Monthly Archives: June 2004

Listen

Listen (interj.) Faux-chummy all-purpose interjection by faux-chummy not-listening not-interested light-ent interviewer to silence interviewee and begin next question or link to next item. Short for “Listen to me, I am more important than you, be quiet”. Examples: “Listen, when’s your next single coming out?”; “Listen, we’re having a brilliant time here at the New Bands tent, aren’t we?”.

See also: Jamie Theakston, June Sarpong, “Yeah I mean”.

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Mystic Avaragado

The England-Portugal match went entirely as I had anticipated.

  • Early England goal to “settle the nerves” causes players to believe themselves impregnable.
  • Early exit of Rooney after extensive build up as “best player since Pele”, etc.
  • Inability to perform advanced football-related activities such as keeping possession, tackling opponents, defending, etc.
  • Chicken-counting commentary by Motty as per.
  • Belief that the only way to attack is to hoof it route-one into pack of opponents in vain attempt to find Owen/Vassell’s head.
  • Intensive pressure by Portuguese resulting in late goal by substitute.
  • Portuguese scorer/saviour plays for Tottenham, where despite costing £6m he’s managed only two goals in 24 games.
  • Entirely fair last-minute winner from Sol Campbell ruled out for no apparent reason by useless biased ref (Ian Wright: “he’s a homer”) with silly beard.
  • Hopes dashed in Extra Time by Portuguese goal, rekindled by England equaliser, cue Motty hyperbole and yet more attempts to describe teams using adjectives beginning “P” or “E” as appropriate.
  • Kicking penalties into row Z rather than the more traditional back-of-net.
  • No footage of Ian Wright bouncing round studio celebrating England win.

One prediction, that England supporters would subsequently sack Lisbon and drape England flags from every unadorned car aerial, thankfully has not yet come true.

So England are out. And Henman is currently playing on Centre Court, about to lose the first set against a plucky Swiss whose best ranking is 102 in the world.

England’s glorious summer of sport moves on…

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I could never play the recorder

Another shameless lift from Boing Boing: an MP3 of Paranoid Android, as performed by the UMass Front Percussion Ensemble.

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Estádio Municipal de Bonkers

Estádio Municipal de Braga is possibly the most bonkers football stadium yet seen (by me).

It’s blasted out of a quarry, has stands only on the sides (not the ends), and (according to the boy Line-Acre) you enter through the roof, which also houses the car park.

How’s this for a non sequitur from the design specifications:

“Today, football is a show, just like the cinema, theatre or television. This is why we have chosen to build only two stands.”

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Quiet please

I’ve just delivered a beta release for the TTA SGD EE training course, and now I’m writing a multiple-choice exam for the students. I think I’d prefer to be taking the exam rather than writing it.

It’s not so much coming up with the questions (mind you, I need about 200) but figuring out the three wrong answers for each. I know the theory: one right answer, one nearly right answer, and two madly wrong answers. I just don’t think I’m programmed to create wrong answers. I think I might burn out a valve and start to smoke, like computers in Star Trek.

So I’m prevaricating a bit. Writing blog entries and the like.

It’s very enlightening to read the multiple-choice exam for the previous iteration of this course. It includes gems like the following:

  1. What tools does Tarantella Enterprise 3 provide for administration?
    • The Control Center
    • The Object Manager and the Array Manager
    • The Control Center and the Object Manager
    • All of the above

The correct answer is marked as, guess what: D. (It should be B.)

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Suicide Sunday

Exams are over, May Balls are ongoing, the sun’s shining, the alcohol’s flowing. Carefree student + copious alcohol = dumbness. Today is known as Suicide Sunday in Cambridge.

I’ve seen people jump off Magdalene Bridge before, big splash, scare the punters, good fun. Until today I’d never seen someone dive headfirst off Magdalene Bridge.

I did actually hold my breath until the diver surfaced in one piece. I know it’s not ridiculously shallow there, but it sure ain’t a diving pool. People have killed themselves diving off bridges in the past.

Still, it impressed the tourists.

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Transit of Venus

One good thing about being a hoarder is that you can decide on the spur of the moment to, say, put a photo of the transit of Venus on your blog, and have the equipment at your fingertips to be able to do so within half an hour.

(Small telescope, given as prize at 1994 IXI Christmas party. Tripod, present. Shield and card for projecting view from telescope, used for 1999 solar eclipse. Plus digital camera of course.)

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Strawberry fair

Strawberry fair today. Now then. How would I describe it?

Lots of “cigarette” smoke. A distinctive aroma. More prevalent than I remember from previous years.

I saw a lad, no more than 16 years old, no more than three feet away from me, topple domino-like from vertical to horizontal without so much as a touch. Pupils like pinpricks. “Look at me!” said a grizzled older (apparent) companion. “Look at me! What have you done?” Drink, he said. More than drink if you ask me.

Lots of dodgy dealing everywhere you look, from cheapo Stella out of backpacks to, well, all sorts. Shiitake mushrooms by the look of it.

More extreme than previous years? Hard to say. Probably not.

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All chavs are smokers. All smokers are chavs. Discuss.

Extra credit is given for detailed examples.

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Monday

Went to see The Day After Tomorrow last night. Summary: agreeable tosh.

It’s a tick-box film, of course, containing all essential elements verily unto the point of cliche. It is, however, one of the few Hollywood blockbusters to show Manchester United playing football, even if the dialogue commits the footballing faux pas of referring to a team in the singular (“Manchester United leads…”).

The constant references to Fox TV grate – all bar two TVs shown in the film are tuned to a Fox channel, with a stonking great logo in the corner. The two exceptions are tuned to Sky News (another Murdoch outlet) and The Weather Channel (don’t know about this one).

Most people have ponied up to watch the effects, natch. If you’ve seen the trailer you’ve seen most of them. (You’ll also have seen a huge but not too surprising spoiler.)

There’s not a lot of acting in the film. Lots of standing, sitting or shivering and looking miserable. Even the wolves are CGI.

Oh, the copyright shenanigans pre-film are even worse than for Harry Potter. This time we had to sit through a 30-second film claiming that film piracy is responsible for all the world’s ills, including of course terrorism. It made me laugh.

Avaragado’s rating: Three Fox’s Glacier Mints (“clearly minty”).

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