A Daily Diatribe by a Pompous Git

Who is that fat bastard? A Sturm's Eye View, Guaranteed Free of Harmful, or Potentially Harmful Chemicals -- but Watch Out for the Ideas! Some of them are Contagious! 

A journal of sorts to record Jonathan Sturm's (and others') thoughts and observations on things worth thinking about. Feedback welcome, but be aware that unless you prominently say you want your communication kept private, I may publish it.

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Monday 7 January 2002

Fellow DayNoter Robert Thompson writes:

"I told Jerry [Pournelle] that if he didn't write another book in that series pretty soon, I'd write it myself. Jerry said, "Okay, why don't we co-author it?" Arrrrghhh. My bluff was called. I told Jerry I'd love to, but I simply don't have the time. Maybe I should make the time, but the real problem is that I don't know if I'm a story-teller."

"What a peculiar thing to write!" I thought to myself. All writers are story tellers; we just write about different things. What we write are thoughts that occur to us and that are hopefully of interest to our readers. Bob writes some quite fascinating stuff. I'm not talking here just about his DayNotes, but his books. I imagine Bob would say: "But that's not fiction! I write factual stuff".

Well, I could write: "It's raining". That's a fact. Not a particularly interesting one, but nevertheless accurate. If I want you to take some interest in what I write, then I must relate it to something else using my imagination. How about: "Despite the fact that GISS and CRU, the main organisations behind the myth of Global Warming claim that it will lead to higher temperatures and lower rainfall, south eastern Australia is having its coldest summer ever. Right now it's raining and when it's not raining it's overcast".

My school friend Roland Seidel and I have a difference of opinion on fact versus fiction. Funnily enough, Mark Zimmerman whose writings I frequently enjoy, shares my opinion. Technological Folktales is an interesting read.

Given the opportunity to collaborate with one of the world's great writers, I know what I'd do.

Thought for the day:

The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof, shit detector. This is the writer's radar and all great writers have had it.

Ernest Hemingway

Current Listening

Mahavishnu Orchestra -- Inner Mounting Flame


Tuesday 8 January 2002

What a day. I slept badly expecting the plumber to fail to arrive yet again. But by the end of the day we have a working house we can live in. Of course we have lots of detail to finish, but this is a major milestone. Or should that be kilometrekilo in these metric days? A lot of furious activity today and problems to solve, but as I write this after sleeping in until 6 am for the first time for a while, I am a little pushed for time. A more extensive report later.

Thought for the day:

Man tends to root for the underdog, because he fears that he will find himself in that same position far too often.

Michael S. Rosenberg

Current Listening

Leonard Cohen -- Songs of Love and Hate


Thursday 10 January 2002

Another busy day working on The House of Steel. We are only a week away from moving in! Two days of fine weather in a row has us all working cheerfully. My scarlet runner beans are now 300 mm (a foot tall). Usually, they are well over a metre (a yard) tall by now! Tomorrow, the weather returns to several days of showers and cooler weather as another cold front passes.

Thought for the day:

A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government. 

Edward Abbey

Current Listening

Penguin Café Orchestra -- Broadcasting from Home


Friday 11 January 2002

Bob Thompson's resolve to wean himself from enslavement to Microsoft has taken a severe beating. He attempted to install an application (Evolution -- the MS Outlook wannabe) and failed miserably despite the assistance of a couple of Linux gurus. If Bob failed, what chance do the hoi polloi like yours truly stand? The issue is dependency on libraries, the *nix equivalent of DLLs. You install an app and it demands the presence of a library, which in turn demands the presence of... I remember recursion of this nature in the bad old days of MS DOS. I believe the virtue of this is that it's supposed to give the user a greater degree of control. Sounds more like the programmers being in control to me! It can't be that difficult to write a decent installer can it? Having succeeded in writing better OS installers than MS, you'd think they could. Perhaps it's the elevation of the OS over useful apps that's the problem. MS didn't just wait for apps to be written for Windows, BillG browbeat people into writing them.

And while on the topic of OSs, the link to AtheOS the other day was not the official website. It's here.

Thought for the day:

Outside of a dog, a book is your best friend, and inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. 

Groucho Marx

Current Listening

Audience -- The House on the Hill


Saturday 12 January 2002

This morning I was "attacked" by a wild duck. Well, she put on quite a show while the drake made off toward the dam with her brood. It looks like she has lost only one to the hawks. It seems most of our wild birds are breeding more successfully this year. While the cottage looks inward, separating the inhabitants from the external environment, The House of Steel is part of it.

Thought for the day:

We make the world we live in and shape our own environment.

Orison Swett Marden

Current Listening

Pretenders -- Pretenders II


Sunday 13 January 2002

We went to see Lord of the Rings tonight, in an almost empty theatre. While I thought the casting and cinematography were great, the plot changes were a little distracting. Yes, I know that it was necessary to do so, but I have read LotR on average once every 2-3 years for 30 years. Ian Holm made a particularly fine Bilbo despite the incongruence with my imagination. I give it four and a half out of five, so it's in the top 5% of films I have seen.

Thought for the day:

I never said all actors are cattle; what I said was all actors should be treated like cattle.

Alfred Hitchcock

Current Listening

Palestrina -- Missa Papae Marcelli


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© Jonathan Sturm 2002


© Jonathan Sturm 2002