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The Blog of Life

Birthday Treats for the Office

For work today I fulfilled the tradition of bringing in some goodies for the office by providing a hobbit-appropriate second breakfast of crunchy nut cornflakes (which I'm not sure people totally appreciated) followed by a second lunch of mini mince pies with Baileys cream and lembas donuts - which were simply a donut wrapped in one of my office grown leaves. I though it was fitting for a hobbit who has just come of age.

Lembas donughts. © Nick Bailey
lembas donuts and some mini-mince pies with cream for my office

This evening Dr K and I went out to watch the final The Hobbit at the lovely Arts Picturehouse in Cambridge. I was able to make use of both Orange Wednesday and a members ticket = free cinema for the both of us. Great seat right in the middle middle of screen one. Not quite the impact of the IMAX at the weekend, but a good place to watch a film. The film itself was good and enjoyable but not really a scratch on the original LOTR. I fear that perhaps Peter Jackson isn't a very good story teller preferring instead to make superfluous sweeping camera moves rather than focus on character development or plot. I think the films were seriously hampered by being split into three making them oddly both overly long and waffly and yet unsubstantial. The music didn't compare anywhere near as good as the original sound track (which reminded me to play it tomorrow at work). I shouldn't be too hard on the film though, it was fun and after all the book is itself a much softer version of the tome to come.


Just Before I Come Of Age (as a hobbit)

What to say on the eve of my coming of age as a hobbit? I stumbled across my post that I wrote this time last year in which I expressed my like of the number 32 and less so of the number 33. However, that second number does have the Middle Earth significance, which is good, and as such I'm going to have a little hobbit celebration tomorrow by going to watch the final Hobbit at the Picturehouse in Cambridge with Dr K after a curry somewhere in town (perhaps Cocum, the South Indian restaurant up Castle Hill. The other hobbit influenced celebration will be at work where there is a tradition of providing some sort of stackable sustenance on your birthday. I'm going to provide second breakfast in the form of some crunchy nut cereal and then second lunch in the form of mince pies with cream.

We had a mini early celebration at the weekend by watching the new Christopher Nolan film Interstellar at the IMAX in the Science Museum. it was a really good film and thoroughly enjoyable, but sadly I was suffering from a severe migraine so was a little throwy-uppy (the sick bay had kindly given us a couple of sick bags to make use of). The science museum itself looked most exciting and it was a shame we didn't have more time to enjoy it. We will have to go back soon.

Tonight has been a nice evening. After cooking a vegetable rich evening and updating the Christmas tree with an additional set of lights (LED fairy lights, nice but a bit cold overall), I had a good potter in the shed fixing Dr K's puncture and swapping both her tires out for new Continental Gator Hardshell Duraskins which will hopefully hold off the sharp flints of Cambridgeshire slightly better. She's had a very bad run recently with multiple changes on some days. I also gave the old girl a clean and de-grease (by which I mean her bike). Mine is in need of some desperate cleaning and TLC but that will have to wait as instead we settled down in the lounge to watch the new Black Mirror by Charlie Brooker. It was yet again an excellent piece on the future of the future including a small warning flag for the smart home.


Bread at night

Yet again I find myself sitting at the oven (or near the oven right now) waiting for my bread to finish baking. I started it late this evening and only got one rise in before the prove. I did try something a little different in that I started the yeast in a sugar solution to give it a kick start (it was a mix of old dry yeast and frozen fresh). This I then loosely mixed into the flour with the water before leaving almost as a 'sponge' for an hour or two before needing and then rising. Hoping for as a delicious loaf as my last near disaster as the parentals are visiting for the weekend so a nice fresh bread for the morning will be nice.


Sunrise is wasted on commuters.

Joining the 07:45 to KGX this morning I was again struck by how wasted sunrise is on the average commuter. It would be far better saved for more people by bringing it later in the day (perhaps, shock surprise, by keeping BST all year?). I enjoyed it at least, but didn't really feel comfortable on a packed commuter train to go all soppy and start taking photos out of the window of the overcrowded train.


Before the Off - My Mini Void Moment [@HellointernetFM]

If you've not yet discovered the wonderful podcast Hello Internet, then please let me recommend that to you. I love it. I have (well, had) no idea who CPG Grey or Brady Haran are, but their opposing characters are a source of such insight into the human condition that makes every episode enjoyable. Just two guys talking; well worth a listen. Recently they've brought up the notion of 'the void' - those times when people on a ship late at night feel drawn to jump into it for no good reason. A more everyday scenario they came up with was the posting of a letter. More specifically that moment just as your fingers are about to let go of the envelope into the post box. As it dangles there on the threshold there is that small voice saying 'do it, drop it in' which is countered by a nagging doubt that you've incorrectly addressed the envelope.

My void-esc moment comes when I turn the TV off (technically my Toppy PVR). There is a moment after you hit the button in which the TV remains on for a small period of time as if nothing has happened before the inevitable does happen. It strikes an odd chord with me, as if I feel some sadness that the TV is about to die, its fate is set, but not yet realized.

If I wanted to ponder deeper I'd bring up the documentary "Choosing to Die" that Terry Pratchett made a couple of years ago about Dignitas and assisted dying. That film really struck some part of me, not because I want to die (quite literally the opposite), but for that moment portrayed after the chap took the poison in which the inevitable is inevitable but before that inevitable had happened. Further back there was a Tomorrow World I remember which covered an Australian computer-assisted suicide (recently appears on QI). I can't think of the word to describe it, but both these states have the same flavour - that lingering moment of continuum before the change. Perhaps even the changeing of the seasons can exhibit the same temporal conditions. It's not quite 'the void' as such, but seems to me somehow related.

widescreen CRT with dust pattern. © Nick Bailey
my old wide-screen CRT with exciting dust attraction quality


The Blog of Photos - past 30 days

Apparently this was what I was drinking by choice a decade ago.

This was my birthday activity ten years ago - taking myself off to the Southampton Airport flightpath to photograph aircraft on approach. Don't get me wrong, this is still something I would enjoy now, but it it surprising to see how things have changed in ten years. In some ways so much and in other ways hardly at all. One thing that has definitely changed is my taste for alcohol. Back then I must have only just found that I could actually buy drinks for myself at home (I can't remember drinking anything much before then), and clearly I was only on the level of enjoying cheap and fairly nasty cider (at least it's not Blackthorn). Around this time I also discovered wine, red wine in particular and remember a few Friday evenings when I retired to my bedroom after Film & Chips to find the whole room spinning quite swiftly round and discovered to my surprise that it is possible to fall off the floor. The joys of youth. Now I enjoy real ale and gin from The Cambridge Distillery.

Lembas donughts. © Nick Bailey
drinking habits a decade ago - almost an Andy Worhol of cider

Lembas donughts. © Nick Bailey
a rather beautiful rich sunset

Lembas donughts. © Nick Bailey
the first plane approaches (quite exciting)

Lembas donughts. © Nick Bailey
birds gather in the fading light

Lembas donughts. © Nick Bailey
like a scene from many a film


Rev. Ernie Clarke

Today I heard the sad news that our beloved family friend who married me died this morning. He was my minister when I grew up in Cheltenham and I shall always remember him for his Christmas services which included a magic trick which sometimes went drastically wrong. He was a wonderful man and I was so lucky to have him preside over my wedding service.

Rev. Ernest Clarke. © Nick Bailey


Listening to: A Great Big World
Everyone Is Gay
From: Is There Anybody Out There?

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Recently:Slice through finger

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