OK, so they’re only cameraphone jobs, but I actually took some photos this week. Here’s the nearly-complete oval tower thingy at Gunwharf, which I rather suspect the current economic climate will prevent from filling up as rapidly as the developers had hoped.
It’s unusually po-mo for Velcro City architecture (supposed to look like a ship’s funnel; see what they did there?). I miss the big crane that used to be stood next to it; I’ve always had a weird thing about cranes. Not a fascination, as such, just… I dunno, they make me think in odd ways. *shrug*
Writing about music
Still in the stages of getting the flywheel spinning at TDP; regular output restarts next week. As a result, there’s no album of the week, but the single I reviewed by History of Guns suggests they might be worth looking into if you like a bit of nasty industrial with goth overtones.
Writing about books
No concrete output on the book reviews side of things, but I finished David Marusek‘s Mind Over Ship last night, so I have plenty to be getting on with. The problem is it’s such a complex novel that I have no idea where to start… but it’s a fabulous read, so there’s plenty to say. The challenge will be to make the review coherent, methinks.
After Monday’s announcement, you can imagine it’s pretty much all go in this department, and you’d be about right. The Pretty Big Project is still on hold while the client finishes their side of things, but that means t’Other Pending Project is very near to completion indeed, and should see the light of day within the week.
Meanwhile, other enquiries and requests for work are coming in, and the day-job have announced that they’re still keen to have me build their website as a contractor once I’ve worked off my notice. This is all very good news indeed. Thanks to everyone for all the well-wishing, be it here, on Facebook and Twitter or even in meatspace. Your confidence in me is scary and inspiring at once. 🙂
Not such great news on the Futurismic front, sadly. Oh, there’s been nothing wrong with the site content – Mark Ward’s “Roots” is our first story of the year, Jonathan delivered what I’d happily describe as his best Blasphemous Geometries column so far, and I’ve been knocking out quite a bit of bloggage this week – but the dreaded spectre of hosting problems reared its ugly head once again.
[ Non-geeks – skip this next bit. SRSLY. ]
An email from my hosting provider yesterday afternoon told me that Futurismic was spiking the CPU usage on its shared server up to 80% peaks with a single PHP script. Now, I know WordPress is a notorious CPU hog, but this just doesn’t compute: Futurismic currently gets less than 1,000 uniques a day, and the 1,800-odd RSS readers all collect through Feedburner, which means there’s no PHP load from there.
I’ve now removed one spam-trapper and installed a caching plugin, but the latter is supposed to help sites with 10k daily uniques survive a Digg rush without falling over, not sites an order of magnitude smaller from simply handling normal search engine traffic. It’s not like there’s even that heavy a load of plugins calling the database… sheesh, I dunno.
Anyway, trimmed loads of stuff back, and they’ve reinstated the site to its normal server, so hopefully that’ll be the end of the matter for a good long while. That said, I’m looking around for other alternatives so I’m prepared for the worst… I may just have to bite the bullet and go VPS or dedicated for Futurismic, as uptime there is mission-critical. Selah – the fun begins! That was four hours of my life I’ll never get back.
[ OK, you can look again. ]
Books and magazines seen
I got all excited about a big box of stuff from Orbit, but it all turned out to be Stuff I’m Not Into (as is so often the way of things). However, a rather spiffy non-fiction number has appeared – Ehsan Masood’s Science and Islam: A History.
It’s the book that accompanies the BBC series of the same name, apparently, and looks to be very interesting indeed. The best thing about the day-job has been the interest in history it rekindled in me, and the confluence of science and religion with history is always a winning combination – one of the reasons I enjoy histories of philosophy, despite struggling with a lot of the works of the philosophers themselves. The chain of human thought is much easier understood as a narrative rather than discreet snapshots… or it is for me, at any rate.
So there we go; first full week of the new year, and it’s been as hectic as all hell. It’s also featured a head-cold which is now mostly shifted, but which added a layer of challenge to the first half of the week.
Still, proud to say I’ve been free of booze’n’fags since New Years, and with the exception of yesterday’s webhosting debacle (stressful events beyond my control are always the worst, for some reason) I’ve not really missed ’em either – this is a good sign. Sadly, the money I might have saved in the process has been spent on Sudafed, Lockets, fluorescent tubes and a new light-switch for my kitchen; at least frugality gives one the flexibility to respond to disasters, eh?
Still, it’s flippin’ Friday, and I’m almost done. I’m seeing an old friend and popping out for a meal this evening, so I’m a mere hour or so from the uncanny experience of relaxing for a while… I hope you all find a similar segment of calm over the weekend. Take care!
[ 1 – Anyone who creates a song entitled “Vernon Kaye Must Die” deserves some sort of award, IMHO. Though it’s a bit of crap tune by comparison to the more recent stuff. ]