Brian Micklethwait's Blog
In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.Home
Chris Cooper on Longer life would make most of us (certainly me) more energetic and ambitious
Brian Micklethwait on Indian sign cautions against selfie sticks
Michael Jennings on Indian sign cautions against selfie sticks
Brian Micklethwait on Photoing last Friday's Last Friday meeting
Michael Jennings on Photoing last Friday's Last Friday meeting
Brian Micklethwait on Tim Marshall on 'Sykes-Picot'
Patrick Crozier on Tim Marshall on 'Sykes-Picot'
kenforthewin on The most newsworthy thing so far done by a drone
6000 on UPS drones and drone vans
6000 on Guess what this is
Most recent entries
- And in Other creatures news …
- Cat proximity awareness
- Looking up in the City
- Indian sign cautions against selfie sticks
- Leake Street photo session
- Longer life would make most of us (certainly me) more energetic and ambitious
- Azure Window broken
- Beltane & Pop van parked on the South Bank yesterday afternoon
- New River Walk
- Die Meistersinger was very good
- Spring in Islington
- ROH Covent Garden here I come
- Today’s plan
- Photoing the faces of strangers (or in my case: not)
- England crush Scotland in the 6N – plus the hugeness of home advantage
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6000 Miles from Civilisation
A Decent Muesli
Adventures in Capitalism
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
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Chase me ladies, I'm in the cavalry
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we make money not art
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This and that
Category archive: This blog
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).
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:
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:
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= ‘18.104.22.168’
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.
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.
Spent my evening getting my colour printer back in business. Took me five minutes to find the on/off switch.
My entertaining today is going very well, but is leaving me about zero time to do any blogging. I was too busy preparing for my guests, and am now too busy happily consorting with them.
By the time you read this, the new year will be with us. I hope that it will be a happy year for you. And, come to that, for me.
As I told myself I would, I spent the day tidying. But it ended up being tidying of a rather peculiar and imperfect sort, with which I suspect most of us are guiltily familiar. Basically what I did was take a festeringly huge pile of paper, and do two things to it. First, I threw out some of the more obviously expendable pieces of paper. And second, I divided the bits of paper into piles according to the size of the paper. Not by content, by size. Well, there was a bit of content sorting, but far less than there should have been. The result looks tidy, but is merely chaos of a more visually organised sort.
But the really good thing is that chucking out and arranging by size has caused the festering paper heap to shrink to about half its previous size, even though I didn’t chuck out anything like half of it.
All of which, although nothing like perfect, is still a definite achievement. Despite reducing the amount of temporary shelving that has been cluttering up my home, I have still managed to free up quite a bit of surface space, which will make any future attempts at tidying a lot easier.
But all of the above is to understate the happiness I now feel. Having gone through all the paper, even though I have not done much with most of it, it now no longer afflicts me with the power of the unknown. I now have its measure. Before, it loomed over me like an unexplored mountain range. Now it is more like a big garden. The plants are not where I want them, but the weeds have taken a severe beating, and I now know my way around. My subconscious will now throw up lots of new ideas about what the next act of ordering and/or eliminating might be.
Plus, while doing all of the above, I sort of became addicted to the process. I have some entertaining to do over the next couple of days, but when that is done, I need to get back to the tidying, before this addiction has gone.
None of which may be very exciting to you. But this is my blog, and I expect one day to be rereading this myself, very fondly. This posting is not so much me entertaining you. It is me rewarding me. Me, you might say, giving myself a pat on the back.
Quite often, I settle down to write something for here, and end up with something which would go equally well at Samizdata. Whenever I realise this, I tend to put whatever it is at Samizdata, and leave only the less political and more “trivial” (the “s because trivia is often not at all trivial) stuff for here. Often, these are pieces that I would never have written had I not started out writing them for here.
Today I just did this again, in a piece about people who are F4BF (famous for being famous), and about the contribution that such persons make to the world.
The rest of today is set aside for more tidying up, so that may well be it, for here, for today.
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?