Second helpings

There should be more impromptu barbecues (hosted by M or otherwise) that result in entire evenings on intense conversation, ranging from debate on whether evolutionary impulses or social conditioning are a better explanation of human behaviour to several hours on Bob Bloody Geldof, Live 8, and poverty reduction in general. Extra points to D for attempting to link the two by claiming evolutionary impulses produce right-wing behaviour while social conditioning produces impulses towards the left, since it implies that Republicans and Tories are somehow more primitive than liberals. Further kudos to J for using extremely long words and quoting Dawkins while intoxicated, and dishonourable mention to the trio in the corner who took 3 hours to decide that they were not arguing about the same thing and were probably both right. I love giving my brain a good workout. The fact that all these conversations were in fact started by a debate over whether it was fair that Saskia be painted as the villain for...
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Last 10 songs

I've been hitting up my "Never played" playlist in iTunes (these are the 3000+ songs I've not played since October 2004, when I got iTunes). Ten random tunes I decided not to skip: If you were my girl - JC Chasez Church - Big Boi Let's dance - David Bowie Summer's gone - Placebo C U when U get there - Coolio feat. 40 Thevz I need your lovin' - Marc et Claude Marmalade - System of a Down Filmstar - Suede Stick 'em up - Quarashi Tragic Kingdom - No Doubt It's a meme, people. I'm laying the smackdown on Dan and Dom to take it onwards.
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One of the most convincing spams I've seen in ages

I received this email today (click to see at readable size) In tone, look, and profusion of serial numbers, it looks entirely plausible. The reason for contacting me is entirely plausible, too. The only things that tipped me off that it isn't really a PayPal mail is that the recipient address -- dreams@seldo.com -- is a honeypot address I use specifically for catching spam. That led me to pay more attention to the link in the email, discovering that it wasn't just a link, but an anchor tag, the actual destination of the link being the anonymous IP shown in the red ring. Scary. Be wary, people.
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Which Guru are you?

9rules is awesome, so I'm flattered.
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This is a test of my emergency broadcast system

I'm okay, everybody. All the mobile networks are down, so I can't respond to your concerned text messages. The best way to get in touch until I get home is my work email, "laurie at boltbluecorp dot com". My regular addresses will work once I get home this evening -- which might take some time, as I intend to walk. All three of my routes to work were bombed this morning. Not just "I take buses, and buses were bombed": my bus route, my train stations, and my tube lines were directly hit. I'm a very nervous bunny right now. Right now I'm hearing reports of multiple explosions on buses and trains, multiple fatalities. I really hope it's all just unnecessary panic and exaggeration. Update 11.32am: Not just panic, not just exaggeration. FUCK. Update 7.10pm: Home now, really shaken up. Longer blog about this when I can think straight. Just in case you weren't terrified enough, Londoners, that image again:
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7.7.2005

My thoughts are still scattered. 2. 7. 33. 38. 45. By themselves, those are not big numbers. There's nothing scary about those numbers. But it's different when the number is the number of people dead, in London, today. And very different when you know the only difference between you and those people is what time you got on your train this morning. Even so, they're not big numbers. Not close to 191, say: the death toll in Madrid. And we dismissed even that number as nothing close to the 2,752 of September 11th. Even in the UK, on an average day, more than twice as many people die in traffic accidents. But the effect is different. Traffic accidents do not dramatically change the way we feel about the city, the way we carry on our daily lives. The September 11th bombings were shocking and world-changing, but half a world away. They left me horrified, but still able to function. Today, my mind has been unable to focus on anything except that the bombings were aimed at me. Not just me in the...
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You'll work it out

As I was walking home this evening, a little girl was riding her bike in the middle of the street. She still had the training wheels on as she wobbled and struggled to peddle. It reminded me of when I was little and how badly I wanted a bicycle but couldn't get one. My parents wouldn't let me have a bike until I was 12; my mom was too afraid I'd hurt myself. I'd pass the bike section in the store and just look, having given up asking my parents about it long ago. I eventually did get one after much pleading and begging. Amazingly, getting my driver's license at 16 and the subsequent borrowing of the family car passed without incident.
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Recovery

In a sign that things are going to be okay, and that I'm going to be okay, London is recovering its sense of humour, and I'm beginning to find them funny again. No lack of respect or trivialisation of the horror is intended -- this is just us coping. Jokes heard so far (updated as people send me more): London is hurting -> London is munted. Warren Ellis covers Londoners taking the piss out of excessively cheesy American responses, although I could do with someone taking the wind out of the sails of We Are Not Afraid. Of course you're not fucking afraid; you live in Buttfuck, Nebraska. I live in London and I'm fucking terrified ,but coping, no thanks to your empty words. Meanwhile, B3ta has no end of really quite tasteless entries (although there's some cheesy stuff as well). Via I:
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It's been an odd week

My mind is still all over the place. Even before Thursday came and rocked my world, I'd been having an odd week, full of possible sweeping changes to my life. Then I had a week of being alone in the house every night to think about stuff -- never a good thing for me. It makes me think too hard, and then I start waxing poetic, like I'm quite possibly about to do now. Nothing makes you feel more alive, Terry Pratchett wrote, than knowing someone is trying to kill you. My life's been cruising along a bit recently; I've been letting myself think in longer and longer time frames about getting stuff done. It's not procrastination so much as deceleration, maybe, or maybe just getting a better handle on estimating how long the things I always plan to do will realistically take. Then Thursday came and reminded me that I don't necessarily have all the time in the world. For the unlucky souls of Thursday, it all ended immediately, suddenly, pointlessly, through no fault of their own. It has been my goal...
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Another busy week

So much to talk about after Thursday, and no time in which to talk about it.
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From the horse's mouth

When I first joined my current company, I had a co-worker -- who has since moved on to another job -- who I'll call M. M is a muslim, and from what I've learned, prior to the September 11th attacks, M was fairly relaxed about his faith. After the attacks, he became much more serious about it, attending mosque regularly and, most noticeably, cultivating a large and luxuriant beard -- provoking a certain amount of good-natured teasing that "he's the one in the corner who looks like a terrorist". From what I've heard, this pattern of increased attention to faith, and increasingly visible faith, was fairly common for young British muslims after 2001. M and I still keep in touch occasionally, so following July 7th we started talking about the attacks via email. I thought I'd give you guys a snippet of the conversation, which I think is very illuminating, coming as it does from somebody who is not a community leader, a cleric, or anyone else who has a vested interest in painting a rosy picture of religious...
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Perspective

On Saturday, a bombing in Baghdad killed more than 90 people, almost twice as many as were killed in the London bombings. But it's not "16/7" over there.
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Summary

Yes, yes, you shouldn't blog when you're tired, but if I don't I won't blog at all. An update on me, for those who care. Things that are good right now: Pizza Harry Potter (it's so exciting!) The Dissociatives Books on Java Getting free tickets to things Sunshine Walking around London on a summer evening (in this case, from Liverpool St. to St. James' Park, with a stop for aforementioned pizza on the way) Having days off next week No bombs this week Fuck!
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Stop bombing us, dammit

Not scared this time, just angry. M was 100% right, and much sooner than anybody, I think, was expecting. There are others around who think it was a good enough idea not just to support it, but to try it again. This lot seem amateurish by comparison, but only by comparison -- they still had a plan, they still had the timing, they had detonators and just because their bombs didn't ignite whatever explosives may have been around doesn't mean they didn't completely panic the city for a couple of hours again. And, incidentally, knocking out the only tube line left linking me to London -- bugger! Better hope the Victoria line gets back online faster than it looks like the Picadilly will manage, or it's going to be very difficult getting anywhere from north London. *sigh*. I'm just going to continue reading Harry Potter, where the bad guys are obvious and you're sure they'll be beaten in the end.
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Fantastic Four

First thought: man, he was unbelievably hot even before he turned into a living ball of flame. Super-fun summer movie, full of stupid plot holes -- I mean, you can't really ask for believability in a movie about four people whose powers represent fire, earth, wind and water and are battling a man who is living metal: this is myth, people, so treat it as such. The company was good, too, especially acting out the first 20 minutes of the movie in the pub afterwards. Remember: your ass can be a fire engine, if everyone is prepared to get involved. And in other news... On the way home, I saw something funny: a horrible scraping noise came up the street behind me, and I turned to see a car with a parking clamp still attached driving full speed up Tottenham Court Road, trailing sparks. I was still laughing at his audacity two minutes later, who three police cars shot past me even faster, in persuit. Less funny. The city is full of sirens. This morning a helicopter was hovering over my office and...
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Very geeky question

Something on my computer is binding to port 80. Short of manually turning on and off every process on my computer, how do I find out what process is binding to what port? (Windows XP, SP1) Update: Thanks for your responses (mainly via MSN). It turns out it was Skype, the pesky thing, but at least it wasn't some sinister spyware. Thanks to Steve (he's a fan of uber-minimalist web design) for the pointer to the thoroughly useful TCPview, which was exactly the tool for the job. SysInternals seem to do a lot of other useful stuff, too. I love my blog. I could've gone looking for that answer, or just sat here until somebody popped along and answered it for me.
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ANGRY MOSHING REQUIRED

I'm having a very frustrating week, through no fault of anybody's, so I'm left with an undirected feeling of wanting to hit something, or somebody, very hard, with a hammer, until I am trembling and exhausted and, preferably, covered in blood. This is, needless to say, not a great state for me to be in for a prolonged period. So to burn off the energy, I'm gonna try to hang on until Friday night and then wear as much spiky black shit as I can find and go to Rock at the Mean Fiddler, where I intend, if things go well, to be screaming along to the vocal stylings of Zack de la Rocha at some point. Anyone fancy coming along with me? In the meantime, I'm just going to be listening to angry music on my iPod at full volume and scowling at random people on the tube. Apologies in advance for snapping at you. Update: Okay, random moment of incandescent rage passed. Still think the rock night is a good plan, though.
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Summer Party

My company had its summer party today. Man, my co-workers are funny when they're drunk.
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