Sunday, 30 December 2018


It proved to be "a lot more fiddly than expected" to Chris, who had been encouraging me to fix it for several years. In retrospect, I can see that my father knew how a yacht should *look* but not how it worked. I have pretty much restored it to the original rigging, but would need to re-arrange things for it to sail effectively. This also explains why it wasn't very good. 

Missing someone.

As a child - quite a small one - I had this model yacht. Originally it came with 2 masts and pairs of sails like a sailing ship, but that was dumb and ineffective. My father made a new set of masts and rigging using tools and materials from the modelshop he ran, and although it never sailed well, it did at least look the part.
Move forward almost 50 years, the mast he made got broken somewhere along the line, and I'm now doing reconstruction to make it workable again. Most likely it will end up in the bathroom as a decoration, but I know a couple of small boys who may get to try it in a few years time.
It has just occurred to me that my father was probably younger than our son is now, when he did this. I don't often miss him (he's been dead more than 25 years) but this is a time when I do.

You know when

The phone signal has been good and you haven't needed to use it: 1 day 16 hours since last charge and it's still on 81%.

I've recently been getting just 3 days out of a charge, because I've been reading, taking pictures and sending videos over 4G data. It had made me wonder if the battery in this wasn't as good as the one in Chris's, but this shows it's really fine.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Repair or replace? Really??!

Sometimes I play bass. I'm not a 'great' bass player in that I play simple stuff, root & fifth with fills & runs plus occasional alternating octaves. Probably the biggest asset is that I play for the song, so I'm more concerned about making sure I play in tune and in time with an appropriate rhythm (you'd be amazed how many bass players must more able than me don't manage to do all those things).

The week before Christmas I broke the handle on my bass cab, carrying it out of a rehearsal. The cab itself is an ancient 150W Carlsbro with a 15" speaker, and being a substantial lump to cart around is far from ideal as I'm no longer in my 20s.

So how does one get a replacement strap for what appears to be a custom (budget) design?

Ebay? furrgeddaboutit.

Amazon? Ditto.

OK, alternatives then.

Traditionally guitar cabs have inset handles on the sides or strap handles on the top, although sprung swing-out handles can also be used. This cab is made from cheap chipboard judging by the weight, which means wood screws won't work, so the cab must be stripped & T nuts fitted behind any new handles to spread the load and prevent the wood tearing out.

Suddenly we're up to a major exercise in engineering and farting about, as well as sourcing handles, bolts, T nuts etc. It's really irritating, and I almost wonder if it's worth replacing the cab with something lighter and more modern to A) save the hassle and B) make carting the kit easier. But even if I keep it, I've still got to spend 20 quid on parts that I hope can be made to usefully fit.

Friday, 21 December 2018

I've read a couple of interesting things recently

Interesting if you care about business & technology, but also if you care about the human element in those areas.

An oral recollection by Evelyn Berezin about both her life as a child of Russian immigrants in the US and also development of the first true word processor.

Operation Elop, which covers the appointment of Stephen Elop as chief executive of Nokia and the eventual fate of their phone business.

It makes one realise how much businesses depend on people, how fragile they are, and how mere chance can sometimes bring the whole thing down.

Monday, 17 December 2018

I've had no threats of bombs or acid attacks, so far.

Which is a good thing.

What makes these people a) so particularly unpleasant and b) so monumentally stupid?

Just to reiterate, if anyone ever threatens to uncover your secrets unless you pay a cryptocurrency ransom, don't believe them. And certainly NEVER pay them a ransom, because it will only encourage them to continue.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

On a roll


I Can Take A Hint!

The Memsahib is always saying,"That toilet brush hasn't got my name on it you know!"

Never let it be said I do not listen. I am having her name engraved on a brand new brush for Christmas.

I know, I spoil her too much but I'm just that kind of guy.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Am I a sucker?

Courtesy of black Friday/cyber Monday I changed my 5" phone for a 6" phone of the nominally same type as Chris's. The idea was that in use, mine would be just like hers, any problems could be sorted by me etc etc. Plus I read quite a bit on the phone these days, and a bigger screen helps make the experience a little more fluid.

Typing doesn't seem any better though, judging from all the typos I just fixed. :p

 Bloomin' 'eck though, 6" is a big old lump in your pocket. Whoever can invent a phone with a holographic or projected screen that works in daylight and responds to touch, while being small and easily pocketable in itself will be onto a winner.

According to Facebook I was in Hyundai Banbury 24th November

Normally I'd assume this is some poisonous phishing email, but ALL the links go to Faceberk. I haven't knowingly EVER been to that place, certainly not around 11.30 on Monday 24th November, and apart from Whatsapp, I don't have any other software from that particular empire of evil on my phone.

So why the email, why there and why now, a couple of weeks later?

I also REALLY wish there was a viable alternative to Whatsapp.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Could a trend reverse?

Mobile devices have become the thing to work on.  The world is converting to tablet computing for working on, right, driven by Apple innovation.

Or perhaps not?

To me, the idea that a device running an OS clearly designed for media consumption that also allows the creative luvvies to process photos and create 'paintings' could actually be a useful business tool for the shop floor is counter-intuitive. Sure it can use web-based apps (as long as it can find a connection) to upload data & work, but it's been crippled horribly as far as connectivity goes, and as real for multi-tasking like a professional would require a computer to do - furgeddit.

So into this breach steps the Chinese company with an un-pronouncable name to produce a laptop that appears plainly designed for business use. Sadly it's at a professional price too, but still less than the equivalent fruity machine. When the time comes to replace Dellboy (the XPS15 - hopefully not for several years yet) then these could give Dell a run for their money.

Remember, if you aren't the paying customer of a service

then you're the product. I think we're about to see interesting times in mobile 'phone' interfaces in relation to GDPR.

Is creating stories to explain theology good?

Or to ask differently, is the reading of stories to explain theology as though they were factual actually healthy or helpful?

OK, as an ex-fundamentalist I love the idea of reading the bible & taking it at face value, but these days my conscience won't allow it. I've long known that Christians tend to 'make up' stories, both in history (St Columba anyone?) and in contemporary times (prosperity gospel, snake handling, un-substantiated stories of miraculous happenings).

How about when the bible is more about theology than history?

So I suspect for many current Christians Genesis would fall into this category. Intelligent design? 7 day creation? God's use of evolution? There's much to debate, and no argument about that.

What about Exodus? It reads like a historic record with a bit of prophesy thrown in, and if you've a Christian background stretching to childhood then it's hard to read it as anything other than a history of Israel leaving Egypt, led by a man spent "40 years thinking he was somebody, 40 years discovering he was nobody, then 40 years finding out what God could do with a nobody". But the problem with this is that if you look & find a thread hanging loose, pulling at the thread makes if feel like the tapestry of *history* is unraveling as you pull.

I've barely started really, but I'm already convinced Moses didn't do the 40/40/40 years thing, simply from the given history of events. The idea that the book is written *like* history in order to provide theology seems most likely, yet that then provides significant trouble when reading the rest of the bible if those events didn't happen as described. It's even worse when one remembers human nature about the winners writing history, but that's somewhere I don't *yet* want to go.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Loneliness is a curious thing.

I like my own company, but can feel more alone when surrounded by other people. I'm sure it's to do with affection, connection and agreement more than having company. Just having a bit of affection isn't enough, and there needs to be a certain degree of agreement too for the connection to happen.

Friday, 23 November 2018

The son of a bachelor is back.


Hi, my рrey.


2 weeks ago, you received an email from PayPal. Once you switched to it, you downloaded my virus. .
My trоjan сapturеd аll your privatе dаtа аnd switсhеd on your cаmеra which recоrded thе aсt оf your solitary sеx. Just after that the trojan savеd your contact list.
I will erasе thе соmpromising vidео recоrds аnd informatiоn if yоu sеnd mе 555 EURO in bitcoin.

This is addrеss fоr pаyment :  1J8fYdP9Pinr9WqHGyLyRSPKbSRAmAF9VG

I give you 30 hours аfter you oреn my mеssаge for mаking the payment.
Аs sооn as you reаd the mеssage I'll sеe it right аwаy.
It is nоt nесessаry to tell mе thаt you have sent mоnеy tо mе. This аddrеss is connеcted tо you, my systеm will erаsed autоmatiсally after trаnsfеr confirmаtion.
If yоu neеd 48h just Ореn thе cаlсulator оn yоur desktoр and press +++
If you dоn't pay, I'll sеnd dirt to аll your соntаcts.     
Lеt me rеmind yоu-I seе whаt you'rе doing!
You саn visit the pоliсe officе but anybody саn't hеlр you.
If you try tо dеcеivе me , I'll knоw it immеdiаtеly!
I dоn't livе in your country. Sо аnyonе can nоt trаck my lосаtiоn evеn fоr 9 months.
byе. Don't forgеt about the shamе аnd tо ignоrе, Your life сan bе ruinеd.


This is rubbish - the last email I had (see a few posts further down) didn't even have an address to send payment. 

If you get one of these, just file it as junk & block the sending address.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Fun fact.

Dicken's "A Tale of Two Cities" was first serialized in two local newspapers.

It was the Bicester Times, it was the Worcester Times.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Musicians, eh?

Time is like a river. You cannot touch the water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of life.

As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless military man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper's cemetery in the Nova Scotia back country. As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and because the area was so isolated I couldn't ask anyone for directions.

I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch. I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late.

I went to the side of the grave and looked down: the vault lid was already in place. I didn't know what else to do, so I started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I've never played before for this homeless man. And as I played "Amazing Grace", the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished, I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head was hung low, my heart was full.

As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, "That was beeyooteeful! I never seen anything like that before, and I've been putting in septic tanks for twenty years."

Monday, 12 November 2018

My mind is going, I can feel it.

Well, that should catch your attention a little more than the usually quoted line "I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that". Bye HAL, you'll always be one step ahead of IBM.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Doesn't everyone just hate white, middle aged, middle class men?

We seem to be the whipping boy for every radio discussion, social media frenzy and twitter feed. Arts councils discriminate against us, company boardrooms are wrongly full of us and we dominate business. We are paid more for the same work, make worse decisions and create an atmosphere of resignation and disillusionment among the women that work for us who know so much better. We letch and bully, abuse and willfully harm for our own benefit.

I could go on. :-(

Misandry appears to have become entirely socially acceptable, and we are the scourge of western society.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

A little humour before bed.

Two 70 year old men, Mike and Joe, have been friends all of their lives. When it's clear that Joe is dying, Mike visits him every day.

One day Mike says, "Joe, we both loved football all our lives, and we played football on Saturdays together for so many years. Please do me one favour, when you get to Heaven, somehow you must let me know if there's football there."

Joe looks up at Mike from his death bed," Mike, you've been my best friend for many years. If it's at all possible, I'll do this favour for you. Shortly after that, Joe sadly passes on.

At midnight a couple of nights later, Mike is awakened from a sound sleep by a blinding flash of white light and a voice calling out to him, "Mike--Mike."

"Who is it? asks Mike sitting up suddenly. "Who is it?"

"Mike--it's me, Joe."

"You're not Joe. Joe just died!"

"I'm telling you, it's me, Joe," insists the voice."

"Joe! Where are you?"

"In heaven", replies Joe. "I have some really good news and a little bad news."

"Tell me the good news first," says Mike.

"The good news," Joe says," is that there's football in heaven. Better yet, all of our old friends who died before us are here, too. Better than that, we're all young again. Better still, it's always spring time and it never rains or snows. Our wives are there too, and young and pretty as ever! And best of all, we can play football all we want, and we never get tired!!"

That's fantastic," says Mike. "It's beyond my wildest dreams! So what's the bad news?

"You're in the team for this Saturday....

Do you ever wonder about stuff people do?

You don't HAVE to answer that question, though it might be amusing to do so.

If the current government loses the next elections (when ever that might happen) then this person might well become the minister responsible for cyber security among other things. Which would probably not be an entirely good idea.

And in an age when one can decide to change ones gender and ones name, why should you not be able to change your age and birth date too?

I am pretty much convinced that gender-fluidity, the current opposition to conventional male roles and stereotypes and the general post-modern relativity that society is reinforcing are going to lead to mental health issues and depression, especially among men.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

A little taste of home.

I've just discovered the while looking for Stroh 80. The baked good section reminds me of the various things that we'd get as children around this time of year, but good grief, it's a bit spendy.

Free shipping to Europe if you spend >99 euros, which is significantly less baked goods than one might imagine.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Good morning from Tesco

Saturday morning routine. Visit mum, go shopping. In summer there's grass to be cut too, but not in November.

Clothes are silly cheap these days : for £50 I can get 2 pairs of trousers and 2 shirts. This year it seems that flower power has returned.

BTW yes, I'm slightly off my head with a cold right now.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Hello! My nickname in darknet is des53.


My nickname in darknet is des53.
I hacked this mailbox more than six months ago. Through it I infected your operating system with a virus (trojan) created by me and have been monitoring you for a long time.

Even if you changed the password after that - it does not matter, my virus intercepted all the caching data on your computer and automatically saved access for me.

I have access to all your accounts, social networks, email, browsing history.
Accordingly, I have the data of all your contacts, files from your computer, photos and videos.

I was most struck by the adult sites that you occasionally visit.
You have a very wild imagination, I tell you!

During your pastime and entertainment there, I took screenshot through the camera of your device, synchronizing with what you are watching.
Oh my god! You were so funny and excited!

I think that you do not want all your contacts to get these files, right?
If you are of the same opinion, then I think that $900 is quite a fair price to destroy the dirt I created.

Send the above amount to my Bitcoin wallet:

As soon as the above amount is received, I guarantee that the data will be deleted, I do not need it.

Otherwise, these files and history of visiting sites will get all your contacts from your device.
Also, I'll send to everyone your contact access to your email and access logs, which I have carefully saved.

Since reading this letter you have 48 hours!
After your reading this message, I'll receive an automatic notification that you have seen the letter.

I hope I taught you a good lesson.
Visit safe websites only, and don't enter your passwords anywhere!

Good luck!


Ha ha. Ha hah hah.

Faecal brain.

If you get sent one of these, just delete it and move on.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Excuse me, but have you heard the teachings of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Chr-AI-st?

Apparently AI can do bible translation versions.



We just had a mini-discussion about biscuits.

A friend brought some from an Indian baker. They were very (VERY!) short, sweet, slightly fragrant, the shortness making the biscuit crumble into powder in your mouth.

I was asked what I thought about them an hour after trying one and, while gathering thoughts and memories, said "Well, it was very interesting" at which point I was slightly leapt-upon for not just saying it was nice.

The thing is, I take her seriously and value the stuff she says to me & the foods we share sometimes. I could have just been shallow, or instead could actually try to say something useful. If there's music in the background then it gets analysed, and if there are photos on the wall they get critiqued, so why not treat food like there's a value in it too?

And is this what I'm doing with faith somewhat too? Do I look at the bible and think "that bit looks a little made-up in the light of these other bits".

What's wrong with me?

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Something's not quite right.

Ever since we've been back from Canada I've not really felt well or quite right, from struggling to re-adjust to UK time to just feeling off-balance inside. I've got a couple of thousand pictures that I've not really worked on or culled and I'm struggling to work well and effectively again.

There's nothing where I can say 'this is it', but it's there lurking in the background.

Monday, 22 October 2018

What do the passages in Exodus tell you about God's favour to people He has chosen

I was supposed to be preparing a bible study for housegroup on Wednesday, but the more I read and think about this, the more I see a bigger picture of suffering, brutality and cruelty on all sides. I find it hard to see the favour without the suffering, and because I know some history too, I know what the career path of the Jews will be over the next 3 1/2 millenia, and it ain't pretty.

The stuff I still struggle with the most is the miracles in the story vs the miracle-less present. There was none of this 'God needs to give everyone free will, so won't visit us now'. Back in the day it was more like "God says let my people go or I'll do horrible things to you until you DO let them go (p.s. you don't have a choice because I won't let you give in until it's all done)". Sure that's not an orthodox reading of it, but it's really hard not to see it like that.

11 years on

From this post about rocking out, I'm now playing in a rock band and finding I don't have the drive or energy (or fingers) any more. Bummer.

Is it time to hang up the guitar?

An Android phone without Google search and Chrome?

Apparently it should cost makers an extra $10 to $40 per phone, depending on resolution of the screen (I'm sure there's a logical reason, really). I've been using duck-duck-go for a while on my phone, and prefer its speed over conventional google.

Why is it faster than google? That's a very good question, that a measure of paranoia may provide an answer to.

I've also replaced Chrome with Brave browser, which works well for an advertising blocker like me.

Only in Canada

People leave their front doors unlocked and get their house cleaned for free.

I thought it might be a radical church group working on a practically sensible missional program, but it was just a case of mistaken address.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

I appear to have erased the blogroll


Guess I'll fix it sometime.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Learning how to blog, kinda.

So Somerton Village has a new website, built on wordpress.

I'm sat in a darkened hall, watching a chap called Nick explain how the village web site can be edited, have content uploaded etc. It's like working with blogger, only more flexible and therefore more difficult. Nick has done a good job balancing a lot of different wishes and needs.

Pictures are a bit mangled from over-compression (and I'm a fussy b*st*rd when it comes to pictures) but apart from that it's nice and clean.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Hagiography, Hamartography? Lets call the whole thing off.

I was moderately amused by this article on Steve Jobs, commemorating the 7th anniversary of his death.

Spoiler - it's tongue in cheek, but the tongue is spiky, and the cheek armour plated.