Saturday, February 28, 2004

I seem to have costed the San Diego comic con and put myself off by estimating the risk. It's a shame - I could fly over there NOW for a third of the price it will be in the July season....and the same thing goes with hotels, I guess.

It would have been fun to see Dave Barclay again...and the Pacific. I kinda hoped I could tie it in with a visit to Keili, which might have justified the expense, but I haven't heard from him in a few weeks, so I can't factor him into the equation...

C'est la vie. I think the Star Wars thing may well have peaked, anyway (what with Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter) - so I suspect I am only of interest to completists, now - the people who want a full set of EVERYONE concerned in making a movie. It makes it hard to think of selling 200 photos just to break even....

I am sure it can be done - and that people do it, but I was never a gambler (I am a lousy capitalist - partly because I never had any capital to play with, and - now - because I don't have any assets - tangible or intangible - to bet with or borrow against).

As if anyone really cares. I'll be back to delete. I am just using this to tell myself that I really have decided. Next step - let everyone involved know....hey ho.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Days go by. I seem to have missed El's birthday....nothing new, I suppose......

Yesterday I received a DVD of Masked and Anonymous, which is in US zone format, so could only watch it on the PC - but I enjoyed it. I know why it got 'incoherent and strange' reviews, and why it also got 'a little gem of film' type's typically Indie (but with star cameos) and typically Bob (gnomic, dense language and rueful asides)...

Just my thing, I guess. I enjoyed The Sting on late night tv, too, but that's just because I love anything to do with scams and cons...lucky I am such an honest guy - and such a bad liar. But then again, All Muswell Hillbillies are Liars.....

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Anyone who knows me knows that I have never been very effective on the material plane (owning things). I have, however, always been an info-addict since I can remember. Even stumbling out of a house I could never return to I have tended to grab files....rather than clothes.

I just came across a particularly unsorted bulging file of mine - which I will tease out soon, but the various strands of it are: nomadic life-styles (both traditional and tribal - Aborigines, some of the Native Americans, Romany gypsies, etc - and contemporary - Travellers); the sometimes involuntary or desperate (post-war tramps, homelessness); human rights; the history - Enclosures Acts, land grabs, etc. There's some BOTTLED ANGER in there. Stonehenge and the Battle of the Bean Field. Genocide. There's also some treasured memories (hanging out in Seville with Jose Vega Campo - mi amigo gitano ). There are also notes from weeks spent in The British Library researching the whole subject area.....

And yes, of course I am aware of the danger of romancing the bohemians - especially as I now seem to have finally settled somewhere...

There was a brief summary (aimed at street performers) in an article I wrote for Kaskade - re-published here. The draft was ten pages long, though, and I had to leave an awful lot out. Perhaps I'll put the draft up as a first stab at opening the subject matter out.
Here's a recommendation for ya - The Straight Dope. "Fighting Ignorance since 1973 (it's taking longer than we thought)".

Cecil Adams may well be the world's smartest man (ahem). I came across the site doing magic research. Try Cecil on "how did Uri Geller bend spoons?" ; "How did David Copperfield make the Statue of Liberty vanish?" ; The Indian Rope Trick; "How Psychics can tell you stuff they couldn't know about you" - with help from Ian Rowland or, for a different kind of 'magic' debunking Carlos Castaneda. (What the hell IS debunking, anyway? - rudely awakening?)

Have fun searching their archives, and hey, why not ask Cecil a question?

And while we are in a debunking mode - don't forget the Skeptical Dictionary. I'll pick a random page, about the Sokal hoax.
I actually learned a bit more about Access and the library database in the last couple of days. Paul is a very good and patient teacher.

Watched late night tv (BBC4 progs on BBC2) - about the legal brothels in Paris in the first half of the twentieth century (uncomfortable viewing, but extraordinary social history - and of course many of my favourite artists writers and photographers knew this world). This was followed by a programme about Andre Breton and Surrealism - rather more light-weight - and a bit lowbrow (or is that just 'British'?).

In spite of my relentless bearing down on my (by most people's standards) small debt, I have still bought a couple of Bill Hicks items (his writings are new out, and there are articles in the press...ten years after his death - apparently he stopped speaking on Valentine's Day, and died on the 26th). I also jumped at the chance to grab a copy of Masked and Anonymous (even in the US format). Well, it's my sort of thing.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

I was very touched by all the effort that Louise Wiberg has put into this birthday greeting - on a Danish Star Wars fansite - it is amazing to have people wish you well, based on some work done 23 years ago.

Thanks to Louise and everyone else at the site.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

"Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour..."

Well, I made it! 58 times around the sun is quite a long journey.

Let's see - um we are an average of 93 million miles from the sun, and our orbit is more or less circular, so that's - um - two times Pi times the radius - um - 584 336 233 miles around?

And as the Solar System, too, is travelling around the galaxy, the earth doesn't do a closed orbit (as it is normally drawn) but a long spiral.

And I have done that 58 times. So that's 33 891 501 514 miles through the cosmos. Phew, I think I'll have to go and lie down (which doesn't stop us all travelling along at some blazing speed which I am far to exhausted to calculate).

OK, this site says we are doing 30km a second around the sun, and the solar system is going around the galaxy at 250km a second - you work it out....

And here we all are, arguing about resources on Spaceship Earth. And now we even have an operating manual.

"So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth."

Friday, February 13, 2004

Greetings to all sentient life-forms

(and a particular big hug for Heather - I'll answer properly later - but thanks so much for remembering 'mi cumpleaƱos').

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Well, hell it's nearly my birthday, so I have been playing Bob Dylan and screaming along with it - can't help it - I know how many of my friends think it is a strange love - but he's always been there for me - stoned, tripping, happy, sad, travelling, falling in love, breaking-up, getting old - there he always is, still going through changes and taking notes.

He ain't my guru. I am not a Bobcat.

Just love those words, and the phrasing - "exercises in tonal breath control" like he said. I think of him like an actor - and mimic his delivery the way a lot of us attempt to reproduce favourite lines from movies.

I've seen (heard) him live a few times - and I was one of the 'jugglers and the clowns' replacing a support band in the foyer at Earls Court, London, for 6 nights only, back in (oh when was it?) 1978?

"This is a song about marriage"
"When it thus becomes clear that I own nothing,
not even what I have called myself,
it is as if, to use St.Paul's words,
I had nothing but possessed all things." Alan Watts

and why did Blogger's spell check want to replace St.Paul's with "stowaway" ?
Last year I collected quite a few unusual Jabba links. I was particularly touched by a birthday greeting on this Danish Star Wars fansite. I chatted briefly with Lars one time, when I was online with HR Nielsen, and he is one of the people behind that site.

The actual article (which HR kindly translated for me) was by Louise Alexandra Wiberg, who I am chatting to right now - as my birthday is coming around again - so there may be an update.

There is a link (and the translation) on one of my pages of interesting and unusual Jabba links here.
I picked up a Fuzzy Logic package at Falcon books (3 book deal) and have been enjoying them, though they are a bit 'enigmatic'. It was amusing to read - in Fuzzy Sets - that the author was bemused by the publisher's blurb on Cybernetic Conspiracy. He apparently had no idea it had anything to do with Leary's 4 Higher Circuits of the Brain! In fact, he admits he doesn't know what they are on about!

If you don't at all know what I am talking about (Fuzzy, not Leary!) - I found this in an FAQ:

"Fuzzy sets and logic must be viewed as a formal mathematical theory for the representation of uncertainty. Uncertainty is crucial for the management of real systems: if you had to park your car PRECISELY in one place, it would not be possible. Instead, you work within, say, 10 cm tolerances. The presence of uncertainty is the price you pay for handling a complex system.

Nevertheless, fuzzy logic is a mathematical formalism, and a membership grade is a precise number. What's crucial to realize is that fuzzy logic is a logic OF fuzziness, not a logic which is ITSELF fuzzy. But that's OK: just as the laws of probability are not random, so the laws of fuzziness are not vague."

And if you are wondering why I care, well, I have always had a problem with Aristotelean logic, and Either/Or thinking; Black/White; Good/Evil, etc - I always felt that it was an old-fashioned approach (even though my teachers would say "how can you challenge stuff we have used for 2000 years?" - and I would point out that Niels Bohr used the Taoist Yin-Yang symbol as a family crest, and famously mumbled when asked for precise answers about the weird world of quantum). Also I am fascinated by complex systems - so the emergence of this particular approach appealed to me, even if I don't entirely understand the technical side.

I like theMaybe Logic of Quantum more excluded middle! We want our grey areas! Bring back ambiguity and paradox!


Normal Service will be resumed as soon as possible....

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Not strictly magic (but I've never been strict about anything much!) this is an amazing site (and sight) - for something that makes the card 'castles' of my childhood into mere cottages...

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Well, gosh darn, I am nearly up to having my 1000th visitor, since records began, (last August) - I'd do some kind of reward or ceremony but I am anti-ritual, and tight-fisted, and (sulk) it's MY birthday coming up this weekend...

I can't help it that I was born on St Valentine's Day. It used to be a rather minor holiday when I was a kid, but capitalism and its desperation to sell things has boosted almost any excuse for shopping and parties - so I end up associated with lurve (yeeugh) red satin hearts (aaargh) chocolate (yech) puppies (aaaah) red balloons (?) - are those symbolic condoms? - and all the other dreary stuff that contrived holidays have these days - drinking too much (champagne, no doubt) - dressing up - scoring - it's so tiring.

Personally I'll be glad when it's over - and we all move on to - what is it? Pancakes? Whitsun (what the hell is that?) Easter (chocolate again, rabbits and torture).
My ISP is doing maintenance right now, so expect delays in response to emails.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Ah well - I had a great week off!

No need for holidays in foreign climes - I saw family and friends (old and new) and had a great week - back to the job - ¡MaƱana! - and on we go.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Sorry about the 'poor mouth' on Sunday - I could go back and delete it (I do occasionally rewrite history) - it happens that my opticians have reminded me I got all this stuff two years ago, anyway, and should re-test and get new ones, so I don't feel so bad at losing stuff...

It's been a great week - can't go into it now, but I saw my sister and my niece on Monday (in Reading), then caught Nicole and Volker from DSC in London (with John Coppinger) for a day out (including filming a clip for a vampire movie in an alley in Soho!). I was back here a couple of days, and then Julie and I went to see Judith in Somerset, sort out some computer stuff and walk along the beach with the dog, then go up to Bristol and see the fabulous Franki Anderson (last seen several years ago)and Ray and hear about some wonderful plans for putting together a Fool Space in Cornwall - and have a delicious meal. Isabella, too, was looking great...

What a fantastic week off!

Sunday, February 01, 2004

I am taking a few days off now - going to visit my sister; meet a couple of the people from the Dark Side Convention in London; hoping to get over to Somerset.

Had a bit of a wild night on Friday, straight from work, and have mislaid (or lost) my computer glasses (middle distance) so I can either peer at the screen without glasses, or sit so far away that my arms can hardly reach the keyboard, and the letters are too small. Hey ho. Another unexpected expense to blow my carefully balance budget (I am paying off the cost of this computer which has sat on my one and only credit card for far too long).

I only GOT the credit card to pay for the computer (and occasionally shop online) - I don't use it for anything else - I find debt scary. Perhaps I am the last of that older generation who paid in cash....and never bought things they couldn't afford.
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