Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Strange happenings on the trains

I take a train (well two actually) to work every day and again on my way home. Yesterday evening, due to some strange promotion, every second person in my sardine can, oops, I meant carriage, was carrying a six pack of 500g Onken Natural Biopot set yogurt. It was quite amusing watching these people's expressions and antics as they tried not to drop the 3kg load of yogurt every time the train lurched forward or came to a screetching halt. I really wish I had a camera and the space to use it in, as it would have made a very funny photograph.

Then this evening I was in my sardine can, erm, carriage, which sounded like it was full of whinging Americans. One particularly loud guy (I kept looking for where he managed to hide his megaphone) was whining about the fact that the Christmas gift his cherished wife had hinted would be suitable this year was terribly expensive.

What he actually said was that "I'll need a second mortgage to buy her that!", and "The way she spends money I'll be needing a third mortgage to cover my second mortgage". Which got me thinking about second mortgages and mortgages in general.

I did some checking and in the UK you can generally only have one mortgage for a property, and the term of the mortgage cannot extend past the lifetime of the borrower. In Japan a mortgages of over 100 years with the obligation spanning a few generations are fairly common, although a property can only be used as colatteral for one mortgage at a time.

In muslim countries Islamic law forbids the payment or reciept of interest so they have a couple of alternatives. Firstly there is the Murabaha mortgage, where the bank buys the property and sells it to you immediately at a higher price and then you pay the bank back in installments. This technically bypasses the whole interest issue, but if you ask me, its playing with sematics really. Then there is the Ijara mortgage, where the bank again buys the property, but then they lease it to you. You pay rent and a bit of the capital each month until the property is paid off.

Then we come to America where for some reason you can take out a mortgage on real estate which has already been pledged as collateral for an earlier mortgage. The second mortgage carries rights which are subordinate to those of the first. There are even third mortgages on top of second mortgages. This sounds a bit surprising until you realise that America as a whole owes (at the time of writing) $8,102,530,522,238.62 or looking at it another way about $27,204.22 per person. you can find more details at the American National Debt Clock website. America functions on debt and would crumble without it. This has inspired me to look further into national debts and per capita borrowing and who owes who, and how much, but that will be in another post.

Strange what you can learn when you overhear a conversation on a train.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Spelunking in London on a Saturday Night

I went Spelunking in London on Saturday night in search of a meal! Well, not quite. I actually went to a restaurant called Souk near Covent Garden. The full name of the restaurant is 'Souk Restaurant & Bazaar' and they bill themselves as 'The best North African cuisine in London.', but it would be better titled 'Crowded Dungeon quite Bizarre'.

To start off with owners have obviously taken the idea of a bazaar to as extreme an interpretation as is possible, quite probably flouting any fire safety regulations there may be. The place is packed so tight that it makes the tube at rush hour feel luxuriously spacious.

Then there is the wait; reservation or no reservation, you wait. They appear to have a very high cancellation rate, I say this because every seat seemed to have been double or triple booked, and the only reason that I can think for this is that a lot of people must cancel. There is of course no available space to wait in, so people end up queuing on the stairs, standing in (quite tight) spaces between tables of people eating, in the store cupboards, just about anywhere, anywhere that is except the bog, which was flooded.

We were eventually offered a table in the interestingly sounding cavern. It turned out to be a dark mouldy cupboard with a deceptively large step into it (ouch) and I'd hate to know what was hanging off the ceiling, but it appeared to be alive. Somehow they expected to fit four people in there around a 13" dining table. You'd be hard pressed to fit 4 fasting Calista Flockharts in there! We declined and were eventually offered another table.

Once seated the place takes on a whole different atmosphere. You can't see the filth so much and the extra loud Bazaar music makes it impossible to hear the insults from the French speaking staff. The menu's looked very interesting, and although the starter tasted like something without any taste, the main courses were considered very good by all who attended. They were out of crêpes so I can't tell you what dessert was like. I can tell you that the coffee is interesting and if you are feeling brave I would recommend you try some. Let me not forgot to mention the belly dancing. The belly dancer did a passable dance, in quite a confined space and I think she did the most with what she had; when you consider that she had a washboard flat stomach. Choosing a career as a belly dancer when you only have about 8% body fat takes some guts

All in all the company at dinner and
Souk Restaurant & Bazaar
Atmosphere: 6/20
Service: 6/20
Entertainment: 10/20
Food: 20/40
Total: 42/100
for the most part the food was good, and so it was in the end a quite pleasant evening. However if you are looking for somewhere nice to eat in London or are a fan of North African quisine then I suggest that you look elsewhere. If however you are feeling a little bit like Indiana Jones, and feel like a walk on the wild side then this is the place for you!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

England vs. Samoa @ Twickenham

Samoa looked like they might make a match of it for the first five minutes, and they put up a good fight, but England was technically much better and won easily 40 - 3.

The 40 - 3 win is a new English record against Samoa and the team must have been very pleased with themselves due to their performance. The match was not without incident however. Lewis Moody now has the dubious honour of being the first England player to be sent off at Twickenham due to his rather unseemly attack on Alesano Tuilagi.

Here are a few [bad] photos from the match yesterday. It was freezing cold, but thankfully the rain stopped shortly after the match began, however the light levels were quite low and the camera I borrowed had a very limited zoom.

England vs. Samoa @ Twickenham

England vs. Samoa @ Twickenham - Line out

England vs. Samoa @ Twickenham - Samoa desperately try to defend

England vs. Samoa @ Twickenham - Samoa desperately try to defend

England vs. Samoa @ Twickenham - Samoa desperately try to defend

England vs. Samoa @ Twickenham - Samoa desperately try to defend

England vs. Samoa @ Twickenham - Samoa desperately try to defend

England vs. Samoa @ Twickenham - Samoa manage to stop England from scoring


Saturday, November 26, 2005

On George Best

I can't help but thinking the that the huge amount of press coverage during George Best's illness and eventual death is a bit excessive. I know that he was a phenominally talented footballer and that he entertained a whole generation of football loving individuals. But that was a quarter of a century ago, and although I am a bit of a sports fan myself, six (in football terms golden) years of entertainment (on and off the pitch) doesn't seem to be enough of a reason to justify the huge popularity of the man and the subsequent adoration of what appears to be a rather large percentage of the British populus.

I can't but think that George Best had squandered one of the rarest and most precious football talents ever seen in favour of a self-indulgent merry-go-round of birds, booze and motors. His love of alcohol had over a period of around 30 years destroyed many of his relationships, and his liver. I suppose that the reason he was so popular was that depite his great talent and achievements, he had an obvious and very public flaw.

Anyway he managed to kill himself and that was, I suppose, his choice. I can only hope that the rather excessive news coverage will at least tip the balance for some people and prevent them from following his self destructive route through life. Looking at the latest figures on underage drinking and binge drinking however I don't think that it will make any difference somehow.

It has been reported that George Best hoped that people would remember him for the football, and that he wished that to be his legacy. I think that most people will remember him for being George Best; an extremely talented footballer, a bit of a character and an alcoholic. That is the curse of the cult of popularity, and it was, in the end, who he was.
I'm going to watch England v Samoa at Twickenham later today. I hope it is a really exciting match with lots of standing up and sitting down, because it is freezing outside, and sitting down for two hours in the cold at a boring match will be torture.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Funny headline of the day:
Dwarfs found in colliding galaxies' wake - New Scientist
Okay so they are talking about dwarf galaxies, in particular, tidal dwarf galaxies (TGDs). TGDs are formed when two galaxies interact gravitationally. They form in long, tail-like structures but are so small and faint that only about a dozen had previously been observed. The more technically inclined reader may like to read the full article.

Still it sounds like something that was taken from a 'Have I Got News For You' guest publication :)

Google's Schadenfreude

SchadenfreudeThe agony of it all! Those of you who are regular visitors to my blog (or anyone who happened to have read my blog on Thursday, November 17, 2005 and has come back for more punishment) will be aware of the fact that I am aching for a Canon 20D.

I've been driven so crazy that I signed up to the Google Adsense program in an attempt to earn some funds to satisfy my heart's desire.

So what should I come across just a few minutes ago on this page when replying to a comment? A bleeding Google Adsense advert for a 20D!

Well I clicked on the advert and it took me to a website with a killer deal on a 20D which has cut the expected price by 20%, maybe Google isn't so terrible after all! I hope the price holds until I've collected enough clicks.

As thoughts turn to Christmas...

Some interesting maths I came across (well was sent anyway), that I thought I'd share for those of you who still expect gifts from Santa Claus.
No known species of reindeer can fly. BUT there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not completely rule out flying reindeer, which only Santa has ever seen.

There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. BUT since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish & Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total -378 million according to Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes that there's at least one good child in each.

Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with. This is due to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 822.6 visits/second. That is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 0.001 second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house.

Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78 miles/household, a total trip of 75.5 million miles; not counting stops to do what most of us do at least once every 31 hours, plus eating etc. So Santa's sleigh must be moving at 650 miles/second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a pokey 27.4 miles/second. A conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles/hour.

If every one of the 91.8 million homes with good children were to put out a single chocolate chip cookie and an 8 ounce glass of 2% milk, the total calories (needless to say other vitamins and minerals) would be approximately 225 calories (100 for the cookie, give or take, and 125 for the milk, give or take). Multiplying the number of calories per house by the number of homes (225 x 91.8 x 1000000), we get the total number of calories Santa consumes that night, which is 20,655,000,000 calories. To break it down further, 1 pound is equal to 3500 calories. Dividing our total number of calories by the number of calories in a pound (20655000000 / 3500) and we get the number of pounds Santa gains, 5901428.6, which is 2950.7 tons.

The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized Lego set (2 lb.), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300lb. Even granting that "flying reindeer" (see #1) can pull 10 TIMES the normal amount, we cannot do the job with 8, or even 9, reindeer. We need 214,200. This increases the payload - not counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons. This is four times the weight of the ocean-liner Queen Elizabeth.

353,000 tons travelling at 650 miles/second creates enormous air resistance. This will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy. Per second. Each. In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and create deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 0.00426 of a second. Meanwhile, Santa will be subjected to centripetal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250 lb. Santa, being very conservative in terms of guessing Santa's weight, would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 lb. of force.

If Santa ever did deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now.
- Unknown Author

So now you know the awful truth.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Bonsai Kitten, Inc.

I know that it is meant to be funny but it relly isn't. The Bonsai Kitten website, really should be shut down. The owners of the site should really know better.

I know that a number of people, particularly Americans, will shout about freedom of speech, censorship, and the fact that it is obviously a joke; but, I can't help but think that somewhere some rather intelligence lacking, socially stunted, 'Jackass' watching, hate filled individual is trying to do this right now, following the instructions on the website verbatim.

Hmm, where are those super hero DDOS hackers and script kiddies when you really need them :(

Death of a sparrow

I saw a link about this on Sam's blog and thought that I had to share.

A Dutch team has set a new domino-toppling World Record, setting up and then toppling 4,155,476 dominos. That's right four million, one hundred and fifty five thousand, four hundred and seventy six dominos. Kind makes you wonder if they couldn't have just added four more. Surely another 24 wouldn't have taken more than a few minutes to add!

Anyway back to the major controversy, some idiot let a sparrow into the building that the record was being set at. The startled sparrow knocked over a few (thousand) dominos and as a consequence it paid for this transgression with its life. That's right; the poor defenceless sparrow was executed! Okay I know that hundreds of volunteers spent months setting it up, but surely the person who left the window open was the one that deserved to be shot.

You can learn more about it all here at the BBC website and/or watch a short video of the record being set.

I think that the directors of the production company Endemol should suffer the same fate as the unfortunate avian. Call it natural justice if you will. If not for the death of an innocent (sparrow), then for the large scale torture that they have inflicted upon millions of helpless viewers through their heinous 'Big Brother' franchise.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Why oh why didn't Panasonic use a sensor as good as that in the Fujifilm FinePix F10 Zoom in the Panasonic DMC-LX1? They developed the camera in partnership with Leica (the Leica model designation is LEICA D-LUX 2).

[rant begins] The camera looks just about perfect in every other respect! A small light, reasonably priced camera with an optical image stabilizer that seems to work from the reviews.

A very sharp 28 to 112 mm (35 mm equivalent) lens. Three picture formats, including a true 16:9 (8 MP) & 3:2 (7 MP) formats. A large 2.5-inch display with 207,000 pixels. Pictures can also be saved in RAW format for more control over the processing later. Okay the flash is puny, but who cares about that?

But they top that all off with a below average sensor! A sensor which displays more noise at ISO 100 than many cameras at ISO 400. If they had used a sensor as good as the Fuji F10/F11 they would have had to beat customers off with a big stick, as it is they will probably still sell an awful lot of them but it could have been so much better.

More to the point, if they were to stick a sensor with the quality of the Fuji F10/F11 I'd have bought one! [rant ends]

It really does make you think about what goes on behind the scenes when they are producing these kinds of cameras. Does the product development director wake up one morning and say to himself "I know; lets make a stunningly good camera in every respect except the recorded image"? Or does the marketing director wake up one morning and decide "You know, I need a bit of a challenge. Must tell those product development guys to reduce the quality or the sensor in that new camera, just to spice things up a bit"?

The Fuji F10/F11 isn't without its problems either. Fuji created a great sensor for the F10 but then knobbled the camera by not giving the user enough manual controls. Also the zoom range of the camera is 36-108mm, which is hardly inspiring if you are interested in wide angle photography. They have partially rectified the situation by adding Av and Tv controls and renaming it the F11, but most featres have to be accessed via the menus which is hardly intuitive.

I know that there are budget constraints, and time constraints when producing a new camera, but, you would think that as both of these companies have been producing digital cameras for some time now that they would be aware of what customers are after and produce an all round decent camera.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris

Just thought I'd share some information about my favourite rodent. Why 'my favourite rodent'? Why not?

Now I know that some people don't like rodents at all. I also know that some people like hamsters, others are fond of gerbils, and children love guinea pigs and rabbits. But my rodent of choice is the Capybara. Okay it might not make a suitable pet, but it has character, poise and size on its side.

Capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) © Somebody ElseThe Capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) is the largest rodent in the world and weighs up to 160 pounds. It is also known as carpincho, chigwire, giant water guinea pig and water hog. Capybara live in the tall grasslands that border rivers, streams and lakes in tropical South America and Panama. It is never found far from water and is an excellent swimmer which apprently will often leap into water to escape from predators.

I first became aware of the Capybara watching an excellent BBC documentary a few years ago about the Patagonia region of South America. Patagonia looks like a great part of the world to go on an extended visit to. Real wilderness, the kind of place where whilst enjoying the grandeur of nature you also find out a lot about yourself.

I would like to think that I will be able to visit the region at some point in my life, prefereably before the huge gaping hole in the ozone layer kills everything, or global warming destroys the fragile balance of the habitats and tuns it into a dessert.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I need a Canon 20D! I want a 1D MkII, but I know that is just a dream. I yearn for a 5D. But its gone beyond just wanting a 20D, even beyond yearning for a 20D, I need a 20D.

Now a 20D costs about £1000.00 with a kit lens and delivery included. I've decided to try and moneytise my blog a little in an effort to earn enough money to buy one. I've worked out that I should earn about 4p per click on adverts on my blog using the Google Adsense programme, so it stands to reason that in just 25,000 short clicks I should have enough to buy one. So I've jumped in feet first and set up an adsense account. I've tried to make the ads as unobtrusive as possible and have placed them at the bottom of the right hand column.

So if it isn't too much trouble, if when you visit this site and have decied that you have read enough, please click on one of the Google Adverts. It wont cost you anything and it could help me to get my 20D.
Chihuly Installation at Kew Gardens.
Reflections of the roof of the Waterlily House at Kew Gardens reflected in the pond.

The Waterlily House was built in 1851 to house the giant waterlily (Victoria amazonica). However, the plant never fared very well there, and in 1866 the house was converted to an Economic Plant House for medicinal and culinary plants. It was restored to its current state in 1991.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Chihuly Installation at Kew Gardens.

Chihuly Installation at Kew Gardens.
Dale Chihuly installations at Kew Gardens. Some of them really are quite spectacular and worth a visit to see. Many of them are subtle and well camouflaged in the flora so you have to keep your eyes peeled.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The biggest 'flower' in the world.

Titan Arum at Kew Gardens.

One of the most spectacular plants to be found in the wet tropics zone of the Princess of Wales Conservatory is the titan arum. With its huge flowering structure (inflorescence) rising some 3m above the ground and its single immense leaf, it certainly is a giant among plants, as its name suggests. Coupled with its characteristic foul stench, and the rarity of flowerings, this plant has always hit the headlines. - Kew Gardens website.
Well it wasn't quite that spectacular when I went to visit over the weekend, but then again it had flowered on 28 September! Still, I thought it would make a nice abstract photograph.


Monday, November 14, 2005


As many of you are aware, I have been experiencing problems with my PC over the past few months and decided that there was no use procrastinating any more, I was going to have to make some changes.

Shiny new thingsI made the decision to replace my CPU heat sink and fan to a larger more powerful model which should also be quieter, and in order to keep my case cool a few extra fans. Lastly I was going to replace my main hard disk drive as it was beginning to sound like a cross between a banshee and two duelling tomcats. This is the story of what happened...

I woke up very late on Saturday with a bag full of parts and very keen to get on with things; brunch be damned, I was straight into the cupboard for a screwdriver. Sat down with a cup of coffee and decided how best to proceed wasn't sure so I asked the cats for some advice.

After finishing my coffee (and consulting with the cats) I had a plan of action. I was going to remove some hardware which I never use any more, remove the two fans that I borrowed, replace the heat sink/fan combo, install the new fans, rearrange the two hard disks drives, install the new hard disk drive, do a sector copy of the failing disk, change over the IDE master and Slave settings for the devices and that'll be that.

More advice from the cats - after removing superfluous peripheral devicesRemoving the now redundant hardware was easy, sure I had to disconnect a few cables and remove the front facia from the case (which was more difficult that it should have been and required the gentle use of a small hammer), but it only took about twenty minutes. Happy with my progress I had a quick fag break and another cup of coffee.

Puny standard AMD heatsink/fan vs. Hunky new heatsink/fan comboNext came the heat sink/fan combo. No problem removing the old one, installing the new one required what felt like motherboard snapping force and the use of a screwdriver but that wasn't too bad, only took five minutes. Turned on the computer to make sure everything was okay, watched the CPU temp for about 5 minutes to make sure that it was okay, and then switched off again.

Pretty new case fans and new CPU heatsink/fanOnto the fans. Nothing in life could be easier than removing a pair of 80mm case fans, done in ten minutes. Adding the new fans took a bit longer because of those damnable self threading screws. You need to apply an obscene amount of torque to get them screwed in tight. As I was working in quite a tight space, I had to use my left hand quite often, it was a bit of a pian. Once they were installed I noticed an extra 3-pin fan header on the motherboard - excellent, not I could monitor the speed of the one of each of the fans at the front and back of the case. To top things off these new fans have funky LED lights that give the case a nice glow when they are in use. Things were going swimmingly. Time for another fag break and another cup of coffee.

Rearranging the hard disks was a bit of a pain, I moved the upper disk down to the bottom of the drive bays because I had worked out that I would be able to leave an empty bay above each disk once they were all installed which would allow good airflow from the newly installed fans at the front of the case. Moving a disk into the bottom bay with a full length SCSI controller in front of it just wasn't happening so out came the controller, in went the disk, back in went the controller and than I realised the IDE cables wouldn't reach - arghhh! After rearranging the IDE cables I switched the PC on and made sure everything was okay, which it was. Somehow nearly two hours had passed, strange I though to myself, didn't fel that long.

Shut down windows - time to install shiny new disk drive. A quick check of the jumper setting and it slid in like a dream. Plugged in all the cables and switched on the computer. BIOS automatically detected the drive and windows notified me of the new hardware when it started. That's what I call progress. Onto copying the data thought I. I quick scan of the instructions for Norton Ghost and I was away. I selected all of the relevant options, copy master boot record, check for bad sectors, verify data, expand partition to fill new disk space, etc, etc. And off it went. Should take a few hours so it was time for brunch.

After brunch (about an hour) returned to view the progress and something wasn't quite right the status bar hadn't even started and the progress report said 2% completed. Hmm preparation time thought I, and wen't to watch some telly. Returned to view the progress after and hour and a half solid TV watching. 10% completed. 10% completed in two and a half hours! That’s two and a half hours!!!

It was now around five in the afternoon, and at the current rate it would be six o'clock on Sunday before it was finished. There were bits of computer lying all around, the cats were getting very friendly with the cables, and I was beginning to simmer.

Glaring evil eyesThree hours later - a special kind of hell. Yes I was in a special kind of hell, the kind where you do nothing but stare at a monitor for hours hoping that the progress bar will move, feeling overjoyed when it does, and then realising that the tiny movement to the right took an hour. Thinking about all of the things you could be using your computer for, but can't because despite running for what feels like days, the hard disk copying is still at under 20% and its eight o'clock and the noise of the new fans that you were so happy with is beginning to drive you slightly potty. So potty that you think that there are two glowing eyes glaring at you from inside the PC case, tormenting you. Then you notice that everything in the house is pitch black and that you hadn't noticed because you have been staring at the progress bar, willing it onwards, knowing that it will take as ling as it takes, which is too long. All this time asking yourself "will the old disk last long enough for the process to complete?". Everything after that was a blur; I can't remember anything until...

The following morning. Wake up on the sofa at around eight to the sound of the neighbour hoovering with a killer sinus headache. Go to the kitchen to make a coffee, realise that that sound isn't the neighbours hoover. It is in fact my PC. Turn on the monitor and am greeted by Norton Ghost telling me that it is 100% complete, with no errors. Thank the Gods. All of them in turn.

Switched off the PC, rearranged the cables and jumper setting on all of the IDE devices, tidied up and tied up all of the cables, nice and neat. Turned on the PC, went of make my coffee. Came back and sat down to the wonderful message
Please insert bootable media...

Alomst doneTwo hours later, after replacing IDE cables, putting back the original IDE cables, rearrranging IDE master and slave devices, kicking the PC, and doing the dance of shame - twice. I finally get the bios to recognise all of the devices and the PC to boot. Finally we are getting somewhere. Windows boots, thank the gods, all of them in turn. Take a quick photo before putting the case back together.

Well, that was my weekend. The PC still sounds a little like a hoover, and despite my wishful thinking the new CPU heat sink/fan combo is actually a little less efficient at cooling the CPU (it is quieter though). But I now have a working computer again and it glows in the dark :)

I will probably disconnect some of those funky fans in an attempt to reduce the noise, there are six 80mm fans in there now, which is probably too much. But that is a project for another day.

Labels: ,

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Got parts!

Splashed out on four fans, a new heatsink/fan combo and of course a new disk drive. Hopefully I'll be able to install it all later today without breaking anything. Will post all about the experience afterwards.

Wish me luck. :)


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Added a couple of extra 80mm fans to my PC last night. Seems to be doing the trick. No screeching from the hard disk, all temps seem to be hitting new lows. Still not risking anything, waiting for the replacement disk to arrive......


Proud Mary

Left a good job in the city,
Workin’ for the man ev’ry night and day,
And I never lost one minute of sleepin’,
Worryin’ ’bout the way things might have been.

Big wheel keep on turnin’,
Proud mary keep on burnin’,
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river.

Cleaned a lot of plates in memphis,
Pumped a lot of pain down in new orleans,
But I never saw the good side of the city,
’til I hitched a ride on a river boat queen.


Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river.

If you come down to the river,
Bet you gonna find some people who live.
You don’t have to worry ’cause you have no money,
People on the river are happy to give.


Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river.
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river.
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river. - J.C. Fogerty

Creedence Clearwater Revival
Music & Lyrics : J.C. Fogerty

Great song! In 1969 "Proud Mary" reached #2 in the US Pop Singles chart.

Labels: ,

Monday, November 07, 2005

Batchelors Super Noodles

Batchelors Super Noodles - Chicken FlavourWhilst strictly speaking not an 'instant' noodle meal as it takes at least twice as long to make as any other instant noodle meals I have tried so far; it is none the less pretty quick to prepare, taking about five minutes.

The results however are worth the wait. As far as instant noodle meals go, this is definately the best I've had so far! The texture of the noodles were delightful and they seem to absorb all of the liquid added during preparation. The flavour isn't bad either and I was able to resist the temptation to add any soy sauce. I did however add some pepper sauce around half way through, just to help it along.

I would definately and and without reservation place it at the top of my noodles list above both the Sainsbury's own brand instant noodles and the deadly Ko-Lee noodles.

Despite the presence of Butylated hydroxyanisole [E320] (a waxy solid that exhibits antioxidant properties and is also used in cosmetics), Propyl gallate [E310] (which in tests has been shoen to cause an interference in weight gain and growth in rats, and the occasional fatality, but no ill effects in pigs) & Disodium 5'-ribonucleotides [E635] (an entry for which I found in the Carcinogenic Potency Database, but I had no idea what it says). It is quite a good noodle meal.

It did also include our good friend, the ever tasty Monosodium glutamate [E621].
Apologies to regular visitors, I have been having some problems with my PC. The recent overheating issues appear to have done some serious damage to my hard disk which now occasionally screams like a banshee and the rest of the time it sounds like fingernails scratching across a blackboard.

I have decided to use the PC as little as possible until I can replace the disk, and add some hard core cooling. This is of course having an adverse affect on the frequency of my posts.

I've ordered some new hardware so I should be back to regular updates some time next week.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Usually my thoughts flow like a torrent through my mind. Today they are flowing like very cold treacle on a near flat surface, with a swift wind blowing in the opposite direction. :(

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Divali, Fireworks & Sleep Deprivation

© someone elseFor those of you who hadn't noticed today is Divali, the hindu Festival of Light. The Festival signifies the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, justice over injustice and intelligence over ignorance. The goddess worshipped at Divali is Mother Lakshmi or Lakshmi Mata. Lakshmi Mata is the goddess of light, wealth and beauty and is also associated with prosperity, luck, riches, abundance, financial well being, and generosity.

Where I live Divali means fireworks, or more precisely, an obscene quantity of fireworks. For the past few days there have been sporadic sustained releases of fireworks and they have been annoying but today they have been going off non-stop since I arrived home this evening and it seems the entire national supply of fireworks are being used in my neighbourhood tonight!

Whilst I'm sure that the fireworks are very pretty (it is pissing with rain and I'm not going outside to check), the noise is infuriating. I now have a deep and meaninful understanding of how life must have felt like living in Beirut in the 1980s or more recently in Chechnya.

Anyway combined with the heavy air traffic at Heathrow tonight I am unable to get any sleep. So tomorrow I will be like a participant in Philip Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Experiment in the early 70s :(