Bellerophon symbol, variation 7
Tuesday 1st June 2004

just been rearranging things around here . . . it was Michael's idea.

I've put things in a more logical date order now. The most recent entry will appear at the top for that month and everything else is listed, erm . . . well, have a look at May, or whatever . . . you'll see what I mean. I've no idea why I'm doing this when I need to complete my next university assignment either tonight or tomorrow night.

Wednesday 2nd June 2004

13:39 the previous day, I forgot to mention: another strange phone call from my mysterious foreigner . . . and another today, at exactly 13:44. Odd. The message is again that one about 'ne quittez pas un correspondent . . . blah blah blah'. Other than that, I have nothing to report . . . no new news.

Well, I've recently discovered that my Sony minidisc recorder/player (Net-MD Walkman MZ-N510) is designed in such a way that if you want to access the data stored on a minidisc via USB (and, therefore, one assumes, obtain a perfect, bit-for-bit copy (?!)), then the only way you can do this is by copying the music onto the minidisc using Sony's own Sonic Stage software. If music is copied on to the minidisc any other way (say, you're recording your own music/sounds), then the only way you can extract the music is . . . well, basically via the line-out. How crazy is that? Yeah, sure, uploading the music in real-time via an analogue line-out cable isn't THAT bad, but it's the fact that they have deliberately crippled the machine in that way, presumably to protect themselves against the ire of record companies (perhaps thinking that people would go copyright-violation crazy if they could rip a CD onto minidisc and then convert it to MP3 within a few minutes). But I got to thinking . . . surely, the stream of data going up and down that USB cable could easily be intercepted and processed and one could perform very basic functions (say, reading the TOC of a blank minidisc) between minidisc machine and computer just to see what the exchange of data is. Once one has a grasp of what's going on, one could then start transferring basic music files between computer and minidisc, to try and spot patterns . . . I guess this is reverse engineering. So, you could have a track that is just one second of absolute silence, then perhaps a track that is a single, pure tone (say, 440Hz) . . . I guess this is another thing, though - reverse engineering of the ATRAC format - but I've no idea how sound is normally encoded in an open-source standard, let alone a proprietary one . . . we're probably getting into the scary realms of Fourier analysis. It just annoys me - anything proprietary . . . and the fact that I can't find my other phono-to-line converter, which would allow me to transfer bits of music from my minidisc to my computer (all those LPs).

My apologies if you're trying to view some of these pages using a dial-up connection. It may take a while. I noticed someone just recently started looking at the page for May at 20:38:48 but the last image wasn't uploaded until 20:42:36. So that's, erm . . . well, nearly four minutes. God, I had no idea. I thoroughly recommend Pipex. The trouble with broadband is that, after a while, you end up taking it for granted and forget how things used to be on dial-up.

Thursday 3rd June 2004

Strange overhead conversation:

Person A: is this first-hand stuff?
Person B: yes
Person A: so, erm . . . did he remove the, er, hair?
Person B: yes it was about a foot long
Person A: I guess that hasn't changed it's working status though
Person B: it hasn't helped it!
Person A: Ah well. When I got it, there were dead wood-lice inside as well
Person B: a good sign then!
Person A: yes, there's hope yet!

And then a little later . . .

Person A: shhhh, I can hear someone . . .
Person A: Granny . . . ? Is that you?
Person B: it's them
Person A: they've must have found us . . . but . . . but how?
Person A: quick, hide the animals! We can't let them see the animals.
Person B: but they know about the dungeons. The attics. Quick, upstairs!!
Person B: Quick *****, to the attic, they're coming!
Person A: fools . . .
Person A: *****'s got a friend with him
Person B: where've you all gone? it's dark
Person A: I heard a thud upstairs . . . I think the fumigation has started . . . we might be safe for a while yet
Person B: lock the door, seal him in!
Person A: I don't think that door has remote access
Person B: well go, close it! Take the cart
Person B: he has a knife

Saturday 5th June 2004

I've no idea why I was up at quarter past six this morning (I blame peach schnapps) when all I have to show for it are pictures like these and a load of music by Queen (Teo Torriate, anyone?):

Sunday 6th June 2004

Just (well, okay, it was 11:16:34) received the strangest little e-mail (I assume it's spam) from someone called Orlando Reyna, though their e-mail is apparently Anyway, it goes something like this:

culver choke derek quote deliquesce dadaism christen pobox highball consign tuxedo geiger californium leatherback mcginnis allot restrain halt bum decay evans aventine barnabas chordate unimodular chinook beauregard croydon july vista bob yeast song logging canine cackle

At first, I couldn't really see the point in this e-mail (are they selling something?), as Kmail was only displaying those words above. A little investigation, however, and it seems that the e-mail has two parts: one in HTML and another in plain text. Kmail, very wisely, was only showing me the plain text component. The HTML component reads:


Annual Sale: ONLY $3 per dose
Check out our website with disscounts and get your fdree bonus pillls
Enter Here

No More Please

cinematic bony gentleman clothbound quickstep blink bloat anchorage brandeis mailman volumetric ritchie fleck prologue customhouse articulatory whish astride argot dehumidify gosling erosion congratulate alcove holden beak alan reflectance vivaldi cycle coppery sunday serape demodulate ebullient earphone

Well, now it's all perfectly clear . . .

Wednesday 9th June 2004

Tonight, after work, I popped into a relatively new bar of Leeds, this one called 'Home', or 'Bar Home', but that, to me, seems a bit like calling the 'Cardigan Arms', something like, 'Pub Cardigan Arms'. A load of pretentious wank, I do believe. But, still, 'Home', is a great place, nestling underneath the railway arches of Leeds (as so many do), close to the canal, with a polite overlap between 'happy hour' (5pm to 8pm) and Leeds sunlight (weather permitting), before the sun creeps across the top of the train tracks . . . and only two pounds seventy for two pints of Staropramen (or Amstel) during these happy hours. And, erm, convenient for cycling back along the canal, of course.

The NetMD thing . . . yes, I figured as much. Dan sent me this link:

Thursday 10th June 2004

There you go,, the links page has been fixed . . . though I seem to have lost the bit of script that was generating that page. Ah well . . .

Friday 11th June 2004

So, erm . . . I think Rav and I left work at about 16:30, wandered around town a bit and then went back towards work, but crossed the road and headed for Bar Home. But then, tragedy: it was shut, in order to install some huge TV screen thingy (something to do with some football match or something). We then did not what to do with ourselves. Our evening had fallen apart. First priority was to find or contact Walter and tell him of the change of plan. So, we headed back to work, which didn't take long, it only being about a minute away. Rav rang Walter on the way, explaining the situation. Walter said he would meet us outside in about five minutes, so we decided just to hang around outside work, loitering. Then M****** rang me, which I hadn't expected. M****** had changed her mind: she did fancy a drink after all. I suddenly decided that we should go to Lux, as this had been an idea a while ago that never quite happened. Trouble was, I only had the vaguest of ideas of how to describe the location of this bar . . . erm . . . under some arches somewhere? . . . so, I had to get M****** to meet Rav and I outside work, seeing as how she had originally been planning on heading that way anyway (for Bar Home). Yeah . . . and, erm, Walter took ages, so by the time Walter was out (17:20?), we also had M****** with us. So, erm . . . we figured that we just needed to follow the train track, away from the station . . . I attempted to do this literally, clambering over walls, through car parks . . . blah, blah, blah. We got to the back of several bar type venues underneath the train track arches, but all the metal grills (tantalisingly providing glimpses of tables, drinks, people) were locked, so we had to go the long way around. It was only when we got to Lux itself that we realised that we could have cut through . . . erm . . . could have got there via many other quicker routes. Yep. So, erm . . . Liz and Anna turned up a bit later, and we hung around Lux until the drinks promotions ended (8pm). A few doors down there was this place called Arch 54, which looked kind of interesting so, yeah . . . we went there. This place was weird. We were just kind of milling around, trying to decide what drinks to get, where to sit, blah, blah, blah, when one of the bar staff came up to us and was like, "If you'd like to take a seat, I'll take your drinks orders in a moment or two," and we were like, "Erm . . . right, okay," and, erm . . . so we sat down. And then there was this woman, asking if she could take pictures of us, if it would be okay and I was like, "Sure, but what's it for?" she mentioned a web-site, "Okay. What's the URL?" and then everyone was like, "For God sake, Jonath, she's just taking pictures!!!" and I was like, "Well, we'll need to see the pictures before they're published," and she was like, "Man, I'm just the photographer." It was like a breakdown in communication. It seemed like a reasonable request to make. She took a load of pictures and then skulked off. But anyway . . . what happened next? I think one of Liz's friends, Paul, arrived at some point. So I say, "Where the hell did you come from?" but I think that came out all wrong too. "Paul, what I meant to say was, 'So, Paul, how did you find yourself here? Was it planned?'" Lord only knows why it should surprise me that people arrange to meet other people using mobile 'phones . . . text messages and stuff. Yeah. Anyway. And then I think for so some reason we were at Hakuna Mutata, weren't we? But Anna was hungry. So was I. No-one else was. We went to Pizza Express. I had dough balls and a chicken caesar salad. I'm not sure what Anna had. We got through a bottle of house red. I left my ruck-sack there. I realised when I got back to Hakuna Mutata, a pint of John Smiths in my hand. We left Pizza Express at about 22:50. I really wanted to go to The Angel for last orders, but there was no way. I left for home with M******. M****** had work to go to the following day. I had a missed call from Tania on my mobile. We got back to M******'s house. M****** ordered a pizza. M****** was on the phone. It didn't say what time the phone call was at. Which phone call? I stumbled home, forgetting my ruck-sack again.

Saturday 12th June 2004

Nothing much happened here . . . slept a lot, pottered around the house, started work on my next university maths assignment . . . differentiation and all that . . . rates of change, minimum, maximum, blah, blah, blah. Went round to M******'s in the evening. Stayed in that night. Simon and Mouse came over. M****** was on the 'phone to Simon last night. Mouse had been sick outside the Elbow Room (and, therefore, at a time and place very close to our little group, but we weren't to know). It all made sense now. Well, more sense. And also Anna . . . Anna came round too. I think she was trying to embarrass me at the garage (a late night trip for nibbles and cigarettes (in her case)), by saying loudly that the Bizarre magazine I was trying to pay for was nothing more than porn. Anyone who's read Bizarre before would know this not to be the case.

Sunday 13th June 2004

Today was a lounging around day . . . a day for reading Bizarre, the third Harry Potter book (I've been working backwards since book five - definitely better that way) and, erm . . . yep. That was pretty much it. Apparently there was some football match in the evening.

Monday 14th June 2004

Nothing much to report today . . . was out on Friday night with a few friends, but I've written about that elsewhere. Nothing much happened over the weekend. Move along, move along.

Tuesday 15th June 2004

What a strange dream . . . I'm on a plane with M****** (not sure where to or where from), when this little girl comes up to us, speaking some kind of Scandinavian language (or it could have been Dutch). Only, erm, she wasn't so much a little girl, but more a miniature head with a pair of feet attached at the bottom. She carried on blabbering away, smiling, but neither of us could understand a word she was saying. I muttered something to M****** and the 'girl' must have heard, for her expression dropped . . . she became worried and then started speaking in English but was plainly keen to get away as fast as possible. I answered her question and then she scuttled off as first as possible. M****** and I watched her run off down towards the front of the plane; this looked extremely dangerous, as she was only about 10cm tall and they were people moving around all over the place.

Then later that day . . .

The mystery of the strange phone calls now solved . . . They rang again today, at 19:36 . . . and all it was, was this woman telling me I had 'won' some kind of mobile phone and a contract with T-Mobile (lucky me), 750 'free' minutes (or something like that), maybe some 'free' text messages and, erm . . . well, would you be interested? No, but tell me, how much would I be paying for this? Well, it's a minimum twelve month contract and will cost 12 pounds 99 a month. Hmmmmm, now let me think about this. See, erm, at the moment, I have no contract (pay-as-you-go) and I spend . . . well . . . certainly less than five pounds a month . . . perhaps even ten pounds over a three/four month period. I'm not too sure. So would I be interested? Nope. Well, I suppose I should be glad: this is the only cold call I've had in, erm . . . months and months. Sad to think how much money T-Mobile have wasted in trying to contact me . . . and where the frig did they get my home phone number from? Maybe I should be worried about that . . .

Saturday 19th June 2004

a picture of me, walking down some stairs at my house, 20:03:02. Maybe I had a long exposure for this . . . maybe my house had clouded over and there were luminous beings in the living room, maybe they brought the cloud with them, maybe the light came from outside . . . I'm not sure.

The statistics page is frozen at the moment . . . erm . . . because I'm working on something a bit more informative. Unfortunately, for reasons a bit lost on me, I cannot install GD::Graph (a Perl module), which is pretty integral for, erm . . . you know, producing .png's or .gif's of, erm . . . data, you know? Graphs, data . . . all that stuff. So, instead, I'm using something text-based. Below you will see my attempts at this. The graph below shows 'hits' last month (May). I hope it's obvious what's going on here. On the y-axis, we have number of hits. This actually refers to the number of times that the index.php script has been executed, rather than number of requests made to my web-server. Otherwise, I'll be registering dozens of hits every time someone requested a page with loads of pictures (like, in May, conveniently enough . . . loads of wedding photos, you see). Erm . . . and the x-axis is day of month. So, looking at the 'graph' below, one sees that there were no hits on 1st, 2nd, 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 30th of May, but nearly 150 (I cannot remember the exact figure) on 5th May. Seems a bit odd that . . . ah well. Happy now?


Thursday 24th June 2004

Today I did speak to Rob on the phone.

Friday 25th June 2004

The picture should give you some hint as to where we are here . . . definitely not Britain. Our flight to Cologne left East Midlands airport at about 14:45, touching down at 17:10 (they're an hour ahead). Anyway, this picture was taken at 19:55, as Simon tried to work the beer keg we had just ordered . . . our first visit to a 'beer hall' (or Brauh äuser, as the Germans call it), this one being Fr üh am Dom, probably due to it's proximity to the cathedral (known as Dom).
Same place, different times (above). . . 21:37, 21:38, 21:46 and 22:26.
Then we went here for a while (below). . . (22:54, 22:55, 23:15)
Erm . . . and a bit longer (23:16, 23:38)
. . . before going to, erm . . . Papa Joe's something or another (23:56, 23:57) . . . it was weird here.

Saturday 26th June 2004

(continued from previous day . . . it's now half past midnight in the morning)
and there's only one picture of this place, taken at 01:07 this morning.
and another bar (above) at various moments . . . 01:56, 02:06, 02:26 and 02:28
Then (02:32), looks like I started playing around with the camera a bit . . . but I like this one. Exposure time was 1 second, the aperture was f/2.8, whatever that means, and the, erm, focal length was 5.4mm. Amazing. Oh. Nearly forgot. The metering mode was pattern.
Erm . . . this was a different place (at 02:45 and 02:50) and the last of the pubs/bar I was to see that night.
. . . and then here we have a church located on the very street our hostel could be found (Marzellenstrasse). It's now 13:22 and some people are more alive than others.
. . . and then we found this cathedral, barely two minutes walk from the hostel . . . past the MacDonalds, across the road, via the two pedestrian crossings, perhaps picking up a bottle of water from the shop there . . . the fridge outside . . . walking past the tie-rack containing a hideous selection of ties . . . "Peter would wear that," M****** tells you, referring to a particularly hideous 'novelty' tie, whose exact design I forget now . . . Peter being her grandfather, but I doubt M****** would have referred to him as 'Peter' . . . then walk past the shop selling cigar humidores (sp.?!), lighters, pipes . . . keep walking, no more distractions . . . ignore the crippled old lady . . . but she's wearing no shoes . . . yes, we know . . . and there, straight ahead, is this huge cathedral. I really wasn't expecting that. But scaffolding? Is it scaffolding? And in your head you justify it, thinking it's more like an enormous parasitic robot, leaching the life out of this building. That seems somehow better than just . . . 'scaffolding'. Anything but scaffolding. (13:25)
. . . and this is me outside the cathedral (13:49), along with a guy in an orange turban, some fat guy and . . . probably some guys on BMX's to the left (there were lots of these).
more pictures of the cathedral (13:53, 13:54) . . . kind of looking like this giant war machine, turrets pointing to something directly above.
and then (left to right) we went to this cafe (14:16), then back to the hostel (14:57), then the hostel's bar (15:34) . . . erm . . .
and then (to the right) the bar again (15:35) and (17:00) . . . my god, the cathedral again (note the blue/purple blur where the stone meets the sky).
So, yeah . . . Anna and I went off to the station (Hauptbahnhof) to meet James. His train was meant to arrive at 15:49. So we get there, look at the arrivals board and can't see anything arriving at 15:49. So Anna sends James a text message and we wait . . . still not entirely convinced there's not another train station somewhere in Cologne . . . but James turns up at 15:55, so it's all good. The first picture on the left there was taken at 17:05, after we had crossed the main road, in search of somewhere nearby where we could get fine beer and food, not realising that we only had to walk a few dozen paces from the station (without crossing the road) and there was an as yet unvisited beer hall . . . so, cross back over, and here we are. I don't think M****** was expecting this picture. 17:17 and two more pictures. I didn't realise at the time, and yet it seems somehow apt that in the middle picture the beer and cigarettes are in focus there.
So, it's the same place, and only a minute later (17:18). I really like this picture. There's lots of movement going on. The camera seems inobtrusive, as it should be. The hand with the beer glass nearest the camera is almost certainly M******'s . . . could be my right hand though . . . I'm not sure.
18:03. M****** went to the toilet and Simon tried on M******'s cardigan thing. M****** came back, and didn't notice for ages. At one point, she was saying, "Your jumper's very soft." I think Simon looks a bit deranged in this picture . . . almost as if he's not used to having to button up his own clothes . . . it's a forgotten skill . . . he's probably not aware that this is a lady's top and that the buttons work the other way to men's clothes . . .
. . . and then just before eight o'clock that night, these pictures (to the right) were taken as we stood outside the hostel. Note the brown trouser skirt thing - alternating . . . I think that's why M****** wanted to take these . . . something like that. I'm not sure what the stooping's about in the left picture. Erm . . .
22:15 found us at this cafe thing . . . I think we all needed caffeine at this point. The service was appalling, but I thought my espresso and my, erm . . . espresso/Ameretto thing were very good. Yep. Six minutes later and another picture. But, erm . . . there was a Starbucks kind of opposite and down a bit from here . . . this place seemed to be the opposite of Starbucks - slow service, excellent coffee.
23:45. And I've no idea where this is. Erm . . . Cologne, somewhere.

Sunday 27th June 2004

I can't remember much about this place, but that guy in the background, stood against the bar, had an amazing beard; I think I was just trying to capture its full glory. These pictures were taken at 00:42 and 00:44 respectively. Oh, and I like the way the burning end of a cigarette somehow came out pink.
13:13 in the next morning. I think Paul got back during daylight hours this morning . . . I'm not sure. At midday, we all had to check out from our rooms (I had a single room and the others had a six person dormitory to themselves). Liz wasn't staying over on Sunday night so I became the sixth person, surrendering my single room in order to prevent some random backpacker from taking the vacated bed. So some people would have had about 4/5 hours sleep before being forced to pack up all their belongings and de-camp to a different six-bed dorm one floor below. We got to this dorm and, well . . . I think this picture speaks for itself. Paul was actually asleep for several hours at this angle.
and then more of the cathedral . . . taken at (going left to right 17:31, 17:32 and 17:35). As Simon pointed out, the cathedral has probably spent most of its life with some scaffolding attached, so erm . . . it seemed better just to acknowledge it than try and find a scaffolding-free angle. I think we went inside today. There was some kind of, erm . . . ritual taking place inside and Simon got told off for wearing his cap. Apparently it's disrepectful to be in such a building wearing a cap. But, erm . . . there wasn't really much to do or see inside, perhaps because of this service that was going on . . . I'm not sure. I wanted to see the odd crypt or two, perhaps walk up the spiral staircase to the top of one of those spires . . . but no. There was some pretty impressive stained glass things going on, but I didn't trust my camera to take a decent picture in that kind of situation.
So, erm . . . I wanted to do a bit of exploring, so I suggested we take a walk across one of the many bridges spanning the Rhine. One such bridge, the Hohenzollernbr ücke, was right behind the cathedral, so we went for this one. The first picture (from the left), taken at 17:40, was done by M****** . . . something about the fantastically engineering train station in the background . . . blah, blah, blah. I'm also in the background, as is part of Tarn. But better than any of that, check out koala man, looking straight at the camera, with some kind of rectangular object attached to his head. Those kerr-raaaay-zeee Germans, eh? I think M****** took the next two pictures as well (17:40, 18:55). There wasn't so much sun today, as you can see. The Lonely Planet said we would be afforded an excellent view of Cologne from this bridge, hence the picture on the right. S'okay, I guess. Bit grey.
. . . then at 18:59 I took this picture. I think by this point we had gone over the first bridge, stopped briefly to see a couple of guys preparing themselves for a bit of climbing action up (down?) some tiny man-made structure, and then . . . erm . . . we stopped at this cafe for a quick drink . . . coffee, apple juice, K ölsch (sorry - I can't do foreign characters without putting spaces before them . . . a little bug in my scripting). I seem to recall loads of cyclists . . . and there was this little kid, must have been about three or four . . . he (she?) was sat on this bike and using their feet to push themselves along . . . as if there were no pedals . . . maybe there weren't. Hmmmm.
Anyway, we carried on walking and then crossed back to the original side via a different bridge - Deutzer Br ücke. We stopped off at some bar for a couple of beers, wandered around the southern end of town (checking out a few restaurants) for a bit . . . perhaps thinking, "These bars look familar," before settling on an Italian restaurant (middle and right picture, 21:01 and 21:38 respectively). It was a bit confusing being here . . . parts of the menu were in English, the restaurant was very Italian and yet we were in Germany. Anyway . . . the back of the restaurant was set in this cute little square thing. That's Paul walking away there.
. . . and then we went to this, erm . . . Spanish themed bar, possibly. This one was taken at 23:39

Monday 28th June 2004

So, left to right, these were taken at 12:03, 12:11 and 12:12 this morning. I was absolutely stuffed after the wine and pizza, and could barely squeeze in another beer. That guy in the background, he was playing guitar and singing in Spanish, I think it was. He had this guy providing percussion, via this strange little box thing. We stayed here for a while, but the smoke in this place was making my eyes really sore . . . didn't like it, so we moved along. Well, I went back to the hostel at this point, but the others went to some weird Japanese karoake bar . . . possibly . . . maybe it was a German karaoke bar but there just happened to be lots of Japanese people there, taking it very seriously.
13:05. And then this seems to be the only picture I have taken during our wanderings around Cologne town centre that morning/afternoon. Well, it's probably just as well . . . we were just checking out the shops . . . a last minute bit of shopping before the flight back.
The plane was delayed . . . 16:57, 17:21, 17:33 . . . I think Simon was trying to look forlorn there . . . I'm not sure.
17:50, 20:01, 20:05 . . . I wasn't too bothered about being stuck there . . . we still had fine German beer to consume.
and (below), nothing too exciting . . . the drive back to Leeds, these taken at 22:18/19/37 (local time - BST).