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“Mind the Gap” guy dies, sadly not by falling between train and platform


Phil Sayer, the dude who makes the announcement in train stations all over the UK, has died. Of cancer, sadly, not a freak platform accident.

My brain refuses to process “mind the gap” as a phrase with meaning. Fortunately, it’s also painted on station platforms, where at least the words draw my eyes to the appropriate area. There, I might indeed find a big-ass gap between the station and the train, which I will notice. Or mind, if you will.

Their signage also says “way in” and “way out” instead of “entrance” and “exit”, “give way” instead of “yield” and off-duty buses say “I’m sorry I’m not in service” instead of “not in service.” Which, I can’t help thinking, if they cut some of the extraneous verbiage they could go up a point size.

Train announcements are currently done by a woman who sounds exactly like that Overwatch announcer lady in Half Life two. I expect her to call me “citizen” and send those camera drones out after me.

Have a good weekend, y’all — and mind the gap!

April 15, 2016 — 9:08 pm
Comments: 12

Oh, doctor…?


There is a backstory. Visiting New York, Churchill made the classic Brit/Yank mistake and looked the wrong way as he stepped into the street. He was hit by a car and hospitalized.

He needed the prescription because this was during Prohibition. How often doctors prescribed booze and where you got it if you had a scrip, I do not know. The notation at the top left, cropped in half, reads “keep on hand” — so perhaps he was to carry it to restaurants, who were allowed to dispense. Hard to see how that might work, though.

I do know that 250cc is upward of eight ounces. Minimum.

April 14, 2016 — 10:08 pm
Comments: 7

Oh, sweet fancy Moses!


Did you follow the link Wolfus Aurelius dropped in the last comment thread? Kate Clark: Taxidermist of your Nightmares. She combines taxidermy animals with clay models of the faces of her friends to give you a walloping serious case of the jimm-jamms.

Oh, well. She’s in collections all over the world, while I squat on the internet pretending to be a weasel. How fine a nartist am I?

As I have brought work home, I shall leave you to stare into the abyss (one that is definitely staring back this time).

April 13, 2016 — 8:16 pm
Comments: 13

Say no to racial stereotyping of weasels


Snuck out of work to catch a matinee performance of Zootopia today, Disney’s latest kids flick. It was purty and fun.

It tried to be a message flick, and the message was that predators and prey animals can live together in harmony if they overcome their prejudices. But the message was ruined by the fact that…no. They can’t. Really.

I doubt even eight-year-olds are buyin’ it.

Not quite as dumb as the one where dinosaurs were socialist environmentalists. What was that, Land Before Time? You could go nutty trying to analyze the messages in Disney flicks, most of which are charmingly dumb and harmless.

Anyway, we see above more of the typical Hollywood anti-mustelid prejudice.

April 12, 2016 — 8:00 pm
Comments: 13

It’s here!


This thing: hugely controversial mailer the gov’t has sent around to every household in Britain. Controversial not least because it cost umpty-ump million pounds to print (and the printer was German).

Excuse brevity. My keyboard was getting gummy, so I made the hugely boneheaded decision to try and clean it up Sunday afternoon. I have completely lost the period key (I’m using the one on the numpad) and intermittently missing right shift, comma, spacebar and enter. The rest of the keys work just fine if you bang them like a gorilla.

This makes typing ever so much fun. I have a new one on order, but it won’t be here before tomorrow, at the very earliest.

April 11, 2016 — 7:58 pm
Comments: 12

Hey kids, what time is it?


There are certainly flocks around the country that lamb earlier, but our local fields all come alive in early April. We are surrounded on three sides by the little bleaters, my favorite harbinger of Spring.

And on that happy note, I shall wish you a good weekend. Ours will be full of beeeehhhhhhhh, BEEEEEHHHHHHHH, beeeehhhhhhhh.

April 8, 2016 — 9:16 pm
Comments: 12

Godzilla is a friend to whisky


Did you know the Far East is a huge growth market for whisky? Friend of mine’s son is a liquor retailer in Singapore. Or Hong Kong. I forget which.

Anyhoo, I don’t want to talk about that, I want to talk about this ice cube. These ice cubes. The article calls them 3D printed, but that’s a little misleading. They’re carved using a CNC router.

Though I suppose the practical difference between a computer-controlled additive process and a computer-controlled subtractive process is neither here nor there.

These were created for an ad campaign, so I don’t suppose they’re really available to buy, though the technology is not totally impractical. There are a lot of CNC machines out there.

And the article mentions coupling CNC with Autodesk’s 123D Catch. I’ve mentioned this program in passing. It’s a free phone app that makes 3D models from your snapshots. It actually does a scary good job.

You have to take as many pictures as you can from as many angles as you can. They recommend a minimum of twenty. I think I did twelve or thirteen of a simple object and it worked fine. The stitching together process takes a long time — for my simple object, about an hour. But the end result is good enough to boggle someone who has invested a lot to learn how to squeeze out 3D models.

That would be me. I’m talking about me.

April 7, 2016 — 9:03 pm
Comments: 12

What’s next, selfies?


The new girls recreating the “Mama, I’m pretty” scene from Gypsy.

Oh, the mirror was a big hit. There was all kinds of peeping and pecking. I can’t leave it in the box unsupervised on account of it has sharp edges (and vets are expensive) but tomorrow I’m going shopping for bird toys. Preferably ones without small bits that can be pecked off and eaten. Chickens will swallow anything, and these don’t have grit in their diet yet.

It’s still too cold for them to be outside most of the time, so they’re inside in a big cardboard box getting really bored. Yes, chickens are smart enough to get bored, even little ones.

Oh, as promised: the story of the chicken fart.

April 6, 2016 — 6:56 pm
Comments: 14

You can get one for £5 in Tesco


So Rosie has a runny eye. She has from the beginning. Not at all uncommon in chickens, it could mean any number of things, serious and not so serious. As she was happy and lively and eating well, I chose to ignore it…until it finally got pretty gunky and awful. Field trip!

Every time we go to our local veterinary practice, it’s a different guy. Or woman. Usually a foreigner. This fella seemed English, though — and, even better, he declared he loves chickens and doesn’t see enough of them in his practice. Good start.

He thinks it’s a scratch that got infected, so he took her in the back and cleaned her up (I could hear her screaming bloody murder) and gave me eye drops.

I’m putting drops in a chicken’s eye twice a day. FML.

If it graduates to a sinus infection, though, it means an operation. He took great pleasure describing said operation in the most graphic of terms, until he seemed to realize he was being creepy. I’ll spare you the details — unless she actually has the operation. In which case, for all that money, I’m by-god getting a post out of it.

There it is, though — the bad eye all cleaned up. And it only cost me a little more than it cost to buy all three chickens.

April 5, 2016 — 6:23 pm
Comments: 14

How historians troll…


This is a nice architectural detail I ran across. It’s from the roof of the Abbey Church of Saint Foy in Conques, France. It might mean God is always listening, or it might just be a bit of fun. Them Medieval types did a surprising amount of the latter.

Speaking of which, do you know how historians troll their underlings? They do things like call out, “Weasel, will you do an images search of ‘sheela na gig’ for me, please?” *quiet snickering heard in the background*


Go on. Hit the button. You know you want to.

April 4, 2016 — 8:30 pm
Comments: 10