The Blog

Chris Harris's Blog Archive: June 2003

This is the earliest blog page.

This is where it all started: June 2003 was the month I decided that I ought to start writing a blog.


Here in the village, it's a gorgeous Saturday; the sun is shining, and I can already smell someone's barbecue drifting in through the open windows. Smells wonderful. What is it about barbecues that is so appealing? We stuff our faces with food that we wouldn't normally consider eating when it's cooked to perfection, but burnt to a crisp and smothered in tomato ketchup it tastes better than anything from the poshest restaurant. Maybe it's just the sheer overload of calories that does it; perhaps it's the tomato ketchup - or it could simply be all that fat... Still, the British are finally learning how to do barbecues properly, and it's about time: I remember my folks subjecting a friend of mine from California to one of the more traditional style, back in the 1980's. I don't think she was that impressed. Lori, are you out there? I promise we've got better at it since then!

You can always tell when the weather's good in the UK, as you're invariably assailed by the sound of everybody within earshot cutting the lawn, and today is no different. At least with the climate we get in England this chore isn't one we do all year. It tends to stop at the beginning of October, when the nights start to get chilly and the grass stops growing. But right now, my garden is really going for it. Yesterday, I discovered weeds half a metre high in the flower bed in the back garden that just weren't there the last time I looked. I'm a great believer in the "slash and burn" school of gardening, probably because I worked as a landscape gardener for a few months, many years ago. The use of napalm as a garden clearance device is sadly underrated, I think...


There was a CD I'd ordered on the doormat when I got home tonight: Fiesta Songs by Senor Coconut (better known perhaps - if the Mixing It website is to be believed - as Uwe Schmidt, also known as Atom Heart, one half of the duo Flanger.) Your life will not be complete until you have heard El Senor's versions of Smoke On The Water, Riders On The Storm, Beat It, and Oxygene Part II. Trust me on this.

It's the second CD I've heard this week that has made me laugh out loud. The first was CG3+2, an album by the California Guitar Trio with Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto. It features one track, called "Zundoko-Bushi", of a Japanese traditional song played in a very accomplished 60's surf punk style; but it keeps mutating into King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man." Neato!

Truly, wonderfully deranged; I wish there was more music around like this.


...Not. I'd more or less convinced myself that my particular hayfever season had more or less lapsed; different pollens affect different people, and after suffering through late May and early June this week I'd had it relatively easy.

Until tonight - I spent three quarters of an hour this evening sneezing about once every fifteen seconds or so until the antihistamines kicked in. I hate taking medication for hayfever because it makes me feel lethargic, sluggish and miserable, but some days the side effects seem more appealing than the symptoms. If you have hayfever, you have my complete and utter sympathy. At the moment I just want to crawl into a deep dark cave until it starts snowing outside.


Best book ever, or just very shrewd marketing? I finished the new Harry Potter novel yesterday evening - don't worry, no spoilers here - and I have to say I found myself curiously disappointed by the whole thing. It's undoubtedly good story telling, but the writing's nothing special. As novels go, it's OK, but I can't see how it justifies the ludicrous amounts of hype that have occurred over the last few months. The BBC news website did point out that a similar frenzy used to occur over Charles Dickens's work. You can read the article here:


It's interesting that the photo they've chosen for the article is from the BBC's production of David Copperfield, featuring the actors Bob Hoskins and Daniel Radcliffe. Wait a minute, haven't I seen young Master Radcliffe in a movie recently?

What, the BBC miss a promotional tie-in? Not going to happen, is it?


Harry Knowles's film website, Ain't It Cool News, has an article up at the moment about a regular gathering of folks in Tinseltown that has become known as the MOH (I assume that's short for the "Masters of Horror"). The article contained a photograph with so many luminaries from the fantasy film world in it that it fried my brain and left me with steam coming out of my ears for most of yesterday lunchtime. Amazing stuff. Have a look here:


I'd have donated a serious amount of money to charity for the privilege of attending a session with those people. And still have ended up on my knees, chanting "I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy!"


Welcome to the blog.

I hope you realise I'm making this up as I go along, coding everything and then uploading it on to my site. No doubt there are easier ways of doing this, but it's going to be a learning experience for me...

So, not too much today - I've been trying to add a QuickTime VR movie to one page, and I've spent most of this evening trying to figure out why html code that works perfectly on my browser in the office has completely failed to run at home.

I'm terrible when things like this happen. What would be a simple task becomes stretched over hours of tinkering and fiddling. I'll be installing a new web browser in a minute, I can tell - just to see if three lines of code aren't working. I can remember a similar evening of events leading to me disassembling my PC, removing all the expansion cards, and then putting it back together.

And this, remember, is under a Microsoft operating system. If I was running Linux I'd never leave the house..