Big Bubbles (no troubles)

What sucks, who sucks and you suck

A School Reunion Is Like…

Like once going to a party. A really good party. Everyone you knew was there, so you had a few drinks and pretty soon you were having a great time. You laughed, you told some witty jokes, you did some silly things but it was all in good fun and you were all getting on fabulously. So you had a few more drinks and talked more and louder because you must have been really entertaining and it was all going so well, except now you thought blurrily that maybe the other people weren’t laughing quite so much and were starting to roll their eyes a bit and smirk at each other out of the corner of your vision. They were just indulging you. You’re being patronised. You know what, this isn’t a great party anymore and they’re all false and dishonest. You didn’t need these people now. And this party’s nearly over anyway so let’s split.

Back to the Nursery

Revisiting Nursery Cryme

“Nursery Cryme”, Genesis’s third album from 1971, surprisingly features in David Hepworth’s new book covering the major releases of that year (although it turns out only on the cover, being barely mentioned in the text), and also looks likely to be one of the featured albums in the next series of Johnny Walker’s Long Players show on Radio 2. Quite a turn-up for a lesser-known work that lies just outside the canon of what are usually considered to be the ‘classic’ era progressive records.

Made by RCA

Have you heard it yet? You know, that song that bounces along while the singer trills about “X’s and O’s, they won’t let go”? Catchy as hell. Sounds like Paloma Faith, or maybe Amy Winehouse or … well, one of those types. Bound to have been on a radio near you lately.

Welcome to RCA’s newest product, skilfully developed through years of painstaking effort by trained professionals: Elle King.

Irrevocably Retro

My Glamorous Research Assistant is holding a ‘vintage tea party’ themed party this weekend, so naturally she looked at the mountain of organising, styling, designing, catering and collating that would be needed and deduced immediately that I was best put in charge of … the music. And nothing else.

Puppet to Ansible

I’ve just completed the move of the configuration management for my very small home network from an obsolete Puppet 2.x setup to Ansible. Total time = approximately half a day. Showstoppers - none.

Parsing a Twitter Archive

I just signed up to Pinboard because I wanted a permanent resource to capture all the links I’ve posted and retweeted on Twitter. While Pinboard integrates well in terms of capturing links from your ongoing feed, it will only work backwards to the previous 3200 tweets due to Twitter’s API limit. So the first thing I wanted was to do was process my long term Twitter archive to get everything from the previous four years. You’d think other people would want this too, so something must exist to do it, right? Wrong.

It’s Complicated

A curmudgeon’s guide to Hand. Cannot. Erase. by Steven Wilson

An interesting thing happened when I added Steven Wilson’s forthcoming album Hand. Cannot. Erase. to my Amazon wishlist. Suddenly, my Amazon recommendations filled up with the most appalling shite, presumably on the basis that “other people who want Hand. Cannot. Erase. also have absolutely no taste in music”. A solo album from a member of a decidedly middle-ranking, way past best-before neo-prog act - srsly? What bothered me more was the worry that all the other fans of Wilson’ oeuvre were actually displaying consistent taste, whereas this was an outlier for me.

Computational Pragmatics

Everyone should attend at least one truly memorable lecture in their university career: the one so well-presented or eye-opening in its content that it stayed with you for the remainder of your career. Mine was the last lecture of our Computer Science C235h module at UWA, in which the lecturer immediately grabbed our attention by announcing that there would be no notes as what he was about to say would ‘upset’ certain members of the rest of the department wedded to the accepted wisdom of software engineering practice. In fact, he said, this lecture might be subtitled ‘What they don’t tell you in Software Engineering’.

Plum Umbrella by Saul Leiter

“Plum Umbrella, c. 1957” by Saul Leiter. An early adherent of colour film, Leiter’s work in the medium was mostly neglected during his working career, finding few commercial outlets at the time. The rich body of images he amassed around NYC in the late 50s and early sixties was only rediscovered and promoted in his latter years.

In this shot, Leiter employs one of his favourite devices, closed framing: the titular object blocks our view of the majority of the figures underneath. Between the umbrella in the foreground, which is out of focus, and the large expanse of pavement in the background below, the middle ground forms only a minor part of the overall image and yet holds the key details we need to make sense of it.