WPC: Under your feet

 

as in

UNDERFOOT

perhaps.

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HERE WE HAVE

an underfoot revealed. I can’t even begin to think how many times my own feet have ambled, strolled, walked, or on occasion galloped across this lot—with nary a thought to what lies below. At times I pondered the wisdom of using expensive bricks in artistic patterns for pavements; but should you ever live here you’d pretty soon understand. The Council Committee that chose chose well—the footpaths and byways down here are forever being dug up, rearranged or otherwise updatingly ‘put right’; so of course there’s now no horrible eyesore ‘patches’. (And quite possibly the next time I pass this way it could look as if nothing has happened—Hades is in His underworld and all is sweet with the universe. Then again, the very next day some other Council department may well be along with their own shovels and agendas.)

OPPOSITE FROM

underfoot is the concept of overhead. So? So I once read a short story (Azimov, I think) to the effect that some astronauts on the moon were so thoroughly fed up with—every time they ordered something from Earth—stuff arriving in cartons with voluminous instructions written in an apparently foreign language: “To begin assembly, first lay out all the parts and check against list … etc etc” so they radioed Earth and asked if a robotic assembler could be designed, built, and sent up to them.

Well, it was a several month wait but eventually a large package arrived. It was their much anticipated robot … so they tore off the wrappers, and there before their eyes was a voluminous instruction book written in an apparently foreign language: “To begin assembly, first lay out all the parts and check against list …”

So?

So—first, be advised that I’m currently fighting the worst ‘flu I’ve ever had (and this ol’ dog has had some beauts, I tell you~!).

So?

So my internet service supplier recently (at short notice) went belly up.

So I promptly changed over to one ‘Spark’ (which used to be called Telecom—they changed their image, to one of modern youthful vitality and with-it-ness … and some executive doubtlessly got a huge bonus for the spark of genius).

The service I had before was beamed into my home from radio towers in the hills and although slow and given to ‘rain fade’ it worked.

The new all-singing all-dancing Spark? Beelzebub! I never expected the changeover to go sweetly or smooth—things like that just don’t happen in real life.

I should have guessed when I opened the package containing my lovely new modem (these days called a Gateway? I never knew …). Sure, they have a 24/7 Helpline. Of course I tried it … amazing how many robotic voices giving infinite robotic instructions can lead one tortuously to a very final “… all of our agents are busy right now but please hold the line and one will with be with you in … seven … minutes” which after the four hundredth time you hear it gives excellent grounds for divorce.

I should have guessed from the moment I opened the box and saw the surprisingly brief instructions: “To begin assembly, first lay out all the parts and check against list …”

 

And now I’m stuck honking and barking like a lovesick seal, with a computer that is dazzlingly fast with broadband but which I cannot use for emails. I’d phone for help but my landline phone isn’t working although the internet is—and as far as I know they both use the same underfoot cable(s)?

I think it’s entirely possible that I may have outlived my time:

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but worry not, I’m still trying make sense of “set up the SSL to the SSB, use the WAN (if already in use the LAN, MAN, or DAN will serve). POP 3 with an HTML, IMOP or IMAP”

Ye gods, kindergarten kids are doing this stuff as if to the manner born?

AND NOW

for you— a Challenge of my own, make of it what you will. Here be a snap—

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—and your challenge is to suggest what you think might have caused the damage to those two block walls separating the Invercargill Hospice Shop from its neighbours? The near damage has been there for some weeks, the far damage I noticed only the other day so it’s much more recent.

And now to continue getting familiar with my lovely new Gateway (and it is lovely—all black slab with just few (okay, eleven) greenish lighty things along the top).

If you do accept my above challenge, my own responses may take a wee while getting to you. Don’t wait up …

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NIL DESPERO 

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THE MODERN …

(please note: click on any image to blow up to size—your browser’s return/back arrow will bring you back to this post)

&

CAMERA

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puts up with a lot. Over the years my own cameras have been beloved, treasured, toadied unto, slept with, banged about, pampered, sat on and generally treated much as some men treat their Spice.

BUT THEY HAVE

always grinned and bared it. Beared it? Borne? Bore … whatever; even when tasked with averaging out a scene such as this—

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—which would have made my old Brownie squeak aloud in utter anguish. The sky wasn’t really that dark and the sea not really that wet bright, but all in all I think Mr. Olympus and his little pixels reached a nice compromise.

SO WHAT LED

us back to the beach? To recap briefly (that’ll be a first, Argie—Ed) it was once again The Spouse. She saw some micro-rubies being sorted in a craft/hobby shop in Tuatapere (and thought she’d like to try it).

I had to collect a few scoops of black sand from the grey (in places) sandy (in places) gravelly (in places) Gemstone beach at Orepuki. All good clean fun … up north (Piha and west coast) they have black iron-sand beaches—a real bugger to hop across under the blazing sun, trust me; hop becomes gallop very quickly and the always icy surf very welcome. That sand can be collected with a magnet—the problems is cleaning it all off your lovely magnet afterwards. Oops, digression: to cut long into brief, she’s intending to poke through her tray filled with lovely sparkly minigems using tweezers, sorting the rubies from the dross*  and dregs. My own approach was to use a jam-jar as a centrifuge, just a couple of twirls got me this—

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 15.07.35

—but she won’t have a bar of it. Her project, her method, and what would a mere Lord and Master male know about it? So she’s happy, poking through (please bear in mind that these snaps are enlargements—we’re talking sand here) with tweezers and lens. This below what she’s looking through/for, and the red ones apparently are mini-rubies—

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—but when she’s bored, tired, infuriated, and/or exasperated I’ll see if I can’t improve on the vortex idea; possibly using an eyedropper or pipette to suck ’em up.

If nothing else it will at least reduce her tweezing a bit.

SO IF YOU THINK

it’s rubies for old rope, think again. Gemstone doesn’t take prisoners and can sometimes be really feminine: so be ye warned—

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—you might have set off in bright sunshine … so far we’ve been lucky (careful, Argus?—Ed) and only the once had to climb the cliffs and hoof home through farmers’ fields and cowpats. Since then I’ve found a more accurate time-offset correction to be applied to the tide tables but it was fun at the time.

ENOUGH DIGRESSION

and back to the modern camera. I went for a wee walk yesterday (got growled at for getting home late but I think it was more relief than grump) so now just have a beak at what I got with one of the ‘fun’ settings in the camera—

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—which I think is amazing. I haven’t a clue how I did it …perhaps I should ask my treasured and most Beloved—for whom, sadly, it seems that

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film is no longer available.

Bummer.

Even the most modern of cameras can’t compete with the point-and-click simplicity of a more innocent age (and colour was real colour back then, I tells ya~!).

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NUMQUAM CONTEMPANDUM 

* So far as I know that particular ‘dross’ is emeralds and jaspers and quartzes and garnets and such stuff but for now she’s fixated on rubies.

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PAST AND PRESENT

Argie’s First Law Of Locodynamics:

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‘NO TWO PHYSICAL OBJECTS CAN OCCUPY THE SAME SPACE SIMULTANEOUSLY’

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hence clever people invented Time. Without ‘Time’  separating us we’d be cluttered together, for all I know squelched down into a space so small it just doesn’t exist; so much so that eventually something has to give and we all burst out … never mind. Let’s get on with it—

WINTON

is a tiny town in New Zealand’s deep south. About a hundred-ish years ago some genius with a magic box set his apparatus up in the main street and using more skill, time, and effort than called for these days created an image. This bugger—

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Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 22.35.42.

Now flash forward to the present day and me with a burning desire to stand more or less where he stood and capture the same with changes.

Did too, but not quite. Possibly something to do with lenses and the types of technical stuff he’d have been expert with whereas I just delegate it all to the camera. My part in being a photographer is simply to hold the wee box gizmo and press the button—hell, these days I don’t even have to wind on the film, or take it to the chemist for processing.

That earlier guy, poor soul, would have humped a great heavy camera on a massive tripod and such plates as he could carry; he’d have to guess the exposure, time it either on a (rare) watch or by counting. And that was the easy part—at home or the workshop later he’d have been closeted away with oodles of chemicals and a bad temper.

ANYWAY

Here’s that same Winton as captured by moi. Okay, I’m just the dummy that found the position and held the camera—and took oodles of shots until I got one that was effectively traffic-free—

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—make of it what you will. For myself I love ‘then and now’ shots as a vehicle for thoughts on time and space. Yuk.

Ouspensky said that “A man can go mad from one ashtray“. I say likewise from just one thought … but always the icky glue holding everything together (whilst separating it) is Time.

And as much as I’m enjoying scribing this this, my next few minutes will be spent running around in the shower—The Spouse just called through, it’s ready, and the ice is ratting the windows outside right now. Hail. (So if you were to back in time, even one second, outside, during a rainstorm or hailstorm—how long do you think you’d live?)

CLUE

go back up and read Argie’s loco First Law again. Good luck~!

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NIL DESPERANDUM

* Maybe we have made progress. A bit … at least these days we let the ‘fairer sex’ run round killing everyone too. That’s progress.

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MODERN YOBBO

a term dating back some decades—

YOBBO

(aka ‘yob’) is a contemptuous throwaway term meaning to the effect of ‘ill mannered buffoon, lout, scumbag, oaf, boor etc etc‘ … but here, let the Mac onboard dictionary explain it—

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—but the Mac sanitises it. A lot.

For myself there are some qualifications I hold in high regard, and likewise some traditions. But not, under any circumstances* stuff like the below (press on …).

FOR EXAMPLE

I know that I could never be good enough to be a top racing driver. Hell, I congratulate myself every time I negotiate the Lorneville roundabout and survive a trip into Invercargill (getting back unscathed on Southland’s road is a major in itself). But racing? No way~! Hence I should hold successful racers in due respect. But does some twat’s ability to hold a high-speed car on the road better than anyone else truly deserve unqualified respect?

In itself: to a degree, yes. Certainly I couldn’t do it. But does such respect entitle said jerk to any other form of respect?

“By their deeds,” the Sage breathes boozily over my shoulder, “shall ye know them. Hic.”

So how about this modern sporting hero, apparently typical of the breed—

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 8.35.49—?

MY UNDERSTANDING

is that in the real days of motor racing gentlemen took part (you know: guys with class) and the winner, still sitting in his cockpit and looking bemused whilst bashfully making ‘Awe, shucks’ noises, would be presented with a glass of champagne to be gratefully sipped. To be appreciated, as no other glass of champagne ever could be.

Predictably it went downhill from there.

The idea caught on and spread to the point now where every talented little poop winning anything is required by custom to rark-up the bottle and spray the cameraman, the nearest officials, and anyone else within reach. Required, I said, by custom and usage—anyone merely taking a modest sip these days would be hooted out of the arena by a dumbfounded public.

Gentlemen, it seems, are extinct. Yobs are in. Get used to it … and you can have my share.

It took the vintner and buddies years of TLC to produce that bottle (Mumms?) and it deserves better treatment than to be used as a weapon against innocent damsels by a mere yob. I say it again:

YOBBO

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KISMET

*  Unless she’s somehow caught fire—but spontaneous human combustion aside it’s hardly likely.

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They Told Me

HERACLITUS

They told me you were dead.

They brought me bitter news to hear, and

Bitter tears to shed …

I only found out this morning when searching something else—one of my greatest heroes died last month.

THIS IS NEW ZEALAND

Had he been a rugby player there’d have been howling headlines in all media complete with lowered flags and black crepe in all public places.

Had he been an All Black the entire nation (with one couple of exceptions) would have gone into lock-down mourning (down here talent in any other field matters not a whit—but be ‘good’ at charging down muddy ‘sportsmen’ and ‘pissing up’ afterwards then you become a national paradigm).

Genuine talent in any other sphere doesn’t count—unless, perhaps, you are an inventor. Invent facts like kiwis created the atom, or we sorted out the Turks at Gallipoli, or we beat the Wright brothers into the air …

This guy—

Author Terry Pratchett

—one of my personal heroes and a genuine genius died last month. And I only found out by accident when I stumbled over the news on another’s blog* .

I thank the Daily Telegraph (UK) for the above image, which if you click on will take you to a page of his quotes—then you’ll see why he’s (was) one of my own great heroes.

MY OPINION

Is that he’d possibly have been more widely read had they used different artwork on his book covers. Quirky, yes—but it put me off for years; proving the old adage about judging a book by its cover. More the fool me.

WHO IS HE?

Okay, was … click the link to find out. Or not, no compulsion here; just immense sorrow. And bitterness.

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KISMET

* I’d have posted this in my ‘Forestall’ blog but Safari kept rejecting the image. So this post is in Firefox—but for whatever WP reason instead of getting the better old-fashioned page I kept getting the modern all-singing all-dancing completely unfriendly (and to me quite useless) blued ‘bloop bloop’ thing. Not good …

 

Take a Break

old friend—you’ve earned it!

NOTICED

in town yesterday, scenes much like these in many a shop window …

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 15.02.57(Actually the poor ol’ bugger looks totally knackered~!)

BUT WAIT

It gets worse …

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 14.56.45… personally speaking I think if it does this to the poor guy every year, he should be pensioned off.

And these days of ‘equal opportunity’ … hey, waida minute … is that what the outfit on the femmiquin to his starboard side is all about?

Someone is ahead of the ball hereSantarina Claus, of course! Vibrant new image to the festival—so maybe next year I’ll be putting real stockings up by the fire-breast … or maybe not, she might nick ’em … and has ol’ Rudolph done his Dash too?

The old order changeth

Yielding place to the new …

etc etc but in a world mobilis in mobile … who knows?

Anyway—

A HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS

NEW YEAR

TO ALL~!

Santa drinker And may the very worst of your troubles be the ones in little wrappers, rum flavoured, served straight from the fridge.

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GOOD LUCK

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