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Topics - Gyppo

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The Bar & Grill / Scam, or an aggressive sales pitch?
« on: Today at 10:10:26 AM »
Nearly every day for the last week I've been receiving increasingly strident e-mails, including two different variations on the same theme today, reminding - nay, exhorting -  me to auto-renew my subscription to McAfee anti-virus.  I almost felt sorry for those poor little electrons, jumping up and down in a frenzy of 'buy now', whilst spilling their seed on such stony ground.

I've deleted them all with hardly any worries because I don't have McAfee on my computer.  I've never had it on any of my machines.

I did briefly wonder if it had somehow sneaked itself on, but a through search found no trace.

Will I ever hear from it again seeing as the 'deadline' has passed today?

UPDATE:  Four reminders, just today.

The Bar & Grill / Ambiguous sentence.
« on: Today at 04:35:27 AM »
Seen in an online advert...

3 Ways Your Toilet Scares Guests (and How to Prevent Them)


I've always found that barbed wire, minefields,and a fearsome reputation tends to prevent guests.

The Bar & Grill / Something to think about.
« on: November 22, 2020, 10:37:50 PM »
1694 French author and philosopher Jean Francois Voltaire was born. At age 65 he spent only three days writing "Candide", without a word processor or typewriter.

I don't doubt it would have taken him far longer if he'd had modern technology to 'help' him.

There's a lesson here for those who rely on outlining and plotting software, and unquestioningly believe everything programmes such as Grammarly tells them.  They may all have their uses, but it's your mind which provides the story.

I think some people forget this  ;-)


The Bar & Grill / Mixed messages...
« on: November 22, 2020, 10:04:22 AM »
As my computer was flipping through its wake up and settle down stuff this morning a message popped up, informing me it had failed to make the latest update, and inviting me to 'click here to correct'.

I clicked to see what had - or indeed hadn't - happened.  After a pregnant pause it warned me it might take some time and gave me the option to delay it until overnight.  But, feeling reckless, and having other household stuff I could get on with, including a long overdue hoovering, I told it to go ahead now.

After a while it cheerfully lied with a straight face. 'This computer cannot run Windows.'

I hate to call it a liar, but  it can and does.

If it means it can't run the latest all-singing, all dancing, super smug version then perhaps not.  But it's currently running Windows 10 Pro like a champ.

I shall go back into settings and tell it to ignore the latest upgrade until I absolutely have no choice.  All my security updates are in place.

My computer is a working tool, not a status symbol.  My nephew would probably tell me it should be listed as an historic artefact.  I see it more as a loyal old family retainer.  Past official retirement age but still 'pegging along'.


The Bar & Grill / Can you ever really trust a wordsmith?
« on: November 21, 2020, 12:21:22 PM »
   If anyone wants to play with words then 'onanist' is definitely an appropriate choice.  Look it up if you don't believe me, but it's just the posh word for masturbator.  So if you're an Odinist - and I know a few - I suggest that clarity of pronunciation is a very worthwhile aim.

        Being just a tad evil on occasion I've often toyed with the idea (just the idea, not the appropriate appendage) of teaching someone a handful of mixed Martial Arts techniques and telling them it's a secret and somewhat obscure Javanese/Burmese/Finnish/whatever martial art known as Onanism...

   Just think of some poor misguided soul stood in the pub after a few pints and loudly proclaiming his expertise as an Onanist...  Then offering to demonstrate ;-)

        MORAL:  Never (completely) trust a wordsmith.


The Bar & Grill / Weird. Truly weird.
« on: November 16, 2020, 03:17:36 PM »
I'm currently reading a story, a police and murder story.  It's an author I've not read before.

But it's set in Salisbury, Wiltshire.  I know parts of this town quite well, and as the story unfolds it's beginning to feel a bit like jumping on and off a bus as it passes through the bits I know.

In theory I would have expected it to make the story feel more 'real' but it's more of a distraction than a help.  I keep half expecting people I know/knew to turn up on the page.

It's a strange sensation.

Has anyone else felt this when reading a book set in a place they know?


The Bar & Grill / Armistice Day. Lest we forget.
« on: November 11, 2020, 08:56:16 AM »
Left click to enlarge.


The Bar & Grill / Fireworks for the nervous.
« on: November 08, 2020, 05:31:33 PM »
   Fireworks for the nervous.

   Alma has been brainwashed by school and safety warnings into thinking fireworks are bad, and above all, dangerous.  I disagree with this line, and was determined to show my Grandaughter that fireworks, in themselves, are not evil.

   This year, for the first time in several years, since before Alma was born when I work it out, I played 'pyro' again ;-)

   Alma's autism doesn't like screeching noises, or unexpected bangs.  But...

   This year the local supermarket was advertising 'low noise' fireworks.  So I told Alma I  was getting some and would be setting them off in my garden.  I left it to her Mum to convince her that Grandad had been doing fireworks for years and knew what he was doing.  She is pre-disposed to believe Grandad knows everything anyway, as well as being invincible and indestructible.  (I'm gently working on letting her realise Grandad isn't quite that good.)

   We arranged for her to stay indoors and watch through my bedroom window if she was nervous. Nice and safe behind the glass, with the double glazing damping down the noise a bit as well.

   I bought two identical £10 boxes of the counter-intuitive low noise fireworks.  The fact they were made by a firm called TNT tickled me immensely.

   My plan was to use all of one box, and if Alma was comfortable with them we'd use the rest.  I was also ready - if reluctant - to cut things short if anything really frightened her.

   I also set up a bright but short-lived fire, lots of 'logs' made from rolled and twisted newspaper.  My Grandad used to make them as firelighters.  But he didn't stack them high and douse them with white spirit ;-)  As an accelerant it's far more predictable and less explosive than petrol or even paraffin.  You don't get the same dangerous spread of invisible vapours pooling around your feet ready to scare you shitless when you light the central fire.  (Yes, I've got the T-shirt.)  I wanted guaranteed flame, not a sudden 'whoof' that sucked the air out my garden.

   I don't play with petrol  anymore, although I would still use it mixed with oil for special effects under controlled conditions.  But not in front of children.

   On the night Alma burst in through my door leaping with enthusiasm, brandishing a brightly coloured picture she had drawn for me showing what she thought fireworks would look like.

   I uttered up a silent prayer to Odin that the 'safety' fireworks would live up to her drawing.


   She didn't like the fire and ran back indoors.  It blazed well for a few minutes and then dropped back into glowing embers.   At least I'd calculated that bit right.   With ground level fieworks you don't want too much background light

   But she seemed happy enough to watch the fireworks though my window and her Mum was with her in case she had a 'meltdown'.

   I started with the smallest ones and built up throughout the box and received several happy waves through the glass..

   I was quietly pleased with them.  They were nicely coloured and bright and most of them didn't project stars etc much higher than my six foot fence., launching threm with a soft  and leisurely 'pop'  Very much like the small garden fireworks I'd  seen as a kid.  A complete departure from the 'arms race' monsters of the last few years.

   When the box was finished we had a break for fish and chips and I asked Alma if she wanted to some more when we finished eating.

   "Yeah!"  She leapt up and down at the prospect.

   When I was un-taping the fuses for easy access she sidled in to watch, after I told her they were perfectly safe unless lit.  Greatly daring she asked if she could touch them, and I said "Yes, just don't pick them up and shake them around.  If you mix up the chemicals they might not work properly."  That was quite enough information for now.  I'll explain about the different layers and lifting charges later.  My junior scientist is bound to ask at some point.

   She also noticed that whilst she and her Dad had been to the chippy I'd wrapped a bundle of kitchen roll soaked in witch hazel around my right thumb.

   "What did you do to your thumb?"

   Another learning opportunity...

   "I scorched it a bit when one of the fuses spat flame at me."  It was about four fireworks into the display.  "My own fault for not remembering to wear a glove on that hand."

   "Silly Grandad.  I thought something had happened when you looked really surprised."

   Then we went out - suitably gloved - for the second box and she came out to stand in the garden and kept leaping up and down, all bright eyed as she tried to copy what the fireworks were doing.

   All in all a pleasant evening,   The burnt patch, in just the wrong place on my space-bar thumb, has stopped hurting now.  Witch hazel really does take the sting out of burns.

   The debris are in the dustbin, the firework picture is taped to my kitchen cabinet along with other Grandaughter offerings, and all is well.


   If you ever see low noise fireworks advertised and wonder 'what's the point', then I can tell you the colours are bright pretty, the crackly sparkling ones don't crackle too loud, and I thought they were well worth the money.  And as 'Master of Ceremonies' at this low key performance I thoroughly enjoyed myself too.



Word Play / Super smart. Really?
« on: November 03, 2020, 05:17:49 PM »
I was checking something earlier and discovered that the online Collins dictionary throws up little quizzes, based around words which some people get confused.  If you make the right choice five times in a row it will tell you 'You're super smart'.

I appreciate that words are 'my thing' rather than just a working tool, but...

Having done half a dozen of these mini quizzes and been proclaimed 'super smart' every time I have to wonder if a large portion of the population did in fact learn anything at all either at school or since leaving.

Try the link and tell me what you think.


The Bar & Grill / MISSING THREADS?
« on: November 01, 2020, 05:24:29 PM »
Both Jo and Deb have mentioned a couple of threads which seem to have vanished.  has anyone else noticed this.   If so, which ones.   If you have a definite name for them it helps.

If we have a definite list I will ask Karl to have a look.


The Bar & Grill / Are you a 'tactile' learner?
« on: October 31, 2020, 03:49:41 PM »
Are you a tactile learner?  Some of us are and some aren't.


   Tactile Learners

   My Grandaughter is a tactile learner.  She doesn't really believe something exists until she's touched it.

    Her Mum was the same, still is in fact.  If my daughter sees something new perched on my shelves she's still likely to pick it up, turn it over and around, examine it from all angles, before putting it back.

   Sometimes she'll pull back an instinctively outreaching hand and ask "Is it safe to touch that?"  Just a few weeks back, before her first shooting lesson, she spent quite a while stroking the wood and metal, examining how the parts joined each other and generally getting to know it.

   I'm sure some people, had they seen this quiet familiarisation, would have read it as the signs of a latent psycho, falling in love with a tool of destruction.  I know better.  I've seen her equally fascinated by the varying textures of a freshly cut stick from a hedgerow, which she'll revisit as it dries and the smooth bark wrinkles a bit over the passing weeks.

   She'll also sniff at things, as do I.   Some of this I attribute to Food Trades education/training, (smell will warn of things the eye and touch can't detect), but really this is just a polishing of natural instincts.

   The way I see it we all have at least five senses and they're there for a reason.   Instinct usually warns which sense(s) are inappropriate for some objects.

   I used to cringe when my lass picked up delicate ornaments in someone else's house when were visiting.  "What are you doing?"

   "Just looking."

   "Well, look with your eyes.  Not your fingers."  It took her a while to learn there were different rules for different houses.

   I can't recall her ever dropping or breaking anything though.  I sometimes did as a child.  (Maybe there was a touch of dyspraxia in my genes, which I gradually trained out over the years because I wanted to do some delicate or precise job.)

   Only the other day I saw her stroking the smooth lacquered finish of my new shelving unit, and suddenly drawing away as her fingertips contacted a small patch of sticky left from some double sided tape.  Then she touched it again carefully, exploring what her senses had told her..

   "It's sticky."  Her tone was almost accusatory, as if her sense of rightness had been abused.  Smooth grey lacquer shouldn't feel sticky.  It was wrong!  Like a random wet patch in otherwise dry paint.

   When the little one does the same I shouldn't be surprised, because I was just the same as a kid.  I'm told I broke a few fragile heirlooms in my time.  Terrified both of my Grans.  They reacted differently though.  My paternal Gran just insisted I sat still and didn't touch things.  "Why do you have to touch everything?"  (Very difficult not to when you're a bright and curious child who can't help noticing things.)

   My maternal Gran would cringe quietly, gently retrieve whatever it was from my curious fingers, and make sure it was either on a higher shelf or locked away in the glass cabinet the next time I came.

   My  great Aunt however would let me play with her luminous green glass lamb, (which I have since learned was radioactive!), provided I was sat on her bed or on the rug so it wouldn't break if  I dropped it. ;-)  It normally lived on her mantlepiece as a gentle nightlight.

   Yesterday my Grandaughter was crumbling a fallen leaf from the mini-hazel growing in a pot on my windowsill.. She looked quite startled when she realised I was watching.  That's another sign of we Tactiles, the complete absorption in the moment of whatever we're doing.  We're not wilfully ignoring you, we're just temporarily but totally unaware that you even exist.

   Some people get very upset by this, and then we don't understand their seemingly random anger.  During those moments as we struggle to re-engage with your world the blank look on our faces is often construed as defiance or stupidity.  This can lead to a lot of resentment on both sides.

   "Why is it so dry, Grandad?"

   "Because the leaf's dead.  The rest of the plant isn't though.  It's just settling down for a Winter sleep.  In the Spring it will grow new leaves."  She knows this in theory, but dead leaves picked up from the ground outdoors are often a bit damp, or already starting to decompose.  They're rarely totally dry and ready to crumble.  [1]
   "So that's why it's already got new little buds?"

   "Yes.  Nature usually just gets on and does its own thing in its own time.  Even when you take it out of the wild and keep it indoors.  Doesn't work so well with animals though."

   One day she'll realise how I mix facts with philosophy and have to decide for herself whether I'm a wise old man or just a bit crazy.  I suspect she may well decide I'm a bit of both.


   [1]  A few Autumns back my Sis, who is an artist, spotted a 'totally fascinating' semi-skeletal and very fragile leaf in the park and carefully carried it home so she could draw it.  She says it called to her from amongst the thousands of others.   I can think of some of her contemporaries who would have been totally bewildered that she became so obsessed over 'just another dead leaf'.


The Bar & Grill / A stranger made my day today.
« on: October 23, 2020, 06:17:17 PM »
   I had a delightful conversation with one of the phone staff at my Doctor's earlier today.  I was trying to sort out a problem with my prescription.  The pharmacy can't get one of my 'stay alive' pills.  So there was a shortfall in my latest prescription when I went to collect it.  A few days later it was still unavailable.

   This is actually a bit scary, but fortunately I have a small extra stash of that particular pill because of a mix up a while back when I got too many of it, so I'm not a death's door yet.

   They can supply the generic equivalent but I needed to get a new prescription for that before they can dispense it.  Thus the call to the doctor.

   Part way through the young lady on the other end of the phone said "Hang on a minute. Sir.  My computer's playing up."

   I listened to her tapping keys and quietly calling it names.

   "Is the technology fighting back?"

   "It's probably just overworked."  Tappety tap.  "No, it's worse than that.  Now it's really tripping out.  "I'll try and transfer you to one of my colleagues."

   "Before you go I have to say you've just made my day.  I've never heard anyone else describe their computer as tripping out."

   "Thank you.  It really is."  Much laughter from her and others in the office.  "I've never seen it so weird.  I'll transfer you now, Sir.  Have a good day."

   Her colleague still had a laugh in her voice as she solved my problem.
   Humour, the lubricant of life.


   All day long I've been picturing her computer staggering around on the desk, screen rolling wildly, and a pair of  previously unseen hands feeling at the top of the monitor.  "Hey, have I got a hat on?  Why's everything looking green..."

The Bar & Grill / Writer's Humour. Little things. Flexible language.
« on: October 21, 2020, 04:23:25 AM »
Alma knows that Grandad has a little pot of coins in his office for easy access when the ice cream truck chimes outside.  And she prides herself on 'noticing things' when they change.

So far she hasn't spotted this... ;-)

Left click to enlarge.


The Bar & Grill / Finishing a project
« on: October 18, 2020, 10:04:48 PM »
My new shelving, replacing the sagging plastic ones, is good, but had one major problem.  Any folders I put on there could slide out through the end.  I temporarily laced string across the ends to keep them in place, but that was too much of a bodge, even for me  ;-)

But some 6mm MDF cut into strips and fastened with double-sided sticky tape has made a reasonably neat job of it.  The cut-to-size service at the DIY store is very useful.   I wouldn't trust the sticky for load bearing jobs, like hanging up a mirror, but for locational purposes its excellent.

Some wriggling on the carpet was needed to get the lower shelf lined out, but it wasn't too painful getting back up again afterwards..

Left click to see how it worked.  (A bit like bumpers on a baby's cot, but open at the front.


For a few months, until the novelty wore off, various little  'flyers' appeared on the notice board.  The management had mixed feelings about some of them, and some of the staff expressed an opinion that 'Whoever's doing this obviously has too much time on his hands'.

Here's just a few of them...


        CRU (Canine Reprisal Unit) and customer re-education.    

        Royal Mail Attack Dogs.  (Trained to attack a stroppy customer as soon as they open their door.)

        For the difficult cases an attack dog fitted with a radio communications collar can be targeted to attack the customer away from home.  For example, whilst out walking their own bloody hound(s) late at night.

        Leg biters only:  "It's only a flesh wound, man.  Don't be such a wuss..."


        Awkward Customer Re-Education.

        This is the real 'Ninja Postie' stuff.

        Blasting a door off its hinges, and laying the otherwise undeliverable parcel on top of the wreckage with a courtesy card which reads...

        'Delivered as Addressed, Sir'


        Manager's Report:  Postman 'X' was a little too generous with the 'door opening charge' and bought the whole house down, but before returning to the office he left the offending package on top of the pile of burning debris in a specialist asbestos lined delivery pouch.  "Delivered as Addressed, Sir!"


   Following a number of unfortunate incidents involving part time agency staff only PHGs (Postman Higher Grade), who have attended the appropriate training course, are now authorised to use the TNLE device.  (Tactical Nuclear Letterbox Enlarger.)


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