A public apology to Fish

Album artwork for Field of Crows, by Fish. Showing fish walking through a field.
The album cover for Fish’s latest album, Field of Crows.

I’d just like to take this opportunity to make a public apology to Fish. Sorry for accosting you in Borders book store this evening. I was the one who approached you quite boldly exclaiming “Mister Fish!” while you were trying to pay for whatever-it-was you were buying.

What an amazing week I’ve had so far, and it just gets better and better. First I get a job, then we find somewhere to live, then Scotland beats England 18-12 at Murrayfield, and then I see one of my all-time musical heroes standing in the queue in front of me at my local Borders book store. I couldn’t possibly not say hello.

“Mister Fish!” I exclaim offering my hand to shake his.

Fish (real name Derek W. Dick) turns and looks at me, with an expression of “Should I know you?” written across his face, while taking my hand and shaking it.

“I just wanted to say hello,” I said. “… I’m a big fan,” I went on to ‘explain’.

And that was it. That was my encounter with the mighty Fish.

You know, I don’t really go in for the whole celebrity game — people are people, as Depeche Mode once sang — and I count among my friends a handfull of people that you might class as famous. I don’t get awestruck by the supposed wonder of ‘celebrity’; just because someone is on telly, or radio, or has written a book, or an album doesn’t make them a demi-god in my book.

That said, there are some people that I truly admire for their talent, their longevity, their inspiration. Fish is one of those people that I admire. I love his music, his lyrics and his concerts are legendary. My favourite review appears on his website front page:

“…being at one of his gigs is like being entertained by a boisterous host at a particularly loud private party.”
(Graeme Smith, S1play)

And then there is his sheer determination, struggling through the collapse of parts of his business and his relationships, and his vulnerability and honesty in sharing some of what he’s gone through in the lyrics of his songs. I’ve personally found him quite inspiring, helping me through numerous dark days and fellini nights.

I could hardly sign the receipt slip for my book (I’ve still not got a Chip and Pin card) I was still shaking. The last person that I saw that made me shake because I was so excited to see them was Doddie Weir, the former Scotland No. 8 (and legend!).

Anyway, my name is on the official Fish website. Fish used to work on the Bowhill Estate, near my home town of Selkirk. In June 2003 the Selkirk Weekend Advertiser ran an article about Fish’s connection with that area of the country, which I scanned and submitted to the Fish website. There is now a copy of that article along with a kind thanks to me on Fish’s biography page.

Back to the apology: Fish, sorry for randomly accosting you at the checkout but please know that you made my day.

Toner Tuesday

Hewlett-Packard LaserJet 1000W
Hewlett-Packard LaserJet 1000W.

You’ve heard of Ash Wednesday, well for me today has been Toner Tuesday.

Tomorrow morning, at 09:30, I have an Ash Wednesday service with the imposition of ashes at St Ninian’s, Comely Bank. Because the Wednesday morning service follows the same liturgy as the previous Sunday tomorrow we’re using the 1970 Scottish Liturgy. I already have a copy on hard disk of an Ash Wednesday service that is incorporated into the 1970 Scottish Liturgy that I put together a couple of years ago for the Church of the Good Shepherd, Murrayfield.

The problem

All I needed to do was print it out. But would it print out alright? Would it expletive!! It would print a few copies okay, and then the next few were smudged, the next few okay, the next few smudged, and so on.

I have a Hewlett-Packard LaserJet 1000 personal printer, which has been thoroughly reliable since I bought it in 2002. This was the first time that I’ve really had any bother with it.

The problem began a few days ago — while I was preparing for my job interview — and at the time I suspected that it was something to do with the paper I was using. A dodgy batch, I put it down to. It was fine with better quality paper, and a change of toner cartridge and a software-initiated clean didn’t seem to fix it. I ripped open a new packet of A4 and that seemed to do the trick. Until today.

The solution

Reading around on the HP support site I discovered this page about HP LaserJet 1000 Product Family – Print Quality Issues, which suggested that I give the insides of the printer a thoroughly good clean.

So about an hour ago I began to purge the sins of four years’ worth of printing, using a combination of penitential tools: vacuum cleaner for the dust, a clean lint-free cloth and multi-purpose PC wipes for the toner.

May the Almighty and merciful lint-free cloth
grant unto you pardon and remission
of all your staining, smudges, and gray shading,
time for true repentance, amendment of print,
and the grace and comfort of the Hewlett-Packard. Amen.

And it appears to have done the trick. For now. The moral of the story then is always clean your printer every few months.

Clouding my blog

Words taken from this blog, used as an image for a t-shirt
The most used words on my blog, arranged into a “word cloud”.

Spotted on GadgetVicar‘s blog. From Snap Shirts: you can instruct their box of computer magic to trawl your blog and it will produce an image showing a word cloud of the most often used words on your webblog; the more a word is used the larger it appears in the cloud.

This image is then printed for you on a t-shirt of your choosing. You can then wear your blog with pride. I’m quite tempted, to be honest. (Hmm… temptation and pride, just before Lent. Not looking good!)

What if Microsoft packaged the iPod?

Screenshot of the Microsoft iPod packaging parody online movie

My friend James pointed me to this earlier today. It’s a short film parody on You Tube showing what the Apple iPod packaging might have looked like had Microsoft been responsible for it.

Geeky question: if anyone can tell me what fonts are used in it, I’d be very grateful. Particularly the handwriting-style font.

If it’s for you, it’ll not go past you!

Photograph looking down George Street in Cellardyke
View looking down George Street, Cellardyke. Toft Terrace is the lane leading off to the right.

What an incredible couple of weeks these have been, filled with friends (Steve and Cath, Steve and Lorna, Peter, Rich and Andrew), the amazing news about a new job — I promise I’ll shut up about it soon, but I’m still so excited! Then Scotland beat England at Murrayfield on Sunday, and all-in-all it’s been a fortnight packed with more than a little blessing from God.

The next exciting part of the we-have-to-move-to-Fife adventure is that we think that we’ve found a place to live. Now, I suspect that some of you will probably be thinking that’s fairly obvious because we have a holiday cottage, Kadesh, at 50 George Street, Cellardyke, which is within the 25 miles of St Andrews radius that the University requires me to live. And they would be right, but we can’t move in. Not yet.

First, we have a contract with Interhome that we must honour, meaning that we’ll not be able to get into the house ourselves until early September at the earliest. Second, the house isn’t big enough for us. So we’ll have to extend.

So Jane and I decided that our best bet would be to rent somewhere, unfurnished, while we see through the Interhome commitment and transform Kadesh into Kadeshim. So, the other night Jane asked Mr and Mrs Google to look into Big Boy’s Book of Interesting Internet Things™ and see if they could magic us up a nice, unfurnished house in the East Neuk of Fife. And there was one. There was one!

Jane found us a nice, unfurnished, three-bedroom house in Cellardyke, of all places. That’s handy, you might be thinking. Well, it’s even more handy than you’re imagining. It is so handy it’s right next door to Kadesh! It’s situated on Toft Terrace, which you can just see on the photograph above — there is the end of a blue road sign saying “Toft” on the end of that house to the right of Kadesh (the blue and white building), and so it backs onto our garden!

Our neighbours in Cellardyke, Ian and Yvonne, have been saying for months that we should move closer. Well, we might just do that, and if we get the rental of the Toft Terrace house then we’ll certainly be closer, we’ll be literally living right next door.

How cool is that?! How cool is God for helping us in setting all of this up?! (Very cool, is the answer to both of those questions, in case you were struggling for the answer.) I’ve often heard people say things like “If it’s for you, it’ll not go past you,” and “If it’s meant for you, it will happen.” I think I might be beginning to believe that now.