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Home > Weblog w/e 13.4.2002

Saturday 13 April 2002, 22:40 BST
Further to yesterday's post, it seems that Stu of feeling listless enjoyed The Book Group too.
A joke that women who date engineers would get. An oldie, but a goodie...

[Via David Grenier]
41 Ways to Melt a Woman's Heart. Damn funny stuff.
9. Ask to see a picture of her when she was a child.
Ticking timebomb. Under no circumstances should you laugh. Even if she makes fun of herself. Commit the following phrases to memory. "Aww, how cute." and "How adorable." Avoid making any comparisons whatsoever. Do not embellish these phrases at all. eg. "Aww, look how cute you were back then." Back then only says she's not cute now. Get it? Just keep repeating those phrases. Men are supposed to be dumb as monkeys anyway, so she won't pay any attention to your lack of creative compliments.
[Via Hava Cuppa Tea]
Friday 12 April 2002, 22:50 BST
The US Army are developing an "indestructible" sandwich. Wonderful stuff, this modern technology...

[Via digitaltrickery.com]
I caught the first episode of Channel 4's The Book Group earlier this evening. I've heard nothing at all about this series - I gather it's already had a run on E4 - but the trailers looked intriguing so I decided to give it a chance. I'm glad I did: this tale of Claire, an American living in Glasgow who organises a book group in order to make friends was excruciatingly funny. The cast doesn't include any recognisable "faces," which helps: although we're invited to identify with Claire as the organiser of the group's first meeting it's not at all clear after one episode how far Claire will remain the focus of the story as the group moves on to other members' houses.

All in all, The Book Group looks very promising. If you like your comedy character-based and low key, as opposed to the self-conscious wackiness of Black Books or Father Ted, you might want to try to catch the repeat next Thursday night.
Pet Shop Boys Song-by-Song Commentary. The word "comprehensive" springs to mind. Even if you disagree with the interpretation on the songs, it's a terrific resource devoted to one of the classiest British pop acts of the last couple of decades.

(Which reminds me: I must track down the new Pet Shop Boys album.)

[Via I Love Everything]
A Galaxy is not a Comet. (Yet another) lovely Astronomy Picture of the Day.
Thursday 11 April 2002, 23:20 BST
Fametracker presents - Best Picture Nominees Turned TV Series: 2005-06
The medium of television has a long history of transplanting a profitable film premise to the episodic format. And if a run-of-the-mill sleeper hit like Clueless can live on for several seasons as a sitcom, surely Best Picture nominees would evolve into TV series just as popular and critically acclaimed. Right? Peruse this press release that we at Fametracker have obtained from the 2005-06 season and judge for yourself.
(NB/- contains spoilers for some of the films described.)

[Via feeling listless]
Quote of the Day: Albert Einstein, describing radio.
"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."
[Via Looka!]
Wednesday 10 April 2002, 22:45 BST
David Poland reviews Sam Raimi's Spider-Man. Sounds reasonably promising, particularly with Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin. It's a little worrying that the spoiler-free section of the review doesn't even mention Tobey Maguire - who's only playing the title role for goodness' sake - once.

[Via [parallax view]]
You know the sketches of participants in court cases you see on the news? Elizabeth Cook, who draws many of them for the news media at home and abroad, has a web site with some of her more notable images.

I especially liked her image of David Shayler, for no reason I can put my finger on - she's captured something about his smirk very nicely. However, she seems to be particularly poor at drawing pop stars: I'm not sure about her Elton John or Victoria Beckham, and I'm not too sure which of the Spice Girls this was supposed to be! (I assume it's meant to be Geri, but only because it's just slightly less unlike Geri Halliwell than it is Emma Bunton.)

[Via SeeThru Weblog]
Tuesday 9 April 2002, 22:20 BST
If you have a Yahoo account you might want to go and double-check your account settings to make sure all the email marketing options are how you want them.

Yahoo recently added a few new options to the list of marketing opportunities they offer users, which is fair enough. What's anything but acceptable is that they've taken the opportunity to reset every user's email marketing preferences to the most permissive option, thereby automatically signing every Yahoo user up for marketing spam in a dozen or so categories, even when the user has already indicated they didn't want a particular category of marketing information. (And oddly enough even now, almost a fortnight after the change I still haven't received word from Yahoo about the changes. I found out via news coverage of the issue.)

From a company that was once seen as one of the "good guys" this is extremely disappointing. Or, as Louann Miller puts it in her new .sig:
"Hey, you know that metric ton of spam you're suddenly getting every time you open your mailbox? That was us! We sold you out to our advertisers, not just a few of them but every advertising category we've got, even though you specifically turned those ads down when you signed up! Banners, popups, and "sponsored links" in the search engine aren't enough any more -- we want to process you for every possible commercial advantage like a cow in a slaughterhouse. Start buying things, you prole, that's all you're good for."

-- Yahoo 'changes to privacy policy' notification, first draft
(rejected by PR dept.)
Thog's Masterclass, or, The Professionals Demonstrate How Not To Write Fiction For Fun and Profit:
Dept of Strange Endowments. 'Her slender chest rose and fell gently and slowly with her sleeping inhalations, her small breasts and rather larger nipples outdenting the flimsy fabric of her ragged tunic ...' (Fritz Leiber, The Knight and Knave of Swords, 1988)
[Via Ansible 176]
Monday 8 April 2002, 22:45 BST
John Dvorak has stirred up far more comments from aggrieved webloggers than he really deserves with his Eight Rules for the Perfect Blog. I only read the article after reading some of the commentary on various weblogs, and I can't help thinking that a lot of people are massively overreacting.

If another weblogger had written the list at the core of Dvorak's article it would have been regarded as a slight but amusing satire. The mere fact that he's a print journalist shouldn't make any difference to the reception such a piece of fluff gets.
They Have Blogs!
He's an apathetic creative madman with the cutest baby daughter in the world (in his humble opinion). She's an overweight brown-eyed poet who thinks 10-point Verdana is the most elegant way to typeset anything. They have blogs.
Wonderful stuff. Just keep pressing the Refresh function key.

[Via dust from a distant sun]
Does Christopher Walken really have a LiveJournal? Probably not, but it's still a fun read.

[Via linkmachinego]
Professor Ronald Mallett says he knows how to build a time machine. My favourite bit is his comment that amassing the quantity of power required to pull it off - which involves, as another physicist points out, "trying to amass all the matter of the universe in a very small region" - is "an engineering problem." That's alright then...

[Via Found]
Global City Transit Navigation Design. Some lovely designs for maps of major cities' mass transit networks.

They don't seem to have noticed the Tyne & Wear Metro system for some reason, but they do have some very striking designs. Copenhagen looks like a printed circuit board layout. Istanbul looks as if it was designed by a ten year-old. Tokyo looks just plain baffling. Moscow looks very elegant, and is my favourite.

[Via not.so.soft]
PS-HTTPD - a Postscript-driven web server. Why did they do it? Because it was there!

[Via Charlie's Diary]
My daughter's name is "Unique." "Wanna bet?"

I tried to track down an equivalent list for the UK, but the best I could come up with was a list of the Top 5 Forenames for boys and girls registered in England & Wales over the course of the last century.

NB/- link to Buck Wolf article will expire when next article is posted. Check his archives for the article for April 2 2002 entitled "My Son's A Fruit".

[Via Inscrutable Exhortations.]
Sunday 7 April 2002, 23:10 BST
Flasher escapes after being caught in his own zipper. Quick thinker, that girl. She'll go far.

[Via Blogatelle]
Haven't we all wanted to do this to our PC at least once?

[Via Boing Boing]
Cemetery.Org. What will happen to your electronic persona once you're dead?

My take on this would be that I wouldn't want my entire hard disk archived - there's too much junk, too much space taken up with software rather than my data - but the idea of having selected sections preserved quite appeals to me. Trouble is, it seems very likely that the cemetery.org site would end up looking horribly tacky as the bandwidth bills rolled in. As kuro5hin poster devon points out:
Imagine the front page:
  • a 'Featured Coffin of the Week'
  • a 'Most Active Coffins' list
  • a large, but tasteful, front page advertisement enouraging you to sign up for a Gold Mastercard at a low introductory rate. Something like: "Funeral expenses can add up quick. Don't let your departed loved ones down, let Mastercard help."
  • a google search with a default 'site:cemetery.org' constraint.

Picture the tombstone at your coffin.
Here lies John Doe,
aka AIM: rAtMaN17435
aka ICQ: CampusDewd43732
aka k5: gimerific
aka /.: JoeSchmoe21
April 21, 1967 - October 3, 2008 R.I.P. [Click Image to see back side]

A loving husband and father.
We will miss him dearly.
[Click here to see the widow's profile.]
Below the tombstone would be:
  • coffin reviews
  • a 'Mourners who have visited this coffin have also visited:' list.
  • 'email a friend about this coffin' link
  • 'bookmark this coffin' link
  • 'leave virtual flowers' link
  • oh, lets not forget the link to the dead person's data

[Via Bifurcated Rivets]
I don't know how much more tension I can take! 24 has been coasting along for a couple of episodes now, but the last five minutes of tonight's episode seriously turned up the heat. Even though I already knew about one element of tonight's surprise ending, I was still taken aback at the turn things have taken.

Mind you, BBC2 lost several million brownie points tonight for the needlessly revealing teaser for next week's episode. Even though I'm pretty confident there'll be a lot more to the story next week than we were shown, I'd still rather not have known some of that was going to happen.

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