"He should also realise that many of these pirate operations are linked to organised crime on a worldwide basis."

Coming up next week: Kim Howells describes how downloading music helps keep Long John Silver well-fed on the High Seas. Someone should really tell him how this Internet thingy works.

Our friendly fire alarm welcomed us back to Chapel Hill this morning. Next time, I will remember that although the dressing gown looks warm, the coat would probably be a better choice.

Back to work tomorrow. Sigh…

currently playing: Hole - It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue

No Retreat, No Surrender

Saturday morning finally catches up with me, and I awake to find myself sleeping in bed next to a girl.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning. The journey to Myrtle Beach was fairly uneventful, only almost losing control of the car once, and running one red light. We stop at a random Wendy’s, meeting three other car-loads of our group who also decided to stop there on a whim. We also have to stop to buy drinks, which is slightly more complicated than it sounds.

Apparently, North Carolina law prevents spirits above a certain strength from being sold in normal shops. Instead, this type of alcohol can only be bought from a state-run chain (ABC). This probably explains why Smirnoff Ice here is made with vodka flavouring instead of real vodka. Rishi and I are given the task of buying the alcohol, as we’re the only ones who are legally old enough. I should have realised there and then what sort of weekend this was going to be.

When we arrive at the hotel, about an hour from midnight, the drinking begins in earnest. Somehow, our room becomes the focus of the night activities. Everyone makes up for the reasonably late starting time by drinking as much as possible.

Maybe it’s just my lack of experience, but I don’t seem to remember drinking games being a big part of student life in Manchester. Most likely because we could all go out and get drunk without facing arrest. Unless you attempted to steal a traffic cone, but that’s another story for another time.

Anyway, people got very drunk, very quickly. I’m coaxed into joining a game called ‘Circle of Death’, during which I’m glad I mixed myself a rather weak drink. Then it’s ‘Have You Never Ever?’, which is a wonderful game for people looking to start a blackmail racket. By the time this ends, it’s almost four o’clock. We now have a few mean drunks, people being sick (in our bathroom. Oh, and in the bath as well. Nice), and a call from the front desk complaining about the noise.

At this point, it’s time to think about going to bed. That’s when things really start to fall apart. Some are locked out because the person with the key has already gone to sleep. Others go to their room only to find that some people have decided to use the room for…other activities. So at five in the morning, we have to come with a new sleeping plan that gives everyone a chance to sleep in a bed that hasn’t already been slept in. Space rapidly becomes short…

Which brings us to the start of today’s entry; for your benefit, I’ll skip the hour-long discussion searching for the meaning of life (thankfully it ended just before the sun came up). People start to wake-up around midday (as ever, I’m up much earlier than that), and we go to a local pancake house for breakfast.

A pancake house which has quotes from Numbers (1:1, if you’re interested) on their placemats. Still, nice pancakes.

Saturday seems to end quickly; a trip to a local mall and returning to watch the end of the UNC basketball game eats up the daylight hours. Dinner is at the Carolina Roadhouse, which is pleasant enough, and then the drinking begins again. This time, I’m cajoled into playing more of the games, but no-one watches me pour my drink, so I play just with Coke (yes, I’m boring. But I didn’t really fancy getting drunk. And this way, they don’t feel as if they’re leaving me out). This goes on until about two in the morning.

After again waking up before everybody else on Sunday morning, I decide it might be an idea to go to the beach. As it would be rather silly to drive for five hours and not actually see the sea. Stupid, stupid, stupid idea. So cold.

I wonder what the legal limits for drink-driving are in North/South Carolina. Because I’m sure that every driver taking the group back home would have been breaking the law back in Britain. Thankfully, everybody gets back safely. And we have Monday off, so we can use that time to recover.

It was a very short trip, especially as most of Saturday was spent waiting for everybody else to wake up. But I had a good time, and I now know everybody’s name. A few months late, of course, but better now than never.

And that, Class, was how I spent my weekend. What was your like?

currently playing: Kenickie - Can I Take U 2 The Cinema?

Beach Weather

Yes, it’s snowing. This could cause problems, as I’m sure you’ll understand. This could raise the weekend into Adventure status. Or we could get stranded and forced to eat other. If I’m not back by Sunday evening, round up the usual suspects…

currently playing: Velocette - Bitterscene

I Would Fix You

At this rate, you’ll have locked up all the celebrities by the time I get back. Excellent.

Spent the day listening to a sonic assault; Electrelane, A Silver Mt. Zion and Godspeed You Black Emperor! Music for planning mass invasions.

I wish I had something interesting to write for my third post of the day (make the most of it; I’m not taking my computer to South Carolina this weekend), but the most exciting thing to happen to me today was a visit to the Post Office (Bonnie, your package should arrive in 2-3 days). So there’s not a lot to talk about. Talk amongst yourselves for a while.

currently playing: The Flaming Lips - Take Meta Mars

Goodbye History

The Hobbit will never enter the public domain. Neither will Harry Potter. You are breaking the law every time you sing ‘Happy Birthday’ at a party.

The Supreme Court rejected the Eldred case by a margin of 7-2. Copyright, for the foreseeable future, is infinite. Personally, I think if this is going to be the case, then let’s make it retroactive. If Disney gets to own the rights to “Steamboat Willie” for all time, then the heirs of Hans Christian Andersen, Rudyard Kipling and the Brothers Grimm should be able to sue them for infringing upon the original stories; the descendants of the Brontë sisters should have rights to the profits of all the TV and film adaptions of their work over the past hundred years, and the distant relatives of Shakespeare should be able to sue everybody. It’s only fair.

The point of copyright law is that ideas cannot be owned by anyone. However, to promote learning in the Arts and Sciences, people are given exclusive rights to their creations, for a limited time. After this period has expired, the work enters the public domain. There it becomes part of the cultural fabric, able to be repeated, embellished, or reworked by society. Shakespeare isn’t an important part of Western culture because he was responsible for several good plays back in the 16th Century; it’s because those plays are still being performed today, and have been for the past several hundred years. Because they’re in the public domain. Because anyone can have access to them and perform them, without having to pay a tithe to a publisher.

Do you really think it is wise to leave our cultural history in the hands of corporations? The same corporations that have wiped influential parts of British TV history from existence, simply because they needed the space? The ones that deny access to 93% of the 37,000 films released between 1927-46? Or the ones that only keep 174 books in print out of the 10,027 released in 1930?

currently playing: A Silver Mt. Zion - Stumble Then Rise On Some Awkward Morning


Dumbledore lowered his hands and surveyed Harry through his half-moon glasses.

‘It is time,’ he said, ‘for me to tell you what I should have told you five years ago, Harry.

Please sit down. I am going to tell you everything.’

Smash The System

I received an email this morning from my MP (Tony Baldry). He agreed with my points, but said he was unaware that the Government was proposing an ID scheme at this time. I hope he read the news today.

Lots of people are being very negative about Marvel’s latest publicity campaign. Personally, I’m quite happy to see them expand, especially with what seems to be mostly new concepts (as far as the teaser images show). It’s also good to see that they’re still employing Gail Simone, as her removal from Agent-X seemed to defy all logic (sales up, critical success). It’ll be interesting to see if these new titles tie in with the latest Wal-Mart rumours.

Anybody know anything about X-Box development? My group might be using it to construct games for the blind. Does the fact that it’s PC based make it easy to develop for (just use DirectX as normal)?

Okay, now I’ve seen everything. Man vs. Beast. Can a group of midgets pull a jumbo jet further than an elephant? This Wednesday on Fox. Boggle.


currently playing: New Order - The Perfect Kiss

I Fought The Law (and The Law Changed)

Theft \Theft\, n. [OE. thefte, AS. [thorn]i[‘e]f[eth]e, [thorn][=y]f[eth]e, [thorn]e[‘o]f[eth]e. See Thief.] 1. (Law) The act of stealing; specifically, the felonious taking and removing of personal property, with an intent to deprive the rightful owner of the same; larceny.

Note: To constitute theft there must be a taking without the owner’s consent, and it must be unlawful or felonious; every part of the property stolen must be removed, however slightly, from its former position; and it must be, at least momentarily, in the complete possession of the thief. See Larceny, and the Note under Robbery.

Copyright infringement is not theft. That’s why we use a different phrase. To pick an example, completely at random, scanning a comic book, and placing it on the Internet is not theft. How can it be? The owner still has the comic. He is still breaking the law, as copyright rules prohibit such distribution without the agreement of the author, but it’s not theft.

Incidentally, I find it amusing that the comic in question has such a twisted copyright history. If Carl Henderson and/or the Kimota! book are to be believed, then one of the greatest works in the medium’s history is little more than fan-fiction. And we know how they feel about that, don’t we?

UPDATED: Richard seems to think I’m on shaky ground here. Read the comments to find out why.

currently playing: The Go-Betweens - Heart and Home

Stay The Course

Course changed. I’m now taking Technical Writing instead of Advanced Operating Systems. I also have an agreed plan for completing my compiler project. Yay for me.

Didn’t die. Felt stupid afterwards, of course.

Vote Lieberman! He’s a “different type of Democrat”. Yes, he’s the type of Democrat that makes you seriously think about voting for Bush. On the other hand, he’s got next to no chance of getting the nomination, as long as the Democrats maintain some semblance of sense during the primaries.

Did I mention I have a new office partner? His name is Nolan Walker. I know two things about him so far: he has a fluffy Cthulu toy on top of his computer, and he’s an anime fan.

No Buffy tomorrow. Grrr. It’s actually more frustrating watching it over here, as at least back home you’re guaranteed a new episode each week, rather than playing Re-run Roulette…

currently playing: Mint Royale - Don’t Falter

Never Trust A Squirrel

They’re still around. Waiting. Watching. Plotting. When their acorn supply is replenished, they’ll make their move. Prepare for the Grey Overlords.

Umm. Yes. Before I went insane, I did have something to say. But yet again, I seem to forget what. I remember! I’ve come to the conclusion that the former occupant of this room was a NRA Republican, that has a rather strange fetish for bed linen. I’m not making this up; every two days, I get another catalogue full of towels, mattresses, and blankets. It’s rather disturbing. What’s that? I need to get out more? Understood.

Trust me Matt, you will feel better in the morning. If not, just apply more until your body goes numb. That way you get the benefits with none of the downsides…

A busy day tomorrow. I’ve got to change a course, go to three different lectures, make an answer sheet for the first homework, attend the Writer’s Block meeting, and then make it back for a Floor meeting at 7:30pm. Should be fun.

currently playing: The Free Association - Pushin’ A Broom