Brian Micklethwait's Blog
In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.Home
Michael Jennings on To Tottenham (2): Seven Sisters?
Michael Jennings on Scum?
Jackie D on Plan as energy
Drone Misfits on Van – grey but very interesting
Drone Misfits on Droneverts
Michael Thomas on The art of taxi advertising
Mark Rousell on Views from Waterlow Park
6000 on Some more lighthouses for 6k
Michael Jennings on Don't be fooled by the smallness of the building
Gerry on I never thought that we could win
Most recent entries
- Trump makes headlines a year ago
- Arthur Seldon Centenary photos
- More database problems
- To Tottenham (2): Seven Sisters?
- Early dusk
- I am knackered
- Packaging that is too good
- Tidying up
- To Tottenham (1): A fine day (especially for scaffolding)
- Quota Citroen DS
- Plan as energy
- One mobile phone photoer now
- Somebody needs to invent electronically changeable paint
- Clocking clocks
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6000 Miles from Civilisation
A Decent Muesli
Adventures in Capitalism
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
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Burning Our Money
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we make money not art
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Category archive: This blog
Tried to upload some photos but instead got database error messages. I hope that this at least uploads itself, but even this might be a problem.
Well, that did load, but only very slowly. As will presumably be the case with this.
Indeed. This is not one of all-too typical late night, last minute postings. This is me getting my blogging here done before I depart again to Tottenham, because when I get back I will be completely knackered.
Photoed by me last week, in Lower Marsh, where for some reason antique automobiles are often to be seen:
Considering how dark it was, this came out pretty well, I think. I took several other shots of this goddess, most too blurry to be any good.
When I showed the surviving clutch of non-blurry photos that I took of this car to a friend over the weekend, it suddenly seemed to me that this particular photo makes this car look a bit like the E-type Jag. This is not an argument. But it was a definite feeling.
Here is an E-type viewed from a similar angle.
I think what made me see this similarity is that this is the angle that de-emphasises that characteristic upward bulge on the E-type bonnet, a bulge which means that from most angles, the Citroen DS and the E-type do not look the same.
More on my fascination (widely shared) for antique cars in this earlier posting.
A problem stated is often a problem solved.
Problem: There is too much dust in my home and I need to do lots of vacuuming. Problem: But I like to listen to music, of the sort that can’t outgun a vacuum cleaner. These two things don’t go together. Solution: I don’t vacuum. But, problem: I don’t vacuum.
Solution? A device that I can be watching while vacuuming, to amuse myself and vacuum. Answer? Google glasses, to watch movies while vacuuming. Too expensive. Too stupid.
No. Answer: Headphones and a portable music box in one of my pockets, while I vacuum. Good. Problem stated, problem solved.
I find a music box. A small plasicated discus-like object that will perhaps be persuadable to play CDs.
But, it needs AA batteries. I have an abundance of AAA batteries, but cannot immediately put my hands on any AA batteries. I believe I have plenty of AA batteries, but the places where AA batteries are likely to be found are mostly all covered in thick layers of dust.
Ah, the twenty first century and its problems. Well, at least the problem of sticking something up here every day however ridiculous is now solved, for today.
This is not what you want:
Database Error: Unable to connect to your database. Your database appears to be turned off or the database connection settings in your config file are not correct. Please contact your hosting provider if the problem persists.
But it was what you will have got, if you recently tried to read anything at BMdotcom. Don’t know exactly when this started, but it was happening late last night, when I tried to post something,
The Guru was alerted, and had this to say, early this morning:
All seems to be well now. The error was correct in that the database server had stopped. I’m not sure why that is but it restarted without any problems. I checked all the database tables and they all seemed fine. As far as I can see, the website is working correctly now.
Was it something I said? Perhaps the database server was angry at how late I was with the previous posting. I have managed to stick something here every day (give or take a few small hours in the early morning) for really rather a long time, but that has been interrupted, which is a bit of a shame.
Otherwise, all does indeed now seem to be well. I will do some more today, to make up for this.
Indeed. Taken by me, earlier this evening:
If you do not share my fondness for scaffolding, or my particular fondness for scaffolding when it is covered up, rather hastily and imperfectly, with huge stretchy plasticky sheeting, or my extreme fondness for all of that when it is hit hard by bright sunlight, well, never mind. You can quickly tell from a photo whether you like it or you don’t like it, which means that if you don’t like it, only a very little of your life is consumed by this thing that you don’t like. I’m not sure if a picture is worth a thousand words. Certainly not in all circumstances. But a picture takes up far less time that a thousand words does, except if you want it to. Which explains a lot about this blog.
Last weekend and all through this week, despite still not being totally well, I have been doing lots of socialising. I now face more. This Friday I have a meeting at my own home (Michael Jennings speaking about Australia). Today, my cricket buddy Darren and I are going to see Surrey v Gloucs at the Oval. Plus, The Guru and I are, in the midst of all this, trying to fix a visit by him to see to my big old home computer ("Dawkins" is the name I think I gave it), in time to beat the Windows 10 For Free deadline, which I think is on Friday also. So, blogging here during the next few days may be more perfunctory than usual. It may not, but it may.
On the other hand, blogging doesn’t need to take that long, and while doing this apology-for-not=blogging posting, I also concocted another blog posting. See below.
This is why I make a point of promising nothing, so very frequently. Once I have promised nothing, my immediate inclination is to break that promise. Whereas, if I promise something, that is all too likely to be the promise that will get broken.
Usually, I do quota postings in the small hours of the morning. Today, I am doing my quota posting in the big hours of the morning, to get it out of the way before a rather busy day, at the end of which I do not want to be fretting about doing a quota posting. Although, actually, this posting has now turned into something a bit more substantial than that, and I changed the title to something more meaningful. So anyway, yes, cranes:
Ah, cranes! Those structurally perfect votes of confidence in the sky. Those cranes were snapped from the south bank of the river, looking across at The City, on the same day earlier this month that I snapped yesterday’s quota photo. What that new Moderately Big Thing is, that some of the cranes there are ministering to, I do not know, but I like how it looks, in its incomplete state.
With Brexit, will the cranes vanish for a few years, until London sorts itself out and finds itself some new business to be doing? Crexit? (You can always tell when a word has well and truly caught on, because people immediately start trying to apply the same verbal formula to other things. Brexit, verbally speaking, is the new Watergate. Frexit, Swexit, Thisgate, Thatgate, etc. etc.) I thought that the cranes were going to depart after 2008 and all that, but the money people managed to keep the plates spinning on their sticks, and London’s cranes carried on. How will it be this time?
Here is a very pessimistic piece about Britain’s prospects, for the immediately foreseeable future. Does this mean that my crane photo-archive will, in hindsight, be the capturing of a moment of the economic history of London that will now pass? If the cranes do go, how will they look when they return? When the new cranes move in, in ten years time or whenever, will cranes like those above look strangely retro, like digital cameras circa 2005?
Or, will the cranes never return, but instead be replaced by magic electric guns which fill the air with muck and sculpt a building out of the muck, 3D printing style, all in the space of an afternoon?
To you, yes, I hope that you had one, but actually what I’m saying is: I did.
England came belting back against Sri Lanka at Lords. After sampling the London weather last night, I had a feeling that might happen. It was not bright and sunny, more overcast and sweaty. It felt like swing bowler weather, which made SL’s reply yesterday afternoon (to England’s 416) of 162-1 rather strange. Dropped catches apparently. Well, this morning, order was restored and SL are now 218-6. Woakes, luckless yesterday, got a wicket with his first ball. England now look likely winners of that series 3-0. The longer the series goes on, and the more the Lankans get acclimatised (following seriously inadequate practising games), the more it counts beating them. The first game, where SL collapsed twice, meant nothing, I reckon. I’ve been following the score here.
Deep thanks to Michael Vaughan, who mentioned on one of the bits of cricket commentary I listened to that England were also playing Australia. At rugby. Aus 28 Eng 39. Must have been some game, and according to the BBC live updates, it was.
And before all that, I even managed a quick (they’re often the best) Samizdata posting, about something odd I heard on the radio, about the EU.
Here is one of the funner pictures I took while out and about last night, this one taken at the Parliament end of Whitehall:
Great reflections in her sunglasses, right? On the left, as we look, the two devices she is holding, and on the right, you can just see a tiny Big Ben. Is that red thing she is holding a charger?
Plus an elephant.
The onward march of mobile phones into photography continues apace.
I haven’t always been blogging here as early as I’d like to in recent days, but today, I did it.
If you had as good a morning as I did, lucky you.
For years I have wondered how to put videos done by others at this blog. My problem has always been that they were too big. 560 pixels wide instead of 500 pixels, which is the width here. This evening, I thought I observed that “Brexit: The Movie”, as shown at Bishop Hill, was the exact same width as stuff at my blog. So, I rootled around in the source code for the Bishop’s posting of Brexit, and dug up what seemed to be the relevant bit. It turned out I was wrong about the width. It was 560, same as it always seems to be, But having got this far I tried just changing the bit in the code where it said “560” to “500”, and that seemed to work. The video seemed to get a bit smaller. (I changed 500 to 300 just to be sure I wasn’t imagining it.) I did some more sums, which told me to change 315 to 280, and here it is, 500 pixels wide, fingers crossed:
There is some kind of EUro-metaphor or EUro-moral buried in this story, concerning believing that a straight-jacket was actually tighter and more rigid than it really was, but I’m too tired to be bothering about that.
Tomorrow, I will watch it.
I’m posting the photos below of these various ladies which I took yesterday outside Westminster Abbey, (a) because I like them and hope that you do too, but also (b) because I am checking out a new way to present photos here.
The problem has been how to contrive horizontal spaces between little photos. I’m doing it a different way here, which I hope gives me tighter control over the ultimate width of space occupied, and thus avoids the final one of a horizontal set of them (in this case just the two) spilling over, at some magnifications and/or on some devices, onto a newly created next line.
Well according to my posting software, that’s working.
If anyone sees anything weird of ugly, rather than two photos on the top next to each other (with a small gap in between) and then another below them and exactly the same width as the combined width of the two photos above plus the gap, please leave a comment.
All three photos are the result of my quest to make faces unrecognisable to computers. The top two show no faces at all. The two faces below? Well, do those sunglasses do the anonymity job? I hope so.
Reflective sunglasses like these certainly provide me with lots of photo-fun. The lady on the left as we look has both Big Ben and the selfie stick she was using reflected in her glasses, twice. The lady on the right has this church, next to Westminster Abbey, reflected in her specs. Click on it and you’ll see all this more clearly.
And I love those coloured finger nails, top right.
Indeed. While searching through the archives for this picture, I came upon this one:
I’d just seen a Superman v Batman poster in the tube, so this 3D Batmovie advert jumped out at me, metaphorically speaking. The photo was taken in May 2008, so anyone who cares can work out which Batmovie that would be.
I like the highly appropriate architectural background. That being, I think (supercommenter Alastair may want to correct me), County Hall.
Here’s a Superheroine, photoed moments later:
I’m guessing that’s Lara Croft.
Later I took this snap, of the appendages of a slightly less superheroic figure:
The South Bank of the River Thames abounds with people dressed up in strange costumes, soliciting money. I say not so superheroic, but these figures do at least remain superheroically immobile.
Now that the weather has at last changed from wintry to springy, I am about to go out to take more snaps, and I wanted my blogging duties here done before all that. And now they are.
Well, the New Year (even though the New Year is actually getting quite old now) Resolution here, to blog early, and sometimes even to blog often, is working well. I haven’t delayed going to bed because of this blog for about a week, and I sense that this may even continue.
Friday is my day for cats, and now also for other creatures, and already this Friday, even though it not yet even the middle of the day, there has already been a posting here about dogs. Republican dogs. That posting is right below this one, but there’s the link anyway.
And here now is another creature posting, about a truly unique other creature - half cat, yes, but also half dog, half bee, half zebra, and wholly suitcase - of the sort that kids can ride, at airports, to stop them getting bored:
Apparently Trunki made the first of these, and then some Hong Kong guys did a cheaper knock-off, and Trunki complained. Trunki lost.
These cases - the physical (suit)case and the legal case - illustrate the fine line that divides a design from an idea:
But five Supreme Court justices unanimously disagreed, and ruled in favour of PMS on Wednesday – stating that while it had “sympathy for Magmatic”, the “Design Right is intended to protect designs not ideas”.
It looks a lot like a design being copied to me. Not that I mind. And actually, I think the Hong Kong version is better, because the original can’t make up its mind whether its eyes are eyes or horns. HK case resolves this by having eyes and horns.
PMS website: here.
I have found that if I write things down here, I tend to remember them, and think about about them.
This has worked when I needed to train myself to do searches for things, rather than just living in a perpetual state of ignorant curiosity, like you had to before the internet came along. Being quite old and set in my ways when the internet arrived, I found adapting to the new reality rather hard.
If what I write down concerns something I have photoed and want to hot more of, then I tend to be more alert, having written about whatever it was, to further photo-ops along similar lines.
And now, I am hoping that if I write here about doing stuff here first thing, or nearly first thing, in the morning, that will make me more likely to do that. That way, I won’t be scrabbling about, as I was last night, putting up any old rubbish here, to keep my one-a-day record here going, for however long it’s been going. The big problem with that being that it keeps me awake at the exact time when I need to be getting to sleep and then getting up decently early the next morning, and have time to get my blogging here done nice and early. I want the right sort of feedback loop rather than the wrong sort.
So much of success in life is habit, and I want to cultivate the habit of doing my self-imposed duty here nice and early in the day, so that the rest of the day then becomes freer for me to do more consequential things. Late is better than nothing, but early would be much better, and when I do early it is much better.
Everyone says that the rule for these sorts of resolutions is to phrase them to yourself positively rather than negatively. Say and picture what you want, rather than what you want to avoid. If you say and picture what you want to avoid, your subconscious will see that picture, and do that, while not attending to the “don’t” bit, the subsconscious being strong with pictures but not so good with words and with weird abstractions like “avoid”. Phrasing and picturing it positively means you are presenting to your subconscious the kind of picture you want your subconscious to take absorb and act upon.
And the reason everyone says all of that is because, if my experience is anything to go by, all of that is very true. So here I am picturing what I want to do. Not hard, since I am now doing that exact thing.
At that excellent party last night, the one that gave rise to last night’s spectacular non sequitur of a posting, Rob Fisher mentioned that he had thoughts from time to time which are too inconsequential and un-thought-through for Samizdata, but which are still definitely thoughts that he wants to put out there, but for which he has no outlet. He used to have a personal blog, but not since he started writing for Samizdata.
My response was this: Write these thoughts down. Send them to BrianMicklethwaitDotCom, explicitly identifying them as submissions to BrianMicklethwaitDotCom. And the chances, overwhelmingly, are that I will post them here as guest postings. After all, as last night’s spectacular non sequitur of a posting illustrates, the quality control here is very, very relaxed. Sometimes stuff here is good, but it absolutely doesn’t have to be. It just has to be stuff.
I just wanted to make that clear, in case Rob has forgotten, or has remembered but thought that I was just rambling drunkenly and didn’t mean it.
This is not a general invitation to all of my acquaintances to bombard me with drunken would-be bloggage. And it is certainly not an invitation to wanker social media PR slaves to “submit” boring pieces about things I don’t care about by people I don’t care about, sometimes hinting at money that I will never get, and causing my email address to get onto yet more lists, wielded by yet more wanker social media PR slaves. Not that me saying that will put these wanker social media PR slaves off. But I just wanted to get it out there.
The plan was that this week, I would be catching up with myself on the blogging front. Instead I have found myself going out and doing things, and I have got even further behind.
So it is again this evening. After another busy day doing things, I have time and energy left now only to show you a snap I took of a shop window display somewhere in Oxford Street:
Yes, it’s a Star Wars stormtrooper facing a communications crisis, and improvising, with some obsolete and inconveniently large equipment.
I love shop window displays, especially at Christmas Time of course, when they erupt into Vesuvii of invention. Again, these are not things that you would want to buy, even the bits of them that are for sale. But I do enjoy photoing them. Not least because they are usually very well lit.