2008 — 29 Mar: Saturday

Last night's Trivia evening was not the success story of the week. We scraped our way through to 57%, and managed just one all-correct round — screen kisses and kissers, oddly. But the meal with Thomas and Sofie was very pleasant, and we spent some time going through our respective music collections. Haven't done that for ages. In fact, I'm now (00:08) actually ripping a few more of my CDs, having reconnected a nice Firewire external DVD/CD drive to the HP desktop machine.

I think, however, it's time to think about sleep. Though I'm also vaguely tempted to have one more bash at creating a pair of recovery DVDs for this machine. The attempt yesterday failed in a way that made me suspect the built-in drive is the culprit. And a partial failure of one of my rips a few minutes ago also suggests that drive is sub-optimal. Nothing seems to last forever, be it a non-stick frying pan, a computer drive, or lousy weather. G'night.

Ode to the progress bar

I'll never consider myself a nerd again! A chap called Jon Blyth writes amusingly in today's Guardian:

I lost a progress bar that was very dear to me in 2000. It was in a Windows utility called defrag. I won't bore and outrage you with a set of half-correct details, but basically defrag featured the longest progress bar you'll ever see. Your entire hard drive was laid out before you, and you got to watch the computer picking nits out of its files.

Jon Blyth writing "A passion for pausing" in the Guardian

Not only do I remember exactly that, but I have fond hopes of one day once again making progress. Don't ask me when, or where to, though, as I've not really had a clue for the last thirty-plus years. I was always perfectly happy to bounce through Life from one day to the next with (as the Monty Python "Lumberjack" song puts it) "my best gal at my side".1 Still, the happy thought that "Gollum" is going to play "Captain Haddock" cheers me up.
(Story here.)

Fish oil, anyone?

I suppose I could blame the Guardian (again!) for my signal lack of progress. There's a lovely little row festering here, judging by the comments. Time for brekkie. Wonder what Omega-3 does for the taste of my customary cold cardboard porridge brick?

Horrid weather!

More or less as promised, of course. But it's cold, wet, and dismally grey. Time for a reheated crockpot meal to boost the blood sugar. Minor achievements so far today include a new working light behind the plasma screen, a new working Nero installation on the HP desktop, and the finishing of Alan Bennett's excellent The uncommon reader. Failure to date is the ripping of one particular track from the CD soundtrack2 of Ghost world. Who knew, by the way, that repairing the XP Pro Media Centre 2005 edition (trips off the tongue, doesn't it?) would include the loss of DVD codecs? One might suspect that software calling itself a "Media Centre application" (and, let it be noted, featuring a menu option to "Play DVDs") would include at least one of the little blighters...

Shame on you, BBC!

Almost as nasty a shock as finding out that idiotic network TV execs had cancelled Northern Exposure back in 1995.

No more Coupling

I must admit, though, that see-through Post-It note is clever. Let me have a little think (and a play with Xara Xtreme's "transparency" tool):


Good! It works! But the real trick is to do it in pure CSS, I guess.

Now which Government agency...

... do you suppose had this to say?

A small partially offsetting upward effect came from milk, cheese and eggs.


And why does it irresistibly remind me of that lovely line from the HG Wells story The truth about Pyecraft, namely, "Was the egg addled?"? (Thoughts triggered, no doubt, by the pair of Asimov stories on BBC7.) Ho hum. Time for tea (it's 19:27) and then, I think, a nice hot soak. Let's hope a) I don't forget to put the clocks forward tonight, and b) the weather improves tomorrow.

Just called Junior — it's always nice to hear his voice. Turns out he's in the office, but teaching himself "stuff". Excellent. I admit I sometimes did the same back in my ICL Beaumont days, but that was (good grief!) over 30 years ago. Christa and I were both always struck by the way we continued to feel "in our heads" a lot younger than we were "in actuality". Mind you, everyone I've mentioned this to seems to feel exactly the same. Mirrors can be so cruel, don't you think?

Oh well, on with the current Buddy Holly radio portrait. Though he was more of Christa's time than mine (she was six years older than me, remember). I recall a "Light Programme" DJ remarking, back in the very early 1960s, that more songs were written about love than any other topic. As I do a heck of a lot of listening to music at the moment, I think I'd still agree with his opinion. I note many of them use words like "forever", too. If only that were true, heh?

Remaining (momentarily) chronological, I see from the BBC's "On this day in 1968" page that they're using the lovely track "Fresh Garbage" by Spirit. I believe I remember Andy Finney saying once that Jay Ferguson had actually written that for him. Certainly, he used it as the theme tune for his long-running BBC Radio London show of that title in the (very) early 1970s. Good show.



1  Can you believe Mrs Google had only two hits for that phrase? Is Romance dead?
2  Hence the Nero re-installation to see if that same track was laid over the end titles and could therefore be extracted that way. It is, but there's also dialogue and sound effects in the mix. What's a chap to try next, I wonder?