Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Monday, 4 March 2013
A guaranteed place in Heaven
A few years ago, someone gave me a present of a book entitled, "Do Ants Have Arseholes?", which purported to answer all those questions in life which occasionally trouble us, but not so much that we remember to find an answer to them a little later.
Well, it turned out that the best thing about that book was the title, and most of the fleeting concerns about stuff which I do not really need to know remain unresolved. I can't remember the statistics about how all the information contained on the Net doubles (or triples) itself every few years (or months - I told you I could not remember), but these days, if someone wants to know something about anything, the first referral is to the computer.
It is simply staggering to begin to get an inkling about how almost anything you can think of has been documented by someone on the Net, but because it has usually been documented by complete amateurs, the actual information contained there is usually a veneer - a skin deep skimming of the subject, put up by proud and egocentric part-timers.
I wanted to check up about the technique of French Polishing the other day (part of the finishing process of my current work involves a similar technique), and stumbled upon a series of video demonstrations made by amateur wood-workers somewhere in the USA, all proudly covering their furniture in a coating of polished beetle-shit.
Because the art of French Polishing is so labour-intensive and is carried out over a number of hours and days, all the videos were played at about 50 times real speed and lasted the length of the bit of crappy music they makers had chosen to accompany them. The end result - far from being informative - was a bit like trying to appreciate a beautiful sunset by looking at one of those time-elapse photo slideshows with clouds racing across the sky at 400 miles per hour.
It was just the same when I looked up the laborious process of Scagliola making, except the film-makers had actually gone to the workshops of professional workers when on holiday in Italy, but did not have the gigabyte space to run them at real time - hands were a blur, and if you blinked, you would miss the addition of one vital ingredient, the exclusion of which would ruin the mix.
There are exceptions though. There are many totally altruistic people out there who put up extremely helpful tips and hints, and I really don't know why they do this other than trying to ensure themselves a place in heaven when they finally kick the bucket.
Anyone who has ever owned a Mac Mouse with the tiny little roller-ball will know how bloody difficult they are to maintain, and how much they have been tempted to unplug it before putting it on the ground and stamping it into even smaller pieces.
Before I bought a Magic TrackPad (TM), I took my Mac mouse to to the Mac shop and insisted that the helpful young man there either got it to work for me, or gave me a better replacement. He got it to work - but only for about 10 minutes of real use after I got home and plugged it back in.
In desperation, I went to You Tube and typed in, "How to clean a Mac mouse".
In 0.27 seconds, a video bearing that very title appeared on the screen and I sat back to watch it.
An Asian boy of about 13 years old stood at a desk with a clean sheet of paper in front of him, holding a Mac mouse. He said, "This is how you clean a Mac mouse", then turned the thing upside down and vigorously rubbed the little ball on the paper until all the dirt came away and the thing was clean enough to work. That's it.
The boy only speeded up the video when he was rubbing the mouse against the paper, because he didn't want to bore us by playing it in real time for the 20 seconds it took.