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Archive for the ‘Musings on Life in General’ Category

Goodbye Summer

August 22, 2014 36 comments

Remind me. Here in the Northern Hemisphere it is summer, isn’t it?

Where, then, did it go? Here’s a couple of snaps I took before and after my commute to work a couple of days ago, as proof of the most un-Summer-like temperature.

Here’s the temperature my car reckons it was before my morning commute. I’m inclined to believe it, it was pretty cold. The temperature’s at the top in the middle!

BeforeCommute

Here’s the time when I arrived at work (top right).

TimeAfterCommute

And here’s the temperature. It hasn’t warmed up much 😦

AfterCommute

Brr. Please may we have our summer back?

Home, James

August 19, 2014 43 comments

I was reading today how driverless cars are cleared to be on the roads of the UK next year. Yeeks!

The article spoke about the possibility of having a car with no controls, or a car with controls so that the driver can jump in if there’s an emergency. Surely if you’re constantly watching out for problems you might as well be driving?

It also mentioned lorry convoys, where the driver in the first lorry drives and the other lorries follow along behind. Again, these other lorries would have drivers “in case of emergency”, but the article suggested that in the mean time they could perhaps read a book or have lunch.

If they’re reading a book over a nice bit of lunch, how can they take control in an emergency? Many drivers don’t manage to avoid trouble when they’re concentrating, let alone having a nap.

DriverlessCar

Happy Holidays!

December 24, 2013 27 comments

It’s nearly Christmas! Woohoo!

I’ve switched on the snow on my blog, so it must be nearly here.

Join with me, if you will, in appreciating the most awesome Christmas rhyme of all time…

“‘Twas the night before Christmas,
and all through the house,
not a creature was stirring,
except… the four assholes coming in the rear in standard two-by-two cover formation.”

…taken from the most awesome Christmas film of all time!

Die Hard

Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho.

Well, it’s set at Christmas time anyway. So tuck yourself up on the sofa with drinks and snacks and enjoy an evening of mayhem with Bruce!

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to everyone 🙂

Christmas2013

[Copyright note: Die Hard theatrical poster taken from Wikipedia, in which it strongly implies “fair use” when using the whole image to describe the film (copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the film, the publisher of the film or the graphic artist).]

Who Put the Black in Black Friday?

December 1, 2013 42 comments

That title sounds like the start of a silly song.

“Who put the ‘Black’ in Black Friday?
Grab stuff before it’s all gone. (dum dum dum dum dum)
Don’t be a snivelling cry-baby,
Crash through the queues and be strong!”

The first I really heard about Black Friday was a couple of years ago via Amazon UK’s Black Friday deals. For a while that’s all we had, but this year one of the “Big Four” supermarkets decided to bring Black Friday to the UK! Yes, it has made its way across “The Pond” and reached our happy shore.

Read more…

Not Any More

October 20, 2013 34 comments

Hello and welcome to this week’s Friday Fictioneers, hosted as always by Rochelle. This week’s 100 word photo prompt has been supplied by fellow Fictioneerer Janet Webb, and you can check out the other entries here. I’m getting later and later with this, as I have “things on my mind” which I may post about at a later date (except I’m trying not to think about it too much).

I must admit, I’ve trickled over into 102 words this week. However, I’m safe in the knowledge that I could swap my two uses of “any more” for the modernised form “anymore” (which is annoying the spell checker as it’s technically incorrect in UK English), which would cut it down to 100 🙂

photo-88

Copyright Janet Webb

“Hey Dad, what’s up with Uncle Bert, all alone over there?”

“He’s sulking. He doesn’t like the wet stuff. He doesn’t like getting his wheels wet. He’s worried he’ll rust.”

“Where did all the flesh-things go? Did they rust?”

“Maybe. Or maybe they melted. They never looked very hardy to me.”

“Where did all the wet stuff come from?”

“Full of questions today, aren’t you? I heard it used to be solid. Then everything warmed up and now it’s all wet and it’s everywhere.”

“So why are we here, Dad? Do we have a purpose?”

“Not any more, son. Not any more.”

Draliman’s Guide to Lists

October 13, 2013 31 comments

pftpep-s3ep10-shoppinglist

A shopping list (noun) is a list of items needed to be purchased by a shopper, a grocery list is a the most popular type of shopping list– including items that need to be procured on the next visit to the grocery store. It’s time to get extremely personal.  Share your grocery list with us! Scan it, snap a photo, or write it out.

Making a list can be a daunting prospect for the uninitiated. Without proper preparation, your list could go very badly wrong! I hope that this guide will help you to get the most out of your lists.

We’re going to concentrate today on one of the most common types of list – the “shopping list”. To explain, this is a “list” you might make before you go “shopping”.

Read more…

Love Notes – Full Circle

September 29, 2013 16 comments

pftpep-s3ep8-lovenotes

Sometimes called a billet-doux, or a love letter, a love note is a personal letter to a loved one expressing affection.  The loved one does not necessarily have to be animate, human, alive, or known.

The theme for this week’s Prompt for the Promptless, hosted as ever by the talented Queen Creative, is love letters!

I thought we’d take a look at love letters through the ages. Let’s start with a love letter recently discovered carved into a stone tablet, which was buried in the middle of a desert somewhere probably.

Ug,

Me kill mammoth. Me get meat. Me big. Me strong. Me want you. Me make you happy.

Me pick you up at eight.

Ug

As you can see, the cavemen didn’t waste words – in fact they didn’t have many words to waste! There is a directness to this letter which I find refreshing.

Next up, let’s zoom all the way forward to medieval England. A period of chivalrous knights and beautiful damsels, you say? Not a bit of it! Take a look at this recently discovered example.

My Lady Emily,

You hath spurned me for the attentions of Sir Bravealot and humiliated me in front of ye entire court. Therefore I hath struck down Sir Bravealot with mine sword. I hath also seen ye glancing in ye direction of Sir Slashalot. Thusly hath I sliced him open also.

Thus hath you but one suitor remaining in life – me.

I shalt pick ye up at eight.

Sir Killalot

Wow – serious stuff. I imagine that “Lady Emily” feels pretty special as Sir Killalot slaughters his way into her heart.

Let’s zip forward to the roaring Twenties next. Now we really get to hear some flowery stuff, as evidenced by this next example.

My Dearest Miss Emily,
When I caught a glimpse of you today, I swear my heart missed a beat.
Your alabaster skin, soft and pure as the most perfect of rose petals. Your eyes, sparkling as the stars in the night sky. The smile that comes so easily to your lips, lighting the room like the brightest of suns. Your laugh, the tinkling of the most perfectly crafted of wind chimes.
I shall pick you up at eight.
Always yours,
Crispin Bonneville, Esq

Surely we have reached the very pinnacle of love letters! Let’s try the Fifties next.

Dear Emmy-Sue,

Gosh, I enjoyed our lunch date today! You’re so smart and so pretty, Emmy-Sue! Top in your class, a cheerleader and one of the most popular girls in the school! Gosh, Emmy-Sue, I can’t wait to take you to the sock hop tonight! And please assure your Ma and Pa I’ll have you home safe and sound by ten!

Gosh, I’ll pick you up at eight!

Chad

Although not as flowery as our Twenties example, I love the sweet innocence of this letter. Any girl would surely feel special to receive this! Finally, we’ll take a look at a typical love letter of our time. Well, love text.

yo ems i saw u in da club an u woz lookin sick innit lez hook up 4 sum fun innit we go 2 da kebab van and weez has a gud time i pick u up at 8 yo

And there you have it. I’m not even sure it’s written in English. I mean, what the hell? Such a shame.

We have seen that love letters have pretty much gone full circle. We began, and ended, with the caveman.

Ritual and Routine

August 14, 2013 29 comments

Ritual and routine. Watchwords for my life.

When I say “ritual” I’m talking about the personal things we do, rather than anything connected to religion. Little things like knocking on wood before performing a certain task, maybe. Things that don’t really mean anything, but make us feel better.

Routine – the things we do every day, the things we have to do, like checking all the windows are closed before we go to work.

I love my routine. I do the same things every workday morning, in the same order. Get out of bed, make lunch, shave, shower, brush teeth. That’s all fine. Next I check the kitchen plugs are off, check the water to the washing machine is off, check the washing machine and microwave are unplugged, check the side window’s closed, check the amplifier is off at the wall, check the amplifier base unit is off at the wall, check the bathroom fan master switch is off and leave the house.

There’s more, but you get the idea.

Here’s the kicker – I already know most of the stuff is fine. I use the washing machine on a Monday evening. It can’t magically plug itself back in, but I need to check every morning. If I don’t check I feel uneasy. That’s when routine becomes ritual. It serves no useful purpose but I need to do it to make myself feel better. If I do something out of order it feels very wrong.

Then there’s the stuff which my brain expects to happen. The other day I walked into a door at work. I flung my right arm at the door handle and missed. I tried with my left hand and missed. However, my brain expected the door to be open by now, so my legs just kept on going. Ouch!

Here’s what I imagine was going on in my head at the time, starting in the “Department for Hands and Arms”.

Brain Error

Once I’ve locked a door, I check it’s locked – that’s good common sense. If I wait around in the proximity of the door for more than a few seconds I have to check it again. That’s just mad! I know it’s locked.

Does anyone else have a routine which has morphed into a ritual?

Time Twister

August 11, 2013 18 comments

Prompts for the Promptless Retrocausality

RETROCAUSALITY IS A THOUGHT EXPERIMENT ADDRESSING THE QUESTION, “CAN THE FUTURE AFFECT THE PRESENT, AND CAN THE PRESENT AFFECT THE PAST?”.  IT IS ANY OF SEVERAL HYPOTHETICAL PHENOMENA OR PROCESSES THAT REVERSE CAUSALITY, ALLOWING AN EFFECT TO OCCUR BEFORE ITS CAUSE.  IT OFTEN REFERS TO PHILOSOPHICAL CONSIDERATIONS OF TIME TRAVEL, THOUGH THE TWO TERMS ARE NOT UNIVERSALLY SYNONYMOUS. (Logo courtesy of Queen Creative.)

Wow. Can the present affect the past? I’m going to say “no”.

I read the Wikipedia entry on the topic. It’s all a bit spurious, physics-wise, although there are theories. There are always theories. Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong century to be a physicist. I like to see my physics in action.

We’re talking “causality” here – cause and effect. One example of cause and effect is described by the “butterfly effect”, which is also part of chaos theory. Now, I’m happy with chaos theory per se. If you pop a ball on the top of a hill it will eventually roll in some direction or other based on all sorts of starting conditions. But the “butterfly effect”? A butterfly flapping its wings can cause a hurricane thousands of miles away weeks later? Really?

The Butterfly Effect

Those Chinese butterflies have some serious mojo going on
“The Butterfly Effect” by DraliDoodles

Back to retrocausality. As a thought experiment it’s fun, I guess, especially if you’re with your mates down the pub, or it’s post-university-disco and you’re all sitting in the kitchen, nicely drunk making cheese toasties and talking philosophy.

As a reality, I’m thinking it could not be! I’ve watched a ton of Dr Who and he always actually travels to the past in order to affect the future. If he could affect the past by changing something in the present, he wouldn’t need the TARDIS, now would he?

But whoa there just a minute! How do we know that this retrocausality thing isn’t happening all the time? We don’t! Think about this:

  • I don’t like something about my past
  • I fire up my RetroCausalitron(TM)
  • I change the past from “here”, the present
  • The timeline from “that point then” on to “this point now” is rewritten
  • Because the timeline has changed I never actually changed the past – that action belonged to a defunct timeline. Nor do I even want to change the past as it is now what I wanted it to be.

Therefore we could have changed the past millions of times from the present and we’d never even know. Now that’s scary. My head hurts.

Drali Confused

Missed Call

May 19, 2013 5 comments

The joy of the junk phone call. Recorded messages. Amazing offers. An annoying and intrusive fact of daily life. Since I’m out at work I miss most of this joy, apart from the occasional recorded message on the answer machine – just hit “delete”.

But what about that occasional message on the answer machine that’s a legitimate call, but to the wrong number? I’m wondering on the etiquette of this.

A couple of days ago, I had such a call. A pleasant-sounding woman was informing me that they had come round to help me with “the problem with my back door – where was I?”. I don’t have a back door. I don’t even have a “back” in which to place a “back door” (I live in a flat so I suppose the back is technically where the only door is and the front is a window). I don’t really miss having a back door. I guess I would if there was a massive fire next to the “only” door, but fingers crossed on that one.

A few years ago I received a text message. Some chap told me he was waiting outside his house for me to pick him up. Where was I? It was cold and I should hurry up.

For all I know he’s still there, waiting for me. My mind conjures up pictures of his skeletal remains, propped up against a wall, long dead from exposure or starvation, the remains of a cigarette still clenched between the remains of his fingers.

Or possibly he gave up waiting and called a taxi.

What is the etiquette in these situations? Should I call/text back and tell them they got the wrong number? That seems the polite thing to do. Nine times out of ten it won’t cost me anything. Or should I just hit “delete” and let them work it out for themselves?