D4D

B&Q can't find their arses with both hands and a flashlight

Archive for the category “Thoughts”

Running Into The Flames

Following on from the stories about the terrorist attack yesterday at the Houses of Parliament, the BBC has a piece on the people from St Thomas’s Hospital (literally just over the bridge from the Houses of Parliament) who, on hearing about the incidents, ran to help.  And not just doctors and nurses – I feel a huge dollop of recognition should also be due to Tobias Ellwood, the MP for Bournemouth East, who went to help resuscitate the stabbed policeman.

I don’t care what the hell else is said about those events, but those people are heroes.  Stories like these always remind me of the speech from the West Wing TV Series, (The episode “20 Hours In America, Part II“, if you want to look it up) in the aftermath of another (fictional) terrorist attack …

… and two others are in critical condition, when, after having heard the explosion from their practice facility, they ran into the fire to help get people out. Ran into the fire. The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels tonight.

Gets me every damn time, the people who don’t stand and take pictures, who don’t run away, but instead run towards the danger.  I’d like to think I’m of a similar ilk – but who really knows, until that time comes?

Hamlet, Almeida Theatre, London

As I said before, on Friday I went to see Hamlet at the Almeida Theatre in London, starring Andrew Scott. (Moriarty from the BBC’s Sherlock – which also means that I’ve now seen Hamlet performed by Sherlock, and Moriarty)

Honestly, I’m still not sure what to make of it.  I’m not even 100% sure of whether I liked it or not. I wouldn’t want to go and see it again – which is the usual final verdict one way or t’other – but I’m still glad I did see it.

In some ways, it’s very clever. It’s obviously been updated (or at least the staging has) with events being announced via a large screen, showing the coverage in a BBC News style.  Additionally, rather than being guards on the battlements etc., the the ghost of Hamlet’s father initially appears on CCTV screens in the security office of the castle.

In other ways, it’s rather less clever – or perhaps I’m less clever, and just didn’t get the relevance of things. Ophelia’s madness and grief are just thrown in, with no real explanation or build-up.  It’s handled almost an incidental, which seems odd when one considers how integral and essential it is to the final act.

Indeed, in a lot of ways there seemed to be the assumption that the audience were well versed in the ways of Hamlet – something I’ve found a couple of times over the last year or so, particularly with Shakespearean stuff.

I’m reliably informed that it stuck a lot closer to the original subject matter – I hadn’t appreciated how different some of it was in the Hamlet I saw with Benedict Cumberbatch last year – but that’s fine.  I do feel that I really should probably actually read the bloody play as well, and get it fixed better in my brain.

For me, the final act is a stretch – I’m never overly comfortable with the hysteria and overwrought reactions of grief and betrayal, and find myself left cold by it as a result.  That’s no criticism of the play, or of the actors therein, it’s just it doesn’t sit well with me.

So all told, it was a decent play and well done. I just still can’t quite put my finger on why I’m as ambivalent about it as a whole, though.

Changing Plants

Over the weekend, I spent some time changing the plants and pots I’ve got in the yard of my house.

Some of the things from last year had died off, most having only been expected to live a year, a couple of others just needed to be changed and a one needed to be replaced as the poxy cat had decided that pot was a spare litter tray.  Additionally, I’d changed a bit on what I wanted to try out this year.

For example, last year I had a couple of small apple trees in patio pots. One had done OK, but ended the year overtaken by wooly aphid things that made it look like it was covered in frost/snow/cotton-wool, while the other hadn’t taken at all.  So they were candidates for going as well.

This time, I went to a proper garden centre, and got a bundle of new things – two types of raspberry, a blueberry bush, and a couple of flowering currants.  Once I’d got home, I emptied out the old pots, putting all the residue into garden sacks. Then all the new things got planted, and so far it’s all worked out pretty well.

The final stage was taking all the garden sacks to the local tip, and getting rid of them all in the garden waste.

So all told, quite the successful day – a near-complete change of the plants, and all the rubbish dealt with, leaving the place looking pretty much how it did before, just with new plants.  I class that as a success.

Logan

As expected (and hoped-for), Logan turned out to be bloody good – and succeeded in all the aims that the writers and director had gone for.

It’s a superhero/comic-book film that doesn’t work to the normal stereotypes. Most importantly, it’s one where you don’t need to have seen any of the other X-Men or Wolverine films before seeing Logan. It’s more a stand-alone film that just happens to occupy the same space as some of those movies.

In many ways it’s actually more of a Western than a superhero film, and that’s no bad thing in my book.  They make a lot of connections with Shane, but it could just as easily have been Unforgiven. There’s a kind of bitterness to the whole film, both an anger at getting old, and an acknowledgement that it’s happened – and also a huge sadness about it.

In the case of both of the major characters, age is hitting the things they’re most valued by – Charles Xavier, always valued for his intelligence/genius, is suffering from dementia (among other things), and Logan’s regenerative ability is fading, leaving him sore, scarred, and hurting in ways he’s never had to get used to.

The next generation is ably served by Laura (AKA X-23), played by Dafne Keen, who is frankly awesome. She doesn’t speak for the greater part of the film, but the emotion and feeling she conveys in a glare and an eyebrow is nothing short of stunning.

Obviously, if you hate superhero and comic-book films, Logan won’t change your opinion.  If you’re open to them, it’s one that is well worth seeing.

10,000

Over the last couple of days, there’s been some coverage about an American scientist (which seems to be a pretty endangered species in the Age Of Trump) claiming that fitness trackers and pedometers are pretty arbitrary, and not necessarily the best way to go.

Which, I think it’s fair to say, we can file under “Sherlock, Shit, No”.

Of course that 10,000 steps a day advice is arbitrary. Even the figure tells you it’s arbitrary – those nice round numbers for ‘ideals’ simply don’t occur that often in reality.

Hager claimed the 10,000 steps target dated back to a 1960s Japanese study that showed there were health benefits for men who burned at least 2,000 calories per week through exercise – roughly equivalent to 10,000 steps each day. An early pedometer was known as the manpo-kei, which means “10,000-step meter” in Japanese.

Really, if anyone is taking anything from these devices as gospel truth, they’re a fucking moron. At best, these devices are indicators.

The heartrate monitor is well known to not be accurate – but so long as it’s fairly consistent per user/wearer, it’s a decent-enough indicator of where you stand.  And if it suddenly dropped to reporting 10bpm (or 200bpm) then anyone vaguely sensible would take themselves to a GP for a proper check.

The same’s true for the sleep monitor (which I do use).  It’s not gospel truth. But it’s a decent-enough indicator of awake vs. disturbed ‘sleep vs. actual REM sleep. Do I believe it innately? Hell no. But does it consistently show me my bad nights vs. less-bad ones? (I’m yet to have a good night’s sleep) Yes.

And if you can’t rely on those indicators, why would you rely on the step monitor? Simple, you wouldn’t. Can you game it and mess figures simply by swinging your arms more? Yep. But what’s the point of doing that, unless all you’re interested in is attaining that arbitrary [x],000 steps in a day?  The only benefit in that is you, and you’re just cheating yourself.

However, it does make for a useful indicator, and a reminder to actually move more. I can understand (kinda) why people make these things into targets, but really all that’s important is being more active. And that’s what counts.

A Decade

For a number of reasons, I’ve been thinking a lot about time past, so I had a look back at what was going on here ten years ago.

Man, there’s been a lot of change in that time.

Back then, I was newly in Norfolk, living with Herself (and Hound and Psycho Cat, of course), still in the rented place and in the process of buying the Norfolk place. Working in Cambridge, and generally settled for the time.

How time flies, and all that piss.  Food for thought, etc etc

Knocked Down

After the events of last week, I pretty much exhausted myself – as evidenced by the fact that since then I’ve been dealing with a heavy cold and nascent chest infection.  It started up on the evening of the Thursday, once we were back from the Fat Duck. (Of which more in other post, most likely)

As usual, basically it all kicked in once I’d stopped. It’s pretty standard with me – I can keep on going for as long as I have to, and then once I’m done, it’ll all catch up and whack me with a hammer.

I was rough on the Friday, and the Saturday was the worst, although I hadn’t realised how bad it was until too late. I’d been at the parents and doing some other stuff, and started to drive home. I’d not been feeling great, but it was only once I was driving that I knew it wasn’t good. I’d burned myself out completely, and all I could do was just get home and that was it.

For the first time in at least a decade (and that’s something else I’ll come back to in another post) I found myself thinking that I wished I’d got someone else around, someone to call on, so I could get home safely. It didn’t happen, of course, so I just got on with the task in hand, and got myself home.

I’m truly not proud of it, of having carried on and done the dumb thing instead of pulling into a layby or whatever and having a sleep. I did get home, and did so safely, with no problems. But that was, to be honest, more by luck than judgement.  I honestly can’t remember at least half the drive, but I know that if anything had gone awry, I’d have remembered it, so that’s kind-of sort-of reassuring in some warped way.

I effectively took Sunday off after that, changed all my plans so I could do as close to sod-all as I’d let myself do, and it was needed.

It’s all on the mend now, but man, that weekend was really no fun at all.

 

Post Navigation