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Beer tragedies

A view looking across Tottenham Court Road towards the Horse Shoe Brewery, premises of Meux’s Brewery Company Limited. 20 Feb 1906.

The Horse Shoe Brewery was the source of the 1814 London Beer Flood when a huge vat within the brewery failed, resulting in over 323,000 imperial gallons of porter spilling into the surrounding streets. Nine people died as a result of the flood. Eight of these deaths were caused by drowning or the effects of falling debris from damaged buildings. One person died the following day from alcohol poisoning.

It is National Beer Day in Britain!

I bought one of those mini kegs of a nice beer to celebrate and somehow buggered up the opening. I can’t get any beer out of it. I twist the thing, it makes a gentle farty noise and a little dribble of bubbles sizzles out the top.

I will persevere.

You, on the other hand, can probably stand down. National Beer Day in the US is April 7 (anniversary of the signing of the Cullen–Harrison Act, which legalized the sale of weak beer. First crack in Prohibition). The day before is known as New Beer’s Eve.

Have a good weekend!

June 15, 2018 — 7:39 pm
Comments: 14

Lego of the Gods

Tweet from the British Museum says: “This 2,300-year-old #MysteryObject has a modern equivalent – what do you think it might have been used for?”

Eh. No idea. No associated article and no idea of scale, so I really could not say, BM.

…chasing a deadline tonight…

June 14, 2018 — 9:31 pm
Comments: 24


So, I was talking to an arty friend today about printmaking, and how I was taking an interest again. And she’s all, like, “Oh! You must go to the current show at Rye Art Gallery. It’s by a printmaker named Norman Ackroyd.”

No lie. Look at the image they’re advertising it with.

Weird coincidence? Maybe I saw the ad somewhere and didn’t consciously remember…?

I dunno.

And I missed it!

June 13, 2018 — 10:32 pm
Comments: 4

Oh, I like this

Norman Ackroyd. I like his stuff.

He’s a printmaker who works mainly in mezzotint — a kind of etching where you essentially ‘rough up’ the plate to hold ink in shades of gray. I found him on YouTube when I was looking for techniques of inking plates. With intaglio, that’s the hard part — inking up the plate.

Surface prints, like wood or linoleum cuts, you run an inky roller over the surface for the black and the stuff you’ve cut away are the whites. Easy peasy. Kind of.

Intaglio, where lines are etched or engraved into a plate, you have to force the ink down into those lines for the darks, then wipe it off the surface for the lights. This is tricky as hell. Wipe too much, and you pull the link out of the lines. Don’t wipe enough and the print looks dirty.

You ink up, then you wipe and wipe and wipe, usually with wipery things that aren’t very absorbent. Inky rags, starched muslin, newsprint. It’s what gives intaglio that soft, dream-like quality sometimes. (Ackryod’s technique is the fastest I’ve ever seen, btw).

Properly done, every print is exactly like every other in the run. When the plate starts to deteriorate (because of all the wiping and pressing) and the last print doesn’t look like the first, you halt the series, ruin the plate (by gouging a line through it, for example) and pull a print with the ruined plate. It’s so hard to do a whole run to a proper standard, even seasoned printmakers usually hire a professional pressman.

That’s the tradition, and traditional traditionalists are super strict about it. I’m beginning to question how traditionalist I am.

June 12, 2018 — 10:18 pm
Comments: 11

Well, I’ll be damned

Jerry Maren, last of the Munchkins, has died aged 98. I didn’t think little people lived that long!

He was the middle of the Lollipop Guild trio. The one who handed the lollipop to Dorothy. He had kind of an interesting life, if you follow the link to the not-very-well-written Wikipedia article.

According to the article, “A small number of anonymous female extras are also reported to survive; as they were technically dwarves and not midgets, they are not counted as Munchkins.” Which I think is pretty darned ableist.

He died May 24. When someone pointed out (thank you, bogie) that he was a pick in the Dead Pool, I was sure there was last minute hanky panky. Who would’a thunk, after all?

But no, spunkus picked him fair and square on April 22. Step forward, spunkus, and claim your dick!

You know what that means: Tomorrow. 6WBT. Dead Pool Round 109. Getcher stiff, getcher stiff right here!

p.s. if you’re at all into YouTube, I recommend you give Cecil of D.I.C.K. and Comics a listen. It started as a piss-take of Diversity & Comics, but he’s funny in his own right. His last review was of the Wizard of Oz, which he described as “three bitches fighting over a hot pair of shoes.”

June 7, 2018 — 9:32 pm
Comments: 9

Here come the weather!

Thunderboomers off the coast of France. Heading: weaselwards.

It’s okay; I didn’t have anything to report today. I’m’a go take a bath and wait for it to blow over.

June 6, 2018 — 9:26 pm
Comments: 5

What herbs you growing?

Uncle B bought my Summer herbs today. He keeps asking if I want anything else and I can’t think of anything.

I have oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary, several kinds of mint, borage, hyssop, fennel, dill, something called winter savory, chamomile. Catnip. Growing randomly around the garden: chives, lemon balm, lemon verbena, several varieties of lavender, ground elder. Erm, nettles. Elderflowers. I’m sure I’m forgetting something.

Oh, the thing in the picture, which is called cotton lavender or lavender cotton and is related to neither cotton nor lavender. You can eat it.

What’s missing?

June 5, 2018 — 8:53 pm
Comments: 16

Infrared is magic

I’m a little late getting the surveillance cam going this year. Probably not too late to catch a hedgehog, if we have any (but, sadly, I haven’t seen any signs).

I have a little problem when I have the cameras going: I can’t look away. There’s almost never anything on them, and when there is, it’s going to be a cat, a rat, a fox or a hedgehog. But I got to stare at the pictures like Bigfoot is coming to dinner.

Would you guys mind if I use you as a note pad? It took me forever to get the camera going tonight. It’s super easy when you know, but I didn’t make notes last year. So FYI (or, really, FMI):

I don’t always use Chrome, but it has the IE extension that lets the browser emulation Internet Explorer, which the camera software wants for some reason.

Excuse me, I have to go keep an eye out for the Squatch.

June 4, 2018 — 9:20 pm
Comments: 6

The Chicken Man, the Chicken Man

After work today, we went to see the Chicken Man. I’m sure he has a name, but I’m sure I don’t know what it is.

We bought our first two chickens from him, eight years ago, and one is still going strong. I remember I was eyeballing some baby Orpingtons (perfectly ENORMOUS chickens when they’re all growed up) and Uncle B was looking miserable about it. Thinking of his garden, and what those giant poultry bombs could do to it.

We decided to decide later. On our way out the door, we passed some pretty little chickens. Uncle B said, “what are these? They look nice.” And the chicken man said, “pff! Those are bantams. I thought you wanted chickens.”

And the rest is history.

He’s far away, he’s very expensive, but I needed some stuff and sometimes only the Chicken Man will do. Have a great weekend!

June 1, 2018 — 8:46 pm
Comments: 14


Linocut fun.

I took a nap so deep this afternoon, I woke up thinking it was tomorrow morning. I got up, brushed fang, got dressed, let the chickens out and made a cup of coffee before I realized…the dishwasher hadn’t been loaded. And I couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried, remember having supper the night before (it’s steak night! Who forgets a good steak?).

No, I had not been drinking.

It was only when I sat down at the computer, called up the clock and saw it was 8 pm that I realized my mistake. Honestly, I thought something horrible had happened to my brain. It’s almost 11 now, and I’m not sure I’m over it.

I bet I don’t sleep tonight…

May 31, 2018 — 9:54 pm
Comments: 13