Faux Past

It's surprising how a small action can have such wide-reaching consequences.  Having taken on a replacement computer at work (as the one I've used since 2002 has been a little slow of late), I have been uninstalling some of the software I don't need. I got this message:

Past history

Just a simple mouse-click later, I was trying to remember where I had put down the scissors five minutes previously, and I couldn't.  Nor could I remember what scissors were, why I wanted them or even who I was. 

I realised to my horror that I had wiped out the whole of human history. Not only was there no back-up, but no way of rectifying my little mistake -- there is no longer any past to travel back to and stop myself clicking that button.

Sorry everyone. Look, it never happened, okay?

The really good news is that I have a handy error message that I find useful in circumstances such as these.

Human error

In other developments, I paid 120.9 pence per litre of petrol last week.

Nature notes: Lots of flies, greenfly and whitefly. Not that many bees, though a fortnight ago I did see the black shadow of a swarm hanging from a tree alongside the Thames. Wished I'd brought my camera.

Two weeks ago I found three headless fledgelings on my lawn. Well, they had hardly any feathers so not yet fledgelings really. I only noticed when I stepped back from looking at the pear tree and trod on one of them. Cat owners must be used to this kind of thing but I'm not. There aren't even may cats in this district so I blame the squirrels -- stealing baby birds and eating part of them is just squirrel style. I buried the birdlings under the magnolia tree. I can't remember my sainted cat Todd ever catching anything. He wouldn't even chase a marble. Enlightened feline.


Railway Cutting and other nonsense

How am I going to get back?

I used the National Rail journey planner a few months ago. That was a disappointment.

Time Travel

Never mind. Debenhams is here to cheer me up, with a letter copywritten by somebody who has set the hyperbole level a little too high.

Gloss coat 

After all that stimulation I need a set of New Age CDs to calm me down. Alas the only ones I can find appear to tell a terrifying story of the gradual stages of Climate Change.

Climate Discs

Talking of the climate, this January I saw no butterflies. Did see two bumblebees though, on different  occasions. They were just flying about -- nothing like the skilled one I read about in The Independent.


Finally I have no idea why I found the following so funny. I dare say I should get out more.

Strange Taste


I am lost

Yup, apparently it's a real place but LJ can't find it. Technology is sometimes such a disappointment.


  • Current Music
    Mozart - Benedictus/Hosanna

N is for... (part 2)

Those few of you in my readers' circle may recall that milady Paularubia gave me the task of writing about things beginning with N. Ages ago, that was, but I here I go with part 2.

N is for... 99.9.  That was the price of a litre of petrol when I drove past the petrol station yesterday.

Today, the price just said 01.9.  What's happened there? I wondered, before realising that the sign was designed before anyone thought of the petrol price requiring four digits.

They said there would be rioting in the streets if petrol went over a pound a litre. But it all seems quiet, apart from the fireworks.
  • Current Music
    Miles Davis & friends - Freddie Freeloader

Facebook band name generator

I have no intention of signing up to Facebook, as I don't have any friends I would want to keep in contact with via the site. Hmm, some might suggest that I should have stopped after the word "friends" there. 

But anyway, I was looking at the sign-up page you get sent to when you attempt to look at someone else's profile, and I was quite taken with the site's anti-spambot random word generator. It looks ideal for generating the names of obscure bands that one could drop while talking to one's non-existent friends, or very short stories one could claim to have read.

What? You never heard of them? They made that great album in '78, man!

That last one is a bit mean, trying to get the signer-up to type a word with an umlaut. We don't all have the ASCII codes committed to memory, y'know.


Is this to be an empathy test?

My body was recently found underneath a pile of work. According to police sources it had been there for several months. "We are all shocked," said a spokesperson. "Self-dramatisation is never a pretty thing to witness. So he's working for a living. Well boo hoo, we all feel really sorry for him. Yeah right --"

I interrupt this meandering to pose the question: is some market research entirely without merit? That was what I found myself asking the carpet recently when filling in an on-line survey in the vain hope of winning a prize. I was shown a television commercial and then I had to respond to questions like this:

Am I alone in not bothering to invest any emotions at all in television commercials? But the research insists that I answer the question, and whether I say yes or no to each feeling my response will suggest I actively reacted one way or the other. 

Also my retinas glow red, I've seen things you people wouldn't believe and it seems to rain all the time here. So much so that one evening I was prevented from making my usual journey home from work as there was a bit of an obstruction on the road (440Kb).


Anthony Burgess - father of Spam?

About 25 years ago, I was given a book written by Anthony Burgess. I couldn't get through it. But something daunted I'm trying again, this time with a book given away with The Independent two months back to kick off its Banned Books promotion. It's A Clockwork Orange, and I'm finding it pretty dull so far.

The reason for this entry's exciting subject is that early on in the book, page 2 in fact, the narrator comments on somebody in the Milkbar who is drunk/drugged, and he quotes this person's speech: 'Aristotle wishy washy works outing cyclamen get forficulate smartish'. 

Now surely that is too close to the random-word Spam we are all sent on a daily basis to be a coincidence. Is it beyond all bounds of possibility that, tiring of the life of a novelist and seeing money-making opportunities elsewhere, Anthony Burgess faked his own death and set up a secret Spam-generating empire?

That is not the end of my adventures in Language and Literature, oh no. I thought this sounded rather jolly:

Mansfield Lark

And I was naturally tempted to add this one to my bookshelves:

Ignore this one at your peril

I have written before of the trials and tribulations affecting celebrities. You may recall my previous example, which showed how different celebrities are from us mere mortals: whereas you and I when driving encounter insects on the windscreen/shield and the occasional stone chipping the paint or denting the bodywork, Nicole Kidman has to cope with being assailed by the Undead. I guess the explanation is that when you're a big name, everything has to be on a bigger scale to match (if she ever calls you up to say can you pop round and take a spider out of her bathtub, my advice is to decline politely and run away fast). But what happens when you have been the star of a long-running television comedy about a radio psychiatrist, and your series finally comes to an end? There's the nagging worry that people might start to forget you. Just in time, somebody sets up a special language learning course to ensure you live on in people's minds!

Frasier Book

I can add nothing more, so allow me to sign off by saying:

And I will gather figs, When he my two weeks, shalt not spare. 
'Tis an etiquette jump kneel I despise, said he.

Light, break me (saying, I have cast lots;
But throughout my father cannot. -- whirl
With antlers myself jenkinsburg
magician irrelevant

Be saints, naked and love.

  • Current Music
    Brian Eno - Spirits Drifting

New Year, Old Me

My Christmas visit to see the family enabled me to catch up with the Round Robins sent to my mother. I particularly enjoyed this opening gambit. No, the writer is not writing a parody - he is totally serious.

Round robin

The rest of the letter failed to live up to that portentous beginning, sadly, but while I'm on the topic I'm going to quote a sentence I treasure from this correspondent's 2002 communication.

"We went via Batu Pahat, in Johore, where my paternal grandmother's favourite cousin died in a muddy creek in the jaws of a crocodile whilst trying to suppress rubber smuggling in 1927."

Like the unfortunate cousin, none of us saw that one coming. In copywriting, I find it is best to limit the number of ideas in each sentence.

Two surprises awaited me when I got back on New Year's Day. First off:


Released into the garden where the weather is mild and there may actually be the prospect of it finding caterpillar food... Dicey though.

And secondly those caring Spammers were working overtime throughout the Christmas break. Perhaps they thought I might be getting lonely. While their enthusiasm is obviously highly commendable, 1198 junk e-mails in 8 days is pushing it a bit, I reckon.