June 4th, 2003



Cheers for everyone who suggested presents.

I'll quickly go through and tell you why they're all terrible suggestions :->

Wireless Laptop - not a terrible suggestion, but I'm not sure when it'd be more useful than a desktop.

Car + License - I really don't need to be able to drive more than 5 or 6 times a year, and all of those tend to be bypassable with a fair amount of ease. The amount of cost/effort it takes to look after a car (and buy one) is not worth the effort.

Big Foam Party - actually, not bad. That would probably be fun. I'm not sure I know enough people and a cool place to have one though :->

DVDs to replace videos - I'm actually happy to watch videos 99% of the time. If I was buying DVDs I'd spend the money on things I didn't have (West Wing, Six Feet Under, Deep Space 9, etc)

Erin, on a big sugary cake - yes. and no.

Breadmakers - yes they're cool. But very few people use them more than once, and I'm not supposed to eat bread.

Blowjob on shrooms - I'd _love_ some shrooms, if anyone has access to them, but I'm not that bothered by blowjobs, to be honest.

A copy of Fable - That would require the aforementioned XBox that I'm not sure I'd use all that much.

Vacation - would be lovely, if I had more time off. But yeah, time off is always good

A fish - actually, there was no milk in the fridge this morning, but there was some Salmon I cooked two days ago, still wrapped in foil. So I had salmon for breakfast.

baking/cooking - While I occasionally enjoy cooking, it's something I tend to do with my brain off, while thinking about other things (well, to the extent that that's possible without burning things too much)

Gamecube - see XBox

Party/hugs - definitely hugs, and a party might be nice, although I do tend to go and hide every so often.

Immortality - Ok, there's one thing I'd definitely take.

a nice quiet evening with people I like - ooh, definitely.

a quiet life - A few days of quiet life would be nice, anyway

a spanking - actually, I'm not sure if I'd enjoy that or not. Heck, I'll try anything once.

cheese - thus speaks someone who doesn't know of my loathing for mouldy milk... (although I do like yoghurt)

Any other suggestions?

This is what the war on terror does

Spread this one around a bit - whike it's fantastic that Saddam is gone, it's caused support for terrorist groups and anti-americanism to soar across the Middle East

The survey shows that negative attitudes among Muslims toward the United States have soared anew since the war, both in the Middle East and beyond.
Several Muslim populations also express strong dislike of Americans as people. Nine out of 10 Palestinians, eight out of 10 Jordanians and 60 percent of Turks say they feel somewhat or very unfavorable toward Americans. The rise is sharpest in Jordan, where fewer than half had a negative view last summer.
Distrust today blazes so brightly that majorities in seven of eight Muslim populations surveyed - Turkey, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Lebanon, Jordan and Kuwait - expressed fears that the United States could become a military threat to their country.
In Morocco, 79 percent said they felt Islam was under serious threat today, and people in other countries largely agreed, in many cases far more strongly than last summer.
Perhaps as a consequence, bin Laden was one of the three "leaders" most trusted by the nine Muslim populations surveyed.
The Qaeda leader's confidence rating was matched only by Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
Overall, Muslim populations see U.S. policies as destabilizing the Middle East, as do pluralities in many other countries surveyed. Nearly 50 percent take this view in France and Spain, as do 63 percent in Morocco, 74 percent in Indonesia, and 91 percent in Jordan.
Despite the animosity toward America, the survey found "a considerable appetite in the Muslim world for political freedoms," the Pew report says.
In eight of the nine Muslim populations surveyed, at least 50 percent believe Western-style democracy can work in their countries. The exception is Indonesia, where 53 percent see democracy as a Western way of doing things that would not work in their country. International Herald Tribune

From an article in the International Herald Tribune here.

Magic Carpet

When I was a child, in the heady days of 1864, I had a teacher with a magic carpet.

This particular magic carpet couldn't fly, or summon djinni, or protect you from burning desert sands. However, it could cause people to magically attain the answers to the questions they sought.

The teacher had carefully placed this carpet next to her desk, and when we wanted to ask ehr a question about some questions we were working on, we would go and stand on this carpet until she had finished what she was working (which was, frequently, helping the person before us in the queue).

People standing on this carpet would often be hit by a sudden look of realisation and scurry off of the carpet, back to their desks, to feverishly scribble down the epiphany they had just had. It truly was an amazing carpet.

I just worked out why it works so well - it's not just that the answer comes to you if you wait long enough - I was walking across to ask Sheila, my project analyst, what part of the spec meant when I realised what the answer was. And I realised that I'd worked out the answer because, while walking across, I'd started phrasing the question I was going to ask in my mind. There mere act of phrasing the question in a form that another person could understand made the answer obvious.

Which, of course, is the reason that talking to other people is good for you.

(no subject)

In high school, I once dated two girls at the same time. Their names were Edith and Kate. Eventually, I got caught -- which goes to prove that you can't have your Kate and Edith too.


The way this works is: I answer the interview questions I asked for elsewhere.

Then if you want, you can ask me to interview you.

These questions are courtesy of the ever-delicious BirdOfParadox.

1) becksifer talks to me about the stunning landscape in your area: what's your favorite part of Edinburgh?

That would be Arthur's Seat

Nothing to do with King Arthur, the name comes from Ard Tor, the derivation of which escapes me. There's a picture of me (with brother and father ) up it here.

2) What's your favorite RPG system and why?

I'm very fond of Amber. And Nobilis. Both bring nice mechanics to diceless gaming. FUDGE is nice and simple mechanic. Theatrix is delightful. Nohing beats rolling a bucket of D6 in Shadowrun.
But my favourite system of roleplaying is to get a bunch of smart, cool people around a table and pretend to be things. Systems never work right for me, and I have a distinct tendency to forget to ask people to roll things and to just get on with the lets-pretend. I like the system nice and simple, and so long as I don't notice it too often, it's fine by me.

3) Completely throw out all restrictions: you have a few days' vacation... Your budget is only limited by your imagination. Where do you go, and what do you do?

Hire a castle. Get as many friends as can face it together for the weekend. Lay on 'entertainment'. My idea of a good time is hanging out with a few friends and having fun. There's nowhere I'd rather visit than somewhere my friends are. Of course, visiting new places with my friends is also cool. But a castle, where we wouldn't be disturbed and could lay on alcohol, drugs, computers, bouncy castles and marching bands would definitely be good.

4) If you could pick up and change your profession overnight, what would you do?

I'd write. Programs. Short Stories. Comics. Poetry. Instruction Manuals. I just like producing things in text.

5) Tell me a childhood story, please?
One December the 26th. I was woken by my mother, who insisted that I and Michael (my younger brother) get dressed immediately. We were then ushered downstairs, along with her, into an ambulance, which drove through the streets of Leicester. I sat in the back and fired my torch-gun out of the window, illuminating my own reflection in various shades as I changed the filter from red to green to yellow. When we arrived at the hospital, they found the two of us a bed and we collapsed back into sleep (although not before I could inform a lady dressed in white that she couldn't possibly be a doctor, because she was a woman). Later that day, my youngest brother Hugh appeared into the world. And that's both the earliest story from my childhood that I remember, and the start of his.

Right, who wants to be interviewed?