Weight and Stuff Report – 1 February 2016

Weight: 220 pounds (15 stone 10 pounds, 99.8 kg)
Steps taken: 1,955

Down again today. Probably. Unless it’s just the RNG having another joke.

Bit tied up checking out some new camera-related bits tonight[1], so all I’ve got for now is another squirrel photo:



Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/11
Shutter speed 1/220s
Focal length 196mm
ISO 6400
Taken 12:14, 16 January, 2016

[1] So much so that it’s actually tomorrow now

January 2015 Round-up

Well, that’s the first month of the year out of the way. And not a moment too soon, considering the quite alarming celebrity death toll.


Oh dearie me, this isn’t going well, is it?

January 1: 214.6 pounds (15 stone 4.6 pounds, 97.3 kg)
January 31: 221.2 pounds (15 stone 11.2 pounds, 100.3 kg)

That’s a quite significant rise of 6.6 pounds (3kg). And it has been a month of wild swings – the lowest weight was a probably erroneous, spurious or just plain odd 211.8 pounds (15 stone 1.8 pounds, 96.1 kg), and the highest a rather large 223.6 pounds (15 stone 13.6 pounds, 101.4 kg). Must do better, or something.


This may have something to do with the above section. I blame the weather.


It’s been a mostly inactive month, really. Haven’t done much walking at lunchtimes, and there’s been a distinct lack of my usual weekend photographic walks. I blame a combination of the weather and my painful shoulder.  :wah:


January’s total is a moderately sensible 45, which seems about average,


Not a lot to say about that.

Weight and Stuff Report – 31 January 2016

Weight: 221.2 pounds (15 stone 11.2 pounds, 100.3 kg)
Steps taken: Hardly any

Up another wee bit today, possibly due to the lack of activity yesterday. I’m having another quiet day in, as i really don’t have the motivation to go anywhere or do very much.

Here’s a close view of something.

Close enough?

Close enough?

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/11
Shutter speed 1/80s
Focal length 60mm
ISO 6400
Taken 12:38, 31 January, 2016

iBank is now Banktivity

I’ve been using iBank to manage my personal finances for over six years now, and it’s had a few updates since then. I’ve had the occasional wobble, but it’s generally done very well, and I’d still recommend it as a good solution.

So just so you know, it’s now got a new name – Banktivity. The developers explain the change in their blog post, so I won’t bother repeating it:

Banktivity is the new iBank | Developers’ Blog

I, Robert – The Far-Fetched Autobiography of Robert Rankin

I have mentioned Robert Rankin many times before. I am what you might call a fan of his unique works of what he calls far-fetched fiction. While they generally get filed under sf and fantasy in bookshops, and do indeed have fantastical elements, the main thing about them is that they’re funny. Generally laugh out loud and get funny looks on the bus funny. And they’re quite delightfully filled with asides about how nobody’s going to believe some plot development or other and similar bits of self-referentital silliness. There are running gags that don’t just work through a single book or trilogy (such as the classic Brentford trilogy, now up to a healthy seven books), but through most of his quite considerable output. It’s a tradition, or an old charter, or something. Which is one of them that I’ve shamelessly borrowed stolen once or twice.

Now I had wondered why his most recent novel, which I seem to have neglected to mutter about, was a self-published ebook rather than being available in DTV form from actual booksellers. Come to think of it, I had wondered why his last few books hadn’t been as widely publicised as used to be the case. For instance, why did I only learn that one of them existed when I read a post-release review? Well, the answers to all those questions are now at hand. Well, they’re at my hand. To get them near your hand, you’ll need to click the nice picture at the top of this post, which will take you to Robert’s site, where you’ll be able to order your own copy of this frankly quite lovely book. It’s a signed and numbered limited edition (mine’s 2,511 of 5,000, as I was a bit slow in getting round to ordering it, which was very naughty of me), so you’d better hurry. Go on, get it ordered now, I’ll wait…

Right, I’ll assume you’ve done the decent thing and ordered the book, so now I can tell you what to expect (delivery was pretty damn quick for me, so you shouldn’t have long to wait).

It’s a book of two halves. Well, approximate halves. Perhaps it’s more of a book of a third and two thirds. Umm, well, anyway, there are two sections.

The first section is Robert talking about his life. It’s a nicely disordered collection of anecdotes and incidents than a properly arranged story, which makes it (a) much more like real life and (ii) pretty much what you’d expect if you’ve been doing the required reading. Lots of fun. Ups, downs, bad jobs, good friends, and more asides than a thong with a lot of asides.

The second section is sort of based on the books. There’s a section for each novel, giving some indication of its background, where the story and characters came from, what was going on in his life at the time (more ups, more downs, more general oddness), and yet more diversions and distractions. It was interesting to learn who Hugo Rune was really based on (in addition to the obvious Aleister Crowley bits) and which of our popular friendly characters is Robert’s alter-ego.

And it’s frustrating to learn how his dealings with mainstream publishing came to an end. In a story which absolutely didn’t happen, he tells us of the sad results of his long-term editor leaving the publisher in question, and the horrors of what her successor seemed to think was a reasonable thing to expect from Robert. Pretty much along the lines of “we’ll tell you what to write”, which seems a but silly to me[1].

Robert describes himself as retired now, but he’s still writing, and thanks to another publisher not managing to grab the ebook rights to his first 23 or so books, managing to make some money from those. I’ve already got then in DTVs of course, but my Kindle could probably do with some of them for ease of rereading..

Oh, and if you use Audible, I strongly recommend the audiobooks of Robert’s books. They managed to get a quite wonderful reader for them – a chap called Rankin. He’s done a lovely job of these – updating some gags that relate to almost forgotten events and people, or sometimes explaining the references, making comments about things that don’t work in audio, and yet more asides.

And you don’t have to take my word for it – Sir Terry Pratchett, quite apart from being Robert’s friend, was quoted as saying of Robert

One of the rare guys who can always make me laugh

Which should be enough recommendation for anyone. And I, Robert closes with a joke that Terry told Robert which I won’t repeat here, as I think you should buy the book if you want to see it. It’s almost worth the price for the joke alone!

[1] Of course, it didn’t happen like that[2], but if It had, I’d think that.
[2] This may be something to do with lawyers, so we can’t be too careful

Weight and Stuff Report – 30 January 2016

Weight: 221 pounds (15 stone 11 pounds, 100.2 kg)
Steps taken: 2,527

Oddly up today, still never mind, etc.

It’s still very windy and quite cold out, so I wasn’t inclined to do anything other than the shopping today. Well, apart from a second trip to Tesco to get something that would have been a bit awkward to carry with the rest of my shopping. That trip was originally going to be into Newcastle or possibly the Metrocentre, but I really couldn’t make the effort, as my shoulder kept grumbling at me. And it was cold. Mutter.

I have done a bit of playing with my 60mm macro lens today though. Need to either have a bit more light on the subject or use a tripod, as most of the results were a bit rubbish. But this one’s moderately OKish.



Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/3.2
Shutter speed 1/320s
Focal length 60mm
ISO 6400
Taken 14:32, 30 January, 2016

The actual height of the dragon’s head is about 15mm, by the way…


Weight and Stuff Report – 29 January 2016

Weight: 219.8 pounds (15 stone 9.8 pounds, 99.7 kg)
Steps taken: 4,563

A teeny tiny upward change today, nothing to be alarmed about, which is more than can be said for the weather, which has been a wee bit on the breezy side. So much so that my bus trip home was a bit more interesting than normal, as at the time, the buses were being diverted off the Redheugh Bridge, which is a slightly risky thing to cross when it gets seriously windy. so after passing the station, we had a nice little trip around Newcastle – up Clayton Street, then Westgate Road, then back the way we’d come along Grainger Street as far as the Bigg Market, then over the High Level Bridge before joining Askew Road and then getting back on the normal route. What excitement! Well, not really, but it’s about as interesting as life gets…

Talking of interesting, I had a physiotherapist appointment this morning. Yes, the shoulder Still Hurts, thanks for asking. Have to continue with taking ibuprofen and doing some mild exercises for the next couple of weeks before we consider other options…

I really need to take some fresh photographs, but I suspect the windy weather will put me off going anywhere this weekend. Not to mention the shoulder. Did I mention my shoulder?

Anyway, here’s yet another view of the Tyne.

Millennium Reflection

Millennium Reflection

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/11
Shutter speed 1/500s
Focal length 29.2mm
ISO 1000
Taken 11:35, 29 December, 2015
Location 54° 58.1476′ 0″ N 1° 36.2664′ 0″ W


Weight and Stuff Report – 28 January 2016

Weight: 219.7 pounds (15 stone 9.7 pounds, 99.7 kg)
Steps taken: 1,671

Up a wee bit today. Maybe one of these days I’ll manage to walk further than the sarnie shop at lunchtime, but at the moment it seems unlikely.

This is a sign of something:

A bit far to walk

A bit far to walk

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/11
Shutter speed 1/500s
Focal length 55mm
ISO 250
Taken 11:54, 29 December, 2015
Location 54° 58.2455′ 0″ N 1° 35.3148′ 0″ W

Weight and Stuff Report – 27 January 2016

Weight: 219.2 pounds (15 stone 9.2 pounds, 99.4 kg)
Steps taken: 2,784

Down a wee bit today, and down a big bit compared to this time last week, which may or may not be significant. I suspect the latter…

Another non-exciting day, which may have involved a haircut.

Here’s a view of the Tyne, at the mouth of the Ouseburn

Waiting for the tide

Waiting for the tide

Camera X-T1
Aperture ƒ/11
Shutter speed 1/500s
Focal length 25.7mm
ISO 640
Taken 11:54, 29 December, 2015
Location 54° 58.249′ 0″ N 1° 35.3402′ 0″ W


No. Nobody ever wants that.

It’s quite bad enough that some software still relies on Java (spit). But do they have to make it an even worse experience by trying to sabotage your web browser of choice? Note that I took the screen shot after unticking the box. Yes, Yahooifying yourself is the default behaviour, which is nasty.

Yahoo is about as wanted as Java

Yahoo is about as wanted as Java