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Wednesday 31 March, 2004
#[linkfarm] LadyFest Birmingham
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Tuesday 30 March, 2004
#[elsewhere] Just had that pattern matching thing again.
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# The melodious warble of the swanee whistle and the frantic ringing of a bike bell. A pleasant home-working alternative to barks across the office and the shrilling of mobile phones.
smellygit said When I worked at home it was the irritating sound of kids falling off skateboards.... [added 31st Mar 2004]
ajbattrick said When I worked at home it was the depressing sound of lonliness and despair [added 31st Mar 2004]

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#Parental choice of school? Come over here and say that - I'll punch your face in.

Offered at place at Park Hill School yesterday. We did apply there, but now I rather wish we hadn't. Wasn't as impressed by the head as I was at Kings Heath. Quite the opposite - rather underwhelmed actually. Don't know what to do now.

What a fucking hassle. Which arse ever thought "the market" could be applied to compulsory education? I wouldn't be feeling miserable about the whole business if the word "choice" wasn't slung about. I *know* it's a lottery, but in spite of that in the back of your mind there's this idea that you do have a choice because all the literature tells you that you do. Basic marketing that - say it enough times and eventually it becomes the truth. Even though it isn't! Gah!

anotherJez said We were lucky, the first school we tried we liked. Very lucky actually, the next choice looked crap. [added 30th Mar 2004]
planetcutie said The wonderful world of "choice" :

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1180749,00.html [added 30th Mar 2004]

anonymous said Good article. Damn you Jez and your maximizer ways screwing it up for the rest of us ;-) [added 31st Mar 2004]

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Sunday 28 March, 2004
#Further school craziness

Letter yesterday from King David School. Congrats happy parents, it says (I paraphrase), your child has secured a place here. Very curious, because we didn't apply to send Daniel there.

This time last year, we applied for a nursery place. In fact, they wouldn't let us look round the place until we had applied, unlike everywhere else we looked. Presumably they have merrily carried that application over.

Moseley was, and still is I assume, the centre of Birmingham's Jewish community. King David School is an orthodox Jewish school, to my knowledge the only Jewish school in the city. The reception class takes 30. To offer Daniel a place, they've got down to "F - anyone else" on their acceptance criteria. This says something about the local Jewish community, I suppose, but I'm not sure what. Increasing secularisation? Shift in the balance between reform and liberal Judaism vs orthodox? More dispersed population, unwilling to schlep across the city in the rush hour? It also shows a marked contrast to the local CofE and RC schools. At a time when Britain is meant to be one of the most Godless in the world, people are fighting in the aisles to get their kids in. If you don't turn up their with a note from your priest certifying to your devoutness, you don't get a look in.

On the other hand, I may have just come over all Daily Mail and be spinning something out of entirely nothing. Stu - any opinion?

planetcutie said Well...'Daniel' is a hebrew name, but I'm struggling to come up with any other connections. [added 29th Mar 2004]
stu said Just found this posting. Sorry Jez, haven't been on to the site for a while.

KD is still a very good school. Don't know why they might have picked you out, though (did you recently change your name to/from Higginovitch or something?).

There is a large Muslim contingent in the school (possibly more than Jews) in small Birmingham Jewish community.

Good hardworking academic ethos.

[added 17th May 2004]

I have no doubts about the school academically, I was just very surprized and puzzled for Daniel to be offered a place. Casual observation - driving past at home time - suggests that about half the pupils are Muslim.

Given the proportion of non-Jewish intake, I just wondered if the local Jewish community is smaller than it once was, less concentrated in Moseley, or less orthodox maybe. On the other hand, it might always have had this proportion of Jewish and Gentile pupils and I'm just ignorant. [added 17th May 2004]

Kelvin N. [e] [w] said The Independent has an article on this school:

http://education.independent.co.uk/schools/article2201860.ece [added 10th May 2007]

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Friday 26 March, 2004
#They won't be voting Jez

The Bean's just come home with the governor ballot papers. My supporting statement, as I'd feared, looks rather thin and weedy compared with most of the others. I am not confident. Reading my statement, I'd be unlikely to vote for me. Of those I've flicked through, several people seem to be promising things (e.g. "that parents will be fully consulted" and "I fully understand the responsibilities of being a governor") that they can't really deliver, or that governors aren't involved in. Hopefully people will read between the lines a bit.

To top off that, he also came home with a "sorry, but no" letter. The reception class had 217 applications for 90 places, and he hasn't made the cut. Selection criteria are
1 - Children with special needs requiring facilities provided by the school
2 - Children with siblings are the school. Presumably, there are more of those following the merger.
3 - Remaining places allocated by straight-line distance from the school.
A lot of children will be holding places at several schools, so we'll just have to see how the geography lottery turns out.


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#Vote Jez!

The parent-governor nominations are in and there's going to be an election. Now worrying frantically about my supporting statement. When you submit your nomination you get 200 words to hype yourself. I didn't feel it was appropriate to expound some great agenda for the school even if I had one, so I made what a now consider a rather weak statement about how impressed I am with the school, its staff and pupils, and how it seems to be genuinely ethnically, religiously and socially mixed.

To answer Pete's earlier question - I got excited about being a governor because it covers much more than I'd imagined. Governors are involved in setting the school budget for instance, they have input into the curriculum, staff disputes, pupil exclusions, disciplinary policy, all kinds of things. The school itself has just gone through a merger, the infant school and junior school which shared the site are now a single school, which opens up all kinds of interesting things. The headteacher's a champ too, I reckon, and I think she would be a fun person to know.

I probably should have said all that in my statement. Ballot is next week. Vote Jez!

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#[elsewhere] A what's on in Birmingham and Black Country, which spits out a billion customisable RSS feeds - Haven't done anything about it, naturally.
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Friday 19 March, 2004
# I've started carrying my camera when I walk Bidg-bodg. The light's so lovely sometimes that even a camera-dunce like me can catch a good photo occasionally. As it was slinging it down this morning I left it behind, thus losing the opportunity to snap the large yellow frog I passed on Woodbridge Road.
Nick [e] [w] said its always cool taking a camera where-ever you go, admittedly i always regret not taking a camera to my union when I go, but when i do, I never get that many good shots! [added 19th Mar 2004]

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Thursday 18 March, 2004
#Fight the power!
Am putting myself up as a candidate for parent governor at the Bean's school. When I spoke to the chap at the council support team about what a governor actually did, I am *such* a geek that I got quite excited. Minor wrinkle - the election falls before we know if the Bean has a place in the reception class for next September.
Pete Ashton said So what does a governor actually do that excites your inner geek? [added 19th Mar 2004]

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#[linkfarm] STLport Configuration Manual
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Wednesday 17 March, 2004
#[linkfarm] I am Belle De Jour
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Tuesday 16 March, 2004
#[linkfarm] A Semantic Web shoebox - annotating photos with RSS and RDF
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#My idea of rebellion doesn't extend to spending the night freezing my nuts off in a railway station.

Checked the bus and train timetables to Stourbridge. First train back is at 5:52.

I'm sure the Here and Now Tour finishes up nice and early. Babysitters are so hard to find, and if you keep them after midnight you need to take out a second mortgage to pay them.

smellygit said But you've got your own Bus ? [added 16th Mar 2004]
Well, I have. And now Kal's coming too, it's going to be full. [added 16th Mar 2004]
ajbattrick said Oi, N's not that expensive

I'll do you a deal ... [added 18th Mar 2004]

Well if she can pick us up in Stourbridge ... [added 18th Mar 2004]

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#I only allocate so much of my allowance to rebellion.

Tom: I wanted to walk through work singing "Take This Job and Shove It" but they've already laid me off.

Middle class rebellion, here we come.

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Monday 15 March, 2004
#[linkfarm] Snickers Marathon
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#[linkfarm] Astronomers discover 'new planet'
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#[linkfarm] England storm to Test win
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#[linkfarm] India and Pakistan hail epic battle
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#Old punks never die (except the ones that do), they just engage in lengthy litigation with their former bandmates ...

My throwaway comment about Dead Kennedys seems to be going somewhere. We're now a party of three, growing to five assuming Tom's company have booked him a sensible flight back to Brum. It just seemed like too ridiculous a thing to pass up - seminal Californian punk band, minus their most famous member, gone from scaring the parents to confusing their children, doing a short UK tour that bypasses the nation's second city in favour of a tiny club in the Black Country. For bonus yuks, the gig is on the first of April. How can we not?

[Update: Swapped teeny for tiny. I meant "small", not "pertaining to 'young people'".]
planetcutie said It's difficult for me to take 'first wave' punks seriously, as most of them are the same age as my father. [added 15th Mar 2004]
What made you think *we* were taking any of this seriously either ... [added 15th Mar 2004]
planetcutie said Your age, dear boy :^) [added 15th Mar 2004]

I probably am the oldest in our little party, at a sagacious 34. That makes us too young to have been punks, and too old to have had parents who were punks. We are a lost generation who can love and laugh at 70s punk bands :) [added 15th Mar 2004]

smellygit said So you'd be a part of the Wham generation ;) [added 15th Mar 2004]
Pete Ashton said Thatcher babies, in other words. I remember in my early 20s meeting people ten years older than me: "You were a punk? Wow! What was it like?" One guy lent me his collection of Sniffin Glue which was fascinating, especially comparing the Danny Baker editorials of the 70s with the tedious Danny Baker DJ of the 90s. There's something of a market in punk reminiscence - I wonder how much of it is sold to people who were there and how much to people who just missed out and marvel at how much more interesting it was than that souless 80s. Then again, we did have Acid house.

Btw, Andy, my 19 year old temping-chum, asked me if I'd been a punk, which was nice. [added 15th Mar 2004]

bonzi said i am almost 44, was a punk in late 77, im married and have 2 daughters and have never stopped going to punk gigs, although the 80s were crap you had oi. and bands like the business and uk subs have been going strong, they may not pack the lyceum, but you will find them in some pub somewhere.it's great going to gigs and meeting younger punks,just the attitude has changed over the years.i suppose it had to, the gigs are more friendly.thanks to punkaid and wasted and the new speedfreaks ball we have some excellent gigs. bonzioldpunx. [added 18th Nov 2005]

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#[elsewhere] It's shoehorning in reverse.
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Sunday 14 March, 2004
#[linkfarm] 'God particle' may have been seen
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Saturday 13 March, 2004

Spent a few minutes this morning slipping some whitespace skipping into the XPath grammar.

The XPath stuff is in CVS, by the way.

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Friday 12 March, 2004
#[elsewhere] Moved servers, can't log in, Database appears corrupted
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Wednesday 10 March, 2004
#[linkfarm] Distributing SQL Server Applications
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Went to the pub with Pete last night. We agreed that the "problem" with "the Internet" was the lack of threat of physical violence. We agreed the "great thing" about "the Internet" was the lack of threat of physical violence. Pub logic - you gotta love it.

Completely forgot to mention that the Dead Kennedys (well, most of them) are playing in Stourbridge at the start of April.

Marc said Unless, of course, you insult Jay and Silent Bob (http://www.jayandsilentbobstrikeback.com/). That could land you in a world of hurt. [added 11th Mar 2004]
Jay and Silent Bob? Fuck them! Fuck them up their stupid asses! [added 11th Mar 2004]

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Friday 05 March, 2004
# Dettol Handwash. A mild cleanser for sensitive skin, says the label, with a mild marine fragrance. Is it just me, or does that translate to slightly fishy?
ajbattrick said I hope its dolphin friendly [added 7th Mar 2004]
Pete Ashton said It's like "country fresh". What, silage? [added 8th Mar 2004]

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#[elsewhere] Trent Reznor is going on 40 - he feels their pain, and he's been feeling it for 20 years
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Thursday 04 March, 2004
#[elsewhere] I had definite cleavage potential
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#What's wrong with this picture?
Flyer for Al Capone's Pizza
Pete Ashton said To easy, though it did take me about five seconds, which was rather slack of me. With that bogof splat I'd be more tempted to use Bugsy Malone m'self... [added 4th Mar 2004]
planetcutie said And what's more, Al's weapon of choice was the baseball bat rather than the shmeiser. [added 5th Mar 2004]
Ginger said That's Dick Tracy. [added 7th Mar 2004]
anonymous said Its freaky [added 1st May 2007]

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Wednesday 03 March, 2004
#[linkfarm] Customizing Desktop Engine Setup.exe
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Tuesday 02 March, 2004
#[linkfarm] Developers vs Drug Dealers
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