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Matrix of oppression 
Greetings from my shed...
This is me right now. Somewhere in there.
Fleeting moments of vanity spawn thoughts of shaving my beard to see what hides beneath. But I’ve invested far too much inaction in its creation to just hack it off.
This week while not shaving i’ve been exercising patience, exercising the body, my mind and finding as many moments as possible to rebel. Not against any particular thing or person. Just the stupidity of the world.
Amidst mild moments of angst, there has been joy.
On the way back from a road trip to see my sister, the kids were tired of me chatting to randoms on the ham radio and asked for music. I politely told the phone to play something and it hit shuffle, digging up songs I’d not played for an age. Songs I doubt my kids have ever heard. A few songs, this one in particular had me quite emotional. With sunlight streaming in the windscreen and trees strobing in the periphery, I was taken back to a place. I guess you had to have been there to appreciate the moment as I did, but it involved the sunlit high speed windows, headphones in a Walkman, and a recent goodbye.
Back to now.
Forgive me if I don’t discuss all current events in this email. With 24 hour rolling news and every channel the same, I think you got things covered.
I introduced the kids to Castaway this week.
Last time I saw it was 20 odd years ago when it came out in the cinema. We all enjoyed it and it sent me off in search or real life castaway stories like this one.
We also revisited Spirited Away. I showed this to the kids a long time ago but it gave my daughter nightmares. Just the parents-become-pigs bit. This second watching seems to have cured her. In fact she loved it.
Also the stuff of nightmares, this videos shows a short disturbing moment of simulated animal testing. But you should watch it anyway. Just for a reminder.
The bitcoin terrorists of Idlib are learning new tricks.
An atlas of the cosmos.
Ok, headphones on, eyes closed. This is binaural.
Episode 88 of Darknet diaries tells the story of Victor. The guy who hacked into Trumps Twitter account twice. He almost didn’t get away with it the second time. The episode explores the fine line between ethical and black hat hacking.
I just recorded a phone chat with CJ. If you are a supporting subscriber you will have that in your inbox soon.
I’m often tempted by the overly promoted shelf-end cook books plugged by the faces I know from the TV. Till I see the price.
This book is different.
I spotted A Paradiso Year second hand for two quid on eBay. It’s compiled by Denis Cotter who I’d never heard of but am now very happy to make his acquaintance. The book is filled with great recipes. Broad bean feta and basil mash. Black kale with plum tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and chillies. Roast beetroot with balsamic vinegar, caraway and wilted greens… Seasonal, recipes that look pretty simple to cook.
A while back while volunteering my time at Bletchley Park I got to explore the wine cellar. Dusty and unused I asked why they don’t use it to store a special Bletchley Park commissioned wine. Something the tourists could take away and only the most astute codebreaker would find and discover an encrypted message on the label. They loved the idea but with only one member in the marketing team and a feud with The National Museum of Computing to manage, it never happened.
I also suggested that one corner of the park could be leased for a micro brewery to create ales from recipes of the era. The Bletchley Park themed naming possibilities were endless. Ten years later in 2019 around the 75’th anniversary of D-Day they did commission a local Milton Keynes Brewery to create a beer. It was called ‘Station X’ but sadly my gut biome never got to archive it.
Should the suggested on-site microbrewery have been a thing, this beer called ‘Cryptanalysis Of Enigma’ would not have looked out of place in the fridge of the Bletchley Park bar.
Perhaps not at this strength though. Although some modern beers, especially porters are weaker than beers from the early 1900’s, beer strengths dropped during the Second World War. Beer production appears to have gone up though, here are some stats with a bonus passage from Orwell.
I found this video from Kimbal Musk (Yes he is related) discussing real food vs industrial food.
This is a sponsored content video for a new type of bicycle gearing tech. (I wasn’t sponsored. He was.) I wish they had sat the videographer on an electric vehicle. Not just because of the noise but because I’d hate to be the tester gulping all the fumes. That said, I think the tech looks interesting even if at £2000 a pop it might be too expensive for the casual rider.
And now a short story about something also innovative, but infinitely cheaper.
Once upon a time I bought a lightweight t-shirt. As I swept my hand down the clothing rail I knew immediately it was merino and could not believe my luck.
Merino wool is nicknamed the ‘miracle’ fiber. For a start it regulates rather than insulates. So it’s cool when it’s hot and warm when the whether is cool. It’s soft to the touch, breathable, sustainable, stretchy, packs small and doesn’t hold on to smells.
It felt like the purfect purchase. Firstly because it was from a charity shop. And secondly because it turned out to be made by Patagonia. Not only did that mean I’d saved on a possible £40 price tag, but I knew that this is exactly what Patagonia had intended. Return, Recycle, Re-use.
Now, although not cheap when bought new, I’ve never considered that I’m paying over the odds for clothing made by them. Because If I really need to purchase a new item of clothing, I feel much happier when it’s from a company with ethics like theirs. Take this post from their website as an example.
This might read like an advert but i’m not paid by or have ever received favours from Patagonia. I just wish more clothing brands could do what they do. By this autumn more than 90 percent of Patagonia’s fabrics will be recycled, organic and traceable.
And that shirt I bought?
It’s travelled thousands of miles. Climbed trees and crashed motorbikes. It’s swam in the sea and slept in the dirt. They can’t have it back just yet. It’s still going strong.
I’d say that’s five pounds well spent.
My wife spotted this dilapidated shed up for auction.
With the imagined whiff of formaldehyde still hanging in the air and a hole in the lawn hurriedly filled, to some it might look like the playground of a serial killer. But what they might not see is that it is just a few yards from the sea. So of course we are off to take a look at it over the weekend. The shed-type chalet is condemned so It’ll need another in it’s place. Either way, as we already have a massive mortgage it’s way out of our budget. But why let that get in the way of someone’s dream.
I’ll be quietly disconnecting the internet on auction day but will be sure to let you know how much it goes for. If this isn’t a reason for you to finally bung me £3.64/month for a supporting subscription then I don’t know what is. What if we accidentally bid on this ruin and it becomes the Dispatch club house? Only the supporting readers will know. ;-)
This is a virus you get by breathing, not by touching.
We will all remember the pandemic differently.
Perseverance has just given birth to Ingenuity. The first helicopter ever sent to another world.
Facebook does not plan to notify half a billion users affected by data leak.
New York has just legalised recreational marijuana.
A 4000 year old writing board from Egypt. Including teachers corrections.
Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend.
If you still don’t feel like supporting with a full subscription (red button below) then please share this email onto someone as curious as you.
Next week… [checks diary] is my dog’s third birthday. Plus I might have the easiest time ever doing my tax return. There is also a pretty decent chance that I would have had an actual pint from an actual pub.
“We have a choice, all of us, in seeing the world and system we participate in. At some point, we are confronted with the cost. What suffers for happiness. What dies for life. Even Caesar couldn't keep such a thing hidden, the blood that waters an empire's soil.
You have a choice. You can choose to close your eyes and enjoy your lucky position on the good earth. You can choose to walk away. Or you can choose to rebel.” ~ A.J. Hackwith
See you out there.