My stupid Aintree idea…

It’s that time of year, now that spr…. hang on, haven’t I said that before?

But yes, it IS springtime, and it IS the Aintree festival. The time of year where I take a week off work, and the only time of the year where I line the bookmaker’s pockets.

I’ve just realised that I’ve put a tenner in my bookies’ account, instead of the minimum deposit (a fiver), so I have a little more cash in there than what I was expecting. Now, I could put it all on the big race tomorrow, but where would the fun be in that?

Let’s put a £1 bet on the five live races on Channel 4 today. But, I officially know nothing about racing. There have been times where I’ve won sweepstakes, but that’s luck of the draw.

How else would I pick the horses? Randomly? No, I have a system.

Long-time troll, Chad, used to live on our street, until almost two decades ago when he moved to Japan to take up teaching, drinking foreign beer, eating tomatoes, and presumably a secret career in professional karaoke. For some reason, his old telephone number is embedded in my brain, despite the fact I don’t think I ever rang him. After all, he was only five doors away.

So, I thought I’d use this otherwise-wasted 6 “bytes” of information in my brain, and put a bet on with the first five numbers (they’re only televising 5 of the seven races) of his telephone number. After all of the shite he’s given me over the years, it’s about time he gave something back. Therefore, todays betting slip looks like this…

bets

Well, I’d have only spent that fiver on crap records and beer anyway.

UPDATE: Well, the Topham Chase is next, which is the one over the big fences. So far, I’ve had a faller and 2 2nd places. It’s not looking good.

So, you have an Active Card…

Are you one of the lucky ones that own an Active Card, issued to you by Hartlepool Council? I bet you’ve noticed the T is a dancer. Oh, so minimal and so fresh! How modern!

active1

Stop right there. It’s a breast. A bazonga. Mummy’s airbags. Whatever you want to call them. Think I’m wrong? Let’s photoshop out the fluff.

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See it now? No?

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You’re welcome.

LED arrives at Mercuryvapour Towers

OH dear. It’s as if the future landed on my doorstep, and I didn’t really want it to. Yes, it’s almost inevitable, that the leafy street that leads up to Mercury vapour Towers, and it’s gravel driveway, will no longer be lit by mercury. The transition to LED from the traditional lantern has been much quicker than I expected, and it’s almost… ALMOST lighting up my doorstep.

Seeing as I’ll probably never publish this post, I might as well describe the actual street that MV Towers resides on. It’s a 1940s/50s cul de sac, which until 2005, was illuminated by one Revo Moseley cast iron column, which was installed when the road was built. In 2005, the council installed a new lighting column at roughly the bottom third of the row, to cast light on the otherwise dark square. Both lanterns were Philips Streetfighter SGS101s, as was the tradition at the time. The council seemed to get batches of different lanterns and use them as general replacements.

In 2012, the streetfighter outside of my house got converted to a mercury. I won’t go into how and why this happened, but it did. Similarly, some time after, the other Streetfighter also received a mercury lamp. Nearby lanterns also received CDM lamps,leaving a white-light trail up the road.

In 2014, Hartlepool council began to replace their entire lantern stock with LED, starting off with the estates. The rules were, any column under 20 years old were to be relamped with LED lanterns, anything older would be replaced

Hundreds, if not thousands of lanterns were removed on the estates, replaced with Urbis Axia lanterns. The older (or concrete) columns stayed in their place, retaining their old lanterns. For now.

As of the time I type this, the replacement of new column lanterns is still taking place, and as far as I know, there’s not been a widespread replacement of columns. I say this, as of December 27th, and my passing of the concrete Mercuries off Oxford Road, they were still there and retaining their GEC Z5590s. I assume, that when they finish the mass replacement of the lanterns, the council will start on the 2nd phase, and begin to replace the elderly columns.

This, if you’ve been paying attention is where it has significance for me, as on 12th January, at about 10:42, the new Philips Streetfighter got removed, and is now replaced with one of the Urbis Axias. As it’s still on an old column, the first Streetfighter remains intact. For now.

For my own records, and seeing as I’ll probably never publish this, the rest of the nearby street (that road beginning with R, just in case I do publish it) was relamped on 19th January. Oddly, this is the first time on this day, that the webcam ever malfunctioned, yet still managed to record an image. 19/1/15 07:25:29 – the image has JPEG corruption on it, but not through the entire picture. The next picture taken was at 7:37:09. I’m not sure if the machine rebooted, but a number of the lanterns in the picture had power cycled and were just coming back on. I was out of the house by this point, and on my way to Employment Palace, so I’d have never seen this, or known what happened. What I do know is that column 6 in R-road, carrying a ZX1 and a CDM lamp had been off most of the night, as the lamp had failed, and would only remain on for a small period of time, had its final restrike. It fired back up, and was switched off shortly after by its sensor. At 06:53, it switched off for its final time. At 10:11, this particular lantern was replaced. The rest of the road’s lanterns were also replaced in this time period. It signified the end.

The end of street lighting as I know it. Or rather, the beginning.

Something I noticed entirely by accident, while looking through the webcam photos is that the lights dim just after midnight and brighten up again at around 5AM, give or take 10 minutes. This intrigues me. I’ve seen videos where these lights dim, but I’ve never seen it for myself. The wqay that is apparently hard coded into the lanterns is that it reduces brightness slowly over a period of about five minutes, which would make sense. I suppose if the light is right outside your window, you don’t want a sudden flash of brightness.

I’ve emailed Andrew to see if he can shed any light (ha ha) on this, but as of yet, he hasn’t responded. I’m interested to learn more.

Scribbler’s Laid a Big Juicy Bah Mitzvah

Yes, as you sit at home, reading this whole pile of complete bollocks, I’m sure you’ll ind it hard to believe that right now, I’ve been doing this for 13 years. Take it in. 13 years. November 4th is the 13th anniversary of Scribbler’s Laid a Big Juicy Log.

I’d like to say I had something planned for this milestone, but I don’t. I’d literally just looked at my watch and realised it was the day before the anniversary, so in order to have something published on the exact date (November 4th), I cobbled this together.

Naturally, I didn’t expect it to be a part of my life some 13 years later. I normally have the attention span of a goldfish, so the fact I’ve kept a project going for this amount of time is astonishing to me.

Impending doom, aka, server move…

I’ve been informed by my lovely webhosts that the site is going to be moved to a new host some time in the next week or so, which may mean a small bit of downtime. Of course, it doesn’t really matter, as nobody actually reads this anymore, but last time there was a server move, everything fell to bits, and it took me ages to get back up and running.

Hopefully, this won’t be the case, but if the site suddenly stops working, I’ve not bailed, I’ll just fix it “when I can be bothered”…

A sad death to report.

Bah, I’ve been blogging for less than 24 hours, and I’m already swinging the scythe around. Thankfully, this isn’t the death of an actual person / animal / cellular structure, more an inanimate object. An inanimate object that I loved very much. I’m sad to announce the death of my big Canon camera, or rather the lens that came with it. It met a sad demise at 11AM yesterday morning when it lost a fight with the landing floor.

Annoyingly I was in the middle of preparing for my first proper photoshoot with it. I’d arranged with Gary F, Jamie S and Andy D, to take some photos of the vintage car rally that is brought to Hartlepool every year or so. For many years, I’d wanted to go for many years but unfortunately, other commitments (usually work) stopped me from attending. This year, I obviously didn’t have that to worry about, which meant I had the ideal opportunity to go and point the camera at brightly colured, shiny vehicles.

The morning started out a logistical nightmare to begin with. Jamie S’s car is off the road. Gary was coming to pick me up, but Jamie S also wanted to go. Fair enough. I send a text to arrange the slight change of travel plans.

Text: “Can you pick Jamie S up on the way?”
Reply: “You were meant to send that to Gary, not me”.

Yup. Turns out I’d sent a text to Jamie S, asking to pick himself up. Today was going to be a long day.

So, I go about preparing stuff, dusting down the big camera. Everything was OK. Ship shape, as it were.Gary arrives at the bottom of the long, gravel driveway that leads up to Mercuryvapour Towers. I grab the big camera, and on my way out of the door I think “oooh, I’ll take the little camera too”. I dash upstairs and realise I already had it, it was in my pocket. Gah, wasted trip. On my way out of the SLABJL office, Gary rings me, and in the juggle between answering phone and swinging unweildy camera bag about, the camera leaves the bag, and hits the carpeted, yet still hard, landing floor. “Whoops”, I thought, but the camera has survived harder falls than this. I bundle the whole lot back into the bag, and head off to the car rally. I switch on the camera. It doesn’t “sound” right. And it didn’t automatically focus either. Instead, it would judder around for a bit, the focus would attempt to fix itself, failing miserably. Sigh, the lens was dead. I lugged the camera around with me for the whole 2 hours we were there, knowing I was carrying what I’d class as a “dead relative”. We got back to the car, and I’d take a closer look at my deceased camera.

It wasn’t pretty. I’d tried to zoom in a few times, the lens jammed, I looked through the viewfinder, and was confronted with a broken image, as if part of the glass had shattered. Well, that was that. It was all over… maybe.

I get home, to inspect the damage. The first step was to remove the lens… and something fell out… THIS.

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Now, I’m not expecting any help from this blog directly, but I’m a member of a few photography sites which I’ll add this to, in the hope of knowing what its purpose is. All I know is that it fell out. The lens is just the standard stock / kit lens that comes with the EOS 450D. Here’s what the ITPC data has to say about it.

Lens Type Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS

Anyway, something was clearly broken. While the lens was out, I gave the focus / zoom a go. It didn’t jam up. I looked through it, and it appeared to look normal. No broken glass. I took a photo of Daddykins. It worked. Wow. Obviously, my lens was missing a part, yet still “functional”. Or so I thought.

Obviously, I had to try this out a bit more. I’m sure if I’d lost some of my internal connections, I’d act slightly retarted (What, more than usual? – Ed). Shut up. I went out into the back garden, and the results weren’t pretty. The normally “smooth-for-a-kit-lens” auto focus would judder and jolt, rather like a floppy drive hitting a bad sector, the sounds were similar. Your eyes, using the viewfinder might only pick up the centre of the image. It’s not until you view it through the computer that you get the extent of the damage….

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As my ex-work colleague Spence would say, in his own unique style… “Fuck, shit, piss”. Yup, something was shot. I contacted Andy D and asked if I could try his lens on my camera. I’m pleased to say it passed with flying colours. Or, at least the few shots I’d taken with it appeared to be OK. It means, that the loose part must have came from the lens (unless you know different?) and I’ll have no problems shopping for a new bit of glass.