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: (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: (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)
Went to York for A SF(F) Convention. Had a surprisingly good time. Drank ale, talked rubbish, accidentally books. Also shot mouth off about writing, which will no doubt serve me right in due course.
hirez: (Challenger)
I think there's a Canadian joke about the seasons being 'Winter, winter, still winter and construction'.

In some mildly geographically-confusing way, we appear to be in mid-construction. Or, more likely, the infrastructure maintenance that The Gummint have put off because of a set of tiresome reasons akin to running a country like a, well, not even a sweetshop. Running a country like a horrible mob of Slater-Walker style asset-stripping spivs? Yes. That. Fuckers. ... has all managed to go wrong at once.

So, in a vague sort of reverse order we find...

One of the southern routes into Bath was subject to a landslide because of Weather. 'Deary me,' went BANES council. 'We don't know what to do about that. Perhaps we should close the road for several weeks to see what happens. Oh, and we're going to close the other southern route because of $reasons.'

Meanwhile, one of the north-western routes into Bath was subject to subsidence because of Weather. 'Deary me,' went BANES council. 'We'll pretend that hadn't been happening for, oh, six frigging months, and close that one for, er, another six months.'

Which pretty much leaves the A4 as The Way between Bristol and Bath. What a shame it is that Saltford is in the way. And there are roadworks.

Currently it's easiest to leave work at about six in order to minimise the queueing. Also lots of working from home.

(Yes there is public transport, but I really do prefer not to have to guzzle beta-blockers in order to be able to cope with it.)

Somewhat closer to home, they've been replacing the sewage lines. And the water and gas ones. Thus over the last couple of months various parts of various routes out of Bristol in the Bath direction have been single-line or mostly just shut.

In short - arseholes.
hirez: (Object)
http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2014/feb/14/bill-drummond-world-tour-2025
hirez: (dissent)
The missing Wainwright that no-one talks about is obviously 'A pictorial guide to the mountains of madness'.
hirez: (tank)
[Poll #1848621]
hirez: (Challenger)
http://www.racecar-engineering.com/articles/features/g4-xtrac-escort-rallycross-car-originally-published-in-cars-and-car-conversions-1984/

(Unless you're [livejournal.com profile] quercus.)

The Group B documentary was also jolly good value. Not enough Propaganda though.
hirez: (Challenger)
On the way home, a four-pot chopper (in my day it were all H-D or arthritic English twins & singles) came howling the other way. Well, howling until Biker Bill took his hand off the throttle, at which point it went Clat! Clat! Pop! Rorp-rorp! Clat! because the carbies had been hauled out from underneath a pile of nudie-prod mags in the back of the shed, given a slap to dislodge the sleeping mice and spiders and then brick-hammered into place on the side of an otherwise blameless Kawa lump by a halfwit.

Since I had the windows rolled down (Is it winter? No. Therefore windows open.) I was able to breathe in the perfume of leaky valve-guides and serious over-choke.

You know, it's not a familiar smell any more. Back in the old days - I guess up to the early 90s when there was a mass rust-off of Kent and A-Series cars - all winter mornings were filled with the pong of four-star being coughed up by Escorts, Metros, Cortinas, Sherpas and Sierras. Pilots all heaving on the choke-knob (Well, not on the CVH engined Fords. Not when they were new, anyway) and peering through the steering wheel at the only clear spot on the windscreen.

These days you have to stand downwind of a Triumph two-seater if you want to smell history.
hirez: (irradiated)
You know, if we do discover what an ablation cascade looks like, we're going to have to go back to the AA book of the road and/or Decca Navigators. (A bit like Guild Navigators, but they come in slightly smaller boxes)

It would be interesting if the entirety of space exploration turned out to be a sixty-year diversion.
hirez: (Challenger)
I punted this one around the office after nearly flattening some poor and callow youth in a learny-learny Fiat 500 - they were probably agreeing with me out of pity.

So.[Poll #1769584]
hirez: (posing)
I more-or-less on purpose failed to beetle down to #stokescroft (surely someone has (hash)tagged up some road-signage appropriately down there now?) for the Anarchist bookfair because I Do Not Do Waiting. Not for reasons of can't be mithered so much as 'fuck you I don't care for panic attacks'. And indeed waiting there was as a mob of art-speculators descended on the place for the purposes of bagging a cheap Banksy. Is anyone surprised that the posters started turning up on World-of-Spivs Ebay that very afternoon for £profit! ? I shall be jolly pleased if the rumours about more of the posters being available for cheap turn out to be true.

The 9k passed its MOT without hassle this time. I put that down to solid Swedish engineering and it being taken down to the same garage as last time by Justyn-the-Saab (who is absolutely the chap if you want your'n mending and you'm in the Bristle aerial) instead of JHR-the-punter.

As is usual, a medium-level throw-money-at-it problem meant I mostly just sat there and failed not to think about worst-case scenarios. I'm sure it's a jolly handy skill for planning vaguely resilient systems and/or playing at Disaster Recovery games, but as a way to run a life it's largely a waste of time. I wish it would fuck off or I could find the off-switch.

It's probably a life skill they taught all the other kids, like how to do bow-ties or work out where to go for lunch. Don't pretend it didn't happen; I'm on to you bastards.

By accident, I found myself (under a bucket, but there was nobody there except for some cement, so I went home wearing the wrong head) watching 'The shadow line' which I think has some of the strangest direction, design and sound I have thus far come across. A sequence of Ballardian rectilinear spaces are displayed wherein the actors portray a sequence of still lives. Meanwhile, the sound is strangely over-saturated. A scene seems to consist of a set of sentences, separated either by still-life poses or by anechoic silences that are themselves delineated by unnaturally loud sounds. The noise of a pencil being pulled from a tub of the things (who on earth has a tub of pencils these days?) is as loud as the alleged dialogue. The effect is somewhere between the Guinness 'Ploughman's lunch' advert and (what I am told are) the effects of good MDMA.

Lord. My writing is devolving into post teen Lisp-alike.
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: (Box Frenzy)
The kerbs at the unfashionable end of Charlotte St. car-park in Bath are somewhat higher than most people expect. Thus there was a minor scraping noise this AM when the air-dam on the 9k made passing contact with same.

On the way back to the car this even, I spotted some Golf-pilot who'd made much more of a bugger of the job. The bendy-plastic bottom half of his car's front valance was scraping along the tarmac in front of his car. I attempted some complex gesticulation, but I suspect he was far too middle-management to pay attention to the chap in the strichtarn semaphoring like a rowdy tramp.

Early this morning, a man came to replace the electricity meter with a panatela[1] box.

Later, while I was sitting in the car waiting for the aircon to defrost the windows, I had occasion to grab at various bits of said strichtarn jacket in order to find out if I'd remembered to bung my spectacles in one or other pocket. Instead, I found what felt like an oddly-shaped lump of something else. The sort of lump one might find in one's clothing had one managed to wash a folded envelope or a wad of tenners. However, it wasn't inside any pockets or part of the material for same.

I dunno about you, but when I find a strange lump in a jacket I bought second-hand that originally came from the Soviet Bloc, I start to imagine all sorts of things: false papers, a handful of ostmarks (or indeed dollars, given hard currency would be more likely to be hidden) or a suicide kit.

Luckily, there were some loose stitches in the lining handy for the whatever-it-was, so I was able to wiggle it out. It's an odd sort of double-pocket arrangement and I have No Bloody Idea what it might have been for.

Dodgy cold-war clothing pics )


[1] As advertised by 'National treasure but a bit shaky on GPS and TCP/IP' and 'Seppo medic impersonator'. Pointy finger hat.
hirez: (Challenger)
It's probably just me pretending to be quasi-intellectual, but I'm rather taken with the contradictory nature of buying Baudrillard's The system of objects and a new mobile on the same shopping expedition.

If an Alfa-Romero is a zombie car, does that mean Alfa-Roneos are a kind of pinky-purple and come in multiples?

Speaking of matters automotive, it's become Mater's habit to leave me the Torygraph motoring section to fulminate over. I should just stick to the bits containing James May, but absent a weekly dose of Carcoat Damphands, I find myself drawn to the 'Honest John' bits.

I suspect that a decent Ballardian would have more to say about what is given away in a newspaper's motoring section, both by its location and how the readership respond. The Manchester Guardian, for instance, don't really like to acknowledge the existence of private cars. There's one page, hidden at the back of the colour section as if it were some deviant pornography (which it is, in strictly Ballardian terms) and a regular stream of reader's letters denouncing whatever it features in the manner of a closeted Tory MP chuntering about homosexuality.

The Torygraph are a bit more open about their perversions. Their kinks are not my kinks, but their kinks are... Not ok and smell of misplaced empire. It's still the seventies in there; they keep caravans, go on motoring holidays, foreign cars are not to be trusted, sensible vehicles have space for a set of golf clubs and luxury is an auto box. It's a set of aspirations and cultural signifiers that are completely alien.

Which leads me to a poll. Yer man in the advice column seems to be on a mission to promote left-foot braking for the slushbox-equipped. It seems to me that it's fine if you're the likes of Stig Blomqvist hoofing a 99 turbo sideways through a forest in darkest Finland, but asking for trouble more or less anywhere else. For instance(s), an ex-employer used to drive about with her foot resting on the brake pedal of her (auto, obv) Crapi. The discs were glowing a dull red when she came back from one expedition or other. Meanwhile, the first time I drove an auto (Mid 90s 5-series. It went some.) I stabbed at the 'clutch pedal' while parking up. Due to the magic of ABS, the car stopped dead. JHR, however, kept moving and bounced nose-first off the steering wheel.

Anyway:

[Poll #1644150]
hirez: (Challenger)
I blame [livejournal.com profile] pir for this.

I don't generally poke about on the TG webshite.

(The middle-aged person's TG, rather than the disco one. I'm the wrong shape for any of that malarkey. And too Peelist. After about twenty minutes of 'banging' and/or 'tunes', I'd be bothering the gramophone-wallah going 'Surely it's about time for some Melt Banana, 70 Gwen Party or perhaps a Fall session?')

Anyway. I tend to avoid the TG website because I find that looking at bits of $content served from whichever content delivery network edge server is electrically closest a lot like being at the seaside in the off-season. The donkeys have migrated south for the winter, there are angry clowns squatting the beach huts and all the good pubs are packed out with surly goths demanding keg lager.

However, in my not-poking through yon webshite, I discover Mr. May sounding off like a motoring Peel and reminding me that I'm not the only one who shouts at other drivers from behind safely closed windows.

I'm not convinced about waving to Ant & Dec, mind. I think there are limits.
hirez: (Challenger)
A collection of accidents desperate to happen:

i) some dayglo bollix on a blue Ridgeback. Drop a frigging cog you useless muppet, then you wouldn't have to wave about on your bike like one of those dancing flower things. Also, don't be a cock-end and steam up the inside of a queue of cars when the pair at the head of the queue are indicating left. I knew you were a self-righteous tossbag and was watching you in my wing-mirror, the other fellow wasn't. A cycle lane painted on the edge of the road isn't a bloody forcefield and you're going to get yourself killed. You cock.

ii) Blue Avensis-minder a few miles further on. Steaming up to a roundabout in the right-hand lane of the dual carriageway is fair enough if you are intending to turn right or continue in the right-hand lane. It is, however, a fucking stupid idea to swing into the left-hand lane on your exit from the roundabout when there is already a Saab 9K occupying that space. You cock.

iii) Sweatmaster-sweat with the aero-bars and the Cervelo replica kit. If you're going to play at TT riding on the way into work, do it on the straightish bits of the cycle-path where there's plenty of elbow room. Trying it on the canal path in Bath will lead to you going for an early bath in the river if the bloke on the Brompton doesn't know you're there and swerves to miss a pedestrian at the same time you steam past on the right. Since you're on the pointy-bars you've got less control than usual. You cock.
hirez: (posing)
Dear angry and globular Citroen shed pilot. No, I will not show you my tits; yours are much larger. On the other hand, thank you for mistaking my gender. I was grinning all the way home from Oldland Common.

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