This is just a test...

This blog has seen no update for literally 6 months and this really isn't an update either. This is merely a test to make sure things are still going as expected with this thing.



Since I've apparently become unable to blog properly I've decided to see if I can manage maintaining a twitter feed. Twitter, for the uninitiated, is essentially microblogging. You say what you're doing in 140 characters or less and people can see your progression through a day as long as you keep posting, or "tweeting". My account there is of course dubbayoo and for those without dedicated twitter clients status updates can be read at http://www.twitter.com/dubbayoo


MacBook Woe

A week and a half ago the backlight in my computer's LCD decided to crap out. At first the screen began to flicker a lot and after the condition persisted after a reboot I figured something not good was going on. Within a few minutes of the reboot the backlight had gone altogether. The screen itself was undamaged so thanks to the aid of a flashlight application for my iPhone I was able to kludge together a means of getting data backed up to an external drive in preparation for taking the machine in for service work.

The genius at the Regent Street Apple store immediately gave a list of possible diagnoses when I illustrated the problem (the same list of possibilities I knew anyway) and set up a work order to replace the LCD panel and the inverter board (which had been replaced this past June anyway). To be sure he also ordered a replacement main logic board.

The machine was left with Apple on a Friday evening and around noon the following Tuesday I got a phone call to say it was ready to be collected. The exact cause of the problem never was noted (and possibly not discovered) and with all the new hardware it was like getting a new computer (albeit one the same speed and with the same specs as before). I booted up the machine at the store after I'd received it and all seemed well so I went on my way.

After I got back to the flat and began to restore my data I was annoyed to notice the new LCD panel had three stuck pixels near the left side. I wondered how a new, replacement screen that was noticeably inferior to the one it replaced could be given to me, especially after a £956 repair bill (thankfully covered by the warranty). Nevertheless I plowed on with restoring data and using the machine.

After a few hours of use, while the CPU was under fairly heavy load, zap -- the power in the machine died. It was plugged into the wall and also had a battery attached so it struck me as odd the power would just go like that. I was bewildered to say the least but I booted it back up and kept working. Zap. It did it again after another short while. At that point I became annoyed. Ultimately, I kept workig and the issue didn't manifest again.

Come Wednesday I'm using the machine again and zap. The power dies again. For a machine that had just had most of the guts replaced a few days beforehand this thing was really acting up.

Friday comes along and twice more the machine cut out. I went to Apple's web site and eventually booked an appointment to take the machine back on Monday to be looked at. I could have had an appointment for Saturday but the tube connections around the flat were particularly bad this past weekend so I opted to wait, ensuring I didn't tax the machine too heavily.

I took the computer into the store about half past noon and explained the situation, expecting to at least get some resistance from the genius about the situation, chiefly expecting him to declare 3 stuck pixels on an LCD panel is within tolerances, but ultimately had a smooth time of it. The diagnosis of the genius was a heat sensor was at fault or not properly connected (in a new motherboard?? the only way that would be likely is if the installation was pooched, and I shudder to consider that possibility). Nevertheless a new logic board and inverter were ordered in hopes of rectifying the issue. A new LCD panel was also ordered and this time I will make sure to properly check the panel before I leave the store, whenever I pick it up. I was quoted 7 days for turnaround, a standard line, but was told by the genius they prioritize repair work required due to previous faulty repair work. As a result I hope to be reunited with the computer soon but until I get the call I don't know how long I'll be without it this week.

Until then, I have the iPhone to keep me connected to the outside world so at least I'm not without a means of getting news and email.

I just hope this all has a happy ending and that this is the last service work required to get the laptop back in proper working order. Time will tell I suppose, but so far I'm not loving the service work done thus far.

Going Back

It's shortly past 6:30am as I type this, and it's certainly not good that I'm up at 6:30am (not that it can be good) but for some reason I can't sleep. As a result of the insomnia I figured I might as well fire off a blog post to let those who read this know I'm coming back to Edmonton for Christmas.

I certainly had not planned to head back for the holidays however the opportunity to do so presented itself and I wasn't sure if it would. I thought since I could do it that I ought to do it, a philosophy I employ far more often than is always practical.

I've not really told any more than two people about this, other than family, but in the next month and a bit before I head back I'll try to get a hold of a larger number of people in order to make some plans. Needless to say my time around Christmas is to be occupied with family events, but I've this far not come up with plans for New Year's Eve.

I'll be coming back on December 20 and departing for London on January 8. I'll be in touch with people soonish.


Meeting new people

The other day I was perusing the googles for big & tall clothing stores around these parts as I'm wanting to buy an overcoat for the winter so I can stay warm and have something to wear overtop a blazer in case whatever job I take requires I wear such a thing. In my stumblings I came across a tall persons club in Great Britain which has a monthly pub night in London the last Friday of each month. This month that happens to be tomorrow (also Halloween, an unfortunate happenstance) and after emailing the group to make sure it's kosher that I show up without first becoming a member I've decided I'll make the journey out to meet these folks tomorrow. One can never know enough people, and as creepy as it might be to be amongst a smattering of quite tall folks, I've decided to see what this is all about.

If this was being posted more than about 20 hours ahead of me going to this meetup I'd open a betting pool to see where in the height hierarchy I'll fit. I did note that one person on the executive committee claimed to be 6'10" so I'll definitely be given some competition for the position of tallest attendee.


Camera Hackery

Courtesy Tom, I've been pointed to a piece of software allowing one to enable RAW support on Canon DIGIC II cameras which don't normally support that image mode.

Called CHDK, it's hardly new, but it's a piece of software that sits on your SD card and it's enabled only when you want to use it. Other than enabling RAW mode it allows other functions based on what build is used and what model camera you use. As silly and basic as it sounds, I suspect I'll get a fair amount of use out of the real-time battery charge indicator enabled by the program, something which should have been there from the word go from Canon.

Basically one copies the program to one's SD card, turns on the camera, and enables the software by tricking the camera into thinking it's doing a firmware update (that's how the app is loaded to memory). Turn off the camera and the program is wiped from memory and if you don't want to use it the next time you use the camera, just don't enable it.

The way it's handled is wonderful in that it's non-destructive to the existing firmware on the camera however a couple glaring issues do crop up, both of which can be fixed by me changing the way I do things.

First, the software has to be copied to the SD card directly and thus far I've not found a way to enable mass data storage mode when directly hooking the camera up to my MacBook Pro via USB. That's not a huge deal if one uses a memory card reader, and I of course have a USB memory card reader, however the unit I have doesn't support SDHC meaning I'm limited to 2GB SD cards despite the fact the camera supports SDHC just fine and can support (at least) 16GB cards. This is fairly unfortunate if I plan to do much shooting in RAW mode given images stored in RAW are, well, raw and uncompressed and therefore take up more space. The answer to this is to buy an SDHC-capable card reader, or suffer with the 2GB SD card I keep in my camera bag.

Second, because the software is resident on the card it means I'll have to go about changing the way I erase images. Normally, unless I'm importing items into iPhoto, I'll format the SD card as it's simply the quickest way of getting rid of the contents. Doing that will of course wipe out the software and require a reinstall, something which could become tedious if I have to do it over and over. That means I will have to manually erase images on the camera one by one (unless my camera has a batch erase mode - I may have to look into that, though I have doubts about it existing) or import everything on the roll into iPhoto and delete the images from iPhoto. Alas iPhoto doesn't support directly erasing images on a memory card, one has to import them first. If that was a supported function then I'd be happier as it'd be faster to do a batch delete via the software than a one-by-one manual delete on the camera via its clunkier interface.

So far since arriving back in England I've not actually used my standalone camera. To date I've used the camera on my N73 or my iPhone when I've needed to snap images. In part this is because I've not bothered to take my camera with me when I go out, in part because I don't currently have a battery charger for the AA batteries used by my camera (the one I had in Canada didn't support 230V) and lastly in part because I've not really gone anywhere touristy this time around. As such I'm not sure how much use this software will actually get, but it's nonetheless nice to know it's available. The software beeing free is of course another bonus, making the price right.



The beat goes on...

So it's been 3 weeks now since arriving back in London and I'm well settled into the new flat, got my bearings as far as what's around the area (since I'm not far from where I was before I already knew a lot of what's around for shops and what not), and am at the tail end of a cold that's been bothering me much of this week.

Things are about to ramp up a bit as we've finally obtained broadband at the flat (that took a while and has its own story that I don't feel like repeating here) meaning I've got a proper means of job hunting and communicating with the world at large. I did pick up an iPhone a week after arriving which was very handy for limited online communication while we waited for DSL so at least I wasn't completely cut off. Still, having access to my computer is much handier.

Soon enough I'm hoping to be able to post details about having found a job and all that but in the mean time I'm doing what I'm doing, catching up with friends, etc. Last time I was here I did all the touristy stuff so I've not really done much of late on that front, though I did go for a bit of a sightseeing walk along the south bank (only between the Eye and Tower Gateway though) with some fine folks this past weekend.

We'll see where things go I guess...


Credit Crunch

I'm going to assume it's a typo of sorts but if not then this 'credit crunch' is quite insane.

(From facebook earlier today.)



On the road again

Monday saw my return to the left side of the Atlantic. I'm incredibly tempted to use the terms wrong and right rather than left and right for many reasons, but I won't actually go that far. This was something that went unannounced except to a very small number of people, also for many reasons. The bottom line is I'm back in Edmonton and while I plan to make it something temporary, it may well wind up being a protracted sort of temporary.

I'd of course eliminated my landline prior to heading to the UK but thanks to the wonders of quad-band GSM mobile phones I've sorted something out with the mobile phone I bought in the UK so I have at least one method of direct communication available. Those who are interested are more than welcome to reach me via email/facebook/etc. for my new phone number if I've not already given it to you. As cell phone plans are utterly stupid in Canada (I was soooooooooo glad to turf my cell phone in early 2007) I'm just doing a pay as you go thingie for now and thanks to the stupid costs involved with even that (and no free incoming calls, which one gets quite used to thank you very much) I hope nobody takes offense if I choose to not answer calls outside of the cheap times.

So far all I've done since getting back, aside from trying like hell to readjust to this time zone and climate, is change my money at the bank, sort out the phone and have a great visit with someone who I'd not seen in far too long (which really made my day, I must say). So far my equilibrium is quite off, resulting in far-too-often bouts of clumsiness, and I can't eat (anything) without getting an upset stomach and I'm looking forward to when all that - and the cold I seem to have picked up - is over and done with. Another few days should be enough I'm hoping.

At any rate, some people who might read this already knew of my return prior to it happening, some have been informed since my return and others yet may not know anything unless they read these words.

So... that's where things are for now. I've got no plans sorted at the moment and likely won't until I feel at least slightly human again.



UK Snow

From early this morning it's been snowing all over England... while there's been bits of snow here and there this is by far the largest amount I've seen since arriving.

The BBC has a nice little article with pictures.


Paris Images

The Paris pictures are now up except I've again run out of space at Picasa and have had to split things apart. Most items are at http://picasaweb.google.com/cburgesspics however some are also at http://picasaweb.google.com/cburgesspics2 (and that's where new pictures will go of course). The links at the side have been updated for those who prefer to use them.



Catching up, sort of...

So it's been ages since anything has gone in here... I'm not sure how much I'll actually write about any particular subject until I've actually started to type. Let's see where this all goes.

Family Visit:

My cousin Dave and his family were in London for a week and I had the chance to visit with them for a couple days. On Wednesday last week I met them at a pub near Waterloo station, not far from the flat they were renting, and after some walking across the river we wound up at a pub near Embankment station to have a few drinks and chat and catch up. It was a great time and it'd been a couple years since I had the chance to talk with them. After a while we saw Denise (Dave's wife) back to the flat and Dave and I went to a different nearby pub for a nightcap and more yapping.

The day after I had a full schedule (more on that later) so I didn't see them then but did meet up with them (along with the young 'uns, Rachel and her friend Sarah) Friday morning at the John Sloane (an architect/artist) museum which was quite the sight to see. We wandered around the Holborn area in the rain and meandered to a nearby church Denise had wanted to see. Lunch was had, much walking and sightseeing was done including a visit to the Spitalfields market (where I'd not been before) before we hopped a taxi back near Waterloo and had a wonderful dinner at their flat. Things ended earlier that night as they all had theatre tickets and had to get to the show. We parted company and I headed back.

Overall it was a great visit and it was nice to see them but also slightly surreal to have seen them in London as opposed to the norm of Edmonton or Calgary (where they live).


Thursday last week saw my visit to the Earl's Court exhibition centre where I met up with a friend to go see the Doctor Who exhibition there. We spent a good 2 1/2 or so hours there taking in the exhibits and probably looked a bit silly photographing nearly every square inch of the stuff on display but had fun nonetheless.

After a quick bite of lunch we grabbed the train to Waterloo to meet up with another friend to go see a recording of The Friday Night Project, a chat show of sorts, featuring David Tennant as the guest. Much queueing was done but eventually we got in and took our seats. As things turned out we got front row seats (albeit well off to the side) so the view was pretty decent save the occasional blockage by a camera or other equipment.

As is the tradition on that show, there's a segment where a quiz is held to see which of the two hosts knows more about the guest with each host playing for a side of the audience and the winning side having someone run up the aisle wearing a coat of £5 notes. Our side of the audience "won" during that bit and as the person with the coat of cash never gets far up the aisle before being mobbed it was quite fortunate that not only were we in the front row but also quite near the aisle. While the chap in the coat did indeed get mobbed, and my reaction time was not what it could have been, I scrambled around and did wind up with £15 out of it all. With 3 of us there I shared the money evenly, although a moment later, Alan Carr (one of the hosts and a fairly well-known comedian) came up to me and handed me an errant £5 note lying about so I wound up with £10 for myself in the end which was enough to cover after-taping drinks at the pub with some change left over.

Another fun day.


The week prior I spent a few days in Edinburgh. I left early on the Tuesday morning and returned late on the Thursday night and spent about 2 1/2 days there total considering the train ride was about 4 1/2 hours each way. I was quite amazed at how nice the city looked and (at least in the areas I went) how uniform it all looked. Often with European cities you'll get a wide range of architectural looks and styles but the uniformity in (parts of) Edinburgh was actually refreshing. I spent most of my time in what they call the Old Town but did notice the usual variances in styles when I went around other areas (such as the New Town).

Many museums were visited but the best attraction was Edinburgh Castle, which (quite rightly so) is the top tourist attraction in Scotland. Much more of it remained relative to Dublin Castle and looked like a proper fortress where you could easily imagine sieges being fended off and invading hordes trying to get through the gates whereas Dublin Castle, at least what survives of it, has been mostly absorbed into the surroundings.

One question a friend of mine asked upon my return was "Dublin or Edinburgh?" and I easily and quickly answered Edinburgh. I'm not sure I'd go back there since I've seen most of the sights I wanted to see, but I'd certainly be more inclined to go back there than Dublin. Mind you I found the people easier to understand in Dublin... Scottish people in Scotland talking with other Scots get into this really heavy accent which surprisingly sounds nothing like English at first. It could be a regional/dialectical thing too but in just overheard things people said to each other on the streets I found myself often straining to comprehend vast tracts of what they said. I had no such issue in Dublin.

Still, a very enjoyable trip.


I left for Paris this past Saturday afternoon and returned this past Wednesday night, spending about 4 1/2 days there. I was very tentative about going mostly because I wasn't sure if I trusted my French well enough to manage there on my own. I was reassured by many people that the city is cosmopolitan enough that you can get by with just English, but I did try my hand at conversing in French to varying degrees of success. As with any foreign language I found it most difficult with the spoken word and/or the rate of speech as I'm fine with the vocabulary and written word. Nonetheless I tried though more often than not when someone French detected my accent they'd just start speaking in English (so long as they knew enough English, and that wasn't always the case).

The sights were very cool to see, especially the notables like the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe (both of the Arcs de Triomphe, actually... yes, there's more than one as I learned). The city is so very, very flat and there are very few skyscrapers outside the downtown and financial districts that you can see a lot from almost anywhere. The view from atop the Eiffel Tower was impressive though it was pissing rain that morning and all the cloud made it hard to distinguish a few things. It was actually cloudy more than not during my time there so I did eventually adjust to a degree. Nevertheless, as nice as the view from atop the Eiffel Tower was, the absolute best view was from atop Montmartre by Sacré-Coeur church. You could see almost everything from up there (except that which was blocked by the church itself of course!) and despite it being 290 (yup, I counted as I went up) steps from the base to the top the minor climb is well worth it.

Sacré-Coeur itself is pretty inside and out but not as much so as Notre Dame cathedral. No photography was allowed inside Sacré-Coeur but I got a load of pics inside Notre Dame. The lighting was a bit iffy and some of them doubtlessly didn't turn out so well but so far I've not had the opportunity to transfer the pictures from the camera to the computer thanks to low hard drive space. I will endeavour to get things up as soon as I can since I'm fairly anxious to share some of the sights with those who've never been there to see them.

Ultimately the city is utterly easy to navigate (despite the weird divisions) thanks to the metro system. The RER has a slight learning curve to it but the main metro system itself is dead easy to use, though probably no moreso than the London Underground (or from what I understand but have never tried first-hand, the New York Subway). I worry about being able to find my way around a new city (or more importantly I worry about being able to find my way *back* in a new city) but those concerns were quickly vanquished in Paris. Moreover, the metro system is cheap as dirt there. While a peak hours trip on the Tube here in London can cost you as much as £4 one way, a book of tickets for the Paris metro (also valid on the bus, trams and Zone 1 for the RER) is €11.10, or €1.11 per trip, or about 85 pence at current exchange rates. As an added bonus, unlike with Tube trains, I was actually able to stand upright in all Paris metro trains so I didn't even object when I had to stand for lengthy trips (such as the one from Reuilly Didérot to La Défense on line 1, which was 18 stops). I can't say the same for the London Underground trains or the LRT back home, that's for certain.

As noted, pictures from Paris will be up ASAP.

Doctor Who Season Premiere Party:

After my return from the taping of The Friday Night Project, I found in the post that tickets had come for the season 4 premiere party for Doctor Who to be held this Saturday (tomorrow), hosted by Jeremy Bentham, a notable name in fandom circles (and a really nice guy, too), so I'll be off to that this weekend to enjoy some good ol' geeking out with fellow nerds. Tickets were (partially) distributed via a lottery system where you submitted a request and a certain number of tickets were made available with names being drawn from a hat or something similar. I didn't expect to get tickets given the event is fairly well-publicized but not only did I score a pair of tickets, a friend of mine in Yorkshire did as well so I'll get to see her there too. Bentham was at the monthy DW pub night at The Fitzroy Tavern last night handing out more tickets to those with whom he'd arranged to meet there though by the end of the night I forgot to ask him if he had any spares (though he did tell me earlier in the night he'd be giving away any of the tickets not yet distributed by the end of the night as it's too late to put them in the post) otherwise I might have been able to invite some others along as well as I'm sure there are a few people I know here who'd like to go but don't have tickets.

Anyway I think that's pretty much got me caught up now. I could have expanded on some things I'm sure but people know how to reach me if they want anything more in depth about a given subject. =)

Until next time...



Falling behind...

I'm falling behind with blog posts as I've been focused on other tasks of late. I've got a bunch of stuff to blather on about including but not necessarily limited to visits with my cousin Dave and his family who are in town this week, attending the Earl's Court Doctor Who Exhibition (the largest such exhibition ever mounted apparently), attending a taping of The Friday Night Project and seeing David Tennant and Freema Agyeman there (along with briefly meeting Alan Carr) and my trips to Edinburgh (which was last week) and Paris (for which I leave in about an hour or so).

One day I will get caught up... perhaps in a week or so once I'm back from Paris and things have calmed down a bit.




Congrats to Kevin Martin and the members of his rink who have just won the 2008 Brier and will represent Canada at the Worlds next month. Unlike with other networks (ahem, TSN) I was able to watch the feed here live via CBC's website and enjoy the match - a tense one at times on what looked to be quite tough ice. Not only did Martin win the Brier, he did so with a perfect 13-0 record much to the enjoyment of Albertans everywhere.




Courtesy my friend Rob I've been given a link to Guy Kawasaki's blog (Kawasaki is a former Apple Fellow and all-around technology dude) where he posted about his recent trip to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. He was quite definitely not there when I was, but it certainly wasn't too long after, and he managed to score a much better tour of the place as he was accompanied by Fergal Murray, Guinness Brewmaster.

Among other things he got to do, like actually pour a pint himself, he snagged a nice 3-minute video of Fergal talking about how a proper, "perfect" pint of Guinness should be poured.

For the enjoyment of all, I include here said video:


BBC TV Centre revisited

This past Saturday night I had tickets to go to a taping of a nerdy sitcom (called "Arcadia" - good luck finding much on Google yet, I certainly couldn't find much beforehand) at the BBC TV Centre. This time I dragged along a friend so I at least had someone to yap with during all the waiting (and there is indeed a lot of waiting - waiting in the queue to get inside; waiting to get through security; waiting on the audience foyer; waiting while shots are set up; other miscellaneous waiting) and certainly had fun at the British TV Mecca. The show was mostly rubbish and really quite puerile (as is the case with much that winds up on BBC3, apparently) but a few laughs were had, even if they mostly came from the warm-up guy working the audience.

The highlight of the evening was quite probably our squee moment when we saw a fully assembled Who-esque Police Box standing near the audience foyer entrance. It was a very nice surprise and of course we did some requisite pictures in front of it; those pictures have of course been posted.

Each of us blew off differing birthday parties to which we'd been invited in order to visit the TV Centre and while I didn't have a terrible evening by any stretch, there's something to be said about wanting to trade it in for a night out with friends at the pub.




Saturday was the Invasion 2008 Doctor Who convention, a day of geekery and drunkenness, and the first Who convention I'd attended since 1988 - yes, 1988. The event started FAR too early for my taste, especially since I had been to the concert the night before and didn't get back until about 12:30am (the stupid queue for the coat check took forever!) and registration began at 7:30am. It also didn't help my ears were ringing after the concert which hampered my ability to fall asleep.

Anyway, I begrudgingly woke up when I needed to do so, got ready and headed for the tube not long after 7:00am and got to the venue well before 8:00. I stood in line to get my registration package and met up with a friend who got there a little after me before we found seats for the introductory session.

The day was essentially comprised of discussion panels (recounting stories and audience-provided questions) and the autograph session. The first panel featured some kid guest stars from Who; the second featured people from the 7th Doctor era; the third featured the 8th Doctor, Paul McGann; the fourth featured people who played various monsters; the fifth was a solo effort from Tom Baker about his time as the 4th Doctor (among other things). The panels were all enjoyable, but of course loads of people were there to see Tom and take in what he had to say. He was quite engaging and certainly didn't disappoint, other than when he had issues hearing the questions being asked of him and he pretty much answered a completely different question. To be fair, he's not young, and he remarked there was a problem with the acoustics, but nevertheless whatever he said in reply was enjoyable and generally humourous.

The autograph session on the other hand was simply atrocious. There was about a 45-minute break between the panels and the autograph session and when Baker's panel finished there was a mad rush to the exit. I chose to wait until it was easier to get out but found out afterward the mad rush was there as people were trying to queue for the autograph portion. By the time I left the auditorium and went to queue there were a few hundred people ahead of me. I couldn't count how many but it was an obvious majority of the attendees. The autograph portion also started late which didn't help. It was also known/noted that Baker had to leave earlier than other guests, meaning the possibility existed I and those in the queue with me might not get his autograph. Certainly by the time we got to the door, well over 2 hours after entering the queue, the powers that be had closed the queue for Baker and thus nobody else was going to get his signature. That was quite disappointing, but not only did that mean I was unable to get his signature, the delays in starting the autograph session meant there was no way I'd be able to get all the autographs I'd wanted (especially when I saw Jean Marsh leaving the building well before I got into the auditorium). So, I prioritized somewhat and wound up getting Paul McGann, Paul Kasey, Nicholas Briggs, Sophie Aldred and Anneke Wills.

That's about where the day ended, convention-wise. Afterward a few dozen folks went over to Barking to a pub and consumed far too many potables. It was a fantastic night though, being able to hang out with a bunch of the Who fans I already knew and meeting a bunch of others, the highlight being spending a fair chunk of time with Anneke Wills in a social situation, hearing some of her stories and just being able to talk with her like a normal person rather than having to do so in the more awkward methods available at convention signings and such. She was an absolte sweetheart and a very down to earth person. The chap who published her autobiography is one of the Who fans I've gotten to know since arriving here and it was certainly thanks to that affiliation that I was able to meet Anneke, though she's certainly sociable and approachable enough that she wouldn't have minded if I just went up to her at the pub and started a conversation without having first been introduced to her by Tim.

Today I'm quite sluggish between the fatigue and drink, and even though I slept in a bit I'm still all cobwebby in the head and haven't yet gotten to some work that I had slotted in for today... though thankfully I don't have to get that sorted until Tuesday so I still have time. Soon it's podcast time then I think it's going to be an evening of relaxation with a movie or something.



Friday night saw the rescheduled Underworld concert which I was originally supposed to attend on October 19th last year. I was quite disappointed of the postponement at the time, but the delay allowed me that much more time to build excitement and indeed I was excited to go to the show.

The website for the show said a 7:00pm start time, so I made sure to get to the venue early so I could collect my ticket at the box office, and also to make sure I found the place alright since I'd not previously been to the Camden area where The Roundhouse happens to be. When I arrived I noticed a sign posted saying doors were at 7:00, the opening act was at 8:00 and Underworld took the stage at 9:00. So after killing some time wandering around the various markets in the Camden area and grabbing a bite to eat I popped back to the venue a little before 7:00 so I could stake out a good position near the front.

Eventually, the opening act (a solo artist called "Yoav" - pronounced YAHV he said) came out and did his thing for about half an hour, then he left, and earlier than scheduled Karl, Rick and the gang took the stage and played for over 2 hours until about 11:00. The show was very enjoyable and because I was 6 feet from the stage all night, very loud. I made the attempt to bootleg the concert on my phone but so far I've not had the time to pull the files off the phone to see how well the attempt went.

Overall it was an enjoyable show except for the people who kept harassing me to let them go in front of me because they couldn't see around/over/past/through me. I told each and every one of them I wasn't going to let them go ahead of me, and I think for good reason. It's not my fault I'm the height I am, nor is it my fault they're the height they are. If they can't deal with someone standing in front of them then they should have gotten there earlier than they did and staked out a good spot just as I had done. I didn't mind the first time or two someone had asked me but by the 4th or 5th person I was getting slightly aggressive in telling them no. I paid my money to get in like everyone else, I made the effort to get a good spot, they should respect that and just let me enjoy the show instead of pulling my focus a dozen or more times and disrupting things.

Anyhow, it had been nearly 9 years since I last saw Underworld (which was in Seattle in April, 1999 for the Beaucoup Fish tour) and it seemed like yesterday that I last saw them once they took the stage and starting doing what they did. Good times.




Last night (well, early this morning to be precise) there was an Earthquake in England, near the east coast in the midlands. Apparently it was among the strongest in decades and it was a neat experience.

It was barely felt here, and as it was happening I wasn't even sure if it was an earthquake. I'd never felt one before, nor did I think it was the sort of thing that happened here, but I knew I definitely felt something. There was some shaking and a feeling of uneasiness but overall nothing too bad.

Nevertheless, all was fine here, no disruptions (eg. power), just a bit of weirdness.



Dublin Redux

So the trip to Dublin was essentially short, only about 2 1/2 days. I didn't have a lot on my itinerary for things to do and that was a good thing because I really couldn't find all that many things to do. The main things I wanted to visit were the Guinness Storehouse and Dublin Castle, and indeed I got to both those places. Other places I got to, in no particular order, were the National Gallery, the National Museum of History & Architecture, Trinity College, Christ Church Cathedral, and more.

I considered other places such as St Patrick's Cathedral but never did get around there. I'd also planned to go to the Natural History Museum however it was closed for refurbishment so I could not do so. I ate lunch one day across from City Hall but didn't go on the tour there. I went by Custom House but had read something about the visitor centre being closed so I just kept on walking.

The city isn't overly large and with few exceptions (the docks, the zoo, etc.) it's not much hassle to walk from any venue to any other venue, and that's a nice thing. It makes getting around fairly easy without having to worry about taking a cab or public transportation. That said, for a smallish place there's certainly a huge number of taxis and buses going around. Not counting tour buses, the streets are simply littered with buses. My second night there I came out of the pub I was at, which was toward the north end of O'Connell Street, and there was nothing but taxis as far as the eye could see - dozens of them. Granted there are a number of pubs and restaurants in the area, but it was quite a sight to see on a Wednesday night. I'd not seen the likes if that anywhere, not even on the busiest weekend on Whyte Ave.

The weather was fine... nothing spectacular, but it's February after all. There was almost no rain (just a slight bit of drizzle Thursday afternoon) though it was mostly overcast throughout my time there. I didn't attempt to stay up for the lunar eclipse, but even if I had I'm not sure if it would have been worth it with all the cloud cover. The city is nice, there didn't seem to be many hassles around (no crime visible, a few panhandlers, lots of cigarette butts and other bits of trash that are omnipresent in cities) and the people were nice. There was a huge concentration of French people around though... I found that odd for some reason.

I'd looked forward to going there, and it's a nice enough place, but I think I'd be hard pressed to go back there. I'd still quite enjoy touring around the countryside one day, or visiting other cities (Cork, Shannon, etc.), but I really don't see going back to Dublin.