Shipping News

At christmas, the stand out film for me was "The Shipping News". So I bought the book. Immediately after this, I mentioned the film to a friend; his response was "don’t bother with the book. Actually, I quite enjoyed it; there is less Hollywood-ism (i.e. the lead characters arn’t good looking); the book has more time to meander than the film, which it benefits from. I find it a little overly stuffed with metaphor and similie, which at time jarred a little; othertimes, it was highly effective ("the sky was bruise grey"). Combined with her tendency to use verbless sentances ("The smell of sea damp and paint") gives the book a slightly breathless feel. Generally recommended. Particularly, as it has lots of short chapters, which makes it good f…

Advantages of Open Access Publication

I realised today one of the more obscure advantages of Open Access publishing. This produces a major change in the economics of the scientific publishing, which is that the payment happens during the publication, rather than before reading. This is entirely wrong, it seems to me. Most scientists spend far too much time publishing and not nearly enough time reading. Making people pay to publish, but allowing cost-free reading should help to redress this balance. Originally published on my old blog site.

Talk to the Head

Got a reply from the Business Directorate in my attempt to get a signed copyright waiver. I tried the technique of writing to the head of the department which seems to have resulted in a reply. Actually, it produced several replies, from the head, and the next down, and then the next down again. Fingers crossed we will be there soon. Originally published on my old blog site.


Spent some time in Manchester; I went down mostly for the BioPAX meeting. They are hoping to use the formal semantics of OWL, within the BioPAX encoding, which the current versions do not. I think that the difficultly is going to be deciding what should be represented in OWL and where is should be used as a surface syntax. It was lovely to see everybody again. I even got to buy some cake as I had a paper accepted last Wednesday. Originally published on my old blog site.

Top of the World

As have others, I said in the past that I don’t really like country music; more recently, I realised that there are bits of it I do like, so I try to remain open minded. I happened across the Dixie Chicks "Home" album; I remember they had a lot of hassle over Gulf War II, which is why the name stuck, so I gave it a listen. It’s great; there’s some fast and furious bluegrass playing, so pop songs, some delicate ballads. And one or two rather crap love songs. Ah well. Interestingly, all the stand out songs, for me anyway, are covers. I’ve worked out one, Top of the World. Funnily enough, the middle section has the same chord change to a very bad, slow, folkie version of "Little Red Corvette" that I used to play poorly many years ago. Originally …

Choose your Friends

I decided, yesterday, that I would let my brother in on the journal; in general, I haven’t been telling many people about it. While I might have been hoping that the world at large was about to discover a Samuel Pepys for the new millenium, I wasn’t entirely to give up the day job. Still, I might have hoped that my brother’s first opinion hadn’t included adjectives such as "pompous" and "muiresque" (as in, like Frank Muir). Well, what can I say? Ever has the path of the true genius been strewn with the yapping and braying of those snapping at their heals. But I shall continue, I shall persevere and broadcast my words to the unfeeling ether of cyberspace that surrounds us! Originally published on my old blog site.

Curried Rice

Have been suffering from a problem; due to some over-exuberance, I’ve had to eat with a teaspoon for the last few days. Fortunately, on sunday I’d cooked some bulgar wheat with chickpeas. Today, was curried rice. Very simple: garlic flakes, oil, pepper, black mustard seed, all fried. Then add rice vinegar and some soy. After a few minutes of frying put in a enough rice and fry it drish, then add enough water. Finally, spice with an Oxo cube, cumin, coriander, turmeric and add a small amount of tomato puree and chilli sauce. To give it a bit of bulk, I added peas, broad beans and some quorn chicken. Turned out rather well, as it happens. Takes about 15 minutes in total. Originally published on my old blog site.

Video Nasties

Following yesterdays road scraping, I’ve decided to commemorate the occasion with a gallery, named after a band I’ve been getting into recently. So, I proudly announce the Bruise Armada. I will update it over the couple of weeks. Originally published on my old blog site.

Young at Heart

Well, having felt middle-aged in my last entry, today I feel rejuvenated and young. Just to prove that I can be foolhardy and idiotic, I fell of my bike during an overtaking manoeuvre of quite staggering incompetence. It’s nice to know that I can still engage in fits of youthful over-exuberance. Kind of knackered the bike up though. The image is included as my contribution to medical science. Ouch. Thanks is due to man I was overtaking, who helped me up; particularly nice, as I almost bought him off. Originally published on my old blog site.

Wee Jocks Lament

Got the second Hamish MacBeth DVD today. Bit irritated to find it short one episode; ho hum. Watched Wee Jock’s Lament; excellent episode. It mixes humour and death, killing and repentance, and throws in ghost sub-plot. In lesser hands, it could have been cheesy on a stick; but it’s so lightly done that it worked; the ghost appearances really freaked me out, the pain of the loss touched me, and the laying of Wee Jock’s stone had me in tears. Did the BBC really never repeat these? Originally published on my old blog site.