One thing I'm absolutely no good at is sleep management. Going to sleep when you're wide awake so you'll be rested in twelve hours when you need to be alert, and staying awake when you're exhausted so you don't wake up at three in the morning and spend the next four hours frustratedly awake. I can't do it. I sleep only when I'm tierd, and I'm alert only when properly rested.

That's how I can be awake for 36 straight hours, then sleep for 14. My parents assure me this is unhealthy and in some mysterious way immoral.
An exchange of texts with H. Nothing said beyond "Hi I'm still here How are you?", but I note it simply because it made me happy.
I've been watching a show called "Timecop". It is possibly the worst heap of corpulating horsewank I've ever sat through. A grinning smartalec cop travels back in time to solve crimes and meets famous people. Women find him irresistable, and his adversary is a born genius-psychopath who's bad simply because he likes it.

The show is 9 whole seasons of cliched gormless shit, and it's remarkably addictive. Unlike 'Dark Skies', which is boring cliched gormless shit.
I need to prove the I've been looking for a job. This is difficult, because there aren't any. It's a bit like searching for Atlantis - some people find nothing and conclude it doesn't exist, and others conclude it must be extremely hidden and all the more abundant for it. We shall see which kind of person reviews my case at the jobcentre on Thursday.

Das Buch

Creativity comes in bursts. Nick has read my story - noting quite correctly that it's too short to be called a novel - and will send a review soon. This has prompted me to think again about a piece of fiction I started working around eight years ago.

It's a kind of sci-fi spy thriller, set onboard a giant station in deep space. Instead of different groups of humans represented by different alien species, all the characters are human, but alien and strange to each other. Like Tolkein, I'm working mainly on the customs, history and languages spoken, before filling out details of plot. One important thing: there are no heroes and villains, only antiheroes and adversaries.

There's a few beaurocratic documents I'll have to lend my burst of creativity to in the next few days, which is always annoying. But I'm also tweaking some old lyrics, and hope to start recording again by the end of the week.

Before that, try to do something I haven't done for a month - try to get to sleep when it's dark so I can be awake when it's light. Gute Nacht.

Happiness is a Warm Bed

My net access is back. I just don't know why. One of those cases where you try out cables, hubs and drivers until it mysteriously starts working.
In 2001 I was getting interested in downtempo electronic music - triphop and ambient, which later spawned the chillout movement and dozens of hybrid genres. In March of that year I spent a few days downloading some of the more interesting songs in the 'Down Tempo' category of MP3.Com, and putting them on two CDRs - 324 of them, as a kind of time capsule.

It wasn't clear that at the time that MP3.Com was going to become progressively unfriendly and unusable, but it seemed possible.

The discs have turned up, and the tracks sound pretty good and inspired.
I now have an electric blanket. The instructions warn me sternly to unplug it before putting it in the washing machine, and implicitly not to wet the bed.
Carrying the blanket home, I let myself be stopped by a Dianetics stall in the market.

I asked about Thetans and auditing for repressed memories, which made the nice bespectacled young man at the stall nervous. He explained that those things are part of Scientology, not Dianetics. Because Dianetics is therapeutic ("It enables you to gain control of your life"), while Scientology is a whole philosophy, aiming at spiritual rebirth.

He clarified the difference by saying "Dianetics is 1950; Scientology is 1951".

I had a go on the stress measuring device, which apparantly is nothing at all like a lie detector. A lie detector measures electrical conductivity of skin surface, wheras the stress measuring device (he didn't call it an 'auditor' is...erm...completely different.

It wasn't terribly good at detecting untruth or stress though, because I told a pack of lies and the needle only moved when I wasn't talking.


The ethernet connection to my computer has mysteriously stopped again. Fortunately, there are advantages to having too many computers. This room has three - one recording from DAB, one sampling from cassette, and this one, with scanner attatched. Actually there's also a laptop found in a skip, and the guts of two old PCs canibalised to fix other PCs.

So I'm still connected to the outside world, but at a greater distance.
I know what I'm going to get myself for Christmas. An electric blanket! I am sick of sitting in a cold room in front of a cold ketboard before getting into a cold bed. Though bedtime this last week has been 7am.
Nick asked to read my novel (well, novella, or maybe just very long short story). So I've been going through it, tidying up the clumsier dialogue and descriptions. It stands up fairly well, considering it was written by a rather pretentious 19 year old with aspirations to write science fiction about first love and social problems.

Another quick read through, a few minor changes, and I'll send it off. Before I can find an excuse not to.
Remember Kevin Trudeau? He's the great American infomercial huckster salesman who repackaged the old 'visual mnemonic' memory trick, which you can learn in ten minutes from a UKP5 book, in a UKP150 cassette course and sold it by the truckload on both sides of the atlantic. Mega Memory, he called it.

And then...he charged another UKP150 for a few extra tips disguised as a second course.

And then, he got speedreader Howard Berg and 'human calculator' Scott Flansberg to make their own home-study cassette courses for him to sell. Berg in particular completely failed to explain his technique speed skimming cohearantly.

But then, after an ill advised branching out into golfing tips, and a highly suspect business selling 'brian enhancement foods', the shine started to come off. He tried to repackage the Atkins diet, just as serious concerns about it's health risks entered the public domain. Then it became known that he's been convicted for credit card fraud, and prosecuted for airing fraudulent infomercials and being involved in a multilevel marketing scam.

I know this because I'm one of the people he conned, back in 1996. I bought the memory, maths and speedreading courses, in a moment of insane blind optimism. I learned far more about all these techniques from Tony Buzan's books, and they do work. They're just very difficult to use, require constant practice, and don't turn you into a superman.

Well, I've found the cassette courses in a dusty cardboard box, oddly enough, next to some soft porn VHSs - a gift from a surprisingly nice man I met in a park. The courses weren't useless, just grossly overpriced. So they're going on ebay for UKP5 each. The vids are going in the dustbin, with Kevin Trudeau's reputation.


So now it's official, John M is standing for Central Committee membership of the SWP. The fact that there hasn't been an independant candidate (i.e one not proposed by the existing CC) for years (decades?) in a party that's all about democracy and freedom of ideas, shows why it's high time someone did this.

John's been a loyal but critical member and activist since 1968, and has watched organisational structures become slowly ossified during the 80s and 90s, and a culture of willful overoptimism develop in parallel with shrinking membership.

He's extremely unlikely to get elected, but the idea is to promote some much needed facing of hard reality and reintroduce some genuine democracy by encouraging others to take similar stands.

The existing CC and their immidiate subordinates will, I suspect, initially respond by saying, "John has a few valid points, though he exagerates greatly, and we are taking care of the problems internally, so there's no cause for fuss."

This won't work, largely because a lot of the party old guard have the same concerns as John, and won't let the issue lie. Also, he's a highly respected theorist and commentator, so isn't that easy to dismiss.

Then the gloves come off, and we get insinuations and accusations that "Comrade M has gone strange in his dotage". "He's making a personal grab for power", and "He's causing trouble and splits just when we don't need it."

I doubt very much that's he'll be expelled, but he'll certainly be sidelined, ostracised, marginalised - if the CC behave as I expect.

All this is a footnote in the affairs of a party who are a footnote in British history. My small contribution is that I do the typing of his more important documents - including his CC membership submission - and OCR his 30 years worth of publishing history for an online audiance.

Disposable Music

Kapitano's Second Rule of Tidying Stuff Up: If you want to need something today, throw it away yesterday.

Still, Greebo (my desktop computer) is as pristine and neat and fully installed as it's ever likely to be, so...time for that baseline ghost backup. For only the third time in four days.
There is probably something slightly perverse about buying second hand albums on CD for fifty pence, ripping them to MP3, and throwing away the discs. Though for some reason it doesn't feel so strange for albums withdrawn and sold off from the stock of the local library. It makes sense - I own two MP3 players and no CD player at all that isn't part of a desktop computer.

I have four compilations of early 90s hiphouse and pop remixes (sans boxes and sleevenotes), an album of Depeche Mode covers, the soundtrack to Queer as Folk (which is painfully generic), and a compilation of ambient classics. All of which I will probably only hear in their entirity in MP3 form - possibly months from now.

All very postmodern. Music composed of references to other music, resold outside the intended retail context, made 'weightless' by abstraction from graspable physical media into a plastic box half the size of my fist, and called into performance in places and times alien to their original meaning.

See? A decade getting degrees in Cultural Theory wasn't completely wasted. Though I'm reliably informed that Cultural Theory/Studies (or as it's known in less exhaulted institutions 'Media Studies') is now well and truely out of fashion.
Unexpected email from Abel - the asian guy I corresponded with about a year ago but never got to meet. I'm not sure what kind of relationship he's after - actually I don't think he knows either - but I'll give it a go.

Another unexpected email from Tyler (aka 'Plat' aka 'The Cow Exchange'), who wants help with the phonological theory behind the next stage in development of his online rhyme finder for songwriters.


Kapitano's Law of Organising Stuff: Just when you think you've finished, something crops up that means you've got to do it again.

I've got seven years worth of software and documents, spread across dozens of CDs, to prune down to what I actually need (or are likely to need in the near future). It's mostly done - in the sense that most of the needed files have been copied and most of the old discs thrown away. But, as with so much else, the final ten percent of the task takes ninety percent of the time.

Seven years worth of accumulated sitting in front of computers amounts, after pruning, to four gigabytes of data and programs I actually have a use for. Plus, admittedly, probably the same again in commercial software.

Ah well, in other news:

* The local job market has shrunk even further. The extra seasonal work (post office, sales) has been much more than counterbalanced by a general downturn. In the last five weeks, there have been 56 new vacancies in Hampshire - mostly in specialist areas. There's not even vacancies for cleaners or drivers, which is highly surprising.

* Dino is now extremely confident in his ability to climb stairs. He just can't begin to climb down stairs. The breeder wants to breed from him, and in lieu of stud fees, has offered...another dog! It's not for six months, so we've plenty of time to decide.

* Clear skies, bright sunlight, and piercing cold. With me going out in two teeshirts, jumper, heavy leather jacket, jogging bottoms under jeans, two pairs of socks under trainers, and a wooly hat. At least I think I was under there somewhere. Simon M is escaping the weather for a week spent relaxing and overeating in Italy with his brother.

* I heard a Czech joke. It goes "How do you get a hippo into a fridge? First, open the fridge. Second, put the hippo in. Third, Close the fridge. How do you get a giraffe into a fridge? First, open the fridge. Second, take out the hippo..."

* Paul T is moving out of the 'ancestral home' (3 generations over 46 years) in the next few weeks, and into the first decent flat he can find. The books, magazines, records and bric-a-brac are being farmed out to friends for temporary storage - so I'll probably get a box of his stuff to go in the space left by the stuff I've just thrown away.

Error 666: Computer Cursed

Right. Just so you know what kind of day I've had, most of it was spent installing Windows and application drivers. And taking the computer apart and putting it back together again. And trying to find a way to install the video capture software without crashing halfway through.

Well, I found ways around all the little obstacles, and installed Norton Ghost so I could make a baseline disk of a nice, clean, minimal but perfectly working operating system. Something went wrong with Norton and the entire system partition got corrupted.

So, once again I installed Windows and the drivers and the software. With what I'd learned about what procedures caused crashes during the day, it only took two hours. And now I have the baseline back. And I'm going to try to make a ghost image of it, so I don't have to go through all this again.

Yes, the irony does not escape me. Wish me luck.

Error 505: Sniff

My computer's caught my cold. Well, there might be a virus, but for whatever reason it progressively slowed down, and last night became unusable. It's a bit difficult to diagnose or fix a problem when the relevent software won't hangs with everything else. Anyway, I'm writing this on mother's computer, and today is a day for reformatting and reinstalling Windows 2000.

Be seeing you.

Dream Off

Not the most successful gig in the world. I arrived during the second band - The Suburbian, who turned out to be a teenage artschool foursome of serious musos. They put me in mind of Led Zeppelin trying to be Pink Floyd - stadium rockers doing jazz-influenced introspective pop.

Probably they were very good, but the sound system and accoustics of The Front Room are abysmal. So the grungier sound of Strict Machines was smeared into thrash metal.

Afterwards, Fabio B was depressed because he'd made some minor mistakes on drums, and Paul T was depressed because the small audiance dwindled during 'his' set. Anna F was depressed because of the surly and incompetent sound technicians, and the fact that the venue lie about doing publicity.

There was, for me, a single bright spot. Russian Anna - who is petite and delicate (and Russian) in contrast to the tough and vampiric Anna F - brought along her boyfriend, Justin. Who is equally petite and just jawdroppingly gorgeous. As well as a good hearted, down to earth fellow. With deep brown eyes to get lost in. [Cough].

Dream On

I'm recovering from the cold, just as a several others are catching one, but I'm sleeping 15 or 16 hours a day.

This afternoom, I dreamed I was in a big old house - actually the house my maternal grandparents lived in - with a friendly couple in their 60s. We sat in the dim glow of a television, eating tea and cake.

There was a storm coming - a big one. One that might flatten the houses in the district if it didn't submerge them. But the experts weren't absolutely sure how hard it would hit.

I was trying to persuade the couple to take some kind of precautions, but all they did was drape the furniture with waxen sheets to protect it from rainwater when the roof started to leak. The storm was gathering outside and they sat munching an endless procession of biscuits, as the same items were advertised on the television.

They told me the house had survived a storm last year, so it would survive this one. And anyway, if it didn't, they'd had a good life, they were old, and it would all be over quickly. But not to worry, because the experts on the television aren't certain.

It was so tempting to give up trying to persuade them. They nodded in sage agreement that the government lied about everything and it looked a really bad storm, but continued to sit in contentment.

I knew there was almost nothing that we could do to protect us from the storm, and if it did kill us, wasn't it better to spend our last few hours enjoying ourselves, instead of hard work that was probably pointless?

In the final few seconds, the voiceover from the commercial for the brand of buscuits they were eating seemed to come from everywhere, as though we were now inside the advert.
Having been asleep for most of the night and most of the day (isn't there a song about that?) I have the strength to go and see Strict Machines playing in The Front Room against The Suburbian - described to me as 'sweet young boys and also pretty good." Hmmm.
I've been made a moderator of MusicInTheMachine, a yahoo discussion group about making electronic music. It's not very active, and has been having problems with spam lately.

Bang Goes Another Kanga

Not much musical progress with Paul T, mainly because we were both too tierd to do much except lie on the floor eating cheese sandwiches rediscovering Kate Bush albums from the late 70s.

Peter Gabriel, Georgio Moroder, Brian Eno, Kraftwerk and Vengellis are noted today as experimenters and innovators from that period. Even Bill Nelson, Philip Glass and for that matter Human League get namechecked. But for some reason Kate Bush gets remembered for extraordinary voice and lyrics, but not for soundscapes.
Tonight's forum was on 'Globalisation and Resistance', but somehow turned into 'Why my boss makes it impossible for me to do my job'. I think the political climate of 'radical watertreading' is due to a confluence of 'longhaul blues', 'christmas drag' and 'brassmonkey syndrome'.

The weather today stopped being just 'cold' and became 'bloody freezing'. Which is why I'm still shivering with two teeshirts and jogging gear under the jeans.

I Could Murder a Hamburger

We expected around 30 at 1200, and got 20 at half past. The McDonnald's management had, of course, been tipped off and spent minutes glaring out of the top floor window at us as we assembled. For some reason, they immidiately stopped when I filmed them doing it.

The masterplan of protest was to conga through McDs, handing out leaflets and playing drums, then stand outside leafletting and drumming until the nice men in blue moved us on. And my alloted task was to film the whole thing.

Most of the public were receptive in that they actually read the leaflets - sometimes while tucking to their cheeseburgers - instead of throwing them away. A dozen or so stopped to discuss the issues.

As regards hostile public comments, there were two. One was "They need to get out more", said of 20 young people dancing in the street to conga drums. The other was "Lowlife", shouted several times from a man who felt the need to square up for a fight he would obviously lose when he found his eloquence was being filmed.

The police took their sweet time (about 40 minutes) arriving, and when they did there was the traditional combination of buzzcut belligerent threatening to confiscate and arrest, friendly bobby who essentially said "It's find but don't harrangue anyone", and token silent WPC hiding in the background.

We retired to the pub, where I filmed some interviews with participants.

I was pretty nervous before the event, and afterwards the stomatological lepidoptera returned, but during was fine.
Apparantly I have a voice like Orson Wells at the moment (though with more sniffs). So it's almost a pity I won't have it by the time I do any voiceovers for the edited footage.

I want to get the committments of political filmmaking, ebay selling, and forum organisation out of the way as quickly as possible over the next day or two (or three), and get back to music, after much deferrment.

The portable 8-track has lain almost unused since I shelled out for it what seems like months ago. My main computer has been mainly occupied recording and encoding TV shows - 7 hours sheduled recording today.

Tonight will be spent in the loquacious company of Paul T, working on the instrumental christmas album.

A Pint of Lemsip, Please

Coughing, sniffing, croaking, cattarrh, headache, muzzyness and lethargy. Yep, sounds like a cold to me.

I managed to get through summarising the conference, though I was criticised for presenting a series of political problems without varnishing them with encouragement and hope.

Afterwards, against my better judgement, I let myself get dragged around by a gang of slightly drunk young socialists. We sat at Gareth E's place - Gareth, myself, Paddy U, Lee S and Eddie C - and decided to hold an impropmtu debate on Human Nature.

What other political group would you expect to do that? I can't imagine a group of Lib Dems getting drunk and holding a debate on monarchism.

I improvised an introductory presentation on the various meanings of 'human' - anthropoid species, person, community componant - and how 'nature' means something different in each case.

Paddy took the view that recognising socialisation is suffient to escape it, but Lee argued that being aware of emotional programming is only the first and smallest step to overcomming it, and Gareth added that the concrete forces of money and law still enforce the status quo when ideology fails.

I got to home and bed after 0300, and I'm suffering for the night out now.
There's a protest on Saturday, which I've been asked to film, and make a short (15 mins) video presentation out of. Let's see if I can still remember how to use Premiere.

Ways of Not Seeing

A somewhat mixed seminar on global climate change, showing the sharpest and fuzziest thinking on the subject. The former got me thinking about the latter. There seems to be a broad typology of bad thinking about problems:

1) There is no problem.
1a) The problem is a myth, or only believed by cranks and enemies.
- It could never happen.
- The evidence is flawed.
- It's all tree-hugging nonsense.
- The Nazi's were environmentalists, you know.

1b) The real problem is something else.
- It's not corporations, it's greedy car drivers.
- It's not economics, it's lack of spirituality.

1c) There is a problem, but don't worry because the solution is in hand.
- All we need to do to combat climate change is use non-bio washing powder. Or put up car tax.
- The free market will develop new technology to cope, so we just need to keep doing what we're doing already.
- Our company is researching wind turbines.
- Climate change is gradual, so we'll have time to adapt.

2) There is no solution.
2a) There's nothing we can do.
- The corporations will never switch to ecological methods, because it's too expensive.
- There's not enough time to build a world movement.
- Pollution is a result of industrial capitalism, which is the result of human nature.
- If we solve Global Warming, we get Global Dimming, which is even worse.
- Global Warming is natural and therefore unstoppable, not manmade and therefore controllable.

2b) It turns out there was something we could have done, but it's too late now.
- The process has gone too far to be reversible.

Anyway, I've got it on tape, so can dissect it further later.
I think I have a cold. I don't especially need to be snuffling with a muzzy head tomorrow, adding new items to Simon M's ebay business and and summarising the SWP conference at a meeting in the evening.

Gareth E wants advice in running a website - starting with web page design. My advice - to hand code where possible and keep the layout simple - will be diametrically opposed to most of the advice he recieves.

I Wanna Really Really Really Really Zigazig Ha

One of the oddities of spending a few days intensively wrestling with politics, is that you lose touch with what's happening politically. So I've been trying to catch up.

France has had ten days of riots. The newspapers noted the racial element (i.e. that most of rioters were black) and initially concluded that the issues were religious (i.e Muslim).

In fact, these riots followed a familliar pattern. The first generation of immigrants are overwhelmingly poor, and are housed by the government in selected poor areas. They experience the usual attitudes of contempt from police. blame from authority, and a strange combination of vilification and invisibility in the media.

However, these are at a higher temperature because racism is added to the mix (especially in a highly racist culture like France). The result is that many re-emmigrate, but those who don't generally stay where they are first settled, forming a racial ghetto within the poverty ghetto.

Their offspring - the second generation immigants - are the ones who fight back. So, 20-30 years after a racial influx, resentment boils over.

Here, the trigger was seemingly two deaths that were probably genuinely accidental. But the police response - for instance, storming a mosque with CS gas, allegedly investigating a parking violation - has fanned the flames. Perhaps deliberately.

Compare with the parallel (though much smaller) trouble in Birmingham, where an allegation of rape was the trigger. That the girl and the 2 or 3 (or at the last count, 19) men probably don't exist isn't really the issue. You may as well say WW2 wouldn't have happened without a single assassin's bullet.

There's something similar in the (worse) ghettos of Leeds. The sudden appearance of British suicide bombers isn't inexplicable.
George Galloway isn't flavour of the month on the left at the moment. Blair won an extremely unpopular vote by one - if Gorgeous George had been doing his job instead of on holiday, the motion would have been defeated.

The vote was on whether to give police the right to detain suspects for 90 days without charge instead of the usual 14, if any kind of connection to terrorism is suspected. Apparantly because it takes two weeks to investigate the connections of an ordinary person, but three months for a suicidal fanatic.

There's another vote coming up to give police powers to disperse any gathering of any number of people because it might develop into a disturbance, and arrest anyone to prevent a hypothetical crime from occuring.

Can you prove you'll never break any law in the future? No? Then you're under suspicion and arrest.
Back in the reassuringly graspable personal sphere...

CW texted me as I was attempting to take a short cut on the London Tube. The short cut eventually involved me going from Euston to Victoria via Hammersmith, so was not an unqualified success. However, CW said it's nearly a year since our 'reunion' and aren't we overdue for another one. And I don't need to worry about having put on weight's he!

I met some interesting people at the philosophical conference, including an unreasonably modest American professor of ecology. He's given me URLs to some of his published work, asking for feedback. I think I'm rather honoured.

I'm recording hours and hours of ITV4. Randall and Hopkirk, Department S, UFO, Alien Nation and Larry Sanders. The irony is, I haven't had time to watch any of it yet.

Oh yes, I have made a somewhat unexpected sale on ebay. "The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawn & Profressor Branestawm Round the Bend" will go to a woman in Fleet Street who advises investment bankers.

I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want. Apart from the obvious worldwide death of hatred and bigotry and a future worth living for. I want time to make music. That's all, really (really really). A good boyfriend, a slim svelte figure, and lots of money would be nice. But recording a great album would be more...satisfying.

Well It Sounded Like a Plan

Back. Exhausted. Three days of highbrow jargon, and the kind of overpriced junk that passes for food in central London.

Got several hours of footage shot of presentations and discussions at the philosphical conference - need to transfer it to digital, store, and rewatch when my attention isn't taken up by holding a video camera steady. Also got some TV captures of 'vintage' shows to encode.

Lot of stuff to do over the next week - political, organisational, domestic, technological blah blah explain later. Right now, I just need to sleep. For a week.

It was worth doing. I just never want to do it again.

That Sounds Like A Plan

Right. The easy things I have to do tomorrow (today) are: Sign on, take some CDs back to the library, charge the phone and camera.

The more difficult things involve negotiating with John M about our both attending different bits of two simultainious conferences in London, finding train routes there (and back) that require less than two changes, and trying to help out with Paul T's financial dire straits.

And then arranging accommodation for Friday and Saturday night. Yes, I know, John was going to arrange it but couldn't. I can put up with one night on a park bench - though that won't do for a 55 year old man with health problems - but I don't especially want to discuss the finer points of Hegel's logic after two nights in the open.

There's three days of stuff on TV to schecule for recording, and encoding when I get back. I'll have to pack a change of clothes, a charged MP3 player, and camera plus tapes to film some presentations.

The easiest bit is casually telling my parents that I'm going away for a while. The weather has finally turned cold, windy and rainy, and I can expect the same weather over the next three days. Oh god.

Anyway. Just to say, the bedroom is still a mess, Dino needs a bath, no one's bid for my books, and I'll be without blog access for a few days.


Today's update is all about money.
Paul T is in the shit. His grandmother dying while living in their house means he gets tennancy, but changes in the law means the landlord can change the rent. The new rent would be 80-90% of Paul's income.

If he pays the new rent, he'll need to work more hours at his teaching job, and get another job. Which makes the exercise pointless.

If he tries but fails to pay the new rent, he gets evicted, and classified as 'Voluntarily Homeless' - having volutarily not robbed a bank - and therefore ineligible for any financial assistance.

He could take in lodgers, but it's unclear whether he has the legal right.

He could find somewhere else to live. Except he's broke, his grandmother had no money to leave, and his family are about as much help as a chocolate toothbrush.

In fact, his mother accuses him of bringing the whole situation upon himself, because he didn't set out a career plan when he was nineteen. Guess how old she was when she got pregnant with him.

So now it's a matter of claifying issue with the landlord, and finding out which friends are friendly enough and able enough to put him up (and put up with him) for a few months.

Oh, and he's pulled a major muscle in his back and is in agony.
Simon M has actually sold a bottle of testosterone stuff on his ebay shop, and I've put my mad inventor children's stories up for sale.

Here's my sales pitch:

Professor Branestawm is the great British eccentric genius.

In his shed, he invents machines that travel through air, underwater, and backwards in time. He created the portable car park, the floating supermarket, an inflatable home, indestructible architecture, and a piano the does the housework.

And of course, they all go wrong. The inflatable home gets a puncture, the housework machine gets stuck into doing all the housework all the time, the time machine changes history, and most of them explode.

As the sleevenotes have it: "Who got trapped up a pear tree by an army of wild waste paper? Who gummed his housekeeper to the carpet (by mistake) with a three-foot pancake two inches thick? Whose inventive brain produced a burglar catcher, a spring cleaning machine and half a policeman? The answer, of course, is Professor Branestawm, the erratic genius of Great Pagwell..."

Norman Hunter wrote these classic short stories in the 1930s, and they've remained favourites of generations of young children ever since.

And if these turn out to be collector's items going for a song, I shall be moderately irritated.
There's a giro to pay into the bank (which I'll do on the way to signing on for the next giro). And I owe mother seventy-something pounds for the scanner.
Two overlapping conferences at the weekend. One on the philosophy of Dialectical Materialism, one on what the hell the Socialist Workers Party is supposed to do with itself now.

Entrance to both is free. The expensive bit is getting there - the train service is 'patchy', so it's a combination of busses, trains, maybe a coach and walking.

Box of Delights

The joys of sorting stuff out.

Going through boxes of CDRs, I've found lyrics to songs I'd either forgotten writing, or thought I'd lost. Soundfonts, samples and drumkits that I stuck on discs thinking "they'll be useful sometime" five years ago and promptly forgot. I discover that I have over ten thousand pictures of naked men, which is always nice. And now they're all in one place.

I'm about to throw away 35 CDRs, and reuse ten CDRWs. having put the bits I want to keep on three DVDs. I've made five playable CDs of music made with stuff thrown away last week, and another four of MP3s that were lying around - making a total of 62 CDRs of albums and miscelanious tracks.

There's probably another hundred or so CDs to go, which could take a while. And about 200 betamax videotapes, which probably won't.
When my age was still in single figures, I more-or-less taught myself to read with novelisations of Dr Who adventures, and the stories of Norman Hunter. The latter concerned the perilous malfunctionings of Professor Branestawm's impossible inventions (illustrated by Heath Robinson). Machines designed to travel through air, water or time threatened the sleepy town of Great Pagwell by going mad before exploding.

Devices to allow push-button shopping, automatically do the housework, or apprehend burglars always managed to turn on their users. So nothing like real life then.

I've scanned and PDF'd two 300 page Branestawm books, each of which took about 90 minutes. This gave me the chance to catch up with the week's radio. Almost all the radio I hear is recorded from DAB - days, weeks or months previous. Among the stuff I've been sorting through is some Radio 1 dance music shows from March last year.

Anyway, with the originals copied and compressed to a little more than a megabyte, the books are going on ebay. Just as soon as I can find my dratted bank details.
Apart from all that, a distinctly uneventful halloween.