Tuesday, December 04, 2007

DSC_0781 - Fairy [Liquid] LightsRecently after much cajoling I met... and now comes the tricky part because he has no known pseudonym (except perhaps Arctic Kenny), and he's previously objected to the mingling of real-name and blog-name sites, due to their differing degrees of NSFF (think disco, 'we are'), which means I now have to christen him, although I suspect I've already done so, if only I could remember. So instead of devising something from defining characteristics ('obstreperousness' takes too long to type), I'll go with the simple and obvious, yet fairly Googleproof, Monsieur Cue.

So after weeks of negotiations, and widespread accusations of forgetfulness, we agreed to meet in a place of mutual inconvenience, a town whose verb of a name needed no explanation in The Meaning of Liff, the connotations of distasteful sexual practices and resultant swearing power of the word being grossly immanent. So we withered to Ducking, self-proclaimed centre of the Slurry Thrills.

I was late. He came after dusk. With a bike in tow. Which came in useful, by which I mean cumbersome, when we traipsed the streets of the town looking for a suitable cafe, or 'Starbucks-clone', which wasn't about to shut. Ducking is an odd town. Not only does it have the post office still in the post office, but it has a second further up the hill (and in the former the already unhelpful misery-guts of the staff make disparaging comments about people taking photographs of parcels they're about to post, so said person has proof of when it was posted). Add to this the old, and old-fashioned, wooden-shelved chemist and bow-windowed Dyas's, and the interruption of the general scheme by Domino's seems slightly cruel. It also seems to be the only town I've encountered where the number of chandelier shops is greater than the number of supermarkets, and yet the largest group is the barbershops. Oh, and there are sheep behind Sainsbury's.

Anyway, we re-explored the town together, with M. Cue expressing dismay that everywhere was shut or shutting (incidentally the library must be the busiest place in Ducking, as in nearly every shop passed the sole occupant was sitting reading). So after a perpetually encumbered perambulation we eventually returned to near the start of the tour and a pub with smoking bouncers, or possibly just customers, flanking the door.

After the usual "what're you having?" chaos, M. Cue frowns about the combined price of a beer and a coke while I dither about finding a seat. We settle when the pair on the leather furniture in the corner depart, so we move to more comfortable surroundings, beneath a mute wall of BBC News, who incidentally do an excellent line in text and visuals clashing subversively.

And then we talk, for many hours, on topics ranging from the economic impact of protectionism in the tomato puree tube cap manufacturing industry (as cribbed from what I cited as the Economist, then claimed was Prospect, now realise was probably the BBC Economics Editor's blog) to oral sexy with Zippy (there was a misunderstanding) and the rationalisation [memo to self: complete sentences at the time]. Oh, and biting the head off a clown (he deserved it for being so sinister).

During this time the pub became rammed and then empty again, and the second round was bought from the incredibly nervy barman (why's that jumpiness, perpetual awkwardness and desire to please far too familiar? I can think of several others like that, not including me) shortly before he went home leaving to pub to the care of a woman fixated on her boyfriend.

So other than talk, and drink too much Coke (running up the stairs to the loo my heart was impersonating an overloaded washing machine skittering across the kitchen floor), we didn't do much. And then walk back to respective stations, with him departing in movement and light, and me returning to one-an-hour-ism, and wall-less waiting rooms creeping out of the dark. When distant lights appeared deep in the pitch, I had to resist the urge to flag the train down like a bus, but then I was only person on the station, as I had been since the other way train had chugged through half-an-hour earlier in its plumes of fumes (yep, so remote that it has no third rail or overheads).

Speaking of plumes of fumes, the Guardian recently linked to this what-if ad. Fairly effective given 'out of sight, out of mind' definitely applies to energy and carbon conservation efforts. Faintly reminiscent of this Sony Bravia advert, which possibly is a bit ironic given the electron devouring* nature of the product... whereupon the author reads the back on the monitor in front of him and discovers that his maths is correct, the Samsung CRT thing currently showing this post is capable of using more energy that a 46" Sony Bravia. So I'm not sure if I can be on a high horse or not.

* Please note, no electrons were harmed in the making of electricity.

Except I worked out the wattage from voltage and the amps stated on the back. Except I used the UK standard of 240 V (or in EU-speak 230 V +/- 10%), which is listed on the back. But it is featured as the top end of the operational range, so 100 V could equally be accepted as the input. So unless the monitor is under half the brightness when operating in America (or the monitor handles electricity in a really cackhanded way) it can't possibly be running at my original calculation of 336 W because it simply wouldn't function at a lower voltage. Conversely it must be running at 100 V, so 140 W, because otherwise it couldn't run at only 100 V. So if the amperage stated on the back isn't the constant demand (otherwise the thing would have to be producing special 'dark' photons for the scary bits of films) but the maximum demand, intended to inform the user about which fuse they need in the plug, then that makes sense.

And part of me is having my usual worry that what I've said can't possibly be true, because it's based on maths, and I distrust maths because it's never been as obvious as all my teachers have claimed it to be.

140 W does sound much more sensible, as the other would be like having a third of basic electric heater in the room, rather than only someone doing a lot of strenuous activity. I can't check equivalents to make sure this is about right by looking at the nearest actual television as that has Rediffusion on the front and "Made in the United Kingdom" on the back so possibly pre-dates Mr Volta. Still works, apart from when it has to be turned upside-down and shaken.

But back to the ad, I quite like this mock one. But the enlivened Glasgow still wins.


PS. When testing for quirks having just increased the number of computer innards, do make sure the keyboard is unobstructed and that one's mobile phone, for instance, has not tumbled forward to lie upon the F1 key. I was starting to get concerned by the lack of mention on any help site of cascading help windows loading with each program. It was only after the toothcombing scans and repeated judicious use of Alt Control Delete that I noticed.

Still haven't figured out why new RAM should make the monitor fail to work on the first boot as the motherboard chirps twice, but then when reset boot fine with the new RAM, the only problem being the message about error logs is too short lived to be read.

So who was it you met? Sounds like it rivalled our own rendez-vous.
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