Monthly Archives: December 2005


Really alert readers will have noticed that tags are now somewhat absent.

More alert readers will have noticed a small change around here. Instead of posts being labelled as “Filed under” this, that and the other, you’ll see they now have “Tags”. Tags are a bit more flexible than the categories I used to use – I can add a tag to a post without having to create it first[1], and so it doesn’t really matter if I use a tag only once. It also makes things more friendly for various sites that might want to index Losing it[1]. Either that, or I’ve gone all trendy :tongue: .

I started playing with tags over at Flickr, which prompted me to have a play with the really quite spiffy[2] Ultimate Tag Warrior plugin, which lets me do all manner of clever things. Or will once I’ve decided what clever things I want to do, anyway.

Watch out for more subtle changes on the site shortly…

[1] Yes, WordPress 2.0 lets you create Categories on the fly, but I’m not going there right now…
[2] Special word of the day :smile:

Must do better next year

Ewww! The final weight measurement of 2005 is a rather hefty 205.8 pounds (14 stone 9.8 pounds, 93.4kg). Not only is that a big increase over the last few weeks, it’s just one pound less than a year ago, which is not very good at all, mutter.

I’m sure it’s down to being singularly inactive over the last week, plus a little seasonal indulgence. What I need to do is get back into the exercise routine again, but I’m having a hard time finding the motivation.

Blame the wine, or something

Friday’s weight was up again to 204.6 pounds (14 stone 8.6 pounds, 92.8kg). Mutter, etc. It’s all the inactivity[1] and eating.

[1] The ‘orrible weather put me right off going out any more than I had to this week

The Return of the Goodies

Aaah, nostalgia[1]. The Goodies were an incredibly popular comedy team in the 1970s. Their TV show ran for over ten years, got huge audiences, they had hit singles[2] and were generally a very well known thing indeed. But for some reason or other, unlike most popular TV of the time, the shows have hardly ever been repeated. A couple of DVDs were belatedly released in the last year or two, but other than that, it’s almost as if they never existed.

Bill Oddie[3], Tim Brooke-Taylor[4] and Graeme Garden[5] wrote and starred in some of the silliest and most surreal things ever to grace British television. Mad stuff like a giant kitten climbing the BT Tower, the Yorkshire Lancashire martial art of Ecky Thump[6] and much more have stuck in my mind for, errr, well, quite a long time, really.

And finally, the BBC have done the decent thing, and reunited the Goodies for a nicely silly special programme. Basically, they’ve plonked them in a recreation of their original set, and let them talk about the show. Add in lots of clips, and the usual talking heads[7]. All good fun.


[1] It’s not what it used to be, you know :grin:
[2] The Funky Gibbon was quite memorable
[3] Who has had a new life doing wildlife documentaries
[4] Various sitcom roles
[5] Umm, I’m sure he’s done something, but I can’t remember what
[6] It involved hitting people with black puddings
[7] You know the sort of thing, lots of other comedy types talking about how funny the Goodies were.


It’s stopped snowing, but it’s got a lot colder. The snow on the pavements has been tamped down into hard ice, and I’ve got icicles outside my back window…



How to deal with spammers

The Register has a nice report on how Nigel Roberts used UK law to win £300 compensation from a company that sent him unsolicited email. I think that comes under the heading of “a good start”.

Nigel is helpfully providing information on the case, and will be putting up some sample documents that will enable the less legally-mined[1] of us to take similar action.


[1] Which is not quite the same as the more illegally-minded… :tongue:

Pushing Ice – Alastair Reynolds

Regular readers[1] will have gathered that I’m rather keen on Alastair Reynolds’ books, so it should come as no surprise that I got hold of Pushing Ice as soon as I could. Of course, it took a while to get to the top of the reading pile, but the Christmas break was an ideal opportunity to deal with a nice long Reynolds book.

After a brief prologue set 18,000 years in the future, in which a plan is forged to send some form of message to “the benefactor”, someone whose actions influenced the founding of this complex future society, the action begins in the 2050s.

The crew of the Rockhopper are diverted from their mission of moving cometary ice[2] to investigate an unprecedented event. Janus, one of the moons of Saturn, has left its orbit and is heading out of the solar system. As it moved, it began shedding ice, revealing it to be some incredible kind of alien spacecraft.

People being people, the pursuit of Janus is eventful. Divisions develop in the crew, and an attempt is made to return to Earth which is foiled by the captain, Bella Lind.

Rockhopper is trapped in a bubble of spacetime around Janus, which is accelerating at an enormous rate, heading for the star Spica, around which telescopes can just make out an enormous alien artefact.

After that, things start to get interesting. Janus is covered in incomprehensible, and dangerous alien machinery. Factions form in the crew, with power shifting between Bella Lind and her former friend Svetlana Barseghian.

Janus appears to arrive at the artefact, and remains inside it as the years and decades pass. Contact is made with alien species, and as you might expect, there’s plenty of Grave Peril, not to mention misdirection, misunderstanding and indeed mystery. Not to mention a mysterious cube…

To go into more detail would spoil the fun, so I won’t. All good fun, and well worth a read.

[1] And the occasional Goooooogler :wave:
[2] “Pushing Ice” is their business…

Ho hum

Down a tiny bit today to 203.4 pounds (14 stone 7.4 pounds, 92.3kg).

Despite the snow, I dragged myself out this morning to drop my washing off at the laundrette[1] and to get some supplies at Tesco’s. I had planned to go into Newcastle for a haircut and maybe to see a film, but the snow removed all traces of motivation, so I didn’t. Maybe tomorrow.

[1] Which means I have to go and collect it tomorrow, mutter