Monday, March 31, 2003

A lovely sunny day yesterday. I sat in the garden reading a book, for the first time this year. Even had my shirt off. Julie was busy (as ever) making hanging baskets for the verandah, for her Mum (yes, it was Mother's Day) and for Ali. The clocks had gone forward, so we were an hour short of sleep...which was more painful this morning, when I dragged myself into work with that jet-lag feeling.....

We watched Seven Days in Tibet last night. Good film. Rather harrowing to remember what the Chinese did in Tibet. Odd parallels really. Harrer leaves Germany in 1939, avoiding the war to climb mountains. Ends up as confidante to the Dalai Lama, only to see these peace-loving people invaded and overwhelmed by the Chinese. And who are the heavily armed, intolerant baddies slaughtering (liberating) innocent people these days - ah yes, that must be us.....

Saturday, March 29, 2003

It was Nelson Algren's birthday yesterday.

I reckon his advice is pretty good: "Never play cards with a man called Doc. Never eat at a place called Mom's. Never sleep with a woman whose troubles are worse than your own."

I hope that's an exact quote, it gets paraphrased a lot......

Forgotten who he is (or never knew?) Lifted from The Web: "He made it through the University of Illinois, then drifted throughout the Midwest, hopping freights, working as a door-to-door salesman, playing cards, and betting on horses that didn't win. He eventually settled in Chicago, which he called "The City on the Make," or sometimes, "the lovely lady with the broken nose." "People ask me why I don't write about nature or the suburbs," he once said. "If a writer could write the truth about one Chicago street, that would be a good life's work." He wrote two novels: A Walk on the Wild Side (1956), and The Man with the Golden Arm (1949), about a disillusioned, card-dealing World War II veteran named Frankie Machine. "

And here's a story inspired by those words on William Nowik's website [Danger: artist at work]
Oh, and I absolutely love The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to The Galaxy - particularly in it's original radio format (so much easier in the imagination) - then the books, then the low-budget tv version (a bit too Dr Who for do you do a mile-high statue of Arthur Dent, and giant birds, etc? The computer graphics were good, though. The film, I guess, will never happen, as the last human has to be an Englishman and no US funding is going to allow that!)

On the radio I was there in my mind. Hey ho, each to their own. Still, the loss of DNA (Douglas Adams) and the zero possibility of any further HHGG (sorry, H2G2) episodes, are greatly lamented...........
I am slowly being drawn into the world of Sci-Fi and Fantasy fans. It's OK. I enjoy it. The only real problem I have is that I am not really a fan myself. I have nothing against it, mind you. I have had phases of enjoying sci-fi books ( but usually the off-centre stuff like Philip K Dick or Kurt Vonnegut's Sirens of Titan), and had a longish run of watching Star Trek (back in the 80s), but (to give you a clue) my favourite sci-fi movies would include Dark Star ("didn't he tell us that four years ago?" "No, it was four years ago) and Galaxy Quest (especially Alan Rickman, "by Grabthar's hammer!")

It's not just my lack of respect for the solemn, reverential attitude that most people have to sci-fi - the quasi-religious stuff - I have nothing against that (all religions are quasi-religions to me, none better or worse than another - being a Jedi seems equally valid as me claiming to be a self-elected Taoist) - Nah, it's the idea that god (or goddess) is somehow serious! Looking around all I see is mad exuberant creativity in nature, laced with a fierce sense of humour - creation and destruction all wound up if there IS any purpose behind it it seems more like Dali....

I recommend the Church of the Sub-Genius to those who need to find Bob, and hand over all responsibility, and time and money, to a guru. I recommend Robert Anton Wilson to all those who would prefer to contemplate this great dazzling sideshow without jumping to conclusions. I recommend you don't spend as much time reading over my shoulder, as I waffle away to my online notebook.
“The story runs deeper than you know and you are part of it.”

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Julie's birthday last night. A nice, small, gathering of people. I like being in a Gathering.

We both have the day off tomorrow (today, in local time) - right now I am just trying to sober up for a bit of sleep. Enjoying the red wine tonight.

Great fun chatting via Trillian with a couple of friends. Seamlessly migrated me from MSN and Yahoo to a common interface. Hi John, HR and Habidabad.

It was Keili's recommendation - and he was right. Thanks from John. Great interface.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Went to see Ken Campbell last night. What a joy! I have links galore for him...This show was The History of Comedy Part 1 Ventriloquism.

Hey, do you want to see something pretty spooky? Try The Shaman at elusionist. It kinda looks like something you might have seen before, but it's a bit freakier than that when you try it a couple of times.....

It fooled me for a few minutes, but if you know the general principles of magic, and the magic of nines, it won't take you very long. If you can't stand it - contact the designer at Cyberglass, who will tell you how it's done for a small contribution. Don't ask me, I don't like giving other people's secrets away.

Friday, March 21, 2003

I'd wish you all a Happy Equinox, if war hadn't just broken out.

The best we can hope is for some sort of peace as soon as possible.

Have a Safe Life!

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Make of it what you will.
Chatted with Habidabad online, and also HR, I am beginning to enjoy Instant messaging. I'm real ambiguous. I love computers and Internet - yet I have quite a strong dislike for cars (ex-Londoner and Green) and telephones. It's funny that. Some technologies for communication, travel or information storage I really like and some I dislike.

I don't know. I am a gizmo lover (conjuror as a child) and at the same time hate the way capitalism sells us all more and more techno-trivia. I can ravel this (sorry, unravel this) when I am thinking, and sometimes (only sometimes) when I am talking. It often makes no sense - dragging in Fuzzy Logic, and Quantum Uncertainty, Pantheism, Mysticism, technophiles and technphobes, futurists and back-to-nature buffs. Grey areas. Thresholds. Hierarchies. Networks. Spectra. You can see why people often don't understand. I often don't understand it myself (not in words, anyway).

No time to write about Bucky. It's late, and I just watched the end of The Sting. Great research....

Monday, March 17, 2003

I am now sitting in the workshop room for NOF training (we lightly call The Noffice), in the middle of the Systems Admin training, having gone to Germany and back in a day and a half. I'll have to leave a description until later, but basically I had some fun (in spite of all the miles - sorry, kilometres) and got back safely - if rather tired.

Hi to Mark - I hope the flu doesn't drag you down to much. Hi (whenever you may see this) to Mike Q - it was just like old times in the looooong periods of time on set, sitting in the car and improvising jokes and chat - it really helped - as ever.

And thanks to Andrea and Bart for setting it all up for me.

Saturday, March 15, 2003

It's 2am, and I have to get ready to go to Germany for a day or two. I try to make that sound blasé, but I am as excited as a kid. I love adventures. I am also doing an interview about The Dark Crystal, with Habidabad, (via email and instant messaging). All this, and a week of learning a new computer system (as administrator) and a great night last night, at a jam session in a place down the road. Really rocking Bluesy jam session, opened with a cracking band doing my kinda stuff "All Over Now" "Like a Rolling Stone" "What'cha Gonna Do 'Bout It?" etc, then an endless set of permutations of sit-in drummers, bassists and leads - with The JJ Band coming back at the end to round it off. All this, and Julie back safely, too.

Happy. Busy. Tired. Enjoying my iridescent green silk suit (with loads of pockets) that Julie had made in Thailand.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

The story from Resurgence (below) pretty much sums up how I have approached my working life... I started out in semi-retirement, loads of time and no money.....there was a short period when all that paid off, and I got some real income, but I still missed my time. I then took a few more years Rich in Time, Poor in Money.

Now I have a steady job, but low paid. Probably the worst of both worlds in one way (I've given up 37 hours a week, 48 weeks of the year - and without an income from which I can save to buy some time back). The only things that make it bearable are that I am learning a lot, (keeps you young), doing something genuinely useful, staying up with modern communications and information, hanging out in libraries (my favourite buildings of all) and getting to evolve a steady relationship, both with a community and a very precious individual (you know who you are).
Resurgence magazine (March/April 2003. IssueNo. 217) has a theme of The Myth of Prosperity. I liked this story: (humble apologies for this, but it is not one of the articles in the online version)

Rich in Things, Poor in Time: Heinrich Böll
(retold by Wolfgang Sachs)

A tourist focuses in on a most idyllic picture: a man dozing in a fishing boat that has been pulled out of the waves which come rolling up the sandy beach. The camera clicks;the fisherman awakens. The tourist offers him a cigarette and launches into a conversation: "The weather is great; there are plenty of fish. Why are you lying around instead of going out and catching more?"

The fisherman replies. "Because I caught enough this morning."

"But just imagine", the tourist says, "if you went out there three or four times a day, bringing home three or four times as much fish! You know what could happen?"
The fisherman shakes his head.
"After about a year you could buy yourself a motor-boat," says the tourist. "After two years you could buy a second one, and after three years you could have a cutter or two. And just think! One day you might be able to build a freezing plant or a smoke house, you might eventually even get your own helicopter for tracing shoals of fish and guiding your fleet of cutters, or you could acquire your own trucks to ship your fish to the capital, and then..."

"And then?" asks the fisherman.
"And then", the tourist continues triumphantly, "you could be calmly sitting at the beachside, dozing in the sun and looking at the beautiful ocean!"
The fisherman looks at the tourist: "But that is exactly what I was doing when you came along!"
It's getting late, and I have been watching an old Making Of video. Memories of Dark Crystal and Return of the Jedi.

Learning the new system for the library. I have to sit in on all the workshops, because (as one of the System Administrators) I have to know a little about everybody's jobs. Busy brain.

Hi Brandon - thanks for Classic Creatures - it was a real blast from the past...

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Better day. Had our first real look at the new library system - modern, web-based, it's a revelation. More soon. Meanwhile....

"I am the internet and I am the winternet. And they don't see nothing yet!"

"I am an alien from the other world, from outer space, I don't have no land, no estate, no property, no house. Not on this earth. I live in space - I'm only a visitor here. Some people are only here to collect property. I am here with my suitcase to to collect only the good brains."
"Good evening and greetings to you people of the Universe - this is Lee "Scratch" Perry, the mighty Upsetter, madder than mad, dreader than dread, redder than red, dis ya one heavier than lead. We are here at the turntable terranova, it means we are taking over..."

Monday, March 10, 2003

Here I am, back at work.

Rough day, with the system unstable. Went to lunch at 15.00h (for instance) for 40 minutes.

It would be nice to calm down, at some point, and stop being an emergency service, and be able to offer positive stuff to improve our service (instead of bailing out all the time. Hey Ho. (Quick note while waiting for a process to finish). Bye

Sunday, March 09, 2003

We've had a pleasant day or two, but tomorrow we go back to work.

It was good to chat to Habidabad on Yahoo. I still have a little difficulty with Instant Message systems, but the only way to learn is to use them, I guess.

And Hi again to Brandon, Mali and Matthew....

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Just to say that Rhiannon and Julie are back, looking admirably brown and relaxed. We have a couple of days to decompress.

We'll be in touch soon - after we have resynchronised our time zones.......

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

This bit's aimed at Julia, and Keili, and Mali, and other family and friends. Not everything in the blog is for everyone...

I guess the girls are gettting on their plane in Thailand round about now. They'll be back here tomorrow morning. I am doing a bit of cleaning, because, after my initial despair and loneliness, caused by not having the time or money to join them on their trip, I finally got used to being on my own here, and started to enjoy it and perceive it as freedom. (When three weeks had passed - the kind of time most people spend away on holiday - and I found there was another three weeks to go I pulled myself together).

I even started appreciating being on my own. Guess what? I've settled into it now, and their returning will be another upheaval. And a cue for another round of envy. (Before they left I had to get out sometimes when they were going through all the guide books planning. I got over it. Now I will have to look at pictures and hear what I missed). I'll certainly try to be nice about it....

I don't suppose it will even be terribly popular to have published this ambivalence. But, hey, I became a bachelor again (up all night playing on the Internet).
Quick note: email is OK again.

Thanks to HR for the images. Gid hen til på gensyn hurtigt nemlig at drik!

Hello to Habidabad, keep it rolling....

Hi to Brandon - I am looking forward to the trade...

Hi Andrea, see you in Münster

Aurélien - merci pour les images - a bientôt

And a special hello to Julie - I love you, and I'll see you very soon....

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Apologies to anyone expecting quick email response. Outlook has just locked on me. I doubt it is the upgrades I just installed (but it's possible - MSN made a real mess last week when it tried to take over Port 25). If so I'll roll the system back. My ISP has, however, announced a problem with email, and it was like this a week or so ago, too, so it may all come good.

Give me time, I am sure I can get it going again, or maybe just pick up my POP mail through other channels (depends if it is Outlook having problems or the server itself).
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