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The old card with the new card in his arms

cards

By gum, that’s a big-ass video card. It fit in the case, just. For an awful moment, I thought I didn’t have the right power connector — the old one had two banks of six pins, and this one had a bank of six and a bank of eight — but I found that my old power supply had an extra two pin connector zip-tied to the cable for just such an eventuality.

‘Scuse me, I’m off to play the Witcher Wild Hunt, with that last bit of new DLC.

Oh, by the way, I haven’t disabled the rating system, it’s just not working somehow. I started to hunt down the problem and fix it, but I’m kind of torn. On the one hand, I really liked being able to rate comments, but on the other hand I didn’t think this particular widget was very good. Sometimes I had to refresh the page before my vote would take, and the rating thingie popped up at unwanted times sometimes.

Did y’all have problems with it, too?

July 13, 2016 — 7:04 pm
Comments: 9

The 9 types of combs recognized by the American Poultry Association

combs

Heyyyyyy wait, that’s only eight! I was robbed, random internet article!

I know what you’re thinking: what is that there purty Satan bird with the wicked horns and where can I get me one of them? From the link, I guess it’s either an Appenzeller, Crevecoeur, Houdan, La Fleche or Sultan. Yeah, I dunno either.

Not obvious in the picture: the strawberry comb is more of a raspberry comb, with a deep indentation in the middle. Couldn’t help thinking about all the shit that would get in there and get infected and stuff.

Chickens have the best resting bitchfaces in the aminal kingdom, don’t they?

The Labour Party is descending into farce. Jeremy Corbyn is a bugfuck-crazy Marxist Bernie Sanders type. He won party leadership by a huge margin because the chirruns love him, but he’s electoral poison. The other Labour MP’s have tried in vain to kick him out of the nest, so they put his deputy up to run against him for leadership. In fact, they weren’t even going to put his name on the ballot at all, but they lost their nerve on that. The chirruns would kill them. They’re already throwing bricks through his challenger’s headquarters window.

I’d enjoy the hell out of this if the Tories weren’t such shit right now.

See? I’ll make you beg for chikken blogging!

July 12, 2016 — 9:40 pm
Comments: 13

She’s no Maggie

theresa_may

Ladies and gentlemen, our new Prime Minister. After a firehose of yellow journalism was turned on any competitors until they all dropped out, there will not even be a vote of the party faithful. She will be installed this week.

By way of introduction, this is the woman who coined the term “the nasty party” for her own party — and it wasn’t a compliment. She often sounds more Labour than Tory. She speaks approvingly of taxes as “the price we pay to live in a civilized society” (like they don’t pay taxes in the world’s shit-holes). She’s been our Home Secretary for the past six years, and has made a reputation as an appeaser and squish.

In short, a dreadful choice.

And my bike is still busted. But my new video card is on the way!

July 11, 2016 — 9:57 pm
Comments: 23

This has large megawotsits and many cyberdoodahs

graphicscard

I got up this morning, hopped on my bike and…dead as a doornail. The battery was fine — showing four bars out of five charge — Thursday afternoon and a brick on Friday morning. It won’t take a charge at all, so it’s the battery, not something mechanical. More fun!

I had to walk to work. I had forgotten how much that sucks.

I’m not complaining (much). If all my bad news involves computers and bicycles (instead of, say, biopsies and blood work), I’m not going to poke the fates with a stick.

Anyhow, I was home and footsore and sitting in front of my jittering computer screen feeling sorry for myself, when I suddenly thought, “hol’ up, hol’ up, modern motherboards have a built-in VGA, don’t they?” Yeah, they do. I just pulled the dead card, plugged the monitor into the back of the machine and…it’s surprisingly good, really. It’s running Photoshop and everything.

I imagine it would shatter into a squillion pieces if I asked it to play The Witcher, though.

It’s surprisingly hard to pick the best card for doing 3D modeling and rendering. I mean, at the consumer level. That’s because every program is different — some lean on the CPU, some lean on memory, some lean on the GPU or the graphics card’s memory. I know what programs I’m using now, but who knows if I’ll be using the same ones a year or two hence? Anyway, I think I’m going for the one in the picture. Not cheap, not expensive, best all-rounder.

Unfortunately, I have to go to work for a while tomorrow, Saturday that it is. And I have to do it on a bike with no motor assist. Pity me.

July 8, 2016 — 9:29 pm
Comments: 17

Ah, crap

YIKES, I think my graphics card has blown. But I’m suspicious it might be a driver issue.

See, I ‘upgraded’ to Windows 10 this weekend. And actually, honestly, things went pretty swimmingly. The process was painless, I was finding my way around. Big sigh of relief.

I have a two monitor system. I sat down to it earlier today, turned on both monitors and…my main monitor was dead, my side monitor was effed up looking. Windows Display Settings currently only sees one monitor. And that monitor is 1024×768 and looks like shit — covered in jumping white horizontal lines. Trippy.

I plugged in the monitors the other way around, and they swapped position. In other words, it’s not a monitor fault.

The Device Manager shows an error on the video card: Windows has stopped this device because it has reported problems. (Code 43) All the internet’s suggestions for fixing that (basically uninstalling the driver and re-scanning my hardware) have failed.

I’ve gotten several suggestions that it’s a driver error, including multiple requests to reboot to finish installing the driver. And the fact that I know drivers have been messing about in the background.

However, what makes me think it’s a hardware error is that the display is screwed up from the very beginning of the Power On Self Test, before any drivers are loaded or anything.

I’ve done all the obvious things — swapping the cables around, taking the card out and re-seating it. Any suggestions? Ways to tell if I have a hardware or a software problem?

I can just about make out the screen well enough to type (obviously) but I’m definitely out of the Photoshop biz until I get this sorted.

Ugh, is it gin o’clock yet?

July 7, 2016 — 8:57 pm
Comments: 19

All the principal countries of the world, dammit!

webley

Soooo, I stopped on the way to work this morning and bought a pair of pistols. I rode right past a boot sale (read: flea market) and decided to stop for a mo’.

Well. Yes. They are pellet guns. Don’t rub it in. I thought Uncle B an’ me could set out back and plink tin cans or something. Looks like I’m going to have to do a little maintenance on them first, though.

They are Webley Juniors, like the one in the picture. Unfortunately, I got the picture off the internet — if I had the original boxes for them, they’d be worth three times as much.

The thin tube on top is actually the barrel — and also the pump lever. The fat tube is the spring/air chamber. You lift the back end of the barrel all the way back until it’s facing straight up (this takes all my strength), pop a pellet in it and close it up again. Cocked, charged with air and ready to go.

Only, one of mine doesn’t charge and the other one goes “pop” but the pellet doesn’t make it all the way through. Bad seals, I suspect. Incredibly, you can still get parts.

Playing with these things set off Uncle B’s manly instincts, and he’s over there gun shopping. You can get some very powerful air rifles here, and incredibly persuasive air replicas of all the familiar handguns, often made in the same factory with many of the same parts as the ‘real’ version.

I just hope we don’t hit a chicken.

July 6, 2016 — 10:19 pm
Comments: 10

It’s good to have friends

hillary

One law for them, one for us.

July 5, 2016 — 9:13 pm
Comments: 20

Freeeeeedommmmmmm!

woodpecker

Happy Independence Day, my fellow liberated colonials. Which I guess includes my British neighbors now.

Early afternoon was lovely here, which makes a great change (we’ve had the most miserably cold, gray Summer so far). We sat in the garden with a couple of books and a bottle of wine and grilled burgers and corn on the cob and hummed Stars and Stripes Forever.

And then fell asleep, because wine, and had terrible dreams, because sleeping in the daytime.

Hope you had a wonderful Fourth. I’ve vicariously enjoyed the parades in my FaceBook feed today.

You remember that pic, of course, Weasel Attempts to Murder Woodpecker. From the header of the photographer’s Twitter feed, it looks like someone made him a ceramic one.

July 4, 2016 — 9:54 pm
Comments: 5

RIP Dr Stanley

ralphstanley

Ralph Stanley died last week, and that’s an end to all the original men of Bluegrass, I suppose.

I know it doesn’t seem like it, but Bluegrass was strictly a Twentieth Century musical style. It borrowed heavily from traditional music, of course, but it was a highly formalized and particular form that started with Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys (hence the name), particularly when Earl Scruggs joined them in 1945.

Stanley and his brother Carter had performed together since the late Forties, though Carter drank himself to death in the Sixties. Their sound was very heavily Appalachian. Ralph’s singing style was typical of the genre — a high-pitched, whining sort of sound called “high lonesome” and often compared to a ghost wailing through a forest. It’s eerie. And probably an acquired taste.

Listen to the chorus of The Fields Have Turned Brown to hear what I mean.

Stanley’s career had a sudden resurgence late in life when he did the soundtrack for the Coen Brothers’ film O Brother Where Art Thou. The album — particularly the song Man of Constant Sorrow — was a surprise hit.

As a personal aside, I hated that fucking film. It was the beginning of the end for me and the Coen Brothers. Films like Fargo poked fun of people but seemed to do it with affection, but O Brother was full of tone deafness and sneering contempt. But good on Ralph for ending his life on a high note (oh, pun, I suppose).

And thus a sad footnote to a strange week. Good weekend, everyone!

July 1, 2016 — 9:17 pm
Comments: 13

What, more British Politics?

boris

Sorry, y’all — I had a fridge emergency tonight. We’ve been quietly nurturing an iceberg at the back of the box (apparently!) that finally grew to engulf the drain plug. tl;dr I had to clean and defrost the fridge in a hurry tonight. We didnae lose any American bacon, though, so that’s okay (so precious and hard to get).

So today’s big political WTF moment — Boris Johnson, our next Prime Minister, dropped out of the race today. Rumor has it, he was knifed by his buddy and fellow-Brexiteer, Micheal Gove. For those who don’t follow British politics, that’s dude on the right knifed by dude on the left.

You can read the Telegraph’s take here, which is where I pinched the photo. There’s something more to this one, though, I feel sure. It’s not the same magnitude as if Hillary! suddenly dropped out without explanation, but it’s the same kind of hell no this doesn’t make sense.

Not that I was a fan of Boris — I warn’t — but it’s just too weird. Some kind of dirt on him, I suspect. There’s plenty, I’m told.

Now the odds-on favorite to get the job is Theresa May, a dreadful woman. Anti-Brexit, soft on immigration. She’s been a terrible Home Secretary and she’ll be a worse PM. The grass roots hate her — but her fellow MPs love her, and that’s all it takes.

The exact opposite of what’s going on with Labour, where the party members love Corbyn but his fellow MPs think he’s a disaster.

What the hell, British politics?

June 30, 2016 — 10:42 pm
Comments: 15