Monday, November 30, 2009

To everything there is a season

My annual rail season ticket expired today

clearly there was something I didn't know when I bought it twelve months ago, but I probably won't be renewing it - at least not yet! (I hope I've removed all the personal stuff from this image!)

Sunday, November 29, 2009


For advent, here's Chase Twichell's poem Decade:
I had only one prayer, but it spread
like lilies, a single flower duplicating
itself over and over until it was rampant.

uncountable. At ten I lay dreaming
in its crushed green blades.

How did I come by it, strange notion
that the hard stems of rage could be broken,
that the lilies were made of words,

my words? Each one I picked
laid a wish to rest. I mean killed it.

The difference between prayer
and a wish is that a wish knows it will be
a failure even as it sets out,

whereas a prayer is still innocent.
Wishing wants prayer to find that out.
from her wonderful collection The Snow Watcher.

Mutterings - 29 November

This week's free word associations from Unconscious mutterings are:
  1. MacGyver :: google (when you're not American)
  2. Garter :: Order (of the)
  3. Wedge :: Issue
  4. Inches :: Death (by)
  5. Code :: review
  6. Water :: life
  7. Running :: water
  8. Curly :: hair
  9. Turkey :: lunch (yes I'm cooking turkey breasts later today)
  10. Stupor :: drunk

Friday, November 27, 2009

Once more..

I was tempted to wait until the fifth anniversary of this early post on my weblog, but time is, I think, of the essence. Redundancy threatens again and so:
Anyone want an exceedingly young looking 58 year old with 19 years of C++ experience, several years Python, lots of CAD ability, numerical analysis skills... cv has been updated, that's in pdf format!
Email address is in the cv or in the weblog personal details.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Better late than never

How did I miss the Bulwer-Lytton results - which were announced back in June? Maybe it was when I was wandering across the Alps in search of the mythical flower of nearly extinct tribe of the Ngurr although it could have been a river. I was very taken by this one:
The first time I saw her she took my breath away with her long blonde hair that flowed over her shoulders like cheese sauce on a bed of nachos, making my stomach grumble as she stepped into the room, her red knit dress locking in curves better than a Ferrari at a Grand Prix.
Harol Hoffman-Meisner
Greensboro, NC
Apologies to those readers who saw all these long ago!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

108 steps

108 steps
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
Ascending the 108 steps in Macclesfield on a winter evening - magical!

Marking an anniversary

I see that today is the 5th anniversary of the first significant blog entry on the weblog. I'd blogged before then on my home machine but those well be a bit broken now. I need to look through that older stuff for anything that needs(!?) preserving. But reading that initial month is, for me, interesting.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - 24 Nov

Teaser Tuesday

The rules are:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) 'teaser' sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title and author of the book that you’re getting your 'teaser' from .. that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you've given!
They were beginning to relax in the knowledge that the worst was over when the bus turned a corner and the driver let out a shriek. Around this bend nature had turned on its head.
from Danny Scheinmann's Random Acts of Heroic Love. This month's BATS (book group) book, I'm still early on in the book, I'm not sure so far as to whether I'd recommend it, maybe because I've heard other's reports!

Monday, November 23, 2009


Following my twittering about Tell Me a Korean pop song - in a traditional Korean instrument version, you should probably have the fun of the James Bond theme in a Japanese version by the Surf Champlers. Available on a Rough Guide CD.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

For those half-remembered quotes

William Shakespeare

A ukulele! An ukulele! My kingdom for an ukulele!

Which work of Shakespeare was the original quote from?

Get your own quotes:

That one is a bit easy though.

English as she is spoke

Hadn't seen this book for years. The internet being what it is, there was bound to be a copy somewhere:
My most dear philosopher, I am induce to pray you to wake give to the M. abbot of Espagnac the panegyrist charge of saint Lowis for the next year. If you can it you shall do a good action, which I shall be too much obliged to you.
Just canny on marvelling at the above link.
Babelfish for the Victorians - hat tip to Kay

Waiting for it..

The Dr Who Christmas Special!

Mutterings - 22 November

This week's free word associations from Unconscious mutterings are:
  1. Marathon :: Runner
  2. Debt :: mountain
  3. Turn :: again Whittington
  4. Image :: reality (Debussy's Images lurking in the background)
  5. Sofa :: So Good
  6. Envelope :: pushing the
  7. Cart :: horse
  8. Process :: Python (computer language)
  9. Question :: Time
  10. Rumor :: Mill

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Elisabeth Söderström

Elisabeth Söderström, who died yesterday, here sings the Song to the moon from Dvořák's Rusalka

If Beverly Sills rather gushing introduction puts you off, the music starts around 50 seconds in.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Type links with care!

Following a colleague's mis-type I've found - two letters swapped from blogspot! Whois gives the contact as
Investment Ventures, Inc., Global
Ave Ramon Arias
Panama City, - -
somewhat different from google, but http:// rmstar. blogsopt .com - lot's of space so you can't click on it! - looks very similar to this weblog, apart from various bits of javascript. I've checked a couple of other weblogs and they seem to be mirrored there too - they're not quite up to date so it not linking back to blogspot. What's really scary is that the top frame - if you're logged in to blogspot with your user id etc looks identical. I wouldn't go to any blogsopt site unless you turn off javascript and preferably not using Windows!
Unless I'm being paranoid..

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - 17 Nov

Teaser Tuesday

The rules are:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) 'teaser' sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title and author of the book that you’re getting your 'teaser' from .. that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you've given!
Em told her story of how she'd come to town, and how the town had almost beaten her. The Aunt replied with hers, and how the town was better than a friend.
from Jim Crace's Arcadia - I've previously read (and enjoyed) Pesthouse and Quarantine by the same author,

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mutterings - 15 November

This week's free word associations from Unconscious mutterings are:
  1. Grace :: Abounding (followed closely by Alias)
  2. Shower :: Rain
  3. Alice :: in Wonderland (or Restaurant)
  4. Purple :: Colo[u]r (and Bishops! - and Joy, after seeing her dressed in purple this morning at church!)
  5. Apartment :: Complex
  6. 3 :: phone (or Trinity)
  7. Car :: outside
  8. Pregnant :: expectant
  9. Counselor :: support
  10. Discretion :: better part of valour

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Shipley Mill

Shipley Mill
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
Another trip down to my mother's in Sussex, train and hiring a car from Gatwick seems to be the best course for me at the moment. Another trip out to the Squire and Horse at Bury and on the way back a trip in a break in the rain to see(again) the John Ireland grave at Shipley - and in the distance the mill. Last time I blogged about Shipley the entry was entitled 'Many Waters' after the John Ireland anthem, that title would be suitable for today too! I see there's a photo of the grave on that entry but, I think, with a ropier camera, I may upload todays picture to flickr..

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

L'heure d'été

Just back from Olivier Assayas' L'heure d'été:

Tinged with a very French sentimentality with heart-breaking moments an interesting study of what use is art if it isn't experienced and part of everyday life. I even enjoyed the seeming vandalism of the film by the young people in the last scenes. I loved it but I think I was one of the few at the screening - or maybe I sat in the wrong part of the theatre?

Cat eating fail

epic fail pictures
see more Epic Fails

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Looking towards the cold season

.. and Advent
Advent is lack. Emptiness. The time before. It is a compound of dark and cold, mourning and desire. It is bereavement, yearning, bafflement. It is interrogation, silence; it is a hand pressed to the chest.
from Paula's House of Toast but go and look at the link for the stunning pictures and then stop.

Wine still works!

Following my mandriva upgrading - I keep on being impressed by the speed - maybe I should have been appalled by the slowness of 2009.1 (and I think 2009). I was just checking, last night that wine - unfortunately not the drink, it's a Linux application which enables those apps which, alas, aren't ported to linux to run in this environment - in some cases they run as fast as they do in native windows. So here is a terragen render, runs pretty much as in windows and this image took around 10 minutes to produce which, I'd say, was impressive.

Teaser Tuesday - 10 Nov

Teaser Tuesday

The rules are:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) 'teaser' sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title and author of the book that you’re getting your 'teaser' from .. that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you've given!
My previous brief glance from the high window hadn't prepared me for instant intoxication. Lashed into the black soil were several species of rose-bush and tree: soaring loose-limbed ramblers bowed under white ruffs that deepened through blush to rhodamine at the edges; raspberry-pink damasks, bushy and sleek-leaved; antique chiffon cultivars with tight pale eyes whose scent must have once caressed the skin of the Medicis; a fibrillar mass trussed in feathery foliage that spread from rhubarb red to buffed pewter and bedded itself down among the gilt wands of gigantic nettles in a perfumed, jewelled haze.
A 'Secret Garden' moment, I'm still in the midst of last week's book - Lowry's The Bellini Madonna and as last week's extract was a bit spare this is a bit(!) more luxuriant!!
I almost imagine a Douanier Rousseau jungle or something Ballardish is about to emerge!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Dark satire

Tax, bed and bedding from Bruno Madern's Satyicon, written in the last year of his life a wonderful piece of black comedy and musical pastiche.

Five parts of this are on youtube there's also a video of two minutes from a staging of the piece, not very moral but one has to admire the chutzpah.

Upgrading to mandriva 2010

I spent a bit of time this weekend upgrading two machines from Mandriva 2009.1 to 2010. Just a few comments and pointers which might be helpful to others.
I started with a machine which is a little lacking in memory (just 256meg), I initially tried an upgrade from DVD but that crashed before getting to the 'do you want to upgrade' question, I assume this was because of the lack of memory. As I wasn't certain whether it was a DVD problem, I mounted the original downloaded ISO image and put the 4gig of rpm files into /var/cache/urpmi/rpms just to avoid having to download them all again. I then attempted to follow the procedure outlined here though I used the command
urpmi --wget --no-verify-rpm --auto-select -v --allow-force that page is a little confusing as to which options to use. This stopped after only upgrading a few packages and I found I had to do a urpmi kernel and then a repeat of the first urpmi --wget --no-verify-rpm --auto-select -v --allow-force to get the upgrade to really start. It went pretty smoothly considering the low power of the machine, I just had to confirm that certain packages really should be upgraded (maybe I should have used the --force option but it's good to know what is being forced!). Upgrade finished, that machine runs kde4 if a little slowly. With fluxbox as a window manager it is very responsive!
Then onto the mailserver (and my main home machine), the upgrade DVD booted without problems and I just set the upgrade going, went to bed, found it had finished next morning and completed the upgrade with a reboot - very, very straightforward. The only two issues so far have been:
  • the loss of the nvidia driver - post upgrade it was using the nv driver which is a little slow for 3D/crack-attack/googleearth, I'd forgotten how to re-install this - go to 'configure your computer' view the hardware, select graphic card and 'configure' and the appropriate (non-open) driver will be downloaded and installed.
  • The other problem has been with sound and amarok, I also like to use fluxbox on this machine, but sound wouldn't work until I logged in with KDE4 as the environment, amarok now works in fluxbox but the sound is choppy (which it isn't with the KDE4 environment. I've turned off pulseaudio but presumably there's something within the kde environment which I need to start manually in fluxbox, but, so far, I've not found it!

Here's the inevitable screen shot of the desktop

Oh, and another thing, mandriva doesn't appear to have an rpm for MyPasswordSafe which I've used for quite a few years to keep all my passwords including the one for kwallet (kde's password system which some applications insist on using), I have a copy of MyPasswordSafe in /usr/local/bin which runs fine in fluxbox but falls over with kde4 which is a bit of a problem!! The code off the app website won't build on this system claiming that ui file is too old (pre KDE 3.3) - but the latest version of Ubuntu has a working MyPasswordSafe in its repository, maybe I need to find Ubuntu's source for this?
Oops, forgot to add the summary that 2010 is, in my experience, far more responsive than 2009.1 everything just feels faster (and that's even if I'm running with KDE!)

Drinks to avoid

From the Telegraph ..maybe apart from Cynar where I disagree but I've not tasted the complete set!
Liebfraumlich... possesses the rare capacity to dissolve a mouthful of pasta without the inconvenience of chewing

Interesting censoring of the Cynar comment though (making it close to incomprehensible)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Indulgence

Hallyday and Clémence, get out the chocolates!

this youtube version, which looks to be of the same session, has Clémence completely excised?

Mutterings - 8 November

This week's free word associations from Unconscious mutterings are:
  1. Alarm :: fire (and despondency)
  2. Guest :: list
  3. Worm :: tablet (and William Blake mediated via Britten)
  4. Puppies :: Kittens (and puppies at a Devon farm long ago)
  5. Honor :: Roll (American!)
  6. No! :: Yes!
  7. Stomach :: Cramps
  8. Counter :: blast
  9. Waffles :: Luxembourg
  10. Plates :: spinning

Saturday, November 07, 2009

November on the way to work

November on way to work
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
A week's holiday beckons - mostly pottering around at home, but I shall miss the early morning and watching dawn over the hiills as I walk down to the station.

Shuffle play!

I was browsing though classical cds at Magpie Music this morning - it's a bit of a mix with prices all over the place 3.99/4.99 for BBC Music Magazine cd's, £4.99 for second hand sampler cds(!) but I spotted a boxed set of Bruno Walter conducts - 10cds for £5.99 - second hand again, I though this would be worth a purchase and listen so I did. I inspected the cds contents more closely on the way home - having before just checked the list on the outside of the box and found this:

Try to ignore the horrid format with the artist name repeated for each track (though that does give a clue if you look carefully) and focus on the content. Yes Mozart's Jupiter Symphony with 7 tracks - it's a classical symphony, it has 4 movements. I wondered whether they'd split the movements but if the total time was right that was unlikely. Putting it in the player revealed an interesting cd. Track 1 is the first movement of the Mozart K466 D Minor piano Concerto (presumably in the recording played and conducted by Walter), track 2 and 3 are the Jupiter symphony, then we have an interlude with the slow movement of the concerto, then another movement of the symphony, the finale of the concerto and the finale of the symphony!!
I suppose if you buy a set produced by Ibiza Entertainment you may expect surprises. The front of the box labels it as Centurion Classics, at the moment googling on those suppliers fails to reveal any other comments on this 'interesting' cd.

I've had (Jan 2014) an email from someone claiming to speak on behalf of Magpie Music asking that I remove the link to their site - apparently they're having issues with some blogspot domains and I guess they have a script running through the domain looking for links to their site. As you can easily find their website by plugging their name into a search engine, I've removed the link.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Responding to Global Poverty

A few weeks back I mentioned that St Michael's Macclesfield were doing a series on How Should We Then Live, the talks, so far(in mp3 form), are up on Graham Turner's website together with the presentations,. I've heard the Mike Woolcock on 'Responding to Global Poverty' and it is strongly recommended (by me anyway!).

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - 3 Nov

Teaser Tuesday

The rules are:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) 'teaser' sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title and author of the book that you’re getting your 'teaser' from .. that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you've given!
Which part of the house had I come to? I searched for the top of the chestnut under which we had sat that morning, but couldn't see it
From Elizabeth Lowry's The Bellini Madonna - 'convergence of high art and the low skulduggery' when I picked this book up in the library I wasn't aware it was going to be a conjunction of Ireland and Italy again - as with the Last Train from Liguria which I read a few weeks ago.

Church History from Scratch

.. in four minutes

Well worth a watch, I do find some of the sound track hard to get my ears around - but maybe that's age..
Hat tip to OCICBW

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The silence which judges

As Colin Coward reports on the Changing attitude weblog, a Ugandan bill is in the process of working its way through their legislature which would not only bring in the death penalty for homosexuals it would also make it a crime for friends/ family of homosexuals not to report it to the authorities. In an attempt to build a broad coalition against this wicked legislation letters were written by Changing Attitude to the leadership teams of Fulcrum, Reform, Anglican Mainstream and the Church Society over a week ago, so far only Fulcrum have made a response the other organisations seem to be unable even to offer the courtesy of an acknowledgement.
Pressure needs exerting on the so far silent Church authorities to pour some light on this loathsome bill which goes directly agains a Lambeth resolution which many of those groups were all in favour.
On a lower leadership level, there's a facebook group to coordinate and share ideas.

I, troublemaker

Following a Guardian report of police spotter cards, comes this helpful website for forging your own:

Mutterings - 1 November

This week's free word associations from Unconscious mutterings are:
  1. Hairbrush :: comb
  2. Sneak :: Gollum (and school)
  3. Hole :: Gollum (in one)
  4. Horror :: fright
  5. Standard :: firework
  6. Mailbox :: attachment
  7. Attachment :: load (on server) - I wasn't looking down on the previous line - honest!
  8. Type :: Font
  9. Nails :: Hard as
  10. Storage :: Facility