Two Up – Rafale

Had another flight in the X-Plane system with Mr O, who is based in Texas. This time I decided we would fly from Kerry airport in the Republic of Ireland and bomb, or at least virtually attack, Skellig Michael – the island where Rey finds Luke. This time I recorded a section of the flight. After the bombing run it took about ten minutes for us to find each other in the skies so that wouldn’t be too interesting!

Make Decisions Now

All throughout this Covid crisis there doesn’t seem to have been much appreciation by the government that every decision they make will have a two to three week delay in any action that then occurs. This disease isn’t a quick-show-er, it takes a while to simmer and then it fucks your face. For the last month we have been experiencing five hundred deaths a day. The latest figures show a drop in that purely because it was Xmas and the paperwork will take a short while to fill out.

UK Deaths

We also have news of the new variants of Covid going around and this isn’t that surprising. If you have a lot of genetic replication you get a lot of mutations and the ones that survive are those that manage to pass on more quickly. Not a surprise. More evidence for evolution you religious bigots.

It’s time for the government to make the choice and close schools for the next month. We had headlines in December about the biggest growth in the virus was secondary school age children, that wasn’t a surprise really. Schools have done everything they can to try to make their sites “covid-safe”. I would like to point out that much like “natural” in food advertising “covid-safe” doesn’t mean anything. All it does mean is that schools are trying to do their best to follow the rules set by the government [I do understand that some schools will be worse than others and there’s not a lot I can do about that]. You might be thinking that I would obviously want schools closed for the next month, but I am going to disappoint you. I would rather be in school, I recognise it’s the best place for kids, it’s where they get the best learning experience, it’s best for them mentally. Working at home is MUCH harder than being in school. Many of my colleagues suffered bad backs and necks from working online. I had nerve issues in my legs. Everyday I spent eight hours staring at a screen while trying to do the best I can to educate and look after the welfare of pupils. There comes a time when the government needs to recognise that schools are a hub of transmission vectors and they need to close for a while.

A NEGATIVE test doesn’t mean you are NEGATIVE.

The government publishes data regularly on it’s Coronavirus Site.

Soul Destruction – Almighty

In the early 90s I saw The Almighty almost as many times as I had seen Wolfsbane. I think The Almighty supported Maiden, Megadeth and also Metallica at Milton Keynes so that’s a pretty good list of gigs. This album was one I played a lot. It’s very good british heavy metal [British spelt with a deliberate small “B” there]. Crucify is a good opening song and Free ‘N’ Easy is a classic one for the charts. It’s all good.

Could Be A New Thing

After the launch of my YouTube series Minecraft Megaship 3000, I have been pondering other things. I quite enjoyed the challenge of creating those videos and maybe I should do more? I might try streaming on Twitch and I think it will be flight simulation based. I’m just trying to work out what I could do. I might even stream some Minecraft. Who knows?

There are two videos currently live. Another six will be released with episode three today at 1500. The last video covers a tour with a ray tracing resource pack, it’s worth watching all the others for. Happy Noodlemass.

Machynlleth Tours

I spent a lovely time last night flying over the Welsh countryside with Mr O. We both have PCs capable of running X-Plane 11 and as we near the winter no-work-period it seemed sensible to try and fly together. While this is possible it is not easy. X-Plane has the ability to link up with another computer but only if you are on the LAN together. This is somewhat irritating. Also, it will only link up if the copies of all the sub-directories are exactly the same. This is not really a possibility as neither of us wanted to change our personal set up. So, the next thing was to find a solution from the world of the internet. There are a few after market add ons that will allow you to fly together but I didn’t want to pay money [I think I might make a donation] and I wanted the simplest set up. I found JoinFS a cross-platform tool to fly together over different sims! Also, as an advantage it is P2P and so doesn’t rely on an external network or server.

Two Ships Heading For The Mach Loop
T7 and Tonka Live Flying

After a while trying to set the software up and not reading the instructions, because who does that, we managed to get one aircraft showing in my sim although Mr O couldn’t see me. I think that’s because JoinFS works by “knowing” the type of aircraft you are in and telling the other machine what type of aircraft to show. My T-7 wasn’t categorised and so nothing showed up for Mr O. This wasn’t a problem and we proved the concept worked with a trip around the Mach Loop until Mr O crashed!

On the next attempt we both had Tonkas and heading out to the Loop from RAF Valley. It looks like there are some positioning issues as Mr O’s plane was partly sunk into the ground and his weapons rack was ten metres from where his plane was, but you know what, at least we could see each other on the tarmac.

Two Tonkas Heading To The Loop
Two Tonkas Heading To The Loop

In the previous picture you can see my Tonka, Mr O’s and also his weapons rack just off his starboard side. So we headed to the loop. I think we did OK. I guess we might need a bit more coordination on airspeeds and maintaining a distance but for a first go it was done well. I think we did about three tours around the loop. In this next picture you can just see Mr O flying with much bigger balls that me!

Looping The Loop
Looping The Loop

We both ran out of fuel at some point so we had to coordinate pausing the game and adjusting the settings to add more fuel to the planes. This worked fine for Mr O but when my cockpit lit up like Xmas and I had run out of fuel I only had one engine burning upon game restart. I couldn’t get the second engine started, but that didn’t matter, we still made it back to Valley and landed.

Engine Two Out
Engine Two Out

I look forward to the next flight. I just need to pick somewhere cool to fly. Maybe the Swiss Alps?

So, I Did A Thing And Learnt Some Stuff

Early on in this pandemic that is fucking the world I started playing Minecraft pretty much so I could engage in conversations with my kids and understand a little about the world they were obsessed with. I still don’t know everything but I know what I like and enjoy and so I’ve been building. It gave me purpose. I hated it at times, having to head off to the farm to get wool or go and get supplies so I can make concrete. I considered making a squid farm at one point, but just changed my design to have less black concrete. I quite liked the process of building a thing and then changing my mind about what I wanted to to look like or how to complete a particular section. I would often think about what to do while I was running or working.

I haven’t done everything I want. There are things I kept thinking about that I could make to increase the complexity of the build and make it look even better. I wanted exhaust tubes to be built heading from the base of the launchpad up to the ground level around 100 blocks away and these would have smoke constantly pouring out of them to look as though the rocket was taking off. I wanted to build a launch control centre like the one at Kennedy for the Apollo launches but I only have so much time and there are other things I like doing. I’m not a complete obsessive!

Once I had done enough – I don’t think I should say finished – I tried to figure out the best way to save this build for posterity. I have the world save files backed up and stored on a NAS and in the cloud. But I wanted to be able to show this off I guess so I looked into making a YouTube walkthrough. Now, I have some rules about this website and I decided I should have rules about the videos. I wasn’t going to feature my ugly face, but I decided I would in the end. I have an opening title card – ha ha, created in MS Paint – yes it looks cheap but these are my first videos. Not sure what I’ll do next. I’ve been really impressed with the video recording software and I found it very intuitive. So, here is the first in the series, Episode 1 of Megaship 3000.

It turns out I can talk much better if I have wine and it amuses me how stilted and staccato my opening words are. I think I relax a little once I get going and know what to talk about. Many, many thanks to Penguin for giving me feedback on the first few attempts at a video and I would also like to thank the penguin chicks for their advice which, as seasoned YouTube watchers, was really good. I guess it’s now time to publicise my efforts and think about a release schedule! There are eight episodes in all and I guess, one day, I might do this again.

Plenty Of Shrugging

Over the last year I have found that the only way to get through is to shrug a lot and act as though nothing is really surprise. I think I’m managing to do this well. I am not mad, yet. I haven’t sat in the corner and cried. I’ve been largely quite positive about the whole thing. Let’s see what has happened so far this year.

The UK left the EU and is now following the rules of the EU without any say in those rules. This was to give the government time to get a trade deal organised added on to the three years they had previously had to get a deal sorted. As we march on to the 1st Jan 2021 this country still has no deal and could be plunged into utter chaos. The thing is no-one knows if there will be chaos. That’s the scary thing. If we knew it was going to be chaos we could plan for it. But we can’t because we don’t know. The government don’t want to say there will be chaos because that fucks up all their plans. They don’t want it all going to shit. Let’s say for now I am on the pessimistic side of reality on this matter. There are 10,000 trucks a day that cross the channel. On the 1st of January 2021 they will ALL have to be inspected if there is no free movement of goods. Those are the RULES. Trucks will need the correct paperwork and be ready for this. You would imagine that we had increased our Border Force, but I suspect we haven’t. When my son’s school sends home a Risk Assessment listing poor air quality (due to traffic) and shortage of food as potential outcomes you should realise you are fucked. This country voted “out” based on misinformation and Russian influence – fact.

We have been in pandemic conditions for most of 2020. The current crop of ineffective leaders seem to not understand that there is a two week delay to anything that they do. They haven’t managed this process at all. They are incompetent and my current fear is that in three years as we approach the next general election people will have forgotten the sheer ineptitude of the current government and vote them back in to continue destroying the NHS and everything I value about this country. If you start from the golden rule of “do no harm” and do everything you can to reach the best outcomes for all then you don’t end up with the racists and liars we currently have in power. I almost beg Johnson to try and sue me for calling him out as a racist and liar. He is.

I worked in the education industry. In fact it’s not an industry. It’s a service to the future. As a society we invest in the youth and educate them in the hope that they will contribute to society and keep the cycle going. We hope they will have the right ideals to do the best they can for themselves and those around them. I have seen my sector demoralised over the last twelve years with no real-terms pay rises as the tory government pushes through a policy of “austerity” and they constantly underinvest in our society and health. If you want to know how you get out of a massive depression then look at the 1930 and the New Deal. It is clear you have to spend your way out of a recession. You have to invest in society to improve the quality of life and in the long term these things will return and pay back. But long term is further than politicians can think.

This year the education sector has done everything that has been asked of it. We have placed ourselves at risk by looking after the vulnerable and children of key workers. We have tried our best to educate and keep looking out for those we care about. We have sacrificed our own health and well-being to ensure that we do a good job and try to keep going. Sure, there will be some who are shit at what they do, just as there is detritus in every part of society but the vast majority have done all they can to keep doing their jobs and what they believe is right. How do we get rewarded for this? No pay rise. Rules and policy sent out at the last minute. No money for schools. The response of the government has been a shambles and for the first time in my career I have looked thought about finding a way out.

If I tried to think about things too much, which is my default position, then I would be utterly depressed and horrified at everything that happened this year and how the so-called “leaders” of this country have acted. It’s almost as if a degree in PPE doesn’t equip you to be a decent leader and manager. I am surviving at the moment because my little world is OK. I’ve got a little house with things that I can spend time playing and doing. I’ve got lovely countryside around me and I’m fortunate to be able to run and exercise. I’m a lucky one. I really feel for all those struggling at the moment and life must be shit for so many. I hope we manage to do good in the end. But, I don’t hold out hope for that. This country seems to be filled with low level selfishness and racism and if I could live somewhere else I think I would.

Somewhere In Time – Iron Maiden

This album is not among the list of Maiden albums I will play for enjoyment. The overall sound and production leaves me a little cold. I played it recently while planning to write this and I have to say, it’s not as bad as I remembered. That said, there are two songs which are good and the rest are iffy as far as I’m concerned. Wasted Years and Heaven Can Wait are pretty good, I even found myself singing Heaven Can Wait a few months ago out of nowhere.

Fuckin’ keyboards.

So Far, So Good . . . So What! – Megadeth

There are only eight songs on this album and two of those are arguably shit. But, this is still one of the greatest albums out there. It is stupendous. It goes to show what you can do with copious amounts of drugs and a creative bent.

Into The Lungs Of Hell – blasts you away with high speed melodic riffs, no voices, just upbeat metal forcing the blood from your ears.

Set The World Afire – A high speed riff leading into an amazing main riff with a “rolling” drum beat. Brilliant song.

Anarchy In The UK – shit. A shit version of a classic song. They even had Glen Matlock playing on the song, but it’s still rubbish. It doesn’t fit. I wasn’t aware that Megadave changed some of the lyrics until I came to sing this song on stage at a school event. Apparently the is a line about council tenancies, but this version has “cunt like tendencies”. Maybe the Pistols knew what they were doing with this just to get airtime.

Mary Jane – another shit song. At least the shit ones are next to each other so you can double skip. I don’t know why but I’ve never liked this one.

502 – Not sure there’s a better soundtrack for racing your car and driving like a twat. This is a great song.

In My Darkest Hour – I can’t count the number of times I listened to this laying on the floor in a darkened room. It’s a great song for any mood. If you are happy it will lift you. If you are sad it will fuck you over. This song was written after Mustaine heard about the death of Cliff and it shows. This is an absolute masterpiece of metal song writing and never fails to emote me. If you think you are bored of this song listen to the live version at the River Plate. You just laughed, ha ha, bitch.

Liar – if you want hateful and vindictive then this is great. Not only is it musically good but the lyrics in the middle [although slightly troublesome in this accepting age] are ingenious. I don’t have a problem if your brother is a gay singer in a stud leather band.

Start trouble, spread pain
Piss and venom in your veins
Talk nasty, breathe fire
Smell rotten, you’re a liar
Sweat liquor, breathe snot
Eat garbage, spit blood
Diseased, health hazard
Scum bag, filthy bastard
Greasy face, teeth decay
Hair matted, drunk all day
Absessed, sunken veins
Rot gut, scrambled brain
Steal money, crash cars
Rob jewelry, hock guitars
Rot in Hell, it’s time you know
To your master, off you go
You’re a liar, a fucking liar!

Dave Mustaine

Hook In Mouth – God this song is great. I’ve seen this live and I love it. Such an excellent chugging riff along with a decent drum pattern. It’s everything that is great about a metal or thrash song. You can bounce to this, or stand and sing, you can shout out, you can accept this song to blast your body in whatever way you want. It’s brilliant.

The Rules

It’s such an interesting time to be alive and hopefully we won’t catch the disease causing this pandemic and die. I have found the last year quite fascinating in terms of planning, managing and governing. I might eventually get to the point of this communication but I think I want to start with the initial response from the UK government in February and March.

The very nature of disease communication means that once a communicable disease is in your country you are very unlikely to be able to stop the transmission – more so if the disease has a gestation period of a few days and then lasts for a couple of weeks. A deadly disease such as Ebola or Marburg is actually quite difficult to catch, I mean, once you’ve got it you are fucked, but it’s still hard to catch. Something that can travel in little airbourne particles or remain on surfaces is going to be much harder to stop. The current SARS-Cov-2 virus is a little bitch with 1/3 infected people being asymptomatic and many others getting just a mild version. Currently in the UK the death rate is 500 people a day. People are fucking dying and it’s sad.

Back in early March I can remember telling friends, family and colleagues that we needed to close borders even before we had our first case in the UK. In fact it was likely the first case was already in the UK and probably from Italy but you can’t wait for the first case. You have to be pre-emptive and shut the borders. This, is, of course, terrible for the economy, but good for lives. Our government seemed as though they were rabbits stuck staring at the headlights as the truck thundered towards them to kill them. No-one in government had the guts to make the call until it was too late. I suspect that these fuckers were just hoping for a nice quiet five years of “governing” so that they could then collect and use all the power they wanted. It’s what the current brand of inarticulate and intellectually challenged group do.

We missed the chance to shut down and minimise the effects of the pandemic across the country for many reasons, but mostly because our “leaders” are not leaders. The first wave of the pandemic resulted in a complete country shut down with education moving online and a massive hit to the economy which will be paid off over the next few generations. I’d like to tell you that the pandemic and the planning required was a surprise but it wasn’t. The government had commissioned a report into threats to the UK back in 2017 and a pandemic was there. It’s always been just a matter of when in time and not if. The problem is that humans and society are terrible at planning for things with a low probability of happening or if the threat is too distant.

If we have a look at the threat to society from anthropogenic climate change then we can see that life is going to be utterly shit for most humans in around two generations time. Now some people are bothered by this and are trying to get things moving politically so that the human race can cope. But for most people this event is too abstract, too far away, and doesn’t concern them. Any efforts we put in place would mean massive changes to the way our current society works and that is too much for most people to think about and definitely not anything for the short-termism of national politics to act on. So, planning for rare but deadly events isn’t something we are good at. We know it’s something we aren’t good at and so you would hope that people in government would put policies in place to ensure that we are prepared. There are people paid to think about how we cope in these situations.

What I have found socially interesting over this year is the reliance on “The Rules”. Early on the government came out with rules for society to work and maintain the health as best we could for people. We had briefings from senior ministers, all of whom I wouldn’t even leave in charge of cooking and egg if I knew them personally. The current government were voted in on the back of racist ideologies left over from the Brexit bullshit along with a perpetuating fear of “communism” in the guise of a socialist leader of the main opposition party. Having discussed some issues with a friend who votes differently to me it seemed clear that he was soaking up Facebook headlines rather than what was actually Labour policy and when I cleared up the actual truth about “renationalisation of the railways” he didn’t believe me because five minutes later he mentioned the same headline. The current “leaders” of this country are liars, bullies and racists (even the ones with darker skin than traditionally associated with “England”).

[As an aside I’m reading “How To Argue With A Racist” by Adam Rutherford – I highly recommend it for anyone to read. I don’t think the arguments are new to me, but it’s nice to have a source of information where the truth is clearly set out]

Early on the government set out the “rules” for society and also changed the LAW so that these rules could be enforced. The “rules” changed many times over the last nine months but everyone followed the rules as best they could because we Brits are a rule loving society and while some people obviously don’t give a fuck about the rules most people did their best because they were following the rules. I went to work in the weeks of early March because I was following the rules. I personally thought it was fucking bonkers that schools were still open but we were waiting for the government to tell us what to do. The problem is that the government weren’t doing the right thing. I’m not saying that with hindsight, I said it at the time. We should have shut the schools much earlier than we did. But even though everyone I spoke to knew what we should do we followed the rules because that is what we do. Even, it seems, when we know the rules are wrong.

I know that when we moved to online teaching everyone at my school worked their asses off. Every day I would end with headaches after staring at the PC screen for so long. The “administration” of running online lessons was immense. Everyone wanted to do the best for their pupils and we still do. That is why we are teachers. We love our subjects and we want to pass that knowledge on, we want to give young people the skills to be good people in the future. Yes, there are some teachers who seem to hate their job, or worse, be terrible at it, but that is expected. The vast majority are excellent people who want the best for young people.

So, we followed the “rules”. We did as we were told. We had the school open for key-worker children and some of us volunteered to go in and supervise those children. We worked remarkably hard to come up with grades for our examination groups. We know the pupils and we had the evidence so we set up grades. We followed the rules because that is what we do. We opened the schools back in September because that is the rules. We have done everything that has been asked of us, because those are the rules set in place by the “leaders” of this country.


What do you do when you know the rules are a misguided attempt to maintain everything working the way is always has. What do you do when you are threatened to be taken to court when you know that infection rates are high enough that it would make more sense to move all your teaching online for the last week of term. We know what is best and works for our local societies but we have been fucked over by the government bullying schools and local areas into submission because when they went to their private school everyone was there to serve their needs.

The absolute privilege and self-righteousness of those “in-charge” of our country is huge. They believe they were born to lead and run this country. They believe they know what is best for the country. The current crop of senior conservative politicians are the worst possible collection of humans I have seen in power in this country in my short time on this earth. They are hopelessly lost. Had this country not been going through TWO massive problems right now we could have possibly survived five years of these wankers. But, the problems of Brexit along with this current pandemic [500 PEOPLE A DAY ARE DYING] is too much for the feeble twats we voted in charge. So what do we do?

We follow the rules set out by those idiots. We have a strange relationship with the rules. We need rules there so we can work out how to run things in a “moral” way. I thin the rules are there to try to make things seem fair. They don’t make things actually fair because the rules are written by entitled idiots. But the rules at least attempt to make things fair and clear for people to follow so that we can exist together and not kill granny. A lot of rules seem self evident, along the lines of the golden rule of “do no harm” or “be nice”. We don’t all walk around murdering people because we intrinsically know that is wrong, we also know there are rules against it, but I don’t think we need those rules there. We know rape is wrong, we know racism is wrong. If we follow the “do no harm” ideals then it’s reasonably easy to figure out what we should do.

We try to codify the rules so that we all have the correct basis for what we do. If you are powerful enough then you can bend those rules to your advantage but for the most of us we follow the rules. The problem still is that the current rules for running this country are terrible. Who is pressuring you to make sure that you can go visit your grandma and kill her over xmas? Who is it making the current “leaders” relax the rules for some mid-winter celebration. For fuck’s sake, virus transmission is quite easy to understand and yet we are allowing people to have some more “freedom”. Many won’t understand or listen to the rules. Many will travel. There will be a spike in January. It’s fucking obvious. It’s a bit like forcing schools to stay open. Headlines two weeks ago covered that teenagers were the fastest growing group of positive cases. But we are told to keep the schools open and so we do.

What do we do when we have finally had enough of the “rules”. Most other countries would have a revolution. People would rise up and tell those in charge that we want change. Not this pathetic country. We are so controlled to think that our leaders want the best for us that we don’t get onto the streets. Even then, when we do in overwhelming numbers the government do jack shit about it. A million people marched against the illegal Iraq war. But we went and killed over 100,000 people. A million people marched against Brexit but those fuckers still didn’t have the balls to say – “hold on chaps”. It’s almost as if we are conditioned to think that those in charge are benevolent and selfless when the absolute opposite is true. There isn’t a perfect form of government but our current crop of leaders are stupid assholes.

Early on in this pandemic the politicians were attempting to explain that they were “following the science”. This was their excuse for doing the things they did. Let me just clear something up here. Science can give you information. In the early days of new science that information is sketchy and likely to improve over time. Science can give you facts to the best of our knowledge at that time and the more evidence we get the better and more reliable that information can become. Science is a tool for understanding the universe. Scientists as individuals are prone to bias as much as anyone else and so we have systems to try and filter that bias out. All science can do is give the government the best filtered information we have at that moment. Science doesn’t have the answers to “what should we do”. All science can do is inform you what might work. It is politicians who make the decisions based on what they have been told. Science can inform the politicians. The politicians make the decisions. They are the ones who own the rules we have been following. If they are too thick to understand the science or if they just choose to do their own thing then it is the politicians we should blame.

All the information we have been given in this country has come from politicians. They have done a terrible job. Yes, it must be particularly hard to do those jobs at the moment. Yes, anyone would find it hard. But we can blame the current crop for being utterly useless. We can blame them for being unable to comprehend the consequences of their decisions and we can blame them for doing things wrong.