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State of the Union 2018





I didn’t watch the SOTU. I never do. My spleen won’t take it, no matter who’s in office.

I caught the pictures of Nancy’s face, though — holy shit! Who was THAT performance supposed to appeal to?

p.s. Wow, just noticed how overcontrasty this picture is. I think my new toy needs a bit of adjustment.



January 31, 2018 — 9:32 pm
Comments: 8

Nah. Probably not.


Y’all know it’s not going to be like this, right? They’re going to break our hearts. They always do.

They’re going to release the memo, and it’s going to be a big, fluffy nothingburger and fries and all the cool kids will laugh at us. Again.

Please, events — prove me wrong!

January 30, 2018 — 9:19 pm
Comments: 19

Enter title here



Yes, of course I went with Peruvian shower rat. I like rats.

Only, somebody in the YouTube comments said you soap up the rat and he just goes nuts trying to wash it off.

So, not so cute. Still…



Eh. I don’t handle Mondays so good.



January 29, 2018 — 9:25 pm
Comments: 9

It ain’t art


…but I sure am having fun!

I really like this thing as a monitor, just for tootling around the web. I’d like it even better if it was touch screen, but I suspect that’s what the expensive ones are for.

Have a good weekend, y’all!

January 26, 2018 — 10:03 pm
Comments: 7

I am now officially cooler than all y’all


Oh my god, you guys — I have wanted one of these since…since it was invented. That’s maybe 20 years ago now. It’s a monitor, but you draw directly on it.

Maybe that doesn’t sound all that keen, but it solves the big problem with computer tablet: you can look at your hand, or you can look at the monitor, but you can’t look at both at once. That makes it extremely hard to draw. Or write legibly.

As with other tablets, the main brand is Wacom and their monitor version is the Cintiq. And that sucker, in its 20″ form, is almost £2,000.

Enter the Chinese. I’ve bought a cheap knockoff — for all I know, made in the same factory as the Cintiq — for less than a quarter of the price. And it came with a snazzy glove. Well, part of one.

It came this morning. I was going to use it as a second monitor, but I’m awfully tempted to use it as my only monitor. It is Just That Good.

My main concern is going blind. No, really…I’m sitting with my nose practically pressed against the screen. And I’m loving it. My optomowotsit told me that my eyes weren’t deteriorating, they were just…stuck in the peasant lace-makers position from all the close work I do.

p.s. That is not my computer. It is not my hand. I stole them from here, and added my chicken. Because that’s the kind of thing you can do really fast WHEN YOU HAVE AN AWESOME MONITOR TABLET!!!

January 25, 2018 — 7:23 pm
Comments: 18

This is how I spent my evening!


Oh, how we laughed! Self employment taxes have to be filed here by January 31. I won’t owe anything — I don’t make enough — but I still have to go through this dreary ritual.

Actually, not true. I should owe a bit to National Insurance. It told me I did while I was working through the forms. Then I got all done and they didn’t ask me for any money.

I feel like I’m waiting for a trap to spring…

January 24, 2018 — 10:33 pm
Comments: 5

Tinky-Winky says Bye Bye!


Simon Shelton Barnes died last night on the streets of Liverpool. Police say he collapsed and later died of hypothermia. He was 52.

I know this one: he was coming home from the pubs with a snootful, I’m guessing, slipped and fell on the pavement and froze to death. I’ve lost more ancestors that way…

Barnes was the second Tinky Winky. The first, Dave Thompson, left the show after he and the director disagreed on his character development. I shitteth thee not.

I’m a huge fan of the series. I have all their albums. Teletubby fever was just catching hold in Britain when I made my first trip here in 1997. I thought it was the weirdest effing thing I’d ever seen. Weirder even than the food.

I’m no fan of Falwell, but he totally spoke the truth about Tinky Winky being ‘the gay character’ (there was the gay one, the black one, the Asian one and the Chinese one, duh). I don’t know if the triangle on his head was a coincidence, but he always carried a red patent leather handbag and occasionally wore a tutu.

If he wasn’t supposed to be gay (“Oh my god, these are children…how can you monsters sexualize children?”) he was certainly supposed to normalize the gender bend. For children. Spare me the pearl clutching, BBC.

Simon Shelton Barnes, on the other hand, was apparently not gay.

Crank your headphones for Tinky Winky Jumps for Fun!

January 23, 2018 — 8:00 pm
Comments: 11

Just the one


The beginning of my commute is a long, straight bicycle ride with fields on either side. On my left, an arable field with a crop growing in it. On my right, a flock of sheep. Like a big flock of sheep – the field is nearly a mile long.

In that whole big flock, there is one — 1 — black sheep. I find this inordinately pleasing. I can’t settle until I’ve spotted her and yelled hello in the morning (and the afternoon).

One of these days, somebody I know is going to drive up behind me with the window down and hear me shouting, “HELLO! HEY! Sheepie! WOOWOO! Hello, how are you today?”

So I went to Google Images Search to find a picture I could doctor, entered “flock of sheep”…and you’d be amazed how many pictures I got of a flock of sheep with one black ewe. (The one I used I stole from here). It must be a thing sheep farmers do for some reason, but I can’t find an explanation online.

She seems to get along with the other just fine. I suppose she doesn’t know she looks any different, and the others aren’t sure they aren’t black sheep themselves. Yes, sheep have just about that much brain power.

January 22, 2018 — 8:03 pm
Comments: 11

Rosa Bonheur, animalière


Yesterday, I mentioned Rosa Bonheur’s paint box. Perhaps I should say a word about Rosa Bonheur.

She’s been a favorite of mine since I found a little book of her work in a junk shop. She was a 19th C (1822-1899) French painter of animals, or animalière (I love that word and now I own it, FYI). Her father and all three of her brothers painted, but Rosa was a genuine superstar in her day.

She carried a license to wear men’s clothing, issued by the Paris police. Because she hung out in abbatoirs and stockyards (also, she was a committed old dyke). I don’t know what happened to women in Paris who were caught with trousers and no trouser license.

She left an enormous body of very competent work, but she’s been all but forgotten since her death. The main reason: her work was very popular in England, and the French press took to describing her and her work in English. As an insult. Yes, that shit is still going on.

Go check her out. And have a lovely weekend, everyone!

January 19, 2018 — 8:58 pm
Comments: 9

Dammit, eBay!


I didn’t need to see this: Winsor & Newton’s current limited edition teak oil paint box. Which is lovely.

Until you see Rosa Bonheur’s 19th C Winsor & Newton watercolor box.

Funny thing is, the modern box above is around £1,500. I found the exact same 1890 one as Rosa’s in an antique auction for around £500. The hitch? It was so pristine and beautiful, I could not possibly bear to use it!

My oil paints are currently in a cardboard box (I do have a nice japanned watercolor box, though!

January 18, 2018 — 9:47 pm
Comments: 8