Planarchy Archive - January 2004


Purple Skies

Wiggly hazel

There is, as the lovely Linda Hamilton said so prophetically at the end of Terminator, a storm coming.  Following the near termination of London life that followed the inch or so of snow that fell earlier in the week I can only wonder at what the little gust of wind that is presumably on the way holds in store for us all.  Still the wiggly willow is pretty against the pre-storm sky, n'est il pas?

20040131   17:46

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I believe...

Well, not in angels, unlike Bjenny, Bjorn and co.  But I do believe in the BBC, hence the link above.  I don't believe they got everything right in the Gilligan/Today/WMD/45 minute story but I do believe that they were a darn sight closer to the truth than the whitewash churned out by the Hutton Report.  Whether the resignations that have so far taken place were necessary I don't know.  But at least those who did so showed an honour sadly absent from those in Government.   And i still believe that we'll get much closer to the truth and far more original "entertainment" from the Beeb than we will ever get from Murdoch and Co who seek to replace it.

NB: My spellchecker wanted to change Murdoch to Auroch.  Is that not "bull"?  How apt.

20040131   11:45

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Hollow Ponds Sunrise

A bit tenuous to enter this in response to the Photo Friday theme of Emptiness but Hollow Ponds are wonderfully empty at sunrise, an amazing oasis of calm just minutes from home.  It's lovely to have something like this so close.  Clickety-click it to enlargenify.

20040130   18:39

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The Big Freeze™ (part 4)

..and hopefully the last on this farce.  A neighbour phoned the council to ask why the gritting had been so (technical term ahoy) crap.  She was informed that it was because they'd bought -5 degrees grit but the temperature went to minus six that night.

Yeah, right.....

20040130   16:46

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The Big Freeze™ (part 3)

..and at approximately 12:50 this afternoon, not-so-young-anymore Dee phoned to say they'd been sent home from school due to the snow and ice.  A Health and Safety Issue apparently.  Much safer to turn 1,000 kids out onto the slippery streets of East London, eh?  (And give the teachers an afternoon off.)

As Zee said at supper, "Luck you're not at school in Canada, Dee, you'd be sent home every day of winter!"


How crap are we at this "cold" weather thing?  It wasn't even below freezing all day.

20040129   20:41

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The Big Freeze (part 2)

So, either I spoke too soon (see below) or else it's thanks to Gavin's idea and Cheri's snow (see comments, also below). Either way we appear to have had a late fall of snow...  just after it got dark to be precise.  Yet my pictures show it being pretty light.  I love quirky metering problems like this....

And you don't often get to see all of our garden do you?  And this is most of it....

20040128   20:13

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The Big Freeze, London Style

When snow scenes are described as looking like icing sugar has been sprinkled I'd always assumed folk meant more than just one bag.... spread over the whole of London.


20040128   7:31

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Apparently there were 50 million digital cameras sold in 2003.  I'd just like to make it clear that although we are (apparently) a six Digicam household, only three were bought last year.  And one of them doesn't work very well anymore.

So there.

20040127   17:14

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Birdwatch (part 2)

So the birdwatch was successfully completed this afternoon.  It involved observing the garden bird life for an hour and counting the maximum number of each species seen at any one time during that hour.  The scores for our small East End Garden plot were as follows:

Blackbirds (2)
Blue tits (7)
Collared Doves (2)
Great tits (2)
Greenfinches (2)
Sparrows (8)
Magpie (1)
Robin (1)

The starling photographed yesterday didn't make an appearance until after our survey had finished along with further Great Tits, Collared Doves and a frighteningly large Heron which was circling the neighbourhood but not actually landing.  Still, not bad for our leetle patch of land.

Oh, and it's unlucky to take pictures of Magpies.

20040125   20:01

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Young Kay and I are partaking of/in the 25th RSPB garden birdwatch this weekend.  To celebrate here's a picture of a starling who visited us this morning.... declining in numbers like far too many others.  Clickety click to see more of him....

20040124   18:34

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I might regret this but...

At the risk of losing any cred I might have had with anyone in Trippa-Dubya land, I've found a link for my little Xfm Breakfast show signature tune.  it autoplays when you open their weblog page on some computers (but not all!!).... otherwise there's a player option somewhere on the entry for the 21st January (their permalink doesn't work!!!).

I should stress that that is not my usual singing voice!

20040123   18:09

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Feck Rats!

Oh, cruel hand of fate, how twisted is thou humour!

Or something.

It's been many a year since I gave up hope of a number one single or a live performance at Che Stadium.  Nevertheless, it's still pretty special to get a piece of music you've composed and recorded played on the radio.  Even if it's just a pinky and perky style jingle. ...but then I missed it! 


I missed it being played.

The technical term for such a situation is, I think, "bollocks".

The radio show in question, in case you're interested, was London's Xfm breakfast show with Christian O'Connell and crew.  I can but hope they'll play it again....

20040121   17:58

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My Day Out

Another tourist in my own town day for me.... and even greyer than the last!  So what does a tourist do on a grey and rainy day in London town?

I started in the British Museum, mainly because I haven't been since they finished the Great Court. I'd seen many pictures of the roof of this controversial structure but I'd always assumed they were taken with fish eye lenses to give the strange perspective.  But no, it really does look like this..

Absolutely marvelous!

The rest of the museum was much as I remembered it... although everyone other than me was taking photos of the various bits of rock.  This I don't remember.... I blame Digicams.  I didn't really see the point in the main... but each to their own.

By the time I came out of the museum it was raining harder.... so I headed south to the London Aquarium, pausing to marvel at the effect the Dali exhibition next door appeared to be having on Big Ben.  Incidentally, whilst telling the tale to Zee she misheard and thought I said Dalek Exhibition.  Now, THAT would have been worth the £18-50 Satchi wanted for me to see some Dali!!!


And, come to think of it, with Daleks, the effect on Big Ben would have been even more dramatic.

Anyway, to see the fish was only(!) £8-50.... but there were a lot of them.  And, unlike the Dali presumably, they need feeding.  So how come it costs less?  And, if it had been a Dalek exhibition, how much would that have been?  Do Daleks need feeding?

The London Aquarium is impressive, though, there's not an awful lot in there but it's all done pretty well.  The sharks, in particular, I found mesmerising.....and I got at least one or two decent pictures...and then there were the Piranha.  Or maybe not.  The note above the tank was confusing... as it also described the Pacu, a vegetarian relative of the Piranha which can strip a errr...corn-cob in seconds.  And apparently they look very similar...

20040120   21:06

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Mend it like ER

A welcome back to the ever wonderful ER last night.  And not a moment too soon, I'd been wondering, since the demise of the third series of "Six Feet Under" why exactly we paid for cable.  But this is why.  Excellent!  And a familiar new face in the shape of Bend it Like Beckham star Parminder Nagra.  So, may I be the first in this little corner of Blogland to ask how, exactly, she managed to get to be a third year med-student?  True, at the end of "Bend It.." she was heading stateside but wasn't it to play soccer and read law(?).  Oh well, guess that didn't work out... it's not too much of a switch to medicine I suppose.

20040116   7:19

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He's Always Lying

Continuing the Japanes theme from a couple of days ago we now have news of a Dream machine in which one can programme one's own dreams.  Is this wise?  Or even desirable?  I very rarely remember my dreams anyway, so it would be a waste of 14,800 Yen (not as much as it sounds!) for me, but surely the beauty of dreams is in their apparent randomosity?  As for whether we should be controlling our dreams, aren't they a pressure valve for our sub-conscious (or something)?  And what if someone else decides to start programming our dreams for us?  How can we sure there isn't a default set of placid thoughts already programmed in?  Mind control?  No thanks, enough going on on this front already.

20040115   7:48

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Bye, Bye mm 35?

A bizarre press release here from Kodak... it's headed:

"Kodak to Accelerate 35mm Consumer Film Effort in Emerging Markets"

but within it we find that they also to...

"end distribution of reloadable APS cameras worldwide, and reloadable 35 mm cameras in the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe by the end of 2004."

If that isn't the beginning of the end of 35mm film production also, I don't what is. 

I still possess two 35mm film cameras, my trusty Pentax M5-n and my Sea Life Underwater one.  The Pentax is ensured continued possession at Planarchy towers as it will use the same lenses as the *ist D and so acts as a backup if nout else.  The SeaLife waterproof has a less secure future, however, as I'm still looking for a nice pocketable compact Digicam and several of the possibles also havea waterproof housing (at a couple of hundred quid extra!).  Like this one, or this one, or even this one.

The future is bright.  The future is Digicams.

20040114   21:03

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Lost in Translation

A truly excellent film.  The best I've seen in a very long time.... I think I had (at least) a wry smile on my face the whole time.  There was so much that seemed familiar to anyone who's ever spent time on their own in a hotel in a very foreign city.  The not sleeping and the indecipherable dubbed TV but two points that hit home with me.  But I can't do it justice here, just go and see it!

The theme of the film, for those not aware, is of a big Hollywood star selling his soul to do very little (a Whisky advert) for an awful lot of money away from his home audience.  The excellent site unearths many other familiar faces doing the same away from our prying eyes (until now).

20040114   7:34

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In an uincreasingly desparate attempt to Blog on a more regular basis, I am drawn once again to my work diary with its daily historical anniversary.  Today, it informs me that it is 150 years since Anthony Foss patented the Accordion. So, the diary nearly desparate as me, ce n'est pas?  Happy birthday anyway and if you want to send a card to celebrate Accordion Day you can!.  Interestingly (well, not really), a Google of "Accordion 150 years" found this advert for an older model.... so did Mr.Foss just nick the idea anyway?  You don't care, do you?

Elsewhere, the Beeb informs me that On This Day in '93 the Allies bombed Iraq, so, like most lessons from history, plus ša change.

20040113   7:45

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Aint No Party....

So how can I follow the excitement of yesterdays "Price of DVDs in East London" piece then, eh?  Not easy I can tell you.  But luckily yesterday afternoon Dee was down at the Lee Valley Ice Rink with a couple of friends and who should they spot there?

Only two of the boys from S Club 8!

I know!

If that wasn't enough, Dee went up and spoke to them.... and she says I'm embarrassing!  Sadly she was without pen, pencil or camera so there's no hard evidence (though it would have to be a pretty sad pair of teenage boys who pretended to be in Sclub!).

20040112   17:19

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Value DVD Watch

Young Kay was trying to of convince me that we really needed a DVD copy of "Spiderman".  I admit I was somewhat dubious, even before we discovered it cost twenty quid in HMV.  Imagine Kay's delight when only three doors up she came across it in Asda labeled up at £8.97.  Finally, imagine my delight upon reaching the till to be asked for £8.15 for the whole (admittedly small) shop.

"That can't be right," said the numerate till girl.

"Probably not," I agreed.

But, inspection of the till receipt showed the item identified correctly by the barcode scanner.  So that was that.  I was rather proud of myself until I got home when Zee announced that she could better that...

"Well, there's a free copy of the DVD of Cabaret with today's Daily Mirror," she announced.

Though she hadn't actually got as far as buying one, which I think made the point a little moot.  We sent the girls across to get a copy.... the Newsagent had sold out of Mirrors but had one of the DVDs left.  So we didn't even have to buy the Mirror.  Excellent value!

Later we watched "Spiderman......" I am so glad we didn't pay any more for it.

But tonight it's "Cabaret".... and that, as I'm sure you know, is an altogether different fish, kettle-wise.

20040111   20:39

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Well, I've still not really had a chance to get out and play with the new camera.  Very grey today again in London, and since Zee was taking her turn to spend some money and the girls didn't fancy a walk anywhere, the back door and this cheeky little chappy is about as much as I can offer you.

By the way, Zee failed miserably to spend as much money as I did last Saturday, despite two coats for herself and one for young Kay she didn't even come close.  Who says men can't do shopping?

20040110   18:07

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Flash Flooding

So, not only did the baby Jee have blonde hair and blue eyes (I've seen the films guys), which you have to admit is a little unusual for Palestine 2000 odd years ago, but now it turns out that Noah sailed down the Grand Canyon.  Although it wasn't there at the time (yes I thought it was millions of years old too). 


No, I haven't gone mad, I'm just (probably) paraphrasing the content of a little book called "The Grand Canyon: A different View" as detailed in today's Grauni.

Millions of years of erosion? 

Nope, just a flash flood.

20040109   20:17

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Funny Honey

Picture of honey

As is evidence were really needed to the effect that making people laugh is a Good Thing, it arrived today in my back garden.  For what should I find safely nestled (or should I say nested?) in the ivy beneath our tree fern but a jar of BW Honey, complete with D'Ove feather (Blanche if I'm not mistaken Witchy?).  The honey, you will not be at all surpised to learn, is absolutely delicious! 

And for those who don't follow things very closely in this little corner of the Trippa-Dubya it is my reward for making Blue Witch laugh (several times?).


Thanks, Witchy and thanks D'Oves, I hope you made it back home safely before the rough East End P'Igeons did anything naughty.

20040107   17:53

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Out the Window Goes the Tree

How I hate tradition!  But, despite this, somehow it is tonight that we have defrocked our Christmas tree.....and the least needle spreading exit is out through the window.  So that's how it left.


And this is is guy?  Don't know, but he's back in a box for two years now, wave bye-bye!

PS: this doesn't count as the first picture with my new camera.

20040106   20:11

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First Picture

Last week's Photo Friday theme was "Best of 2003" in which we to submit the favourite picture we'd taken in 2003.  I couldn't even get as far as Cheri, who managed to narrow it down to her seven favourites (the roof is my fave of her chosen 7 BTW).  I tried alternative ways of looking at it.... favourite picture that I haven't shown you before perhaps?  But no, I'm very giving, family shots aside, I show you all my favourites anyway. 

But, by chance, well Zee earning a good bonus actually, Saturday found me finally buying my dream Digital SLR.  I haven't yet taken anything decent with it ( was Panto Saturday afternoon and work much of yesterday and today).  But this did give me an idea.... I will revisit the first pictures I posted from my Digicams of 2003.

So, first there's this picture of an Osteospermum, the first picture I posted taken with my Fuji 2800 way back in sunny May....


Osteospermum picture.


And then the first post (and indeed I think possibly the first picture, from the Fuji S602 Pro was this shot of my Fender's machine heads..

picture of machineheads

Now, whilst I still like both shots, neither could really claim to be my favourite for the year, but they have set me some sort of standard for the first to be posted from my *ist D. 

When will the sun shine again?

20040105   21:07

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Happy Families

And yet another lovely day today.  I've mentioned before that we adopted not-so-young-anymore Dee and Kay nearly five years ago.  But I don't think I've mentioned before that they have a younger brother and sister.  These siblings were adopted by two friends we made whilst going through the long process of being approved as potential adoptive parents.  They don't live very close these days so sadly the four children don't get to see one another as much as we all might like.  But when they do, it is an absolute joy.... although they've never acutally all lived in the same house they play so wonderfully together even though the ages range from 7 to 13.


20040104   20:49

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Gordon's Alive?

I've been plagued by a strange dark mood the last few days.  But today a couple of occurrences to somewhat lighten things.  One I will tell you about later, but for for now 'tis time for a tale of Pantomime(Oh yes it is).

I don't think I ever went to a Panto as a kid, an awful Dick Whittington on ice being as close as we ever got.  I assume our ab sense from Pantoland as children was down to my mothers list of things that were "common" (ITV another victim).  Anyway, for whatever reason, I did not experience Pantomime until the girls came.  The first, four years ago was an awful effort in Ilford, everything I thought it would be with Carry-On style innuendo and far too much audience participation.....but the girls seemed to enjoy it.  They've experienced several more since including the innovativecommunity versions at Stratford which feature ordinal songs and no D list daytime TV stars.  But yesterday 'twas my work's Social Club outing and a more traditional panto down in Dartford.  The star of the show was Brian Blessed as a wonderful hammy Captain Hook who did, to our delight, manage to include his famous "Flash Gordon's Alive?" as we had hoped he might.  But the girls at 11 and 13 are getting to an age that the audience participation is starting to be as embarrassing as I had found it 4 years ago (particularly when it's your parents who are doing the shouting).   Whilst Kay was still joining in I received sharp digs from her elbow whenever I shouted or whistled above the average volume.  Elder Dee, meanwhile was more concerned that she would have to turn her mobile off for nearly three hours.

Oh well, 'twas good while it lasted.

20040104   8:45

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..and the Law Won

An interesting, or maybe just plain scary, result from the Today programmes "Listener's Law" in which listeners could then vote on a new law to be placed before parliament.  I grew up with the Today programme as I'm sure many others did, including, it now appears, a bunch of right wing nutter vigilantes.  For the law that has won the vote is ".. to authorise homeowners to use any means to defend their home from intruders".  Yes it's the "any means" bit that really gets me.  To emphasise the split nature of Today listeners, however, second place went to a law from cuddly-caring-liberals (with a small el) which would "..allow the use of all organs for transplant after death unless the individual has opted out".  But the most disurbing factor of all was that a law that enabled the beheading of people caught towing caravans during daylight hours was ruled out of the vote as being unreasonable.  Pah, and they wonder why so many of us feel disenfranchised!

20040102   8:03

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Bah Humbug!

So this is it? 

This is the New Year?  Pah, seems much too much like the old one... only greyer and wetter.

Which reminds me.............. traffic.  On the way to work in the days between Xmas and Noo Year one can't but help notice how few cars are on the roads.  I'd hazard a guess that traffic was down by 90% on my route.  So, what do all the people who weren't going to work doing?  Could they put off doing it for another few months please?  That way I can get up later and be cheerful.

Like today..........maybe not then.

20040101   17:18

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