Monday, April 23, 2012

On Buddhist Monks And Data Capture

So the new new iPad is now fully up and running and I'm just that little bit more of an Apple whorefan than I was before.


Well my iPad was stolen and it cost me quite a lot of money. But, had the same thing happened six months ago, my briefcase would have contained no iPad, just my hard copy of my daily journal. It would have held no information that would have been decipherable / of interest / of use to just about anyone, but would have been quite sad and irretrievable for me.

As you might know for many months now I've been doing a mindmap diary thing for every single day and all of them in the journal would have gone, probably lying on some street in Putney by now.

And within a couple of hours of taking delivery of the new iPad I'd restored it from the last iCloud back up. I only lost one mindmap that I'd done on Monday morning (the day of the theft), nothing else. It's hugely satisfying and, as mentioned earlier, has made me a bit more of an Apple whorefan than I was before.

But the whole restoring saga, though easy, reminded me of a post I've been meaning to write for some time. It's about passwords, well those data capture things you see. You know when you're commenting on a blog or buying something or doing any one of all sorts of things on the net and you're asked to copy the following two words and type them into the box below, to confirm you're not a robot?

Well good God, I've now got to a stage of crapping a large one when I have to do it. I just never seem to be able to read the words properly. It's not my eyes either as they're pretty good these days. I stare at the words, sometimes wondering if I'm losing my mind. Does that word say "amusing" or "arnusing"? Does it say "Large dog" or "Large clog"?

Usually I end up going for the wrong one, to be faced with a message telling me that I got it wrong and please try the next one. I've come to dread these things. If your blog is one that asks me to do it there's every chance I might comment less that I used to purely because of the serious stress involved.

And another thing. What is it with photographs of Buddhist monks these days?

We all know they're quite photogenic, especially the younger ones. With their fresh cherubic and innocent looking faces and their saffron robes (I'm running the risk if sounding like a peadophile here!) who can resist trying to take an atmospheric picture?

But we're not all Dominic Sansoni, him of the sarongs and photographs. It seems all we need is a young Buddhist monk, a window with a brightly coloured frame made of old wood and some subdued lighting and bang, or rather flash, off we go with our iphones, thinking we're all original and innovative.

Well enough. We're not.

That's it really.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Serves Me Right!!

It kind of went like this:

Sunday afternoon - Arrive back from Sri Lanka, v knackered, v smelly (with that long distance flight smell that they must spray around the cabin when people are asleep, probably opening people's mouths and bunging a bit in there too).

I unpacked, spoke to loved ones and attempted a poo. I failed in the latter task, despite the presence of the latest edition of HI!!!!!!!!!!!! Magazine to accompany me.

I downloaded my photographs, updated my iPad and generally synced more things than I know what the fuck is going on with and then got myself a few zeds in.

All in all life was peachy. I'd had a fantastic time in the motherland with C and yet was also enjoying some aspects about being back here in London, as mentioned.

Monday morning - went to work. Caught up with the things that needed catching up with (not much as most of my team are infinitely better at doing things than I am!). I put a quick Facebook status up, mentioning that it was nice to be back in a land of politeness and road manners.

In the evening I went to that night's band practice like a kid who hadn't done their homework. Because I hadn't done my homework; to learn three new songs. Don't tell the band though. My journey's listening material was the three new songs and I reckon I bluffed it successfully.

Then things went a bit wrong.

The chap, you know the one, the one who does stuff in the studio barged into our one and said:

"Sorry chaps, but does anyone here own a red Audi TT?"

And I had one of those moments, the ones that repeat in your mind, that haunt you and make you wish you could turn the clock back and do things ever so slightly differently. My first thought was that someone had crashed into it, which was unpleasant. A brand new car, with pristine bodywork is a thing of joy, never exactly the same after it's had its first accident.

"Yeah, why what's happened?" I replied, because all of us musos talk in slang like that.

"Someone's broken into it"

"Fuck" I said, and went outside.

I'll give him his due, he was telling the truth.

There stood my car looking forlorn and shattered. Literally. Well, literally apart from the "forlorn" bit. The rear windscreen was in pieces, literally, not emotionally and the parcel shelf was sticking out of it looking like a sailing boat painted by Picassso.  I sighed, as you do.

Some fuckwit had smashed it with I assume a rock or brick, stolen my briefcase, which was out of view and locked in the boot and scarpered. He'd also broken the window of another car close by and taken the chap's Blackberry.

I suspect that guy must have been watching me when I got out and put my briefcase in the boot, or it was just an opportunist act. Either way I've ended up losing an iPad and an expensive briefcase, neither of which is covered under the terms of my insurance policy.

The Police came out and took all the necessaries. Both them and I knew that nothing would come of it unless the culprit walked into the local Police station and confessed to the crime. Even then he'd have to be following the correct procedure or no charges would stick anyhow.

Our singer helped me to make a sort of emergency covering out of black bin bags to keep the glass from spilling everywhere. I was so perturbed by it that I said I was going to go home. The chaps in turn were so understanding that they let me. Weird.

But I genuinely think I've been lucky. The only bit of damage to the bodywork is a tiny paint chip about 2mm in diameter, down to the bare metal. A touch up pen is on its way to me to sort that out.

The new windscreen is on order and the car currently has a couple of large pieces of industrial strength cling film standing in. So it means I have to use a hire car, not covered by insurance either!

My iPad has become very important to me so I've ordered a new one and will just have to pay for it. But, with technology and the iCloud on my side, I should be able to restore the new one so it's a complete clone of the old one the night the thing got stolen. Of course I have to wait for the beast as Apple have strangely miscalculated demand for it and don't have any in stock (or have they?).

But it's a bummer of a thing to happen. I hope the piece of shit who did it one day has to go through the expense and hassle that I have, just so he knows what it's like. It's cost me many hundred, well more like a thousand or more pounds, just so some idiot can get fifty quid for an iPad down the pub to spend on drugs or whatever.

Still, that's what happens in a land of road manners and politeness!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Back In Londinium

So here I am after a rather fantastic little sojourn in the motherland. It's both nasty and nice to be back, but the jaunt was an eventful, enjoyable and enlightening one. If I could think of another adjective beginning with E, believe me I'd have thrown it in there too.

As I sit here at my desk in that slightly dazed, recovering from jetlag and feeling a bit lightheaded, partly because I haven't managed a decent poo in the last twenty four hours, I miss lots of things about Sri Lanka.

There's C for a start. This long distance relationship thing is hard at times, harder at other times. And this is one of the latter. But I won't get all poetic about that sort of thing, it would freak you out a bit I'm sure.

There's also the heat.

While you lot are mostly putting up with and complaining about the current heat I struggle with a temperature of about minus nine zillion degrees. The heating in my office is on and I'm wrapped in more layers than in a chocolate biscuit pudding. Well, one with three layers that is.

On the nice side I missed A and K when I was away and it feels good to be back with them. K sort of moved in to my apartment when I was away and has left it in a state of tidiness and cleanliness. I must admit to some surprise of the pleasant variety at that.

I haven't seen them since getting back but will in the next couple of days, a serious plus to being in the same country!

And I do like to orderliness of the UK. Seriously. I like the fact that we have road rules, ones that are obeyed by most people and primarily designed to keep people safe. I think I'm a pretty calm and mellow chap, rarely scared by Sri Lankan driving and drivers, but my journey to the airport in the rain on Saturday night genuinely made me worried.

The cab driver was driving way too fast, too close too other vehicles and made me feel wholly unsafe. At one point, being the Brit, I nearly said something to him.

After getting back I had to nip down to my local Tesco to get some supplies in and got a little inner pleasure at the good manners and politeness of people. That British thing is quite nice you know. Sorry. Just saying.

A few people said some nice things about this blog too, about that fact that they miss more regular posts, that I've been quiet lately. Well I return with a large dose of potential posts to write, so will endeavour to get those done in the near future. Some of them are probably about you, especially if you're the proud owner of an bag; one with a proper light that straps to your head, you know the sort.

I had a go at taking some pictures of the lightning during that big thunderstorm last week. I've never tried it before and it's mostly a combination of luck, chance and the tiniest little bit of judgement. After about an hour and what would have been two to three rolls of film, were it not for the joys of digital, I caught this one. I rather like it. It's not perfect but it will go in my file of personal favourites. Excuse the onscreen quality. I think it's to do with Blogger, compression and things. The real thing is much tastier. But, even if I say it myself, wow, just look at that lightning.