Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: This blog

Friday November 24 2017

Yes it’s a busy time here at Chateau BMdotcom.  I have a meeting here this evening, for which I must now prepare, but, preparations are not helped by the fact that the two biggest supermarkets in my vicinity, Tescos Warwick Way, and Sainsburys Wilton Road, are both now shut, so that they can rearrange themselves, refurbish themselves, in time for Christmas presumably.  (And in order to take our minds off the fact that the prices of everything are now shooting upwards.)

This is bizarre.  Couldn’t they collude to take it in turns to shut, rather than colluding (I assume) both to be shutting at the same time.  I am too busy, doing such things as trying to think where I will be going instead to buy food for this evening, to be able to expand here upon this peculiar matter.  Let’s just say it’s lucky for capitalism that I really like it.  If I didn’t, this might have tipped me over the edge into full-on Bolshevism, at which point I might have become the straw that broke the camel of capitalism’s back.

After tonight’s meeting, I then have a succession of pre-Christmas socialisings fixed, for over the coming weekend and into next week.  All very nice and everything, but a struggle to keep track of, and to fit other necessary things around.  Which is why postings here have been a bit perfunctory of late, and why that may continue for a few more days.

Or, it may not.  Because actually, the urge to blog is, for me, hard to estimate the strength of beforehand.  Often, I think, the feeling I feel when busy that there are Things I Must Do, causes me then to avoid doing these Things by instead … blogging.

Right now, for instance, I am supposed to be preparing for this evening.  But instead ...

Yesterday I showed a photo that I actually took yesterday, rather than last year or last decade.  And today I’m doing the same.  I’m showing you another photo that I took yesterday:

image

That’s the inside of the domed roof in the middle of Leadenhall Market in the City of London.  This is another of those photos which is a lot easier to take if you have a twiddly screen, such as I always now have.

Here is the next photo I took, to show you which place I mean:

image

To me, one of the odder things about Leadenhall Market is that all the enterprises plying their trade in it would seem to be obliged by the house rules to proclaim their names in the exact same style and size of lettering.  This is not what you get in most shopping centres, which is what this place basically is.  But, fair enough: their gaff, their rules.  And although in one sense this is uniformity gone a bit mad, in another sense it is variety, because this is not something you see very often.

It is clearly a recent thing, and Wikipedia confirms this:

Between 1990 and 1991 the market received a dramatic redecoration which transformed its appearance, enhancing its architectural character and detail. The redecoration scheme received a special mention in the Civic Trust Awards in 1994.

Ah yes.  Commercial, you understand, but not too commercial.  The subtle business of not being too businesslike.

I passed through this place on my way to Monument tube, having been wandering towards the City and its Big Things from the Bethnal Green area, enjoying the last daylight of a very fine yesterday.  Of which maybe more here later, and of which maybe not more here later.  (This blog is also not very businesslike.)

Monday November 06 2017

This blog regularly suffers from this condition:

The maxim “Nothing avails but perfection” may be spelt shorter: “ Paralysis”.

Today, for instance, I journeyed forth, north, and got some great photos.  But I want to get my report of today’s photo-triumphs exactly right, which means that, quite possibly, I won’t ever report them at all.  How paralytic is that?  Very.

However, this evening, I met some people who every now and again take a look at this blog.  Not a read of it, you understand.  They look.  At the photos.  So here is a photo for such “readers”, taken just over a decade ago, of a lady with a nice headscarf taking a photo with her then state-of-the-art but now hopelessly out-of-date mobile phone:

image

It was not long before then that I started seriously trying to take photos of photoers that excluded their faces.

Saturday September 16 2017

I opened a special word processing file, to make sure that the signals I was sending didn’t go anywhere else:

Cccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc
cccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccmnnnnnnn
nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnmmmmm
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmnmmmmmmmmmmmmmmn
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmnmccccmncnmm
mmmmmcvvvvvvvvvcvnmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
mmmmnvclllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk
kkkkkkkkkkkk,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,..................................................
....................................................................................................l…
......lllll.kkkkllllllllllllllllllllllllllll,kl

But what was I doing?

This.  (I had to cheat by adding lots of carriage returns to the above gibberish, or this posting would have broken this blog):

image

That’s the trouble with keyboards.  Their letters disappear.  I’m sure that when the people who make these keyboards release them into the wild, they believe that they’ve done everything possible to stop this sort of thing, and that the letters will last for ever.  But they never do.

I particularly like what I did with the horizontal Vs there.

Friday September 08 2017

For all I know the sky was quite dramatic over other places too, but it was in Brixton that I saw it:

imageimageimage
imageimageimage

Often, when I show photos here, they were taken days, weeks, months or even years ago.  Yesterday, there were photos that were taken ten years ago.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but: the above photos were taken earlier this evening, when I journeyed out to Brixton Curry’s PC World Carphone Warehouse or whatever the &&&&& it’s called, to try and to fail to buy a new TV.  Which means that this is topical meteorological reportage.

Click on any of the above photos if you wish, and if you do you’ll get the bigger versions.  But I actually think that the smaller versions are more dramatic, because more abstract and less of something.  Like little oil paintings.  Especially the first one.

Friday September 01 2017

Today being the BMdotcom day for cats, and now also for other creatures, here is another creature, in this case a chicken, in an advert:

image

And here, photoed by me recently, outside the Old Vic theatre, is one of these excellent machines referred to in the advert, in action:

image

You can surely see what I did there, and I assure you that it was no fluke.  I waited for it to say 8.  I also have 9 and 7, because I wanted to make quite sure.  I have been photoing these excellent machines for quite a while now.

The 8build website.  They’re doing some work on the Old Vic.

On the left in the distance, nearing completion, One Blackfriars.  I find liking this Thing a bit of an effort, but I’ll get there.  I always do with such Things.  According to that (Wikipedia), One Blackfriars is nicknamed “The Vase”.  I smell, although I have no evidence for this, an attempt at preemptive nicknaming, by the people who built this Thing.  “We’ll call it The Vase, to stop London calling it something worse.” That’s what happened with The Shard, after all.  And that name stuck.

I tried to make the title of this “8”, but apparently a number with no letters is not allowed.

Sunday August 13 2017

Although: I promise nothing.

The Plan began in my head as an exercise in cleansing my desktop of open windows, of the sort that are causing my computer to run out of memory, and to go back to behaving like a bad tempered human assistant rather than a new school computer, which is what it is when not overburdened with open windows.  “I thought you wanted me to do X.  Now you want me to focus on Y.  Give me time to change focus.  Or better still, stop doing this.  Grumble grumble.” That is what my computer would be saying, if it was the sort that ever said things.

What I will be doing is plonking down links to things , and then maybe, or maybe not, explaining a single figure percentage of the reason why these links interest me.  I will not say everything I have in mind to say about the things linked to, or indeed anything very substantial, merely something, or nothing.  Then, I will close the windows devoted to these links, and the idea is that the links from here will serve as substitutes for the open windows.  They probably won’t.  When I compile lists, I immediately forget everything on them, and when I do blog postings I immediately move on to something quite different.  So perhaps there will be no August 2017 Old School Blogging (2): This Interesting Little Subject.  But maybe there will.

I have already created another Word(clone) file entitled “August 2017 Old School Blogging (2)”, and have put those very words at the top of it, so as of now, it all looks quite promising.

Tuesday August 01 2017

Today, my priority is not blogging well.  It is blogging early, so that I don’t have to bother with blogging for the rest of today.  I do not want to bother about blogging for the rest of the day because I am now sleep deprived.

One of the many symptoms of advancing age is the inability of the body to control temperature like it used to.  Younger people experience this inability as the notorious oldie habit of having the heating turned up too high.  But this inability also takes the form of the body allowing itself to become too hot.  I often get up in the middle of the night not just to piss, but also to cool down.  Throw in the tendency to keep on doing what you get into the habit of doing, and a night’s sleep becomes something that regularly happens in two chunks, rather than one.

Recently, I have been staying up too late and getting up too late.  And I decided to break this pattern this morning by simply not having the second chunk of last night’s sleep.  I got up half way through my night’s sleep at what was actually a pretty good time to be getting up for real.  So I did.

But this means I will be sleepy all of today, and if you are sleepy but don’t want to sleep, you cannot be sitting down.  You have to be walking about, preferably in places where you can’t sleep without catastrophe.  Like: outside.  So, outside is where I will shortly be going, and I plan not to return until quite late, thereby being able to get to sleep at the new and improved earlier time, because so very sleep deprived.

Saturday July 01 2017

Indeed.  My proper screen has conked out, just while I was rebooting, on the instructions of Windows 10, which lead me to fear that my computer was screwed.  But the Guru suggested that the symptoms I was seeing, namely my screen being blank almost all the time, and just occasionally saying things, was perhaps the screen. So, with much difficulty (and much dust) I swapped my misbehaving screen for another, very inferior one, which I acquired a while back to be a visual aid at my meetings, but which I never use, for anything, until now.

And I am being reminded of why I never use it.  It is terrible.  It is small, too yellow, just horrible.  It is rather small, but despite that, great swathes of it on each side are blank, just not being used.  No doubt I could fix that, if I knew how.  But if I did that, I might get used to this screen, and that can’t happen.

Not so very long ago, this screen I’m having to use now would have felt like a miracle.  Now, it feels like a punishment.

Friday June 30 2017

Last night I sent out the reminder emails concerning my meeting tonight, the first of the ones listed in the previous posting, and I hoped for a few more replies saying: I’ll be there.  So far: nothing.  So now I am worried there won’t be enough people, and I will look like a plonker.  This morning I woke up, but then went back to sleep and had a scary and absurdly over-the-top warning dream about what a disaster tonight is going to be.  The plot line was: I went out shopping for stuff, and didn’t even get back in time myself.  Maybe the message was: relax.  It’ll be bad.  But it won’t be this bad.

So, now I face a day of fretting, and a day of making optimistic preparations for what could be a fiasco that won’t need them.  So, what did I just do?  I dashed off a Samizdata posting about the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, and what a bad thing this is.

This is not as crazy as it sounds.  If there is one thing that will totally ruin by last-Friday-of-the-month meetings it is the universal (but unstated-to-my-face) understanding that I am now a person of zero significance, the significance of whose meetings is likewise: zero.  But, I like these meetings, so long as people attend them in sufficient numbers, and I would miss them if I stopped doing them.  So, I need to put myself about more, on Samizdata and generally.  Even though what I really like doing is reading books about people like Chopin, listening to music by people like Chopin, wandering around London and posting pretty pictures of it here, waffling about them, and troubling nobody.

When you get old, you have to go on being what you are and doing what you do, even if you’d rather not.

Sunday May 14 2017

So I got to work, rather late in the day, on a posting about lots of photographers whom I photoed in Barcelona twelve years ago, but it was taking too long, so I dashed off another piece about targetted advertising.  But then I realised that this piece could just as well go up at Samizdata, so that’s where I put it.  And since I am now about to go to bed, this, about that, is your lot for today.

See also an earlier SQotD I did, using a photo I took recently in the Burlington Arcade

Tuesday February 07 2017

From about 6pm London time last night until some time very early this morning (guess: 3am), this blog was down, again.  This has happened quite a few times lately, or so it seems.  I’m starting to think that a major re-arrangement of some sort that is extremely unclear to me may have to be unleashed, although first I would have to work out what that ought to be.

Here I am back again, but I am starting to fret that were I to say that the problem has been solved, I might be exaggerating.  When it comes to the management of this blog, I am now in that lowest-level-of-problem-perception state that I refer to as “SFGO”.  This stands for S(omething) F(unny) G(oing) O(n).

Thursday February 02 2017

I love signs.  So tedious to copy in writing.  So easy to photo.  And I was photoing signs yesterday, at Victoria Station.

Here are two of those signs that go well together:

imageimage

I was just about to stick these up late last night, but discovered that BMdotcom was malfunctioning.

This is not the kind of sign I love to see, when trying to add stuff to this blog, or for that matter just to look at this blog:

MySQL ERROR:

Error Number: 1194

Description: Table ‘exp_throttle’ is marked as crashed and should be repaired

Query: SELECT hits, locked_out, last_activity FROM exp_throttle WHERE ip_address= ‘91.84.14.3’

But, as you can see, it’s now sorted.  Unless you can’t see and it isn’t.

And until the next time something like this happens.  Partly because of such cock-ups, I am, thinking of doing what all other bloggers who still exist did long ago, and switching to Wordpress, which The Guru also suggested.  Comments on the wisdom of that from other gurus would be very welcome.

Meanwhile, while waiting for sanity to be reasserted here, I did a Samizdata posting, entitled Brexit has unified the Conservative Party and divided Labour.  It has.

Thursday January 19 2017

Yes, I (by which I mean this blog) was away, from some time in the middle of last night to now, this morning just after 8am.  Every time this happens I probably lose about one reader (I don’t have many to lose), and I am very glad that this reader was not, this time, you.  I will do another proper posting today.

Thursday January 05 2017

Nothing here today, but something there.  Another case of starting something for here, but putting it there, as was this.

Spent my evening getting my colour printer back in business.  Took me five minutes to find the on/off switch.