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My micro life: 9:09pm, 8 January 2016

The energy I gained from eating the first three-quarters of a large pizza enabled me to then eat the last quarter of the same large pizza.

My micro life: 6:08pm, 8 January 2016

My favourite kung-fu themed wholefoods store is probably ‘Polenta The Dragon’.

My micro life: 10:20am, 1 January 2016

My first two farts of 2016 were (in chronological order) half-awake and bedroom-located, and fully-awake and kitchen-located respectively.


In the fifth episode of the most recent series of Doctor Who, the alien warrior race the Mire were defeated by the power of ‘Yakety Sax’, famous for its many appearances in The Benny Hill Show. Here we see the opening of the 1982 Doctor Who serial ‘Castrovalva’ given the Benny Hill treatment by Clayton Hickman and Gareth Roberts. The scene begins with the Fourth Doctor having just regenerated into the Fifth. One wonders whether the Sixth Doctor’s post-regeneration crisis in ‘The Twin Dilemma’ might be likewise improved — or perhaps seeing the Doctor attempt to strangle his companion to death while dressed like a clown is always going to be disturbing, no matter what the soundtrack

My micro life: 7:42pm, 19 December 2015

The squid-related lack of clarity in Admiral Ackbar’s diction: a discommodity when issuing verbal commands in a space battle?

My micro life: 08:21pm, 27 October 2015

I’ve never had an exorcism. No wonder all the other boys used to laugh at me at the ghost toilets.

“(The logo) was reflected briefly on the water and then quickly faded to its static position at the centre of the ident”

Clayton Hickman and Dave Jeffery update the classic Thames Television ident to reflect London’s twenty-first century skyline. I keep waiting for Kenny Everett to burst through it.

“This is not a list of bad songs, although that is a quality many of them share”

Tim Sterne rounds up ten crimes against musical interestingness committed during the otherwise sporadically musically interesting period of the 1990s.

“So David Bowie becomes a soul singer”

The 16-bar call-and-response section that is the centrepiece of the Young Americans track ‘Right’ is one of my favourite Bowie moments. The Cracked Actor documentary features some in-studio footage of Bowie describing his vision for the song to his backing vocalists Ava Cherry, Robin Clark and Luther Vandross, and when I visited the ‘Bowie Is…’ exhibition at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image last week I was thrilled to be able to study the very same handwritten vocal guide featured in the video.

Unfortunately I cannot reproduce the page here. Photography at the exhibition, much like the film clip to Bowie and Mick Jagger’s rendition of ‘Dancing in the Streets’ in certain forward-thinking nations on the grounds of taste, is expressly forbidden.

Docteur Qui is difficult enough to explain in English”

Once during practice for oral French my teacher asked me what my favourite TV programme was and I said Docteur Qui. She then asked me to describe it. Docteur Qui is difficult enough to explain in English and I’m afraid my sparse French didn’t suffice. She suggested if asked this question during the exam I should tell a white lie and pick something simpler. I chose Roobarb and Custard, a cartoon about a chat et un chien, which seemed more straightforward, but it didn’t help because I failed oral French anyway.

I don’t in any way mean this as a slight — Matthew Waterhouse (who portrayed Alzarian boy genius Adric in the late Tom Baker, early Peter Davison era of Doctor Who) seems to possess a charming naïveté and capacity for non sequitur that reminds me of the most sublime moments of Karl Pilkington.

The above, taken from his blog, is a recent example.

“Shadowy manifestations of urban landscapes somewhere between a dream and a chaotic future”

From 1978 until the end of their partnership in 1993, Brodsky and Utkin collaborated on etchings dense with precarious scaffolding, classical domes, huge glass towers, and other visionary architecture that referenced everything from ancient tombs to Le Corbusier’s sprawling city plans.

I’d never heard of Soviet artists Alexander Brodsky and Ilya Utkin or their intricate architectural fabulations. Hyperallergic reports on the publication of the third edition of their collected prints.

“Your mission today James Bond is go and rake the moon”

“This is what probably would have happened had David Bowie written the theme to the James Bond movie Moonraker.”

“Typical instances from separate epistopic interfaces of the spectrum”

This is what I imagine the Valeyard saw as he scoured the Matrix looking for evidence to use in the Doctor’s trial

Materiality: Surface

The fourth issue of pinknantucket press’s Materiality journal (funded by a Pozible campaign) is now available to buy in hard copy and digital form. The theme for this issue is ‘surface’, and the contributors have approached the topic in all kinds of fascinating ways. Also check out the recent ‘speaking scars’ series on the pinknantucket press blog.

“It was a hack of and for its time, done for the curiosity and the glory of simply doing it”

I was reading the Wikipedia entry for an episode of Doctor Who I was watching last night when I happened upon this anecdote (new to me but apparently well-known) about the broadcast of the story on Chicago station WTTW being interrupted by a pirate transmission.

The first occurrence of the signal intrusion took place during then-independent station WGN-TV’s live telecast of its primetime newscast, The Nine O’Clock News. During Chicago Bears highlights in the sports report, the station’s signal was interrupted for about half a minute by a video of a person wearing a Max Headroom mask, moving around in front of a sheet of corrugated metal, which imitated the background effect used in the Max Headroom TV and movie appearances. There was no audio other than a buzzing noise. (…)

Later that night, around 11:15 p.m. Central Time, during a broadcast of the Doctor Who serial ‘Horror of Fang Rock’, PBS member station WTTW’s signal was hijacked using the same video that was broadcast during the WGN-TV hijack, this time with distorted audio.

Warning: slightly NSFW

As Chris Knittel and Alex Pasternack’s comprehensive account of this infamous ‘broadcast intrusion’ concludes, ‘there was no clear motive, no clear message, and thirty years on, no clear perpetrator’.

“This suggestion that the TARDIS uses some kind of osmosis for taking in oxygen from outside fails to address the fact the ship can float in space for an indefinite period with no problems”

We are lead to believe that if the outer shell of [the TARDIS] becomes coated in green jizz, then the occupants suffocate in about four minutes.

Must confess to being slightly alarmed to encounter this digression while reading an otherwise jizz-free history of the TARDIS interior roundels.

“Just as the body needs time to rest, so too does an essay, story, chapter, poem, book or a single page”

From Bill Hayes’s New York Times essay on maintaining what might be termed ‘writing fitness’:

Then I woke one day, and a line came to me. It didn’t slip away this time but stayed put. I followed it, like a path. It led to another, then another. Soon, pieces started lining up in my head, like cabs idling curbside, ready to go where I wanted to take them.

I like this as a description of how it feels when a new project starts to find its form and shape.

“Well-designed products make us feel that someone has been thinking about us, that a nice person took care of the little things for us”

Oliver Reichenstein on ‘quality and thought’ in interface design:

To lay the foundation of human-machine interaction you need to put thought into things and that requires that you put things into thought. This is why most interfaces suck, and most interfaces will continue to suck. No model, method, or tool will change that. Thinking is painful. (…)

Well-designed products do not just save us time, they make us enjoy the time we spend with them. They make us feel that someone has been thinking about us, that a nice person took care of the little things for us.

Puts me in mind of Frank Chimero’s chapter on the importance of empathy in design.

“I think the costume was possibly something of a mistake”

Colin Baker removes his Sixth Doctor costume

In the cold light of day, years after the event, I can say I think the costume was possibly something of a mistake.

John Nathan-Turner, producer of Doctor Who from 1980–1989, in reflective mood during The John Nathan-Turner Memoirs.

” I agree with you about the spelling of poo, etc.”

Our early conversations and the revisions Roald made had to do with the shape of the story, the major characters, how the story began, how it ended, and what was missing. One significant change involved two chapters about problems the hero had at school. They were good stories, but I didn’t think they belonged in this book. Roald disagreed, strongly, and we argued about it. That was not fun. Eventually he agreed and the two chapters disappeared, but not forever.

Stephen Roxburgh, president and publisher at Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers during the 1980s, on editing Roald Dahl’s The Witches. (Via @pintadoguy)