a serious omission

Yeah, so I got to age 38 before I ever heard Neil Young’s Harvest. Sue me. And all because Nichol is teaching me The Needle & The Damage Done on guitar.

And I can add Old Man to my list of “Songs I thought were recent originals, but are in fact old covers”. Thought it was a Wailin’ Jennies original (I know, I should read liner notes). I thought the same of Disguises (original: The Who; cover: Of Montreal) and Waterloo Sunset (original: The Kinks; cover: Robyn Hitchcock).

the reluctant rockstar of climate change

I was at Nicholas Stern‘s presentation to the Economic Club of Toronto today (as was Bob, David, Deb, Glenn, Paul, and about 490 others). He was very low-key; not sure if his dry sense of humour got the response he expected. The CBC covered it.

GO Transit, you suck!

I discovered last week that GO don’t have a central announcement system. That means that unstaffed stations like Kennedy and Exhibition always leave their passengers in the dark. Plus, the e-mail announcement system only alerts you if the train is more than 30 minutes late. I think by that time I would have gone home.

No sign of that train yet …

tunes I must learn (eventually)

Not all of these could be classed as banjo tunes, but I’d want to try, anyway:

  • The Coo-Coo Bird (it’s not optional)
  • The Old Plank Road (Uncle Dave’s delivery, which was more demented than the Rounders)
  • Hot Corn, Cold Corn (like HMR; just how does one spell moo’m moo’m moo’m de boo’m boo’m de boo’m?)
  • I’m Going In A Field (Nic Jones style)
  • Bridges & Balloons (Joanna’s song’s just crying out to be covered with a broad Glasgow accent)
  • Needle of Death (too many banjo tunes are too happy)
  • Ghost (the Neutral Milk Hotel one)
  • something by Sufjan (even if Peter Stampfel says he plays banjo kind of boringly)
  • I Love How You Love Me (like Mangum, not Spector)

clicking loaches!

Our little clown loaches were clicking like crazy after I fed them tonight. It sounds like tapping a tiny pebble against the glass. It was only today that I discovered where the noise was coming from!

people are stupid

There’s going to be some ranting here, so I advise folks to look at this nice picture of a monarch butterfly I took at Bluffer’s Park today, and move along:

monarch butterfly - spotty!

In the park there was a gull that wasn’t moving like the others. I got close to it, and discovered there was a large fishing lure lodged through its beak. I had no way of helping it, and a nearby parks crew couldn’t do anything either. It could fly, just, but the big lure slowed it down, and the trailing fishing line mad it stumble.
I know gulls are often seen as nuisance birds, but no animal deserved
this fate. There’s no fishing and no kite flying in this park because there are so many birds. I’m angry that someone could be so thoughtless.

There’s a picture below the fold. You probably don’t want to see it.

Continue reading “people are stupid”

RE Imaginations – Renewable Energy Art

I was about to rush off and tell Emma Jane about RE Imaginations – Renewable Energy Art, when I discovered she exhibits on it already.

(They had a nifty display at AWEA, and I just bought an Aleksandar Rodic print.)

big big blades

Visiting Siemens’ factory in Aalborg, we saw the blade fabrication process. I was pleasantly surprised to discovered that a major component of their blades is balsa wood, which, when combined with clear glass fibre and epoxy, makes a lovely organic-looking surface. It’s a shame that they have to be painted, but environmental degradation will always get ya in the end.

These blades are big:

Siemens B45 blade being loaded on a truck

The above is a 45m blade being loaded onto a truck.

big blades in the yard

Here is a bunch of 45m blades waiting to be finished and painted. You’ll note that there’s still some mould flash on the edge of the blade; that gets ground off. The submarine-like thing on the right is the truly colossal Siemens B52 blade (as a lifelong fan of Kate, Cindy, Ricky, Keith and Fred, the name alone made me happy, even if I knew it denoted a 52m blade). It was so large our entire party managed to stand inside the blade root, with no stooping required.

The week of shaving carefully

So how did my first week of shaving with a plain safety razor go? Pretty well, I think.

I’ve discovered that Weleda shaving cream and after-shave balm work well for me. They have a muted, natural scent, and are very soothing.

What didn’t work for me was Lush Prince shaving cream. This heavy, waxy preparation clogs up the blade, it smells too strongly of neroli, and is a horror to rinse off. I also cut myself the only time I used it. Styptic pencil owies resulted.

Catherine has remarked on the closer shave (I suspect ‘cos I’m spending more time on it). It’s strange, but the stubble seems sharper. I wonder if multiple blades smoothed the razor-cut ends of the hairs, and thus gave an impression of a smoother, longer-lasting shave?

I like my Merkur. Using it for a year will end up cheaper than any cartridge razor, and result in far less trash.

first day new job

I had a good day. There was a lot of administrivia, setting up e-mail accounts, form filling, and learning about the network, but that’s all once off. The afternoon was mostly spent fighting with my new BlackBerry (a 7130e, you nerds), which works as a very nice phone, but the e-mail isn’t set up.

My cube has a view, and the transit is great. I’m happy.

big windfarm, big deal

So there was a stramash that the RSPB published a map showing where the Lewis wind farm would reach if it started in Edinburgh. Oh noes! Looks like it’d go all the way to Methil.

I’ve been working on a couple of medium-sized wind farms in Ontario. For top laughs, I tried overlaying them on Scotland, using streetmap.co.uk for the measurements.

Since I’m a weegie, I started at George Square. One of the farms would stretch all the way west by Wishaw, near Murdostoun Castle (and the comically-named town of Bonkle). The other would run north to somewhere between Fintry and Kippen, in Stirlingshire.

For those of you unlucky enough to be based east of Falkirk, I tried the same starting at Edinburgh Castle. The first wind farm would run west to the hamlet of Gilchriston, which is just north-west of Dun Law Wind Farm, which I worked on in the distant past. (If you run the farm west from Edinburgh, you end up in Bo’ness, which no-one would want to do.) The other design would end up somewhere between Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes, near Thornton — and not that far from Methil, a distance that the RSPB would have us believe is just too far for a wind farm.

So, where’s the news, RSPB? How did your land get somehow more precious than ours?

ex dexit, or trying to be

Coo, was I really all fired up about Dexit, like I appear to have been in January 2004? ‘Cos, basically, Dexit sucks.

The coffee place I get my morning fix got rid of its unreliable Dexit machine when it changed hands. So I’ve got nearly $70 sitting on the useless Dexit tag, doing nothing.

Today I called for a refund, and discovered that Dexit won’t refund your balance. I wouldn’t have signed up for it if I’d known there’d be this in the ultra-sneaky Dexit user agreement (PDF):

Only in the event of your death (and upon receipt of such documents as Dexit reasonably requires in such circumstances as to whom is entitled to your estate funds), or Dexit closing your Dexit Account without cause, will the remaining funds in your Dexit Account be repaid to you. “Cause” will include any violation of this Agreement, any fraud or attempted fraud, any other operation of the Dexit Account or use of a Dexit Tag in an unsatisfactory manner, or non-use of your Dexit Account for over three (3) years.

So, do I hafta kill myself to get my money back?

Oh, and Dexit’s phone support staff are untruthful. I needed to speak to a supervisor. They promised one would call before 8pm this evening. It’s 9:55 now, and I’ve heard nothing.

I hate Sony

While I like my Cybershot P100, I can’t believe that Sony would make the Memory Stick Pro incompatible with older Memory Stick readers. It’s bad enough that Sony had to created their own expensive, proprietary memory card format (which does exactly what better than CF or SD?), but to make it incompatible between revisions of itself is beyond inexcusable.

Y’see, I scored a cheapo Lexar multi card reader from CWO the other week because it was quite small and takes both CF and MS. I discovered this evening, when it failed to read my MS Pro cards (in the adaptor) but happily read my mum’s plain MS card, that the two formats are gratuitously incompatible. Um, hello, earth to Sony R&D …