Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Return of Fitted Wardrobes. I Wish. by O. Reader

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post here on the earth-shattering subject of Fitting Wardrobes. I ended that post talking about Murphy’s law... But I never honestly dreamed it would turn out like that.

We’d cleared our bedroom for a carpet to go down, and the fitted wardrobes that served us for over thirty years had been rendered into little bits (well, sufficient to pack into the car for five journeys to the municipal skip). All was then waiting for a company called IKEA to come and fit new wardrobes up to the ceiling and around the corner of the room, and then, surrounded by luxury, we would recline before starting on the guest bedroom next door.

Nothing could go wrong, could it? Well (using my best Jane Austen impersonation) dear reader, IT JOLLY WELL DID!

The men came and started unpacking and re-measuring and pronounced that we were one lousy centimetre (half an inch) out. It was sufficient to abort the whole installation. It appears that corner units require a fraction more space than it says on the box, and anyway, a miner’s cottage that is over 130 years old is not blessed with straight walls. Now I knew the latter from my early futile attempts to paste patterned paper on the walls. But this was disaster.

Had I been a bit younger I would have taken a lump hammer and knocked off some plaster, and hammered the wardrobes into place. I kid you not. Something like that was done in the spare bedroom... But this did not make for a very happy Mr and Mrs Occasional.

So the men departed and the next day we travelled down to the IKEA store and organised the redesign, which sort of takes out some sliding doors and puts extra mirror doors in, so our bedroom will now resemble the last scenes from Orson Welles’ Lady from Shanghai - and will leave a 50 cm gap at one end. Actually if it leaves a 50 cm gap I will spit! - because that would mean the original plan would have fitted. So, presumably a 49 cm gap, which we can plug with a clothes stand or Mrs O’s guitar or my Laurel and Hardy DVDs - or something.

But IKEA’s special deal of building things for just 25% on the price is heavily oversubscribed. So the first date they could return to do the job was about six weeks away. Actually you would not believe it, but on the same day my daughter and son in law are arriving to stay for a few days. They are basically coming to take us out for a meal and a folk music concert for our anniversary.

You just would not believe (I’m repeating myself) how much stuff came out of our bedroom. I try and remonstrate with Mrs O, but there’s a saying about people in glass houses not throwing stones... So a mountain high of bedroom contents is currently piled up in the guest room, apart from what is covering the living room floor. Because now of course there are no wardrobes to put it all in. I have rustled up a wonky rail used when camping, but we’ve had a month of stumbling over boxes, not finding any clothes, and - until we struggled to get our bed back amongst the boxes - sleeping on blow-up beds on the living room.

So there will shortly come a day when the workmen will arrive and build our cupboards. Assuming nothing goes wrong - (insert maniacal laughter) - they will finish about 4 pm. We then have to clear the other bedroom floor and fill our wardrobes before the family arrive that same night. And I’m supposed to be speaking at a meeting that night too. I think we are going to need that special meal and show the next day. And a stiff drink. Or two.

The Brits use a slightly cruder expression to Murphy’s law, with an extended meaning. Murphy’s law suggests that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. The Brits expression carries the idea that it will ALWAYS go wrong and at the worst possible time.

Still, I’m not a fatalist. And even if I were, what could I do about it...?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

No-one will miss it.

Russian trolls were using a blog post from May 2010 as an entry point to this blog. I've taken it down. It was so old, no one will miss it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

CGI and the art of imagining


            I’m fascinated by CGI videos and artwork. I have no talent in that direction, and I have no time to learn the art. But I like the concept. I admire well done computer generated artwork. Some of it is story telling at its best. I use an occasional piece as a story prompt or to illustrate story telling. Children are visually oriented, far more than they were when I was nine or ten.
            One of those I use is a short film titled “Soar.” I identify with the ‘large size’ girl. I’d have been a pilot if a health issue hadn’t stood in the way. I wanted to soar, even if only a few feet off the ground. Alas it didn’t happen

            I use a game video in my high-school writers’ class. The game itself, League of Legends, is a shoot-em-up adventure filled with trolls and insult. It’s not a fun game, and the graphics are poor. But the CGI videos based on the game are good. The best of these is New Dawn. It tells a well-crafted story. The characters are cartoon realistic, if you know what I mean. I ask my class to observe the details, quizzing them about them after viewing the video. We relate what we see to story writing. There are others I like to, but probably they’re stand alone subjects.
            One of my friends sent me a link to work by someone (dunno if it’s a guy or girl) who publishes online using a nickname. I’m not posting the name on this blog. We’re mostly PG here, and some few young people come here. Curiosity would lead them where they probably should not go. SLE (we’ll call the artist that.) has posted work for about ten years. One can see his work go from fairly crude to pretty damn good. His best work involves fantasy creatures, bunny people.
            He hasn’t mastered the art of flexi hair, but he knows how to make an engaging face. Edited from one of his CGI videos is this face. It’s not the entire screen shot. I censored it for this blog. Besides, while he does butts well too, that’s not the point of this post

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Vacation ... from Harry

(But not horseflies)

My wife had promised the twins a vacation at the beach this year before school starts. So a week ago we drove to the Eastern Shore. The Eastern Shore is a peninsula that starts in Maryland, but is mostly in Virginia. On its east coast is the Atlantic Ocean and on the west is the Chesapeake Bay. At one time you either drove down through Maryland or took a ferry from Norfolk. Now the trip is quicker, crossing the bay on the 17-mile long Bay Bridge Tunnel. Two tunnels allow shipping to sail unimpeded into Hampton Rhodes and up to Baltimore.

We rented a cabin at a RV campground where we have a membership, but have never been to before. The first evening we had a tremendous storm that we rode out in comfort. The next day we went to the pool. The twins loved it. We stayed in the water despite its temperature being less than one would expect in August. What finally drove us out were the midges, or black flies.

Simulium callidum are known by many names, but I swear they are minions of the elder God Cthulhu sent to torture and torment man, biting him fiercely with razor sharp mandible and drawing blood before the pain begins. They swarmed our car and us. Once we got into it, we frantically tried to get them out. They were fast and agile. Demons that materialized, drew blood, and vanished before you could strike back. The second day I finally dispatched one back to the hell that spawned him and I felt I had won a fight with a bear.

And the black flies,
the little black flies
Always the black fly
no matter where you go
I'll die with the black fly
a-pickin' my bones.

"The Black Fly Song" by Wade Hemsworth, 1949

We didn't just battle black flies on the second day. We drove north along the coast to Wallops Island, which is the site of a small, but important NASA launch facility. We toured the visitor center and bought freeze-dried "Astronaut" Ice cream.

Other than the black flies our only disappointment was that the campground had no beach. We were surrounded by mud flats. Maggie wanted to build a sand castle and play in the ocean surf. So on our third day my daughter and I took Maggie to Chincoteague Island, home to the ponies made famous by the book "Misty of Chincoteague". Wild horses have populated the barrier island of Assateague since the 1600s. Their ancestors were believed to be cargo in a Spanish galleon that shipwrecked off the Virginia coast. The Chincoteague volunteer firefighters hold an annual roundup of horses and auction a number as a fundraiser every year. The pony penning dates back to the early 1800s, but it became an annual fundraising event to the firefighters in 1924. The herd now is own by the fire department and lives protected on the National Wildlife area on Assateague.

We went to the beach and Maggie started her sand castle, but the allure of the sea was too strong. She spent the next hour playing in the surf and having the time of her life. I sat in my beach chair and got more sun than my bloated, pale body can handle. Before we left, Maggie got to ride a pony and her mother promised her riding lessons in the future.

Well that was our vacation. We packed up that night and checked out in the morning, but not before one final swim in the pool with the twins. We had one last stop planned, but the traffic was horrible once we reached the mainland so we slowly drove home. School starts after Labor Day and new adventures await Corbin and Maggie.