hirez: (Object)
I am really quite tired because sleep appears to be for other people, but I am strangely energised having spent an hour or so slicing up the cardboard box mountain in the garage. Thus far the oldest packing note I have found is from 2008, which isn't really big or clever. It has taken me a while to beard this particular den/lion combination (It is Easter, so you can have a KJV reference and like it.) and it is going to be something of a process since we live in a town and you can't just haul stuff out into a pile and set light to it.

Now to dispose of a stack of flat screens (dead), Dell servers (ditto), hairdryers (again) and kettles. Just the sort of things your average hacker/goth wears out regularly.

This is also a test of IFTTT/DW malarkey.
hirez: (24)
Quite a long time ago, when we lived in the big old house that has since been on the telly because someone who was on the telly rents it, Pa kept an ornate cabinet against the wall on one side of his office. It was opposite a big metal-enamelled thing that was called 'The Potez' and which emitted warmth and a pong of burning oil.

The Potez had followed us from Holt Farm, where it had warmed the big back room with the parquet floor where the Christmas tree was kept. I suspect that there'd been some late sixties/early seventies DIY business with knocking walls through and installing a big steel beam to hold the house up, because I think I remember that flooring being installed. Anyway, since the internet is shit at things that pre-date it, the only picture I can find of a Potez oil heater is from the October 1963 issue of 'The Irish Plumber and Heating Contractor' on page 16, 17 or 18, depending on which PDF page-count you like best. It was a sturdy communism-brown thing with a thick glass porthole for viewing The Reaction Chamber, louvres for Venting of Waste Gas and several large Levers and Knobs for fine control of The Combustion Process. Looking at the picture now, it's no surprise that things like the AN/FSQ-7, WOPR and Interocitors felt so familiar.

Anyway, opposite The Potez in the ornate cabinet was a shelf of Red(ish) Cassells 'amateur mechanic and work handbooks' which covered the range of things that a sensible sort would need to know about. Pump maintenance, elementary clock repair, welding and brazing, taxidermy, poultry houses and appliances and knotting and splicing ropes and cordage. At least those are the ones I can remember/find pictures thereof. There was a wall of the things.

Obviously long since lost in one house-move or another.

If I were in that sort of mood, I would begin scouring the ebay or the s/h book-pedling sites in order to replace a part of my youth that I thought I was missing.

However, not. Well, not unless I see the pump-maintenance one for a fiver.
hirez: (safety chicken)
One one day or another during the week, I returned home to discover that the street smelled faintly of coal fires and rather more strongly of fish and chip shops. Since there was also an overlay of salt air from the Bristol Channel, it all worked rather nicely. It also reminded me of visiting The Aunts. They weren't my aunts, they were mum's, which made them my great aunts. They used to live in a big house in Sevenhampton called 'The Homestead' which had been built by my great-great-grandfather, along with many other houses in that village + surrounding area. When I was small, so some time in the early seventies, they sold the Homestead, had a bungalow built on the vacant land alongside and moved into that.

In early seventies Sevenhampton, bungalows were of the same order of futuristic habitation as a space-module or one of the seabed research platforms you might see on Tomorrow's World. It was all built at the same time from the same material. There was a double garage that featured no wavy tin and had never been a barn. There was a thing the adults called a 'conservatory' which was a lot like a greenhouse, only not made from damp wood. There was also 'Racing from Lingfield', 'Rothmans king-size', 'The Sunday Express' and 'Advocaat'.

As you might have gathered, the smells that remind me most of that time are coal fires and boiled cabbage. Sometimes we would walk down from the new bungalow (Named 'Aylmerton', which I only discovered a few years ago is a village in Norfolk) past the tree with the parish noticeboard fixed to it and down to the ford, where you could play Pooh Sticks under the footbridge alongside. The house net to the ford belonged to (mum's) Uncle Harold. The lane up past his house to the 'main' road was (is) in a deep vee several feet below the level of the fields either side.

Since I hauled blackberries from the freezer today, I was also reminded that brambles grew thick along the sides of that lane. As a small child, I was jolly pleased with myself for clambering up amongst the thorns with a fine-fare carrier and setting about them with a will. I was somewhat less pleased to discover that The Aunts were planning to mash the berries to a pulp so as to avoid the seeds getting under/behind their false teeth.
hirez: (Information Hazard)
Ancillary Justice - Sorry. I just failed to give a bugger about, er, anyone in it.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - As above. And they all talked rubbish about everything.

Mr. Weston's Good Wine - It's probably a triumph of inter-war English writing.

The elements of computing systems - Not actually the book to try to read when taking your mum to/from hospital.

Discovering Scarfolk - Book-Shaped Object.

Family Britain - Alleged research.

The history of the countryside - Alleged research.

Great North Road - Ow my back.
hirez: (Christmas cat)
There's a Whovian book out there - eleven short stories, one for each Doctor. They all appear in silhouette at the start of each story, and the one that is allegedly Hartnell is actually JG Ballard.

Which of course makes perfect sense in a universe run for the benefit of sensible people.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
You know those weeks where you get to Thursday and say 'Well, at least nothing else can break', and then something else breaks? Very much like that.

It turns out that the last time I felt this consumed by, er, more or less everything was some time in 1993. I'd point to the 2003 post where I re-discovered the thing and posted it for 'a laugh', but it's locked and the contents are juvenile enough for Goth Poetry. Indeed I used them as Goth Poetry on my first visit to Chicago. So, um, sorry about that goths of Chicago.

Hm. So. Every ten years or so? I'd say 'could be worse' but that's just digging a pit.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
Bloody bloody bloody I bunked off work early so as to go and view sword-botherer and geek icon Neal Stephenson at that there Watershed. And indeed there was water shed all over me and my bike. Belt home swap clothes look at phone oh fuck some useless bollix has left a something-or-other and the entirety of Carboot Circus is cordoned off while they send in robots. Manage to avoid most traffic in the howling pissing rain until I heave to in a queue of cars opposite the power station (as was) for the trams. Nothing happens for quite some time. Nothing stops happening and I make it left and right and across the road opposite the Chinese supermarket along from the Fleece. Nothing starts happening again and keeps happening for several minutes. I am now in a proper foul temper and it is pissing wet so I lever the car into a parking space opposite to the consternation of the idiot in the Citroen behind me who flashes his lights like it's a disco. I have no coat. Or rather, the only coat I have is the truly ancient Husky that had been in the back of dad's car for the thick end of a decade and has now been in the back of my car for a couple of years. I look like the angry ghost of gamekeepers past in the thing. Disco-Citroen stops flashing his lights and tries to look invisible. I have about three quid in 20p bits. The fucking parking machine gets bored halfway through me pushing money into it and times out. Since it is the electromechanical embodiment of Bristol Corporation, it does things by halves and badly and vomits half my money back at me. The fucking parking machine is fucking lucky I left the rest of the contents of dad's car somewhere safe, otherwise I would have disembowelled the fucking thing with a six foot steel pry bar. Bristolian pedestrians scatter in the general direction of away as a Boden Catalogue's worst nightmare stalks the streets seeking out who he may snarl at. Damply.

Stephenson was pretty good. I look forward to seeing how his sword-bothering goes. How will they simulate the wallop of hitting something hard with something heavy?

I'm also going to have to buy a less-old Husky.
hirez: (Q-309)
I'm becoming more and more convinced that there's some magic at work within the combination of Poweramp (MP3 player) and the Last.FM client that is able to generate things I'd rather like to hear.

I mean, I don't actually remember copying any Wah! tracks to the thing, yet there it is, following along from Gina G and A Place to Bury Strangers.

Lord alone knows what's next. A Fall session, probably. Or some random MP3 playing at the wrong speed through the magic of wonky physics.

(Talking Heads!)

KJV3DCD

Jun. 23rd, 2011 04:35 pm
hirez: (Feck!)
Since I've used the phrases 'And also with you' and 'Brethren; be sober, be vigilant' in the last couple of days...

... Actually, I don't have a point. Funny business, unconscious cultural signifiers.
hirez: (muddy)
Way back when everything was brown, apart from the telly which was black and white, we were small children in command of a pile of Lego. Most of the time we built agricultural things and load-carrying hovercraft because those were normal and sensible things.

I daresay there's some vaguely interesting research (to be) done on the subject of what small children from various different areas/environments will construct when given a pile of non-specific Lego and told to get on with it. Complaining about lack of Star Wars bits, like as not.

Being small children and thus a bit useless in re. impulse control, we also discovered that you could prise the tyres from the four-stud axle blocks and promptly lose them. I imagine there was some measure of parent-emulation and Lego-scale ATS-bloke tractor tyre bay here.

The replacements were obvious, given context. They come in green now, too. Such is the wonder of progress in the area of castration.
hirez: (posing)
Actually not, but I liked the cut of that title, so...

... Just before the dawn of the internets (Gloucestershire version), the nearest I got to Chicago were Big Black sleevenotes and the Mid-West Auto Club show at Cheltenham racecourse.

This thing from the BBC reminds me of why I wanted to go visit the place. It's odd, but many of those views seem more familiar than what I remember of Cheltenham. Although it may well be that my rememberings of Cheltenham have been stripped of meaning since the buildings themselves have been demolished or repurposed, and it is actually hard to remember what used to be there when confronted by a new road or a different frontage. The activity of a city or town exists in a state of permanent now and actively repels any connection with the past.

Caudles the electrician, for example.
hirez: (dissent)
Way back in the mists of the North Cotswolds, I was sharing a rather nice house in the middle of nowhere. Since it was the middle of nowhere, the telephone line was completely knackered and you couldn't even get 2400bps out of it.

BT sent a version of Hale and Pace round. Only they were funny and had a trade to fall back on should ITV's Saturday night schedule take a turn for the significantly worse.

I begin to suspect that this is a function of working for an English once-nationalised utility on the difficult jobs, because the chaps that Western Power sent this morning to replace some electric bits were two thirds of a Bristolian Goon Show.

It turns out that when Bristol Corporation wired up the house in the twenties (presumably adjacent to the instantiation of the National Grid, for which information I must thank the estimable BBC4) they installed three-phase. Presumably on the off-chance that a home-owner might want to install a reasonably sized data-centre under the stairs or a light engineering works in the garage.

They also encased the cable-ends in pitch, which required belabouring with a hammer and chisel. Just as the chap with the hammer had one of the live feeds in his hand, who should arrive but the postman with a cheery walloping of the door.

"Gosh!" we all said. "That was a surprise. What with having a live cable in one hand and everything."

Still, I guess you don't get to still be working on live HT electricity in your fifties if you're excitable and/or careless.

They let me keep the cast boxes, too.
hirez: (24)
Drink a few tinnies of Double Diamond (or Brew XI, Whitbread Trophy, or indeed something from the Davenports delivery[1]), and bung this on full-screen.

(I have to admit that discovering Davenports still exist has made my week. I'm not the sort to go 'squee!', but if I was, I would be.)


[1] Stuff that was delivered, a handy chart:

1960s: Milk.
1970s: Beer.
1980s: Dole.
1990s: Drugs.
2000s: Organic veg.
hirez: (Trouble with my worms (i))
Dear SF-types complaining about the death of short fiction.

Where's yours?


(Actually, I think the complaining was from the sorts who'd not want anything to do with this modern technology malarkey anyway, so the set of podcast sites, short fiction sites, online 'zines and, um, other stuff I wot not will already have been harrumphed at. I must also admit that I have a vague hankering to attempt an ipad-based 'zine. It's been over twenty years since I had anything to do with that sort of thing, mind. Perhaps I will ignore the idea until it buggers off instead. Yes. That would be best.)
hirez: (My name is legion)
How to write science fiction.
hirez: (Happy cycling)
I was steaming along the bikepath earlier when through the rain I spotted something-or-other spread across the tarmac.

Bramblepr0n.

It's nice to see the yout' upholding traditional behaviour.
hirez: (Bunny Eye)
I can probably blame [livejournal.com profile] lproven for finding this. (He's been talking of the 'good old days' of personal computing, and since I had to repair a random selection of 80s computing kit, my view of the whole thing is somewhat less than nostalgic. It's like that with 80s music, too.)

Anyway. That link. If you're even slightly interested in hacker history, it's fine stuff. Although GNU fanboys should probably go and find a Gentoo box to update instead. A quick scan of some other entries reveals A Great Deal Of Sense.
hirez: (Cooper-Clarke)
The other week, [livejournal.com profile] jarkman and I pulled a broken zoom lens to bits in order to speak with the tiny chaps inside. Since there were lots of lenses on complicated mounts rather than small fellows with easels, it seemed more fun to hack up some complicated goggles that would irk the g*ths later in the year.

Or indeed not. If that seems like the sort of thing you might care for, let me know and I'll bung them in the post.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
(You can blame [livejournal.com profile] silentq and [livejournal.com profile] the_axel for this.)

Holt Farm (1965 - 1976)

The kitchen garden looks to be completely grassed over and the greenhouse and shed are gone. The sheep-dip (LHS of top barn) appears to be missing, but the creosote pit (square roof outline at northernmost end of middle barn) survives.

Cotehay Farm (1976 - 1986)

The kitchen garden's gone (enclosure furthest south. See a pattern here?) as has the woodshed/chicken run (pointed at by the largest chimney-shadow) The building on the far western end of the main group was the Engine House. Before there was mains electricity, this was where the lighting plant and stationary engine that powered all the shafts that ran through the barns and dairy lived. We used what had been the grain store above the feed-mill as a rehearsal space.

There's a lot more; I seem to have lived in a number of places centred around the GL54 postcode. However, I'm rather disturbed to discover how much the places have changed now they're no longer working farm buildings.

It's strange but true: It weren't all fields round there when I were a lad.

Edit: Prompted by [livejournal.com profile] sheepthief I had a look at the same area on http://www.live.com. Because of the odd false colour it's a lot easier to see the site of an (alleged Roman) fortification (the vaguely circular outline in the lighter coloured field top right) in the field called 'The camp' and bottom left there's what seems to be a curving watercourse. That's the start of the river Coln, which is alleged to be one of the sources of the Thames. Charlton Pool's still missing, mind.
hirez: (tank)
A couple of years ago, I made up some extra bits of tube-map for reasons adequately explained in the original post.

It's a bit bleedin' previous to discover that LRT has been at that sort of thing for many years.

Also: Pictures of a startlingly twee Highgate station.

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