@bazbt3 https://bazbt3.10centuries.org A repository for aimlessly meandering thoughts. Tue, 23 Apr 2019 20:29:22 +0000 EN https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/avatars/bazbt3.png @bazbt3 https://bazbt3.10centuries.org Clean A repository for aimlessly meandering thoughts. hourly 1 Streams (19E210) RSS https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2019/03/24/rss Sun, 24 Mar 2019 18:05:00 +0000 bazbt3 79aab340-4855-cfd4-dc44-51856f7dc972 I've changed the blog post feed address my Python script uses to post to a couple of networks - crucially without testing or modifying the history files.

Expect either failure or multiple reposts (i.e. failure.)

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AgeID https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2019/03/17/ageid Sun, 17 Mar 2019 18:10:00 +0000 bazbt3 df15a20a-d0c9-440f-a017-591aee7daf45 First question of the year: have any of you managed to register with AgeID?

Given the simple fact we're 2 weeks away from the implementation of this significant part of the UK government's Digital Economy Act 2017 it seems indicative of a wider ineptitude stifling our country that "Registration is not available in your country yet."

How very 'English'.

(Of course it might work if I wasn't so reliant on doing everything on my phone.)

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2019 https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/12/31/2019 Mon, 31 Dec 2018 22:35:00 +0000 bazbt3 48630250-a3bc-de9e-8363-0ef1921e9f01 Thanks, whatever you did that brightened any of my 2018.

I resolve to do these things:

  • Build on the successes from this year's no nail biting and whatever the other one was (not memory-related!),
  • Lose the weight I didn't this year (I'm +6lbs on this last day of the year, i.e. with 1-1/2 hours left in it to lose 27lbs),
  • Exercise (see above) including walking Ruby dog more,
  • Drink more (I turned into a lightweight again),
  • Be more assertive with my girls' schools and the people tasked with looking after their unique needs,
  • Be less in thrall to my girls; a teeny bit controversial.

See you in 365 days!

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Browns https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/09/16/browns Sun, 16 Sep 2018 21:19:00 +0000 bazbt3 3daa60da-12c5-558e-7dbb-1b9077110fe3 Something odd happened today; I got depressed about the result of an American football game. It's been years since last that happened, and well before my break for marriage and parenting.

Today, in a game expected to be an easy win for the New Orleans Saints, the Cleveland Browns lost late. Missed kicks, as during last week's tie, were the key. Just as last week I listened to it on the 'radio', well actually from within an app on my iPhone. To add an extra frisson of something akin to desperation, the battery pack decided it wouldn't charge the phone so I was left scrabbling about in desperation for an iPhone charging…

Yeah, football. I've subscribed to the Fark.com news aggregator site for a few years now. Every gameday someone posts a discussion thread spanning a few games and all and sundry weigh in with opinions, live scores and occasionally brilliantly insane analysis. It's a bit like I'd imagine an NFL subreddit would be but without the ridiculous and often weaponised downvoting.

Anyway, this week I decided for the first time to join the fray during the 4th. Bad mistake. Bad, bad, bad. Every, and I do mean every, time I posted the Browns offensive game turned to shiat. An interception and especially those missed kicks killed us.

'Us'? Yeah, still feeling a bit of Impostor Syndrome here, but it'll pass. Perhaps in a few years?

Not telling you what I'm wearing, but it might be different next week.

On a high note, one of at least expectation, the next 5 games should be easier than those first 2. Or, applying conventional wisdom, at least one would expect so.

A prediction then. Scoring ties, losses, wins from right to left, I'm expecting the first 3 weeks to go:

  1. 0-0-1
  2. 0-1-1
  3. 1-1-1

Anything correct past that and I'd get burnt at the stake as a witch.

  1. 0-0-1
  2. 0-1-1
  3. 1-1-1
  4. 2-1-1
  5. 2-2-1
  6. 2-2-2

Yeah, statistically there's almost zero chance of that second tie, but I can't decide what to pick based on the play I'm seeing from the teams expected to have it easy both this and last weeks.

No, I haven't a clue what any of this means.

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School admin https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/09/07/school-admin Fri, 07 Sep 2018 16:45:00 +0000 bazbt3 b75460f6-0e58-436f-81e2-f47f04099953 Daughter 2 started high school this week, and got a lesson timetable which, well, why not read the email I just sent to the school:

Hi, and sorry to bother you with this,

Is there any chance you could prepare a lesson timetable for us that spells out the lesson names in full, in plain English, and provide an explanation what the remaining '7*' abbreviations mean? Being frank, I find its current presentation almost completely incomprehensible; if we're going to ensure [daughter 1] (who is autistic) arrives at school with the right equipment daily we too need a bit of help.

Thanks in advance for your consideration, and for reading this, [etc.]

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57 jersey https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/04/10/57-jersey Tue, 10 Apr 2018 20:14:00 +0000 bazbt3 e9152b8d-86d2-4362-70aa-1752d62b9f4c Yesterday evening I risked life and limb, my life and limb, clambering over the remains of DIY projects, half-abandoned bicycles and old computers, and lifting and opening box after box, in the pursuit of a football jersey. Not just any football jersey, but one bought at beginning of my life as a dad and the end of my life as a regular American Football fan.

I have to say it must have shrunk in the box, it no longer fits in quite the same way as it did when I knew why I'd bought that jersey. So yesterday evening I searched here and the Internet at large and the reason became clear.

Finding it, a replica #57jersey, brought back yet more memories of a road trip at the start of the 2004 season. Starting with the Wauseon Indians HS team (beat Swanton), following up with Bowling Green (beat SE Missouri State), and culminating in an extraordinary day in the company of the Browns (who beat the Ravens!)

The icing on the cake: meeting Kevin Mack (who signed a practice ball for me), Dante Lavelli and his wife, and Sam Rutigliano and his wife. Yes, I was very much over-awed (and rendered part-mute by a miserable ear infection.)

I'll admit I wasn't a fan of any of the teams we saw over the week, but it didn't matter, it's football!

#57,Clay Matthews Jr., by any measure one of Football's all-time Linebacker greats, but likely destined never to reach the Pro Football Hall of Fame (I've been there too!) He seems to have been in the wrong place (Cleveland) at the wrong time (all sixteen years before he left for the last three of his career); it's got to hurt.

Right now, I'm looking at Reddit's r/Browns multiple time's a day (even on the toilet, but shhh…), professing nothing but attempting in my singularly-inept fashion to absorb, er… stuff. It's an uphill task even attempting to chat with folks bringing the conversation down to my level! So I tried the #browns IRC channel! It's friendly, quiet (ok, almost unused right now; and that suits me just fine.) I've also looked for podcasts to fall asleep to, thinking I'll be able to subliminally absorb chat and regurgitate on-demand.

Yeah… no.

The summary, before I overwhelm myself with words: I can feel something stirring again.

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redditor https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/04/08/redditor Sun, 08 Apr 2018 09:48:00 +0000 bazbt3 1fbadac0-a8f6-f019-c568-030f4e848699 I'm using Reddit again and, in some respects, again regretting it. Not the small number of negative comments my leading question in r/Browns (the Cleveland Browns NFL subreddit) inspired, no; it's the capriciousness of users' up- and down-voting, where incomplete answers and sarcastic comments gain more 'positivity' than…

Oh, look here:

HELP Its been a while since I used solidworks and I forgot how to read and use the hole callout to create a threaded hole.

Or (shrugs) don't look there. My answer was genuinely useful and pretty-much complete, the original poster (OP) even thanked me.

Has it put me off in the same way recent unwarranted post deletions at Fark.com actually have?

No, it's the nature of the beast that is Reddit.

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Celebrity Death Pool https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/04/06/celebrity-death-pool Fri, 06 Apr 2018 11:47:00 +0000 bazbt3 802a1f72-f332-b988-f23f-2e36dc0620d3 Chatting at work, at brew and lunchtime as you do, we got into the subject of celebrity death pools; pick a celeb you believe most likely to die. You know, harmless fun.

I've two:

  • Ayman Al-Zawahiri
  • Vera Lynn

Something of a contrast there.

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Time-limited https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/04/01/time-limited Sun, 01 Apr 2018 12:12:00 +0000 bazbt3 d83eb4cf-f6c4-4098-07a0-297fd12d6aa8 \#QuoteSunday (a tradition on pnut.io):

"It is a little known fact that Professor Stephen Hawking (RIP) invented all of the financial instruments backing the concept popularly known as Quantitative Easing, thereby saving the British economy from ruin during the dark times following the unprecedented and utterly-unforeseeable Great Squeeze." - Sir Winston Churchill, Chancellor of the Exchequer (1924-1929).

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Coty https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/03/31/coty Sat, 31 Mar 2018 07:58:00 +0000 bazbt3 980707ff-a0cc-93f8-5245-47264ba604a8 A conversation about dog breeds (one of the family mentioned the noble 'Leerdammer') and this morning's terrorism news (they don't want their citizenship to be revoked) prompted a search for a once well-known cosmetics brand. Here's the statement from the Google summary of their web site (my emphasis):

"Coty is a global beauty company making cosmetic, skin, fragrance & hair brands. We positively disrupt to create a radically inclusive world of beauty."

What the Fark, how bereft of original ideas must their PR team be, swallowing a buzzword dictionary to get to those ridicul

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Farkisms https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/03/19/farkisms Mon, 19 Mar 2018 13:44:00 +0000 bazbt3 2ed964e5-6177-ab80-1323-1aa80b451f66 I responded to this Fark.com forum post:

"The farkisms page seems somewhat put of date. Can we suggest some updates?" (Link goes to Farkisms, a somewhat stale list of sayings or memes used quite often at Fark.)

It was unfortunately redlit (not accepted for inclusion on the main page) so you probably won't see it.

My reply:

Of our times, a couple or three to spark comment:

  • D2S / Donnie Two Scoops - the predisent of the Disunited States of America; known for his insistence on two (2) scoops of frozen dessert vs his guests' one (1). AKA 45, a sequential number assigned to him on not winning the popular vote in the 2016 Presidential Election. Compared unfavourably to even the 43rd holder of one of the numbers.

  • Snekretary - a serpently figure of fun based on the one-time White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, also a figure of fun due in no small part to his creativity with truthiness in behalf of his boss. Arch-nemesis: the Mongoose. See impaler

  • Welcome to Fark - a phrase or pictorial meme offered as evidence, an easy rebuttal of sorts, of another poster's ineptitude in assessing a situation they advanced an opinion on.

If you're not a Farker (or work with me) this is probably as meaningless as my last-but-one post.

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Hawking https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/03/14/hawking Wed, 14 Mar 2018 19:08:00 +0000 bazbt3 2f2c98a1-56c9-11fa-3718-f88d7643948a "Remember to look up at the stars." - Stephen Hawking.

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Shush https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/03/11/shush Sun, 11 Mar 2018 11:12:00 +0000 bazbt3 0630d81a-4443-e2bd-d078-a524d3df28b2 There is apparently a social convention that, when the adult in charge of a group of children in church repeatedly tries but fails to stop them talking, one must not turn round and tell them, other people's children that is, to shut up.

Well, that's a bit crap isn't it.

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Usual https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/03/09/usual Fri, 09 Mar 2018 13:00:00 +0000 bazbt3 3dc28f52-49d4-732a-f878-d11c568ced2e Today I achieved a lifetime's ambition, the middle finger of a man extended in my specific direction. It happens only after the phrase "Usual message", uttered (or blurted) in his presence; oddly the context is, unusually, utterly irrelevant.

Here, by the way, that precise combination of words is inextricably linked to the notion the man may, or may not, be most easily described by another word rhyming with 'crunt'. But I've seen no evidence whatsoever of his 'cruntiness'.)

Thanks sir; even though mine was accidental, it still makes me feel good to be number one.

If you don't work with me this'll make no sense.

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Random https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/03/09/random Fri, 09 Mar 2018 12:26:00 +0000 bazbt3 777a4104-64c9-4b72-05e3-f76ea74b0cc4 Regarding Donald Trump's uncanny ability to toss a word salad:

Someone ought to deaf-sign (BSL) what he says, run that through a round of Chinese Whispers, and translate back into English after filtering through a Khoisan language speaker without technical knowledge of, er… pretty much anything. When that's done, ROT-13 it and run it through a battery of mathematical transformations executed on a sub-120MHz Pentium.

See, nothing random there.

(First posted at Fark.com.)

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Fark https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/03/08/fark Thu, 08 Mar 2018 22:15:00 +0000 bazbt3 70048f7a-3889-4d29-6444-6961f7bf8a77 How I explain Fark.com:

"It's a news aggregator site with a difference; people submit headlines and go to the forums to excoriate others for the smallest thing, like making a Brussels sprout burrito. Would you try one, just to humour me, please?"

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Wiggins https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/03/05/wiggins Mon, 05 Mar 2018 21:33:00 +0000 bazbt3 13569cc8-d763-e34f-0d36-6202f1203583 Bradley Wiggins is the latest target in the establishment's moral crusade, a bunch of MPs being of the opinion Cycling's sporting ethics have been breached.

They're suggesting that drugs deemed to be legal by the sport's governing body have been used to artificially enhance Team Sky's performance in general and Wiggins' in particular. No mention has been made of the possibility that every team at the top of world cycling might be doing exactly the same; that'd be inconvenient, hackers won't have presented 'em the evidence on a silver platter.

This sad bunch, by the way, is drawn partly from the MPs awarded a pay rise approaching double that of the public sector workers they're tasked with awarding pay rises to. There's the ethics violations, the obvious lack of moral fibre.

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JD Honey https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/03/04/jd-honey Sun, 04 Mar 2018 08:16:00 +0000 bazbt3 a30b44e9-eeaf-3ef4-c967-e090739091b6 I remember the trials and tribulations attempting to drink Maker's Mark bourbon before I gave it away; I remember well the aroma from the empty glass the following morning. Amazing.

On a whim, as an entirely unsuitable substitute after my failure to find white squishy bread on the day the shops failed (laid waste in a manner reminiscent of the film '28 Days Later', but people will probably remember it as 'Friday'), I bought a bottle of Jack Daniels Honey.

The aroma is very reminiscent of my memory of Maker's Mark, half a day later; it's also a very effective alcopop.

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TwigPen oops 3 https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/03/04/twigpen-oops-3 Sun, 04 Mar 2018 03:27:00 +0000 bazbt3 9dc12c90-8dea-8ad8-daa5-c1d59c13ad9d After it simply failed to tweet, I rolled the TwigPen code into rssupdatepnut; what follows is a repeat of my previous posts.

-mild bleating follows-

An updated version of my previous post follows. Executive summary: "Doh!"

-original below-

Oops! I forgot to git pull origin master the updated script from the rssupdatepnut GitHub repo.

Here's the blog post announcing my tweeted notification of new blog posts: http://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/03/04/twigpen.

Daft Baz scratched head for a few minutes thinking the script'd failed for some techy reason. No, simply PEBKAC.

Am I feeling lucky?

-original above-

It turns out I messed up here too, with the result below:

$ python3.6 rssupdatepnut.py

File "rssupdatepnut.py", line 81

TwigPen.postsomething(pnut_message)

^

IndentationError: unexpected indent

I'd better fix it then, instead of blogging about it!

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TwigPen oops 2 https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/03/04/twigpen-oops-2 Sun, 04 Mar 2018 01:53:00 +0000 bazbt3 b545715b-deea-3b7f-40f5-a2b2b96b1c9c An updated version of my previous post follows. Executive summary: "Doh!"

-original below-

Oops! I forgot to git pull origin master the updated script from the rssupdatepnut GitHub repo.

Here's the blog post announcing my tweeted notification of new blog posts: http://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/03/04/twigpen.

Daft Baz scratched head for a few minutes thinking the script'd failed for some techy reason. No, simply PEBKAC.

Am I feeling lucky?

-original above-

It turns out I messed up here too, with the result below:

$ python3.6 rssupdatepnut.py

File "rssupdatepnut.py", line 81

TwigPen.postsomething(pnut_message)

^

IndentationError: unexpected indent

I'd better fix it then, instead of blogging about it!

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TwigPen oops https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/03/04/twigpen-oops Sun, 04 Mar 2018 01:27:00 +0000 bazbt3 7e1e1df1-3e7c-c527-2609-40a0c86a8b82 Oops! I forgot to git pull origin master the updated script from the rssupdatepnut GitHub repo.

Here's the blog post announcing my tweeted notification of new blog posts: http://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/03/04/twigpen.

Daft Baz scratched head for a few minutes thinking the script'd failed for some techy reason. No, simply PEBKAC.

Am I feeling lucky?

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TwigPen https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/03/04/twigpen Sun, 04 Mar 2018 00:16:00 +0000 bazbt3 6d8b6aa3-1a25-ff3b-5706-e4c344b5f71b I'm just about to turn off the IFTTT trigger that tweets notification of my blog posts to Twitter. I've written a wrapper for Python's 'Twython' module; one that provides auth and, right now, the ability to post a tweet. Fingers crossed, hoping it seamlessly replaces IFTTT.

It's called TwigPen, a name borrowed from my pnut.io social network app PigPen. It's used like this from within a Python script:

import TwigPen

…some code to define tweettext…

TwigPen.postsomething(tweettext)

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Wand https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/03/03/wand Sat, 03 Mar 2018 09:28:00 +0000 bazbt3 3474300e-6268-db2b-fb8f-ef34d10aafdb The girls are really into Harry Potter right now, were really pleased to hear their school will reschedule World Book Day participation. That's entirely incidental to…

My shouted response to a clattering noise from the bathroom above my comfy chair just now, something probably never said before in any language:

"Take your wand out of the bathroom please!"

I haven't seen my wife laugh so much for an age now; maybe if I ask if she was imagining if we had boys?

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PSA Heat https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/03/01/psa-heat Thu, 01 Mar 2018 23:39:00 +0000 bazbt3 80ae320e-f729-704d-fbfa-5bc3dabf26e2 It snowed again, the gritter failed to make an impact (but I'm not sure one came this way.) The school was shut so World Book Day didn't happen here, my wife was late from her night shift (waiting for staff to arrive), and the boiler stopped working.

What to do when the condensing boiler repeatedly stops working in the winter, it gurgles like a boiling kettle before the error indication appears, and resetting the thing fails:

It's likely that the condensate drain pipe is frozen outside the home.

  1. Find the condensate drain pipe; it'll project out of the bottom of the boiler case,
  2. Locate it outside,
  3. Pour hot water over the pipe outside,

If that doesn't clear the ice:

  1. Turn off the boiler at the mains switch,
  2. Find a bucket or a washing up bowl,

At this point I must stress that you need to be aware if you mess this bit up the very least of your worries will be the size of the repair bill:

  1. Disconnect the pipe from the bottom of the boiler and collect the spurty water on the wall behind and the floor beneath the boiler, anywhere but the bowl or bucket,
  2. Leave the vessel there to collect water,
  3. If you have a hose that you can connect to the drain fitting, fit it and drop the end into the vessel until the outside temperature rises,
  4. Turn the boiler on again; no gurgling!
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Beyond https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/02/24/beyond Sat, 24 Feb 2018 07:09:00 +0000 bazbt3 aace7798-8f93-9468-fa57-f7f4472c8552 I just heard Loki.

For the last few years his voice was the last I heard every night and the first every morning; nights it now seems missing me, mornings definitely wanting his breakfast.

06:45 today, as my wife got back in bed after a pee: it doesn't pain this 99.9% atheist much to admit I took it to mean he let me know he arrived in Heaven.

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Loki cat 2001-2018 RIP https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/02/23/loki-cat-2001-2018-rip Fri, 23 Feb 2018 12:14:00 +0000 bazbt3 d3988ae9-437e-dc25-0aa3-904289f4f9f9 April 1st to February 23rd; we'll even miss your shouting.

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Loki https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/02/21/loki Wed, 21 Feb 2018 21:52:00 +0000 bazbt3 be51db8a-5f08-47b9-f762-e177d441ff45 No attempt made to be articulate here, a followup to my last post.

I've known Loki cat (aka Loki Lou) for pretty-much 17 years; all his life bar the first few weeks of it. I was there after he had his bits done, saw the red crusty… I was there as he made his first attempts to climb stairs. I've had to rescue him from a couple of 'next-doors' as he decided returning back over the fence was too hard. I've fed him every day for the past, what, 13 years bar the cattery visits, picked up his poos and mopped his pees; and when we've needed to take him to the vets I've been there too, including that time I accidentally threw him down the stairs and sprained his leg. I stole his and his kitty family's chicken on Christmas Day 2004, he never forgave me; as it should be.

Speaking of the local cattery, taking him there before we went on holiday a few years ago in a cat box in a pram gained me a reputation I don't think I'll shake in a hurry. He doesn't like cars, see.

He's been an annoyance ever since he turned into an (agile) little old man and started humping soft toys, soft clothing, indeed anything, everything, soft. It's not so much the act itself but our night-time sleep disturbances from the noises he made…

I haven't a clue if all cats are as empathic, but he's just known when a cuddle will help, and he's helped. Lots. He's known when to stay out of the way too.

He's outlasted his (genetic) brother Marble, his sister Gizmo (always the proud princess), the lovely, lovely Mary, and the typically-scaredy-cat Nelson.

He's always been a handsome chap with, to my untrained eye, a look of the kitten about him. But, since Christmas, he's got old and infirm very quickly. Today he's hardly eaten a thing.

So it's time.

Time.

April the 1st, his birthday, will be…

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Ah https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/02/21/ah Wed, 21 Feb 2018 19:27:00 +0000 bazbt3 88be2502-49f1-4ff1-e7fb-9c134010eb13 It's time.

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WednesdayChallenge https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/02/20/wednesdaychallenge Tue, 20 Feb 2018 21:25:00 +0000 bazbt3 e8322b6d-8605-a82f-81db-e62261d6a088 My first \#WednesdayChallenge of 2018:

"Eeeeee!", said Ozzie Reynolds as he shot headfirst out of control down the new water slide.

Awed by what seemed his sheer terror, Georgie Stokes & Arnie Sommerfeld also shrieked as they fell.

"Again!"

(Theme chosen by @33MHz: "rān|reyn|reɪn". Objective: write a short story at pnut.io, to a theme, in one post.)

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Machine https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/02/20/machine Tue, 20 Feb 2018 12:22:00 +0000 bazbt3 dfb32f22-b871-fc11-5870-d8e112c5ddb3 The new washing machine is… it's got more programmes than the previous one, and more flexibility too! I'm…

/me rubs thighs enthusiastically…

Apologies to those of you on pnut,io who saw the multiple postings when my rssupdatepnut app failed; all I had to do was add code to overwrite the previous post date file with the latest post's date, if they were different.

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Deluge https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/02/19/deluge Mon, 19 Feb 2018 20:24:00 +0000 bazbt3 9f4191c8-c125-9bb1-837e-b8a5de57492f That expression 'it never rains but it pours' is very much in effect right here right now.

The washing machine died yesterday, with my work shirts inside, undies and socks, and a couple of irreplaceable t-shirts. The door locked, no water drained. Yes, I did indeed turn it off and back in again!

I also turned off the cold water inlet valve. Yes I did. Yes.

No, not entirely.

It's surprising how much water can accumulate in a short timeframe on a tiled utility room floor. And how long it takes to mop it up!

Even the guys who replaced it couldn't get into the machine, even after taking the back off.

This post should have been entitled 'The Tale of the Lost Undies'.

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Unforeseen https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2018/02/16/unforeseen Fri, 16 Feb 2018 22:23:00 +0000 bazbt3 177391a8-4635-59b2-40ac-8164c32ad4e1 A mish-mash of themes follows; it's been a while since my last confes, er… blog post.

Um… Python programming is addictive. If I could use it at work to do engineering I'd be even happier!

Now:

Started last October, my second-ever Python script: PigPen, a social networking app for the https://pnut.io social network, Mainly feature-complete where features exist; apart from those that don't work. A mentions or messages alert companion application would be a good thing to write, sometime.

Crypto, a cryptocurrency notification and alert application, designed to send regular, timed messages over the Pushover system. Now with added 3-graph goodness of the previous 24 hours' movements! Currently also sends messages to my dev channel at pnut.io, but it currently seems a little pointless.

rssupdatepnut, periodically checks an RSS feed (currently my blog, but it could be a news feed) for updates, which it should eventually post to pnut.io and other networks. Designed to run periodically. Incidentally, the publication of this post will be its first live test!

The future:

I've set myself a few professional goals for this year. Yes, 2018.

  • My maths skills have atrophied; I'd like to be re-updated to engineering college ONC level by December. A project would be good, to inject a bit of real-world reality into the proceedings.

  • Organisation and working 'smart': I've adopted the Bullet Journal logging and diary system. With a bit of luck it'll help end my indecision and tendency to bury stuff. One of its strengths is the 'Migration', where incomplete tasks are pushed forwards during the weekly and monthly reviews.

Personal goals too!

  • Reliability would be great!

  • I missed February's pnut.io \#ThemeMonday. Sorry all, it's been an odd, kind-of crappy start to the year.

Other:

  • I nearly blogged about my recent longest-ever poo, an epic of 35 minutes I'll never see again; and the effort in pre-flush preparation, I…
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Oh https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/12/29/oh Fri, 29 Dec 2017 15:30:00 +0000 bazbt3 9e1f7efe-545f-2e16-e8c0-2da5a5ed9bfa Two rather expensive days, emotionally and financially:

£130 - Loki cat to vet:Suspected congestive heart failure£ 30 - Loki cat followup:Heart problem confirmed, not acute£612 - 4 new tyres + tracking:Highlighted by just-about reaching the vet£327 - Ruby overnight vet visit:Who ate 1/4 pack of Smarties and the chocolate off a Crunchie bar? (Chocolate: poisonous to dogs.)

]]>
Yes
Pecking order https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/12/05/pecking-order Tue, 05 Dec 2017 22:02:00 +0000 bazbt3 0c76773a-5719-db2a-e1d3-d19c181a8f5e I looked over earlier, spied my wife eating milk chocolate, decided to emulate the dog so knelt down in front of the settee. Getting no satisfaction I shifted position, into a wet patch Ruby dog had created not long previously.

It was cold (it'd been sprayed.)

I… I looked up after a stifled expletive, to find my wife laughing. The chocolate? All gone of course.

Don't attempt to emulate the dog, you can't beat millennia of evolution.

I know my place.

]]>
Yes
RAVPower case review https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/11/29/ravpower-case-review Wed, 29 Nov 2017 20:27:00 +0000 bazbt3 9d6d2b46-00e8-c67b-22e5-e15504020d76 RAVPower Battery Case for iPhone 6 / 6S with Apple MFi Certified Extended Battery Charger with 3000mAh 125 Percent Extra Battery

Toilet proof?!By Amazon Customer on 29 November 2017

Verified Purchase

Mine survived a trip to the u-bend yesterday. Don't try this at home; I did so you don't have to!

Disclaimer thingy: a quiet buzzing and a refusal to charge for hours afterwards might be a reliable indicator the device wasn't meant for this kind of adventure.

Was this review helpful to you?

[Helpful] [Not Helpful] [Report]

]]>
Yes
White Helmets (Syria) https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/11/28/white-helmets-syria Tue, 28 Nov 2017 00:35:00 +0000 bazbt3 7cce96a9-38cd-6420-f4f5-8f22696cbc7a > When the bombs rain down, the Syrian Civil Defence rushes in. In a place where public services no longer function these unarmed volunteers risk their lives to help anyone in need - regardless of their religion or politics. Known as the White Helmets these volunteer rescue workers operate in the most dangerous place on earth." Yeah, ok, at this time of year, at any time of year, it's easy to spread oneself too thinly, to try to think about supporting every worthy cause. It's easier to pick none in the vain hope something great will present itself. Paralysis. It's easier still to say we shouldn't bother, we should look after our own first. That's true, of course it is. One day, far in the future, we'll have a government who distributes our world's-6th-richest-nation's wealth in an equitable manner. Until then, cue more bitterness and division. I worked with someone for more years than I care to remember. Nice guy, always had time for me. It turns out that, at least on social sites, he's racist, xenophobic and a bigot, without a shred of understanding of the realities of modern world; a man who purports to care about 'people' yet simultaneously wants to see us spend more money travelling around the world and killing people who aren't 'us'. Sweeping aside the 'on social media' thing, the man's simply a racist, xenophobic bigot. Politicians pandering to people like him simply to get more votes are why barrel bombs continue to be dropped on families in Syria. Don't be like him; don't be a twat. See this? http://syriacivildefense.org See this? https://peoplesmillion.whitehelmets.org/donate/peoples-million Read the small print.]]> I've just partially recovered after watching probably the most harrowing documentary in…

I don't…

Volunteers.

"THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE IN THE WORLD>> When the bombs rain down, the Syrian Civil Defence rushes in. In a place where public services no longer function these unarmed volunteers risk their lives to help anyone in need - regardless of their religion or politics. Known as the White Helmets these volunteer rescue workers operate in the most dangerous place on earth."

Yeah, ok, at this time of year, at any time of year, it's easy to spread oneself too thinly, to try to think about supporting every worthy cause. It's easier to pick none in the vain hope something great will present itself. Paralysis.

It's easier still to say we shouldn't bother, we should look after our own first. That's true, of course it is. One day, far in the future, we'll have a government who distributes our world's-6th-richest-nation's wealth in an equitable manner. Until then, cue more bitterness and division.

I worked with someone for more years than I care to remember. Nice guy, always had time for me. It turns out that, at least on social sites, he's racist, xenophobic and a bigot, without a shred of understanding of the realities of modern world; a man who purports to care about 'people' yet simultaneously wants to see us spend more money travelling around the world and killing people who aren't 'us'.

Sweeping aside the 'on social media' thing, the man's simply a racist, xenophobic bigot. Politicians pandering to people like him simply to get more votes are why barrel bombs continue to be dropped on families in Syria.

Don't be like him; don't be a twat.

See this?

http://syriacivildefense.org

See this?

https://peoplesmillion.whitehelmets.org/donate/peoples-million

Read the small print.

]]>
Yes
Dick https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/11/26/dick Sun, 26 Nov 2017 21:47:00 +0000 bazbt3 6c6d0293-19da-af57-5e9e-7823f3306723 In about a month's time, Dick…

"He's behind youuu…!"

]]>
Yes
PigPen https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/11/19/pigpen Sun, 19 Nov 2017 21:50:00 +0000 bazbt3 91fdc569-66b3-defa-c677-a17d7fbe1aa0 I've spent my spare time during the last few weeks writing another app, this one for the pnut.io social network. It enhances the failures of my first app, for 10centuries.org. Yes, more social networking, surprising for such an antisocial [expletive deleted.]

https://github.com/bazbt3/PigPen

It's a Python program, application; heck call it an app if you must, I'm old. I began programming in the early 1980s, a time at the beginning of the UK's home computer boom, and a time when one had to program to make computers work. And then came the Sinclair Spectrum and its awesome games and all was lost for me by the mid-eighties.

Back to the present…

Yes, I've gone for feature bloat rather than iterate through the creation of bulletproof functions, but it's so satisfying when something works, when something clicks into place in my head, and when someone helps me understand something. That's the very best bit, cooperation!

FAQ (usually means 'frequently asked questions'):

So what does it look like? Old-fashioned.

How advanced is the graphical user interface? There isn't one.

Does it have a SnapChat plugin? Er… a say what now?

Does it have the ability to— Wait! It's written in Python 3.5; in good hands it can do pretty much anything a computer can do—

Ok, can it— No. I'm on but the second rung of the ladder, I can see snakes from here.

Roll 1d6 Oi! You f[CARRIER LOST]

Ok, the main thing I've gained from my progress so far is an enhanced understanding of the effort involved in the creation and maintenance of all the apps I'm using right now.

Respect.

]]>
Yes
Remembrance https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/11/12/remembrance Sun, 12 Nov 2017 12:15:00 +0000 bazbt3 2581807e-b97f-ec7c-bc5d-876e4f8744c4 We attended the church Remembrance Day service earlier then walked along to the War Memorial where the village congregated for the open-air service. In church, the Last Post was followed by 'Jerusalem' and the hymns were rounded out by 'Abide With Me'.

The last time I heard the Last Post was, well, the previous years' services and at a great Uncle's funeral service. He'd fought in Burma during WWII, was a member of the Burma Star organisation, had a significant number of compatriots along in his last day.

So yeah, I LOL'd this time as well as that.

No, wait, no; the thing with tears and a swelling of the breast. Yeah, that thing.

]]>
Yes
Feedback (LibDems) https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/11/10/feedback-libdems Fri, 10 Nov 2017 18:15:00 +0000 bazbt3 5b3202f7-5a45-d659-5f2a-f7010c3df0a1 Online feedback I provided to the UK Liberal Democrat party after being asked why I've not renewed my membership:

"During the General Election and Brexit campaigns the party failed to detail the compromises you found necessary to remain a partner in government with the Tories. When presented with in-your-face opportunities to spell out the goals junked by the LibDems to allow moderation of socially egregious Tory policies, every one of your representatives rolled over and failed to spell it out for the benefit of the casual voter. The public in general are sheep, have binary choices - Labour or Tories - their impression is the LibDems are Tory-lite; you'll have a long, long time in the wilderness being nice to the nasty party."

]]>
Yes
Sweaters https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/11/08/sweaters Wed, 08 Nov 2017 08:23:00 +0000 bazbt3 d7b6bfb5-b388-987c-6f36-4fb87f8b86a3 I'm old enough to remember the day sweaters (jumpers if you like) were designed to keep one warm, and not a paper-thin, size-too-large fashion statement.

]]>
Yes
Soup https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/11/04/soup Sat, 04 Nov 2017 22:08:00 +0000 bazbt3 edeca5de-6999-58b1-d8b1-2076ea2985f3 Tonight we visited the local cricket club's annual bonfire and firework display for the funfair rides, hook-a-duck attractions and food stalls. Always a grand occasion.

I spent time during the firework display casually pointing out to the girls the importance of standing back from fireworks, all the rest, and literally pointing out the respect the technicians had for the explodey-things. We might get some fireworks tomorrow, but no bangs.

Afterwards we returned home and settled down to comfort Ruby dog after all the bangs in her neighbourhood, and I settled down to some Hallow'een-pumpkin soup, the best soup I'd made in my life. Really, we'd tried it earlier and it was, mmmm…

I put the heat under the soup, sorted the girls clothes out, put the recycling in bins, then went upstairs to change and pee, leaving the girls to make warm drinks.

A little while later… I sniffed, "Delicious."

A first: I'd burnt the soup.

]]>
Yes
Woodford Reserve https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/10/27/woodford-reserve Fri, 27 Oct 2017 16:28:00 +0000 bazbt3 90869f4c-b159-7224-ca3e-9c7c9099b348 Sod it, I'll add a drink to the food order; the tablets say I can have a drink!

Woodford Reserve rye whiskey.

There is no contraindication so don't worry, but I doubt the manufacturer would want to encourage irresponsible behaviour. No, in answer to the question I sense forming, the tablets don't talk to me, that'd be a bit weird.

]]>
Yes
Home Alone https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/10/26/home-alone Thu, 26 Oct 2017 21:30:00 +0000 bazbt3 d40e2cf3-c881-89c5-f607-77e82891d0c9 Most people faced with a day off, and family away during a school holiday week would, I'd guess, go insane and do all kinds of exciting things.

Today I ran out of Earl Grey tea and burnt last night's pizza instead of gently reheating it in the oven.

The highlight of my day then has been the successful, if well overdue, defrosting of the freezer. During the mammoth session I discovered that the ice above the top serpentine had built to such a thickness and expanded to such a degree that it'd pulled out one of its supporting bracket screws. The left front one! Danger, mild peril! And the thermocouple is a bit floppy now but seems to work; no signs of an impending ice age yet.

Incidentally, IKEA-Whirlpool didn't make frost-free fridge-freezers when we put the kitchen in.

Yeah.

Yeah.

]]>
Yes
Dishwasher: sequel (sweary, NSFW words) https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/10/25/dishwasher-sequel-sweary-nsfw-words Wed, 25 Oct 2017 17:00:00 +0000 bazbt3 0648bdb0-22dd-759b-3f90-56d66f3b6a16 We needed a new dishwasher. We have a new dishwasher, bought from a well-known Scandinavian flat-pack furniture and accessories retailer. But this morning I got a call from the well-known UK white goods retailer mentioned in my previous related post.

"Hello Mr Turner, this is Jimbobflibblywibpants [not his real name] calling from GrueGoods.com [not the site] about your delivery today."

Fuck!

He was ringing about the order the retailer and I jointly cancelled a few days ago because they couldn't fit the dishwasher today.

Muppets. (Would do better.)

]]>
Yes
Dishwasher (sweary) https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/10/22/dishwasher-sweary Sun, 22 Oct 2017 12:43:00 +0000 bazbt3 f183ac4e-cd05-0963-a1c9-6cb4d1f06b04 We need a new dishwasher. The old one is at the side of the house awaiting collection by one of the rag-tag bunch of folks who collect scrap metal with no fees, no questions asked.

  1. Well-known electrical goods retailer: 10-21 days? Nope.
  2. Well-known online white goods retailer: in stock available for fitting for a very modest fee: 3 days. Great, I ordered it! A few minutes after, they phoned. Nope, computer days no. Actually, the computer says yes even though they can't meet demand.
  3. Well-known premium department store: Next-day delivery and installation for a fee, great! So I ordered it. Apparently I qualify for free standard delivery even though I'd be paying for next-day? Great! I choose Monday. It turns out choosing Monday on the mobile site means a week on Monday. I cancel on the telephone.

For fuck's sake, it's the 21st arsing century, how difficulty can it be to organise delivery efficiently? To spell things out before the customer presses the poxy button to commit to spending hundreds of pounds on…

Twats.

17 minutes ago I cancelled. 15 minutes ago I received notice of cancellation and refund. Just now, just fucking NOW, a text pops up to confirm I'd be getting a dishwasher installed a week on Monday!

]]>
Yes
Food https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/10/20/food Fri, 20 Oct 2017 12:19:00 +0000 bazbt3 ffd55b77-c64a-60b6-ef3b-4dd2fd1b5333 When ordering food for other people or for myself and others I'm unlucky.

The modern world is set up to make things easy for those who would let others take the strain of food preparation: go out to eat, or pick up the phone or electronic device, speak or blindly stab at buttons until something vaguely resembling a meal is concocted, then sit and wait. And occasionally peer out of the window if within the comfort of home, as if that will speed up the delivery process.

In theory it's foolproof. But no. For when I get involved it all turns to sh…

It'll either have not quite what was ordered, or something completely random thrown in, or it'll be late when visitors need to go home right after the meal we've spent seconds preparing.

When we're out anywhere my wife knows to order for the girls and herself and leave mine to me. It all arrives exactly as ordered, all of it, even mine.

Even some colleagues now know not to trust me, especially since the now slightly-famous 'non-popped egg yolk down the front of the shirt incident' of September 2017!

Unlucky Baz?

]]>
Yes
Weekend https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/10/15/weekend Sun, 15 Oct 2017 23:31:00 +0000 bazbt3 eb3ec135-aa5c-829f-8c84-6b7279b6c053 It's late, the weekend is almost completed, and I ache from the successes during it.

We recently found out the dining room carpet was damp. Chastising our lovely female cat is out of the question so last weekend I sliced most of the floorcovering into conveniently-sized rolls and took them to the tip.

Meanwhile my wife had priced up a very fancy lino to replace the previous luxurious pile. Saturday was fitting day, so Friday after work was me shifting 2 bookcases, 2 CD/DVD shelving units and their contents, an overladen sideboard, and the stuff that builds up as one's loved ones live, all out of the room.

The herringbone-pattern wood block-effect lino is lovely, we won't have the peeing issue again, and most of the furniture and books and stuff is back where it came from. Did it fit right back again without much effort? No; the back of each of the CD shelving units and one bookcase required inexpertly hacking at to accommodate the change in height between the previous and required notches to clear the skirting board.

Yes, of course I've been asked to move one bookcase to replace the living room electric fireplace now donated to charity. No more convenient mug rest for me. (sighs)

I've participated in a small way during the pnut.io Hackathon Weekend. But I'm tired, I've already written too many words, so I'll blog about the wiki next time.

Zzzz…

]]>
Yes
Blogging https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/10/11/blogging Wed, 11 Oct 2017 13:06:00 +0000 bazbt3 1d6499b4-c537-0a3a-62f2-7d1300356bc1 Blogging.

Blogging.

Blogging, blogging, bloggingbloggingblogging … blogging, blogging.

Blogging, blogging.

Blogging.

Blogging.

Blogging?

Hmmm…

Blogging.

]]>
Yes
Uncertain https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/10/07/uncertain Sat, 07 Oct 2017 20:22:00 +0000 bazbt3 bf121aad-50f5-04c7-15a5-0d2d1182b4a0 It's been an odd few weeks and months.

I'm looking for a bit of stability here. I'm finding some.

]]>
Yes
Bizarre performance art https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/08/31/bizarre-performance-art Thu, 31 Aug 2017 22:03:00 +0000 bazbt3 eb08185c-f458-aee2-05ec-7c37e99ac3ae Returning to the recent Sprout Burrito theme, this from Fark; "Hey, at least it's got beans on it now B-b-burrito? DIT"

The best comment across a couple of hundred posts, the very best, most succinct whilst retaining a flavour of what they must be thinking:

"This is some bizarre performance art or a social experiment. Regardless, there's no excuse for these 'burritos' should they exist. They are an abomination."

A man puts Brussels sprouts into a tortilla wrap and, well, the response is inevitable isn't it!

]]>
Yes
Sprout burrito inventor https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/08/28/sprout-burrito-inventor Mon, 28 Aug 2017 19:30:00 +0000 bazbt3 13750cfa-63c8-8aff-580b-559eace5ccc2 In an attempt to reinvent myself on social networks I've been silent for a long while, to let the old stuff out and the void in. That's not to say I haven't missed the interactions, I have. But life, as-ever, got in the way.

I'm not back yet, far from it, but I see encouraging signs. One of them was an attempt to engage with people I don't know on IRC. It's literally 20 years since the last time I had a go, and there's no coincidence that was also my first try; it's synchronous chat, quite a fast-paced, and an unforgiving environment. But once in, it appears a sense of community remains. Nerds, geeks abound. The attempt went reasonably well, but I definitely sensed some insularity, mistrust of outsiders; most unlike the entirely positive experiences on the 3 most-recent small networks it's been my privilege to be involved with.

So, to the title of this post?

First, it might be, though probably isn't, a good idea to read this:

"Today, after a lot of procrastination, I will eat my first-ever burrito. I'll post a picture of the uncooked thing momentarily. Later this year, a visit to Taco Bell UK"

And then this:

"Following up yesterday's first-ever burrito, I'm making my own from leftovers: Mashed sprouts, sweetcorn, redcurrant jelly, tiny squirt of ketchup. In the oven now, wrapped in foil"

Incidentally, the mobile version of the Fark site works really well on mobile devices.

Getting there, not just socially.

]]>
Yes
Logotherapy https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/06/12/logotherapy Mon, 12 Jun 2017 11:28:00 +0000 bazbt3 1f2b99ff-94d6-5978-03ff-49ca6ef18c4e "Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones.> Our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning in life.> We have freedom to find meaning in what we do, and what we experience, or at least in the stance we take when faced with a situation of unchangeable suffering." It's a branch of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is, I'll admit, not my forte let alone within my experience. So, again quoting directly from the article, 'we can discover this meaning in life in three different ways:1. By creating a work or doing a deed;2. By experiencing something or encountering someone; and3. By the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering" and that "everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances."' Pretty straightforward stuff it seems: some find meaning in the job they have, others in the sports teams they support, their friends, the pain of loss, or fundraising for those less-fortunate. Meaning can be found in scenarios from the passive involvement watching a television series, to the total immersion of running a country. Logotherapy provides a mechanism to make sense of life and to restore an individual's sense of meaning, when all seems otherwise lost. No, I'm not undergoing any form of externally-sourced therapy, I arrived here during a study of Totalitarianism, Authoritarianism and Inverted totalitarianism this last being, by the way, the most relevant to our times:> "In inverted totalitarianism, every natural resource and every living being is commodified and exploited to collapse as the citizenry is lulled and manipulated into surrendering their liberties and their participation in government through excess consumerism and sensationalism." First coined 14 years ago to describe the tendency of United States governments to increasingly ignore the best interests of all that country's citizens in favour of the few at the top and those who shout the loudest, the description is eerily accurate now. 2016-2017 brought new lows: voter suppression, the rise of the far right, the rise of populism and nativism. The removal of essential healthcare protections in what was previously easily the world's most expensive healthcare system is particularly disconcerting for those condemned to an uncertain fate by it, and must be utterly terrifying for those condemned to a certain fate. I'm particularly interested right now in the bit about 'intolerable suffering,' especially my observations of the grades of what people imagine the term 'intolerable' means to them. We do after all live in times of hyperbole and instant gratification. I've a list. It's uncomfortable to write, but I'm in the mood: Syria and Iraq are currently experiencing unimaginable death tolls, Syria currently engaged in a 6-year-old war. A site I've linked to elsewhere indicates that 470,000 have been killed in Syria alone since 2011. That's not just the destruction of essential infrastructure and then the devastation of entire towns and cities, it's the senseless killing of men and women and children and babies. It's all because human beings don't want to talk to other human beings.The USA is presided over by a man almost universally seen as unfit for government, unable to understand diplomacy, a bully, and even telling the simple truth seems beyond him. The office he holds was once termed as 'the leader of the free world.' And yet he needs a legacy. A US military re-entry into Afghanistan is again on the agenda. The real possibility of a use of nuclear weapons scares me. The US's approach to foreign policy fills me with dread.Brexit. Yeah, Brexit is, quite simply, a process that should never have been allowed to happen. Factions within the Conservative Party insisted and the Prime Minister agreed to put the choice to the British people: In or Out of the European Union. The Liberal Democrats have offered another referendum on the deal the government of the day negotiates with Europe, the choice of approval or disapproval: The 3 larger political parties reject this, and the British electorate rejected it in the General Election just gone; "too much politics, we've had enough!" How odd; they're rejecting a chance to influence the future of our economy and world standing. They're throwing away the chance of a future based on real democracy because scratching an 'X' in a box is too hard.The British Prime Minister is attempting to form a government reliant on the Ulster Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), without any form of agreement between those parties. Ulster, a province profoundly factionalised on fundamentally religious and nationalistic grounds whilst somehow remaining a part of the United Kingdom, is one in which, for instance, abortion is still illegal. The DUP, a party with 10 MPs in theory represents an electorate fundamentally opposed to gay and womens' rights, and some seem to believe the world is 6,000 years old. It's a party retaining links to terrorist organisations loyal to the UK, and a profound divide exists between them and those who wish to rejoin the Irish Republic. Presumably a side of the divide acceptable to the Conservatives. Of course loyalty to the UK is somewhat more nuanced now Brexit is imminent. The DUP, with a total vote share of 292,000 holds the balance of power within a nation of 65 million.Perhaps the most uncomfortable fact from the last two elections - in the USA and UK - is that people will vote for things that disadvantage them if they believe the politician has created talking points simply to gain office. (Of course this is based on both pre-election and exit polls; though an individual's vote is secret and it's unlawful for anyone else to reveal them, a voter can freely state who they voted for.)Older voters in particular seemed inclined to vote to reduce protections designed to look after them once unable to care for themselves. During a pre-Election BBC Question Time broadcast, a third of the panel's questions were put by obviously angry old men intent on destabilising the lives of future generations. Their universal condemnation of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn as a 'terrorist sympathiser', as someone fundamentally opposed to the use of nuclear weapons, as a decent human being and thus presumably unqualified to lead a government, all of it appalled me.The very worst of it all is perhaps the most predictable. It's universally acknowledged that politicians lie, that the businesses lobbying for influence encourage it, that the newspapers and news media organisations shape public opinion to please their financial backers. But ordinary people don't seem to care, and are simply too lazy to check the facts.No, I was wrong. The very worst thing to emerge is the words 'normalisation' or 'normalised.' We're so accustomed to hearing of hardship elsewhere in the world, so used to hearing of death tolls in far-away places that their significance escapes us until, albeit on a smaller scale, it happens here. And once it's happened a couple of times and Facebook temporary profile pictures have been pulled down, the root cause is basically ignored. We remain extraordinarily lucky that the reach of xenophobia and all the other things into our modern societies barely touches our comfortable existences, we simply accept that there'll never be an end to world poverty 32 years after the 'Live Aid' concerts.I could go on, but thinking about things is hard, you see. I've enough on my plate just reaching the end of each day right now. There's a saying, purportedly Chinese, which is appropriate on so many levels. It's this:> "May you live in interesting times." At first it seems a positive phrase, in this context however 'interesting' means unsettled, chaotic, even dangerous. It's a curse. We live in interesting times.]]> I started to write this post with a point to make and a structure to work around it but part-way through I gave up, the events of last week took away my focus (both in the news and personally.) So yes, I gave up and just typed stuff. Here it is:

We all search for meaning in life, whether or not we know it. Logotherapy provides, when meaning is elusive or nonexistent, an attempt to restore it, to restore an individual's human spirit.

From the Wikipedia article, a basic description:> "Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones.> Our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning in life.> We have freedom to find meaning in what we do, and what we experience, or at least in the stance we take when faced with a situation of unchangeable suffering."

It's a branch of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is, I'll admit, not my forte let alone within my experience. So, again quoting directly from the article, 'we can discover this meaning in life in three different ways:1. By creating a work or doing a deed;2. By experiencing something or encountering someone; and3. By the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering" and that "everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances."'

Pretty straightforward stuff it seems: some find meaning in the job they have, others in the sports teams they support, their friends, the pain of loss, or fundraising for those less-fortunate. Meaning can be found in scenarios from the passive involvement watching a television series, to the total immersion of running a country. Logotherapy provides a mechanism to make sense of life and to restore an individual's sense of meaning, when all seems otherwise lost.

No, I'm not undergoing any form of externally-sourced therapy, I arrived here during a study of Totalitarianism, Authoritarianism and Inverted totalitarianism this last being, by the way, the most relevant to our times:> "In inverted totalitarianism, every natural resource and every living being is commodified and exploited to collapse as the citizenry is lulled and manipulated into surrendering their liberties and their participation in government through excess consumerism and sensationalism."

First coined 14 years ago to describe the tendency of United States governments to increasingly ignore the best interests of all that country's citizens in favour of the few at the top and those who shout the loudest, the description is eerily accurate now. 2016-2017 brought new lows: voter suppression, the rise of the far right, the rise of populism and nativism. The removal of essential healthcare protections in what was previously easily the world's most expensive healthcare system is particularly disconcerting for those condemned to an uncertain fate by it, and must be utterly terrifying for those condemned to a certain fate.

I'm particularly interested right now in the bit about 'intolerable suffering,' especially my observations of the grades of what people imagine the term 'intolerable' means to them. We do after all live in times of hyperbole and instant gratification.

I've a list. It's uncomfortable to write, but I'm in the mood:

  • Syria and Iraq are currently experiencing unimaginable death tolls, Syria currently engaged in a 6-year-old war. A site I've linked to elsewhere indicates that 470,000 have been killed in Syria alone since 2011. That's not just the destruction of essential infrastructure and then the devastation of entire towns and cities, it's the senseless killing of men and women and children and babies. It's all because human beings don't want to talk to other human beings.
  • The USA is presided over by a man almost universally seen as unfit for government, unable to understand diplomacy, a bully, and even telling the simple truth seems beyond him. The office he holds was once termed as 'the leader of the free world.' And yet he needs a legacy. A US military re-entry into Afghanistan is again on the agenda. The real possibility of a use of nuclear weapons scares me. The US's approach to foreign policy fills me with dread.
  • Brexit. Yeah, Brexit is, quite simply, a process that should never have been allowed to happen. Factions within the Conservative Party insisted and the Prime Minister agreed to put the choice to the British people: In or Out of the European Union. The Liberal Democrats have offered another referendum on the deal the government of the day negotiates with Europe, the choice of approval or disapproval: The 3 larger political parties reject this, and the British electorate rejected it in the General Election just gone; "too much politics, we've had enough!" How odd; they're rejecting a chance to influence the future of our economy and world standing. They're throwing away the chance of a future based on real democracy because scratching an 'X' in a box is too hard.
  • The British Prime Minister is attempting to form a government reliant on the Ulster Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), without any form of agreement between those parties. Ulster, a province profoundly factionalised on fundamentally religious and nationalistic grounds whilst somehow remaining a part of the United Kingdom, is one in which, for instance, abortion is still illegal. The DUP, a party with 10 MPs in theory represents an electorate fundamentally opposed to gay and womens' rights, and some seem to believe the world is 6,000 years old. It's a party retaining links to terrorist organisations loyal to the UK, and a profound divide exists between them and those who wish to rejoin the Irish Republic. Presumably a side of the divide acceptable to the Conservatives. Of course loyalty to the UK is somewhat more nuanced now Brexit is imminent. The DUP, with a total vote share of 292,000 holds the balance of power within a nation of 65 million.
  • Perhaps the most uncomfortable fact from the last two elections - in the USA and UK - is that people will vote for things that disadvantage them if they believe the politician has created talking points simply to gain office. (Of course this is based on both pre-election and exit polls; though an individual's vote is secret and it's unlawful for anyone else to reveal them, a voter can freely state who they voted for.)
  • Older voters in particular seemed inclined to vote to reduce protections designed to look after them once unable to care for themselves. During a pre-Election BBC Question Time broadcast, a third of the panel's questions were put by obviously angry old men intent on destabilising the lives of future generations. Their universal condemnation of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn as a 'terrorist sympathiser', as someone fundamentally opposed to the use of nuclear weapons, as a decent human being and thus presumably unqualified to lead a government, all of it appalled me.
  • The very worst of it all is perhaps the most predictable. It's universally acknowledged that politicians lie, that the businesses lobbying for influence encourage it, that the newspapers and news media organisations shape public opinion to please their financial backers. But ordinary people don't seem to care, and are simply too lazy to check the facts.
  • No, I was wrong. The very worst thing to emerge is the words 'normalisation' or 'normalised.' We're so accustomed to hearing of hardship elsewhere in the world, so used to hearing of death tolls in far-away places that their significance escapes us until, albeit on a smaller scale, it happens here. And once it's happened a couple of times and Facebook temporary profile pictures have been pulled down, the root cause is basically ignored. We remain extraordinarily lucky that the reach of xenophobia and all the other things into our modern societies barely touches our comfortable existences, we simply accept that there'll never be an end to world poverty 32 years after the 'Live Aid' concerts.

I could go on, but thinking about things is hard, you see. I've enough on my plate just reaching the end of each day right now.

There's a saying, purportedly Chinese, which is appropriate on so many levels. It's this:> "May you live in interesting times."

At first it seems a positive phrase, in this context however 'interesting' means unsettled, chaotic, even dangerous. It's a curse.

We live in interesting times.

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Yes
Manchester https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/06/04/manchester Sun, 04 Jun 2017 20:45:00 +0000 bazbt3 bf19177e-940a-e810-8b7d-2cc2176e481c We're watching the #OneLoveManchester concert and, perhaps unconventionally, I contributed a few pounds towards the UNHCR ‬Mosul (Iraq) appeal unhcr.org then signed their #WithRefugees petition unhcr.org/refugeeday.

Worldwide more than 65 million people, greater than the population of the UK, have had their lives put on hold, been forcibly removed from the safety and security of their homes, and less than a third are being cared for by the UN in any manner.

No, this isn't me giving you a dose of perspective, I haven't got a bloody clue what's going on. It does need fixing though, and quickly. Here's a repost of my words from the week of the Manchester bombing: http://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/05/26/ffs-sweary

One final point, simply attempting vengeance, to kill terrorists without any other coherent strategy to stop ordinary people being turned into terrorists, will never work.

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Yes
Manifesto https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/06/03/manifesto Sat, 03 Jun 2017 18:57:00 +0000 bazbt3 2011fe96-4cd7-b8c0-ddad-bb4b495697d0 I read the Liberal Democrat Manifesto for the 2017 General Election: http://www.libdems.org.uk/manifesto. More precisely I first read the 'Easy Read' variant then skipped through each of the party's next-Parliament pledges.

One thing I took away from the experience can be summed up by the range of formats available on that page: the Liberal Democrats are a party of inclusiveness, honesty and pragmatism. A bit of a leap maybe but if anyone was to read the Manifesto they'd understand why I feel my personal choices have been vindicated. I saw it when, in government, they moderated the worst excesses of the Conservative party, and I'm seeing it now in opposition.

Labour comes a close second, their Manifesto document alternatives don't include Braille.

The Conservatives attitude to inclusiveness is ably shown by the single PDF download and oddly-sized inline document viewer.

One final point, none of the three include languages other than English. Maybe I missed something but maybe, just maybe, people that come here from foreign lands are better at integration than native Brits will ever be.

On the eve of the Brexit vote I urged people who'd never done so before to vote, to vote whichever way their consciences told them to. This time around the ones who voted to leave Europe, if not voting Liberal Democrat, can get fu

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Yes
Documentary https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/06/01/documentary Thu, 01 Jun 2017 20:52:00 +0000 bazbt3 4a7bd3b7-859e-7f0d-4afc-dfc9a8fe78ca Like everything else I write what follows is only my opinion, however anyone reading this should know it's a fact in my mind.

'Peppa Pig' is the best fly-on-the-wall documentary series television has ever produced.

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Yes
Assumptions https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/06/01/assumptions Thu, 01 Jun 2017 19:50:00 +0000 bazbt3 3566cc1e-702e-09ae-b494-2d03bd6ee482 I often fall into the trap of assuming people know more than they do about the things I'm interested in. I should be paid for it, along with my ignorance I'd make an absolute fortune!

I've just recovered from watching the car-crash television interview of Tim Farron, UK Liberal Democrat political party leader. Interviewer Andrew Neil came across as being spectacularly ill-tempered, intolerant and ultimately ill-informed.

Part-way through it devolved into a shouting match, a wholehearted removal of any pretence of mutual respect.

From the brief article accompanying the video clip, this: "In heated exchanges where Andrew Neil told his interviewee not to "heckle" him…"

I haven't seen his preceding interviews of the other 2 main party leaders, I wasn't interested. It seems though that modern interview technique mandates that interviewers must show how 'tough' they are by constantly interrupting the interviewee then accusing them of not answering the question. Do politicians deserve respect? The reasonable answer fits somewhere within the range from 'No' to 'It depends', of course it does.

But part-way through Andrew Neil made the same mistake I've heard from him before, offering Mr Farron the blunt assertion that "we all already know that."

Mr Neil might be very surprised indeed how little a lot of people outside his political bubble know about the realities of modern politics, and modern life in general. The failure of British people to engage on anything but a superficial level with politics, and Brexit in particular, ensures people are either spectacularly uninformed or spectacularly ill-informed. What better time than now to give the party leaders a voice?

But no, the terms of the modern interview mean they've got to be shouted down and called names before they get the chance, and be judged on those terms.

Tim Farron proved himself to be human this evening.

But we're not voting for a party leader are we, despite the Conservative party leader's wish we were. No, we're voting for a party's policies and its ability to present a coherent front. A Labour vote is ultimately a wasted vote, it's a party that'll fall apart as soon as the temporary, fragile cessation of internal hostilities the election imposes finally breaks.

All of this is why I'll still be voting Liberal Democrat.

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Yes
FFS (sweary) https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/05/26/ffs-sweary Fri, 26 May 2017 17:26:00 +0000 bazbt3 2764ed8b-ccc4-8d96-5bb5-390bea9d1dcf I'm not sorry if the language in this post offends. I cannot get past a (probably primitive) need to use it. I know it's wrong and anti-social, and yet releasing the pressure cooker valve of crude and vulgar language will help me come to terms with it. So, here goes.

An acquaintance turned to me today and, totally out of the blue, said this (I'm paraphrasing a little):

"Today's a special day for them, they commit atrocities on it."

There was no preamble, nothing I'd said that would indicate how receptive I'd be to the statement.

"Eh?", I replied, then headed to Google, partially to block out thoughts of axes and sweeping majestically across the Steppe, laying waste to…

It turns out today marks the beginning of Ramadan. So I told him so. "You mean Ramadan."

Doubling down is usual, and he didn't disappoint this time. Well actually he did:

"No, no, sometime soon there's a special day where they commit atrocities, it's part of their religion."

"No it isn't. No it is not," I had to reply before shutting the conversation off.

Should I have asked him for proof?

Should I have attempted to educate him?

For fuck's sake, we're not living in The Dark Ages; we're not living in a time during which, if we didn't understand something, it automatically had to be excluded from the community, or maimed, or killed. Or made the subject of a decades-long feud. Or a bleedin' Crusade! Now we are living in a time of information overload, of that there can be no doubt, but it's so bloody easy to use Google to check, that even a child could do it. But I guess the twat who so casually opened the conversation with religious intolerance (he's also a racist) has lost a child's ability to wonder about things, and would rather remain ignorant.

For some perspective, a headline on my favourite web site:

"24 Coptic Christians killed in Minya, Egypt in what authorities are calling the largest attack on the community since last month". It's now at least 28 deaths and, added to the 44 from just last month, adds a teeny tiny sense of perspective.

But for a real sense of perspective, there's this site:

http://www.iamsyria.org/death-tolls.html

The word 'stark' doesn't even come close to my thoughts on the disparity between this week's Manchester death toll and what's going on in Syria and all the other conflict-torn countries.

We really do not know how lucky we are.

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Yes
Towel Day Tomorrow! https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/05/24/towel-day-tomorrow Wed, 24 May 2017 20:47:00 +0000 bazbt3 94d7ad30-8f6b-8b7c-d597-63af21a88a07 There's a day set aside every year to commemorate the life and works of the late literary great Douglas Adams. It's May 25th to be precise. It's tomorrow!

There's a web site, so I'm posting a link to the towelday.org FAQ.

FYI, I count The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy as one of my all-time favourite novel trilogies (I have all five parts of it!), radio series, TV series, computer games, and yes, even the 2005 movie!

Yes, I do know where my towel is, it's completely awesome. And yes, I will be carrying it around with me all day.

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Yes
Fiction https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/05/22/fiction Mon, 22 May 2017 22:54:00 +0000 bazbt3 67b41b1b-4f2d-58d1-1a8d-97bc9ec12f6f For the last couple of weeks (it seems longer) I've not looked at any of my favourite social networks, and pretty-much ignored the news. I unintentionally missed May 2017's \#ThemeMonday, and multiple \#WednesdayChallenge writing opportunities… sorry.

So why? Why so anti-social, why not soak up the UK's political mood now that it matters?

I wrote a book. It's science fiction with a length barely-qualifying as a novella. So mine isn't a big one. It's not particularly pretty either, I've never written anything this substantial before.

It is here though:

https://github.com/bazbt3/the_thorgon_empire/blob/master/words/README.md

(The credits don't go nearly far-enough.)

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Yes
Article 50 https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/05/07/article-50 Sun, 07 May 2017 20:47:00 +0000 bazbt3 b92d31de-9d36-6057-0adb-7268a840a96b Article 50

1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.

3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it. A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.

*Article 218(3)**

3. The Commission, or the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy where the agreement envisaged relates exclusively or principally to the common foreign and security policy, shall submit recommendations to the Council, which shall adopt a decision authorising the opening of negotiations and, depending on the subject of the agreement envisaged, nominating the Union negotiator or the head of the Union's negotiating team.

*Article 238(3)(b)**

(b) By way of derogation from point (a), when the Council does not act on a proposal from the Commission or from the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the qualified majority shall be defined as at least 72% of the members of the Council representing Member States comprising at least 65% of the population of these States.

Article 49

Any European State which respects the values referred to in Article 2 and is committed to promoting them may apply to become a member of the Union. The European Parliament and national Parliaments shall be notified of this application. The applicant State shall address its application to the Council, which shall act unanimously after consulting the Commission and after receiving the assent of the European Parliament, which shall act by an absolute majority of its component members. The conditions of admission and the adjustments to the Treaties on which the Union is founded, which such admission entails, shall be the subject of an agreement between the Member States and the applicant State. This agreement shall be submitted for ratification by all the contracting States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements. The conditions of eligibility agreed upon by the European Council shall be taken into account.

Article 2

The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.

That's it.

Look, this isn't complex. Anyone who's been to school and can read, anyone who's ever read a novel with more than 27 total characters, can take time to gain understanding.

And this is why I'm scared. From childhood I've been a voracious reader, though parenthood broke my streak. Yet I know people who are, if not proud, content to say they've never read a book since leaving school. Heck though I'm writing a book right now! Yet they too turned out ok, right? Apart from that blind faith the same politicians who are screwing them over can guide them to the future prosperity.

I've trotted out this before: if we had the ability to beat the world in making widgets and gadgets and stuff, we'd be doing it already; the European Union has, as far as I know, never stopped us innovating. Thatcher-era Conservatives did that without any external influences! But anyway, this road I'm travelling down leads me to all kinds of thoughts, epiphanies. Here's one.

It's all about imagination.

Without imagination, the daily paper's articles are statements of fact. Without an inquiring mind, the politician's repetitive soundbite directed against the common man becomes a thing to be savoured, the mere listening bring a sense of involvement. Without a thing to contrast against, those 'facts' become facts.

The imagination I'm thinking of isn't content to believe only a rosy future awaits. It weighs probabilities, examines history, and extrapolates. If the result looks bad it doesn't hide under a rock, it attempts to find solutions.

Now I'm a big fan of Star Trek, though even I cannot make the leap to a wholly utopian future United Kingdom, let alone a whole Earth. I'm not saying the current incarnation of the European Union is a precursor to a future without want, but it's a start.

I fully expect the Conservatives to be confirmed as the righteous guardians of Brexit in a few weeks. So I'm again voting Liberal Democrat.

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Yes
Literary https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/05/05/literary Fri, 05 May 2017 17:07:00 +0000 bazbt3 e16249f8-ea5b-c022-cfb2-e71c39f6a8f9 There's no easy way to say this. I've been neglecting my blog, I've hardly looked at the four social networks I've got accounts with. Heck, I even missed posting in the weekly WednesdayChallenge.

I'm obsessed by something I've never done before, something a number of people have done historically, and experienced the darkest times of their lives.

Yes, I'm writing a book.

Not a book, no. It's a novella. Well ok, I don't know. Novellas are probably longer than 7,500 words, where novels have more than 17,500 words. It depends who's setting the rules.

In this case, me! Right now I've broken off, at 4,710, to compose this blog post.

Science fiction isn't everybody's cup of tea, so I'm not hoping for fame and fortune.

You know how everyone's supposed to have a niche set aside for their fifteen minutes of fame, and everyone has a novel inside them? Well, if anyone were to read mine, I would appreciate it if they ensured mine remained outside my personal comfort zone.

Yeah, I'll post a link when the plot is fleshed out a bit more. For now though, there's this:

https://github.com/bazbt3/the_thorgon_empire/tree/master/words

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Yes
Different https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/05/02/different Tue, 02 May 2017 16:25:00 +0000 bazbt3 7b565c62-4cc4-c291-ca8e-8c036fa5917a NSFW. Perhaps.

On Sunday evening, late on Sunday evening I took my youngest daughter to the town's Urgent Care Centre, to help with the onset of a sudden and particularly painful ear infection. We were there for just about 2-3/4 hours, came away with advice and antibiotics.

A few minutes after we got there a young lady and her daughter plonked themselves down in the middle of the room, mother with a phone glued to her ear. Not literally, that'd be a bit odd. Maybe not in a hospital at 10:45pm though?

Anyway, while in the waiting room the phone was in use continuously for 2 hours. Not sporadically no, she was chatting all the time.

But I still haven't got to the point.

She has a husband. In the early hours of the morning the conversation changed from idle chat (I couldn't help but hear) to something more 'adult.' You know, the sort of stuff of the bedroom. No, not 'Stop taking the covers you…' or a long and heated conversation on snoring. No. Emphatically no. But heated? Yes, oh yes, yes, yes, etc.

Telling hubby what she would do to him when she got home, what she wanted him to do to her. Exceedingly graphic. So I attempted to hide, to bury myself in my tiny phone screen. To ignore the waves of words as best I could.

Not good enough. Not by a long way.

Especially when the conversation reached a certain peak and she said she'd have to go to the toilet to…

No. Just no.

Yeah, I did indeed delete some words. Naughty words. Well, naughty words used in a certain context.

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Yes
Daily Mail https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/29/daily-mail Sat, 29 Apr 2017 11:17:00 +0000 bazbt3 601cc1d2-4ed9-aa8f-af2e-a5054d468e51 As with the Sun I'm not clicking links to Daily Mail articles. Yet the headlines look so 'juicy!'

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Yes
Bands seen live https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/27/bands-seen-live Thu, 27 Apr 2017 07:50:00 +0000 bazbt3 f14daab5-c672-42a3-c15c-cba6897f488f There's a list, varying with each person, going round social media at the moment. It challenges friends, readers, to pick a lie from a list of 10 bands supposedly seen live by the poster.

Here's mine, though live music's never been my 'thing' for a lot of reasons:

  • The Cheeky Girls
  • The Mitchell Brothers
  • Bob Geldof
  • Deacon Blue
  • The Prodigy
  • Buck's Fizz (tribute)
  • Girls Aloud
  • 50 Cent
  • Speedway
  • er… I can only think of nine.

So there you go, consider yourself challenged to find the lie!

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Yes
300 posts? https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/26/300-posts Wed, 26 Apr 2017 19:06:00 +0000 bazbt3 a86888fa-34a1-30f3-f092-8388a4281f07 As someone who uses a blog to write to work through issues I must appear to the world to be a seething mess of discontentment, finding Schadenfreude in the news, no solace from the issues confronting our world.

Checking through the nearly-300 posts at the GitHub Pages repository, some of which I've deemed unsuitable to resurrect at 10Centuries (actually uninteresting even to me!), I found a couple where I profess to be not a blogger.

I very rarely check my post view/feed access count page, have never thought of monetising it all (for reasons anyone who's ever read my stuff will know) so why do I write? To get things off my chest in the hopes of achieving a catharsis, inner peace…

Nearly 300 posts, probably a few more if counting the WordPress precursor, predecessor, whatever the word is…

Hmmm…

I should compile a 'best of' list, as ageing rock stars do.

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Yes
80s bands again https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/24/80s-bands-again Mon, 24 Apr 2017 21:07:00 +0000 bazbt3 451b7049-b737-4803-a7ed-c2813bbfc926 A headline: "Seven bands from the 80s we wish would reunite" (BBC Entertainment & Arts)

A paragraph: "Children of the 1980s, rejoice - the original Bananarama line-up is back together at last. Which got us thinking - lots of 80s bands have reformed over recent years but which ones are we still wishing would reunite?"

A suggestion: Talking Heads. (Note the article date before exploding.)

I can but hope.

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Yes
NOW is the time for a protest vote https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/23/now-is-the-time-for-a-protest-vote Sun, 23 Apr 2017 16:40:00 +0000 bazbt3 fb02d418-85db-4d55-74df-d80e12df987b I know several people who voted for the first time last June, in the Brexit referendum, their intention being to send a message they'd had enough. Enough of what I found it difficult to pin down both then and now; not one of them will admit to racist tendencies, well aside from the pensioner my wife encountered outside the polling station: 'Finally, a chance to get rid of the darkies,' she said. My wife said nothing. What a wasted opportunity, on any level.

A conventional protest vote has a target, and last year's was no exception. A conventional election though has an opportunity to change the effects the next time around, by ousting the subsequently-unpopular people who raised the subsequently-unpopular policies. In any event the 2 terms of each government repeats, in general, 2 terms later. But nothing changes apart from the cuts and the discontentment.

The upcoming General Election provides the best opportunity to change UK politics and thus the direction the country takes for the better, for the long term. Conventional wisdom and the tactical voting spreadsheet doing the rounds online dictate that a Labour vote in all-but secure Liberal Democrat areas is the only way to rid ourselves of the troublesome Tories.

No.

Voting Liberal Democrat across the board would elect Liberal Democrats who would implement Liberal Democrat policies. It really is that simple. Why is this concept so opposite from ingrained, monotonous behaviour?

The party's devastating loss of face after the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition was a predictable consequence of the larger party's ability to dictate terms, to insist on, for instance, the humiliating climb-down on increasing student tuition fees. Ask people to name one issue that would preclude voting for each party and this would be the most popular in the casual observers' response to the LibDems. Given the choice between, for example, raising the minimum tax threshold with the benefit of taking the nation's lowest-paid entirely out of tax, or raising those university fees, the choice was plain. I can't begin to feel the sense of loss most Liberal Democrat politicians must have felt; the inability to explain why the choice had to be made. Appeasement.

So what do the Liberal Democrats actually represent, whose lives will be made better were they to be elected?

The easy bit first, making lives better: how's about me, how's about my family, everyone I know? It's a party that aims to not intrude into people's lives or business decisions, and to encourage freedom and tolerance. Not in the manner of the Conservatives' 'Big Society' project (removing funding and support), not by any means.

The hard differentiating bit, the biggest in-the-news-today bit: Brexit. In common with the other smaller parties not called UKIP they're opposed to disturbing the common notion that to derail Brexit would subvert the whole Democratic (big D for definition) process.

People who voted for Brexit don't, in the main, realise that shouting down those who 'lost', calling them 'losers' and demanding they stop moaning is not democracy in action, it's paving the way towards a bleak future. It's a future in which everyone agrees there'll be disadvantage for some in the UK. As long as it's not themselves, but the reality is nobody knows how this'll all play out.

This brings me on to an interesting point. Interesting to me, so I'm writing about it. Someone I've know for a long time, who won't tell me how they voted last June, has definite ideas on how Brexit will play out. It involves showing our current partners that we can indeed be great again, have lots of things that we can sell that the rest of the non-European world wants, we don't need Europe at all, and finally that we should cut our ties just to see the looks on their faces. Really, that's it. The futility of discussing it at all is evident in 2 areas:

  1. As a 'loser' any argument I make is automatically diminished, even dismissed, simply because I lost. Unless we're discussing Turkey's 51%/49% vote margin, to turn their premier into a de-facto dictator for maybe the next 12 years. That's not democracy is it!
  2. Any point I raise in response to a politician's obvious lie or inability to effectively communicate is deemed "just your opinion." Yeah.

I can imagine what it'll be like when the to-be-elected politicians decide to impose more cuts, real austerity measures; the inevitable tax rises and service cuts won't be popular. But I'm rambling again…

The Liberal Democrats are, to me, the obvious choice. Everyone who votes Liberal Democrat is making a choice to move away from the bit of the status quo we have direct control over: a move away from the Conservative Party, a move away from the once Conservative-lite now ostensibly Marxist-lite but still Parliamentary Conservative-lite Labour Party.

So go on then, why, specifically the LibDems?

I read the document linked to in one of my previous blog posts, the document itself is the Preamble to the Liberal Democrat Constitution. My blog post, though almost inconsequential, at least provides some sense of my interest. The document is not, you will note, a Manifesto. I'm not linking to that. Why? Rhetorical question: When was the last time all of a Manifesto's promises were implemented?

How long have we got to restore sanity to the UK? 6/7 weeks.

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Yes
Four Roses review part 6 https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/19/four-roses-review-part-6 Wed, 19 Apr 2017 21:43:00 +0000 bazbt3 749cff41-60f5-c18f-0e9b-169e42c16dbd Drunk neat after Nice'n'Spicy NikNaks, it's indescribable.

Also, Ruby dog is no longer fazed by me swinging my bits about, barely-contained within a dark grey dressing gown, whilst shouting "sniff my cheeeese!"

To be concluded…

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Yes
Birthday customs https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/18/birthday-customs Tue, 18 Apr 2017 11:16:00 +0000 bazbt3 533c010a-399d-88e7-4324-a3c99a0d4399 I had a birthday recently. Nothing special, aside from to those colleagues who remembered my 'special day' and who didn't receive the cakes and biscuits it's customary to provide.

So, a few weeks on, and after occasional good-natured banter designed to motivate me, I finally left a few packs of cakes and a box of biscuits in the office kitchen. Well-received it all was too.

Speaking of late birthday surprises, Theresa May called a UK General Election for June 8th 2017..

Yeah, of course I fear the worst.

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Yes
Easter Egg 2 https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/17/easter-egg-2 Mon, 17 Apr 2017 20:35:00 +0000 bazbt3 0ecd29f8-4508-a2f8-0ff1-95867622bd24 I was wrong. The 139th White House Easter Egg Roll event went ahead with the Trumps in attendance. I guess I'm simply not in tune with a lifestyle which allows separate taxpayer-funded flights for the President and the First Lady, from Washington DC and New York City, to Florida for a couple of days. And then back again.

Some people will point at this one event, ignore the history and the numbers, and assume the world is returning to normal. Hey, the First Lady might have organised and supervised the planning of the Egg Roll.

Others will watch the following video and groan:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39622126

Or read this article and groan:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/04/17/trump-jokes-with-easter-egg-roll-attendees-throws-make-america-great-again-hat-back-into-crowd/

You know, I am enjoying reading stuff from The Washington Post. It makes a nice change from, er…

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Easter Bunny https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/17/easter-bunny Mon, 17 Apr 2017 11:42:00 +0000 bazbt3 ef202ab8-b092-3836-730e-13a2df0bd79f The Easter Bunny visited, distributed cunningly-hidden chocolate eggs throughout the Turner residence and left, but not before disposing of the Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt pack cardboard in our card and paper recycling box.

How very responsible; how very practical given what I'd imagine would be the total worldwide visit packaging impact on the Easter Bunny's home recycling regime and the local authority's complaints on bin emptying day.

How very odd it felt explaining this to the nearly 10-year-old daughter who found the card despite someone's* lackadaisical efforts to 'bury' it the night before.

*Nameless twerp.

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51-49 https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/17/51-49 Mon, 17 Apr 2017 08:44:00 +0000 bazbt3 5e45e43f-662e-d4a4-4726-57b10db46fdf With 99% of the votes counted and the totals being 51.4% for, 48.6% against, the Turks elected to become a dictatorship.

Like other recent close tallies, I've the feeling this won't end well for the average citizen's belief of what democracy is.

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Four Roses review part 5 https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/16/four-roses-review-part-5 Sun, 16 Apr 2017 20:55:00 +0000 bazbt3 a54b2d98-efa2-d30d-93fc-d5ee7e694335 Drunk neat is best.

To be concluded…

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Easter egg https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/16/easter-egg Sun, 16 Apr 2017 09:33:00 +0000 bazbt3 04f9ce6b-e807-4637-b6d6-bbcbf6c05e1c The Trumps flew to Florida on Friday, in separate jets. It's looking as though they'll miss the annual Easter Egg Roll, a 138-year-old tradition, will be somewhat curtailed in scope. A shame.

From the second article:

"Since 1878, the Easter Egg Roll has always been coordinated by the first lady. Seeing as how Mrs. Trump not only lives 200 miles away from the White House, but has yet to bother putting together an official staff, this year's event, like Trump's numbers in the popular vote, is expected to underperform bigly."

(The writer's emphasis.)

Is anyone taking bets it'll be recorded as the most successful event ever? Forget tradition, tradition is not for those looking to the future! Forget history, history is tor those who would read books. Books, books are for…

No.

I had intended to write about the passing at 117 of the world's oldest person, Emma Morano, but my attention spa…

Yeah. It's very unlikely there's anyone else alive born in the 1800s, the nineteenth century, the end of the Victorian era. Imagine the social, the technological change she'll have seen living through the entire 20th century. I simply cannot imagine the personal losses she'll have endured; every family member…

I'm having a profound moment here, not an epiphany as there's something quite logical about the effect of extreme age on statistics. No, mine is a sense of missing something.

There's a scene in one of the Lord of the Rings movies which brought to life something I'd never really considered in depth. The specific scene, though powerful, is unimportant here; what is is something seen in old, grand churches: statues side-by-side above stone tombs, once lovers, creators of life, holders of shared dreams, together forever in stone, mourned by fewer and fewer and then none as the passage of time takes those who once knew…

Yeah, sure it's a privileged few afforded such a luxury in death. The common man gets nothing likely to last even tens of years. The despots, the landowners, the moneyed classes of our history: immortalised.

Will the Trump era be looked back on with anything approaching warmth, a sense of a shared timespan, a belief of having achieved something?

Can I place a bet?

Incidentally, I have a bragging-rights-only wager with @texrat (Twitter), that the White House Press Secretary will last only until late August 2017. Randall thought he'd be gone roughly by the end of March. Not roughly, I think I mean approximately. Perhaps; I'm still suffused by Schadenfreude.

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Four Roses review part 4 https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/15/four-roses-review-part-4 Sat, 15 Apr 2017 17:09:00 +0000 bazbt3 6a376e76-49ff-d8c5-4d72-333a71094985 This time the experiment continues with sufficient ice cubes prepared to sink an ocea, er…

Drunk this time with a single, melted, ice cube. Precisely this one, well this half:

an ice cube floating in Four Roses whiskey

Verdict: hmmm… Clean, crisp, with an odd taste just before it starts to tingle my gums, and then it's back to…

It smells underwhelming still after the Maker's Mark, but I'm happy with the trade-off; it's still a warming, drinkable drink.

My view, 'Buffalo Trace' is a more rounded experience. Once this is done I'll of course try the 'Woodford Reserve' then the 'Bulleit' but thus far the shaggy quadruped gets my vote. A shame, I paid quite a bit more for this Four Roses than I expected I would when all this began. Not a complaint, far from it.

Nevertheless, to be continued…

Links:

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Washington Post https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/15/washington-post Sat, 15 Apr 2017 11:23:00 +0000 bazbt3 dd6d4032-73a5-f95a-4889-9906e2f60389 I subscribed to the online editions of The Washington Post. Yes it's a US news company! At USD$19 for an entire year it was an easy decision. I live in the UK but haven't yet done the same for any other UK news organisation, apart from giving a few pounds to The Guardian (paywall-free.) Incidentally, both 'newspapers' are running very similar headlines today, very encouraging.

Yeah, sure I pay an annual Licence Fee to the BBC and read their news, watch their telly, but the reporting is often infuriatingly bland and airs weeks past the time I've already seen it elsewhere.

Where was I? Yes, one of the reasons I subscribed to the Washington Post was reporter David Fahrenthold's tenacious examination of Donald Trump's assertions that the President-to-be gave away millions to charity. What is certain is the majority of charitable donations were falsely recorded and that the work won Mr Fahrenthold a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. And the reporting of his humanity, non-superhero ordinariness, in connection with that glitter gun.

I'm conscious of drawing from perhaps a greater breadth of sources than most other people when formulating my position on often complex ideas. And often simple ideas. Last year I asked around and gratefully received suggestions for people and media companies from which I could draw a wide range of opinions. With hindsight I bit off more than I could comfortably chew and had to step away from the process.

I can't say I'm much wiser now but the perspectives I've gained have led me to a more balanced approach than you'd know by reading some of last year's blog posts, e.g. 'Regrexit' and 'Chainsaws'.

In public at least.

The Washington Post subscription includes (from the welcome email):

  • Unlimited access to washingtonpost.com from any device.
  • Unlimited access to our entire suite of mobile apps for iOS, Android and Fire Tablet.
  • The Optimist, a weekly email newsletter highlighting positive stories.
  • Post Most, a weekday email newsletter with a rundown of popular stories.
  • Shared digital access for an additional user.

(My emphasis above.)

Do they have any idea how inappropriate 'Optimist' will be for me‽

Joking aside I remember Martyn Lewis, a national UK news anchor saying he wanted to insert one 'feel-good' story into every bulletin. His rationale being that there's too much depressing news. At the time I agreed; now though it's entirely the wrong message to send to ordinary people. Given the magnitude of the worldwide change we're living through, I believe it's important to focus on the bad stuff.

There's one big problem with my current reasoning: if you make reporting so detailed that people don't want to watch they'll go to where the grass is greener, airbrushed, astroturfed… Yeah. Fairness, balance.

And finally, here's a link to a web page with a photo of a squirrel with big nuts:

For the avoidance of doubt as to my motives here at the end, Fark.com is my all-time favourite news-related site; the comment pages there are awesome. Awesome in a mainly US-centric, rounded but occasionally very unbalanced, good way. I pay them to remove ads.

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Four Roses review part 3 https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/14/four-roses-review-part-3 Fri, 14 Apr 2017 16:30:00 +0000 bazbt3 f5f8c71d-713e-18bb-4891-08bd0234dc7b Aw, FFS, we don't have any ice cubes!!!2!¡

/Potters about in the kitchen for a while and tries, but ultimately fails to, resist temptation…

Drunk neat again with it and me at room temperature: oh yes. Looking forward to dropping a freshly-frozen ice cube with pre-boiled cold water from the kettle in the next glass, because I know what I like.

Smells underwhelming still, but it's a warming, drinkable drink.

Has to be said: 'Buffalo Trace' is still my favourite whiskey, but this comes 'real close'.

To be continued…

An aside; maybe I should have swilled the Maker's Mark around in my glass and before leaving it to evaporate overnight, I miss those rich, extraordinary aromas.

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Four Roses review part 2 https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/13/four-roses-review-part-2 Thu, 13 Apr 2017 23:08:00 +0000 bazbt3 d5c456c6-d810-e26e-da97-71ee5b035e1d Drunk neat with it and me at room temperature: oh yes. Looking forward to dropping an ice cube in the next, because I know what I like.

Smells just ok, but it's eminently drinkable.

The bottle looks good, its contents are immediately accessible, most unlike the trials and tribulations of fighting my way into the over-designed Maker's Mark bottle. It both handles and pours well and pulling the cork seems positively luxurious in comparison.

To be continued…

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Four Roses whiskey https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/13/four-roses-whiskey Thu, 13 Apr 2017 20:45:00 +0000 bazbt3 21246350-d339-e235-fc38-15612eb24dc1 Attempting to find a better Bourbon whiskey than 'Buffalo Trace' I've been asking around, and received what really do sound like good recommendations. For now though I'm bypassing Irish whiskeys (Bushmills Black Bush) in favour of the authentic Kentucky stuff.

Despite my long-winded, ultimately negative review of 'Maker's Mark' I really enjoyed the experience; it's not often I step outside my comfort zone and have the luxury of being able to analyse it at my leisure.

Ok, I've had one from each of the 3 groups in this Ask Men article. The old Turner palate favoured one from the 'high rye' group so what's where I'm heading again. Thanks to whoever suggested the 'Woodford Reserve' but it's unavailable here this evening on Amazon Prime Now.

Somewhere between 10pm and midnight today the doorbell will ring and my delivery of Four Roses Single Barrel whiskey, and cat food, will be handed over. After, that is, I prove that I'm an adult by scrawling my digital signature on the deliverer' phone.

Ahhh… convenience.

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Ordinary Men https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/10/ordinary-men Mon, 10 Apr 2017 16:20:00 +0000 bazbt3 a7f50854-d5fe-8d53-67b7-0b1228bf0463 I know someone who's better screwed together than I and she's read, er… (thinks) yeah, I'd best get this back on track before the list of people who are better-screwed-together than I grows beyond my ego's comfort zone!

Anyway, she's been reading Christopher Browning's 'Ordinary Men'; it's an examination of the motivations of, in simplistic terms, a WWII Nazi-run extermination squad.

Not an easy read, by her account, not by any means. It got me thinking again of what minimal set of events would precipitate a decline into times in which our society could condone such events. You've had only to look casually at the TV in recent years to find programmes about 'Doomsday Preppers', disease-created zombies or worse, the shutdown of the electricity grid, aliens intent on extracting all our planet's resources before moving on to the next mining proposition…

Go on then, what, practically, could sow the seeds of our society's destruction?

Our reliance on complex but easily-interrupted food distribution chains, the effect of social media on the ability of looters to congregate on and to lay waste to city centres, the notion that terrorists could strike anywhere even with the complete absence of coherent attack strategies, the transmission of disease across international and across species boundaries, the emboldening of xenophobes as government administrations move towards embracing nativism-inspired lawmaking?

Yeah, fragile. So what can we do?

Nothing, apart from conform to normal societal rules and hope that like the winds of change, it'll all blow over us without too much damage. And that's the problem, as vested interest has the rules change, the moral compass becomes destabilised. Has anyone from any other previous era, outside of wartime, had the rules change literally overnight?

Maybe.

I've read (and watched 2 versions of) Orwell's 1984, read and listened to Orwell's Animal Farm, experienced the dread of imagining the speed of onset of a technological catastrophe during The Terminator series, read Asimov's Foundation series and felt a hope inspired by knowledge there may just be a shadowy organisation skilled in manipulating populations and then crushed as one man with abnormal skills brings it all crashing down… Then there's the similarities between 28 Days Later, The Walking Dead, and Shaun of the Dead; the gulf between the dystopian Star Wars and the utopian Star Trek; the time between the first screening of 'Metropolis' through The Twilight Zone's 'To Serve Man', to the present day's fascination with superhero movies. I'd best not mention 'The Matrix'. Do you remember Bird Flu, note that colds and flu last forever these days, and at any one time, someone you know could easily be carrying an antibiotic-resistant strain of some superbug that'll mean a few days off work, or death (whichever is the least benign?) And finally, during a recent bout of flooding in the northwest of England the entire nation's production of pink sandwich and custard cream biscuits stopped. Ok, really finally: when a major UK retailer decided the post-Brexit-announcement price rises after the consequent fall in the value of the GB Pound could not be passed directly on to the customer so the supplier's profit margin must take the hit; thus iconic products temporarily disappeared from shelves as people panic-bought - no Marmite!

Having an active imagination at a time like this isn't helpful.

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Sign https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/08/sign Sat, 08 Apr 2017 14:38:00 +0000 bazbt3 f237f2e5-67f7-a903-28fc-c8553b2ae790 I'm thinking of having a sign, a notice, a warning of sorts made up; a notification to those who would disturb my evenings or weekends with unsolicited offers to do work for or sell goods to us. The doorbell rings and… Ok, ok, I wrote about this phenomenon previously and about the telephone equivalent too.

Today I simply walked out of the front room into the kitchen, and ignored the second ring too. This visit would have fit the pattern: 'Hello, we've just finished some work in the area and…' I recognise the van.

Ah, the sign.

"The man of the house isn't immediately cheerful to unsolicited callers. Could we pay nothing now, at 0%, balance due by the then-homeowner in 35 years?"

Too wordy?

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'Grammer' https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/08/grammer Sat, 08 Apr 2017 09:41:00 +0000 bazbt3 231d19e8-4570-ea98-21b8-b041a9e83ab6 Today brought two lifetime achievements, three if you include a small amount of good-natured Schadenfreude.

My mother-in-law is stopping over for a couple of nights. That's not it, no.

My youngest daughter, 7-1/3 years old, just corrected her grandma's grammar.

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Maker's Mark review part 6 https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/05/makers-mark-review-part-6 Wed, 05 Apr 2017 04:58:00 +0000 bazbt3 a78dc982-dc96-7c24-64aa-4e022c82ed6c Drunk neat at room temperature or with ice: oh, no.

Maker's Mark Bourbon Whiskey smells amazing whether it's newly-poured into my favourite glass, or it's the remains evaporated overnight and sniffed during the tidy-up the following morning. (No, I've absolutely no idea why I did it the first time!)

But, after the initial welcome the taste becomes unpleasant to me. No Baz's seal of approval here I'm afraid.

There's a tad more to whiskey than a pleasant aroma, even my limited experience tells me that. The 2 preceding brands were pleasant, unchallenging. This, if it's an American favourite, seems analogous to the way I feel about Hershey's chocolate: it's to-me-unfathomably popular, explainable away by a blind obedience to the cult of historic nationhood, but there's no getting away from its' smelling, as it does, of sick.

Concluded early.

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Privacy https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/04/privacy Tue, 04 Apr 2017 20:09:00 +0000 bazbt3 791bb422-9acd-42e2-4f12-1538572535fb Another sign personal responsibility is a thing of the past, this one related to the ubiquity of the mobile phone. It's an all-purpose privacy invader, child entertainer, burglar inviter, memory enhancer, space invader. In short, it's contributing to the decline of civilised society.

A post on my favourite medium-traffic low-visibility social network pnut.io reminded me of the number of times the mobile hasn't been my friend. The easiest way to do this is via the magic of a list.

A rant, actually.

  • Private meal, photos taken, in all likelihood shared on social media: (not mine this time) Why do they think it's ok to do this? A host and their home should be respected. In a bar it's almost ok. Why does no-one ask first anymore‽
  • The swimming baths changing room: man with phone blocking the aisle between the cubicles didn't take kindly to being asked to put it away, not even when the obvious sign he was stood next to was pointed out. No mobiles, no photography.
  • School sports days, Christmas plays: Advance notice of no photography, yet parents insisting it's their right to do so are sneaky about it.
  • The cinema: Yeah, looking at your full-brightness phone and taking selfies are simply antisocial; recording the movie would get you thrown out (though likely not prosecuted) if the grumpy old bastard behind is feeling vindictive.
  • Drivers: Is it too difficult to wait until you can find a safe place to stop before answering or making that call. It's been illegal to phone on the move for a while now, along with drinking anything, adjusting your stereo, and even picking your nose you dirty scrotum! Heck, being in the phone driving down the residential streets where you live and your children play is idiotic. Getting in your car after picking up your kids from school surely getting home safely is your highest priority. After driving at my wife and children.
  • Walking along the street, crossing the road: This should be obvious. Cars are hard, very hard indeed. Bouncing off mine might sting for a while, and though my elbow is less-likely to inflict permanent damage as I protect myself, my tongue is likely to be sharper than you realise.
  • It's lawful to take public photos of my daughters: I won't like it much, especially if it looks as-if you're doing it covertly. But I know it's your right to do so. Making you feel uncomfortable by staring at you until you leave is my right. One day I might even snap you.

Er…

I think it's time to have a go at composing part 6 of my Maker's Mark whiskey review series. (Surprisingly catharsis none while writing the preceding necessarily-incomplete diatribe.)

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Maker's Mark review part 5 https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/03/makers-mark-review-part-5 Mon, 03 Apr 2017 21:36:00 +0000 bazbt3 aef9b1a3-d02b-bd64-fecd-46b1305a7cd6 Drunk again with 1-1/2 ice cubes with me at room temperature, this time after recently eating strawberries & shaken (not whipped) cream: oh no, that unpleasant taste remains.

Still smells amazing, rich, sherry, butterscotch, etc; this really does bear repeating.

I'd better conclude this at some point…

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Maker's Mark review part 4 https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/02/makers-mark-review-part-4 Sun, 02 Apr 2017 21:21:00 +0000 bazbt3 f5b5b4d7-4fb2-c470-f23a-666d216989f6 Drunk again with a single ice cube with me at room temperature: oh no. There's a really unpleasant taste, unlike any of the preceding. Not sure what I'd eaten beforehand, but it's had quite the negative effect.

Smells more amazing than before, there is that.

To be continued…

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Maker's Mark review part 119 https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/02/makers-mark-review-part-119 Sun, 02 Apr 2017 17:03:00 +0000 bazbt3 dc2fd197-08a8-1bcd-50c3-70af7806e321 oh my glob ive fallen and cant getup again waillll!!!2!¡

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Beauty and the Beast https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/02/beauty-and-the-beast Sun, 02 Apr 2017 12:48:00 +0000 bazbt3 f0cfde34-257f-5c7b-41b8-28c7e1bcd19e My youngest daughter and I went to the movies again today, to watch Beauty and the Beast, a film my oldest had seen mid-week. In my own inimitable fashion I enjoyed the tale yet again, and ignored the chance that I'd be offended by the peripheral fuss surrounding the movie.

I wouldn't have been, by the way; it'd pass unnoticed were it not for the fact I was expecting something. What sad lives people must have, picking apart harmless entertainment and ignoring history.

Anyway, afterwards we walked across to McDonald's and bought 2 chicken nugget Happy Meals, which we ate in the car. Mine came with an orange-roofed Smurf house.

The movie and the meal gain Baz's seal of approval.

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Maker's Mark review part 3 https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/01/makers-mark-review-part-3 Sat, 01 Apr 2017 19:36:00 +0000 bazbt3 ce196794-fa7e-ae4c-062a-6a2c1cd27c98 I bowed to popular demand1 and wrote what follows about the third Bourbon Whiskey I've ever tried. Well, the fourth bottle of the stuff. My first experience was 2 consecutive bottles of Buffalo Trace, then one of Wild Turkey 101 and, as the subject line indicates, I'm now trialling Maker's Mark.

Ahhh, what a day that was…

No, no! It takes over a week per bottle, honestly! Jeez!

First though, my earlier post:

"Drunk with a single ice cube with me at room temperature: oh.Smells amazing.To be continued…"

From the guy who recommended it, the comment that precipitated this, an unprecedented same-day update:

"Enough about the smell. Do you like the taste? That was my favourite favourite."

Well…

No. Not yet.

It's rather nice to start with but there's an aftertaste which comes on quickly that I'll admit I'm not liking. It spans my first neat test, and today's single ice cube (just-melted.) Buffalo Trace seems to have a cleaner finish; Wild Turkey 101, though a bit too strongly alcoholic at 50.5% for me, seems to lack this unpleasant fall-off too. All pull back my gums and attack my lips to a greater or lesser extent, which is rather nice, if I let them.

No, I haven't a bloody clue what I'm talking about, especially if I'm using anything like understandable terminology, but I know what I like. Bear in mind that I've been drinking Scotch whisky for over 20 years, off-and-on, culminating in the utterly awesome Laphroaig 15-year-old, a whisky now withdrawn from general sale and thus prohibitively expensive. Incidentally, the 10 year old is a good substitute but don't make the mistake I did of trying the 'Select', it's completely unrepresentative of the fine brand.

Ok, the hardest bit about this experience so far is not admitting that I'm not too keen on the whiskey someone I trust recommended, nor is it the effort in typing right now not long after reaching the bottom of the second glass. No, it's getting through the melted plastic covering the Maker's Mark bottle cap. The pull-tab is utterly unsuitable for its intended purpose, so much so that I almost had to get the Swiss Army Knife out! It looks nice but I get the impression it took quite some time to design it to make it look as though it's an organic continuation of a product of a bygone age. Heck, it might be but I'm not sufficiently invested in it to find out.

However…

To be continued…

  1. Yes, you.

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Maker's Mark review part 2 https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/04/01/makers-mark-review-part-2 Sat, 01 Apr 2017 17:21:00 +0000 bazbt3 2048a9d8-497b-0fa5-7b96-14058c5cae6c Drunk with a single ice cube with me at room temperature: oh.

Smells amazing.

To be continued…

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Maker's Mark review part 1 https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/03/31/makers-mark-review-part-1 Fri, 31 Mar 2017 21:31:00 +0000 bazbt3 b12b49e6-f3e7-a2ca-1fb5-3d7096c82e81 Drunk neat at room temperature: oh, no.

Smells amazing.

To be continued…

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Empty words https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/03/25/empty-words Sat, 25 Mar 2017 17:38:00 +0000 bazbt3 820355e7-6fda-7f8c-9b3c-0ea890bb9585 There'll be a better way of summing up what follows than the title I chose, but it'll do. I'm referring to the monologue Andrew Neil delivered a couple of nights ago, a bunch of words strung together to invoke national pride on our past, and which was subsequently described as, well, read the article here:

"'Churchillian!' Viewers hail Andrew Neil's INCREDIBLE monologue on Westminster attack". (from The Daily Express newspaper, 2017-03-24.)

Meaningless.

I happen to like Andrew Neil. His no-nonsense approach to interviewing sits well with me. His sarcasm, always it seems tinged with an impish glee upon finding a politician wanting, fits my needs far better than the always-annoyed Jeremy Paxman ever did, he doesn't needlessly interrupt his guests as they're answering his questions as does Andrew Marr. But his monologues irritate me. They always go on a bit too long, and always keep me from why I watch his late-night programme: to learn what's going on in the world of politics.

Before I continue, I haven't watched this edition of his show, I'm relying on the Daily Telegraph's editors to show me a full picture of what transpired on the night. Yeah…

The key phrases from Mr Neil are:

"Do you have any idea who you're dealing with? This is the country that stood up alone to the might of the Luftwaffe, air force of the greatest evil mankind has ever known. If you think we're going to be cowed by some pathetic, Poundland terrorist in an estate car with a knife, then you're as delusional as you are malevolent."

Fine words that would have made sense in an era vastly-different from the one in which we live, an era in which it was easy to spot the source of terror, the evil across a tiny stretch of water known as the English Channel.

Fine words which conveniently ignore the fact that this isn't the 1940's.

During those times, and in general terms only, the only loose parallel I can make is that of an entire nation aspiring to impose its ideologies upon the rest of the world. That as-opposed to taking over other nations by armed might and controlling them by repressive regimes; something the British would conveniently ignore. When their politics failed to spread much beyond the German border, war became inevitable, at which point other alliances were built, sides taken.

It was a war propelled by the industrial might of nations, their armed forces' skills honed by regional conflicts outside, initially at least, Germany's borders. It was a war of technological superiority, of a rapid development of new instruments of war applied effectively against adversaries who didn't expect another conflict, especially with the smug, humiliating victory of The War To End All Wars.

And then there's the media. During the Second World War the British were lucky to read or hear about major events within days, even if the British government deemed it acceptable that ordinary citizens knew what was going on. The newspapers were censored; the radio was mostly censored, save for the enemy's propaganda broadcasts; the newsreels shown in cinemas showed only British propaganda. No satellite-fed coverage, no 24 hour telly, no social media gossip-spreading, no instant messaging.

People all over the world listened to what Mr Churchill said, and believed it. They listened to what Mr Hitler said and believed it. There was nothing else.

'Intelligence' is a word often derided nowadays when a terror attack happens. The futility of the security services monitoring everything for that 'just in case' scenario was shown up nicely by the events of mid-last week; a man simply not monitored for links to terror plunges a nation into crisis.

But how was it during WWII? Well, the British successfully created fake airfields filled with fake aircraft, and the high-level (or fast low-level) reconnaissance flights provided compelling evidence that the enemy strategists were fooled. Fields of fake tanks and other fake armoured vehicles at other times had the same effect. Surveillance technology was simply ineffective against what might now be termed laughable subterfuge. Maps were often hopelessly out-of-date; even the things we take for granted now: accurate digital mapping, aerial and pseudo-3D street-level walkthroughs were the stuff of next-millennial science fiction.

Nowadays it's well established that the industrial might of a nation can be trivially assessed by picking up a phone and Googling for statistics. Seventy years ago it was guesswork, all of it. If the enemy had known how close Britain's Air Force was to running out of aeroplanes and the means of manufacturing more, this world may have been a vastly different place. Intelligence failed. Perhaps it'd be kinder to say the British resolve triumphed, because that's what we want to believe.

In short what we're facing now is utterly unlike anything we've experienced previously.

I say 'we' conveniently ignoring the millions in the Middle East who must deal with this kind of hell on a daily basis.

It's not the threat of a nation clad impeccably and riding iron steeds, no. It's the threat of the ordinary man or woman or child radicalised by the unending and implacable hatred of those who simply don't care about anyone but those with whom with imagined special relationships are key. It's the threat that each and every one of them needs only a knife and a car to commit unspeakable acts. It's the knowledge that anyone can kill or maim or destroy using the most basic of tools, the knowledge that just because someone looks different or doesn't look different they can achieve the same ends.

I intended to close with the sarcastic 'Aren't we lucky to live now?', intending to show that ignorance was indeed bliss 70 years ago. Not knowing how perpetually close to defeat Britain was helped morale immensely. Not knowing that the rationing of basic foodstuffs and household essentials would last far beyond the end of the war, it helped too.

I'll instead close with this blog post from 2016, 'Nice' which refers to my near-identical post from 2015. If I'd started blogging earlier there'd be others pointing out the folly of allowing ignorance to fester, of allowing jingoistic nationalism to grow unchallenged.

As is usual I've not proof-read this knee-jerk reaction.

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Cold caller https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/03/21/cold-caller Tue, 21 Mar 2017 18:00:00 +0000 bazbt3 1fbb1100-dcdb-84b3-0d51-c90eb55f8273 The doorbell was rung a few minutes ago: 2 guys, one introduced both as security consultants. I said 'no thanks, I'm not interested', and moved to shut the door, and here's where the depressingly-predictable thing occurred…

Yes, as the pattern usually unfolds, he actually asked me, and condescendingly of course: "Do you know what we're selling?" His exact words.

Um… I'm no rocket scientist but he had a few brochures fanned out in his hand, he'd introduced his profession, they both had impressive ID cards on lanyards, so I hazarded a guess, a wild stab at "Well, you're security consultants, is it alarms? It's alarms."

He seemed surprised.

Cold callers expect their cheery welcome to be reciprocated. This one didn't even try.

We've had someone purporting to be registered by the local authority asking, after my "yes" to "are you a family man?", how many children I have and what their ages are, and where they go to school and…. She was surprised, visibly offended that I said "it's none of your business, if you want the data get the authority to write to me for it." The best bit, my wife told me she'd called earlier that day, had been rebuffed then too.

Others who introduce themselves by "We're not selling anything…" are annoyed by my Captain Obvious "Yes you are, what are you selling?"

Double glazing salesmen, given a sniff at a replacement window but told to wait a few months as we couldn't afford it that close to Christmas, getting their telephone sales department to ring not even 5 minutes after departing. He put the phone down on me as I was explaining how unimpressed I was.

I could go on but what would it achieve?

Catharsis.

Ahhh…

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Resolutionary https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/03/19/resolutionary Sun, 19 Mar 2017 12:08:00 +0000 bazbt3 76d9e2ba-f5d9-03d2-0ee0-2d5a4486e0c0 New Year's Resolutions kept: none, though the subtleties of the choices made leave me a modicum of wriggle room.

  • Picking at my thumbnails at the traffic lights on the way to work: Fail. I should go a different way.
  • Reducing sugars in my tea at home: Technically a great success. The fact that I've not drunk tea at home during 2017 cheapens this a bit; the fact it's been all chai since Christmas means I'm floundering, adrift, rudderless here.
  • Eating more healthily: Yes. More nuts, oats, er… healthy foods and in moderation too; less bread, biscuits/cookies. I take a cholesterol-reducing drink daily. The 16" kebab pizza last weekend was atypical.
  • Exercising: Fail. I walk a bit, nowhere near enough to qualify as a person who walks.
  • The thing that shall not be mentioned in polite society: Yup, still doing that.
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Obsolete https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/03/18/obsolete Sat, 18 Mar 2017 20:07:00 +0000 bazbt3 fef328c5-7b5d-2559-a252-24e1934636a0 I just finished making dinner for me and the girls and realised something quite profound. My web site has existed in various forms and at various hosts over the 20 years since I arrived online. That's not the important thing, no. 2017 is the first year that events outside my control rendered the vast majority of its content obsolete.

Yes, this is another post about the collateral damage resulting from App.net's demise; though this one will thankfully be brief. Being honest, I don't see much point in writing much about the past now, the future is much more important. It's actually very easy for me to say that; the majority of people who made App.net special are at 10centuries.org or pnut.io right now. A nicely-distributed 'ADN2'. (http://adn2.larryanderson.org)

Back to my Wiki-type site. First the volunteer-driven App.net Wiki I helped edit expired, I stepped away from iOS, and then the network the App.net Wiki documented disappeared. Well, at least its infrastructure did. Ahhh…

My focus changed over the last year-and-a-half to blogging about what I'm thinking about, what I'm doing, and what makes me tick. A typical personal blog.

Maybe I should redirect incoming site requests to my 10C blog. or the more complete but less-social GitHub.com version or, heck, the trial self-hosted blog currently unloved and waiting for me to reconnect the Raspberry Pi 2 B mirroring it from the GitHub repo.

Dunno.

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Talking ADN https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/03/17/talking-adn Fri, 17 Mar 2017 22:46:00 +0000 bazbt3 cf6e9ccc-e3e7-a53a-db2d-2f0ff8a7dec7 Talking Heads have had a major influence in my life. Subtle but major nonetheless. I'm now accustomed to the fact I'll never see them play live; it's taken me decades…

Prior to App.net's shut down for good I'd hoped a song could be played during the final #MondayNightDanceParty. Due to an unfortunate typo by yours truly that didn't happen. No matter, it's this:

Heaven (YouTube video)

It sums up what I think of ADN. Especially poignant is… oh, listen to it!

Tidying up my emotions after ADN's termination, here's a song which looks forward:

This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) (YouTube video)

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IT support request https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/03/17/it-support-request Fri, 17 Mar 2017 15:01:00 +0000 bazbt3 74323a5c-1eee-654b-ec69-36a1030a81cc This user-requested software upgrade exchange didn't happen. I've made it up. Yes.[1337. Er… No, that's not exactly true. However the names have been changed to protect the identities of the guineapigs involvZzzz…]

The Man:

"[folder name] There is a launcher in here [program name].exe which should install the shizzle."

Me, feeling cocky:

"We iz installing the shizzle on Jason's machine.  We think. :)"

(time passed…)

Unfortunately due to the way [program name] works, its installer had a lie down instead of exhibiting the outward trappings of a performant conclusion.

Me, somewhat circumspect:

"Could you please start the [program name] upgrade on a few more machines after lunch/1pm? Ben, Zeb, John-Boy and John.  Maybe Olivia and Mary-Ellen tomorrow."

The Man:

'Please see below for the correct way to submit a request, as one of your colleagues seemed to nail it!

"Oh Great One,Your humble servant requests that you fix [another program name] on my PC what not working (but did last week).Thanks'

Me, acquiescing:

"Dear Sir or Madam of Awesomesauce,

This obsequious underling (initially examining but not limiting said examination to in this regard the relative vertical offsets between uppermost portions of cranial body parts) is desirous of your physical presence around these environs after the commencement and subsequent termination of the half-hour period in which the majority consume their midday repast to effect the increase in [program name]-related CAD and/or design productivity (post-button-fiddling-and-bitwise-cogitation) of a small number of my esteemed colleagues, to be occasioned by a heretofore successful manual implementation of a 'soft ware upgrade'; those colleagues being namely by name: Ben of Sausage, Zeb of Sausage, John of Sausage, and John-Boy the, er…  And, upon successful termination of the afore-to-alluded-to procedural black-box magic incantations, to examine the possibility of repeating the procedures on two further colleagues' computing devices at a point not limited to a limited time within the limits of the next working day; those personnel being namely Olivia The Great of A-Specific-Sausage-Name-Analogy and Mary-Ellen The Great of Many-Bread-Product-Name-Analogies.

Yours in eager and trembling anticipatory raptures,Mr or Mrs Turner.

p.s. The writer has determined that his or her [another program name] is also what not working (but what did earlier in the year.)"

(time passed…)

Yes, of course he did it, tsk!

The end.

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App.net legends https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/03/16/appnet-legends Thu, 16 Mar 2017 12:08:00 +0000 bazbt3 2bfc20a2-42bd-4c4c-fd65-93bfd0146795 Just short of a millennium ago, and handily beating Project Gutenberg, the Chinese invented movable type. Thus began the slow march of the dissemination of things important and unimportant (though perhaps entertaining) through the intervening ten centuries towards this, our almost ephemeral, digital age.

As App.net (ADN) haltingly passes into the realm of myths and fables an 11th-hour equitable stay was granted by the legend that is @berg; time to fix and thus allow the network's inhabitants to download and unpack their digital memories.

24 more hours, the blink of an eye, and an ending somehow slightly less-memorable than of The Ides Of March; a date I'm sure that was chosen to be symbolic. Symbolic of what though?

How many Orcs though, how many Goblins, Men, Elves, nameless dark forces from the east, how many Trolls were slain during the time ADN shone? How many Adventures were had along the road? How many people met, spoke in hushed (and not-so-hushed) tones, whilst forging lasting alliances over cloudy ale and Elven Lembas bread?

Ok, enough allusions to Tolkien-esque worlds; wasn't it fun

Simply, yes.

Incidentally, if you came to this scroll of mine expecting a list of legendary folk, instead look in at 10Centuries.org and pnut.io and see who's there.

Do it.

I have invitation codes for both networks, just ask.

Do it, do it now, lest ye be eaten by a grue or (shudders) settle for Twitter!

(time passes…)

Have you done it yet‽

Who knows, before we know it, people could be telling tales of our later legendary exploits.

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256 https://bazbt3.10centuries.org/2017/03/14/256 Tue, 14 Mar 2017 23:23:00 +0000 bazbt3 706e5a2a-8017-c272-4786-eb7806ec5879 Quite a few people have written (and spoken) quite a few words on the subject of App.net's imminent oblivion. I've written (and spoken) my fair share too! Right now I'm going to restrict myself to a very narrow definition of what helped make App.net (ADN: short for App Dot Net) special for me. Characters.

Yes, the people inhabiting the social network weren't your usual crowd, but it's not the people's characters I'm thinking of right now, no. It's the social post length. 256 characters of often lovingly-crafted posts on pretty-much any subject one could care to imagine. A chance to relax into the prose or the poem, the metaphor or the precise, the mundane, the interesting, exciting, the newsworthy (whether global, local or the deeply-personal) or the hyper-focused chats about topics directly-related to ADN.

I've never been able to summarise, so having the ability to footnote a social post still brings pleasure to me. 256-character posts allow one to relax knowing the chances of misinterpretation, if not entirely eliminated, are certainly lessened.

So there you have it. Or rather you don't; it'll be gone shortly: the plug will be pulled sometime during 2017-03-15 (though if living in a timeline to the east of San Francisco it's likely it'll be the 16th when things go dark.)

App.net: in total 2012 Q3 to 2017 Q1 with me from 2013 Q2 to the end; thanks to all you lovely people.

(An approximately 256 word post.)

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Yes