Simon’s Backup Weblog

It was the hexagram of the heavens

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on July 31, 2003

Another lyric moment.

I was driving across the burning desert
When I spotted six jet planes
Leaving six white vapor trails across the bleak terrain
It was the hexagram of the heavens
it was the strings of my guitar
Amelia, it was just a false alarm

The drone of flying engines
Is a song so wild and blue
It scrambles time and seasons if it gets thru to you
Then your life becomes a travelogue
Of picture-post-card-charms
Amelia, it was just a false alarm

People will tell you where they’ve gone
They’ll tell you where to go
But till you get there yourself you never really know
Where some have found their paradise
Other’s just come to harm
Oh Amelia, it was just a false alarm

I wish that he was here tonight
It’s so hard to obey
His sad request of me to kindly stay away
So this is how I hide the hurt
As the road leads cursed and charmed
I tell Amelia, it was just a false alarm

A ghost of aviation
She was swallowed by the sky
Or by the sea, like me she had a dream to fly
Like Icarus ascending
On beautiful foolish arms
Amelia, it was just a false alarm

Maybe I’ve never really loved
I guess that is the truth
I’ve spent my whole life in clouds at icy altitude
And looking down on everything
I crashed into his arms
Amelia, it was just a false alarm

I pulled into the Cactus Tree Motel
To shower off the dust
And I slept on the strange pillows of my wanderlust
I dreamed of 747s
Over geometric farms
Dreams, Amelia, dreams and false alarms

Joni Mitchell, from the wonderful Hejira


Fun with oxymorons (or, more shameless self promotion)

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on July 31, 2003

Fun with business intelligence, after all last week’s mergers and aquisitions, in today’s Guardian.

The Painted Cat

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on July 30, 2003

My friend Den’s new site is up and running, where she is showing a gallery of some her wonderful cat paintings (and selling archival quality prints). She also does commissions

Highly recommended (and not just because Den is who she is!).

I’m sure I’m not alone…

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on July 27, 2003

…in expressing sincere thanks to and for a very enjoyable tour around the City of London, and an insight into its history…

London flash mob mailing list…

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on July 27, 2003

appears to be now up and running, with an initial mob planned for August 7th.

BBC Mole!

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on July 25, 2003

Remember those strange Czech animations they used to show on the BBC during the summer school holidays?

For a quick refresher, here’s Mole (or rather, as we should really call him, Krtek).

A Friday Afternoon “Gap In The Phone Interviews” Review: “Bear’s Fantasies”

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on July 25, 2003

Greg Bear is probably best known for his harder-than-hard SF. With novels like The Forge Of God and Eon he rewrote the rules of the big dumb object story, and explored the emotional impact of the unknown. But he’s not just an SF writer – he’s also well known for his recent biological thrillers. One thing many people forget is that Bear’s first few works included a pair of fantasy novels (later collected as Songs Of Earth And Power).

Bears shorter works encapsulate some of his best writing, and Bear’s Fantasies is a collection of some of his fantastic short fictions. Ranging from the darkness of “Webster” to the surreal wonder of a world where God really is dead and the stone children of a cathedral live and walk in “Petra”, they move through alternate Second World Wars in “Through Road, No Whither”, to the modern urban fairytale of “Sleepside Story”. “Dead Run”, about truckers carting the dead to hell, and the moral crises they find on the road is an enjoyable diversion, while “The White Horse Child” is a tale about story and the way the world tries to keep it hidden. These are disturbing, discomforting stories, that try to change the way you look at the world. Even the innocent, simple world of Sleepside hides a darker past, redolant of prohibition Chicago, and of the darker side of faerie.

Bear is a consummate writer, and there is much in this slim little yellow volume to recommend him to an audience beyond his regular SF readers. It’s also an excellent introduction to his short fiction, and will kepe you entertained and intrigued long after you close the final page.

Well worth tracking down.

Where’s Ralfy?

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on July 25, 2003

A wonderfully funny Guardian piece about a journalist cruising Düsseldorf, looking to find any signs of the seminal electronica band Kraftwek.

Most people had given up on Kraftwerk ever releasing any new music years ago. After all, Schneider and Hütter have spent the last two decades gradually cutting themselves off from the outside world. They rarely give interviews, and when they do, they come with strings attached: one magazine which secured an audience with Hütter was informed that he would only discuss his collection of bicycles and that they were not allowed to even mention that he was a member of Kraftwerk. Their legendary Düsseldorf studio, KlingKlang, has no telephone, no fax, no reception and returns all post unopened. They have not attended a photo shoot since 1978: their record label has had to make do with blurry shots from their highly infrequent live appearances and pictures of the band’s painstakingly constructed robot doubles. No band has shunned publicity with such dedication.

The report does come up with at least one amazing revelation.

Fun with Smart Mobs

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on July 25, 2003

A rather interesting article from the Orlando Sentinel on smart mobbing, and just how people are using it as living art…

For the second Manhattan event in June, however, serious social purpose wasn’t exactly the goal. After gathering in various bars, scores of people suddenly descended on the rug department of Manhattan’s flagship Macy’s store. Following the organizers’ instructions, “We all surrounded one rug and . . . debated the merits of the rug,” flash mob participant Quinn Heraty said in a telephone interview. “The salesmen hung out by the register and just kind of watched.”

(More details from

Want to know what the weather is like in Minnesota?

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on July 25, 2003

Just write a letter.

(Weather sensitive fonts found via Boing Boing)

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