Monthly Archives: June 2005

We're Losin' Power Cap'n!

Whilst about to prepare my first espresso of the morning, I noticed a flash in the sky; many more followed in a silent (and distant) storm. All of a sudden we got one closer to home – and out went the lights (it's been a very dark day). My UPSs soldiered on for five minutes and then we lost everything – Internet connection, weather station – the lot.

A fairly widespread outage – Kadina was affected, which is not usually the case when we lose power – took about three hours to rectify. My wife and I got extremely bored, although I had the entertainment of getting the generator going so that we would have running water at least.

Ah, the generator; I thought it was using a lot of fuel the last time I ran it; this is no surprise as the fuel hose had softened at both ends and had been oozing (unbeknown to me). Today the hose fell off, spraying petrol everywhere; luckily the engine was not yet hot. I managed to make a repair using a length of automotive fuel hose and some proper (screw up) hose clamps. I'm going to speak to the retailer and try to get hold of the details of the importer – this is clearly defective, dangerous, and should probably be bounced to Trading Standards to get a product recall going before someone tries to get electricity and ends up with a major fire.

My wife had the delight of her lunchtime soup re-heated on the emergency gas stove; I'm just hoping that I don't have to find out how to use it to finish of a half-roasted chicken; we've got plenty of spare gas cannisters, but…

Roast Lamb

Roast Lamb

For a long, long time, I did not like roast lamb; I still find the smell very off-putting unless the meat is roasted with at least its own weight in garlic. However, I have managed to make roast lamb edible for my very fussy tastes.

Starting with a boned section of lamb loin, I trim down to lean meat (dogs get the skin and love it!), flatten, apply thick layer of crushed garlic and fresh rosemary, roll and roast. Even I have to say that the result is very tasty although I still like my lamb camouflaged by a sauce.

Picture shows the roulade sliced, and served on a bed of steamed Chinese cabbage, with Bruxelles sprouts. (Select image to see closer detail)

The Mote in God's Eye

Front cover of The Mote in Gods Eye

It's a long time since I last read "The Mote In God's Eye" which is good – I had forgotten much of it and took great delight in re-discovering one of my all-time SciFi favourites. Niven and Pournelle handle the old issue – first contact with aliens – in an original and credible manner.

Sadly, my old paperback copy is disintegrating and now has to be read in five unbound chunks; a book of this length is probably best in hardback, assuming that one is going to keep re-reading it as much as I do with my books. I'm fairly certain that a sequel was written, although I have, as yet, been unable to track it down. If anyone can tell me the title, please post a comment!

Staying in the Niven/Pournelle vein for a while, I have now started on Footfall – another book I can't recall in detail, having only read it the once before. I will report back when I've finished.

Update: thanks to Phil for enlightening me on the sequel (see comments).

Mmm, Beer…

Having nearly run out of beer, I have finally got my act together and now have two batches on the go; one, my "St. Steven's Ale" (first made on the feast of Steven), a potent, dark winter warmer with Fuggles hops and the other, all light malt, Saaz hops and the zest and juice of lemon.

I am currently waiting for the epoxy to set on a new addition to the brewing rig – a 1-Wire® temperature sensor, which I am hooking into my weather system.

Fergus Lends A Hand

Fergus the tractor carrying bottles

I make beer and plan to be planting vines this year so that I can also make wine; one of the more arduous tasks is cleaning and moving around bottles. A couple of days ago, I built a kind of three-point-linkage forklift for “Fergus”, my tractor; now moving bottles is oh, so easy!

The large boxes in the picture are the sanitised and capped champagne bottles that I use for my beer; the wine bottles we have saved and collected from the in-laws against the day when I’ve got something to put in them.

WordPress Patches

In my previous post, I gave details of the changes to PHP code to improve the accessibility of the edit/comment links.

To make life easier, I have prepared patches for the files; first change directory to where the file to be patched lurks, copy file x.php to file x.php.old, then apply the patches:

cat mypatchfile.patch | patch -p0

Non-Unix patch users: please refer to your documentation.

I have also created a patch for quicktags.js, as described in this previous post.

The Wet

Rain in the back yard

After a meagre 20mm of rain all year, a whole 10mm fell today.

Centre-right of the image, my AAG Weather Instrument can just be seen poking up above the fence.