Meewella | Fragments

The Life of P

Month: September 2005 (page 1 of 2)

A Rambling Sort of Day

me, alexia and sophSophie sent me some photos from the other night, so you can look at those while I ramble. Because it’s going to be one of those sorts of days. You know the ones: filled with tying up three dozen loose ends before going away for a while, like going on holiday only with rather more work waiting for you at the other end. The bright glimmer amidst this rather pale grey hue the sky has taken is that Chyde should be popping over for a drink later on, before we head off to our respective unis for several months.

I noticed the new FAQ doesn’t have a photograph of me, so I need to pick one shortly. I have faith that most of your suggestions will be thoroughly unhelpful, but if you do have a preference I’d like to hear it. I’ll probably take a new one at Downing so at least you’ll have a pretty backdrop to look at.

ex-members of IconPassing on a request from Neil Gaiman’s editor, if you’re in the UK go buy your copy of Anansi Boys now. He’s dangerously close to the top ten, apparently. Meanwhile in the States he’s finally hit the coveted NYT #1 spot (for next week) so, despite being bitter that he’s visiting the other place and not Cambridge, it would be nice to show we have just as much taste here…

My most popular photo at morgueFile so far is the Gulf Shore Ship which I’d never have picked, but is why sharing is nice since it makes you look at your own work differently. Meanwhile another archive which shall remain nameless rejected my Fighting Fishbowl photo allegedly due to “poor lighting”, which I found amusing since it’s one of the most carefully lit photos I’ve done.

Having checked the schedule, Howl’s Moving Castle, A History of Violence and most importantly Night Watch are all showing at the Picture House shortly after we return so I suspect there will be several compulsory cinema trips.

Provided all this packing somehow gets done, next time I’ll be posting from my new room.

Destruction is the New Creation

There have still been problems with the Ball site until it suddenly hit me that I’ve been approaching it all wrong. I’ve been trying to integrate the site with someone else’s designs that I wasn’t happy with, but being faithful to their ideas. I needed to be more destructive. So I took the images, redesigned them the way I’d have done them, and worked with those instead. The balance in the new “hybrid” graphics has created something quite beautiful and hopefully you’ll be seeing it very soon. I’m pretty sure this is the one.

I’ve gradually started updating the Globalist site too, and new editor profiles are now available, amongst other things. More will be appearing over the coming days, and after the launch the whole of issue 1 will be available for those unable to get hold of a copy of the magazine.

That orchid photo has been getting around more. Will from emailed to let me know he’s used it in his blog. It’s an interesting site, discussing his recent thoughts and meditations upon the buddhist way of life, but from an individual’s perspective. He has a particularly nice entry on the postive nature of grief.

Te Futueo et Equum Tuum

I haven’t posted for the last few days mostly because if I had it would probably have resulted in a string of expletives about the infuriating inefficiencies of certain people. In possibly related news, after a several sleepless nights, a working Ball site has now been constructed. A little tweaking remains (sorry, no sneak previews on this one ’til it gets the stamp of approval from the Big Boss) and it currently lacks the final content, instead being filled with a repeated string of rather vulgar Latin insults to match my mood at the time. Actually, using Latin for testing text layout is a common procedure because it shares English characters but your brain does not register individual words.

SerenityNarinder, my daughter, contacted me a few days ago to ask some questions before coming up to Cambridge, and just answering her queries reminded me of the Freshers Week buzz last year. Now I can’t wait to get settled back in there, although the mammoth task of packing up my life once more seems even more daunting after three and a half months to sprawl stuff across my room here. And I’m about to embark upon another difficult round of DVD selection, so I recommend you check out The DVD List and let me know if you have any requests for this term. Oh and Shams, you best not forget Firefly else blood will be spilt. I sense a Whedon-fest prior to the inevitable group excursion to see Serenity.

Lastly, in a strange twist of fate, after recently posting about it my copy of Geisha of Gion finally found its way back into my hands once more after having been borrowed for more than a year! Thanks for getting it back to me though, Lily.

Anansi Boys

I was going to write a post about the proposed new Terrorism Act that has been drafted and is receiving much colourful discussion. However, after a comment from Rob (whom I hadn’t realised is one of our readers) regarding fried chicken, I discovered he has covered the topic in far more depth than I could hope to. I urge you to follow his Law and Disorder blog immediately.

Neil Gaiman - Anansi BoysInstead I shall opt for the almost-but-not-quite-so-serious topic of Anansi Boys. I was disturbed to note that the shelves were not empty when I picked up my copy yesterday. This is a bad sign. It means there are a lot of people missing out on this latest gem of Neil Gaiman magic, a fusion of pop culture and folklore inspired by the Ghanaian trickster god Anansi the Spider (kind of “the god next door”). I’m never one for rushing out to buy an overpriced hardback as soon as it’s released but in this case I made an exception and 100 pages in I don’t regret it at all. And no, I’m not just saying that because he went to my school; I’m saying that because he’s a genius. Essentially plucking the “Mr. Nancy” strand from American Gods and flying off in a new direction, Anansi Boys feels much lighter and easier to read. Gaiman said himself that it’s not so serious a novel, but the entertaining balance is both amusing and deftly assured as he weaves a fluid folklore reality into the present day. You can read an excerpt at Neil’s official site, or listen to Lenny Henry reading the opening.

Meanwhile, in case you read yesterday’s entry early on, I have since added the second part to Cambridge Knights, which itself has a Gaiman ring to it. I’ll now wait to see what the response is like now before deciding whether to continue.

Mail Wars

Yahoo! Mail BetaFor those who’ve been ignoring my plaintive cry that Gmail is not the best service out there, despite the seeming “eliteness” of their invitation system, perhaps Yahoo!’s latest upgrade will make you think again. Aside from the fact that “just” 250MB is fine for me since I actually like deleting emails when I know I won’t need them again (less to back up and less to search through), the main failing of Gmail has been its interface. The signature minimalism that works so well in its search engine (to the point that I now use Pure Google which strips it down further to just a logo and search box) translates to a clunky experience when applied to your inbox. An action as simple as deleting an email should not be hidden inside a selection box. Yahoo! Mail’s powerful and fluid system has long been superior, but the gap is to widen further with the acquisition of Oddpost and their fantastic software that simulates a desktop email client within your browser window. The bottom line is that Google tell you how to use your email, while Yahoo! leaves the choice to you.

The Questions section has been rewritten, answering some of the questions you asked. Feel free to offer more suggestions as it expands into v1.0. Also check out the Artist section with a new project called Cambridge Knights, which is a new style I’m trying out. Please let me know what you think of the results and maybe there will be more to come…

Fried Chicken

I wonder, is it possible to eat too much chicken? I love meat, as you well know, and chicken is such an easy food to eat by the bucketload. However, I do begin to feel that an unspoken line may have been crossed when my last two days of meals have consisted entirely of fried chicken in some shape or form. The last two days also involved meeting up with the Curry Night crowd at both Walkabout and The ‘Lark, along with Alexia, Friya, and Sophie (whom I haven’t seen since she left for Australia over a year ago). It was the first time I’d been to Walkabout midweek and it was a little disconcerting to find them playing actual music in there. And I don’t just mean Oasis and Green Day*, I mean Rage Against The Machine.

Memoirs of a GeishaA film version of Memoirs of a Geisha is now under way, starring Zhang Ziyi. Frankly I can’t possibly think of a more beautiful image to capture on celluloid than Zhang made up and costumed as a geisha. The trailer looks promising, although I must admit I was a little disappointed that they chose Arthur Golden’s novel over Geisha of Gion, which is the superior book in my opinion. Although I have not read Golden’s in full, I prefer the latter as it is less sensationalist and, being written by the former geisha Mineko herself, a far more personal account. Nevertheless, I cannot wait to see how this turns out.

* the DJ seemed to be enjoying the novelty of a second deck by mixing songs at random, one of the more successful efforts being a confusing blend of Wonderwall and Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

A Real Live Magazine

Steph models CG issue #1Issue #1 of The Cambridge Globalist is hot off the press, as modelled here by Steph. Van oversaw the whole process in Singapore and both she and Steph have seen copies of the final product. From the multitude of photographs they took it seems to have come out even better than we all hoped (this small shot doesn’t do it justice). I had a strange grin plastered over my face as I realised there was absolutely no more tweaking left; this is it — issue #1. It’s weird to think of 1000 more of them boxed up and on their way to Cambridge as I type. The launch party will be next month in the Knox Shaw Room at Sidney Sussex. More details nearer the time. Now I just can’t wait to hold one…

To ensure no one is left out in the cold the regular address for P-2004 will now redirect visitors here. If you are specifically after something at the old site, you’ll need to use this address. All posts from this year have been migrated from the old site. It’s a pretty time-consuming job since they each need a little modification, and it may result in the occassional flicker of an old post to the front — don’t worry, it’ll sort itself out. Also note that the Fragments section now has a new live feed to inform you of about updates, operating in RSS 2.0, 0.92, and Atom 0.3, depending on your preferred flavour. If you’re using Firefox use the icon in the bottom right corner of your browser to set up a live bookmark.

Questions, Questions

I hope everyone is settling in nicely. The last two months of entries have now been migrated over but there’s obviously a lot more to come. The next major job is the Questions section, and I’d like your help. In order to put together this FAQ-style page I’d like you each to give me a couple of questions that you’d like to have me answer (especially those who were complaining that I never appeared in the Introductory Service earlier this year). They can be about the site, about me, or pretty much anything really. The more creatively amusing they are, the more likely I am to use them. Leave them as a comment, email them, whatever you like.

Ollie over at History Source asked if we had any link buttons for the new site, since we are an affiliate of theirs. I whipped up two button links for him: one black, one white. A full set of link images will hopefully be coming soon.


The site is dead. Long live the site. P-2004 has officially closed its doors, but fear not for rising from its ashes comes the fully reloaded SQL-powered P-2006. We’re on swanky new servers with ICDSoft and now have our own domain: The new design is based on things that never quite worked the way I wanted and, of course, comments from you. Allow me to introduce you…

goals of the upgrade:

  • faster navigation
  • more user interaction
  • use some of my photography
  • retain the sleek, minimalist design

4 new sectionsFragments is essentially the Earth section of the old site, a blog and the most frequently updated area of the site. Artist is much like the Water section. However, with the creation of my morgueFile account, photography will be uploaded there rather than to this site. A direct link in the Artist section will take you there. Critic is a narrower version of the Air section, focusing primarily on film reviews, but may expand to include reviews of books, music and more. It incorporates a more accurate 4-star rating system that can better distinguish between similar quality films. Finally Questions is a general area for info about the site and me in a humorous FAQ style.
Navigation – The nav bar at the top of the screen allows you to jump swiftly between sections. The menu system on the right is for navigating within a section. The idea is for you to be able to browse the site in the way you want. On entering a section you will see the latest entry (or entries in the blog). “Pages” will give you lists of all entries, such as the Film Reviews, as the old site did. “Categories” let you browse through particular type of post, for example just the gaming-related blog entries. The archives, as you would expect, allow you to read through the old entries.
Search – Each section of the site is now searchable rather than merely the blog. The improved search function now lets you browse through all the entries containing your search term rather than having to select them one at a time.
Comments – Here’s the big one: you can now make comments on every single post. That’s right, no more faffing around with a guestbook, now it’s visceral and immediate responses to those wild accusations about Hull.

I hope the new layout will be an easy enough transition. Please be patient while all the old entries are gradually migrated across. Finally, it’s been a lot of work so please do let me know what you think!


A nice way of describing the current site coding is “a little untidy”. More accurately it’s dirty. Like mud, only without the redemptive possibility of scantily clad women wrestling in it at some point in the future. Removing the frames and updating the code for Firefox was really a bit of a botch job, using XHTML 1.0 Transitional (which is inherently messy to begin with) along with smatterings of CSS. Since reworking the site will involve modifying every page, I figure now is as good a time as any for a complete overhaul. It’s been a fairly daunting task as I don’t want to lose any of the old entries, but work is already well under way. Changes are afoot…

The girl who bumped into meLast night was an unofficial Vodafone reunion at Walkabout. Toby, Kiran, Ray, Other Toby, and Rosh (who was after my time) were all there. Gemma C happened to be around so it was great to catch up with her again too, now a fully fledged Estate Agent working six days a week (a far cry from the girl whose main ambition used to be teaching me to be lazier while avoiding work – what can I say, I was a good student). We ended up feeling rather old as we reminisced about the good ol’ temping days when life was easy and beer was cheap. Strangely Ross, who used to be our desk manager, happened to be there too! Mark was also out with the usual crowd. Finished off the night with food, KFC for me and a meatball sub for Toby (which he reliably informs me has approximately a gazillion calories). It was a fun night with much drink, much revelry, and much chicken on the way home.

The Vodafone Crew

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"Civilization now depends on self-deception. Perhaps it always has."

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