Somewhere Else

It’s almost a year since I went somewhere else. If I look back over my journeys since March 2020 I can recall visiting my parents twice, I think in the summer when we were allowed to visit people in gardens. I went to the white cliffs at Dover in early September I think. I had a walk along the river Medway sometime recently. And that is it. I’ve not been to anywhere vaguely military for a year. I’ve not seen friends and colleagues for about a year. I did return to work Sept through to Dec and saw those people then and it was nice. But I haven’t been somewhere else for a long time. All of a sudden I am very aware this is a modern world problem and that I am quite lucky in reality. No-one I know has died from this virus and I have a home which is somewhere palatable to be. There are plenty out there who have no idea how to feed their families or how to keep a roof over their head.

I am looking forward to being somewhere else. Just to experience other things. The mental aspects of constantly doing the same things and not being able to improve or learn new things has taken a toll. I guess I’ve been doing gaming videos in a bad way over on my YouTube channel and that was quite fun but not the same as actually being outside somewhere else. I haven’t used my camera for quite a while and I think I should. Maybe I need to start doing still life compositions? I don’t know. I guess I could do some sort of project to make sure my camera still works!

I’m not sure that the current moves by the government are the right ones. I’m not in charge and I’m sure they’ve got their reasons I just don’t think public health is at the top of their list. I also worry about the ability of these people to absorb technical and nuanced information about the ‘rona and how it affects us all. The covid recovery group are cunts. I guess we always knew there were a lot in that party but this group have clearly defined themselves as such.

I’m going somewhere else today. I’m looking forward to seeing other things. But I also know from the other times I have been to this “somewhere else” that after about thirty minutes it feels normal. I’m actually looking forward to being somewhere with jet noise and the smell of fuel. Hopefully that will happen later this year.

Clean Up

I’m just about to start writing this communication and I have realised the irony involved, however, I shall continue and ignore the double standards I so clearly employ.

As I come out of a two day migraine which was probably required by my body to make me do nothing I have realised a few things. I guess what I mean is that there are a number of things that I knew separately but I have only very recently put them all together to come to a conclusion, which I suspect is that actual definition of how a realisation works.

I’ve been spending time trying to change my behaviour for the improvement of my mental health. I have times when the weight of the world rests on my shoulders and I need to learn that there are some things I can do very little about. So, I have stopped obsessing with the news and feeling anger at all the terrible things that are happening. I have removed the Twitter app from my phone and I even deleted two of my Twitter accounts. I’m toying with the idea of deleting the final remaining account but I’m not sure about that yet. I’m failing at overcoming the “sunk Cost” fallacy where I feel that the Twitter account contains details of my life and I’ve put effort into it. However, I don’t look at my historical tweets often and I only check that place once a week or so, primarily to see if Pom has been in touch. The grander idea behind all of this Twitter removal is that no-one else cares what I think. Literally. People might be curious to see my reactions to things but the truth is no-one cares. Chucking ideas and thoughts onto Twitter doesn’t change the world and more than likely won’t change anyone’s mind about anything. It just allows me to join the faux outrage at whatever thing I should be outraged about.

Twitter used to be a place where I kept in touch with friends. But nearly all of them are now connected via WhatsApp! which is problematic in itself but that’s for another time. Oh, I learnt recently that the developers of WhatsApp! came up with the name first and then tried to work out what the app would do. So, the opinions and thoughts of people I genuinely care about are accessible to me via other methods that web based social media. I don’t expect I can change any of their minds about things, we’ve all known each other for too long to know our own thoughts on issues but if I want intelligent conversation then I can chat to them on the messaging app. I don’t need to have Twitter to chat to the few people within my “circle of trust”. By that I mean those people whom I consider to be absolute trustworthy friends. I’m fortunate to have people I trust implicitly and the only downside to those groups is that we aren’t physically close enough to meet up once a month to get wasted.

I’ve been clearing out my email inbox and I have removed all the email subscriptions that I just “mark as read” without even reading them. Why should I get those emails if I don’t care about the content? Am I worried I might miss out on something that I want? Probably but maybe I should wait for the natural processes rather than be pushed into buying something because the marketing department thinks I should. It’s curious that outdoor clothing shops keep sending me emails telling me that this new jacket is great or these shoes are brilliant but I’m expecting my current jacket and shoes to last twenty years. Why would I want to know about more of them?

I’ve cleared out all the cookies within my browsers. This is so that I can refuse all the tracking cookies that come along with visiting most sites. I don’t really want advertisers to know what other things I have looked at. I’ve also been over to turn off the custom advertising that Google wants me to use and while I was doing that I have set a time limit on the browsing data that Google keeps on me. So, this means that I’ve got things in my history in case I need to find them but also anything older than 18 months goes away. If I haven’t looked at something for a year and a half then the chances are I don’t need to keep it in my history.

I’ve deleted the Reddit app from my phone. I found I was spending around thirty minutes a day browsing through Reddit and none of it really added to my life experience. Most of what I looked at was aircraft and things designed to kill other people. I’m having a bit of a break and trying to use my time more productively. Which, I guess, also includes writing this stuff which is read by approximately three people. I found that most of the time I could avoid looking at Reddit but once I opened the app that was at least twenty minutes gone and maybe more if I didn’t keep an eye on the time. It would be a better use of my time if I read Scientific American instead.

I would like to remove or close my Facebook account. But I can’t really. There are two communities I belong to who only seem to use FB. First the 360 Radar bunch use FB as their main way of sending information out to people who contribute. So if there is an update that needs to be completed I need to have access to that information. Also, my friends within the CCF all are on FB and if I want to get in touch with them then I need to maintain that access. I only check my account once a week and that is within a browser that is used only for that. The browser also has add-ons to remove tracking. This way I hope to minimise the information that FB can gather about me, although I suspect I would be rather surprised at what they do have.

I’ve also turned off the Google Advertising customisation options. I can’t quite remember what URL is used to do this but you can access this in your Google account settings. This way, I will no longer see adverts aimed specifically at me. I will just see general adverts. I can cope with that. If I want to buy or spend money on something new then I would like to leave the choices to my own flawed thinking modes rather than relying on someone else to point me in their direction. Yes, I know this whole argument is flawed but it feels good to lower the amount of tracking information that these very large companies keep about me.

Interestingly there is, of course, the problem that this website contains an awful lot of information about me. You can find my interests, purchases, bands, travel and political ideas. But this is a site that I control and the information you see is just the information I want you to see. It is very rare for me to delete a communication and if I adjust them then my policy is to try and make sure that those changes are clear and open. This site also runs counter to the convention that no-one else cares about what I think or feel about the many issues I have written about. Again that is true. But as I say on the homepage, this site is about me and how I think. It’s got nothing to do with looking for approval. I know people don’t care what I think. But for me, this is my diary, sort of.

The World Championships

I’ve been meaning to write something about the NFL on here for a long time. I love American Football and I know that a lot of UK people don’t really get it. They say stuff like “but you’re allowed to throw the ball” and “watch rugby it’s not for girls in pads”, you know things like that. I’m also a bit of a stickler for being correct in language and so when people ask me about football I ask them which code. This doesn’t not normally end well because I use the term “soccer” for Association Football and that in generally disliked in the UK. I mean, it’s the most correct term for that particular game but you know British people! When I’m not at a live match I watch the NFL using their Gamepass App.

Sidenote: I dislike the term App. I think you’ll find the thing is a program or Application or Executable file but “App” seems lazy. This is similar to my dislike of the term “folder” for a directory but I’m old and the world moves on.

Gamepass on a browser, on iOS and PS4 works really well. By really well I mean it works. There are some silly things which you would have thought a massive organisation would have fixed like which PS4 buttons can be used for fast-forward etc. But, once you accept some of the basic issues the app seems to do what I want. The Android version though is a piece of shit. There is no option on the Android platform to hide the finals scores of matches. WHO WANTS TO KNOW THE SCORE BEFORE YOU WATCH A MATCH? If I know the result of a match I can’t watch it. The match is spoilt. If I want to watch a match using my [quite expensive] Android TV box then I have to hold my hands up in front of my eyes as I browse the matches hoping that I cover the part of the screen where the scores appear. I tend to use the PS4 instead because I don’t have to blind myself.

At the end of each broadcast there is a warning from the NFL declaring that any use of the imagery and descriptions thereof is a breach of copyright or something like that and so this really made me want to get permission to write about something I had watched on Gamepass. I wrote to the NFL and I got a load of legal waffle back which, I think, says that I can write about things I have watched online as long as it’s not for profit. This little site is definitely not for profit and so I am going to write a little and risk the wrath of the NFL.

“You may use the Services and the contents contained in the Services solely for your own individual non-commercial and informational purposes only. Any other use, including for any commercial purposes, is strictly prohibited without our express prior written consent. Systematic retrieval of data or other content from the Services, whether to create or compile, directly or indirectly, a collection, compilation, database or directory, is prohibited absent our express prior written consent.” – I’m pretty sure that this part means I can write something here as I won’t be making any money off it.

Superbowl 55. The “World” Championship. Which is a bit like me saying I’m the world champion of racing from my lounge to my kitchen as I’m the only person able to partake in that particular activity.

I haven’t yet watched LV on the full replay and I will at some point [even though I know the result] but I have watched the full live action replay of all the action [this show is 40 mins long, which means for a game of 1 hour I’m being shortchanged]. I can say the following with confidence. The Kansas Offensive line was terrible [maybe the Buccs were amazing] and Mahomes wasn’t protected at all. The O-line broke so often that Mahomes was under so much pressure he just couldn’t land many passes. This wasn’t his fault. He also threw some amazing passes under pressure and I was very impressed with him. To win a Superbowl with different teams is impressive and so I will acknowledge that a certain person has done well. I still don’t have to like the cheating fucker, but I can say I’m impressed.

KC seemed to give up an awful lot of yardage through penalties and I’m not sure if these were called for as I haven’t watched the full match. But maybe the KC defense was getting frustrated which would make sense. Maybe I’ll check back here once I’ve seen the full replay.

Week Six – Completed

Here we are a whole half term [I refuse to call them terms] completed. I thin I passed through a tough stage about two weeks ago. I was annoyed at everything and I needed to change my behaviours because I couldn’t change all the things that concerned me. I stopped looking at the news multiple times a day. I stopped looking at Twitter so much which was already reduced from the old days, I now check about two or three times a week and because I don’t follow many people not a lot happens there. Facebook is something I don’t really do, except I do for certain things. Facebook is there so I have contact with the RAFAC and the aircraft tracking people. I do understand why they all use Facebook, it’s just I never really have and won’t.

I’m still trying to read more science news with my Scientific American subscription. The first paper copy came last week and while I’ve been quite busy I’ve not had the chance so far but I will next week. There are some articles I’m looking forward to reading using the app as I have access to the last four years of editions. I can’t currently read Private Eye because they highlight all the shit going on at the moment and I can’t cope with that. Oh well. I won’t be cancelling my subscription though.

I had to get my car seen to because there was a dodgy rattle noise and I suspected the exhaust. I was hoping for a bracket that could be replaced, that would be a few pennies. Then, the coolant level on my inverter system was dropping quite a lot and I asked for that to be looked at. Well. New inverter radiator needed. The exhaust was indeed a bracket that was removed but the radiator needed replacing and that means the whole front end of the car needs to come off. I’m half a grand lighter. Not exactly pennies but at least it’s fixed.

The other big thing this week I guess has been the snow. It’s been nice. A week’s worth of snow. It’s not really bothered me for travelling reasons because the last time I was away from my house was a year ago on some WHST weekends down at SMP. The snow has been nice but the cold has highlighted how chilly my house gets when outdoor temperatures dip below 4C. Anything above that and my house can maintain a reasonable warmth. Below that and I need the heating on permanently. Such are the issues of living in a Victorian two-up two-down. The bathroom and kitchen both stick out of the back of the house and are extremely cold. It’s best not to go out there!

I am in the process of persuading myself to buy a new kitchen sink, tap and kettle. Yes, I know they aren’t all connected but those are the things I am contemplating. My sink and tap combination leak a little and I guess it’s time to stop that. I’ve found a set that will work, it’s now just a case of buying them and doing my best to use screws and bolts and things. The kettle is required because my current kettle just looks a bit old and tired and covered in limescale. Short of letting it rest overnight in a bath of lemon juice I think the easiest thing to do would be to get a new one. I should, I suppose, get a Dualit one to match my toaster, but I don’t like the Dualit kettles. So, I will get one on other aesthetic grounds.

I’ve been practising going through checklists in X-Plane and I’ve printed off a book concerning flying and how it all works. I’ve got a degree in Aeronautics and yet and I know little about the actual processes. I’m looking forward to spending some time learning that. The issue is that during the working week I am spending eight hours a day in front of a screen and I don’t want to spend any more time doing that in the evening. My Minecraft rate has dropped a lot along with my Gran Turismo progress. This week will prove to be a return to form though.

Week Five – Completed

This week doesn’t seem to have been as bad as the one a fortnight ago and I’ve generally been well although I think my relationship with food is struggling a little and I had a day of monster-eating. I starting shoving food down my throat after trying to exercise and getting the shakes. Not sure what that means I probably need to check with Doctor Google but it led to me eating a LOT. I guess if that happens once a week that’s not too bad but I’m terrified of putting on weight that I’ve worked so hard to lose. I don’t want to head backwards. It’s bloody hard getting mass to go away and while I know I have to be in the right headspace I also know I will be rather irritated with myself if it starts going back on.

Yesterday I was in work supervising keyworker pupils and I didn’t see too many other people which was deliberate. I also didn’t really have the free time to wander and chat. It would have been nice to see how others are doing. It is my duty to remove myself from circles of potential infection, especially in ME15 where the government are carrying out extra testing, and I should keep myself and my family safe. This also helps keep the community safe by removing vectors for the disease. It’s not just about me and those closest to me. It’s about society, it’s about the tribe.

I keep thinking about spending money. But I don’t know what I want. I also have nearly everything I could want. So it seems silly to want more. I would quite like a Garmin Instinct Solar and oddly recently I’ve been toying with the idea of an iPad or similar such thing. But I suspect that’s just because I would like a gadget. What would I use a tablet for? Browsing the internet and social media while I think I’m watching TV? I already know that multitasking is not a real thing and so I don’t want to encourage myself to spend more time looking at bullshit. I’ve been trying to cut that shit out of my life. It doesn’t do good for people. I think I just want something shiny and new. With my birthday in a month that might form enough of an excuse but we shall wait and see. It has to be something that will make a positive difference to my life. Maybe a PS5? Are they in stock anywhere? You see, the problem with that is that I would really only play one game and that isn’t out for that platform yet.

Other things that have happened this week. I’m trying to get used to having my PC mouse on 9000dpi. I think by trying to learn new skills I can keep my brain going well. Rather than just think 1500dpi is enough I want to try and keep some dexterity along with thinking about cognitive issues in the future. That’s a touch depressing I suppose but there you are. I bough a new lampshade for the lounge. It’s PlayStation themed and looks good. I’m happy with it and I’m happy to have spent that money on the person from eBay who has a good product. I bought some photos from a favourite seller on eBay too. They are of the Avro Vulcan [which doesn’t really bother me] but also a couple of the RAV VC-10 and I do think that is a very sexy plane. It’s also the first jet powered aircraft I ever flew in and holds a special place in my heart.

I’m practising X-Plane following a checklist and am hoping to post that video to YouTube sometime in the future. I’ll be flying the Beechcraft Baron on a simple circuit around the Lake District. The next thing I need to learn is basic navigation instrument techniques and to serve that purpose I’ve printed off a book from Airbus on those techniques. It might help. It might not. It’s always good to keep making the old dog learn new tricks. I need to buy a folder for the document but I have at least hole punched it. I borrowed a hole punch while I was at work and I woke in the night convinced that I didn’t take it back to where I borrowed it from and I left in the room where I was supervising students. I think I’m going to have to send a silly email asking the next person to check for the hole punch and return it for me. Which I might have already done but I have zero memory of doing that. Mind you, memory is a harsh mistress.

This week I’ve bough a few musical items. An album by Feindflug which is mostly instrumental and good for when I’m working. It’s a good purchase. I’ve also bought the latest single by Aesthetic Perfection called “Party Monster” it’s ok but not as good as “S E X” which was his last single. Leaether Strip is also releasing an album in a month or so and I’ve pre-ordered that. There’s something about his music that seems really primordial and is good stuff.

Lastly, how do you know if you are meditating correctly? I have no idea at the moment.

Into The Woods

I recently set up a virtual competition at work. The idea is that everyone tries driving the Brands Hatch GP circuit in a game and records their best time. That seems simple I guess. The only rules are that the vehicle must be closed wheel and exist in real life. It would be too hard to specify [and then check] other settings like traction control, gear ratios, engine mods, aero packages etc. So basic rules and hope everyone plays by them. Yesterday I had a go in the Porsche 919 Hybrid. I thought I was doing really well and I was aiming for a time of 1:12 ish [this was my best lap time from composite sector times] only when I decided to quit did I notice that my Audi R16 had gone faster [close wheels cars that exist irl].

BH GP Lap Times
BH GP Lap Times

I’m reasonably convinced I should be able to get somewhere in the 1:11s with either the Porsche or the Audi. I’ll have another go tonight I guess and try. I’m not really bothering with the suspension set up and I’m not upgrading the engine [yet] the only thing I have adjusted is to tune the gearing to the Brands Hatch circuit. This makes the acceleration as effective as possible for all of the not-straights that Brands has. I took a photograph of my lap times because I thought it looked quite good. I’m not sure how consistent is a good consistent but I think it’s quite good to be in the low 1:13s.

Consistency?
Consistency?

As you can see my fastest lap was on lap seven of this particular run. I do think I should be able to get it down another second though. But this requires everything to be good on a lap and Paddock Hill bend is really annoying. On lap 8 you can see I was really pushing it and went off, I think at Paddock, I then used the rest of that lap to try some corners in different gears to see if I could take them a little faster or change the acceleration profile on the exit. Quite clearly after lap 12 I rage quit and decided that I wouldn’t get any better in that session. Let’s see how I do later today.

Where Am I Now?

I’m honestly not really sure. We are two days into week 5 of remote teaching. I know the papers and media seem to be saying that schools aren’t open and give the impression that teachers aren’t teaching. But schools are open to those children whose parents are key workers and helping everything in this country function. Teachers are teaching and working hard. I know I am. I am live teaching my lessons via Teams and, as is usual, always thinking of how to improve and engage and generally do what I do. The bad thing at the moment is that I am doing this from my house and as much as some people have considered me a touch autistic with my relationships I definitely do miss the day-to-day contact with people and intelligent conversations I would have. I don’t mind talking to myself but it’s weird.

I’m trying a mediation app. I feel like I’m not doing it right at the moment but I suspect that is how it starts for everyone. I’m curious to see if I find it useful and keep it up. At the moment it just feels a little strange and I am almost removed from the process. I’m listening to the voice guiding me and I try to concentrate on doing the things I should be doing. I can tell you that I feel as though I’m falling or rotating at times. I suspect that’s just low blood pressure.

I tried getting a good time around Brands Hatch GP circuit earlier but I had to stop after a short while as I felt motion sick. This is bad. I hope it doesn’t last. I had this feeling last Friday when I played some Minecraft after a day of staring at a screen for work and I suspect that I am just screen-tired and I shouldn’t worry about it too much. The only problem is that I’ve created a competition for fastest times around Brands Hatch GP circuit and so I need to practise. We shall see how that goes.

I had a run earlier and I think I might need new trainers. These ones were making a funny noise as I ran and I haven’t noticed it before. My current pair were bought in December 2019 and so I suspect it might be time for a new set. I’ll have to try and figure out how far I have run in them. I’ve just managed to export the data from my Garmin account and I have run 1162km since then. I think all of my activities are recorded on there. I go through phases where I can’t be bothered to record on various apps. I’ve just finished a non-deliberate month off Strava but I’m back on now.

I do know that when I feel like this I tend to eat and also spend money. I eat more than I should. I spend more than I have. One good thing about the current times is that I have spent money in the past and so there isn’t a huge number of things I would still like to get. I would like a Garmin Instinct Solar, but I have a standard Garmin Instinct. So the upgrade would be silly. I mean, I still want it, but it’s not easily justifiable to even me! I would like a new phone, just to have a new thing I think. But my current phone works pretty well and I don’t really want to spend extras on all the ancillaries. Maybe I would like a PS5 but the only game I could justify buying it to play isn’t out yet and is unlikely to be out for a few years yet. I kinda would like to upgrade my CPU but to be honest I’m not limited by that really and I wouldn’t notice the upgrade so I won’t bother.

I would like a new kettle and that is justifiable as my current one is a little scaly now. But, I want to be able to pick up and hold the new kettle. I’ve owned kettles in the past where the handle isn’t designed right and the kettle seems to turn/twist in the vertical plane and I don’t like that. The new kettle, I suspect, will have to wait. Maybe. I now what I do need. A tin opener that actually works. A tin opener that will open a tin. That would be nice. I’ve tried a few and they are all shit. I’m not getting an electric one so manual it must be. I’m sure tin openers worked when I was younger. What’s changed?

Where am I now? I’m at home. I’ve been at home for most of the last year. Yes, I am fortunate to be in this position where my job is secure and my environment is (currently) quite Covid safe. My family is healthy. I can exercise. I am in the countryside and can see fields and animals on a short walk. I’m at home. But I don’t like it.

Week Four – Completed

So, I survived another week, but around 7000 people didn’t. It’s saddening to see these numbers and to think it all could have been avoided. “But surely those in charge are finding it tough to make the right decisions, what else could they have done?” I hear you cry. They could have followed other countries who were already successfully combatting this pandemic. This article explains how it’s done well. At least BJ will have killed as many people as Tony Blair and his illegal war, just BJs people were all white and we don’t like that – or I bet we don’t care as I am willing to put money on the Tories winning the next general election.

I had a moan on Twitter about a news headline on the BBC. I read a headline and then I read the article and apparently teachers aren’t any more likely to die of Covid than the general population. I wonder if that’s because we are a mix of people and similar to the general population? Also, the article says absolutely nothing about the rates of transmission and covid positive cases. Just deaths. Not about increased risk of death because of increased cases.

The worry for me is that the BBC seem to be putting forward an agenda based on trying to keep their funding because most other media is anti-BBC because it’s funded centrally and they see the BBC as their competition. Also, the government hate the BBC News because tories are pro-business [really that should be pro-making money for themselves and their mates but not pro looking-after-people] and they see the BBC as a left leaning organisation that stops fair competition in this country. That’s the same reason they don’t like teachers. They think we are left leaning. I think they don’t understand people who would want to help and care for others and not just be out for themselves. Also, it turns out that a secondary effect of teachers is that we look after your children and tolerate their selfishness and try to help them understand the world. This means you parents don’t have to worry about doing all the things you should [how many times do you see that schools should teach about – sex, religion, caring for each other, how government works, how to cook, how to clean, how to look after money] and you can go out and work and grow the wealth of the richer strata of society.

This week British Gas phoned me to say that my boiler technician appointment was going to be moved because of covid restrictions. I guess that’s reasonable but it’s moved from 3 Feb to 31 March. I just hope my boiler doesn’t fail completely in that time. I think it’s the pressure vessel. I also wonder if I’ll need a new boiler due to lack of spare parts. This boiler was installed in 2004 so I’m not surprised it’s starting to fail. And if I need a new boiler that’ll get me thinking about how I could try to go greener rather than burning fossil fuels right in my kitchen. It’s something I need to look into.

I’ve been looking into my phone habits this week, trying to start to block out things that I know do not aid my mental health. I have removed BBC News from my main tab in my browser. I have deleted the Guardian app. I have removed the Apple News App. I am going to try and make sure I don’t look at the news too much. Nothing really changes and I’m no longer able to shrug off the things I read. So it has to go. There are other things I would do when I am not great mentally but because of Covid I am unable to do those. I would go to the cinema a lot. While I’m waiting for a film to start I read books on my phone because I don’t care for adverts or trailers. These are books about aviation and I’m currently reading one about the F-16XL which was free from NASA. I haven’t read any of it since my last trip to the cinema which was [checks this website] in October 2020. I should probably start seeking out films to watch at home but I am making do, at the moment, with NFL and The Expanse.

To help with distractions from political news and the pandemic I have subscribed to Scientific American again. I even paid extra so I could get the print versions of the magazine. I find that the technically dense articles really help distract me from the horror of the real world, even though the science covers all the real world better than any other form of news. I don’t have the first print edition yet but I do have electronic access and so I am reading articles on there. I also read Private Eye and I won’t cancel my subscription but I have found the last few editions just too depressing to read – they explain the corruption and cronyism better than all the other newspapers combined. I’ve just finished an article on Sci Am about social media and how we seek out views that support our ideas etc. The article was called “The Attention Economy” and it backed up many conclusions I had been coming to over the last few months.

In a short while I’ve got to look into car insurance as mine is due soon. II haven’t changed supplier recently and so I guess I’ll be able to save £100 by shopping around. I’ll go have a look. I need to remember that I want to make sure Europe is covered as I’m hoping to get to Germany this year even if there’s no music available to see.

North Downs Panorama
North Downs Panorama

Here’s a view of the North Downs over a pond that shouldn’t exist. The water is a flooded field and spends about a month underwater each year. The road to the left floods too and ironically this is right next to a water works plant.

Phishing Text
Phishing Text

I wouldn’t have clicked on the link anyway but I did enjoy sending this text.

Week Three – Completed

I am, right now, wondering whether to reply to a message with the fact that it’s not the 21st year of the current century. I’m having to decide whether to reply would make me the asshole. I mean it probably wouldn’t given that the group of friends in that conversation are all well educated but I asserted yesterday that something else was incorrect and if I do it again it could make them think I’m the asshole.

21st Apparently
21sts

I think I’ll leave it alone. I’m aware that my current mental state doesn’t lend itself to critical thinking and I’m starting to find this whole lockdown business quite hard. While it is the 21st century it is not the 21st year of that century. It is the 20th year of this current century. I know this because the year 2000 was the last complete year of the 20th century and the first year of the third millennium started on the 1st Jan 2001. This is caused by the fact that our year numbering convention started with the year 1 BCE rather than 0. The number zero didn’t really exist in Europe at the time the calendar was created. It’s also rather fucking arbitrary where you start the calendar and so ultimately no-one cares. You can start counting wherever you want. Just because rich white European people decided to have a calendar start somewhere and then invaded and assumed control of the world [colonised] it doesn’t mean there’s anything special about that calendar. Did I just use the Gregorian Calendar as a measure of oppression? Yes I did.

There are lots of things I have learnt over the last couple of weeks. I now know that if there are chocolate covered waffles [gaufres] in the house I will eat them so now I need to plan when I buy them and make sure they get eaten by the little ones. I know that my gas boiler pressure vessel is likely broken and I have to keep checking the central heating pressure to maintain working heating. I know that there’s an exhaust rattle on my car which I spotted when driving near to a wall at work the one day that I went in! I know that three screens is about the minimum required for a Teams lesson – I have one screen to draw on, another to see other information and chat and the third displays what I’m sending out to check the whole system is working. I know I miss the daily conversational contact with people at work. I’m largely happy in my little house but online teaching is remarkably tiring, I’d rather be in the classroom but I also understand that it is not safe at the moment. I know I look forward to my morning coffee from around 1500 each day. I know that the RAFAC bureaucracy is beyond sensible but something that I will do just to make sure the cadets get the best experience they can given the current situation. My wellington boots gave me a blister and that’s more than a little annoying.

So we wait. We wait to be told that someone unqualified [politician] thinks it’s justifiable to send everyone back to work. Notice I didn’t say “safe”. It wasn’t safe to return last September. It was probably the right thing to do but it definitely wasn’t safe. Even if schools followed the government guidance to the letter it wasn’t safe. The headlines were that schools were “covid safe” but much like “natural” and “original” on food packaging it doesn’t mean shit. If many are asymptomatic then there’s not just a two week delay to any action, there could be a six week delay as asymptomatic people pass the virus around unknowingly and then it kills some old people. This is such an horrific situation to be in and it’s made worse by a complete lack of leadership and understanding and brains at the top of this country.

I’m not happy about a lot of things. I guess I’ll be retreating into my Minecraft world as it’s nicer and more controllable in there. I’ve got plans for the home-base but I now need to go and get the materials so I’ve got a few evenings of mining up ahead and that will be nice. Just me and my pickaxe in the depths of the world finding lovely precious things. I’m getting out the house when I can and yesterday I had a lovely walk – I couldn’t be bothered to run – and I even did the Burham church loop along the Medway. Here’s a picture of the papermill I took.

Smurfit Kappa Townsend Hook
Smurfit Kappa Townsend Hook – Responsibly supplying paper for the sustainable manufacture of corrugated board.

Stay safe people.

Easy You Would Think

Amongst the horrifying news that yesterday was the worst day so far for Covid related deaths in the UK there was a parliament result hidden away in the news. Apparently there are 319 members of parliament who think it’s ok to have continuing trade deals with nations who have been found guilty of mass killings – or genocide. It is clear that these MPs have no moral compass suitable to hold that post. It is clear that these MPs value money and goods over the welfare of people as a whole. It is clear that we as a country do not have any moral high ground on which to stand to exert influence over the world.

Tories Are Assholes
Tories Vote For Trading With Bad People

I’ve been grappling with the thoughts about us getting the leaders and democracy we deserve and I think that’s partially valid. Clearly the influence of social networks has become very important in the battle for people’s thoughts but I also have this nagging feeling that my fellow countrypeople are, as a majority, a little bit racist and a little bit selfish and a little bit greedy.

I do understand that sometimes we need to make allowances and put our own people first. I get it. I think it’s wrong but I do get it. We can’t [or more likely won’t] go around the world seeking to right all the wrongs even when they are clearly there for us to see. But we could at least do something and this vote shows that not only are we willing to ruin our own country by leaving the EU we are willing to ruin the lives of many vulnerable people in the vain hope that we get money. I’m saddened by all this and do think it’s a shame. Sometimes I wish I didn’t think about all this as much as I do and just got on doing the things I do.