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.

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.

Mid March Already

This whole lockdown thing has really messed up my internal calendar. There are times when I think it’s coming up to autumn and other times when it could be May? I have to keep looking at an electronic device to make sure I know what month it is. But then again, a bit like when we change the clocks, I’m never really sure I trust the programming on any devices until I can check with a third party official source [normally the radio].

I’ve had a mostly administration day. I’ve looked at updating computers and making sure things work properly along with setting up various cloud storage devices. It’s one of those jobs that needs doing every now and then. It’s almost fun. Also, for some reason a few of my albums within iTunes were labelled as compilations and that put them somewhere strange in the music app on my phone so I’ve been doing some admin making sure they are all correctly organised and labelled.

Friday night I didn’t fall asleep at 2000 so that was nice, being able to watch a television show all the way through!

Well, I’m sure other important stuff happened this week but I have no recollection.

That Was A Week, That Was

Absolutely bloody shattered. That’s how I ended this week. Last night, Friday, I ate food and then tried to watch a film. Fell asleep at 2000 on the sofa and then went to bed at 2230 when I woke up. I’ve not even really had the hardest of jobs in the organisation. There are others who are running the testing centre and track and trace and all that and all I have to do is our core business of teaching. Knackering. But also nice to be able to see faces again. Kinda.

I bought a new cafetiere and it came with a coffee grinder so I’ve been grinding coffee beans and testing that type of coffee out. It’s fun, I guess, but not sure if it’s worth it. Especially as I bastardise my coffee with sugar and milk. I then decided to get a filter coffee machine instead of a new kettle. My kettle looks worn out but a bit of descaling has meant it still works fine so I can live with it for a while longer. The coffee machine has a timer and so I can set everything ready in the evening and come down to fresh coffee when I wake up every work day. I will say that having everything done when I walk through the kitchen is a sheer delight.

My home boiler, hot water and heating, has issues and I can’t let the heating work automatically. This has been like this for two months now. I pay money for a boiler fixing service and my initial appointment was to be about four weeks after I initially called them, and while that seemed a long time to me I had to remind myself this is Covid and my system still works to an extent. Then they cancelled that appointment because – reasons and pushed it back to mid March. Now the service company have cancelled that and pushed it to beginning of April. I will have been waiting approximately four months for something to be fixed with a house that is mostly cold. This isn’t the sort of service I pay for. Screw them.

I got a new mobile phone a while back and while it’s the same brand as I normally get it still feels new. Which is nice. Normally I get a new phone, you transfer all your data and you look at it and go “Oh, works the same then” which is exactly what you expect when devices run the same OS. This one feels and looks different somehow and that’s even after one month of owning it! Oh, I also upgraded my sim only contract and now I have 160GB of data a month. I use around 5GB. So, I’m going to have to see if I can max this out. Time to start downloading films and streaming lots of video. There was only one time in my past when I think I went over my data allowance and that was at Linton when I was trying to stream an F1 race.

I also had a bad headache this week and woke at 0200 in pain and not able to get back to sleep. I had to get up and take pills in the night, which I can’t remember ever having to do in the past. Fortunately the pain had gone by the morning and I was able to head in to work. But trying to sleep and having thoughts running through about how to organise work and cadets when you aren’t going to be there is not nice. I think I need to change one of my life rules. If I think I might take some tablets then I should take them there and then. Don’t wait to see if it gets better. Just get those drugs into my system. I have a similar successful rule about work. If I think I’m not sure I can make it to work because I feel ill then that is when you don’t go in to work. That particular rule doesn’t always work because there are other social pressures when working in my sector.

Minecraft Bedrock ran an update which also included a server update so it was a nice distraction to put the updated server on my PC. It’s not a hard job but there’s a list of things that need to be done correctly to make sure everything works properly. Which it does and so I got a nice sense of satisfaction from that. I did have a small panic when the ray tracing didn’t seem to work on the PC but it did after a short wait and so thankfully I don’t have to investigate why. I quite enjoy fixing PC things but sometimes the time involved can be quite high. Things are generally fixed either within fifteen minutes or three hours.

I hate selling stuff on eBay. I recently went through a cupboard and found some old tech items and thought I would either throw them away or sell them. So, I decided to sell them on eBay. I wasn’t sure how much I’d get but it seemed more responsible than just chucking them out. Once tech items sell I’m always worried they decided to stop working in transit and arrive broken. I would never knowingly sell something that doesn’t work [unless I labelled that clearly]. So, once things are posted I have a week of background stress until I get my positive feedback. One item I sold I accidentally labelled it as the wrong model and so that is coming back to me which is perfectly fair because that’s my mistake. I’m happy to correct that. The other item the buyer wanted to return because “it didn’t work”. Now, he had already messaged me asking for the software download and how to get the item working. This indicated to me that he didn’t understand the tech side of things. Then he wanted to return it saying it didn’t work. I messaged him asking if he had followed a detailed list of steps to get it working on his system and I haven’t heard back at all. I suspect he was hoping it was plug and play and I also suspect he was connecting it directly to his PC and not to his router. There are many things it could be and I’m not his personal tech support. So his request to return was denied.

Time to get out for a run and burn off the calories of my take-out last night.

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.

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.