No, no, mister, not the rubber suit! I'm sweating!

Darwin Strikes Again

I can’t deny, there’s a certain part of me that is quite happy with Darwinism, and the way idiots seem to find new and exciting ways to take themselves out of the genepool.  (And before anyone asks, I’ve been reading the Darwin Awards for years!)

Today’s news carried the story of an American couple where one was killed “as a YouTube prank” because he believed that a thick book would stop a bullet. So he put said book over his chest, and got his partner to shoot him.  Yep, you read that right.  (It’s also worth noting that the book was only 1.5 inches thick. So, not very.)

Bear in mind, when people are testing firearms, one medium that’s used to fire into is a block of telephone directories. (You can see an example here on YouTube, and there are many others)  So a book that’s less than two inches thick? Yeah, no chance.

As it turns out – unsurprisingly – the guy died.  His girlfriend – the one he persuaded to make the shot – has now been jailed for six months, although as the story says, the sentence is actually pretty lenient, as it’s obvious that the entire plan was made by the now-deceased, and his partner was just an idiot who believed he knew what he was talking about.

Yes, it’s a sad story, but at the same time it’s also a story of pretty epic stupidity…

False Flags

Over the last week or so, there’s been an incredible amount of news coverage about the (alleged) ‘attempted assassination’ of an Russian ex-spy in Salisbury.

Today, the news has been full of stuff about how the nerve-agent used ‘points the finger at Moscow’, which just pings all the ‘yeah, but’ bells in my head.

Now, I’m not trying to say “Russia wasn’t involved”, because I simply don’t know.  But… this sort of “well it must’ve been them, they’re the ones who made it” ‘evidence’ and hype always makes me a bit twitchy.  If you extrapolate that, you might as well say that a car manufacturer must be responsible for every accident on the road, “because they’re the ones who made it”.

I don’t know enough on this one way or the other.  But if I were a player on a much larger political stage, and I wanted to (for example) divert public and media attention away from one ongoing political clusterfuck, and point it all somewhere else, I’d be looking at making a Big Bad Enemy that can be blamed for Why You Should Be Afraid. And I’d probably work to either get materials that can be attributed to that Big Bad Enemy, or… well, or just make up all that ‘evidence’. Because of course it’s all ‘top secret’ and ‘in the interests of national security’, so they’re never going to produce that evidence in public anyway.

And it’s impossible to imply that only Russia had access to this stuff.  If nothing else, American scientists (and there’s no way there weren’t security/agency personnel in that entourage!) visited and helped decontaminate the plant where the nerve agents in question were being produced.  If they were approved for Russian military use (and they were) then those nerve agents would’ve been distributed to army installations and so on. All too easy at that point for them to be ‘mislaid’ and/or sold or stolen to anyone else.

All told, this entire story stinks, and rings very much as “A big boy did it, and ran away!”  It’s all just a bit convenient.

Low on Steps – Followup

Following on from my “back to normal” post on Monday, things have worked out somewhat differently.

I somehow managed to twist my back and put it out – something to do with slipping a step while avoiding treading on a cat on a staircase, I’m pretty sure – which means that things are a bit more painful than I’d been expecting.

I still managed to get in the walking target on Monday, and utterly failed yesterday. Today’s looking like it’ll be OK, and I’m sure I’ll manage for the rest of the week.

Thankfully, it’s not (so far as I can tell) a major issue, more that a couple of muscles are properly clenched and not doing me any favours.  Initially it hurts like a bastard as I walk, and then eases off. That first phase lasts about five minutes, and hurts enough that it’s making my hips and pelvis hurt because I’m obviously walking differently and clenching different muscles.

Then it eases off. I’m aware of it still, and not walking at my usual speed, but it’s all tolerable and so on.

Even so, though, fucking OW.

Low on Steps

Last week was a very quiet one, mainly because of the weather.  While I aim for breaking 10,000 steps a day, I wasn’t going to do that while it was ridiculously snowy, icy, and slippery (well, ridiculously for the UK, anyway)  Instead, I ended up averaging about 7,000 a day.

Thankfully, we’ve now thawed out for the most part – it’s been surprising to see just how much the temperature has flipped over the weekend, from -5ºC on Friday through to 5°C on Saturday and 8/9°C on Sunday, which has meant that just about all the snow disappeared at quite a speed!

That should mean I’ll be able to get back to normal levels of walking this week, and then a London visit will boost things even further.  (That one’s going to be interesting, and something I’ll almost certainly write more about next week)

March is a ridiculously busy month for me, what with one thing and another. That should also help with getting me back to “normal”…

Staying In

Today, I chose to stay home rather than driving in what was supposed to be terrible weather. I made the choice when I was about to leave for the office, and there was a significant amount of snow coming down, at which “Sod that!” became the decision.  (This is also related to the fact that all roads from my place to work are uphill, and last time it was like this, the roads were paralysed because dickheads couldn’t drive up them safely)

As it turned out, the warnings – for this area, at least – were unfounded. I could have got in OK, and got home.  We’re an exception to the rule, admittedly – but I would’ve been OK.

All the same, I’m glad I stayed home. I’m happier to have been here, rather than the regular checking for weather changes, and wondering whether I’d get home or not (with the news having been suitably hysterical about the entire thing all day)  so all told it’s been a lot easier on the mind than doing the travelling.

I’ll almost certainly go in as usual tomorrow and Friday, although we’ll see what happens on each overnight, and re-assess based on that.


Booking Time Out – Week One

I wrote a while back about how I’d managed to book some time out this year, and intended to take it.

Last week was the first of those weeks, and I spent it with friends down on the south coast – which was pretty good, all things considered. I got very lucky with the weather – while it was cold and windy, that’s not unexpected in mid-February. And while we spent a lot of it walking dogs on beaches, I didn’t put a coat on once. (That’s more because I’m an idiot, and pretty warm generally. Everyone else was bundled up like an unwell Michelin man)  Considering that this week is all about the snowfall and ‘Siberian weather’, I reckon the timing was pretty fortuitous.

All told, it was a good week (well, five days) away. I still ended up doing some work, because of urgency and being swamped with requests, so it was easier to just get things done while everyone else was asleep, but that was fine, and didn’t take up too much time. It would’ve taken up more headspace if I’d left things unfixed until my return today, which meant it was all a bit of a balancing act, but one I feel worked out pretty well in the end.

And now it’s back to ‘normal’ until May, when the next one comes round.  And between now and then I’ve got a sod-load of stuff to do and organise, including making sure everything is in place for the May trip!


Since moving to the new place, I haven’t had a garden – although that’s fine with me.  What I do have is a small yard, which I’ve sorted and improved over the time I’ve been here. None of it is permanent – although some of it will likely stay as and when I move – and it’s been enough. I’ve got a number of pots with stuff in, some of which have lasted a fair time, and some of which have changed each year so far.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been changing over the things that didn’t work for me last year – some that actually worked too well, because they took up too much space, and some that just didn’t work out, didn’t grow, or didn’t suit what I wanted.

This time round I’ve got rid of things like the flowering redcurrant bushes that grew way too much, and the raspberries that didn’t grow at all. (That was more down to a mistake when I planted them – I didn’t also add in something round the edges, so the cats treated those two pots as pissoirs)

The redcurrants have been replaced by small salix willows, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they work out. I replaced the raspberries with new ones, and planted some supporting/cover stuff round the edges as well, which should deter the cats.

It’ll be good to see how these things all grow and work out, and then next year replace the stuff that hasn’t worked out this year. Always fun, always changing.

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