bookmark_borderMy Glastonbury FOMOing

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…

bookmark_borderApple 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!?

bookmark_borderWeekend Reading

  • 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?

bookmark_borderReview: Brunching at CTR

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!

bookmark_borderSix by Nico: Picnic

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!

The menu then:

  1. PICNIC BASKET – Smoked Mackerel Pate / Sourdough / House Soda
  2. SCOTCH EGG – Falafel / Piccalilli / Watercress
  3. PICNIC BLANKET – Yellowfin Tuna / Tofu / Rose Harissa Yogurt / Herb Crumble
  4. SANDWICH PLATTER – Duck & Cherry / Ham & Salad Cream / Salmon & Cucumber / Coronation Chicken & Raisin / Crowdie & Beetroot
  5. BBQ – Ayrshire Pork Belly / Barbecue Sauce / Coal Oil / ‘Potato Salad’s
  6. STRAWBERRIES & CREAM – Tonka Bean / Balsamic / Black Olive

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?

bookmark_borderWeekend Reading

  • 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.

  • 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??