bluefluff's blue fluff

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Low, My Latest Novel

No, I've not been taken over by prolonged exposure to the OU's creative writing community... My Latest Novel was Low's support band last night at Birmingham's Academy 2.

Very much our sort of venue: a stage, a bar, a floor - what more could you want? We'd bagged our usual places at the front, determined not to be shouldered out before the main act & quite prepared to be subjected to whatever weirdness the promoters wanted to inflict on us.

This was Scottish weirdness of the highest order. I wouldn't say they quite lived up to their billing as Glasgow's answer to Arcade Fire, but they were certainly different, stomping their way through folksy rants (The Reputation of Ross Francis), winsome interludes (Learning Lego: "crushed by a plastic lego man" was possibly lyric of the night & the melodica added a certain je ne sais quoi) & the wonderfully pseudo-gothic When We Were Wolves. We were genuinely disappointed at the set being cut short after keyboardist Laura was taken ill.

Low would have been worth the wait anyway. It was great to see Alan Sparhawk looking more in touch with some kind of reality than February 05 (when, as we now know, he was on the verge of a breakdown induced by overdoing the dope). We were treated to a relaxed & polished set of mostly familiar numbers, the usual mix of exquisite close harmonies, guitar effects & enigmatic lyrics, including a whole new song built around repetitions of "there's not enough for two - Sarah, you're lazy". The poetry's in the sound, not the words....
Pity they chose to play 'encore bingo' (you know, the sort where they pretend to take requests, but wait till somebody shouts out the titles they were going to play anyway!)

The evening was nicely rounded off by supper back at HOP's house & discovery of Garstang Blue - not another band, but a blue version of Lancashire cheese: inspired!

Friday, April 28, 2006

All politicians should be like this

I think I've blogged about Austin Mitchell's blog before - if I haven't, I should have!
His latest Commons Diary is a riot - personal health anecdotes mixed with sarky political asides, & that's before this week's juicy scandals.
Tuesday 4 April
My operation called Vertebroplasty was developed in Glasgow, though not with the encouragement of Tommy McAvoy who's probably suspicious of anything that builds backbones in backbenchers. Because it's experimental I can go in early on the NHS at the Chelsea and Westminster to allow a new team to develop its skills. Unfortunately that means losing the recess. Anything to get rid of this pain.
Clutching my little bag of illegals ??? I'm told the Chelsea and Westminster joke 16 times before I even reach the ward. Why are the cities that way round? Because if Westminster came first it would be the Royal WC. This is going to be hard.
Put in a ward of six where most stare stolidly ahead, just like the Whips' Office. I'm attached to a drip feed which now has to trundle everywhere behind me. Probably it's sending signals to Tommy.

Perhaps I just have a strange sense of humour, but I love Austin's diaries. I hope he's saving them up to publish when he retires.

Monday, April 24, 2006

That was fun while it lasted :-)

Just finished & submitted my T175 ECA. It was quite amazing, looking back through the course, to see how much we covered. Pity it didn't generate the same kind of community as T171, but in terms of content I have no complaints! Highly recommended if you want to bring yourself up to speed on new developments in ICT :-)

Saturday, April 22, 2006


That's my relationship with computers! Just been up all night attempting to clear a quite remarkable collection of malware acquired through a certain family member's browsing. What particularly intrigues me is that after installing 41 (!) Windows updates, the reboot immediately went into a sequence of further updates, which in turn initiated the installation of SP2 (yes, I know) & then installing the beta Microsoft anti-spyware program set off another round, & when I finally gave up & shut the computer down (not this one) there were 7 more updates to collect!!
Despite all that, & many hours of AVscanning/SystemRestoreDisabling/Enabling/Adawaring/Spyboting/Windows Defendering/Hijackthising, we still have one persistent beastie that won't reveal itself except by throwing up a second browser window with dodgy content whenever IE is run.
Grrrr! Just answered the door to the postie & he probably thought I was up early, not late...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

DVD format wars

As predicted in some of the sources we looked at for a recent TMA, the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray battle is hitting the shops.

That's one of the things I've most enjoyed about T175... learning about the news before it happens :-)

Here's another one that didn't surprise us: Alton Towers is planning trials of a camera system that tracks visitors via RFID tags. The consumer-friendly bonus is that you'll get to buy a DVD of your day!

Remind me...

...that I really do prefer ECAs to exams, even though I've just spent nearly the whole day on a little itsy-bitsy T175 question that's only worth 20 marks!! Actually it was quite useful, as it forced me to comb back through all the notes & activities I've done since last October, picking the most suitable ones to reflect on. Some were like old acquaintances, but others I would have denied ever having set eyes on before, even though it was me wot wrote them. Mainly the ones with s*ms in, it thas to be said. I didn't reflect on any of those - just shuddered briefly & moved on.

Back to H806 tomorrow. If I post about that, it's likely to have Big Words in. I like Big Words :-)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Gigging again!

The gang of four are off to see Low before the end of the month... it all happened very quickly! Arranged over the weekend via late night text messages :-)

We saw Low in February 2005 - my first live gig for several years & part of my 'recovery programme'. The band went into crisis after that European tour & it was unclear whether they would ever tour or record again. I know it sounds corny, but we felt very privileged to have experienced one of their last live shows. Rather like Wildhearts/Ginger (though quite far removed musically) they're a sound that you either get or you don't. We get them :-)

Incidentally, they're from Duluth, Bob Dylan's home town. Must be something in the water!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Mmm, tasty!

Well, it seems to be, for the baby worms!
I think mine would prefer Easter eggs....

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Went to Asda!

No, not usually a cause for public celebration, I agree, but it was my first outing for 8 days & therefore deserves blogging. I didn't actually plan to stay indoors for 8 days... it just sort of happened. There was no compelling reason to go anywhere, & I'd missed last weekend's shopping trip by not getting to bed till 5am & being charitably left to sleep. I've been in an introspective slump (wouldn't call it depression) for a couple of weeks now. Easter came along quite handily, filling the house with kids & music & life again.

Friday, April 14, 2006


Stumbled across this one by accident this afternoon while studying the theory of intranet development (as you do). That belongs over on my H806 blog, but the rather dry article I was working on had used the term "processual" in relation to looking at intranet development as a process rather than a one-off event. I'd never met the word before & dashed off to Google to see how common a piece of jargon it was. I was slightly startled to find 3 million hits, but even more startled to see the top hits all related to archaeology.

It seems the world's archaeologists are divided into two camps: processualists & postprocessualists. The first group (predominant in the USA) see archaeology in scientific, objective terms & locate it in their universities alongside anthropology. The second group (predominant in Europe) see archaeology in humanistic, subjective terms & locate it in their universities alongside history. The "post" is derived partly from their alignment with postmodern theory, with its emphasis on the relative & provisional nature of "truth".

One point in particular in the Wikipedia article on postprocessual archaeology struck me:
Postprocessual archaeologists state that personal biases inevitably affect the very questions archaeologists ask and direct them to the conclusions they are predisposed to believe.
While this may sound as [sic] a vague theoretical idea, it has definite consequences in the actual practice of archaeological fieldwork. In order to collect data and analyse it, the archaeologist must first decide which questions they want to ask.

This was exactly the approach taken in my last-but-one OU course, Homer: Poetry and Society, a lovely mixture of literature & archaeology. I wondered why there was such an obsession with "framing the questions". It was perfectly understandable at a common sense level, but I had no idea it was a diluted version of a Big Academic Debate.

Nice little spot of serendipity there :-)

Internet addict, moi?

I am 61% Internet Addict.
Total Internet Addict!
I am pretty addicted, but there is hope. I think I'm just well connected to the internet and technology, but it's really a start of a drug-like addiction. I must act now! Unplug this computer!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

1 in 22,106

Hey, my lucky numbers came up! Just a £49 win, but that's only the second time we've had more than a tenner since the National Lottery started. My son (maths degree) lectures me on the lousy odds, but I reckon the odds of winning pots of money have to be higher if you buy a ticket than if you don't, right?

Nice end to a rotten day :-)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

This is wrong

Why has this man been sent to prison?

I'm aware of the legal position.

The law is an ass.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

something fishy

I didn't want to get drawn in, I really didn't....
(but I compromised by naming it after my sandals!)
Feed teva by tipping some food into the tank. Then go & play with Braquers :-)

adopt your own virtual pet!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Another Ginger blogpost...

Found a kindred spirit on Blogger :-)

Also a cool collection of photos from andy_b & a videoclip (38Mb though, so it needs patience...). See Conny strut his stuff & then 6 minutes in, S-S-Sonic Shake :-)

Yes, I know. Back to the real world soon......