2009 — 23 July: Thursday

Today's picture of Christa; I'm again revisiting one from a year ago:

Christa in Old Windsor, probably 1976

It's already quite well after midnight. I have some delicious Leonard Cohen playing, quietly, as Bro has retired for the night. He's intending to help me deal with my tatty window-frames so let him sleep, say I. I must say, until I worked out how to use the DAB radio in his hire car I was getting pretty sick of "Classic FM", though they kept repeating a surreal sound bite in their hourly "news" bulletins. A cretin who has somehow become a government minister said that, although knife crime fatalities had increased, the guvmint's policy in this area was a success. (Maybe it's just me?) More here. (Of a sort.)


Having been brought...

... my early morning cuppa, I shall make a start on my first crockpot designed for joint consumption. But no celery. That will be a separate add-on for those strange enough to enjoy its weird flavour and smell. Sorry, Bro. It's 08:49 and the sun isn't exactly shining. But it's dry.

The Blu(es)-Ray is dead?...

I've been sent, with only slightly less than the kindliest of intentions, a link from late last October that reminds me of the perils of wandering through technological cul-de-sacs. I recall reading the item at the time, but I now see it's still attracting the occasional comment. One of the points made I certainly do agree with almost completely:

Second, the advent of low cost up-sampling DVD players dramatically cut the video quality advantage of Blu-ray DVDs. Suddenly, for $100, your average consumer can put good video on their HDTV using standard DVDs. When Blu-ray got started no one dreamed this would happen.

Robin Harris in ZD Net

I'm not sure about the $100, and I'm not even sure that the "average consumer" has yet moved to HDTV, though the FCC in the States seems to be wanting that to happen. But a properly upscaled SD DVD (even NTSC) can look pretty stunning on a good screen. Mind you, a good Blu-ray looks a lot stunning-er!

I'm also by no means a stranger to technology cul-de-sacs, believe me.1 35mm slides, vinyl LPs, cassettes, analogue noise-reduction technologies, Amstrad 3" data discs, CP/M, Acorn RISC-OS ADFS and StrongARM machines, a SCSI grey-scale scanner, some disgracefully short-lived IBM SCSI disc drives (before they got handed off to Hitachi, I believe), several variants on the programmable calculator theme, whole swathes of home printer technology (including, but not limited to, a Canon direct-drive laser printer interface to squeeze 600dpi out of a 300dpi engine), Sinclair's Black Watch, LaserDiscs, S-VHS recorders, all spring expensively to mind.

But they have mostly been fun while they lasted, and isn't that partly the function of toys? And at least I steered clear of the Elcaset, HD-DVD, all initial variants of mobile phone technology, and only used fax because Christa needed it for her business.

Right. Breakfast is finally concluded, the crockpot is simmering, and there are some bits of DIY gear that need replacement if the window frames are to be salvaged. One shed yielded numerous treasures — I sent John in to investigate. Frankly, I find it too upsetting still, which is irrational, ludicrous, and (I suspect) all too human a response. It's now 11:27 and there's a hint of sunshine.

Some sunshine

That (oblique) reference yesterday should point here, by the way... It's now 13:51, the pair of hunter-gatherers are back from almost successful expeditions to "B&Q" and "Wickes", (and "Lidl") and the more adult of the two is now sanding and chiselling away while the galley slave slings a fitted sheet over the plasma screen and then grabs a quick cuppa before making the meal for Hungry Hank. Brothers are very useful creatures; mine's not been around much (in the UK) since summer 1970 so I tended to forget this. Lis referred to this recently:

Now  I know he is high maintenance — believe me i have had 37 years of it!! — but come
on it is wonderful that you brothers get together and do some quality time LOL...  well isn't it!!!

So just go with the flow and know how lovely it will be when he goes home!!!
and I will have to pick up the pieces

What pieces? I'm just hoping the hammer I can now hear doesn't slip...


It's 15:38 — Bro has been fed and is once more puttying away like a good 'un. Not me, though. I had first to return to "B&Q" to buy the cartridge gun that the putty tube fits into. We must have several somewhere,2 but that's the (in)operative word, as it were. Not in either shed, not in the garage, not in one or two of the likeliest3 tool cubbyholes. I refused to look up in the loft; Life's far too short. If I don't feed soon I may as well drift into the evening crockpot. But I am now peckish, I must admit.

I'm retired, you know. Or, as the lady on the till at Middle Wallop museum put it when I was claiming my "concession" entrance discount: a recycled teenager.


I missed this back in February. Chap named Christopher, from Wimbledon, has been trying a variety of experiments over the past 40 years. His current quest is for garden shed-style thermonuclear reaction. Cool. Or, if it works, hot! "Private Eye" tipped me off, and Mrs Google came to the rescue. I guess we'd have heard by now if he'd been successful. (Source.)

Having been unable to decide which of my 3,100 or so DVDs to watch (and I printed out an updated list just for him), I'm imposing "Lucky Number Slevin" on him for his post-crockpot, post-primer painting, post-puttying treat. What a lucky Bro!



1  Possibly even my iMac, he added by way of riposte, though my son would now strongly disagree.
2  I have a sneaking suspicion we may have handed the last one over to Brian the plumber when he was reworking our bathroom three years ago. No matter, they only cost £2-98...
3  Christa could have taught advanced classes in the art of "squirrelling stuff away" both neatly, and (as far as I'm concerned) non-retrieveably. I did find a plastic bag containing a tidy selection of low-energy bulbs... each of which has failed. Now, I ask you, what would be the point of keeping these, my love?