This is a Rescue Mission

Unlike most people, I have something of a soft spot for Courtney Love, to the almost heretical point where I prefer Hole to Nirvana. So I speak from a position of concern: has she gone crazy? Getting arrested on a Virgin Atlantic flight, dressing up as Donald Duck, and of course the recent Q interview (I have links to scans of that, so consider yourself grateful that I spared you the trauma. It must have been an interesting art meeting — “Do you think we can get away with an 11pt Q there?” “Actually, I think you could get down to 10pt before all the copies are impounded under the Obscene Publications Act.”). Or is she just fishing for interest in her new album?

From the what-might-have-been department: character designs for Buffy: The Animated Series.

Couldn't face doing the marking tonight. It shouldn't be too bad though, as they only had four short questions to answer. Oh, and we had more snow this afternoon. I'd like the weather to decide on what season it is, and stick to it, thank you.

No decent films to watch this week. Or the week after, for that matter, but the University is showing a double-bill of Punch-Drunk Love and Breakfast At Tiffany's next Friday, so I'll probably be going along to that. I still have a lot of unwatched DVDs to get through, so I'll be doing that this weekend.

Oh, almost forgot. You need to see this: The Second Renaissance. It's about five minutes long, and at the end you'll be hoping that the robots kick Keanu into submission in this year's sequel...

currently playing: Slumber-Party - Fantasy

Your Inner Child Wants This

I just have to find a way to get it back to the UK. The planet mode is a little squarish, and it's only 13" tall. But! it's! Unicron!

currently playing: Beth Orton - I Wish I Never Saw The Sunshine

God's Cookies

Worship them from afar.

You know, I don't think that this is going to turn the French around, somehow.

Iraq is going to be liberated, by the United States and whoever wants to join us, whether we get the approbation of the U.N. or any other institution.
Of course, Perle isn't a member of the Bush Administration. He's just one of their top advisors. I hope that the press hound Ari Fleischer with this for the next few days. It's always entertaining to read his fumbled attempts to change the subject.

And before Co-lin Co-lin Co-lin Powell! delivers the evidence to the UN tomorrow, here's Chris Morris's take on the State of The Union.

currently playing: The Beat - Rankin’ Full Stop

Strapping C-4 To My Bridges

Silly temperatures again. 20˚C in February is not right. But it did bring back a ritual that I forgot to talk about last summer, so it’s not all bad.

The center of the UNC campus is affectionately known as the Pit; a lowered area that serves as both a meeting place and where the various societies pitch their recruiting tables. During the summer (and today, hence the point of this rambling), at around lunchtime, somebody would walk into the Pit and start shouting at the students. For extra bonus points, they'd be wearing an old-style sandwich advertising board with a Bible quote blazoned on both sides.

It's fairly typical stuff: "Welcome Jesus, or BURN in the Eternal Fires of HELL!" The students alternate between laughing at him (it's always a him) and picking his arguments to pieces. This once led to a fun discussion between one of the speakers and a about the impending war in Iraq; she was disputing his evidence, and he tried to dismiss her as one of those "fluffy do-nothing liberals". She pointed out that she was in the ROTC. He was a lot quieter after that exchange.

Welcome to Chapel Hill. Lone liberal town in North Carolina. All the stop signs around the campus have "BUSH" spray-painted beneath them; anti-war posters are everywhere. We're going to be first against the wall when The Department of Homeland Security calls people to account.

I really can't believe I forgot to press the lift button.

currently playing: Sleater-Kinney - You’re No Rock’n’Roll Fun

Calling Manchester

Anybody want to go to the Vinyl Exchange and get me this? I’ll give you a shiny gold star if you do.

currently playing: Mint Royale - From Rusholme With Love

Confessions of a Failed Shopper

I am hopeless when it comes to clothes shopping. There are many reasons for this, including a hesitation to spend what seems like an extortionate amount of money for a piece of fabric, a general lack of dress sense, and logos.

I justify the logo problem by pointing out that I've already given the money for the item; I'm not required to become a walking advertising hoarding for them. Truthfully though, it's more of a desire to prevent everyone from calling me a hypocrite. I've read No Logo, abhor the trading practices that go on in the Free Trade Areas and so on, but I still buy my clothes from the evil multinational corporations. Not until they're on sale, but that doesn't make me feel any less guilty. As you can see, I can manage to make something as simple as buying a new pair of trousers a stressful experience.

Anyway, today (after spending some time in Durham) I decided that I probably needed a pair of trousers that weren't jeans, so I trundled around the clothes shops, looking for something reasonable. Things that struck me on this journey:

  • Being able to identify Sixpence None The Richer's "Kiss Me" from three notes being played on pan pipes is incredibly sad.
  • It's a good thing Dad stopped fixing TVs. I don't know how he'd react to a combination TV/VCR/DVD.
  • Are you sure that Vintage Wash isn't just a euphemism for "The Chinese workers wanted an extra 2c/hour to iron these"?
  • The mall seems to play nothing but an 80s compilation on a loop. It's an interesting way of highlighting how the UK and US treat music differently; you'd be hard pressed to find a UK compilation that plays The Clash's "Train In Vain" and follows it with Swing Out Sister's "Breakout". I'm not complaining — I just found it a little odd.
Eventually, JC Penney comes to my rescue, and I find a pair of trousers. I then spend five or so minutes hunting through them to get something that'll actually fit me. I can't see myself growing into a 52in waist, for example. Yet. Success! And no logo to speak of, so I can hide in public.

The current poster for Finding Nemo is fantastic. There isn't enough footnote-related comedy in the movie poster industry, in my opinion*.

*Footnotes are great**

**Especially nested ones***

***Yes, I read YS when I was little. Why do you ask?

currently playing: Madonna - Borderline

This City For Rent

If you’ve ever wondered what a city would look like ten years after a neutron bomb detonation, then I highly recommend downtown Durham. There’s nothing there except for a huge cigarette factory and blocks upon blocks of empty shops; boarded up with “This Space For Rent” signs. A faded hoarding with “F. W. Woolworth” burnt into the wood betrays just how long the centre has been in this situation. The DATA bus shelter is filled with dusty, dirty, and rusty buses; fatigued metal screams in pain as they pull away from the station.

After an hour of wandering, I stumble across Brightleaf Square, seemingly the only remaining retail operation left in the downtown area. It appears to be modelled on Boston's Quincy Market, but is less than a tenth of the size. A few restaurants, a small music shop, and many boarded-up failures.

I leave completely disspirited; I've never seen a city in such a state like this before. I wasn't expecting New York, San Francisco, or even Oxford, but I thought there would be something, if only a shop or two.

Travelling back, I decide to go the Southpoint Mall again. On the way, the bus passes the South Square Mall. When I arrived in August, it was having trouble competing with the two new shopping centres that had opened; now it's completely closed, and a wrecking crew is turning it into scrap. The inside of the mall is completely exposed; a pile of metal girders is growing next to the abandoned car park.

I hope Raleigh is slightly healthier.

currently playing: Saint Etienne - Finisterre


Two things left over from last night’s Address:

Hitlerism. An intriguing choice of word. Those nasty Germans can never be trusted, can they? So let's ignore their little objections to the USA/UK razing party.

Scariest moment: the cheering and applause when Bush put on his best "hard man" stance and said:

And many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way: They are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies.

But enough of that. I've been checking the access logs, and I want to know who is ending up on this site after doing a search for "Denise Richards bond mpeg". I'm not sure what's scarier: that somebody is looking, or that Google thought that this website would help them.

I should remember to read the menu properly before I order. That way, I might not be confronted with a double burger containing a pound of beef, plus a huge mound of waffle fries dripping in some strange cheese sauce. Yikes.

After finally reading Stormwatch: Force of Nature, I must say that I prefer it to The Authority. It's interesting to see Ellis changing his style as the book goes on, from the over-captioned first few issues, to the beginnings of the cinematic style that he currently uses.

Oooh. Shiny.

currently playing: Kenickie - J.P.

Chocolate Teapots and Air Miles

I have 10,600 air miles. Unfortunately, you need to have 25,000 to even think about using them.

Which means I won't be flying to Washington. But! But! There's an Amtrak station in Durham, so I can ride by train. Yes, it's a five hour trip; but I've always wanted to travel across America by rail. I'm slightly insane, but you knew that anyway...

I'm off to watch the State of The Union address. I need a good laugh.

Oh no. Ashcroft is the guy left behind. There's just no end to their evil. Even the Mayor would make a fairer President.

Hey boy...Hey ....Superstar Bush....Here We Go!

Soft-pitching it, I see: "we going to cut taxes, improve the economy, help fight the world's diseases...AND KICK THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS OUT OF IRAQ!"

Has any President ever said "Actually, the state of the union is pretty ropey, and I'm really sorry about that" ?

The Departmeant of Homeland Security is mobilising. Excellent news. I take it that they've got the brown shirts ready, then? And the fancy helmets.

BWHAHAHAHAHA! "Our economy is improving"

It's back to trickle-down economics everybody. Because they worked so well in the 1980s, didn't they? They didn't saddle America with trillion-dollar levels of debt, oh no.

At the rate he's giving money back, shouldn't they just stop bothering to collect income tax? It'd be a lot easier.

People are crying.


Um, explain why taxes on shares are unfair. Saying it in a silly voice doesn't make it true, you know.

Bueller? Bueller?

Okay, so Federal spending shouldn't rise above 4% each year. How's that going to play with a rather expensive fight in the Middle East.

Yay for the gutting of Social Security!

He's suggesting a National Health Service! High quality health for everybody! Oh no, he's against a nationalised service. To the end of my days, I will never understand why this country does not have a proper health system.

Energy independence! Gee, George, if you're so keen on the environment, why did you refuse to sign Kyoto?

$1.2 billion for hydrogen cars? Not bad.

Satanists for the homeless!

Well, that's just alienated all the non-Christians...

Roe vs. Wade? Its days are numbered.

Now for the fun part. Abroad! Confound the desires of evil men! Do you think he's going to...HANG ON! The problem with the lack of AIDS drugs in Africa is because the multinational companies charge extortionate prices for them, and the US is the major opponent of the compulsory patent licensing schemes that the Third World countries are turning towards.

Confronting EVIL! EVIL! EVIL!

We're winning! Yay! er...where's Osama? How come Kabul is the only Government-controlled area of Afghanistan? YEMEN! But we've killed some people, so YAY! CLAP!

American Justice! Where they put you in a prison without charge or trial? Or is that not what you meant?

Star Wars. Please. No. Make it stop. Look - missile-based interceptors just WILL NOT WORK. If the enemy has any sense, they will send enough decoys with the real missiles to render a missile shield useless...

Neverending WAR! Excellent news.

But, George, what about those nations that already have weapons of mass destruction? And let's be fair, didn't Russia and America bully each other during the Cold War?

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAA! He's just described American foreign policy for the past fifty years. Didn't they install most of those generals and dictators?

He's going to do it for us, you know. I'm so grateful.

No-one else is allowed nuclear weapons. Sorry about that. Or do free nations get a pass...hold on...he's just said that they'll go it alone if necessary...oh dear...anyway, if Iraq was to say, hold a democratic free vote, and Saddam just happened to win, does that mean that they could have their nuclear programme?

STOP HITTING ON IRAN, OKAY? They're making progress, and every time you open your mouth it sets the progressive movements there back six months. And, wasn't Iran democratic before you toppled the regime and installed the Shah? Oh, yes it was.

Got that? You're not allowed nuclear ambitions. The club has closed. In the immortal words of Minnie Driver: "Y'can't come in."

And spies, George. Let's not forget the spies that were on that inspection team...

Iraq has no military capability, George. You know this. You know that one aircraft carrier in the Gulf could take out most of the Iraqi army. But scare stories. But what you're not saying is that most UN Inspectors don't believe that the chemical weapons that Iraq possessed could be viable after twelve years. BUT THEY DIDN'T GET THE URANIUM! That was the point of the British evidence! If if they were after that, then their weapons programmes weren't going according to plan, were they?

Do you have the slightest shred of evidence to back up these claims of scientist intimidation?

What? Saddam Hussein is not insane. If he was stupid enough to attack Israel, they would respond with their (illegally developed, but we'll let that pass) nuclear arsenal. If he attempted to use them on American troops, the NATO Doctrine would turn Iraq into a nuclear wasteland. I don't think he's the type to commit suicide.

This dictator, who is assembling the world's most dangerous weapons, has already used them on whole villages - leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind, or disfigured. Iraqi refugees tell us how forced confessions are obtained - by torturing children while their parents are made to watch. International human rights groups have catalogued other methods used in the torture chambers of Iraq: electric shock, burning with hot irons, dripping acid on the skin, mutilation with electric drills, cutting out tongues, and rape.

Of course all this went on in the 1980s, when Iraq was funded with American money of course, but we'll skip over that, shall we?

Your enemy is not surrounding your country - your enemy is ruling your country. And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation.

Rise up! This time we promise we won't wimp out on you! Honest!

We have a new deadline. February 5th, people!

currently playing: The Beat - Sole Salvation

That's a Nice Shade of Red

Yesterday I managed to watch part of the Superbowl, slice my thumb open, and take a starring role in a short film. You would have thought that after spending the last few weeks complaining that I don’t have anything to write about, Sunday’s blog entry would be very exciting. Which is why I didn’t write one. Have to keep you guessing. Okay, it could also be because of my incompetence. I leave it up you to choose which one is more likely.

For all the vaunted usability of the iBook, I can tell you that fitting extra memory into it is a maddening experience. The manual tells you to insert the card at a 30˚ angle, but neglects to point out that you can't do this in the way that looks obvious. That was fun. As was assembling the machine after thinking I'd got the chip in correctly, booting up, and finding that I hadn't done it right. You have to go through several layers of metal to get at the memory slot (it's my own fault for having an AirPort card, I suppose), which became extremely irritating after the fourth attempt at installing the chip.

Nevertheless, it's in, it works, and now my laptop has more memory than the main computer (640MB vs. 384MB). Fear my l33t skills.

I wouldn't say that it's a cut. More of a deep gash. Mach 3 blades — they're quite sharp. A question to the chemists out there: when I went to the pharmacy, the shopkeeper recommended I use hydrogen peroxide. Is this normal? It scared me, so I just went for the safer antiseptic cream option. I didn't want a blonde thumb.

My film debut was a rather embarrassing affair. Rishi had an assignment due today for one of his classes, and in a moment of inspiration, he decided to make a movie instead of writing a paper. It was supposedly a recreation of a childhood fable told to Rishi and his friend when they were eight. Obviously, this meant that Rishi and Ludovic were played by the two grad students. A complete shambles, yes, but it was fairly good fun. Although I refuse to watch the finished film...

currently playing: The Flaming Lips - The Gash