Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Words I can't sing.

Yesterday I was asked to lead worship for a business meeting.

Now bearing all things in mind, this was an interesting situation. It feels a little like walking a narrow ledge right now, between wanting to simply reject church & walk away from everything - this is a real desire, albeit under control - and re-embracing the stuff I no longer trust or believe to be real. At the moment the ledge is narrow, because there's not too much understanding to hold on to, things to have faith in, but there are some things still, so I'll keep balancing & walking along.


I have a large body of songs to select from, all handily printed out from previous times. So I created 3 piles: Songs that have words I can sing & keep a clear cosncience, songs that might be usable in the future, songs that don't appear to tell the truth.

Curious how the songs that I could use were mostly old hymns or recycled words and structures from old hymns, "Be thou my vision" being one (aspirational) example, "Praise God from whom all blessing flow" being another.

Minus 6 degrees centigrade

That's how cold it was in Somerton this morning. After about 20min wandering round trying to take pictures, it was difficult to grip the steering wheel to drive into work. My fingers are still feeling the effects half an hour later, and typing is difficult.

T'was pretty though.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Lumia just goes on and on.

Just had almost 6 days use from the phone out of a single charge, and only had to charge it as a 'just in case' measure because of a potential medical emergency.

Charged it last Sunday evening, disconnecting it around 10pm, using it as normal to make calls, take a few work-related photos, send texts & emails, do a brief bit of navigation, a couple of min surfing. Plugged it in around 2.30pm this afternoon with 10% charge showing, which was probably good until Sunday morning without serious use.

Performance wise it's not a ball of fire, and Microsoft's interface is somewhat clunky compared to vanilla android, but I'll accept that trade for this kind of longevity and the fantastic call quality.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

How do I know God is real?

That's a good question, and one that's been kicked around in my head quite a bit recently.

There's a Douglas Adams quote from the HHGTTG that goes along the lines (from memory) of 'it being no good spending hours debating whether God exists if someone then gives you his bleedin' phone number'.

So no phone numbers then.

Entirely subjective, but the pre-Christian Toni was a complete Bastard, really - I know because I was there.

Why bring this up?

Because as I'd got closer to deciding God wasn't there, the inner bastard had been coming more to the fore. I've found myself being more like I used to be: less kind, less gentle, more sweary, more greedy, more depressed, more negative about others, more liberal in my thinking and less self-controlled. It's not much, but it was a solid reminder of who I am without Jesus. If salvation makes me more like Jesus then the opposite does the opposite.

Yes, I've been a Christian almost 40 years, but the flesh - the 'natural' attitudes - have never gone away in all that time, so much as being dealt with on a daily basis, sometimes coming to the fore, sometimes being held in control. Last weekend at the alpha day we had someone talking about how they had never sworn and their partner would never swear, even in court when asked to repeat something said by another person. I was reminded of who the natural Toni is, and how different I would be if left to my own devices.

Never mind pie in the sky when you die - salvation is for now.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Lumia 640 - better than anyone would admit

So I've had the phone just over 5 weeks, and as promised, here's a mini-review of an obsolete phone that nobody wanted:

Battery life - 4 days is easy, 5 days not unusual, with a few calls, texting, a bit of internet or routefinding. I don't live on my phone, and just use it as a tool.

Call quality - is generally landline quality, often in places where I'd struggle to even get a phone signal with the other 2 phones (iPhones seem at least as bad for reception here).

Screen - clear, clean, bright enough and crisp.

Windows applications - generally perform well once I got used to where to find things.

Windows maps - GPS locks in a couple of seconds, then generally chooses a good route with accurate ETA.

Keyboard layout - makes it easy to hit the bar at the bottom & return to the home screen.

Screen/phone size - I'd prefer it to be smaller and slimmer, but it's not unmanageable - glad I didn't get a 5.5" phone.

Lack of apps in general - I mostly don't care that I can't play candy crush. :-)

Firefox isn't available for this version of Windows 10.

The need to perform 2 actions when answering a call from a locked screen - swipe to open, then touch to answer. It should be a single swipe or tap.

The way my google address book has been scrambled when importing, so that names & pictures don't always match the telephone number/email address.

Wish the mapping app could do real-time traffic conditions.

It's a better mobile phone than any of my previous devices including candybar phones, but I just wish it was smaller and slimmer.

It's raining. Again.


Guess we're lucky - some parts of the country are flooded right now.


Especially for Robyn Friesen (if you ever read this) the word of the evening is 'moist'.  ;-)

Mismatch? Postmoderism again? Squitchy Christianity?

In the NIV study bible that I use there's a highlighted theme at the start of the book of Malachi that goes something like "The Jews stopped believing that God loved them and no longer trusted in His justice". I've kept coming back to this phrase again and again, because it matched my own thoughts well and I was hoping to find something that would enable some kind of reconnection (I've read a lot of the 'people in difficult circumstances' passages over the last few weeks).

But here's the mismatch - reading the actual passages of Malachi gives a very different understanding of the relationship between God & the Jews. It's not at all a case of God wooing back a 'lost' nation, but much more a people who have lost sight of God being threatened with harm and the example of Edom being crushed again and again demonstrating the fruitlessness of resistance.

I don't have any particular answers right now, other than I'm sure it's the same God in old & new testaments, God did demonstrate His love for us by sacrificing His only son on the cross, and that He has no problem with us suffering, struggling and dying in this life. So much of the Christianity I've heard preached suggests that God is a great big, soft, loving father who would wrap us in His arms and protect us from the world, struggles and pain - yet this isn't at all the God of the bible that I can see, nor, the God we seem to experience in this life. Squitchy Christianity isn't reality.

In a way I recoil a bit from trying to really understand who God is: apart from the sheer incapability of my mind, with that comes a responsibility that I don't want.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Hope I never grow up

My sense of humour is still suitably off-colour that I can find various entirely innocent words amusing when placed in the same sentence.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

The will-man cometh

To talk to us tonight.

About making a will.

Happy days.

Apparently I'm popular in France

According to my blog stats:

Hi to my French Friends. ;-)

And apparently most people came here via yesterday, although I have absolutely no idea why since I couldn't find an obvious link here on the site. Hi Jenifer, if you drop by.

Web stats are curious things - definitely not something to become concerned with - but can be amusing occasionally.

Where do you go - when you've no-where to go?

So the personal fallout of our friend Jo's death, is that God doesn't asnswer prayer, at least not in the way we like to think He does, and that I want to walk away from faith and the church.

Reading church history tells us quite a bit: that we 'see' God as being like us, that He doesn't have a problem with people suffering and dying, that over and over again we ignore some quite key things while focusing on the stuff that reinforces our view that He's like us only better.

Where do you go when there's no-where to go?

After the crowds went away, Jesus asked His disciples "are you going too?" and they came back with "we've left everything for you - where else can we go?".

It's a bleak place, to discover God isn't who you were taught he was, and that things aren't what you hoped they'd be.

I could walk away if it wasn't for the way that God has, sometimes, been involved with my life. Sunday was interesting, going to a big multi-church meeting in Oxford, watching the visiting speaker indulging in very clear emotional manipulation to whip up the crowd, and then God just dropping the odd bit of genuine change in here & there. Bizarre. It made me soul-search about how I've lead worship in the past, but I've always had as light a touch as possible and feel my conscience is clear, at least in that area.

There is no worship in me right now, and I'm grateful not to be having to teach or lead worship. I still want to walk away, but I can't.

A good friend says that he gets angry with God, but this is far from that and much closer to a desire to stop living and stop struggling with it all. My starting point was whether God even existed, which is no place for anger, and it still is to an extent, but it's changed into wondering how we've mis-understood so badly and whether I really have any idea who God is after all.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Just found myself about to comment on a post about Brexit.

That was one of the reasons I stopped doing facebook - so much stoopid.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Sometimes I wonder

...looking at church history, and in the light of our life experiences, if we've not completely mis-understood who God is and how He wants to interact with mankind. At the funeral last week the worship band played Matt Redman's "You Are God In Heaven" and the lyrics seemed so completely 21st century-ridiculous, it was almost a mockery.

Have we been busy doing the same as every generation, and making God in our own image? I'm starting to think so.

Reading over on The Heresy (If you don't know the blog, I wouldn't worry too much) a debate about hell, salvation and who gets saved, the 21st century attitude is to ask how could anyone possibly be condemned to torment - no-one could deserve that (unless they're a paedophile). For second and third century Christians for whom death in various extremely unpleasant forms was distinctly likely, and where the everyday people around them were intentionally occupied with pagan evil, the idea that their oppressors might suffer the same cruelty as a just punishment afterward seemed entirely right and proper.

This time has both shaken and is reshaping my theology, and I'll never be the same again. I wonder a little more now if the traditional church that just goes through a kind of mummery isn't right after all - they have a lot of history on their side.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

In lieu of anything meaningful

Yes, I KNOW this has been floating round for years, but working with people from Germany, Spain, Italy, Pakistan, India and America, I find it funny.

61 English expressions that don't work for Johnny Foreigner. ;-)

1. “It’s not quite what I had in mind.” – What the bloody hell is this?
2. “That’s a bit off.” – I will never forgive you for what you just said.
3. “Oh yes, he’s a lot of fun.” – He’s an absolute nightmare.
4. “They’re fine once you get to know them.” – They’re arseholes.
5. “It rings a bell.” – I have no idea what you’re talking about.
6. “Fancy a drink?” – Fancy staying out until 3am and waking up with your face glued to a kebab?
7. “We’re going on a date.” — We’re getting pissed together.
8. “I got a bit tipsy last night.” – I drank 17 pints and then punched a police horse.
9. “Picnic” — Daytime piss-up.
10. “Barbecue” — Piss-up in the garden.
11. “It got a bit lively.” – The police were called.
12. “I’m doing Drynuary.” – I’ve stopped drinking during the day.
13. “I’m a bit tired.” – I’m hungover.
14. “I’m feeling a bit under the weather, to be honest.” – I have alcohol poisoning.
15. “I’m a tad poorly.” – Kill me.
16. “You look like you had fun last night!” – You look like you slept in a bin.
17. “It’s OK, we’ve not been here long either.” – We’ve been here for ages and we’ll never forgive you for keeping us waiting.
18. “Yes, it’s great, I love it.” – I am very dismayed by this haircut.
19. “Anyway, it was lovely to meet you.” – Please go away now.
20. “I’ll let you get on.” – Seriously mate, piss off.
21. “I might pop along.” – I’m probably not coming.
22. “I’ll see how I feel.” – I’m definitely not coming.
23. “I tried to call you.” – I let the phone ring twice and then hung up.
24. “It’s totally fine if you can’t make it.” – I don’t want you to come.
25. “It could be worse.” – No, it couldn’t.
26. “I’ll have a word with them about it.” – I’ll never mention this to them.
27. “It is what it is.” – I can’t be bothered to fix this thing, so stop complaining.
28. “Truth be told, I’m a little bit miffed.” – I’m going to stab someone.
29. “Want to have lunch together?” – Want to run to Greggs and back in the rain?
30. “It was OK, but I wouldn’t order it again.” – This meal was horrible, deeply disappointing, and shit.
31. “Did I give you enough cash?” – Give me my change. Now.
32. “With the greatest respect…” – I think you’re an idiot.
33. “Well, it can’t hurt, I suppose.” – You’re making a huge mistake.
34. “Maybe I’m not explaining it properly.” – I am explaining it properly, you’re just dim.
35. “I’m sorry you feel that way.” – It’s not my problem.
36. “It’s a step in the right direction.” – But it’s still rubbish. 
37. “Very interesting.” – You’re talking bollocks.
38. “Don’t quote me on that.” – Don’t blame me if the vague, half-made-up information I just passed on backfires on you.
39. “It was working a minute ago.” – You’ve broken it.
40. “Don’t worry, it’s probably my fault.” – It’s definitely your fault.
41. “You should come over for dinner sometime.” – I will never invite you over for dinner.
42. “Ooh, I could get used to this!” – Something very faintly luxurious has just happened, e.g. being offered a cup of tea.
43. “Can you pop it in an email?” – Please stop talking.
44. “That’s a very good question.” – One that I don’t know the answer to.
45. “Can I borrow you for a second?” – You’re in deep shit.
46. “Now, don’t be alarmed, but…” – Be very, very alarmed.
47. “Let’s agree to disagree.” – I’m obviously right, but I’ve run out of things to say.
48. “Look, let’s just forget it.” – I will never, ever forget this.
49. “If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.” – I have no idea what to say about the crushing disappointment you’ve just experienced.
50. “Oh, hi! Sorry, I didn’t see you there.” – I was actively trying to avoid you.
51. “Well, that’s not quite what happened.” – Will your lies never end?
52. “There’s been a bit of a mix-up.” – I’ve ruined all of your plans and destroyed everything you hold dear.
53. “Only if you’re making one.” – Why yes, I desperately want a cup of tea.
54. “It’s up to you.” – You’d better pick the thing I want to do.
55. “Could do, I suppose.” – No.
56. “Sorry.” — I’m not sorry.
57. “I don’t mind.” – I do mind.
58. “It’s OK.” – It’s not OK.
59. “I’m fine.” – I’m fine.
60. “I’m fine.” – I’m furious.
61. “I’m fine!” – My whole life is in tatters. Please bring me a drink.
 Favourites roughly in order of usage are:

20. “I’ll let you get on.” – Seriously mate, I can't bear talking to yu any longer.
 1. “It’s not quite what I had in mind.” – What the hell is this mess?
 4. “They’re fine once you get to know them.” – They’re arseholes.
43. “Can you pop it in an email?” – Please stop talking.
51. “Well, that’s not quite what happened.” – Will your lies never end?
34. “Maybe I’m not explaining it properly.” – I am explaining it properly, you’re just dim.
39. “It was working a minute ago.” – You’ve broken it.  
54. “It’s up to you.” – You’d better pick the thing I want to do.
And, of course, "I'm fine/it's OK"

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Ever wonder why you do stuff?

Life seems so futile in many ways, especially at this end of things where one is gradually working down to retirement, then hoping to die comfortably before becoming old to the point of complete indignity.

It doesn't really matter that much what phone I use, what car I drive or a bunch of other stuff, but they're good distractions for a while.

It's tempting to sign this post off as 'Marvin', so at least you know I still have a sense of humour.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Day 2 on the settee this week

I went to work this morning & got sent home: been able to do a bit via email, but this hasn't been my most productive week. Felt miles better first thing, but was a dizzy, coughing wreck by the time I arrived at the Innovation Centre.

In other news, the Microsoft Lumia 640 turned up today.

So it's a 5" phone (yikes) that feels slim, lighter than expected & neat. The back is a really good fit, but comes off OK without a fight, and although the phone doesn't have the presicion engineered feel of my carbon & metal RAZRi, it's still good. The Giffgaff SIM worked fine, since the phone is locked to O2 and Giffgaff share that network. Call quality is great, with pretty much landline quality from indoors on my settee, rather than having to go outside and STILL getting breakup - this is a PHONE phone, rather than a small tablet computer.

The screen is also nice, both in terms of clarity and of oleophobic coating to reduce smears, and the interface seems pleasantly fluid if quite unfamiliar, despite having Windows 8.1 (may have to migrate to W10 to stay current in the app store - give it a week). At this stage I'm not sold on the windows mobile experience, but there's the promise of good things to come if I persevere. There's also a 5200mAh external battery pack given away 'free' (but no charger - just a USB cable) with the phone, and fortunately I still have my Motorola charger. Hopefully battery life will be a couple of days at least.

In terms of storage there was just over 3Gb free from 8Gb basic memory, which is no worse than Android (no idea about iPhones, other than to hear 16Gb iPad owners complain about no useful space). There's all the kinds of tools you might expect to find if you were using a windows PC, which is handy in some ways, more complicated than it need be in others. My initial experience is that I don't actually like windows, but on a PC it just gets out of the way and lets me get on with life - hope this will be the same.

And I've 14 days to return it - one of the key reasons for buying online. Not that I expect to, but if I just can't get on with the interface then, in theory, there's a no-quibble guarantee they'll take it back.

But sofa so good.

Now, where's that micro-SD card that was supposed to arrive today?

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Pulling a sickie today

Had been asked to prep some songs for the meeting this morning, but my voice isn't good for singing (or very much at all) and when I move I cough. So I'm sat at home while Chris has gone to church, keeping warm with a laptop on my legs, coughing occasionally.


Circling over.

Just ordered a Lumia 640 from O2 for £70 on PAYG. Should take my Giffgaff SIM card OK (shared network) and I've got 14 days to return it if it turns out to be a lousy buy.

In the end it came down to a mix of low cost & size that made me go this way - £70 is a relatively small gamble for something I'm not sure about (Windows on a phone). The other options were a Moto G4 plus - great screen, nice camera, OK battery life, huge piece of plastic, Moto E3 - smaller & neater but laggy when actually *doing* stuff & not just flicking across desktops, iPhone 6 - much smaller and neater (IOS10 is enormously better than IOS6, which completely turned me off) but also relatively expensive and with poor battery life.

I'll report back whether the Lumia experience is good or bad later.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Migrated the main PC last night

It could be called an update, but I pressed an old 750Gb Samsung HDD into service and installed Linux Mint Mate 18 (Sarah). The dark colours look and everything seems to work OK.

The install took a couple of hours nstead of the usual 20min because I'b wated to partition the old drive to keep a usable windows install + data, and as the disc was a little fragmented there was a lot of file relocation going on. Also the codecs etc used for audio & movie playback weren't included on the disc for the first time I can remember, and they seemed to take about 20min to download even before the great disc shuffle had started. There were times when I wondered whether the install had failed, but there was data passing through the bus as illustrated by the light on the fron of the case, and I could feel the HDD writing when I touched the case.

One minor hiccup was having to instruct the sound card to switch outputs from the front headphone socket to the rear, using the command line and alsamixer command. I'd forgotten the need to do that last time, and it took a while to remember why sound was working.

This is planned to be a long term install, and I've been copying folders across from backup locations to the new desktop this morning, from where I'll use them. This PC used to be Ben's games machine (it's an old core 2 duo machine) and it struggles to run firefox these days, though Opera is pretty good. Likewise Chris's machine is about that age, grinding away with W10 now. She'soften frustrated because it always seems to want to download updates when she wants to use it. We may have to go to high speed broadband sooner rather than later.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Circling is stupid.

I need to replace my old, now non-functional Motorola RAZRi phone.

That's not a problem.

The problem is that I'd like a phone similar to what I had: maybe a 4.5" to 4.7" screen with HD, similar 3-5 days with occasional use, slim and relatively pocketable, reasonable performance by current standards (an upgrade there!) decent mapping and navigation, reasonable camera.

Sadly, the market does not agree that this is a reasonable spec now. Everywhere it's phablets with screens as big as an E-Reader and 1 day battery life if I want anything with a reasonable specification. I've thought of joining the devil's ranks and buying an iPhone 5S or 6, but battery life is also less than ideal, performance somewhat lacking and that's a shed load of cash for last years (or the year or two before that) phone. And that's without having to cope with using Apple's most claustrophobic interface.

So I run in circles trying to decide what to do, not choosing anything because nothing is what works just right.

I've been looking at the Motorola G4 & G4 Plus: decent performance, great screen, good camera in the plus, fast charger (plus again) and not a bad price. But the thing is enormous, and even though it's not heavy, I couldn't imagine going for a run carrying one of those the way I did my RAZRi.

But then I keep coming back to a Lumia: cheap, smaller, but also with a reputation for unreliability and instability.

Then there's all those other phones out there.

And round we go in a circle again.

It's not like a lifelong commitment, but it IS a commitment for a couple of years, and one I want to get right.


Wednesday, 12 October 2016

So we say goodbye.

Goodbye Jo. You'll always be that chubby-faced 10 year old girl that I first met when I remember you, even though you were also a wife and mother now. Wish we'd been able to know each other as adult friends for a bit longer.

The disappearing blogroll

Now seems to have reappeared. Bizarre.

Ever take a marriage quiz?

LIVING FOR NOW You definitely want to have a significant relationship at some point in your future, but you are just not quite ready to make that commitment to the “forever one”. At the moment you like to have love and try out the skills of relationship maintenance: sharing personal space, communicating openly and compromising but you are not ready to make this an everyday experience. You have lots of facets to your life that are important to you and right now you are not ready to dedicate the significant time and effort marriage requires. You want a little more time to explore who you are and what you want before settling down.

 It's like the last 35 years never happened, apparently.

Take the (silly) test here:

Sunday, 9 October 2016

It seems I'm leading worsip today

Not for the first time, do I not feel ready for this - not because of what I've done, right or wrong, but because of what I'm carrying in my heart. So much easier to be at the back, maybe just play a bit, keep silent.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Of sausage and sealing wax, to chat of many things.

Apologies to Lewis Carroll.

This morning I was pondering issues of faith, certainty and making rules. Rules have long been a part of Christianity, inherited nicely fro Judaism with a good stirring in of human nature. You know where you are with a rule - rules are solid and reliable, not leaving room for doubt.

So, having survived losing a child, we're now experiencing a young friend dying of cancer, slowly in front of her husband and children. It does some interesting things to faith, not seeing healing or recovery happen.

Of course I know the intellectual answers to situations like this, but they don't answer the emotional questions.

So we're in a state of some limbo, in many ways.

On a different note, the kitchen is now fitted, and I cooked our first meal there tonight after a day spent relocating, sorting and discarding much of our excess kit that's been accumulated over the years. Let me tell you that drawers are greatly over-rated when it comes to kitchen storage, because everything is HEAVY, and a 30kg limit isn't very much.

We've won some & lost some with this design. Space is arranged differently, and we have far more drawers than before, but very much less cupboard space. The built-in freezer is a little bigger, despite having only 3 trays & a pit in the bottom for freezing. The fridge is about the same, but with a slightly less convenient layout. Dishwasher seemes a couple of inches narrower (NOT expected) and runs fairly quietly, oven's wider and with less height.

Induction hob is a winner.

It's now official here - an electric hob can be as good as gas to cook on. Heating starts in moments instead of minutes, and when you turn off the heat, the heat goes off. We have a large non-stick frying pan that wouldn't get more than a little warm with the old halogen & ceramic hob, but tonight I fried on it for the first time. Also nice is that any spillages don't burn on, because then only thing getting heat from the hob is the pan.

We had a brief moment of frustration earlier, thinking the hob hadn't been connected, when in fact the touch controls required a finger pressed on the power on mark for a couple of seconds before starting. Once that was sussed then it was plain sailing, although the obviously electronic nature of the device is mildly dissappointing - touch controls everywhere, fans starting up when the power goes on etc. There's a lot to be said for simple kit, even though this works really well.

Wonder if it will last 26 years like the last one?

In the vein of replacing things, I'd wondered if we needed to replace the settees soon. Chris told me they weren't going anywhere because the place she normally sat had a Chris bottom hole shape in it. That caused considerable amusment between us.

I also need to replace my mobile phone. The RAZRi is nearly 4 years old, and has succumber to the fluctuating battery fault that got so many when they were upgraded to android 4.4. The old HTC Desire that was my first smartphone was still around, rooted by Ben & running Cyanogen Mildwild - managed to find a punched SIM card outer that would take my microSIM from the other phone & suddenly I'm back in business. Seems pretty slick considering the almost 6YO hardware.

We'll be moving Chris to a smartphone soon, from her old clamshell Nokia, and whatever she gets I'll probably also have for me so that I can help trouble-shoot for a while. I'd quite like a WinPho (probably a Microsoft 650) but tried a couple of budget androids this afternoon while shopping. I was quite surprised at how much better Android phones are now - when I last went looking, a Galaxy S3 was quite glitchy and not always smooth, while these were all pretty good.

Talking of moving stuff on, we came across Sarah's Virgin Mobile SIM card packaging this afternoon. She had her first phone about 14 years ago, and what a meal they made of selling you access to a mobile network then! Guess it was all part of selling the dream of mobile telephony at a time when everyone sat down to a PC. Now it all seems almost embarassingly obvious, but in those days a mobile was still somewhat special. And it wasn't even a long time ago.

We're both coughing well tonight - hope we can sleep. Chris has had a REALLY nasty cold this week and I may have just acquired her cough.

Sleep well internets.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Since we're on a posting roll - divergent

Watched the first 2 films in the divergent series over the weekend, and I can't help compare them to the Hunger Games films (of which I watched the 2nd or 3rd in the series while flying somewhere). Emotionally tortured teenage girl falling in love and bringing down a distopian regime seems to be the theme. Lots of pretty CGI enabling big sets, lots of people waving guns around. The storyline is present, but seems relatively uninvolving.

Guess I shouldn't complain since at least we're getting some real scifi films made after such a long, dry period: Gravity, The Martian, Interstellar, Edge Of Tomorrow were all good and watchable, although Interstellar had a hokey weak ending. Now if only someone would make the Ringworld trilogy, and then the Known Space series, that would be great.

My blogroll has disappeared

No idea why - it's nothing personal.

Happy thirtyfifthiversary to us

About this time of day, 35 years ago, I recall riding over to Chris's parents place, to see her before she got reading for the wedding. Her father was out (apparently he'd would not have been happy with my breaking of 'luck' from not seeing the bride on a wedding day) and so we saw each other briefly before I went home again.

Today we 'celebrate' by having our kitchen torn out and living room filled with all the stuff that normally lives in the kitchen instead. Chris has a nasty cold, so I'm not sure whether we'll go down the microwave meals or dining out route tonight.

Yay us. ;-)

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

So the new kitchen is finally ordered.

Fitting starts next week.

It's been harder work than it should be, but we seem to have finally got there. I wonder how long it will take to get used to everything being different after 26 years more-or-less like this?

Friday, 23 September 2016

It's 12.50am and I have a cold & can't sleep


Went to bed, laid for an hour, got back up & finalised identifying kitchen appliances (yup, that's a fridge) for the refitted kitchen. Doing the redesign has been frustrating, with drawers only available in the width of units that we don't want or at different heights across different width units and too many faffy, fiddly factors.

We have a design that we can both agree on. Done. Probably.

Media is a funny thing.

2 angles.

One is that culture and interaction are being shaped by media consumption, to the point where as a non-TV watcher I am finding myself decreasingly able to connect with media presentations. Part of that is the generation Y concern for fluffy bunnies, inclusivity and the environment, but a much larger part is the manner of presentation. It feels all tense, urgent and yet the words and emotions used convey little of the meaning to me. It's a lot like sitting in a technical business meeting discussing quality standards for an area of business for which I have no knowledge or interest.

This was prompted by watching a bit of the latest version of Alpha videos last night. It just doesn't connect. But more than that, I'm finding the people that DO connect with that kind of thing being less and less able to communicate effectively to me.

Maybe the answer is to get a TV.

Angle 2.

It feels like media is everywhere to be consumed.

That's not news at all, but what is different and increasingly so is the availability of copyright content EVERYWHERE to the point of blurring ownership to consumers.

I can watch videos on Amazon prime, streaming in DVD quality, and very nice it is too.

I watched 3 videos during our 10 hours of flying to Turkey and back.

I recently downloaded some TV programs from veoh that were unavailable from Youtube, and have found various sites that work as a streaming portal for almost every recent film one could wish for, and with no suggestion that one is breaking the law in the way that torrent users used to.

Apart from causing distress in the movie industry, it's going to be increasingly difficult for people to have a sense of copyright over digital content, if everywhere you go content is freely available whether a fee has been paid or not. I'm in several minds about the rightness or otherwise of all this because the rules governing this kind of content are relative and set by society, rather than clear and absolute, and the ground in this area is shifting. Curiously the BBC has changed the rules this month regarding streaming TV programs, and a license is now required to watch programs retrospectively. I wonder if this will help them or if the horse has not only bolted, but been caught, bought, sold & turned into glue. Never mind any stable doors.