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You gotta have a gimmick

John Cleese has turned his Ministry of Silly Walks shtick into a phone game. There’s something very meta about that, but I can’t put my finger on it.

If you like that sort of thing, it looks cool. It’s got generated environments (so it’s different every time) and some pretty good rag-doll physics (the code dingus that makes dead bodies flop around convincingly in games). And only €1.99 (I get everything priced in Euros because my VPN usually puts me in France).

Also from my Twitter feed, this very gross but cool horror makeup video. The link at the video goes to Cultura Colectiva, which is a Spanish-language news site that doesn’t appear to have anything more about this artist. I made a feeble attempt, but couldn’t find her.

C’mon, it’s less than a minute long. How horrifying could it be? (Heh heh heh).

Tweet comes from Elvira. Yes, that Elvira. Still kicking it and looking good for 69.

Too much time hanging out on Twitter lately. I’ve mentioned I have a different Twitter account on every device I use. It is a completely different experience depending on the kinds of things you follow.

January 9, 2020 — 9:10 pm
Comments: 2

Urg.

I ate half an underripe avocado at lunch and it has given me a belly ache. Meh.

Or maybe I just don’t do avocado. They do sometimes bother me. According to the Internet (of course I looked it up), I could have latex-fruit syndrome, which isn’t about eating fruit made of latex. Apparently, 40% of people with a latex allergy are also allergic to avocados.

Am I allergic to latex? I don’t think so, but I may be allergic to Brazil nuts, which are also part of the syndrome. I blowed up after eating them once. As I don’t like Brazil nuts, I haven’t tried the experiment since.

That same site says the best part of an avocado are the peels and seeds, so they crazy.

I nicked that picture from the Wikimedia Commons, which says I must attribute it (Liz West), link to the license (the Wikimedia page for it?) and say if I altered it. Yes I did. I made it black and white and rotated it.

Probably would have been easier to go into the kitchen and take a snapshot of the other half.

January 8, 2020 — 8:53 pm
Comments: 6

This is seriously an argument that rages

What goes first on a scone, the jam or the clotted cream? Honest to god, the arguments.

If you’ve not had clotted cream (I hadn’t before I moved here), it’s heavy cream that is cultured until it’s thick and gooey, with a yellow crust on top. It’s gorgeous. But it obviously has to go on first, because considerable force is used. If the jam went first, it would squish out everywhere.

I say first, but they also serve it with pat of butter, and that goes on FIRST first. Argument raging here.

Changing the subject, I stood chatting with someone outside my place of work today and something thumped off the back of my head. It was a glob of moss. Thrown by a pigeon.

Then he did it twice more.

I had a poke around the web and it seems lots of bird pluck moss off rooftiles, presumably to get at the delicious bugs underneath. I didn’t learn why a belligerent sky rat would fling them at people, but I did learn you can run a copper wire down the peak of the roof and rainwater makes a gentle trickle of moss-spore-killing copper sulphate.

Neat. Except I like mosses.

January 7, 2020 — 8:56 pm
Comments: 11

…and a lady in a chicken costume…

Specifically, Maude Adams, appearing as a rooster in the 1911 Broadway adaptation of Chantecler. Look at that costume! Look at the those feet! I want this. (O would I put the fear of God into Mo).

But that’s not what I want to talk about.

I want to talk about how the eco-nazis have done a hard pivot to veganism. Isn’t it stunning how they coordinate these things? It’s almost like they have some kind of list.

I was going to ask if they were droning on about it in the States in quite the same way, and then I remembered last night’s Golden Globe Awards dinner went vegan. All those private jets leading to all those idling private limousines were surely ecologically balanced by the lack of meat on the table.

(psst…if you haven’t seen Ricky Gervais deliver his savage opening monologue, it’s worth 8 minutes of your day).

How typical. Let’s concede meat is bad for the planet (I don’t, but let’s). If you harped on this loudly and longly enough, you could probably guilt people into cutting down. Maybe go for Meatless Monday — do it for the planet! It’s not a lot, but it’s achievable.

You might even get a few takers on vegetarianism. Maybe a few people who were already leaning that way could nudged over the line.

But full on veganism? Pushing that to all of Great Britain? Or the U.S.? That’s a big ask of a largely indifferent population. Ain’t nobody going to make that sacrifice just to appease the Swedish Doom Goblin.

So they’d rather make no improvement than improve less than the maximum. If that isn’t empty virtue signalling, I don’t know what is.

January 6, 2020 — 8:09 pm
Comments: 8

But wait! There’s more!

Last one! Meet the test egg. I usually call her Baby.

My incubator came before my Ebay eggs and I wanted to test out the functions, so I pinched an egg from my own flock to experiment with.

Incubators do three things: heat, humidity and turn the eggs regularly. Well, some of them don’t do that last thing and you have to do it by hand, but I got a good one. 100% hatch, y’all.

When the eggs came and it was all ready to go, I thought “what the heck?” and left the test egg in with the others. I really didn’t think, after all the handling, it would hatch.

I was very excited when I candled the eggs on day 7 and Baby was swimming around inside. Yes, they do that. Freaked me right out.

So this is the child of Sam and Millie. He’s off-white, she’s mille fleur and Baby is the same silver color as Spoon. Chicken genetics are very complicated.

She’s much smaller than the polands. She’s smaller than the other pekins, even (she came from a tiny egg from a young hen, so it’s not surprising). But she can see and the polands can’t, so she runs rings around them. And me. Flighty little miss.

And that is my flock: nine chickens. Four male, five female. Four pekins, five polands. I have comfortable accommodations for six, so things are a little tight.

Back to normal next week, but I got one more weekend and I’m going to laze right through it. Happy Friday!

January 3, 2020 — 8:15 pm
Comments: 8

My girl

This is my girl Spoon. She’s my favorite chicken, though goodness knows why. She’s almost been the death of me twice.

She went through a phase where she had to sleep as high up as possible. This meant me, with chest infection, hauling myself up a ladder to retrieve her from the roof of the garage. Next, she got so far up the roof of the house that I had to knock her off with a stick and catch her in mid-air. (I couldn’t really leave her to come down on her own. She would have fluttered down at dawn and been easy pickings for senor fox).

Spoon gets locked in early now.

There was nothing written on her shell and I was kind of named out. She’s an overall silvery color. I was going to go with Sterling, but I thought that was a dumb name for a chicken, so Spoon it is.

Chicken folk call this color ‘self blue’. Self, because her crest is the same color as her body, and the silvery color is bluish, I guess. I forgot to mention yesterday that Albert is a white-crested blue.

If you’re keeping count, that’s the three pekins and the six polands accounted for.

January 2, 2020 — 7:50 pm
Comments: 3

Saved the big boy for New Year’s Day

The fourth and final cockerel: Albert. You get a sense of the scale of him standing next to Po. He was always double the size of the other chicks; I’m not convinced he’s a bantam. Bear in mind this was months ago, he’s much bigger and shaggier now.

He did actually have Pol written on his shell, and that’s what I called him until he developed that giant, preposterous white crest.

You’d think being such a great hulk he could defend himself, but no. Before I had to separate the boys completely, I would frequently come out to find Albert missing. The pekin boys would have chased him right out of the garden, and I had to trudge around the neighborhood in welly boots calling his name, to find him standing someplace awkward, patiently waiting for me. It usually involved stinging nettles.

He’s a sweetheart, but he’s too big for my flock. Too big for the girls, too big for the cages. I had someone lined up to take him, but she had another cockerel foisted on her the week before. It didn’t work out.

I do the best that I can for him, but it’s awkward.

p.s. he goose-steps.

sock it to me

January 1, 2020 — 7:39 pm
Comments: 3

The Chicken of New Year’s Eve

This is Po. Guess what was written on his eggshell? Though why you would need to note the egg was a poland when it seemed polands were all the seller kept, I do not know.

Looking at his beautiful round crest, you’d be forgiven for thinking he’s a hen. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, all my birds were misidentified as hens at this age and I breathed a sigh of relief.

He later developed the spikey ‘potted palm’ hairdo and the male saddle and sickle feathers. His color is called white-crested cuckoo. Yes, his crest went white.

The smallest of my boys, he has a thin and squeaky crow but makes an astonishing range of quiet verbalizations as he pecks around the garden. Squeaks. Trills. A funny sort of clicking or purring. I do wonder what he’s trying to say.

 

 

Welp, here we are at the ass-end of 2019 and I don’t really know what to say about it. Some bad things happened, but we are solvent and well and I’m afraid to complain for as long as those two things are true.

Best wishes for the preposterously named ‘2020’ and we’ll see you on the other side of the fireworks!

December 31, 2019 — 6:40 pm
Comments: 15

Monday’s chook is full of woe…

This is Rackets, the first of the boys. You can see his crest is just starting to get loosey (when mature, the girls have afros and the boys look like potted palms). Not long after this picture was taken, I found him unresponsive in the grass and he died an hour or so later. No idea why. Very sad.

One lady on the chicken forums said she gave up on polands because they always reached two months old and fell over dead. I suppose I should be grateful it was only the one.

He was chamois colored, like Chel — the only color to repeat — but there wasn’t anything written on his shell, so I named him after Nick Rekieta.

If you don’t know the name, Nick Rekieta is a small-town lawyer with a YouTube channel. He occasionally does short explainers (here’s a good one on impeachment), but his stock in trade is live streams that go on for hours while he drinks whisky and reads lawsuits line by line. It’s surprisingly interesting.

It takes twenty-one days for a chicken egg to develop and hatch, and the incubator sat on my desk the whole time listening to Rekieta (AKA Rackets). When little Rackets hatched, it looked for all the world like he was trying to follow the sound.

Which…I dunno…could be. They learn in the shell, and mother talks to them when hatching time is near. I’d like to think he imprinted on Racket’s voice.

I’d also prefer he hadn’t died.

December 30, 2019 — 8:22 pm
Comments: 7

Happy 27th, which has no significance at all

Another pretty girl. She had “ch” written on her shell which, I correctly guessed, stands for chamois. So her name is Chel (like the Portal character; I’ve always assumed that’s short for Michelle).

To answer the question I’m sure you’ve asked by now, no. They don’t see very well at all. When they panic (which is often) they zoom around and bump into things. The pekins take terrible advantage of them.

I honestly can’t tell if they’re crazy and stupid or just blind.

I tried trimming their crests around their eyes, which helped a little. But it takes patience and a long time holding a chicken on your lap waiting for an opportunity (they hate having their crests touched), which I have not been willing to do in December rain.

Yes, it’s still raining. Yes, I’m going mental. It was glorious and sunny on Christmas Day and only on Christmas Day (a true xmas miracle) but it’s gone right back to shit ‘n’ chips.

These are pictures from Summer. There is nothing sadder and more hang-dog than a wet poland.

December 27, 2019 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 18