Month: June 2016

#Glasto2016

Mud. Lots and lots of mud.

Thick, gloopy, sticky, and slippy all at once, my legs feel very toned after a few days of dealing with it, but hey, what’s a little mud amongst friends?

Glastonbury, for me, is a strange place full of experiences weird and wonderful, of random conversations with friendly strangers, of magical moments of connection, all underpinned by a sense of togetherness, a sense of something good and positive. Given the events that transpired whilst we were away it was a welcome distraction.

Glastonbury is also about performances. Music dominates, but everywhere you turn there is something to catch your eye. It’s a wonderful space, full of diversity and vibrancy.

Alas the mud – the effort of trawling through it at least – meant that my wanderings were more limited than in previous years. I didn’t make it to Shangri-la, nor to Greenfields, and only one wander through the Circus/Cabaret area, with the rest of my time spent wandering from music venue to music venue.

It did mean I caught a lot of acts, but few full sets – John Grant, Madness, ELO and Muse the only acts to get that distinction – but this was no bad thing.

Thursday was a quieter day, a day for wandering and sussing out where the muddiest spots were. It’s also a day for the Heds Party silent disco. It runs from 8pm to 7am and whilst we were virtually first in the queue, we did tap out around 1am, but ohhh it’s such fun!!

Friday saw us go our separate ways which for me meant catching Unknown Mortal Orchestra, White Denim, and Muse. I had planned on more but I’ve given up being too prescribed, so just went with the flow, stopping to listen to a catchy oompa-loompa style folk band at the bandstand, and chilling out whilst I ate some food with a reggae band who’s name I completely missed.

Saturday was a day for more determined wandering. Haelos, Nothing But Thieves, Squeeze, Madness, John Grant, Fatboy Slim and New Order before my legs told me to stop being such an idiot and an early night was called. Still wish I’d been able to get to the Philip Glass Heroes Symphony but c’est la vie.

Sunday brought us ELO (who didn’t bring blue skies but did stop the rain at least), Band of Horses, Of Monsters and Men, Beck, PJ Harvey and Earth, Wind and Fire. And then a nice smooth drive out of a very muddy field (phew) and on past Bristol before 2am!

Now, back to the run of the mill life. A place with indoor toilets, baths, and very little mud. It’s quite nice.

I did watch some of the BBC recordings to see what else I missed and have to admit that there is something charmingly down-to-earth about Adele’s reaction, and that Coldplay do put on a good upbeat anthemic show. It also allowed me to see some of the acts I’d hoped to catch but couldn’t (far too many conflicts!) including Grimes, Guy Garvey, LCD Soundsystem, Roisin Murphy, Aurora, Explosions in the Sky and many more.

The weather was a bit of a dampener for sure, and I wasn’t really feeling right all the way through the weekend but regardless of a dodgy stomach, Glastonbury continues to be a unique experience and, money permitting, I’m hoping to make it back next year and praying that the mud won’t be quite as bad!

Weekend Reading (late)

No Weekend Reading next week as I’ll be standing in a muddy field in Somerset, I hear there might be some bands there too.

Looks like this didn’t post! Oh well, here it is now anyway

  • Parents are worried the Amazon Echo is conditioning their kids to be rude
    Alexa will put up with just about anything. She has a remarkable tolerance for annoying behavior, and she certainly doesn’t care if you forget your please and thank yous.
    I dunno, kids these days, disrespectful little cu…tipies?
  • 7 reasons you should date someone with tattoos
    Swiping through Tinder gives you a rough breakdown of some of the stereotypical suitors out there looking for love – you’ve got the urban fishing fans, the lads who think they’ll catch the girls of their dreams by having a car as a profile picture…
    Just saying 🙂
  • Who Gets to Be Angry?
    I AM an opinionated woman so I am often accused of being angry. This accusation is made because a woman, a black woman who is angry, is making trouble. She is daring to be dissatisfied with the status quo. She is daring to be heard.
    Do you have the right to be angry? About what? Are you sure?
  • One of the most annoying things about the iPhone is finally about to change
    Apple announced countless updates to its software platforms today at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, but one of the biggest pieces of news seems to have slipped through the cracks of the keynote speech.
    Smart to leave this ‘annoyance’ out of the keynote. Not worth focussing on ‘why now’, but something many people want.
  • The Apple Watch finally looks useful
    I’ve been a skeptic on the Apple Watch, but I’m thinking about changing my tune. Apple didn’t announce a single piece of new hardware during the June 13 kickoff to its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, but it announced a boatload of software updates.
    I second this, watchOS 3 suddenly makes the Apple Watch look very appealing. And I’ve already got one!
  • Robots have been about to take all the jobs for more than 200 years
    Technology has always triggered fears of mass unemployment. In 1811 it was the Luddites, who assumed they were done for. In the 1930s, it was vaunted economist John Maynard Keynes, who implicated technology as one reason for the unemployment of the Great Depression.
    Robots produce these summary posts, mostly (well, an app but that’s sort of a robot, right?)
  • Donald Trump’s Exploitation of Orlando
    In the rhetoric of Donald Trump, mendacity and cynicism compete for equal time.
    Is there ANYTHING good about this vile idiot?
  • Just The Good Stuff From Apple’s WWDC Keynote
    To kick off the first day of Apple’s 27th Worldwide Developers Conference, the tech giant hosted a keynote presentation on the future of, well, their operating systems. So what went down? Well, iOS 10 is going to be a huge release with a lot of small refinements and a few redesigns.
    A nice summary of all the new things that Apple fanboys will now spend another three months blogging about.
  • Steph Curry Literally Sees the World Differently Than You Do
    In the third quarter of game two of this year’s Western Conference finals, the Golden State Warriors were ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder by ten points.
    The word outlier has rarely been better applied than to this guy. Even if you aren’t a sports/basketball junkie, worth a read.
  • The Orlando-Shooting Victims Who May Have Been Outed by the Attacks
    I’m a son of immigrants, and a gay man who grew up in Orlando in the ’80s and ’90s. My earliest visits to gay clubs in the city were clandestine operations, and let me tell you, it is difficult to be undercover-gay while dressing appropriately for a night out with the boys.
    Horrible events, rippling aftermath. Too much hate in the world.
  • Celery: Why?
    Celery, the mild-mannered straight man of the vegetable world, packs a puny six calories per stalk and — in my opinion — about as much flavor as a desk lamp. Yet despite its limitations, the fibrous plant has featured in Mediterranean and East Asian civilizations for thousands of years.
    I think the title says it. Why, celery, WHHYYYY!!
  • A 22-pound lump of butter from 2,000 years ago has been discovered in Ireland
    Two weeks ago, an Irish farmer found a massive hunk of ancient butter buried in his local bog. It’s been sitting there for about 2,000 years, but experts say it’s technically still edible. The lump of “bog butter” weighs about 10 kilograms, or 22 pounds.
    Mmmmm butter.
  • Hiding In Plain Sight: Mysterious Monumental Structure Discovered At Petra
    Using Google Earth, satellite imagery, and drones, researchers detected a structure the size of an Olympic-size pool “hiding in plain sight” just “south of the city center, and archaeologists have missed this for 150, 200 years,” according to researcher Sarah Parcak.
    So much about the world we STILL don’t know, amazing.
  • What the President Actually Thinks About Radical Islam
    The president does not suffer illusions about the pathologies afflicting the broader Muslim world.
    I sincerely hope that President Obama goes on to be an influential world figure. We need more smart thinkers, smart collaborators, and empathetic leaders.
  • Can Netflix Survive in the New World It Created?
    One night in early January, a little after 9 o’clock, a dozen Netflix employees gathered in the cavernous Palazzo ballroom of the Venetian in Las Vegas.
    How much is too much streaming? And why does that sound slightly rude. Netflix and… never mind.
  • A Day of Infamy
    Events have a multiplier effect. And when they come in bunches the effect can be overpowering. This was already a sad and demeaning day, even before we heard the ghastly news a Labour MP, Jo Cox, had been murdered outside her constituency surgery in Yorkshire.
    And yet some people who started this rolling stone, many many months ago, will not even realise that are partly to blame. Horrible.
  • Grandmother of Orlando victim going to funeral receives stunning show of support from passengers
    One of the youngest victims in Orlando’s deadly shooting was Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo. Known as Omar to friends, he was a dancer and barista.
    Restoring some faith in humanity.
  • Earth’s New ‘Quasi’ Moon Will Stick Around for Centuries
    Astronomers have detected a small asteroid that doesn’t seem to want to go away. Called a quasi-satellite, this new companion circles around the Earth as it orbits the sun—and it’s going to stay that way for the next few hundred years.
    Quasi-moon! He shall be my quasi and we shall call him quasi!
  • It’s happening: A robot escaped a lab in Russia and made a dash for freedom
    With every passing day, it feels like the robot uprising is getting a little closer. Robots are being beaten down by their human overlords, even as we teach them to get stronger. Now, they’re starting to break free.
    Well, it was nice knowing you all.

Weekend Reading

  • The True Story Of The Fake Zombies, The Strangest Con In Rock History
    Chris White shakes his head and laughs when I show him the first photo.
    Couldn’t happen today, could it?
  • DOD continues quest to make “Iron Man” exosuit for special ops
    At this week’s Special Operations Forces Industry Conference, the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) cracked the door open a bit on its Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) program—an attempt to create a powered, armored exoskeleton for use by special operations forces 
    But who will be Jarvis?
  • The complete guide to fasting diets
    At first, skipping meals, may sound like just another celebrity fad diet. Indeed, Jimmy Kimmel swears by a version of it. But non-celebrities have had great success with brief periods of fasting, also known as intermittent eating.
    Beginning to wonder if the key is to learn to listen to your body?
  • Doctors put overweight patients on a path to failure by focusing on shedding pounds
    One night a few years ago, Emma Lewis sprained her ankle. She had spent the evening dancing, then walked several miles home wearing what she calls “slightly inadvisable shoes.” The next morning, Lewis went to see her doctor. But her damaged ankle was not his main concern.
    What’s that? I’m trying to lose weight you say? Nope. Trying to be healthy.
  • The books that critics say you should read this summer
    There’s a new wave of books coming out now in time for summer reading for those of us in the northern hemisphere, with a mix of familiar names and debut authors who are worth paying attention to. Annie Proulx, Stephen King, and Dave Eggers are among the veterans releasing new works.
    More books I won’t read, I have so many…
  • American Hunger
    On the night of February 25, 1964, Cassius Clay entered the ring in Miami Beach wearing a short white robe, “The Lip” stitched on the back. He was fast, sleek, and twenty-two. But, for the first time in his life, and the last, he was afraid.
    Many accounts of this amazing man, this is one of my favourites.
  • My Dinner With Ali

    Another tribute to the legend.

  • ‘The Fight’s Over, Joe’
    It is always the punch a fighter does not see that hurts the most, and the little girl was so sweet and innocent-looking, standing shyly at her mother’s side, that there was no way Joe Frazier could have seen it coming. 
    The flip side of living in the shadow of a personality like Ali.
  • Novak Djokovic’s Chase Of Tennis Records Is Speeding Up
    Novak Djokovic isn’t just chasing the records of his sport’s all-time greats. He’s accelerating in his pursuit. After winning his first French Open title on Sunday, Djokovic holds all four major titles at the same time, the first man to do so since Rod Laver in 1969.
    I watched the French Open, the man is class.
  • You Can Soon Buy a Melon With Hello Kitty’s Face Grown Onto The Surface
    What’s better than a cantaloupe? A cantaloupe with Hello Kitty’s face branded into the side, of course. Three hundred of these rare cat fruits are slowly ripening in Hokkaido, Japan, in advance of their July harvest date
    Reason #362 why I love Japan
  • Why smart homes are still so dumb
    In the wake of the resignation of Tony Faddell, the founder of smart thermostat maker Nest, the future is looking cloudy not only for the smart thermostat maker, but the broader smart home business as well.
    My only fear is that my smart home will be smarter than me 
  • ​​​​​​​Why Some People Find Crowded Cities Relaxing—And Others Don’t
    Nature is frequently prescribed as a way for anxious folks to soothe their elevated emotions. Over at The Atlantic, James Hamblin has written about the rise of eco-therapy: doctors endorsing the healing effects of spending time outdoors.
    And what about people like me, sometimes I do, sometimes BURN IT TO THE GROUND!!
  • Arctic tern makes longest ever migration – equal to flying twice around the planet
    Tiny bird flies 59,650 miles from its breeding grounds in Farne Islands in the UK to Antarctica and back again, clocking the longest ever migration recorded A tiny bird from the Farne Islands off Northumberland has clocked up the longest migration ever recorded.
    Yes, I watch Springwatch. What of it?
  • Duncan Jones went through personal hell while making Warcraft — and survived
    One of the first things you notice about Duncan Jones is that he loves to laugh. Sometimes it’s a self-deprecating chuckle, others a full-throated guffaw. While I’m waiting to sit down with the 45-year-old director at a studio space in Burbank, California, I can hear his roar from rooms away.
    The director of Moon, son of David Bowie.
  • Online Reviews? Researchers Give Them a Low Rating
    Botto Bistro is far from the worst restaurant in America. But it doesn’t mind if you think so. A small Italian place in a strip mall across the bay from San Francisco, Botto is just a few miles from my house. The other night, I packed up the family and headed off for dinner.
    One for my Yelp friends!
  • Another Benefit to Being Tall: Increased Productivity
    There are many benefits to being tall: more Tinder swipes, an ability to reach the top shelf, and best of all, a higher salary. Tall people get an additional $789 a year in earnings for every extra inch, one study found.
    I stopped reading at “more Tinder swipes”…

10 Reasons my blog isn’t popular

  1. My version of ’10 Productivity Tips’ would be ‘pick a system and use it, stop wasting time picking a system, most people just need a list of things that need done that day’.

  2. I write about me. My thoughts, my life. Narcissism central round here.

  3. I don’t stick to one topic. When I’m not writing about me, I write about software I use, or movies, and by god I write about writing a lot of the time. Essentially this blog is a censored diary that I happen to publish on the internet.

  4. I don’t actually know WHY I keep doing this, and so I plod on just posting stuff to have stuff posted.

  5. I don’t post amazing examples of photography.

  6. I don’t (anymore) post reviews of gigs, or books, or movies.

  7. I rarely write about things that might be useful to others – Todoist, Podcasts, iTunes stuttering etc.

  8. I create blog posts that are just lists in an effort to pad things out.

  9. More reasons I can’t really be arsed to figure out at the moment.

  10. There is no number 10, didn’t you read number 9?

I’m sure there are other reasons, but that’s all I could come up with.

Weekend Reading

  • The Story Behind Monopoly Pieces
    While many board games use colorful little pegs as markers, Monopoly, the game with the unique power to unite and divide a family in the matter of an hour, has those odd tokens you’re no doubt familiar with.
    I always wanted to be the shoe, but I’m not sure why.
  • A Liberated Woman: The Story of Margaret King
    In October 1786, 27-year-old feminist philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft journeyed from London to her new temporary home: an imposing Palladian-style mansion in County Cork, Ireland.
    AMAZING women, why haven’t I heard of her before now?
  • There’s a mathematical reason you’re less popular than your friends
    Do you ever get the feeling that the people you follow on social media are more popular and active than you are? Unfortunately, this is probably not your imagination. Due to a strange social phenomenon, chances are that you’re right.
    Phew. I’m glad I can use numbers to explain why no-one likes me.
  • The History of Pho
    Pho is so elemental to Vietnamese culture that people talk about it in terms of romantic relationships.
    Who doesn’t like a good pho?
  • The Brexiteers look like villains cornered by Batman in a hall of mirrors
    The politicians backing Brexit are all dreadful – as are all the politicians against it. Their campaigns should speak to a majority of the population but both sides seem to aim at its very worst minority.
    Frankie Boyle lays down the polemic.
  • He Sold His Business for $2 Billion. Now He’s an Uber Driver. Huh?
    Last year, Paul English, a co-founder of the travel booking site Kayak–which Priceline bought for $1.8 billion in 2012–looked at his calendar. Ninety percent of his meetings and outings, he realized, were with people in tech or nonprofits. He wanted to broaden his circle.
    Love this story! If it were me I’d also work on becoming a recognised eccentric.
  • A slave in Scotland: ‘I fell into a trap – and I couldn’t get out’
    Abul Azad left Bangladesh for a chef’s job in London – so how did he end up enslaved in a remote Scottish hotel? What’s left of the Stewart hotel sits on a steep hill overlooking sheep-flecked fields, tumbling hedgerows and distant snow-capped mountains in Appin, west Scotland.
    Horrific story.
  • Chocolate, it’s the newest party drug
    It’s sweet, delicious, gives us an energy boost and is perfectly legal – chocolate has become the party drug of choice in the US and Europe.  Chocolate – and in it’s raw form, cocoa – can be ingested as a drink, a pill, in powdered form, and can even be snorted.
    Snorting chocolate? Seriously, hipsters, enough already! What next, beetroot juice injections?
  • Prince’s death casts spotlight on anti-opioid addiction drug
    It was an intervention that never happened, and it featured two stars: Prince, an adored music icon, and buprenorphine, an obscure drug hailed as a revolutionary tool to fight opioid addiction.
    Opioids kill more Americans than anything other drug. Scary.
  • The stigma of mental illness is under attack by sufferers, who are coming out publicly and defiantly
    For several years, she wrote about her bipolar disorder under a pseudonym. She described how she’d been hospitalized four times, twice since her first child was born.
    It’s never easy ‘coming out’ about anything. My depression is long in my past (as far as it ever can be), but I still don’t talk about it much.
  • A match-making service pairs neuroscientists with designers to explain scientific breakthroughs
    Scientists are smart. Designers are, er, good with color. Stereotype holds that scientists and designers are vastly different thinkers: Scientists are exacting and objective, while designers and artists are intuitive and associative.
    In other words, smart people do good work when they work with other smart people. The type of ‘smarts’ don’t really matter.
  • Doom was video gaming’s punk moment
    A new Doom title is released today, but the 1993 original had the impact of punk rock in the 1970s – especially for this young drama student. This was how it happened for me, and I guess for a lot of people at the time.
    I can still remember the first time I played Doom, so gory and visceral. Couldn’t sleep for a week!
  • Australia puts traffic lights in the ground to alert phone addicts
    The German city of Augsburg has already tried putting traffic lights in the ground to keep cellphone-obsessed pedestrians from walking on to train tracks, but the Australian state of New South Wales wants to take things one step further.
    Now we just need to invent something that’ll stop these gormless idiots walking into me every morning!
  • Startups can’t explain what they do because they’re addicted to meaningless jargon
    Internet startup culture has evolved and matured over the past five years, and there’s no better example of this than the RISE conference happening this week in Hong Kong.
    I think this is an unfair view of the harmonious synergies that can spring up when thinking outside the box, but what do I know?