Planarchy Archive - February 2005



The male frogs have arrived in our pond... now we wait for the opposite sex and then loads of frogspawn (or frogsborn as young Kay used to insist on calling it.... well there's logic in it!).

20050308   15:56

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Surprise parties are, I'd previously thought, the thing of sitcoms and soaps and best avoided in real life.  Yet DG seemed to enjoy his last night.  No-one let the secret out and he didn't scarper when he saw us.  Cool, nice to see everyone again.

Ringing from the pub to confirm the whereabouts of our eldest (Dee, 14) I was immediately greeted by a "Yes, but where are YOU, though dad?"
"In a pub."  I replied.
"You went to a pub without me?" she countered.  Should I be concerned that she thinks the pub is her place or pleased that she'd be content to be seen there with me?

20050305   9:05

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Ms Woody

Not a very good picture but at last we have a female woodpecker in our little garden (note absence of red stripe on the rear of the head which the males of the species wear).  Maybe there'll be the pecker-patter of leetle woodpeckerettes soon.....

20050302   13:13

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...and Web Visitor Statistics

I'm not a great follower of my visitor stats but do occasionally trawl through them for a laugh.  Mainly to see how folk are ending up here.  "Tits" remains the perennial favourite with "Carbuncle" a not at all close second.  But the real mystery is who all these people are.  I know about a dozen or so relatively regular visitors yet my stats claim there are round about 200 different people turning up here very day....(most, I'm glad to say, not looking for tits) and it's been relatively steadily increasing since I started.  Is it just the growth of the internet and everyone's stats are like this or have I got 200 stalkers? 

The only definite trend I've been able to link to anything I do is that when I go on holiday my visitor numbers increase faster than normal.  What's that all about eh?

20050301   20:10

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Big Foot

The coot seemed confused by the frozen Hollow Ponds.  Big Feet too.....

20050228   18:38

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Leaving Photoshop CS behind for a bit (thanks for everyone's comments... all appreciated and after a second full day with it I'm starting to get a better idea of its power.... still non-intuitive though) we'll leap to the news (only a couple of weeks late) that the second Hitchhiker's Trailer is out (thanks to my bro').

20050225   20:06

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I am trying to get to grips with Photoshop CS as it is, allegedly, the professional choice for photo manipulation work.  I've previously used PaintShop Pro which is about one tenth the price and about ten times more intuitive.  I'm good with software but have to say that Photoshop is leaving me exasperated.  If you want to zoom in and out in PSP it's just left and right mouse buttons... simple and logical.  In Photoshop there appear to be eleventy-seven different keystroke combinations you have to wade through.  The same with cloning and re-touching... are Adobe not aware of the right mouse button?

One of things it's supposedly better at is enlarging pictures..... well I'll admit there's a very slight difference..... but ten times better?  I think not.  I've read that you get smoother upwards resizing if you do it in 10% steps...... any comments on that?



20050224   16:21

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Though this morning the pond was frozen and a cold wind reduced the time we spent up a t'allotment, yesterday there was enough warmth from the sun for this bumble-bee to be scouring around the crocuses for nectar.  I don't know how much he found but the flower certainly got good value in the pollen dispersal side of the deal.

20050220   14:12

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Lawn Mower

My Aunt, I think you'll agree, has a prettier lawn mower than most of us. 

20050219   15:47

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One of the things I like about photography is the way in which it makes you look at things a second time.  Most of us, I think, believe we know what everything looks like and so never stop and look more closely.  Macro photography in particular makes this ignorance impossible.  How can you not be drawn into this crocus?

20050215   17:23

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McLibels Win!

Excellent news here from the European Courts as the McLibel pair have won their case that the lack of Legal Aid in their case against McDonalds amounted to a denial of their right to a fair trial.  Such has previously always been the way..... Multinational Companies with their enormous wedges have been able to essentially buy the result they want by preventing an evenly balanced defence from the little person. 

20050215   13:46

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Looks more like a peachy cabbage than a rose doesn't it?  Oh, well.... happy valentines to y'all anyway.

I got two large bars of chocolate so am very happy!

20050214   14:15

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CSI Milwaukee?

I like CSI, the original one set in Las Vegas that is, it's probably the only show on Channel 5 worth watching.  It's surely specially made for any lab-worker (or former lab-worker!).  I spent each episode equipment spotting...... "GCMS!  Oh how 1997" etcetera. 

Since they seemed to get away with a couple of bronzed lab techs, with stilettos and skimpy tops they thought they'd introduce a second show....CSI Miami.....  what a pile of poop...  more cleavage and stilettos but very little in the way of plots (luckily still lots of lab equipment too!).  Now we've been given CSI Noo York which so far looks promising, although they appear to have run out of color (sic) film... is it really always that grey in the Big Appley place?  With this second spin off they seem to have finally sussed out that all the lab nerds are watching.  We've finally got some real lab product placement in the way of a sellotaped on label advertising Thermo.  If it's good enough for CSI (where the pretty lab techs work) just think what it could do for your lab is presumably the message they're trying to get across.  Personally my experience of Thermo instrumentation suggests they need all the help they can get as it was, IMHO, a pile of junk. 

The other person presumably more than happy with the expending series portfolio must be Pete Townsend.  For all the theme tunes are Who songs... first we had "Who are You", then "Won't Get Fooled Again" both of which work as titles for shows that spend much time identifying victims and perpetrators who think they've escaped capture.  But then for the latest show we have "Baba O'Reilly".... no sorry don't get the relevance there at all.  Great song, but why as the signature tune?

20050213   16:39

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Though why it's called "Chitting" I have no idea.... it's just putting your seed potatoes in a cool room to let them sprout before planting next month.  And if you don't think they look very appetising in this close up then take a look at the tray of them.  More like a collection of dollops of pooh than anything else.

20050211   16:21

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So, here's the Bonsai Tree that my lab colleagues gave me as a leaving present.  A Chinese Elm apparently.  I'll have to admit I've never been quite sure about Bonsai.  There is undoubtedly a great skill in getting what wants to be a large tree stay a small one.  So definitely un- natural... but in a pretty beautiful way.  Maybe it's a good parallel for my sixteen and a half years in that lab.....the Bonsai after all has been restrained and prevented from fulfilling it's natural destiny.... well I've escaped now.  Should I also liberate the Bonsai and let it become a tree?  Like Mathilda does with the potted plant in Leon (will it die or what?)  Probably not.... apart from it being a reminder of my good friends from the lab it has already proved an interesting challenge to photograph (and one that I do not yet feel I have successfully completed).

20050210   17:20

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Flat packed?

A new meaning to Flat Packed as the opening of the latest Ikea store just down the road was cancelled after a crowd of 6,000 lead to severe crushing and "heat exhaustion" (it was freezing last night so I don't get that one!).   This being North London there was also a stabbing.

A shame, we like Ikea generally.  We have much of their stuff at Planarchy towers... in the flat pack market they are way ahead of the competition (and where else can you buy candles so cheaply?).  But this new store has been built in a ridiculous position.  The traffic at weekends already regularly grid-locks on the approach roads thanks to a street market.  It can only get worse.  And this isn't the first of their stores to be plagued by traffic problems.  I've often had to work through traffic jams caused by customers queing for their Brent Park Store too. 

As for the crowd problems, don't forget the events in Saudi last year when three died in an Ikea store opening stampede.  Have we all gone mad?

The store remains closed as I write.

20050210   9:01

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As you can see, my old friend Woody was back in the garden this afternoon.  This reminded me..... when they talk of multiple Gee Ess Double Ewes in ER, CSI or any other Americanian TV show is it just me that momentarily imagines the victim covered in a swarm of Greater Spotted Woodpeckers? 

It is?  OK.

20050208   16:19

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Sunshine and more curry

It is well known that too much sun can lead to skin cancers.  But now it appears that that same sunshine can help in the fight against other cancers.  So, like so much else it would appear that it's not abstention but getting the right balance that is important.

While we're on the subject of cancer prevention I'm sure you'll remember the link of a few weeks ago claiming that Turmeric helped against Alzheimer's we now learn that some Thai curry spices can help fight cancer.  Eat more curries would appear to be the message we're getting here.

20050207   17:26

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Spring Springing?

Not quite spring yet maybe... but the sight of buds bursting forth fills me with antici...pation.

20050206   15:14

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Now what?

So, that's it then.  I no longer have a job.  I've had the "leavers buffet" lunch and the gift on behalf of the company (100 B&Q tokens so I'm not complaining).  My colleagues have presented me with a Bonsai Tree.  All that I have to do now is walk through the gates..... will I get clear.....? .....or will Jerry see through my disguise and haul me back to a month in the cooler?  If I can make it then in a couple of hours I'll be down the pub with some of the reprobates that have become good friends over the last sixteen and a half years..  This is what I shall miss, the people..  There have been some wonderful people here....  I just hope I can keep in touch with them....

Over the past few weeks I've been wondering if I'm going to wake up and think "Oh my gawd what have I done?"..  But that hasn't come..  I still have absolutely no doubt that I am doing the right thing in leaving even if much of the future is still very much at the planning stage..  It's not like me.... I'm genetically predisposed to worry..  If there's nothing to get worried about I worry about the absence of worry..  But I'm not worried about this change, my recent sleeplessness has been through anticipation and excitement....  because I am excited..  Very excited.....the future is bright (but not orange).

By the way.. this is the first time I've ever posted from my work PC...... the last also I guess :D

20050204   15:23

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Our bananas are, of course, guarded by Moses (the Lawgiver) and Mary (Mother of Baby Jee).  But today I learnt of an alternative guard for your bananae.  Apparently bruised bananas are a major cause of stress and irritation so these epeople have invented their moulded plastic banana guard to protect your banana on its way to work. 

I, however, will stick with my moulded plastic action figures and a little bit of faith.

20050202   19:59

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Cider with Trisha?

Looking into my work diary for next week, (I won't be there as I finish Friday) to see what historical anniversaries were to happen, I found that one of my helpful work colleagues had filled out an itinerary for next week:

Monday:  Sign on, Trisha.
Tuesday: Off licence, Trisha.
Trisha, Take some photos.


20050202   19:36

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