New Queer's Eve

"I will begin again, I will begin again
Oh and maybe the time is right
Oh maybe tonight"
- U2, New Year's Day

In three weeks I'll be thirty seven.

How I stopped being nineteen I'm not sure - it seems to have snuck up on me while I wasn't paying attention for five minutes. Which is unfortunate, because the intervening time is supposed to be best years of your life.

Anyway, thirty seven isn't that far from forty, and forty isn't a million miles from fifty, and fifty is just starting to be a bit old.

"Old" is when you drink to pass the afternoon pleasantly, instead of to get drunk and fall over after making an embarrassing pass at a married man in front of his wife. You eat because you're actually hungry, and carry a packet of indigestion tablets in your top pocket. And it's when you take drugs that mess with your head because they're prescribed by your doctor, instead of because they mess with your head.

It's also the time when the health of your body starts to matter, because you've only just realised you can't trade it in for another one when it falls apart - and you've noticed that it is falling apart.

So, Kapitano's New Queer resolutions:

1) Try to eat fairly sensibly. And do some exercise. This is the difference between being a Big Old Poof and a Fat Old Poof.

2) Stop prevaricating. About...well, everything. Reading, writing, music, research, calling up friends, that sort of thing.

3) ...and finish a few more things I do start.

4) Not spend every spare hour with a computer.

5) Bring down the oppressive governments of the world by organising the masses to socialist revolution and democratic self-rule, thus ending war, saving the environment, and beginning the first chapter of true human history. This one might take a bit of work.

First things first (though not necessarily in that order). New Year's Party - for getting drunk, embarrassing married men though they secretly quite like it, and falling over.

Have a good one.

Or two.


A short story about expectations.

The first angels had appeared only weeks earlier.

Glowing humanoid forms, with indistinct outline and features, motionless and glowing a deep blue had materialised in twelve major population centres around the world.

Journalists interviewed witnesses, bloggers speculated, the sick begged for healing, the powerful tried to negotiate, the military tried to destroy. All to no effect.

The angels, as they'd become known, stood motionless and blurred, indestructible, unmoving and seemingly unaware.

But, over the ensuing days, the forms gradually become clearer and the faces more obviously human.

Religious leaders tried to claim the figures for themselves, and political groups did the same. Everyone wanted the visitors to confirm their particular hopes and fears, but the shining figures simply stood there, oblivious and unnoticing.

Then they started to make sounds. Their lips didn't move, but it sounded like they were trying to talk.

Mystics claimed to have predicted their arrival, and interpreted its meaning, varying from the end of the world in war to the dawn of a new age.

The angel's voices started to form recognisable words in the dominant languages of the cities where they'd arrived. Every few hours they "spoke" for several minutes, a few tantalising words, before going silent.


It had to be first contact with a higher being. Humanity was chosen, blessed, about to receive a glorious truth.


It was a call for help, or a call to action.

" friend...more beautiful...important...listen..."

It was a plea for unity, or a warning for unbelievers.

A month after the arrival, dignitaries and holders of power were clustered around each of the twelve, hoping to hear the first recognisable sentences from the figures, and hoping they could somehow turn it to their advantage.

The halos flickered in unison around the globe, a sign the angels were about to speak. There was an expectant silence, which stretched into minutes.

Then each of the twelve spoke, clearly and fully.

"This is an important message. Please listen.

Are you sad and lonely because you can't make girls fall for you? Do you feel worthless every night because you can't make them want you?

Well I've got the secret of love and I want to tell you. Yes, my friend, you.

With my help you'll soon be getting more beautiful girls than you'd ever thought possible!

With my infallible method, you'll never sleep alone! And that's a promise!

Send no money now..."

Crimbo Himbo Limbo

So that was christmas.

Getting drunk, eating too much, eating some more, waiting a bit, eating some more, sleeping, watching a crap christmas movie, drinking brandy, scoffing chocolates, watching the crap Dr Who christmas special, eating christmas dinner, having second helpings, having pudding, finishing off the chocolates with coffee, watching more crap christmas TV, more alcohol, sausage rolls, feeling crap...and bed.

Thank god we don't do that kind of thing more than...twenty or thirty times a year.

However, let us think of those who are alone at this time of year. Such as the bloke who txted to say he was bored and lonely, so was I free for a blowjob.

Yeah okay I was tempted. But already too full of, um, spicy sausage.

There's a "Blog Year Roundup" meme, which involves listing the first sentence from the first post of each month. So here's mine:

"Bureaucracy is the art of making the possible impossible."

Okay, more or less back on line.

My grandmother washed her clothes in a large tub.

I have an apartment.

Happy Mayday.

There's two reasons to neglect your blog.

"Teacher, you eat your beans."

Wednesday was great, Thursday was awful.

I'm not going to go blind after all.

It's been one of those weeks where nothing comes easily.

4500 words, and still no plot.

I am once again officially unemployed.

Yep, a pretty good summary of the year.

So I hereby tag everyone who reads this to do one of their own!

Big Bad Bird

"Poets do not write to be understood."

"A great deal more is known than has been proved."

"I cannot define the real problem, therefore I suspect there's no real problem."

- Richard Feynmann

There are people who need to be myths.

They spend a great deal of time and energy creating stories and ideas about themselves, all to make them admirable in the eyes of others. These are the people with a deep need to be admired, respected, deferred to, adored, even worshipped. It's a need that's never satisfied, and needs a constant supply of new disciples.

If they're smart they'll always pretend to be modest about their virtue - because modesty is seen as another virtue, and because it looks more plausible if they're seen ostentatiously refusing to blow their own trumpet, so long as it's implied they'd be justified in doing so.

Most such people fool no one. Everyone can see they're a fake, and they get treated with quiet contempt, before being brushed aside and forgotten.

But there's a few who actually are admirable, for quite genuine reasons, but need more admiration. The priest who actually is patient and kind, but needs his flock to constantly comment on how saintly he is. The scientist who's brilliant, but wants to read in the newspapers about how they're a towering figure even among geniuses. The leader who needs not just to be obeyed by to be loved, and the philosopher with three good ideas who thinks they've changed everything.

I've met maybe half a dozen such people - princes who need to be seen as emperors - and it took months for the penny to drop about the paradoxical way in which they were frauds.

I just can't help wondering how many of the world's most admired historical figures were like that. Because in my experience, they're very dangerous people.

I've got a turkey.

We don't usually bother with one at christmas but a friend inherited two but she's a vegetarian so...anyway, it's about fourteen inches across, and according to the instructions it'll take two days to defrost and six to eight hours to cook.

So I know what I'll be eating in February.

On the news today, a beauty salon has, in the spirit of the reformed Scrooge, given free haircuts and makeovers to homeless people - for one day only.

A manicured manicurist explained to the bubbly interviewer how it's important to help the homeless, and how helping them not look homeless improves their self-esteem.

A customer with filthy clothes but impeccable hair agreed, albeit through gritted teeth.

Chasing up the story, I couldn't find much, but it's probably part of this Wenceslassian effort.

But it looks like someone else had the idea first.

When I've occasionally toyed with the idea of becoming a petit-bourgeois entrepreneur, I've thought of employing only homeless people, much like Michael Moore claimed to employ only black people. Though predictably enough, there's actually tax laws against it.

Some people tell me I think about gay sex all the time. But I'm pure as the pope...compared to the pope.

The entire Judeo-Christian-Islamic world should find a new hobby.

Preface to A History of Longhaul Spaceflight Psychotechnology

A non-christmassy short story.

"A History of Longhaul Spaceflight Psychotechnology", by Vanz Cunningham

Preface, by Katarin Rybczinski

The first discovered problem of longterm space flight was also the last to be solved. Travellers go mad.

The press call it Space Madness, the military call it Extension Fatigue, psychologists call it Prisoner Stress or Tin Can Syndrome. There are as many names as failed cures, and as many explanations as expeditions that "Autoterminated" when the crew shut down.

Of course they didn't always just shut down. A few became delusional first, and in some sensational cases killed each other and/or themselves. But most of the time they become gradually listless and depressed, until they stopped feeding themselves and stopped responding.

Initially we thought it might be from the boredom, so we gave them endless diverting tasks, games and challenges to occupy their brains and their time. It worked for months, even years, but the artificial tasks were completed more and more perfunctorily, and eventually ignored.

Then we thought it might be from loneliness, so we put fifty gregarious types together on one ship. They formed friendships and alliances, politics and factions - even a religion - and we published joyful papers on how we'd solved the problem. Then we noticed they were shutting down too, and we still didn't understand why.

We thought we could solve the problem by using young children as astronauts. The thinking - quite plausible at the time - was that adults only can't cope with space because it's not the life they grew up with.

I was one of those who sponsored and implemented the plan, and I watched my proteges cut out their surgically implanted feeding tubes with makeshift knives and no anaesthetic. Maybe one day I'll be able to forgive myself, but I doubt it.

Cryosleep was the among the first solutions to be tried, and it appeared to work - right up to the moment the test subjects were revived. The problem seemed to be that, although almost all brain functions had been slowed right down, the autonomic functions could only be taken down so far.

The mind isn't just the prefrontal cortex - it's the whole brain, and the whole body, and indeed the whole past life of the person. By cryoslowing the travellers, we essentially fractured the "person" into several noninteracting parts, which couldn't function without each other.

Many gave up and declared space travel was impossible, saying we should concentrate on solving the earth's problems instead of wasting resources and life on exporting them to other planets. However others still thought a modified cryosleep may still be the answer.

A brain in a "hot cryo" state can be fed sensory cues from which it can construct a fantasy life, offering all the textures and varied surprises of reality.

This is not virtual reality, nor is it the same as REM sleep, and this is not hallucination. We did briefly try placing subjects in indefinitely extended REM sleep, but found continious dreaming for more than thirty six hours was impossible, though we're still not sure why. Nonstop drug induced hallucination and permanent VR were obviously not viable.

However, the sensations inducible in hot cryogenic storage have a detailed and "real" quality absent from ordinary dreaming, and the parameters of the narrative are much more tightly controlled, consistent and believable, kept that way by the computer - or "dream machine" as the media christened it.

Essentially, under the computer's constant guidance, the traveller lives a full virtual life, not limited to rearranged components of their former real life. They are given a whole city to explore, even a whole world, with a neverending stream of complex but soluble problems. There is even the appearance, but not the reality, of danger and grief, without which lives become initially pleasant but quickly stale.

We discovered this last the hard way, by immersing earthbound test subjects into their individual notions of a blissful existence. In only days they all exited the simulations in panic, unable to endure what had become the most banal of hells.

In tests of the more "gritty" scenarios, subjects responded well to spending a year in their alternate lives while their bodies were maintained mechanically - even preferring their slightly novelistic fake families and friends to their real ones.

There were however two remaining problems. One year in "altlife" was stimulating, five years was probably bearable, but the dozen or more centuries that might be needed for a complete journey to a distant planet - that was a different matter.

The first problem was that, no matter how stimulating the artificial challenges provided by the computer, eventually their very artificiality made them uninteresting. The second was that, while someone could in principle have their interest and their body maintained for two or three thousand years, by the end they will have developed a mental state indistinguishable from space madness. It seems people just can't cope with that much living.

The solution to the first problem was controversial but successful - and developed by the author of this work. If people get bored with entirely realistic but fake challenges, make them think the challenges are real. Suppress the knowledge that altlife isn't life, and subjects won't get bored - at least, not so easily.

The second solution is to have several altlifes lived in a row, each of forty to eighty years. After each, memory of it is made inaccessible (but not erased) and a new life begins. While it is theoretically possible to begin at birth each time and progress to old age, in practice the subject is best reborn as a young adult each time.

In the pages that follow, my colleague Dr Cunningham will take you through this history in much more detail than I could manage, and I suspect with much greater flair. He and I are both proud to have dedicated our (real) lives to this problem, and to have made interstellar colonisation a possibility, as well as a necessity.

Katarin Rybczinski
Berlin C, 2243


I'm really, reaLLY pissed.

Happy christmas to everyone. Especially Donna and Simon who's got me moving their houses, especially my other comrades who turned my drunken ramblings into real politics, and thanks to P, who wouldn't let me kiss him, for all the right reasons.

Goodnight everyone, and maybe someone can explain where I got this big red bruise on my forehead.

1000: Beyond Reality

This is a film I made in 2001.

It's a twenty three minute spoof documentary on alien abduction, ex-gay therapy cults, the paranormal, conspiracy theories and all such lovely sillyness. Including an equally silly advert break.

It features a number of friends who said and did some very dumb things on camera, for no more payment than seeing themselves do it on TV. One provided some splendidly pointless "Brass Eye" type graphics, and I learned far too much about compositing, chromakey theory and woodwork in production.

It also features me doing some peculiar voices. Perhaps thankfully, there was no time to film the segment showing me as a lascivious theoretical physicist with a speech synthesiser.

The studio/display space was a ten foot cube, painted bright blue inside and out. On opening night, I was also dressed and painted bright blue, much to the WTF-ness of certain drunk and/or stoned patrons.

You'll probably miss some of the jokes as they wizz by - don't worry. One lecturer said it was "deep", another a "headfuck". It's also the only artwork I've ever sold - two copies for a pound each.

Look out for the subtitles.

Oh yes, and I got an MA degree for making it. Which just goes to show...something.

My thanks to:

* John Snape and Davina Chippendale - for helping me build the studio.

* Tim Evans - for being Maradona Boggs

* Denny Kittay - for being Ikea Caelocanth

* Slava Guskov - for being Supertramp Logicalsong

* Joe Ho - for being Han Ton Dekon

* Victoria Webber - for being the "Shooz" girl

* Linda Pickering - for being the "Chocolat" girl

* Stephen Plummer - for being Shaynussy O'Joyce, and for the animated graphics

* My friends of Stop The War for being the P.E.A.C.E organisation.

I hope you enjoy your trip "Beyond Reality".

Ooh Baby


Today a blond girl told me her trousers had got all wet in the she'd better take them off. And could I help her please.

She rode me like a horse all around the floor, whooping and slapping me when I got tired, then she insisted on sucking my finger, cuddling and giggling.

Then her mother came home and joined in.

You guessed I was babysitting, didn't you. In the first sentence.

There was some actual sex with an adult male, you'll be pleased to hear, later on.

I'm not sure what it means when, as you're being extensively fellated, you find you've spent the last minute pondering the nature/nurture debate as regards the "skill" model of general intelligence.

Not his fault at all. I was just...mentally elsewhere.


The plan was to have a relaxing day, housesitting with C while my parents were in London for a big classical concert, watching trashy sci-fi, consuming endless cups of tea and chocolate biscuits, going soppy over the dogs, and generally feeling that life can be good.

Most of which, amazingly, did happen. But with the crucial element of C missing - thanks to his family being either CIA-like in their deniable deviousness, or CIA-like in their incredible ineptitude.

Still, we should still manage a part of christmas together.

Losing weight over christmas - not really a goer is it. With four-and-counting christmas-and-new-year meet-and-eat get-togethers coming up, my diet may just be in jeopardy.

There's one tomorrow that should ensure I have plenty to read - mine host is just finishing a novel. I'm the poof reader.

No that isn't a typo :-).

Coming soon: Post 1000!

Dream Voyage

"We appear to have lost our sex appeal, Captain."
- Tuvok, Star Trek: Voyager.


Last night I dreamed my father was a violently abusive parent, threatening to castrate me if I didn't obey him.

But instead of running away or smashing something heavy over his head, we went on a cosy family holiday where I was desperate to make him love me.

Most odd, and not like me at all. Anyone would think I'd been reading Freud and eating cheese before bed.

Then I dozed off again, and dreamed I was a new member of the starship Voyager, where Tom Paris and Harry Kim were having lots of sex.

Back to normality then. Much more me.

When I woke up, my father was trying to repaint a room in his usual, um, thorough and unhurried way. And Voyager was about to start on TV.


Spent most of the day taking apart a hi-fi system. No, not your usual GBP50 affair, the cheap cube of black plastic with flashing lights, mysterious buttons and graphic equaliser to make it look space-age.

This one cost GBP50K. Fifty thousand english pounds.

Each unit has its own stackable table, made of teak, tinted glass and chrome. It's the size of a large wardrobe on its side and each module made almost entirely of brushed metal.

It's got metre's and metres of cables so reinforced you could use them to tie down a family of rhinos. It's got sockets I've never even heard of, and speakers as tall as me.

It includes twelve separately powered pre-amps - for what conceivable purpose I've no idea - plus two astonishingly delicate turntables, and a CD player that looks like it's built to house radioactive waste.

There's no flashing lights, a total of six buttons, and the graphic equaliser is a separate unit, half the size and twice the weight of a tower PC.

And it's a big name brand: Namely Naim.

Oh yes, and it was my task to disassemble it for transport. Without an instruction manual. Got about a third of it done in five hours.

More tomorrow.

I've had a brilliant business idea.

Whenever you call up a call centre, you get put on hold for several minutes/hours/days, with either Handel's Water Music or Vivaldi's Four Seasons on infinite loop.

It's annoying, and makes you want to throttle the person who may or may not eventually take you call.

Now, there's also loads of bands out there who're so desperate to be heard they'll do pay-to-play gigs. You see where this is going?

The band provide me with their demo CD, which for a small charge I rip and insert "The next track is XXX by YYY." and "You just heard YYY playing XXX. Hear more on their myspace page."

The company with the call centre pay me a small fee for that month's song list, which gets played on shuffle to waiting customers.

Bands get exposure, customers no longer hate the company quite so much, and I retire to the Mediterranean. Where I'm waited on by Greek slave boys until my mysterious disappearance at the hands of Mossad and/or the CIA.

Almost as good a business model as this poor deluded fellow.

Hurdy Gurdy

More Swedish synthpop: A Blue Ocean Dream

I do seem to like Swedish music.

And Swedish politics too.

Here are some search terms by which surfers found my blog recently. Illustrated - or not - with visual aids.

* Girls showing tits for money

(I do have some more appropriate images, but I thought a picture of John Wayne would be more...manly. Besides, this is a family blog. Anyone who's "family" can read it.)

* Mr Oogie Boogie

* erasing the past

* time travel

* cpgb (Communist Party of Great Britain)

(I may have over-represented their numbers here.)

* dragosea din te esperanto

* im just a poor boy duo

(Alternative caption: Malfunction! Malfunction!)

* beyond money

* bein pensant

There might have been more, but for computer problems.


"There are 10 kinds of people in the world, those that understand binary and those that don't."

Six months ago I invented something in a dream. Quite literally.

I was dreaming about problems with filesharing on home servers - which gives you some idea just how interesting my dreams are. And I thought...

"There has to be something easier than spending days setting up a server, breaking large files into chunks small enough to avoid timeouts, and queueing them manually. Like maybe a program which reads requests for files sent by email, then splits the files as needed, and sends them off to the requester's inbox, staggering the sends so as not to overload it. And a similar program monitoring the reciever's email, sending confirms and putting the files back together automatically as received."

I woke up, spent a day working on the details, then decided (a) it would take time and skills I don't really have to develop and (b) its use would be marginal anyway.

But maybe it wasn't such a dumb idea after all. Because someone else has already developed it. It's called Peer2Mail.

My theory of songs continues to develop. I can't seem to manage all-encompassing obsession these days, which I rather miss. There was a time - two decades ago, I admit - when I'd stay up all night and spend most of the day reading and thinking about something esoteric, for weeks at a time, not caring that everyone thought I was weird.

I still don't care they think I'm weird - in fact I rather like it. But the attention span's gone. Or the obsession. I want my obsession back.

Anyway, I was wrong about syllable stress. So long as you only sing monosyllables, it's a simple matter to fit your sung version of your spoken sentence intonation to the weak and strong beats of the music.

I think there's at least eight ways to sing "One more kiss dear" over four beats.

But once you start using gets a whole lot more complicated - with three (or possibly four) levels of syllable stress which have to fit, not only with the weak-strong pattern of the semibreve, but the weaker weak-strong pattern of the minim too.

To put it another way: There's only two ways to sing "Happy Birthday Mister President" without mangling your intonation. And no one wants their intonation mangled.

This week's guilty musical pleasure: Chinese Theatre.

A Swedish female synthpop duo - so not chinese or theatrical. Somewhere between Erasure and Ladytron.

Ever-so-slightly cheesey retro electroclash (retroclash?) you can admit to liking on your blog, but not in real life.

Half my brain says I should get Twitter.

The other half says I should spend some time away from computers.

The third half says I'm not so good at maths.

Let Me Count the Ways

Saturday was meant to be a day for travelling up to London, being political in the street, then discussing more politics in a big hall, then somehow getting home and dissecting the day's politics in a pub.

Instead, it was a day for sleeping through two alarm clocks and missing the coach.

There was a choice of evening entertainment. Either spend an hour in the cold outside receiving enthusiastic but inexpert oral sex...or two hours in a warm pub. With a different kind of oral pleasure.

Guess which I had? Yes. I must be getting old.

Working on my Song Theory - and after the latest revision, I've calculated there are eighteen different ways to phrase "I Love You", in 4/4 time.

Not counting those that have the same pattern but half (double, quarter etc.) the speed, those which differ only in note lengths but not note start position, and those which are theoretically possible but leave absurdly long gaps between words.

And I'm just talking about phrasing and rhythm - not melody. Details if/when I'm pretty sure I'm not going to change my mind the next day.

Speaking of minds, have you ever thought about how misleading the term "mental illness" is?

It's a metaphor, obviously. Measles is an illness, so mental illness measles of the mind. Scrofula of the soul. A cold in the nose of the unconscious.

No, it doesn't make any sense at all, when you think about it. Whatever "Mental Illness" is, it isn't like your virtual self getting chicken pox.

But then, it's not really like a demon using you as a sock puppet either. The right metaphor doesn't seem to exist yet.

I once had an argument with a gaggle of trainee nuns...over whether a mind could be produced "within" a brain with no body attached. They insisted that there would be thoughts, even though there would be nothing to have thoughts about.

Back in the land of sanity...Mother is knitting me some shoes.

Well, slippers actually. And jackets for everyone. And hats. So I know exactly what I'm getting for christmas.

Sing Our Own Song

"Sitting in a classroom doesn't make you a student, any more than sitting in a garage makes you a car."
- Me, apparently

I am one step closer to becoming my hero, Dr Gregory House.

Having somehow managed to fall upstairs and gained some bruises in surprising parts of the left foot, I'm walking around with the help of a stick.

I'm just waiting for someone to ask me what happened, so I can tell them my Hallux has turned purple. But I'm using my long knobbly pole as a third leg.

Politics on Saturday. Anti-Climate Change demo in London, and a conference on "what have socialists been doing wrong for the last three decades, and what should we be doing now?".

That's not the official title, but it's what we'll be discussing.

For the past few weeks, I've been trying to invent a "Song Theory". I don't mean a theory of "How to Write Songs", I mean a theory of the purely musical aspects of songs - as opposed to imagery in lyrics, fashions of subject matter, choice of instrumental backing etc.

Put it another way. Some songs are catchy, some less so, some aren't. What, at the level of tonality and rhythm, makes the difference?

When we say a song sounds like a nursery rhyme, or has an "Irish" feel to it, or makes us think of the sixties...what are we actually talking about?

What is it in the rhythmic and tonal structure of a song by The Temptations that makes it different from a song by Duran Duran?

I'm on my third such theory - the previous two having come crashing to the ground when (a) I tried to apply them or (b) I heard something on the radio that instantly disproved them. But here's some general remarks. Skip if music theory baffles you.

* Most songs are pentatonic. Specifically, their "comfort zone" is the tonic, medial, subdominant, dominant and leading note below of the key used. If you're singing in A-Minor, your "home" notes are G, A, C, D and E. If you stray outside these notes, you'll almost certainly stay pentatonic, but in adjacent octaves.

* If your time signature revolves around 2, 4, 8 or 16, there is a pattern of "Strong-Weak-Strong-Weak" in the beats. More than that, there's the same pattern in breves, minims, crotches and quavers. If your time signature involves 3, 6, or 12 (or uses triplets) the pattern is "Strong-Very Weak-Weak". There is therefore a fractal pattern to stress.

* The immensely complex four level stress pattern of English sentence intonation is flattened into a two level system when singing.

* Time boundaries between lines, phrases and verses may be sharply defined, by phrasing boundaries are not. If each bar is divided into sixteen ticks, then for any given bar, the final two ticks of the previous bar and the first tick of the subsequent bar can be part of that bar, as well as part of their own, for purposes of phrasing.

In principle, it should be possible to write a computer program that could generate a song - minus the lyrics - that (say) Jimmy Somerville could have written...but didn't. In other words, I'm talking about codifying style.

Hurry up Hari

I have a new bedside book. It's the Bagavad Gita.

A street evangelist gave it to me. Not the kind of evangelist who stands in the street and preaches at the top of his voice - the kind who approaches shoppers with a clipboard and asks them loaded questions.

We spoke for twenty minutes, but here's the short version:

Evangelist: Are you happy in your spiritual life?

Kapitano: Which religion are you selling?

Evangelist: We're not part of any religion. We follow the teachings of Prabhupada.

Kapitano: So you're Hare Krishnas.

Evangelist: Yes. We want to bring about a spiritual awakening of all mankind, one person at a time.

Kapitano: So you want to change the social, economic and political structure of the world by abstracting large numbers of individuals away from it. But how can you change human consciousness without first changing the the material conditions in which it develops?

Evangelist: Once our numbers reach a critical mass, society will change.

Kapitano: But won't societal and economic pressures prevent sufficient numbers becoming enlightened?

Evangelist: People come to enlightenment in small stages. With each stage, the society around them changes, permitting progression to the next stage. Even if a person stalls at one stage, they'll still be happier.

Kapitano: So what distinguishes Hare Krishna from Scientologists, Christians, Jevohis Witnesses and all the other groups making the same promise?

Evangelist: I should speak to other people. Enjoy the book.

I asked if there was a Krishna analysis of the recent events in Mombai, the recession or drug addiction - of course there wasn't, because HC is all about personal happiness and isn't concerned with real issues or money.

The young fellow came close to losing his cool when I admitted I had no cash with me for the purely voluntary donation.

Perhaps I should have mentioned the use of HC as a front for drug smuggling.

A day out with C. It was bitingly cold outside, so we browsed a series of warm shops and drank tea in their cafes.

Sometimes it's nice to cheer up a depressed friend - to be an ear for listening and a shoulder to cry on. But it's also much nicer to find your friend isn't depressed - in fact he's manically sparkling and full of life and wit.

And is going to spend the weekend in Paris, about which I'm not remotely jealous, oh no.

Why didn't I get into LastFM sooner? It's udderly brilliant - better than Pandora is/was. In two days I've been introduced to a hundred new bands, and loved just about all.

Now I just need to become a millionaire to hear them all above 128kbps.

What's this called?

You spend a day sorting through hundreds of data backup CDRs and DVDRs, copying the still-useful files to hard drive for later reburning, and throwing away the out-of-date and duplicated discs, in what started as an attempt to find one single file. After which, you conclude that you've (a) got hundreds of gigabytes of barely catalogued stuff, and (b) lost the one file you were looking for. But at least you you tidied up a bit

And then you notice a large cardboard box that's been sitting unnoticed, at the bottom of a stack with four others. It's been there for over a year, it's quietly slipped out of your memory since you stopped tripping over it...and it's labeled "Misc Discs". It's also very full.

Nevermind - on the plus side, I think I know what to do for my thousandth post.


I am once again officially unemployed. Or "looking for work" as the bureaucrats say. The whole process took only two hours of waiting and five minutes of box ticking.

They provided one job to apply for - administrator for a military college with no history or description...except a central office in Cardiff.

Yes, that's right. It's Torchwood.

I went to a party last night, got drunk with a nice gay boy, and went home cheesy.

Okay, it was one of those frightfully polite finger buffets and socialisation opportunities for the local community. How local? The inhabitants of one street.

It was so polite no one wanted to be seen to eat too much of the mountain of food provided. So I did the decent thing and ate it. And everyone was too polite to tell me I was being a pig.

I may be in spitting distance of forty, but I was the second youngest there. The youngest...I see you're there ahead of me. He was there with his boyfriend - and the three of us talked computers in a corner, drinking the red wine that may (or may not) have been intended as a raffle prize.

The whole thing ended at ten thirty, when the over seventies, saying it was way past their bedtime, left to sleep, unsteadily full of wine. Leaving behind half a dozen unopened packets of extremely strong buffet cheese.

And that's why all my next week's meals will feature gorgonzola.

I must develop some secrets so I can post them on PostSecret. That's the easy bit - the hard bit will be in not linking to them from here. Which would kind of miss the whole point.

Besides, I'd also have to become unhappy, as opposed to just exasperated.

This is post number 992. I should think up something a bit special for 1000.