2013 — 20 January: Sunday

Given the weather and the state of the roads1 my next supplies run will be in a few minutes time, courtesy of my bungalow neighbours, who have a Land Rover Discovery. To misquote from "Animal Farm" — four wheel drive good, two wheel drive bad...

Safely, and very gratefully, back I can report that only the local untreated side roads are nasty. The trouble is, of course, that I'm surrounded by these side roads before I can get to the more major ones that have either been treated or that the traffic has simply cleared. Hibernation has its appeal. But not before a late (11:31) breakfast.

Taking a break...

... from whatever it is I do when I'm not taking a break from doing (or undoing) something else, I'm listening to an apparently psychedelic "jazz harp" classic album: Dorothy Ashby's 1968 Afro-Harping. What? No, I'd never heard of it either. I was steered gently towards it by the piece on Serafina Steer. Source and opening snippet:

Every orchestra has its harp jokes.
How can you tell when a harpist is at your door?
He can't find the key and doesn't know when to come in.
How long does it take to tune a harp?
Answer: nobody knows yet.
Seven stone, 6ft tall and notoriously difficult to play, the "nude piano" — as someone once called it — is an awkward bedfellow.

Kate Mossman in The Observer

It's quite funky, but hardly what I'd call psychedelic.

When I was...

... out earlier, clearing paths to my bins and the side gate, I could have sworn I could hear the distant rat-tat-tat of a woodpecker from time to time. The world is clearly going mad, and I expect wolves to come howling down from the hills any second now. I've deferred my evening meal and video date over in Winklechestershire as the weather forecast bodes not really very well. My little black "bottle crate" was the fullest it's ever been, though with snow, not glass.

The sun was... well... not exactly visible, earlier, but at least you could deduce its general direction. But now the sky is the sort of dull, monochrome, uniform slate-grey colour that says "There's plenty more snow up here if you want some".

No thanks.

The way of all (non)-flesh?

I believe the correct technical term to describe the state of BlackBeast's internal LG DVD-RW drive2 is "semi-castors-up". The external LG DVD-RW drive I've just disinterred from one of my overflowing boxes of spare bits'n'pieces was reluctant to come out and play when coupled via Firewire (even after a reboot). However, connecting it via good ol' USB2 works just fine.

I bought this external drive for just such a rescue mission a couple of PCs ago after an unfortunate "incident" involving my shoe and an overly-fragile tray mechanism. Glad I kept it. I also recall generally having a lot more success with Firewire devices on the (shudder) iMac crash lemon than I ever did on any of my Windows PCs. Odd. And irritating. Firewire initially seemed to hold out the hope of SCSI-like (that dates me!), erm, SATA-like speeds way above those of USB a few years back. USB3 is a whole different ball of wax, though BlackBeast has only two USB3 ports, and they're both gainfully employed.

Unlike me. Though I do now have to go and slave in my kitchen for a couple of minutes if I'm to eat tonight :-)

One doesn't wish...

... to keep banging on about the kitchen scales I've spent the last five-plus years searching for3 on and off, in vain, but tonight4 Victory was Mine. It's no wonder I couldn't find them. They'd mutated from the large white and pale blue plastic gubbins I'd been looking for, into a small silvery hi-tech electronic battery-operated 'thing' from China that she must have bought, and sneaked into the house, without ever bothering to tell me.

But why she kept it in the cupboard where I found it is anybody's guess. And the only time I've needed it, of course, was to weigh a package for postal purposes. Typical.



1  Both pretty dreadful locally.
2  If the unsubtle gravel-chewing noise it's been making for the last few sessions is any indication — it often is.
3  In October 2009, January 2010, and again here, for example.
4  While seeking out a potential replacement for the stinky-French-runny-cheese-glazed-earthenware pot (Peter and Shelagh kindly brought this back from France for Christa) that has served me very well for many a crockpot dish, but which I noticed last night has now developed a hairline crack.