Posted Dec 8, 2016
Today is the traditional day for people from the country to come to Dublin to do their Christmas Shopping.
In the old days, it was a day off work for many people and all the schools in the country were closed due to it being a Catholic holy day (the Feast of Immaculate Conception of Mary*).
At a time when you could buy all your Christmas presents in one day, thousands of rural people would take a trip to the big city to do their shopping, and true Dubliners would keep away from the city centre due to the crowds.
Times have changed - every day is a shopping day and people living in the countryside can order on-line the same as everybody else - but I still think that many country folk will make the trip today.
* Mary was supposed to be the only person after Adam and Eve who was conceived without the stain of original sin on her soul. All the rest of us are flawed from the start. Today is 9 months before the traditional birthday of Mary, on 8 September.
Posted Nov 25, 2016
I'm moving office. My company has decided that the complex we're in, which was built between 1940 and 1985, is costing a lot to heat and maintain. They'll save money by demolishing it and starting again. So 2,000 of us are being moved to a new office in an out-of-the-way place for the next 4 years.
At the moment it takes me 50 minutes to get to work. I think it will take an extra 30 to the new location. That'll be more than two and a half hours a day commuting. Still, that will include about 2 hours of walking which will be good for me.
I could drive and get there in far less time, but I wouldn't get any exercise at all then. I could also cycle which would be too much exercise in too short a time. I haven't cycled for about 30 years.
Next year when the cross-city tram is finished, I'll be able to reduce the walking time a bit.
I've been 30 years working in this building, except for one year in a building a hundred yards down the road. I've kind of got used to it.
Linking in h2g2
Posted Nov 7, 2016
Dmitri made a comment the other day that he can't publish links to conversations because it is not technically possible.
I realised that I know a thing or two about the workings of h2g2 which don't appear to be documented anywhere so I started experimenting. I now know how to do any of the following:
1. Put a link in a GuideML entry to another entry.
2. Put a link in a conversation to an entry.
3. Put a link in a conversation to the start of another conversation.
All of these can be done in a way that will work in any skin (Goo, Plain, Brunel, Alabaster or Pliny).
There are a few other things I can do which don't work in every skin:
- put a link in a conversation to the end of another conversation (doesn't work in Pliny)
- put a link in an entry to any part of a conversation (doesn't work in Pliny
- put a different type of link in an entry to any part of a conversation (doesn't work in anything except Pliny)
I'm still experimenting on links in entries to conversations, so I may eventually come up with something that works in all skins.
Musical Theory and ancient Cephalods
Posted Sep 20, 2016
Long ago I came up with an idea for explaining musical chords to aspiring guitarists. It was a wheel with 12 spokes, and I wrote the names of the notes around the outside, the order C, G, D, A, E etc, that is going up in fifths. Inside this, I wrote the relative minors: Am, Em, Bm etc, so that Am was inside of C, Em was inside of G etc.
I showed this to someone and they said "Oh that's just the Circle of Fifths". So someone had thought of it before.
It always irked me that when you get as far as C# and notes like that, you don't know whether to call them C sharp or D flat. Guitarists don't care which name you use, but other musicians can get very narky - "A D flat isn't the same as a C sharp!". I'm sure there are solid theoretical reasons for this, and I even now know some of them, but when you're a guitarist banging out chords you don't care.
Then over the weekend an idea occurred to me. Why not make a spiral and divide it into 12 using 12 spokes? The notes spiral around in fifths and by the time you get to C#, it is on the same spoke as Db. I've dubbed this new creation the "Ammonite of Fifths" because that's what it looks like.
Back to School
Posted Sep 12, 2016
My daughters are starting back to college today.
Iz is into her fourth and final year for her degree in costume making for stage and screen. El is starting a PhD in the history of church music in Ireland in the 18th Century.