Wednesday, July 23, 2014

X-10 home automation

The (deep breath) electric curtain and blind motor with automatic dawn to dusk feature (Icons passim) is now installed and working. I haven't caught it in action yet. The curtains drew when I was in the kitchen last night and they were open when I got up this morning. The temptation to announce "ah Mr Bond, I've been expecting you" the first time I am there when it happens will probably be irresistible.

A phrase from the instruction manual interests me strangely.
The controller is compatible with X-10 home automation type systems.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dance off

We won the quiz last night.
 - the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life. ... By God! I don't think it would have been done if I had not been there.
It was decided in a dance off very like the video above. These things are usually settled by a single nominee from each team competing to see who can answer a tie breaker question the most quickly. I think alcohol may have been involved in the elaboration of the format.

I was glad this morning that - unlike knotweed - The Sleeping Drunks Billboard hasn't made it from Japan to SW19 yet.

Japan is one of the hardest working countries in the world. So, at the end of the week, Japanese salary men and women let their hair down with very surprising consequences: Drunk Sleeping.

By the end of a Friday and Saturday night you can find thousands of people sleeping on the streets. In Tokyo, this is considered normal behavior, so we decided to address the issue.
The idea: Turn Sleeping Drunks into human billboards against excessive drinking. Armed with white duck tape, printed headlines, logos and a call to action, we turned every sleeping drunk into an anti-drinking billboard.
With very little budget (duck tape and several printed cardboards), we hijacked some of the most advertising-crowded streets in Tokyo.
As honor is paramount in Japanese society, we shamed people into drinking moderately or risk becoming our next Sleeping Drunk Billboard.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Lifestyles of the rich and famous

I have just paid the deposit for the Bomber to go to the Portugal Rugby Youth Festival with the school at the end of March next year. I do hope he will be sufficiently rested after Rutlish's Spring half term ski trip to Sansicario, Italy in February 2015.

The Summer term finishes tomorrow and he will be in Florida with his mother for most of August.

Are we driving him too hard?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

James Garner

I was sorry to hear that the ever amiable James Garner has died.

Either Support Your Local Sheriff or The Wheeler Dealers - both from the 60s - would be a great treat to watch this Sunday afternoon as a tribute to the great man,  if you can get access. The former is on iTunes I think.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

High Hopes

I have learned a great deal this last week, not the least of which are informal fallacies.
Arguments are to be avoided: they are always vulgar and often convincing.
Reading these quotes, I am beginning to think that the great Derek Parfit may be the funniest man who ever lived.

Next time you're found
With your chin on the ground
There's a lot to be learned
So look around

Just what makes that little old ant
Think he'll move that rubber tree plant
Anyone knows an ant, can't
Move a rubber tree plant

But he's got high hopes
He's got high hopes
He's got high apple pie
In the sky hopes

So any time you're gettin' low
'Stead of lettin' go, just remember that ant
Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant
Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant
Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant

When troubles call
And your back's to the wall
There a lot to be learned
That wall could fall

Once there was a silly old ram
Thought he'd punch a hole in a dam
No one could make that ram, scram
He kept buttin' that dam

'Cause he had high hopes
He had high hopes
He had high apple pie
In the sky hopes

So any time you're feelin' bad
'Stead of feelin' sad, just remember that ram
Oops, there goes a billion kilowatt dam
Oops, there goes a billion kilowatt dam
Oops, there goes a billion kilowatt dam

All problems just a toy balloon
They'll be bursted soon, they're just bound to go pop
Oops, there goes another problem kerplop
Oops, there goes another problem kerplop
Oops, there goes another problem kerplop, kerplop

Friday, July 18, 2014

the so-called “non-identity problem”

We have in the studio Bertrand Russell, who talked to us in the series “Sense Perception and Nonsense: Number 7, Is this a dagger I see before me?” Bertrand Russell.
Russell: One of the advantages of living in Great Court, Trinity I seem to recall, was the fact that one could pop across at any time of the day or night and trap the then young G. E. Moore into a logical falsehood by means of a cunning semantic subterfuge. I recall one occasion with particular vividness. I had popped across and had knocked upon his door. “Come in,” he said. I decided to wait awhile in order to test the validity of his proposition. “Come in,” he said once again. “Very well,” I replied, “if that is in fact truly what you wish.”
I opened the door accordingly and went in, and there was Moore seated by the fire with a basket upon his knees. “Moore,” I said, “do you have any apples in that basket?” “No,” he replied, and smiled seraphically, as was his wont. I decided to try a different logical tack. “Moore,” I said, “do you then have some apples in that basket?” “No,” he replied, leaving me in a logical cleft stick from which I had but one way out. “Moore,” I said, “do you then have apples in that basket?” “Yes,” he replied. And from that day forth, we remained the very closest of friends.
It is impossible to read the hilarious Reason and romance: The world’s most cerebral marriage, without being reminded of the  Beyond The Fringe bare plurals sketch I quote above. The Bare Plural (Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics) long having been a standby of choice for a gag wrangler stuck in a tight corner.

Semantic giggles aplenty:
As they approached the restaurant they passed a wedding shop. In the window was one of those meringue bridal dresses, all petticoats, hoops and trains. “That,” said Janet, jokingly, “is what I shall be wearing tomorrow.” “Do you mean that exact one,” replied Derek, in all seriousness, “or one just like it?”
"Today, Parfit is considered by many of his peers to be the world’s most important living moral philosopher."

Of course he is.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

bar for the course

Aland wooden bar. What do we think? Perhaps I could actually use it in the house as well as having it available to take outside for barbecues etc?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

be careful what you wish for

I have added Amazon's Universal Wish List to my systems so I can add items from any website to my list. I thought it would come in handy for assembling odds and ends now I seem to be (for the first time in my life) in home improvement mode. It seems to work fine (though I notice the the widget on this 'blog only displays native Amazon content).

The first thing I put on it was a Croydex bath panel with a hidden sliding door. I have had a gaping hole on the side of the bath ever since part of the existing panel had to be drilled out to give access for replacement of the shower pump some time ago (icons Passim). At least this new model panel will mean nothing will have to be destroyed next time a pump goes out of commission.

A little later I noticed a Google ad on a site offering me 30% off it at Plumbworld. How did Google know? From my search history I guess.

I'm  telling you this story as the government's emergency surveillance legislation is being rushed through all its Commons stages in just one day with no discussion at all after a shameful stitch up by the three main parties.

If I am ever raided I image the bathroom will be the first port of call for the storm troopers.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

An offer from the WRU

I have got an email saying that my electric curtain and blind motor with automatic dawn to dusk feature (Icons Passim) has been dispatched but I can't see why my new Man Cave project shouldn't be extended into the garden.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Box Office Mojo

Maleficent Worldwide Gross as of July 13, 2014 = $668,994,000
Edge of Tomorrow Worldwide Gross as of July 13, 2014 = $350,550,000
Total as of July 13, 2014 = $1,018,544,000

If you have been reading this 'blog for years on end and have the memory of an elephant, you may recall a 2006 story about the Bomber's mate Jonnie's Uncle Simon (Icons passim) the second unit director then of X-MEN The Last Stand.

I thought of him I last week when I read in a magazine that Malificent has become the top grossing film of Angelina Jolie's career, because I remembered that he was the second unit director on that as well and that it opened on the same day in the UK as Tom Cruise's Edge of Tomorrow; another film on which he did the same job.

Thus, a little research shows me that, two films he worked on that hit the multiplexes at the same time on this side of the pond have made over a billion dollars to date at the box office between them.

Not unsuccessful in career terms, one might conclude.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Song to the SIREN

Siren police IT project's £15m failure a 'debacle'
Surrey's police and crime commissioner has called for one of Britain's most senior police officers to be held to account for the failure of a multi-million pound computer project.
A report into the £15m system to log crime information found oversight of the project was "not fit for purpose".
Surrey PCC Kevin Hurley said Mark Rowley - chief constable at the time - should take responsibility.
But Assistant Commissioner Rowley, who is now at the Met, defended his role.
The Surrey Integrated Reporting Enterprise Network (Siren) was commissioned by Surrey Police in 2009 but was abandoned last year.
The report, by auditors Grant Thornton, said it was was an "ambitious project that was beyond the in-house capabilities and experience" of the police force and police authority.
Mr Hurley said: "Mr Rowley is no longer employed in Surrey, but if he were I would as PCC be considering how best to hold him to account.
He is now employed by the Metropolitan Police Service. I will be writing to the Mayor for London Boris Johnson and the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, to take action as they see appropriate."
Siren was specifically designed to log crimes and store intelligence on criminals and suspects.
But Mr Hurley scrapped the project after the force concluded that it did not represent the "best long-term option for the force and the public".
Mr Rowley said he noted there were "no criticisms of individuals or their conduct" in the report but said he agreed with its recommendations.
"I'm sure that all those involved in leading this project as officers or from the Surrey Police Authority share with me regret and disappointment that Siren did not realise the benefits for the public we sought," he added.
The force spent £14.8m on the project from its inception to 31 March 2013. The money was spent on staff costs, training, software, technology and consultancy.
This is news to me but it explains a lot about why they are still running legacy software including ours.

Friday, July 11, 2014

In which I boast

They ran a Sports Day in Rutlish yesterday as a way of coping with the industrial action.

The Bomber won the 400m in 59.01 seconds which makes him the school's all time Year 8 record holder for that event. It would also put him, if it was recorded at an official athletics meet, in the top 40 in the UK at Under 15 this year, which ain't too shabby when you consider that he is still only 13 and, out of the rugby season, his training regime is essentially limited to slouching.

What would he do on a proper track, in spikes and under the charge of a good coach I wonder?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Ronda Ronda Garden

Kao tone (muay Thai straight knee) to classic judo (uki goshi throw followed up with kesa gatame on the ground). I was right all those years ago about them complementing each other.