Bag of Spoons
Just off the A1(M)

Thu, 20 Apr 2006

Fixed the Book List

Further to my previous comment I managed to get the book list working properly with some help from the author, Will Guaraldi. The main problem was that the documentation on the wiki was out of line with the latest code. He's fixed that now. I've added a new item to my sidebar to show my latest books and links to the full list.

[08:24] | [/Site News] | Comments | G

Money to Burn

I saw my first 1 Litre of diesel this week. 100.9p at the Hendon Way BP. I suspect they have been trying to delay going to triple digit pence, but had to give in. I filled up for a penny less elsewhere. I could have got cheaper if I could have waited, but I was getting very low on fuel. I don't generally drive further for cheaper fuel, but usually hang on if I know it's cheaper further along my route.

While I'm on the subject of prices, why do we have to have .9 or .99 prices everywhere? Are people really fooled into thinking it's so much cheaper? For a TV to cost 499.99 rather than 500 is silly, but for a magazine to cost 3.99 is a pain as you just end up with loads of pennies if you pay cash. If it's less than 1% of the price I just don't care about the odd penny. With fuel you are dealing with tenths of a penny. I expect the argument will be that nobody wants to be first to make the change.

The fact that everything is priced at these artificial numbers shows how contrived pricing is. Prices are rounded up to whatever it is though the market will bear. Some internet retailers are going against this and pricing at the minimum they can sustain as they know people are using comparison sites to find the lowest possible price. I buy most major items on-line these days in order to save a few quid and to avoid having to trail around all the shops.

[08:20] | [/Motoring] | Comments | G

Tue, 18 Apr 2006

Book list

I've looked at a few options for recording what books I've read. I have registeed with some on-line services such as LibraryThing and Reader2. There is also BookCrossing that can be used for similar purposes.

I've been writing reviews on this site for a while, but I wanted something I could control that would apply a little more structure, whilst making it easier to provide Amazon links that will benefit Gothic Mede Lower School if anyone uses them to buy a book.

I am currently experimenting with a Pyblosxom plugin called Booklist. This allows you to compile a list of books in a text file and will generate a nice page like this via a template file. I'm using his example template for now and have not quite worked out how to get the Amazon link to work, but I will investigate further. I've already updated the Python source code to get the book covers from the European site rather than the US one.

[13:29] | [/Site News] | Comments | G

I can see for miles

For most of my life I've had to wear glasses to compensate for my extreme myopia. This is not a problem in my day to day life. I've worn contact lenses in the past for reasons of looking better in my younger days and later for safety when practicing Aikido, but have got out of that habit lately. The time when glasses are really a pain is when I am swimming. I can wear old glasses to allow me to see what is going on, but these do no good underwater and can get dislodged.

Before our holiday I invested in some Aquasee goggles (mine came from the local Boots) that come in various strengths, mine being the maximum in the range. They have transformed my swimming. I can now do proper breaststroke without losing my glasses and have been attempting crawl with a few issues on the breathing. They also allow me to see underwater and keep up with my daughter who likes to spend more time under the water than on top. The goggles made my holiday more enjoyable by allowing me to keep an eye on the kids whilst swimming and still have some fun.

[13:10] | [/Gadgets] | Comments | G

Mon, 17 Apr 2006

Spanish Flying

Just spent a week with the whole family in sunny Spain. Flew out on Easyjet, but they are not so cheap if you have to travel during the easter school holiday. Stayed at a Marriott resort courtesey of my parents. Nice enough place for chilling out and taking a swim. We spent some time in the outdoor pool and on the beach.

I organised a couple of golf lessons for Tanya at La Quinta. She enjoyed it and is showing a disturbing tendency to want to take it further. What have I done?

We sampled some of the local culture when we dined in Marbella old town where we saw their Semana Santa procession. As they do this all through easter week every year you would think that they would be better practiced at getting a large sculpture though the narrow streets. This is not helped by the mess of telephone cables strung randomly between buildings. Still, it was impressive, especially when the drum bands made the whole place shake.

We took a drive up to Ronda. This is reached from the coast via 40km of the twistiest road I have ever driven, peaking at over 1000m. The town itself is an impressive feat of architecture with houses clinging to the sides of the ravine. We took a look around gardens of the Moorish King's House. This includes a set of steps that take you all the way down to the river through the cliff. My legs are still recovering from that.

We spent our final day in Malaga doing touristy things like checking out the castle and cathedral then taking a ride in a horse-drawn carriage.

We rented a Ford Fiesta from doyouspain.com. Reasonable rates, but be prepared for a long queue at the airport as everyone likes a good deal.

Those of my friends and family with appropriate permissions can see some pictures on Multiply.

Yesterday I was back at Secret Bass for some drum therapy. Only five of us there, but we still managed to make a good racket.

[17:43] | [/Travel] | Comments | G

Wed, 05 Apr 2006

Green Wing and other TV

Our favourite sitcom is back for a second series on Channel 4. If you haven't seen it I would describe it as a combination of sketch show and slightly surreal sitcom. It's set in a hospital, but it's all about the antics of the staff, rather than what they do to patients. It may be hard to follow if you didn't catch the first series, but the site has an episode guide that may help.

I've not been watching much else on TV lately apart from the excellent Mark Steel Lectures and the awesome Planet Earth.

It's Not Easy Being Green on BBC2 is an interesting view of someone trying to establish a more sustainable lifestyle, but so far most of what they are doing is not very applicable to the average household. How many of us have a handy stream to run a waterwheel? We try to do our bit by recycling and reducing energy usage, but things like having to have two cars to get us to work are not so good.

[13:14] | [/Entertainment] | Comments | G

Mon, 03 Apr 2006

Strawbale Jam

In honour of Malcolm's birthday this week's session at Secret Bass was expanded to include just about any sort of musical instrument. As well as the usual djembes and dun duns we had my electric guitar, a drum kit, Malcolm's synth and Tibetan singing bownls, didgeridoo, arabic drum and assorted shakers, bells and other noise makers.

Thus ensued several hours of jamming around such diverse styles as reggae, jazz, blues, prog rock (?) and arabic rhythms. I have not had much experience of improvising in a group, but I managed to play some basic chords and even solo a bit. Considering how little I have played lately I am amazed that my finger are not more sore.

We had a break for food in Fabrizia's cozy loft before heading back to the studio for another session.

I would really like to do more group work apart from the drum circle. If anyone is interested in some informal jamming then give me a shout.

[09:09] | [/Music] | Comments | G

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