April lard

Mar. 27th, 2019 11:27 pm
April lard will be at Julio's Restaurant in Oughtibridge, 7:30. Meet in the Hare and Hounds beforehand for a drink. Give me a shout if you would like a lift there.
So I've been doing parkrun for a while now, and one of the platitudes that I've had in my head for a while was that "getting to the start line is the hard part".

Just getting up on a Saturday morning at the same time I'd normally get up during the week, having a light breakfast, putting on my running gear, and heading down to the park - that's the tricky bit. If I can just manage that part, the run itself is just putting one foot in front of the other, and how hard is that?

Well, running is actually quite hard. But one of the nice things about parkrun is that you don't have to run the whole thing, and lots of people don't. In fact, you don't actually have to run any of it. There are often a few people who walk the whole way each week, which is fine. Still, you can put as much effort in as you like, and it seems like a bit of a waste to me if I don't put some effort in, so it is actually hard.

Sorry, I'm getting off track a bit. Anyway, one day my brain had a look at the "getting to the start line is the hard part" line I'd been telling myself, from a bunch of different angles, and I realised that it's actually demonstrably true. Trivially so, even.

Every single time I've made it to the start of parkrun, I've finished parkrun. One time I almost gave up at the end of the second lap, but I didn't. However, there have been a number of times where I meant to go to parkrun, wanted to go to parkrun, but didn't. My success rate at finishing parkrun once I've started is 100%, but my success rate at starting is considerably less.

Extrapolating, there are probably fewer than a handful of people each week who start parkrun, but fail to complete it. I'd estimate that the success rate of people who finish any given parkrun once they've started is 99% or greater. But how many people try to make it to parkrun, or want to make it to parkrun, each week, and fail? It's almost certainly greater.

Looking at the event history for my local parkrun, there are normally between 300 and 450 runners each week, with a max turnout of well over 500. On the weeks that have closer to 300 runners, how many of the missing 150-200 do you think are deliberately taking a week off? Some of them certainly, but all of them? No, there are a lot of people out there who mean to go to parkrun each week, who fail to make it to the start line.

Just showing up and getting to the start line is the hardest part. Once you've done that the rest is, well, not necessarily easy, but probably manageable.

There's a metaphor for life in there somewhere...
I get through a fair amount of essays, articles and opinion pieces on the internet. While I quite enjoy reading the ones that come in text form, and watching the ones in video form, I'm generally not a fan of podcasts. This is despite the fact that a reasonable proportion of the video pieces I "watch", I mostly just listen to while I also do something else. (*cough* minesweeper *cough*)

This is something I first noticed when a long-form blogger I try to keep up with started making podcasts on a regular basis, and, after listening to the first two or three, I pretty much stopped paying attention to what they were doing. That's when I noticed that I'd previously done something similar to a video maker who'd switched to making podcasts too.

I've had a think about the why this is, and I've come up with a couple of reasons.

The first is bandwidth. Podcasting is a really low-bandwidth way of getting information across. It's much faster to read 1000 (or however many) words than it is to listen to someone say them. The speaking part of videos is similarly slow, but it's made up for by the visual information that's available. Even if I'm not watching a video 100% the time, if I notice that something visually important happened that I missed, it's easy to rewind 10 seconds and absorb a large amount of visual information really quickly.

The second, which is possibly more important, is that written pieces and videos seem to be better scripted and edited than podcasts. People seem to put a lot of effort into making their point in the best and most concise way possible when they write or video themselves. But when it comes to podcasts, it seems like a lot of people just switch a microphone on, ramble for a bit, and post the result. It's not quite directionless, but it's not nearly as well focussed as written or videoed pieces tend to be.

Has anyone else noticed this, or is it just me? Do you prefer podcasts over other media? Do you have tricks to make podcasts more listenable?
Does anyone know if it's OK to put broken glass in your glass recycling bin? If so, are you supposed to do anything special with it, like how you used to wrap broken glass in newspaper before putting it in your regular bin before glass recycling was a thing, so that the collection people don't get injured by it?

I've had a look through the flyers they put through your door explaining what goes where, and I've had a look on the collection company's website, and done a bit of a googleduckduckgo search, but I can't find any guidance either way.

Also, while "I put broken glass in my recycling and no-one's ever complained" anecdotes are kind of informative and useful, links to official policy declarations would be preferred.

March lard

Feb. 28th, 2019 06:08 pm
Comes around quickly, doesn't it?

March lard will be at Lavang on Fulwood Road, just over from The Rising Sun Inn. Meet at the restaurant at 7:30, or in the Rising Sun from 7:00 for drinks.
So next week's lard will be during Chinese New Year. I've been recommended Noodle Inn Centro (just off West Street) and Taste of China (London Rd) as destinations, both of which I don't think Lard have been to yet.

Given that it's Chinese New Year, I'm going to book a table. So, if you're interested, reply below before Friday lunchtime so I can get the numbers right.

(Yes, I know I can't make it. But I'm OK with that.)

UPDATE - weyou're booked into Noodle Inn Centro at 7:30 under my (real) name. Uh, meet in the Dev Cat beforehand if you're up for drinks?
A friend of mine WINODW recently invited me to participate with them in the Round Sheffield Run this summer.

To enter the RSR, you have to register with a website called SiEntries, who appear to handle registrations for a bunch of these kind of events, in order to then sign up for RSR itself.

So I started to fill out the registration process, and got to the checkboxes asking me to read and consent to the Terms of Use (ToU) and Privacy Policy (PP). Which I did, because I'm that kind of idiot.

First, note that the ToU § "Other Applicable Terms", states:
These terms of use refer to the following additional terms [...] Our Privacy Policy

Then, look at the ToU § "Changes to These Terms" and see:
We may revise these terms of use at any time by amending this page.

Please check this page from time to time to take notice of any changes we made, as they are binding on you.

So, you agree that they can change the terms any time they want, without informing you of the change, and to be bound by whatever changes they decide to make without seeing those changes‽‽‽

Are you fucking kidding me? That is utter, utter bullshit, and should be totally unacceptable to anyone. Like, absolutely anyone, anywhere.

First, it makes the entire rest of the document pointless. Absolutely pointless. Whatever assurances or guarantees are given in the ToU are entirely worthless, because SiEntries can change them whenever they like to whatever they like, and you've already agree to be bound by those changes. Also note that because that term also refers to the Privacy Policy (see above), all the assurances they give there are equally worthless, for exactly the same reason.

SiEntries could change the ToU requiring registrants to sacrifice their first-born son to Cthulu, and literally claim that all existing registrants had voluntarily agreed to be bound by that.

Secondly, the data they already collect (PP § "The Data We Collect About You") and sell/make available to third parties (PP § "Disclosures of Your Personal Data") gives me the creeps, even without considering that they can decide to change those rules to e.g whatever makes them the most money, whenever they like.

Seriously, avoid these assholes like the bloody plague.
...will be a week late, because who has any money or belly space left on Jan 2nd? And it's not all that far-fetched that a few places won't be open anyway.

So, Jan 9th, at Leo's, which is at the Walkley Library end of South Road, at 7:30. Or meet in the Walkley Cottage from 7:00 for drinks.

Happy New Year!
Happy winter solstice everyone!

May all your midwinter festivalling be happy and joyous and full of friends and loved ones.
Just a reminder for those signed up for xmas lard that we're booked into Vito's this Wednesday at 7:30pm. If you're up for a drink beforehand, meet in the Walkley Cottage from 7:00ish.

If you're not signed up but would like to come along, there's a spot spare, so give me a shout.
There's an alteration to the normal plan this month. As R and E are out of the country next week, November lard will be on the 14th. We're going to try "No Name" again, and I've checked ahead of time this time - and they only do seatings around 6:30 and around 8:30.

So that's November the 14th at 8:30pm. Meet in The Ball from 8ish. If you can let me know if you're interested, I can make sure the reservation is correct.

Also, via a general consensus, December/Xmas lard this year will be at Vito's, on Dec 5th. Let me know if you're up for that, so I can book a reservation for that.
Why do cash machines have options for both "balance and cash" and "cash only", and if you select "cash only" then ask you "Do you want to see your balance first? Y/N". Or options for "cash and receipt" and "cash only", and then ask "cash only" people "Would you like a receipt? Y/N". NO! If I wanted to see my balance, or a receipt, I would have selected the option to do that on the previous screen!

Do the people who design cash machines not actually use cash machines. Do they not spend any of their time standing in a queue for a cash machine wondering what on earth the people ahead of them are taking so long doing? Why aren't cash machine UIs streamlined to make the common use case - getting cash out of a cash machine - as efficient, uncomplicated and navigable in as few steps as possible?

I mean, it's not like the checkout at a supermarket, where it's kind of understandable that some customers will want to spend five minutes talking to the cashier and holding up the line, because they're the kind of person who for whatever reason just needs to chat. There's another human being there. And if you're in a rush, maybe the supermarket is not the place for you to go today, so don't fret the queues. At least you're inside, which contrasts with the common case of queuing for a cash machine.

But who is getting personal fulfilment from interacting with a cash machine? Why does that need to on any longer than absolutely necessary for anyone involved? And what are the people ahead of you spending all their time doing at a cash machine? Seriously. Why does it take some people so long to decide how much cash to get out, and to enter that number into the keypad. It's only 2 (or very occasionally 3) digits followed by the bright green "enter" key - that is if the amount isn't on the quick selection screen first. How can someone spend a minute deciding how much money they want? Didn't they think of that before they got there?
I've been thinking a lot about procrastination recently, because I've been doing a fair amount of it )
I think that a large part of the reason that I don't want a second Brexit vote, is that I'm afraid it will come back exactly the same, confirming my worst fears about the state of the world, and a lot of the people in it.

What's wrong with people...? )
I've been reading and watching a bunch of stuff about Brexit. It's depressing, and probably not very good for me, so I should probably stop, but I can't seem to help myself. Anyway, there have been a couple of things which keep coming up, that stick in my head, and go round and round and round. I decided to write them down to see if that would help me make sense of them, and it didn't much.

Then I overthought a lot about whether I should post this at all. Seriously, I just wrote 3 self-loathing paragraphs about why would anyone want to read another idiotic ramble about Brexit, and then a meta-discussion about why anyone would want to read that, and it was all terrible, so I just deleted them and put the actual ramble behind a cut, so you can easily ignore it if you want.


I'm not a fan of the Brexit result (to put it mildly) but I don't want to be a sore loser about it. I just don't get the logic behind the call for a second vote, or behind the notion that we could change our mind even if we wanted to. Am I missing something, or can we move the Brexit discussion on to sub-topics that are a bit more constructive?
Next Wednesday, let's try Yoki in Crookes at 7:30, meeting in The Ball from 7:00.

UPDATE: So it appears that Yoki is "lunch only" and closes around 5pm.

So let's try NO NAME instead, same time, still meet in The Ball.
...um, what is it called when you actually do come up with the perfect rejoinder right in the moment?

I was shopping at Asda the other day (not my usual shop) and was going through the checkout. The cashier scanned all my goods and as I handed over money, they asked "Do you mind giving us your postcode?"

I immediately gave a friendly grin, and cheerily said "I do".

It was a lovely moment. The cashier had to do a double-take. I imagine that's because the positive way I replied was at odds with the fact that I was declining their request, and that my response was terse enough that they had to backtrack and remember the wording they'd used to make the request to be certain of what my reply meant.

Small victories...
Sorry for the short notice/late post, but I've been away for a few days.

Anyway, lard this month will be at Stew and Oyster, Wednesday, 7:30. Meet in the Fat Cat from 7:00.
August? Already?!

How about trying Bocelli 1831 on Eccleshall Road this Wednesday? Meet in the Porter Brook beforehand.
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