Mike has bypassed his server woes, and is newly double-barrelled as troubled HYPHEN diva.
My blogroll will be updated to reflect this (and many other changes that have been building up) when I get a spare five minutes...
Now that the present has been delivered, I can talk about one of the "other things" I've been up to recently.
The CarPartArt Project is a web application I developed to help me choose the nine images for my mate Andrew's birthday present. From the images I produced 210mm square prints which I then mounted onto simple individual frames. Hopefully I'll get a picture of it installed sometime (hint, hint, Andrew ;-)
Here are the images that I chose but you should go and make your own collection!
The highlight of a fantastic night at the Jesus College May Ball on Monday was catching the Nizlopi set.
It is hard to describe or categorize the music style of this duo, and their own "folk hip-hop" only goes part-way to capturing their sound. But there aren't many singer/guitarist and double-bassist/human-beatbox bands around. Their music has shades of Beth Orton, with a hint of James and maybe touches of The Beautiful South, and the songs explore themes ranging from the fears and excitement of a new romance to being five in your dad's JCB.
To witness the full splendour of Nizlopi though, you must see them live. They bring a wonderful, infectious joy and love of music to their performances. At the ball they played the cabaret tent, which had to compete with the dance music from the nearby DJ tent. The comedian on before them had died a death and finished his set in front of an apathetic audience twenty minutes early. Luke and John soon turned that around, micing up from the start to counter the background noise, and encouraging audience participation.
Audience participation seems to be a requirement at Nizlopi gigs, born of their belief that involvement is the key to enjoying music. By the third song, Luke was conducting the audience in three-part harmonies to accompany his singing, and soon after the rows of regimented seating were disrupted as we were urged to "get a bit closer", and duly complied.
Then came the aforementioned song JCB; one that they decreed must be done acoustically. To counter the noise from the dance tent, they just abandoned the stage and climbed upon a couple of chairs appropriated in the midst of the audience.
As they returned to the stage, Luke pointed out that this was dance music after all, and we shouldn't be seated. The chairs were hurriedly cast aside as we thronged together in front of the stage to dance around for the remainder of the set.
One of the best gigs I've ever been to. When are they next back in Cambridge?
Never one to pass up on some dancing, whatever kind it is (although I'm still resisting with the line dancing...), I'm tagging on the current end of the line just in time for us to start getting out of sync :-)
Ma-i-a hi, Ma-i-a hu, Ma-i-a ho, Ma-i-a ha-ha...
Join in! Instructions here
Update: Jon is next in the line
What's that old woodworking adage? Measure twice, cut once. I'm sure the full version is measure twice, cut once; or have enough material to cope with the odd mistake...
Even the none-healthcare-professionals among you might, as I did, enjoy reading Random Acts Of Reality, a blog from an ambulanceman (actually an E.M.T. but given that I don't know what one of those is... Emergency Medical Traveller? Excessively Maroon Tortoise? Enraged Monkey Troubleshooter?)
The next step is to find out some more about what people want from their backup software, so that PeerBackup is as good as possible, I urge everyone, and their friends, and their friends' dogs to fill in the survey.
Lyle (my co-guest for the week) is now taking drinks orders for this afternoon's cocktails. If you rush over and leave a comment then you can attend the party later on.
At first glance, I thought that David Weinberger's post on Egloos was about the cute iMac-esque hen houses available from Omlet. But it isn't, it's about a Korean weblog provider, and the omlet coops are eglus.
Still, it reminded me that I hadn't blogged about them, so now I have.
Available at: Uborka: The Bumps
My photos from the ball are now available for you to laugh at...
Update: There are also some interesting night-time effects on the photos Simon took.
Available at: Uborka: May Week (Full Version)
My photos are on their way, but until then, you'll have to make do with the ones Monica took.
Available at: Uborka: May Week
Available at: Uborka: Culture
Not only has my car failed to appear in my little "authoricon" on Uborka, it also appears to be completely missable out on the road.
On my way back from picking up my DJ and mask for tonight's ball, what did I see coming the other way round the ring road but the fabled "other yellow Integrale Evo in Cambridge"! Finally proof that I can drive as fast as I like and blame someone else ;-)
So, I gave him a quick flash of headlights, and prepared a cheery wave as we passed each other. But he was completely oblivious. I mean, you have to be a bit of an enthusiast to end up with one; they aren't exactly readily available to buy, and they're left-hand drive, so how he missed someone flashing their headlights in a car identical to his save the number-plate I don't know.
For all those people who keep mistaking him for me, here's a cut-out-n-keep guide to telling the cars apart: his is M-reg, mine L, and mine will be driven by me. See, easy when you know...
TheyWorkForYou.com is a great source of information about MPs. You enter your postcode, and it brings up a whole host of information about your MP - such as how likely they are to rebel against the party, or how many votes they attend. Plus, you can get an RSS feed of their comments in the Parliament!
And you can search through everything said in parliament since 2001! For example, weblog has been mentioned twice.
The Super Nova Tune!! - the rap for all boy-racers...
Halley Suitt must be ODing on happiness today, my favourite is:
"The best things in life aren't things" - Buchwald.
HBS Working Knowledge: Social Enterprise: Sun Shines on Business Plan Winner is an interesting interview with the guys from SunEdison.
SunEdison have a ingenious new take on solar power. Based on the premise that the main obstacle to solar power adoption is the up-front cost; they pay for the solar panels and installation, and then sell you the electricity. They're building a network of miniature, environmentally-friendly power stations on roofs across the USA.
They seem to be targetting businesses at the moment, but given there's a ten- to twenty-year contract for the customer to allevitate some of the risks for SunEdison, it isn't very consumer-friendly just yet.
It's a similar idea to one I was mulling over not long after visiting the Centre for Alternative Technology last year. Only I was thinking about incorporating the cost into a "green mortgage" given that it's effectively just a home-improvement. I still think that's got some merit, and I'd be quite interested in getting such a mortgage myself, however I think my social entrepreneurism will have to wait awhile.