D4D

Welcome to the Anti-Twunt Front

Heated – plus Animals

Another thing I hate when the weather gets ridiculously warm, as it has this week – cat food, and the way warm weather interacts with it.

I’ve got two cats, and they have sachets of wet cat food on a regular basis.  However, they don’t eat all of it at once. That means that it attracts flies – the buzzing which annoy me intensely anyway – who lay eggs on the food and so on.

Obviously any remnants (and or course the now fly-blown cat food) get thrown away, but with the heat, it also makes the bin stink.  And with fortnightly bin-collections, it makes the main bins stink too.  I don’t mind fortnightly collections in general, they’re a fact of life – but I do think there should be an ability to cater for hot weather and so on, and change things to collect those bins weekly if the temperature goes above a certain limit.  (I know it’s probably utterly impractical, but it’d still be nice)

All told, it’s just skanky, and I hate it. All the fun of summer.

Heated

As I wrote about the other day – and as just about anyone in the UK already knows – this week has included the warmest June day in at least forty years, with Wednesday hitting 34.5°C (94°F) . As always, I know that people in other countries will be pissing themselves laughing at the way we’re unable to cope with temperatures at extremes (or at least what the UK sees as extremes)  but that’s because for us they are extremes – and as such, we simply don’t have the infrastructure to cope with them.

We get hot periods during the summer, but we’ve not been this hot since 1976.  So we don’t bother with air-conditioning in houses, or anything to deal with things like train rails expanding, tarmac melting etc. – because it only happens for small occasional periods, instead of months every year.   It’s the same in Winter, if we end up with serious (for us) snow or freezing conditions – they don’t happen often, so we don’t invest in snowploughs, or underground systems like places that have deep snow for weeks and months on end.

Personally, I don’t mind warm (and even hot) days – but I hate hot nights.  The other part of this week’s heat has been that there’s little to no breeze, so it’s been stifling and claggy at night, which makes it (for me) massively unpleasant. Indeed, on Wednesday night I even ended up giving up and going to sleep out in the garden instead, which helped a bit – although also resulted in interrupted sleep because of the cats.

In that context, it’s all made for what feels like a really long week…

Slow Roads

Every so often I have a day where I just want it to be over – not in any kind of self-harm way, just when a lot of things have turned to shit, and all I want is to go home.

Unsurprisingly, today has been one of those days.

It started OK – it was cooler last night, so I actually got some sleep. I’d got a meeting down near Reading, so once I was awake at 6am, I left to get down there while avoiding the worst of the rush-hour traffic, and aiming to be down in Reading before it even really started. That mission was kind-of successful, in that I was down there by 8.30 – but still, it took two and a half hours to do a journey that I can do on a weekend in an hour, or just over.

The meeting itself went OK, and I’ve got a bundle of work to do, which will make life entertaining.

Afterwards, fortunately I checked routes home on my phone, and found that the M1 had been completely closed due to a fatal accident.  It’s an area I know pretty well, so I knew I’d got a bundle of cross-country routes I could take, and that’s what I did.

However, it seemed like every single part of that route, I was preceded by slow-moving drivers who had nowhere to go, or no desire to get there.  The entire way back was spent going at 30 or 40mph on roads where the limit was 60, and all on what turned out to be the hottest June day in more than forty years – warm to the point where even the car’s air-conditioning wasn’t really managing anything.  (I may need to look at re-gassing it, but we’ll see)

All told, the journey home took two and a half hours – most of which was just due to being so much slower than I would’ve been on quiet/non-busy roads.

So, by the end of it, I was just wanting to be home, for it all to be over and done with.

It’s going to be the first day in several months where I haven’t achieved my steps-per-day walking target – I could still have done it, but frankly, with the temperature and everything else, I just couldn’t be arsed.  In fairness, I’m already well up on the week’s target anyway, so a day off is perfectly doable (and I’m doing a bigger walk at the weekend too) but still, it’s also the first time in ages where I’ve had a day with such levels of failure to be arsed.

Updates

Yesterday, I was a bit stumped about what to write for today – but luckily, AVG came to my rescue.

It put up a notice yesterday on my screen telling me that six of my installed programs were out of date – which is kind of a surprise, as I’m normally pretty good at that kind of thing.

Then I read the message properly…

You’ll need to click on it to embiggenify and make it properly readable – but basically, all six programs it was telling me were out of date were actually *more* up to date than the ones it wanted me to install.

So no, I don’t think I will ‘update’ them to keep my machine safe.  For fuck’s sake.

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

Following on from a friend of mine seeing it, I decided to have a look and see if there were any tickets still available for “The Resistible Rise of Arturo UI” at the Donmar Warehouse on the date I was available in London with no solid plans. (Last Saturday)   As it turned out, there was – just one ticket apparently “near the back”.  That’s OK, I’m tall, so yep, ticket successfully obtained.

As usual with my theatre trips, I knew absolutely sod-all about the play. Indeed, I’d never even heard of it before the previous weekend.  That doesn’t bother me anyway, and armed with a decent review from someone whose opinion I tend to trust, I was willing to go for it.   All I knew was the name, and that it was by Bertolt Brecht.

And I’m really glad I did.  The original play is an allegory based around the rise of Hitler in Germany, but using the gangsters of 1920s/1930s America to tell the story.   It’s been updated a bit – there were lots of references to Trump and his collaborators, along with an (odd but effective) sung intro to each major scene, using modern(ish) songs.

It’s very hard to not see the parallels between Nazi Germany and Trump’s rise, so it all felt very relevant.  But still interesting in a lot of ways.

The entire of the Donmar Warehouse has been changed for this production, and it’s been made into a 20s/30s speakeasy. As you walk in, the actors are already on ‘stage’ talking, dancing and the like. It certainly made things more interesting, having Lenny Henry come round in character as the club owner, talking to – and shaking the hands of – all the guests, as well as other cast members doing the rounds.

As an aside, one thing that was great was that a lot of the audience around me were a group of visually-impaired people, coming to the theatre for a play that would also be audio-described for them by a company called TalkingSense – and as it turned out, I got talking to one of the narrators, who was sat next to me for the first half, before going to narrate the second half.  I thought it was brilliant to open up theatre in this way  (and I also liked that Arturo Ui managed to use one of the visually-impaired people as his ‘witness’ for one section)

Ah yes, the audience participation.  This was something really interesting, and not something I’d expected at all – this version of the play makes great use of the audience.  In the photo above you can see a gallery with people on it – in the second half, these become the jury for a court case, with the judge sat in the middle.  Another audience member became the railroaded ‘accused’, and by the end of the play everyone is involved, either standing in support of Ui’s bid to be the main gangster (sorry, “protector”) or sitting – in which case their votes don’t count.

Note – I’m not giving away anything major here – and the production ends tomorrow!

Lenny Henry is particularly impressive as the titular gangster, developing through the production. But he’s also well supported by a generally excellent cast – all of whom also seem to be enjoying taking part in the play. (Which isn’t always the case)

All told, it’s a very dark vision of life – yet also extremely funny.   I laughed a lot more than I would have ever expected to, in a play based on the rise of Nazi-ism.  If the run were longer, I’d probably enjoy going to see it again. It’s quite a thing.

 

CrowdFunding

OK, I’ve got a new doozy of a conspiracy/cynicism thing for you.

Remember a few years back, Cameron belted on about how cuts in services meant that “Big Society” should step up, and do the things that councils and governments could no longer afford to?

Well…

Since then, we’ve seen an explosion in crowdfunding stuff – goFundMe, JustGiving, etc., – and now, any time anything happens, one of those appeals gets started.

What if…. What if those crowdfunding sites are the Big Society plan – people paying what they can to help those less well off, or in trouble because of situations that’ve been initiated by councils and governments?

So like today, ‘raise £200,000 to help people at Grenfell‘ – a fire that’s at least been contributed to by the negligence and shitness of funding by councils and governments. And what’s the betting that those crowd-funded compensations take the place (to a degree) of councils having to take the strain and fund accommodation, clothing etc.?

It’s dark as fuck, but somehow it also makes sense…

#1 Dad

Sometimes, you see something, and your brain just goes “What?!?”  (or words to that effect, but with more swearing)  Currently, there seems to be a theme connecting that with both Father’s Day and Star Wars.

Last year, we had the card with Kylo Ren…

[Spoiler from two years ago –  Kylo Ren kills his father]

This year, I’ve seen this in Sainsbury’s…

I’m pretty damn sure they haven’t seen the same Star Wars films I have…

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