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Wait, what?

I mean, yeah – she follows a lot of people. She doesn’t follow-back everyone, though. I guess I followed her for a laugh one day and then she followed back and now it’s too socially awkward to unfollow.

Folks, I’ve had a pig of a day. I had to go in early to let workmen in and it’s just continued to be Monday ever since. It ain’t over yet.

Dead Pool Friday. Responses were mixed but I’m a creature of habit. Habit, not rules. Hates me some rules.

January 31, 2022 — 6:32 pm
Comments: 13

Ow! My eye!

Aha! Looking for examples of Blob People illustration, I did a search of “Mailchimp Illustrations” and found:

I’m not sure how her illustrations make me feel, but “empowerment” probably ain’t it.

I still can’t find the particular illustrator I have in mind. I strongly suspect it’s one illustrator and I’m sure it’s a woman. If I find her, I’ll let you know.

For now, a Google Images search of people illustration brings up all the ugly, politically-sensitive art you could want.

What’s that? You don’t deliberately seek out ugly art? How extraordinary!

Good weekend, everyone!

Dammit, yes I forgot the Dead Pool. It’s too late now. Oh, I *am* sorry. Would you like a special non-Friday Dead Pool, or wait a week?

January 28, 2022 — 7:02 pm
Comments: 19

But is there a Plan C?

Plan B expired today. That’s an end to England’s requirement to mask up or work from home. I almost said legal requirement, but it was never law. Every time a fine was challenged in court, it was dropped.

That means take off your masks and go to work, people.

Of course, there’s a significant chunk of the population who won’t take off the masks today and may never. I was about to make unflattering assertions why that might be, but I won’t. The past two years have been rough on people; I won’t judge.

I bumped into a shady character of my acquaintance today. I mean, I don’t know he’s ever done anything criminal, but if asked, he could play one on TV. I was surprised to see him sitting outdoors in the sunshine all by himself, fully masked. I was like, “dude – you don’t seem the type!” And he said, “it’s the cameras, mate. Used to be illegal to go inside anywhere with a mask, now nobody blinks an eye. I’m going to wear this mask forever.”

Unintended consequences. Thinking out loud. Say they do succeed in imposing restrictive biometric ID on us to control every aspect of our lives. Isn’t that – theoretically – the end of illegal immigration?

I knicked the illustration from an older Telegraph article on masks. It’s in a loathsome style of editorial illustration I’ve come to think of as ‘blob people.’

First of all, you have to include minimum four up to infinity people, to make sure you get in enough ethnics. A few exotic wardrobe signifiers, like turbans or headscarves. AT LEAST an equal number of women to men. Skin colors like Skittles – purple, green. Maybe shades of brown, if you’re aiming for realism.

The worst have featureless faces, wavey lines for arms and blobs for hands and feet. Women without breasts, men without broad shoulders. Monsters. This kind of thing.

In order to avoid offense, we have dehumanized humans.

January 27, 2022 — 8:03 pm
Comments: 9

Planned obsolescence

This is the Royal Sovereign Lighthouse tower, Eastbourne. There’s been a lighthouse near this spot since the 19th C anyway, but this one was built in 1971 with a planned life of 50 years.

It’s neat how they did it. They floated a big square concrete pad out and then sank it. They floated the big concrete cylinder out and fitted it into the pad. Then they floated the platform and tower out, attached them to the big cylinder. The little cylinder – which was inside the big cylinder and works a giant hydraulic lift – raised the whole thing above the water.

At least, I think that’s how they did it. I can’t find the diagram I saw explaining it.

It was manned until the Nineties. It looks comfortable inside. It’s been automated for twenty years, though.

If you counted, you’ve guessed it was supposed to be decommissioned by now. They’re going to take it apart all the way down to the sea floor and it was supposed to start in 2020. But. Well. You know.

It’s finally due to come down this year. You can still take a boat tour to go round and round it, for a limited time only.

I think the idea of a disposable, prefab lighthouse is neat. Trinity House, who built it, is a charity, not a government department. Like the lifeboat people. That’s a very British way of doing it.

By the way, the best picture I could find to show the undercarriage of the lighthouse is actually from Microsoft Flight Simulator.

January 26, 2022 — 7:22 pm
Comments: 4

Oh. That’s boring.

Saw this on my way to work today and was intrigued. Is this a dialogue between a die-hard feminist and a male? (My mother had the “if we can send one man to the moon, why not all of them?” bumpersticker). Or is it “men” as in “everyone” – but not today, thank you.

Googled it just now. They’re both Game of Thrones quotations.


We missed that one. Uncle B hates fantasy. We started watching it, but he was like, “if there are dragons, I’m out.” And you probably know how worked out.

We’re between serieses at the moment. Netflix sucks. We gave up on Amazon originals. I’ve got some stuff recorded, but meh.

I got a boxed set of Utopia for a birthday gift, but I can’t face it. It’s really well done (which is why I asked for a copy) but deeply violent and nasty.

It’s about a “Russian flu” being bioengineered and deliberately released for…purposes.

Yes. Quite.

January 25, 2022 — 7:37 pm
Comments: 5

Partly sunny with a chance of balls

And on the fifth day, there were balls. Seriously, what do you reckon that is – hail, I guess?

That’s the fifth of February. That’s the first day that isn’t just cloud. No rain, no sun, just cloud. Two weeks of it in front of us, weeks of it behind us.

Wait, I’m not depressed enough. I’m’a go file my taxes.

I only have until next Monday.

January 24, 2022 — 8:37 pm
Comments: 1

Yeah, I’m one of *those* people now

After seeing Twitter people piss and moan about other people posting their Wordle scores, I checked it out.

And now here’s me, posting my Wordle scores.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I can’t be arsed to explain. It’s a word guessing game. You can find directions lots of places.

No, I want to talk about strategy.

There is some controversy about the frequency with which letters appear in English words, but the acronym I remember is ETAMOINS. My guess is, S should appear closer to the front (because of plural), but that list is good enough for Hangman-type games.

So, start with a word entirely from those letters. MOIST. NAMES. SMOTE. Something like that. So far (in my whole five tries), I’ve gotten at least one green letter on the first guess.

Use more ETAMOINS letters for the second guess, after which (if you’re lucky) you’ll have enough of the word to make a good final guess.

My first try, I got it in 4 (my starting word was stupid). Then I got in 3. And once, I got it on the second guess. I think the word was ROBOT. It just looked like ROBOT, you know?

Now, I’m not bragging or nothing, but NEENER NEENER NEENER!

Lavendergirl takes it again with Louie Anderson. She heard he was ill and nipped in quick, a venerable Dead Pool strategy. I didn’t have time (read: was too lazy to get out of the comfy chair) to put together a new Dead Pool today, so you have that to look forward to.

We’ll see how many more good picks croak before then. Good weekend, everyone!

January 21, 2022 — 6:55 pm
Comments: 15

New digs for Leon

In case you missed it when it made the rounds a few months ago, this guy took home a supermarket lobster and kept it as a pet. No, he’s not an eco-warrior – lobster is his favorite celebration food – he’s a saltwater fishtank guy with a camera.

It’s worth fifteen minutes of your time. Dude’s voice is oddly soothing and the lobster is a more interesting beastie than you might think. BTW, he has avoided stressing it by flipping it upside down to observe its tackle, so we don’t really know if it’s male or female.

Here’s an update from just before Christmas and here he is last week, moving into his new aquarium! Twice as big, with a coral cave and some fishes for company.

Brady Brandwood is his name. The man’s. The lobster is Leon. The man has made a bunch of videos about breeding koi, which I haven’t watched because I don’t care. Interesting, though, that he feeds his fish (and Leon) people food. Also videos about various motorcycle projects, a short documentary about an old moonshiner and one about exploring a small cave that almost made me hyperventilate.

It’s not that interesting. It’s just, my brother took me exploring a limestone cave in Tennessee when I were a lass and I came away with a lifelong terror of getting my ass stuck in a crevasse.

January 20, 2022 — 8:03 pm
Comments: 5

I didn’t feel a thing

That dip on the graph is a pressure wave from the volcanic eruption in Tonga, as recorded in Sussex. Per the article: “Tonga is just over 10 000 miles away and, at the speed of sound, that’s around 14 hours away.”

They said it would have a measurable impact on air pressure locally but we wouldn’t actually feel it, and it did come to pass. Though…doesn’t that look like a drop in pressure? Does that make any sense?

Man some of those videos were wild: boom, satellite, infra-red, before and after.

Oregon Muse, one of the contributors to the Ace of Spades group blog, has died. He was the curator of the popular Book Thread (and also the Chess Thread). If you were an enjoyer of either of those, you can follow the link to pay respects.

It’s always such a strange feeling to lose an internet person.

January 19, 2022 — 7:48 pm
Comments: 9

Water into wine? Pff! Hold my G&T

Pictured: juniper berries. Mine are coming tomorrow.

As a gin drinker, I’ve been itching to try ginifying vodka. None of this artisanal swill for this little weasel, mostly because I can’t afford it. But infusing neutral spirits with flavorings is a perfectly acceptable way of making gin. Deprecated, but acceptable.

The earliest gin was made with a pot still. This is a primitive kind of still that lets through a fair amount of water along with the alcohol, resulting in a weaker and more flavorful gin than we’re used to. The botanicals would be put in with the mash (called a wash, in the case of a distilled liquor) and enough of it came through that the flavors persisted. Many of today’s small-batch artisanal gins are made this way.

Later column distillers make a much purer alcohol, but the flavorings wouldn’t make it through. Hence distilled gin or London dry is put once through the column still, then the botanicals are added, then it’s put through a pot still.

But there’s a third type: compound gin. That’s where you take neutral spirits (cheap vodka, in my case) and add botanicals. It has a bad reputation because it was the method of choice for softening nasty homemade hooch. That’s what they did during Prohibition, using charming botanicals like turpentine.

Hence bathtub gin. You can’t distill alcohol in a bathtub, but you can take moonshine, flavor it, dilute it and bottle it in one.

But there’s nothing inherently inferior about compound gin. Gin-making kits, which you can find on the market, are perfectly legit. Wikipedia, it do say, “in 2018, more than half the growth in the UK Gin category was contributed by flavoured gin.”

Right, so juniper berries are the only essential. The article also mentions lemon and bitter orange peel, anise, angelica root and seed, orris root, licorice root, cinnamon, almond, cubeb, savory, lime peel, grapefruit peel, dragon eye (longan), saffron, baobab, frankincense, coriander, grains of paradise, nutmeg and cassia bark.

I’m thinking…juniper, tangerine and nutmeg. Yeah?

January 18, 2022 — 8:20 pm
Comments: 12