Journal Entries

Union of the Crowns

I note that this year is the 400th anniversary of the Union of the Crowns. There doesn't appear to be an edited article on this or James VI and I so, possibly next week when I am up in Glasgow without any of my toys to play with, I could look into writing one. Hmmmm.

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Latest reply: Mar 25, 2003

Friday Night

So, how come, all week my Conversations box is fu tae burstin wi nonsense and dafties and yet, as soon as I log on at home on a Friday night it goes quiet as the grave? What's that about? Is it some sort of tease or am I just subscribed to entirely the wrong conversations. I ideally want ones that are dormant for weeks on end, only suddenly waking up on the third Friday of every time I'm bored. Sheesh, is it too much to ask for the world to revolve around me?

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Latest reply: Mar 21, 2003

The First DNA Memorial Lecture

Tuesday 11th March (incidently what would have been Douglas Adams' 51st birthday) in the Royal Institution lecture theatre, home of Maxwell, Faraday and a huge number of famous scientists, was the date and venue for the first DNA memorial lecture. This was a star studded charity event for two of Douglas' favourite causes, Gorillas and Rhinos. In the audience were Lala Ward (I didn't recognise her to begin with, so I can't be that much of a fan. Hurrah!), Alexi Sayle, Terry Jones, Douglas' publisher and even the drummer from Pink Floyd.
We all setled into our little lecture seats and applauded furiously as Stephen Fry came out and began the night. He gave a personal introduction all about his love for Douglas and HHGTTG which was both moving and funny, giving some nice little insights into Douglas' legendary love of gadgets and missing deadlines. He then introduced the talk with a quote from Niels Bohr 'If you think you understand quantum mechanics then you don't'. Then it was the turn of both the nights charities to say a few words. And then the main event.
I have never read or heard Richard Dawkins before and was very impressed. His lecture on the queerness of science ranged across quantum mechanics, Wittgenstein, the many worlds hypothosis, the mind blowingly low probability of life actually evolving into us, selfish antelope, shouting at parties, how the 'If you think you understand quantum mechanics you don't' quote was actually by Richard Feynman and how Douglas Adams and Stephen Fry caused him to meet his wife at a particularly loud party.
As the lecture was in memory of DNA there were quite a few mentions of his work. The most touching of these being when a tape was played of Richard Dawkin's 1991 Christmas Lecture in which Douglas came out of the audience to read the Dish of the Day passage from The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.
The end of the lecture came all too soon as it was a fascinating talk, nicely pitched at the general science level, which thoroughly explored the unfeasible oddness of the universe and had many slides of clever men, most in entertaining facial hair, and rhinos.
After the lecture Stephen Fry returned to draw the raffle and then run an auction in aid of the two charities. The jokes flowed (I could never repeat the Martina Navratilova one and live), the money flowed, way above anything I could afford, and some lovely items went to some happy homes. Luckily Stephen Fry decided against testing the hypothesis that most "solid" objects are empty space by hitting Richard Dawkins watch with a hammer.
And then it was over, and to the train station did I trog. It is hoped that this is to become an annual event and I for one would happily go again, perhaps having taken out a mortgage first so I could take part in the auction. Happy Birthday Douglas.

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Latest reply: Mar 12, 2003


I've been offered a project up in Edinburgh! Starting in about a month (date to be confirmed)! Back to sensible licensing laws, full fat food, a house I actually own and a half way sensible population density. Sadly it also means no tarting around English country pubs in an open top car or quick trips to Nodnol for anything I can imagine and getting to official meet ups suddenly becomes much more expensive. Best of all though, I have a ready made set of friends up that way, just add alcohol, which should keep me occupied.
smiley - biggrin

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Latest reply: Feb 10, 2003


I was lying in bed last night, as you do, when an astoundingly witty journal entry came to me. It was a stream of conciousness type of thing, with loads of leaps of faith/logic and some political comment. It was, to put it mildly, a doozy. I was on track for becoming the Samuel Pepys of my generation and had even begun to consider where I might get one of those curly Carolinian wigs.
But lo, 'tis the morning, the birds twitter, there was the tiniest dusting of snow, not enough to write your name in ("Look everybody John Hancock is writing his name in the snow!") but enough to give a pleasant view as I wandered to the pool, and my mind has no memory at all of what this wonderful journal was to contain. No memory of the soaring wit, the jubilant puns or the crass shoehorning of my thoughts on the potential war in Iraq have remained. Nay, not even a sausage.
Which is a pity, partly because I really fancied that wig, but mostly because I could really enjoy a sausage sandwich right about now. A nice bit of Lorne Sausage, some brown sauce and a fresh slice of plain bread. Ooo, and a cup of tomato soup. Yes, now that would be nice.
I've always had a thing for soup and sandwiches since wee when my parents would take me to Murrayfield to watch the rugby. We'd sit in the car park, actually some spare practise pitches behind the West Stand, and eat our egg and tomato sandwiches with a hot cup of soup. It really felt like decadence, eating in the car. Of course, it was as nothing to those in their Range Rovers with three course dinners including roast turkey and champagne, but it always made the day special, which is not a charge that could often be levelled at Scots rugby.
In a shocking return to something vaguely relevant this reminds me that myself and the little red haired girl are going to Murrayfield in a couple of weeks for the Scotland v. Ireland game. It'll not be the same without the car, but perhaps I can sneak some home made sandwiches and some soup along with me to eat in the car park beforehand, sat on the grass, back to a goalpost and ears full of the lilt of drunken Irishmen inappropriately attired for the conditions.
This is something I often notice at rugby matches, people not wearing enough clothing. I mean, come on, you are sitting outside, on a small plastic seat for over two hours with a wind howling in from the North Sea and you think a kilt, a rugby shirt and a "See you Jimmy" bunnet will suffice? Numpties! I'll be there in hats, gloves, scarves, the largest coat I can find, three jumpers, my thermal longjohns and possibly with hot water bottle stuffed up my front, depending on whither or not I get that warming cup of soup ahead of time. Its February for heavens sake. Wear a jumper!
Anyhoo, it has now become lunchtime, I still have no clue as to what this great journal entry was that I visualised last night and no one in their right mind will have made it past the bit about the Carolinian wig anyway so I think I shall sign off and troop off through Farnborough, with its artic wind that for some strange reason only seems to blow through the town centre, to acquire myself a spot of lunch. Now which filling, that is a question.

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Latest reply: Feb 5, 2003

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