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., 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.


Jul. 16th, 2018 12:20 am
I appear to have levelled-up my bouldering climbing skill.

At the climbing gym I regularly go to, they have sets of problems (routes) with similar difficulties. So they'll have a set of problems at grade 3, a set of problems at grade 4, a set of problems at grade 5, etc... (using the "font" scale). Each set of problems stays up for 2-3 months, before being taken down and re-set as a different set of problems of a similar grade.

I've mostly been doing the grade 5 problems for a while now, with the occasional foray into a 5+/6a problem, but in every grade 5 set until now there's always been a handful of problems I've not been able to do (in some cases, not even been able to start) before they were taken down.

Today, that changed! I completed the last 5 problems of the current grade 5 set.

They were tricky, took a number of attempts, and a couple felt like I was about to fall off at any moment, but once I'd figured them out, they felt doable. One particular problem that I thought was going to stump me for a couple more weeks at least, turned out to require a fair bit less strength that I thought I was going to need, once I figured out just the right sequence of hand movements, foot/heel placements, body twisting and weight shifting.

It's slow progress, considering how long I've been doing this now, but it is progress.

Of course, now I have to work on the 5+/6a set of problems, which will feel impossible! Ah well.

July lard

Jun. 28th, 2018 07:43 am
Let's try something a little more run-of-the-mill for July. Toro's steakhouse, on London Road, a few doors down from the Sainsbury's Local at the town end of the road, Wednesday, 7:30.

I'd link to the website, but a) the website is terrible and takes forever to load and what are they even doing, and b) the Sheffield branch isn't even listed on the website. That doesn't inspire me with confidence, but it's not too optimistic to hope that a restaurant's cooking skills will be better than their website building skills.

Meet in the Beer Engine, round the back of Waitrose, beforehand.

June lard

Jun. 3rd, 2018 07:24 pm
For lard this month, we will be trying out the Yehetian Spicy Hotpot on West Street, at 7:30. Meet in the Red Deer from 7.

May lard

Apr. 27th, 2018 01:30 am
May lard will be at Pieminister, on Division Street, next Wednesday at 7:30. Meet in the Bungalows and Bears from 7:00.

See you there.
So I was at the bank today, opening a new bank account, and the person opening the account got the manager because the manager apparently likes to say "hi" to new account owners.

We exchanged a few pleasant, and then she earnestly said that "the bank tried really hard to exceed expectations, and were there any instances I could think of that they had?"

This was kind of unexpected, and threw me for a brief period, but my wit came to my rescue and I think I only had time for one "Um..." before I came up with something along the lines of "Not really, you've been efficient and professional, but I had high expectations and you've met them all, so that's good.". In that instant, I thought it was a pretty good save, considering.

The two of them seemed to think that this was genuinely quite funny, which was good, but the fact that I had "high standards" was a point of gentle teasing afterwards. ("I hope this is up to your high standards!") Not much, like 2 or 3 times total, but enough that I felt slightly awkward about it. (I also thought it wouldn't help if I pointed out that "high standards" wasn't what I'd actually said, so I kept quiet about that.)

So, yeah, there I was, feeling a bit awkward, and second-guessing myself about whether my off-the-cuff attempt to tell them politely that they weren't quite as amazing as they hoped they were, was as good as it could have been. Maybe next time someone asks me if they've exceeded my expectations, I should just go with a flat "no". It would be much easier.

But then I'd probably feel guilty about telling someone in front of their boss that they'd not reached the level of service that their boss expected of them. Even if it was the level of service I expected of them and was perfectly happy with.

This. This is why dealing with people is hard. This is why I don't like talking much, because in hindsight I have so often used the wrong words, and talking less means fewer opportunities to screw up.
So, if you're wondering about the relationship between "fun" apps on social media, the companies that create them, and the business models behind them, as well as how to check and revoke the permissions you give not only to those companies, but the permissions you give to your friends to give data about you to those companies, the excellent Computerphile has just released a good straightforward run-down of the basics - Social Media Data.
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