I bought a tea cosy.
It's purple, and came all the way from Carmarthen in Wales, via EBay and the Post Office, from Kathryn at Designs and Discoveries.
It was beautifully packed; you could tell it was an object made with skill and pride just from the care that had gone into the presentation and choice of packaging. Lovely
It's my second tea cosy from Kathryn.
(Unboxing for geeks here.)
Just, wow, on so many different levels.
The creation and making of the instruments. The re-cycling and beauty of the people, instruments and music. The sound and community and delight of the orchestra.
How can so many governments and states continue to deny that all people might be helped by their monetary systems and governing communities to be what they are capable of being, in their souls, as a positive and contributory part of a modern, loving economy.
How can we continue to assert that value is only value when it can be counted economically.
As the most patient of my friends and relatives will bear witness I am in the throes of writing a book about money tentatively entitled 'How Money Works'.
During my research and reading over the last couple of years I have delved into and read at length any number of different books, blogs and tomes, all of which have moved my research on a little or shown me new directions to explore. There has only been one traditional economics text book among that lot, very boring, and very little to do with money.
This traditional economics dry spell has continued right up until now when I am delighted to say that I have discovered an amazing little book called 'Economics of the Real World' written by Peter Donaldson and published by Pelican Books in 1973.
Peter Donaldson read philosophy and economics and graduated from Oxford in 1956. He lectured at Leeds, Leicester & Nottingham; with the Workers Educational Association; at Osmania University in Hyderabad; for Ruskin College, Oxford; and finally did a considerable amount of broadcasting which is where we come in.
This little book came out of a joint publication between Pelican and the BBC and so far seems to be an absolute gem for the non-professional searcher for economic knowledge. That'll be me and you.
I am considering quoting a large part of the first two pages of the book in my preface. Peter speaks with my scepticism, some of my passion, but with more knowledge, so as to briefly and succinctly describe economics in as small a nutshell as you are ever likely to find.
I confess I'm only up to page 33 as I write but it seemed appropriate to break off and post about Peter Donaldson's wonderful little book - 'Economics of the Real World'- this link will take you to Amazon's secondhand section and if you buy I will receive a minuscule percentage of your purchase in a long while.
If you do, you won't regret it. If you do, thank you.
PS - This is quite probably the only economics book you will encounter the sentence: "Households, on the other hand, are the places where people live, eat, drink and ,make love."
Peter Donaldson (27 October 1934 – 6 September 2002)
I developed a passion for using fountain pens sometime last year that is both a delight and a continuous itch. And the process of seeking out the 'best' pen started. My first new purchase was a beautiful Lamy Nexx in aluminium and orange, beautifully made and reasonably if not cheaply priced that wrote like a dream. Smooth and easy, thick ink line, seamless ink flow - lovely.
What more could one ask for.
Having the perfect pen wasn't enough though and various Ebay searches pulled up an increasing amount of awesome, interesting, old, strange and expensive pens for me to browse through; so much so that ones enthusiasm becomes slightly blunted, even.
Eventually my second fountain pen purchase was a Reform 1745, NOS (New Old Stock) in green and black with an inbuilt resevoir and built-in piston filler from Ebay seller bigeddiephotography -most excellent service btw.
The nib of the 1745 is an Iridium item. This is ranked as being better than not being Iridium by those that know about these things. The piston filler, a little built in twist cap on the end, works faultlessly. The pen holds loads of ink. There is a little clear section in the pen so that the quantity of ink can be easily seen, nice. The Reform is a delicate pen in the hand, easy to write with for long period and comfortable for even big (ish) hands. The cap screws on, this I like tautologically both for certainty and for sureness. And there is a simple level of detailing and a quality of finish that far exceeds the Reform's purchase price.
But in writing, the only test one might say, the writing experience of the 1745 was ever so slightly scratchy and a little ... rough even, after the Lamy. Still perseverance persevered and ...
Now, after a few months I find the Reform is my go-to pen. I like the sound and feel of writing. Thin sound, thick sound, different grips on paper, all movement has a certain Reform sound and feel to it which I value and enjoy. The scratchy has transmogrified into tactile feedback, which I enjoy.
The nib also has a definite spring in it's step, a little flexibility, that allows for a flourishing variety to the line width, and my writing with the 1745 has become undeniably more expressive and interesting.
The Review experience will vary a great deal with the ink you use. This is something I'm only just getting to grips with, for instance Diamine Asa Blue is smooth and lovely all the time in a Review where as Diamine Damson just won't flow regularly or sometimes at all in the Review so I use it in a different pen. I have a Parker Frontier which just loves Damson, can't get enough of it.
Rough and noisy is the new perfect.
Different pens suit different inks.
Another more conventional review of the 1745 here.
My favourite ink is Diamine. Made, nay Manufactured in England since 1864.
The colours are perfect. The price is perfect. The size of bottle-v-price is perfect. Perfect.
My favourite pen and pen supplies supplier in the U.K. is Cult Pens.
Astonishingly good service or exactly the service you can easily come to expect.
Here's the second of my walk, talk, photograph videos. The aim is to show all the pictures I take over a short walk and commentate over them my thoughts and motivations at the time, as remembered.
This time I am using a tripod for all the pictures, it gives a different aesthetic and slows down the process considerably. There is more consideration and thinking space. It also helped this time as the mist and low light levels meant longer exposure times, not such a problem with digital as with film.
I am aiming to enjoy a moments photography and being in a landscape and not actually looking for anything special or searching for a killer photograph. My style and taste is for small scale and intimate personal interpretations of spaces I am in. More often than not, if I am in a good place, I do take one picture that really works for me. Always an exciting moment. On this walk I immediately recognised that picture and took almost a snap, without setting up the tripod properly, lovely.
Enjoy and comment, it's a pleasure hearing from people.
This is just a quick post to mention Darktable, an open source virtual darkroom and light table for digital photo organisers, processors and printers.
I've tried it a few times over the last year or so with no success on a Mac and with some success on Ubuntu but now
Darktable is proving to be a real contender. Nice work guys.
I will do a complete review of my progress with Darktable sometime soon using photos from an upcoming walk but so far Darktable seems to suit my simplified workflow very well; I'm old school and consciously try to keep my processing to a bare minimum.
I have tried Lightroom a couple of times but haven't been able to find a reason to change from Aperture. Knowing the ways of one piece of software locks you in much like being locked into a bank; changing is difficult and time consuming and of there's no benefit, well...
It's looking good. Take a look.
It can take a lifetime to realise you are standing near your teacher. Alan Watts may be for you.
Some fascinating sounds. I'm a big fan of electronic music and audio so these really work for me and the idea of making sounds to reflect the imagined travels of bees tickled my conceptual imagination; your mileage may differ.
I bought 'The Bee and the Stamen' as a digital download via Bandcamp just now, very bee'ee and wonderful.
If I get around to it I'll dig out a handheld timelapse landscape with audio I shot and recorded with my old Nikon... no breath holding.
I won't add any more of my words, Create Digital Music do an excellent job as always, read there.
'Dashed' is the least of my annoyance. My feelings are all the more irritating because Ubuntu is so close to being a really useable system for ordinary users, which is me really.
It all started when I wanted to play a DVD on my laptop. The default Ubuntu movie player recognised that a DVD was in the drive but wouldn't play it at all no matter how I approached the problem.
I searched for a solution and the normally awesome VLC appeared to work for some people, I use it on my Mac all the time. Downloading VLC through the Software Centre was a doddle but the DVD still wouldn't play on my system.
More searching... VLC apparently needs something called libdvdread3 installed, probably. It might be 4 not 3 though or maybe 5.
Found out how to do that using Terminal, copy and paste and etc. Nothing.
More searching and I realised I was in a Search-of-Death loop of the most irritating kind: site1 refer to site2 refer to site3 refer to site1. Much of the searching brought up instructions for previous builds of Ubuntu or talked about pieces of software that weren't applicable to my system.
Then it turns out that for legal reasons Ubuntu doesn't work with encrypted DVDs and I need to install Restricted Drivers. That makes sense and I was aware of this having already got Flash and a few other bits and bobs playing but i must have missed something.
(Why there isn't a 'Read Me' installed on the desktop of all new Ubuntu installations with some links and straightforward up to date instructions to the common problems new users will face I'll be dashed if I know.)
Bored by now, I thought I'd try out Abiword, a basic and beautiful word processor I use fairly regularly on other systems.
Abiword was in the Software Centre and was installed in minutes.
Crash Bang Wallop.
It wouldn't save, wouldn't allow copy and paste and crashed all the time. All the time.
The reviews mentioned that it was an experimental build or some such that had been installed and I should get an older version from the site.
Off I go, but you can't just download older version; you are sent to back the Ubuntu Software centre and at least one of the help links gets you into a Search-of-Death loop and by this time I was bored and disillusioned and my hopes were dashed.
Very sadly, I restarted back into Windows, fired up Abiword and it worked a charm.
So I got on with some writing.
Microsoft Outlook 2007 - turns out to be the biggest obstacle to fully using a new installation of Ubuntu, who would have thought.
It turns out that exporting an address book from Outlook is a near mystical skill compared to:
Start up in Ubuntu 12.04 is lovely fast, quicker than either OSX or Windows 7 I'll be bound.
Browsing and using a newly installed free open source RSS reader, Liferea, which I'd never heard of before, were both an absolute pleasure.
The keyboard shortcuts for moving around are as expected and work well. The system Help is excellent, well laid out and succinct. I'm enjoying having workspaces back as they used to be in OSX before some update or other. There doesn't seem to be any 'Duplicate File' jiggery pokery or missing 'Save As' File dialogue to moan about.
That's it for the moment. I'll do more in depth opinions next week.