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TUESDAY EDIT. I’m going to leave this up this week while I ruminate. Also, lazy.

WEDNESDAY EDIT. It feels weird, not squeezing out a post every night. I feel like I haven’t brushed my teeth or something. How about guest posts? Any of you have something you’ve always wanted to tell the internet? I don’t have a big reach, but if you’ve been holding in some burning truths about stamp collecting or dressage, I’m willing to entertain the idea.

THURSDAY EDIT. The internet was quiet. Too quiet.

FRIDAY EDIT. Thanks for the input, y’all. I will probably publish my half-assed instance and whip it into shape in realtime. Because I just can’t get enough of my own incompetence. I won’t be deleting anything, just de-internetting it for now. We’ll see. Did I mention lazy? Good weekend!

Request for comments, that is. I went poking through my old content over the weekend. Twelve years and 3,500 posts and I don’t know how to begin to sanitize it of possible copyright infringements.

I don’t even know how to decide what’s infringing. Wildlife photographers and freelancers whose work gets picked up by the media are touchy as hell about their content, I know that. Fair enough; they get ripped off all the time and they’ve been sore about it for years.

But what about news images in wide circulation? Memes? How much do I have to change somebody else’s image to make it transformative? It would take forever to go back through, if I even knew what to wipe.

What I’m thinking is, I’ll start a new instance of WordPress in a new directory, switch over and just retire the old content entirely. My stuff has gotten pretty repetitious anyway, as I’ve exhausted the novelty of being in England.

But I think it would break my heart to shutter the blog completely, at least right away. I’d miss you guys; I really would. I’m sure viewership and participation will fall off a cliff if I switch to irregular vague-blogging, but I’m open to suggestions.

I surely can’t hang a whole blog off a Dead Pool, can I?

June 10, 2019 — 9:11 pm
Comments: 45


Uncle B and me at the car wash today. Car was covered in bird poop. This is a very birdy place.

I got a sort of extortion email at work today. Five years ago on our website, we used a thumbnail-sized photo on a blogpost and…turns out some durned fool grabbed it from a stock photography site. The email was from an agent representing the stockhouse. It demanded £100.

I have a feeling I know how this works. They probably have some kind of bot that catalogues the client’s portfolio and then goes looking for images from it on the web. Running the company name through the internet, quite a few people on forums are calling it a scam. But from what I know of copyright law, it isn’t a scam, it’s just extremely ugly practice.

The thing about copyright law, there’s no statute of limitations. So we could ignore it and they probably would decide it isn’t worth pursuing in the courts, but it would always be hanging out there. And the fact we ignored it would count very much against us and we might owe their legal fees and stuff.

I’m getting legal advice. The question is, are there other problematic pictures from the wayback?


Most of them are mine, but I’ve gotten lazy and pinched images from the online. I’m thinking of going back and removing any picture I think might potentially be a problem. There are only….3,430 posts on the site.

Good weekend, y’all!

June 6, 2019 — 9:07 pm
Comments: 10

Behold, the size of mine ego!

Handwriting font. Specifically, my handwriting font.

There are many places online you can do this, many for free. They vary in the number of characters they’ll allow (special characters like ampersands and em dashes may not be included), but they all work similarly. Download a template, write the letters in the spaces provided, scan and upload. And viola, .ttf file!

I almost had a hissy fit when I realized I’d done all my work on a template that wasn’t the template of the website I had intended to work with. But as I had done a lot of the work in Photoshop, it was an easy matter to move it from one to another.

The particular site I used is Calligraphr. They have some neat features, like letting you adjust the letter spacing (my handwriting is generally crammed together tight) and letter variants (because if you get a big enough sample, the lack of variation in the letter forms sticks out).

I might even pony up the $8 for one months worth of enhanced service, so I can do a complete character set — numbers, symbols and so on. You get to keep the font when you’re done anyway, paying or not.

Behold, a handwriting crabbed by two and a half decades of communicating with engineers.

June 4, 2019 — 8:55 pm
Comments: 13

…and now for something completely badger…

Mr Lumpy. No, I’m not talking about my beloved. Mr Lumpy is a badger that lives in Manchester. Videos of him (and fambly and other critters) are one of the brighter spots in my Twitter feed. Check it out if you need a brighter spot in yours.

Only, I just got to the tweet in his feed about foxes and their soulful eyes when I heard a commotion in the garden. Everybody’s okay, but that bigass soulful bastard was definitely back trying to appreciate the wonders of nature in my henhouse.

Hippies. Feh.

June 3, 2019 — 9:45 pm
Comments: 15

Ain’t nature horrible…

Today, I stood on the shore and watched a cormorant drown a snake and then eat it. He kept diving down and staying down, then coming up with a weaker and weaker snake until finally he swallowed it whole.

I got some shaky phone footage of it, but it wasn’t very good, so I stole this excellent picture of a cormorant from Canadian Geographic. Who knew there was such a Canadian Geographic?

Not long after, I got a call from Uncle B saying a big dog fox was crawling all over the henhouse. Ten minutes later, he came back. Twenty minutes later, he came back. Half an hour later, he came back.

He wasn’t really fazed by us at all. He ran, but he didn’t mean it. I don’t think he can get into the chicken house, but he can literally scare them to death.

We got on the phone to our local fox-shootin’-guy (he shot 29 in this parish recently!), but we’ll have to keep them safe for a day or two until he can show up. I got nerves that jingle-jangle-jingle.

Have a good weekend, and keep your livestock close!

May 31, 2019 — 9:13 pm
Comments: 20

You monsters! What have you done?

Same country show. I’m going to assume this is part of a game where water was squirted at Der Führer, but there was nobody near it. I mean, the disembodied Adolph head was dripping wet and it wasn’t raining. That’s my theory and I’m sticking with it.

I don’t think it was for sale, anyway.

May 29, 2019 — 9:18 pm
Comments: 7


A display of traps from the country show. And yes, the big ones in the middle are mantraps.

They were legal out of doors in the UK until the 1820s, and many were clearly designed to maim. Given the lack of antibiotics and general filthiness, perhaps kill.

Both of these have metal teeth that would meet in the middle of a man’s leg. Maybe have it clean off. Ouch. A measure of how much landowners hated poachers.

An ancestor of mine was supposedly deported for poaching a deer. On the other hand, my big brother told me that and he’s full of shit. *shrug emoji*

May 28, 2019 — 9:24 pm
Comments: 8

Here we go!

The Summer fete/flower festival/country fair season is upon us and this is a homity pie.

Never had it before. In fact, I haven’t had it now. I’m savin’ it for lunch.

It’s a pastry crust filled with potatoes and an onion and leek mixture. Then it’s covered in cheese and baked. This particular variable has mustard seeds in it, which I haven’t seen in any of the recipes. A nice old lady sold it to us at a country fair.

It looks like the cross between a quiche and a ‘za.

I’ve never heard anyone in the wild say ‘za, by the way. It’s a word I picked up playing an online variation of Scrabble. Very handy for dumping unwanted Zs.

And with that, the festival season begins!

May 27, 2019 — 8:56 pm
Comments: 12

A final birthday to end the week

It’s Queen Victoria’s 200th. Happy b’day, Vicky!

That there is not a commemorative statue. It’s a life-sized cake. I mean, she wasn’t very tall, but still:

The cake in her likeness stands at real-size 4ft 11” tall and required 298 eggs, 26kg of butter and 20kg of fondant.

By now, it’s been cut into 600 slices. And yes, it’s a Victoria sponge.

The Victoria sponge, also known as the Victoria sandwich or Victorian cake, was named after Queen Victoria, who was known to enjoy a slice of the sponge cake with her afternoon tea. The sponge part evolved from the classic pound cake – equal quantities of butter, sugar, eggs and flour. The difference was the Victorian creation of baking powder, which was discovered by English food manufacturer Alfred Bird in 1843, which enabled the sponge to rise higher. This invention, writes cookery author Felicity Cloake, “was celebrated with a patriotic cake”, Victoria sponge.

You know those horrible sweet little mass-produced cakes that look like a red blood cell that you make strawberry shortcake out of? I love those things. I can’t get them here. Cheap supermarket Victoria sponge has saved my strawberry shortcake. Hurrah!

Hoist a gin to Her Maj and have a great weekend!

May 24, 2019 — 8:54 pm
Comments: 12

And in other auspicious birthdays…

Mary Anning (1799–1847). No, no…that’s not Mary Anning in the picture. That there’s an ichthyosaur. She found it, and many others like it. She made a thumping contribution to the early days of dinosaurology but, being poor and a girl, didn’t get much credit for it in life.

I hate to play the wahmen in science card, but for once it’s true.

Her father was an ‘umble carpenter and died when she was 11, after which she and her brother scavenged junk on the beach to sell. That’s when she discovered Lyme Regis is stuffed with fossils. I mean, people barely knew what fossils were at that point; she and her brother thought they’d found an alligator skeleton.

But she soon got good. She had a knack, and fossils became big business. Not big enough, though – she scraped along in poverty her whole life and died a miserable death of breast cancer at the age of 47. She made many important discoveries, anyhow, and eventually got some well-deserved recognition. Posthumously. For what it’s worth.

OH! And she’s believed to be the inspiration for “she sells sea shells by the sea shore.” So there’s that.

May 22, 2019 — 6:52 pm
Comments: 6