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HNY, y’all


Not my favorite holiday, New Year. Passage of time, reminders thereof…I don’t like it. And this year, the host we usually Auld Lang Syne wit’ has come down with a nasty cold and begged off. So it’s drinking in front of the television again!

Not a complaint. Roaring fire, pair of pussycats, some silly film or other. There are worse ways to pass an evening. And 2015 was a pretty okay year for us personally. Out in the big wide, that’s another thing, but inside Mustelid Towers: no complaints. More of the same, please.

December 31, 2015 — 9:53 pm
Comments: 13

In case you missed it…


Down in the sleigh ride thread, I pointed to this charming story: Sweden, asked to take in the highest per-capita number of refugees, has had to stuff six hundred of the buggers into an empty ski resort in the far North of Lapland. This time of year, the temp is 14°F and the sun never shines. Like, ever.

All the stories about it obviously derive from the same source story (this particular one is from the National Post of Canada). I strongly suspect the whining has been dialed down several notches. Also LOL at the one refugee who worries this will queer his hopes of studying physics at university. That right there encapsulates the hopes and dreams of migrants everywhere, I’m sure.

The weather here, meanwhile. Well. Horrifying pictures coming from the North, and now the West. Our little sunny corner of the motherland is the only part of the country to escape, though we’ve had wind and rain and unseasonable warmth aplenty.

And wind from odd quarters, which means leaks in odd places.

That looks like something that should be cross-stitched on a sampler.

December 30, 2015 — 10:41 pm
Comments: 10

Okay, I’m in. Now what?


Up to now, I’ve been carrying around the dumbest of dumb phones. It’ll make calls, it’ll just send text messages, and that’s it. I didn’t think I wanted a smart phone, but I did want a better phone. The sound quality on this one is crap, and I have a hard enough time understanding these people and their silly accents as it is.

Well, Sandy Claws brought me a proper Motorola Android phone. And I love it. It’s like my beloved Android tablet, but smaller and with a phone stuck on it.

Only. Only…I think my devices are ganging up on me. Colluding. Plotting.

I have two tablets, a Kindle, a computer, (Uncle B’s computer) and now this. And between them, they know the books I’m reading, the websites I go to, my allergies, my bank balance, my bra size, my taste in movies and, to within about fifty feet, where I’m sitting right this minute. And they’re starting to share. And it’s giving me the jimm-jamms.

Like today, I signed up for a new forum account using my computer (CG Society is back in business, if you know the story) and when I called it up on my phone, it already knew my username and password.

I don’t remember telling it it could do that. I don’t really like where this is going.

So, what about you? Phone: smart or dumb? Doing anything to protect your privacy?

December 29, 2015 — 10:11 pm
Comments: 29

Best Christmas special ever


The surprise BBC hit of the holiday season was two hours of a woman leading reindeer through the snow. In realtime. No dialogue, no music. The occasional caption. Boots crunching in snow.

We sat mesmerized through every minute of it, and we weren’t alone.

It was the latest installment of a phenomenon known as ‘slow tv’ popularized by the Norwegian Broadcast Company (though you could trace its lineage to Andy Warhol and the Sixties if you’d’a mind to; Wikipedia did). Their first effort was a seven hour train ride.

The reindeer lady is a Sami (the people we used to call Lapps), the natives of the far North. The route is an old postal route inland from the coast. Along the way, she meets up and parts company with another lady and some guys and they shake hands and mutter things in an unknown language. But mostly it’s just the backend of the reindeer. The reindeer have bells on.

And that’s it. That’s the whole thing.

You can watch the first two minutes of it here. Or you can just watch my header loop for two hours.

December 28, 2015 — 10:25 pm
Comments: 16

The gift of passive-aggression


I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve lost interest in websites that don’t allow comments. Especially news sites. Especially news sites that I’m are going to piss me off royally (I’m looking at you, Daily Telegraph).

The comments are my favorite part. I don’t want to swallow a load of bullshit without the antidote handy.

Or, if the comment system is too onerous (I’m looking at you, Daily Mail), at the very least let me take out my passive-aggression with a rating system.

To that end — and Merry Christmas! — I’m test-driving a ratings plugin for the blog. It’s got all kinds of nifty options: stars, thumbs, vote once or vote infinite times. You can have a look at the possibilities here.

I think I’ve got it set to vote once a day, stars on the post and thumbs on the comments. For now. Honestly, they weren’t all that monochrome-friendly in their options (she harrumphed).

Let’s play around with it for a couple of weeks over the holidays, and then I’ll nail it down and stop clearing the cache.

The Official Merry Ho Ho Open Threadapaloozala

I was going to squeeze out a few more posts this week, but my heart’s not in it. G’wan witcha, knock yourselves out in this one.

To get the conversation re-rolling, have you seen this Telegraph bit? Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of Tim Berners-Lee’s white paper proposing a thing he called the World Wide Web. He said it was going to be a place where all sorts of people posted a bunch of content totally for free and let other people link to it totally for free. True story: I read that paper when it came out and thought it was the stupidest pile of implausible fantasy hippie crap I ever heard.

Don’t ever take investment advice from me.

December 21, 2015 — 8:04 pm
Comments: 83

Good weekend (and beyond!)


Okay, youse guys, I obviously checked out a couple of miles back. I got a stitch in my give-a-shit somewhere around Wednesday. I’ll be around all week and looking in, but the political class can go to hell without me for a couple of weeks.

Let the festivities begin!

December 18, 2015 — 11:22 pm
Comments: 17

Beardy weirdy


Okay, okay…you guys were right about the beard. He didn’t grow one; this dude is obviously Evil Paul Ryan from the alternate universe.

December 17, 2015 — 8:17 pm
Comments: 7

Twinkling lights are on, but nobody’s home


Sorry, youse guys — I’m clearly already in Holiday Slacker Mode already. Tonight was the Sorting of the Christmas cards, one of my least favorite jobs.

On a happier note, though, I finally did custom cards this year. I thought it was too late, but I got a half price offer in email, and damme if they didn’t turn the whole thing around in two days.

Now we get to see if my boss appreciates my sense of humor.

December 16, 2015 — 11:11 pm
Comments: 8

Bit of a hard sell


I saw this image used as a thumbnail for an article. Took me ages to find the full size version to show you.

Okay, yeah, I emphasized the glow a leeeetle bit, but it’s obvious they’re going for the Holy Sacred Democrat thing. I guess she wouldn’t oblige by speechifying in front of a halo-like object.

Stand by. We’re going to see a lot of this in the coming year.

December 15, 2015 — 11:03 pm
Comments: 9

Dovahkiin, Dovahkiin, naal ok zin los vahriin…


We’re doing the tree tonight. I got to pick the music from YouTube.

You guys, Uncle B doesn’t think the Skyrim theme is all that Christmassy!!11!!

December 14, 2015 — 11:34 pm
Comments: 11