The Bleurg Archive - November 2002

Saturday 30th November Part 2:

Are we alone as aetheistic-liberal-lefty parents at Christymas? 

How should we handle this wonderful festival in worship of mamon?

Do we explain how the pagan year-end festivals were adopted by the new fangled Christian faith and that this in turn has been stolen by the church of mamon?  Do we debate the relative merits of each of these three religions (whilst referring to the world's other faiths of course)?  Or do we just say "Aaah, but it's for the kids" and start the great spend-fest right now?

Yep, that's the way we're going.  The DKNZ®™ advent calendar is up and ready for Dee to open the first prezzie tommorow...

Saturday 30th November Part 1:

This is spooky, it's an ESP experiment allegedly, it certainly guessed my card right every time.... go on try it.  Apologies to those who have already seen it, I know I'm a bit slow sometimes.

Apparently it had the entire staff of the Daily Mirror stumped (maybe that's not saying so much?).   They're now testing the readership of the good old Grauni, I trust we'll all do better.....I've got it sussed now (and also why you can't beat it!)  Very clever.

Friday 29th November:

Desmond Norman.
Heard of him?
Thought not.
I don't why I happenned to read his obiturary, I usually only go into those of people I've heard of. 
And I hadn't heard of Desmond at all.  Yet he had played a small but memorable part in my life.  
"How?"  I hear you ask.

Well, he was, I guess, what you would call an inventor. 
A wonderfully English inventor probably brought up on Mecanno. He would call for more knapkins in a restaurant so he could finish recording the idea that had just come to him.... I like to think of him played by Jimmy Stewart, a bit like the character in "No Highway In the Sky".
"But what did he actually invent?"  I hear you pleading.

Errr, aeroplanes (though also hovercraft and yachts).

Specifically one little plane, the Britten Norman Islander. 
Though when say one plane I don't mean just one plane, around 1,250 of them have been made so far, and they're still in production some 37 years after their introduction.
My introduction to this cute little planelet was, obviously, via the Airfix kit model.  The only problem was (as usual) ommiting to read one line of the instructions.  You were meant to put something heavy in the nose-cone before cementing the two halves together.  Otherwise the plane would tip over backwards.  As mine did.

Now we must jump forwards about ten years. 
My then girlfriend WhyBee, long-term friend Tee and I were to fly to the Ilses of Scilly in a Britten Norman Islander (wow, a coincidence or what?).  As the little plane taxied into sight I couldn't help but remember my litle model tipping over backwards.  My concern grew as they began to weight us individually to determine our seating position.  No really!
WhyBee wanted to sit next to the pilot but could do do only if she took some heavy hand-luggage with her. So she did.  And all was well. 

Point of this story?  There isn't one.  It's funny that me chancing to read that obit dragged up those two memories, memories I'd forgotten I still had.

Holistics, that's what it is.

Wednesday 27th November:

So, Harry Potter 2.... or whatever it's called.  Not very good really, is it?  The only thing that can be said is that it's better than the first one, which, let's face it wouldn't be hard.

But the girls loved it (as did Zee, strangely), and that's what counts after all.  Kay was so into it that she kept standing up out of excitement.  The scene in which Potter and co were told to put on ear defenders to shield them from a spell saw Kay with her fingers in her ears too.  So she clearly loved every minute of it.  And there were a lot of them.  Minutes, that is, to the film.

So, why didn't I like it?
1. Special effects -  very poor (see flying car trailer).
2. Child acting very poor with the exception of
he who plays Potter.
3. Story -  so little continuity or logic, just "funny" scene, scary scene, crap scene, etcetera, etcetera.
4. Twenty minutes of adverts and ten of trailers before it started.
5. I was so bored at one point I was thinking of whether here was a pub nearby.  And I never go to the pub!
6. The program lasted over three hours so we got back too late to see the start of "Six Feet Under" .  Aaaargh!!!!

The trailer to "The Two Towers" was excellent, however.

Tuesday 26th November:

The excellent Eddie Izzard is back with a new Video and, at last, a DVD edition too.  Some good stuff from Eddie again, this time taken from a live show in New York.  There's also sub-titled footage of a show he did in France ( in French, though with much assistance from a good natured bi-lingual audience).  Good to see that he does not pull his punches with either the American or French audiences. 
But it's the cover pictures and the way in which they are being displayed that has caught my attention. 

There is neither an obvious front or back cover, as one is inverted so that either can be the front. 
Yet,  in all the shops I have visited, it is the head shot that is on display (until I helpfully re-arranged them anyway). 

Similarly at Amazon, MVC, Blackstar etcetera on-line. 

Can the public really still not safely be exposed to Eddie's transvestite status?

Sunday 24th November:

My work diary has "interesting" events from history for every day of the year.  It's usually something obscure like the date that Christopher Columbus found his teeth (behind the sofa wouldn't you know) or the date that Alexander the Great first visited a supermarket. 
But today it had "Freddie mercury died of AIDS, 1991". 
It's a Kennedy moment for me, one of those events that you remember exactly where you were when you heard it.  I was in my little red car driving London-bound along the A12 just west of Witham.  I think it would have been the 6am news. 
Yes, I was.  It had only been the previous weekend that he'd announced he had Aids, and now he was gone.
He was one of my musical heroes, not fashionable for someone who had nailed their colours to the punk-flag but true nevertheless.  Queen's Sheer Heart Attack had been the first "proper" album I ever bought. It was promptly borrowed and copied to tape by several friends, Napster was nothing new... and just as though there were some who happily had nothing but copies of all of the albums there were others who would listen to all and then go and buy the best. Plus ça change, eh?
Anyway, to this day Sheer Heart Attack still stands out.  Still there to compare against anything that friends tell me is "a great album".  Few measure up. 
So, dig out some Queen, turn it up loud and remember Freddie with a smile. 

What do you mean you don't have any Queen? 
Surely that was one of the conditions of reading this Blog? 
Didn't you read the small print? 


Friday 22nd November:

Even cuter than the little floppy drive from a couple of days ago is the even leetler baby mouse. 
Cute, cute, cute. 

Oh, and I found my song on the small is bautiful theme.  It's here.

Thursday 21st November:

Today a spelling strategy that worked for me. 
But not, apparently,for Kay.
One of her spelling words was "piece".
"I always think piece of pie," I said, "
Cos then you remember it starts p-i-e."
"Thanks, dad but what about the c and the e, eh?" she replied, with, I hasten to add, no small measure of disdain.

Well, I tried.

Dee, meanwhile has come over all Warholesque (unknowingly I believe).  Whilst watching the latest manufactured pop junk she announced, "Some time soon everyone will be a pop star, and then who'll buy the records?"

Well, exactly.

Elsewhere, I have just have to link to this courtesy of Fraser at Blogjam.  Fair made my evening I can say.

Wednesday 20th November: part 2

Returning from the shops in the car with the girls, sets the scene.  Then on the radio, we get the intro to "Won't Get fooled Again" by the Who.  Up, not surprisingly, goes the volume.  Dee screams from the back, "Dad, please turn it down, I can't hear myself think!" 
Eee I love being told to turn it down by my kids. 
Anyway, true planarchy aficionados will know that this song contains the finest moment in rock history a mere 7'45 into it's eight and a half minute length.  Thus, when we arrived home a mere 6 minutes into it's length, obviously we had to stay in the car to hear that scream. 
The girls complained. 
But, they're just lucky it wasn't playing in the supermarket.  Then they'd have had embarrassing dad doing Pete Townshend windmill air guitar down the aisles.

Oh yes.

Wednesday 20th November:

Guru Nanak's birthday today.  The founder of the Sikh faith, I believe.  And it means that the girls get a day off school.  Which means I toke a day off work.  So celebrations all around really.

This, is, actually one of the things I like about London.  It really is multi-cultural with evidence of it all about.  From the Turkish and Bengali shops opposite to the myriad languages heard when just taking a bus journey into 'stow.  It really is like being in a foreign land sometimes, but I like that aspect.  So many of the things that the little Ingerland-send-them-back-flag- waving nutter brigade are always carping on about are things that I absolutely love.  This is what England is about.  If anything really might ever turn me into a patriot (the last refuge of the scoundrel according to Dr.Johnson, I believe) it would be this wonderful variety.

Tuesday 19th November:

Today I am once again I am reminded of the old adage that small is beautiful (which should link nicely to one of my songs, except I can't find the song in question... rats, give me a day or two!). 
The small item in question on this occasion is a nice little USB floppy drive that has just arrived in t'post. 
" A floppy?  In this day and age!" I hear you gasp. 
Yes, a floppy drive.... a story to tell you, I have, oh yes indeedy....

When I purchased my humble little lap-top a few months ago I was talked out of the necessity of such a device in favour of Firewire and 4 USB ports.  The Firewire has remained unlit and only two of the USB ports have ever been used simultaneously (until now).  However, within minutes of returning home with my loverly new knee warmer, I missed the floppy.  I wanted to move a few little files quickly and ended up using a CD writer (sometimes I have also resorted to FTP'ing up and down from the worldwide global information tramway just to move graphics files from old to new PC).  "Why not network them?" I hear you scoff.  Hah!  The lap-top insists I use a floppy disk to transfer network settings to the to the older PCs! 
So it is with unbridled joy that I welcome my leetle LaCie Floppy drive to this 'umble blog.  Aaaargh, isn't it cute!

Monday 18th November:

This actually came to my attention in last week's Grauni and the Beeb also have a picture of one, then today as "nothing much happened" they sort of came back to haunt me....

In London we have them as Blue Plaques, high on the walls of houses where famous folk lived, died or played their geetars.  In Paris they're made of marble and presumably far more chic and stylish.  But there is a plaque saboteur at work.   A wonderful woman or man is hard at work manufacturing and installing bogus plaques. 
So far they have included memorials to non-existent civil servants and computer programmers.  But my favourite remains...

"On April 17 1967, nothing happened here."

Though in French, presumable.

Anyway, hats off to the plaquey little anarchist!   Cheers matey.

Saturday 16th November:

The house smells gorgeous. 
It's best just before dawn and then great again as the sun goes down.  And it's not due to a perfume spilling incident or some heinous air freshening spray. 
No, it's the Brugmansia, aka  Datura,  or if you must, Angel's Trumpets. You see, now that t' colder weather is here with us, I've had to move them into the greenhouse and this appears to have confused the poor little dears.  They think it's spring you see, and have burst into bloom.  As the green house is attached to the house with an open window into the bathroom we benefit from the glorious aroma.  I really wish I could send you all more than just a picture.  It is absolutely amazing, a wall of perfume as you open the front door.

Thursday 14th November:

The punk in me (here for the duration I think) appreciates Liam Lynch and his "United States of Whatever" obviously.  It takes the wonderful stripped down vitality of the White Stripes to a very 1977 garage sort of sound.  Like he just turned up and played it in one take. 
Exactly what we want. 

Or so I thought.

You see the other day I heard him on the radio saying how he just went in' plugged in the bass guitar, cranked it up high and went for it in one take. 
Why was this explanation required? 
The only possible reason I can come up with is that it's all a sham.  It obviously really took months to record in a state of the art 96 track digital recording studio.  
Pah, ever feel like you've been conned?

And if that wasn't enough, there's more bad news for music fans from Westlife.   Young Dee was surfing the cable music channels and came across the Irish drossters (for it was they) announcing they'd just signed up a new five album deal.  Aaaaaargh!

To finish on a high note, the new Coxon-less Blur single sounds pretty cool.  Can't find it anywhere other than Xfm, so go there... they're playing it several times a day.

Tuesday 12th November:

A Geek!  Ha, aha-ha-ha, someone (who will remain nameless) has, I think, sort of, referred to me (in the nicest possible way) as another computer geek.  Now I don't take offence at the Geek thing, it's the computer thing that is the cornerstone of this piece.  Whilst I know way around the keyboard (as long as the lights are on), and indeed know more than most of my friends and co-workers (including the so-called IT department, natch) about computers it's funny to think that I've arrived at this position.  
Are you sitting comfortably?  Then I'll begin....

  'twas the Christymas of 1979 (or 80?) and me and my long lasting friend Tee had enrolled on a programming course.  "Mark my words young Tee," I said, "One day there will a computer so small it can keep your knees warm!"  So, I was right on that score at least.
Anyway, our first routine was supposed to have involved about three lines of code which told the mainframe (which was the size of Jupiter, younger readers) to print out your name.  The programme (which is how it was spelt in those longlost days of yore), by the way, was introduced to the computer by means of a quaint hole-punched card. 
Them were the days guys and guyesses. 
Anyway I, by mistake (I swear it really was an error and not, as I might have claimed previously, an attempt to bring down Western Civilisation) I put a loop in my code. 
Without an exit. 
So a certain name was printed out in six inch high letters a couple of hundred times before they pulled the plug.  Fortunately, I wasn't using my name that day.  I'd graduated from Cris Bailey (a favourite at teenage parties) to Pol Seveski. 
Which I still think is a cool name.

But, be warned, to this day if you type "Pol Seveski" into any search engine, you'll still get forwarded to the Most Wanted List. 

Oh yes!

No, really!

Monday 11th November:

Armistice day today. 
And no disrespect intended but, as it's "something" Day, I've been singing and whistling Brucie's "Independence Day" all day long.  Now I come to write of it there was a song called "Armistice Day", was there not? 
But I can't remember how it went and whether it was really about Armistice Day anyway.
The real problem will be if I am tempted to actually go and find "Independence Day" and play it because every time I tell someone how great Bruce is/was I end up choking on my words as I remember the cheesey arrangements on that album. 
Still cheesy organ aside, it's a great song... "Papa go to bed now it's getting late.....  OK, nighty, night.

Barrel scraping?  Yeah! 
Crap day at work, OK.  Really needed to write something.

Not really an excuse to lose any credibility that I might have had though, is it?

Friday 8th November:

Well, I was going to try out the new digi-cam for some fireworks pictures.  But, when I got upstairs I remembered that the DKNZ household lived at the dawn of time. 
Oh yes. 

Well, when I say the Dawn of Time, what I actually mean is we live on the Greenwich Meridian. 
Zero degrees and all that. 
So everyone else's time throughout the world is quoted as plus or minus DKNZ time (sometimes also called GMT apparently).  Oh, and when I say we live on the Meridian, I suppose that depends how wide it is.  Back in the so-called Millennium year, they put plaques on the pavements in London at points where roads were bisected by the Meridian.  And there's one about twenty five yards away, just round the corner. 
But what reminded me was the laser. 
Down at Greenwich they've got a laser shining into the sky along the line of the Meridian. 
So it shines over our house. 
We thought it was just going to be for the year 2000 but still it shines on.

One day they'll turn it off.  Which will be sad.
But tonight it shines bright.  Share and enjoy.


Thursday 7th November:

My mission for November is to bring you a picture of the towers over at Canary Wharf that let's you see why they lighten my journey to work.  Today someone hooted, hence a bit of camera shake. 
If I get out of the car or pull over, it's cheating by the way.

Tuesday 5th November:

And today's word is crepuscular. 
Good, isn't it.  Crepuscular.
Apologies to those who already find it in their daily vocabulary but it's new to me in a wonderfully coincident way. 
I like light and I love clouds, so the way the sunlight sometimes shines between them like searchlights is something I've always found wonderful. 
But I'd never noticed it shining upwards before a wonderful example at Scary Duck a few days ago (which now I can't find!)
Then in Bath at the weekend we had our own little example (left hand picture taken by Nikon digicam, right hand picture trusty old Pentax 35mm).  At this point I still didn't know this wonderful phenomenon had a name.  Until I picked the calendar off the floor this evening and noticed it open at November (well we would have turned it to this page one day anyway).  And what do I see but yet another example of Crepuscular rays in Waiarapa.   Which made me sad as it reminded me that this time last year we were looking forward to our 4 week New Zealand holiday when now all we can do is look back. 
On the plus side I now knew that this light had a name....and the rest is history....

Monday 4th November:

Hurrah!  I'm back!!  Did you miss me?

Zee whisked me off to Bath for a birthday surpise (though as I had to drive it wasn't a total surpise).  Full Travelblog will follow shortly ( yes, I kow I still owe you the Paris one).  In the meantime, and following a recent Planarchy users survey which suggests I'm not paying nearly enogh atention to my fashion concious readers, I have some hairdressing hints for the ladies. 
Everything's retro nowadays isn't it?  We're re-visiting the 60's (again) the 70's (are they really over?) and apparently even the 80's (style empty decade if ever there was one. 
Well, all that's old hat.
 You need to think big to get noticed. 
Never mind the last century, or even the last millenium. 

Think Roman!

So, exclusively from and hot from the excavtions of the Bath Catwalk 100AD, we bring you this super happenning style from the ultimate retro century....

And guys, fear not, the latest toga fashions will follow very shortly.....

Friday 1st November:

So, a new month.  Welcome November, stage left .
The birthday collection can be put back in it's box for another year. 
But now I have to think of something to write without even the excuse of a theme to fall back on every other day.  It's going to be a long dry month guys....but here goes nothing.....

This afternoon I took young Kay to her swimming lesson, as is the routine for Fridays.  I use the time to have a swim myself, very invigorating it is too.  I can really swim out the work worries of the week and, if I'm lucky, come up with an idea for a song or an item for the bleurg.  And today I had a new pair of trunks. 
I don't mean to infer that this in any way might inspire me, but it did at least liberate me from the fear that my trunks might slide down at any moment (the old ones were very old indeed).
The only problem was that my goggles were in the pocket of the old trunks.
I tried swimming front crawl without them, after all I'm a grown man, surely I can swim with my eyes open in chlorinated water. 
Aaaargh again.  Apparently not.
So breast stroke. 
Nope, I'm crap at breast stroke.  And it's so slooow!
So it's back-crawl.  Yep, this is fine. 
So I get to swim along and look at the ceiling.  Which makes a change.  Indeed, this change of view gave me an excellent idea for a piece for the blog.  But I can't remember what it was!

This is a not un-common experience.  When I used to still think I was going to be a rock star and I had an idea for a song, no problem.  I'd just sing it over and over.... after all if I couldn't remember it what chance for my adoring public?  Sure, I used to get funny looks, but you have to suffer for your art don't you?   But ideas for blogs aren't musical (well not very often).  And if you keep repeating the key sentences over and over again you really do get some funny looks. 
So, I have come up with several solutions.  If I'm at work I can either jot something down or email myself at home.  No problem.  In the car I have a dictaphone (well, in theory anyway, I think I may have lost it).  It was originally for singing into to to avoid the aforementioned embarrassment but it works just as well for written ideas.   So again, problem solved.

But in the pool there is still a problem.  Paper notes get soggy and dictaphones go fizz-bang-sparky-spark-spark (this is speculation, I haven't tried either yet). 
So there you are. 
I have nothing to write about today and it's the longest entry for ages.  Thanks Cheri.

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