I should be in bed. And write more. And keep in touch with friends. Get that animation that’s sitting finished on the hard drive out there.

And back it all up.

For some reason, blogger.com’s busy; I’m writing this in OS X’s TextEdit. Time for a bitching session – what else is a blog for? I’ve been too busy recently finishing Maya Fiennes’s website to really do much else, but then I’ve never been much of a diary keeper, so the blog lies fallow. Oh well.

Anyway, back to the bitching. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Season 7, final season, really, really good. And here in the UK, if you want to watch it, your options are few.

1. Subscribe to Sky One (minimum 12 months, Murdoch-owned) and see it a while ago. It finished sometime earlier this year. With ads, some censorship, and maybe not in widescreen – not sure what their policy is these days. Certainly they never used to show anything in widescreen. And since Buffy is made in widescreen and we’ve got a widescreen TV, I damn well want to see it in widescreen.

2. Wait until it’s on BBC. Shown in widescreen, ad free, three nights a week, but even more heavily censored because of the time slot. And this year, no late night uncensored repeats. Not until 2004.

3. Watch it on VHS. Shit quality. Not widescreen. Costs money.

4. Watch it on DVD. Good quality. Widescreen. Unfortunately, because of the appalling business practices of FOX in the UK, the DVDs haven’t been released yet, and won’t be until sometime in 2004. So the crap quality VHS tapes are out, and the DVDs are held back. The only reason I can see for this is so they can sell it twice to the fans who just have to have it right now. Fuck the people who actually care about how they see something for the first time, or who don’t want to watch it over and over. No other new series being released now has similar format restrictions – why should Buffy fans be held to ransom for corporate greed?

No wonder there’s a huge increase in internet-based video piracy. If the studios aren’t going to even offer what people want to buy, they deserve everything they get.

Oh, that goes for the music industry too. I have avoided and will continue to avoid buying CDs that are copy protected. I refuse to be tied to one disc (scratchable, stealable) when I should be able to rip it into the computer, transfer it to an iPod or whatever, and listen to it where I want to. And when you state on the back of the packaging that your protected WMA format audio (not what I want anyway) won’t work on a Mac at all, then you’ve just lost yourself a sale. The CD isn’t too expensive, the assumption that I’m a pirate is not something I’m going along with. So yes, thanks, I will buy a pirate copy in a bar instead.

I have an account with a bank in Australia, and recently, through some form I’ve filled out, they’ve discovered my London address. Unfortunately, the UK address has made it into their system. And they’ve sent a credit card statement out with the UK address, through their standard local mail system, with no postcode, and without “UK” written anywhere.

I wouldn’t know about this at all if at least some staff at Australia Post and at Royal Mail weren’t very clever. Without any demand for extra postage, the letter from Australia was delivered, with only a house, street and number in London to get it here.

Test your postal service today!

Two posts in one day? Just some quick lists, anyway.

Five Great Things In The UK

On the other hand…

Oh, there are stickers on my bike now advertising my scooter travel site: byscooter.com. I wonder if they’ll work, and if they do, why I bothered in the first place. It’s mostly a personal thing, but hopefully someone will get something out of it. Actually, typing that, they have. A researcher collecting odd toilet signs spotted the picture of the toilet in the youth hostel in Gent, but I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to find it. Oh all right, it’s somewhere on this Belgium page. Enjoy.

So it looks very much like my wifey and I will be buying a house in Mt Nebo. That’s a really, really exciting prospect: riding a scooter through those winding roads is what most of Brisbane’s biking population does at one point or another. If you want more details (and you know me) let me know and I’ll drop you a line. But yeah, there are still affordable pockets in Brisbane’s (Australia’s?) continuing real estate rush.

For this one, I get to thank Google, for connecting me to a small independent website at 2am. Mmm. Life becomes rose coloured when you realise you won’t have to deal with the selfishness of many London drivers or the sheep mentality of many London pedestrians for ever. There’s a silver lining, coming soon.

Meanwhile, we’re just back from a really good week in Cornwall with Mother-In-Law. (She’s had a lovely time, by the way.) If you go, don’t try to do too much, like we did. Needed another day of not doing much. Disappointed by The Eden Project, unfortunately. The buildings (biomes) are just beautiful, but up close they’re just greenhouses, with nothing super new. Kew Gardens is more interesting, because the surroundings are beautiful. Eden just isn’t yet, but it is young and has room to grow.

On the way back, we went to The Bath Arms in Crockerton, near Warminster (BA12 8AJ ). Definitely recommended for the excellent food (a chef from The Ivy), great prices and good real ale on tap. Also great is The Red Lion in (near) Kilmington which has fantastic atmosphere, fires, locals, walking sticks for sale, and lets you know what guest ale’s on now and coming next.

Just a few idle thoughts late at night on little sleep.

So computer games are getting faster, more fluid, more realistic. The last ten years have seen a huge improvement in the visual quality and complexity of games. Though development has slowed somewhat recently, we’re not far off being able to render Toy Story in real time. So, let’s assume that the technical stuff is beaten and the artistic stuff is good enough: in another ten or twenty years, we can simulate reality on our home machines. Effectively, we have our own Matrix.

What does online society do then? Do we all meet up online because we’re too afraid to meet in real life? Do we live out alternate realities as different people? Do we learn kung fu? Do we get addicted to online soap operas where we live as characters in a cheesy plot? Or do we just use it for interactive porn?

Note your predictions on your blogs now people, and the Wayback Machine will let you know later how clever you were now.