2012 — 2 July: Monday

I'm sitting and supping somewhat earlier than usual this (un)fine morning1 as I've promised to convey one of my chums to a hospital appointment in Winklechestershire for 09:00 and it doesn't do to show up fashionably late, does it? Since you shouldn't hurry a Murray mint I set my mental alarm (the only kind I use these days) to "stun" last night before switching the brain off for a bit. (Read on.)

Fifty shades...

... revisited. I made the book my bedtime read (impurely in the name of literary research, you understand). Now, call me old-fashioned, but I thought the design aim of porn was to evoke a response. Well, 140 pages in and Chapter Ten opens (as it were) with "He pulls out of me suddenly. I wince."

It was at that point, your Honour, I gave up, nether regions positively unevoked (as it were).

I see the chairman of Barclays has also pulled out, falling on his probably gold-plated sword, while feeling "truly sorry". It's a start, I suppose. And the national radio muppets are banging on about "constrained" capitalism. I somehow doubt it will catch on. Now I've just been told that we spend 0.9% of GDP on NHS medicine and over 1% on tobacco. Crikey.

Right. Almost time to hit the rush-hour roads. Toot, toot.

After decanting...

... my chum safely at the main entrance eight minutes early for his day of tests I drove carefully home largely against the flow of the commuter traffic. And people wonder why I swore a mighty oath over 40 years ago never to join that particular rat race. Inching along through Chandlers Ford I was obscurely pleased to spot the IBM minibus heading the other way. Ghastly rain and about 50 shades of grey out there but I now (09:38) have a fresh cuppa.

I've just decanted another database escapee into its rightful slot. I read "Depresso" (cartoonist Brick's excellent semi-fictional account of coming off meds) a year ago, but have only now (on glancing at his final page of 'thanks') realised I'm a nerd.


I mildly resent the label, but prefer it to being labelled "normal" — that would be deeply offensive. And besides, I've only seen eleven2 of these films.

Now, I may be...

... going out on a limb, here, but I suspect the need for hosepipe bans will soon be but a distant memory. Meanwhile, shortly before lunch, a rather damp Mr Postie tramped up the hill to bring me 10 Blu-rays and a DVD:

DVD and BDs

Christa and I both enjoyed the two seasons of "Rome", though her final illness was a horrid distraction from Season #2 in 2007. We'd both also admired the BBC's "I, Claudius" — an IMDB 'score' of 9.2, I note — in 1976, though I never did persuade her to read the two Robert Graves source novels. They should have been in Latin, of course!

I think writer Bruno Heller was very smart to set his story earlier, with Octavian / Augustus-to-be as a young man.


I mentioned having "scampered through" John Farndon's book "Do you think you're clever?" — another of my database escapees — which contains "dazzling responses" to 60 "infamously perplexing problems" supposedly asked at Oxbridge interviews. On leafing through it a little more closely, I found an error of three orders of magnitude3 in one of the 'answers'.

Had the yield from Trinity been (as claimed in this book) 18 megatons rather than the actual 18 kilotons I think neither Enrico Fermi nor his blast-driven scraps of paper would ever have been seen again.

Always delicious...

... and now with added cover art. Thog, that is.

"He swept the antechamber with the eyes of a trapped animal."
(Poul Anderson, "Among Thieves", 1957).

Having just rewatched the first lump of "Rome", the incremental increase in picture quality of the Blu-ray merely shows what a good job was done on the initial video production back in 2005. Time (20:39) for a cuppa, I think.



1  Feeling almost like a work commuter, in fact.
2  Just don't ask me how many times, in the case of two of them :-)
3  Any nerds reading will hardly need me to tell them it was in the discussion on 'Fermi' problems on page 149.