2008 — 29 July: Tuesday

Two hours of immersion in San Francisco circa 1976 (that is, re-watching the first two episodes of Tales of the City) is quite disorienting, but very enjoyable. Time for tonight's picture of Christa, from a year earlier! Having reworked1 the original scan I made of this slide, I'd forgotten just how red she would sometimes make her hair — I was never very good at noticing these sort of details at the time, it seems:

Christa in Cornwall, September 1975

She's holding the (broken) leather cover of the second-hand Pentax S1a I was using at the time. That (the camera, not just the case!) had been my 21st birthday present from Mum and Dad from (I think) a camera shop in Hatfield whose name2 Big Bro will doubtless remember. (In fact, I suspect Bro may have played some part in its acquisition. Dad being Dad, he'd planned to get me something a little more extravagant with the proceeds of some form of matured insurance policy but the poor chap was a year out on the date I became 21 and had to scrabble around a bit at the last minute for an alternative he could afford, bless him!) I suspect I can pinpoint the source of my budgetary non-genius genes.

It doesn't yet feel cool enough to sleep, but it's 01:13 and my eyes are rapidly closing.

Cooler, thank goodness

It's 08:18 and the green bag / green bin crews are noisily out and about. No noisier than usual, I guess, but a lot more windows are open to admit the sounds of their machinations. Yawn.

There are two people named "Russo" who've impacted my life. Richard Russo is an excellent writer. But the late William (Bill) Russo is the musical genius whose work you can hear on BBC Radio 3 this morning (disappointingly briefly). Tune in at 10:42 and you should hear his "Third piece for Blues band and Symphony orchestra". Conductor Seiji Ozawa heard harmonica player Corky Siegel playing in San Francisco and suggested they gig together with their two bands(!). The result is purest magic, I assure you. It took far too long for this music to make it on to CD after its initial release on Deutsche Grammophon in 1972 or thereabouts.

Last week I learned the scientific unit of self importance (the Kan). Today, I read:

In 1881 ... Francis Edgeworth proposed the creation of a "hedonimeter", which would measure the utility that each individual gained from his decisions. "From moment to moment the hedonimeter varies; the delicate index now flickering with the flutter of the passions, now steadied by intellectual activity, low sunk whole hours in the neighbourhood of zero, or momentarily springing up towards infinity," he wrote, poetically for an economist.

Anon in The Economist

I like that "poetically for an economist". Time (09:34) for some breakfast while I continue listening to debates about NHS funding in the area of (for example) cancer drugs. Grimly interesting. Mary Warnock's conclusion included a phrase about getting access for people to the drugs "that would probably not save their lives, though they thought they would" — exactly in line with the comments on chemotherapy I noted here.

Lighter notes...

I'm awfully late to the Geek v Nerd v Dork debate, if such it is. It's an amusing tabulated set of comparisons, though. I will also admit to having watched the Martin Durkin "documentary" on climate change shown on Channel 4 in March 2007. Here's a wonderfully detailed demolition job on it. And, in hopes of persuading Junior to change one of his habits... "a cotton swab can push wax farther into the ear, causing impaction and diminished hearing... Put nothing smaller than an elbow in your ear..." (Source.)

... and a sort of foot note

Stung into action by a comment Gill made when she was here last week on the great garden centre plant hunt, I've finally bundled up all Christa's shoes from the hallway and thereby cleared some space. It's not as if she's going to return and need them, after all. Women are pragmatic and practical creatures, aren't they?


Well, it's 14:08. I've pacified the inner man with chicken goujons (what part of the bird is that, I wonder?) Speaking of clearing space, I note (over recent weeks, let alone months) the arrival on the door mat of "Please help pets in need of vets", "Sue Ryder Care", "Shelter", "National Blind Childrens society" (x2), "Help the Aged" (x2), "Guide Dogs", "St. Dunstan's", and "One Community". And this was while listening to the chatter about the report from ex-banker James Crosby on what could or should be done to "fix" the mortgage and associated money market problems. (With my money, naturally.) "Dismal science" doesn't even come close.


Now I'm completely baffled. The little 5V power supply does enable the DVI/VGA device to produce a picture (of sorts, read on) on my non-HDCP plasma screen:

Therefore, say goodbye to the HDFury (which is off to its next home), and to this now-tedious diary topic. There's nowt really wrong with my analogue video in any case, dammit. It's 16:59, the sun is shining, the sky is blue, with fluffy white clouds and some breeze, and there's a fresh cuppa on my immediate horizon. Just been listening to Jenni Murray. What a nice woman. Over the course of today, the news has been hammering home the fall in the number of new mortgages. And if you want to depress yourself, read all the comments being added to the blog from the BBC's business chap. (Here.)


Dear mama has been rung, but knows no more about her sister. She claims to have been rung by so many people today that her head can take no more; hence she remained basically silent. The tum has been satiated, and there's a little something left over for tomorrow's walk and packed lunch. Good planning, heh? The siren call of the next episodes of Tales of the City is wafting upstairs. And I have a cold cuppa waiting for me downstairs, I've just remembered. Still, that's what the microwave is for. (Or, certainly, good at.) It's 20:30, so the tea will be very cold.



1  The version I did back in May was scanned on the Epson flatbed. Today's version was scanned on the Nikon Coolscan that I borrowed shortly afterwards.
2  "Park Studios" — he's just reminded me, though he forgets the owner's name. He was actually the photographer for Bro's wedding. The shop was at the end of a little commercial terrace on the A1 right opposite the northern end exit from the Hatfield aerodrome where both Bro and I had worked as aeronautical apprentices. (Bro, of course, remains in the sky lark to this day.)