Doin’ the (coo, coo) pigeon..

Sometime on Tuesday afternoon, working from home, I noticed that soot and pebbles were increasingly falling down the chimney into my empty fireplace. I was wondering if the neighbours were doing something, or if the chimney pot was coming loose, or maybe Santa Claus was making an early appearance. To my surprise, I heard a flop and something caught my eye.

Alas, it wasn’t Santa. There were no presents or any “ho-ho-hos”.

It was a pigeon. And it was sitting in my fireplace looking rather surprised to be there. But it wasn’t as surprised as I was. It wasn’t a big pigeon – maybe a teenager – and was speckled brown with white wings.

I grabbed a towel, opened the front door, slowly moved towards the pigeon and covered it with the towel – gently. There was a bit of flapping at first – but the pigeon was very gracious in letting me wrap it up and take it outside where it waddled off somewhere. I don’t know whether it flew away, was eaten by a cat, or knocked down by a car – but if it was a teenager, I figured that if the family was nearby, they’d come for it.

Thank goodness I was home at the time because that pigeon could have done some serious damage to the house.

And remember: KNOW WHERE YOUR TOWEL IS. Be a hoopy frood.(*)

Meanwhile, I think I’ve earned the right to be in Pigeon Street. I bet they never did a story where a pigeon comes down a chimney. Cue those electro tom-toms (which, whenever I listen to disco music which features them heavily, I always think of pigeons – those talented drum players which nobody has ever given them credit for).

Doo doo, doo doo, etc. repeat 30 million times

(*) Thank you, Douglas Adams.

I was going to post about the state of Apple Music in 2019 after its appalling launch which was besieged with technical problems. I tried to find some images from a previous version of this blog, but instead found these odd photos:

Debian 10 (aka Buster) doing its thing

July 26th is Systems Administrator Appreciation Day! A day where office workers everywhere should be bringing in delicious treats for the IT department to ensure goodwill between techie and Luddite remains in full force.

I’m not quite sure why I wanted to be a systems administrator some 22-odd years ago, but here I am – still a systems administrator. I suppose it all started when I started visiting my dad at work and being fascinated by the telex machines and computer systems, including the multi-user DEC systems they had.

SysAdmin Man Begins – taken from my very first C.V.

After leaving university I started building PCs for a local company in Norwich, then set-up and managed Linux and Windows servers for the same company when they became an ISP. That job was a jack of all trades and also included writing software to configure the TCP/IP stack for dial-up for Windows machines, web design, and technical support.

After a few more years in the ISP industry, I went to work for The Moving Picture Company (MPC) in the film and television industry, sysadminning the infrastructure for high-end visual effects for major movies and TV shows. After that, my first taste of systems engineering in a software development firm that specialised in VFX software, before moving on back to the ISP/web hosting industry for 9 years.

Now I work in e-commerce and handle corporate infrastructure as well as that of client websites. All the years of experience from the above come into play. It’s been an interesting journey so far. Not sure what else fate has in store for me, but I’m sure I’ll be a sysadmin until the day I die.

Fellow sysadmins, I salute you.

This Drake was certainly well cooked yesterday on what was Britain’s hottest day in history. Getting to work wasn’t a problem, but getting home was. It took me three hours from leaving the office in Wimbledon to travel approximately 27 miles.

I had intended to go to Ronnie Le Drew’s book launch party for Zippy and Me at the Little Angel Theatre in Islington, but given that we knew what the weather was going to be like – I didn’t fancy my chances of getting from Wimbledon to Islington in time – nor how long it would take to get back to Woking.

The first problem was that as I was about to leave, the heavens opened up. First a spectacular thunder and lightning show, then a heavy downpour. Thankfully it didn’t last long. When I made to Wimbledon station, it turned out that the train to Woking would be delayed. Luckily there was a train to Guildford (via Epsom) which I sometimes take if it’s likely the Woking train is likely to be very late (which it very much was), so I hopped on.

The suburban stopping service on South Western Railway routes uses old train stock. They have no air conditioning to speak of, just windows that can be opened and closed. But this is not enough – especially when trains have to run far slower over track due to heat-related stress – to get a decent airflow. I was sweating buckets. It was if somebody threw a bucket of my own sweat over me. And I forgot to bring water.

When I got to Guildford, the train to London Waterloo via Woking was delayed too – so there was another 20 minutes worth of extra waiting to be had. To make matters worse, when I got to Woking, the regular bus service was majorly delayed by an hour.

So I went to McDonald’s, had something to eat and drink there, then went back to wait for the bus which turned up 5 minutes later. Three hours to get home – door to door – in some of the most uncomfortable conditions I’ve ever encountered. It wasn’t even this bad when I’ve been travelling to hot countries such as Egypt where there is little access to AC.

While it’s going to be cooler today, I strongly suspect the train services aren’t going to be much better..

Back in 2013, my dad pulled out from the attic my collection of Star Wars toys. I have quite a few! Some of the plastic isn’t in great shape, but these were well-used toys. I present a gallery full of the wonder from my childhood.

We start off with Star Wars, then look at at various odds and sods.

Ol’ Darth contains a surprise..

I loved Basil Brush as a kid, and even had a puppet of my own..

Then there was the 6 million dollar man.

Then some other oddments..

And finally, more vehicles..