Saturday, 31 October 2009

It's Halloween

And I always think of this epic story of intrigue, mystery and witchcraft by the renowned Jewish poet Rabbi Burns.

Envoiceulated by Karen Dunbar

Grow into these trousers... >>

Friday, 30 October 2009

Job Done!

Now I stand on my own feet. Today was my last day at work.

But I must say that today the warmth, friendship and generosity of my former workmates has been overwhelming. I feel quite emotional. I won't miss the journeys to work, especially in the cold and dark of the coming winter, but I will miss the camaraderie.

Well, a stage of my life ends. New beginnings? You bet, and maybe I can find time to blog more :)

Anyway, for tonight...
Grow into these trousers... >>

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Late night music

This warm and haunting piece hardly needs an introduction.

Joaquín Rodrigo, Concierto de Aranjuez.

Rodrigo captures Spain's history beautifully; a culture crystallized in music.

Concerto Guitar Rodrigo De Aranjuez

Guitar: Taymaz Hemmaty
Cor anglais: don't know :(
Grow into these trousers... >>

A thought for a Sunday

"There is one kind of robber whom the law does not strike at, and who steals what is most precious to men: time".

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 – 1821) Grow into these trousers... >>

Saturday, 24 October 2009

One week to go!

And I will finally have shrugged off my shackles and be walking the free and verdant Earth.

Time is dragging. The days seem to pass with their usual regularity, I keep busy and time flies (like a banana), but the days are so slow to add up to weeks. I am so frustrated, I want my last day at work to come as quickly as possible.
In the meantime here are some links I was going to post last week:

I'm sure most cat owners will have seen this...

Via Skepchick comes a chart showing something we should all be aware of, so I was once told.

An image which has so much future in it:

Live to 100, feel like you're 50
A soon to be former colleague outlines a new research project at Leeds University.

All I can say is: 'Come on Eileen'

Grow into these trousers... >>

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

A bit of boogie

The Grateful Dead - Alabama Getaway
Grow into these trousers... >>

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Today's silly joke

Once upon a time…

In a faraway land the King found his dominion under threat from a rebel group seeking to overthrow him. Calling for his spymaster, the King gave instruction to find the ringleaders and bring them to his justice. By the skill of the spymaster the rebels were soon infiltrated and the King's own cousin, the Count, was implicated.

The Count was taken to the dungeons and given to the torturer for the extraction of the truth. Under questioning the Count refused to yield so, with a nod from the King, the torturer began to cut off the Count's toes. "Tell us names and places" said the King. "Never" screamed the Count. The torturer began to cut off his fingers. "I will never tell" cried the Count. Then his feet were sawn off. Then his hands. Still the Count was resolute.

Now, the King was a kind and benevolent person, and he viewed the Count with new honour. For withstanding such agony and still refusing to confess, the King thought to end the Count's misery by granting his death. The executioner was summoned.

It was not a good day for the executioner. He had not expected any business today and his axe was with the smith, for a service (normal things: sharpening, balance check and a good polish). However he did have his trusty hatchet, with which many had been dispatched to oblivion. At a sign from the King the hatchet fell, but at that instant the Count's resolve broke. He cried out "Hold, I will tell all". Too late, the executioner's blow was swift and it was out for the Count, so to speak.

The moral of this story is below the belt.

Don't hatchet your Counts before they’ve chickened.
Grow into these trousers... >>

A thought for a Sunday

"As for me, all I know is that I know nothing. I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing."

Manuel, Fawlty Towers

Socrates (c. 469 BC–399 BCE) Grow into these trousers... >>

Saturday, 17 October 2009

I know I've been quiet

Don't worry about it! There's been much I've had to do, and much more I still have to do. I've been doing some of it today whhich is wwhy I now haave an elevated blood/alchoholl level. I never expected so much though.
Two weeks, 10 working days, till I hand in my key fob, pick up my P45 and go to the pub.

This October is the longest month of my life.

Grow into these trousers... >>

Monday, 12 October 2009

Late night music - The animal eating song

And I don't know why either...

Burl Ives - I Know An Old Lady
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Sunday, 11 October 2009

A thought for a Sunday

"Music does bring people together. It allows us to experience the same emotions. People everywhere are the same in heart and spirit. No matter what language we speak, what color we are, the form of our politics or the expression of our love and our faith, music proves: We are the same."

John Denver (1943 – 1997) Grow into these trousers... >>

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Ooo, Err, Just had an internet outage

And it was horrible. I got home from work and fired up my trusty workhorse only to find that Firefox wouldn't connect. ARGH!

Immediately I blamed myself, in an "I didn't do it" sort of way, but then I noticed outgoing network traffic when the should have been none. Double AARRGH - VIRUS. No internet connection and my virus scanner (AVG) has failed.

Calm me says: OK don't panic. Look at what's happening, go: Start -> run -> cmd -> netstat -?
(I had to be reminded of the netstat switches) then netstat -a -n

And it's all local network traffic, 192.168.x.n or Hmmm.

Hang on... no internet connection.

I look at the cable modem, RDY light off SYNC light flashing. No connection! Triple AAARRRGH. The outgoing traffic is just my computer 'trying' to connect. So I off/on the modem and twizzle all the connections. No difference.

Then! Then I cursed The Gypsy* who is re-laying some flagstones in front of the house where the wires come in. "Nah" says he "Not bin ahghtside i'this weather.**"

With a sigh I resigned myself to a weekend of service calls and no internet. So, for fun, I dug out an old game (Neverwinter Nights) and fought mythical creatures for a while (great therapy for a DnD nerd like me).

After a long night I looked at the modem again. RDY light on SYNC light on, back on line. Yay, it was their fault not ours. Bastards though, it was off for hours.

Internet service providers have a lot to answer for. There would be at least 50 gnolls, countless kobolds and orcs, and a giant still virtually alive but for Branson.

I virtually feel I could kill something...

* He is a very close friend, he can take it.
** TRANSLATION: I did not work outside today, it was raining.
Grow into these trousers... >>

Thursday, 8 October 2009

LCROSS to slam into the Moon

The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) will tomorrow experience a rather abrupt deceleration as it plunges into a crater near the South pole of the Moon.

Launched together with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO - the one with my name on it) LCROSS clung to the final stage of the rocket motor and fuel tank. In a long looping orbit, LCROSS has slowly pointed the spent stage on a suicide dive into a crater where the Sun never shines. Shortly before impact LCROSS with detach from the rocket stage but follow it down a few minutes later. As the rocket stage hits and throws up debris LCROSS will fly into the plume with all detectors on full. Wow!

The LRO will be watching from orbit and ground based telescopes too. Let's see what's thrown up, some people hope to detect water, maybe lots of it, I just want to hear the results. Grow into these trousers... >>

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Late night music

It's a long intro because Stevie dedicates the song to her dad, but that's fair enough, it's worth it.

Stevie Nicks - Landslide - Soundstage 2008 HQ part 14
Grow into these trousers... >>

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Buying a camera

I have never been much of a photographer, though I admire the skill. Mum and dad had a nice Konica 35mm which I liberated from taking family holiday snaps; and then took pics of woodland and lakes and the sea when I was on holiday! I'd be aged about 16-18. Then, in my mid 20s I was shown how to develop and print in black and white to produce laboratory images. Gel documentation, autoradiography and the like; though I did a few rolls of B&W snapshots to see how that worked (with a borrowed camera).

That is about my total knowledge of photography and that was 30 years ago. OK my ex would sometimes give me this plastic thing, tell me which button to press and say "just point and shoot", but that's a different story.

It's a new digital age and I want to buy a camera. I'm obviously looking around myself and I have some ideas, but I'm asking everyone and I value the opinions of folks with more experience.

Firstly, I've set a budget of £350-400. Secondly, you may ask, why do I want a camera anyway?

One big reason is that near where I live there is a lot of history and I hope to make some interesting blog posts. I can easily find evidence of Robin Hood*, the Industrial Revolution, the Brontës and a lot more**, within a mile or two of home.

Insects and wild flowers are also a fascination (gardens are too). I would also like to be able to photograph the Moon. Not with astronomical precision but to capture mood. Tripod? Got one!

So I want a camera with a decent zoom to pick out say, architectural detail or blow up the Moon, but with the ability to get up close when needed. Am I expecting too much? Should I save up for separate lenses? Have you a camera that you love and trust.

What would you recommend?
* the legend anyway.
** I even know where there's a public air raid shelter from WWII.
Grow into these trousers... >>

Monday, 5 October 2009

Heretic? Dammed sure I am.

Pat Condell gets a bit hot under the collar expressing his feelings about religious leaders. He's pretty much right of course.

The arrogance of clergy


heretic – noun:
  1. a professed believer who maintains religious opinions contrary to those accepted by his or her church or rejects doctrines prescribed by that church.

  2. Roman Catholic Church. a baptized Roman Catholic who willfully and persistently rejects any article of faith.

  3. anyone who does not conform to an established attitude, doctrine, or principle.
Regarding religion, I'll take number 3.
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Sunday, 4 October 2009

A thought for a Sunday

"The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure , the process is its own reward."

Amelia Earhart
(1897 – missing 1937, declared dead 1939) Grow into these trousers... >>

Friday, 2 October 2009

Late night music - Shaft

Isaac Hayes - Theme from "Shaft"
Grow into these trousers... >>

Two great cartoons in ~ a week

Abstruse Goose is on a roll.

Click the cartoon to read on:

Grow into these trousers... >>

Thursday, 1 October 2009

A silly song for a laugh

I've no idea why this popped into my head, but...

Mike Nesmith - Rio
Grow into these trousers... >>