall already.


You switch energy suppliers (December 2006) thereby saving £200 or so per year. Let 1,451 days elapse. You switch energy suppliers (November 2010) thereby saving £470 or so per year. Fast forward to today, mere moments ago in fact. A chap from the previous outfit rings up to suggest he can match tariffs. "That's odd", say I, "your two colleagues who called on me said they couldn't". "That's odd", says he, in turn. "They're not allowed to call on you for the first 28 days. And the ones who knock on your door can't offer the lowest tariffs in any case."

What a stupid system. I blame La Thatch, personally. And — get this — today's mystery benefactor asserts British Gas (the monopoly supplier) still calls the shots in any case. So much for not forgetting to tell "Sid", for anyone who remembers the expensive TV advertising campaign. Just how stupid does a guvmint have to be to privatise basic lumps of the national infrastructure?

Time for a soothing cuppa, methinks. While contemplating some recent arrivals:


Not quite satori...

... more kensho, but I've just figured out where the last bookshelf — from what was Christa's study, but it's been "resting" in the garage for the last six months — can go and, what fun, which smaller one from the living room can be safely placed on top of it. That will literally be the last piece in the "books warehouse" 3D jigsaw. Nirvana! :-)

It's easy to conclude, after listening to the 30 minutes of BBC radio news this evening, that the entire world is rapidly going to hell in a handcart. Still, it distracted me from the heat of tonight's pre-packaged curry2 dish. (Man does not live by crockpot alone, though I did buy my next batch of ingredients this morning for preparing tomorrow morning.)

Humans on toast?

I think I know what this chap means, but (leaving to one side the little matter of the speed of light) I wouldn't have put it quite as he does. Source and snippet:

"At present, as many have observed, it is very quiet out there," study author Simon Conway Morris, of the University of Cambridge, told SPACE.com in an e-mail interview. "And given many planetary systems are billions of years older than ours, I'd expect us to be best grilled on toast back in the Cambrian."


Amazing what you can find on this Interweb malarkey, isn't it? There's a chap here putting his entire life online with (by the sound of it) help from the chap who took over "Archive" magazine. (That will only mean anything to Acorn RISC machine users.) The diary chap spent time in the 82-room mansion in Michigan that featured in the last 30 minutes of that excellent "caper" film Out of Sight (see above re dear Mama's mentation).

I've finished lugging books around, but am knackered. It's only 23:05 but I'm off to the Land of Nod. G'night.



1  I don't recall him ever buying me one...
2  I still remember asking for the mildest dish in a curry house in Eton one evening in early 1974, a month or so before I met Christa. It nearly removed the roof of my mouth. Indeed, I have consciously avoided "prawn biriani" since then, though curry eaters among my chums all believe this to be extremely mild.