Bifurcated Rivets

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26 November 1999

Why do people want to make throwing around a frisbee sound dangerous and radical?? Read some of the bios.

I've been doing some work on my Mercator program which is why this is so quiet.

Thanksgiving is a weird idea. This comic is great though. (via PeterMe)

Looking for the person with the worst job in America... Some pretty horrid jobs here.

<minirant>Things that are bugging me at the moment 1) Sites/people who claim that Flash is the way of the future, and 2) the whole "XML is wonderful and will save the world" movement - come off it guys, XML is a nice, structured way of representing data, but that's all it is. I don't get all this stuff about XML tools, I mean I have something that will parse XML, what else do I need? Or am I just missing something?</minirant>

Talking to my mother last night, quite out of the blue, she mentioned her uncle Jack who went away for a week's holiday and never came back. I had never heard this story before, nor had I heard of uncle Jack, who, it turns out, used to run a butcher's shop with her mother.

25 November 1999

Today I am mostly collecting pollen....

24 November 1999

No link fest today - I've been arranging backups and stuff like that.

Ah, spam - don't you love it? (No) Feast your eyes on this blossom:

Earthquakes - Hurricanes - Flooding and Human Catastrophe

Dear Friends:

As we approach the end of the decade and the beginning of a new Millennium, look around you and ask yourself; were the prophets right? Will Y2K be the beginning of the end of time as we know it today?

It's impossible to know for sure...but there are those among us (today) who have been blessed with the ability to read your daily signs, analyze those signs, interpret them and predict the events to follow. Those predictions are then written into an easy to understand - light hearted, daily report, being e-mailed to thousands of people just like you, around the planet.

We're inviting you to start each morning, with a heads up view on what kind of day you might expect, how you might be feeling throughout the day and the reasons behind those emotions; how you might be treated by others and the people you love, and how the day and evening may turn out for you. We're not predicting the end of the world, rather, we're giving you advice on how to navigate it's unpredictable waters.

All the correct quote characters were some MS character that doesn't render and the incorrectly used quote was a plain old ascii quote. Strange.

Lot's of places seem to be unreachable today - don't know why though.

Hmm, what is the difference between a madam and a pimp? Is it just one of gender?

23 November 1999

Damn, Kinky Friedman is sold out. I really should organise my life better.

Bizarre billboard ad.

Yesterday I read about Shoyu + Mayo at Misterpants and I tried it last night. Fantastic. Great weblog, great food tips.

In case you wondered, my wu-name is Radiophonic Oddity. My son's is Rambunctious Enemy of God, my daughter's Tha Winged Case Study, and my wife is Kung-Fu Grip Assistant or Bigoted Assistant.

I've stayed here - it's great. Probably the best place I've ever stayed apart from a hotel in Chiba, the name of which eludes me. (Update: It's the Manhattan - thanks Ole)

Jen mentions Xmas hype - this year there were decorations in the shops here in October. It is utterly ridiculous. Lickily they haven't all started playing cheezy Xmas carols yet - they annoy me even more.

I watched Volere Volare last night. I'd taped it years ago and never got round to watching it, but then my father said that he'd just seen it and that it was very funny. And I concur - funny, well made and technically interesting because of the integration of animation into the live action. Prudes will not like it however.

Lot's of people have pointed out to me that the page that I couldn't make sense of yesterday was in fact something to do with live action role playing. Thanks to you all. This explains why I was puzzled as live action role playing makes no sense to me at all :-) Here's a picture of someone doing it.

It warms the cockles of my heart to see Jeffrey Archer's uppance come.

22 November 1999

Mall of the Wild. Some interesting points in places.

I dare you to make sense of this.

Want to say "I am cheese" in many languages? I have the page for you...

The American Cheese Society. How do you parse that exactly? American Cheese Society or American Cheese Society. I was not impreseed by their tip of the day which was that you shouldn't grate parmesan until you need it. D'oh. Lots of links to American cheese makers, which probably answers my first question.

Toxic Custard. Strange aussie madness.

Listen to I Like Bananas 'cos They Ain't Got No Bones as played by John Petters Jazz'n'Swing Band.

Could you be in love?

Weird - this page aims to help you find true love, but it comes in three reading levels! Their concept of advanced English is a litle strange too,

If you are a book person, you must read Invisible Forms by Kevin Jackson  UK . In it he looks at titles, first lines, marginalia, appendices etc. - all the parts of a book that we often don't think about. It is absolutely fascinating and is full of outré knowledge and pointers to other books that sound equally interesting. (I'm off to the library to get Isaac D'Israeli's Curiosities of Literature - Isaac was Benjamin's father. Blast. It's in a special collection and I can't take it out.)

If you can see drop caps at the start of this paragraph, please let me know. I'm messing about with style sheets and I can't find a browser that supports the first-letter feature.

The saddest thing about Mr Crisp's death is that he died quietly in Manchester (a place he hated) when he really wanted to die a hugely public death in New York.

I have never subscribed to the cult of Disney. HiddenMickeys just gives me confirmation.

Body Inflation?????? Words fail me.

This mondrian toolkit thing is great. Wonderful misuse of frames.

Another millenial site - have a look at the scenarios people are proposing. Why are they called "schematics" though - they clearly aren't! Some are wonderously wrong already.

Erik Davis' Figments and Inklings - why have I not come across this before? Lots og good stuff.

The Nuwaubian Nation - strange Egyptian cult in Georgia. ( won't work for me)

I have no idea who Dana Plato was, but you can but a CD with a recording of her last breath on it.

I am puzzled as to why I have not mentioned the Centre for Millennial Studies before. Check out the bibliography.

The Church of Virus?

"Virus is "

Had you heard about the Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919? Lots of other links too: here, here and here.

Want to remebrance that lost time? Try, still proudly recherching July 1998. (I once wrote a paper about UNIX System Management called "A la recherche de /tmp perdu" - I still think that is the best UNIX paper title ever.)

I am looking forward to Thursday when the net will be super fast 'cos all Americans will be eating turkey.

I am confused today - someone else gave my 10 o'clock lecture and I am doing someone's 12 o'clock.

Current Reality trees sound like an intersting technique. (Thanks Sabren - a continual source of excellent material like this.)

New RISKS digest (Yay, I beat Jorn to the mention. OK, I cheated because something went wrong with the web page update and I just did it by hand...)

RIP Quentin Crisp. A fascinating man. The Naked Civil Servant is a must read, the later stuff is not as good being much more ephemeral, but it's always entertaining.

19 November 1999

RIP Paul Bowles

Wow. Today is the last Odd Day until 1-1-3111, which most of us will never see. You will never again see a date that has no even digits in it. The next even day is 2-2-2000, the first since 28-8-888.

Berkeleyan philosophy? Was that a tree falling?

Bed and Breakfast in West Village, New York. And in Chiswick. I like the William Morris background.

Dandi Palmer - book illustrator. Some lovely drawings.

Get tips on wrecking roadbuilding. Hmmm, sometimes roads are needed, but not always.

The whole scoop on the Australian Bush Fly. A downloadable book.

A good site about compost. Everyone should make compost.

RIP Doug Sahm

Have I logged letsbuyit before? An on-line co-operative designed to help people bulk buy and reduce prices. It's in Swedish and it has tiny text. *sigh*

I tried to get to the American Bankers Association website to find out about the Y2K sermon they are distributing (honestly) and I got this:

Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers error '80004005'
[Microsoft][ODBC Driver Manager] The server appears to be not available.
/aba/aba_include.asa, line 423

Great Mpegs of fireworks in Japan.

Bored with gardening? Try something more radical.

Addicted to lipbalm? This site should help. My son has a serious lipbalm habit - don't know why, but it does worry me.

"Lipstuff Lip Balm is truly perverted. The lip balm for sale is strictly standard-fare. However, the selling point of this product is its "uniquely designed case (that) allows for one-hand operation in active situations." What kind of one-handed activity are these folks doing that they can't stop for five seconds to apply lip balm? We can only think of one single-handed activity that we wouldn't want to interrupt, though we wouldn't think applying lip balm (even for the most addicted) would be high on any list of priorities at that time."

People For Internet Responsibility

"PFIR is a global, grassroots, ad hoc network of individuals who are concerned about the current and future operations, development, management, and regulation of the Internet in responsible manners. The goal of PFIR is to help provide a resource for individuals around the world to gain an ability to help impact these crucial Internet issues, which will affect virtually all aspects of our cultures, societies, and lives in the 21st century. PFIR is non-partisan, has no political agenda, and does not engage in lobbying."

I've subscribed to the mailing list.

18 November 1999

Very journally today rather than webloggy. Probably due to the late night, the weather and the time demons that are eating my life.

The shakuhachi concert was fantastic!!! The player was Yoshikazu Iwamoto and he played traditional tunes. He lives in York of all places.  UK (different albums in the US and the UK, sorry) The fingering is fascinating - reminiscent of bagpipe technique actually - and the blowing seems very complex. Sometimes notes seemed to carry on after he had stopped blowing.  USA

The Recorder : Instrument of Torture or Instrument of Music? Useful pages for recorder fans. (I like the recorder when well played)

Now it's snowing. Do I really want to change buildings and go and listen to a shakuhachi concert?

Why are so many people going on about cellphone access to the Internet as the way of the future? Can you think of a worse interface to the net than a phone? Can you think of a worse interface to telephony than a cellphone?

Stayed up till 2AM - it was cold and cloudy. I saw two meteors. *sigh*

17 November 1999

The Guyver is a weird anime that my son has been watching. It is ludicrously badly dubbed into English - I assume that it makes more sense in the original - so is almost incomprehensible. There are loads of Guyver sites - this one is typical.

For an interesting cultural comparison check out the Keloggs site, and then go to the specific country sites. They are quite different. (Try the same trick with Sega and Nintendo UK/EU,US and JP sites too) The US site is especially ghastly, though the choice of colours is very Japanese in some ways. All this just to sell sugar!

An Egyptian curse sank the Titanic?


When I first saw the story of the curse of the Egyptian Princess of Amen-Ra and why the Titanic really sunk, I thought that it was just a funny story and an obvious hoax.

I have since put considerable time and research into this and have discovered that, far from a hoax, this is a story which describes actual historical events, which really happened.


I like the idea of historical events that really happened. This is even better:

"The British Museum, obviously concerned about questions of legal liability for causing the Titanic disaster, has frequently issued official denials that one of their mummies was responsible."

A US court might find you liable for a mummy's curse, but I doubt a British one would! I found all this by following a link for another Brane - Miss Argentina in fact. AH, the web. Don't you just love it.

The Brane Oblak hate page - no, I don't understand either.

The pocket toothpick incinerator??? Brane Zdralo

There was a n article in the papers about the man who discovered the Sphericon. I need to build one to visualise it, but it seems to be a one sided object without a hole in the middle - unlike the mobius band. The guy who found it was a wood carver who got on to it whilst looking at some twisted grain in a tree. Ah, just what I need - a rotating model. What an odd thing.

OK, I know everyone is linking this amazon parody, but it's great. (via Backup Brain)

Am I really up to staying up till 2 in the morning for the possibility of seeing Leonids? I'll give it a go if it isn't cloudy at midnight. (They say snow is forecast here). Waiting another 33 years is probably pushing it for me.

Today I had several weird spams in amongst the usual junk about making money or having sex. The first was from which seems to be a muslim organisation of come kind. It actually looks like I was subscribed to a list somehow. Attractive site though. (UPDATE: yes it was a list and I had been subscribed) The other was from someone who had written a book showing that Jesus was either a very exceptional man or was the son of god based on relating the bible to the discoveries of modern science. Or something. Quite bizarre and of course all the world leaders had read it. I didn't look at the website.

I have to agree with Peter about voice control of systems - it is not a good idea, for lots of reasons. I have however used dication software (a different barrel of frogs) and found that very satisfactory as I don't type well enough for it not to interfere with my train of thought - the speech recognition was good enough that it freed me. Trouble is it runs under Windows and I don't run Windows (nor do I want to run Windows). *sigh* Just imagine all those people on buses and trains talking to their PDAs!

Yet more kooking at the Planetary Activation Organization. Why is it that, for sake of a better word, "fringe" writers are so productive? They generate huge quantities of text with seeming ease. You must read about the calendar he sells. It's on my Xmas list. (Thanks Frank)

Having quoted Jaberwocky, I thought I would have a look for it. This site also has a version of Jaberwacky which is a parody from MAD. Also here is "Whose head is it?" which is fun. (I got a perfect 8 on the physicists, and yes it is worth doing as he says)

Callooh! Callay! Un-orthodox - the joy of kooking.

16 November 1999

I don't know whether or not to promote the weblog to being my homepage and put my homepage as an "about".

New Cryptogram - another excelletn issue. The piece on why computers are insecure is well worth reading.

15 November 1999

I dreamt that Penny and I were in Japan with Rupert Murdoch.

When will this new Murakami be translated?? (via gmtPlus9)

This having being Rememberance weekend, there have been some truely harrowing stories in the press about the many shell-shocked people who were court martialled and shot by the British army during WWI. And they still won't pardon them. I am genuinely upset about this but cannot see that there is anything that I could to make a positive contribution.

My friend Elaine tells me that the band she plays in - Misalliance - have a new CD called "Dippers at the Black Pool". There are some MP3 samples on her site.

My life is being eaten by time demons.

I have been reading a wondertful book which all book-sniffing weirdos will love (more on that another time), and it lead me to look up stuff on Oulipo, whch is the Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle == Workshop of Potential Literature. They do some starnge stuff, most of it in French. Here is a page in English that will give you some background a flavour - make sure you read the poems.

Art chosen by the people for the people...

Well, touch wood, fingers crossed the system is solid and should be performing faster than before. I won't go into the saga of events behind the last few days of absence, suffice to say that it was stressful and if you mailed me and I haven't replied the message has almost certainly vanished to that place where lost data goes. And of course last week there were lots of interesting thigns going on which I ought to have writtne about. Steven Pinker gave a public lecture here on his Words and Rules stuff - the material was interesting, but I wasn't impressed by his lecturing style. His conclusions seemed rather obvious as well - I don't find the suggestion that we remember some stuff and have default rules that we use in other cases to be an earth-shattering discovery. But that's maybe because I'm a computist.

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