Friday 29 June 2018

How desperate can you get?

Don't answer that.

Zombie films.

I mean, WHY for heaven's sake?

Look, I love stupid films. One of my favourites is Mars Attacks, just because, but zombie films leave me cold.

Apart from the physical impossibility of the zombie concept actually working (there's a reason we breath, eat normal food, require a working circulation etc) why would a dead person try to catch a live person instead of eating another closer, slower zombie? And don't get me started about how they might actually locate a live person when they wouldn't be able to see, hear, smell or have a functioning sense of touch.

But I digress.

Fear the walking dead. OK, good advice - like idiots, they'll drag you down to their level & then beat you with experience.

Pride & zombies - probably an improvement on the original.

Shaun of the dead - definitely an improvement on Dawn.

Girl guides and zombies - is that a barrel I can see the bottom of?

Cockneys and zombies - you're 'avin a swift 'alf mate.

MILFs and zombies - what the actual pox?

Stripperland - a deadly virus kills women and then makes them turn into zombie-strippers before they eat your brain (not that they'll ever find it if you watch this)?

Osombie - Osama is back, and he wants your brain.


I've seen just one of the above thus far (Simon Peg does know how to make a funny film) but the range and sheer DUMBNESS of zombie films will never cease to amaze me - that and the fact that people obviously finance these things being made (which is potentially comedy gold in its own right: you want to borrow money to make a film about something that can't happen, the film will become an object of ridicule AND lose money - sure, how much do you want to borrow?).

I guess you never can tell with people.

On second thoughts, maybe this IS proof zombies exist. ;-)

Hope the odd pun isn't wasted.

Sunday 24 June 2018

And what might this mean?

I have a feeling blogger is about to sod up page layouts, but let's try to post anyway. Actually this should have been posted yesterday, but a bug in blogger for Android that was present a couple of years ago hasn't gone away, where trying to add a photo to a post from phone storage crashes the app. You can take a picture & add it, but not use one off the internal memory, so I'm a day late, posing from a PC.

So I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK. Chris said I should title this blogging about logging.

A few years back a neighbour in the village took down some trees and we acquired the logs, thus having stored them since they are nicely seasoned and presently dry. Naturally they weren't conveniently stove-sized logs, but hey, what would life be without a challenge?

Naturally one remembers to take pictures part-way through a job of work, but here's the log-store area. :p

The chain saw hasn't been run since autumn last year, so having checked necessary fluids were present I gave it some choke and pulled the chord.

Who knew a starter handle could bite? My ankle is still slightly swollen >24 hours later, though I did manage to run on it this evening.

It was mid-afternoon when I started work, and I didn't want to run out of steam too badly. Also Chris has a nasty cold, and was basically out of service all weekend, so no help stacking the logs as she would normally do. So I got about half the logs cut in the end, and have filled a lot of our log storage space.

There're something wonderful about the smell of fresh-cut wood, and although this is probably only larch, it still smelled great, mingled with rose scent (and not sweat, as suggested by a colleague).There's also something amazing about using a chainsaw for cutting, the way it just slides through the timber gradually making a slot in the work. Then there's the odd sensation of a warm stream of fragrant shavings spraying against my bare lower legs and rapidly filling my shoes with prickly bits of wood. In the days of the old homelite, the shavings would also be distinctly oily, due to a slightly generous setting for the chain lube pump, and ones clothes would smell of chain saw oil and wood dust.

There was also a little resistance in the next stage.

The wood was very dry and generally split easily, however some logs were a little knotty. With these the successful technique was generally to get the axe hanging behind my back, then bring it forwards as fast as possible at full arms length, aiming for a point a few inches inside the centre of the log. In this case there were some internal knots running across the log, and it took the first blow without even showing a serious crack. The log below is a different one, but it quickly gave in.

So we shouldn't be cold this winter, at least, not if we have to rely on log burning. The log store area in the shed is full, and the external log store is half full. I may try to finish off the rest next weekend, and see if I can make enough space in the shed to store the excess timber.

Tuesday 19 June 2018

IT hardware upgrading

Is like rust.*

My drive is almost completely full.

That's a phrase to strike terror in a heart or 2.

The 1TB SSD I bought a couple of years back had about 15GB space left, despite careful culling of excess images, and I really didn't want to throw more away, yet at the same time I couldn't afford to get a bigger SSD (REALLY couldn't - 2TB? That would cost more than half the value of the laptop!).

So I'm back to fragile, noisy spinning rust. It's cheap, spacious, not too slow and working adequately. I loved having a silent laptop that I could just toss onto the settee while it was still on, but this does what I need at a price I can justify. It IS slower than the SSD, but not enough to be a problem.

*You only hold it back for a time, no matter how much future-proofing you spend money on.

Thursday 14 June 2018

Business completed, however.

At this point I would normally go walkabouts except that:

a) the weather is glum
b) my right heel rubbed sore walking the couple of miles to and from the embassy
c) the winds here are pulling fibrous seed casing from the trees so that the air is misty with them, and they make your eyes really sore.

This last is a problem for everyone. I've seen several people rubbing their eyes, some coughing badly. From this bus shelter it looks like a fine rain.

In other curious news, I bought a ticket at the Oxford park and ride, got on an x90 bus with no trouble. Came to return just now and the x90 driver pointed out I had an Oxford tube ticket. Weird. So here I am, waiting for another bus. 😒

Hello Hyde park

And do you ever wonder what YOU are?

From the elevated position in the bus, I keep seeing scenes to photograph, from the tube train running past a clot of power cables and a decayed futuristic building, to a new development with hoardings proudly proclaiming what they are building half buried in weeds.

Am I scientist or artist? Not that it matters.

And now the rain has arrived. London is damp and dull, clogged with traffic and restless in the drive to make and sell more stuff. How well Brexit frames our confused and hopeful, yet hopeless society.

Do you wonder what people think about?

Perhaps I'm as bad. There's a chap hammering away on a laptop a few rows in front of me, another chap who just got off at Hillingdon who was working the whole journey here. Others working too.

What is that kind of life like? When they get home, do they have mental energy to think about love, laughter and life or are they consumed by planning the next day's work? Perhaps they get lots done on the bus, so they can leave the office early? Are occupied minds less likely to have time to think troubled or troubling thoughts?

So many unknowns, but watching people is fascinating. If I could blag and bluff the funds, it would be interesting to do this journey every day for a year and write about the experience.

Good morning world.

Sometimes it's just easier to use the bus.

Wednesday 13 June 2018

Going through the old green tin.

Tomorrow I must visit the Austrian embassy in London in order to renew my passport. Previously it's been possible to do everything by post, but current practice is that all renewals must attend in person, so I have a day off tomorrow and a trip right into Belgrave by Hyde park, as early as I can manage.

This afternoon's job was to hunt through the documents we have here for all the needed stuff. Laying awake during the night, I realised that I'd not taken time to hunt info etc for the application, and rather than scrabble around desperately this evening when I would be tired, decided it's worth taking time out to do with no-one else around and space to lay things out.

We keep our most 'historic' and personal docs in an old green metal tin that has been with me since before we married as my filing repository (tempting to say suppository, but that would be scratchy!) and so I dug it out and opened the lid.

The stuff we have in there was jammed tightly front to back. There's the recent UK passports envelope containing Chris's current passport plus sometimes mine when she decides to put it away before I secrete it in my preferred storage place, EHIC info & other stuff. There's an orange envelope with my old Reisepasses right back to 1962 when I first came to the UK, re-validated when I was 6 for a re-visit to Republik Oesterreich - the pages are all punched and have a multi-coloured thread passing through in a loop, held with an official seal on the last page. There were tax receipts, old payslips and letters confirming salary increases, insurance documents etc. Right in the back I came across the envolope containing marriage, birth & death certificates and finally my Staatsburgerschaftsnachweis - certificate of state citizenship - that I need for tomorrow.

I went through the lot, right down to the Triumph, Triton, BSA etc waterslide decals in the bottom. Hiding right there were some small pieces of paper, tightly folded & covered in fine handwriting.

It's really good to read, after almost 40 years together, love letters from before we were married. Puts a lot of perspective on how we got here, who we were and are, where we might go from here. It would be false to say I'm not sentimental, but that doesn't matter and I'm glad I married this slightly nutty woman.

Thursday 7 June 2018

Wednesday 6 June 2018

Fingerprint sensors may not be *the* answer to security.

The tip of my right index finger is frequently subject to wear, dry & peeling skin and general attrition fro guitar playing (among other things). This does not make for a reliable recognition when using a fingerprint sensor.

I know the sensor works OK because the other fingers I have set up work pretty much first time, every time, although having a slightly deeper case on the phone has reduced reliability because it reduces the contact area of the fingertip.

Guess it's slightly reassuring.

In other thoughts, Apple may be a better supplier of hardware than many others. It has nothing to do with the actual hardware and everything to do with the fact that they're a hardware manufacturer who doesn't have a business model based on selling you, the user, to advertisers and others. It's not that I think they are now a good, friendly, ethical company - absolutely the opposite - but their business model is becoming focussed towards selling secure devices to wealthy people, and sales would suffer if they thought their devices were not secure.

Having said that, the reality distortion field around Apple hardware has been such that at times, leaky security would have been presented and accepted as a better thing than selling secure hardware. Never believe the promises of someone looking to make money by selling you stuff you can't understand.

Out of context but.... the light of the previous post I was amused to find this:

"I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day."
Dean Martin

I am also reminded of the Dean Martin definition that states if you can lay on the floor without holding on then you aren't drunk - hope that's a test I never need to undertake.

Monday 4 June 2018

How long can you get away with ignoring stuff?

Especially when it's knees, and they hurt after running.

Laying in bed a couple of days ago I could remember the feeling I had as a child, running as hard as I could, and how good it felt. The bouncy feeling in ones legs when starting a run in my early 20s. Now, when I begin running it's cautiously, trying to get the pace & footfall right so that it doesn't hurt or feel like I'm doing damage.

Alzheimers may have been Terry Pratchett's embuggerance, but other aspects of aging remind me of the feeling that word expresses too.

At least I can walk down stairs this morning without having to put most of my weight on the banister rail instead of the right leg. And you know, I could do with getting another run in, either tonight or tomorrow, to stop the fitness going backwards and to try to extend my range a little bit more. Poxing mortality. And I'm one of the 'lucky' ones (and I know it).

And thinking about this feller, I seem to have got away with the aging pretty lightly so far. There's a side of me that compares our 2 different testimonies and wants to make it positive "God at work in my adversity - my weakness allows Him to be strong" but I don't really believe that to be true, at least for me. Can God use me more when I'm ill or weak or failing than He can when I'm happy, healthy, fit and able? I'm more inclined to believe we can be used or not used in whatever circumstances we find ourselves, whether we're standing up or falling down, though it's ALWAYS better to make the best than the worst of circumstances.