Experimenting on myself

It’s what all good mad scientists do. There was that nice Dr. Jekyll, he did it, and I’m sure it turned out well. I’ll have to read his story again one day. It’s been a long time.

I intended to try the stored baccy after one month. It’s now five weeks. Whoops. No matter, the longer the better, really.

The leaves in cardboard were a bit overdry, but quickly rehydrated with kettle steam. The vac-packed ones (with a cotton wool pad of whisky) seem fine, the frozen vac-packed were a bit easy to snap when frozen but OK when thawed.

I shredded some of each and tried them. They all smoke pretty much the same so far. The whisky flavour is obvious when the pack is opened but hasn’t (yet) seeped into the leaves. No surprise, I didn’t expect much of a difference after just a month. I’m pleased to note there was no sign of mould on any of them. The experiment continues.

The professionally vac-packed sample from TL4U still looks and feels perfect. No mould, no drying, no change at all. I’ll continue to observe it but won’t open it yet.

So far then, it looks like vac-packed is the ideal way. I suspect Rose’s cardboard storage will work as long as the humidity/temperature of your store room is within the right range. Mine isn’t, they dried too much, but it works for Rose so it’s worth a try.

My second experiment doesn’t involve whisky. In fact it involves me drinking rather a lot less of it. I have three big projects running and New Guy isn’t quite ready to take over my long shifts yet. Therefore I have to get up earlier (deep breaths)… I can do this!

Not every day, naturally. Let’s not get silly about it. The night before a day off remains a whisky night but I will be on limited to zero whisky the rest of the time. Also limited espresso. These projects require focused eyes, a clear head and steady fingers.

The blog might become a little more sober for a while. On the plus side, this should mean fewer typos. However, the things that trigger rages are still out there so it won’t descend to sanity.

Tonight, I have no whisky.

I have a three litre box of wine instead. That should be enough.

Model building time

Another day off today. That’s two this year and in consecutive weeks! I’ll soon be expecting one every week.

So I went in search of something suitably Easterish to corrupt. Found nothing at all. Not a single damn thing. Okay then, I need a project to help Lesia and it might not be Easter themed but has to be done before Easter.

You will not believe what I found in the model shop. I had to look three times. Someone made a plastic model kit of that? Why? Why would any model shop stock this thing? Anyway, it was dusty and cheap and wonderfully funny so I bought it.

I’m not going to say what it is. I’ll post progress pics and see who can guess. It will, of course, be a smoky model.

Then there are the little chairs for the Thai knitted rats. I had started to prepare the wood in the garage the last time Spring started up but then Winter brushed Spring aside and had another go. A really really cold go this time. It’s warmed up again now but I am taking no chances. All model building is now indoors until the Oak King finally shuts the Holly King down. And that doesn’t happen until the equinox.

It took a while but I was pleased to have managed to clear model space in my little office. The worktop in here is ‘kitchen surplus’ and already old, and I have new kitchen surplus in the garage. Actually, I need more space for the tools than the models but even so, for the little things I’m making now, a small space is enough. Here is a carefully trimmed pic of the tidy bit in my office. One day it will all be tidy, but it is not this day.

minishopDamn, I should have straightened that picture before taking this. It’s straight now. Ish.

All I have to do is swivel my chair around between computer and model construction area (yes, the office is tiny) and there need be no interruptions between blog, Twitter, Panoptica and models. Perfect.

All I need do now is persuade Boss to let New Guy take some of my long shifts, and it will all become easy.

It’s worse than that, he’s dead, Jim.

It really hurts to have to say anything bad about Spock. I grew up with Star Trek and marvelled at how, no matter which planet they visited, they always sought out an identical spot to beam down to.

Kirk shagging his way through the universe, Bones and his ‘Dammit, I’m a doctor, not a [insert alternative profession]’. My favourite will always be the time Bones was asked to help a silicon-based life form that seemed to be made of rock. ‘Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor, not a bricklayer.’

There was Scotty, the engineer charged with looking after Starfleet’s most appalling rustbucket. The engines broke every week but he always managed to patch it back together. Sometimes I still wonder if their ‘five year mission’ was really a means of getting this band of idiots out of Starfleet’s way.

‘Which ship shall we give them?’

‘Just grab one from the condemned pile and give it a coat of paint. With any luck they won’t make it back’.

What growing teen could forget Uhura’s almost-a-skirt? Every time she swivelled that chair the entire male teen population leaned forward. Almost… Maybe next time.

Spock was the top of the list though. Logical, implacable, impervious to just about everything and he had mind-meld and the Vulcan neck pinch too. Where Kirk was squaring up for a fight, Spock just casually put his hand on the enemy’s shoulder and down they went.

Leonard Nimoy’s characterisation of Spock was always the best part of that show. It was sad to hear of his passing. And yet… and yet… I have to take issue with some of his pronouncements.

He was diagnosed with COPD thirty years after he gave up smoking. Thirty years. He firmly believed that his smoking caused the disease.

Well maybe it did. I never met him nor his doctors, but my bet is that it was the medical world who drummed that into him. ‘You have a smoking related disease because you last smoked thirty years ago’.

COPD could be caused by many things in the air now. Those 2000+ nuclear explosions might just be involved. All the fuel burned by all the road, sea and air traffic could have some part to play. All of these increased during the 30 years between Spock’s last cigarette and his diagnosis. The one thing that decreased – to zero – was his tobacco consumption.

To ignore the rising air pollution and blame a diagnosis on something that last affected your life 30 years ago… sorry, Spock, I’m going to have to say it.

It is llogical.

RIP anyway, Mr. Nimoy, and I hope you get your pointy ears and tricorder back in the afterlife. It would be only fair and just.

Religion and the Tobacco Template

Fear not, God-fearers, I am not about to blame you for the persecution of smokers, drinkers, those with unapproved body shapes nor indeed anything else. I know the tobacco template had nothing to do with religion. It was the Righteous who did all that and their only religion is control.

No, I come not to blame but to warn. Yes, this miserable(?) sinner is to alert you to the dragon coming your way.

Where did you lot get the idea that sinners were miserable anyway? If it made us miserable we wouldn’t do it. Didn’t you ever think of that? I’m currently at the stage where I won’t be legal to drive for a week and have a little fire smouldering in my face. I’m not Pat Condell, I don’t ‘deny the holy spirit’. I’m drinking a bottle of what I consider to be holy spirit right now. In a sense, I’m worse than him. I don’t care about the holy spirit at all.

Okay. By now those who wouldn’t have listened anyway have clicked away from this page and probably unfollowed me on Twitter too. Good. No point talking to those who don’t want to listen. To the one who’s left, hear this.

This is not about linking the tobacco control template to religion. This is about the imminent application of that template to religion.

Yes, you heard right. Look around you. How much news coverage does the charity work of any religion get? Zilch. How much coverage do the extremists of any religion get? All of it. Lately the news is full of ‘Jihadi John’ and his British life. Who the hell cares where he comes from? Shoot the bastard and be done with it. I don’t even care what religion he is – he’s a serial killer, incurable, wipe him out.

But let’s chill a moment. Calm down, relax, drink and smoke awhile.

Then look again. Politicians say that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam when it clearly is all about Islam. Even other Islamic countries recognise that and want this super-extreme band of maniacs wiped out. Even Saudi Arabia, one of the strictest Muslim countries, don’t want ISIS around. Yet they do recognise that it is based on a combination of an extreme interpretation of Islam and the desire to be as viciously deranged as subhumanly possible. Saudi is building a wall to keep these buggers out. It’s true that Saudi metes out the same barbaric punishments but at least in Saudi, you get a trial first. You also have to go to Saudi to be subject to their laws. They don’t seek to apply their laws to you.

For the Righteous (who follow no god but themselves), ISIS serve a purpose. They make Islam as a whole appear utterly insane. More – they make religion appear utterly insane. All forms of religion. Even Christianity. I mean, come on, have you met Church of England types? You know they hate you when they give you weak tea. Compare the press coverage for the one-family loons of the Westboro Baptist Church with the press coverage of any other church anywhere. Remember too, every other church has far more members.

It all makes religion look like a bad thing. Like smoking is a bad thing. Drinking is a bad thing. Not fitting the Standard British Human body shape is a bad thing. It’s how they all started.

I have no religion. None. I am an apathist. There might or might not be a God or gods, I don’t care. I also don’t care if someone believes absolutely in their own personal God. It does not affect me one bit. I regard second-hand religion in the same way I regard second-hand smoke. Bunk.

Okay, if you’re the wrong religion in certain (mostly Muslim, let’s not sugar-coat it) countries, then second hand religion can kill you in a way that second hand smoke won’t. But that is all part of the plan.

Second hand smoke, second hand drinking, second hand obesity, these have all been promoted as real things and now second hand religion is a phrase waiting to be coined – but not yet. Not just yet. This year, you’ll hear it, I bet.

The stirring up of anti-religion is at its peak. It’s time to ban advertising of religion. Follow the template.

When I was small, my favourite and best-cherished toy car was a JPS black racing car. Covered in smoking ads. If I still had it, it would probably be worth a bit of cash now. Smoking advertising was banned except for racing, until that loophole was plugged.

I can’t remember if I sold my N gauge whisky grain wagons during my desperate times. I’d have to root through the still-substantial collection to be sure. I definitely took photos so they can be remade. I also once had an OO-gauge Guinness tank wagon. I bought it as a child. Bet they can’t now.

Plain packaging for cigs is on the way, then for booze and then for food and eventually for religion. It’s some time in the future for religion but it is coming. One World Religion, as some have said, and it will not be Islam. It will not be Christianity. It will not be Sikh or Buddhist or Jain or Pagan or any religion you can name now.

I think I might have happened upon the name of it but it will be otherwise, and more correctly, known as Control. That is what they want. It’s not about money, that hasn’t been a real thing for a long time. What they want is control. Total control.

The template starts here, religion. All religions. Believing in God makes you think you are safe and that is dangerous.

Within six months or less – belief in any God costs the NHS money.

Scoff at the prospect all you want. Smokers did, once…

Silent Wednesday

No sensible post tonight (I like to pretend that sometimes there actually is one) because I am engaged in clearing space for a mini-workshop indoors. I’m not going to ruin any worksurfaces or my dining room table but my garage is far too cold even for me.

I like the cold. I’ll keep longer. Yet now that the windchill seeps into the barely insulated garage, I can’t stay in there for long. And I have two projects to finish before April. Plus all those other things that were shelved way back when Work went mad. They aren’t forgotten.

One concerns the little chairs for the Thai knitted rats. Before promising to do them I had already begun to store the thicker trimmings from the garden and now have well seasoned plum wood, which I have now begun to shave into planks. That was during Spring’s first attempt at arriving, which evidently failed because it’s thoroughly back to Winter now.

This is small work and involves the close proximity of fingers and very sharp things – and my track record of accidental damage will not be improved by brain freeze, nor by a spontaneous fit of shaking. So it has to come into the house.

I’ve done it before, naturally, since we have winter every year here. Most plastic work is already indoors anyway – but wood and metal are different. Wood splinters and metal shavings have nowhere to hide on the concrete floor of the garage. The workshop has its own vacuum cleaner too, so the house one need never risk contamination with sharp stuff.

In the house, it’s different. There are carpets and fabrics and nooks and crannies where splinters and swarf can hide for months, just waiting for unwary fingers… or other parts.

It’s a risk, but it’s also a deadline. Also, if it’s close to the computer, I can work on Panoptica while joints are setting. I’ll take great care not to get the whisky confused with the woodstain.

The other is a sudden project. A long-time Internet friend who I have never met in person and aren’t really ever likely to, is in legal difficulties. A neighbour dispute led to her being arrested over her own fence and she needs to pay for a surveyor (to prove it’s her fence) and a lawyer. You can read her side of it here.

I can’t help directly but I can do what I did once before, when Amusing Bunni needed help. I’ll make something and sell it. The money goes directly to Lesia, not through me, because PayPal will take a cut of each transaction.

I have until the end of March to come up with something, make it and sell it. It will be Easter themed and probably smoky-drinky too. Part of my day off Friday will be spent prowling the local silly-stuff shops for a suitable seasonal thing to, er, ‘adjust’ into something amusingly corrupt. There’s no time to start from scratch.

It’s not likely to be good enough to raise everything she needs in one go, but it could raise enough to be of some help.

What would be really useful now would be for Boss to put the new guy on some of my long shifts and I’ll do some of his short ones. She gets back from holiday next week, I’ll see if I can persuade her then.

Although she’s likely to want me on the long shifts until after the auditors have been through. Which, every day, I hope is the next day! New guy has a long bus ride to work, it would help her keep him on the staff if it was more worth his while to pay that fare! So I’m going to win the argument, it’s just a question of when.

In the meantime, I have to get this mini-workshop set up. It won’t stop the blog. I have an espresso machine and some serious coffee.

This month – warp speed.

First half, now two-thirds, soon all?

It has long been a mantra of the Dreadful Arnott and her distorted minions that ‘half of all smokers will die from their habit’. The other half will die of being harrassed by antismokers and snubbed by the NHS. Dying of smoking actually sounds like the easier option here.

The antis have now upped the ante. Two-thirds of us will now die from smoking. Soon it will be all of us, as if it isn’t already. Die as a result of having a grand piano full of lead dropped on you from a skyscraper, and if you smoked, it’s a smoking related death. The antismokers are slowly raising the bar but the slapped quackside of the medical profession is way ahead of them. If you’re overweight, had a beer and a smoke, and fail to get out of the way of an out-of-control bus, your death will be smoking – alcohol – obesity – lack of exercise – related. You only had one life but you’ll have four deaths.

Nonsmokers will never die… oh really? The straight edge people will die just as surely as the smokers. Just… from something else. Maybe they think they’ll die of old age but nobody dies of that any more. Cause of death is never ‘just had enough of it’ these days.

Modern medicine seems baffled by death. Why do people persist in doing it despite the best efforts of medicine to keep their crumbling, wasted frames in zombie-like stasis for eternity? Why don’t people seem to want that?

Medicine used to be concerned with quality of life. Now all it cares about it quantity. You must not enjoy this or that because you’ll be alive for less time and then we can’t put you in a ‘care’ home and beat you and humiliate you and poke and prod at you to see how death can be thwarted. Why is it that so many people resist reaching those years of frailness and daily ritual humiliation? Don’t they know that we know best?

Get it into your heads. You are going to die. It might be anything from seconds to decades away but it is coming and there is nothing you can do about it. I might die before I finish this post or I might write a thousand more. I don’t know. So stop obsessing about it because you can only die once. This isn’t Playstation. You don’t get three lives, you get one ‘Game Over’ and that’s the end of the game.

It’s easy, too. You don’t even have to try. It just happens. It’s much, much harder to make it not happen.

You can choose to be ‘straight edge’ which I recently discovered means no smoking, no drinking, no drugs, etc. Well, if you enjoy life that way, go for it. It’s not for me. I don’t bother with the harder drugs – caffeine, alcohol and nicotine are all I need – but they are things I enjoy in life.

I know I’m not addicted to any of them. I spent many years decaffeinated and really didn’t notice all that much difference, but later I took a real liking for espresso. I still have alcohol-free days if I have to get up early for a morning shift because my current job (like pretty much all the others) is not one you’d want to do with a hangover. As for tobacco, I have no problem with travelling by train or plane without smoking, I’d just prefer not to. Sitting around doing nothing, feeling relaxed, is when I’d quite like to enjoy a smoke. That’s what killed pubs for me. The ‘relax’ and the ‘smoke’ are entirely separated now so all the fun’s gone out of it.

You anti-everythings can pretend I’m addicted to all of them if you like. I don’t care. You’ll end up just as dead as me in the end. A hundred years from now your cheeldren’s cheeeldren (assuming they’ll still teach reading in school) will look back on the Dark Archives on the Internet and think ‘yeah, he was a smoker and a drinker and he’s dead now. He could have been 155 in a month’s time if he’d been straight-edge like us’.

Oh they won’t live any longer than we will. They’ll just believe they will live forever. There are those who already do.

I don’t know Death personally. He’s a friend of a friend, but he cannot be outrun. He will get every one of us sooner or later, no matter how we live our lives. We might be lighting a cigarette from the candles on our 100th birthday cake or dead of a pure-life brain haemorrhage at 40 (I recall this happening to someone I knew, about 20 years ago). There is no way to know.

All I really have to say on the matter is that I have one life. One go at this game. I’ll play it my way and maybe I’ll get it right, maybe I’ll get it wrong. That’s my business. Your life is your business. I am not interested in controlling your life, I have enough to do trying to control mine.

Maybe the Puritans will be smug at my graveside one day. Maybe I’ll flick ash on theirs. There is no sure and certain way to predict it, either way. Statistics are meaningless here because statistics do not apply to chaos, which is what life is based on.

I wioll not live as directed by someone else. As Bill Hicks said, we get only one go on this ride. Enjoy it or don’t enjoy it, there is no second ticket. Do it the way you want to do it but remember that no matter what you enjoy, no matter what you deny yourself…

…this ride will end.

The Ed Miller Band – Imploding

Nope, it’s not a song. Might prove to be Labour’s swan song though.

Jack Straw is embarrassed to have been caught selling his political influence to companies. Only the ‘being caught’ part troubles him. The corruption doesn’t bother him at all.

Vote Labour. Vote for Corruption.

The Ed Miller Band will not be sacking Diane Abbott for her racist anti-white tweets. They support her right to hate people based on the colour of their skin.

Vote Labour. Vote for Racism.

Austin Mitchell MP says that his Grimsby constituency is safe for Labour, even if the candidate was ‘a raving alcoholic sex paedophile‘. Impying – no, clearly stating – that the electorate are too stupid to consider voting for someone else.

Vote Labour, get a Raving Alcoholic Sex Paedophile MP.

Yet many people willl still vote Labour, so maybe old Austin has a point. They really will vote for people who hate them and despise them. Just because it’s Labour.

It used to be that many people voted Labour because they didn’t want the Tories to win. For a long time, those seemed the only alternatives. Which one do you like least? Vote for the other one.

Seems to me that Labour really don’t want to win the next election. Not really surprising – they have nothing to offer, no solution to anything and their party is in dire need of a damn good purging. Ed Moribund is not the man to do it – the band needs a new lead singer. But who? Ed Balls? Prezza? Do they actually have anyone who can sort that mess out and present the electorate with something they want to vote for?

At the moment, no. Moribund Senior left to join Thunderbirds and there isn’t anyone else the public would trust now.

It’s different now. UKIP are taking votes from all parties except the SNP, and another term of Caviar Woman and her Spiteful Nannying Party will likely finish the SNP off for good. Even the Scots can only take so much.

So, another Daily Mail hatchet job appears. In which they deride UKIP’s requirement for visiting foreigners to arrive with health insurance (as we are expected to do by other countries) by pointing out that Mr. Farage smokes and drinks. They do not mention that he, like myself and many others, have been paying ionto the NHS for years through tax – and I have spent a total of two nights in hospital, 28 years apart. If I need expensive treatment in the future, I have already paid for it.

Many of the commenters have spotted this oversight. I suspect UKIP might do better than the current polls suggest since the other parties and the newspapers are resorting to ever-thinner smears.

Interesting times…