October 27th, 2004

(no subject)

I had been planning to order some music for a week or so (the new Duran Duran album, for what it's worth; you may laugh, but some of the new stuff we heard at their gig at Wembley Arena a few months back was pretty good) so I thought I'd throw in some Peel-appropriate stuff. Copies of Scritti Politti's Cupid and Psyche '85 and Half Man Half Biscuit's Back In The DHSS should shortly be winging their way to me. The Scritti Politti is replacing a vinyl copy; the HMHB is because I always had a soft spot for Trumpton Riots and All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit. (M J Hibbett and the Validators seem to me to be Half Man Half Biscuit's spiritual successors.)

And anyhow, I already have two copies of True Confessions: The Very Best Of The Undertones.

Odds and sods

Last week was the birthday of drown_not_wave (also known as my sister), and to commemorate the occasion there was a gathering of the clans at our place at the weekend (okay, so the clan consists of my parents, my sister, myself and rotwang; not all that big, really) to include a visit to Confucius in Wimbledon, recommended if you're ever in that area and looking for a good Chinese restaurant.

Mum arrived first, having been shopping in Kingston, and bemoaning the crowds and how everyone seemed to have a mobile phone permanently glued to their ear. Sometimes you wouldn't think that she only moved out of the area a couple of years back. She brought some leatherette which will be turned into a wonderful costume for rotwang for Siege of Troy. (Doubtless a lot more posts about this over the next couple of weeks, since it'll count as a fairly major craft project for me ;)) Dad and my sister returned a little later, having watched Chelsea beat someone or other (Blackburn?) and therefore in fairly perky mood.

On Sunday morning, Mum and Dad departed fairly early, wanting to get back to their cat. Sis and I cleaned out the fridge that had previously graced my office and had then sat in storage, and subsequently my garage, for most of a year; a win-win situation. She gets a new fridge for her office, and it frees up some space in the garage... result.

In and around the fun bits of the weekend -- okay, the meal; I'm not sure cleaning a fridge counts as "fun" -- there were several visits to DIY shops in search of the right bolts, screws, any damn thing that we could use to attach the door of the cheap piece-of-crap flat-pack wardrobe we bought from Homebase so that the DodgyLodger would have somewhere to hang his clothes. Those of you paying attention may have noticed that DL moved out a week or two back, but it still seemed like a good idea to finish the wardrobe off.

This would have been almost infinitely easier if:

  1. The hinges had holes in them large enough to take bolts of the necessary size (on the wardrobe side; on the door side, the holes were marginally smaller)
  2. Anywhere had sold M5 x 12mm bolts (I think we eventually found some slightly longer at B&Q)
  3. The hinges had actually fitted in such a way that the door would work
  4. Homebase hadn't discontinued the range in the meantime

Still, at least it now has a back (hardboard from B&Q) if no door. Next time, we just go to Ikea.

Other happenings of note (more like "happenings of small change", maybe)... Poker on Friday night; I came out down about £2.50, rotwang was up about £8.50, largely by being able to show the fourth Jack when there were three on the table (and playing the betting particularly well). Monday night: Indian takeaway. Haweli in Epsom do particularly fine tandoori king prawns. Tuesday night: attempting to play Blue Moon and having appalling luck with the cards. Then playing Lost Cities, and I think I must've been channeling the DodgyLodger (famously bad at the game) as I lost hugely. There was lasagne, and it was good.

Yes, there will be a GenCon writeup at some point, when I get my arse in gear.


Right. Some of you may remember I was complaining a couple of weeks back about being unable to persuade my HP PSC 750 and a Windows 2k Server PC to play nicely together. This was eventually resolved by installing 2k Pro on the machine concerned instead -- luckily it was a recent install so this wasn't as inconvenient as it might have been, and also dealing with a USB chipset issue which might have been the cause of the original problem... but I digress.

What I still haven't been able to do is persuade Windows to cope with the concept of a printer which is sometimes connected to a print server on the network, and sometimes connected to a local USB port. This printer is an all-in-one unit, i.e. it prints, copies and scans; for printing it's fine having it on the print server, but for scanning it obviously needs to be connected locally. But no -- it just won't do it. (I'm not entirely surprised; as far as I know HP doesn't really support networked use for this items.)

Therefore I may be in the market for a scanner. I'd been considering buying something to scan negatives with in any case, but it's unclear to me whether I would do better to buy something cheap and cheerful for flatbed scanning (pretty much anything is going to be better than the flatbed scanner I had previous to the HP...) and something dedicated (like this?) for film scanning, or whether I should get a scanner which includes a film/transparency holder.

Opinions solicited. Small will be beautiful, as space on my desk is already what one might term "limited" if one were feeling charitable (or "nonexistent", otherwise).

GenCon UK...

GenCon. Well, where to start.

At the beginning, of course.Collapse )
ThursdayCollapse )
FridayCollapse )
SaturdayCollapse )
SundayCollapse )

Overall it was a nice social con, back to the Camber Sands/Loughborough atmosphere when we had everyone on one site. Much better than Olympia (most especially last year at Olympia).

I have some comments on the economics of conventions, which I'll save for another post (and maybe another night)