Thursday, July 31, 2014


I tried to put a cycloc up in the Bomber's room last night. Initially I failed because it didn't come with any bolts for fitting it to the wall so I ordered a pack of M6x70 Loose bolt shield anchors online from Screwfix and drove round to pick them up. (That is a very impressive service by the way.)

When I got back I found that I needed at 12mm masonry drill but to fit them and that my set only goes up to 10mm. By then the shops were closed so I tried drilling 10mm  holes on the off-chance. That off-chance was no-chance, so I ordered a 12mm bit online.

I've picked it up this morning. It looks about 18 inches long. I seem to have lost my sense of scale looking at a photo of it on the interwebs. I hope it will work with a bog standard drill.

I'll have to go home and try it lunch time, as I am going out for a drink with the Burglar after work and will be in no condition to be driving rotating machinery when I get back.

So now you know.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

"Stellar Stella" Geddit!!??

After reading the rave reviews for Gillian Anderson in a revival of A Streetcar Named Desire yesterday, I realized I had only a small chance of getting tickets, but then remembered that there was going to be a live broadcast of it at the HMV Curzon, so I pounced. Even that was a close run thing. There are very few tickets left this morning.

Coincidentally Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash, says Peter Bazalgette in the Independent today, referring to the report Estimating the Impact of Live Simulcast on Theatre Attendance: An Application to London’s National Theatre.

I've never found myself in the cross hairs of a simulcast before. If it is good I might start attending regularly.

That said, as I will be unable to order a strong continental lager at the interval without giving it the full Stanley Kowalski (Icons passim) I may well find myself barred in future.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cream, sha boogie bop

I just stumbled on this. I need to file it away as it will definitely be worth looking at again when I have a guitar of my own to hand.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Coriander Services

1. Almighty and eternal God, who created us in Thy image and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful, especially in the divine person of Thy only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, bishop and doctor, during our journeys through the internet we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

2. The Fasinatng … Frustrating … Fascinating History of Autocorrect. "One day Vignola sent Bill Gates an email. (Thorpe couldn't recall who Bill Vignola was or what he did.) Whenever Bill Vignola typed his own name in MS Word, the email to Gates explained, it was automatically changed to Bill Vaginal. Presumably Vignola caught this sometimes, but not always, and no doubt this serious man was sad to come across like a character in a Thomas Pynchon novel."

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Smart Fashion

A full 80% of respondents believe that technology will seamlessly integrate with fashion trends in the future, while 72% were open to wearing clothing that tracked their health. With the success of Nike's Fuelband this latter number might not be surprising, but with 66% of participants also saying they'd feel comfortable donning wearable tech that served other useful functions it's possible tech could become fashion sooner than we think.
I went to the gym in my kit this morning, but forgot to bring a clean t-shirt so I am sitting in the office typing topless. I will venture out to the market shortly to see if any vendors and selling clobber. Short of that M&S will have to take the strain.

Strange that no Strabismus-lite fashion visionary has come up with a high tech solution to this sort of dilemma. Perhaps in future an  Amazon drone could fly in through the door and drape a shirt over me automatically.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Amazing Spaces: Shed of the Year

I watched Amazing Spaces: Shed of the Year on Thursday night, discovering to my incredulity and delight that it was a series not a one-off-show. We live in a golden age of TV.

I am off to IKEA later today for man cave inspiration. "Opening" the kitchen to the garden, is the mystery to be solved. Decking and artificial grass may be involved.

Friday, July 25, 2014

if tube lines were people

‘A groovy, beardy, leftie, Guardian reading graduate with a lovely job in Digital Media and an accent that makes girls knees shake. Dreams of barge holidays and going to Alex James’s farm for a cheese festival. Voted Lib Dem last time and hates himself for it. Has recently set up a micro brewery in his airing cupboard and grows hops in his small patch of garden in Highgate.’

Thursday, July 24, 2014

reigning champion

Judo is back in the Commonwealth Games for the first time since 2002.

I have just realised that this means that Winston Gordon (Icons passim) who won gold at -90kg at those Manchester games is still the reigning champion although is twelve years at the top will come to an end this week.

Not a bad outing though.

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.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

all seven and we'll watch them fall

Tuesday, July 08, 2014


If you write a book called Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany, and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia--And Even Iraq--Are Destined to become the Kings of the World's Most Popular Sport, you are probably due a hearing on a day when England are already out, and at the end of which Brazil or Germany will be in the final.

Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life - Updated Edition and One Night in Turin: The Inside Story of a World Cup that Changed our Footballing Nation Forever are two other  football books I have read in the last few breathless weeks. Both are recommended.

Monday, July 07, 2014


My BBQ beer can chicken turned out well enough in the taste stakes, but I, my house, and my clothes smell like they've been smoked this morning.

Over the weekend I was forever, fiddling with the kettle smoker. Now I think that perhaps the trick is to leave well alone.

It is to all intents and purposes impossible to take the vessel's body off the fire to get at the charcoal without the chicken falling over. My next beer can chicken will be done in the oven.

The modus operandi from now on will be to get the charcoal thoroughly started, get the meat on, then ..... leave it be.

After a couple of hours flavouring will be complete, and I can sort any under-cooking out in my conventional kitchen oven.

That way I come up smelling of roses. Sniffing myself this morning I was reminded that my Uncle Willie ran away to sea as a boy and worked as stoker in the merchant marine. Evocative but scarcely Proust's Madeleine.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

a plan comes together

I went to Brixton Market yesterday according to plan and then to see Chef (I am listening to the soundtrack now). This can be a great place to live if you put yourself about.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Friday, July 04, 2014

Can you tell what it is yet?

"Rolfing is a method of hands-on body work."
What can I say? It made me laugh. Become a Rolfer.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

drunk history

It all started with one drunk night. Actor Jake Johnson – the dude who plays Nick on New Girl, but has also been in seemingly shitty but actually funny movies, like No Strings Attached and 21 Jump Street – was playing quarters with his fellow-actor friend Derek Waters. Johnson was wasted and decided to tell Waters a story about Otis Redding.
The next day Waters and his director friend Jeremy Konner (who was Jack Black’s assistant at the time) called up Johnson with the premise for Drunk History: "You get belligerently drunk and tell that same Otis Redding story. They’ll film it, get re-enactors to play the historical parts and it will be a viral YouTube success."
Jeremy was right.
That is all I know about Drunk History so far, but I am intrigued.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

we gonna rock down to Electric Avenue

The Brixton renaissance has been happening for some years now. No longer run down and only famous for its prison, Brixton has become, among other things, a thriving hub for foodies.
At the heart of that is Brixton Village Market.
Formerly the Granville Arcade, the market has become a go to for not only the best food in South London, but a flavour of things to come. Honest Burgers opened their first London store here and the Observer has called the market “the most exciting, radical venture on the British restaurant scene right now”.
Having seen Stevie Wonder at the weekend at a venue I can walk home from, as well as having annexed the Hideaway in Streatham with brother John recently, it has struck me I am not making as much as perhaps I can do of Sarf London.

The deceptively simple expedient of going in to Stockwell on the Northern Line and then out again on the Victoria door-to-dooring me to Brixton in twenty of your English minutes if TfL is anything to go by, suggests Brixton Village Market for Saturday, followed by Chef at the Clapham Picture House on the way back.

What do we think? Does that sound like a plan? It pushes the beer can chicken back to Sunday, but watcha gonna do?

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Sweet & Smokey Beer Can Chicken with DJ BBQ

This is what I plan to put in the smoker this weekend, weather permitting. DJ BBQ? Oh dear. "You Stay Classy San Diego."