ugly and strange 1

like almost everything i say and do, this is public domain (CC0 for countries where it’s illegal to put things in the public domain (like Germany, lol))

here are all the individual parts as audio, and a midi file for the sick drum part, in case you want to do a remix

if you do a remix, and you send it to me and permit it, i’ll put it on the EP when i release it


  • Finished everything I promised to do for work for the rest of the year, so will be spending Q4 sleeping
  • Went to a gig on Wednesday night with two of my favourite people (pixie and ducky)
    • it was good
  • I went to the pub that is a 180 second walk from my desk in my flat.
    • it describes itself as a local pub for everyone
    • i asked for a london pride and they said “i wouldn’t if i were you”
    • it’s a nice place
bought some socks with hedgehogs on em, and some socks with rabbits and eating carrots
  • not much has happened, really. the real excitement in my life at the moment is unpacking and organizing
    • what about this: roll your cables up and put them in labeled sandwich bags
      • it’s great! i have all my wires and cables in one big bucket, but they are organized and don’t entangle one another
    • i got a dyno junior label maker and have labeled all my cupboards. i have places for everything. it’s great
  • in 2019 alice bartlett made some charming little booklings as trophies for documentation day.
  • unwisely i packed one at the bottom of a box when i was moving
  • it is looking worse for wear
a beat-up green runbook figurine stands on top of an audio interface, looking out over some teenage engineering synths. it is making a groovy sideways thumb gesture with its remaining arm
  • i have relabeled it “BRAVEST RUNBOOK” since its little label fell off.
  • here it stands watching over the electronic music area of the house, where it has been very helpful to me
  • i think i was in the middle of making a latte, and then got distracted by sweeping up, and then got distracted by putting stuff away, and then got distracted by setting up this little electronic music making area (i took apart a wallplug with a screwdriver so i could pass the wire up the thin gap at the back of the alcove), and then got distracted writing this and so now i should probably unroll those events until i hit latte
  • thanks!!
  • OH! i forgot to tell you about when i went to give the keys to the estate agent, and the End-of-Tenancy cleaner “declined the job” 30 minutes after arriving at the apartment 1 hour late because it was dirty. anyway. Fantastic Services are not, in my experience, Fantastic.
    • it’s also nearly impossible to get a hold of anyone to talk to, it’s really bad

  • i slept in this morning, it was great. i’m so powerful now. very comfortable getting eaten by saber tooth tigers, or being mistaken for a lettuce by a fawn
  • yesterday i was in lewisham shopping centre, where simon legg was born
    • in the Sainsbury’s I picked up a box of 12 punk IPAs they were selling for 12 pounds
    • the end of the box was open
    • i was already carrying too much stuff (mostly frankfurters)
    • a beer fell out of the box and i tried to catch it
    • i dropped everything, babybels and all
    • i went to the floor and started up cans and sausages, but they were rolling around all over the place
    • a very nice person asked if i needed help, and i said “no” and they came over anyway
    • they gave me their basket, and went to get themselves a new basket
    • and when they came back they reached under the shelves for me to grab a stray ipa that had tried to get awayTt
    • anyway: they were very kind, too kind, and i thanked them a lot but not enough. thank-you stranger
  • this week i’ve been packing and unpacking and making ikea furniture and working. work is fun at the moment. i’m looking forward to
  • when people say “it looks like it was taken with a potato” they mean it looks like a photatograph
  • there’s a pub that is literally a 3 minute walk from my bed
  • i did other things, but the only thing’s i’ve written down this week have been in my todo list

in reply to

There was once a bug that only surfaced if you were trying to print a document from OpenOffice to a Brother MFC420CN on a Tuesday.

OpenOffice would add a CreationDate header that would contain the string “Tue” when the document was printed on a Tuesday. The cups driver for the printer would rewrite the file before sending on to a postscript check. The postscript check would use libmagic (the unix file command that looks at bytes and patterns in a file to determine their type) to check the file looked like a postscript file. However if the bytes “Tue” appear at byte 4 in a file, libmagic would report the file type as ERLANG JAM, and the computer would refuse to print jam.

You could print any other day, and in any other app. But OpenOffice wouldn’t print to a Brother MFC420CN on a Tuesday.

What a fascinating bug!! My wife has complained that open office will never print on Tuesdays!?! Then she demonstrated it. Sure enough, won’t print on Tuesday. Other applications print. I think this is the same bug. Here is my guess:

Print to a postscript file. Observe the line:

%%CreationDate: (Tue Mar 3 19:47:42 2009)

Change “Tue” to anything else:

%%CreationDate: (XTue Mar 3 19:47:42 2009)

Save the file and it prints. Tools like evince work because they simply omit the “CreationDate” tag to begin with.

Now something odd happens when my cups script (I am using the Brother MFC420CN) copies the file to a temp file. Some of the code is rearranged, not sure how or why, but it uses a command called “file” to identify the file as “PostScript”. This check would work on the original file you printed, but by the time it runs the check on the temp file, it misidentifies. Normally it would return:

PostScript document text conforming at level 3.0

But there is another check that happens before the PostScript check. If it finds “Tue” at the fourth byte of the file, it identifies it as:

Jan 22 14:32:44 MET 1991\011Erlang JAM file – version 4.2

So it’s not a problem w/, cups, or the brother printer drivers. It is a bug in the file utility, and documented at

Now, I cannot recommend a fix, but here is my workaround hack:

make a change in file /usr/local/Brother/lpd/filterMFC420CN




cat | sed -e ‘s/^%%CreationDate: (Tue/%%CreationDate: (tue/’ > $INPUT_TEMP

This will identify a pattern that matches “%%CreationDate: (Tue” at the start of a line, and change “Tue” to “tue”.