Writing from April 2004

Small Pieces Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory of the Web by David Weinberger

I never expect much from net-related books, assuming I'll have heard it all before elsewhere. But I was pleasantly surprised: packed full of interesting thoughts that have made even jaded me look at things differently.

Continued…

In Books on 7 April 2004. Permalink

Donald Barthelme’s reading list

I've been catching up on back issues of The Believer and October 2003 contained an article by Kevin Moffett, in which he described tackling a reading list of 81 books passed down through a couple of hands from Donald Barthelme. To be honest, I couldn't tell you the first thing about Barthelme, but I love reading lists in exactly the kind of way I don't love lists of essential CDs.

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In Misc on 13 April 2004. 6 comments. Permalink

Audioscrobbler

I was going to post this in Links, but I had a little too much to say about Audioscrobbler. I've a feeling I may be well behind the times on this one, but it's new to me (thanks Tom).

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In Music on 15 April 2004. 4 comments. Permalink

The Balkans by Mark Mazower

The fact that the recent troubles in the area only get a couple of the 135 pages shows what a complicated history it is. It's almost a shame then that it's crammed into such a short book. A real whizz through a fascinating region.

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In Books on 16 April 2004. 3 comments. Permalink

Goof of the day

I was looking for some information about the history of the House of Commons. Eventually, after resorting to the Site Map, I found a promising sounding PDF, Chronology of the House of Commons.

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In Misc on 22 April 2004. 1 comment. Permalink

Belgrade and Novi Sad

I've just spent a few days in Serbia, mostly in Belgrade, with a night in Novi Sad, an hour or so's drive north. Belgrade was busy, with a lot of traffic (split between cranky old cars and shiny new models) and bad drivers, but there seemed to be much less litter than London. Late on Saturday evening, we were wandering around the city's main pedestrianised shopping street and the old castle that is now a lovely wooded park, marvelling at how relaxing and friendly the atmosphere was. A British city centre at 11pm on a Saturday night is only a fun place to be if you're one of the pissed teens or twentysomethings dropping kebab down your front, whereas Belgrade was far more civilised.

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In Personal on 23 April 2004. 6 comments. Permalink

Homeostatic envelope

The November 2003 issue of The Believer had an interview with David Foster Wallace, and one part, by the interviewer, Dave Eggers, caught my attention. After talking about how after stories like A Beautiful Mind mathematicians "might even be supplanting artists as the presumed sufferers of a sort of 'mad genius' syndrome" he goes on to say:

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In Misc on 25 April 2004. 1 comment. Permalink

External scaffolding

I'm a forgetful man. I could tell you the names of most people in my classes at school or college, but when it comes to the contents of books or plots of films I'm usually stumped. I've often wondered whether it's worth plodding through several hundred pages of a non-fiction book when a couple of weeks later I might only remember a couple of ideas. I deeply, deeply envy people who can rattle off quotes and references as if Google is squatting behind their eyes.

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On 29 April 2004. 5 comments. Permalink