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It was a silly time

Lockdowns were pretty drastic here. Not Australia-drastic or Canada-drastic, but we had plenty of petty restrictions and overzealous coppers.

It was almost worse when they started trying to ease up. It was sillier, anyway. They couldn’t figure out how to tear the band-aid off.

So we had arcane rules like, you could go to a pub, but only if you had a meal. There were learnèd discussions about what is a meal?

Bag of potato chips? probably not. But a scotch egg? Is a scotch egg a meal? Maybe. Maybe if it’s served with potato chips, the two together constitute a meal.

You had to wear a mask walking into the pub, but you could take it off once you sat down. You had to put it back on to leave or go to the toilet, but I seem to recall you could get a refill at the bar without.

The rules changed constantly as areas moved through various “risk tiers”.

Most of my friend group shrugged and complied, as though goofy regulations were just the price you paid to live in a civil society.

But the wokest member of my group absolutely loved it. She always knew exactly what we were expected to do. It was a great mystery to me why this was, but I figured it out.

If the rules made sense, everyone would know what to do. But if the rules make no sense at all, then you have to read the Guardian every morning and commit them to memory, and that makes you a very smart girl indeed. Knowing the screwy rules was high status.

It explained a lot.

August 22, 2023 — 7:56 pm
Comments: 7

Graduating degrees of crazy

I’ve been on Twitter rather more than is good for me this past two years, and I’ve followed lots and lots of people I didn’t before. Oh, dear readers, I have followed some doozies. There’s a chemtrails lady and a flat-earther (I honestly haven’t worked out if this person is serious or blowing smoke up my bum). There’s even some nutballs who think the governments are working independently and honestly to do the right thing during a dangerous pandemic.

I haven’t posted much about it because it’s honestly a firehose of crazy and I didn’t want to get any on me. Just for funsies, though, let’s list the COVID-19 theories. I was going to say “in ascending order of lunacy” but couldn’t make up my mind how to rank them.

Did I miss any? I refuse to say which nutty theory, if any, I personally believe. Some of them naturally go together, in sets.

It’s coming to something when the least frightening and mind-blowing idea in the whole list is “greedy drug companies selling billions in unnecessary vaccines.”

The picture, by the way, is from here: a clever take on the old flat earth theory.

November 30, 2021 — 8:12 pm
Comments: 19

This is me, now

I make coffee while I unload the dishwasher every morning. The first thing I take out is a spoon to stir the carafe. When the dishwasher is empty and the coffee is ready, that spoon is the first thing I put back in. This morning, I caught myself thinking what a shit life that poor spoon has. Five minutes a day outside a dishwasher.

That’s right: I started the day sharing empathy with a spoon.

Today is the one-year anniversary of the lockdown in the UK. They sold it to us as “two weeks to flatten the curve.” I have lost count of the number of times since then they have offered a little freedom only to snatch it away at the last minute. Classic behavioral psych.

“National Day of Reflection” my ass.

I wish I had done something worth doing for the past twelve months, but I’ve mostly drunk coffee and shitposted.

Oh, speaking of which – I am out of Twitter jail. I got put inside February 1st for reasons unknown. I’m a mild voice, so I suspect it was because my VPN showed me coming from someplace stupid and improbable. Albania is a favorite.

They wanted a phone number to unfreeze it and I really, really didn’t want to give them one. So today I tried the novel approach of writing them and asking nicely to unfreeze.

Ta da!

March 23, 2021 — 8:07 pm
Comments: 24

It all ends in tiers

Yesterday we came off of lockdown and into a three-tier system of restrictions. We are in Tier 2.

That means we can only be indoors with people from our ‘bubble’. We can meet other people, but only outside and in groups of six or smaller. Except sporting events, where there can now be several thousands. Fifteen people can go to a wedding, thirty to a funeral.

Pubs can be open, but only if they offer a substantial meal and we have to leave after we’ve eaten it. A scotch egg is not a substantial meal, but nobody knows what is one. Is it by weight? Or volume? These are mysteries.

We are near enough a Tier 3 county that we often shop there. Can we now? We don’t know.

That’s the regulations. The strong suggestions from an authoritarian government include no singing, no board games and no sitting on Santa’s knee.

I was going to try to do a humorous take on the restrictions, but when I started remembering what they actually are, I got big mad. And still, nobody we know has gotten sick. Really, they’re just fucking with us now.

Changing the subject, I just got email from Zazzle. I haven’t posted any new designs in so long, they’re going to start charging me rent. Anybody got a t-shirt or coffee mug they’ve been burning to get for Xmas? I can’t guarantee I’ll do it (you people come up with some complex picture concepts), but I’m all outta ideas. My Christmas card this year was going to be Santa arrested for covid violations, and then it actually happened.

Thanks. Thanks a lot.

December 3, 2020 — 8:04 pm
Comments: 9


The above is a site billing itself as the new alternative to Drudgereport: populist.press. At least, it bills itself that way if you don’t have popups blocked.

They’ve certainly mimicked the look and feel of Drudge. I found when I clicked links, though, it took me to a synopsis of the story hosted on populist.press itself. Then within that item you could click to read it on its original platform. I’m not sure why they’d do it that way – it’s more work for them, if nothing else – and it means you can’t just hover over the link to see if the article is from a source you trust.

Eh. Give it a try. I have a feeling lots of news sources will be shutting down in the days ahead.

November 16, 2020 — 8:23 pm
Comments: 7

Madame, present your license

Today, I was asked if I had a license to hold human remains. Well, not me, obviously. The historic society I work for.

Sir, this is an archive, not a charnel house.

I can’t even work out how you get one. There are tons of resources out there for how you import, store, handle, display or repatriate human remains, but none of them mentions a permit.

The backstory is that all building work in certain areas requires an official archeologist to be at the site to sift through anything you dig up. This is a good thing (tho expensive). If you wonder how on earth they found Richard III’s body under a parking lot, this is it.

And before the dig begins, the archeologist must find an appropriate place to store anything they might find. If there isn’t a big local museum (and sometimes even if there is), finds often go to the county council, where they are put in boxes and warehoused à la the end of Indiana Jones.

This is a pretty good thing, too. Every once in a while, a local archeology group will get a little money together and revisit stuff. Like, eight years ago, Eastbourne Borough Council’s museum service got a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (yet another good thing) to re-examine 300 skeletons that had been deposited with them over the years.

The most interesting find was Beachy Head Lady, a woman who grew up in southeast England during the Roman occupation. She was of sub-Saharan African descent!

My favorite, though, was a specimen from an archeology program we watched once. I’m irritated that I can’t find a link online; you’ll have to take my word. The bones had little holes drilled in them, almost certainly for re-articulating the skeleton. Thing is, whoever did it didn’t bother getting all the bones from the same body, so it’s not like it was a revered ancestor or anything.

You got that? Somebody dug up ancient bones and strung them together for purposes unknown. I believe it was a prehistoric proto-Hallowe’en prank and nothing will convince me otherwise.

Oh, one other thing I learned today. I, personally, technically need a license of some kind. I think. Someone once gave me a box of 19th Century microscope slides from University of Philadelphia Med School, including human tissue – a thing covered in the Human Tissue Act of 2004. I can be bothered to find out if I’m in breach.

September 30, 2020 — 8:09 pm
Comments: 5

Count Basie looks thoughtful

Yes, that’s definitely a black man on the right. In other variations of this logo, the white people are all staring at him like, “yes, even you, my dusky friend.”

What’s going on with that little girl and her poor stumpy arms, I do not know. It is all cringe.

Anyhoo. Neighbourhood Watch meeting by Zoom tonight, I kid you not.

It’s not quite the League of Busybodies. We do have a serious problem with rural crime, and it’s gotten worse this year. A whole lot of sheep stealing and tractor nicking.

Getting sneaky cellphone pics of strange cars in the neighborhood helps, if you can do it without a confrontation. Which you can’t always. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as “felony staring at sheep.”

Many of the plates lead back to the same nearby town, causing speculation there might be an illicit butcher there.

September 29, 2020 — 6:35 pm
Comments: 12

Is it down for you?

I wanted to show you something from Facebook, but it won’t let me in. Been that way for at least an hour.

Sometimes sites object to my VPN, as if I’m bouncing around Europe like an international spy. I know where I’m ‘coming from’ when my sidebar ads are in Dutch or Spanish.

Oh, wait. Now it’s working. Thanks a lot, Facebook, for embarrassing me in front of my friends.

I wanted to point you to this video of mechanics completely disassembling a car dashboard to get to a rescue kitten that crawled up a vent. Kitten makes an appearance at the 4:00 mark.

Okay, it’s not much, but this is Monday we’re talking about. I’ll take what scraps of cheer I can find.

September 28, 2020 — 8:06 pm
Comments: 7

That’s the way we all became…

I just hosted a really big Zoom meeting. Well, it was twenty people, but that’s really big meeting when most of the participants are elderly technophobes. I was mutin’ microphones like a bastiche. I think the power went to my head.

I’m exhausted.

Many years ago, on a forum for arguing about politics, someone out of the blue informed me that he pictured me in his mind looking exactly like Ann B. Davis. If you’re wondering which one am I.

I’ve never been sure how I felt about that.

September 24, 2020 — 6:41 pm
Comments: 12


Pallas cat from Uncle Al’s link. Don’t they have awesome faces?

Though, like many a funny cat picture, their most vivid “expression” is actually being caught at the beginning of a yawn.

Pardon me, folks. I’m a bit behind today.

September 23, 2020 — 7:34 pm
Comments: 4