Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Another PS: from Samuel Goldwyn "Gentlemen, include me out".
On a review for Richard Dawkins' newish book 'A Devils Chaplain' there is this quote, which more or less states my atheist attitude to Northern Ireland, the Middle East, and even the most recent events in Iraq (Christians versus Muslims).

"Is there no catastrophe terrible enough to shake the faith of people, on both sides, in God's goodness and power? No glimmering realization that he might not be there at all: that we might just be on our own, needing to cope with the real world like grown-ups?"

Richard Dawkins

Are there any national leaders on the whole planet who are atheist/agnostic/freethinkers? Rationalists? Anything approaching non-superstitious in their beliefs? Is there any chance of getting the job if you admitted it? We can't all have God on Our Side (to quote Bob).

PS: I hate defining myself as not believing in god (atheist) or not sure if there is a god (agnostic). I don't wish to define myself as though I am against something. I don't make things up (say, BLOB), and then go around asking you to believe the same thing as me OR define yourself as someone who doesn't believe in BLOB.

As Londoners say "Leave it out!"

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

In case you didn't read the Addicted to Oil piece, or wondered what the throwaway comment about Hemp was, there's a quote below, and I leave you to research the rest. Just bear in mind that this is suppressed history. That (even now) 'they' managed to ban hemp under cover of banning a dangerous drug (marijuana). Although (as it happens) I would be for legalising marijuana, that is not what this is about. Hemp is one of the oldest and most useful plants we ever had. You know Canvas (sails on ships) that's Cannabis (look it up in the dictionary). Rope? All made from hemp until recently. So, if it wasn't fear of drugs that made them conspire against it, what was it? Well DuPont Chemicals like us using cotton for everything (needs loads of pesticides, fertilizers, etc) rather than Hemp (a very sturdy weed). And the Oil Lobby like us using ancient plant material from under the ground, expensive to get at, and all in their control, rather than renewable resources like hemp oil, and they can palm off their by-products on us as plastic. Check it out...

"Notably, this was at the same time (and thanks mainly to the same people who developed the plastics industry) that the only product to have more uses than oil, but with none of the toxic side effects, was banned. That product was hemp – the oil of which can drive cars, create plastics or be made into soap, the fibres of which can be turned into paper or clothes, and the seed of which is one of the most nutritious substances known. (Oh, and growing hemp counterracts climate change, too.)

Thanks, however, to the efforts of DuPont and William Randolph Hearst (with their respective vested interests in the plastics and paper industries), the use of hemp (which one would have to smoke around three tonnes of to get high) was outlawed, along with its more potent sister marijuana, under drug prohibition laws.

In place of the drug that was not a drug, we drill ever deeper into the veins of the earth. We pull the oil up not with syringes, but with derricks (named after an infamous 17th century hangman because of their resemblance to gallows). We cannot imagine a world without oil, deny the possibility of weaning ourselves off it, and will break the law – and even kill – to ensure a constant, cheap supply of the stuff. We are, every single one of us, addicted to oil. "

Excerpt from: Forbidden Fruit
Date Published: 22/04/2003
Author: Jeremy Smith

Monday, April 28, 2003

Back at my desk today. Not a good start to the day (still coughing) but at least I am back at work. Whether I have the stamina for an 8 hour day remains to be seen.

Looking at The Ecologist - scary stuff about oil and it's role in wars (and WHY did we ignore the sustainable resources cry of a couple of decades ago?) in the April 2003 issue. Addicted to Oil? Try 30 steps to an oil-free world.

The May issue has material on Hemp (another case we've been shouting about since the Sixties) as a multi-purpose plant/fibre; TV addiction; Recycling (UK does 12% at the moment); and an article by Fritjof Capra (the systems theorist) about the insecurity of centralised resources, and the security inherent in de-centralised units of production.

Saturday, April 26, 2003

Saturday came, and I am still overwhelmingly tired. Coughed and pulled a muscle in my neck. It's really silly this stuff - am I just getting old? Perhaps, when I was self-employed, I just used to take the time off until I felt like working again (unless I already had contracts, of course, in which case I used to do them even if I could hardly walk, or think, or see....)

'If you're not dead, you're fit to do your act' and other lovely circus sayings:

Work your act;
when you can't work the act, practice;
when you can't practice, sleep.'

Friday, April 25, 2003

I am still off work. I feel better, then go downhill in waves. Now Julie has got it, and is off work, too - although she's in the early stages. Rhiannon, as well, is ill. Of course, I tease them that they are 'super-carriers' of SARS (they both came home from Thailand a few weeks ago) - but it was probably me that brought it home from working in the public domain, and also a fairly 'sick building' (sealed, air-conditioned, etc).

I am not trivialising the distress of SARS, of course, but I think the media is getting hysterical. We have six probable cases in the UK so far (probable, because they may just be ordinary flu). Nobody has died. And 'ordinary' flu kills the old, the young and the weak every winter, here. Just as it did (on a plague scale) throughout Europe in 1918-19.

I guess viruses are 'The Alien' (neither living tissue nor inert crystals, neither plant nor animal....), and we are back to fear of 'mutation' (it's like the 1950s). I thought this one was trying to kill me, that's for sure. and two weeks later, it hasn't entirely gone....

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

I mentioned Ursula Le Guin when responding to watching 'Walking With Cavemen' (and that unknown anarchist still hasn't posted the complete text of 'Carrier Bag Theory..' up anywhere, for me to link to) - however, I went and found her delightful website, and came across two quotes I'd like to pass on, the first is from the preface to the short story 'The Day before the Revolution' published in the anthology 'The Winds Twelve Quarters Vol2' It is written by Le Guin 'In Memorial to Paul Goodman 1911-1972'.

"Odonianism is anarchism. Not the bomb-in-the-pocket stuff, which is terrorism, whatever name it tries to dignify itself with, not the social-Darwinist economic 'libertarianism' of the far right; but anarchism, as prefigured in early Taoist thought, and expounded by Shelley and Kropotkin, Goldman and Goodman. Anarchism's principal target is the authoritarian State (capitalist or socialist); its principle moral-practical theme is cooperation (solidarity, mutual aid). It is the most idealistic, and to me the most interesting, of all political theories." I found that here

The second appeals to me even more (the only real difference between us being that it took me a little longer to discover Taoism)

"I read Lao-tzu and the Tao Te Ching at 14. My father had it around the house in the old edition with the Chinese text. I sneaked a peek and was and remain fascinated. Taoism is still an underlayer in my work. It begins talking about what we can't talk about -- an old mysticism that intertwines with Buddhism and is practical and not theistic. Before and beyond God. There's a humorous and easygoing aspect to it that I like temperamentally and that fits in with anarchism. Pacifist anarchism and Lao-tzu have a lot in connection with each other, especially in the 20th century."
Quoted in "Summer Reading," Mother Jones May / June 1995 v. 20 no. 3 (p. 34). That quote I found here

I had a deeper look at the Prosperity [Money Reform] website, mentioned before, and found a particularly clear story from a speech by David J. Weston. I hope he will forgive me for putting it here, but you can always follow the link to the source, if you prefer. It comes at the end of the interview, in which he responds in this way:

What are the key points that you like to emphasise?

"We should not preach at people. We need to use humour, analogies, stories, documented examples of currency successes, poems and music, graphics, cartoons, and the like. Replace Fear with Trust. Replace Greed with Generosity. Replace Despair with Hope. Never give up -- the first hundred years are the hardest! Question all assumptions. To think clearly is a political act. "

Here's the story:

In the town of Worgl in the Austrian Tyrol, there stands a bridge whose plaque commemorates the fact that it was built by debt-free, locally created money. This is just a small part of a significant experiment which transformed towns and whole areas out of poverty within 3 months and into prosperity within one year, when there was widespread unemployment in the national economy. In the early 1930s this small town (6000 pop.), was suffering like every other from the Great Depression. Worgl's Burgomaster, Michael Unterguggenberger, faced an empty treasury, because the unemployed citizens could not pay their taxes; there were roads, bridges, buildings and parks needing maintenance, for which the town could not pay; and idle men and women earning no wages. He recognised that all three problems could be solved if he found the connecting links. Those links were the key human information systems of money and a community-owned bank.

The three problems the Burgomaster outlined co-existed because no one had any means of exchange, and his simple solution was to create money locally, with the Town Hall as the bank. He issued numbered "certificates for services rendered" to the value of 32,000 schillings, in denominations of 1, 5 and 10 schillings. These became valid only after being stamped at the Town Hall, and depreciated monthly by 1% of their nominal value. It was possible for the holders to "revalue" them by the purchase, before the end of each month, of stamps from the Town Hall, in the process creating a relief fund. The depreciation not only encouraged rapid circulation, but also the payment of taxes, past, current, and upcoming. These taxes were used to provide social and public services, such as for the payment of wages for the building of streets, drainage and other public works by men who would otherwise have been unemployed. During the first month, the money had circulated 20 times. Taxes were paid, unemployment reduced and local shopkeepers prosperous.

It enabled unemployed people not only to receive a local wage, but also to create useful public assets -- street repair, including a new drainage system, street lighting, construction of a ski jumping platform, bridges and a new water reservoir. The workers found all businesses in Worgl accepted the currency in payment and at face value, and the notes returned to the town treasury bank as dues and taxes. Economically, there was no inflation, and politically, the money was unanimously acceptable to all the municipal parties. Because it was a depreciating currency, it circulated with rapidity, boosting the local economy. Because it was a locally controlled bank, the politically ensured 'multiplier effect' helped to create and enhance the well-being of the local community.

It is observable that the more a pound can be circulated and recirculated within a region or community, the more economic activity will take place. In contrast to this is the 'extractor effect' of externally controlled currency and banking, whereby every pound that is extracted is, in effect, a pound lost to the region or community. In Worgl, people were able to pay their current taxes in the currency, and also discharge their tax arrears. Many paid their taxes in advance because it was financially advantageous. Apart from the obvious employment benefits, physical assets were created. Although the Worgl money was unanimously accepted at the local level, there was opposition from two centralist forces -- the Tyrol Labour Party and the Austrian State Bank. There seemed to be the fear of the experiment spreading, for the idea was copied by the neighbouring town, Kirchbichel. The town monies were valid in both places. Other towns in the Tyrol also decided on issuing depreciating money, but didn't proceed due to threats from the State Bank. The nearby town, Kitzbuehl, followed suit with a similar programme. A meeting of 200 Austrian mayors decided unanimously to follow the Worgl example. Prominent people, including Premier Daladier of France, visited and were enthusiastic. The end of the experiment.... it became clear that the financial interests of Austria and of Europe were afraid of this success spreading, as ultimately the State Bank threatened, and took, legal action against it. After a long legal battle, the Austrian Supreme Court decided in favour of the bank, and the innovation was prohibited. The idea spread to Bavaria and was also squelched there. On 1st September 1933, the Worgl experiment was terminated.

Copyright © David Weston

I came across a bunch of old papers today, on alternative money systems. They were notes for a briefing sheet I was going to write for The London Ecology Centre (back in 1994) after I did the one on Cars. Hey ho, I was forced to go out and get a proper job, so there was no time to continue being a volunteer writer, and that year then just went downhill all the way.

I'd like to piece all that stuff together again, although I have as little hope that we will ever change our money ideas, as that we will ever attain a lasting world peace, or that people will stop exploiting the environment and settle for something sustainable, or abandon religions and adopt a god-free morality.

I am a pessimist, not an activist. But I love the ideas - and I think we have to keep our possibilities in front us, just in case. I'd really like to join Bucky in believing that changes will come when people see the advantages... Enlightened self-interest, they call it don't they?

Anyway - have a look at this Money site, while I put my thoughts in order....
Feeling fractionally better today, after missing yet another holiday period. Read a few books, though. I've read a couple of Carl Hiasen's in the last few days. Strange mixture - satiric comedy thrillers, or something. I first of all read "Lucky You", and then "Stormy Weather". There are some grim moments, and a lot of comedy, a bit like a Tarantino movie...

And this quote popped out of Stormy Weather, pointing back to Henry Miller [Tropic of Cancer], one of my favourite writers in my youth (no, not for the rude bits but for the anarcho-mysticism):

"Once I thought that to be human was the highest aim a man could have, but I see now that it was meant to destroy me. Today I am proud to say that I am inhuman, that I belong not to men and governments, that I have nothing to do with creeds and principles. I have nothing to do with the creaking machinery of humanity - I belong to the earth! I say that lying on my pillow and I can feel the horns sprouting from my temples."

Monday, April 21, 2003

Oh dear, we seem to be dropping like flies. I have just heard from Vijay that Nigel died on Saturday, (aged 44). He was a guitarist, a gentle and mild-mannered man, who I last saw at Pete's funeral. I can only claim to be an acquaintance, not a close friend, but he was part of that Ealing circle, and we had a few adventures together, as mutual buddies of Pete's. It's a bit of a shock, and yet another reminder of mortality. I guess I really should start saving for my own funeral, to stop my friends having to have a whip-round at the last minute.
I've got to apologise to anyone who does come here regularly. I seem to have forgotten that brevity is part of writing for the Web screen. Right now the words are pouring out of me, even though my typing is still as slow and erratic as ever. But where is the damn book? (The one that everybody thinks they can write - the old myth - everyone's got one book inside them) That's what I want to know.

Have I missed that whole step out, and found myself in cyberspace, writing a little column for anyone who happens to turn up?

It's a funny old world. Hello to Gerold and Eveline (picture will be posted on Tuesday); a big hello to Britta, Volker and a late Happy Birthday to Dave; and an especial Hi to Julia (I will phone soon, I promise, but the flu is in my throat right now).

Saturday, April 19, 2003

No it's not SARS, but I am still off work. My doctors says it's a 'viral infection', so all their expensive education wasn't wasted, then. No cure, of course, but 'gargling with soluble aspirin' might help the sore throat. Wow, if my grannie could be here now, she could be doing the emergency surgery and earning $40-50K. 'A nice hot cup of lemon and honey and an aspirin, love, that'll see you right'.

Don't mind me. Being glum and sarcastic is part of being ill. I know doctors do a good job here and there, I just seem to suffer from all the things they can't cure, or diagnose, or even define. All those ordinary, uninteresting things. If only I had an obscure, and major disease, which attracted real research money then they might be able to do something. Maybe? Oh no, that's right, Pete died this year, and he used to have to lecture students about Lupus (they came to visit because it was fairly rare), as it was just something in their reference books. Hey, I can read, too.

Don't mind me - I am quite happy to let my body work it out (one day it'll lose and something may kill me) but now I have a steady job I have to get a 'sick note' from an expert, to say I am not just skiving off to watch the footie.... At least they pay me to be ill. When I was self-employed the loss of earnings just increased the stress, which is why I generally used to work through illness.

I can never get it out of my head, you see, that these highly respected doctors (authority figures) are ex-medical students (those silly people going on pub crawls, pushing prams with their friends in diapers, etc). Gosh, two years later, they are like a priest/shaman. At least my currrent doctors are women, so that 'healer' role seems slightly likelier - I am afraid the man in the pinstripe suit just never cuts it for me.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

I've calmed down after my rant (see below) - and found my copy of Ursula LeGuin's piece, so I am now torn between my anarchist desire to stick it all up here, and my librarian's respect for copyright laws. Maybe I'll have to give you the excerpt I've typed up so far, and then 'serious researchers' can contact me for a full copy for their private use. Either that or I'll have to link to some anonymous site where some unscrupulous anarchist will have published it all.... hmmm

Excerpt from: THE CARRIER BAG THEORY OF FICTION (1986) by Ursula LeGuin

"In the temperate and tropical regions where it appears that hominids evolved into human beings, the principal food of the species was vegetable. Sixty-five to eighty percent of what human beings ate in those regions in Paleolithic, Neolithic, and prehistoric times was gathered; only in the extreme Arctic was meat the staple food. The mammoth hunters spectacularly occupy the cave wall and the mind, but what we actually did to stay alive and fat was gather seeds, roots, sprouts, shoots, leaves, nuts, berries, fruits and grains, adding bugs and molluscs and netting or snaring birds, fish, rats, rabbits and other tuskless small fry to up the protein. And we didn’t even work hard at it – much less hard than peasants slaving in somebody else’s field after agriculture was invented. The average prehistoric person could make a nice living in about a fifteen-hour work week.
Fifteen hours a week for subsistence leaves a lot of time for other things. So much time that maybe the restless ones who didn’t have a baby around to enliven their life, or skill in making or cooking or singing, or very interesting thoughts to think, decided to slope off and hunt mammoths. The skilful hunters then would come staggering back with a load of meat, a lot of ivory, and a story. It wasn’t the meat that made the difference. It was the story.
It is hard to tell a really gripping tale of how I wrested a wild-oat seed from its husk, and then another, and then another, and then another, and then another, and then I scratched my gnat bites, and Ool said something funny, and we went to the creek and got a drink and watched newts for a while, and then I found another patch of oats….No, it does not compare, it cannot compete with how I thrust my spear deep into the titanic hairy flank while Oob, impaled on one huge sweeping tusk, writhed screaming, and blood spouted everywhere in crimson torrents, and Boob was crushed to jelly when the mammoth fell on him as I shot my unerring arrow straight through eye to brain.
That story not only has Action, it has a Hero. Heroes are powerful. Before you know it, the men and women in the wild-oat patch and their kids and the skills of the makers and the thoughts of the thoughtful and the songs of the singers are all part of it, have all been pressed into service in the tale of the Hero. But it isn’t their story. It’s his."

LeGuin, Ursula "The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction." Dancing at the Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places. New York: Grove P, 1989. 165-70.

Oh, and if you wonder what carrier bags have to do with it all:

"Before - once you think about it, surely long before - the weapon, a late, luxurious, superfluous tool; long before the useful knife and ax; right along with the indispensable whacker, grinder and digger - for what's the use of digging up a lot of potatoes if you have nothing to lug the ones you can't eat home in - with or before the tool that forces energy outward [Toby: spears, etc], we made the tool that brings energy home. It makes sense to me. I am an adherent of what Fisher calls the Carrier Bag Theory of human evolution."

Oh, you have to read it all. I hope that wicked anarchist gets the complete text posted up soon, so I can link to it.
Once more, appalled, I watched 'Walking with Cavemen'. Episode 3. I watched because one of the performers is a friend of mine, and performers can't always choose the jobs they do....

I am really grumpy, though. Being a life-long vegetarian (and yes I know we are basically omnivores, and I have two canine teeth, and CAN digest meat and all that - I've tried most things in my travels). What I can't stand is the macho history of males. Can we still be pumping out this crap that humans are males!!!!! Males hunt, humans are vicious, we have to hunt to kill to eat, etc.

It's such rubbish. First of all it is speculation. Secondly, all representations of early humans I have ever seen are about as accurate as portraits of Jesus (sorry, folks) in terms of the local cultural bias of the artist - for Victorians they were 'primitive' and so 'ugly'. Of course, we now know that other races than the 'white ideal' contain some of the most beautiful human types, so why are we still portraying our own ancestors as ugly brutes? Oh yes, it's all 'scientific' now, isn't it, careful reconstruction from bones (is that why they all look like photofit criminals?)

And I may not be a zealous vegetarian, but I thought it was admitted now that we are not descended from 'Hunter/Gatherers' but 'Gatherer/Hunters' (i.e. 80% - or 'most' - of our diet has always come from roots and shoots, nuts and fruits and berries and leaves). Things that don't run away, or need to be hunted. Then there is honey. Then there are eggs (they don't run away either). Then there are small things like grubs (don't move very fast) and (the thing we don't like to talk about) scavenging other animals which are already dead.

The amount of lively creatures we chased and caught and killed must have been a tiny percentage of our diet.

So why are we portraying ourselves as avenging chimps? Personally, I feel descended from peaceful old apes like Orangs and Gorillas. Nothing macho about some of the biggest vegetarians on the planet. In fact, the biggest animals are ALL vegetarians - elephants, rhinos, hippos, gorillas, even some of the whales live on algae.

So what is this total nonsense about us being the ultimate predator? It makes me so mad. Haven't we moved on yet? When I calm down I will collect some of my evidence in a better form, but right now I am furious. So many people are going to think this is 'science' and not mythology.

I'll dig out Ursula Le Guin's text on 'The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction' as a good starting point.....I can't find the whole text online, and I don't know about copyright issues just at the moment, but I highly recommend it for a picture of our ancestors as calm, smart, benign and magical intelligent beings. With the women and children and old folks providing most of the nourishment by browsing and grazing, while the macho youth go off on futile chasing after after rabbits.... (oh yes, and - oh sure - deer or elephants).

We really worship predators (making a killing in the market) and the idea of the big lump of protein (the lottery win) which will solve all our problems for a long time - and we despise 'sheep'. We wannabe the hunters, not the prey. We don't want a symbiotic relationship with our surroundings, and endlessly renewable resources like plants. Check out this piece on 'Primitives' and Ecofeminism.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

A good day, all in all. I didn't catch the sunshine, still being ill, but I managed to get back into the dead hard drive, and rescue Julie's Thailand pictures, and my old email, and so on. I still don't know quite what happened, but at least I have got my data back in an accessible state. Phew!

I'll try to get to work tomorrow, but I am still sweating and coughing. My PC seems a little better than I am, right now.
I've been under the duvet. After my PC got hit (old age or virus, maybe?) last week, my bodymind got hit (old age or virus, maybe?) and it was bad enough that I took time off from work. Anyone who knows my 'show must go on' attitude to contracts will know that means I am feeling pretty rough.

I've read a couple of books, through the fever, and coughing, and sleepless nights (and let's face it, you have to be ill, these days, to find the time to get through 600 pages) . I finished 'Interface' by Neal Stephenson (who has a very plain, but fascinating website here) and it was most excellent. I have enjoyed all his stuff so far, rich nourishing and stimulating books. Then I remembered I hadn't even waited for the library to get the latest William Gibson (his blog is here), I had bought my own hardback - 'Pattern Recognition' - and this is in a class of its own. Not a megablockbuster book, not a million pages, but very insidious. More sci-fi of the present, with that conspiracy edge I enjoy.

Friday, April 11, 2003

It's a laugh, isn't it? The programme didn't get transmitted, replaced by a war special, so that's why my video didn't kick in

Zwap emailed me to say that if no-one used my forwarding link soon, then they would get rid of it. I had to think back. Ah yes, we made a hoax UFO site, full of half-truths, real links, and completely phoney photos (thanks Keili!) as part of a publicity campaign for the Circus's great new tent, when it was up in a Cardiff park ('on a ley line') near the castle and a folly of not so old stones . I put the Zwap address on to make it a little less obvious that it was posted on a circus page.
Busy last night - getting the computer set up. I didn't get to see Caroline on the tele, and my video didn't record (Doh!) so I am in the hands of anyone else who recorded it.

Woke up this morning (I believe I'll dust my broom...) with a swollen throat. I know I was up late, and I don't normally get hay fever...

I am told there is something going around (the usual). Julie has nearly but not quite had a cold for a week or two. People in the library say that there is this cold/flu thing. I don't need ever does...

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Just a quick announcement: I haven't bothered to try to fix that broken drive, yet. Maybe I can rescue the data, and maybe I can't.

I went off and bought a new hard drive, installed it, and am using it now. Of course, I have to reinstall all the software, once I have dug out the CDs, and passwords and such. I'll also have to download all the stuff bought through the Web (if I can find all the Order numbers, Product keys, etc). It's a lot of work, but I get a clean new system. And it's another reminder to backup regularly...

My more recent email exchanges are lost...didn't back that stuff up since the end of January, but addresses were mostly synchronised onto my handheld PC. If necessary, you can always contact me again....

I'll be doing a check list, and gathering my stuff together, but I don't think it's a total disaster. Goodnight everyone. Sleep well.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Well, it was nice to hear from Julia - and Hi to all you Dacombes out there!.

[GEEK WARNING - skip this if 'how computers work' is boring to you] I did a bit of hunting on The Web, and found a bunch of people discussing EXACTLY the same symptoms as I had on my PC.

Everyone seems baffled. Is the common factor the Maxtor drive failure? or using Kazaa (OK, I admit that might be stupid) - a rather promiscuous way of mingling with other people's computers...and I didn't stop and scan each file that got downloaded.

Why did my RAM go as well? Is the supposed virus really a hoax, or is there something in the fact that my Norton was waving at me in the unstable period before the crash? [One of those viruses/trojans which get behind the security system and disable it].

I do keep adding software to mess with, and I did recently pull down a beta version of a power tool program, but it was from the [until now] very reliable guy whose Registry Cleaner I have great faith in. So, hmmmmm.

Shall I just go out and buy a new hard drive, and hope all the rest is fine (motherboard, CPU etc). Is this hard drive now just another doorstop?

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

A quick hi to Jason and Kati - I am about to put some pictures in the post. I hope you enjoy them.
I replace the RAM which was faulty, but the hard drive is corrupted, too. I don't want to do anything major to it, with Julie's photos in it, etc, but equally I don't think their is anything on it so valuable as to go out and spend 'businesslike' sums getting files recovered. I still have a few other things to try. It does seem odd that both the Hard Drive and the RAM should die. Or did one go and pull the other one down? Did I pick up a virus (even though I had Norton's installed). Maybe I should never have offered to get a friend some tracks of a band called No Doubt, and tried Kazaalite. Harrumph. Downloaded a few tracks, but didn't run them or scan them. Paranoia, basically.

I may have to go get a new hard drive and rebuild from scratch, which is always fun, NOT. Still, you end up with a clean system.

When a PC goes down with all data, it really is some kind of metaphor for dying. Backups are the written records you've left, or the shared experiences and anecdotes remembered by friends. All the other, private, knowledge just seems to go......Not feeling too Buddhist today.

And I walked into work to find there is no water in the building so we are not open to the public. Then later I hear water is pouring through the ceiling, splashing over books, but landing straight on one of the new PCs we installed just a week ago. Strange stuff, having just seen Donnie Darko. I didn't do it in my sleep, honest!

Monday, April 07, 2003

Just to let you all know - my PC crashed and burned, so I don't have Home access to it. That means that my website will stop changing for a while (I treat it almost as a blog).

Sorry to HR that the broken link to your site will not get replaced for a few days... I can plug it here...go visit HR Nielsen's site if you are a Star Wars fan.
DOESN'T IT MAKE YOU CRAZY? I have had an unstable and complaining PC for a week or two, but the messages didn't seem to add up. I blamed new bits of software, or people doing things in other profiles. It's always good to blame others :-) Suddenly, when chatting to John C on sunday, the thing went Pfffzzwgghpeyow... and just shut down. Couldn't Restart it. Let it cool down. It didn't even recognise the C Drive, (accused it of being corrupt). when I opened the PC (I've already voided the ewarranty by doing that!) and disconnected the hard drive, the POST test comes up with memory test failed.... So I am guessing that it is the RAM that needs replacing. Did I drive you all away yet? (apart from the sneering geeks, of course, who know what's happened, how I've done it to myself, what I ought to have done (particularly backups), why I shouldn't have tried XP in the first place, etc...

Hey ho.

Still, I loved Donnie Darko, and it reminded me how much I enjoyed Waking Life, recently, too. Only go to the Donnie Darko site if you want to be frustrated and challenged. Even with a cheater page I found I can't get everywhere...[uh oh, I just tried it here, at work in my lunch hour, and it works, so maybe it was all a symptom of my dying PC].

The lucid dream theme of Waking Life, and now the Time Travelling aspect of DD have reminded me that I never did get my friend Mick's book "Another Kinda Time" up online. I can't at the moment, of course!

Thursday, April 03, 2003

I will be back to the previous post to add some notes about that book. Meanwhile, I have been thinking about another page for the website. I was going to compile all my 'encounters' with famous people. All the anecdotes that sound like name-dropping. Get them out there and done with.

The thing about show biz is that it is a job, so to have been on a set, or in the same room with someone 'famous' may have just been 'another day at work'. Sometimes you get overawed, of course - we all do. It still amuses me to hear someone famous explain how nervous they were when they met one of their own heroes....and, of course, I am a Z-List celebrity myself these days. Celebrity number 1475096, to be precise. And it's 1st Firey, guys not 1st Fairy!

Nowadays, as we head into play culture and virtual realms (or at least the affluent third of us do) - everyone has the ambition to be famous...for fifteen minutes, at least. It's humiliating what people will do to get on television (look at the Jerry Springer show...) You can publish to the Web...and might get lucky. Some people seem willing to (literally) kill to get famous (infamous). I'd prefer it if we all completely forgot the little idiot who shot John Lennon, for instance.

So, anyway, I have met a lot of people you may consider famous (these things are all relative). Some I have just been near, others I have spoken to, some I have worked with quite closely, and some have even been friends. Of course, you may have 'heard of' someone, but not be a one of their fans, so do not envy me meeting them.

You may say 'Who?'

You may say 'I don't believe it!' [Perhaps I'll plant just one tall tale in there, to see if anyone can spot it....]

I grew up backstage. I didn't even know it was odd to see someone 'live' in the living room, and later the same day in a movie. It was just a job. I enjoyed Gilbert Harding's riposte, when someone asked him if he ever watched television (back in the 50s, when it was considered a lowbrow thing to do) "Television isn't for watching, it's for being on!" Still, even show biz people get excited sometimes....

So I'll be doing my name-drop page. How I borrowed a book from Patrick Stewart (and never returned it); how David Bowie blagged a cigarette from me; rolling joints for John Martyn; bowing to Dame Sybil Thorndyke; stuck in Jim Henson's armpit for hours; Bob Hoskins confesses to me that he is starting to see imaginary rabbits at home; playing table tennis against Frank Oz (he's really good); getting that close to the fabulous Joanna Lumley; Lesley Grantham is a very nice man; 'Auntie' Valerie Singleton round for lessons from my mum; onstage with The Yardbirds; being Tony Allen's roadie; sticking my tongue in Carrie Fisher's ear; acting with John Ratzenburger; drinking with Ric Le Parmentier; and so on.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

"The Age of Access" Jeremy Rifkin how the shift from ownership to access is transforming capitalism
more follows
Related Posts with Thumbnails