2010 — 6 November: Saturday

And another week bites the dust, as it were.1 I must say, I quite enjoyed "Dear John". A big improvement on Hallstrom's unwatchable "Cider House Rules"... but not as good as "Hachi: a dog's tale" or even "Chocolat". I'd put it on a par with "Unfinished Life".

That will do for a while. Time to switch off the "freakier" zone and head for bed. G'night.

It's amazing how much...

... can happen by way of consequences (and fall within the calm descriptive phrase "an engine issue") when a Rolls Royce Trent 900 turbine fan blade decides to go walkabout and make a break for freedom through the wing of an Airbus A380. From an overnight email Big Bro sent over, containing a fascinating mixture of photos taken by passengers and well-informed speculation, it seems the 466 people on Qantas QF32 from Singapore were extremely lucky. The two hours taken to return to the airport when the "issue" occurred six minutes after take-off from it is as interesting (if not informative,2 as yet) in its way as the many hours of static recorded by the camera carried by Jodie Foster's character in the film Contact.

Done to a tern... dept.

It reminds me of a family trip to Florida in 1992 on IBM's nickel:

We got off to a rather poor flying start (certainly less than one sigma) as they had three engines (opportunities for error) on the Tristar, and one of them was sacrificed just as we lifted our nose on takeoff for slicing, dicing and roasting a passing seagull. (You could say it was done to a tern, perhaps? Aren't Rolls Royce engines versatile?) We knew something odd had occurred as (a) there were a series of bangs from the port engine, (b) we weren't so much pushed back into our seats by a surge of power as lifted very sedately into the sky (barely clearing the lampposts of the adjacent bit of motorway), and (c) all the flight attendants remained glued to their internal phones with fixed grins glued to their faces for five minutes.

Still, pilot Geoff Robinson (I know!) was soon on the tannoy telling us to relax and enjoy the slow low-level flight up and down the Channel as we jettisoned enough fuel to make it safe for us to land back at Gatwick. Land we eventually did, with an impressive retinue of fire engines keeping us company in a remote section of the airfield. (We didn't actually find out about the seagull at that point; all the pilot could tell us was that the engine did not seem to be on fire, and did seem to have been shut down OK. The seagull made its presence felt via a mouth-watering smell as we disembarked for a five hour wait while the airline played a frantic game of musical planes to map us one-for-one into another Tristar rather than unloading us into, say, Concorde.)

Date: 26 November 1992 email to Carol

It's 09:26 and there's a crockpot waiting to be stuffed, a second cuppa waiting to be drunk, and a whole world of breakfast waiting to be explored. Not to mention a range of post-breakfast activities. It's quite bright, has been rather damp, and feels quite cool.

I never knew our guvmint has a "nudge unit". The mind boggles. (Source.)

I love the smell of...

... (damp) cordite in the morning. Here's the overnight crop:


Should I put off reading this until tomorrow?

Bright sunshine, light rain, simmering crockpot, Rick Wakeman chattering on the radio, 11:41 and counting. Where's my rainbow?

Two knocks on the door

Knock #1 brought me the delectable Maureen Lipman, Larkin's wryly amusing "Letters to Monica", and my own copy of an already-enjoyed Blu-ray...

Books and BD

... plus the latest invoice for dear Mama's care-home, and the original (now registered) Lasting Power of Attorney documents with which I can undertake my next delightful round of bureaucratic adventures.

Knock #2 brought me a birthday present book from NZ (compiled by Big Bro — the picture here [taken for the book's jacket] was a foretaste) and a remastered Brian Eno CD. Despite the inevitable flurry of tears induced by track #5, the CD was the only possible accompaniment to my browsing of the large-format, sumptuously-illustrated present:

Book and CD

He's even sneaked a few of his own photos into it.

Ain't technology grand?

I confessed my liking for the "new" Battlestar Galactica (not to mention this pretty Cylon) some while ago. The "Register" seems to have caught up:

Grazier3 probes the technical networking and data-transfer capacities and requirements it might take for an entire Cylon to download for "resurrection." Grazier, the NASA man whose day job involves data transfers across some 743 million miles between Earth and Saturn from the Cassini craft, calculates this might involve terabytes per Cylon and take days to transfer — depending on your Wi-Fi connection, of course.

Gavin Clarke in The Register

It's time (16:04) for my next cuppa, methinks. [Pause] It's time for my delicious-smelling crockpot. The Lipman book is a great deal more enjoyable than the rash of fireworks that has just broken out in time for the six o'clock news. People are nuts.

Having plotted a somewhat distant walk tomorrow (beyond Petersfield), we'll be making an earlier start than usual, so "early to bed" etc etc. G'night.



1  In other words, it's just gone midnight where I am.
2  Not sinister, but I suspect fairly frantic.
3  I note he's also worked on A town called Eureka. I should finish watching that. I got it nearly a year ago, but failed to note its arrival. I also stalled about four episodes into Season #1.