2011 — 17 June: Friday

Christa (who had an even more "Extreme S" Baron-Cohen 'systematising' score than I do) kept detailed records of her income and expenditure1 going all the way back to when she first arrived in the UK in time to start her job as a language assistant at Royal Holloway College in October 1973. I, on the other hand, have kept sporadic records over the years, until this year when I started using "Home Accountz" software — and jolly fun it is, too. The only difference is that, in the five months I've been assiduously tracking my financial i/o my records now tell me I currently have almost exactly £1,000 less than my bank currently thinks I have.

It's like one of those rare cards in "Monopoly": bank error in your favour. To keep out of a Dickens of a mess, I run my (financial) life along strict "Micawber" lines, so who am I gonna call? Ghostbusters? I don't think so. It's 00:32 and I'm tired. I'm also retired. I'm going to bed.


If I'm to eat...

... this weekend, I'd better get out and re-fill Mother Hubbard's cupboard (and fridge) this morning. And, if I believe the radio weather forecast, it will be wet soon. So no breakfast yetawhile...

I'm also meeting up with Len for lunch, so at least I'll have an inedible Tablet (PC) to drool over. Briefly. (I have still not yet succeeded in convincing myself that I have any use for such a toy.)

All done

And not a bad time to do a shopping run, actually. I got there within five minutes of their opening time.

Last month, I mentioned the colourful blanket of squares that Christa had constructed — visible here. Today's photo...

Christa in Old Windsor

... (not my best-exposed, I grant you) shows an early stage of the construction process. The book in the foreground (mostly covered) is Isaac Asimov's 1971 "Treasury of Humour" (the distinctive cover gives it away). Since I bought my copy secondhand at some point in 1976 it dates the photo no earlier than that. Excellent value at £1-50 by the way. Behind her you can see part of the hand-made chess set she brought over from Meisenheim, perched on one of my Celestion Ditton 66 loudspeakers. That suggests the date is no earlier than 1978.

Time (09:43) for some overdue breakfast.

War is Peace

Why do you suppose there's a Grauniad piece on the Falklands, linking to an interesting Daily Mail piece by Admiral Woodward? (Disowned by the MoD, of course.) (Link.) And what's the betting Big Bro approves of the latter? :-)

On a related theme, I didn't realise (but am certainly prepared to believe) that Eisenhower's original draft contained the phrase "military-industrial-congressional complex". (Link.)

And people wonder why "Catch-22" vies with "Pride and Prejudice" as my favourite book — with (in case two of my nieces are reading) the "Twilight" saga not too far behind...

When a "cold caller" tells me "not to worry, this isn't a sales call, I'm not trying to sell you anything" and then expresses a wish to talk to me about some vouchers she has, can you blame me for hanging up no matter how delightful her Northern accent?

Can the same chap who...

... wrote this, frankly rather turgid, tome which has been gathering dust hereabouts since July 1993...


... really be the same chap who in 1972 flung a "heavy glass ashtray" at the young Errol Morris when he had the temerity to disagree with him about the existence (or otherwise) of objective reality? Curious behaviour for a Princeton philosopher and intellectual. (Source.)

The story seems to me to be every bit as bizarre as the tale of Malcolm Beaver in IBM Hursley flinging a phone at someone. (No, not me — it was before my time. When I interviewed Mr B in 1989 for the first edition of the "CICS Chronicle" I found him perfectly affable.)

After a tasty lunch...

... in the "King Rufus"2 I've just had a fascinating afternoon playing with Len's Asus Transformer Tablet PC, running Android 3.1 and a whole set of interesting apps. I didn't even notice it's apparently been raining all the time. Its 720p video played nicely out on to my 60" Kuro plasma screen. Its audio playback was fine. It easily found, and could easily be connected to, my wireless network. The built-in GPS and a variant of Google Maps even got my house number right, which was slightly scary. The build quality, weight, and attention to detail are fine. Its i/o capability is ample, and was fine when hooked up to Blackbeast at one point for some file transfers. Battery life is good. It does a more than acceptable job as an e-book reader. And I had my first-ever exposure to "Angry Birds" :-)

What's not to like? Besides the weather? It's 17:31 and I'm tempted to switch on the heating.

The minor mystery of selecting different Ubuntu start-up options is also now solved. Xubuntu and Xfce were, indeed, present and correct and (as it were) just waiting in the wings for me to click on the right thing at the right time. I may even be able to restore this mythical 'Unity' interface if I can find out where I managed to disable hardware 3D acceleration. Not exactly top of my current "to-do" list if I'm honest. I need another cuppa first. We also managed to persuade that hard drive out of the Belkin enclosure it's been imprisoned in for the last half decade or so. Sure enough, it's an old IDE device of little use (these days) to man nor beast.



1  Every cheque, every payslip, notebooks detailing every household purchase, every penny of business expense incurred for her translation agency... 34 years worth of total financial probity. Although, as far as I know, she never subsequently referred to any of these.
2  My first visit for many years following a disastrous meal there when Christa and I took Carol during one of her visits. "Never again", said we at the time. But they're under new management now.