ARISS School Contact Downlink

This is the audio I captured from yesterdays ARISS School Contact.

Thought it was a very odd signal, when the ISS is transmitting sometimes was getting what sounded like a carrier which seemed to be undergoing a Doppler shift, but when the transmission stops the carrier stops? I know they have some issues with the radio equipment on board but still very odd.

Jean Michel Jarre

I came down with a severe case of man-flu early last week but recovered sufficiently to travel to Birmingham and The National Indoor Arena on Friday evening to see Jean Michel Jarre in concert. We almost didn’t go because I was still feeling unwell and the wife is having problems with her back and was recovering from an epidural steroid injection. I was glad we did go as it was a good night and a very impressive show both aurally and visually, just wish venues could see their way to giving an extra couple of inches legroom!

I had read in a pithy review of an early show that Jean Michel was actively encouraging the use of digital cameras and iPhones during his preformance so decided I would take my aging Casio EX-Z120 digital camera along. Arriving at the NIA we were met with signs banning the use of ALL photographic and recording equipment! Despite this I managed to take the camera in unchallenged and so did many others judging by the vast number of illuminated LCD viewfinder screens visible in the audience during certain parts of the performance.

One slightly annoying point of the evening was one particularly over-zealous steward who seemed to spend the entire evening tapping people on the shoulder or shining his torch into the faces of anyone who dared tried to make a digital memento of the evening – thankfully I was too ensconced in the crowd and was a little less obvious in my actions for him to pick me out, but he did target someone sitting just three seats away!

How ironic then on the last song of the evening Jean Michel did indeed ask the audience to send out a signal using their cameras on Facebook and YouTube! Unfortunately at this point I had already exhausted my memory card (I hadn’t took my spare!)

I have uploaded a number of short highlights onto my YouTube Channel.

BBC Radio Science Fiction Season

It has been an interesting couple of weeks for fans of sci-fi on the BBC Radio network. The digital only station BBC 7 regularly broadcasts science fiction drama, but has been joined by the mainstream stations Radio 3 and Radio 4 for a season of science fiction. The season consists of new dramas, dramatisations and readings of ground breaking books inspired and written by some of the greats including H.G. Wells, J.G. Ballard, Iain M. Banks and Arthur C. Clarke.

I particularly liked the productions of Clarke’s masterpiece Rendezvous with Rama, and Iain M. Banks’s State Of The Art. I do agree with Kate Chisholm’s review in The Spectator where she laments the loss of the Radiophonic Workshop’s unearthly sound effects and audio treatment that were once a staple of radio drama, they would have added a lot to the State Of The Art, but it was enjoyable none the less.

Wasn’t quite so sure of the apocalyptic The Death Of Grass drama bizarrely broadcast during Woman’s Hour While the story and production had merit I thought the casting of David Mitchell as the narrator wasn’t quite right, but then I recently spent several sessions catching up with his comedy Peep Show.

I read somewhere (but have lost the link) that the BBC received a number of complaints about the trailer (above) that they used on TV, seems it frightened a number of children! Not sure it would have got the same reaction as the original Exorcist Maze Game did…


I have embedded a ‘copy’ as the original youtube video has embedding disabled!

Basil gets his first rosette!

Boris's Rosette
Before Dog Agility took over our weekends (and pretty much most of our spare time) we used to be active in the Crossbreed and Mongrel Club The CMC was set up by dedicated non-pedigree dog owners who wanted a club that appreciated the uniqueness of their own type of dog and that recognised they are something to be proud of and neither inferior nor superior to pedigrees but equally loving, fun to own and useful in their own right. I created and maintained the original website and also produced the clubs newsletter for many years.

This Sunday we were uncharacteristically free and there was a CMC show on in Tattershall Lincolnshire. So we decided to reacquaint ourselves with old friends and take the dogs out for a bit of fun. Basil the new boy still has many hang-ups and behavioural idiosyncrasies so we thought a bit of socialisation might help him. Last weekend he went to a BAA agility show as a spectator and seemed to enjoy himself.

Central to the CMC is the SCAMPS competition. SCAMPS (Supreme Crossbreed and Mongrel Petdog Show) is held annually where the winners of all ‘SCAMPS’ Heats held around the country that year compete for the title of ‘Crossbreed and Mongrel Club Supreme Champion’. The heats consists of four classes, best dog, best bitch under and over 18 inches in height, the four winners are then judged together to decide on the heat winner.

So anyway, we entered Charlie (handled by the wife, pictured below), Boris (handled by a friend Sue) and Basil (handled by yours truly) in the Best dog under 18 inches class. Charlie won! and to my surprise Basil got 6th (there were about 15 dogs in the heat) Basil was very calm, allowed the judge to examine him without complaint and even made a passable effort to walk around the ring properly (unlike Boris who was a bit of handful for Sue)

Charlie and Ros

Charlie looking pleased with himself
Charlie didn’t get anywhere in the final part of the heat, he is pictured above with the wife (the eagle eyed of you can spot Boris, Basil, Fred and Toby looking on in the back of the Nissan X-Trail in the top left)

The dogs were entered in various classes thoughout the day. Boris got fifth place in “most appealing eyes”, Charlie was second in “best condition coat”, poor old Fred got nothing and Toby spent all day asleep in the back of the car! Charlie and Boris also got places in the fastest recall, Boris impressing everyone by not having someone hold him but sitting and waiting while I walked the 25 yards or so down the course and then recalled him!

Basil

Basil at Play

Basil (pictured above) really enjoyed and behaved himself and slept like a log when we got home. He was completely at ease and as you can see he is alert but ignores other dogs including a Rhodesian Ridgeback walking close by in the following videos.

Dog vs Balloons

I have four terrier cross dogs and each of them goes mental for balloons, even our little old 17 year old still gets worked up by them.

Watch this brilliant video kbad73 has posted on youtube of Simon the terrier exacting his revenge on 74 evil latex orbs in a mere 57 seconds!

Oh and the video below shows Simon continuing his noble yet relentless quest to end cardboard balloon infestations. 100 spheres of doom dispatched in a paltry 77 seconds!