“Blooks” – ugh

30 04 2006

Writing about web page http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/apr2006/tc20060425_299851.htm

Really unpleasant neologism this – books derived from blogs. Sounds pretty awful, I have to say. But does require, does it not, that there is something like a narrative thread running through it? And this observation just has to be viewed as plain silly:

“We believe there’s a market [for book–publishing services] for every single blogger out there,” says Eileen Gittins, CEO of online publisher Blurb.com. “Charles Dickens originally serialized his novels in magazines. We are seeing much the same thing happening today, with blogs.”

I reckon barely 1 in 20 blogs I’ve seen could offer anything like the consisitency, coherence and narrative strength needed to make publication even a possibility. And surely the issue here is that we are talking about quite different media. If a blog is simply a Dickensian serialisation then that’s great but it is not quite typical of the form, nor does it really exploit the potential of the medium.

Anyway, who am I to moan – reckon I’ll just have to come up with a stronger narrative structure to get that deal!

24–related: approximation of a playlist #14

30 04 2006

Songs relating to 24 – any series vaguely recollected

Twenty Four Hours – Joy Division
24 Hours from Tulsa – Gene Pitney
24 Hour Party People – Happy Mondays
Hit the road Jack – Ray Charles
Jumpin’ Jack Flash – Rolling Stones
Michelle – The Beatles
Nuclear Device – The Stranglers
Russians – Sting
Undercover – Rolling Stones
Why does it always [Audrey] Rain[es] on me? – Travis

China in your hands – T’Pau
Torture – The Cure
The drugs don’t work – the Verve
President Gas – Psychedelic Furs
What a difference a day makes – Aretha Franklin
Edgar (Allen) – Lou Reed
Holding back the years – Simply Red
Your missus is a nutter – Goldie Lookin Chain
Sherry – Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons

Rock n Roll injuries – Keith Richards does it this time

29 04 2006

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4957948.stm

Doherty eat your heart out – these old geezers still know how to do it:

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has been taken to hospital in New Zealand after injuring himself while on holiday in Fiji.
A band spokeswoman said Richards had suffered a “mild concussion” and was taken to hospital as a precaution. Media reports in Australia and New Zealand said Richards had hurt his head when he fell out of a palm tree.

But what was he doing up the tree?

And does this really measure up to the most shocking musical injury of all time – Bowie gets hit in the eye by a lollipop:


Degrees in comedy – is anything out of bounds?

29 04 2006

Writing about web page http://education.guardian.co.uk/chooseadegree/story/0,,1763903,00.html

The BA in Stand Up Comedy launched by Southampton Solent University. Previously we have had Surfing, Greenkeeping, Brewing.

These things usually prompt horror–filled responses about micky mouse degrees etc etc. I really don’t have much of a problem with them in principle BUT would not choose myself.

These new degree subjects are often attacked by those who hate anything vocational or anything vaguely connected with media studies. But is there anything which is out of bounds? Ara degrees in quiz show hosting or reality TV participation or political lobbying beyond the pale? Or is it just a matter of time?

I should be so lucky…lucky, lucky, lucky

28 04 2006

Book front cover

Lucky Jim (Essential.penguin)
Kingsley Amis
3 out of 5 stars

One of Amis Senior’s most popular and well–know works which for some reason I’d never got round to (and studiously avoided the recent TV adaptation to prevent spoiling the read). I did find it rather enjoyable – can’t go wrong with a campus novel though in my view. It is a bit dated but actually the sexual mores of the time are one of the more entertaining aspects of the comedy.

There are some lovely characters in here – Professor Welch is horrobly recognisable (fortunately rarer though these days), Bertrand the “artist” is very well done and Michie, the over–enthusiastic student, is entirely credible.

There are also some hilarious scenes including drunken ineptitude (and burning of sheets) in a guest bedroom, a chase via a slow bus and the best one a public lecture by the extremely inebriated hero, Dixon.

So, a nice, easy and entertaining read which is not consistently brilliant but well worth it for the highlight scenes and the description of academia not that long ago.

on the train

27 04 2006

Currently on the train. How easy is it to create a blog entry from here?

World of cheese

26 04 2006

Writing about web page http://www.cheese.com

Great facts about cheese!

Cheese is nutritious food made mostly from the milk of cows but also other mammals, including sheep, goats, buffalo, reindeer, camels and yaks. Around 4000 years ago people have started to breed animals and process their milk. That’s when the cheese was born.

There is so much here to learn:

Explore this site to find out about different kinds of cheeses from around the world. You can search the database of 654 cheeses by names, by country of origin, by kind of milk that is used to produce it, or by texture

I can’t believe I knew so little about it.

The “true cost” of a college education

23 04 2006

Writing about web page http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/news/story/0,,1759496,00.html

Story on front page of the Observer – 23 April.

I would suggest that it is somewhat misleading:

  • It is rather difficult to locate the ‘research’ referred to in the article. I haven’t found it yet.
  • It articulates the benefits of non-attendance at university and two year degrees in terms of cash and debt (actually rather poorly defined) with no indication of the real value of HE.
  • Gabbitas is a consultancy company focused on the independent sector – this is a rather easy promotional device it seems to me.

The spiralling costs of university education in England and Wales mean that it is only when graduates with a three-year degree turn 33 – after 12 years of full-time work – that their earnings overtake those of someone who began work at 18. Five years ago, graduates reached that break-even point at 28.

There are so many assertions and unspecified and unsourced figures in here that it cannot be taken seriously.

I could go on – but this is just poor.

World’s most improbable blog?

22 04 2006

Writing about web page http://timesonline.typepad.com/rees_mogg/


It is early days yet in terms of content but reckon this is only slightly more unlikely than, say, Prince Charles or Basil Brush having a blog (unless they do? gawd, surely not).

Sim University – More real than reality?

22 04 2006

Writing about web page http://thesims2.ea.com/about/ep1_index.php

Now I suspect that this has been around for a while but have only just noticed.

There is something fascinating and yet absolutely appalling about these descriptions though:

In The Sims 2 University players for the first time will play through the new “young adult” life stage as their Sims head off to university and join the campus crowd. Whether they live in the halls or rush a fraternity or sorority that’s just the beginning…Sims can choose from one of 11 courses and by keeping their grades on track, they’ll secure a final degree and open up 4 new career paths. Players will enjoy all-new university based wants and fears that are tied to their Sims’ social life and academic goals which will lead to new rewards and powers that will help them achieve their goals and aspirations in university and beyond.


Pranks, parties and university social interactions add to the excitement while your Sims explore campus locations such as university lounges, pool halls, gyms and coffee houses. As in real life, if your Sims start running low on funds, they can earn Simoleans by picking up a part time job, like tutoring, or engaging in riskier affairs like printing money as a member of the “secret society”.

Of course, making the right decisions can lead your Sim to the ultimate goal of becoming “Big Sim on Campus” in The Sims 2 University.

I really do want to know how to be the real equivalent of the Big Sim…

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