Saturday, December 15, 2018


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.
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.
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.
Die of consumption before the party starts.

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.
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.
Die of consumption before the party starts.
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.
Die in a gutter before the party starts, probably from consumption (with a hint of alcohol poisoning).
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.
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.

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

If John can start up a web browser on his laptop and type 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

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 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 ( goes a long way to explaining gang behaviour. and the scapegoat mechanism ( 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

Kirk out.