NFTR

It’s hard to keep this site up to date with interesting things when there are very few interesting things that are happening. Normally these communications would be full of film reviews and photographs of curious things I see whenever I go somewhere new. But I haven’t been somewhere new in a long time. The cinemas are still closed and possibly won’t open again. Who knows what’s going to happen over the next year or so as the world learns to manage with a pandemic which will always be circulating. I hope that the variations will die down as the cases are reduced, then eventually humanity will have a chance to control the spread of the virus. I am happy that I might never again have to be in the situation where people think I’m weird for not wanting to shake hands with others.

Now, I don’t mean to imply that things aren’t busy. Work is super crazy at the moment while at the same time we are trying to improve the cadet experience within guidelines. Everyone is struggling with balancing responsibilities because of the short sightedness of the government in coming up with a plan for how education should work in these covid times. I mean, they’ve only had a year to get things sorted. You would have thought someone would be able to make decisions and get systems in place but it turns out that when you are just a selfish power crazy person you don’t care about those important things. I’m not sure why people seem surprised to know that Johnson might have lied or said terrible shit. He’s been doing that all his life. This country voted him in and this country deserves what it gets. I just feel really bad for all those who want a caring government.

I’ve been trying to play more computer games or at least try some new ones. I’ve not been getting very far with that though. I’m still playing Gran Turismo a lot and given that I’ve been playing it since 1997 I don’t think that is going to change much. I started playing GT on a PlayStation when I lived in Gillingham and the house own borrowed a PS from his brother and GT came with it. We found we would play and race each other and congratulate when the other managed a lovely drift. The I bought my own PS, which my mother thought was a waste of time, and I played GT and F1 ’97 quite a bit along with a few other games. When the PS2 came out I bought one. Upgraded GT and played on that system. Eventually I bought a network card for the PS2 and played, very briefly, online. I was joining in with some Navy Seal game online where all the players knew the maps and my time alive was very small. I didn’t really enjoy the experience. When the PS3 was released I upgraded and got GT. Somewhere around this time I also started to get steering wheels – not sure if it was PS2 or 3. Clearly, once GT is released on the PS5 I will be upgrading but I’m not going to bother trying to get a PS5 until that point. I’m very happy with my PS4.

I’ve been playing a bit of The Last Campfire by Hello Games. It’s a delightful little puzzle game with some problems that have made me walk away in embarrassment that I didn’t figure them out quickly. I’m hoping to finish the game soon although I have no idea how long it is supposed to take. It’s a lovely little story and looks wonderful.

In other news I think I would like it to be a little warmer than it is currently. I’m fed up feeling cold a lot of the time. Some of this is to do with my office at work having zero heating outlets and also my home heating is shitty because I’ve been waiting FOUR SHITTY MONTHS for British Gas to get their act together and come and fix it. I’ve been mostly annoyed by this while equally feeling as though I’ve been unable to do anything about it. At least I have been able to use the heating, it’s just that the boiler requires some TLC every now and then. I know that British Gas are going to tell me that they were hit by the third wave of Covid and that also their technicians went on strike. This is what happens in business when you under value your staff and put your motivation to shareholder profits before other things.

I am beginning to think that I have too many screens in one room in my house. I know that seems like it shouldn’t be possible but currently the dining room – so called because it has a table – there are four screens. Two 27″ computer monitors attached to the home PC. A 27″ monitor when I have to do work at the table and a 45″ screen on the wall which gets used as a TV when I’m on the rowing machine. Considering this room is really quite small I think it might be overkill, but they all have their uses and I’m not that inclined to remove one. I’ll just have to avoid people seeing the room unless they think I’m too much of a gamer. Which, I’d like to point out, I don’t think I am.

Not From ‘Round ‘Ere

It’s in the name but there are problems with people not understanding these things and using the words incorrectly. It’s out job to point out where people go wrong. I don’t think it’s being pedantic, I think it’s making sure that language is used correctly so that meaning is clear. We have developed this vocal ability over the years and created rules so we can be specific in what we mean and the ideas we are trying to communicate. If you can’t be clear in your meaning then you need to change your words so that you are.

The Internet – the physical network of wires and optical fibres that the traffic runs through. Has been around since the early 60s when US Strategic Command wanted a computer network.

Internet Protocol – the rules that govern the movement of information around the internet.

www – world wide web – a mass of documents all linked together with “hyperlinks” creating a web of information. This has been around since the early 90s.

HTML – the language governing linking documents together on the internet, created in the early 90s.

And so onwards for many different terms that people use interchangeably when speaking about computer things but don’t really know what they are talking about. I can cope with it normally but the problem arises when there are specific issues with a piece of equipment when the difference between these terms becomes really important. Just saying it doesn’t work is not that helpful. It is the job of the support person to decode the words used by the layman and ask gentle probing questions to get to the root of the issue.

Visitors
Visitors

The above is a map showing where people who read this shit come from. I do suspect that most hits are not people who actually read this though. I suspect many people accidentally find this site and then don’t care because who would care about the musings of a white male from the UK. This site operates by delivering HTML to a BROWSER via the INTERNET. The HTML is created using PHP and a SQL database. Your BROWSER decodes the HTML and creates the words and images on your screen. blah blah.

Finally Somewhere Else

I actually drove out of the county of Kent for the first time since last August recently. I didn’t go far, only across the Thames to Essex but it felt like a whole new place. I think I’ve been separated from Essex for long enough now that I don’t really have any urges of “home” when I go there. I do look around the village and think it’s very pretty but all around it’s changed so much with building and “improvements” that it’s not the Essex of my childhood anymore and I don’t feel that romanticism. I did go for a walk with the family and we went to some lovely local reservoir lake things. It was pretty and the sun was shining.

My Homeland
My Homeland

As much as I’ve labelled that picture as my homeland curiously I didn’t even know these lakes existed for all the time I lived in the village. I had never explored them as a child. Doesn’t really matter. It just adds to the alienness of wandering around somewhere so familiar and yet so different.

As a slight contrast I did find this work of art on a walk around the lake area near me in Kent. I have to say it is stunning. I’m not entirely sure about any of it though. I’m a republican and couldn’t care less about what happens with the royal family. It does appear that this picture has likened Kate to the virgin mother of Jesus and quite literally sanctified her in image. It’s such a strange sight and one of conflicting impressions.

I'm Just Not Really Sure What
I’m Just Not Really Sure What

Does this image mean it was paid for by arch royalists? If so then I’m not sure why the person in the image isn’t part of that bloodline – I guess the child is [?] assuming it’s actually one of Kate and William’s children. I honestly don’t know. I also feel that the people who did this are particularly on the right of politics as that is what I mostly associate that particular colouring of cloth in the background. This image has me conflicted in many many ways.

Heading just a few miles from the graffiti we see other iconography in the local friars. Now, it turns out that the monastery near where I live isn’t a monastery it’s actually a friary. It also turns out there’s a difference. Let’s make this clear here. Monks are selfish twats who give their lives over to serving and praying to god. Friars are less selfish twats who give their lives over to serving god while at the same time being allowed out to do things in the community. So, friars are the better of the two wastes of time. I guess anything which has use to the community is better than a thing which does not.

Iconic Stuff
Iconic Stuff

This image has another mother and child in a system which allowed rape, slavery and murder of the right people. Is Mary crying in this image? Perhaps she’s upset at the lack of consent for her pregnancy – which makes god a rapist. If you look at the bottom images on the front of the alter it looks like there is a snake climbing a crucifix which I suppose I understand and then there is also a badly drawn T-Rex with a halo! I know it’s a sheep but it’s much more fun to think of it as a terrible lizard. Damn, I wish I had looked more closely at this when I was there. Perhaps I’ll pop back for another look soon.

O-AZ

Yesterday I had the first part of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine against the SARS-Cov-2 virus. I was expecting to feel rough today but so far I do not. It’s been around twenty four hours and all good at the moment, perhaps later today will be rough as fuck. I’ve read and heard on podcasts about people’s reaction to the vaccine and so I’m curious to see how I react. The most important thing is to get vaccinated and help reduce my reaction to getting Covid.

There are some things we don’t yet know about any of the vaccines. What we do know is that they don’t stop you getting Covid-19 but they do minimise your reaction to it. It’s highly likely you won’t be hospitalised if you get the real virus. We don’t know if vaccinated and infected people are still contagious and we don’t know how long the vaccine lasts and we don’t know if it helps you recover from all the Covid variants. But we do know it stops you being hospitalised if you catch Covid. So, while we don’t have the data yet on various aspects of the vaccine we do know it lowers your chances of dying from the virus. Seems a good idea to get vaccinated because your chances of dying of something else while waiting to be vaccinated are higher than the chances of you dying from the adverse reactions to the vaccine.

In the mean time here’s a video taken from inside the Prius as I did a lap of the Brands Hatch GP circuit. It’s a four minute lap time, roughly, which is amusing as it should be closer to one minute forty had we been allowed to race. However, that’s not the point. I’m happy to leave my racing to playing Gran Turismo.

Irritating But Ultimately Not Too Much Of A Problem

When I started writing album reviews the aim was to always have something to write about. I can’t always have a polemic ready to go and publish on this glorious site. I would like to be that person but I also feel that my writings or attempts to express my thoughts would be diluted if I wrote too much about society and politics etc. So I decided to write about music and rather than have me concentrate on every band in a particular order I chose to describe my relationship with each album I own in alphabetical order. This would mean that the artists are mixed up and it’s a pseudo random order for the reviews. I would normally be surprised by what I had to write about next – screw Led Zeppelin for naming their first four albums numerically but I don’t own number 3 so I guess I saved myself some work there.

When I started doing the reviews in 2013 I think I was using the order of albums on my phone and the iOS system doesn’t really include the “The” at the beginning of an album name. So the list is ordered by whatever the name of the album is subtract the “The” at the start. This makes sense and works well. At some point over the last nine years I started using the Sonos App to get the albums alphabetically. Now Sonos does not remove the “The” from the start of the album name and so somewhere my system of ordering the albums changed from one system to another.

So now I have to see what album is next on my list in the Sonos program and then check whether I have already reviewed that album and then write or not-write depending on what result I get when I search this site. See, it’s a little irritating but easy to solve and while I’m miffed at myself I’m not bothered particularly. Once this round of album reviews is over I’m going to start a new list covering the aggrotech and EBM stuff that I’ve bought since 2013 but I have searched this site and some of those have already been reviewed and some have not. So it’ll be a similar issue when that happens, if that happens. I’m not sure how many albums there are to go but I guess I’ll finish them at some point.

It’s All Electronic Now

I’ve got a couple of things happening at the moment that are slightly frustrating for different reasons. Firstly I’m waiting for my gas boiler to be fixed and I’ve been waiting for about three months. This isn’t me waiting for bloke around the corner it’s me waiting for a technician from a service a pay a lot of money for. The organisation have been really bad at communication and, oh did I mention, I’ve been waiting three months to get my boiler fixed.

I’m also trying to prove my identity to a financial company and while it can be done online they are only accepting scans of specific documents from within the last three months. Now, I do understand why these rules are there and I’m happy to play along but the frustration is that none of the documents they want are ones that I have paper copies of. I don’t get paper statements and things sent to me. Why would I in this age? The one type of document that I can supply only comes to me once a year so I have to wait for that to come through the post box. Oh well. Not a huge amount I can do so probably best just to keep trundling on.

Surprising Compression

Recently I went somewhere for a thing! Given the last year of lockdown and nothing really happening this was a super treat. Motorsport Vision emailed earlier in the year offering the chance to drive the GP circuit at Brands Hatch and as I considered the price to be suitable I booked a place. There were rules to follow once on the circuit but it was nice to experience the route in the sun and in my Prius. There were quite a few “showy” cars in the queue for the sightseeing but I didn’t care. I enjoyed it even though our speed never really exceeded 50 mph.

Driving The GP Circuit
Driving The GP Circuit

I will say that even at the pedestrian pace we were going the compression going down Paddock Hill was surprising, it also started earlier than I had expected but now that I’ve had time to reflect it makes sense that you feel negative g as you go over the top and then the onset of positive g is fast as you approach the inflexion.

This was great fun and something I’d love to do again. I should probably see what lap time I could get by driving on Gran Turismo. Unfortunately the current GT version doesn’t have a Prius so I’ll try and find something else with similar power and torque.

Not Just Myself

I’ve been removing social media apps from my phone as I’ve found that their form of distraction from the real world wasn’t enough of a distraction and a waste of my time. I still check-in now and then just to see what is happening but I try to do that on the PC and not waste my other time staring at my phone. This is really about me trying to not get too upset at all the shit that is going on in the world. I can only just about cope with my own life at the moment and so reading about all the crap that is going on wasn’t helping. I’ve had to change my approach and be a little more selfish about the things whirling around my head.

So, I removed Twitter and Reddit from my phone. I still subscribe to Private Eye but I find I don’t read much of it as it’s all about the corruption and bullshit in the world of politics and as much as PE does really important work I can’t have all that other stuff going around in my head. So, I am trying to read more books on my kindle which I love. I’m using the Kindle app on my phone to try and read some technically dense writing about the NASA F-16XL supersonic laminar flow boundary layer investigations. I’m trying to improve my own levels of knowledge and understanding while avoiding the shit-heap of politics.

I still care of course and so balancing it all is hard. I think it’s why I like Minecraft so much. It’s a world where I have control over most things except for bloody creepers and what my kids do in the world. I’m building a beach house at the moment and I’m looking forward to the results. So, instead of me having to think about all the issues going on in the world I do this by proxy. I give money [not that much but enough] to organisations I think are doing the right thing. I put my energies into work and getting money to live and then I give some of my time and money [mostly money] to people whose values agree with mine. So, here’s who I give money to:

British Humanist Society – because if I had to describe myself it would be as a humanist or as a pastor of the Church Of The Flying Spaghetti Monster.

National Secular Society – because I don’t believe any religion has the right to be a part or have influence over laws and government.

Green Party – I used to be a part of the Liberal Democratic Party who I joined just after the Brexit vote. But since then they elected a bigot as their leader and I no longer found my values aligning with theirs. The Green Party do seem to have all the right policies. I am concerned that many people my age still think of the Green Party as a bunch of unrealistic hippies but the party values align with mine more than any other party.

Puzzle In A Thunderstorm Productions – These guys take the piss out of religion and it is well deserved. I like their shows and so I donate money to them. Over the years they have been a source of comfort through some tough times and I align well with their values.

Extinction Rebellion – I honestly think these people are doing the right thing. The climate is going to be a disaster soon and so these people get my money because I’m not in a position to do much myself.

British Problems on Reddit has been one of my favourites over the last couple of years. Like minded people pointing out the problems about living in Britain and while it’s very much a list of first world problems it does make me smile. Recently I noticed a post [?] complaining about usage of the terms “myself” and “yourself”. The post seemed to think it was just estate agents who use the term incorrectly and I have pointed out that the educated professionals I work with [in a grammar school] mostly seem to use this incorrect construction. Things like:

“if you aren’t sure come and see Dave or myself
“please email myself if you want more information”

It’s one of those little things that really annoys me. It sounds pretentious and is just plain wrong.

“if you aren’t sure come and see Dave or ME
“please email ME if you want more information”

These are the grammatically correct ways of saying these sentences. Please help me change the world so that everyone speaks properly. Yes, I know the title of this communication is wrong, it’s called humour.

Don’t Think It’ll Ever Be Right

I’ve been trying to withdraw myself from the news more and more and yet I still feel drawn to it and am teetering on the edge of utter rage. My latest conclusion is that while we expect our governments to look after us and care for us all they really care about is doing just enough to keep everything ticking along. Maintaining the status quo is important and when we get annoyed by things they even feel the need to make protest virtually illegal.

How do you let those in charge know your feelings? You have to be allowed to protest. If things are important enough then the people should be able to let you know. The people should be allowed to protest and if you don’t want to listen then it is time you stopped governing. I feel that protest is important. It means that we are finally getting off our arses and going to do something about it. But then I remember that over one million people marched against the Iraq war and yet still a Labour Prime Minister entered that war.

I feel despair and as such I don’t think I can write about all my thoughts here. Not that this is really the forum for this. I think I need to see my friends and talk about my ideas. I have some close friends who help me back from the thoughts of extreme to a more middling place where I can cope.

In the mean time I have played Gran Turismo for the first time in a few weeks and actually qualified pole. I then went on to win the race but I did lose the lead on lap two for a short while which was worrying. It was a good fun race.

A Win!
A Win!

HODL or Not?

Quite a while ago I invested (?) in the ICO of a new cryptocurrency. At the time I used it as a way to learn about cryptos and how they worked. For the last four years my investment was worth one fifth of the value I had spent. But it wasn’t a huge amount and I knew it could head off with the fairies.

Over the last couple of weeks the Electroneum I own has been valued at about four times what I paid for it and now I’m interested in selling my coins. I have now started the process to do this although I am unsure how long it will take. There is quite a bit of anti-fraud and anti-money-laundering hoops to go through, which is correct. I just hope the value doesn’t start dipping.

I had a conversation at work this week where we discussed Cryptos and whether their value will hold in the long term. I am unconvinced. I think they will all tank at some point. I like the idea of a decentralised currency and the ease of transactions but for a currency to work it has to be easy to use and accessible to many. ETN is trying to do that and maybe the value will stabilise at some point in the future. I guess it will be worth whatever someone is willing to pay or offer as goods for it.