Posts Tagged: YouTube


Saturday 18th October 2014

9 posts in 2012. 2 posts in 2013. May as well have at least have one this year, even if it is wholly as a point of reference for myself.

This song’s been stuck in my head for the last week or so; found this version a couple of days ago and it’s really not helped:

I’m basically putting this here so that I can find it in future without messing around searching on YouTube. And hey, perhaps one of the three or so people who may read this will enjoy it!

I might write something longer at some point. I probably won’t. I also possibly might migrate this over to another url at some point, but again I probably won’t. I like the idea of writing something every now and again, but… effort. We’ll see, I guess.

Posted In: Music Tagged: | 1 Comment


Thursday 2nd December 2010

At the European Grand Prix in Valencia this year, Mark Webber had a pretty hairy accident. He ran into the back of Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus, and flipped.

Not good, but he walked away. This sort of thing is an occupational hazard for racing drivers, really.

Anyway, here’s a video by a crazy person:

I’m not sure if it’s fake or not. It looks real (she’s got lots of other similarly weird videos on YouTube), and I think it’s hilarious. I especially like the end, where she just stares at the camera with the crazy eyes for about a minute. Nice.

Posted In: MotorsportRandom Tagged: | 4 Comments

The Second Best Thing About Christmas…

Friday 4th December 2009

…is that it’s the only time of the year where I feel it appropriate to listen to this. It seems wrong to listen to it during the summer, so it feels like a treat to listen to it in December (even though it’s not christmas yet and I don’t feel particularly christmassy)

I love winter songs. There are a few things that when I listen to them, it just feels like winter. That song is one example, and another would be Echoes by Pink Floyd (also an absolutely stunning song). When I hear Echoes it just reminds me for some reason of winter. Perhaps it’s just a really good song to listen to on another cold wet dreary day; very good distraction. Another really good example is the whole of “In the Court of the Crimson King” by King Crimson.

On the other hand, “Wincing the Night Away” by the Shins and “The Long Goodbye” by The Essex Green are both summer albums, best enjoyed on a bright warm afternoon. Preferably whilst driving with all the windows open and singing along maniacally…

And no-one picked up on the Shins lyric in the last title btw? It’s because I wrote it in August and it was sat in my drafts since then (where it possibly should have remained…). I’d only just heard of them so I was mostly listening to them at the time.

I can’t wait to get to summer. Get rid of the crappy weather and the boredom of uni. I’m really bored at the moment. I feel stuck in a rut and it’s really, really frustrating. Ho hum.

And no-one showed us to the land
And no-one knows the wheres or why
But something stirs and something tries
And starts to climb towards the light

Theres a suggestion that Echoes was written to go along with the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey. I don’t know how true it is but I’ve watched them together and even if it’s accidental, it fits the film really well. The film/book is really good too and if you haven’t seen/read it, you should.

Science fiction doesn’t seem to be as popular as I think it should be. Or rather, the term is horrendously misused. Science fiction isn’t a catch-all term for “set in space”; it’s way more imaginitive than that. Sci-fi isn’t mere fantasy, it’s fiction that dares to say “what if?”. Stories that may seem fantastic or far-fetched but which at some level have a grounding in science. They’re way more imaginitive than fiction that just makes everything up because, at the edge of the reader’s mind is the idea of “someday, maybe not in my lifetime but someday, this could happen”. The idea of sending manned spacecraft to Jupiter or establising a permanent colony on the Moon is far-fetched, but why not aim for that?

The science fiction of men like Asimov and Clarke inspired a generation of scientists to go and aim for the impossible, and some of them did it. We landed on the moon in 1969, and then we went back a few times, and now we don’t do that any more. Why is that? Doesn’t it make you mad? (yeah, I’ve been watching Cosmos lately, so this rang very true. I’ve mostly been watching because of this, which is very good)

I wrote a post in September about crossroads (oh and there’s another absolutely awesome song, whichever version you take) and this is what I was kinda getting at. In the 60s, Mankind (well, America, but lets not split hairs) set a challenge to go to the Moon. British and French engineers were tacking an even bigger challenge in making the first supersonic passenger jet. The network that became the Internet was just starting to be created. Massive projects which, at first glance, were nigh on impossible. A generation of kids grew up being inspired by science, partly from science fiction, and went on to do amazing things. Why does this not happen today? Fewer and fewer people are choosing to study science, maths or engineering, and don’t you think that is maddeningly weird? Whatever the reason, I find it staggering that so few people are interested in those fields because, well, what on earth is more interesting than finding out how and why the universe works, or shaping it for the future?

The point I wanted to make in that post in September was that we’ve showed in that past that when a bunch of smart people try to solve a problem, they can do amazing things. The human race is facing possibly the biggest problem we’ve ever faced, and what are we doing? As far as I can see, very little. What we are doing makes rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic look like a brave and noble effort.

So anyway, I actually only meant to write about a sentence before going to bed to carry on reading a book. And I really didn’t intend to write about most of what I’ve written about, I just forgot to stop writing and let thoughts splurge into the text box. If only writing dissertations and project reports was so easy!

Oh, by the way, the best thing about christmas is christmas lunch. Best meal of the year. The third best thing (to finish off the podium) is probably Scrooge. I think it’s widely recognised as fact that it’s the only good musical ever written. Marley still scares me a little bit, even if he is Obi-Wan Kenobi. It’s that little wave as he closes the door; I don’t care what you say it’s just spooky.

Posted In: EngineeringGeekMusicPoliticsRantSleepStuff Tagged: | 12 Comments

Can’t They Just Move It Forward a Couple of Weeks?

Wednesday 29th July 2009

Schumacher back in F1. The circumstances are awful, but it’s fucking brilliant that he’s coming back. I really can’t wait for the next race. Pity I’m gonna be at V that weekend and will miss it; I despise not seeing races/qualifying live at the best of times…

I mentioned in a previous post (if you can remember back that far…) that I was moving away from Brize. Well, I spent 2 weeks in the office in Erdington (which was amazingly dull), before starting on another site. This time I’m in Cardiff, doing the hospital that I was meant to be working on back in January… It’s nice not working away. I like the actual travelling – I quite enjoyed my Monday morning blasts to work – but it’s shit being away from home for the week. It means that when you get back you’ve got a list of things that you want/need to do, but it’s the weekend so you just want to chill out. And, daft as it probably sounds, it’s nice to get back from work and be in your own space.

So anyway, I’m in Cardiff now. I was actually one of the first people to get on site and get everything set up for the job to start, so it’s cool to see it all progressing now. It’s actually gonna be kinda crap to leave, because I wanna see the rest of the job through. But, uni beckons. Which is another reason why it’s gonna be crap to leave. I fundamentally enjoy my course and whatnot, but work is just so much more interesting. And uni means homework, which is just crap. At least with work, I get there at 8, do whatever it is that I need to get done, then leave at 6 and after that I don’t have to worry about it. It doesnt feel like a chore or anything like that, because it’s work and thats what I’m there for. The problem with homework is that it’s done in your own time and I can never really be bothered. But then if I don’t do it, there’s the nagging guilt that I really should be doing some work. It’s shit.

I’m telling myself that I’m gonna try to stick with working 9 to 5 and sort of treat uni like a job. If I can get into the discipline of going down to the library (the only place that I can reliably get stuff done), then I’ll be ok. I’m not sure what the likelihood is though…

Apart from work, it’s been a fairly busy few weeks. Went to Silverstone a few weeks ago for the Renault thing; then the week after I went home for a gig/general drunkenness, then straight to London for, uh, a gig and general drunkenness. Then last weekend went to North Wales. Lots of good times. There’s much less planned for the next month (except for V, which I’m sorta regretting saying I’d go to), which kinda sucks.

I’m really tempted to go to Monza for the Italian GP in September. There’s gonna be a great atmosphere with Schumacher racing again (the Tifosi love him, for obvious reasons). I’d love to be there. And I’d love Schumacher to win a race. It’s probably contraversial for a Brit to like him after what he did to “Our Damon” in 1994, but fuck it. He’s an absolutely amazing driver – anyone who can finish 2nd in a Grand Prix with a car that’s stuck in 5th gear for most of the race, deserves some serious kudos.

Also, Hamilton vs Schumacher. Now there’s a battle that I hope we get to see…

Posted In: EngineeringMotorsport Tagged: | 2 Comments

Teh Lulz

Monday 19th January 2009

This made me laugh, hard.

Funny cos it’s true…

Posted In: GeekTechnology Tagged: | 4 Comments


Wednesday 10th September 2008

The Belgian Grand Prix took place on Sunday. It was, it’s fair to say, an extremely good race. The last few laps literally had me on the edge of my seat because it was so amazingly tense. Anyway, Lewis Hamilton was the victor after yet another outstanding drive. I’m not really a fan of any team or driver, but he’s seriously impressive and for my money is one of the best drivers out there at the moment (and given that he’s only on his second season, it won’t be long till he’s the best out there). He really deserved to win, because he outperformed everyone else so remarkably.

So, he won. Although actually, he came third. You see, he made the basic error of, uhm, overtaking a Ferrari…

I’ll explain. For most of the race, Hamilton was 2nd to Kimi Raikkonen. After the second set of pit stops, however, Hamilton started to close to Raikkonen due to the McLaren seemingly working the tyres better than the Ferrari. With 3 laps to go, he was close enough to attack. Coming into the Bus Stop chicane (is it even called that any more?) at the end of the lap, he outbraked KR and went to the outside, to be on the inside for the second part of the chicane. KR forced him over, so LH decided that rather than crash into him, he’d cut the corner. This put him ahead of Raikkonen, which for obvious reasons is illegal. So, Hamilton let him past, and re-took the lead at the La Source, the next corner. This is the move, if you wanna watch.

Because he cut the corner, the stewards later decided that Hamilton had an unfair advantage, and applied a 25 second penalty to him (basically they added 25 seconds to the time it took him to finish the race), which meant he finished third.

Given that Hamilton slowed to allow Raikkonen the place, was subsequently 6kph slower over the start/finish line than Raikkonen and behind him on the track, I’m not sure where the advantage comes from. If anything the fact that he had to slow down to concede the place means that he must’ve been slower than Raikkonen, I would’ve thought. That he took the lead at La Source is testament to Hamilton’s skill and Raikkonen’s cautiousness.

Two weeks before that, Felipe Massa (the other Ferrari driver) was leading the “race” (procession) at Valencia. At his second pitstop, he was released into the path of another driver, and had to lift off to avoid crashing. I defy you to watch this and tell me it’s not unsafe. The rules pretty much agree, and IIRC mandate that Massa should’ve had a drive-through penalty (i.e. have to drive down the pitlane without stopping), which wouldve cost him the win and given it to Hamilton. Now, this wasn’t Massa’s fault, and I wouldve  been a bit disappointed if he lost the win because he deserved it. But, he also deserved the penalty, because he and the team broke the rules.

He got a fine of $10,000, rather than the penalty stipulated in the rules. No punishment at all, then. Bear in mind that at the same race (and in fact at Spa), the same thing happened in the support race. Result? Drive-throughs.

These are two parts of a very large picture. And I don’t want to believe that there’s bias towards Ferrari (and against McLaren), but the more that happens the more it becomes more and more possible. At the very best, there is some horribly inconsistent application of the rules. At the worst, it’s bias. Either way, yet again the powers that be have shown themselves to be horribly out of touch with what the fans want. With all the “important” people calling the Valencian race a huge success, even though it was actually really, really dull. The commentators at one point were talking about a tomato-chucking contest thats held in the region each year. I shit you not…

And then with this race, penalising Hamilton for doing his job in overtaking Raikkonen. They don’t realise that this is exactly what the fans want to see; two drivers battling hard for the lead of the race. That’s exactly what motorsport is all about, but it seems that the FIA want to stop that at all costs. Over the past decade or so, pretty much all the rule changes have conspired to make overtaking harder for the drivers, and detract from the spectacle. Not on purpose, obviously, but it’s clear that those making the rules don’t think about the effect those regulations will have upon the sport. For them (and by “them” I mostly mean Max Mosley, the arrogant bastard), it’s mostly about a long power trip. About getting their own way.

The Hamilton ruling angered me. After such a stunning – inspired – drive, it’s gutting to see him stripped of such a well-deserved result. But it’s not just that. And it’s not just because it’s yet another highly dubious decision that benefits Ferrari. It’s because I can imagine the “average” viewer, who doesn’t really follow the sport that much but watches the odd race. I can imagine them seeing the Belgian GP and tuning out thinking Hamilton was the winner, only to hear on the news the next day that actually he came third. And I can imagine them thinking “what a load of bollocks that F1 is then”. It angers me because if anyone says that because of this race, I can’t defend it.

I’m fed up of the sport I love being tarnished by fools.

(anyway, if you’ve ever said F1 is boring, watch this. Even though I know how it ends, watching it back it still makes me smile)

Posted In: MotorsportRant Tagged: | 2 Comments

Seriously, Who Uses Password as their AP Password?

Monday 18th August 2008

Poor, poor form. But at least I can do something at the train station after missing the train. That said theres some fairly hefty rain falling, which is making me fear for my Notebook’s safety, somewhat. Never mind, plough on.

I’m currently listening to the new Sigur Ros album, and have to say it’s fairly stunning. Rather unlike their previous efforts in a lot of ways, but really good nonetheless. I particularly like “Inní mér syngur vitleysingur” (means “within me a lunatic sings”). One of those songs which is just pure, unadulterated joy.

OK, so there was just an announcement over the station PA telling everyone to be careful because the platform might be wet. Honestly, if you can’t work that one out by yourself…

Anyway, stuff. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I’ve been working lately, which is the cause of the lack of blogging. To be honest a lot of the time I’ve not really had anything to say. And then when I have had stuff to say, I’ve just not been awake enough to say it. Pretty frustrating, to be honest.

I enjoy working in some ways. Gets me out of the house, gets me money, etc. That said lots of things about this job annoy me, and I really can’t wait to start a “proper” job in September. It might not be immediately clear what I mean by that, but it’s one of the things on my to-do list as far as this thing is concerned. Actually I started writing about it the other day, but… C’est la vie.

I was back in Cardiff last week for reasons previously mentioned. Something that annoyed me about that actually is that for the first time I sat the exam, revision was something I didn’t particularly like doing and the material didn’t make all that much sense to me. This time round, I really enjoyed revising (it was like doing a more useful sudoku, if that makes sense), and had no trouble motivating myself. Of course part of that is possibly down to there being no second chances this time, but I dont think it was completely down to that. Irritating.

Anyway, Cardiff. I drove there, and it’s the first time that I’ve really driven round there (I drove there once a couple of years ago, but that doesnt count for several reasons). As I was driving around the city, I realised that it felt really alien, as if I hadn’t been there before and didn’t know it that well. Probably because it felt completely different seeing and feeling it from the car. On familiar roads you get used to how they feel; where the bumps are, the texture of the road, how things work etc. It kinda felt nicer from the driver’s seat than it does from the pavement, but thats more down  to the quality of the paving in Cardiff…

Wow, I’m rambling now.

So yeah, as well as that alienness there was also a proper recognition of the place, as you’d expect considering the fact that I’ve (mostly) lived there for a couple of years now. Driving around, seeing lots of different places brought back some of the memories from the last couple of years. Sort of “oh, I remember doing such and such here”. It was nice, if a little weird when combined with the unfamiliarity I was feeling.

Still doesn’t feel like home though. When I’m on the motorway and I see a sign for The Midlands, it just feels like “That way be home”. Don’t feel that when I see a sign for Cardiff.

Train o’Clock. Bye

Posted In: CarsGeekMusicRandomSiteStuff Tagged: | 8 Comments


Tuesday 5th August 2008

Motorsport is dangerous. If we’re honest with ourselves, that danger is probably part of the reason people like the sport. Everyone involved with it, either directly or as a fan, is aware of the risk and accepts it. If we didn’t accept it, we wouldn’t be involved. You just bury it in the back of your mind; ignore it, pretty much.

I’m mostly interested in car racing, so I wasn’t really aware of the World Superbike meeting at Brands Hatch last weekend. To be frank, I was much more interested in the F1 Hungarian Grand Prix, which was an absolutely stonking race. Whilst I was watching it with one of my brothers I remarked that “races like this are why I love this sport”. It was absolutely astounding. But if the Grand Prix is an example of what makes the sport great, the WSBK race serves as a reminder of the darker side of motorsport.

As I’m not really interested in bike racing, I’d only vaguely heard of Craig Jones. He was in second place in the race on Sunday, when the back end of the bike just started to slide, as he powered out of a corner. He fell off. He was involved in a fairly tight battle at the time, and so the guy in third place was pretty much right behind him. Right behind him. At about 140-150mph. You can guess the rest (or read the story).

Motorsport is dangerous. There are little signs all around race circuits that tell you that, and it’s even printed on the back of the tickets for most things. But it’s something that you’re only dimly aware of. Sure, you know it can happen, but you’re fairly sure that it probably wont. Especially in car racing – I can’t remember the last time I heard of someone being fatally injured in a car, outside of rallying. It’s something that I think I – subconsciously at least – thought belonged in the past, to the Gilles Villeneuves and Stefan Bellofs of the world.

Sure, this time it happened in motorbike racing; something which is inherently more dangerous than car racing (you can provide all sorts of crash structures in a car to cushion an impact. You can’t do that in a bike – no matter how hard you try, you can’t stop someone falling off and being hit by another rider). But that doesn’t remove the fact that we’ve been incredibly lucky with car racing lately. Incredibly lucky. I can think offhand of about half a dozen accidents that could have been much worse, had things been ever so slightly different. I still remember the feeling when I watched Kubica’s crash at Canada last year, for instance.

The next person to tell me “the accidents are the best bit” is going to get punched in the face.

I think part of the reason im so taken aback is that it happened at Brands Hatch. I’ve never been there, but it’s a circuit I’ve seen a fair amount of racing on (BTCC and so on), and it’s actually one of my favourites. I can’t explain why, but that sort of makes it more “real”. I know that the next time I watch a race held there, the image of Jones sliding gently onto the tarmac is going to go through my mind, at least for the first lap. Honestly, I don’t know how people could even watch motorsport back in the 60s – when it was properly dangerous – let alone compete. I think it was 1968, when during the summer one top-line driver died each month. One a month. I can’t even imagine how I’d feel if that happened now.

This news has seriously shocked me.

Posted In: MotorsportSleepStuff Tagged: | 11 Comments

Scratching A Musical Itch

Thursday 10th July 2008

So the other evening I went to the pub, and ended up driving there (so much less hassle). Most of the time when I’m in the car, I put my own music on. But the other evening I decided to put the radio on. Very good reason for this: Radio 2 in the weekday evenings is excellent. To be honest, I’d assumed it was Radcliffe and Maconie’s show, one which I particularly enjoy. As it happened, that started a bit later, so I listened to whoever else was on.

Now, I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve listened to Radio 2 in the evenings and found myself thinking “wow, this is bloody brilliant!”. They play all sorts of country, or blues, or folk, or whatever – basically really good music. Anyway, on this particular evening, there was an interview with a guy from some random band I’d never heard before, and obviously played some of the band’s music.

I’ve been listening to some old blues/jazz/country recently (from the 20s and 30s. I’m so cool), and I’ve been trying to find some more. This band seems to take all of those influences – and more – and mixes them together into one big blend of musical brilliance. They’re called Hazmat Modine, and I defy anyone to listen to this and stay still. I certainly couldnt the other evening, despite the fact that I was meant to be driving… Definitely another band to add to the “must see live” list.

Posted In: Music Tagged: | 3 Comments

All I Do Is Keep The Beat

Sunday 25th May 2008

I think I’ve mentioned before (on a comment elsewhere, iirc) that I have a certain amount of distaste for The Killers. This cover of “Romeo and Juliet” by Dire Straits is (mainly) why.

Ok, it’s not bad. But then it’s an amazingly good song (better than the inoffensive trite they usually play…), so they’d have to be fools to completely cock it up. That said, the guitarist is blatently struggling to play his part (and the tone of his guitar is awful. Awful!), and his solo at the end is just laughable, but y’know… The guy singing kinda fails to convey any sense of emotion as well. It sounds like he’s trying really hard to sound cool, rather than trying to tell the story within the song.

So it won’t go down in history as The Best Cover Ever, but anyone who hasnt heard the original (most of The Killers’ fanbase, I imagine) would probably think it’s ok. But I have heard the original, and it’s one of my favourite songs ever. So the Killers’ lacklustre effort really shows them up for the talentless no-ones they are. For comparison, this is the way Mark Knopfler, who wrote the song, performs it live. Take note of the decent singing (when you write good lyrics, you don’t need to try to sound cool), the excellent guitar playing (best guitarist ever), and the band just generally being awesome. Also, take note of the tone of the guitar being much nicer on this version. But then he has a Resonator (a National from the 1930s, iirc. And apparently a bitch to play), and they’re pretty fucking awesome.

That said, the performance isn’t what irritated me when I first heard it (to be honest, it just makes me laugh). It’s the little interview at the start:

“I’m amazed that they’re from England, y’know? To me, all the songs sound like they’re from the deserts of Australia. You don’t imagine the clouds of England hanging over their songs, it’s just not there…”

Wrong. Just wrong! That quote really just says that they know nothing about the band, that they’re not really that into the music, and just… Suffice it to say, it really annoys me. Knopfler has a way of writing songs which really tell a story, and the fact that they’ve misunderstood his music that drastically is just contemptious. If they were a proper band, who cared about music, then they wouldn’t say such a thing…

Basically, all this is a roundabout way of saying: I went with one of my brothers to see Mark Knopfler play in Cardiff the other night, and he was bloody brilliant. But then, I’ve seen him before and he was brilliant then, so it wasn’t exactly unexpected.

What was unexpected was another band we saw on the same night. We went to a jazz bar in Cardiff after the gig (which is bloody good, if expensive – £2.95 for a pint of Guinness!), and saw some random band play there. Didn’t really know what to expect, but they were actually really bloody good. After that gig, there sadly wasn’t any more live music to go see, so we ordered another couple of pints and talked about girls…

Anyway, two great gigs in one night. Can’t beat that!

(Yes, another post starting with the letter A. I would try to find another lyric which doesn’t start with that, but…)

Posted In: MusicRant Tagged: | 6 Comments