CRRRRS 456 The Off Topic One

By Roy Mathur, on 2022-09-04, at 23:20:54--00:26:26 BST, for Captain Roy's Rusty Rocket Radio Show, Listen

Welcome to the Third CRRRRS Podcast

I've wanted to have a place where I can talk about off topic non-SFFH subjects for a long time, as doing it in the main show, which is what I have done in the past, make's it sound cluttered.

This is an after dark, after hours, After Eights (what happened to those?), hangout, chill out lounge, or Vader's disco ball (remember that reference? It's in an old pod somewhere). It is an informal chat/rant/party about life, art, music, tech, creative matters, "or anything that cannot be programmed, categorized or easily referenced."---Mulder, The X Files.

I don't know if it will last, so enjoy it while you can. Remember there are now three shows: the usual pop culture show, the retro revisit, and this off topic one. I haven't named any of them formally, so suggestions please!

Today's image is in honour of my recurring comedic dream of torch wielding villagers driving me from my wizarding tower castle laboratory. (Yes, I do love Young Frankenstein). Appearances are deceiving though, as this image is from Dragonslayer and shows villagers coming to seek help from a wizard, not to chase him out of Dodge.


I don't know what I'm doing with my facial hair anymore.

I was trying to regrow an old musketeer style I used to wear, but I got a KFC beard instead.

Crockery Rage and Booze

Apparently my crockery clanging induced rage may be misophonia, according to the NHS website. It makes my head throb too.

Good to know there's yet another thing wrong. You know, at this point I would crack open a can, but now I get a hangover before the good bit.

The Obligatory Occasional Grump About UK Politics

Plus ten for fellow Hindu desi people in the cabinet. Seeing Rishi Sunak's puja outside number eleven was bloody amazing and a sodding well long time coming. Minus ten for making Rishi Sunak a rich git and Priti Patel a racist nutter.

Back to Sunak. Remmeber his idiotic idea to fine patients? Miss an appointment, if you can actually get one, and you may be fined. Not so long ago, I missed one because the GP's stupid, pile of crap, misleading online system said that all appointments were by telephone in the first instance. So I sat there waiting until my GP's reception called me to say that I'd missed an appointment, that was in fact in person. Ever try explaining anything to your GP's office?

But Sunak or Truss? I can't tell you as I'm not a Conservative, but I have to laugh at the choice the Tory party has: a rich git or a barmy wet blanket.

The opposition Labour's Keir Starmer? He is an unsympathetic insider and the ex-Director of Public Prosecutions, with several million in the bank. Remember Starmer sacking his colleague/scapegoat, Rebecca Long-Bailey, for purportedly pedalling anti-Semitsm? Actually, she retweeted a friend's incorrect claim that the IDF trained US police; indirectly leading to George Floyd's murder. Stupid, but hardly Nazi anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. Gallingly, this is the same Starmer who also belittled the BLM movement, refused to prosecute coppers over both Cresida Dick's cockup that lead to the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes and the death of Ian Tomlinson.

At least none of our potential leaders are Boris, who encapsulates every above criticism I've already made. Why is it we peasants keep voting for the lords of the manor? (Doctor Who: State of Decay pod 454).

In case you're wondering, I fluctuate between voting Labour and Green. Well, you've got to vote for some party, otherwise you're playing even more into their hands, despite what that idiot Russell Brand says.

Do you think that maybe next time our country won't fall under the spell of whatever stupid bloody crackpot right wing populist cause comes along to take advantage of their disaffection? Fat chance.

Elizabeth Holmes and Sunny Bawani's Unequal Convictions

Elizabeth Holmes, the mastermind fraudster of Theranos, who made a blood sampling box of bullshit that did bugger-all, was convicted on three counts, while her ex, Sunny Bawani, was convicted on twelve.

The jury went for Holmes' play of saying I'm a poor little rich pretty blonde white girl under the control of an abusive middle-aged brown man. Justice? Sounds like racist bollocks to me.

New Old Computer

The computer situation was a nightmare. I was down to one crappy laptop that delighted in discconecting it's power jack at the slightest provocation.

I resolved the issue by upgrading an old donated i3 no-name PC. I cleaned it many many times. There was dust literally everywhere and it set off my allergies. Three hooverings, dusting by hand, wiping with isopropyl, and canned air, it was useable, but I may never feel clean again. In addition to the CPU and GPU fans, it had five case fans! It sounded like a bloody helicopter. It makes me wish for a sealed industrial unit with passive cooling. It ran okay without any case fans (SIW told me the CPU was 38 degrees C). However, I decided to reinstall one for extraction, just too of them to be extra cautious, to make sure something else, like the chipset, RAM, or new Samsung Evo SSD, didn't unpredictably cook, and to suck dust out. Interestingly, my Atom netbook runs a lot hotter than this. Bloody useless laptops.

Plus points? It's a relief to use a proper modular desktop after all this time, with an actual 3D graphics card (Nvidia GeForce 560 Ti) and finally having an SSD---my first SSD (Samsung SSD 870 EVO 250 GB)---wow, what a speed difference. I might consider upgrading the RAM and CPU, as upgrade options for a computer this old are cheap, but that's a discussion for another time.

Negatives? On the other hand, as a result of having worked in first, second, and third level tech support many years ago, I really, really hate dicking about with hardware, OS crap, oh my gods; Windows driver hell, and all that bending over and peering into the murky maw of the interior of a PC case did back in.

Gear Aquisition Syndrome Update

I've tried to give this item broader appeal because I'm guessing there are far more guitarists and ukuleleists out there than banjoleleists. This information should appeal and apply to all three.

The creative section of the podcast has not seen much action lately. While I am working on republishing the Horis Box and will keep you posted, other creative things that I do include being a hobbyist banjoleleist, i.e. I really enjoy playing the banjo ukulele (banjolele).

The forever quest for rock tone goes on with my evolving mixture of analogue and digital music gear from the perspective of banjoleleist; basically, what Bryan May would have been if his fate took a really uncool turn.

I recently acquired a vintage Watkins Electric Music Starfinder 150 powered mixer. Similar WEM gear was used by The Pink Floyd. It's too clean to and loud all the way up to overdrive, but okay as a guitar amp for pedals. It may be the loudest guiar amp I've ever heard and I'm a bit scared of it.

I also tried and returned an Orange PPC112 cab; I never knew 112s were so bulky and heavy, a Schaller Oyster piezo pickup; too hot (a much cheaper Cherub WCP-60G is better), and a Zoom MS-50G MultiStomp pedal; not bad, but the interface is too clunky, and it doesn't make my ukulele sound good.

What has worked? Roland Cube Street's COSM modelling. Clean: preamp (LR Baggs Para Acoustic DI) to clean Vox AC30 with reverb. Dirty: preamp to Proco Rat to clean Vox AC30 with reverb. What this all comes down to is a Rat and a Vox sound great in most setups, which is something we all knew in the first place. The nearest equivalent in the electric guitar world to what I'm doing with a little banjo is the classic setup of a twangy Telecaster into a Rat pedal into a Vox AC15 or 30, so no real surprise that this works.

(I am aware that the Roland Cube Street, along with the Micro Cube GX, are discontinued in favour of the much more expensive Boss Dual Cube LX, but that's a subject for another time).

Conclusion: most players have too much gear, and with my only modest musical ambitions, too much gear is a waste of money. I keep having to tell myself, I don't have to spend a lot of money to be creative.

Tool Tip

I bought a multimeter, that I barely know how to use, resistors, and a couple of leads to earth the amp.

The tip is a really obvious one, but took me a really long time to figure out. Only buy a tool when you need one for a specific job. If you are a career craftsperson, you'll have to buy stuff upfront, but for generalist hobbyists like me; spread the cost.

Palantir Bidding for NHS Contract

Dodgy American snooper tech company Palantir, founded by right wing wingnut VC Peter Thiel and creepy Alex Karp, and partly funded by the CIA, wants to handle NHS data. Yes, they are bidding to handle NHS systems.

What could possibly go wrong? Hands off our NHS, you gits!

Sanas AI's Fake American White Guy

Sanas AI have developed a accent faking system so that Gauri from Gujarat can sound like bloody Gary from Glendale. One of the founders said it would reduced racial abuse of call centre employees.

I said I would be mocking this disgustingly racist and idiotic garbage application of tech; the vocal equivalent of painting yourself white, the company who developed it, its funders, and its customers on my podcast, so here's a little preliminary dirt. According to Crunchbase, these morons managed to scare up 5 million dollars in seed money, then secured further stage 2 funding of 37.5 million USD. Of their 13 investors, their two main investors are Jeff Horing and Jerry Murdock's Insight Partners, New York and Armaan Ali's Human Capital, San Francisco. Hang your heads in shame.

(I badly pre-whistled this well known song from a famous Bollywood film, as background for the next bit. Here goes!) And to those who just can't stand the concept of foreign, especially Indian, screw you, I love my curry and being desi.

Second Life and Myst Online: Uru Live at Maximum Resolution

Having a funtional Windows PC, with an old, but not terrible 3D graphics card PC, I tested out Second Life and Myst Online: Uru Live on their highest settings, something I've never been able to to before, and everything runs fine.


What did I do next? A marathon Uru sess?

No, I played Solitaire and... after a few games, actually won! It's a pathetic achievement, but as a user of all versions of Windows since the 80s and owning 10+ PCs, I have never won a game of solitaire, or even really understood the rules. You see, I never had the patience.

That joke didn't slay them on Twitter either.

All Hail the Cult of Vi!

You know what else you can do with a Windows computer? Run Vim on it, the way Satan intended. All hail the cult of vi!.

Salman Rushdie Assasination Attempt

The big news in creative is, of course, the attempted assassination of Salman Rushdie. I think it's particularly problematic as Rushdie is hardly a danger to anyone as a writer of magical realism.

I believe we creatives have the right to create whatever the hell we want, but as creatives we should always bear others' feelings in mind when we do. The Satanic Verses has garnered such a vehement response by a lot of people who don't seem to have read the book, including Salman Rushdie's attacker, and me.

I could call out several genre creatives, who wear their repulsive racist agendas like splattered excrement on their sleeves, but somehow avoid any blowback. Forget Lovecraft, these are 80s and 90s authors. But a writer like Rushdie is stabbed fifteen times, his Japanese translator, Hitoshi Igarashi, was murdered in 1991 (also stabbed), his Italian translator, Ettore Capriolo, stabbed. All for the sake of mildly allegorical religious magical realism of an obscure part of the quran.

The irony, of course, is that without a fatwa being issued by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini in the first place, the book's appeal would have been far less. Lots of people, my dad included, bought the novel because they heard about it after the fatwa had been issued and was widely covered in the news media.

Accentuating the Positive

This is the after show of the after show of the after show, it's like Inception!

By the way, this is not a politics podcast. If you're worried that this will devolve into one; don't. It's just I had a lot of this stuff weighing me down for so long.

I didn't even talk about the many hells of climate, Covid and monkeypox, war, and floods, and space junk and light pollution. That shows that I was in my own way I'm actually accentuating the positive. We are all, of course, still doomed.

Kick Back and Chill

At this point, I probably crack open a drink... Let's see if that happens.

If you're from the future and thinking, what a weird blog post this is, it isn't, it's a shownotes for a pod. Do you still have podcasts in the future? Let me know by sending a postcard back in time and I'll read it out next time.

If, of course, there is a next time because as I said at the top of the show, I don't know if it will last, so enjoy it while it lasts. Until next time, if there is a next time---and yes, that was deliberately foreboding---goodnight.