Thursday 25 December 2014

Happy Christmas

For all my friends and family. He's a Christmas song that my friends and I recorded with my girlfriend across the Atlantic.

Best wishes for Christmas and the new year.


Richard B

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Blofeld Costume

This weekend to my great surprise I won a fancy dress competition. I wasn't taking it particularly seriously, but with a little effort and preparation I made a perfectly good Blofeld costume (the party had a James Bond theme).

Blofeld is the villain with a fluffy white cat, a bald head, and the nasty scar. He's got a suit with a mandarin collar, a black and silver sovereign ring, and black shoes (a sure sign of evil!).

I've got little enough hair, so it was no problem to shave it off. For the suit I repurposed my normal "Man from Delmonte" summer suit. I turned the collar and lapels up and held it closed at the throat with a shirt stud and a safety pin.

The ring was made from a 10p piece bonded to a strip of tinplate cut from an old mustard tin. The 10p was "enamelled" with a black scrapyard marker.

The scar was coloured with a dark pink lip-liner pencil and produced with theatrical makeup called Rigid Collodion.

 The most challenging part of the costume, other than being a boy and buying a lip-liner, was the fluffy white cat. I compromised and took a polar bear that I won in a raffle.

See me:

See my makeup:

Richard "Ernst Stavro" B

Tuesday 16 December 2014

Old Man

I am old. I have long suspected it, given how young policeman look, that there’s nothing on tv worth watching, how rubbish most of popular music is, and the random aches that my body is subject to. What really hammered home the point was what annoyed me in the supermarket this weekend.

Over the past decade or so there has been an enormous gentrification of the biscuit isle. My tastes are now niche. Who will cater to those of us who like normal biscuits? Who value Crawfords custard creams and bourbons? Who use own label dijo's in cooking? Who see Hobnobs as a luxury? Where will we buy our Garibaldis and our Malted Milks?

Clubs and Penguins should be a biscuit for a special occasion, not a low cost alternative to some pretentious sugary artisan cookie infused with Madagascan vanilla and coated with hand sourced ethically stirred extra virgin Equadorian chocolate.

Richard "Digestives" B

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Family Christmas

The Dyson brothers are an unlikely bunch. There's Freeman, the eminent mathematician and physicist who says that any long lived industrialised civilisation will end up completely enclosing its home star with solar collectors and habitats. His younger brother Miles developed an autonomous artificial intelligence which ran amok and overthrew humanity, at least until John Connor's resistance movement sent soldiers and machines back in time to sabotage the development. Two of the brothers are called James. One of them works in Customer Service with a friend of mine, the other developed a bagless Hoover and got a cushy position as a government advisor after he moved all his manufacturing to China.

My favourite is Freeman.

Richard "Maybe they're not actually brothers" B

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Planck Time

Because of the uncertainty principle there's only so small a distance that you could ever measure. Because the universe has a strictly enforced speed limit  (the speed of light)  and a minimum feature size (the Planck length) there is a theoretical shortest time that could ever be measured – it's called the Planck time. It's the tick of the fastest clock that the laws of physics would allow. It's vanishingly small.

I strongly dislike JDBC database connections, but it's as nothing compared to my intense burning hatred for Microsoft SQLServer. Like all digital measurements SQLserver timestamps have their own minimum resolution. THE MINIMUM RESOLUTION ISN'T AN INTEGER. When you store a timestamp in an SQLServer database it is rounded to the nearest three-and-a-third milliseconds. When you query it back it is rounded again to the nearest millisecond.

8ms you say? The closest I've got is 6 and two thirds.
That's fine, 6.66recurring will do me.
Yeah I'm sorry about this, but that’s not a whole number, I'll have to give you 7 instead.
7 then.
7ms you say? The closest I've got is 6 and two thirds.

Richard "how do I hate thee, let me count the ways" B