Yearly Archives: 2018

Fridge Hinge Typical Chaos

We bought a little fridge to put extra stuff in like cold drinks and whatnot (I’ve been saying “whatnot” a lot lately). It arrived on Xmas Eve like a miracle from Santa. The door opened the wrong way, so I went to swap the side it opens, which is a common thing you can do with most fridges. It looked like this was going to be easy.

In the photo below, I’ve removed the top metal bracket from the fridge, revealing the holes in the body, and the hole in the top of the door for the bracket. The same holes are in the other side of the fridge, telling me that swapping the direction of the door is a normal decent reasonable thing to do.

In the following picture, you can see that when I moved the metal bracket to the other side, the existing holes in the body of the fridge don’t line up with the holes in the bracket. The bracket does not have the right holes in it. You can see the top of the door has the right handhold, and the metal pin on the bracket goes into the hole provided on the door, but the key part included prevents you from making a simple change that you would expect to be able to make.

This was going to be a giant PITA, involving repacking the fridge, waiting for delivery people to collect it, waiting in line, getting effed about and stonewalled in Carrefour, and regretting not living somewhere with statutory consumer rights.

Luckily, I recently, and on a complete whim, bought a cheapo and quite wobbly drill stand. This meant I was able to drill my own holes in the metal bracket with relative ease (although the children didn’t like the noise). i even wore goggles and everything.

Once that was done, I could put the bracket on the left side, and fit the door as intended. Only one hole was done here, but you can see where I was marking the second one. All fixed.

What a pain. Anyway, to make up for it, the fridge is made by Thomson, which reminded me of this scene from ‘Das Boot’:

Pencil Search – Success Of A Kind

Over the past few years, I would often be inspired to post this on various office supply and stationery sites:

Hi, I have a request, and I hope someone can help. In my late father’s stuff I found a canister of mechanical pencil leads, with a cork stopper. From the markings I think they are from his job in the 1960s at the UK GPO (General Post Office, which later split to make the Post Office and British Telecom). I’d love to be able to use them, but they are 1.5mm size. It’s been some years now, and I just cannot find a mechanical pencil or lead holder that will hold them. 1.3mm is too small, and they fall out of my Staedtler 2.0mm.
Can anyone tell me if there is such a thing as a 1.5mm lead holder? I’ve searched around on eBay, without much luck.
Any ideas for what I could do? Can you put the word out?

I even bought a cheaper 1.3mm holder and some thin diamond files to see if I could increase the size. That didn’t work.

It seemed nobody could help. Disappointing.

In the end, and it is a real anticlimax to be honest, I tried wrapping a piece of thin card around one of the 1.5mm leads and then trying it in the Staedtler again. It worked fine, and it even let the lead slide out when I pressed the release button.

Moral of the story? If you believe in yourself, and reach for the stars, you may only hit the moon, but at least you have a pencil.

Inkscape Tutorial – Uneven Letraset Effect

I was browsing Pinterest, the way you do, looking at old ads and the raw graphical style they often used:

You get the idea. (Actually, looking at it now, it’s pretty straight, oh well)

As often happens, I was suddenly inspired to pointlessly recreate the style in Inkscape. So here’s how.

  1. Start Inkscape and create a new document.
  2. Using the Text tool type your desired slogan:

  3. Change the font and weight as you wish. I used the default “sans-serif” and set it to bold.
  4. Select the text and stretch out the letter spacing a little:

  5. With the text object selected, Path > Object to Path. This will turn the text object into a group of paths, one for each letter in your text.

  6. With the group selected, Object > Ungroup, to break the group into paths.
  7. You now have a bunch of individual paths. Make sure they are all selected, and select the Tweak tool:

  8. In the toolbar, select the following settings:


    Width sets the size of the circle within which the tool will act. Force sets how much of an effect it has – we set it low because we want a subtle effect. The Mode setting allows us to choose what kind of effect we want – we want random movement.

  9. Click and drag the tool over your selected objects. You will see the letters move a little. Keep “painting” over the objects with multiple strokes until you are “happy”.

  10. For extra fuzzy-photostat-ness, use the Filters > Morphology > Cross-smooth filter with these or similar settings:

  11. Then stick it on an old paper textured background (there are lots of tutorials for that out there), and save it as a JPG, with a high compression setting to get that “bad scan” look:

  12. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? !

Top Trump Horror Cards – Update And Concession

Back in August 2017, I started to try and find the original images used by the artist or artists who created the Top Trump Horror Cards as “inspiration”. I asked people on Twitter about it, and got a few good tips. The results can be seen here.

Included in the tips people sent was a link to the excellent blog Hypnogoria, where I found that someone else had the same idea as me, and made a much better job of it, in their series Tomb of the Trumps. I hereby tip my hat, congratulate, and concede to Mr Jim Moon of Darlington!

Let’s compare notes. Jim got the Man-Eating Plant and The Ghoul. He also spotted that The Freak was a combination of The Reptile (which I spotted) and a magazine cover with Christopher Lee for the hands. These artists are sneaky!

I like to think the still I chose of Christopher Lee as Dracula is closer than the one Jim found, and the still of Lon Chaney Jr from ‘London After Midnight’ is also closer. We have to find our victories where we can! I’m also glad he couldn’t find a match for The Risen Dead. I wish someone could though…

I must congratulate Jim on spotting that Maggot was a still from 60’s show ‘Lost In Space’. How could I have missed Jonathan Harris’s terrified eyes?

Actually, calling Hypnogoria a “blog” is understating things. More accurate would be MEDIA EMPIRE, with podcasts, books, and spoken-word collections. Support the creator, Jim Moon, on Patreon!

Closure!

Taking Stock: August 2017 (Finally Published March 2018)

Another unfinished draft, finally published, with commentary from today.

Making
A laser-cut stencil of the Coiled Spring logo. Online laser cutting company Ponoko has a $20 introductory discount, so I whipped up a stencil of the logo and sent it off. We’ll see how it turns out.
Turned out nice! Good quality plastic, clean cuts. I stenciled my aluminium audio kit briefcase. I should post a photo. I also tried a t-shirt which didn’t work so well.
Cooking
We have an Instant Pot, so Cassie’s trying lots of new things. I’m still making my daily sandwiches, now including a couple of carrots to peel at work. I could leave the skins and scrub them, but that’s messier prep at home, and I’d need another container for them.
The Instant Pot was a great investment. Cassie got this sticker for it (not this exact design, but the same idea).
Drinking
No more alcohol. Just can’t handle it, and it drains my energy. I’ve been hardly touching a drop the last couple of years, and then I had a rather boozy British Dads brunch, and I felt rotten for two days. Not for me any more.
This continues. I’ve had perhaps 3 glasses of beer since August, and nothing else. Gaining weight was an unexpected effect.
Reading
Haruki Murakami – ‘Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage’. Classic Murakami, even with the surreal bits and strange stories, just following a character eating simple meals and listening to music is enjoyable.
Kind of a disappointment, actually. Not enough magic realism. Oh well. I’ve been reading Paul Auster recently too.
Trawling
Through stuff in the apartment that was not unpacked yet, but if we aren’t staying in Dubai, I shouldn’t bother too much.
Well, we did stay. We should still go through stuff.
Wanting
A new job. I have a couple of solid possibilities, but I don’t yet know if they will be right. I must be sure they’re right – I’ve sabotaged myself in the past by taking jobs just because I needed one.
Finally started current job in October 2017. Since then, it’s been firefighting all the time, but despite that I feel more valued and supported than I have for a long time.
Looking
For a new job.
Found one! I like it! It likes me!
Deciding
If the job offers are right for me.
One DEFINITELY wasn’t – it had a clause in the contract that meant I would have to pay them 2 months salary if I wanted to leave within 2 years. What?!
Wishing
Stuff would settle down.
I could be calm and happy.
I was with my family.
All is better now. I’m having to travel a lot for work, but in some ways that makes things better at home.
Enjoying
Spending time in Abu Dhabi with my lovely friends who are taking care of me while I’m on my own.
They were/are great. Thanks, J & T x
Waiting
For my final paycheck from Thales, and the whole bureaucratic domino Rube Goldberg perfect storm that will trigger.
For a $2.50 delivery from Hong Kong.
For a first repeated coherent word.
Storm didn’t materialise in the way I expected. Don’t know what the delivery was. Trying to remember words – so much interaction now! I think possibly “turtle” was first.
Liking
My homemade muesli. I did try toasting stuff first, but now I just throw oats, raisins, shredded coconut, wheatgerm, and anything else I fancy into the big plastic ex-protein canister and shake.
Still good. Flaked almonds ftw.
Loving
A&E and their mother, obv.
Pondering
How do other people do it/manage/cope/organise etc? Exactly the thoughts the CBT doc says aren’t helpful.
Yeah right.
Listening
The Pattern Forms, “Peel Away The Ivy” (my review here), and the old “Welcome To Mars” series from Ken Hollings.
New Meat Beat Manifesto album ‘Impossible Star’ out now on Bandcamp!
Considering
Actually editing and publishing the Coiled Spring backlog of interview recordings.
Buying
As little as possible.
Watching
“Soundbreaking”, the PBS music production documentary. Fascinating and educational, even for the bits I already knew.
Hoping
We find a nice cheap place that ticks at least a few of our boxes.
I think we did pretty well.
Marvelling
At the effortless grace and smoothness with which all construction, bureaucracy, services and everything here is performed.
Cringing
see above
Needing
To do more exercise. A combination of lack of time and lack of will to overcome that lack, is making me very out of shape.
I’ve just today slotted swimming sessions into the calendar.
Questioning
What on earth is wrong with people. If society abandons those less well off, what do you think will happen to them? They’ll magically bootstrap themselves?
Smelling
The mint tea, and at home the Bitter Orange hand cream I’m still working through. My aging hands.
Some ginger tea today.
Wearing
The same Clarks Desert Trek I wear every day. So comfortable, great patina, shame the soles are now paper-thin and you can’t resole crepe (without some hassle).
Got them resoled in the UK. Plus I added an arch support. There’s life in them yet!
Noticing
The weather here in Dubai is warming up. I stepped outside on my way to catch the Metro at 7am, and it was already balmy. Uh-oh.
Same as last year. Funny that.
Knowing
Things are possible, and that I can do them.
Thinking
I can’t.
Admiring
The people in the US resisting the blatant lies and cruel actions of 45’s administration.
They persist. Hopefully not for much longer.
Also Cassie, for reasons soon to become clear.
Getting
Out of the rut of not bothering with things.
Still working on this, but getting better.
Bookmarking
Interior decor ideas, especially ones with DIY and/or scrap materials input.
Feeling
More in control, depending on the day.
Meds, therapy, and circumstances are all helping
Hearing
The JBR Music Festival.
Celebrating
All the little things as much as possible.