Activity, and the lack therof...

Jul. 22nd, 2017 02:38 pm
hrrunka: Frowning face from a character sheet by Keihound (good idea)
[personal profile] hrrunka
Wednesday evening's radio club committee meeting was about as interesting as you might expect, but at least it didn't last as long as usual. I was home very shortly after 10pm, and got an early night.

I was awake quite early on Thursday. The morning's Morse practice went a lot better than it's gone in quite a while. Only one word caused me trouble. However, after it was over, much of the rest of the day was a bit of a struggle, energy-wise. A bit of stuff got done, but much less than might have been.

I spent a little more time tidying on Friday, but again ran short of energy and motivation before I got very far. It's still at the "things get messier before they get tidier" stage.

In the evening, however, there was gaming. At young A's request we played 7 Wonders, and Phil won. It was a short enough game that I was home before 10:30pm.

It rained overnight, and it has also been raining randomly and heavily at intervals all day. I have done a bit more tidying. I've also spent a bit of time trying to catch SOTA activators on the radio, Radio conditions ruminations )

Edit 7 hours later: Well, quite a bit of stuff has found itself a home in the workshop or the boiler cupboard, and there's a lot less on the floor now. There's further to go, but much less far than there was this morning.

Tomorrow there's an NMC rehearsal.

Music meme: day 14 of 30

Jul. 21st, 2017 01:24 pm
liv: Detail of quirky animals including a sheep, from an illuminated border (marriage)
[personal profile] liv
Here we go, the middle of the list hits A song that you would love played at your wedding.

As you probably know, I'm already married, and I had my wedding five years ago. wedding reminiscences plus video )

I have no intention of having any more weddings to choose music for. I'm already married, as are all my partners. And maybe poly people aren't supposed to say this, but I really think I've found my people and hope not to end or change my current relationships. Friends who have looked into these things in more detail think it's not actually illegal to have weddings, in the sense of ceremonies indicating lifelong romantic commitment, to more than one partner, as long as you don't try to register the relationship as a marriage for legal purposes. But I am not really sure of the details and anyway at the moment we don't have any desire to be married to more people than our existing spouses, even if it is (or became) legally ok.

It is fair to say that I never intended to get married the first time either, so maybe I'm wrong. I suppose we've vaguely talked about the possibility that those of us who are EU citizens may need to marry those who are not for immigration reasons and safety, but I really really really hope it doesn't come to that and if we were in that situation there wouldn't be any singing and dancing, just whatever paperwork we needed for survival. And hypothetically my current relationships might come to an end and then I might find a new person who really wanted to get married to me. But then the song I would choose would depend so much on the person and the circumstances that I can't really speculate what it would be, and I don't really want to because it involves imagining the ends of relationships I really want to keep.

I'm not in general a fan of the wedding tradition of the First Dance to a romantic song. Partly because I'm not much of a dancer, and partly because I think there are better ways to do symbolic consummation. And then finding a song which is lyrically appropriate is surprisingly hard; a lot of songs in the style that's appropriate to slow-dance to are really breakup songs, or at best they're hugely monogamy-assuming and heteronormative. As [personal profile] elf pointed out in this meme, a lot of poly-friendly songs are about casual hey we're just doing this as long as we both like it relationships, which is kind of wrong for a wedding.

I think it was [personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait who pointed out that the most inappropriate possible song for a wedding is She moves through the fair, since it mentions our wedding day but primarily as a euphemism for death. I am very fond of it, mind you. And I have attended a wedding where the big romantic moment Song was Hey, that's no way to say goodbye by Leonard Cohen, which is a gorgeous song but way depressing if you go past the opening lines:
I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm,
Your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm,
Yes, many loved before us, I know that we are not new,
In city and in forest they smiled like me and you


I never daydreamed about my ideal wedding when I was single, so I never had a concept in my mind of what song I would love played. If I happened to be in a relationship where we had a song that was meaningful to us as a couple, then perhaps I'd choose that, but I can't help myself thinking about the detailed interpretation of the words. So, just out of interest, do any of you know any songs which are good for weddings, talking about serious relationships but not about possessiveness? Or songs that are good for non-religious communal singing?

Music meme: day 13 of 30

Jul. 20th, 2017 04:32 pm
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
[personal profile] liv
I'm getting really behind the wave on this, aren't I? Still, there's more than one person still working through the list! Today is One of your favourite 70's songs. I'm not very good at knowing which songs come from which decade, and most of the music on my computer has really inaccurate metadata. But one song which I know is from the 70s, and which is definitely one of my favourites, is Go to Hell by Alice Cooper. I'm not sure if it's actually my favourite 70s song, but I really ought to have something by Alice Cooper in the meme.

I'm really very fond of Alice Cooper goes to Hell; it was my first encounter with the idea of a concept album. I especially love this opening track because it's a bit of (darkly) humorous intro, with the bathos of ridiculously specific examples of depravity:
You'd gift-wrap a leper and mail him to your aunt Jane
You'd even force feed a diabetic a candy cane


I often tell the story of how when I went to university I gained a certain amount of respect among the alternative crowd by explaining that Alice Cooper was in fact a ouijia board chosen stage name for a definitely male singer. Despite not looking like the sort of person who would know rock music trivia. But I love Alice Cooper for being so gloriously terrible, and occasionally coming out with works of sheer genius like Poison (not from the 70s) in among all the McGonagall stuff.

video embed (borderline NSFW) )
[personal profile] cycleboy1957
Monday 17th saw us driving up to Settle to rendezvous with my brother, Peter and his wife, Hilary. They began walking the Dales High Way back on Saturday at Saltaire and were due into Settle that evening. Having booked into the rather charming King William IV hotel just off the market square, we got the call; they had arrived and were re-hydrating in the pub next door. So, we joined them and Hil's old school friend, Jill, who had walked with them that day. Sadly, Jill had to catch a train back home, so it was just the four of us who ate together that night.

Tuesday 18th. Another splendid day of weather. Rather too splendid, really. At least for walking, as I could have done with having words with His Nibbs and getting Him to turn down the heating a couple of degrees. Junko accompanied us to the edge of town, but didn't feel able to attempt the whole walk, which was 16 miles long and also included climbing Ingleborough.

The walk initially followed the River Ribble, along shady banks and through cool woods and was quite lovely. At one point, we met a young French lad pushing a heavily laden bike. He'd started from his home near Dunkirk and was going to Ireland. He was pushing because he'd damaged his pedal and asked us if there were cycle shops in Settle, about which we were able to reasure him and wished him 'bon voyage'.

We had a morning tea/coffee in Elaine's Tea Room in Feizor. Considering the place is in the middle of nowhere and boasts about only 4 other buildings, the place is obviously very well known, as the cafe was packed with walkers and cyclists. Onwards and (eventually) upwards. Although it was lunchtime, we were trapped on a narrow track with high walls along both sides. It was agreed, "As soon as we get to somehere to sit, we'll have our lunch." Which we did. On setting forth again, we'd gone barely 100m before we came across a brook deep enough to bathe in and a grassy area well known as a picnic place. Although we knew of its existence, we had not realised we were quite that close.

Shortly after the brook we hit the fell below Ingleborough. Although we could see it clearly enough, the actual route there was not at all obvious, so a few queries of other walkers were needed to set us on the right track. Our track took us to within about 20m of the summit where two tracks met. It was also hair-raisingly windy. Having had barely a gentle zephyr (is that a tortology?) all day, the ferocity of the wind took us all by surprise and both Peter and I nearly lost our footings.

We had not actually planned on scaling the hill and to attain those final 20m of elevation involved a fair lateral treck. So, as time was now pressing, we started our descent. This turned out to be the most awesome part of the walk, and I choose my words carefully. Everyone we had met near the summit had said it was steep. One Geordie had said he only managed in on all fours and standing at the top of the path it was easy to see why. It was scalable, but you did need your hands to steady yourself as you balanced on one leg to lower a foot onto the next level. Anyone with anything less than the balance of a mountain goat would have been in serious trouble. Once down, the rest of the journey to Pete & Hil's bed for the night was a short, easy stroll with the Ribble Viaduct as our constant companion to our right. However, one very pleasant surprise was the vista to our left; right out to Morecambe Bay, about 30km away. Hil and I were ahead of Peter and when we told him we could see it, he initially didn't believe us.

After a quick drink in the hostelry, I left them to return to Settle and join Junko for the evening. Ribble Head station was 2 miles away, but I gave myself plenty of time for the journey. Even so, on the rare occasion a car did pass me, I stuck out my thumb, but none stopped. However, after about a mile a car coming the opposite way stopped and asked me where I was heading. He told me to hop in, did an 8-point turn in the road and took me to the station. However, he did carry on in the same direction, so I can only assume he was one of the cars that had passed me, done what he had to do and come back to check if I was still in need of a lift. A lovely gesture.

Wednesday, 19th. Settle is a lovely town. I believe it is the resting place of certain Mike Harding, but we didn't spot him. They do a rather nice little leaflet of interesting sights and buildings of the town, which is how we entertained ourselves for the morning, including the oldest, continuously operational Music Hall in the country; the Victoria Hall, built in 1852. Junko had wanted to visit the restored Water Tower, just outside the station and we strolled into its grounds. We were met by a gent painting some trailer wheels outside a work shop who proceeded to tell us a little about the place. What I hadn't realised until then was that this was a home; his. However, it had a little trail around the outside with information plates, so visitors were not only allowed, but encouraged. Quite what it's like to live in, I can't tell you, but it is definitely quirky.

Tweets, Bubbles and Bleeps

Jul. 19th, 2017 03:29 pm
hrrunka: A small radio transceiver (morse)
[personal profile] hrrunka
I tackled the waterlilies in the pond on Monday morning before my morning shower. What I really need to do, but will have to leave 'til they've died back for the winter, is to reduce the root-stock by about 80%, and fix the remaining root-stock to something seriously heavy. Trouble is, by the time the season's good for doing that to the plant, it's also a whole lot colder, and paddling in the pond when the temperature's in single digits isn't that much fun...

I was distracted for quite a bit of the rest of the day by the astronomical society committee's ideas for adding social media links to the society's website. I compromised by experimenting a bit with Twitter, which might do enough to distract some of the committee, but not, I fear, the ones wedded to Facebook.

On Tuesday I was a bit distracted by Ingress, which took almost 48 hours to increment my "Max Time Portal Held" stat from 149 to 150 days. I'd figured the counter should have rolled over some time on Monday morning. By Tuesday afternoon I was wondering whether the portal it was referring to was not the one I thought it was referring to, and that the mystery other portal had been taken down some time Monday morning without my noticing or being alerted. It turned out that Ingress just has a very flexible definition of "day".

On Tuesday evening there was a talk about Morse Code at the nearer of the two radio clubs I attend regularly. The meeting was well-attended, and folk seemed to enjoy it. As the talk was aimed more at those who've never used Morse, I found most of the actual Morse a bit slow, but maybe it will spark some interest.

There was a bit of a thunderstorm overnight. I didn't properly wake up for it, but I was aware enough of it going on that I didn't sleep all that well, either. I've been feeling the effects all day. This evening there's a committee meeting for the other radio club, so I expect I'll end up having an afternoon nap before that.

Hugo thoughts

Jul. 18th, 2017 11:49 am
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
[personal profile] liv
I didn't get very far through Hugo reading. I read all the short stories, and the three novels which were stand-alone or first in a series, skipping the ones that are sequels. I managed two of the six novellas, but didn't feel able to vote when I hadn't looked at the others. And I spent the last day before the voting deadline reading through the novelettes in order to be able to rank them. Plus, I happened to have seen enough of the films I felt I could reasonably vote on that category.

my opinions )

That's brief notes on my voting choices (well, I'm not great at brief)! I'm more than happy to discuss in more detail if anyone's interested, I just wanted to get this posted rather than being intimidated by it.

Catching up

Jul. 17th, 2017 10:25 pm
liv: Detail of quirky animals including a sheep, from an illuminated border (marriage)
[personal profile] liv
So I went away for a few days, and also did lots and lots of reading, and now I'm blocked on posting to DW until I've caught up with talking about both those things. That's not sensible, so I'll try for a small postcard-type entry.

Most importantly, congratulations to [livejournal.com profile] illusive_shelle and her newly-minted husband! The wedding which formed the excuse for a small summer holiday for me and [personal profile] jack was absolutely perfect and amazing.

mostly diary )

I have lots of reading I want to talk about, partly because I've been trying to get through at least some of the Hugo material, and partly because of going on a short vacation, and partly because I had a horrendous 11 hour train journey at the start of not quite having time to post. I'll talk more about that hopefully soon, and go back to the music meme and so on. I am reading, as usual, just a bit behind with posting.

A Continuing Theme...

Jul. 17th, 2017 12:21 am
hrrunka: Frowning face from a character sheet by Keihound (good idea)
[personal profile] hrrunka
I woke up on Friday morning to an unusual noise, which turned out to the CPU fan on my main mail-handling machine complaining, so the day's "you weren't expecting this this, but..." activity involved replacing that CPU fan. The machine is now running noticeably more quietly, so I guess that fan had been slowly getting louder for quite a while.

On Friday evening I went over to Gravesend, and we played Carcassonne: The City.Phil was not quite as awake as usual, and I got lucky, and ended up ahead at the end of the game, by one single point.

On Saturday I took a look at the weather forecast, and grabbed my scruffy Driza-Bone coat as well as my grubby leather hat before heading for London Bridge. At Borough Market I met up with a number of other folk, and then went off with a "something sweet" mission. The day's "you weren't expecting this..." moment came I just after I got back to the meeting point, when a stranger with a camera asked whether he could photograph my hat. Once all the shoppers had emerged from Borough Market we re-gathered in the space next to City Hall for our picnic. It was a good gathering, with plenty of catching-up chat. The weather could have been better, but the drizzle never got quite heavy enough to cause serious trouble. We got to see Tower Bridge raised (to allow the Thames Barge "Gladys" to come through). Afterwards I went onto H.M.S. Belfast to have a quick look at the Bridge Wireless Office, and to talk to the folk running the amateur station that day. By the time I got home I was quite tired, and I went to bed relatively early.

I woke up at my usual Sunday time when the radio came on at about a quarter to nine. I caught the radio club's Sunday morning Net, then spent much of the rest of the morning dozing, and got very little done. A friend dropped by at around tea time, and we spent an hour and a bit chatting. After he left I watered the garden, and noticed that the heavy rock that had been keeping the water lilies in place in the pond had been tipped off. Looking back through webcam images, it seems to have been displaced last night, but it was too late in the day for me to consider putting it back in place, so I guess I'll just have to find time for that another day.

Plans? They'll only change...

Jul. 13th, 2017 08:50 pm
hrrunka: Frowning face from a character sheet by Keihound (good idea)
[personal profile] hrrunka
I woke up a little late on Monday morning to find some messages from my sister and from my sister-in-law awaiting my attention.

My sister's concerned a load of stuff my mother and I had sent in her direction a couple of weeks previously. She was having difficulty extracting them from Aussie Customs. They wanted each item individually valued. I spent a while working through old figures, and eventually came up with something apparently satisfactory. The process did rather swallow half the day, though.

My sister-in-law's message concerned the cancellation of my nephew's overnight flight from Budapest. It seems the pilot had been on the bright end of a laser pointer that had been shone at the plane as it landed, and wasn't permitted to fly the plane back to London immediately. The flight was, therefore, delayed by about 16 hours, and my nephew missed his connecting flight to Nairobi. I collected him from Gatwick on Monday evening.

The rest of Monday evening was swallowed by an astronomical society committee meeting. I'm not a committee member, but as I look after the website, I was asked to attend to advise (or whatever).

On Tuesday morning I took my car down to the garage for its annual service. I walked all the way home, taking advantage of the cooler weather to visit quite a few Ingress portals I'd not visited in a while. It started to rain just after I got home. My nephew woke up at about noon. We has lunch. Then, it having stopped raining, I walked back to the garage to collect my car, and then we went on a short shopping expedition. In the evening we went to a pub nearby for a steak and a pint. When we came home it was raining.

It was still raining early on Wednesday morning when we loaded up the car and headed for Heathrow. The roads were wet, and the drive there took about two hours. My drive home took a rather more reasonable hour ans a quarter, and I was home by about 10am. I spent at least half the rest of the morning asleep, and quite a bit of the afternoon working on this month's radio club newsletter.

This morning I was awake in time for the usual Thursday morning Morse practice broadcast, and mostly managed a bit better than last week, but I was still a long way off my best. Once that was over I took my car to have a couple of well-worn tyres replaced, and spent a while visiting Ingress portals while that was being done. Since I got home I've been getting on with other un-planned stuff, like upgrading the OS on my laptop.

I've not made the progress I'd hoped to make in the workshop this week, but I have just managed to keep up with Duolingo.
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