Chris Worfolk's Blog


Trainspotting

October 11th, 2014

After careful consideration, I have decided that heroin is not for me.

I had pretty much decided this already, but Irvine Welsh’s graphic depiction of life on skag in Edinburgh confirmed this view. Maybe it is amazing. Maybe you can kick the habit. But having carefully considered it, I have decided that it probably is not worth the risk of ending up lying on a floor, covered in my own sick, injecting junk into your cock because it is the only vein I can find on my body.

The content is horrible. I have read quite a few of the famous war novels, and none of them match up to this. Perhaps it is because life in the trenches is more of an abstract concept whereas having a drug habit, while not being something I have ever done, is far closer to reality.

Plus, it makes for a really good novel.

It was hard going at first as it is written in Scottish English. However it gets easier as you go along.

trainspotting

You have not lived…

October 10th, 2014

…until you have seen Darth Vader, on a unicyle, playing the bagpipes.

A Universe From Nothing

October 9th, 2014

Why is there something rather than nothing? Why does the universe exist? That is the question that Lawrence Krauss aims to tackle in his book “A Universe From Nothing”. I first heard him speak at QED and very much enjoyed his book The Physics of Star Trek. This one promised to be almost as good.

I found it sufficiently accessible. Some of it was a bit too clever for me. Sentences such as “when you think about it, x doesn’t make any sense…” I could have thought about some of those problems for a long time and not seen the flaw. However, for the most part it is entirely readable and Krauss is a solid communicator of his ideas.

Given how fast physics is moving, some of the content in this book could soon be out of date. However, for now it is a clear and concise overview of where we are with our understanding of the origin of the universe. There are some fascinating insights. For example, we live at a time when the Big Bang is detectable and we can see we are part of a huge universe. In two trillion years, that will not be the case. All signs of it will have disappeared. Ours is the golden age of cosmology, because the universe is only 13.8 billion years old.

I did not feel it needed some much commentary on religion. There was no religion-bashing, but there was a lot of “which is why the universe must clearly be billions of years old and so scripture must be wrong”. Perhaps this is required this is more relevant for other audiences, but from my perspective it felt like everyone who was going to read the book would know that already.

Overall I found the book accessible and enjoyable, as well as re-igniting that feeling of excitement about physics.

a-universe-from-nothing

Guitar strumming patterns

October 8th, 2014

One of the frustrating things I have found as a beginner guitarist is that it is easy to find out the chords used in a song, but the strumming pattern is rarely discussed.

Worse, if anyone does dare ask about it, they are usually shot down but a swell of unhelpful comments suggesting that they should just “listen to the song and work it out”. This is not a particularly satisfying answer as why would you not assume the same is true for the chords? Surely someone is looking for a tab precisely because they do not know how to play the song.

Video tutorials are often a lot more helpful, but do not translate into something that is easy to find. As a consequence I have started a guitar strumming patterns database. It is very small at the moment but will hopefully grow over time.

The Wee Free Men

October 7th, 2014

Not my favourite Discworld novel. It was a “young people novel”, so slightly different from most. I did enjoy the Nac Mac Feegle which were brilliant characters (and not racist at all). Tiffany Aching is an okay character, but maybe a little similar to Susan Sto Helit.

The_Wee_Free_Men

Aire yarn

October 6th, 2014

aire-yarn

This yarn is named after the River Aire. Now, I don’t know if you have ever seen the River Aire, but it definitely is not that colour.

Yarndale 2014

October 5th, 2014

yarndale

Eat your heart out Tour de France. It is knitting that really gets Yorkshire excited.

As you probably know, Yarndale is not only Yorkshire’s biggest yarn festival, but one of the highlights of the British yarn calendar. No llamas this year, but they did have sheep and alpacas. As well as lots of lots of yarn for sale.

Lutheran Christmas card

October 4th, 2014

christmas-card

The museum in Llandrindod Wells had “draws of discovery” where you opened a draw to see what was inside. One of which was this.

Free, as in weddings

October 3rd, 2014

weddings

I think this hotel is mocking the fact that everyone gauges couples as soon as they say the word “wedding”. They offer free wedding cake, decorations as a bridal suite. All in quote marks.

Casual Fridays

October 2nd, 2014

I am currently consulting with a company that has a dress code. It is the first place I have worked that has one (except for McDonald’s). However, like many other workplaces they have dress-down Fridays. Both these factors have caused loads of issues.

I have a business suit and an evening suit. I would say they get used for weddings, funerals and naming ceremonies, but I went to the last christening in jeans. I have a real lack of smart clothing and being in work the entire weekday and away every weekend at the moment, no time to go and buy any more. This results in some tough laundry deadlines.

My shoes are too uncomfortable to drive in, so I drive to work in my trainers and then switch. On the way home, it is more complicated though. There is loads of traffic, so I set off in my shoes and then have to do the shoe-to-trainer shuffle as quickly as I can while still creeping my car forward in the queue.

And then there is Casual Fridays.

Firstly, what is the point of casual Fridays? My view is that it is what people do, not what they look like that counts (most of the time). However, if you believe that people need to dress smartly to do their job, why would you not enforce this policy on a Friday? Are you just giving up on 20% of the working week?

Secondly, it is then stressful for your workforce. I did not really understand why Elina found it stressful, trying to work out what clothes to wear. But she does. Many people do. My colleague Paul just comes in smart clothes because he cannot face navigating the complexities of being appropriately casual. Having tried it, I now understand what they mean. What if everyone else is still in smart clothing? In the end, I decided I just did not care if that happened. However, it did play on my mind for quite a while.

Dress codes. They are not to be taken lightly.