Catastrophic failure by John Lewis

Our old dishwasher died. Fair enough — it’s nine years old and has served us well. So we needed to order a new one. Having figured out what model I wanted, I did the comparison shopping, but chose not to go for the cheapest option: instead, I paid slightly more to order from John Lewis, because of their reputation for competence, professionalism and reliability.

john-lewis

Big mistake.

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Specific is universal

As I was ambling along beside the road into Ross-on-Wye a while back, I found myself idly singing a verse from Joni Mitchell’s song Amelia (from the Hejira album):

“I pulled into the Cactus tree motel
To wash away the dust
And I slept on the strange pillows of my wanderlust.”

Amelia-Earhart_A-Daring-Pilot_HD_768x432-16x9

But I was wrong. That’s not how the song goes. The second line of that verse is “to shower off the dust”, not “to wash away the dust”.

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What I’ve been listening to in 2009

[This post is adapted from the original text-only version written in early 2010. I’ve edited only lightly. I’m posting it now because I like having all the “What I’ve been listening to …” posts in one place, in a single format.]

This year, I wanted to choose a Best Of collection of songs, in part as a response to my old colleague Alec Turner, who made a Best Of 2009 that was too horrible to contemplate, and left me needing to wash the bad sounds out of my ears.

yamaha-np-31-digital-piano

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Pedro Lopes’s 1990s heavy metal timeline

In response to my rather downbeat post on Metallica, Pedro Lopes responded that heavy metal had actually exploded in the 1990s (rather than ambled into irrelevance as I had rather carelessly implied). In a sequence of four massive comments [part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4], he laid out a listening programme of thirty more modern metal bands. And in a fifth comment, he made individual track suggestions for most of the bands.

Now, with his kind permission, I have integrated his mammoth comment sequence into a single mammoth post, with embedded YouTube links. Enjoy! [And note that I do not endorse any of these bands, albums or songs.]

t9vI9wEwaS4

Over to Pedro!

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SPOILERS! In which I whine about Doctor Who again

It’s really not Doctor Who‘s fault at all this time.

But, oh boy, I am annoyed.

For tedious practical reasons, we weren’t able to watch Dark Water, the first part of the two-part series finale, on Saturday night when it came out. So instead we carefully avoided all information about it, and sat down as a family to watch it on Sunday afternoon.

And we thoroughly enjoyed it — the sense of mystery, the truly dark horror, the building tension, the series of carefully calibrated clues, and finally the reveal of exactly what the skeletons in the fishtanks were. A moment of shocking recognition, one of the high-points of the series.

Except that some genius at the BBC decided to use this image as the episode header on the iPlayer, so we all knew what was going to happen.

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Dream Theater, Under a Glass Moon (July 1992) — Heavy Metal timeline, part 22

And so, we come to the final part of this series. I hope some of you have enjoyed reading it — it’s been an education to write. This song, to me, is the ultimate destination that all the heavy metal on the timeline has been leading to.

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Upgrading my Lego Star Destroyer

In December 2008, after years of unrequited desire, I bought myself a second hand Lego UCS Imperial Star Destroyer, kit 10030. Because it was missing a handful of pieces, I got it surprisingly cheaply, for the ridiculously cheap price of £160. (That’s the £145 that I bid, plus £25 P&P, minus a tenner that the vendor very kindly unilaterally refunded on finding that it was less expensive to post than they’d thought.)

I topped it up with 77 pence worth of spare pieces from Lego’s pick-a-brick facility (plus £3.25 P&P) and suddenly I had a whole Star Destroyer for £163.25:

09. Lego-Star-Destroyer-10030

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