hirez: Humppa! (Humppa!)

Or indeed a workshop. And hopefully a comfortable number of fine people.
hirez: (Challenger)
On Monday, we were driving up through Old Market towards the Volunteer when there was a noise of more-or-less unsilenced motorcycle.

I commend you all to go visit the Volunteer while they're having a Japanese 'pop up' cooking-thing. It is all lovely and goes nicely with any of the beers they may have on tap. Although you will become the sort of person who visits a 'pop up' thing and thus be forced to don a paper bag when mixing with sensible people from now on.

Anyway. Motorcycle. Or in this case quadbike. Quadbikes. Weaving through the traffic in a manner familiar to those who might have seen the Banana Splits television programme, which sucked the colour from the country in the early seventies and left us with brown and avocado until we were saved by the Thatcherite shock troops of the 23rd Laura Ashley bombardment wing some years later.

If you are unfamiliar with the start of the Banana Splits television programme, the pair of scrote-piloted quadbikes were weaving through the traffic up Old Market towards the 90-degree bend as if they had stolen them. Like everyone else, I slowed right down because killing bikers, even scrotey ones, is a really bad idea. Thus I was a couple of car lengths away from the 90-degree bend opposite the big old hotel/bar thing at the top of Old Market when one of the scrotes zoomed up on the inside.

I don't know much about making quadbikes go around corners. I suspect that like most other vehicles, steaming up the outside, clipping the apex and powering away is the correct way of doing it. So when scrotey-boy steamed up the inside, I was paying attention because I wanted to see how he did it. I think it would have gone better had he been able to make the back end break away and been able to steer round the corner on the throttle.

As it was, the big balloon tyres performed as normal and collapsed on the outside, which if not corrected would spit him sideways and through a taxi office window. He tried to straighten up, but it was a 90-degree bend opposite a big old hotel/bar.

It was like watching someone on one of those bouncy-castle-velcro-suit games that people have a go on when they're drunk and always smell of vomit. Only on a quadbike travelling at circa 20mph into a solidly built hotel/bar. The quadbike bounced back into the middle of the road and scrotey-boy crumpled into the middle of the pavement.
hirez: (Object)
A couple of months ago, I was probably opining about how I'd managed to successfully burn out on webdev-for-not-work projects, and how even writing down what happened made me feel carsick.

Not 'Oh jayzus what happened that last beer was a bad idea and so were the vodkas that it followed' sick, because I know what a hangover feels like and it's not like that. Nor even is it 'keeping anything on the inside is no longer optional curse you patient zero'.

It is 'I can smell Old Spice and we are on that long straight bit of road away from the Mythe Bridge and towards Ledbury and I would rather be at home playing with Lego than having to go and visit that woman who really doesn't seem to like us.' which was not nice, but which we kept on doing because of duty. And probably guilt leverage and fucked up family dynamics and oh anyway I was talking about coding.

Doing things with Rails (or Sinatra or Camping or oh just fuck off none of this shit works) makes me feel ill.

Today I did Sinatra things in more or less the same sort of way that you'd clean out layers of muck and dead forest animals from a disused shed. Crack on with it as quickly as possibly, breathe very sparingly so as not absorb too much atmosphere and do not think about what you're doing lest your unwilling suspension of belief look the wrong way at the wrong moment and it all comes clattering down as you steam outside to retch into a patch of stinging nettles next to the rotten door.

At some point I have to dive back in and make the thing sanitise its input and probably do proper work-queue things, which is going to mean more bloody Rails bolt-ons and some shitey edifice of opaque Gems with a pile of github bug reports going back two years. And toiling away in the sweaty dark at the back of the shed where the sludge is deepest, but at least you can't really see what you're shovelling. That crunchy squelching when you took a step sideways was probably a pheasant skull. That'll never come out of the treads on your boots.

Not tonight though. Tonight I have had quite enough of feeling like I'm going to vom.
hirez: (Challenger)
Often, after the sort of traffic experience that generally makes other people burn off the excess adrenaline by some freestyle swearing and gesticulation, I wonder if what actually happened was that I died on the road back there and I just think I'm beetling on with the rest of my life out of inertia.

Yes, I have seen 'Jacob's Ladder.'
hirez: (Happy cycling)
It appears that an ideal method for calming me the fuck down is to go out and ride a bike for an hour. For the first time in six months.

We'll see if the usual post-effort horrorshow arrives tomorrow, I guess.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
After I posted a two-sentence rant on a friend's FB, I had to stop and think.

Thought one was that all of Rupert's actual friends (ie - not some mental ex-goth failing to make it as a SF writer because interesting computer things and uninteresting life things keep happening, that he last spoke to at least twenty years ago) will consider me a drive-by bell end. Which is how things work on FB because there's no actual sense of how people know each other. There's this amorphous blob of probably-human outside your house that keeps flinging pictures of cats through your window and anyone who stops by for a slice of tea and to parse the time around (Lennon) is going to have to get used to ducking regularly or get as good at gas-grenade tennis as recent French protesters.

I want to see English protesters hitting teargas canisters back over police lines with a good square cut.

The other thought was that my job is a permanent orbit around computers being entirely shite at everything they are called upon to do. Or rather that people are shit at working out what they want the computers for.

Devops, right? Automate all the things! Deploy fast! Fail faster! Devs and Ops (and Net types and DB-fondlers if you want any hope of making progress) working side-by-side on piano keyboards for make great benefit of great christ who writes this shit?

Hardware is by and large awful and will break in as entertaining a way as possible at the least appropriate time. For instance about a week before the warranty runs out. Then it will take $supplier two weeks to mend same, by which time oh dear well yer kit's not supported. So you can either have multiple boxes and load-balance the crap out of everything (or round-robin DNS or...) which increases the likelihood of failure because you've more things to go wrong. Or you can rent service on someone else's pile of computers. Which will expose you to exactly the same set of problems only this time you have to wait for someone else to fix it. Or have three of everything at three times the cost.

OSes wear out. You have got a plan for when your distro is no longer supported and yet another OpenSSL exploit arrives, right? What's that? There's no engineering budget for migrating off ShonkOS-7 to ShonkOS-9 because that would mean rewriting the front-end layer in Grollop since all the devs on the Spon framework left when it turned out the project owner was seen coming out of a Styx gig? Oh dear oh dear. It seems to me that projects exist in two states - either being maintained or being decommissioned. Which is it now, Ralph?

Frameworks. Oh god frameworks.

OS packages are a good idea, though. None of that rubbish with unpacking a tarball on a server and calling './configure && make && make install' a valid method of software distribution. Doing that now would be daft when even toy languages come with their own package management rig. I mean, all you have to do to ensure a repeatable experience is distribute a textfile with yr c0de that lists all the dependencies on third-party libraries and their versions and then run a one-liner to ensure that everything's up to date... You know, does that one-liner look suspiciously like a 'make install' with false nose and glasses? Because that what it looks like to me.

All of this is just papering over the cracks...

... Ah, stuff it.
hirez: (Challenger)
I'm starting to get the impression that my 'social' 'media' 'profile' would likely become quite something if I just shut up and posted more pictures of more inanimate objects.

Aside (i): this '#nofilter' business. What does that even mean? My initial assumption was that whoever-it-is that was using that hashtag had finally admitted to having no boundaries whatsoever and that we could look forward to pictures of their bog, distraught partner or pile of Jack Wills carriers. LIke some app-happy Toby Young.

We don't talk about folksonomy any more, do we. Clay Shirky is probably doing the nostalgia circuit with that Shingy bloke, no doubt MC'ed by some Barry Shitpeas who's warmup is some twenty minutes on things that people in 2004 found impenetrable - 'D'you remember when the people who could afford houses went on about white dogshit? What was that all about? Etc.' - before Shingy and Shirky take the stage. Two falls, two posts to Corante or a startling haircut to decide the winner..

Aside (ii): Out-of-context metadata makes you look like a pillock.

So here's a picture linked to/from Faceache, because I hate what people have done to the internet through sheer greed. It is of a really ratty looking Dodge Challenger. An ancient and agricultural American vehicular conveyance m'lud. Two doors, mostly bonnet and fuel-guzzling iron V8, cart sprung, probably drum brakes at one end and the upholstery in the things smells just like my grandfather's Austin Cambridge.

Aside (iii): See what I did there?

What I would like to know about those things is why that sort of car in that sort of state is so close to a perfect conveyance?

Ok, so it could be better with an IRS, discs all round, modern ECU, modern 4WD and tyres of the same size at each corner. But apart from that...
hirez: (Cooper-Clarke)
All the survivors of the secret department store wars of the 80s seem to be from House Fraser. I imagine that's actually a nom du guerre and their ancestral homeworld is Giedi Prime. You could tell that something odd was going on if you bothered to pay attention to the layout of the buildings, because nothing quite lined up the way you thought it should. You'd be looping up a central stairwell away from gentlemen's unmentionables and in search of mechanical Christmas decorations that played tunes on a tree filled with tiny anvils, when a right turn would end in a blank wall where a staircase should have been.

I never did find the mechanical decorations again. It was the eighties, so the level of compute and miniaturisation would have been impossible. It was obviously a mistake to leave it somewhere an Earth-native human could find it.

Mind, whenever I do go into Jolly's of Bath, I am disappointed not to be met by Peter Cook with apron and meat-cleaver and telling me to 'Fuck off out of it. Go on. Fuck off.'

That wasn't really what I was going to write about. Perhaps that post needs some more time to mature.
hirez: (Aspirational message)
I'm still having it bus across Bath because the Bridge on the River Wye Avon still seems to be (w)inching its way from the new developments where there was a crane factory and a gasworks, towards the recycling centre and what looks like quite a nice boozer opposite Victoria Park.

'Park and Ride' should replace the 'Bump and Grind' bits here.

Although that track is nowhere near as good as this one, which is the sort of unhinged racket that all music should aspire to become. Mind, even the alleged HD version is missing half the bass. You'll just have to find the vinyl (and preferably the single-sided 12" like what I have) to get the full benefit.

I wonder when that sort of thing will become dadrock and be part of a Top Gear compilation? It's nearly thirty years old, which is mildly depressing and really quite cheerful and the same time.

Anyway. Victoria Park. As the bus drew level with the play area below the half-pipes, I noticed that the child playing in the Wendy-Bus (It's like a wendy house, but it's a bus. Which exactly the sort of not-very subliminal message we should be sending to the very young - you should live in a bus, then you could drive places with your friends and have adventures. And then fight a pitched battle against the agents of state repression). However, this child was wearing hi-viz, which seemed a little over-protective. Then I spotted a different child in hi-viz joyriding a mini-digger. At which point it became obvious that they were the Children of the Council, which is like 'The children of the stones' but more municipal.

They should totally have a play area with mini-diggers though. It wouldn't be any more dangerous than boat-rental on Pitville (or was it Sandford?) pond, and it would teach the very young useful skills in re. construction and diesel fitting, which would also come in handy when piloting the wendy bus.

'Piloting the wendy bus' sounds only mildly wrong.

Some time later, I fell into conversation with a chap selling the Big Issue. He was at pains to point out that he wasn't homeless, he just didn't fancy living in one. And once he'd sold me my copy, he was going to potter back out to the countryside with his pack and set up camp so he could enjoy the countryside and think about his place in the world.

"Every day, you should ask yourself who you are and what you're doing there," he told me. I allowed as how some might consider that a threat and spend their lives avoiding that sort of question. He gave me a look which probably translated as 'If that's you, then you should stop that real soon now.'

I'm only half convinced that last encounter actually happened.

After that, I had to unblock a drain. I totally felt like my dad.
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: (Challenger)
The middle road into Bath from Bristol is now mostly a 40 limit, apart from the bits that are 30. Although at the far end there is a 'National speed limit applies' section each side of Kelston. Which is obviously the near end if you're coming from Bath. Because the daemons of traffic management like a laugh, those are the twistiest bits where you will find a succession of lumpy blind corners and if you're really lucky, an idiot on the far side of the solid white lines overtaking a cyclist in the teeth of oncoming traffic. Because they are idiots.

As you come into (or finally exit) Bath, there are a couple of houses along the outer edge of what's more or less a 120-degree corner. It is either an opportunity for avoiding buses or jumping on the brakes as you sweep down towards it from Kelston.

Today there was a new(ish) Merc jammed neatly but sideways across the gateway to one of those houses. Given the crumpled nature of the black and white chevron signs and the scraped verge, I can only guess that Billy-Bollocks the Merc pilot had been rather too enthusiastic about hoofing it through the twisty bits and managed to have it NASCAR up the 'banking' and into the drive.

I fear I laughed. That sort of crash position is comedy gold.
hirez: (Radiation)
Well, not the songs, since Fred Archer was 'more popular' in our house than Elvis. I say 'more popular'. I mean 'About as popular as foot-and-mouth'. So that would be something from the sixties that people didn't talk about much, apart from when they'd point at the far end of the field known as 'The Deerpark'[1] which was up the hill from the reservoir that our drinking water came from, and go 'That was where they dug a big pit and pushed all the carcasses in with a bulldozer'.

I didn't know that Elvis had a second career as a crawler driver in sixties Gloucestershire. I guess the private aircraft would have come in handy, what with the touring, the television and needing to be on site early to run a grease-gun over the idler wheel bearings and check the fuel filter.


[1] Because that was where the people at the Big House kept deer. You can tell this because the surrounding walls are easily twice the height of any others in the area.

"Doe, a fire at an aircraft establishment / Tea, a drink with jam and beer."

Whatever it is that is wrong with my head this week (it is sinus-related), giveth daft ideas and taketh away any semblance of concentration or technical aptitude.
hirez: (My name is legion)
Making a post about not making posts is a lot meta and not terribly interesting.

Also kind of a cold start. I'm now left with the problem of how to move from that into something like 'My monitor expired on Good Friday, which was not the first time that electrical kit's blown up on a bank holiday.'

Now the post about not making posts is about how to write the post about not making posts, and why it won't go together right. If this was Tumblr there'd be...

[Inception .gif.]

That file extension looks wrong with a full stop at each end.


Only the electrolytics in the punch/reader's PSU went bang when I last turned it on about a decade ago.

[Steampunk Inception dot gif]

Mind, now it's all Weenix round here, I don't have a handy, local and searchable LJ archive. I'm fairly sure there used to be some Perl lurking that would haul down yr posts and reconstruct them as static HTML. IIRC it came with optional impenetrable Russian javascript that would also download the comments, which most of the time are where the best bits lurk. However, all traces of shite old coding paradigms were removed in the great bobble-hatted object orienteer's purge of 2013, for which we must be mildly sad at the terrible loss of beard and CPAN module. This leaves us with some Python that returns your LJ as a directory of XML files, which, I can't begin to even.

On the other hand, the traditional grep followed by sort|uniq -c|sort -rn reveals the following locations have been used but once each:

In front of the big speakers
Infernal Regions BBS
I'm in the furniture trade
IL 60614

Now the post about how to write the post about not making posts contains a paradox about the number of times part of the metadata about the post about how to write the post about not making posts has been used.

Which does not exist.
hirez: (Bunny Eye)
Several times while walking through Bath over the last few weeks, I've felt the skin on my face rippling like a flag in a stiff breeze. It has taken something of a mental effort to pull my expression back into something resembling human, but should I lose concentration I can feel it peeling back to reveal the whatever-it-is beneath.

Most recently, when striding away from the fruit stall and down past the betting shop, my arms and legs joined in. It was quite a lot like I had lost my footing in this reality and was having to clamber over or through unseen obstacles from a different plane.

I became convinced that I was spidering across a not-path apparently suspended above the paving of Kingsmead Square, all limbs at impossible angles and with a face mostly made of too many eyes and teeth.
hirez: (Challenger)
[ https://thebigsoundsofthedrags2001.wordpress.com/ ]

The not-terribly-surprising result of the unexpected weight loss of the other week is that I can function like a 'normal' human being (inasmuch as I ever, etc) for a couple of days at a time. Then I have to lie down until my brain works again, I can operate my fingers and I am able to speak in complete sentences.

It's not much fun. I hope it's over soon.
hirez: (irradiated)
The last few days have been something of a voyage. As if the (what I assume to be) Noro bugs stripped back the layers of experience plastered to the walls of my digestive system like wonky tree-rings and deposited me in the headspace of a sickly eight-year-old huddled under a blanket in dad's big chair in the kitchen, waiting for my four-hourly shot glass of water.

Then, I would dream (or probably hallucinate. It's hard to tell when you're eight and Operation Julie has yet to start.) about knobbly bottles of Lucozade and the promise of egg and chips when I was successfully keeping in water. Now, as mentioned, I hallucinated the GWR timetable and had to make do with a tin of R Whites lemonade for breakfast on Tuesday.

Since it seemed obvious I should now engage in a form of conceptual/gustatory time-travel, I have been thriving on bacon sarnies, ramen, marmite-and-stuff sarnies, tea and Irn Bru. I am in no particular hurry to move forward to the grub-90s, where there is sushi, and anything further afield feels exactly as relevant as Jay Rayner writing about shinning to the top of a palm tree in Eastbourne where the staff perform a vegetarian 'gastro' 'pub' by shying the ingredients of as-yet-unnamed courses from the tree opposite.

I have mostly been listening to Icelandic psych/space rock, Finnish tiki-core and surf-punk from Calgary. I would have liked to have posted more this month.
hirez: (irradiated)
Good news - lost 5Kg!

Bad news - since Saturday!

Overall, I fear I cannot recommend the explosive bottom diet plan.
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: (Bunny Eye)
Down the road from the house, opposite what used to be the Parnall's factory where they made aircraft bits, and the stone fish which made cyclists wobble a bit, there's a row of terraced houses that follow the rise in the land toward what was a railway bridge and is now a bike-path bridge. The road gets oddly narrow there, and if the people in the terraces aren't off out doing things with their cars, there's generally a queue of car-pilots and a selection of cock-ends in Audis.

Thus it is slow progress past that terrace and one has plenty of time to look at the one or two cars that are in the way and making life hard for the people who want to go to Morrisons. One of them, which never seemed to move, is a boxy sort of Ford SUV that wasn't popular in the 90s. I can't even find the damn thing on the internet. After about six or eight second-gear trundles past the thing, I finally registered what was slightly odd about the thing.

It was packed to the roof with stuffed binbags.

A few weeks after that, I was stuck in a different queue of traffic between Cossham Hospital and Kingswood. There's not much there but a cubic suburban pub (which has since gone on fire under odd circumstances), advertising hoardings and second-hand car dealers. And a Nissan something-or-other filled half-way with binbags.

Once you start looking for them, hoarder cars are everywhere.


hirez: (Default)

August 2017

67891011 12


RSS Atom

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 20th, 2017 03:56 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios