July 30, 2004


First, two jokes from BlogSoCool

A woman walked up to a little old man rocking in a chair on his porch.
"I couldn't help noticing how happy you look," she said. "What's your secret for a long happy life?"
"I smoke three packs of cigarettes a day," he said. "I also drink a case of whiskey a week, eat fatty foods, and never exercise."
"That's amazing," said the woman, "how old are you?"
"Twenty-six," he said.

A man asked the barber "How much for a haircut?"
"$5.50." said the barber.
"And how much for a shave?"
"$3.00 sir."
"Very well, shave my head."

And now for something which would be hilarious if it wasn't so deadly serious and scary. From Humanity Check newsletter. Read full story at the Washington Post

By Alan Cooperman, Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 1, 2004

The Bush-Cheney reelection campaign has sent a detailed plan of action to religious volunteers across the country asking them to turn over church directories to the campaign, distribute issue guides in their churches and persuade their pastors to hold voter registration drives. Campaign officials said the instructions are part of an accelerating effort to mobilize President Bush's base of religious supporters.... (read on)

We are not amused.



July 27, 2004

AUGUSTINE INTERVIEWS GOD: Part Eight (is now here)


July 24, 2004

There's a new page for the gnovel and a new God strip is on the drawing board and/or tablet. But beautiful weather is here at last and it's essential to spend some time sitting by a pond on Parliament Hill watching the ducks and swans and dogs and pigeons and children splashing around chasing each other.


July 23, 2004

WELCOME BACK WACOM: A Sad Story with a Happy Ending

 Testing my Wacom

I bought the Wacom Graphire kit around the same time as my Mac but for some reason I became frightened of this innocent little tablet and its miracle-working wand so I put them away for future reference 'when I have time to study the manual'.

Then I got so used to the Mac mouse that I forgot about the tablet. So much so that when I was doing a big clear-up I threw out what I thought was a dead ballpoint pen. Reader, it was the miracle wand.

I realised my error only recently and there was much gnashing, tearing, lamentation and trips to the computer stores of Tottenham Court Road. With pity in their geeky eyes and sneers on their geeky lips they said: we do not stock accessories for * four year-old* graphic tablets - everything's been upgraded and other words to that effect.

A hairy head

Walking backwards in abject apology I got home and googled for Wacom's European site which turned out to be in Germany. And behold it was brilliant: replacement pens of every description for every model, old, new, used, and not a raised eyebrow in sight. And that's not all. A real human being named Horst was behind the screen because when I ordered what I thought was the right pen, he sent me an instant e-mail to say no, a different model fits my tablet.

Unaccustomed to such efficient and personal service I placed my order at once, sat back and waited. Only a few days later, delivered by UPS, the twin of my lost magic wand is in my hands. Thank you Horst, you of the Wacom Online Shop in Krefeld.

Now let's see, where did I put that manual?




July 21, 2004


Time off - a perfect day out of London. More photos are here. This one is of my gorgeous niece, Sarah. I have three beautiful nieces dotted over the planet, two are my sister's daughters, this one is my brother's. She went to Sussex University in Brighton so knows the town very well.

Not feeling very bloggish lately but doomy inner voices keep chanting: they will all go away if you don't blog more often they will abandon you yes they will you will check your stats and the graph columns will be completely flat you must blog blog blog blog you don't expect to keep your audience entertained with a few snaps of Brighton do you, eh? eh?

Brighton belle



July 17, 2004


I got this from Vickie (July 8 post) whose appealing site I was led to by Dem whose fan-mail and cartooning talent continues to grow. The animation is by Rob Lewis and came from his StickDeath website. Its actual title is "How To Handle Office Conflicts" but I think it applies perfectly to all larger conflicts.

"Fight!" animation



July 15, 2004


Have just watched a DVD my sister sent me from Paris: Le Monde Selon Bush (the world according to Bush), a documentary by William Karel. DON'T MISS the Flash trailer on that website. You can see details of the film in English here including a list of the impressive cast of interviewees. The opposite of Michael Moore's approach, this documentary goes straight to your brain, by-passing your heart and is all the more scary for that. You're left enlightened and exhausted by 90 minutes of facts, intoned by a whole series of well-known talking heads, mainly American but also the likes of Dr. Hans Blix in extraordinarily candid conversation. If this film is going to be shown wherever you are, see it or get it on DVD. Entertainment it ain't but truth stranger than fiction it surely is. For those who read French, here's a long, in-depth interview with the director, William Karel.

And DON'T MISS the excellent, profound and perceptive review of F9/11 at vernacular body

Normal cheerful, entertaining service will be resumed here as soon as I regain balance.




I've added another new page to the gnovel - click on the mini to see the bigger version.

Seems I really maybe probably have cured myself of the Fear of Never Finishing What I Start. If you instantly recognize the name of this fear then you've got it. If you're not sure, answer the following questions:


Do you vibrate with excitment when a new idea hits you? In the rush of that high, do you grab pencil, pen or mouse and begin to set down the idea? Does it then become a Project Which Requires Much More Work? Do you then start to devise a plan of action, most likely involving some kind of deadline, as well as a list of things you need which you haven't got? Do you then go out to a bookstore or library to seek reinforcement, inspiration, information and perhaps to an art materials shop or a computer store and then perhaps to a café to sit and mull over the idea and write notes about it? Do you then go home to your desk, kitchen table, easel, computer, and FEEL THE FEAR and start doing something else? Are you suddenly overwhelmed by an irresistible urge to have sex, clean the brownish bits around the taps in the bathroom with a toothbrush, pay all your bills, sleep, surf, cook, read every section of last Sunday's newspapers, do the laundry, phone somebody, watch TV or go out - anything except getting down to work on The Idea?

If you've said yes to all or most of the above, you've got the Fear of Never Finishing What You Start - welcome to the club. No, sorry, I forgot, I'm no longer in the club. I'm cured and I will now give you advice based on my long experience of this condition and newly acquired insight.

The only way to beat the FONWYS is to stay in the start position, which is when you're vibrating with excitment. The reason you have the Fear is because it's true: you never do - or seldom enough to call it never - finish what you start. And the reason for that is because the excitment doesn't last and the excitment is what drives the idea forward. Without that vibration, finishing something - no matter what the rewards of finishing may be - becomes drudgery: pleasant drudgery, familiar, cherished drudgery maybe but still far far too much dreaded drudddgerry. So you do something else and the Fear is prophetic. But here's how to fool the Fear:

Suppose you only had ONE exciting thing to do - one page to write, one drawing to draw, one hole to dig - whatever. You feel the excitment while you do that one thing and so you finish it in a day or an hour or a few minutes. THAT'S ALL YOU NEED TO DO. Just stop thinking of your idea as a Project, a set of parts that mean nothing until they are linked into a finished product: that kind of thinking is where the Fear lives.When you are excited you never feel the Fear. And if you do just
ONE exciting thing every day, before you know it you will have finished whatever-it-is and it will all come together, and it will be good.


My new Portugal-based artist friend Vitriolica , who also lives blogging life as an alter ego (or two, in her case) is a wonderful inspiration. I don't know if she's ever been plagued by the FONFWYS but her creative excitment appears to be unstoppable. If you haven't yet discovered her, you have a treat in store - and don't miss any of the brilliantly fluid, witty and observant drawings in her archive.

The Michael Moore post below is now also posted at Open Source Politics.



July 5, 2004


The big man and the small man.

Michael Moore is no Eisenstein, Hitchcock, Spielberg, Godard or whoever you prefer as a great film auteur. His Fahrenheit 9/11 has many cinematic flaws. Nevertheless, it is a historic tour de force, perhaps the only film ever made which can bring down a president and an administration which will forever be remembered only for the irreparable damage they have done. Those who criticize the film call it propaganda. Of course it's propaganda. It doesn't pretend to be an art film or a thriller or a comedy - though it's got moments of all those elements. It is intended, and succeeds, as an exposé of the jaw-dropping Machiavellian machinations, greed, inefficiency and deceit of Bush & Co. and the harm they have caused to their own citizens and to innocent citizens of countries not their own. It's a roller coaster of verified and verifiable facts which hit you in the guts while your brain absorbs the appalling information. Here's Mike Moore's answer on his website to those who declare his facts are not factual:

Every single fact I state in "Fahrenheit 9/11" is the absolute and irrefutable truth. This movie is perhaps the most thoroughly researched and vetted documentary of our time. No fewer than a dozen people, including three teams of lawyers and the venerable one-time fact-checkers from The New Yorker went through this movie with a fine-tooth comb so that we can make this guarantee to you. Do not let anyone say this or that isn't true. If they say that, they are lying. Let them know that the OPINIONS in the film are mine, and anyone certainly has a right to disagree with them. And the questions I pose in the movie, based on these irrefutable facts, are also mine. And I have a right to ask them. And I will continue to ask them until they are answered.

I won't describe the film, the bits that moved me to tears, the bits that could have been done better, the bits that were brilliant. The main thing is that it's a crucial and timely wake-up call and it is stirring hearts and minds in America which desperately need stirring. Read the reports of how astoundingly well the film is doing. To those who sneer that Mike is making a lot of money all I can say is: Michael Moore made money legitimately because lots of people bought his books and are now queuing up in droves to see this necessary film. And he puts his money where his mouth is. Bush & Co. make loads more money but.....well, go see Fahrenheit 9/11 then decide who's telling the truth.

And read this by Anthony Wade.

(I borrowed and altered the above photo of MM from the cover of the DVD of Bowling for Columbine)



July 4, 2004


I think I've broken through my gnovelist's block by deciding to create pages I just feel like doing, forgetting about continuity and chronology and layout , leaving all of that for later. Go to the bottom of the gnovel page to see the latest additions, from Ottoline's diary. Here are mini-versions of them. I'll be adding others more frequently now.

Happy 4th of July to American friends. To celebrate, I'm going to see a preview of Fahrenheit 9/11 tonight at my local cinema.



July 2, 2004


Well I had my 24 hours of fame and now I can't find it. The Guardian's Weblog lets you gloat and glow for a day and then moves on to someone else. Fair enough, but where is that mention of me now that I want to gloat a little more? It has vanished into the black cyber hole where all blogs go when they're not being noticed. My hits did go up to about 200 since yesterday so why am I being an ungrateful wretch? Who can measure the infinite capacity for dissatisfaction of that stubborn beast called Ego? I can't get no...thump thump...satisfaction...that's all it ever drones, on and on and on. Enough already. I'm entering a new phase of positivity based on the Law of Attraction. Watch this space.



July 1, 2004


Last night, in carefree, confident, elated mood brought on by dancing wildly to a 45 rpm (yes, I still play them) record of Leo Sayer's irresistible Long Tall Glasses - the best mood-enhancing tonic ever - I sat down and dashed off a short confident elated email to the Guardian Unlimited Weblog.

Well, my dancing energy was irresistible because today, guess who's top of the blogs at the Guardian's Weblog?

Augustine's blog

Blog pick:

Natalie d'Arbeloff tells me I should feature her blog because 'it is original, intelligent, witty, all my own work (much of it cartoons and other graphics) and there are no spelling mistakes '. It's one of the more, er, confident pitches I've received from a blogger in recent times: nevertheless, this blog deserves a mention for its colourful cartoons featuring Augustine, Natalie's alter ego. I particularly like conversations with Bush, Blair and Saddam.

Jane Perrone