CRRRaSh! 337 The Show Must Go On

By Roy Mathur, on 2020-10-08, at 01:07:59--02:02:41 BST, for Captain Roy's Rocket Radio Show, Listen

Lightweight Throwing Towel Not Thrown

Yes, another HGHGTTG reference. It didn't get thrown, so here we are again.

And that's despite a DM on Twitter, that I thought was a message of support from a fan, but turned out to be just an artefact of some deep-seated design error in Twitter. Of course, due to Twitter's revolting gameification, I kept hitting refresh desperately, until I discovered the problem and removed it by DM'ing myself.

Never has my hatred for social media been higher.

New Reading Specs and Specsavers

Not ideal for computer, but will do until my scheduled eye examination in December. Now I can ditch my bum-crushed glasses for these new GBP 30 nerdy ones from Specsavers.

Here's a tip. Some opticians, either through being lazy or trying to squeeze extra pennies from you, will not tell you your pupillary distance. While you can roughly measure your own, you shouldn't have to, and this should be included. You need this to order glasses online.

A bright spark of a manager at Specsavers actually told me they charge extra for this, then begrudgingly measured it for me, as a "favour", a year or so ago. This is the same place that when I told them I has having trouble seeing myself while shaving, an assistant suggested I move the mirror nearer, rather than work out I might need reading glasses. The reason I am mocking this manager is that since Covid-19, guess what? In order to order specs from Specsavers, you need to tell them your pupillary distance. What a clown. Again, let's all mock this guy.

Specavers generally have been okay in supplying glasses, certainly better than Boots, aside from these two nitwits, in this particular shop, who were supposedly experts.

UK Covid-19 Update

Coronavirus infections exploded in September, the long delayed NHS app is confusing, social distancing no longer seems to be followed, and our government continues to not know what it's doing with some regional lockdowns and changing their minds about mask usage. It all seems rather inconsistent.

On a recent trip to a Tesco in North Buckinghamshire, the law was ignored by most shoppers and floor staff. As for cleaning materials? Totally absent. This is one of the worst supermarkets in the area and I will avoid it from now on. I contacted Tesco the last time this happened, but it's not my job to police their business, so I'm just telling you the listener and them via this pod. (I forwarded Tesco a link to this episode). I'm sure the police could hand out fines like Smarties and shut the store down, given the recently stringent guidelines, but incredibly there appears to be no police anywhere for as long as I can remember.

Don't get complacent. Covid-19 is on the rise again and you don't want to be complicit in spreading it.

And, on the subject of our idiotic UK government, it appears that children could be spreaders, but they insisted everyone went back to school, and universities too (tell me that that wasn't about fees). I thought that was a bad idea at the time, but what the hell do I know? BTW, I'm absolutely opposed to the current populist right wing clowns, but the other side of the house went right along with this stupidity.

You can also tell the government is floundering after back-pedalling over pubs and restaurants, which now have a curfew imposed on them, and just the general sense of confusion all around.

If you're in another country and wondering what is happening in the UK, now you know. It's a mess. Actually, it's a mess everywhere. Here's a sobering thought, flu deaths amount to very roughly 0.5M/year, in the approximately ten months of Covid-19, over a million people have died.

Iím not a forgiving person and given the cock ups, half measures, and outright lies regarding the severity of this health crisis, I cannot feeling that somehow the universe is reaching out to slap right wing populists like Johnson, Bolsanaro, and Trump.

Cineworld Temporary Closure

The massive UK based global chain, Cineworld, is temporarily closing all of its cinemas temporarily from Friday. This will put 45,000 members of staff out of work. Its share price dropped 39% with the announcement.

I find it insane that our Chancellor of the Exchequer (translation for overseas listeners: the person who is in charge of the UK government's budget), Rishi Sunak, recently said he wants things to go back to normal as soon as possible. What cloud cuckoo land are politicians living in? We aren't getting back to anything resembling normal for a very long time, if ever.

Lovecraft Country

Sympathy for the monster, sure, but unbelievable the pace at which she swapped her hate to love after what our murderous hero does. It rivals Lady Anne falling for Richard III in the titular play.

I also really enjoyed that we get a much closer look at Korean culture, particularly the folklore. And, of course, I'm in love with monster girl.

Time Bandits

After recommending it to my Mum, I rewatched Time Bandits on Channel 4 and god, that is such a good movie. Clearly influenced by Doctor Who and HHGTTG and influencing Terry Pratchett novels, as well as Bill and Ted. (No, I still haven't seen Bill and Ted Face the Music).

Seeing David Rappaport again brings back memories. His death was such a sad loss.

Sure, Terry Gilliam and John Cleese, who started as young privileged white men, have ended up old privileged, bitter and unpleasant white men, but they have made some great stuff, which means I can ignore their later-in-life bigoted stupidity.

On the slightest possibility that you have not seen the 1981 film, it is about a troupe of bungling burglars, and the little boy who joins them. With the aid of a stolen map of time portal locations, they travel through time, looting the riches of past.

It is very Monty Python-esque, there is death, weapons, mass executions, is unlike any other children's film you have ever seen, and the ending is wonderfully discordant.

I love that the gang are a bunch of crooked wasters, rather than a bunch of do-gooders.

The Social Dilemma

I could have done without the pointless fictional vignettes. Other than that, this documentary about how the social media giants have deliberately addicted us to their platforms to make us a product to sell to advertisers was, well, I won't say enjoyable, but it was certainly informative and fury inducing.

Thanks Big Tech's Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, Jeff Bezos, Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Look what you have done to our world.

HeroQuest Reissue

The board game is being reissued. Given that the game is very expensive to buy second-hand, this is a welcome return of the cult RPG. Hasbro has some type of kickstarter thing going. I can't imagine why a rich toy giant needs funds, but I suppose it's a useful way of generating a marketing buzz.

You can hear more about it from YouTuber BardicBroadcasts at

Amazon Flex Motor Insurance for Couriers

I almost completed my Amazon Flex application, despite my city not actually listed as running the service yet, when I read a couple of articles saying I may not be covered by my insurers. I contacted my insurers to see how much using my vehicle as a courier would increase my premium and...

Beyerdynamic DT150 Headphones

I had to return my new cans after a couple of months due to the earpieces constantly slipping. I Googled only exactly one other user with this problem with the DT150.

However, their more popular line, the DT770, was also plagued with QC, so perhaps Beyerdynamic have an endemic QC problem. It's a pity I had to return them for this reason, something never suffered by their predecessor, the DT100, because I still need broadcast cans and I like Beyerdynamic gear, but at least I still have the...

JVC HA-S160 Headphones my studio monitors. These GBP 10 headphones are still the ones I recommend.

I may simply give up on headphones and buy Yamaha HS5s instead. At least, if I do that, it's a one-time investment as it is unlikely I'll ever have to replace them, unlike a pair of delicate headphones.

Podcast Sound Quality Update

I tried all the fixes I mentioned last geek pod to no avail. My environment, especially at rush hour, is far too noisy to fix in post.

Try using noise reduction and compression on in an untreated room with traffic in the background and see what happens. There are so many different frequencies involved, that it messes up even the audio you want to keep. The lesson here is GIGO.

Do You Really Need a Microphone Preamp?

I decided to test my Triton Audio FetHead against the cranked internal preamp of my Yamaha MG06 mixer.

I tested by setting the level and gain to a level where I could record, but without the mic plugged in so I could eliminate environmental noise. The results? The mixer, with its on-board preamps cranked has a slightly lower noise floor than when I used the external preamp.

Conclusion? Given that my Behringer XM8500 mic is almost a clone of the global standard dynamic SM58 mic, I'd said to podcasters, unless you have a mic that is said to be hard to drive, like a Shure SM7B, you might not need a preamp at all.

If you want some more information about mics, preamps, and noise floors, Neumann mics have written an article on the matter:


Now that I can actually see the damn screen, I'm starting to play with Reaper. It's a simple DAW, not that difficult for Audacity users to get to grip with.

Windows 7 Updates

Here's an update about updates.

If you are still a Windows 7 user, using Windows Security Essentials as your security suite, you will still get updates until 2023.

How to Survive as a Creative

You want to be any sort of artist? Do you? Do you? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Okay, seriously, you can support yourself with another job. James Herbert was a city copywriter. Lucky git. Or, have an understanding family.

Even if you scraping by on one or some of the above, expect it to be a struggle unless you are rich trustafarian.

Speaking of which, I am currently doing my annual joust with the council tax people. It is always fun trying to explain being self-employed, but with a nil income.

The alternative is to give up and do something else, or try and do it and be mocked by all around you for daring to try. The AC-DC song It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll) says it all. And forget about getting to the top, just making a living will be hard. HARD. H.A.R.D. Get it?

Nib Nebula

Warning: this feels like deja vu. I feel strong like this is something I would have mentioned in the pod. Sorry if I'm repeating myself.

This is not a podcast about fountain pens---there are better shows out there for that---but I am a fountain pen enthusiast. In fact, it is the only type of pen I use. So, let's call this continuing foray into fountain pens something appropriately geeky and sci-fi. How about Nib Nebula?

The subject of this Nib Nebula item, is what fountain makers make their own nibs and which one's outsource? It's a complicated mess, but I found this interesting post the FPN forum, which attempts to answer that question:

It's useful because the nib is the most important part and should heavily inform your decision about which pen to buy. Sometimes a cheap pen will have a great nib or an expensive pen will have a terrible nib. This guide will help you make a start in your research.