Thursday, July 26, 2007

"Set I.T. Managers Free" an Intel rock video

Directed by Christopher Guest. There's another one here.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Friday, July 20, 2007

A good web comic

There are lots of comics on the web, but mostly they are crap. Apart from Dilbert and Doonesbury the only comic I read is xkcd, a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language. It is clever, but unlike a lot of web stuff it is also funny.

Bah! the image doesn't fit, you'll just have to click to see the punchline.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

How to build a Cathedral, part 6

Christ the Light Cathedral in Oakland, 12 July 2007

The wood structure is now complete. Some glass panels have arrived at the site, so soon there will be glass as well as wood.

Christ the Light Cathedral in Oakland, 12 July 2007

The workers are spending a lot of time at the top of the building. They are working on the metal rails that run along the outside of the top of the cathedral. They clip themselves to a line which runs parallel to the plank, and walk fearlessly across.

Christ the Light Cathedral in Oakland, 15 July 2007

Here we can see the wood laminate skin that covers the structural support for the organ pipes. The skin provides structural support, so this is a monocoque structure.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

White Stripes beat the Fire Engines

In the post punk era there were a bunch of good bands from Scotland. I liked the Fire Engines a lot and once bonded over them with a cute girl from St Albans. They were famous for playing 15 minute sets. In general I think short sets are a great idea. When I rule the world, support acts will be limited to 20 minutes each.

On their tour of Canada the White Stripes are playing secret short shows in places like youth clubs. You can watch the shows on YouTube but they are all being filmed for a dvd so you could just wait. With time running out they wanted to play in every province and territory in Canada and the result was this short set that they played in St Johns, Newfoundland. The crowd knew what was happening which is why they aren't throwing things.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Os Mutantes @ Stern Grove Festival, San Francisco, 15 July 2007

Os Mutantes @ Stern Grove Festival, San Francisco, 15 July 2007

Stern Grove is a natural amphitheater filled with eucalyptus tress. The festival happens all Summer and is free. Sometimes free is bad and when I got there with my young companion Stern Grove was full of hipsters who had read the Mutantes article in today’s New York Times. The marshals (who were only following orders) said it was in fact too full and made us walk all the way to the other end of the park to get in. Once inside we were able to access all areas so there wasn’t much point in that extra walk. As we found a place to sit on the dirt hillside we heard some of Los Amigos Invisibles who had a lot of supporters in the crowd.

My companion was concerned that she was the only child in the whole place and started a project to count the kids who were present. It was a classic San Francisco Summer day, in other words it was overcast and a bit muggy. It was very pleasant to sit in the dirt and watch people. There was a big cheer for the half time score from the Copa America.

By seeing a concert in a big arena by a reformed band who have mislaid a critical early member I was breaking all sorts of personal rules. Os Mutantes had a bunch of extra musicians filling out their ranks including a rather tasty percussionist. They started with a couple of numbers from the first two LPs. These are studio creations and it was weird to hear studio noises reproduced live. The band reminded me a lot of Brian Wilson’s current band which studiously aims to recreate studio sounds. After a while the band settled down to playing more conventional Latin tinged rock. There was mambo, there was cha cha cha. I tried to explain to my companion about the clave, but she was reading The Hobbit. After a while we left and walked home. I had a nice afternoon but I never would have guessed that this band were so highly regarded. Tomorrow I will listen to their wonderful old studio recordings.

Update: nice review of a concert in New York a few days later which also compares the band with Brian Wilson's ensemble.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Hitlers Sheffield Utd Suffer Their Downfall

Hitler and his Sheffield United henchmen eagerly await the results from the final day of the league season. They know a draw would keep their team safe but they're in for disastrous news from the newsroom

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I've got a search box and I'm going to use it

Ooh, look I have a nifty new 'search this blog' widget. Almost certainly I will be the person who uses this most as I check how many times I have mentioned Doctor Who this month. If you use blogger you can add a search box (and polls) by logging in to instead of

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Portugal vs North Korea 1966 World Cup

Or should that be Eusebio vs North Korea?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Simpsons avatar for me

You can design your own at the Simpsons movie site (requires flash). You can compare with my South Park avatar.

Monday, July 09, 2007

British raise security alert level from "Miffed" to "Peeved".

The British are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross."
Read the rest at John Newton's Content Log.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Sunn O))) + Earth @ The Independent, 4 July 2007

These are two of the leading drone metal bands. Earth are pioneers of this genre and Earth 2 is definitely a classic. Sunn O))) supposedly started out as a tribute band to Earth but they have now taken a very different path.

The audience at the Independent was mostly white studenty types, mixed with about 10% older metal regalia types. I didn’t see much of the metallers later except for a drunk girl who headbanged to Sunn O))). At one point someone near me kept doing something that was creating a light behind me. When I sneaked a look I saw it was someone playing with their new iPhone. It is improbably thin.

I liked Earth. The band set up their own equipment. Leader Dylan Carson wears a Fender cap and looks like a regular guy. He wished us a happy 4th of July, which some people took as an excuse for cheap irony, but I think he meant it. The Earth sound is based on low bass tones. Carson tunes the bottom string of his guitar for each song. He starts a riff by playing the low note, which the bassist doubles, then Carson plays the rest of the riff on the other strings. This doesn’t sound all that innovative, but music is mysterious, right? It works. They also have a drummer, who punctuates the beat rather than driving it, and a keyboardist who adds drones and occasional jazzy piano. There’s no singing, and each piece lasts about five minutes. There’s no showing off, this is a band performance. A song is dedicated to Link Wray. Earth are clearly a band in the rock tradition.

Sunn O))), on the other hand, in performance, are about ritual and noise. Some of this works well. They have smoke machines and lights. They dress in hooded cloaks. They lift plectrums and guitars high above their heads. The sound is intensely loud. You know how in a club you can sometimes feel your chest vibrate sympathetically with the bass? At Sunn O))) I could feel my legs vibrating. I pity anyone who did not have earplugs. They don’t have a drummer. The sounds changes very slowly.

Some of the performance did not work for me. The amazing noise did not actually change very much. I could not hear any of the subtlety and dynamics that Sunn O))) have on record. It went on far too long, I was bored after a while. They have a silly singer who mutters satanically, later in the show he dressed in a bloody smock. I think it’s funny that the band drink so much when they’re playing. Obviously I am some sort of weird puritan but I think it shows lack of dedication to the ritual. Playing this sort of stuff involves some risk, and maybe a show like this doesn’t always work. For me it was a failure, though I’m glad to have seen it.

Friday, July 06, 2007


I’ve seen it and it’s great. No double entendres, no jokes specially for the adults, just a story. Paris looks beautiful, and so does the wet fur on the rats. Every time I watch a Hayao Miyazaki DVD I have to put up with seeing John Lasseter trying to pal it up with Miyazaki, but Brad Bird is the true genius at Pixar. All three of his films are great. Plus he is the voice of Edna Mode.