Weight and Stuff Report – 21 May 2016

Weight: 221.5 pounds (15 stone 11.5 pounds, 100.5 kg)
Steps taken: 2,720

Down again, would you believe? I’m not sure I do, as the scale has this habit of making up numbers to mess with my mind…

After the shopping, I went into Newcastle to see the Alice in Wonderland exhibition at the Laing. It’s well worth a visit – lots of illustrations, books, bits and even bobs.  And then I came home.

Here’s another one from my recent coastal visit, a well-known landmark at Cullercoats:

Is that the tme already?

Is that the tme already?

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/8
Shutter speed 1/750s
Focal length 115.3mm
ISO 200
Taken 13:40, 14 May, 2016

Robert Rankin – They Came and Ate Us – Armageddon II: The B-Movie

Moving along with the Great Robert Rankin Re-read-athon, we come to the second in the Armageddon Trilogy. This was first published by Bloomsbury in 1991, and my trade paperback is well, yes, an actual first edition. If my memory is accurate (and be fair, it’s been a while, I’ve been asleep since then, etc, etc), I got it from a strange thing called a “book club”, which was how we used to buy books by something called “mail order” in those pre-Amazonian days. The club in question did softcover versions of books otherwise available only in more expensive hardbacks. This one must have appealed it me at the time when I saw its description in the quaintly printed monthly (or thereabouts) newsletter thingy. Either that, or it was the monthly (or thereabouts) selection which they’d send to you if you didn’t get around to telling them not to. I suspect the former rather than the latter, but I could be wrong (it’s happened at least once before, I think it was on a Tuesday). But I, as is so often the case, digress. Though it wouldn’t be Losing it without a digression or six, would it?

So, this follows on, more or less, give or take, from Armageddon: The Musical. Following the quite literal deus ex machina ending of that one, the revived earth is a paradise. Our hero Rex Mundi is married to Christeen (twin sister of Jesus christ, edited out of the Bible, best not to ask) and living in profound happiness, so that’s not going to last, is it?

Meanwhile (err, no, not really, but once you start messing around with time travel, the grammar goes to pot, as Douglas Adams pointed out), in 1977, Elvis Presley has faked his death and headed off with Barry the Time Sprout.

And then there’s some fun with Jack Doveston, working on a project to digitise all the more interesting books, who accidentally manages to summon Rex Mundi through time.

And some nicely demonic entities.

And hackers.

And more nonsense than you could shake a shaky thing at.

And chapter headings relating more nonsense about Hugo Rune than anyone would wish to know.

And something approximating to the truth about the Nuclear Holocaust Event of 1999 that led to the mangled future world of the first book.

And a guest appearance from Pooley and Omally, heroes of the Brentford Trilogy!

And more characters complaining about not getting better parts!

Indeed, it’s pretty much at this point that Robert settles down (well, more doesn’t settle down, really) into the deranged self-referential style that we all know and love. Great and very silly fun, which made my journey to Birmingham much more enjoyable.

Weight and Stuff Report – 19 May 2016

Weight: 223.8 pounds (15 stone 13.8 pounds, 101.5 kg)
Steps taken: 2,967

What’s this? Quite shockingly down today! Who’d have thought it?

Today’s photo is another demonstration of my lovely long lens on the X-T1. Taken from Cullercoats, looking over the Tyne piers, you can clearly see Souter Lighthouse:

Distant Light

Distant Light

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/8
Shutter speed 1/1600s
Focal length 400mm
ISO 200
Taken 13:43, 14 May, 2016

Oh, and just to make me happy, and my credit card sad, Fujifilm have announced a new x2 teleconverter for my 100-400mm and 50-140mm lenses. This will make the big beastie the approximate equivalent of a 1200mm lens on a full frame camera. A while back, I was thinking that the one thing I missed from my old Canon kit was a seriously long lens (you might recall I had a 150-500mm Sigma monster), but with this latest development, Fujifilm have strolled right past that while sticking their collective tongue out and waving a sign reading “call that long?”. Or something like that. And yes, I’ll be getting the x2 to go with my x1.4.

Weight and Stuff Report – 18 May 2016

Weight: 226.2 pounds (16 stone 2.2 pounds, 102.6 kg)
Steps taken: 6,184

And here I am back from my expedition to the Midlands. And surprisingly, despite the best efforts of Pizza Express and Las Iguanas, my weight is down a wee bit. Well, a very wee bit.

This is another one from last weekend – it’s a cropped view of a view of a ship heading out somewhere. But the interesting bit is on the horizon, where the 140-400mm lens has revealed something that wasn’t more than a vague blur to the naked eye. Well, the eye wearing my glasses. Without those most things end up being vague blurs.

Ghost ship

Ghost ship

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/8
Shutter speed 1/500s
Focal length 386mm
ISO 250
Taken 13:40, 14 May, 2016

Stuff Report – 17 May 2016

Steps taken: 5,753

And so another day in the midlands draws to a close. Had the usual breakfast, got to the station just after the train I probably should have aimed for, and so had to wait over ten minutes. Got to the office, and was soon joined by our phone people. Various issues followed, caused by a third party not setting things up as they were supposed to.  Fun. So, I’ll be back there in the morning…

Here’s another bit of Birmingham sculpture:

Sphynx

Sphynx

Camera X70
Aperture ƒ/8
Shutter speed 1/180s
Focal length 18.5mm
ISO 200
Taken 08:10, 16 May, 2016

Stuff Report – 16 May 2016

Steps taken: 6,952

Yes, it’s a weightless report today, what with me being in Birmingham.

Had an early breakfast then headed out to meet people at our probable new location. Then off to Solihull to do things with email and other such things. Then back to Birmingham where I stopped at Pizza Express for some food before returning to the hotel, which is where I am.

I spotted this interesting item this morning. Looked suspiciously like a relative of the Angel of the North to me. And indeed it is – it’s called Iron: Man and is by Antony Gormley.

Fallen Angel

Fallen Angel

Camera X70
Aperture ƒ/8
Shutter speed 1/210s
Focal length 18.5mm
ISO 200
Taken 08:09, 16 May, 2016

Weight and Stuff Report – 15 May 2016

Weight: 226.3 pounds (16 stone 2.3 pounds, 102.6 kg)
Steps taken: 2,330

Mutter, mutter, up again today. Will this go on? Well, that’ll have to be a mystery for a few days, as I’m away again. Yes, it’s another business trip thingy to the deepest midlands, and I’ve returned to the hotel I used on my last trip, though for slightly longer this time.

Here’s the, err, stunning view from my room

Lovely view...

Lovely view…

Camera X70
Aperture ƒ/8
Shutter speed 1/60s
Focal length 18.5mm
ISO 640
Taken 20:32, 15 May, 2016

Robert Rankin – Armageddon: The Musical

Time for another entry in the infamous Robert Rankin Re-read-athon, and for the first time we move away from Brentford and begin a new trilogy. This was first published in 1990, and my paperback dates back to 1991 (though I may have acquired it after then, can’t remember at this point).

We join the story in the devastated Earth of 2050, still recovering from the Nuclear Holocaust Event (NHE) of 1999 when American President Wormwood[1] pressed The Button.

The world is essentially run by three rival TV networks, each under the control of a religious figure. Passing swiftly over the Jesuits and the mob run by a descendant of L Ron Hubbard, we’ll be focusing on the most powerful and influential of the networks, which is run by the latest incarnation of the Dalai Lama[2].

People are pretty much confined to bunkers and earn credits by watching TV, with the most popular show being Dalai Dan’s Nemesis, which tends not to be too good for the health of its contestants..

Our hero, such as he is, is one Rex Mundi[3], who repeatedly avoids being killed thanks to interventions from a mysterious woman who he completely forgets about until she appears again[4].

But wait! It’s more complicated than that! Everything that happens on Earth is in fact a reality TV show run by a bunch of vegetable-descended aliens called Phnaargs. Concerned about failing ratings for Earthers, a cunning plan is formed to change the last century of Earth’s history. This involves sending an agent back to 1958 to persuade Elvis Presley to not join the army, on the grounds that this was the key turning point that led to President Wormwood’s fun and games. This all goes a bit wrong when the agent’s Time Sprout (who adopts the name Barry) defects and helps Elvis Presley.

As you might expect, much silliness follows, outrageous running gags are not just run but pointed at and marked as such. And it ends with characters pointing out the apparent plot holes, and suggesting that they’ll be sorted out in the sequel…

[1] Bit of a hint in the name, there
[2] So, plenty to offend lots of people…
[3] And if you think that’s a bit obvious, wait till you meet his sister Gloria
[4] No, Doctor Who fans, she’s not a Silent

Weight and Stuff Report – 14 May 2016

Weight: 225.8 pounds (16 stone 1.8 pounds, 102.4 kg)
Steps taken: 3,805

Another slight rise today, mutter, mutter.

I had another brief visit to the coast today, where I managed to get some potentially interesting photos of big floaty things in the distance, but I thought I’d start with this, which might interest my brother[1].

Shrunk in the wash?

Shrunk in the wash?

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/8
Shutter speed 1/500s
Focal length 18.2mm
ISO 640
Taken 13:33, 14 May, 2016

The notice in the window explains what’s going on here, but the reality is much less entertaining than speculating about how you might shrink a VW…

[1] Hi Geoff  :wave: