2014 — 31 March: Monday

I gather this gorgeous chap1 — who flew in from unRepublican New Zealandland (courtesy of an unidentified sibling) on a blast of electrons rather than gossamer wings just a few minutes ago — is a newly-emerged Monarch, freshly out of the rehab clinic...

Monarch in NZ

... though some may prefer the less lèse-majesté phrase "drying out". You can find a rather heftier image of him here if your web browser and network connection is up to the task.

It's still rather grey out there at the moment, but a hot cuppa in here is dispelling any gloom (despite my upcoming date with Dr Fang in a couple of hours).

I remember...

... not really knowing what the heck I was supposed to make of Velikovsky's "Worlds in Collision" when I (tried to) read it at about the same time as I was being gloriously hoodwinked by that plumber from Essex passing himself off as a Tibetan mystic called T(uesday) Lobsang Rampa. (I never did find out where my third eye was, let alone how to open it.) Neither gentleman's work remains on my shelves, but this article revived some memories.

Well, my troublesome...

... gnasher (or, more accurately, what little is left of it above the gum line) has ended up costing just shy of £1,100 by the time the petrol for two trips to the dental surgeon down in Portsmouth has been added to the initial £95 for a hi-res X-ray there, the subsequent £750 for a new root filling on my return visit, and the £230 for the local lab work involved in turning several foul-tasting impressions into a reasonable facsimile of a brand new tooth. The bitter taste in my mouth is, I suspect, a remnant of the glue. And I've been firmly warned off biting into hard, green, apples (which is a great shame). Ironic, too, given that I collapsed this tooth on a nice, soft, tuna sandwich on one of my walking packed lunch breaks last August.

Being basically...

... an idiot, it took me a long time to realise that Brian Eno's superb album "Apollo: atmospheres and soundtracks" was, in essence, the soundtrack to an actual film, and not just yet more of his pleasant ambient noodling.2 BBC2 had shown Al Reinert's 1989 film "For All Mankind" with its NASA footage combined with astronaut memories soon after its premiere at the January 1989 Sundance Festival. I bought a VHS tape of it some time in 1992, and transcribed it to DVD-R about eight years ago. Buying the hi-def transfer...

Blu-ray of For All Mankind

... prepared by Criterion in its UK release was as near as anything gets these days to a no-brainer. Besides, I'd already used one of the tracks — "An Ending (Ascent)" — for the last part of Christa's funeral service, after all.

Slight change of...

... plan over the evening meal. I spotted a bad patch on my remaining Bramley cooking apple, so I cut it out, turned the remainder into apple sauce, and will defrost an emergency pack of sausages to add to a salad. The crockpot will keep, as it were.

Meanwhile, not only has it been a reasonably nice day, but — finally — there are distinct signs of impending pink blossom on the decorative cherry, which has been (like me) running a bit late this year. My continuing policy of benignly resolute horticultural neglect is still paying off. Though I don't know how one of my daffodils could have had the gall to pop up at the front of the front garden, so far away from all its chums. (Eileen suggested a squirrel may have uprooted, moved, and re-buried the bulb. I know I certainly didn't. Flipping cheek.)

Half-listening to the BBC radio news, I've just heard of a vicious attack in Eastleigh on Sunday, and that "God hates sin, loves the sinner". Where to begin?

I am more than...

... a little irritated by the way that Amazon's latest Win8-specific "upgrade" to their freebie "Kindle for the PC" application is doing the best it can to conceal all my ebooks from me. Indeed, it's obviously trying its damnedest only to play nice with Amazonian puchases that I've downloaded. That's fair enough, but there are plenty of free ebooks knocking around and Calibre is perfectly able to convert them into the .mobi form needed for the Kindle application. Getting them into the expected location under the latest incarnation of the reader application is a different problem.

Still, while I'd got "show hidden files" checked as I poked around the depths of the Win8 system drive and the "users" Appdata local hierarchy, at least it showed up many megabytes of VirtualBox gorp that was malingering there despite my having uninstalled that particular lump of Oracle cleverness. I shouldn't really pick on Amazon. I'm even more irritated by the way that Picasa (or a well-concealed plug-in belonging to it or some other bit of the Google Android Empire on my under-used HTC One) keeps nagging me to sign-in so it can trample all over my smartphone when I didn't even ask for it or want it on the thing in the first place.

I also seem to have had a call on my mobile a few hours ago that went to VoiceMail though, last time I tried to access one that had done that, it immediately started complaining that I hadn't set it up. So, who do I know3 who's silly enough to imagine for even one moment that I make or receive phone calls on that phone, heh? After all, I can only use it when I'm out and about (and usually far from eager to speak to people) within range of a signal tower. But I spend a lot more time here in Technology Towers where the signal is non-existent but the landline is sitting there ready for use.

I was right. It is Nico. Tom Ravenscroft is playing a session from November 1974. Blimey.



1  Photos of which were taken, according to the timestamp, several hours further into today than it currently is here!
2  Eno's album did, after all, precede the film by six years or so.
3  The set of people to whom O2 has made available my mobile number does not include anyone I have any interest in hearing from. Though I don't doubt they'd all like to extract money from me one way or another. If forced to hand out my number, I conscientiously explain that I will not be even remotely interested in answering calls. Nobody seems to believe this, but that's not my fault... I use my mobile strictly as a portable computing device.