Nine Inch Nails – The Eden Project

This weekend has been pretty awesome. Smith and I drove down to Cornwall yesterday to see the band Nine Inch Nails. There aren’t many bands that would have the draw to get us to travel the width of the country but NIN are one of them. Firstly we stayed at a hotel in Okehampton which was on the route and far enough away from Eden to make the journey home this morning less by an hour. While waiting in Okehampton I persuade Smith that we should try and see a viaduct!

Meldon Viaduct - Okehampton
Meldon Viaduct – Okehampton

We parked near the reservoir and walked down by the river to the viaduct. Climbed up and walked the length of the bridge/viaduct. On the return journey we saw Dartmoor ponies and they were rather cute. We also got up close and personal with the dam holding back the reservoir waters.

Meldon Reservoir - Okehampton
Meldon Reservoir – Okehampton

After the walk and some food we drove to Eden. Parking was at the top of the project but there were shuttle buses up and down before and after the concert. It was lovely wandering through the biomes with 6000 other metal fans. It was absolutely pissing it down outside at this point with a lightning storm. The noise of this inside the biomes was like a small jet taking off, quite spectacular.

First band on were Yves Tumor. Not really my thing. Listened to a couple of songs but left it at that. Wandered around for a while.

Yves Tumor - Eden Project
Yves Tumor – Eden Project

Nine Inch Nails were quite spectacular. There wasn’t much interaction with the crowd from Trent Reznor. But is was still an amazing show. I hadn’t noticed until right towards the end of the concert that the biomes had lights and lit up as part of the show. The sound quality was really good and the fact there were only 6500 people attending made it quite an intimate venue. It’s the largest concert I’ve been to for years (mostly because of covid).

NIN - The Eden Project
NIN – The Eden Project

Andy disappeared into the pit on the second song which was “Wish” from The Downward Spiral. I maintained my composure until they started playing March Of The Pigs and I joined in with the pit. I didn’t stay there, I just hovered on the edge and enjoyed the show.

At one point Trent spoke and said there were two things that happened this evening that had never happened at any other gig. First, he made a mistake playing one of his songs and secondly, there was a rainbow. The rainbow was enjoyed by the crowd, it was quite life-positive-affirming.

NIN Rainbow
NIN Rainbow

It was a great concert. As we left and walked up the winding path to the main entrance my niece called both of us and drunkenly chatted which was pretty funny. Also, the biomes were lit up thus:

Eden after Nine Inch Nails
Eden after Nine Inch Nails

It Looked Amazing

It’s been a windy few days here in the south east of this funny island. It hasn’t rained much, or at least not when I’ve been awake, but the wind has been a consistent feature of the “jubilee” days. Yes, it’s been the queen’s jubilee and I’ve been mostly not-interested. I’m not a monarchist by a long way, in fact I think that the royals embody all that is wrong with this entitled country. Anyway, the wheat in the fields out the back of my house are young and have bendy stalks still. The wind gusts were creating lovely wave patterns in the fields and so I tried to capture what that looks like. To be honest I don’t think I succeeded.

In respect of all other things I’ve [once again] deleted Twitter and Reddit from my phone. I don’t think they are good for mental health. I do like knowing the things that I see mentioned on there but there’s only so much shit in this world that I can cope with and along with the knowledge that the entire environment is going to collapse soon I’ve decided to try and focus on what I can do from afar and stop worrying about the end of the world. There isn’t really anything I can do to try and change what’s going to happen. My area of focus needs to be more on the things I can affect. I will occasionally check Twitter but Reddit is likely not to be looked at much.

If you read the news or listen to the radio [I don’t watch television news] then you will notice the, almost daily, warnings from scientists about the collapse of the climate and environment. Those warning signs have been there for most of my life time but no one has really done anything to try to change what’s going to happen. The current economic and political systems do not allow a decent long-term plan that will help the future generations. I am convinced it is all going to be utter shit.

Through my life I had thought that the country and world was heading towards a more liberal approach to people and life. I had thought that society progresses to be more accepting of social norms as they change. But it turns out that I was wrong. The current UK government are fucking horrible people who are liars and self-serving assholes. They have been brought up to believe they are entitled to the power. The problem is they are morally bankrupt racist liars. I honestly can’t believe some of the headlines I see where people are “I’m almost at the point where I won’t vote conservative“. What the fuck have you been watching for the last decade? I honestly despair at the level of cognitive dissonance these people have.

I’m not claiming to be perfect or to have the answers. I honestly have no idea how to change the current to fix the future. But I do know it’s not what we are doing now. The way we treat some aspects of society is horrific. My central tenant is “be nice”. It’s the easiest thing to do. I think I’d also have to say that we should use evidence to improve and help people along with doing out best to look after the planet for the future. We are nowhere near doing that yet. It’s a real shame. So, now I’m going to head off and be selfish for a while along with donating money to organisations that are working to change our current world in the best of ways so we can be the best for the future.

Tweeting About Sunk Cost

There’s been quite a lot of people leaving Twitter because Elon Musk has decided to try and buy the platform. I’ve been thinking what to do about this and whether I care or not. I’m no fan of Elon Musk. I’m pretty sure he’s a disingenuous fool who says lots of things but it’s all self-serving promotion. I don’t even think he’s a business genius. So, when all the news broke about him buying Twitter I did have a few thoughts about whether I should stay on the platform. But then, what’s the difference between him owning it and a bunch of faceless investors owning it? I don’t think it will make a difference to me and my uses of twitter.

Then there’s the concept that he’ll allow “free speech” on the platform. Well, that’s interesting because in my experience that just means racists will be racist. As a private company Twitter can set whatever rules it wants given the current status of “things being said on the internet are not the responsibility of the platforms on which they are said”. Can you imagine having to moderate all the gigabytes of data that gets sent to these platforms for dodgy content? Who would be doing the monitoring and what would the rules be? At the moment Twitter is like advertising in the UK. It’s fine until someone complains about it. There are rules but you only have to follow them if someone raises an issue.

I’ve got quite a lot invested in Twitter in terms of this website. If I delete all my data then every tweet that I’ve embedded over the years on my communications will be removed and to be honest it will change the look and feel of this site. If there’s an option to download all my tweets and images and try to then re-link every tweet on this site then that’s something I could look into but the time and challenge to do that might make it not worth it. I am invested – time wise – into twitter and so removing that would bother me. I am aware that this is the “sunk cost” fallacy. It wouldn’t matter to anyone but me if I left twitter. That place has been a rabid discourse of racists and arseholes for over eight years now [everything went shit in the middle of 2016] so leaving now wouldn’t change much.

Only Two Hours Sleep You Say?

It has been an interesting few weeks. I recently met up with my good friend Jamie from Cornwall and had a nice meal with him and Smith. When I returned to my car and started it all hell broke loose and it sounded as though the exhaust had fallen off! I turned it on again just to see what would happen and – BLAM – still the same [sexy for a race car] noise. There is no way a Toyota Prius should sound like that. So I had to call the AA for Bora Horza Gobuchul. Now, being a male and having broken the car in the leafy Surrey suburbs I was not top of the list to be helped, but that is perfectly fine. It makes sense that women and vulnerable people should be helped first. We shouldn’t live in a world where that discrimination is necessary but as there is a very clear problem with male-on-female violence I’m happy to wait.

The AA man turned up and I described what the car sounded like. He grabbed a torch and looked underneath the vehicle. “Your catalytic converter’s been nicked”. In the couple of hours I was with my friends people had come and jacked up my car and sawn out the catalytic converter. This was a bit of a “bugger” moment as I was hoping he could just do some bolts up and I’d be on my way back home. Nope. The AA man called for a flat-bed truck to come and get me. Again, I’m down the list of priority so I had to wait until 0230 for the truck to arrive. I was slightly terrified of having to start the engine to get the car onto the truck as the Prius can only be put into neutral with the power system turned on, if the battery is low the engine will start. It turned out there was enough juice in the hybrid battery to run the car on EV power for a short while. It was loaded onto the truck and we headed off to Kent.

I had Bora Horza Gobuchul dropped off at an exhaust centre a couple of miles from my house and I got home a little before 0400. I went to bed and got up after not sleeping particularly well to organise work things and getting to the exhaust centre to explain the car dumped outside their workshop. I had already planned to cycle to work for a few days this particular week and so I had all my shower kit and spare clothes at school. So, I just had to cycle a few more days. Fortunately the weather was good and quite warm. Hopefully it’ll be similar the next time I cycle to work. The ride is about thirty minutes and as the majority of it follows the Medway towpath is actually really pleasant.

After speaking to insurance people and various garages it turned out that if I needed a courtesy car then I would have to get Bora Horza Gobuchul fixed at their choice of garage. In Ashford. The guys at ATS couldn’t fix the Prius because they can only replace the exhaust with OEM parts and they don’t have a deal with Toyota. So I had to get the car fixed in Ashford. After calling them I had to wait five days before they could get to me! Five days. I phoned them on the Friday, they couldn’t get the car picked up until I had uploaded a photograph of the car showing it can’t be driven. This was an amusing piece of administration as I couldn’t take a photo of the bits of the car showing I couldn’t drive it because from the outside it just looked like a normal car. While they understood this they also said that they can’t proceed until I upload a photo. I was at work. My car was thirty minutes bike ride away. So, I had an old photo of the car, cropped the background out, removed the meta-data and uploaded that. The garage said they would be able to get to me for Tuesday morning between 0800 and 1300.

I managed to borrow a friend’s car for the weekend and to run small jobs and the sorts of journeys you take for granted when you have a car. Even so I was mighty pissed off that I was expecting a speedy service and all that happened with me was delay and delay. So, I am currently in the position of waiting for Bora Horza Gobuchul to be fixed. I have a courtesy car which is ok. It’s a car. I don’t like it, but it’s a car. It’s nice to be mobile. All the money side of the admin has yet to be completed and I’m hoping to get the Prius early next week. I have no idea whether I’ll get a cat-lock fitted next time it’s in for a service. I suspect that if people want to steal my catalytic converter then they will.

Deepest Darkest Essex

While driving with my parents to a restaurant/café for lunch I noticed this strange thing by the road. It seemed pertinent to stop and tell my children of the punishment methods of the past. People I give you the Great Canfield Stocks and Whipping Post.

Green Street Stocks and Whipping Post
Green Street Stocks and Whipping Post

The sign explains that the stocks were replaced to commemorate the start of the third millennium. I’m quite curious to know what was in this position before these and the history of them. The sign explains the stocks were last used in 1860 for a case of drunkenness and also that this site was where Elizabeth Abbott was burnt as a witch in 1693. The sheer terror I feel with how we used to treat people is only masked by the general terror I feel for how we treat people these days. I’m not sure we’ve moved on that far.

This is comms#2023 and I’m still trying to work out what to replace my “events each year” thing. Give me some time and when I get a chance I will figure this out. Things have been a little busy recently with work and also my car being off the road because some cunts stole the catalytic converter. I’m currently waiting for it to be towed to be repaired along with getting a courtesy car.

Helping Out With Things I Like

It has been a huge length of time since I last wrote on here and I’m not really sure what it is that caused this hiatus. I’ve been busy, but no busier than previously. I wonder if it’s a cognitive load thing in that certain aspects of work have been quite high loading and there’s only so much cognition I have? Who knows. I do know that this is probably one of the longest gaps between communications. I’ve just checked and the last communication and it was published or last edited on 10th January which is almost a month ago! I am horrified.

So, the reason for this communication is that I’ve been supporting independent artists again with their creation of content. This time it’s Faderhead. I pledged some money on Kickstarter for him to complete an album and I got my name in the thank yous along with a hard copy of the CD. I did this a while back for a previous album he produced. I don’t know why I’ve decided to support him, I mean I like the music, I guess it’s nice to feel involved with something like this.

Faderhead - Years Of The Serpent
Faderhead – Years Of The Serpent

Above is a picture of the CD and the note I got along with it.

This is communication number 2008 and recently I’ve been adding information about that particular year at the end. I can’t remember when I started it but the point was to count down to my 2000th comm. So, in 2008:

  • Stock markets plunge, fuelled by the sub-prime housing crisis.
  • 138,000 people killed by a cyclone in Myanmar.
  • Spotify is launched.
  • Android OS is released.
  • Sark finally abolishes feudalism.

Not Another Film Review Communication?

I have decided to start a new film review service but don’t worry I’m not going to be adding these to this website. I’ve found that I often start watching the same film on Netflix or Amazon Prime but I only notice about fifteen minutes into the film. I get quite a few recommendations and neither service particularly remembers which films you have seen before and I don’t really go in for rating those films on those services.

Prime Recommendations
Prime Recommendations
Netflix Recommendations
Netflix Recommendations

Now, I like space films which are clever or just space films which are well written. I’m not that fussed on how well made they are. I’ve even recently watched a spate of second world war films but not because I’m fascinated with the war but more because of the stories they hold and things I didn’t know about. Most war movies are utterly depressing and full to the brim of the definition of survivor bias.

Anyway, I’ve seen a lot of terrible films on both of these main streaming services so I have created a spreadsheet to start avoiding watching them again. I’ve only just started this so it’ll be interesting to see how long it takes before I’m referring to it before I watch something. I will also add to the list as I discover films I’ve already seen and try to write down what I think. I will not be adding the reviews of these films to this site. I’ve got plenty to write about here once I start heading back to the cinema and once things start happening again.

This is communication number 2005 and so here are some things that I note took place in that year:

  • The Airbus A380 makes its first flight.
  • The Provisional IRA downs all arms.
  • Hurricane Katrina
  • Drawings of Muhammad are printed in a Danish magazine.

The Set Up

It’s been just over a week that I’ve owned the PS5 and after the initial joy of cabling and getting it in place I have been messing with some of the settings to get the best experience. The good thing about modern appliances is that they can “see” what they are connected to and output the correct formats for whatever gear you have. So, the PS5 is outputting 7.2 sound into the amp. I did have a problem with the picture format though!

The Current Set Up
The Current Set Up

The above picture shows a real mix of technologies and brands. There’s a Logitech G29 steering wheel, an Nvidia Shield Pro, the Sony PS5, a Sony AV amp, a Sonos unit, some Bose speakers, the Philips TV, a Sony speaker and a Sony PS camera. I think it all works together pretty well and even if people freak out about it they should realise that audiophile types are rare and most people can’t hear or see the difference between many basic makes and low end cables! I used to think that expensive cables were a thing that could improve your experience, but the answer is “no” they do not. Most of my speakers are connected by quite think mains cable. There isn’t a need for expensive cables.

So, back to the picture output from the PS5. I tried selecting a 4K HDR output but the PS5 was adamant that the receiving device wouldn’t be able to handle this. The PS5 wanted to downgrade the signal to 1080P for HDR rather than 2160P. Well, if I have to choose resolution over HDR then it’s the resolution that’s going to win every time I reckon. Every couple of days over the last week I would remember this issue and I played with the TV settings trying to find the magic button that would clear the way for these signals. I was pretty sure that 4k HDR was possible on the television. I couldn’t find the correct combination of settings.

I once again tried messing around in the PS5 settings to see if there was a thing I could do to fix this. I even bypassed the PSVR thinking there might be a thing inside that unit that meant it couldn’t bypass a 4k HDR signal. I also tried plugging the PS5 directly into the television but this didn’t change anything – I am aware now that this is because only one of the HDMI inputs to the TV is really set up for the best quality signal. I tried googling again and found a Forbes page which looked promising. The page suggests setting an input device to “enhanced”. This seemed like some kind of BladeRunner reference but I decided to go ahead and see if I could find this setting. Then, I remembered the AV Amp.

Why an amp needs to have a HDMI throughput setting set to “enhanced” I am not sure. But there it was, in the amp settings. The option to allow the HDMI bypass to be set to “enhanced”. I switched this. Then I restarted all the devices, because it seemed sensible to do so. I headed over to the PS5 and it was in “screen set up” mode. It wanted me to set up screen size and some HDR settings. I was reasonably excited and once the settings were made the PS5 is now outputting 4k HDR. It took a week of not-really-worrying about it but also knowing in the back of my mind that I could improve the look of the games.

I will say that once I’m engrossed in playing a game I don’t really concentrate on what the graphics look like. I don’t really notice the little details. It’s something I’ve always been conscious of. It’s the gameplay that makes the difference for me as a player. I know there a people out there who quite like just watching games and I understand that the graphics can really make a difference to them, but, for me, if the game play is good enough then you don’t really notice the rest of it?

This is communication number 2003 and so here are some things that happened in that year:

  • Space Shuttle Columbia breaks up over Texas.
  • Massive protests against an illegal war in Iraq. Governments do not listen. This is the start of my realisation that governments do what they want, not what we want.
  • Two people [not Musk] start Telsa.
  • China launches people into space for the first time.
  • Concorde makes its last commercial flight.

Playing A Numbers Game With Death

It’s been reasonably frustrating to see the current government be so utterly terrible at managing the country. I guess it makes sense in some ways, people who are good at being elected to represent the population of the country don’t really have to be good at project management. They just need to be good at getting elected. Mind you, in most constituencies they just need to be good at being selected to run in those areas. When you look at it you have to wonder why people vote for Jacob Rees-Mogg or Boris Johnson. They don’t vote for those people do they? Otherwise I’m pretty sure they would have to agree that one is a puritanical prick and the other is a liar. People vote for selfish reasons and the tories seem to offer the best deal for selfish people. Politicians are the worst people to have in charge of the massive projects this country is running. We need project managers and people who understand risk.

The current policy of not worrying about the Omicron variant and letting it run wild through the country relies on a couple of massive WISHES. The government aren’t worried about taking precautions, they are a reactive group of people who don’t have the balls to enact what is right for the country. It’s almost as if being popular enough to get voted for doesn’t make you very good at the thing you’ve been voted to do, especially so with the current bunch. For the UK to succeed we need all of the following WISHES to come true:

  • Not too many people need to self-isolate due to virus.
  • Not too many people end up in hospital due to new variant.
  • The vaccination programme means people don’t end up in hospital.

I am horrified at this approach. This gamble based on WISHES. We aren’t being pro-active. We are reacting. The problem is that the reactions happen two fucking weeks too late, because that’s how viruses work. It appears that the government still do not understand any basic biology. If we are really fucking lucky then hospitalisations will remain low and this works. We are hoping for luck. Fucking luck. We are playing with people’s lives while hoping for luck. Precautions are not being taken.

Less Severe
Less Severe
It's A Numbers Thing
It’s A Numbers Thing

So, Omicron might be less severe. But we didn’t know that until very recently. We kept everything open because we are reactive remember. Let’s go with the best possible number there, 70% less likely to be admitted to hospital. 70%. This seems good. But what this means is that if we were to have a massive peak in infections any gains would be wiped out as the total number of admissions returns to bad levels. This would be bad if the policy had been to keep everything open and say have a massive surge in infections.

Massive Increase In Daily Cases
Massive Increase In Daily Cases

Fuck. That’s what has happened.

Now, I’m not claiming to be correct and I’m not claiming that we are fucked. I’m not saying the NHS is going to be overwhelmed. I’m saying the risk of that has increased massively and the government are playing a numbers game. Hoping for the best outcome. They are playing dice with the lives of the vulnerable and the unlucky. They are placing bets on being lucky and making everything look like they were geniuses. Quite clearly they aren’t geniuses. It turns out that lots of MPs are just selfish twats who don’t care about anyone:

Oppose Tougher Covid Rules
Oppose Tougher Covid Rules

We currently have a bunch of MPs who don’t understand science, are willing to play dice with the lives of the country and who maintain a liar in power. It’s a fucking depressing world we live in at the moment and I only have so much anger I can maintain. Very soon it’ll be my chance to ignore the news again for a while. I need to get away from being a realist and play my PlayStation and enter a world of happy aliens I can shoot.

This is communication number 2001. Here are some things that happened in that year:

  • This is the first year of the third millennium.
  • UK foot and mouth outbreak.
  • Race riots in Bradford.
  • 9/11
  • The war in Afghanistan starts.
  • The iPod is released.

The Matrix Resurrections

I remembered going to see the Matrix reissue when it was released and in my head it was about a year ago that I did that. Well, according to my own communication on this site I went to watch it in July 2019. Fucking 2019. Do you remember that? This means I went to see this original film twenty years after its initial release before SARS-Cov-2. Let me just repeat that, BEFORE. I’m not even sure I can remember what it was like in the before-times. Can you remember walking around and doing whatever you want without having to wonder why some cunts aren’t wearing facemasks? Can you remember a time when we didn’t have 150,000 dead in this country from this pandemic. I would ask if you could remember a time before having an incompetent and corrupt government but, they’ve been in power for a long time now and BJ was still as shit then as he is now. All he had to fuck up then was the Brexit agreement and that is going to shit still so we knew how our politicians acted.

Sorry, where are my manners? There are things we need to discuss first. The tide was pretty low as I drove along the riverside road. There are currently road closures in the village and so anywhere over “cinema side” of the local area is actually a bit of a pain to get to. As far as I know the gas people are trying to fix a gas leak somewhere along the main road into the village but someone decided to close the road as the hole is a little big? I’m not sure why it was closed but it is quite an inconvenience to many in the village. After watching the film I rated the film on IMDB and there is a communication from years ago where I discuss how the rating system works.

There are going to be spoilers straight after this tweet:

I didn’t dislike this film. I’m not enough into the canon to worry about what the fuck is going on all the time and how it affects the original storylines. To be honest I liked the original Matrix but the two sequels were shit I think. I know they had loads of money to make the films they wanted to make and they did, but I think when you try to narrow down the storylines to the point of making it make sense you end up with something that doesn’t work. Let’s face it, the Matrix looked gorgeous and has been much imitated since 1999.

I quite liked the first bit of this film where nearly every line was taking the piss out of the fact that they were making a sequel to the original trilogy. I thought this part worked really well. Normally I try and remember key points as I go through the film and sometimes [rarely] I write a note on my phone. I’ve not yet resorted to taking pen and paper but that might be worth it in the future. I also interact with a film by wondering what I will write about it on these pages. I don’t think I did much thinking about that last night. I was more concerned about a lot of things that didn’t seem to make much sense in the film.

In the film they talked about how The Matrix [game] Trinity was inspired by how Tiffany looks as Thomas Andersson sees her everyday in the coffee shop. They also explain how the game was released twenty years ago which means that Tiffany wouldn’t have had kids and possibly wasn’t married so Thomas could have approached her. There were a couple of things like this that didn’t quite make sense but you can do whatever the fuck you want with this film.

A bigger issue for me, and this is extremely similar to my complaint with Spiderman, is that Neo is told that going to get Trinity will cause a war and lead to the destruction of Io, the new human settlement. But fuck it, he’s going to get her anyway because Love. No weighing up of the death of thousands in a war, just a straight up obvious decision to go and get his beau. I did not like this aspect of the film.

I will tell you that this film looked gorgeous. It was really well made along with many themes of accepting who you are. This isn’t a surprise given the background of Lana Wachowski, the joint-writer and director. I’ve read quite a bit on social media where the general consensus is that Lana Wachowski created a gorgeous rebuff to the right wing of politics who had co-opted themes from the original film. Good on her. Fuck those people.

This is communication number 1999 and so here are some things that happened in that year, which is a newish thing I’ve been doing:

  • A fire in the Mont Blanc Tunnel kills 39 people, closing the tunnel for nearly three years.
  • Columbine High School massacre.
  • British TV presenter Jill Dando, 37, is shot dead on the doorstep of her home in Fulham, London.
  • Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace is released.
  • The sovereignty of Macau is transferred from the Portuguese Republic to the People’s Republic of China after 442 years of Portuguese settlement.

Engineers and software people spend a lot of time and money fixing the millennium bug and because of the hard work the threat of mass computer failure fizzles out. But it was because we fixed it. Not because it wasn’t really a thing.

The Labour government spend a load of money creating the millennium dome. I think it was over a billion pounds. All to get ready for the celebrations of the end of the second millennium and the start of the third but because we have a stupid year numbering system most of the world gets this wrong.