30 Sep

Kaposvár: Hungary: 2005.

From the 28th to 30th September 2005 I attended a workshop on urban freight solutions in Kaposvár in Hungary. This is my work and I shall not discuss it here, rather my impressions of the town and the opportunities for seeing new places and meeting new people. This is the second time I have been to Hungary, the first time was a couple of years ago and was based wholly in Budapest. My wife and son came out after the workshop then and we had a local guide give us a tour of the city. My impressions were of a ‘little brother’ to Vienna, which I know a little. I was also dismayed by the generally rude attitude of the Budapest people to me as a visitor, although our guide was charming and my Hugarian colleagues are great, the tourist trade in Budapest seems to be surly and greedy. It may well be that this is very untypical, as I have said those Hungarians I work with are great, so maybe it is to do with tourism and strangers, but I won’t be going back to Budapest again in a hurry. Kaposvár was quite the opposite. A small to medium city near the very long thin Lake Balaton, the place burns with intense pride. The town has been beautifully laid out around a welcoming and attractive Kossuth square (webcam). The people were very friendly, the hotel staff tried hard and the whole visit exuded small town hospitality and charm. My pictures are at: http://flickr.com/photos/tzunder/sets/1116997/

26 Sep

I visited Belgium last week for a DGTREN Open Day for the FP6 research programme. You don’t need to know more than that, it was a mixture of good and indifferent, leading to leads and gossip which is often so helpful in forming partnerships. It was also an opportunity to add to my collection of pictures of Belgium. I recently bought a VITO CL on ebay, for a tiny sum, and so I took it with me to see how a 1960s camera can perform, especially since my Leica is in the repair shop and I still don’t have a take up spool for my Zorki 4. Truth to tell the VITO CL is a lovely bit of small German engineering and would make a great street camera, but I was concerned since half the pictures were overexposed. I have since tested the camera at all shutter speeds and discovered that they work fine. The lightmeter has a tendency to overexpose a little but I can ue my handheld light meter. So I shall take with me to Hungary, if I ever can find a hotel. I did get some nice pictures in Belgium, so feel free to go and have a look at them: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tzunder/sets/1020211/

I just finished the Alegbraist by Iain M Banks which in an almost neo-Dune sense (but so much better) does the whole Galactic Baroque Empire bit so well, with the usual AIs, utopian anarcho types at the fringes.
This week, I am off to Hungary for a BESTUFS workshop in Kaposvár, which will be interesting in so many ways, but does now beg the question as to whether I have a working camera to take apart from the EOS300D, which is great and will work just fine but doesn’t fit my current retro jag. Ah well, blog later!

14 Sep

Ah, don’t you love technology? My ADSL router has been falling over and behaving badly for a while. So badly that I decided to replace it. It’s gone quite well, but with all sorts of incompatibility fun, not least with the existing bridge router I use to extend WiFi round the house. More cost, more ‘why don’t you say this when you sell it?’ Ah well. It is still satisfying when it largely works, and the new router is much faster, which says that the old one was actually throttling my connection, which is important when you have only 512Mb broadband to play with.

12 Sep

Well the sales on ebay still roll on, a steady trickle of money to convert my spare room’s junk into new spending money. No illusions here, the money will all be recycled into new junk. Junk that I like tho’ I started on Friday when I bought a 25mm Voigtlander lens for my Leica, only to realise that the rangefinder focusing on my Leica is out of alignment. So it’s off to Germany for a Leica service. Gonna cost me a bomb, but they convinced me it was worth paying for the real thing. In the meantime I have my Canon EOS300D to play with and my Fuji GA645zi. I got the pictures back from Plymouth and (given the crap weather) there are a few that are okay. I am going to have find a new place to scan my films thouigh, or do it myself, because the quality of scans from my local guys is dreadful. The tonal range and levels are almost random. If I hadn’t read some books I’d assume they were unrecoverable, but with a bit of work in Photoshop Elements I can tweak them back into shape..

That is a film pic from the Leica on 35mm lens, scanned and then brought back to something sensible on the PC. Nice innit? I might run it through my scanner later and see if my scans are better, they should be, but they take so long to do.. Lastly here is a nice pub picture from Plymouth, near the University, as you might guess from the name. The pic of the Skiving Scholar just wasnt up to much so I’ve binned it for now, might be worth rescanning.

Plenty of photography on Sunday, took pictures of the neighbours kids, my friend Neil’s grandson and some of Matthew and I. I won’t post the kids until/unless I have permission, but here’s one of Matthew that I like a lot.

I went mad Saturday and bought the new Stones album: abiggerbang. People have ben reviewing it and saying it’s a good album, maybe the best they’ve done in ages. I have to say that I agree, it’s a great deal of Stones goodness, varying from some in-your-face prancing through Delta blues to a Keith Richards ballad. All in all, if you like the Stones then IMHO you will enjoy the album.

I was going to go a conference in Bristol this week but frankly I think I’m better off staying at home and getting some work done, so that’s the new plan. I have a weekend meetup with my roleplaying friends next weekend and it’s Ann’s birthday on Monday, so that’s me sorted for a few days.

09 Sep

We are all French now..

I love this picture, I want to use it whenever I meet a gung ho Yank. Mind you most Yanks I meet are terribly nice and balanced, then I find out they’re Canadian!

Picture was taken by the excellent street photographer Alan Wilson in Glasgow, February 2003: Alan’s Site

I am at the LRN Conference 2005 in Plymouth. Small turnout and rainy weather, but nice to catch up with many people. No great photo opportunities and the rangefinder on my Leica has gone out of alignment so it’ll need a service.

On the gaming front my Zombies meets Planet of the Apes game moves on apace with some player fatalities and a dawning realisation that they are normal people caught up in an awful situation. It is a bit edgy since they are playing themselves and I don’t want to traumatise them too much, but they’re rising to it well as the consummate roleplayers I know them to be. I do occasionally feel a twing of guilt playing games when people are dead in New Orleans, but that’s just petty thinking there is any equivalence.

Anyhow, back to the conference.

06 Sep

Worcester Street Drummers 2005

Worcester Street Drummers 2005
Originally uploaded by tzunder.

This was taken back in May, three kids busking in Worcester. Worcester is odd in that busking is legal there, unlike most UK cities. My son used to busk, indeed I may find and post some pics I took of Mike doing just that. It allowed a fun festive atmosphere in the town all year, and other cities really should follow suit. Great for street photographers as well!

Off to the LRN (Logistics Research Network) Conference in Plymouth tomorrow. Should be an opportunity to network, and maybe take some pictures as well.

05 Sep

Ah well. The EPSRC bid didn’t succeed. I rang and the moment he answered the phone I could tell. To be fair the criticisms from the panel were valid, so we shall gird our loins and regroup and try again in responsive mode. Most of this makes no sense to you all, but never mind: I didnt get the research funding I had hoped for but we will try again.

On a better note I have posted up most of the pictures from my 40th birthday party. These are fun pictures, most taken by my friend Rich and a nice reminder of a nice day.


04 Sep

It’s Sunday. My ear infection is back and the doctor has given me a cream to put into my ear. So, in addition to the deafness I had I now have to polyfill my ear and am completely mutt and jeff. Ah well.

Last night Ann I watched Eight Women on FilmFour (well a recording on Sky+). A delightfully French homage to the Agatha Chrstie ‘country house murder’. Not sure that the degree of sexual variety was quite Agatha, but then again from reading her autobiography, she’d have not minded too much, she was a wonderfully tolerant and modern woman. My favourite quote from her is along the lines of “the adavantage of being married to an archaeologist is that the older you get, the more interested in you he becomes..

Going to see my daughter today and then off to a restaurant called Button Mill, which I have renamed Button Moon. I look forward to being served my Mr Spoon.

On the photography front my ebay sale is moving on apace, but no bids for the Bronica yet. I want to sell it to fund buying a Fuji GA645zi and a new 25mm lens for the Leica. Still, it’s ebay, you know notiong until the last hour. It’s got a good starting bid so I’m cool.