Bellerophon symbol, variation 7
Monday 1st January 2007

Erm . . . looks like we went for a wander around Lancaster. Up to the castle and the Priory. And something I had never before seen, the remains of some Roman Baths. I had no idea. So yeah. . . .how exciting. I'm still a bit confused by the reference to James Maychell in the last image there. I know the monument is something to do with slavery, Lancaster and what-not, so was James Maychell a captain on a ship that contained slaves?

Tuesday 2nd January 2007

So I'm not at work again today, on account of looking after A****** (nursery doesn't open until next Monday). The highlight of the day (no, really) seems to have been a strange phone call with some guy at Practical Hi-Fi. I've met the guy in question face-to-face before, but he probably wouldn't remember that, having only been a very occasional customer. The conversation went a bit like this:

"Hello. I rang earlier this morning, asking about some Wharfedale floorstanding speakers. I think it was someone else I spoke to . . . but I was told that these would be ready for collection, for a home trial, around about now. Is it okay if I come over now and pick them up?"(Practical Hi-Fi do free home trial of their produce)
"Oh, yes, it would have been someone else, yes. We have the Acoustics Energy's boxed up, ready for collection, but are saying now that you want the Wharfedales? Because they're out of production now."
(it's almost like a Sophist in action here, 'cos I'm thinking, "Acoustic Energy? What the hell are you on about? I have never heard of Acoustic Energy, not until you mentioned them. Why would I have ordered something by a company I've never heard of?")
"Erm . . . yes, the Wharfedales. They were definitely Wharfedales. I was told that model was in Preston and that you had to get a van to bring 'em over and that they should be at your place today."
"No, we don't do those any more."
"What, you don't sell them?"
"No. If you listened to me a couple of sentences back, I said they're out of production, but Practical Hi-Fi still sell them, but we don't have many models left, so if you want those, instead of the Acoutic Energy ones, which is fine, then I'll need to get them to bring 'em over from Preston, that's all. Otherwise, they could get sold to someone else. My colleague has spent ages packaging these Acoustic Energy speakers for you, but if you're saying you don't want them . . . ."
"Erm. Okay. Maybe I'm over-complicating things here. Maybe it would be easier if I just came down to your shop."
"Well, I'm just trying to save you two journeys, that's all [laughs]. We have the Acoustic Energy's ready now but we can't get the Wharfedales ready until tomorrow late afternoon."
"This conversation is confusing me and my son has just filled his nappy with the most horrendous smelling thing ever. Anyone would think he's ill or something"
"It's probably just the break-up of his routine, having taken him out of nursery for the Christmas period. I would guess he's probably not eating much in the evening as well. Not that I would know, of course. Maybe I have no children. Maybe I do. The narrative drifts into the bizarre. The worm sleeps and lizards falls. The dinosaurs wait as the turtle beckons. The wasp whispers to the children, unblinking, as the fourth sun sets. Granny rocks uncomfortably, whilst lava bubbles up between my toes. Bubbles popping. Sleep."

or something like that. I wonder if he knew my piano tuner? The conversation went on for a while, me often having to kind of stare at the phone, laughing, as this lunatic seemed to get increasingly angry with me, the customer, for failing to understand that the speakers I had ordered for collection today had metamorphised into a pair of Acoustic Energy speakers (same price, though) and that I could just borrow both sets tomorrow afternoon or, whatever - just go crazy - borrow a dozen sets of speakers. All very strange.

Wednesday 3rd January 2007

So I got my Wharfedales in the end - a pair of Wharfedale Diamond 9.4's, I believe (when I say 'got', I only mean 'took home for a trial'). They sound pretty good too. Tonight me and M****** have been going through my vinyl collection, picking out stuff we're familiar with in one way or another, or else stuff that should test out some aspect of what maketh a decent loudspeaker. I think we got through Nirvana, The Flaming Lips, Huey Lewis and the News, Whitney Houston, Amon Tobin, Syd Barrett, Blur, Tori Amos, Thelonious Monk and . . . no, I think that was it. I'm still not sure about female vocals on these speakers, but I don't often listen to those people, so it not much of a problem. Everything else sounded fine. Hmmmmm. Erm . . . I got a new graph on the statistics page (needs a bit of work though).

Saturday 6th January 2007

Yeah. So, there I was, after lunch, just about to sit down to watch Serenity, when . . . well, abrupt change of plan, shall we say. I hurriedly attach Christmas present from Liz (cycle computer) to bicycle and head off towards Clougha. Two and a half miles later and I reach one of the entry points. There's one car in the car-park, a guy in his late fifties, early sixties, dressed in blue waterproofs, who greets me with a how-do, before taking the right fork (54° 2'15.01"N, 2°43'20.62"W) up towards the top of Clougha, I guess. I head left. Blimey - some of those walls and roads are mighty straight round there. Hmmmm. Anyway, those flowers had been placed there deliberately and recently, as should be obvious. Those leaves had formed a strange, Andy Goldsworthy-esque swirly shape (or concentric hoof shapes), that the pictures here don't really do full justice to, but hey . . . And then some rocks which had formed a cute little shelter.
So the picture, first from the left, was taken about 40 minutes after the other one above, but the light had changed substantially - the sky was gradually starting to clear up. And then we have this strange observation tower thing or whatever in god's name it is. The next picture (second from left) I took because I was thinking of that scene at the beginning of Saving Private Ryan, during the landing at Omaha beach. Of course, you get nearer, and you realise it's just an odd structure with a bricked up entrance. Hmmmm. Fourth picture along shows what I think is where grouse shooters hang out - it's probably got a name, but I know not. Last picture (bottom right there) is the result of a conversation I was having with M****** and Simon (of Harrogate), thereby proving exactly was I saying to unbelieving ears.
So, I'm on my way back from Clougha and, following phone calls from M******, I'm heading towards Williamson's Park to meet M****** and A******. I spotted decent looking sunset with clear views of Blackpool Tower in the distance, but I couldn't decide my favourite, so I've left all four in. Hmmmmm. I bumped into M****** and A****** somewhere around the lake and we made our way up towards the café, where I got a coffee and a slice of 'caramel loaf' which, given my recent exercise, tasted fantastic. So yeah . . . pictures of M****** and A****** with stupid folly in the background (the building . . . erm, oddly enough).

Sunday 7th January 2007

Software patents, eh? These are obviously hard times for lawyers. Those lucky few that can find work must clearly be underpaid. Thank the lord for software patents then. My name was showing on this list at time of writing, but may not be there when you follow the link.

Otherwise, today I did spend some of the afternoon over at an aircraft hanger belonging to one of Mark's (Mel's dad) acquaintances. It's an aircraft hanger with about three/four separate areas requiring internet/intranet access, so we began sorting that out. Fortunately, BT had been in and installed some kind of weird ADSL modem/router thing, with three ethernet/telephony access points going back to said router. One computer was already set up with access to the router, so we just copied the network settings thereof onto the other two machines. This leaves one more access point on the router (which tested out okay), so we ran a length of ethernet cable from there to where the next socket will be placed. Something like that anyway. Of course, many more access points are required, so more hub/router/switch type things will surely be required. But yeah . . . we made a start. The light was failing and the building still requires more mains access points and lighting and what-not. That night I finished watching Serenity. Fantastic film.

Thursday 11th January 2007

No, I don't think much has been happening of late, so I thought I would make an entry here to say so. An entry to say . . . there is no entry. Interestingly, today ranks as the 11th most busy for my web-site. That's at time of writing, of course. For some odd reason, on 31st August 2006, my web-site had 1994 hits. Hmmmmm. The DIY has ground to a halt. This is probably because main computer is fully operational now - I have better things to do. Ah well. And, erm . . . I don't know what possessed me to look for orange jumpsuits on eBay (yes you do, it was a news article on the BBC web-site) but I don't know what's more disturbing: an Aqua/Orange 70s Disco Vintage Jumpsuit Dress Palazzo WT (?!) or a[n?] used Orange prison/jail jumpsuit (size 3XL), with the following description: "Snap button front. Some dirt at the leg cuffs that should wash out. Right leg [has] a 2-inch tear in the seam near the ankle." It was the former that filled me with more revulsion.

Friday 12th January 2007

Nothing much. Performed some maintenance on the database that maintains logs of hits to my web-site. Things seems a bit quicker now. Queries are running in fractions of a second rather than ten times that figure. The statistics page may come up a lot quicker than in the past. In the evening I did go over to my brother's house. Just as I'm emerging onto Meeting House Lane, there's about seven/eight blokes shouting at someone or something, words to the effect, "You f***ing starting sumthin'? We'll take you on. We'll take the lot of yer on," or something like that. They sounded more like the base, primitive, aggressive sounds of one group of male primates defending their ground from a rival group of similar male primates. What they were shouting at each other didn't seem that important; rather the tone, the delivery. Anyway, I rounded the corner, and suddenly there were about 30-40 of these people, doing lots of shouting and some slapping each other like girls. I wanted to stand around and watch, shouting, "Fight, fight, fight," from the side-lines . . . but maybe not such a good idea. At James's house, he explained the workings of Battlefield 1942 and we tried, we really tried, we really, really tried to convince Windows to behave like a modern, networked machine but no . . . just, no. My lap-top could connect to James's machine and (here's the best bit) from my lap-top I was able to connect and reconnect the ADSL modem (a USB affair, connected to James's computer) but my lap-top adamantly refused to acknowledge any other computer/network except for James's. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Tuesday 16th January 2007

Don't think there's much news at the moment. Hmmmmm. The Viagra sellers hit my web-site recently (albeit in a very minor way), which is why the parameter to leave comments is now mungbeans rather than commmmments (as it used to be). Over the weekend we did stay over with Helen and Stu in Halton. The following day we had a walk around Glasson Dock, but A****** wasn't too keen on taking lunch at the Victoria, so that brought that outing to a premature end. I forgot to bring my camera along. I've had to order a new rechargeable battery for my Canon Ixus II, on account that even when fully charged, it barely gets through a day of average usage before completely running out of charge. I seem to have also ordered the Sufjan Steven's album, 'Illinois' on vinyl and also those speakers I was going on about a while back (from superfi). I'm awaiting all of these items.

Friday 19th January 2007

I was gonna write something here but then I thought, "Nah, that's boring," and then earlier on today, I thought, "Oh yeah - I should put a link to my web-site to that," but now I can't remember what on earth it was. Hello. What kind of woman has dog biscuits and rawl-plugs in her handbag? Oh dear - I was gonna insert a link there to an article on the Guardian web-site, but now it's asking for me to 'log-in' or something. That was not happening before. Never mind. And a balaclava?!

Saturday 20th January 2007

Today M****** was at work (well, during the morning anyway), so I got on with some chores, with one eye ever on A******. A****** and I then went into town to meet M******. I bought some Nikwax stuff to re-seal my decidedly not waterproof coat. Back at home, I had to break up the Christmas tree into smaller parts in order for it to fit into our 'green' bin. This was achieved using a saw and a pair of secaturs (sp.?!), although at first I thought, "Hmmmm, why not saw off a few coaster-like shapes from the trunk?" and I did . . . three of them. They're being varnished in the garage. Perhaps varnish overkill, as I'm using the Ronseal 'Diamond Hard' floor varnish stuff (suitable for heavy traffic areas). Yes. Oh, and I've taken apart a bed today. It is going to a better home, that of Liz and Antony, as soon as the house is theirs. In the evening, I had to test out my new camera battery (seemingly as bad as the last - is it a camera problem then?) and so went around the house taking pictures of . . . things. The theme was red, green, blue.

Sunday 21st January 2007

First things first - my normal USB keyboard seems to no longer work. Odd thing is, it was working fine up until the point where I took it (along with USB mouse, computer and USB 6-in-1 card reader) to Bebbgee Computers for repairs. Hmmmm. I was using a PS2 one as the guy at Bebbgee said the USB keyboard could have caused the problems in the first place. But just for the hell of it, I thought I would try . . . oh, never mind. It's boring. The point is: I'm now using some weird USB Apple Mac keyboard and I'm thinking, "Erm . . . where's all the keys gone?" I've found the 'Home' key (with a weird diagonal arrow pointing up and left, so that's 'Home' then, obviously) and the Apple key seems to work as the Windows key (logical enough, I guess), but where on earth is the Insert key? I use that one a lot. And the 'End' key, what happened to that one? Oh, and the 'Del' key. That's also useful. Hmmmm. Anyway. Then there were major problems with the network cable connecting the main (i.e. this one) computer to the ADSL modem. This network cable was two network cables joined together by hand, by twisting the individual strands together and hoping for the best. Recently I thought, "Hmmm, better solder those things then," but couldn't find my soldering iron. Improvised with a lighter instead (actually three disposable lighters superglued together), and all seems kind of okay. Connection kept . . . disappearing though. Moved the computer downstairs, in order to use a shorter run of CAT5 cable, thereby ascertaining that my soldering hadn't gone too well. So, I run the cable along a much shorter route, thereby completely . . . I've forgot the word . . . bypassing? . . . thereby completely making unnecessary the need for joining two cables together, as one of those cables was long enough. So, that was good. I guess. During the afternoon we were following a curious walk, whereby we started from around Happy Mount Park, walked along the promenade away from Morecambe (as you would), before joining some canal or other. I think the curiousness would have been migratory (?!) birds from/to Canada and/or Africa, but the tide (and maybe the season, I don't know) was against us. Lunch at a Jennings pub at Slyne. I had haddock, which was good until I started imagining the fish tasted of prawns which put me off a bit. I don't know why I didn't imagine the haddock tasted of Marmite or egg or onions or something. Maybe even polythene.

Monday 22nd January 2007

This is the sunrise this morning. There was also a pretty good sunset, but that happened when I was at work, which would be fine, were I to have my camera with me at work. So yeah. Otherwise today was another mundane Monday (unintentional alliteration).

Saturday 27th January 2007

So our new wardrobe and chest of drawers arrived yesterday. Quite a lot of the chest of drawers was constructed on Friday night, with the rest finished today, with A******'s help (Mel was at work). Today the stomach bug caught from A****** was rearing it's ugly head. Later on that day I began work constructing the wardrobe. Our bedroom was soon full of the curious smell of tung (?!) and linseed oil.

Sunday 28th January 2007

Stomach bugs, dontcha just love 'em? A****** came down with something on Wednesday night but is largely recovered now, save for a loss of apetite. But then, having two huge premolars (apparently) emerging . . . well, that ain't any kind of fun. Needless to say, A****** dutifully passed on the bug to both myself and M******, me first and then M******. Without going into details, the stomach says, "There's something in me I don't like, and it's gotta get out," so yeah . . . fill in the blanks. I had an early night on Saturday night and am largely recovered. The most annoying dreams though . . . it was like I was wandering amongst the deepest, darkest depths of Linux kernel options (I suppose comparable with Windows regedit) and over and over and over again I was looking for something very specific - some kind of option to enable something or else meta-enable that same something. It didn't make any kind of sense, and yet the same dream kept happening over and over and over again (as if the repitition would get the message across), and then dreams of me explaining what it all meant to someone and how this related to reality. I needed to un-tick the stomach bug option. Oh . . . and the wardrobe, yes. Most of this had been constructed the previous day, and there was just the doors to attach. A****** discovered the dangers of being inside a wardrobe shortly after those pictures were taken, when I accidentally (well, what else?) trapped one of his fingers in the door. Oooooops.