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Top 10 of 2013

One of the things a fan of music must do is put themselves through the annual trial of trying to figure out which of the albums they bought/borrowed/stole this year are the best. It took me until about March last year. This year I have been a little more proactive and have produced a list already.

I bought 55 albums this year. I also acquired a further 58 through freebies, promos, borrowings and artists giving me stuff. That's a lot of stuff to choose from. I was considering limiting my self only to stuff released this year, but decided that some things were too good to leave off despite them being discovered by me this year, although released some time in the past. This didn't end up making the job any easier.

Anyway, after much deliberating, thinking, changing of minds and giving up in disgust, I have produced a list of 10 albums split evenly across "metal" and "non-metal", as well as a handful of "honourable mentions." So, without further ado, …

Feeling Puddled

A bit of a change of pace on the blog. I've not posted anything remotely nerdy for ages, so here is a post containing four very nerdy things: functional programming, Haskell, Scala and Twitter interview questions. The Twitter interview in question was not mine, but instead was one posted about by Michael Kozakov on his blog post "I Failed a Twitter Interview."

So, interview questions, eh? This Michael fella thinks he failed the interview by getting the question wrong, but you and I know that's not how it works. The interviewer is more interested in finding out how you go about solving problems than whether you get this particular problem right. After all, unless they have some nasty leaky roof scenario, I can't imagine there being a particular pressing need for Twitter to need their interview candidates to get this one spot on.

That all being said, I don't much care about the problem solving technique. I care about figuring it out and making a really expressi…

Autumn!

It's Autumn! Autumn is awesome. Autumn is the season of dark mornings, dark evenings, dark ... daytimes. Dark, generally. And damp. And generally ick. I love it. It's my favourite season. Not least because taking pictures of the lovely golden autumn light is an absolute delight and being out in the cold, fresh air actually makes me feel alert and awake, unlike the muggy, heavy sluggishness that comes with a hot summer.The best thing about everything being dark, and damp, and ick, is that mushrooms grow. I've had a long-standing love of photographing mushrooms and other fungi, and this year is no exception. The first of many is right here: Lovely. Here are a few more, just for good measure.

Bridge 27

Bank holiday Monday saw us walking around the Shropshire Union Canal. Well, a very small portion of it near the Grindley Brook Staircase Lock, anyway. One of the bridges on that stretch of the canal (bridge 27, if you hadn't guessed, which is actually more of a tunnel) has an unusual architecture in that the brickwork is built into a spiral along the length of the tunnel rather than a more traditional cylinder. The effect of the light hitting the bricks gives the whole thing a wormhole-like appearance, like a swirling vortex to another realm. All very Whovian.

Patterns in Nature

A study of patterns and interesting things in nature around Stainborough, near Barnsley. All pictures taken in monochrome rather than converting. See the full gallery.

Favours

Favours, a photo by craigand on Flickr. 005/365

A nice little selection of wedding favours

Balls

Balls, a photo by craigand on Flickr. 004/365

A selection of watery balls used in a table centre at a wedding. They are very brittle and explode easily, but are also bouncy. Weird. They are all transparent. The varying shades and colours are purely from reflected background detail.

Love handles

Love handles, a photo by craigand on Flickr. 003/365

The brief today was to use direct, on-camera flash and still make a good picture. Not sure if I actually managed that, but the shapes and shadows I find pleasing. The hint of a very subtle heart shape formed by the handle and its own shadow adds another bit of depth. Or maybe I'm just waffling? Either way, here it is. Number 3.

Life … Don't talk to me about life

Life … Don't talk to me about life, a photo by craigand on Flickr. 002/365

Number 2. Today's theme is "emotion", so what better emotion that paranoia?

1337

1337, a photo by craigand on Flickr. The first of my new Project 365 attempt. A silly picture combining the modern computing world with what I consider a true throwback to proper text-based computing; Vim. I still use Vim on a daily basis at work. In fact, my computer screens are pretty much covered with tiled terminals and vim instances. No pointing devices, no touchable screens, no cursor keys (if you're a purist). Just you and a ridiculously powerful, expressive editor. None of your ham-fisted multi-touch hand mashing, anyway.

Vim for iOS is real. I didn't make it up just for this shot. You can get it here: applidium.com/en/applications/vim/

Be warned; it's blooming horrible. Escape is mapped to \ so it's 3 presses just to exit insert mode ...

So, anyway, yes,  I decided to give this Project 365 thing another go. May as well, eh? I haven't done one for two years now and I need to keep practicing, so it seems a good way.

Of course, the coincidence with my recent …

Lanzarote, July 2013

For the first time in my life thus far I went to one of those "hot holiday" type places. The thought has never appealed to me, not being a fan of people, resorts, package deals or *shudder* tourists. However, go we did, and very nice it was. It was before high season, so there were few people, no queues and, somewhat unexpectedly, a reasonable amount of natural history and culture around. Here are a few snaps to commemorate the occasion.
See the full gallery for more.








Helios 44M f/2 58mm

Helios 44M f/2 58mm, a photo by craigand on Flickr. My first SLR lens. Still one of my favourites. Especially on Fuji Velvia film.

Flowers in the garden

Nothing particularly special, except for the fact that these are in my garden. The garden of a man who can kill a cactus.