my life

Watched Babylon 5 series 2 DVD 1 last night. Sheridan more wooden than I remembered: presumably he gets into it a bit more later. Comic relief bits (like the diet storyline) jarred with the more serious stuff going on, I thought. Also wondered why Londo doesn’t make more of an effort to find out who his new friends are. If he’s that expert in politicking and backstabbing, you’d have thought he might twig that he now owes them some hefty favours. Enough plot hole picking: it was good fun anyway.

Trying to work out who’ll be going to Alice’s on Saturday so I can catch the train with them if possible. Everyone’s a bit vague so far.

There seem to be some frank opinions about a certain young lady among my LJ friends. I believe such matters of honour should be settled in the open, in the manner preferred by gentlemen: I refer, of course, to a three-way mud-wrestling match. My money’s on Lise.

I won a medal on Battleground God, taking no hits and biting no bullets. This presumably means I’m a logically consistent agnostic, which is a relief, let me tell you.

Had fun yesterday teaching Natalie, a friend of Safi’s to dance, as she’s coming to the CDC Ball on Thursday. My house has a big front room with a wooden floor. We hardly use the room for anything, so it’s almost empty and makes an ideal dance floor. Went through waltz, quickstep, cha-cha, rhumba and jive, with Safi showing her the women’s steps and then me providing a bloke to dance with. It was most fun. Apparently I was a good teacher.

Slightly late to Intermediates. Learned a do-able Paso Doble in the first lesson, which I might mix up with bits from the second to create something which looks good and is possible. Fleckles (sp?) in the Viennese in the second lesson. Can’t do them. Pub afterwards to discuss things beginning with H for Henry’s fancy dress party on Friday.

Utterly exhausted on reaching home, but sleep refused to happen. Feeling somewhat odd today. Ho hum.

It was board games night last night. Ended up playing Taj Mahal all evening. As it was the first time anyone had played, we spent some time setting it up and listening to Lise critique it for linguistic, historical and geographical accuracy. It was also necessary to go into the “Don’t Mention the War” routine after we discovered that the German author of the game had provided a rule about precisely how to place the cards you’re bidding with down on the table. Julie pipped me to the post in the end, with PaulB shockingly trailing both of us. Surely a sign of the emminent apocalypse. Unfortunately you get nothing for a close second, so my ranking won’t improve.

Afterwards, we ended up listening to old CFD CDs. Apparently it stands for “Computerised For Dancing”: all these years and I never knew. A whole generation of people learnt to dance to covers of pop music standards, produced by some chap with a MIDI machine putting in the requisite cheesy beats behind them (in strict tempo, of course). We resolved to have a retro General Dancing at the earliest available opportunity.

For quite naff music, it was surprisingly evocative. I largely avoid the danger of seeing university as a mythical golden age by reading the emails I wrote at the time. But I do have happy memories of cycling into town to quickstep to Walking on Sunshine , waltz to If You Don’t Know Me By Now, and to chase girls from the women’s colleges. In one of Adrian Plass’s books, he talks about how for him, Heaven would be one eternal cricket match. For me, it’d be twirling round that hall. Those were the days. Things are different now: these days, I drive.

Couldn’t sleep last night, even without the thunderstorms we had on Monday morning. Feeling quite good after dancing so no obvious reason for it. I woke up to a fading dream, and thought “so that’s what it was about” (it was the obvious thing, for those that know me). The odd thing is I didn’t realise this during the time when I was lying there the previous night.

Someone I read recently (either Dawkins, or the Guns, Germs and Steel guy) suggested brains naturally do lots of things in parallel. This is as opposed to computers, which fake their ability to multi-task by switching between tasks very fast: computers pretend to be female but are actually male. Dawkins suggests consciousness is about picking out a consistent thread from all the things your brain is actually doing at the time. Everyone has the experience of the solution to a problem popping in to their head when they thought they’d stopped thinking about it. The little narrator in our heads is just surfing along on top of a sea of other things, occasionally noticing something that’s going on. Now I think of it, the idea of the sea as metaphor for the unconscious pops up in a lot of places, from the interpretation of the calming of the storm in The God of Surprises to Clive Barker’s Quiditty.

Enough. I was discussing with the Matrix Reloaded with the Drogon lot last night. They came up with some interesting links to interpretations of the story, which I’ll post when I get home. Dancing was fun. Finally getting the hang of the evil Paso Doble, and there was an easy but interesting Samba routine as well. Pub afterwards with the usual crowd, less those who had to run off to revise or some other such nonsense. Looks like we might get a gang together to go to Darwin Ball, where I hear there are pole dancers 😉

I had a barbeque yesterday. The weather was ideal: hot and sunny. Lots of people made the trek out here to lie in my back garden and eat food. It did separate into the dancing lot and the Churchill lot a bit, but I think everyone enjoyed themselves. So that was nice. I’m very lucky to have so many friends.

The plan for today is more mundane: washing, emailing people and possibly cranking up Powerpoint to write a lunchtime talk on one of the tools I’ve written (the company has talks on a Monday lunchtime, which people can go along to if they feel like it). I’ve got an appraisal goal to do the talk and my next appraisal is coming up. Might also do one based on the article I wrote for Kuro5hin on spam filtering, if I have time.

Today was my last day at work before going to Center Parcs in Elvden Forest for a week with friends. We were leaving tomorrow.


Letting agent rang to say that bloke she sents round to garden had noticed some kids hanging around the house. This was rather vague so decided not to leave work and have a look. Got back today to find back patio window smashed (though not broken as it is double glazed). No signs of an attempt to force entry, so I assume they just did it for the hell of it. Anyone know any cheap video solutions for Linux? May as well make some more use of the permanently up machine.

I’m still taking the day off tomorrow regardless, I could do with a break.

So, Thom gave me a magic cookie and I made myself an account. Not entirely sure what I will use it for yet, but I expect I’ll think of something.

Things done today:

  • Work
  • Successfully got Sainsburys listed in SPEWS, as well as their spamming friends (well, I may have had a bit of help, but I claim that posting to and with the subject line “ATTN SPEWS” might have tipped it). Major supermarket chains quake at my words, I tell you.
  • Went to Ed and Jacqui’s engagement party in some forgotten sub-basement of Trinity. There was glitter and dips and friends and people I’ve not seen for a while, so that was good. Danced one cha-cha but was wearing wrong sort of shoes so could not spin.