Archive for August, 2013

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa

Saturday, August 31st, 2013 | Distractions, Reviews

12 hostages. 24 hours. 1 Partridge.

Steve Coogan bringing Alan Partridge to the big screen has been long awaited. Was it worth said wait? Yes, it probably was! While other comedies build up to huge, though sometimes disappointing, funny moments, Alpha Papa delivers clever, funny dialogue from start to finish.

There is always the danger that a comeback will ruin the franchise, but Alpha Papa has no such concerns. It does a fine justice to the Partridge legend.


We went to Everyman Cinema, which once again offered an excellent experience. We meet up with Chris and Carly beforehand for pizza in the restaurant that delivered to its usual standard as well.

Soul Music

Friday, August 30th, 2013 | Books

The sixteenth book in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series looks at music with rocks in it. It might be just a noise but it’s all the kids are listening to these days.

It has some good characters in it, including Susan (the granddaughter of Death), Dibbler and the Death of Rats. The commentary on the music industry, stardom and the rise of rock and roll was somewhat interesting, though I didn’t find it particularly deep.


Silent shooting

Thursday, August 29th, 2013 | Photos

Higher end Canon EOS cameras have two types of shooting modes – regular and silent. I use silent almost all of the time because I find regular quite loud and annoying. However, surely there must be some disadvantage to it, or they would just have silent mode as the only mode and be done with it.

The answer is it is to do with how fast the camera can take photos.

Under regular continuous shooting, my EOS 6D can burst to 4.5 frames per second, whereas on silent continuous mode, it slows down to 3fps. So if you’re trying to capture action and things in motion, best switch off the silent mode until after you’re done.

Polarising filter

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 | Photos

I’ve recently purchased a polarising filter for my camera, so I took it out for a test run. You can get quite a difference out in the bright sunlight, though some times it seems to detract from the dramatics of the image. Below is a photo I took of Leeds Canal, with light polarisation on the left and heavy polarisation on the right.


The fly and clouds come out with a lot more texture in the one on the right, and it’s difficult to see at this size but the water goes from a horrible grey to a beautiful blue too.

At first, it felt a little like just under-exposing the photo though. If I wanted to prevent the cloud detail from blowing out, surely all I had to do was drop the exposure a little. But of course that isn’t the case, as can be seen in the photos below.


In the top two photos, I haven’t used much polarisation. In the top one I’ve used the camera’s recommended settings, and in the second one I’ve sped up the exposure a few notches. In the third one I’ve put it back to the camera’s recommended setting, but used heavier polarisation.

As you can see in the third one, I’ve obtained the rich detail of the cloud, while still maintaining the vibrant face of the building, and captured much more detail from the block of flats behind it too.


Tuesday, August 27th, 2013 | Photos

I tried my hand at panning so that I could capture cards speeding by. The idea behind the technique is that you pan the camera as the car drives past, thus blurring the background while keeping the car in sharp focus.

I was using my 24-105 f4 lens. Ideally I would have had my 70-200 f2.8 so that I could blur the background even more, though whether I could get down to f2.8 and still keep an exposure of 1/200 I’m not sure. I got better results when I turned off my image stabiliser (because the camera stops trying to fix my panning), but my better lens also has a specific image stabilising mode for panning, so I would like to give that a go.





Bleed them dry

Monday, August 26th, 2013 | Religion & Politics, Thoughts

The warm weather has got me thinking about hose pipe bans. I’m not sure whether they are instigated by the water companies themselves, or by a statutory instrument of government, but either way, it is at the hand of the water companies themselves, complaining about the lack of water. Sometimes this can be attributed to exceptionally dry weather, but often it can just be the case of the private sector cutting water reserves in an attempt to extract more profit.

Therefore, in my opinion, if a water company fails in this way, they should be fined. And fined heavily, because water is quite important.

But extending this, we could regularly fine them, and restrict the profits, for the greater good. Utility companies, and indeed many other natural monopolies that were previously nationalised and have since been sold off, often report large profits. This is just more money passing to the rich, from the poor. Which is bad.

However, we privatised them anyway, because we’re told that private companies run more efficiently.

But why do we let them make such high profits?

Consider if we bled them dry. We hardly let them make any profit because of the price caps and fines we imposed on them. Would this make them less efficient? I suspect not. I think, if anything, they would be forced to run themselves more efficiently in their desperate bid for survival. It would encourage the very efficiently we originally privatised them to bring.

The consequence however was that private investors were less likely to invest in infrastructure. But how much money actually ends up being invested in infrastructure now? Clearly a lot less than could be given the profit given out to the shareholders.

More importantly, if you have just skimmed most of the profit from a private company and taken anything they have left back in fines, you suddenly have a lot of spare money. Money that can then be used by the government to subsidise investment in infrastructure.

The Pour House

Sunday, August 25th, 2013 | Humanism

While not having a well though through name, The Pour House does offer quite a nice location by the canal. As such, it made a promising location for an A-Soc Tuesday night social.

IMG_9138 IMG_9140 IMG_9143 IMG_9144

The bottom half

Saturday, August 24th, 2013 | Tech, Thoughts

There is a saying, “don’t read the bottom half of the internet”. It refers to the fact that while you might get polite and intelligent content at the top of the page, you’re unlikely to once the comments section opens up.

This is a good lesson for live. People are dicks on the internet.

A lot of people don’t seem to have spent much time on the internet though, and are then surprised by the unfriendly comments that they find. Even Richard Dawkins didn’t know until 2010.

But some people think they are unfairly targeted because of who they are. Some people may be of course, but I think it’s important to remember that regardless of who you are, the background hate of the internet generally runs pretty high. Here are some of the comments I’ve picked off my YouTube channel:

All those chicks have no taste though man. SO FUCK U.

There is nothing ‘cool’ about a camera which does a good job of showcasing that face.

what a tard you are

Ur an Idiot Get urFuckin Fact Straight u White Retard

do ur homework u white piece of shit.

umm you looked kinda like you on drugs but yeah i loved that movie and you did a good job

You’re on the right track, kid, but you need to get your hair washed and trimmed.

im reckoning by your dodgy mullet that this is common in your family?? you wouldnt be out of place deep deep south playing a banjo

Fucking idiot.

xmeltrut  ur fucking a dick ibet zain buksh whould fuck ur ugly face ur video sucks and u look like a girl u dickhead

they did die ur fucking dumb

oi u fuck face they did die

Damn you’re ugly.

You look like Trevor from the Trailer Park Boys….

fuck all athiets i hope you will enjoy getting your maginas ripped off in hell death to the athiests

Lmfao, get a gf. Shag her and get a life

you look like a monkey

this guy in the video is an idiot

Lose the drug culture look and maybe i’ll watch the video next time…….Nobody will take you seriously looking like that.

peado’s say i will touch you and you will be healed

haha killing jews lol kill six million jews and burn there corpses lmao

You’re probably thinking that I’ve picked off the worst, most abusive comments. But I haven’t. In fact, the majority of the comments on my YouTube account have been deleted, because the accounts they were posted from have since been flagged as abusive or threatening. What you see above is actually the nicer disparaging comments that get posted.

The take home message is that everyone gets verbally abused on the internet. It’s sad; I wish it wasn’t the case. But for the moment, it is. And much like an insect bite, if you scratch at it, chances are it will get worse.

Here is an inaccurate meme to help you remember it.


It’s inaccurate because posting abusive messages online is not trolling. It’s just being a dick. But that is a different rant.

Family First

Friday, August 23rd, 2013 | Public Speaking, Video

This is my tenth speech from the Toastmasters Competent Communicator manual, “Inspire Your Audience”. The speech doesn’t start until a minute in to the video.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park videos

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013 | Video

Here are some videos from our trip to Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

Lemurs. The lemur doesn’t do anything except lick itself, but another one does climb onto the house.

A tiger. You can see it breathing.

A wallaby. Some children try to pet it before it runs away.