The best of intentions

On paper, it seems a great idea to stick 12,000 students in one place in order for them to bond. In practice, it normally only helps to depress the lonely students even more. The new people showing up are heavily outnumbered by the second, third, and fourth years, plus the returning graduate schools. As you walk down the shut-off South Street, all you can see is multiple groups of people, laughing and joking, as you drink your free bottle of water alone. However, at times, you get a glimpse at another solitary person, seemingly looking as miserable as you. For true Billy-No-Mates points, you must not speak to these people. Ever. To do so would disrupt the Universe itself.

The traditional method of overcoming this difficulty, favoured by eight of ten Manchester freshers, is to drink copious amounts of alcohol, babble incoherently for many hours, and awake with many new friends. But the block party is alcohol-free. Damn those Americans.

That's why I came back after an hour. The reason I'm going back out there now is that a probable evening of misery has to better than a guaranteed evening of misery sitting here feeling sorry for myself. I reserve the right to change my mind in the morning.

currently playing: The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La-Band - This gentle hearts like shot bird's fallen

Carmichael 531, Where Are You?

The first thought that crossed my mind as I stepped out of Durham airport was "I'm going to die. They'll find my dessicated body in under two weeks." By the end of the week, the thought had transmuted to "If the heat doesn't kill me, the University might."

Actually, the weather isn't quite as bad as I feared. Yes, it's hot, but I seem to cope rather well, considering the state of the climate back home in Europe. Culture shock has yet to fully hit me, although it's been a tough task trying to decipher some people's accents. I'll get used to them. Eventually.

The course looks...welll...hard, to be honest. Everybody seems to be incredibly clever, and I expect someone to jump on me at any moment, pointing out that I'm a fraud, and that I should be deported immediately. My family have threatened to hurt me if I continue this line of thought, but I can't help feeling that I'm out of place. Which is probably because I am different from all of them, at least in the subtle way of being from Britain rather than anywhere else, and it makes me hyperaware of everything and everyone, increasing me shyness to the point where I find it difficult to communicate with anyone. Which is great. Still, there's plenty of time to get to know everybody, I suppose.

Pictures will be coming soon, after I convince Windows to understand that I now have a USB keyboard and mouse...

currently playing: Nathaniel Merriweather - Strangers on a train

Emergency Blogging System Test

My computer is all packed and ready to leave. This post is coming from an aging laptop, running on the spot with Redhat 7.3 installed. Nothing really to say today, so I'll just finish this test, and be on my way. Look out for me on Wednesday...

More pitiful excuses

My plan to write yesterday's entry in Oxford came unstuck when God's Own Thunder decided to pour down upon me. I don't really have a lot of time left before I leave, so I promise that I will eventually write the piece I've been talking about, but I won't mention it again for fear of building up the hype too much.

My final night out with my friends consisted with a drab meal at Old Orleans, plus Austin Powers 3. It's the first film I've ever seen at the cinema where I had to fight the urge to walk out. Over-extended, unfunny scenes, complete lifts from the first two films, and less of a film than a compilation of a few mildly amusing moments and almost ninety minutes of filler.

Next week is going to have a more sporadic blogging schedule than usual, as I'm going to be rushing all over the place trying to get settled down in Chapel Hill. I'll try and get back to normal as soon as possible. Wish me luck.

currently playing: Big Audio Dynamite - e=mc2

Service will be resumed shortly

Today's excuse is that Bonnie's laptop turned up on our doorstep earlier this afternoon. I spent five or hours making sure that they had, in fact, not fixed it at all, and getting annoyed at the customer helpline, who didn't want to believe me. It's going back tomorrow. After that, I felt completely burnt out, so the piece I mentioned yesterday will have to wait until tomorrow or the weekend.

Tonight, we've been looking at furniture and things for my room (when I get it, of course) in Chapel Hill. So far, we've scoped out a fridge, a bookcase, and a bath-in-a-bag (which I might buy just to see what it is). Next week is going to involve quite a bit of furious shopping.

From The Trademark Blog. Yes, McFarlane is a good example of the worker taking over the production. Especially if you subscribe to the Animal Farm viewpoint.

EDIT: It looks like I read far too much into that last paragraph over at The Trademark Blog. The tone of my comment was also, in retrospect, unnecessarily harsh. Apologies all round.

currently playing: Kenickie - Can I Take You To The Cinema

Housing available

The good news is that I do have a room waiting for me at Chapel Hill. Unfortunately, they haven't decided where yet. But they say they'll get back to me. I'm a bit calmer now.

Cheering me up even more is this news:

Next up is a big wave of catalog classics on 11/5, led by three new special editions. The classic Sunset Boulevard is presented in its original 1.37:1 full screen aspect ratio and English mono, with extras including an audio commentary by Ed Sikov, "The Making Of Sunset Boulevard" and "The Music of Sunset Boulevard" featurettes, a Hollywood Location Map, and the trailer. Newly restored is the Audrey Hepburn favorite Roman Holiday, in 1.37:1 and mono, along with the all-new "Remembering Roman Holiday" documentary, "Edith Head - The Paramount Years" and "Restoring Roman Holiday" featurettes, and 3 trailers.

Just a short entry today, as the storms are rolling in. A longer piece on my secret musical shame should be coming tomorrow. I bet you can't wait.

currently playing: Saint Etienne - Lose That

We're inclined to disagree...

News Corporation is planning a 24-hour 'reality TV' channel. This depresses me.

Why is it called 'reality' anyway? When was the last time you were shoved in a house with ten other people who you've never seen before and made to perform tasks for other people's amusement? Or whisked off to a desert island to test your marriage vows? Is it just that this sort of event programming is cheap, easy to produce, and thee's no hassle over negotiating contracts, as you have people lining up ready for their chance to be famous (despite that none of the winners of these shows have lasted more than a few months longer than their final appearance)? No, I'm sure it has nothing to do with that...

currently playing: The Polyphonic Spree - Reach For The Sun

HyperCrisis!

My one regret about my brief falling out with DC after the 'Superman Incident' is that I didn't get to do my Hypercrisis series at DC to explain all this stuff and set up a whole new playground. It's the one thing I could still be arsed doing with classical superheroes. If I ever go back, I'll explain the whole Hypertime thing and recreate the Challengers of the Unknown as Challengers: Beyond the Unknown.

It's one thing I still want to do. It had a monster eating the first few years of the 21st century and Superman building a bridge across this gaping hole in time. A bridge made of events. The Guardians of The Multiverse and a new Green Lantern Corps made up of parallel reality Green Lanterns, the Superman Squad and the mystery of the Unknown Superman of 2150 etc, etc. There's a huge synopsis filled with outrageous stuff.

When I grow up, I want to be Grant Morrison.

The Internet continues to find ways to make me part with my money. Today, it's a fantastic album by The Polyphonic Spree (the link goes to their website, but I got more information by using Google). Imagine what would happen if Godspeed You Black Emperor woke up to a perfect summer day, and decided that, hey, it's all gonna work out. You'd probably get something like Soldier . Definitely worth a listen.

currently playing: Breeders - Cannonball

One week to go...

...and I still haven't heard from the Housing department. I'm not scared. Oh no.

Not much to talk about, really. It is a Sunday, after all. Watched The Hot Rock, which was a fun heist film written by William Goldman. Also hacked Drag and Drop support into my little Blogging application, so I don't have to type links anymore. My next task is to integrate spell-checking, leading me back into the Bonobo nightmare.

currently playing: R.E.M. - Low

Apple and Open Source

I'm not sure I understand what Dave is saying here. But anyway, reasons why open source types might like Apple (although Slashdot is always filled with anti-Apple vitriol whenever they post a story):

  • Apple is viewed as the only real competitor to Microsoft on the desktop. The "enemy of my enemy is my friend" feeling applies here.

  • For the most part, the Open Source community is comprised of hackers who love seeing a great hack or a paradigm shift in computing. Apple's innovation with Lisa/Macintosh (and before you start shouting at me - yes I know about PARC, but even the people who were there at the time say that Apple did much more than simply steal WIMP from PARC) was such a shift. That Microsoft basically stole the interface for Windows 95 helps to reinforce the first point.

  • Finally, yes, Apple isn't an Open Source company. However, they do release products under an open source licence. They also contribute improvements to the GCC compiler. I would imagine this endears them to the community somewhat.

As for the rest of Dave's rant, I fail to see who he's talking about. Most of the open source proponents that rose to fame during the dot-com boom had no problems with working with proprietry companies, and believed that the worlds should co-exist and cooperate. The only person who fits Dave's description is Richard Stallman, who has been around for over twenty years, and isn't going anywhere. I also don't understand the section about how open source excluded many well-intentioned hard-working developers. Surely, open source is more inclusive than the traditional methods of software development? The only reason I can think of people being excluded is for patent/trademark issues, like with the Mono Project. This has less to do with Open Source, and more a damning indictment on how the software industry abuses patent/trademark law to prevent competition.