Everything I’ve watched so far in 2017

Last year I wrote Everything I watched on TV in 2016.  It was interesting and quite embarassing.  So I’m doing it again.

Netflix and Amazon Instant video both let you see the list of shows you’ve watched (I’ve also watched about five or so DVDs, a few trips to movies, two things on the iPlayer and no live TV – but I’m leaving those out for this)

Most of them where fun, but seeing the whole list together seems kind of big.    On the bright side, it’s smaller than last year – three months of Netflix last year is about the same as nine months this year and 12 months of Amazon last year is roughtly half the size of 9 months of this year.  So that’s good.

Still. Much of it is still rubbish,  so I’m going to make the list public again in the hope that this will be a bit of a clean break.

The missing numbers on the Amazon list are because I took out the things my other half watched without me (this time I also took out the things that I got about five minutes into before deciding to do something else).

My Neflix January-November 2017

 

24/09/2017 Transformers Prime: Season 1: Darkness Rising: Part 1
24/09/2017 House of Cards: Season 5: Chapter 57
23/09/2017 House of Cards: Season 5: Chapter 56
22/09/2017 Drunken Master
21/09/2017 House of Cards: Season 5: Chapter 55
20/09/2017 House of Cards: Season 5: Chapter 54
14/09/2017 Iron Man: Armored Adventures: Season 1: Secrets and Lies
13/09/2017 Iron Man: Armored Adventures: Season 1: Iron, Forged in Fire: Part 2
13/09/2017 Iron Man: Armored Adventures: Season 1: Iron, Forged in Fire: Part 1
12/09/2017 Snitch
11/09/2017 The Nice Guys
10/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: Beach House
10/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: Stakeout
10/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: The Pontiac Bandit Returns
10/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: The Road Trip
10/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: USPIS
08/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: Lockdown
08/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: Jake and Sophia
08/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: The Mole
08/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: Halloween II
08/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: The Jimmy Jab Games
07/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: Chocolate Milk
07/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: Undercover
07/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Charges and Specs
07/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Unsolvable
07/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Fancy Brudgom
07/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Tactical Village
07/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: The Apartment
07/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Full Boyle
06/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: The Party
06/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Operation: Broken Feather
06/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: The Ebony Falcon
06/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: The Bet
06/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Pontiac Bandit
06/09/2017 Foxy Brown
06/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Christmas
05/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Thanksgiving
05/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Sal’s Pizza
05/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Old School
05/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: 48 Hours
05/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Halloween
05/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: The Vulture
05/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: M.E. Time
05/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: The Slump
05/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: The Tagger
05/09/2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1: Pilot
05/09/2017 Jack Reacher
03/09/2017 Creed
31/08/2017 Marvel’s Daredevil: Season 1: World On Fire
12/08/2017 Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow: Series 1: Edinburgh
11/08/2017 Skiptrace
15/07/2017 Mechanic: Resurrection
15/07/2017 Sherlock: Series 3: The Abominable Bride
21/06/2017 House of Cards: Season 5: Chapter 53
09/06/2017 Lucid Dream
09/06/2017 Headshot
09/06/2017 Limitless
10/05/2017 Furious 7
13/04/2017 Marvel’s Daredevil: Season 1: In the Blood
29/03/2017 Warrior
29/03/2017 The Mechanic
27/03/2017 Shrek 2
27/03/2017 LEGO: City
26/03/2017 Avengers: Age of Ultron
24/03/2017 Gantz:O
24/03/2017 Gotham: Season 1: Selina Kyle
23/03/2017 Marvel’s Daredevil: Season 1: Rabbit in a Snowstorm
23/03/2017 Marvel’s Iron Fist: Season 1: Dragon Plays with Fire
21/03/2017 Marvel’s Iron Fist: Season 1: Lead Horse Back to Stable
21/03/2017 Marvel’s Iron Fist: Season 1: Bar the Big Boss
20/03/2017 Marvel’s Iron Fist: Season 1: Black Tiger Steals Heart
16/03/2017 Fight Club
16/03/2017 Marvel’s Daredevil: Season 1: Cut Man
14/03/2017 Marvel’s Daredevil: Season 1: Into the Ring
13/03/2017 Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru
05/03/2017 Layer Cake
16/02/2017 Iron Man 3
09/02/2017 Gotham: Season 2: By Fire

 

My Amazon 2017 Jan-November

1 Wonder Woman
2 Jackie Chan’s First Strike
9 John Wick Chapter 2
10 Sherlock Holmes
11 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Theatrical)
13 Robin Hood Prince of Thieves
15 CLUE
16 Clear and Present Danger
18 RocknRolla
19 Kiss The Girls
21 CLUELESS
22 Arrow: Season 4
23 Arrow Season 3
24 Justice League Season 1
25 Logan
27 The Girl on The Train
31 Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Season 4
32 Mad Max: Fury Road
33 Eraser
34 The LEGO Batman Movie
35 John Wick
37 What If. . .
38 Limitless
42 Justice League Season 2
44 Batman: The Animated Series: Volume 1
49 Doctor Strange (Theatrical Version)
50 Beware the Batman Season 1
52 Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Season 3
54 Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Season 2
60 Batman Beyond – Return of the Joker

How I got my Apple Watch to give me sleep data going back to the first day I bought it.

The apple watch has some sleep tracking apps, but they all have the major flaw that you have to switch them on when you go to bed and switch them off when you wake up.

For me, this makes them unfit for purpose – it’s those days when I am too tired to remember to flick the switch that are the ones that really matter to me.  I want something totally automatic.

So that’s the problem.  Now let me show you my a week of my Google Calendar from a few months ago.

 

The green events are when I’m asleep, the purple ones are when I’m cycling, and the pink ones are when I’m using public transport.

That week I was working in Bounds Green on a very tiring project for whitewaterwriters.com. It was so tiring that on one evening I was abed by 8pm.  I was also building up to cycle all that way – as you can see I started by breaking the journey down, then tried to bite off more than I could chew on Thursday and gratefully got the train all the way there on Friday.

Here’s the cool thing – I didn’t collect any of that data on purpose.  I wasn’t tracking my sleep, or my movement, or anything else at this sort of detail. All of those events where automatically generated for me, after the fact.

The cycling appears on the calendar via the wonderful StravaICAL, and the other transport information comes in via some other code I wrote that imports my Oyster records. I’m going to use this post to tell you about how I managed to us my Apple Watch to give me sleep data going back more than a year to the first day  bought the watch.  This post is going to talk about how I did it, how you can do it, and what I learned from the process.

How I got the old information

Like almost everybody I charge my watch overnight. The last thing I do at night is put it on charge, and the first thing I do in the morning is put it on my wrist.

I’d also been wondering about sleep tracking for a while.

I tried to export the ‘time under charge’  log files from the watch  then I’d have a pretty good sleep tracker… Or at least ‘bed’ tracker, which is most of what I want.

Unfortunately I couldn’t get access to that.

I tried to see if there was any way I could regularly export the ‘lock’ and ‘unlock’ events from the watch, because that would be a good proxy for bed as well.

No luck there either.

However, I did discover something I could export.  My heart rate data.  Every ten minutes the watch takes a measurement of my heartrate. If it’s not on my wrist, then there is no measurement.

I used the app QS Access (app store link) to give me the file.  The process is: open app, press the ‘i’ by ‘heart rate’, choose ‘tabulate all samples’ and export the file to Dropbox.   It saved as ‘Heart rate.csv’.

Turns out that the Heart-rate data gives you pretty much everything you need.  Once I wrote the code,  which you can see here (run with ‘./watson.py sleep’, I was able to pull out data like this:

   25/04/17 22:42 to 11:09 (12:27)

    26/04/17 22:10 to 08:57 (10:47)

    27/04/17 22:56 to 07:34 (8:38)

    28/04/17 23:44 to 08:36 (8:52)

    29/04/17 22:37 to 09:13 (10:36)

    30/04/17 23:20 to 09:07 (9:47)

    02/05/17 00:47 to 08:05 (7:18)

    02/05/17 22:31 to 09:41 (11:10)

    03/05/17 23:56 to 08:00 (8:04)

    04/05/17 22:33 to 08:55 (10:22)

1st of May was a real late night – exactly the sort were I would normally have failed to switch on a sleep tracking app.

A little bit more code made it easy to automatically have this appear on my Google Calendar as you’ve seen above (I produce an ICS file and send it to a server, you could simply open it periodically in iCal)

What I’ve learned

The first thing I did when I got that lovely data was check that it was representative.  There were a few days where I’d forgotten my charger on a trip or similar that needed to be taken out. But it was mostly in good repair.

I wanted to check that the old data was fairly accurate so I did two things.

  • First, I’d attempted to use a different app for sleep tracking a few months ago (I only lasted a week) – I dug out that data and compared it to the watch data – it was the same to within a couple of minutes.
  • Secondly, I wore the watch normally for the next watch (making no intentional changes to my sleep habits), but with some awareness that it was now tracking me.  After that month I compared the ‘aware’ data with the ‘unaware data’. The averages and the standard deviations of sleep time, wake time, and length of sleep were pretty much the same so

I was happy to conclude that:

  • The data I have for the last year of my sleep is pretty accurate
  • I make NO unconscious changes to my sleep patterns now I know I’m being monitored.

There data itself was fascinating  – and I’ve made some lifestyle changes to see if I can improve matters – I’ll write another post in future looking at if they work or not.  For now – people who charge their watch like I do now have a way of getting to their data.

One day you die falling

“One day you die falling” turns out to be a unique phase on google.  I’ve misquoted it from the original which was:

“I wonder if it’s like this for mountain climbers, he thought. You climb bigger and bigger mountains and you know that one day one of them is going to be just that bit too steep. But you go on doing it, because it’s so-o good when you breathe the air up there. And you know you’ll die falling.”

There’s a thing I’m trying to articulate, which is:

Me has job to do

Life puts obstacles in the way

Me: I’ll never do this

Me: overcomes obstacles, does job

(later)
Me: has same job to do again

Life bigger obstacles, less time

Me: Never going to happen

Me overcomes obstacles, does job

(later still)

Me has same job to do

Life: lions, tigers, bears, complete lack of resources

Me: Definitely never happening now, NO chance

Me: well, I did say that last time as well

Life stuff is now on fire

Me: FFS

 

 

Simplewriter

I’m increasingly using SimpleWriter to write articles, documents and all sorts of other things.  SimpleWriter was made by XKCD – it gives you a window to write in and any word that is outside the ‘ten hundred’ most common words turns red.

There are three reasons this helps me:

  • It gives me a ‘game’ to play while I’m making something ready for other people to read.
  • It makes my writing clear and easy to access.
  • It helps me fight my ‘urge to seem more clever than you’.

I wanted to show you how different this approach was by giving you the before and after of the last thing I wrote here.  I can see on one side that there is lots of ‘fluff’ and lots of things that are only to show off in language. Everything on the other side looks much clearer.

 

Before After
“Even when Chivalry was not angry, being Skilled by him was like being trampled by a horse. Or ducked in a fast-flowing river, more like. He’d get in a hurry, and barge into you and dump his information and flee.” “Even when Chivalry was not angry, being Skilled by him was like being trampled by a horse. Or ducked in a fast-flowing river, more like. He’d get in a hurry, and barge into you and dump his information and flee.”
Robin Hobb, Assassin’s Apprentice Robin Hobb, Assassin’s Apprentice
I worry that I can be quite a demanding conversationalist, particularly with people I feel are on the same wavelength. I have a real need to be challenged by the subject, either directly (recently, I spent the weekend with a medic who jumps out of helicopters for a living and it was a fascinating thing to learn about) or at meta-level (when you are working you a silly thought experiment with like-minded friends for the joy of playing with ideas). If there is someone I want to help I naturally want to help by giving information. I worry that I can be quite a hard person to talk to. I want to cut to the center of what we are talking about, so I ask questions that are hard to answer, attack other people’s points, and, when I’m talking – I talk quickly and for a long time to try and drive my point home.
Of course, the problem is this: if I’m interested in you, it can feel like a interrogation; if I want to help, it can feel like a brutal lecture. Spending time in Computer Science academia hasn’t helped; interrogation of the assumptions and brutal laying down of the facts is a target rather than a disadvantage. The problem is it can feel like a job interview if I’m interested in you, and if I want to help, it can feel like a lecture. I got away with this for a long time working in a university – It’s far too normal there.
Well, maybe he thought that your speeches were obscurantist policy tracts Well, maybe he thought that your speeches were obscurantist policy tracts
lost in a cul-de-sac of their own internal self-righteousness and groaning from the lost in a cul-de-sac of their own internal self-righteousness and groaning from the
weight of statistics. I’m just speculating. I can’t say for sure. weight of statistics. I’m just speculating. I can’t say for sure.
Will Bailey, West Wing “Arctic Radar” Will Bailey, West Wing “Arctic Radar”
I feel quite bad about having (relatively unintentionally) ridden roughshod over people who might occasionally like to get a few sentences of their own in amongst my ranting. I feel quite bad about having shouted down people who might like to get a few words of their own in between my yelling. I want to turn this ‘attacking’ off. Maybe use it sometimes, but as a choice, rather than ‘normal’.
I’d like to be able to switch this rather dominant approach off. I’d like to still be able to communicate this way, but certainly have it as an option rather than a default setting.
I’d like to be consciously taking less.
So this year one of my goals was to “swallow 100 stories in 2015”, it’s a very simple goal, all I had to do was, when an anacote occurred to me just keep quiet. So last year one of my goals was to “swallow 100 stories in 2015”. All I had to do was keep quiet when there was a chance to tell a story, or a ‘useful’ fact. 100 times.
This was really hard. Really hard. By May I’d managed to avoid telling about 20 stories. It’s been good thing to do in all of those cases, but it’s really really hard. This was really hard. Really hard. By May I’d managed to avoid telling about 20 stories. It’s been good thing to do in all of those cases, but it’s really really hard.
It’s also unclear if it’s more or less mindful. Either you can be about the topic of conversation or the conversation; either you are showing an awareness of the connection between you as people, or you are totally in the moment. This goal turned out to be ‘learn an completely new way of having a conversation’. A way that was took more notice of:
I think I’m mostly in-the-moment: what’s important to me is to think that a conversation is two or more people exploring an idea together. the topic; the other person; the time we had left to talk;what other things we were interested in talking about; how much detail we could go into
(I’d admit that sometimes my mind is on something else entirely, but that’s another thing).
So actually, what this goal turned out to be, was learning an entirely new way of having a conversation – being mindful of both the topic and the other person, of the amount of time we had left to chat and of how deeply we wanted to stretch out ideas. For someone who is used to the idea of conversation as ‘a tool to get the most information both out of me and into the other person and out of the other person and into me’ this is actually something of a departure. My old way was ‘get the most information out of me and into you and out of your and into me’, so this was different.
In fact, writing this four months in, I would now state the goal as “have a more conscious awareness of conversation and demonstrate that awareness by consciously passing up the chance to relay a story.”
I left the draft here and came back to it in November.
It’s now November, and I’ve just about got though my 100 stories untold. Some are refraining from boasting (Not telling a housemate about a BBC interview I had to turn down) some are avoiding an attack (I bit my tongue more than once with people who I felt deserved to be given a bit of a reality check) some are just me letting another person talk more. It’s been a really positive change. I’ve got a long way to go yet. But it’s nice to be taking steps on the road. I did get thought my 100 stories. Some where stopping myself from boasting, some where avoiding an attack, and some where leaving space in the conversation for the other person to break. It was a really good change. I’ve got a long way to go yet and I’m looking forward to taking more steps on the road.

100 stories untold.

“Even when Chivalry was not angry, being Skilled by him was like being trampled by a horse. Or ducked in a fast-flowing river, more like. He’d get in a hurry, and barge into you and dump his information and flee.”
Robin Hobb, Assassin’s Apprentice

I think I can be a hard person to talk to.  I try to cut to the centre of what we are talking about, so I ask questions that are hard to answer, attack other people’s points, and when I’m talking I talk quickly and for a long time to try and drive my point home.

The problem is it can feel like a job interview if I’m interested in you, and if I want to help, it can feel like a lecture.  I got away with this for a long time working in a university – It’s far too normal there.

Well, maybe he thought that your speeches were obscurantist policy tracts
lost in a cul-de-sac of their own internal self-righteousness and groaning from the
weight of statistics. I’m just speculating. I can’t say for sure.
Will Bailey, West Wing “Arctic Radar”

I feel quite bad about having shouted down people who might like to get a few words of their own in between my yelling.  I want to turn this ‘attacking’ off. Maybe use it sometimes, but as a choice, rather than ‘normal’.

So last year one of my goals was to “swallow 100 stories in 2015”.  All I had to do was keep quiet when there was a chance to tell a story, or a ‘useful’ fact.   100 times.

This was really hard. Really hard. By May I’d managed to avoid telling about 20 stories. It’s been good thing to do in all of those cases, but it’s really really hard.

This goal turned out to be ‘learn an completely new way of having a conversation’.  A way that was took more notice of:

  • the topic;
  • the other person
  • the time we had left to talk
  • what other things we were interested in talking about

My old way was ‘get the most information out of me and into you and out of your and into me’, so this was different.

I did get thought my 100 stories in the year.  Some where stopping myself from boasting, some where avoiding an attack, and some where leaving space in the conversation for the other person to direct.   It was a  good change.  I’ve got a long way to go yet and I’m looking forward to taking more steps on the road.

Making your priority list actually work.

After a year of a bad system, I’ve finally worked out how to use priorities on my ‘to do’ list.   I’ll explain what I did in this post, I hope it helps people.

Note – I wrote this post about two months ago, I wanted to keep it quiet so that I could check that everything was still working months later.

About a year ago, I followed the work of people like Randy Paush and started marking things on my ‘to do’ list with how important they were.

These where the markings I used.

  • 0 – not known, might be very very important, must sort
  • 1 – “Send Funding proposal” so anything to do with money and making sure I had a roof over my head.
  • 2 – “Fix Gym Membership” Things to do with my 2016 New Year’s resolutions.
  • 3 – “Review Jane’s Proposal”  tasks that are part of larger projects
  • 4 – “Get birthday present for Steve” tasks that are social in nature – friends and family.
  • 5 – “clean house” all the ‘normal’ things we need to do as humans
  • 6 – “See if you can make a cup holder from wood”  ‘play’ things.

I’ve been mostly ignoring them.  They have an effect (the fear chart counts 1’s as having six times more of an affect on the chart than 6s) But I really don’t have an urge to work on the low numbers first, which is the whole point.

The reason was that they were wrong.  Kind of. You see, those numbers were exactly for someone focused on building a business, or making themselves better. But it turns out those aren’t the things I care about. I care about other things, both for myself, and for other people.

So something that is a lot more important to me than success is integrity.  So I wrote out the markings again with that in mind.  Here’s what I ended up with:

  • 0 – not known, might be very very important, must sort
  • 1 – “Send James the new slides they need” – actions that I have committed to and that a named person needs before they can do something.
  • 2 – “Lookup Best hotel in Paris” –  Like 1, but these are actions that belong to projects that I have committed to and that a named person needs. (in this example I might have committed to “Organise holiday with girlfriend” but I can take my girlfriend to paris and stay in the second best hotel)
  • 3 – “Go running”: things I have said I will do (to at least one person or in public), but only I care about.
  • 4 – “Pack running bag” Like 3, but part of a project.
  • 5 – “Make doctors appointment” actions I have promised myself, or I feel make me the person I like being
  • 6 – “See if you can make a cup holder from wood”  ‘play’ things.

 

The big sign I got that this was going to work was this: as soon as I changed the markings on my old ‘to do’ list, I got a big jolt of guilt from looking at all of the 1’s together.  So guilty that I had to get up and walk around the room – it was as if I had found all the things on my list that were causing me some worry and concentrated them together.After I pulled together the willpower to tackle them, I felt a lot better, and I think that’s probably a sign that the new list is a bit more “aligned with my values”

So the call to action is this – mark your ‘to do’ list with the things that matter to you as you are, not who you think you are, or who you want to be.

That week – 9th Jan 2017

A screenshot of my calendar. Filling out this alt text I'm thinking of ways of making a text based one... I'll have a proper think...

I want to take more time to check in on myself and see how I’m spending my time.  This was going to be a “What have I been up to this week” post but I found I actually had little memory of what happened.   The calendar is pretty useful – most of it (everything that isn’t blue) is added automatically, so it can give a really good idea of what I actually did rather than what I think I did.

 

First cool thing was that I was up in Preston for a few days helping some university students writer this:

 

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 09.50.19

 

Which was very cool and exciting. Looked like this a lot:

Screen Shot 2017-01-19 at 15.22.54

While I was up there I did some nice bouldering  up at West View in Preston, which was nice. Far too much time trying to work out a V6 bouldering problem on a moulded wall until it occurred to me that it was on a moulded wall.  Clearly I’ve spent too much time climbing indoors on wood.

Apart from that I’ve done a lot of time coding on The Open Voice Factory – which should be worth a couple of blog posts of their own in the near future.

Went out to support my girlfriend running on the Sunday as well, very proud of her.

Thoughts I had while applying for the Digital Agenda Awards.

I’ve just spent an hour entering the Digital Agenda Awards.

Entering for prizes is a strange thing to do as a nonprofit. You have to shake off the feeling that you should be doing something more important. This gets worse when you notice that the questions you are filling out are very like the questions in the application for money that you should be working on.

One reason I’m entering is for the ego – I really think that the projects I’ve put forward (The Open Voice Factory and White Water Writers) are very strong and deserve to win. More to the point, it would be good if more people knew about them.

The other thing that’s a bit strange about Prizes is that it feels wrong to nominate yourself. The Digital Agenda awards try and have this both ways: you out your contact information, and then fill out a different set of contact information for the person you are nominating, which is also you. This means you are feeling like a fake when you reach the questions, which are:

  • The idea – what is your core proposition?
  • Product or service – describe the digital innovation that you offer
  • Team – tell us about the people working on this
  • Ability to scale – explain how you plan to grow your take-up and reach
  • Impact – explain how your product or service makes a positive social and/or economic change and what evidence you have to support this

… and would be very hard to fill out if I was nominating someone else.

I feel like that the best way of thinking about entering for prizes as a nonprofit is that they are a ‘proposal training’. They are short tests to check you are thinking strategically about what you want to do and how you want to do it. If you start one and haven’t got anything to write, that might be a sign you have to do some long-term thinking…

Stress is fear

“Stress is the achiever word for fear”. I heard this on the Tim Ferris podcast while driving and it really hit home for me.  I’ve set my computer so I now can’t, even write the word – if I try and write “fear” I write “fear” instead (See?).

The reason it hit so hard was because it makes it clear that so often when we say “I’m stressed” (I’ve turned off text-replace for the moment) we are using it as a status thing.  We’d never say “I’m scared” in the same situation – even if it’s true. We think we are coming over as “I have so much depending on me (I am important)” rather than “I have promised things (some to myself) and I’m scared I won’t deliver)

We should start. We should start calling fear fear, the world will be better for it.

DIY charging station

A quick note on how I made a charging station out of a drying rack.

Like everybody, I have many many things that want to be charged. I also have a mess of many spare cables.

I’d had enough of this and had an idea.   I bought a multi-usb charger from Amazon (this one)  and a simple, wooden drying rack(this one).

I built the rack,  and popped the things I wanted to charge in with cables.

 

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 11.15.20
I worked out the length the cables should be and taped each (all spares) to the bottom of the rack (The rack also needed reinforcement, but yours might not).

 

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 11.15.39
I was left with lots of cables of different sizes.

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 11.15.49

 
I used the ‘toilet roll trick’ to make the cables the same length.

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 11.16.23

I then added the adapter….Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 11.15.49

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 11.16.34

and slid the new station into the space for it.  Volia. Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 11.16.54

How I stopped being a Grammar Nazi

It’s been a little over three months since I stopped being an arse about semantics.

I didn’t think I was at the time, I thought I was just helping make sure everyone was understood. If people are talking about things in the correct way then communication is easier and the world gets better… right?  I’ve even written angry things about it.

 

Turns out I was being an arse.  And the way I found out was thought a web comic.  This one:
Full, detailed and wonderful description of this complex image is available at https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/1735:_Fashion_Police_and_Grammar_Police
…and it stopped me stone dead at “Vindictive about things that are often uncomfortably transparent proxies for race or social class”.

I’m sensitive about class issues, and very aware that I should be doing more on issues of race and it was an awful jolt to see it be put that way.    Instantly it was clear that I had become something that I hate, and that the hate was far stronger than any reason I had to keep up the behaviour.

I’ve not ‘corrected’ anyone’s grammar since September, and I’m working hard to avoid anything of the “I think you mean…” variety. I’m trying to check my understanding obviously, I’m trying to say things like “Can I check I understood? ” when there’s doubt, and to shut the hell up when there isn’t any doubt, but old habits die hard.

 

Anyway, this is a public declaration that I’m stopping.  If you catch me doing it, feel free to tell me I’m a liar as well as an arse.

 

Everything I watched on TV in 2016

Netflix and Amazon Instant video both let you see the list of shows you’ve watched (I’ve also watched about two dozen or so DVDs, six trips to movies, two things on the iPlayer and no live TV – but I’m leaving those out for this)

Most of them where fun, but seeing the whole list together seems kind of big. It starts to look like a lot of time watching TV and not much with friends…. I’m making my 2016 TV public (via copy and paste) for two reasons:

  • It will push me to make my 2017 TV list will look less like a list of the friends I didn’t hang out with.
  • It will mean my friends who want to talk to me about TV at least have a starting point.

The missing numbers on the Amazon list are because I took out the things my other half watched without me.

My Netflix in 2016

…. (I only got an account late in the year)

26/12/2016 Peppa Pig: Season 2: “Bubbles / Emily Elephant / Polly’s Holiday / Teddy’s Day Out”
21/12/2016 Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
15/12/2016 Power: Season 1: “Whoever He Is”
12/12/2016 Transformers: Age of Extinction
12/12/2016 Mission: Impossible
12/12/2016 Limitless
12/12/2016 House of Cards: Season 4: “Chapter 52”
11/12/2016 House of Cards: Season 4: “Chapter 51”
11/12/2016 House of Cards: Season 4: “Chapter 50”
10/12/2016 House of Cards: Season 4: “Chapter 49”
10/12/2016 House of Cards: Season 4: “Chapter 48”
10/12/2016 House of Cards: Season 4: “Chapter 47”
10/12/2016 House of Cards: Season 4: “Chapter 46”
10/12/2016 House of Cards: Season 4: “Chapter 45”
09/12/2016 House of Cards: Season 4: “Chapter 44”
09/12/2016 House of Cards: Season 4: “Chapter 43”
09/12/2016 House of Cards: Season 4: “Chapter 42”
09/12/2016 House of Cards: Season 4: “Chapter 41”
09/12/2016 Skiptrace
08/12/2016 Iron Man: Rise of Technovore
03/12/2016 House of Cards: Season 4: “Chapter 40”
28/11/2016 Harlock: Space Pirate
26/10/2016 Power: Season 1: “Not Exactly How We Planned”
08/10/2016 Archer: Season 2: “Jeu Monégasque”
08/10/2016 Archer: Season 2: “White Nights”
08/10/2016 Marvel’s Luke Cage: Season 1: “You Know My Steez”
08/10/2016 Marvel’s Luke Cage: Season 1: “Soliloquy of Chaos”
08/10/2016 Marvel’s Luke Cage: Season 1: “Now You’re Mine”
07/10/2016 Marvel’s Luke Cage: Season 1: “Take It Personal”
07/10/2016 Marvel’s Luke Cage: Season 1: “DWYCK”
07/10/2016 Marvel’s Luke Cage: Season 1: “Blowin’ Up the Spot”
07/10/2016 Archer: Season 2: “Swiss Miss”
07/10/2016 Archer: Season 1: “Dial M for Mother”
07/10/2016 Archer: Season 1: “Job Offer”
07/10/2016 Archer: Season 1: “The Rock”
07/10/2016 Archer: Season 1: “Skytanic”
06/10/2016 Archer: Season 1: “Skorpio”
06/10/2016 Archer: Season 1: “Honeypot”
06/10/2016 Archer: Season 1: “Killing Utne”
06/10/2016 Archer: Season 1: “Diversity Hire”
06/10/2016 Marvel’s Luke Cage: Season 1: “Manifest”
06/10/2016 Ghost in the Shell
06/10/2016 Marvel’s Luke Cage: Season 1: “Suckas Need Bodyguards”
06/10/2016 Marvel’s Luke Cage: Season 1: “Just to Get a Rep”
05/10/2016 Marvel’s Luke Cage: Season 1: “Step in the Arena”
04/10/2016 Star Trek Into Darkness
04/10/2016 Marvel’s Luke Cage: Season 1: “Who’s Gonna Take the Weight?”
02/10/2016 Marvel’s Luke Cage: Season 1: “Code of the Streets”
02/10/2016 Marvel’s Luke Cage: Season 1: “Moment of Truth”
29/09/2016 Sicario

 

My Amazon Instant Video in 2016

1 The 100: Season 3
2 Frozen
3 The King’s Speech
4 Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
5 New Year’s Eve (2011)
6 Parks and Recreation, Season 7
7 300: Rise of an Empire
8 Star Trek Beyond
9 Parks and Recreation, Season 6
10 The DUFF
11 Thomas and Friends – Season 1
12 Teletubbies (Brand New Series) – Season 1
13 The LEGO Movie
14 Batman – Mask of the Phantasm
15 Limitless, Season 1
16 Startup – Season 1
17 Three Kings
18 Parks and Recreation Season 5
19 Room
20 I Am Legend
21 The Corruptor
22 Parks and Recreation Season 4
23 Safe House
24 Ballers: Season 1
25 Dollhouse – Season 1
26 Arrow Season 3
27 Above the Law
28 Ong Bak 3
29 Parks and Recreation – Season 1
30 Gone with the Wind
31 Mr. Robot – Season 1
32 Mr. Robot – Season 2
33 Black Sails, Season 3
34 Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow
35 The Dark Knight Rises
36 The Last Boy Scout
37 Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
38 Forever Young
39 Black Sails: Season 1
40 Black Sails, Season 2
41 The Imitation Game
42 Suite Française
43 Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3
44 The Walking Dead Season 5
45 Batman and Mr Freeze – SubZero
46 Fear the Walking Dead Season 1
47 Rush Hour
48 Preacher – Season 1
49 The Man in the High Castle – Season 1
50 Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2
51 Generation Iron
52 DCU: Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
53 Man Up
54 Pleasantville
55 Frozen [Plus Bonus Features]
56 Frozen [Plus Bonus Features]
57 Maison Close Season 1 (English Subtitled)
58 Mad Men – Season 1
59 Pacific Rim
60 Brave
61 Superman – Unbound
62 The Informant!
63 Bridesmaids
64 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2
65 Nashville Season 2
66 The Great Gatsby
67 The Monuments Men
68 The Monuments Men
69 National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1
70 National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1
71 Crazy
72 Your Wild Life’s Gonna Get You Down
73 We’ve Got Things To Do
74 Too Far Gone
75 Nashville Season 1
76 Why Don’t You Love Me
77 Beware the Batman Season 1
78 Downton Abbey | Season 1
79 Private Benjamin
80 Parks and Recreation Season 3
81 Parks and Recreation – Season 2
82 Where He Leads Me
83 The Ghost
84 Toy Story
85 Hustle – Episode 3
86 Hustle – Episode 3
87 Poldark Series 1
88 Sherlock Season 2
89 Sherlock Season 1
90 The Great Game
91 Blow
92 Batman – Mystery of the Batwoman