Sunday, May 31, 2009

Some Sunday Night Music

about as far from the previous blog entry as it is possible to go?
Hans Werner Henze: Ein Kleines Potpourri, dall'Opera "Boulevard Solitude"
Abstract and spare and I marvel at it - not to everyone's taste though. Hat tip to Opera Chic The poster of that video, Wellesz, has some interesting uploads.

How to humiliate your dog

Get it to wear a Hello Kitty dog hip dysplasia orthopedic brace. Arrgh!! There seems to be the market for the strangest branded things.

Mutterings - 31 May

This week's word associations from Unconscious Mutterings are:
  1. Nursery :: Rhymes
  2. Side effect :: medical (computing comes a close second!)
  3. Heart to heart :: conversation
  4. Try :: Catch
  5. Hog :: Wart
  6. Symptom :: medical
  7. Collide :: billiards
  8. Fury :: rage
  9. Incorporated :: company
  10. Summer :: Time (chorus, Porgy....)

Saturday, May 30, 2009


If you were in Cambridge in the early 70's and involved in Chapel or Musical circles you're didn't need the surname:

This is Felix Watts whose obituary I blogged about a couple of years ago. Here is a picture of the Dominican in full combat gear - with many, many thanks to Tony Nixon for unearthing this picture.
If you haven't read the obituary extract go and do so!

Take aim

This week's cat picture:
funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Another cafe to cross off the list

Obviously the message is - don't become too eminent a scientist - Matthew Norman the Guardian's restaurant critic eats at Time & Space at the Royal Institution and reviews it in today's paper. 1/10:
By any other catering standard operated throughout time and space - and that includes the convict ship USS Scurvy orbiting Emetic Majora in the Intergalactic Famine Wars of the 39th century - it is an abomination of a very rare order indeed.
They seem to be finding the bad ones this year!

Inclusive Church Meeting in Macclesfield

.. some local news, foreigners can go to the Inclusive Church website and see if there's a meeting nearer them.
Sat 13th June - Church of the Resurrection, Upton Priory Macclesfield, speakers Clare Herbert and Clive Larsen. I'm intending to be there!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Henbury Hall

Henbury Hall
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
Another Thursday, another evening walk, this time to Henbury Hall, not often open to the public. Beautiful gardens, the walks sequence is here, and I will upload more from tonight at the weekend!

(Later) Maybe I should have added that Henbury is the residence of the de Ferranti's. I've now added more photos and added a tag so that this link just picks out last night's photos.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - 26 May

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 heard the sound of footsteps in the shadows and stopped breathing for a few moments. It had to be Tita, her distinctive fragrance wafted towards him on the breeze, a mixture of jasmine and cooking odours that was hers alone.
Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate, that fragment sums up the book very well,desire and cooking! You might go off the book if you don't like pork!

I don't think I have a big enough wall

..for this poster of the history of Unix. Looks very nice though!

Monday, May 25, 2009

From the garden yesterday

Summer weekends and the laburnum.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mutterings - 24 May

This weeks word associations from Unconscious mutterings
  1. Lisa :: Mona (I went completely blank here)
  2. Hope :: Faith (..of good)
  3. Irene :: Chester
  4. Tony :: Morris
  5. Anna :: a-Boleyn
  6. Dolly :: Hello
  7. Laura :: Ashley
  8. Debbie :: Smithers
  9. Wilson :: Harold
  10. Paula :: Radcliffe

Ohhh, numbers to make sure I can copy and paste! I found this tricky, maybe because I often go blank on names of people I know!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A little bit of Eastern European culture

thanks to b3ta

A crying shame

(not reall!) A French morning - seeing (again) The Class (Entre Les Murs). This is the trailer - unfortunately no subtitles - but it's worth watching - there are trailers with subtitles on youtube but with less good extracts!

It is very much a reflection on communication, the different ways the adults and 14 year-olds (from particular cultures) interpret various words - shame, respect,'petasse' - divided by a - more of less common - language. Definitely worth re-watching!

Across the fields

Across the fields
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
Got to my first summer walk on Thursday - just as well as I was leading it! The intention was to walk from Alderley Edge to Harehill and return. We decided to skip the last bit over the fields and take a short cut back to a drink at the Wizard - the Wizard now also functions as a pub as well s a restaurant and a very nice end of the walk it made! Photos of the walks so far are here

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - 19 May

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!

As he walked back top his office which issued ration cards to the population of their town, he looked about him vaguely but with hunger, his eyes resting not on the things on which people's eyes normally rest - signboards, the traffic, the number of an approaching bus - but on such things normally considered nondescript and unimportant, as the paving stones on which their feet momentarily pressed, the length of a wire in a railing at the side of the road, a pattern of grime on the window pane of a disused print press... Amongst such things his eyes roved and hunted and, when he was seated at his desk in the office, his eyes continued to slide about - that was Sheila's phrase later: 'slide about' - in a musing calculating way, over the surface of the crowded desk, about the corners of the room, even across the ceiling.
Anita Desai's 'Games at Twilight' a collection of short stories. I was finding it uninvolving, but I'm gradually being drawn in, maybe I wasn't giving it enough concentration - look at those sentence lengths!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mutterings - 17 May

Word associations from Unconscious Mutterings:
  1. Vex :: annoy
  2. Relapse :: sick-bed
  3. Twinkle :: little star
  4. Crawls :: 'umility
  5. Optimistic moment :: of truth
  6. Cage :: 4'33"
  7. Superwoman :: Linda wossername
  8. Personal :: space
  9. Vapor :: steam (tries to ignore American spelling)
  10. Grocery store :: treasure trove

Seem to have been missing two items until a few moments ago, I've no idea why I did a copy and paste and the two missing are in the middle!? Can I blame firefox?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sunday lunch approaches

Sunday lunch approaches
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
I was in Sussex last weekend visiting my mother and the local game was volunteering to be caught. We were unadventurous and went to the Squire and Horse in Bury again - very nice though!

if only they could hear themselves

From One News Now
Christians of all traditions are called to transform the culture -- not conform to it," he says in reference to Romans 12:2. "But the evangelical left repeats arguments from The New York Times' editorial page and seems to think such cultural conformity will win applause. History shows that accommodationist Christians are ultimately irrelevant Christians.
Can I mantion right-wing Christian views on Ronald Reagan, George Bush and as for Rush Limbaugh! The right needs to look at itself before criticising others for 'cultural conformity' and accommodationism!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Blackpool tourist board strikes! But where are the 'ippets?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Might be of interest?!

Clearly a closely related review to Couperin's 3re Ordre
I assume it is triggering on Volume 3...I'm playing (Couperin's!) Les Rozeaux at the Alderley Edge Festival on Saturday and was looking some something written on the work but google is not being helpful!
I'm also playing the Poulenc 3rd Novelette - with the Couperin two almost barcarolle'ish works - I should be putting a Faure Barcarolle in for another class! I'm currently reading (on the train to and from work) the Richard Burton book on Poulenc very good on the religious, sexual background of what made the man.

Round and round

Some lol-cattery

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - 12 May

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!

Bit of cheating today as this isn't a very random selection!
Learning the Queen's English is like scrubbing off the bright red varnish from your toenails the morning after a dance. It takes a long time and there is always a little bit left at the end, a stain of red along the growing edges to remind you of the good time you had.

From Chris Cleave's 'the other hand' a review is here as well as lots of links on his website. The book is strongly recommended (by me!)
I wanted to place that quote alongside this one from Salley Vickers 'Instances of the Number 3' which I finished today:
Something sharp attacked her toe. Frances looked down to see a tortoise nibbling at her feet. 'Hey!'
'It's your red nail varnish - thinks you're a tomato!

'the other hand' is our current book group book, I'm looking forward to the discussion!

Industrial Archeology

I first had a job in computing back in 1970 - back then it was punched cards as a means of creating programs. The old cards tended to be thrown away - no recycling then - and i saved some of them to use for record cards and I passed some of them to my parents for use as shopping lists or recipe cards. On a visit to my mother's last weekend I spotted one:

I think this is a line of S1 - the language used to design the ICL 2900 series of computers

no lower case then, and the << operators are shift left and shift-right.
There's an interesting (pdf) article by Martin Campbell-Kelly on the history of mainframe development at ICL here
Maybe the recipe on the other side of the card was more interesting?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mutterings a little late!

Unconscious Mutterings - bit late this week, I've been away.
  1. Again :: late
  2. Shower :: curtain
  3. Flirting :: eyes
  4. Moving on :: job change
  5. Rachel :: Leah
  6. Chips :: Mr
  7. Texting :: Tedium
  8. Feel better :: for it
  9. Cashmere :: sweater
  10. Sucked :: under

Saturday, May 09, 2009

On the hills

young lamb
Originally uploaded by rajmarshall
We had a trip to WIldboarclough last weekend with lunch at the Crag and then a shorter than intended walk over the hills. Bluebells are just coming out and then there were some lambs. Here's one with Shutlingsloe in the background.

Good news on the SSG/SPCK front

Dave Walker who was the subject of a gagging order has posted on the SPCK saga. The Brewer's bookshop is also being evicted, at last, from Durham Cathedral. The wheels of justice may turn very slowly, but they are turning!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Kestrel Webcam

Webcam of a kestrel nest - at Muttenz near Basel. Thanks to Ursi. The inline pictures don't work for me with Firefox (and Linux) but the buttons beneath are fine!
Here - slightly closer to home are some peregrines nesting on Derby Cathedral with recorded sequences from youTube and live links at the top left..oh go on - here's one of the sequences

recorded on Bank holiday weekend, as you can hear from the background jazz band.
There are also some peregrines on Manchester town hall (even closer) but, at the moment, I can't find a link to the webcam.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - 5 May

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!

The air was at first steamy as a bathroom with the door closed; then the earth dried out and it began to feel like another climate had come to visit. Seattle reacted predictably. It called in sick to work, took off its shoes and sweaters and hit the glorious outdoors with sunglasses and fast tanning lotion.
Barbara Wilson 'Murder in the Collective - politics (mostly of the left) and crime.
I havered over including that extra sentence but decided that otherwise it was too much of a cliffhanger!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Biology revision

Remember basic biology... Helpless laughter!

Upgrading Mandriva to 2009.1

(Beware, this is fairly hardcore geekery, but do read the link to the Mandriva release!)
Since my last upgrade a newer version of Mandriva has been released - last week - and this time I decided to be less conservative and do an early upgrade - I normally wait at least a month for the bugs to be ironed out!
Again I tried it on another machine before upgrading the email server - so I found out that it would be good to remove kdelibs-common
urpme kdelibs-common
which gets rid of any remaining traces of kde3, before starting the upgrade - where I largely followed this procedure adding a --noclean to the urpmi command to prevent deletion of the downloaded files so that I could use them to upgrade machine two. Note, those are the instructions for a 2008 to 2009 upgrade, but the procedure is the same.
Once complete I had two issues, googling solved them, but let me quote them here, with links to the helpful pages:
  • Initially the X server would not start and I had to reboot into safe mode as I couldn't switch to a dumb virtual terminal. I disabled the nvidia driver and ignored that for the moment
  • Once I got to the login screen I found that neither the mouse nor the keyboard worked! Fortunately I had another machine to websearch and found this, so these two commands and a reboot (not really necessary but just to check:
    chkconfig --del messagebus
    chkconfig --add messagebus
    gets the messagebus running at the correct point in the boot process.
  • I then tried getting the nvidia graphics card working - with the default driver various fancy graphics apps fail to run. I'd been getting the following:

    (II) NVIDIA(0): Initialized GART.

    0: /etc/X11/X(xorg_backtrace+0x37) [0x8135f97]
    1: /etc/X11/X(xf86SigHandler+0x56) [0x80cca26]
    2: [0xffffe400]
    3: /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers// [0xb7074c48]

    Fatal server error:
    Caught signal 11. Server aborting

    Again I found a bug report here. Adding 'nopat' to the options in /boot/grub/menu.lst also solved the problem for me

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Mutterings - 3 May

This week's free association set of words from Unconscious mutterings
  1. Avoid :: swerve
  2. Castle :: Howard (closely followed by Dracula - that might be a UK political joke!)
  3. Episode :: Dr Who
  4. Limited :: company
  5. Nail polish :: red
  6. Dip :: bathe
  7. Share :: open-handed
  8. Damage :: Irons (Jeremy)
  9. Improper :: conduct
  10. Handle :: pan

Somehow I appeared to lose two words (from the middle of the list) when doing a copy/paste?! I think everything is there now.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

That 'one' piece of software I need

Wise words from tante:
But let us look at the people claiming that they need Photoshop on Linux and they'd switch. From my experience those people often don't really use the power of Photoshop, it's just the tool they use for rather simple tasks. Why? Cause it's free. When "a friend" sets a new computer up for someone they'll more often than not slap all kinds of pirated software on there, just cause Windows doesn't really come with a lot of software: You will get a pirated MS Office, pirated Photoshop and all kinds of other "expensive" software. Why? Because when something is expensive, it's also "good". It's a very common perception that a software that you have to pay 300 Euro for is better than one that's free. Not cause you know why or cause you need some feature, it's just cause those programs feel like they are worth something.
Having spent some time talking to someone who 'really needed' multiple copies of Microsoft project this week and free alternatives just weren't the same because they were free. Go and read the whole article!