2008 — 14 October: Tuesday

Happy birthday, David! And thanks to those of you who have sent me cards and greetings.

I thought tonight's picture (taken by Peter) nicely captures a glimpse of some of the fun Christa and I used to have together. I shall leave for another time the full inside story of the waterbed and the necessary redecoration of our bedroom!

The bedroom of mirrors

Right! Now back downstairs for another episode of Boston Legal — season #4 is very enjoyable. And, as a birthday treat, I've just ordered the "ultimate" Blade Runner DVD collection and a film written by Aaron "West Wing" Sorkin (on the recommendation of my lunchtime partners a few hours ago). Its title is Charlie Wilson's war but I know little or nothing about it.

Janice Long's guest (Mitch Benn) has just told the mother of all "funny animal" stories, concerning a pet snake lost in a van subsequently hired by Pete Best up in Liverpool. Laugh? I nearly cried! As for "chutzpah", how's this?

Dramatic changes to the way RBS is run were signalled by the departure of Sir Fred Goodwin, chief executive for nine years. He refused to take any personal blame for the unprecedented £20bn investment needed in the Edinburgh-based bank, but was "sad" at his departure. He is "waiving" his entitlement to a £1.2m payout.

Jill Treanor in The Guardian

Farewell, "Fred the shred". G'night, at 02:39 or so.

Back to the world of cartoon reality

And awake, with a cuppa, just in time to catch a programme by Phill Jupitus and his young American cartoonist friends. "George Bush rescued me from the dreary world of the non-cartoonist" and "cartooning doesn't pay well financially, but it pays well existentially" are typical quotes. The group is not exactly Right wing. And I think that's a cheering thing. (Actually, one of the Boston Legal episodes last night — Oral contracts and the firing of a "shock jock" — trod similar ground.)

Right! Here's today's new-to-me factoid. Which book (nearly as old as I am) was denounced as "very unwholesome" and returned to his prison guard by Adolf Eichmann? (Link to answer.) And today's reported approach to the pursuit of happiness. I'm not certain I could long stomach a diet of fish and rice in the centre of the Pacific ocean.

Fast and (HD)Fury-ious... dept.

My reader may remember back in July I was trying to sneak quietly past the well-nigh unscaleable barrier that is hdcp on my non-hdcp A/V system. Indeed, (in the light of my irritating failure to persuade some combination of my plasma screen and video scaler to "play nice" with the HDFury device designed to "solve" precisely this "problem"1) I swore a mighty oath to cease and desist from further experimentation. That oath will be put to the test later today, as I hope to get some hands-on time with (wait for it) HDFury2.

If it works, I shall probably succumb. Think of it as a birthday treat!

Define "fiasco"

How big does a problem have to be for £37,000,000,000 not to fix it? (The comments are often more interesting than Will Hutton's original article here.)

I've hastily shovelled in a tiny snackette and am about to depart on a grand tour of a south-easterly motorway in search of video nirvana. It awaits us (upon payment of a pile of ParcelFarce2 fees) in a warehouse not a million miles from the CityLink one down near Segensworth that I had to attend back in March for my KVM switch.

Some good, some bad... dept.

Stuff hits the fan in clusters, doesn't it? Peter's just rung to wish me happy birthday, which is good, but has not been having a fun week. Cathy's just invited me to another "Dinner Club" party, which is good, but I would feel very guilty about accepting given the current level of my ability to reciprocate. The HDFury2 does what it says on the tin, which is good, but not in conjunction with my video scaler, which neatly defeats the point of the exercise unless I choose to restrict my viewing entirely to standard definition NTSC (Region 1) DVDs. Man cannot live by that particular bill of video fare alone. Time (15:26) for another cuppa and a spot of pondering.

OK. Video normality is re-established — I hope. Quite why all the audio input settings on the scaler needed resetting is anybody's guess. All I did was cycle through the Oppo DVD player's various resolutions in the earlier experiments, though I was flying blind at the time in an attempt to get both a picture I could watch and some idea of what its resolution and frequency characteristics were. Why would that change all the audio settings? But with a nice bit of "Petrushka"3 now on the radio, who cares? It's 16:15 and still stubbornly grey outside without actually raining. What a dull day to choose for a birthday, heh? Better put all the cables and the hdmi switchbox away yet again.

Today's mystery objects

I'm now contentedly listening to "Skylark" from ol' Desmond Carrington's collection at 19:16 or so. Unless I miss my guess, its composer (Johnny Mercer) is buried not far from the setting of that wonderful tale "Midnight in the garden of good and evil" by John Berendt. Anyhowsoever, I was idly chatting to dear Mama a few minutes ago — she'd failed to pick up the phone after 12 rings earlier this morning, and I thought it would be nice to give her a chance to wish me 'happy birthday' (no such luck, of course) — and, while my mind was wandering (as it does) the eyes alighted upon this little objet d'art. See if you can tell what it is before clicking on the picture:

My supposedly fresh plum

The spore the merrier, I guess. That was easy. Now, how about this?

My no-longer-ugly duckling (almost) at Keyhaven last week



1  Said problem is summarised here. First hint of a potential solution is here. Failing behaviour on my system is here. And the device's basic fitness for purpose is confirmed here (sadly, not on my system!)
2  The zero value they add for their intervention in the delivery process makes them a farce, trust me.
3  An excellent performance, too, by the Mariinsky orchestra (whom I've never heard of) from the Mikkeli music festival (which I've never heard of) and conducted by Valery Gergiev (whom I don't think I know). It's just finished at 16:44. Wonderful music which was one of the potential choices for Christa's funeral.