Paul Clarke's Blog (Pauly's Soapbox)

Free birthday prosecco and a new baby

No lie in Saturday morning, though I could have done with it after Friday's session... straight to Emma and Jeff's in the morning to meet their new baby boy. He's very chilled, they are lucky there, and their other little one is being well behaved too with a new one in the house. She hasn't figured out she's supposed to be jealous and play up a bit yet. Our boys played really nicely with her, they really enjoyed being round there and running round their garden. Lovely to see them, looking forward to our next night out with them.

On to Canterbury for a little shopping and lunch. Got the boys new Holees shoes for the summer, and some birthday cards and gifts things; thing two has a party to go to today and we have a nephew's birthday this week too.

Lunch in Prezzo and Clare had a "it's your birthday" email entitling us to a free bottle of Prosecco. I had a taste as I was driving back, Clare had a few glasses and we VERY CLEVERLY took a champagne stopper with us so we could bring the bottle home. Not like this one but I can't find the kind we have online. Clare got it as a gift from the HHA one time.

One of the things we bought for the girl whose party is today is a "splat ball", it's amazing, like a rubber ball but if you throw it at the floor it splats out into a big puddle, then reforms itself. We bought one for us too. It's like the liquid metal Terminator, exactly like that. Actually a day later it is slightly less impressive, but only slightly.

Had a bit of a spend up in Waterstones too, only for the boys, don't think I bought anything for me.

Didn't watch any of the football at all today.

MASSIVE salad and burger for my tea, took a long time to eat it. Fairly early night too as no lie in Sunday morning.

Sun Jul 15 2018...

Busy Sunday

Early start today, especially for me. Up at 6am to start week four of Couch To 5k. Much harder this week, three minutes of running, two and a half of walking, five minutes of running, then repeat. I actually did a bit more, first so I wouldn't fall into sync with some other people who are walking on Princes Parade (surprisingly busy at that time in the morning) and then because I had gone so far from home and had to get back so I did an extra run at the end. Feeling virtuous. Two more days of this pattern then on to some longer runs...

Took Clare into pump class so we could keep the car, to take thing two to a party in Hythe, then either get haircuts for me and thing one, OR just go to a cafe. We'll see.

Just writing up my thoughts while I wait for the Sainsbury's delivery, but also doing a little work. Polishing up my continuous integration ideas, then I have to update loads of Google Maps keys ready to go live in the morning.

Clare is out at the pub watching the World Cup final with her bro today. She is gointo feel great for work tomorrow...

Sun Jul 15 2018...

An update from the school about Fortnite reads like an ad

Got a WEIRD email from the school, some info for parents about the game Fortnite. This just sounds like an advert or a press release for the game. It's not in the same voice as the last one we got with some warnings about online predators using some other popular kids game and how we should make sure to block all the social features. here:

Fortnite is an online video game where players compete to be the last person standing in a post-apocalyptic world. The most popular version is Fortnite: Battle Royale, which sees up to 100 players pitted against each other to stay alive on an island. Players can build and demolish structures, and collect weapons, supplies and armour to help them along the way. Players shoot each other using a range of lethal weapons, but the brightly-coloured, cartoon-style graphics and lack of bloodshed mean it doesn’t feel too gory or graphic. To play, the age recommendation is 12 and above due to ‘mild violence’, although you don’t have to provide your age when creating an account, so younger children can still log on easily. Fortnite: Battle Royale is free to download on PC/Mac, Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Switch and iOS devices (Apple phones and tablets). It’s coming to Android soon. It has about 45 million monthly users worldwide including the England football team, who reportedly played it in their World Cup downtime.

It's only when you get on to the next bit that there is any constructive information, but even then it's still a bit promotional.

You may have seen news reports or heard concerns raised about the: - Communication between players: a chat function allows players to talk to each other either over a headset and microphone, or using messaging. Children could use it to speak to strangers, or it could put them at risk of cyberbullying - In-app purchases: players can build up large bills on their parents’ accounts by buying cosmetic items like outfits for your character and better-looking weapons (otherwise known as ‘skins’) - Addictive nature of the game: anecdotal stories tell of children staying up all night to play, or falling asleep in lessons after playing for too long. Some commentators attribute this to the communal feel of the game – you can play with your friends – and the game is different every time you play, keeping it fresh

Ours have no interest in this game though other kids at school are playing it. I however am tempted!

Sun Jul 15 2018...

Epic pub walk Friday

I did a fairly epic 27,000 steps on Friday, my best day just at home I think. Have done more on big trips out in London probably, but not much more.

I started with a run in the morning, the last day of week three of Couch To 5K. It's not a lot of running still and it's getting easier. And this was a great start to the day, I've done most of my day's step count before breakfast.

Was "project lounge" at work, our hack day. I moved a project over to our new continuous integration platform, which led to lots of knock on effects and slightly gave me the fear I would be running late. Planned to leave early for the pub because I'd had to work some last night. Payments started failing just as I was packing in work for the day. 1% of me thought it was something I had caused, so I had to hang around and investigate then had to see it through. But all good, turns out Mastercard had some outage. So was actually quite busy all Friday but still found time for a brief lunch with some walking, so well over my 10k by lunch. I pity the fools who invited me to a daily fitbit challenge today!

I left a bit later than planned but still early. Home for tea then walked into Hythe for a change with friend Sean from regular Friday night spot the Inn Doors. We were heading to the Three Mariners but stopped in The Hope on the way there for an average pint but a nice enough place. Three Mariners was better, then stopped in the Potting Shed on the way back for the first time in years. I think I had only been back in there once since the Inn Doors has been open. After that we decided to keep going and so walked on to the Inn Doors. A lovely evening all told, a lot of walking with a few drinks along the way.

Sat Jul 14 2018...

Victorian day today

Victorian day today, thing one is off to Tenterden on a steam train and to a museum and doing a treasure hunt. A fun day out for him, and all in fancy dress too. He looked awesome, though now I am surely in trouble for forgetting to take a picture before I dropped him off. Hopefully can get one when I pick him up, he might look even more urchinesque after a full day of larking about.

Thing two is feeling better today, bit of a sore throat but he has gone into school again. The school didn't phone me yesterday, but they did phone Clare at about 2pm, just to check if he could have some Calpol.

Thu Jul 12 2018...

The Fountain is back open again

I had heard The Fountain was reopening again soon, seems they opened a bit early to get some football fans in. Had a bonus visit there myself today!

I went to school to pick the boys up as normal for a Thursday at 3:10, I work from home for this reason. Didn't get a message that thing one's class were going to be very late back from a trip to Tenterden until I got there, probably after four. Not really worth going home, the pub is newly reopened, beer garden, play area for thing two, lovely... Basically the little one insisted that we go there. When I sauntered back to the school after my shandy, thing one had been sat waiting for me for ten minutes.

Mum got great news from the hospital today.

Thu Jul 12 2018...

I can stop pretending to like football for another four years

I have really enjoyed the drama of the World Cup for the last couple of weeks, and like last night's game too, up to a point. England didn't deserve to lose that one really. Nice for everyone it has raised the profile of the English players more, particularly highlighting their good sportsmanship. Footballers as people to look up to again? Maybe.

We'll win the fair play trophy once again, and Harry Kane will surely get the golden boot. We will probably watch the third place play-off on Saturday, though we are a bit busy, and Clare is still going out to the pub to watch the final. It will be a bit quieter than if we had qualified...

Thu Jul 12 2018...

Estimated hosting costs of $4.45 for this month

My AWS bills are getting lower and lower, nice! However with this new scripting of deployments I can easily see me messing up one time and doing a tonne of rebuilding and running up a bill... will have to tread carefully there.

Thu Jul 12 2018...

Day two week three of running

Up at 6am again for my Couch To 5K, and it was fine. Still a bit intimidated by the thought of a longer run, but I am not at all struggling with these short bursts, so building up gradually is obviously a good thing. Won't it be great if I can do 5k with out stopping? Boxing Day Run here I come! Maybe.

Speaking to Andy yesterday about running, he does it a lot and has done for a long time. He was saying it's a good hobby as you don't need lots of equipment. I am absolutely "all the gear and no idea" so it is the very opposite of the kind of hobby I would normally have. I'm trying to mould it to my shape, I will start with the new mp3 playing and fitness tracking watch. I've also had my eye on a little belt pouch thing that some runners seem to have, not sure what I'm supposed to put in it though. Maybe a new water bottle too, and of course I already bought the new trainers and insoles. Next stop some kind of running top, then some lights as obviously I will keep this up through the winter. I can turn this from simple exercise into buying-loads-of-stuff and soon drop the exercise part of it, no problem.

Thu Jul 12 2018...

Bought the new wheels

The new EMPI 8 spoke wheels for the beetle are not actually smaller than the existing wheels, hmm... but I do like them, it's what everyone wanted when I first had the beetle. So sort of retro-custom, rather than the "stock" that everyone wants today. The tires are good, well three of them. Two of mine are bald. How long do you think these wheels will sit in my study waiting for me to fit them?

I have a recommendation of a place to take the beetle locally, OG Buswerks, hopefully slightly more convenient than Volksfarmers will try them out at some point.

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Wed Jul 11 2018...