Tuesday, September 29, 2015

directly, quickly, awake, looking at it

I have finished reading Elia Kazan: A Biography, and started The Gun: The Story of the AK-47. I can't see any theme or pattern either.

Both titles, as ever, were purchased from Amazon for my Kindle. Kazan's story is interesting despite author Richard Schickel's best efforts.

It is amazing to think that, if I was of a mind, there are nine Kazan movies on Amazon Instant Video that I could queue up and watch without delay.

Gentleman's Agreement 1947
A Streetcar Named Desire 1951
Viva Zapata 1952
On The Waterfront 1954
East Of Eden 1955
Wild River 1960
Splendor in the Grass 1961
America America 1963
The Arrangement 1969

That would have seemed miraculous a few years ago, and I might even do it if I didn't have to work for a living.

There is also a connection to Anton Corbijn's new movie about James Dean which is set just after he had made East of Eden.

Monday, September 28, 2015

You're Darn Tootin'

Ben's grandparents have given me money to pay for his monthly mobile phone charges for six months or so as a birthday present. We lucked out when I was in Cardiff this weekend trying to convert this to vouchers that could be presented to him, but this morning I have discovered "you can top-up by a voucher between £10-£50 from any Three store, or from any shop in the UK where you see the green Top-up logo".

There is a Three shop in Tooting High Street that is open until 8pm on Mondays so I can pick up vouchers on the way to the Antelope quiz tonight. The cash may yet be weaponised into a genuine gift as opposed to rascal counters!

Prodnose (curled of lip, turned up of nose): Fascinating.

Myself: That is the quotidian reality of my life mate.

Ian Faith: For one thing that goes wrong... one... one single thing that goes wrong, a hundred things go right. Do you know what I spend my time doing? I sleep two or three hours a night. There's no sex and drugs for Ian, David. Do you know what I do? I find lost luggage. I locate mandolin strings in the middle of Austin!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Veni, vidi, vici

England 25 Wales 28.

Later today Spike's beloved Chicago Bears visit my beloved (though rather neglected of late due to the Rugby World Cup) Seattle Seahawks.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Trimmo's Pulled Pork

I am back in Cardiff - and off the grid - on one of my regular visits to see how mum and dad are getting on so this post has been scheduled on Friday.

I will be watching the England Wales game in Bronwydd Avenue, but if you are in the smoke and don't have a ticket for Twickenham you could do a lot worse than the Old Ruts Rugby Club, The Clubhouse, Poplar Road, Merton Park. London SW19 3JS.

Friday, September 25, 2015


The school U15s beat Rodborough School 69-10 yesterday in the first round of the County Cup with Ben apearing at outside half and scoring three tries.

This means that they will face either Howard of Effingham or Gordon's School in the next round early in November.

Howard of Effingham beat Rutlish 15-12 in the U14 County Cup Final in 2014 (the Bomber played for Rutlish a year above his age in that) so there may be a chance of revenge.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war

Last night, the BBC iPlayer recommended I watch this series following the race for the crown every curry house in the principality wants to win - Welsh Curry House of the Year.

It's good stuff, presenting me with a few new places to check out in Cardiff, making me sentimental about Newcastle Emlyn, and reminding us all (in a time when the media doesn't give us much positive about Muslims) what big hearted British Bangladeshi restaurateurs have contributed to our lives since the 70s.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

hello cheeky

Geoffrey Smeddle's sensational pork cheeks recipe includes a ham hock bon bon, crushed swede and spiced apple compote.

It is unlikely to feature on the menu at No 10 or Chequers any time soon.

See also headcheese (Icons passim), satire fans.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The missing links

Surrey Rugby have got a new website for this season.

The Ruts U15As League 1 fixtures are on (deep breath) -

And the table is on -

For the U15Bs the League 4 fixtures and table respectively are on

(The matches don't seem to be coming up for the Bs yet though.)

Inspired by this I took a look at last season's U14 results in the Sussex leagues on

Worthing came second in division 1 last season winning all their games except a draw with Jersey and a fourteen to five draw with Brighton. That makes our four tries to two win last Sunday look like a good early season indicator, and sets up our away friendly in Brighton on November 1, nicely.

( I also need to store up https://gms.rfu.com/Gateway/CompetitionDetail.aspx?GroupID=9686 so I can check up how this year's league opponents got on in 2014/15).

Monday, September 21, 2015

Droning On And On

I suppose the world is just going to have to deal with the fact that there will be little but rugby here while the world cup is on.

There's no modest way of announcing this. After round 1, I am top of the Ruts World Cup Fantasy Rugby competition with 219 points.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

ticking over

I watched four games of rugby today. Ruts U14B versus Worthing B, the As against Worthing A, then Wales v Uruguay followed by the All Blacks against the Pumas.

The B's lost, the A's won 22-13, and the Welsh and New Zealand games went according to the form book.

I am not entirely convinced this is adds up to an entirely healthy and balanced Sunday though, Wimbledon Brewery ale being available after the kids' games and both the World Cup fixtures watched with a glass in hand.

Saturday, September 19, 2015


PropMarcos AyerzaArgentina
HookerAgustin CreevyArgentina
PropNahuel Tetaz ChaparroArgentina
LockGeoff ParlingEngland
LockKonstantin MikautadzeGeorgia
Loose ForwardSam WarburtonWales
Loose ForwardJustin TipuricWales
Loose ForwardKieran ReadNew Zealand
ScrumhalfGareth DaviesWales
FlyhalfDaniel CarterNew Zealand
Outside BackSimon ZeboIreland
CentreJonathan JosephEngland
CentreVereniki GonevaFiji
Outside BackJonny MayEngland
Outside BackMike BrownEngland
Here is my starting 15 for round 1 of the Ruts World Cup Fantasy Rugby competition. I am second with 64 points after the England Fiji game last night, and Konstantin Mikautadze gives me an interest in the Tonga v Geogia game that just kicked off.

Friday, September 18, 2015

a tail of two cups

The World Cup is finally here. I got a call from my brother John yesterday saying he had got me a ticket for the Millennium Stadium semi final on October 17 (Winner Pool C v Runner Up Pool D).

Closer to SW19, Rutlish U15s have drawn Richard Challoner School in the 2nd round of the NatWest Cup and I who I noticed, on www.schoolsrugby.co.uk, walloped Bishop Thomas Grant School 81-19 in the first round.

As that looked a bit worrying, I dug deeper and found - this may be more detail than you need - that Richard Challoner lost 43-7 to Royal Alexandra and Albert at U14 Nov last year after Rutlish had beaten Royal A&A 34-12 in October.

As for Bishop Thomas Grant, admittedly they played Kings College and Whitgift last year, but they played the D teams so they can't be highly rated.

Still a job to do, but panic over for the moment.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Be still my beating heart

we've got about 160,000 auction photos to archive so this new AWS offering looks handy, not that S3 ever cost that much anyway.

Dear Amazon Web Services customer, 

We are excited to announce a new, lower-cost Amazon S3 storage class for data that is accessed less frequently. Amazon S3 Standard - Infrequent Access (Standard - IA) offers the high durability, low latency, and high throughput of Amazon S3 Standard, but with prices starting at $0.0125 per GB per month, $0.01 per GB retrieval fee, and a 30-day storage minimum. This combination of low cost and high performance makes Standard - IA ideal for long-term file storage, backups, and disaster recovery. 

Additionally, effective September 1, 2015, we are decreasing the price of Amazon Glacier storage by up to 36% for the US East (Northern Virginia), US West (Oregon), and Europe (Ireland) regions. Today's price drop continues the AWS tradition of reducing our costs and passing the savings along to our customers. This price reduction will take effect automatically and no action is required on your part. 

You can now choose between three Amazon S3 storage classes that are designed for 99.999999999% durability: Standard, Standard - IA, and Amazon Glacier. Amazon S3 Standard is secure, highly scalable object storage with very low latency, high throughput, and a Service Level Agreement (SLA) of 99.9% availability, making it suitable for a wide variety of applications and workloads that frequently access data such as business applications, dynamic web sites, content distribution, and big data analytics. For data that is less active, but must be immediately accessible when needed, the new Amazon S3 Standard - IA introduces a reduced per GB storage price, with an availability SLA of 99%. For longer-term archiving where immediate access is not required, Amazon Glacier is the lowest cost Amazon S3 storage option, available for as little as $0.007/GB per month. 

Amazon S3 also allows you to define configurable lifecycle policies at the bucket level that will automatically move objects to the preferred storage option. For example, you can store data into the Amazon S3 Standard storage class, move it to Standard - IA 30 days after it has been uploaded, and then to Amazon Glacier 60 days later. These transitions happen without any changes to the application, or to the Amazon S3 bucket where the object is stored. 

For more information on today's announcements, read the AWS blog and visit theAmazon S3 webpage. 

The Amazon Web Services Team

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


I had to go the office on Sunday when I got back from Wales to work on a bid. The Bikini Beach Band were playing so I whipped out the iPhone to preserve it for posterity. It was all part of something called the Spectrumm Festival (a weekend of free pop-up events at Merton Abbey Mills) that had somehow passed me by. I guess it shows how distracted I am lately.

They have been inching the BlundaBus (a double decker bar and venue) out of the site this morning. Rather Mick than me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

And they're off

The school U15s have successfully navigated round one of the NatWest Cup with a 40-21 win away at Hinchley Wood School including a score from Ben. They are in the London & SE A group.

Wednesday's game with Christ's Hospital has been postponed, which may be a blessing in disguise at this stage of the season as they were the Sussex champions last year and came out of the traps with a 52-0 in the first game of this campaign.

Fingers crossed this means the boys will be rested and confident for the next game which is a home Surrey Cup fixture with Rodborough School a week today.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Catholic Throwdown

Jack White and Stephen Colbert's Catholic throwdown plus red wine could help slow dementia onset (but you'd have to drink 1,000 bottles a day). You'd have to be one of my brothers or sisters to understand quite how neatly this juxtaposition encapsulates the weekend I have just spent with mum and dad.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Education is important but rugby is importanter

In the week the World cup kicks off, here is a little crib on the Kiwi's haka.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Lifestyle Fitness

I am back down in Cardiff, helping run Mum and Dad round on various errands. Part of that will be taking the old fella to Lifestyle Fitness club in Rover Way today.

Looking at the website yesterday I saw a could get a day pass for myself at a reasonable £7.50 so that is what I have done. I didn't manage to train when I was last down a fortnight ago, or indeed when I was in Wales the fortnight before that, so an account with Lifestyle Fitness (email username and usual password) should be just the job for keeping me on the straight and narrow.

Friday, September 11, 2015

I sell mirrors to the blind

I see, by the miracle of writing here almost every day, that I have been doing yoga for getting on six years now, but I didn't understand until I came across the video clip above this morning that I should - in Steve Maxwell's terms - be working towards being more mobile rather than more flexible.

You should watch it as well.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

a problem you didn't know you had

YoYo Mat is the world's only self-rolling fitness and yoga mat. It stays flat when in use and rolls up by itself tightly when you are done!

Apple launch yesterday? Schmapple launch yesterday!
Dr Strabismus of Utrecht is working hard on about fourteen thousand and fifty new inventions. These include a collapsible salt-bag, a bottle with its neck in the middle, a rice-sifter, a stanchion to prop up other stanchions, a suet-container, a fog-horn key, a leather grape, a new method of stencilling on ivory, basalt cubes for roofing swimming baths, a fox-trap, a dummy jelly-fish, waterproof onions, false teeth for swordfish, a method of freezing meat-skewers, a hand-woven esparto grass egg-cosy which plays Thora when released from the egg, a glass stilt, a revolving wheel-barrow, an iron thumb for postmen, a hash-pricker, a beer-swivel with blunt flanges and a red go-by, a fish-detector, a screw for screwing screws into other screws, hot pliers, a plush sausage-sharpener, a rope-soled skate for use in mountain quarries, an oiled cork for use in rabbit-hutches, a cheese anchor and a chivet for screaming radishes.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Meet the Bohos

I read about Bohemian guitars this morning on the Amazon Web Services 'blog this morning. Jeff Barr interviewed one of their founders at the at the AWS Loft in San Francisco. Recycled oil can guitars! Why didn't anyone think of that before?

I am going to the AWS Pop-up Loft London Opening Party on Thursday because I am so ineffably cool.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Educating Cardiff

A British jihadist has been killed by UK forces in Syria after he directed a plot to kill the Queen, it emerged on Monday night.
In a move David Cameron said was “a new departure” for Britain, Reyaad Khan was last month assassinated in an RAF drone strike after security services uncovered his bid to stage a terror attack in the UK.
The Prime Minister said that it is the first time UK forces have directed a targeted attack against one of its own citizens when Britain is not at war.
The Prime Minister authorised the strike without the approval of Parliament but said that it did not require a vote because it was an act of “self-defence” for which there was a “clear legal basis”.
Wow, that is - once again - the Reyaad Khan (see Icons Passim) who went to Willows and then St David's just round the corner from Bronwydd Avenue. Does this mean he wasn't killed as previously reported in July? I shed no tears for him, but I don't know what I make of this "clear legal basis."

If I had been born later I would have gone to St David's. My generation went to St Illtyd's in Cardiff. We did Robert Bolt's A Man for all Seasons at O level.
What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ... And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you – where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's, and if you cut them down – and you're just the man to do it – do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

Monday, September 07, 2015

Stiffen the sinews

Simon Church's injury-time goal being ruled out for offside at the end of a goalless draw with Israel, the champagne is still on ice as Chris Coleman's side have not yet absolutely confirmed an end to Wales' 57-year absence from major soccer tournaments.

A damp squib of a weekend for the Principality's rugby and football teams really.

The Bomber's rugby season is now under way. We had the first weekend training session at the Ruts yesterday and their first game is a friendly against Worthing Sunday week.

The school's U15 schedule is on http://www.schoolsrugby.co.uk/Team.aspx?ID=901&TID=334057. Their first game is a NatWest cup fixture a week today.

I ought to add http://www.schoolsrugby.co.uk/Team.aspx?ID=901&TID=334055 to my resources here as well in case he turns out for the year above this season as he did in the big games last year.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Be careful what you wish for

I blogged earlier this week that http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/live/bbctwo?area=wales was the link needed to watch BBC2 Wales last night on a browser to get the Wales Italy game live on the iPlayer.

This link won't work on the apps you get on other things like the iPad or Amazon Fire Stick but I have discovered that on them that if you go to settings and change your location to Wales you get BBC2 Wales by default when you watch live. This would have been a handy thing to have discovered a long time ago for all sorts of coverage we can't get in Sarf Lahndan, and worked a treat at 5pm last night.

Now that the smoke has cleared, and with Webb and Halfpenny as casualties I almost wish I hadn'r seen the game. That said I have stumped up my £6.99 this morning to Sky Now so I can get the Wales Israel footie tonight.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

The New Colossus?

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
Many Obstacles Are Seen to U.S. Taking in Large Number of Syrian Refugees - The New York Times, yesterday.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Friday, September 04, 2015

Behold, he that keepeth Israel

I've turned the sound down, but unless the source gets removed for copyright reasons last night's winning goal against Cyprus will loop here for ever.
Wales manager Chris Coleman has urged fans to get "carried away" but says he and his players will not do so until they have qualified for Euro 2016.
Having beaten Cyprus 1-0 on Thursday, Wales can seal qualification with victory against Israel on Sunday.
Coleman believes ending Wales' 58-year absence from a major tournament would be just reward for the supporters.
"For the Welsh supporters waiting for us to get back home, get excited," Coleman said.
"My message to them is to get carried away. Enjoy this - they've waited a long time.
But we can't get carried away. I can't, the players can't, my staff can't and we won't."

Thursday, September 03, 2015

The story so far

About tonight:
By winning in Cyprus and defeating Israel, Wales would go to 20 points. That would mean Israel and Cyprus could only reach 18 points at best.
Even if Bosnia draw in Brussels, the maximum total they could then reach from their last three games would also be 18.
 So Wales would be in the finals, with Belgium almost certainly joining them from Group B.
If Bosnia defeat Belgium and also take maximum points from their other games, the most they could get to would be 20.
Wales would already be on that tally, meaning a draw at home to Andorra would be enough. It would also mean Belgium could only get to 20 points themselves and because Wales have the better head-to-head results against them that would stand Coleman's side in good stead.
But what if we don't win these September games? Well that’s feasible and why the mathematics make it hard to work out. But even if Wales were to lose the next three games - Cyprus (away), Israel (home), Bosnia (away) they have a get out of jail free card at home to Andorra.
That would take them to 17 points and in truth that could well be enough, anyhow.
Remember, the Wales doomsday scenario would be based on us losing and the other sides collecting close on maximum points hauls, but they have to play each other anyhow so something has to give.
Bosnia and Israel each have to visit Belgium, while Cyprus also play them. The Belgians are likely to win most of those games.
Israel also meet Cyprus, while the Cypriots take on Bosnia at home in their last match.
It's all too much of an ice cream headache for me. I think I will bin the Cyprus game and just go out for a couple of sun downers with the burglar after work before heading back home for the new Danny Baker sitcom. If we beat Cyprus I will be glued to Sky Sports One on Sunday night for the Israel game though.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

A slow news day

A bridge in Merton has been revealed as one of the top places in the country to play Poohsticks.
The white "fairy-tale" bridge in Morden Hall Park was named by Visit England as the second best in the country to play the stick-racing game, made famous by the fictional children's book character Winnie the Pooh.
The game involves dropping sticks over a bridge and waiting to see whose stick emerges from the other side of the bridge first.
Described as a "serene oasis at the end of the Northern Line", the National Trust park's bridge was judged as the best place in London to play the game.
Thrilling eh? You should live near such a park. So what if the survey found it to be only the second best in the country. Second to what? Sheepwash Bridge in Ashford in the Water, Derbyshire. Sheepwash Bridge in Ashford? Sheepwash Bridge in Schmashford!

Beer by the River, Morden Hall Park has got this weekend. You prefer a sheep dipping bridge? Here, feel a gabardine—how can you doubt?

Tuesday, September 01, 2015


The final world cup warm up game against Italy in the Millenium Stadium is at 5 o'clock in Saturday. it is only going to be shown on the regional BBC2 Wales channel so those of us who live in England will have to watch it on the iPlayer at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/live/bbctwo?area=wales.

The Welsh win against Ireland on Saturday moved them up to fifth in the world rugby rankings ahead of England who have slipped to sixth.

There are two important Welsh football internationals coming up, both on Sky Sports 1; Cyprus away on Thursday and then Israel at home on Sunday. If we win both we will have qualified for the European Championships. The first time we have got the the finals of a major event for over half a century.

More good news is that rankings expert Eduard Ranghiuc, has predicted that when the latest FIFA figures are published on September 3, Wales will be at number nine and above England at ten. Four years ago they were 117th.

That is right, come Thursday Wales will be above England in the world rankings in rugby and football simultaneously.