Stamping Butterflies

Stamping Butterflies, by Jon Courtenay

I really like Jon Courtenay Grimwood's books. He writes science fiction that tends to be based in North Africa, with all the flavour you would expect from that.

This, his latest, is a bit more sedate than his previous high-tension rollercoasters, but is beautiful and intricate. It's less science fiction than previously, but still delightfully weird. Quite enjoyed it.

Available for a loan if you can get it off me.

Invasion Day 2005

Australia Day at Scott's
Last night we marked Australia Day, commemorating the big land-grab that was whitey's arrival in Australia, with a barbecue in Scott's backyard. Being in London, it is of course the coldest, bitterest part of Winter. So we even had a brief snow shower.

Photos here. Thanks for hosting Scott, and particularly thanks for knocking up the brazier that kept us all warm.

Let Habib tell his story

The Australia government is attempting to stop illegally imprisoned Australian Mamdouh Habib from selling his story to the press when he is returned from Guantanamo Bay. They're apparently trying to use laws that stop people from profiting from crimes.

Now, of course, I'm not going to argue about said laws (though you have to wonder whether giving criminals a clean revenue stream might perhaps help them stick to the straigh-and-narrow, cf Chopper) but it's outrageous that they're attempting to stick it on these. How can you apply "proceeds of crime" laws to someone who has not even been charged with any crimes, despite the incredibly draconian anti-terror laws in both the US and Australia?

Go for it Habib. At the very least, you might get some recompense for the last few stolen years. You don't stand much chance of getting justice from the US Government, that's for sure.

Jerry Springer: The Opera

Does it mean we're getting old to say we stayed in Saturday evening to watch opera on the telly?

Of course it wasn't just any opera but Jerry Springer: The Opera. I never thought I'd see an opera with the line "three-nippled cousin fucker" sung.

Of course the wowsers are getting into a froth about it without having seen it as usual. But it was brilliant, a real poke in the eye of staid, dull highbrow art.

I think I want to see the live version now...

Musical Russian Roulette

Everyone's doing it, or so it seems, so here's the first ten tracks selected randomly from my entire music collection:

  • Mr Bungle - None of Them Knew They Were Robots
  • Frost - In Memoriam (The Silent Spring Mix)
  • Mongo Santamaria - Secret Admirer
  • Peace Orchestra - Henry
  • The Dandy Warhols - Cool Scene
  • Punjabi MC - Mirza Part 2
  • Asian Dub Foundation - Journey
  • The Beatles - Honey Pie
  • Transvision Vamp - Hanging Out With Halo Jones
  • Vincent Gallo - Sixteen Seconds Happy

Regurgitator - Mish Mash

Just got my copy of Regurgitator's new album, Mish Mash. Have to say, it hasn't really grabbed me. The album was recorded over 21 days with the band locked inside a plastic box in Melbourne's Federation Square. I think the strain of recording under corporate and fan eyes kinda shows.

First few tracks are kinda hip-hoppy. Second track, My Friend Robot is poppy stuff reminiscent of Unit. Fave choon at the moment is I Was Sent By God To Get You Off which starts off with the rant of some crazed Xtian loon, presumably recorded during the Band in a Bubble thing.

Nothing near as good as Eduardo and Rodriguez, the previous album. If you have no idea who Regurgitator are, they're one of Australia's most inventive bands. Go and buy Jingles. You won't be disappointed.

Blog software without a database?

The other half has decided she wants her own blog. So I've been looking around for some blogging software she can use. Blosxom is all well and good for geeks like me, but she needs something that doesn't require her to know HTML.

Blosxom has some plug-ins that would appear to be the business: web forms that allow you to create entries from a web page (rather than a text editor, as I usually do it) and that use Wiki-style markup to automagically interpret two carriage returns as a <p> and the like. Problem is, the Wiki plugins just don't fscking work!

So can anyone suggest a piece of blog software that doesn't use a database (talk about using a fscking sledgehammer to crack a nut), is free software does RSS, doesn't require knowledge of HTML and, preferably, is written in Perl?

I'd set her up with Blogger but I'm not that keen on giving our passwords to third-parties, particularly when they'll use it over ftp, which I'd also prefer not to run on my server.

pred.txt arrived

Predator and some
hairy freak

I just got my copy of pred.txt, the book form of the collected writings and rantings by pivotal C@talyst hardware geek <predator> who died this year and will be sorely missed. The book collects his various text files, long email diatribes and the like for easy reading.

<pred> was always vehemently pro-text and pro-freedom so the book is a great tribute to the man and his philosophy on life. But it still seems a bit weird reading someone not-necessarily-intended-for-public-consumption writings. That said, I'm quite looking forward to plowing through the very articulate and generally very entertaining words of the man.

<pred>, we miss you.