Saturday, February 28, 2009

Excuses.

This blog entry is just an excuse for me to imitate Ron Jeremy and to blow my own trumpet a little. But then if I can't blow my own trumpet on my own blog, I'd like to know where else I might go to do it.

I've been on a "digital photography for beginners" course at Oakwell Hall near Birstall.

Now, based on the fact that I provide a digital photograph on my blog almost every day..... you might be wondering why I am going to a beginners class.... I must admit, I asked myself the same question.

It;s difficult sometimes to judge your own level of something. Alright, so I know I take lots of pictures, and I know that ninety nine percent of them never see the light of day, but it's all guesswork..... Sometimes it works for me and sometimes it doesn't.

Time to get back to basics.

Glad I went actually..... It's been a good day..... I think I've gained a little knowledge and a little confidence out of it....

The proof of the pudding, is of course, in the eating, and the photos I've taken today have actually been slightly better than my usual bunch.

A good source of inspiration.



Now, everyone today took photos of the snowdrops. I took snowdrop photos too. The course instructor admitted that he thought mine were the best ones.... and so, I give to you.... some blossom in a tree.... I don't even know what sort of blossom it is.... nice bokkeh though. I've booked on the next course that takes us a bit further into manual camera settings.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Stripped and ready for action.

That's the current state my Nintendo Wii is in..... Just waiting for the solder meister to put his electrostatic discharged wellies on and head on over with his wheels of flux cored lead.

What this means, is that I have taken a deep breath and pulled apart my lovely Nintendo using lots of brute ignorance and triwing screwdriverness. It looks a damn sight sorrier than it did half an hour ago!!

I am sure everyone will be able to imagine the VERY harassed fox when it comes time to put it back together!!

Other things that are pissing me off include.....

B&Q for generally not stocking any equipment for working on anything smaller than a patio or a radiator.

My eyes.... failing, and generally rubbish at doing things smaller than patios or radiators.

The Slanket!!! Not just the concept of a blanket with sleeves that I find annoying, nor is it the couch potatoes that might use them that annoy me.... I find the idea of inventing a word to describe a product, to be quite simply, sickening. In defence of the marketing team, I DO appreciate that they've identified their target market quite well......

QUOTE:
Traditional blankets have one downfall - you have to keep popping your arms in and out from under the blanket when you want to do something... what a chore!

This ingenious invention frees up your arms so you can keep all warm and snug as you do important stuff - like reaching for the remote control... or ordering a pizza on the phone.
END QUOTE.

Apparently blankets have a downfall have they?? Why didn't anyone tell me this before?

What a chore!! I have to keep moving my arms now to do things.... oh, the humanity.

Important things like reaching the remote control, or ordering a pizza.... I think we know where this is going....

The lightbulb goes on!

How about one with a colostomy bag pocket in it so you never need to leave the sofa again?

Slanket? It's a right load of fullocks!!



Sixteen screws, six rubber sticky feet and pads, eight parts, three cables, ten fat fingers and two cheap screwdrivers.... that's all it takes. Mix them all nicely with one lovely nylon electrostatically charged rug, and you've got a nice white lump of useless plastic..... time will tell.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My little stick....

With my little stick of Geekpool rock (to be sung in a George Formby stylee).

I am reassured this week that I am still (despite my attempts to become a tree hugging, earth mother) a confirmed geek, and the lettering runs through my core, so whichever way up you choose to view me, you should still be able to read it (although in theory from underneath it would say "keeg" but mirrored??).

I refer of course to my love of technology.

I found myself ordering, receiving and subsequently curled up on the settee hugging and kissing an RGBH/V Dsub to BNC/RCA cable. My only regret is that I wish it were slightly longer, but in the world of American cablery, beggars can't be choosers.... it's lovely and gold plated and that!!

I've order a 3.5mm to phono cable, and am actually excited about it arriving.

I've ordered a Wiikey V2 chip for my Nintendo Wii - Having finally managed to sort out the Nintendo DS, I now feel I have the courage to strip down the somewhat larger white games box and get my hands on some of that free game love.

My only bit of misguided tom-geekery this week was purchasing a database book which actually spends more time explaining how to open files in windows (Windows Vista I hasten to add, and I am still only on XP after my recent laptop disaster) than it does about how to construct a database.... Access databases are my weakest of the martial arts of Office-jitsu.

Mmmmm Marmite and cables everywhere......



A really great Ozzy Osbourne toy that I picked up for forty-nine pence.... includes remote control!! I can't find batteries small enough to fit the remote yet though!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

About turn.

Blog entry take two.

Having previously decided to blog about a successful purchase of Marmite - a measly 250g jar which worked out cheaper than any of the other sizes, larger ones included.... I've changed my mind, and that's my frikking perogative, so back off!!

It's Nintendo DS time.

Having spent approximately six hours swapping the case, only to fail at the final hurdle by snapping the power switch...... that's where I left off. I had been quoted thirty quids to repair it....

Having shopped around, I managed to buy a couple (one for emergencies/disasters) of said power switches from a company in Leeds for just ninety eight pence each.... yes that's nine-eight 98 whole pence!!

Good old RBK came round and desoldered the old switch and soldered on a new one for me - cheers Rich - GREATLY appreciated - some people have skills and although they don't prize them very highly, others certainly do.

I put the whole thing back together and settled down tonight to stick on the rubber feet and screw covers and all those other bollocksy bits that finish the job. The rubber feet weren't self adhesive so I superglued 'em on for good luck...... can you guess what happens next??

I turn on the completely reassembled machine and the top screen is blank.

Back to the drawing board - screw heads are starting to strip away and rubber feet are now cut out and thrown in the bin - back to the fiddly gold connector ribbon and it's working again.... reassembly - seriously those screws won't take another undoing....

Hey presto - a bit of bodging and lots of determination and assistance into the bargain and:



Before - all set out for a very organised afternoon. When the switch snapped it all ended up being chucked into a bag and the screws got mixed up and.... well you know how it goes.... everything I touch turns to shite!!



During - A picture I took during the operation - this one was supposed to help me remember the wire routings. See the little black wire that runs under that big silver block thing..... oh my.... it nearly didn't get reconnected. Also spot my Hong Kong screwdriver propping it all up.



After - Sexy metallic red - all revved up and ready to go.... if I can just finish this effing blog then I might be able to play some!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Notable.

Notable by their absences today are:

Large jar of Marmite.

A new broom head.

A rat poison bait box.

Peanut Butter.

Microsoft Autoroute.

Memory Map navigation software.

It's funny how such a random list of unconnected items can all be united by the very fact that I have noticed the lack of them all on this very day.

I have tried to resolve some of these shortcomings, and am afraid to say that the only ones I have satisfied are those that relate to computer software.

Geek I am.

Marmite on toast I am not.



Here (for your enjoyment) is a scaled down version of the faulty Nelson's Column print. I've stuck a couple of vertizontal bars over the top to give you the exact scale of my error. I put this failing down to all those hours spent running round the moors hunting for magic mushrooms - It's simply resulted in the Pole Moor condition of having one leg slightly longer than the other. I estimate (and usually correct with) a measurement of 2 degree rotation.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Straightening it out.

Well, my laptop died and for the best part of two days I tried to revive it. Eventually, against my better judgement (as is always the case in the untimely death of a computer) I decided to start from scratch - formatted and installed a brand, spanky, fancy, clean, new operating system, which is about as brand, spanky, fancy, clean and new as any Microsoft operating system could be... which isn't very!!

I'm back, of a fashion.

One good thing to come out of the recent laptop related disaster is that I've now installed a new art package (the newest version - obviously illegally downloaded and hacked, cracked and packed) which is a more up-to-date version of the package I used to use. The most immediate thing I notice is that there is now a "straighten photo" option - I've tried it and it's very good. Hopefully I will be able to combat my patented two degree slant on all my photos now!!!

They say every cloud has a silver lining.....

They also say that it's an ill wind that blows no good......

They can't both be right!!



Well, an old photo from a trip to London that we took some time last year. Nelson's column was so badly tilted that this photo was never likely to see the light of day - well I couldn't be bothered to manually rotate the thing and then crop out the picture and so on, to get rid of the white corners that creep in whilst rotating. So here it is - my perfectly straightened column for you all to feast your eyes upon.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Double blow

bloody technology - now my laptop is cream crackered as well.
Not sure how many blog entries I can manage through the discomfort of my wiimote!!

rbk - drop me an email to wevzyboy_@_msn_._com (remove the undie-scores)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Big moon.... big moon.....

Large moon (almost full) rises over a thawing horizon. No, wait, it's a freezing horizon... now it's a snowing horizon.... now it's a raining horizon......

Large moon skips and rises over an indecisive horizon.

I'm a bit whizzed off....

Dawn's now got the flu that I had and I hate it when I can't make things better for her.

I've been looking (in vain) for a contraption that allows me to cover the bath taps with some sort of bath pillow device. Let's call it a green initiative, but sharing a bath is good for the environment, and I'm fed up of burning my back on one side from the hot tap and freezing the other side from the cold tap...... and not being able to relax or lean back anywhere....

Seems like a fairly simple idea......

Perhaps I should take up sewing and set up a business.... anyone interested in a patented foxy tap cover?? Available in the exact colour of orange of your dreams.

In other news..... the screwdrivers I was waiting for from Hong Kong have arrived.... my Nintendo DS now requires professional attention to the tune of thirty quid to repair the damage I have inflicted on it!!



Can you imagine after approximately six hours of open heart surgery - fitting the final piece back onto my Nintendo..... thwarted by the snapping of this tiny piece of plastic!! The air was blue.... as you can well imagine. The little piece of plastic you can see is actually part of the power switch - I can buy a new switch unti for three quid but I cant solder things that small..... thirty quid to get it done.... I'm gutted.

Monday, February 09, 2009

On t'up.

Seems my man flu has finally turned the corner and begun to eff off. I'm now left with a slightly charred bronchial effect that goes nicely with the curtains.

Bloody weather isn't helping things.... one minute it's freezing cold... the next it's sunny and snow melty and wet..... right now, when I should be out doing my Julie Andrews impersonation, singing "The hills are alive with the sound of badgers" across the fields of Nettleton Hill whilst adoring a beautiful full moon, we are (predictably) treated to fog and vertizontal sleet whipping up New Hey Road.

My gob's all chapped and I've borrowed Dawn's inhaler, so let's hope things get better soon.

Still waiting for my tri-wing screwdriver to arrive from Hong Kong so that I can finally kill my Nintendo DS whilst pretending to be fixing it. I DID get a package from Hong Kong today which turns out to be something else for the DS but it's a bit crap until I get the case swapped out.



One advantage of the recent snow is that a pied wagtail has found its way into my garden every day. Unfortunately this picture was taken through some really mucky windows in my kitchen and was a bit zoomed in, so naturally it's not the best quality. S'a lovely likkle bird though. Having spent a great deal of time and effort keeping the feathered friends fed and watered in this recent white spell, I can say it's been very rewarding to see all the action on and around the feeders.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

What goes.....

White, red, blue, red, white???

Answer: Me, in the snow, walking, and then catching man flu!!

I'm officially dying of man flu.

My lungs feel like I have started smoking again.... my temperature is all over the place.... I have the most feeble broken glass cough..... sleep pattern's gone to the dogs..... can't even raise the enthusiasm to stay awake long enough to watch a film (that being said, I've managed to watch (with some cunning rewinding over the bits I fell asleep in) Horton Hears a Who (very good); Bee Movie (Very poor); and Ratatouille (OK)) = lovely nested parentheses!!

On the plus side of being so desperately ill, I've managed to spend some time organising the mountains of digital media that I manage to accumulate in such a haphazard fashion. Electronic spring cleaning, you can't beat it!!



Early morning New Hey Road - This was Tuesday morning, but it's a shot I like. The streetlight phosphor orange glow is quite tasty.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Depends.

It all depends on your perspective. Like Charlie Dickens once wrote - "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times".

And so it comes to pass that, what has been billed as the heaviest snowfall in nearly twenty years, has divided us into two distinct camps.....

For me, personally, I'm loving every minute of it - right up to the point where I am so run-down that my complexion has gone to pieces and I'm starting with a flu. I managed to walk six or seven miles today, and it was bloody hard, hot, sweaty, clammy work.

The other side of the coin is that I've never seen so many schools closed. I've never known anyone's work to be closed before (like Dawn's was today). It was good to see all the kids out sledging and enjoying themselves, but somewhere underneath it all, someone has claimed that the two days of disruption have cost the nation more than three and a half billion quid!!



The red ball rising over the Colne Valley - If you look real careful, you can just see Castle Hill on the extreme left horizon. A great walk and a lovely sunrise this morning.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Bolder....

... and decidedly colder.

Snow came.... and then some more.... and then some more.... and another foot of snow is forecast for this evening.... hooray!!

I know if you've got kids that need to get to a school that's been closed, or if you need to brave the M62 to fight your way to work, that this weather might not be too thrilling..... I don't, and it is.

Today was a great chance to test my full winter outfit. Hat, gloves, buff, coat, boots, gaiters, thermals..... fully kitted for a walk to Dawn's house. By the time I got there, the sweat was dripping off me...... I think I might have gone a bit overboard - I'm possibly ready for an arctic expedition rather than a five mile walk!!



Turley Cote Lane between Outlane and Old Lindley. A favourite local walking spot en route to Dawn's house.... Despite the greyness of the photo, this was taken at about noon, today, and about two minutes before the blizzard descended and I couldn't see where I was going!! Boots fully blooded by virtue of going nearly shin deep in mud.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Christened.

We finally got around to christening our new walking boots today. Having worn them around the house for a few hours, they were itching to get some mud on them, and that's just what they got.

Be careful what you wish for.

A loop around Scammonden Dam and Deanhead Reservoir, on a cold and frosty morning, where the mud was tempered slightly by only a thin icy crust. Probably the best part of four or five miles. It WAS trying to snow, and the wind was icy cold. We were so weatherproofed that it made for a slightly slower walking pace, but that suited our new "bombproof" heavy mountain boots!!

The dog didn't mind the cold, and managed to brave the icy black waters along the way, several times!! Brrrr.

I'm so lucky to have someone like Dawn to go walking with.

I MUST keep walking - my feet are in such bad shape, and I am praying that I can walk them back to life.... hoping also that the boots will hold the mangled bones together in the process. I have a fancy idea that I'd like to walk up Ben Nevis in September, so watch this space.

There is now another layer of snow outside!! Apparently it came from Russia?!? It certainly makes a change to see the snow blowing to the west along New Hey Road.



Admittedly (due to my lazy approach to image storage) this photo is from the walk last weekend. As a spice-the-cat homage - Canada geese on the canal near Cellars Clough Mill.