Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Monday, August 31, 2020

Happy 63rd Wedding Anniversary to these old wrinklies...

Happy 63rd Wedding Anniversary to these old wrinklies. Literally, we wouldn’t be here without you Dad and Myrtle!

Friday, August 28, 2020

It's A Boy!

Congratulations to my amazing niece Charlotte on the arrival of her amazing baby boy at 1:50pm today weighing in at 3.37 kg / 7.7 lbs. He looks just like his proud father Jos.

A very proud great uncle at this end! Those 35 hours in labour were certainly worth it! XXX ❤️❤️❤️

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Tenet - strap yourself in and enjoy the ride. And see if you can spot a topical reference to a "mutant algorithm"!..

Last night I went to see Christopher Nolan's new blockbuster film Tenet at the Vue Cinema in glitzy Islington.

It was weird going back to the cinema after such a long time; lots of social-distancing in the seats sold, face coverings all round, lots of extra staff on hand, and dozens of hand sanitiser dispensers.

The reviews for Tenet have all been fairly glowing so far and I'd largely concur. Although as with any sci-fi action blockbuster, there are always enough plot holes to drive a Batmobile through!

However, if you take my advice, you just strap yourself in and enjoy the ride. And see if you can spot a topical reference to a "mutant algorithm"!

Nice performances from action hero John David Washington, a lovely bromance with Robert Pattinson, wronged siren Elizabeth Debicki is great, baddy Kenneth Branagh hams it up beautifully, nice support from Himesh Patel, and a lovely if rather pointless cameo by Michael Caine.

Go see.


Christopher Nolan is obviously a big fan of The Night Manager, James Bond, and to a lesser degree Doctor Who's River Song.

Mediterranean location (check), posh yacht (check), moustache twirly omnicidal baddy (check), unhappy ingénue looking for a way out (check), good-looking protagonist who is good with his fists but for some reason doesn't get shot on first sight by the baddy (check), baffling world-effecting plot (check), huge dramatic set-pieces involving planes, cars, explosions, and lots of fighting (check), lots and lots of time-wimey MacGuffins (check), characters that say cake-and-eat-it things to baffled side-kicks like "don't try to understand what's going on, it's complicated"!

The physics bit as used in Tenet...

Time is an illusion. Or so they say. There is no global "now".

One natural conclusion of General Relativity is that all events are real. All events. So events in the past and future have already happened. A non-intuitive idea of course because we remember the past, not the future.

Time travel in films and TV often relies upon this idea. Most film and TV use the idea of traveling faster than the speed of light or bending space-time so people and object suddenly jump into the past or the future.

Not so in Tenet.

Tenet correctly acknowledges that time is simply the direction of entropy.

Entropy (the measure of disorder) being one of the few quantities in the physical sciences that require a particular direction for time.

The second law of thermodynamics says, the entropy of an isolated system can only increase, but cannot decrease. Therefore the arrow of time only goes "forward" in time not backwards. Ice melts. Hot turns to cold. Your bedroom gets more messy not less.

Tenet imagines a future 'magical' method of decreasing the entropy for an object in such away that it reserves this own arrow of time for that object. They call it 'inverting the entropy'. So it gets colder when you heat it not hotter. When you throw it away it comes back. Bullet's get unshot. The inverted object experiences the world backwards locally even in a world where time for everyone else generally flows forward.

Significantly this inverted object or person travels through time at the same rate as everyone else but in reverse. So no sudden jumps into the past or into the future.

And if, Tenet supposes, those inverted objects were to start appearing from the future into the present, why were they being sent here, and how could a bad guy use them to his own evil ends?

Watch Tenet to find out.

And the Grandfather Paradox gets acknowledged and promptly ignored!

And the baddy's modus operandi seems to be "if I can't have it, no one can".

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Socially-Distanced Eat Out To Help Out Catch Up with Tony....

Lovely to have a socially-distanced Eat Out To Help Out catch-up with Tony last night. Stuart and I had never been to Megan’s before. Nice enough food but service a bit on the slow side.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Monday, August 24, 2020

Friday, August 21, 2020

Track & Trace app in iOS 14...

The latest iOS 14 beta has more Covid-19 Exposure Notification options built in to it. For those concerned about privacy, it is very much an "Opt In" rather than an "Opt Out" system.
The system will only work if two things happen; 1) if *you* enable the option on your phone AND, 2) if *you* download and install any (health? Government?) app to use that option. So it will be voluntary not mandatory.
Of course there are lots of discussions about any track & trace app to be had that will no doubt use words like “trust”, “privacy”, "civil duty" and talk of whether some buildings, venues, public or private spaces, will only allow access if you have an enabled tracing app on your phone. 
Some will sign up straight away. Some won’t. Some won't be able to if their don't have a smart phone. Some will be concerned about any privacy issues. Others will steer well clear on principle. Some might take a more nuanced approach and sign up but not use it. Some may wait and see what others do. Some people might be happier with a manual contract tracing system rather than a digital contact tracing system. 
Ultimately it will require people to have faith in an app that may end up telling them to stay home for a long period, isolate, and get a test.
So far even the most compliant countries (Oz, Iceland, Singapore, Taiwan etc.) are only seeing around 35-40% take up of their own tracing apps. Any digital tracing app really needs a minimum 60% take up for it to be effective, ideally 80%.

Let’s see how this one plays out. 

Whether it is digital or manual, track & trace will have a part to play in any pandemic - even if and when a vaccine is widely available.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Tube Escalator 1 - 0 Me...

Five days after going 10 rounds with a tube escalator and bruises are starting to get better. I feel like a panda 🐼

And most scars will be hidden. Only slight scarring to my face (forehead). I’ll have to come up with some story about swimming with piranha in the Amazon. (Which we actually did!)

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Dishwasher Salt...

Who can honestly say they don’t have at least two big questions about dishwasher salt?

Where do I put? Why do I put it? How do I put it? When do I put it? Why is it so expensive? Why does it spill everywhere? How come the cap never does back on? How come the container is so hidden away?

The back of the packet says "you may have hard water - check the rocks and geology of your local area." So I've ordered a pick-axe, a canary, and a miner's lamp.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Guess Who Has Been In The Wars?

Top Tip: If you are going to venture back on the tube for the first time in 5 months after a big downpour on a Saturday... *do* hold on to the handrail (inspite of fears of Covid), *don't* wear your favourite trainers that have no tread left on the sole, and *don't* trust that the tube escalator steps won't be slippery from the wet.

I had just walked up the Northern Line escalator at Kings Cross hands-free when my foot slipped forward on the last wet metal step at the top. As my foot slipped forward, I fell backwards. Then, with nothing to grab on to, I tumbled fully backwards down the escalator hitting my head on the edge of each step on the way down. Luckily it was a short fall; just five or six steps. But those metal steps are pretty unforgiving. It must have sounded like the opening bars of the EastEnders closing theme. There was blood everywhere.

Over 5 hours in A&E; a broken rib, five deep cuts to my head that looked like a bear attack (now glued back together), a tear to my left ear, head to toe covered in bruises and cuts, and an impressive landscape of bloody red scratches down my whole back made by the escalator teeth. Ouch! 

Two days later I feel fine. And very lucky. It could have been so much worse if I had fallen on my back or my neck. The wonderful people at UCH patched me up (turns out Saturday are fairly quiet there these days) and the biggest bruise I am left with now is probably the one to my ego. I thought I had mastered "how to climb stairs" aged 3! Silly me. And those favourite trainers have gone in the bin.

Hold on to that tube escalator handrail! Especially when it's been raining.

The woman next to me in A and E had a broken arm. How did you do it I asked? I was arm wrestling with my sister she replied. Oh your sister must’ve had quite some grip. No, she said I won fair and square but then she hit me with a stool and broke my arm. 

Friday, August 14, 2020

Massively Multiplayer Bomberman...

One of my favourite games on the SNES was Super Bomberman.

Well, here is a fab re-imagined multiplayer version:- "Massively Multiplayer Bomberman"!
This is how to reinvent old games for the modern times - we don't want classic graphic design fucked around with but we do want this!

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Spin Class - before and after...

WTF was I doing at a spin class last night in this heat @ Highbury Pool & Gym ? I must be mad.

And after....  Blimey! That was tough.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Emma and Ignacio @ Southwark Park...

Stuart and I spent a lovely day out last Sunday in Southwark Park having a picnic with Emma and Ignacio.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

A Tale Of Two Cities...

 Charles Dickens's "A Tale Of Two Cities" was first serialised in two local newspapers. 

"It was the Bicester Times, it was The Worcester Times"

Monday, August 10, 2020

William's 30th...

On Saturday afternoon, we had a very lovely socially distanced surprise 30th birthday garden party for my nephew William.

Doing the job he does, there was a sea theme to the celebrations.

We hid in the back garden and jumped out to surprise the birthday boy when he arrived. He acted surprised, although the three helium-filled fish floating in the middle of the lawn might have given the game away a little!

His fiancée Jaye, his sister Charlotte Kate, and his mother Joanna pulled out all the stops; great food, ample drink and a lovely nautically-themed birthday cake.

It was so nice to see everyone in the flesh. It had been 7 months since I had last seen everyone - including my Mum and Dad who had been shielding.

It was an afternoon filled with laughter, lots of sanitising hand gel, and much hand washing. Very 2020.

Friday, August 07, 2020

Pinas, Koch, Junk, or Pink...

I've ranked types of sailing ship based on how much they sound like euphemisms for a penis:

 1. Pinas
 2. Koch
 3. Junk
 4. Pink
 5. Man-of-war
 6. Tjotter
 7. Longship
 8. Sloop
 9. Cutter
10. Lugger
11. Brigantine

Yes, I've got time on my hands. Feel free to suggest any more!

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Andy Warhol @ Tate Modern...

Last Sunday afternoon Stuart and I took a stroll down to the Tate Modern on London's glitzy South Bank to see the Andy Warhol exhibition.

Socially distanced and donning masks we pootled round the one-way route of this major retrospective - the first Warhol exhibition at Tate Modern for almost 20 years. 

As well as his iconic pop images of Marilyn Monroe, Coca-Cola and Campbell's soup cans, it includes works never seen before in the UK. Twenty-five works from his Ladies and Gentlemen series – portraits of black and Latinx drag queens and trans women – are shown for the first time in 30 years.

Andy Warhol was the son of immigrants who became an American icon. A shy gay man who became the hub of New York's social scene. An artist who embraced consumerism, celebrity and the counter culture – and changed modern art in the process.

He was born in 1928 as Andrew Warhola to working-class parents from present day Slovakia. In 1949 he moved from Pittsburgh to New York. Initially working as a commercial illustrator, his skill at transforming the imagery of American culture soon found its realisation in his groundbreaking pop art.

Popularly radical and radically popular, Warhol was an artist who reimagined what art could be in an age of immense social, political and technological change.

We loved it. If you get a chance, go see. It has been extended to November.

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Baby Shower...

Last Saturday we all had a fab day celebrating a Baby Shower for Charlotte & Josiah - the parents to be. Exciting!

We played a game of guess the baby + mother's weight too. I guessed 64kg... let's just say I was out a mile; nearer 80kg! Big baby!