October 2007


I was reading my weekly copy of the THES on Sunday and spotted an advert which I mis-read on an initial scan. It was for a lecturer in interior design, but I first read it as “inferior design”.

Well, I’m in the final stages of putting the index together for Pandora’s Box. I’m quite pleased with the range of things we’ve put in the book, but particularly with some of the weird stuff we’ve managed to quite naturally include, such as:

  • Monty Python
  • Vernor Vinge
  • Ardman, Stan D.
  • The Bible
  • Ben Hur
  • Charles Dickens
  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
  • Peter Kyberd
  • the prophet Muhammad
  • nazi (Godwin’s law applies)
  • Playboy
  • Fred Saberhagen

I recently wrote an article (link) that appeared in the online journal Script-Ed. A professor (with chairs at both Southampton University in the UK and University of Quebec in Montreal, Canada) posted some highly positive comments to it on a number of mailing lists describing it as:

lucid, timely, rigorous and compelling synthesis…It will be seen and cited as a landmark in the research community’s delayed but inexorable transition to Open Access.

While there were others who disagreed with either some of what I wrote, or with this evaluation of it, it’s always nice for one’s work to be noticed by a wide audience, and being lauded by a professor (whose work I admire and reference, of course) is also very nice for the ego.

As some of you know, I had a slightly worrying time for the last month in Japan since during worldcon my mother had rung me to say that there was a debt collection agency letter in Reading saying I owed Volkswagen Finance ¬£4,700. So, after I got back, I contacted the debt collection company, who were pretty unhelpful and delayed further action for a week but required me to get a crime number before they’d do anything else. The police, on their crime reporting phone line, wouldn’t give me a crime number without more details that the debt collection agency wouldn’t (or couldn’t) give me, like at what address the loan was taken out, for what vehicle etc. Once I felt like I was stuck in a cross between Kafka and Heller, the police crime recorder threw me a lifeline, telling me that I should go to a local Volkswagen dealer (she even gave me the phone number and address of one in Reading) and report the loan as fraud to them.

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While heading back to the UK from Japan on Friday 28th September, I wanted to buy a bunch of last minute gifts for people¬†here in the UK. One of the reasons for this was that I could then take them as carry-on instead of adding them to hold luggage where they’d be pushed to fit in my incredibly overweight bags (got heavily stung for excess baggage)
and would be prone to destruction by baggage handling trolls. (more…)