little pockets

the little side pocket on jeans, what are they for?

my favourite reply:

it is for tiny things that must not get lost but may be discarded by the time it come to forgetting to empty it prior to putting the jeans in the wash.

except in my case i never get the second bit right and put things in that are so essential that i couldn’t possibly forget to take them out before i wash my jeans but always do. one day i’ll learn.

the genuine answer seems to be that the small pocket evolved from a larger pocket for holding your watch separately from the other scratchy things in your pockets in an age before we put watches on our wrists. i’ve always heard them referred to as condom pockets though i’ve mostly stashed tampons in them myself. it’s a very bad idea to leave those in for the wash.

where’s my snow?

snow and ice bring britain to a standstill apparently.

it’s decidedly un-standstill like here. we just moved up a windy yorkshire hill assured by everyone that we’ll get snowed in for months on end, we’re well stocked with broadband internet, central heating and cadbury’s caramel fingers and this time around i haven’t seen a single snowflake. come snow on me!

update: ranting on your weblog works! i have snow. am a happy bunny.

update no 2: ok, that’s the light icing sugar dusting version but i want the royal icing version that everyone else seems to have. not quite such a happy bunny.

update no 3: this could easily turn into weatherlog at this rate. snow all gone 🙁


why’s no one told me about eco halo‘s in notting hill before? very cool. i want one too. the rest of dante leonelli’s artwork is very nice too, like the neon ice bridge.

i really am in need of neon lights. village life must be getting to me.

[found via jwz]


it’s world pinhole photography day on 27th april. pinhole photography is one of those quirky things that i’ve fancied having a go at for years. this looks like a good excuse to have an attempt at it.

the galleries of pictures taken on the previous two pinhole days are full of surprisingly lucid and interesting photographs.

(have i mentioned how much i bloody hate websites that decide they want maximise themselves on my desktop? it’s even more annoying than popups. you didn’t design your website to work at 1600×1200 and i sure as hell don’t want a window that big so stop being so infuriatingly impolite. i’ve mentioned it now.)

[found via harrumph]

The Dumas Club by Arturo Perez-Reverte

Cover of

An excellent involved tale of antiquarian books which I can’t remember nearly enough about to give it a decent write up. More knowledge of The Three Musketeers would have helped I think and it’s not a quick read by any means. Thoroughly recommended if you like something to chew on though.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.

coloured boxes

i’d love to point you to modthebox with a comment something like “wow! don’t these computers look great”. but mostly they make me glad that my boxes are plain shades of beige, grey and black.

i do need more neon lighting around here though. i’m just not sure inside the computer case is the place for it.

[found via evhead]

ye olde mappes provides:

online access to Britain’s most extensive digital historical map archive

abso-bleeding-lutely ace! there may be black holes in the coverage (i haven’t fully investigated yet, but i think it may be that you can’t slide from sheet to sheet because of the different ages of the sheets, i think you probably just need to go back to the gazetteer to find the next sheet) but i’ve turned up an 1854 map that i can almost spot my house on.

i’m off to compare this map to the modern day ordnance survey map. since old-maps is jointly owned by the ordnance survey an overlay facility for the modern maps would be a nice extra touch but i’m just happy to have easy access to tons of old maps.

this’ll keep me busy for a while.

Dance on Blood by Gillian Linscott

Cover of

This series definitely gets better as it goes along (which isn’t to say the older books are bad in any way) as this is one of the later books in the series and I thought it was pretty damned good.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 6th December 2002.

the devil is beating his wife

the results of this dialect survey are pretty interesting even though the people who created it are only really concerned with dialects within the united states. the question that floored me was:

80. What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?

a) sunshower

b) the wolf is giving birth

c) the devil is beating his wife

d) monkey’s wedding

e) fox’s wedding

f) pineapple rain

g) liquid sun

h) I have no term or expression for this

i) other:

i’d never even thought of having a term for this, i just look about for rainbows. the results show that the majority of americans don’t have a term for it either but new englanders like to call it a sunshower and across the american south the devil is beating his wife.

The Distance by Eddie Muller

Cover of

[I read this for a mailing list discussion and these comments are taken from that discussion; which means that they are out of context and contain spoilers.]

[on the setting]

At the beginning I didn’t think either setting was going to work for me. I like the odd historical novel but this was feeling very self conciously historical as it was using a style of writing of the time as well and that’s not a style I’m that familiar with. Boxing is a sport that doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest and after a few pages of getting confused by terms and characters I decided that I wasn’t going to go the distance and resolved to just give this book the fifty page test and give up.

After fifty pages I was hooked, my ear had become accustomed to the narration, the boxing scene and its characters had come alive for me and there was no way I could put the book down. I think the author did a really good job of setting the scenes and I enjoyed the look into the newspaper world as well. I haven’t quite finished yet so I’m not sure how much of the plot could only happen in a boxing setting but it feels to me very much as if the fact that many of the major characters are all people who put their lives and health on the line for a living is essential to the way that they view the world.

[on the characters]

Claire Escalante is the character who will stick with me I think. The book was basically about tough men and the inclusion of a really strong female character was what it needed to make it appeal to me. On the whole I thought most of the characters were strongly portrayed. After I got through the first couple of chapters there were very few characters that I was “um, remind me who this guy is again” about. Billy himself had a very clear voice and telling little stories about each person like how they came by their nicknames helped me keep all the men straight in my head. There were plenty of characters I didn’t like much but I can’t pick out any who seemed badly written or wishy washy.

I thought Muller handled the marital relationships between Billy and Ida and Hack and Claire well, lots of weird stuff going on but the way that the characters dealt with and reacted to situations seemed real to me. As to professional relationships, everybody seemed a little too reverential towards Billy and while this enforced the idea of him as a key player in the boxing community it did seem that he ought to have a few more explicit enemies around the place.

On the whole I thought the characters were convincing, larger than life and not anyone I’d want to meet but they fit well into the story and the setting.

[on the noir-ness]

I don’t really know enough about noir to answer this at any length but the tag “noir” brings to my mind a vision of men in hats and overcoats with cigars skulking in dark alleyways whilst neon signs flicker on and off, all happening in monochrome of course. And that’s the same kind of aura that this book gave to me. The setting and the way Billy narrated the story seemed very noirish to me but, as I say, I really don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to noir.

[on the noir-ness]

I felt that Billy was trustworthy in that he was telling us what he saw and not embellishing or changing things to suit any agenda. But we were seeing it all filtered through his eyes and so we only saw what others chose to present to him. I don’t think the story would have been so compelling if the author hadn’t have stuck so rigidly to Billy’s viewpoint. If the story had been told in the third person it would have lost a lot of its believability.

I enjoyed both the newspaper articles, which helped put this book in its place, and the anecdotes, which really helped flesh out the characters in my head.

[on the ending]

I knew this would come up sooner or later so I’ve been waiting to ask about it as I was confused too.

I got the impression that Billy forged a confession from Claire to give to Francis O’Connor in order to get Hack mostly off the hook. The story in that confession was “Claire strangles Gig, Hack shows up, Hack and Claire dispose of body”. We know that it was Billy rather than Claire who helped Hack dispose of the body.

When I read about the forged confession I thought Billy was foisting the murder off on Claire simply because she was dead and it couldn’t do her any harm. In Claire’s real letter to Billy she says “Hack didn’t mean to kill Gig” as if that is what she thought happened but earlier in the book Hack knew nothing about the strangulation. So I went back and read the last few pages again thinking that I’d missed something and someone else was implicated, perhaps Burney, but that didn’t seem to have happened. And I finished the book feeling that I still didn’t quite know the whole who-and-why-and-how-dunnit. Was Claire’s confession, as forged by Billy, the truth, or did Billy never get to the bottom of it either, or did I miss something entirely?

The slightly unfinished feeling that I had at the end of the book of not quite being certain what had really happened did spoil the book for me ever so slightly.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 6th December 2002.