#100DaysToOffload – Day 34

Not much to say today. My home broadband connection has been up and down like a yo-yo and a group chat, made up of usually a close-knit group of friends, has descended into all-out war. Lots of frayed tempers and lack of patience due to lockdown and crap working work I think. Not even over anything worth mentioning.

Oh well. Early tomorrow morning I'm off out for a medium to long bike ride with a couple of buddies so let's hope the endorphins do the trick. When I say early this will be the earliest I've set my alarm for since the end of March!

#100DaysToOffload – Day 33

Since lockdown started and I've been working from home I've probably watched less TV than I would normally. Mrs Luke and I did binge watch Giri/Haji at way back at the start of April (which feels like a lifetime ago) as it was getting pulled from iPlayer so needed to watch it all before it got taken down. That had us gripped. Also I watched The Beauty of Maps but that was only 4 episodes. There's no real reason why that I can think of but I've just not sat down and watched Tiger King like everyone else so far. The one thing I have been enjoying watching though, and this is watching on the tv when it gets screened instead of binge watching, is The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross. It's just so calm and soothing and he has his funny little sayings. 100% recommend settling down with a cuppa and relaxing while he waffles away.

#100DaysToOffload – Day 32

book cover of Naked by David Sedaris

Finished this book a few days ago. It's the first David Sedaris book I've read though I knew his name from NPR's This American Life which I used to listen to while walking the dog. Sadly the dog is much older now so the walks are far too short for an episode of This American Life these days.

Wasn't sure what to expect of this book as I didn't even know if it was fiction or non-fiction or whatever. Ended up being a series of anecdotes of his childhood and family life and moved on to stories from when he was a young man. It's entertaining and funny but side-splittingly funny. More amusing than anything else. It was a pleasant read and not disappointed I read it but definitely won't be getting a place on my shelf for favourite books. Apropos of nothing I saw David Sedaris now lives in the English county of West Sussex so can't be that far from me (as I'm right by the East/West Sussex border).



#100DaysToOffload – Day 31

The long suffering Mrs Luke is very brave. This is evident in that she is happy to undertake giving me haircuts (and beard trims) during lockdown.

discarded hair

As a little boy my hair was white blond and it's gotten darker as I've gotten older. It's some sort of dirty brown now but my mental picture of my hair is still of it being blond. So whenever I have a haircut and see the hair on the floor it gives me a surprise. And that's without even starting to mention the white hairs that my beard is full of and are creeping over my head.

Still a fresh trim feels good, especially when it's hot.

Pallet buster

#100DaysToOffload – Day 30

Today's purchase is a Roughneck Pallet Buster. This is probably the most manly thing I've ever bought.

roughneck pallet buster tool (Excuse the stolen stock image)

Its purpose, if you can't tell from the name, is for breaking down wooden pallets. We've talked about having an extra bit of fencing above the 2 metre back wall for a while, as the neighbour over that side is a little odd to say the least. As we've been in the garden so much recently we decided to look into in properly but the costs of the wood to do it are out of our budget at the moment. So the plan is to collect pallets, break them down and make the fencing using the wood. Fingers crossed! I'm not that bad at DIY but my wife always moans at the cost of tools (as she rightly thinks I'm just buying boys toys) so we are always trying to do things on the cheap which makes it tricky. For this we'll borrow a neighbour's mitre saw to cut it all to length and a friend's cordless power screwdriver to put it all together. Fence on the cheap!


#100DaysToOffload – Day 29

One of the thing that seems to be sensible in this coronavirus days is wearing a face mask. It stops the spread of the disease especially as there's research to show the virus enters the body through the lungs into the blood stream. My wife made us all lovely face masks pretty early into lockdown as she's handy with a sewing machine and had a load of material knocking about. However for me masks a nightmare. I'm not on some weird Donald Trump tip worrying about my image or my freedom to choose. Instead I have bad hearing and having people's mouths covered up makes me really hard for me to work out what they're saying. Back when I was about 5 I had a really bad bout of measles. It's not that my folks were anti-vax but this was over 40 years ago and there just weren't vaccinations for it offered then. After this bad case of measles it was noticed I had bad hearing so was sent for tests. It seems the measles damaged my nerves from my ears to my brain. So it's not degenerative, it doesn't get worse at all. It's just bad hearing. The odd part is only certain nerves are damaged which means, in layman's terms, I have a bass ear and a treble ear. Usual bad hearing is a general loss of volume but for me it is just certain frequencies I can't hear. As a schoolboy I pretty much carried on and pretended I didn't have bad hearing (as being at school the last thing you wanted to be was “different”). Though as an adult I came round to it and am much more open about it. Then technology caught up and meant hearing aids were available that boosted just the frequencies I needed instead of being just a general volume boost. I even can control them using bluetooth from my phone to turn the volume up or down. I'm not really sure where I'm going with this or how to finish it other than if you're wearing a mask and someone is looking baffled at you it could be me. Also people that choose not to vaccinate their kids against measles are utterly despicable.

Movie Night

#100DaysToOffload – Day 28

Yesterday while trying to think of fun things to do for the kids I decided to put on a movie night in our backyard.

We watched My Spy which turned to be a harmless family blockbuster type film. Normally getting the family to agree on a film is a nightmare and we give up after 30 minutes but this time we jut let the kids choose and my daughter bullied her brother into watching that!

getting ready

I printed off some “tickets” and used a trusty popcorn recipe I got from the New York Times a while ago: ½ cup of oil to 1/3 cup of popcorn. It's a lot of oil but makes great popcorn every time. Then while hot toss it with some sugar/salt/whatever.

Then set up an old projector in the garden and arranged the chairs with a load of blankets on to keep the chill away.

settling down

Worked an absolute treat. The family loved it and have already asked to do it again next week!

I am taking part in the 100 Days to Offload blogging challenge set by Kev Quirk.

Lyndon Loaf

#100DaysToOffload – Day 27

If you've been paying attention you'll have noticed I like making bread. Generally I like easy and fuss free bread. When chatting with my step-dad he mentioned a method of making a loaf his nephew sent him so I tried it. The nephew's name is Lyndon so I call it the Lyndon Loaf though he didn't invent it.

Follow a standard white loaf recipe like this one. Mix it and knead it then after the first rise give it a 5 minute knead and put it in a lidded metal casserole dish (what Americans call a Dutch oven I believe). Put it in a cold oven with the lid on then turn the oven to 240c. After 35 minutes remove the lid and leave in for a further 10 minutes. Viola! An amazing loaf. Here's the one I made:

homemade loaf

I am taking in the 100 Days to Offload blogging challenge set by Kev Quirk.


#100DaysToOffload – Day 26

Oops, I forgot to post yesterday. Wasn't a “can't think of anything to post” moment of lack of motivation. Just straight up forgot. Probably related to the hangover I had after the drunken 4 and half hour Zoom chat with friends on Saturday night!

I've been an SDF user on and off for years and had a couple of accounts (mainly because I forgot the password to one and couldn't be bothered to try and retrieve it so made another). When the SDF/SDFEU split happened it pretty much ended my usage as SDFEU is like a ghost town. I'd go through spells of making a conscious decision to be very active and regularly post on bboard and their internal newsgroups but at most I might get 1 or 2 replies so would get disheartened. As an aside when I first got on the internet in 1994 it was newsgroups and IRC that really got my interest. Being able to interact with people from all over seemed amazing! Before that I was very into zines and zine culture so the internet seemed like a logical extension of that; people making content and sharing it. When the first tilde servers started getting popular back in 2014/2015 my first thought was “wow I've been using the internet so long that shell accounts are now retro”. I continued tinkering on SDF and never got involved. Things like neocities pages caught my eye but I always feel like I've not got any content worth sharing so had never gone down that route. However a few years ago I saw the tilde server mentioned on the fediverse and requested an account. Solderpunk kindly obliged and I enjoyed it a lot. There was a nice community there with a small federated message board and active gopher users. However a change of jobs meant regrettably I had a lot less time for engaging with it so decided to quit after a while rather than become one of those ghost accounts that just lingers untouched for ages.

Recently though there has been a bit of chatter about the new Gemini protocol being set up on some of the tildes. It is a bit like a modern version of gopher and has been implemented on several tilde servers. Of course being the curious type I wanted to try it out and was able to get an account on Early days so far and still trying to work out what content goes where (social media, this blog, my old blog, gopher, gemini, etc etc). Here's my gemini space:


Don't expect much though. Now back to the joys of the working week.


Not so easy jet

#100DaysToOffload – Day 25

Like many other people Covid19 messed up travel plans I had. Next weekend my son would have been playing in a big international football tournament in Düsseldorf. He played there last year (in fact all his international away trips have been to Germany, I think someone senior has shares in a German hotel chain!) and a few dads went out to support the boys in their matches. When I say support the boys I mean drink copiously for 48 hours; we were broken on the way home. This particular tournament is held over the Whit Sunday weekend in Düsseldorf which is a big public holiday and lots of bars have bands performing out in the street. It's a great atmosphere so the few dads that went before decided to book up in advance to get good prices. Then obviously lockdown happened and all youth football is cancelled.

Now despite Mrs Luke and myself having a joint email address for bills and purchases our Easyjet account has Mrs Luke's email address associated with it. I'd been regularly logging into the account to see if the flight was cancelled or to see what the options were for rebooking the flight. It's getting closer and closer and the rebook option looks like it going to have to be it. If you use their website you can rebook your flight with no admin fees and if the new flight costs more you pay the difference. Simple! Not so much in practise. Everytime I tried the process it tried to charge money despite the new flights being significantly cheaper. No way was I going to pay more for a flight I didn't really want or need so was considering just taking a loss on the money. Mentioned all this to Mrs Luke and she says “oh why didn't you just apply for a refund voucher like the email says?”. WHAT EMAIL? For some reason she'd assumed I'd seen an email in her inbox, which obviously I hadn't. She finally manages to dig it out and there was a nice easy process to get a credit voucher for the value of the flight. Just had to click 1 button. Which she did. Only to receive an email telling her she was a week too late to do so. FFS! This all became a VERY thorny issue in our household and was threatening to be the cause of a properly serious row. Just as this was simmering away and about to boil over another email turned up saying the flight is cancelled and would we like a credit voucher for the value plus £10 added on top for our troubles? Hallelujah! It was such a huge relief. Now I've set up a filter to forward any emails from Easyjet to our joint email so we can wait for the same fun and games with our flights for our summer holiday!

I am taking in the 100 Days to Offload blogging challenge set by Kev Quirk.

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