CRRRaSh! 312 Virtual Pub

By Roy Mathur, on 2020-04-22, at 00:02:18--01:07:15 BST, for Captain Roy's Rocket Radio Show, Listen


Since I feel rather ugh (acid reflux, bad back, bad knees, bad you-name-it---welcome to ageing), I decided to tape a mostly dry episode. (I think low alcohol cider is a fair compromise). News that UK boozers may stay closed until Christmas, almost made me change my mind, but it I'm putting off the extremely belated celebration of Mauritian Independence Day to actual Mauritian Independence Day next year.

Instead, I have an extended show talking about the full range of topics that this show usually covers, i.e. culture, technology, and creative matters.

Virus Diary

The UK daily death rate, if you include care home deaths, could be, conservatively, roughly around 20,000+. I try not to pay attention to these stats, but I find myself compulsively drawn to them.

My parents arrived a few months ago, and their stay was supposed to temporary. We never thought we'd have to live together for so long. As I said previously, this has led to some friction. My solution is, no matter how difficult, to not hold grudges.

That aspect is solved, but I have noticed a rather curious aspect of older people living together. Our awakening routines are long and elaborate. We all have minor medical requirements that we each need to personally attend to, then there's the various rituals, and the varying times we wake. It's kind of thing that only becomes apparent if you share a multi-generational household.

I'm continuing my night walks, though I have started to notice others doing the same thing. I hope I haven't started a trend, because that would defeat my solitude seeking late night walks. I do wonder what the police think when they pass in their patrols cars and see a lone, back clad, dark skinned, and twitchy (Tourette's Syndrome) man strolling around in the dark. Or, for that matter, what the neighbours think. So far, and this is a big difference from the 80s, I haven't been stopped, even though the hideous old sus laws have been back for quite some time. (I was stopped and searched at the very least three times by UK police in the 80s---one stop included an assault---which is one of the reasons I mentioned those mixed feelings I have about the 80s in 311). The other big reasons included economic hardship and racism).

And what else? On the 16th of April, I tweeted about "An itch like that of my fungoid afflicted eyes. Which, oh you will so hear about in a future #CRRRaSh! pod, along with the joys of UK isolation #telemedicine." Amazingly, I managed to book an appointment, was triaged by a nurse, and had a video conference appointment with a doctor. There were a few rough edges, like the doctor not really knowing how to use the software (after a previous non-connection, I had to stare at his forehead), but he prescribed what I needed. A few hours later I called the chemist, who when I tried to enquire whether proper distancing measures were now being taken (they were not the last time I visited), mistakenly thought I wanted to jump the queue and kept repeating that I would have to wait my turn. The pressure must be getting to them. As my mother said, "they're losing it." I'm pleased to say collection of my prescription went quite smoothly; a lot more smoothly than that last uncomfortably crowded visit. The fly in the ointment was the, er, ointment I was prescribed for the infected skin around my eyes that warned against getting any of the stuff in my eyes. The ear drops prescribed for my blocked ears and tinnitus also warned against it's use for tinnitus. Tricky. Also, lucky I uncharacteristically RTFM.

Before we leave medical matters, I started paying extra attention to my teeth a few weeks ago because I knew access to a dentist would become difficult. On the news recently, lack of PPE for dentists confirms that this is the case. Look after your teeth people.

Its official that we have another three weeks minimum of the lockdown, and until September for the elderly like Mum and Dad (they received a letter from the government yesterday).

Drink up and let's do the rest of the show.

The Lovely Bones

My father is reading voraciously; something I've never seen him do before. Included amongst a tower of books he's managed to churn through are Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones...


... and Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis.

The Code

I'm watching too much television. I'm currently boxsetting season two of Australian techno thriller The Code (2016).

The Secret Daughter

My mother is looking browsing properties for our eventual move and boxsetting The Secret Daughter (2016--2017).

The Fog

Twitter, 17:47: "It's the 21st of April, so of course Mum's #movie today is #JohnCarpenter's #TheFog, which I mistakenly thought, when I first went to see it at #Lewisham #Odeon in 1980, was going to be based on the James Herbert novel. It's not, but it's still good. Happy #Horror! #FilmTwitter"


Alex Garland's Devs, sci-fi show about a computer that can literally see into the past and future, and what that means for us, is available on Hulu and now also BBC iPlayer in the UK.

By the end of Devs, Katie wants to keep the heaven branch extrapolation open as a sim where the memories of Forest and Lily can live. However, the tone of the end of Devs was muted, but not unhopeful, which suggests that Alex Garland doesn't understand that heaven isn't heaven, it's just a game sim where your memories live; it's not a happy ending. This is Passengers (2016) all over again, made by tone deaf filmmakers.

Devs is yet another case of style over substance. That means Ex Machina is the only great film he has made that actually makes sense. What a let down. Garland's good at character, style, topical story telling, but fundamentally messes up the point of his own story. And, by the way, I haven't even started hammering away at the dodgy science of Devs.

Either make schlock or bleed for your art; I appreciate both, but don't dress schlock up as art.

Ending on a positive? Jin Ha is great.

Red Dwarf: The Promised Land

It was fun, but didn't advance the story at all. I would have thought by now Lister would have had his story arc reach some sort of satisfactory conclusion, with or without Kochanski and Fiji. The title suggests this, but we are really talking about the promised land of Felis sapiens.

Proper HTML? Pah!

If you are reading the show notes, it can't have escaped your notice that I have recently become a little lax in using certain symbols properly in HTML like the em dash, en dash, curly quotes, citing tags, etc.

I'm getting tired of labouring over perfect HTML show notes. If hardly anyone reads them, and they are also not great for embedding inside and unsynced lyrics field in mp3 files, which is the ultimate destination for these notes, why should I bother? The experiment with HTML show notes is over. I'm going back to text, to be specific ASCII with Unix line endings, which is what I used for years and years for all my lists, journals, etc.

A side effect of changing back to text? I'm writing more, hence this longer show.

Snappy Driver Installer Origin

Glenn Delahoy's SDIO is an amazing resource for tracking down hardware drivers for Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10. The complete download is 19.4GB and worth it's weight in gold. It recently helped me source just about every driver for my mother's formerly Windows 10, then Lubuntu, and now Windows 7 laptop.

Back to Windows 7

The much hyped experimental swap of my mother's Acer laptop from Windows 10 to Lubuntu is now finished. Conclusion? It sort of worked, but she needs some Abobe CS4 products (when I can find them), and Ion video conversion hardware that isn't available on either Windows 10 or Linux (yes, I know about Wine and PlayOnLinux, but it's for my non-techie mother). After a few BIOS tweaks, Novicorp WinToFlash, GRC's Never 10, and SDIO, the job is done.

But Windows 7 isn't safe, you ask? She's using it air gapped and browsing using an Ubuntu Live CD.


I'm currently enjoying an old favourite text editor; not my usual choice of weapons---Vim or Metapad---but Notepad2-mod; a nifty lightweight Windows text editor.

Musical Clangers

I dropped a few clangers in 311. Sorry about that. In my defence, it was past three in the morning and I was very tired. Besides, I was talking about my own personal journey into playing a musical instrument; something that is unlikely to have any consequences in the real world, other than making me look like a plank.

New Virus Podcasts

If you're a long time podcaster, all the new podcasts can't have escaped your notice, or irked you because the competition is profiting from the pandemic. Don't worry, most of the new single topic virus shows aren't great. Also, as I always say, this isn't YouTube and the total number of active podcasts in the world isn't that high anyway.

As for some of the new celebrity podcasts currently slamming us with advertisements to subscribe... they sound terrible, so good luck to them. What I've found is that most celebrities see podcasting as a side hustle to a quick buck. Here today, gone tomorrow.