It's coming... o v e r y o u r h e a d . . .


Crawling through technology, life and love

Contact me:
hotmail
home


Listening:

Playing:
Pool Paradise - GC on Wii

iTuning:
Podcasts - Chris Moyles, Mark Kermode and Stephen Fry

Reading:
All 24 25 Tintin books

Bits and Bobs:
Wish List
Gerry's Lyrics Pop Quiz
Minipops Quiz

Sites I like:
Marc Almond
Top 40 Singles
News
IMdb
The Register
Hacks
Recent GBlogs
Arsenal FC

Some blogs I enjoy:
bboyblues2000
bitful
blogadoon
brainsluice
chig
groc
minkered
scally
sparky
troubled diva

Books recently read:
Time Out Guide to Havana (and Cuba)
And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks - William S Burroughs and Jack Kerouac
At My Mother's Knee ... and Other Low Joints: The Autobiography - Paul O'Grady
Star Maker - Olaf Stapledon
My Booky Wook - Russell Brand
When You Are Engulfed in Flames - David Sedaris
Then We Come To The End - Joshua Ferris
A Spot of Bother - Mark Haddon
The End of Mr. Y - Scarlett Thomas
I Never Knew That About London - Christopher Winn
The Arsenal Miscellany - Adam Gold
Young Hearts Run Free: The Real Story of the 1970s - Dave Haslam
Magical Thinking - Augusten Burroughs
Veronika Decides To Die - Paulo Coelho
Time Out Guide - Amsterdam
Lillian's Story - Kate Grenville
The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
Schott's Original Miscellany - Ben Schott
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J K Rowling
A Gay History Of Britain - Matt Cook
Time Out Guide to Madrid
Time Out Guide to New York
Kingdom Come - J. G. Ballard
The Hours - Michael Cunningham
Mutants - Aramand Marie Leroi
A Young Man's Passage - Julian Clary
Growing Pains - Billie Piper
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Wild Swans - Jung Chang
Highbury: The Story of Arsenal N.5 - Jon Spurling
Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins - Rupert Everett
Affinity - Sarah Waters
Lighthousekeeping - Jeanette Winterson
Tipping The Velvet - Sarah Waters
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
Of Human Bondage - W Somerset Maugham
Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
Lucky Man - Michael J Fox
Labyrinth - Kate Mosse
Fingersmith - Sarah Waters
The Night Watch - Sarah Waters
The Pedant's Revolt - Andrea Barham
The Republic Of Trees - Sam Taylor
Written On tbe Body - Jeanette Winterson
Untold Stories - Alan Bennett
The Plot Against America - Philip Roth
Read All About It - Max Clifford
The Folding Star - Alan Hollinghurst
Thursbitch - Alan Garner
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim - David Sedaris
Staying Alive - Matt Beaumont
The Bookseller Of Kabul - Asne Seierstad
Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince - J K Rowling
A Short History Of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson
Count Karlstein - Philip Pullman
The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Spell - Alan Hollinghurst
The Double Life Of Daniel Glick - Maurice Caldera
The Smoking Diaries - Simon Gray
Straight- Boy George
Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
Deception Point - Dan Brown
The Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency - Alexander McCall Smith
Angels and Demons - Dan Brown
Sydney - Time Out Guide
Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood
Eleanor Rigby - Douglas Coupland
The Scarecrow and His Servant - Philip Pullman
Tha Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
Planet Simpson - Chris Turner
The Line Of Beauty - Alan Hollinghurst
Barcelona - Time Out Guide
The Closed Circle - Jonathan Coe
The Clerkenwell Tales - Peter Ackroyd
Copenhagen - TimeOut Guide
The Butterfly Tattoo - Philip Pullman
The Broken Bridge - Philip Pullman
In Search of the Pleasure Palace - Marc Almond
Brick Lane - Monica Ali
Vernon God Little - DBC Pierre
Last Exit To Brooklyn - Hubert Selby Jr
You Shall Know Our Velocity - Dave Eggers
Touching The Void - Joe Simpson
Life Of Pi - Yann Martel
Istanbul - Time Out Guide
Millennium People - J G Ballard
The Duchess Who Wouldn't Sit Down - Jesse Browner
Hey Nostradamus! - Douglas Coupland
Eats, Shoots and Leaves - Lynne Truss
The Wind-up Bird Chronicle - Haruki Murakami
Our Man In Havana - Graham Greene
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon
Lyra's Oxford - Philip Pullman
Doran - Will Self
Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
the book, the film, the t-shirt - matt beaumont
High Society - Ben Elton
Man And Wife - Tony Parsons
I Was A Rat - Philip Pullman
Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix - J R Rowling
Great Apes - Will Self
Barrel Fever - David Sedaris
Round Ireland With A Fridge - Tony Hawkes
Close Range - Annie Proux
The Third Way - Anthony Giddens
dot.con - John Cassidy
The Salmon of Doubt - Douglas Adams
One Hit Wonderland - Tony Hawkes
The Thief Lord - Cornelia Funke
The Corrections - Jonathan Franzen
The Cloud Sketcher - Richard Rayner
Keane: the Autobiography - Roy Keane
A Wasteland of Strangers - Bill Pronzini
The English - Jeremy Paxman
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People - Toby Young
Dead Famous - Ben Elton
The Amber Spyglass - Phillip Pullman (again)
The Subtle Knife - Phillip Pullman (again)
Northern Lights - Phillip Pullman (again)
The Bear and The Dragon - Tom Clancy
101 Reykjavik - Hallgrimur Helgason
Forward The Foundation - Isaac Asimov
Carter Beats The Devil - Glen David Gold
The Tin Princess - Philip Pullman
Atonement - Ian McEwan
The Tiger In The Well - Philip Pullman
The Rotters Club - Jonathan Coe
Generation X - Douglas Copeland
Perfume - Patrick Suskind
All Families Are Psychotic - Douglas Coupland
The Shadow In The North - Phillip Pullman
No Logon - Naomi Klein
The Dirt - Motley Crue
Miss Wyoming - Douglas Coupland
The Amber Spyglass - Phillip Pullman
The Subtle Knife - Phillip Pullman
Northern Lights - Phillip Pullman
The Ruby in the Smoke - Phillip Pullman
The Sandman - Miles Gibson
Blood and Gold: The Vampire Marius - Anne Rice
The Actrocity Exhibition - J G Ballard
Shameless - Paul Burston
Sing Out! - Boze Hadleigh
Brilliant Orange - David Winner
New Boy - William Sutcliffe
London - Peter Ackroyd
Wonder Boys - Michael Chabon
One For My Baby - Tony Parsons
How To Be Good - Nick Hornby
White Teeth - Zadie Smith
Lust - Geoff Ryman
Tulip Fever - Deborah Moggach
Dead Souls - Ian Rankin
The House Of Sleep - Jonathan Coe
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - Dave Eggers
What a carve up! - Jonathan Coe
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon
The Grapes Of Wrath - John Steinbeck
Heartwood - James Lee Burke
Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
Man and Boy - Tony Parsons
The Map Of Love - Ahdaf Soueif
e - Matt Beaumont
The e Before Christmas - Matt Beaumont


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Sunday, November 30, 2003
Day of rest...
We did very little yesterday. Ate, light shopping and sleep. All much needed. Chicago can sure take it out of a gal.

Today is a bit more action packed. But started by following the Arsenal-Fulham game on the Beeb's sport web site. The BBC News web site is really good when you're traveling. Being a bit of a news hound I like to stay in touch with what's happening in the world.


Saturday, November 29, 2003
Putting the 'Chic' back in Chicago...
We met up with Emma last night. Emma is a really good friend from the UK who lives in Chicago now. We did some bar/club hopping and here are some photos we took early on in the night before we got too messy. The other guy in the photos is called Flint, our handsome Chicago bar tour guide.



Friday, November 28, 2003
Naked French Rugby Team Calendar...
Some enterprising young buck has scanned in all the naked pictures on the French World Cup Rugby team's calender. Not only do you get pictures like those below but lots more besides. Go take a look.

Click on the images below for a bigger version


Thursday, November 27, 2003
Thanksgiving...
Thanksgiving is in full swing here in the US. The turkey is in the oven, vegetables are chopped and stuffing has been stuffed. Ten friends are on there way over bringing sweet potatoes and pecan pie. The plan for the day will be to simply eat a big meal and sit around chat.

Thanksgiving is a strangely / uniquely Amercian thing - so big here it's hard to think it hasn't transferred other the Atlantic. It's like Christmas but without the need to buy presents. It's a good introduction to Amercia I guess.


Chicago - first impressions...
This is a great place a bit like New York but not quite as manic. We're staying at Carl's fantastic appartment in Boystown where there is loads of gay shopping and eating and drinking to be had. But as we were fairly knackered after our flight yesterday we had a quite night in - because today the big day - Thanksgiving.


Wednesday, November 26, 2003
Fear of flying...
I'm sitting in Terminal 3 of Heathrow Airport shit scared. I hate flying and I've got a long flight ahead. Suddenly a Bloody Mary at the bar sounds very appealing. Who cares if it's 9:20 in the morning? I suppose I could just close my eyes for the entire flight and think of England, but no. Not practical really. I think I better just face up to it. I might die today.

And so apologies in advance to anyone sitting in seats 40A or 40C on the 10:25 United flight to Chicago today. I'm a big old nelly who hates flying and am likely to be sweating like a fat girl on a hot day.


Tuesday, November 25, 2003
European Champions League: Arsenal vs Inter Milan...
Tonight ITV1 showed the Arsenal vs Inter Milan match. And what a corker it was.

1945: Six games kick-off around Europe with Arsenal in need of victory to prevent them from being knocked out.

1950: Inter are awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position but Vieri makes a total mess of the set piece and sends his shot well wide of the target.

2005: Arsenal lift their pace and Kanu shoots narrowly wide from 20 yards.

2010: GOAL Inter Milan 0-1 Arsenal
Arsenal gain a crucial advantage as Thierry Henry sweeps the ball home in emphatic style from just inside the box.

2017: GOAL Inter Milan 1-1 Arsenal
Arsenal's joy is shortlived as Christian Vieri's shot deflects off Kolo Toure and loops over keeper Jens Lehmann.

2048: GOAL Inter Milan 1-2 Arsenal
Freddie Ljungberg puts Arsenal back in front from close range after good work by Henry on the left.

2101: Inter are inches away from leveling when Andy van der Meyde hits a 22-yard free-kick which whistles just over.

2108: Arsenal are pushing for a third goal in the San Siro and Henry tries his luck with a speculative free-kick from 30 yards which is easily saved by Francesco Toldo.

2124: GOAL Inter Milan 1-3 Arsenal
Arsenal seal a brilliant victory in Italy as Thierry Henry races away to score an impressive solo goal to leave the Gunners requiring victory in their final game to qualify for round two.

2127: GOAL Inter Milan 1-4 Arsenal
Arsenal are on the rampage as Edu slides home their fourth goal, much to the delight of the 3,000 traveling fans.

2129: GOAL Inter Milan 1-5 Arsenal
Inter Milan totally collapse as Arsenal break away one again and Robert Pires slots home the fifth to complete a memorable victory.

2130: Full time. In Highbury we go crazy!


Up, up and away...
Apologies if postings are a bit sporadic over the next few weeks. The reason is that tomorrow Marky and I are off to America for two and half weeks. We're planning on causing a trail of retail and partying havoc starting in Chicago, Illinois leading us down to Las Vegas, Nevada and then back to Chicago, Illinois to mop up any survivors we may have left along the way. The reason for the trip is that it's Marky's 40th birthday on the Friday 5th December and he really wanted to spend his big one in Las Vegas.

I'm excited about the trip partly because we're going to Chicago, a place I've never been before despite having some close friends who live there, and partly because we're going to a place I just love. Las Vegas. On top of that I've had a really tough time at work recently (a couple of 16 hour days last week) and I so need a break. But I guess the real reason I'm so excited is that I love it when Marky and I go away together. It's become a bit of a regular thing with us to go away in November as our 'summer holiday' and we always have a great time. So wish us bon voyage and see y'all in a few weeks.

And me being me, a nervous flyer, I've checked out all the sizes of all the planes we're getting on. And of course the movies there and back.


Monday, November 24, 2003
What shall we do with the drunken sailor?...
On Friday night Paul, Charlie, JP and I joined the other old salty sea dogs on HMS President for Duckie's 8th (9th?) birthday party. The venue was unusual i.e. a boat moored on the Thames, the party crowd fairly eclectic (as ever) and the music even more eclectic than usual. All in all a great night out. There were two cabaret acts on. First a pair of beer gulping, wine guzzling, fitness videoing dancing, head spinning and projectile vomiting women. Then a neo-New Romantic comedy singer Gary Le Strange. The sound was a bit crap for Mr Le Strange but, hey, that's what the Duckie experience is all about. David, Jason and Jonny were all there too which made the evening complete. Why later on that weekend David insisted on apologising for his misdeeds of that night demonstrates more what a lovely man he is rather than how foul the mischief he got up to. ("No, David, it was fine, honestly. I hope the ankle is better and yes that was my silver ball on your kitchen table the following morning")

After the rugby Saturday was a day of rest for me and one of work for Marky (he has a dissertation to do). Sunday was more of the same for Marky (poor lamb) while I paid a visit to S.L.A.G.S. / Chill-Out at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern (first time in many months). By some bizarre Duckie/Chill-Out cross-over coincidence David, Jason and Jonny (also joined by Marcus) were there too. Much hilarity followed and Andy Almighty did us proud.

Best joke of the weekend #1: "If you're going to fuck an Aussie - use a Jonny!" [Thanks to Guy]
Best joke of the weekend #2: "Your kids are so ugly when they stayed at Michael Jackson's house they had to sleep in their own bed" [Thanks to 'guest' Security guy at RVT]


Saturday, November 22, 2003
We are the champignons...
Just watched England winning the Rugby World Cup final. Yay our team!


Friday, November 21, 2003
What were they thinking?...

[Thanks Rog]


Thursday, November 20, 2003
10 sites I've been to this week...
A new computer with a lot of "flexibility"
How about this setup for Microsoft Flight sim?
Cool animations you've got to see!
What if Harry Potter met Hillary? (for mature audiences)
Turn the tables on information abuse
NASA stellar photography stimulates the human imagination
Are you an Outlook vacation whiz?
The Microsoft Terraserver aerial photography database
Strong Bad videos
Cool browser test page


Wednesday, November 19, 2003
I hate the Carling Islington Academy (and indeed many other similar venues)...
On Saturday night Mark, Paul, Simon and I went to see songbird Martina Topley-Bird at the Carling Islington Academy. A great, great show - fantastic songs and one amazing voice. But there was a problem with the venue. Well, three problems really.

Firstly the people. They did not spot TALKING. Christ! Why pay £12 to see a show and then natter all the way through it. I hate that. It was the same at Goldfrapp the other week at Hammersmith. People just talked and talked and talked. SHUT UP! Grrr!

The second problem was the drinks. And in particular their price. Two pints of lager and two vodkas came in at £21-95. What the...?!! £21-95!! The beer was only £3 so that made each vodka a whopping £8!!! Outrageous! Double-Grrr!!

And the third problem was with the venue itself. Like many other venues is was a flat auditorium - standing only. No banking from the back. So if you were at the back you stood no chance of seeing. Worse still it had a low stage. That meant that anyone under say 5ft 6inches tall didn't stand a chance of seeing the band no matter where they stood. Daft planning. Put a gentle slope in, you idiots! That way everyone can see. It works at most of the old converted cinemas/theatres like the Academy in Brixton and Hammersmith. Why not do it in new venues too? And while I'm on the subject, why is it that a tall couple will always seek you out at a gig and stand right in front of you just when you're got a good eye-line of the lead singer? I swear they do it on purpose. Grrrrrrr!!!!

Apart from that. Topley-Bird. Top gig.


Tuesday, November 18, 2003
Stress test...
I worked six and a half hours overtime yesterday due to a badly scheduled e-mail upgrade (not by me I hasten to add). And it's all a bit stressful.

There is a picture used as part of a stress test developed by researchers at St. Mary's Hospital in London. It is the final picture of a
series of stress determinators to gauge the amount of stress a patient has built up over a short time.

Don't open the picture just yet but when you do you will see a picture of two dolphins jumping out of the water in tandem.

The research has shown that the more differences you notice in the two dolphins, the more stressed you are. This is attributed to the concentration and recognition influences intensifying when stressed.

The two dolphins are very similar, so if you can tell the difference without looking hard, you should pack up work and go home immediately.

Click here to see picture and test your stress.


Monday, November 17, 2003
Gay or Straight?....
Can you tell if someone is gay or straight just by looking at their photo? Take this photo quiz from B3ta. and find out.


Brainteasers...
1) Unscramble the following letters to form a word.
E N I T R A E S R A B S

2) Write down a mathematical expression, having a value of 24, which uses three equal digits, none of them being 8.

3) As in 2) but now find a different three equal digits.


Friday, November 14, 2003
The Meatrix...
Freerangegraphics.com latest is very funny: The Meatrix. You can see other flash movies with a conscience here.


Raining fire...
On Saturday night Drew and I (Marky had a nasty cold so had to drop out) went to a house warming / birthday / fireworks party at Ben and Sarah's new place in Sydenham. It's a fantastic 1960s town house now full of fantastic 1960s furniture.

The fireworks party was organised by all of Ben and Sarah's neighbours in a small communal garden at the back of the crescent of houses where they live. And it was indeed a small garden. Very small. With lots of trees. The bonfire was huge though and so we all had to stand back against the fence so as not to get burned. We waited for the fireworks to appear. And wondered where on earth they'd be space to let them off.

Actually Sarah, Drew and I are all a little bit nervous of fireworks so we three found a little spot to huddle together as far away as possible from where the action was. Perhaps we'd all seen rather too many graphic videos at school of kids with firework burns to stand too close.

Anyway, one of the local Dads stepped up and took charge. Straight away he started setting up these (rather large looking) fireworks that he had piled high in a wheelbarrow. Those trees did seem a bit nearby, but hey, I'm sure the guy knew what he was doing, right?. And those fireworks did look rather big, buy hey, what could go wrong?

I thought I'd turn on the camera on my XDA II to capture the fun. Glad I did. This is what a happened in the next two minutes (it gets worse right towards the end)... God knows why we were laughing!
ftp://mailgate.overyourhead.co.uk/Visual/fireworks.mov

(It's a 3Mb file and to view the full horror you'll need speakers and QuickTime player)


10 sites I've been to this week...
Play Bot Brigade.
Glowing caffeinated beer for computer fanatics.
The *strangest* computer clock you've EVER seen!
Find anything at the Internet archive.
Polish your writing with the visual thesaurus.
The life and times of the Star Wars Kid.
Cool car "traffic jam" simulator.
Fly over many sites in the world, from your computer.
Free Internet bumper stickers.
MIT's Gallery of Hacks.


Thursday, November 13, 2003
Martina Topley-Bird...
Simon is coming over from Spain this weekend and taking us to see Martina Topley-Bird just down the road at the Carling Academy Islington. I know precious little about Ms. Topley-Bird but what I've heard of her music I like.


love actually...
Darren called me up yestedray afternoon to ask me if I fancied seeing the new film love actually - the Prince Charles Cinema was screening an 'exclusive preview' sponsored by AOL Broadband and Nescafe. Of course I jumped at the chance. The premiere isn't until Sunday after all. Mark came too, David was there and so was the oh so lovely Chris Jepson.

So was love actually actually any good? Short answer: yes actually.

The plot "follows the lives of eight very different couples in dealing with their love lives in various loosely and interrelated tales all set during a frantic week before Christmas in London, England." And the cast reads like a who's who of British acting: Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson (OK, he's Irish), Alan Rickman, Martine McCutcheon, Gregor Fisher, Martin Freeman, Andrew Lincoln, etc etc.

The stories were subtitled:
love rocks on
love is elementary
love american style
love unspoken
love as a second language
love at work / love lasts a lifetime
love is awkward
love and politics

The writing is witty as we've come to expect from Richard Curtis and it all takes place in the same universe as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones Diary and Notting Hill. At all the appropriate times the eyes moisten and the laughter comes but to be honest we don't really care about the characters too much. An ineviatble consequence of having eight plot lines I suppose. They are purely there to elicit emotion from us. And on that level I guess it works. But by the end I think we were all left with a slight unsatisfied feeling about the film. As an examination of love it really only showed us the symptons not the cure.

Still is was very funny, no more so than with the many cameos by the likes of Rowan Atkinson, Ant *or* Dec (sic) and Michael Parkinson.

For me the highlight was seeing Brazilian Rodrigo Santoro strip off. He looked magnificent as Karl, the frustrated but unstanding beau. And any film that has in the credit "Natalie's octopus brother, Keith" can't be all bad.

My verdict: go and see with a lover.


Wednesday, November 12, 2003
Bartender Refuses To Acknowledge Patron's 'Regular' Status...
I am disappointed to report that the cute Bar Code bartender known to me only as 'the cute Bar Code bartender' once again refused to acknowledge my status as a 'regular'. A regular patron. I've been going to Bar Code for more years than I care to remember, and I don't get so much as a nod of recognition when I'm at the bar. I estimate that I have ordered over 500 pints of Carling from 'the cute Bar Code bartender' and not so much as a smile. Now I don't expect Bar Code to be like the Queen Vic or anything, but I just think that I deserve be treated like a human being. I shall seriously considered not leaving a tip for him the next time I'm in there. Very seriously indeed.


The train now leaving Green Park...
I was so engrossed in my book this morning I did something I've never done before. I missed my tube stop.

I love it when books engross and enthrall you like that. When you get to a page-turning moment that simply cuts out the world around you and transports you into the world created by the author. Do you ever have to reread a section of a book because you enjoyed it so much you think you must have missed something? Have you been unable to put a book down because you just have to know what happens next?

Books are great fun and whoever invented them should give themselves a well deserved pat on the back. Well done, you.


Tuesday, November 11, 2003
Gay Paree: the pictures...
Last week's 'AGM' in Paris went very well; minutes were minuted, actions were actioned and motions were carried. Whatsmore we had time for some sight-seeing and some photo opportunities.

Click on any picture below for a larger version.

Now where do I plug this in?





Monday, November 10, 2003
Hit me, baby...
I seem to have been getting lots of hits to this web site recently. Can't think why...

02 Nov, Sun: Unique users:114
03 Nov, Mon: Unique users:587
04 Nov, Tue: Unique users:588
05 Nov, Wed: Unique users:860
06 Nov, Thu: Unique users:723
07 Nov, Fri: Unique users:2290
08 Nov, Sat: Unique users:1809
09 Nov, Sun: Unique users:2770

Oh, hang on, is it because Prince Charles has been in a man Oman recently?


Heart on Snow...
I got Marc Almond's Russian album Heart on Snow last week and it's great. Marc has also been interviewed by the BBC as 'Torch singer Almond lights up Russia'. Best quote: "Pop music is the best way to get widespread audiences but the irony is it has the least to say."


Friday, November 07, 2003
Royal-Sex-Scandal-Rumour-Mill continues......
So Prince Charles has denied everything. But what is it he is supposed to be denying?

Following George Smith's rumours about a rape at the Palace there have been similarly scandalous rumours circulating about Prince Charles himself being caught in a compromising situation with a servant. It can't be true. But if it were I can see why Charles might want to keep that under the covers. It'd be hard for him to pull it off though. But what a relief if he could.


Royal Rumour continues: Michael Fawcett...
My favourite part of the BBC article on Michael Fawcett, Prince Charles's trusted aide is: "In 1998, when a number of the Prince's staff complained to the Prince of Fawcett's bullying, Mr Fawcett duly resigned. Within a week, though, he was not only re-instated, but promoted. The complainers have all now left royal service." Trusted aide indeed.

Apparently Michael Fawcett was on over £100,000 a year (a typical valet's gets less than £16,000 a year) and got a payout of over £500,000 when he left Prince Charles's employ earlier this year. Trusted and wealthy.


Nerdywood...
Computing Magazine are running a competition to find the top ten best IT-related films. Here are the 30 nominees.

01 Jurassic Park (1993)
Plot: Mad billionaire recreates dinosaurs from prehistoric mosquito. They repay the favour by eating the IT director
IT theme: If you have a monster business idea, don't share it with the IT guy

02 Minority Report (2002)
Plot: In a database-dominated world, the police prevent crime before it happens. One cop becomes victim of the system and fights for freedom etc etc
IT theme: Accept RFID tags today and you'll spend tomorrow hiding in a cold bath avoiding electronic spiders

03 War Games (1983)
Plot: Teenager accidentally breaks into the Pentagon computer and nearly starts World War III
IT theme: If you have computers that can wipe out humanity, make sure you're password isn't "password"

04 Carry on Loving (1970)
Plot: Seminal arthouse technology movie in which Sid James et al start a computer dating agency with hilarious consequences
IT theme: Computers were made for the double entendre: hard drives, floppy discs (ooh, matron)

05 The Lawnmower Man (1992)
Plot: Scientist experiments with virtual reality and some dodgy Es, turning a dim gardener into megalomaniac egghead
IT theme: Computer game junkies need regular screen breaks

06 The Net (1995)
Plot: Hacker Sandra Bullock stumbles on a plot to take over the world through computers and finds her Blockbuster card has mysteriously been wiped
IT theme: Computer obsessives are really quite beautiful and dynamic. Yeah, right

07 The Italian Job (1969)
Plot: Computer specialist and lover of the larger lady Benny Hill helps a group of patriotic criminals to bring Turin to a halt and steal gold bullion
IT theme: Don't trust traffic systems to a centralised datacentre. Are you listening, Mr Livingstone?

08 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Plot: God knows. But a computer definitely turns psycho and something significant happens to monkeys
IT theme: Don't give your computer a name or it'll think it owns the place

09 Weird Science (1985)
Plot: Nerdy students program their computer to create a woman
IT theme: Try not to think about what your brother might be doing with the PC in his bedroom

10 The Terminator (1984)
Plot: A computer system with ideas above its workstation sends a cyborg from the future to kill the hero who can save humanity
IT theme: Don't trust technology. Even your LAN is out to get you

11 THX 1138 (1970)
Plot: One man rebels against a dreary computer-controlled world where we've all been reduced to emotionless four-digit numbers on a database IT theme: Show your PIN number who's boss, or you'll end up living in Basingstoke

12 The Matrix (1999)
Plot: A computer hacker learns that life is just a computer-generated sham, created by cyber-creatures. He becomes part of a rebellion
IT theme: We could all be drones tied to our computer screens, performing essentially pointless tasks for unseen bosses. Hang on a minute!

13 The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
Plot: More of the same, but with more explosions and lots of illogical conversation
IT theme: The only way to deal with a computer virus is a sackful of automatic weapons

14 Airplane II: The Sequel (1982)
Plot: In-flight computer keeps crashing the Space Shuttle. Probably funnier before Space Shuttles started crashing for real
IT theme: Ask to speak to the auto-pilot before entering any aircraft

15 AntiTrust (2001)
Plot: IT megacorp takes drastic action to stop whizz-kid getting his open-source software to market
IT theme: Megabucks proprietorial IT is evil - who could they have in mind?

16 Billion Dollar Brain (1967)
Plot: Texas billionaire hatches plan to use a computer to start a rising in the USSR. Michael Caine saves the day
IT theme: Billionaires are mad. IT will give them great power. Not like today, then

17 Dark Star (1974)
Plot: Space ship's computer tries to keep control of a bomb that turns peacenik
IT theme: Interoperability will be a big issue for computing. Thank God they sorted that one out quickly

18 Electric Dreams (1984)
Plot: Computer develops a personality and becomes his user's rival for the affection of the girl next door
IT theme: Your computer may well have more personality and charm than you

19 Logan's Run (1976)
Plot: Unexpected rebel escapes from a computer-run city where everyone gets bumped off at the age of 30
IT theme: You're not over the hill at 30. One for the management

20 Pi (1998)
Plot: Mathematician builds a supercomputer that can discover the secrets to everything, but a variety of bad guys want a piece of the action
IT theme: Proof that there are some things that should never be allowed into the hands of the Inland Revenue

21 Tron (1982)
Plot: Twisted games designer takes revenge on his enemy by forcing them to fight in a computer-designed world
IT theme: Your software is out to get you, and your word processor

22 Sneakers (1992)
Plot: Hacking for the elderly, as Messrs Redford and Poitier get involved with cryptography and deception
IT theme: People are snooping on our lives, and you can too with cheap laptops, a few crocodile clips and a battered old van

23 Enemy of the State (1998)
Plot: One man has the full technological power of the NSA turned on him when he is given a GameBoy containing evidence of a hushed-up murder
IT theme: Anti-crime surveillance is a bad thing, except when it prevents crime

24 Swordfish (2001)
Plot: John Travolta and Halle Berry are criminals robbing banks by computer and buy arms to support US nationalists
IT theme: There are many unexplored ways to get a computer user to work faster

25 Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
Plot: The Terminator comes to save humans when computer system Skynet sends out a new and improved model
IT theme: Upgrades do not automatically add value or efficiency

26 Westworld (1973)
Plot: Theme park robots go on a killing spree when the mainframe crashes
IT theme: Disaster recovery saves lives

27 Hackers (1995)
Plot: Good hackers (nerdy and just in need of a little love) foil the virus plan of bad hackers (evil geniuses bent only on money, ruling the world etc)
IT theme: Teeny hackers. Gotta love 'em

28 S1m0ne (2002)
Plot: Washed-up film producer discovers that he can do without prima donna actors by using a computer-generated star
IT theme: If the boss implements new technology, he is looking to get rid of you

29 D.A.R.Y.L. (1985)
Plot: Robot boy longs to be human and accepted by his adopted parents
IT theme: Computers can be as temperamental as real people

30 You've Got Mail (1998)
Plot: Rival bookstore owners fall in love anonymously by email
IT theme: Some people do well out of online love. Others end up with Meg Ryan


Thursday, November 06, 2003
Freddie Ljungberg...
"Arsenal midfielder Freddie Ljungberg is the new face of Calvin Klein Underwear and will be appearing in a campaign this week to launch Calvin Klein Pro-Stretch. A giant billboard of Freddie in the underwear was unveiled on Monday, November 3 in Charing Cross Road and the Swedish star will be making a personal appearance at Selfridges in London on Thursday, November 6 from 5.30-6.30pm. All 24 windows of the Oxford Street store will feature images of Freddie in the Calvin Klein Pro-Stretch campaign."

So guess where I'm going after work today?


And the pleasant surprise was?...


Back in the saddle...
Having come back from a couple of days away in Paris (a couple of pix later) it's amazing (a) how it all piles up, and (b) how quickly you can get on top of it all again. Whatsmore I had a pleasant surprise waiting for me when I got home - but more of that later.

Tomorrow is my Friday off (I've worked hard for it, Gad-dammit!) so if anyone has any suggestions for doing anything during the day let me know.


Wednesday, November 05, 2003
Blagging Blogger...
I am on my way back to Blighty. And to pass the time I am sitting in the 1st Class lounge of Eurostar in Gare Du Nord trying to work out how to use a French keyboard. 1st Class lounge? Mais qui! We blagged our way in claiming we worked in the travel industry and waving a phoney Bona Ticket we knocked up before we set off. It worked. Free beer, free food, free internet and the satisfaction of seeing the posh people thinking, "how the hell did that riff-raff get in our lounge". A fun end to a fun couple of days. Hee hee.


Happy Birthday Ian...
Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday, Dear Ian
Happy Birthday to You


Monday, November 03, 2003
Gay Paree...
Tomorrow and Wednesday I am in Paris. It's not a business trip as such. Just taking a couple of days off with my friend and erstwhile business partner Marcus. It's a sort of AGM/EGM/piss-up to keep Company House happy. We're going over and back on Eurostar and traveling 1st Class, which is something I've never done. I image we'll be able to swan about and have a posh breakfast on the way out and boozy dinner on the way back. Well that's the plan. While we're in Paris we're staying at the Hôtel du Bourg Tibourg in the Marais quarter. Nearby is the Picasso and Pompidou museums, the Place des Vosges, the Ile Saint-Louis, Notre-Dame and the Centre Beaubourg. Oh, and all the gay bars too.

And did I mention the AGM is being held in a 'health spa'? Well you would, wouldn't you?


The End Of The World...
Who needs History, Ecology or Politics when this is what will happen at The End of The World?
[Thanks to Guy. Who is once again the new 'Guy']


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