Garden Tweeter

Oh the horror, Twitter was down for over an hour this morning. I sat and watched the birds in the garden. It’s a beautiful sunny and frosty winter morning. Plenty of birds in the garden looking for something to eat. So I filled up the bird feeder and eventually we had some traffic.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/cartmelveteran/24452510606/

This is a heavily cropped image from a 55-200mm lens. I am going to have to buy some lottery tickets so I can get the newly announced Fujifilm 100-400mm.

My Photography Year 2015

2015 wasn’t a year where I was very prolific. I didn’t venture far from home with my camera so you’ll notice plenty of shots from the same local area. The year has been interesting in photographic terms in that I feel I’m finally developing a style – or at least have a better idea of the style that I’m working towards. The black and white shots at West Bay and the moody colour shots of the village of Broadwindsor are examples of that. At the very least it was a year I finally started getting past gear and working towards better photography even if I didn’t always achieve that.

This is my favourite photo I took in 2015. In reality it is two of my favourite photos I took this year. They were taken in January. However it’s only taken until December for me to realise they’d work well stitched together. And now this is my photo of the year. And if proof were needed that gear isn’t everything this was the product of my Canon Powershot S120 compact camera.

Stormy West Bay

What of the rest? I’ve never been very interested in portrait photography for its own ends. Yes I take lots of people photos – but these are family shots taken to document our children growing up. But I’m finally beginning to appreciate a beautiful portrait and I think 2016 will be the year I explore the art myself. Part of the catalyst for this change is watching the videos of Damien Lovegrove, a photographer whose work I absolutely love. So expect to see more portraits when I return for a similar post next year.

While I don’t think it’s been a vintage year, here are my favourite photos of 2015.

Best of 2015

Windows 10 Slow Sign In Fix

Has your Windows 10 machine been plagued with slow sign in since the major update in November 2015? My desktop machine has. Running from an SSD the computer will reach the lock screen in seconds as usual. But when I enter my pin, the computer now takes 20-30 seconds to reach the desktop. Previously it was only a few seconds.

Since the major update in November there have been a few minor updates released but none have fixed this issue. Yesterday evening I was searching for a solution again and I saw one mentioned I thought was mad. Surely this wouldn’t work. How could something so simple cause such a problem and why wasn’t this caught in testing?

The problem? Auto hiding the taskbar. My Desktop PC was set to auto hide the taskbar. I read that this was the cause of the problem. I didn’t believe it. I assumed it was someone trolling a tech forum.

I tried the fix anyway. I unticked the box marked “auto hide the taskbar”. And lo and behold. My PC now reaches the desktop from the lockscreen in two seconds. Two seconds!

Ridiculous a bug like this gets through testing. But anyway, I hope this fix works for you.

The Quest for the Alrightish Burger

Many years ago my late/first wife and I had a pet called George. We loved George, he was yellow and perky, ever ready to join us in our adventures. With his tail behind him he’d open up his jaws and hiss with delight every time we’d decide to eat with him. He wasn’t a snake though, he was a lean mean fat reducing machine aka a two sided grill. I’m not sure what happened to that George, his fate is lost in the mists of time that for me remains hazy – and not just because of the fat-coated steam that filled the kitchen.

Many years later I’ve returned to a similar adventure. Yes I bought a new George Foreman grill. Once again I can enjoy the delights of arguing who gets to clean the bloody thing and wondering how something can be so charred on the inside and yet so “never mind that’ll do” in the middle. I’m not sure how much fat he keeps from us, but George has proved handy for a variety of our regular meals. I think his contribution will likely be measured more in a slightly lower electricity bill than reducing waistbands.

Our favourite George related dish – for we are conservative in our approach to disappointing charred food – is the beefburger. On George’s birthday I also bought some Morrison’s Signature Scottish Beef Quarter Pounders – a title that drips off the tongue does it not? To be fair these were pretty nice and had surprisingly little fat in them anyway.

But I felt it my duty as this family’s housewife type person to provide for my family an even better burger. My wife is not a fan of processed food, which she equates to anything not given a once over by a bearded lady, who then doubles the price and wraps it in a gingham doily. So feeling I was doing my best for my family the next time we had burgers I went down the made by a butcher route. These were proper burgers – all slightly stuck together, not all the same size and in danger of falling apart. All the things that make middle class artisan produce what it is.

“I prefer the Morrisons burgers we had last week,” said Mrs Grumpyrocker upon sampling the butcher’s burger. She was right. These burgers were okay. Not bad, not particularly good. They didn’t really taste of anything which when compared to lots of supermarket food isn’t always a negative. I was clearly going to have to up my game, I’d already spent a small fortune on these burgers, a whole 75 pence each, yet I was going to have to spend more to get a better burger.

In Tesco this week I found what I was looking for. Tesco Finest Aberdeen Angus Frozen Quarter Pounders. These were surely the Holy Grail of supermarket burgers. They must be at 150 pence each. Six quid for four. Crikey, what a culinary delight these are bound to be. Alas my poor wife would be away when these paragons of miniature cow reconstruction would be thrown to George for him to perform his magic. The children and I would be the lucky recipients of this beefy bounty.

Imagine then what it would be like to sink your teeth into a charred bathroom sponge that sprayed a gallon of molten watery grease in all directions, including your face. Now you too can understand the dubious delight that I paid six quid for this lunchtime. 99 percent beef? Beef what exactly? If I’d wanted a hot beefy drink I’d have bought some Bovril, not tried to eat one of these nasty lard rusks with a cow Tardis full of beef piss inside. Six sodding quid? Well played Mr Tesco, well played.

So the quest continues for the most alrightish cook at home burger. I suspect though we’d be better off just going to Burger King.