Golden Hour

Union Canal

Read More · 28 May 2005 · · Journal

Beat on the Baton

Normally I’m not one for web memes, but Ed has lobbed the musical one in my direction, and it’s as good a way as any to write a few words about what I’ve been listening to since my month-long reviewing marathon in December. He blames my Neal Stephenson devotion for the extended silence, but I still haven’t even finished Quicksilver; too heavy for the bus, so progress is slow. No, the truth is I’ve been more into ripping and rediscovering old CDs than in finding new stuff. But there have been some exceptions...

Read More · 26 May 2005 · · Music

The D&D Online Alignment Test. At last, an online quiz that answers the questions that matter... to Neutral Good geeks who spent too many teenage weekends rolling dice. [Via the Yeti.]

Where I was yesterday. Sorry for the radio silence—back with more soon.

Come to the Dark Side

What a strange experience that was.

I’ve just come back from Episode III, after spending half of yesterday reading huge amounts of Star Wars analysis at Andrew Rilstone’s site (and Lord of the Rings analysis, and Doctor Who analysis, &c.), which if you have any interest in the subject I’d urge you to read: his conclusion is one of the best things I’ve read about the whole phenomenon in the past twenty-seven years. I don’t think it’s a betrayal of the 12-year-old self who was overwhelmed by The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 to agree with his argument that all of the sequels and prequels, even that one (which improved on the original in so many respects), have undermined the power of the original Star Wars—not A New Hope, not Episode IV, but Star Wars—a movie that might otherwise stand tall today as the greatest B-movie ever, styrofoam sets and styrofoam acting and all. Not as badly as The Matrix was undermined by its sequel, mind you (I still haven’t even seen the third one), but undermined nonetheless.

Read More · 20 May 2005 · · Film

Having mentioned him just the other day, Scott now gives me an excuse for some good old-fashioned inter-blog commentary. He’s been playing around with some figures to show that being in the political centre has an advantage over the left or right, because the centre accrues less condemnation than either extreme.

Read More · 19 May 2005 · · Politics

Brilliant take on Doctor Who in a letter written to the BBC when they were first considering reviving it. (Author Andrew Rilstone’s six-parter on Star Wars is just as good, and he’s got a blog.)

Can’t wait till tomorrow? Share the fun with family, flora and fauna. [Via MeFi.]

Dirkon, the paper camera from Czechoslovakia.

The Five-Year Term

I normally mark the anniversary of the whole site rather than this one, but five years of blogging is some milestone. Look at that first day: eleven entries! Now I’m lucky to post that many in a fortnight. And look at those six-figure Blogger entry IDs. Now they’re up to eighteen, which puts mine in the first 0.0000000002% of all Blogger entries.

This is where I should say something thoughtful and reflective about blogging, or complain about journalists who don’t get it (so much for all the essays I’ve posted here), or redesign the entire site with a retro theme. But I’m metablogged out after writing a paper for a conference in February and polishing it up for the proceedings last month (hey, maybe it’ll turn up here before it’s hopelessly out-of-date). Instead, I thought I’d look at what I was linking to back then: specifically, the “Seven Other Blogs” in the sidebar.

Seven? Was there ever a time when I could restrict my daily reads to seven? Apparently there was. So, where are they now?

Read More · 17 May 2005 · · Site News

Doune Castle and Dunollie, new at Detail. I didn’t have enough for a new batch of castles, so I tacked them onto the end of the last one.

The Gothic Hippopotamus

The gothic hippopotamus wears lots and lots of black,
With crosses underneath the tresses dropping down her back.
She stocks her home with records from the gothic hippo shop
To bop to all the toppermost of angsty rock and pop.
Her friend the antelope’ll spring a bob or two as well
To hop along to Joy Division’s stroppy songs of hell.
The antelope and hippo scrub up properly, at least—
The grotty mob are all the heavy metal wildebëëst.

14 May 2005 · Whatever

Kath and Kim starts on BBC2 tomorrow, and the critics are confused already: “Kath and Kim live in Fountain Gate, a fictional Melbourne suburb.... Much of their frustration ... is taken out on their housekeeper, Sharon.”

More or Less Important

There hasn’t been much politics here for a while. By “here” I mean this domain, of course—here here, it’s been everywhere. A bloke can’t open his letterbox without a dozen flyers fluttering out proclaiming that ONLY THE CONSERVATIVES CAN BEAT LABOUR IN THIS CONSTITUENCY, or featuring tasteful cartoons of swarthy Mediterraneans dashing to the Brussels finishing line with begging bowls outstretched and Blair and Howard racing to fill them up, while shivering pensioners clutch their Council Tax bills. (Wot, no Germans kicking puppies?)

As it turned out, only Labour beat the Conservatives in this constituency, and the national result was much as the polls predicted: around 50 seats lost, leaving a majority of around 70. It’s hard not to conclude that everyone made up their minds long ago.

Read More · 10 May 2005 · · Politics

Long Dark Overcoats

During my first three winters in Edinburgh I wore a dark green raincoat I’ve had since the mid-’90s: a Mountain Co-Op design made of Gore-Tex, as seen on Canadians and backpackers everywhere. It’s waterproof, windproof, and light enough to go over anything; basically all you need in the British countryside. I seem to be wearing it in every travel photo of the past eight years.

The problem is it makes me look like a tourist. Only tourists wear colourful clothes in Edinburgh outside spring and summer; everyone else (of the male variety) wears one of the following:

  1. Long black overcoats;
  2. Denim jackets of a kind not seen outside Scotland since 1982;
  3. No coat. And the flimsier the shirt and colder the temperature, the better.

If B or C, you’re a true local, born and raised in a flat full of screaming bairns hopped up on Tunnock’s Tea-Cakes. If A, you’re probably English.

Read More · 5 May 2005 · · Journal

May Day

Some pictures in lieu of writing anything in celebration of Spring in Edinburgh:

May Day

(I will actually start posting more stuff here over the next few weeks; various pressing tasks have now de-pressed.)

3 May 2005 · Journal

April 2005