Thursday, 20 March 2014

I don't fucking hate Fred Phelps

When Thatcher fucked off to the Great Beyond, I sort of celebrated, but with some discomfort. In bygone days, I'd have been happy to join in the party, but these days, I'm a little bit more circumspect. It feels wrong, somehow, to celebrate the passing of another Human Being, no matter how much you may have disagreed with them, or even have been adversely affected by their actions and decisions. Noel Edmonds is a shitbag of the first order, as far as I'm concerned, but I don't wish him dead. I just don't want him to be pushing us even further to the right than we are at the moment.

Anyway, news of Fred Phelps' imminent demise, and then death has been greeted with a sort of ironic joy in some quarters.

"We hate you because of your public hatred, and to show how much we dislike your methods, we will celebrate your death by hating you publicly"

Battle ye not with monsters I suppose.

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Russia

One of the more interesting audiobooks I've read recently is Cdr Chris Hadfield's "An Astronaut's guide to Life on Earth"

It's basically an autobiography, and tells of the process he went through to get into space, and goes into what life is like up there, and what happens when you come back down again. There are some aspects of it that I might be able to use as a teacher.

One interesting fact I found out from this though is that since the Space Shuttle was retired, the only way for Humans to get off the planet is to use Soyuz.

Presumably another reason, quite apart from the small matter of gas supplies, why the West has been reluctant to rattle it's sabre too menacingly at Putin.

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Sunday, 16 March 2014

How to probably save myself 2 quid.

Not going to actually enter, but here's my guess for next Saturday's Lotto numbers...

8, 15, 28, 31, 41, 46

Be gutted if they come in I suppose.

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Saturday, 15 March 2014

1 car, 4 people

One of my pupils had their driving test today.

As things worked out, I had a bit of a break between my early morning lessons and Sam's pre-test lesson. I used the opportunity to put fuel in the car, then to give it a good clean, inside and out.

I'd been in to the test centre earlier in the day, because the early morning was foggy, and I wanted to know if a decision had been made about afternoon tests. I was advised to call back later, and I did so, but by the time I did, the fog had cleared considerably, and there was really no question about the test going ahead.

So in due course, we turned up at the test centre, and the examiners (two - there was another guy taking his est at the same time) came out of the office, accompanied by the Supervising Examiner.

We went through the formalities and the examiner asked Sam if he wanted his instructor to accompany him on the test.

Yes, came the reply, at which point the S.E. announced that he too would be coming along.

Examiners too have to be examined from time to time.

And so it was that Sam took his test with...

An examiner sat next to him, guiding him around a test route and marking his driving
A supervising Examiner watching both him and the examiner to see how the examiner performed
Me, watching the whole thing with bemused interest. I had no part to play, and got a look through a grimy window at what the examiners have to go through.

Sam, by the way, was understandably made somewhat more nervous by the turn of events, but drove a really good drive, right from the off. I kind of knew he'd passed well before the examiner announced the result of the test, although you can never be sure.

I'm so glad though that I'd taken the time to give the car a good clean, inside and out.

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Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Oh my God!... It's full of Car!

See this picture?


It's the view out of my front door.

Towards the middle of the picture, peeping between the caravans, is a grey/silver car.

That car is a Ford Focus.

Here's how it looks when I take a photograph using my phone through the occular of my wonderful new hi tech telescope.

Actually it's not really all that hi tech. It's basically a tube with a slightly concave mirror in it, and a prism inside the tube at the focal point to direct the light to an eyepiece. The majority of the stuff is tripod, and the means to keep the scope still, and control precisely where it points.

Anyway, here's that car...



It arrived yesterday, and when I got home from work at about 930pm, I immediately assembled it. This took about 45 minutes, but I did seem to do everything right. Nothing is missing. Nothing still to be attached. I haven't broken anything.

Of course, I had to try it. I took it outside, but there was no moon, and the skies were quite cloudy. I tried to get it to see the brightest visible star, but really got nowhere. It seemed prudent to leave it, and try again when I had a better target.

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Saturday, 1 March 2014

The thing's hollow. it goes on forever... and... oh my God!... it's full of stars!

In a couple of weeks, Bren and I will be heading up to a youth hostel in Northumberland. Somewhere deep within the Kielder Forest, it's a designated Dark Skies Area.

Bren has always found the sight of a clear night sky awe inspiring, and I feel pretty much the same way myself.

Meanwhile I've bought a telescope from ebay. It's not a toy. It's a motorised, Newtonian reflector telescope. I think it can be hooked up to a DSLR.

A couple of years ago, I went to an astronomy thing in a local nature reserve, and looking at the Moon through a decent telescope was a wonderful experience. I'm hoping for clear skies up in Kielder.

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