hirez: (Challenger)
A long time ago, when Radio 4 was still a regular feature in my life...

... Which makes it sound like Our Tune, which was a regular feature in other people's lives...

... Which had a theme that is instantly recognisable if you remember Simon sodding Bates, which you would only listen to because it was summer and you were waiting for the Radio One Roadshow, which was a regular feature in dreadful places up and down the coast that may or may not have existed.

(If you clicked that link: you're welcome!)

Mind, one of the chaps at Labs could (and would) hum the first bar, at which point everyone within range would call him a bastard.

Anyway.

There used to be these odd announcements just before the news on R4. "This is an urgent message for Dr. and Mr. Boggis of Carshalton, who are on a motoring holiday in the west of England..."

They always seemed to be from a universe that hadn't invented motorways or a Polio vaccine and where the AA (or RAC) chaps saluted as you went by on your way to an inn that would sell you mild ale. Although perhaps also it was Pa's (and hence my, because that's how family things work until you inspect them for sanity) utter inability to stop on the way somewhere in order to look at something.

Holidays were formatted like this:
i) Get in car. Drive somewhere.
ii) Have holiday.
iii) Get in car. Drive home.

At no point would there be dawdling, loitering, a scenic route or stopping for anything other than actual projectile vomiting.

Retracing one's route, unless one was actually at stage (iii) was right out, too. Which leads to some weird holiday topology and quite advanced map-reading skills. Far more recently, there was this one time I had to give a set of Norwegians a lift back to York at the end of a Whitby weekend so they could catch the longship back to That London. It felt so wrong to be leaving A Holiday before the time allotted to Fun was up. However, we were doing the entire wonky-week, so...
hirez: (dissent)
I was going to use the line 'One instinctively knows when something is right', but I'm not a great fan of sherry and its cultural baggage of tiddly aunts and false teeth vicars. I also don't really know where to begin to describe what I'm on about, so I'm just going to make typing like a sir until the thing finally falls out of my head and lands with a spludge somewhere unfortunate. Like social media. That's pretty unfortunate.

The thing I get most out of mowing lawns is a kind of brain-off satisfaction in manual labour. Although actually not, because if you're mowing a useful sort of lawn you'll be using something with a motor and whirling sharp things and you'll either be paying attention to that or looking in the long grass for severed body parts. Also you'll be paying attention to the fuel-air mixture or where the extension lead is relative to the whirling sharp things, where small and darting animals and/or children are at any point, where the edge of any mower-consuming steep drops might be, what metallic and/or concrete objects might be hiding in that patch of long grass and your dogshit radar, largely unused while the Party of Labour were in power, will be on maximum gain.

I think this means that one's brain isn't off, it's just not thinking of bloody Ruby or bloody servers or bloody 'git log -p'. However, I was having fun mowing lawns well before the invention of git, Ruby and the development of the x86-64 server architecture as we currently understand it. Thus it's probably not that.

(What was that horrible 'competitor' to MCA with two-level slots and the requirement to configure each card from its own setup floppy? God. Remember when you had to put extra things in computers to make them do something useful? That was shit.)

I think that there's something quite pleasing about orbiting a patch of scruffy ground with a whirly sharp thing and replacing the scruffiness with an abstract figure within which there is order. Or if not order, then a marked change. Given my background, you may see also grain harvesting or ploughing.

I should also note that a rectangular lawn carefully rendered stripy by carefully going up and down, left to right is absolutely no fun at all. It's just suburban, or posby as Ma would have it.

Ironing's another good one. Also properly indented code and sensibly ordered files. Although those things don't feel anything like as nice.

What I'm attempting to get at is that I have no idea what this thing is or what to call it. It's just a thing that I imagine is Just Me. In some ways, I don't want to think too hard about what's going on, just in case it loses its magic.
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: (Armalite rifle)
In receipt of a pamphlet of collected bumph from Bristol Corporation in re. the mayorings today.

Christ what a shower of shite.

The most obvious reading of the text(s) is to take it as a viciously surreal rag mag[1] and assume that the various alleged positions and/or apparent policy statements are a sequence of heavy-handed satirical pieces on the opinions and mores of contemporary media-consuming Britain. Thus we discover that some tosspot Occupy chancer from Brighton has Googled himself up, found a Dobbshead and used it as clip-art to decorate his comic-sans-set, dope-mediated ramblings. I have some positive wossname with the idea of 'radical transparency', but democracy-via-social-network is far too Steve Bong to describe.

The rest are worse. Mostly they want to make the traffic move better (so at least they live in Bristol...) which generally seems to involve making things nicer for those poor car-driving types. Never mind that the bits of Bristol that remained unbombed were mangled with the car in mind. Those that want to make public transport less worse also want to get rid of the local nukes, which is a crowd-pleasing stupid idea.

... Oh lord it's all too horrible.




[1] Do they have such things any more? I guess if you want something filled with shit jokes by students, google for 'banter' and follow the most disturbing path available.
hirez: (Cooper-Clarke)
Real men wear pink.
Surreal men fill the bath with brightly-coloured machine tools.

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