Wednesday, 24 October 2007

How late it was, the Giro

Aw fuck aye. Nay fucking bother, ye ken. People are aye telling ye this stuff, all this fucking stuff they're aye telling ye, Ah'm telling ye, I cant be fucking daying with them telling ye it. I mean jesus christ. I'm done being telt. I mean for fucks sake and that but. Like people who fucking tell ye to use fucking capitals for our lords name. Or apostrophes. Aye well thats the fucking problem. Theyre no the Glesca Balzac, are they. I mean, I fucking ask you.
Its awful quiet but. Except in ma fucking head. It wasnay the bevy, christ no. Ahm no saying Ive no had too much of the yellow stuff, fair enough but, fay time to time. Aye, fair dos but. But I come ben the room and I can hardly fucking move. Poeaxed is the word but.
Got a fag?
Get yer own fucking fags. How can ye day anything at all what with the violence inherent in the system.
Fucks sake I could do with a fag.
Will you fucking shut up? You dont like to say it but christ almighty hes never fucking stopped since he came out the Bar-L.
What did I come ben here for anyhow? Ach, its gone. What was I going to say? Fuck ahve forgot; that's the fucking problem, isnt it. Maggie fucking Thatcher. It disnay fucking day, not at all.
Whats the difference between Bing Crosby and Walt Disney? Bing sings and Walt Disnay.
Man walks into a bakers. Is that a doughnut in the winday or a meringue?
Naw, says the baker. Yer right enough. Its a doughnut.
Ach fuck but. Where wiz I?
You mean politically?
Ah wiz just getting to the Caledonian antisyzygy. Give us a fucking chance eh? Pass us ma lighter but; christ almighty I could day wi a drink.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Glenrossie Glen Gary

A booth in a chinese restaurant. PINTER and MAMET are seated.

MAMET: All I'm saying is... I'm saying... Look, OK, I grant you, look, I'm not saying it's shit, no, far from it, it's clearly not shit, but it's got these moments... these points where everyone's waiting... these fucking pauses [he waits for a response. After a long time...] These..
PINTER: Lacunae?
MAMET: Yeah, you've fucking got it, fucking nailed it in one. These fucking lacunae [he pronounces the final syllable to rhyme with hay, as has PINTER] in the fucking action. Because these 24-carat ocean-going Pentium processor bastards wouldn't know a play if it came right on up here and bit them on the ass. [beat] Or would you say... [we are waiting for him to say arse, but instead he says] lacunae [he pronounces the final syllable to rhyme with high]?
PINTER: Fuck off, you cunt.
MAMET: That's right, that's so right, and I'll tell you for why in a minute, because it's all about what I've learned here today... I tell you, they think they learn, the Baldwins, the Dafoes, the Hackmans, the Mantegnas, the Bolams, the Pryces, the Lemmons... they know absolutely 100 per cent of a steak-knife-winning competition of fuck all, don't you think, Harold?
MAMET: Of course I wasn't talking about you, Tom. Everyone knows how good your stuff is, don't they Harold?
[PINTER remains silent]
MAMET: Look, I can turn this thing around. I'm a salesman, for Chrissake. I love to be ignored. I'm just saying that Laguna Lakes has this fucking huge potential... There's this guy who has to do a heist, even though he ought to have retired. I'm thinking we can blackmail Eddie Izzard into the role, because he was in the Cryptogram, but he turns the tables on them...

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Death at the Principal's Lodging

From the very beginning, as Appleby was later to remark, the affair had contrived to have had about it a distinctly odd smell. The odour, in fact, could readily be identified, and not only by the Junior Dean's joking remark.
"When I saw the Principal lying there with his head - as I believe the facetious term has it - "all over the shop" (and I suppose it is to be thought that the Senior Common Room is a kind of "shop"), or that at any rate what is spoken within it might be characterised by the historians of contemporary slang as "shop", I thought not so much in terms of what I saw, but of saws in general and their inventor in particular. And it was quite a different sense which engaged that process of what might be called thought, though I should say now that it was idling merely." The Junior Dean snuffled into his snuff hankerchief with what might have been amusement, or distaste.
Appleby received this tiresome circumlocution with patience, or what might have passed for it amidst what were clearly regarded in these quarters as the lower orders, and took the opportunity to relight his pipe.
"But if we leave aside for a moment your reflexions on the legend of Perdix - for such I take them to be - you are referring, I am to take it, to a distinctive odour, and not some other phenomenal event." He felt he had returned serve.
"Quite so." The Junior Dean looked, or might have been said more precisely to have looked, as he sipped his port, as if he were not entirely gratified by this indication that Appleby, though he undoubtedly resembled a better-dressed member of the professional (not to mention educated) upper-middle-class rather than a man from the Metropolitan police, had followed his less than transparent observation. The Junior Dean's jokes were not designed for other people to "get", as the current term had it, or so his his younger colleagues amongst the academic linguisticians had assured him was the case.
"If I may be candid, Sir John," his voice dropped to a whisper, as if he were debating internally whether Appleby could in fact be entitled to that particular prefix, "it smelt fishy. Or rather, only metaphorically piscatorial. Indeed, in point of fact, one would have to describe it as avian. Distinctly so. It was, in short, the smell of roast partridge."
"Yes," said Appleby. "I had gathered as much. And you concluded - "
"Why, that the poor Principal had succumbed to food poisoning."
"You did not consider that food poisoning does not generally result in a man having his head severed from his shoulders and placed in the punchbowl of the Senior Common Room of one of the colleges of our ancient universities, the doors of which have previously been nailed shut from the inside?"
"My dear sir," protested the Junior Dean, "I have no medical training at all. My field is epigraphy. You might want to take a look at the Bursar, if that is the aspect of the matter which interests you."
"Hullo, what's all this?" said a hearty young man in tweeds and a notably grubby academic gown. "Old Beaky's had his head cut off?"
"Ah, Bursar, we were just thinking of you," said the Junior Dean. "You will excuse me, my dear Sir John, will you not, but I needs must quit this spot, though every prospect pleases."
Appleby completed the quotation for himself and turned to the young man.
"What is all this nonsense, then?"

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Planck's Constant

It was easy enough to determine, in forty-eight dimensions, that the seventeen free-radical gluons would engulf all the known solar systems within a couple of light seconds,

So there was plenty of time.

Humanity had learnt to disembody some thousands of kiloclicks before.

I still fancied her something rotten, though.

But we were co-embodied at a speed just a couple of Tevs under C, with a poke from the lo-res AD collider...

Monday, 8 October 2007

Happy Birthday, Frank Herbert

A genius, and an idiot.

Dune is arguably the best sf book of all time, if one means that kind of adolescent wish-fulfillment action adventure story. And often I do. It's so brilliantly done. He's noble! He's dispossessed! It's a new world! They're freedom fighters! They're terrorists! There's all that new ecology to grapple with! There's all that cod-profundity! There's all that cool kit! And he's the Messiah! (Handy, that.)

The Dosadi Experiment (with my Uncle Jorge in it) is almost as good, except that the fundamental premiss of overpopulation is bollocks.

But as Dune went on and on and on and on, God, did it get worse. See below. Mind you, he never dreamt how bad it could get when his son and Kevin J Anderson got on the case...

Friday, 5 October 2007

Chiropodists of Dune

"Be cautious when greeting strangers; one seldom knows them as well as friends." Princess Irulan, The Pentateuch of Arrakis.

With his Tleilaxu eyes, the Face Dancer inspected the documents spread on the table beneath the window overlooking the Great Square of the Mahdi. Shai halud! If the Bene Gesserit should become aware of this breach of protocol...

"An Atreides has seen this?"

Tuarak the Fremen placed the coffee pot on the phase-table, which buzzed slightly, like an irritated cicada. "Seen? How could it be seen?"

The Face Dancer drew his breath sharply and swore in battle language. These were wheels within wheels! The subtleties of this exchange, should it ever come to the attention of CHOAM...

The consequences were unthinkable.

"You are thinking of the consequences," said Tuarak.

"On the contrary," smiled Scythnia. That put an entirely different complexion on the matter. He was deep, this one. If the Guild should ever hear of this meeting...

"Let me ask you something," he said, plunging the poisoned stiletto between the Fremen's ribs.

A moment later, folding his arms within the robes over the stillsuit, he let himself into the night. He seemed entirely calm, but he could not help a quckening of the heart which beat beneath the semblance of the old Fremen's skin. If the Mentats should hear of this!

"A pebble is not the same thing as a leaf, however softly it falls in the night." Ixian Axiom from the Orange Catholic Psalter.

The Steersman turned in his tank towards the figure who had entered the room.

"You look familiar," he said.

"I believe I was once known as Duncan Idaho."

"Oh Christ, not you again."

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

It's very very very exciting

To go to CERN. They are going to find out what happens in the quark-gluon soup which existed a couple of nanoseconds after the big bang. I MET YVES SCHUTZ!

They are going to find out if the Higgs boson exists (they're really pissed off at people thinking it's just a giant Higgs finder, though. I think they secretly hope that they disprove the Higgs boson, because it would be so much more interesting). They are going to isolate the whole range of subatomic particles and keep an array of computers with umpteen petabyte capacity busy for 20 years.

They are going to see whether supersymmetry is a goer. I can't even begin to explain how exciting it all is. Believe me, it's the most fab thing ever. At the small level, they have cables which measure microns across. At the same time, here's what the big machines look like:

The blue bit is about 25ft high. The tiny thing at the bottom is a crane. A really big crane.