A.J. Walker


So Many Varieties of Apple

Looking to replace my ageing laptop soon. I've had a long and happy relationship with my mid-2010
MacBook Pro, it cost a pretty penny back then (about £1k); but with it lasting eleven and half years means it's been a bargain at less than £1.70 a week. If my next computer can last ten years I'd be very, very happy – and amazed.

It's still working but crashes intermittently and has for some time now, which is time consuming – and makes me worry about when it will stop for good. Of course with it being so old it has had its systems updated regularly; it's currently up to macOS High Sierra and can't go beyond that. This means lots of current apps I use can't be updated anymore and may soon be useless (as companies stop supporting their old apps), and of course new apps won't run on this old system.

So it's been time to think about what to get to replace the Pro. I've been considering the new iMac which looks amazing. I had a couple of iMacs back in the day including the famous Blueberry one. Of course one of the things I would use it for is writing and I can't take a desk top about with me so I'd really need an iPad as well as a desk top.

Yes, those are the considerations which bring me back to a laptop. In terms of cost vs the iMac I could get an iMac Air and an iPad, but that'd be pointless – if you've got the Air you couldn't justify the need for an iPad. But I need more memory than the base version which makes it quite expensive and then when you consider the costs the 2020 MacBook Pro 13" (M1) looks a better buy. The bigger versions of the Pro (2021) look absolutely incredible but I can't justify the cost of those.

So I've basically gone round and round in circles and come back to getting a 512GB MacBook Pro (which is exactly what I have now). How was it so difficult to decide to replace an excellent MacBook Pro with a new MacBook Pro? I mean it is heavier and bulkier to travel around with than an iPad and all and maybe I'd rather have an iPad and an iMac but all things considered I can't justify that.

I'll probably end up not putting music on it which will free up loads of space but mean that I can't update my old iPod anymore; but after all when was the last time I used the iPod? It's sad but my phone and Spotify has made me say farewell to the old faithful, beautiful beast. I'll continue to use the computer for writing (using Scrivener), doing bits on the website (currently use Rapidweaver), and some YouTube vids.

A MacBook Pro it is then. I'll sort that out sometime in the coming weeks. In the meantime I hope this old friend isn't reading this and planning on committing a final spiteful act and crashing for good (I better back this up today…).


No Gym, No Problem

This last few short months I've lost a fair bit of weight and got a lot fitter. Don't know how much as I never weigh myself. But I can see it and so can others who haven't seen me for a while. It's not been a conscious thing I've tried to do at all, but been through starting a new job. It involves me cycling the six miles to work – not everyday but a couple of times a week – and during the day moving beer casks around which weigh up to 50 kilos each when full. Before I started I wondered if I could do it, now it is easy and I wonder what I worried about. Moving up to 20 casks around involves multiple repetitions, in and out and up and down. I've basically accidentally joined a gym.

If I didn't have the job I wouldn't have realised that with a relatively few changes I could get quite a bit fitter. Without the job the aerobic thing (cycling) would be easy to continue with whenever. Not sure how I'd replace the weight lifting part of the day, But I know it would be well useful to carry on with. I'm pretty sure I'd never join a gym, I'm just not the kind of person who would enjoy it. Perhaps I'd just have to keep a full cask of beer on hand to carry around a few times a day. It'd work.

Not sure if I'll continue to loose weight now or whether I've hit a plateau. I'd be happy either way. At some point in the coming months I may get a car or a motorbike for commuting (not sure), but even if I do then I will continue to go cycling. It's fun and easy and gets you to nice places (though they'll be nicer in the spring and summer than they are at the moment).

Keystone Three (for me)

After missing John Witherspoon's open mic at the Keystone the week before I did make it last week again for my third appearance out of the four they've had. It was upstairs again and was very well attended with regulars from the previous weeks. I was second up thankfully and played three of my usual - Heart Breaks Like the Dawn (C Prophet), Oh My Sweet Carolina (R Adams), and Splendid Isolation (Zevon) - and unlike the previous time I did mess any of them up. Yippee! In fact it felt to me like it was the best I'd played them; at least three songs together anyway. Not saying it definitely was, but it felt all right to me nothwithstanding what it sounded like to everyone.

All the performers were fab - many doing their own songs - and the mood was great again. It's definitely becoming a week highlight.


The Keystone had my favourite tipple on too - Jaipur from Thornbridge - so it was a doubly good night all around.

Won't make it next week as Liverpool are on the box (on a Thursday in the Premier League!) against Newcastle so I dare say I'll be in the Fly or Head of Steam watching that. Hopefully we'll beat them well to make up for missing the open mic. Don't know if there will be one the following week with it being so close to Xmas then (Dec 23rd) but if it is then I intend to be there.

Hopefully next year I'll get a few songs written and perform them here. Could happen.

ReadMeSpeakMe Catch Up

For one reason and another I'd missed the last month of recording the weekly ReadMeSpeakMe. I've usually been quite good at recording on the Sunday when it goes out on Twitter @ReadMeSpeakMe (#ReadMeSpeakMe). Yesterday I managed to do the last four weeks of readings and a sudden burst of activity. Got them all up quickly one after the other on YouTube. One was shorter than a minute long (much less preamble than my usual mumbling) so YouTube automatically put it up not as a video but as a short. Not quite sure what the difference is. I've still got this weeks left to do, which I'll sort out during the week. Bit of a busy week this one by the looks of it so I may need to wait until the weekend.

Even if it ends up being the weekend I certainly shouldn't be falling a month behind again at any rate.


After I recorded the various poems I also recorded me strumming a couple of songs, which I haven't put out there for a while. Partly it was because a) it was so long since I last recorded my strumming and b) because I didn't do an open mic this week. I attended most of the one at the Head of Steam, but it was a bit different this week with only three or four lots of people playing and I didn't really get the opportunity to get up there. I popped up too to the Keystone and caught the last guy playing there which was nice to catch. By that time there was neither the opportunity or desire from me to get up again. So a
YouTube strum was enough instead.