Daily Archives: Saturday, 31st Dec 2016

2016 Round-up

Well, 2016 has less than twelve hours to go in this time zone, so I might as well get on with this old thing, pausing only to suggest that 2016 doesn’t hang about, goes away and hangs its metaphorical head in shame.


Let’s look at the numbers first, shall we:

January 1: 214.6 pounds (15 stone 4.6 pounds, 97.3 kg)
December 31: 219.4 pounds (15 stone 9.4 pounds, 99.5 kg)

That is, if the late unlamented scale can be trusted (which it can’t), a rise of 4.8 pounds or 2.2kg. As is often the case, there have been some major ups and downs – the lowest weight of the year was a probably anomalous 211.8 pounds (15 stone 1.8 pounds, 96.1 kg) in January, and the highest a positively bloated 229.5 pounds (16 stone 5.5 pounds, 104.1 kg) in April. Though, as mentioned, all figures for this year should be treated with suspicion.


Slightly up on last year, boosted by a bunch of recent book reviews

2003: 2 posts
2004: 515 posts
2005: 576 posts
2006: 620 posts
2007: 747 posts
2008: 833 posts
2009: 718 posts
2010: 717 posts
2011: 770 posts
2012: 665 posts
2013: 607 posts
2014: 484 posts
2015: 469 posts
2016: 474 posts


I traded in my X-T1, the unused lenses, the X100S and the X100T this year, leaving me with the dinky little X70 and the superb X-T2. Now I just need to get out more and take photographs.

Having pretty much ignored my guitar for most of the year, in the last month or so, I’ve been slowly getting back into practicing – chords and scales. Just need to get to the point where I can play something resembling a song or two.

And I really need to get back into walking to work, which might help with the weight thing.

And finally…

Happy New Year to anyone and everyone who reads this stuff. And I’m not going to say anything silly about how 2017 is going to have to be better than 2016, because, well…


December 2016 Round-up

OK, that’s just about enough from December, so it must be time for this old thing


As I’ve mentioned, what we will now refer to as the former Losing it scale is in disgrace and about to be consigned to wherever it is bad gadgets go when they’re caught out, but for the sake of completeness, this is what it claimed happened this month.

December 1: 214.4 pounds (15 stone 4.4 pounds, 97.3 kg)
December 31: 219.4 pounds (15 stone 9.4 pounds, 99.5 kg)

That’s a rise of 5 pounds (2.3kg), though it may not be for reasons previously mentioned.


Yes, still eating, though when I was at work before the break, was having to go further in search of lunch.


Not a lot of activity this month. I really should do more of that…


Unless I add any further posts today, it looks like the December total will be a moderately sane 42.


Not a lot to report that hasn’t already been reported.

Weight and Stuff Report – 31 December 2016

As I mentioned earlier, I’m including this morning’s weight figure from the lying, random number generating, not as smart as it claims to be, old scale to round off the year. Not that I believe it to be accurate, but we can’t have incomplete stats, can we? Anyway, according to the lying, etc, etc, I’m somewhat heavier today. Well, mutter.

My Cunning Plan for New Year’s Eve is to stay in and not do a lot.

Here’s a figure from the Spanish City in Whitley Bay



Camera: X-T2
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/1600s
Focal length: 421.5mm
ISO: 800
Taken: 17 December, 2016


G S Denning – Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone

It’s a funny thing – you wait ages for a paranormal take on Sherlock Holmes, then two come along at once, or something like that. Anyway, this was another Amazon recommendation thingy, and it was a successful one in that (a) I was persuaded to buy it and (b) I enjoyed it.

As with the recent Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows, this starts with a retelling of the meeting between Holmes and Watson. Only this time, there are even more differences, not least that we’re now dealing with Warlock Holmes, who is, as his name suggests, not quite the rational detective we’re used to. The other little matter is, that despite having dark and mysterious powers, being occupied by various spirits (including Moriarty, who occasionally speaks through him), he is, not to put too fine a point on it, an idiot. By contrast, Watson soon shows a brilliant talent for deductive reasoning, taking us into two variant forms of Holmes stories at once.

The book consists of retellings (more or less, give or take) of A Study in Scarlet and several of the short stories. We encounter the usual Scotland Yard detectives: Lestrade, who in this version is a vampire, and Groggson (not to be confused with Greggson, of course), who’s an ogre. All perfectly normal, really…

There’s a lot of fun to be had, for instance when a character I won’t name to avoid spoilers, predicts his own death due to his

cardio-cranial narrative-sensitive exploditis

I think you can work that one out, and a lovely take on an old favourite

‘Tell him nothing, Watson!’ Warlock urged, struggling to reclaim his balance. ‘And for God’s sake, John, don’t let him learn your name!’

I did mention the idiot bit, didn’t I?

It ends on a suitably dramatic cliffhanger, setting things up for the sequel, due in 2017.

Good fun for fans of Sherlock Holmes who don’t take him too seriously. I think it would also appeal to readers of Wilkie Martin’s Inspector Hobbes books. Well, it did to me, and I’m both of those things.

Kim Newman – Angels of Music

Woo hoo! More fun from the ubiquitous Kim Newman, once again playing his familiar game of “spot the reference”. Having had great fun with the Anno Dracula series, he’s turned his vast intellect to another literary figure: the Phantom of the Opera.

Erik, as the Phantom is named, isn’t bent on world domination, death and destruction or anything like that. No, he’s running a detective agency. At any given time, he has three female agents, coordinated by his assistant, while he stays in the shadows, communicating by speaking tube, and if your brain isn’t squeaking “Charlie’s Angels”, it’s probably of the wrong age. Erik calls his agents Angels of Music, which pretty makes that explicit.

The book is made of a number of stories, at least some of which have been previously published, spread over a wide range of time, with different teams of Angels in each one. The Angels include Irene Adler, a name familiar to Sherlock Holmes readers, Sophy Kratides who Sherlock Holmes readers should also recall[1] and one Elizabeth Eynsford Hill, who you might recall under her maiden name of Eliza Doolittle.[2] And others.

Adversaries include Charles Foster Kane, who not content with trying to stir up a European war, is selling rather nasty food from his, err, Burgher Kane stalls.

I’ll just mention some of the gags and references I spotted[3]:

She expects the pleasure of the company of Rhandi Lal, the Khasi of Kalabar, and his daughter, the Princess Jelhi.

I’ll, err, Carry On with the next one if you didn’t like that.

The clowns were performing some interminable rhapsody from Bohemia

No? Oh well, easy come, easy go…

Just in case anyone didn’t remember Irene Adler

‘Prague is in Bohemia’, said Irene. ‘Not my favourite vacation spot.’

Well, no. And one more…

‘We aren’t the Angels you seek,’ said Unorna, low and even. There was a pause. Kate fancied she heard a humming sound. Unorna made a small, precise gesture which drew the eye in. ‘These aren’t the Angels we seek,’ said Max, waving them on.

Oh dearie me….

Yes, it’s all enormous fun. If you enjoyed the Anno Dracula books, you should enjoy this too.

[1] OK, from The Greek Interpreter. We learn here what happened to her after Holmes’s not particularly helpful intervention
[2] Pygmalion? Oh, all right, My Fair Lady
[3] There are probably many more

Weighty Matters

No, it’s OK – I’m not going to get all philosophical or political on you, I’m talking about actual weight, which you might recall was the original purpose of this site when it was a little blog hanging off the side of my more general website.

If you’ve been reading the words rather than just looking at the pictures[1], you might recall that the fancy scale I’ve been using has been a wee bit, well, variable over the last year or so – not just giving widely varying readings, but taking an inordinate amount of time to settle down and display a final figure. Well, a little while ago[2], I decided the time had come to deal with this once and for all, so I bought the newer version of the scale – it’s a fancy electronic thingy that automagically uploads its readings to the Withings web service, making them available in the Health app on my phone. This saves me having to write things down or try to remember them long enough to record them in the spreadsheet that I use to keep track of my lack of progress.

But when I set up the new scale there was a problem – it consistently told me that I was somewhere around 15 pounds (around 7kg) heavier than the old scale claimed. I didn’t have time to look into this properly at the time, put the new scale aside and err, sort of forgot to check out the issue.

But this being that slack time between Christmas and New Year, I decided to take action. I thought I’d dispense with the cleverness, get a basic electronic scale and go back to writing things down like some barbarian from the twentieth century. So I did that. And when I got the new scale home, I found it was (once placed on a firm surface, as it didn’t seem to like sitting on carpet) reading somewhere around 15 pounds (around 7kg) heavier than the old scale claimed. Ah. I can see a bit of a pattern forming here…

It was at this belated point that I remembered that I still had my old old scale – the non-smart one I had before the older Withings device. I managed to find it, replaced the battery and gave it a try, and much to my non-surprise, it gave a reading somewhere around 15 pounds (around 7kg) heavier than the old scale claimed.

Sooooooooooo, I’m forced to conclude that the old scale has, in fact, been lying to me for, well, who knows how long. I’m therefore retiring it and will hand over to the new smart scale, which it seems probably wasn’t lying when it told me I was somewhere around 15 pounds (around 7kg) heavier than the old scale claimed[3].

For the purposes of today’s exciting[4] daily, monthly and annual reports[5], I’ll use the old scale’s figure, but from tomorrow, it’ll be new year, new scale, new start at a somewhat heavier weight than previously thought.

This will throw out my spreadsheet’s comparison figures, but realistically, it’s the only way to go.

What fun, eh?

[1] And I’m quite happy if you do just look at the pictures, prints available at negotiable prices, etc, etc
[2] Oh. On checking my finance records, I find it was in June. Ooops
[3] I may have copied and pasted that once or twice
[4] For the very easily excited
[5] I bet you can hardly wait…