All we hear is email ga-ga

OK, this is too much: my free webmail account has just received unsolicited baby pictures from someone sending a mass cc'ed mail to a bunch of people I've never heard of. Presumably, the fact that the email address I have is quite short and generic, it's another mistake. Normally I'd post the content of the message so that whoever it was intended for has a hope of finding it, but in this case, it doesn't seem quite right. So, er, if one of your friends has recently spawned and you wish to see the photographic evidence of the reproduction, then let me know, and I'll see if I have the appropriate pictures.



Gosh, but that little chap does get himself into all kinds of scrapes, doesn't he? I refer of course to young Frodo Baggins, about whom the whole world has been going 'Rings' crazy waiting for the final book of his thrilling adventure. Will he die at the end? Will he and his band of chums be able to overcome the evil wizard Sauron? Well, I picked up a fresh new copy of the final book at the weekend, although the shop staff gave me some rather funny looks as I burst in to the store at midnight to purchase it, and slogged my way though it in record time. It is true that old J. R. R.'s prose is rather leaden and ungainly, but now that she's a billionairess, I'm sure she doesn't mind. Things pick up just where the last book left off, and race to a thrilling conclusion that tests our hero to his very limit! And, er, then it ends. Oh well. I'm sure there'll be another series of books about wizards and goblins and trolls that captures the world's imagination in another few decades or so.



I recently came to a realisation that I have become a fundamentally asynchronous being. Here are some examples of my asynchronicity:

1. I hardly ever set an alarm clock, I just get up when I've woken up enough.

2. My preferred method of communication is email.

3. I listen to BBC radio via listen again whenever it suits; I watch TV and movies via DVDs and downloads; I don't have "live" TV.

In fact, there's very little that I do that is strongly synchronous. The only examples that come to mind is that I occasionally go to scheduled talks and meetings (usually scheduled by me in the middle of the afternoon so as to give plenty of slack) and I usually go for lunch between 12 and 12.30 so as to catch up with people for lunch (but this varies from day to day, and is not a standing arrangement). In other words, either through accident or design I have a lifestyle which is very decoupled from anyone's schedule but my own. Since I usually have plenty of things to be getting on with, there's not usually any problem with wondering what to do next, or getting bored.

This tends to work fine, although it's possible that I annoy people by sometimes being very slow to respond to things. Since there's no particular urgency in anything, I just add it to the queue, and process it whenever I get around to it. Thus, it occasionally takes me up to 16 months to reply to an email, or a few weeks to do some small chore that wasn't interesting enough to be done earlier.

The only downside of this lifestyle, apart from perhaps not getting some things done as soon as they should be, can be summer up on one word: spoilers. Since I usually don't see a new TV show until a week or so after it has aired, or read a book till it comes out in paperback (much easier to read in the bath than a hardback), or watch a movie till it has been out on DVD for long enough to crawl up my Netflix queue, then when I see something 'new' is about a year after most other people have, and hence I am beset with spoilers. Usually it's easy to avoid them, but still, it can be annoying.

What makes this particularly pertinent is this dratted HP7. Having got myself into the embarrassing position of having read the first six books, I suppose I will have to read the seventh eventually. And (note this copyright freaks) the leaking of the book on the net is starting to convince me that I should buy this book and read it now, instead of waiting a year or two. And, living the asynchronous life that I do, there's actually something quite exciting about the prospect of rushing out to get something that is completely 'new'. So tomorrow, I will go out and secure a copy. Not at midnight, obviously, there's no particular rush. And maybe tomorrow is not so convenient, so maybe I'll leave it till sunday when I'm also getting the groceries. Actually, the cupboards are quite full at the moment, so I probably don't need to go to the shops till the middle of next week. Ah... it can wait.



Prompted by listening to some old mp3s:

Which of the following programme titles was deemed offensive by the BBC and changed for subsequent series of a radio show?

a) Prince Ponce
b) Queen Bitch
c) King Stupid
d) Princess Michael of Kent

I am rubber and you are glue

New rhetorical questions: "And if xkcd told you to glue captions to cats, would you do that too?"


Sounds like 'butter'

I was listening to the song "Torn up on the platform" by Jack Penate, and the vocal delivery reminded me of someone. I realized that it was Kate Nash. Is there a connection? Amazon certainly thinks so, since it's made the two songs "perfect partners", and their collaborative filtering algorithms surely can't be wrong.

Music Quiz Answers

No-one apart from RjY and the famous McGregor seemed in the slightest bit interested in the last lyrics quiz, so as punishment, here are the answers:

1. Glasgow

I was sick and tired of everything when I called you last night from Glasgow -- Super Trouper, Abba

2. Hackensack, NJ

You oughta know by now who needs a house out in Hackensack? Is that what you get with your money? -- Moving Out, Bruce Springsteen Billy Joel (posting while asleep)

3. Union, NJ

Union, Union, Union City Blue -- Union City Blue, Blondie
(how could you not get that one? It really is about Union, NJ and everything)

4. Timperley

Just about anything by Frank Sidebottom.

5. Milan

As pointed out by RjY, Right Said Fred. Well done on your knowledge of camp 90s novelty pop.

6. Munich

New York, London, Paris, Munich, Everybody's talkin' bout -- Pop Musik, by M
Another easy one.

7. Deptford (obscure)

"Maybe your lover is living in Deptford?" -- Pimlico, by David Devant and His Spirit Wife. No one recognises this lyric from the first single that never appeared on an album of a band that no one has heard of? I'm disappointed.

8. Cleveland

Cleveland Rocks! Cleveland Rocks! Cleveland Rocks! -- Cleveland Rocks, Ian Hunter

9. El Paso

Obviously, Asshole from El Paso, by Kinky Friedman. How easy can I make this?


Tired of Mika Brzezinski

I don't know about you, but I'm just about fed up with the media's constant coverage of Mika Brzezinski. Who is this person, and why is news about her actions so important to my life? Sure, her family is important for something or other, but I don't see why I need to be constantly bombarded with information about her.

If she was a person of genuine import, then maybe it would be worth reporting on. But, as far as I can tell, she's not even a proper newsreader, but rather a comedy prop on an irreverent morning show that was created to fill the void created by Don Imus' departure. If she was a real news reporter then perhaps her actions would have had impact, but instead she's just an actor in a zoo format morning show where the entourage is presumably encouraged to act up. Would this be worth mentioning if Jon Stewart or Colbert had done the same thing?


Youchoob embeds

With the flashy new flash for embedded youchoob videos, it's become quite hard to go to the original youchoob page for the video. You used to be able to click on the youchoob icon in the bottom right of the movie, but that no longer works. Instead, you need to click on 'menu', then click on the reduced image of the movie itself in the upper left. Took me ages to find that.


Quiz Time

Haven't had a pointless quiz in a very long time for everyone to ignore, so here we go.

Name the songs that I'm thinking of that features these locations:

1. Glasgow
2. Hackensack, NJ
3. Union, NJ
4. Timperley
5. Milan
6. Munich
7. Deptford (obscure)
8. Cleveland
9. El Paso

More if/when I can think of some.