i’ve found an answer to something i’ve been wondering about for years without ever quite formulating the question. how airports get their codes. when i’m standing in a check in queue looking at my luggage labels most of them make sense but some of them are just nonsense. they make sense when you follow the story of their allocation through chronologically.

man and ncl for manchester and newcastle always make me wonder if the short versions of the universities domain names ( and, i’ve had both in my email address in the past) deliberately followed the airport codes or not. two of my check in queue musings are why newark is ewr and not something beginning with n (the us navy had already bagsied all the n codes) and why los angeles is lax (which is pretty much what i thought, that the x is just there to make up the numbers.)

[found via web goddess]

sunday post

we just had a royal mail parcel man turn up on a sunday. most odd. first time i’ve ever known it happen.

going up (and down)

proviser have more info on property prices in england and wales than you can get your head round. lots of graphs and numbers and most of it seems to go back to 1995. seems to be a very comprehensive resource.

going down (and up)

Portsmouth City Council said the decision [not to make the tricorn centre a listed buildng] cleared the way for the site to be demolished for a new shopping complex planned.

they are beginning the ten month task of razing portsmouth’s notoriously hideous tricorn centre today. but they’re going to replace it with a new shopping complex? will they do any better this time around? i wonder what we’ll think in forty years time.

Dark Star by Marcia Muller

Cover of

A reread, but I can’t remember any of the details from last time around. I just recall vaguely thinking that the book didn’t make a lot of sense when I read it by itself. As the third volume of a series it makes more sense. Mostly I’ve enjoyed these three books for being a chance to curl up with one of my favourite authors again. The books aren’t as good as the McCones but as a trilogy they make a better story than as individual books. The ending of this one feels a bit like Muller had decided not to writer any more books about Joanna and decided to put ‘and they lived happily ever after’ on the last page. Nothing wrong with that really, a bit of closure never hurts.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on .

today’s miscellanea

random things i thought were interesting but haven’t got around to posting about:

  • the ly dectector, a bookmarklet that spots all the ly word endings on a page, find out if you suffer from excessively overly usingly adverbly words.
  • how plr works, i have no idea why the fact that authors get paid every time i take out a library book fascinates me but it does. i’m surprised that public lending rights royalties are still calculated using sample libraries when every book i’ve had out of a library since about 1990 has been recorded through a computer system. i’m also surprised that the royalties amount to as much as 2p per borrowing (there’s a limit of £6k per author to stop catherine cookson’s estate from emptying the money pot before anyone else gets a look in.) also a guardian article from a couple of years ago about how library reader’s tastes are about 30 years behind book buyers tastes. it fails to mention the probability that the library books are getting read whereas the bought books are just getting coffee tabled.
  • of no use to anyone who doesn’t live round here but my council’s website is getting more and more useful. i just found out that i can look at planning applications online which could save me from running across roads and down alleyways to inspect yellow notices tied to lampposts but probably won’t. i’ve never yet found anything to object to but i like the pretence that i know what’s going on around me. other things i’ve done with my council website include swapping my wheelie bin for a smaller one, reporting blocked drains and broken streetlights (both of which actually got fixed!). i could probably have done all that on the phone but i wouldn’t have done. nice to know they do something useful with my council tax occassionally.
  • for my mum: here’s what my tumbling blocks cushion is like. i ought to get on and finish it!
  • untitled – urban landscapes without the text, they look very odd, somehow calmer, but as someone who thrives on reading material they seem like something out of a spooky science fiction nightmare. this reminds me, rather tangentially, of a remark made on a bbc4 documentary about tetris a few weeks back: an american commented on how grey moscow was when he first visited in the late 1980s as it was lacking commercial branding, advertising hoardings etc. i’ve no desire to live in a grey city but i’m not sure mcdonalds red and yellow is what i’m after to brighten my life up.

Power Games by Judith Cutler

Cover of

In the beginning this seemed like an entertaining enough tale but without any real depth or substance to it and it took me quite a while to warm to DS Kate Power. By the end though I thought there was a good story and numerous interesting characters. This isn’t the first in the series and I expect I’ve ‘spoilt’ the first book for myself by reading this one first but I’ll definitely be searching out the other episodes.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 4th August 2002.

Death’s Jest-Book by Reginald Hill

Cover of

God, Reginald Hill knows how to keep readers happy decade after decade! Something different every time, I can’t find enough superlatives.

As my commenters have noted before me this is very much a follow on from Dialogues of the Dead and not a book to be read by itself. If you came to this as your first Hill you’d be wondering quite what the author was thinking of. For the most part there’s little in the way of a new mystery here, it’s very much about continuing the huge stories that began in the previous book (and in other cases way back in the series). As much as I’ve enjoyed them I think and hope that we’re done with these threads and that the next book will offer something more shiny and new.

There was less fantasy stuff in this book, which was good because I wouldn’t want Hill to get predictable. I think I’m caught up to date on Dalziel and Pascoe now (in paperback at least). That only took four years…. A series I would highly recommend but to get the most of it you really need to read most, if not all, of it.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 7th August 2003.

talking to yourself

write an email to future me. providing you know the right email address to use. thinking about what to say to yourself is hard. i’m wondering about what present me would like to have heard from past me and what past me would like to have reminded present me about. kind of extrapolating down along and across the time axis from those points.

[found via meish]


the problem with not posting for ages is that everytime i scribble something down here it seems like not worth breaking the silence for. never mind.

i like the idea of using ear piercing whistles to speed trains up; this actually seems quite sensible to me. (as well as an appropriate way of breaking the silence.) since it’s often the gradual build up of tiny things going wrong that snowball into major problems (not just on the rail network) it seems the right approach to use other little changes to attempt to make things go in the right direction.