April Pieces Of My Mind #2

  • The Christian Democrats dropping under the 4% cutoff for Parliament is a thing devoutly to be wished for in itself. But also, I just realised, if they do, then their votes will evaporate, losing the Right coalition a considerable part of their current majority.
  • I feel really bad for people who don’t know what CTRL-Z and ALT-Backspace does.
  • Elsevier’s manuscript submission site is old, creaky and slooow.
  • TV chef reminds me that I like forehead, not fringe.
  • Solsbury Hill that Peter Gabriel sang about has a big hillfort on top. This is pretty badass: a local amateur archaeology association has geophysed the whole thing without any particular funding and produced a complete map of the settlement inside the banks. Would have been impossible very recently.
  • I can kind of understand “My religion is better than yours”, but how any Christian can argue that one brand of it is more pleasing to God than the others is incomprehensible.
  • Nils Månsson Mandelgren’s 1866 Samlingar till svenska konst- och odlings-historien scanned and on-line.
  • Why was everybody so worked up about Belle & Sebastian?
  • Was Rikki-tikki-tavi a Corieltauvi tribesman?
  • Logged an unusual geocache today. The log book is in a watertight container inside a tall metal cylinder fastened to a tree. The cylinder has two small holes at the bottom and is open at the top. In order to get at the log book, you have to stop the holes at the bottom with your hand while someone (ideally not yourself) fills the cylinder with water from the nearby lake. Then the log book’s container floats to the top where you can get at it. This is not easy to do alone. Luckily other cachers had left three bottles at the site, so I could get enough water to the cache without removing my hand from the lower end of the cylinder.
  • Some folks call me the spayed cowboy.
  • It would be fun to apply for a bunch of jobs in the public sector and then file a complaint in cases where you got them.
  • If you’ve had a job that by rights demands a PhD, despite not having one, wouldn’t it be fair if you got fired when you finally presented your thesis?
  • Nick Cave’s (yes him) 1989 novel And The Ass Saw The Angel about insane cannibal hillbillies is not for the faint of heart. I just heard a marvellous reading of a Jay Lake story in that exact vein on the Drabblecast.
  • Started reading The Name of the Wind, a much-lauded 2007 Medieval fantasy novel by Patrick Rothfuss. It’s well written and pleasant reading. But its basic nature as a collage of fragments of the real-world past shows immediately. People go “Sweet Mother of God!” despite the fact that there’s no Catholicism. The spider-like magic killer robots are called “skraelings”, which is the Old Norse term for Native American. I know that my job makes me a hopeless fantasy audience. But really, isn’t skraeling common knowledge?
  • Rothfuss compares something to “a man tending a large, complex machine”. In a Medieval world where to my knowledge there are no machines.
  • *groan* The Rothfuss novel has turned from Oliver Twist into Harry Potter. Dude, I don’t care how amazingly brilliant you are, nor who you’re friends and enemies with at school. No, not even your Snape ripoff teacher.
  • Hobbit Lego. *nerd anguish*
  • Pre-Roman Iron Age settlement sites in northern Jutland sometimes yield pots the size of bathtubs, way beyond the era’s usual pottery tech. In Skalk 2014:2 Jens N. Nielsen points out that they are all from burnt-down houses. Probably they are actually indoor grain storage silos made from unfired clay that have accidentally become fired when the houses burned down.
  • Did an on-line political test to guide my vote in the upcoming parliamentary election. I wasn’t surprised by what parties the test recommended me to choose / avoid. I was surprised by the middle three parties, all of which would represent my opinions almost identically middlingly well on the issues included in the test. The Conservatives, Labour and the Christian Democrats. I’m not sure if this says more about them or about me.
  • I wonder who the troubadours were sleeping with while writing courtly love poetry about other men’s unattainable wives. Their longing seems less poignant when you consider that as noblemen they had unlimited access to the castle staff.
  • I must start using “Tönerne Aquamanilien” as an expletive.
  • *sigh* Presentation files created in the latest version of LibreOffice for Windows can’t be opened in the latest version of LibreOffice for Linux. You get what you pay for, I guess.
  • Some of the older participants in the Apollo program had siblings born in the 19th century.
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61 thoughts on “April Pieces Of My Mind #2

  1. Speaking of motorbikes, the dry climate of the “outback” must be good for preserving all kinds of vehicles dumped behind barns. I know Canadian prairies are a good place to look for 80-90-year-old cars, traction engines and stuff.

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  2. ‘the dry climate of the “outback” ‘

    Too right, cobber. Stone the crows, it’s as dry as a dingo’s dick out there.

    I found some very well preserved 1920s car bodies in a peat swamp – no rust, shiny metal. I suppose the same works for human bodies, eh?

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  3. During World War II, my father was in what was called the ‘coastal defence force’. Hopeless task, Australia has a huge northern coastline and there were not very many of them, but they were armed to the teeth – submachine guns, hand grenades, anything they could carry. My father could never shoot anyone, he would pick up a poisonous spider and carry it outside rather than kill it, so he emptied the ammunition out of his ammunition pouches, and filled them with cheese – spare rations.

    If the Japanese Imperial Army had ever invaded, all he could have done was throw cheese at them.

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  4. John, in theory coastal defenders might have used armoured vehicles to destroy invaders, but the British tank designs were crap until the end of 1944. Fortunately the Japanese got distracted by New Guinea and other places. “Look, a big island with high nearly impassable mountains and marshes -perfect for an invasion!”.

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  5. …and full of malaria and dysentery – the ideal place, really. They were probably more deterred by that than my father’s emergency cheese rations, despite being lactose-intolerant.

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  6. (OT) H.R. Giger ‘created cinema’s only non-shit alien’ http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/arts-entertainment/h-r-giger-created-cinemas-only-non-shit-alien-2014051486567
    Excerpt: Film critic Mary Fisher said: “Before Alien, and indeed after Alien, extra-terrestrials in films were uniformly wank.
    “E.T. looks like a sunbed-addicted nan, the things in Close Encounters were just big fetuses and although Star Wars had some cool aliens in the cantina scene that’s counterbalanced by the ewoks, the shittest of all shit aliens.
    “Independence Day aliens – shit. Men In Black aliens – shit. Predator – clearly a body builder with two stuck-on chicken wings for a mouth.
    “None of them compares to an eyeless armoured demon with acid blood and a hydraulic fanged-penis mouth. That is just so admirably fucked up.

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  7. Thanks for the Solsbury Hill report.
    The application of sophisticated data collection techniques by dedicated amateurs was both illuminating and inspiring. And badass.

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