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posted by [personal profile] emperor at 10:08am on 08/06/2017 under
It's polling day. If you can, do please go and vote (I'm expecting a parcel, and will vote once it's arrived). When the GE was called, I wrote thus on facebook:

So we're going to have a general election as a proxy for a referendum on support for the Conservatives' ultra-hard Brexit strategy. When the main opposition party has not been meaningfully opposing hard Brexit, and I live in a safe Conservative seat (whose MP has not meaningfully opposed hard Brexit, despite saying she opposes hard Brexit).

The result of which is that we'll now be told that the Conservatives have a mandate for their hard Brexit, and there will be no opportunity to try and vote down whatever deal we end up with. And there's nothing I can usefully do to change this outcome - South Cambs isn't going to go non-Tory.

Great. :'(


It's fair to say the campaign hasn't really altered my feelings. I have done some leafletting for the Lib Dems in South Cambs, and I'm hopeful we can at least make the seat look like a winnable marginal for the next GE. I've so far been resisting efforts by the Cambridge LD party to go and help in the campaign there (I may weaken and put an hour or two in after work); it's still frustrating to see so much effort expended on fighting between two anti-Brexit candidates.

It's notable how little Brexit has featured in the campaign, but I guarantee "support for our Brexit plans" (which have still to be described meaningfully) will be one of the things Theresa May says in her victory speech tomorrow, and I'm sure it's going to make getting a vote on the final basically impossible.

I predict that the BBC's exit poll will be very close to the right answer, and that the Torys will get a minority of votes cast but end up with a majority of around 50 (substantially bigger than before, but not a landslide).
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posted by [personal profile] emperor at 10:12pm on 18/05/2017 under
I'm rubbish at films. I read a review or see a trailer or somesuch, and think "Oh, I should go to see that". But then somehow I never quite get round to it, and then the film's no longer on. One such film was Calvary, which I imagine I saw reviewed in the Church Times or similar. This evening, idly browsing iplayer, I saw it was available (for another 11 days at the time of writing), so thought I'd watch it.

It's a very good film, but deals with a number of difficult themes (clerical abuse, guilt, suicide, sin, forgiveness). The main character, Father James, is a priest as real person rather than the stereotypes that priests in fiction often are, and that makes him believable as well as sympathetic. He's trying to live out his vocation and make sense of it in difficult circumstances. It's a very witty film, as well, quite sharply observed in places, with a number of lines that feel like they're commenting on the film itself.

90 minutes feels quite short for a film these days, and you might find yourself wishing there was more of this film. Well worth your time, but not easy watching.
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posted by [personal profile] emperor at 10:07am on 14/04/2017
For various uninteresting reasons, most of the adult choristers at GSM now vest in the vicar's study. This has quite a strong hinged-arm closer (like this one) - you have to pull quite hard to open it, and it slams the door somewhat.

Yesterday, just before the Maundy Thursday service, I opened the door, and the frame started to pull away from the wall, with a very alarming creaking sound! I let it close again, and Marion and I inspected the damage. Most pressingly, the way the frame was coming off, it was now fouling the arm of the door closure, which meant it took us a while to manage to get the door opened at all (and probably meant that the door would be hard to non-destructively open from the outside). So we propped the door open with a chair, and left several large notes saying "do not move door nor chair". Of course, we then spent some time trying to tell people what had happened, and still kept finding people about to shut the door...

The problem, it seems, is that the closer arm was screwed into the wooden frame, but not really into the plaster wall behind, and the wooden frame was only tacked in place. Perhaps surprising it's lasted this long! But still, not really the way to begin the Maundy Thursday service. Hopefully I'll break nothing else...
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posted by [personal profile] emperor at 06:17pm on 12/04/2017 under
Star ratings have been in the news recently - firms like Uber essentially considering anything less than 5/5 as a complaint. This reminded me of a time a B&B owner who I'd given 4/5 on Tripadvisor was hurt enough by said rating that they grumbled at me about it when I tried to make a repeat booking!

I'm quite a keen tripadvisor user - both in terms of using it when trying to find places to eat/stay and writing reviews (110 reviews written, which have garnered 51 "helpful" votes). But it's quite rare for me to give somewhere a 5/5 rating. Even taking into account the fact I mostly go places that are already quite well-rated, I've given only 20 5/5 ratings[0]. It seems to me that in the tripadvisor case (which is distinct from the Uber one, I think), a "anything less than 5/5 is a complaint" model would render the rating system much less useful.

Perhaps I am in a minority, but to me 4/5 is, as the hover-text says, "very good"...


[0] 1x1, 2x2, 21x3, 65x4, 20x5
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posted by [personal profile] emperor at 03:10pm on 26/03/2017 under ,
I've been thinking for a while that I'd like to make an android app (basically, a dealing sheet - a friend has an online one, but I'd like one that would work offline and that could do simple things like keeping the display on for long enough for me to deal ;). I'm aware that the default way to do this is writing java (a language I've mostly avoided so far, and that seems to love boilerplate), but I'm wondering if there are plausible alternatives (I spotted Kivy via WP which seems python-based - any good?) and/or if anyone has useful pointers. Vague desiderata:

1) I can use my regular text editor to write code
2) As Free as is possible given mobile OSs :-/
3) Plausibly portable to iOS should someone feel like it

I expect to end up with something to distribute via F-Droid.
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posted by [personal profile] emperor at 02:53pm on 20/12/2016 under , ,
People who like good coffee might like to know that the coffee stall on the market (link to previous post re opening hours) will be additionally open on Saturday from the new year.
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posted by [personal profile] emperor at 08:54pm on 02/10/2016 under ,
I'm (slowly, ineptly) trying to learn Finnish. My book is quite good at introducing grammar gradually, but this has left me wanting to have a single point of reference. Hence this post; which is probably both partial and full of mistakes. But it's a start!Read more... )
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posted by [personal profile] emperor at 10:28pm on 12/09/2016 under
Inevitably, I've heard nothing in response to my email to the two teams, despite a gentle poke on twitter. With a week to go before the deadline, I still need to work out who to vote for.

It's a rather unappealing choice; Jeremy Corbyn has made no sign of thinking he needs to work more effectively with the PLP and is now clearly quite happy for us to leave the EU. Owen Smith strikes me as politically thin (in the sense that I'm not sure he has strongly-held political beliefs), I have little confidence that he's as left-wing as he's trying to appear right now, he keeps being a sexist pig, I don't see him strongly opposing blaming immigrants for society's woes.

So, Corbyn who is generally closer to me politically or Smith who is clearly closer to me on what is my currently number 1 issue, the EU?

I think the most pressing issue at the moment politically is trying to ensure we remain in the EU; if we do actually leave it'll be very very hard to un-do. Which I think means I am reluctantly moving towards voting for Owen Smith. I'm definitely still persuadable either way, though, particularly if either candidate says or does something that addresses my concerns.
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posted by [personal profile] emperor at 06:18pm on 04/09/2016 under ,
I have a vote in the Labour leadership election (as a registered supporter). I'm still not sure who to vote for, so I figured I'd email the candidates to see if they wanted to address my concerns...text of letter ) I'll let you know if I hear anything...
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posted by [personal profile] emperor at 11:00am on 27/07/2016 under ,
I had to replace the light bracket on my bike. Again. That one replaced one that I bought in March 2014; this one has lasted less long, but it also hasn't quite failed - I noticed that the lamp was shining too low, and then saw a crack in the stand. The new one is a different design (tubular rather than pressed metal) so will hopefully last rather longer, but has the downside of pressing on the front mudguard; you can sort of see that in the picture below. While this isn't causing any problems now, I suspect it means I won't have enough clearance for the winter tyres any more :-/

new light bracket

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