Weekend Reading

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  • “Thing” now has a new definition in the Oxford English Dictionary, thanks to “The West Wing”
    Every quarter, the OED updates its expansive catalog with new words that reflect the changing times. This month, more than 1,200 new words and phrases were added to the list. For example, “woke” and “post-truth” made the cut—the latter was dubbed “word of the year” by the OED in 2016.
    Without even realising it I co-opted this usage as well, for, you know, that thing…

  • Mumbai has the world’s second-largest collection of Art Deco buildings but no one notices them
    Always look up, writ large in Mumbai.

  • A Lecture About the History of the Scots Language … in Scots: How Much Can You Comprehend?
    Dauvit Horsbroch has served as the Language and Information Officer of the Scots Language Centre since 2007, and has spent considerable time living in North East Scotland. Above, watch him give a 19-minute lecture on the history of the Scots language … in Scots.
    Please note: this is a distinct language, it’s not gaelic, nor just English with some Scots slang.

  • Hayley Webster on Twitter
    1. I want to tweet an experience I had last week that summed up some stuff for me re women saying ‘No’, that I’ve been trying to articulate.
    A twitter thread for ALL MEN (Yes, ALL MEN) to read.

  • I Don’t Know How To Explain To You That You Should Care About Other People
    Like many Americans, I’m having politics fatigue. Or, to be more specific, arguing-about-politics fatigue. Personally, I’m happy to pay an extra 4.3 percent for my fast food burger if it means the person making it for me can afford to feed their own family.
    I’d dearly love the word compassion to start, and stay, trending. We are all lumps on flesh on the same planet, can’t we get along?

  • How ‘Wellness’ Became an Epidemic
    When Gwyneth Paltrow first launched Goop in 2008, it was a great place to find out where to eat the best tapas in Barcelona. It was straight-up celebrity-lifestyle voyeurism, and Paltrow, with her long blonde hair and aura of complete self-satisfaction, was irresistible.
    Given my recent sojourn into this territory it is at once fascinating and terrifying that so much unbridled bullshit goes unchecked.

  • 2017 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest, Part II
    The National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest is open to submissions until the end of this week, June 30. The grand-prize winner will receive a 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos Archipelago with National Geographic Expeditions.
    Because, hey, this planet thing we are on is pretty damn amazing.

  • The funny thing about wanting something badly
    Every day, I talk to someone who wants something badly: a postdoc looking for his first industry research role or an applications scientist who feels that her destiny is to become one of the company’s highly paid regional sales managers.
    Less is more. Life lesson #67… ohh I’ve lost count.

  • Chris Froome: Tour De France & the secret world of climbing
    The first thing you notice when you shake Chris Froome’s hand is how lean he is: big eyes, thin cheekbones, black t-shirt and shorts hanging off him as if they are two sizes too big. We are in Monaco, with the Tour de France imminent.
    Despite the doping scandals I hope in years to come we will look back at realise just how remarkable this guy is (but then, didn’t we say that about that Lance guy?)

  • Pride in London is not worthy of the LGBTQ+ community’s support
    The concept of ‘pride’ has become the central discussion point within the LGBTQ+ community in recent years. The trailblazers of the 1960s and 70s literally ran riot, did time and, in some cases, died, fighting for basic respect and recognition.
    Ugh ugh and more ugh. I’m not close to the Pride movement and I sincerely hope this ‘model’ isn’t reflected elsewhere.

  • Greetings, E.T. (Please Don’t Murder Us.)
    A new initiative to beam messages into space may be our best shot yet at learning whether we’re alone in the universe. There’s just one problem: What if we’re not?
    We are all just lumps living on this … actually, you know what, dear E.T. please come down and wipe the slate clean, we’ve kinda fucked everything up.

  • Britain’s ancient parliament officially goes “business casual”
    It’s the end of an era for Britain. For centuries, Britain’s House of Commons has adhered to strict rules (pdf) seen as vital to the smooth-running of daily affairs.
    ….. [insert your own ‘shouldn’t they be vosting on more important things right now’ sarcastic comment, I’m out] …..

  • Christopher on Twitter
    Strange request. Anyone know anyone famous/well known who could send Ollie a positive/9th birthday message. The bully keeps saying to him
    Another twitter thread but what a great one to end on. Keep scrolling, it gets better and better. Note: you may well up/cry like an eejit. SEE! COMPASSION!!!

My Glastonbury FOMOing

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I hadn’t really thought on it but as last weekend approached, and I chatted to people I knew who were going, I realised how much FOMO I was feeling with not going to Glastonbury this year.

Add in three of my favourite bands playing (one of which was a surprise addition) and the FOMO was strong with this one! Ohh and then ALL the sunshine whereas last year we had ALL the rain… pfffttttt!

Trying to explain why Glastonbury is such a wonderful experience, especially to those who haven’t been before, is tricky. Yes it’s massive, yes if it rains it kinda sucks to be sodden all day long, yes I have seen many of the bands already, yes you are outdoors the entire time, but none of that is the point.

It’s also tricky if your only experience is the bampot-laden drink/drugs/twat fest that T in the Park has become. Not that there aren’t drinks/drugs/twats at Glastonbury, more that it’s so massive you can easily stay away from them and even the drunkest drunk (or highest high) is usually apologetically stumbling around rather than looking for a fight.

So why do I enjoy Glastonbury? Why are the queues, the loos, and the expensive booze worth the hassle?

From arriving on the Wednesday you can revel in those first couple of days before it gets really busy, you have time to just wander about, marvelling at the artwork and the installations, and that’s when I find I start to relax and embrace the whole Glastonburyness of it. The entire space feels disconnected from the rest of the world and from the circus area to the green fields, everything is focussed on having fun, being happy, and being good to one another. What’s not to like?

But maybe it’s me.

I have a basic assumption about people. People are nice.

On the whole the majority of people are nice, caring, kind at heart. Sure we all deal with assholes and brainless wonders every day (and remember, nice people don’t make the news!) but away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, where we are all caught up in our own worlds (and probably being a bit of an asshole to others in our own way as well) that’s where Glastonbury exists. A safe place, where the nicer and friendlier you are, the more rewarding it is. Where a smile is quickly shared and people are thoughtful and considerate.

Families pushing kids in buggies, the couple in their 70s who’ve been at every Glastonbury since 1983, the group all dressed in skintight neon lyrca disco gear, sit down next to any of them in a bar, or with a coffee on a bench, and strike up a conversation. The police officers smilingly rejecting the offer of a joint at 2am, the security guard dancing with Katy Perry, all the caterers and bar staff who are working 12 hour shifts but still smiling.

Jonny Greenwood captured it perfectly when he said “the thing about Glastonbury is that, when you leave on Monday, your faith in humanity is restored”. This is exactly why I was a bit sad I wasn’t there this year, dancing like an idiot in the silent disco on Thursday night, because it was always (even though I didn’t realise it) more of a re-grounding and re-connecting experience that I ever gave it credit for. It was big and new and scary and weird and wonderful and sometimes that’s just what you need to remind you that, actually, the world is pretty damn awesome if you keep your eyes and heart open.

Rain or shine, a few days outside in the fresh air is good for the soul. Be it amazing headliners on the Pyramid stage or a new discovery at the Pussy Parlour, music is good for the spirits. They all come together in a million and one memories that build a picture of happiness and love and acceptance.

THAT is Glastonbury.

That is the mental and emotional reset button that I now realised I was missing.

And then the Foo Fighters played Under Pressure…

Apple Watch Calendar Events issue solved

Like many Apple Watch users, managing what notifications I get on my Apple Watch is something I keep an eye on. When I first got an Apple Watch one of the early pieces of advice was to cut back on the notifications as much as possible and it’s something I’ve stuck with and now only get notifications of calendar events, emails, and messages (be they SMS, WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger), plus the Activity/Health related ones.

And, like many Apple iOS users, I don’t use the default Apple applications; I think Fantastical is better than Calendar, Spark is better than Mail, and Spotify is better than Music. YMMV but these are my choices, and annoyingly there isn’t a way to tell iOS that these are MY defaults (and I presume Apple has some way to discern this so I’m guessing the percentage of people using the default apps is still in the majority).

However, when it comes to calendar alerts I’ve noticed one weird behaviour which, and I’m presuming it’s a bug, I’d been putting up in the hope it’d get fixed but as it’s been a while now I’m guessing it’s not gonna happen any time soon so I sat down to work through the options I had available to me.

And yes, that likely means that in the next versions of watchOS and iOS this will get fixed but.. whatever! (also, why not phoneOS, just saying).

The symptoms of the issue are simple, I was getting Apple Calendar notifications on my Apple Watch even when I’d turned off Notifications on both iOS, in the Watch settings, and I’ve even removed the Calendar app from both devices as well! Sure, it’s a minor annoyance but as Fantastical provides notifications of events it meant that everytime something in my calendar cropped up, I’d receive two notifications on my Watch. Buzz buzz… pause…. buzz buzz. GAH!

I trawled the Apple support forums, googled every combination I could think of to turn up something but nothing I tried worked. However, I think after a lot of trial and error, I have a solution. It’s a little counter-intuitive but it’s worked for me and over the past couple of weeks I’ve yet to get a notification from the Calendar app on my Watch! YA BEAUTY!

How to stop Calendar event notifications on your Apple Watch


  1. Make sure you have the Calendar app installed on your iPhone.
  2. On your iPhone, go to Watch Settings, then to Notifications, and set Calendar to ‘Mirror my iPhone’ (the second section doesn’t matter).
  3. In iPhone Settings go to Notifications, select Calendar and turn ON notifications (bear with me!).
  4. Go through each item in the list and turn off all the settings, including setting Sounds and Vibration to None (it should look like the image below). It’s a bit of a faff I know.

That’s it! I’ve not had a notification on my Watch from the Calendar app since.

This definitely feels like there is a bug where the overall Notifications on/off switch isn’t being honoured, so removing all the options so that there is nothing to trigger seems like the workaround, despite leaving Notifications ‘ON’, is a fudge but it works.

I’ve logged the above with Apple in the hope they fix it at some point, and vaguely hope that at some point they may even allow us poor plebs the option of setting different default apps instead of all this faffing! Hahahaha… I can dream, right!?

Weekend Reading

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  • Location Scouting for Wes Anderson
    I have another part-time job that nobody knows about. It doesn’t pay very well because … well, technically my “boss” doesn’t actually know I hired myself to do the job. But whenever he decides he needs me, I’m certainly ready and waiting.
    I love the look of the Wes Anderson world, if you do too, check this out.

  • The surprising number of American adults who think chocolate milk comes from brown cows
    Seven percent of all American adults believe that chocolate milk comes from brown cows, according to a nationally representative online survey commissioned by the Innovation Center of U.S. Dairy. If you do the math, that works out to 16.4 million misinformed, milk-drinking people.
    Something something guns something something Trump something…

  • How do you draw a circle? We analyzed 100,000 drawings to show how culture shapes our instincts
    Let’s do a quick exercise. Are you ready? Draw a circle in the box below. Don’t think too hard! Did you start at the top or bottom? Clockwise or counterclockwise? New data show that the way you draw a circle holds clues about where you come from.
    Start at top and draw clockwise.

  • Are You a Self-Interrupter?
    Our technology-rich world has proven to be both a blessing and a curse. While on the one hand we have access to information or people anywhere at any time, on the other hand we find our attention constantly drawn by the rich, multisensory, technological environments.
    I’m just leaving this here. Obviously I know no peoples who should read this (if they can stop checking FB long enough)

  • How Cats Used Humans to Conquer the World
    Ancient DNA from 209 cats over 9,000 years tell the story of their dispersal. Sometime around the invention of agriculture, the cats came crawling. It was mice and rats, probably, that attracted the wild felines. The rats came because of stores of grain, made possible by human agriculture.
    I KNEW IT!!

  • Dave Grohl’s daughter playing the drums with her dad in Iceland june 16th 2017
    In no surprise to anyone, Dave Grohl’s daughter is also a kick ass human being

  • Left handed people are more likely to be geniuses
    The belief that there is a link between talent and left-handedness has a long history. Leonardo da Vinci was left-handed. So were Mark Twain, Mozart, Marie Curie, Nicola Tesla and Aristotle.
    Hmmm I can type with both hands, does that count?

  • The 10 Most Depressing Radiohead Songs According to Data Science: Hear the Songs That Ranked Highest in a Researcher’s “Gloom Index”
    One of my favorite music-themed comedy sketches of recent years features a support group of Radiohead fans flummoxed and disappointed by the band’s post-Ok Computer output.
    I don’t think depressing is the right word. Yes, some of their songs instil melancholy but not all of them.

  • The myth of the ‘cool tech girl’
    In my early twenties I tried out the ‘cool tech girl’ thing. When you’re early in your career and one of the only women at a startup, it’s easy to fall in to the ‘cool girl in tech’ trap.
    One for all my IT friends, especially the ‘guys’ to read.

  • Dear Twitter: FWIW, this is how you spell “democracy”: EMPATHY
    When I caught the story of the mass shooting yesterday (and yes, I know, in my country, we need to specify which mass shooting yesterday, so I mean the mass shooting of Republican congressmen in Virginia, not the one in San Francisco, or any of the other 154 that have happened so far this year)
    Empathy is not a word that makes headlines. I wish it was.

  • When Totally Normal Books About Girls Turned into ‘Beach Reads’
    As a book critic, I am no stranger to listicles. The quickest way to condense and transmit recommendations, the listicle has been around almost as long as publications have, but the internet is a particularly potent vehicle for randomly numbered collections of items around a theme.
    Not sure if I agree/disagree, or like/dislike the general sentiment in this.

  • The Dark And Wild Fluorescence Of Lorde’s ‘Melodrama’
    In the most shredded moment off Lorde’s new record, Melodrama, she sounds nearly defeated. It’s just four words, the opening line of “Liability,” the second single off her sophomore album, and arguably the best bit of songwriting of her entire, still-brief career.
    Is this my album of the summer? It might be…

  • How An Entire Nation Became Russia’s Test Lab for Cyberwar
    The clocks read zero when the lights went out. It was a Saturday night last December, and Oleksii Yasinsky was sitting on the couch with his wife and teenage son in the living room of their Kiev apartment.
    Scary. Tht dystopian future is here. Now.

  • What I Learned About Interruption from Talk Radio
    But this, this thing where a man simply doesn’t let you get a word in edgewise, this doesn’t happen to me much. Sure, I’ve had my fair share of mansplainers (my favorite being a clone of Solnit’s book-explainer, the man who explained my own podcast to me).
    I wish I didn’t even have to share this article. But I do. How to interrupt people.

  • 10 Glasgow restaurants that deserve a Michelin star
    Despite having a flourishing foodie scene, Glasgow isn’t currently home to any Michelin starred restaurants. Here are a few of the city’s best eateries which are deserving of being awarded this coveted accolade.
    8 down, 2 to go!

  • Wait for the second date to reveal you’re poly?
    The last time I reported on a Dan Savage column a furious reader unsubscribed, writing, I have no quibble with his poly advice. However, Dan is a pretty bigoted dude across multiple axis, and has been known to harrass and denigrate employees that do not meet his standards for attractiveness.
    Is waiting to see if there is a connection (enough for a second date) also lying about your relationship status?

  • Why Your Brain Hates Other People
    As a kid, I saw the 1968 version of Planet of the Apes. As a future primatologist, I was mesmerized. Years later I discovered an anecdote about its filming: At lunchtime, the people playing chimps and those playing gorillas ate in separate groups.
    Not my circus…

  • Forget fidget spinners, it’s the toothpick crossbow that is worrying parents
    Handheld mini-crossbows that can fire needles and nails are the latest must-have toy in China but anxious parents want them banned before a young child gets blinded or worse.
    This is just ‘tech’… rubber band and a drawing pin, right?

Brunching at CTR

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Brunch at CTR (dessert and funky art included)

A post shared by Gordon McLean (@gmclean) on

I’ve eaten at Crossing The Rubicon (CTR) a couple of times now but was delighted to be invited to go for brunch last weekend with a bunch of other awesome people who also like eating brunch (bit of an oxymoron that, only truly awesome people like brunch. Fact.)

After meandering along Great Western Road – CTR is a short stumble from Kelvinbridge underground – I was, despite a caffeine pitstop at Papercup, pretty thirsty so a watermelon and fresh lime mocktail was very welcome and very refreshing. I grabbed a seat and, alongwith everyone else, quickly started to peruse the menu. It’s not limited to just brunch options, and I did swither over some of the dishes I’ve had for lunch in the past (butter chicken OMG) but pretty quickly spotted the words “Sweet Potato Hash” on the menu and everything else just faded away.

Editors note: I am on a major Sweet Potato kick at the moment, mostly for healthy eating purposes, plus NOM.

Food ordered and immediately I got a major dose of the ‘ohhh god, did I pick the right thing’ fear? This wasn’t helped as some of the Breakfast Naans started to arrive which looked awesome but thankfully when my brunch was set in front of me I knew, deep down, that I’d secretly won at brunch. Served in a medium-sized cast iron pan, I had two perfectly fried eggs sitting atop a wonderful sweet potato hash, which was a delicious mix of baked sweet potato, onions, herbs and enough chilli to give it a kick without overwhelming the dish, oh and I also had a couple of extra sausages added … because, sausages.

It was absolutely delicious, like ‘shut up and don’t talk to me’ delicious. No, I’m not THAT rude but it was close… as those sitting next to me will attest as it disappeared pretty quickly. Nom nom nom. Plus I’m guessing it was pretty healthy, given it’s oven baked sweet potato and… err… fried eggs. Ok, so I reckon it’s healthier than a full fry up is what I’m saying.

I also managed to try a little of the breakfast naan, which was really tasty as well, a surprisingly light naan and delicious spicy eggy filling. It’s a monster dish and is now stored away in my list of hangover busters!

And then someone mentioned dessert. I know, brunch dessert, this way madness lies!! It felt wrong, dirty even, to descecrate the wonders of brunch with a dessert!

Except … I glanced at the menu – hey I was being polite – and two words leapt out at me pistachio kulfi… yeah I wasn’t really sure what it was either but I like pistachios, and I didn’t want to appear rude and so I ordered my first ever brunch dessert. What arrived was a frozen sweet wonderous plate of nom. It’s a creamy/condensed milk kinda thing, with some subtle spices and a layer of crushed pistachios and was heavenly! It is VERY sweet but that’s ok with me and hey, brunch dessert is now officially a thing y’all.

And so that was brunch done! I really like CTR, not just for the food which is top notch, but the atmosphere, the (always changing) selection of beers, and the friendly staff, what’s not to like? Plus on one of those days when the bright shiny orb in the sky makes an appearance they have a perfect sun trap out front.

If you haven’t been and enjoy tasty indian food and a fine selection of beverages, get to Crossing The Rubicon!

Six by Nico: Picnic

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Our third visit to Six by Nico and this time around the theme was Picnic with a menu that featured sandwiches, sausage rolls, scotch eggs, and strawberries and cream. Ahhhh but fool me twice … by now we know not to expect anything as mundane as an actual sandwich to appear!

Another great meal at @sixbynico

A post shared by Gordon McLean (@gmclean) on

As always we ordered the Snacks & Bread option to sample the Chicken Caesar Salad Bon Bon, Sweet Potato & Feta Sausage roll, and Tomato Gazpacho with Basil Oil. It’s telling that each time we have tried the Snacks & Bread they have been just as delicious as the main course; the Bon Bon was a succulent and rich garlic laden deep fried ball of delight, the sausage roll was a wonderful balance between the sweetness of the potato and the salty tang from the feta, and the gazpacho was light and fresh.

And then our first course arrived – delivered in a small picnic basket no less – and we were each given a tiny cup to hold freshly made iced tea, and a pot of smoked mackerel pate with accompanying gooseberries. Popping open the tub the escaping smoke set my tastebuds going before the first mouthful and the oily rich pate was perfectly offset by the sharpness of the gooseberries. Off to a great start!!

Next up the scotch egg, a perfectly cooked egg – the centre of the yolk just slightly runny – wrapped in salty falafel was a nice take on the heavy sausage based version you find everywhere else. Served with a pea puree and piccalilli (which I’m not a massive fan of) it was tasty but of all the dishes on offer, my least favourite.

After that the prettiest dish of the evening arrived, squares of tuna, watermelon and tofu gave us our red and white checked picnic blanket. The rose harissa and avocado puree added enough bite and fresh green to make the entire dish a wonderfully light and very moreish combination. Could have happily, and easily, eaten two plates of these.

Fancy a sandwich? Of course there was little in the way of droopy bread abominations on show here, instead we had five separate offerings; fresh thin sliced salmon with shavings of cucumber in a dill gel, ham hough with thin fried bread on a bed of what I can only describe as a grown up salad cream (a hint of vinegar through the rich sauce), spots of crowdie and beetroot puree on a thin slice of sourdough, and my favourite two from the plate; a melt in the mouth duck and deep flavourful cherry puree, and the coronation chicken was a delicious, if subtler, take on the classic (and my perennial favourite) with a raisin puree and slow deep curried sauce.

It was about this point in the meal that I realise I have a stupid big grin on my face, I am excitedly watching my companions finish their plates and we all sit back and argue light-heartedly about which dish was the best on the plate (the duck won I think, but it was a close run thing!).

And now for one item on the menu I was wary of, pork belly. I don’t enjoy eating fatty meats (it’s a texture thing) and have had pork belly in the past and struggled to enjoy it. The flavours are wonderful but those thick layers of fat… shudder.

I should’ve know better though! BBQ was the theme of the plate and we were given a chunk of pork belly that was almost entirely meat, covered in a thick sticky reduced BBQ sauce. The pork was tender and absolutely delicious. It was served on a potato risotto, tiny cubes of par boiled potato and pancetta. A perfect evocation of a summer BBQ and I could happily have eaten two portions (this is becoming a theme!).

And then, all too soon, it was time for dessert. Strawberries and cream, who doesn’t love strawberries and cream! Well at Six by Nico it was a whipped strawberry mouse with tonka bean chantilly cream, a sweetened black olive sauce, and two kinds of meringue (a thin crisp slice and a lighter than air whirl). A wonderful balance of sweetness and texture.

At the end of the meal we were asked how we rated this menu over the previous two and, whilst the Chippie (the first) menu still takes top spot for us, we all agreed that the Picnic was firmly in second. That said, with the bar set so high at every visit, it’s really hard to choose between any of the menus.

Add in the friendly staff, great service, and … and I will keep repeating this in every review… the fact the meal is £25 a head… and the only thing I have to ask is, if you haven’t been yet, WHY NOT?

Weekend Reading

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  • Groom surprises bride with a pug puppy on their wedding day, tears ensue
    As if a wedding day isn’t magical enough, groom Stephen Watt wanted to take it one paw-dorable step further by surprising his bride, Keriann Watt, a lifelong pug-lover, with her very own puppy at their reception in Luss, Scotland.
    The power of social media! This is a friend of my sister, she was at the wedding! Seeing this picked up by US media was fascinating! Also… PUPPY!!

  • This Baker Makes Internet Trolls Eat Their Words — Literally
    The social media world is heavily populated by trolls — you know, those people who write nasty, mean comments online. Sometimes it can be tempting to respond back, but what if there’s a better alternative? Like sending them a cake…. with their words written on it.
    And once they’ve finished their tasty cake… he reveals the true ingredients! (he doesn’t, but I wish he did)

  • America Made Me a Feminist
    I used to think the word “feminist” reeked of insecurity. A woman who needed to state that she was equal to a man might as well be shouting that she was smart or brave. If you were, you wouldn’t need to say it. I thought this because back then, I was a Swedish woman.
    Is the word ‘feminist’ in danger of … well I’m not sure what, but it seems like it gets twisted every which way by different parties…

  • The Warriors Duped The NBA
    Chuck Jones, the classic Warner Bros. animator, used to say that we are all defined by our disciplines: When anything is possible, the things we don’t do are just as important as the things we do.
    Fascinating to see the beginnings of a dynasty

  • ‘Seductive names’ make vegetables more appealing
    How do you get more people to eat their greens? Give vegetables seductive names, say US researchers. Healthy labels, such as “wholesome”, were a turn-off, even though the dishes were identical in every other way.
    Probably says a lot about me that when I read the title I thought… “Cassandra the Carrot??” no, that THAT type of name …

  • Feline Food Issues? ‘Whisker Fatigue’ May Be to Blame
    Moon was having eating issues, familiar ones to many cat owners: He batted food out of his bowl before he would eat it. Some days he seemed terrified even to approach his feeding dish. Moon’s owner, Cheryl Anne Gardner, did some internet research and found the likely cause: whisker fatigue.
    Sharing for those with cats.

  • Steps I Take to Counteract Gentrification While Living In a Luxury Building in Brooklyn
    Bring people’s attention to important issues by posting #BlackLivesMatter stickers all over my building’s sauna. Speak Spanish to Roberto at in lobby coffeeshop while he makes my $7 dark roast with almond milk.
    Many of these steps could be taken in the UK…

  • The impossible job: Compiling the fixture list
    The man behind compiling the Premier League fixture list for 2017/18, Glenn Thompson, of Atos, explains how travel plans and rail and road networks play a role in deciding when matches are played.
    Football geekery for stats fiends.

  • Freediving Is the Lung-Crushing, Mind-Altering Path to Inner Peace
    How the high-risk, high-reward extreme sport helps conquer your fear of the deep through meditation. The Guinness World Record for holding one’s breath underwater is 24 minutes and 3 seconds. Most humans, however, can barely make it a minute and a half.
    I am always fascinated by those who push themselves beyond boundaries.

  • How a Philly Ob-Gyn Ended Up Delivering a Baby Gorilla
    Last Friday, at 10:30 a.m., ob-gyn Rebekah McCurdy was seeing patients in her office when she got the call. Hello, said the voice on the line. It’s us. We’re thinking of doing a C-section, and we’re ready to put her under anesthesia. Weird, thought McCurdy.
    Interesting article but mostly posting for the pics of a BABY GORILLA WHICH IS TOTES ADOREBALLS

  • The off-kilter cinematography of Mr. Robot
    Using traditional cinematography, characters are not usually confined to the bottom third of the screen, crammed all the way in the corner, or placed right at the edge of the screen, looking offscreen. But rules are meant to be broken..
    Some people think this is a cheap gimmick, but it’s one reason I like this show (and why I enjoy The Shining which employs some similar visual headfuckery)

  • To the Women Over 40 and the 20-Somethings Who Write About Them
    I’m officially in my 40s. I’m surrounded by teenagers. And I’m tired of fetuses on the internet telling me what to do. One of the things? Wear big hoop earrings.
    I’m officially in my 40s. A lot of this resonates (not the hoop earrings bit though… not yet at least)

  • Winners of the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest 2016
    The winners have been announced in the 4th edition of the Red Bull Illume Image Quest photo competition.
    STUHHHHHNNNNING photos.

  • Spotify’s users are loving it to death
    Spotify may be the world’s most popular subscription music streaming service, but that doesn’t mean it’s anywhere near profitable. In fact, the more music users stream, the more millions Spotify loses.
    Please don’t die Spotify, please.

  • Cosmic ‘Bruise’ Could Be Evidence for Multiple Universes
    It sounds wild. But the idea that we live in a multiverse — a cosmos where an infinite number of universes exist beside our own — is no longer confined to science fiction. It’s a respectable theory among scientists, so much so that some are on the hunt for proof of a nearby universe.
    Apparently universes may have ‘bumped into’ each other. I can’t even… I mean… what??

Babs – Kebabs. Done Right

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There is a new place in town and no, it’s not named after Barbara Windsor…

From the people behind the glorious meat emporium Bread Meats Bread comes a new kebab shop … STOP RIGHT THERE, I know what you are thinking – the drunken stumblings, strips of greasy lamb, dubious salad, thin runny sauce, the cold sodden lump you can’t stomach to even touch the next day – ‘Babs is NONE of these things!!

Self-billed as “Kebabs. Done right” what we were sampling was “Charcoal-fired Gourmet Kebabs Made Using Ethical & Local Scottish Seasonal Produce” and I’ll cut to the chase; the short version of this review need only require me to say that ‘Babs has taken the humble kebab to a new level of deliciousness, thrown in a slew of other tasty middle eastern inspired dishes (and added my favourite new burger in town!) and you should definitely check it out when it opens … which is TODAY! NOW! GO GO GO!!

Still here? You may as well keep reading then.

As soon as you walk through the door into the wonderful space that beckons you inside you are whisked you away to the sultry warmth of an autumn evening on the Bosphorus. Cosy without feeling cramped, I loved the decor and modern middle eastern vibe – think BMB West End, rather than the bustling city centre venue – and was eager to see how well the food fared.

We were there for a preview prior to their opening night and were treated to samples from their menu, and I’ll happily concede that I think they are on to a winner. Taste wise everything I tried, and I tried everything more than once if I could, was superb. The meats were smokey without being overwhelming, rich meats were succulent and well flavoured, the salads were fresh and full of flavour, and of the 10 or so dishes I tried I only rated one as ‘ok’ everything else was good to ‘oh my god this is delicious’.

We also got to see the menu which is even more extensive and it’s clear that ‘Babs will become a reliably good place to take people be it for lunch or dinner. A great selection on offer and some desserts to die for, backed by some great cooking, what else do you need? Plus it’s handily placed on West Nile Street in the heart of the city.

One thing is clear from talking to the owners, this is very much a labour of love. You could tell by the way they talked us through what was in each dish, how excited and passionate they were and how clearly, and rightly, proud of the ingredients and dishes they were sharing with us. Given how successful their sister venture – Bread Meats Bread – has been I can only presume that ‘Babs will soon by featuring on Top 10 lists of places to eat, I know it’s already in mine.


Find them online at their website, or follow them on Twitter or Facebook

BootCamp complete

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Bootcamp is over.

10 weeks of twice weekly HIIT sessions.

I’ve farmer carried, tyre flipped, pushed up, planked, burpee’d, kettlebell’d, squatted, crunched, bear crawled, lunged in various ways, slammed balls, punched bags, pulled up, rowed, and more. I’ve eaten my body weight in sweet potato and chicken. Cursed, sweated, and pushed myself until I can hardly breathe. I’ve dealt with the two days of muscles aches after each session.

I’ve also laughed, a lot, met some exceptional people who have helped keep me motivated and challenged, and happily admit I have enjoyed the entire experience, even when I’m calling one of the trainers a motherfucker. Pain is temporary though, and I will remember the laughs and giggles, the matching outfits, the jazz hands and cool down dances, and that time Juan broke the TRX bands (or rather, that time he didn’t do them up properly) far longer than any of the aches.

As part of the Bootcamp experience there was a nutrition session, and I finally understand those Macro things I’ve heard about for so long! It means I’m eating better and properly equipping myself prior to each Bootcamp session. We were also asked to write up short term and long term goals, for me the short term was to complete the 10 weeks of Bootcamp but I decide to be more specific and wrote that my goal was to do 10 pushups. That’s full pushups. My previous record was almost 1 – and that was a struggle – and 10 weeks later … 10 pushups. Slowly, steadily, and with a few pauses, but 10 pushups. Holy Frick.

My longer term goal was to get my weight down below 95kg. I started at 113.3kg and post-Bootcamp I’m now 107.2kg, which for the imperialists amongst you means I’ve almost a stone. On the way to 95!!

That said, I’m a lot less focused on my weight now but it’s a reasonable way to measure progress, as is the fact I’m gonna need to buy some smaller shirts and trousers for work soon!

And finally a word for our wonderful trainers. I cannot praise Andy and Juan highly enjoy for keeping things interesting and challenging, for caring about each person, for encouraging us when we needed it and for pushing us when we were slacking. The name ‘bootcamp’ suggests military drills, a screaming Sargeant Major in your face. Sure, we had drills, but in keeping with their ethos, the atmosphere was always friendly and fun, welcoming and positive. It’s up to you to push yourself as everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, but knowing that they were always around for guidance, or to gently cajole you into working harder, meant I never felt pressured but I still worked my ass off!

Having said all that, I’ve not signed up for the next Bootcamp, instead I’m going to try some different classes (which has the added benefit of giving me the option of a Saturday lie-in again!) and I’ll also be getting my bike out as I’ve signed up for Pedal for Scotland in September. But once that’s done, I’ll definitely be back to give BootCamp another shot later in the year, it’s oddly addictive!

Are there still spaces?

If none are available for the next BootCamp then check out their other classes, or book a PT session. You won’t regret it!

Weekend Reading

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Special Election Free edition (one week only).

  • Aleppo After the Fall
    As the Syrian civil war turns in favor of the regime, a nation adjusts to a new reality — and a complicated new picture of the conflict emerges.
    The forgotten conflict, 4 years of war and it barely makes the front pages anymore.

  • The Mackinac Island Stone Skipping Competition
    Late one afternoon last summer, our family arrived at a campsite on the western shore of Lake Michigan. We had been driving all day, across Wisconsin on our way further east. The four of us—my wife and two daughters, ages 7 and 10—set up our tent, made dinner, then went down to the water.
    My record is 12, set many years ago. I need to practice. A LOT.

  • Urchins and alleyways: a rare glimpse of 19th-century Glasgow – in pictures
    Photographer Thomas Annan captured Glasgow in the 1860s and 70s, at a time when the city had transformed and grown rapidly after the industrial revolution
    Always interesting seeing your home city, picking out landmarks that still exist today.

  • Climber Completes the Most Dangerous Rope-Free Ascent Ever

    The more I read about this feat, and this man, the more bamboozled I am. It’s utterly mindblowing.

  • Open-minded people have a different visual perception of reality
    Psychologists have only begun to unravel the concept of “personality,” that all-important but nebulous feature of individual identity. Recent studies suggest that personality traits don’t simply affect your outlook on life, but the way you perceive reality.
    So this half-full glass is actually… a porcupine? Am I doing it right?

  • Who needs a perfect language? It’s already perfectly imperfect
    Poets, historians, scientists, philosophers – we all seek to capture the world in a net of language. Yet it is the nature of nets to capture some things while letting others slip away.
    English is such a rich language, and evolves faster than we realise.

  • The Bondage-Bound, Feminist Origins of Wonder Woman
    Orgies, a sex cult, polyamory, lie detectors, and bondage. While that sounds like the makings of a fascinating word association game, those words do have one very particular thing in common – well, besides the obvious.
    The movie is packed with wonderful feminist, enlightened ideas, so this is a strange bedfellow of an article.

  • Why ‘Checking Your Privilege’ Doesn’t Work
    “Dear White People: no one is saying your life can’t be hard if you’re white but it’s not hard because you’re white.” This perhaps overly earnest profundity comes from an August 2015 tweet by user Austin (@kvxll), that somehow made its way to my own Twitter feed.
    The problem with privilege is you don’t see it, this opened my eyes to my mistakes and assumptions (and I am the most privileged type of person possible).

  • Taking Muhammad Ali home
    A week before her husband dies, Lonnie Ali changes the plans for his funeral. The funeral she had envisioned is too big, she thinks. It is too complicated.
    Articles I will always read: anything about The Greatest.

  • Apple’s developer conference was chock full of new hardware
    Apple’s annual developer conference felt especially like a show for consumers this year, with announcements of seven laptop updates, a new iMac Pro desktop computer, a new iPad, and a new home smart speaker called the HomePod.
    Apple is doing some new stuff. Some of it is good. Some of it isn’t everything people wanted. Some of it I don’t quite get why. In other words, Apple is doing what it always does.

  • Welcome to Poppy’s World
    It’s hard to explain Poppy to the uninitiated. But I’m going to try. Let’s start with the edge of the Poppy rabbit hole: You see a woman in a YouTube video. She is blond and petite with the kind of Bambi-sized brown eyes you rarely encounter in real life.
    Mentioned as an aside in the Apple Dev Conference… and that’s all I’m gonna say (ok, I will also say… WTF?)

  • How to fall to your death and live to tell the tale
    Alcides Moreno and his brother Edgar were window washers in New York City. The two Ecuadorian immigrants worked for City Wide Window Cleaning, suspended high above the congested streets, dragging wet squeegees across the acres of glass that make up the skyline of Manhattan.
    I am not good with heights, and presume if I was falling to my death, my brain probably WON’T recall this article but… you never know.. right?

  • When you cross a raven, the bird will hold a grudge
    For over 2,000 years, children have been warned of the dangers of hidden agendas through the “The Fox and the Raven.
    I KNEW IT!! Sorry, had some Raven harassment issues a few years ago and no-one believed me!

  • A conversation with Rickie lee Jones
    A video of a conversation that most of you will have heard some of before (earworm activation in 3, 2….)

  • What it feels like to get hit by a pitch
    A baseball is a wondrous little thing. It weighs 6 ounces — the same as an apple — and is the perfect size and shape for the hand. It is the ideal home for the proudest autographs, so white and pristine, resting on the mantel or in the trophy case.
    I’ve started watching a little baseball for reasons I’m not yet sure of, the more I learn the more I can see how people get dragged into it (stats fiends, check it out!)… and then there is side of it.

  • The Exquisitely English (and Amazingly Lucrative) World of London Clerks
    It’s a Dickensian profession that can still pay upwards of $650,000 per year. At Fountain Court Chambers in central London, the senior clerk is called Alex Taylor. A trim, bald 54-year-old who favors Italian suiting, Taylor isn’t actually named Alex.
    Hey ‘disruptors’ I have a new industry for ya!!

  • Turns out open relationships aren’t the most sexually satisfying
    Sex is a big part of most romances, whether a marriage or a more experimental union. A recent survey of Europeans shows that people in the most sexually liberated partnerships aren’t having the best time.
    They missed out the question ‘Are you surprised by this’ to which many poly people would answer, ‘no, not at all’.