Sunday, 30 August 2009

A thought for a Sunday

"In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then beleive them to be true".

Siddhārtha Gautama (c. 563 BCE to 483 BCE) Grow into these trousers... >>

Friday, 28 August 2009

Late night music

Jerry Garcia and Dave Grisman. Ahhhhh cooooly cool...

The thrill is gone
jerry garcia and david grisman
Grow into these trousers... >>

Thursday, 27 August 2009

A classic illusion

Penn and Teller saw a woman in half. Good magic, great comedy.

Via Atheist Media Blog. Grow into these trousers... >>

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Convince your friends they are psychic

This is a cool, computer age, magic trick from Barry and Stuart. I have only found this on BBCthree as yet, so it won't embed, but have a look and fool your mates.

The actual video you play is here. Watch it, if you want to get a feel for what happens. Otherwise skip to...

...the explanation.

I'm sure going to pull a jolly jape tomorrow.

The question is 'who's it going to be'?

Someone computer savvy and not usually gullible. Hmmm...

Thanks to Richard Wiseman's Blog for the links, and Richard interviews Barry and Stuart too. Grow into these trousers... >>

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Don't get angry

Inanimate objects have a way of taking revenge.

From Fail Blog. Grow into these trousers... >>

Monday, 24 August 2009

Late night music

Jerry covers Bob Dylan's Tangled song

Jerry Garcia Band: Tangled Up in Blue
Grow into these trousers... >>

Dolphins and bubble rings

Amazing behaviour indeed, and a great example of animals at play. As for their skill...

Dolphin Bubbles: An Amazing Behavior [3:25]

I've seen something like this before, so thanks to Atheist Planet for jogging my memory. Grow into these trousers... >>

Sunday, 23 August 2009

A thought for a Sunday

"To correct a natural indifference I was placed half-way between misery and the sun. Misery kept me from believing that all was well under the sun, and the sun taught me that history wasn't everything".

Albert Camus (1913 – 1960) Grow into these trousers... >>

Friday, 21 August 2009

The Edgar Broughton Band

If I came into your city
hung up on a game,
would you give me your assistance
though you didn't know my name?
Edgar Broughton Band - 'Hotel Room' - 1971 45rpm
Grow into these trousers... >>

Thursday, 20 August 2009


Since my 'Thought for' last Sunday I have had Oscar Wilde buzzing round my head.

As well as being an outstanding playwright, wit, and author, he was a wonderful poet.

One of the greatest expressions of love I have ever read is this poem...

Is it thy will that I should wax and wane,
Barter my cloth of gold for hodden grey,
And at thy pleasure weave that web of pain
Whose brightest threads are each a wasted day?

Is it thy will--Love that I love so well--
That my Soul's House should be a tortured spot
Wherein, like evil paramours, must dwell
The quenchless flame, the worm that dieth not?

Nay, if it be thy will I shall endure,
And sell ambition at the common mart,
And let dull failure be my vestiture,
And sorrow dig its grave within my heart.

Perchance it may be better so--at least
I have not made my heart a heart of stone,
Nor starved my boyhood of its goodly feast,
Nor walked where Beauty is a thing unknown.

Many a man hath done so; sought to fence
In straitened bonds the soul that should be free,
Trodden the dusty road of common sense,
While all the forest sang of liberty,

Not marking how the spotted hawk in flight
Passed on wide pinion through the lofty air,
To where the steep untrodden mountain height
Caught the last tresses of the Sun God's hair.

Or how the little flower he trod upon,
The daisy, that white-feathered shield of gold,
Followed with wistful eyes the wandering sun
Content if once its leaves were aureoled.

But surely it is something to have been
The best belovèd for a little while,
To have walked hand in hand with Love, and seen
His purple wings flit once across thy smile.

Ay! though the gorgèd asp of passion feed
On my boy's heart, yet have I burst the bars,
Stood face to face with Beauty, known indeed
The Love which moves the Sun and all the stars!
Oscar Wilde
Grow into these trousers... >>

Mr Bean takes a maths exam

Very funny, I like Rowan Atkinson:

Mr. Bean---The Exam
Grow into these trousers... >>

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Jazz - flamenco fusion

I must admit to a taste for flamenco guitar, it's such emotional music. The master flamencoist (IMHO), Paco de Lucia, has such emotions and can play them. Combined with fusionist Al Di Meola's mastery of free form, the result is classic.

I've never heard this recording before, though the tune Mediterranean Sundance, I have known for a long time. Written by Al Di Meola it's from the album Elegant Gypsy (1977).

Mediterranean Sundance germany '81


I posted another version ages ago, with Al, Paco and John McLaughlin. And yet another with Paco and Larry Coryell, but the entertainment police at YouTube saw fit to remove that one. Grow into these trousers... >>

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

A science quiz

Larry Moran at Sandwalk posted this link to a science questionnaire from The Toronto Star. Some of the questions (and answer options) are a bit badly worded, but overall it's a good test of general scientific literacy.

I got them all right - 26/26 - but I had to deliberate long and hard, here and there, to work out what I was being asked. Grow into these trousers... >>

Monday, 17 August 2009

50 years ago today

Jazz trumpeter Miles Davis released the album Kind of Blue. It's beautiful...

Miles Davis - Flamenco Sketches
Grow into these trousers... >>

Well that was a surprise!

I just phoned Virgin Media (queued about 3 mins) to make some changes to my phone account. I had two phone lines to the house, which I got as a cheap package once (but times change). Anyway, I never use one of them, so the time came for it to go. A very helpful young lady sorted out a new tariff for me and then I asked about upgrading my (sluggish) internet connection. "One moment", she said - background music - "OK, we can upgrade you to 10Mbps for... Oooh! It's 99p a month cheaper than you pay now".

Within a minute of saying yes and putting down the phone my firewall reported 'New Network Detected', I clicked 'Internet Zone' and it worked. Impressive!

Now I'm making toast on a red hot cable modem and wondering what to use the bandwidth for. Any good suggestions? I'm sure I can find something :) Grow into these trousers... >>

Sunday, 16 August 2009

A thought for a Sunday

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars".

Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900)

Lady Windermere's Fan, 1892, Act III Grow into these trousers... >>

Saturday, 15 August 2009

On the road again

I have had no concentration over the last couple of days, and a pie and a pint (or three) at lunchtime only befuddles me more.

So here's some Canned Heat:

canned heat - on the road again

Canned Heat - Let's Work Together - ANNOTATED

Canned Heat at Woodstock Excellent
Grow into these trousers... >>

Friday, 14 August 2009

Totally timewasting

I haven't posted a game for a while, but I just had an hour to pass.

Have a go at Reactor. Click to spin and place the next block. Three or more of the same colour in contact will vapourise. Clear all the coloured blocks to advance.

Grow into these trousers... >>

Thursday, 13 August 2009

A tribute to Les Paul

Les Paul & Chet Atkins

There's more than one way to play a Gibson Les Paul though...

Bend it:

Gary Moore with Phil Lynott - Parisienne Walkways (live)

Bow it:

Dazed And Confused - Led Zeppelin (Video)

And finally, well there's another way. Bugger it:

Bob Marley jamming
Grow into these trousers... >>

Les Paul, guitarist and inventor, dies

Guitar legend Les Paul has died aged 94 of 'complications from pneumonia'. The man who gave us the solid electric guitar and paved the way for rock and roll, passed away in hospital with his family by his side.

I am saddened, as the instrument I've used for the last 25 years is a Les Paul Signature Bass. Mine is black though and worn by use, and the best instrument I have ever played.

Go in peace Les, millions of musicians will remember you. Grow into these trousers... >>

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Billy Connolly tells it like it is

Billy Connolly on Catholicism and Sarah Palin [1:29]

Thanks to Evolving Thoughts. Grow into these trousers... >>

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Molecular Visualizations of DNA

A great animation of DNA at a molecular level. The video shows how DNA is packed into chromosomes and how it is replicated (they should have done replication first because it's only then that chromosomes develop, just prior to cell division). The video goes on to describe the transcription of DNA to RNA and the translation of RNA into protein.

As it's such a short video, aspects like the control of gene expression and the post-transcriptional modification of RNA (splicing) are missed out, along with many other factors and nuances. I guess the 'scorpions tail thing' at 3:36 is the promoter region, it's in about the right place upstream.

Nothing in biology is as simple as it looks, but this is a good effort to explain basic priciples.

Molecular Visualizations of DNA [7:47]

Right at the end it sadly peters out. It's as if they were going to talk about sickle cell anaemia, which is caused by a mutation in the gene for haemoglobin, but they never finished the film. Grow into these trousers... >>

Monday, 10 August 2009

Something to watch out for

My head feels to be full of cotton wool this evening, so just a quick reminder to watch out for the Perseid meteor shower over the next few nights.

If the skies are clear after dark, look NE and let your eyes adjust. There's a good chance to see over ~60 shooting stars an hour, though this year the rising Moon will wash out the fainter ones. I hope you're lucky! Grow into these trousers... >>

Sunday, 9 August 2009

A bit of music

I was thinking about duncanr's post involving
"an unusual defence to the charge of downloading child pornography"
Whilst I can see no mitigating circumstances for that guy, this song comes to mind.

Jethro Tull - Aqualung (Live) [7:38]
Grow into these trousers... >>

A thought for a Sunday

"We have to understand that the world can only be grasped by action, not by contemplation. The hand is more important than the eye... The hand is the cutting edge of the mind."

Jacob Bronowski (1908 – 1974)

I think this quote comes from The Ascent of Man (BBC, 1973), one of the greatest documentaries of all time. What David Attenborough did for evolution with Life on Earth (BBC, 1979), Bronowski had already done for human history and culture in Ascent.

If you have never seen this documentary then there's a list of links below the belt. Be prepared for many hours viewing though, but every minute is worth it.

The Ascent of Man
I've checked all this as best I can, and it seems OK. The order is correct to the chapters in the book but the episode numbering on Google video is a bit off.
  1. Lower than the Angels
  2. The Harvest of the Seasons
  3. The Grain in the Stone
  4. The Hidden Structure
  5. Music of the Spheres
  6. The Starry Messenger
  7. The Majestic Clockwork
  8. The Drive for Power
  9. The Ladder of Creation
  10. World within World
  11. Knowledge or Certainty
  12. Generation upon Generation
  13. The Long Childhood

Grow into these trousers... >>

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Proud to be human

YouTuber ThunderfOOt points out some of the unseen beauty in science and technology.

The Invisible Beauty [8:36]
Grow into these trousers... >>

Friday, 7 August 2009

Late night music - Neil Young

Memory tweaked by Two Yorks and a Bean's Cupcake Friday :)

Neil Young - Harvest Moon
Grow into these trousers... >>

The technology that took us to the Moon

The other week delicate flower posted an old photo of a RAND corp. mock-up of a futuristic home computer and asked for our predictions of what things might be like 50 years from now. This is an interesting question but so difficult to speculate on. Who would have predicted Blu-tack 50 years ago? Yet it was developed in 1971.

Just a couple of years before that, Apollo 11 had landed on the moon and the electronics needed to process those communications looks remarkably similar to df's photo, but a bit more stylish and lacking a steering wheel.

It was kit like that which gave us the TV pictures of the first moonwalk, read the full story at Universe Today.

I am reminded of my own first involvements with computers, which must have been ~30 years ago. But therein lies a different tale. Hmm, I might post about that. It will take a series though :) Grow into these trousers... >>

Maybe aliens are already here!

After my previous post on the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, I found this clip on GrrlScientist's blog. It just fit my mood.

Creatures comforts- Is anyone out there? [9:00]

I you haven't voted yet in the send a blogger to Antarctica contest, please cast your vote for Grrl Scientist (Devorah Bennu), chief penguin whisperer. Grow into these trousers... >>

Why we should search for ET

“I wish that you would empower Earthlings everywhere to become active participants in the ultimate search for cosmic company" - Jill Tarter.
Astronomer Jill Tarter is director of the Center for SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Research. Watch her powerful speech as she accepts the TED prize earlier this year [21:24].

Why the search for alien intelligence matters
Grow into these trousers... >>

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Lyrebirds - Nature's greatest imitators

Thanks to Cryptozoology Online for this link to a lyrebird at Adelaide Zoo. This bird seems to copy everything.

Superb Lyrebird imitating construction work - Adelaide Zoo

Below the belt David Attenborough meets the same species.

Amazing! Bird sounds from the lyre bird - David Attenborough - BBC wildlife

The Amazing Lyrebird of Australia - Unseen Footage
Grow into these trousers... >>

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Late night music - The Dubliners

The Dubliners-Rocky Road to Dublin
Grow into these trousers... >>

A bit of comedy - Chaser's war on everything

I've only just found these guys, so I may be a bit behind the times, but...

Chaser: Car Park Speeding Patrol

There's more below the belt.

Chasers War on Everything - Pedestrian Rage

The Chasers -- Bank Robber Mask Stunt
Grow into these trousers... >>

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

First photo from the Army camp gig

Trust Renegade Lizzy to get in first. See the rest of their photoset here.

To the photographer: stop dancing when you press the shutter, kthxbai. Grow into these trousers... >>

I just checked out my Google Analytics report

And I was rather surprised where many of my hits come from:

"via 97 sources and mediums". Hold on...

MEDIUMS ??? Have I passed away already and gone to blogger heaven?

Just remember now, all you mediums, it will be me whispering in your ear. I will shuffle the Tarot Cards, and when the Ouija planchette moves, guess who's pushing? Look in your crystal ball, and I'll be staring straight back out at you. Sweet dreams :)

But anyway, thanks for visiting. Feel free to 'connect' any time.
When I first noticed this I did a double take and read '97 sorcerers and mediums'. That really freaked me for a moment. Grow into these trousers... >>

OK, I moaned about my breakfasts over the weekend

But had I been served these I would have been running...

tarantula village

Via Unreasonable Faith. Grow into these trousers... >>

Monday, 3 August 2009

Our night out with the Army

We set off last Saturday morning. A minibus, a van and 4 cars in convoy. Pit stop half way, toilets and breakfast. Breakfast was disgusting, some kind of Burger King meal. A wholemeal bun like wet cardboard, a circular reprocessed meat product, smothered in pink mayonnaise, a square of processed cheese and what might euphemistically be called 'salad'. I ate it anyway :(

We were met just outside the base and escorted to the arena!

It was a huge, flat sports ground. Cricket pitch with nets, rugby field with posts up, and some 5-a-side football goals. There was a massive tent for catering, with a hog roast, two marquees and the clubhouse, wherein the bar! And parked next door was the generator the Army had provided for the stage...

But no stage yet. So we twiddled our thumbs, and I read my book, and eventually it turns up. By now it's about 2pm. Then they have to level the truck with blocks of wood, no joke, and then swooosh the hydraulics kick in to stabilise everything and the side unfolds into the stage with a canopy above. A couple of hours pass. There are lights and speakers everywhere, a spaghetti of cables slowly unraveled into organised chaos. Were all using the same back line and drumkit to save time swapping over and it did keep things simpler. Mixing and lighting desks were housed in a little tent at the front of the stage. It looked a bit like this but with a lot more wires and lights. This was us (ABandinurHead) on the same stage last May outside Mead Hall. As usual, I'm lurking at the back.

So we're all ready to go. Just need some power, but the generator's a hundred yards away. "No problem, there's a Bedford coming to tow it round" we're told. Another hour or so passes, then yay, a huge truck arrives and pulls it to the back of the stage. The generator is size of a small tank! Flaps opened to reveal two computer screens and the fact that the standard three-phase fittings of the stage were not going to mate harmoniously with Army issue kit. Send for an electrician. Luckily one was available and the necessary adjustments were made. "Now", says the guy in charge of the generator, "just hope this works. I've only had an hour's crash-course on it this morning".

But work it did, and the stage came to life. Then the endless 'testing of the mikes' began, and a few guitar licks here and there. I was sat in the minibus thinking "that sounds awfully muffled, and nowhere near loud enough". Then I realised all I was hearing were the stage monitors. They hadn't turned the main PA on yet. Phew!

Jarred got up for a soundcheck, they were headlining after all, and by now people were staring to arrive. All in 60's and 70's fancy dress, it was amazing. I was glad I'd brought my bright red, Sgt Pepper's style, Chinese dragon jacket to wear onstage. I'm not usually so flamboyant, but we were all pulling out the stops. Time was passing though. ABandinurHead (us) were slated to kick the night off at 8pm. I wandered backstage, where we had a tent for the instruments and our free communal beer etc, and tuned my bass. Green Room it was not, apart from the grass. I was carrying old bassy to the side of the stage to be ready when...

"Right! We're on!"



I didn't even get time to change, let alone a soundcheck. So we were a bit rough at first but soon they got the sound right and we did our ass-kicking set of Stones, Alex Harvey, Animals, T Rex, Black Sabbeth etc to a few hundred people spread out over this vast field. Some folks seemed to like us and by the end we had a bit of a mosh pit going at the front of the stage. Ace! That was our job, warm things up for the rest of the night.

Renegade Lizzy took to the stage with their first class Thin Lizzy covers set. It was only just after 9pm and we were anticipating a lot more people turning up. But, no one did. This was it!

Amoren went on. These guys are good friends and play a great set, whether original stuff or covers. It was covers tonight, that was the remit, and they were shit hot. They do the best version of War Pigs ever. But the audience were beginning to drift away. "Oh they do that", someone told me. "They'll be off clubbing in Newcastle". Then I realised that the catering tent had closed! I settled for crisps and peanuts from the bar.

By the time Jarred came on there were just the other band members and maybe a another dozen people down by the stage, and twenty or thirty by the clubhouse. With true professionalism Jarred blew us other bands off stage. They even got me dancing! Everything begins to blur after that. I remember having a couple of drinks in the clubhouse and kipping down in the minibus. Quite comfy actually. And then it was morning, we had to be off by 8am to get the hire vehicles back. We stopped on the way for some kind of McBreakfast, and I thought the day before's had been bad. I was presented with a burger, two halves of a toasted bun and a rectangular yellow thing. I assembled and ate the burger.

We were home for 11am, just in time for a hair of the dog in The Wickham, our local.

What a day :) Grow into these trousers... >>

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Late night music - Santana

Santana - Put Your Lights On [TheWraith]
Grow into these trousers... >>

A thought for a Sunday

"Not everything goes as you may wish. But if all things did, life would be unbelievably boring".

John Andrew Holroyd (1955 -) Grow into these trousers... >>