April 12th, 2005


Strange dreams

First was one where I was involved in some kind of Buffy-style shenanigans, but the viewpoint character wasn't me - it was someone coming in to rescue me. The closing scene (and only bit I remember clearly) was quite remarkably violent - far more than my dreams tend to be - but succeeded in finishing off all the baddies, so that's ok.

The second one started (insofar as I remember) with me wandering down the stairs in my parent's house (where I lived for 8 + 4 years) trying to make a phone call, when I bumped into my mother coming up the stairs, with my dead grandfather. He was quite excited (and very pale, in the same way as the undead in last week's Dr Who) and desperately wanted to look out of the window in my old bedroom. I tried to ask him why he was so keen to do so, but he wasn't able to communicate well.

And then the kittens woke me up and demanded affection and breakfast.

Huzzah for elections

In flagrant breach of copyright laws I'm reprinting this from Warren Ellis' mailing list Bad Signal, on the upcoming UK election:

Here in Merrie Olde Englande, we're a month away from Vote For Scum Day.  And we're faced with a choice worse than the Americans were last year.

No-one with two brain cells to rub together has any trust left in Tony Blair.  The economy's overheated, there's been no attempt to recover the public services from the mess the Tories left them in, and he's got George Bush's hand up his arse. That's a list that goes on, but I've only been awake an hour and a half.

(For those who don't follow Brit politics: the Blair govt. is the Labour Party.  "Tory" is the term for the Conservative Party)

However, the party of opposition is the Tories, as run by Michael Howard, who as Home Secretary in the last Tory govt was a criminal prick denounced as a moral mutant by his own colleagues.  His grinning, glass-eyed presence is nothing short of Satanic.  His campaign so far has been nothing short of loathesome, playing to the lowest instincts in the worst of us.  If he gets into power Britain is going to make America look like classical Greece.

The third party are the Liberal Democrats, currently fronted by Charlie Kennedy, an amiable Scots bloke who likes a drink.  He used to be deputy to Paddy Ashdown, under whom LibDem iterated their only coherent soundbite of a policy. "A penny in the pound for education." 1% tax rise that would pay for schools.  Great idea, simply put.  So simply put, in fact, that everyone heard nothing but "tax rise" and told them to fuck off.  Paddy Ashdown was great.  Ex-SAS.  The only political leader in living memory who could kill you with his thumbs. Prime Minister's Question Time would have been must-watch TV. Prime Minister Ashdown plunking his machine gun down on the box and saying, "the Prime Minister would like you all on your knees now."

Charlie Kennedy's wife just had their first baby.  They've called the poor little sod Donald.  Charlie Kennedy's going to be listening to crowd renditions of "Donald Where's Your Troosers" for the next month.

He comes off as a nice guy.  No gravitas at all.  He was great as the friendly, funny deputy to stern, grizzled, Paddy Ashdown.  With no-one to play off, he kind of looks like a kid shuffling around in daddy's shoes now.

And then there's the Green Party. Whose political statement of today was "we're not going to get into power."  Which might be refreshing in its realism, but doesn't quite stir
the masses to action.  It's a shame, because their basic planks -- cut the Labour plan for new roads dead and re-route that committed budget into the national health service --
are easy to grasp and ring with some plausibility.  Which isn't the same thing as BEING plausible, but this is politics.

On a local level, I vote Green -- Southend's in a nightmarish state, local services are collapsing, the crack scene has ballooned over the last three years, and the whole
place reeks of death.  One of the local Tory members of parliament, David Amess, is vulnerable -- he stands on a familyvalues lawnorder platform, but his son has recently been imprisoned for slashing someone to bits with a broken bottle.

The problem with unseating Tories in this area is that it's Old People's Home Central.  Throw a stick in any direction and you'll hit five wrinkly ranches.  And they all get mobilised
at elections.  Most of them still think Churchill's in power.  They all vote Tory.  We pray for good hard winters to thin the fuckers out.

So there are the choices: the scum, the thing worse than scum, Donald Where's Your Troosers and a bunch of hippies who appear afraid to be in charge of anything.

See, Bush/Kerry was SIMPLE...
running lego man


My memory is _terrible_ for names.  Absolutely awful.  And it's even worse for jargon, technical commands, etc.  They strike me as almost entirely arbitrary and they slip away from me very easily.

From a personal point of view this leads to me referring to people by their position rather than their name, especially when explaining things to people for the first time - The Girlfriend, The Ex, My Brother, etc.

But at least I can learn people's names when exposed to them enough.  In work it's _terrible_.  I spent 6 months working on a project last year.  6 months where I was typing in the names of the jobs I was writing/testing at least 20 times a day, and sometimes over a hundred.

I went to look for those jobs just now, to see how I'd done something (so I could do it again for a new project), and could I remember the name of the jobs, the place where they were kept or the name of the program that tells you where to find things?  Could I hell.

This is why I love IDEs and modern languages/environments with their tooltips and intellisense.  I can concentrate on the architecture and making sure the shape of the data and the code is right, and leave the details of naming conventions to the device with the perfect memory.

If only there was something similar for people (I could really do with tooltips when meeting people for the second time).