so snakes on a plane and bios updates then

I mean, if someone gave you a brief to come up with an idea for a spoof disaster movie, you’d be likely to call it Snakes On A Plane wouldn’t you? The last plane thriller I saw was Flightplan at the cinema last year, and that stood its ground by virtue of the presence and understated professionalism of Jodie Foster. But Snakes On A Plane looks to be sending Samuel L Jackson down the same mechanistic route that saw Robert de Niro failing to live up to his early genius. Oh well.

BIOS updates. They’re not as scary as they used to be. It’s easier to find the website for the motherboard manufacturer, and the download menus are less arcane nowadays. You even get a Windows based utility for applying the update, instead of having to make a DOS boot disk and do it all on the command line. Still, until that progress bar finishes there’s always that nagging doubt that you’ve downloaded the wrong file. Not that it would normally bother me if I weren’t plagued by stability issues on my current PC – have been since I changed the motherboard in October. Main problem is freezing followed by spontaneous reboot and then the BIOS loses the C drive. Sometimes data is corrupted and I have to Ghost the C drive back. Only way to get the BIOS to see the C drive again is to disconnect the other drive. Anyway, the BIOS update didn’t fix it. Happened again a couple of days later. Latest theory is that the BIOS wants to have the two SATA drives on the same physical controller rather than on two separate ones. We’ll see. They’re great when they work, but a plague of boils when they don’t.

This week I’ve been cranking up the reading in preparation for writing the final draft of my paper on blogs and wikis. It will appear in a volume called New Media And Linguistic Change published next year by Hampton Press. The main sticking point has been that most, if not all of the work on the language of blogs so far has been done using the corpus linguistics approach. I’ve had to face the fact that I actually find corpus linguistics really dull. In the early eighties when I was studying English Literature at Reading, we had to do three subjects in the first year, before specialising in the third term. The scientific rigour that linguistics used to establish its conclusions was in lots of ways a welcome antidote to the woolly Leavisite approach that had characterised much of my literary studies up to that point. I nearly switched, but decided I’d miss the buzz you get when you jack yourself into the aesthetic arteries of a text. Since then I’ve been committed to finding a way to use the insights of linguistics to account for all aspects of how a text is read – including cultural context and intertextuality. I think that cognitive stylistics may be the Holy Grail in that respect. So there’s my BIOS update – whacking into myself as much as I can find on cognitive stylistics. Now to apply it to blogs…

As we speak I’m watching the post-eviction Saturday edition of Big Brother. Bit of skank really – all they really do is show you the Friday footage with a different sound mix. Still compulsive viewing though. Don’t think anyone could have predicted that Mikey would be evicted before Susie. I think the whole business of putting evictees back into “the house next door” is lame. Recycling. Glynn has just mentioned Myra Hindley and Anne Robinson in the same breath, as moral equals.

I’ve also been catching up with the concluding episodes of the final series of Alias. More on that later.