September 2020

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Tuesday 29 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1601359452

Geek Humour

Stay at; Wear a

Sunday 27 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1601227000

Get Rid of Christmas

Unpopular opinion. Let's use COVID-19 as an excuse to get rid of Christmas. Meaningless religious holidays are long overdue for replacement anyway - why not do Midsummer instead when we stand a decent chance of good weather and the longest sunlight? Of course, it'd be different in the two hemispheres, but cool - you can do both!

Sunday 27 September 2020
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GB News

A new "news" channel is coming to the UK. I think GB News is going to be the worst part of this descent into WWIII. When we have a Fox-"News"-style mouthpiece for the fascists in this country, all of the idiots will follow it. And with Dacre and Moore handed top media roles in OFCOM and the BBC, the racism, xenophobia, and fascism will flow freely...

Saturday 26 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1601151084

Book Review

White Out (Badlands Thriller, #1)White Out by Danielle Girard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book starts on a cliff-edge and just gets better as it goes along.
It's the right balance between confusing and suspense and keeps you guessing all the way through.
The way the story builds with the characters is absolutely amazing.
An excellent book!

View all my reviews

Saturday 26 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1601136236


I wonder if I have just made the final grass-cut of 2020?

It has certainly turned autumnal out there - the sun is still warm, but in the shade it's actually quite chilly.

(And I'm writing this mindless drivel to test that my main Linux box is still working after I setup my laptop earlier)

Saturday 26 September 2020
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Test Remote Access

I'm just testing to make sure I can update my log from my laptop remotely.

Saturday 26 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1601106154


Today I am preparing my old (well, actually my father-in-law's old, old) laptop to take on holibobs with us so that I may update this site with stories and pictures in near-real-time...

I have chosen Lubuntu 20.04 64-bit as the distro. I had tried the 32-bit edition to improve speed, but I want to use VSCode as my editor while I'm away (for ease), and it requires a 64-bit architecture.

Wednesday 23 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1600841739

Autumn Has Broken

It's the first full day of Autumn and I've had to turn the lamp on next to my computer desk to see. It's remarkably (in the true sense of the word) darker than it was only last week. I get that the weather isn't helping the light levels, but I think it would still be noticeable.

Sunday 20 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1600592020

Free Press

Of course, the concept of a Free Press is outdated and no longer necessary. "The Press" isn't our only source of news. Anyone can write and publish anything they wish to the internet, just as I am now.

It's time to dissolve the old guard of newspapers and media giants (often run by foreigners anyway, but the right-wing don't mind those immigrants!)

News can be reliably sourced through other means, and we can pay the journalists by making micropayments to get the stories we want to read (magazine articles), etc. That way, we get an aggregated feed of news from across the political and social spectra, and it's arbitrated by peer review - much like Wikipedia, or scientific papers.

Of course you'll get the nincompoops! Of course you'll get the free radicals from all wings, but they are soon put down by that mass review and arbitration.

The problem that exists today is that too many people think that the traditional press is somehow bound by a set of rules as to what they can print. Aside from libellous content, that's just not true.

And we have the situation where people are brainwashed by their traditional news sources to see the world through the optics that Murdoch, the Barclay bothers, or the Scott Trust want them to see.

As a suggestion, a good start for great articles is Medium, where you can pick your favourite topics and read about them from all viewpoints in an aggregated fashion.

It's ~£3 per month with no contracts

Saturday 19 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1600530717

Proud Dad Moment

Saturday 19 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1600528414

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Today marks the sad loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the 2nd female justice on SCOTUS. She was a valiant fighter for justice and fairness and especially women's rights.

The timing couldn't be worse - Now, the Republicans can - and Mitch McConnel already has said he will - nominate a Trump-picked far-right SCOTUS before the election in November. A SCOTUS is for life, and that would be three that Trump has picked to vote on cases in his image.

Forget that Mitch McConnel and the other hypocritical Republican'ts called foul and prevented Obama picking Merrick Garland for SCOTUS because "8 months before an election is too close" - they don't care. They are too corrupt and power-hungry for fairness.


This also means, of course, that America will now descend further into a fascist state and Trump can wreak havoc with impunity.

The evangelicals will have their way and ban ALL abortions in the USA - in other words, Old White Men will decide what is best for a woman's body.

More immigrants will be caged and have forced hysterectomies...

In other words, America, and the Rest of the World is fucked...

Friday 18 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1600449171

Here We Go Again

England looks to be on the edge of new national restrictions today, as SAGE warned there was “widespread growth of the epidemic” across the UK.

he R-rate has jumped to between 1.1 and 1.4, up from between 1 and 1.2. The number of new infections is rising by 2% and 7% every day. More than 4,000 new coronavirus cases have been recorded for the first time since May.

Keir Starmer has urged the PM to convene a meeting of COBR and called for “swift, decisive national action”. Nicola Sturgeon has demanded the same.
You also only have to look at the latest from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) infection survey to see what’s driving the worry.

According to the data published today, an average of 6,000 people in England were infected per day between September 4 to 10. This is a “marked increase” on the 3,200 the previous week. The rise appears to be driven by an increase in the number of people testing positive aged 2 to 11, 17 to 24 years and 25 to 34 years.

We are yet to see what impact, if any, the “rule of six” which came into force on Monday has had.

The figures were released minutes before the government confirmed local lockdowns would be enforced across parts of the North West, Midlands and West Yorkshire.

From Tuesday, residents must not socialise with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens.

Restaurants, pubs and bars will be restricted to table service only, while all leisure and entertainment venues including restaurants, pubs and cinemas must close between 10pm and 5am.

London is about “two weeks behind” these regions when it came to infection rates, Sadiq Khan warned today, amid suggestions similar rules for the capital are on the cards.

At some point it might be easier to count the areas that are not under a local lockdown than the ones that are. As Sky News points out, just under 13 million people, one in five of the UK population, are now under some form of extra controls.

A short-term “circuit break” of national restrictions in England would likely see the government attempt to keep business and education up and running while clamping down on the fun stuff such as pubs and household mixing.

Matt Hancock told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the “good news” was the number of cases being passed on in workplaces was “relatively low”.

“Protecting the economy, protecting work and protecting education, protecting schools, these can be done alongside restrictions of our social lives,” he said.
The prime minister said earlier this week a second national lockdown would be “wrong” and “disastrous”. But it’s worth remembering there is no precise definition of what a “lockdown” means.‌

Under pressure in July over accusations the country was shut down too late, Hancock claimed the first lockdown actually began on March 16 when he told the Commons “unnecessary social contact should cease”, not March 23 when Boris Johnson said people “must” stay at home.

It’s been reported restrictions could be imposed to coincide with October half-term. But that’s five weeks away. Which is a long time in pandemics...

Thursday 17 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1600374402

Rule of Six


Thursday 17 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1600373157

It's Prime Minister Johnson - not 'Boris' - don't call him what he wants to be called. Call him who he is. Counter-attack his nudge theory attempt of normalisation.

Every time you call Prime Minister Johnson 'Boris' you fall into the media narrative he's attempted to create about himself, this country has a proud tradition of referring to our Prime Minister's by their surnames in context. The reason for this is obvious.

We referred to Theresa May as May, we referred to David Cameron as Cameron, we referred to Gordon Brown as Brown, we referred to Tony Blair as Blair (although he attempted to pull a similar 'likeable Tony' stunt to the one that Boris is pulling.) We referred to Major as Major, Thatcher as Thatcher, Wilson as Wilson and Heath as Heath and so it goes on.

The decision by Prime Minister Johnson to go by the moniker of 'Boris' and the press who are favourably to him is to try and get away from the formality of the roles he offers - as reminding us of the formality and importance of those roles quickly shows us how he is completely and utterly unsuited for the high office he currently occupies.

That's not to mention that 'Boris' is not even Prime Minister Johnson's first name, it's Alexander. Boris is a public persona designed to appear more affable and likeable to the general population as a mask for his true colours, a detestable oligarch stripping the nation on behalf of Russia

I ask everyone who respects the office of Prime Minister, to refer to our Prime Minister as Prime Minister Johnson going forward. Do not let referring to a Prime Minister by their first name become normalised as Prime Minister Johnson wants it to be.

When you speak to people in person refer to the Prime Minister as Prime Minister Johnson it's only be rubbing it in people's faces that 'Boris' - the dancing buffoon - is holding such high office that we can truly get people to realise that the country needs a change and to get him out. We have 4 years, it's never too early to start.

Wednesday 16 September 2020
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"The next time a man with Covid symptoms drives from London to Durham, it'll probably be for the nearest Covid test," says Labour's Angela Rayner

Wednesday 16 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1600288442

Boris Gump and his corrupt band of "men"

I don't know how to say this any clearer - Boris Gump will kill many thousands of people by his complete incompetence at dealing with COVID-19.

Dominic Rabb, Priti Awful, Michael Gove, and Matt Hancock are an inept joke. Every one of them. And where the hell is Dido Harding??

This shambles are Russian assets. They are operating under the instruction of Putin.

Putin is the only reason they are in power.


Sunday 13 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1600031306

Lewis Rocks

This is such a good statement to make. Ballsy, poignant, and entirely reasonable. Well done, Lewis.

Justice for Breonna Taylor!
Justice for Breonna Taylor!

Saturday 12 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1599945439


5 Fibs you were told this week.

Saturday 12 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1599915180

Oh Hai

Sox Says Hi
Sox Says Hi

Saturday 12 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1599894570


Love it

They knew
They knew

Saturday 12 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1599894226

Private Eye Cover

Yesterday's Cover Page is awesome:

Oven-ready Brexit
Oven-ready Brexit

Saturday 12 September 2020
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Good Friday Agreement

I think she may have read it...

Good Friday Agreement - Siobhán Fenton
Good Friday Agreement - Siobhán Fenton

Saturday 12 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1599893408

Bud Playing Football

But notices when I'm filming him and stops:

Thursday 10 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1599735330

Let's Talk About Six, Baby

As a fun-loving, crowd-pleasing, bon viveur kinda guy, Boris Gump is rarely convincing when he has to do ‘serious’.

Adopting a stern tone and telling the British public what they may not want to hear does not come naturally. But having suggested just a few weeks ago that the Covid crisis will be all over by Christmas, today he was forced to rain on his own charade.

The PM certainly surpassed himself in the irony stakes. As he spelled out that his new rules will mean some grandparents will not be allowed to see their grandchildren, he uttered this immortal line as justification: “People who think they can take responsibility for their own health and take their own risk are, I’m afraid, misunderstanding the situation." Classic Dom, you could call it.

Just as he didn’t blame Dommie the Commie for breaking the rules (three times don’t forget), he was keen to stress today he wasn’t having a go at the great British public. “With the best will in the world people have not, I’m afraid, been totally following the guidelines,” he said. “I certainly don’t want to blame people but now is the time for us to focus, to concentrate and to enforce the rule of six.”

Of course, he didn’t blame himself either, but there was a smidgeon of an admission that the government was partly responsible for the shocking rise in cases among young people. “I know that, over time, the rules have become quite complicated and confusing,” he said. It certainly seems as though socialising at home and abroad (and importing it) has driven the spike that has so worried many in Whitehall.

Yet as the PM unveiled his “rule of six”, the extent of that confusion was laid bare. The new legally backed rule replaces the current guidance that allows two households to meet indoors. From Monday, six people from six different households can mix. But how many people knew that was not allowed already? Loads of millennials and youngsters, judging from social media.

As a result, if you’re a singleton today’s new rule is actually a relaxation, not a tightening, of your social restrictions. The downside, and Johnson’s face told that story, is larger family groupings will not be allowed. In another irony for a PM who hates ‘nanny statedom’, he today criminalised any Christmas dinner party of more than six people. And as only one ‘support bubble’ is allowed, families will have to choose which grandparent or in-law is allowed across the threshold. Not quite a John Lewis ad, is it?

Never wanting to portray himself as a killjoy (probably the worst insult Johnson could think of for his enemies), he was keen to say today’s moves were “not a second national lockdown”. But that’s precisely what they were: the rule of six applies across the whole country and has real legal force to allow the police and a new army of hi-vis ‘Covid-secure marshals’ to take action. A new map showed how widespread the spike in cases was too.

But Johnson was still dreaming of a nice Christmas, courtesy of his hopes for a “moonshot” plan for instant, daily home testing for everyone, giving those who test negative a “laissez passer” or “freedom pass” (once a London Mayor, always a London Mayor) to go to work, the theatre, sports.

Within seconds however, both chief medical officer Chris "not very" Whitty and chief scientist Patrick Vallance poured buckets of ice cold caution over this tempting mirage. Vallance said it would be “completely wrong to assume” that mass saliva testing would be viable. The PM’s moonshot plan felt as real and tangible as his deceased ‘fantasy island’ scheme for a new London airport in the Thames estuary.

Whitty wanted to plan on the basis of grounded reality, basing his assumptions on not getting a vaccine, let alone some ‘moonshot’ testing regime. On the day Keir Starmer raised the continuing laboratory problems with the public failing to get tests near their homes, Whitty also said “those constraints are not just going to magically disappear”. Most candid of all, he made clear the new rules would be around for months, and probably until the spring.

A snap poll tonight from YouGov showed 77% of Brits in favour of tightening social restrictions on big groups. The public like clear, simple messaging as long as their prime minister and other people in power stick to it too.

Let’s hope for all our sakes that the new rules work, and are adhered to. It’s even possible they could help people get back to the office (meeting five workmates can lunch together or drink in the pub after work now). And there’s still a chance a winter nightmare could be avoided, but only if test and trace gets much, much better.

But perhaps it’s time for a new rule for the PM too: stop selling the public fool’s gold of best case scenarios and get on instead with the unglamorous but vital drudgery of delivery.

Wednesday 09 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1599685424

AI Wrote An Op-Ed Convincing Humans That Robots Will Not Replace Humans

This article in The Guardian was written by a machine. Are you scared yet?

Wednesday 09 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1599631837

Quote of the Day

“Tearing up treaties is what rogue states do. I can’t recall our ever doing so.”

Lord Kerr, former UK ambassador to Brussels and Washington

Wednesday 09 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1599631570

Lockdown II

We are edging back in to lockdown.

Boris Gump is set to address the nation, probably today, and given that he hasn’t fronted a No.10 press conference since July, that sense of national duty and accountability feels well overdue.

Cutting the legal number of people in a gathering from 30 to 6 would be a start. A much stronger message would come however if the PM set out a clear national roadmap for re-entering national lockdown, just as he set one out for exiting it. In Bolton, pubs are reduced to takeaways and separate households are banned from mixing (beyond a support ‘bubble’).
If those were the next steps for the whole country, at least there would be certainty.

Government insiders know that many of the PM’s core voters are more likely to sit up and take notice of legal restrictions on going to the pub than they are to worry about claims that the UK is breaching international laws and treaties.

As it is, we have no sense of the hierarchy of national lockdown restrictions, beyond knowing that schools will be the last to close. If the number of cases (today well above 2,000) and deaths (at 30 the highest for months) continues to rise nationally, wouldn’t it be better to let the public know what freedoms are at risk and in what order, so they can “plan for the worst” (copyright B Johnson), having hoped for the best?

Everyone will hope that the surge in deaths is a blip and that healthy young carriers avoid spreading the virus to older people. But for a PM who made his name on “taking back control”, the spectre of an out-of-control coronavirus and, more importantly, the lack of a clear strategy for reining it in, would be very damaging indeed.

Tuesday 08 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1599560573

New Glasses

Well, I've just picked up my new glasses and it's like seeing in HD!

Monday 07 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1599493814

Book Review

One Lost Soul (Hidden Norfolk Murder Mystery #1)One Lost Soul by J.M. Dalgliesh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a very good crime murder mystery.
The plot twists are good and keep you guessing until the last moment when it becomes obvious.
I look forward to reading more in the Hidden Norfolk/Tom Janssen series...

View all my reviews

Monday 07 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1599476592


Sam Harris said that

Conversation is the only tool we have as a society to resolve conflicts, other than war.

I think we can change that around and generalise it for personal as well as societal use:

Other than war, conversation is the only tool we have to resolve conflict.

Sunday 06 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1599425588

Parabolic Shear

When I lived in the USA, we used to go to the local Irish Bar (well, it was a restaurant) for a lunchtime St. Patrick's Day pint of Guinness.

One year, we were at Whelihan's, standing around in a conversational circle, and Chas' pint glass suffered what we later dubbed parabolic shear as it literally just fell apart with a smooth shape from around the base and in one parabolic arc up to where his fingers were holding his (now empty) glass. It was perfectly smooth and amazing - apart from our Guinness covered ankles, of course.

And we went to the waitress to ask for a new glass (and a fresh pint) and she gave us hell and told us that we'd done it on purpose!

We had even offered to pay for the pint that was spilled due to their faulty glass, but she refused Chas service!
Chas didn't look like a troublemaker or hooligan. He was a 40-something astronomy professor in his spare time...

Chas and I agreed that Parabolic Shear would be an excellent name for a rock band.

Sunday 06 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1599380496

Ewe Wouldn't believe it

Why yes, Shaun the sheep from Wallace & Grommet has appeared in my coffee this morning...


Saturday 05 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1599330085


I'm a snowflake.

I must be because the right-wingnuts keep telling me that I am. I'm amused and bemused by that label. It's as if that was some kind of insult to me.

It's not.

I wear that label with pride, and I much prefer that to being a pearl-clutching holier-than-though, offended by everything right wing idiot.

I don't care if statues are removed or pulled down. I don't think history is recorded in bronze or stone effigies. I think history is recorded in words, in libraries - electronic or otherwise. So, I really don't care that statues are torn down. I fully support it if that statue is a reminder of anyone's historical oppressors, like slave traders for example. If you really think statues define a reminder of our past, I would like to see them clutching their pearls if we suggested that a statue of Adolf Hitler replaces the sundial in Plymouth - he's made a very large change to the face of the city, after all - no?

I don't care whether 'Rule, Britannia!' or any other song is played or sung at the end of Last Night of the Proms. They are fucking songs! Stop pretending that they define who we are - that's nationalistic bollocks.

No, dear reader, it is not the left who are the offended. It's the Murdoch/Barclay Bros-reading, right-wing, panty-wringing, pearl-clutching saps who are the real offended by everything crowd.

Saturday 05 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1599329228

Power Washer

I bought the power washer (£39, Lidl) for the parrot's cage. But I thought I'd give it a go on the patio first...

Patio Before Power Wash
Patio Before Power Wash

Patio After Power Wash
Patio After Power Wash

Patio After Power Wash
Patio After Power Wash

Saturday 05 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1599304078

Honey, I flooded the kitchen

So, with my new power-washer in hand, I did a decent job of cleaning the patio this morning.

I was really happy with the job I had done, until I came back into the kitchen.

Apparently, the hose had slipped on the tap and unnoticed by me, was spraying a jet of water out across the kitchen, hitting the ceiling of the dining room and dropping onto the dining room table.

When I say I flooded the kitchen, I mean flooded.

It was at least 1.5cm deep across the entire kitchen floor - and our kitchen floor is, in effect, sealed as we have barge-boards at the doors - so it had nowhere to go.

So 1.5 hours on the patio and then a further hour cleaning up the kitchen...

Saturday 05 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1599303854


One of the noticeable side-effects of Mirtazapine is that it makes you hungry. I used to say that it made you put on weight, but actually, as my son pointed out, it just makes you hungry.

In fact, it's not just that it makes you hungry, but it inhibits the full signal - so you never feel like you are full up. In some cases, that went until I was physically sick.

Having weaned myself down to the minimal dosage now (last few weeks!), I can really feel the difference. I am now under decent portion control and eating healthily.

And, as a result I'm down 4.5kg (I had put on 18kg so I have a way to go yet, but it's noticeable progress).

Friday 04 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1599252919


There are two memes guaranteed to make me laugh out loud (properly). I've just found the video to one of them that was originally called, Allow me to show you the dance of my people:

And then the other:

Duck-billed platypus sucks man's face off during Wimbledon Quarter Final
Duck-billed platypus sucks man's face off during Wimbledon Quarter Final

Thursday 03 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1599155124

Proud Dad Moment

My daughter, Siobhan, has just been informed that she is now officially an Exeter University Scholar. She entered a programme during the summer (of all years!) which enabled her to study remotely and at Exeter University as a foundation-degree type of level, giving her a qualification which greases the skids for her getting into Exeter when she finishes her A-levels.

I'm dead proud!

Well done, Siobhan xx

Wednesday 02 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1599078815


As the US enters into a full fascist/Nazi state (it is both), I am reminded of a story I read about Mauthausen. At the end of the war, as the camps were liberated, they began cleaning out and inspecting Mauthausen. One inspector was patrolling through the dark and shadowed cells of Block C, an area where nearly all who entered either died or left only to attend their own execution.

Inside of one cell, he found, scratched on the wall:

“If there is a God, he will have to beg for my forgiveness.”

Wednesday 02 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1599070624


Number of Days Without a Tory U-Turn = 0.

Wednesday 02 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1599070519


This has to stop. The Russians are poisoning their political opponents. This is attempted murder.

Our own Prime Minister has said that we must bring justice, but that rings hollow - how on Earth are we going to do that, then?

Wednesday 02 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1599065273


Queen Bishop Check
Queen Bishop Check

Tuesday 01 September 2020
Epoch Seconds: 1598992345

One Vision

It actually amazing how your eyesight starts to go as you get older, and how accurately the opticians can predict the degradation of the eyes to within a year.
My optician told me I'd need reading glasses when I was 42. At 42, I grudgingly started wearing reading glasses.
They said at 44 I'd be wearing them a lot and I'd be seeing things that are further away in clarity while wearing them. That's exactly what happened.

Then at 44, they told me that when I was 46, I'd need a new prescription as my eyes would have degraded that much.

I pick up my new glasses next week.

The really amazing thing is food labels and instructions - I just cannot read most packets anymore without glasses!
And it's really, really annoying!

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