:: Youtube feed :: 30-09-2008

:: More news :: 30-09-2008

I've finally found a convenient way of getting mp3s playing on the music page. Ah, the joys of Google...

Check it out under the 'music' link to the left hand side.

:: At last, there's an update! :: 14-05-2008

As promised about a year ago, I've finally got around to taking some pictures of the house.

The front (the ivy and satellite dish will be going later this year when we've got scaffolding up for the roof to be replaced)

The back

The garden viewed from the house

The hammock (Michelle's birthday present last year, really nice on afternoons like this one)

Later, I'll be putting up some of the recordings from our most recent rehearsal session for the gig this Sunday at Fiddlers in Bedminster. Hopefully.

:: OMG. It's not even September yet! :: 28-08-2007

We went to Costco in Bristol at the weekend and I saw the following monstrosities brazenly on sale despite the fact that it's nowhere near the festive season yet.

A delightful 18" wooden advent calendar

As if that wasn't bad enough, there were the following:

18" Wooden Christmas Carollers

and the crowning glory...

Stepping Santa

From the advertising blurb:

Santa climbs up and down his Christmas ladder, never tiring. As he climbs he carries a string of lights over his shoulder to help decorate your tree.

Would you believe that people pay between 75 and 90 for this? The best thing of all is that he sings as he's doing it. I saw an elderly couple who were seriously considering buying one of these as well. So that's who's responsible for these things - if people didn't buy 'em, they wouldn't be made...

Further details, should you need them, can be found here (do a search for 'Stepping Santa').

Happy Christmas!

:: happenings :: 18-02-2007

Long time, no update...

Well, I am currently hobbled after a trip to America. Our first full day, a sledging trip to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes National Park goes horribly wrong and I end up breaking the sled (and nearly my back) at the bottom of a 35ft slope. We do have a photo around somewhere, showing the before and after, which I'll get around to putting up sometime, I expect.

We spent a lot of time in Utah, at the Arrowhead Country Inn, courtesy of Jim and Jane Jennings. If you ever get the chance, go stay there as it's lovely and they're really nice people. We had a great time.

The intention was to go walking in the two National parks within easy reach of Arrowhead (Zion and Bryce) but since I was having difficulty walking this was something of a problem. We did manage to get some miles under our belt, although at an extremely slow pace (and again, I'll probably get round to putting up some photos shortly). We then went to Vegas and did the sights there (including a long long trip to the Grand Canyon - 5 hours each way) then flew home again. We did manage to avoid leaving our shirts at the Bellagio - we have got ourselves a souvenir $1 poker chip from the Bellagio though. Not sure where we're going to put it, but hey.

So, I've been seeing someone else since we got back - a chiropractor, that is. Seems to be working, but it's a bit expensive so I'm trying to get the company health insurance to pay for it, without success so far ;(

Not much in the way of music happening at the moment, although one of the Turbomen is (possibly) doing some tinkering with something I've come up with in a sort of collaboration stylee sort of thing. We'll just have to see what happens with that then, could be some time as Tom's pretty busy at the moment. I have, however, submitted an entry to the Daily Telegraph 'Novel in a Year' competition. I haven't actually written a novel yet, just the first thousand words and a plot outline. I keep meaning to do more but I haven't got around to it yet :). Incidentally, it's a different one to the book I've been working on since I went travelling in 2001 (and which remains equally unfinished). So we'll see what happens with that too, eh?

Anyway, it would be nice to hear from you sometime. Drop me a line.

:: glory be :: 11-10-2006

I don't know why I even bother watching our national football team any more. It wasn't Robinson's fault, but we didn't even get close at the other end so we can't really complain about losing.

Went to a new cider bar called 'Apple' last Friday, hence the picture of Andy looking goofy. I did have a better one but lost it 'cos Andy nicked my phone and deleted it.

We also went to Redwood Lodge on Saturday night for a LloydsTSB Challengers Club ball, which was preceded by running about Ashton Court and Clifton in a sort of adventure race (much like the Microsoft Challenger's Trophy that the club is formed around). Great fun, the first time I've ever done anything like it. I discovered that I do have a competitve streak after all... Anyway, we got glammed up afterwards for some alcohol-fuelled mayhem; it was all OK until the tequila was brought out and the barmaid's hand got a bit free with the measures. Anyway, I survived to tell, and narrowly avoided spending vast amounts of money on computer games the next day as I wandered round PC World with a king sized hangover.

Hope this finds you well. Do get in touch...

:: saturday night's alright... :: 01-10-2006

It's been a bit of a hectic weekend for socialising. We ended up at Shadin (opposite Temple Meads) for dinner on Friday, very nice curry and reasonably priced too. We then went to the Reckless Engineer next door on a whim as they were advertising a Glam Rock band. I just wanted to see someone use a twin-neck guitar in anger, but I was quite disappointed to see that they weren't using it. It was a good night, though, even if their vocals weren't quite as polished as some bands I've seen. Their energy was impressive. I also saw someone making the feeblest attempt to pull in the world, which just involved standing in front of the young lady concerned and looking at her in a slightly cock-eyed, pickled fashion. I don't think it worked, particularly as she was with the band. Oh well, you can live in hope, I suppose.

Then, last night, we went to the Old Duke, a bit of a Bristol landmark, on the spur of the moment. We went to Mr Wolf's for noodles beforehand, but ended up going to the Duke because it was impossible to see what we were doing at the Wolf's. We ended up seeing a great band, Fatman Swings, of whom I took a couple of blurry photos, the best of which follows. I also ended up badgering the trumpet player to see if he knew of any big bands to join, as I'm looking to keep up my trumpet playing. For those of you I haven't been in contact with for ages, I played trumpet for a friend's wedding back in September, which entailed a great deal of practice to get my lip back into shape after ten years of trumpeting indolence. It seems a shame to have put all that effort in only to stop again, so I'm looking for an outlet and I figure a big band is the way to go. I figure that at least if I make a mistake there'll be enough other people playing at the same time to cover it up, or so I'm hoping anyway.

Right, a bit of catch-up news. I'm not longer working as a postie, I joined the Institute of Physics Publishing back in June, and I am now working as a Production Editor in Electronic Products and Services. Most of the time I am dealing with putting back archives of journals on to the IoPP website but I also deal with the production process (typesetting and a bit of proofreading, as well as the electronic publishing) for a couple of 'live' journals, the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics (JCAP) and the Journal of Statistical Mechanics (JSTAT). Fortunately, I don't need to know what the authors are writing about since the refereeing process is done way before the papers get to me, but some of them are actually quite interesting. Lots are waaaay over my head, particularly the ones about String Theory and the evolution of the Universe. What is 'slow-roll inflation', anyway? If anyone can explain it to me, I'd be very happy to know since it seems to crop up a lot in JCAP.

I've also been playing a lot of 'TimeSplitters: Future Perfect', Michelle bought it since we enjoyed playing 'TimeSplitters 2' and it's a good two-person shoot-'em-up. I'm also now transportless, since I sold my car last weekend. We reckon that it's going to be cheaper for us to take taxis and use hire cars for longer journeys than it is to run a car of our own. Since we live reasonably close to the supermarket and there's a lot of local shops nearby, we don't really need it for day-to-day use. So we're running a little experiment to see if we do actually save money. On the plus side, it means neither of us have to drive any more on a night out, so there's none of the 'Paper/Scissors/Stone' nonsense to decide who can drink for the evening. Suits me. Anyway, enough blathering, I'll let you get on with your day.

:: news, news, news... :: 27-09-2006

Well, as you can see I've finally got around to doing a bit of work on the site. Most of it's back end stuff that makes it easier for me to post content and automatically generate the rss feed (that's what the little picture is all about). What this means is that if you're using Mozilla Firefox as your browser, you can easily set up a 'live link' that's like a bookmark, but which gets updated if I post something new here. That way you don't have to keep checking the site, the site comes to you... The wonders of technology, eh?

Talking of technology, I've got myself a new 'phone, the previous one having died. I was able to live with the greatly shortened battery life, even if it did mean that I couldn't make calls longer than about 5 minutes before it died. I was even able to live with the buttons being dodgy occasionally, but it was when I got caught in a rainstorm while cycling to work that did for it. The screen died and the ringer stopped working, and while the screen did come back to life eventually (complete with a nice water stain...) Michelle badgered me into getting a new 'phone. So, I am now the proud owner of a Motorola PEBL. It's got a camera, which I swore for ages I didn't need, but now I've got it, it's actually quite nifty, plus the Bluetooth connectivity makes it really easy to get the pics off of it, too.

As a result of this, I've decided to try a new feature here, which involves me taking a picture every day and posting it here. I'm not claiming to be David Bailey and the picture quality isn't great, but I thought that random pictures of things that catch my eye might interest you. It also means that I might get around to updating a bit more frequently than once a year...

The first images in this pantheon of photographic greatness are thus here:

This is what happens when the concern for health and safety in the workplace goes a bit too far. This is a genuine document from work. You'd have thought that anyone old enough to be holding down a responsible job with a respected scientific publisher would know that kettles are designed to get hot and that there's a potential safety hazard with the mixture of water and electricity. Sadly, ours is now a society where you have to put up posters like this, otherwise someone who really should know better is going to burn themselves and then sue the company for whom they work for not providing a safe kettle to use.

Some wooden sheep in Castle park. It was a nice sunny day and I thought they looked quite cool, although a bit too intelligent to be real sheep.