Monthly Archives: September 2011

Le Dormeur téméraire..

It’s funny the things that pop in to your head when the only option on telly is The Football Factory.  The painting in this picture is by René Magritte, and it lives in the Tate Modern in London.  I remember seeing it on a school trip there and being fascinated by it for some reason.

Indeed, had my hapless school not lost swathes of art folders in the immediate aftermath of our GCSE examinations I might even still possess numerous interpretations of sections of it I did myself in a variety of mediums.

Even now the image flits into my mind on occasions, if it does so when I’m sat near a device that can access the Internet (which is increasingly all-the-fricking-time!) then I’ve been known to search for it – except I could never remember what it was called.

I searched for things like ‘René Magritte Man in Box‘ or ‘René Magritte lead tablet‘ – more desperate attempts like ‘list of René Magritte paintings‘ or ‘René Magritte paintings with a bowler hat‘ – there’s a lot of those.

Why I thought about it today I’m not sure – but a simple tracing of where I’d seen it saw me search for both artist and location – ‘René Magritte paintings in the Tate Gallery‘ on Google Image search will yield the very image I had pondered.  It’s the number one result, no less.

As yet I remain undecided as to whether this rediscovery has released literally years of mild frustration, or eroded the mystique of an unattainable memory that – now unlocked – doesn’t really have masses of merit or impact on my every day life.

It still is a really fascinating painting though, so I’m happy to reacquaint myself with the details of it that had become distorted in my mind.  I do like Rene Magritte – and I can be a reckless sleeper, hell, I’m typing this at 12:55 in the morning and I have to be up and ready for work in a few hours.  Is that recklessness or simply a bit of insomnia?  Who knows?

Whilst expanding my search I found an interesting interpretation of the symbolism utilising the wondrous and generally perverted medium of Freud.  That brings about a whole new memory set in itself – jeez, as someone who didn’t study psychology until sitting in one of my first lectures at university to be told be delivered a rather startling summary of basic Freud was, to my innocent mind, rather shocking.

Then again, it would be reckless to sleep over assorted genitalia, a portal between the conscious and unconscious, knowledge, enlightenment and emasculation.  Incidentally, the blog I stumbled across that had also referenced The Reckless Sleeper / Le Dormeur téméraire is a personal account of a sufferer of Narcolepsy, and makes for really interesting reading – one in two thousand people are thought to suffer from it.  That’s not all that uncommon.

As well as fulfilling the main aim of satisfying my own selfish curiosity – at least now if somebody else searches on the kinds of keywords that I was using to try to identify the painting, once Google unleashes the spiders on this blog post, they might actually find what they’re looking for.

If this whole exercise has proven a little too self-centred and uninteresting for you, then the picture below will cheer you up.  If it doesn’t, you have no soul.

I wish our birdies did this!

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And now your conversion is complete..

I suppose it was only ever going to be a matter of time before I made the switch from a PC at home to a Mac.  I’ve been flirting with Apple fandom for a number of years – perhaps following the classic route of iPhone/iPod – then graduating to iPad before finally taking the plunge this week and – after a spell of saving I might add – getting my grubby mits on a Macbook Air.

To say it’s pretty and lovely and a delight to behold and use kinda goes without saying – but it has actually been a steeper learning curve than I expected given the legendary “so simple to use” rhetoric that follows OS X around with it.

I’m a pretty experience Windows user, I’ve dabbled with Linux too – whilst not an uber-geek, I do know my way around computer systems.  Command line exercises don’t scare me, and I do quite like getting under the skin of things to make them work (within reason, and less so these days compared to when I was a bit younger and perhaps more time rich).  So to be honest, I didn’t think I’d have too much trouble getting to grips with my new toy.

In truth, it’s not been that tough – in fact, the only serious hacking I’ve needed to do has been hacking into my router to make a change to the samba configuration to make sure that my Mac can both read AND write to the NAS (which is in NTFS format).  Since we have Windows machines at home too we need the NAS to co-exist with them too.

A bit of preparation time before getting the Mac saw me move my iTunes library to the NAS, so transferring this over has been a doodle – keeping my playlists and play counts intact.  Moving my iPhone and iPad backups over was painless too – both are now merrily associated with the new machine, the old Windows laptop reauthorised and awaiting some new function I’ve yet to decide.  Currently the iPod – newly Macintosh formatted – is having the entire music library copied to it – surprisingly quickly!

The biggest learning curve for me I think will be the assorted gestures and keyboard shortcuts – for somebody who is used to trackpads with assorted buttons and maybe the option to tap it, the idea of just a blank pad was a bit daunting – until you realise you can scroll with two fingers, drag with three, pinch like on an iPhone to zoom in/out as well as a myriad of other commands.  Little things like having no delete key are a headfuck at first, then you realise fn and backspace does that – and you do kinda thing, you know what? That makes sense!

I do think I’m going to enjoy the transition – if nothing else, the sloooooow syncing from the Windows laptop with the iTunes library on the network is no more, it’s a speedy process now.  Job one was sorting out iTunes and my assorted iOS devices – now it’s a case of acclimatising and learning the nifty shortcuts that I suspect are lauded as intuitive because once you do become accustomed to them they become second-nature.

That’s okay though, I spend a lot of time fiddling around online so I’m sure I can develop those skills – although I remain unconvinced of the claims I’ve heard that things are so intuitive that even a complete computer novice could get themselves up and running in no time.  Maybe that’s because I’m so engrained in the world of Windows in its various recent iterations?

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How to save a life..

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Interesting mix of things… on Friday I found out I could potentially save someone’s life – which is a bit of a no-brainer really, isn’t it?

Back in May last year our local BBC ran a feature where a young lad called Joel Picker Spence had been taking the mic and presenting. It was quite heartwarming to hear a precocious and articulate 6 year old do such a great jib whilst I was driving to work.

It wasn’t until later it transpired that Joel had died back in 2008 – taken by Leukaemia – a suitable donor had been found to help him, but too late – meaning he never reached his seventh birthday. A really moving and brilliant piece of broadcasting from the local BBC team.

Tagged on to this was an appeal in Joel’s name to register as a donor with the Anthony Nolan trust – with a sign-up session in Nottingham’s council house. I duly went along, as did 127 other people, and signed up. I felt good to have done so, but must admit that it had passed from my mind.

Until Friday. I had an email informing me I’m a likely match for a patient – I obviously got back in touch to initiate the next steps, and the Anthony Nolan team have sent me a kit to take to the Queens Medical Centre a week on Monday. This basically gives them suitable samples of my blood to absolutely confirm a match.

In semi-amateur style I then get my blood back to put in a special delivery envelope and post back to the Trust – which is no problem, but you’d kinda expect the hospital to process it wouldn’t you? So fingers crossed the match turns out to be positive. If you read this, click here and get registered on it too.

The rest of the weekend has involved me grappling to get my iTunes library to be hosted on our NAS – my laptop’s secondary partition has been a little bit dodgy of late, and pending a bit of saving up I am planning on replacing it, so this step will stop the intermittent short- term problems I’ve been having, and hopefully make the eventual switch-over a little less painful. It’s proven a complete faff so far, though!!

Also popped to see The Terminal Five Experience – one of whom is my colleague, Simon. They played a cracking set including newly-added Cult and Dandy Warhols numbers which went down well with the Sherwood crowd. They’ve got a few gigs coming up so look ’em up on Facebook if you like a nit of eclectic cover versions!

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