I Know It’ll Be Terrible

I’ve booked a ticket to go and see the latest Fast and Furious film. This could be a massive mistake because when I went to the last one I walked out it was shockingly bad. This time I go knowing that it will definitely be utter shit. There are a few reasons I am going to spend a couple of hours in the dark:

  • I like going to the cinema.
  • This film is in screen 8 which is the comfy one.
  • I’m going to listen to God Awful Movies after I’ve watched this.

The point of going to watch this film isn’t the actual film experience it’s the experience of listening to a podcast that rips it to shit afterwards. I have listened to every episode of God Awful Movies and I even send them money using Patreon. I pay the God Awful guys because they entertain me each week and I am happy to reward them for that. Noah, Heath and Eli make me laugh and have helped get me through some iffy times in my life. It’s a couple of hours each week where I can concentrate on something so shitty that these guys have made over 300 episodes where they explain, and take the piss out of, terrible religious films. F9 is a Patreon bonus episode. So, I’m going to see the film. So that I can understand what they are talking about. My time in the cinema will be rewarded when I listen to the podcast after.

I’ve also been watching Boondock Saints II because the GAM guys are reviewing it in a standard episode. I’ve watched Boondock Saints as a lot of the music I like references it and uses quotations from the movie. It is not a good movie.

What follows is something I tried doing before but didn’t follow it through. This is communication 1897 and so here are a few things that happened in 1897, quite likely the ones I find curious rather than the best ones:

  • Some fraternities were founded in the USA – by the way, fuck fraternities, fucking awful things.
  • Dracula first published.
  • The Lattimer massacre.
  • The Korean Empire is founded.
  • The Wissenschaftlich-humanitäres Komitee is founded, the first LGBT campaigning organisation.

Isolation – What A Trip

Got pinged to isolate. I had to leave work. I went home. I organise some aspects of my life. I had to do my first online order for groceries in around eighteen years, I’d been running the house to empty ready for a shop at the weekend. Fortunately I still have a number of goods left over from my stock of Brexit rations. This communication is part diary, part thoughts, part descent into madness. I had plans for the next few days, I was going to go to the cinema, go shopping and sort out a few things around the house. I guess I can still sort those things out. Let’s see what happens. I think the verb tenses used in the following will mess with your head. Some is future tense, because I wrote things in the morning and some is past tense because I said what I did!

Day 1 – last day of work. I’ve organised all the things I can and I wait for the start of the summer holiday. On this day I ended up doing some exercise, an hour on the rower, watched Guns Akimbo and finished two TV series which I will write about separately. I also did some Minecraft but somewhat aimlessly.

Day 2 – first day of the summer holiday. Current plans are to exercise. Watch TV and play some games, maybe a new one. I played X-Plane, Minecraft and Life Is Strange. The food delivery came a few hours early so that was good. I weedkilled some weeds and thought about home improvement works I am planning. I read up on the book I am reading to figure out wtf is going on and the wikipedia page helped a lot.

Day 3 – Some exercise and chilling are planned. Looking back I’m not entirely sure what I did. I watched Page Eight on Netflix. I ordered some stuff from Amazon. Had a BBQ and I’m not really a fan of eating outdoors so ate indoors. I got fed up with the book I was reading and so finished a chapter and moved on to Red Shirts by Scalzi.

Day 4 – I rowed a little bit. I read a little bit. I did some thinking about the bedroom project [not a sex thing] and upgraded aspects of a laptop.

Day 5 – Rowing. Minecraft. Storm watching. Localised floods. Reading. Cleaned the U-Bends in the kitchen. Responded to a local planning survey. Watched Blue Origin launch and land.

Day 6 – Cheat for food and exercise. Started watching The Right Stuff. Started watching Salting the Battlefield. Played Minecraft with the aim of getting a wither skull or something so I can spawn the wither and then kill it and get a beacon. Got a wither skull but died a few times doing it. Lost some decent netherite tools but overall, quite pleased. Had the boiler fixed – maybe, let’s see how that goes.

Day 7 – Exercised. Tidied bedroom. Finished watching Salting The Battlefield. Watched some Olympic softball. Read some of my book. Played Minecraft.

Day 8 – Played Gran Turismo, Minecraft. Emptied a bedroom ready for customisation project. Started watching Star Trek Enterprise, got bored. Started watching Manifest, got bored. Bought what I thought was Boondock Saints II on Amazon, paid £5 but it was just a ten minute interview – cheeky bastards – got a refund from Amazon for that. Downloaded Saints II and started watching it. Customised the Magic Mirror to have an animated rainfall map.

Current Magic Mirror Configuration

And that is isolation completed. I am now free to leave the house and head out to the big wide world. But, I don’t really trust anyone else so I will be wearing a mask when I’m inside. I will avoid crowded places and I will stay away from other people. I’ve got plenty of my summer holiday left to get things done, although if I’m honest there won’t be much different from the stuff listed in here.

Withdrawal Method

I’ve decided to withdraw from the news and views of what’s happening around the world. I see nothing but conniving ignorant cunts from the UK government and it distresses me a fair bit. You know what it’s like: you’ve got ten minutes here or there and so you have a little look through some Twitter Feeds, get reasonably annoyed at what you see and vow to leave it alone for a while. Yesterday I watched the BBC news at 1300 for a little while and the sheer arse-about-faceness of the tory minister brought on to defend the PM was incredible. He didn’t answer the question, which I guess is why he’s a minister and I’m not. It would be nice if this bunch of tory pricks could actually be honest and show sympathy. But we know that tories are literally that because they can’t empathise.

Today I’ll be trying to avoid the news, Twitter and Reddit. I’ve uninstalled Reddit from my phone, again. I had loaded it as a little summertime time waster but the politics is just annoying. I quite like seeing the cool stuff but I’ll survive without it. I think it’s time to create some proper goals in Minecraft and start working towards them. Today’s job is to find a mob spawner to XP up my mending enchanted tools. I also want to learn about potions for when I go to the End. Fuck this world and it’s short-sighted politicians. Time to enter to the world of games.

Glideslope, PFD

My current flight sim plans are wandering around the Earth from airport to airport and just enjoying the views. I’m currently heading down the west coast of Africa and have recently started recording my journey on Twitter. I don’t use Twitter a huge amount at the moment because ultimately no-one cares what I think and I have friends whom I can moan to about things.

Having just clicked on the hashtag I can see that there are many people using the same hashtag but in reality. They are travelling around the world. Well, given the current pandemic, I am not. Also, I don’t have the money and I have other responsibilities at the moment so I don’t think I can. My next trip is to Scotland in February.

X-Plane Control Panel - iOS
X-Plane Control Panel – iOS

This is a screen capture of the X-Plane Control Panel on my iPhone. It looks at the information in X-Plane on the PC and gives me information about my flight. The bottom display is my glideslope approach to an airport, the middle display is a kind of map with weather display and the top is my PFD. I’m quite impressed with the extra information I get and I’ve been using the glideslope when my approach is through clouds. None of those landings have been successful though and I generally fly those routes again or it seems like I’m cheating. One thing that does happen though is once the iPhone is connected it changes the weather from real-world to whatever the settings are on the phone and that’s a frustration, I will look into this to see if I can correct it.

Just The Way I Like It

This is the system I use to play on the flight simulator. I really enjoy my time flying around the world virtually and trying to split the journey up into twenty minute flights.

X-Plane Set Up
X-Plane Set Up

The stuff I have here is a HOTAS system from Logitech, two PC screens, keyboard and mouse from Razer along with two external displays. The Samsung tablet runs some software giving me a PFD and the information involved there. My phone runs some software which is similar to the tablet PFD but also includes glideslope information and forward terrain. In the picture below you can see my chair, which I absolutely love. It’s a lovely chair.

My Favourite Chair
My Favourite Chair

It was quite hard to get the camera to take a reasonable photograph of the system because I have a polarising filter on the lens and as the displays are also polarised, but in different directions, it means that I couldn’t really get the best direction of the polarisation. But I did ok. Here is what it looks like at its worst.

Polarised Displays
Polarised Displays

There And Back To See How Far It Is

Parents are funning creatures. When I was young they had a couple of phrases designed as “in” jokes but possible more widely known, I don’t know. If my parents wanted to go somewhere but not tell us where we were going they would answer with “there and back to see how far it is” whenever we asked where are we going. It’s a vaguely amusing come back which really means “we want it to be a surprise, or maybe it’s somewhere you won’t like, so shut the fuck up”. Another in-joke was whenever we were lost or getting somewhere was taking longer than expected dad would say we are taking “one of mum’s shortcuts”. I guess the implication is that anything mum suggested was terrible? I don’t know, I’ve never really thought of it as sinister until know and I’d rather pack that one back in its little box. We once went to Flatford Mill as a family and it pissed down all day, so if it rains hard someone will normally make reference to Flatford Mill. It’s these little in-jokes that forge a sense of belonging and community [explicit sexism aside].

I’ve got a lovely scenery pack on my computer for X-Plane 11 and it covers the whole of the UK [I think it has Northern Ireland, I ought to check]. But flying around over the UK has limitations I guess and so for giggles one day I decided I would start flying following the coastline. I started at RAF Valley and headed south, I popped over the channel and visited Jersey and then I kept going westwards around France, Spain, Portugal and now I’m in the Cameroon. I’m not sure when I am going to stop this particular journey but at least I’m seeing other parts of the world.

I have spent some time wondering whether I should get rid of my Twitter account as when I look at what’s trending or what people are discussing it seems full of stupid arguments limited by the character limit. There isn’t really any space for nuance and so I use it only as a place to plug tweets into this site. If I get rid of my twitter account then all the absolute glory within these communications will be gone. No one will be able to see my anger and sheer disgusting language over the years. Social media is bad for your mental health. It’s bad for society.

I am going to try and catalogue the rest of my journey in X-Plane on Twitter so that is a good use for the platform. I will not be using twitter for much else, although there are a couple of people I keep in touch with over there.

Magic Voyage

Somewhere within these communications is about how long it took me to watch the TV series Babylon 5, what I thought of Farscape, Tour of Duty and even Tales Of The Gold Monkey. There’s a part of me that isn’t sure about watching so much television, I wonder if there are other things more productive or helpful to the world or me that I could be doing. But then I think, fuck it I really enjoy watching these shows. I know I can be a snob about a lot of things and I probably like that with TV series but at the same time I don’t think anyone need watch the amount of science fiction that I do.

Yesterday, I somehow managed to time things so that I finished two TV series on the same day. I’d had a recommendation to watch Magicians on Amazon Prime and I also had worked through Star Trek Voyager. Both are now complete and I am trying to work out what to watch next.

I chose to watch Star Trek Voyager because although I was kinda aware of it when it came out I don’t think I had really watched any of them, unlike TNG and DS9. So, it seemed a good choice to work through. I mostly watched STV while eating dinner as it is very dialogue based and so looking at food means you don’t really miss much that’s happening on screen. I have enjoyed the series and I might watch another ST series next.

Jase recommended Magicians to me and I have likened it to Harry Potter but with sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. It’s a good TV show and quite enjoyable. I mean it helps that all the actors are very sexy and easy on the eye, but it’s worth a watched for the sheer fun. I cringed at the first musical episode but it was done well and they made a few more melody based storylines that just worked really well. The funny thing about the magic I guess is that whenever you are stuck in the story line you can just make-up-whatever-the-fuck-you-want. Programmes like Star Trek have too many rules built in to the universe and so you have to follow those or people get upset but the Magicians was all over the place and I enjoyed that.

I had thought I might watch The Next Generation over the next few months but after twenty minutes of the first episode I am less than impressed. I know that it’s a great show and I am aware of a lot of the important canon from it. But in all honesty the mid-80s show doesn’t look good in 2020s television. The sets are bare and the audio echoes. This could be a problem with my TV streaming device of choice but I don’t know. I will give Star Trek Enterprise a go later today and see if that feels better. Oh, and I need to finish Lucifer.

Doubly Penetrated

Today I am officially vaccinated against Covid-19. Two weeks and one day ago I had my second injection. I can report that I had no side-effects and was able to carry on. I was happy to get vaccinated. I don’t really read a huge amount of social media and I certainly am not affected by all the claims of vaccine-conspiracy. If I was in charge then vaccinations would be mandatory. But I’m not in charge and the socialist authoritarian in me lies dormant.

We should be clear about what the vaccine does. It minimises the risk of you suffering greatly and being hospitalised if you catch Covid 19. It doesn’t stop you from getting the disease it just gives you that extra boost so you don’t get it too bad. Our current government policy is placing an awful amount of hope on the vaccine that hospitalisations remain low and deaths remain low while they can open the country economically bit by bit. It turns out that people “want” their summer. I have found this attitude incredibly amusing and I think the autistic spectrum part of me doesn’t get it.

Let’s be clear about what is happening right now. The daily cases are going through the roof and people are being told to isolate all over the place. Yes, this makes sense. If you get the disease you should minimise the risk of passing it on. It’s called being SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE AND A GOOD PERSON. I will accept that some people will be struggling financially and that isolation isn’t the best thing for them. But if we had a caring government you would hope they would help. Ultimately, everyone is going to get the disease and we have to manage the outcomes of that. If we can maintain the low death rate then we are doing well. The whole point of lockdown is to ensure that the health services can work. We’ve seen what happens when that is not a possibility.

What we should remember is that this government’s response to the pandemic has been an utter shambles and fucking terrible. They are a pathetic bunch of idiots. I’ve written about this before. Their choices have meant this country has had one of the highest deaths rates and one of the highest case rates in the world. Sydney, Australia recently went into lockdown because there were 40, yes 4-0, cases. There were 48,000 in the UK yesterday alone.

July 2021 Covid Cases
July 2021 Covid Cases

This graph shows quite clearly how terrible certain countries around the world have done. The worst ones are:

  • USA
  • Brazil
  • UK
  • India
  • Hungary

What do all those countries have in common during 2020? Shit-speaking arsehole leaders. Idiots who are in power for the power and unable to empathise or even consider anything other than themselves. There needs to be an extensive public inquiry into the responses of the UK government and there should be court cases after that. There needs to be legal ramifications about preparedness because the next pandemic, and it fucking will happen, could have a higher death rate and truly fuck everyone over.

July 2021 Deaths Covid
July 2021 Deaths Covid

Given how rich this country this the above graph is a fucking embarrassment. Fuck this government and their response to this pandemic. What a bunch of twats.

Covid App Isolation

This headline just shows how widespread the virus is. It shows that the cases are rocketing. It is very clear that the easing of restrictions over the last few months has caused widespread infections and it’s going to get worse. The government’s hope is that the death rates stay low. I hope that is the case too, but we don’t know. We need to remember that death rates run two weeks behind infection rates.

Given that many places are still going to insist on masks and the government is hoping that people are “sensible” we know it’s still bad. The issue with the the Tories hoping that people are sensible is that people AREN’T sensible. That’s why we have rules in place. If there were no speed limits and we let people decide for themselves then road deaths would increase massively. It would be terrible. This is the same as that. Many people aren’t going to be sensible and they might kill themselves and, more importantly, they might kill plenty of other people. We are led by fucking idiots.

Keeping Traditions

I’ve been spending some time at Linton Park Cricket Club recently and although I regularly try and walk around the ground a few times each visit I went in the opposite direction on my last attempt. I am normally hanging around in the nets and when I go for a lap I start there and head away from the pavilion. The lap in question started north of the pavilion and so I walked in a clockwise direction [when viewed from above]. It’s always good to approach things from a new point of view and I thought this would just look a little different. I was not expecting the result of this walk to be such a surprise!

LPCC Tree
LPCC Tree

On the return leg towards the pavilion I saw this tree. A whole tree growing in within the boundary. In the year or so that I had been coming to this ground I hadn’t seen the tree. I just hadn’t noticed it at all when I was completing laps in a positive direction [when viewed from above]. Why had I not seen such an obvious thing? Why had this tree not been part of my viewing on the numerous times I would have walked past it in the past? What is going on? It’s clearly not a newly planted tree and given its size it’s been there for a while and anyway, why would you plane a new tree within the boundary? Although the club itself and ground is a lot older than the tree so there are questions I need answered.

There is something called the Mandela effect. It’s not a real thing. But everyone has things that make them question what they know or can remember. The Mandela effect is meant to explain a mis-remembering of an event or thing. When I saw this tree my first thought was – that’s a surprise, how come I didn’t notice it before? My first thought was not – wow, that must have popped into existence from nowhere I am clearly in a new timeline and therefore aliens or whatever bogeyman you want. People don’t understand just how terrible human memories are. The general impression is that memories are like perfect video cameras and we can fast rewind through any event to see the truth of what happened or at least the truth of the experience we had. The reality is that human memory is fucking terrible and can’t be relied on at all. I am dreading being called as a witness to something where my memory is required. It’s quite easy to change how you remember things. Just remember them. Every time you remember something you change your memory. Have fun with that knowledge.

Slightly More Normal Thing

With the most recent SARS-Cov-2 regulations in the UK we’ve been able to operate some activities at work. So, a couple of weekends ago I spent some time with the officers, CIs and cadets and we ran a “summer camp”. It was only a weekend and there was only one overnight in the open on the school field. But we managed to fill the weekend with school based activities. We are lucky that we have plenty of equipment and also suitable venues within the school site.

Sunday Station
Sunday Station

My job on the Sunday of this camp was to run an orienteering activity. Nothing too hard in terms of map reading but something to give the cadets a feel for orientating the map and basic navigation around a wooded area. It was lovely to be doing something close to normal.