On aging

Sun, Feb. 28th, 2016 18:33
gominokouhai: (Default)

Today is my birthday. I am now older than my father was when I was born.

I'm still not interested in breeding—it's cruel enough to bring a new human into this dystopian nightmare world, worse yet to saddle one with my defective genetic legacy. Welcome to the world. The climate's fucked, the government is entirely composed of plutocratic psychopaths, and somehow we're all still racists. Oh, by the way, you have short hamstrings, chronic migraines, and a selection of interesting brain weasels. And stay away from red wine if you know what's good for you. Not going to inflict that on someone.

I do, however, regret the missed opportunity to have a convenient target for dad jokes. I would make the best dad jokes. Or perhaps I mean the worst.

Bloody hell, it's just occurred to me—if I had spawned, I would be a single parent now.

Quite happy staying as uncle pajh. Although I'm considering getting a dog. Or maybe a snake.

On faith

Thu, Feb. 4th, 2016 23:05
gominokouhai: (Default)

Oh folks, hello folks. Tell me your personal canons. What's 100% true for you that isn't supported by the evidence?

Here are mine:

  • Season 6B.
  • The Romulans' backstory from the Rihannsu novels.
  • Elliot Pope is an unreliable narrator, and The Deadly Assassin didn't happen.
  • Sito Jaxa survived the events of Lower Decks. She was either on a super-secret mission that even Picard didn't know about, or she was captured by the Cardassians and released after the war.
  • John and Nancy totally got together when they grew up. I hope they survived the war.
  • The Daleks deployed the [or a] Time Destructor during the early stages of the Time War, which explains why the Doctor lost fifty years off his stated age somewhere between Sylvester McCoy and David Tennant.
  • Edward II wasn't killed at Berkeley Castle. He lived afterwards as a hermit in Europe.
  • John Harrison was merely the first of the Augments to be woken from cryofreeze when Admiral Marcus found the Botany Bay. With his genetically engineered intellect, he was smart enough to claim to be Khan.
  • Fall Out was another drug-induced hallucination, just like Living In Harmony or A, B, & C. Shattered Visage is personal soft canon.

Those are mine. What are yours?

gominokouhai: (Default)

Damn right I looked directly at it. This happens once inna generation, I'm not passing that up. The photos are here (updated with some new ones, if you saw them go by on the Twitters earlier).

I remember the last one, in August '99. I looked directly at that one too, through the net curtain in my then-girlfriend's flat. I still remember the sight of a crescent Sun in the twilight down at the end of Gorton Road. That girlfriend was the insane Christian youth leader who wanted to break into the church at midnight and do it on the altar. I was the one who chickened out. But seeing a crescent sun... that was something special.

But back to the present. I had constructed a cardboard-box pinhole camera obscura, and it actually worked—but I left that downstairs in case any of the guests tried to blind themselves. For me, it was up to the roof. I had a brand-new variable neutral-density filter and I wasn't afraid to use it.

Maximum occultation at my location was set for 09:36. It was a glorious clear day at 09:20, bright blue skies with occasional fluffy white clouds. By 09:30 it was coming over a bit grey. This is probably for the best, since a couple of cubic kilometres of water vapour between me and it probably shielded my delicate retinae from some of the horrifying UV radiation. Also it lent the photos an eerie, atmospheric quality. Moody. Dramatic. Ethereal. Outlander-ish.

I stood and clicked and I watched as the huge black globe of the Moon rolled lazily in front of the Sun's disc, like a slow-mo snooker ball. Just exactly like a snooker ball, except a ball of 7.35×1022kg in mass, a ball a quarter the size of earth. She felt round. I sensed her bulk, her incomprehensible mass, as she slid leisurely-like inbetween us and daylight itself.

The Moon has a 7% albedo, you know. She reflects about as much light as coal. Think about that the next time she's full. Above our heads, neatly slotted inbetween the squat block of Edinburgh Castle and the airy spires of St Mary's, the eternal celestial ballet executed a perfect adagio.

It got bloody freezing up on that rooftop, but that's probably rather more to do with standing onna rooftop in Scotland for an hour onna cloudy day. By about 09:39 the cloud coverage was total. Show's over. It's time to go home.

But I won't forget spending a few minutes watching Space happen right above me.

Eclipse #5

My retinas were a wee bit itchy for the rest of the day. I consider that a totally acceptable trade-off.

The next half-decent one here isn't until 2026, and the next proper one is 23rd September, 2090. By then, I expect to know how to work this damn neutral-density filter.

More eternal celestial ballet.

Oh yes, and the vernal equinox was at 22:45 tonight. Happy Spring, everybody!

gominokouhai: (Default)
  • 16 reasons behind the decline and fall of the Roman Empire
  • The self-contradictory rule obeyed by these WW2 airmen will blow your mind!
  • This French Marquis Locked Himself In A Castle For 120 Days. You Won't Believe What Happened Next
  • POLL: RT for war, fav for peace
  • Please Laboriously Click Through All Twenty-Seven Images In This Post, Each Of Which Incomprehensibly Deserves Its Own Page, Like You Had Nothing Better To Do, Because Of The Vague Promise In The Title That One Of Them Might Be Godot

The joke is that listicle and microblogging formats do not readily lend themselves to in-depth discussion of complex concepts.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

gominokouhai: (Default)

I've been investigatin electropop lately, most of the current batch of which appears to be Canadian for some reason. I have no problem with this. At least it's not Canadian hip-hop. Movin on from the Canadian theme before I get myself into trouble, at this stage I feel I should mention CHVRCHES, who claim that their band name is pronounced churches, but I know better. They are from Glasgow and they are awesome. Particularly the lead singer, Lauren Mayberry, who is cute and elfin and adorable and basically so much the complete opposite of Shirley Manson that she goes round the back of the spectrum and becomes exactly as amazing. Chvrches spell their name with a V so that you can google for them, which you should do immediately if you've not already done so.

I have this 160GB mp3 player to fill up, and it's an actual mp3 player this time, so I can't cheat by includin the complete Sylvester McCoy Doctor Who and all the seasons of Sherlock I haven't watched yet. It's got to be actual music, and even for me there's only so many versions of the Glorious Ninth I need to carry around with me in my pocket. (A post on which is forthcomin; suffice to say I renounce all former allegiances to Karajan.) Somebody on the Twitters recommended the New Order album Power, Corruption & Lies, which I've not actually listened to. When it was released in 1983, my listenin habits were more or less evenly split between Prokoviev and Pinky & Perky. (I was precocious, but I was also three years old.) That I have not got round to it since then is an omission I knew I must rectify forthwith—but, in my defence, do any of you realize how many different versions there are of the Glorious Ninth?

Listenin then, at last, to Power, Corruption & Lies, three or four tracks reminded me of That Goddamn American Express Advert that I remember seeing once. And then, finally, it arrived in my ears as some part of me knew it would: Blue Monday, the biggest-selling 12" single of all time.

Of course I knew it already. And, because I was cursèd to grow up in the nineties, I knew it already chiefly because of this:

Even back then I was aware that this was possibly the worst advert of all time. I envisioned a cadre of corpulent besuited bastards, cocaine-crazy and caffeinated, masturbatorily manifesting moronic muppetry, thuswise: it's time for an EMERGENCY MARKETING MEETING!


(PROPS DEPARTMENT: please make sure there is a RED STAPLER somewhere in shot)

TWAT #ONE is agitatedly pointin a STICK at a FLIPCHART that has some damn GRAPH on it.

Okay, we're the wealthiest and most expensive credit card company on the planet, we own all the money in the world, and each of us has a secondary personal Learjet just so we can ship around the team of flunkies required to wax our primary Learjets, but but we need more. More... flirting?... sorry, that's a whole different advert that hasn't been made yet, with subtler humour than this scene. Anyway. I understand there's an entire new generation of suckers who have money. So: who knows anything about this "youth demographic"?

Well, from what I've read in the newspapers, the Youth Demographic really do like their "music with a repetitive beat".

Excellent. Let's have some of that. Anyone else?

They like... skydiving?

Brilliant. Throw that in there. What else?

I heard that they really like skin-tight black PVC trenchcoats.

Who doesn't? You're fired. Next!

[VO] prolonged nasal SNORTING noise

TWAT #FIVE looks up from the table, takes a moment to orient himself

They like... geishas pulling stupid faces?

Give that man some stock options.

~ FIN ~

I have always said that I hated the bloody Nineties: the decade of Westlife and the Vengaboys and Columbine and backwards jeans and Global Hypercolor and pastels and plaid and the Bosnian genocide and the Doctor Who Movie. But! (Even before you start: that was a preemptive but.) To be fair to the nineties, we also had Dark Season (so much pastel! and Jacqueline Pearce!) and Knightmare and Animaniacs and Way Out West and Portishead and we had both Ren and Stimpy simultaneously.

I've made my peace with the nineties.

After all, if we're considrin solely the restricted subset of credit card advertizin, then it could be so very, very much worse.

gominokouhai: (Default)

This crazy fast-paced 21st century world can be a confusing place, what with its technologically-mediated interactions and 3D plasma tele-visual apparati. Hell, I'm still getting used to the concept of hot and cold running water. You just turn the tap on and there it is. And as soon as you've grown accustomed to this modern miracle, you need to learn how to deal with the sense of impotent outrage that occurs that one time when you turn the tap and running water does not, as expected, simply ensue. We need a word for that.

That's far too specific, pajh, you say. Balls, say I, and also bollocks, testicles, gonads, cods, tallywhackers and stones. This is exactly what English is good at, and my new best friend Mark Forsyth agrees with me.

[T]he English language is ready for anything. If you were to surprise a Frenchman in the act of putting a conger up a mare’s bottom he would probably have to splutter his way through several sentences of explanation, filled with circumlocutory verbocinations. However, ask an English-speaker why they are sodomising a horse with a creature from the deep and they can simply raise a casual eyebrow and ask: Can’t you see I’m feaguing?

The ability to explain why you’re putting an eel up a horse with such holophrastic precision is the birthright of every English-speaking man and woman, and we must reclaim it.

Likewise, we need words for the following newly discovered emotions. Some of these you may recognize:

  • The mild but nonetheless tangible sense of disappointment one gets upon using a public toilet and noticing that the hand dryer is of a make other than a Dyson Airblade™. Srsly guyz. Those things are amazing.
  • The rueful smile and shake of the head, directed at someone whom you otherwise respect, upon seeing them retweet their own #followfriday mentions. Oh dear.
  • The involuntary twitch when your phone beeped a notification but you have your hands full for the next few minutes. Worse if you're currently having sex.
  • The gradually dawning realization that a person you follow on the Twitters is actually turning out to be a big old racist.
  • Combined delight and despair at the expensive new headphones you've bought, because they're so good that you'll have to re-rip everything you own as FLACs.
  • Wildly seesawing confusion at the nationality of a blogger based on subtle clues in his writing style. Is he English with a hint of internationalization due to being on Internet, or is he one of those highly-educated Americans who simply sounds English? Or is that just a convoluted way of saying Canadian? And why does this seem to matter to you anyway? Maybe you're the big old racist. But it's perfectly acceptable to be curious about the origins of a writer who interests you. Or is that what a big old racist would say?
  • Vague sense of unease that you just typed srsly guyz up there in a half-ironic fashion, but intent never comes across well in textual media and you're not sure if the reader won't just assume that you talk that way.

I don't have the benefits of a classical education necessary to retrofabrefact etymologically-plausible morphemes in this manner, except possibly just then, with retrofabrefaction. But I can drop Die Hard references into paragraphs that you wouldn't expect.

Vaguely related, Circumlocutory Verbocinations is going to be the name of my next band. Or possibly Holophrastic Precision.

gominokouhai: (Default)

The other day I'm sitting in Illegal Jack's eating quesadillas with [personal profile] stormsearch, when my phone goes. Beep beep. It's Bixby Snyder.

The lascivious host of popular televisual entertainment It's Not My Problem expressed to me his readiness to purchase something for up to, but presumably not exceeding, the value of US$1.00. Exactly what it is that he would so purchase was not readily apparent. It took me a few minutes to work it out:

  1. The previous evening I had saved a link to an article about the new Robocop film;
  2. The following day the autoblogger had pushed that out to my linkdump;
  3. Twitterfeed had pushed a snippet of text from the linkdump out to the Twitters;
  4. Somebody on the Twitters has a bot that responds to any mention of the word Robocop with Bixby's immortal catchphrase;
  5. Seesmic running in the background on my phone had picked up the twit addressed to me, and sent me a notification;
  6. My phone vibrates on my belt while I'm trying to get creative with the application of hot sauces to pulled pork.

(I'd given the Masonic handshake and asked for the super-secret special hot sauces from the back. Ended up rather disappointed. It was just the Cholula range, which I already own, and none of them were particularly hot.)

At no stage in this convoluted chain of events had a human being been involved since about 24 hours beforehand, when I'd saved the original link to Delicious. The rest was an automatic, inevitable process, mediated solely by Internet herself. The next day I get a text from a non-existent TV star.

I love this century.


Vaguely related: the day before I was walking past a hairdressers which was showing the Gangnam Style video on the TV in the back. I saw about two seconds of it from a great distance as I walked past. And I could swear that I was watching Bixby. There is a certain similarity, no?

gominokouhai: (Default)

One of my staff called me Mr. Hamilton today. I had to look behind me to see who she was talking to.

gominokouhai: (Default)

On the train today there was a screwup with my seat reservations. The ticket guy told me to go and fetch my travel partner[0] and we'd be allowed to sit in First Class. Partner thus fetched, [personal profile] stormsearch remained resolutely immobile. The camera case has slipped round, she opined, indicating one of the multifarious impedimenta that adorned her person, so I can't move without hitting people.

It took all my strength not to declaim That's okay dear, they're only the peons in Standard.

That took all of thirty seconds, then, to turn into a dick.[1]

As far as I can tell, these then are the benefits of Scotrail First Class service:

  • The seat is about four inches wider.
    • However, given that my general travel gear includes:
      • mobile smartphone
      • compact camera
      • high-definition fondleslab personal multimedia player
      • half-litre water bottle
      • big bag o' drugs
      all attached to my belt[2], it's not a great deal of help.
  • The seat will recline, should you so will it, by about six inches.
    • This is awesome. I spent the first half hour of the journey just doing this.
  • Antimacassar!
  • The table is slightly wider. It's also more rounded.
    • We worked out that, at a four-person table, all four people could theoretically have a laptop out and be doing work on it without all having to murder each other before they got to Inverkeithing. I can see how this might have practical applications.
  • Sixty-watt table lamp, for no real good reason.
  • Curtain.
  • Complimentary newspaper, although it is the Edinburgh Evening News.
  • Blessed peace and quiet.
  • Immediate smug sense of superiority over the peons in Standard.

For these privileges aforelisted I would have paid £38.90, rather than the comparatively pauperish £20.60 for a seat amongst the plebs. So, I'd be giving up the value of a fillet steak dinner for relative quiet and somewhere to place a laptop that I don't own. I'll stick with Standard and my sound-isolating earphones, thanks. And I'll take that steak a touch on the rare side of medium-rare.


[0] He actually used the phrase travel partner as if that was a thing that people actually say.

[1] Yes yes I know. "What do you mean, turn into, pajh? you're all saying. Shut up.

[2] Other necessities are carried in the camera case and the daysack. That's just the list of things I need as frequently as I need my trousers. I love the great outdoors, but dammit I will have 12.1 megapixel recording capacity and Florence + The Machine on lossless audio while I enjoy being there.

gominokouhai: (Default)

Today: suits. I have worked in the New Town for ten years. Every day I walk past the same people. Only in the last couple of weeks, now that I have a suit on, have they started nodding and smiling at me.

Since I have to wear suits all the time now, I thought I'd broaden my range of shirt colours beyond the standard Henry Ford options, the better to avoid the Nineties movie villain look. Got some blue shirts and some grey shirts (no reason to go crazy, now). The shopguy offered me a shirt with a stripe in it, but I gave him a Look. (Baby steps.) When I wear the blue shirt, every one of my staff mention how nice I look. When I wear the grey shirt, everyone asks me if I'm feeling all right. Wonderful: now I have to learn about colour co-ordination. Currently I'm far too busy learning about gross profit margins, which are fascinating, I can tell you.

The suit I'm currently wearing has very capacious trouser pockets. So capacious are they in fact that they've added a second pocket inside the pocket, so that you have a remote chance of ever finding anything that you put in there. Thoughtful, perhaps, but I'm wondering why they didn't just make it properly in the first place.

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Part One of an occasional series. Today: On Owning a Garden.

Someone is torturing ponies next door. This won't do. It makes the neighbourhood look bad (neighbourhood, hurr hurr), and I'm about ready to call the SSPCA.

What's that you say? Small humans make noises like that?

Can we have the wet weather back again, please?

gominokouhai: (Inspector Fuckup)

At times like this I'm reminded of my youth. When I was in the Cadets, despite being located right next to a large body of something which was technically termed water, there aren't many places to go sailing when you live in Hull. Hiking is a possibility. Drawing semi-permanent artworks on the surface of the clayey soup known as the River Humber is a regular pastime. In order to get in a boat that goes anywhere, you have to travel for some distance. To get to Welton Water, where the mire was sufficiently ungelatinous to be navigable, we had to drive for half an hour and go through one of those antiquated level crossings where you have to press a bell and wait for the wizened level-crossing-supervisor to wake up and get out of his little house and determine that no trains are coming so that he can ponderously wind the barrier up for you with a big handle.

And when we got there, there were no facilities. I remember a pissing session up against the wall at the back of the boathouse. There were no toilets in the boathouse so it had to happen at some point. I hate having to do this, my commanding officer said to me as we stood next to each other, pointedly not looking left nor right, and as we waited, as one does, for the streams to emerge; going back to nature, doing as the animals do. Surely, I thought, but did not say because he was the CO and I was young—but mostly because we both had our cocks out at the time—surely, thought I, this is glorious! going back to nature, as the animals do! Let us run free with the metaphorical wind in our hair, and let us piss up against this wall as MEN do, as VIKINGS do!

I thought it but didn't say it, because, even aged fourteen, I wasn't a total fucking fucknut. Male urinal etiquette is awkward enough without introducing naive conceptions of Romantic philosophy into the argument at the point of, for want of a better word, expression. We finished peeing and I went back to trying not to drown in my jeans because I was too young to own any proper sailing gear yet, and no more was said about it. But it's a conversation that has always stuck with me.

And then we get this.

British company Captive Media thinks it has developed a product that fills a gap in the market - a urinal mounted, urine-controlled games console for men.

It calls it the first "hands-free" video gaming console of its kind.

There really is nothing left. When a man can't pee without being sold something, then surely we've lost all conception of what it is to be people.

Personally, I think that civilization ended when they started putting adverts at eye-height above the urinals. All that's left for us now is vomitoria and an inevitable invasion by the Turks. What we're seeing now is just the final decline before we all become a footnote in the history books of future evolved cockroaches. Let the President lead the way!

This blog post brought to you by the letter P and half a bottle of Zoładkowa Gorzka. Poland's best kept secret, it says on this label, which means that my staff have been holding out on me.

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