macho males

Virgin females tended to prefer the dominant males that had won the fight, but females with a little sexual experience were more likely to choose the loser. “People just expect the dominant guy to win,” says Ophir. “But females learn through personal experience that these males can be hurtful.”

they’re talking about japanese quail of course. but hey.

another loss

i also lost some webloggy stuffs from yesterday that hadn’t yet been googlegurgitated. i only remember pointing to darren’s ace pics though. wonder what on earth else i said?

before that

i made a couple of entries to my weblog this morning before i twigged that something wasn’t quite right around these parts:

a fish eating game that combines the relaxing aquarium with really annoying one false move and you’re dead gameplay. i like the simplicity of it, it doesn’t get any harder, you just get more stressed out and chilled out simultaneously.

[found via a whole lotta nothing]

it’s obviously going to be one of those days where i get easily distracted by flash games. plastic balls.

[found via sore eyes]

it was obviously not one of those days after all.


if i didn’t love google’s cache before (and i did) i adore it now.

most of the bits that were causing me the most grief are restored. now i’m off to write some new backup scripts…..


my web hosts had a server problem yesterday which lost two months worth of my stuff.

All our servers are backed up nightly to remote systems for added peace of mind.

never trust in someone else’s backups.


Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Cover of

Wonderful fun. I’m sure everybody but me knows the story by now as I remember this being made into a film a few years ago that I never got around to going to see. Just for the record this is the story of what happens when Vianne Rocher blows into a small village France at the beginning of the traditionally austere Lent period and opens a luxurious chocolate shop. The local curate and his groupies are not at all happy.

I wasn’t expecting a great plot from this, but just as in Coastliners I got a gorgeous plot. It’s not all happy chocolate munching and it’s populated with a fabulous cast of characters. I love the way we find out more about Vianne and her mother, and for that matter everybody else, than she ever tells us. It feels like there is tons of description in the story but the bits that stick with me are the bits we aren’t told explicitly.

Having read Harris’s fourth book first I do think she has become a better writer as she’s gone along but this is magic all the same. I’m really looking forward to reading her other stories.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 8th May 2003.


my favourite neologism of the day:

/’bärf-gläb/ noun (plural -s) A wad of
tangled yarn that comes out of the middle of a center-pull skein of
yarn when you are attempting to knit from the skein.

i’m suffering from barf-globs at the moment.

(i’m knitting this asymmetric jacket thingy (waves from rowan’s all seasons cotton pattern booklet) out of this shade of all seasons cotton,
a colour that alternately makes me say “oh god did i choose to wear
beige, i must be entering middle age” and “ooh, chocolate milkshake,
mmmm, someone get me a frappacino now!”).

[from wendy knits]


how i love automatic translators. just enough info to get by and plenty of humourous moments too.

i was signing up for the associates program at (in order to use the amazon web services
which have recently expanded beyond the us and uk to germany and
japan). my mostly forgetten schoolgirl german wasn’t quite cutting the
mustard so i turned to babel fish
for a little assistance. having successfully made my way through the
sign up pages i was looking at a message that i guessed meant “right,
you’re done, go away and build your website now” but i pasted the
phrase into babel fish to check i wasn’t missing anything important:

Vielen Dank für Ihre Anmeldung
Sie haben nun Zugang zum PartnerNet.

Sie können jetzt fortfahren Ihren Online-Store aufzubauen.

Thank you for their registration you have now entrance to the
PartnerNet. They can now continue your on-line net curtain to

wonderful! i’m off to construct net curtains.

it seems that it’s just “store” that translates to “net curtain” and
i suspect “online-store” in german means just what “online-store” in
english means but i love the parallel use of net all the same.

The Chalet School in Exile by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Cover of

This was one of my favourite books as a child; it combines two of what I thought as a child were the best settings for girl’s stories: boarding schools and the second world war. The fact that the second world war is a really good setting is probably just due to growing up with children’s literature in the 1970s and 1980s when it was a fairly major sub genre probably because many of the people writing children’s books at the time had been children themselves in the war. This book is different to others I read because it is actually of 1940 vintage.

Brent Dyer began the Chalet School series in 1925 and kept adding books to the series through to her death in about 1970. For the most part you can’t much tell when the books are set, or I couldn’t as a child. They are in some earlier part of the 20th century than I lived in but I couldn’t have paced them any closer to their time if it wasn’t for this book in the series. The original Chalet School was set in the Austrian Tyrol and by the late 1930s it was untenable for Brent Dyer to continue setting contemporary books in Austria because of the Nazi invasion. And so this story of the school leaving Austria and heading to safer climes was written. Unfortunately Brent-Dyer picked Guernsey as the new home of the Chalet School and had to move the school on again when the Nazi’s invaded the Channel Islands.

The reason I was rereading this book is not just because it was a childhood favourite but because I read an Armada paperback version produced in the 1970s which I later found out were heavily edited versions of the original stories and this episode was one of the most heavily edited. There’s a full summary of the changes on the Friends of the Chalet School website. The book has recently been reprinted in it’s original form and I wanted to see what I’d missed for myself.

I’d always felt that the middle of the story was missing something and I’m pleased to find an entire chapter had been cut where I felt that there had been a gap. After the main characters make a madcap escape from Austria to Switzerland in the paperback we are suddenly plunged into ten months later in Guernsey. There is still this ten month gap in the hardback but the expunged chapter covers the short period spent in Switzerland and I agree with the FOCS article that this “doesn’t half fill some gaps!”.

On the whole it was enjoyable rereading the book even if I did find some of it a bit cringeworthy and not all of the things that offend me as a 21st century adult are things that weren’t in my paperbacks. Everybody seems so much richer and posher than I saw them to be as a child and it’s stated several times in the book that they school has mostly “cured Biddy Ryan of her Kerry brogue” which winds me up no end. Also the way that Jem Russell could buy up a nearly new 150 room luxury hotel on the off chance of relocating the school to it had me in hoots of laughter. Especially since he didn’t ask his wife (who sort of runs the place) about it until afterwards. The general attitude of men towards women in the book is pretty condescending for the most part.

I don’t think I’ll be running off to reread the whole series but I did enjoy the time I spend with these old friends and I will be keeping an eye on what else Girls Gone By are reprinting.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 21st July 2003.