Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Gather the Fragments

I'm re-reading Alan Ecclestone's `Gather the Fragments' an anthology he made in his retirement and the two pieces that had the most impact upon me this month (but I suppose there's a couple of days left yet) are both of Julien Green I'd been meaning to quote the first here for some time then I read yesterday's piece thought "that's good" and then noticed the author! I see that these two are the only Green pieces in the book

So the first, a dark one:
There are time when I think that hopes of spiritual freedom are the saddest delusion that can torment the human brain. ... Perhaps the important thing does not lie in conquering but in fighting on to the end.

and the second

As long as something inside us protests against ourselves, there is room for hope. It is when one accepts oneself as one is and gives up, that the game is in danger of being lost. In other words. . . .one can set one's mind at rest so long as one feels uneasy!

those two seem to span a vast space between hopelessness and the determination that one can make a difference - to oneself? to others?
To redress these inner thoughts, I'll reference the banner and accompanying meditation that Joy Kewney read in church two weeks ago.

More terragen renders

I've started making a separate album per month - allows the thread of development and hopefully increase in skill to be seen rather than bundling them all together
There's now
  • Feb 06 largely working on el_cang_sozi.ter - downloaded from Terranuts exploring the terrain and lighting
  • March 06my own terrains working on shorelines though I couldn't resist some mountain scenes. Including a render that took 8 hours yesterday at the head of this posting; not sure about the sky, though maybe it is a bit like that at the altitude of this camera position.
Some of these images are large!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Wine Label Collages

loved this art made from wine labels, again via Ursi's Blog - the picture depicts Carmen.

music:Chopin Editions

Hat tip to Ursi's Blog for the link to Chopin Early Editions - I need to do some exploring - though I'd really like to find a similar resource for Schumann - having had some discussion with my piano teacher about the pedal marks in his Album für die Jugend - Winterzeit II

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Interloper

The elderly cat from along the street has found our fridge and waits and hopes (our cat doesn't know what a fridge is for)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Guardian RSS feed

What was going on the the Guardian RSS feed last night? Or maybe it was Google's fault - or maybe it was the fun going on with NTL's DNS servers (must get named running on my home network so I have an alternative to fall back on!).

[edited to include the screenshot directly]

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Checkout: IPM

The measure that Sainsbury's use to determine my efficiency is Items per minute - a count of the number of items scanned - not including the time taken dealing with payments or when logged out. The official line is that under 17 is unacceptable - I've never managed the 17 yet let alone the - mentioned in dispatches - 19. As you see from a screenshot of the spreadsheet I maintain at least it is pretty consistently increasing.
Last week I was given a basket - by a supervisor with 19 items and told I'd be timed on it - I said that it was pretty artificial thinking that it would be a breeze but I managed 9.5 items per minute!

(what a flurry of postings - there must be something else I'm avoiding doing?!)

Polishes glasses...

I've spent some time over the past few days trying to keep out referral spam from my home webserver by editing a .htacccess file - I've only just spotted the typo when I was comparing it with a properly named file in emacs and swapping between the buffers - I was having a hit every 30 seconds last night from the spammers and nothing I did seemed to make any difference.
I do publish my weblogs but deliberately don't include the referrer stats so you can see that the traffic has gone up but can't see what the nasty bots are trying to advertise!

Links: Restaurant menu

May I take your order? - there's some goodies there:

  • Cowboy leg beautiful pole
  • Coconut braises the bamboo chicken
  • Gold silver lotus root silk fries shrimp fucks

no doubt this is all over the blog world already...?

Look down the comments to about the 13th comment for a useful - and funny explanation of some of the dishes.

Festina Lente

Must get to a Lent Group this Lent as it is soon going to be over! St Peter's were showing Millions as part of their series and I really wanted to see it....have so decide whether to go to the discussion on the Matrix tomorrow - a bit Pseuds Cornerish - though I see I have cited that film in a sermon - so I can't talk!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A mixed economy

This is a bit close to my current sphere of work but all of us need competition:
George Monblot writes this week in the Guardian about the way
The competition authorities have been taken over by the superstores.The way that the Blair govenment has not touched:
The policy imposed by Margaret Thatcher's administration - which later came to be known as the Tebbit doctrine - determined that the public interest could be reinterpreted as "the consumer interest", and even this could be defined in the narrowest terms.
I vividly remember Tebbit sneering at those who supported Fairtrade on Panorama. And now we have a culture of intimidation of some suppliers and the extinction of small shops and thier associated support environment:

Even the OFT recognises that the wholesalers who supply the small shops are approaching the "tipping point", beyond which they go out of business. This would trigger a chain reaction through the independent sector, pulling down thousands of businesses. The network of small farmers, wholesale markets, dairies, auctioneers, news distributors and small abattoirs, with all its expertise and investment, is collapsing at an extraordinary rate. It is hard to see how it could ever be replaced.

The colleague discount card for us is a wonderful saver of money - but it ties us to a particular shop even more..

The 4 meme

Borrowed this from Good in Parts though tracing back the taggings was interesting and led me to Elizaphanian which has gone into my bookmarks with some very interesting articles including this one on those cartoons. With this bit:
Thus, for a Christian, it is wrong to take offence. To take offence is to play the devil's games, to enter into antagonism between the righteous and the ‘unrighteous’, the 'sinner' and the 'saved'. In letting go of any sense of offence, one is released from the mythological pressures embedded in all stories of them and us, and is set free to become the sort of person that God originally intended - living in peace and loving the neighbour. This is what lies behind the striking language in Matthew's gospel (5:29, where Jesus commands us to pluck out our eyes if it causes us to sin language taken up by a great many moralists seeking violent self-harm, as it is, of course, to scapegoat a part of oneself). The original language used in Greek, however, is related to this word skandalon and the passage means 'if your eye is scandalized, pluck it out' in other words, do not see offence.

Anyway, back to the meme:
Four jobs I've had:
  • Checkout operator
  • Deputy head of kitchen
  • stock taking in an engineering works
  • numerical analyst

Four movies I can watch repeatedly:
  • Au Revoir les Enfants
  • Cinema Paradiso
  • Manhattan
  • Ma Vie en Rose
  • The Italian Job
hmm - lots of sentimentality and childhood there!
Four places I have lived:
  • Birkdale (Southport)
  • Cambridge
  • Kettlewell
  • Leeds

Four TV shows I like to watch:
  • Mony Python
  • Bill Oddie Naturewatch
  • Have I got News for You
  • Ski Sunday
what's happened to Ski coverage - the season hasn't finished yet(grrr!)
Four places I have been on vacation:
  • Siena
  • Valais (Switzerland)
  • Southwold
  • Royan

Four favourite dishes:
  • Spaghetti with broccoli
  • Steak au poivre
  • Plateau de Fruits de Mer
  • Crepes with cider

Four websites I visit daily:
  • Google
  • The Register
  • J Walk
  • Maggi Dawn

Four places I would rather be right now:
  • Up in the Swiss Alps (even in this Season!)
  • Back in a computing job
  • Comfortable restaurant with a bottle of red wine
  • Back in bed

Far too revealing....

Monday, March 13, 2006


Created some categories - bit of a hack with blogger - along the lines of this suggestion but it will only apply properly to new postings! I'd like to base by blog on Movable Type like the ones I run on my home computer but I need to find a suitable host!
(now do I need a categories category!?)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Power cuts

We seem to have had a few of these recently - one cause is the huge project to combine all the doctors surgeries in Macclesfield into one building. Last Wednesday we lost power for a few seconds - enough to cause a reboot of the computers.
One came up ok, the other was seemingly ok but connections to the other machine and the internet were painfully slow. I rebooted the router, restarted the machines network connection ,rebooted the machine but no improvement - the other m/c's network speed was fine!
Eventually the following evening, I stuck a Knoppix bootable dvd in the drive and rebooted and with Knoppix the speed was also fine (I'd been wondering if the power cut had broken the network card). So I was more puzzled and booted back into Mandriva and it was now working! I can only assume that Knoppix tested something - in order to set up a network connection - that normally doesn't get tweaked and that got whatever it was (network card? router connection?) back working normally.

Knoppix is wonderful for diagnosing machine problems especially when they won't boot any other way, back at PTI ,I managed to pull a CD's worth of data off a pretty dead disk by putting it in the freezer and then booting Knoppix and using it to burn a CD (the machine belonged to the administrator and was therefore rather important). There were backups but...

Then yesterday St Michael's had a power cut just an hour before the organist was married! On resumption the organ didn't work! And with the choir and organ lined up to do various important things very shortly.
Normal organ maintainer lives a good journey away so someone local was rung, conversation went (roughly):

Wedding in 45 minutes? - well you can always sing unaccompanied!
But it's the organist's wedding!!!
Well he can hardly be playing and getting married!

more armtwisting and he (the electrician) dropped his current job and sorted out the small problem before the organist discovered the the carefully planned music for her wedding was in peril!

The Cakes

Following on from the last posting, here is a picture of the three cakes and a link to my photo album of the event.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The wedding of all weddings

-- to quote Graham Turner who took the service.
Today Arthur Marshall (no relation) and Karen Gedd were married. I've known Karen since the early 1970's. She's currently St Michael's choirmaster and organist (as well as holding down a good job), the service was at St Michael's with an open invitation to the congregation, reception at Church with all invited and a lovely occasion - people I've not met since 1980, the local church enjoying with family and friends a joyous event. Photo of Kath stalking choir and the couple, more photos to follow.

St Michael's reordering really came into its own as a splendid setting for the ceremony and the reception. Arthur is a folk dancing enthusiast so there was a band, he has a narrowboat - so there was one on one cake, the other had a double-bass (Karen's other instrument), oh and there was another cake.
I hadn't met Arthur before yesterday when he happened to come though my Sainsbury's till and I guessed who he was:

You're getting married tomorrow?!
Err, possibly

.. more to come!

The Cat Basket

Hecate enjoying a winebox/basket

Sunday, March 05, 2006


That's crotchet = 100 not quaver (sorry non-UKans), you can stop hyperventilating now! Reminds me of the Poulenc Mouvements Perpetuels No 1 with a tempo indication of crotchet = 444 - and a printed insert with a publishers correction.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

What is it about Macclesfield

Someone also local (don't know him) has been made redundant more times than me! I've only managed 4 so far

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Chip and run

I've had a number of customers give me their husband/wife's card - at least that's what they claim when their card says they're Nigel , when they're probably not!
On Monday night someone claimed that Chip and Pin is secure because it means that no one can use your card without your permission(!) - so if you know the pin that means you're a licit user. I refused the card but said they could use the local ATM machine and then pay for their order. They weren't happy - I said someone could see their number when they were using a cash machine and steal their card so it couldn't be totally secure - they weren't convinced. They went to get the money - 5 minutes went by - and they didn't return - obviously off in a huff - unless it wasn't their card?!
Luckily the other person waiting in the checkout was understanding.
How widespread is using your partner's card? - I'm seeing one or two cases a week when I'm working. To my mind it's just like forging your partners signature because you know they won't mind...

Proofreading complete

Now completed the proofreading of my Scherzino, feel free to download and enjoy?! (I see blogger has some interesting spelling correction suggestions for scherzino...). Inevitably there was an error in the screenshot of the previous example - also added the missing slurs.

Image doesn't look as high quality as the previous one but I think that's a fault of the screenshot.


The Queen of the Night aria (Mozart!) Thank You. . . Do you have anything in English? - hairs on the back of the neck stuff.