Blogathon 18/17: Wise and foolish virgins

The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway

The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway

You know that ‘wise and foolish virgins’ parable?

Mathew 25, verses 1-13?

Well this post isn’t about that.

Although, here’s a bit of wisdom to be going on with.

Do you have any premium bonds?

I have a fistful of them.

Some were bought for me as a Christening present, and I’ve added to them when I felt wealthy.

And yet I’ve never won a bean on any of then.

Have you on yours?

I saw a statistic a couple of weeks ago, that broke down the earning potential of premium bonds in to an easily understandable fact.

The overwhelming odds are that if you bought £50,000 of premium bonds at the completion of the Stonehenge circle, by now you would have won a £10,000 jackpot.

Once.

Makes you think, huh?

Right.

Back to those wise and foolish virgins.

1974 was a year in which the musical tectonic plates of the planet shifted, broke up, drew apart and, amidst the cataclysmic breakup, brought a new and wonderous thing.

The breakup was of possibly the finest prog rock band ever to come out of the UK.

And the new and wonderous thing was the last studio album which that band gave us, on the eve of their breakup.

Genesis: The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.

Which contains the following phrase that my mind keeps wandering back to, at odd periods of time, in a track called Carpet Crawlers:

Mild mannered supermen are held in kryptonite
And the wise and foolish virgins giggle with their bodies glowing bright

(If you would like to read another person break that album down in to a summary format, you could try this link)

And straight away people will say that Genesis didn’t break up in 1974, and that the band went on to continue receiving critical and sales success with other albums and stadium performances for many years.

And those people will be wrong.

Genesis died the day that Peter Gabriel left.

They went on to become an AOR band, then a pop band, and then a dad band.

I’m not sneering.

There’s nothing wrong with any of those things, and nothing wrong with Genesis being any/all of them.

It’s just that while Genesis changed course, and became those things, they stopped being the prog rock band that Genesis used to be.

I often wonder where Genesis would have gone if the band had kept the faith with their original drummer, the very amiable Chris Stewart, and not allowed Jonathan King to bring in Phil Collins.

Anyway, back to those wise and foolish virgins.

Sortov.

Later this year Sam and I will be going to see Elbow.

They acknowledge that the early Genesis played a significant part in influencing the way Elbow developed their art.

So like a wise (not foolish) virgin, I am being calm about the long-awaited visit to Elbowland.

And keeping my lamp trimmed.

Managing my own expectations.

But still looking forward to the gig.

Meanwhile, here’s some Elbow:

Blogathon 16/17: LinkedOut

I have a really big blogpost in me about breaking the culture that holds an organisation in stasis, thereby blocking it from adapting to change and answering to challenge.

Maybe I’ll save it up and dump it on LinkedIn.

But speaking of LinkedIn, how the flipping flip do you turn off notifications on specific posts?

I commented on one post (about a handy-looking programme reporting plug-in) and now I get thirty-five million notifications relating to the original post, every single day.

Absolutely no exaggeration there at all.

Thirty five million.

Every single day.

There’s nowhere obvious to switch them off.

I’m not terribly sure that I’m a fan of the new LinkedIn.

It’s all a bit too Facebookish.

But without the finesse.

Not that Facebook actually has much finesse, but the new LinkedIn has even less.

Oh dear.

This seems to have turned in to a LinkedIn rant.

How fascinating.

*changes subject*

I watched the first ever episode of The Thick Of It earlier.

Best line:

About as much use as a marzipan dildo.

Blogathon 15/17: Voting

Voting

Voting?

Sometimes it seems that we have become obsessed with ‘having our say’.

‘It is my opinion and I’m going to bloody well give it to you’, is right up there along with ‘It is my human right that my entirely ignorant opinion carries as much weight as your very knowledgeable and well-informed argument’.

These are the people we, here in the UK, have become.

We thrust forward our opinion on things through every means imaginable.

Text voting, phone-poll voting, Twitter polls, consumer polls…

The list seems to go on.

I blame Simon Cowell.

And yes, we use all of these opinion-based tools (and more) because we love to give our opinion.

And that’s how the complete dogs breakfast that Brexit has come about.

And not just Brexit

Adult

American Idiot

And yet organisations, both public and private, fall over themselves to canvass our opinions on everything that could possibly exist (whether it matters or not).

From action required to safeguard the preservation of the humble bee to the determination of whether the village idiot of the USA should be given a state visit or not.

And by the way, USA, please keep your village idiot, we have one of our own.

Idiot

Idiot

And on that point, by the way, more people voted against Trump being given a state visit than was the winning margin for Brexit.

But I guess some opinions are easier to ignore if they are inconvenient?

Anyway.

Opinions and giving them.

And now on to voting in general.

I still vote, at every election, but it’s a waste of time really, because no matter who I vote for, the Government always gets in.

And as a result of that things, inevitably, get worse.

I’m still not sure how we are the highest taxed nation in Europe and yet our roads disintegrate through lack of maintenance if you look at them too hard.

But there is one poll that I love.

One vote that I follow closely, and partake in whenever a new poll is put in to the field.

It is the APL.

Haven’t heard of the APl?

Here is the current APL table of standings:

APL

APL

Blogathon 14/17: Getting it on

It’s been one of ‘those’ occasions this evening.

You know the ones.

The secretive, indulgent, pleasure-filled moments.

When you get home before your other half.

And you’re going to do ‘that thing’.

Illicit thing.

That thing that you’re not supposed to do.

I’m not supposed to do.

Because if I got caught it would be very embarrassing.

But this evening, because I can, I’m going to do it anyway.

And to hell with the consequences.

I slip my trousers off, just to get comfortable.

Get in to the mood.

Excitement mounting, I’m keen to get started.

Need to be finished and cleaned up before anyone else gets home.

So excited!

Shall I do it standing up?

Or sitting down?

I get everything ready and opt to sit down.

Hands shaking.

Eight minutes later and I’m finished.

Done.

Replete.

I’d like another, but I can’t.

I’m done.

Quickly now I have to tidy up before anyone else gets home.

Just in time, I’m finished, as the front door opens.

I’ve got away with it.

Except I haven’t.

Half an hour later the accusations start.

‘There were much more Cheerios left when we went out this morning!’

I shrug.

‘And where’s all the chocolate milk gone?’

I smile, and shrug again.

Busted.

‘You’d better eat all your tea!’

Cheerios

Cheerios

Chocolate Milk

Chocolate Milk

Blogathon 13/17: MIA no more

I have returned from Deepest, Darkest, Devon.

I spent Sunday night in a pub on the edge of Dartmoor, to enable me to be at a nearby depot for 08.15.

A meeting, some tests, some research, some measurements, a couple of phone calls, and many photographs later and I was back on the road.

By 14.00 I was back at my desk in Leicester.

The pub – The Tradesman’s Arms – was off the beaten track, and very quiet.

And, as evidenced by the ineffective broadband, is in the middle of nowhere (how I am used to the 100Mb download/30Mb upload of rural Nottinghamshire!)

Not withstanding the lack of broadbandage, and the equally underperforming lack of mobile signal, I had a very comfortable night there.

And a very hearty breakfast!

I shouldn’t imagine The Tradesman’s Arms gets much by way of passing trade (the lanes being narrow, meandering, and not prone to passing of any description).

But if you’re in the area of Scorriton, near Buckfastleigh, I would strongly suggest you pop in for a beer, for a meal, or (if they have a room free), for the night.

And when you’ve finished reading this, check out the ‘A brief history’ column on the pub’s website.

That’s a good enough reason to visit all by itself!

Blogathon 12/17: MIA

You have heard of the land that time forgot?

Well, this evening I’m in the land that the Internet forgot.

It’s all very well the Inn having secured WiFi, but that’s not much cop when the local broadband delivery is a fantastic 56k down and 25k up.

Welcome to the 21st century.

I’ll be over in the corner with my parchment and quill.

Blogathon 11/17: Weekend wind-down

It’s been snowing, off and on, all day.

And, at the peak of the day, the temperature tottered upwards to a wholly magnificent 1c.

Neither of these is conducive to going out for a run on the ZX10R which is, obviously, what I intended.

So Sam’s done some wallpaper stripping, and we’ve been out and brought back a new TV stand/unit/thing, retrieved a duvet from the cleaner (one of the kittens had an ‘accident’ on it), and brought back a new mattress for the smallest bedroom.

I’ve helped with a few things as much as I can.

I must have slept oddly or something, because I have a bad back.

And Sam cooked spag bol this evening.

She’s been a totes trouper.

Earlier this evening we all sat and watched Storks which almost everyone seemed to love, but my jury’s still out.

We’ve just turned off Independence Day-saster, after only three minutes.

It’s awful.

Eight episodes of the @Wittertainment podcast (surely the best, and most consistent podcast for content, guests, and production/entertainment values?) have just been downloaded and added to my iPod.

I’m nearly six months behind the broadcast timeline, so Kermode and Mayo are reviewing films which are starting to pop up on Netflix and Amazon.

I should have listened harder to the review of Storks.

Hello to Jason Isaacs.

Get down with your bad self.

Wasaaaaaap.

Etc.

Blogathon 10/17: Speed Thrills

Kawasaki, my motorbike manufacturer of choice, have a new bike out, any day now.

It’s the 2017 Kawasaki Ninja H2 Carbon.

2017 Ninja H2 Carbon

2017 Ninja H2 Carbon

It’s broadly similar to my 2016 Kawasaki ZX10R Ninja, but it’s broadly similar on steroids.

As near as I can make out the second biggest change is that the quickshifter will now quickshift downwards, as well as up.

The new bike also has a remodeled exhaust, but it still has to comply with the arse-end regulations.

This means most people will, as I did, fit an aftermarket tail tidy to balance the deadly-looking front end with a razor sharp back end.

The Ninja H2 Carbon is somewhat quicker than mine, but at the top end of the gearbox, with the EMS on full power, at 200mph, mine is plenty quick enough.

For me, obv.

With the EMS on mid power, the new bike does have, for timid riders, a better mid-range.

But as I was saying to a Honda owner the other day, people who say the 2016 ZX10R Ninja has lacklustre midrange aren’t leaving it in first gear until it hits 100mph, and then changing in to second gear.

I’m not joking, if you do that, your 0-150mph will remove your inner organs.

But maybe there are people out there who lack the cojones to ride a 207bhp supersports bike on full throttle?

The 2017 Kawasaki Ninja H2 Carbon comes in at £6,000 more than I paid for mine which, compared to the other supersports unveilings over the last two weeks, is still ridiculously cheap.

So what does the Ninja H2 Carbon’s 310bhp give you, for that extra £6k?

This is the biggest change.

It has a top speed of over 249mph.

I wonder what my insurance would be?

Mine, by the way, will be exactly one year out of the factory old, next month.

Blogathon 09/17: Not working. Not being smart

These days everyone in the UK (and wider afield) has access to smart technology.

I was out with a friend for dinner, a few weeks ago when, during a lull in the conversation, he pulled out his mobile phone and switched the radio on in his kitchen at home.

For a joke.

I’m sure his wife was very amused.

But that’s not the point.

I can remotely access a huge range of technology, and I’m sure you can too.

Switch things off, switch things on, move (data/application) things around.

It’s not rocket surgery.

On the way to/from work, a significant stretch of the dual-carriageway A-road is having the central barrier renewed.

I don’t know when the workmen are onsite doing stuff, because when I come through in the mornings, they haven’t started yet.

And when I go back through in the evenings, they’ve finished, packed up, and gone.

Not a trace of life, at either end of the day.

And yet the speed limit for the whole stretch of dual-carriageway has been reduced from 70mph to 40mph.

The signs are far from automatic, they are those standard, unchanging, stand by the roadside things.

A bit like this:

temporary road sign

temporary road sign

So let’s assume that the workers are actually onsite doing their job from 08.30 to 16.30.

That’s 8 hours

And 8 hours times 5 days (because they don’t work weekends at any time) = 40 hours.

There are 168 hours in the week.

This means that an unnecessary speed limit is in force for 128 hours a week.

Or the equivalent of almost 5-1/2 days.

Almost 5-1/2 days of needless speed restrictions on a busy stretch of dual carriageway.

This isn’t unusual.

Why are road contractors so lazy about investing in smart speed limit signs?

Are they afraid of the technology?

Or are they afraid their staff are too stupid to operate them?

And how is this over-imposed speed limit acceptable?

Answers, please, on a comment below.