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I want one!

So we went into London to visit the British Museum on Friday. Friday is their late opening day; you can wander the galleries until 8:30. We hadn’t been in so long, this was our first chance to see the new atrium — a big ol’ glassed in Great Court that opened in 2000 (wow, has it really been that long?).

Uncle B is particularly fond of the Assyrian and Egyptian parts. The BM’s collection is outstanding and many of the exhibits are like old friends. Also, his awesome new camera. Me, I tend to head to the Viking and Anglo Saxon section, because racism.

We declined their special exhibit on the Ming Dynasty (£16.50). But I would’ve liked to have spent some time in the Far Eastern galleries. They’ve got a very good print of Under the Wave I’d like to see in person. Truth is, late hours or not, we just ran out of steam.

Do you ever get Museum Brain?

Oh, the sinister object in the picture was one of the best things I don’t remember seeing before. It’s big and iron and surely must be very heavy. The label on it says:

This iron rod from a woman’s grave in Norway may have been used in pagan magical practices. It resembles similar rods found in burials of women who may have been sorceresses (völur in Old Norse). The rituals involving such staffs are mysterious, but they may have included divination and the control of others. This staff was deliberately bent before burial, an act perhaps thought to remove its power.

Cooool.

September 29, 2014 — 7:31 pm
Comments: 10

Home safe. G’night!

Just got in. Too late for a proper post, but I didn’t want y’all thinking we got stranded in London or something.

I know it’s a Friday night — and a fine warm one, at that — but we could not believe how many young people were out in the pubs and bars. Every pub door had a crowd of, like, thirty kids spilling out on to the pavement, drinking and whooping it up. Most expensive city in the world in the middle of a global recession. Pff!

We had hoped for a proper sit-down meal in a nice restaurant, but it was not to be. All we passed were the aforementioned pubs, about twelve sushi joints (you couldn’t drag a badger into one) and about fifty Pret a Mangers. So we got a sammich at the station, because we’re classy like that.

G’night folks, and have a good weekend!

September 26, 2014 — 10:42 pm
Comments: 16

Saw this today. Went *SQUEE*

Well, this isn’t the one I saw. I nicked this picture off the Wikipedia article, which is curiously vague about whether they were ever used in US cars. I’ve never seen one, even in the movies, but Uncle B thinks they must’ve.

It’s called a trafficator. It’s an old fashioned turn signal. It’s a little semaphore dingus that pops out the side of the car and lights up. It’s adorable.

I’ve seen semiphore-style traffic signals in cartoons — placards that pop out the side of a pole — though I’ve never seen one in real life. But never seen a trafficator. You?

Oh, btw, we’re going to London for the day tomorrow. I’ll post if we’re back in time. If not — have a good weekend!

September 25, 2014 — 9:42 pm
Comments: 25

POW! right in the mouse finger

All through the Summer and into the Fall, I make a lot of what I like to call Cream of Shit from the Garden Soup. Basically, harvest a bunch of stuff, throw it in the pressure cooker with some herbs and olive oil, blend the shit out of it. I do add cream, but just before serving (the base soup keeps longer that way).

In aid of this souptastic activity, Uncle B bought me a powerful fancy-schmancy Bamix stick mixer. It’s Swiss, bitchez. Thing is awesome. Zero to suck-it-up-a-straw in no time flat.

I love the way the soup color morphs over the season as different things are harvested at different rates. Cool and green early on. Warm and red toward the end.

Today’s was a proper Autumn soup — the principals were tomatoes, carrots and red onions. A bit of cuke (see above) and potato for body. It was very nice. It was very red. It was slightly redder than it ought to be.

Yeah, that’s right. I cleaned the mixer without unplugging it and, um, oopsied. I’d just given it a good bvvvvt in soapy water and I was wiping off the blades when my left hand strayed to the buttons and…it bit me. Not stitches-deep, but deep. I leaked a lot.

And it’s my mouse finger :eek:

September 24, 2014 — 9:25 pm
Comments: 18

Duck fashion show

Because ducks. Because Aussies are crazy. And because I want to go play Mass Effect (I think I’ll finish it tonight).

No, I did not get a pee sample :eek:

September 23, 2014 — 8:44 pm
Comments: 10

Dear Diary: today a strange Icelandic woman fiddled my pee-pee

Poor Jack has been having…difficulties. You know…peeing difficulties.

We took him to the local vet this afternoon. She weighed him, squoze his bladder, examined his skin, listened to his heart and said, “you’ll need to get me a urine sample before I can tell you anything. That’ll be £44, please.” About seventy bucks. Sheesh.

To get this here urine sample, we have to isolate him in the downstairs bathroom with a litterbox full of little plastic balls overnight. Then, in the morning, when he has (please god) made pee, I have to suck it up in a pipette and run it in to the vet’s. I have a feeling he’s going to hit that bathroom like a cyclone and scream all night. I plan to drink a lot.

Picture is Jack in the bread oven. Uncle B took it yesterday with his fancy new camera. Here it is — half a meg’s worth of large and in color.

September 22, 2014 — 10:46 pm
Comments: 29

We’ll know by morning

Welp, the Scots are at it today. If you’re wondering why you haven’t seen much speculation yet, there’s a very tight embargo on election results until the whole vote is in. The announcement is expected in the morning, around 7:30 or before. That’s in the wee hours for most of my readership.

I’m going to go out on a limb and predict the No vote will win — not because I’m terribly confident, but because occasionally it’s fun to post something that will be definitively proven right or wrong within a few hours. It’s like playing Internet Pundit Chicken.

I base that on the fact No has been ahead all along, and still is. Just. Though Yes has had a tremendous last minute surge, it’s mostly among the yoot. And we know young people are excitable and love change but don’t turn up reliably at the ballot box. Still, they’re rounding people up and turning them out to vote, so I could have it wrong.

Had Scots politicians handled this better, they would end up in a stronger position, no matter how the vote turns out. Everyone in the UK is pissed off at Westminster and feels powerless, poorly represented and condescended to by that small bunch of snot-nosed mediocrities in government (of all parties). They could have capitalized on that and parted but stayed friends.

But no. Scots politicians are also snot-nosed mediocrities of the same general political class and they ran this thing on a lot of lefty anti-Tory bullshit and traditional bad feelings. If Scotland stays in the union, they may find Dave has promised them a whole bunch of stuff he can’t deliver, on account of all-around fuck-off-Scotty feelings in England (in fact, the one awesome silver lining is a tiny chance this referendum could ultimately topple Cameron).

If they opt out, things will get very chilly indeed. Lots of bruises and bad ideas. A commenter on Hot Air described this outcome as Venezuela with haggis.

Not too smug, though. The financial turbulence could be rough on the only constituency that matters — Badger House.

p.s. Re: the French caption. In the days of the guillotine, a favorite tattoo among French career criminals was a dotted line around the neck and “coupé ici”. I just. I dunno. Thought it was. Funny. I guess.

September 18, 2014 — 7:55 pm
Comments: 11

Can he do that?

Tonight was the second and final night of my first aid course. I gave CPR to the dummy. I passed the exam. Still, god help you if you have a heart attack in front of me.

So, a quickie. I know we’ve subjected soldiers to dangerous experiments in the past. MK Ultra comes to mind. Standing close to nuclear testing, as above. I always thought these acts were mitigated because the military really didn’t know how dangerous they were when they went on. Probably.

I also assumed there’d since been…I dunno. Legislation or a regulation or something to allow soldiers to opt out of dangerous experiments not centrally important military service. I mean, those things have generated so much controversy.

So, how the fuck can we knowingly send thousands of soldiers into the middle of an epidemic hot zone for reasons not obviously vital to American security? I mean, that’s not what they signed up for. That’s not what the military is for, is it? Is there a mechanism to opt out? Also, by the way, it’s a really, really bad idea.

I haven’t seen anyone else asking this question, so I have to assume it’s an incredibly dumb question. But it’s mine and I’m asking it.

September 17, 2014 — 10:13 pm
Comments: 22

Ducks ate my Doritos

I suppose ducks’ll eat anything, but they seemed madly keen on Doritos.

We’re having a proper Indian Summer here, so we snuck out to Bodiam castle this afternoon to take advantage. We picked a nice spot on a bench with a view of the castle, unpacked our picnic lunch and the grounds crew parked a truck between us and the castle and began weed-whacking the bank. It’s been that kind of a day, really.

Still, I got to feed Doritos to a bunch of ducks, so not a total loss.

*picture courtesy Uncle B’s fancy new camera.

September 16, 2014 — 9:40 pm
Comments: 19

Space opera, soap opera

I don’t usually opt for a female character in video games that give a choice, but something about the face of the default male Shepard in the Mass Effect games kind of creeped me out, so I played Mass Effect 2 as this chick here. My Stoaty Shepard is pretty badass; somehow I can’t see her getting up in the morning and putting on mascara and a little eye shadow. Maybe machines do that in the future.

I’m finally playing the third and final installment of Mass Effect. You start (optionally) by importing your character from Mass Effect 2. One of things that gets carried over is which of your crew members you’ve had affairs with.

Wait, what? This was an option? How on earth…?

Trust me to carry my social ineptitude into video games.

September 15, 2014 — 9:24 pm
Comments: 9