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Happy Chocolate Day!

So, here we are, sliding into Spring. Between Ostara (spring equinox) and Beltane (May Day) there's a festival celebrating bunnies and chicks and all things coming back to life, as can be seen by the leaves starting to unfurl on the oaks, the blossom on the cherries, and the grass growing rapidly, not to mention a splash of colour from the early flowers such as the primroses.

Oddly enough there isn't any pagan/wiccan festival for this, but I'm guessing there was something as a rebirth myth lives on in the story of that bloke that got murdered nastily by an angry mob, thrown in a tomb, only to be resurrected because, well, it would be a bit of a crap story if the protagonist dies in the end.
That being said, there is the book of Revelations...

Breakfast was a cheap chocolate chicken whose head I bashed in (because headless chickens) and a cuppa. Or two. Or three.

A healthy balanced breakfast.

In order to write this, I have dragged the picnic table out front. It's sunny, but there's a strong breeze. Luckily not too chilly, so it offsets the heat from the sun. Either way, you'd be a fool not to sit out and enjoy the good weather on a day like this, right?

Writing this crap.

Of course, a cuppa. Always.


Wait for it!

The earlier flowering cherry by the stream has flowers. Here they are.

The first of the cherry blossom
The first of the cherry blossom.

The one out front, nearly... The Sakura cherry is opening, but not quite yet. It looks like there are loads of flowers, so it ought to be quite impressive for a few days. But it signifies the cold part of the year is over, so it's worth waiting for.

Almost, almost
Almost, almost.

The oaks, also, have begun to pop open their leaves. Like, overnight. Well, not all the oaks. There seem to be two types here. One that is opening up, and one that's still fast asleep.

Oak leaves forming
Oak leaves forming.



Stopped by the supermarket on Friday after work. They had SP98 (that's akin to what in the UK is known as Super Unleaded (or RON98)).
Not only that, but there were no signs saying jerricans are forbidden.
Not only that, but nobody said anything as I pulled out mine. So I dropped in just under ten litres (I wasn't going to fart around getting it exact as there was a queue) at an unholy price of €1,989/litre. It's getting expensive to cut the grass!

I did the shopping, didn't really get much. Fish and chips, meals for work, milk, and completely forgot I wasn't working on Monday.

Afterwards, back to the petrol station to top up Caiomhe who had two empty bars on the fuel gauge. A much more reasonable €9ish.

So, yesterday. Marte, big mower, just wasn't going to start. In the carb, a puddle of fuel. Which was not right.
I unclipped the bottom of the self-regulating carburettor and wiped off the valve parts and the little rubber ring with a bit of bog roll. Upon reassembling the thing, some minor leakage but nothing like before.
But still the engine wouldn't start.
So I had to resort to my hack - take off the air filter and give a squirt of WD40 as the engine is turning.

The oil/degeaser/whatever isn't what does the trick. It's the butane propellant that gets the stuff out of the cannister. Butane is quite willing to explode under pressure and with a spark, which can be enough to kick the engine into running. You could use deodorant, I guess, but I can't help but think that a squirt of Axe might be a kind of a naff thing to toss into an engine.

With the engine started, I let it run for a couple of minutes while I greased the wonky wheels, and then started the task of cutting the grass. It was a little tall, but Marte chundered through it, with me stopping every so often so she could puke out a big glob of grass.

Everything got done. I even did the back half of the potager. The front half, still need to tidy but the grass isn't tall there. Little mower will cope with that.

Mown grass
Mown grass.

Following this, I was feeling good so I mixed up some 1:40 oil:petrol solution and fired up the strimmer. The cheap little thing I got from Leclerc. It took a bit of cranking as I'd not used it since... ages... Autumn?
Anyway, it got going and so did I tidying edges and around trees.

I don't like strimming. I always end up wearing half the garden, and that was no exception. But I thought ahead and put the immersion heater on, so I let rip with an entire tankful of fuel mix. Maybe an hour or so of strimming? I'm not done, but I did twice as much as I had planned.

Then into the shower, dressed, to wash as much crap as possible out of my hair and clothes. Mostly grass. I don't think there were many bug bits this time. It's always a bit icky to pull slug innards out of your hair...

Clothes in washing machine, and I sat out in the sun wearing just a bathrobe. Testament to the decent afternoon temperature. Also useful to have no neighbours. ☺



I have been sent a big pile of corrections and fixes for the MIDI module by Ian. Thank you for that.

Unfortunately (for me), it was sent as inline content in an email, so I'm going to have to work out how to transfer that to the Pi from K9 Mail on Android, so I can start to go through the fixes and apply them, test that things work, and so on.

There will be an update, it might just take a little while.

Reading through the email, some of the issues identified were:

  • Some devices wouldn't work if the device was plugged in before the MIDI module was run.
    I'd be interested to see what's actually different here, as I softloaded successive builds of the module while developing, so essentially my device would appear as plugged in prior to running the module.
  • Newer devices have a max packet size of 64, not 8, so data was being lost.
  • Revisions and fixes to help it find the correct endpoints to use. This might help those whose MIDI devices are seen but aren't working correctly?
  • Updates to support SysEx and Running Status.

So, a huge thank you again to Ian for sharing these fixes.

It seems that his MIDI device is a Tiny2040 with an Arduino MIDI adaptor (the (discontinued?) Data Point MIDI) acting as, if I understand it correctly, a USB to serial adaptor.
Well, it's more fun to make your own isn't it, and god knows many of the "commercial" ones are bloody awful and simply not fit for purpose.


Oh, pretty!

Speaking of music, sometimes I pop on the amplifier in the living room (with the BIG speakers) when I'm making dinner. I mean, there's nothing whatsoever wrong with brewing pasta to the sounds of three guys showing that cellos can rock the world as hard as guitars.

As I was tidying up some stuff in the living room, I came across a little gizmo that plugs into a USB port and blinks coloured LEDs according to what it can hear. So I popped it into the USB port on the front of the amplifier, so it can light up the room as the music plays.

Oh, pretty
Oh, pretty.


Speaking of pretty, the early sun made the colours quite vivid. It's come over hazy now, so everything looks a bit washed out. But maybe less contrast is better for reading?

Out front - panorama
Out front - panorama.


So, time to put the kettle on and grab a book.




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Zerosquare, 9th April 2023, 16:51
> I can't help but think that a squirt of Axe might be a kind of a naff thing to toss into an engine.  
If their advertising is to be believed, that could result in hordes of women being irresistibly attracted to your lawn mower.
Rob, 9th April 2023, 22:31
Where they will be met by Rick in nothing but a bathrobe...
Rick, 9th April 2023, 22:58
I think I can see where this is going... 
J.G.Harston, 12th April 2023, 14:53
I've got to the point where strimming for more than ten-ish minutes leaves me unable to move with joint vibration shock.

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