Thursday, September 26, 2013

Beat Motel zine cover art gallery

Beat Motel was a zine that I published for a number of years and I was always quite proud of the fact I made a real effort with the cover art.  Well to be honest I figured out from the off that there are far more talented artists in the world than I, so here's a little gallery of all ten covers with credits given to the artists who created them.

by Jim of Horrorview

This cover was by a kid called Davey I met at a gig, I lost touch years ago (get in touch for a credit Davey!)

Art by Leif, currently of The Blackout Bombs

I took this photo, so I guess I get credit!

Art by Graham Mann, currently of The Fisticuffs, formerly of ZEEB?

Art by Jen of Cutting Clouds

Art by Fazu

Art by a chap called Danny from Indonesia, I can't remember the rest of his name!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Shoving a borrowed MTB up muddy rocky slopes.

Nearly 2000ft of climbing on a 14 mile ride. Mercy.

I now consider that I have NEVER done mountain biking before today. The ascents were brutal, so much tougher than road biking and the descents were frankly terrifying. The bike was remarkable, I was using a single finger on the hydraulic brakes which were astonishing and I was slamming into rocks that I would have assumed would destroy the bike and it safely carried me over them. It took a lot of nerve to follow the instructions I was given to just relax and let the bike follow the path it wants to, especially when the bike chooses to aim at a huge boulder. 

I have never come off a bike so much in a single ride ever before, I also had my first clipless moment, into a hillside of ferns. I appreciated the rest. I managed to stack the bike on a fast descent, I think I hit a large flat (wet) boulder while leaning into a corner.  The first hint something had gone wrong was when I noted that I was running down a rocky hillside minus a bike.  I had to climb back up the hill about thirty metres to retrieve the bike. I heard it CLANK on  a big boulder and it landed on the transmission side, the bike I was lent was worth about £2500. I was sure it would be destroyed. It was fine. Amazing. 

Mountain biking is like parenting a toddler - long periods of brutal grinding hard work interspersed with brief moments of sheer terror, with a guarantee that you will often get wet and covered in brown stuff. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My first ride in the Lake District and the damage done.

Well here's the ride I did yesterday

I used my geared bike and when we were going up hills the easiest gear was nowhere near low enough! Everyone else was spinning but I was having to shove so hard my front wheel was lifting up. The we'd hit a descent and at first I thought it would be a chance to rest, till I looked down at my GPS and realised I was going over 50 mph!  My poor old Ribble Audax frame was terrifying and I've never pulled the brakes so hard and for so long in all my life, I swear I could smell them. 

Then there was the weather, there was ALL the weather. Some hills were like fighting my way up a mountain stream in a monsoon hurricane.   I couldn't enjoy those descents because it was raining so hard I could barely see, even under the trees. The roads were also covered with slippy leaves. 

Honest to Jebus it was like this was the first time I had ever ridden a bicycle. There should be one Strava for Southerners and one for northerners. 

We accidentally became part of the Tour of Britain peloton at one point - cars was hooting at us and I turned round and saw it was the Garmin Sharp team car with about ten riders behind it!

At the end of it all the forty miles we did took a bigger toll than any 100+ miles I've ever done in Suffolk. But we did find a put that did three pints of strong local ale for just £4.50!

Now I understand why compact chain sets exist. 

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

WP-Property sidebar below content - how to fix

I've been working with the excellent WP-Property plugin for a client and have been really impressed with the free features that come with the plugin and consider the few premium addons that we needed to purchase really good value for the price that was paid.  BUT there was a problem - no matter what theme I used, and no matter how much I hacked at the CSS and plugin template pages (in my child-theme) I just could not make the standard Wordpress side bar appear on the right hand side of the content where it was supposed to.

Wordpress sidebar appearing below the content on the wp-property property listing pages.

This problem was only happening on the pages used to list the details of individual properties; I didn't notice it happening anywhere else.  On all other pages on the property website I was working on showed the sidebar where it should be: beside the content.  One the property detail pages the sidebar was appearing below the content and the part of the layout where the sidebar should be was just a big white space.  I was stuck.  I called in the services of a CSS guru who tried many things and resorted to saying bad words out loud to the pages of code we were looking at.  Then we fixed it very easily; here's how.

How to fix the sidebar being displayed below the content in the wp-property Wordpress plugin:

  1. Copy the file property.php from wp-content/plugins/wp-property/templates and save it to the root folder of your child theme.  If you don't have a child theme then make a copy of template.php and then hack at the file in-situ.  I would recommend creating a child theme first, here's how...
  2. At the bottom of your new copy of property.php add two DIV close tags (highlighted below) just above the property type sidebar code.

So how did we find this fix?  We decided to run the (live) page we were having trouble with through the W3C code validator and found that it failed.  Adding the two DIV close tags fixed the validation errors and put the sidebar where it should be - on the side of the content.

I am a little disappointed that a great plugin like wp-property would appear to have a rudimentary code error like this, but hey, pobody's nerfect.

Monday, September 02, 2013

My office before and after becoming a parent

I was going to write an epic post as an introduction to these 'before and after' photos of my home office, but I think that the viewer can draw his own conclusions.  However, I genuinely don't think my standard of work has suffered, in fact I think when it comes to my web guy / Wordpress work I'm more inspired and driven than ever before!

Before parenthood
The influence of parenthood on ones home office