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Well I Never #1

I’ve been decluttering my workspace lately, and was on eBay looking for a “device stand” to hold my gadgets – when up popped this somewhat unexpected portable toilet.

My first reaction: Someone, somewhere makes, sells – and buys – these things???

Thinking about it, though, this vaguely rude-looking pink plastic funnel is a genius invention. So incredibly simple, yet so hugely useful (even if it won’t help keep my desk tidy)!

Or maybe I am just easily impressed.

Whatever, it would’ve transformed my student days. No more holding on for hours when punting up the Cherwell, or discovering too late that that secluded hedgerow is anything but. Life would have been so much more comfortable and with so much less potential for embarrassment.

If only the “Stand Up & Pee Female Urination Device” had been around 30 years ago. Kids today don’t know how lucky they are!Ì

The Mighty Atom

I first saw a picture of this when I was very little. In modern parlance, it blew me away. But after hearing not another peep about it for years afterwards – and failing to remember what it was called, never mind where it was located – I started to believe it had come from a work of fiction, or even that I’d imagined the entire thing.

And now I’ve been there! (And have the keyring to prove it.)

According to the (actually very well done and interesting) exhibition inside the spheres, the Atomium was meant to be demolished after the 1958 World’s Fair, then won a reprieve, then was basically allowed to fall into rack and ruin for the next 40-odd years.

You wonder why they didn’t maintain it, after deciding to keep it. Whatever, it must have been a right old eyesore on the Brussels skyline. Which might explain why it passed under my radar for so long – maybe no one bothered taking photos after the early ones that so fascinated me in a 1970’s kiddie encyclopaedia.

Now renovated for the 21st century, Europe’s most bizarre building is back to its shiny former glory – and better still, is at last clad in iron (a crystal of which it represents) rather than aluminium as it was in the 1950s.Ì

Monday Musing

Why does no one (in UK broadcast media, at least) say “on the trot” (British English: in succession) any more?

It’s all “on the bounce” these days, which more commonly refers to the act of rebounding . Or even worse “on the spin”, which seems to mean nothing at all.

But why? Do presenters worry that people will hear “on the trot”, think of “the trots” (i.e. diarrhoea) and switch off/over in disgust?

Language evolves all the time, but this one has happened so quickly.Ì

No Flow

For the past few months, I’ve been using the KanbanFlow website to track my various creative activities, such as they are. It’s been mostly effective at keeping me on track (though not always, obviously).

But shortly after I missed a Scribblings post last week, I found this in my email inbox:

Thank goodness I only have me to answer to. Otherwise… scary or what?!Ì

The Handyman Can’t

Faced with a catastrophic seating-failure situation, most bus stations would send in a handyman with a screwdriver. Not Milton Keynes Coachway!

(Or maybe their waiting room facilities are just way more advanced than appearances suggest.)Ì

Powered Down

Woke up yesterday morning to a sinister crackling noise coming from our fuse box. This happened once before, about 6 months ago, but it had stopped by the time the electrician arrived. Typical.

Not on this occasion, though. After hours of flickering lights and appliances going off and on without warning, with one extra-scary crackle mid-afternoon the supply cut out altogether.

I have to say, I’m impressed with SSE coming out exactly when they said they would on a Saturday evening. And the reassuring phone calls from HQ – apparently they bumped us up to emergency status when the fuse box started arcing!

Sunday morning, and everything’s working. We Have The Power! But I have no post.

And so, this. (But with bonus metaphorical image.)Ì

Mmmm… Shiny

I’ve been battling (mostly without success) a particularly severe bout of Shiny New Idea syndrome this week. You might recognize this affliction even if you don’t know the name, the chief symptom being a recurring, non-evidence-based, productivity-crushing conviction that your latest scheme out-glistens all the older projects you had on the go, which now seem as dull as dishwater by comparison.

Coupled with chronic perfectionitis, this makes for a perfect storm of Not Getting Anywhere Fast (NGAF).

The origin of the current outbreak (only the most recent of a very lengthy series) is the all-new website I’ve been building, to be launched some time soonish, maybe. Though rather more ‘maybe’ than ‘soonish’, I fear, for I’ve been simultaneously laid low by a near-terminal bout of perfectionitis.

Problem is, I find the designing bit – choosing layouts, colours, plugins etc. – so much more fun than the writing (which I’ve barely started). I’m starting to think I might have missed my vocation many years ago when I chose to work with words, not pausing to consider that I might like pictures better.

But now I’ve descended so far down the NGAF rabbit-hole, I’m thinking of declaring a moratorium on tweaking the visuals until I’ve forced myself to generate some content. I want to attract actual, real people onto this new site (unlike the present one, obviously), so ‘all style and zero substance’ just isn’t an option.Ì

Forever And Ever

Sit back, watch this video (for at least a week or two, if time allows), and experience the infinite…Ì

A Little Knowledge…

I found this image on Facebook. OK, I know it’s a bit simplistic and Matrix fanboy-y, but it’s still good PR for science (and it is science that got him to the top of that tower – he’s looking at the stars, not Heaven).

So which one is the happiest? Not the middle (Red Pill) guy, obviously. There’s a case to be made for Blue Pill guy, but Science Guy undoubtedly has the best view. What colour pill did he take, I wonder?Ì

Those Who Will Not Hear…

I’ve always (since the invention of cameras in phones, anyway) had an urge to collect and curate odd/unhelpful/incomprehensible signage. It’s right up there on the must-have-a-go hobby scale with collecting images of White Plastic Chairs Of The World (of which more anon – maybe).

So to kick things off, here’s one I made earlier. The photo below was taken last year at a Hans Zimmer Live on Tour concert at The SSE Arena, Wembley.

Note the word “concert” here. Concert, as in music. Music that might be quiet at times, loud at others, but mostly in between, probably.

The Big Question: Who pays good money to go to a concert, then sits through it wearing earplugs? (Though actually, the rest of it does sound pretty dangerous.)Ì