Saturday, 10 November 2007

The definitive Oxymoron?

Who would have seen it coming?
The far-right bloc of the european parliament has collapsed, after Romania's contingent of xenophobes pulled out, citing xenophobic comments by some of their colleagues, from Italy. Perhaps it wasn't the best political planning, for MEPs whose election platform was predicated on borderline-racist demagoguery to ally themselves with their prima facie 'enemies'? The only real shock is that the bloc survived 10 months as an entity before collapsing like the vortex of hypocrisy that it was.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Cutting-edge Australian medicine

Recently I read a story that piqued by interest, and indeed, some degree of envy: about an Italian tourist in that antipodal land whose main exports include lamb, beer, and T.V. soaps. He evidently injested some sort of poison, and in order to save his life, was kept alive by doctors on an intravenous drip of...wait for!
Rather delightful, methinks. Of course, he couldn't enjoy it owing to his comatose state at the time. I just wonder, if I tried faking similar symptoms would the National Health Service here take a similar approach or would they just file me away in an MRSA-infected ward?

Thursday, 11 October 2007

"I am an equal opportunities employee"

Not really a statement that screams "hire me", is it? Yet some employers get away with writing the equivalent thing on job advertisements, which has got to be a candidate for 'Most Meaningless Statement of the Year'.

Does it mean they follow a quota system? That they hire lesser candidates just because of their background, to get their staff ratio back on track? Is that equal? Don't get me wrong; I'm all for equality and whatnot, it's just that the insinuations of such an overt statement are puzzling: Does it mean that every employer who doesn't proudly proclaim their merits in this department are, ipso facto, guilty of unequal hiring practices? Is their silence an admission of guilt? Conversely, does saying it act as surety against a lawsuit; is it effectively a license to practice the most repugnant nepotism?
Ultimately, I suppose, I would prefer to believe it is exactly what it says on the tin; and that they won't discriminate against me for being lazy.

Monday, 23 July 2007


I have recently left England for the greener pastures of home, though perhaps such a statement is unwarranted: a verdancy comparison of the two countries would likely reveal a degree of parity between the bucolic areas of the respective nations. But I digress.

Britain has taken a page out of McDonalds' book; learning from the practice of providing happy-meal toys themed to movie releases. Here's a copy of the press-release:

"To celebrate the launch of the film, "Bruce Almighty", Britain has decided to simulate a little diluvian event of its own, flooding major road and rail connections, as well as a fair number of domiciles."

The heavy rain, and consequent flooding, made travelling prohibitive, but nevertheless, I have accomplished my return homewards, and in time to witness a golfing victory, unequalled in the past 60 years: Pádraig Harrington's victory over Sergio Garcia in the playoffs of the Open Championship. Yeah, it doesn't mean anything to me, either. But one thing I did note was that
at the presentation of the winning trophy, the Irish contingent of fans regaled their countryman with a popular patriotic song dating back to the 1990 Irish participation in the Italian-hosted World Cup. As such, it is composed, when sung in refrain, entirely of a repetition, ad infinitum, of the spanish word 'Olé'. The irony most likely escaped many present, but it must have surprised, if not annoyed, the runner-up Garcia, to be serenaded, or indeed, goaded, in his own tongue, by the fans of his victorious opponent.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Dark Magic: Part 6

Apprehensively, he opened the door, and a dozen or so faces turned to look at him. He swallowed hard. He could be in any room. This was a crazy idea. He should see a doctor; he should...

"Lewis! My man! Bit heavy on the booze last night?" The tone was caustic, and came from a square-shouldered, blond-haired guy, seated by a large window at the left side of the room.

Someone laughed.

Lewis had a feeling he was in the correct room, though he was beginning to wish he wasn't. Without responding to the derision, he let his feet guide him to a chair, and as he sat down, he realised the view from the window was familiar; not just the view itself, but the angle. This was where he usually sat. He ran his finger over the inner edge of the desk, and found familiar grooves, recognisable graffiti. He saw...his handwriting, though characteristically illegible even to himself. Only the letters 'S*****um Wood' were visible.

"Never seen a desk before?" This voice was not unkind; the same, familiar, voice that he'd heard the previous night.

Lewis turned to look at the speaker. A tall, well-built guy of south-asian complexion was looking at him with a good-humoured expression, which changed to a querulous one.

"What happened to you last night?" He asked

"I..." Lewis trailed off, searching for the right words, but only one came to him: 'Rat'.

"You feeling ok?"

With those words, Lewis remembered who he was speaking to. Rat had been in his class for years. They'd been friends for most of that time, but Rat didn't know about....what? Lewis was aware of some aspect of his life, closed to this confrere. He was aware of it in a broad, amorphous sense; of its vast boundaries and great significance, but without knowledge of its specific features; as one is aware of a missed assignation, a forgotten responsibility.

"Y-yeah, i'm just a little, emm, tired." Lewis stuttered, unwilling to reveal any more until he had a clearer picture, himself. He wasn't sure who he could talk to.

"After last night? Yeah, you looked a bit pale." Rat observed. "I was going to go after you, but Jessie..."

"It's fine." Lewis cut in. "I'll be fine."
It was a parapraxis; he'd meant to speak in the past tense, but that was what he was beginning to feel - he WOULD be fine. He was aware of areas of his memory, obscured as by veils, but if he could just approach them armed with enough pieces of the jicksaw, they would fall away.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Dark Magic: Part 5

Lewis looked, uncertainly, at the gates before him. He knew them in a way that one knows a familiar painting. They had a certain austerity to them, characteristic of the Thatcherite era in which they were built; the buildings beyond, however, were older, and had an almost imperial look to them. The overall impression was somewhat stern and unwelcoming, but he took comfort in the echoes of a mundane, quotidian familiarity.

As they passed through the gates, Lewis felt more sure of himself, more secure. They walked in silence through the yard, towards the edifice of the main building.

As they reached the front doors, Jessie stopped on her heels.

"Maybe this is a bad idea. Maybe you should see a doctor." She spat the words out rapidly, as if she'd kept them bottled up for some time.

Lewis looked from her concerned countenance to the doorway, and although the greater part of him shared her concerns, he felt that with every step he took, he regained more of himself. He was loathe to give that up for the alien, questioning environment of a doctor's office. He could almost imagine the scene; being asked if he heard voices, too; if he saw little green men. No, he would persevere.

"It's ok. I feel... better" He lied, unconvincingly.

Jessie smiled hopefully, wanting to believe him.

"Ok, but if you need anything; if you feel dizzy, or...ANYTHING, you come get me." She said urgently, looking him in the eyes, and feeling guilty, as if she was abandoning him. She turned to walk away, and stopped,"I'll be in 12A, round by the side entrance; for form class, anyway." she smiled again, morosely, and hurried away.

As she turned the corner, Lewis realised he was on his own. No turning back. He pushed through the doors, and into the foyer. Taking the first left, he found himself perambulating on autopilot. He climbed a small flight of stairs, and turned where he felt a turn was appropriate; unsure of the destination, but certain, all the way, of the route, he eventually arrived at a nondescript door marked "17B".

Friday, 6 July 2007

Dark Magic: Part 4

Lewis sighed again and looked at her, dolefully.

"We can't let mum know. Not just yet." She pleaded

He nodded a reluctant affirmation.

"If you're still like this after school...God! will you be able to go to school?" She asked, anxious.
Seeing the fearful look on his face, she added quicky,
"It'll probably help you to remember. A familiar environment; seeing your friends. It'll all come back." She offered a weak smile.

They left the house in time to catch their bus, and sat together on the way to school. Neither spoke much, and tried to avoid the glances of other students. Jessie's friends were gossipping about a bulimic girl in the year below them; Lewis's friends (at least he thought they were his friends) were giving him curious glances. Jessie explained that they were halfwits, who couldn't conceive of him sitting next to his younger sister, instead of with them. Apparantly that was without precedent, and violated their social mores.
He wasn't in any hurry to immerse himself among his peers; the chatter on the bus was several decibels above comfort level for him at present, and only added to his anxiety. He did feel like he was on more familiar ground, though. As the bus turned a corner, Lewis's heart leapt. He noted familiar landmarks; the street; the houses; even some vehicles parked along the road looked familiar. Jessie, noting his interest, pointed towards a terraced house that appeared particularly salient to him.

"That's where we used to live. You remember it, don't you?" she inquired, excitedly.

A potpourri of emotions threatened to overwhelm him, as memories flooded his mind; memories of a childhood spent on these streets. Every corner and crevice of the neighbourhood was, he realised, indelibly imprinted on his being, so that the sight of it speeding past filled him with a greater notalgia than even Odyseus could have conceived of. He wanted to call out, to implore the bus driver to stop, or at least slow down so that this halcyon vision could be held onto for just a moment longer. He remained silent, though, and stared longingly at the retreating eaves of the last house visible, of that enchanted roadway.

He was silent for the remainder of the journey, staring at the seat-rest in front of him as if looking through it. Jessie pressed him to know if he was ok, but he merely grunted in response. He seemed to be cogitating deeply, as if ruminating over a complex problem.

The bus pulled up to the kerb outside the school. Though Jessie and Lewis were seated towards the front of the bus, they were among the last off.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Dark Magic: Part 3

Jessie was awoken the next morning by waves of sunlight crashing through her window, dashing on the lids of her eyes and dazzling her. She momentarily thought she may have a hangover, but then remembered that she doesn't drink. Something had happened the night before, though. Something had...oh. Yeah. She felt a pang of concern for her brother. He hadn't been making it up; he couldn't even remember the route home. She felt bad, remembering how she'd shouted and refused to believe him. He'd walked normally, hadn't slurred his words; it wasn't until they got in the door, and she had to show him to his room, that she realised how serious the situation was. Drinking didn't do that to you. Someone must have put something in his drink...

She wracked her brain, trying to remember all the anecdotes she'd heard from girls in her class, about ecstasy and...What else? What messes with your memory?

"What time did you two get in last night?"

It was her mother's voice, emanating from beside the window, half-concealed in the gloom next to the curtain she'd recently drawn. Her mother was studying her; most likely looking for tell-tale signs of alcohol consumption. Her tone was level, but not without nuances of imperious disapproval.

"Sorry." Jessie replied, unable to articulate much else, and eager to avoid a confrontation. Suddenly, alarm-bells rang in her head and she sat up.
"Is Louie awake?" she asked urgently, and immediately regretted startling her mother.

She had sworn him to silence, fearful of a repeat of the episode six months ago, when their mother had instituted a draconian curfew in response to his arriving home drunk.

Her mother looked alarmed.
"What-happened?" She demanded, running the words together in her haste to discover what lay behind that outburst.

"N-nothing. I..." She trailed off, trying desperately to find the words to assuage her mother, but it was too late. She was already departing the room, and rushing to check on the wellbeing of her only, precious, son. She burst through the door, to find him...

...adjusting his tie, and looking surprised. Their mother breathed a sigh of relief, and turned on Jessie, who had jumped out of bed to follow her.

"Did something happen last night?"

Jessie exchanged a glance with Lewis before answering,
"No, I just...didn't want him to keep us any later than we already are."
She offered a faint smile to her mother, who was incredulous.

She looked suspiciously at her two children, but judging that she wasn't going to get any more out of them, exhaled resignedly.

"Breakfast's on the table. Hurry up or you won't get any."

When their mother had gone downstairs, Jessie approached Lewis; still standing in his room.

"So you're ok?" she asked, expectantly.

"No, i'm NOT ok!"

Jessie's face fell.
"You're still don't..." She shook her head.

He sighed and kicked at a chrome-coloured pencil, lying on the floor.

"But you remember mum, right? RIGHT?!" she demanded, aghast.

"Yeah, yeah. I remember her. I just don't...I'm not sure...things aren't right."
He slumped onto his bed, and stared at the pencil he'd just kicked under his desk.
"I can't even tie my..." He stopped suddenly, interrupted by some thought.

His hand raised from his side, lifting off the quilt to point under the desk, following his line of sight.

"That pencil!" He shouted, and dived under the desk to retrieve the object in question. When he emerged, he found his sister staring at him querulously.

"You remember it?" She asked, hopeful, but confused.

"Yes, yes. Something important, but...Gah!" He grunted in frustration.

"It's a quarter past eight; you're going to be late!" Their mother shouted from downstairs.

Neither of them reacted for a few seconds, both focussing intently on the pencil, gripped firmly in Lewis's hand.

Reluctantly, Jessie pressed him in a mournful tone,
"We should go."

Dark Magic: Part 2

He looked at Jessie, and felt at ease. She was worried, though. What was she worried about? He looked down, and a broken glass lay sideways on the table; the remainder of its contents trickling their way down the table leg, and down his. It was cold. It was cold, but it was real, and somehow that reassured him. He wanted to grasp onto the table leg - it looked solid. Some instinct called him to be rooted to the ground, because for a fleeting moment he felt he might float away. But it passed, and then he felt something more startling. Her hand was gently grasping his wrist; the other on his shoulder. She was speaking to him, but though the words thundered in his ears, they could not compete with the decibel levels being emitted from nearby speakers. He glanced around at the other faces nearby, and all were looking at him, querulously. They were waiting for an explanation, but what was he to explain? What...Where...Questions flooded his brain, and only seemed to amplify the problem. He took a deep breath and sat down again, starting as he felt a sharp prick on his thigh. He brushed aside the offending piece of glass, and heard another voice in his ear; a male voice, again familiar, but somehow he was unable to place it.

"Are you alright? do you want to go outside?"

He looked at the speaker. He was...a friend. This, he could feel sure of. But whose friend? He looked towards the door, and his breathing quickened. An ephemeral feeling passed over him, and he recoiled from the somewhat distant doorway, unwilling to conceive of approaching it. But he did want to leave. This place was too constricted; the walls seemed to be closing in, threatening to suffocate him. He rose up, looking blankly at Jessie, wanting to convey something but unable to find the words. He stumbled past her, and feeling unsteady on his feet, ambled awkwardly towards a doorway marked 'exit'.

An indignant, irascible voice boomed behind him, as the doors burst open and plunged him into cool, night air. The voice was clearer now, behind him.

"Whaddaya think yer doin'?!"

He was in no doubt that this individual was demanding an explanation, also, but these were in short supply, and he didn't turn around. Instead, he remained, craning forwards and supporting himself by leaning his hands on his thighs. He was short of breath, and wasn't about to waste what little he had on this unidentified individual. The voice was addressing someone else, now.

"Is he with you?"
"Yeah, I don't think he's feeling well."
"Well, you go out an' yer not gettin' back in."

The doors shut loudly, and the music retreated to a muffled drone.

"What's wrong?"
Jessie. Her voice was clear, now, beyond the confines of the club.

He straightened up; his breathing steady now; his limbs following commands. Turning, he studied her closely, in the hopes it would provide some cue, some salient information to get his thoughts into some kind of order. She was wearing somewhat threadbare blue jeans and a close-fitting red top exposing her midriff, and emblazoned with the proud motto, "Boys are stupid. Throw rocks at them", accompanied by a suitably illustrative stick-figure image. Her face reverberated in his mind, and every nuance of an expression seemed to trigger some key facet of his being, making him feel immediately at home, secure. He was glad she was here. Still, though, he struggled to come up with anything more meaningful. Her hair is a dusty blond; her skin white, and freckled in places, with a plumpness to the cheeks suggestive of youth, but a look in the eyes incongruent with such speculation. Her blue eyes were searching him, now, increasingly concerned, increasingly impatient.

"WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG!?" She boomed, stamping her foot and throwing her hands towards him in exasperation.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Dark Magic: Part 1 of, I dunno, a few. maybe.

The babble of the crowd gradually faded into interminable distance, to be replaced by a low, mechanical humming. He felt dizzy and his thoughts became progressively more clouded, as the humming rose to a deafening roar. He glanced at the other faces around the table, but they were animated in conversation, and seemingly unaware of the sound. His chest felt tight, constricted, and a numbness overcame him so that he was unsure if he still drew breath. The sound seemed to emanate from all around, but some instinct told him that it had a source; something was approaching, and was all too near.

To his right, the entrance to the bar darkened. A shadow crossed the threshold, looming large over the crowd, which seemed to part unconsciously to admit it. There was substance to the shadow; a simulacrum of a person, but something about the proportions was wrong. The figure was moving slowly through the people, but time seemed to mould itself to its will. As it moved, it turned, so slowly, craning its cowled head to check the faces of each oblivious person it passed. It was searching for something; for someone. Fear gripped his heart. He glanced at the exit, but it was too far. A bead of sweat ran down his brow. There was no escape. The cowled figure turned, slowly, slowly. He had to hide! He had to...too late!

As it turned, its visage came into view, but it was nothing but a reflection, an illusion, a minatorial chasm, reflecting all the horrors of the world. A lachrymose, tear-drop-shaped countenance focussed on him; its vicious emptiness boring deep into his soul, exposing everything within. There was nowhere to hide, no way to escape the menacing glare. Time and causality evaporated; every vestige of hope fled, and the future stretched on as an indefinite present; a moment frozen in time and stretched on to an infinite, pernicious, unforgiving eternity.

Then there was nothing; nothing but a dull ache, where his heart had once been. But something spoke up in the void; some sensation, new and unfamiliar, calling from the corporeal world. He was aware of a cold dampness, creeping along his leg, and voices; alarmed, solicitous, but not threatening. Time returned. He registered motion, before any kind of visible world presented itself. He blinked, and there were people, again, moving, LAUGHING! The laughter awoke his senses, washing over his soul like the first monsoon rains, and spoke to him of promise, of life, and humanity. The voices in the immediate vicinity were louder now, and a face presented itself close to his - concerned, perplexed. It was a familiar face, but...he could not call to mind why, or how it was familiar. Then a fragment surfaced in his mind, a dim recollection of a bright, sunny day.

He had fallen. and she was there, concerned as now. She ran to help him. Jessie. This is Jessie.

Friday, 22 June 2007

Pretty-Picture Friday: Honorificabilitudinitatibus

Some people may not agree that this merits being posted under such a heading, but those individuals are philistines; charletans. Art is, by its nature, subjective, and this is, indeed, one of the most pulchritudinous sights that I have ever beheld. It signifies that I have been honourably discharged from the educational establishment where I have spent the last eon. The only caveat I allow to this encomium is that the figures in question, being as they are, so auspicious, should be rubric, rather than cerulean.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Fortune is ever shining on my door

Barely a week has passed since I won the lottery, but chance has bestowed upon me a second windfall. This time, stochasticity has brought me the promise of wealth seemingly through inheritance from a long-dead relative who, unnamed and unknown, left a sum of 15 million dollars, unclaimed, in a safety deposit box.

This putative sum has rested there since the inception of the second world war, and though the British Government has reportedly admitted that much documentation relating to such cases has been destroyed, it seems that one piece of information has survived intact, all these decades: address. how fortunate.

So the purported solicitors who contacted me about this matters are offering their services in this regard - how selfless. I imagine all I need to do is pay a nominal fee, and the box in question will be magically opened, to reveal...a post-dated I.O.U.

(What did I do to merit my university email address being added to such a spamming list?)
[Answers on a postcard, to...]

Friday, 8 June 2007

Pretty-Picture Friday: County Down

Bittersweet Orchestral Rendition

(side-stepping copyright infringement laws and obviating a court-case from the erstwhile Verve's lawyers)
But I believe you get the idea - there is a certain ambivalence to my mood, since I have finished my final exams :D...but...what would otherwise be ecstatic joy is tempered somewhat by a certain empty, lacklustre feeling, stemming from the loss of that former impetus, for studious achievement. There is also a certain element of anxiety over the actual outcome. Nevertheless, I am free, and this is by any measure a joyous occasion, meretorious of champagne and wotnot.

On a less serious note, any delight I may feel at this is outshone by the literal disbelief at having won the lottery; one million euros, to be precise. I was informed of this while still in the middle of my exam preparations, and as you can imagine, I was rather pleased. As any optimistically- inclined fellow would do, I naturally accepted it with the utmost credulity - it's no stretch of the imagination to believe that I could win a competition that I never entered; people are so fortunate all the time, right?

And of course, it should come as no surprise that the lottery has branched out from the archaic method of charging people money for tickets, into the much more philanthropic and modern approach of randomly selecting winners from all the email addresses out there in internet-land. It seems a niche market that's been under-exploited of late, and one that I most heartily applaud them for embracing. A more sceptical individual may have questioned the fact that the email, informing me of my good fortune, originated from an AOL mailbox, and that the word Euromillions lacked certain vowels that are traditionally associated with its spelling. No doubt this is a carefully-chosen approach, designed to appeal to the 'YouTube' generation, for whom the English language is infinitely malleable. Sheer genius, on behalf of the Euromillions Marketing Department.

Unconscionable as it would be for me to question the authenticity of such serendipitous munifience, I still thought it prudent to approach this with caution, for two reasons:

Firstly, I was spending my days cloistered in the library, rapt in a delirium of academic fervor, and apprehensive of the coming exams. I could not, therefore, pick up the enormous cheque, myself (the transporting of which would no doubt require a forklift truck).

Secondly, lottery millionaires are often harassed by plaintive letters, remonstrating that the winner's fortune should be shared with those not so blessed, so as to ameloriorate their present financial predicament.

With these points foremost in my mind, I responded hastily to the epistle, but not without taking the prudent measure of utilising a pseudonym:
RE: Official Notification: Your email address has won One Million Euros in the EuroMillions Lottery

oh, delightful! how serendipitous. unfortunately, i'm a little too busy at present to collect it. please deposit the winnings in 5-and 10-euro denominations, in a brown paper envelope, in your nearest rubbish receptacle, and my agents will be around shortly to collect them.
many thanks for your charitable and nonsensical generosity
-The Right Honorable Charles Montgomery (Esquire), Fourteenth Earl of Rockall

Friday, 1 June 2007

Sunday, 27 May 2007

*hits cough button* "Yeah, right."

"The climax of the Cannes Film Festival looms, as the jury prepares to announce the winner of this year's Palme d'Or. The international jury, led by British director Stephen Frears, will choose from a shortlist of 22 films. A thriller from US film-makers Joel and Ethan Coen and a Romanian film about abortion are among the favourites.
In contrast to last year, which saw Ken Loach's The Wind That Shakes the Barley take the top prize, no British films featured in this year's competition. "

from the BBC's website,

A British film? I don't think so.

Admittedly, it was not an exclusively Irish production; lists the studio as '20th Century Fox Home Entertainment', a Yanqui company, though, not British.

So it seems the distinction is a geographical one: when Irish films or actors win awards, they become British. What next? I imagine whatever medals Ireland wins in the 2008 Olympics will just be quietly tagged on to the British tally.
In the words of Samuel L. Jackson, during his interview with Kate Thornton,
"You see that’s your problem right there. You British keep claiming people that don’t belong to you. We had that problem here in America too, it was called slavery. "

/end rant.

[Incidentally, the title is a reference to a radio broadcast during the Suez Canal incident, when the BBC were charged with informing the public that Britain and France were entering the conflict as 'peacekeepers'. The newsreader hit the 'cough' button, to mute his transmission while he expressed his incredulity to his fellow presenters, but the button didn't function, and that comment went out live on air. What larks, eh? what larks.]

Friday, 25 May 2007

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Pretty-Picture friday [belated]: one of the world's more recent geological additions [Azores]

A volvano formed in the 1950s off Faial, in the Azores.
[Photo taken by the eminent Professor Paul Hart]

Friday, 11 May 2007

Pretty-Picture Friday: Azorean Lake

[Photo taken by the eminent Professor Paul Hart]

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Kickback ©

If, like many people, you find yourself bored on the train, and disillusioned with the on-board magazine, advertising snacks and extraneous luxury goods, you can try an ingenius game I devised, Kickback ©:
Try to kick the backrest in front of you as many times as you can in a 10-minute interval, without being chastised by its occupant; then try to beat that score. If they hit you, the timer resets. If they change seat, try to follow. Double points are awarded for subsequent kicks.

An alternative to Kickback © is 'Antimacassar Bandit' ©:
Participants operate in teams, starting at opposite ends of the train, and work progressively through the carriages, trying to 'confiscate' as many antimacassars as possible, whilst avoiding detection by the train company's staff. Posing as ticket inspectors can be an effective way of achieving this; participants can patiently inform the passengers that they didn't specifically express their desire for an antimacassar, when purchasing the ticket. Standard antimacassar-tax is 45p. Those who refuse the surcharge, forfeit their headrest-cover; all perfectly reasonable. At the end of the game [read: train journey], both teams simultaneously present all the captured antimacassars to the independent adjudicator: the ticket inspector, and then run away. He / She determines the winning team by deciding who to chase after. Successful prosecutions against you, by the train companies, are taken as marks of distinction.

Friday, 4 May 2007

Thursday, 3 May 2007

[insert title here]

Lately, I've been somewhat absent, as is evidenced by the temporal spacing between the below posts. I've been cooerced into saying something, but i'm currently absorbed in a wonderful book detailing, among other things, the behaviour of such well-known philanthropists as Heinrich Himmler and Joseph Stalin. Unless my audience of 1.5 is composed largely of those who wish to emulate these characters, I doubt any summary on my part would be appreciated.
Rather, I can post an extract from another of my recent academic endeavours - a week-long foray in Devon, stalking animals and recording their behaviour:

Rabbit paused, looking around as if reflecting on the futility of its existence, and the lack of cerebral stimulation in its environment. It then cast a forlorn look at me, as if to suggest that the same insight could extend to myself. It then scratched itself and re-commenced chewing on grass.

Friday, 13 April 2007

Thursday, 12 April 2007

The revolution that brought it about

( Below is an account of the temporary overthrow of Kisa's benevolent rule of Violaceous, and its replacement by a harsh dictatorial régime. It is edited in places, to protect the source )

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[Magnus the Brief] hmmmmmm

[Gamakichi] O_O

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[Biz] WTF?

[Serene] omg

[Biz] who's doing this?

[Gamakich] nice know y'all

[MiKeY] Thanks

[Biz] salutes as the ship goes down

[Serene] lol

[Biz] there should be a band playing

[MiKeY] lol

[Serene] this is like titanic on the net

[Magnus the Brief] plays his violin

[MiKeY] i sunk the ship

[Serene] who did that?

[Biz] accompanies by tapping his foot


[MiKeY] :-)

[Biz] sinks MiKeY

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[Magnus the Brief] haha

[MiKeY] lol

[MiKeY] i win

[Gamakich] that was wonderful

[Magnus the Brief] kill Tetsujin too

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[MiKeY] :-)

[Magnus the Brief] hahaha

[Magnus the Brief] take that!

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[Magnus the Brief] but seriously

[MiKeY] who is this

[Magnus the Brief] whats with all the killings

[MiKeY] what is the password?

PART#|# MacCready has left #violaceous

[Magnus the Brief] spookeymonkey


[Magnus the Brief] Eclaveriia

QUIT#|# Eclaveriia necro@storm.of.chaos has quit IRC: [User has been permanently banned from PurpleSurge (BITCH!)]

[MiKeY] who else!

[Serene] oh shit

[MiKeY] Pwnd

QUIT#|# Pebbles has quit IRC: [User has been permanently banned from PurpleSurge (Bye)]

[Magnus the Brief] aww we dint want him permenantly banned

[MiKeY] o

[Magnus the Brief] that seems harsh

[MiKeY] shit

[MiKeY] yeah

[Gamakich] is confuzzled

[MiKeY] ill remove it

QUIT#|# Gamakichi has quit IRC: [Killed (MiKeY (Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa))]

JOIN#|# Gamakichi has joined #violaceous

QUIT#|# Callalily Alex@B2C061C.9E0D797A.C0352EE9.IP has quit IRC: [User has been permanently banned from PurpleSurge (asd)]

[Magnus the Brief] have you been smoking substances?

QUIT#|# Nicole LaLlorona@vaginal.discharge has quit IRC: [User has been permanently banned from PurpleSurge (asd)]

QUIT#|# HD has quit IRC: [User has been permanently banned from PurpleSurge (asd)]

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QUIT#|# Three6Mafia I-Am-The@43092CE3.9A5229BB.71E042B7.IP has quit IRC: [User has been permanently banned from PurpleSurge (asd)]

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QUIT#|# Harry has quit IRC: [User has been permanently banned from PurpleSurge (no reason)]

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Jimna] how the hell am i still here

QUIT#|# K3V has quit IRC: [User has been permanently banned from PurpleSurge (no reason)]

[MiKeY] your cool

QUIT#|# Hell has quit IRC: [Killed (MiKeY (asd))]

JOIN#|# Hell has joined #violaceous

[MiKeY] slaps SufferingHell around a bit with a large trout

QUIT#|# Monkey Monkey@Matrix.PurpleSurge.Com has quit IRC: [User has been permanently banned from PurpleSurge (no reason)]

[Magnus the Brief] ive been waiting for someone to say that

QUIT#|# Buddha _@Ajaccio.Corsica.Fr has quit IRC: [User has been permanently banned from PurpleSurge (no reason)]

[MiKeY] see

[MiKeY] we pwn

[MiKeY] slaps captain_tjon around a bit with a large trout

[Magnus the Brief] look how close i am to the top

MODE#|# MiKeY sets mode: +aoq Jimnal Jimnal Jimnal

[Magnus the Brief] sweeeet

[MiKeY] kick someone

KICK#|# Jimnal has kicked MiKeY [snoogans - [Kicks: 55 Bans: 5] - ##4||#]

JOIN#|# MiKeY sdasd@Senior-Staff.PurpleSurge.Com has joined #violaceous

MiKeY#|# lol

MiKeY#|# fun huh?

MiKeY#|# lol

QUIT#|# Hell has quit IRC: [Killed (MiKeY (BIOOOOOTCH!))]

Global#|# Services are now back online - have a nice day.

UnoBot#|# [#UNO] #6Go to # to view how to play this game.

JOIN#|# Amethyst has joined #violaceous

MODE#|# Amethyst sets mode: +ao Amethyst Amethyst

[11:12] * Amethyst changes topic to '#6,1Welcome to ##Violaceous #0(#6 ##0Violaceous Stats: #6 #0=#6=#0,1 Network Site: =#6= #7##4#| #Happy Easter Everyone! (Daniel)#'

MODE#|# Amethyst sets mode: +v MiKeY

Amethyst#|# [#violaceous] ##4ATTENTION: Welcome to #Violaceous. Please be respectful to each other. There are no rules. Anyone can say whatever they want to say, no censorship whatsoever. If you don't like it, leave. Just make sure you're all respectful to each other. That is the one and only policy. Thank you. -KisA-

MODE#|# Amethyst sets mode: -qao Jimnal Jimnal Jimnal

QUIT#|# Amethyst has quit IRC: []


[Magnus the Brief] stupid bot

[MiKeY] lol

MODE#|# MiKeY sets mode: +aoq Jimnal Jimnal Jimnal

MODE#|# MiKeY sets mode: +aoq MiKeY MiKeY MiKeY

* MiKeY changes topic to 'we pwn#'

* Magnus the Brief changes topic to 'Under New Management#'

QUIT#|# captain_tjon has quit IRC: [User has been permanently banned from PurpleSurge (asd)]

[Magnus the Brief] heh

[Magnus the Brief] i thought it was funny

* Retrieving #violaceous modes...

* Magnus the Brief changes topic to '#6,1Welcome to ##Violaceous #0(#6 ##0Violaceous Stats: #6 #0=#6=#0,1 Network Site: =#6= #7##4#| #Happy Easter Everyone! (Daniel)#'

[MiKeY] [18:12] <&Surge> (Induced) -- LordAethiest -- QUIT ( Input/output error )

[MiKeY] [18:13] <&Surge> (UICN) @Michele:- Its an attack by someone opered there

[MiKeY] [18:13] <&Surge> (FireWirez) -- Aeth` -- QUIT ( Broken pipe )

[MiKeY] [18:13] <&Surge> (UICN) @Michele:- Mikey clear all those damned GLines

[MiKeY] [18:13] <+MiKeY> ?

[MiKeY] [18:13] <+MiKeY> what ones?

[MiKeY] [18:14] <&Surge> (UICN) @Michele:- [17:10] (PurpleSurge) -- Aeth` -- QUIT ( User has been permanently banned from PurpleSurge (Wanker) )

[11:15] * MiKeY changes topic to 'PURPLE SURGE UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP!#'

JOIN#|# Michele has joined #violaceous

QUIT#|# Michele has quit IRC: [User has been permanently banned from PurpleSurge (BYE)]

[MiKeY] lmao

[MiKeY] rotflmao

[Gamakichi] so... why are you banning everyone?

[MiKeY] bored

JOIN#|# cities has joined #violaceous

[MiKeY] we pwn

[MODE#|# MiKeY sets mode: +aoq cities cities cities

JOIN#|# Biz Bizantine@5F02C7F4.3A45B10F.4ED746D1.IP has joined #violaceous

[MiKeY] hey buudddy

[MiKeY] whats up

[Biz] erm

[Biz] one small matter

[MiKeY] Dont speak

[Biz] that i might raise with you

[MiKeY] ok?

[MiKeY] Sup?

[MiKeY] you were saying?

[MiKeY] my homies are commin

[Biz] well, you ordered me into silence

[MiKeY] sorry

[MiKeY] you may speak

[Biz] thank you, sir

[MiKeY] lol

JOIN#|# Nelson has joined #violaceous

[Biz] now, being as the new régime has been instated

[MiKeY] Hey Nelson

[MiKeY] who the fuck are you?

[Nelson] Well, I was Buddha.

[MiKeY] do you have a reason here?

[MiKeY] o ok

QUIT#|# Biz Bizantine@5F02C7F4.3A45B10F.4ED746D1.IP has quit IRC: []

QUIT#|# Nelson has quit IRC: []

[Magnus the Brief] dont worry biznich

[MiKeY] Sorry

[MiKeY] w00r

[MiKeY] sup

[MiKeY] want power?

QUIT#|# SufferingHell has quit IRC: []

QUIT#|# Gamakichi has quit IRC: []

QUIT#|# cities has quit IRC: []

[MiKeY] lol

[Magnus the Brief] wow only us left

[MiKeY] rotflmao

[MiKeY] #violaceous

JOIN#|# ^Tbabe ff33@24CB8DEB.1C4DA0D9.C499921.IP has joined #violaceous

JOIN#|# carie KungFu@65D8A026.2D701952.2E94A1C7.IP has joined #violaceous

JOIN#|# Dobbis has joined #violaceous

JOIN#|# MissDana has joined #violaceous

JOIN#|# jerseyje has joined #violaceous

JOIN#|# djcoby has joined #violaceous

JOIN#|# DjMp3 emilya@24CB8DEB.1C4DA0D9.C499921.IP has joined #violaceous

JOIN#|# Himan ~THaHaab@24CB8DEB.1C4DA0D9.C499921.IP has joined #violaceous

JOIN#|# ferns Jon@E09FA2CB.E9AE30F2.E84911D0.IP has joined #violaceous

JOIN#|# ReonVati ~Johnny5@E09FA2CB.E9AE30F2.E84911D0.IP has joined #violaceous

JOIN#|# nastysha OPleybob@E09FA2CB.E9AE30F2.E84911D0.IP has joined #violaceous

[MiKeY] my friends

[MiKeY] talk

[MiKeY] say something

JOIN#|# bubbaweb Playmate@29C04D32.68B19220.2CF69217.IP has joined #violaceous

JOIN#|# inFused has joined #violaceous

[Magnus the Brief] me?

[MissDana] me?


[Tbabe] me?

[DjMp3] me?

[Himan] me?

[carie] me?

[Dobbis] me?

[jerseyje] me?


[nastysha] me?

[ReonVati] me?

[ferns] me?

[Magnus the Brief] haha

[MissDana] haha


[Tbabe] haha

[carie] haha

[DjMp3] haha

[Himan] haha

[Dobbis] haha

[ReonVati] haha

[jerseyje] haha


[ferns] haha

[MiKeY] dunny huh

[MiKeY] wtf

[nastysha] haha

[MiKeY] slaps inFused around a bit with a large trout

[MiKeY] sup inFused

[MiKeY] whats up

QUIT#|# inFused has quit IRC: [Quit:]

[MiKeY] 'Magnus'

QUIT#|# ^Tbabe ff33@24CB8DEB.1C4DA0D9.C499921.IP has quit IRC: [Client exited]

QUIT#|# carie KungFu@65D8A026.2D701952.2E94A1C7.IP has quit IRC: [Client exited]

QUIT#|# Dobbis has quit IRC: [Client exited]

QUIT#|# jerseyje has quit IRC: [Client exited]

QUIT#|# djcoby has quit IRC: [Client exited]

QUIT#|# DjMp3 emilya@24CB8DEB.1C4DA0D9.C499921.IP has quit IRC: [Client exited]

QUIT#|# Himan ~THaHaab@24CB8DEB.1C4DA0D9.C499921.IP has quit IRC: [Client exited]

QUIT#|# bubbaweb Playmate@29C04D32.68B19220.2CF69217.IP has quit IRC: [Client exited]

QUIT#|# ReonVati ~Johnny5@E09FA2CB.E9AE30F2.E84911D0.IP has quit IRC: [Broken pipe]

[Magnus the Brief] #t#hi#s# is# #fu#n# #t#hi#s# is# #fu#n# #t#hi#s# is# #fu#n##t#hi#s# is# #fu#n##t#hi#s# is# #fu#n##t#hi#s# is# #fu#n##t#hi#s# is# #fu#n##t#hi#s# is# #fu#n##t#hi#s# is# #fu#n##t#hi#s# is# #fu#n##t#hi#s# is# #fu#n#

QUIT#|# ferns Jon@E09FA2CB.E9AE30F2.E84911D0.IP has quit IRC: [Broken pipe]

QUIT#|# MissDana has quit IRC: [Broken pipe]

QUIT#|# nastysha OPleybob@E09FA2CB.E9AE30F2.E84911D0.IP has quit IRC: [Broken pipe]

[Magnus the Brief] damn you made them leave

JOIN#|# cities has joined #violaceous

[MiKeY] do

[MiKeY] /oper ' Magnus the Brief ' poonuts

(the above, repeated ad nauseum – Ed.)

[cities] I think MiKeY's flipped his lid

[cities] But this is interesting

[MiKeY] lol

[cities] I must admit

[MiKeY] its fun

[Magnus the Brief] haha

[cities] to be here to witness

[MiKeY] to bad they delinked

[MiKeY] i was going to do it tonight

[cities] oh, they did?

[MiKeY] that way everyone will be sleep

[cities] So you have your own server

[Magnus the Brief] why?

*** Notice -- MiKeY used SAJOIN to make cities join #Yes

*** Notice -- MiKeY used SAJOIN to make cities join #No

*** Notice -- MiKeY used SAJOIN to make cities join #Maybe

*** Notice -- MiKeY used SAJOIN to make cities join #WhyNot?

*** Notice -- Client connecting on port 6667: Faye ( [clients]

*** Notice -- MiKeY used SAJOIN to make cities join #Yes?

*** Notice -- Connection to[] activated.

*** Notice -- Connection to[] activated.

*** LocOps -- ERROR :from[] -- Link denied (No matching link configuration) [@]

*** LocOps -- ERROR :from[] -- Closing Link: [] (Link denied (No matching link configuration))

*** LocOps -- ERROR :from[] -- Link denied (No matching link configuration) [@]

*** LocOps -- ERROR :from[] -- Closing Link: [] (Link denied (No matching link configuration))

*** LocOps -- Server[] closed the connection

*** LocOps -- Server[] closed the connection

[MiKeY] ol

*** Permanent G:Line added for *@ on Thu Apr 12 22:26:51 2007 GMT (from MiKeY! asd)

*** Notice -- Client exiting: buu (buu@ [User has been permanently banned from PurpleSurge (asd)]

[MiKeY] watch this

[cities] I want my own server

[cities] but I don't know how to run it

[MiKeY] i can teach

[MiKeY] i have to go tho

[MiKeY] im shutting this one down

[MiKeY] hit me up via aim tommrow

[cities] I'm already paying for eggdrops

[MiKeY] Igotthembeans

[cities] ok

[cities] I got your screen name

*** Permanent G:Line added for * on Thu Apr 12 22:27:43 2007 GMT (from MiKeY! asd)

*** You are permanently banned from PurpleSurge (asd)

* Disconnected

Session Close: Thu Apr 12 23:29:11 2007

A short-lived, if brutal, régime

(you will note that the protagonist, my good self, 'Biz', valiantly, heroically, obsequiously, endeavoured to ingratiate himself to the new ruler, to manoeuvre himself into a position to one day liberate Violaceous from the Tyrannical régime.)

Session Start: Thu Apr 12 23:18:03 2007

Session Ident: #violaceous

* Now talking in #violaceous


* Set by MiKeY on Thu Apr 12 23:14:23

[MiKeY] hey buudddy

[MiKeY] whats up

[Biz] erm

[Biz] one small matter

[MiKeY] Dont speak

[Biz] that i might raise with you

[MiKeY] ok?

[MiKeY] Sup?

[MiKeY] you were saying?

[MiKeY] my homies are commin

[Biz] well, you ordered me into silence

[MiKeY] sorry

[MiKeY] you may speak

[Biz] thank you, sir

[MiKeY] lol

[Biz] now, being as the new régime has been instated

* Nelson has joined #violaceous

[MiKeY] Hey Nelson

[MiKeY] who the fuck are you?

[Nelson] Well, I was Buddha.

[MiKeY] do you have a reason here?

[MiKeY] o ok

* Gamakichi has quit IRC (

* cities has quit IRC (

* 'Magnus the Brief' has quit IRC (

* MiKeY has quit IRC (

* SufferingHell has quit IRC (

[Nelson] But then I see that I was permanently banned for no reason.

[Nelson] So, I was going to ask Michele and Kisa for that.

[Nelson] about*

[Nelson] New ownership?

* inFused has joined #violaceous

* Nelson is now known as Buddha

* Biz: you're not channel operator

* Disconnected

Session Close: Thu Apr 12 23:22:07 2007

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

A not-so-pulchritudinous mind

There was a retired mathematician who was, we'll say, a few clowns short of a circus. His neighbour bought a new car, a landcruiser-type model, which had markings to that effect on the side panel, reading:

4 X 4

(Because, naturally, everyone who sees such vehicles wonders "do all its wheels receive power from the engine simultaneously?" And the answer is there for all to see - yes. Yes, they do.)
On noticing this, the guy did what all self-respecting mathematicians would do; he went into his house, found a knife, and went back to the car, to thoughtfully scratch into the paintwork on each panel, so that it read:

4 X 4 = 16

Pleased with himself, he wandered off.
The owner of the car returned, and, astonished, at the damage, he brought the vehicle to the garage to get it fixed.
A few days later the neighbour spotted the car again, and his wonderful mathematical insight had been ruined; the incomplete calculation was again just screaming out to be corrected. So, considerate guy that he was, he produced his knife and completed it as before, on both sides of the car.

4 X 4 = 16

The owner discovered his car, defiled once more, and was understandably upset. This time, when he took his car to the garage, he explained what had happened, that somebody was messing with him, but since he couldn't know who, he asked them to just paint in the numbers, as they'd been scratched, to avoid it happening again, and at least to do it in a stylish way.

4 X 4 = 16

So, the neighbour saw the car parked again, but now with his wonderful sum painted on it in full. As you can imagine, he was delighted. So, he took out his knife and scratched the paintwork, on both sides, to read:

4 X 4 = 16

Friday, 30 March 2007


Ho-hum, a friend of mine wasn't keen on seeing the film, '300', because from the promotions he saw, he thought it might be called 'zoo'. From the bloody motif, I can just imagine what such a film might be - a collation of video footage, of relevant events that have occurred; like the drunk Chinese guy who climbed into a panda enclosure to "give him a hug"; or the more intoxicated people in my own country, who broke into the zoo at night and fed the the lions.

The film tells a great story, but it tells it rather badly. There's a book called 'The Hot Gates' which relates it all so much better. Even though I enjoyed the film, it saddens me to think of the opportunity squandered (except for politically-convenient demonising of Persia).

Go and tell the medics,
stranger passing by,
that here,
inebriated beyond the law,
I lie.

Monday, 26 March 2007


It has come to my attention that one of my numerous reader (or maybe i am up to more than 1, now) has never seen snow, so it falls to me to describe it for her.

Each unique flake appears like a jagged circular blade, as if every one were designed to cut a different variety of timber / gemstone. Their menacing edges are matched only by the patterns of curious holes throughout their structures, which causes one to ponder what sinister motives had inspired their creators, the evil clouds.

On leaving their floating platforms of doom, up in the grey yonder, they dive and swirl inexorably downwards, hoping for an unlucky victim to break their deadly fall. In order to be more destructive, they form alliances, clustering together into unstoppable agglomerations. Many fail in their attack runs. Billions perish on the cold, hard earth, but some fateful few smack, sharply, into an unlucky victim, causing an unusual stinging sensation which, cumulatively, can build up into quite the irritation.

When their carcasses lie thickly strewn on the ground, they can be collected together, and with pressure, form an infinitely larger and more compact, spherical, vector of doom. Young people often reenect wars using such an arsenal; anachronistically, of course, since snowballs are a modern invention, just like the stalwart Snow Soldier (ironically referred to by the french as 'Bonhommes de neige').

My advice would be to remain, at all times, at least fifty feet from such frozen precipitation.

This is disagreeable

I'm sick; in a corporeal sense this time. It's not pleasant.
A friend of mine thought it would be a good idea to ingest absurd quantities of alcohol; a plan which, in hindsight, was myopic on a par with the charge of the light brigade.

"I'm still drunk." I observed, as I woke up yesterday morning. Staring, bleary-eyed, at the clock, I became alarmed. It was time my friend left to catch his bus. On closer inspection, I managed to identify the respective hands of the clock, and conclude that in fact it was not as late as I first thought. Having verbalised this train of thought, I asked my friend, asleep on the floor, why there was a large bin next to my bed. My sartorial condition, or lack thereof, was also puzzling to me, and neither portended well for the recollections to come. I consulted my memory.

There was a club. There may have been furries. I know there was beer. I checked the viscinity, and seeing no coat, was a little concerned. I tried to recall last seeing it, but the location and wellbeing of it did not rank highly on the list of priorities, for a memory that was at present having trouble ascertaining as to how I came to be in my current geographical location.

The last thing I remember is being helpfully instructed, by my loyal friend, to finish my drink (the last of MANY) because the place was closing, as evidenced by the increasingly empty room. I'm informed by him that we weren't too polite to the bouncers, as we were escorted out with acquiline vigilence. I remember going through the doors, into the night, and everything after that has been, fortunately, wiped from my memory. Thankfully, or not, there is pictorial and video evidence of the subsequent events.

What serendipitous eventualities lead to our returning to the correct address, I have no idea, so if anyone assisted two drunk, homeless-looking people, to stumble back from the university, I thank ye, and pity ye, in equal measure. The fact that we made it back at all both puzzles and astounds me.
I'm currently suffering the aftermath of perseverating, and irresponsibly ignoring the hangover yesterday. I feel like i've been masticated ponderously by a gaggle of octagenarians, before being spat out, at a herd of stampeding buffalo...or somesuch.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Perseveration in the face of adversity

My adventures in the Lake district can be summarised by my discovery that hiking up a hillside in driving snow is the epitomy of futility, especially considering it was largely so as to see the wonderful views for which the area is famous.

The thing about snow storms is that they tend to limit visibility somewhat, not to mention the fact that wind speeds seem to increase exponentially with height, so that if the landscape is not obscured by vegetation, you're so exposed as to make any viewing of it prohibitive.
The picture, consequently, was taken blind, from the lee side of an umbrella. The view is amazing. Probably. There is also the factor to consider, that the higher you journey, the more the path down will have acquired the consistency of stone-punctuated soup.
Nonetheless, tis a pretty place when it isn't precipitating, but what they do to the Guinness there, i shudder to think; it's undrinkable.

Friday, 16 March 2007

La Feile Padraig

Due to lack of forethought, i'm spending St Patrick's day in the Lake District, with a group of people who I not only don't know, but to whom the differences between 'English' and 'Irish' are largely academic. Ho-hum.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Salvation is a nine-letter word

but it can also be spelled "".
Thanks to those nice people, my computer is cured.
Those things are like an insipid Japanese Knotweed - you cut it down, and it springs back again stronger than ever. It's like having a computer possessed - but no amount of theological yammering can exorcise it.

Of course, back in the good old days, there was none of this. We'd all be better off if we'd just stuck with Ataris, and BBC Micros. I wonder how many people remember those, now.

How many hours of fun I wiled away with my good friend, Podd. Of course, he wasn't just my friend - the entire class got to play with him; but I liked to think he and I had a special relationship. I'm sure I used the 'Podd explode" command proportionally less than others, if only out of a fear that one day, he might not recover. There was always that interminable moment after someone had dared to risk the humble, scarlet, Humpty-Dumpty doppleganger; as fragments of our long-suffering protagonist rebounded around the screen, I waited with bated breath, hoping that he would find the strength, the will, to coalesce once more.

Ah, the world is a poorer place, without Podd around. And what do we have instead?

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Still Infected

Why is it that those organising social functions believe that their quality is measured in how far they exceed legal decibel levels? As if you can only have a good time if you not only can't hear what others are saying, but can't even tell that you're shouting except for the fact that your throat hurts.
When i got back, my ears were ringing. Loudly. Or I thought they were, until I left the room and it stopped. Damn stupid heating system.

I'm in a frustrated mood - my darling pooter is still infected with greeks in a wooden box. I've acquired a smorgasbord of anti-viral software, since my last attempt was insufficient. Hopefully, if I use them all at once, one of them will prove to be a magic bullet (but not two, because then they might cancel out eachother, or realise their bargaining power, form a union, and go on strike).

You may think this is irrelevant to your life, but the fact is, if some vestige of the bastiddy thing survives all that medication, we'll have a mutated, immune strain on our hands (like M.R.S.A.), and we'll all be doomed. A.T.M.s will start dispensing I.O.U.s; television channels will run nothing but reruns of Neighbours, and the world as we know it will be over.

Monday, 12 March 2007

Afflicted by a wooden, hoplite-filled, equine effigy

I'm sick. That is to say, I have an infection, or rather my computer does (the distinction between us blurred long ago). As you might guess, the interloper in question is a trojan horse. It's currently only being kept at bay by my trusty firewall, but it's only a matter of time before those nasty greeks start a bucket-chain and douse it with water. Virtual water. Then, my ports will be wide open to the world. Actually, I don't understand these things as well as I should, but ho-hum, it is a problem. I've acquired several antiviral programs, and i'm planning to use them all at once like an amateur antibiotic experiment, except, of course, not.
Yes, my problems are enormous.

Saturday, 10 March 2007

All your base...

Those familiar with the internet meme will no doubt cringe at this, and those unfamiliar with it will respond with universal confusion and / or indifference. All the same, in the spirit of pertinacity, I present the following:

[With the caveat that it is a minor spoiler for the (wonderful) series 'Heroes', and is therefore linked to, so that viewing of it is left it to your discretion]


Having now posted that, I would like to divest myself of all involvement and reserve the right, in future, to antipodally distance myself from it.
On the off chance that you actually desire an explanation, I would first caution you against further exploration of the issue, and only after much importuning, acquiesce and point you here, here, or succinctly here.

Friday, 9 March 2007

The bane of my existence (well, one of them)

I had a heavy statistics class today, for a biology module i'm studying. I understand the basic concept under examination, but not how the formulae relate to it. One interesting thought did occur to me though:

Mathematicians must get confused, looking at properly-constructed sentences; in this case, they might attempt to subtract the latter half of this sentence from the former, due to the presence of a hyphen (brackets would likely confuse them too, if there was no evident transformation of their contents).

Semi-colons would probably be taken as a combination of sub-and super-script, denoting that 'prime' label, and suchlike.

To my mind, mathematics should be entirely relegated, to be solely the preserve of computers; allowing us to get on with our lives in peace, free from numerical tyranny. All algebraic substitutions of letters for numbers could then be safely outlawed, so as to prevent the illusory and disappointing similitude between ugly mathmatical statements and beauteous lexemes, which i love so very much.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

The morning after...

Sunlight and acrid vehicular fumes assailed my senses, dazzling me, and churning my stomach, as, vacillating slightly, I stepped out into the unforgiving day. Hostile glances from passers-by confirmed that my bedraggled appearance was not going unnoticed, and I was sure I looked as bad as I felt; which is saying a lot. My mind drifted for a time, and as my consciousness returned, it occurred to me that I had been circumambulating for an indeterminable period. Thick, pungent odours wafted out from a nearby curry-house, and whatever foul concoction had passed my lips the night before now threatened to do so again. I retreated down a side-alley; a sanctuary from the stares, the glare, and the blare of the street. My thoughts came in circuitous jumbles, each more tangled and hazy than the last. I urgently, medically, needed SOMETHING, and the rasping of my tongue against my parched mouth indicated what that might be.

Disappointment. A tactile examination of my pockets revealed that the vendors I had passed would not be of willing assistance in this matter, as I lacked the necessary funds. This may have been just as well, since I also lacked any kind of identification that might confirm me to be human, and since the most expressive verbalisation I was presently capable of was a polite grunt, any attempt at purchasing a drink would most likely result in a hasty call to the R.S.P.C.A.
Euphoria. Salvation was an empyreal, celestial vision of a questionably-placed, and rather rusty faucet. As a wanderer in the desert collapses at an oasis, so I now fell to my knees at this veritably God-sent shrine. A creak and an agonising wait later, I was gorging myself on rust-flavoured ambrosia. even my importunate stomach was silenced for a time by this divine, heavenly elixer.

A pulchritudinous young woman stood, silhouetted against the entrance to the alleyway.
"Are you ok?" she asked reluctantly, poised to withdraw rapidly if this apparition turned violent.
Her appearance caused several different modalities to activate simultaneously, and in my addled state, the central executive charged with ordering them, under certain models of thought processing, was A.W.O.L. Some instinctive brain regions were registering alarm and recommending I take flight, while other equally primitive regions were suggesting that fornication would be an agreeable course of action. Many mental components could not offer a coherant course of action, but thought it prudent to chime in all the same, to add to the overall cognitive kaleidoscope. Before any of these could formulate a response, though, my vocal cords elected to act unilaterally.
"hhhgghhh?" I ventured.

The woman looked cautiously from side to side, before declaiming,
"Ok, then, you have a nice day!" and beating a hasty retreat.

A curious sensation crept over me, sweeping in a wave from my abdomen to the extremities and advising that I should conceal myself, or failing that, appear as small as conceivably possible.
Embarassment. Horray - my powers of deduction were beginning to return, but...oh; the emotion penetrated the higher regions of my cortex.

Monday, 5 March 2007

The alchemical process for turning lead into gold

Well, no, not really. I've just been informed that it's about time I updated; hmm, I suppose that's true.

There was an eclipse of the moon the other night, which I was informed of while at a rather entertaining function. I left the function room, to observe it from the steps of the building, where many people were talking / inhaling from cylindrical carcinogenic materials. After a while, they fell silent as they wondered what it was that the curious-looking fellows were staring at, up in the sky. Contrary to popular superstition, there were no supernatural occurences coinciding with the event, but it was somewhat preternatural, an occasion worth commemorating.

The picture is, incidentally, available in several different flavours. Most onlookers weren't quite impressed by the series of people jumping on the wall to have their photo taken with the more visible of our two natural satellites (yes, we have another, discovered about 10 years ago - it's called 'Cruithne', which is an Irish word, apparantly; I have to find out what that means some day).

Tuesday, 27 February 2007


He opened the door, and seeing where I was, strode across the empty room and sat down, with a stern, ready expression on his face. He was composed, and seemed prepared for a confrontation, for blackmail.

"I don't know what you think you..." he began, feigning a position of strength, but I cut him off with an imperious gesture of my hand.

"I'll keep your secret, but on condition."

"What is it?" he asked gruffly

"That you listen to what I have to say."

He was stunned, speechless.
"...! Of course," he stuttered,"I-i'm listening."

"I mean REALLY listen."

He was wide-eyed, shaken, and nodded his silent affirmation.

I paused a while for emphasis.
"I've noticed you, around the office. The swagger in your stride; the way you address yourself to people. You enjoy your life. You achieve your goals. So I get it, that you want more - more than life seems to be offering. You want your youth back, but you know that's impossible. You still have your looks, and the confidence to use them. Why should you be tied to one woman?"

Obediently, he didn't interrupt, permitting a brief hiatus during which I studied him. He seemed uncomfortable with this sermon, but at the same time relieved at hearing a moral argument he'd already, himself, dismissed.

"I've noticed you, Peter, because I envy you. I envy what you have, what you are; what I can never be. You take it all for granted, as well you might. But know, that you could lose it all like *that*" I said, snapping my fingers.

His eyes narrowed almost imperceptibly.

"I'm not threatening you," I said, lowering my tone for verisimilitude.
"I'm warning you. You could lose everything, and take it from me, you will not know the gravity of that statement until it is too late. You'll wake up one day, and Cassie will know. She'll just know. It could be a stain on your shirt, a series of poor alibis, even a comment in your sleep - but she'll know. She's not the kind of woman to stand by you. You'll be out the door, and that will be that. She'll get the house, the kids, that lovely car of yours. You'll get the child-support bills. You'll be living in some cheap bedsit, temporarily at first, but weeks will grow to months, and you'll grow roots like an incipient weed. That young girl won't stick with you either. You'll start to look pathetic in her eyes; in everyones' - most of all, your own. You'll realise how weak you are, alone in a dark, dirty place. It'll become hard to face people, and your work will slip. Every day will be a struggle, and every night a carnival of self-loathing. And every day, Peter, you'll wish, you'll pray even, with all your heart - that you could rewind, and do things differently. But no matter how much you disbelieve your own mistakes, they won't disappear. They'll be waiting for you every time you wake up, until one day there won't be anything left of you. There will only be those mistakes, those lapses of judgement that seem so thrilling now, reflected in smoking glass as a poisonous venom. And those mistakes will be living your life for you; inhabiting your body and carrying it through the world while you watch, comatose, and powerless to effect any change. Because this moment will have passed. This intervention. Take this opportunity, Peter. End it."

My final words were bitter and incisive, to hammer in the message. The silence hung between us like a guillotine, and I was suddenly aware of how loud the ticking of the nearby clock was; as, i'm sure, was he. Neither of us moved for some time, until finally he shifted noisily on the seat, and raised his eyes from the neutral space of the ash tray. His haggard gaze dashed briefly across mine, and awkwardly away towards the door. He stubbed out what remained of his cigarrette, nodded a few times too many, and wordlessly, pitifully, raised himself and began trudging across the room. His hurried footsteps echoed loudly on the wooden floor; a door creaked back and forth, and he was gone.

"You can come out now, Cassie."

Dried-up gullies of mascara lined her sorrowful face, and my heart wept for her, but I remained impassive. She felt her way over to the recently-vacated seat and tried to compose herself. I reached across the table and clasped my cousin's hand supportively, envious of her strength.

"It's done."

Sunday, 25 February 2007


I am, at present, slaving away on an esoteric, and quite pointless, report on our humble pisciform friend, the Herring. Hence, the title of this post; i'm growing to loathe the little buggers. Following the 'experiment' we conducted on them, i took my revenge for the waste of my time by eating one for lunch (not one of the experimental cadavers, naturally, but one of his compatriots who'd been previously encased in tin).
hmm, back to work.

Saturday, 24 February 2007

*insert rapturous applause here*

I would take this opportunity to admonish the Irish team for their performance today. Not that they played poorly - quite the opposite, but I had a speech prepared, congratulating them on their cunning ruse of letting the english win, to lull them into a false sense of security. Now, I have to throw that out in favour of a more prosaic, figurative, pat on the team's collective back. 46-13 is quite something.

Now, time to pack up the tricolour and put it back in the attic until St.Paddy's day.

*flag-waving, chest-beating post*

Well, this afternoontide, the virtuous Land of Ire is playing against those Sassanach scoundrels. It's not often I take an interest in such matters, but considering my position as an ex-pat, there is a certain attraction to a kind of romantic nationalism, whereby what at home seems a base and vile concept, here takes on the air of quiet nobility.
It was just such a high-brow ideal that moved the great Daniel O'Connell to use the 40-shilling freehold vote to destroy itself, so as to get himself a pretty pension...such a glorious national icon *ahem* but i digress.
I'll be sure to post a suitably triumphant entry when the English are inevitably beaten.

Incidentally, by way of explanation for yesterday's post,
(unbeknownst to him, someone had pre-programmed hot-keys to switch the keyboard layout)

Friday, 23 February 2007

"continue as you mean to go on"'s one of those aphorisms that i don't abide by, as such, but wheel out for verisimilitude when they serve my purposes. In this case, it is to justify an uninspired post on the grounds that much of the content herein will likely be of such a character - derivative postings purloined from IRC channels that i frequent.

Xyzyxx: once

Xyzyxx: eapbw D>NNZZZZZZ


* Biz blinks, incomprehendingly

Xyzyxx: ',.pyfgcrl/=/=aoeuidhtns-

Biz: no, i'm afraid i can't crack that cypher

Xyzyxx: eapb

Biz: hmm

Biz: it appears you're spouting gibberish, my idiosyncratically-named friend

Xyzyxx: key

Biz: puddle

Xyzyxx: b0ard

Xyzyxx: #ui

Biz: ouija board?

Xyzyxx: devorak

Biz: you know, i once had a conversation about philosophy, politics, escatology, and theoretical physics with a drunk frenchman in a park in Paris. My french is passable at best, but still, THIS makes less sense to me than that did

Xyzyxx: devorak

Xyzyxx: key

Xyzyxx: b0ard

Biz: ah

Biz: now i undertsand

Xyzyxx: #ui#

* Xyzyxx: has quit IRC (Quit: #)

Thursday, 22 February 2007

Rambling Preamble

You are reading this, ergo, it stands to reason that you know who i am, but in the unlikely event that this is not the case, and you have been transported here against your will, or via some inexplicable eddy in the internet's data stream, i can only apologise for the absence of a buffet, beverages, or any kind of pellucidity within these pages.

So, without a rigmarole of introduction or even a modicum of fanfare, i declare this blog's inception
*cuts figurative ribbon*