Tag Archives: Nice Things

The Velvet Hearts: Into the World

At last. The Velvet Hearts debut album, Into the World, has just been released. It’s currently available exclusively from CDBaby. It is the best of times, and the worst of times, to be trying to build a career as a musician. The online revolution is both generous in its audience and stingy in its fiscal reward; so getting to the point of releasing an album is no small feat. They’re regularly gigging, and their live shows are very good, so if you can catch them, do so. Continue reading

The Velvet Hearts – A Gourmet Feast

When, by chance, we saw The Velvet Hearts at The Edge a couple of months ago, we were left with the overriding impression that this was a band who had taken a step beyond the norm and were producing something really rather special. We saw them a second time at the sunny Portsmouth Bandstand, and were again impressed, not just by how well the sound translated from the tiny Edge venue, but also by the way the band handled (and revelled in) a stage invasion by a dozen primary school kids, without missing a beat – in terms of stage rapport, think of Barenaked ladies and you’re getting the picture, they enjoy what they do, and it’s infectious. Continue reading

Viva Voce

In Britain, the process of finishing a PhD involves the submission of a written thesis, followed by an oral examination called a viva voce (the literal Latin translation is “live voice”). The “viva”, as it’s commonly known, is an in-depth discussion into all aspects of the thesis which typically lasts between 90 and 180 minutes. It is conducted by a specially convened examination board, with both internal and external examiners, who typically have have four weeks to digest the thesis beforehand. In the viva, the PhD candidate must defend their thesis: if the defence is successful, the candidate is awarded the degree Continue reading

Teabags and Sugar

When making a pot of tea, I tend to add teabags and sugar at the same time; once the tea has brewed, I give it a stir, remove the teabags, add milk, and then with the aid of a knitted tea-cosy I get several hot mugs of tea in succession and can keep working without the need to return to the kitchen.

However, when I do return to the kitchen a recurring question bounces around my head: how much sugar is absorbed by the teabag before it is removed from the pot? i.e. exactly how much is the taste affected and how much energy is lost? Continue reading

Santa in Google Earth

Sometimes nice things come back and surprise you. Last year, just after I’d upgraded to Google Earth Plus, I was looking for some good Santa-stuff in Google Earth (so I could show my younger relatives something interesting on what is otherwise a very dull computer), and I spotted a shape: looking around Northern Europe I realised the nice crinkly edges formed a good pair of antlers. Continue reading

Gifts for Geeks

What are the best alternative presents for a geek?

The typical geek has carefully selected and purchased their gadgets of choice, has a computer that’s tuned to perfection and needs no software purchased (because their entire suite is open-source) – so aside from comedy tee shirts with clever slogans that can only be understood by other geeks, buying for geeks is difficult, especially if you’re not a geek, because you can’t even understand if the tee is funny or not. Continue reading

Killay House

The recent demolition of Killay House left a lot of memories without an anchor. It was a familiar shape to the thousands of people who travel on Gower Road daily, and it had been so for over 120 years. Growing up in Heol Glasnant (where the houses are tall), and going to school in Hendrefoilan (futher up the hill) meant that the old building was always in our line of sight when we looked across the bay to the view’s focal point, Mumbles Head. I understand that before NCH sold the site there was talk of getting the building protected: why this didn’t happen is not something I know. Continue reading

Tell me a joke….

Tell me a joke. No really; please, tell me a joke. A good one. I feel the need to hear a pants-wettingly-funny story. It can be your favourite, or one you overheard on the bus. Anything that genuinely approaches bladder-failure material will receive the honour of making it through moderation and will appear for public enjoyment.