Posted by Jarsto in Category 42, Meta
May 28th, 2015 | No Comments »

Do you ever look at your website/blog and sort of shudder at the thought of how long it’s been since you’ve updated it… Maybe it’s just me, but let’s say that yes, for all the good intentions I keep having about blogging more it seldom seems to happen.

Posted by Jarsto in Category 42, Site News
September 22nd, 2013 | No Comments »

Once again I haven’t been active on this blog in far too long. I’m looking at being more active online in general again, which includes this blog. But I still have some thinking/balancing work to do to figure out what I want to do where online.

Posted by Jarsto in Politics
September 29th, 2010 | 4 Comments »

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

This saying is commonly attributed to either Mark Twain, or Benjamin Disraeli. I was tempted, given the subject of this post, to look for some statistics on which is the more frequent attribution, but finally decided not to bother. I’ll be introducing one set of statistics shortly, and one is really enough. Judging by the length of this post, more than enough.

Posted by Jarsto in Category 42
September 24th, 2010 | No Comments »

Yes, it’s finally happened. After way too long not doing anything on the old site, I’ve decided to put up an entirely new look, and start putting some stuff online again. Hopefully I should be blogging more than about once a year from now on.

I’m not sure whether or not I’ll import all the stuff from the old blog to this one. For now though you can still see it here.

Posted by Jarsto in The Experiment
February 22nd, 2009 | 3 Comments »

Strange though it may seem – at least it seems strange to me – I have now owned a plant for over 2 weeks. It has survived, and what’s more, I’m pretty sure it’s grown. Based on my past history keeping plants that’s quite an accomplishment on its part.

But the fact that it’s grown is now starting to be a problem I’ll have to deal with. it seems to be getting to a point where its stalks will no longer stay upright without any help. Right now I’m not sure whether or not that’s a bad sign of some sort. Guess I’ve got some research to do.

Posted by Jarsto in The Experiment
February 9th, 2009 | 5 Comments »

By popular demand: a photo of the subject and I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know I’ve managed to keep myself from making it look a bit worse on purpose to pre-emptively disguise any damage living with me might do to it.

Peppermint Plant

Posted by Jarsto in The Experiment
February 8th, 2009 | 2 Comments »

I embarked upon something of an experiment yesterday: I bought a plant. This may not seem like an earth shattering event, but up until now I’ve never really been a plant person. In fact I’m still not sure I’m a plant person.

I do however like peppermint tea, which may have contributed to the mad up welling that led me to buy a peppermint plant when I saw them on sale at the grocery store. To put this up welling even further into context: I don’t currently own any pot that is meant to have a plant kept in it.

I’ve managed to get around that (for now) by combining a washed up plastic yoghurt pot and some Duct Tape (the latter mainly for appearances sake, so that my peppermint doesn’t claim to be strawberry yoghurt).

To be perfect honest I may have been over eager in giving this phenomenon it’s own category on the blog, but my intention right now is to keep the world informed of the plant’s progress. If nothing else that will force me to occasionally remember to water it.

As for the initial report. As far as I can tell the subject of the experiment is doing fine. I’ve made sure it has plenty of water, and am reasonably confident I haven’t taken this to the point of drowning it (yet). A quick visual inspection of my thumbs doesn’t seem to show any green shading yet though.

Posted by Jarsto in Category 42
January 1st, 2009 | 4 Comments »

It’s 00:55, the new year is less than an hour old, and the fireworks, having receded to just occasional bangs at least a quarter of an hour back, now seem to have gone almost completely. It’ll be sporadic for another few hours, I know that much from experience, but a point of rest is approaching, which means it’s high time to get this blog entry written – though as it’s being written on my PDA it will have to wait a while a before it’s published.

What else can I say about the present moment? I’m at my father’s house for newyears. And I’m the only one still up. I’m sitting by myself in a darkened livingroom. I could, no doubt, put more light on, but for now I prefer to have just a few candles, and the light of my PDA screen as I write this post. The year is now exactly one hour old, and the fireworks are sputtering occasionally outside.

There is a reason I’m sitting here in the darkness, waiting for quiet. It’s not just to write this blog post – it’s important, but not thta important (sorry) – but it’s to do with the fact that I’m still up. In fact I’m highly unlikely to go to sleep any time soon, or indeed before the evening of January first. The only way that’s going to happen is if I really find I can’t last the night.

You see, for the past few years I haven’t slept between the morning of December 31st and the evening of January 1st. Instead I stay up. It started partly when I noticed that New Year’s eve was no longer special. Staying up past midnight is routine for me, in fact sleeping beforer midnight tends to be more special. But just doing something special on this night, something as special as being up until midnight felt when I was younger isn’t the only thing.

There’s something strange, almost magical, about being up in the deepest part of the night, when all human life around you sleeps. It’s as though certain thoughts only come at the times when the brain isn’t usually awake to receive them. A facet of that thought is expressed by Susan Ivanova, in the Babylon 5 epside “The Hour Of The Wolf”, which also mentions quite specifically the moment I too have found to be the “hotspot” for nightly insight: the hour between 03:00 and 04:00 in the morning.

To put it another way, with a slight hint of melodrama if you’ll permit me: always be careful around mirrors between 03:00 and 04:00, at that time of night chances are you actually will see yourself if you looki n them, not just the faint copy they usually show you. And like all insights gained by waking through the night that may be useful, but if it comes at you while you’re unwary, it may not always be welcome.

It’s ten minutes past one now, and the fireworks have fizzled out even further, so I’ll call it quits for this blog entry. The new year has started, and so, for me, has a new wake to ponder what’s happened in the last, and what may happen in the new. It’s an odd habit, and probably not “the thing” for everyone, but I find it works for me.

Update 04:00 – I’ve made it through the most important part of the wake, and am now about to do something I haven’t done for a few years: go to bed. Not to sleep, at least that’s not the intention, but just to lie down. My back’s been acting up the last few days, and it’s starting to again now. Lying on the sofa isn’t going to cut it so I’m going to risk the bed.

Update 09:00 – Just as I’m posting this I’ve been up again for an hour or so. I don’t think I really slept, though I may have dozed of a little bit once or twice. Most of the time was spent in contemplation as intended though, and my back is certainly feeling better than it was about 5 hours ago.

Posted by Jarsto in Category 42
December 28th, 2008 | 1 Comment »

Spring cleaning is a tradition, winter cleaning probably isn’t. Even so I decided to stop waiting for spring and give my kitchen a really good winter cleaning today. With NaNoWriMo in November, and “things to do” just about every weekend in December my kitchen has been running on a “clean what’s absolutely necessary” basis for far too long.

So I spent the last 60 to 90 minutes running around with cloths, scourers etc. and working on the kitchen (I’d already managed to get most of the dirty dishes waiting for me cleaned earlier). That’s quite a bit of time to spend on a small kitchen, but it was sort of necessary. And more to the point it’s really clean now.

In the process I did rediscover one of those profound truths you run across every once in a while: if your tiles have a reasonable camouflage colour they don’t look dirty, except when you’ve just cleaned some of them. I won’t claim I don’t recognise the place, but I will say I didn’t quite remember just how much light those tiles can reflect when there’s no dirt in the way.

Of course the work is never really done, there are still plenty of things to clean, even in my kitchen. But I feel quite good about having done what I have so far. It may seem like a weird way to spend what is essentially vacation time. But having this out of the way somehow feels a lot more relaxed, which is what I want for the next few days.

Posted by Jarsto in Musings
August 20th, 2008 | No Comments »

Every once in a while you run across a word that is eloquent. Most of the time eloquence needs sentences, even paragraphs, but some words just say something so neatly they are, in themselves, eloquent. I was thinking about making dough yesterday, after watching my recording of Monday’s episode of The Hairy Bakers from the BBC.1

The ideal water temperature for making dough – warm enough to activate the yeast, but not hot enough to destroy it – is usually described as either handwarm, or tepid. In some places even plain old lukewarm is used. But I once ran across a word which, to my mind, says it much more eloquently: bloodwarm.

Bloodwarm is – to my mind – a far more precise measurement than handwarm (which can be anything from the temperature of your hands, to the warmest water your hands can take). It means literally the temperature of your blood, or in other words you internal body temperature. For human beings this is normally in a pretty narrow band of just about 1 degree C. And it’s pretty easy to guess just by feeling the water.

I don’t run across words that strike me that much often, but whenever I do it’s a joy. Somehow words like that manage to pound a prodigious amount of meaning into one neat little package, and I enjoy them very much indeed.
1 For those unfamiliar with the series, look here for a bit more info