Somehow Not The Same

Until recently I owned a Bodum Cafetière and it worked fine. I mean it’s just a French Press coffee maker and there’s not a lot that it could do wrong. As an aside I just went over to the Bodum website to see if I could grab a picture of what the cafetière looked like and it turns out there are far more variations on these devices than I thought possible, what a rabbit hole! Then one day while washing the cafetière the glass cracked. I’m not sure how and I didn’t hear anything but it broke. Now, I like my morning coffee and so I wanted to get another French press as soon as I could.

Imagine me now walking down the “home stuff” aisle in Sainsbury’s and I spot a cafetière. It’s not made by Bodum and is branded as Sainsbury’s. Should be OK I tell myself, there’s not a lot you can do wrong with a device like this, and if I’m being honest they seem far more expensive than need be. So, I bought the Sainsbury’s cafetière.

That turns out to have been a mistake. Apparently not all French presses are the same. With this new one there is no way to remove the glass from the surround and so I can’t clean the outside of the glass properly. The gaps between the surround and the glass mean that stuff gets in-between and looks horrible from the inside of the cafetière. I guess that’s liveable with but then the bigger issue is that the lid design has less rim and does not align well so when pouring the coffee it regularly spills down the side of the cafetière and ends up on the kitchen counter.

When this leakage of the nectar first occurred I could hear something in the recesses of my brain from before, when I owned a not-Bodum and it just wasn’t as good. I had flashbacks to another time thinking that I should have spent the extra on the Bodum because the one I bought at half the price was shit.

So, the moral is sometimes the better brands are better.

Oh, and I ‘m still searching for a decent can opener. The latest one works, as in it opens cans, but I’ve got cuts on my fingers because it uses the outside of the rim rather than the safer inside part. Ho hum.

Even The Kitchen Sink

I’ve decided that the life of things in a house is around ten years. Things apparently wear out after that length of time or at least the high use things do. Given my hatred of decorating in now comes to the point in the house when I need to make some decisions and get myself prepared to reboot the rooms. I recently noticed that my kitchen sink was dripping water into the void underneath and I found it was the tap causing the issues. The tap was also rusted to the sink quite completely. This necessitated a new sink and tap which I was OK with. I found a sink that was the same size so that hopefully removed the necessity to cut the counter top and with luck the waste pipes would line up well to avoid plumbing issues.

Old Kitchen Sink
Old Kitchen Sink

The old sink also had a fresh water tap that I had removed and so it was possibly time to rejig it anyway. All the limescale is me just not having cleaned the sink for a while but there is a lot around the tap and it leaked into the basin but also through into the pipe system. The limescale in this area of the country is pretty harsh and things die after a short time. A friend bought one of those clear kettles to see the water boiling but every week it would need descaling, it’s best not to be able to see these things.

Kitchen Sink - Halfway
Kitchen Sink – Halfway

This level of piping is quite frustrating I think. Most of it isn’t used anymore. I used to have a water softener but after a while I noticed that it wasn’t plumbed in correctly so I removed it. There are also spare pipes for cold water access to the bathroom as the hot water pipes to the bathroom were replaced a few years ago. I kind of know what all the pipes do and the ones that aren’t needed are clearly shut off. Oh, and two stop-cocks because apparently you need one before the water meter.

The new sink fitted snugly and that pleased me. There would be less hassle and no cutting of the counter top. The waste pipe could be aligned with a tiny amount of force so officially I have a pre-stressed pipe system, but that stress is low. I did have to cut some of the support wood to get the sink screwed in properly but I’ve been gluing that back and have a plan to secure it more. The new sink feels smaller but I don’t have a huge amount of washing up to do.

New Kitchen Sink
New Kitchen Sink

Overall this all went well and I will have to start planning the next thing in the house which needs sorting. There’s also the loft and I’ll have to tidy and sort that at some point.

My Happy Zone

Yes, I know I shouldn’t be this obsessed and my mental health would be better if I didn’t beat myself up like this but I am happiest when my mass satisfies the following inequality:

80<= M < 82.5

The units in this are kg. I think that 82.5kg is equivalent to 13 stone. This seems a reasonable target to maintain. In 2011 I was 95kg when I weighed myself, which was once. From 2012 to 2014 I hovered around the 82kg mark and was mostly happy with that. I seemed to add an average of 1kg each summer holiday and that I will put down to excessive alcohol ingestion in Germany! By the end of 2016 I was hitting 88kg and kept telling myself that I was happy with that but I don’t think I was. I know I eat a lot when I am unhappy or stressed or just mentally fucked. While that small amount of enjoyment may be justified the larger scale of things means I am more unhappy at the gaining mass situation that the short term happy gains of stuffing my face. Since 2016 I’ve tried at times to lose the mass and kinda struggled down to 85kg which I could accept.

At the beginning of 2020 I was somewhere around the 88kg mark again. Then we were hit with the lockdown and while I was exercising I was eating a lot and I filed that excess under the “strange times it’s ok to eat” section of my brain. I was also drinking some beer each day. I think I was still physically fit but I was getting heavier. My running became much more effort and I couldn’t run up the Downs without walking some of the way. I went for a run with Smith and I felt embarrassed at how often I needed to stop whereas he didn’t and I think that sunk home that I needed a goal and to lose weight.

I started recording my food and exercise properly and also measuring my mass. Whilst I’m not obsessive about it I do try to be honest and record what I eat. It’s the only way I can lose mass. If I’m in the mood to not record stuff, then that means I’m eating too much. Which in turn mostly means I’m unhappy which causes me to eat which makes me unhappy etc. I will say that losing mass is one of the hardest things I have ever done and it’s not like it’s just a case of stopping eating. At the most basic level it is exactly that, just stop eating. But if it was that easy then people wouldn’t be fat and the world would be healthy. There are a huge number of psychological, social and financial factors which affect people’s ability to lose weight. It’s not a simple thing. There is also a tendency for society to blame those who are fat for their fatness. Again, it’s not that simple.

When I’m happy I can control what I eat and I can exercise and maintain a healthy weight. When I am unhappy I eat a lot, care less about myself and generally put on mass which, in turn, makes me unhappier. This is a hard thing to do. I have learnt over the last ten years how to manage my emotions a little and how to cope through tough times. I consider the current times [lockdown, Covid, not having been anywhere for about a year] as tough times. The stresses on society and the stresses I feel make me more happy that I’ve managed to maintain my mass. I’m currently still trying to shift the two kilograms I added at Xmas and I will. But it’s a slow process and requires me to run. When losing mass I know that once I hit around 85kg the dieting along won’t help much and I need to burn that fat off by exercise. So, I maintain my food intake and I convert the fat into carbon dioxide. As I get fitter my body becomes more efficient at using energy and so annoyingly I have to exercise more to convert the same amount of hydrocarbons. This is why I’ve tried running up the Downs from river level!

Would I be happier ignoring my mass? Do I put too much pressure on myself regarding this single factor and do I deny happiness by eating sensibly [and quite boringly at times]? I do not know. If I am not obsessive about my mass then I will eat too much. I will put on weight and there will be health effects – heartburn etc. Also, certain uniform items for my cadet career will become either too tight or not fit at all and I am not buying another set of mess dress. So, I sigh. I plan my food out. I exercise. I tell myself I’m good at 81kg and I have the control over my impulses. I have pride in my mass. Losing mass is bloody hard work and maintain it is . . . . manageable. Mind you, I still order a kebab every now and then and I eat a packet of biscuits sometimes.

Why Give Me The Option?

Updated a piece of software just now and it needed a complete install rather than just having a module that updates itself. Which is fine. I’m happy with that. But the install gave me language options which looked like this:

Anyone Else Find This Irritating?
Anyone Else Find This Irritating?

I was teased with the notion that there may be different English options within the software and maybe I could change the install version to English (UK). But, no. You aren’t given that choice. Maybe they are specifying that the English I install is American English and not any other kind. That I suppose makes sense given the Portuguese and French options? I’d be quite surprised if the other languages there don’t have their own versions and therefore each needs to be specified. I can’t imagine that Mexican Spanish is the same as Spanish Spanish. Maybe it is and I’m wrong but given how much the English language varies over parts of this small island I rather suspect I’m right. Interestingly the idea of a standard language is relatively new in concept and dates from printed copies of the bible.

As I write this I await the onslaught of snow to this county. I’m hoping it gets terrible after midday as I’ve got places to be before then. I’m hoping it settles enough for sledging and fun. I’m gutted that schools will never have another snow day. Perhaps I could make the case for all lessons tomorrow or Tuesday to be “go out and have fun”? I might suggest ti and see what happens. A blanket of snow is so rare in this part of the country and I’m not surprised everything grinds to a halt. If we had snow for thirty days a year then sure, we would be able to cope with it more and the infrastructure would work. But it doesn’t matter for the maybe two days a year that the snow really hits.

Ray Tracing

So, Bedrock edition just got updated to include Ray Tracing in the standard edition. This meant I had to update the server as well and the results are bloody gorgeous. I’m using the most basic texture pack but it still looks absolutely amazing.

Minecraft With Ray Tracing
Minecraft With Ray Tracing

It’s a shame this won’t be on the PS4 but it works on the PC and that is where I am going to record the tour videos of this build. One thing is that glowstones don’t shine as bright and all the lighting I had sorted out to look lovely has been adjusted. But it looks bloody lovely.

Megabuild With Ray Tracing
Megabuild With Ray Tracing

Keep an eye open for the tour, coming soon.

Who Would Design Such A Thing?

As far as I can tell, so almost forever, the save icon for Windows applications has been on the left of the screen. That’s where it goes. That’s where everyone looks for the save icon. A minor issue is that the save icon is an image of a floppy disk which no one has used in over twenty years. Well, you would think that someone at Microsoft would be in charge of consistency but it appears not because their screen clipping tool has the save icon at the top right. I just want to know why.

Because - Consistency
Because – Consistency


Yesterday while walking with my favourite scientist I found out about the Merriam Webster Time Traveller page. It allows you to see what words made it into the dictionary in any year, but mostly I’m interested in the year of my birth. Here are the words that the US American dictionary added in 1972:

1972 Words
1972 Words
1972 Words
1972 Words

Accretion disk is pretty cool, as is Gaia. We can also see the change of language to recognise women in the work force with congressperson. Of all of these words though I think winningest is my favourite because it is a terrible word that is used by commentators on the NFL shows that I watch. It makes me cringe every time.

This Is What’s Wrong

One of the things I do everyday is check whether any apps on my phone need updating. I probably should turn the automatic feature on but I kinda like knowing which apps have updated. It gives me a feel for what is going on with the software on the phone. The other day I saw this on the app store front page:

I Hate Stuff like This
Social Pressure Is Bad

Everything is awful at the moment and then I see something like this app store front page.

Hey, aren’t you doing what everyone else is and learning a fantastic new hobby? You are a loser if you’ve not got anything new. What a waste of space you are and a shame to the whole human race.

I Parish

I reckon that if you are just about managing to stay sane at the moment then you are doing very well. I know the last four years have taken a huge toll on me. The Brexit vote, Trump, Johnson, SARS-Cov-2, Black Lives Matter. The whole world seems insane and while there are definitely baddies out there so many people seem to really like what they are doing. The only way to stay sane at the moment is to limit the amount of information going into my head and make sure that I do the best I can for me and my family and friends. I take joy in the simple things. And I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a job, a house, a family. Imagine if your world has started to fall out from under your feet? How must all those people be feeling? We are going to have a massive mental health problem.

This advert / article or whatever the fuck it is just adds more pressure to everyone. It’s stupid. I understand what they are trying to say they are just saying it in a bad way. I’ve taken to looking at phone stuff that tries to avoid most of the news. I will peruse the headlines in the morning and then try to stay away from the rest of it. Nothing really surprises me anymore about the world.

Had To Guess

I recently had to upload a photograph to a website for a photographic ID pass thing. I had already cropped the digital image to upload and then I noticed the website’s insistence that the photograph be <=40kB. Now, that’s not very big at all, especially when you consider that my cropped photo was about 150kB. So I resized the picture until it was just below 40kB. Then I uploaded it.


Nope. The dimensions were incorrect! The photo had to be between 3.5 and 4.5 cm tall. Now, I ask you what does this mean? I’d already got the photograph to be within the correct size with respect to data but now I had to make sure it was the correct size in terms of cm. But, it depends how many dots per inch you are using. There was no information about the dpi the photocard people were using. It just had to be guessed!

Who does that these days? Who specifies a “paper size” for an image when you upload it? This was a classically terrible piece of web design made for bureaucrats who don’t understand what your average person understands about images and sizes. It was crazy. Do they not have an algorithm to just print the image to a particular size depending on the largest dimension? It was a frustrating ten minutes messing around with uploading files and cropping images along with resizing the image. What started off as a good detail photograph ended up almost pixelated.