Notes of an Immortal Alchemist

"These fools of Parisians, believe that I am five hundred years old. I confirm them in this idea because I see that it gives them much pleasure -- not that I am not infinitely older than I appear."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The parable of the lost sheep

The crevice was well hidden and the ewe was, after all, now content that she had her lamb. She saw now reason to bleat, even when the shepherd wandered about the rocks calling, cursing, and, eventually pleading. The shepherd had a hundred sheep; in fact, it was because he was the kind of man prepared to spend days looking for a lost sheep that he had a hundred sheep.

Terry Pratchett, Small Gods.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Caffeine was first isolated from coffee in 1820 and tea in 1827 and was named after the French for coffee, cafe. The formula for caffeine is C8H10O2N4, GMM 194, and its structure is shown in Figure 1.

Its name is 3,7-dihydro-1,3,7-trimethyl-1H-purine-2,6-dione or 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine. It is known as an alkaloid. An alkaloid is an n-containing compound of plant origin containing heterocyclic rings and one or more basic nitrogens. A heterocyclic ring is a ring containing atoms other than carbon. It belongs to the same chemical family as nicotine, morphine, codeine and cocaine. The essential amino acid tryptophan is also an alkaloid. A compound with a similar structure to caffeine is theobromine (which contains no bromine!), which is found in chocolate.

Theobromine does not contain bromine, despite its name. It is named after the tree theobroma cacao, the cacao tree from which chocolate is obtained. The name comes from the Greek theos (= god) + broma (= food), i.e. the food of the gods. The alkaloid theobromine was obtained from cocoa by adding the -ine ending used for alkaloids. (The apparent connection with bromine is thus fortuitous. However, the words broma and bromos are connected in Greek: bromos originally referred to the smell of food that had gone bad.) Cocoa contains around seven times more theobromine than caffeine.

Monday, August 21, 2006

...out there lies a circumstance

Better the mornings hope than the stag at bay in the fall of night.
A foot to the stirrup and a swing of a leg.
Somewhere out there lies a circumstance that keeps the worst away.

The hunt is on.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Ship called Dignity

and he takes no lip off nobody
and litter off the gutter
puts it in a bag
and never seems to mutter

Back then when we had nothing we clutched to our dignity as the only thing left. Now that we have everything...

Monday, August 14, 2006

It has come to this

This article is the first bit of evidence showing that, while subsidies were horrendously flawed, they at least protected against shortages.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


We lay there in languidity, expressing delight at any gnat's fart of a breeze.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Collecting ones thoughts

"I just popped out to collect my thoughts, I had left them on the bench by the bridge. Thankfully no one had run off with them."