Sunday 29 January 2012

But dreaming is for moonrise And moonlight ails his tired eyes

I thought we'd escape
I packed a fishing line and counted on it
I thought we'd escape
I packed a fishing line and counted on it

But dreaming is for moonrise
And moonlight ails his tired eyes

I treat him like a lady
I treat him as I would he unto me
Give Rose rose-seller a run for her money
With silicone and poetry
But it's the end of me

I thought it could change
I'd wake up one morning and find nothing to rearrange
I couldn't get there behind his wall of Sunday papers
I thought it could change
I'd wake up one morning and find nothing to rearrange

But dreaming is for moonrise
And moonlight ails his tired eyes

I treat him like a lady
I treat him as I would he unto me
Give Rose rose-seller a run for her money
With silicone and poetry
And it's the end of me

Here I am
Here I am
And here I stand
Here in my kitchen where I'm familiar with every brand
Here I am
A front line with labels where I witnessed custard's last stand
Here I am

"Bulimic Beats", from Catatonia's album "Equally Cursed and Blessed", released 1999.
The singer is Cerys Matthews.

Shakespear's Sister

It starts a bit slow... hang in there.  Splendidly gothic.

The Book of the Blog!

You read the blog, Now get the book!

Oh yes. I is an author.
Or maybe not.

The purpose of this post is not to sell the non-existent book of the blog, but to talk about the danger of losing your blog, terrifying thought. A|person very close to me has, in the past, deleted blogs and later regretted losing their content. That need not happen. There are ways to save a blog in its entirety, and a while ago, I was thinking about the 'what ifs'. What would happen if blogger deleted my blog?
Can't happen? You really think so?
It does happen, not just on blogger, for all sorts of reasons. If you google things like "blog deleted" or "can't access my blog", you'll see some scary stories.
What to do?

(Disclaimer. I'm not involved in any way with the sites mentioned, I'm just sharing what seems to me to be a useful resource. i.e., I'm not being a shill for them).
I found a handy site called Blogbooker. Works with Livejournal, Wordpress, Blogger...
It turns your blog into a pdf book, complete with pictures and comments. Okay, it doesn't include video or music, but the pdf is handy, can be read offline, or sent to a printer.

Blogbooker does the pdf conversion of your blog for free.
I won't be printing mine out, because it says there are more than sixteen hundred pages. (There are links on the site to various online printeries.)

Sixteen Hundred!! What?!

 What I recommend is that you do it to your blog(s) right now, and store the files in a couple of places. Offer to store a friend's blog, perhaps,  so it's disaster-resistant even if their house burns down or is hit by an asteroid.
Grit in the Gears blog-book pdf., from december 2006 is a 50.4 MB file.

 All the instructions, which make the process easy, are on the website.

Another backup?
I can't speak for this one, I have not tried it  yet.

That's it. Ask yourself, "Would I be upset if my blog and all I uploaded to it was lost forever?",
If the answer is yes, then save it, back it up to your own hard drive and/or a friends.
Good Luck, Bloggers.

Aurora Borealis, The Icy Sky at Night,

I should point out, for the benefit of those, the majority of my readers, I'd guess, who have not yet had the good fortune to see the aurora, that all of the clips below are significantly faster than real-time. The gunuine artice is usually gentler and lazier in its movements. Look at these as the auroral equivalent of speeded-up cloud sequences. This year's solar activity promises strong likelihood of the Auroras being seen from far beyond their usual latitudes.
Let's hope we all get a chance to see them.

Thursday 26 January 2012

The Great Anti-Pode Conspiracy

I'll bet you all think I'm too lazy to write a proper blogpost?
Well, you're wrong, so wrong wrong wrong. Truth is I write dozens, hundreds, dozdreds even, that never get posted. "But how can that be?" I hear you ask, wonderingly.
Well, it's just that I write them in my head in the shower, in the kitchen, whilst driving to work, whilst at work etc. And of course, in bed, whilst not sleeping.
What happens to them?
Bzzzzzt! gone.
They exist for a short while, then get overwritten by my memory, or just fade away. Either way, when I do get to the keyboard I stare at it blankly and can't remember the extremely clever things I wrote in my head a few hours before. Anyway, the Red Dirt Girl has chastised me for not writing, whilst leaving blogpost sized comments elsewhere. That's part of it... I'm better when triggered by somebody else's topic. That's of no importance today, because we are going to reveal the antipodean heresy.

Anti = Opposing
Podes = Feet

It's all about where is the opposite side of the planet. Any kid in England, knows, (KNOWS!) that if you dig a hole straight down and keep digging long enough, you'll find kangaroos, because directly below our feet, through the centre of the earth, is Australia. Any American kid will tell you that if you dig deep enough, you'll come out in China.
And these beliefs follow us toward  adulthood. I, of course, being inquisitive, questioned my geography teacher, who told me it would be New Zealand.

"Yonde in Ethiopia ben the Antipodes, men that haue theyr fete ayenst our fete." ["De Proprietatibus Rerum Bartholomeus Anglicus," translated by John of Trevisa, 1398]

Bartolomeus Anglicus, "Bartholomew of England", as translated by John of Trevisa was an early conspirator in the whole antipodean thing. Back in the thirteenth century, the luxury of google earth was not available to learned scholars, possibly because there was no electricity to run their laptops.

Also, there was not really a great set of world maps, or even globes, being that:

  1. Although some people had figured out that the world was indeed round, it was somewhat unwise to say this, as most people, especially the ones who could have you beheaded, or boiled in oil, believed otherwise.
  2. Most of the putatively globe-shaped earth was as yet unknown (to those in europe, where Bartolomeus was writing). I suppose the people living in the "undiscovered" bits had no great difficulty in believing they existed.
  3. Not a lot of people felt the need for maps, as they weren't going to go beyond the horizon during their entire lifetime.
  4. Most of the maps then existent were pretty much based on guesswork anyway.
So, it's no wonder that Bart gets it wrong when he thinks that on the opposite side of the globe to his feet are the Ethiopian's. Bartolomeus was english, though he wrote his book at Magdeburg, in Saxony. 

But no matter. Not even if you take on board the concept that Ethiopia was not, to a mediaeval person, the country it now is, in north east africa, oh no. Ethiopia was the whole dark mysterious continent we now call Africa.

Thing is, if you dig from Magdeburg, you don't come out anywhere near africa.

But that's the point. If you dig from America, you won't come out anywhere near China.
Nor does will any English kid ever meet kangaroos tumbling into the tunnel.
Nor Kiwis.

The truth is, both kids, if kids could really dig for 7,296 miles through the earth, through rock, magma, molten iron, all of that, both would drown instantly as their shovels pierced the seabed above their heads.
Have you ever thought of the logistics? How your little sister would have to haul each bucket of earth on the world's longest rope, and tip the bucket out before lowering it for the next shovelful?

So, how can you know where are your antipodes?
I puzzled about it whilst brushing my teeth, and dental floss gave me the answer. If you have enough dental floss, and know the earth's circumference....
Well, if you have a globe, and enough dental floss to circle it at the equator, then halve the resultant piece, then, if you stretch that floss tight, holding one end at a spot equivalent to your current location, the other end is at exactly the opposite spot on the sphere. To do this in full scale you'll need half of 24,901 miles, or 12,450.5 miles.
(But you might need to adjust for mountains...)

It gets more difficult.. The earth is not a perfect sphere. It's more of an oblate spheroid, but not even precisely one of those. In fact, there is only one word that gets it perfectly right, it's a geoid.
Nobody can argue with that because the definition of geoid is 'earth-shaped'.
I like that. Perfect... "What shape is the earth?"  "It's earth-shaped!".

Oh. And if you did have a hole all the way through the planet, clear and unobstructed, and filled with only a vacuum,  (no friction) and you stepping into into it, in your space-suit with air supply and ipod, how long do you think it would take you to free-fall to terminal velocity, and rise, decelerating until you arrive at your antipodal point?

Answer in the comments.
(in a vacuum, you'd rise to the opposite of your start position, then return, if there was no friction, you'd do this forever, a perfect pendulum... What do we remember about pendulums? (pendula) Ah. Equal time per arc.
(The earth's spin, and all forces other than the earth's gravity, are imagined to have no effect on your straight-line path.)

no, I don't expect you to calculate it, I certainly couldn't and I'm not expecting that any of my readers will be physicists and rocket-scientists.
But I'm told that there is a calculated result and it's nowhere near what I'd have guessed.

Is that enough? my poor typing finger hurts.

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Aurora Borealis

This week, in my neck of the woods, northern england. This photograph was taken at Dunstanburgh, Northumberland, others can be seen here: (Daily Mail).

The Tan Hill Inn is the highest (altitude) pub in England, a lonely moorland pub, apparently there for no reason- it has no neighbours at all. But it was once a welcome stopping place where the tracks of cattle and sheep drovers crossed, where pack-horse trains rested. This week, it was a perfect place for viewing the aurora- (see the pic in the link).
About 80 miles north of me. Tonight, and last night, the sky's too cloudy. And I live within the urban sprawl of streetlights.

Monday 23 January 2012

Love at First Sight.

 Or was that "sigh"?
 Hastily she wrote her home address on a scrap of paper.

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Friday 20 January 2012

Latest Spec!

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My Old Tutor Was Always Banging On About "Structure in Literature"

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The Allman Brothers Band, jamming at the Fillmore East

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.

Monday 16 January 2012

Another of e.e. cummings' pomes

mr youse needn't be so spry
concernin questions arty

each has his tastes but as for i
 i likes a certain party

gimme the he-man's solid bliss
for youse ideas i'll match youse

a pretty girl who naked is
is worth a million statues 

e.e.cummings, 1926

Sunday 15 January 2012

Cheap Flights

If it sounds too good to be true, it always is. I was looking for cheaper methods of flying across the atlantic, when I stumbled upon this, at Expat Mum's blog.
Not what I was looking for, but it made me laugh. 
here in Britain, we have a number of competing budget airlines who offer what look like unfeasibly cheap deals. There's usually a catch.... Like I can get to Barcelona for twenty pounds.  But how much is the ticket back?


Saturday 14 January 2012

The Corn-Exchange, Leeds

The Corn Exchange, Leeds, was designed by Cuthbert Broderick, and completed in 1863.

On our travels, RDG and I have generally shared photographic duties, and it's hard for either of us to be sure whose is which. As a system, it works well, because we notice different things, and she sees things that I'm too familiar with to notice.
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Finding You, for K.

Some years ago, I found this poem in a book in a library, I was not a member of that library, I could not borrow the book,  but I wanted to share that poem, so I clicked a furtive photograph. Alas, I forgot to write the name of the poet... 
I can't give credit for these words. I wish I could. In fact, until I found the original picture, I'd even forgotten that I found it in a library, I'd thought I'd found it framed on the wall in a hospital. 
If anybody knows who the poet is, I'd be grateful to hear. Google doesn't have a clue.
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Ladies Daintily Settling a Difference.

Probably over who gets first rights to drop her lace hankie in Ebeneezer Soubriquet's path.

14th/21st Sausage Delivery Corps, 1917

Back in the old days, before the miniaturisation of military ration sausages had been perfected, the Sausage Delivery Corps could be relied on to deliver sausages anywhere, no matter the terrain, no matter the battle raging. Here we see a medium pork with herbs being carried toward the front line. The Germans, known for their sausage technology, had nothing to match this mighty comestible.
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Wednesday 4 January 2012

Blow, Winds!

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench’d our steeples, drown’d the cocks!

(King Lear, Act III, Sc II)

 Back to work, as nature hurls chaos at us. Trees falling, roads closed, power lines down, heroic rescues at sea. Malin Head weather station recorded hurricane force winds, trucks were blown over, and I'm knackered.

I was, of course, out nailing things down, roping and sheeting, dodging debris. Tuesday was the first day back, and my sleep patterns have not readjusted. In a free-will situation, I skew toward nocturnal habits. So, monday night saw me valiantly trying to sleep, in preparation for tuesday.
Tuesday itself was intense, lots of stuff to fix post-holiday, but also a howling gale full of little
sharp icy bits, which threaten to scour flesh from bone.
On getting home, I managed to fall asleep almost instantly to be woken with a call from our security guy, that a tree had dropped a big limb across the gates at one site... could I just...

So, back to work, to find my boss had lent the chainsaw to his pal, who is currently away somewhere. Oh lovely. Manual sawing then. Bow-saw, rope, land-rover... drag it clear, go back for more.

After an  hour or so I'm really quite warmed up. When my boss finally picks up his phone...."Were you trying to call me?" HAH!
He's going to get the next call out. My phone will be off.