Sunday, October 30, 2011

I think I've finally worked out why Peppa Pig is so popular; I saw this in a bookshop today:

Top-shelf magazines for three year olds

On further inspection it turned out to be a Bumper Activity Book. I had been almost worried for a second.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Another Brief Snippet From the Screenplay of my Life

(Clutching a small plastic tool-case
full of small plastic tools.)

Me got toolcase. I make something.


What are you going to make?




Monday, October 24, 2011

Drawers for Windows 3.11

This afternoon I finished a job that has been hanging around for a year or so. The bottom drawer of Merriol's chest of drawers has now finally had all the veneer replaced and new cockbeading run round the edge. It's not perfect but she has been without the thing for a long time and has recently been dropping really heavy hints:

"I don't care what it looks like - I WANT IT BACK!"

After last week's week of solitude when Merriol and the kids went down to Sheffield and let me watch rubbish horror films get on with some of the jobs that needed doing round here, I have finally got a grip on the guddle that is my workshop and can start to turn the tide of half-finished projects that is constupating it.

One of them was the drawer.

Tonight Daisy helped me bring it upstairs and put it in place. It isn't heavy I just enjoyed the 'help'. We slid it into the space. It stuck. The front edge protruded about 50mm into the room. We slid it out and looked in the carcass. Nothing there. We slid it back into position and tried again. It stuck again with the same 50mm protruding.

"Now why the hell isn't that going in?" I asked.
"Well it hasn't been in for a long time," said Daisy helpfully. "Maybe it doesn't recognise it."

Spends far too much time on the computer does that child.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I am a happy man.

Last month my mum and dad bought me a digital projector for my birthday. Last week I ceiling mounted the thing under the balcony in our stupidly tall living room. Today I found (in a skip at the local recycling centre) a projection screen big enough to make use of it.

It took me about five minutes, a small piece of gaffer tape, and a large brass washer to fix the problem which had presumably got it thrown away in the first place. A bit of sorting of plugs and cables in the dangerous cable place behind all the electronics stacked in the space under the stairs* and we all settled down for tonight's regular Friday Night Family Film (with pizza) looking up at a 1.5m wide image thrown at it over our heads from the ceiling mounted projector. It is as close a simulacrum of a real cinema as I'm ever going to achieve, unless my Premium Bonds come up, and I loved it.

Daisy showed people to their seats. Next week she's going to have a box with choc ices in it slung round her neck.

There's something very special to me about looking UP at a cinema screen. Most films these days are consumed at home or in steeply raked cinemas where, more often than not, you are looking down on the screen or at least you're at at eye-level with it. Which is a pity. There's something very magical about being forced to look up at the action. If you think about it, churches and other places of transcendental entertainment are always designed to make you look up. All those high arches, splendid ceilings, crucifixes mounted high up on the walls. You worship kneeling down and heaven and god are up above you. The priest mounts a pulpit before he speaks. 'Lift your eyes and look to the heavens' Isaiah 40:26. There's something about human brains that gets all mystical when it's tilted back for a long time. Or, if not mystical, then certainly suggestible. This is why the stars of Hollywood's golden era(s) were worshipped. The audience were assuming the body postures of supplicants and this influenced the way they perceived what happened in front of their eyes**.

And big screens are great too because you have to move your eyes. With a television, even a large one most of what is happening on screen can be seen at a glance. With a big screen you have to move your eyes to find out what is happening. On a really big screen you have to turn your whole head. In the days when Real Cinemas ruled the world and screens were the size of football pitches stood on their side, people could get serious neck injuries from keeping up with the action.

Okay, here's an example. Standard head-on shot of two people sat in the front of a car driving along. Suspend your disbelief and put aside your knowledge that they are in fact in a car that is being towed, and there is a film crew sat on the bonnet (possibly in a large black tent to stop refection in the windscreen). You're watching two people, in a car, having a conversation. The director doesn't cut away from this angle for a long time. On a TV this is a pretty boring shot. There's two people staring out at you, you stare back, they're talking. On a large screen you can't look at both of their faces at the same time. You have to choose. As the conversation goes on you turn your attention from one face to another, and you don't necessarily look at the person who is doing the talking. As in real life you want to see (if you are at all interested) what the other person is thinking about what he is being told. By doing this, by turning your head, choosing which face to look at, you become a participant in the film instead of a mere observer.

I like being in the movies.

*From top to bottom: Record deck, Sky box, Amp., CD player, Cassette deck, MiniDisc player, audio switching box, DVD player, VHS player, and a PS2. Unplugged at the moment but contributing to the guddle are a Betamax player, a Nintendo 64, and a Sega Dreamcast - there's also an unidentified silvery box lurking back there which may be another satellite decoder; I'm scared to look. Add the three extension cables that this lot hang off, and all the cables for the possibly defunct TV amplification/distribution scheme Len and I built into this house some years ago (theoretically we should be able to pipe anything going into the TV to all the rooms upstairs), and you can see why I only go back there after telling people where I'm going and how long I expect to be. "If I'm not back in twenty minutes tie a rope to one of the kids and send them in after me."

I really must make a schematic of it all one day.

Remembering what combination of knobs and switches you need to twiddle on the front can be a bit daunting too.

** I realise this argument falls flat on its arse as soon as you mention the word 'balcony' but I like it.

Missing CD? Contact vendor

Free CD
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in removing from cover.

Copyright (c) 2004-2007 by me, Liam Baldwin. That's real copyright, not any 'creative commons' internet hippy type thing.

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