With great power comes great responsibility.

Listen, children: HTML posting is now enabled. Play nice.

Already starting to get worried about the new Bond film. Bond seems to have gained a sidekick. And this news doesn’t help matters. Let’s hope that Berry manages to act a little better than she did in X-Men.

Usual fun with the computer this morning - it decided that resetting at random intervals was a good idea. I felt otherwise, so I took it apart again this afternoon. Turns out the motherboard power connector wasn’t securely in place, so the power kept disappearing. The reset button was wired in the wrong place as well, but I’m not sure if that was contributing to the problem. It seems to be okay at the moment, and my CD-R driver is working again. I’m getting the duct tape out for the next major emergency…

Really, really, really hating the Mutant Enemy team. Still.

At last the major media begins to realise what the Homeland Security Bill is about. Why certainly, I trust one of the major players of Iran-Contra with an extensive database of information on everybody in the United States of America. You’d have to be some sort of Islamic Liberal Communist Terrorist to think otherwise. REX84! REX84!

currently playing: Call and Response - Rollerskate

It's Christmas!

All the malls are covered with Christmas decorations, so it must be true. I’ll be breaking out Fairytale of New York shortly. By the time I leave, the floor will understand that it is the greatest Christmas song of all time. Or they have smashed my speakers and taken a high-power electromagnet to my hard drives. I’m willing to undertake this sacrifice to educate America.

I have a great idea for a TV credits sequence. It’s the inverse of the current trend of just have a ten/fifteen second stab of music and titles. We play The Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again. For all nine minutes. Now, tell me that wouldn’t be cool…

My CD-R drive seems to be broken. It was working fine on Sunday, but now refuses to write anything. Obviously, fixing Windows 2000 was just too much for it to handle.

currently playing: Ze Malibu Kids - I Won’t Forget You

Back In Britain

Just to show that I’m keeping up with the important events in British life, I’ve been looking over Radio 2’s Top 100 Number 1 singles list from the weekend. If nothing else, it’s an excellent way of revealing the average age of the Radio 2 listener (skewing to 35+, judging by the lack of records from 1985 onwards). I can get behind most of the Top Ten, although I will never understand the love of the po-faced, cod-operatic tedium that is Bohemian Rhapsody. I’d rather listen to Abba.

I’d just like to point out I hate Joss Whedon and the entire Mutant Enemy team. HAAAATTTTTE.

Anyway, where was I? Oh. Right. This chart was compiled to celebrate 50 years of the British charts, and they’ve created a website which has a list of all the top singles from 1952 onwards. The scary thing is that I can remember every Number One from the start of 1987. Whether I saw it on Top of The Pops, got up early to watch the group appear on Going Live/8:15 From Manchester, spent Sunday afternoon hoping that a song I want to tape comes on the chart before my parents come back from the hospital, or something else, there’s a memory associated with each song. I am a Child of Pop.

currently playing: The Kinks - Waterloo Sunset

Weapon of Choice

God walks tall and carries an AK-47. Personally, I think that the Allah figure is the best, but you have to respect any toy line that packages Pope John Paul II with a Walther PPK.

Back to comics: the Diamond shipping list for this week indicates that after two years of waiting, The Invisible Kingdom is finally shipping this week, meaning that all of The Invisibles is now back in print. Hopefully, the rumours that this new collection corrects script and art errors in the original run are true. Now, if DC would just get around to reprinting Kill Your Boyfriend…

The new Sigur Ros album is quite a disappointment. It’s not bad, it’s not good. It just lingers anonymously in the background. After half-an-hour, I had to check that Rhythmbox had actually moved to another track (all the songs are untitled). Not a good sign.

Dancing Into The Supercontext

Thankfully, the hall wasn’t destroyed by a rogue helicopter gunship yesterday; it was just a pre-game show.

I can’t help feeling that I’ve somewhat wasted this weekend I’ve done several little jobs that needed to be seen to (the new power supply is installed, I’ve got Windows 2000 working again, and I’ve encoded the Firefly premiere for Bonnie), but I don’t seem to have spent much time on my work. However, I’ve finished the marking for the latest assignment, so I can rest easy for about a week or so on that front.

Some comic news that might interest a few of you: there’s going to be a new Authority on-going series starting up next year, so you’ll be able to get your fix of the old ultra-violence after you’ve finished reading the trade paperbacks. I’m more interested in the return of Transformers: UK myself, but then I’m slightly strange.

You would think that having not written anything since Wednesday, I’d have something to write about today, wouldn’t you? I hope nobody is expecting me to have lots of interesting anecdotes to tell when I get back for Christmas, as you’ll be extremely disappointed. Unless, of course, you somehow find a discussion of Chapel Hill’s public transport system inherently fascinating. I thought not. As a last resort, I can freestyle on Disney’s current obsession with making inferior sequels to classic animated films (does the world need The Jungle Book II? or The Little Mermaid III: This Time Sebastian Gets His?), but that normally ends with me in a rage over their pillaging of the public domain and a scathing attack on current copyright laws. You’d best hope that I get out sometime between now and December, to be honest….

currently playing: Mika Bomb - Love Factor Five

Black Science

An Apache helicopter has just flown past my room. Should I be scared?

One day, Ian went to the airport...

It was going so well. I had managed to get to the airport, get my tickets changed, and was about to head back to Chapel Hill.

I’m sorry, we don’t do transfers anymore

According to the website, you were able to get on at the airport, pay there, and not have to pay when you got on the bus to Chapel Hill. Now this wouldn’t normally be a problem; I carry enough money to pay for a bus fare. Except that for some reason, all the buses only take exact change and I only had a $20 note.

Which left me stranded in the middle of the Research Triangle Park. I set off to find somewhere to get some change. It turns out that the Park is a really bad place to attempt this. Nothing. No, wait, there was an abandoned cafe, which looked as if it had been vacant for at least six months. I did think about locating the RedHat building and throwing myself at their mercy, but thought it probably wasn’t the best of ideas. Which left me with one option: walk to Durham.

Americans do not believe in paving either side of a major road. I was unfortunately on the wrong side of the road, and the prospect of crossing a busy four-lane highway didn’t really appeal to me that much. Mind you, going across the Interstate bridge by walking on the road part didn’t either, but I had no choice in that. And then, just for giggles, it started to rain.

An hour later, I made it to the Durham city limits (incidentally, I passed the hotel that we stayed in back in August), and dove into the first fast-food outlet that presented itself. Then all I had to do was buy enough food to get me single dollar bills. This sounds easy, but sales tax meant I had to visit the counter twice before I had what I needed. Then all I had to do was find a bus stop, wait twenty minutes for a bus to sharply brake in front of me, and I was on the way back to Chapel Hill.

Today’s lessons: always carry plenty of change. And never trust the Internet…

Unite or Die!

I’m guessing that most people will be going for the latter. The stupid thing is that they could have avoided all this if they had made it a free vote, rather than sending out the three-line whip. Given that there was no way of overcoming the Labour majority, what was the point of making such a fuss? Bring on the Liberal Democrats.

I’m in a political mood today, due to the mid-term elections, and that it’s likely that I’m going to wake up tomorrow with Elizabeth Dole as a Senator. Florida still has the discredited list of 91,000 people ineligible to vote in effect, so it’ll be interesting to see how close the Governor race is after the count. Oh God. She’s won already.

Well, I’m depressed now. If I wake up to find that Bush controls the Senate, I will be inconsolable. As will the rest of the free world, I suppose.

Tomorrow is Adventure Day! I will be heading off to Raleigh/Durham airport to try and sort out my ticket for the flight home at Christmas. In theory, it should be a straightforward trip. Which means it’ll probably take me most of the day, if I’m lucky. I’ll try and remember to take my camera so you can track me getting increasingly lost throughout the day.

I will not stay up and watch the election returns. I will not stay up and watch the election returns. I will not stay up and watch the election returns…

"I need a hacksaw."

You know, I might just have to seek out the first season of 24, if it’s as good as the second season opener. Senseless violence ahoy!

Well, everybody got their mid-terms back, and I wasn’t mobbed. That’s probably because they did better on this test than they did in the class test (well, either they got better, or I’m a more lenient marker than the Professor). Of course, there’s still tomorrow’s office hours to get through.

I made a few changes to the website over the weekend. As I finished The Power Broker over three weeks ago, I thought it was about time to change the “currently reading” section (although I finished High Society this afternoon, so I’ll have to update it again shortly). I’ve also added some permanent links on the right-hand side to blog entries that I like. I might get around to upgrading to the new version of MovableType sometime, but I know it’ll break about six different things, so I’ll leave that to a time when I’m not quite so busy (currently looking at a 2004 date).

Someone just knocked on my door wanting to make sure that I voted tomorrow. Well, they said that the Democrats would be trying hard to get people out to the voting stations. 47-40 Dole at the moment, but that poll has a 5% margin of error…

The Mormons want to send me a video called ‘Together Forever’. They scare me.

Music Mining

I know it wasn’t very fashionable to like them even during the height of Britpop, but Sleeper’s ‘Stop Your Crying’ is quite enjoyable. It’s being played through Rhythmbox, a new music jukebox application for GNOME. To say that it borrows from iTunes is an understatement - it’s more like a daylight heist. A lot of things aren’t working properly yet (while you can rate songs, you can’t do the sort of tricks with them that iTunes allows), but it’s coming along fast. Having access to all 3,500-plus songs without having to spend ages manually building a playlist changes the way you listen to your music collection somewhat. You discover forgotten gems, as well as some songs that deserve to remain hidden (did I really buy a Candyskins single?). Much better than having to switch between the limited number of CDs that you can fit inside a multi-disk player. Obviously, this behaviour is un-American, and must be outlawed.

Finally finished marking the midterms, so I can hand them back tomorrow. At which point I’ll probably be mobbed by students wanting to challenge their grades. Remember the start of Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade? I expect that on Tuesday morning…

One month and fourteen days until I come home. I suppose I’ll have to start thinking about Christmas presents. Anybody have any specific requests?

currently playing: Billy Bragg - A New England