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December 6, 2000
[annoying introspection] Wherever You Are asks Have You Ever?. Vaughan has turned weblogging into a destressing late night party session of Truth or Dare with a bunch of complete strangers…
November 23, 2000
[the great unknown] Deathbed book a first for China: ‘In this passage, Mr Lu recalls an idyllic trip with friends 20 years ago to the lower Yangtze valley, a peaceful swath of countryside at the time, where heavy rain kept them stuck for several days. A local girl looked after them, listening quietly as they talked about poetry and the world and drank local wine with dried beancurd. Mr Lu was captivated by her innocence and purity, but was too shy to go any further. Now he muses on what might have happened if he had stayed and married her. “What would I be now? Maybe a teacher in the town’s primary school?” He wonders too whether he would have contracted the cancer. “Is life like a chess competition, where with one wrong move we change the result completely?”‘
November 22, 2000
[thatch] Guardian Unlimited asks: Where were you when Thatcher resigned? Ken Loach: ‘I was in a car going back to a flat we’ve got in Chiswick. I remember it must have been how people felt at the end of the war – street parties and people singing songs to a piano in the street. I knew the malign influence would carry on, but there was a wonderful feeling of caps in the air.’ [Tedious Autobio: Where was I? 1990. I was… twenty, living in Portsmouth, and a student. It was about 9.30ish in the morning and I was having a long relaxing shower. One of my flatmates banged on the shower door and shouted: “Hey Dazza! Thatcher’s resigned!” I started to shuffle a happy dance (it was a small shower) and sing Morning Has Broken at the top of my voice.]
November 21, 2000
[quote] ‘Zola called it documentation, and his documenting expeditions to the slums, the coal mines, the races, the folies, department stores, wholesale food markets, newspaper offices, barnyards, railroad yards, and engine decks, notebook and pen in hand, became legendary. At this weak, pale, tabescent moment in the history of American literature we need a battalion, a brigade of Zolas to head out into this wild, bizarre, unpredictable, Hog-stomping Baroque country of ours and reclaim it as literary property.’ — Tom Wolfe, “Stalking the Billion-Footed Beast,” November 1989, Harper’s.
November 12, 2000
[reading] Jurrassic Park by Michael Crichton: ‘”But we have soothed ourselves into imagining sudden change as something that happens outside the normal order of things. An accident, like a car crash. Or beyond our control like a fatal illness. We do not concieve of sudden, radical, irrational change as built into the very fabric of existence. Yet it is. And chaos theory teaches us,” Malcolm said, “that straight linearity, which we have come to take for granted in everything from physics to fiction, simply does not exist. Linearity is an artificial way of viewing the world. Real life isn’t a series of interconnected events occurring one after another like beads strung on a necklace. Life is actually a series of encounters in which one event may change those that follow in a wholly unpredictable, even devastating way”. Malcolm sat back in his seat, looking towards the other Land Cruiser, a few yards ahead. “That’s a deep truth about the structure of our universe. But for some reason, we insist on behaving as if it were not true.”‘
November 7, 2000
[science] I have two brains… one in my stomach! How cool is that? ‘This ‘second brain’ is made up of a knot of brain nerves in the digestive tract. It is thought to involve around 100 billion nerve cells – more than held in the spinal cord. Researchers believe this belly brain may save information on physical reactions to mental processes and give out signals to influence later decisions. It may also be responsible in the creation of reactions such as joy or sadness.’ [via Bloglet]
November 5, 2000
[burchill] Julie Burchill is still on form‘”Home” is where the people we love are. And once they’re gone, no cooking smells, stencilled borders or roses around the door will make it home again. It’s time we stopped kidding ourselves otherwise, put down our mindless implements, stopped our endless fidgeting and enjoyed our loved ones while we can.’
October 17, 2000
[text messaging] Text Message Theatre? Weblogtastic… Tom’s Inbox / Outbox I, Tom’s Inbox II, Meg’s Inbox / Outbox. ‘Yes. Be good. Or bad. Or something.’
October 5, 2000
[shoes] Two Pairs. No excuses… I’m a simple unsophisticated lad from Norfolk. Untouched by London ways…
October 1, 2000
[music] Radiohead are interviewed in The Observer… ”The middle-class thing has never been relevant,’ he spits. ‘We live in Oxford, and in Oxford we’re fucking lower class. The place is full of the most obnoxious, self-indulgent, self-righteous oiks on the fucking planet, and for us to be called middle class… well, no, actually. Be around on May Day when they all reel out of the pubs at five in the morning puking up and going “haw haw haw” and trying to hassle your girlfriend…”
September 18, 2000
[big numbers] According to this calendarhome.com I am 11,129 days old. Which is interesting.
September 16, 2000
[ch-ch-ch-changes] Guardian Unlimited explores how to change your life. ‘…many of us are creatures of habit: we know exactly what we like and we make sure we stay well inside our comfort zone. Just remember that there’s always somewhere more comfortable than your comfort zone, and eventually that thought will make you so uncomfortable that you’ll venture out.’
September 12, 2000
[weblogger on the verge of a…] …Nervous Breakdown. Sunday’s Observer actually covers what a nervous breakdown means… ‘The most common kind of breakdown, according to Dr Philip Timms, a consultant psychiatrist with the South London and Maudsley Trust, is someone developing moderately severe depression, normally over a period of weeks. ‘A person would begin to feel more on edge, find it more difficult to sleep, find themselves thinking more negatively about themselves, feel increasingly hopeless and incompetent about what they’re doing, and then there comes a day when they just can’t face going to work, or getting out of bed, perhaps. Breakdown occurs if a depressive episode is not dealt with – it builds up and it’s part of a process.’ ‘
September 9, 2000
[life] 101 ways to slow down‘102. Don’t worry about finding interesting/useful/life-changing links for your weblog.’
September 8, 2000
[allergic to microchips] Guardian Unlimited reports on a woman living in a timewarp — she’s unable to go near microchips which are omnipresent in modern society…. ‘Mrs Stock says that if she goes near a computer or sits in a modern motor car she quickly begins to suffer with a pain that she likens to a pencil boring through the back of her head. “I have earache and toothache and my vision goes distorted. It is just as though you are drunk and you don’t know what you are doing,” she said yesterday. “I find it very scary, especially when the eyes go. They can be like that for hours and I worry that they may not become all right again. The pains in my head can last for days.”‘
August 26, 2000
[burchill] Julie Burchill takes a vast mental leap in Guardian Unlimited and draws parallels between self-pitying Radiohead listening males, the poor performance of boys compared girls at A-Levels and GCSE’s and “certain self-pitying” paedophiles. ‘But male self-pity is not always funny; sometimes, it serves as an excuse for the most loathsome sorts of behaviour. A handy catch-all cliché that the ivory-tower-dwellers among us have been dishing up in an attempt to turn popular feeling against those appalling oiks in Paulsgrove (my God, I bet none of them has even read one Julian Barnes novel!) is, “The abused, in turn, abuse”. This is, rather, one of the silliest and most easily disproved of modern myths. Some 90% of abused children are women; some 90% of child abusers are men. If it was really true that “the abused abuse”, then 90% of all child abusers would be women, wouldn’t they?’
August 15, 2000
[big brother] GuardianUnlimited asks: Is Big Brother just like working in an office? “‘Dishonest gossip, lack of co-operation, unkind looks and sneers, the intolerance of dissent – all are now regarded by many American workplace psychologists as classic symptoms of ‘mobbing’. And they are also, of course, all leitmotivs of the Big Brother household. ‘Big Brother appears to be a microcosm of work, just as work is a microcosm of society,’ said Ishmael.”
August 12, 2000
[comics] Tom Spurgeon writes disturbingly about his life, family and comics in You Can Lead a Messiah to Water, But You Can’t Make Him Walk. ‘In 1990, I was arrested for drunk driving and grand theft auto. I told the officer in charge I was borrowing the stolen car to meet my friends, “Maggie and Hopey.” The first place I drove a car was Bright’s Book Exchange on Highway 332, where I bought the first issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The day my friend was murdered I spent buying comics at Comics Carnival, including that issue of Cerebus where he throws the baby.’
August 10, 2000
[my inner child] The Law of Playground is one of those sites you can spend all day looking at… ‘”I’m watching a series of programmes on bullying on the BBC2 learning zone, and I feel really fucking bad. People hang themselves about the stuff we laugh at, for god’s sake!’
August 7, 2000
[money] fool.com has a great article on how to get out of credit card debt. “Spending money you haven’t earned yet is like using up years you haven’t lived yet.” [via Camworld]
August 6, 2000
[comics] Tom Spurgeon tells us how comics made him fat. ‘I take consolation only in that while I may be fucked, portions of this essay will be re-posted on the Internet after my inevitable obesity-related death.’
August 1, 2000
[pitts] William Reith talks about the Pitt’s wedding photo. ‘This – the luxury, the security, the plunder and price of fame – is what the picture is trying to negate. It’s trying to negate the barrage balloons, the guards outside the wedding compound talking into their radios, the prison vans. It might as well be a photograph of a politician and his wife. It is spin. Here is a couple who want to pretend they are just like you and me. They know the price of milk. Knowing that we would not like them if we saw them represented by more conventional images, they have given us a more likable version of themselves. And they think they’ve taken us in!’
July 30, 2000
[farmers] The Guardian looks at why the British are so hostile towards farmers. ‘In the same Mail On Sunday that sympathised with Martin, Geoffrey Wheatcroft wrote a vigorous attack on all farmers for their “greedy whingeing”. “They are always whining,” he wrote, “and they are always holding their hands out. They expect – and they get – money to grow crops, and money not to grow crops. All in all, the way in which farming is subsidised has become the greatest single affront to British democracy. What makes it worse is the astonishing ingratitude of our farmers”.’
July 28, 2000
[men] Blokes, I feel your pain… newsUnlimited covers masculinity in crisis. :) ‘And in the carpark of that pub, alone in a T-registration Ford Capri but for the bitter-sweet, heartrending sound of Phil Collins singing Another Lonely Day in Paradise, I sat down and wept. The song ended and the late news came on. Football supporters run riot in Belgium. Another clash in the House of Commons. Two men arrested on suspicion of multiple murder. Lorry driver causes fatal crash on Ml. Lone man chews gum in high-rise. Men, men, men. Men in trouble. Men at sea. Masculinity in tatters.’
[orgy] Hacker’s orgy — fails because nobody shows up… ‘Only two people showed up, and now the would-be Dionysus is trying to recoup some of his costs by selling the shirts for $15 each. In retrospect, he realizes the orgy was probably a bad idea from its conception. “The idea came out of a conversation on IRC [Internet Relay Chat],” he says. “We were bitching about how hackers never get laid.” Even at an orgy.’ [via Guardian Weblog]
July 26, 2000
[news of the screws] Metafilter on the Jennicam scandal. ‘Because the World Wide Web is all about two things: horrifyingly stupid psychodrama, and naked chicks.’
July 24, 2000
[more inner turmoil] The alt.angst calendar. Let’s take a look at what the entry for my birthday is: “…most of us have only two or three genuinely interesting moments in our lives, the rest is filler, and at the end of our lives, most of us will be lucky if any of those moments connect together to form a story that anyone would find remotely interesting.” -Douglas Coupland, “Generation X” Hmmm….
July 23, 2000
[inner turmoil] Loads of depressing reading at the alt.angst archive“Angst: Discovering that the background music of your life is not sweeping strings & stirring brass; but a roomful of old men, in golf clothes, continuously playing one-note pants tubas.” [Does anybody know what “one-note pants tubas” actually are?]
July 22, 2000
[news of the screws] The National Post reports on the scandal at Jennicam. ‘But today, far from being a window into the life of an ordinary young woman, JenniCam (six cameras situated around her home) provides a glimpse into a slacker’s nirvana. With seemingly no means of support besides webcam revenue, Jenni, 24, whiles away her days in her spacious well- appointed surroundings playing computer games and, quite frequently, masturbating. Last Saturday morning, visitors to the site had the treat of watching Jenni and Dex make love. Her very public betrayal of her close friend, however, has prompted many formerly devoted viewers to vow never to give her another penny. Courtney, since discharged, remains in shock. In a recent journal posting, she laments: “How am I supposed to compete with ‘Jennicam?’ She’s funny, she’s gorgeous, she’s got better furniture. This really, really sucks.”‘
July 19, 2000
[children] A father talks about his daughter’s reaction to the muder of Sarah Payne. ‘When I arrive home my daughter has more news about Sarah. “She’s dead,” she says. “It’s really sad isn’t it Daddy?” she says. Yes, I say, it’s horrible, and prepare for one of those painful conversations about why anyone could do this. But she walks off. A couple of minutes later she calls me back. “Daddy, have you seen the fairy house I made?” she asks.’
July 17, 2000
[true] Life is always stranger than fiction… the true story of a runaway princess, an american marine and the US Media‘Colbert adds: “no matter what the ending, it’s still a movie.” So is it being cast already? Aloe thought Brad Pitt was “a bit too laid back… Jason is a real John Wayne character, a young Steve McQueen all-American renegade, completely without fear.” Freddy Prinze Jr has already been suggested and Aloe says they want at least one big star, probably male. For the princess, Selma Hayek has already been mentioned and Aloe reckons that Shannon Elizabeth from American Pie would be ideal.’
July 15, 2000
[web] Zdnet on Ego-Surfing. ‘[..]Fouts says ego surfing is about more than the need for recognition. “I don’t have any real desire to be in the public eye,” he says. “It lets me know how accessible I am to the world. It’s nice to know that some random person from my past could find me.”‘
July 13, 2000
[vicars] The case of the missing Vicar. ‘Late last week, another churchwarden at St Paul’s, Captain Ian Powe, was arrested in connection with the allegations of harassment against Follett. Powe, who commanded HMS Yarmouth during the cod war, was released on bail and will have to return to Belgravia police station on August 8. He has vigorously protested his innocence. “I used to have an expression that worse things happen at sea,” Powe said earlier this week. “I’m not using it any more.”.’
July 7, 2000
[news] newsUnlimited on runaway teenage prodigy Sufiah Yusof. ‘In the same email she told her side of the story, accusing her father of ruining his five children’s lives by hothousing them, of exploiting her older brother’s tennis skills for money, of labelling her “Crybaby Soo-Fi” as part of his motivation technique. Worst of all, she said that when she was 11, two years before she started her maths degree at Oxford University and when everything was apparently fine, she had twice tried to kill herself. “Maybe the public will have a different view of you as devoted parents . . . I’m not Crybaby Soo-Fi any more”.’
July 3, 2000
[norfolk] Nothing interesting ever happens in Norfolk. “The women then began to strip off to distract them further, and the men escaped to their faded red Ford Granada, before trying to run the villagers down. One villager smashed a window of the car, and the raiders fled before the police arrived.”
June 29, 2000
[lads] newsUnlimited reports on the death of the Lad. “…if [Chris] Evans is no longer deemed fashionable, if a frenzy of blokish bawdy is no longer said to define the moment, what does it mean for the plethora of lads who have swum in his wash? What will become of the pretenders if Evans is no longer reckoned capable of fighting off the attentions of Robot Wars, the show scheduled by BBC2 against his, the programme that exalts the achievements of beardy boffins? Is the news that the actress Amanda Holden has left uber-lad Neil Morrissey to return to her husband, the defiantly unblokeish Les Dennis, a wider indicator of the cultural times?”
June 27, 2000
[stupidname] Tom at Blue Lines talks about how much he hates his name…. I could rant on about how awful my name is but I won’t…. it speaks for itself…. Fortunately, I went to school with a guy called “Larman Register” who I always think of when somebody takes the piss out of being called S********. You think you’ve got a awful name? Consider the horror of being called Larman! Did his parents hate him or what? I hope for his sake there is a long Norfolk tradition of calling your child Larman…
June 20, 2000
[male struggle!] newsUnlimited reports that a clenched fist is the new image of Old Spice. “Vegas has replaced it with a clenched fist as a mark of resistance against post-feminist man’s weakness for effete eau de Cologne and skin balm. “The fist is also a symbol of men’s struggle to be taken seriously by women,” he said. “I prefer to think of it not as a stopper but as five fingers of angst and frustrated male desire.”
[comics] The Guardian’s Steve Bell on the deaths in Dover. [Earlier BBC News Story]
June 14, 2000
[BOFH] Who wants to marry a SysAdmin? “There’s no time to waste. We’re all getting fatter and paler by the second. Hook up now before we can’t keep track of our processes anymore and our hair forks all to hell.” [via Just Daz]
June 10, 2000
[good links] The Weekend section in todays Guardian has a particularly good week: On The Road Again — good article about young people who take time off to travel round the world and how this type of travelling has changed since the sixties. And Mothers without Men a profile of women who choose to have babies via donor insemitation. “Increasing numbers of heterosexual women in the thirties are deciding to do without a man, and are choosing to have children on their own. Women who don’t find Mr Right no longer have to settle for Mr You’ll Have To Do, nor “accidentally” get pregnant by a lover reluctant to commit. They no longer have to accept that, if they cannot find a suitable partner, they’ll never have children, either.”
June 7, 2000
[church] newsUnlimited asks: Should you trust a Vicar?“In the case of Peter, a young and successful minister, church elders at first told him he must be mistaken when he came out as homosexual: “Don’t be silly, you’re much too hairy,” was one comment.”
May 28, 2000
[personal shite] Sunday morning would be incomplete without: a cup of tea, The Observer, one slice of cold pizza, Hollyoaks and blogging….
May 24, 2000
[dotcom] newsUnlimited covers how the boo.com staff feel after their redundancy “[..]As for the founders’ alleged profligacy, Thomson is diplomatic. “Getting through £91m in a year is quite lavish,” she says simply.”
May 17, 2000
[tech] newsUnlimited reports on family in Silicon Valley [Text-Only]. “[…] Most revealingly, perhaps, is the way in which the word “family” is slowly turning from a noun, into a verb. Parents in Silicon Valley have been overheard talking about the need for “doing family,” as if it were less of a static unit than one of many activities to be fitted around other obligations. When a parent talks about spending “quality time” with his child, it is not a vague reference to hanging out with him or her on the weekend. It is used as a direct oppositional to “quantity time,” with the belief that, like everything else in Silicon Valley, if you concentrate hard enough you can achieve just as much in a condensed period as across a longer stretch of time.”
May 16, 2000
[anarchy] Seen on the tube today — the wisdom of Eric Cartman: “Capitalism sucks ass!” and Moon at the Monarchy 2000.
[interview] An interview with John Diamond [Text-Only] in the Observer. Diamond’s columns can be found at The Times Website. [Originally, I’d decided not to link to the John Diamond interview but it stuck in my mind for a couple of days, a friend mentioned it to me and I suddenly realised that columnists in newspapers and webloggers probably have a lot in common…]
May 10, 2000
[my inner turmoil] Do you think your friends, family and colleagues hate you? You can tell! The most common means of doing so were: being reserved by avoiding all intimate topics of conversation; not asking questions, so as to speed up any interaction; treating the other person as a stranger; physically avoiding them; not paying attention to them; and showing excessive politeness. [from newsUnlimited]
April 26, 2000
[uk news] BBC News asks: Would you use a unisex toilet? “I’ve encountered unisex toilets in various places, but yes, some men urinate on toilet seats. On most occasions it doesn’t bother me, but it’s disgusting for the lasses.”
April 19, 2000
[news] newsUnlimited meets the oldest women and man in the world. [Text Only] “Draining the last from another bottle of beer he stands up, clutching his documents. ‘Right, I’ve had enough. I want everyone to fuck off because I’m tired.’ He walked off, leaving a little pile of empty beer bottles and two cigarette ends, marking his place in time”

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