Aptness failed to overcome frustration when my attempt to inform my email provider of their spam filter’s recent overzealous attitude towards its job failed because…their spam filter bounced my email. Plodge.net provide a great service in offering Cambridge students more personalised email addresses and this is, admittedly, the first technical trouble I have experienced with them. Nevertheless, although he irony was not lost on me, the unsolvable problem of contacting them is more irritating than intriguing.
We eventually settled on a Linksys Etherfast router for the entry system that will act as a basic DHCP 4-port switch. It’s a cheap but reliable solution from a decent brand and can automatically assign IP addresses to each connected machine. We had previously discounted wireless networking to avoid interruptions caused by poor weather, though this is no longer an issue as we are using a single entrance point for maximum security (believe me, Andy “Alpha Whiskey” is on the warpath — crashers really will not be tolerated). So the fact that the router lacks wireless capability is now almost a feature, actually making it more secure since a physical connection is the only way to access the system.
Now that Apple are providing certain equipment for the Ball, I had to swallow my pride and place a silvery logo on the sponsorship page of the site. Which several of you no doubt found highly amusing. You know who you are. Rather than linking to the main Apple site, it points instead toward the Cambridge Apple Rep Page, run by the “campus rep” I didn’t even know we had. Whilst I’m admittedly not the most impartial when it comes to judging products gaudily branded with the ripened ovary of the Malus domestica, I was perplexed by the inclusion of a small “Made on a Mac” logo at the bottom of every page. That must, I can only assume, be some sort of esoteric Apple-user code for “looks like crap”. Perhaps the maximum screen resolution allowed by the Mac in question was 640×480 so it’s not his fault. Although that renders those 40″ plasma displays a bit redundent, doesn’t it?
And finally the image problems caused by the adoption of permalinks should now have been resolved. It required a modification of the way we access images which involved updating every post with an image, but fortunately the SQL Replace function made it an effortless procedure, running through the whole database and taking care of it in seconds.
I shall endeavour to keep updating you on the details and minutiae of Ball preparation as we work our ways towards Ball week and zero-hour. Things are, as you might expect, rather hectic. Should you find site updates becoming intermittent, don’t worry, regular service should return after the big party.
Checking in several hundred people as they enter the tightly secured Ball compound is no small task, and no one likes queuing outside so if the system is slow I’m responsible. I’ve just finished installing a WAMP server (that’s Windows, Apache, MySQL and PHP) onto my laptop so that I can run an independant snapshot of the online Ball database for ticket entry on the night. I’m currently sourcing a hub/router that will allow another three laptops to be connected to mine, which will act as the central machine serving the database and admin software to each of the others. Provided a midweek test goes smoothly, things should be ready for swift entry on the night.
In the last round of JCR elections, Philly J emerged as the new Griffin editor. Hopefully he will be more dedicated to ensuring regular releases than his predecessor, under whom I worked (producing only one issue). Though her communication was somewhat limited, it’s easy to criticise without having helped. Many were quick to complain about the non-arrival of later issues without even considering writing for the magazine, and while I placed my web skills at the ready, I did not actually produce any articles. Philly J has actually asked me to submit something for the issue due at the end of term, and I’m keen to help him out despite the deadline falling on the same weekend as the Ball. You should all think about contributing too. He seems interested in using one of P-2006’s illustrated poems, so perhaps we’ll be seeing one in print before long, which would be a decidedly odd experience. It also made me realise that it’s been a while since I’ve written anything meaningful, giving me the urge to start again.
The inside of a Catholic church holds a solemn atmosphere that no other denomination has quite managed to replicate. Sure, there’s the indulgent opulence but that’s mirrored in a myriad of aristocratic stately homes and gaudy mansions. I think it’s the guilt. It hangs weightily in the air, not oppressively, but with the scent of communal sorrow and the sense of joint failure. It reminds me of the German war cemeteries I visited as a child, always shocked by the mass graves they were forced to use in the small plots granted them in Allied territory. And I sometimes wonder whether the spiritual decline of the modern world is because man stopped believing in God, or because God no longer believes in man.
The Matador theatrical release
UK general release
dir: Richard Shepard
starring: Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Hope Davis
Capote theatrical release
UK general release
dir: Bennett Miller
starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Chris Cooper, Catherine Keener
I had a chance to hear the forthcoming new offering from the Dresden Dolls (now signed to Roudrunner), titled Yes, Virginia. The name is a reference to the most reprinted newspaper editorial in history, a response to an eight-year-old girl’s inquisitive doubts about the existence of Santa Claus. The kindly editor Francis Pharcellus Church assuaged her fears, assuring her that Santa Claus was quite real. But then again, so’s Cthulu.
I first saw the Dolls when they supported Nine Inch Nails on the With_Teeth pre-release tour. Something about their sound crept under my skin immediately. In some ways their ecclectic stageshow can detract from their music, with their unnecessary penchant for removing their clothes (though fortunately not when I saw them). Visually though, their appearance and act is definitely inventive and drummer Brian is particularly enigmatic.
The style, which they classify as Brechtian punk cabaret, shines through on the new album and from the cheerfully tongue-in-cheek opener about sex changes it’s quite clear they’re up to their old tricks. As lyrically and rhythmically creative as their last release with clever wordplay that belies an acute understanding, it shares many of the same flaws too. While its occasional peaks soar, the rest varies from competent to dull — their slower numbers are far less successful than previous examples. When they can actually produce a truly consistent record, they’ll certainly be a force to be reckoned with. For the time being though, Yes, Virginia, while not nearly living up to their self-titled debut, is still worth a spin. Due April 17th.
The Medics’ Revue — Chronicles of Hernia: The Lion, The Stitch and The Ward-Round
11pm, 8 – 11 March
Wed & Thur £4/£3, Fri & Sat £5/£4
Free online booking: www.adctheatre.com
Box office: 01223 300085
A lot of work is being done of the back end of the site in order to make it more search engine friendly, including establishing “permalinks”. This means each post now appears to have a unique address rather than merely being called from the database. The most probable fallout from this is that you may find some broken images when viewing the site in certain ways. As usual if you spot any problems let me know.
For those who have not been following the rapidly expanding thread of comments from a few days ago, Luke is searching for a suitable alias. He has been using the slightly unwieldy yet scientifically precise “Limnanthes douglasii” of late, but I’d like to hear other people’s suggestions for aliases (or, if you will, aliii) too.
Yesterday’s evening’s recital in the Master’s Lodge went well. It was actually the first I have attended, although I felt slightly better when Andy B admitted the only one to which he’s been was his own performance. Lydia played the violin, accompanied by Ben, while the Ball committee was well represented with a piano duet by Phoebe and Ange (another confusingly similar pair of names for you to distinguish — Northern Irish Angie and Bolton Ange). It didn’t take much convincing for Ange to accompany us to dinner at Pizza Express and, beyond her initial confused trepidation at our typically erratically vacillating topics of conversation, she started to come out with some classically quotable lines. Rav proved to be the most destructive of our group as an innocent flower fell foul of his attempted betrayal five. Meanwhile our esteemed Ball President Will managed to disgust everyone present with his inclination towards pure garlic butter.
Eidos have announced a new Lara Croft model, Karima Adebibe, to accompany the newest projects in the Tomb Raider franchise. Despite the fact this role launched careers of the likes of Nell McAndrew, this time around I think you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who actually cares.
Recital in the Master’s Lodge
Master’s Lodge, Downing College
6:30pm – 7:15pm
Phoebe Bointon & Angela Cheetham — Peter Warlock’s Capriol Suite
Lydia Jones & Ben Davis — J.S. Bach: Andante from Concerto in A minor, Jules Massenet: Meditation from Thais
Followed by drinks.
My new hard drive, now named Syndrome, arrived last week and having had a little time to play with it I’m very impressed. At around 3GB to the pound, the bargain iomega drive was a snap to set up and looks exceedingly sleek (sleek enough to name at any rate). Slimmer and longer than I was expecting, it doesn’t take up too much deskspace and is surprisingly quiet, emitting no more than a soft hum, easily drowned out by your PC’s internal fan.
Beyond the novelty of seeing 5% used as opposed to the 95% to which I had become accustomed, having the extra 300GB allows for a little more experimentation with video encoding (I highly recommend Doom9 if you’re interested in that sort of thing) and a lot more photographs in higher quality formats. The bundled software also takes care of instantaneous backups of important files, letting me relax a little when it comes to those vital Ball and Globalist documents. Speaking of which, the third issue of the Globalist is now taking shape with Dexter helming production. Although labelled March, I’m as yet unsure of the final release schedule: it may appear early next term instead. Due to some delays at Yale, the previous issue has yet to appear on the website but I’ll let you know when it does. I think it improved in leaps and bounds over the first issue so I’m really proud of the result.
A bunch of us finally got together in Lyds’ room to watch Seven Years in Tibet as I had been intending. Afterwards, spotting Tremors sitting on her shelf, my eyes lit up at the prospect of B-movie fun with Kevin Bacon, so I’ll have to return to that gem soon.
Looking through the site’s stats I stumbled upon my photo of sleeping Pepper (Jenna’s kitten) being used online. I also recently discovered another good way to toy with telemarketers.
And finally, happy birthday Dad.
Unfortunately it seems that the Valentine’s Day post had been obscured from mortal eyes. It should now be fully visible upon the human retina.
Midway Dinner was great success. Kicking off with a champagne reception in the Howard Building, the champagne itself was in somewhat limited supply but the inclusion of plates of fudge was a redeeming masterstroke. The official photographer is one of the usual digi-cam-hating breed, though I think it’s always telling when a professional with thousands of pounds of equipment feels threatened by an amateur taking 3 megapixel snapshots. Luke, photographing friends outside, managed to avoid his wrath.
Into the Hall for dinner, Lydia’s careful rearrangement of the seating plan seemed to work well. I was sat near one end with Dave, Angie and Rav, which also placed me by the next group which included Rowena and Beccy. The food was reasonably good, with a creative wrapped asparagus starter and a less inventive main course. Dessert was particularly good, albeit essentially boiling down to cake an ice cream. The only real downside was that the wine was much less free-flowing than had been advertised.
The awards were a lot more representative than I had expected. Rather than all falling to the popular cliques, they reflected the whole College’s true feeling. I was particularly pleased to see Sparkie and Sonya pick up the “Most likely to grow old together award”, though Sonya was wracked by guilt having not voted for them while Sparkie had. Chima, as I had expected, beat me to the “Most likely to go prison”, earning himself some fetching fluffy ‘cuffs. Philly J seemed particuarly proud of his award for “Most likely to blag their degree”. Meanwhile Beccy and Robin were voted Princess and Prince of Downing respectively.
It’s certainly weird to think of ourselves as halfway through, or as The Master suggested in his speech, halfway to something else. Seeing everyone suitably inebriated, Lyds and Dave slowed down by the end of the meal but were then doing shots in the bar, made it clear that no one had grown up too much. Rumour has it that even Rav may have touched a drop.
Looking back through the booklet in which all our friends were able scribble, perhaps my favourite comment is Jon’s simple, “Thank you for saving my girlfriend from a tramp.” How Downing is that.