I remember when my daddy gave me that gun. He told me that I should never point it at anything in the house. And that he'd rather I'd shoot at tin cans in the backyard, but he said that sooner or later he supposed the temptation to go after birds would be too much, and that I could shoot all the blue jays I wanted, if I could hit 'em, but to remember it was a sin to kill a mockingbird. Well, I reckon because mockingbirds don't do anything but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat people's gardens, don't nest in the corncrib, they don't do one thing but just sing their hearts out for us.
And here's the same image after my extension has created an all-text version (you might need to look at the enlarged image to actually see the text):
The script had a few fancy options, like being able to select different fonts and sizes, plus it could read huge amounts of text (say, if you wanted to paint a picture of Hunter S. Thompson with the words from Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas). It only took me an afternoon, and I was fairly pleased with how it worked.
Being one of those no-good Free Software types, I placed it on my old web site under a license known as the GPL, which gives anybody the right to use, distribute and modify the program, providing that they continue to allow access to the source code (and any changes they may have made). I added it to a website which lists various different additions for The Gimp, and promptly forgot about it.
Today, I was searching through Google, and came across a link to my code. Only it was on a different website from my old one. Curious, I started another Google search, looking for references to my program. It seems to have spread far and wide across the world. People have made additions and changes to my original work; updating it to work with the new version of The Gimp, and bundling it with a bunch of other programs and selling the collection on CD.
Scattered across the world, in thousands of different places, my name still resides in the source code. It'll remain there until the CDs biodegrade, roughly a hundred years from now. I'm not quite sure how to deal with that.
My final cheque from Chapel Hill arrived this morning, so I'm $600 richer today. After working it out, it seems like I left America $1,000 worse off, as I took $6,000 with me last August, and I now have roughly $5,000 in several different accounts on both sides of the Atlantic. Of course, I still have several thousand pounds of student loan debt from my time at Manchester, but let's not think about that, shall we?
Weather forecast for Saturday's barbeque: 22˚C and sunny. Come one, and come all…oh. Well, it did say earlier that it was going to be sunny. I promise. Still, 19˚C isn't too bad, I suppose.
Another trip to Oxford. Last time I went, they were digging up most of Cornmarket street. Obviously, they thought that this wasn't acceptable, so they've started work on the front of the Waterstone's bookshop as well. The jackhammers are a nice touch.
They say never judge a book by its cover. I am really bad at this, as I've bought many books simply because the cover caught my attention (Thomas Pynchon's V popped out of a bookshelf in Manchester one day, and I spent the next six months buying every one of his books). I'm also fascinated by changes in cover design when books are reprinted. Today in Oxford, I saw two horrible new book designs: The US edition of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay has a wonderful period cover, evoking the book's pulp comic themes. The UK version has a picture of a tied-up man. Even worse is the new printing of Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas. They've dropped the classic Ralph Steadman art and replaced it with a horrible late 1990's medicine bottle design. Ugh.
My feet and legs are now killing me. I'm still breaking in my new boots. Yes, for the first time in almost six years, I'm wearing boots that aren't black. They're a bit smaller than my old ones, so my leg muscles need some time to get used to the change. Ow ow ow…
It seems to be a staple of drama and film; a teacher with an unconventional method of teaching arrives in town, causing chaos in her or his wake. The students are inspired, but the parents and the rest of the teachers plot to remove the new teacher. Ultimately by the end of the film or episode, the teacher is run out of town, but the children Have Been Changed. Cue end credits.
Did anybody actually have a teacher like that? Is it more of an American culture difference? I have many teachers that I remember fondly, and yes, they were unconventional, but they stayed. The teachers that left after a term or so tended not to be very good. So I've never really understood film and television's obsession with this idea of a rogue teacher (okay, I understand to the point that it's a good way of creating conflict, and easy for a a TV show to cast the role for a one-off performance, rather than keeping the actor on the staff).
Happily, the episode in question did its best to make things as ambiguous as possible; the teacher turned out to have an outstanding arrest warrant for failure to pay alimony, and he ran away at the first hint of trouble. Hurrah for subtly subverting teen drama clichés!
(Oh, and the dance Claire Danes does in the middle of Why Can't Jordan Read? Simply magical.)
As you can imagine, I failed to remember these two important facts at Luke's barbeque tonight, and so I'm currently dripping onto my keyboard. Luckily, it was a lovely day today, so the rain was more cool and refreshing rather than "you will die of exposure before the third roundabout". And a Yay! for my Dad for making me a mug of hot chocolate when I finally stumbled in through the garage door.
Yes, it's barbeque season once more. This is the short period of time from June to August when you can sometimes safely cook outside for five hour periods without getting soaked. There are certain traditions about our barbeques. The first is that my friend Gavin always does the cooking. I'm not quite sure how it started, but none of us would even think about usurping his position (mainly because he's really good at it). Gavin has a tendency to cook everything in sight, so it's a wise idea to hide a few things to prevent him from cooking all the food in the first hour. The second tradition is that there is always, always too much food. At the end of the night, there's normally a plateful of sausages left uneaten (they're nasty things, so I understand why). The third tradition is that if the event is held at my house, then I am honour-bound to make my Mexican dish (Chorizo Enchiladas). Before I left for America last year, I gave the recipe to Gavin, only to be told "it's far too complicated. You have to make it." So in the next few weeks, it'll make a return, along with my experiments with Carolinian BBQ sauces. I'm calling Greenpeace and the EPA in advance, just in case something goes horribly wrong.
I think I've finally managed to settle on a script to concentrate on, so I'm working on that at the moment, inbetween cardboard sword fights with my sister. Important things first, you understand.
How sad am I? I see Peter Saville in the audience, and go "Ooh. It's Peter Saville!" When you've got to the point where you recognise record sleeve designers, do you have to admit that you have a problem?
But Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff told the three-judge panel that the Sixth Amendment right did not extend to questioning foreign enemy combatants held by the military overseas. Even if Moussaoui did have the right, he said, the request should be denied on national security grounds.Just so we're clear:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.Now, where does it say that national security means that the amendment doesn't apply? Yes, I know that in times of war, governments are allowed to get away with certain actions in the name of the national interest. But then, that allows things like this to happen. The law courts should not repeat the mistakes they made then.
It seems that now, after having got their way, they're talking more openly about why we attacked Iraq. Paul Wolfowitz is the Deputy Secretary of Defense, known as one of the leading hawks in the Bush Administration. His comments from a conference in Singapore at the weekend, on why North Korea is being treated differently than Iraq:
Let's look at it simply. The most important difference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil.That sound you hear is Tony Blair's quiet sobbing, as our trusted ally happily tears his arguments to shreds.
The US media may not pay too much attention to Wolfowitz's comments (I'm not there, so let me know if I'm wrong), but I guarantee that this'll be all over the British newspapers tomorrow. The Press is beginning to smell blood.
EDIT: This story is wrong. See the June 5th entry for an explanation.