Bazaar

I’ve started to give bazaar a go in anger; my hope was that I could get the offline advantages of RCS, with a newer system (renaming and such like) as well as something that works for collaboration. The emacs support is a bit primitive yet. There is a vc-bzr.el, though, so I tried this but it didn’t work. This turned out to be because it doesn’t work with cygwin out of the box. I’ve tried the windows version and it all seems to behave nicely. But it doesn’t understand symlinks which is a major pain — I need those symlinks! Life can be hard at times. Originally published on my old blog site.

Neuroinformatics 2008

Ah, off to a conference again. Depressingly on saturday, so the airport is heaving. I’m going to Neuroscience 2008 which is a new one to me, in Stockholm which is also new. I’m taking a poster which seems distressingly old. Been a long time since I’ve done this. It’s already been a struggle — some of my colleagues didn’t like it; I think because neuroscientists tend toward lots of text, while I do a light-weight, advert-style, if-you-want-more-details-read-the-paper form of poster. And I hate travelling with a poster; it’s hard to replace your belt while carrying a bag and an A0 poster tube. My subconscious tried to leave it at a Starbucks in Schipol, but my better judgement forced me to go back for it. I’m not in the best of moods: my toe…

Flats

Several months ago, I moved house. I should say now, that main reason for doing this was to move in with the other half; I only mention this because she was irritated that she got so few mentions when I was talking about our holiday. My explanation was this blog is called "An exercise in irrelevance" because it has nothing important in it and that she has her own blog so why should she want to appear on mine. Impeccable logic I thought; she didn’t. Anyway, coming back from the social melodrama, a few months ago, we moved house. It’s quite a nice place; it’s unfurnished so has required a lot of work buying furniture, screwing it to together and standing it upright (having, of course, carefully hoovered underneath first). Although it’s left me tired and d…

Keelmans Way

I managed to get our on my bike at the weekend; I travelled up the north side of the Tyne. I’ve done this before, but went further, through Wylam and out the other end; it’s a really nice ride, although not that fast as the surfaces are a little rough. In the end, I decided to come back on the south bank, as I’ve not done this before. Took a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, but I mostly came down Keelmans Way. The Gateshead side of the Tyne is more industrial than the North, and Keelmans Way reflects this; instead of fields, pubs and villages, you cycle over steel bridges, peers and through industrial estates. It’s still quiet, though, and great fun. I have to admit, though, as I came into Gateshead, that I was gob-smacked when I cycled through a gap in a hedgerow and …

Water flow

Been having problems with my water tank. At first, it appeared to be the tank itself; I ended up with a frying pan underneath to catch the flow. Eventually, I realised that it’s the pressure meter at the top of the tank which is the problem; the water was coming down the side, and dripping from the bottom. It’s only dripping which is why it took me so long to work out where it was ultimately coming from. But it’s leaking maybe half a litre an hour, which is a lot of water over time. However, because the tank is close to the ground, I could only use a shallow frying pan to catch the water. My solution to the problem is a Heath Robinson master-piece. I’ve wrapped a piece of cloth under the leak, which has got soaked. This then directs the moisture away from the tan…

Gershwins

I’ve been to Gerswhins, which is on (or under) Dean Street before, but for a quick pre-gig meal. This time was a more leisured affair. The place is underground, in a wine cellar. It’s dimly light, from 100s of fibre optic strands from the ceiling. It’s a jazz resturant apparently. So, later in the evening, they had caberet; a guy in a dinner jacket, crooning to a recording backing track. He was actually pretty good, very professional and a competent singer; half-way through a Sinatra melody, an older couple, very elegantly dressed—man in blazer and tie, woman in skirt and formal top—started wheeling around the dance floor (that is the small gap between the tables). The woman looked happy and entertained, the man dignified and serene, although I noticed a mo…

Highlights

So, first time I’ve been in the US for a long period on holiday rather than working. It’s still a country that I don’t understand, a place of contrast and contradiction. In it’s care for the National Parks, you can see the place at it’s very best. It’s caring, educational, passionate. At the same time, staring across the Grand Canyon or from Joshua Tree, and understanding that the haze you can see is pollution from the roads of Los Angeles is a depressing experience. It’s a pity that more Americans don’t do as I have done, and visit the national parks to see the damage that they are doing; there’s no excuse; it’s so easy by car. I’ve enjoyed the US away from the main urban areas far more than the time in the cities; touri…

Hill and Bay

Yosemite is one of the oldest and perhaps the most complete of the National Parks from an enjoyment point of view anyway. To get into it, we went over a 9900 foot mountain pass, crawled down to the valley floor, with temperature raising as we went. I saw El Capitan (or a big rock for those not in the know) and the US’s tallest waterfall (impressive, but almost dry at this time of year). The whole place was wonderful, but it’s got such heavy traffic through it and it’s less well done than Bryce or Zion in terms of information. Ultimately, I think that the problem was ours; vast amounts of Yosemite are only accessible on foot; clearly the short time we had, is not the best way to see it. San Francisco was great, however. All of a bit of a cliche I fear — the hilly …

Desert and Mountain

It may seem that we are ticking off national parks in a mad rush, but it’s not really the case; this trip hasn’t allowed an in-depth study of the Parks it’s true, but I think I’ve managed to come away with an understanding of the essential nature of each, as well as a deep appreciation of local sandstones. After Bryce, the plan was to move to Las Vegas, but Zion stands more or less in the way and we got sidetracked; which was good as Zion is one of the most beautiful parks I’ve seen, with the most amazing variety of micro-climates. The main difference is that it has water; so while it’s still desert, it is rich with plant and animal life. As you move upward, it gets wetter and cooler and the plants change accordingly. Perhaps the most extreme example …

Arches and Needles

Been to four more places since Grand Canyon. The first, Monument Valley is actually part of the Navajo nation. It’s got a famous skyline, but it’s not been that well developed and not that great as far as I can tell. The big surprise of the trip was the Navajo national monument — managed by the federal government, but named after the Navajo. It’s not that big, but you can walk down short trail which overlooks Betatakin. This is Pueblo settlement, maybe 800 years old. It’s hidden in a large cave, shetlered from the elements. I only saw it from a kilometre away, but it was a wonderful experience. Next, came a brief stop in Moab; they have a small museum there, with most of the exhibits appearing to come from a few families whose descendents were or are compu…