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Today's paper had a few articles about Modernism. Very interesting, including one by Ballard on the death of heroic Modernism, and the Modernism of death - "After taking the ferry, you disembark at a gloomy landing stage worthy of Böcklin's Island of the Dead. This is a place beyond hope, of haunted gateways and melancholy statues. But then, in the heart of the cemetery, there is a sudden lightening of tone, and you find you are strolling through what might be a Modern suburb of Tunis or Tel Aviv. The lines of family tombs resemble cheerful vacation bungalows, airy structures of white walls and glass that might have been designed by Le Corbusier or Richard Neutra. One could holiday for a long time in these pleasant villas, and a few of us probably will."

The intro to the Modernist bit is here.

There's also a reprint of Jimmy Carter's recent article about Israel and the peace process. As always, he's worth listening to.

In other news, I spent about three days waiting for Ed's new phone to arrive, and finally it turned out it wasn't coming. I also seem to be doing very well for spoons, but actually want a knife.

The Ig Nobel roadshow last week was very good. A couple of eccentric Dutchmen were over discussing their papers on erotic conjugation, repectively within NMR scanners and between male mallards with contrasting levels of biological viability, along with various other items including a short opera.

Someone pointed me at this animated graphic, which is worksafe, probably, as long as frivolous nonsense is permitted. I also read the obituary of Anna Marly, who wrote/cowrote/whatever the song that Leonard Cohen made famous in English as "The Partisan". I remember hearing a woman (maybe Joan Baez?) singing it on the radio in a car in Jamaica in the mid-seventies. ON the sleevenotes to Greatest Hits, Cohen remarked that when he was very young, he had the odd feeling that the fascists were defeated by song.

One of the more frustrating parts of the last week was spent trying to change the bolts holding my wheels on. One on each wheel came with Peugeot's standard security bolts, with an odd pronged spanner to turn them. Over the years, with mistreatment from the airhammers of a thousand cheap garages, these keys have twisted, cracked and broken, until I had only one left from the replacement set. I went and got some bogstandard replacement bolts and set to getting the old ones out one last time.

Guess what?

Well, happily I gave up on the really sticky one for a minute or two to take out the last easy one, so after going back and breaking the last remaining key on it, I only have to find a way to remove the one. Ho hum.

Errr . . . I went to see a band called Voices of Masada, as well. I thought I'd seen them before and been lukewarm, but it turned out I was wrong, and actually I rather liked them in spite of being very standard three-goths-a-drum-machine-and-no-trumpet, because they were musically competent, had some tunes, and the singer was obviously having a laugh, and as often at his own expense as at anything else's. The support bands - Februus and Hounds of God - seemed competent enough (especially as it seemed to be a first gig for both) but were way too prog for my taste.

This is apparently coming to London soon. Look at the pictures, if you're near there and allowed to look at pictures at all. It may be wise to have jaw support prepared. One not to miss.

I will leave you with this scientific finding, expressed so beautifully by a contributor to Mr Crowley's journal:
A recent scientific study found that the kind of male a woman finds attractive can differ depending on where she is in her menstrual cycle. For instance, if she is ovulating she is attracted to men with rugged and masculine features.

And if she is menstruating, she is likely to prefer a man doused in petrol and set on fire, with scissors shoved deep into his temple and a cricket stump jammed up his arse.
Psst. Put "4th-6th May" in the post for the giant marionettes.
I also seem to be doing very well for spoons, but actually want a knife.

You'll be meeting the man of your dreams next...
Very little of it is. Only the spoons/knife bit, that I can think of.
I seem to remember he wasn't the only one. One of the members of Anthrax asked that if he was to die of Anthrax, could someone tell Alanis Morissette? Because that would be ironic, don't you think?
Tip for stuck wheel bolts - hit them on the head a few times with a heavy hammer, it's usually enough to free them up. Don't overdo it though.

For removing a locking bolt (I'm assuming the wheel bolt is one of the type that doesn't have a normal hex head, but a funny shape that matches the key), one trick I've seen done is to take a four way cross wheel wrench, and force one of the sockets that is a slightly smaller size than the bolt head on to the bolt with a big hammer and brute force. It's not pretty, but it does work. You can also do this with a half inch wrench, using a socket size down from the bolt head, but if the bolt is stuck you'll probably need a long handled one (or put a short handled one into a length of pipe to increase leverage)

If that doesn't work, it is possible to drill the bolt out. I've seen it done, but you have to take care not to damage the threads.

Failing that, there are special sockets available for impact wrenches that remove that type of locking bolt. Most tyre places will have them. They trash the bolts though - not a problem for you in this case.

I might be stating the obvious, but just in case, don't ever try to use heat to loosen a wheel part.

I hadn't considered heat, and now I won't. One or two of them had occurred to me, but there's a lot that hadn't - cheers. I don't mind ruining the head, as you say.
I will have to look up the dates for the Ig roadshow, I have yet to see one of their operas live. What's the theme this year?

Oh, and if you get the opportunity, 'Magnetic Rsonance Imaging of Male and female Genitals during Coitus and Female Sexual Arousal' is the name of the paper, and it's a ripping read.
I think it's been and gone now. I saw it at the beginning of last week and failed to mention it before.

The opera was "The Count of Infinity" and concerned the romance between the Countess of Infinity and a young handsome accountant she had numbering the infinite objects in her realm.
I know exactly where that scientific study is coming from :)

Personally I'm just attracted to guys who are bad for me, any old time. Intelligent Charmers - well you've got to have a soft spot for something. Especially beards :)
Frankly, when I'm menstruating I'll take anyone as long as they've got cake.
I don't know about the menstrual cycle, but except in very special circumstances, I much prefer the human torch variety of men ;)
That female attraction quote is fantastic. I may have to post it in my journal.