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Wednesday, 31 October 2001

Stunning photographs of Scottish 'lightscapes' (more at the photographer's personal site). Makes me feel glad to have moved here. [Via LinkLust, the new European MetaFilter.]

Tuesday, 30 October 2001

Last night I tricked myself into leaving work an hour early by forgetting to change the clock on my work machine, so it seems only fair to linger today—even if it is to write this post.

Went to see the latest Coen koan, The Man Who Wasn't There. Typically wonderful, with some of the most beautiful black-and-white cinematography I've ever seen. Critical talk of it being their best seems beside the point: if any contemporary film-makers are creating a cohesive and distinctive body of work, it's the Coens (also: Tim Burton). Until the half-way mark, The Man actually feels the least Coen-like of their recent work; while it's a little more familiar in its weirdness after that, it remains inventive and fresh until the end.

More than any film in a fair while, The Man is one that will lose most of its impact on the small screen. Many of its finer moments dwell in silence on tiny details—wisps of smoke, hairs on the skin—that will simply disappear on a low-resolution TV, leaving only emptiness and a nagging sense that nothing is happening.

In fact, everything is happening: the Coens use those details to build up a sense of detachment in the main character, Ed Crane (Billy Bob Thornton), and in the audience. We find ourselves drifting along with him, strangely unperturbed as his world starts to fall apart—yet always, like Ed, watching it all; it's as if he has stepped out of the screen and is watching himself with us.

A film noir about a man watching himself drift to his doom. Now there's a movie for our times.

Monday, 29 October 2001

Bot or Not? 'You may be chatting with Mark.... or maybe a bot emulating Mark. It is up to you to decide and it could be either at any given time!' [via Pie in the Sky].

Natalie Imbruglia impersonator ends up interviewed in character at Rootnode:

Most Aussies are really New Zealanders. 90% or something like that.... I've been inviting a lot of creatures into the studio. Recording the proud calls of koalas and kookaburras, bringing it into my songs.... BMG has been very supportive. Especially with the album I'm working on now. (Tentatively called "Arrr").


Sunday, 28 October 2001

For the past two months I've been wondering when daylight saving will end here. It's hard to tell when you don't have a telly or read the local papers every day. Each weekend I've wondered if I'll find myself going to work on Monday and arriving an hour before everybody else.

It's finally finished. Apparently it starts again next March or April. So that's almost eight months of daylight saving, compared to only four or five of 'standard' time.

I wonder what they do with all the daylight they save up. Probably export it to Iceland to fuel the midnight sun.

The main Edinburgh bus company is switching to an electronic card system for its passes, and we went in to get ours issued yesterday. The form wanted the usual information: address, phone number, name and title. Titles are taken more seriously here than in laid-back Oz; I've never been called Mister so often in my life. The bus form listed as possibilities Mr, Mrs, Miss, or 'Other (up to 4 characters)'.

This fourth option set my imagination working. 'I could put Sir,' I mused. 'Or Lord. Or Duke, or Earl.' I'd have liked to have put 'Count', but that's one letter too many.

'Put Sir,' said Jane, 'I dare you.'

'Nahhh,' I said, and suggested yet another possibility.

'Yes!' said Jane, 'Put that!'

I could hardly stop laughing. 'No—I couldn't.'

'Go on. It's just a bus pass. It's not like it's your passport.'

'... Do you double dare me?'

'I double dare you.'

Luckily, there was a teenager on the camera at the card-issuing desk, rather than some uptight senior manager. He gave a furtive smile when he saw what I'd written, but he still typed it in.

So now, as far as Lothian Buses are concerned, I'm King Rory Ewins.

I wish I'd worn a crown for the photo.

Thursday, 25 October 2001

So, I've been feeling some dissatisfaction with this blog lately, but not quite knowing where to go next. Partly it's the 10-week itch that always spelled the end for previous instalments of Walking West; partly it's the feeling that if those instalments were the story of a journey then this one's the epilogue, and epilogues shouldn't be open-ended—or derailed by current affairs.

But this time I'm resisting the temptation to close the doors and put up the Gone Fishin' sign, at least until I actually do head off on holiday in December. For one thing, more people are reading than ever; but that's not my main concern. When I look around this site (not just the weblogs) I see how much of myself I've invested in it, building it up over these two-plus years, creating a body of work so that the whole thing becomes a kind of standing exhibition. I've been thinking about how identity gets tangled up in these virtual spaces (and to that end have just started reading Sherry Turkle's Life on the Screen). This site doesn't give the whole picture of me: there's very little about my childhood here; only glimpses of my adult life before last year; next to nothing about friends and family. Yet there's definitely a me-ness about it; and this cuts both ways—something feels missing when I stop updating it.

Which complicates things when it comes to replacing it, or archiving it and doing something different. Jettisoning any part of the site would be like burning an old photo album; hardly fatal, but not too comfortable, either. But virtual archives aren't the same as physical ones. Physical archives get buried away in filing cabinets or dusty warehouses; you know they're there, but you don't have to look at them all the time. Whereas every time I open my 'speedysnail' folder to add something new, the old stuff is sitting there in front of me—and I'm not the only one who sees it. Whenever the browsers and web standards change I have to make sure the whole site is compliant and viewable, because visitors can come from any direction—which means going over everything again and again.

Part of me wants to strip it all down and turn it into something else for a while: a gallery, not a library. Ever since I got this 1280x1024 monitor and access to decent bandwidth again, I've wanted to start playing with big images, treating the monitor as a canvas, turning the site into a properly visual space rather than a mostly textual one; to stop playing with tiny gifs and CSS tricks. Which doesn't mean giving up words: there are too many things I want to write, and will soon have to write; but a weblog isn't really the place for them. I'd like to use Speedysnail for other, wordless or less-wordy creations. But most web-users (including me, at home) wouldn't appreciate 500k pages, and large images would soon suck up all of my web-hosting space.

So the site stays the same, and the weblog remains. For now.

Oh no. Now I'm getting Korean spam. To an address I haven't even used in two years (which redirects to my current one). And that's not all. This morning I got blank spam:

Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2001 10:58:05 +1000
From: Sam@cartridge.com

That was it. That was the entire email. What kind of spammer has so little faith in his product that he doesn't even include his spiel?

Wednesday, 24 October 2001

A few days ago I had to explain to my Chinese office-mate the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism, by way of the Catholic-Orthodox split, the Crusades, the Reformation, the rise and fall of Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands, the English Civil War, Ireland and Northern Ireland, the Pilgrims, American Fundamentalists, the First and Second World Wars, increasing Western secularism in the twentieth century, agnosticism, and atheism. (She asked me how to spell 'atheist'. 'I think this is what I am,' she said.)

If you ever want to know how it feels to be the subject of an anthropological study, try explaining the Eucharist to a non-Christian non-Westerner.

Having moved from a small and parochial corner of the Western world to various other parts of it over the past decade, I've long accepted that the concerns and histories of the place I call home aren't that important when weighed against the rest of the world or history. Now I'm reminded that even the West—population of, what, 700 million?—is in many ways just another parochial corner of the world. Rich, yes; but so was Portugal, until 1755.

Everyone should have to describe their customs to an outsider some time, if only to remind themselves that they live by traditions, that they live in a tradition, and that these traditions are, in the grand scheme of things, arbitrary: contingent on the history and culture in which they have developed.

This is, I suppose, what I've been wanting to say every time I read post-9/11 rhetoric about 'civilisation' versus 'barbarism'. Such offensiveness in such a simple dichotomy: the implication that entire human cultures are not entirely human. At first, this was said out of ignorance—who in the West really knew much about Afghanistan six weeks ago? Now it feels like we know too much, more than we ever wanted to, although compared to anyone born into that culture we know nothing—but some of us are still prepared to write them off out of newfound righteousness.

To learn about another culture—or even one's own—is an exercise in complexity: it's not just about facts and figures and words and customs, but about how they interact, how they influence and affect each other in their countless permutations. Scientists have complained (with good cause) about postmodernists who invoke chaos theory in their accounts of society, as if the invocation alone explains everything; but one can understand the attraction of the metaphor. Social scientists study feedback—noise, static—and look for patterns. Do that for long, and you see complexity everywhere.

There's no complexity since September 11, we're told again and again: everything's black and white now; you have to choose which side you're on. There are good guys and bad guys, and if civilians get killed in the pursuit of the bad guys, well, that's because they're harbouring bad guys, or they're part of a regime that harbours bad-guys, or they're ruled by a regime that harbours bad-guys, or they're the victims of a regime that harbours bad guys—hell, who cares, as long as there's bad guys.

But there are bad guys and there are bad guys. We've gone to war to defend ourselves from waves of suicidal terrorists hell-bent on sacrificing themselves to kill thousands of us. But now, it seems, that wave may be a trickle:

FBI investigators have officially concluded that 11 of the 19 terrorists who hijacked the aircraft on 11 September did not know they were on a suicide mission.... Items found among the 11 men's possessions suggest they had been preparing themselves for incarceration. One source said: 'It looks as if they expected they might be going to prison, not paradise.'

One assumes that if there were armies of suicidal mass-murderer terrorists in the Middle East waiting to catch the next flight to Paradise, eleven more wouldn't have been hard to find. Might it be that mass-murdering nutters are as thin on the ground in the East as they are in the West?

While some might point to all those Palestinians dancing at the news of the attacks, schadenfreude is hardly evidence of murderous intent; if it was, every teenager would be dead or in jail. The attack on America gave anyone in the Islamic world with even the slightest mistrust of the West an ideal opportunity to vent—which, being only human, many of them have taken. Too many Westerners are reacting as if all of that hot air is mustard gas.

Next page. Two pages, actually. The left one is a close-up of the midsection of one of the towers. The right side is blue sky, broken only by three pieces of falling debris. No, three cartwheeling birds. No. "These people are jumping?" Ullah said. He closed, then opened, his eyes. Then said, "This is very sad." Then, for a while, said nothing. Then said, "It's a long distance." Then, still staring, tried to explain what he meant when he said he would drink the blood of American soldiers. That it was rhetoric, poetry, nothing more.

Clearly, the world is a more dangerous place than we once assumed. But it isn't infinitely more dangerous. It isn't so dangerous that one in four Americans should worry a great deal about the direct threat to themselves or those close to them because some crackpot in New Jersey has mailed a few deadly letters. And it isn't so dangerous that we should fear and revile half the world because of the actions of a few—fewer, even, than we first thought. Seeing the world in black and white feels frightening, threatening. It looks better—and safer—in shades of grey.

Recently consumed: Longitude, by Dava Sobel. I was pleased to see that this renowned 1995 bestseller opened with an account of the last voyage of Sir Cloudesley Shovell. The first time I saw a bust of Sir Cloudesley, resplendent in 18th-century wig in a Norwich museum, he instantly became my favourite ridiculously-named historical figure. It turns out that he was deserving of ridicule, too, for hanging the only man who dared warn him that his fleet was dangerously off-course; hours later, the three ships and 2000 men under his command were all shipwrecked and killed. (Longitude also features lots of fascinating stuff about clock-making geniuses and evil astronomers competing to solve the greatest scientific problem of their day; but none of them were called Cloudesley, so they're hardly worth mentioning.)

Also consumed: On Writing by Stephen King. I'd never read any of his books before—not because of any literary prejudice, just because horror fiction ain't my thang—but this was well-reviewed, and I'm in one of those phases of reading books about writing to keep the mental cogs oiled. On Writing proved to be a page-turner, as his fiction presumably is—hey, there must be some reason he sells in the gazillions. King leads off with a short and vivid autobiography, and closes with an account of his near-fatal road accident in 1999. The middle section, 'On Writing', takes a few of the lessons of Strunk and White—avoid adverbs; omit needless words—and adds a few of his own, woven through discussions of other writers and some of his most popular books. (Not having read them hardly matters when they've all been turned into movies: Carrie, The Shining, The Dead Zone, Misery.) The key lessons are the obvious ones: switch off the TV and read a book; write something every day (he writes 2000 words a day, but suggests 1000 for beginners); edit down. He may not be the 'fucking genius' he reckons Hemingway was, but he's worth listening to.

Tuesday, 23 October 2001

Just paid for my web-hosting for another year. With the money I've ploughed into Speedysnail since 1999, I could have bought over 800 feet of electric goat netting or several hundred stick insects. The things I do for you people.

Mister Pants is scaring me. First he unearths the ApologetiX and their biblical parodies of rock hits, and now he's found The Mormon Zone Daily, which is 'like The Onion in every way except that it's on Mormon topics and not at all funny'.

Western stars selling out on Japanese TV. Woo-hoo!

Monday, 22 October 2001

My bookmarks file is about to break through the 400K barrier, as it groans under the weight of 2290 links. Soon it's going to take a crane to haul it out of bed. This calls for liposuction. That, or wiring my browser shut.

Guerrilla telemarketing: Why do thou resisteth thy paper? [Via Mini-Wetlog.]

Sunday, 21 October 2001

Spent the weekend putting up some shelves I'd neglected for two weeks, finally creating space to store everything from the piles of boxes crowding out our study. I even managed to put a few pictures up on the walls, in frames and everything, saying a silent farewell to blu-tac at last.

The new couch arrives next week. Our flat is finally approaching a state recognisable as Home. With every screw in the wall and empty box going into the skip I feel part of my mind breaking free and wandering off to look at something more interesting. It's a good feeling.

Meanwhile, we paid for some air tickets the other day—to Canada, to visit Jane's relatives over Christmas. We'd booked them the day before September 11; and, needless to say, had a qualm or two about the trip over ensuing weeks. Not so much about the physical risks, which are (still) statistically tiny, but about getting stuck there and not being able to get back easily. But I'll be buggered if I'm going to dread the collapse of the global air industry on the one hand and then directly contribute to it by cancelling flights on the other. If anything disastrous happens the day before we leave and we have to wear a 100% cancellation fee, I'll just call it a Frequent Traveller's Tax.

I'll make sure to choose my in-flight reading carefully, though.


Thursday, 18 October 2001

Okay, that's enough of that; certain onlookers have been getting dangerously close to the truth in their explanations. (I hope you all noticed the link to Oolong before you gave up on waiting for everything to download.)

First domainage, now redesignage for the mighty Wombat File. You'll be idly splicing your various designs into a 7x6 mosaic before you know it, Bill.

Rowan Atkinson has been in the news in Britain for warning of the dangers to comedians of new laws to prevent religious vilification. This raises another point, which is the sad loss of opportunities for heartless, guilt-free black comedy in these dark times. Why, it seems only yesterday that Jane and I could laugh without a care at the UK brand of toilet paper called Andrex™. But talk too loudly about the Anthrax Puppy nowadays, and what's likely to happen? Government agents in bio-suits come and wash your mouth out with antibiotics, that's what.

Posts of IRC sessions to personal sites rarely do much for me, unless they come with an ulterior motive like The Wax's late lamented Bug Jar. But this chat transcript is an exception. There's yer plot of American Pie 3 right there.

Wednesday, 17 October 2001

If in doubt, play favourite albums very loud—then write about them. Ben Folds and Muse at Records Ad Nauseam [mirrored here and here].

When did this become Link-Everything Day? Bah. I feel like my brain is getting torn in different directions all at once. Going through one of those I-don't-know-what-I'm-doing-here phases. Want to talk about various weighty things, but keep backing off. Want to write long, musing, meandering posts—no time. Want to get the news out of my face and the world off my back—can't. Want to focus—can't, won't.

I haven't even written to half my friends to tell them I'm in Scotland yet, never mind all the past work colleagues who are probably wondering where ol' what's-his-name ended up.

Meanwhile, the flat is still half-furnished, the Madagascar writing is unfinished, I've formed the outline in my head for the academic book that I want to write over the next few years (and it's about intellectual property, damn, damn, but it's too important and compelling to leave alone: knowledge, ideas, creativity, education, IT, all of them tie into and are tied up with and by it. Who owns information?—a working title, because someone else has already used it).

And everyone else seems to be burbling away in their weblogs about a million different things to no particular effect and it all suddenly seems rather pointless.* Yet I can't look away...

Oh, and by the way, this.

*I don't mean your weblog, of course.

Matt Jones on information architecture [via Plasticbag]; original Powerpoint slideshow available at blackbeltjones.

Slashdot on the IBM patent mentioned below.

Link dump. Studios to digitally erase WTC towers from films that do not feature WTC towers. When can we go to the frosting factory again? Pile On the 'King of Pop'. You, sir, are irrelevant, irrelevant, irrelevant. What now? If this is ignoring history, I'm not a wonderchicken. An Arabian Night With the Taliban. R.U. Sirius's personal declaration of deep neutrality. The White Shoe Irregular. I had plans to comment in more depth on some or all of these, but I best-laid them somewhere and the mice got at them.

W3C patents got nothin' on this: the US Patent Office has just awarded IBM a patent on a 'system and method for building a web site using specific interface' that reads like a description of Blogger, GreyMatter, MovableType, UserLand, and just about everything else that has made the personal web even vaguely interesting and exciting in the past few years [via MetaTalk]. Expletives fail me.

Monday, 15 October 2001

Now here's one Scottish university website that definitely tempts me to visit in person. Sign me up for History 102: General Animosity Studies, Applied Scottish Psychology 211: Soft Tissue Damage in Hand-to-Hand Combat, and Applied Idiocy 310: Obtaining Tenure.

Further to the photo below, by popular demand: the beautiful dried mud floor is in the partitioned-off end of a corridor on one of the upper levels of the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art. The mud reminded me of summertime river-beds in outback New South Wales, while its careful placement and containment evokes Japanese rock-gardens. The lights had just come on outside the building next door; the effect of that framed column hanging above the red cracked mud was too perfect to pass by.

It was a good gallery, housed in a refurbished Victorian library, with striking work by David Hockney, Bridget Riley and Sebastiao Salgado, among others.

Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art

Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, Saturday 13 October 2001.

Friday, 12 October 2001

Dan Bricklin, co-creator of VisiCalc, argues that Copy Protection Robs the Future [via trenchant]:

Copy protection will break the chain necessary to preserve creative works.... To create a 'Rosetta Stone' of today's new formats will be asking to go to jail.... Copy protection is arising as a 'simple fix' to preserve business models based upon the physical properties of old media and distribution. Our new media and distribution techniques need new business models (perhaps with different intermediate players) that don't shortchange the future.


Shauny contemplates a future of Osama Bin Lego and Mini-Wheats food-drops in an instant wnp classic.

Thursday, 11 October 2001

I have the uncomfortable feeling these days that we're all living in a Renny Harlin remake of The Mouse That Roared.

Stumbled across The Perfect Kiss a while ago, and it's a rare gem of the form. This is brave:

I don't archive any of the entries on TPK. What I think is ephemeral, at best.

Moz sells himself short. Catch his thoughts while you can.

Radio Four is an odd institution. Like Australia's Radio National, it's full of talkfests about Worthy Social Issues; last night's chirpy hour on child abuse had me yearning for a mindless televisual feast of When Animals Attack to cheer me up. Then there's the staggering pointlessness of The Archers, with more oo-ars per minute than the West Country Oo-Ar Uttering Grand Foinals. Finally, the witty game-shows with their polite audience laughter and old-fashioned jazz intros and outros: 'My Word', 'My Palindrome Emordnilapym', 'A Ghana Term Show' (okay, I made those two up). When I used to hear these on Australian radio I figured that the ABC was still wheeling out repeats from the 1960s. It wasn't.

But the strangest thing on Radio Four of late had to be the documentary on racoons. That's right: a wildlife documentary... on radio. It was all about the racoon plague sweeping across suburban America. When Animals Attack the Trash. Lots of chirruping 'eh-eh-eh-eh' sounds to mask the fact that the entire show was just another talkfest—about racoons. Or maybe the racoons were actually taking part, and I missed their round-table discussion of Christopher Hitchens and Noam Chomsky. Jane reckoned I really missed out the following week: the next one was about sparrows.

The trouble is, the only realistic alternative to Radio Four is Radio One, and apart from John Peel and Steve Lamacq it's a bit of a DJ wasteland. Listening to the requests show on Sunday night was painful. I promise never to use the term 'shout-out' again.

The other trouble is, I'm starting to regret buying that clockwork radio. Winding up a heavy-duty spring every hour gets pretty old pretty quickly. Frankly, if I were an impoverished African living miles from a reliable power supply I'd go back to cadging batteries off German tourists.

Given that it looks like I'll be studying intellectual property issues as part of my research, it would have been lax of me to miss the 11 October deadline for comment on the W3C Patent Policy Framework Working Draft. So I've sent them a response to add to the hundreds of others (mirrored here).

Wednesday, 10 October 2001

Inspired by James and Bill, I finally join the Mirror Project band-wagon.

Two quickies at Records Ad Nauseam: Pulp and Garbage [mirrored here and here].

Proof that globalization is wonderful: Osama and friend on a Bangladeshi demo poster (and, less distinctly, here). [Via MeFi's star performer Kafkaesque.]

Update: The Dutch news site linked above has cropped their original photo, which showed a 'Bert is Evil' photo on the right edge of the poster. For more details, see the MeFi thread.

More P.J. O'Rourke [via LMG this time].

Tuesday, 9 October 2001

The announcement on MeFi of the full release of MovableType, a new weblog management tool, has prompted me to do a bit of playing and exploring—and to discover that I do have access to perl on this web-server after all. Hey now: that opens up all sorts of possibilities. Not least of which is using MovableType, which looks good. The opportunity to leave comments on my occasional blather could be closer than you think. (Or maybe not. The opportunity for me to get around to creating a MovableType template for WW could be further than I think.)

The chilling parallels between the decline of Rome and modern America. Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to hear repeatedly that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Meanwhile: history still ended; news at eleven.

P.J. O'Rourke on the distractions of computers [via ABCD].

Great. First my rockstar boyfriend is revealed as Thom Yorke, and now it turns out that I'm C3PO. Condemned to a lifetime of 'Fitter, Happier'.

And I thought the toilets in Madagascar were bad.

So what's new, apart from having my faith in e-commerce sorely tested by a phone company site that kept telling me to 'try again later' to pay my quarterly account, but then charged the full amount to my card five times? Just when I was getting used to having actual money in my bank account again...

It's been a while since I wrote anything here about developments on the personal front. To be honest, I haven't felt like talking about moving house, Present Situation or no, because it's all too boring and predictable. Ten years ago it felt like a big deal; now, a dozen moves later, it feels unpleasantly like the norm. But at least we won't have to do it again for at least three years. And the joy of being able to drill a hole into a wall in a place that we own (five percent of) is slowly overwriting the memories of anal property managers and their Final Inspections.

Filling the flat with furniture has been a pain, though... and... uh... (oh God, I can't do it. I can't share the frustrations of Ikea and B&Q and MFP and BusinessPost deliveries with you all. You've done nothing to deserve it. Run, run while you still can.)

Okay then: my job. Is, um, good. Wheels are turning, balls are rolling. What can I say? It's an academic post; apart from meetings and conferences with other academics, it's all reading, thinking, writing—a lot of the former so far; some of the latter. I rebuilt our centre's website several weeks ago, but there isn't much there yet. (There's a bit more at this one, which I also gave a makeover last week. Yes, that's the original 'speedy snail'.)

Those who've followed the soap opera in all its glory will be pleased to hear that Jane has found work here, too: she started at Heriot-Watt University yesterday, as the only biologist attached to a project run out of a computer science and electrical engineering department. Forget being an Australian in Scotland; that's real culture-shock.

Still, not compared to what a new PhD student here is experiencing. She's sharing my office for her first couple of weeks, and after arriving last week was feeling the culture-shock hard: she's from Hangzhou in China, near Shanghai, and has never been to a Western country before. One night I took her to a supermarket and explained some of the items on the shelves, then took her home and made some vaguely-familiar food (stir-fried vegetables and rice; Western 'Chinese-style' food, really, but more familiar to her than fish and chips). Afterwards I gave her some samples of exotic Western and British foods: chocolate Hob-Nobs; shortbread; peanut butter; blackberry jam; marmalade; crumpets. The crumpets reminded her of a kind of fried dumpling they have at home. If she likes those, she'll fit right in.

My adaptations to life in Scotland have been quite painless by comparison. It's not really that different from home, and the differences are amusing rather than intimidating. Life is getting comfortable. I suppose this log will too if I talk about my life here, so I guess I won't much any more. But I'll keep the links, commentary and occasional anecdotes coming for now.

Friday, 5 October 2001

As I'd hoped, those photos have cleaned the mental slate. I'll allow myself just the one Present Situation link: Tony Blair's speech to this week's Labour Party Conference, parts one and two. A remarkable speech, especially for having been written by Blair himself. Not many Prime Ministers get—or take—the opportunity to lay out their personal vision of the world so vividly.

On the Road: American Writers and their Hair by Zadie Smith. Via A Bright Cold Day in April. Which reminds me: back when I started this blogging game, in May 2000, I searched in vain for others from Canberra—using Blogger's then-functional search page and the stunningly clever keyword of 'Canberra'—and found myself to be the only ACT resident in Blogger history up until that point. Which, to my eyes, was the blogging world back then. Now there are enough ACT bloggers—good ones, too—to hold a genuine clique-o-tastic blogmeet, and I'm not even there any more. On the plus side, though, I was part of one of history's few recorded Escapes from Canberra—soon to be filmed in thrilling technicolor—so on balance I'm happy to leave others to write about its bright cold days.

Okay, if I'm going to get all blogging-community today, here's a quick "shout-out" (to use the term favoured by the "blogging" "community") to a few more: the recently unemployed, um, liberated Bill for coining the term 'profitastic'; the returning-to-America Ed for managing to write an action thriller screenplay immediately after real life left the whole genre in the shade; the only-coincidentally-linked-to-me-yesterday Owen for my favourite weblog-post punchline in ages; and to James in the hope that he will post some small morsel this month for his loyal fans north of the border.

This thread on Magnificent Obsessions has single-handedly (threadedly?) restored my faith in MetaFilter. Those links will keep me going for weeks.

Thursday, 4 October 2001

Edinburgh photos, part three—the last for now.

Wednesday, 3 October 2001

Edinburgh photos, part two.

Tuesday, 2 October 2001

Edinburgh photos, part one.