hirez: (Default)

  • I should really stop worrying about going to the dentist.

  • Stephen King's 'On writing' is f-ing amazing. (I am a startlingly slow learner)

  • It's probably a bad idea to buy cars that can emit as much smoke as a KH250.

  • Puppetcamp London was jolly good. I would like more time to work on useful things instead of shovelling shit.

  • Actually, janitorial work (what is the UK equivalent of that word?) is as rewarding as breaking new ground, you just need some co-operation.

  • ... It's the lack of that co-operation which dooms most systems to legacy status. Internet things exist in one of two states - being 'improved', or being decommissioned.

  • Message brokers work just fine when you build them with the assumption that everything will break in the most interesting way possible.

  • Stafford Beer wrote some fine stuff, too.

hirez: (muddy)
Other people's gardens are always much more amenable than one's own. Presumably because you feel you can walk away when called inside for tea and crumpets, rather than staring at the pile of detritus and wonky fence and having a long, dark, gardener's question time of the soul.

(That should probably have been the title of this piece, but now it's bound into the words there's no moving it. Expect me to re-cycle the thing later in the year.)

Obviously that statement doesn't just apply to occasions where you might be called upon to plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the land.

So there I was, in an ex-quarry right on top of the Cotswolds, helping to clear brush and twigs and pile them into a rusty and misshapen incinerator when the enthusiasm was replaced by cold and I finally started to wonder what sort of large handfuls of brush I was gleefully grabbing. Nettle stems.

This week's top tip is something along the lines of 'If you've spent several tens of minutes gathering up dead nettle stems and folding them up so they'll fit in the incinerator right, it'll take about half an hour for your hands to start feeling distinctly odd. Try not to do that, unless you like that sort of thing.'

Only mildly tangentially, this week's nailie is Avon 'Cosmic Blue' and there will be a photo along as soon as the phone is charged up.
hirez: (Aspirational message)
In which we discover the answers to several long-standing questions -

'Can you fall asleep on the concrete apron of an experimental gun platform?'
'If all your mates pitched down a cliff for some pole-dancing, would you follow?'
'What's Weston-super-mud like before the bogs open?'

(Yes, yes and shut)

Yesterday seemed to go on for quite a long time. I'd set the alarm for five, since it would take me a while to get steam up at that time and walking out of the house without trousers or spare film or something would just be a bit poor. How pleased I was, however, to be woken at two by a broken computer. I crashed out on the sofa, but was still in a proper state of shamble by the time Will banged on the door at six.

We found some more of the party when we arrived at the quayside. We also found that the council bogs in Weston don't open that early. Instead we surprised some poor chap who was minding a nearby hotel.

The boat trip out to the island was more of a blast. Think of something a bit like an 80s re-enactment of PBR Steetgang, but faster and with more tweed. I think I was trying to hum 'Ride of the valkyries' as Steepholm stopped being a patch of different coloured mist and turned into a thing with trees and pebbles and a ruined cottage leaning out of the cliff-face.

Next to the ruined cottage, which had been an inn, was a smashed-open cable termination point. Later, someone mentioned The Deep Ones, and it all slotted together in my head. I mean, if you were going to try and fail to get nameless horrors on your side when a proper mechanised war broke out, that would be the sort of landscape left behind when it all went expectedly wrong.

Steepholm is mostly brambles, seabirds, rotting military hardware, deer and a barracks-turned-visitor-centre with indoor lighting plant and outside bog.

It's completely brilliant.

We collectively pottered about for a bit, finding the remains of a smallholding; a mysterious shed with the script from a numbers station nailed to the wall, which itself was handy for the sort of collapsible aerial/flagpole not mentioned in the Famous Five books due to a lack of technical rigor; the trig point and most of the gun emplacements. All of which seemed to have the original Victorian cannons lying around nearby.

I started to fall asleep during the picnic lunch, so took myself off to the far pointy end of the island where an experimental gun platform had been destroyed by experimental shelling, leaving thumping great lumps of nickel-steel armour and concrete slabs lying about at angles apparently designed for something between 40 and 120 winks. I took the 120 option, then pottered back to the barracks just in time for the sun to appear over a yardarm somewhere. Post beer and tales from the others about the 'pole-dancing platform at the bottom of the cliff' it seemed like a splendid idea to go and find it for myself. Along the bottom path and turn right out into space where the sign says 'Dangerous'. It was indeed a bit steep, but there was indeed a searchlight platform held up by an acro-jack.

When I pottered back, I took it into my head to ask one of the volunteers about the lighting plant and where the water comes from. It transpires that the water comes from the roof of the barracks and is piped into a thumping great reservoir behind the building, where it comes out of the taps brown and really isn't fit to drink. The lighting plant is a Lister diesel and he wasn't the chap to speak to about it but the fellow digging out the culvert at the back had supplied the thing and would be jolly pleased to talk about it. The bloke digging the culvert seemed to be about the age of my grandfather and had run an agricultural engineers in Wiltshire - 'You from the Cotswolds? Ah. Foreigner.' I was treated to a long explanation of the history of the engine itself (built in the 40s), the backup engine, the relative merits of Ferguson over Fordson tractors and the fascination of the SubBrit group. At that point I was mostly convinced I was likely still asleep over by the experimental battery and this was actually a voyage through my own head.

It turns out that you can fall asleep on the pebbled beach underneath the ruined inn while the dusk is having a right old gather. The trip back was faster and more like being an extra in Miami Vice.

An interesting (to me anyway) thing, of the many interesting things about the place, was someone going 'It's another mendip, you know' as I was staring in the direction of Brean Down and Brent Knoll. One of the first trips out of Bristol while still trying to leave London involved beetling off to Blackdown with Dingbat to look for the Starfish site and what was allegedly a 'Z battery'. We found the firepits and control bunker for the Starfish site, but didn't find the remains of the Z battery because we didn't really know what we were looking for. It turns out that if you find a circle of big rusty bolts sticking out of a concrete slab, that's what the remains of the Z battery rocket launcher looks like, and there are several to choose from on the island.

In my half-asleep rambles on the motorway back into the C21st, I alleged that Steepholm wasn't of any particular era because instead of the successive timezones removing most traces (apart from those which are decorative and/or worth money) of their predecessors, it was all piled in together and you made the best of it leaning on a Georgian cannon outside of a Victorian barracks while updating Facebook about the Roman wall incorporated into Napoleonic fortifications the far side of the outside bogs.
hirez: (Information Hazard)
I seem to have been buying plain black Gap t-shirts for some considerable time. And, since I'm of the slightly gig-going persuasion, I have an imperial arseload of t-shirts that I wear in a wonky sort of rotation, which means that individual shirts last for quite a while.

Admittedly that's bloke values of 'quite a while', but still.

Anyway, here's a handy chart (Or it would be if LJ allowed tables, or divvies or whatever's in HTML5. God. I remember HTML 2) that shows the weight of bloke's medium black Gap t-shirts.

Early 90s - 250g
Mid 00s - 238g
2011 - 138g
2012 - 178g

There's a big, er, gap between the first two examples because I was mostly too lardy to fit into medium t-shirts, so the first one was stored in the bottom of a box.

I'm not quite sure what this proves, other than Gap used to make nice things that lasted for quite a while and that I can't even spell fashnio.
hirez: (Happy cycling)
Because it is nice out and I noticed that the wheat next to the Bath end of the cycle-path is being harvested, I pottered off to breathe in the smell of fresh-cut straw and see how my legs were going. I note, entirely unscientifically and I should go back with a clipboard and a pencil, that the people steaming past in replica kit on expensive road-bikes are in the minority. It also seems close to gender parity out there. Good.
hirez: (dissent)
Sometimes when the people on the television want to you pay special attention to words because they think they are scientific or futuristic, they will make them appear slowly from left to right accompanied by a squelchy chattering noise like someone scraping TO220-packaged transistors down a sheet of galvanised steel.

Transistors? They were the things that made HH 100W combos sound post-punk and collectivist.

Post-punk? That was the soundtrack the day industry decided to stop.
hirez: (dissent)
I was driving out of Bristol on the A4 towards Bath, when I paused briefly in a queue of cars. Directly to my left was a once-quaint boozer, now looking a bit grubby due to car-grime. Away up on top of the hill leftward was the church, partly obscured by a set of brightly-coloured Murco signs announcing a red-brick petrol station. Further up the road on the right was a much more imposing boozer, which looked to have been extended down the hill at some point in the last two hundred years.

What a terrible shame it was that some hateful mob of bastards had shat out an urban A-road, a turd-coloured housing block and a concrete strip of rubbish shops. I was in quite a cheery mood before spotting that.
hirez: (dissent)
Surface Detail. really jolly good. It's been a while since I read [spoilers], so I didn't spot that [spoilers] was [spoilers]. Had to have a sit-down and think about that one.

Farting Skies. Oh, just piss off will you.

I first read The list of seven in the early 90s and adored it because, well, who wouldn't - Conan Doyle, proto-steampunk, zombies and fine conspiracy theories. I didn't know there'd been a sequel until recently - I don't think it was published over here. It shows. A late-Victorian hooray would not refer to London in terms of blocks. I shall continue reading in the hope that it bucks its ideas up.
hirez: (pillock)
A while ago, I was jabbering about the pipework that runs under the bit of the Cotswolds I used to call home. Today I steamed up there and went in search of pipe-markers, which were more or less where I expected them to be.



(Crosses the A40 near Andoversford, up over the top past Whittle, skirts the end of West Down and Paradise, past Middle Barn and Cherry Tree Hill, steams past Bela's Knap, crosses the road alongside Humblebee and then sods off in the direction of Sudeley. Which makes perfect sense if you're me, but is otherwise impenetrable. Assume I'm talking about tube stations or bus stops or something.)

That one's a gas line. I think there are others, which leads me to think that this is going to turn into a silly project that requires me to lurk around Charlton Abbotts with a GPS-o-phone. What a personal disaster.

Anyway.

I gave Ma a tiny PC running LXDE on top of Beardian. It's jolly quick, apart from the usual grim quality of HP-supplied internal display cards. This will mean jeering along the lines of 'Linux? My mum can use that..' (Because it's less shit than Windows. Although ask me again if I think it's a good idea after I find a printer to work with it. Mind, I don't think we have win-printers any more.)

(Plot notes: it's about the inability of people to change their behaviours.)

And: Omnom home-made marmalade nom. Even though that meme has passed into commerce and is therefore suspect.

God but it was nice out and I am pleasantly tired after tramping across the ancestral Land-Rover piloting grounds in a t-shirt and a pair of jeans that need pulling in another notch at the waist. What a personal disaster.
hirez: (irradiated)
[Tangentially inspired by a FOAF on that there FriendFace.]

R'lyeh city, right? What would the footer strip look like?

Or would it be FC R'lyeh, Pole Star R'lyeh or something else.

You can do the terrace chants yourselves.
hirez: (dissent)
This, rather than brutalist shopping centres for grim-faced proles.

(From here.)
hirez: (posing)
It's been quite comfortably warm in direct sunlight today. Excellent. I was also woken by an exploding website early enough to get out an enjoy it properly.

Thus violent pruning is over for another year and I've saved myself something like 90 quid by prising open the headlight relay from the 9000 and soldering up all the dry joints instead of going to the shop for a new one.

Now back to an old Festive Fifty and an idiot's guide to programming AVR demo boards.
hirez: (Challenger)
Just as pets and owners come to resemble each other, the malign force of Bogogenic fields mean that people who write hateful software, or the people paid to make excuses for it on the end of a telephone become twisted and hateful themselves.

This is also why Unix admins are usually a bit strange.

I've forgotten the other thing.

Oh. Yeah. This is way cool.

Non-stop

Jul. 12th, 2009 11:01 pm
hirez: (posing)
[This]

The scene: Small Brother's out-laws. We are post-christening for Isobel. As is traditional, JH-R (elder) is handed small child by JH-R (younger) so pictures can be taken and you lot can make 'om nom nom' jokes on FriendFace later.

Small child becomes slightly fractious. The parents are hiding for spite. JH-R (elder, apparently) sings the only thing that comes into his head.

Yu-Gung.

Small child gurgles along.

I'm so old-school industrial I crap scaff-clamps.
hirez: (pillock)
I would make a joke here about having watched restoration comedy and thought to myself 'Where are the bloody tapes and it's their own fault if they've not tested the DR plan.' but it was French and so not restoration.

Hey ho.

Cornwall's nice, though.

Mind you, we went into this Treen pub and was there a wee green bloke floating about on a commode? Was there buggery. Poor show.

The Barbara Hepworth exhibit in the big modernist building on the beach was all a bit Vermilion Sands.

Gug. I think I'm going to go and expire now.
hirez: (dissent)
Wrote some words: dodgy cosmology, Gee Bee aircraft, narrow-gauge rail. It's all average round here.

Bought one of they Powerball things. Ow bloody hell my wrists. Do they work, or are they like crap poi for even more annoying people?
hirez: (Information Hazard)
There's a Dilbert strip (It was on the back of Computing, it was apposite, so in accordance with prophecy I cut it out and affixed it to the side of my cube next to the picture of a flowerpot in a broken bog) that featured the PHB failing to choose a password.

"Password?"
"No. No dictionary words."
"123?"
"Longer than four letters."
"Golf?"

... Etc.

Can I find the damn thing again? Can I hell. That there internets has some surprising holes. Or I just can't drive it right. Whichever.
hirez: (pillock)
AA Milne and AA Gill ([livejournal.com profile] incy)
BB King
CC Peniston (more or less)
DD Ramone (ditto) and DD Jackson ([livejournal.com profile] totnesmartin)
ee cummings
FF Meta (Wins over FF VII through more surreal points. [livejournal.com profile] miss_soap)
GG Bailey ([livejournal.com profile] emzebel)
HH Munro
II Captain ([livejournal.com profile] mr_tom and [livejournal.com profile] avocadovpx need professional help) and II Claudius (It's too late for [livejournal.com profile] codepope though)
JJ Jeczalik
KK Downing
LL Bean (Got any better ideas?) LL Cool J ([livejournal.com profile] yaruar and [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours at about the same time)
MM Warburg (I'm keeping SS Great Britain now. [livejournal.com profile] miss_soap)
NN Pisharady ([livejournal.com profile] yaruar is more subculturally clued than I)
OO Gauge (That's dreadful. [livejournal.com profile] codepope) OO Matron (Equally dreadful. [livejournal.com profile] thepaintedone)
PP Arnold ([livejournal.com profile] orogeny)
QQ Plots ([livejournal.com profile] easterbunny Sensible.) QQ Kachoo ([livejournal.com profile] wehmuth Insensible.)
RR Lyrae ([livejournal.com profile] miss_glitch) and RR Xing ([livejournal.com profile] ellen_fremedon provides American arcana)
SS Great Britain (Yes, I know. See above about better ideas)
TT Races (And again) TT Boy ([livejournal.com profile] yaruar again.) Pr0n stars are going to be too easy, I think.
UU Clock Tower ([livejournal.com profile] easterbunny wins the Mrs. Joyful prize for raffia work.)
VV Mosshart ([livejournal.com profile] despina) and VV Cephei ([livejournal.com profile] yaruar again. That last one's genius.)
WW II (You sick children. [livejournal.com profile] yaruar and [livejournal.com profile] nalsa)
XX Sex (Fuzzbox EP)
YY(Y) Delilah ([livejournal.com profile] jozafeen should be ashamed.)
ZZ Top

(Help required to fill in the blanks. People for preference, but bad puns and ludicrous ideas given equal consideration)
(And I deleted the bit about the obvious anal-microphone twonk not getting a look-in because I'm both careless and autocratic. Sorry about that.)

Dishonourable mentions for OO Typhoo, MM Mattesons, ZZ 9 (plural Z alpha), PP Le Pew and probably several more.
hirez: (Riiight)
Ow.

Drank beer. Ate food. Pottered. Jabbered about mechanical badgers, radiator automata and what might go into trouser soup.

I think I need a bit of a lie-down.

Excellent work all round.
hirez: (Cooper-Clarke)
Ted Chippington!

(Includes the 'nam joke.)

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JH-R

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