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Badass lizard!

Walking back from feeding the cats, I nearly stood on this little guy.
One badass lizard
One badass lizard!

It was just sitting there looking at me. Not running off. Not seemingly concerned that it was only two degrees. I considered picking it up to put it in the shed (not as cold), but remembered that nature rarely does things with no reason. That yellow and black colour scheme? That's a pretty clear indication of "touch me and you will regret it". Since it didn't seem violent, and was likely too small to do much damage, I went out on a limb and considered that it probably secrets a neurotoxin that makes DDT look like a soft drink mix.

I moved the torch away, and it sauntered away, utterly unconcerned by my presence. I pointed the torch back at it, it looked at me, and then carried on.
Like I said. Badass.

Never seen one of these, so I did some searching on my phone. And, yup. It's a Fire Salamander. It is cold tolerant, unlike the regular lizards around here, and it does secrete something nasty that can kill a human. Thought so! That warning colour scheme was no mere accident.


Playmo parcel

After work on Friday, I quickly whipped around the shop, took stuff home and put the cold stuff in the fridge. Then off to Noyal. My parcel wasn't able to be delivered on Wednesady because the place is closed. But it did turn up on Friday. And, of course, UPS totally remembered to send me an email and text like I had requested... Good thing I kept the tracking tab open and just kept refreshing it.

Driving at night is annoying because I keep getting flashed. No, I don't have main beams on. I think I ought to take Caoimhe around to the MOT testing place to ask if they can check the headlights to ensure they aren't misaligned. Maybe they're just bright?
My eyes are photosensitive, so somebody flashing me is unpleasant.

Anyway, I picked up my parcel, so I have an interesting advent calendar for this year. It wasn't available from Amazon, which is why all the UPS and pickup nonsense.


The quickest satellite receiver - Echosat 20500 S

On Friday, my Echosat satellite receiver arrived. The date of "Guaranteed delivery" was Wednesday, but it didn't even leave Amazon's warehouse until the day of delivery. I send a message to customer support pointing this out and saying that the guaranteed delivery date was not respected. <sarcasm>Oddly enough</sarcasm> there has been no reply.

Here it is.

Echosat 20500 S
Echosat 20500 S

It picked up the British channels without any problems, and seemed to be a fair bit more sensitive than my current receiver.

Setting up a satellite
Setting up a satellite.

It had more or less the expected user interface features.

Channel list
Channel list.

There was even a reference to something to do with WiFi - but no hardware. An add on? USB stick?


But the deal breaker for me was that pressing the REC button did nothing.

A bit of paper in the box said I should update the firmware to be able to use the PVR functionality. It didn't provide any references or links. I found a site in Turkey that was broken and missing half of its markup. The Bfsat website in France mentioned this model, but there was nothing about updated firmware.

Since the description on Amazon clearly said it can be a PVR and record stuff, I have simply requested a return. It shouldn't be up to me to try to figure out where the firmware is. If it doesn't do it out of the box, the description lied, sorry but no deal.


Doctor Who

Today might be the last episode I watch. I guess I'm just fed up with how he/she/ze/it/they (what's the appropriate pronoun for a gender changing, personality changing, body changing, alien time lord?) keep appearing like a fool.

Whather it's a race of sentient dogs, one for each human, to rescue them in times of crisis. You'd think that a humanoid time lord with a soft spot for various quarries around Cardiff, might have been aware of this. One doesn't organise seven billion dogs and spaceships without a lot of effort... even if it looked more like seventy on-screen.

Or maybe it's when last week she walked into a place that was almost like a shrine to a bunch of women who keep time in check. There's no temporal blahblah, she exclaims, that's impossible!
You'd think, if there were entities keeping time in check, then perhaps the best person to have some sort of a clue about it would be a freaking time lord! Not some fungly multicoloured bad guy.

It's just getting annoying. I'm wondering if I even care what "the flooks" is. ☺

Hmm, blue swirly stuff that looks like an effect from the eighties. Hmm, that Asian woman - The Irregulars?

Jeez, episode three is like watching Dune (the original film). A lot of strange visuals and... you what?


My aching finger

The other day, the bloke came by from the town to cut down the crap along the edges of the roads. He cut halfway along to the pond, perhaps not realising where my land begins. On Saturday afternoon, I decided to continue what he started, so I fired up the disc-strimmer, and when the big bits were done, I used hand trimmers for more delicate work.

Several hours of hacking through brambles, and not a single injury. But then, moving some old bits of tree, a sharp spike punched its way into my finger like it was butter. Ouch!

It left some crappy wood bits in my finger. I did try cutting my finger open with a craft knife, but when blood started coming out and I was nowhere near, I thought "bugger this for a lark" and poured some ethanol hand wash into the wound (gyaaaaah!!!) and stuck a bandage on.
A day later, it is sore as you'd expect. But no swelling, no rashes, no dizziness. It's not the first time I've had bits of plant life stuck into my body, and probably not the last. Unfortunately it is stuck in the tip of the index finger on my right hand. Let's just say it's a good thing I'm a leftie.
I don't think you realise how much you poke your finger at things until you can't any more.

Anyway, haven't finished. There's always a lot of stuff, but here are two photos.

Weeds no more
Weeds not more.

Lochaber no more
Lochaber no more.

The bits of orange you can see are markers for barbed wire on an old bit of fencing that I didn't even know was there. I don't think I've ever seen this 'tidy'. This place was bought in 1992. I first came out (briefly) in 1995, and then for the summer in 1997 and annually as of 1999, eventually moving out for good in 2002. That said, the brambles took over this bit pretty quickly. The fences and uneven land (it's a semi-ditch) make it a place that is difficult to look after. And, to be honest, there are always more important places to look after. But, well... yesterday, for some reason, I decided that this was where I should look to next.

What it used to look like
What it used to look like.



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Jeff Doggett, 14th November 2021, 21:31
Regarding people flashing their lights at you, I had the same thing happen for years. It was a brand new car with HID lights. Pretty much the only time I didn't get flashed was when they'd already been dazzled by high beam. Eventually, after 6 years of being misaligned, I had the car MOT'd at a decent garage which failed it and realigned them. Hey presto, no more flashing.
David Pilling, 15th November 2021, 15:16
Flashing lights - I'd imagine there's a DIY test you can do, park at a distance from a building, turn on lights, see how high up they are on the wall. Some cars have a knob you can twiddle to change the height. But I have had phases of being flashed. 
One of them things, a chance for others to find fault, at no cost to them. A bit like me pointing out "Whather". 
I packed up Dr Who, Lethbridge Stuart and Jon Pertwee, never as good as then. 
Bit of Germolene on the wound...
Rick, 15th November 2021, 20:50
Your idea of pointing it at the wall is what the test centre guy suggested to me this afternoon. I told him I wouldn't have a clue what's right or wrong. So he said his job isn't to do things like that....but bring it around at 6pm on Wednesday and he'll take a look. 
I mean, if he does ten minutes to line it up and charges me thirty euros or somesuch, that's gotta be worth his time, right? 
I got fed up of hitting my finger on everything at work today. So out came the magnifying glass, a sewing needle, and the craft knife. I used my phone as a torch. 
Punched a hole where the wound was and a load of puss came out. That's what worried me. Okay, it's just the side effect of the immune system doing its thing, but still. 
I wasn't overly concerned. No rashes, no swelling, no dizziness. 
So, I got to work digging into the layers of skin, using the point of the needle to gently tear it apart until I was down deep enough to start to see the actual splinter. 
It didn't bleed, and strangely it didn't actually hurt unless I nudged the splinter. There was... let's just say my inner goth had a morbid fascination with what was going on. 
Eventually I was able to work the needle under the end of the splinter and flip it up and out. It was actually a bloody massive thorn of some sort! Yikes! 
In order to make the wound clean (and not having anything that resembles Germolene), I gave my finger a liberal dousing in alcohol hand gel (thanks to Covid, this stuff is everywhere these days). 
!!!!!!!!!HOLY EFFING HELL!!!!!!!!!! 
Okay, I sure felt that. 
But just to be sure, I went into the kitchen, opened up the hand wash stuff that was basically pure ethanol, put some in a cup, and dunked my finger in, poking the bottom of the cup a few times. 
!!!!!!!!!HOLY EFFING HELL 2 - THE SEQUEL!!!!!!!!!! 
I think my finger might well be reasonably "sterile" by now. Wrapped it in a bandage, went outside, lit a candle, and tossed the ethanol across it. Because, hey, why not? ;) 
Well, I can press things with my finger now. It still hurts, for really obvious reasons, but not like before. I'll leave the bandage on tonight, and then only have it bandaged while at work afterwards (we have special blue metal-lined (detectable) bandages that we have to wear). 
Hopefully in a week or two it'll be mostly healed. It didn't actually take that long when an overexcited cat sliced my finger open along the edge of a nail. Now *THAT* was sitting-down-before-I-fall-over levels of pain. Nothing like this stupid annoying splinter. 
J.G.Harston, 16th November 2021, 00:49
Extracting foreign bodies from fingers is definately where a partner comes in handy. Trying to orient a hand so you can extract some plumbing wool while said limb is attached to the person trying to do the extract doesn't always work. :( 
I'm at the age now where I've decided I need a girlfriend because I can no longer manipulate my feet into a position where I can reach to trim my toenails. ;)
David Pilling, 16th November 2021, 02:45
When I said something to twiddle for the lights, that is a knob under the dashboard for driver twiddling. As to what is right, there is surely information available. Splinters - I have a very sharp set of tweezers - bought for electronics. Who has the best tweezers, electronic engineers and fly fishermen.
Jeff Doggett, 16th November 2021, 15:50
A nearby supermarket used to have an undercover car park. Some of the bays near the dark walls had chalk marks from previous headlight adjusters.

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