hirez: (tank)
Elsenet (as said once in 1995 on The Well, by someone who probably quite liked Bruce Sterling books and had a pile of Mondo 2000 mags) someone was pondering-out-loud (Twitter. It's a poorly-monitised poorly-realised simulation of what having angry voices inside your head all the time might be like. Christ what a bunch of bastards. Jabber jabber oi oi tits out, etc) about people walloping things to make them work and why do they do that.

Pixies.

For most people, most mechanisms might as well be the work of pixies.

For instance (i). The other month, I was chatting with a colleague about the marvel of flat panel displays, and how glad I was to see the back of CRTs. 'Bloody line output sections, always going unsurprisingly wrong,' I opined.

He looked mystified. Since I consider my own technical background to be a bunch of trivial rubbish that any fool could (and clearly did in my case) pick up, I was also mildly mystified, but I pressed on because, well, not everyone would remember how the guts of tellies worked when they could fill their brains with much more interesting things.

'Line output section. Drove the HT side of a CRT. Which meant that the joints on the PCB under the transformer would go manky, which is why walloping a telly to make it work is a thing. You remember...'

He did not remember because he had been lucky enough not to have had two long screwdrivers with arc burns on them where they had been used to lever the anode cap off a CRT while earthing same to the chassis. Rather than grasping the thing one second and then coming to under a bench on the far side of the workshop the next, after earthing 13Kv across your body had flung you there.

So somewhere in there I had sailed past his Pixie Event Horizon. The point at which a given technology might as well be run by pixies.

For instance (ii). Every Saab 9000 that I have owned (four) has leaked from the heater matrix. Since they were all of a pretty similar age by the time I got my grubby hands on the poor things, it's just one of those things. They all do it sooner or later. This means I have become accustomed (never 'used to') to finding a Slick Of Shame under the things. Obviously as soon as Justyn has replaced the relevant bit, piddling happens from elsewhere. This is because once you disturb a working system, it is never right again. Actually what's happening is that if you slack off the collection of hose clips and bend the pipes out of the way so you might be able to replace the (heater matrix / oil cooler / radiator) it will be the first time they've moved in a decade-and-a-half (at best) and they will either never pinch up right again and/or will have lost any flexibility, so of course they will weep $fluid quietly when under steam.

But if you're me and having one of your many hard-of-thinking days, it is a sign that the turbocharger is about to explode and that you should never have bought such a cheap and fragile foreign rubbish car. Or indeed that the engine pixies have become displeased and are pissing on the road for spite.

I mostly understand TCP/IP, but there are totally pixies in things like BGP.

PHP? Permanent Home for Pixies.

Rails still has pixies in some of corners.

Pretty much everyone thinks pixies run Kerberos. As evidenced by the shitful attempts at krb auth modules out there.

Handwaving at $tech is basically a ritual movement to propitiate the pixies.
hirez: (My name is legion)

It would not surprise me to learn that many children of farming families had birthdays around November-January.

hirez: (irradiated)
Work, right? Filled with things. Many of them falling into the category of 'another fucking opportunity for personal growth', which, um, right. I'd point at my old post about normality and workloads, but whatevs.

[FX: Looks at LJ posts from this time last year. It was all completely fucked, wasn't it?]

Anyway. If you recall, before Christmas we had some weather. This was the Ballardian Wind from Nowhere, rather than the more recent Ballardian Drowned World, and as a cincequonce the hateful Pyracanthus bush at the bottom of the garden took on the sort of stance usually seen in coastal blackthorn bushes. Since it was also massively topheavy with bright orange berries, the only thing for it was to hack the thing back violently and hope that the stumpy remains returned to life when the growing season returned. (They haven't)

Then there was the other sort of weather. Then when there wasn't any particular weather there were things and/or people to go and visit which was lovely but oh crikey hello the middle of March and the garden's still actually a tip filled with downed bushes and builder's waste.

A few weeks ago I bought an incinerator and stored it in the lee of the house to as to avoid the worst of the weather.

I don't know about you lot, but watching someone play a portable harmonium makes me want to start 'singing' Ivor Cutler songs and/or repeating the parts of 'Life in a scotch sitting room' that I can remember. However, given the specific audience, I had to start from first principles and attempt to explain Ivor Cutler.

An entire pyracanthus bush + Buddliea prunings + random garden gubbins can be fed slowly into an incinerator, but it's hot and smoky work and I was mildly disturbed when the alleged galvanized 'coating' on the 'lid' started coming off on my gloves like mercury.

I also said some jolly rude words when I caught the inside of my forearm on the inside of the incinerator and a wedge of skin just shrivelled up and fell off. However, since the job was only half done, I couldn't run indoors to, I don't know, run it under the tap or something. Anyway we don't have plasters that big. Anyway anyway, it's a burn and you're supposed to leave that in the open air.

Later, we beetled off to the Bristolcon Fringe event where there was beer and food and a set of jolly good readings.

There wasn't anything odd about that. Well, not until I ended up deep in a discussion about characters and then realised that I was having no hint of impostor syndrome.
hirez: (Bunny Eye)
1. Your reaction to a quiz on the internet is to mansplain away why it can't possibly apply to you.
hirez: (Trouble with my worms (ii))
You know when you're writing something and you find an article that you think breaks everything, but it accidentally makes everything much better? That.

Many other things are a vast amount of no fun at all, mind, so I guess it all balances out.
hirez: (Eisensniper)
Adulterated food, baiting the poor and/or sick for entertainment, bomb-chucking by counter-revolutionary forces, mass measles outbreaks, startling disparity in earnings...

... Could we just stop this crazy-type modernist neo-victorian themepark malarkey and go back to never having it so good because there isn't a war on?
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
Followed some epic shitebag out of Bath along the middle road. It's not the A4 or the A46, it's the other one. Still an A-road but a bit more twisty.

There's a certain variety of driver who should not be let out of areas where there's a 30-limit, and given the nasty sod's behaviour, even that's probably going to end up with some pedestrian or pushbiker mown down for the poor taste of wanting to get from A to B at the same time as Mr (Ms, Mrs or Mx. Equal opportunity feckwit-naming here.) Tosspot.

This was one of them. It crawled along the darkened country bits at 20MPH, seemingly suffering from terrible agoraphobia or some other affliction of the wall-following. As soon as it saw a 30-limit, of which there are several, the fucking bastard decided that 40MPH was an ideal rate of travel. That's just a shit trick and there's no excuse for it. I can only guess that it felt safe when surrounded by buildings.

Stay the fuck away from the countryside. There is nothing for you here.
hirez: (dissent)
I have a vague notion to dig out the record boxes, line up the collected Blue Mondays (Early pressing on stupidly thick vinyl with silver inner sleeve, later pressing with black inner on standard weight plastic, BM88, er, probably another one w/o the floppy-alike cutouts) and photograph them because Someone Is Wrong on Wikipeejah.

On the other hand, what's the point?

Also, there have been enough viral pictures of nude people reflected in the items they're selling that I have become convinced that a photograph will one day reveal that, while I thought I had found clean clothes and donned them in the approved manner, what had actually happened was some odd fugue-state and I had actually been going about my day in fishing waders and a motorcycle helmet.[1]

There are probably other things that the internet has rendered tiresome, but I have stopped thinking about them.



[1] Bluebell bloody Railway.[2]
[2] You are not expected to understand that, and should be thankful.
hirez: (dissent)
This is well mencap.

However, the truly mindbending thing is that every blasted link is now impossible to discern from satire.

In other news, all that 'My little Kony' malarkey that has enthralled the mob-justice-oriented section of The Intarbets reaches its inevitable conclusion.

In short: YHBT. HTH. HAND.
hirez: (Laser goggles and raybans)
I've been playing with this. It's harder than it looks.

Then there's this.
hirez: (pillock)
Weird. I am plundering the Youtubes (where all pop-cultural detritus is to be found) for the CCS version of 'Whole lot of love', 'Town Talk' by Ken Woodman & His Picadilly Brass, 'At The Sign Of The Swinging Cymba'" by Brian Fahey and his Orchestra and 'Roadwalk' by Syd Dale. Soon I will settle down in front of a Mike Yarwood programme with a nice tin of Top Deck.
hirez: (Merry Jingle)
It is a placeholder. Were there actual interesting things here, you would be reading them. However you are not.
hirez: (Pie!)
Cake, right? How hard could that be?

Answer 1: ow my bloody forearm. Next time I'm using the hand-mixer. To mix my hands so the other forearm gets a taste of it.

Answer 2: topology's a bit wrong, but given it's comparable with similar items that have come from that stove, further experimentation is likely.

For this disturbing display of, um, something-or-other, you can blame [livejournal.com profile] nalsa's Idiot's Guide. Although it tangentially makes sense of how two of my great aunts cooked, which was some weird (from the outside, knowing nothing about the process but having looked at the manuals and the telly programmes, which were all about precise amounts) jazz method of throwing stuff together in handfuls and having startling cake come out of the other side.
hirez: (Bunny Eye)
You know the strawberry plants that I have mentioned every few months or so?

Still emitting tiny yet staggeringly flavoured fruit.

In November.

I am becoming mildly disturbed by this.

If I wake up on Christmas morning to find a growbag of strawberry plants squatting at the end of the bed and brandishing fruit at me, I'll only be slightly surprised. (In a 'I'm sure I locked the back door last night' manner. I won't even start to think about how a mob of plants managed to beetle up the stairs.)
hirez: (peeved)
Well, that was a jolly way to spend a warm bank holiday Monday.

When I staggered downstairs at the crack of mid-morning, I noticed that the sockets in the kitchen had tripped out. Usually, it's the lighting circuit that has a fit when a bulb expires, but the sockets one has previous form (geezer. Isn't it.) when the kettle or toaster has exploded. So I reset the breaker and think no more about it.

Some minutes later, there's a bang and the breaker flips again.

Bugger. Was that coincidental with the fridge? It's aged, but not as aged as the freezer.

I unplug lots of things. Reset the breaker. Wait.

BANG.

This R nao SRS BSNS.

Faff some more. Resolutely don't think about the fun of finding a sparks on a bank holiday. Reset the breaker.

BANG. From the socket under the worktop that we never use because it was for the dishwasher and we are too skint green to keep one of those.

Oh, cock.

Grovel for insurance docs on the off-chance. Discover that they sold me emergency call-out cover. Things are now less worse, though I am filled with visions of some bugger going 'Werl guv, s'all facked innit. It'll all 'ave to come aht 'an the corlaht dun cuvver dat.' (Cock-er-knee sparks, obv.)

Nice man (you can tell it ends fairly well, can't you?) pitches up from his previous job in Weston (the poor sod), agrees that there is indeed a BANG from that socket when power is applied.

It turns out that when Bodgit & Scarper put that socket in, they nicked the insulation on the live side, and over time it's flexed enough to arc against the tinwork of the socket back.

So hurrah for circuit breakers and yarbles to everyone else involved. You knew where you were with gutta-percha, conduit and a lighting plant. Frequently in the dark.

I should point out that the house with the gutta-percha and conduit had moved on from a lighting plant by the time I lived there. Although a later domicile did feature a lighting plant that only I could make run. So if any of the other buggers wanted an early AM cuppa, they'd bang on my door until I went and cranked the Lister diesel over by hand.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
I don't remember how I found this one. Only that I could stand to read about three pages before the urge to put my head in the oven too strong to resist.

Luckily (or not, depending on mood) we have an electric oven, so it all got a bit Neil The Hippy.

In the main, the recent trend of 'customer is always wrong','bitter waitress','texts from last night','postsecret' and the like are good for ten minutes while something compiles. Windows onto different worlds, if you will.

I'm also all for a bit of dark humour.

That thing though? Pretty much everything that's wrong with people in handy paragraphs. Not in a 'oh noes lol drawmah' sense, but something unexpectedly soul-deadening.
hirez: (SantaBot)
Escaped early from $work, where it has been far away feckwit week, clambered over the careless bags piled by people proceeding in a Christmas-homewards direction and found a bus at the end of it.

Bus bus bus it went up the road like a bus.

At the depot (good word, depot. You don't hear it much any more, and if you do it should be in a cockney accent from under a flat cap: 'Daahn ver depot, geezah') the bus is waved to a halt by a chap wearing an OpenBSD jacket. Apparently the bus we are on is about to explode and would we all like to sod off this one and pile on to the unmarked bus in front?

We duly pile.

There are six of us. On the allegedly exploding bus, we were arranged about the interior in a studidly careless manner. On the unmarked, cold and not-exploding bus, we arranged ourselves in exactly the same way.


(I lied about the OpenBSD jacket.)
hirez: (pillock)
Startling eighties flashback.

Need I point out that this mob were entirely not my pint of nasty bitter, served by a surly Outlaws prospect from behind the bar at the Copperfields? Whatever, I suspect that only [livejournal.com profile] uk_jon will get the alleged joke. The prospect's dead and Wrathchild aren't. Strange business and no mistake.

Startling turn-of-the-decade flashback. A big pile of Cisco and Sun kit left to fester in a room with an interesting deadline. All I need now is a jug of vodka-redbull, a tray of free sushi and an ugly polo shirt. It's actually, um, well, fun is the wrong word (although it is fun).

Still can't ride a bike worth a light or go for longer than three hours without stuffing food in my face, which is a bit bloody poor, all things considered. If it's not one thing it's space badgers joyriding a milkfloat through an off-licence.

Which is why I've gone quiet. Ish.
hirez: (Radiation)
No. 25: Do not look at pr0n when the window behind you is overlooked by another office.

(Poor quality smut, too.)

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