Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Family BBQ

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015 | Events

My gran’s side is quite a large family and we used to get together on a regular basis. Unfortunately, as people have got older, it is become a little too much to organise a large party, so they have gradually faded away.

That is until my parents stepped up and said they would organise a summer BBQ.

We ended up taking ten dishes – four breads (bloomer, stout, focaccia, stilton and bacon rolls), two sides (coleslaw, noodle salad), two starters (tomato and goat’s cheese tart, smoked trout pâté) and two dessert (devil’s food cake and eclairs). Most of it got eaten though due to the volume of food other people also brought we ended up coming home with boxes of new things as well!

We were reasonably lucky with the weather. There was a tiny bit of rain, but not enough to drive us inside, and the night was chilly but not survivable once we had the fire put going.

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Finnish picnic

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015 | Events


At the end of July we attended the Finnish picnic at Temple Newsam. It’s an annual event and we had great weather last year. This year, we were less fortunate.

It rained the whole day. However, we did not let that stop us and headed into the cafe to get some food there. Despite the lack of sun, there were still about a dozen of us.

Sex, Love & Marketing

Friday, July 31st, 2015 | Events, Humanism

Leeds Skeptics recently invited David Frank to present a talk entitled “sex, love & marketing”. It looked at how people market themselves on online dating and what interesting information we can gather from large scale data releases by major online dating networks.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Online dating is rapidly becoming a mature industry with wide social acceptance – most people think it is a good way to meet people and 11% of Americans have used it
  • It is predominantly used by middle-class urban dwellers with some university education
  • “Do you like horror movies?” turns out to be a really good predictor of compatibility

And some tips for using online dating:

  • Get your friends to pick your photos as you will instinctivly try and pick mirror images of yourself rather than the best photos
  • Get your friends to peer-review your profile, just like you would a CV
  • Use an interesting username that is neither boring nor contains words with negative connotations
  • Use pictures taken on DSLRs – whether it is the skill of the user, the higher quality camera or extra care taken, the produce much more liked photos than camera phones
  • If you must use a camera phone, turn the flash off
  • People love some depth of field on profile pictures too
  • Selfies are good for women, but bad for men
  • Smile with teeth is best, followed by no smile, smile without teeth. A smirk is the worst thing you can do.
  • T-shirts or casual shirts are the way to go for men – tank tops and topless are the worst ways to go
  • Showing cleavage works for women, and this becomes even more successful as they age
  • Do not talk about god in your profile
  • Basically everyone hates misspellings, grammar, and short replies

Overall a really interesting talk. There was also a section on sex and fetishes. The entire thing was well supported by stats and evidence. You can find the full slides on David’s website.

Cut Out Shapes at Wharf Chambers

Friday, May 1st, 2015 | Events, Music, Reviews


Wharf Chambers is a new venue located where the Common Place used to be. It’s a members-only club, though membership is just £1 and we just went in. With a good reason of course, we were there for a gig. We got there just in time to see one of the warm-up bands, Secateurs.

They were very good. At first they were just irritatingly loud but as our ears adjusted I began to really enjoy their set.

Cut Out Shapes put on the usual high standard of performance, even doing an encore of a song they claimed they did not know how the play.

Solar eclipse review

Friday, March 27th, 2015 | Events, Video

Massively disappointing.

I sat in Leeds city centre to watch it and it was so cloudy that you could look at it with the naked eye (I did try with the glasses but you could not see anything through them). If you didn’t know that the eclipse was taking place, you could have easily not noticed it was happening.

I could have taken my friends up on their kind invitation to visit them in the Faroe Islands, but there too it was cloudy. The only place you could see it without cloud cover was Svalbard, which as you will no doubt know, is a fictional place made up by Philip Pullman for his His Dark Materials trilogy.

Still, at least the wonders of modern technology allowed me to watch it live on my tablet.

I have actually witnessed a total solar eclipse before as we were in Northern France for the 1999 one, which was pretty magical. Standing on the beach as the entire sky went dark. Not quite the same set by a train track in Leeds city centre watching the sky go almost imperceptibly dimmer…

Loony Party 2014 Conference

Thursday, October 30th, 2014 | Events, Religion & Politics

Last month we attended the 2014 conference of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party. Very few party conferences are start with a pub crawl.

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Or have a travelling band that follow them around.

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In my opinion, this is of the severe detriment to the other parties. It had all the important bits too of course. The cabinet reshuffle for example.

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Llandrindod Wells it quite a nice place. Rather scenic. Being in the middle of Wales, it is a bit of a mission to get to though.

Yarndale 2014

Sunday, October 5th, 2014 | Events


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.

Leeds Pride 2014

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 | Events

I love Leeds. It’s the Northern way of doing things. London Pride has barriers all the way down the parade route. In Leeds, you can just wander into the middle of the road, sit on a traffic island, and watch the parade swarm past you on both sides.

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Porn party

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 | Events

When Google had its ten year old birthday party, it was hard to believe that such a name, synonymous with our every day lives, was so young.

You probably do not feel that way about Worfolk 18, my adult publishing arm. But hard as it is to believe, it has now been going ten years! A decade of supporting freedom of expression, fighting censorship and empowering women.

To celebrate we got together in Fab Cafe. Here is a photo. It is very dark for obvious reasons.


Enabling Agile through enabling BDD

Friday, March 7th, 2014 | Events, Tech

Last month I attended a Leeds PHP event where the guest speaker was Konstantin Kudryashov, author of Behat. He made a great case of how using BDD can really help you stay on track with the agile process.

Unfortunately I was sat directly behind a massive dan boy who spend the entire time enthusiastically nodding to everything that was said. I am sure he is a nice guy, it was just very distracting.

Richard had a very different opinion. He described most of what BDD did was nonsense. It works fine on your Symfony2 stack, but it just adds massive overhead for little benefit he argued, citing an example of how the company he is working with at the moment has just ripped years worth of it out.

I know what he means. It does work great on some stacks but become difficult on others. Also, I was working with a company that had done half their unit testing in it. I will not mention which mayor subscription TV company that was, but it was a great example of applying Behat to the wrong use.

However, on the whole I think BDD really can add a huge amount of structure and benefit to a product. You can knock “value” as a buzzword, but actually it just means actually focusing on what makes a product better and that genuinely is all that matters.