all the stars came crashing down

Saw the Decemberists at the awful barn that is the Kool Haus last night. The place was fairly busy, but not full. A scalper offered me a derisory price for a spare ticket, so I don’t think they sold out.
They were pretty good; great in parts, kind of tired and meh in others. Naughty Chris Funk lit up on stage; that’ll mean a fine for the venue. That’ll teach him not to play banjo on stage.
Sensitive wee Scottish folkie Alasdair Roberts supported. He was good enough for me to buy the CD.

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)

a good reason to blog less

Yesterday went to The Twelfth Fret and traded in the Goodtime for this:

Bob Carlin BC-350

It’s a Gold Tone Bob Carlin Signature. It sounds beautiful, and unlike me, plays like a dream. So if I’m not blogging so much, this might just be the reason.

dirty harry

Went to Harry Ramsden’s in Glasgow last night for old time’s sake, and we probably won’t ever be back. The service was slow, the food so-so, and the bathrooms disgusting. It has lost its Harryness, alas.

providing cannon fodder for empire since 1867

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the toll of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan is the price Canada is paying for playing a leadership role in world affairs.

I reckon that if I took a random street poll anywhere (anywhere outside Canada, that is), no more than 3 out of 10 people would consider Canada as having a leadership role. I do not wish to make light of the soldiers’ plight; I just don’t want them there in my name.

(I was going to make a comment about the nearest thing to a role to most Canadians would be a Swiss Chalet 1/4 chicken dinner, but that doesn’t work in a written context, and barely works when spoken.)

not the smartest loaches in the tank

Came home, said hello to the fish, and did a quick count; I was one loach down, and the CO2 generator had an orange tail …

Seems that one of the loaches had decided it was way cool to get wedged up the back of the gas generator, and couldn’t get back out. I gingerly pulled off the device from the side of the tank, and the loach fluttered off, a little dazed.

No sooner had I put the generator back did another loach zoom up and get jammed. It must’ve been told that you got a “wicked headrush, dude”.

And for this reason, loaches don’t rule the earth.

okay, which wise guy …

… made PCIe slots able to hold but not use AGP graphics cards? In the old days, there would have been a key in the slot to make it impossible to fit an incompatible card.

Goodbye, childhood

Goodbye:

  • headache glue cracking from finger tips
  • badly-painted pilot with obvious thumb-prints
  • squint and/or torn decals
  • undercarriage installed backwards, if at all
  • spilled tin of Humbrol enamel
  • leftover sprue rattling in cardboard box with an unidentified piece still attached
  • curious v-shaped stand that never quite stood level
  • hung squintly from bedroom light by white thread until dusty wing missing from too many runins with parental heads
  • taken down for final flight whirled round head on string until dashed against clothespole or arcing up up into neighbour’s fir tree (it’s still there today)
  • when older, packed with cotton balls nicked from sister, doused with turps, crashed flaming kamikaze onto the compost heap (sorry dad, your onions never did well on paint thinner and burnt plastic)

Goodbye, Airfix

the computer does work

Picked up the new computer from Canada Computers yesterday. High-end it isn’t, but it’s more than adequate. It’s an AMD Sempron 3000+ (on a Foxconn K8M890M2MA-RS2H motherboard), with 1GB RAM, 80GB SATA disk and a DVD±RW drive. There was change out of $400, including tax.

It’s running Ubuntu for AMD64. While there are a few things I don’t have configured, it was all installed in under an hour. It reminds me a bit of OS X. There’s one thing it does better than the Mac; it knows about duplex printers, and assumes you want to be able to print duplex. Under OS X, you have to choose two-sided every time you print. Thanks to Davey for originally putting me on to Ubuntu. My life’s too short to mess with linux configs.

Now I need to move the old hard drive over as a spare, and fit the various cards from the old machine.

the computer does not work

My 4 year old Athlon XP box finally gave up this week. It had been acting ropily for a few months, and now it won’t even boot. Don’t really need to replace it with anything powerful; maybe just a cheapo Sempron box. We’ll see what Canada Computers has to offer.

Lansing Square hates bikes

I meant to add to the last posting that I got stopped in the lobby of Lansing Square and told that I couldn’t bring a bike in since it was a fire risk. Now, I’ve never had a bike catch fire, so you think the concierge was being a jobsworth?

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”

a joy forever

a thing of beauty

I finished fixing up the brakes on the Super Galaxy, and put new handlebar tape on the bars. I still suck at fitting bar tape; should’ve stuck to my old standard Benotto tape, which, while almost useless for shock absorption, is cheap and easy to fit.

Once all was fitted, I took it for a spin. The new brakes are a delight; very positive and extremely powerful. I will enjoy riding again.

(And yes, you bike nerds, there is no straddle cable in that picture.)

bike work

There is something very pleasing about working on one’s bike of an evening, racing against the fading light. I stripped the ancient bar tape of the tourer, and started on refurbishing the brakes. I think that 1987 was the year that cantilevers got good, and since I have a 1986 Super Galaxy, the old Shimano BR-AT50s were pretty poor. New Alivios don’t quite have the finish of the old units, but they’ll work, meaning I’ll be able to stop without a full city block’s notice.

Stewart C. Russell – scruss.com

The move to Teksavvy has finally goaded me into moving my old Sympatico pages to scruss.com. Considering they’re still using 2003-style markup, I think they look quite smooth.

new connection

Switched ISPs from Sympatico to Teksavvy today. Couldn’t keep paying Bell $46 a month for something I could get for less elsewhere. I’m not (yet?) getting faster service, but the Speedtouch modem has all the admin stuff I’d need.
Must remember to copy over my old Sympatico web pages

too many wind turbines in the UK? Hardly!

Flying back from Denmark over the UK the other day, I hoped to see at least some wind farms. In a highly unscientific study, I peered out the window from approximately Nottingham to Iona. You know how many wind turbines I saw? Four. You know how many were working? One. Hardly something that’s taking over the landscape.

And strangely, the one I saw working, at Chelker Reservoir, I used to drive past quite often on my way to Skipton. I’ve never seen more than a couple of those old WEG 300kW two-bladers running. I was frankly amazed there were any of them left. Even from 10000m, you could make out the herky-jerky rotation.