Sunday, March 27, 2011

I go tappety tap, and words fall out.

Sorry about the radio silence last week.
I have one of those thoughtful posts percolating around in my brain, but it hasn't quite got to the coherent stage yet, so when I sat down to write something, my mental coffee pot was blocked. It's probably the filter. I don't know, I don't drink coffee. Is it usually the filter? Gosh, this was a poorly chosen metaphor. Anyway, I am still not ready to pour out my bitter-tasting caffeinated thoughts (still a poorly chosen metaphor), so here's some other stuff.

I hung up my Rembrandt print in the corner of the sitting room last week, then decided I need to spruce up my writing desk to go with it. It was pretty dusty, and had random ornaments and junk on the top of it. So I cleared it off, cleaned and polished it, then considered what do next. I thought it needed a light, so I fished out my brass lamp from the spare room Nettie and Christian's room, and then I added my two pairs of antique binoculars, a couple of ornaments I felt went with it (although I'm still playing around with what exactly I want up here - if I can get a stand for it, the antique weights set might look really nice), and a photo of Zeph in a brown leather frame.
Unfortunately, I couldn't get a very good photo of it - it looks a lot nicer in real life - but I like it.

EDIT: Just after I posted this, I suddenly thought of something we own that would go quite nicely here - Matt's Young Mad Scientist Alphabet blocks.

We're hanging pictures again this evening. I have decided to rehang the record covers I framed, as I feel they were looming rather heavily over that area of the hall. I'll swap in some lighter-framed pictures, I think. The hall's not very wide, and the record covers (especially with their thick leather frames) were just too overpowering.

Having got entirely absorbed by the archives of The Steampunk Home, I found this link for making your own rugs from second hand leather belts. Pretty! I might have to have a go at that. It's at times like this I really wish we weren't constrained by this being a rental property.

Check out the print case of treasures that Doktor A has on the wall. This is exactly the sort of thing I've been wanting for years! I really really want an interesting way to display all our little tchotchkes and treasures.

A friend of mine posted a link to a website that is irritatingly addictive. And having read this article, I went to youtube and looked up videos of the comedians.

This one is hilarious (but short) and in NO WAY suitable to watch at work. Also, for any of my hundreds of thousands of readers who are a little shy... it's talking about masturbation. I wouldn't say it's too explicit, but I gather some people might.

The end of this one is the best bit, but I like it all.

I wouldn't bother watching this one - it's just a slideshow of pictures - but I would totally recommend listening to it whilst doing other things on the computer.

Aaaaand, I'm done.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Why I love modern technology.

This weekend, I have interacted with friends all over the world. From people who live a couple of miles away, to people who live on the other side of the planet. I have done this through phone calls, text messages, online instant messages, and Facebook.

In what way is this technology not awesome? And, whilst I know I overuse that word, I mean it in its strictest sense here. Worthy of awe.

An example - today Nettie was hosting a tea party. I was sad I couldn't be there, but was pretty excited to hear about it. We were chatting on instant messenger, and she told me about her outfit. And then she sent me a picture of it. In real time. From the other side of the world. Here I am, sitting on my sofa in Scotland, and I am able to see what a beloved friend is wearing for a get-together in Australia. It's just mindboggling, sometimes.

Here's another example of how great this is. I went to the junk shop on Saturday, and returned with some treasures.

I posted a picture of the records on Facebook, and a friend of mine, who lives in the US, commented to say she loves Rosemary Clooney. I admitted I'd never actually heard her, so my friend gave me a link to one of Clooney's songs on youtube. I listened to it - it's beautiful - and then I decided to try and track down the dates of the two records. The Rosemary Clooney one was easy. I found a recording of the song in question, and it had the year of the album on the webpage, but the other is trickier.
It seems to be a not-very-well-known version of "Have You Met Miss Jones?". So, in my searches, I read a biography of the artist in question on wikipedia. I found a website where someone had recorded their gramophone playing one of his other songs. I bounced through IMDB. And I learnt lots of interesting new things! Unfortunately, none of them were the year of release for this particular record, but to me, that's not the big picture.

This is what I love about the internet. If you are a trivia lover like me, it can lead you down the rabbit hole to a wonderful world of facts and minutiae. It's a warehouse of people's passions (and, ok, some of those passions are disturbing things which are best avoided), and that is, to me, a Good Thing. I love that, for example, someone recorded their gramophone playing records from the 1950s. I love that there are webpages out there for people who are obsessed with My Little Ponies, or woodworking, or Batman, or model railways, or folk music, or pirate music, or oboes, or stamps, or tartans... or anything.

I know, it's not a very in-depth post today, but I think it's something worth thinking about. It reminds me of Clarke's Third Law:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

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Sunday, March 06, 2011

This weekend in images.

Just some extra pictures.

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Saturday, March 05, 2011

New Victorian Friends

Just a quick post. Today we went into town to do a bit of shopping, and I requested that we stop off at the antique / junk shop where we found Mr Cook and Mr Cox. Much to my delight, the shop had a batch of little Victorian photos in. These ones are smaller than the others I bought - more like playing card sized - but no less charming for that.

Please forgive the slight blurriness of the photos. We are having camera-to-computer problems currently.

The names given are of the photographers, by the way.

George Mansfield, Dublin. A most excellent beard.

R. Seggons, Belfast. This is the only photo for which I have the name of the subject. She's apparently Mary Louise Graham, and I think she looks a little like she doesn't want to be a demure lady. It's something in the eyes. Maybe a hint of rebellion. Or maybe I'm just reading things into it too much.

W. S. Moir, Portobello. Matt describes this as being like a photo one would have taken to give to one's mother or sweetheart shortly before going to war. I can see what he means.

J. Wellings, Peckham. The dress! The furniture! It's all too charming.

Charles Wright, Edinburgh. I admit, this one I bought largely for the furniture too. And the shirt / waistcoat combination is excellent.

Thomas Burns, Edinburgh. I am slightly irked that what is probably my favourite out of all of the pictures is also probably the blurriest. This man is wonderful in SO MANY WAYS. The checked trousers, the walking stick, the fobwatch chain going through one of the buttonholes on his waistcoat... it's all just marvellous. I also adore his expression, which is as if the maids were laying out a lavish cooked breakfast on the sideboard, and he's slightly worried that the rest of the family will demolish it and leave him no eggs and devilled kidneys.

W. T. Watson, Hull. Absolutely awesome cravat action going on, and an excellent moustache.

J. Hobbiss, Leeds. OH MY GOD the mutton chops! That's some seriously dedicated sideburn-growing. Love it.

They all have charming little advertisement-y (totally a word) backs to them, too. Click the picture for a larger (but undoubtedly blurrier) view.

A couple of odd little extras. This seems to have been cropped from a magazine. It's "The late Mr Thomas MacKenzie", and the writing on the back suggests he was part of MacKenzie & Son, a company which was "the only bat makers in Scotland", being "Manufacturers of Cricket Bats, Stumps, Tennis Racquets, Golf, Footballs, and all Outdoor Requisites." What gorgeous wording.

I don't have a clue who these people are, nor in which decade this picture was taken (I'm hazarding a guess at the 60s, but I could well be wrong). I just... well, it has the remnants of glue on the back of it, suggesting it was stuck to something, and it seemed sad for the people to be forgotten in a junk shop. So I bought it. Yes, I know I'm weird.

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