Daily archives: January 20, 2003

State of the Kitchen

The inside of the freezer looks lovely. However, that’s lovely in a winter wonderland kind of a way, not a ‘what a lot of food we have’ way. So this week we are bin mostly eating the stuff from the freezer so we can defrost it. In a radical take on spring cleaning, Daz and I have decided the best solution is to move house. To the one directly opposite.

Listener laziness?

Whilst trying to come up with the official Brian soundtrack (as per Ian’s request) I realised that there are very few CDs that I listen to without skipping at least a few tracks. Back in the days of vinyl it took a lot of effort to skip a track, these days you just press a button. The only CD I regularly listen to without skipping tracks is Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. It’s left me wondering if I’m a lazy listener or the musicians are getting lazy, knowing that we will always skip the weakest tracks.

Heavensent Chapter 9, Part 1

The wind was blowing landward, so the first flight had taken off toward the rear of Heavensent. Everything Reed had read about runway ships had emphasised the necessity of launching into the wind, for increased airspeed, but the planks didn�t have the length of the ice ship and needed every advantage they could grab. Out of sight in the dark, the planes stacked in a series of ovals to the west and waited.

A rumble grew from the southeast, where there were two growing glowing yellow clouds. The thickening tower of smoke under the rockets crept up until it caught the rising sun and took on a pink tint. Any crew who could afford the time stopped to watch. After only a few counts the rumble began to die, being replaced by the buzz of aero engines as the first flight followed the rockets into the attack. Reed tugged at Jay�s sleeve and they headed for the briefing room.

There were several large maps on the wall, including a weather chart and breakdown of enemy units. Centrepiece of the room was a large relief map of the coast all the way inland to the glacier. The twin cities were irregularly outlined wood blocks painted grey with pins to show landmarks. The flight crews gathered around the model. Serena was on a small gantry above the terrain, placing white metal ships in the docks behind Stran island. When she dismounted she started conferring with the intelligence officers.

Reed was second flight leader. His crews formed a crescent behind him as he stared at the relief map. Serena and an intelligence officer stood across from them. At the nod from Reed, she began. �Ladies and gentlemen, you all know what we are about to do. It is possibly the single most audacious attack since�. No, actually, this is the single most audacious attack ever.

�There have been some minor changes to the plan for your flight. The first wave is on its way now to follow the rocket attack on Stran island. They have an open remit to hit anything military on the freshwater lake inland from the island and particularly up these tributaries.� Serena used a pointer to trace the fjords carved by long gone glaciers that spoked out from the lake. �They are also tasked with the initial attack on the barracks, which are here, outside Cora, too close to the city to risk an attack as inaccurate as the rockets.

�Your attack is to strike first up the main channel of the fjord toward the twin cities bridges and the glacier. Intelligence tells us that gas filled balloons are being used as flying cranes. A flight of Cicciles has been loaded with incendiary rounds, they will take out the balloons. We are hoping the explosions will also knock some of the cliff face gun positions out of action as well. Half your bombers and ground attack aircraft shall then attempt to destroy the guard huts at either end of the bridges. We believe the structures are set to be exploded. The other half of the flight will turn north over Cora itself. We have received intelligence this morning that there are troop movements into the town for reprisal attacks. They will be in the open, tightly grouped and likely without anti air support. If you can, tear them apart.

Serena studied the map again, checking she had not forgotten anything. �Full details are in your flight plans. Any questions?�

Silence. �Very good. The best of fortune to you all.� She made the sign of the Silver Tower. Reed realised many in his flight repeated the motion. He resisted, giving a simple salute before turning and walking through his men toward the planes. They all pivoted and followed.

Don't Look Back In Anger

The archives are being a little screwy, mislabelling last week and losing the week up to and including my birthday. This is a terrible shame, as that was a vintage week (they’re all vintage weeks at Spinneyhead, but this one was particularly vintage). Go and check it out here.

Tonsillectomy is the second most common surgery of childhood. I could expand upon that, but it’s mean to make fun of a man when he’s ill. Get well soon, Johnny.

Guerrilla News Network – Pattern Recognition Tools

If you want to feel angry, just work your way down this list. It’s mostly stuff I already knew, and mostly about the States, but it always gives me a horrible sinking feeling to know it’s going on. And sitting here using XP and Explorer surrounded by the detritus of my conspicuous consumption, I’m as guilty as any of perpetuating the problem through inaction and neglect.

Alternative Energy

Did you know you can run diesel engines on cooking oil? Actually, I did, because it was on Top Gear a couple of months ago. What I didn’t know was that it is perfectly legal providing, unlike a bunch of chancers in Swansea, you pay duty. This opens up all manner of possibilities. Recycling fryer fat has to be a good thing (what do people do with used fryer fat? Particularly canteens and chip shops.) But then class warfare will break out, I can just see the middle classes insisting that their Volvos will only function with finest extra virgin olive oil in their tanks.

I want my stuff back – part 2

It appears that ONdigital will not be prying Ian’s set-top box from his cold dead fingers after all. Granada and Carlton have agreed to pay for the boxes. Anyone who was daft enough to pay the 40 quid will get their money back. I guess they want to avoid more bad publicity and losing about 1.2 million potential ITV2 viewers and their ad revenues. Also it’s still rumored that they want to build a ‘pay lite’ option using the remaining channels on the ITV and C4/5 multiplexes.