2016 — 28 September: Wednesday

My most recent research1 into my impending change in fortune (that is, the State Pension) at least told me that payments are in arrears. I shall therefore only 'worry' if nothing has happened by mid-November. That will then be a full decade since the IBM Lab, though (because of all my accumulated vacation) I didn't technically retire until 5th January 2007.


... would have been my 42nd wedding anniversary. An increasingly strange thought :-)

After breakfast...

... I'm on "taxi to hospital" duty for a chum. He's promised me a Linux magazine to read while I hang around. Then I really need to do something about the deplorable state of Mrs Hubbard's cupboard. Or I could just starve quietly, I suppose.

Bodies turning up...

... in the Spring Thaw is one thing. This is entirely different:

Abandoned ice sheet base

Speaking of bodies:

The state of flesh fluctuates from glorious pleasure to excruciating pain. When we die, our flesh disintegrates. As physical creatures, humans are at once beautiful and repulsive to one another — lovely skin enveloping innards unlovely to all except the doctors whose vocation it is to know their byways. Our being depends on physiological processes invisible to the eye, at once fascinating and terrifying in their potency. We are always potentially medical patients, teetering just this side of biological viability.

Noga Arikha in Lapham's Quarterly

Or, as Christa's last surgeon once described it: "a waste pipe draped across a rubbish bin". Not terribly poetic.

[3+ hour pause]

The three "Justs"

Just seen my very first "air ambulance" landing, noisily, on its pad on the upper floor of the hospital carpark just as we were leaving. And got home just in time to fend off a youngster yclept Toby before he could start gabbling about his range of financial services products. A simple "Thank you, Toby, but I'm a simple pensioner with simple needs" did the trick. Actually, I put the phone down at that point, but it did the trick from my point of view.

Guess who started...

... a spot of video file encoding 90 seconds ago?

Brexit coup

The get_iplayer tool fetched me a .ts transmission stream while I was out. It plays perfectly on the PC, but I've also used Handbrake to turn the file into an MP4 in case my Oppo Blu-ray player barfs at the .ts file. It also reduces the raw file size from 2.3GB to 1.1GB and, as dear ol' Dad would remark: "Ev'ry little helps."

Yet another outing for one of my favourite photos:

Christa in the early morning light, Beaumont, June 1974

Since Big Bro...

... introduced me to crisps with balsamic vinegar and sea-salt I buy an occasional pack. At present rate of consumption my current pack should last me another three weeks or so. I've only just noticed rather a clever piece of disingenuous marketing text on the packet:

There's absolutely no need to add anything
artificial and that's the way it's been
for over 30 years.

I'm given to understand...

... that WYSIWYM is the new WYSIWYG!


I recall Junior being most impressed after his exposure to Knuth's LaTeX at the University of York. LyX is a graphical front-end, I gather. Casual perusal suggests it will do all that I learned how to do with TechWriterPro on my RISC OS PC two decades ago. Whether I still have the patience or the stamina remains to be seen. The version on the Linux Mint 18 repository is not too out-of-date.


1  Such as it is.