Tenet

I took a trip to the cinema largely because it was there and I hadn’t been in a while. I noticed that the tide was low as I drove into the car park. It’s not often I see the river that low, all of the bank was clear of water along with clear delineations of where the boats chill out. This morning I rated the film on IMDB, there is a communication explaining the rating system here.

I guess this probably needs some explanation? Tenet was the only film I vaguely wanted to see. In fact that’s a lie. I didn’t want to see it. I thought Inception was very over-rated and so I went to see Tenet as a last resort I guess. I was hoping that I would secretly find it amazing and really enjoy it. I did not. A personal recommendation to see this film concluded with the words “but it looks gorgeous, just don’t expect to understand it”. Looking gorgeous is something I can cope with so I tried it out. I think I lasted just over an hour into this THREE hour film.

I don’t care for Bond films. I don’t find them interesting or fascinating and I couldn’t give a shit about the development of the “character” or anything else. Tenet was touted as a kind of Bond film. I guess that’s not a great start. The trailers looked OK but a bit bullshit with the backwards time thing but I still thought I would give it a go. THREE hours!!

The opening act with an orchestra concert being attacked was pretty tame. I didn’t see anything that hasn’t been done before. It all looked rather pedestrian. I did note that if you are going to have people talking to each other then it’s normally a good plan to have the words they say audible. Having characters shout while in gas masks was stupid, I couldn’t understand what they were saying and this started my journey of not giving a crap. Some stuff happened. Someone died by their own hand. Then someone didn’t die. Pedestrian and boring. But, give the film a chance I will.

Secret lab. Time bullshit. Plutonium. Rich boy. Spy person extremely talented at everything that needs to be done. Time bullshit. Blonde. Glamorous settings. Speed boats. More dialogue I couldn’t hear or understand. A little more macho posturing for good effect and add a sprinkle of bullshit.

Even the road chase was a bit shit.

So, the first time I looked at my watch to see if it was worth staying in the cinema, maybe there wasn’t that long to go, was at 45 minutes. This film is THREE hours. I decided to give it another 15 minutes and see if the film improved. It did not. The time stuff was fine. It didn’t make sense with respect to the film but I could cope with that. The rest of it just felt a bit wank. The moment that prompted me to leave the cinema and return home to watch some NFL was when the man decided he had to save the blonde. This man was selected because he was fucking hardcore, he would do everything he could to complete the mission. Then he risks everything to save a woman. Just absolutely derivative and boring. I called “Time Out” and left. I think I made it just a little more than one hour into this “masterpiece” and pretty much disliked every moment. There wasn’t anything I saw that made me think – wow, this is different.

Sensor Troubles

For a few years now I’ve had some dark spots on photographs I’ve taken of aircraft in the sky. These show up when I’m on full zoom on the telephoto lens and a recent trip to Headcorn really showed this up so much so that I had to edit the photographs to get rid of those dark spots. Finally I got around to searching for a solution after I eliminated it being the actual lens. The first thing is to try blowing the dust spots out with some air. This is where my troubles really began. The guide I saw said hold the camera with the sensor facing downwards and blow the air upwards into the camera body. This was attempted but without much thought as I was using a can of compressed air and had to angle the can horizontally to get the flow direction correct. A load of propellant came out of the can and sprayed into the camera body. All of this stuck to the sensor and I effectively ruined the camera.

Another searching of the internet resources led me to find a microfibre sensor wipe that might clean the sensor enough so that I can use the camera again. I was either going to spend GBP20 or so on some special wipes or I was going to have to send the camera off for a new sensor or professional clean. The twenty quid seemed worth it before going for the Amber Level response. One day later and I’ve got the camera body open with microfibre wipes in hand and I’m trying to clean the most sensitive part of the camera full in the knowledge that I might destroy it. The process completed and I now have an OK-ish camera. I still think it needs to be sent off for a proper clean but I might get away with just that rather than having to buy a new sensor. The camera is working a little better than before and the original spots are reduced. They are still there but not as prominent. I need to go somewhere I can take photos of aircraft flying to see what the background looks like.

In Poor Taste?

Perhaps as I get older I become less tolerant? I honestly don’t think that’s true. The more I learn about people and the world I am more accepting of the differences between us all. Except hate. I think I expect everyone to be as tolerant as me when I know a lot aren’t. For once, the golden rule applies pretty well: be nice. This should be followed by one of my mum’s favourite sayings which was: if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. I do believe you are allowed to think whatever you want but your actions should always follow the golden rule. What I’m trying to say is, this communication might not be as bad as I think, some of you might look at it and shrug, I just found the subject in poor taste.

I was playing Gran Turismo Sport yesterday and racing online. The races this week are GT3 cars around the Red Bull Ring in Austria. It’s a pretty fast track with some corners that really require you to cope with understeer with plenty of downhill braking and off camber. There’s also two corners where early power on the exit will have you over-steering. I’m not sure it’s a favourite but it is a good challenge.

Corners 1 and 2 require gentle power on exit, definitely avoid the kerb on the inside and maybe short-shift to avoid oversteer. Corner 3 has downhill braking and is tighter than you think, everytime!

Anyway, when the entry list came up on the screen I was a little [not shocked] bothered by two of the PSN names that people had chosen. Now, I often have to remind myself that it is likely that most players are not as old as me and most haven’t been playing as long as I have. You can tell by my PSN name, Kertz, that I got in early when selecting usernames. It’s like my personal email address which is just my name and zero numbers, being an early adopter has its uses sometimes. Here’s the entry list:

Playstation Network Names
Playstation Network Names

Maybe people think it’s a giggle to have a funny name? I’ve seen plenty with 69 in the number. Qualifying in second place is Jack-T-Ripper1. The addition of the 1 is curious and might mean that Jack-T-Ripper was already taken? I’m not sure it’s a good thing to have your PlayStation identity the same as a serial killer of women, maybe it shows a deep lack of respect? Maybe it’s a laugh and I just don’t get it? If I think about some of the lyrics to songs I like then naming yourself Jack The Ripper isn’t that bad. Oh dear, maybe I’m old.

Then, qualifying in 11th place is a certain Wernher_V2_Braun. For me this is more worrying but again, maybe I’m just being a little sensitive. This Dutch player has taken a name based on a user of slave labour in the second world war. Yes, Von Braun created the technology to launch the American space programme but he also used slave labour in his factories. I do not know whether he had Nazi ideologies but he is a very complex character. For me, the fact that the Dutch player included the V2 as part of their name is the most disturbing part. They could have had F1 which was the engine that took man to the moon, but no, they chose the Nazi ballistic missile called the V2, as though they are paying homage to that programme.

As much as how we present ourselves shouldn’t change the opinions people form of us, it is what they do. The human brain makes judgements really quickly and it’s hard to get away from that. Does it matter whether I wear a suit or not? Does that really affect my ability to perform my job? No. Should I wear a suit? I don’t think so, but the image creates a power. It’s why we have uniforms for those in positions of implied power. So, are these two people assholes? I don’t know. I would like to think they are not, but if you think it’s OK to name yourself after a serial killer or a man responsible for the deaths of thousands with allusions to those deaths then perhaps you shouldn’t be advertising your thoughts. Maybe this is a case of internet-balls. I don’t know. I honestly believe you should be able to think what you want, but externally you should be nice. I think I find these identities distasteful while at the same time thinking I’m wrong for thinking that. Argh, conflicted.

Flight Comparisons

I did a thing. I used Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 and X-Plane 11 to compare the flying and things. The plan was to fly from Biggin Hill to the Manston Airfield [which is currently shut]. While flying in MSFS I flew over Brands Hatch, my house, my place of work, Leeds Castle, Canterbury and then landed at Manston. I recorded the screen for each of these segments and uploaded them to YouTube. There is some information which needs to be released about the set up first I suppose because this wasn’t an even playing field. I will do that after the take off videos. Now, MSFS doesn’t have any particularly fast aircraft or military planes at the moment. So I used a Pitts Special in that game and my favourite T-7 in X-Plane. The order of the videos will always be MSFS and then X-Plane but it should be obvious from the aircraft involved.

Biggin Hill Take Off MSFS
Biggin X-Plane

The mechanical set-up. The PC has a Core i5 processor running at 3.7GHz. There is 16GB RAM, the graphics card is a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Super, the monitor is a 27″ 16:9 1080P thing, I’m not convinced for the need of a higher resolution or size. I’ve got two speakers running a boring stereo output, I’m not that bothered about full 5.1 for the PC, I don’t use it enough. I have a Saitek X52 HOTAS system and that’s about it.

While flying east-ish from Biggin Hill I could see a golf course and realised it was the one near Brands Hatch so I decided to flyby the motor racing circuit and see what it looked like. Here are the results for both simulators.

Brands Hatch MSFS
Brands Hatch X-Plane

My comments on Brands Hatch would be that both simulators manage it quite well but MSFS does put a building on the Brabham Straight. That would be tricky if you want to have a motor race but I guess this is just a simulation and if I really cared a lot about Brands Hatch I could make my own custom scenery for X-Plane.

Some words here are defining the software set up. For MSFS2020 I have essentially bought the deluxe version. I did this because I was quite convinced that I would pay for the extras in micro-transactions anyway so I might as well do it up front. Other than that I haven’t done anything to MSFS. I whacked all the graphics settings to the far right and just let the PC see where it can take me. For X-Plane 11 there are extras and these should probably be explained. The Boeing/Saab T-7 Red Hawk is a bought add-on made by AOA Simulations. There are plenty of free aircraft you can get for X-Plane, a quick look at the downloads website shows 1,128 aircraft for X-Plane 11. I also have lots of after market scenery libraries installed. These allow third parties to create scenery using standard models. There are 83 directories in my Custom Scenery folders, some of these will be airports and some will be libraries. I also have TrueEarth installed which is a paid for scenery collection of the UK. Great Britain South cost around 30 Australian dollars. So, given the time and money I have invested in X-Plane I am probably quite biased towards that, the sunk-cost fallacy.

In the next couple of videos you, probably, won’t know where my house is and you might not know where I work. If you do you will see the differences in this. These videos take you from the Medway Valley four villages over Maidstone and close to Mote Park. More comments after these then.

The Commute MSFS2020
A Faster Commute X-Plane 11

I’ve just changed my embedding technique and so the videos might look different from the one above, I’ll see once this is published. In MSFS my house doesn’t exist. The shadow of it does but the actual 3D model isn’t there. My work place has buildings but they aren’t the right shape. In X-Plane my house is modelled in 3D and my work place has buildings of the correct shape but not the correct colour. Remember that the X-Plane scenery is a paid extra. I know that the original scenery was just shadows on the ground for my village.

Next up is a flight and stall turn over Leeds Castle. Leeds Castle is near the village of Leeds and not the city in the North. It’s a pretty castle although I don’t think I have ever been inside the actual buildings. I think in the following videos it is clear that X-Plane does the better job, once again it has a scenery pack installed for Great Britain.

Leeds Castle – MSFS 2020
Leeds Castle X-Plane (with add-ons)

As I headed east I was reasonably sure I would land at Manston on the eastern tip of Kent. The last time I ever flew in a Chipmunk was from RAF Manston when that still existed. Along the way is Canterbury, the home of the Church Of England and other such religious paraphernalia. I wondered what the city would look like as I passed overhead. I had not seen this before in X-Plane and was quite curious.

Canterbury MSFS2020
Canterbury X-Plane 11

Again I think it’s clear that X-Plane nails the cathedral but I have to point out that I have paid extra for the scenery pack of the island of Great Britain. I would be annoyed if it didn’t look better. The last two things then are landing at Manston.

Manston MSFS2020
Manston X-Plane 11

You’ll notice that MSFS2020 was a little busy with other aircraft on the runway. Hence I landed late and on the right side of the runway. You can turn off other players or you can see them all. X-Plane has the option to have other people flying in the sim, you can also have AI aircraft and set their aggressiveness for combat. You can also have real world traffic in X-Plane and I’ve tried that and it seems to work quite well, depending on the ground ADS-B coverage from a particular database.

My overall thoughts. I think I prefer X-Plane. This is probably for a number of reasons and not all of them might be valid. A lot of this comes down to the sunk-cost fallacy. I’ve spent more time on X-Plane, I’ve spent more money on X-Plane, I prefer the military jets, I have no inclination to program a flight computer, I like shooting stuff. I will say that I think the clouds in MSFS look a lot better and they might not kill the PC like they do in X-Plane. I am sure that over time there will be a lot of extras and add-ons for MSFS and these will take a little while to become ubiquitous. I think I’ll see if I can lock the chase view in MSFS because I’m not so keen on the camera always staying horizontal, I prefer the default chase view in X-Plane. I’ve a feeling that X-Plane is more detailed in its settings and more customisable, this is generally what happens with non-Microsoft stuff, you have the chance to tinker more. MSFS is a good simulator and with full settings it wrecks my PC which is a pretty decent PC so I would expect the graphics to look good. X-Plane just has that edge for me.

There’s a part of me that wants to be snobby about all this. I want to write that X-Plane is for proper flight sim people and that MSFS is just a tiny bit “arcade” and that if you really want to fly then you would have had X-Plane, P3D, or DCS or other such simulator because you would have found them. Me being snobby is my brain taking full command of the “no true Scotsman” fallacy. This goes along the lines of “you aren’t a real XXXXX unless you do YYYYY”. So, you aren’t a true Scotsman unless you are born in Scotland. You aren’t a true Scotsman unless you wear a kilt and have your own tartan [which is a bullshit thing made up by the Victorians]. You aren’t a true Scotsman unless you wear nothing under your kilt. You aren’t a true Scotsman unless. . . . . and so on. Now, sometimes there are qualifications and so on that can prove you are a particular thing but even then some people might say “oh, you aren’t a real XXXXX until you’ve had YYYY happen”. J Clarkson uses this when describing motorists, he says you aren’t a real motoring fan unless you’ve owned an Alfa Romeo. Clearly he is using the fallacy to great comic effect, along with being a bit of a prick. People seek legitimacy through the things they do. Many will say, especially those with internet balls, that you aren’t a real XXXX unless you have YYYY. This is bollocks. I have to remind myself a lot about this when I’m thinking. I actively work to make sure that I consider this and work through how my brain thinks.

So, my conclusion is: I really like X-Plane and will probably “fly” in that more than I will MSFS. But, if you’ve bough MSFS and you like playing that then good on you and I hope you enjoy the time you have.

Will Not Do What It Says On The Tin

Since the end of May I have been trying to lose weight [more formally – mass] and I’ve been doing this using methods which have worked in the past. Namely, logging all my food and doing plenty of exercise. It’s the only way I am able to do this, by keeping to a decent calorie limit and burning the fat by exercise. Reducing my food intake will only lose so much weight. I think the body gets used to the reduction in food and so initially there will be mass-loss but over time this effect dies down and I’m in the stage now where the reduced calorific diet maintains me but exercise is the only way to burn the fat. I’m doing my best to do this in a healthy way. I’m eating a decent mixture of foods, some fruit and lots of fibre. I understand that if there’s one thing everyone could eat more of to improve health it’s fibre. Yes, I get bored and some days I hate it. Sometimes I cheat and order pizza or kebab but I accept that and know that I can get going again and be on my way to my goal in a week or so.

I have met a friend and eaten out, I have also been quite drunk and done all the normal things I would do in my life. The main thing is to try and keep going. Losing mass is a mental battle and not really a physical one. I know. When I’m feeling unhealthy I try to feel better by eating, which makes me feel more unhealthy and so on. If losing weight was easy then everyone would be doing it all the time. There wouldn’t be any obesity. But, to coin the Ben Goldacre phrase, I think you’ll find it’s more complicated than that. I’ve been lucky that the lockdown has happened and by the end of May I had reached a rock-bottom level and was willing to try and change my habits. I have no idea how long this will last. It’s a mental health issue more than anything else. I have lost 7KG since the beginning of June. So, roughly a stone for you Daily Mail readers. It’s taken three months to lose that. Three months of mostly boring food and being good, three months of plenty of exercise, three months of not having to be at work. I don’t know where the motivation came from. I don’t know how to keep it.

BMI End May
BMI End May

So, at the end of May the NHS was encouraging me to lose 4.6kg. This isn’t something I looked at then, I’ve just used the site now as I wanted to know what my BMI is. I do understand that BMI is an imperfect measure but it’ll will do. Now, at the end of August, the NHS is still wanting me to lose 4kg, even though I have lost the original 4kg. Maybe they are using sensible targets which are achievable for people?

BMI End August
BMI End August

So, the purpose of this communication isn’t to brag or go on about mass-loss. It’s more about this next level of bullshit I’m about to discuss. I’ve been using MyFitnessPal to record my food intake and keep my food energy to a sensible level over the last three months. Now, I don’t pay for the extra version of this app, I use it for what I want and I don’t need other features, much like the Strava app that I use to record my exercise. The MFP app has adverts on the “front page” and also what it calls blog posts. These are mostly easy to ignore but every now and then something will catch my eye and I can’t help giving it a read. The advert that prompted this communication was about some form of bullshit but my interest was piqued.

I have been and looked at this website. The above image is just that, an image and so if you want to watch the video you’ll have to go to the website. As you can see I’ve watched 55 seconds and I nearly punched the monitor when he said that his name was Eli rather than pronouncing it Eeeli. So, there are red flags without having to go too far into this bullshit.

Red Flag – Qi. Sometimes called Chi. This is a massive red flag. Qi is meant to be the flow of energy around the human body. When this energy flow gets interrupted you will get ill. To know where this energy flows is important and balancing your energy will mean making sure that your energy flows correctly around your body. The important thing here is that Qi doesn’t exist. There aren’t secret channels of energy flowing around your body. This is an entirely made up mode of biology from a time when the human body was a mystery. If you have any form of literature or people talking about Qi the safest thing to do is to throw it in the bin or walk away like Homer hiding in a hedge.

Red Flag – Immune Health. You can’t boost your immune system and generally it works without any external interference. If your immune system doesn’t work properly then it is quite likely you will already be in hospital and undergoing amazing treatment from proper sciency stuff.

Red Flag – protect against COVID. Fuck this site for using this to make you think you can protect yourself using “ancient” wisdom. The best thing you can do is wash your hands, wear a mask and stay away from other people.

Red Flag – supercharge your immune system. Literally not a thing you can do. We don’t have any real control over our immune system. It is just there. This is a wank statement.

Red Flag – ancient wisdom. This is the best of all. Ancient Wisdom is not a thing at all. Things were not better in the old days. People died all the time of curable diseases. Here’s some things we’ve done recently; germ theory is about 150 years old, immunisation is about the same age, antibiotics are about 80 years old, small pox is eliminated, leprosy can be cured. Science bitches – it works.

Slightly further down the page I can sign up for acupressure hints and tips. Acupuncture is based on the understanding that sticking needles into your skin and help unblock the flow of Qi and help you recover to full health again. What mechanism does this use? It doesn’t. Acupuncture doesn’t work. It doesn’t do what it says.

Having dismissed this site as utter bullshit in the first few lines I then went to the home page to see what claims there are. I was interested to see what else this person thinks they can help you with. I wanted to know how much money it costs.

There is a claim that a newspaper declared Eli the Qi Gong teacher of the year. I mean, sure. If you are the best of the nothing that you teach then I am not impressed. Also, you’ve been named by a local newspaper. I don’t think that counts as anything special.

Through my online Qi Breaks™ Online platform you’ll learn the secrets to self-healing, pain management, stress reduction and higher energy levels with simple, easy-to-follow practices designed for everyone regardless of experience and age.

https://www.qiwitheli.com/

This on the site made me curious. I think much of the site does. There is so much bullshit here that I keep being reminded of the Apocalypse Now! quotation:

Willard: Oh man, the shit piled up so fast in Vietnam you needed wings to stay above it.

I clicked through to the Qi Breaks minisite and was confronted with a lot of stuff about ancient wisdom. I will tell you that some people in the ancient times were clever but then again, some people were stupid. There isn’t really a thing of ancient wisdom. It’s just a clever marketing ploy to make you think that this stuff has been around for so long so it must be correct. In the previous video Eli claims that there is documented evidence that some people lived to be 80 or even 100. I mean, there probably were. But it doesn’t seem to be that great since we live that long nowadays. Some people even live to 120. It would be interesting to chat with this person about life expectancy and explain that it has been generally going up over the last two hundred years as we learn more science. If Eli wants documented evidence why doesn’t he use the bible? It’s got stories of people living a long time. Maybe we should do what they did?

So, Qi Breaks looks like an online video thing that you pay for. It’s meant to help you do lots of non-specific things that are self-reported and not really measurable. This means that it will probably “work” for you. You spend the money. Do as you are told and then you will say that you feel better. If you don’t think it works then you just quit and so the testimonials will always come from people with positive reviews. Are they really any better or have they really boosted their immune system? Unlikely.

Eli claims to have a “deep healing Qi Gong” method that you can pay extra for. Here’s what he says:

Deep Healing Qi Gong™ uses practices known to have specific impacts on the emotional, physical and mental levels – the integrated body’s Qi (life-force energy). It is rooted both in ancient Bhuddist and Taoist systems as well as in modern energy healing methods and supported by science. I helped heal many from chronic health conditions western medicine does not have answer to.
This method not only works to help you heal yourself by clearing Qi blockages and restoring the natural flow of Qi in the body, it also helps you manifest exactly what you want to have in your life.
I developed this method over the last 10 years through my own personal journey, working with many individuals over the years and studied with teachers in the US, Europe and Asia.”

There are a number of things about this that strike me:
Life-force energy – isn’t a thing.
Ancient – who cares? This says nothing about whether it works or is real.
Supported by science – OK, show me the fucking science.
Heal chronic health – unlikely. I would like to see proper documented evidence for this.
Western medicine – this is used to dismiss modern medicine or “medicine”. I’ll take my chances with things that really work thank you.
Qi blockages – not a real thing.
Manifest exactly what you want – this is concerting. Is Eli saying that if you “want” hard enough you can have? Is he using hints of “the secret” here? Is he doing that “ask the universe” bullshit? I’m amazed at this. There’s a real issue with people thinking that illness and other outcomes in life are their fault. Or they think that the universe has it in for them. This isn’t true. What is true is that illness is random and society is actually built to stop you doing the things you want. Unfortunately many people can’t accept that some outcomes in life are just random and they believe it must be the fault of the person.

This whole website is a way of removing you from some of your money. If Eli really has mastered or created Deep Healing Qi Gong then wouldn’t the best thing for him be to give it away to the world for nothing? Shouldn’t he be working in hospitals to help cure everyone? If this stuff works then why isn’t he being hailed in the New England Journal of Medicine? If all these things he says are real then why isn’t everyone using them? If these things really worked then your GP would get you to do them. But, these things don’t work. I’m going to leave Eli and his bullshit for now. But I haven’t quite finished. I want to explain where Traditional Chinese Medicine comes from. The quick answer is China. But the real story is a little more interesting.

In the 1950s China was struggling with population and Communism. Not much different from today really. Medicine was improving in the country and so doctors were issued with a book that gave them treatments and drug listings for specific diseases etc. Because there were problems with the availability of real drugs the back of this book had a load of bullshit cures but ones that were traditional in the countryside. So, when a doctor had no hope of helping someone and the drugs weren’t available they could “prescribe” some bullshit stuff that would keep the population happy and subdued. Nothing was really known about this outside of China.

Then, in the early 1970s there was a US diplomatic mission to China and one of the people got ill. There were operated on but also had some bullshit TCM applied to them and when the western media heard about this they completely overlooked the actual medicine and focused solely on the TCM that this person received. They then claimed it was a miracle and maybe this ancient wisdom has something behind it. Before this time there wasn’t much in the western consciousness about TCM. After this time it exploded and has been here since. TCM doesn’t work and was rooted in a government lying to their own people to cover up the lack of real medicine. Amazing that we have so much of this is western culture now.

You can check this story yourself from the place I got my information. I first heard about this on Skeptoid. A short podcast that looks at things that aren’t real. It covers lots of different topics. I would encourage you to listen to the podcast or read the transcript. It’s worth knowing where this bullshit TCM comes from. Also, there is, of course, a Wikipedia page that covers the Barefoot Doctor.

Tea And Doughnuts

The first time I ever went to Headcorn airfield, or Lashenden Aerodrome or whatever it’s called, was in a little Cessna with Andrew Passfield. Andrew was getting his flying hours up to complete part of his CPL. He used to get a little bored flying by himself and so would take passengers. We took off from somewhere near Lakeside, Thurrock, and flew over Kent to Folkestone to see the Channel Tunnel Terminal being constructed. Then we landed at Headcorn and had some tea and doughnuts before heading back with a quick circle over Brands Hatch. It was a lovely flight and great fun. I particularly remember that the construction site of the channel tunnel terminal was immense and that Kent has some very straight railways. Almost strange to think that I am now living in that area.

I went recently to Headcorn Aerodrome just as somewhere to go. The weather was meant to be nice and, as you would expect, the aerodrome is mostly outside and so it seemed it would be a reasonably safe place to visit. I didn’t know if there was going to be much action there but we headed out anyway. On arrival there were parachutists gliding down from 8000′ and plenty of aircraft up and doing their thing. There was even a Stearman wing walker jobby flying around. Further inspection gathered the information that for a measly GBP350 you too could wing walk and spend some time being buffeted around by the atmosphere!

Just Dropped Off The Kids
Just Dropped Off The Kids

I took the Camera and it was nice to get some use out of it. I’ve not really been anywhere this summer and so the poor thing has lain alone.

Lined Up
Lined Up

I have noticed that I have a lens problem though. My 300m telephoto lens causes muck spots on light backgrounds and that is something I’m going to have to look at over the next week. Also this coming week I will be mentally bracing myself for going to work. Something I haven’t done for six months. My last day in work was 16th March. I have been working but from home and so having to put a pair of shoes on will be very strange.

Wing Walk Stearman
Wing Walk Stearman

Gearing

I’ve been out cycling a little bit recently and I have been enjoying it. As a calorie burner it’s not as efficient as running/jogging but it is a different activity and fun. Also, as I can cycle three to four times faster than I can run and because of the increased time needed to burn fat I now have somewhere between 9 and 25 times the area to investigate – it depends on a number of factors but is essentially the length scale factor squared.

When I’ve been out I’ve been changing gear but I have been wondering what the actual ratios are and understanding these would make things a little more efficient and help me know when it’s best to change from big to small etc. The bike is an 18 speed machine which I find surprising but then I’m slightly old and can remember 5 speed derailleurs being impressive technology. I looked up the number of teeth on each gear and created a spreadsheet.

Bike Gearings
Bike Gearings

This now means that I understand the numbers more and can change into a more correct gear given the upcoming terrain. All the above are in the form 1 : n, where it is turns of pedal : turns of wheel. On a more fundamental level I think I am surprised at how efficient we are at cycling and it should be done more, if you can get a bike.

Crypt Edition

This past weekend would have been the M’era Luna festival in Hildesheim, Germany. But it was not to be. SARS-Cov-2 put paid to any plans of a weekend of music and honigwein. So, instead of driving five hundred miles to get to a soggy campsite the M’era Luna chaps put on a day of a virtual festival with a live stream of some of the bands from last year. The most important thing was that Smith and I saw ourselves in a few of the concert videos and also, in one of the interstitials – we have been recognised for our efforts. If you aren’t sure what you missed then have a look at this video of Corvus Corax.

Masters Of Time

When reviewing the film Proxima I mentioned there were two films from my youth that made a big impression. One I found on a listicle site of the greatest sci-fi films you haven’t seen – that was called The Quiet Earth. The other was some bizarre French time travel animation with small round animals that I had occasionally searched for. This week I think I found it “Les Maîtres du temps” and a quick search on Amazon showed it going to around £40 for a DVD. I couldn’t find it streaming anywhere and wondered what to do until I then remembered that this sort of thing is all over YouTube.

I started watching a French language version with English subtitles on YouTube but the subtitles were out of synchronisation, being quite early, and it looked as though it was getting worse so after about twenty minutes I had another look and found an English language dubbed version of the film on YouTube.

Feel free to watch this movie. I don’t know how long this iframe will stay there. I guess there’s a chance that this film will get removed from YouTube but given that it has been there since 2013 I guess maybe that’s not so much of a problem.

This was the film from my youth that has often come back into my thoughts. It follows the adventures of a space ship and its inhabitants who all have different issues and problems. It’s a lovely film from a simpler time. To be honest I joke about the time being simpler. We were living in the early eighties with the constant threat of nuclear war and only four television channels. It seems that kids were safer on the streets but I guess that’s not really true. There were race riots in London, the IRA were blowing up shit and we went to war [technically not a war] to save two shitty islands in the South Atlantic because a few hundred people lived there. The house where I grew up had just upgraded to a colour television and for heat we burnt coal in two open fires in the house.

The theme of time travel in this film freaked me out and I know it made me think an awful lot about time travel and paradoxes. In reality, we literally have no idea what happens if these things are possible. There’s lots of fictional writing but we can’t know what really happens. It’s like wormholes you see, as much as they are fixed within the collective consciousness we don’t even know if they exist.

This film is a good film. It was co-produced within Hungary and the eastern-European production values shine through. Any animations coming out of that part of the world in the 80s were horrifically strange and messed up. It was a bit of a thing to look for when I was growing up. I reckon everyone should watch this movie and begin to understand just how lucky you all are these days with your CGI and computer graphics. If a film can take you to its world but be low cost and production values then it is a good film. If you are engrossed and don’t notice the cheapness then it is a good film. It’s all very well these modern films being bursting with effects and good looking stuff but if your story just comes down to who has the biggest fists then it’s a touch pathetic.

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.