Google Anyone else having issues using Google lately? My Google toolbar is blotto and when I try going to, after about a minute, this page appears. Lycos and alta vista also don't seem to exist. Wierd. Any ideas?
[Update: Redirection virus. Solution (just in case anyone else if effected.]
Life I have a new bed. During my life I've had about seven beds, but only one was a bought one. All of the others have been hand me downs from relatives and sort of relatives. None have been that good, all cardboard and plywood, and most have been lumpy and uncomfortable. At one point I got so cheesed with the whole thing, I just slept on a mattress on the floor, which was fine until I tried to sit on the edge of the bed and realised ....

Unlike all the others, this is a metal frame base, rather than a wooden box and it just feels more substantial. And also, because it's got a head and foot board, I won't be waking up in the middle of the night because my matress has fallen so far forward my pillows have dropped down behind.

I really like my new room with its white walls, wooden floor and now metal frame bed. With the other furniture it's good mix between the old and the new and now that not every wall is filled with book shelves, it feels like a good extension of me. All I need to do now is work out how to put my pictures up without ruining the plaster work.
TV I was the one all those weeks ago who knew about Alex in Fame Academy. But lets face it, next to all the leggy blondes and Will Young knock offs, did we really think she would win? Yet here we are all these weeks later and there she was singing Imagine in a way which was not Lennon but still evocative of the song, as one of the judges said, 'making it her own.' Unlike the other singers who strove to be note perfect and give an acting performance of sorts at the expense of emotion. For once, it might be that a reality TV show has found a real talent which could have longevity. So long as they let her have her own voice, don't over produce her, and she doesn't bottle it. Of course the only clean way of making this a contest would have to see all the singers cover the same song and compare. But that would have been even more tedious television.
Politics Hello !?!
Architecture Although I love the design of this bay window, it's hardly the sort of thing you could have in the city. I wouldn't want my tea time to become a spectator sport. Many of the old Georgian houses in our area have raised bay windows which back onto the street and more often than not the curtains are open. You can't help glimpsing in at these other lives, all warm fireplaces and studies with pianos, but at the same time you know you're breaking into their privacy. It's not a problem I have with my flat up here in the clouds.
Technology Shiver of excitement when reading:
"Scientists from Philips Research in the Netherlands have come up with an electronic paper scheme that works fast enough to be used for video, draws little power, and paints a bright picture. It could also be used to control fluids in other technologies like labs-on-a-chip."
In other words I'm reading The Guardian and as well as photographs I could be watching clips sourced from news agencies to illustrate the story -- or I'm reading a book about JFK and I'll be able to see clips of his speeches. Yes it's basically the multimedia CD-Roms of the late nineties, but without the handicap of this stupid uncomfortable screen to be reading from.
Eva Katzler @ The Bedford
thursday october 9th
77 bedford hill
SW12 9HD
nearest tube: Balham - northern line
doors open: 7.30pm
free entrance
12 o'clock late bar
table bookings: 0208 682 8940 - the food is great!
there is ample parking after 6.30pm in the area and in sainsburys carpark opposite

[You will have noticed I'm always plugging Eva's shows. It's simply because she's an excellent singer and I've got my fingers crossed that one day she'll be noticed by someone who can mass market shiny discs for her. If any regular readers have a venture (concert, book, whatever) they'd like me to Plug! drop me a line and I'll be happy to give it a mention if it's something I'd be interested in (whatever that means).
Who Somewhere along the line Tom Baker got a reputation for being difficult to work with. Don't really believe it too much. [via B3TA]
TV CHUD (ie) an american reviews the utterly British Brass Eye. Gives it 9/10 but can't quite work out why.
TV A new issue of Off The Telly has been published fetauring a very good interview with the eponymous Andrew Collins (who seems to have worked everywhere -- I was flicking through an old issue of Empire magazine the other day and there he was writing humour and reviewing for them a couple of years ago) about his new tv series Grass and a massive article about Top Of The Pops -- which I hadn't realised was still on. The Glory Game also continues. Doctor Who. Back on Saturday night. Just feels right, y'know.
Travel Hotel suites of the rich and famous. The Fairmont, San Fancisco. $10,000. That's the kind of place where I would really like to steal the towels.
Arts The Arts made easy. If only this existed...
"I wish there was a 24-hour hotline I could call at night to have someone explain to me what the heck Bjork is singing about.
Me: "Why is Bjork's album called 'Vespertine'?"
Hotline assistant: "It's a combination of 'vespers,' which are evening prayers at day's end, and 'valentine,' an expression of love, so what we have, metaphorically speaking, is a love song for the end of the world."
Me: "Whoa, that is heavy. And what's with the swan dress she wears when she performs, and the giant ear muffs? What does that mean?"
Hotline assistant: "It means she's nuts."
Me: "Oh."
Hotline assistant: "Well, duh."
Actually his other suggestion of having an expert on hand in a gallery isn't that unusual. When I was an invigilator at The Henry Moore Instiute, we were actively encouraged to speak to the visitor in much the way the writer descibed -- and they were usually quite abstract works. I didn't actually know much more than the exhibition catalogue, but the trick was to ask the right questions so that the visitor became satisfied with their own answers. Cheating? [via aj]
People Emma Kennedy who judging by her website seems to be the country's busiest comediene offers a chilling thought about The Matrix Revolutions:
"(It) will either reveal that the Matrix trilogy is a piece of genius or the first film was good and the rest was a pack of nonsense."
So true. If it isn't very good, Joel Silver, Fox and The Brothers Warshowski are going to look very silly indeed.
The Web I'm pleased to see that I've only slightly broken one of these Seven Deadly Sins of Web Design, the final one about broken links. I know there must be some in the side bars, but with the help of this marvellous thing, I've seen the error of my ways and I'll become a newly adjusted member of society. The article is very useful though, and a decent reminder for everyone. The best weblogs always have the simplest of designs.
Life I was stuck in a lift tonight. I'd gone up to the University with my friend Fani for the first night of the new Popular World Music course and I was running late (as usual). I'd been to the loo in the basement and since the lecture room is on the second floor, I'd called the lift. Which was then taking an age. I waited. Fani called on my mobile, she was upstairs so I met her in the entrance hall by the lift. Which then went to the basement where I wasn't standing. Few minutes. The lift opens on the ground floor. There are already a few people in, but we managed to squeeze in. Doors close, lift leaves the floor. And stops.

I look at Fani. Fani looks at me. We look at the other people in the lift.
"Oh no, not again." Someone says at the back. "This happened yesterday morning as well."
Now two questions arise from this. Firstly, why didn't you tell us that the lift was prone to breaking down before we got on. Second of all -- if you know the lift might breakdown again with you in it ... why the hell did you enter in the first place!?!

We try pressing a few buttons. The second floor light is lit, and lift moves again. About three centimetres before stopping. We try the alarm. It's loud. It's piercing. No one seems to be hearing it.

I turn to Fani and tell her we've got a good excuse for being late. Fani nods. I'm panicking slightly. She's cool as a cucumber (which is so typically her). The woman who had said the lift had broken down the day before says she's a tutor and has no excuse. I agree.

And being the tutor in the group she takes it upon herself to be leader. So when the emergency phone rings, she answers it. It's the building security, who she is on first name terms with. "No." she says, "I don't know what floor we're on." I looked through the crack in the doors. I see the sign for the first floor.
"We're on the first floor." I say.
"We're on the first floor." I say.
"We're on the first floor." I say.
I say it twice more. At no point does she think it important to pass on this information. She's too busy telling the guard that she is late for her class. Her life drawing class. Asking him if he wouldn't mind going up, telling the life model which position to get into and for the class to start drawing. This seems to concern her more than the fact that WE ARE STUCK IN A LIFT.

I try talking to Fani, but for some reason she isn't in the mood for a chat about her new flatmate. But I need to talk. It's what I do in situations like this.

By now it's getting hot. The only air coming in is through the gap in the door, so it's also getting stuffy. I keep over reacting, thinking and alluding to the lift scene at the start of the film 'Speed'.
"Although" I say, "I'm assuming Dennis Hopper isn't in the basement planting a bomb." For some reason no one laughs. I realise I'm the wrong kind of comedian.

The phone rings again. I answer it this time, asserting my masculine authority being the only man 'on board'. It's the guard. He asks to speak the lecturer.
"It's for you." I say as I pass her the phone.
"Right thanks." She says to the phone. "And you've. Good. Thanks." She puts the phone down. "The lift engineer is one the way."

Everyone stands in silence, until five minutes late the lift starts to move. Everyone sighs. The doors open -- and we're back on the ground floor. Someone wants to get into the lift.
"Don't get in the lift." we say in unison. And we took the stairs. Which I'll be doing for the next ten weeks. I need the excercise anyway.

I ask Fani how she is.
"Bit tired." She yawns.
TV I haven't watched Eastenders for years, probaby stopped watching in the early Nineties. But for some reason it felt like duty to tune in again tonight. It's a pity the episode resembled the first part of a Doctor Who Dalek adventure. You know they're coming (hell they're in the title) but the first cliffhanger will usually involve either the overgrown pepper pots or Davros coming out of the shadows and explaining that they want to take over the universe. And so it happened in Albert Square tonight as the end of the episode loomed. "Hello princess..." Den said to Sharon as he steps through the doorway at the very end. Dum. Dum. Dum. Dum. Diddy-dum-dum.

He couldn't appear at the start of the episode. An event of this magnitude had to be given the chance to simmer, and so instead there was half and hour of rivetting acting and Checkovian scripting as Sharon and Dennis (who I think is her adopted half brother although it wasn't clear who else Den had been with the busy man -- were 'chelle and Angie not enough for him?) consumated some feelings which had no doubt been simmering away for ages. This was one of those two handers the soap is apparently famous for and it sizzled.

Was it enough to make become an addict? Well mostly not. I tend to like my narratives to have a beginning, middle and end. The reason I like the US shows is that they have a finite series length, and usually a defined arc which plays out over that time period. The problem I have with soap is that like life, stories continue for weeks, months and in the case of the Dirty Dens, years, and you have to sit through some often quite tedious filler in order to continue with the story you're really interested in. Also there is the sheer commitment required. Eastenders is on for four nights a week and frankly doesn't feature characters I'd want to spend to much time with. I will be watching the rest of this week for old times sake, before returning to stories which last an average of two hours.
Life After writing yesterday about throwing away my University notes it occured to me that this week it's ten years since I started University. Part of me isn't clear whether I've actually achieved anything or if I've ever really made the right choices. But then the other part of me realises that although I haven't done many of the life things that people keep going on about I have done some extraordinary things and done a hell of a lot of different things in that decade. Now if I can do the life things as well ...
Managerie One week offline and a hundred emails. There must be something interesting ...

The new Japanese artists

Holidays in the Danger Zone: The Stans

"Great place for a shag."

Make any web page read just spiffing

Corporate Whoredom (as discussed at The Collective)

Dancing Dalek

The buildings of Chicago

Published a few days before ...

Pianist completes six-hour symphony

Y'all don't know how to ride the damn bus (especially number one ...)

Japanese lampshades (via the only clean spam I received all week)

Sponsor The Louvre

... and now I've caught up ...
Life Threw out my old University notes today. I studied Information Studies when Lycos ruled the search engines and everyone was using the first Internet Explorer or Mosaic. Checking through everything in case there was anything I really wanted to keep to one side, I was shocked at how much was obsolete. The nature of the course meant that much of the IT I studied in the first year was superceded in the second and I spent some of the third re-learning entirely much of some of the things covered in the first.

I thought that losing all of this material would be a wrench, like throwing away a section of my brain. But as I checked through photocopies and notes which haven't seen daylight for eight years I realised that over the years I'd just built on the knowledge, the out of date knowledge superceded with new ideas and facts. This was not a static subject, it's shifted and over the years I've shifted with it.

I haven't thrown out my assignments. Many of them aren't all that good and feature some embarassing typos and sentence structure even more obscure than the kind you've probably found here over the years, but some is actually quite readable and certainly worth recycling for the weblog. This long post about Film Adaptations was one of the assignments I was able to get away with on quite a dry librarian ship course. I somehow also managed to write a dissertation about Art Censorship when everyone else was analysing the provision of teaching material for ethnic minorities in the West Yorkshire area (or something equally important).

So that was just two of the nine bin bags I filled today. So if anyone was looking for a partial run of Look and Learn magazine (featuring The Trigan Empire) you've missed out I'm afraid.