Sunday, 27 December 2009

I Drove All night

R108904 - Network card
R128346 - Intel graphics
R140747 - Wireless card
R143248 - cineplayer update/patch (wtf?)
R150593 - network card (another one...?)
R171789 - Audio driver

Sound not working through the headphones but ok coming out of the PC speakers? Tsk, not again, ay? Fugging dodgy soundcard.

Tried unplugging the headphones, plugging 'em into the microphone slot (ooh er) and then back into the headphone slot? That works sometimes, honest, guv'.

Still no joy, huh?

Go to ControlPanel > Add/Remove Programs and remove Sigmatel Audio. Sadly, that's not the last you'll see of that.

Run setup.exe from the R171789 directory.

Yaddayaddayaddaahhhh, it does is thing, you restart the computer and all should be fine.

Put on Franz Ferdinand's 'Blood' and chillax.

('Course, if it doesn't work after all THAT, then you've reached the point beyond where you've been before, which might well be the point of no return - I wonder if they've cheap laptops in Lidl this week...)

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Lacing, dishing, truing, tensioning...

(WARNING: This entry contains images of a graphic nature. If you are sensitive to what sort of pictures you see, do not read on. Have you been warned? Yes, you have.)

According to my 'highly'-accurate record-keeping I have built 93 wheels over the last five years or so. These include many rather tasty snowflake wheels, for example:

A single-twister

A double-twister

But I think by favourite spoking pattern has to be...


The '3-leading, 3-trailing' pattern which creates a very cool 'tri-spoke' effect near the hub and, as the spokes cross so near the hub, an almost radial effect nearer the rim. It's certainly not my favourite pattern to actually lace up, in fact, it's a real arse to lace with all sorts of tight crossings going on, but it just looks so damn cool. (Thanks to Rowland for inspiring me to build the two 3L3T wheels I've done so far.) I have no real idea about the longevity of a wheel laced like this, but I'm sure it'll be adequate to support my monstrous mass. The wheel pictured is currently doing commuting duty on the back of Ahimsa (more about that bike very shortly...) and seems to be holding up fine.

So, the BIG question: will I reach my century of wheel builds before my Evans career finally ends in a few short weeks time? Definitely maybe.

Ah yes, and so to my beloved GT Peace. In view of the model name and everything that cycling represents (saving the Earth, etc.) I decided to give him the name Ahimsa for its conotations with peace and being vegan, as well as my kindly upbringing. Ahimsa was a great name for the Peace - it's a purist singlespeed bike that's calming to ride and reminds one about all that is good and right in the world.

I fitted a new chain to him a few weeks ago and, as you can see, it's quite...


The funkiness of a half-link chain is that it creates a perfectly level surface around the sprockets and along the straights, compared to the relative 'bumpiness' of a normal chain. (For why a new and fatter chain was necessary, see below...)

Anyway, shininess aside, it seems that Ahimsa was perhaps not the best name I could have given this particular bike. Non-violence is implied in the bike's very purpose and name, but, it appears, not in its nature: I've managed to fall off it on three occasions in the short time I've owned it.

The first time was on a level, flat and thankfully empty piece of road near Ealing Common on the way to work, probably in January. The front tyre hit a patch of ice that was sheltered from the sun by houses and trees and down I went. I injured various bits of me, most visibly giving my knee a good bloodying, and obviously, as always, bruising a hip so it became a different shape to the other one.

The next fall came in mid-February when I was accelerating round a very nice corner away from some lights. I'm not sure if the front tyre hit a slidey bit of paint on the box-junction or, more likely, I stupidly struck the inside pedal on the ground whilst banking, but, either way, down we went. This was quite embarrassing as the people behind me in the car saw it all and must have had a good chuckle. Bless them though, they did ask if I was alright. I wasn't too bad, just one more (the same...) bloody knee and bruised hip. My shorts received two annoying holes, one of which was in the back pocket, caused by my keys as they hit the road with my arse on them. That could have been so much more nasty than it was. My knee-warmer also got a hole. My new pair of knee-warmers. To replace the last pair of knee-warmers which both had holes in from falling off, the last hole caused by the first fall above. Bollocks.

[Slightly disturbing images removed so as not to upset those of a sensitive disposition, i.e. the author.]

Why can't knee-warmers heal like knees can?

The latest crash, to complete the hat-trick, was the silliest and most embarrassing: I fell off going up a hill. Yes, actually up a hill. I was pedalling hard up the hill, thankfully on a cycle path next to the road and not on the road, when the chain decided it didn't want to be on the sprockets anymore and leapt off them. This resulted in me putting considerable force down on a pedal and meeting no resistance. So that angular momentum was conserved I then proceeded to fly gracelessly over the handlebars and onto the ground. The occupants of several cars driving by witnessed this, damnit, though I am pleased that my suffering should have brought amusement to brighten someone's day/

I managed to bruise and scrape all four of my limbs (a personal best), along with a shoulder, and then when those bits had had their turn I decided to use my face as a brake.

[Yet another painful-memory-evoking image removed by the author...]

No, a helmet wouldn't have helped here. And the puny chain responsible has been replaced.

For these reasons, along with the definitely non-non-violent thoughts I have about car drivers all-too regularly, lead me to conclude that Ahimsa is not the most appropriate name for this particular iron donkey. Hmm, now should I change it? Nah, course not: the bike is made of steel, which is basically iron, meaning it's quite an ironey kinda machine, fully deserving of a name filled with irony.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

A highly original post about The Beatles & Oasis

I have A LOT to thank my parents for, not least for putting up with me for all those orbits of Bananaworld. I could go on, but I shalln't as I might wear my keyboard out.

Anyway, music is what we're here to talk about, and my musical tastes were largely shaped by my dear folks. They introduced me to the worlds of the likes of The Beatles and Deep Purple, bands tht have created some of the greatest tunes ever committed to the mighty medium of the wax cylinder (I think I may have been watching too much Futurama lately, Prof. Farnsworth's influence is ingraining itself in me...)

I mentioned to mum and dad, when visiting them the other week, that I'd been listening to "Yellow Submarine" rather a lot lately. Ah, what an all too often overlooked little gem it is too! True, it's only six songs long, and a couple of those had been previously released, but the album shines for George Harrison's contributions...

"Only a Northern Song" is, yes, a wee bit low but a jolly fine tune anyway. "It's All Too Much" is one of my favourite Beatles songs (as the current tagline on the right might suggest...) Musically lovely, vocally gripping and lyrically genius, it's great.

And so let there be rock: "Hey Bulldog"... Man, that's rock 'n' roll and no pretending.

A hundred and one people have told me, on learning that my favourite band is Oasis, that Oasis just rip off The Beatles. Oh how I wish these people would come up with something original to say. Yes, it's true, Oasis are undeniably inspired by The Fab Four, but there's SO much more to Oasis. As Noel said though, at least he has the decency to wait until people are dead before he plagiarises their notes (ah, the tragedies of John and Marc...)

(Where was I going with this...?) Oh yeah (blimey it's getting late...), "Hey Bulldog": having said that about there being so much more to Oasis, I reckon Liam Gallagher listens to "Hey Bulldog" every single day and thinks to himself, "Everyday, in every way, what I want more than anything is to sound like THAT."

(Try it, go on, try singing the line "you can talk to me" in a parody of Liam's style - it was written for him.)

(And after that, listen to "Helter Skelter" REALLY loudly, and if that's not metal enough, put on as mentioned before many moons ago on Bananaworld and I'll plug it's eighties greatness again: "Perfect Strangers".

Monday, 16 March 2009


Apparently the free London commuter paper 'Metro' is ten years old today. In line with my usual stance of being grumpy and negative about most things in life, I say that's ten years too old. Potential conspiracy theory coming up...!

Taking the Tube in the morning will reveal a site of pretty much everyone reading a copy of the Metro. I do occasionally glance at it, on the rare occasions I take the Tube, if I find a copy lying around (and there are always an abundance lining the seats) but everytime I do read it, I wonder why I bother. It's so full of dumbed down news and retarded views and opinions. It truly is pitched at the lowest common level of intelligence.

The scary thing is that so many people read it and then take their daily news from it. Happily I don't work with a group of people who all arrive by public transport (though I wish less of them would drive...) but I can imagine that conversations regarding the day's news amongst people that have all got their news form the same source must be quite dull...

"Did you hear about that new type of bus?"
"Oh that, yeah. Hey, I saw a story about this elephant this morning, right..."
"Yup, me too. Ooh, there was this thing in the paper about..."
"Heard it."

The really scary thing is that all these people are then filled up with 'news', opinions and adverts from exactly the same source. This can only have a brainwashing effect, creating a whole city of expressionless drones, all thinking the same thoughts about the same subject.

The really, really scary thing is the level of respect that people have for the Metro. It can do no wrong and everything it says is true. It has the first word of the day, and the final word, on the day's news.

So ten years have passed since this litter-box-liner was launched and I'm sure the publishers, and the sinister heads behind them, must be about the launch their campaign of global domination. All they have to do, if it hasn't started already, is gradually adopt a increasingly extreme stance on world affairs, little step by little step, until a the million or more Londoners who are daily 'informed' by this paper are tuned to the overlords' mindset.

Wanna take over the world? Just buy out the people behind the Metro and spout your megalomaniacal tendencies to the Greater London Area.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

No one here day.

There really is no one on Bananaworld today.

This was going to be a long and drawn out entry, but I've decided to do an abridged version, being quite the lazy chap that I am.
  1. It's nice that the days are getting longer. The duskometer I'm currently using is seeing how light it is when I leave work on Saturdays at 1800. It's getting lighter.
  2. I can't wait until Jade Goody is dead and she and her thug of a 'husband' are forgotten.
  3. Once again I failed to describe to somehow the incredible injustices that are committed daily on the roads with complete impunity. As a cyclist I have no chance of comeback against car & van drivers that overtake dangerously, fail to give way safely at roundabouts and generally persistently endanger slower road users such as cyclists. When a driver overtakes me too close and too fast, what can I do about it? Usually the answer is nothing: I can have no retribution. That driver will continue to drive badly, not only intimidating other people, but continually risking a collision. I would like to make it very clear that my chosen method of death is 'death by cop', following a "spree" of killings of drivers who are dangerous, idiotic, continue to show off and use excessive speed. I would feel no guilt about killing these people, as they cannot be taught to change their ways.
  4. It is accepted that people with some sort of congenital or acquired physical condition have a limited lifespan and that the disorder will kill them some time before they might otherwise be expected to live. I have not heard of this acceptance for mental disorders. Perhaps people with certain mental health issues are not supposed to have a full lifespan in the same way that people with these physical disorders are not expected to live as long as the average. I wonder how many "tragic suicides" by depressed people are simply cases where the virtual workings of the brain (as opposed to the physical workings of the body) have inspired the events leading to death. By this I mean where a physical disorder kills in itself, a mental (virtual, in a sense) disorder has no physical means of ending the life of the affected person, other than by inspiring suicide. Then again, is depression a mental disorder at all? The flip-flop moods seen in some cases are doubtless caused my chemical, therefore physical, imbalances and variations, which lead to the affected mental states. Perhaps the route that this particular physical disorder takes in order to kill the afflicted is an indirect one involving an altered mental state leading to an action that results in death. This would confirm the description of depression given to me by a medical professional as "life threatening".
  5. Today Bananaworld started its twenty-ninth orbit of Sol. I'm beginning to think that perhaps I've been around the Sun too many times. Whilst the Sun is pretty cool (or not...) nothing actually changes with each orbit these days.
  6. I like sharks.
  7. I had a dream a few weeks ago of a conversation with an unknown someone in which we compared the bass lines of the 'Doctor Who' theme tune and the Blackfoot Sue song 'Standing In The Road'.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

He's a real snowhereman

I made a snowperson. He/she/it has a hairy chest. And a hat. And a snail shell for a nose.

I was hiding behind an electric fence at the time, avoiding being eaten by a horse. Now I come to think about it, I'm not sure who was imprisoned by the fence: horsey was free to roam and poo, though I was free to make a snowman, I had to stay there. Horse guy had me pinned!