Having a great idea is one thing, and from bridges to steam ships, Brunel was not short of a few. Ross Peters argues that the great man’s real genius, however, lay in his ability to convince financiers, inspire his workers and maintain the high standards that ensured the success of his projects.
The similarity, scientists now say, is more than metaphor: Techniques developed for predicting earthquakes may someday be used to warn patients that a brain seizure is on the way.
We’ve scientifically determined the maximum amount of time that you should need to make a layout work in CSS: it’s 47 minutes. When your time is up, we’ll even give you the table code you need. Take three minutes to build a table. And ten minutes to get a donut. Bill the client for an hour. Done.
There’s a new form of graffiti in town, and it’s so pleasant that i can’t imagine even the harshest critics of regular graffiti getting wound up. I mean, who in their right mind would come face to face with a sweater-wearing tree and do anything but smile?
A rare book from 1945, describing different (military) techniques of flight in a profusely illustrated manner. Got hold of this for a reasonable price.
A title that amuses the author in at least three different ways simply isn’t enough: convention dictates that a weblog should have a subtitle. A number of publishing applications, notably WordPress, have functionality to allow, even encourage, the use of a subtitle. Prospective authors would do well to note the default subtitle, “Just another WordPress weblog”, with foreboding: for never a truer statement will likely fill this line.
Here, the use of a subtitle has been played down but, when one was required, I went with “a sporadic weblog from the United Kingdom about culture and technology”. You’ll agree that this, while basically accurate, is about as vague as its possible to be on subject matter. It does nothing to capture what the author regularly publishes nor, more importantly, what the visitors come to read.
Of late, I’ve been writing at length about my faulty brain; not exactly a cultural nor technological subject. Quite a fair few people came to read about it too, mainly because they’d been pointed to it by someone else. But what about the casual visitor? The ones that come here following a search on Google and the like? As it turns out, they care very little for my faulty brain. They also don’t care much for culture and technology. By far the most popular search term is “things to do on a train”, which guides them to a highly facetious post I wrote more than seven years ago.
Back then, it wasn’t so easy to post to your weblog on the move, but I’d developed a way involving my own CMS, a Palm Pilot (with sexy folding keyboard) and a mobile phone that allowed me to recover some of the time I was spending on trains (over two hours a day). All that was left to do was think of something to write about. As I looked up and down the carriage, I realised that inspiration was sitting all around me: a rush-hour train out of London packed to the rafters with irritating people. This was a time long before publishing weblog posts as lists was commonplace – I simply observed annoying things going on around me, arranged them in order of irritation caused.
It has occurred to me, however, that those arriving at this post via Google are going to be disappointed by what they find. Whereas they turned up looking for something to fill a tedious journey, what they find is me whinging about how bloody awful people are. So, let’s leave culture, technology and faulty brains to one side for a moment, and give the masses what they want. Following a bit of research, may I present (slightly) more appropriate lists of suggestions of things to do on a train.
I never thought I’d say this. Had I seen this three years ago, I couldn’t not have recognised myself as the author. But right now, I would give just about anything to be able to drive again. The DVLA, in particularly festive spirit, formally revoked my driving licence as of Christmas day. In real terms, this didn’t mean very much and was little more than a formality, as I had already surrendered my licence and taken myself off the road some months before.
When you live in London, as I did for twelve years, car ownership doesn’t make a lot of sense. In fact, it’s only too easy to be lulled by the press into believing that motorists are at fault for more or less everything. But, of course, London has various cheap and efficient public transport systems that make moving about a breeze. At this point, Londoners usually sit up and object (saying their transport arrangements are neither cheap nor efficient), but I would invite them to travel away from the city for about an hour in any direction, and take a look at the transport situation there. That’s right: the only vaguely efficient infrastructure in place simply takes you back from whence you came. So, when you’re out here in Zone Q, the significance of the car ramps up.
Take the most revolting and objectionable thing you can think of – if I could exchange it for a driving licence I’d be there in a snap. I’d eat any creepy-crawly known (or unknown) to man. I’d do the most dangerous and low-paid jobs – hell, I’d even be Gary Glitter‘s PR man. Dammit, I’d set myself on fire while singing the greatest hits of Jim Davidson if it meant I could get my driving licence back. But none of these things will do it – all there is to do is sit and wait… and wait…
Having been proved right, or rather not proved wrong, the neurologist had proceeded with treating me exactly as he had said he would. The quantity of drugs were to increase week by week until I hit the magic quantity, and then I’d continue at that level for the rest of my days. Providing I didn’t fit, he saw no reason to scale the medication back down, as it’d only increase the chances of me fitting again and therefore losing my licence for another year. I’d also be tested (and tested and tested) for side-effects, abnormalities and anything else anyone could think of on a regular basis.
Once I’d got the hang of getting hold of repeat prescriptions, it was all fairly straightforward. For some reason, the taxpayer foots the entire bill for those of us taking treatment for epilepsy, so it’s not even costing me the standard prescription charge. All I do is renew with the pharmacist every month (it seems dumb that I can’t get larger quantities less frequently, but I’m not complaining), take a bunch of tablets twice a day, drop in at the local surgery every six months for blood tests, and that’s basically it.
Just as he said he would, the neurologist also factored in my bipolar disorder when prescribing the medication. Curiously, quite a number of anticonvulsants also have mood-stabilising properties, so there were a good few drugs from which he could choose that would tackle both at once, providing he got the dose right. So I followed all the instructions, and the months began to roll by.