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.