Greetings the stranger!

I know you shouldn't post too much spam for fear of encouraging them, but I did very much enjoy this tragic phishing attempt:

Subject I looking for a friend
Good day!
You are disturbed by administration of dating sites of Australia. You are a member of this group.
One of our members interested in you.
There is the message from this Member* - name "Miraslavna"
This WOMAN wishes to get acquainted with you.

Greetings the stranger! Hello from
big country Russia. I have read your profile, and i think
you a very interesting person. I see you as a pleasant interlocutor.
I want to know you better and to exchange photos
and not more informstion about each other. I will be very glad if our relations will
not stop on that and we will not communicate only using Internet.
I'll be glad to meet you one day.

Write me if you want to my e-mail: quattromira4@gmail.com

Also a use MSN and ICQ messadger to contact my friends, so if you have It, I'll tell you my contact details.

I will tell a little bit about myself:
I'm very nice, sociable girl.
I'm 25 years old, growth 169, my eyes are gray-blue, hair -blonde, weight is
54 kg, I have a sports constitution. I visit fitness centre regularly
to support the figure and to feel Vigorously.
If you are self-assured and think that you can deserve my attention then
write to me))



Radio Radio

What I want: a portable radio, digital tuning, with an inbuilt battery (like mobile phones and most mp3 players these days) so that I can charge it / use it while plugged in, and then carry it around the house without having to find several dozen C batteries to power it.

Ideally, it could also access my wifi connection and stream internet radio stations, but that seems to be too much to ask. As it is, no one seems to make radios with inbuild rechargeable batteries. Why not?


Hasbro are a bunch of melon-farming cork-soakers, since their actions have cut off my games just when things were getting interesting. Damn their eyes!

Edit: Oh, it's even worse. There are alternate "official" scrabble versions: one for players in the US, one for international players. I like to play scrabble from the US against people in the UK. So that rather screws up any hope there. Damn all your eyes again!


Refund this

You may dimly be aware of a class action suit against Virgin Atlantic and British Airways regarding collusion over 'fuel duty' expenses. To claim a refund, you have to go to their website, and fill in details on all flights that you took with the airlines between August 2004 and summer 2006. But what kind of anal retentive has enough information stored to be able to remember that kind of detail nearly four years later?

Well, apparently I do. I went to my spreadsheet that lists which flights I took and when (I keep it partly to tally my carbon footprint, but not to make any attempt to remedy it), and looked up the dates in question. The only flights I would have taken would have been transatlantic, US to UK. This told me when I could have taken flights, but not the carrier. For that, I dug out my credit card receipts from the months in question, and looked up the details of who I travelled with, and when. This included one flight on Virgin in December '04. So I filled the details in to the website, and sent it off. In sixth months time, I confidently expect to receive a rebate cheque. Since the total cost of the flight was $300 at the time, the rebate amount could be at most a dollar or two. So, more good uses of my time, I guess.


The Plib

I'm constantly wanting to refer to The Plib, but no one seems to have transcribed it onto the Internet, so I've done it myself.

The Plib (Peter Cook as E L Whisty)

I was talking to you about my plans to think of something absolutely new and revolutionary which would change the whole face of the world. Well, I just thought of it. It's called the plib. It's an amazing thing, the plib, I thought of it in the bath. It's very simple and small and amazing. It's very peculiar that nobody thought of it before. It's about quarter of an inch long and quarter of an inch wide, and it's completely round and white. And what you do is drop it into a glass of water and it fizzes. Then, you drink down the plibby substance, and it cures you of anything. Isn't that wonderful? If you've got rheumatism in the knees, all you have to do is take one plib and within seconds and all your troubles are over. And the amazing thing is that it works for every kind of disease. It's a really wonderful invention, the plib. I went along to the patent office with it yesterday to register it in my name. I went in there and I said "Excuse me, I've just invented the plib and I want to get it patented before anybody steals the idea." And they said "Oh yes, what exactly is this plib of yours?" So I explained to them what it was and they were very interested and asked to see one. So I had to tell them I hadn't exactly made one yet. It was still in the 'ideas stage'. What I wanted to do was to patent the idea first and then do the research to get the plib into production. They said that wasn't possible unless I actually made a working plib. I'd never heard such rubbish in my life! It's the people who have the ideas who deserve all the credit. I mean, anyone can make a rotten old wooden wheel, but it takes brains to think of the idea of the wheel. I wonder what happened to poor old Einstein? He had that wonderful idea about splitting the atom and causing enormous explosions. I suppose if he came along to the patent office with his diagrams, they'd've said "Ah, I'm sorry Mr. Einstein, but I'm afraid you'll have to show us one of your explosions before we can grant you a patent." Serve them bloody well right if he'd blown them up. I shouldn't think he ever managed to get the idea patented. Very sad really, he ought to be getting sixpence ever time there's an atomic explosion. They cheat you out of everything these days. I tried arguing with them but it was no good. I said, "Look here, my good man, if you don't register my plib, I'll get on to my very good friend the Duke of Windsor, he'll come round and smash you round the face". And he said "Oh really? How very interesting. Perhaps you'd like to have a look at a very new invention that's just come in". I said I would. And he reached under his desk and got out a long spindly pole with a sponge on the end of it, covered in horrible sticky muck -- I think it was fig jam. He said "This is a very fascinating device that we in the patent office call a 'nit-poker'". Then he banged me in the face with it and kicked me down stairs. I don't think government officials should be allowed to behave like that. I shouldn't be surprised if he hadn't stolen my idea about the plib.


Care less

There's probably a complex grammatical way of describing a phrase like "I could care less", when what the speaker means is "I couldn't care less", but the meaning is clear in the event anyway. I recently encountered a new one of these: while in Bristol Airport, my flight was delayed (Why? The explanations given ranged from "for technical reasons" and "awaiting air traffic control", neither of which made any sense). The tannoy announcement was ended with "We apologize for any convenience this may cause." Now, you used to hear this occasionally and think to yourself "ho-ho, they've got it mixed up". But I've heard this repeated so often, that I think it's becoming part of the language, and unthinking drones are repeating it, ignorant of the literal meaning, and assuming that it is a genuine apology. Of course, any sentence that begins "We apologize" is clearly bogus: there's virtually no setting where it is meaningful to have an apology from a collective group of people. I'd rather not hear this; since any situation where there is a tannoy announcement of an apology, you can equally replace it with the statement "Everyone with any connection to this organization is entirely indifferent to your plight", I think I'd rather they just not bother. About a decade ago, rail stations in the UK took this a step further by having entirely automated announcements with apologies, which further highlighted this inanity -- a computer program was being made to fake an apology for the late running of the 9.25. I doubt that anything has been done about this obnoxiousness.


Evolve this

Momentous events in the world of UGC: the tedious and unfunny "Evolution of Dance" is about to be knocked off the top spot of youchoob's most viewed chart by commercial productised pop anagram Avril Lavigne. Possibly this part of an orchestrated attempt to take down the dancer with some dubious hit inflation techniques, but so what? Another benefit is that this screws up the fitting of skewed power law distributions to the most popular videos.


Cart Talk

Everyone loves Car Talk. I disappear off to Bristol for a week, and all anyone can talk about is how much they love Car Talk. So on my return, I decide to check out the TV version which has just launched in the US. Well, I say the TV version. Basically, there's now a cartoon that stars the protagonists of the show.

And it's... well, the thing is, I don't know what it is. I think the creators don't really know what it is. It's basically a kids' cartoon, voiced by the Magliozzi brothers. In the style of these things, a host of new characters have been added, such as a harassed NPR producer, and a load of other car mechanics. And it bears no other relation to the radio show whatsoever. In which case... what's the point?

You can just about make out the thought process that went into this. The radio show is great, but consists of people calling in to have their car problems diagnosed over the phone. So, the natural thing would be to do a live action version of this. But, showing phone calls on TV is not so interesting, and Top Gear has already carved out a large slice of the "dicking around with cars" market. So, take the other thing people love about the show -- the interplay of the two hosts -- take that entirely out of the context of cars, and give them silly little adventures to run around in, like Duck Tales or something.

And of course, it doesn't work. Or at least, there's no real point for an intelligent adult to sit and watch it. It reminds me a lot of "Clerks-The Animated Series", which did a similar thing. Except that almost worked, because it was vaguely related to what had gone before, and was tolerably amusing in places. This show ("As the Wrench Turns" -- why?) is more like "The Real Ghostbusters".

It probably didn't help that I was incredibly jetlagged when I watched and (and still am as I write this), and that I fell asleep ten minutes in as a result. But... when I heard that there was going to be a TV show, my initial thought was "but that can never work", and in this case at least it is surely justified.



On a roll, since I managed to watch the DW finale before getting on the plane, and thus totally avoided all spoilers. Although, in retrospect, having it crafted by RTD was sort of a spoiler in retrospect. The ep was good, but not as great as it could have been (or as great as the anticipation made it). Too many plot holes to mention, and some may still not have seen it, but probably the extra twenty minutes could have been trimmed without any great loss.

Anyway, now I have a UK IP address, I can enjoy watching the BBC's IP layer. I'm not sure why people are so excited about it, it's certainly not as much fun as watching the TCP layer or ever the UDP layer. Still, when in Brizzle, do as the Brizzolians do, I suppose.



Problem: You have some frozen chicken, but you don't need all of it to make a curry. However, it's all frozen together in one big lump.

Solution: Place frozen chicken in plastic bag. Hit repeatedly with hammer. Extract sufficient pieces of chicken. Curry.