Saturday, 27 May 2017

Modern Day Music

I've done my best to listen to the stuff that's in the charts these day and let me tell you something, overall it's absolute rubbish, generally there's some talentless person featuring another talentless person, one shouts and the other warbles like a canary on speed in a helium filled mine.

Most of the dross that's in the charts these daycs can be blamed on Sparky the Magic Piano, Cher,  Deborah Harry Beyonce and Mariah Carey.

Let's start with the wonderful Deborah Harry who gave the world one of the first hit tunes with a bit of rapping in it, I refer to the tune Rapture. This spurred people into making more records, I won't say tunes as there generally isn't one and went onto create the genre known as R.A.P. This stands for Rubbish Angry Poetry and the C at the start for Complete is of course silent. There's the odd exception to this such as Gangsta's Paradise featuring the stupidly named Coolio, which I believe is a make of a Welsh refrigeration unit. Most attempts  at C-RAPping rhyme Rolls Royce with Voice somewhere in the lyrics or use the same word in the next line as it's far too hard for the scribbler (I can't say writer) to come up with another rhyming word, I use an extract from the Pussy Cat Dolls feat Busta Rhymes here.


You're the very reason why I keep a pack ah the Magnum
An wit the wagon hit chu in the back of tha magnum

You may notice that there are some words in these two lines, I'm not really sure why someone would like to keep some Walls Ice Cream in the back of their Dodge, it won't take long to melt.

The videos for this rubbish generally feature stupidly dressed people wearing absurd amounts of gold with baseball caps on the wrong way round moving around in way that suggest that they are getting insufficient air to their armpits. They generally have stupid names like Snoop Doggy Dog, I remember him as a puppy and then of course there are people like M & M, named after a sweet and a complete an utter waste of an ejaculation.

We'll now move onto Sparky the Magic Piano, basically with sparky, his sounds were fed down a hosepipe into someones mouth, the mouth sang a tune and a sort of bit of music happened. This was expanded on by people like the Electric Light Orchestra and then Cher came out with Believe, which took her vocals and send them to some equipment which changed the pitch, this switch around made it possible to make a song and I use the word song loosely, in which a talentless tone deaf person appeared to be singing. But of course you know that a machine has changed the pitch of what they are trying to say, it may also help them breathe and lick windows. This was taken to a new height by someone called Bill.He.Is. That's not his name of course, his real name is Tosser.I.Am.

Beyonce decided that as she can't hold a tune together she would wear as little as possible and shout, making people think she has some talent, this of course was taken up by other people such as Katy Perry and other annoyances.

And lastly we have Mariah Carey, why use one note when twelvty can do. The queen of annoying warblers who completely wrecked Without You, so many other male and female artists have decided to copy her and warble like a demented budgie who has just overdosed on some alchohol soaked millet. 

There are still some good bands and artists out there that can actually sing and produce good music with having to add the word explicit to their track to encourage sales. I have just looked at the UK top 40 and to be fair, it's not easy to spot anyone in that list but there must be.

I really do wish the world would go back to proper music where people were musicians, where they could sing and you could understand things, where the word ask is pronounced as ask and not aks.

And so, I have a musical venture in mind, I want to get a group of musicians together who are now suffering from an ailment that comes from sitting on cold walls for too longs and having a diet too low in fibre. I'm basing the concept on a George Harrison idea, the name of the band will be...

The Travelling Dangleberries

Some of the tracks will be reworkings of the original bands hits such as.

The Dangleberry Twist, referring to the movement carried out to help release.

Handle With Care, referring to the delicate cleaning carried out following release.

Inside Out, an accident that can happen due to too much pushing.

Heading For The Light, the tale of the journey of a motion from it's beginning to it's emergence.

Like A Ship, what happens when bran starts working.

You Took My Breath Away, the happy outcome of a successful motion.

And lastly a rework of the Pink Floyd classic, The Dogs of War, this track will be the title track of the new album.

The Grapes of Wrath by the Travelling Dangleberries.


See what happens when I've had too much wine.



Monday, 22 May 2017

Going Posh at the Wetlands

I like going down the local wetlands to do some bird watching, there I've said it. My wife and I are amateur twitchers and joined up the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust at Martin Mere. We moved back to South Wales and of course the nearest place is the Llanelli Wetlands, it's a wonderful area with places you can take the kids to so they can see wildlife close up and some areas and hides for the dedicated bird watcher. 

And then there's the cafe area, it was really quite good, not that expensive but the food was good and the staff are very friendly, they even had a rack you could take your dirty dishes back to. And now they have modernised to bring it in line with Slimbridge.

We went there on the weekend after the modernisation, I ordered the pizza as the description of it was good and my wife wanted a toasted sandwich. In the past, they made the sandwiches, now they are wrapped in a box which means there's more waste with the packaging. They didn't have what we wanted on display which wasn't too exotic so we ordered a baked potato instead and then sat down.

In the past, the potato would have arrived on a plate, with some salad on the side, knives and forks would have come out of a tray and mayonnaise out of a sachet. 

You now get a potato in a bowl, on a triangular plate, coleslaw is in another container and the salad is in jar with a resealable lid, the knife and fork are now presented in a expensive looking bit of cardboard. 

The pizza arrived not on a plate, but on a plank of wood, not an easily washed plate but a bit of wood that soaks up any grease and as there was a pizza on it with cheese, it happily obliged with the soaking. This has all greatly increased the amount of washing that needs to be done and in my opinion the amount of waste produced.

There is now more room and more seating space and this was sadly lacking before but the prices have gone up and the cafe was considerably quieter than we normally expect on a Sunday afternoon. The staff are still very happy and helpful and they now come round to empty the tables.

It seems crazy that a place that is trying to encourage responsible behaviour towards wildlife has, in my opinion increased it's wastage, use of water and cleaning materials for no real reason.

Come on WWT, stop being pretentious, your loyal visitors come there to see the wildlife, take pictures, have some good quality food in a nice environment and argue about who has the best and most expensive camera or lens, they don't want food on a plank of wood, they want it on a plate, like normal people do.



Monday, 15 May 2017

Superheroes and Supermarkets

It's time to have a rant, here we go................

I've been watching some of the DC TV series, started with The Arrow, then Flash, then Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl. Apart from the costumes it's hard to distinguish any of them from the other, the Arrow has an ex office IT person who can do anything with any computer, Supergirl has one of these too and he can make superhero suits, scanners to detect temporal particles and all sorts. And we have one in Flash too that can do similar things. But they are all very two dimensional and that's being kind, the reject characters ended up in Legends of Tomorrow and we all know what's at the top end of a leg. The quality of acting here goes from bad to utter crap and then there's the Time Master Rip Hunter, who has come from playing a time traveller accompanying a Time Lord in Doctor Who. Doctor Who is about a Time Lord that stole a time machine, guess what the Time Master stole in Legends of Tomorrow.

I've kind of given up on Arrow, people die, then they get brought back to life by mysterious pools, people find their parents are really the bad guy, John Barrowman makes it bearable.

Flash has alternate realities coming up where good guys are bad guys and vice versa and in Supergirl, everyone is either rich, an alien, a superhero, gay or evil. Even Jimmy Olsen the spotty youth from Superman is a tall well built bloke that is now called the Guardian and fights bad guys with a shield wearing a lead outfit, made by the guy that looked after the firewalls for a gossip magazine. I'm sure there's a similar Marvel character.

And there's Martians in it too, the longest standing one is called John Jones and the newest one is called Megan Morse, these are not Martians, they are obviously Welsh, there's a new one coming up next week call Dai 3 Eyes.

I going to finish watching the 4 episodes of the crossover and then probably give up, which moves us onto Supermarkets.

The idea with a supermarket, is you put up aisles with shelves, as a customer, you walk up and down these aisles, put stuff into your trolley, pay and leave. The new Llansamlet Tesco store was obviously designed by the bastard son of an Ikea store planner on a bad day when he was suffering from inflamed piles. You go in, there are sideways aisles at the start, then front to back aisles at the back and then they put counters randomly in the middle of these aisles selling random things to block off the middle aisles that are at 90 degrees to the ones you are trying to find. 

I went round one of these counters about 14 times and went past the fresh bread so many times that it was out of date by the time I'd finished. I could see one product I wanted to buy, but no matter which direction I went in it always moved further away.

Once you've managed to navigate the first section after about a week, the rest seems normal-ish. Then you get to the end, there's a big huge sign on the wall in twelvty foot high letters that says Quench Your Thirst, under it they have crisps.

One part of the store appears to have created a Mobius band, I swear I saw people walking on the floor under me and then went round a corner and found the same people coming towards me.

Shopping is not the best experience in the world, come on Tesco, have a think about store layouts and make it easier, every little helps.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Shell Script stuff in Linux

I've wanted to make up a simple script that runs an update on my desktop and then either shuts down, reboots or continues depending on what parameters I add to the end.

Something like;

update reboot

update shutdown

or just update to install the updates and do nothing else.

I managed this with good old DOS many years ago and started to look up how to do this with Linux, I have to say that the vast majority of instructions are based up using foo and bar and are not the easiest things in the world to understand, here's one of the easier examples:

 $ mytest foo bar quux
   There are 3 arguments to mytest: foo bar quux
   first argument: foo
   second argument: bar
   third argument: quux
   here they are again: foo bar quux

I really can't work out how that helps me but it gave me a starting point.

So in plain language here's what I want to do, I've created a script with:

sudo nano /bin/mtupdate

The main part of the script checks for updates and installs the updates:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade -y
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade -y
sudo apt-get autoremove -y

It then goes onto check what additional parameters have been passed and this is the bit that caused me heartache.

So if I run mtupdate shutdown it does the above and then this bit

# checking for shutdown parameter
if [ "$1" = "shutdown" ]; then
echo "Shutting Down in 10 seconds"
# gives you a chance to change your mind
echo "Press CTRl+C to abort"
sleep 10
echo "Shutting Down"
# shuts down
shutdown -h now
else
if

Then it became harder as I wanted to check for a reboot parameter, to get it all in I had to do the following;

# checks for reboot parameter
if [ "$1" = "reboot" ]; then
echo "Rebooting in 10 seconds"
echo "Press CTRl+C to abort"
sleep 10
echo "Rebooting"
shutdown -r now
else

# checks for shut down parameter
if [ "$1" = "shutdown" ]; then
echo "Shutting Down in 10 seconds"
echo "Press CTRl+C to abort"
sleep 10
echo "Shutting Down"
shutdown -h now

else
# no parameters
clear
echo .
echo.

echo "Updates Completed, please reboot as soon as you can"

fi fi

You have to have a fi at the end for every if in the list


The end product looks like this:

# mtupdate reboot or shutdown
echo "Running Update"
apt-get update
echo "Running Upgrade"
apt-get upgrade -y
echo "Running Dist Upgrade"
apt-get dist-upgrade -y
echo "Running Cleanup"
apt-get autoremove -y
apt-get install -fy

# checking for reboot parameter
if [ "$1" = "reboot" ]; then
echo "Rebooting in 10 seconds"
echo "Press CTRl+C to abort"
sleep 10
echo "Rebooting"
shutdown -r now
else

# checking for shutdown parameter
if [ "$1" = "shutdown" ]; then
echo "Shutting Down in 10 seconds"
echo "Press CTRl+C to abort"
sleep 10
echo "Shutting Down"
shutdown -h now

else
# no parameters entered
clear
echo .
echo .
echo "Updates Completed, please reboot as soon as you can"
fi fi

To finish it off I ran 

sudo chmod +x /bin/mtupdate 

To make it executable

My suggestion to the people that write help stuff is to use a proper example, don't use foo bar quux as this means bugger all to people like me.

My next bit of scripting is going to revolve around taking two parameters and running something based on them, such as

mtbackup source destination

Where mtbackup runs something like rsync or cp or mv

I'll come to that next time round


Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Open Sump Surggery

The might Chevy went in for a major service today to those lovely people at Trostre Tyres. Apart from the service there were a few other concerns regarding a rattling noise and a noise the car makes on full lock. I dropped the car off at 09.00 and walked down to the local wetlands to waste a few hours. I was told I would get a call shortly advising me of any issues. I walked around and managed to get quite a few pictures in the bag but no call from the garage. It was now about 13.00 and I though I'd better give them a call to see how they were doing, the line was engaged, 5 minutes later it was still engaged. Let's try calling another number I thought, I dialled home, that was engaged, I dialled Virgin Mobile help that was engaged.  Bugger, I  thought, something's up with the network, I sent a txt off to my wife which she answered and she contacted Trostre Tyres. Apparently, they had been trying to get in touch with me to discuss an issue they had found on the car. By this time I had walked just over 4 miles and had about a 50 minute walk back to the garage. 

On the way there, the inner geek in me took over, I installed Skype as data was working fine, had to credit them with £10.00 and managed to call the garage up.

Turns out that the service was completed, but a rear cylinder was starting to leak and needed changing. I asked how much this was going to cost, they gave me a figure, I swore. I asked how much including the servicing costs and they said that was the price they had just given me. I unswore if that's a thing you can do.

I found this company a few years back through an advert for tyres, I would not go anywhere else to get work done. They are really good, not over the top in price and more importantly I trust them.

The service is all done on the mighty Chevy, it's good for another 10,000 miles and is going back to get the cylinder changed tomorrow. The worrying rattling was a lose heat shield on the exhaust and the power steering noise was air in the system.

Many thanks to the people at Troste Tyres for taking care of the Chevy again, I managed to do just under 6.5 miles walking and my feet and legs aren't that bad.

Here's a map of the walk and a link to download for Google Earth.


And finally, a link to some of the pictures taken.

Oh yes, my mobile finally started working at 16.15