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Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] girfan for pointing out the excellence of Google's front page today. Don't forget to play with the lever.

And in Verne-inspired nostalgia, try this. You can see Roy, of course. Roy's in every picture and clip from that.
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The other week I came across a website with an early draft of Barry Hughart's highly excellent Bridge of Birds. If you haven't read the published version, then I'd recommend having a look at this to see whether it's likely to be your sort of thing. If you have read it then you're probably going to read that without my prompting.

[livejournal.com profile] niddrie_edge pointed me at a very odd story concerning a film called Darklands, made about ten years ago and in some ways rather like a version of The Wicker Man set in South Wales. The producers seem to have been putting it about that they and their film have been cursed by a scary gang of Edinburgh witches called the Beltane Fire Society (of which I are a member, and which is not witches). Now, in spite of the fact that this is very obviously the tallest Scottish witch story since the exceedingly tall Tam O'Shanter (or possibly even since MacBeth), they allegedly convinced Richard Stanley of this too, which I'm not sure I believe either.

Wednesday.

Jun. 6th, 2007 01:46 pm
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Hmm. An X-Ray free electron laser. That sounds like a fun toy.

The new Ansible features the following, concerning a recent gathering some of you may be aware of:

"Greg Bear and other sf authors -- Arlan Andrews, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Sage Walker -- were asked to a US Homeland Security conference to provide anti-terrorism advice as `deviant thinkers'. According to Andrews, they `need people to think of crazy ideas.' (USA Today, May) Once again sf proves eerily prophetic: wasn't there just such an ego-boosting think tank in the Niven/Pournelle Footfall?"

I notice that later on someone steals my punchline. Never mind, somebody else probably used it before me. Ansible in general can of course be read here.

On my way home last night I passed over a bridge by my old school. There was a small crowd of schoolkids there with things attached to the railings - flags, notices, an Ayr United top - and sure enough a pupil drowned there on Monday. I used to hang around by those stepping stones. It didn't strike me as a dangerous place at the time. Maybe he hit his head falling.

Another interesting piece I read recently was this paper (no, not that sort of paper) analysing toilet-seat policy in economic and game-theory terms. Very enlightening.

For the benefit of anyone who went to see Neubauten recently and doesn't have the song, here's the video for Sabrina. Worth watching even if you don't care for the music, in my view, but I'm sure you'll judge that for yourselves.

There are, of course, many Irn Bru adverts on YouTube, but for the sake of nostalgia I'm going to link to this one. It probably won't be funny unless you remember what the other fizzy pop adverts of the period were like. This one isn't bad either.
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It's always fun to go through a jar of old biros and find a cheap promotional ballpoint bearing the emblem of something unusual. Today I found out that I have one which says "VIAGRA" in big letters. And it doesn't fucking work.

Eastercon was a bit disappointing, mostly because I wasn't there as much as I wanted to be. The tiler who was doing the bathroom (there are some right fiddly bits, OK?) first said that he could only come on the Saturday (a tradesman on a Saturday? And only on a Saturday? That's breaking several laws of physics, isn't it?) then said with no notice that he was only available on Easter Sunday (my head explodes) and then didn't turn up then either. He was significantly ill, though, so my anger was wasted.

I went to see Mugyenko, a taiko crew from deepest darkest Lanarkshire, who were dead good. The heijun was there with four women . . . I don't know if this was supposed to be some sort of gimmick, but they weren't trying to make anything of it in the publicity or program and in any case they didn't need it, so hopefully it wasn't. Highly excellent, and if you get a chance I'd recommend you take it. They also had a couple of special guests over from Japan, one of whom used to be head of training for Kodo and the other was a Shinto priestess from a temple devoted to a god of drumming and performance. Fantastic.

Beltane's been and gone again too. Fred and I had the chance to fuck it up for everyone, in full view of an attentive crowd of 12 thousand people (nervous, me?), but we failed to totally and it went like bloody clockwork. The flame appeared and the crowd went Oooh, and then the tinder really caught and we got a big cheer. It was a little packed this year - three or four thousand more people than last time, which was significantly up on the time before - but it didn't cause too many problems. I got to see the bonfire being lit up close this time, and had an "Oh, that's Angus Farquar" moment. I have noticed him at least once previously. And someone tried to pinch my bum and missed. Apparently last year a woman saw us, shouted "Deatheaters! Deatheaters!" and ran to hide behind her boyfriend. Most odd, and not a little amusing. The club was good, with the Beastie drummers pushing the Processional drummers closer than usual with their performance. My bingo performance was pitiful. The Evening News had some lovely pics, which is just as well as apparently it's their photographer who irritates everyone every year by trying to be where he shouldn't be. They are very nice pictures, although a couple were spoiled by having me in them looking unappealing.

The next day I was helping derig, and afterwards we went to the Pear Tree. A couple of the Air Point people brought parts of their dragon down with them, and when we got the the pub, put the claws up onto the top of the wall before poking the head up and calling "hello" to their friends at the other side of the garden. How we all laughed, etc.

I had [livejournal.com profile] kixie and [livejournal.com profile] naturalbornkaos up for the weekend, and I'd said I'd meet them by the bower at the end. Unfortunately a few thousand other people also wanted to be there, so it wasn't a good idea and I didn't see them again until the morning. I had a very good time kicking around with them on Friday and Saturday, though.

This weekend I'll be Elephant-herding during a performance called The Sultan's Elephant, which is apparently inspired by Jules Verne and is going to look a bit like this. And is free. I'll be around until Monday, so if anyone fancies tea and biccies, let me know and we can maybe try to arrange something.

This week, I have mainly been being puzzled about politics and the press. And the general public, who I've started despairing of. Frankly, my hat is off to any and all politicians for their willingness to deal with journalists and voters every day. I'm bloody glad it's their job and not mine.
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Another frosty morning - the third in a row, and the hardest. I came to work under a cloudless and glassy blue. I went home from the pub last night in sub-zero temperatures, with Orion huge in the south ahead of me. Sirius was low on the horizon, and the Pleiades high to the right. I don't remember Mars, but it had been hanging low earlier. I love the winter sky.

So. Conrad Black as well, eh? The Great and the Good are getting careless.

Gordon was right again? Christ, this is getting tedious. Fuck up, man, for Gods sake!

Irving's likely to be held in the cells for at least a week, apparently. Right treatment, very possibly, but the wrong charge.

Gene Wolfe may be or possibly has been writing Soldier of Sidon.

The Guardian today says "Little Britain is now indistinguishable from its true ancestor, The Dick Emery Show."

There's a documentary on BBC4 tonight about Josephine Baker.

Meme )


Games with names )

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