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Nick himself

Ten things I hate about modern life.

In no paricular ordure.

1. Trackpads on laptops. Why? Everyone accursed enough not to have a Trackpoint uses a mouse instead which utterly defeats the object of HOTAS. This is why Nick rolls with a Thinkpad – well one of the reasons. And why are they – especially on larger – 15.6″+ – machines always so far to the left?

2. Sleeves. Now don’t get me wrong because a well executed tattoo by a talented artist can be a thing of beauty but a bog-standard design in that “fading Bic” colour is a travesty. This goes especially for forearm tattoos – the “sleeves” I mentioned. It is not a statement of individuality, it is not beautiful and just cheap and tacky. Put it this way. I buy T-shirts from Primark but a T-shirt isn’t for life. The worst I have seen is a bloke who has a tat of an olde fashioned pocket watch on his lower left arm. Roughly where I wear my Casio or Omega. Looks Magic-The-fucking-Gathering with forearm hair growing through it. A close second belongs to a morbidly obese woman who frequents the Co-op qv) and has in faux gothic script tatted on the back of her neck (at the exact aim point for the axeman) the names of her children. I assume they are her children – Bernadette and Jake. God help them. I didb’t because they were shop-lifting at the time and I’d be an accessory and I don’t mean a set of cuff-links but rather linked cuffs if you catch my drift. The mama (who just killed a man – would’ve done it with ease by reverse Asian cowgirl) in question (who was squired by a bloke who made a whippet look like a Pignoramus wrecked but don’t they always – I suspect in his youth he was never allowed on bouncy castles or something – that’s Freud that is). She also had a cartoon dog paw print behind her right ear. I leave that as a puzzle for the reader.

3. MSM reportage on anything to do with aviation. Things like this happen all the time. Prince Harry was never an Apache pilot. He was a WSO. Prince William didn’t go solo within his first week with the RAF but don’t let the facts interfere with the story! He had his first flight but it was clear as the light of day there was someone (by which I mean an RAF instructor) with him. Tell that to Dick Witchery of the BBC (the Royal Arse-Cleaner Pursuivent – who even manages to be gracious to Our King-in-Wanting). Of course getting these dull “nerd” things wrong doesn’t really matter. Yes. It. Does. To me anyway. I should have a clip-book of such tumescent aerial-reportage cock-ups but don’t because I just lose the will to anything when I see or read them.

4. Going tie-free. Like Elsa or Fletch or something. This is trending (and has been for some time). If you wear a suit and a formal type shirt then wear a bloody tie otherwise you look like a Greek politician. I know where it comes from. It’s desperately trying to say I’m one of you and I’m going to weally, weally work on this. By which, in the case of Greek politicians, means attempting to dig upwards. And if the mardy, hairy-backed, fuckers think they are getting the Elgin Marbles back they can field soldiers in pleated skirts with pom-poms on their shoes. Oh, they do that already. Job done!

5. Hipster beards. You might have a top job in the “creative stuff”* and a flat in Hoxton increasing in bubble “value” faster than the Central Bank in Harare can print toilet paper bank notes but you shall always be a bell-end to to. To me, you shall always be a bell-end to me… to me… to me… When the crash comes they’ll have a MacBook and no way to power it and I’ll have a lump hammer. And a Gillette.

6. Russell Brand. This is almost like firing a GAU-8 at a hamster that pissed on the mat. Well, he won’t do it again. People take Brand seriously. He is apparently a recovering “sex-addict”. How? He looks like a tramp’s mate. He looks like he needs a tick bath and a carstrion (not an sp – I have yet to work the details but it involves his syphilitic area and a V8 (not the vegetable drink) – but he is apparently “cool with the kids”). He’s allegedly a comedian. Never made me laugh – not once – but he did make me reach for two spoons and a rusty agricultural implement and… [legals!]. I would like to take his “Booky Wook” and do something interesting** with it. It would not be over quickly and, alas, he would probably enjoy it (the dirty, dirty trumpster (Or Trumpster) he truly is. The obvious Crapocalypse Now for Brand could only be avoided with enough Corbynite***.

7. The last tine I saw Blondie I was told to sit down. I could have a drink but only in the bar and having a fag was verboten. As was standing-up. It was at The Manchester Apollo in the C21st. Clearly not at CBGB in the 1970s. Just a couple of years earlier I’d seen Blondie at the exact same venue and I was down in the mosh pit gyrating like an antic with a pint and a fag about 3m from Debbie who had a voice like a siren (air-raid – in the best way – Gods she still had it) and she was giving it utter welly with Destri, Stein and Burke et al kicking in. There was no agro (indeed a very jolly time was had by all) but second time around… Well, fun cannot be allowed. So I must sit and watch and applaud at the designated points like it was the Royal Opera in Convent Garden (not an sp) rather than watching a punk/new wave band. I sentence the idiots behind this to ten years cleaning the toilets at CBGB in NYC. Starting in 1976 and continuing until the arse-end of never. I got told to sit down by a twat in a high viz jacket. The only bugger who ought to have been seated was Clem Burke – the drummer.

8. UK immigration. Oh, where to start! We make perfectly qualified, English speaking folk jump through unmitigated (and very expensive) hoops to live here whilst giving jihadi nutters free-reign and a council house for their spawn of evil (I think that is TM for the Daily Mail). My brother’s girlfriend is having antics with the Home Orifice over whether she can live in Sunderland (have you ever been to Sunderland? Just don’t). She’s from Tokyo (odd that seeing as Nissan has a huge factory near Sunderland but monies changed hands), is self-employed (she is an extremely good glass artist) and has a PhD. You might think she’d be automatic but nyet! Meanwhile, Makem-land fills with the arse-end of Bedlamites for whom shoes are an innovation. They send them to Sunderland because no other person in anywhere close to their right mind wants to live there. She does because it is home to the National Glass Centre which of course makes sense for her. Sunderland is still a shite-pit of the second water (Hartlepool beats it by a whisker to the first water) and then there is Siloth which is beyond any rational desciption. If not exactly the arsehole of the Universe it is well within farting distance.

9. Airports. Regular readers will know I love ‘planes. For my birthday my wife got me a flying lesson in a Tiger Moth. That was cooler than a polar bear’s nadge sack. Now I had to empty my pockets but just so (in case of jiggery-pokery) my loose change, keys, whatever fell onto some Cambridgeshire bumpkin (or future Tory MP – though they tend to do PPE at the other place) so fair enough in an open cockpit aircraft. It was great but I’m not talking about that now. No, getting on board was dead straightforward. Getting on the Jet2 757 from Manchester to Paphos was a frigmarole as it always is. Do you feel safer because they X-ray your belt? I am never flying Jet2 again. They were delayed both ends and the landings were “interesting” (much more so than in an 80 year old biplane on a grass strip). My wife complained about lack of leg-room and she’s 5’1″. They didn’t even manage to seat us together on the outbound so we couldn’t even bitch about it. And a can of Coke was three quid. It was like a tenner to buy a model 757 in Jet2 colours, “To commemorate (should that be “commiserate”) your unforgettable flight”. There were asylum-seekers in the undercart bays who had a better time of it. And they didn’t have their belt’s X-rayed. At Manchester, Terminal 1 (I think it was T1 – I was past caring by the time of the Security Opera), they have something that looks like an Orgasmatron (I’m not making this up) from the Woody Allen movie “Sleeper”. That is for trans-Atlantic flights, apparently. The DHS insists. Land of the Free and Home of the Brave indeed. The sum total of the camel-fuckers achievement in aerospace is kite-flying and the Taliban banned even that so I guess a flight of B-52s came as a bit of shock. I tell a lie. The Iranians have built the Q-313 which is essentially a warmed-over F-5 of 1950s vintage. The Israeli Airforce F-16 jocks must be defecating in mirth.

10. The Co-op. Now I know we have a “free market” and all but alas, where I live, there is no walking distance alternative. It is more sh’ite than an Ayatollah. I walk down there a few days ago for some dried oregano. A normal thing you might think. “There is no call for it so it has been discontinued”. The staff are rude to the verge of surly, the produce is past “use by” by the time you get to the door, the cash machine insists on telling you that they are, “Here for you for life!” shortly before telling you it ain’t got any tenners and just after, as part of the “Here for you for life!” schtick offering Co-op funeral services. Irony is not something they do. Or herbs. Or sometimes beef, or lettuce, or cucumbers or aubergines or bread. You know – the true exotica. The sooner they bite the dust the better and Sainsburys or someone who knows a thing about retail moves in the better. Truly they are the dog in the manger and not a cute pup at that.

So, that is my rant over. Sorry I haven’t been with you for a bit but I have been playing with Sid. Sid Meier that is and not a euphemism for going to Wankershire on the one-armed bus. Once I get Mind/Machine Interface sorted (‘copters!) I am going to give that utter villain Chairman Yang of the Human Hive a beating he shall not forget. He shall be captured and placed in the Sphere of Doom. It will not be over quickly and he will not enjoy it (I will though – Yin and Yang – he won’t find it amusing though – frankly that joke is below even me). He can even have oregano on his final pizza (for that was what I wanted to make – Skeletor’s Gran (aka Mary Berry) be at peace). I have orbital hydroponics on a laptop. Unlike the Co-op where they are still at “finding your own arse with both hands” foundation level GCSE. I have seen GCSE maths papers for basic level. They were (I am not making this up), “Jane, Abdul and Simon are looking at a clock because they must get on a train and wondering what time it is?” This is accompanied by a picture of the heroic trio looking at a clock. 11 years of neducation and they are still trying to teach kids how to use an analogue clock. Hell’s Teeth! I was 15 when I saw that and was coding fractals in Amiga Basic from some stuff I found in an old copy of Sci Am (back when it was still worth reading).

*Always reminds me of a quip from Philip Marlowe who remarks (I forget what about or in which book by Chandler but it is there) that he had, “Never seen so much misuse of intelligence outside of an advertising agency”.

**In the Chinese sense.

***A rare metal ore that is only found under the sociology departments of places of higher neducation. That makes no fracking sense of course. But it doesn’t need to For it is true. I wasted so many years study on science when I could simply have defined my own parameter of what is true and than merely make it so.

Computers in this house…

I did a little audit this morning. My wife and I have approximately 6 desktop machines in various states of repair (got to get onto those), three laptops, two Kindles, two smartphones (which are computers essentially), a ZX Spectrum in Gateshead, a camera with GPS (very handy – where did I take that picture? – well it tells me to arc-seconds – Jebus wept). Just the laptops would make Alan Turing weep tears of blood. I suspect I am not unusual here. I have a plan. I can get Lenovo to supply me (and I have sold my soul to ‘em – I’m typing on a Thinkpad by them) which is to get a trio of Lenovo Intel Core 2 Duos for GBP89.99 a throw and do some Folding at Home. Or maybe something else. There was (is?) an outfit sponsored by Oxford Uni (the other place) and IBM for something similar but I is buggered if I can recall the name. Having said that if I can cure cancer in my shed (for that is where they shall reside) then I shall be proud. If you can recall the name please let me know for the screensaver is much cooler. And I used to have it installed before Thalia went TU (that’s a tech term BTW). I did work my way through the Muses (and me with a comprehensive edumaction!). Some I sold or gave away. Some did go twat-wise (another techie term). I love the things. They make me, me.

No! They made me glorious. I got a Speccy thirty-ish years back. That was wonderful. Computers had been things that Bond Girls tended and I was playing Manic Miner. Wow! I learned BASIC and Pascal and Fortran on the little beast hooked-up to a 14″ Ferguson B&W TV and a tape-recorder from Dixons. It was well cool. When I went to University in 1992 I had to learn to program to drive a robot around. I excelled. I knew what I was doing. I had written the thankfully forgotten game “Orc fighter” so I knew my stuff. My classmates were astonished but I had that key advantage. I had a Lego robot whizzing around. That was cool and people say physics is dull? Not for me. That was much more fun than Swift’s juvenalia or Thackeray’s senilia. It was like stuff, cool stuff. OK, some of the labs were dull. I could live another thousand years without attempting the Guoy method for measuring magnetic susceptibility again. That was bloody dreadful. It really was but there are always bones in the sweetest fish. And building a pico-Tesla magnetometer and knowing exactly who of the lecturers was turning up tardy to the car park was more than a compensation. That cost roughly 5 quid (not of my money). But if Dr Kent was late, I knew. Bloody Hellskis that was sensitive. My lab partner once approached it with a screwdriver and it went FSD. Cheers Rachel. Not only did she dump me for a twat from Macclesfield (of all places!) but she all but knackered my magnetometer.

Nice machines at the Uni of Nottingham – 386DX40s (this was ’92 to ’95) with more interfaces than you could shake a stick at. We also had BBC-Bs for data logging.

I grew up with computers. They are me. People ask me “Why?” and I can’t answer because I just know the answer. They are me. I am nearly 42 (the answer) but I have been surrounded by computers since I was a kid. Since I first played with a Commodore PET and fell in love. I drew a picture of a Chieftain tank in ASCII. I was that sad and have only become sadder.

Weird isn’t it? I am looking down at my Kindle Fire HDX which is a computer only not in name. It cost less (no adjustment for inflation) than my ZX Spectrum did in the ’80s. Wow. I mean Wowsers! That was thirty years ago. I had just spent an hour (just an hour – this isn’t chemistry which is glorified faffing if you ask me) fixing it up despite the ‘structions in very obscure English. Oh, China! “Please to be appointing the USB port”. AKA “plug it in”. I know computers and I am wired on them. From Augsta Ada and Babbage’s cogs to Win 10 count me in. That is why I give ‘em names. My first PC was Urania. I am typing on Athina. (and yes the translit is more accurate than Athena – I know my Greek – physics.). The Kindle is Loki BTW. I’m gonna rebuild Urania as Urania III. I have a weakness for classical female names. Who doesn’t? These things are to us what steam engines were to George Stephenson (who lived walking distance from where I grew-up. They are to me what jet engines were to Clarence L “Kelly” Johnson. Except he was a genius. Bugger.

Hell, but I can program a RS-232 interface in machine code (I could anyway, once). And I could make that little Lego thing do St Vitus’s dance. I just love these things.

I adore them. They are not means of communication. That is a horrid myth. I didn’t do an A-Level in maths but I had an Amiga and I programmed fractals on it out of Sci Am. I taught myself maths. One BSc in Physics and a (fully funded) MSc in Astrophysics later and I think I proved myself. Now I mooch in Ruby and stuff. But seriously mooch. I get to be a proper programmer then bread and cheese will end-up on the table.

10 PRINT “Nick is Great”
20 GOTO 10

I have moved on a bit since then. And I am not blowing my own horn (it would put my back out) but celebrating the sheer fact that I was fortunate to be born in an age and a place where these things I quite simply cannot imagine my life without existed. I couldn’t have invented them but can I use them – yes! Aeroplanes and computers. How the devil did humanity manage for fifty thousand years without them.

I also want to build a Tesla coil. Just for the hell of it. And if it kills squirrels then like whatever. The cat is way too smart to get in the way.

I’ll keep the computers away. This will be purely analogue. Of course many will object to me “wasting ‘tricity” but fuck ‘em. My follow-up will be an Alcubierre Drive. Now that is a bit of a tough call. I mean I’d have to create negative mass for a kick-off. But Barnard’s Star in hours… Kicks HS2 into a most cocked hat. It is a fucking railway. 200 years after Brunel and the politcos haven’t got over it (one was run-over at Rainhill). And don’t talk to me about Skylon A1 or C2. Just don’t. They want to spent ten times the amount on a Stephenson gauge railroad but can’t fund a variable cycle aerospace plane. That fucker could get from Bristol Internal Spaceport (how cool is that?) to Sydney in four hours. And that is on an arctic great circle so as to not piss the Russians off but at that height and speed it ain’t MH17 is it? So fuck ‘em.

I’m a techno-fetishist. I make no apologies. Fuck railways (other than to tie Corbyn to the tracks and ride a shitty commuter train over his beardy commie corpse, back and forth) and build Skylon. But do any of our PPE elites have the imagination? No. Oh, fuck no! Wall, stand against and I’ll get the rifle.

Theresa May but I wouldn’t…

PEOPLE who use a swivel chair to make themselves dizzy face up to three years in prison.

The Psychoactive Substances Bill, announced in the Queen’s Speech, also bans hanging upside down off a bed until your head goes funny, pushing your knuckles into your eyelids to create a psychedelic lightshow and fevers above 39 degrees centigrade [312K - I think in Kelvin - N].

Home secretary Theresa May said: “Maybe you and your so-called friends think it’s funny to spin around on a chair and then stagger across the office like a moron before collapsing headfirst into a really expensive printer and breaking your nose and losing three of your teeth.

“But all you’re doing is setting yourself up for a life of heroin and really manky toilets and no job and therefore no office chair to spin around on like a total maniac.

“You probably think I’m a killjoy but I speak from experience. I tried to spin on my office chair once but I absolutely whacked my knee on the desk. Not only did it hurt like a bastard, it changed me. I hate everyone now.”

May also said that anyone lying on their arm until it goes dead then using it to pretend someone else is touching their genitals will be classed as a sex offender.

Not to put too fine a point on it the Children’s Crusade contra “legal highs” (much like the conflation of tax ‘avoidance’ and tax ‘evasion’ or various ‘hate speech’ stuff is truly Orwellian) and appalling. Let’s call a spade a manually operated earth removal tool here. Yes, people die from ‘legal highs’ but that is because of the eternal game of cat and mouse of drug legislation. I don’t do drugs. Not because the School Nurse in Chief tells me not to but because due to legislation which means I’d be buying God alone knows what from a dodgy geezer in a pub car park.

Of course the fact that people are taking Heaven knows what means there are more deaths. The fact that Chinese ‘chemists’ are knocking out even more bizarre substances to avoid the laws will mean people die. Solution: an enabling act. That’s May’s thought. Mine is legalise the lot and tax and regulate so just like booze and fags you know what you are getting. I mean I used to smoke a bit of weed or resin but now it’s all ‘bang for buck’ skunk which is nasty stuff. That is a direct effect of government.

But you see the problem? The tighter government cracks down due to drug related deaths the more they increase laws as users migrate to more dubious substances. Much the same happened in the USA during prohibition when a nation of beer drinkers switched to spirits. I mean what was the point of smuggling beer in from Canada when you could smuggle whisky at ten times the blast for volume?

Of course the more the steel-heels crush us and the more we get riskier the more the call goes out to get ever more Draconian. It doesn’t work – it is a tango of death. It is evil and it is wrong. The Tories (increasingly occasionally) talk of ‘individual responsibility’ but then add yet another set of training wheels on the bicycle. Well folks, I have been able to ride a bicycle unaided for maybe 35 years.

I am 41 years old and am approximately all in one piece. So Mrs May can go fuck herself with (obviously) a state-approved dildo. Let us be. Not only is that the path of freedom but it actually reduces the ‘externalities’ but of course it would take pointless work away from the (un)civil servants and the rozzers who might then have more time to investigate rapes, murders and burglaries and stuff like what is supposed to be their job.

Just a thought.

I get a better class of spam these days

Bloody Hell! that is from 215+VAT per person. I must have joined the plutocrats without knowing. You get parking but somehow the idea of depositing a 51 plate Vauxhall Corsa is…

An ex of mine was a cox for the University team. She managed to sink a 20,000 quid boat and that was in ’94. She had forgotten her specs and the Nottingham University boat she was coxing plowed through the Nottingham Trent University boat utterly wrecking it. The two colls have a boat race. E was not miss popularity after that. Nobody was hurt seriously but she quit the coxing by mutual consent very shortly after.

Play With Fire…

I do. I did tonight. I have a weakness for flame. I have done questionable things. Now, as a physics student my special subject was compressible flow and astrophysical fluid dynamics and specifically explosions. Very big explosions – a Type Ia Supernova goes off with the energy of 1058 Hiroshimas.

So I decided to have haddock for supper, cooked in oil and butter with a dash of white wine – I have a weakness for the classics.

Now never do this. Never add an aqueous fluid to a heated fatty fluid. It hit the fucking ceiling. I have longish hair. I still have it because I sprung back with alacrity. It is called a BLEVE – a boiling liquid expanding vapour explosion. What happens is this. The oil/butter is at a lot more than 373K so the wine boils in it pretty much immediately so it becomes a vapour and the oil/butter that is dispersed goes bang. The alcohol in the wine is not the big deal.

I really ought to know better. But then I’ll sleep when I die.

I have done very questionable things.

I can set fire to the rain.

I once torched a buggered fridge in Manchester. I burnt a hedge in Gateshead as a kid. I once chucked a gas cylinder on a fire (now that was a BLEVE). It went off like a fucking Saturn 5. I have tossed petrol on fires (don’t try this at home kids!) and I almost lost my nose. I have burnt a chair in Leeds. The cunting landlord (later featured on the BBC’s Watchdog) Rory Aitkins took it off my deposit even though he specifically asked me to get rid of the fucker and it it moved for it had things and I mean things in it. So I torched it in the back yard.

Do I regret this?

Whaddaya think? I have been reckless. I have generally got away with it. But then science is messing with things you don’t understand. Playing with things you do understand isn’t even for the kindergarten. I never wanted a “safe space” at university and Nottingham gave me scope to really play. I loved it. “Well it might go critical”, “So sue me”. I was wired on my own skill and not likely (so I thought) to do a Slotin. I wore the uniform of a physics student – jeans, T-shirt and trainers. Hell’s teeth! Lab coats are for biology and chemistry. The gay sciences.

Lab coats are for people who don’t leap when it all goes pear-shaped. Although sometimes you do need the Nikes. But recall (as you leap through a hedge (as I have done) Athena-Nike is the Goddess of Victory).

Unless you do dubious things you don’t do anything.

In a sense I’m inspired here by the libertarian blogger Allen from Fort Worth, TX who has terminal cancer. His final blog post (I guess he wants to spend what time is left to him with his family and friends) which is roughly a year. Well the final thought he shared with us was to be fierce. I am a coward but I try. That is all we can do. We are not all Albert Ball.

I know I am not.

Actually I am when the dander is up.

Or there is a fridge to torch.

Help needed…

I have signed-up to the OU K22 course with the hope of getting an MSc in computing. Specifically I want to go into net security and similar. That is some time in the future. Now I can program and know some tricks but My first course is on Java and I can learn lingoes like I work at the UN but… I don’t really get the OOP thing. I start May 1st. Any advice on OOP with specifics on Java would be liked. Cheers folks. I mean advice on books and such. I need to grasp the paradigm.

PS. I told some porkies about my programming xp but I have programmed every goddamn thing that spun a cycle* since my Speccy 30 years ago. I blagged my way onto a physics degree at Nottingham without an A-Level in maths. I did well enough to get one of six fully funded places in the UK for MSc Astrophysics. When Nick rolls, he rolls.

*Apart from that fucking Hotpoint in the kitchen which is a law unto itself.

Febrile Demonrats

This includes the Liberals (and goes back as my limited knowledge of political history does – Someone might have made a particularly good quip to Lord Palmerston but like whatever…)

Oh, God’s I’m also including the Alliance. Remember them?

But this is how I see it at the top…

Gladstone – A decent sort but a bit nuts round the edges. I have chewed that description over – 32 times. Especially the nuts.

He was OK

Lloyd-George – Randy Welsh git.

Nobody springs to mind…

Thorpe – Had a contract killing carried out on a dog.

Smith – I like my peados super-sized. Do they put something in the Rochdale water? I blame the CIA.

Steele – Whatever? Had an affair as well but nobody cared. Exactly.

Owen – The most arrogant and pompous tool of gittery since the fall of the Roman Empire. I once rolled a joint on his kitchen counter. That is true. My host – his house-keeper – a South African working on a pittance on a working holiday visa had invited me for the weekend whilst the Owens – as was their want – abandoned the gaff for their country place for the weekend and we all know what the mice do when the cats are away.

Ashdown – Became more popular after it turned out he’d been cheating on the missus because it meant he had some interest.

Ming – Anyone fancy a Werther’s Original? Thought not.

Hughes – Whilst getting his seat in Bermondsey in ’83 smeared his opponent (Peter Tatchell) with vaguely disguised homophobic rhetoric but himself turned out to be a life-long botter.

Oaten – Discovered the cure for anxiety over male-pattern baldness that has alluded the greatest minds since like whenever by deciding to have two rent boys defecate upon him. They have variously been reported as Polish or Ukrainian like it matters who shits on you. With science the devil is always in the detail. I ought to work in a Putin joke here but I can’t.

Huhne – The Jeremy Clarkson of windfarms. A chrome-plated bell-end on platinum roller-blades (or in his case a Ford Focus the badger-noodler he truly is) and a true servant of his own and every other cuntery.

Clegg – Saints preserve us from the cactus-arsonist of direville! A lying two-faced twat’s twat of the fuller monty. A twat for all seasons.

So that is the LDs.

I am a classical liberal. These people have sold me so far down the river that I am thinking deltas.

They are just such an unbelievable collection of cunts of every description.

I knew I was a quimboid… but…

And if you are wondering what one of those is then look no further

I answered the questions here Honest Indjun… I pitched-up as Slytherin… I just knew I would.

Your house is…Slytherin! Well done? Um, you’re clever, cunning and very good at looking after yourself. You’ll take after…Draco Malfoy and…Voldemort himself. Well done…and please don’t kill us…

I think my “fail” was over being thieved from by a poor person. Which I think I was supposed to forgive and give the miscreant a twenty. You don’t nick from Nick and if I know you will get a hoicking up the genitals and indeed elsewise if I grok you. It will not be over quickly and you will not enjoy it.

“Quimboid” is apparently (though I kinda knew this – Viz etc) is a semi-polite version of “cunt”. I mean if you can’t swear properly why bother? It is from a Guardian article that debates at some length the usability of the phrase “camel toe” to no discernible end.

Now I can swear. I am foul, inventive and invective. You should hear some of the things I have said about Nick Clegg. Cameron or Milliband just don’t get my dander up like that. Clegg does. He is a veritable prince of the quimboids.

Chuckles – the gift that keeps on taking…

So, Prince Charles has been to Washington DC (as have I) but whilst I flew steerage in an American Airlines A330 (and had to change at Philly – the most confusing airport this side of Mars) he went in style. He went on a chartered A320 configured as a private jet that costs GBP250,000 a hop. Or approx. 800 times what I paid (hard to say exactly – there were several hops on that hoilday which included Key West). Well, I guess it evens out because he got to meet Obama and I trogged the Smithsonians until my feet hurt – badly. He got a gong for his tireless crusades (or whatever) on the environment. He almost certainly clocked more CO2 than I can manage in a fecking lifetime. And then he delivers a lecture on the environment… Because the A320 normally carries just over about 160 passengers and not just a dickhead and his moll.

But that’s OK because it is only the little people who deserve to be taxed out of the air and not the nobs and he is a nob in every sense.

The Overhead.

I will remember to the end of my life the way that his reserve cracked a little when I gave him his “hacker” ribbon at Penguicon 2003 – how the child who’d been told he couldn’t be a programmer because he was “no good at maths” felt on finally knowing, all the way down, that we accepted him as one of our own.

Because Terry loved us. He loved everybody, most of the time, but he loved the people of the clacks especially. We were one of his roads not taken, and he (rightly!) saw himself in our earnestness and intelligence and introversion and determined naivete and skewed sense of humor and urge to tinker. It mattered to him that we loved him, and in the unlikely event there’s an afterlife it will matter to him still.

Our own Sam quoting on my post about the death of Terry Pratchett. I get it and so, very clearly, did Sir Terry – the sheer exaltation of coding. I think, perhaps, Pratchett felt it when on a roll writing. You do feel like a Small God doing something to the porpoise at a keyboard. You get the same with pencil and paper mathematics. Perhaps more so for me. You simply don’t know where you end. It is sober intoxication (although I have to admit to doing pissed physics on occasion). I have had it with things like fluid mechanics and electromagnetism. It’s a rush and you have to be careful because your mind can just and skip to the step after next quicker than your hand can scribble it and it can turn into utter gibberish. You can do the same with a keyboard. Maybe one of the reasons I always use Thinkpads is that the Trackpoint ties you into the system more tightly. It’s like HOTAS on an F-16. You might think it is merely more convenient or whatever but it is about a merging of systems. It is transcendental (and that is not an expensive trip to the dentist). It is a rush. It is almost mystical. It is being wired on your own skill. A narrow technical skill no doubt but in the academic-ish setting I’d rather take the cocaine of that than the valerian of poring over dusty tomes and producing something “scholarly”. It is Yeat’s “Lonely Impulse of Delight” rather than flying an A320 from Manchester to Paris and back again. It is moments worth years.

Sir Terry grokked this. I bet he felt it when he got the mot just.

So, it is with that lonely impulse of delight that a truly great memorial is to be erected to Sir Terry that shall last until the last disk spins down unlike the statue near the Whitehall piggery of a skinny borderline peado commie in a nappy that was recently erected. They have form on that score. Why do they have a fine equestrian statue of Richard I when he spent bugger all time in England, didn’t speak English and ultimately almost bankrupted the country largely due to a fit of pique.

This is a truly fitting tribute to Sir Terry and it shall last whilst information exists. It is The Overhead. It is everything. It is the it from bit.

Tech-savvy admirers of the late Terry Pratchett have hit upon an idea for a particularly appropriate memorial. It will be everywhere and nowhere, hiding in the code of the internet.

Pratchett’s 33rd Discworld novel, Going Postal, tells of the creation of an internet-like system of communication towers called “the clacks”. When John Dearheart, the son of its inventor, is murdered, a piece of code is written called “GNU John Dearheart” to echo his name up and down the lines. “G” means that the message must be passed on, “N” means “not logged”, and “U” means the message should be turned around at the end of a line. (This was also a real world tech joke: GNU is a free operating system, and its name stands, with recursive geek humour, for “GNU’s not Unix”). The code causes Dearheart’s name to be repeated indefinitely throughout the system, because: “A man is not dead while his name is still spoken.”

Exactly.

We shall all live forever in the overhead. That is perhaps a scary thought but not all scary thoughts are bad. Sir Terry in the ether for all eternity or at least whilst there are still ones and zeroes is something I just love.

Credo

“You should make a point of trying every experience once, excepting incest and folk dancing.”

- Sir Arnold Bax KCVO, “Keeper of the King’s Musick”.

Off to see the Wizards, the wonderful Wizards of…

… Er… Manchester Metropolitan University. This afternoon I am attending an open day type thingie for MSc computer science type stuff at Manchester Met. Now I’m not interested in the standard “career change” MSc computer science course available from practically everywhere (I could even do that at the University of Derby’s Buxton Campus which is HQed in a Victorian lunatic asylum) to practically everyone* or Manchester University who seem about as friendly as a “social disease”. More to the point Manchester Met offers specific courses and the only one I’m interested in is Computer and Network Security. One year, GBP5490.

I’m just currently gen-gapped. I’m too old to crawl under desks eating dust-bunnies and untangling cables. I’m not too old but as Galadriel said, “She can taste it in the water”. The World is changing. The default computer for most people is a laptop and they are difficult for an indy like me to do anything hardware on not being exactly modular like a classic box. Bah and indeed Humbug!* Security though is a big and indeed embiggening thing and it is a software thing so it is universal. And these “leetle grey cells” support “a mind most convoluted mon ami”. Not that my French is any good but the Hell with that!

But codes and cyphers are a long-standing interest of mine (I have a crackerjack BTW) as is computing and formal logic (though I shall dress in my usual attire – jeans/combats and a hoodie – well it’s Manchester).

Anyway, this is the course and well, what d’ya think? I would appreciate feedback.

*I once had had to deal with a high-end Acer laptop with a bust firewire port. So I give it the full exam. The owner’s kid had shoved jam into it. Strawberry jam (I never thought taste would matter in this game but you never know). Nothing I could do except advise a trip to the local Acer accredited repair place. I was not prepared to get the soldering iron out because apart from anything the new firewire port would have to line-up with whatever proprietary form-factor Acer had been working on. That and I’d be taking a soldering iron to densely-packed board. What could go wrong? A lot but not on my watch it wouldn’t. I was paid for my meagre troubles and did sort some issues with the AV codecs which meant I got to see the owner’s performance art which consisted of her dancing naked whilst about 8 months in the bun-club. I was paid in Stella for my 20 minutes. Fair enough and that is South Manchester for you.

Frosty the imam.

It is a winter wonderland outside my window in Cheshire. Apparently so it is in parts of Saudi Arabia. This is rather unusual there…

Here’s a picture

You see how unusual this is? No Brit or Canuck or Swede etc would give their snow personage a hot coffee. So are the Saudis all enjoying the novelty of snow? Yes and indeed no.

There has been a terrible moral outrage about building snowmen (and indeed snow camels – Allah knows about snow-women with snow tits and icicle nipples) and at least one imam has got his pantyhose in a twizzle

But with photos of snowpeople and snow camels popping up everywhere, Munajjid made it clear that Islamic teachings strictly prohibit the practice.

Asked whether the unusually snowy winter in Saudi Arabia meant that parents could build snowmen with their children, Munajjid delivered the bad news.

“It is not permitted to make a statue out of snow, even by way of play and fun,” Munajjid wrote on his Web site, according to Reuters.

He is also available for children’s parties. I hear his, “Death to all Zionazi Imperialists” act is a side-splitter (possibly literally).

***

“We have snow for fleeting days, maybe even hours, and there is always someone who wants to rob us of the joy and the fun,” wrote a blogger identified by Gulf News as Mishaal. “It seems that the only thing left for us is to sit down and drink coffee.”

***

But Munajjid has his supporters.

“It [building snowmen] is imitating the infidels, it promotes lustiness and eroticism,” wrote one person, according to Reuters.

I don’t know where to start…

The first point is to acknowledge this is not a “funny”. Oh, it is easy to laugh. But depriving folk of “play” and “fun” (and how often does a significant snowfall happen in Saudia Arabia?) is horrendous. What is humanity without play and fun? The imam also mentions the creation of images of critters (recall the snow-camels of horror?)

I will tell you what such a life is like. It is Hell on Earth. It is also a complete technological stagnation. I love the society (imperfect though it is) but whist I find in this day and age opposition to gay marriage (say) a bit odd I find opposition to building snow-crits is so far beyond belief as to defy… Well, I dunno but it is but it defies it. Building a snowman is the most innocent thing imaginable (and if we get a bit more snow I’ll build one myself and send a selfie to this “cleric”.)

And it matters. It really does. The more absurd a cultural argument is then in a very real way the more it matters. And not least if it is taken as ridiculous. “Imitating the infidels”? By building a fucking snowman? You wait until said cleric gets the selfie of me drinking single-malt whilst being bummed by a ladyboy who is smoking crack. I mean if building a fucking snowman is strictly verboten why not go the whole hog?

I have to add I have never had dirty thoughts in front of a snow-person – but then you knew that. “Mr NickM was apprehended for a public-order offence at 11-45am whilst he attempted to…”. Gods sakes! Mr Frosty was unavailable to comment but a puddle shall appear in Stockport Magistrates Court.

I though do hate the cultural shuttering. Some think this attempt at cultural monolithism is a strength of the Islamists and they couldn’t be more wrong. Ludicrous defence is a sign of weakness.

Banning fun is ultimately self-defeating.

The best snowman I ever built was as a kid and it was when I was a kid. My brother and me built a huge effigy of a Franz-Ferdinand (one of the Holy Roman Emperors) in the back garden. I have no idea why but it was fun. Which was the point.

H/T Dick

PS the imam also regards gingerbread men as evil.

Julia is mint.

We had quite a snowfall overnight. I go out this morn to buy a lighter. As you do. It was lethal on the lane. I fell and spacked the little finger on my right.

But as I walked home I passed the bin by Sayeed’s newsagents. Someone had scrawled “Julia is mint” in the snow on the top of it.

I have no idea if Julia is indeed “mint” but if she is then I’d like to meet her.

I suspect she ain’t all that.

That is the tragedy of the World. Julia almost certainly isn’t “mint”. She’s probs a tuppence ha’penny scrubber. She probs swallows rather than spits but she does that with anyone.

I could be wrong.

I usually am.

We stand.

“I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers.

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