2009 — 19 September: Saturday

Suddenly, it's the weekend. We've decided to postpone our next walk until mid-week. Just as well; I have a hot date with a stuffable crockpot, some more fruit stewing to oversee (I'm playing with a heady mix of plums and blackcurrants at the moment — extremely tasty) and a few bits 'n' bobs of things domestical ahead of Junior's arrival tomorrow.

I have another lovely smile from Christa for tonight. It dates from Christmas 1977, over in Meisenheim:

Christa in 1977


And good morning...

... to the tunes of Brian Matthew, the (potential) smell from a freshly-stuffed crock full of pot, and some sunshine. First cuppa is a distant memory, and I'd better do something about breakfast. It's just got to 10 o'clock.

See if you can guess the author of these "interview quotes" without hovering over the source link...

How do you sleep at night?
I sleep the untroubled sleep of the innocent. This involves a variety of medications ranging from Temazepam, Mogadon, Zimovane or Stilnocht, which I mix around so my poor brain doesn't develop immunity to anyone of these delightful capsule coshes.

Do you send your children to posh schools?
One of our children's first schools was so posh, that when a teacher asked the class 'who is Mohammed?' a small boy stuck up his hand and quietly answered: "Our chauffeur."

CS in the Telegraph

Meanwhile, in that hotbed of religious activism, Sith happens! Gives me another excuse to trot out one of my little Welsh quotes. (And, recall, I'm actually 50% Welsh — not the 25% I'd thought for many years.)

The movers are in

That's to say, I'm hauling the surprisingly heavy iMac downstairs, with all the concomitant electrical plumbing changes (let alone dusting) that that entails. Let's hope I can teach it to co-exist peaceably with the plasma screen. Hints on getting digital audio out of it would be quite welcome, too. I wonder if there are any OS X drivers for my external USB sound blaster box? All this to the glorious sounds of "Dance of the Lemmings" (which I first bought on double vinyl back in those distant student days) coming, this time, from a 4GB memory stick1 plugged into the CD player. It's 12:49 and I'm working up an appetite. First, tea!

Just been sent a link to this. Naturally, I looked up this inspired exchange. (Source.)

So, where's your wife?
Think she's in Cleveland. I haven't seen her for 8 years.

Nice lady?
Very nice. Wonderful, warm woman. And then, one day, she turned into this amazing creature
who could sit on the end of a broomstick, and... take off into the air. She could actually
achieve flight.

I think I was married to that lady once.
Small world.

Thanks, Brian!


The more I use the iMac, the more is my fondness for the just-displaced Ubuntu system. Let's just say there are idiosyncracies in any computer system (except one you program yourself, of course!) that leap out and bite you from time to time. Any road up, it's 16:27, and the iTunes application downstairs running on said iMac is happily chuntering through some of my MP3s, sending the analogue output (yep, there's no digital) to the Audiolab pre-amp it's now poised on top of, from where it exits via the Audiolab's "tape out" socket, down to the yet-again-reinstated AMC AV81 control unit so that, by selecting VCR1 (of course) I can route the music upstairs to the study.

All the other analogue audio sources down in the living room similarly hook up to the AMC, and thence to the study. So I can now have nicely synchronised sound upstairs and downstairs, with the choices being UK digital radio, CD, NPR, minidisc, cassette tape (via the minidisc, as it happens) or MP3s. Perfectly simple, Watson... what are you looking at me like that for? What do you mean, using the iPod would have been a lot quicker? That's not the point!

What does still aggravate me is the curious behaviour of the iMac while also hooked up to the plasma screen. If I "mirror" the displays it puts the iMac's screen into letterbox mode, showing only 1080 of the available 1200 pixels. Fair enough, I suppose, since it assumes the lower of the two available screen resolutions. But, running the brightness control application usefully dims the plasma screen, yet not the native display (unless I unplug the plasma). If I merely switch off the plasma, the iMac has an instant nervous collapse, and simply flashes its own (now blank) screen on and off. Solution seems to be not to mirror the screens, and not even to connect the plasma, unless I want large, full-screen displays of my DVD cover artwork — which is, of course, exactly what I do want, at least on occasion.

Copying said artwork files over the network from one of my XP systems wasn't entirely unfraught, either. I rather hoped locally accessed files would be better cached than network accessed ones, but it seems Macs are only really happy when talking to other Macs. Disgraceful.

Mountains to climb

An excellent play on the BBC World Service.



1  I don't ever recall any predictions that you'd be able to carry dozens of albums around on a keyring device...