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Preview: I often dream of trains

I often dream of trains

I often dream of trains -

Last Build Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2017 11:03:56 GMT

Copyright: NOINDEX

The Russians are running the DHSS.

Mon, 17 Apr 2017 11:03:56 GMT



It first was a rumour dismissed as a lie
But then came the evidence none could deny:
A double page spread in the Sunday Express –
The Russians are running the DHSS!

It's probably because I was younger and hadn't fully understood the intersections of geopolitics, monopoly capital and the military-entertainment complex, but things seemed simpler then. The various Enemies of the State, Enemies Within and Without, Red Menaces and Terrorists who were not to be given the Oxygen of Publicity were far away and from places we knew very little about. Berlin, Bradford and Belfast, mostly.

Perhaps that's why PRNK is so popular with the old people who think they run things right now. It's like Nike or IBM - a brand they understand with a solid concept among ABC1s and iconography with outstanding name-recognition which can be upsold to the Twitterati and their 'four legs good, two legs amusing animal picture' communication style.

Which is a long way round to 'I've abandoned LJ for reasons that are mostly political but partly ennui. I don't know how long the current post-frenzy will last, but you're welcome to follow along on DW. This has all lasted an amazingly long time in internet years.'

I should probably have set up crossposting for this one. It came out better than I expected.

Well there's a turn-up for the book(s).Future Shock.

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 23:10:30 GMT

I actually finished a short story. And indeed started it. There's a middle, too.

(Wants to mature for a bit before editing, mind)

I believe I shall be really quite pleased with that outcome.

The bladders of a thousand skinny puppy fansVoices of the dead

Sun, 06 Nov 2016 22:54:33 GMT

Viewing Severed Heads on the industrial floor of Slimelight was... Actually entirely appropriate. So was bumping into lovely people while on the way out and then comprehensively missing any likely bus because of jabbering about, er, stuff.

The setlist is probably elsewhere on the internet already, but 'Goodbye tonsils' at volume = kidney-wobbling was surprisingly hallucinogenic. In that like all older Sevs tracks, it is at least two tunes fighting for supremacy, which in the privacy and comfort of yr own nocturnal fondlings you can intellectualise away like it was complicated jazz.

However, in a scrotty club when you've been on the ale and the smoke-machine and then packed into a seething mass of people worrying if they're going to get home in time for the babysitter...

Fuck it, they were really good and played a pile of Clifford hits.

Meanwhile, the Wikipeejah page for City Slab Horror is a delight and I salute for an entirely appropriate version of events:

The album was reviewed by reviewers. Andy Hurt of Sounds magazine wrote that it is "one of the most accomplished, complete works in recent years" and gave the record 4 and 3 quarter and one fifth and a tiny bit more stars out of five. One reviewer pontificated that "with [City Slab Horror], "the Heads" have cemented their place at the forefront of the electronic experimentalists".[5] He was obviously a tosser so most people took no notice of him and as expected Severed Heads has been relegated to the position of something that is only cited by anoraks and one or 2 commercial bands who have members claiming to be influenced by Skinny Puppy.

Christ, but Skinny Puppy were shite. But then alt.gothic was filled with people American students alleging that the most cock-awful rackets were dead Goth and everything. Boyd fucking Rice for instance. No. Just no. Or 'NON', perhaps. I kind of went along with it at the time because there was no useful way of checking w/o sodding off down to Resurrection and paying the splendid Andy and/or Katrina to find out.

HHOS (i)The Mobile Suit Corporation

Thu, 08 Sep 2016 22:29:59 GMT

On the way home, I heave to in a queue of traffic handy for Warmley, where there used to be a brickworks next to where there used to be a railway line. Now there is a park and a bike path, but the station survives as a caff. There is a furious revving and a screech of what should have been tyres, but which smelled to me more like fried clutch. I look for the BMW or JDM something-or-other with a shopping list down the front wing, but there is nothing but a two-stroke Transit (judging by the smoke) and a... Ka?

Posting here seems to be about either computers or cars. That is because I am a middle-class English bloke, and I don't have feelings. I have well-meant mansplaining about the best way to get to Yeovil.

Well imagine my surprise. (i)I know a guy named Larry

Tue, 06 Sep 2016 21:46:34 GMT

I have a horrible feeling that if you found all my posts where I'd gone off on one about the awfulness of computers, you'd also find companion pieces that mostly read 'S'alright. Fixed it.' that arrived a couple of days later.

Is that good? It's probably good.

i) Use ISC Kea for DHCP(4|6) server(s).
ii) Use dhcpcd5 for the client.
iii) Write a sed(1) one-liner that runs as the last thing in yr preseed script and comments out any 'iface eth' lines in /etc/network/interfaces.

Well, I say 'write'. I mean 'find on the internet like everyone else.'

You are not expected to understand this. Headache EP.

Fri, 02 Sep 2016 22:47:49 GMT

One of the things that I'm doing at work is hacking on our VM-build rig so that is it less terrible to use. [1] Coincidentally, there's some network-fondling going on that will make it 'trivial'(tm) to do IPv6 on the servers. So I have this medium-sized chain of VMs and config running on the Xen cluster in the basement and fucking hell has it been a right old laugh to make any of it work, hoo boy let me tell you.So in order, from a notional left where the will to build a new virtual machine that will do Server! Things! resides in a representative Carbon Unit, to the far right hand side of the process where there is a Server! Doing Things! this is what we find.Generating VMs using the Xen API is... Not actively unpleasant. It is a mild inconvenience that all the Xen docco assumes that you're using Python. (Is there a Config Management tool based around Python? I mean, there probably is. Fabric?) However, it's just an API and the Ruby wrapper insulates one from the worst of the XMLRPC hatefulness. However. Generating a VM is only about 10% of the job. After that you must get the thing to boot enough of an OS to install something, and fairly obviously automate that install completely so your interaction with the process is some command-line fun followed a mug of tea later by the monitoring system telling you your new box is live. Beardian have a thing they call 'preseeding', which is more or less scripting the sequence of install menus that you get on every Beard-derived distro. No I do not wish to take part in the popularity contest. I don't know anyone who does.We had a working preseed rig, but it was generated from the Squeeze docs, massaged for Wheezy and mostly broke for Jessie. Along with the Xen heads and a set of other customs and practices that were only there because they were there.I like throwing code away it is great.The IPv6 bits for preseeding are, er, entirely undocumented. Thus I spent about a week, in between rebuilding obsolete Xen servers, discovering that though the manuals allege that DHCPv6 is supported, it doesn't work in any useful sort of way.For instance. When you configure a Beardian box to do DHCPv4, you'll find a line in its network config that looks like this: 'iface eth0 inet dhcp'. If you copy that and append '6' to the 'inet' bit, then it will allegedly do DHCPv6 as well and you will get a dual-stacked interface. Only not, because the preseed doc is entirely lacking details of the knob you twiddle to enable DHCPv6 such that the installer will write that 'inet6' bit into the network config.DHCPv4 is a fairly ancient protocol that is mostly filled with things the designers thought would be jolly useful at the time. Like this: 'The Impress server option specifies a list of Imagen Impress servers available to the client.' There are probably others for specifying the size and shape of the horseless carriage that will be required to route the packets should the primary link fail. The original plan (from what I remember) for IPv6 was that you wouldn't need any of that sort of rubbish. You'd tell the routers what the first half of the IPv6 allocation was, and the machines connected to same would use their MAC address as the bottom half. Sorted!Yeah, so about that notion of machines just turning up at random points in an IP allocation larger than the observable universe. How are you going to manage that, and given that most people can't even be arsed typing '' into a browser, how d'you think typing 'https://2001:0470:1f15:0fa1:76d4:35ff:fef1:4acd' is going to work for you?Thus DHCPv6 and some bit-twiddling. Given you've already had to set up Router Advertisment to tell your machines what the first half of their IPv6 allocation looks like, you might as well also use that to advertise the fact that this netblock is Managed. Yes, you set the 'M' bit and all the good children will start emitting DHCPv6 queries. Which is obviou[...]

A motoring holiday in the west of England.Autobahn.

Sun, 28 Aug 2016 21:12:39 GMT

A long time ago, when Radio 4 was still a regular feature in my life...

... Which makes it sound like Our Tune, which was a regular feature in other people's lives...

... Which had a theme that is instantly recognisable if you remember Simon sodding Bates, which you would only listen to because it was summer and you were waiting for the Radio One Roadshow, which was a regular feature in dreadful places up and down the coast that may or may not have existed.

(If you clicked that link: you're welcome!)

Mind, one of the chaps at Labs could (and would) hum the first bar, at which point everyone within range would call him a bastard.


There used to be these odd announcements just before the news on R4. "This is an urgent message for Dr. and Mr. Boggis of Carshalton, who are on a motoring holiday in the west of England..."

They always seemed to be from a universe that hadn't invented motorways or a Polio vaccine and where the AA (or RAC) chaps saluted as you went by on your way to an inn that would sell you mild ale. Although perhaps also it was Pa's (and hence my, because that's how family things work until you inspect them for sanity) utter inability to stop on the way somewhere in order to look at something.

Holidays were formatted like this:
i) Get in car. Drive somewhere.
ii) Have holiday.
iii) Get in car. Drive home.

At no point would there be dawdling, loitering, a scenic route or stopping for anything other than actual projectile vomiting.

Retracing one's route, unless one was actually at stage (iii) was right out, too. Which leads to some weird holiday topology and quite advanced map-reading skills. Far more recently, there was this one time I had to give a set of Norwegians a lift back to York at the end of a Whitby weekend so they could catch the longship back to That London. It felt so wrong to be leaving A Holiday before the time allotted to Fun was up. However, we were doing the entire wonky-week, so...

Only another year 'til the next oneSkronky gabber

Mon, 08 Aug 2016 22:48:37 GMT

I'm probably going to do something crap and LJ-antagonistic like post a bunch of pictures to FB that no-one outside that horrible walled attention sink can look at. And indeed that no-one inside that horrible walled attention sink will look at. Or they'll look at them and it'll be as impenetrable as livecoding music.

EMFCamp2016 was utterly cosmic, once I'd got over the lack of sleep.

The badge seems to have one of every sensor, but also seems to crash micropython for a pastime. Although that mostly seemed to be a thundering horde problem followed by a (lack of) caching one. But there's probably not enough elbow room on the board to do it right or something.

I also have a Milliways coin, which has only taken oh-god-about-a-decade-and-a-bit.

Next one:

If you can't wait that long:

Making an exhibition of ourselves in a tent filled with hackersNostradamus Pentester and the Weiand 174

Wed, 27 Jul 2016 20:43:44 GMT

Or indeed a workshop. And hopefully a comfortable number of fine people.

Not like in filmsFactory Floor

Wed, 29 Jun 2016 18:37:05 GMT

On Monday, we were driving up through Old Market towards the Volunteer when there was a noise of more-or-less unsilenced motorcycle.

I commend you all to go visit the Volunteer while they're having a Japanese 'pop up' cooking-thing. It is all lovely and goes nicely with any of the beers they may have on tap. Although you will become the sort of person who visits a 'pop up' thing and thus be forced to don a paper bag when mixing with sensible people from now on.

Anyway. Motorcycle. Or in this case quadbike. Quadbikes. Weaving through the traffic in a manner familiar to those who might have seen the Banana Splits television programme, which sucked the colour from the country in the early seventies and left us with brown and avocado until we were saved by the Thatcherite shock troops of the 23rd Laura Ashley bombardment wing some years later.

If you are unfamiliar with the start of the Banana Splits television programme, the pair of scrote-piloted quadbikes were weaving through the traffic up Old Market towards the 90-degree bend as if they had stolen them. Like everyone else, I slowed right down because killing bikers, even scrotey ones, is a really bad idea. Thus I was a couple of car lengths away from the 90-degree bend opposite the big old hotel/bar thing at the top of Old Market when one of the scrotes zoomed up on the inside.

I don't know much about making quadbikes go around corners. I suspect that like most other vehicles, steaming up the outside, clipping the apex and powering away is the correct way of doing it. So when scrotey-boy steamed up the inside, I was paying attention because I wanted to see how he did it. I think it would have gone better had he been able to make the back end break away and been able to steer round the corner on the throttle.

As it was, the big balloon tyres performed as normal and collapsed on the outside, which if not corrected would spit him sideways and through a taxi office window. He tried to straighten up, but it was a 90-degree bend opposite a big old hotel/bar.

It was like watching someone on one of those bouncy-castle-velcro-suit games that people have a go on when they're drunk and always smell of vomit. Only on a quadbike travelling at circa 20mph into a solidly built hotel/bar. The quadbike bounced back into the middle of the road and scrotey-boy crumpled into the middle of the pavement.

Burning Chrome. Or Firefox. Whichever.Brightly-coloured sugar crystals and ant powder.

Sun, 19 Jun 2016 22:25:58 GMT

A couple of months ago, I was probably opining about how I'd managed to successfully burn out on webdev-for-not-work projects, and how even writing down what happened made me feel carsick.

Not 'Oh jayzus what happened that last beer was a bad idea and so were the vodkas that it followed' sick, because I know what a hangover feels like and it's not like that. Nor even is it 'keeping anything on the inside is no longer optional curse you patient zero'.

It is 'I can smell Old Spice and we are on that long straight bit of road away from the Mythe Bridge and towards Ledbury and I would rather be at home playing with Lego than having to go and visit that woman who really doesn't seem to like us.' which was not nice, but which we kept on doing because of duty. And probably guilt leverage and fucked up family dynamics and oh anyway I was talking about coding.

Doing things with Rails (or Sinatra or Camping or oh just fuck off none of this shit works) makes me feel ill.

Today I did Sinatra things in more or less the same sort of way that you'd clean out layers of muck and dead forest animals from a disused shed. Crack on with it as quickly as possibly, breathe very sparingly so as not absorb too much atmosphere and do not think about what you're doing lest your unwilling suspension of belief look the wrong way at the wrong moment and it all comes clattering down as you steam outside to retch into a patch of stinging nettles next to the rotten door.

At some point I have to dive back in and make the thing sanitise its input and probably do proper work-queue things, which is going to mean more bloody Rails bolt-ons and some shitey edifice of opaque Gems with a pile of github bug reports going back two years. And toiling away in the sweaty dark at the back of the shed where the sludge is deepest, but at least you can't really see what you're shovelling. That crunchy squelching when you took a step sideways was probably a pheasant skull. That'll never come out of the treads on your boots.

Not tonight though. Tonight I have had quite enough of feeling like I'm going to vom.

Cheerful Friday explorations.Unidentified BBC radio theme

Fri, 17 Jun 2016 18:57:30 GMT

Often, after the sort of traffic experience that generally makes other people burn off the excess adrenaline by some freestyle swearing and gesticulation, I wonder if what actually happened was that I died on the road back there and I just think I'm beetling on with the rest of my life out of inertia.

Yes, I have seen 'Jacob's Ladder.'

Something something bicycle something closed motorway.Lung capacity's a bit average mind

Sun, 12 Jun 2016 22:15:11 GMT

It appears that an ideal method for calming me the fuck down is to go out and ride a bike for an hour. For the first time in six months.

We'll see if the usual post-effort horrorshow arrives tomorrow, I guess.

Talking backwards from the year 4000. (Old person waves stick at cloud-servers)Teethgrinder

Sat, 11 Jun 2016 19:33:54 GMT

After I posted a two-sentence rant on a friend's FB, I had to stop and think.

Thought one was that all of Rupert's actual friends (ie - not some mental ex-goth failing to make it as a SF writer because interesting computer things and uninteresting life things keep happening, that he last spoke to at least twenty years ago) will consider me a drive-by bell end. Which is how things work on FB because there's no actual sense of how people know each other. There's this amorphous blob of probably-human outside your house that keeps flinging pictures of cats through your window and anyone who stops by for a slice of tea and to parse the time around (Lennon) is going to have to get used to ducking regularly or get as good at gas-grenade tennis as recent French protesters.

I want to see English protesters hitting teargas canisters back over police lines with a good square cut.

The other thought was that my job is a permanent orbit around computers being entirely shite at everything they are called upon to do. Or rather that people are shit at working out what they want the computers for.

Devops, right? Automate all the things! Deploy fast! Fail faster! Devs and Ops (and Net types and DB-fondlers if you want any hope of making progress) working side-by-side on piano keyboards for make great benefit of great christ who writes this shit?

Hardware is by and large awful and will break in as entertaining a way as possible at the least appropriate time. For instance about a week before the warranty runs out. Then it will take $supplier two weeks to mend same, by which time oh dear well yer kit's not supported. So you can either have multiple boxes and load-balance the crap out of everything (or round-robin DNS or...) which increases the likelihood of failure because you've more things to go wrong. Or you can rent service on someone else's pile of computers. Which will expose you to exactly the same set of problems only this time you have to wait for someone else to fix it. Or have three of everything at three times the cost.

OSes wear out. You have got a plan for when your distro is no longer supported and yet another OpenSSL exploit arrives, right? What's that? There's no engineering budget for migrating off ShonkOS-7 to ShonkOS-9 because that would mean rewriting the front-end layer in Grollop since all the devs on the Spon framework left when it turned out the project owner was seen coming out of a Styx gig? Oh dear oh dear. It seems to me that projects exist in two states - either being maintained or being decommissioned. Which is it now, Ralph?

Frameworks. Oh god frameworks.

OS packages are a good idea, though. None of that rubbish with unpacking a tarball on a server and calling './configure && make && make install' a valid method of software distribution. Doing that now would be daft when even toy languages come with their own package management rig. I mean, all you have to do to ensure a repeatable experience is distribute a textfile with yr c0de that lists all the dependencies on third-party libraries and their versions and then run a one-liner to ensure that everything's up to date... You know, does that one-liner look suspiciously like a 'make install' with false nose and glasses? Because that what it looks like to me.

All of this is just papering over the cracks...

... Ah, stuff it.

Talking backwards from the year 4000. (Using 'social' 'media' wrong on purpose)The distant sound of bent pushrods.

Sun, 05 Jun 2016 19:46:05 GMT

I'm starting to get the impression that my 'social' 'media' 'profile' would likely become quite something if I just shut up and posted more pictures of more inanimate objects.

Aside (i): this '#nofilter' business. What does that even mean? My initial assumption was that whoever-it-is that was using that hashtag had finally admitted to having no boundaries whatsoever and that we could look forward to pictures of their bog, distraught partner or pile of Jack Wills carriers. LIke some app-happy Toby Young.

We don't talk about folksonomy any more, do we. Clay Shirky is probably doing the nostalgia circuit with that Shingy bloke, no doubt MC'ed by some Barry Shitpeas who's warmup is some twenty minutes on things that people in 2004 found impenetrable - 'D'you remember when the people who could afford houses went on about white dogshit? What was that all about? Etc.' - before Shingy and Shirky take the stage. Two falls, two posts to Corante or a startling haircut to decide the winner..

Aside (ii): Out-of-context metadata makes you look like a pillock.

So here's a picture linked to/from Faceache, because I hate what people have done to the internet through sheer greed. It is of a really ratty looking Dodge Challenger. An ancient and agricultural American vehicular conveyance m'lud. Two doors, mostly bonnet and fuel-guzzling iron V8, cart sprung, probably drum brakes at one end and the upholstery in the things smells just like my grandfather's Austin Cambridge.

Aside (iii): See what I did there?

What I would like to know about those things is why that sort of car in that sort of state is so close to a perfect conveyance?

Ok, so it could be better with an IRS, discs all round, modern ECU, modern 4WD and tyres of the same size at each corner. But apart from that...

Mr Jolly lives next door to a comprehensive range of premium cosmetics.Belgian drone-doom, apparently. It's not as good as I had been led to believe. It's just Sabbath, but slower.

Wed, 11 May 2016 21:30:02 GMT

All the survivors of the secret department store wars of the 80s seem to be from House Fraser. I imagine that's actually a nom du guerre and their ancestral homeworld is Giedi Prime. You could tell that something odd was going on if you bothered to pay attention to the layout of the buildings, because nothing quite lined up the way you thought it should. You'd be looping up a central stairwell away from gentlemen's unmentionables and in search of mechanical Christmas decorations that played tunes on a tree filled with tiny anvils, when a right turn would end in a blank wall where a staircase should have been.

I never did find the mechanical decorations again. It was the eighties, so the level of compute and miniaturisation would have been impossible. It was obviously a mistake to leave it somewhere an Earth-native human could find it.

Mind, whenever I do go into Jolly's of Bath, I am disappointed not to be met by Peter Cook with apron and meat-cleaver and telling me to 'Fuck off out of it. Go on. Fuck off.'

That wasn't really what I was going to write about. Perhaps that post needs some more time to mature.

The rain in Spain (Bristol) falls mainly on my spuds (not a euphemism)God knows when but you're doing it again

Tue, 10 May 2016 21:26:33 GMT

I'm still having it bus across Bath because the Bridge on the River Wye Avon still seems to be (w)inching its way from the new developments where there was a crane factory and a gasworks, towards the recycling centre and what looks like quite a nice boozer opposite Victoria Park.

'Park and Ride' should replace the 'Bump and Grind' bits here.

Although that track is nowhere near as good as this one, which is the sort of unhinged racket that all music should aspire to become. Mind, even the alleged HD version is missing half the bass. You'll just have to find the vinyl (and preferably the single-sided 12" like what I have) to get the full benefit.

I wonder when that sort of thing will become dadrock and be part of a Top Gear compilation? It's nearly thirty years old, which is mildly depressing and really quite cheerful and the same time.

Anyway. Victoria Park. As the bus drew level with the play area below the half-pipes, I noticed that the child playing in the Wendy-Bus (It's like a wendy house, but it's a bus. Which exactly the sort of not-very subliminal message we should be sending to the very young - you should live in a bus, then you could drive places with your friends and have adventures. And then fight a pitched battle against the agents of state repression). However, this child was wearing hi-viz, which seemed a little over-protective. Then I spotted a different child in hi-viz joyriding a mini-digger. At which point it became obvious that they were the Children of the Council, which is like 'The children of the stones' but more municipal.

They should totally have a play area with mini-diggers though. It wouldn't be any more dangerous than boat-rental on Pitville (or was it Sandford?) pond, and it would teach the very young useful skills in re. construction and diesel fitting, which would also come in handy when piloting the wendy bus.

'Piloting the wendy bus' sounds only mildly wrong.

Some time later, I fell into conversation with a chap selling the Big Issue. He was at pains to point out that he wasn't homeless, he just didn't fancy living in one. And once he'd sold me my copy, he was going to potter back out to the countryside with his pack and set up camp so he could enjoy the countryside and think about his place in the world.

"Every day, you should ask yourself who you are and what you're doing there," he told me. I allowed as how some might consider that a threat and spend their lives avoiding that sort of question. He gave me a look which probably translated as 'If that's you, then you should stop that real soon now.'

I'm only half convinced that last encounter actually happened.

After that, I had to unblock a drain. I totally felt like my dad.

ADSR / LNER / AMSR / It's just you, JHRTack>>head

Sat, 16 Apr 2016 18:22:55 GMT

I was going to use the line 'One instinctively knows when something is right', but I'm not a great fan of sherry and its cultural baggage of tiddly aunts and false teeth vicars. I also don't really know where to begin to describe what I'm on about, so I'm just going to make typing like a sir until the thing finally falls out of my head and lands with a spludge somewhere unfortunate. Like social media. That's pretty unfortunate.

The thing I get most out of mowing lawns is a kind of brain-off satisfaction in manual labour. Although actually not, because if you're mowing a useful sort of lawn you'll be using something with a motor and whirling sharp things and you'll either be paying attention to that or looking in the long grass for severed body parts. Also you'll be paying attention to the fuel-air mixture or where the extension lead is relative to the whirling sharp things, where small and darting animals and/or children are at any point, where the edge of any mower-consuming steep drops might be, what metallic and/or concrete objects might be hiding in that patch of long grass and your dogshit radar, largely unused while the Party of Labour were in power, will be on maximum gain.

I think this means that one's brain isn't off, it's just not thinking of bloody Ruby or bloody servers or bloody 'git log -p'. However, I was having fun mowing lawns well before the invention of git, Ruby and the development of the x86-64 server architecture as we currently understand it. Thus it's probably not that.

(What was that horrible 'competitor' to MCA with two-level slots and the requirement to configure each card from its own setup floppy? God. Remember when you had to put extra things in computers to make them do something useful? That was shit.)

I think that there's something quite pleasing about orbiting a patch of scruffy ground with a whirly sharp thing and replacing the scruffiness with an abstract figure within which there is order. Or if not order, then a marked change. Given my background, you may see also grain harvesting or ploughing.

I should also note that a rectangular lawn carefully rendered stripy by carefully going up and down, left to right is absolutely no fun at all. It's just suburban, or posby as Ma would have it.

Ironing's another good one. Also properly indented code and sensibly ordered files. Although those things don't feel anything like as nice.

What I'm attempting to get at is that I have no idea what this thing is or what to call it. It's just a thing that I imagine is Just Me. In some ways, I don't want to think too hard about what's going on, just in case it loses its magic.

Traffic news with Neasden PostlethwaiteABS won't save you now

Wed, 13 Apr 2016 19:04:39 GMT

The middle road into Bath from Bristol is now mostly a 40 limit, apart from the bits that are 30. Although at the far end there is a 'National speed limit applies' section each side of Kelston. Which is obviously the near end if you're coming from Bath. Because the daemons of traffic management like a laugh, those are the twistiest bits where you will find a succession of lumpy blind corners and if you're really lucky, an idiot on the far side of the solid white lines overtaking a cyclist in the teeth of oncoming traffic. Because they are idiots.

As you come into (or finally exit) Bath, there are a couple of houses along the outer edge of what's more or less a 120-degree corner. It is either an opportunity for avoiding buses or jumping on the brakes as you sweep down towards it from Kelston.

Today there was a new(ish) Merc jammed neatly but sideways across the gateway to one of those houses. Given the crumpled nature of the black and white chevron signs and the scraped verge, I can only guess that Billy-Bollocks the Merc pilot had been rather too enthusiastic about hoofing it through the twisty bits and managed to have it NASCAR up the 'banking' and into the drive.

I fear I laughed. That sort of crash position is comedy gold.

And now I will bring you the songs of my peopleWellington with Fist and Lighter

Thu, 07 Apr 2016 12:40:34 GMT

Well, not the songs, since Fred Archer was 'more popular' in our house than Elvis. I say 'more popular'. I mean 'About as popular as foot-and-mouth'. So that would be something from the sixties that people didn't talk about much, apart from when they'd point at the far end of the field known as 'The Deerpark'[1] which was up the hill from the reservoir that our drinking water came from, and go 'That was where they dug a big pit and pushed all the carcasses in with a bulldozer'.

I didn't know that Elvis had a second career as a crawler driver in sixties Gloucestershire. I guess the private aircraft would have come in handy, what with the touring, the television and needing to be on site early to run a grease-gun over the idler wheel bearings and check the fuel filter.

[1] Because that was where the people at the Big House kept deer. You can tell this because the surrounding walls are easily twice the height of any others in the area.

"Doe, a fire at an aircraft establishment / Tea, a drink with jam and beer."

Whatever it is that is wrong with my head this week (it is sinus-related), giveth daft ideas and taketh away any semblance of concentration or technical aptitude.

Not a witty title.G-O-H-O-H-O-I-O

Tue, 05 Apr 2016 22:13:00 GMT

Making a post about not making posts is a lot meta and not terribly interesting.

Also kind of a cold start. I'm now left with the problem of how to move from that into something like 'My monitor expired on Good Friday, which was not the first time that electrical kit's blown up on a bank holiday.'

Now the post about not making posts is about how to write the post about not making posts, and why it won't go together right. If this was Tumblr there'd be...

[Inception .gif.]

That file extension looks wrong with a full stop at each end.


Only the electrolytics in the punch/reader's PSU went bang when I last turned it on about a decade ago.

[Steampunk Inception dot gif]

Mind, now it's all Weenix round here, I don't have a handy, local and searchable LJ archive. I'm fairly sure there used to be some Perl lurking that would haul down yr posts and reconstruct them as static HTML. IIRC it came with optional impenetrable Russian javascript that would also download the comments, which most of the time are where the best bits lurk. However, all traces of shite old coding paradigms were removed in the great bobble-hatted object orienteer's purge of 2013, for which we must be mildly sad at the terrible loss of beard and CPAN module. This leaves us with some Python that returns your LJ as a directory of XML files, which, I can't begin to even.

On the other hand, the traditional grep followed by sort|uniq -c|sort -rn reveals the following locations have been used but once each:

In front of the big speakers
Infernal Regions BBS
I'm in the furniture trade
IL 60614

Now the post about how to write the post about not making posts contains a paradox about the number of times part of the metadata about the post about how to write the post about not making posts has been used.


Which does not exist.

A pictorial guide to the mountains of madnessDistant howling

Thu, 24 Mar 2016 20:57:49 GMT

Several times while walking through Bath over the last few weeks, I've felt the skin on my face rippling like a flag in a stiff breeze. It has taken something of a mental effort to pull my expression back into something resembling human, but should I lose concentration I can feel it peeling back to reveal the whatever-it-is beneath.

Most recently, when striding away from the fruit stall and down past the betting shop, my arms and legs joined in. It was quite a lot like I had lost my footing in this reality and was having to clamber over or through unseen obstacles from a different plane.

I became convinced that I was spidering across a not-path apparently suspended above the paving of Kingsmead Square, all limbs at impossible angles and with a face mostly made of too many eyes and teeth.

The negative G force of a 200mph stocker / what happened in 1970Some hemi running on nitro

Mon, 07 Mar 2016 16:37:44 GMT

[ ]

The not-terribly-surprising result of the unexpected weight loss of the other week is that I can function like a 'normal' human being (inasmuch as I ever, etc) for a couple of days at a time. Then I have to lie down until my brain works again, I can operate my fingers and I am able to speak in complete sentences.

It's not much fun. I hope it's over soon.

Talks a lot of wind (again again)Aavikko.

Fri, 26 Feb 2016 18:44:22 GMT

The last few days have been something of a voyage. As if the (what I assume to be) Noro bugs stripped back the layers of experience plastered to the walls of my digestive system like wonky tree-rings and deposited me in the headspace of a sickly eight-year-old huddled under a blanket in dad's big chair in the kitchen, waiting for my four-hourly shot glass of water.

Then, I would dream (or probably hallucinate. It's hard to tell when you're eight and Operation Julie has yet to start.) about knobbly bottles of Lucozade and the promise of egg and chips when I was successfully keeping in water. Now, as mentioned, I hallucinated the GWR timetable and had to make do with a tin of R Whites lemonade for breakfast on Tuesday.

Since it seemed obvious I should now engage in a form of conceptual/gustatory time-travel, I have been thriving on bacon sarnies, ramen, marmite-and-stuff sarnies, tea and Irn Bru. I am in no particular hurry to move forward to the grub-90s, where there is sushi, and anything further afield feels exactly as relevant as Jay Rayner writing about shinning to the top of a palm tree in Eastbourne where the staff perform a vegetarian 'gastro' 'pub' by shying the ingredients of as-yet-unnamed courses from the tree opposite.

I have mostly been listening to Icelandic psych/space rock, Finnish tiki-core and surf-punk from Calgary. I would have liked to have posted more this month.