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Posted under Miscellanea at .
Tags:politics, satire

The Russʼs children are a wild bunch. We knew that all along. Theyʼve never been easy neighbours, though sometimes their parents were our friends. But yesterday we heard a scream from the little sister and wondered what it was now. Turned out that the biggest brother was dragging her into a cage heʼd built. Sheʼd been trying to get out and meet people, and the brothers didnʼt like that. The littlest of them was always too small to dare to do anything himself, and too scared to talk to anyone or to disobey. So heʼd helped build the cage and kept quiet.

We wondered what to do. Could we, should we, do anything? Sometimes everyone knows whatʼs going on, but no-one says anything. This wasnʼt the first time sheʼd been dragged into the house and tied down, while Big Brother did whatever he wanted with her, and the Little Brother sat and watched, giggling to himself about the things heʼd do when he grew up. How she got over that and still had enough nerve to talk to anyone, I donʼt know. Perhaps she wants to believe that itʼs good to be friendly, so long as people are friendly to you.

But this time I donʼt know. Iʼm afraid. Iʼve heard of it happening before in other villages. Maybe theyʼll just tie her to the bed again and Big Brother can use her like before. Or maybe heʼs so crazy about her, so mad that heʼs not the only thing in her world. Maybe itʼll happen this time. Maybe heʼll say, it was an honour killing. And all the people looking for excuses will just say, well, honour. Yes, thatʼs important, isnʼt it. Itʼs traditional. Itʼs their family business, after all.

Stop looking at me like that. Youʼre not helping.

Zen & the Art of Synthesiser Maintenance

Posted under Miscellanea at .

So, a new site? Yes, after a year of covid and code. The older site was no longer serving its original purpose, and Iʼm writing now mostly about . . . well, Zen & the Art of Synthesiser Maintenance seems to sum it up. (Contrary to my expectation, it seems no-one had used it before . . . ) Also Iʼm consolidating a few other things here which never worked very well in the old CMS, and mostly got lost in different subdirectories in earlier/other sites. (They still have their original publication dates though, near as I can work them out — anything prior to this post.)

This site will be divided into topical sections for ease of access, and will be less constrained by templates — Iʼm doing my own CMS. This may involve a bit more vector graphics than works well with off-the-shelf software, and anything I fancy trying out. Some pages will even have scripts for special operations, but this will always be a) handcrafted, b) lightweight, c) served from this domain, d) stated and explained, and e) honest (but donʼt just trust me on that). Enter at your own pleasure over pain ratio, but feel free to contact me about visibility issues.

Another Bird in the Hand

Posted under Miscellanea at .
Tags:photographs, wildlife

sturnus vulgaris zetlandicus, a bit soot-stained

Another one. This one, as so often, in the stove. Not sure how long it was there, probably less than a day. A bit more cantankerous than the last, and a bit sooty. (These two things may be related.) Youʼd think birds would have the sense not to fly down a dark reeky hole, but then itʼs been so warm this year that even in mid-December we havenʼt had the fire on. I suppose we should light it if only to make it smell a bit more daunting.

Evening Waxwing

Posted under Miscellanea at .
Tags:photographs, wildlife

red waxwing perched in a hedge
Bombycilla garrulus garrulus (I think)

Almost got it. These are very interesting birds, so I have the ambition to take a good photograph of them one day. But theyʼre a bit too fast. You see red waxwings, but not for long. Usually blur-red waxwings when you get a camera near them. So long as they keep coming back for the berries and rosehips I think thereʼs a chance.

Bad Stars

Posted under Miscellanea at .
Tags:politics, Scotland, UK

So it seems Boris Johnson thinks that devolution and the return of the Scottish Parliament has been a disaster.

Thatʼs somewhat curious, as my experience has been that since 1999 Scotland has been better governed than at any time in my life and probably better than any time in history. And this does not depend on a particular party or coalition being in government; it is a consequence of the existence and the structure of the modern Parliament. Scotland has for twenty years had a series of governments which have been more highly representative of the people, and more responsive to our concerns, than ever before. Which is a great deal more than can be said for the United Kingdom governments over that time.

So who exactly has this been disastrous for? Not for Scots; so, for English people perhaps? I rather doubt it. For the most part it has been irrelevant, but it is true that many English people have expressed a sense of envy, and of disappointment in Westminster. We make them look bad. But even so it is scarcely disastrous. Perhaps for the British establishment? But how? Has their ineptitude been shown up so critically? Well, yes, but even that has been simply by events rather than by the existence of a Scottish political system. Except perhaps just recently, in the comparative performance of the governments relating to the pandemic. Is that what heʼs on about?

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Family-Friendly Filtering

Posted under Miscellanea at .
Tags:politics, software, USA

I will be tremendously glad when the American election is finally over . . . or at least, when Donald Trump is no longer in the news, which may take a while longer. Thereʼs a great many obvious reasons for this, but the one that matters to me at a visceral level is that Iʼve spent the last five years or so seeing photographs of him on web pages, on my laptop. I suppose that I have to some extent become inured to the sight, or at least a bit more adept at looking slightly away, but still, every time I scroll up the page, he goes down in the direction of between my thighs, and I have the sense that heʼs about to grab my pussy, or something.

Which makes me think that it would be nice if there were some sort of browser filter available to just block images of him completely. Iʼm not aware of one, but it would be a good idea . . . or indeed perhaps a more general filter that you could train for any face. Critically, it should run on the local system; I donʼt especially want a filter which tells some remote site what news pages Iʼm reading . . . 

Or maybe thatʼs too much of an ask, or it might be too power-hungry (like someone else I coulddid mention). My brain is at least half-way able to block him out, though itʼs taken four years of implied sexual assaults to achieve it. (Or maybe itʼs achieved in spite of it.) Maybe it would be a waste of all that effort to turn to software now. Still, itʼs a thought; there are likely to be other faces Iʼd prefer to block at greater speed.

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