2012 — 3 January: Tuesday

Since I have to be up bright and early1 I'd intended to sneak off to bed without a post-midnight diary update. But tales of laptop woe from downunder, and a late email from next Thursday's lunch companion, put paid to that idea.

I'm sure Big Bro will be delighted to hear that my new laptop is working a lot better than his. G'night.

In earlier years...

... a wet and windy morning like this would probably have blown out the ancient central heating boiler's ancient pilot light by now, leading to all sorts of inconvenience and chilly morning startup. Not that I generally need to surface this early in the delightful twilight stage of my post-industrial life... But the dentist is merely the first item of this morning's busy round, alas.

Well, that's the first time I've left a dentist after successfully advising them on a USB mouse issue and clutching a sheet of printout with my "Oral Health Score" (88%, with gum health letting me down somewhat). "Come back in six months" — what a lovely phrase. But I can't say the weather is currently encouraging me to head out on my other chores even though Mother Hubbard's cupboard is almost starting to echo when I inspect it. It's 10:41 and seems rather dark.

I may just have...

... timed my pre-lunch cupboard-refilling expotition to perfection. Although I'd intended to nip straight out again to give the Yaris a drink, the sudden downpour a minute after I'd got everything into the kitchen has (temporarily) dissuaded me. Still, the car's getting a damn' good wash out there. Haven't seen it looking so clean since the last time the Toyota garage did its "valet" thing.

This whimsical piece...

... made me smile. Source and snippet:

On the third day, God's girlfriend came over and said that He'd been acting distant lately.
"I'm sorry," God said. "Things have been crazy this week at work."
He smiled at her, but she did not smile back. And God saw that it was not good.
"I never see you," she said.
"That's not true," God said. "We went to the movies just last week."
And she said, "Lo. That was last month."
And there was evening — a tense night.

Simon Rich in New Yorker

Unsticking the plan

There are computing woes of a different sort over in Winchester, in the wake of an extended power outage earlier today. I fear Mike may have to dip out of our next walk. Still, it's nearly time for my next trip out to the care-home. If I leave it too long dear Mama may forget my very existence.

When I drove out on my third little jaunt today I ended up negotiating around the shattered fragments of a couple of roof tiles on the road about 100 yards away. I remember we lost a couple of our own tiles in October 1987 — they were the subject of my first-ever home insurance claim. After we had, in turn, been subjected to what felt like a third-degree interrogation. I don't much care for the insurance industry.

It's now 19:09 and an evening of entertainment is gently beckoning to me. [Pause] Ansible ahoy. When I was reading the over-long, and over-hyped, new spin on "Dracula" last year, my eyes must have glazed over for me to have missed such gems as:

'When I grasped his hand, my heart leaped into my fingers.'
'... it made all the blood in her veins suddenly writhe and coil.'
'When the waitress had returned with our tea, Helen stirred it with a somber face.'
'His feet were clad in narrow black boots indescribably different from any boots I'd ever seen.'

Elizabeth Kostova, quoted in Ansible #294

Parker by another name...

Some little while ago, I mentioned some of the thrillers that my Dad and I both enjoyed. They featured a somewhat amoral low-life chap called "Parker" and were written by the late Donald E Westlake under one of his pen-names: Richard Stark...


... The first of these ("The Hunter") was turned in 1967 into a superb movie by John Boorman called "Point Blank". Parker (renamed Walker, for some inane reason) was played by Lee Marvin. Then, in 1973, along came "The Outfit". This time Parker (renamed Macklin, for some inane reason) was played by Robert Duvall. I have been waiting for this title to come out on DVD in the UK for a very long time, but have now given up and just ordered an NTSC import.

I will draw a veil over Brian Helgeland's "Payback" of 1999 in which Parker (renamed Porter, for some inane reason) was played by Mel Gibson, simply because I didn't bother to watch it. And I see from IMDB that Jason Statham is going to play Parker (in a film miraculously called "Parker") some time this year.

It really should not...

... be so simple to crash Windows Explorer on 64-bit Win 7 Ultimate, in my opinion. All you have to do, and I've done it several times (in growing, awestruck, disbelief) is delete a subfolder with files still in it. Next thing you get is an error "burp" sound and a popup that tell you Windows Explorer is not working. I would have captured this with the snipping tool, but (alas) that only seems to work when you've dismissed the popup and Explorer has automatically restarted. Not cool at all.



1  To see my new dentist.