Organic Practical - A Memory From Way Way Back

A long time ago, I dropped out of an Organic Chemistry degree.

I was in the first year. Barely a few months in. There was a practical. Thursday afternoon, practical. We had the job of making an organic compound. It was a solid, granular, crystalline product. We were given two weeks to synthesise it from phenetole and other compounds.

Not only were we to synthesise it - we had to purify the stuff and weigh it, check its purity after repeated extractions and crystallisations.

So after a week and a half, I had all of this stuff together in a conical flask, ready to begin the process of making the crystalline solid, when the KLUTZ at the bench next to me knocked my conical flask into the sink.

I just stood there, watching as one and a half weeks’ work drained away down the sink, and the stricken face of the student. I remember slowly, methodically, collecting each glass piece as the teacher watched, horrified. For safety’s sake, each glass piece went into a sharps bin that the teacher supplied me. I silently cleaned up the mess on the bench, packed all my gear away, checked that the student on the other side of me was all right - she was numb with shock - wrote something my my lab book, handed in my lab book, and just left the lab with the whole lab full of first year students staring at me.

About the only thing I said was “Are you all right?” to the innocent student to my right. Each lab experiment I made began with "Experiment began,” date, time by the laboratory clock over the door, “Session ended,” same date/time notation , and “Experiment continued,” same date/time notation. I noted the apparatus used, noted the clearing away of the apparatus at the end of each session, even the room temp during each session. I used to be meticulous like that.

That day’s note in the lab book read “Experiment could not be completed due to mishap,” followed by “Experiment ended,” date, time. Signed.

I never went back to that lab, or to that course, again.

Eventually, in 1995, I wound up doing a Computer Studies course and I got a BSc (Hons) 2:1. But I recently found myself wondering about that lab incident, and how it just utterly, totally, changed my life.

I got my first taste of what it was like being an adult - that you could put your heart and soul into a project, and get nothing, NOTHING, to show for it as a result.

It took me a long time after that to find my feet, to find my purpose - and I have been following my purpose since. But thanks to that KLUTZ next to me, whose name I cannot even remember now, I have reminded myself always to pursue only those goals where I would have, at the end, something to show for it, even if the only thing was one person smiling.

And I have always remembered that lesson that if you are faced with a situation where something you have been working so hard on turns out to be a waste of your time, you can still quietly wash your hands of it, turn and walk away, taking your dignity with you. If nothing else, you can at least leave with that.


Censorious ISP

My ISP has been giving me grief today, blocking access to websites containing "content unsuitable for 18 year olds."

I'm the bill payer, I am an adult, and I'm the only resident. No kids or vulnerable adults here.

ISPs are being told to crack down on content that is dangerous to this government, in the guise of censoring pornography. It doesn't take any effort at all to tick off violence, gambling, crime, blogging, protests and legitimate activities to promote democracy and weaken corrupt tyrannies from taking over the government as "extremism" and "pornography" and block access to them.

In the long term, it means that my blog might suddenly stop because I won't be able to access the thing at all - not, at least, through my ISP, which is TalkTalk. I doubt any of the others are going to be any different. I can't access half of these sites from public terminals these days because it's the same in town.

So if I seem to vanish, and my posts dry up, you know why. And if I do go dark and quiet, I do apologise in advance. You'll be able to email me to correspond with me directly - at least, until the day they cut me off from there, too.

Crossposting to everywhere else.


Principia Discordia - The Parable of The Bitter Tea

Principia Discordia - The Parable of The Bitter Tea



by Rev. Dr. Hypocrates Magoun, P.P.
POEE PRIEST, Okinawa Cabal

When Hypoc was through meditating with St. Gulik, he went there into the kitchen where he busied himself with preparing the feast and in his endeavor, he found that there was some old tea in a pan left standing from the night before, when he had in his weakness forgot about its making and had let it sit steeping for 24 hours. It was dark and murky and it was Hypoc's intention to use this old tea by diluting it with water. And again in his weakness, chose without further consideration and plunged into the physical labor of the preparations. It was then when deeply immersed in the pleasure of that trip, he had a sudden loud clear voice in his head saying "it is bitter tea that involves you so." Hypoc heard the voice, but the struggle inside intensified, and the pattern, previously established with the physical laboring and the muscle messages coordinated and unified or perhaps coded, continued to exert their influence and Hypoc succummed to the pressure and he denied the voice.

And again he plunged into the physical orgy and completed the task, and Lo as the voice had predicted, the tea was bitter.

"The Five Laws have root in awareness."
--Che Fung (Ezra Pound, Canto 85)

The Hell Law says that Hell is reserved exclus-
ively for them that believe in it. Further,
the lowest Rung in Hell is reserved for them
that believe in it on the supposition that
they'll go there if they don't.
HBT; The Gospel According to Fred, 3:1

Taking The Piss

A conversation I just had today with my bestie, T.

wolfsheart9: Now, one of the other tea brands here that I would suggest you avoid like the plague if you visit the States -- it's called Lusianna. Holy shit, that is some noxious crap. If I had to imagine the American "Tea Party" (bastards don't deserve that name) drinking tea, it would be Lusianna.
Me: LOL It sounds like the leavings we'd have thrown off the ship ourselves. Sounds as if they threw the good stuff overboard and hadn't realised that all the crap stuff was already on the shore.
Me: Now if they'd thought ahead, they could have taken all the good stuff off the ship onto the docks, swapped it for the crap stuff and thrown that overboard.
wolfsheart9: I think it's the tea leaves that natives wipe their asses with then slip into the drying bags they trade with the colonizing white jerks.
wolfsheart9: This might not be relevant to you because you guys don't drink iced tea, but when iced tea has been left in the tea bins (after it's been made) in a restaurant for hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours (or even at home if you do this in the pitcher) after what holds the tea hasn't been cleaned out for a day or two, the tea winds up with this taste that Jeff used to call "skunky" -- it's BAD. It's just...you wouldn't even feed this iced tea to Jean-fucking-Grey if she was dying of thirst and you wanted to punish her. It's THAT bad.
wolfsheart9: But that's how Lusianne iced tea tastes FRESH.
Me: Oh gods.
Me: It's the Discordian Parable of the Bitter Tea.
wolfsheart9: It's nasty motherfucking stuff.
wolfsheart9: It's so bad, you'd volunteer in a watersports-piss drinking scene at a sweaty BDSM club just to get the taste of that tea out of your mouth.
Me: ...
Me: ...
Me: ...
Me: ...
Me: ...
Me: ...
Me: That thought has left me speechless.
wolfsheart9: :))
wolfsheart9: It is BAD TEA.
Me: Dave Lister of Red Dwarf could not have come up with that imagery.
wolfsheart9: *bows flamboyantly*
Me: I am saving this entire conversation just for that line.
wolfsheart9: :))
wolfsheart9: I should, too.
wolfsheart9: Actually, I'll post it to LJ for reference.
Me: hehehe I'm saving it as "2015 07 28 the piss tea convo with tracy"
wolfsheart9: LOL

It's been a long, long time since I had a conversation as epic as this one.


23 Emotions People Feel, But Can’t Explain - Post

The original post can be found on tumblr.

Sonder: The realization that each passerby has a life as vivid and complex as your own.
Opia: The ambiguous intensity of Looking someone in the eye, which can feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable.
Monachopsis: The subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place.
Énouement: The bittersweetness of having arrived in the future, seeing how things turn out, but not being able to tell your past self.
Vellichor: The strange wistfulness of used bookshops.
Rubatosis: The unsettling awareness of your own heartbeat.
Kenopsia: The eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that is usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet.
Mauerbauertraurigkeit: The inexplicable urge to push people away, even close friends who you really like.
Jouska: A hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head.
Chrysalism: The amniotic tranquility of being indoors during a thunderstorm.
Vemödalen: The frustration of photographic something amazing when thousands of identical photos already exist.
Anecdoche: A conversation in which everyone is talking, but nobody is listening
Ellipsism: A sadness that you’ll never be able to know how history will turn out.
Kuebiko: A state of exhaustion inspired by acts of senseless violence.
Lachesism: The desire to be struck by disaster – to survive a plane crash, or to lose everything in a fire.
Exulansis: The tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it.
Adronitis: Frustration with how long it takes to get to know someone.
Rückkehrunruhe: The feeling of returning home after an immersive trip only to find it fading rapidly from your awareness.
Nodus Tollens: The realization that the plot of your life doesn’t make sense to you anymore.
Onism: The frustration of being stuck in just one body, that inhabits only one place at a time.
Liberosis: The desire to care less about things.
Altschmerz: Weariness with the same old issues that you’ve always had – the same boring flaws and anxieties that you’ve been gnawing on for years.
Occhiolism: The awareness of the smallness of your perspective.


Ed Miliband's Apology

So Ed Miliband has sent out an email to everybody he's let down.

Here's what he wrote.

This is not the email I wanted to be writing to you today. I am profoundly sorry for the defeat we suffered, and more grateful than I can express for the support that you have shown me, and our party, throughout this campaign.

I take full responsibility for the result of the election, and that’s why it’s absolutely right that I step down as Labour’s leader today.

It has been the utmost privilege to serve this party as your leader, and to spend the last four-and-a-half years fighting for the millions of British families who need and deserve the fairness, compassion and opportunity that only a Labour government can provide.

Yet while defeats are hard, we are a party that will never stop fighting for the working people of this country. Britain needs a strong Labour Party and it is the responsibility of each of us to continue the fight. The stakes are too high to wait for others to lead.

It isn’t simply leaders who achieve change, it is people that make change happen. I will never give up on that idea, I will never give up on our cause and I will never give up on our fight.

Thank you again for everything, and please, keep on fighting too. The course of progress and social justice is never simple or straightforward, and change happens because people like us don’t give up.



And here is my reply to the erstwhile Labour leader:-


That has to include unemployed and disabled people, and grassroots groups such as Bring Back British Rail and others such as ORG, People's Assembly and many others.

Labour have ignored these people and thought they would be able to go their own way with their austerity - lite message.

You just learned the hard way that you were wrong.

Apology accepted. But now give a thought to the millions who are going to end up suffering all across the UK, all because they have no choice but to live under the tories' brutal, cruel cuts and ideological dehumanisation of unemployed people, poor people and disabled people.

Hate crimes are going to go up, violence and deprivation will increase - this country is going to burn, because of Labour policy failure.

If you have a hope at all, reach out and embrace the SNP, Plaid and the Greens. Your numbers will have to count from now on. Even talk to the Lib Dems - maybe their new leader won't be a Cameron crony like Clegg, and they have got a lot of rebuilding to do.

As does Labour.

You really should not have sat by and tacitly approved the tories' dehumanisation of the non-working poor people of Britain. Theirs would have been the swing vote - but they all voted for ukip because they sang a better tune than Ed Balls' tory-lite, austerity-lite dirge. True, ukip were lying through their teeth - but they found a better home amid liars than among men who promised suffering and meant it.

So really, while I accept your apology, I can never really forgive - because millions of deaths are now going to happen across the UK, through cuts, cuts and more tory cuts. You had a chance to deliver us from them, and you failed - not because you were the same as them, but because nobody liked your message.

Oh, and siding with Westminster against Scotland in the referendum? You shot yourselves in the head there. That, nobody will forgive Labour for.
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Ideological War

Haven't blogged here for a while; but in the light of this morning's woeful election result, in which the British public proved that they were selfish and thick as pig shit by voting for the tories in landslide numbers, I thought I'd share this post which I originally put up on my tumblr blog, HExEr.

I think I can see how my friend felt, the night before she got called to the doctor.

She’d been told the risks, she’d gone on the treatment, she’d put all her faith in the cure. The night before, she’d fretted and sweated. And in the morning, the doctor told her something that made her wish she’d stayed in bed.
Not only had the cure not been effective - it looked as if the cure had exacerbated her cancer. Tumours were everywhere, and all the doctor could do now was prescribe palliative care for her.

I’ve been following politics, now, for 36 years, and last night’s election result was like tracking the course of terminal cancer. Tory MPs have not gained seats - they have metastasised.

My friend fought that cancer right up to her dying breath. What’s left of Britain who has not given over to cynicism and selfishness, must now do the same.

We are in a state of war. An ideological war, against a cancerous political ideology. Everyone who voted for the tories in this election is like a cancer cell. They were once healthy, but they gave themselves over to this blue ideological cancer.

We’ve done things in the traditional way, and it has been spectacularly, woefully, grievously ineffective. Selfish people turned out to vote, and unselfish people stayed at home, resulting in a political landscape where blue patches have spread throughout the body of the United Kingdom like a wash of freshly necrotised tissues, a network of mestastatising rotting flesh and blue lesions like gaping wounds.

The cure, Labour, turned out to be worse than the disease.

And so all we've got left is to fight the ideology. Fight the selfishness that sent the tory voters to the polls to vote for more foodbanks, more sanctions, more cruelty, the return of foxhunting, ineffectual badger culls which served no purpose but to provide sport, more zero hours contracts, no more NHS, and fracking everywhere beneath your feet without permission.

We have to tackle the rot at its core. Or otherwise the United Kingdom is going to be a terminal patient, forgoing all treatment, in the corner and in denial, getting drunk and playing Candy Crush until the end comes.


April Hiatus

I'm taking a break for the month of April 2015, while I get Project A done.

Back on 2015 05 03.


GNU Terry Pratchett

"You know they'll never really die while the Trunk is alive[...]
It lives while the code is shifted, and they live with it, always Going Home."

- Lipwig von Moist, Going Postal, Chapter 13
In Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, the clacks are a series of semaphore towers loosely based on the concept of the telegraph. Invented by an artificer named Robert Dearheart, the towers could send messages "at the speed of light" using standardized codes. Three of these codes are of particular import:

G: send the message on
N: do not log the message
U: turn the message around at the end of the line and send it back again
When Dearheart died, his name was inserted into the overhead of the clacks with a "GNU" in front of it to memorialize him forever (or for at least as long as the clacks are standing.)

"A man is not dead while his name is still spoken."
- Going Postal, Chapter 4 prologue
Keeping the legacy of Sir Terry Pratchett alive forever.
For as long as his name is still passed along the Clacks1,
Death can't have him.

You can find out how you can contribute to keeping Terry Pratchett's name spoken
by visiting the link here.


On a personal note, all of my blogs now carry a meta tag in the heading. Opening any page of my blogs, including my tumblr ones, invokes the meta tag and keeps the name bouncing around the internet.

I've also taken the liberty of including another meta tag invoking the same protocol, but this one dedicated to "GNU Leonard Nimoy."

"He's really not dead, as long as we remember him."
- Dr McCoy, Leonard H, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan



Fiction Versus Reality

Someone on my f'list has a problem separating reality from fiction. They got scared shitless by my Cassie and Alison stories, and it cost me heavily, all because they could not cope with the understanding that people sometimes write things that are not real.

Here is my official reply to hysterical, stupid, silly people.

"I have to update this for those people who, for some reason, have a problem separating reality from things that are not real.

"The following things are not real: Cinderella, Doctor Who, Star Trek, Stargate SG-1, The World of Darkness and the fiction that I write.

"Stuff like cars, taxes, the weather? That lot is all real.

"Fiction, that thing that I write on my blogs: NOT real.

"Understand now?"


TV Presenter Cracks Up

A classic post from an ITV quiz show, "The Chase," presented by television personality Bradley Walsh.

Some time during the show, this sporting question appeared. The innocently-named sports personality reduced Bradley's stoic exterior, and even the Chaser (the woman) to helplessness.


Net Neutrality News - Yahoo News

Chairman Tom Wheeler (Yahoo News)

In an article posted 2015 01 29, Yahoo News reports on an expected development of the proposed net neutrality protection bill.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New U.S. "net neutrality" rules are expected to regulate for the first time deals in which content companies such as Netflix Inc pay broadband providers to connect with their networks for smooth downloads, according to people familiar with the plan ... Read more


FCC Net Neutrality Vote Countdown Clock

The most important fight of the internet's history is upon us. This is the countdown to Tom Wheeler's crucial vote to allow, or ban, corporations from killing net neutrality.


Landing Pages

The Family Of Blogs

All of my blogs now have a landing page. The landing page for this blog is, in fact, the master landing page for the whole family.

The other blogs are:-

Perchance To Dream - dreams and nightmares (latest post)
The Stainless Steel Blog - science fiction and fantasy (latest post)
Klingon Teachings - Klingon language tutorials (latest post)

Some of you might not have visited the other blogs before. In which case, please feel free to explore.



Synchronising My Blog Templates

I had a lot of problems yesterday trying to synchronise all my blogs. No matter what parameters, fonts or colours I tweaked, somehow none of them were matching exactly. And some of them had variables which weren't present in the others.
But then I realised something.
None of them were using the exact same template and subtemplate.
So I set them all up with the exact same template from the Picture Window parent template.
Same variables, same proportions, and finally - once I'd got the fonts and colours to match - same appearance.
Now I only need to install landing pages for all of my blogs, at the top of the sidebar, so you can navigate.


New Format

I'm changing the appearance of this blog, and also a bit of its philosophy.

I aim to post a lot more news here than of late. Most will be links; some will come with an accompanying article from me, summarising what is on the link.

There will be a choice of topics; but a lot of those topics will focus on green and environmental issues.

I've changed the appearance of this blog to match the font and colours of another of my sister blogs. Eventually, I aim to synchronise the appearance of all of these blogs, so that they all more or less look alike.


Vi Hart [video]

I'm just getting into Vi Hart's animated presentations. I would not recommend them over hard work doing your own mathematics, but to whet your appetite here's an elegant proof that some infinities are bigger than others.

I don't recommend her musical tastes.



I have landed a job.

Today, I Are An Journalist!

Honestly. The emails at work all say my name in the sig file, and underneath them the title "Journalist" in large, friendly letters.

Well, actually in 10 point Arial, but you know what I mean.

So I am now a published journalist, with a couple of fresh articles to my name Second day in on the job, and one of my articles is already the Editor's Choice.

I will post the articles later on tonight.

I first have to rewrite a pitch for Project P, before going on to doing the grind work for Project A which is ongoing.

Watch this space.


BBC Space Odyssey: A Voyage To The Planets, Part 2

Here is part 2. Part 1 is right here.

In the US version of this show, the crew of Pegasus gave up at Saturn. This is the full version, where after Saturn the crew went on to visit Pluto and a comet before coming home.

This was broadcast two years before the IAU lost their marbles and voted Pluto out of the lineup of planets. This episode has the full Pluto segment, unaired in the States.

A transient glitch occurs between 38:47 and 38:56, where the footage skips back unexpectedly to a segment in the Saturn chapter.

BBC Space Odyssey: A Voyage To The Planets, Part 1

This is the show that I posted several links about earlier. The whole show has been put together in two episodes.

Here is part 1. Part 2 is this way.


Actual Exchanges Between Pilots And Control Towers - Orphaned Work

Actual Exchanges Between Pilots And Control Towers
(Orphaned Work)

Copied from this source without permission.

Tower: "TWA 2341, for noise abatement, turn right 45 Degrees."
TWA 2341: "Center, we are at 35,000 feet. How much noise can we make up here?"
Tower: "Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?"

From an unknown aircraft waiting in a very long takeoff queue: "I'm f***ing bored!"
Ground Traffic Control: "Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself immediately!"
Unknown aircraft: "I said I was f***ing bored, not f***ing stupid!"

O'Hare Approach Control to a 747: "United 329 heavy, your traffic is a Fokker, one o'clock, three miles, Eastbound."
United 329: "Approach, I've always wanted to say this.. I've got the little Fokker in sight."

A DC-10 had come in a little hot and thus had an exceedingly long rollout after touching down.

San Jose Tower noted: "American 751, make a hard right turn at the end of the runway, if you are able. If you are not able, take the Guadalupe exit off Highway 101, make a right at the lights and return to the airport."

There's a story about the military pilot calling for a priority landing because his single-engine jet fighter was running "a bit peaked."

Air Traffic Control told the fighter jock that he was number two, behind a B-52 that had one engine shut down. "Ah," the fighter pilot remarked, "The dreaded seven-engine approach."

A Pan Am 727 flight, waiting for start clearance in Munich, overheard the following:

Lufthansa (in German): "Ground, what is our start clearance time?"
Ground control (in English): "If you want an answer, you must speak in English."
Lufthansa (in English): "I am a German, flying a German airplane, in Germany. Why must I speak English?"
Unknown voice from another plane (in a beautiful British accent): "Because you lost the bloody war!"

Tower: "Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on frequency 124.7."
Eastern 702: "Tower, Eastern 702 switching to Departure. By the way, after we lifted off we saw some kind of dead animal on the far end of the runway."
Tower: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff behind Eastern 702, contact Departure on frequency 124.7. Did you copy that report from Eastern 702?"
BR Continental 635: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, roger. And yes, we copied Eastern.. we've already notified our caterers."

One day, the pilot of a Cherokee 180 was told by the tower to hold short of the active runway while a DC-8 landed. The DC-8 landed, rolled out, turned around, and taxied back past the Cherokee.

Some quick-witted comedian in the DC-8 crew got on the radio and said, "What a cute little plane. Did you make it all by yourself?"

The Cherokee pilot, not about to let the insult go by, came back with a real zinger: "I made it out of DC-8 parts. Another landing like yours and I'll have enough parts for another one."

The German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are renowned as a short-tempered lot. They not only expect one to know one's gate parking location, but how to get there without any assistance from them. So it was with some amusement that we (a Pan Am 747) listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground control and a British Airways 747, call sign Speedbird 206.

Speedbird 206: "Frankfurt, Speedbird 206 clear of active runway."
Ground: "Speedbird 206. Taxi to gate Alpha One-Seven."

The BA 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a stop.

Ground: "Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?"
Speedbird 206: "Stand by, Ground, I'm looking up our gate location now."
Ground (with quite arrogant impatience): "Speedbird 206, have you not been to Frankfurt before?"
Speedbird 206 (coolly): "Yes, twice in 1944, but it was dark and I didn't land."

While taxiing at London's Gatwick Airport, the crew of a US Air flight departing for Ft. Lauderdale made a wrong turn and came nose to nose with a United 727.

An irate female ground controller lashed out at the US Air crew, screaming: "US Air 2771, where the hell are you going? I told you to turn right onto Charlie taxiway! You turned right on Delta! Stop right there. I know it's difficult for you to tell the difference between C and D, but get it right!"

Continuing her rage to the embarrassed crew, she was now shouting hysterically: "God! Now you've screwed everything up! It'll take forever to sort this out! You stay right there and don't move till I tell you to! You can expect progressive taxi instructions in about half an hour, and I want you to go exactly where I tell you, when I tell you, and how I tell you! You got that, US Air 2771?"

"Yes, ma'am," the humbled crew responded.

Naturally, the ground control communications frequency fell terribly silent after the verbal bashing of US Air 2771. Nobody wanted to chance engaging the irate ground controller in her current state of mind. Tension in every cockpit out around Gatwick was definitely running high.

Just then an unknown pilot broke the silence and keyed his microphone, asking, "Wasn't I married to you once?"

As far as we know, this is orphaned work and an internet story in public domain for years.


2014 11 11: A World Of Jobs - The Jobs Fair

So today, I attended a jobs fair event at Glyndwr University, just to show that I was on the jobs market. It involved, among other things, putting on a new suit.

Photos of me in the suit to follow shortly.

I have missed jobs fairs. They are boring to some, but to me they are a golden opportunity to do some socialising, a little networking, some pressing the flesh, and some listening out for possible opportunities to pursue in the future.

I met some people I know from different places. Not everybody was thrilled to come to this fair - they came because they had to, for the most part - but it was just so cool to meet up with people I had not seen since before the surgery.

More than a calendar year ago.

I got printouts done of my CV before attending - and most of them stayed behind when I left, which is a very good thing.

There is one down side to this whole thing. A number of charity stores in town had a really bad staff day, because I recognised a lot of unemployed volunteers from those stores milling about in the event. They might all have been required to attend. I do not know. But it may have left a lot of the charity stores somewhat short staffed today.

Anyway, it was good to be back; good to be meeting old friends and making new ones.

And a reminder: photos forthcoming soon.


One Year On, Part 2

So part 1, in Hypnotic Erotic, noted how I went into surgery in the morning of November 6, 2013, after suffering from gall bladder problems for a considerable time.

The worst of the problems surrounding my gall bladder came in 2012, the day after my folks' wedding anniversary. The evening of November 25 2012, a Sunday if I recall correctly, things went really bad for me about 19:30, when a pain began in my abdomen that refused to go away. The paramedics shot me up with a double dose of morphine, but the most that did was make things feel very strange for me. I was able to walk to the ambulance even shot up with a double dose of the morphine, would you believe it.

This was the situation which had plagued me in the runup to the surgery. The pain would come and go, seemingly at random. But at least I knew what it was - and that meany that I could do something about it.

For one thing, meditation practice tended to produce measurable, if not astonishing, results when the medics conducted their preliminary tests of my heart rate, blood pressure and so on. One of them stared goggle-eyed at my blood pressure test; under the influence of mediation, it dropped like a stone as he watched. Damnedest thing he ever says he saw.

So anyway, yes. Recovery.

It had been meant to be a simple keyhole surgery. But my gall bladder had plans, oh yes. Such as putting gallstones into my bile ducts, forcing the keyhole surgeon to withdraw in a hurry and bring in the chief gallbladder and liver surgeon to, as the regular surgeon put it, "join the dots and cut ..."

There followed a stay in the hospital of several days. It wasn't that bad ... I mean, apart from when the bloody football was on.

The story continues in Perchance To Dream.


Perfection and Imperfection

A comment I posted on an atheism board.

Humans are imperfect, but we can dream of perfection. We can think in the abstract. We can create, and manipulate, symbols. We cannot create perfection, but we can imagine it.

Not only does perfection appear with great frequency in theoretical science and theoretical mathematics; perfection as abstract concept has appeared in philosophy ever since Plato's solids and the Greeks' ideas of the Ideal.
Imagination, however, is not reality. I can imagine a perfect strawberry sundae, but I cannot conjure it into being in front of me. A person can conceive of God, but that does not make God real. If we could make the things we dream about real, I would have a very happy sex life with Seven of Nine and Vala Mal Doran, thank you very much.

The OP is based on the idea that a perfect being can exist independently of humans conceiving of them - something which, as I have pointed out in my previous post, is not possible because perfection as humans imagine it does not, cannot, exist in the universe.

Flawed premise one - a perfect being can only create other perfect beings.
Why is this so? A perfect being, if one exists, could create imperfection if it chose to. I buy matches to light fires. I don't need matches that won't run out and can't be extinguished.
So if perfect beings exist, not that they do, why can't they create flawed things? Perhaps they are in a hurry or they don't want competition.

The rest of the premises actually fall apart if the first one is revealed to be nonsense. Premise two, if B is not perfect then creator A is not perfect, could work - but the problem is, it can be disproved if A is proven to be perfect and operating under the assumption that perfect beings can tone down the perfection in their creations.

The next line begins "If God created Man." Huge leaps here.

Leap 1 - God exists.
Leap 2 - God is perfect.
Leap 3 - God created Man.
Leap 4 depends on the initial premise that perfection can only create perfection; perfection is constrained to only create perfection.

In fact, the whole thing kind of falls apart because the initial premises - that perfect beings can exist and that they are responsible for the creation of humanity - are without foundation.

If you were to base your arguments against theism on the above, don't be surprised if they tear you apart with basic logic.

This is a sounder beginning.

"The laws of thermodynamics assure us that this universe is not a place where perfection and perfect beings can exist.

"However, we can think in the abstract - and we can imagine perfection. Theoretical sciences and mathematics, philosophy and a number of similar disciplines are founded on such imagined premises, and number theory in mathematics is one such field which has been yielding incredible and practical results - for instance in cryptography.

Problem is, while we can imagine perfection, we cannot actually create it in this universe. Our imagined perfection cannot exist, except in abstract form - creations existing only within the human mind.

"More importantly, we cannot and must not base our philosophies on the premise that perfect beings can exist. Imaginary beings have no place dictating human moral behaviour, any more than we can derive spiritual solace from the number 3.

"Now, given that, some religions presume that perfect beings do exist and that they created us humans.

"This can be refuted as follows.

"Let us assume that - in defiance of all the evidence to the contrary - we were created by some being or beings, rather than evolving from a common ancestor with apes and other primates.

"In such circumstance - even if evidence did crop up which unequivocally proved that we are a genetically replicated or uplifted species of some kind rather than naturally evolved - that evidence would only prove to us that our creator is a member of a more technologically advanced species - perhaps far greatly more advanced - but still not perfect. Only less imperfect.

"It is fortunate that we evolved naturally, and that the fossil record supports the theory of our evolution ("theory" here bearing the scientific meaning of "proven and established fact"). But even if we were a created species, those beings who would have created us can not be, and can never be, gods."


Hawk Attack - Video

I had to post this wonderful video.

"On Oct 8th, I was flying my quadcopter at Magazine Beach Park in Cambridge, when a hawk decided he wasn't too happy with my invasion of his airspace ...

"As far as I could tell, the hawk came out unscathed, and having defeated his prey, was happy to retreat. (As soon as he flew at me, I throttled down the props to try to minimize any harm to the bird.) The quadcopter came out unscathed as well."


For Sean

Posting this on what would have been Sean's 49th birthday. I'll probably repost and reblog this on his birthday every year from now, but particularly for what would have been his fiftieth, in 2015.

There’ll Never Be Goodbye

Burning orange light slowly melt into the sky
Sparkles in your eyes aglow
Cold and heartless walls and never ending sighs
When you held me close, were gone

I'd have never known if you had never shown
Someday I'd have wings to fly
But who'd ever dream these arms were meant to break
So I must go
Before you see me fall

I recall sweet and enchanted days
Your smile chased the clouds away
All fragments of our memory survive
Shining in the moonless night

Life time is a match
A momentary flash
Yet this forever remains
You are in my heart
Until my heart's not mine
So remember
This never is Good-bye

I recall sweet and enchanted days
Your smile chased the clouds away
All fragments of our memory survive
Shining in the moonless night

Stay close to my soul
Like you're close to my hands
Darling if I fade away
You are in my heart
Until my heart's not mine
But I must go
Before you see me fall

So remember
This never is Good-bye

Please remember ...

There'll never be ...




I had been invited to come to the White House. President Obama was impressed by my hypnotic prowess, and wanted me to offer tips. He offered a lot of money, and funnelled enough funds into bank accounts that everybody in my family would be taken care of for the rest of their lives - so I got a passport (someone put pressure on the Home Office to speed up the bureaucracy) and went.

It turned out that Barack was a fan of tumblr. He greeted me, surrounded by Secret Service agents, in the Oval Office, and his first words were:-

"Hi. I like your shoelaces."

My response, of course, could only be:-

"Thanks. I stole them from you."

Cue a dozen standard issue Secret Service pistols aimed at my head.

"Clearly, Mister President, you will need to hire people who have tumblr accounts,' I respond, calm as a Bond villain.

So the Pres asks me to demonstrate my abilities. I ask if any of the Secret Service agents have been to Hypnotic Erotic of late. The President indicates an Agent Shaw, a diminutive female MiB. Should that be WiB or FiB?

Anyway, I go up to this Agent Scully and ask her "Have you been to Hypnotic Erotic?"

"Yes," she replies, "but I can't actually remember much."

I ask her permission to come close to her. I whisper a trigger word in her ear. She trances right out. I catch her as she collapses into my arms. Again with the guns. So the Pres waves off the hardware, and I instruct Agent Coelenterate to stand up and walk with me to the President's desk. She does so, holding my hand; then she lies face up on the Oval Office carpet in front of him, sprawled over the Seal of the USA.

Last thing I did was bring her consciousness back and hold out my hand to help her up, asking her not to do any weird judo moves or anything because I'm only helping.

Dreams of Doom

Remember Doom, the biggest FPS video game of the Nineties? I found myself exploring a rather busy level that was not in any of the games I played. Might have been a custom WAD.

In this level, I could see nine circular platforms separated by vast gulfs, stretching off to the right. Each contained dozens of monsters, active but trapped behind invisible panels on big pillars like pedestals. There was a platform behind me, and a glowy skull switch that I had to shoot to activate to raise the first land bridge to grant me access to the first circle.

And then the Cyberdemons appeared.

There were two of them, the big hulking bastards that fire rockets at you. But they weren't alone. This version of the game had two new kinds of Cyberdemon - a smaller cousin, just the head, arms and upper torso, fused to the front of one of those small spidery Arachnotrons like some weird centaur with the Arachnotron's brain exposed behind the Minidemon like some bizarre camel's hump, able to fire one rocket for every three their regular size cousins could fire; and then a truly colossal King Megademon with a rocket pod, dwarfing the Cyberdemons with footsteps like the fall of asteroids on cities, able to shoot six rockets simultaneously, three from each side. King Megademon could also apparently fire one rocket at a time, three from the right and three from the left, or fire the top two, middle two and bottom two; the firing pattern was never completely predictable, except that if you did manage to injure it - and at 10,501 hit points a fresh one could even survive a telefragging attempt - it would always respond immediately with a full six-rocket broadside against the aggressor, as I saw when it turned an Archvile into bloody stumps.

And they were all behind me, advancing along the land bridge. I could either fight them or fight the creature in front of me and raise the next land bridge and outrun them.

Or maybe hide behind a pillar and let the monster try and pick a fight with King Cyber and then run across the next land bridge. H'mm. I never thought of that.


Shadownessence Returns

Is there a plan for re-growth of my old haunt, Shadownessence?
There is now - at least a plan to restart the forum and bring the population back.
It starts with publicising the site wherever we all have accounts: Facebook, G+, tumblr, my blogs. Anywhere and everywhere.
And this is what the forumites of SnE will be doing this weekend.
Starting here.
Are you a fan of the Old World of Darkness (oWoD), the reboot World of Darkness from 2004 and any of the games old and new? In times gone by, SnE was THE place to go to air your views and share your delight at these shared worlds of Storytelling horror.
Now, after a prolonged absence, Shadownessence has returned - and the forum is eager for fresh blood.
So if you want to know what is going on with the WoD 20th Anniversary Edition games, or the 10th Anniversary release of the new WoD in the form of WoD Second Edition, why not join us at Shadownessence - or renew your old, dusty accounts and come back to restoke the old Balefire again?
Our long Winter now is over. Spring is coming for Shadownessence. Join us and watch our long-awaited reawakening.


Stolen Inheritance - A Tumblr Post

I just posted this to tumblr:-

Stolen Inheritance

I belong to the generation born in the Sixties that grew up in the Seventies and Eighties. Our dreams were of a future like Carl Sagan’s Cosmos; like Star Trek. Our nightmares were Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four and Mad Max.

Our ambition was to immanentize Star Trek or maybe Babylon 5. We did so much to bring about that future.

We’re old enough now to be parents - even grandparents. And look what we’re giving the kids. Fucking Ferguson, cops beating down on the Occupy movements, slut-shaming our daughters, pasty-faced old white men telling women what to do with their bodies like they were those girls’ Dads or something, Boko Haram, and CCTVs bloody everywhere.

This is not the future I wanted to give you. This is fucking Mad Max. This is my nightmare world. This is not The Future.

Kids, guess what? We’ve ballsed up The Future. The Future should be yours. It is not our Future; it is your Present, and your children’s and grandchildren’s History. Voter apathy and cynicism crept in, and people stopped believing in themselves and in making a better society, and all the cynical and petty little men crept in and stole power and turned the world into their idea of The Future - a schoolyard, with them as the bully boys throwing their weight around, and you kids as their punchbags.

You can now officially tell us - we’ve lost the right to describe The Future. You know who now has the keys?


Please learn from us. Make it a world like Star Trek or Babylon 5. A greater Future to live in than what we could manage. Live dreams that are better than ours, and look after this place better than we could. Please.


Mongoose Traveller Book 10: Cosmopolite - eBook Out Today

Book 10: Cosmopolite for Mongoose Traveller is now available from DrivtThruRPG in eBook form.

Get your copy here!

Civilisations stand and fall, not by might of arms, but by its cosmopolites – the ordinary Citizens and Scholars who make up most of the population.

Book 10: Cosmopolite provides new options and possibilities for characters who have followed the Citizen or Scholar careers. Citizens and Scholars together are keepers of the flame of civilisation.

With this book, your Citizen character will be able to build Networks, a web of Allies, Contacts and Patrons that can be called upon at any time, while Scholar characters can approach their own societies and fellowships for funding and resources accessible only to scientists.

Your characters can now attend University or Medical School, and try a brand new career choice, the Teacher. You will learn how to continue your research, even while you travel the galaxy, publishing papers that push the boundaries of known science.

The referee is provided with all the support material he will need for Citizens and Scholars, from organisations that can act as adventure hooks or Patrons, to scientific questions that have stumped Scholars across Known Space and are now available for players to tackle!

Far from being simple white or blue collar workers, or unassuming librarian types, Book 10: Cosmopolite contains everything you need to make Citizens and Scholars among the most exciting careers to play in Traveller.



I posted this spoof article direct to my Facebook timeline:-

Fiat Knox

- Works at Amateur Epistemologist and Gentleman Adventurer of Leisure


Daily Mash editor forced to initiate security measures to keep poachers from regular news outlets out of their offices

"This has never happened before," complains Senior Editor Awami Akizile. "Just today we had to bring in extra bouncers to eject three Sun journalists who tried to raid our files."

Awami has a point. Since the start of August, the traditional Silly Season of slow news days when all the interesting people whose failures and cockups fill their pages have all buggered off on holiday, journalists are traditionally strapped for interesting things to put in their column inches. But this year's news drought has proven particularly hard on Sun and Daily Star journalists due to their stunted imaginations. This drought has forced them to come in from the wild and rummage in the Daily Mash rubbish bins for sustenance to keep them going until the rich harvest of human failures starts up again in September.

"It isn't just us," Awami told this reporter in a frank interview. "They've had to draught in extra security in the Newsthump offices, and instituted special measures to try and isolate what they suspect could be a leak selling their newest spoof articles to the Daily Express to pass off as their own."

With circulation falling and the appetite for celebrity pics steadily waning, journalists are finding it increasingly difficult to piece together enough active firing neurons to make up stories - a condition unheard-of in the nearly three centuries since the invention of journalism.

"It's got so bad," Awami confided in us, "that I have even spotted what could be a Daily Mail journalist out there, lurking behind a lamp post, staring forlornly at our offices. I mean, the Daily Mail are supposed to be the world's foremost experts at making shit up. If even they can't be relied upon to publish original lies and nonsense, what is the world coming to?"

Awami is single.


The Third Hypnotic Fantasies Webinar - Sunday 2014 08 03

Sunday, August 3 2014, I'll be co-presenting a Webinar along with Melania Love.

The theme is Hypnotic Fantasies.

Hypnotic Fantasies 3rd Webinar (opens onto the Facebook Events page)

3rd August, 12:00 PDT, 20:00 British Summer Time

Co-presented by Melania Love and Fiat Knox, Hypnotic Fantasies presents its 3rd Sensuality and Sexuality Webinar.

Covering adult and erotic themes of hypnosis, sensuality, sexuality and trance work, the Webinar is free to the first one hundred people to register before August 3rd 12:00 P.M. PST.

And now a link to the webinar site:- https://www.anymeeting.com/785-238-075

If Great Scientists Had Logos - Infographic

This meme is going around on Google+. Thought I'd share it here. Click on the pic to see the originating page; right click to see the full-size pic.


Terry Wogan's Great Misjudgment

In 1991, former TV presenter and former athlete David Icke took a brief sabbatical from presenting TV shows. When he came back, he was wearing turquoise, and he had a message for the world. And he went on the chat show Wogan to espouse his world view to presenter Terry Wogan.

This was a misjudgment. On both sides.

Since that time, of course, the BBC's record for supporting and even championing evil in its midst has been well and truly exposed. Stuart Hall. Rolf Harris.

Jimmy Savile.

You really have to ask - who's laughing now?

I don't even recall laughing back then, either.



Got this in my inbox this morning.

Invitation to be my guest‏

Baroness Doreen Lawrence

To: ***********************


It's my honour to invite you to join my table at a Labour dinner and party hosted by Ed Miliband on 9 July in London.

Please make a suggested donation of £3 to help us win the next election, and you (and a friend) will be automatically entered into a draw to be my guests at Labour's annual gala dinner next month.

You'll have a chance to chat with Ed Miliband, and then you'll join me at my table for dinner.

We want to give this opportunity to supporters from anywhere in the country, so Labour will cover travel to London and a night's accommodation for you and your guest.

There will be many great and inspiring Labour supporters, campaigners and politicians there to celebrate — and I hope you'll be there too.

Good luck, and I hope to see you on the night.


Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon OBE

P.S. You can fill out this form to enter without donating, but we really do need more funds to beat the Tories next year, and even as little as £3 will help!

The prize draw is open to individuals aged 16 or over who are resident in the UK. Each person may submit one entry to the free prize draw, except if an entrant agrees to save their payment information with us, which will give them a second entry. You can save your payment information after making a donation here. Every entry will go into the draw, whether or not a donation is made. If you wish to enter without making a donation, please fill in this form. There are no tickets but each participant will be allocated a unique number that will be entered into the draw. Automated or third party entries will be disqualified. Labour Party employees are not permitted to enter. The competition will run from 6 June 2014 until Sunday 29 June at 11.59pm. Entries must be completed online by the closing date. Winners will be chosen at random from all valid entries within five days of the closing date and will be contacted using the email address or phone number supplied. Winners' names will be published on our website, and winners permit to have their photo taken and video filmed at the event; this content may be published on the Labour Party website or used in other promotional material for the party. The personal details supplied for the prize draw entry will not be passed to any third party in compliance with our privacy policy. The Labour Party reserves the right to withdraw a prize and to modify, suspend, cancel or terminate the prize draw or extend or resume the entry period or disqualify any participant at any time without giving advance notice and will do so if it cannot be guaranteed that the prize draw can be carried out fairly or correctly for technical, legal or other reasons or if the Labour Party suspects that any person has been manipulating entries or the results or has acted unethically in any other way.

Wau. My star is rising.

Edit: My reply below.

Dear Lady Lawrence,

Thank you for the courteous offer. It does sound like a marvellous opportunity; however, I am afraid that due to personal commitments on that day I must decline.

All my hopes that you have a most splendid event; and should similar future events present themselves, I would hope that they will fall on days when I am free to accept any future invitations.

Yours sincerely,

Alexander Greene BSc.

Because nobility does not automatically come with a title.


Bias At The BBC

On Thursday May 22 2014, Britain held a European election, and England held a council election. In that battle, Labour gained new seats, the Liberal Democrats and tories lost heavily, and - among other gains - the Green Party achieved opposition status in a handful of councils across England (a first for the Green Party, who have never managed to hold more than minority party status).

However, no matter how much the parties succeeded or failed, only one thing was on the BBC's mind during election day itself and in the post-electoral afterglow: the rise and rise of the United Kingdom Independence Party, or UKIP.

Led by Toad of Toad Hall, Ukip gained a few votes, but failed to actually secure so much as a single council. However, the BBC's intense, passionate love affair with this politician with the Innsmouth Look would brook no rivals - it was, to the BBC< UKIP all the way. Almost as if the BBC were desperate to report UKIP's victory followed by the swift ousting of Prime Minister David Cameron from Number 10. In Transmetropolitan terms, this would be like The Smiler being replaced by The Beast. UKIP are the UK version of the American Tea Party. Had the Green Party received even so much as a third of the coverage the BBC gave to Farage, I'm sure there would be far more Green Party councillors elected, and even perhaps a few council and European gains by the Greens, whose policies are actually sensible. In the wake of the catastrophically biased reportage by the BBC, this video emerged to commemorate this shift in their policies towards British Tea Party lunacy.


Rubik Cube 40th Anniversary

This is cool stuff.

Today is the 40th anniversary of the invention of the Rubik Cube. Google commemorated it with one of their famous Google Doodles - a cube you can solve on the screen.

Here's the thing. For almost forty years, the cube's various algorithms have been available pretty much online. Anybody could learn these algorithms. Anybody could, with practice, solve the Cube.

A good site to begin learning how can be found here. This specific page describes Singmaster Notation, the shorthand notation which allows cube aficionados to translate the various moves such that they can reproduce them on their own Cubes.

Some examples of typical Cube algorithms. These concentrate on the elusive top layer.

Swap Two Adjacent Top Layer Corners

L' U' L - F U F' - L' U L U2

This swaps the FUL and BUL corners around, flips the UL and UF edges and swaps the FL and FR edges around.

Permute UFR -> UBR - UBL Corners

R U' L' U R' U' L U

This plays merry merry hob with your corners' orientations, but it keeps edges where they were.

L' U R U' L U' R' U'

This permutes LUF -> LUB -> RUB corners, and screws around with orientation and edges.

Rotate Three Corners

L' U' L U' L' U2 L U2

Rotates orientation of LUF -> LUB -> RUB corners anticlockwise.

R U R' U' R U2 R' U2

This rotates the corners RUF -> RUB - RUL clockwise.

Permute Three Top Layer Edges

R2 U F B' R2 F' B U R2

This permutes the three edges UB -> UR -> UF without flipping them.

R2 U' F B' R2 F' B U' R2

This permutes the three edges UB -> UF -> UR without flipping them.

More will be revealed tomorrow.


A Festival for Foodies - Wrexham Food Festival 2014

I don't normally make foodie posts to my blogs. Not, at least, foodie posts involving recipes. (I post plenty of blogs featuring food to Hypnotic Erotic, but these are usually just there to torture you. I'm also doing a series of food posts to tlhIngan paQDI'norgh, but after this week's food post you will never want to eat again. Trust me).

This weekend, however, I decided to attend the Wrexham Food Festival. This festival, an annual event, takes place in May each year, taking over Llwyn Isaf, the small public park behind the Guild Hall, for the two days of the weekend. Tickets cost £5, with concessions.

So this was Day 1.

The exhibitors lucked out with the weather. They could not have been more fortuitous with the day - the sun was cracking the flagstones all day. The well-attended festival was a feast, not just for the mouth and nose, but for the eyes and ears, with so much to see and try out. This family festival brought people in from all over Wales and the North West to enjoy the cookery demonstrations, the exhibits by such organisations as Coleg Cambria, to sample the alcoholic beverages and to listen to the band playing in the bandstand doing covers of well-known songs. Much fun, as they say, was had by all.

I honestly wished I had a sense of smell when I entered the main tent; I could imagine all the different aromas from the stalls lingering and blending together in that cool, shaded enclosure. The stalls which had the most people hovering around them were, naturally, those offering tasters and freebies - and not all of the stalls offered food. One was offering everything for the kitchen, another (listed below) wood and slate items for food preparation, and one very friendly stall offered aloe vera products, extolling the medicinal benefits of that particular plant for adults, children and furkids alike.

Ever-present throughout the exhibit were volunteers from the Nightingale House Hospice, the charity to which the proceeds from this event will go. The weather certainly was with them, and here's hoping that the event helps raise thousands for them.

Here's a list of the featured exhibitors, presented initially without links - I will edit this blog to furnish links later on. There are a lot of them, and they really deserve all the publicity and customers they can get. In these harsh times, we all need all the help we can get, and these guys are assets in the food market.

Adesso (H20 Ltd.)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil; Dressings, Dips, & Marinades & Kitchen Ware - from Sustainable Olive Wood

Alison's Teats
Brownies, Flapjacks, Rocky Roads, Lemon Drizzle, Bara Brith and so much more.

Amanda Jayne's and Adamson's of Anglesey
Exquisitely piquant produce. I really wished I had a sense of smell for this.

American Street Food Company
Professional Street Food Caterers - sizzling southern street food, hot dogs

Anna's Chocolates
Handmade Chocolates and Truffles made in the highest village in Wales. I pointed out that, while my chocolate allergy tragically meant that I could not sample their wares, nonethelesss it would be remiss of me to deny the pleasure to everybody else.

Caffeine Rush
Coffee, Tea & Chocolate Drinks. Award winning coffee for the past 10 years. Good tea here, plus pleasant conversation.

Cherry Tree Foods Ltd.
A Family run company based in the West Country. Since 1997 they have been dedicated to producing the highest quality pickles chutneys and preserves.

Chuck Wagon BBQ
American Smoked BBQ - 16 hour smoked pulled pork, ribs, brisket, flamed salmon

Clear Black Wine Company
I don't have much to do with wines - I'm tee-total - but you, my beloved readership, should not be denied the delights of wine and chocolate alike.

Cleopatra's Foods
Traditional South African Biscuits, chilli pesto, cheeses, cranberry & herb sauce

Coopers Gourmet Sausage Rolls
A gourmet selection of Sausage Rolls made with local free range pork. No freebies, but some of what they offered looked so tempting.

Croeshowell Restaurant, Bar & Grill
I liked the samples. Very tasty.

Daniel's Delights
Family Chocolatiers based in Staffordshire. Largest range of chocolate bars in the UK. Rows upon rows of chocolate bars, and I could not eat a damned thing. Doesn't mean you should be denied the pleasure.

Derby House Catering Services
Outside Catering Trailer serving 'a little taste of Mexico' in the form of Fajita Wraps

Eboni ac Eifori
Award winning fudge, toffee & confectionery. Ye Gods, their products packed flavour. email

The Falafel Wagon
Vegetarian Mobile Catering. This was one of the outside wagons.

Farndon Foodservice
Distributor of High Quality 'free-from' sauces. Try their South Western sauce. Better than what Subway serve.

Foodstation Wales
High quality Mediterranean delicacies. Have any of you tried mint flavoured Turkish delight? These guys have mint Turkish Delight.

Food Technology Centre
providing NPD, technical advice & training to the food industry. Nice people. If you've got a catering business and you're reading this blog, go and chat up these fellows.

French Connection
Sweet & Savoury Crepes, Baguettes, Hot & Cold drinks. I just wanted so much for a sense of smell when passing by this one.

The Gift Of Oil
Delicious single estate virgin olive oils. Stunning, genuinely matured balsamic vinegars.

Hafod Brewing Company Ltd.
Welsh real ale with a twist. Since 2011, Hafod Brewery has created innovative beers that draw on local produce and influences from further afield. Popular with the blokes, but you should have seen the crowds around the Wrexham Lager stall outside.

Hannah Restaurant
Authentic Indian Cuisine, freshly prepared on site using fresh local ingredients. Tasty.

Home Farm Produce
Free range rare breed local meat produce & Hogroast Stall

Jones Butchers
Welsh Beef, lamb, & pork products. Mutton, award winning sausage & burgers. From Farm to Fork with full traceability.

Ka Plonk
Full Bar/wine, ciders, beers, spirits

Lewis' Farm Shop
Home Made and Home produced food

Little Furnace Artisan Wood Fired Pizza
Wood Fired pizzas to go, fresh from Liverpool's finest pop up pizzeria.

Machine House
Informal fine dining restaurant and bar in the lovely village of Rossett. Nice food. email

Megan's Kitchen
Producer of traditional handmade welsh-cakes & Bara Brith.

MKS Food Distribution
A wide selection of olives, nuts, Turkish Delights & Baklavas

Mukaase Foods Ltd.
Afro-Caribbean Curried Goat, Dumplings, Chicken Curry, Rice & Peas, Jerk Chicken, Curry Sauces

North-West Game
Cold, dressed seasonal game, hot gourmet game and street food. I got my Sunday lunch from here. email

Orchard Pigs
Handmade Bakery goods: Pies, Pasties, Artisan breads & cakes.

Ostrich Direct
Exotic Burgers:- Beef, Kangaroo, Ostrich, Bison, Venison, Wild Boar, Zebra, Crocodile.

Penypound Preserves
Small mid-wales company producing yummy preserves, chutneys, dressings & flavoured vinegars.

Pickles & Spice
A diverse range of pickles, chutneys, jams, marmalades and spices.

Riverford Organic Farms
Award Winning Organic Fruit & Veg Boxes delivered direct to the door

Rosie's Triple 'D' Cider
Craft Cider maker of multiaward winning cider & perry

Sabor de Amor
Speciality Spanish Products

Snowdonia Cheese Co.
Premium Welsh cheeses for every occasion

Twist & Kick (Effin Fine Foods)
Create fantastic salt and spice blends for fantastic tasting food at home - come & taste

Ultimate Fudge Outlet
Family Business making a full range of traditional & speciality homemade fudges

Bake fresh cakes, cupcakes, brownies, cookies, celebration cakes, corporate events and confectionery.

Wood & Slate
Wood & Welsh slate home and table wares. Made in North Wales

Wrexham Lager
Wrexham Lager on Draught, bottles & Presentation packs


Nancy Sinatra Mood Today

Because I am in a bit of s Sixties mood today, and because I'm doing this as a demo of blogging for my class, here's something that epitomises this era more than any other. Nancy Sinatra, and These Boots Are Made For Walkin'.


H R Giger RIP

Sad news today, everybody.

Rest easy, Mr Giger. If there's an afterlife, I hope it doesn't look like this (though maybe if it did, I'd fit right in).



For the longest time I lived in a state of, for want of a better word, fear.

There is no other word to describe how I lived.

I lived in fear of getting punched and pushed about by the ugly brute children I had to put up with in lower school and, frankly, throughout many of my school days. The school system, it seemed to me, rewarded ugliness, mediocrity and stupidity, and seemingly ignored what amounted to a systemic regime of bullying of anyone with the slightest trace of eccentricity, individuality or compassion.

That fear continued to my adulthood. Could you believe it? It coloured every interaction I ever had with people. Until I shook off that fear.

I'm going to identify that fear for you now.

It wasn't a fear of being bullied, as such, that led me to live inside my shell for so long.

It was a fear of showing you what I am capable of.

I have more than a hint of what could be considered Asperger Syndrome, which manifests in an ability to soak up a tremendous amount of information, store it, process it and come back with some intricate thought structures, laced here and there with structural elements of pure, solid data. I have composed poems, written short stories, blog articles, short fiction, unpublished novels and I maintain a bunch of websites, blogs and fora. I study languages till foreign speech is leaking from my eyeballs. I read, voraciously.

And yet I have a fine-tuned kinaesthetic sense, which means that it is very, very rare that I bump into someone, trip over my own shoelaces or fall over in public. I have learned some ability to read people's body language and microexpressions to tell me whether or not I am reaching the limits of their ability to process the vast, intricate webs of interconnected that I seem to practically exude with every breath and movement.

I'm very, very sensitive to people's responses. And I watch for the intricate signs that indicate boredom, a sense of being overwhelmed or, of course, the signs that you have just been weirded out or creeped out by something I have said.

I have lived my entire life reading people for signs that something I have said might be coming close to switching you off. The number of conversations I have terminated, sometimes in mid-sentence ...

That is the fear I held in my heart, at least until recent years. The fear that I might be too strong for you; that my thoughts, my feelings, the imagery I conjure in day to day life, might cause the people I know and love to flee, screaming, from this strange little savant.

The fear that something insignificant I say might inadvertently crush you.

Black Noise

Posting this embedded video tonight to mark the passing of Nash the Slash, reportedly dead the weekend of 2014 05 11.

Rest easy, man. Rest easy.

Bonus: Here's one of my favourite tracks of all time, Swing Shift 69.


Bowie - "Ashes To Ashes" - video

Another piece of music that played when I parted with a lover, this one is particularly poignant because the lover in question is no longer with us.


Ultravox - "Vienna" - video

Continuing with the theme of music videos to mark the songs playing in my head at the end of a relationship, or at least on the occasion of parting with the relationship continuing, here's Ultravox's seminal music video "Vienna." This one played as I said goodbye to one woman whom I'd known from attending various conventions in the Eighties, but who left for Italy. This music was playing as we said goodbye for the last time, in that convention in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in 1986.

Side Note 1: Ye Gods, I'd almost forgotten that convention completely. The one I went to in Leicester, just two weeks afterwards, blew the Geordie convention away - because while Galileo Con '86 in Toonland had been where we fans commemorated the 20th anniversary of Star Trek, Midcon '86 was where the announcement was made that Star Trek was making a return to TV screens, in the form of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Side Note 2: Now how could I have forgotten Galileo '86? That was the place where I picked up the very first issue of The Klingon Dictionary, in its original Little Blue Book version released by Simon & Schuster not the year before.

Regardless ... I present to you, "Vienna" by Ultravox.