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31.5.04

Google Search: testicles damaged hockey gallery - no 7 on the google hit parade

Sitemeter lets me see how people got to my blog. sometimes it can be through the most unlikely combinations of words - such as the german who searched Google for testicles damaged hockey gallery, for once I was happy to disappoint!

Bitesize Biology revision BBC style

There are times I wish that I worked for the BBC-i team, stuff like this: Human Body and Mind - Body is just fantastic, and reminds me that i was never taught, or indeed had to teach exactly where the spleen was, or what it did.

On a slightly more sombre note CBS Canada has this anatomy of a refugee camp, but is too text heavy for kids.

29.5.04

Guardian Unlimited | Arts reviews | American Music Club, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

American Music Club Review, I was there last Sunday, I saw this concert. Me, my wife, my friend Mark and his girlfriend Liz. I wrote a review of it in my head at 8.05 Monday morning whilst half asleep waiting for for the plane to taxi to the runway. I almost typed it out on to this blog. I read this review today and thought I'd bear witness, so excuse me whilst I gush.

I wanted to say how much AMC have meant to me, how it didn't feel like a reunion or a comeback - this wasn't a greatest hits set. How pleased I was to see Mark Eitzel sober, enjoying the band interactions and putting just as much into each song as he ever did. How fantastic Vudi's guitar, his clothes and his playing were - aural fairydust performed by a man dressed like Quentin Crisp visiting Chatham dock yard.

The audience was like a Nick Hornby convention - mostly male, a lot of leather jackets that weren't as old as they were supposed to look, metal frame glasses and a lot of shiny pates - Mark's greek fisherman's hat wasn't fooling anyone. It felt like everone had made lists in the hall, rearranged their record/CD/MP3 collection after some emotional turmoil. Some insisted on sharing their number one with us and the band - requests for songs were greeted with "We'll do it".

The new songs were harsh, abrasive, but then so were the old ones once stripped of all that lap steel and poised percussion, I'm assuming Mitchell Froom hasn't produced the new album.

If you haven't heard California, or wallowed in Everclear, or heard the greek instrumentation of The Ugly American, do yourself a favour.

27.5.04

rodeohead

radiohead medley in bluegrass style, good slide guitar too - Rodeohead

roof and render update

The builders come inside next week to knock out an internal wall to open out the kitchen, I guess they'll be taking the scaffolding down soon too - so no more beautiful evenings clambering up and down. Still it's been fun.

next layer of smooth render on side

those batons in full

valley takes shape

sunset over Mill End

Rachel Goswell EP bargain

Being a sad indie boy in the early 90's means that I'm also a fan of Mojave3, who used to be slowdive.
At lunch I popped along to virgin to buy the single by Rachel Goswell. Not in the singles rack, I found it in amongst the albums for a rather stiff £4.99 (5 songs, small band so...), only to get to the till and be charged 99p, enabling me to have a chunky kitkat to celebrate. Hurrah! i bet they run SAP...

Postmodern Pets - Designer pet furniture and supplies - more world of ponce

Most of my friends and family think that I'm busy trying to live the good life, what with my only growing plants you can eat, wine-making and woodworking. Last week I found this site about keeping chickens via the BBC (apparently "Not until the garden is done") and today on Boing Boing these rather wonderful Designer pet furniture and supplies. World of Ponce indeed.

25.5.04

Pop megahit song lyric generator

I used to write songs, but found it hard to write more than 2 verses, a chorus, now with
TheCoolKids.Org :: Pop megahit song lyric generator those days are gone. Admittedly the lyrics have a harder Urban-stylee edge and some swearing (don't Urban artists worry about their mum coming to their concerts?), but there are tons of words that mean jack.

23.5.04

nick drake on t'radio

Radio 2's nick drake biography was a lot better than I expected. Even Brad Pitt's resonant presentation hit the right tone.

Extension - now with added roof (well a start) and render

The good weather has meant that the builders have got second wind (insert bad builder/food/beer joke here), and I came back from Edinburgh to find the side of the house re-rendered and that they've made a start on the roof (see pics below).

Having removed some of the existing tiles and put them to one side, they've built up the outside wall, positioned the joists and created the main frame for the extension.

across the new roof

new valley

more loft-space to fill with junk

no angels in my architecture, spinning in infinity

Downstairs looks a little dark, so I've got to fin a new back door with as much glass in as possible. Mind you it was only ever going to be somewhere to hide the washing machine/tumble dryer etc.

22.5.04

Destroying things with a Giant Fresnel Lens

I remember the lesson my physics teacher - affectionately know as Jabba, taught us that the overhead projector he was using had a Fresnel lens. Those nice geeks at Slashdot directed me to a story about what burns and what don't when you use a giant Fresnel Lens, maybe it's just as well I never became head of physics at Langley Grammar.

17.5.04

Celebrities used as gum targets

On my daily commute into Oxford Street, soon to be interupted by a two month spell in Edinburgh, I regularly see posters defaced with chewing gum strategically placed over eyes, on noses etc. Recently the huge coverage of McDonalds' "We attract young women, no really we do, and they can eat salad" campaign has come in for a lot of wrigley abuse, as has Beckham's perennial sunglasses ads.

The BBC is reporting that Ealing is using Celebrities as gum targets, now I think they could be a bit more imaginative with the posters - sometimes faces aren't enough.

Capacitors incapacitate

Whilst taping incidents #1, #2, #3 are surprisingly common amongst school teachers, physics teachers regularly get away with electrocuting whole classes of children with their van de graaf generators, still more fun is to be had once they make it to the sixth form and do a spot of electronics as this article - Reach Out and Zap Someone indicates. The difference is you used to have to order the large capaitance in especially, now you can just break open a disposable camera.

Tokyo Times - Folding fanatics

Lee's blog is so much more interesting than mine, and this little gem of instruction on how to fold T-shirts almost rivals those spooky fingers of liquid, useful infotainment - with this information I could get a job at GAP if it all goes horribly wrong. Folding fanatics

16.5.04

Chim chim-a-ney, chim chim-a-ney chim chim cha-roo

First problems with the builders - I knew there were going to be some, it was just a matter of time. Having removed the render from the side of the house with a pneumatic drill, the builders found that they'd shaken what little cement was left from between the bricks in one of our three chimneys, making it unstable. An additional cost was incurred to rebuild the chimney (of course).

After calling in another chimney bloke (obviously a member of the chimnerati)last week for a second opinion, we decided to err on the side of caution and get them to rebuild the chimney. So this little burst of update pictures are of chimneys.

The rebuild chimney that was unstable

One of our other chimneys with magnificent fluting that was lowered as part of the agreed works - we have another chimney that required nothing doing to it, although I'm regretting not taking a photo of that as well for completeness now.

Shot of roof just crying out for joists and beams - hopefully going up this week if the weather holds.

Trouble is, with the roof up the builders will want to move inside and start knocking walls down.

13.5.04

KartOO - visual meta search engine

Following on from comments about musicplasma I read on John Dowdell's blog, KartOO displays search results in a similar concept-map like way.

12.5.04

Church of Fools

interesting things afoot at the Church of Fools. Launched yesterday, as a non believer I just quite like the interface and interactions - I'd like to see a mosque/temple option too just for personal interest.

Trillian

Following an excellent article in slashdot the other week abut what programs to install following a re-format, I downloaded trillian from Cerulean Studios. It was recommended as a way of chatting across MS Messenger and Yahoo (IRC, AIM & ICQ)platforms. Also looked at Gaim, which does a similar thing under Linux, BSD & MacOS X, as well as Windows - I might switch if things don't work out, or if someone has a better idea...

11.5.04

UK House Prices still mental

I'm not moving, and by the looks of things I won't be able to afford to move, unless it is abroad.

BBC's guide to mental houseprices in the UK

Still quite fun typing in postcodes of friends and dreaming how to spend the money...must get back to work.

10.5.04

Musicplasma - another fine waste of time

Musicplasma provides concept-map like diagrams of links between bands - even very obscure ones.

9.5.04

bending success stories

It took a while - over and hour in fact, but with a little help from the correct tool, I finally managed to bend the sides of my guitar.

The proof is here - your looking at still wet pieces of mahogany pushed up against the sides of the mold using my springy go-bars and waist clamp. It is symmetrical - the photo is just on an angle.

It's not perfect, it probably won't be that pretty, but having snapped two set of wood using various home made bending irons I feel justified in spending the money on it. It was also proving a bit of a mental block to completion - I've had the iron for three weeks, but there's only so much you can glean from the MIMF, before you have to actually do it for yourself.

7.5.04

Holes in liquids - no really

This is just so counter-intuitive it just feels wrong. Take cornstarch and glass spheres - add a dash of water and vibrate. Blow some air on the surface and video what happens - you must view the video, it is deeply cool, source article.

5.5.04

unlikely harry potter sequels courtesy of FARK

Apparently FARK is the new MAD, which I always though was a bit rubbish, but the photoshopping contests are the best bit:
FARK.com: Comments Thingee (936769)

3.5.04

Google's IPO - Form S-1

Having read the letter from the founders on the tube home last week, I've found myself discussing this several times with friends over the weekend. Here is a link to the actual submission, the Form S-1, if you read nothing else read the letter from the founders, for an example of a clear, concise explanation of how they intend to continue.

2.5.04

Total Guitar's top 20 riffs

Total Guitar's top 20 riffs
I get a sad guitar magazine every month - imaginatively titled Guitar Magazine, it generally has the most varied mix of artists and reviews. No CDs are stuck on the outside and until recently it didn't have huge transcriptions of hot for teacher "techniques" nonsense.

Musically I've moved the very short distance from 'riffs' to 'figures', but I know that if I start playing with a band again it is going to become part of my writing again - loud guitar (SG) plus fearsomely loud amp = indie boy rifftastic moments.

Total guitar, a magazine whose reviews I've only read online, felt the need to publish a top 20 of riffs - guitar ones only obviously.

Total Guitar's top 20 riffs:

1. Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns N' Roses
2. Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
3. Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin
4. Smoke On The Water - Deep Purple
5. Enter Sandman - Metallica
6. Layla - Derek & The Dominoes/Eric Clapton
7. Master Of Puppets - Metallica
8. Back In Black - AC/DC
9. Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) - Jimi Hendrix
10. Paranoid - Black Sabbath
11. Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne
12. All Right Now - Free
13. Plug In Baby - Muse
14. Black Dog - Led Zeppelin
15. Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love - Van Halen
16. Walk This Way - Aerosmith w Run DMC
17. Sunshine Of Your Love - Cream
18. No-One Knows - Queens Of The Stone Age
19. Paradise City - Guns N' Roses
20. Killing In The Name - Rage Against The Machine

my personal compendium
1. kinks - all day and all of the night
2. The cult - lil' devil
3. ac/dc - back in black
4. blur - Song2
5. beck - devil's haircut
6. kyuss - thumb
7. led zeppelin - whole lotta love
8. ride - vapour trail
9. black sabbath - paranoid
10. rolling stones - start me up
11. wire - strange
12. stone roses - fools gold
13. captain beefheart - electricity
14. spacemen 3 - revolution
15. supergrass - richard III
16. the smiths - how soon is now?

I would have the Queens of the stone age riff on there - especially after hearing the Divine Comedy do a cover last Monday, but the kyuss riff is better. Special mention must go to Gonga - whose album is an absolutely amazing blast of riffs in an old school stylee.

Garden in bloom-building continues a-pace

Garden in bloom, building continues a-pace

So without my hardhat I climb the builders scaffold, survey all that is mine and quite a lot of what is technically my neighbours. The apple trees are in full bloom - there used to be an orchard across the land before the house was built in 1903, we have the last remnants I guess, although I highly doubt the trees are any more than 30 years old.

A few more pics:
Across the back of the house - they're up to the roof level already and we've been clearing room inside in readiness for them to start smashing walls down.

The view down onto what will be our conservatory/kitchen extension.

And one last look across what will be my new upstairs study: