b3ta.com user Large Hardon Collider
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Ancient British relic currently gathering dust in Boulder, Colorado (home to the lost tribe of Berkeley, where the hippy diaspora ended up. Also known as 40 square miles surrounded by reality.) Lived all over the world as man and boy, settled in the US because of all the places I've lived it's a) the least bad place in which I have set up shop, and b) the place I feel most comfortable. Other than Tokyo, and it's a lot more coin to live there.

Former geek. Hell, current geek. Electronics, IC design, math and meta-math. Homeschooling dad. Reactionary right-winger (according to my pinko commie sister) and Telegraph reader. Lover of good beer, good tea, curry, sushi (unagi - oishi desu!), good design, irony, wit and taking the piss generally.

Long-time b3ta reader. fairly recent subscriber, first as user IHaveComeAmongThee__Twice (aka the user name I forgot - must be all those meals from alumn[i]um saucepans finally taking their toll.

Recent front page messages:


Best answers to questions:

» Protest!

Scientologists - my own small protest
I don't do organized religion or theism in general, and have an irrational and perhaps occasionally unhealthy dislike of the "church" of scientology. It always struck me as a bit bizarre, Xenu and the Thetans always seemed like a science fiction story waiting to be made into a movie. When I read Heinlein's comment that it was the result of a bet, I put them in the charlatan column.

Two summers ago, at the local summer festival held in town, I happened to walk past a scientology recruitment booth, staffed by folk resplendent in red polo shirts. At the booth, earnest members of the "church" were in various stages of their slick recruitment, some using the E-meter "galvanometer of divine inspiration and test of personal happiness" on their slack-brained and feeble-minded prey.

Something clicked in me. Muttering a loud "well that's just a load of old bollocks" I wandered in and took a look at the instrument. "Measures skin resistance - needle will go all over the place if you're stressed out," I said to one of the hapless public. "Same principle as a lie detector - it doesn't do anything they're telling you, and the results are inconclusive and sometimes downright misleading." I became aware of being surrounded by red shirts. "Frankly, they're yanking your chain," I added.

One of the minions put his hand on my arm, attempting to move me. "You've got until I count three to remove your hand, or I will take action, and you won't be touching anything anytime soon." Wisely, he did, before attempting to wheedle me out of the booth. "I'm not going anywhere," I said, "this is public property, and I have as much right as you have to be here." They tried to engage me in conversation, "Well, no, I don't believe any of this frankly ludicrous nonsense. And yet you claim your principles are scientific. Show me the science, or even any evidence, that Xenu brought immortal humans to earth 75 millions years ago. Show me the evidence that they dropped atom bombs into volcanos. Show me one piece of evidence." Of course they couldn't.

They continued to try and surround me, but I just walked around, generally making an arse of myself, mumbling "utter bilge water" or "complete and utter arse wank" when I heard something particularly specious (and there was a lot of it.)

Finally, after about 2 hours, I tired of the game and wandered off. Walked through a couple of crowded stores, sneaking out of the back way. Hung out in a coffee shop for an hour. And then took a very circuitous route back to my car.

It was probably a waste of time, but frankly if I got one person to think a second time before being suckered into that cult, I consider it well spent.
(Mon 15th Nov 2010, 20:06, More)

» The B3TA Confessional

She's dead now...
...and for the last 15 years of her life we were not in contact (my choice), but when I was a spakky 10 year old and we lived in a large, linoleum-floored apartment in Famagusta/Varosha, Cyprus, my step-mother would complain bitterly at the amount of washing and polishing the floors required.

That's because when they'd go out and leave us kids alone without company, I would get the large canister of lighter fluid from the cabinet over the fridge and create on the floor the largest and most elaborate patterns I could imagine. Up and down, and round and round, in long and separate strands. They had to remain separate, otherwise phase two of the endeavour - when I lit one end of the flammable liquid - would be ruined.

I'd watch the near-invisible bluish tinged flame race up the corridor and down again, then around the living room, avoiding the rugs and other furniture, before heading up the corridor again, around the kid's bedroom, into the bathroom, where it would spiral to extinction.

I've never told anyone in my family this. My parents never knew, and my younger brother doesn't remember anything of our time there. I'd like to put my hand up (IN THE AIR - sick people!) and claim full responsibility. It was me and me alone. And the devil that made me do it.

22 feet, the corridor measured. I'd get a good 15 or 16 tracks across it too.
(Sun 29th Aug 2010, 0:17, More)

» Babysitters

I've just tried to get a babysitter for next weekend
Apparently, you're supposed to have children. Who'd have known? Noone ever told me.

On an unrelated note, does anyone want to buy a pint of chloroform, a hammer, some lineman's pliers, and a vat of dry cleaning fluid?

Length? They never complain (I think the chloroform confuses their ability to judge dimensions.)
(Fri 29th Oct 2010, 8:25, More)

» Vandalism

Does anyone remember...
... the shoe shop Freeman, Hardy and Willis? The finest piece of vandalism I ever saw was the sign over the store in (I think) Dunstable, which had been surgically altered to read "Free Hard Willys", causing me to damned near piss myself laughing.
(Sat 9th Oct 2010, 7:19, More)

» The B3TA Confessional

Tavistock Street Indian restaurant, Bedford, 1985
I'd like to issue an unreserved apology to the owners of this fine Indian restaurant, name sadly long forgotten, while I confess my sins and accept full responsibility, with as much blame and burden as they'd like to apportion. I blame the demon drink, coupled with jet lag, poor impulse control and a return to England after having been in Asia for several weeks.

We'd gone out, Paul, John and I, to the Park pub, where we'd reconnected after me having been away. The reconnection involved taking the piss out of each other while trying to drink the place dry of good bitter and Guinness. I like to think we gave it our best shot, but after 8 hours of drinking we seemed to be no nearer our lofty goal, and we needed to find something to eat. Off for a ruby, around 10pm.

I remember mopping my brow with a peshwari naan, as the sweats struck me hard. I really didn't feel well, and repaired to the toilets, careening off other diners, furniture, passing waiters and the buffet bar. Inside I downed keks and - here's my first really big mistake - leaned forward to rest my head in my hands. Just as an explosion of effluvium was propelled from me, my sphincter no longer able to withstand the pressure of the tidal wave of Guinness rampantly proceeding down my colon. I later claimed that the change in bacteria, from mucky South East Asian to old-fashioned and honest English, was also partially responsible, but understandably no-one was buying that.

The rear of the seat, the cistern, the wall, and much of the floor behind me was covered in a watery gruel of partially digested organic matter, reeking to high heaven. I couldn't stop, now that I had started. Out it continued to spurt. And then I threw up. I tried to get it in the toilet, really I did, but I daren't slide back on the seat else I'd be covered in what I had just produced from the other end.

And then my second big mistake - I went to sleep. Jet-lag and an ocean of Guinness just conspired against me. So I dozed in that reeking cess pit. While my friends ate my food, thinking I had left to go home. As they paid and got up to leave, a waiter intercepted them. "Are you forgetting something?" he asked. They couldn't think of anything obvious, until they were told "your friend is still in the bathroom."

Somehow they awoke me, and I made myself look almost human and opened they door. They were faced by a scene reminiscent of a cross between the Black Hole of Calcutta and the aftermath of Verdun or the Somme. Dragged me out of there, I felt fine as soon as the fresh air hit me, and we went for a night-closing pint.

So I'd like to unreservedly apologize to the owners of that restaurant, and in particular to the poor misfortunate soul who had to clean up the mess I made. I'm really, really sorry and hope you've recovered from the ordeal. If it's any consolation, I did the same thing at the place down near the railway station, and not only was their food nowhere near as good, but one of their waiters hit a drunk over the head with a warming tray when I was there. I much preferred your place, but dare never show my face again.

I mean, would you?

Length? Never mind the length, it was the volume that really mattered!
(Sun 29th Aug 2010, 0:07, More)
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