Planarchy Archive - March 2003


Birds and bees and all the flowers and trees,
Fishes on the line,
Girls and guys and yellow butterflies,
Singing, "Hello Summertime",
A home-made boat and a river to float
We're all feeling fine,
From the moon above, to people in love,
Singing, "Hello Summertime",

.....sang perma-tanned Bobby Goldsboro about thirty years ago.  I remember the words and it is they that come to mind as we switch the clocks forward for British Summertime. 


Why couldn't punk have come and saved me earlier?



My wage slip had the following emblazoned along it's lower edge...

Well, "Durh," I thought, what has society come to if we need instructions for tearing open a wage slip?  However, I turned over just in case there was something I was unaware of. said. 

"Pah!" I thought and tore mercilessly along the bottom. 

Should have stuck to the instructions, my wage slip is now in pieces.  So, let this be a lesson to the rest of you, if it says "Remove edges first" then do it.  Being a rebel isn't all it's cracked up to be some days.



String 'em Up

My Blog-saving work diary tells us that today in 1790 shoe laces were invented. 

Not yesterday or tomorrow but today.

Surely it was an idea that developed over a period of time?  No, the internet agrees with my diary

I remain sceptical.


Uncle Sam

Perusing my user stats I couldn't help but notice that (for the first time) the US military have appeared (0.64% of my hits for this month).  So, hi guys, wherever you are. 

But how come you get a separate classification anyway?  There's also US Commercial (38.41%), US Educational (0.48%) and US Government (0.07%).  How come so many sub-divisions for Uncle Sam?  All the other users are graded by country alone.


Cos I'm sure they're Gonna Get You

Following on from the rampaging success of yesterday's flower based feature, I give you some more.  From the front garden this time, or more strictly, the window box.  A full frontal view is also available with a bit of clicking. And why not wall to wall flowers anyway?  Formerly watchable BBC News 24 has joined in the race for "Bomb Porn" channel of the year so it's only fair that I go the other way.  This brings me neatly round to my other point, what else is happening in the world this week?  Is there no other news?  It would be a pretty good time to get up to no good, wouldn't it?


Beware of the Flowers

Yep, that's right.  It's the weekend and the sun has been shining so I've been out in the garden taking pictures for you.  Clematis armandii is our featured plant today, a lovely evergreen species which needs no special care at all.  Just trim it after flowering if you think it's getting too big.  And how could something looking this lovely get too big? 

Smells good too, but I can't code for scents (yet).



Perusing our local book emporium, as is my wont on a Saturday, I came across this, possibly (I thought) the latest offering from Carl Hiaasen.  I like his writing, but admit I was a bit nonplussed to find this one on a table in the children's book section.  However, I knew he had a new one out so thought nothing more of it until I got home.  His first foray into "writing for younger readers" says the blurb.  Not sure how his satire will translate to these younger readers, but so far I'm enjoying it and I think Dee will do so too as soon as I've finished. Apart from the vague eco-issues and the humour what I particularly like about Hiaasen is the characterisation of his secondary characters, very visual.  I used to think what excellent films the books would make.  Then halfway through reading "Striptease" (not his best anyway) I realised maybe not.  For this was turned into the film of the same name starring the projectile vomit-inducing Demi Moore.  Now, you know how I was saying how reliable Windows XP had been up until now.  Well, the mere mention of the execrable ex Mrs Willis has done the trick well and truly.  Six times since her name hit the core code.  Apologies if the entire triple dubya works no more after you read this post.

But does one shite film condemn a writer to no more breaks into the world of film?  I hope not, I really think he deserves a second chance.  "Lucky You" is my favourite by the way, with the "miracle" of the apostle-painted turtles.


PS: To see how far film sites have come since "Striptease" came out, please go there.  Why is this site still up?


Mac Attack

I'm not normally a Mac Attacker.  If people want to pay over the odds for a computer just because it looks cute and has undeniably clever advertising then that's their business. But today at work, to my surprise, a service engineer produced a dinky little i-Book to prepare the service certification. 
"That's rare!" I remarked, "A company providing their engineer's with a Mac."

"They don't, it's my own," he replied.

Wasn't that one of Apple's ads a few years ago? The CEO asked why the employees were taking the companies computers home and the IT guy said "They're not, they're bringing their own in!"  Something like that I'm sure.

Anyway, the portable printer he also had with him (this real life now, not the advert) didn't want to talk to his Mac (despite booting to both OS-9 and OS-X...hey, I've just realised OS-X is OS-10 using roman numerals, never spotted that before!).
"Have you any USB printers we can try?" he asked.

I found relatively new Epson and HP varieties both of which the Apple correctly identified.  Indeed in the case of the HP it even told us the Serial number (well, a serial number was quoted, I didn't check it was the right one.... that would have seemed a bit picky even for me.  Anyway, after much powering up and down of both Mac and printers; replacement USB leads and a even a quick attempt at Lay line alignment still nout.

Finally we tried the portable printer once again.

And it worked fine.

"The Mac was just sulking I expect," he said.

Now, I'm sure Windows readers have had similar experiences over the years (though I have to say that so far XP has done nothing of the sort to me!) but I always understood that Mac users had an easier time of it.  Apparently not.

It's just a shame my user stats show no Macs.  I would value their feelings on this.


PS: Sorry about missing out the Brucie link on yesterday's piece.  Now corrected.



Zee and I were off to one of our Tuesday Night at the Movies sessions last night.  "Far From Heaven" was our choice on this occasion and Screen 2 was packed (relatively) with five others joining us to witness this foray into 1950's prejudices.  A good film I would say, some wonderful cinematography, evoking not just the 1950's but the decade's films through it's clever use of colour.  The period tricks were, I felt, overdone in a couple of scenes where secondary cast members froze to emphasize their shock (art gallery and car wash scenes).  Did they do this sort of thing in '50's films, I have a nagging thought that some might have, though I can't think which.   Julianne Moore was absolutely brilliant again.  Dennis Quaid also putting in a a sterling performance as her (attempting to be) repressed gay husband.  I feel a bit sorry for Dennis, this film aside, his wonderfully authentic 1950's appearance has, I'm sure, dented his box office bankability. 

What else to recommend it?  Well, a lot of leaves.  An awful lot of leaves.  Were there more leaves in 1950's suburban America?  Maybe there were. 


I feel I need to start scoring my Blogged films in some way.  You need to take something away from a film don't you? Other than a half drunk Sprite and the half a bag of boiled sweets that Zee foisted on me to "Stop you coughing all the way through" that is. Ideally it should be something profound and evocative but a feel-good buzz is perfectly acceptable.  "Solaris" left me feeling a bit short-changed, I was expecting more.  "The Hours", conversely, I enjoyed far more than I expected and gave me several nice ideas to ponder for a day or two.  "Far From Heaven" was not as good as the the latter but a great step up on the former.  But sadly, and it's entirely my fault for associating everything with popular music, what this film really left me with was humming Bruce Springsteen's "All that Heaven Will Allow" (and I bet that doesn't get as many hits as the last two featured tracks!).  But it sort of fits in with the film as, I believe, it's one of the songs he wrote while his marriage was falling apart. 


Waterproof(I wish they were)

Most of my ideas for the Blog or other come to me when I'm away from my PC.  After all, cute though it may be, this little lap-warmer isn't the most inspirational thing in the world.  Relaxing in the bath last night my mind was racing but where are those ideas now, eh?  Gorn (and never called me mother).   What I need is one of these funky noo Tablet PCs

In a waterproof type flavour. 

Nowhere in any of the reviews is the fact that these cuddly leetle creatures are not waterproof mentioned.  You'd think they's start off by saying it was their major handicap.  If you can't use it in the bath then what on earth is the point?


Lyrical Code (part 2)

Well, as you may have noticed the day related random lyrics are still up.  I've modified it a bit to make it easier to make use of the fact that there are far more lyrics for some days than others.  If you're interested the latest version of the PHP code is here (well it's there even if you're not, actually).

I've left the actual lyrics in this time as well, as I couldn't be arsed to excise them.  So, share and enjoy.  A function enabling lyrics for other specific dates has also been added (only one so far).  And I don't claim any of this is anything groundbreaking.  That it works at all, without causing the whole trippa-dubya to grind to a halt is one step up in the history of my coding.

And apologies to none UK based readers who are getting lyrics based on GMT.

I'm gonna live 'til Tuesday

The importance of "Adoption Day", the day you go to Court, is stressed as important many times during the training/assessment sessions.  It is suggested that it be a day celebrated like a birthday as it is the day that the child(ren) officially become yours.  A far cry from the days when adoption was a secretive affair and adoptees often only learned of their status many years later.

Dee and Kay always knew of course, they were eight and six when we first met them.  And only ten days older when they came to live with us.  But we've never really celebrated "Adoption Day" as such.  Legal complexities meant it took so long to get to that stage that they were so obviously "ours" by then, it just didn't seem necessary.  For us it's the 13th March that we celebrate as that is the day they came to live with us.

Four years ago, only four years. 

It seems a life time in some ways, I can't remember life without them despite the hundreds of things that much have changed in our lives since.  And it's the little things I like most.  Today, Kay was allowed to don fancy dress for Comic Relief.  She chose to be a punk with my old leather jacket (with Original 1977 safety pins still attached).  She looked brilliant and I welled up with pride.

But last night was the celebration.  We've previously bought shiny vacuum cleaner food but this year we thought of something different.  We went oop West for a pizza and "Fame" (subtitled "The Musical" discriminate it from the Dostoevsky play of the same name presumably?).  I was not expecting to enjoy the show other than from watching Dee and Kay's delight.  But, much to my surprise, I did.  A lovely evening.  Thank you girls for this, and so much more.

Random Responses

Carrying on (a bit) from the last piece.... I was trying to explain to someone at work the other day that the reason that a certain computer file was in the same place as it had always had been (apart from when they looked for it) was that they hadn't looked properly.  And not that the computer didn't like them or just behaved erratically at times. 

But they wouldn't have it. 

The software moved files around, they insisted.  I nearly lost my temper when I thought "Well, if I was a coder I wouldn't waste my time with so called Easter Eggs.  No, I'd introduce a few random factors to screw with peoples minds."

The important thing would be set the frequency really low, or link it in with the system clock so it happenned in the middle of the night when no-one was around.   Or just to certain users....

It's the little bits of anarchy that count isn't it?  As the great John Lydon said "Give a wrong time, Stop a traffic line."  Speaking of which, what's with Lennie Henry (Ingerland's finest comic brain shurely!) doing the speaking clock for a week in aid of Comic Relief?  And apologies for non UK readers who can't sample his hilarious telling of the time... Laugh, well no I didn't actually.


Eight Days a Week (not included)

Sometimes, you get these ideas in the middle of the night and the next morning all that is left is the memory that you had a great idea.  Well, today I remembered.

And it may have been better that I had forgotten.  But, having seen it through the development stage I thought I'd let you see it for a week at least.  Then maybe we'll throw the code into one of the deepest pits of hell and never mention it again.

I think it started yesterday at work. 

I said something to my friend Em about what he was doing next week and he replied "Well, Tuesday I go off to honeymoon."  It's a lyric obviously, and one that he knows I will know.  It's naff, I know, to have these sort of secret languages. It doesn't matter whether they're lyrics, Monty Python sketches or even Shakespearean rhyming couplets (sorry, especially the latter!) it's naff, I admit it.  But it's harmless and lots of us do it.  And I admit that song lyrics are my particular weakness.  The girls are now old enough to scold my constant referencing to obscure seventies pop, whilst I know Zee gave up all hope years ago.

But, I digress. 

My "brilliant idea" was to have random, but day-related song lyrics appearing up at the top of the blog (yeah, I know things seem different at night).  The code (PHP) was simple enough but coming up with the lyrics was harder than I thought.  The middle of the week was the main stumbling block here.  As a result I've stuck with just thee selections for each day.  Refreshing one's browser to get all three for the day is acceptable but cheating to get the whole set at once is sincerely frowned on by all at DKNZ towers.

And sadly, the wonderful old WWW makes a competition to correctly name all of the songs a waste of time.  Though I think there's one you might find harder than the rest to identify....


Oh, and I haven't mis-quoted any lyrics, those ones are probably from a different song to the one you're thinking of.





Sixty seven years ago is (is that the Jam Anniversary?... I'm not sure) the Mark 1 Spitfire flew for the first time.  And I have to confess I have a bit of a thing about Spitfires.  Just a little thing you'll understand, Spitfires are not up there with the Clash, Cheese, Chocolate or South Island New Zealand, but they figure nonetheless. 

My first real Spitfire moment came at a school fete some time in the late seventies.... the school had arranged a fly past involving various planes, old and new.  There was a Lancaster, A Lightening and probably some Phantoms....but when the Spitfire flew low over the field there was a definite raising of the hairs on the back of my neck.

Then, just under four years ago, one of our first trips out with the girls was up to Duxford Aerodrome.  By chance it was the weekend before their annual Air Show and there was a Spitfire practicing it's manoeuvres overhead.  We were buzzed several times and I was transfixed once again.  Of course I took pictures but they didn't look right.  The digitally aged one looks so much more atmospheric don't you think? But click them both anyway......

Happy birthday Spitfire, wherever you are.


Solaris 2

Still worrying about Solaris

Why didn't I like it? 

Zee reckonned it was definitely my sort of film (dark, moody with apparently not a lot going on?) and I'm still thinking about it the day after which is usually a good sign.  Though, admittedly much of my thinking has been why I didn't like it rather than any ideas it was trying to put across

Very strange.

I'll keep you updated of course.



Solaris.  We went to see it tonight.

I have to say I was underwhelmed.  Though Zee enjoyed it.  And I was looking forward to it too, whereas she was less sure beforehand. 

The ordinal I remember as being far too long.  This was shorter but somewhat lacking in atmosphere.  A shame, there were a couple of nice ideas still and lots of George Clooney's bottom (for those who like that sort of thing).  Actually, I think there was more of George's bum than his female co-star's, which is surely unusual.  Talking of his co-star (Natascha McElhone), she's one of those esoteric looking people who gains her beauty from a very strange set of facial features.  Eyes, nose and chin all seem oversized by normal standards I would say.  Yet they combine for a very ethereal beauty, ideal for this film.

But somehow I just didn't think it worked, indeed in the first half an hour I was even wondering whether it would become only the second film I have ever walked out of ("War of the Roses" was the first, and so far, only).

Shame, I was really looking forward to this.  I don't remember the last film that let me down so.


Safe Spex

Look at the cleaning cloth that came with my new safety spectacles! 

Well, it made me laugh.

OK, maye just a slight and wry grin.

Slightly raised eyebrow?


OK, final words, as ever, go to young Kay....

"If it wasn't for the P it would say SEX," said she.
"Well, yes, that's the joke," I said.

"Hmm, it's not very funny." she replied.



Old Boots and Croci

Well, at long last it appears that spring has sprung here over at DKNZ towers.  The croci are looking deliciously purple and Zee and I were lured into the sunshine for a long overdue session of garden tidying.  No problem for me and my ever so stylish Christmas slip on wellies and Zee was happy to make do with her gardening trainers.

I'd thrown my gardening (ie: old knackered) trainers away a few weeks ago, or so I thought until Zee tried to find a matching pair....


Oh, well once muddy she'd never know the difference.....


Glenn Miller (still missing...)

Glenn Miller (a fave of this blog as long term visitors will be aware) would have been 99 today had he not:

A) Died in a Paris Brothel

B) Been killed by Allied bombs

C) Been abducted by aliens   

OR..... STOP PRESS (thanks to Sss)

D) Killed by a US secret service hitman

....though the fact that I could find no credible links involving Glenn and aliens prooves it pretty conclusively to me.... but, in the meantime, other conspiracy theories always welcome.


Happy birthday Glenn, wherever you are.



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