November 1st, 2003

On the bright side

Looking at the DVLA website I found you can just phone up to get a replacement V5, and so I phoned them up, credit card in hand, this morning, only to find that (a) the call was answered in about 20 seconds and (b) there is no charge. This will save me a lot of futile digging in folders, boxes etc.

I have been meaning to note the Quicksilver status so here it is: Page 300
I have to admit I don't quite see where he is 'going with it' but it is sufficiently diverting for my not to have abandoned it for some other books that have arrived from Amazon or 2nd hand (including 'It's like this, cat' which I haven't read for decades and felt the urge to reread).
I rarely read books written or set before, say, the 2nd world war - I guess I am quite 'ahistorical' but obviously one has to make an exception for Stephenson. Ironically, I read Zodiac before any of the SF books came out, and strangely I came across it because it was wrongly put in the S.F. section of the bookshop I bought it in. I would like to think it was because someone had read it and thought that he had an S.F. sensibility - certainly I was not surprised when his next book was S.F. - but I guess it was probably because of its title.
An interesting footnote is that the Museum Of The History Of Science in Oxford is in the Old Ashmolean building which was the location of the School of Natural Philosophy (i.e. science) with the museum on the top floor, a lecture theatre on the ground floor and with a laboratory in the basement - and the museum contains a Curta calculator in its collection of calculation devices. Curtas figure in Pattern Recognition so there is a link, in a sense, between Gibson and Stephenson.

Quote Of The Day

Which has somehow tickled my fancy. From an obscure website:

"I prefer to appreciate mountains from a distance, in order to take in their full grandeur..."

Bizarre

BBC7 (which I shun as I would a rabid weasel) has 'A Prarie Home Companion' but for some bizarre BBC reason is calling it 'Garrison Keillor's Radio Show'. I think it may be edited down to one hour as well. Of course it is on WRN on Sunday mornings anyway (on satellite - the web feed is different and doesn't have the US public radio stuff).
Sometimes the BBC are funny like this. It is rumoured that the UK is about the only place where the state broadcaster doesn't carry Sesame Street.

Talking of which, I searched for BBC Sesame Street on Google and found Sesame Street breaks Iraqi POWs
.
And no doubt Sesame Street to stay HIV-free in the US isn't news to you. I knew about the South African version getting an HIV-positive muppet, but I didn't know about Republican politicians writing to PBS.
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    BBC7 (but not for much longer..)