Saturday 28 November 2009

Unashamedly Reposted...

What sort of music do I like? Well, this is one of my favourite pieces.
I was challenged to find a riposte to Red Dirt Girl's "Magic Man" 
by someone or other... Oh yeah. Heart.
Heart? Never heard of them....

Well, I was listening to heaps of cool music, but in the end I came back to this.  She's unlikely to listen to it all, because this is a whole album worth. Still xxxx!

The Allman Brothers Band, jamming at the Fillmore East, New York, March 1971, played this.
The resulting live recorded album was released in July of that year. Sadly, only a couple of months later lead guitarist Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle crash near his home in Macon, Georgia. A year later, another member of the band, bassist Berry Oakley died the same way, less than a mile from the spot where Duane had crashed.

I recall that several of my friends said this track was "rubbish" I didn't agree with them then, and I don't now. I just love this. According to the band this was really jammed, it evolved there and then, on the stage of the Fillmore.
The origin of Mountain Jam was a song by Donovan,

I doubt that many of you will listen to it all. That's okay, I won't be offended.

I think this is a great example of improvisation around a theme.

Friday 27 November 2009

In My Own Time...

Happy Solstice.....

Today is the winter solstice.
Today, at 17:47 GMT, the northern pole of the axis of the earth's rotation is pointed the furthest away from the sun. I apologise for the clumsy nature of my explanation. If you google winter solstice, I'm sure you'll find articulate astronomommerists explaining it better.

It was a festival, signifying the point of the year when the days no longer became shorter, and instead start to lengthen, it's truly the end of one year, start of another, depite the fact that our calendar's a bit out of synch. The Christian church mysteriously chose to hold its major festivals at the same time as the pagans held theirs, the choice of the 25th december to celebrate Jesus' birth is not underpinned by any date evidence in the bible.
(As far as I can determine, the bible scholars pin his birth to mid-september 2 B.C.)

Monday 23 November 2009

Oh Boy....

This just makes me laugh. Miss Li is Linda Carlsson, from Borlange in Sweden, well, these days, apparently she's based in Stockholm.
Loopy as a bag of puppies, in a good way.
If you don't smile at this video, there's something badly wrong with you.

I stole it from Relax Max's blog, Clarity 2009 in order to spread it to my three readers.... Oh, sorry, both of you, uh.. Hey! come back!
Oh well, I'll just listen to it by myself then.

I'm sorry he's mine

Miss Li | MySpace Music Videos

Thursday 19 November 2009

On Entropy, and Other Random Things.

Soubriquet Labs has been concerned, as many have, by the recentish economic slowdown. We have noticed no slowing down, however, of rust.

This thought is prompted by noticing that the Land-RoverDiscovery seemed a bit throaty last week, all of a suddenish. And there was that greasy dieselly smell in the interior air when idling at traffic lights. Not that I have anything against the smell of diesel, of course, to have a grump against it would be an insult to the fact that diesel makes the world go round.

All those good things that we crave, be it chocolate, fresh bread, oranges, whatever, all are brought to us by diesel, at some stage in their travels. But I digress. It's what I do, digressing. Could be a quirk, an eccentricity, an annoyance, or a downright offence. I think it's Attention Deficit Disorder. That's ADD to you as opposed to ADHD, which includes hyperactivity, I've very rarely been accused of hyperactivity.

But you see, I was always being ticked off at school for not paying attention. I was looking out of the window, carving a hole in the desk, or reading the wrong book.

This is why I started Soubriquet Labs. Soubriquet Labs exists to invent and perfect the things sensible labs won't get involved with. Which brings us back in a roundabout way to rust.

You see, my Discovery is succumbing to entropy.

(A nasty bit of entropy)

The way around that, of course is welding. Just had to do a bit of that, but the noise? oh yes, the noise. See, I just assumed my hearing had suddenly improved, until, until, that is, I was walking across the car-park at work and noticed I had no number plate. Just a black rectangle. So I gave it a tentative wipe, and lo! and behold... yes, a number plate. covered in sooty stuff. Why?

Surely the exhaust was placed in such a way as to distribute the fumes into a proper soot bag?

No. It was not. In fact it was not positioned, so to speak. On a 200 tdi Discovery, there's an exhaust hanger just behind the axle on the rear near-side. Behind the hanger, a small (trivial) silencer box and a couple of feet of pipe. In my case, not. Nothing behind the hanger. My silencer back-box had gone to join the army of rusty, forlorn vehicle parts that adorn our roadsides. I have no idea where, as to when, within the last um, seven to ten days.

The result of this is that I had to buy an expensive assemblage of pipe and boxes, which led me to thinking of the role of rust in the economic cycle.

Our motor industry is almost at a standstill, I suspect, partly because cars are so much better lasting than in days not so long gone by. Time was, when the average british built motor vehicle had as much bodily integrity as a colander after about six years. Those old Mark 2 Escorts, and HA Vivas which turn up at classic car shows, along with the last surviving Austin Maxi, and a Hillman Minx, are not classics at all. They're just survivors.

When Rover was selling the Rover 2000, the P6, it had an advert showing one alongside a heap of rusted car bodies with the slogan "Thank Goodness in These Days of Mass Production, a Rover is still a Rover". My dad's company car was a Rover 2000. At three years old it had holes through it.

You'll pretty much never see a landrover on an old V or W plate. In those years, BL was making the chassis and bulkhead out of the cheapest steel it could buy, much recycled, not a lot of new iron in the batch. Vehicles of this era needed patching so regularly that you could hire mechanics on powered skateboards to slide under the car during the commute to work and weld as you travelled.

The carpets did not last long either. Fires whilst commuting were regular. Luckily, firemen on mopeds patrolled all major routes with buckets of water on panniers. Ahhhhh! the good old days...

The british car industry was heading toward the perfect consumer car, one which crumbled half an hour after the warranty ended. Thereby prompting you to go out and buy a fresh one.

You younger whippersnappers will scoff at this, call it a load of guff, or you would if you knew what guff was. But the veterans amongst us know the truth. Rust is essential to economic regrowth.

It is no surprise that rust is at its active at the cold ends of the year. If you cast your mind back, you may remember winter, it was a week when all the schools closed, arctic blizzards scoured the land, and Britain ran out of salt.

Back in the old days, salt was spread liberally all over the highways at the slightest hint of a chilly night. Happy council workmen shovelled it over pavements, and every remote estate and cul-de-sac had grit boxes. Salt was so abundant that some years they gritted in summer too, just in case.

But the winters were worse, of course, polar bears used to be a big problem in Heckmondwike.

Sowerby Bridge was overrun with penguins in the winter of 1963, begging for scraps outside fish n'chip shops, and importuning passing mariners.

What's this to do with Land Rovers?

Well of course, when the world shuts down because there's an inch of snow on the roads, who is it who rushes outside with glee and plans a trip to the hills?

Anyway. Britain ran out of salt. Rationed, it was. Highways agency demanding counties which had salt to relinquish it, in favour of those which had not remembered to buy any. A yellow jacketed bloke snatched the salt shaker out of my hand as I prepared to enjoy my fried egg sarny, "Sorry mate, requisitioned" He was assigned, I believe, to be strapped to the bonnet of Lord Mandelson's official conveyance and strew salt in its path.

As the chaos abated, and a thaw appeared, our masters told us they had arranged for forty thousand tons of rock salt to be brought from Europe. It should arrive here by next july.

Meanwhile, Highways agency chiefs are fearing a backlash, if no winter occurs next year. In order to save their blushes, Soubriquet Labs has been stockpiling snow in rented warehouses. Next year, Soublabs plans to deploy thousands of council gritters, loaded with snow, and using grit-spreading technology, will overnight coat the nations roads in slippery white.

The ensuing collisions will stimulate the automotive economy.

The very same gritters will then, after a few days, spread salt on a few bus-routes, thus kick-starting a new cycle of rust. Soub-Labs expects to take billions in backhanders from the industries which benefit from snowy conditions.

On another digression, Soubriquet is concerned at the profligate waste that occurs every day. "Just nipping out for some fresh air". How often have you heard someone say that?

Using air once, and replacing it every morning with fresh is just wasteful.

The professor was eyeing an air conditioner in a shiny new Range-Rover sport at Farnells the other day...... So, he thought, what if... what if instead of using new air you could pass it through an air-conditioner, twice....

Think of it. Not fresh. but re-conditioned.

Wednesday 18 November 2009


Okay. I'm just a bit postingly challenged, but I was listening to this, so....

Emerson, Lake, and Palmer

I'm not sure just when or where this is, early seventies, I'd guess, this is the sort of gig I'd go to back then, groups generally did not have the vastly inflated egos of today's music biz folk, I'd say they were more "accessible".
The venue would be the local university's dining hall, with a small stage at one end. The band would arrive in a rusting old crewbus, and all their gear would be in a small box-van.

This is of course before these guys were playing vast auditoria, with mega-pyrotechnics, lights that could frighten other planets, and sound levels that would shake distant continents. I like to be close enough that I can see the person playing, not a speck on a stage a half-mile away.
Progressive rock, it was called, back then.
ELP were all accomplished musicians, trained in classical mode, before rock, so they often adapted other works; this one is from a longer piece, based on Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition"

The Sage:

I carry the dust of a journey
that cannot be shaken away
It lives deep within me
for I breathe it every day

You and I are yesterday's answers
the earth of the past come to flesh
Eroded by time's rivers
to the shapes we now possess

Come share of my breath and my substance
and mingle our streams and our times
In bright infinite moments
our reasons are lost -in our eyes.

Sunday 8 November 2009

On Running Out of Space in Blogger

No,I haven't, not yet, but Gary Rith has. He keeps doing that, so he's on Pottersblog NoIII
I was a bit worried that I might be running out of space in wherever my blog is kept, a shoebox on the top shelf, at the rear of one of Blogger's vast warehouse-caverns, I suspect.
How to know how much space I have left in my shoebox?

It turns out that blogger does not limit the size of the blog itself. The restriction is in the storage allotted to pictures, and pictures uploaded to blogger are held and retrieved from a Picasa web-album with a maximum size of 1024MB.
Put simply, your blog and its pictures are in separate shoe-boxes.
When you click on the "add image" icon, it opens another window. In the bottom right corner of that it tells you how much of your allotted space is in use. In my case, it says, right now "You are currently using 912MB (89%) of your 1024MB".

In my case the problem is not quite critical yet. I did a bit of searching. One method of dealing with it is to start a new blog, which was Gary's chosen route. This could be using the same template, same name even, just add a number. Or change one letter in the name. It would look the same.
Except, of course, there'd be no access back into the previous posts.
But there's another way. Just create another persona in blogger, and add that person as a contributor with full editorial rights to your existing blog. Your new persona has a completely fresh empty shoebox in the Blogger cavern, and posts added under the new persona don't impinge upon the
blog's original storage.
Thus, you get another year or so of posts before needing to create persona number 3.
You can help yourself by not uploading giant images, resize them to something less than the original.
Picasa's free image organiser/viewer has easy tools to do this. I use it as my default viewer and editor, I've tried others with vast resources which I never use, and Picasa's the one I like best. And I like that word "Free". It's less good on a mac, I hear.
Blogger's preferred route, of course, is to SELL you extra storage in your original account. Pthuie!

Friday 6 November 2009

Squeeze-Box? -Just listen.

I've seen this guy here and there on the web. As far as I can divine, He's Alexander Hrustevich (Александр Хрустевич ), and he's from the Ukraine.
I'm no expert, as I can't play any musical instrument, and my singing is best kept in the bathroom, where at least I am appreciative, but looking around the interwebnet, the real musicians out there, the classically trained folk, the orchestral folk, and the soloists, there seems to be a consensus that what this lad is doing is exceptionally talented.
When I lived in Finland, I worked with a guy who had studied the piano-accordion, in Moscow, he was pretty good, but nowhere near this.
Don't let the tacky background fool you, this is not a schoolkid type performance.

If you want to hear more, youtube has quite a few other pieces.

Thursday 5 November 2009

A Bit of Viral Advertising....

See, there's this web animation venture, with a cool idea and a slick catch-line, "If you can type, you can make movies!"
I saw one of their animations over at Nag on the Lake's place, and so of course, I had to visit the website, make a movie etc. I'm too lazy or creatively challenged to make a good one, so I'll show you one made by someone else. It's aimed at graphic designers, but anyone who sells their creative skills will recognise the dialogue. I've heard variations of this in my life as a potter, and in my other life as a plumber, builder, etc, etc, etc.

I'd like you to design this...... Here's how I want what you design to end up....

Usually, however, we bite our lip, and refrain from telling the client what we think about his "suggestions".