Day 5 of Atkins

Q: What would you rather eat for dinner this evening: a succulent breast of chicken with scrambled eggs and hot sauce, or a single dry slice of brown bread?

A: Oh, no question. It’s got to be the bread.

Q: What about a totally decadent snack while you’re watching TV later on in the evening? A selection of fine mature cheeses and some roasted hazelnuts, or a single dry slice of brown bread?

A: Gotta be the bread again, mate.

Q: And for breakfast at the weekend? Bacon, eggs, sausage, and fried mushrooms, or ack…get your hands…aagh…off my…ghhg…throat!

A: Stop playing with my mind and just give me the damn bread!

Scary morning headlines

I awoke this morning to this quote on Radio 4: “The Iraqi experiment in democracy is taking place in a pretty scary neighbourhood.”

The American pundit being interviewed then continued to explain how Syria was aiding terrorist organisations, providing a safe haven for fleeing Iraqi officials from Saddam Hussein’s regime, and holding large stocks of chemical weapons. (I turned the radio off again pretty quickly.)

And the top story in this morning’s Guardian is that George Bush has apparently “vetoed” plans to go to war against Syria.

This offends on so many levels. First of all, how could a Radio 4 news presenter let anyone get away with a quote like that? “The Iraqi experiment in democracy?” As if the Iraqi people had decided to dabble with free elections for a lark, instead of having their previous government overthrown by an invading foreign power. As if they are running their country themselves now, rather than being told what to do by an occupying military force. As if this whole war thing (which we’d rather not mention any more) was all about liberation.

Secondly, Syria. On all of the points made against it: duh. What country in the Middle East doesn’t?

Third, George Bush’s political machine. He gets his hawkish factions all charged up with a relatively short, victorious war against Iraq. Then these same hawks rile up public opinion even more by mouthing off against Syria, raising the spectre of a rolling invasion eventually covering all of Iraq’s neighbours. This allows Bush to come in and act magnanimously by ruling out war against another country.

Wow. Picture that. He invades Poland Iraq, then gets credit for not going even further. Maybe he’s not such a bad guy after all! Maybe he did have the good of the Iraqi people at heart all along! We liberated them, didn’t we?

The whitewash started before the war even began. History will tell the whole story, but probably won’t tell it until after the 2004 US presidential election. If the Bush regime can persuade the American people to ignore the facts for just a little bit longer (easier than it should be, unfortunately), they will secure a second term in office, cement the Neo-Republican power base, and have another four years in which to make the world even an even safer place for terrorists corporate profits respectful, law-obiding citizens! Hurrah!

Where the hell is the opposition?

Dada Rocks!

When playing video games with Alex around, I’ve got in the habit of saying “Oh no! Dada’s rubbish!” whenever I make a silly mistake. Alex has picked up on this, and he usually chimes in with a “Dada ubbsh” of his own.

Yesterday afternoon, we were playing Metroid Fusion. It took me a while of getting hammered by Baby Sheegoths before I got the hang of jumping around them. When I did, defeating them was a great triumph. “Yay!” I said. “Dada rocks!”

“Dada wock!” Alex exclaimed. “Yay! Dada wocks!”

That was cool. A little later on, when we turned off the game, Alex grabbed me by the hand, looked up at me, and said again “Dada wocks!” I thought he meant walk, because “walk” is one of the words he knows well. (Along with “doodles” for “shoulders”, and “push” for “pushchair”, these are phrases we use all the time when we’re out and about.)

He led me out of the living room, and to our front door, which he made me open. With another emphatic “Dada wocks,” he clambered down the step, and toddled over to our driveway. He reached down, picked up a handful of gravel, and took it back over to me. He held up his hands and urged me to take the stones.

“Dada rocks!”

Thanks, Alex. 🙂

Structured Procrastination

I don’t remember when I first came across a reference to John Perry’s essay on Structured Procrastination. It’s an Internet standard by now.

“Structured procrastination means shaping the structure of the tasks one has to do in a way that exploits this fact. The list of tasks one has in mind will be ordered by importance. Tasks that seem most urgent and important are on top. But there are also worthwhile tasks to perform lower down on the list. Doing these tasks becomes a way of not doing the things higher up on the list. With this sort of appropriate task structure, the procrastinator becomes a useful citizen. Indeed, the procrastinator can even acquire, as I have, a reputation for getting a lot done.”

Every now and then I go through a spell where I am reminded that this is exactly how I allocate my own time. This week, for example, I have floored another chunk of our loft, cut the grass and done a big tidy-up of our front garden, and started work on the next version of the AmphetaFrames templates.

What I should have been doing is catching up on my correspondance. So if you’re one of the people I owe an email…sorry! I’d like to say that I’ll get round to it soon, but realistically I’ll probably end up tidying our garage instead.