2014 — 26 January: Sunday

NPR's "Humankind" programme is discussing (with Daniel Goleman) his book "Focus: the hidden driver of excellence". So far, it's been covering mindfulness, sustained focus, meta-awareness, and cognitive control1 generally as it seems — doubtless to the horror of HR wonks everywhere — that most people spend about 50% of their time away (as it were) with the fairies. As usual in these more enlightened times, "digital" distractions are attracting a lot of the blame. Indeed, while listening, and browsing the NPR website (in an unsuccessful hunt for more details) I was all too easily blown off course by this, not to mention amused by this:

Poor old XP

Which, obviously, elicits illicit thoughts... but putting aside the "self help" aspects (including, to my mild horror, meditation, "spiritual practices", and prayer — which certainly helped me lose focus) it reminds me somewhat of Abraham Maslow's self-actualisation, and somewhat of John Cleese and Antony Jay back in the days of "analogue" and their Video Arts film Meetings Bloody Meetings — which, happily, is a state now long behind me.

If I want...

... my usual tasty mix of plums and cranberries atop my breakfast cereal it's time to fire up the microwave and get stewing.


... shoot me now!

Effects of Age

Or, at least...

... before the next general election:

Which begs the question: who is there for the nasty to vote for? If the Tories aren't the nasty party any more, and now Ukip isn't either; and if Labour is no longer the party of benefit cheats and power-hungry trade unions, but is dedicated to helping ordinary working families, whom the Tories are also dedicated to helping rather than fat-cat bankers and landed aristocrats; and if Ukip is no friend of racists, homophobes, sexists and Christian fundamentalists but welcomes women, students and Syrians; and everyone had forgotten the BNP even existed till Nick Griffin went bankrupt to give us a New Year laugh; then who will electorally benefit from the nasty demographic?

David Mitchell in Observer

I blame Brian (and Len)

Despite Brian's oft-expressed enthusiasm in the last couple of years I had steadfastly avoided all manifestations of so-called "Nordic Noir". Not any more. I'm currently hooked on Season #1 of "The Bridge", and have downloaded all available episodes of Season #2 (which is currently being shown on BBC4) ready for when I hit the buffers at the end of Season #1. I can't help but notice the gloomy climate so frequently on display, and the central relationship (as I already noted) is like a dark mirror image of that in the American show "Bones". But the occasional flashes of humour, while very dark, are helping.

He's also recommended (and, indeed, lent me Season #1 of) "Borgen" on the promise that it's better than "West Wing", while Len has got in on the act, lending me "Spiral" (a French police procedural) on the grounds (I suppose) that French bent coppers are more entertaining than their counterparts in other societies. We shall see. Or not. When there's time. Given the lousy weather perhaps I should simply fire up the plasma screen and huddle in front of it?

Given the advanced state...

... of NZ Time relative to the Benighted Kingdom's, I can now wish Big Bro a happy birthday downunder (though he's probably asleep at the moment).

After seven months...

... I've just peeked at the reported "health" of my SSD system drive:

State of my SSD

So far, so good! And I can't now imagine reverting to spinning rust technology.

While feeling vaguely Spring-cleany, I also disconnected and opened up BlackBeast, relocating the SSD on a previously-unused SATA power cable, and popping it neatly well out of sight on the 'dark' (motherboard) side of the case (with the goal of improving air-flow around the two 3TB hard drives). Finally, I removed and mini-Dysoned the power supply that lives on the floor of the case, partly to assure myself that I can. You never know; perhaps a new case might hove into sight at some point in the near future. Though certainly not before the next little dollop of pension shows up.

As twilight approaches, the wind and the rain are once again being, erm, windy and rainy. The weather can be thoroughly unpleasant at this time of year.

Musing further...

... on "Nordic Noir", it occurred to me that my earliest half-hearted venture into the genre was via Christopher Nolan's 2002 remake of the 1997 Norwegian thriller "Insomnia". I'm not quite sure if that counts :-)

It seems...

... there are still (as Doonesbury2 pointed out in his original Yale cartoons)...

College roommates

... "a few bugs in the system". Of course, Trudeau can't have been talking about the godawful, execrable, damnable piece of sh1t that is the brain-dead hdcp protocol. Which has just frozen my Oppo Blu-ray player, once again, as I switch it from its back hdmi input to its basic disc-playing function.



1  I've spent a lifetime waiting for that to kick in :-)
2  Over 43 years ago.