Sunday, January 31, 2010

Looking down on A-B's


Looking down on A-B's
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
I wasn't expecting to wake up to snow this morning but I enjoyed the walk though the still falling snow to church, with a diversion to the 'parapet' overlooking Arighi Bianchi's to take a photo. Also there's a good (IMHO) picture of St Michael's - on doing a 180degree turn from taking this picture. Got to church to discover the pianist wasn't there due to the snow so I was pressed into service and sight read them all - I hope the congregation will make a full recovery!
I'm in danger of posting less than one article a day this month - if you see some contentless blogging later today, try to forgive me!

Mutterings - 31 Jan

This week's free word associations from Unconscious mutterings are:
  1. Furniture :: comfort
  2. Beauty :: Beast
  3. Sip :: Soup
  4. Block :: Mental
  5. Forehead :: (banging) against the wall
  6. Championship :: darts
  7. Hurl :: -ing (still on sport here!)
  8. Whip :: fetish
  9. Destruction :: Age of
  10. Leather :: Belt

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Names to treasure

Prompted by this posting on Stephen Hough's blog, I've just dug out a carefully preserved book of piano duets:

Yes, works by a W Oliphant and O Chuckerbutty, sandwiching a duet by Gladys A Wood (I quite like that name too!). Hough refers you to the Wikipedia article on Chuckerbutty and mentions that his name was Soorjo Alexander William Langobard Oliphant Chuckerbutty - though as the article says he also went by the shorter version Wilson Oliphant. I therefore think that this book has two Chuckerbutty pieces the first and last pieces being by the same person operating under two different names - clearly the publishers didn't know!
The duets are for learners and are fairly dull, we used to ham them up at university music evenings when I produced this treasure. The inside has a copyright date of 1933 and I think I acquired it, with some other duet works from a relative.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Teaser Tuesday - 26 Jan



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!
From Rose Tremain's The Road Home:
But then he remembered that money had a new terror here.
The room Lydia had found for him in Tufnell Park was going to cost £90 a week.

A contemporary tale of an economic migrant in the UK, it is going to be a long read but memorable and well written.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Seasonal poetry

Burns night is almost upon us so for the select few who appreciate Burns and mathematics here is Tim Davis's the Mouseholder QR:
Wee, sparsest, QR-factored Matrix,
O, what a panic's in my math tricks!
Thou need na space thine eigs like hay sticks
Wi' ditherin' low-bits!
I wad be laith to rin a quick fix,
Wi' murd'rin' page hits!

(or at least the first verse) read the whole thing - preferably with the correct accent - you'll find an mp3 on the linked page.

Mutterings - 24 Jan

This week's free word associations from Unconscious mutterings are:
  1. Food :: meals, companionship
  2. Death :: loss
  3. Cafeteria :: style
  4. Need :: want
  5. Born :: Free
  6. Stitch :: Lilo
  7. Badly :: Drawn Boy
  8. Blocks :: Starting
  9. Chuck :: over - I think Wallace (& Gromit) is hovering in the background
  10. Spiral :: galaxy

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Quatre cents coups

Last night we went to the Silk Screen to see Truffaut's Quatre cents coups.

I'd not seen this film for many years and for some reason it was the memory of the humourous scenes which stuck in the mind from then, but it's a tragic story from a lonely childhood lit by wonderful sometimes funny observation. The above clip is the final scene, audaciously daring, and unforgettable (though my mind was playing tricks!).

Night Ride

Yuja Wang again, making the impossible look easy, with the Liszt transcription of Schubert's ErlK├Ânig.

The original piano part is difficult enough without what Liszt does to it!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Teaser Tuesday - 19 Jan



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!
It was melodrama so overdone that he and Crake would have laughed their heads off at it, if they'd been fourteen and watching it on DVD.
First came the waiting. He sat in a chair in his office, told himself to calm down. The old wordlists were whipping through his head: fungible, pullulate, pistic, cerements, trull.
I just finished Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake yesterday, so I thought I'd leave a final extract. I quoted an section in last week's teaser. I was tempted to stop as instructed, after the second sentence but didn't feel that cruel!! As I twittered, I keep seeing visions of cybermen whenever Atwood mentions an airlock but that's probably a Dr Who fetish on my part.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Don't tangle with the church cleaner!

Just spotted this tale from British Colombia of a church cleaner attacking a cougar - which was attacking her son - with a cleaning rag:
She charged the mountain lion and smacked it in the head with her cleaning rag, prompting the 30-kilogram animal to drop its prey and flee.
“I just took it and hit him in the face,” she said of what has to be the most unlikely weapon ever used against a mountain lion.
Applause for a brave woman!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

This looks appropriate

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
But maybe not?

Mutterings - 17 Jan

This week's free word associations from Unconscious mutterings are:
  1. Weak :: Strong
  2. Flashy :: Car
  3. Sack :: get the
  4. Business :: skills
  5. Purple :: Haze (or aubergine - to confuse the Americans!)
  6. Fan :: Ceiling
  7. Airline :: pilot
  8. Guide :: Scout (if it had been scout the association would, I'm afraid, have been bondage)
  9. Lunch :: break
  10. Exercise :: walk

funhouse

The Guardian's Saturday Poem was by Charles Bukowski:

I drive to the beach at night
in the winter
and sit and look at the burned-down amusement pier
wonder why they just let it sit there
in the water.
I want it out of there,
blown up,
vanished,
erased;
that pier should no longer sit there
with madmen sleeping inside
the burned-out guts of the funhouse . . .
it's awful, I say, blow the damn thing up,
get it out of my eyes,
that tombstone in the sea.
the madmen can find other holes
to crawl into.
I used to walk that pier when I was 8
years old.

From his collection The Pleasures of the Damned
I grew up in Southport which had its own pier so there's some powerful associations here for me. Here's a link to the history of this pier.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Whoops!

Got an email from NVIDIA today requesting me to tailor which newsletters I wished to receive from them - so I followed the link did the appropriate configuration and got these rather fetching errors:

Waited a few minutes and got this even more cryptic email:

Getting close to WTF territory I think? I don't think I subscribed from anything, but trust software to make a really spectacular hash of it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Junior Reading was never this much fun

Curious Pages has an archive of inappropriate books for kids. I did like the 'Polonius was a mythical sausage' line and illustration. Definitely not suitable for the young (though that's who they were published for!). Hat tip to The Second Pass.

Teaser Tuesday - 12 Jan



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!
He was glad he didn't live in a pen, where he'd have to lie around in poop and pee. The pigoons had no toilets and did it anywhere; this caused him a vague sensation of shame.
I hope you enjoyed that! Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake I somehow don't think it is going to be an easy read. Borrowed from the library chose it as it was a recommended read before trying her latest book - The Year of the Flood.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tritsch - Tratsch

Yuja Wang plays a Cziffra transcription again, this time of Strauss.

Good exercise for cold winter evenings - thanks to 'Rugby' on news:rec.music.classical.recordings for flagging this up.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mutterings - 10 Jan

This week's free word associations from Unconscious mutterings are:
  1. Resolutions :: New Year
  2. Page :: Fresh
  3. Narrow :: Strait
  4. Refuse :: No!
  5. Fountain :: of Arethusa though I think the mental link was with Britten's Metamorphoses (and it is far too long since I've heard them!), followed closely by 'of Rome'.
  6. Grunt :: effort
  7. Construct :: mental
  8. Nightmare :: vision
  9. Inch ::forward
  10. Instant :: solution

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Le Serpent

Last night, in very cold weather, we paid a visit to the first showing in 2010 from Macclesfield's Silk Screen - Barbier's Le SerpentThat's the French trailer - you may find it disturbing - so beware! A pretty violent film which pays a rather over the top homage to Hitchcock's Psycho. I didn't want to like it but I was drawn in, it has its moments of humour early on but most of it is hard hitting. Trying to ignore a few gaping plot holes I though this was worth the watch if only for the brooding presence of the filming and sets.

Jack enjoys a new bird feeding table

Here's Sue setting up a new table for feeding the birds. As you see her cat, Jack, is already positioned ready to inspect the diners. Later in the afternoon birds were sitting underneath inspecting the food which had fallen. At the moment there's an almost constant procession of birds to the two tables (ours and next doors).

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

And you think the snow is deep!


Squirrel and snow - iii
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
The grey squirrel which lives a few gardens along (we think) has emerged from its home to decide whether a trip to the bird table was worth the risk. After a lot of slipping and nearly falling off the roof it decided it wasn't worth it - one of our cats noticed it and also decided the conditions were not suitable for a chase and went back to sleep. A few more photos of its progression are here

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Imlib problems with mandriva 2010?

I'm trying to debug a windowmaker style dockapp under mandriva 2010 - it's called E Notes for putting post-it (am I allowed to use that phrase?) style reminders around the screen. It needed some fixes to get it to build and then I decided I needed to get my head around imlib (which that dockapp uses) to know what I should be looking for to solve a particular problem - the dock app was giving me windows with a black foreground and a black background so it's hard to tell what's going on :-)

So to get a better knowledge of imlib I googled and tried downloading the program I found here:
Imlib programmers guide
The first one - written for Xlib - is meant to produce a window displaying a specified image until the window is closed - I compiled (no warnings even with -Wall) ran it and I get _nothing_ no output at the command line, no window opens, sits there doing nothing until I Control-C it.

Puzzled, I then tried moving it onto a ubuntu system and once I'd built it there (that's another story, imlib1 is carefully hidden in the karmic release) it runs fine absolutely no problem, image displayed ok

So my feeling is that - at least on this system - imlib1 is broken under mandriva 2010, I have installed (at least including all imlib ish rpms)
imlib-1.9.15-8mdv2010.0
libimlib1-1.9.15-8mdv2010.0
libgdkimlib1-1.9.15-8mdv2010.0
kdepimlibs4-core-4.3.2-1mdv2010.0
libimlib2-devel-1.4.2-2mdv2010.0
libimlib2_1-filters-1.4.2-2mdv2010.0
libimlib2_1-loaders-1.4.2-2mdv2010.0
libimlib-devel-1.9.15-8mdv2010.0
libimlib2_1-1.4.2-2mdv2010.0

I'm using the imlib-1 here, anyone else seen this or has the installed
libs able to try that small app? Maybe I should try building imlib from scratch?

Once it's running I can make the buildable version available on the web and then I can start adding various extra features I have in mind..!

Teaser Tuesday - 5 Jan



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!
This looks an appropriate teaser!
They were returning home by boat as he had acquired so many books that it was cheaper fro them to accompany the books home by sea. 'Baz just adores books. He wouldn't care what in the world we lost provided his library was saved.'
from Salley Vickers 'Dancing Backwards' I'm looking forwards(!) to this.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Two for the price of one!


Dr Who and 2001 - hat tip to Geoff Coupe.

Seeing clearly

I was given, for Christmas, a copy of Chase Twichell's collection of poems 'Dog Language' a series which observe loss in particular the dying and death of her father. Very clear, well observed writing you can't look away. Here's 'Vestibule':
What etiquette holds us back
from more intimate speech,
especially now, at the end of the world?
Can’t we begin a conversation
here in the vestibule,
then gradually move it inside?
What holds us back
from saying things outright?
We’ve killed the earth.
Yet we speak of other things.
Our words should cauterize
all wounds to the truth.

And this section from an earlier poem in the collection 'Watertown':
Grandma had a hundred-year-old
jade tree on the piano.
I'm possessed by a need
to have one exactly like it--
coins of green water,
bark like elephant hide.
Hers had a glazed pot,
a stone turtle.
I want that turtle.
wanting something from down the ages which, maybe, is no more.
There's a review of the collection by the poet Matthew Thorburn. It is published in the UK by Bloodaxe

Mutterings - 3 Jan

This week's free word associations from Unconscious mutterings are:
  1. 365 :: 366
  2. Tombstone :: memorial
  3. Dumb :: -o
  4. Intrusive :: questions
  5. Fat :: layer
  6. Axe :: root
  7. Planned :: pregnancy
  8. Spike :: Milligan
  9. Bleach :: hair
  10. Shopkeeper :: counter
I've now been submitting my mind to this analysis for over a year - I think this was the first.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Trees over the Bollin


trees over the Bollin
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
It snowed this morning and I've just been down to the Bollin and taken a few photos. Beautifully quiet, unfortunately the kingfisher and heron which Beth saw yesterday weren't there today. But the snow transforms the landscape. The linked photos also have some pictures of the traffic chaos on Beech Lane which was virtually blocked, traffic is now moving there very slowly!

I'm sorry I'll blog that again

Looks like I was right to be doubtful, this is the Archbishop's 2010 New Year message:

The text is here
We share the risks. The big question is, can we share the hopes and create the possibilities? Because it's when we do share the hopes that we really see what it is to belong together as human beings, discovering our own humanity as we honour the human dignity of others.
I'll own this quote too!
So ekklesia, at least, has it wrong and I'm pretty certain that I heard a news bulletin yesterday, referring to the message, talking about children as a treasure so I guess the BBC at one stage got confused too! The BBC - at least on their web site - has it correct now.

Friday, January 01, 2010

The worth of an individual


Rowan Williams New Year message for 2010 - at least I hope it is the one for 2010 the youtube page I got this from appears to be in some doubt where it has a 2008 date and very old comments. Ekklesia though is in no doubt and has the same words!
Jesus said where our treasure is, that's where our hearts will be. Our hearts will be in a very bad way if they're focused only on the state of our finances. They'll be healthy if they are capable of turning outwards, looking at the real treasure that is our fellow human beings.
May that be true for us all through this coming year.

Faster than...

Just to remind you of Summer:

Yuja Wang attacking Cziffra's arrangement the Flight of the Bumble-Bee by Rimsky-Korskakov - as if the Rachmaninov version wasn't difficult enough!
There's some more clips on her website.