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nineveh_uk
Nonetheless, I feel content about living my life without them in quite such close combination as in this video.

It was just a phreatic eruption, but you still die if you get hit on the head by a rock.

ETA: This reconstruction of the grad student who took the famous Mount St Helens photographs, OTOH, is hilariously over the top. Especially as the first photo shows you what he looked like compared to the young model/actor they have doing the film.

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nineveh_uk
I have recently purchased this* white noise machine in an attempt to train my brain to be able to sleep when there is a little noise, to block out the sound from time to time of my next-door neighbour's music or heat pump when they are being a bit loud, and to be able to sleep with the window open when it's really hot without waking with the desire to take a bazooka to all birdlife in a half-mile radius at 4 o'clock in the morning**. Because I find the sound of white noise and fans*** incredibly annoying, I bought a machine that does brown noise and nature sounds (not the dawn chorus). I can take my pick of rain or the sea or a brook etc. Or if I am feeling more industrial, plane, train, washing machine and so on to sounds babies are known to fall asleep to.

Nonetheless, there are some interesting choices. Some people probably like the crowd options even if I don't, and I can why you'd pick them when wanting to use it to dull your own conversation. Each category of sound has four choices, so four different balances of rain and thunder going rain, rain + light thunder, bit more rain and thunder, even heavier thunder. Or four different annoying fans. That all makes sense. Some things, however, sound a bit unlikely from the soothing background noise perspective. The composer of the 'ocean' sequence, for instance, appears to be a wild-life loving sailor who grew up near Flamborough Head, hence the following:

Ocean waves and lapping water --> add gurgling water --> also add seagulls, seals, buoy bells --> also add foghorns.

Foghorns?

Perhaps there are those dwellers of the coastal regions who like nothing more than to tuck themselves in and drift off accompanied by the soothing sound of a blast designed to be heard by ships twenty miles away. Personally I remember it more fondly in retrospect than when actually on childhood holiday. But what is the explanation for this one?

Whales --> Invasion of the whales....

*TL:DR review. It's great, does exactly what it says on the tin.

**I am a light sleeper anyway, but according to the internet the thing about noise that wakes you up is that the issue is change as much as volume. The person who can fall asleep to the TV may wake up if they are asleep and then the TV switches on at that same volume. Likewise it is easier for the brain to tune out noise distributed across the spectrum than a more narrow-pitched whine.

***Air conditioning is the bane of holidays in hot countries.

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nineveh_uk
I see that Amber Rudd has finally resigned. That can't help May's personal doomsday clock, since a major reason Rudd didn't go days ago was in order to provide a human shield for May, but she's probably all right for now. After all, the ultimately problem for the government isn't the policy, but that it's become public, and that has happened on Rudd's watch rather than May's.

Also, no-one else wants to be PM just now.

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nineveh_uk
Feel the Force and Do it Anyway

What Colour is Your Lightsaber?

Eat, Meditate, Repress all your Emotions

I'm a Wookie, You're a Wookie

How to Win Acolytes and Influence Billions

Who Moved My Droid?

The Seven Habits of Highly-Effective Jedi

Men are from Tatooine, Women are from Alderaan


*

Suggestions for more?

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nineveh_uk
22 April 2018 @ 09:34 pm
I appear to be writing Kylo Ren fic. Save me!

Last weekend I bought The Last Jedi on DVD. It's really a very expensive public education film about the danger of cults.

Much as I've always been a sucker for tormented baddies, I suspect it is being over-generous to the characterisation to be reminded of Claggart's line from the libretto of Billy Budd, 'the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness comprehends it and suffers.'* Nonetheless, it is very apt.

Question: in which work of popular culture have I recently been reminded of the line 'build a Heaven in Hell's despair', because it certainly wasn't Blake.** It will probably turn out to be Twilight or similar.

*I'd be surprised if the biblical original hadn't cropped up at some point in contemplation of the Force, though.

**Hell for me will be the pit of boiling oil while an amateur actor reads the lesser works of Blake and Wordsworth for all eternity.

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nineveh_uk
22 April 2018 @ 04:44 pm
I am trying and failing to purchase new walking shoes. The challenge in doing this is that my existing walking shoes, which have now seen better days, are the platonic ideal of what I want and everything else is Wrong in comparison. I would just buy the old ones again, but since I bought them in 2009 even the internet is failing to deliver. They have been replaced by the manufacturer with two slightly different pairs, neither of which is quite right.

Ironically, after ranting about both Marks and Spencer and women's trousers, I appear to have purchased three pairs of trousers from Marks and Spencer. I feel my point still holds, in that I was not able to purchase the socks I went in for.

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nineveh_uk
18 April 2018 @ 08:59 pm
I hope that if I am ever on a plane with one damaged engine and a window smashed in at 32,000 ft that my pilot sounds as frankly bored with a mundane day at work as Tammie Jo Shults does in this recording of yesterday's incident on Southwest Airlines while she is bringing the plane into land.

ATC: Is your airplane physically on fire?

Pilot: No, it's not on fire, but part of it's missing.

Isn't it a good thing that she persisted with her wish to become a fighter pilot after being turned down by the US Army (she joined the navy).

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nineveh_uk
15 April 2018 @ 05:11 pm
As I move various garments between drawers, wardrobe and suitcases the question arises as it does a minimum of twice yearly with the major changes of the seasons: do I have too many clothes or insufficient storage space?

The answer, I think, is neither. I do have a lot of clothes. Other people get by with far fewer. On the other hand, I only possess clothes that I wear* and I tend to keep them a long time because I look after them and my weight/size doesn't vary a great deal within the reasonable lifetime of a garment. The real issue is that I have a lot of specialist clothes that I couldn't do without if I want to do the things that I do, and these take up a lot of space and have relatively limited overlap with other things. So I possess:

* A work wardrobe. Summer T-shirts and some more casual summer trousers get worn outside work, but that's about it. I do not need black polyester trousers in the rest of my life, and I don't really want my non-work clothes to acquire work associations.

* Seasonal non-work clothes. The UK has seasons, I feel the cold and though my house maintains a decent temperature by UK standards it does not maintain a steady one all year. I need summer and winter clothes both in and out. This also means complete changes of most underwear, because winter is thermal vests and woolly socks, and summer isn't.

* Really specialist clothes:
(1) Skiing. I own quite a lot of stuff for cross-country skiing, plus insulated trousers for downhill. All of this takes up quite a bit of space. The waterproof jackets do get other wear, some of the other stuff gets occasional hiking or gym use.

(2) Hot holiday clothes. My shorts do not get a lot of use in the Uk. Nor do those strappy sandals. I own two linen tops suitable for countries where some sort of elbow-plus sleeve is required in 35C, I am not going to get rid of them and have to buy new ones next time I travel to a desert.

(3) Summer holiday hiking gear. There is a point at which it is worth it.

* Stuff that I like to much to get rid of and that might come in one day for fancy dress. The Rupert of Hentzau jacket that was a mistake. The Laura Ashley skirt that wasn't and I got a lot of wear out of, but that these days awaits a Harry Potter themed party. The Gap sundress from 1998 that is really now too small, but I bought because it had a sort of Jane Austen air. Garments I made and was particularly proud of.

* Things to wear to weddings.

Oh yes, add shoes and coats.

So yes, quite a lot of clothes all told.

Must get back to it, it is currently all covering my bed.

*With the exception of the velvet skirt bought from the Jigsaw outlet shop that I intend to wear just as soon as I can find (1) a top to go with it, (2) an appropriate venue.

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nineveh_uk
14 April 2018 @ 08:50 am
To not particularly great surprise, Winter Olympics all time great, Marit Bjørgen has decided that it is time to hang up the ski boots. Not unexpected given that she is 38 and post-Olympics is a natural time for retirement, but still it is a bit weird. I went on my first skiing holiday in 2003, came home and found that Channel 4 then broadcast a couple of hours of cross-country skiing in the middle of the night. I was not an instant fan, which honour went to Bente Skari* for the remaining few weeks of the season, and noticed Bjørgen only in the next season, when Skari had retired and Bjørgen broke through to the top. But she has been there every since, with occasional pitfalls and one season on maternity leave, and it is going to be really weird to watch next year and know she won't be back.

Thanks, Marit, it's been a lot of fun.

Marit Bjoergen crosses the finishing line in the lead

*I have often liked the people who are at the top. And why not, they're good!

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nineveh_uk
Jiffygate continues unresolved, perhaps forever. Chris Froome rides on, while inquiring minds ponder just how Team Sky intends to show he got those adverse findings though legit medical use. Pyeongchang is behind us, and the Commonwealth Games don't involve Russia, so the Sochi doping saga rattles on.

So kindly stepping in to prevent boredom over the summer come the Austrian police, who yesterday raided the offices of the International Biathlon Union, and today are working with the Norwegian authorities in an investigation involving the IBU president, 72 year old Anders Besseberg* and secretary general Nicole Resch. TL:DR, it's a corruption probe into the concealing of doping results of Russian competitors. The IBU appears to have been covering stuff up for years. Info in English here.

Alas, at this point I can't find the relevant article, but I seem to recall that two members of the CAS panel that decided that there was insufficient evidence to strip Sochi competitors of their medals, despite clear evidence of tampering were associated with, you guessed it, the IBU.

*He's been president since 1992, apparently, which tells you a lot about how this sort of thing happens in a number of sports. Maximum 10 year terms, for goodness sake!

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