Monthly Archives: Apr 2016

Richard’s 2016: Weeks 16 & 17

(Read up on what #Richards2016 is all about here.)

Yep, another two-in-one! And again, it’s because I was away for a week and wasn’t really able to do a write up. (Well, technically I was back last Saturday, but I was JET LAGGED as hell and barely even knew what day it was).

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been doing.

April 16th: Eggs Benedict Day

Did a DIY eggs benedict.

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It was pretty easy and yummy. Though I don’t really like hollandaise sauce. NOT GONNA STOP ME THO.

April 17th: Ford Mustang Day

Ok so this is the day I was travelling to America. Give me some slack.

Yup, SOMEWHERE in that photo is surely a Ford Mustang. Points to anyone who can spot it. I couldn’t see it myself as I was busy being up the TALLEST TOWER IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE. Having just got out of my bed in Cambridge a mere 15 hours before or so.

April 18th: Columnists Day

Dug up this old piece I wrote about how columns are terrible mostly. READ IT AGAIN NOW.

April 19th: Hanging Out Day

Hanging out is what I do best! I do it most of the time really.

Yup, I celebrated by standing in a queue in NYC for 45 minutes for a delicious burger-fries-shake combo. Was it worth the wait? HELL YES it was worth the wait. They make their shakes with a custard base and I mean what else do I have to say.

April 20th: Volunteer Recognition Day

The reason I was in New York at all was for some work thing. I can’t really go into what it was for, but it did involve me interacting with some volunteers. Seriously.

So you’ll just have to take my word for it that this day was fulfilled.

April 21st: Bulldogs Are Beautiful Day

This is a statement of fact rather than any obligation on myself. I guess I sort of agree?

April 22nd: Jelly Bean Day

LICORICE BEANS CONFIRMED FOR WORST
CANDY FLOSS AND BUTTERED POPCORN CONFIRMED FOR BEST

April 23rd: Shakespeare Day

First, I landed in the UK at about 8am. Then I actually got home at about 12pm. Then I slept until around 5pm. Then… I went and watched some bloody Shakespeare!!!!

2016-04-30 11.12.48

It was good and my housemate was in it and there was a DOG IN IT WEARING A SHAKESPEARE RUFF. Then I fell asleep for 13 hours.

April 24th: Pinhole Camera Day

Does that look good? I dont think it looks good.

To be fair, I could have maybe like built a pinhole camera or something. But I didn’t. So there we go.

April 25th: DNA Day (again)

I swear we had this already. I recall running around town trying to find Eagle DNA beer. No matter. Classic opportunity to reuse some content.

April 26th: Help a Horse Day

In the absence of any horses of my own to help, I donated some money so other people could do it for me.

April 27th: Guide Dog Day

I wasn’t sure what to do for this, and I didn’t want to just donate money again.

SO, I thought laterally and booted up Fallout 4. There, I went to found my trusty dog friend Dogmeat and let HIM guide me around the Wasteland. NOTE: I recorded full commentary for this video but it didn’t actually record, so I was just talking to myself out loud in my room for no reason haha.

Bloody dog actually does very little to guide me around. But he does an ok job at attacking some bandits. Good boy.

April 28th: Thankful Thursday

Cheers, guys!

April 29th: International Dance Day

It me. Doing a merry jig along with Jools Holland.


Phew. How do we feel about this double format by the way? Good? Bad? Indifferent? I might switch to this permanently, I dunno.

Or, I might just give up on the project altogether. We’ll have to see.

COMING UP:

  • April 30th: Honesty Day
  • May 1st: Mother Goose Day
  • May 2nd: Baby Day
  • May 3rd: World Asthma Day
  • May 4th: Star Wars Day
  • May 5th: Cartoonists Day
  • May 6th: No Diet Day

Ugh. Well, wish me luck!

Richard’s 2016: Weeks 14 & 15

(Read up on what #Richards2016 is all about here.)

Yup, this is a bumper edition of Richard’s 2016 – two weeks in one! The reason for this is that I went on a small trip during week 14 which meant I didn’t really have time to write up what I’ve been doing.

What are the implications on the project? We’ll get to that. But first, the days!

April 2nd: Tangible Karma Day

Karma is all about doing good for the universe right? What better way to give back to the world then by educating them about how to look and feel good? YUP, I MADE A MAKEUP TUTORIAL.

That’s some real, tangible karma right there. You’re welcome, everyone.

April 3rd: Chocolate Mousse Day

Ate this delicious chocolate mousse.

April 4th: World Rat Day

Flexed my artistic muscles and got down this masterpiece.

Yes, it doesn’t have ears. But I didn’t have an actual rat in front of me to draw from, ok? That’s a rat drawn 100% from memory. And considering that, it’s pretty good imo.

April 5th: Caramel Day

Ate so much caramel, guys!

That’s just a pic of me with a Tunnock’s Caramel Bar (the best chocolate/biscuit bar??). But I also scoffed down all manner of Twixes and so on. Every day should be caramel day.

April 6th: Plan Your Epitaph Day

Wow, pretty morbid day there. But I was up to the challenge.

RIP FUTURE ME.

April 7th: World Health Day

I did a funny.

I legit had a great time at Rezzed (a sort of indie version of a big video games convention). Check out my pictures here!

April 8th: Draw A Picture Of A Bird Day

Hey, don’t blame me that this week has two animal days in it for some reason! Once again, I reached for the pen and paper…

ANOTHER MASTERPIECE. And no this one doesn’t have ears either because I don’t think birds have ears or maybe they do but they don’t stick out or whatever?

April 9th & 10th: ????

So. This is when I was away. I was in Dublin for a stag do, AKA the least likely place for me to ever be. I had fun though, even if I had to excuse myself from the more excessive parts of it.

And this raises a good point. Am I still obliged to partake in Richard’s 2016 when on trips away? On the one hand, it feels right and fair to give myself something of a holiday when circumstances force it that way. But on the other hand, I did pledge to do something EVERY day. No matter what. Hmm.

Like next week I’m off on a trip to New York. For the whole week. I’ll do my best to do something every day, but it’s not quite the same as being at home where I can just cook up a peanut brittle on a moment’s notice.

For now, I’ll just do my best to either make a token gesture towards the day or somehow retrospectively apply the days to what I was getting on with anyway.

For instance, April 9th was Name Yourself Day. I’m sure that I must have introduced myself to someone at least once with a hearty “Hello, I’m Richard!” AND MAYBE THAT COUNTS? Also, I’ve changed my name on Twitter to cooky mccookface in a desperate grab for followers. I can say that I came up with the idea on the 9th right?

April 10th was sibling day. Although I didn’t actually see or talk to my sister, you can be assured that she was very much IN MY THOUGHTS.

April 11th: Pet Day

I can’t tell which one I think is cuter.

April 12th: Licorice Day

For the record, I hate licorice. It’s really disgusting and basically unnecessary. Which is a shame, as it often ruins nice things. Like Licorice Allsorts. The bits of that which aren’t licorice are actually quite nice Dolly Mixture-style confectionery. But nah licorice ruins it. So here’s me choking down a bag of allsorts.

Turn up the volume for maximum “EUGHH”.

Also, whatever happened to Fruit Allsorts? I mean these things:

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They were pretty much the GOAT sweets. The bits I liked about Licorice Allsorts, but replaced with tasty sweet jellies instead. Why on earth would Bassett’s stop selling them? It’s a mystery. IF YOU FIND ANY PLEASE SEND THEM TO ME TO EAT.

April 13th: Bookmobile Day

I had a good look around, but I couldn’t see any bookmobiles. Do you even still get them?

Not to be put off, I took matters into my own hands and made a BOOK MOBILE.

do you get it because the book is mobile as in like moving haha

April 14th: Dolphin Day

Listened to my favourite dolphin-centred guilty pleasure song.

Yeah it’s kinda cheesy and stuff, but I really like it! Best dolphin song ever I say.

April 15th: DNA Day

I went to the local beer shop hoping to pick up a bottle of Eagle’s DNA (sold in a couple of Cambridge pubs), but they didn’t have any. Curses!

Instead, I just reshared an old piece I’d written on the time I got my genome analysed by science. Give it a read!


As I’ve said, I’m away basically all this week. So I may or may not be able to do these days. But I’ll give them my best.

  • April 16th: Eggs Benedict Day
  • April 17th: Ford Mustang Day
  • April 18th: Columnist’s Day
  • April 19th: Hanging Out Day
  • April 20th: Volunteer Recognition Day
  • April 21st: Bulldogs Are Beautiful Day
  • April 22nd: Jelly Bean Day

Erm, ok. WISH ME LUCK!

I submitted a silly Freedom of Information request about books and now I feel bad

In Week 11 of my ‘#Richards2016‘ project, I had to get in touch with the local council. It was Freedom of Information Day, so I sent a request to the council for information. My request was thus:

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 16.24.26

A pretty dumb request, I’m sure you’ll agree. I submitted it fully expecting to get a “this is a dumb question and we’re not going to do it” response. But I didn’t. Like absolute madmen they decided to actually do it for some reason.

DISCLOSURE: My friend and housemate works at the council and is well-connected with the FOI department. So yeah, basically you could say this was an INSIDE JOB. But still, I can’t believe they really did it.

I mean, I pay my council tax and all that. (Well, my landlord does on my behalf). So I guess I should be able to march up to any public servant and demand them to do whatever I want, right? Yes I know that’s not really how it works, but I think the principle is sound.

After all, beyond picking up my bins, planning out transport infrastructure, maintaining public spaces and utilities, developing local art and culture, looking after stray animals, eradicating pests, securing housing for the vulnerable, providing health and welfare, licensing commercial enterprises, dispensing planning permissions, provisioning sports and leisure facilities, controlling public noise and nuisances, and generally looking out for me and my local area, what does the council ACTUALLY do for me?

So yeah, you’re fully entitled to do this kind of thing I reckon. They’ll probably appreciate it.

ANYWAY ENOUGH CHIT CHAT WHAT DID I ACTUALLY LEARN?

I guess I’m allowed to share the outcome of my request. What would be the point otherwise? So, here are my KEY findings.

Notes:

  • The data provided covers all books that have been checked out at least once. (I assume, as there are no books with a zero check-out value, and I’m sure there are books in the library that have not been checked out).
  • The data covers 78,702 books. That’s a lot.
  • The data covers pretty much all the types of books too. (eg. Adult Fiction Hardback, Junior Large Print, etc.)
  • The information I have is Title, Date Item First Made Available, Total Loans, Days Available, Loan Frequency (ie. loans / days available), Collection.

It’s a beautifully formatted excel document that I’m sure someone spent ages on.

*** TOP TRUMPS TIME ***

Book with most total loans

Scandinavia, living design by Gaynor, Elizabeth – 224 loans.

Well, that’s unexpected. Some random book about Scandinavian design is the most checked out book? Why? What does that tell us about the Cambridge zeitgeist? To be fair, the book has also been available since 1989, so it might be winning just on time alone. It’s got a loan frequency of 43.33 days. So, it’s checked out basically every month and a half? Not bad! Though I do wonder if the book’s Scandinavian design tips are still relevant 27 years on.

Interestingly, the fourth most checked-out book is The architectural history of King’s College Chapel and its place in the development of late Gothic architecture in England and France by Woodman, Francis which makes much more sense for Cambridge. It’s also like the longest book title in the world.

Book with fewest total loans

Joint winner between 1,980 books. I guess that makes sense since it’s just the bottom of the data set. Some highlights:

  • Teapots. The collector’s guide to selecting, displaying and enjoying new and vintage teapots by Carter, Tina M.
  • Big Pig on a dig by Tyler, Jenny
  • 100 questions & answers about gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) by DeMatteo, Ronald
  • How not to die : discover the foods scientifically proven to prevent and reverse disease by Greger, Michael, author
  • Yo by Martin Ricky [i guess this is one book that’s NOT living da vida loca LMAO]
Book that has been available the longest

Battalion at war: Singapore 1942 by Moore, Michael – since 23/2/1989

This book actually occupies the top two spots on the longest being-in-Cambridge-library lists. I guess they just started with two copies of that book they had or something. Oh, and apparently it’s not THAT Michael Moore.

110 loans, with a loan frequency of 90.5.

Book that has been available the longest and only been checked out once

The changing face of Britain : from the air by Gardiner, Leslie –  since 12/05/1989

Only 1 loan in 9827 days, giving it a loan frequency of 9827. Eesh!

If you’re ever in Cambridge Central Library in the near future, do consider checking this book out and making Leslie’s time worthwhile.

Book that is loaned the most frequently

How is this different to total loans, you ask? Well, we’re looking at the loan frequency specifically, so it’s weighted against time available. Thus a book that’s new and popular will rate higher than a book that’s just old and been checked out loads. Anyway, it’s

The humans by Haig, Mattloan frequency 6

Pretty sweet LF there. But the book has only been available since 20/3/16. SO I GUESS THIS STAT IS NOT ACTUALLY THAT INTERESTING AT ALL SORRY.

Most checked out books about Batman

Because I might as well, right?

Well, the top book with “Batman” in the title field is actually Your Body’s Many Cries for Water : A Revolutionary Natural Way to Prevent Illness and Restore Good Health by Batmanghelidj, F. who is a FAKE Batman.

The real top Batman book is Batman: Arctic Attack! (44 loans). I have never heard of this book. Batman: Year One (the definitive modern Batman story) only has 36 loans. Sorry Frank Miller, guess you shoulda set your gritty retelling of modern comics’ most iconic origin story at the north pole! Or made it a pseudo-scientific study into the magical healing properties of water.

Erm, I guess that’s everything I can think of then. I know this isn’t quite the Panama Papers, but I think it’s pretty interesting nonetheless.

In short, it turns out that the FOI system does work. You can make sensible requests and get a sensible response in a sensible time. But it is totally open to abuse I think, especially if you’re some crazed lunatic with nothing better to do and a vendetta against the council. I’m sure you could ask for all kinds of crazy things to prove that the council (MORE LIKE CLOWNCIL) is wasting money and generally rubbish.

But please don’t do that.

Richard’s 2016: Week 13

(Read up on what #Richards2016 is all about here.)

I think this puts me over a quarter of the way through the year. Right? That’s a pretty great achievement, I must say. YOU CAN’T ARGUE WITH RESULTS LIKE THIS. So please stop arguing with me about my results.

Here’s what I’ve been up to.

March 26th: Make Up Your Own Holiday Day

My kind of day! I decided to just have my whole day and then at the end decide what day it was. So I had a normal day.

But at the end of it, I went round a friend’s for a poker night and beat everyone. Hell yeah baby! £100 in ma pocket. So I’m officially decreeing that March 26th is Beat All Your Friends At Poker Day. Hiyoooo!

March 27th: Neighbour Day

It was Easter, and I don’t really like talking to my irl neighbours. So I did a virtual version of this instead.

Yep, the concept of telephone neighbours what I stole from Russell Brand and Matt Morgan. Listen to them talking about it here:

(Around 27m in. It’s pretty funny).

But yeah my telephone neighbour didn’t get back to me. I hope they had a good easter anyway.

March 28th: Black Forest Cake Day

Got myself a whole massive black forest gateau as part of my easter haul.

Wait. Is it ‘gateau’ or ‘gateaux?’. Like what’s the difference?

I guess the ‘x’ one is probably the plural. Yeah that makes sense. So I got myself ONE GATEAU. I have not eaten it though. It’s currently sitting in my fridge.

March 29th: Lemon Chiffon Cake Day

Ugh, TWO cake days in a row. Not good. Also, I have no idea what a lemon chiffon cake is. Googling it just returns loads of cakes that look like this:

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So basically cakes with bloody great wholes in them. I couldn’t find one in Asda, so I just got a Lemon Sponge Cake instead because I think it’s literally the same thing.

March 30th: Manatee Appreciation Day

Speaks for itself really.

Like, who actively unappreciates  manatees? Nobody, that’s who. They’re the beautiful cows of sea. So the idea of having a day specifically to reaffirm our appreciation of them seems a bit redundant to me. But there we go, my love for manatees is now a matter of public record.

March 31st: Eiffel Tower Day

Got creative.

For those of you who don’t parlez français, that translates as “the eiffel tower, that’s wonderful!” or whatever.

I realise that the Eiffel Tower doesn’t actually look much like how I’ve drawn it there. And to the people of Paris I can only apologise. But I did it quite late and without any reference to hand. At the very least I think I captured the spirit of the tower, and didn’t the French like – invent – impressionism? So who are they to judge?

April 1st: International Tuba Day

Lemme just embed that real quick.

I think it’s pretty good! The original plan was to listen to all tuba and only tuba all day. But that gets pretty annoying very quickly. So I just dropped that idea. But I think I got my fair share of tuba.

And that’s it!


Coming up next week:

  • April 2nd: Tangible Karma Day
  • April 3rd: Chocolate Mousse Day
  • April 4th: World Rat Day
  • April 5th: Caramel Day
  • April 6th: Plan Your Epitaph Day
  • April 7th: World Health Day
  • April 8th: Draw A Picture Of A Bird Day

Nice! Well, this all look very doable, for once. CAN’T WAIT TO PLAN THAT EPITAPH LOL.

See ya next week.