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---ARCHIVE--- April 2001
May 2001 (#1)
May 2001 (#2)
June 2001
July 2001

20th January 2004
Is that so strange? [latest, near-final version]

She's finding it hard to love you again
After both of you caused each other so much pain
Love in a vacuum, tears in the rain
Is that strange? Is that strange? Is that so strange?

You want the best things, she wants it all
But where in between's an impossible call
You both want things different, but neither wants change
Is that strange? Is that strange? Is that so very strange?

I'm standing here on this fine line / high wire
Wondering when it'll be my turn
Don't know where my allegiance lies
(Well) I don't want to freeze, and I don't want to burn

When I see your face, I know I've found
Someone to share that common ground
But with every step that brings you near
I'm paralysed by fear / p-p-paralysed by fear

Don't love her forever, nor love for a day
Love for the moment, it's better that way
Believe me when I say I've tried all that range
Is that strange? Is that strange? Is that so strange?

Her car's in the driveway, she's holding the door
It's not yes or no, you both need each other more
You drive off together, each feeling the blame
Is that strange? Is that strange? Is that so very strange?

10th June 2003
Australia

I'm on the road
Endless towns of puzzled children, wondering
If blundering
Would break the moral code.
Shaking hands with midgets
With the giggles and the fidgets
Pouring out the Spode.

Do opposites attract?
I'm meeting greeting cheating former enemies
Whose salaries
Apparently detract
Attention from their body odour
Reaching for the whisky soda
Virginity intact

Australia
Australia
I'm losing you again
Like I did back then
But now you're really gone
(c) 2003 Nick Pelling

30th April 2003
Everyone said it was something that they wanted
Everyone said it was something they held true
Everyone said it was a mountain that they'd always wanted to climb
It was always "for the challenge" - yes, the challenge - and never for the view.

When I can spy so far inside, why do you lie to me?
It's not a thing that you can hide behind your insincerity
But still you try to build a wall, to keep the raiders from your tomb
You're dreaming of a curtain call, while locked inside your dressing room.
No stars upon the door, no stars upon the door,
No stars upon the door, no stars upon the door,
No stars upon the door, any more.

15th December 2002
Finally, my MBA end-of-first-year exams are over - thank goodness!

Not having to justify every single assertion I make in a day is a great release - now I can simply say "I think Dell Ventures sucks rocks" without having to analyse Dell's beta etc. :-)

Other thoughts... I'm thinking about the British Library - I have a kind of vision forming in my mind about a social room at the BL, where you not only look at books, but also actively leave notes on them on a shared site.

Perhaps have some kind of open-access Bluetooth net access as well (with a kind of in-library intranet) - to promote not only learning, but new forms of collaborative learning as well?

The BL has three great resources - (1) its books, (2) its staff, and (3) its users - yet it doesn't seem to be thinking about (3) at all.

I'm spending all my time ATM thinking about Bourdieu's concept of capital (Marx's "fictive capital", ha!) but finding it hard to make the leap into actual companies. I think I'm closer than most to being able to do this usefully... but it's a hard slog getting there, that's for sure... :-/

3rd September 2002 (part 2)
Great line from Jim Ballard's "Super-Cannes", goes something like: "Ultimately, all games infantilise - you start by dreaming of the Ubermensch, but end up smearing your own shit."

Reminder to self: post here about Santoshi's psychologist partner, that trumps Super-Cannes any day... :-)

3rd September 2002
Barbara's friend Spiros tells a story about how an octopus started playing with him while he was snorkelling in Alimnia - then, as he swam to shore, the octopus followed him, right into the shallows.

He doesn't eat octopus any more.

Octopuses are renowned for being the most intelligent invertebrate - but the question remains just how intelligent do huge octopuses get? The giant Pacific octopus is the largest, and that can be really kick-ass large.

The downer is that an octopus isn't a social animal, so nearly all its brain is (probably) taken up with sensile and self-related thoughts. Which, of course, is not entirely dissimilar to certain people I could name... :-9

Anyway, here's a link to a cool octopus site... enjoy! :-)

6th August 2002
Briefly called by the British Library yesterday to have a butchers at Timothie Bright's Characterie (well, the 1888 facsimile of it), but it was in use. Bah! :-(

Hans Glatte's book on the history of shorthand had this great quote (source uncited): apostrophe has been described as "literary tombstone set up in memory of a departed letter".

Upham (in his history of shorthand) says that Trithemius library catalogue describesm a book of psalms as being "A Psalter in the Armenian Language" - it was actually in Tironian notae. From this, he infers that by 1500, memories of shorthand (aside from -9, the various forms of 'et' and 'bar' above certain vowels) had grown exceedingly dim.

3rd August 2002
Things that bug me #47656. French bread.

Or, more accurately, French-shaped bread. In Southsea Co-op this morning, I bought a "Cuisine de France" "Parisien baguette de tradition Francaise" (sorry for leaving out the cedilla on the final c, I don't know the html tag for it) "la premiere baguette"

Ignoring the fact that - as baguette is feminine - it should really be "Parisienne", the penultimate 'e' on "premiere should surely have been an e-grave, and that "la premiere baguette" is probably no more than hack copywriter Franglais... what really bugs me is that, despite using "the finest flour and ingredients", it just doesn't taste like a baguette.

Note that they don't claim to be using "French flour", just "the finest flour". But are they using "fine" in the quality sense, or in the historical milling sense - ie, "we buy whatever ingredients we damn well like, before milling them into a powder so fine that the finished article will have no character whatsoever"

Perhaps I'm just being cynical for the sake of it - let's face it, you don't march into the Co-op on a Saturday morning expecting to buy a Michelin-starred loaf. But I'm trying to eat a ham sandwich with this damn bread & all I can taste is just pap.

And don't even think about getting me started on the "Co-op Thin Sliced Cooked Ham"... :-((((

1st August 2002
For all those of you out there who say that MBAs have done nothing to improve the quality of life on this planet (you know who you are, Mike), I have one word to say to you - Dilbert.

That's because Scott Adams got his MBA from UC - all that time invested learning MBAspeak and TQM inanity obviously paid off. :-)

Here's a nice article from Karen Langlois at Pomona on Dilbert, Dogbert, TQM, and all the rest of it:-
DILBERT ARTICLE

30th July 2002
I've been thinking about solitons and CPUs for some time: AIUI, a large amount of the time in a typical CPU is for the output signals (given a current state and a set of input signals) to settle down sufficiently for the next tick to begin.

Also AIUI, this is the reason that heavily pipelined design has been required to raise clock speeds. However, if a CPU's state (its registers etc) was also circulated, and all calculational and state path-lengths were equal (in terms of duration), and the driving pulse was a soliton (rather than a square wave) then -- theoretically -- the entire system should have basically no need to settle (though correct me if I'm wrong!).

Then, the entire system could have multiple states circulating at the same time: this should increase the effective calculational ability by many times, without having to reduce the gate size.

However, my phrase for the day is "snake instability" - this is the process by which solitons decay into vortex rings. Snake instability may be the limiting factor in this kind of circuit, I don't know - it may be that this is only suitable for optical processors... I can't find any papers on it.

Perhaps it simply stopped being a relevant option once CPUs became heavily pipelined? Still, for calculational purposes I can see how it might run rings around conventional processors... though operations like floating point division would have to be executed in multiple steps around the circuit... design tools would need to be built to automate the process of converting an existing layout into a equal-path-length one.

Still, it wouldn't need to be quite as fast or as complex as a conventional CPU if it was able to run 100x more processes. :-) Hmmm... how many *would* it be able to run? Has this been quantified at all?

20th July 2002
Word for the day: SPIRACLE.

As Boy George so memorably sang "It's a spiracle, it's a spi-ra-cle".

Actually, it's a biological term for a breathing vent in an animals structure. Filarete used it to describe the holes for rainwater (and other human-generated fluids and solids) to flow out to the sewer in his Ospedale Maggiore.

I've often read about architects comparing buildings to the human body, but this is a nice example of functional analogy.

14th July 2002
*groan* exhausted after doing the videoing for Lee & Cliff's wedding yesterday. Great band in the evening, and a neighbour set off a firework display at 11, which was really cool. Drank plenty of lager (don't like the stuff much, but what can you do). Slept like a log with concussion. :-)

11th July 2002
Talked with Lucy Sandys-Wynch on the phone just now: as far as the Voynich goes, what am I?

I'm not a botanist, nor an astrologer, nor a pharmacist, nor an art historian, nor even really a cryptographer (in that I don't believe it can be broken purely by examining a transcription).

I suppose I'm either (a) a logician / puzzle-solver, or (b) a psychocryptographer, which would be someone who breaks codes by understanding the psychology behind them.

Seeing as I haven't successfully broken a code (yet), it's a bit rich of me to award myself a new title. Improving your job title every year is (IIRC) the kind of thing Michael Winner did, someone who I'd be slightly hesitant about adopting as a role model...

Still, if the hat fits (you married a milliner). :-)

9th July 2002
Word for the day is "ossicone".

Technically, as they form part of giraffes' skulls, their horns are called "ossicones". Well I never, cor blimey, slap me with a wet fish, etc.

Can someone tell me what exactly is wrong with calling them "horns"? I'm not suggesting we reduce language in a NewSpeak kind of way (though strangely reminiscent of PC-speak, that would be doubleplusungood), but some words really shouldn't be necessary, surely?

Especially when there are so many words that ought to exist but unfortunately don't. For example, is there a word for "justified paranoia"? I don't think so. Make of that what you will... :-)

12th June 2002, part 2
Taken from Chairman Nick's Little Red Book:-

The compression koan: "the best compression comes from avoiding compression".

12th June 2002
"You can always buy cheaper sausages"

ie, if the cheapest sausages available make someone money, you can be sure that someone else will be able to make even cheaper sausages.

A horrible thought, but that's operational management in a nutshell. :-)

PS: sorry I've been away - both my MBA and the Voynich Manuscript have been absorbing all my otherwise-diaristically-engaged energy. :-)

14th November 2001
Is that so strange? [version 2]

She's finding it hard to love you again
After both of you caused each other so much pain
Love in a vacuum, tears in the rain
Is that strange? Is that strange? Is that so strange?

You want the best things, she wants it all
But where in between's an impossible call
You both want it different, but neither wants change
Is that strange? Is that strange? Is that so very strange?

I'm dancing drunk on this fine line / high wire
Wondering when it'll be my turn
Don't know where my allegiance lies
Don't want to freeze, and don't want to burn

When I see your eyes, I wonder if I've found
Someone I need to share that middle ground
As my heart tells me I'm getting near
I'm paralysed by fear, paralysed by fear

She won't love you forever, nor love you for a day
Love for a moment's much better that way
Trust me when I say I've tried all that range
Is that strange? Is that strange? Is that so strange?

Her car's in your driveway, she's holding the door
It's not yes or no, you both need each other more
You drive off together, each feeling the blame
Is that strange? Is that strange? Is that so very strange?

9th November 2001
Today's lyric fragment:-

Is that so strange?
She's finding it hard to love you again
After both of you caused each other so much pain
Is that strange? Is that strange? Is that so strange?
Is that strange? Is that strange? Is that so strange?

She won't love you forever, she won't love you for a day
If she loves you for a moment, it's better that way
Is that strange? Is that strange? Is that so strange?
Is that strange? Is that strange? Is that so strange?

It's winter indoors now, you cover your eyes
But until you go out, you won't get no surprise
Her car's in your driveway, she's opening the door
It's not yes or no, you both need each other more
Is that strange? Is that strange? Is that so strange?
Is that strange? Is that strange? Is that so strange?

25th September 2001
Jeff told me about the huge, sky-filling bombers that flew low over his house in Finsbury Park a few nights ago, rattling the roof as they went.

He went to the back of his flat to see if he could see the next one approach... and was rewarded with the familiar sight of a huge, black triangle, silently carving its way through the evening.

How *weird* to have a Stealth fighter fly low over your house.

What a state we're in. :-( How come Turkmenistan has the sense to be neutral and we don't? :-(((

20th September 2001
BT Cellnet are proposing to erect a mobile telephone mast 50m from my house. Which is nice. Ummm... NOT! :-(

Every local pressure group seems to have to learn everything about the various telecomms acts, quango reports, and government guidelines from scratch, all desperately reinventing the same darn wheels over and over. There ought to be a better way...?

Perhaps a simple action-driven checklist would help, something like:-
(1) Get a copy of the original application and/or appeal document [if your local council omits to inform you of the original application, like ours did].
(2) Get a copy of the Stewart Report, PPG3, PPG8, your local council's Unified Development Plan, etc.
(3) Go to sites like "Mast Action UK", and download copies of Planning Inspectors' reports, and get to understand the typical balance of evidence involved.
(4) Understand that the Government has prevented councils from using health as an issue.
(5) Make sure that you know as much about prior planning issues, rejections and approvals for the same site - planners often overlook these kinds of things, so make it your job to find them out.

The only issues you can effectively argue on are:-
(a) visual amenity and/or aural amenity (equipment huts make a noise). (b) future visual amenity - as the government has strongly indicated that existing sites should be reused where possible, once a site gets approved once, it's likely that it will continue to be added to at a later date... and it would be extremely hard to argue effectively against that.
(c) necessity - is there really a need for this mast? The company applying may not be painting a completely accurate picture of this in their documentation, so examine signal strengths etc for yourself.
(d) procedure - has the applicant done everything correctly? Local council planning officers may be inexperienced, and in these cases they are up against professional telecom Site Acquisition planning and legal offices, who will know the kind of wool that would be effective to pull over their eyes. :-(
(e) prior cases - look carefully at previous rejections, especially the garage case in Leeds. This involved using the *total* height of the mast (*including antennae*) to determine which legislation the application falls under.

OK, it's all a bit boring... but knowledge is power, right? :-)

19th September 2001
Today's lyrics (only partial):-

I'm finding it hard to love you
Knowing all the things you've ever done
I'm finding it hard to need you
Knowing all the scams you've ever run
Is it so? Is it so? Can it be so...
...easy to be loved without regrets
Is it so? Is it so? Can it be so...
...easy to love and let... love and let... love?

12th September 2001
Back from holiday in Greece (Halki) and a wedding in Turkey (not mine, Skimpy's). Halki was lots of great snorkelling (must put up a page), and Turkey was lots of food and, well, everything, really.

Istanbul was good, except that the nubuck jacket I bought for Julie in the Grand Pazar was too small. D'oh!

Too much to think about right now, back later...