Archive for August, 2002

Element icons

earth
earth
fire
fire
metal
metal
water
water
wood
wood

I should be able to make those look a bit slicker.

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Elements and Categories

Todd’s comment about categories has kicked me to consider the categories on this site, which I’m not very happy with. They’re pedestrian, and also inconsistent. On the one hand, some of them refer to subject (Politics & Corporate), while others refer to execution (Observation & Rant).

Categorising things is always a problem and I’ve been thinking I might just steal a category system from someone else. I was looking at Aristotle‘s Virtues, but while there are lots of them they’re a bit dull. I also took a look at the Greek, Indian and Chinese elements which have the advantage of being part of an overall system (so for instance the Chinese virtue of benevolence corresponds to the element of wood, a blue/green colour and a goatish smell). These systems have thousands of years of practice in squeezing every aspect of human nature into their categories, but thinking about applying them to my blog only reinforces what a ridiculous idea they are in the first place. It might be entertaining but it’s of no use to anyone. Also, five categories isn’t really enough.

Star signs? Freudianism? Marxist class theory? What other dubious classification systems can you think of?

The Chinese elements, I might make a go of, though. From definitions here, here are my suggestions…

  • Water:
    Solitude, privacy, introspection, philosophy, mystery, truth, honesty, anxiety, nervousness, insecurity. (Images: Black, Night, Winter)
    A hell of a lot of my personal entries fall into this category. Introspection, I can do.
  • Wood:
    Leadership, assertiveness, creativity, planning, decision-making, competitiveness, conflict, anger, frustration. (Images: Green, Morning, Spring)
    Rants, at least those about real things rather than general “fuck the world” raging. Items about my plans for the future?
  • Fire:
    Self-expression, emotional extremes, empathy, extrovert, attention-seeking, sociable, talkative. (Images: Red, Mid-day, Midsummer)
    The more extreme whining, raging and chatty stuff. Jokes and stupid pictures. Talking about my social experiences, which happens occasionally.
  • Earth:
    Caring, supportive, nourishing, family-oriented, stability, grounding, “mother hen”, worrier. (Images: Yellow, Afternoon, Late summer)
    I think the “earth” category might be a bit empty, given that stability’s not exactly something I know much about. Still, if I ever go back to growing herbs… Perhaps the “worrier” thing might extend to concerned posts about the environment, or society.
  • Metal:
    Precise, meticulous, logical, analytical, moderation, self-control, morality, tendency to pessimism (Images: White, Evening, Autumn)
    Geek posts, news and societal analysis, I suppose. Informational stuff.

Yeah, I can see that working, I’ll give it a try. I think I’ll still keep a “penguins” category though.

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We’re here, we’re queer, we’re penguins

“The romantic story of Wendell and Cass, tuxedo-clad life partners, as told by their keeper.”

I’m actually going to start a new category, called “Penguins”, I’ve decided.

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L’Espion – not just for little crap photos any more

Click here to see an example of the 356×292 hi-res format that the L’Espion can also take. Not too shabby, that.

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Libraries – Waste Of Money. Or Not.

Tax Revolt Takes Aim at a County’s Libraries

ETTLE FALLS, Wash., Aug. 15 – One library doubles as a laundry room, where a person can clean a month of dirty clothes and pick up a Churchill biography in a single stop. Another shares a roof with a state liquor store – “books ‘n’ booze,” people call it in jest….

…A group of antitax crusaders are trying to shutter them, in an effort that the American Library Association says may be the first aimed at dissolving an entire county library system by referendum. In the last decade, parts of the rural West have had tax revolts against schools, public transportation and new parks. Now comes the first tax revolt against books.

Leaders of the campaign to eliminate the Stevens County Rural Library District say they are tired of paying property taxes for a service that helps people largely in the most out-of-the-way crannies, where a majority of the county’s libraries lie. Besides, they say, rural libraries are increasingly obsolete, given the Internet, video outlets and discount bookstores…

…”With all the property I own, I’m probably paying up to $500 in taxes for the library, and that’s just $500 wasted on something we don’t need,” said one supporter of the measure, Dave Sitler, a real estate agent.

Mr. Sitler, a member of the American Heritage Party, which calls for an end to all property taxes and for a government based on biblical tenets, also complains that the head librarian’s annual salary of $51,000 is too high. “The salaries they pay those librarians, with health benefits and all that, it adds up,” he said.

Mr Sitler, you are scum. Firstly, the idea of libraries with laundrettes and booze shops in them is brilliant in the first place. Take your washing in, have a beer, read a book… great. Secondly, the people who benefit most from libraries (and I know this is really obvious) are the ones who can’t afford to buy their own books or use the internet. And libraries have their own internet access anyway. So tell me, is this a “fuck the poor, I don’t care about them” move by any chance? I think it might be. » Continue reading “Libraries – Waste Of Money. Or Not.”

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Barcoding Penguins

ETHOS News: Monitoring of penguins on South Georgia

On the main route favoured by the penguins in their journey from colony to the sea, a series of fake rock platforms has been built which disguise a weighbridge. The birds move along the flat ‘rocks’ which are set at different heights, ensuring that the bird will hesitate before moving to a different level. So far, about 200 penguins have been tagged with electronic barcodes which are scanned as they pass the weighbridge, recording the identifying number of the penguin, its weight and the time and date of the record.
And how, precisely, does one put a barcode on a penguin in the first place? At least it would make it easier to buy them in supermarkets.

“I can’t scan this penguin… price check for a Macaroni penguin on aisle 3…”

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Chicago Heat

There’s been a lot of entries recently, in my LJ and other blogs about the heat. I read an interesting story in the Guardian on the train this morning… Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Health: Baked to death… about the 1995 Chicago heatwave, during which 739 people died in one week.

One interesting aspect is how the city at first tried to deny the deaths were heat-related at all, then did everything to blame the victims. There’s a term for the argument “It didn’t happen, and even if it did it’s not my fault”, but I can’t remember what it is (this is not the most erudite blog you’ll ever read I’m afraid). I think Freud coined it to describe some of his patients. Whatever, dude. The conclusion that you draw from someone using it is generally guilt, or at least compulsive arse-covering. » Continue reading “Chicago Heat”

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Penguins In Sweaters

Animal Tracks

An oil spill off the coast of the island could have spelled disaster for the penguin population if it wasn’t for a quick cleanup and recovery effort. But it was also the innovative thinking of some biologists that helped the affected penguins stay out of danger. It all came down to wearing wool sweaters.

It’s not that the fairy penguins were in any danger of becoming too cold – at least not initially. Rather, it was the act of wearing the sweaters that prevented many of them from dying because their new attire stopped the penguins from preening their oil-coated feathers. In other words, the sweaters acted as a barrier against ingesting the crude oil.

You have to see the pictures for this story. They are unbearably cute. It really is a penguin in a sweater. » Continue reading “Penguins In Sweaters”

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I Do Not Wish To Buy Your Organic Vegetables

Please take note, Lord Tesco. I wish to buy vegetables. I do not wish to buy your organic vegetables.

I do not wish to buy slightly smaller vegetables at a higher price that taste exactly the same and are no better for me. The fact that I actually want to buy fresh vegetables does not make me a gullible health freak who will buy something merely because you put the word “Organic” and a nice picture of a farm on the front.

I am quite well aware that buying your vegetables in the first place involves accepting the worst standards of English palate-blandness and factory farming. I see no reason that you would actually sell organic vegetables that actually have taste, since you have apparently made a policy decision not to sell vegetables that taste of anything except water. Even the chillies have no taste; all they do is sting.

Perhaps this is so that you can also sell jar after jar of pre-prepared multicoloured cooking sauces for people to throw in the saucepan in a desperate attempt to notice more than the texture of their meal when they eat it. Vegetables that taste of something would bypass this whole extra area of pointless shit to pay for, thereby depriving not only you of money but the consumer of their valuable daily dose of artificial additives.

If I wished to pay a premium for vegetables, I would go to an independent grocer who sold decent ones. But hold on, independent grocers are cheaper anyway, aren’t they? Maybe you don’t realise that I am quite aware of the markup that you charge on the cheapest of farmed products, clearly obvious when some guy with a tiny shop can outdo you on both quality and price, as well as queueing time and attitude of staff.

So. I do not wish to buy your organic vegetables. I express this by not buying your organic vegetables. Please, therefore, do not fill your shelves and refrigerated compartments with organic vegetables and make me hunt for the non-organic ones. Incidentally, I also do not wish to buy your “specially selected” vegetables which are twice the price of the loose vegetables right next to them, purely because they are in a plastic carton.

I will, however, buy your organic cider, not because it is organic but because it is cold and has alcohol in it.

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Updating tech

The service I’m using for the update feature is called Bloglet. It works with Blogger and Movable Type and a few other systems that support XML-RPC. (Actually, I don’t know if it works properly yet, cos it’s not sent out the updates yet. It says it does though.)

MT’s update system is a bit clunky and I have to manually send out updates after each entry, which frankly is no better than me just mailing everyone. I could write a better program to do that myself. Thankfully, this way I can be idle and let someone else do it for me, for free!

Third-party blog tools, gotta lovem. Incidentally, if you’ve got your own blog using a suitable system you could do worse than subscribe to the service.

Disclaimer: I say this now, it may turn out to be shit. Fridgemagnet is not responsible for the shitness or otherwise of third-party blog tools he recommends.

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