Friday, August 31, 2007


Parents 'ever so proud' p.3

It seems that exactly ten years after she died in Paris (that's 'died' spelt 'M-U-R-D-E-R-E-D if you're a Daily Express reader) Diana Spencer has achieved godhood and come back as the Patron Saint of Vehicle-Related Fuckwittery specifically to piss me off.

Exhibit A: While I managed to travel from Colindale to Charing Cross by tube without mishap, once on the train I looked for an empty seat to deposit one of my BookCrossing books, viz. The Complete Robot Stories of Isaac Asimov, one careful owner, viz. (again) me, in good nick. While I'm distracted by something else the cleaning woman from the train comes along, takes one look at the book, puts it in her rubbish sack and is off before I can get to her. It's a book! I realise the train company would probably argue that she's got to keep the train clean or else it's caserole time for her children, but surely you shouldn't throw away books that someone might have left by accident? Unless, YOU'RE CONTROLLED BY ELDRITCH BLONDE FORCES FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE!!1!

Exhibit B: The rest of the journey to Staplehurst goes without incident. Once there, my Dad isn't there to meet me. It turns out that a day before we're due to go to the Isle of Wight the car has mysteriously died. The AA man came out, fiddled about for hours and I think the problem was eventually diagnosed but it won't be fixed until Wednesday maybe. Meanwhile, can we find a car hire firm that can hire a car big enough for everything that makes up a weeks holiday at about eighteen hours notice, in Kent? Can we fuck. Obviously someone has HIRED OUT ALL THE CARS IN THE SOUTHEAST BY SUPERNATURAL MEANS!!1!

Exhibit C: So, I'm stuck in Staplehurst and need to get to Coxheath, about four miles away. Staplehurst is one of those places for which it assumes that anyone within it has access to a car. The Taxi place by the station appears to be shut. In the hour I'm there it does not open. A bus goes through once an hour. I learn this after missing the previous bus by two minutes. It's an Arriva bus. Once aboard I notice a sign asking "Does your bus driver have the X Factor? If you believe your bus driver has that little bit extra when it comes to offering great service then bus company Arriva is looking for your vote. One look at him and it's clear that the bus driver doesn't have the X-Factor. Neither does he have the Y Factor. Analyse his blood and I doubt anything human will be found within this troll. He looks like Grawp from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. He charges me a ridiculous amount for a ticket and we're off. I've surely been softened by a decade of living in London because the first time he brakes I fly off the seat and bang my leg against something sharp and metallic. AN IRONIC REMINDER OF HOW SHE IMPACTED WITH SHARP METALLIC THINGS A LOT FASTER TEN YEARS AND TWELVE HOURS AGO!!1! I get off halfway home and, rather than catch another bus, walk the rest of the way. I've learnt my lesson.

So, whenever something unexpected happens to your transport, or you miss a connection or end up waiting ages, you know who it is that's decided to take some time out of eternity to feck you over. People's Princess? She's back, and she's pissed.

Addendum: It looks like we've managed to hire a car which we'll collect tomorrow, and we'll travel down on Sunday. Hopefully Saint Diana's power only works on the anniversary of her death.

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Off on holiday for a bit, see you next week!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

So David Cameron was on Newsnight last night. He didn't do too badly, it was sad that on the immigration issue not one of the four interviewers questioned his claim that immigration had been 'too high', but then Newsnight regularly does episodes which claim more or less the same thing, so I suppose that's not surprising. I did like the fact that he allowed himself to be cornered by his use of New Labour and Old Tory rhetoric on families; non-traditional families were fine, but families consisting of one man and one woman were best for children, which is not to say they were any better than families which did not conform to that model, most liberal in his attempts not to cause offense... He didn't think the Tory proposal to give married hetero parents £20 more in their weekly benefits to help them bring up kids would encourage loads of partners to get married, and I think he dodged out of answering why, if the Tories thought two hetero parent families were better why they were proposing giving them money rather than single parent families.

But he desperately needs lessons in appearing less like Tony Blair. That's his biggest drawback at the moment. Well, that or the fact his policies are rubbish.

Man in a Shed is not happy though and is drawing circles on video captures to try and prove a dastardly plan by the BBC to turn David Cameron purple. Maybe they should have slipped him some of this stuff before the show?

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Yangtze river dolphin not quite dead?

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

David Cameron in big time freakout. We're a few months into the Gordon Brown premiership and not only has the country not ground to a halt but he's also managed to come out of crises looking pretty good. Which probably explains why Cameron has decided that the new Tory policy is to ditch all the Green, Youtube, Blairite stuff and headback to old school Tory values, you know, the things that helped them to those three General Election defeats. So John Redwood is let out of the cupboard under the stairs where they keep the crazy unpopular members of the party and now we have more of that stuff that always feels like it should be prefaced with the words "I'm not a racist but..."

The whistling sound you can hear is from Gordon Brown's advisors as they exhale in relief, realising that David Cameron has handed them the next election, whenever Brown decides to call it. The grinding noise is Tony Blair's teeth when he realises that his old enemy is going to win a general election, based on his own negligable popularity and not dragged down by the memory of Blair, whom he followed into every unpopular policy. At least David can stop riding that bicycle to work now, his 'green' credentials aren't going to whitewash the brown slurry coming from Tory Central Office (do you see what I did there?).

Related: How did David Cameron lose his nerve and his bearings in just one month? Martin Bright looks at the disarray that has engulfed the Conservatives since Gordon Brown became Prime Minister.

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Spike Jonze Spends Saturday with M.I.A.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Links a Lordy

The Wonderbra Hills (SFW) [via Sex & Blogs (NSFW!)]

70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, only 30% is solid ground. What if everything was reversed? Fascinating. And beautifully illustrated too. I seem to be living somewhere between the English Lake and the Great Asian Ocean.

Icon War. You'll never leave your computer running alone again.

ACT_I_VATE. Daily online comix anthology.

The BNP is having to pretend it gives a toss about the environment to distract from the fact that figures show it's 'we're being swamped by brown people!' rhetoric is a load of rubbish.

The Andrea Dworkin Online Library.

Tetris fight! [via BoingBoing]

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Vital Information

In a worst-case scenario, if one had to eat parts of oneself, which non-organs would be the most nutritious? Nails? Hair? Earwax?


So the Book Crossing goes on, in it's way. I think you can see my profile here to see what I've already loaded up there. When my Mother heard I was doing this she hoped I wasn't going to be leaving any books that could get mistaken for suspect packages and get blown up. It's mainly thin paperbacks I'm getting rid of, the bulkiest thing I've got is probably the hardback of Hannibal by Thomas Harris, which arguably should be blown up in the interests of public health. Of course, being a shy and retiring soul I'm anxious not to leave books and then have some well-meaning person call after me "Oy, you've left your book behind!" due to the sheer embarrassment that would involve. Especially if the book they were waving at me was Memnoch the Devil. I would have to kill myself at that point really.


The Exploding Whale. For all of your detonated cetacean needs.

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London Wetlands Centre

London Wetlands Centre
Originally uploaded by Loz Flowers
We actually saw some birds yesterday which, considering that this place is only a few miles away from Heathrow and there was an almost constant noise of planes flying overhead, was pretty good for us.

Just testing this video-uploading doohickey, recorded a few weeks ago in my parents back garden using the crappy videocamera option on my camera...


I don't understand this at all.


Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2007

The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2007 by Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen

I don't really like the Serpentine Gallery much, don't know why, but I quite like the architecture of their yearly pavilions. This year it's been built by Ólafur Elíasson, who did the big sun in the Tate Modern a few years back, and Kjetil Thorsen, who hasn't made it on to Wikipedia yet. The Pavilion looks good from the outside but is rather lacking inspiration inside.

The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2007 by Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen, Interior

Lovely wood panelling but there's the small platform at the top from which people can look down on the scene below. In many ways it's the opposite of last year, which looked daft from outside but made more interesting and brighter use of the interior, considering this will be standing until the fifth of November it's going to need more than those three lights by the evening then.

I did like the rope, which makes it look like a piece of meat being ripped apart and the flesh stretching out before splitting.

The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2007 by Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen

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Sherrif Paxman lays down the law about television, 'trust' and why Tony Blair is an arse and an idiot. I may not like Paxman as an interviewer but he has some good points here. Unsurprisingly the Daily Mail has decided to interpret this as a blistering attack on Auntie, but then as they've spent the last few weeks obsessed by newsreaders legs I think anything they have to say about the Beeb can be safely ignored.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Play. LOUD.

Ahhh, those were the days... The baby from the Nirvana 'Nevermind' cover is now legal, were you so inclined. God that makes me feel old...

I'd like to dedicate that to Colin Read.

Now, are you ready for the real horror?

Sorry, I know I should have warned you better. Here's some light relief, if I haven't posted it already...

And to finish things off...

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Should the BNP be allowed on Facebook? Go vote no, you know it makes sense.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

News just in from the Gah, Fuck! We Men Are Such Bastards! desk:

A management consultant who branded his wife with a hot steam iron because she had failed to press his shirt and ...also slashed her with a knife because she had forgotten to make his sandwiches... walked free from court - with just a £2,000 fine.

And what was the Judge's well thought out, wise and sagacious decision for this?

He was spared even a community punishment because the judge ruled that "special circumstances" suggested he was unlikely to reoffend and his job meant he was too "busy" to find the time to complete any order.

SO, if I were to kill Shrubya on my holiday and then point out that he's the only scumbag I really dislike and I have a 9-5 job at a library to return to, that'll be okay then? What the cock is going on when you have A FUCKING JUDGE believing the criminal justice system is not there to inconvenience someone who has committed GBH on someone else?

the £90,000-a-year executive walked free from court - with just a £2,000 fine.

His wife Elizabeth, also 25, sat quietly in the corner of the courtroom at Southwark Crown Court as he indicated he could pay the fine within 28 days.

By my reckoning he'd be able to pay the fine in just over 8 days.

You know it's something serious when the comments on the Daily Mail website are against him, the Daily Mail readership normally comprising of people who think Thatcher was dangerously liberal.

Anyway, the fella's name is Colin Read. Yep, Colin Read likes torturing women for fun. If you're the sort of woman who has even lower feelings of self-worth than Liz Jones then Colin Read is the man for you. Colin Read will beat the shit out of you and you'll have no means of legal recourse. Go out with Colin Read today and get a free breadknife in the shin. Of course, there are lots of Colin Read's on the net, so here's a picture of the little shit:

Colin Read

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Why Firefox is Blocked. I don't know who is responsible for this, as everyone is linking to this page and not whatever site it is that, if you try to go there using Firefox, redirects you to this. But the whole 'if you block viewing adverts then, if you see my site, you are stealing content from me!' thing is hilarious. The Firefox myths and Firefox cult links make me wonder if it's a 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me' thing.

The Guardian Unlimited says that it's the work of Danny Carlton.

Personally, I don't mind banner ads that much, it's more annoying when sites like The Guardian drop the box down over the text you're trying to read offering you information about the latest car or some plane ticket dealy.


True Things, Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham report on the doings of Alan Moore for his 50th birthday. [via Neil Gaiman and Scans Daily]

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

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"I've been sent with a warrant from the body of Christ."

Yes, as Wikipedia has Conservapedia, so YouTube's dark shadow is GodTube.

And of course, lots of stuff about how evolution just couldn't happen.

And the already famous 'Bananas- The Atheist's Nightmare'.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Books I'm Getting Rid Of
Originally uploaded by Loz Flowers

It was at some point about halfway through Blue Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson that I realised I was unlikely to ever read that book, or Red Mars or Green Mars , the titles that precede it in the trilogy, ever again. Not because they are bad books, far from it, they are wonderfully detailed and vivid hard future-sci about humanity spreading out into the stars, the problems that might cause, the changes it will bring and the chances for making us better people as a result. While the descriptions of most of the science and political theory goes straight over my head and a number of the more colourful characters die in the first book, Robinson never completely loses me.

While I read Red Mars some time in the late Nineties (I think around 1997) and Green Mars some time towards the start of the new Millenium I didn't get around to Blue Mars until this Summer. This wasn't completely down to forgetfulness on my part, there were no copies where I used to work and the book seemed to be out of print for a while, then I forgot all about it, until I got to where I'm working now. And I was lucky, it was the last copy and hadn't been out in two years, so the lack of a good fiction weed was all that enabled me to get my mitts on the book.

But it was the fact that I could go five or six years without a burning desire to read the last part of the trilogy that made me realise that the other two books were just taking up space on my shelves, at a time when above them there was a pile of around thirty books that weren't shelved because I had no space left.

I'm very resistant to getting rid of books, it offends my librarian spirit. Books are to be treasured, with the possibly exception of those by Katie Price or Jeffrey Archer. I have a permanent pile of around fifty books which constitute four 'to read' piles, some of the books have been there for four or five years now, mainly because I have less time to read these days and library books have to go first. But a few years ago an almost complete set of Colin Dexter paperbacks went into the book sale at work as I realised that once I had read one of his incredibly convoluted plots that always seemed to revolve around mistaken identity in one form or another. And, when I pulled the Mars books off the shelf I realised "Hang on, those Isaac Asimov books have been sitting there unread even longer than these two. And I didn't even like The Gobbler when I read it after buying it some time in late 1995."

And that was pretty much that. Most of the stuff you see above are books that I would classify as 'good', the pile of Asimov's books are pretty good books, detective novels with robots and spaceships for the most part. If I had an eleven-year-old boy nearby who liked science-fiction I would happily unload them on him, that was about the age I started reading Asimov and most of them are ideal for that age, except for his later books, in which incredibly beautiful and large-breasted women fall in love with old science professors repeatedly. Full Whack or Mr In-Between were perfectly adequate reads when I bought them, I just never read them again.

There are a few stinkers in there too. The aforementioned The Gobbler for example. I only bought that because I happened to be walking through the Birmingham Waterstones one day and Adrian Edmondson was sitting there. I can't remember if it was towards the end of his signing session but there was no-one going up to see him so I bought a copy of the book and got him to sign it. Thankfully time has rusted my experience of reading it but I remember it being awful. Some unfunny runaround farce involving an actor and a psychotic stalker I seem to remember. I probably held on to it for so long only because it was signed. The Anne Rice books are from the end of the period of time I liked her work, the mid-Nineties, when I found her work progressively weaker. I'm keeping hold of her earlier and better work such as Interview With the Vampire , The Witching Hour and Cry to Heaven which is probably up there near the top of my list of favourite novels (though what on earth the cover of the edition I've linked has to do with the story I've no idea). Hannibal by Thomas Harris is going because it bored me, the collection of his two previous books because I haven't read them for best part of a decade either.

The pile is very unfair. If 'not reading' was a criteria, my Douglas Adams books should probably be there too, especially considering how bad MOstly Harmless was. But it'll do for now.

The question is, what to do with them now? There's the book sale at work or I still have a Book Crossing ID somewhere, though I always have difficulty finding somewhere to leave the book, I don't want the embarrassment of someone trying to return to me a book I've deliberately left behind somewhere. I'll have to have a think about that.

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Was that it?


Monday, August 13, 2007

Fear The Gay Chicken.


Three episodes in to Sanjeev Bhaskar's journey round India and they haven't as yet, sullied things with any Indian music, preferring British artists like The Chemical Brothers, Boards of Canada, the Beatles. You would have thought that India produces some music, surely? According to the BBC, this would appear to be not the case.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

With the parents for the weekend. Family get together this afternoon! Back Monday evening, maybe.

In the meantime, have some weekend misogyny.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Gordon Brown to look at the cases of the Iraqi translators denied asylum in Britain. Hopefully he'll do the right thing and let them move here. We buggered up their country, the very least we can do is allow them to escape it, especially when the alternative is being killed by fanatics for being collaborators.

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You've missed your last chance to see the Yangtze river dolphin as the little blighter has been declared extinct. I remember reading Douglas Adams' book about endangered species in the early Nineties and the almost farcical lengths his radio crew went to try and record what the Yangtze river sounded like underwater, they eventually found that there was so much noise pollution caused by man that the dolphin's sonar was completely useless, with boat propellers and other dangers it would be the equivalent of you or I walking through a room of rotating blades with a blindfold on. As the report says, it was thoughtlessness about this that did for the dolphin rather than active malevolence.

Here's some Last Chance to See MP3s.

Also: Douglas Adams on Atheism You Tube videos.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Bald Guy Greetings Cards. A refreshingly honest, sometimes brutal, always sarcastic, but never the less very caring card.


Dang those feminists, ruining everything for everybody everywhere.


Monday, August 06, 2007

After some hasty work on the back on an envelope I estimate I've listened to various seperate tracks of music around 16000 times since I installed it on my computer and then loaded music on it sometime around November 2005. That's not counting stuff I've deleted since that time, or probably hundreds of individual podcast episodes, it obviously doesn't cover things I've listened to through other things such as Media Player or Real Player. If we pretend that each of those tracks is 6 minutes long, (which they aren't) then that's just shy of 67 days I've spent doing nothing but listen to iTunes, which actually isn't that bad for one and three-quarter years.

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House With Bricked-Up Windows, 17 Gordon Place Kensington
House With Bricked-Up Windows, 17 Gordon Place Kensington
Originally uploaded by Loz Flowers

My legs ache for some reason. I blame the heat. I was following the London Walk round the Campden Hill/Holland Park/Kensington area and had intended to follow that with one that goes along the top end of Hyde Park but in the end had to give up and head home. I'm not in pain, just stiff. I suppose that just shows I'm not a young man any more ;).

Tomorrow, lunch with a couple of the women from where I used to work (nothing too exciting, it'll probably be the greasy Chinese restaurant over the road) and then probably a film in the afternoon, there are several I vaguely fancy seeing in the cinema even though I hear they aren't that good (Simpsons, Transformers, I hear that Earthsea looks pretty but the actual storyline has been truly bollocksed with), then on Wednesday afternoon my friend S is up from Brighton so we'll hopefully be able to meet.

Thursday and Friday I'm back at work, then it's down to my parents for a couple of days for the get together of the clan on my Father's side of the family. And before I forget, my thoughts and sympathy go out to Patrick and his family...

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Why I Don't Do Bi. Excellent article.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Evolving a Better Bridge. [via BoingBoing]

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Brent Reservoir North End
Originally uploaded by Loz Flowers
Gorgeous day today. Found a route through parkland to the Welsh Harp (well, the North end of the Brent Reservoir anyway). Once you get through the fairly average park bit to the reservoir it's very nice, with lots of colourful shrubbery at the lake's side. Once home from communing with nature I mowed the back lawn and cooked a surprisingly delicious shepherd's pie.

So, you can quite plainly see that I rock!

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Science Am Here!

Angry men get ahead, angry women are called incompetent and get paid less.

Inside Every Girl Mouse Brain Is a Swaggering Boy Mouse. [both via Scientific American]

At last! No more arguments with the Gaydar Sexual Orientation Detector! [via Sex and Blogs]

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New Zealand vegevores are advocating that vegans shouldn't have sex with non-veggies.

One vegan respondent from Christchurch said: "I believe we are what we consume, so I really struggle with bodily fluids, especially sexually."

...Christchurch vegan Nichola Kriek has been married to her vegan husband, Hans, for nine years.

..."When you are vegan or vegetarian, you are very aware that when people eat a meaty diet, they are kind of a graveyard for animals," she said.

When you are a meat eater you are very aware that when some people eat a non-meat diet they are kind of a real self-righteous pain in the arse. Is there any difference between a vegetarian and a carnivore at the cellular level?

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Nirpal Dhaliwal - Watch Part Fourteen

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight, Part Nine, Part Ten, Part Eleven, Part Twelve, Part Thirteen.

They bitch and fight, moan and carp and moan, bitch bitch bitch, moan moan moan, The Nirpal and Liz Jones Show!

So, singleton and ladies man Nirpal has been playing on his computer...

You have to be feisty to be a Facebook flirt
Evening Standard (London); Jul 4, 2007

I'VE JOINED the 4.3 million people poking and schmoozing each other on the social networking site, Facebook. It's proving an odd experience.

Since I put my profile on there, I've had a bunch of people trying to initiate dialogues. Some are in the media and have some professional reason for getting in touch. But of those who've contacted me for no apparent reason, it's been surprising to note that the overwhelming majority have been young women. Having a public reputation as a boorish, adulterous sleazebag, it seems, really stirs female curiosity.

Nirpal has spoken before on his deep-seated belief that women want men who will treat them like the dirty sluts they are.

I've replied to almost none of them. There is nothing sexy about a twentysomething pestering you online with a photo of herself sucking a beer bottle like it was a baby's dummy, offering the lame chat-up line: "Are you Nirpal Dhaliwal the writer, or just someone who shares his name?" Facebook shows that young women today have no idea of how to flirt. Their attempts to get my attention are wholly banal. "I've read all about you and your exwife," wrote one, "but don't worry, I'll never mention it with you".

"So why have you contacted me?" I replied. "To talk about the weather?" It would've been so much more attractive if she'd offered some caustic remark or pithy observation that sparked a spiky badinage. I love feisty women; but the women on Facebook are no modern Katharine Hepburns.

They look cute in their pictures, but are timid and boring beyond belief. Often I get a friendship request with no message, just a photo of her looking sweet and pretty. Do they expect me to respond to an approach as weak as that? I amuse myself with replies such as, "What the f*** do you want?"

Ahhh, what a way with words this master wordsmith has! Tell me more Nirpal, badinage me baby!

I've properly replied to only one, who wanted advice on becoming a writer. I gave her a few brief tips; but in reply, I got a tedious peroration on all her insecurities.

You'd think that anyone who knew who Nirpal was would also realise how shallow and self-absorbed he was.

Do women think that whining is the way to a man's heart? Right now, I'm seeing my ex-wife again and unpacking a lot of emotional baggage with her, so have even less interest in meeting these women.

Well, for a few weeks anyway.

After seven years together, I owed it to her to talk about our break- up, rather than simply disappear. Neither of us believes we have a future together, but we both agree I need to grow up which requires hearing some home truths. Swallowing my pride and listening to her tell me just how selfish I was deters me from inflicting myself on another woman.

Well, for a few weeks anyway.

But there is one delicious pleasure to be had on Facebook. I've had some old acquaintances poke me, wanting to buddy-up, none of whom I liked in the first place. Their advances drown in unresponsive silence. And it's so much more humiliating for them and exquisite for me to see their advances ignored rather than spurned..

Wow, Dorothy Parker must be simply livid that she'd dead and so can't meet this master of the withering put-down.

On the 11th of July Nirpal gives a piece comparing himself to P Diddy when it comes to fancying posh white girls, key sentences:

Upper-class English girls conduct themselves with such confidence and refinement that they blow boys from the lower orders away. I remember lying in bed with one and thinking I'd finally arrived, that I was somebody and not just trash destined for nothing. For her, I guess, I represented a rebellion and escape from her background. It was a disgraceful thought for me to have to think that sex with the white-skinned upper classes marked a sort of social triumph but it showed the power that race and class exert over people's imagination. It took me a while to realise that the controlled exterior those girls had cultivated at public school covered up a seething cauldron of hang-ups, and that they were as flawed and fallible as anyone.

You'd think he'd stop bringing Liz into his articles at some point.

On the 15th he takes The Observer's shilling and delivers a few hundred words on 'the alpha male', specifically Conrad Black and Alistair Campbell, the article is headlined Conrad, they're out to neuter us but, to be fair to him, Nirps doesn't specifically compare himself to either the embezzler or the liar in the text.

He returns to the subject of Facebook and his infidelity on the 18th of July.

High-tech life is a minefield for us love cheats
Evening Standard (London); Jul 18, 2007;

MODERN technology is no proof of human progress. Today's communications gadgetry only proves we members of Homo sapiens are the same retarded monkeys we've always been; except now we poke each other on Facebook rather than with sticks, and swap pictures via mobile phones rather than picking nits from one another's body hair.

The internet was supposed to enable our species to share meaningful ideas, but most people use it to watch porn and blow money on poker.

And lately, because of Facebook and MySpace, the web has become a forum for pointless self-promotion and networking, making it a cinch for institutions and employers to spy on you.

Some Oxford University students face being not being allowed to graduate and fined because officials cited photographs posted on Facebook of their drunken campus high jinks as evidence of disorderly conduct. Oxford students are supposed to be clever, but having uploaded pictures of themselves getting up to no good on a website with worldwide access, these dummies are now outraged that someone had the gall actually to use them against them.

"We believe the university's use of private photos from the Facebook site in disciplinary procedures is disgraceful," wailed one student union crybaby. It would have been better for him to advise other students to avoid trouble and not publicise what internet attention-seekers they are.

Because newspaper columnists are just shy and retiring types, just like Nirpal and his friend Julie Burchill, who positively fades into the background at all times.

But it's not just the net that's lulled people into dropping their guard; mobile phones are also becoming a store of information on our tawdry activities.

It appears Thierry Henry's transfer to Barcelona was as much to escape his irate wife as wanting to win the Champions League.

He faces having to fork out 10 million in alimony after she reportedly found compromising texts and pictures on his mobile phone.

It seems the former Arsenal captain learned nothing from David Beckham, famously busted for cheating with Rebecca Loos after she kept the saucy texts he sent her.

Henry and those Oxford undergraduates should realise that it's less public to have evidence of your wrongdoing tattooed on your face than in your phone or on the web.

And then, the class-act, from Mr 'I'm listening to my soon to be ex-wife and becoming a better person'.

But hey, we've all been there. My marriage hit the rocks when my wife found text messages between me and another woman. I am disgusted by my tardiness and realise my mistake.

I should've got myself a second SIM card. Tiny and easy to hide behind a credit card in my wallet, say I could've slipped it into my phone to check messages and texts whenever I was out of sight.

Hopefully this little tip will spare some of you the trouble I was too stupid to escape.

(Emphasis mine). That's Nirpal, forever wavering between 'I did the bad thing' and 'it's my bitch-wife's fault for finding out about my unfaithfulness, if she'd accepted my lies, we'd still be happily married'.

After a genuinely interesting article on the failures of Team Cameron in the Southall by-election for the Sunday Times on July the 22nd Nirpal is back on more familiar topics for his Evening Standard column mid-week:

Men and women can't just be 'friends', guys
Evening Standard (London); Jul 25, 2007;

THE movie The Walker, about the platonic friendship between a woman and her male chaperone, is released next month and has got female commentators buzzing about how male companions are the new Manolos.

It girl and shoe empress Tamara Mellon cites comedian David Walliams as her favourite platonic escort. But gallantly chaperoning ladies around town is no proof that a man is suave and urbane. It only shows that he's a sucker for being given the runaround. Apart from truly hopeless dopes, all men eventually realise that platonic relationships with women are bogus and degrading.

If you want a platonic relationship then that's what you have gay friends for, as established last month.

Until my early twenties, I thought befriending women was the way to get into their hearts and underwear. But getting trapped in that "friend" state is to be in a condition of sexless, abject exploitation.

Odd. A lot of other people, me included, have reported that they befriend women because they want to have women as friends. I must have been mad. Ladies, NORWICH!

I accompanied them to parties, bought them presents, paid them compliments and listened to their problems ad nauseam, only to watch them hook up with someone else who treated them like dirt in comparison.

...Before I had a chance to crush their spirits and break their souls!

If a man is serious about getting laid, he must never become friends with women; because women only become friends with men they will never fancy. But being pathologically in need of reassurance, they will have them hanging around in order to feel wanted and attractive.

So, by use of logic, Nirpal was never a friend to Liz.

Women love keeping male friends to make their partners

... Who they hate...

jealous and attentive. I wince when I remember being the idiot that my platonic girlfriends introduced to their boyfriends.

We'd make awkward stilted chitchat, while she stood aside to enjoy the frisson of envy and suspicion between us. If he's lucky, a woman might keep her man-pal on hand for revenge-sex (only to ditch him and go back to the one who cheated on her), or sperm donation when her body clock is ticking down.

Wow, Nirps had managed to go several sentences without a reference to Liz.

People should be honest and admit that platonic heterosexual relationships are totally bogus. It's a perverse dynamic of emotional intimacy and sexual distance that is humiliating for men. Some of these friendships do become sexualised but I suspect that when a woman says: "He grew on me" about a former friend, what she really means is "Someone more interesting never showed up." I've realised that it's best to lay my cards on the table. I'm not interested in just hanging out with women, and never have been.

It's no crime to want to have sex with them, and the ones I spend time with like me for wearing my heart on my sleeve. It adds a spark even if we never end up in bed. Women know what makes men tick, and will respect them for not getting sucked into the demeaning hell of friendship with them..

Does Nirpal not even suspect that the reason he has so few female friends might be completely unconnected to his cock?

Anyway, that's almost it for Nirpal. I did come across a short piece he wrote as a review of The Trouble With Asian Men which gives Nirps the chance to talk about his marriage again. It also shows that he is truly clueless when it comes to the relationships between the sexes:

The columnist Johann Hari called me an “unreconstructed misogynist”. But calling an Asian male a “misogynist” is the lamest cliché going. I was never violent, rarely raised my voice, and my wife’s income tripled during our marriage. I hardly held her back. I was a rubbish husband; but that’s no proof of misogyny.

I'm not sure why calling an Asian man a misogynist is lamer than calling a white man the same, but it does highlight that Nirpal doesn't actually know what a misogynist is, thinking it to be a man who beats up and oppresses his wife.

And what of Liz? Well, one Cliff Jones (no relation, we presume) writes to the Mail on the 27th asking her to go back to her husband because he finds her accounts of domestic misery more entertaining than her writing about fashion.

Most of her writing last month was about fashion, there's a good article from the 12th about the fashion industry still dragging it's feet about not using unhealthily thin models. It seems there was only one edition of her diary last month, in which she gives her perspective on Nirpal's confident assertion that they were back together:

Liz Jones's diary ; In which I find out he loves me more than I love him
The Mail on Sunday (London); Jul 29, 2007;

God, I wouldn't even type the above sentence if I wanted us to get back together again, would I? I have, over the course of the past few days, been manipulative, scheming, self-serving and downright badly behaved. I have wanted revenge, oh so desperately, and I think that now I have it. Let me fill you in.

After he stayed that night he phoned me and asked me out for dinner. I could tell he was in a bad mood just from the sound of his voice, and when he turned up, late, in the restaurant his face was like thunder. 'I listened to you all last night berating me for seeing other women, and I took it, but you were to blame, too.' I stood up. 'I am not going to sit here and be told off by you,' I told him, and all the waiters were staring at me.

'You got back in touch with me, not the other way round.' And I stormed out and got into my car. As I was driving off, he jumped in. 'Let's go to my flat,' he said, so we did. It was an awful comedown from our Georgian house: a basement bedsit with rubbish on the front step and a resident rat. His bed was unmade and his kitchen sink was filled with greasy water and millions of mugs. I suddenly felt sorry for him, and so when he suggested we snuggle under his Woolworths duvet to get warm, I agreed. We had sex, and he told me again and again how beautiful I am.

Oh Liz, Liz, Liz, shagging someone who wants to shift the blame for his unfaithfulness and making you miserable on to you. I'd ask where your self-respect was if you don't make it abundantly clear that you know what the word means as well as Nirpal understands the definition of 'misogyny'. And, just so we're clear, when you were having sex this time did he ask you: 'Who's the boss?' Did this question throw you? Did you initially not give him a reply? Did he entice it from you? Did you finally gasp 'You are,'?.

After sex, I got up to leave. I told him I had an early start in the morning. 'Can I call you tomorrow?' he said.

'This doesn't mean anything,' I said, gesturing at the bed while I did up my jodhpurs (I had gone to dinner straight from riding Lizzie). 'You're not even my boyfriend.' The next day, he called me again, and he came round, bringing dinner (he lost points for bringing new potatoes in a tin) and a bunch of white roses the size of a hippo. He had a huge grin on his face. We watched TV, and he told me he had daydreamed about this moment: cooking dinner in our kitchen, sitting on the sofa watching TV with me. The next morning, as I was leaving for work, all dressed up in a black Miu Miu suit and Prada white shirt, I asked him what he wanted to do. He was washing his face in the bath when he said, 'Well, I have to decide whether to blow off all these other women.' I said, 'Oh, I thought you said they were all boring, unattractive morons,' and he said, 'Well, this woman called Karen called me yesterday, and asked me out.' I went for him. I told him that he was mucking me about, that the decision about whether to get back together or not was up to me, not him, and that I had decided. He could bugger off and get out of my life. He had cheekily put my front door key on his key ring, and I took it off and told him not to be there when I got back. I was in a taxi much later when I got his voice mail.

'Lizzie, I'm really, really sorry, darling. I do want to make a go of us; I am not going to see other girls. I love you; I am going to change. I forgot how sexy you look in your black suit. I will carry on living outside the house, I will live in my hovel feeling sad and eating biscuits. Maybe I could use it as an office during the day to give you some space? The ball is totally in your court. I am really, really sorry I got us into this mess.' I couldn't decide whether to call him back or not.

When I got home, I sent him an email, saying we hadn't got back together, and that I needed time to think about it. I didn't tell him that I have already put my (our) house on the market, or that I am planning to move to Norfolk and never see anyone human ever again.

I have just received this email back: 'Don't leave me dangling, Fatty.' xx

More next month!

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Crying Over Imaginary People

Escape Pod has done well recently with some really great stories.

There's Cinderella Suicide by Samantha Henderson, a treasure hunt tale in a cyberpunk alternate Australia on a world that had it's technological revolution almost concurrently with it's industrial one. It uses a dialect that, like A Clockwork Orange , might take you a while to slip into, but then you should spin with it all shipshape mine droogs.

Squonk The Dragon and Squonk The Apprentice by P.M. Butler are, strictly speaking, stories for children, but adults can enjoy them too. Squonk is a dragon, abandoned as an egg and hatched and brought up by Mrs Tweedle-Chirp, a redoubtable little bird. Their tree in the forest is shared with Wendel the Wizard who is, based on dragon's usual eating habits, initially not keen on his neighbours. The title of the second story should be enough to give you an idea of it's contents. Very funny.

The Giving Plague by David Brin is a clever story about a scientist who discovers a virus that might be considered 'good', it encourages generosity. And what happens when a 'good' virus meets a 'bad' person? It's a bit long but still worth a listen.

Then there's Conversations With and About My Electric Toothbrush by Derek Zumsteg. It's a funny and short story about a sentient electric toothbrush that wants more out of it's life than just keeping it's owner's mouth clean. It's the insane optimism that makes me laugh.

And the one I listened to most recently was Ej-Es by Nancy Kress and wonderfully read by Sheri Mann Stewart. It starts off on fairly standard lines, explorers find the remains of a human colony, long ago fallen apart and now just a few near savage survivors. But it is one of those stories where everything hinges on the last five minutes and the reversal of the usual trope, terribly logical based on the preceding story but still somehow unexpected and moving.

Escape Pod also tries to broadcast the nominees for the Hugo Awards, in the short story category, something I don't particularly care about. They tend to always sound weaker than the rest of the stories we get throughout the rest of the year. I enjoyed The House Beyond Your Sky by Benjamin Rosenbaum, which marries Iain M. Banks crazy science-fiction pyrotechnics with domestic abuse, although it's arguably a story easier to understand read rather than heard.

There was only one story they couldn't get the rights for, Neil Gaiman's How to Talk to Girls at Parties , but luckily Neil's done it himself and stuck it up at his site. It's a funny story about how boys are from Mars and girls from somewhere else that astronomers aren't even arguing over what to call it yet.

That should keep you out of mischief for a while. If, on the other hand, you're looking for mischief, you'll be wanting Air Out My Shorts.

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From the More Money Than Sense department, the lovely but pricey Google News Cushion.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

The Hypocrisy of anti-trans "feminism" at National Women's Studies Association. [via Feministing]. I've not really talked too much about the Julie Bindel/Hecklers thing here, it's something I posted to my LJ but it's made me interested in the anti-trans 'Feminist' position.

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Argh! I want to pinch Nick Francis' bum, with a vice. What? It's just harmless 'fun'.

This, on the other hand, is just vile.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Someone has finally been charged in relation to the shameful and unnecessary death of Jean Charles de Menezes. Unfortunately it's not in relation to his death at the hands of British police, but taking so long to tell Police Commissioner Ian Blair that he wasn't actually a terror suspect but just someone in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Piracy Scores Another Own Goal.

I'm currently downloading Babylon 5: The Lost Tales 1 . That wouldn't be necessary if Warners released it over here or even better, if it hadn't been decided, when DVDs were invented, to split the world into Regions, so I can't buy a copy from the United States. Sadly, I'm forced to get it for free.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Don't Blink!

Science, Holborn Viaduct
Originally uploaded by Loz Flowers
Don't even blink, blink and you're dead. Don't turn your back, don't look away and don't blink! Good luck.

237 reasons for making sex.

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