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OCTOBER, 2004 → ← DECEMBER, 2004

8th of November, 2004 ANTE·MERIDIEM 12:06

Just saw The Grudge,  the version with Sarah Michelle Gellar and Bill Pullman, by the same director who did the Japanese version. It’s got a tinge of the 1980s to it—which may be just what my idea of Japan boils down to—and it’s almost comically anti-Hollywood in storyline, which is to be encouraged. If you’re looking for a movie to see, and you’ve no fears of nightmares, go for it.

Also in this category—though with fewer nightmares involved—is Finding Neverland,  which I saw because my sister was going and Johnny Depp hasn’t been in a bad movie in years. (I’m told he’ll be in a version of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, with Tim Burton and Haley Joe Osmond, which should rock. ) Touching—I cried. Bless. Evidently I’m turning into a woman; hmm. Will report back if sufficient bosoms to play with appear. Ah, who am I kidding, I won’t stir enough to actually type if that happens.

Read, in a weekend, Francis Wheen’s Karl Marx,  courtesy of el Ste. I took from it a huge admiration for Engels—reïnforcing that I had for him already from the excerpts of “The Condition of the Working Class in England” that are to be found on the net—and a reïnforced dislike for Marx himself, who marries an aristocrat, and proceeds to drag her and their children through a half-century of constant bailiffs at the door and living on irregular stolen cotton-mill proceeds via Engels. (And this is a minus for Engels in my book; Marx should have got together some sort of formal stipend for himself to augment his journalistic income, God knows he had the fanbase. And I’m sure part of the reason Das Kapital  took so long was the constant worry over money attendant on its writing.)

Wheen is, of course, a huge Marx partisan; but I’m unsold. Some day I should go through Das Kapital  with a pen and paper and take apart, logically, without any of Marx’ own inveterate name-calling, every question of opinion there—at every excerpt of it I’ve ever read, some part of me has been screaming “no! that’s totally jumping to conclusions!”.

I should get to Chomsky’s work first, though, because his non-factual assertions and conjectures have the same flaw of unfalsifiability, and doing it to his work may actually change something.

1st of November, 2004 POST·MERIDIEM 02:50

Here’s some Lisp to automatically recompile your ~/.xemacs/init.el after you’ve changed it. (I tend not to save until I’ve made a compilable change.) Byte-compiling it makes for a slightly faster startup, and doing it after every change means 21.4 doesn’t pick up the compiled, obsolete init.elc when it should take the newer one.

;; When I’m changing ~/.xemacs/init.el, I want it automatically recompiled 
;; on every save. 
(require ’after-save-commands)
(let ((our-startup-file user-init-file) 
      (user-file-quoted nil)) 
  ;; Chop off the c of the “.elc”, if it’s there. 
  (if (equal (substring our-startup-file -4) “.elc”) 
      (setq our-startup-file (substring our-startup-file 0 -1))) 
  ;; Quote it as a regexp.  
  (setq user-file-quoted (regexp-quote our-startup-file)) 
  ;; Now, push it onto the After-save-alist, together with the lisp 
  ;; necessary to recompile it on every save. 
  (push ‘(,user-file-quoted nil nil (byte-compile-file ,our-startup-file)) 

Note the comma used to allow evaluation for the following element within the backquote—this is the main difference between the backquote and the normal quote, and it’s what makes it more interesting.

I’m using 21.4 because it’s usable in a TTY on Linux for me—21.5 just isn’t, it loses keystrokes far too often.