Archive for October, 2002


can’t get down

In Uncategorized on October 30, 2002

i’m still stuck up in my family tree and can’t find my way back to the ground. transcribed data from the 1881 british census (my great great grandfather) appeared online last week sending me off on whole new branches. sometime in the near future i’ll vanish into a library and not come out until i’ve wrecked my eyes reading microfiches. there’s tons of information online these days but there’s so much more that isn’t yet and perhaps never will be. the 1881 canadian census and 1880 us census are also available at the same place.

i found a more sombre genealogical resource at the commonwealth war graves commission (a great great great uncle of mine). typing in surnames that aren’t very common and being returned page after page of war deaths got scale of the loss of life in the world wars over to me in a way that few other things have managed.

there’s some great information about researching your family history at the family records website which is significantly more interesting and in depth than i expect government websites to be.



In Uncategorized on October 30, 2002

newcastle gateshead (as they seem to want us to call it) has (unsurprisingly in my eyes at least) made it to the shortlist of six cities to be named european capital of culture 2008. apparently it’s only in third place in the public’s eyes behind birmingham and cardiff, though a few months ago the public thought it was in a shortlist of three with oxford and liverpool.


i hate ie (not really news i’m sure)

In Uncategorized on October 30, 2002

maximum url length is 2,083 characters in internet explorer. i was only testing using get rather than post. that was supposed to make my life easier…. grrrrrrr. do you want to know how long it’s taken me to work out why sometimes my form data utterly refuses to exist when other times it’s fine? probably not.


tilting bridges

In Uncategorized on October 28, 2002

gateshead millennium bridge at full tilt

before i left newcastle i went to see the gateshead millennium bridge do its tilting thing. it’s spectacular though it would have been nice to see some river traffic underneath it, this just seemed to be a practise run.

also in this group of pictures is a strange round sort of sundial thing we found lurking outside the baltic flour mill gallery which contains william blake’s poem:

no bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings

we can’t work out what the strange sundial thing is for at all. it looks incomplete, what will it be?


Pictures of Perfection by Reginald Hill

In books read on October 27, 2002

Reginald Hill gets away with things I'd never imagine a mystery writer could and I really admire him for writing a different book every time and not sticking to the rules of detective stories.

I've probably said it after reading at least ten of his books but I think that this is the best so far. The book begins with a description of a bloody shootout in a small village in the Yorkshire Dales and introduces us to a range of local characters in a few pages. Then the book skips back a few days to when the local village policeman vanishes and we wait for time to catch up to the start of the book. Which makes it sound like the book is soem kind of suspense thriller but it doesn't really work that way. Hill doesn't build up the waiting for something to happen element and it's the lack of obvious suspense that makes the book work really well.

Although this is billed, along with the rest of the series, as a "Dalziel and Pascoe" novel this particular episode is really all about Sergeant Wield who takes centre stage for much of the book. I'm a real fan of Wieldy's so this is fine by me.

Another wonderful book from Hill, I'm going to be sorry when I've caught up to date on this series.

Purchased on 10th September 2002.


My Lurid Past by Lauren Henderson

In books read on October 26, 2002

When I read anything that falls into the category of "chick-lit" I usually feel, first, guilty for enjoying it, as if the mysteries that I usually read are somehow a higher form of art than these books, and second, disappointed that it's never as good or interesting as I'd like it to be. This however is a cracking read and is full of wonderful characters and well plotted to boot.

It should be noted that all Lauren Henderson's books up to this one have been mysteries and that I've enjoyed them all. I did find some of the mysteries to be a little weak in the plot department but I think a mystery is intrinsically harder to plot than a book that doesn't contain an investigation that needs to bear some semblance to reality. Turning her hand to a non-mystery though Henderson shows exactly why I think mystery writers are better than most every other writer out there.

As with her Sam Jones' mysteries Henderson creates a great cast of characters here. The narrator is Juliet, a thirty-three year old working in public relations who has just realised that a life of casual sex and takeaways isn't doing it for her any more. Her star client at the moment is a newly famous TV chef who seemed very much modelled on Jamie Oliver without the wife and baby and with a wild side that allows him to actually get naked. Her best friends are a corsetted dominatrix and an unhappily married Sloane. In summary they sound a bit like stereotypes but they never seem stereotypical. Henderson fleshes them out more than enough to make you believe that they are real people with real lives, real problems and she creates real drama with them.

In short, I was looking forward to reading this but expecting it to fall short of what it could be. I'm glad it didn't and I really look forward to seeig what the author can do next.

Purchased on 17th August 2002.

A copy of this book is available on BookMooch.


more piccies

In Uncategorized on October 23, 2002

lyme regis, remember the sun?
another day, another album of pics sorted out. these were taken in august in lyme regis and include some of the rather lovely working water mill in the town.

the cobb is the famous bit of stuff in lyme regis, it’s the harbour wall that features in jane austen’s persuasion and the john fowles’ the french lieutenant’s woman. and though it’s undoubtedly lovely i was rather more impressed by the modern sea wall in my pic here which was built to combine sea defences with storing and moving sewage around. they could have done something horribly utilitarian here but they built this gorgeous walkway instead and i doubt most people ever know that’s what it’s for.

at the moment i’m having trouble remembering that we had a summer this year, but at least i have photos to prove it.


The Ministry of Fear by Graham Greene

In books read on October 23, 2002

This is very much the kind of book that I don't want to say too much about, to have an inkling of the story in advance would be to ruin the experience of reading it. It's a wonderful kind of a mystery book where you don't know and can't imagine what's coming next. The setting is the middle of the blitz in London in the second world war and Arthur Rowe's life is going spinning of the rails. Highly recommended but difficult to talk about!

Purchased on 12th October 2002.


things i was doing when i had better things to do

In Uncategorized on October 22, 2002

i’ve managed to make my own book database use trackbacks a la movable type to update about what i’ve been reading without duplicate effort on my part. (it took me a few tries to get it sussed…).


an f word

In Uncategorized on October 22, 2002

writing scripts that involve ftp is a real pain. i’d be using scp if i had any choice in the matter.

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