Scooter break in again…

My Honda Silvering

Its been a difficult time recently. My scooter was damaged once again in a break in on the car park where I park. I say again because in April 2018 exactly the same thing happened. Less that a year!

In April 2018, the motorbikes were targetted but none were taken, if I remember some other things were broken and taken. However between the chains and locks broken, it was clear they tried to break my steering lock by forcing the handle bars. They slightly twisted but not at the fork level lucky, this still costed about £150 to fix.

This time the motorbikes were targetted and looking at the CCTV images from the different cameras across the site its clear they were only after the motorbikes nothing else.

CCTV in the April 2018 break-in
CCTV cover up in 2018

CCTV in the Jan 2019 break-in
CCTV cover up in 2019


There was some other similarities between the break-ins. The CCTV over looking the motorbikes was covered up in both cases.

They also broke into the car park from the building site next door

Unlike last time however, I spotted 4 men acting very weirdly on the canal side on Monday 14th night/Tuesday 15th morning. They were dressed in black with hoods and scarfs across their mouths and noses. They seemed to be breaking into Islington Wharf Mews by jumping over a wall with a sleeping bag to protect themselves from the spikes on top.

23:49 – Calling the non-emergency number (101) I was put on hold for ages but finally by the time they picked up. The men jumped back over the wall to the canal side, they disappeared from my view.

00:09 – The police took some details and asked where they were now. I happened to catch them breaking into the building site from the road side. Telling the police, they originally said they were going to send someone out. However as I found out later they looked at the public CCTV, which obviously doesn’t point on to the building site plus they were dressed in complete black. Once they looked and saw nothing they closed the logged case

00:45 – Meanwhile I hadn’t noticed but saw later on the garage CCTV a 5th man dressed totally in Black was trying to get into the garage by sneaking in while the roller shutter was coming down after some left or entered the garage. He failed and even got shouted at by residents in a car.

00:48 – I get a short phone call from the police asking if I seen anything else new? I said no.

01:08 – Not long after my original call and 20mins after my call back, some men gain access to the car park via the ground floor car park by breaking the wood slats. I know this for sure because the CCTV confirms the moment they broke through and climbed through.

How they got into the carpark

They headed straight for the motorbikes ignoring all the cars and bicycles. Broke two locks of 2 motorbikes, and damaging my scooter. They are in the car park for 35mins (01:08 – 01:43), All their movements around the carpark are captured on our own CCTV, except the one right above the bikes

01:43 – Finally they leave heading out the car park pedestrian door with 2 motorbikes

Damage to my scooter

0941 – I only found out the next day when I was going to work and saw the damage and the missing motorbikes. This time to tried to get at the scooter ignition instead of trying to break the steering lock. As you can see the damage is pretty bad but the steering is actually fine. I checked all the other locks and chains and they are good.

However 2 other motorbikes are gone and I got lucky. I’ve beefed up my locks and now using my alarm more often now (not just the immobiliser). I also got a crime reference and asked about my early morning call. I’m told the case is on going but police were sent out.

1953 – Later in the evening when I call up again,  I’m told the cases are not connected was closed and the police were not sent out because there was nothing on a CCTV (no idea which one they are referring to)

My problem I see is…

  • The police are not connecting the two cases. Now I understand there is a chance the 4 men dressed head to toe in black on a building site may not be the same 5 people who broke into the garage from the same building site stealing the bikes? Yes it happened with 60 mins of my call but who knows – right? What I don’t understand is why no one was sent out? Even a visit could have prevented a crime. They also lied to me on the phone
  • I don’t get how the building site isn’t partly to blame for it lack of security not just once but twice now. There is a good chance the men stole tools from the building site to break the locks. I certainly didn’t see them carrying anything when getting into Islington Wharf Mews.
  • The police still haven’t looked or requested the CCTV from Islington Wharf, The Mews or the building site next door. Yes they are dressed in black but it could be useful to see where they came from and got to with the stolen motorbikes?
  • Why was I told they will send out a police offer but later told they didn’t? I feel like I was lied to….

I’m doing what I can but its slow going and not being able to get actual CCTV (for good reasons) its kinda impossible to convince the police to follow up. This is partly why I decided to share my frustrations without too much details.

Updated – Evening of Tuesday 29th Jan 2019

I’ve had an update from a few sources and the timeline includes this..

Tuesday 15 January 2019

00:19 – While I see 4 men getting into Islington Wharf Mews, another man also dressed in black from head to toe is trying to gain entry to the Islington wharf car park by trying to sneak in when someone leaves or enters. Unsuccessfully he returns to his hiding position each time. This also explains why 1 of the 4 men I saw kept looking out from their 1st floor position.

00:45 – They tried to gain entry again but a resident closes the shutter too quickly. 3mins later I get my call from the police, but still no one shows up.
On the building site they break a padlock on a tool box, giving them access to stronger tools

01:08 – They break into the car park via the ground floor through the fence using the builders tool.

01:18 – They send 2 of them for an initial scope out of the carpark and then after all 5 of them go into the car park. Breaking two locks of 2 motorbikes, and damaging my scooter. They are in the car park for 35mins

01:43 – One of the Residents tried to drive in to the car park and when the roller shutter goes up they run away pushing the motorcycles.

Updated – Morning of Wednesday 30th Jan 2019

At 8:30am I received a phone call from the special operations police. They had read my email and were slight shocked at how I’d be treated through this investigation. He massively apologized and agreed based on the research I had done, the cases are linked. Then finally at 1300 they did go and review the footage from the flats and are using it in their ongoing investigation along with other CCTV footage.

Case not closed!

My New Years Resolutions 2019

Ian PORTRAIT at work

Its been 11 years since I’ve been blogging my new years resolutions and I’m still going.

Following my review of last year… here’s my New Years Resolutions for 2019; which follows on from 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.2009, 2008 ones.

  1. Head further a field with the scooter
    Missed this last year, so its time for a ride into Europe hopefully before the UK leaves Europe! I have plans to stay with a friend in Rotterdam then drive around and maybe into Belgium & Germany for some coasting.
  2. Ride a roller coaster in yet another country
    Very fitting with the previous one but if not, I like the idea of checking out more theme parks in Europe especially after the huge success of 2018.
  3. Look after myself better
    I generally look after myself but its time to be thoughtful and conscious about this all. I’m getting older and should really spend more time thinking about myself with an eye on the future.
  4. Spend more time in the UK
    Ok the last year I spent a lot of time outside the UK. On rough count I hit about 12 weeks this year outside the North of England alone (but I do go to Bristol and London quite a bit). I can’t believe I took almost 30 different flights this year! Although I love it and take care of myself, I have to admit thats a lot. So I’m going to try staying closer to home for this year.
  5. Enter the bake off at work
    My work place does regular bake off’s and the theme sometimes is something interesting which I could do bake/cook around. So I’ve challenged myself to join one of the bake offs this year
  6. Explore more about the brain using neuroscience
    I do want to explore around this but now I binned off Funzing recently, so need to look a little wider. Maybe setup some search filters, keep an eye on eventbrite and meetups.
  7. Do more with my Estonian e-residency
    As said in my review of last year, I have a task to extend my e-residency card to 5 years which I need to do ASAP, likely in the next few weeks. After that I also have a task to look into self-signing using my Estonian e-residency.
  8. Explore the future of decentralised and distributed systems
    This one is a combination of 2 of my  previous resolutions. Exploring the future of online dating with decentralise more. So more mastodon and more exploring Indie web technologies like Bridgy and Kinds. I’ve been really interested in these things for a long while.
  9. Make some changes to the flat
    Its been a while and although I made some great changes to the living room, its time to focus on the bedrooms. I can’t believe I got a configurable IKEA desk from over 18 years ago, which needs to be replaced as it’s too big and I hardly use it now. I’d like to get the server in a better position and remove some tired furniture.
  10. Host film nights and more dinner parties at mine
    I have a task to sort out my current projector or get a new one (this is looking more likely, any hints on cheap long throw projectors is welcomed). I already have a 130inch projector screen but it needs to go back to IKEA as the mechanism is broken. Once this is all done, then it makes total sense to host film nights.
    On top of this, its been a while since I had a party at mine, so maybe I’m moving from party to dinner parties?
  11. Work on the dating book
    I have been working on a book around my dating experience for a long time and its about time I just got it written. Especially since Hannah offered her copy editing skills to help make it a real book. So far its been great I need to write more
  12. Be a stronger advocate for Team Human
    This is a follow-up to previous years. The podcast I listen to Team Human is a celebration of ourselves as people (messy, diverse, etc) not robots (perfect, tireless, etc). This has importance for the problems we are all facing around diversity and inclusion. It also ties into the mental health epidemic we are seeing too. My recent addition to the inclusive top 100; is perfect timing?

A review of my 2018 resolutions

Ian Forrester #ib100

2018 has been quite different in a good way.

Looking from the Quantified Self point of view

  • My sleep deficit over the whole year has massively increased to 367 mins,   My average sleep this year has been 8 hours 2mins (slightly down). Average deep sleep has been 4.03hrs now only 48% of my sleep.
  • According to Gmail I have had 47,769 conversations, have 27,280 emails in my inbox and sent 7241 emails this year
  • Have 60,460 photos and 3,220 photos albums in Google photos.
  • Tasks wise I have 212 open tasks and completed 2,635 over the year
  • Been on 52 trips including Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona, Skopje, Brussels, Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Dublin and Edinburgh this year.
  • According to Trakt, my most played show is Doctor Who and film was Avengers Infinity War. Most listened to podcast is the Daily Tech News Show.
  • I spent 236 hours watching films (19.7 a month) and 409 hours watching TV series (46.6 a month)
  • Spent 847.9 hours working in Media City UK, 104.2 hours working in many coffee shops in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, 82.9 hours in Liverpool, 40.5 hours working on a train and 73.3 hours working at home. Theres a very long tail with lots more locations like hotels, Nottingham Uni, York Uni, Berlin, Dubin, Ravensbourne, etc.

Regardless of the data he’s the review of my new years resolutions from 2018.

This didn’t happen, maybe Kates appetite for adventure has dimished?

Either way, I’m also quite impressed with work friend Jimmy Lee’s travelroulette to Hong Kong. I keep seeing good prices to fly from Manchester in early 2019.

  • Head further a field with the new scooter
    New Scooter, new waterproof wear, its time for a ride into Europe before the UK leaves Europe (said with a very heavy heart)

No go on this one. I had planned to head to Rotterdam to visit my volleyball friend Barbara then drive around the Netherlands and maybe into Beligum and north west Germany? Going to some theme parks on the way, before going back to Rotterdam and then back to Hull.

  • Ride a roller coaster in another country
    Closely related to the previous one, its got to happen in 2018. I love them and its time to go further a field to see what others are doing.

Oh I busted this resoultion mutliple times over.  Starting with Parque Warner Madrid and Parque de Atracciones de Madrid.

Then in my next trip to the nordic countries I went to Gröna Lund

Then hit my person best of 49x times on one ride by visited Tivoli theme park in Copenhagen, Denmark.

49 times on the Demon, people asks why didn’t I do a round 50? Well I did try but the ride closed just as I made the last journey. Unlike UK parks, the park was open very late 11pm so I took it easy and stopped for food, etc. So I wasn’t trying to break some personal record or anything. Just going around and around enjoying each ride.

Then I thought it would be just too rude to not visit Linnanmäki in Helsinki, Finland while attending Mydata 2018 which happened next door! Although I didn’t like much of the rides and it opened at 4pm?

Then finally I got to Port Adventura Barcelona, Spain. A very popular theme park with Rollercoaster fans.

253 rides in another over  country…

Truly smashed this one into pieces and loved every moment.

  • Go to a new part of the world

This year I got to two new countries. Finland and Macedonia. Both suprised me, the Finnish was fancinating and massively different from the Swedish in many ways I didn’t quite get till I was there. Also great to see old Manchester friend Gabrielle while I was there.

Macedonia was also really interesting and I couldn’t help but link what I saw in Romania with Macedonia. One of the highlights was seeing and walking around a set of flats (centar) which I had only really seen on the screen while creating the living room of the future.

  • See more comedy

I got to the Edinburgh Comedy Festival with my partner this year. The last time I was in the fringe festival was in 2007 during the TV Un-Festival.  This year I did a lot of comedy from Edinburgh to a more local Cholton Chuckles.

Very enjoyable and something I’d like to keep this going for sure.

  • Explore more about the brain using neuroscience

This didnt happen enough, I went to a MCR Talk: Retrain Your Brain but not much more, something to explore more next year? But I’ve given up on Funzing as the last event was pretty poor.

  • Only eat artisan chocolate unless its Kitkat, Twix or Maltesers

So this worked out well except I broke it a few times with some poor chocolate choices. One such time was eating a milkyway out of a box celebrations, there was no Twix left and I didn’t realise Teaseers were Maltesers.  But I have been pretty good most of the time and its really changed my tastes when it comes to chocolate. Now I find milk chocolate far too sugarly and milky, almost sickly.

Cocoarunners has done a excellent job providing different types of chocolates monthly and the range has been super impressive. Theres a blog post previously highlighting my favourate ones.

  • Do more with my Estonian e-residency

I have a task to extend my e-residency card to 5 years which I need to do ASAP, likely in the next few weeks. After that I also have a task to look into self-signing using my estonian e-residency.

  • Make better use of the online services I have paid or invested in

Started to reduce the amount of services but theres a lot more that can be done. But this year I have been making my home server more stable which runs Plex, Tinytiny RSS, etc.

  • Be more daring in matters of the heart

So my partner asks…
“More daring?”
“Yes more daring” I reply with a slight smile

I have been dating my partner for almost 10 months now and like all relationships its needs work, time and effort. Luckily my partner is understanding, patient and caring…sometimes! (smile!)

  • Explore the future of online dating

Still very interested and theres some chatter about doing something around this with a potential new project in 2019. Although I’m not dating myself, theres still a moral problem I see and would like a hand in changing, regardless of my own status. Decentralise dating for the win of team human!

  • Decentralise more and use POSSE more

This has happened, especially since I starting using Mastodon.

However Facebook dropped support for third-party tools to automatically share posts to Facebook Profiles, which is annoying and means my facebook is very quiet. Twitter also changed their API breaking a lot of my linux twitter clients forcing me to use the web interface. This meant my use of twitter has dropped too.

So generally I’m doing less POSSE because each platform is locking down their systems.

My best Cocoarunners Chocolates of 2018

My best chocolates of 2018 from Cocoarunners
These are some of my best selection of chocolates from Cocoarunners monthly delivery

Following this years new year resolution…

Only eat artisan chocolate unless its Kitkat, Twix or Maltesers.

I signed up to the monthly Cocoarunners chocolate box and its been great. Out of the box, I found the above Chocolates really noteworthy in taste, texture, etc. I guess I should have written a review for each one but its hard to do this, so I kept a photo of the ones I would easily go for again.

From top left and across to the right line by line.

I have to give another shout out to these chocolates which simply blew me away

42374300494_cf9e4d1192_c

  • Georgia Ramon – Carolina Reaper Chili 70% – Just incredible taste, really powerful impactful chilli taste but the dark Chocolate is good quality and pretty tasty too. Real compliment to each other.
  • Manufaktura Czekolady 100% Ghana Grand 100% – I describe this as simply the best 100% dark chocolate you can ever get. Never had anything like it, and although I like 100%, this one really makes you wonder if there’s a mistake and it’s actually 85-90% instead.

I’ll be continuing my subscription to Cocoarunners for another year for sure…

Life status check-in?

I noticed Sarah, founder of the Girl Geekdinners added a post on her facebook. She asked for others to do it because it was an interesting to understand our friends.

So I did a quick copy and filled it in on my facebook.

I decided to add it here and add some comments.

💍 Marriages: 1
💔 Divorces: 1
🍼Children: 0 (Thankfully)
👩🏼‍⚕️ Surgeries: 3 (Arm burn, Nose and Brain)
Tattoos: 0 (No chance I count my burn as one massive one)
👂🏼Piercings:0 (No bloody way!)
✋🏼Quit a job: Yes
🚘What car you drive : None (But I do have my lovely Silverwing 600cc Scooter)
✈️Flown in a plane: Yes (geez luckily dooplr doesn’t exist anymore because I must have been on about 15+ just this year)
🍹Favourite Drink: Espresso Martini or Cosmopolitan (I’m torn between the two, depending on mood)
Fallen in love: Yes
🚑Rode in ambulance: Yes (a few times with friends and myself)
🎤Sang karaoke: Yes (and hated it, each time)
Ice skating: Yes (still not great but can do it)
🏄Been surfing: No (tempted in the past)
🚢Been on a Cruise: No (plus I get seasick easily so it sounds like a nightmare to me)
🏍Rode on a motorcycle: Yes (everyday, not a big deal for me)
🏍Owned a motorcycle: Yes (about 5 in total)
🐴Rode on a horse: Yes (Believe it or not, and not ever again please)
😲Almost died: Yes (#mybrushwithdeath)
🏥Stayed in a hospital: Yes
🍑Favorite fruit: Granny smiths apples
📲Last phone call: Restaurant in Manchester (I was checking the availability of a table)
📱Last text: To my partner
🍵️Coffee or Tea: Tea (I love coffee but I can’t drink it like I use to, Tea on the other hand I can drink all day no problem)
🥧Favourite pie: None! (Hate them, I’m all about the Cornish Pasties)
🍕Pizza: Pizza Express’s Padana, which is Goats Cheese, Caremlised red onions, Spinach and Olive oil
🐈 Cat or Dogs: Cats (although I’m allergic to them, they don’t like to bite & chase me like dogs do)
☃️ Favorite Season: Summer (Sometimes its too hot but I prefer it to the cold and wet rain of Spring and Autumn. Also love walking around with just a short sleeve shirt)
♥️: Favorite holiday: Tokyo Japan (although crazy and always under threat of eating something which is going to kill me, I did enjoy it a lot)
🏊‍♂️: Skinny dipped: Yes

Lets meet Ian Forrester

For a while I’ve been thinking maybe I should have a Wikipedia page, not because I’m some kind of celeb but rather to capture all the different things which have been mentioned or interviewed. However I know this is a very bad idea. So I’m trying to keep a log of them in standard notes and maybe add them to my aboutme page. Currently it feels like I’m writing the history of me (or even the story of me).

Anyhow, its interesting to write and read over. I’m trying to be objective and use the wikipedia rules for verified sources. Theres some key points including my brush with death, the inclusive board top 100,  but also some more fun parts like the recent blog from the BBC GEL team, lets meet Ian Forrester.

In this instalment we speak to Ian Forrester, Senior Producer (and ‘Firestarter’) at BBC R&D. Ian recently made the Inclusive Board’s top 100 list of most influential Black, Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) leaders in UK tech. He talks about his journey to the BBC, memories of epic food fights and his interest in empowering the citizen.

I know everyone has a story/book in them, but I certainly think mine will make a interesting reading.

Bloody Mountstevens! I really hated that job, but loved going to replay records to spend my hard earned money on vinyl.

Arriva trains changes to their onboard wifi service

transport for wales terriable wifi

I noticed Arriva trains (now Transport for Wales) have changed their policy on board wifi usage. I had problems with it in the past…

Now instead of cutting you off when you hit the shocking amount of 20meg (yes you heard me right – 20meg!) They throttle the internet to your device at 20meg.

Its still not ideal but I do feel its a better compromise that cutting the internet completely. Especially because frankly the signal from tethered phones during the journey through south Wales can be pretty poor for miles and miles.

Manchester’s crazy crane skyline

Manchester cranes at Oxford Road

Its pretty crazy to see the amount of cranes in skyline right now. Its extremely noticeable and picked up by many including the Manchester evening news.

Its good to see things moving on and up, but wow! My young boy wishes to live in the centre of a skyscraper city may come true…

Its a night with A Guy Called Gerald not Trafford Parsons

A guy called Gerald and a annoying person called Trafford Parsons

I booked on Funzing to see and hear from the amazing legend A guy called Gerald. Originally I booked to see him on the 10th October but on my journey on my scooter back from work caught a text message on my pebble watch that Gerald was in a motorcycle accident and the event would be cancelled.

FUNZING EVENT UPDATE: We are very sorry to inform you that A Guy Called Gerald has been in a motorbike accident and will not be able to hold the event tonight. The good news is that A Guy Called Gerald will make a full recovery and be able to hold the event in the future. We will be in contact in the next 7 days with a new date. Apologies for any inconvenience caused – Funzing Team

Quite spooky being on a motorcycle when seeing this but great to hear he was fine.

7 days later another text message from Funzing.

FUNZING EVENT UPDATE: A Guy Called Gerald: Acid, House and Hacienda.
Due to Gerald being in a traffic accident the talk was postponed. Gerald has since made a full recovery and the talk will now take place on 21st November. The talk will be held at the same venue as before – The Frog and Bucket, Manchester.

Great it happens to be on a day when I can make it I thought…

The day comes around and I’m looking forward to it. After settling down in a chair with a drink. Things start with a guy in a massive hat and dungarees climbing on stage, closely followed by Gerald who is looking very cool in his sunglasses and relaxed style.

A guy called Gerald

Its clear that the guy with the massive hat and dungarees is there to keep Gerald on track and ask questions. As Gerald talks, he draws on the backdrop but he gets annoying when he’s not spelling the words correctly and asking how to spell words to write (now I understand why). As a man with dyslexia, I would avoid writing things on the back if it wasn’t necessary and I wasn’t sure how to spell it. Heck I would let it go. But it happened again and again. It started interfering with the Gerald’s talk. Worst still this man was interrupting Gerald more and more.

Frankly it got worst and worst, his interruptions and rambling was getting out of hand as he started telling his own story. Some people shout for him to shut up and let Gerald talk.

A guy called Gerald
Finally Gerald gets his story out, while talking to his cousin.

They were right we had came to see and hear Gerald not this other guy, who called himself Trafford Parsons? To be fair the first time he said his name I heard Trafford Parsley. I never heard of him and frankly never want to hear from him again after ruining my and other peoples night.

He took the option to turn an event about a legend into a story about himself and that is unforgivable, disrespectful and just bang out of order. I only came back in the second half because I hope it would get better. It only slightly did but I also did wonder why for all the talk about Geralds music, nothing was played at all. The first half had no music and the second half had a random playlist from the late 80s. Like a Spotify playlist or something on low volume for background.

It was simply a car crash to watch and deep down frustrating to see every time Gerald was interrupted. I think if Trafford had not shut up in the second half more, I might have walked out for good. I wanted to ask a question but by the end of the night I was so annoyed that I couldn’t be bothered and Trafford didn’t leave enough time for proper audience questions.

Later looking him up, I realise he might be a Manchester icon in the same way when I first time came across Gordo.

I ask Trafford, wheres your self-awareness and respect for Gerald?

It was like he wanted to share the limelight! Sorry no you can’t that night was about Gerald not Trafford. If you want your own, speak to Funzing and get your own night. For me this is unforgivable. He ruined the event and my night. I’ve already asked for my money back!

I’m not the only one looking at the reviews of the event.

Would’ve been a whole heap better without Trafford Parsons! A rude man who didn’t allow Gerald to tell his story or share his experiences. Boring and a waste of money

 

Interesting journey through Gerald’s music history. Co host was a little irritating at times although I appreciate he was trying to keep Gerald on track, it wasn’t always necessary

 

Living life to the maximum

Ian Forrester #ib100

The last few days have been quite incredible, mainly due to being added to Inclusion boards top 100. Its been quite a whirl wind but my feet are still solidly on the floor.

I want to say thank you to everyone who posted, liked, retweeted, tooted, left a comment, emailed, texted or verbally said to me congrats. I means tons to me. Every-time I look at the list and all the other people on the list, I’m just ever-so humbled.

But being on the list is one thing, I’ve been pushing for a long while for diversity and to be honest this has massively helped even in the short few days since it was public. Imagine what else could/can be done?!

But I wanted to stop for a moment and tell you why this means a lot to me, part of it was in my previous post.

Without technology I would be a very different person and I want to help many others realise there true potential without prejudice and without fear. If I can be a part of this, I will hopefully inspire others to join us as we drive the much needed change…

I’m very conscious that just over 8 years ago I was almost dead. I always vowed never to let things stop me, if its truly important to me. And this is super important to me! I can’t even start to express how important. Not being entered as such, but rather the fact I’m doing something right. Its easy to get inside your own head and lose track of whats really needed in this world.

I always wanted to live life to the maximum and also have eyes on a future I wanted to see exist beyond me.

Thank you all again!

Another busy month or so

Its going to be another busy month or so…

Tomorrow we start to Build a healthy public service internet in the first forum during Mozfest weekend. This will be further explored at Mozfest in the decentralised space on Saturday afternoon.

Not long afterwards I’ll be going to Skopje along the same lines as last year when I was in Sarajevo. This time we have the results of last years workshop, the living room of the future.

Then Berlin for Most wanted music with a adaptive narrative conference talk more focused on audio than video and our first perceptive podcasting workshop. Now this exciting but scary as its completely beta and being developed right now.

I’m back in Berlin not long afterwards for a look at object based media and how machine learning can work together for the future of storytelling, quite similar to TOA 17 but more exploring and more I can talk about now compared to then.

Finally wrapping up with a critical panel discussion titled New platforms, new ways of storytelling at the future of the book in London. I expect a few things I said at Oreilly’s Tools of Change in 2012 are still very relevant. But also Perceptive podcasting will be much more mature by then.

All exciting but quite a bit in one go…

Dormouse Chocolate now has a shop in Manchester

Cocoabeans

A hidden chocolate shop is now open just off Deansgate https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/food-drink-news/hidden-chocolate-shop-manchester-dormouse-15283210

I read about dormouse chocolates in my feed and was excited to hear they have opened a shop in Manchester. I met them at the cococarunners event in takk a while ago and quite liked their chocolate although generally too milky for my personal tastes but they have darker too and they are good too.

My trainers have a problem

Adidas springblade problem highlighted
Noticed the green glue which makes clear the problem with Adidas Springblades.

I love my Adidas springblade trainers but the fault in them is pretty major.

Originally I thought it might be a technical problem with that one trainer but it turned out to be much more that just a one off. I actually bought 2 of them in different colours and slightly different style but had to send one back to Adidas for a full refund. They also offered a refund on the other one but I wanted to keep it as I kinda hoped superglue would help things. They did give me a part refund anyway.

They were excellent about it all, can’t point the finger at them for customer service. but I’ve carefully wore the other pair.

Adidas springblade trainers

However in almost a 2 years since I bought them and wearing them here and there mainly during summer, I looked at them again to see if I could fix things with glue, sponge or something else. I noticed something else was not right with the other shoe too.

To explain from the pictures; the blades (as they are called) are quite solid to support the weight of the wearer. The blades are set at a angle, so they slightly bend giving an amazing but slight bounce to walking and running. I can’t tell you how amazing it feels, and I’ve worn all types of trainers including Nike Air. I still remember wearing them on a walk form Check point charlie to krutzberg while on the Mozilla retreat in Berlin.

Adidas springblade trainers

But the rigidity nature makes it not good with the usual bending of shoe. There is some give but not enough and ultimately the rigid blades break away from the base unit. Not in a loose your heel in a street vent style but rather it cracks away from the base. This is where I was applying super glue but it would last a certain amount of time before the glue would break again.

To be fair the reviews are not that impressive either, no idea what they would write if they had it longer. To me it was  clear as day for me when the blade break had happened on the opposite shoe in the exact same manor.

I think Adidas may have gone too far with the blades and the Adidas A3 & Bounces were a better idea for general use. Especially when it came to traction with the floor. Having too little actual contact with the floor made any hint of rain on the road a hazard for walking on. It s a real shame because they are incredibly engineered trainers.

Some will say over-engineered? Maybe thats why I love them so…?

What its like living with a series of allergies?

japanese nut allergy card

There’s been a increase in the number of allergy related news stories recently which I’ll be honest I welcome but its also really sad news too.

Allergic woman died after eating burger

Amy May Shead’s family warn ‘allergies can cause life-changing damage’

Pret baguette allergy cases before death

I felt very strongly as someone with multiple allergies of different strengths including the deadly nut/peanut. Its interesting reading Jessica Pan’s piece about what its like living with a severe nut allergy.

I know the word for peanut in Spanish, German, Italian, Greek and Icelandic. When I lived in Beijing for two years, the first sentence I learned to master in Mandarin was, “If I eat peanuts, I will die.” Then, to really get the message across, I would mime death. I’d clutch my throat, roll my eyes back and stick my tongue out. My audience, usually Chinese waiters, would laugh or look bewildered, but it was the most effective way to get the point across. It was blunt, but it had to be. I had a severe peanut allergy and I struggled to convey the gravity of the situation to locals in China, where nut allergies are rare.

I’m pretty much the same but having travelled around a lot. I have to be very clear when I say I’m allergic to nuts, peas, beans, coconut, fish and seafood. It was Japan when I learned to print out my allergies on a piece of paper.

Why paper? Because its something I can give to the wait staff to give to the actual kitchen instead of relying on the wait staff to convey all the allergies I have. One can be easily missed and all hell is unleashed into my body.

At dinner on my first night in Beijing, I told the waiter, “I’m allergic to peanuts. I don’t want peanuts.” He brought over my food and I peered into a dish, which was sprinkled in peanuts. “Peanuts?” I asked, pointing, knowing they were peanuts. He glanced at the dish and said, “Just a little.”

“Just a little” is the difference between alive and dead. Between the best holiday ever and an emergency trip to the hospital.

I’m happy to say this is less and less happening in the European countries I go to, due to the change in the law around the 14 allergens. Although I’m also getting some slightly more intolerant responses too like those in LEAF.

Now to be fair I’ve been told a few times especially in Japan, go away (more or less) but having to sign a wavier just makes my blood boil.

I’ve learned a few survival strategies along the way, though some of them I learned the hard way.

Friends who travel with me know that they must be my designated “tasters”. Most often, this task is left to my poor husband. So many holidays, so many memories, and so many moments of me shouting in his face, “Do you taste peanuts? Do you?!” A curry on a beach in Malaysia, hot pot in Chengdu, a baklava on a balcony in Greece, all with me staring at him intently, praying for the green light.

I have similar starting with the allergy card, ask friends, a touch to the lips and then a nibble. Wait for 3-5mins with water and antihistamines at the ready. I tend to eat between 2-5 depending on how certain I’ve eaten something allergic. I never leave home without antihistamines now.

There will be foods which I just won’t take the risk with and that does include some of the thai curries. If I think it might have something I’m allergic to in it, I will weigh up in my mind how close I am to my home, does the restaurant practice good separation in food preparation, how much is an allergic reaction going to ruin the rest of my day?

Maybe I should just stay home and not travel, but I love Asia and I really, really love Asian food. Instead, I take precautions: I nearly always carry an EpiPen with me. I also have a routine I do when I meet new friends or colleagues: I show them where I keep my EpiPen and I say, “Guys, just not through the heart, OK?”

The one and only time I was sick in Japan due to peanut sauce, I downed about 4 antihistamines drunk a lot of water then jumped in a taxi back. There is no way I want to be sick in a restaurant bathroom again! Especially because I tend to fall a sleep straight afterwards and trust me theres almost no where worst you want to fall a sleep. I assume its the antihistamines taking effect but it helps, just like a full sugar pepsi/coke after I wake up. Maybe its the sugar and the goopiness of the cola which helps line the throat and stomach.

allergy tests bottles

I don’t carry an Epipen due to having high blood pressure and idiots watching too much pulp fiction. (not the heart for goodness sake!). Given at the wrong time and I’m dead full stop. I’ve managed to stay alive by being super cautious and its worked for me.

Just because I don’t have an epipen doesn’t mean its less serious by the way. I’ve seen many people instantly think it cant be that bad if I don’t carry an epipen. No I’ve been very fortunate, cautious and suspicious of everything I eat or drink. Trace amounts don’t have enough of a effect fortunately too.

I sometimes cook with small amounts of Soya sauce but give me Tofu and its game over. Likewise I can eat Tuna chunks out of a can but fresh fish will have my body forcefully getting rid of it in the quickest way possible.

I try my best to avoid peanuts, but they lurk in so many dishes. I never order massaman curry, desserts with praline, anything with mole sauce, trail mix, granola or Thai salads. No to anything that even looks like satay, no to exotic alcoholic spirits. All foreign chocolate must be studied meticulously.

Everything is studied heavily by me and if there is no ingredients, I will likely avoid it. This means street food or stuff made on the fly almost impossible. Everyone talks about the street markets of Osaka in Japan but I found it impossible to eat there.

To be honest, although Japan was very tricky. Rules like avoiding all soup/noodle things helped reduce the contact with allergens. I think I would have a even more difficult time in China or Thailand. The pure thought of having to deal with a barrage of allergens makes me not want to go. Something most people barely think about when flying to places. I would love to be one of those people trying different things but its super dicey and not worth the risk, so I avoid them.

The puking bit is actually fine. It’s the waiting bit that is the worst. It’s looking for hives on your tongue and swelling in your lips and wondering, “Is this the stupid mistake that ends my life?”

Puking is the worst I’ve had for a long long time, aka its been a long time since I ended up in hospital. I’m one of the lucky ones where my allergy doesn’t send me straight to hospital. However this should never be dismissed as those hives on my lips and tongue are nothing compared to the endless scratchiness of my throat. Then the swelling and before long its difficult to breath. This is also when I desperately need my inhaler (not something I carry around all the time) but can’t pull enough air through my throat to breath correctly. At that point I realise its all down hill, its the point when I start to make mistakes due to the lack of oxygen going to my brain.

Its scary but I’ve only had a few times when I was much younger and it does mean slowing down and doing less.

I recently had to learn the Polish for peanut, frantically searching for it on Google Translate after carelessly taking a bite of chocolate in my hotel room last summer, although I already knew it was in the chocolate. It was that same ominous tingle on my tongue and my throat, followed by hot fear racing through my body.

Google translate is my friend, its not perfect and in some languages slight wrong but it gets the point across and thats all I need.

Look, I know allergies are boring. While visiting Koh Samui, I mentioned my peanut allergy so much that the Thai staff at my hotel greeted me every morning with, “Hello, Miss No Peanut!”

Its something most people never have to think or deal with. For example I’m writing this on a train from Bristol to Manchester with a change at Birmingham. On the previous train a woman sat eating cashew nuts, then dropped the bag on the ground (litter bug). Now on my last part a woman sits eating a Kitkat peanut across from me. I lean back in my chair but the smell of peanuts is heavy and I dying for her to finish the bar quickly instead of little bites at the edges.

The smell of death just hovers around and it makes you want to run for cover. I’ve drawn comparisons to when someone is smoking in your face, you might be able to deal with it for a short while then you have to move away.

Its something most people never think about but I do all the time! I’m also consciously watching where she touches on the train, to make sure I don’t touch it too.

Allergies are boring I get that, everytime I have to pull my allergy card out at a new restaurant or place. But its deeply dangerous for me and many allergy suffers to underestimate them.

My hope is stories like mine and Jessica will put a human face to the jokes about throwing peanuts at people. Pret’s labelling is just horrible as I found out that the Korean BBQ soup included fish. But I only found that out when asking for the actual legal allergy menu and not trusting the ingredient menu they include in store.

Next few weeks, are a busy one…

Ian Forrester

Its another busy few weeks and to be fair few months for me (lets not go there now).

This weekend I’ll be hosting the living room of the future in the V&A Museum in London. I can’t tell you how excited I am about the 150+ people who have signed up already.

Then the week after I’m keynoting about the living room of the future at Hello Culture Remix at BBC Digital Cities in Birmingham.

This right before I head to Bristol for a Object based media workshop at Encounters short film festival. I’m also really happy to be judging the xR short films for Encounters.

After a short break its off to the York Mediale to see a commissioned Object based media project with the University York’s Digital Creativity lab, this may also involve a public talk.

Not too long afterwards, theres Mozhouse/Mozfest (however this time I’m not wrangling) but October/November is another post maybe…