rashbre central: November 2005

Wednesday 30 November 2005

tonal variations

I get occasional comments about my phone ringtone, which is that of a yellow hammer bird for people I don't know and a reed warbler for people I do know. Both start with a few clicky sounds and then slowly get more intense, which is a useful characteristic for a phone tone. On low volume they are quite discreet but louder can be quite psychotic.

For a couple of years I'd noticed birds trying to copy the well-known Nokia tone and then saw the Richard Schneider bird conservation article which confirmed that birds were copying ringtones. Urban starlings and jays are supposed to be the best mimics. Maybe my bird ringtones are a small way to reverse the trend.

Tuesday 29 November 2005

saucerful of sleepiness

An accidental Pink Floyd moment yesterday. I'd written Oberon and Miranda instead ot Oberon and Titania in the Shakespeare post. Part of the words from a Floyd track on Atom Heart Mother and the names of three moons. Still I was very tired when I wrote it. Sort of asleep at the screen.

Monday 28 November 2005

Titania's rage

Above see Titania and Oberon from the BBC series of re-written Shakespeare plays. Tonight was an excellent version of Midsummer Night's Dream. Maybe not very seasonal, and if you don't know the story so well, let Puck explain or watch as Titania, the Queen of the Faeries meet Bottom, after she had been given the love potion. This version is set in a holiday centre called Dream Park, but keeps the magic of the traditional Shakespeare, but with modern language, interspersed with a few well placed original lines.

Bullet in a bible

My latest car accessory is a copy of Bullet in a Bible by Green Day. Its really a live version of American Idiot, with anthemic playing and lots of crowd noise and singing, from the National Bowl of 65,000 people at Milton Keynes(!) in England. For a three piece band, Green Day know how to chop up the air.
I liked the original album; with what sounds like surprisingly British rock production values. This live version (including a DVD) includes much of American Idiot and some older tracks. It enjoyably captures the gig though doesn't drift much from the originals other than crowd response.
A good motorway album giving a lively journey on today's jammed M3, finishing in a flourish with "time of your life's" final delayed power chords and drums refusing to subside. I shall promote it from the one-shot to the CD-changer.

Sunday 27 November 2005

Notting Hill

Late afternoon and evening in Notting Hill. Supper at Jules in Notting Hill Gate and then to the comfy chairs of the Gate cinema to see Mrs. Henderson Presents, a well crafted film by Stephen Frears about the Windmill Theatre and its wartime revues.

Finn Fic - In the Pirkinning

"Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning" is a free and downloadable low-budget movie made by five guys from Finland with filmic production values and homebaked computer generated images.

Emperor Pirk is a star fleet commander who declares himself as an overlord and the story that unfolds amidst space battles is a stark reminder of how dangerous the mixture of ambition, cowardice and stupidity is.

The story begins with Captain James B. Pirk of the starship Kickstart shipwrecked in 2006 with his crew. Originally from the distant future, Pirk and crew travelled back in time to save the Earth from hostile aliens, but lost their ship and became stranded. Pirk adapts to 21st Century fast food and finds it difficult to convince the ladies he is an intergalactic space hero. Then he comes up with a questionable plan to save mankind's future...

Thank you, Finland. Here's the trailer

Saturday 26 November 2005


I've passed the 50k mark in NaNoWriMo, which now allows me to resume other suspended normal-person activities. The worrying thing is that it is still going strong. I've finished 'le grand denouement' and am now clearing the wreckage from the cars burning in Knightsbridge. I think it will take me another couple of thousand words to finish sorting out the endings. And even more worrying, I can see how the MCs (Main Characters, I discover) could be led into a follow up, or who knows, a TV series.

Frankly, I really did start this on a whim and as an experiment. No plot, no real clue at the start, but lots of help and encouragement from other nanowriters and nanocritics (both are good). I am genuinely surprised how the characters start to almost write their own moves and thoughts. I am sure when I re-read what I have written, I will have extensive thoughts about hiding it somewhere, but it really is an interesting experience.

And well done to anyone else having a bash, however far they have reached. There's time through to the 30th to finish!

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one world

I received this from Bob Geldof and have made my personal emails to Peter Mandelson and Tony Blair. Some of you who read this may wish to do something also. I include most of Bob's email below. This goes well beyond politics. There is a potential for millions today to get their view to Mandelson. Those three second finger clicks are still happening.

Here's the note from Bob:

120 days ago LIVE 8 rocked the world. Whilst the boys and girls with guitars made some noise, 3.8 billion of you turned up, tuned in, or logged on to show you wanted to change the world.

Well 5 days after the LIVE 8 concerts - the G8 leaders met... and they had heard us. It was an historic meeting which achieved more than any G8 in history. These are the commitments that YOU helped the 8 most powerful men in the world to make...

* $50 billion more aid per year by 2010
* AIDS drugs to all those who need them, and care for all AIDS orphans
* primary schools for ALL children by 2015
* a commitment to protect 85% of vulnerable Africans against malaria
* debt cancellation for 18 of the world's poorest countries

Oxfam reckons that if the G8 keep their promises, by 2010, these commitments will save 4.5million lives per year. You personally helped to make that happen. That's a hell of a result.

Now... the next part of this story is about to start - and there's another HUGE opportunity coming up. We HAVE to change the unfair trade laws so that people in extreme poverty have a chance to build themselves a future.

The crucial talks are happening right now, and the main man there is Peter Mandelson. The talks aren't going well - in fact they're in pretty desperate straits - and there's a real chance they're going to fail completely.

But we absolutely can't let that happen without one last push, and without letting them know that the people of the world still demand a result.

Mandelson needs to know that we want him to do everything he can, and more, in the interests of the poor. You can tell him this in literally 30 seconds by clicking here and emailing him. Please do it RIGHT NOW - JUST CLICK - it's INCREDIBLY SIMPLE and if you do it, WITHIN 20 MINUTES YOUR PERSONAL MESSAGE WILL BE IN HIS INBOX.

It's a real fight - but we need you once again to line up shoulder to shoulder with the poorest people in the world to stop them getting screwed.

We will NOT let our world leaders fail in their duty to stop the scandalous deaths we see on the news every night. Send the email. Do it.

Do it now. Click here.

Bob Geldof

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Purple prose

I dare not show a large picture. Special K purple berries are whisked furtively from supermarkets. Even the box has lipstick kisses on it. After my first packet was gone, I wondered if I had imagined them. Now sighted on TV but even there they are being eaten straight from the box.

Friday 25 November 2005

American Holiday

Our friends in the United States have a long family and friends based weekend right now.
One aspect of Thanksgiving is the pardoning of the National Thanksgiving Turkey by the President. This year's turkey was named "Marshmallow" and, after the presentation, was taken to Disneyland in California to be a part of the holiday display, serving as an honorary Grand Marshal for the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Soccer hero George Best dies

I was driving out of Manchester today when I heard the news that George Best, a soccer legend, had died. As I passed the area of Old Trafford, there were a few fans with scarves and shirts walking towards the huge stadium. Sue had told me yesterday that a vigil had already started the previous evening.

Best's great days were many years ago. From those days you can see him playing heroic football cutting through half a dozen players, squaring to the goalie and firing an unstoppable volley into the net. He could have mastery of the whole pitch. Later his lifestyle changed and he typified it with the quote, "I spent a lot of my money on booze, birds and fast cars; the rest I squandered." Manchester United's fame is built on the shoulders of players like George Best.

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Thursday 24 November 2005

only one spank

explosion 1
The crazies at massively abusive i talk too much responded to my request and gave my site a blasting. Much wreckage, but I don't care - in fact I was rather amused and will claim my single spank with suitable disdain.

Their helpful comments include:

a) don't use blogger templates
b) get rid of weather pixies and clocks
c) fix the annoying sidebar problemo with wacky windows explorer - I use a mac
d) de-buttonise the sidebar

On "don't do nanoblah", I disagree -its an interesting test and creates some self discovery. On "be interesting", I can but try; I prefer to use positives rather than negatives as my medium of expression, but still find the formula of sites like the above to be entertaining.

On blogs in general, I guess I realised we go through stages from:

a) Yay it works- complete with 'Edit-me' links (my first car)
b) Why doesnt anyone read it? I'll add some things to brighten it up. (Stickers, decals, stripes and flashing lights) (my first car a month later)
c) Some one actually linked to me! I'll start writing to my audience
d) Hmm. Someone commented? This could be fun
e) Oh dear, how did it get to look like this. I really must tidy it up (the car I kept too long)
f) White with black text on a custom server. Looks like a type-written letter. (something dechromed and de-badged, with a big engine)

And for someone like me the dial is a bit wobbly and fluctuates all the way between b) and e).

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midland hotel
I'm in Manchester at 01:26 in the morning. A few police sirens scream outside the hotel. For me, its time for bed.

Monday 21 November 2005

don't use these common passwords

@#$% !@#$%^ !@#$%^& !@#$%^&* 000000 00000000 0007 007 007007 0246 0249 1022 10sne1 111111 121212 1225 123 123123 1234 12345 123456 1234567 12345678 1234qwer 123abc 123go 1313 131313 13579 14430 1701d 1928 1951 1a2b3c 1p2o3i 1q2w3e 1qw23e 1sanjose 2112 21122112 2222 2welcome 3 369 4 4444 4runner 5 5252 54321 5555 5683 654321 666666 6969 696969 777 7777 80486 8675309 888888 90210 911 92072 99999999 @#$%^& a a12345 a1b2c3 a1b2c3d4 aaa aaaaaa aaron abby abc abc123 abcd abcd1234 abcde abcdef abcdefg abigail about absolut academia access action active acura adam adams adg adidas admin adrian advil aeh aerobics after again aggies aikman airhead airplane alan alaska albany albatross albert alex alex1 alexande alexander alexandr alexis alfred algebra aliases alice alicia aliens alison all allen allison allo alpha alpha1 alphabet alpine always alyssa ama amanda amanda1 amber amelie america america7 amiga amorphous amour amy an analog anchor and anderson andre andrea andrew andromache andy angel angela angela1 angels angie angus animal animals ann anna anne annie answer anthony anthropogenic antonio anvils any anything apache apollo apollo13 apple apple1 apples april archie arctic are aria ariadne ariane ariel arizona around arrow arthur artist as asdf asdfg asdfgh asdfghjk asdfjkl asdfjkl; ashley ask aspen ass asshole asterix at ate ath athena atmosphere attila august austin author avalon avatar away awesome aylmer aztecs azure babies baby babylon5 bacchus bach badboy badger bailey baker balls bamboo banana bananas banane bandit banks barbara barber barbie baritone barnes barney barry basebal baseball basf basil basket basketb basketba bass bassoon bastard batman be beagle beaner beanie bear bears beater beatles beautifu beauty beaver beavis because been beer beethoven before bell belle beloved benjamin bennett benny benoit benson benz beowulf berkeley berliner bernard bernie bertha beryl best better betty beverly bfi bicameral big bigbird bigdog bigfoot bigmac bigman bigred bilbo bill billy bingo binky biology bird bird33 birdie bitch biteme black blackie blaster blazer blizzard blonde blondie blowfish blowme blue bluebird bluesky bmw bob bobby bobcat bond007 boner bonjour bonnie booboo booger boogie bookit boomer booster boots bootsie boris boss boston both bowling bozo bradley brandi brandon brandy brasil braves brazil brenda brewster brian bridge bridges bridget bright bring broadway broncos brooke brooks brown browns bruce brutus bryant bubba bubba1 bubbles buck buddha buddy buffalo buffy bull bulldog bullet bullshit bumbling bunny burgess business buster but butch butler butthead button buttons buy buzz by byteme cactus caesar caitlin californ call calvin camaro camera campanile campbell camping can canada canced cancer candy canela cannon cannonda canon cantor captain cardinal carl carlos carmen carol carole carolina caroline carolyn carrie carry carter cascade cascades casey casio casper cassie castle cat catalog catfish catherine cats cayuga cccccc cedic celica celine celtics center cerulean cesar cfi cfj cgj challeng champion champs chance chanel change changeme chaos chapman charity charles charlie charlie1 charlott charming charon cheese chelsea cherry cheryl chester chester1 chevy chevy1 chicago chicken chico chiefs china chip chipper chiquita chloe chocolat chris chris1 chrissy christ christia christin christina christine christop christopher christy chuck chucky church cigar cinder cindi cindy claire clancy clarence clark class classic classroo claude claudia cleaner cleat clipper cloclo clover clusters cobra cocacola coco coffee coke cold coleman colleen college collins colorado coltrane columbia come commrades compaq compton compute computer concept condo connect connie conrad control cook cookie cookies cool coolman cooper copper cornelius corona corrado corwin cosmos cougar cougars could country courtney couscous cowboy cowboys cox coyote cracker craig crapp crawford creation creative creosote cretin cricket crow cruise crystal cuddles curtis cut cutie cyclone cynthia cyrano daddy daemon daisy dakota dallas dan dance dancer daniel danielle danny darren darwin dasha database dave david david1 davis dawn day daytek dead deadhead dean death debbie deborah debra december deedee defense defoe deliver delta deluge demo denali denise dennis denver depeche derek design desperate detroit deutsch develop dexter dgj diablo diamond diana diane diaz dickhead did dieter digger digital digital1 dilbert direct1 director dirk discovery disney dixie do doc doctor dodger dodgers does dog dogbert doggie doggy dollars dolphin dolphins dominic domino don don't donald done donkey donna doobie doogie dookie doom doom2 doris dorothy doug dougie douglas down dragon dragon1 dragonfl draw dream dreamer dreams drink drizzt drought drums duck duckie dude duke duncan dundee dustin dusty dwight dylan e-mail each eager eagle eagle1 eagles earl easier easter eat eatme eclipse eddie edges edinburgh edward edwards edwin edwina eeyore egghead eiderdown eight eileen einstein elaine electric elephant elizabet elizabeth ellen elliot elsie elvis elwood emerald emily emmitt energy engine engineer enigma enter enterprise entropy enzyme eric ernest ersatz espanol establish estate etoile euclid eugene europe evans evelyn every excalibu except explorer export express extension fail fairway faith falcon family far farmer farming fast felicia felix fender fermat ferrari ferret fgh fiction fidelity find finite fiona fire fireball firebird fireman first fish fish1 fisher fishers fishing five flakes flamingo flash fletch fletcher flight flip flipper float flores florida flower flowers floyd fluffy fly flyers foobar fool foolproof footbal football for ford foresight forest format forsythe foster found fountain four fourier fox foxtrot fozzie france frances francis francois frank frankie franklin freak1 fred freddy frederic freedom french1 friday friend friends frighten frodo frog frog1 froggy frogs from front242 frosty fubar fucker fuckme fuckoff fuckyou fugazi full fun fungible funny future gabriel gabriell gaby galaxy galileo gambit gandalf garcia garden gardner garfield garlic garnet garrett gary gasman gateway gator gauss gave gemini general genesis genius george georgia gerald german gertrude get ghost giants gibson gilles ginger give gizmo glacier glenn global gloria gnu go goalie goat goblue gocougs godzilla goes gofish goforit going gold golden goldie golf golfer golfing gone gonzales gonzalez goober good goofy gopher gordon gorgeous gorges gosling got gouge grace graham grandma grant graphic grateful gray graymail green greenday greg gregory gretchen gretzky griffey griffin groovy grover grow grumpy gryphon guess guest guido guinness guitar gumption gunner guntis guru gymnast h2opolo hacker had hal9000 hall hamlet hammer hamster handily hanna hannah hansolo hanson happening happy happy1 happyday harley harmony harold harris harrison harry harvey has hatton have hawaii hawk hawkeye hayes hazel he health heart hearts heather hebrides hector heidi heinlein helen hell hello hello1 help helpme henderson hendrix henry her herbert here herman hermes hernandez hershey hiawatha hibernia hill him his history hobbit hockey hockey1 hola hold holly home homebrew homer honda honda1 honey hoops hootie horizon hornet hornets horse horses horus hot hotdog hotrod house houston how howard hughes hunter hunting hurt huskers hutchins i ib6ub9 icecream iceman idiot if iguana iloveyou image imagine imbroglio impala imperial in include indian indiana indigo info informix ingres inna innocuous insane inside intel intern internet into ireland irene irish irishman ironman is isaac isabelle isis island it italia italy its jack jackie jackson jacob jacqueline jaeger jaguar jake jamaica james james1 jan jane janet janice january japan jared jasmin jasmine jason jason1 jasper jazz jean jeanette jeanne jeff jeffrey jenifer jenkins jenni jennifer jenny jenny1 jensen jeremy jerry jesse jessica jessie jester jesus jesus1 jewels jim jimbo jimbob jimmy jixian jkm joan joanna joe joel joey john john316 johnny johnson jojo joker jonathan jones jordan jordan23 jose joseph josh joshua josie joyce jsbach juan judith judy juggle julia julian julie julie1 jump junebug junior jupiter justice justin justin1 karen katherin katherine kathleen kathryn kathy katie kayla keep keith kelly kelly1 kelsey kennedy kenneth kermit kernel kevin kevin1 khan kids killer killme kim kimberly kind kinder king kingdom kingfish kirkland kitten kitten12 kittens kitty kleenex knicks knight knights know koala koko kombat kramer kristen kristi kristin kristy krystal lacrosse laddie ladle lady ladybug lakers lakota lambda lamer lamination larkin larry larry1 larson laser last laugh laura lauren laurie law lawrence lazarus lebesgue ledzep lee legend leland lennon leon leonard leroy leslie lestat let letmein letter lewis library light like lillian lincoln linda lindsay lindsey lionking lisa list little live liverpoo lizard ljf lloyd logan logical lois london long look looney lopez lori lorraine loser louis louise love lovely loveme lover loveyou lucas lucky lucky1 lucy lulu lynn lynne mac macha macintos macintosh mack maddock maddog made madison maggie maggot magic magnum mailer mailman major majordom make malcolm malibu mantra many marc marcel marcus margaret maria mariah marie marilyn marina marine marino mario mariposa mark market markus marlboro marley mars marshal martha martin martin1 martinez marty marvin mary maryjane master master1 masters math matrix matt matthew maurice maveric maverick max maxime maxwell may mayday mazda1 me medical megan melanie melissa mellon memory memphis meow mercedes mercury merlin metal metallic mets mexico michael michael. michel michele michell michelle mickey micro midnight midori mikael mike mike1 mikey miki mildred miles miller millie million mimi mindy mine minimum minnie minou minsky mirage miranda mirror misha mishka mission missy misty mitch mitchell mittens modem moguls molly molly1 molson mom monday monet money money1 monica monique monkey monopoly monster montana montreal moocow mookie moomoo moon moore moose more morgan morley moroni morris mortimer mother mountain mouse mouse1 mozart much muffin murphy music mustang my myself nancy naomi napoleon nascar nat natasha nathan nautica ncc1701 ncc1701d ncc1701e ne1469 nebraska nellie nelson nemesis nepenthe nesbitt ness netware network never new newcourt newpass news newton newuser newyork next nguyen nicarao nicholas nick nicole niki nikita nimrod niners nirvana nirvana1 nissan nite no none norma norman not nothing notused now noxious nss nugget number number1 number9 nurse nutrition nyquist oatmeal obiwan oceanography ocelot october of off oil old olive oliver olivetti olivia olivier on once one online only open opus or oracle orange oranges orca orchid orion orlando orwell oscar osiris other ou812 our out outlaw over own oxford pacers pacific packard packer packers painless painter pakistan paladin pam pamela panda pandora pantera panther papa papers paris parker parrot part pascal pass passion passwd passwor password pat patches patricia patrick patterson paul paula peace peaches peanut pearl pearljam pebbles pedro peewee peggy penelope penguin penny pentium people peoria pepper pepsi percolate percy perez perry persimmon persona pete peter peterson petey petunia phantom phil philip phillip phillips phish phoenix phoenix1 photo phyllis piano picard picasso pick pickle picture pierce pierre piglet pinkfloy pirate pisces pizza planet plato play playboy player players please plover pluto plymouth pmc poiuyt polaris police politics polo polynomial pomme pondering poohbear pookie pookie1 popcorn popeye pork porsche porsche9 porter portland poster powell power ppp praise precious prelude preston pretty price prince princess princeton prof promethe property protect protel protozoa psalms psycho public puckett pull pumpkin puneet punkin puppet puppies puppy 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sandra sandy sango sanjose1 santa sapphire sara sarah sarah1 sasha saskia sassy saturn savage saxon say sbdc scamper scarlet scarlett scheme school science scooby scooter scooter1 scorpio scorpion scotch scott scotty scout scruffy scuba1 sean seattle secret security see sendit senior sensor septembe serenity sergei service seven seven7 sexy shadow shadow1 shadows shall shalom shannon shanti shark sharks sharon shawn she sheba sheena sheffield sheila shelby sheldon shelley shelly sherry shirley shit shithead shiva shivers shoes shooter shorty shotgun show shuttle sidney sierra signature silver simba simmons simon simple sing singer single sit six skater skeeter skidoo skiing skinny skipper skippy slacker slayer sleep small smashing smile smiles smiley smith smiths smokey smooch smother snake snapple snatch snicker snickers sniper snoopdog snoopy snow snowbal snowball snowman snuffy so soap soccer soccer1 socrates softball soleil some sonics sonny soon sophie sossina space spain spanish spanky sparky sparrow sparrows special speech speedo speedy spencer spider spike spirit spit spitfire spooky sports spring springer sprite spunky squires squirt ssssss stacey stanley star star69 stargate start startrek starwars station stealth steele steelers stella steph stephani stephanie stephen steve steven stever stewart stimpy sting1 stingray stinky stop storm stormy strangle strat stratford strawber strider stuart student studly stupid stuttgart subway success sugar summer sun sunbird sundance sunday sunflowe sunny sunny1 sunrise sunset sunshin sunshine super superman superstage support supported supra surf surfer susan suzanne suzuki swearer sweetie sweetpea sweets sweety swimmer swimming sydney sylvia sylvie symbol symmetry system t-bone tacobell taffy take tamara tammy tandy tangerine tango tanker tanner tanya tape tara tardis target tarragon tarzan tasha tattoo taurus taylor tazman teacher teachers tech techno teddy teddy1 telecom telephone tell temp temporal temptation ten tennis tequila teresa terry test test1 test123 test2 tester testing testtest texas thailand than thank that the theatre theboss their theking them theman then there theresa these they think this thomas thompson those three thumper thunder thunderb thursday thx1138 tiffany tiger tigers tigger tigre tim timber time timothy tina tinker tinman tintin to toby today todd together toggle tom tomato tomcat tommy tony too tootsie topcat topgun topher topography toronto torres tortoise toyota tractor tracy trails training travel travis trebor trek trevor tricia trident tristan trivial trixie trombone trouble truck trucks trumpet try tubas tucker tuesday turbo turner turtle tuttle tweety twins two tyler umesh undead unhappy unicorn unknown up upon urchin us use user1 utility utopia vader valentin valerie valhalla vampire vanessa vanilla vasant velvet venus vermont veronica vertigo very vette vicky victor victoria victory video viking vikings village vincent violet viper viper1 virginia visa vision volley volleyb volvo voodoo voyager walk walker walleye wally walter wanda wanker want warcraft ward warez warm warner warren warrior warriors was wash washington water watson way wayne we weasel webmaste webster weenie weezer welcome welcome1 well wendy went were wesley western whales what whateve whatever whatnot wheeling wheels when where which whisky white whiting whitney who why wicked wilbur wildcat will william williams williamsburg willie willow willy wilson win win95 windows windsurf winner winnie winston winter wisconsin wisdom wish with wizard wolf wolf1 wolfgang wolfman wolverin wolves wombat wonder wood woodland woodwind woody word work wormwood would wqsb wrangler wrestle wright write xanadu xavier xcountry xfiles xxx xxxx yaco yamaha yang yankees yellow yellowstone yoda yomama yosemite you young your yvonne zachary zap zapata zaphod zebra zenith zephyr zeppelin zeus zhongguo ziggy zimmerman zombie zorro zxcvb zxcvbnm

black out

We didn't really leave the silver factory until very late. The drive back meant I didn't get indoors until around 4am. The car had also changed from its normal colour to Sin City black, on account of the foggy night air.

Note to self: watch the movie.

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Sunday 20 November 2005

silver factory

The best way to describe the evening is via the accompanying video, which gives a small segment of the Sugar House experience. The evening was split between Warhol, Edie Sedgwick, the exploding plastic inevitable and a poetry corner. There was quite a lot of velvet underground too.
Click the picture to experience a small piece of the event.

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light lunch

Sunday arrived with a judder and at around midday we were wandering the streets looking for a place to eat breakfast when we ran into Val and Ray, so we all decided to convert from breakfast to lunch and became the first visitors of the day to Sante, which served a great lunch menu. By around 4pm it was time to move on, and we noticed outside that the Christmas lights had been switched on accompanied by a raucous band and an even noisier Radio station live broadcast.

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Saturday 19 November 2005

kitchen chaos

By the middle of the evening, the kitchen was becoming cluttered, so I had to brave the icey Northern air to nearby Ask!, where I ordered us some takeaway pizzas. Just after they took my money, the fire bell rang, and a few moments later a fire engine arrived. The pizzas were fine, except that walking back, some of the toppings slid off.

cone centrate

So much for an early start to Saturday. I was several hours late starting the 250 mile drive to where the Warhol work was getting ready to hit the Sugar House. Unfortunately, I also selected the A34, unaware that it has been perma-sprayed with cones all the way from the M4 to the M40. Many hours later, by which time it was almost dark, I arrived and started an evening of making as many household objects as possible look silver, in preparation for their mass shipment to the venue.

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Friday 18 November 2005

banged to writes

quiet please
I've taken my eye off the ball; hung out with the wrong right crowd; been chillin' when I shoulda been quillin'.

And I've realised that my triumphant 30k of words a couple of days ago could turn into a deficit of 6k or 7k by the end of the weekend unless I get scribbing again - I have full weekend of stuff.

So please tiptoe past my blog tonight and comment softly so that I can stay concentrating on the words.

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Thursday 17 November 2005


Out with Nicky and Guy and a whole gang of others tonight. We hit Baroosh and luckily John and John had arrived at the time we said we'd meet and therefore had grabbed a large area with lots of sofas and tables.
By the time I arrived we had about fifteen of us already together in animated conversation and then progressively more arrived as the evening really got under way. Conservatively finishing in time for last trains, it was still the next day by the time I reached home - but I shall still count this as Thursday, in any case.

Wednesday 16 November 2005

signs of the time

A couple of British road signs, photographed in North Hampshire.

The first one is normally the sign for a 30mph speed restriction, but today it also means I have just gone through the 30,000 word barrier on NaNoCraZee.

The second sign below is the UK sign for a clearway, which basically means no stopping.
I think this sign also needs to apply to NaNoWriMo, don't you?

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a moment to chill

A visit to Nirvana this afternoon- well the spa called Nirvana anyway. Time to look at the stars whilst floating suspended on mineral rich water. And Roman bath. And jaccuzzi. Unwound.

Tuesday 15 November 2005

not to be outfoxed

Had to hatch a few plans for 2006 today, so Sue drove us to the Fox and Hounds for lunch and some scheming. Last time I went to this particular pub I got lost in the twisty lanes.

Sue's mushroom risotto looked good and my Caesar Salad was fine. A modicum of wine and some cappuccinos rounded off a pleasant lunch.

And we've made a great start towards putting our 2006 ideas together.

never bored

Some of my life is stranger than the fiction in the nanonovel. Someone queried whether my trip to Cannes was real (it was) and the fancy penthouse(it was, even the bit about the S Class and the Hamman steam bath). And in real life, as a social request, I have just been asked to drive around London to look at a particular genre of roadside billboards.

Monday 14 November 2005

Jake's house

jake's house
Luckily Jake was elsewhere when the Russians arrived and Bigsy and Clare were already on the Eurostar. The two cops were not so lucky and you can see the aftermath above. Of course, this is my nanowork, now at 25,555 words, which seemed impossible on Friday, particularly with an already busy weekend.

I must admit, when these characters were in Starbucks earlier, they could have ordered 'two coffees' but instead had 'a tall skinny latte, a grande cappuccino and, after some indecision, a piece of carrot cake' [2 words vs 16 words]. Oh dear.

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Sunday 13 November 2005


Well, I'm still hanging in on the NaNoWriMo thing, although today I've been out in Hampshire and Surrey's November sunshine, which gives me a challenge to keep up with the wordcount. If you click on the page above, it should take you to my profile and if you are a kindred nanospirit, please feel free to add yourself as a buddy. I see there's a writer's drink in central London on Tuesday; it doesn't say where at the moment, so maybe it'll be like a flashmob.

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blue guitars

Chris-Rea-Blue-Guitars-330969Julie thought of a great present for my birthday. Its a music album of different blues genres written and played by Chris Rea. Clearly a labour-of-love, Rea has assembled 11 CDs and a DVD packaged with a rather elegant book including his own paintings and commentary about the music. The CDs fit inside the book and the whole thing looks quite lavishly produced.
Yesterday I was listening to the Chicago Blues volume and the fully and sympathetically supported tracks are fluid, well-produced and have Chris Rea's gravelly voice adding a strong vocal dimension. Whilst some may consider this a showcase, one gets the feeling that Chris Rea really wanted to make this all-new set (it says it took eighteen months) and included are photos of the guitars and other instruments used.

I think it will take over ten hours to listen to them all just once, but I'm enjoying selecting a genre, cranking the volume and just enjoying the vibe. Excellent and I didn't have to wait until Christmas either!

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Saturday 12 November 2005

the triangle

Brian had been in the gallery for around ten minutes. A series of white cube rooms displaying art. Very different from the place he’d visited the last time he’d been given private tickets. That had been a rather grim gallery the size of a news-agents, somewhere out west. Graffiti art, decomposing artifacts on the floor and literally rats running free as part of the installation.

Not this time. It was clean pictures on clean walls in a gallery he had pretty much to himself. He looked towards the white space between the hanging pictures. Pristine. Then he noticed it from the corner of his eye. A very thin red line arcing across the wall. A new line appearing as he looked at it. Then he felt it. The knife had done deep damage. Then he felt nothing.
Outside, November graphite skies, gentle rain. A quiet, dark-suited man slowly left the gallery, flicked his umbrella up and walked across to a modern metallic BMW. The driver clicked the locks, he climbed into the back seat and slipped into the busy traffic.

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Friday 11 November 2005


My birthday today against a madly busy day! I decided it is better to reschedule to start in the evening and therefore spill over onto the 12th. I've had some great cards and thoughtful presents and will feature one tomorrow, when I have more time. Something involving guitars, I think. Meantime, I must blow out the candle.

Thursday 10 November 2005

nice and peaceful

Nice Airport was quiet when I arrived. The first chance to do any writing for a couple of days. I sat quietly in the cafe until Nick arrived when we moved to a lounge area, where we also ran into Tony, Mark and Ronan. End of writing for another day. Still, I'm just over 16,000 words now, so I feel vaguely on track.

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Wednesday 9 November 2005

poolside reflections

Blogging means thinking up new things every day. I'm painfully aware that this is the third day in a row I've been writing about the same French resort. I'm taking solace that I can at least try to use this experience in the NaNoWriMo novel which I should be writing. I've found a good source of advice for Nano-ing from Debra who has posted a whole range of practical suggestions.

And as I'm heading back to UK this evening, I suppose we will have a change of scene for tomorrow's entry. For now, back to that nice cool poolside drink.

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Tuesday 8 November 2005

a spot of luck

I travelled light, cleared Nice airport in minutes into a waiting S Class Merc for a fast ride to Cannes. The hotel only had one check-in person, so things slowed, more than compensated by the magical phrase "you have an upgrade".

Next thing I'm being shown to a penthouse apartment, with its own meeting area, lounge, office, separate bedroom, decked balcony big enough for fifty people, side balcony with screen garden and hot-tub, remote controlled everything, Hamman steam room (with eucalyptus delivery system) and Jacuzzi.
Oh yes, and the view out across the entire Cannes bay. Mediterrean blue sea, yachts, marina, mountains and later a great sunset.

Worth a few minutes check in delay. Wanna look? I'm on the seventh floor - check it out!

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Monday 7 November 2005

it cannes be done

A plane hop to Nice today and then onward to Cannes. I'm sure I can work this into the plotline somewhere. Photos of the Martinez to follow. Decided to travel light as this is a bit of a flying visit.

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Sunday 6 November 2005


I've discovered a new form of industrial injury doing this Nanomalarky.

Its 'hot legs'.

Earlier today I noticed a red mark on my left leg. I worked out it was a sort of heat burn from the Powerbook, which has been receiving above average attention in the last few hours courtesy of trying to get the wordage into the 10k zone.

Other people have Repetitive Strain Injury and carpal tunnel syndrome - they both sound a lot more exotic than hot legs. I'm back to normal now, so I suppose its alright for me to start again - this time with a cushion.

And another thing, why have a '5 hour journey' somewhere {3 words}, when you can have a 'tortuous five and a half hour journey', instead? {7 words}. At this rate I can finish the novel with only half as much plot!

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Saturday 5 November 2005

beware of civilians using gunpowder

Remember, remember the fifth of November
For gunpowder treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, twas his intent
To blow up king and parliament.
Three score barrels were laid below
To prove old England's overthrow.

By God's mercy he was catched
With a dark lantern and lighted match.
Holler boys, holler boys, let the bells ring
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the King.

The nearby school display is always the best in the area. This year I didn't get time to go visit it, but the rockets can be seen over the rooftops and the bigger explosions still seem to be pushing the earth out of orbit.

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the madness is creeping over me

police tape
I've just killed Brian. Actually I did it Thursday. And now I have to rub out his parents. They were never going anywhere. But Jake, Clare and Bigsy have a future, at least for the time being. and I have to find out why the guy in the Alfa is driving to Cannes.
Yes, I'm having a go at the wierdest thing - this Nanowrimo novel scribbling thing. 50,000 words between 1st and 30th November (I shall need to see when it finishes - GMT or whatever!) And don't panic, I won't fill this blog with pages of still wet storyline. In the words of the Nanowrimo web page, if I'm just writing 50,000 words of crap, why bother? Why not just write a real novel later, when I have more time?

My adaptation of their three reasons:

1) If I don't do it now, I probably never will. Novel writing is mostly a "one day" event. As in "One day, I'd like to write a novel." Here's the truth: 99% of us, if left to our own devices, would never make the time to write a novel. It's just so far outside our normal lives that it constantly slips down to the bottom of our to-do lists. The structure of NaNoWriMo forces you to put away all those self-defeating worries and START. Once you have the first five chapters under your belt (I'm only around Chapter Two at the moment), the rest will come easily (they say). Or painfully. But it will come and apparently I'll have friends to help see it through to 50k.

2) Aiming low is the best way to succeed. With entry-level novel writing, shooting for the moon (another plotline? maybe not) is the surest way to get nowhere. With high expectations, everything written will sound cheesy and awkward. Instead, evaluating in terms of word count, takes that pressure away. And maybe I'll surprise myself with a great bit of dialogue here and a ingenious plot twist there. Strangely, the characters have already started doing things I don't expect and the story has already wandered across into France. I'm sure there will be much execrable prose, but amidst the crap, there may be some glimpses of something better.

3) Art for art's sake does strange things to you. In my case it makes me feel even more crazy than usual. I know I have to put on my extra thick personal self esteem shield because whatever I do will create a great selection of knowledgeable critics. But this is one where I think the fun is being in the game. Doing something just for the hell of it is a wonderful antidote to all the chores and "must-dos" of daily life. Writing a novel in a month is mainly mad, but it is already an amusing way to spend a few hours.

[479 words]

...and now back to the plot (I've always wanted to write that).

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Friday 4 November 2005

snowflake (Schneeflöckchen)

I was upstairs this afternoon looking out of the window at a fairly dark sky and bleak day. I noticed some rain and then as I looked carefully, it was floating downwards instead of dropping. It was tiny snowflakes. A few touched the window, paused as ice and then melted. I'd only been drinking tea so I'm pretty sure this was real.

Thursday 3 November 2005

Black and Blue Brothers

Mitchell Brothers
Two thuggish brothers Grant and Phil Mitchell in the EastEnders soap are popular TV villains. An impressive 25.3 million viewers watched Grant attack Phil in 1994, after learning his brother was having an affair with wife Sharon. They variously left the series and returned, recently together to resume their bad'un double act.
But wait!

This week the actors playing the brothers have both allegedly been assaulted! Ross Kemp is in the headlines after his wife, Sun editor Rebekah Wade, was arrested but later released for alleged assault. Later, in an unrelated incident, a woman was cautioned by police for an alleged assault on Kemp's EastEnders co-star Steve McFadden. How wierd is that?

Another story, as Doris would say, that you can't make up!

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Wednesday 2 November 2005

no dna'l this time

David Blunkett, the blind cabinet minister for pensions, has resigned for the second time in a year. Yesterday he denied any wrong-doing buying shares in DNA Biosciences in contravention of a ministerial code. Today he publicly apologised and resigned from the Cabinet for the second time within a year. Type "blunkett wrong-doing" on Google and get 27,000 hits.
Tony Blair is still saying supportive things, but there's an old adage about politicians being caught out for sex or sleaze; Blunkett seems to have tried both tacks, with DNA as a linking theme. You can't make this stuff up.

Oh OK then, Private Eye can.

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