Although Chapel Hill is a nice place any time of of year, it is just wonder as October turns to November. All the reds and golds of the leaves as Winter sets in!

(Incidentally, walking down Henderson is probably the best way of seeing lots of pretty bits, but have a car waiting for you at the bottom, as the return trip up the hill is a bit of a killer, especially when it's 70˚F outside…

Sticker Town

Chapel Hill does its bit to keep the sticker industry afloat,

4.19 kilogrammes of chocolate please!

Seen in one of the plane magazines yesterday - the world’s biggest bar of Nestlé Crunch?

Time for my Chapel Hill Comics advert once again. Well, I can’t help it if they had a sale on this weekend. Or that they had a Zenith book and Transformers UK: Space Pirates for $4 each, can I? They even offered to ship stuff home if I didn’t think I could fit it all in my suitcases. So, once more: the most friendly and helpful comic shop I’ve ever frequented. Go! Spend money there!

Today, then: walking, a bit more walking, and some more besides. During those long stretches of walking interspersed with a little sitting, I thought of some excellent bon mots for today’s entry. Obviously, I’ve forgotten all of them now.

Although, apparently, I have not done enough to get “does Chewbacca like Wookies?” into the English lexicon. I will try and rectify this in the next couple of weeks…

currently playing: Laura Nyro – Eli’s Comin’

Indeed, m'lord

It seemed incredible to the waiter that there should be anyone in England who could ask such a question, but he had already gathered that the lady was an American lady, and American ladies, he knew, are often ignorant of the fundamental facts of life. He had once met one who had wanted to know what a football pool was.

Ah, nothing like a bit of Wodehouse to accompany you on a visit to the colonies.

I’ve decided that I don’t particularly like airports. At least not these days. As you pass the security cordon, you’re constantly reminded that while you may be physically located in a country, you’re really Nowhere. This is a Nowhere where you’re constantly monitored, and despite what rights you may be able to avail yourself outside the sprawl of the airport, in Nowhere, you exist at their whim and discretion.

Note to the current fashion set: destroyed jeans. Okay, it’s your money, but, could you please make sure that you don’t buy jeans that have holes in the back pocket? It’s a little disconcerting, to say the least.

40,000 feet in the air; I’ve read my book, written my next review for Static (that, there, could be considered a plug. Not that I’ve written anything fantastic recently, although I am fond of the Tristan Prettyman review if you have a spare minute or two), played a game of Advance Wars, which was brought to a satisfactory conclusion with me routing the nefarious computer player’s forces, and now I’m just waiting around for the ‘light snack’ before landing. This is invariably a pizza. Still, it’s something I look forward to, as it appears to be a staple of the LGW/RDU flights, and even better, it is actually quite palatable. So there’s that, then two hours until Raleigh/Durham airport (the airport so nice they named it twice, perhaps). Perhaps some more cleaning the computer’s clock in the meantime.

Some time later

RDU may be an airport that only its mother could love, with illogical layouts and an amusing new police cordon to separate departures from arrivals whilst construction work goes on, but at RDU I haven’t yet been taken into a sealed room complete with armed guards and questioned at length. So hurrah to RDU, friends!

America Calling

Yes, it’s time As before, updates will probably be sporadic, but I hope to get a few pictures and things up during the trip.

In the meantime, you can read this interview with Lauren Laverne about her new breakfast show (starting Monday, fact fans!), or well, I guess you could get all Benjamin Rory Slade about matters, and go off and do something more interesting instead.

Don’t break the Internet while I’m gone!

currently playing: Hilary Duff – Wake Up

Good, Kid! But Don't Get Cocky

Well, the bad news is that after Harriet Miers’s withdrawal, the next candidate will probably be a die-hard strict-constitutionalist, but it has been fun watching the American Right beating itself up over the past month.

And! In other, less publicised news, the Democrats managed to score a victory last night, by convincing the Administration that they had the votes to overturn the President’s revoking of the Davis-Bacon Act in Katrina-affected areas (it sets minimum wages for construction workers among other things). Democrats getting their act together? Republican support diminishing? The possibility that indictments may go all the way up to the Vice-President?

Fun times. Mind you, they’re still here for another three years…

currently playing: A Certain Ratio – Won’t Stop Loving You (Bernard Sumner Remix)

By The Way (Record Labels Are Scum Edition)

According to the PopJustice forums, from November 7th, EMI will no longer be releasing CDs. Instead, all their new records will be released as “Copy Controlled” discs, which depart significantly from the CD Red Book standard, and as a bonus, install device drivers on your Windows PC without your consent to prevent ripping (if this was done by a random person off the street, this would be hacking and be subject to a custodial sentence; when a record company does it, it’s celebrated as a blow against piracy).

The current solution? The current protection schemes rely on the user running Windows, as dumb as that sounds (indeed, some CDs refuse to play back on anything less than full Administrator access, so they can install the anti-ripping device drivers). So, if you have a Mac or a Linux machine (even just a LiveCD will do), you can create a pristine digital copy with no fuss whatsoever. Of course, you’ll still technically be breaking the law in the UK, but I don’t think the music industry really wants to sue somebody who actually bought a copy of the CD (mind you, they’re crazy enough to try it).

currently playing: Handsomeboy Technique – Affections

ITN - Que?

“Will a contraceptive jab promote promiscuity?”

Note to the editors: this is not the 1960s. And just why is ITN’s ITV coverage slowly but surely morphing into the Daily Mail?

Remember, it’s not a scandal until someone tries to break into a building.

The oddest thing about next week’s release of Sally Cinnamon? Surely £7.99 is a bit steep, considering you can pick up a Stone Roses best of for about half that price in almost any of the floating HMV sales.

Yes, it’s a bits and pieces week, I’m afraid.

currently playing: Girls Aloud – Biology


Hurrah! (Just in time for that reasonably priced box-set, isn’t it?)

currently playing: Sophie Ellis Bexter – Get Over You

Through The Round Window

he accused leftwing critics of promoting "a version of the old levelling-down mentality that kept us in opposition for so long".

Yes, Tony, but it got them into the position of creating the Comprehensive system in the first place, didn’t it?

Once again, I must confess that I’m puzzled over Labour’s cry of “CHOICE, DAMMIT!” As far as I can imagine, parents don’t really want to choose their child’s school - they just want them to go to a good one. So, yes, being an evil left-wing pinko Communist here, but why not try and concentrate on improving the schools instead of the hand-waving of parental selection?

I’m also a little worried about the idea that the schools will be able to set their own curriculum. I’d like to know just how far schools will be allowed to go in this manner. In the worst case, we could, for example, end up seeing Stupid Idiots deciding to teach children fairy tales in lieu of actual science.

(and, if I am going all out, we should be reducing the number of faith schools, not increasing them. Despite going to a Roman Catholic primary school myself, I think that religious instruction should take place outside the school system.)

This has been an “okay, so you scrapped grant-maintained schools as soon as you got in, and now you’re bringing them back? Whatever…” post for the day.

currently playing: Madonna – Don’t Tell Me [Radio Edit]