I notice that this blog has now reached another milestone - after eleven and a half years, this marks the 1,500th post. Which is quite a lot, really.
I thought I'd take the opportunity afforded by this milestone to comment on a subject that has been vexing me for some time, an issue of the utmost importance, and a truly crucial matter: my R2-D2 kitchen timer.
Here's the thing: I have three kitchen timers. One of these is the dial on the cooker, which is a fairly standard analogue timer. It's not very good, but that's not unexpected - it does a job in the cheapest way possible. But the other two are a little more annoying, since in both cases the designers have decided that their main consideration should be "looks nice", rather than "actually does the job".
One of these is a little blue bird, in the shape of the Twitter logo. The other is, as mentioned, R2-D2. To use either, you twist the head to the appropriate position and wait, and a bell rings when it ends. Which seems okay.
But no! For there are two weaknesses with both of these timers. Firstly, the method of twisting the head to the appropriate position is inexact at best. If I want to set a timer for 10 minutes, I need to twist it to... round about here. Maybe, ish. That's not exactly great - ten minutes, by the nature of the timer, now means "somewhere between nine and eleven minutes". But it's worse even than that, because both timers actually run slow. So setting it for ten minutes actually means at least eleven, with the corresponding burning of all food.
Huzzah! And so what I have is two timers that have one job, and can't actually achieve it between them. Honestly, you wouldn't think it should be hard - perhaps some sort of digital display, possibly hooking into wi-fi so that it can get time from an accurate source, or something?
Or, and here's a crazy idea, why doesn't our microwave have an option to run the timer without actually cooking anything? After all, that's a digital source, it's pretty accurate, and all it's doing most of the time is sitting there showing the current time. (And, as an added bonus for that one, most things you cook in the microwave then need to be left to stand for some time after cooking but before eating - how much easier would it be if we could just get the timer to count that for us?)
Edit: it turns out that my microwave does, in fact, have a kitchen timer mode. Thus rendering this rant even more pointless on both counts - not only does this mean my complaint about the microwave is invalid, but it means I'm not reliant on either R2-D2 or the Twitter bird for accuracy. They can go back to looking decorative.
Anyway, that's my trivial rant to mark the blog's 1,500th post. I'm sure you'll agree it was worth waiting for. Or, more likely, not.
#16: "The Immortal Throne", by Stella Gemmell (my current candidate for book of the year, though I don't expect it to remain top dog for the rest of the year - it's good, but it's not that good)