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Oh. That’s boring.

Saw this on my way to work today and was intrigued. Is this a dialogue between a die-hard feminist and a male? (My mother had the “if we can send one man to the moon, why not all of them?” bumpersticker). Or is it “men” as in “everyone” – but not today, thank you.

Googled it just now. They’re both Game of Thrones quotations.


We missed that one. Uncle B hates fantasy. We started watching it, but he was like, “if there are dragons, I’m out.” And you probably know how worked out.

We’re between serieses at the moment. Netflix sucks. We gave up on Amazon originals. I’ve got some stuff recorded, but meh.

I got a boxed set of Utopia for a birthday gift, but I can’t face it. It’s really well done (which is why I asked for a copy) but deeply violent and nasty.

It’s about a “Russian flu” being bioengineered and deliberately released for…purposes.

Yes. Quite.

January 25, 2022 — 7:37 pm
Comments: none

Partly sunny with a chance of balls

And on the fifth day, there were balls. Seriously, what do you reckon that is – hail, I guess?

That’s the fifth of February. That’s the first day that isn’t just cloud. No rain, no sun, just cloud. Two weeks of it in front of us, weeks of it behind us.

Wait, I’m not depressed enough. I’m’a go file my taxes.

I only have until next Monday.

January 24, 2022 — 8:37 pm
Comments: 1

Yeah, I’m one of *those* people now

After seeing Twitter people piss and moan about other people posting their Wordle scores, I checked it out.

And now here’s me, posting my Wordle scores.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I can’t be arsed to explain. It’s a word guessing game. You can find directions lots of places.

No, I want to talk about strategy.

There is some controversy about the frequency with which letters appear in English words, but the acronym I remember is ETAMOINS. My guess is, S should appear closer to the front (because of plural), but that list is good enough for Hangman-type games.

So, start with a word entirely from those letters. MOIST. NAMES. SMOTE. Something like that. So far (in my whole five tries), I’ve gotten at least one green letter on the first guess.

Use more ETAMOINS letters for the second guess, after which (if you’re lucky) you’ll have enough of the word to make a good final guess.

My first try, I got it in 4 (my starting word was stupid). Then I got in 3. And once, I got it on the second guess. I think the word was ROBOT. It just looked like ROBOT, you know?

Now, I’m not bragging or nothing, but NEENER NEENER NEENER!

Lavendergirl takes it again with Louie Anderson. She heard he was ill and nipped in quick, a venerable Dead Pool strategy. I didn’t have time (read: was too lazy to get out of the comfy chair) to put together a new Dead Pool today, so you have that to look forward to.

We’ll see how many more good picks croak before then. Good weekend, everyone!

January 21, 2022 — 6:55 pm
Comments: 15

New digs for Leon

In case you missed it when it made the rounds a few months ago, this guy took home a supermarket lobster and kept it as a pet. No, he’s not an eco-warrior – lobster is his favorite celebration food – he’s a saltwater fishtank guy with a camera.

It’s worth fifteen minutes of your time. Dude’s voice is oddly soothing and the lobster is a more interesting beastie than you might think. BTW, he has avoided stressing it by flipping it upside down to observe its tackle, so we don’t really know if it’s male or female.

Here’s an update from just before Christmas and here he is last week, moving into his new aquarium! Twice as big, with a coral cave and some fishes for company.

Brady Brandwood is his name. The man’s. The lobster is Leon. The man has made a bunch of videos about breeding koi, which I haven’t watched because I don’t care. Interesting, though, that he feeds his fish (and Leon) people food. Also videos about various motorcycle projects, a short documentary about an old moonshiner and one about exploring a small cave that almost made me hyperventilate.

It’s not that interesting. It’s just, my brother took me exploring a limestone cave in Tennessee when I were a lass and I came away with a lifelong terror of getting my ass stuck in a crevasse.

January 20, 2022 — 8:03 pm
Comments: 5

I didn’t feel a thing

That dip on the graph is a pressure wave from the volcanic eruption in Tonga, as recorded in Sussex. Per the article: “Tonga is just over 10 000 miles away and, at the speed of sound, that’s around 14 hours away.”

They said it would have a measurable impact on air pressure locally but we wouldn’t actually feel it, and it did come to pass. Though…doesn’t that look like a drop in pressure? Does that make any sense?

Man some of those videos were wild: boom, satellite, infra-red, before and after.

Oregon Muse, one of the contributors to the Ace of Spades group blog, has died. He was the curator of the popular Book Thread (and also the Chess Thread). If you were an enjoyer of either of those, you can follow the link to pay respects.

It’s always such a strange feeling to lose an internet person.

January 19, 2022 — 7:48 pm
Comments: 9

Water into wine? Pff! Hold my G&T

Pictured: juniper berries. Mine are coming tomorrow.

As a gin drinker, I’ve been itching to try ginifying vodka. None of this artisanal swill for this little weasel, mostly because I can’t afford it. But infusing neutral spirits with flavorings is a perfectly acceptable way of making gin. Deprecated, but acceptable.

The earliest gin was made with a pot still. This is a primitive kind of still that lets through a fair amount of water along with the alcohol, resulting in a weaker and more flavorful gin than we’re used to. The botanicals would be put in with the mash (called a wash, in the case of a distilled liquor) and enough of it came through that the flavors persisted. Many of today’s small-batch artisanal gins are made this way.

Later column distillers make a much purer alcohol, but the flavorings wouldn’t make it through. Hence distilled gin or London dry is put once through the column still, then the botanicals are added, then it’s put through a pot still.

But there’s a third type: compound gin. That’s where you take neutral spirits (cheap vodka, in my case) and add botanicals. It has a bad reputation because it was the method of choice for softening nasty homemade hooch. That’s what they did during Prohibition, using charming botanicals like turpentine.

Hence bathtub gin. You can’t distill alcohol in a bathtub, but you can take moonshine, flavor it, dilute it and bottle it in one.

But there’s nothing inherently inferior about compound gin. Gin-making kits, which you can find on the market, are perfectly legit. Wikipedia, it do say, “in 2018, more than half the growth in the UK Gin category was contributed by flavoured gin.”

Right, so juniper berries are the only essential. The article also mentions lemon and bitter orange peel, anise, angelica root and seed, orris root, licorice root, cinnamon, almond, cubeb, savory, lime peel, grapefruit peel, dragon eye (longan), saffron, baobab, frankincense, coriander, grains of paradise, nutmeg and cassia bark.

I’m thinking…juniper, tangerine and nutmeg. Yeah?

January 18, 2022 — 8:20 pm
Comments: 12

From my cold, dead hands

They’re talking about banning condiments in single-serve packages, like ketchup and mayo. Their point – which isn’t entirely stupid, I guess – is because there’s food in them, they’re more likely to be eaten by a beast.

It’s just, I’m amused at governments banning the tiny, inconsequential bits of plastic that make our lives a tad easier, thinking it will make some kind of difference to our giant plastic-based society. Reminds me of the Aldi employee who explained to me they weren’t putting out plastic bags for me to put potatoes in no more, and behind him as far as the eye could see stretched shelves of food entirely packaged in plastic.

There’s a touch of the Washington Monument syndrome about it, as well. Simply put: whenever a government department faces budget cuts, it threatens to kill whatever thing it does that you like most.

Though, in this case, making tiny savings in plastic at the cost of real inconvenience to normies makes them feel like we’re all making significant sacrifices for the planet. Shopping bags and plastic straws and the like.

You know what? I’m overthinking this. I don’t even like ketchup.

January 17, 2022 — 7:58 pm
Comments: 9

Two old favorites

An article about the Antikythera mechanism came across my Twitter feed today. I’m sure you’ve heard of it and I’ve posted about it before because I think it’s really neat.

Over time, they’ve learned more and more about it and what it originally looked at. The surviving bits represent about a third of the original mechanism. They’ve managed to recreate it, both in computer simulation and for reals. (I think the illustration above is a 3D model).

Interesting stuff.

The thing about this is, I’m not sure why, I overheard Uncle B have a conversation about the Antikythera mechanism on the phone last night. And then the article today. And that, friends, is the Baader-Meinhof Effect, and I’ve posted about that before, too. (Scroll down; it’s a discussion in the comments).

Good weekend, everyone!

January 14, 2022 — 8:09 pm
Comments: 10

At last – I’m a world-class athlete!

Did you see this? It’s from an online ‘zine called Self making the rounds. This issue is devoted to the Future of Fitness. This particular picture was captioned “What the Future of Fitness Really Looks Like.”

Yes, apparently, the future of fitness is morbidly obese. Who knew?

I’m not entirely sure what they’re playing at. The whole front of the magazine is ham planets, but dig further in and they have a traditional weight loss category in their food section.

Have a poke around if you want to feel svelte after your traditional holiday enbiggening.

January 13, 2022 — 8:39 pm
Comments: 3


Today’s Adventures in British Architecture: Chesworth House. It was the childhood home of Henry VIII’s fifth wife, Catherine Howard, but it’s much older than that.

The picture is the banquet hall. I love this about the Medieval great halls: it is simply a continuation of the ancient Viking long hall or Sussex round house. A big open room with a long firepit in the middle (well, it would have had a firepit in the middle) and a high peaked ceiling to draw the smoke away. It’s a design so successful it stretches back to prehistory and didn’t change much until late Tudor times.

The Clergy House in Alfriston is a much smaller house on the same plan. This was the National Trust’s first property, by the way. It was falling to bits and they paid £10 for it. A short but very cool day trip.

It’s also the plan of all the inns and Breezehome, your first house in Skyrim, though game designers didn’t have to worry about where the smoke was going to go so they put a floor directly above the fire.

Badger House was innovative because, you know, chimney. But the mantlepiece is a great beam of wood flush with the wall. They hadn’t figured out they could keep their Christmas cards on it if it stuck out a little.

Anyway, back to Chesworth. It’s a private home. In fact, it’s only Grade II listed – same as Badger House. Last time it was on the market, in 2018, it was up for £6 million. Do have a look around.

The beams! That kitchen!

I’d hate to have to heat the place, but I suppose whoever bought it is a creature made entirely of money.

January 12, 2022 — 7:13 pm
Comments: 6