Referrer Log Trawl (or possibly, "Meme meme meme!")

Lyric of the week: I'm looking for a thick young lady to pull.

A slew of excellent search terms have poured in in the last few days, so I need to move quickly to archive them (my comments in brackets):

Summary of The boy next door by Betty Cavanna (it's a book)
"google gum" (chewy goodness!)
"were you a member of the nazi" (not that I remember)
goodness-gracious-me lyrics doctor i'm in trouble (well...)
best-news.ru (home to a bunch of phishing scammers)
referrer search term amusing (none here, sadly)
rice crispie dalek (best search term ever)
oh "mr. woo", "what should I do" (dunno mate)
shrek sex porn "fiona nude" (a disturbing recurring theme)
lyrics tears for fears "that the dreams in which i'm dying" (oh mr woo, what should I do?)
lloydstsb scam website (see above at best-news)
"dervla kerwin" (our favourite misspelled actress)
diggerworld (best theme park in the world)
"diggerworld" ("best theme park in the world")
Fred Bloggs (Who?)
"Don Foster, AmericaĆ¢€™s foremost literary sleuth, identified quirks in BelleĆ¢€™s text" (that's easy for you to say)
"electric sensei"lyrics (Halcali rock!)
cost of round trip air flights from Newark to Iowa to download (search me mate. Oh, you did...)

And lastly, you may have been asking yourself, what is it like to be NTK'd (the UK equivalent of a slashdotting). Well, a while ago I linked to a paper on the complexity of Lemmings, which got picked up by NTK. Turns out that this paper got 1582 downloads over the next couple of weeks. No figures yet on how many people actually read it. Still, it now means that this topic is being covered at Princeton University.

By the way, if you like Computational Complexity, then you might also enjoy Computational Geomety. Although it's not yet clear why the google ads are for toilet seats.

No Matter where I go, I know where I come from..

So don't be fooled...

Oxbridge Scarf Round-up

Since there was such a rapturous response to the last time that I spotted an Oxbridge Scarf in a BBC programme that I've decided to make this a regular feature, on the grounds that the more things I can find to talk about without getting out of my chair, the further I can continue in my endeavour to never leave the house and thus avoid being killed by aeroplanes, chicago, Google, air conditioners and other hazards of modern living. Anyway, another old one here:

This is Simon Quinlank, from one of his appearances in Lee and Herring's Fist of Fun. And he's clearly wearing a Queens' Scarf.

I plan to watch "Cambridge Spies" next, just to see what happens.

I have a cold. One of the symptoms is a sore throat. So I woke up this morning at about six, and had to scrabble about for a throat sweet to alleviate the pain. Have you ever fallen asleep with a sweetie in your mouth? It makes it last for ages (and probably rots your teeth in the process): it took till nine for me to suck the sweet off completely.


Lolly, Lolly, Lolly get your adverbs here...

For the first time in ooh ages a new lolly stick joke:
Q: How to billboards talk?
A: Sign Language

Which isn't all that bad, considering what has gone before. Oh, and I might as well tell you the latest AOL passwords:

Which don't really need any comments.

There was an advert on TV, which showed a basketball player getting out of bed next to a sleeping woman. In the light of the Kobe Bryant accusations, I could have sworn that the voiceover said "Do not be afraid of rapists", which seemed a bit unexpected. On closer inspection, they actually seemed to be saying "Do not be afraid of greatness". It's an easy mistake to make.

The search queries people use to get here still make interesting reading, though search traffic is down a lot lately. Sex still dominates, as shown by "nude bloggs", "milkshake nude", and of course "Dervla Kerwin". To the person asking "one of its legs is both the same this doesn't make any sense": it's just a childish joke, get over it. "Paul Verhoven lift"? I have no idea at all...


Belle End?

There's an awful lot of dull speculation out their on the real identity of Belle De Jour, which is only worth remarking on because of the crap pun potential: read about how the times has fingered Sarah Champion as the author.

It does need to be commented that 'Don Foster, America’s foremost literary sleuth, identified quirks in Belle’s text, such as the way she uses brackets, dashes, compound verbs and italics. He entered this information into Google, the internet search engine, and within 20 minutes found that Miss Champion was the only person who matched' is a load of rubbish. I know that google is suposed to be quite good, but last time I looked, typing random pieces of punctuation into google does not get very good responses. Well, I can say what I like about google now, so I have no compunction about stating definitively: Google is rubbish when it comes for searching for punctuation.

But, just to be clear about this: I am not belle de jour. I think. I don't remember.
[Edit: But of course, I am a fictional character]
[Edit: And a complete whore]


Doooooo Dit...

Pete Shelley, The Thompson Twins, the Stranglers and Chris Sievey and the Freshies --
together at last!


Hacking Real Life

Hacking international computer systems from the comfort of your bedroom is all well and good, but occasionally you need to leave the house, get on the train, go the airport, and fly half way across the country with a couple of unwanted hours at Chicago. And when you do, you need some hacking fun to keep you occupied. So here it is.

Suppose, like me, you want to go from New Brunswick to Newark Airport via the train. For some reason, you are not allowed to buy a return ticket. Instead, it seems that your only option is to buy two one way tickets. According to the bottom of this page, the price for this is

2 * $10.80 = $21.60.

That's a bit steep, you think, isn't there some cheaper way of doing this trip? Turns out there is. There's a secret trick: it's possible to buy a one-way ticket from one side of the automatic ticket barriers to the other in Newark Airport. You have to go to the ticket machines, and type in destination "099". If it helps, you may think of this as the secret cheat mode option. I found out about this last time I was at the airport, when my ticket wasn't working. The approximately 5 second trip from one side of the barriers costs $5 each way, but you can still save some money this way: buy a round trip ticket from New Brunswick to Newark (the next stop after Newark airport). Now you can buy an off-peak round trip ticket for $8.75.

So the total cost of the journey is $8.75 + 5 + 5 = $18.75.

A total saving of $21.60 - $18.75 = $2.85, or 13%. Cool, huh?
You may remember that last week a stray microphone picked up John Kerry saying to some supporters "Let me tell you, we've just begun to fight. We're going to keep pounding. These guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group I've ever seen. It's scary."

Immediately, the Republicans complained at this comment.

But look at it: where does he say that he's talking about the Republicans, or George Bush, or the White House, or the current administration? Nowhere.

So think about it: the incumbent hears "crooked, lying", and recognise themselves. Then they feel obliged to attack Kerry for his comments. But by doing this, they are in fact admitting that they are crooked liars. The fools. I'm surprised no one else has picked up on this.


You'll notice that in the hilarious rude word sweary channel four advert (nsfwish), Richard Whitely says that his favourite rude word is 'Sloblocks'. That should be sloblock. What a tawt. But funny what things stay in one's mind.


Do you know the way to San Hose?

To California and back in a stupidly short time with not much to show for it apart from a sore throat and some business cards. Either I'm getting better at it, or they are giving up, but not much evidence of people trying to kill me this time round. Sure, United airlines made another attempt to ruin my life and trap me in Chicago O'Hareport for ever. Despite getting me there too late to catch the connecting flight I was supposed to get on, I only reached my destination two hours late. So instead, a quick rumination on evolution.

It occurs ot me that evolution exists, as can be seen in American bathrooms. They have baths, with a shower over them and a shower curtain. But if you actually try taking a bath, then you'll see that there's a problem. The bath is actually too short for most people. The overflow is very low, so you can only fill it a few inches. In certain cases there's no plug or stopper or other way of stopping the water from staying in the bath. In other words, it's impossible to take a bath in the bath; it's only really good for taking showers in.

Why? Because people in America don't have baths, it would seem. They are too busy, they can only barely afford the time for a shower. And so, the bath/shower is evolving. Eventually, the bath tub will shrink further, and there will really only be a shower stall. But it can't happen straight away, and so instead there is a vestigal bath tub. And that's evolution in practice.


Black versus White

This has been on my mind for a while. What would happen if Jack Black met Jack White (the White stripes)? Would the world end? Please let me know.


You're so vain...

... you probably think this blog is about you.

OK, I give up... what is this blog review website all about? It looks like some elaborate wind up, or else it looks like I set it up and pretended to review my own site. Which I don't think I did. I don't remember doing it, anyway.

I would address the concerns raised about the presentation, except for the fact that I really don't care. Let's just go over the ground rules again, folks:

1. This is not a weblog. Look, it even says so in big letters at the top of the page.
2. I didn't ask you to read this. Unless I did. But, chances are you stumbled across this site whilst searching for an explanation of the meaning of the lyrics of the milkshake song by Kelis. It's about smegma. There, are you happy now?
3. I use this page to write down stuff that I want to write down. If you come along and read it, that's your problem.
4. My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, and they're like, it's better than yours.
5. The management takes no responsibility for any articles lost or damaged whilst on the premises.
6. Damn right, it's better than yours! I could teach you... but I won't.

Hope this clears up any misunderstanding.

You can take away our lives! You can take away our freedom! But you must never take away... our The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.

Right. That's it. Where's my bittorrent client and links from suprnova?


Do you suffer from Commication problems?
I was about to complain about banks that send emails that look identical to phishing scams that they warn you against, when, after closer inspection, I discovered that the email in question was actually a phishing scam. This would be the benefit of reading email without HTML: all that came up in pine was a legitimate URL, barclays.co.uk. If I had clicked on this URL then, er, nothing would have happened. And if I had cut-n-pasted it to my browser, I would have gone to barclays.
I had to pipe the message to stdout to see that actually the message was trying to take me to a faked URL,

barclays.co.uk%01%01%01... etc.... @www.best-news.ru

If you go to this website, then it redirects to a page: http://online.lloydstsb.co.uk%01@

Which is where the whole scam rather breaks down pathetically, since firstly most browsers now refuse to go to URLs with user names in them (which seems a bit of a cop-out, but there you go), and secondly, up pops a faked page from Lloyds-TSB to steal my password, which is a bit stupid, given that the initial email claimed to be from barclays. Come on, you crazy russians, you must try harder...


Take me down to Iowa City, where the girls are green and the grass is pretty

Yes folks, I've been travelling again, this time to the delights of Iowa. Unforunately, unlike the Hilton, the Sheraton chain of hotels hasn't rolled out wireless to all rooms for free yet, so this update had to wait until I returned. Naturally, because I was travelling, various people, circumstances, and objects set about trying to kill me. Here are the guilty parties:

  • United Airlines try to kill me
    It was meant to be straightforward: from Newark to Chicago, and then onto Cedar Rapids, Iowa, arriving at 6pm. That would leave plenty of time to get to the hotel, have some dinner, and then have a restful evening in preparation for a very busy day the next day. Instead, United Airlines (henceforth to be referred to as "the accused") decided to try to kill me. It started off innocuously enough. I got to Chicago O'Hare airport, named after top international flying ace, Captain Bucky O'Hare, without too much trouble. I then had an hour to spare before my connection. With the intention of livening up someone's day, I went over to the customer servuce desk of the accused, and instead of everyone else there, who were complaining or changing their flights, I asked the desk jockey if there was anything fun to do at Chicago airport for an hour or so. He shook his head in disbelief. I shrugged, and took a wander around the terminal. This was about 3pm.
    Things started to go wrong, when I saw that my flight, originally shown on time, was now being displayed as 40 minutes delayed. Oh well, this can't be helped, I'd just have to cut down the amount of rest that I got that evening. Then, next time I looked at a screen, I was rather more disturbed to see that the flight had een cancelled. This is never good news. So I went bac to the customer service desk, found a different customer fucking over assistant, explained my predicament, and watched as she proceeded to do her job, of fucking me over. Presumably this happens a lot, since she didn't look at me, but just took my now redundant boarding pass, and started tapping away at the computer. After about two minutes, a new boarding pass printed out, and she shoved it at me without any explanation or apology. I was too surprised to even enquire about compensation or explanation for the inconvenience. I had been rebooked onto a flight leaving at 8pm, to arrive at 9pm. This wasn't too bad: I'd have to rearrange my ride to the hotel, but it meant I could get dinner at the airport, and so go straight to the hotel and chill out for a short while before turning in. It was then about 4pm.

    Let me spare you the rest of this story. It's not all that interesting, and mostly consists of United Airlines fucking me, repeatedly. Let's just jump to the end: the plane landed in Cedar-Rapids not at 6pm, when I was supposed to arrive, not at 9pm when the later flight was due in, but at 1am.

    Have you ever spent 8 hours in an airport? Here's my suggestion: if you can avoid it, don't. They poison the air and blind you with fluorescent lights, so that you enter a bizarre sleepless catatonia, in which you are unable to think, can hardly read, are deprived of privacy, space, intellectual stimulation or entertainment. In all this time I discovered only one interesting fact, which is that the policemen patrolling Chicago airport ride around on Segway scooters, like something out of the future or something.

  • Other passengers try to kill me
    OK, not exactly fatal, but I'm still at a loss why twice in my journey (arriving at Chicago the first time, and getting back to Newark) the other passengers began applauding as soon as the wheels touched the ground. Perhaps it's just that they are regular United passengers and are glad not to have been fucked over this time. But, it hardly seems to deserve congratulation for actually delivering the service that was promised rather than, for example, cancelling a flight for no reason and then proceeding to fuck over the displaced passengers by delaying them for eight hours. It's also a little precipitate to applaud just when the wheels touch down: the plane is still travelling at several hundred miles an hour, with plenty of potential for still hitting something and turning into a giant ball of fire. Should at least curb one's excitemtn till the plane pulls up to the terminal (which typically involves taxiing from one side of the airport to the other these days). And lastly, it's not clear what you think you are achieving by clapping: it's not as if the pilot can hear you, since he's the other side of a bolted reinforced steel door with armed guards blocking the way.

  • Hotels continue to try to kill me
    OK, so this time the reason I couldn't sleep well was mostly due to having been repeatedly fucked by United Airlines earlier in the day, but I still think the hotel has some responsibility. How else am I meant to the interpret the scene when I crawled into the room at nearly 2am, of a bed with a dozen pillows consuming about half the available space? Obviously a direct threat. I threw them all off, and was able to make do with a small cushion placed on top that was almost thin enough to avoid cricking my neck. And the TV was still rubbish, most notably in not supplying the USA cable channel, and hence denying me the chance to see the Monk season finale. Gits.

  • Iowa City tries to bore me to death
    Also exaggeration, but I had allocated three hours to explore the city on Saturday morning, and after about two hours I had run out of things to do and was bored. Probably I could have found more if I had been more enthusiastic, but I think I was still smarting from being fucked over by United Airlines. Also, I was rather fooled by the fact it was called Iowa City, whereas Iowa Small Midwestern Town would probably have been more appropriate.

So there we go. I found out later that Chicago has a reputation for being a bad place to chance planes at, and that United Airlines is actually in bankruptcy proceedings. So, a combination to avoid in future. By the way, my next trip is coming up soon, I'm flying out to Mountain View, California. Via Chicago. On United. Fuck.
Thanks to DP for sourcing a nice bible quote for the preceding story:

Revelation 16:13
Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet.


Evidence, in case you need it, that we are approaching the end of days. Bonus points to anyone who can skim through revelations and find some passages relevant to this.


New definitions for old words

Lacunae: those little spots of time, before going on a journey or going to an appointment. Everything is packed and ready, all the little tasks are done, and as always seems the way, the traveller has allocated more time than was needed for these preparations so that there is this gap of an hour or so, with nothing in particular to do, and no reason or motivation to begin anything new. These moments are usually quite serene: a mild anticipation of the journey to come being balanced by the luxury of unallocated time and the freedom to do anything realised by doing nothing.

Off to Iowa for a day or two. I wish it were Idaho, if only because it would give me free rein to unleash my favourite sinfest joke.


Pop culture minutiae:

Rm with a deja vu? Has anyone noticed how the current storyline in Angel seems identical to last years? No further comment to avoid spoilers.

Big cans! I've just noticed that cans of fizzy drinks [aka "soda"] are bigger in the US than in the UK: 355ml here, vs. 330ml in the UK. No wonder everyone is so fat here, the portions are larger.

Less later.


Attack of the viruses!

Amongst the 420 viruses that landed in my inbox today, there was also the following message:

Date: Mon, 01 Mar 2004 11:04:57 +0000
From: med-admis med-admis
Subject: Re: Word file

Thank you for your interest in the Leicester Warwick schools. If your query is
in reference to the four year accelerated MBChB course for Biological Science
graduates, this is run at Warwick Medical school and we will respond as soon as

Should you be interested in either the five year Undergraduate Medical course
or the four year accelerated Medical course for Health Science graduates,
please contact the Leicester Office of LWMS via email : med-admis@le.ac.uk, or
by phone: 0116 252 2966.

Best Regards
Yvonne R
Tracy FS

Can you work out what happened here?