Friday, November 30, 2012

A dispatch from the 2012 Boring Conference.

By the time I arrived at York Hall Health and Leisure Centre in Bethnal Green on Sunday, the Boring 2012 conference had been underway for about an hour, and I was concerned that I might already have had more than enough tedium for one day. Due to a combination of Irish fog and English gales, I had spent 90 minutes sitting on a runway in Dublin and a further 40 or so circling Heathrow as the plane awaited a landing slot. The irony of my morning—that I was subjecting myself to the boredom and frustration of air travel in order to attend a conference dedicated to the most boring topics imaginable—was not lost on me, but as my flight looped repeatedly over greater London, I was too bored and frustrated to properly appreciate it.
When I got to the venue, the young lady at the welcome table informed me, with an air of genuine sympathy, that I’d missed some very boring stuff already ...... read on .........
Prodnose: I'm tired of art!
Myself: Drawing board.

Prodnose: Sex is a drag!
Myself: In a bawdy house, I daresay.

Prodnose: Australians bore me!
Myself: You mean the a-bore-iginals, don't you?

Prodnose: I'm bored to death!
Myself: Like mortar bored.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

EC2 Does It

Wired: The Cult of Amazon: How a Bookseller Invented the Future of Computing

The article above is well worth a read. We've only got one physical server left, all the rest of our infrastucture runs on Amazon Web Services, and that last hold-out is due to be virtualised by the end of the year.

Here's the money quote that shows you that the journalist gets it:
Part of the genius of EC2 is that it gave software developers virtual machines that behaved a lot like the physical machines they were familiar with. They could run the same sort of software they had always used. Amazon didn’t try to tell the customer what he wanted.
Google and Microsoft released beta versions of similar cloud services in 2008 — Google App Engine and Windows Azure — but these big-name competitors failed to completely grasp what made EC2 so successful. App Engine and Azure tried to make it easier to run software in the cloud, but in doing so they restricted what developers were able to do. The learning curve was steeper, and the public never really embraced them in the same way.
We're a Microsoft house, but we could take all our apps and simply drop them into AWS where they run essentially unchanged. We looked at Azure, Microsoft's own cloud offering, and binned it immediately as we would have to do so much redevelopment.

The WBI Time Machine shows that I picked Amazon's EC2 up as significant pretty much as soon as it was launched see

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Look before you Hindleap

The Bomber has left this morning for a residential course at Hindleap Warren Outdoor Education Centre.

Education via archery, orienteering, pool canoeing, a climbing wall, high ropes, zip-wires, an abseiling tree, tunnels, an obstacle course and team challenges onsite plus canoeing, mountain biking, mine and cave exploration, rock climbing and bouldering offsite.

Prodnose: Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad and our mother would kill us and dance about on our graves singing Hallelujah.

Myself: And you try and tell the young people of today that ..... they won't believe you.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pay Attention 007

Skyfall 2012

Q: What did you expect, an exploding pen?

Seoul  2011

Footage of three weapons that were found on a North Korean assassin when he was arrested on the platform of a subway in Seoul in September 2011 were shown on CNN on Monday.

The weapons, which would not be out of place in a James Bond film, included what at first glance appears to be a black torch with a wrist strap and the word "police" along one side. Upon closer inspection, however, one end has three holes and each contains a bullet, with a trigger mechanism in the body of the torch.

Two of the bullets remain in the weapon, which military authorities in the South said they have never seen before. Tests have shown that the flashlight-gun was accurate and the projectile was able to penetrate deep into a mattress from a distance of 16 feet, meaning it would have been lethal at short range.

The two other weapons found on the assassin, identified only by his family name of An, were an ordinary-looking ballpoint pen that contained a poison-tipped needle, while another pen was capable of firing a small projectile coated in a poisonous chemical. As little as 10 milligrams of the poison is reportedly sufficient to cause breathing problems and potentially heart failure.

The assassin had arranged to meet Park Sang-Hak in Seoul and prosecutors believe he had been ordered to kill the outspoken human rights activist.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Odd job, bob-a-job, Bob

Instructions on raking leaves in the garden; words fail me.

Oh, I have fixed the shower by the way. It seems that the cold water comes from the mains or tank, while the pump only supplies the hot. The reason it was overheating was that limescale from our hard water was starting to block the shower head and there wasn't enough pressure to force the cold water through. I descaled it and we are back in business.

A Grateful Nation: Thank you, Your Highness.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


As I was idly strumming the guitar along with Grr!, the new Rolling Stones compilation, album this weekend, the Bomber joined in on the iPad GarageBand keyboard which lead to a very enjoyable half an hour of me teaching him riffs and keys.

I think he may have a talent for it. I will have to fix the power supply for my Kurzweil electric piano and bring it home from the office so we can take things up a level.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Life on the edge

Aeon is a new digital magazine of ideas and culture, publishing an original essay every weekday.

On the day of my 191st yoga class, I commend it to you via:

When you’re living in Beirut and violence keeps spilling into your life, where do you go to find strength? Try yoga
Nathan Deuel

Friday, November 23, 2012

Who was cursed with the Sin of Pride, and Became a Boot-Black?

Godolphin Horne was Nobly Born;
He held the Human Race in Scorn,
And lived with all his Sisters where
His father lived, in Berkeley Square.
And oh! The Lad was Deathly Proud!
He never shook your Hand or Bowed,
But merely smirked and nodded thus:
How perfectly ridiculous!
Alas! That such Affected Tricks
Should flourish in a Child of Six!
(For such was Young Godolphin's age).
Just then, the Court required a Page,
Whereat the Lord High Chamberlain
(The Kindest and the Best of Men),
He went good-naturedly and took
A perfectly enormous Book
Called People Qualified to Be
Attendant on His Majesty,
And murmured, as he scanned the list
(To see that no one should be missed),
"There's William Coutts has got the Flu,
And Billy Higgs would never do,
And Guy de Vere is far too young,
And ... wasn't D'Alton's father hung?
And as for Alexander Byng!-...
I think I know the kind of thing,
A Churchman, cleanly, nobly born,
Come, let us say Godolphin Horne?"
But hardly had he said the word
When Murmurs of Dissent were heard.
The King of Iceland's Eldest Son
Said, "Thank you! I am taking none!"
The Aged Duchess of Athlone
Remarked, in her sub-acid tone,
"I doubt if He is what we need!"
With which the Bishops all agreed;
And even Lady Mary Flood
(So kind, and oh! So really good)
Said, "No! He wouldn't do at all,
He'd make us feel a lot too small."
The Chamberlain said, "Well, well, well!
No doubt you're right. One cannot tell!"
He took his Gold and Diamond Pen
And scratched Godolphin out again.
So now Godolphin is the Boy
Who Blacks the Boots at the Savoy.
Prodnose: You've got a meeting with the Royal Household today I take it?

Myself: You're darn tootin'; no flies on you this morning eh?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Oh, my Friends, be warned by me

Young's Winter Warmer and a streaming cold do not mix.

That is all.

Prodnose: Flavonoids in red wine, by contrast, may reduce mucus and phlegm associated with several conditions. Red wine contains an abundance of the flavonoid resveratrol, which is produced by the reaction of plants to stress. Flavonoids are found mostly in fruits such as grapes - from which red wine is derived -apples and pears. The Linus Pauling Institute reports that in addition to their antioxidant properties, the flavonoids in red wine act as antiviral and anti-inflammatory agents, which suggests they may help fight some mucus-producing illnesses.

Myself: Go away. My head hurts.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I ate my cat for Christmas

Mark ate his cat for Christmas. I've got a feeling that it may even have been my putative festive effort back in June (Icons passim) that put him in mind of his own seasonal offering.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

sneezy does it

I have a cold. Colds are worse than I remember.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

FZ70015/12E - 0311 R

If you want / need to purchase a Spare Part for your Tefal Actifry you will need to know the Model Number you have - as to avoid purchasing any ill filling or incompatible spare parts.

You will find the Tefal Actifry Model Number on the underside of the machine.

1) When the Actifry is Cold, Unplugged, and Empty turn the Actifry upside down to expose the underside of the machine.2) On the Underside of the Actifry there will be a "rating plate"... This will either be in the format of a stick-on adhesive label or the rating plate can be embossed / imprinted onto the machine.3) On the rating plate of your Actifry you will find a line of characters following the word "Type" , "ART" or "Model" depending on the age of the fryer and country of purchase.4) Most Actifry's have a model number beginning with "FZ", "AH" or "AG" and then a series of numbers.
Once you have determined the Model Number of your Tefal Actifry purchasing Spares and Accessories is easy. Whether you need a Tefal Actifry Paddle, Tefal Actifry Lid or Tefal Actifry Filter you can work through websites, listings and other Online information accurately, eliminating the risk of Ill Fitting or Incompatible Spares and Accessories.
So now you know.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

coyote snuggly

"As any woman, you want to feel the embrace of a real man, but would like to avoid the snoring, smell, tossing and turning." Right?
Well now your prayers have been answered, as online retailer Wayfair is finally launching the bestselling Boyfriend Pillow on UK shores.
This machine-washable man substitute takes the form of a disembodied half-torso, with a big droopy arm sprouting from one side that "can be used as a prop-up, a neck-roll or to wrap around the body simulating a lover's embrace".
I seem to detect the hand, if not the arm, of Dr Strabismus everywhere these days now that all human life is beyond parody. Yes I am talking to you Rob Howley.

Friday, November 16, 2012

To put an antic disposition on

I was nursing a Stella and playing a Quaver-crunching Bomber at chess in the family-friendly Prince last night, when I heard that a company called Antic had announced on Facebook that they are taking it over.

O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!

And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Prodnosio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. But come;
Here, as before, never, so help you mercy,
How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself,
As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
To put an antic disposition on ......

Hamlet is a prince of disposition
Antic, and now an Antic Prince in our
Own High Street shall display to all the world
How far up my own backside I have crawled
In ref'rence and allusion. Provenance?
Geddit? Do you Geddit? Geddit do you?


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Head over heels

That wasn't flying! That was... falling with style!

Last night, the Bomber suddenly took it upon himself to remind me that he is a quarter Swedish on his mother's side. I wonder why that could have been? As a rule he articulates it as "twenty five per cent Viking".

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Prince du sang

Accountant seeks to prove he is Princess Margaret's secret son
Robert Brown, who believes Princess Margaret hid a pregnancy in 1955, is fighting for access to documents relating to her will.
A few years ago I remember being politely but firmly delayed in reception when I turned up for a Buckingham Palace meeting, at an entrance other than the one at which I was expected, while they double checked that I wasn't the Mr Brown(e) who believes himself to be Princess Margaret's son. Light dawns in the Graniard article quoted above.

My own childhood was far more prosaic.

I was stolen by the gypsies. My parents stole me right back. Then the gypsies stole me again. This went on for some time. One minute I was in the caravan suckling the dark teat of my new mother, the next I sat at the long dining room table eating my breakfast with a silver spoon.

It was the first day of spring. One of my fathers was singing in the bathtub; the other one was painting a live sparrow the colors of a tropical bird.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Debt to Pleasure

Prodnose: The classic cookbook borrows features from the otherwise radically opposed genres of encyclopedia and confession. One the one hand the world categorized, diagnosed, defined, explained, alphabetized; on the other the self laid bare, all quirks and anecdotes and personal history. All contributions to the form belong on a continuum with Larousse Gastronomique at one end and at the other .......

Myself: At the other end ..... this! I made cinnamon lamb steaks with rice and kale for dinner last night. It was very nice. In other thrilling kitchen developments, the paddle on my Actifry has broken, and I have bough a ceramic knife as a present for Harry as I am going to his birthday party on Saturday.

Prodnose: Et dès que j’eus reconnu le goût du morceau de madeleine trempé dans le tilleul que me donnait ma tante (quoique je ne susse pas encore et dusse remettre à bien plus tard de découvrir pourquoi ce souvenir me rendait si heureux), aussitôt la vieille maison grise sur la rue, où était sa chambre, vint comme un décor de théâtre.

Myself: Même au point de vue des plus insignifiantes choses de la vie, nous ne sommes pas un tout matériellement constitué, identique pour tout le monde et dont chacun n'a qu'à aller prendre connaissance comme d'un cahier des charges ou d'un testament; notre personnalité sociale est une création de la pensée des autres.

Prodnose: Like in "I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!"?

Myself: Yeah.

Monday, November 12, 2012


No post appeared here yesterday as I was out all day with the Bomber at a Rugby Festival in Guildford.

They won it, which came as a welcome fillip after Wales' loss to Argentina the day before, as follows:

Group Matches
Old Ruts 35-0 Camberley
Old Ruts 14-7 Dorking
Old Ruts 33-0 Guildfordians

Semi-Final as Group Winners
Old Ruts 19-0 Reeds

Old Ruts 21-0 Sutton & Epsom

He is off again today, for the school this time, playing in an U12 Surrey Schools Festival. There's a lot of it about.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Wales v Argentina this afternoon

Leigh Halfpenny 15 Juan Martin Hernandez
Alex Cuthbert 14 Gonzalo Camacho
Scott Williams 13 Gonzalo Tiesi
Jamie Roberts 12 Felipe Contepomi
George North 11 Juan Imhoff
Rhys Priestland 10 Nicolas Sanchez
Tavis Knoyle 9 Martin Landajo
Gethin Jenkins 1 Marcos Ayerza
Matthew Rees 2 Eusebio Guinazu
Aaron Jarvis 3 Juan Figallo
Alun-Wyn Jones 4 Manuel Carizza
Ian Evans 5 Julio Farias Cabello
Josh Turnbull 6 Leonardo Senatore
Sam Warburton 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon
Toby Faletau 8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe

Friday, November 09, 2012

I Gotsta Get Paid

Today I will mostly be preferring ZZ Top's blues-drenched take on the hip-hop of DJ DMD's 25 Lighters to the Stones' latest efforts.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

One More Shot

Gosh. Two new songs from the Rolling Stones in seven years. What a work ethic. This latest offering is  essentially a reskinning of AC/DC's "You rocked (shurely shook; shome mishtake here - ed me all night long".

Knock yourself out.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


US election 2012: Obama re-elected as president
This is the first day of the 2016 US Presidential election campaign.

Hillary Clinton13/2
Mark Warner8/1
Tim Kaine10/1
Kathleen Sebelius12/1
Evan Bayh12/1
Martin O’Malley12/1
Andrew Cuomo15/1
Joe Biden18/1
Elizabeth Warren20/1
Dennis Kucinich20/1
Kay Hagan20/1
Jim Webb25/1
Brian Schweitzer25/1
Sherrod Brown30/1
Rahm Emmanuel30/1
Claire McCaskill30/1
Kirsten Gillibrand35/1
Bob Casey, Jr.35/1
Janet Napolitano40/1
Ken Salazar50/1
Amy Klobuchar50/1
John Tester50/1
Harold Ford, Jr.100/1
Bill Ritter100/1
Al Sharpton150/1
Jack Reed150/1
Al Gore200/1
Al Franken200/1
Michelle Obama500/1

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

F. E. Smith, 1st Earl of Birkenhead

Judge: I've listened to you for an hour and I'm none wiser.
Smith: None the wiser, perhaps, my lord but certainly better informed.
Judge: What do you suppose I am on the bench for?
Smith: It is not for me, Your Honour, to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence.
Judge: You are extremely offensive, young man!
Smith: As a matter of fact we both are; and the only difference between us is that I am trying to be, and you can't help it.
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days.

Monday, November 05, 2012

nambawan pikinini no laikim tru Metro

I'm planning to get the Bomber a new laptop for Christmas.

It was going to be for his birthday, but held off waiting for Windows 8. We went looking at computers on Saturday. He is unimpressed with the new Metro interface, and bear in mind he has been using something not dissimilar on his XBOX for months now. It also took us a disturbing amount of time to figure out how to bring up the old desktop UI.

I'd worry about that if I was Microsoft.

I'm also intrigued by how seldom he picks up my iPAD and that the most important thing for him on a laptop is a big 17.3 inch screen for his games. Are the tablet wars passing the next generation by?

Thinking about it, I'll need to get the machine in weeks before the festivities because it is going to take a long, long time to update it with all his software. World of Warcraft alone will probably account for a weekend if we have to download it because I can't put my hands on the DVDs.

Speaking of WoW, Friday, Saturday and Sunday elapsed with us recovering his Battle Net account. What a palaver.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

At Play in the Fields of the Lord

Duke: You're gonna have to go through hell, worse than any nightmare you've ever dreamed. But when it's over, I know you'll be the one standing. You know what you have to do. Do it.
I just got a, not entirely unexpected email, telling me that the Bomber's rugby is cancelled this morning due to a waterlogged pitch. An ungenerous part of my soul doesn't mind; there is more than a hint of penance in standing on a touchline in the freezing pouring rain for the best part of two hours on a Sunday morning watching twelve year olds failing to secure the ball at the breakdown.

In related mortification-of-the-flesh developments, I did my treadmill interval training yesterday with the album "Rocky Balboa: The Best of Rocky" blasting through the headphones. It is a compilation of music from all six films inter-leavened with dialogue, and it really does make a difference when you have to hang in for fifteen more seconds running as fast as you can.

Sly Stallone is to me as Eckhart Tolle is to Oprah Winfrey. I'm not proud.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Is he housebroken or is he going to leave batteries all over the floor?

In a world where Nicole Scherzinger is dressed by Dr Strabismus ....

Don't tell me that love hurts. I read the book, I saw the film, I got the T-shirt.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Quest to crack secrets of lost D-Day pigeon

Sorry I am late on parade, I have been wrestling with a recalcitrant server.

How can w3wp.exe just disappear?

How indeed? But it is back now.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Behind the scenes at the British Sausage Week awards

The Sun newspaper has been ordered by a high court judge to reveal what it knows about the alleged theft of a mobile phone belonging to Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh, which was reportedly handed to the paper by a member of the public.
Myself: Gosh it is exciting to be back in the metropolitan maelstrom of Colliers Wood after a few sleepy days in Cardiff. Our local MP is in the Grauniard this morning. She lost her phone. Hold the front page!

Prodnose: There are eight million stories in the naked city.

Myself: Seven million nine hundred and ninety nine thousand nine hundred and ninety nine to go then.