I may have moved this blog to WordPress, but my opinion of the system hasn’t really changed; I still think Movable Type was a better-engineered system right from the start, and it’s only really licensing and product direction that have steered me to join the mainstream. Well, that and WordPress having matured to the point of no longer annoying me quite enough to prevent me from seeing past its obvious attractions.
MT had its quirks, though. One of which was file uploads, which went… ach, basically anywhere. Ten years into an MT install and you’d have media files strewn in every damn directly on the server, it seemed. Trust me, I just cleaned out this server.
The sausage sandwich here is significant. Elin rather missed out on the traditional tea and toast, and when she woke up a few hours later she was ravenous. Happily, the hospital canteen served what, at the time, seemed like the Best Sausage Sandwiches Ever.
I find it surprisingly difficult to browse second-hand books on market stalls. Too often the serried ranks look like this — I can discern book-like shapes, but as I try to make out the authors or titles the world starts drawing in around the periphery. Even when I can read the words I don’t recognise any of them.
The first time I built my own PC I found myself sitting in the car park, terrified the list of components I’d agonised over would elicit knowing grimaces from the testosterone-laden atmosphere inside. I even had an uncomfortable time in a bicycle shop some years ago as I struggled to work out how much of my intimate knowledge of late-80s velotech was still relevant.
It seems obvious to promote and advocate for bookshops against the encroachment of Amazon, but we shouldn’t forget that to the uninitiated — and even to the unpracticed — they’re alien, vaguely threatening environments. There are reasons other than convenience for the steady rise of online shopping.
The main thing physical shops have going for them is human contact. Very, very few shops capitalise on that advantage. But then, dealing with humans is hard.
Back in university, twenty years ago, I wrote a not-very-good sketch about a company who repurposed surplus cruise missiles. We’d all seen video footage from the (first) Gulf War showing Tomahawks diving through the windows of buildings, and it made some warped sort of mildly-satirical sense to think of them being used for… er… pizza delivery.
And now this:
The punchline of the sketch was ‘minimum cholesterol damage.’ I said it wasn’t a very good sketch.
Not one of mine, obviously, though I wish it was. This is immediately one of my favourite photographs — I’ve been a sucker for layered greys heading out to the horizon for at least thirty years, so this makes me go a bit weak at the knees, frankly.
We’re used to seeing photographs of aircraft, and we imagine their speed and air flowing over their wings and all that; familiarity with the concept has led us to forget how mysterious they are. The A380 is big enough to offer a glimpse of sufficiently advanced technology, but only barely.
Photographs of airships do not, I suspect, do them justice. They didn’t fly, they hung. They were weightless, but far from massless: Hindenburg was as big as an aircraft carrier and it operated at a gross weight of more than 200 tonnes, roughly half the maximum take-off weight of an A380.
And it hovered. Silently.
Look at The Atlantic’s photos and tell me that wouldn’t have been just a little eerie.