Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Your free-to-air channels tonight:

The Cloning Channel
Old documentaries copied from other channels. (Formerly UK CheapLoans.)

Clone + 1
Special version of Cloning Channel for people watching with their own clone.

UK Cod
Previously unseen colour war footage from 1975, plus recipes. Nudity: YES. Violence: PARTIAL. Vinegar: SOME.

Random pattern of grey dots. (Analogue only after 2006 or 2008 or 2010.)
Your free-to-air programmes tonight:

7.30 - 8.00 Going for a Thong
A panel of celebrities guess which piece of underwear belongs to which celebrity, and how much it would fetch at auction

8.00 - 8.02 Whose line is it anyway?
A panel of celebrities snort at the week’s news

8.02 - 4.00 Scrapheap Challenge
A panel of producers tries to assemble a programme schedule from a pile of clapped-out celebrities and creaky formats

Friday, November 29, 2002

Business doesn't get any more exciting than this:
CHICAGO -- McDonald's Corp. is planning to intensify the price war -- and attempt to boost U.S. sales -- by adding the grilled flatbread sandwich and a chicken nugget meal to its new Dollar Menu.

Several Chicago franchisees and owner operators said they plan to add the grilled flatbread sandwich to the Dollar Menu in January, while Los Angeles-based operators said a five-piece McNugget meal is scheduled to be added next week.

Chicago Tribune, 27/11/02

Hungry? Me neither.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Bulletin for friends of Cupcake Canasta:

The domain is still frozen. Network Solutions, now part of Verisign, disabled the domain in February 2002 without issuing any notices. They won't reply to my communications. My ISP, who is listed as technical and administrative contact, won't do anything. Still nothing from any court in any land suggesting that the domain's ownership has been disputed. No trace of a dispute in any of the arbitration bodies' listings. Computer Weekly in the UK published my letter about the situation in November 2002.

The full archive of Cupcake Canasta is still available at

Monday, November 25, 2002

The latest helpful advice from Amazon:

Customers who wear clothes also shop for: [...]

No mention of what Amazon's nudist customers have bouight recently.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

The house used for external scenes in "The Good Life" (U.S: "Good Neighbors") is in Northwood, Middlesex, not Surbiton. It was up for sale in March 2001, though I don't know how much it went for.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Monday, October 07, 2002

“Lennon” and “John Lennon” are trademarks of Yoko Ono Lennon.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

"Yes, here are plenty of attractions worth your while!"

Lovely description of Bergen.

The Fall's Mark E Smith has a side-project: as a positioning consultant. (Or "consultant-uh".)

Monday, September 30, 2002

You can't go to "Rainbows" until you're five. (And I think you're supposed to be a girl.) So I think I'll start a club called "Little Grey Clouds".

The uniform will be grey. You'll be encouraged to take your pre-schooler along, where they'll sit on the floor and cry and/or wee for an hour. The group's leader will be known as "Cumulo Nimbus".

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Practicing Free Love of Books
Bookcrossers read 'em and leave 'em for strangers to enjoy

By Susan Carpenter
The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Co. newspaper.

September 17, 2002

If you happen to find "On the Road" at a gas station or "Who Moved My Cheese?" next to a hunk of Gouda in your grocery store, it might not be an accident. You could be the unwitting beneficiary of a "bookcrosser" - a person who intentionally leaves books in public places, hoping they will be found by strangers.

And, if you really want to make the day of the person who left it, you will not only pick up the book and read it, you will log onto a Web site and let the bookcrosser know.

The idea of leaving a book for someone else to find and enjoy is not new - some folks have been leaving just-finished books in airports and on buses since the dawn of hurry-up-and-wait. Creating a system for book-leavers to find out what happened to those books adds a new twist to the practice - and raises the stakes. Would you rather be known as the person who left behind a steamy Danielle Steel novel or the magical realism of "One Hundred Years of Solitude"?

Something of a phenom among readers with a taste for mischief and a touch of altruism,, the Web site that tracks books "released into the wild," has accumulated more than 18,000 members since its inception last year, and averages 112 new participants daily.

Its members have scattered more than 42,000 novels, self-help books, memoirs, technical manuals and biographies in 45 countries, leaving them in public rest- rooms, movie theaters, coffee shops or anywhere that tickles their fancy. The result: a worldwide living library.

Robin Payton, a St. Louis homemaker, has let go of more than 400, mostly in self-service laundries and restaurants.

Peri Doslu, a Santa Monica, Calif., yoga instructor, has dropped three - one on top of a telephone booth, one on a rock wall at remote Mono Lake in the eastern Sierra Nevada, and another in one of the studios where she teaches.

"I'm always looking for places to pass on books," said Doslu, 39. "To think my book's going to go off and have this future, and I might even get to know a little bit about it down the road, I really find enchanting."

Enchanting? This called for a test case.

I signed on and logged in, giving myself the screen name MissPaigeTurner, then registered four novels. After receiving identification numbers for each, I wrote them on bookmarks that explained how bookcrossing works and placed them between the pages of each book. I spent the rest of the afternoon looking for spots to leave my books.

My first drop was on the bus I rode downtown in Los Angeles: I left Lemony Snicket's "The Bad Beginning" on the back seat. A few hours later, I dropped Iceberg Slim's "Mama Black Widow" on a sidewalk. Next, I stopped in at Banana Republic, tried on a shirt and left a copy of "The Nanny Diaries" in the dressing room. Later, I stopped at a coffee shop for a lime rickey. After downing the last slushy bits and looking around to make sure no one was watching, I put a copy of "Madame Bovary" on the table and made a quick exit.

No one ran after me to say, "Hey! You forgot something!" No one looked at me as if I were the Unabomber. In my mission as the phantom book leaver, I was, as far as I knew, completely unobserved.

I checked my e-mail the following day, expecting to find a message from the Web site telling me my books had been found. No such luck.

Ditto for the following day - and the next two weeks.

I still haven't heard a peep.

That's typical, said Ron Hornbaker, a 36- year-old software developer from St. Louis, who came up with the idea for BookCrossing's Web site. Only 10 percent to 15 percent of the books people release are "successful," meaning they have been picked up by a stranger who then logs on to the site.

My books might have had better luck if, when registering them, I had penned a release note for the Web site, giving "hunters" details on which books I'd left, where and when.

That's what Lydia Ruark, a West Los Angeles psychologist, did when she released "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" in a Nordstrom dressing room in May. Within a week, she received an e-mail from BookCrossing.

A Canadian woman, who had been with her daughter trying on clothes, found the book. Twelve hours later, Ruark got a second e-mail, saying her copy of "The Lady and the Monk" by Pico Ayer had been found in the sushi section of a Wild Oats grocery store.

"I thought I'd hit the jackpot," said Ruark, 49, who signed up for BookCrossing because "it sounded fun and a little bit subversive."

Half of the fun for bookcrossers is figuring out where to leave the books, said Hornbaker, who left his first book, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," in a deli. His ideas have since evolved.

Now he's reading Jack Kerouac's "On the Road," which he plans to "throw out the window to a hitchhiker."

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Co. newspaper.
Copyright © 2002, Newsday, Inc.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

That's the way (uh huh uh huh) I like it.
That's the way (uh huh uh huh) I like it.
That's the way (uh huh uh huh) I like it.
The "Our Lady of Surbiton" meme is now at

Sunday, August 04, 2002

Need to look in a hard copy archive for this:

07-02-99 The Sunday Telegraph Review, p.4. Our Lady of Surbiton by Leanda de Lisle.
Mr de Menezes gave up his job as banqueting head waiter in a London hotel and started to study theology. According to Mr Kelly, ‘He’s taken to theology like a horse to oats.’

from Our Lady of Surbiton
May 2002 - Divine Innocence: Some Concerns

Perhaps the most persistent local 'apparition' of recent times is that of 'Our Lady of Surbiton.' Operating as the Divine Innocence Trust, it has been the subject of many reports in the secular press over the years, including a very sympathetic article in The Spectator early this year. Its founder, Patricia de Menezes, lays claim to 2,000-3,000 followers in 42 countries. Patricia alleges that around 1984 she began seeing the Virgin Mary and Jesus in a pine tree located in a new housing development in Surbiton, south London, where, she says, Our Lady continues to appear to her at 12 noon Monday-Friday and 9pm on weekends. She also claims to have been personally catechised by Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
The Virgin Mary is appearing every day in Surbiton, just south of Kingston upon Thames, the Spectator said on January 12. "Only Patricia the visionary" can see her and Patricia de Menezes said that the apparitions began "in all sorts of places" in the mid-80s. The first took place in her home. The Archdiocese of Southwark issued a statement that the "authenticity of the alleged apparitions has not been accepted by the Archdiocese of Southwark, and the Archdiocese has not given its authority to publicly promote it."

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Drunk on technology

    Intel next week plans to announce a new mobile media player with WLAN Internet access. The plans are for a reference design Intel plans to lush to OEMs.

FierceWireless 24/07/02

Monday, July 08, 2002

Rawk Family Trees #1

Marie Debris and the Spending Spree
Marie Debris and the Spineless Three
Marie Debris

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Regular messages on my screen that I'd miss if they went away:

- Your bugzilla buglist needs attention

- You are now on Day 1155 of your 30 day evaluation period

Thursday, June 20, 2002

Early 21st Century Runes, #1


How a modern-day Powerpoint presentation is displayed on a prehistoric copy of Powerpoint. Yes, I know there's a viewer, and I use it. But somehow I think that most Powerpoint presentations could be reduced to this enigmatic collection of characters without any real diminution of meaning.

It's kind of zen, isn't it... The more you look at it, the more beautiful it is. That plus/minus sign thing is a stroke of genius.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Hmm. A book you simply can't pick up.

Paranoia : Title Deleted for Security Reasons
by Edward Bolme (Paperback - February 1993)
Avg. Customer Rating:
Out of Print--Limited Availability

Friday, May 31, 2002

Italy has a mobile phone network called Tim. The Netherlands has one called Ben. Why isn't there one in the UK called Darren?

Thursday, May 30, 2002

Presentation slips #2

"the recent slurry of announcements from Nokia" [flurry]
Presentation slips #1

"and the backside of this strategy is..." [downside]

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Me and my bad credit - what am I thinking of? Me and my not-large-enough breasts - where do I get off? My and my overpriced Viagra-alike supply - am I crazy or what?
Issues to raise with Americans, when opportunities arise:
  • how can I best introduce my three-year-old to socialism?

  • do you hate the French more than we do, or does it just look that way?

  • where do you get your weather?

  • where will the successor world empire arise?
  • Cockle:

    A rising tide
    lifts all the pollutants
    further up the beach.

    Thursday, May 16, 2002

    Revenge: a dish best ordered "to go".

    Wednesday, May 15, 2002

    True statistic:
    More Nokia 8210s have been stolen than have been manufactured.
    Seen in The Guardian's The Editor supplement, 11 May 2002
    Sales tactic of the day
    I offer a no fee cancellation service, the customer can cancel at any time without penalty. This makes clients who are not 100% sure book with us. Once they've booked, they tell the kids and then can't back out. It would be a brave parent who spoilt their child's birthday party by cancelling the bouncy castle man.
    Shark-Attack Barbie Sighting
    "No, no! I didn't want the 'Fun in the Sun Barbie' with the sunburned skin, I wanted the 'Fun in the Sun Shark-Attack Barbie' with the bite marks on her surfboard."

    Tuesday, May 14, 2002

    At a business meeting in a Bloomsbury hotel today, I noticed that one of the bars has been branded as the Virginia Woolf Brasserie. I'm sure dear Ginny would have hated this, although it looked like the sort of place she could have got decently depressed in.

    I suppose there's an EM Foster's pub nearby, hopefully with a function room called A Room With A View.
    A lawnmower believed to have been the inspiration for one of Philip Larkin's last published - and best known - poems has become one of the most unusual additions to the University of Hull's archives.
    Archivist Brian Dyson said it was likely the machine was the one Larkin was using when he accidentally killed a hedgehog, which inspired the poem, The Mower, published in 1979.,6109,712893,00.html

    The world eagerly awaits publication of the Larkin/Amis letters, which will detail Kingsley's protracted loan of Phil's mower during the summer of 1954. Sources close to the volume's editors say that Amis angered Larkin by using the mower to write the first chapter of Lucky Jim, which he did on a very large field near Leicester.

    The incident prefigures Sylvia Plath's tragic experience with a strimmer in 1961.

    Philip Morris have changed their name to Altria. They haven't divested their tobacco interests, they've just changed the name of the company. It's like spraying the house with air freshener instead of removing the corpse in the living room.

    Monday, May 13, 2002

    Ecommerce through the ages, #1:
    The French Revolution
    Monsieur Guillotine invents the add to basket icon.

    Up with the lark
    Down with the duck
    And white wine with the fish.
    So many books to read, including:
  • Knitting With Dog Hair : Better a Sweater from a Dog You Know and Love Than from a Sheep You'll Never Meet
    by Kendall Crolius and Anne Montgomery
  • Synthetic avatar-artists for the nu century, and the product they will shift:
  • Billy Blogg and the Blogheads. The blard of Blarking wins The Weakest Link and releases an album of Ian Duvet covers.

  • In Our Ties with Melvyn Blogg. The scientist-licking talking head discusses the death of dress-down Friday, with special reference to the Lake District.

  • Blogney Spheres. A randomly updatable collection of polygons guaranteed to confuse dads everywhere.
  • CW Bloggs. The character nobody much remembers in the movie Bloggie and Clyde publishes his thoughts during a blood-soaked tour of the more out-of-the-way states of the Union.
  • Why don't companies have straightforward names like Edwin Drood and Daughters any more? And why don't more of them use simple tag lines that tell you something about what products and services they actually offer - like Microsoft: Family Butchers of Distinction for example.

    And when oh when will some go-ahead community rename their city Greenspan?

    Pushed under the carpet by sweeping statements? Consider taking refuge in a vacuum.

    You can't just throw money at the problem. Unless the problem is me.
    At the height of the web mania, Cupcake Canasta made $7.21 in ad sales one day. I dropped everything and went on a world cruise.

    At the height of the web mania, the people down below looked tiny. Like ANTS! Hahahahahhaha.

    At the height of the web mania, you could see a clear day.
    What I really want to do with my life is to get on some really interesting medication, and then talk about it all the time. I'll hang around various newsgroups with my elbow on the bar and post stuff about my meds. Like: I was on Bovopopor for six months but it was giving me a sweaty mouth - so I changed to Agfrapopor with a chaser of Loopinol - which was way better than Hegenpegen but nowhere near as effective as Tea.
    Whatever possessed me to throw out all those old planets I was hoarding? I could be selling the suckers on eBay. I suppose the dusting got to be too much for me.
    Day six billion or so. Worried deeply about the word ideolect. Will I ever find a good reason for weaving it into a conversation? Ideolect means a language spoken by a community of one. I'll have to have a word with myself about it.