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Killer beans?

A couple of weeks ago, I cooked some frozen battered chicken lumps in the air fryer, poured Heinz beans on top, then popped it all into the microwave for a couple of minutes to heat up the beans.

My tongue tingled a little as I ate the meal. It does this from time to time, I think my mouth is sensitive to something, I'm just not sure what.
Shortly after eating it, the sides of my tongue swelled up and so did the back of my throat which made swallowing unpleasant.

The only problems that I anticipate are the digestive upsets that occur as a result of dumping an entire tin of beans inside. I certainly don't anticipate what seems for all the world like some sort of allergic reaction.

But to what? I've eaten those chicken lumps plenty of times, and beans have been a part of my life since I was young enough to hold my own fork. Additionally, a quick look at Heinz beans suggests that it's actually not a bad product - there is a pleasing absence of E numbers, preservatives, flavourings, and all the scary crap you'd find in something like a noodle pot. There's more weird in the chicken lumps, but I've eaten them with no odd effects in pasta and the like.

What I just ate
What I just ate.

So, I've just cooked and eaten the exact same thing again and...




Better sound

I got myself a 1.5 metre photo to jack lead from the supermarket, and cut the plugs off. It was cheaper than buying 1.5 metres of audio cable. Don't ask me...

Anyway, I had to pull out the car media thingy. Easier said than done. There were little releasing clips in the glovebox that came with the media player. The method of removing it is the same as regular DIN radios, just a little more fiddly due to its larger size.
I managed to free the unit from the retaining clips but could only push it in further, it wasn't going to come out. So I pushed it in a little further, and then climbed down to reach up under the dashboard to give it a good shove from the other side.
That did the trick and then the unit could be slid out to reveal a big hole and lots of wires. There's a custom mini-plug for the media unit itself, which goes to a dual-DIN adaptor block for the two plugs that the car is wired with.

The wires behind the car radio
The wires behind the car radio.

As an aside, note the metal tube on the right. That thing is a splitter that converts the standard whip antenna into FM and DAB.

I didn't want to mess with the car side of things, so I hooked my wires into the adaptor thingy. A dab of solder to hold the wire firm to the top of the spade connector (that isn't connected to anything on the car side) and some electrical tape to secure the wires.

Jacking in some extra wires
Jacking in some extra wires.

This goes under the carpet on the passenger side where it is spliced into the cables that I removed from Caoimhe.

More cable join
More cable joins.

This then goes to the back, on the passenger side, to the better speakers back there. And the left cable runs under the boot carpet to the other speaker.

Better speakers
Better speakers.

For now, the speakers are held in place by two sticky velcro tabs.


In use, the radio isn't particularly powerful. If I push the volume too far (which isn't actually that far), the speakers will start crackling and the audio will disable itself until I power-cycle the radio - thankfully with an on-screen message so you know what just happened.

But careful playing around with the balance and EQ settings can get a more effective bass response than the door-mounted speakers, and a good enough volume level. At any rate, my music doesn't sound as good as those 12" speakers (duh, really?!), but it's a massive improvement on how it used to be. Given the sorts of things I listen to, a frequency response better than the POTS is somewhat necessary... ☺

Remember me
Remember me...


I won at the supermarket

There was a little terminal where you sign in using your loyalty card and then do something in order to win prizes. It's often a slot machine or a spinning wheel. This time you had to prod the screen to kick a ball into a goal... only it was spectacularly insensitive. I dragged my finger from the player to the far left of the screen. The ball went to the right and into the goal.
Which meant I won, in the most improbable way possible.

I won... a football and a sort of scarf thing that said "FRANCE" (obviously, given where I am!). An equally improbable thing to win. I'd have been happy with a pack of Philadelphia...

Football stuff
Football stuff.

Notice the inflating spike on top of the football. Notice that it is in two pieces. It was, I'm afraid, made of premium grade Chinesium. I got it back together with a spot of percussive maintenance, but I don't know if it'll come apart the next time I need to use it.

The ball makes a pleasing thunk sound when bounced off the floor. And it's worth noting that it's an array of six sided and five sided pieces, primarily because it's a three dimensional object. You can tessellate hexagons by themselves on a flat surface (such as the infamous road sign), but bring in depth and curving the hexagons and it suddenly gets a lot more complicated.
By combining a zig-zag pattern of two hexagons down and two up, and repeating four more times, then filling in the gaps with pentagons, you arrive at a spherical truncated icosahedron. That's not a subatomic particle, it's a 32 face shape which is instantly recognised as "a football".


UK election

The bad news is that effing Farage is now a legitimate MP, on his eighth attempt...I guess you can polish a turd after all. You can expect that tireless media whore to offer an unwanted opinion on everything now. The not-so-bad news is that his Reform party only managed to scrape together five seats. That's as many as the DUP have, and less than Sinn Féin (who don't attend out of principle).

The SNP have nosedived, losing 38 seats to hang onto a mere 9. Now one should not be at all surprised that the SNP bangs on about independence. Clue in the name there. What was less welcome was introducing unworkable hate crime laws and spending far too long getting in a twist over what the word "woman" means.

One of the big winners of the election was the Liberal Democrats. Being slammed for throwing away their core beliefs in the uneasy coalition with the Tories way back when, they were all but wiped out. They are, however, the most viable option for those who like neither of the two main parties. So this time they gained 64 seats to give them 72.

The Tories suffered their worst election defeat in the history of the party, shedding 252 seats to leave them just 121. In true Tory fashion, the recriminations and infighting has already started. It's that sort of crap that's been going on for years that's likely to have turned voters off of them. Rishi is still around, but I understand he has offered his resignation as party leader. It was widely expected that Penny Mordaunt (she of the epic sword) would follow him, only she can't. She lost her seat, she's out of the Commons. While Ash and Godalming (my constituency) is still held by Jeremy Hunt (just, by about 900-odd votes), we can finally get rid of that relic of the past called Rees-Mogg.

Which means Labour got the expected landslide. Gaining 214 seats, they ended up with 412. They needed 326 to have a majority.


Meanwhile the right wing media is going into meltdown over this. The Daily Mail has been quick to point out that Labour won with either 20% of the vote or "barely 1/3" of the vote depending on which article you read. They also point out that it is highly unfair that the LibDems who got 3,519,199 votes get 72 seats while Reform got 4,117,221 votes and ended up with only five seats.

The reason this happened is because the UK has "First Past The Post" voting, which tends to favour the main parties. Put simply, each constituency has a number of candidates. When the votes are counted, the person with the most votes is elected into Westminster representing that constituency. The party with the most seats is in charge, but if they don't have a majority or a slim majority they have to enter into a coalition to form a majority.
Anyway, it is possible that Reform came in second place all over the country, but second place counts for nothing, which is why they had more actual voters and fewer seats.

It's a very simple method of voting, and it helps to avoid the sorts of chaos as is often seen in countries such as France and the US where the President and lawmakers are elected separately, and if the house majority is not the same side as the President, all sorts of ideological conflicts happen. I fear tomorrow France will vote for a national front government, which means the rest of Macron's presidential period will be trying to contain a hostile government, and far too much effort will be spent on conflicts rather than making anything better.

I cannot, however, muster up any sympathy for the Daily Mail given that they have in the past written that there is nothing wrong with FPTP voting, and suggesting that PR (proportional representation) was some sort of awful leftie plot that could keep Labour in power forever.

Honestly, I'm not sure what sort of voting is the best. If we used PR then who would represent each contituency? How would that be decided? There are various forms of voting in use in democratic countries - FPTP, electoral college, PR... each have their strengths and problems. I think the UK should stick with FPTP. Given the swing to Labour, it shows that voters can change the government if they choose to do so. But I feel that many voted Labour (or Lib Dem) in order to try to unseat a Tory. Maybe by the time the next election rolls around, we'll have reasons to vote for somebody instead of trying to vote somebody else out.

I can now say, as the vote has been cast, that I voted Liberal Democrat. I always have, and since they were the second strongest party in my area, I didn't need to concern myself with whether or not to vote Labour. I still haven't forgiven them for their adject failure of being The Opposition during the Brexit years, but I think a lot of that can be put on Corbyn's head.

In terms of political beliefs, there's not actually that much difference between LibDem and Labour voters, which is why something like 1 in 4 LibDem/Labour voters stated to polls a desire to vote tactically (for the other party) in order to unseat the Tory incumbent.
In party terms, there is a lot of overlap in policies between LibDem and Labour. The actual difference is mostly philosphical. One of the main differences is that LibDems want people to be liberal, to have the freedom to make their own choices. Like why they are opposed to banning smoking rooms - it's assumed that if there is such a thing then one can assume that all of the occupants have consented to gathering there to breathe the noxious fumes of theirs and others cigarettes; therefore banning them is unnecessarily restricting a person's freedom to choose. There's a lot more to it than that, but it's an easy example to point to. And, yes, I agree. I have no intention of ever going to a smoking room, I find the odour to be quite distasteful, however if a bunch of adults want to go there and puff their way through a half dozen fags while discussing the final points of the footie, then why not. It's better than having them lingering against random lamp posts in the rain like some sort of low-grade pervert.

The Wiccan Rede, from 1964 and revised a bunch of times until it was this mess in 1975 encompasses pretty much the same sort of concept: An [it|ye|you] harm none, do [as|what] [ye|you|thou] [will|wilt].
To go far further back than fake olde Englishe, one could say primum non nocere.


Things to get you through the day

In the Daily Mail, a Tiktok psychologist "revealed" three things to say to yourself during a hard day at work. They were:
  • I cannot save people from themselves.
  • Even if I cannot control anything else, I can control my breathing.
  • I do not need to heed the opinion of somebody from whom I would not ask advice.

As damn-near everybody pointed out in the comments, the third one is bogus. You may need to heed the opinion of somebody if that somebody is your boss.

I would like to offer an alternative:

  • Think of the money. Even if the pay is crap, you still get paid.
  • If you're the lower end of the scale, you're a time-card employee. This means you come and go at specific scheduled times. This also means that outside of those times, there is no need to think of anything to do with work. So count the hours, then the minutes, until you walk out the door.
  • Stay away from workplace politics and gossip. It might seem like fun, but as was said above, you cannot save people from themselves. But you can try to prevent yourself becoming collateral damage.
  • Do not go above and beyond. Additional duties and responsibilities must come with a corresponding additional remuneration. If you volunteer to do extra, you won't get paid more, you'll just be expected to do more.
  • Employers are not lovers, nor are they friends. It's a simple arrangement where you exchange abilities and time for money. They will always be looking for ways to reduce their expenditure, so telling you they are "like a family" is a sweet psychological trick to get you to be willing to work a little harder for the same pay. Work well enough, but don't push yourself too far. They won't remember what you did, only what you failed to do.

And if you really hate it that much, use your down time to look for an alternative.


But most of all, put aside a little bit of money (something between 20 and 100 depending on your finances) and either on your pay day, or the weekend after, do something enjoyable. A nice meal, perhaps?
It's also acceptable to have in mind something you'd like, and to save up for it. Don't spend the money on something else, set a target and an amount that won't mess up your financial situation, and aim for it. When you reach the target, get that thing. Give yourself a dopamine hit, and remind yourself why you bother to get up every morning.



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C Ferris, 7th July 2024, 11:42
Tony Blair for Home Secretary ????
David Pilling, 7th July 2024, 12:07
Tony Blair for 'éminence grise' 
Rob, 7th July 2024, 12:23
Well that was indeed a result. But looking at the figures, labour only won quite so many constituencies because Reform split the tory vote. Typical Farage arrogance, pushing their candidates everywhere rather than concentrating on specific seats they'd have the best chance in. Look at the Greens. They picked a handful of seats to concentrate on, and won them. 
Maybe if we did have PR the smaller parties would campaign more widely, and get a higher percentage of the overall vote than they do now. 
One under reported thing about votes is that the opposition parties are given "short money" to support them, and it's partially based on the number of votes they get. Reform looks to be getting £1M this year, the greens about half that, despite having almost the same number of seats. Maybe arrogance wins after all. 
I voted Lib Dem, as normal. Not much chance of their winning my local seat, it's solid Labour. Hence I received a total of *one* leaflet during the campaign, from Labour. Nobody else bothered spending anything here trying to get votes, knowing the candidates had no chance of winning. But at least I know my vote will have contributed an extra 20p towards party funds this year..
Rick, 7th July 2024, 14:20
Was so excited that Rees-Mogg was kicked out that I completely forgot that Liz Truss is also looking for a new job. 
Remember her? She had the shortest tenure ever, but in that time managed to kill the Queen and the economy. 
So "good riddance" doesn't quite cover it, does it? 
Still, Rees-Mogg has gone. 🤸🎆🎉 I should break open a bottle of Champomy and celebrate. 🍾
jgh, 7th July 2024, 15:29
"Do not go above and beyond." 
That's the really annoying part of interviews, when I get asked "give an example of when you went above and beyond to get the job done". 
I dunno. Never. I do the job wot I'm paid for. More pragmatically, once a contract is finished everything about it falls out of my brain. What did I do in my last job? *I* can't remember! Ask the person I worked for. 
More realistically, I can't think of anything in any job I've done which has *required* going above and beyond to get the job done. If a job has required A&B to get it done, it's been badly spec'd by the employer. 
jgh, 7th July 2024, 15:32
Pendant alert: It's Short money, not short money.

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