Monday 21 August 2023

Security Policy

 I spent a lot of time in the bank on Saturday. I had to go there in person to organise transferring the price of a house from one of my accounts to my solicitor. I was expecting it to be a slow process, but my nosiness and belligerence made it take nearly all day. While they were setting up the transfer I witnessed an information security incident. A bank laptop, which had already had the Windows password entered was left unattended with a customer (me). When it finished the (very slow) login process I had access to Microsoft Teams and email but not the banking system.

When I questioned the banker about what was going to happen I was unconvinced that they understood their ISO27001 process for reporting an information security incident, so I insisted that I would witness the incident report. It was boring, but it looks like they did take it seriously and they did follow their process correctly.

Richard "Karen" B

Friday 18 August 2023

Name all the members of The Band

In some anti-misandrist corners of the internet there's the idea that men receive so few compliments in their life that they pretty much remember every single one. I don't know how true that is, but I was complimented in about 2012 and I still remember it. At the time I took playing the electric guitar quite seriously and I was OK at it (nothing special, good enough that I would occasionally get paid, good enough that people would sometimes dance at a wedding or a birthday party).

A good friend of mine said about my playing "You sound like Robbie Robertson". The compliment is doubly moving because the guy who said it really could play electric guitar, and Robbie Robertson played in a way that I very much admire – an absolute virtuoso and incredibly versatile but he played nothing too showy or self indulgent and pretty much never played a note that didn't need to be there.

Anyway Robbie Robertson died last week at the ago of 80 and you should go and watch The Last Waltz. It's the best film that's every been made about live music. The Band had decided to retire, the show was so sold out that tickets were rarer than unicorns, the list of guests who played with them on stage that night is an absolute Who's Who of the music world. Martin Scorsese filmed it and did a couple of interviews, and there was some very professional sound recording. There's nothing else to it!

If you go and watch it – which you should. You'll hear about 90 minutes of live music with not a single mistake, loss of tempo, bum note, or in fact anything at all to criticise. You can hear and see Robbie Robertson play perfectly for Neil Young in the style that the song requires, and then transition to playing with Eric Clapton, in the style of Eric Clapton, only rather better (I kid you not)

Richard "farewell" B

Friday 11 August 2023

Slow Tidying

 I've been cleaning my house getting ready to sell it. On Sunday I spent some time "spring" cleaning the kitchen. My more careful cleaning of the knobs in the gas hob led to grimy water getting down inside the mechanism that light the gas. It short circuited and started going haywire. To get the gas hob out you have to first take the oven out. To get to the ignitor you have to completely dismantle the gas hob. This little bit of wiping down led to 4 or 5 hours of difficult, stressful and dirty repair work.

 Richard "having first drained and removed the fuel tank" B

Monday 7 August 2023


 At the weekend I saw "Barbenheimer" in the cinema. We watched "Barbie" and then "Oppenheimer" with a short break in between. I was later told that that's the order a psychopath watches them. I think we chose that order mainly so we could fit lunch into the programme.

Oppenheimer was good, but slightly disappointing. Too long, too noisy, too complicated. I was hoping for this generation's "The Right Stuff" about the Manhattan Project. That section was only about 45 minutes long, the rest of it was a political drama. And it was all told out of order, like a boring "Reservoir Dogs".

"Barbie" was a lot of fun. It was funny and it looked amazing. A lot of people have been talking about whether it's sexist or woke or anti-woke. For my money, those people must have gone into the cinema with wildly over-sensitive sexism detectors. My sacrilege alarm went off way before my sexism alarm ever would have: You've got a real yet unreachable magical realm that is concerned with the wellbeing and development of mortal man. You've got an emissary from there who visits us, is betrayed, is sent back, and then after a short break comes back to Earth. All well and good so far, Christ and Batman are the two origin stories that nobody every stops telling. What I spotted is that She was chief (or at least most angelic) among the angels, so I think that would make her Lucifer. She visited out of selfishness and vanity, not love and duty. When She was caught and her hands were just about to be bound She lost her nerve and ran away. When She returned to Heaven / Barbieland it was to wage war, not to absolve the sins of all mankind.

Wait a minute! Did I just watch a sequel to “Paradise Lost”?

Richard "Milton-Gerwig" B