2014 — 24 November: Monday

What shall we have for a change?1 How about a nice, crisp, touch of Jack Frost? It's about 08:15, and the sun has just appeared over a neighbour's garage roof. Still, I don't expect to be sliding open my patio door any time soon this morning. On with the show.

Pah! Some show

Apparently "the young are the new poor" and those over 65 are the best-off they have ever been. As usual, I fall somewhere between those two ranges. The chairman of one of my former banks (that I now own most of, as a tax payer) has actually apologised for two of his executives giving incorrect evidence to a Treasury committee of MPs. (Lying to politicians; smart move?) Symantec has uncovered some venerable and well-crafted multi-layer spyware. And that's it for my first cuppa. What's next?

Well, a Professor of Old Norse at the Uni of Oxford suggests:

Similarly, the term troll has, of course, attached itself to someone suddenly appearing out of the anonymous darkness of cyberspace to scare the world with a frighteningly vicious, often misogynist, post. We may always need the troll concept for people and things that disrupt society, and disconcert or plain scare us.

Heather O'Donoghue in TLS

In (cyber)space, no-one can hear you scream? [Pause] It occurs to me that some of my formative coding experiences (1971 to 1973) were also courtesy of Hatfield Poly's DEC PDP-10:

DEC PDP-10 games

In my case, golf and 3D Noughts and Crosses featured quite large in between shear flows and stress analyses. And estimating the value of 'pi' using the Buffon Needle. (I forget quite why.)

I continue to...

... nibble, somewhat masochistically, at Steven Poole's "Treasury of Unbearable Office Jargon". I can't take too much in one sitting, of course, for obvious reasons. It's a journey, of which he says:

There's something peculiarly horrible about the modern bureaucratic habit of turning everything into a journey, with its ersatz2 thrill of adventurous tourism and its therapeutic implications of personal growth... But the British government also explains the process of claiming disability benefit under the rubric 'The Claimant Journey', which might be thought rather insensitive to those claimants actually unable to travel.

Date: 2013

I can finally smile — though only briefly — as I recall the helpful young lady in the Eastleigh JobCentrePlus who was helping us navigate our October 2007 journey to claim Disability Living Allowance for Christa. (Her terminal diagnosis entitled her to make a "fast-tracked" claim.) The clerk remarked that her own Mum had actually died before her claim finished its journey.

The kitchen sink drama...

... (or do I mean soap opera?) of my continuing attempts to clean up both draining boards and the sink itself reached new heights (or do I mean plumbed new depths?) yesterday. Scrubbing with a paste made from another of the 'biological' laundry tablets and then leaving the stuff to, erm, fester for a couple of hours has effected something of a transformation. I'm hoping to eke a few more years out of this 33-year-old artefact. Can you blame me?


... the small window of sunlit opportunity earlier this afternoon I nipped quickly out after lunch to restore Mother Hubbard's cupboard to 'green' status (as it were). Hatches now battened down for the evening.

Moving on...

... from a nice performance of Bartok's "Concerto for Orchestra" I was delighted when I spotted a small set of short Comedy Club interviews on BBC Radio 4 Extra between Nina Conti and Arthur Smith, so (naturally) her two latest DVDs are now on their way to Technology Towers. Cool! I first saw her on an episode of "QI" three years ago — she made me weep with laughter. And I bought three amazing DVDs of her work direct from her 'shop' last year.



1  Weatherwise...
2  I love the word "ersatz" though, for many years, I associated it only with the (apparently) foul-tasting wartime Ersatzkaffee compounded of more or less anything but coffee beans (if my mother-in-law's amusing anecdotes were to be believed).