hirez: (Cooper-Clarke)
Once every few months, the punk rock imp of the perverse will remind me that there used to be zines and that I would sometimes buy them at gigs. Out on the floor (Porky Jupitus the showbiz mate of tiresome singing bloke, IIRC), Catch-22 (Kevin from Cheltenham, who I never met. Wrote him some stuff though, which was beyond awful), Vague (Impenetrable g*th meandering. Featured a drawing of a mushroom cloud, as did many zines, SDC lyrics and what may have been an account of following same while under the influence of different mushrooms) and probably many others scattered through the head-height stack of NMEs that was against one wall of the room where I kept the home recording kit and computer(s).

There's a picture of Jon-who-was-also-hostile-implant swearing at a drum machine on the bench/rack I fabricated from ersatz dexion. There's a Three Johns poster on the wall (free with 'Atom Drum Bop' and the lyrics to 'Bela Lugosi's Dead' because neither of us were yet old enough to think that sort of thing embarrassing enough to rip down. Out of shot, on the other side of the big open fireplace, there was a typewriter upon which I would sometimes write Thoughts that I considered Important about Music. Kev of Catch-22 had written to me on the back of old dole forms, which in what was probably 1983 I found impossibly 'cool' and 'street'.

I lived in a thumping great farmhouse with my Mum & Dad. Anything more 'urban' than the British Farmer & Stockbreeder was 'cool' and 'street'.

One of bands featured in one of the zines was named 'The great bone and the four-a-day men'.

As you might imagine, given the existence of this piece, that name still haunts me. However, as seems common with my life in that time-period, the internet considers it all non-notable and there is no other record of any of it being anything other than me making stuff up.

I should see if I can (re) find that damn photo. Unless it's already on FB.

[Update: speaking of FB mix. http://www.discogs.com/Great-Bonebacked-by-Four-A-Day-Men-Those-Days-Of-Yorg/release/3069578 found by Jon-as-above. Hurrah for the collaborative nature of the internet! No doubt I am doing this wrong because there are no pictures of mildly famous people with self-righteous captions or 'screen' 'shots' of allegedly contentious opinions. ]
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.

247 Metres

Dec. 12th, 2013 07:13 pm
hirez: (Lard)
http://youtu.be/XX-A4HvoGu8

[Poll #1947775]
hirez: (Default)
Back in the last century when people still used Qmail, it used to emit a message along the lines of 'I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses. This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out', which seemed somewhat over-chummy to me. The equivalent of a bloke in a suit calling you 'mate' just before doing something tiresome and expensive.

But then I was used to various incarnations of Sendmail and had yet to abandon both that and qmail for the significantly nicer Postfix.

Qmail (and coffee and TVR) was what drove another.com, which meant a lot of the users weren't apprentice Unix curmudgeons like me but seemed to be mostly students and yout' who really dug 'wacky' domain-names and the virulent pink site-theme known as 'My little porn-star' which no-one would get away with these days.

Quite a lot of these people wrote small notes back to MAILER-DAEMON saying that it was ok, they understood and not to worry about it. That always struck me as rather lovely, if misguided. A few weeks in the trenches of the Usenet (or these days, Twitter) would have cured them of being nice to people on the internet. (NB: Satire.)

If I'd had my brains in, rather than being an apprentice curmudgeon, I'd have hacked up enough of a 'bot to reply to their missives and make canned suggestions about what had gone wrong. From what I remember, they were mostly spelling mistakes or body at the far end having gone over-quota.
hirez: (Happy cycling)
Quatermass and the Pit plot appears to be substantially true. Nation to commence hopping, genocide, attaching HT to tower cranes.

Stroke-like lesions in the brains of migraine sufferers you say? Good heavens. The very idea. Etc. LSD made available for those affected? More chance of growing one.
hirez: (tank)
I have an odd memory of what I think was a tabletop semaphore machine that lived in the attic of Holt Farm, which was where we lived until 1976.

Like most of the the rest of the interesting things in my past, it has been removed by agents of the Ministry for Temporal Affairs, and its like does not appear in the Google for similar reasons.

It seems that for some reason, perhaps to do with the safety of other people, no material trace of things I remember can continue to exist. It's like being in a terrible film.

Anyway. Semaphore machine. The two arms were on a common spindle, each operated by pulleys and a pair of levers close to the base of the device. I can only guess that it had been a teaching device, or perhaps some part of a command-and-control structure for Edwardian assault-pedalos.

It struck me today that it would be an ideal sort of thing to drive via an Arduino. Indeed, someone has already had a similar idea and written the code. However, the other half of the project is missing. I wonder what it would take to hack up an IP-over-semaphore rig? I imagine one would begin by finding some cheap stepper motors...
hirez: Humppa! (Humppa!)
This (as linked by the estimable @tef on the rather less estimable Twitter) was an odd read.

Back in the old days, just before beetling off to HEU and changing my life forever, I used to write C that ran on squitty little industrial(ish) PCs the size of, oh, four Betamax tapes sellotaped together. What that alleged code mostly did was grab serial data off the wire and send it up a modem to another squitty PC somewhere else. What made it 'fun' (FAVO) was that the serial data was destined for a printer, so was sort-of structured by layout on the page (and thus fitted into the boxes on the forms), which made working out which bit meant what a bit of a laugh. To add to the excitement, the data itself had come out of the back of some random pathology lab, so the guesses as to which bit meant what had to be 100% accurate.

Anyway. Before I'd been allowed into the programming room, I'd been set to assembling the immediate predecessors of the squitty-PCs, which were, er, oh hell. 68HC11-based? Something like that. A washing-machine controller with ideas, before all of this physical computing malarkey was cool. They were named the 'Argus programmable modem', which was basically true. Imagine a BBC micro sawn in half and running an integer BASIC optimised for serial comms and wonky data-logging. Because assembling and testing (and repairing) programmable modems became boring after about a fortnight, I started work on some noddy stock-wombling code - about enough brains to warn me or Brian that with a lead-time of (mumble) and an order quantity of (blah) we'd best order a bucket of grommets by next Wednesday - which brought me to the attention of the clever buggers in the coding room. I got the impression that it was a case of 'So, think you're clever do you?'

Well, actually, yes I did. And to prove it I persuaded them to order some toys from the Grey Matter catalogue and thus double productivity.

One of the things was FTPs PC-TCP library (Big green loose-leaf binder, IIRC) because I was convinced that speaking to the bloody path computers as a notional equal was going to be much less painful than Being A Printer. (There's some notional anarchist political wossname in there, which in the context of the tosspot boss and his many ways was radical business.)

The other blokes were less convinced. This TCP/IP malarkey was clearly some untrustworthy, proprietary and fly-by-night protocol and anyway the NHS was going to standardise on OSI/X.400/X.500 so anything else would be a waste...

Probably.
hirez: (Default)
Fascinating thing.

Other fascinating thing.
hirez: (pillock)
It's been a long time since I read Brighton Rock, but all that seemed to be missing this weekend was Kolley Kibber and people waving opened tins of Vitriol.
hirez: (pillock)
It's t-shirt weather outside. This is really very fine.
hirez: (dissent)
There's something particularly gleeful, educated and terribly Scottish about this splendid item. I am reminded of the chap with the camcorder dealing with the polis at the Tower of London (somewhere on the Youtubes), and indeed of Drew-who-does-not-LJ.

I must also remember to use the word 'anent' when writing business emails.

What an uplifting panoply of language we have in this country.

Anyway. Earlier, I nearly poured milk into the microwave, instead of putting it in the bowl with the porridge oats like an uninspired person. Which then goes in the microwave because causality is actually quite boring like that. You people and your consensus reality with fixed labels for objects and an order for things. It's tedious and doesn't make the trains run on time. Assuming a common frame of reference for the notions pointed to by the names 'trains', 'run' and 'time'.

What in hell was wrong with art that people had to '(re)discover' perspective? Did no-one have the 'This one is small, but those are far away' conversation? Perhaps everyone thought they were stuck in a rubbish old computer game where people and things grew out of the ground a lot. Or we're in a simulation and that was the day that the local godlike object had come back from PC-Multiverse with a shiny new 5D accelerator card.

Geek arguments, right? I wonder if they get loud in a busy office for the same reason that I can't pay attention to someone speaking if the telly/wireless/random media-object emission device is also functioning. Perhaps it works the same way that FM reception does? (Which is 'most powerful signal wins and no-one else gets a look in.' As opposed to AM, which is 'Reception is a mixture of what's out there on that frequency')

Mind you, I've not studied wireless since R1 was on '275 and 285', so I no longer know my superheterodyne from a cat's whisker.

There has to be a word for the sheer joy of starting on some endeavour that requires skills you once had, and which come back in a lump through the medium of Just Doing. A lot like a long-tail version of muscle memory.
hirez: Humppa! (Humppa!)
http://petdance.com/csl/?960328

Looking at that with 21st century eyes, I can spot about a dozen bands I'd want to go and see. (Arcwelder, Man or Astro-Man? Sleater-Kinney, Supersuckers, Thinking Feller's Union, Gas Huffer, Apocalypse Hoboken...)

... Oh, ok. In the future when time-travel is perfected, there's going to be a pale and wild-eyed tribe of hardcore Peelists who'll take following bands to the appropriate conclusion.

Someone should write a story about that.
hirez: (Radiation)
Grim. I rather thought I might like those Stieg Larssons, too.
hirez: (24)
For reasons currently unknown[1] there's a not-unpleasant miasma abroad in the office this AM. The last time I smelled anything like that, it was 1990 and I was hacking on Turbo Pascal for Windows in a third floor maisonette that overlooked Golder's Green tube depot.

Great wedges of that adventure are falling out of long-term memory unbidden. It's, um, interesting.





[1] I'm not about to engage in a Reeves&Mortimer style wander about sniffing things mission.
hirez: (Trouble with my worms (i))
I know I'm a captive market, but seven quid for two pills is GSK having a right old laugh. Even if they do come inside a flash-looking holder that's just slightly too large for a chap to carry everywhere.



Still, they might just work.

Elsewhere, I was pointed at this splendid film: Tweed, pipes, ale, Reynolds 531 and an integrated transport policy. What could possibly go wrong?

What could possibly go wrong. Some months ago, I was kicking around some ideas. The thought that agribusiness might cut up rough was dismissed as ludicrous. Mostly I'm just bloody stupid and the to-read pile just keeps getting larger.

MapMyRide and its chums look like fun.
hirez: (Bunny Eye)
Pater's been working on the H-R family tree of late. It's a strange business. Apart from ancestors who seemed to prefer expiring in NW3 or SW1, it seems I can go buy one of those 'Kernow' stickers for the back of the car and call anyone of less than four generations there a scumbag incomer grockle.

Jayzus. I'm off to buy a Jethro DVD. I know my place.

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