Armageddon Time

I feel somewhat responsible for the position the INS has found itself in. I know that somewhere within the mound of 800,000 change of address cards, there’s one written hesitantly in blue ink. I wonder when they stopped caring about the original 1952 law.

The report from the International Institute for Strategic Studies seems to be slightly exaggerated in today’s press cycle. Iraq could make nuclear weapons if it had enriched uranium or plutonium? Isn’t that like saying if I had a million dollars, I’d be a millionaire? The detail that the report seems to omit is that the technology for the original atom bomb is almost seventy years old; any competent Physics A-Level student can tell you how such a bomb works, and how to make a crude version, equivalent to about 15-20,000 tons of TNT. The hardest part is getting hold of the radioactive material, and the report says that they don’t have any, and haven’t had much success in finding sources. As a validation of America and Britain’s hawkish stance, the report comes up fairly short.
While I accept that, yes, Saddam Hussein is guilty of severe repression and genocide, and I’d love to see him share a cell in The Hague with Slobodan Milosevic, is it worth turning the entire Middle East into a bloodbath to get him? Will the people of Iraq thank the West for deposing Saddam, or will it generate even more resentment? What happens if democratic elections vote Saddam’s party back into power? Would the Allies accept that? At the moment, the American and UK governments keep on saying that Saddam must be stopped. But, apart from razing Iraq to the ground, they don’t seem to have much of a plan for Iraq’s future.

Every now and again, I seem to be afflicted by grand visions of things I could be doing. As some of my friends will testify, most of these come to nothing (although sitting here 3,000 miles from home suggests that not all of them are idle dreams), and I move on to the next daydream. My current obsession is a huge comic epic, a trilogy of stories spanning a hundred years of life in New York. I Am Not Sane. Each story will focus on a specific era; the first is a tale of rigged boxing matches, chloroform attacks, Bowery boys, and a chase across the old Elevated Line. The second story will be set in the 1950s or 60s; political intrigue aginst the backdrop of Robert Moses’s ruthless remoulding of the city, and the final story, set in 1971, involves a jail break at Sing-Sing, a jewel heist, and inventive uses for a TV antenna. Look for the advert in Diamond’s catalogue in early 2003. I’m being secretly ironic, of course.

Scarily, the John Cusack for President campaign may just have a point. His defence of his new film, which follows the early life of Hitler, is eloquent and forceful. I’ll try and catch this film when it goes on general release next year.

73%

Okay, I admit that deciding to recode half of the server this afternoon wasn’t the smartest move I’ve ever made, but I didn’t like the way it was transferring files in one big gulp. Four hours later, and it’s streaming a 300Mb file with no trouble. Still, I imagine they’ll find lots of ways to break it.

I have drunk almost 4 quarts of Kool-Aid this weekend. This scares me a little. At this rate, I’ll need to buy more sugar this week.

Finished off this evening by watching Rififi. They weren’t joking about the 15-minute silent sequence. Pretty good, although it seemed to cause my DVD player no end of trouble, jerking all over the place. More DVDs to come soon; I’m posting Rififi and Notorious in the post tomorrow.

I did intend to write more today, but I’m feeling tired, and McCoy is about to get going, so I’ll leave it for tomorrow.

currently playing: The Stone Roses - Fools Gold

Another fun Saturday

Again, not much to write about. I spent all day working on my web client. Which is now working. Yay for that. I also managed to get mp1e to record some video to the hard disk, so once the gatos people apply the patches that will prevent Linux from crashing every one in ten times I try to capture video, it should be ready for the fall TV schedules.

Stress Testing

There are times when I hate programming. Normally, these times occur when I’m three days away from a deadline, using a primitive language that I’ve barely touched for three years, and running out of inspiration. Welcome to Hell. It seems I managed to waste eight hours of work today; I spent the morning and afternoon grinding away at the web server, getting more and more desperate as time drew on. Nothing was working. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t belong here. How on earth did they ever decide I was good enough to be here? Anyway, one two-hour break later, and I solve most of the problems in under an hour. At the moment, I’m stress-testing the server by sending an infinite series of requests. It’s been running for about ten minutes, over 10000 connections, and it’s still going. Of course, it’s killing my computer at the moment, but that’s to be expected. Now all I have to figure out is getting the client to work. The chances of me venturing outside this weekend are very remote…

currently playing: Idlewild - American English

The Path From Manchester to Chapel Hill

In a strange twist, I found myself helping my professor design a course for a year at Manchester today. Turns out that they have a Study Abroad student going over there next semester. They’ve added a few new courses, it seems, and bumped the C course into the second year, which seems rather strange. Everything else seemed the same. I hope the student has fun writing their OpenGL solar system simulator. I also found out that it was probably Roger Hubbold who left the UNC-Chapel Hill cards out on the noticeboard, which eventually brought me to where I’m sitting now. The Applications course seems forgivable now…

Busy day today. Firstly, lots of students wanted to have their grades changed. In most cases, it was because I was an Idiot, and failed to notice that they had done something when I thought they hadn’t, for which I apologise. Still, out of fifty or so papers, I don’t think I did too badly, and I shall be more attentive next time.

After that, and one of those lecture-things that seem to get in the way (Fourier Transforms are just a matrix operation? Hell, even I can manage that), I finally made it to the comic shop, for this week’s delayed comics. They had only received a partial shipment, so I’ll have to pick up the rest next week. It’s not a bad little shop - it’s smaller than Comic Showcase in Oxford, but the staff are much friendlier. They also have a bigger graphic novel section, which is very good news. However, it’s still a comic shop; they’ve infuriatingly arranged the graphic novels by title, rather than author. making it very hard to navigate. And they didn’t have a copy of Kill Your Boyfriend, so it looks like eBay is my only hope. I did managed to find one of the out-of-print Quantum & Woody books though, so it wasn’t a total waste of a trip.

Finally, I decided to go shopping today rather than tomorrow, to give myself more time to work on the web server project that has to be in by Monday (shivers). Throwing caution to the wind, I made it as far as the frozen section this time. I now have little cheese things with bits of meat in them. How exciting. I finally broke down and bought some Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate as well. Begone, foul American chocolate!!

currently playing: Saint Etienne - Stoned To Say The Least

A Hidden Agenda

I’m certain that everytime the BBC Website has a story about George Bush or Donald Rumsfield, they go that extra mile to get a silly picture.

Yes, it’s true; my conversion to a full-fledged hermit took a massive step backwards last night. I went out with Ritchie, Sonal, Pylin, and Shelley to Henry’s, where the International students all go on Tuesdays. Good fun, although I think I need to take a crash course on how bartender-tipping works before I go back. Do I need to give him/her a dollar everytime I get a drink?

My web server now responds to Mozilla! It sends the requested file back! It also has no idea what it’s doing, so it’s almsot as insecure as IIS! But the spec doesn’t say it has to be secure, does it? It balances out the awful Compilers work I’m going to turn in tomorrow. I found I just couldn’t write more than two pages, and that was after spending five or so hours thinking about it. Hmph.

Bonnie - how did your first day back at school go? I hear you’re being a slacker this year :-). Hope it went well.

Double Indemnity arrived today, so I now have my first three films from Netflix. I’m planning on watching the first on Friday night. Should be fun….


currently playing: Tori Amos - Do It Again

My first telemarketer!

I feel so honoured…

currently playing: Beth Orton - Thinking About Tomorrow

Elizabeth Dole Will Defend Our 2nd Amendment Rights!

I do wish she’d stop sending me letters. Firstly, it’s not as if I can vote, and secondly, just even holding a picture of her hugging George W. Bush makes me feel slightly ill. Hopefully, they’ll stop after the election. Oh. It’s only the primary in September. Silly me.

My frirst Amazon survival package arrived today, containing more books than I have space for, and the uncut version of Leon (including Mathilda’s first assassination. Pre-teenage Killer goodness). Plus, the first DVDs from Netflix arrived. Now all I have to do is find the time to read/watch them all.

Fight! Fight! Actually, it does seem as if they’re asking for quite a bit of money, but I imagine Labour will not want to get in a position where the papers can cry out about a ‘Winter of Discontent’. On the other hand, that sort of payrise would put a significant hole in Gordon Brown’s spending plans, especially when all the other public sectors decide that if the firemen can get away with it, they might as try and see what they can get.

Two fun Slashdot stories. The first brings up the hope of Ogg support in Apple’s iPod soon, while the other one is a fun vision of the future that Microsoft and the RIAA/MPAA would like to have. Let’s not let it happen.


currently playing: Charlie’s Angels - Never Gonna Happen To Me

An unforeseen problem

It’s been pretty dark and dismal here for the past few days, so I’ve been locked away in my room, working away on my various assignments. Today, the weather has changed somewhat - brilliant sunhine is now coming thorugh my window. Which would be nice, but it completely obliterates my view of the computer monitor. After fiddling with the blinds for about ten minutes, I managed to get a nice interference pattern, but still couldn’t see the screen properly. The weather is telling me to Stop. So I’m on a break.

Okay, so I know they’re not going to be reading this, but congratulations to Roy and Rosie, two friends from back home, who have just got engaged. Yay!

Blog entries are a bit short at the moment, mainly because I’ve been locked in my room. Things should get a bit longer from tomorrow…

currently playing: Sugarbabes - Overload

Marking Woes

Marking is hell. I have tremendous respect for teachers who have to live with it everyday. When they’ve done everything right, it’s simple; you just check off all the little boxes, and move on. When they get something wrong, you have to gaze at their code for several minutes, and work out just why their code doesn’t terminate and prints infinite amounts of ?s onto the screen. I hope people will find my comments helpful.

Now this is interesting. I don’t have my copy of The Nation’s Favourite with me at the moment, but I’m fairly sure that she’s beginning to approach the audience levels that Mark & Lard were attracting. Yet she gets a £333,000-a-year deal for the next three years? Let’s hope that Mr. Parfitt’s tenure at Radio 1 is coming to an end; he’s managed to undo most of the work that Mattthew Bannister did to rescue the station back in 1994. And no, I’m accepting 1Xtra or 6Music as an excuse, excellent as they are.

currently playing: The Magnetic Fields - I’m Sorry I Love You