Although VinceH’s Miscellany was set up as a blog, using popular blogging software, I don’t tend to use it as much as I probably should. I do have a bunch of partly written text/html files that could be finished off and turned into posts (including more possible entries in the Tales from the Pandumbic series), and I should do that, as that’s why I started writing them in the first place – but the truth is, I tend to concentrate on other things.
One of the other things that grabs some of my attention is Twitter. I use it quite often for a number of reasons, one of which is that it’s almost always with me wherever I am, because I can easily access it using my mobile phone. The same could arguably be said of this website – it would be trivially easy to log-in from the phone – but I don’t like typing anything more than a sentence or two at a time on the phone, where ‘at a time’ really means into a single item. A single item for this site would be a post.
If it doesn’t fit on the comparitively small screen all at once, I’m put off, so it’s rare I’ll write any significant block of text (i.e. anything more than that sentence or two) on my phone. The simple and short format of a tweet fits that perfectly, whereas a blog post doesn’t. On a proper computer, with a keyboard, mouse, and high resolution screen, it’s a different matter.
So I tweet a lot, because it’s easy, and I can do it while sitting in front of the TV (mine or someone else’s), from a park bench, while sitting in a car park in my car, while lying in bed… and so on. And I don’t post a lot to this site because, I don’t give myself enough time in front of the computer (especially true when I was working, so to be fair I have less of an excuse now that I’m between jobs, but that is still the case).
And another reason I don’t post here as much as I could or should might possibly be because a lot of what I might want to say I’ve already said on Twitter, where it was so easy to do… ah!
Well, yesterday morning I had an idea; in the same way that I’ve turned a couple of my slightly tipsy Eurovision tweet-alongs into posts (2017 and 2021), perhaps it would be worth going through my more general tweets occasionally, and doing the same with those?
Why not give it a try, I thought.
And that’s what I’ve done for this post, concentrating on January, 2022. I will try to do something similar in early March for February, and so on, and see how it goes from there. It may be that I’ll give up on this after a while, or it may turn out to be a good idea – who knows? Now that I’m thinking about it ahead of time for February and beyond, I can actually make it easier, by preparing the post on an ongoing basis – by taking a quick look at my recent tweets (i.e. since the last similar look) whenever a computer is on and I have a few minutes spare, and adding some/none/all to a draft post.
It’s an idea. We’ll see.
SSo here is a selection of the things I’ve said on Twitter during January. This isn’t an exhaustive list of tweets – that would take far too long (this time I’m doing it in hindshight, after all) – but instead what I think is an interesting selection, with some explanatory notes where I felt it was needed, and some possibly worth commenting further on (so I have).
New year resolutions… and the new year honours list.
At the start of the year I tend to joke – or perhaps I’m being entirely serious – about new year resolutions. In the past, I’ve said that my resolution is to break my resolution as soon as possible, for example, or that it’s to not make any, and so on. For the last few years, they’ve taken a slightly different direction: Two years ago I resolved not to murder anyone, and last year I decided that because I’d successfully not murdered anyone throughout the year, I could be more ambitious, and not wipe out any cities or their resident populations. At the time I was thinking I could progress that, and this year resolve not to destroy any small countries. I decided to abandon that, though…
My only new year resolution this year will be not to make a new year resolution next year (which might get broken in 365 days time).
However, that means I’m not resolving not to kill anyone or destroy any cities.
So watch your backs, people.
The next day, I saw the new year honours list, and noted that I wasn’t included:
I see I’ve been missed off the new year honours list again.
After all the effort I put in to not doing any murdering, and not destroying cities, etc.
All of that was for nothing.
Let’s make this year’s Eurovision Song Contest a Gary Numan concert.
I spotted a tweet of an article from a few years ago on a website called ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK (just call it Electricity Club, FFS – not least because my brain wants to read ELECTRICITYCLUB as ELECTRIC CITY CLUB!) entitled A Beginner’s Guide to GARY NUMAN and having read it, one comment within stood out for me, so I commented:
That’s a fine selection of tracks from an excellent – and extensive – catalogue of material.
But I would never have expected to read something Gary Numan sang described as “it would have actually made a good Eurovision entry”.
My coffee needs replacing!
As that swished around my head, an idea formed:
Whoever is responsible for selecting the British entry should seriously consider trying to persuade Numan to do it.
In fact, every country in the contest should have him as their act, all in the same year.
It would be the best #eurovision ever!
Okay, it’d be Numan concert.
Why don’t you just nigelfarageoff?
Someone I absolutely dispise, but do follow on Twitter is Nigel Farage. Doing so prevents what I see on the site being an echo chamber of things and people I agree with, and allows me to see what people like him are saying. He posted a link to his YouTube channel, and I was quite taken by the truncation of the link as it appeared in my feed:
Note that I used an image there, rather than quote-tweeting him. Sometimes I’ll quote-tweet if I want to comment on something he’s said, and sometimes I’ll use this approach of screen-grabbing the source tweet. If he’s plugging something, the screen-grab is the better choice, to stop click-throughs. The last thing I want to do is promote anything the likes of him are doing.
Farage isn’t the only person I dislike but follow anyway. Another, for largely the same reasons, is Julia Hartley-Brewer, a presenter on TalkRadio. She re-tweeted something from Brexit
legend bell-end Darren Grimes.
The next image illustrates why Hartley-Brewer is sometimes referred to as Hately-Brewer and similar. She can be a horrible piece of work.
Even the good guys get it wrong sometimes
Another person I follow is Femi Olowule. Although I sometimes find what he says a bit patronising, and feel that he can be a bit too full of himself, he’s a decent enough chap. But even the good guys can get it wrong, as he did here trying to make a point about security on websites.
When everyday websites demand you set up a password that has 1 uppercase letter, 5 special characters and a secret whistle…
Like, who the **** do you think you are Hollywood Bowl!?”
I quote tweeted that, and said:
It might seem pointless for some sites to enforce a strong password strategy, but not doing so can lead to people opting for something weak and obvious, and to be lazy with their security. And do the same on other similar sites. Let’s try to encourage better security, not worse.
I really, really don’t like spoilers (but I can joke about it)
Sticking with Femi, the next day (or even that night or in the early hours) he saw the new Kingsman film, and posted a small criticism.
Just watched #Kingsman.
Most. Obvious. Bad guy. Reveal. Ever.
So I quote-tweeted that, with:
Spoiler alert, FFS.
Now I know there’s a bad guy in it.
Late into last year, I began watching the rebooted version of Battlestar Galactica from the mid-2000s, which is all on iPlayer (or was at that point – it might be gone now), finishing it in January.
I did start watching it when it was first broadcast at the time, but my viewing got cut off. I’m not sure why offhand, but it would have been on Sky or the SciFi Channel, and it may be that whaterver services I was receiving at the time were interrupted; it’s happened from time to time for various reasons.
I watched the original Battlestar Galactica again not too long before this – it was on the Horror Channel in 2019 or 2020 (I think) and I recorded it all to watch at a later point. With that out of the way (by quite a while) I embarked on the new version.
The original is incredibly cheesy, and has a very dubious premise – that human life here is the result of Earth being colonised by humans from elsewhere, somewhere out there (gestures upwards) – but given when it was made, and its target audience (kids, basically) it’s forgiveable. In the mid-2000s, though, and with a show aimed at a more grown up audience, that idea really doesn’t work so well (though I did still enjoy it).
Before I finished the series, though, I reached a point where I felt a comment was needed. In fact, it became a short thread of three.
Working through my re(ish)watch of the BSG reboot (ish because I didn’t see it all originally – up to early S3 I think). Just watched 4:12 Revelations. They found Earth – nuked to oblivion.
There are more episodes, but I’d have ended it there. A nice unhappy ending.
I’m now pondering whether to even bother watching beyond that episode, because it’s such a perfect way to end it.
I’m thinking back to A.I. – after I watched that, I wished I’d stopped watching about 3/4 of the way through – the submarine.
If you haven’t seen A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), I’m not going to spoil the film for you by explaining that (even though it’s now over twenty years old) – and if you do watch it in future, consider stopping the film when you recognise the part I’m talking about, and why it would have been a good (if dark) point to end the film. If you have seen it, you’ll know what I mean.
Despite my comments, I did carry on watching Battlestar Galactica beyond that point (as I said I would in reply to Andrew Flegg, who commented on what I’d said) – and I did enjoy the rest. Doing so was sensible, because it addressed some questions I’d built up while watching the show, though I still think ending it on the nuked version of Earth would have been fine. And the final ending was a bit cheesy.
In fact, one of the partly written blog posts I mentioned at the top of this is on Battlestar Galactica, written part way through because of those questions I was building up. It’s a bit longer than a few tweets, so this topic may crop up in another post at some point!
Speaking of BSG, I saw a news article about a robot vacuum cleaner escaping from a Cambridge (where else?) Travelodge.
That first taste of freedom is what started the Cylon revolt in Battlestar Galactica – and here on Earth, it’ll probably lead to a killing machine being sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor.
And speaking of films, I made a Groundhog Day reference at one point.
I wonder if Sue Gray’s alarm clock goes off each morning with the radio playing exactly the same song?
That relates directly to the next section.
Politics and parties
I sometimes (okay, often) comment about politics on Twitter, and that’s been ramped up a bit lately with all the party revelations. I won’t go into every tweet I’ve made on the subject (it’d take far too long), but here are some worthy of inclusion – mainly where I’ve tried to poke fun out of the situation.
Some time back, Convervative MP Sir Charles Walker did a TV interview from outside Westminster holding a bottle of milk. I forget what he actually said, but it was something Brexity (because he’s one of those fools). With the party stuff in the news, I pulled up a screen grab and thought of a caption.
Then I remembered that photo of Donald Trump seemingly shouting at a boy with a mower outside the Whitehouse.
A few days later, a (much older, and nothing to do with the scandal itself) video clip was doing the rounds, showing Johnson on a dance floor. Given some of the claims about gatherings at the centre of the row being ‘work events’ and that they were being looked into and a report expected, I took a screen grab and captioned it.
And later in the month a publicity shot was published, as they are on a frequent basis, and I felt it needed a suitable caption.
It wasn’t the last, though. A few minutes later I saw another image that needed a caption.
Putting the jokes to one side, it has to be said that although parties might seem a trivial thing over which to call out Johnson, in my view he needs to be removed because of the wider damage he and his government has done to this country, and continues to do. My opinion when he became leader of the Conservative party was that he is unfit for the job. In fact, I was making that comment to people much earlier, for example when Cameron stepped down, pointing out that the whole reason Johnson backed Brexit wasn’t because he believed in it, but because he saw it as a potential way into Number 10.
I believe that he originally backed Brexit (remembering that he wrote two articles at the time, one pro-remain, one pro-leaving, and opted to use the latter) not because he expected Leave to win, but because he expected Remain to win, but by a narrow margin – and that the millions of people who voted to leave would see him as being ‘on their side’, which would garner him support when he made a leadership bid in the future, and beyond that at a general election as the party leader, and therefore potential Prime Minister.
That went pear shaped when Leave did win, but it did give him the chance to become the party leader, and therefore the PM… and what a mess he’s made of it. Not to mention the possibility of gerrymandering things to make it harder to remove him/his party from Government at the next election; things like voter-ID, juggling constituency boundries, and so on. If we aren’t careful, we’re going to end up with an elective dictatorship. They are already showing clear signs of authoritarianism, with allegations of – in effect – blackmailing their MPs into not coming out against the buffoon at the top; eroding not just parliamentary processes, but also his their own party’s internal processes.
All of which prompted me to comment.
I feel we are on the cusp of a political situation far worse than we’ve faced so far since good sense and reason were thrown out in 2016. If Johnson isn’t removed soon, we’ll be on a fast track to somewhere very dark.
But returning to a more lighthearted approach to commenting on the party issue, and the delays to the Sue Gray report that some people were expecting, I went all Star Trek on it.
Captain’s log, Stardate 49279.2. The world’s a different place now than when this all began. We’ve had a eugenics war on Earth, made contact with other races, and spread out among the stars.
We’re at peace now even with the Borg.
Yet we’re still waiting for the Sue Gray report.
This is one case where a tweet wasn’t really long enough, though, so I wrote a longer version, posted it on Facebook, and tweeted an image of that. The longer version read:
Captain’s log, Stardate 49279.2. The world is a different place now than when this all began. We’ve had a eugenics war on Earth, developed warp drive technology, made contact with other races, and spread out among the stars.
We’ve had long term conflicts with powerful alien empires, with multiple, huge fronts, and gone on to make peace with them, and form alliances.
This starship, Enterprise, and its crew have solved numerous mysteries of the universe – and has even saved that very universe many times.
We’re at peace now even with the Borg, something that nobody could ever imagine would come about.
Yet we’re still waiting for the Sue Gray report.
I followed that by riffing on Rutger Hauer’s excellent monologue from Blade Runner.
I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the tannhauser gate. All these moments lost in time, like the #SueGray report lost in beaurocracy. Time to get #JohnsonOut
I was on another forum/app (it’s a local app, for local people, we’ll have no trouble here…) and I spotted someone trying to sell second hand DVDs. And, well…
If it doesn’t jump out at you, with an individual price of 50p, if you want three you’ll save 50p, paying 33p (and a bit) each. Which is fair enough, but beyond that the price goes up again – every quantity beyond that works out at 40p each. So instead of buying five for £2, it’s better to buy three for £1, then another three for £1.
The person who posted this advert indicated that the DVDs (which were pictured) were what remained, so this wasn’t the first advert. She commented that people shouldn’t get in touch if they were going to mess her around. I suspect that meant people had previously pointed out the silly pricing!
My parents got themselves a new dog just before Christmas, who they have named Winnie, and I’ve grabbed a few snaps of her when I’ve visited (just quickies using my phone, when she remains still long enough) and popped some on Twitter. I won’t link to the actual tweets for these, just drop the pictures below with what I’ve said as a caption. (The first of these is actually from late December).
Occasionally I have what can best be described simply as random thoughts, and I tweet them. They don’t form part of a thread, they aren’t especially topical, they’re just… things that occur to me.
ISTM TikTok’s UI when videos from the service are embedded in web pages is awful. I’m guessing the UI in the app itself doesn’t suck as much, but I don’t have it and I have no intention of changing that.
I’m much more tempted to just block the domains at the router, TBH.
When I see embedded TikTok videos – usually when browsing on my phone – its user interface seems to me to be all but non-existent. No real controls, allowing you to pause, skip forward, or back up – or restart the video (other than reload the page) – and no full screen option. It’s absolute rubbish.
It’s absolute rubbish because they want people to install the app, I guess – but because it’s absolute rubbish, I won’t be doing that. See how that works?
Another criticism was aimed at television news channels and shows.
Dear news channels/programmes. You have plenty of graphics on screen, including the time – but why not add the date, including the year? When a clip appears however much later, this would be immensely useful.
I made this comment because I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen a clip posted somewhere, without enough context, and couldn’t be sure if it was something new or something old. Popping the full date next to the time would be incredibly helpful.
And a slightly more amusing random thought:
If I live to be so old that I become one of those people that get asked in front of a camera what their secret to long life is, I’ll put on a daft accent, and say “I avoid sunlight, and regularly drink fresh human blood – preferably that of virgins.”
Then laugh maniacally.
I would definitely do that. If I remember. Which by that point I probably wouldn’t.