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You meant to do that, right?

There was clearly a technical whoopsie over the weekend, as I went in for 8am on Monday morning and the fancy new information display screen said:
Page Web non disponible
Impossible de charger la page Web

You meant to display the underlying email address and password to everybody, right?



Gothic calendar

I looked on Amazon for a "calendrier goth".

I... um...

Screenshot of an Amazon item
I expected a goth mouse to be dressed in black...

You'll notice it is free delivery to Prime members, in two days.

I kept looking down the list, and eventually came across this, which looks... interesting.

Screenshot of another Amazon item
This is what God really looks like.

However this one was classed as a "book" (why?) which meant it would cost €0,01 postage if I ordered more than €35 of books, or €3 postage otherwise.
Well, unless I group together a bunch of English books, I don't see myself ordering that many books from Amazon in the future due to this daft rule.
Anyway, point is, with calendars it's pretty much luck of the draw whether it is classed as a book (so isn't free postage) or as a non-book (so is). I mean, I guess if your definition of "book" is something printed on paper and folded over?

Oh, for f:-)ks sake. A normal lined notepad does not seem to be counted as a "book", while a notepad lined in groups of five for writing music in it is counted as a "book" despite the stave lines simply being a guide every bit like the lines in regular notepads are for writing.
What the hell France? This rule doesn't make sense.

So I decided to try it a little more Frenchie: "calendrier gothique"

This got me endless selections of the same badly drawn dancing skeletons or a line drawing of a skull with flowers around it.
Sorry, that's not what comes to mind for me when I think "gothic". I'm thinking of moody forest scenes, creepy houses, maybe mist over a graveyard illuminated by the moon, that sort of thing.

But either it doesn't exist, or Amazon's AI doesn't know how to find it.

It gets worse. I tried looking for "symphonic metal calendar". You know, there are enough decent acts that you could easily do a band a month. Does such a thing exist?
Don't ask Amazon. It saw the words "calendar" and "metal" and ran hard with that. Who knew there were so many intricate ways to hang a calendar? I just whacked a nail into the wall...

As I mentioned maybe last year, or the year before, I've stopped getting Japan calendars. Not because I'm no longer interested, but simply because it's the same group of photos all the time. I mean, one could easily fill several calendars with "Scenes of Japan", like just go to Fukui and Shimane and take a photo of any bit of scenery. For the geekier, you could get numerous calendars out of "Trains of Japan", for example. But these things don't seem to exist. Or, at least, not in English.

Incidentally, looking for "trains of japan calendar" results in a Hunger Games 2024 Calendar (which is counted as a book). So, I don't think we need to fear our AI overlords just yet.


In the end, I gave up and just thought what TV programmes interested me recently that I would be happy to hang from my wall.

Well, there doesn't seem to be such a thing as a "The Expanse" calendar. Shame.

But the other programme I liked? Yup. There's a calendar for that. One made by Grupo Erik which make fairly decent not-too-expensive calendars. Better yet, they don't count as books. ☺ It even came in a snazzy fully printed card envelope. Brownie points for the presentation.

Wednesday calendar
When every day is Wednesday.

Who'd'a thought that trying to find a wall calendar would be so hard?


Electronics stuff

The other stuff, that was originally proposed for delivery on Saturday until after I paid, came yesterday.
Electronics stuff
Some electronics stuff.

A bag of single-in-line headers and matching sockets. I think they're all 40 pin or something, just break them to the desired size. Plus five smallish breadboards (a to j, 1 to 30, or 300 holes; plus a row of power pins on each side). These can be useful for putting together small circuits without soldering or wirewrap.

What I did with the header and socket was to put one of those in-line with my calculator's printer mechanism just in case I wanted to try using it with some custom hardware.

Calculator modification
Small calculator mod.

I noticed that when switching print wheels (printing in red or going to numbers after the rightmost column) that it's as if the print head moves but the three print wheels do not which allows the thing that boinks the back of the print wheel to change which wheel it is behind. I think this is the technical reason why there is a two-digit space on the right-hand side between the status column (at the absolute right) and any other print-out. I'm still not sure how exactly this happens. It isn't helped that my little oscilloscope doesn't actually show 'reality' like a real oscilloscope. It will capture a waveform, and then show a window into it; as opposed to starting refresh at the left and cycling back when it gets to the right of the screen like a regular 'scope. Which makes it just a tad harder to work out what's going on as you can't look at the trace as the print head is actually moving. Well, with a video camera. I don't imagine my eyes are up to the millisecond timings involved here.

Here's a picture of some random nonsense I printed out afterwards to show the connections were good.

Calculator print test
Print test.


That burning sensation

An American snack box from Lidl. With horrible cooking instructions - put the onion rings in for eight minutes, then add the chili cheese balls for six more minutes, and finally the mozarella sticks for a final six minutes more.

So that's what's here.

American spicy food
American "spicy" food.

On the left, onion rings. Proper onion. In the middle, cheese balls with bits of jalapeño peppers. On the right, battered mozarella sticks. And the red gunk up front is like ketchup mixed with Tabasco.

I liken this "American way" stuff to the local eatery called Buffalo Grill that served sort of tex-mex food in a restaurant decked out with statues of native Americans and playing country songs in the background. It's like they took three different (and barely related) things typical of America and stuffed them into a blender, the result being a weird mish-mash.
Sadly, while I quite like that style of food and could easily have gotten fat and poor on it, my local eatery's hygiene levels fell so damn hard that mom and I decided that it would be safer if we just didn't any more. I took a quick look on Google Maps at the one star reviews. Somebody posted photos of the lamentable state of the (dirty) cutlery, and there's one review of a waitress that tickled me: Si vous êtes aussi aimable que ma compagne quand elle a ses règles il faut penser à changer de métier. Ouch, he manages to insult two women at once...

So to this box from Lidl. €3,99 for 450g I think. A big pricey but, let's see. The onion rings were nice, and refreshing to have actual onion pieces and not a sort of pulped onion stuff. They went well in the surprisingly hot hot sauce. The mozzarella sticks were a bit meh, but then I'm not really a fan of those. The chili cheese balls? Again, surprisingly hot.
It seems a lot of tex-mex stuff available around here is, shall we say, toned down so as not to scare the children. This didn't smash any part of the Scoville scale, Japapeño and Tabasco only rank around 2,000 to 4,000(ish) which is enough to make your mouth feel like it's burning, but to put it into context a Cayenne is around 50,000, a Habanero is around 150,000, and a Carolina Reaper scores 1,500,000 (and us mere mortals just don't).
So it's hot but edible by those who aren't bad ass Mexican dudes (just think Danny Trejo (who was born in LA, but shhh!)).

It was mouth curlingly enjoyable, actually.

Worst bit? Not a fan of mozzarella sticks really.

Best bit? Dipping the chili cheese balls in the hot sauce.

Bestest bit? Dipping the chili cheese balls in the hot sauce and then shaking some Tabasco on top "just to be sure".


I blame boarding school. Too many years of utterly insipid food that was frequently devoid of form as well as taste (think what becomes of cauliflower cheese if you boil it for half a day) made me have these urges to once in a while go eat something toe-curlingly hot. Oddly, I'm not a fan of Indian. A chicken tikka (by the English definition, not the Indian one!) is about as much as I can take of Indian spice. It tastes very... green... to me.
Tex-mex on the other hand has a red taste (even when the pepper pieces are green!). I'm clearly a red spice guy, not a green spice guy. I wonder what the techical difference is in the spices used?

Oh, and don't ever talk to me about mushy peas. It's something that should be outlawed. I don't get the English obsession with mushy peas (a frequent side order at local chippies). They're... how can I describe mushy peas? It's like a seasick ghost has just vomited on your plate.

And with that pleasant image in your mind's eye, I'll leave you to go make soy-caramel fried noodles.



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C Ferris, 24th October 2023, 21:36
Note -BT has started to roll out its programme on a region-by-region basis. However, in general, they aren't currently switching certain groups, including: people aged 70 and over. people with additional needs. people who only have a landline (and not broadband) people with telecare alarms. people with no mobile signal at home.
Anon, 25th October 2023, 01:25
Hey, I like country music, what's wrong with that?
Rob, 26th October 2023, 02:20
I agree re. mushy peas. Insipid stuff. 
And did you try going to that URL on the info screen to see what else you could find?
Zerosquare, 26th October 2023, 06:54
Hmmm... Japanese calendar... I might be able to help with that. 
And speaking of spicy stuff, have you tried the Golden Curry stuff that Satsuki sells? I think you'd like it.

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