Still busy

I’ve got the new toy working, but I’m not ready to show you any results yet. May take a day or two, as I’m a bit time-poor at the moment.
This morning – two doors painted with their first coat; sofa installed (after a struggle to get it in); rubbish taken to the tip. And there is still plenty of time to get more done yet.


Today’s achievements:

  • accountant spoken to and meeting arranged
  • speaking gig arranged
  • bank spoken to, no useful advantage gained
  • invoice raised
  • event applications processed
  • licensee assisted
  • planning application submitted
  • hair cut
  • carpet tiles completed and two doors hung (with assistance)
  • new toy purchased

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to play.


Thanks to the model of efficiency that is Dave, I now have the necessary drawings for the planning application for the new windows in my flat. I’ve just filled out the forms (in quadruplicate) and, aside from a couple of quick photocopies (well, three actually) of the site plan and elevations and the small matter of a cheque for £220, I’m ready to go.
With the delay of a week on the estate agents, the bookies are offering good odds on the planning consent coming in before the flat sale, particularly as the said fenestrologist (new word!) is determined to give it a push if he can. The spectators watch in awed amazement.


There’s nothing like retail therapy to cheer yourself up. In my case, I’m still at the planning stage with the retail therapy, but I’m still cheered up.
This morning, after visiting the council offices to get the forms I need for the windows planning application, I went to a couple of camera stores to try a few cameras out. I tried the Minolta Dimage Z2, the Olympus 760 UltraZoom and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ10B. I wanted to try the Kodax DX-6490, but nobody had one in stock.
The Olympus lost out straight away for two reasons – firstly, it has only 3.1 megapixels, which is probably less than would be ideal for me. But more importantly, the LCD was really quite small, which is a hindrance when a lot of what I’ll be doing will be in the macro range. It also lacks a hotshoe for a flash, which might be a problem if I subsequently decide that a flash would be useful for pro-amateur studio plant portraits. On the plus side, the Olympus was wonderfully small, so if you wanted a camera with a good zoom lens that would fit into a (large) pocket, then it would definitely be worth a look.
The Minolta also was dismissed reasonably quickly – firstly, I didn’t find the controls comfortable. Secondly, I didn’t like the general grip of the camera. Being left handed, I often grasp a camera in my left paw. This one is definitely designed for righties, with nothing much other than the lens to hold on the left side. I also thought that the LCD was a bit coarse.
The Panasonic was by far the best. Of course, it’s a little more expensive, so that is barely surprising. Although the reviews describe it as being huge, it isn’t frighteningly bulky. It’s roughly the same size as my current vintage Olympus OM-2n SLR, and is only a fraction of the weight. Big positives for me were the large LCD and viewfinder, both giving really good definition; the fairly easy grip and left-handed-friendliness of the camera, although a slightly sturdier right hand grip would have been useful; the ease of use – without reference to any manual or instruction from the sales assistant, I was able to grasp the basic controls in a matter of seconds – since Hels and I will want to use this camera for pleasure snaps as well as for work, this is an important consideration; and the lovely 12x optical zoom lens, which is fun in itself.
Of course, I’ve been doing my homework. I’ve read two in-depth reviews online, plus the reviews at Dealtime. I’ve also looked at the pictures posted at the Alive in Kyoto weblog – some of them are beautiful, and they give a good indication of the camera’s abilities, particularly in low light conditions. On that subject, the optical image stabilisation system is another strong plus factor for this camera.

I’ve also researched the price. The Jessops in-store price is £30 cheaper than their online price, and my local branch has one on the shelf. But I’ve found other online suppliers who can offer it for £45 less than that. But they don’t have it in stock. Jessops offer a "price promise" that says they will match any price on the High Street, but would that include online competitors? It did when I purchased the nursery’s Kodak DX-3900 from them – all I needed was a printout of the website with the URL on it. Anyone got any recent experience?

Fed up

I could write a long and not particularly interesting moan here at the moment, but to do so would leave me open to accusations of being an ungrateful, complaining, miserable git. I’d be less inclined to moan if certain people would undertake to fulfil the promises that they have made within the timeframe that they suggested without offering weak excuses and then getting on with their own thing, a thing that their weak excuse should preclude them from doing. As it is, I’m feeling cheesed off and a little under-supported.

It is strange that Hels and I often experience the same moods at the same time. She’s fed up too, and being 65 miles apart renders offering solace somewhat difficult. You can’t hug over the telephone, no matter how hard you try.

Anyway, it seems that the flat will not be finished, or even close, by the time the estate agents come round on Wednesday morning. For those that hadn’t realised, that is the source of my pissed-offness. Comments like "at least they’ll be able to see that the work is being done" do not help at all – the whole idea was to make the flat look its absolute best in order to make the best impression.
On the good news front, Greg has made available a sofa for loan that will look good in the living room, and give me something soft to sit on for the first time in weeks.

UPDATE: I’ve decided to defer the estate agents until after the weekend.

Ishkur’s Guide To Electronic Music

How handy! How confusing! Guaranteed to leave you with no idea what type of music it is that you are listening to, but written in such a way that you’ll have a good laugh finding out.
On IDM (a.k.a. Intelligent Dance Music):

This is the oddest named genre in the entire world, since it’s not easily danceable, it’s not certifiably intelligent, and it’s arguable as to whether it constitutes actual music. This is the realm of the uber-pretentious electronic music afficionados, with razor-thin eclectic tastes, who spend most of their waking energy arguing about what IDM is and what IDM isn’t. But I guess that depends on what your definition of "is" is. That’s why it’s the one genre that doesn’t have any kind of cohesive sound. That’s also why some of them despise the term "Intelligent Dance Music". So just ignore them. It is fun to listen to, after all.

Excuse me whilst I go and turn up my Amon Tobin album.

Chichester in the news

Major fire at Portsfield Peugeot – this is on the main road by the railway line, and both have been closed. Apparently train services are "very messed up" (technical term used by the guy in the ticket office at Barnham), which should make my journey to Tunbridge Wells later a little interesting.
Four injured in bus crash – for those familiar with Chichester Bus Station, you’ll feel, as I do, that this was just a matter of time. The drivers often drive recklessly and far too fast, in my opinion. From what I’ve heard, the bus didn’t stop as it approached the bus stand, went through the railing and into the front of the bus company office. Passengers would have been standing between the railing and the office, under the canopy, waiting for the bus. Maybe something will happen now to slow the buses down, although it would be a case of shutting the proverbial stable door.