Monday, December 17, 2018

Chelsea could cash in on Callum Hudson-Odoi as Bayern eye £25million bid in January

Current Bun
CHELSEA look set to sign Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund – and that could hasten the exit of Blues starlet Callum Hudson-Odoi from Stamford Bridge. 
The 18-year-old is yet to make a Premier League appearance this season, and will be out of contract in 2020. Blues boss Maurizio Sarri looks increasingly likely to cash in on the youngster while he can.
The forward is reportedly a transfer target for Bayern Munich, who are hoping to have the same success in recruiting young English players as Borussia Dortmund and Hoffenheim.
I don't often quote The Sun, but it has to be said that Callum has come a long way from the Odeon with me and Ben.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

half Dan, half Fish



I was on the office yesterday when I noticed that the Cardiff Saracens game was being shown live on Channel 4 and that Dan Fish had started, so I rushed home to catch it.

We lost but the Blues were winning at half time due to Dan's try a minute into the video above. You can go directly to it at https://youtu.be/UPbaAJR3fck?t=60

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Endgame



I bought a handful of tickets this morning for The Convert at the Young Vic, so that is where the official Paapa Essiedu Colliers Wood Stalking Society will be on January 17th next year.

Letitia Wright is in it as well, and as the last thing I saw in the theatre was Hayley Atwell in Measure for Measure, it has struck me that both these leading ladies are in the Marvel Avengers Endgame trailer that dropped just over a week (and over seventy million views) ago.

They are both blink-and-you'll-miss-it picture cameos, but I have done the leg work so you don't have to watch it with your cursor on the pause button.


I know this is beyond sad. Whatcha gonna do?

Friday, December 14, 2018

Deck the halls with boughs of holly

I am due at the first Christmas do of the party season tonight.

I will try to be jolly but my hedonic set point is more along the lines what Ross Bullen is implying in his "Literary Alternatives To “Ghosting” At Parties". Please don't take it personally. I am pretty much like this with everyone.
ROBINSON CRUSOE-ING
Tell everyone you’re leaving the party to buy a bottle of wine and that you’ll be back in ten minutes. Board the nearest ship. Sail across the Atlantic and get shipwrecked on a desert island. Survive as best you can, living off the island’s meager resources. Meet a native, give him a new name, and tell him that he is your slave. Return to the party after 28 years (make sure to bring your new slave with you). As the hosts struggle to recognize your weather-beaten visage, tell them the story of your hardships and adventures. Also, tell them that you forgot to buy wine.
BARTLEBY-ING
Arrive at the party and say nothing. If anybody asks if you want to have a drink, say, “I would prefer not to.” If anybody tries to get you to answer a question about your job, say, “I would prefer not to.” Eventually, your dispassionate silence will make everyone so uncomfortable that they will just leave you alone in the host’s apartment. The police will arrive and haul you away to jail. Refuse all offers of food and starve to death. Become a metaphor for the human condition.
JOHN KEATS-ING
Die of consumption before the party starts.
MR. ROCHESTER-ING

Get to the party early enough to hide your secret wife in the attic. Once she’s safely locked up, start chatting with a nice young woman named Jane. Try out the brooding bad-boy approach — she seems to like that. Don’t say anything when your secret wife occasionally escapes from the attic and tries to attack Jane or set you on fire. Things go well until your wife burns the party to the ground, you are tragically blinded, and Jane blocks you on Tinder.
TIME MACHINE-ING
Excuse yourself from the party, go to the bathroom, and build a Victorian-era time machine in the shower. Travel to the year 802,701 A.D. and convince a dozen Morlocks to come back with you. Bring them to the party and introduce them to the other guests. Once the Morlocks have finished eating everybody, slip out the bathroom window, grab an Uber home, and catch up with The Great British Bake Off on Netflix.
EMILY BRONTË-ING
Die of consumption before the party starts.
FRANKENSTEIN-ING
Swing by the graveyard on your way to the party. Dig up a few fresh corpses. Defy the laws of God and man by making a living creature out of dead flesh. Once the monster stirs to life, freak out, run away, and just go to the party like nothing has happened. Eventually, the monster crashes the party, starts strangling your friends, quoting passages from Paradise Lost, and eating all the finger foods. Tell the surviving guests that you need to leave in order to chase the creature to the ends of the Earth, and also to buy more Doritos. Follow the monster to the Arctic, get stuck on an ice floe, and — just as you are about to perish — get rescued by a passing ship. Tell your life story to the ship’s captain, and eat the last of the Doritos while you lie on your deathbed.
EDGAR ALLAN POE-ING
Die in a gutter before the party starts, probably from consumption (with a hint of alcohol poisoning).
HAMLET-ING
This strategy is ideal for family gatherings. Tell everyone you are going to perform a play about your mother’s relationship with your new stepfather, Claude. Begin the show with a monologue that requires you to dramatically weep three times in the first five minutes. The party will break up before the second act, and you can go back to shitposting about Claude on Facebook.
INFINITE JEST-ING
Tell everyone at the party how much Infinite Jest changed your life. Trust us, nobody will ever start a conversation with you again.




Thursday, December 13, 2018

Nobody owes nobody nothing.

Ben and I went to Creed II last night in the Odeon in Wimbledon. Good fun and a creditable addition to the Rocky canon. Standard adult tickets are £14.25 each though.

Afterwards, as is traditional, we went to Wahahaca. We had the Favourites set menu. Serves two: £17.75 each, £35.50 total, plus £4.10 each for two Coronas and a tip.

Thus, including the gratuity the evening totals about eighty quid.

I'm not moaning, it just put the stint I am going to try and do today helping out in the food bank in perspective.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

If you want more, more, more

The Bomber has passed his driving theory test at the third time of asking. I am about to do Hugh Grant's embarrassing dance from Love Actually around the office and then down the stairs outside.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Tweet Charity

I agree with this. Good idea. I would be happy for a charity to get my refund.

I can't do this today but I think I can spare two hours on Thursday morning.


Monday, December 10, 2018

I knew a phoenix in my youth, so let them have their day.

Cardiff City beat Southampton on the weekend, so we are fourteenth in the Premier League today.

All the teams below us - Newcastle,  Crystal Palace, Burnley, Huddersfield, Southampton (obviously) and Fulham - lost. "It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail." as Gore Vidal said.

Watford (one above City but six points clear) are next up, 3pm on Saturday.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

The Loyal Opposition

For all the background reading I have been doing on deep learning, I am still completely baffled as to how and why neural networks work at all. Perhaps I am just temperamentally unconformable with connectionism.

What I think I will do is start following naysayers like Gary Marcus and see what I think of their criticisms.
Deep Learning: A Critical Appraisal
Gary Marcus
(Submitted on 2 Jan 2018)
Although deep learning has historical roots going back decades, neither the term "deep learning" nor the approach was popular just over five years ago, when the field was reignited by papers such as Krizhevsky, Sutskever and Hinton's now classic (2012) deep network model of Imagenet. What has the field discovered in the five subsequent years? Against a background of considerable progress in areas such as speech recognition, image recognition, and game playing, and considerable enthusiasm in the popular press, I present ten concerns for deep learning, and suggest that deep learning must be supplemented by other techniques if we are to reach artificial general intelligence.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

too hip for the room

I'm thinking of starting a version of Tinder for people my age; it's called carbon dating.
I made up that joke and I think it is pretty funny.

Friday, December 07, 2018

O2 be in England (gedditt!!)

I was twigged to yesterday's O2 outage early doors yesterday as I got a call from my brother while I was still in the changing room after 7am yoga and noticed my phone's general distress.

Torygraph
Transport for London
London Bus electronic timetables, which rely on the O2 network, have been affected. London buses include a SIM-card which transmits to bus stops ahead, giving the arrival time of the bus. These have stopped working.
The network of Santander Cycles, or Boris Bikes, is also experiencing headaches. While users who have a subscription can hire out a one of the on-demand cycles, users trying to create a new subscription at one of the terminals are blocked, since these are also based on O2 connections
A TfL spokesperson said: “We’re sorry that customers are unable to use our Countdown screens at bus stops for live travel information and some Santander Cycles customers cannot hire bikes. This is a result of a nationwide O2 data outage. We are working with our service provider to resolve this as soon as possible.”
Uber affected
Customers took to social media to complain features of their smartphones had stopped working. Several Uber drivers reported on Twitter that they were missing out on trips and work due to the service disruption. The Uber smartphone app relies on mobile data connections to connect drivers to passengers.
What would have happened to all the autonomous cars in our promised brave new world?

Thursday, December 06, 2018

You and AI

Since I went to see Social Justice: An Evening with Alex Vitale and Gary Younge at the South Bank University, I have been more aware of the various series of free lectures that are available in the metropolis. This morning I have added the upcoming Royal Society events to Feedly via this RSS feed.

I can also see that I have largely missed the Society’s 2018 series: You and AI, a collaborative effort to help people understand what machine learning and AI are, how these technologies work and the ways they may affect our lives.

No matter I can catch up with the backlog on video, starting at the beginning with DeepMind's Demis Hassabis on its history, capabilities and scientific frontiers.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

The Book of Job

Almost exactly three months to the day (Icons passim) after falling and breaking her hip, mum is out of hospital. She is going to be in the Ty Enfys Care Home for the time being.

Just to keep me on my toes, however, the gods have arranged for one of my brothers to go down with sepsis.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Learn about the BT Hub Manager

The broadband connection we have put into Bronwydd Avenue doesn't seem to be working, and there is little I can contribute from up in London except to recommend looking at http://bt.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/57427/~/learn-about-the-bt-hub-manager.

If John can start up a web browser on his laptop and type 192.168.1.254 into the address bar he may be able to get connection status details that will help us get a better idea of what the specific issue may be.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Man shot by police in raid at house in south London

Standard
A man was shot early today as armed officers swooped on suspected robbers in south west London.
Officers from the Met's Flying Squad assisted by firearms officers descended on a small residential street in Wimbledon shortly after 8am on Monday.
Witnesses claimed the suspect was shot in an exchange of fire with police after a stake-out outside a Sainsbury’s store.
The man suffered a gunshot wound during the pre-planned "proactive" operation.
He was taken by London Ambulance Service to a London hospital. Another man was arrested for conspiracy to rob.
This is just round the corner. The bus I took to New Malden on the weekend goes past the Sainsbury's in Haydons Road.

See also https://nickbrowne.coraider.com/2018/11/these-violent-delights-have-violent-ends.html and its links in turn; going to hell in a handbasket.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

All the grocery news you can eat

I have finally cancelled my weekly vegetable box, it just seemed to get more meagre and more expensive all the time. I must have been signed up to it for about ten years. I remember signing up after it was on a stall in the Singlegate Summer Fair. Ben was in year three in primary school and he is eighteen now. I remember being converted to the cause as he was podding and eating broad beans as we walked home with our half price remaindered treasure.

There's an Aldi opening in Colliers Wood later this week on December 6th. Perhaps I will replace the box with their weekly Super 6 fruit and veg offers. I think John might have suggested this to me a while ago back in Cardiff.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

René Girard

On Monday, I went to Social Justice: An Evening with Alex Vitale and Gary Younge at the South Bank University. Why didn't I see you there, you lightweight?

Afterwards, on account of being a ponce, I wrote as follows to Rebecca who was also there with Steve:
I can't help but think that René Girard's thought could have helped clarify a lot of Alex Vitale's contribution to last night's event.
In particular, his concept of mimetic desire (https://www.iep.utm.edu/girard/#H2) goes a long way to explaining gang behaviour. and the scapegoat mechanism (https://www.iep.utm.edu/girard/#H3) underlies the policing reaction Vitale deplored.
See what I mean about being a ponce? Any road, if you need to catch up with Monsieur Girard  in a hurry, there is a convenient overview in the latest New York Review of Books. See https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/12/20/rene-girard-prophet-envy/.

Kirk out.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Raising a quizzical highbrow

I went to the Donmar Warehouse to see Measure for Measure last night.

I knew from the reviews that the production is built around a sort of high-concept #MeToo manoeuvre; the first half is a traditional, if shortened, 17th-century staging before the second half retells the story in 2018 with the gender power dynamics reversed

As I had left the house at six thirty in the morning to drive to Warwickshire for a meeting, come back to work in the SW19 office for the afternoon, and then gone straight to the theatre, I was so jaded I felt I could do without seeing the same story twice and decided to go home in the interval.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man though, in the event I was so gripped by part one that I stayed for the whole thing and thought it was great. I guess this means they must have pulled off what does sound, in theory, like an over-contrived conceit.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

A Welshman, an Iraqi and an African walk into a bar

Introductory Essay on the Pelagian Controversy
§ 2. The Pelagian heresy is so designated after Pelagius, a British monk. (Augustin calls him Brito, so do Prosper and Gennadius; by Orosius he is called Britannicus noster, and by Mercator described as gente Britannus. This wide epithet is somewhat restricted by Jerome, who says of him, Habet progeniem Scotiæ gentis de Britannorum vicinia; leaving it uncertain, however, whether he deemed Scotland his native country, or Ireland. His monastic character is often referred to both by Augustin and other writers, and Pope Zosimus describes him as Laicum virum ad bonam frugem longa erga Deum servitute nitentem. It is, after all, quite uncertain what part of "Britain" gave him birth; among other conjectures, he has been made a native of Wales, attached to a monastery at Bangor, and gifted with the Welsh name of Morgan, of which his usual designation of Pelagius is supposed to be simply the Greek version, Pelagio.)
I am minded to accept Pelagius as a Welshman whose given name was Morgan, anoint a 73rd Welsh Born Icon, and throw myself on the mercy of the court for identifying him as English in 2005 (Icons passim).

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Slow Hand Clapham

Can't make it tonight, but maybe one for a fortnight's time.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Interesting fella

Coffee in the Wood seems to be, to all intents and purposes, the Joe Allen's of SW19. Frankie told me yesterday that a regular called Russell Bentley is appearing as Chuck Colson in a drama-documentary called Watergate.

I have had a little nosey-parker at it this morning. Charles Ferguson, the writer and director, sounds like a might interesting fella.
Charles Ferguson is a filmmaker and writer. He is the founder and president of Representational Pictures, and the director and producer of Inside Job, winner of the 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, and of No End in Sight: The American Occupation of Iraq, which was an Academy Award nominee as well. His latest film, Time to Choose, is the first comprehensive examination of how to address climate change and the bigger challenge of global sustainability.
Ferguson was originally trained as a political scientist. He holds a B.A in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in political science from MIT, where his research focused on interactions between high technology, globalization, and government policy. While conducting postdoctoral research at MIT, Ferguson was a consultant to the White House, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Department of Defense, and several U.S. and European high technology firms.
In 1994, Ferguson founded Vermeer Technologies, one of the earliest Internet software companies, with Randy Forgaard. Vermeer created the first visual website development tool, FrontPage. In early 1996, Ferguson sold Vermeer to Microsoft, which integrated FrontPage into Microsoft Office.
After selling Vermeer, Ferguson turned to research, writing and filmmaking. He is the author of five books, including High Stakes, No Prisoners: A Winner’s Tale of Greed and Glory in the Internet Wars. Ferguson’s most recent book is Predator Nation, which focuses on the roots of the financial crisis and economic inequality, and was published by Random House/Crown in May 2012. He has written for The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The New York Times, and other publications.
Ferguson spent several years as a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a director of the French-American Foundation.
Developer of Frontpage and Oscar winner. How's that for a polymath? Engagingly casual website as well.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Gwdihŵ

We like a little tipple at Gwdihŵ, so we’ve stocked our back bar with a vast selection of rums, bourbons, whiskeys, vodkas, shooters and liqueurs, with new additions all the time, as well as large array of beers, ciders and ales, including a rotating selection from the Pipes brewery located just down the road in Canton.
We also have some great drinks offers every day including four cans of either Red Stripe, Strongbow, or Guinness, which you can mix and match, for just £12. It’s also 50% off drinks every Monday alongside our Gwd Mondays events!
During the daytime we offer a lovely selection of teas and coffees in decanters, along with Ciabattas to munch on. There’s free wifi access if you want to do some work, or board games to play, or just relax on the sofas and picnic tables in our lovely beer garden, with heaters to warm you through the winter and a roof to shelter you from the rain.
By way of explanation
Gwdihŵ is a flourishing, friendly and relaxed independent space for alternative music on the edge of the city centre in Cardiff. Established in 2008, we’re a 100-180 capacity venue renowned for our cosy yet raucous atmosphere, diverse events programme and colourful exterior!
We pride ourselves on bringing the most diverse, eclectic, intriguing live music, cutting edge DJs & events to Cardiff. On our weekends you’ll discover a musical menagerie from live funk, afrobeat, jazz, electronica & hip hop to the finest in underground DJs from the likes of our finest promoters like Blue Honey & Hully Gully to move to.
The rest of the week we focus on bringing the finest in touring acts and local gems, with promoters such as All My Friends bringing an experimental amalgam of electronic & indie-punk, Juxtaposed putting on searing rock & Indie shows, Folk in the Owl’s Nest bringing intimate folk & acoustic music and much more. 
The rugby/alternative music cross over scene still being (what's a good way to put this?) nascent. We discovered yesterday that Gwdihŵ's bar is a great place for a civilised drink on the way to an international at the Principality. Plenty of elbow room, while every other licensed establishment in the vicinity is stuffed to the gills with the great unwashed. Don't tell anyone else; our secret.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?

Being There
An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Yep. I am back in Cardiff.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Jetts (I thought the major was a lady suffragette)


Jetts Colliers Wood is coming to Christchurch Road in December 2018!
Offering all the latest state-of-the-art strength, cardio and functional training equipment, Jetts Colliers Wood will continue Jetts' philosophy of allowing members to workout on your terms, with 24/7 access, no lock-in contracts, capped membership to avoid overcrowding, small group training sessions and free onsite parking.
I might check this out. I think that my long term gym has been on the slide since Nuffield took it over from Virgin.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Conflict of Interest

I can see from the England Rugby website that the Old Ruts Colts have got London Irish in the next round of the National Under 18 Cup. The Irish are a tall order, but it is a chance for revenge after they beat us in the semi-final of the County Cup last season (Icons passim).

The game is on February 9th which is the same day as the Italy Wales match in the Six Nations. Ben and I had planned to go to Rome for that, but I think the Ruts game may trump it. We will have to talk it over.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A Contribution to the Theory of Taxation



I'm a bit late to this 2017 party, but if Bill Gates, Jeremy Corbyn and Robert Shiller (professor of economics at Yale) all think that taxing robots is an idea worth exploring, chances are it is an idea worth exploring.

Years ago, I read a book called Code: and Other Laws of Cyberspace, by Lawrence Lessig (Roy L. Furman Professor of Law at Harvard) that I seem to remember suggested that it would be a good idea for individuals to own information about themselves that they could license to organisations. A scenario in which your heath records, for example, would be yours even though you allowed the NHS to use them.

I have always liked that idea, and it has led me on to inchoate notions that perhaps it might be possible to address the looming problem of the power of Artificial Intelligence, by making these disembodied robots legal entities with responsibilities, and subject to sanction if they flouted them. Is that analogous to what Gates is saying above?

It is worth recalling physicist Michael Faraday's reply in the 1850s to William Gladstone, then British chancellor of the exchequer. Questioned about the practical value of electricity, Faraday answered: “One day, sir, you may tax it.”

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

'crouch, touch, pause, engage'



I've taken to doing Hotpod Yoga on Saturday mornings when I am back in Cardiff. Booking up this weekend's session, I noticed that they are involved with the 'Quins.

I shouldn't be surprised given https://nickbrowne.coraider.com/search?q=yoga+rugby yet this unlikely cross over never ceases to put a little more spring in my step.

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Kominsky Method



I watched the first episode of this new Netflix comedy with Alan Arkin and Michael Douglas last night. For all that the reviews I have read this morning seem rather grudging, I thought it was great.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

You're in a Rut, You gotta get out of it

Following on from a very hard fought victory against last years semi-finalists Horsham RFC, The Mighty Ruts entertain Wasps RFC this Sunday at Poplar Road in the 2nd round of the RFU National Colts (U17/18s) Cup.
We won quite handsomely in the end. Thirty nine to twenty odd (the exact result escapes me). Tries for Ben and Jonnie, and the Wasps score flatters them as two of their tries came from our errors; a knock on from our full back, and a charged down kick from our outside half. Both our 10 and 15 redeemed themselves though so no hard feelings.

We'll be in the last eight in group eight now see https://www.englandrugby.com/club-competitions/national-under-18-cup/fixtures-and-results/2018-2019/group/28425

Saturday, November 17, 2018

A un vincitore nel pallone

The face of glory and her pleasant voice,
O fortunate youth, now recognize,
And how much nobler than effeminate sloth
Are manhood's tested energies.
Take heed, O generous champion, take heed,
If thou thy name by worthy thought or deed,
From Time's all-sweeping current couldst redeem;
Take heed, and lift thy heart to high desires!
The amphitheatre's applause, the public voice,
Now summon thee to deeds illustrious;
Exulting in thy lusty youth.
In thee, to-day, thy country dear
Beholds her heroes old again appear.
Prodnose: Isn't that rather an over-egged reaction to the fact that the Old Ruts Colts are playing Wasps U18s in the next round of the RFU's National U18 Cup at the club lunchtime tomorrow?

Myself: I suppose so, but I don't want to leave anything to chance. Besides that, in an age when so many people are at a loss to give life meaning and direction, Giacomo Leopardi is essential reading.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Longshot Kick De Bucket



We went mob-handed to see RUDEBOY: The Story of Trojan Records last night as part of the Doc'n Roll Festival.

It was playing at the Ritzy in Brixton. We met at Colliers Wood tube station at half past seven and had arrived twenty odd minutes later.

Why don't I make the effort to get over to SW2 more often?

Prodnose: Saltfish de pan counta a wait pan bread an butta

Myself: Yes, that must be it. God give me strength.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

SWIFF as a shadow, short as any dream


SWIFF 2018 will be held at The Wheatsheaf, 2 Upper Tooting Road, Tooting, London SW17 7PG
Saturday 24 November, 11.30am-11.30pm
FREE ENTRANCE. NO NEED TO BOOK TICKETS.
I can't go because I am back in Cardiff for the South Africa game. You, however, have no excuse. Whether they would even let me in after 2016's shenanigans (Icons passim) is a moot point.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Where does the time go?



Here is an interview with Lewis on his graduation from the WP Rugby Academy in South Africa. Here he is with Ben on Bondy's boat in 2009. They met earlier that year when we all went skiing together in Kitzbühel. Ben was eight and Lewis was eleven. I wonder if I would even remember if I didn't write here every day.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Machine - Bert Kreischer



Ben's mate Jonnie H played the audio of this story on his phone when we got back from the Wales game this weekend.

Bert Kreischer was on the Joe Rogan Experience back in August. It is strange how all these threads entangle outside mainstream media/

Monday, November 12, 2018

Still a hill to climb



Kevin's Hong Kong go beaten 26-9 by Germany in the World Cup Repechage.

How juice drink billionaire bankrolled Germany’s Rugby World Cup charge: Hans-Peter Wild got his money from Capri Sun and spent €20m to get the country to within three games of the tournament, is an interesting story.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Cyntedd


Ben and I went to see Mum in the Heath Hospital yesterday.

Because I am so puerile, cyntedd, which is apparently Welsh for concourse, is my new favourite word.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

lucky 14

Ben, the Hendries and I are setting off for Cardiff shortly to see the Wales Australia game.

Australia have beaten us 13 times in a row, but hope springs eternal.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

The Midterms: What's it all about?

Political System of the United States
Wikipedia
Legislative branch
The United States Congress is the legislative branch of the federal government. It is bicameral, comprising the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Makeup of Congress
House of Representatives
The House currently consists of 435 voting members, each of whom represents a congressional district. The number of representatives each state has in the House is based on each state's population as determined in the most recent United States Census. All 435 representatives serve a two-year term. Each state receives a minimum of one representative in the House. In order to be elected as a representative, an individual must be at least 25 years of age, must have been a U.S. citizen for at least seven years, and must live in the state that he or she represents. There is no limit on the number of terms a representative may serve. In addition to the 435 voting members, there are 6 non-voting members, consisting of 5 delegates and one resident commissioner. There is one delegate each from the District of Columbia, Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the resident commissioner from Puerto Rico.
Senate
In contrast, the Senate is made up of two senators from each state, regardless of population. There are currently 100 senators (2 from each of the 50 states), who each serve six-year terms. Approximately one-third of the Senate stands for election every two years.
Different powers
The House and Senate each have particular exclusive powers. For example, the Senate must approve (give "advice and consent" to) many important presidential appointments, including cabinet officers, federal judges (including nominees to the Supreme Court), department secretaries (heads of federal executive branch departments), U.S. military and naval officers, and ambassadors to foreign countries. All legislative bills for raising revenue must originate in the House of Representatives. The approval of both chambers is required to pass all legislation, which then may only become law by being signed by the president (or, if the president vetoes the bill, both houses of Congress then re-pass the bill, but by a two-thirds majority of each chamber, in which case the bill becomes law without the president's signature). The powers of Congress are limited to those enumerated in the Constitution; all other powers are reserved to the states and the people. The Constitution also includes the "Necessary and Proper Clause", which grants Congress the power to "make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers". Members of the House and Senate are elected by first-past-the-post voting in every state except Louisiana and Georgia, which have runoffs.
Impeachment of federal officers
Congress has the power to remove the president, federal judges, and other federal officers from office. The House of Representatives and Senate have separate roles in this process. The House must first vote to "impeach" the official. Then, a trial is held in the Senate to decide whether the official should be removed from office. Although two presidents have been impeached by the House of Representatives (Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton), neither of them was removed following trial in the Senate.
So now you know. That last paragraph explains a lot.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

50 Things No Man Over 40 Should Own



As I was driving home last night I found myself tapping my foot to this tropical club banger on Radio 1.

This morning I found out exactly what it was using https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/tracks/find/radio1/2018/11/06/5PM

That is all.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Repechage

I went out for a drink with Kevin last night as he is back from the Far East.

It turns out that, among his various jobs and titles, he is Director of Coaching and Performance for the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union.

He is in Europe for the the Rugby World Cup 2019 repechage at Stade Delort in Marseille – the tournament that will deliver the 20th and final team to the Japan 2019 World Cup.

Hong Kong, Canada, Kenya and Germany will compete in a round-robin format event to be played across three match days on Sunday 11 November, Saturday 17 November and Friday 23 November, 2018.

Hong Kong play Germany at four o'clock on the 11th, Kenya at one o'clock on the 17th, and Canada at nine om the 23rd.

Monday, November 05, 2018

3 Blue 1 Browne



OK, so courtesy of this channel's series on linear algebra and neural networks I am close to understanding the scope of this technology as it was before the 2012 leap forward that is changing the world.

Recurrent neural networks (RNNs) and Convolutional deep neural networks (CNNs) are still in my future but it is a start I guess.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Sunday is still rugby day in my house

Andy H told me yesterday that he ahd heard that Horsham U18s who the Ruts beat in the first round a fortnight ago (Icons passim) came third in the RFU National Under 18 Cup last year.

I can see from https://www.englandrugby.com/club-competitions/national-under-18-cup/fixtures-and-results/2017-2018/group/26013 that they were certainly in at the death (maybe there is a group thing I don't understand) and must be one of the best Colts sides in England.

All rather heartening.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

These violent delights have violent ends

A 17-year-old boy has died after being stabbed outside a Tube station, becoming the second teenager to be fatally knifed in London within 24 hours.
It comes the day after a 15-year-old, named by police as Jay Hughes, was stabbed to death in Bellingham, south east London.
The killing marks the 115th homicide in the capital so far this year, of which 19 victims have been teenagers.
Officers were called to Clapham South Tube Station in south west London at 4.35pm on Friday, where they found the teenager suffering from a stab wound.
He was taken to a south London hospital, where he died less than an hour later, the Metropolitan Police said.
Clapham South is four stops - a nine minute tube ride - on the Northern Line from us at Colliers Wood.

See Dan Young RIP.
See Knife Crime.

It just seems to get worse and worse.

Friday, November 02, 2018

as we that are left grow old

Rayburn is 29 today. To put this in perspective he is just slightly older than Paapa who got a Bafta Breaktrhough Brits Award the day before yesterday.

I went to see the NT Live show of Allelujah! last night. Having spent so many weekends visiting my mum's broken hip and my dad's dementia recently and - for what it is worth - having sung with Bryn last weekend, I found it very moving. It proved you can wear your heart on your sleeve without being overly didactic or hectoring.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Big Balls Dickson

It's not just Ben's Old Ruts who like to run the ball from behind the try line then. It's good to see an Aussie starring for my beloved Seahawks as well.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Orphy Robinson

Today (Icons passim) on my way back from Warwickshire I tuned into Robert Elms on BBC Radio London and was turned on to Orphy Robinson (of whom I have never previously heard). His cover of Golden Brown was played and he is doing a jazz version of Astral Weeks on the South Bank in November.

Last night my brother turned me on to the country stylings of Luke Combs and I was drunk-dialling Emmy Lou by the beginning of the fourth track.

Turned on twice in under 24 hours! What will the neighbours think?

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

I Wanna Be Sedated

As Lorazepam is presecribed to the old man.
Life is very long
Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Arguing machines

I watched the Joe Rogan Experience #1188 - Lex Fridman (or rather half, it's nearly three hours long) yesterday evening. Note to self: subscribe to Fridman's Artificial Intelligence Podcast.

The main purpose of this post though, is to share a couple of Boston Dynamics videos that Rogan referred to in passing during the discussion.




"Changing your idea of what robots can do." True dat.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Stop all the clocks

Mum's in hospital and dad is in a home. We had to move the clocks forward this morning in their empty house where time is standing still.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Billy the Seal


This is an automated post set up to launch itself upon an unsuspecting world while I am away from the interwebs in Bronwydd.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Fold the corner of this page

Callum made his Europa League debut for Chelsea in their 3-1 win over BATE Borisov at the Stamford Bridge last night. He was on for half an hour after replacing forward Pedro Rodriguez on the 60th minute mark.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Engel's Hedgehog

I had no idea when I wrote about Schopenhauer's poodles, that I was starting a series. A series that continues today with Engel's Hedgehog.

Volume 43 of Marx and Engel's Collected Works covers their 1868 to 1870 correspondence.

Engels to Marx 10 April 1868
Dear Moor,
.......... Unfortunately, I have a death to announce to Tussy. The poor hedgehog ate a round hole in his blanket, put his head through it, and got so stuck in it that he was found strangled yesterday morning. Peace to his ashes, and BETTER LUCK TO THE NEXT ONE...........
Your
F. E.
The wedding was celebrated here with great festivity: the dogs had green collars, a TEA PARTY for 6 children, Lafargue's glass basin served as a punch-bowl, and the poor hedgehog was made drunk for the last time.
Marx to Engels 11 April 1868
DEAR FRED,
D'abord" the GENERAL CONDOLATIONS, and especially from Tussychen, about the departed RIGHT HONOURABLE HEDGEHOG.
It is a good thing that the opium prescription arrived today..........
In summary, Friedrich Engels had a hard drinking pet (the Right Honourable Hedgehog) that accidentally strangled itself, almost certainly after a night out on the tiles.

My cup runneth over, to the extent that I am just leaving the opium thing dangling.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Pipe Dreams

One day, and that day may never come, I will do the Machine Learning Crash Course with TensorFlow APIs; Google's fast-paced, practical introduction to machine learning.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

OFM Awards? OMFG!

When John and I (and other assorted family members) met Shauna in 2015 (Icons passim) the Hang Fire crew ran pop-ups and didn't even have their own premises.

Now, the Hang Fire Southern Kitchen, Barry - creole gumbo and Dolly Parton’s favourite brisket, served in the Deep South of Wales - has been voted by reader of the Observer Food Monthly as their restaurant of the year. What an amazon achievement.

https://www.theguardian.com/food/2018/oct/21/ofm-awards-2018-best-restaurant-hang-fire-southern-kitchen-barry

Monday, October 22, 2018

Old Rutlishains U18 16-13 Horsham U18

I thought Cardiff City's win this weekend couldn't be outshone this weekend, but Ben and the Old Ruts nail-biting win over Horsham U18s in the RFU's National U18s Cup yesterday managed to do it.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

What is Echo Connect?

With Echo Connect and a compatible Alexa-enabled device, you can ask Alexa to call anyone using your home phone service—all you have to do is ask. Echo Connect uses your home phone number, whether landline or VoIP, so friends and family will still recognise the call. Answer your home phone on your Echo from across the room so you can easily talk to anyone hands-free when you’re busy making dinner or away from the phone.
This could be just the job for the office. It seems to have a few teething problems that the moment. Perhaps I will leave it for a month or two.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Cardiff City 4-2 Fulham



A fine win for the City and they are out of the relegation zone. This is the first day of the rest of my life.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Chaos Theory

  • The incendiary One for The Road is Pinter at his most terrifying: a ruthless government official interrogates a dissident and his family, but is the torturer more tortured than his victims?
  • The New World Order explores how the abuse of power is legitimised in the name of freedom and democracy, as two brutal interrogators prepare to inflict their terrible punishment on a blind-folded insurgent.
We are all off mob-handed to see the last night of Paapa at the Pinter tomorrow evening. When I booked the tickets these one-act plays seemed to have come out of a time capsule. In the wake of Kamal Khashoggi, less so - to put it mildly.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

And they're off



Wimbledon Bookfest is finished for another year. (Icons passim.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Football the only winner

FA
England U19s made it two wins from two games in October, with a convincing 6-2 victory over Macedonia at St. George’s Park.
The Young Lions are preparing for next month’s Euro qualifiers in Turkey and after an impressive 4-1 win in Portugal last Thursday, it was back to base camp for their final warm-up game.
And Keith Downing’s side certainly found their range, as first-half goals captain Callum Hudson-Odoi and a double from Stephen Walker set the Young Lions on their way.
Happy to see Wales beat Ireland yesterday and for Callum to score as well as captaining England U19. I don't recall him officially leading the team in a match before; it is all good.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.

Where I am from:
The lost communities of Cardiff’s docklands are to feature in a new four-part tv series on ITV Cymru Wales.
‘Dock of the Bay’ examines the transformation of the city’s waterfront from Tiger Bay to Cardiff Bay. It also chronicles the history and demolition of Newtown, nick-named ‘Little Ireland’ and Lower Splott, a community that was built in the shadow of the giant East Moors steelworks.
The series celebrates the present day diversity of the Bay and goes behind the scenes of some of the area’s most beautiful buildings as well as capturing the daily life of the docks itself. It is presented by Adeola Dewis, who brought up her family in the Bay. She works with many local groups including the Butetown Carnival.
“The stories are very moving because they are about loss and change,” said Adeola.
“They are also powerful stories because they show how the spirit of those communities has endured.”
Mary Sullivan, Chair and co-founder of the Newtown Association is one of the people featured in the series. She was brought up in ‘Little Ireland’, an area close to Tyndall Street, to the south-east of the city centre.
“My grandmother had 42 grandchildren and 36 of them lived in the same street. So you can imagine there was never any shortage of playmates. We played a lot in the street. Of course, we didn’t have television so we had lots of street games. We were poor, but we didn’t realise that because everyone was in the same boat.
Dock of the Bay will be broadcast by ITV Wales at 7.30pm on Tuesday 16th October and will then be online at: itv.com/walesprogrammes

Monday, October 15, 2018

Seahawk Postcards from Easy Street

What with one thing and another, I have been neglecting my beloved Seahawks lately.

Neglecting them to the extent that I didn't even realise they were playing in London yesterday.

It was then a delightful surprise to stumble on BBC coverage when I got in and switched on the TV. They cruised past the Raiders almost as imperiously as the Old Ruts Colts had cruised past Dorking RFC earlier in the day.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p06nhx68/american-football-201819-seattle-seahawks-v-oakland-raiders available for 29 days.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Fetch me that slab

Nearly six years on (Icons passim) I have been having another crack at Ray Monk's Wittgenstein biography.

Having stumbled on the Beyond the Fringe sketch below however I may not be able to give it the "Well, God has arrived" respect it deserves.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Ecclesiasticus Chapter 3

1 Hear me your father, O children, and do thereafter, that ye may be safe.

2 For the Lord hath given the father honour over the children, and hath confirmed the authority of the mother over the sons.

3 Whoso honoureth his father maketh an atonement for his sins:

4 And he that honoureth his mother is as one that layeth up treasure.

5 Whoso honoureth his father shall have joy of his own children; and when he maketh his prayer, he shall be heard.

6 He that honoureth his father shall have a long life; and he that is obedient unto the Lord shall be a comfort to his mother.

7 He that feareth the Lord will honour his father, and will do service unto his parents, as to his masters.

8 Honour thy father and mother both in word and deed, that a blessing may come upon thee from them.

9 For the blessing of the father establisheth the houses of children; but the curse of the mother rooteth out foundations.

10 Glory not in the dishonour of thy father; for thy father's dishonour is no glory unto thee.

11 For the glory of a man is from the honour of his father; and a mother in dishonour is a reproach to the children.

12 My son, help thy father in his age, and grieve him not as long as he liveth.

13 And if his understanding fail, have patience with him; and despise him not when thou art in thy full strength.

14 For the relieving of thy father shall not be forgotten: and instead of sins it shall be added to build thee up.

15 In the day of thine affliction it shall be remembered; thy sins also shall melt away, as the ice in the fair warm weather.

16 He that forsaketh his father is as a blasphemer; and he that angereth his mother is cursed: of God.

Ecclesiasticus Chapter 3 pretty much covers the Cardiff situation at the moment. It is strange, I saw the 86 year old Humphrey Burton on Leonard Bernstein at the Wimbledon Bookfest last night and Mr Burton was still gracious and bright as a button.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Headliners


Painted from Memory is one of my very favourite albums, so I must catch up with this BBC show. Note to self: I still don't seem to have come up with a satisfactory Alexa podcast subscription solution.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The law of unintended consequences


Hat tip: The Torygraph.
The EU’s​ General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) risks abuse by granting hackers a way to access more detailed information than ever before.
The rules allow consumers to download the information a company holds on them so they can move it to another service if they wish. Prof Yang said some of the largest organisations ­including Uber, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Google have been forced to add in a “super-dangerous” data download feature to comply with GDPR, which came into effect in May.
She said: “There’s more at stake when hackers get into accounts because they can now request all of your data, or they can request to delete your data.”
A hacker gained access to Yang’s Spotify account and her birth date, gender, postcode, mobile number, redacted credit card number and credit card expiration dates. Such information enables “jigsaw identification”.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The price of fame


I can confirm that Callum is not going through an "If I've only one life, let me live it as a blonde" stage regardless of what you might see on FIFA 19

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Mad Props

We came second in the Antelope quiz last night, so we have got a £25 bar tab for next week.

A fairly recent member of our team, presses a valve on his neck to speak, in a manner reminiscent of how I am sure I remember Jack Hawkins talking on Parkinson years and years ago.

I would never presume to ask him about it, but I have consulted the interwebs today.

He must have a tracheo-esophageal puncture (or tracheoesophageal puncture); a surgically created hole between the trachea (windpipe) and the esophagus (the tubal pathway between the throat and the stomach) suggesting he has had a total laryngectomy, a surgery where the larynx (voice box) is removed.
To speak with a TEP, you take a deep breath and then cover the stoma so that when you exhale, the air that would normally come out of the stoma is shunted through a little prosthesis (a TEP valve). The air goes through the one-way valve of the prosthesis, then up your esophagus, where muscle vibrations help to produce voice. You can either cover your stoma with your finger when speaking, or you can get a "hands-free" tracheostoma valve.
Would you be brave enough to socialise down the boozer competing to answer questions if you had a TEP? Me neither.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Now I can die happy

Tom Jones and Ed Sheeran busking Prince live.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

The terrors of the earth.

Only days ago (Icons passim) I was writing about how uncannily I an McKellen's King Lear  echoed my poor reduced father. Then went to see him on Friday he was so furious that he all but paraphrased the Act 2, Scene 4 quote below.
I will have such revenges on you both,
That all the world shall--I will do such things,--
What they are, yet I know not: but they shall be
The terrors of the earth.
It was heart-wrenching.

My niece who did Lear at A-Level this year,  said that Simon Russell Beale was very interesting on Lear's dementia and said there was an NT You Tube video I should watch. I wonder if it is the one below?

Saturday, October 06, 2018

What with one thing and another.



The stuff about nuclear families, extended families, and affluence bringing social isolation (just under  two minutes into this is) interesting and relevant to things John has been saying to me lately.

Friday, October 05, 2018

And they're off



Wimbledon Bookfest is up and running for another year.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Lola Sapola steps in with the punch, so there is plenty on it.

Megan Abbott: A great entertainer! A great Humanitarian, and - since I see her with John Currence on Anthony Bourdain's show - my dear friend of 25 years...

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Charles 'Asnovoice

Charles Aznavour is dead at 94. I saw him interviewed on TV not too long ago and he was still as sharp as a tack. I have always been astounded by the quality of his lyrics in English, Let's have the greatest ever Ageing-Curmudgeon-Confronts-Mortality song as a tribute.

"Hier Encore" in French, subsequently released in English as "Yesterday, When I Was Young", in Italian as "Ieri Si", in Danish as "Hvor tiden går", in Japanese 帰り来ぬ青春, and in Spanish as "Ayer Aún", "Eilen kun mä tiennyt en" in Finnish.


Tuesday, October 02, 2018

I thought we were an autonomous collective



Rubbish

Normally collected on Tuesday every other week. The next scheduled collection is 09/10/2018.

Recycling

Normally collected on Tuesday every other week. The next scheduled collection is 16/10/2018.

Paper

Normally collected on Tuesday every other week. The next scheduled collection is 09/10/2018.

Food waste

Normally collected on Tuesday every week. The next scheduled collection is 09/10/2018.

What could be simpler? I was still in when they collected this morning. My carefully separated food waste and recycling certainly all got thrown in the same hopper.

I am not yet as vexed by this as Adrian. He produced a poem of protest he had written at the pub quiz last night. This is possibly over-egging the pudding.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

I'm eighteen

Lines form on my face and hands
Lines form from the ups and downs
I'm in the middle without any plans
I'm a boy and I'm a man
I'm eighteen
And I don't know what I want
Eighteen
I just don't know what I want
Eighteen
I gotta get away
I gotta get out of this place
I'll go runnin' in outer space
Oh yeah
I got a
Baby's brain and an old man's heart
Took eighteen years to get this far
Don't always know what I'm talkin' about
Feels like I'm livin' in the middle of doubt
'Cause I'm
Eighteen
I get confused every day
Eighteen
I just don't know what to say
Eighteen
I gotta get away

Ben is eighteen today. I can remember covering Alice Cooper's eighteen with Sean Burke, Tim Parry and David Dole when the prospect of being as old as eighteen was a distant and glamorous prospect. I think I am likely to spend a considerable portion of today looking at what I have written here on September 30th over the years, lost in reverie.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Cassoulet á la Bourdain

As it is Ben's birthday tomorrow, I am not going back to Wales to see how mum and dad are getting on. I will be there next weekend, so John and I intend to keep working through "the big classics" chapter in Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook with cassoulet.

The recipe specifies four confit duck legs, which I don't think we will have time to do. I propose that Larnaudie (fulfilled by Amazon) take the strain.
Une spécialité entrée dans la légende culinaire du Sud-Ouest de la France.

Confit de Canard : Nos cuisses de canard sont cuites (ou confites) dans la graisse de canard pendant 1h30, permettant d'avoir une chair tendre et savoureuse.

Conseils de préparation : Réchauffez au four ou au grill pendant quelques minutes. Accompagné de pommes de terre sautées et de quelques champignons, le plaisir est complet…
Does that sound about right?

Also, as the clock will be ticking, I think it best to do the beans, pork belly, quartered onion and bouquet garni in the slow cooker overnight as Friday evening resolves into Saturday morning.

Mise en place, I think it is called. Does that sound about right?

Friday, September 28, 2018

draw the curtains: so, so, so

And so, last night, to the NT Live version of Ian McKellen's King Lear.

In one scene - just like my dad - he drew comfort from obsessively folding his handkerchief. In Act 3, Scene 6 - just like my dad lately - he imagined he was in a court trial. Brilliant acting and brilliant writing that must have been drawn from life. Disturbing and hauntingly relevant all the same, though John has called this morning to say he took dad out last night, and he was happier than he'e been lately.

Prodnose: What is next on the NT Live Roster?

Myself: Allelujah! by Alan Bennett.

Prodnose: Set in the geriatric ward of a Yorkshire hospital, the Bethlehem, threatened with closure. That'll cheer you up and take you out of yourself, then.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

One Year On



One year ago, we heard that Callum was in the England squad for the U17 World Cup; an event he and they went on to win.

Above - in 2018 - is a light hearted football challenge that finishes Callum 7, Morata 5, and Jorginho 4. Just think about that.

He was on the bench for the cup win against Liverpool last night, but didn't get on. They substituted some called Eden Hazard for Willian instead.

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard fires spectacular winner to knock out Liverpool, said the Graunuiard this morning.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Quincy



I watched Netflix's new documentary about Quincy Jones last night. For all that he seems to have been something of a goat when it comes to the ladies, he appears widely loved by his friends and family. An Ageing-Sweetheart-Confronts-Mortality movie perhaps?

We will be back to the Ageing-Curmudgeon-Confronts-Mortality trope with a vengeance tomorrow at the NT Live showing of Ian McKellan's Lear.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

What the FL is this?

Following on from yesterday's gnomic announcement, it turns out that the Drake underwater effect is a thing not the product of my imagination.

It is a Lo-Pass Filter Sweep and here is how you do it in FL Studio 12. (FL Studio 11 is on the machine I am typing on at the moment. Ben introduced me to it in 2013, see Icons passim, awwwww).

Monday, September 24, 2018

The New Aphorisms Part 1

Myself:
Underwater everything sounds like a cut from a Drake album.
I've no clear idea what I am implying, but I think the profundity will gradually reveal itself.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

bite me

I am going to the dentist tomorrow morning to start the process of fitting a guard that will stop me grinding my teeth and biting the insides of my cheeks when I am asleep.

Thus proving I am not under any stress whatsoever.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

sushi life

Greetings from Penylan, where I am down checking in with mum and dad.

Wales online says that the obscure Cardiff restaurant voted the best in the city on TripAdvisor is little-known sushi place in the Globe Centre on Wellfield Road; only a skip and jump away from the family home.

Sushi Life leaps onto the to-do list for next time I am down.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Triple Tipple



These spindrift pages have been following Gareth Evans' career since 2009. Judging by the trailer for his latest, I will be watching it scared witless through my fingers when in debuts on Netflix later this month.

Filmed in Wales and featuring Michael Sheen. To save time let's anoint the movie, Sheen and Evans simultaneously to Welsh Born Iconhood.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Matthew Rhys



Mathhew Rhys (born Matthew Rhys Evans in Cardiff in 1974) broke out his Welsh accent after collecting the best leading actor in a drama series trophy at the 70th Emmy Awards. You can see it one minute and fifty seconds into the video above.

We have a new Icon.

Just for completeness, please note that when we saw him in New Theatre on tour with Peter Gill's National Theatre touring production of Cardiff East 1997, it was his debut professional stage engagement. Mum and dad saw that as well. There is no getting away from them lately.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Meyerowitz Stories

John thinks that we should take the old man out for a drink when I am back this weekend. It was good for him to get out of the home on Sunday, and also means a collective-noun of Brownes aren't crowding into his room or infesting communal spaces to the bemusement of others.

Candidate establishments as far as I can see are
  • The Four Elms (the nearest)
  • The Royal Oak (not much further away while featuring Peerless Jim Driscoll and Joe Erskine boxing anecdotes and memorabilia)
  • The Claude (reachable and where I have been meeting up with Tim and Phil for the last year of a Friday when I am back)
I have watched Kodachrome (Icons passim) on Netflix now. Given Dustin Hoffman's appalling ("Dad, what the fugg!) public booze-snatching behaviour in the trailer I think that the Ageing-Curmudgeon-Confronts-Mortality movie baton can be safely passed on to The Meyerowitz Stories.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Babette's Feast

Dad's been in to see mum in hospital. He didn't recognise her. What more is there to say?

Cooking at Bronwydd Avenue on Saturday night (Icons passim) worked as therapy for me and John last weekend; good for us, and for breathing a little life back into a house that had been empty for a week.

We'll do the same this weekend with Anthony Bourdain's Boeuf Bourguignon. Still from the book Ma got me for my birthday thirteen years ago, and also I noticed inscribed. Once again there is a legit copy of the recipe online here in the Washington Post for my brother to peruse. (Amazon and Knorr will have to take the strain with the demi glace however. "Had we but world enough and time.")

Monday, September 17, 2018

Russell Wilson Asks Seahawks To Modify Play Where He’s Immediately Tackled By Six Players

The Onion
SEATTLE—Expressing some reservations about allowing the defense instant, unfettered access to the backfield, Russell Wilson asked the Seahawks Tuesday to modify a read-pass-option play where he’s immediately tackled by six players after receiving the snap. “I’m happy to run whatever the coaching staff draws up, but I think we can adjust this play a little so I can take more than three steps without getting pounded into the turf,” said Wilson, explaining to his coaches that perhaps one of the Seahawks’ offensive lineman could attempt to stand in the way of the oncoming pass rushers. “There is a lot to like about this play, but we could try working in some play-action or a quick slant pass before the pocket dissolves and I’m hit from three different angles. At the very least, we should only call the plays where I get sacked before I can start my progression reads a few times per game.” At press time Pete Carroll had heeded his quarterback’s advice and drawn up a new play where Wilson scrambles left and right multiple times and then throws the ball out of bounds.
Everything is going to hell in a hand basket for my beloved Seahawks. They are away at the Chicago Bears in the early hours of tomorrow morning. An important game as it gives either Spike or me bragging rights for the year.

On a brighter note, my DNA test having revealed that I am overwhelmingly descended from emigrants from Munster, I was please to see them beat the Ospreys in the Pro14 rugby on the weekend. Last year I would have been supporting Swansea.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Russell Swords Cardiff Academy

I went along to Hotpod yoga in Cardiff yesterday. The venue was the old Virgin Active club that I used to sneak off to on Saturday mornings when I was back visiting mum and dad.

Another tenant of the building is Russell Swords Cardiff Academy of Fencing. ‘What is fencing?... It is a violence refined into beauty; combat curbed to sweet art and crystal science.’ And, which is more, I have always fancied having a crack at it.

I wonder if I could book it for a day for a family session; me with my brothers and sisters, plus Ben and his cousins. Maybe in half term? Watch this space.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Schopenhauer's poodles

Second driveway on the left
See Sign for "Splash Central"
Enter main doors
Go upstairs turn right
Hotpod Yoga entrance is in the corner
There is no yoga at Elite Fitness this morning so I will be trying out Hotpod Yoga at Cardiff Central instead.

Did you know that the philosopher Schopenhauer owned a series of poodles throughout the later part of his life, naming them all “Atma”, the Hindu word for the supreme universal soul from which all other souls arise?

I shall be sure to meditate on this during class.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Total Eclipse of Descartes

At John's recommendation, I listened to the first BBC Radio episode of Rob Newman's Total Eclipse of Descartes last night in the gaff as I was pottering around getting ready for today's jaunt to Cardiff via Portishead. Good stuff; I will try and catch episode 2 next Wednesday.

Progress for both Newman R and me, as when I went to see him in a previous show in 2004 I didn't seem to like it much at all (Icons passim).

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Ageing Curmudgeon Confronts Mortality

John was in London last night so we watched The Last Movie Star (Icons passim) on Amazon. It is a wonderful film.

It turns out that there are plenty more options in the Ageing Curmudgeon Confronts Mortality genre.

In cinemas now:



On Netflix:



Fingers crossed they both end with A Last Shot At Redemption and we get a chance to work through them while the experience is visceral rather than elegiac.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Whitton Punks

As I approached London on the way back from Warwickshire earlier today, I tuned in to Robert Elms on BBC Radio London.

In his Notes & Queries section he was asking for information about "Whitton Punks." Living in Whitton as long as I did I am interested in them too. I wonder why they are remembered or still going, and if anyone I know is in the frame.

I couldn't listen to the end of the show once I got back to the office but it will be available soon at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06hpzcm

Perhaps I can out it on this evening as I am pottering about.

I came on board between Elms playing The Band's Acadian Driftwood and George Benson's This Masquerade.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Like Water for Chocolate

Last Saturday night, after getting back from visiting mum in hospital and dad in the home,  my brother and I opened some wine and went to work preparing a large and elaborate spicy lamb pilaf in the family home's kitchen.

It was comforting to have something that required attention, without being overtaxing, to do after the rigours and emotions of the day.

I will be back again this weekend so we will do the coq au vin from Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook; my copy was a birthday present from my mother in 2005.

The recipe is legitimately on the internet here so John can bone up on it before I get to Cardiff if he wants.
Another easy dish that looks like it’s hard. It’s not. In fact, this is the kind of dish you might enjoy spending a leisurely afternoon with. There are plenty of opportunities for breaks. It’s durable, delicious, and the perfect illustration of the principles of turning something big and tough and unlovely into something truly wonderful. I know it looks like a lot of ingredients, and that the recipe might be complicated. Just take your time. Knock out your prep one thing at a time, slowly building your mise en place. Listen to some music while you do it. There’s an open bottle of wine left from the recipe, so have a glass now and again. Just clean up after yourself as you go, so your kitchen doesn’t look like a disaster area when you start the actual cooking.
You should, with any luck, reach a Zen-like state of pleasurable calm. And like the very best dishes, coq au vin is one of those that goes on the stove looking, smelling, and tasting pretty nasty, and yet later, through the mysterious, alchemical processes of time and heat, turns into something magical.
That sounds like therapy.