World's greatest shave

In a fit of what can only be described as stupidity, I have volunteered for the world's greatest shave, in support of the leukaemia foundation. At the time it seemed like a good idea, but as the ides of march looms ever closer it becomes more and more like a bad idea.

The big issue is my work. They have been extraordinarily generous in their donations, and incredibly supportive - they're even hiring a hairdresser to come in and do the shave in front of everybody. However certain individuals (namely the entire programming team) are extraordinarily cruel. There is now $150 riding on my eyebrows, as well as a fair amount on my head.

Eyebrows, I have been informed, sometimes don't grow back. Even if they do grow back, they are the slowest growing hair on the body. They usually take two months to full regenerate. Two months of looking like a drag queen.

My advice to anyone who would like to do this is this:

1. Don't ever ask a group of guys at once. They immediately start wondering what else can be shaved.
2. Don't ever, ever ask a group of girls at once. They immediately start wondering what else can be waxed.

As you know Bob

So - crazy idea for tonight:

A collection of short stories based solely around the "As you know, Bob" mechanic.

The "As you know Bob" is a device used in (bad) writing to introduce information to the reader in the form of implausible dialog. The classic example is a science fiction story where a pair of characters start a conversation about a piece of technology that is integral to the story, but that doesn't exist in the readers world:

"As you know Bob, in the last fifty years, nanotechnology has revolutionized modern medicine, so that we no longer perform any form of invasive surgery, cutting hospitalization times and speeding healing. Unfortunately every now and then the nanites get it wrong and turn all of your insides to grey gloop while trying to perform and appendectomy, but such is the price of progress."

The "As you know bob" is a common cliche.

I love cliches. I love to play with them. I'd love to see a collection of stories(no, not stories, monologues) all based around a single "As you know Bob". Try to imagine the world in the next 100 years and the effect that a currently non-existent technology would have on it, and then have two characters sitting in a pub, one quietly sipping his beer, while the other waxes lyrical about how things have changed.

Some possibilities:
* A 'green plastic' that uses photosynthesis to produce ethanol
* A cellular phone that is implanted into the jawbone
* The final effect of the greenhouse effect


I'm back in the harness now. I spent most of my holidays drunk, thanks to Wolfgang, my father in law. This is almost always a good thing, and lets me indulge in one of my favorite passtimes - drunkenly talking about things with great confidence that I really know nothing about. Wolfgang tends to do the same thing, so we're a good match in that respect. (In case you're wondering the topic of the day was water desalination. Don't ask.)

Still I'm extra proud of myself as I managed to get in an extra 10,000 words over the holidays, bringing me to a grand total of 42,000. I dedicate that milestone to the late great Douglas Adams, who's writing I can never hope to approach.

(no subject)

I've just read Andrew North's bbc article on life in Baghdad. The situation there is heart wrenching. I guess that I'm usually one of those people with a glib answer for everything. Global Warming? Ride your bike. Obesity problems in the western world? Go on a diet, fatass. Invasion of killer aliens intent on annihilating mankind? Break out the Apple Mac laptop.

I guess a measure for me of how bad things have become in Iraq and the Middle East since 2001 is that my mind no longer provides glib answers. It just sits there, numbed by the complex awfulness of it all. There was a time when I would sit back with smug "I told you so" insincerity: I was against the war. I marched in protest against it. I was one of the 500,000 people who walked the streets of London and were quietly ignored. Big whoopee shit. It made no difference. I can't even dislike George W Bush any more. I don't regard as clever the people the people who mock his supposed stupidity. My gut feeling is that in his place I probably would botch the English language just as many times.

I've always thought that there was a pattern behind the war effort - a well hidden agenda, that hides behind the propaganda and the stupid ideology. My thoughts (which I will gladly share to all and sundry when I'm drunk, or any other time that it comes up) run like this:

Oil is the lifeblood of the western hemisphere. If the oil stops society grinds to a halt. No oil means no trucks and no cars. No trucks and cars means that all of our widely distributed cities become less economical. It means that all of our food becomes much more expensive, as the cost of transport, fertilizer and wages goes up. Our economies go down the tubes and it's soylant green for sunday lunch again. The oil is going to become more expensive in the long term anyway, peak oil guarantees that. But slow increase in expense is a lot less damaging to economies and society than sudden spikes.

Knowing this, the US look at the middle east in 2001 and realize that they need a presence. Somebody that is an ally in the middle east - a vassal state, even. Their economy relies on it. (So does ours). Currently their biggest ally is Saudi Arabia, also the largest oil exporter in the world. Having the Saudis on side is all very well and good but what happens if there is some sort of coup or revolution(I mean the king is getting on and the royal family isn't that popular)? Suddenly the three largest exporters of oil in the world are not friendly.

So the plan is made to install a friendly government in Iraq. No one likes Saddam anyway. Why the hell not?

Fast forward 4 years for an answer. Or no answer as the case may be.

So what do we get from this (apart from the fact that I am a know-it-all asshole when I'm drunk)? I wish I knew. I wish I thought that anybody knew. I guess no one from Iraq or any other war zone reads this, but I send my thoughts out like a message in a bottle. Be Safe. God Willing.
DAH 2, game

I have the bestest wife ever.

Ok so christmas came early for me this year. Sal surprised me when I got home by telling me that she had bought me a Nintendo Wii for Xmas. I'm as giddy as a school kid!!

So I've decided that Christmas itself is a bourgeois concept. I mean come on; it's an outdated religious celebration masking an even more outdated pagan festival celebrating mid winter, and may I point out that it's nothing like mid winter here?

Plus waiting the best part of three weeks for something that I could be playing now pretty much is a load of tosh.

Anyhow I'm wasting valuable play time.

Novel? What Novel?
  • Current Music
    Apocalypse Now Soundtrack
sophia, baby, family

Musical Life

If you walked into our house at a random time, you'd be forgiven for thinking that you'd walked into a Rogers and Hammerstein style musical(only a fairly crap one). Of course that assumes that you can imagine Rogers and Hammerstien replacing Julie Andrews with a slightly overweight game programmer pacing backwards and forwards like a caged lion while bellowing out 'My favourite things' at the top of his voice, all the while carrying a small, slightly cranky, slightly floppy child. Sophia has decided that that is the only sure fire way of stopping her from fussing. On the plus side I've managed to find a use for all of those old songs that I learned in primary school, and any exercise is good exercise right?

Phia's Top Five

  • Country Roads
  • My Favourite things
  • Teddy bears picnic
  • Que Sera Sera (Sal sings this - I haven't quite figured the tune yet)
  • Sound of Silence

She's also partial to "Rainbow Connection" and "Eternal Flame" although I've been told in no uncertain terms that I wasn't to introduce my child to the bangles. Too late.
  • Current Music
    Protection - Massive Attack


I've just set up perforce on my home machines to allow me to have source code control over my home coding projects. As a bonus I'm using it to check in my writing each night. It's probably overkill to use an industrial strength source code control system for one small document, but what the hell.

By using it I get a back up of the file in multiple places, as well as full version and change tracking. Additionally it means that I can write from both my laptop and on my desktop.

Yep I'm a coder.

In other news, I'm 31 today. Not much that I can say to that. The feelings are too mixed.

Oh and I managed to hit 20000 words on my novel. Yay team me.
  • Current Music
    Let's Dance, David Bowie