More tsunami stuff

I can't stop looking or reading. If you've not already donated, donate to help the victims. If you've already donated, give again, dammit. The power of the network is kicking in to solve the few problems that it can: The Tsunami Help Blog has all the links you need and a constant stream of reports from people on the ground Flickr has a harrowing gallery of the missing starting up, and WikiNews is collecting links to lists of missing and found tsunami victims from all nations. NPR has a comprehensive collection of tsunami information links
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You can't just make stuff up

Okay, right now, before this gets out of hand, I'm going to put a stop to this: "dooced" is not a word, okay? I don't care that the BBC wrote a cutesy technology article about it, although urban dictionary has it, with multiple definitions and votes, which is more suprising. There are only 6000 references to it in Google (as of time of writing) and most of those refer to the UrbanDictionary entry or the aforementioned article. 6000 entries does not a word make. By contrast, "blog", which was only made a dictionary word this year, has 99 million entries, which is surely some sort of theoretical limit to Google's searching capabilities anyway. The etymology of the term is simple. Heather of dooce.com (which is, incidentally, pretty funny) lost her job over her blog. Cue over-excited journalists and the incestuous world of the top-notch bloggers, and you a word that thinks it is altogether more popular than it really is. It's a stupid word that doesn't aid understanding any more than "fired"....
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It's my party and I'll blog if I want to

You know what's pointless and stupid and repetitive? Online quizzes, that's what. And I'm on vacation, so I have plenty of time to do pointless repetitive things! It's raining today -- and I mean raining, the kind of torrential downpour that leaves you thinking about the possibility of flash flooding and mudslides -- so the ritual repetition of "suntan, burn, apply aftersun" is unavailable to me, and in any case, my burn from yesterday is still going, so I should probably take a break. So quizzes it is. These are mainly via Jon and Elfy, who appear to spend their lives duplicating each other. First up: You scored as Nerd Cat. Holy crap, poindexter. Try buying some new specs instead of taping them together. Yeah, Bill Gates made a lot of money, but he's also the devil. You've got a long way to go.Couch Potato Cat50%Nerd Cat50%Love Machine Cat50%Derranged Cat42%Pissed at the World Cat25%Ninja Cat8%Drunk Cat0%Which Absurd Cat are you?created with QuizFarm.com The geek label was pretty...
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Resolutions

I actually do these every year, but because of the superstition about keeping them secret, I generally just forget they exist. I'm like that. So screw tradition. Here are my new year's resolutions (I will update this list and add more later): Gain a more in-depth knowledge of speciality subjects that interest me but are not related to my job. So far this includes: comic books (spurred by an excellent Christmas present; the science is not nearly so interesting as the discovery that nearly all of DC's characters have 2 origin stories, that the Fantastic Four are Marvel's oldest characters, that Peter Parker's original girlfriend was Gwen Stacey, that American comic book heroes started fighting the Nazis two months before America did, and that the Comic Code of America was introduced because comic books were thought to be related to a rise in juvenile crime) architecture (what exactly is Georgian, anyway?) history of computing (beep!) Write more often, and publish more often. I love writing and...
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But I wouldn't have Shreddies and tea because they are both brown

I am currently reading the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, my first non-SF book in quite some time... somebody said the protagonist (who has asperger's syndrome) reminded them of myself, and I have to say with a certain degree of worry that I agree. The world would be so much NICER if it were made up of lists and numbers and people said exactly what they meant. I also feel compelled to make a list of all the people I know who should read this book in order to have their own behaviour described to them, so that they might understand why other people sometimes find it puzzling or aggravating. And the fact that I feel compelled to make such a list suggests that I should be on the list myself. Update: This was the first book in a long time that I completed in a single day, and the first in an even longer time that made me cry. Were I not currently stuck in the persona of a 15 year old boy with Asperger's syndrome and no knowledge of idioms, I would refer to it as being a little too close...
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My Island Paradise

Today my mom and I visited the Asa Wright Nature Centre, a world-reknowned (allegedly) bird-watching centre that any tree-hugging hippy (I'm looking at you) would love. The centre itself has recently clamped down on day-trippers wrecking the environment, so you're no longer just allowed to walk around for free -- you have to walk in a group, for a charge of £5 each (which is exorbitant if you're a Trini, but sounds quite reasonable once converted). It was quite pleasant but very slow, as our guide Jason (who was in his early twenties and quite pretty) spent a long time explaining everything we were seeing. It was extremely informative, or would have been informative, if we weren't natives of the country who knew all the stuff he was telling the tourists anyway. I also tried my hand at photography, which several people have sneered at for being subjectless and not bothering to fiddle the photos through photoshop, but whatever, I'm trying to give an impression here. .pic { text-align:...
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I blog because I care

And also because I have to. I said I'd blog every day, I didn't say it would be rivetting. Today I've done almost nothing -- again -- because there was nothing to do. I'm on vacation though, so that's okay, but it's been raining so I haven't got in the hours of sunshine I really require. Tomorrow I'm going down the islands though -- taking dad's boat down a teeny-tiny little archipelago, where people who live in Trinidad go to get away from the hustle and bustle of being on a little island thousands of miles away from anywhere interesting. Expect some more poorly-composed pictures and commentary. In the meantime, I'll be watching the Stargate: Atlantis marathon on the sci-fi channel, because I've got nothing else to do and I've read enough Modern World History for today (thanks, M). American cable TV is amazing in the way that 500 channels, each of which individually have nothing on, can keep you occupied for hours simply flicking between them looking for something to watch.
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2004: a review

In easy-to-read, quizmeme format. Yes, if I'm blogging every day, quizzes are going to have to make a reappearance because, frankly, nobody is that personally creative. However, posting this now means I can put off the big photo-post I should do of my little excursion down the islands. Maybe if you people are very good I'll do both today. Onwards! What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before? I met a deadline! 2004 is the year I remembered how to work hard, having forgotten sometime in 2000. Shame about that uni career. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I can't remember what mine were last year, here are this year's. Did anyone close to you give birth? Not terribly close, but a girl who I knew in my childhood has two kids now. Did anyone close to you die? Luckily, not anyone terribly close, but I did attend a funeral which was very moving. What countries did you visit? Sadly, only Trinidad and Britain. And Barbados, if you count...
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My Island Paradise, part 2

Today's installment of photos are from "down the islands". Already small Trinidad has a tiny archipelago of even smaller islands of its north-west tip. These are a popular spot for holiday homes -- even when you already live away from most of it, there's still a temptation to get away from it all. I spent a lot of my childhood down the islands, in an ancient colonial house with no running water and only a patchy supply of electricity. Since then electricity supplies have improved and mains water is even available on some of the islands, but the majority are still largely untouched. .pic { text-align: center; } Our vehicle for the day was my dad's boat Sweet Lime, a power boat with an outboard motor and a distinctive Trinidadian flag. As you can see, the islands have a distinctive profile which you're going to see over and over. The island in the picture is Monos, where my parents share a house. Apart from the holiday homes at the waterline it is completely uninhabited. Monos and its...
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Planet Seldo

Inconvenienced by the continued absence of Planet Afterlife? Then I invite you to peruse Planet Seldo. It uses the same software to do exactly the same thing. The name is temporary in case Wabson would prefer that I didn't usurp his copyright. Otherwise, if he would be so good as to send me the copy of planet.css he was using, I can make it look exactly like the old Planet Afterlife and change the name. In the meantime, hope you find this useful! Planet Seldo updates every 20 minutes. If there are any feeds you'd like to see added let me know.
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Mini meta-blog: on blogging frequency

So apparently, blogging every day is making it easier to think of stuff worth blogging about. My current working theory for this phenomenon is statistical. I nearly did actual graphs for this, but decided it would be too much trouble. Let's assume that the only time you blog is when you have something interesting to blog about. Specifically, and this is important, it's something relatively interesting, in the literal sense that it needs to be interesting relative to everything else that's gone on in the period. If you drew a graph of "interestingness of events" over time for a period, you'd have a line with a bunch of spikes. Everybody's life, no matter how dull or interesting it is, tends to have a sort of "average interest level". For a very long period, the graph would look almost like a flat line around this average: nothing would be relatively interesting, so it would be hard to think of anything to blog about. On the other hand, if you blogged every day, your sample size is tiny, so the...
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On geekiness being hereditary

It's established knowledge that genes for geekiness are hereditary. In fact, so much so that the high concentration of geeks marrying other geeks in Silicon Valley is leading to an epidemic of autism and Asperger's syndrome in their children, as double-geek genes magnify to produce children who are too smart to interact with the ordinary world. So, did I inherit my own geekiness from my mom or my dad? I always assumed, in a rather sexist way, that if I got it from anyone it would be from my dad. After all, he's the chemical engineer with the gadgets and the workshop, right? But on closer examination of their professions and their careers, perhaps not. Mom has a degree in education -- specifically, physical education. Dad on the other hand has a degree in chemical engineering, clearly the geekier of the two disciplines. But after university, their careers took different tracks. My dad became engineer, certainly -- but only initially. Soon he became a manager, then a director, then a chairman of...
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My Island Paradise, part 3

I didn't go very far or do anything particularly interesting today, because I'm on holiday and I don't have to. So today's entry is all about where I'm staying. We start today's story with the view from my window. It's a big picture-window directly behind the desk I sit at as I type this, and the view looks like this: .pic { text-align: center; } The window that I'm looking out of is in my parents' house. My parents' house looks a lot like this: Although not exactly like this, since this is the house up the hill from our house. The development has a lot of houses all designed by the same architect. My parents' house is surrounded by a lot more greenery, like this: Although this is still not my parents' house, but the one next door. My parents house is a bit different to the other houses in the development because they spent a bit of time adding their own touches. One of my favourites has been the addition of a lot of stained glass everywhere, like this one at the top...
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On globalization being self-limiting

I went on a bit of an excursion to the oft-ignored eastern end of the island today with my dad. I have a bunch of photos, but I've done rather a lot of them recently and I have a lot of good blogging material stored up. So tomorrow it will be shots of coconuts, flowers, sun and a spider, and in the meantime it will be globalization. Those with no interest in economics, tune out now. This whole idea arose from a conversation with my dad. A bit about my dad: he was, until he retired, the head of a large local branch of a big multinational corporation (which shall remain nameless, but you'd have heard of it). As such, although his influence was relatively small, he was privy to all the same meetings and the type of information you'd expect the CEO of a big multinational to know about. He's the kind of person whose very existence makes leftists angry; the kind of guy who says "what's wrong with a monopoly anyway?". If there are any people who can be viewed as being "on the inside" of the much-maligned...
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Mac Mini and iPod shuffle

Now, don't go ignoring my ever so thoughtful post of globalization below, but I really felt I needed to blog about Apple's two latest products, both of which are masterpieces. I'm in awe. Mac Mini It's a Mac desktop. Only it's 6 inches wide, 2 inches high, and doesn't have a keyboard, monitor or a mouse. It's a Mac basic. And this is a genius idea. Suddenly cheap-ass PC users can swap their $500 commodity box for a shiny new iBox without needing to fork out on a new Mac-everything at the same time. Then they can slowly upgrade to an Apple mouse, keyboard, monitor, iBook, G5. It's the upgrade path from PC to Mac, and it's going to be a hit as such. It's also going to get a lot of use out of the kind of people who buy computers that don't need a keyboard and a mouse -- or at least, not most of the time. The people who need a computer-as-appliance, and the fact that it's tiny means that it's ideal for making it your living room media server, your kitchen browser, your in-car jukebox, etc.. But enough...
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My Island Paradise, part 4: sunshine and spiders

The most recent set of photos was taken in two distinct sets, so I'm blogging them separately. We begin today's tour with a reminder: .pic { text-align: center; } This is the sun. Remember what that looks like? It looks like that here all the time. This is the view from the roof of my parents' house again. The sun was shining so it looked a bit nicer. This is the roof of my parents' house. Note the rainbow glass from the outside. That thing in the corner on the left... ...is the hot tub. And yes, that little silver thing on the left there is a champagne holder. My parents don't live in the same world as I do. This is the view from the hot tub. I bet you didn't even realise a hot tub needed a view, right? Well, now you know. Then I got bored and started taking pictures of the shrubbery. This is a pale pink bougainvillea, originally from Brazil (apparently. I learn a lot about my country whenever I start trying to explain it to other...
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My Island Paradise, part 5: coconuts and crix

Yesterday my dad and I went on an unplanned jaunt off to the other end of the island. For those of you who are following along and making notes (well, you might be...), here's a map: .pic { text-align: center; } We started a little west of the big star that is Port of Spain, across to Sangre Grande (literally "Big Blood", named after a massacre of the indians who lived there... isn't colonial history sweet?) and then along the coast, roughly along the second of those three big curves on the eastern coast that look like big beaches because -- surprise! -- they're really long beaches. Because Trinidad is really tiny, this whole trip -- even along really bad roads -- takes a bit more than 90 minutes. Our vehicle for today's excursion was my dad's truly obscene BMW SUV, of which he is very proud, and insisted I take a picture. Mayaro used to be a big coconut-growing region. So you drive along a lot of road which look like this. And you eventually get to a coast...
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Back to the grey

Yesterday's blogging absence was me travelling 6,000 miles. It's dark and it's thirty degrees colder and the tube smells like shit, and I mean actual shit. On the other hand, I have my double monitors back and ah! sweet, blessed broadband. The first world does have some benefits. Popstarz anyone? P.S. Could everyone please calm the fuck down over Prince Harry? It was a costume in poor taste. Find something more important to talk about. Oh, and I scored 48 in the systematizing quotient test. From the test: You have an above average ability for analysing and exploring a system. On average women score about 24 and men score about 30. Most people with Asperger Syndrome or high functioning autism score between 40-50 Oops. I'm borderline Asperger's, apparently. Or even not very borderline. I'm sure I was just answering with knowledge of the test though, so let's try the empathy quotient test instead: 26. D'oh! You have a lower than average ability for understanding how other people feel and...
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Temporary absence

I'm off to deepest darkest Oxfordshire for a birthday party in 2 minutes, so there won't be much interesting blogging today. Popstarz last night was good despite my massively sleep-deprived state... unfortunately, I may have burned off all the energy reserves I built up on my vacation in a single night. Oops. Oh well, sleep is for the week. Also, commisserations to my future housemate J who got hit on the head by a flying bottle and spent the evening in casualty(!). I didn't even hear about it until hours after the event. Speaking of future housemates, I realise I haven't mentioned here yet that I'm moving house :-) Yes, from February 11th I will (hopefully) be in the sunny climes of Finsbury Park -- I'm movin' on up to zone 2, baby. As far as I know housemate J doesn't have a blog, but other housemate T does. God, I need sleep. Or more caffeine. Mmmm, lucozade and Maynard sours for breakfast.
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Sense of occasion

Last night I went to dinner with a bunch of my UK sort-of-family (various divorces and remarriages mean they're not family at all, really, but we treat them as such). It was a black-tie do. Now, if you've spent any time with me you've probably heard my rant about suits (although I notice I haven't blogged about it: to do). It was strange, however, the way a bunch of (extremely fine) crystal and (very old) china plus a bunch of posh frocks and tuxedos converted the evening from "dinner" into... well, an event. Of course, it doesn't prove anything -- maybe we'd have got along as well if we hadn't all been dressed like monkeys -- but it certainly was special. However, I suspect the amazing food, fabulous dessert and divine post-dinner cheeses may have had something to do with that as well. Anyway, it was all very entertaining, and please invite me again. I may have looked like a trapped monkey in my suit but I was a trapped monkey being fed extremely fine cheese. It was a pointless hoop to jump through,...
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Invisible black

Tonight London social life kicked into gear again when we went to see Festen, an excellent and deeply disturbing play. If you would like to see it stop reading now, as what I want to write about involves revealing a few major plot elements which might spoil it for you. Gone yet? Go on. Go. Right. In my now-usual Motorcycle Diaries fashion* the curtain went up without me having an inkling that incest was a central theme of the play, so I was even more shocked than the rest of the audience when the family's "dark secret" (as every review insists on calling it) is revealed. And so, maybe, having already been noticeably more shocked than the others around me earlier, I was more aware when it happened again. The play also touches briefly on racism, in a clever scene that brings humour to the play and also provokes thought about our contrasting attitudes to these two generally abhorrent topics. Namely, that while "abhorrent" is a name readily applied to incest, I don't think I would find...
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Hee hee

This morning I have been fixing style sheets, modifying text-manipulation functions, estimating development schedules and planning architectural changes. And they pay me! Sometimes I really love my job. Update: since I'm moving, why not take my old room? It's fab, I promise, and uber-cheap! Tonight I went out with my future housemates for the first time in a housemates-only context, and it was fun and made me really excited about moving. Roll on Finsbury Park!
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Noooo!

11.52 and I haven't blogged! Nearly broke my resolution! M comes round to visit on Wednesday evenings to cook. This means I do non-Internetty stuff all evening. So I have not much to blog, except that I won free entry to Popstarz this week (by entering a competition on their website), possibly the only week I'm not intending to go. Dammit! Anyone want to pretend to be me on Friday?
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Dammit!

Okay, so there was no blog yesterday. So I'll just have to blog twice today to make up for that. I don't really have an excuse for yesterday; I just got caught up writing a cute little application to manage the feeds in Planet Seldo for me. Now that Planet Afterlife is back on its feet (and long may it reign!), PS is going to be taking a different direction, and will consist of a bunch of interesting non-Warwick feeds, with a new look. Look for it this evening, hopefully. P.S. "Virgins in the Valley" by Gabi and the Whoremoans is one of the best new songs I've heard in ages. Ask me for a copy.
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Exactly how I'm crazy

DisorderRatingParanoid:LowSchizoid:ModerateSchizotypal:HighAntisocial:HighBorderline:LowHistrionic:HighNarcissistic:Very HighAvoidant:LowDependent:LowObsessive-Compulsive:Moderate-- Personality Disorder Test - Take It! -- I'm sure no one will be surprised to learn that I "seek attention and praise" and am "self-centered". It gets quite close to the bone though: They tend to be choosy about picking friends, since they believe that not just anyone is worthy of being their friend. They tend to make good first impressions, yet have difficulty maintaining long-lasting relationships. They are generally uninterested in the feelings of others and may take advantage of them. Whoops! I didn't realise that was a common psychosis. Likewise, the schizoidal stuff sounds like me: They sometimes believe to have extra sensory ability or that unrelated events relate to them in some important way. They generally engage in eccentric behavior and have difficulty concentrating for long periods of time. Their speech...
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Must try harder

Okay, not been doing terribly well about posting every day, have I? I do have stuff to write about, I've just not been in the mood to do so. Life's busy, what can I say? Went to an OUT party last night with Moz, who's visiting from Basingstoke. Low attendance + free bar == lots of very drunk people, but I believe a good time was had by all. In the meantime, check my linklog for the story of that amazing VW Polo ad.
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Projecting

Ever since I discovered the Internet, I've had a habit -- which I have made a conscious effort to maintain -- of continuous exploration and tinkering. I could say, to make myself sound terribly clever and in-control, that having founded one reasonably successful career on skills I taught myself by reading stuff on the Internet, it would seem reasonable to assume I could do it again. But really, the career thing was a total accident, and I still can't believe people pay me to do what I love. I tinker because I like tinkering. Currently, as my del.icio.us linklog hints, I'm tinkering in Java with an MSN client. The idea being that I'll create a little robot who logs on to MSN and waits for messages from me, and then posts them to my blog. Hurrah! So far I've got a little robot that logs on to MSN and then crashes and burns, but you've got to start somewhere.
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I really must get back into the habit of keeping a notebook by my bed for writing down the thoughts...

I really must get back into the habit of keeping a notebook by my bed for writing down the thoughts that occur to me at 2 in the morning. I swear I had a really good idea for a blog last night. Perhaps it'll come to me, stream-of-consciousness style. I don't blog about work, usually. It's generally pointless to vent spleen about people or policies, and generally boring otherwise. It can also get you fired, something I'm anxious not to happen. So suffice to say that yesterday was a particularly bad day, in which an enormous number of things went wrong* and I was very discouraged. But today people did the right things, and said the right things, and I even managed to come up with a useful solution to a difficult problem. So today was good. See? I told you it was boring. I'm really looking forward to moving now; I've got all psyched up about my new neighbourhood although seeing so many people enthusiastic about my new room makes me worry that I'll miss it! I would have said that "everything that could...
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Comment fucking spam

That's it. Those comment-spamming bastards knocked all my domains offline for an hour by overloading my server. Henceforth all comments on all MT blogs on my server are disabled until further notice. I will probably be switching away from MovableType, too.
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Sociability

Various discussions of house-moving and housemates, both from where I am now into my new place and for choosing a replacement for me where I am now, have made me think about sociability in general and my own in particular. "Am I a sociable person?", I ask myself, as I sit alone in my room talking to friends via the Internet and pouring my soul into my blog, ignoring my flatmates in the next room. But still, I don't think I'm antisocial -- after all, I *am* socialising, currently directly with three people simultaneously, not counting the indirect contact with the hundred-odd regular readers (really!) of this blog. I go out regularly, text constantly, and email during the day the people who are out of reach of the other methods. To be certain, I don't spend an awful lot of time physically in the presence of other people, apart from going out. I'm not one of those people who turn up at a friend's house and hang out the whole day doing not much, or who kill the hours in the evening chatting to...
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Fuck bars

My week started well, but then rapidly declined. Work was shit because of infrastructural issues that prevented my doing anything useful, which frustrated me no end. Home life was stressful because of having to juggle prospective flatmates and current flatmates (although hopefully by the end of tonight that will have been sorted as they seem to like them all, and vica versa. Once I get my deposit back I'm not too bothered). Then my already crap mood was then deepened by the mistake of spending several hours at a bar. First, let's define: pub Quiet, spacious establishment with lots of tables and comfy chairs, and an uncrowded bar with friendly serving wenches/whatever the male equivalent of a wench is (lad?) bar Crowded, noisy establishment with no chairs to be found and loads of little ledges for leaning drinks on and not much else. Frequently also full of smoke, and compound the conversational noise with music. I mean, I realise that alcohol is fun and everything, even if I don't do it...
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Decisions, decisions...

I dunno. You decide, okay? And unrelated apart from the tenuous link that decisions can have graphical consequences, my current score on the political compass: Your political compass Economic Left/Right: 4.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.00 My continuing slide rightward continues...
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Beautiful mistakes

I never implemented either of these designs for Seldo.Com, but sometimes I wish I had, especially that ying yang confection -- totally impractical, but fun to look at. Clicky for full-sized versions (yes, it really would have been more than 1000 pixels wide... Listening to: Belle and Sebastian, Expectations: Tell veronica the secrets of the boy you never kissed She’s got everything to gain ’cause she’s a fat girl with a lisp Thinking about: the stance of the Liberal Democrats on the welfare state, and the desirability of a Global Standard Culture. Working on: yet another thing I won't finish.
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Deco-fabulous

Planet Seldo has been updated with a look and feel, at long last. It took surprisingly long to get even such a simple look down, and of course it was instantly wrecked by Dom posting 2000 full-sized pictures of himself. But the boxes are stretchy up to 2000 pixels, which is nice. Consider it a preview of where general look and feel of Seldo.Com is headed.
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Homesick for a place that doesn't exist

I went to see Garden State this evening. It's an excellent movie with quite important things to say, and it also made me think a lot -- not necessarily about what was in the movie. You know that point in your life when you realize that the house that you grew up in isn’t really your home anymore? All of the sudden, even though you have some place where you can put your shit, that idea of home is gone. You’ll see when you move out... it just sort of happens one day, and it’s just gone. And you can never get it back. It’s like you get homesick for a place that doesn’t exist. I mean it’s like this rite of passage, you know. You won’t have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start, it’s like a cycle or something. I miss the idea of it. Maybe that’s all family really is. A group of people who miss the same imaginary place. This evening, I was talking to a friend, and -- in the context of trying to find someone to date who was...
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