Saturday, January 20, 2007


Learn RegEx, Save the World

A little while ago, I decided to finally get my head around regular expressions. And of course, I discovered what everyone already knows - RegExs are very cool and awesome.

Earlier in the week I needed to parse a rather large section of text to pull out some values (this is for part of the work I'm doing with ICE at the moment - and a post for another time). The work reminded me of a comic I'd seen a week or two earlier. It pretty much summed up how I felt:

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Non Sequitur Desk Calendar

Gordon in particular should remember the fairly unfunny desk calendar I had last year. There was the occasional gem though. The cartoon for the 15th of December made me think of Mikal for some reason:

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Just Read: 2006

Since I kept track of all the books I read last year, I figured it would be interesting to compile some stats.

According to my ratings at the time, my favourite book of 2006 was Cryptonomicon (with a rating of 6/5) and my least favourite was Timeline (2/5). January saw me finish the most books (4), with both March and October seeing me not finish any. The longest book I read was Cryptonomicon (1168 pages) and the shortest was Murder Unprompted (164).

According to the Amazon page count, I read a total of 8390 pages of fiction novels, which averages to 699 pages per month, or 23 pages a day. I gave an average rating of 3.5, and the average length of each book was 441 pages. Just under half the books I ready were by authors I'd not read before and Neal Stephenson was the only author I read two books by this year. Interview with the Vampire was the only book I had read before, although I had attempted to read Name of the Rose.

And just 'cause I felt like it, here's the number of pages I read each month (generated using my super-secret formula)



Just Read: December

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
Discovered: I figured after nearly 15 years, I'd give it another read
About it: Louis is a vampire. And he's a bit bored of it. So he decides to tell some guy with a tape recorder all about it. It was a great story when I first read it, but I was an angsty teenager at the beginning of a massive vampire kick. This time around, it was tired and annoying. For most of the book I just kept thinking about Lestat's final line in the movie:
Oh, Louis, Louis. Still whining, Louis. Have you heard enough? I've had to listen to that for centuries....
My Rating: 2.5/5

Timeline by Michael Crichton
Discovered: A wondering book at the Crisp Cafe
About it: A big company has invented a time machine. The sent back a historian and loose him, so then send back his grad students. Of course, they don't actually get to that bit until half way through the book. Here's a hint - if your book is called "Timeline", and you talk about going back in time in the blurb, you don't need to spend half the book building up to the amazing revelation that the Mysterious Big Company has a time machine. 'Cause really, we kind of saw it coming...
My Rating: 2/5

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
Discovered: Post-Christmas sales
About it: Rather then sum up the plot of Fight Club, I'd rather just comment on my awesome copy of it. But I've already done that.
My Rating: 4/5


Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Project Mayhem Strikes!

I picked up a copy of the Fightclub book in the post Christmas sales, and read it over the weekend. I got to about the last 50 pages, and something really strange happened with the book. Not strange as in "the story took an unexpected twist", but strange as in "suddenly it was a totally different book". Different font, page layout, numbering, everything.

The Fightclub part ends at a pretty perfect moment - the big "twist" is revealed, and you can fill in most of the remaining blanks. And it's a pretty brilliant Project Mayhem thing to do.

But no, it turns out I just managed to get the most excellent printing error ever. The other book is called The Undomestic Goddess, and I would recommend not reading any more then what's on the scan below.

I'm now trying to decide if I should return it, keep it or sell it...

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