2013 — 23 June: Sunday

Two bright'n'early false starts1 before I declared it a new day. Markedly cooler, I notice, and an improvement since yesterday evening, also, in what could be called the kitchen miasma2 :-)

Zoning out...

... by another name, I guess:


It occurs to me that some people have to be told how to do just about anything.

I wonder if the splendidly-named Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (the German justice minister) — who is describing the UK's guvmint surveillance policies as a catastrophe — will have a salutary effect on Brenda's spooks. Hard to beat the good old "sunshine" test, isn't it?

Amusingly written, but...

... rather less amusing when you think about it. Source and snippet:

My life at this point — late on Wednesday — had become so pared down, such a simple process of cycling around, giving words written in internet cafes, on memory sticks, to people, scaring them with my sweaty face — that the only emails I need a Jabber account for are my mum and one friend. I don't really want to ask my mum to open a Jabber account, since the last time I looked at her computer, she was trying to download the whole of Arabic. She's probably already on a watchlist. Then I remember I'm seeing her at Pilates; nobody would look for me there, it's so 2001. When I run into her, she says: "Have you tried DuckDuckGo? It's like an uncorruptible Google." I think: "Jesus, woman, no wonder you're probably on a watchlist."
I solve the friend problem by just turning up at her house. She looks at me like I've taken a crap in a bag of sugar. People in London hate it when you do this.

Zoe Williams in Grauniad

OMG :-)

I was browsing at Project Gutenberg... and alighted upon "Bacteria in Daily Life" by Mrs Percy Frankland:

To the busy investigator who cannot afford either the time or space in which to maintain a large bacterial family, it is of immense convenience to be able to obtain at a moment's notice a trustworthy culture, say, of typhoid or tuberculosis, or specimens of obscurer origin from air or water for purposes of investigation. These bacterial cultures are all guaranteed pure, free from contamination or admixture with other and alien micro-organisms, and are strictly what they are represented to be. Although such a declaration is attached to many commodities at the present day with ludicrous incongruity, in the case of micro-organisms such a breach of faith is unknown, and the antecedents of a microbe may be said to be regarded as of as much moment and to be as jealously preserved as is the pedigree of the most ambitious candidate for honours at a cattle or dog show!

Date: 1903

It's a wonder we weren't all wiped out years ago. [Pause] Just caught an interesting NPR interview with Dame Steve ("FI") Shirley. Good for her! Hard to believe she's now 79 years old. [Pause] Better make some lunch, I guess.

Delightful though...

... the music of Ian Carr's jazz band Nucleus is, it disconcerts me to realise that my choice (last December's too-long-overlooked Belladonna) is now over 40 years old. It's really getting quite tricky to maintain my youthful façade in the face of such strong (and all too visible) counter-evidence. I had yet to meet Christa when I first bought this fine album on vinyl. It's fair to say, by the way, that dear Mama hated my choice of music. But then she didn't ever seem too keen on Dad's choices, either. Most odd.

Why am I not surprised...

... to hear that the US guvmint currently intends to pursue the extradition of young Mr Snowden from whatever country he lands in? (Horse, stable, slam, door, after?) And, now that the Pakistani Taliban have just claimed to have been the 'group' that killed the tourists in Pakistan in retaliation for a US drone strike on its second-in-command, I wonder if the same US guvmint still proposes to hold talks with the charming chaps that I have no doubt they all are.

But then I'm not even surprised by allegations that former UK guvmint health ministers considered sacking NHS whistleblowers. "Shoot the messenger" still seems likely to be the default "comfort blanket" policy.

Who could resist...

... this little morsel? Not me, having heard a track from it on the "Freak Zone" earlier this evening.

Zapp 4 mp3 album

Needless to say, I'd never heard of them, but I enjoy Radiohead's music. And it's been a couple of weeks or more since my last MP3 download. I've been too busy filling up my Kindle ebook reader.

If I succeed in...

... setting up Gnucash (which I didn't realise has now been ported to Windows3) maybe it will tell me if I can afford to buy a new office chair. I'm currently down to my last one, and even that had to be dusted off and dragged out of semi-retirement this afternoon. Let's not say "collapse of stout party" but the things do wear out.



1  The first, at 04:00 or so, being in the wake of such an insane dream I thought it prudent to dose myself with a nice fresh cuppa before risking unleashing any further neural rubbish from its hiding place.
2  I can still vividly recall the distinctive aroma of town gas that basically permeated the kitchen of my maternal grandparents in Smethwick. In that strange seemingly-conspiratorial way that adults have, nobody else ever commented on it.
3  When I last tried it, on the Ubuntu system I was trying very hard to like back in early 2008, I found it acceptable if a little clunky — I'm told it's now become quite civilised.