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As ancient as…

You that feeling when……. you are watching a black & white movie (Carry On Regardless, 1961) and your carer arrives asks what you’re watching and questions “So when did colour tv start?”

I explained that there were colour films shown in cinemas before there was colour tv because colour over black & white was hideously expensive to make. I thought that colour tv was introduced around the late 1960’s (turns out it was a Wimbledon final 1967 on BBC2) before becoming mainstream in early 1970’s.

This branched on to the fact there were (and still are) tv licenses for either a colour tv or a black & white one, this notion seemed quite startling, along with that many homes did not have a colour TV set until the mid/end of the 1970’s.

When I went on to remark that I remember as a child being told to change the channel because there were no remotes, and there were only three channels broadcasting at set times of the day (kids tv about 3pm til shutdown 11pm), and that at close down the BBC would play the National Anthem – well my carer’s jaw dropped to the floor.

When I said channel 4 didn’t start until 1982 and Sky started 1989 she remarked that she found it hard to believe these things happened not that long before she was born (1998).

Talk about feeling ancient!!

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2020 in General, Life

 

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Small Change, Profound Difference

It is not often I extoll the virtues of technology and it’s even more rare for such to bring a tear to the eye. Let me explain.

Across the decades I have amassed a significant music collection on my Mac, a mixture of uploaded cd’s, downloaded purchases from Amazon/iTunes and independent offerings. If I was to press play and let it run on unabashed it would take a month to get through. When I was spending every morning at my desk I could merrily listen to my tunes, mixing Mozart with Madness, a touch of Mancini mingled with Marmalade, Zakk moshing with ZZ Top, as I whittled some html coding, wrangled a bit of number crunching, wrestled with photo editing and such like. It was entertaining and uplifting, seeing as my brain seems to be mostly filled with lyrics and set to Kareoke mode.

With the loss of my mobility I became separated from this mentally motivating activity and I have so missed it, time spent at my desk has become seriously dwindled. I had considered streaming services but felt resentful at having to pay money to hear music I have already spent monies upon.

I had procrastinated about searching for an answer, I had dawdled over posting on the MacForum for a suggestion. I had hoped Siri could help but my Mac is too old. I started seeing adverts for the new HomePod mini and the sown seed slowly germinated, maybe one of these could access and play my music. It spurred me on to ask on the forum if this could work with my particular kit, I hit publish and waited for a potentially helpful reply.

To my delight and surprise a helpful bod answered my post and introduced me to the app “iTunes Remote” as a potential solution. Google and I spent an evening reading and researching, could this be the answer? Could it really be that straightforward? Well, dear reader, in short, yes!

So yesterday after carer had positioned me at my desk I set to. Slightly pessimistic because things that class themselves as quick or easy rarely are. I followed the instructions with a tingle of anticipatory expectation.

  • App Store, download free app iTunes Remote to iPad
  • Open app, select manual set up (4-digit code appears)
  • Open music app on Mac
  • From Devices list select iPad
  • Enter iPads 4-digit code
  • Done, sorted, connected.

It really was that easy!!!

Okay so far so good…..but…….. now to test the theory. From the iPad app I selected a track and hit play and music sprung forth from my Mac ✅ …… I adjusted the volume, skipped forward and backward. Alright…..but…… I put my Mac to sleep, counted to twenty, opened the app and selected a track and again the swinging piano vibes exuded from my dozing Mac ✅✅. Right then, the big test, shut down and restart both the Mac and the iPad, open app and select a tune, without hesitation the dulcet tones of the lyrical warbler wafted across the room ✅✅✅. Another test, this morning I opened the app and selected a play list annddd it’s playing ✅✅✅✅.

I am reconnected to my music, my smile could not be wider, I’m busting my (sat down) moves, twerking so much I’m gonna give my buttocks whiplash, I have gone from famine to feast ….. so much choice, it’s almost overwhelming. Brain is fizzing as it sings along to tracks it hasn’t heard for years.

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2020 in Music, Review, Tech

 

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What cost entertainment

There’s been rumblings again over the cost of the TV License fee, whenever that particular debate rears its noggin I have the same thought. How many of the dissenters could list the areas the BBC covers? This is followed by a second question, how much to the same dissenters pay for other entertainment streams?

Currently the TV Licence fee is £157.50 per annum, which is about £13.13 per month, for thousands of hours of international, national, local news and radio stations, there is sports and nature coverage, funding into natural history and films, commissioning of documentaries, comedy, drama, quiz shows, music shows, buying-in of internationally renowned programmes, some niche series. All the online content on the website, I-player and BBC Sounds. And a heck of a lot more that I’ve forgotten or not found yet.

Back in the dark ages (I think that’s the 1970’s nowadays) we had three channels and none were broadcasting 24/7 (I know, utter deprivation), yet there always seemed to be something worthy of watching. The 1980’s brought a couple more channels and while one was thought to be a tad ‘alternative’ slightly ‘avant- guard’ this expansion still didn’t diminish viewing choice. There have been many changes since then……

So what’s available to us now to broaden our viewing options.

  • Sky
  • Virgin
  • BT Vision
  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime
  • Apple tv
  • Now tv
  • Brit Box (how to get people to pay again to watch repeats, classic)

These additional services are not as far reaching, or offer the same degree of entertainment, yet in comparison seem to cost more than the BBC. I guess what the dear old Beeb needs to do, as discussed in W1A, is to “find out what we do best and do less of it, better“!

All the same …. as I scroll up and down the Freeview TV guide and cannot find a thing to watch (that’s a fib, I’m watching Apollo 13, again), I wonder if all this availability has done anything to improve our entertainment access.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on December 6, 2020 in In The News, Life, Review

 

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My Bubble Done Burst

My bubble just burst and BFF has left to return home. You see she had planned to come visit as soon as she got home from her June/July visit and again as her travel date approached there were changes with Covid rules that threw everything in the air. Anyway, it was decided that her visit would indeed be classed as ‘essential’ because she’d be my primary sole care provider, leaving the hovel only to get food. So our plans went ahead ……. a few minutes ago her taxi turned the corner and she’s setting back for home.

We always have fun, eat foods we don’t usually eat, watch films and documentaries, play games, talk, laugh, cry, discuss, entertain and be entertained my Signor NotMyCat, go to bed late, lay in even later. A few chores get done and of course online shopping for those thought-about-semi-essential items. I became designated yarn unwinder as she crocheted a ripple blanket, this time breaking her speed record (I’m claiming credit for it). But all too soon it comes to a close, and I am eternally grateful to BFF’s hubby for letting her come for the extended pj-party.

Our viewing list is quite extensive when seen altogether.

  • The Queen’s Gambit
  • The Crown (series 4)
  • Making A Murderer (both seasons)
  • Joe Exotic The Tiger King
  • Secret Love (Netflix documentary)
  • Stepmom
  • Johnny English
  • Johnny English Returns
  • Johnny English Strikes Back
  • Mr Holland’s Opus
  • Extremely Loud Incredibly Close
  • Forrest Gump
  • Sweethome Alabama
  • Atonement
  • My Big Fat Greek wedding
  • Bridge of Spies
  • October Skies
  • Little Man Tate
  • Most Hated Woman in America
  • Twenty Feet From Stardom
  • As Good As It Gets
  • Ruth & Alex

I cannot begin to fathom the intelligence of Joe Exotic and the Making A Murderer documentaries, it certainly made for conversation and the Making A Murderer became compelling viewing as we waited for the next twist and turn to the fates of the family members. If you’ve got twenty hours spare I’d recommend it, it will boggle and bewilder beyond sanity.

Soooo, yeah, back to my usual with a bump…..

 
6 Comments

Posted by on November 29, 2020 in Films, Life, people, Projects

 

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LockedDownIshKinda

Well here we are, the beginning of another month, not completely sure which one, possibly Octonovdecber. Anywho as we stock pile our loo roll and pasta, try and figure out whether to drink mouthwash or infuse disinfectant, let’s recap on the to-do list.

  • Print off business transaction reports – ✅
  • Back-up Mac – ✅
  • Upgrade OpSys software – general update successful ✅
  • Complete Blue Badge renewal – not done ❌
  • Purchase tv signal booster + cable – no problems but still might ❌.
  • Update website news – ✅
  • Finish two cat blankets – ✅
  • Make one mouse toy – I made two ✅
  • Make one fish toy – I made two or three ✅

I think I might award myself a 🥈 silver medal, I done quite good, all things and apathy taken into account.

One of my too-early-in-the-am cogitations wondered whether I could set up Siri to voice control and thus have access to the hours and hours of accumulated music that’s on my Mac or use Spotify for even more. Using voice control would mean I could shout across the room and not need to be at the desk – wild idea, right? I researched the various technicals, saved a couple of how to pages, noted possible playlists and felt prepared so that after comp was update I could with a flick, swipe and click clear my throat and produce music ….. but I forgot rule #1, anything using words like easy, simply, isn’t. Sadly as my machine (not the upgraded software) predates 2018 voice activated Siri is not possible. Dang, darn and poop.

Back to 1️⃣ (see what I did there, lol). Many moons ago Mac had something called FrontRow, which enabled users to access movies and music on the Mac via a small remote, maybe there is a way to do this using the iPad. More searching, researching and reading to do. I miss music, it is an important feature that I need to reconnect with, for my mental well-being.

I really should factor in one afternoon a week to be at the desk between visits, I enjoy being there, sorting things, creating things, doing those tasks that need the compy. It is all too easy for the apathy to go the easy route and put it off another day or week or more.

Soo, for this coming month, I’m going to dedicate it to communication. Writing emails/messages to people I maybe haven’t been as diligent with keeping in contact with. There isn’t much of note to state, I’m fine, carers are fine, getting grocery delivery slots booked and that’s it. But it’s good to reach out.

Speaking of which there’s an email I need to write to confirm that after eight weeks of chasing I’ve finally had my blood drawn for the tests the Neuro Rehab Consultant wanted.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on November 2, 2020 in Life, Projects

 

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Tim Minchin

It’s not very often that my ear worm chooses a whole artist but recently while lazing in bed or pootling on the iPad I suddenly get the urge to sing “……fuck I love boobs though…..”, maybe it’s just as well I am not out and about in public!

Tim Minchin describes himself as a musician, but this underplays his artistry, his creative skills and his often dark humour. How he analyses the things that make you think, how he dissects and interprets thoughts, ideas, philosophies and puts them into a song that hooks you in linguistically, musically, emotionally and mentally. But what is it about his creations that seem to appeal to me.

Maybe it is his acrobatic linguistics and agility, in songs like Prejudice or his piano whimsy of Rock & Roll Nerd, maybe it is the poignancy of I’ll Take Lonely Tonight or the deep thought of Not Perfect, perhaps it’s the pure risqué amusement of Inflatable You or the musicians amusement of F Sharp, he performs a couple of beat poems which take you on a journey so adroitly, especially Storm. It could be the absurdity that he sees meets with me.

Now I should add a warning here, he uses language some don’t care for and he has opinions that some would not agree with, especially on the controversial topics like religion, creationism. It is not a mocking attitude, more of an “I’ve read and listened but still don’t understand how people wholeheartedly believe ‘this'”.

I enjoy watching his live performances as his expressions and timings add another layer of language, there are few piano players that almost mesmerise me, Jools Holland is another, Tim seems to throw his hands (and sometimes feet) at the keys and they always hit the right notes, the right way at the right time, he cannot sit still as he plays (unless it’s a serious song). He tends to perform barefoot, a throwback to early experimental days where going barefoot helped him feel confident and quelled the stage nerves.

It took me a while to decide which song to link here, I make no apology if you find yourself merrily, absentmindedly singing “…..fuck I like boobs though….”

 
6 Comments

Posted by on October 10, 2020 in Music, people, Review

 

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Beyond My Window

The world beyond my window
Is in a bit of a state
With pandemics, plastics and pollution,
Deforestation and nuclear waste.

The world beyond my window
Is in a state of fear
With anger, riots and violence,
Police suited in riot gear.

The world beyond my window
Is sometimes blue and green,
With life and light and untold
Beauty to be seen.

The world beyond my window
Was somewhere to explore,
Rolling on the high seas,
Rocking around a dance floor.

The world beyond my window
Is removed from me,
Years and decades have flown by
While my mind thinks it 1993.

The world beyond my window
Is somewhere I don't pursue,
It's not because of Covid
More nothing I can do.

The world beyond my window
Continues without me,
My ability has passed
To work, drive and spree.

The world beyond my window
Has become out of reach.
My access is now virtual
And that's a dreadful pastiche
 
11 Comments

Posted by on October 5, 2020 in General, Life

 

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Newer History

From time to time I surprise myself when some profound statement emerges from my fingertips and such an occurrence took place last week.

A pal had posted about the annoyance she felt at the hypocrisy she sees online, that groups while complaining about history, use history as validation and evidence for their actions. I saw her point and responded

History is history, we should learn from it, all of it, the good, the bad, the ugly, the triumph and the disaster, the compassionate, the whole, it’s ripples and it’s consequences. After all the shouting, breast beating and hash tagging, what will have changed for the better – very little quite possibly and that’s the saddest footnote for history to teach.

Me on Facebook

There is currently a tv advert for Persil which includes the phrase “hashtags can’t plant trees and tweets won’t clean oceans”, making reference to actions speak louder than words. Has social media turned the majority of users into outspoken criticisers, has it given the multitude a venting platform for vitriol, perhaps that’s a subject for another day.

As we move into black history month (it’s October in the UK) I agree with the thought that more perspective is needed regarding how history is taught and what history is taught. History is a subject that will keep growing, look at the past hundred years or so, what parts should be picked out to teach, the speeches of Martin Luther King Jnr alongside the riots and protests of Black Lives Matter; the horrors of the Holocaust and Russian pogroms and the teachings of Mahatma Ghandi; the nursing prowess of Mary Seagrove and the South African apartheid movement. The advances of industry and science and the violence of protests, riots and oppressive regimes. It’s sheer volume means we cannot cover it all.

The recent yelling and vandalism regarding the historical slave trade has highlighted a gaping hole in subjects covered, the actions taken have been destructive rather than constructive. I’m not sure if this programme is available worldwide but the tv series “The House History Built” is excellent, it traces the history of all who lived in one house across centuries.

Nothing is clear cut, everything exists in the grey area.

 
10 Comments

Posted by on October 1, 2020 in General, In The News, people

 

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Black & Blue Ornery

Nothing in particular just everything in general has set the black cloud of short tempered, lacking patience, general ‘meh’ness.

The sudden change in weather last week was a stinging slap in the face. We were all still merrily enjoying the comfortably warm summer sun, wearing our thin short sleeved tops and light weight bottoms, and then bam, gale force winds, lashings of rain, temperatures dropped by half. No graceful ease into Autumn.

I can’t have the window and internal doors open so no furry visitor and yes I will admit it, I miss the furrball. He might cover me in white hairs, generously, rigorously massage my thighs, command my lap for two or three hours which means I cannot crochet or mess around on the iPad, but he entertains with his asking for attention, amuses with his snores and sleeping chunter, becomes a topic of conversation with my carers (his charm is doing a number on them too). If, if, if, if, things would be different.

Time to pull up the big girl pants are knuckle down to get some stuff done, so October goals……

  • Print off business transaction reports
  • Back-up Mac
  • Upgrade OpSys software
  • Complete Blue Badge renewal
  • Purchase tv signal booster + cable
  • Update website news
  • Finish two cat blankets
  • Make one mouse toy
  • Make one fish toy

There are a few other things I could add, like chase District Nurses who still haven’t been to draw my blood since I contacted them 2nd September, or the contact Orthotics to see if they will do a new brace without any appointments but that’s a sleeping thingy I shy at poking.

I shall have to concede by Canute approach to the season change and throw another log on the radiator (that translates to turn the heating on). Brrrr, I have a feeling it’s going to feel like a long winter.

 
9 Comments

Posted by on September 30, 2020 in General, Life

 

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Tall Ship Chronicles

A FaceBook member of a sailing group posted that the first eight episodes of this series had been released on Amazon Prime. Hmm, might be interesting to watch life aboard another ship, curiosity had me tapping play.

The premise is Andrew Younghusband (a Canadian actor and broadcaster) joins the 3-masted barque Picton Castle as volunteer crew for the 19-month around the world voyage. Along with his film crew of one, they document life on board, their fellow crew and places visited on this sail training expedition. This series covers leaving Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, heading south to the Panama Canal, and across the South Pacific to Vanuatu.

Bearing in mind it was filmed in late 2000 and across 2001 I was prepared for it to feel a bit dated and the clarity of filming not crisp, but I was not prepared for the lack of informative content and blatant lack of continuity in editing. It had an amateurish feel to what was supposed to be a professional production. You would imagine the first episode or two would tell you about the ship, it’s routine, the watch routine, the victualling and feeding the crew, maybe an introduction to some of the equipment, methods of rope handling and knots and what a job title means (Bosun, lead mate, etc). Sadly all that was missing or skimmed over in a throw away comment.

Considering they left snowy Canada in November within minutes the crew were seen clad in t-shirts and shorts. There was no way to perceive the passage of time, not even a little ‘day ?’ type logo in the corner.

By episode three you begin to recognise characters and can see that after a significant number of weeks, personalities within this isolated, confined bubble are gelling, cliquing and romances are developing. People become comfortable with each other, whilst remaining comparative strangers, many not knowing whether their fellow crew member is married or single, their day job, or much about their past, but willingly share clothing, shampoo, hugs and thoughts.

There were also one or two surprise reactions, sailing is not a democracy and cannot be done by committee, there has to be a leader and that leader is always the Captain. Living on a vessel that is moving constantly, through weather that is ever changing, people’s action or inaction can have a dramatic consequence. As learning crew you will get corrected and criticised for things not done ‘the ship’s way’, laziness or apathy along with sassy sarcasm quickly becomes not tolerated. Some people became resentful of being told how to do something they felt they are doing correctly and begrudged what felt like working in a dictatorship, especially when you’ve paid a lot of money to be there. But that’s the nature of the beast.

It was interesting to see how they all pulled together, how actions became instinctive, the perilous become normalised and whether they all realised it or not, they were learning a lot about sailing, the world and getting along with people. It reminded me of my first voyage how the ship became our complete world.

I think I was looking to come away from the eight episodes entertained by things that happened, having learnt about areas of the globe, reminded of some of the sailing language I had forgotten, and intrigued by the characters. It felt like an opportunity missed with how the programme was edited together – still it was heaps better than things like Big Brother and TOWIE.

There is one thing that has left me hanging and will likely never know the answer to, there was a twelve year old onboard (without his parents too), I wonder what life was like for Sloan when he returned home and started high school, and how is life eighteen years on.

There are another eight episodes to complete the series but with no idea when or if Amazon Prime will drop them, I might have to see if YouTube has them.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 15, 2020 in Films, Review

 

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