Photos of my junk

Posted on Friday 08/12/2022 08:55:03

I didn’t have to. But since there were requests from the women on KCL, I have done it. In fact not only did I take a photo of my junk room (or ‘box room’ as they are popularly called in the UK), I took some others too, while I had my kit out. None of the basement, naturally. The girls like their privacy, and I respect that.

Box room

This used to be my mother’s bedroom, which is why there is a painting hanging rather incongruously on the wall. I could have removed it, but preferred to leave it. It was done by a watercolour artist who lived in the village in north Germany where she grew up.

Living room

A few signs of opulence! Again, any purely decorative items are my mother’s, which I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of. The large wooden chest in the corner, once used for storing things like bed linen, has carved on the side: ‘Frauke Maaß Kriegsjahr 1942’. She’d have been 14 that year, so it’s not exactly the same as a dowry chest, but is of a similar nature.

This room was primarily used by my mother, and when my siblings and nieces visited this is where we’d gather. Now it mainly gathers dust.

Dining room

This was never actually used as a dining room; my mother and I ate in the kitchen. Now the dining room table is used for my previous PC, HAL9000, which was relegated to backup use after I built my newer gaming PC, Skynet, a few years ago. Since it still works, I leave it in case of the horrifying event that Skynet should fail, or take over the world.

The large grey thing on the table is an A3 scanner, and the thing in the far corner is an A3 colour laser printer. I don’t do much artwork nowadays, but these things allow me to resize or alter the positioning of drawings on the sheet without having to start them entirely from scratch.

The clock was a gift to my father on his retirement from the engineering company for which he worked for most of his life.

The framed quotation by Goethe is done by hand; it was done by one of my mother’s schoolteachers as an award: ‘Den besten Schülern im Schriftkursus gewidmet von Hans Rentsch Oktober 1942’ (‘Dedicated to the best students in the writing course by Hans Rentsch October 1942’).


This pretty well speaks for itself. As you’d expect for a bachelor, I keep to the principle of having only those items of cutlery or crockery I have immediate use for (one large plate, one small plate, one knife, one fork, one teaspoon, one soup spoon— you get the idea). I wash them immediately after using them, so they’re always available. I scorn the dishwasher that was built into one of the kitchen units, partly due to my lifestyle, and partly because I have no idea how to use it.

The electric oven remains likewise unused, though in this case mainly because it’s ridiculously expensive to use for single meals. I use only the microwave and the gas hob.


When I moved to this house I had about 1100 books; I had to get rid of about half of them in order to have space for them. Naturally, life being what it is, there are books here which I haven’t read again, or even at all, while I’ve had to buy new copies of books which I thought confidently I’d never read again.


I have been assimilated

Posted on Thursday 08/11/2022 05:52:14

The British were once a proud race. They looked down their long, aristocratic noses at Americans and said things like ‘I say, that’s not on, what!’ when they learned of the types of behaviour commonly associated with Americans. But times have changed. We are gradually becoming indistinguishable from them. We are adopting their proclivities. We use their appliances. And finally I have become one. Yesterday I had an air conditioning unit installed. Or to be pedantic, an air-source heat pump which can either draw heat from the outside air and warm the house, or cool it by reversing the process.

I feel ashamed. But my therapist has told me I should expose my foibles so they may be examined and judged by ‘real’ Americans, who will reassure me by saying things like ‘This is not regarded as a criminal offence in the United States.’, or ‘Lots of people do it over here, and it is not regarded as a disgusting perversion.’ I shall, one day, be able to hold my head up proudly and say things like ‘I have an AC unit in my bedroom, and it is the source of great pleasure to me.’ without blushing and averting my gaze.

But judge for yourselves. I have included a couple of photographs for your examination and delectation.


Another test

Posted on Friday 02/11/2022 10:53:40

This is a test to see if Matt has fixed the typewriter apostrophe problem ('), and also to see if I can still hot-link to images hosted on my Google Drive account.

When you refuse to pay $20 for snacks at the cinema


Posted on Sunday 01/23/2022 01:40:38

I realise few – if any – of you will have played the Assassin’s Creed series of video games, and will not be interested in a summary of them, but all you need to know here is that one of the characters, Shaun Hastings, is an annoyingly sarcastic and condescending Englishman who is highly pedantic about the correct use of English (“I think you mean ‘whom’, not ‘who’.”).

Naturally I identified with him. He may have only been a secondary character, but he was my alter ego. I admired him. I wanted to be more like him.

One of Shaun’s functions in the games in which he featured (sadly he was dropped from the later ones) was to supply historical information, as each is set in a particular period of history. But in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, which is set in Victorian London, the game’s makers must have decided to have a bit of fun. One of the collectibles in the game is beer bottles, which can be found by checking in pubs around the city, and Shaun was given the task of writing summaries of the various types of beer, which are called Shaun’s Tasting Notes.

It was then I realised that – apart from being annoyingly pedantic about English grammar – he had become Steve.

Bear with me, please. To illustrate my meaning I shall give a couple of examples:

Bryan’s Renegade (Pale Ale – Alistair Benedict Brewers):

Pours a clear, bilious yellow colour. I’ve never actually seen a colour I’d describe as “bilious” before now, but that’s what Alistair Benedict Brewers seemed to be aiming for, and by God they’ve nailed it. Rotten grain dominates the flavour profile, which is an unusual choice, balanced by a musty funkiness reminiscent of the water that pools at the bottom of a poorly-drained gym shower. And not a nice, clean, modern fitness centre, either; one of those sweaty concrete monstrosities from the 1970s in somewhere like Loughborough, where large men with broken noses gather outside with large dogs to poke fun at patrons leaving in neon gym-wear.

Sons of Adam Irish Stout (Irish Brewers – Dublin Stout):

Presumably named because the ingredients have been sitting about since roughly the days of Enoch. A proper Irish stout should be pitch black, creamy in texture, with rich yet subtle notes of coffee and toasted malt. This tastes like someone watered down a pot of roofing tar, then spiked the whole thing with burning tyres. The mouthfeel is akin to licking a greasy rat, and how I know that is a story I will not be telling you. I shared the sense memory profile with a mate of mine from Cork, and he actually burst into flames. Please don’t send any more data on this one.

Well? Am I wrong? I invite Steve himself to give his opinion. In fairness I feel he should be permitted to make any observations he feels to be pertinent.


This is a test…

Posted on Friday 01/21/2022 04:24:30

Time to put something up as a test. Let’s see what happens this time.

Phoebe Cates


Posted on Friday 01/21/2022 04:23:56

Back in July, Christine Harrelson (TuesdayPillow for those of you who remember her from Journalspace) posted the following challenge on Facebook:

Who can make me look like I'm emerging from a painting on the wall?
If this sounds like a fun project, let me know. It needs to be done within a month.

I accepted her challenge, and she sent me some photos of herself for me to work with. She gave me a free hand regarding the painting, so I chose Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer 1, by Gustav Klimt.

It took me a couple of weeks, a few false starts, a lot of tests with different coloured marker pens (I had no intention of trying a proper painting; I know my limitations), but I got there in the end.

Creating Emergence

As I noted in my diary when I embarked on the job:

I am optimistic I’ll be able to make something of it, though I have no doubt it won’t be as good as I imagine it to be in my head.

…which pretty well sums it up! I sent a high-definition scan to Christine, and she said she’d put it into the hands of her lawyers. I heard nothing for a while, then, when it was published on Amazon on 2 October, she said that she’d send copies of the CD to anyone who downloaded the album, Dark Matter. More to the point, that she’d send a copy of the CD for those poor souls who lived in England, as she’d be visiting there in early October. So I begged her to send me one, and she promised she would.

For the last week she has been feasting on such English gourmet delights as fish and chips, black pudding, fried eggs, fried bacon, fried… well, let me just put it this way: her arteries will be a good deal harder by the time she gets back to the US. And I have been waiting. But today it arrived. Proof that my artistic efforts had been recognised:

Dark Matter CD case

If you want to see it at a higher resolution, it can be found in my DeviantArt gallery, or if you’re too lazy to click on the link, here it is at medium size:

As a footnote, I would like to thank Nightbreed for the excellent term ‘Montgomery C Burns hands’, which sums up Klimt’s inimitable work so well.


The Taste of Human Flesh

Posted on Saturday 11/04/2017 04:03:12

Nightbreed emailed me the above image, and asked me to upload it to a hosting site and link to it here. I was happy to do so; I wish that those selling human flesh for human consumption should be able to do so as freely in the West as they are in South Korea. Cannibalism is far too much of a taboo subject to us. We should speak about it to our children more openly if we wish to live in a healthy society, don’t you think?

It is also a boon to those with strong nationalistic feelings; in the United States, for example, such foodstuffs would be labelled ‘Tastes of Americans!’; only the flesh of those with full US citizenship would ever be used. It would help to make America great again!


Nothing left but emojis now

Posted on Tuesday 08/29/2017 09:08:21

My right-wing friend Michael Cramer lives in Houston, and the flood waters are seeping into the ground floor of his house. Many people had already left comments saying things like ‘Praying for you’ or the more brusque ‘Prayers’ (which has the additional advantage of avoiding saying what they were praying for). The most recent I saw was simply an emoji showing a pair of hands pressed together in prayer, which shows what a desperate shortage of letters from the Roman alphabet that the disaster has resulted in.

Not being a cruel man, I expressed my sympathy by leaving the comment:

Take care mate. I am lighting candles around my Donald Trump shrine for you.

I had been wanting to say something like ‘I have sacrificed a virgin to Cthulhu for you. Your safety is assured. Have faith.’ but since he is a Roman Catholic I feared he may not have appreciated the humour of the sentiment.

But it made me think of what else Facebook could do in this respect. Originally they only had the option to ‘Like’ a comment; they added other emojis to supplement this, and it struck me that ‘Praying’ could be another – and, in the interests of balance, one for ‘I am sacrificing a virgin to Cthulhu for you’.

Is that too much to ask of Mark Zuckerberg? I don’t think so. There must be a whole host of other spiritual emojis which could be added to save people the effort of typing out repetitive phrases expressing their religious thoughts. All we need is faith. We can make it happen.


To Pamela: An Apology

Posted on Friday 08/25/2017 07:36:57

I have a number of things in this life I regret, and I propose to resolve three of them in this post.

1. I would like to apologise to Pamela for my laughing response when she said that she stood like this when in public:

...a pose which I had likened to that which would be adopted by a prostitute.

2. When, in January, I’d received her Secret Santa Christmas present – a tee shirt from Flagstaff – I’d explained that I’d never worn a tee shirt in my life, as someone of my scrawny build would invite ridicule in doing so. I would now like to rectify that.

3. I want to publicly admit that it is considerably more difficult than I had thought to stand like a prostitute (or as I had naively believed a prostitute would stand). There is evidently more to it than merely standing with one’s legs apart and placing one hand on one’s genitals.

I hope she accepts my humble apology when she sees this photograph.


Facebook’s Suggested Posts feature now being used by prostitutes

Posted on Monday 08/21/2017 11:07:31

As many of you will be aware, I like to casually browse through Facebook’s suggested posts in order to keep up with the latest trends in women’s fashion. I was doing so yesterday when I suddenly came upon this one, which made me aware that women in the sex industry are now adverting their services on social media. Or at least – in the case or this woman anyway – offer to stroke the smooth, soft skin of the upper part of her inner thigh in a suggestive manner, while giving her client a smouldering look. Or maybe she is indicating that she will stroke the upper part of her client’s (or possibly clients’) inner thigh (or thighs, as the case may be)? Or one of her own thighs, and one of her client’s? It is impossible to tell from the advertisement, and I have not yet summoned up the courage to make an enquiry as to the exact details. It may lead to an embarrassing misunderstanding.

Before you all ask, she charges £119.99 (about $150). I don’t know. I just paid £230 for a PlayStation 4, along with a vibrating DualShock 4 controller and a game that I’m currently using to kill zombies*. Nor do I wish to risk offending Emily Ratajkowski when she’s in her present mood. I shall have to think about this one.

It can be terribly hard for a man at times like this.

* Though not, I should like to ensure you, in the sense defined under Kill A Zombie in the KCL Glossary of Terms.