Monday, 2 December 2019

Say What?

I work in a highly technical field, and I'm surrounded by clever detail orientated people (nerds). Lots of them, at least lots of the ones I'm friendly with also still have a pathetically childish sense of humour. I was being shown some WW2 aircraft models by one of my friends and I said "That's the biggest pitot tube I've ever seen". He winked and said "why thankyou".

If you're the captain of an aeroplane and you wish to give control to the other pilot you say "You have control" but you do not relinquish control until they acknowledge it with "I have control". Friends of mine have recently had a baby and they use the same system to make it clear who has responsibility for her.

Decades ago I had a bathykolpian girlfriend. Don't worry about looking that word up if you don't know it, it means she looked like a dead heat in a zeppelin race. Don't worry if you're American, I've had a team of linguists working on that phrase, the best they've given me is "Two way tie in a blimp race". I still sometimes have to accept mickey taking over a telephone call I had with her. I was in my office and all my colleagues could hear my side of the conversation. I used to lend her a classic/elderly car and she used to drive it like she'd just stolen it. She rang me up, somewhat upset, and said that it was on fire. "Well don't tell me, call the fire brigade".  "Either it is or it isn't. Is there smoke and flame coming out of it?" "Where's it coming out from"  "a lot?" "So if you see flames coming out of it ring the fire brigade straight away". I then had to ask my boss if I could go home for a couple of hours.

It wasn't on fire, she'd boiled it and blown the head gasket, she was blinded and frightened by smoke and steam. I wish that the right answer had been "pull the red T handle that says FIRE and run away" but it wasn't that type of car.

Richard "sesquipedalian" B

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Wet Weekend

This weekend I went to a track day at Castle Combe. It was wet all day and there were a lot of stoppages and a lot of queueng up.

The most interesting car I saw was a modern Renault Alpine. In the flesh they're quite pretty, and it was quick. The owner said that its basically a Megane Sport going in reverse. It's rear wheel drive with the engine in front of the axle. I'd quite fancy one if they weren't so damned expensive.

One of my friends is a great car enthusiast and has quite a collection of cars. So few of them run, or are in one piece that he spends most of his time and effort on towing vehicles and trailers. When he goes to a track day he wanders around the paddock admiring the trailers and towing hitches. I texted him from Castle Combe to tell him about the 3 axle fully enclosed Brian James Race Transporter that I saw being towed by a Landrover Discovery 3. He didn't even ask what cars were inside it.

My favourite comment of the day came from someone I met in the paddock. We were examining the damaged wreckage of a Clio that had ploughed into the tyre wall at Tower on a very wet track: "I'm not going to tell him how to drive, but his car's all smashed up and he's got semi-slicks on it and his wets are still on the trailer."

Richard "covered wagon" B

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Film Review Review

This week I have been down a YouTube rabbit hole of amateur film reviews. I cannot recommend the channel "Critical Drinker" enough. He's a professional writer and incredibly knowledgeable on story telling and character development. He does good reviews of films - generally films that he hates. He sets himself apart from his competition by having a broad Scots accent and by getting drunk before he records his script. It's delivered in an angry slurring drawl.

I've also read some brilliant things in the various comments sections.

"This plot has more holes than Blackburn Lancashire."

"St. Greta Thunberg saying 'Hhow Dhare You! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood' – that's how we feel about The Last Jedi."

The best question that someone posed about the upcoming Star Wars film, and the end of the Skywalker story arc: "Is Luke going to get his power converters?"

My new favourite conspiracy theory is about the film Alien: "Jonesy and the xenomorph are working together"

Richard "wake up sheeple" B

Thursday, 14 November 2019

SuperbOwl

In a classic episode of The Simpsons, when arguing against blocking all sunlight from the town, Smithers said "owls will deafen us with their incessant hooting". I laughed at the time, but not now. An owl has taken up residence near to where I live and he spends an enormous amount of time hooting, antisocially loudly, when I'm trying to go to sleep.

One of my friends had a similar but even worse problem when an owl texted him many times at random intervals throughout  the night. He has a parcel of land (the friend, not the owl) and he put up cctv cameras after some suspicious activity there. They're triggered by movement and alert him through his phone any time they see something happen on his land. Including when an owl flaps past.

Richard "smug looking feathery bastards!" B

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Breakfast

My brother (the pirate, not the oil baron) is seemingly preparing for the fall of civilization and has organised his house such that you burn wood to heat domestic hot water and central heating circulating water. One of the thermostatic valves in the system failed and he's waiting for a replacement. The valve is designed to fail "safe" and while that means that you don't overheat anything and burn the house down you haven't got any heating or hot water. He modified the failed valve to lock it in a moderately dangerous position.

I'm in the opposite situation. All the upstairs radiators in my house have thermostatic radiator valves and the one in the spare room is worn out. I leave it on the "frost protect" setting which should keep the room above 5 degrees C. This valve has failed in the "decadent" mode and whenever I switch the heating on it brings the spare room up to an extravagantly warm temperature. That's my gas bill it's wasting!

Meanwhile my sister has turned fried breakfasts into an impossible palaver. She correctly pointed out that you enjoy a greasy spoon breakfast most when you're both hungry and slightly hungover. Going out to breakfast now requires at least 14 hours of preparation. Let's say you're meeting for breakfast at 8.00AM. You have to be having your evening meal by 18.00 the day before so that you're hungry enough to appreciate it and then you have to go to the pub and drink a carefully calibrated quantity of booze so that you're muddle-headed enough to need and love your breakfast, but not so much that you're not well enough to eat it.

Richard "5 pints, 8 hours sleep, bacon egg and toast please" B

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Museum

In my motorbike mechanic's shop he's displaying, as a museum piece, the engine out of a 1940's Villiers motorised bicycle. I told him how similar it was to the engine in my family's lawn mower (some of the parts are identical) and about how I had recently replaced the carburettor. He objected that I couldn't possibly be cutting the grass with a 40's lawnmower and he's right, that would be ridiculous, it's from the 1950's.

There then followed a long tract of good-natured piss-taking from both the proprietor and another customer about how it's time I bought a new lawnmower, and about how tight my family must be. They ended up saying that my grand children will be wearing hand-me-down clothes and mowing my grave with the same mower.

BUT THE JOKE'S ON THEM: That'll never happen, I'm a weird childless loner who'll probably never get married.

Richard "careful, not tight" B