Tuesday 20 November 2018

Jumping The Queue And Other Lies

Theresa May, who brought us the hostile environment, the "citizens of nowhere" speech, and the Windrush deportations, has struck again. This time, trying to sell her embattled Brexit deal to the public, she has said it will stop EU citizens from "jumping the queue" ahead of "engineers from Sydney or software developers from Delhi".

This is offensive nonsense. There is no queue; EU citizens have exercised a right of free movement guaranteed by international treaty. But it's revealing of the aims and likely outcome of Brexit.

Theresa May. Source: The Independent/Reuters

What does May mean by this phrase? Of course, some of it is tribal signalling, almost beneath the level of spoken language. "Britain good, Europe bad" is the crude subtext. For this purpose, she might as well be flinging her own feces at a European flag. But there's something more interesting going on here.

Friday 26 October 2018

Monday 15 October 2018

What Is This I Cannot Even

Reading the news seemed a harmless habit, even virtuous; but that was before the world went wrong.

I miss the old days, when we could be concerned about a stained blue dress or a guy eating a bacon sandwich. Paying attention to current affairs is becoming too much to stomach.

Blogging here has been light for a while, and nonexistent for a month. That's partly because I'm still settling into my new life in Toronto. Maybe some of it is blog fatigue, after four years of posting on a weekly basis. But mostly it's just... how do you react to absolute and total madness?

Friday 14 September 2018

Friday 24 August 2018

Wednesday 15 August 2018

On Ready Player One: You, Sir, Are No Willy Wonka

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33062389

I've got around to reading the 2011 novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. It made me angry. More than once I was tempted to throw the book against the wall, and I can't recall ever feeling that way before.

This might be unexpected, as it looks like something right up my alley. RP1 is an unabashed celebration of 1980s geekery. It is veritably stuffed with references to cult movies, roleplaying games, music, books, television, and most of all, computer games.

(For some reason, comics aren't mentioned. Maybe Cline isn't a fan. Needless to say, it's all boys' media; Jem And The Holograms doesn't rate a mention.)

I was born in 1978, loved many of these works as a kid, and still enjoy them today. I'm more than happy with modern productions depicting geeky 1980s kids (Stranger Things) or continuing series from that time (The Last Jedi). I was delighted to hear last week that Patrick Stewart is reprising his role from Star Trek: The Next Generation, in which he first appeared in 1987.

So, what's my problem?

Friday 10 August 2018

Cute Cat Friday 2018-08-10: Joni

Enjoying the view from our dining table -- which has finally been shipped across from the UK to our new home in Toronto.

In the background is a photo of the late and much missed Dexter.

Friday 3 August 2018

Cute Cat Friday 2018-08-03: Joni

Good evening, human.

What They Want Is Everything: Part 3

What endgame will there be for Trump?

This is not a fairy tale. The knight does not slay the dragon. Everyone does not live happily ever after.

Friday 27 July 2018

Cute Cat Friday 2018-07-27: Joni

The shipping company brought our stuff! Joni is happy to have new places to climb.

Programming note

Long blog entry postponed due to a (non-serious) family illness. Cute Cat Friday up as normal shortly.

Friday 20 July 2018

Cute Cat Friday 2013-07-20: Joni

Joni watches in alarm as we prepare our son's bath.

"You're going to put the kitten in THERE?!?"

Friday 13 July 2018

Cute Cat Friday 2018-07-13: Joni

Yawn. Relax. (It's a hard life for a cat.)

What They Want Is Everything: Part 2

It's taken me a while to write this, because it's hard even to think about. It strikes close to home. I am referring to President Trump's policy of separating immigrant children from their families.

There have been a few milestones in the sorry tale of ineptitude and hate that is the Trump administration. There are moments when anyone with an ounce of humanity, paying even minimal attention, must recognise: We are witnesses to evil.

Friday 29 June 2018

Cute Cat Friday 2018-06-29: Joni

Sleepy cat.

What They Want Is Everything: Part 1

The Trump administration has reached new depths of obscenity over the last couple of weeks. It's going to take me more than one post to address it.

First, consider the Supreme Court vacancy. Anthony Kennedy, appointed by Reagan but generally regarded as a moderate, has chosen to retire. The fact that his replacement will be appointed by a Republican President and Senate may or may not have influenced his thinking.

I'm not the first to observe that if your political system hinges on one octogenarian's decision to retire, it is a stupid political system.

Be that as it may, the reason things have come to this pass is the Democrats have lost and lost and lost.

Friday 22 June 2018

Cute Cat Friday 2018-06-22: Joni

Enjoying a seat on her new cat tree.

Programming note

Moving away from weekly long posts for a while. Instead I'll aim to post every other week, unless something is particularly topical or inspiring. Cute Cat Friday will continue weekly, of course.

Friday 15 June 2018

Cute Cat Friday 2018-06-15: Joni

I don't think Joni misses going outside much. She's not a particularly large or assertive cat, so other cats might have been a bit of a worry. She never went out for long, or seemed to go very far (except a few times when, endearingly, she followed our son a long way to make sure he was all right).

That said, she was very, very interested in this pigeon on our balcony.

(Too bad, Joni. It's seventeen floors up and you're not going out there.)

Entitlement Issues Redux

I've been thinking about entitled fans, in relation to George RR Martin and Star Wars.

Where is the next book, George?

Martin's fans have awaited his next book with growing impatience, ever since A Dance With Dragons was published seven years ago this week. With admirable bluntness, Neil Gaiman once pointed out George RR Martin is not your bitch.

(Gaiman was writing in 2009, two years before A Dance With Dragons was published. Plus ├ža change.)

Here is a less combative analogy, which may help make the point:

Friday 8 June 2018

Cute Cat Friday 2018-06-08: Joni

Who dares disturb me on my favourite windowsill?

Low Information Voter

Yesterday I voted in my first ever Canadian election. I was under voting age when I left, and by the time I was an adult I'd been away far too long for an absentee ballot, but now I'm back.


(On a personal note: I'm back to blogging, too, after a longer-than-planned absence. It turns out moving to another continent with a three-year-old child and a cat is very tiring, but I'm enjoying my new home.)

Friday 1 June 2018

Cute Cat Friday 2018-06-01: The Return of Cute Cat Friday

After a longer-than-anticipated gap of just under three months, Cute Cat Friday (and this blog) are back! Longer posts will resume shortly.

We are settling in well to our new home in Toronto, Canada. Joni seems happy as an apartment-dwelling cat and has claimed her rightful place in my desk chair.

Saturday 24 February 2018

Wednesday 7 February 2018

Cute Cat Wednesday Classic: 2018-02-07

Originally published 2015-01-02.

Planned for last Friday, but I was on an epic drive to retrieve some rugby tickets, and subsequently very busy. (I'm disgruntled that after all my efforts Scotland's performance against Wales was so wretched, but such is life.)

Friday 19 January 2018

Cute Cat Friday Classic: 2018-01-19

The lovely Joni is as well and happy as ever, but given our upcoming move and holidays I've decided to revisit some older editions of Cute Cat Friday. This one was first posted on 2014-11-27.

Friday 12 January 2018

Cute Cat Friday 2018-01-12: Joni

Extremely relaxed kitty.

I was trapped by a cat sleeping on my lap, while both my wife and son were taking naps. The house was astoundingly peaceful. I had the sun in my eyes, but it was a small price to pay, easily remedied by careful positioning of the Terry Pratchett book I was reading.

Afternoons like that were a lot more common before I became a parent, but I wouldn't change things for the world.

Partial blog break (until April)

For some time I've been planning to take a break from the blog to focus on my move to Canada. I'm going to step aside from weekly posting until some time in April. I may still post from time to time if I feel the motivation.

Cute Cat Friday will still be up in some form, maybe revisiting some of my favourite pictures from times past.

Friday 5 January 2018

Cute Cat Friday 2018-01-05: Joni

Joni wishes you a happy New Year from one of her many perches in the garden.

Placeholder again

No long post this week. It turns out organising a transatlantic move is a lot of work.