Archive: June, 2002


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Sunday, June 30th, 2002

Donnie Darko

It’s not often that I’ll watch a movie because of a website but that’s exactly what I did after visiting the Donnie Darko website.

The film had just a limited release in cinemas despite having Drew Barrymore and Patrick Swayze in the cast.

The movie, like the website, was strange, funny and creepy. I won’t even try to to explain what it’s about. See it for yourself and be sure to spend plenty of time at the website.

.org is a public trust

Be sure to add your support to the proposal to run the .org domain registry as a public trust.

I don’t want Verisign to make a mess of sites like The Session.

Friday, June 28th, 2002


Pamie is back.

This is A Good Thing.

Now if only Heather would come back too.

Thursday, June 27th, 2002


When I get back to England, I’m going to have to trip a trip up to London and start looking out for chalkmarks.

The Warchalkers have taken the old hobo tricking of marking buildings with chalk except they’re applying it to bandwidth. Clever.

The mainstream press have already picked up on this.

iBook redux

Hallelujah! My iBook is fixed.

I checked with Apple to see how much it would cost to have it repaired and I was told it would be around $400. Yikes!

I called and visited a few places in Sierra Vista to see if they could help. Their responses didn’t exactly fill me with confidence:

"Well, you can leave it with us and we’ll mess around with it."

Um… no, thanks.

Finally, I stumbled upon Charles Marlowe, local Mac troubleshooter. He was able to trace the problem back to a tiny piece of white plastic that had broken off.

He had my iBook in his custody for a couple of days and as I anxiously paced the floor, he fashioned a replica piece of plastic out of an old boot diskette for OS 7. Necessity is the mother of invention.

Today he handed back the iBook and my CD tray stays put. Yay!

Total cost: $80.

It feels good to have my iBook back. I’m complete again.

I’d better start taking better care of it, though.

Tuesday, June 25th, 2002


Disaster strikes!

The CD tray on my iBook refuses to “stick” when I close it. It was only a matter of time I guess - I lug the thing around with me everywhere and I’ve had it for quite a while (longer than my warranty, unfortunately).

The problem is probably caused by a tiny piece of plastic or metal. For want of a nail, the kingdom was lost.

Well, maybe some genius at the Apple Store in Phoenix can help me. Otherwise, I’ll just carry some sticky tape around with me everywhere I go.

Sunday, June 23rd, 2002

What a long strange trip it's been

The reason why I haven’t been updating here lately is that I’ve been on the road, wandering, en routard, cruising the highways and exploring the state of Arizona.

On Tuesday, myself, Jessica and Jessica’s parents set out for northern Arizona. We took the scenic route through the beautiful Salt River Canyon.

On that first day we saw the smoke on the horizon. The plume grew and grew as we passed through the towns of Snowflake and Show Low. Little did we realise that we were looking at the start of the worst fire in Arizona’s, if not the nation’s, history.

The fire, quite literally, cast a pall over the whole trip.

We spent the first night in Winslow where they are inordinately proud of being mentioned in an Eagles song once.

The next day, we visited the awe-inspiring, slightly inaccurately named, Meteor Crater. I had been wanting to visit this place for quite some time having read so much about it

We went on to see the (volcanic) Sunset Crater and the Native American ruins at Wupatki, both of which were quite lovely in their own, different ways.

The next two days were spent exploring the Grand Canyon. The North Rim seemed a lot less touristy (probably because it’s harder to get to) than the more popular South Rim.

True to its name, the canyon is indeed grand. And scary if, like me, you’re afraid of big long drops with rocks at the bottom.

The trip finished with a visit to the red rocks in the town of Sedona. Sedona is kind of like an American Glastonbury, full of crystal shops, astrologers, psychics and other peddlers of new age nonsense.

It’s a great town, though. We had what was undoubtably the best meal of the trip there at a restaurant called Robert’s.

From there, it was a long drive back to Sierra Vista but we had time to stop and see the fantastic cliff dwellings at the completely inaccurately named Montezuma’s Castle.

So, that was my road trip. It was hot, hot, hot the whole time with temperatures around 40 degrees celcius. But, as the locals will tell you, "It’s a dry heat".

Between us, Jessica and I took about 400 pictures during the trip. I won’t bore with all my holiday snaps but here are the selected highlights.

Sunday, June 16th, 2002


It’s a dry summer even by Arizona standards.

As we were driving out of town yesterday evening we saw this brush fire on the hills.

When you we driving back later that night, the blaze seemed to be under control.

fire on the hills

Friday, June 14th, 2002


Ice Floes

The view from the airplane.

Ice floes

Ice and sun

I’m in Arizona and it’s hot, hot, hot.

I’m taking it easy, sitting on the back porch with my iBook, soaking up the sun, surfing the web, listening to iTunes and using iPhoto to look at some pictures I took during the flight yesterday.

The flight was long and uneventful but we had a great view of the coast of Greenland and, much later on, the Grand Canyon.

Tuesday, June 11th, 2002

Once more into the breach

I’m out of here… again.

Jessica and I are headed to Arizona tomorrow for a three week long soak in the sun.

It’s a ten hour flight but at the end of it there’s a hammock by a swimming pool that’s just waiting for myself and my mandolin to settle into it and ertertain the possibility of having a nice read or eating some barbequed food.

I’ll take lots of pictures and I’ll still be updating here regularly.

Goodbye English weather, hello sunshine.

Apple - Switch

It looks like Apple are getting serious about converting the masses.

There’s a whole new section of their website dedicated to the switch over from PC to Mac.

I think this is a good move. I think there are a lot of PC users who are seriously considering the move to a Mac for two reasons: one is the beaty and elegance of things like OS X, the new iMac and the iPod. The other reason is that a lot people were pretty annoyed with the way that Microsoft forced their invasive WIndows XP upgrade on people.

I know that Jessica is very happy that she made the switch over to using a Mac. She’s still keeping her Sony Vaio laptop, though.

Monday, June 10th, 2002

Accessibility goes mainstream

The New York Times has picked up on the whole accessibilty debate. The site requires free registration before you can read the article.

Sunday, June 9th, 2002

Letting the side down

I did something two days ago that I’ve never done before in my life. I called up a television station to complain about the content of a programme.

To explain why I did this, I need to fill in the backstory.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that England beat Argentina in the World Cup. Games between England and Argentina (as well as Germany) can be volatile affairs. Not only is there animosity because of previous sporting defeats, but there is always the danger of the sport being hi-jacked by more base motives. Argentina and Germany have both been at war with Britain (although officially the Falklands was simply a "conflict").

It was during the Falklands war that the worst of excesses of jingoism were seen in Britain. The Sun newspaper famously ran with the headline "GOTCHA" following the sinking of The General Belgrano with huge loss of life. The headline was the cause of much controversy mostly because many felt that there was nothing wrong in celebrating a "victory" like this. It was scandolous by virtue of not being scandalous.

The headline was pulled from later editions of that day’s paper and in the intervening years it has become the epitome of bad-taste journalism.

Fast forward twenty years to the World Cup 2002. England beat Argentina and the country is celebrating. There seems to be genuine progress - fans are happy for all the right reasons: sporting reasons.

There is no hint of the war-based jingoism that marred previous football matches between the two nations.

And then channel 4 had to spoil it all.

For the duration of the World Cup, channel 4’s evening news finishes each day on a lighthearted note with a "word for the day" in Japanese.

On the day of the England vs. Argentina match, the word of the day was "GOTCHA".

That’s why I called to complain.

I realise that there are worse things to be upset by and that this is only offensive in a wink-wink, nudge-nudge knowing kind of way but still… I feel a line was crossed that placed channel 4 in the same camp as The Sun.

Lenny Bruce once said that comedy is tragedy plus time. I don’t want to come across as some humourless Mary Whitehouse type figure but I don’t think a mainstream news source should feature humour that’s based on a tragic loss of human life and the subsequent lack of respect for those lives.

I felt that while every other news source were commendably sticking to a "don’t mention the war" policy, channel 4 succumbed to using the most bloody incident of the Falklands war to get a cheap laugh.

To use a footballing term, they let the side down. Badly.

Friday, June 7th, 2002

The Bleat

This is unexpected: James Lileks really likes Attack Of The Clones.

Reading his latest bleat makes me want to go out and see the film again. Hmmm… I’d probably have the whole cinema to myself if I went this afternoon during the game.

Thursday, June 6th, 2002

Silky smooth

Apple have just released the latest update to OS X and there’s already a nifty little application that activates font smoothing in all Carbon applications.

Basically, this means that you can have the same beautiful text rendering of the OmniWeb browser enabled in Internet Explorer.

It certainly makes surfing the web a prettier experience.

Mac Jedi

After switching over to using a Mac, the only thing I really missed about using a PC was playing games like Jedi Knight.

That’s why I’m extremely excited that Jedi Knight II is coming out for the Mac.

Add to this the fact that Max Payne, Medal Of Honour and Return to Castle Wolfenstein are all either in the process of being ported, or have already been ported to the Mac and the future of Mac gaming looks very rosy indeed.

Impressive… most impressive.

Wednesday, June 5th, 2002

eMac - the E is for Everybody

I see that Apple have opened up the eMac to everyone - not just the education sector.

It’s quite amazing value for money. For less than a thousand pounds you can have a G4 mac with a 17" flat screen.

It’s very tempting, especially for people like me who can’t quite afford a nice new G4 iMac.

Mirror Project pictures

It’s hard to believe that the weather so nice just a couple of days ago when I took this picture of myself reflected in Jessica’s sunglasses.

It’s also hard to believe that it’s just ten days since Jessica snapped this picture of herself in Finland.

Back to normal

I had my moment in the limelight with Salter Cane last night. All in all, it went really well.

Johnny Dowd was excellent as were Songdog, who also played.

People seemed to genuinely like our music too, which was very gratifying. Of course, having my mother in the audience guaranteed us having at least one fan.

Today I saw my mother to the airport as she headed back to Ireland. Right on cue, the weather turned miserable and a deluge was unleashed on the streets of London and Brighton.

No more concert, no more guests and no more nice weather. In short, it’s business as usual.

Tuesday, June 4th, 2002

What's on in Brighton

If anybody in Brighton is looking for a good evening’s entertainment tonight, head on over to the Hanbury Ballroom.

Johnny Dowd will playing. Support will be provided by yours truly in the company of Salter Cane.

Sunday, June 2nd, 2002


Happy Birthday to my mother! It’s great to have her here - we can go out and celebrate in style somewhere in Brighton tonight.

She’s enjoying her visit. Yesterday we had a bit of a family reunion. We visited my great uncle Alan and great aunt Pearl and I met my first cousin, once removed, Sir Brian Keith and his wife, Gilly.

I couldn’t let a gathering like that pass without whipping out the digital camera. Here’s the resulting tableau of the Keith family.