Went with my friend Nick to see The Orb at Concord 2 last night. The last time I’d seen the Orb was back in 2004, at the start of their relatively dry spell. That night, they’d been a bit lacklustre despite playing (some of) the hits and a relatively decent album in “Bicycles and Tricycles”. I left feeling that I’d seen the past rather than the future, something that I wouldn’t glimpse again in their records until 2015.
Ingrid and I joined our usual quiz team tonight for the residents’ association pub quiz. As usual we came third. It’s a fairly settled group of attendees and we know our level. We’re also quite used to the quiz master and his questions, though I do wish he’d acknowledge that pop music continued to be a thing long after the sixties!
There’s always a pot luck round. On one round we get to play a joker which doubles your points.
Since moving to an M1 Mac, I’ve noticed some issues with my second screen that I do not experience with my previous Intel Mac or with my current work laptop, which is a Dell Intel PC running Windows 10.
I get a lot of flickering on the screen, which is intolerable if I have Pro-motion and True Tone turned on. Note that these are options for the main display rather than the external monitor.
Rosewater is an exciting science fiction novel set several decades after first contact with an alien called Wormwood, that has established itself as a large biodome in Nigeria. The novel follows Kaaro, a thief whose extra special abilities are forged from an unlikely connection with the alien. The whole thing is part sci-fi adventure and part spy novel.
The novel is set in multiple timelines with whole sections of the story told in flashback.
I find it hard to get started on projects. This may have always been the case. I definitely remember instances of complex plans for school projects that I’d barely have time to finish. I once got up at 6AM to finish making a calendar in French—I thought it was going to be this outstanding piece of work that would genuinely replace my teacher’s calendar! Reality didn’t quite match the idea though.
The Imaginary Girlfriend is a short autobiography by American author John Irving. In it, he explains the interwoven roles of writing and wrestling in his life.
As always with Irving, the book is absorbing from the off, and it’s tempting to use the anecdotes here to explain why most of his novels seem to have an underdog narrating them. It’s because he loves the work of Dickens so much. I kid.
‘Civilisations’ is a counterfactual historical novel that attempts to extrapolate the future course of history after changing one pivotal moment of the timeline. I usually find novels like this are great fun, another entertaining example is ‘Making History’ by Stephen Fry. The novel, originally written in French, won some big awards in France last year. I read the translation by Sam Taylor.
In ‘Civilisations’, Binet makes the pivotal point of his tale, the migration of Erik the Red to America in the late 900s.
Today I had an interesting bug in some Latex code I am writing. Putting a footnote into a caption caused the document to fail compilation. The problem was that this document doesn’t use a table of figures at the start, so I hadn’t thought to include a short summary caption. Apparently the curly brace in the footnote command does not sit well with that, even if you aren’t using a list or table of figures in your document.
Today, we transferred our Christmas tree to a new pot. Being root-bound as the tree was, it took ages to get it out of the crappy pot from the store and into the new, bigger pot. And I’m pretty sure it’s a bit wonky, which might make the baubles a bit lopsided next Christmas. It looks excellent next to the new bird bath.
Nonetheless, it was nice to get another plant into a pot with the hope of keeping it around.
Lifeforms is the 1994 album from the Future Sound of London. A double album (just), it also features the talents of Robert Fripp, Ozric Tentacles, Talvin Singh, Toni Halliday, and Liz Frazer. It reached number 6 on the UK album chart and went silver.
I have wanted to write about the Lifeforms album for a long time. In 2012, I even tried learning how to tell the tracks apart from one another.
At the moment I can’t compile this blog locally because my ruby-ffi install is somehow wrong and is preventing Jekyll from running on my recently upgraded Mac system. Fortunately the site still compiles on Netlify, or else you wouldn’t be reading this!
It’s always annoying when you rely on a complex multi-part system and some obscure part fails. It leaves you groping for answers and inventing unnecessary hack solutions. The dreaded old Stack Overflow rabbit hole.
Hmmm it seems as though the ffi gem as installed by bundler is not compatible with a Mac that has an M1 chip. This limits my ability to preview blog posts locally. I might have to swap to a more modern static site generator (which is probably easier than working out what ffi actually does) - seems like a good February project!
At the new year, thoughts and spare time for writing point me toward writing some new posts for my understated classics series. Expect some new ones soon.
I also reflected on my previous choices and thought a bit about how my music tastes have changed recently. Some of this has to do with streaming and the frustrations I wrote about in my last post. Some of it is just down to getting older: I have less time to listen to new music, and much of the ’new’ stuff I listen to is me investigating the stuff I missed first time around.