Bifurcated Rivets

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20 August 1999

I just went to our University library and picked up a pile of books on Japan from the social science section. One of them (Caught in a Mirror by Lisa Martineau) starts with this sentence:

"Japan has always held an attraction for foreign misfits, which is odd since for many years it has been regarded as an intensely conformist country"

This got me thinking about something that was said in PeterMe recently about Haruki Murakami (or was it in RobotWisdom - I can't remember now). The gist was that a lot of webloggers mention Murakami. In my experience a lot of webloggers like links to Japanese sites, I certainly do. Are webloggers misfits then? I suspect that they are at least in some sense. Most of us seem to be slightly "otaku" - at least using the Japanese term in English is less offensive tahn saying "geeky" or "nerdy", of course to a Japanese speaker it may have exactly those connotations. The essence is a form of mild (to strong) obsession - with single topics, with weird links, with revealing one's innermost thoughts, all kinds of things. I suspect your average man or woman in the street would think that weblogging was a pretty odd thing to do which would make webloggers misfits at least with regard to the norm. Most webloggers also seem to have a strong sense of irony, to still read books, and be generally fairly literate and numerate. These qualities almost certainly make you a misfit in most Western cultures these days! This meandering train of thought seems to be going nowhere so maybe I'll just shut up now.

What is "instant customerization"? The Zero Time Research Project claims to help people achieve it.

The degree confluence project is a weird idea. "The goal of the project is to visit each of the latitude and longitude integer degree intersections in the world, and to take at least one picture at each location. The pictures and stories will then be posted here" If I had a GPS I might go and take some pictures. Maybe I can borrow one. (via the ever wonderful Cardhouse)

There seems to be a developing fashion for multi-coloured weblog pages. I don't know whether to simply fade to default grey or go rainbow!

People's strategies when they phone up asking about course places and want to tell you their results in the best possible sounding way are interesting. What they forget is that admissions tutors have heard them all before....

Misterpants has moved to Japan and has loads of good links - I particularly liked this page of images.

LemonYellow touches on what people say when you stand in front of the television. In my family it's "Your great grandfather was a glazier, but you're not made of glass!" - my ggf was a glazier BTW.

10% off every rosary, Thursday through Monday....

Nice images of Ouija boards. There is a web ouija board at which site you will learn that Hasbro own the copyright on the name "ouija".

Some links from the latest Fortean Times:

"A Fish Caught in Time"  UK by Susan Weinberg looks interesting. It's about the search for the coelacanth. I remember seeing one of the first specimens around on display at the Chambers Street Museum in Edinburgh - what a weird looking thing.

Why have I never been aware of The Register before? A good summary of hi-tech news.

I really hate turning people down for places in the department - the joy that people have when told they are accepted does not compensate, in fact it makes it worse because it just makes it clearer how important acceptance is. I wish we had a University system whereby people can just turn up and take the first year and then have very rigourous requirements for getting into second year (and maybe in course weeding as well). So many people don't get the chance to show their potential and equally many people never realise theirs.Higher education does not suit everybody but they should get the chance to at least find out.

19 August 1999

The Net seems to have some problems today - I am getting random refusals to connect and broken pipes. Must be stormy in the Atlantic or something.

A particularly nice Tom Tomorrow cartoon.

Weird Al does it again with All about the pentiums. "You're just about as useful as jpegs to Helen Keller". The lyrics are all on the site too. (too many sources to list)

Another one from PigDog - GorillaGorillaGorilla. A sort of Onionish thing. PigDog says it is British, and the content would certainly suggest that - who else finds the Duke of Edinburgh funny?

Acme Vaporware - a gem from PigDog.

09:05 - first call....

Hmmm, exam result day for schools in England. I'm admissions tutor for the department so the phone will start ringing very soon and not stop all day, if past experience is anything to go on. I've got Miles Davis' Kind of Blue on just to cool things down.

18 August 1999

Hugely busy this week so there will not be much stuff around.

New cryptogram.

16 August 1999

Missed so much web stuff in 2 weeks....and I didn't get to read much either.

Why do so many people on the web use "persue" and "alot"?

There was a new Ghost Sites on 2nd August....

Everything that Art Garfunkel has read since 1968....

Shopping Cart abuse? An odd site.

Entertaining Easyjet press release.

Excellent on-line history of juggling.

Well I am back and still have 800+ e-mail messages to process. I did some bodyboarding at Polzeath, visited the Lost Gardens of Heligan and just generally lived in the open for two weeks. Oh and there was a total eclipse, but it was cloudy.


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