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.

I Get Scores

The latest version of WordPress, my CMS of choice, likes to tell me how good the titles of my communications are. I think it measures length of the title and how rare the words are? I’m not sure. I do know that it seems to want my communication titles to look like a Daily Mail headline and I am NOT going to do that. This is what I get in the top corner when I save a draft of a communication:

Headline Analyser
Headline Analyser

This was my score for a communication a few days ago. 43/100. Pretty poor. But actually not as bad as this current draft which has the grand total of 0/100. I don’t really care. The whole idea behind this site was that it was for me. Therefore the titles are deliberately vague and make things more “mysterious”. It does make finding things quite tough but the search function seems to work reasonably well.

I Suspect It’s Me

Meaning
Meaning

These roadworks were meant to be completed on a Saturday but as I drove past the sign on Friday it had changed and I just saw the above message. There was bad weather forecast for the Saturday – potentially thunderstorms – but as Saturday got closer the predictions turned to just rain and patchy rain at that. I do suspect that these works could have continued as the rain wasn’t that heavy on said Saturday.

My issue here is that the road sign is ambiguous and I can’t decide if it’s just me or whether the intended meaning is really clear. I know I definitely have a literal language problem and I don’t really like ambiguity in things where the final meaning is meant to be clear. Humans didn’t spend thousands of years developing complex language so that intended meaning could be vague.

Does this sign say that the roadworks are cancelled for 1 day or does it just state the fact that the bad weather will last for one day. I am currently unsure. I suspect it’s the former but it is very unclear. Cancelled is a strange word to use if the roadworks are moved by one day – postponed would be a better word there. A couple of commas wouldn’t go amiss either. So, until I attempt to drive this road a little later today I will not know the answer to my query. Oh, and fuck British Gas.

Wagyu

You know when something happens and then shortly after another thing happens and your brain goes: there must be meaning behind this. Well, it was a coincidence. There is no meaning behind virtually everything. We as humans are very effective agency seeking lumps of meat. We want there to be reason behind everything and so we seek it out and even put reason to things that deserve no reason. Let’s just make this clear: random shit happens and it happens all the time.

Our lives are affected by random events all the time and we seek reason behind those. We like to lay blame. Even if something is a ten million to one chance of happening on any particular day it will happen about seven times in this country each day. One of those events could make the news and people will think “that seems a rare thing, I wonder what caused it?”. Our lives a made up of us trying to battle the forces of randomness to keep everything constant against a rising tide of randomness.

On Saturday I saw the term wagyu burger while having a meal at the Three Horseshoes in Staplestreet. I hadn’t seen the term before and I was bemused. Then, the next, day while food shopping saw a burger pack labelled as wagyu. Oooh, there must be meaning behind all this. I must insert agency into this situation to surrender myself to a grand plan. I would much rather know that everything is part of a grand plan and that someone has control over all this. I could believe in a god and their plan, I could believe in the illuminati or I could believe in many other things but the reality is this was just random shit. You have to remember that shit happens all the time and it’s no-one’s fault.

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.

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.