We finally got around to watching this yesterday – good stuff. I remember one reviewer saying the first half was 'boring' but I'm afraid I liked it too.

It's reminded me of why, despite some attempts, games on history like this and the First Crusade don't really work — to reproduce the actual events in a proper sim, you'd have to do the equivalent of roll 6s constantly. If it hadn't happened, you wouldn't believe it.

It's like this at all primary schools, isn't it?

The parking outside the local school at 9am and 3:20pm is getting worse and worse, with people treating the no parking signs/lines as their own personal space. Or double (or triple) parking instead. Much easier than parking a few yards away and, you know, walking.

They've tried having a traffic warden attend – sadly not issuing tickets – as a warning. This worked. For about three days.

My personal solution, if I'm not alllowed to impose the death penalty, would be to make the children carried in the cars stand up at assembly and speak for five minutes on 'why my parents / guardians think the parking laws do not apply to them'.

A few months ago, there was a fuss in the Evening Standard about someone stickering 4WD cars with 'this car is killing the environment' stickers that were impossible to remove without damaging the paint. Apparently, you could get them by asking a hotmail address. Unfortunately, they didn't say which…

… 'cos I'd love to have some that say 'I don't give a shit about other people's children'.

Banned in the UK

In looking for the backups for my Brain, I've refound a sketch that was banned by the Lord Chamberlain. He (or, in practice, his staff) was in charge of stage censorship in the UK until it was abolished in the late 1960s.

It was intended to be in a show called 'Guarding the Change' at – I think – the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, and turned out to have been written by Clive James (there's a comment about it in May Day was in June)


Our dearest & most beloved subjects, people, compatriots and allies.

It pleases us to be here in your country especially in this dear & well-beloved season of the spring /summer /autumn /winter in order to carry out our duties at this investiture /opening /funeral /wedding /signing of death warrant.

We declare this bridge /dam /arsenal /baby farm open /closed /independent /abolished /knighted.

Let Empire /Commonwealth /Loose Association of Nations with common interests /partners in trade /bitter enemies rest assured our thoughts /good wishes /carpet salesmen /aircraft carriers are on their way towards you.

And so on this beautiful morning /afternoon /evening, what else is there to say, but hallo /how-do-you-do /goodbye/ well done /arise Sir Robert Menzies!

Hmm, hardly desparately dangerous stuff, but obviously too disrespectful of royalty for 1965!

Bomb Redmond, not Kabul?


Norwegian browser maker Opera Software confirmed Thursday that it had noticed its browser is unable to access Several readers also alerted CNET

"Microsoft is actively keeping our browser from accessing," said Jon S. von Tetzchner, Opera's chief executive. He added that every time a browser connects to a server, it sends a string to the server telling it what type of browser is seeking access.

"Microsoft is seeing (that) it is an Opera browser and shutting it out," said von Tetzchner, whose team was testing the problem. "If you change the Opera string by one letter, it is letting us in."

Microsoft admitted that its technology was watching for Opera strings–but only because the company wanted to encourage people to use standard-compliant browsers."

There's more, but that really takes the biscuit.

Someone asked Sir (hey, how long can it be?) Tim Berners-Lee for his comments:

Running the homepage through the [W3C] validator on Friday showed the site did not use valid XHTML and did not meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

So if the site doesn't use W3C standards, and browsers that provide more full support for them are blocked out, I would also like to know what the reason is.


September 2001

Hmm, been a while. Lots has happened since mid-August, so let's see what I remember…

BiCon (end August) was fun despite being appallingly organised. 'As if they'd had two months rather than two years' remains my comment.

If next year's repeats the same mistakes (crap publicity = low numbers, poor programme in much more than one sense, etc etc etc) please point me at this and go 'ha!' 'cos I've volunteered to help Paul do BiCon 2002.

But as I said, it was fun. Thanks to everyone responsible for that.

Coventry City vs Notts Forest. The evening after BiCon, L (from Nottingham) and I (from somewhere within sight of Coventry) saw the football match between the two teams… Well, from a Coventry perspective, it couldn't possibly be worse when we see the rematch in December. Forest had first one, then another player sent off, but Coventry proved less able to score than a certain Kevin. 'We've only got nine men' sang the Forest supporters.

After 'losing 0-0', Coventry's manager — who'd become famous for shouting and getting all emotional — left the club not long afterwards, to be replaced by a quiet Swede who's managed to get the team winning. Hmm, where have we heard that before?

11th September. The main surprise to me was how shocked the Americans were. Like their habit of having $100 bills exactly the same size and 'color' as $1 bills, security on internal US flights has long been a disaster waiting to happen.

It should go without saying that of course murdering a thousand people is Wrong, but I can understand why there are people prepared to do it: a combination of religious lunacy (see Richard Dawkin's spot-on comments) and American foreign policy.

As it turned out, the Anglican Archbishop of Wales was in New York that day, His reported thought was that, while shocking, this must be what life is like in Bagdad and the Gaza Strip every day.

This is what I posted on cix the following day:

The President's Statement in full

Am I safe yet? Oh, is the mic on?

Fellow Americans, I pledge to bravely stand tall against international terrorism, several hundred feet underground in a sealed nuclear bunker.

The American government would never murder innocent civilians. Well, not in the United States anyway. Unless they were on Death Row in Texas and I refused to grant them clemency. Hardly any of them were innocent, so that doesn't count.

Neither will the United States stand for state-sponsored terrorism abroad. Unless it's by Israel. Gee, do you think that was one of the reasons we were attacked?

Anyway, I pledge action. I pledge revenge. I pledge we'll kill more people than they did. Hopefully, we'll include the people responsible, but even if we don't, it'll send a clear message to the world about what sort of people we are.

But first of all we will be attacking the people who trained the terrorists. Watch out Bill Gates! There's no way any Arabs could have learnt to fly a real plane — they must have used Flight Sim.

The next day, the Daily Mail (the most evil paper in Britain) had a story asking if the terrorists used Flight Sim and suggesting it should be banned. Sigh. Maybe I should have included the paragraph that said since they hadn't flown into the Empire State Building, every skyscraper should have its own giant ape to bat away approaching planes.

Last week was crap, what with failing my driving test (grrr), a broken pipe in the flat above flooding my bathroom (and destroying a large amount of computer manuals and software, a long story). a very strange break-in (they smashed the front window and used a crowbar to force the deadlock, but only took one old – albeit highly collectable – home computer).

Oh well, at least upstairs is insured. Which is good, because the replacement cost of the stuff that got pulped turns out, to my amazement, to be Rather A Lot.

The weekend was spent in Cambridge, helping a friend do some long overdue decoration of his flat.

What I should be doing: moving things around the house in preparation for baby (two weeks and counting…)