Bah Humbug

Christmas is coming, it always feels more official when two thing happen, Apple releases their holiday advert and Michael Bublé wakes from his hibernation and releases a Christmas Album. Oh come on, tell me I am wrong.

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I learned a couple of things from the Graham Norton show interview with The Bublé (why yes, I did get this post idea from Graham Norton). He is Canadian, super humble and sounds like a really nice guy. Not a guy you’d go for a night out with, but maybe visit him with the wife and kids (you know, if you have that sort of thing). Also, he really doesn’t like the above meme as it is his opinion that everyone now thinks he lives in a cave. Hmmm, perhaps he is a little soft in the head and that’s why he is so nice even for a Canadian).

Anyway, the Apple Holiday ad: bleugh. It’s very, meh, what are you advertising here? A laptop? Knitting? It’s all a bit soft a furry. It’s even worse than the 2016 adverts of the moody kid that is creepily recording everything. However, the sentiment is to share your gifts “Have you ever made something wonderful but were to afraid to share?” The song that is played in the videio is Come out to play, by Billie Eilish. She is some millennial that I have never heard of, but an interesting fact about her: one of her middle names is “Pirate”.

So, there you have it, my bah humbug to the start of the Holiday Season, because my word, calling it the Christmas Holidays now is just so radical…

Beijing

It’s been almost 5 years since I vistied Beijing. It is still one of my favourite journeys that i have taken. It was great because I was sent by work, therefore my expenses were taken care of and it was great because I spent a couple of weeks after the work being a tourist. I saw many amazing things that changed my view of China. 

 The Great Wall of China.

The Great Wall of China.

I was amazed at how modern the city was and how vast the contrast was economically with the surrounding countryside. I visited so many tourist spots that I basically lost count but I still remember getting up at 4am to visit the wall and the 13 tombs of the Ming dynasty. Of course I remember getting up at 4am because to me this is a crime against humanity. 

So what prompts me to write this short post?  

I have noticed over the past few months that my readership (of this journal) is increasingly coming from China, and Beijing in particular. It makes me wonder why and it pleases me that I am not blocked by the great firewall of China :-) 

So, if you are reading from this region of the world, drop me an email or comment below :-) 

 

Legion

I was offered some complimentary tickets to the opening evening of the “Legion” event organised by Rough Castle Experiences last Wednesday. It is described as a family night like no other. At The Antonine Wall you can take a walk back through time to see a magical woodland and performances by experts in theatrical combat and aerial artistry.

The history was to be brought to life by a sate of art sound and light technologies, live action and lots of imagination. Unfortunately, lots of imagination was a rather large understatement. I was rather underwhelmed, but I find it hard to put my finger on exactly why this was. The actors that were meant to be pushing the story along as you wandered through the trail just failed to convey what their part was. If this was so that they didn’t ‘break character’ the stewards also gave no commentary and there were no signs describing what the point of some of the pieces were either.

So you kinda felt lost with the story while wandering the woods with some lighting and at one point a projector displaying a film that was meant to set the scene. There was also an unnecessarily long delay in seeing the acrobatic piece, which coincided with a “retail opportunity”. I was glad that my ticket was complimentary as I would have felt ripped off if I had paid £18 for an adult ticket. To charge £3 for hot water and a tea-bag while waiting on a performance was a touch rough.

I wish I was the sort of person that could let little things go, but this photograph kind of summed it all up for me. Good intentions that fell short. If nothing else it made me laugh, and take a photograph, I may also have tweeted it, instagram might also have been involved. It was exceptional. I accept that this is small minded of me, I will work exceptionally hard at being better.



 

Anyway, I took some photographs and video for your viewing pleasure! Thanks for reading.

Edinburgh autumn

I travelled to Edinburgh for the first time in what feels like months (except for train journeys passing through). I was meeting up with a fellow M.Sc. student that had some free time before her journey back south ( @kmurphster ). It’s always great seeing friends from the M.Sc. course and hearing on how they are getting on with their careers and life decisions.

I decided to talk a walk along Princess Street gardens as I had some time on my hands and the weather was nice and crisp. It also gave me some time to think about some problems that I need to solve in work. The problem is primarily finding one good solution to loading all Ordnance Survey data into a PostGIS database, instead of having one workflow for each data type. It would be more logical to have one workflow that fits all data types, or at the very least uses one program without having to do a ton of coding.

I find that having these types of thoughts at the back of my mind being processed without me really ‘thinking’ about it can often provide a solution, or at least things to try. Alas, it appears I’ll have to spend more time actually thinking about it.

On the bright side I did get a few photographs of the autumn that has come over Edinburgh on the day that the clocks change :-)

Thanks for reading!

Cambridge

As I write this in Cafe Nero, across from Cambridge Train Station, I feel a little melancholy. It may be the almost five days of (mostly) solitude that has passed or it may be that I am actually a little sad to be leaving. My trip here has been successful having passed the FME training course and having learned more than I hoped about the application. I also spent a lot of time in the early evening wandering Cambridge and taking photographs, primarily to see how the camera in the iPhone XS Max performs (admirably).

Cambridge is an interesting city, a combination of medieval buildings, colleges, modern science & business parks with everything in between. The River Cam which runs through the city was delightful to spend time at. I managed to get coffee in a cafe near the river bank and watch tourists on boats being punted along it and hearing a hundred different languages being spoken as people walked by. 

Some of the architecture blew me away. I have seen photographs of the buildings before but to actually see them in person is so much more. The buildings of Queens’ College and Kings’ College were amazing, I literally don’t have the adjectives to describe how impressed I was. I have never before seen such an amount of buildings that impressed me in such a small amount of geographical space.

I also visited the Wooden Bridge that joins two parts of Queens’ College, also known as the Mathematical Bridge. Nicknamed the mathematical bridge due to its arrangement of timbers arranged in a series of tangents, creating an arched bridge rom entirely straight timber. I will not try to explain it any further as my lack of engineering knowledge and maths would be all to evident. A popular myth around about the bridge is that Sir Isaac Newton designed and built the bridge without the use of nuts and bolts and that at ‘some time’ in the past students attempted to take the bridge apart and put it back together. They were unable to work out how to hold the structure together and had to use nuts and bolts to finish it. Of course, when it was first built, iron spikes were driven into it to hold it together and could not be seen from the inside which is why the bolts were thought to be an addition to the original. More to the point though, Newton died twenty two years before the bridge was constructed.

I have added a few photographs of my trip below, all taken on the iPhone Xs Max. I decided not to take my 5D purely out of the interest of saving weight and to push me into using the iPhone (the best camera you have is the one you have with you).