The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

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5:30pm on Tuesday, 26th March, 2019:

Glory Be


I have to say, the English localisation in Final Fantasy XIV can be quite unexpected at times.


5:35pm on Monday, 25th March, 2019:



Populism is seen to be a bad thing because it enables a tyranny of the majority. Referenda enable populism, therefore they are a bad thing.

If you are against populism, you really don't want to legitimise referenda. Holding a referendum to overturn the result of an earlier referendum does legitimise referenda. It's fighting populism with populism: no matter what the result, the concept of populism wins.

The ends doesn't justify the means. If it does justify the means, then the concept of the ends justifying the means also becomes legitimate, which is even worse than populism for enabling tyrannies.

People are saying that Theresa May is the worst Prime Minister ever, but in my book David Cameron beats her for calling a referendum on Brexit in the first place.

I want a save game from early 2016 and I want it loaded now.


11:57am on Sunday, 24th March, 2019:



It seems that I won some more playing cards on eBay.

These are by the Speelkaarten Fabriek Nederland company, and they have the same pattern as the ones I won in February. The aces are non-pictorial, though, and they're a patience deck rather than a Piquet deck (so are smaller but 2s-6s are present).

Figuring out how old these cards are is tricky, because the tax stamp would have been on the box (which I don't have). The fact that the aces don't have pictures on them turns out to be unusual: all the ones on the World Web Playing Card Museum site either have pictorial aces or ones that are less ornate.

My guess is that they're quite early in Speelkaarten Fabriek Nederland terms. They have old-style jacks, but more importantly they have a joker that doesn't have "The Jolly Joker" written on it. That would place them closer to 1909 than 1919.

Whatever, I bid on them because I liked their look, so am pleased to have them regardless.


6:09pm on Saturday, 23rd March, 2019:

Bomb Bay


My wife asked me to add bay leaves to the shopping list today. This is the result.

It's one of her many superpowers. I think other supermarkets ought to pay her to need things at short notice so that their rivals run out.


4:20pm on Friday, 22nd March, 2019:



These local service magazine ads get stranger and stranger. This is from the Connection Magazine, two free copies of which came through our letterbox this afternoon.

These ads cost £60+VAT each.

I wonder if there's a special earwax skip that earwax removers have to take the removed earwax to so it can be disposed of in an environmentally-friendly fashion.


7:40pm on Thursday, 21st March, 2019:



This was waiting on the whiteboard when I came in for my class this morning.

Not the Handwriting Society, then.


6:06pm on Wednesday, 20th March, 2019:



We had an Education Away Day this afternoon. As usual, it was neither away nor a day.

Its coming right at the end of term was exceedingly annoying, because I have assignments to mark. It used to take me 30-45 minutes to mark CE317 assignments, but because I'm not allowed to do it by voice now it takes me 45-60 minutes instead. Having to go in for the meeting and then having to sit through it robbed me of the time to mark another five papers.

All this marking is to provide feedback for students so they grade us highly in the feedback category in the National Student Survey. Slightly more than half of them have already done the survey, though, so are in no position to change their minds for better or for worse; for the rest, by the time I give out the feedback (which has to go through a feedback-approval process) it'll be too late to make any difference.

One of the topics we discussed at the Away Day was attendance, or more specifically the lack thereof. For some lectures it's even more miserable than for my own — 10% of the cohort, that kind of level. My suggestion for dealing this was very popular among members of staff, but rejected by the Head of School.

It would seem there's no regulation that allows me to tell students I won't mark their assignment unless they've been to at least 20% of my lectures. Damn.


6:24pm on Tuesday, 19th March, 2019:



I saw something today that shouldn't have surprised me but did.

Before every lecture, I go to the gents. I don't want to be caught short during two hours of talking to a sixth of the people on my modules. This particular one had two urinals.

So, you know how sometimes you do something so often that it becomes automatic?

There was a flip-top bin standing where, if there had been a third urinal, that third urinal would have been placed.

I think you can guess what had happened.

I'd have taken a photograph, but before every lecture I also always switch off my phone.


12:18pm on Monday, 18th March, 2019:

Important Safety Warning


This arrived this morning.

Ye gods, I'm lucky to be alive!

The last recall I had was for my car, which took a month to get seen to because everyone else with a Ford Focus also got one. That one involved the brakes suddenly not working.

Personally, I think Sainsbury's coffee is more likely to kill me than their cafetière is.


4:53pm on Sunday, 17th March, 2019:

British Isles


I came across this ad back in January and have only just found the screenshot I took of it.

I'm sure there's a Brexit metaphor in there somewhere.


4:35pm on Saturday, 16th March, 2019:



I can't believe that Flying Tiger didn't put their "herb infusers" within the reach of small children in the hope that said small children would indeed grab hold of and brandish them, asking their parents what they are in a loud voice in front of everyone.


12:03pm on Friday, 15th March, 2019:

Pleasant Pheasant


We had a visitor this morning.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that pheasants are so tame, because most of them are bred in captivity. I am, however, surprised that one of next door's cats didn't get it.


6:41pm on Thursday, 14th March, 2019:



It used to be that there were worn-out patches in front of the boards in the lecture theatre, but not any m0re.

Everyone performs from the side of the stage now.


3:31pm on Wednesday, 13th March, 2019:

Did You Know


Did you know that the part of Great Britain west of a line drawn between the Wirral and the Bristol Channel covers an area roughly the size of Wales?


3:24pm on Wednesday, 13th March, 2019:

Campus Blend


The café in the STEM centre describes its Campus Blend coffee in these words:

It's hard to imagine how any coffee could be said to be creamy, let alone silky. Its "notes" include not just almond, not just croissant, but the very intersection of the two; this, combined with malt and the particular flavour of chocolate you get in truffles, leads to the final taste.

OK, so given that this taste could in practice basically be summarised as "sawdust" I can see why they might not want to advertise it as such, but really, this kind of pretentious language is the stuff of wine labels (and indeed "almond croissant" seems to be some kind of official term sanctioned for wine label usage). It may well hail from Cocafelol, Honduras and Chirinos, Peru, but it's going in a plastic-coated paper cup with two sachets of sugar and a glug of whatever that off-white liquid is in the milk jug.


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Copyright © 2019 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).