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Phew! Storm Barra whistled through earlier. High winds and heavy rain. It blew the roof off the chicken house.

Not quite as dramatic as it sounds. The roof is made to open up so you can clean inside, but it opened it up and tore one side off the hinges. Really awkward to make a temporary fix, so I stood in the wind and held it down for a while until I could find a log with a branch sticking out one side that would put weight on both sides. I got *soaked*.

“Barra” you ask? Well, I asked. It’s an Irish Gaelic boy’s name meaning “fair haired”.

Not a great name for a destructive storm. I have a feeling there’s a bit of forced diversity going on here. But, hey, it’s diverse kinds of white people, so I guess it’s got novelty going for it.

December 7, 2021 — 8:09 pm
Comments: 1

Do we do Advent Calendars?

Every year, Uncle B very kindly buys me an Advent Calendar. I tend to get horribly behind, because it wasn’t a feature of my childhood and I forget.

Do Americans do Advent? I know the calendars aren’t common, but I wonder if observation of the Advent might be. Catholics, maybe?

I was raised plain vanilla Presbyterian, me.

December 6, 2021 — 8:16 pm
Comments: 16

That’s not how I pictured him at all

This is Steve Ibsen, creator of the Kitty Cat Dance. You remember the Kitty Cat Dance, don’t you? Somehow, I thought this guy would look…gayer.

Well, here he is telling the story. He created it in 2004 when he was 17 and a poor student and it astonished him when it went viral. Then a stranger claimed it on YouTube and monetized it. Eventually, Ibsen convinced YT he was the real creator, but he never got the money he believes it had generated.

Not really worth a watch. Another person goes viral and is astonished when that has no real world meaning at all.

But wait – he’s auctioning off the Kitty Cat Dance as an NFT. I still can’t get my head around NFTs. It’s like buying your own suit of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Though in Ibsen’s case, he’s actually selling the original hard drive with his working files on, so at least you’re getting something tangible.

You’re welcome for the earworm. Have a good weekend!

December 3, 2021 — 8:29 pm
Comments: 6

What have I done?

I was away from my desk today and I needed to make a note to do something and I pulled out my phone and I was like, “Damn, I cannot be bothered to type this on that teeny screen keyboard with my thumbs.” So I turned on Google Assistant.

It’s like Alexa for your phone, but instead of patching you into the evil Amazon it patches you into the evil Google. Much better. It’s also a really terrific speech-to-text app.

You say “Hey, Google” to wake it up, then “open sticky notes” and “send out a meeting reminder tomorrow” and done. Neat!

Pretty low privacy risk, I thought. I’ll only use it for work stuff and I don’t take my phone everywhere. And then I was poking around the web looking for more fun things I could do with it, and I found this:

Gboard voice API hàs a voice recognition learning processor. The more you use it the better it becomes with that users voice. Unfortunately if you ever clear your cache in Chrome or in Gboard, it takes away some of it’s learned recognized voice commands that has built up in your device memory. But from Googles main CPU that’s connect to your account with recognize voices, it will continue to expand even after you’ve clear your cache on your device because it’s connected to your account. But I’m not sure what Google does with that information if the account is deleted but if I know Google like I think I know Google it will connect the dots if that voice ever gets connected to other account.

And then it occurred to me that from now until the end of time, if I speak in the presence of a Google-enabled device, it will clock who I am and where I am, sure as fingerprints. How could I be so stupid?

But then I thought…Pff! Like they didn’t already have my voice print. And yours and everyone else’s. Yay!

Still, you can ask Google Assistant to tell a Yo Mama joke if you’re feeling blue.

December 2, 2021 — 7:57 pm
Comments: 9


Fishermen block the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) from putting to sea to rescue illegal immigrants. France has been launching them toward England, to the tune of 29,000 this year, and the RNLI has been picking them up and bringing them ashore. (Whereupon we buy them a fast food meal on the docks and then put them up in a fancy hotel, wish I was kidding but am not).

From the article, it sounds like it was just some guys on the shore fishing, not the fleet.

“There was a group of fisherman pulled up, gutting fish on the shore, and as the boat station opened up we heard the fisherman start shouting things like ‘don’t bring any more of those home, we’re full up’, ‘that’s why we stopped our donations’, and that kind of really horrible stuff.”

It won’t help at all, but it gave me a smile. A neighbor of ours recently found an abandoned boat pulled up on the bank of a local creek late at night. I can’t tell you how much this stuff gives an unarmed weasel the willies.

It’s a damn shame about the RNLI. It’s a volunteer organization and they work their guts out, but management went woke several years ago. We used to contribute to our local lifeboat station, until the national organization fired a volunteer because he had a bikini girl on his tea mug. When last seen, they were trying to raise funds to teach overseas muslim girls in burkhas how to swim. Still not kidding.

December 1, 2021 — 8:58 pm
Comments: 6

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

Now whadoIdo?

Masks in shops are coming back, as of tomorrow. Shops and public transport, but not in restaurants. Right?

I’ve heard the loonies on Twitter say a “new variant” will crop up right before Christmas, causing a holiday lockdown. Hello, new variant. So far, the loonies are batting 100%.

I’m really torn on this one. I agree that mass civil disobedience is the only way to make the government listen.

But I’m an immigrant. I believe immigrants should make a real effort not to be assholes. You go live in somebody else’s country, you don’t bitch about how they do things.

I have a feeling there’s a lot of ‘not going into shops at all’ in my future.

p.s. Picture is not my work. I tried to find out who made it, but it’s just a Twitter orphan.

November 29, 2021 — 8:13 pm
Comments: 10

Good weekend!

Storm Arwen is apparently beating up the North pretty badly. Down here? Eh. Nothing much. We might see some flurries tomorrow, which would be nice.

Still, we’re tapped out in front of the fire, warm and dry and we ain’t even had leftovers yet. Good luck getting me to move.

Have a good weekend, all!

November 26, 2021 — 8:04 pm
Comments: 11

Happy Bird Day!

Lookee what we’re getting for Thanksgiving weekend – a named storm. Actually, it doesn’t look too bad. Wind and cold, and not even much wind by our local standards. It be windy here. But I rolled my eyes we’re naming storms after Tolkien characters now.

I am NOT looking forward to Tropical Storm Shelob.

Just finishing the T’day prep – we have it as an evening meal. It’s just us.

We have a neighbor who grew up in the States and used to try to do a group Thanksgiving do some years, but it looks like covid has put a stop to that.

Thank goodness. She prays at the alter of Betty Crocker.

Hope yours is everything you want in a feast of excess! I’m grateful for you all!

November 25, 2021 — 5:49 pm
Comments: 9

Look! The shed has a shed…

This is a house listing in Fernhurst. That’s it on the left. I mean, that’s the whole house.

It’s a former telegraph exchange built in 1959. The owner managed to cram in a loft bedroom, a kitchen and livingroom area and a bunk for guests. It’s near the South Downs National Park. It has a garden.

To be honest with you, I’d probably love it. I have a thing for trailers and lofts and other tiny accommodations.

It would have to be *awfully* nice to rate £225,000, though.

November 24, 2021 — 5:23 pm
Comments: 12