Thursday, November 26, 2015

Quote from Toast of London

"Spare me this New Age shoe shine"
spoken by Ray Purchase, a character in Matt Berry's 'Toast of London' (C4).

And here's the front cover of Matt Berry's music album:


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Film: Creed (trailer)

Watching this trailer gives me goose pimples:

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Ski crash

A video to accompany the phrase 'count your blessings'

Deal - The Economist Subscription

The Economist are offering 12 issues of their mag for a mere £12, a quid an issue. The subscription includes print and online access and a free Moleskine notebook which is worth a few bob in itself. Also, if you subscribe in the next few weeks you'll get the special Christmas edition, which is always worth a look-see. Just remember to cancel at the 12 week mark. As they say, 'Understand the world. Then Thrive in it.'

; )

Monday, November 16, 2015

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Windows 10 versus Apple's ios9

- Windows 10 installed on my IBM X200 with nary a hitch and it feels as if the new environment has given this creaky old laptop a renewed breath of life. It feels nimble, light, and intuitive.

- I also recently installed ios9.1 on my ipad mini, a device which is way,way newer than the old IBM notepad. Alas, my ipad slowed to a non-responsive crawl and ios9.1 quickly felt more like a virus than an official upgrade. I event went to an Apple store and even called their helpline for advice. After a 'turn it off and turn it back on again', things seemed a little quicker but there was still way too much lag. Neither store nor helpdesk had apparently come across this issue before, although they were very friendly and customer orientated, which is something at least. A few minutes of searching online revealed that laggy response times are actually a known issue and after following the guidance here, things have much improved. That said, if I had the option to go back to the the previous ios without any hassle, I would take it.

So, it looks like Microsoft has finally won a round in the battle of the operating systems. In a nutshell Win10 made my old machine feel new whereas ios9.1 made a newer machine feel old.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Photo: Ghost pigeon

A pigeon met it's maker after flying into my bedroom window at full speed. Here is the beautiful ghost image that was left behind.

Thursday, November 05, 2015


For as far back as I can remember, I've believed that life is essentially 'easy'. Then I lived with somebody who, while being highly positive, thought that 'nothing is easy in life.' Over the year that we lived under the same roof, I like to think we moved a little closer to each other's views. They do say that a person becomes who they spend their time with.

From Leaders With Buns


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Orphan Black - Helena

Orphan Black is a hugely enjoyable series about clones and conspiracies. Series 1 and 2 are available on Netflix and Series 3 is on BBC's iplayer (for the time being).

My favourite clone is Helena, the feral Ukranian assassin. She is properly unstable, has an imaginery scorpion called Pupok as a companion, and comes out with all the best lines.

Helena Quotes

Interrogator: [to Helena] "Conclusion: all mangoes are cheap. Is that a sound conclusion based on those statements?"
Pupok the Scorpion: "We like mangoes".
Interrogator: "Please concentrate. All mangoes are cheap. True or false?"
Pupok the Scorpion: "Where are these mangoes?"
Helena: [to the interrogator] "Where are these mangoes?"

"What have they done to you? Are you okay?” – Sarah
“I am most wonderful.” – Helena

“Now we are even, sestra.” – Helena

“Sarah’s lying. She’s poison. She’s gonna melt you like butter.” – Pupok
“Shut up about the butter!” – Helena

"You make me cry, sestra". - Helena

"Come on, meathead" - Sarah Manning
"Don't call me this." - Helen

Carl: "Ahh! Jeez! You broke my finger!"
Helena: "Don't be baby. I only sprain. Next one I break."

Jesse: "You know what? You have real pretty eyes."
Helena: "You have a nice hat. Very nice red face."

Helena: "There was a woman in convent like you. You touch her again, and I will gut you like a fish."

“In convent, I live for four  months in a broom closet. I do not rot.” – Helena

Rudy: "Do you remember your childhood?"
Helena: "Every minute."
Rudy: "I remember sleeping, my brothers breathing in unison. We'd sleepwalk out of bed and all pile up in a corner like puppies."
Helena: "When I was nine I was made to shoot puppy."

Pupok: "We don't have much time before the drugs set in."
Helena: "My arm is like dead fish."

“To a rat, a small hole is like a door.” – Helena

“Come on, Helena. I know you’re planning some kind of escape.” – Sarah
“I have no plan. I’m institutionalized.” – Helena

“You want to be my sandwich?” – Helena
“What?” – Sarah
“In Siberia, when planning escape, you take weak person with you. They are called sandwich because you eat them.” – Helena

Apologies, I've lost the original source for the animated gifs (i.e. they're not mine).

Thursday, October 15, 2015

One for the archives: Trading the markets with Amstrad CPC 464's "Stockmarket"

I just found this picture of an old Amstrad CPC 464 computer game called 'Stockmarket'. This little game was my introduction to the world of trading the markets.


The Economist - short video on slaughterhouses

I watched this video and realised there's a book by Temple Grandin in my library (okay, it's more of a pile). May be time to get reading.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Connie to the Wonnie

A couple of recent comics from Connie to the Wonnie:

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Gym thoughts

  • Gym paradox: the majority of people I see at the gym are already in a good state of health. i.e. the people who would benefit most from being at the gym are somewhere else. If I was desperately overweight and moderately self conscious, getting my foot through the door of a modern gym would be a difficult mental step.
  • Modern gyms have all kinds of machines and contraptions but they tend to lack in the important basics i.e. a decent barbell training areas with squat racks etc. My local gym is pretty large and it has a single squat rack and just a single long bar. When members are given a guide, they should be shown how to perform basic free weight exercises (squat, bench, deadlift, press). The free weights areas never have poster guidance on good form.
  • The strength training lifestyle can create an exterior impression of somebody who is in a state of great health or at least on the path of good, healthy living. Gee, look at all that brown rice, steamed veg and dry chicken this guy's eating! However, for so many people in this weird realm of existence, injury is also part of the lifestyle. Shoulder and back injuries seem to top the billing. The situation gets worse if object and action are then out of line i.e. the person thinks they are working to one goal but they are working to another (e.g. quicker changes in physical appearance at the expense of long run health). It's no mystery why do you don't see that many middle aged men performing performing the bench press - by the time a gym dude is in their grey years, their shoulder joints are often wrecked. Being acutely aware of the non-linear relationship between work out effort and health benefits is crucial.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Thugnotes on Don Quixote - a pretty neat summary of the masterpiece, gangster style

Inflation - celebrating capitalism!

I recently bought a pair of Reebok Crossfit trainers on sale for less than £35. Upon my researches, I am finding that trainers from the popular brands (e.g. New Balance, Nike, Reebok, Addidas) are not particularly difficult to find in this price range. Thinking back to my younger years, trainers in the same quality bracket would have cost a bit more (even in nominal terms), and that's at a time when you could get a bag of chips for less than 50p! Delving into the inflationary data, the numbers do indeed show that while prices have generally been rising year on year, clothing and footwear is one category that has fallen quite a bit. Go capitalism!

Year on year price changes:

Clothing and footwear shown as a price index:

Source: Guardian

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Economics - cycles

Despite strong evidence to the contrary, we humans seem to display a tendency to anchor our expectations on recent history and extrapolate recent trends far forward into the future. It seems part of the evolved human psyche. Recent examples include expecting high oil prices (above $100/bbl) to become the new normal; food scarcity due to strong Chinese demand meaning that we'll have to get used to permanently high grocery prices; high gold prices being with us forever as people lose faith in government printed money; permanently low volatility in financial assets due to a Great Moderation. What people forget is that the world moves in a non-linear manner with multiple feedback mechanisms that act as self-correcting triggers. Policy may get in the way of corrections, allowing imbalances to build up to dangerous levels before they revert, but sooner or later the correction occurs. It's then a question of depth, extent and potential over-reaction. From an investment perspective, it would be interesting to analyse the speed of market responses to price movements e.g. farmers can switch crops from one year to the next but it can take years for the oil and gas industry to respond to high energy prices with meaty capital expenditure projects, although the ability to turn production off is much quicker.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Economist gets special access to the Yakuza

This narrated photo montage on the life of the Yakuza is worth a view if you're interested in organised crime...which is just about everyone, right?

Long live Yogi Berra

The legendary baseball player Yogi Berra just passed away. If you didn't tell me he was dead, I wouldn't have known he was still alive. That ones mine and it's true. It's the type of thing Yogi Berra became famous for saying. Here are some more 'Yogi-isms' lifted from the BBC article on his passing:

It's like deja-vu all over again
It ain't the heat; it's the humility
Baseball is 90% mental - the other half is physical
I never said most of the things I said... Take it with a grin of salt
If you don't know where you're going, you might end up some place else
He hits from both sides of the plate. He's amphibious
You can observe a lot by watching
The future ain't what it used to be
Never answer an anonymous letter
When you come to a fork in the road, take it
I always thought that record would stand until it was broken
If the world was perfect, it wouldn't be
Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't go to yours