Saturday, October 30, 2004

You know you've been watching too much anime when...

... you're in Paris, and everyone around you is speaking French, and you still reach for domo arigatou rather than merci beaucoup!


pret a lancer

Canal side art

Just back from a few days in Paris, where I was able to loaf about enjoying some of the autumn sun.

Tuesday was the journey down; Eurostar, as ever, and after a hair-raising taxi ride from the Gare du Nord to the Novotel Les Halles, I could settle down and start to explore for food. For a change, I wandered up past Les Halles to the Rue Tiquetonne, for the rather excellent Loup Blanc. This serves various marinated and grilled meat and fish, along with some green salad and rice, and a choice of more exotic salad accompaniments, such as various sorts of melon in coconut milk and lime juice.

Wednesday was cool and grey, so time for a yomp up to the Parc de la Villette (head up Sebastopol to the Gare de l'Est, bear right, keep going past Stalingrad), to the Cité des Sciences, and a promenade in the park, before returning along the canal. As it was raining by evening, dinner was in the Creperie St. Eustache, in the Rue Sauval, close to the hotel, an unpretentious, simple creperie, with good cider. Needless to say the weather put me off the idea of watching the lunar eclipse.

Thursday was warm and sunny, a last indian summer, pleasant to sit in shirtsleeves in the Jardin des Plantes after a promenade along the Rive Gauche, and otherwise not do a lot. It was even too warm for a jacket in the evening, when going up to the Bourse for a traditional French meal at the Gallopin. A leisurely meal, then strolling back along the Rue Montmartre in the bright moonlight.

Friday, tried to shop — but the season is wrong for silk shirts, and the dedicated silk and cashmere shop I'd used some years ago now seems to have been replaced by something downmarket. Lunched at the Trappiste — Salade Parmentier, for a change, with a couple of bottles of Rodenbach grand cru, double fermented and aged for two years in oak — before starting the journey back.

Entry composed while eating a couple of quiches from the bakery just by the hotel.

For the less able visitor, I would definitely recommend the guidebook Paris en Fauteuil — and collecting a lot of 10 and 20 centime pieces, as the reasonably accessible automatic toilets take 40 centimes a shot.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Too busy

As usual, so much to do, so little time. Not helped at work by the fact that the code complete date on the project I'm working on has been brought forwards from late Jan to mid Dec; plus one of the team is leaving. Aaargh!

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Book — The System of the World

Stephenson concludes the Baroque Cycle with a third tome as weighty as the previous ones, but covering a much shorter window of time, the months surrounding the death of Queen Anne, and the ascent of the House of Hannover, in which the Solomonic Gold thread is also resolved, and certain earlier mysteries revealed. And everyone gets to the nearest they can to a happy ever after.

It's another low-key ending, the sort of thing that has been a trademark since Snow Crash at least.

If you read the previous volumes, you will want to read this.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Web (server) log

More of the weird strings that pull people to my sites.

  • Eden Project cornwall
  • christopher gilham
  • Gilham — twice
  • "steve gilham" — On Google UK for UK sites. I've not pwnZ0rZed that to the same extent as unfettered Google.
  • FRED WALTERS — My distant relative isn't the baseballer
  • len walters
  • crossbar & "her wrists" — Aargh! I'm caught in the middle of a search for John Norman's Gor. Unclean!
  • architechnix — There appears actually to be a real company of this name, but my fictional one (Tuckerising some of my own past) gets the #1 slot
  • cats at home — obligatory cat pix
  • Mangatoetoe — been there
  • Utena + Nerv Fanfiction — one of the strings leading to hits on the same page as the next few strings:
  • neon in its purist state
  • Evangelion "Story Boards"
  • b-spline_eva
  • fan interpretations of The End of Evangelion
  • Rei & Asuka & shoujo-ai
  • shinji and rei ayanami having sex pic — Somebody was disappointed ;)
  • walking holidays in france — I write about mine
  • pinewoods cemetary — yes, I do have a page with both those words on, but very far apart
  • walking tour st. jacques of compostelle — another of the many hits on the same
  • hotel de chanaleilles — and again
  • Le Puy-en-Velay france photo — and again
  • walking holidays france — and again
  • french>church>st.Nectaire — and again
  • "Le Puy" GR65 — and again
  • GUI Toolkit Skinning Win32
  • "Mr Tines"
  • ravnaandtines — from Italy
  • stand alone blowfish

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Autumn Woes

I'm going to be hard put not to turn back into a fat slob this winter. Work has been going barmy (process being substituted for competence in certain quarters), and with the evenings closing in, the need to keep long hours and overlap with colleagues in the States means that even were it not being wet, cycling would be out. Maybe once more this year? I hope. Possibly not at the end of the year, since they're now building around where the cycle way in to Cambourne goes, and it was being muddy enough in recent weeks to clag the bike up.

And the car park near my gym has been undergoing a refurb since the start of the year, and that's overrun the schedule - it was original supposed to finish last month, - and with much of it out of action, getting to the gym during the week is out too!

And to add to the fun, it's almost a year, and the still haven't done anything to repair the cycle way into town.

Thursday, October 07, 2004


Tracking my car mileage.

3001 miles arriving at work yesterday 6th Oct; 2359 on the M11-M25 slip on the August BH Sunday, and 2400 at the A13/North Circular junction on the way back.

And doing on average 260 miles between top-ups (after the middle blob on the fuel guage empties.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

One satisfied customer

I finally decided what I wanted to get myself as a belated birthday present: a TV-free, and computer free multi-region capable DVD solution which could fit into a watch-in-bed scenario.

I could just have bought a DVD-R drive, to replace one of the CD-RWs and have one drive R1 and the other R2, but I really have no need for DVD-R capability yet (maybe when I next need a real hardware upgrade - which may be sooner rather than later as one of the machines has been getting a bit flaky lately); or a cheap external DVD drive, just to make R1.

I would have liked to be able to feed the video output from a normal DVD player box into an existing monitor - but that sort of thing involves a video-in card on the computer, rather than any obviously discoverable black box. The only displays that seem to take the multiplicity of video formats are either small (8" or less) seat-back units or TVs.

The best thing that turned up in terms of display size and other requirements from the wonder that is Google was a 9" player (9" Shinco (aka "Initial" or "Mintek") portable DVD player) from, a Nottingham based mail-order outfit; so that is what I ended up plumping for. I ordered Sunday afternoon, and it arrived Tuesday morning, and I had a bit of a play with it last night. I was impressed by the speed and efficiency of the service, and with the initial impressions of the device.

As indicated, it is indeed region free out of the box; the picture and sound quality are entirely satisfactory - and the small inbuilt speakers are capable of being louder than I need. The drive is a little bit noisy when seeking, but that seems an inevitable result of the slim-line case not having room to be sound-proof.

A long time in politics

No sooner does it seem that the Tories are finally sliding into oblivion, but UKIP suddenly slip into the niche they used to occupy, viz. leadership squabbles and alienating their sources of finance, skipping all the bits in the middle. The lunatics really are in charge of the asylum.

Monday, October 04, 2004

X marks the spot

Today, on the 47th anniversary of Sputnik, Spaceship One claimed the X prize, with a turnaround time of just six days. On the seventh, they can rest.

This is starting to be more like space as it ought to have been. And I don't think that there was any coincidence in their choice of the date for their achievement.

Who knows, maybe I will manage to get into orbit some day.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Trawling the blogger-sphere

That little "Next blog" button does exert its influence when you have nothing better to do, and just want to randomly wander links. And it does feel that mouch of human life is here. But here are surprises and annoyances.

It is annoying to hit blogs that obscure the title bar, or stick up Javascript thingies. It is frustrating (on a 1600x1200 display at least) to hit blogs that are in maroon on black in teeny-tiny font size, or hide all the text in a minute 300x300 pixel scrolling area. It is striking when one finds the same site two or even three times (especially when it is one of the annoying ones) without getting led back to one's own. And so many blogs on the trail are at the first post or three stage, and no more than 24-48 hours old (and one of those made featured blog recently for reasons that escape me).

It is surprising that it seems that as many blogs are in Spanish or Portuguese as are in USAn student illiterate semi-English or are compendia of (mainly financial) advertising links (debt relief, pay-day loans, or such) - and that more people blog in Arabic or about details of their sex lives than blog in French or German (on Blogger at least).

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Aftermath of Hartlepool

Oh, dear.

Well, the blue-rinse brigade do seem to have managed to kill off the Tory party.

I'm just surprised that it's only taken such a short time, since they failed to realise that Portillo was about their last chance at electability, to their being kicked around by a new party.

The only trouble with voting “None of the above” — and that's how I feel with all the current lot — is that they never get in. Or, as some wag put it many years ago “No matter who you vote for, the Government always gets in.”