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February 28th, 2003


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12:53 am - Averyquick75minuteentrybeforeIgotobedstraightawaynexthonest
I do affectionately tease cygnusfap a lot (especially here) but he's such a nice guy and his decimal style has been very influential. So, in his honour:

1) Strange, dissatisfactory dreams last night - watching a football match live with my best friend since childhood and we got into an argument. Then we went bowling and argued even more. The bowling alley was appropriately strange for a dream; I had problems in that my bowls kept flying above the pins and bouncing off the frame above the pins rather than knocking them over. Hmf.

2) Even though I was able to find some surprises within a half-mile of me a few days back, I found some surprises in this house today. Firstly I had the surprising view from my upstairs window of seeing people unexpectedly working on next door's roof. Under other circumstances, these workers might have had a surprise from me.

Oh, and I've also discovered an electric socket inside the house which I can't remember ever having seen before; admittedly it's in an unhelpful position next to the central heating unit in the corner of the kitchen and I doubt if it will ever be used. However, we've all lived in this house for twenty years - surely I ought to have found out about its existence by now?

3) I should like to express disdain and disapproval for the use of "ask" as a noun, in the context of "a tough ask". What's wrong with "a tough request" in such a circumstance? Likewise, I should like to sneer and tut at the use of "gack" as a verb, except when specifically discussing the noises made by the Martians in Mars Attacks. Use "yoink" instead, if you must, which at least must be pronounced in a cheerful and high-pitched fashion - cf "squee!", but only more so.

4) Those of you who enjoy unusual pictures may enjoy this annotated picture of London at night from space. Also available is a page of larger versions. If the thousand words there are not enough for you, venta has a really good write-up of her recent trip to New Zealand and suddenly I want to go. It's neither practical nor affordable at the minute, but it's great to read about if nothing else.

5) Haven't been to the pictures for a while. The most appealing-sounding choices from the local cinema are Catch Me If You Can, Chicago, Daredevil and The One & Only. Anyone got any comments on any of those? For instance, given the community's newly-reinforced interest in musicals, is anyone off to see Chicago this weekend?

6) Quick Harry Potter fanfic recommendation - not one that you need to read hundreds of thousands of words to enjoy, merely a very simple concept explored in an effective fashion to the point where it becomes slightly creepy. If you've read the first three books, you can begin to imagine why it might be interesting to read about Lupin’s Boggart Class with the Third Year Slytherins. (Rated "R", for what it's worth.)

7) My paid account expired yesterday; on the same day, I finally managed to spend my last invitation code on inducting scat0324 into the community. Welcome, Mr. Gower, to the time sink from which many of the ox.stars have not been able to escape. Heh, heh. I have since paid for another two months; the short duration is not any slight on the system, merely representative of a long-held, vague and largely uninformed suspicion that it will not be long before Brad finishes working on his picture-hosting site, PicPix (see brad and/or bradfitz, passim) and a joint subscription to the pair, permitting image hosting and extra usericons "up the wazoo", becomes available. I'd pay for that!

8) My Prime95 installation has now finished a full 40% of trying to establish the primality or otherwise of (233299459-1), hurrah! The 40% mark was reached on the early evening of the 26th. Let's see how long the next 10% takes. Might get this number wrapped up by Christmas yet.

9) This evening I took part in the QuizGB online buzzer quiz in the chat room of the QuizGB Yahoo! Group. A few teething problems and a few confused miscreants who clearly weren't there for the quiz, but interesting questions, excellent moderation, good company and a lot of fun. Even if your standard of general knowledge is only up to mine then you should still be able to fire home with an early interruption or two somewhen along the night and it makes an excellent background distraction for your evening's LiveJournalling. Next meeting: next Thursday, 9pm GMT. (Manageable, accessible "happy hour" from 9 'til 10 with a dash of pop culture; "hardcore hour" from 10 'til 11.)

10) Finally, in an attempt to expand my culinary horizons, tonight I had food from the first Kurdish restaurant and take away in the north east. Seriously, no joke. Not sure whether they are more in line with the Kurds of Northern Iraq or the Kurds of Eastern Turkey, or even if there is a practical distinction between the two. (The Kurdistan Regional Government is more about the Iraqi Kurds, as far as I can tell.) Anyway, I went for "Fine pilau rice served with a selection of traditional stews Okra/Lady Fingers, Aubergines/Egg Plant, Beans and Apricots"(sic) rather than the lamb-or-chicken with rice options, the grilled chicken, the kebabs or the burgers that were on offer.

What I got was a portion of plain white boiled rice with little seeds in, but they were really good seeds - quite unlike any that I've ever had from an Indian restaurant. I also had a microwave-reheated pot full of what looked rather like baked beans, except that the beans were rather larger and the sauce was closer to "sweet and sour" rather than tomato. On top of that, there were two reasonably large (I'd say, roughly, circular with diameter 8"-10") unleavened breads. It was a filling and unusual meal for the whopping price of £2.50.

You can buy roughly half an inexpensive appetiser for that sort of money in a London restaurant, you're within a McFlurry of an Extra Value Meal from the pile-'em-high-and-sell-'em-cheap-iest Mickey D's of them all, or almost all of a chicken tikka pathia puri starter at the Dilshad in Birmingham. Admittedly, given all those choices, I would probably go for the chicken tikka pathia puri six days out of seven for it is the finest Indian dish I have yet discovered - but that's a starter, not a whole (and rather large) meal. Admittedly there are places in Middlesbrough which will sell you a mansize portion of fish'n'chips for £1.99 - and some of them will even wrap the packet up properly afterwards - but this was far less fatty, quite unusual and quite pleasant.

The restaurant also let you sit in and eat - the plastic tables and chairs were commensurate with the low-budget nature of the operation and the atmosphere was rather smokier than most established Western places. The clientele seemed to be mostly Near and Middle Eastern and people were watching one of the ethnic channels on Sky, but it wasn't at all an off-putting atmosphere. Not recommended for those of you carbo-dodging on Atkins diets, but I was very impressed and will try to come back to try the other things on the menu every month or two, hopefully next time without my Dad making appaling jokes about Kurds and take-awhey.

Right, just need to send one CV off to a recruitment agency (which I've been putting off since 5 o'clock - see, even when I have a good couple of hours, they are only a couple of hours) and then I really am off to bed.
Current Mood: busybusy
Current Music: BBC World break filler - dummm dedit dedit dedit dedit!

(23 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:tall_man
Date:February 27th, 2003 07:27 pm (UTC)
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Re 3: What about "grok" as a verb?

Re 4: Check out EarthViewer software for a similar, daytime view of much of the world (though it concentrates on the US and Japan). Well, if you've got access to a good 'net connection and an Nvidia video card, that is...

Re 5: Catch Me If You Can is a good book, but the movie was in and out of theaters here so fast it left a vapor trail. I'd recommend Chicago or Daredevil based solely on the longevity of both films in US theaters.

Re 6: Grin. Good fanfic -- any other recommendations?

Re 10: Kurdish food sounds good, and inexpensive to boot (£2.50 is about $3.95, according to xe.com -- an Extra-Value meal at McDonalds is in the same range)... One of my favorite restaurants in college was a little Turkish cafe that, by the sound of it, was quite similar in both cuisine and price-range. Something to be said for broadening one's cultural horizons through culinary exploration.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:February 28th, 2003 01:44 pm (UTC)
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3. I'm down with grok. It has a respectable heritage and fills a useful niche.

6. Before I start, I was remiss not to mention the source for that fic - a recommendation from madhuri567. Sorry, Madhuri. You might like to see her other recommendations where I found the link to that story.

Other than that, I tend usually not to go for the quickies, but I always have a very soft spot for this very sweet bedtime story starring Dennis Creevey, who is after all about the bittiest of the bit players.

My single favourite novel-length HP fanfic series remains the Psychic Serpent trilogy by, er, psychic_serpent (Barb Purdom) but it's an ambitious task; a trilogy and prequel. The first two thirds of the trilogy are complete; the third book and the prequel are about half-written. All told, the Psychic Serpent canon probably exceeds 800,000 words already and is set to break the million mark by the time OotP lands. There are many other excellent novel-length HP fanfic stories but this remains my single strongest recommendation.

I think the quickest, most concise solution may be to say that you can't go wrong with anything written by anyone on my Friends list. :-) What? What?

10. Yes. I'd like to visit a Turkish restaurant now. I know there are some Greek restaurants and I think I've heard people mention going to Turkish ones, but mostly for smoking purposes.
[User Picture]
From:ringbark
Date:February 27th, 2003 10:28 pm (UTC)

New Zealand, home of the America's Cup

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suddenly I want to go. It's neither practical nor affordable at the minute, but it's great to read about if nothing else.
I'm sure you wouldn't have to pay much for accommodation in the Wellington area if you did stumble this way.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:February 28th, 2003 01:51 pm (UTC)

Re: New Zealand, home of the America's Cup

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:-) Thanks! Very much appreciated.

Interesting to see your take on venta's report as a resident rather than as a tourist - I was particularly curious to see what you thought of what she thought, if you see what I mean.
[User Picture]
From:ringbark
Date:February 28th, 2003 02:10 pm (UTC)

Re: New Zealand, home of the America's Cup

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That's because I'm not a bloody tourist. I moved here in 1993 and that would make it a long tour indeed. I would argue that if you are working in a place for more than a year, you are no longer a tourist. In Rotorua, I'm a tourist, in Auckland I'm a tourist, in the Wellington area I'm a resident. Nationally speaking, I'm a resident in NZ, a tourist in AU or US, and I don't know what the hell I am in the UK any more.
My citizenship is British, but I could be a dual national if I filled in the forms and paid the fees here.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:February 28th, 2003 02:54 pm (UTC)

Re: New Zealand, home of the America's Cup

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Sorry; imprecise, overly lazy English on my part. There was an implied "I found it Interesting to see your take on venta's report as a resident rather than as a tourist" rather than an implied "It would be Interesting to see your take on venta's report as a resident rather than as a tourist". Obviously neither a safe nor a clear implication to make! I certainly wouldn't call you a tourist with the amount of time you've been there.

There was coverage of the America's Cup on tonight's BBC 10 o'clock News - the clip of the mast (maybe the rigging, I'm not sure of the precise difference) snapping in two, with commentary - also mention of the NZ members of the Alinghi team being considered as traitors by some of the locals.
[User Picture]
From:ringbark
Date:February 28th, 2003 06:02 pm (UTC)

Re: New Zealand, home of the America's Cup

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Sorry, you caught me temporarily in one of those moods. I found venta's comments pretty much an accurate representation of what NZ is like as a tourist would see. venta's views are not too far from the reality as seen by a resident. well done to him/her/it/whatever.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:February 28th, 2003 06:35 pm (UTC)

Re: New Zealand, home of the America's Cup

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No problem. :-)

Venta is a lady, Elizabeth, and I like her a lot.
[User Picture]
From:ringbark
Date:February 28th, 2003 06:47 pm (UTC)

Re: New Zealand, home of the America's Cup

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Sorry, I didn't mean any offence when I wrote that. I think it's a leftover meme from somewhere. I presume you have stayed up this late to watch the America's Cup? I can't think of any other reason to be receiving a response from you at this hour.
[User Picture]
From:addedentry
Date:February 28th, 2003 01:54 am (UTC)

Rear Window

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Under other circumstances, these workers might have had a surprise from me.

Last year I discovered by chance that my housemate's room provided an excellent view of a woman foolhardy enough to spend her evenings wandering around topless. (Inside her own house, I should add.) I can only ask why this didn't come to pass when I was fourteen and might have appreciated it instead of feeling vaguely sinister.

Catch Me If You Can is worth seeing for the title animation alone, and the rest of the film ticks along nicely; it is the embodiment of Sunday-afternoon-family-fun. Chicago looks wonderful and elicits some surprising performances from the three leads, but whether you like it will obviously depend on your reaction to noir and musicals.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:February 28th, 2003 01:59 pm (UTC)

Re: Rear Window

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Somewhere on The Yeti there's a review of an etiquette book which surprises the editor with its quality. One of the etiquette questions in the book describes such a scenario; the conclusion is that if the topless person knows that people could be watching them and still continues to remain topless without the protection of curtains then they don't mind people looking at them topless. That's not to say that this should be taken further, of course.

You know, what you say up to the comma is strong enough recommendation alone for me to want to see Catch Me If You Can. Thanks!
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:February 28th, 2003 01:58 am (UTC)
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Still managed to get up in single digits a.m. Go me!
[User Picture]
From:akahannah
Date:February 28th, 2003 04:21 am (UTC)
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Catch Me If You Can is very good - one of those really enjoyable films that you can just sit back and eat popcorn to. Chicago is excellent - I saw it for a second time last night, and it just seems to get better.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:February 28th, 2003 05:20 pm (UTC)
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OK, maybe I'll go to Chicago after all. :-)

That said, I haven't checked to see whether it's still showing this week. Friday is kind of an inconvenient day for the listings to change and cinemas generally seem to be poor at announcing next week's schedules in advance. Unless, of course, you know better!
From:cygnusfap
Date:February 28th, 2003 05:23 am (UTC)
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4. Thanks for the link to the pictures - very nice!

5. I personally recommend The Hours - but although not especially dark, it's not exactly the sort of film that makes you laugh much. Heavy stuff. So if you're looking for something funny or light, better not see it.

I've heard Daredevil is like Spiderman but a lot worse.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:February 28th, 2003 05:21 pm (UTC)

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like Spiderman but a lot worse

Eep!
[User Picture]
From:picklepuss
Date:February 28th, 2003 09:12 am (UTC)
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addedentry is dead on about both CMIYC and Chicago. Catch Me is excellent for 2 hours and heavy-handed for 20 minutes. The opening credits are up there with the best ever and Christopher Walken and Tom Hanks rock the house like nobody's business, as per usual. I've seen Chicago twice (it may have been better the second time) and I've listened to the soundtrack entirely too much - most fun I've had watching a movie all year. Try not to think too hard about it as the cynicism is suffocating, but the music is spectacular. Zeta-Jones is unbelievable!

Daredevil has its moments, but left me wanting a lot more. Colin Farrell as Bullseye is the best as he seems to be the only person having fun (actually Jon Favreau as Foggy Nelson is great as well, but he's only there for a few minutes.). They try to go with the character study aspect above mindless action. I appreciated the effort, but it failed.

Never heard of The One and Only.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:February 28th, 2003 05:23 pm (UTC)
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*appreciates commentary*

I've never actually deliberately left a film before the end, though I've heard it recommended as a technique from time to time. (Most prominent recent example: A.I. just before the last half hour.) Might that be worth trying for CMIYC?
[User Picture]
From:picklepuss
Date:March 3rd, 2003 09:05 am (UTC)
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I find it telling that both A.I. and CMIYC are Spielberg movies. The man needs an editor in a bad way ( Minority Report - same problem).

I would never advocate walking out of a movie unless the entire experience was sickening (I've done it once). You go to see the whole movie or else you are just cheating; you don't get to decide when it ends or what happens. That said, if you were going to leave a movie at a certain point to enhance the experience, A.I. is the one. The last half hour completely debunked the rest of the movie for me (I still liked the film as a whole). CMIYC is not anywhere near that. It just lasts too long; nothing is affected tonally. I highly recommend it as it still better than 90% of the crap they throw in your face nowadays. It is definitely an old school, good times, matinee flick; you will leave happy.
From:daweaver
Date:February 28th, 2003 10:49 am (UTC)

Just call me Susie Dent...

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I should like to express disdain and disapproval for the use of "ask" as a noun, in the context of "a tough ask". What's wrong with "a tough request" in such a circumstance?

Good question. As with many developments in English, this one can be traced to Australian cricket. Commentators describe a target unlikely to be reached, but still possible, as "a big ask". For instance, if Australia were to set England 153 for victory, commentators would quite rightly describe this as "a big ask." From this, the translation from size to strength is fairly trivial.

Gradations of size (or toughness) are possible; during the opening match of the current World Cup, South Africa's target moved from "a bit of an ask," to "a big ask," to "an ask the size of an elephant," to "bloody hell what's Kallis doing out there?" Mr Vic Marks responsible for one of those, and that will surprise no one.

I have heard the phrase used by a pundit on Sky Sports News to describe Juventus's task against Newton Heath on Tuesday, but haven't heard it used outside the context of sport. As Mr Henry Blofeld has not turned "ask" into a noun, we can assume that it has not entered common usage.

Stereotypically, the England side requests the company of fellow cricketers in a jolly good game. The Australia side asks the opposition along, and expects to chew the opponents up and spit them out before lunch.

Useless additional factoid: The Times' World Cup guide describes a cell-phone as a small bottle of spirits, often sold outside sports grounds.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:February 28th, 2003 05:25 pm (UTC)

Re: Just call me Susie Dent...

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So noted, Ms. Dent. And aren't you looking fine today?

Have to say that the phrase still rankles. A pain in the ask, even.

*waves hat like Mr. Chips*
[User Picture]
From:ealuscerwen
Date:March 2nd, 2003 01:50 am (UTC)

Invite codes

(Link)
I've got a few spare if you ever want to invite someone and don't have a code.

Eal.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:March 2nd, 2003 09:40 am (UTC)

Re: Invite codes

(Link)
:-) Thanks!

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