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Felix Borealis

Last night's dream, as usual, was in parts.

The earliest bit I recall, I was apparently in relationships with two folks, although I don't know if they knew about each other. One was an actual real-world someone who dated a pal of mine back in High School, and the other was an actual real-world someone whom I barely know, but is friends with a number of friends of mine. The only actual 'fooling around' scene in the dream was with the former, but there was a gist that it was going on with both of them.

Post-fooling around, I knew that the aurora borealis was going to be pretty strong, somewhere, that night, so I set out into a field to find it. Apparently it's not just in the sky like usual, but a thing that wanders around. I was going to check one way, but my cat (my actual real-world cat), who happened to be with me, was really rapt in attention at something atop a hill in the other direction. At first I thought the cat was just interested in some small animal or something, but then I remembered that cats can see ultraviolet better than humans can, so odds are, that's what she was noticing. She wasn't too pleased with me taking a while to work that out (as usual for my dreams, the cat was sentient).

Coming back in after skygazing, the large complex building I was residing in was starting to flood. I and a few other folks started to gather up folks to help them move to a higher floor, but in checking the first room, there was an unresponsive person who looked like Gabriel Garcia Marquez in a military dress uniform, instead. Apologizing for the confusion, I started to leave the room, but noticed a snake in the room, by the door. The snake had a hood like a cobra, but was red and fairly "stubby" (like you'd expect a gummi cobra to look like) as well as constantly out of focus. Avoiding the snake, I went to the next room and again found a fancy military Senor Marquez in a uniform and a blurry red short cobra. Pretty much every room after that had a cobra in it that, if it bit someone, turned them into a person who looked like Senior Marquez, wearing a uniform.


I've been wondering about the general cosmology of Supernatural, and if they'd worked out any sort of backstory/canon for the nature of the universe.

Initially, things seemed fine and fairly mundane. Then they introduced angels down the line, with mention of some angels being "only" six thousand years old (possibly hinting at Young Earth Creationism). Then they showed that non-Jehovah deities existed (EG: Odin, Ganesh, et cetera) and pre-dated Jehovah, which really threw a monkey-wrench into things. Then they had a being show up from Purgatory (generally regarded as a Jehovah construct) who pre-dated angels by about four thousand more years. In the episodes I started watching last night, some more folks were brought out of Purgatory who pre-dated both the creation of mankind and the creation of angels (which gets extra screwy, since it's generally accepted that angels assisted creation of the universe). Oh, and Death-as-a-being pre-dates everything.

Obviously, a little bit of a muddle.

But! But! Last night I had an epiphany!
It's been shown that angels can go back and mess with history, making a new "now" with only other divine beings being aware of the fact that history was messed with. If an angel can do it, a full-on deity should be able to, as well.

My current hypothesis is that when a given deity is in power, they tend to come up with their creation story, then go back in time and make reality match their story (with only other divine beings being in on the fact that it wasn't always that way).

This way, you get to have a fairly literal Young Earth Creationism gig going on, while also having all the other pantheons' stories being equally true in the greater scheme of things.

Reply hazy try again

In seeing shows like 4400, Heroes, Alphas, Misfits, et cetera, I've always hoped someone would try a thing where the folks had powers that fit together for some big scheme/job that would be the season's metaplot arc. Something along the lines of the flying person drops the invulnerable person through the skylight so they can crack the door for the turns-into-water person who can.. you get the gist.

Now, if someone out there wants to steal this, some points of advice.

1) Have more than one season ending scheme/job that takes different combinations, on the offhand chance it gets renewed, so you need another setup (or different folks with different powers?)

2) Never have the last episode of a season cliffhang to the next. Have the start of the new season (if reusing the previous folks) finding our heroes wondering why they still have these powers.

3) Have part of the contract with the network be that if it's cancelled, you're allowed to release your arc notes/plans to the public.

It really seemed 4400 was going that way, but it never really did.

Know ye now what feels like to be dog god!

On my way to work today, I was heading down the steps to the Kenduskeag valley when there were some folks standing at the top. Someone was down at the bottom with his dog, talking with the folks up top about how the last step had been tossed down the hill (earlier this week it lost its mooring due to erosion and folks have been dragging it around). The guy offered that if one of the folks up top held his dog's leash, he'd clamber down the hill to snag the step. As the person came down the stairs, he assured them that his dog was perfectly safe and fine and all.

After walking past them, crossing the bridge, I was passed by a woman jogging towards them. Behind me, I could hear the dog start to give off slightly strangled barks, like you'd expect for a barking dog being restrained by a leash. The dog's owner started to shout to the jogging woman, "Hey! Stop running! He doesn't like it when people run!" (she had headphones on and couldn't hear him, but I couldn't exactly help out this situation -- also, I never heard any screams or clear-throated barks, so I figured it was safe to assume I couldn't have assisted).

You know that claim a while ago about how cats have a parasite thing in their droppings that makes folks go nuts in a way that turns them into crazy cat folks, thus making life easier for cats? I'm wondering if the same sort of thing should be looked for in dogs/dog-owners.

I hear situations like this far too frequently -- Oh yeah, the dog's perfectly friendly! [dramatic pause] ...unless you perform a fairly innocent action.

If only I could go back in time to the first attempt to domesticate wolves (thus leading to dogs) and instead point out a fox to the person. It'd only be a problem if you innocently had rodents and flightless birds running around your yard!

Night-Bird Calls in Bangor

From: William Young
6:01 AM (7 minutes ago)

To: fieldspond, teresa.costello

Around 2 AM, July 28th, I was getting out of work and heard a rather odd bird-call coming from around the corner of French & State street in downtown Bangor. At first, I thought it was possibly a parrot or cockatiel in someone's window, but wandering around seemed to find it coming from All Souls Congregationalist Church or thereabouts (which obviously doesn't dismiss the hypothesis of it being a pet bird that escaped).

For a description of what it sounded like, a fairly annoying and piercing 'Skraw!' followed by a trail of 'chuck chuck chuck' sounds. For my horrible attempts at imitating it, I've included an .mp3 of my rendition.

Yes, this was at two in the morning.

William D. Young

Real Mail: 42 Winter Street 04401-4718

Click for Annoying Sound

FYI, I sent it to two folks - the local Audubon Society Chapter, and the University o' Maine's Biology department.

One Hand on a Hexagram

Recently, this article was pointed out to me, which had this wonderful little way of encoding numbers in a way that's not exactly a simple replacement code, but close. It's the number-part of this chart (the letter one's not so useful, since it just works out to be a simple replacement code and that's that. Might as well use Dancing Men or Pig Pen).

fig 1

First, you do a little tic-tac-toe sort of hashmark/pound-sign affair and put the digits where they obviously should be. Chill on placing 'zero' there, since it's moot in this system.

fig 2

Second, to determine what symbol goes with which digit, you find the digit in the hashmark and pick its section, just like Pig Pen code.

fig 3

One tricky part kicks (as seen in Fig.3), where you add serifs (or lines, in the case of a 5 turning up) to the ends, with one set of serifs per multiple of ten. For 50, the line can go just about anywhere in there.

fig 4

Obvs (in Fig.4), you just keep adding serifs/lines for each multiple of ten the root digit is being multiplied by.

fig 5

[subhumans] Here's the fun bit! [/subhumans]

You take the symbols you've worked up, and then nest them. It doesn't really matter which ones are inside/outside which other ones, since you can tell the decimal place by the serifs/lines (Fig. 5a). In the case of a number with a zero in it, that's just skipped (Fig. 5b).

The problems are if you get more than four digits in a particular number, it gets really cluttery, you can't do anything that starts with a zero (so trying zip code 04401 is impossible), and things can get a little funky if you're dealing with 5059 or something else with multiple fives in there.

Frex, my Google Voice number (which has two fives in the final four digits):


Hey you, are you getting this?‏

From: Adrianna (aecgljeek@oisdi.com)
Sent: Sun 6/02/13 10:56 PM
Microsoft SmartScreen classified this message as junk.

BABE... i guess your not getting any of my email huh? ive been tryign to email u so many times but this dam laptop is such a piece of garbage and keeps freezing.. anyways how u been?Collapse )

Even if I had talked with this person (SPOILER: I didn't; it's junk mail), I'm not sure I could deal with someone who typed like this.


Dreams in the Witch House of Mouse

Last night's dream involved cartoon folks coming to life. Not so much in a Toontown sort of way, but more like when you see folks do macabre taxidermy, recreating Pokémon critters and suchlike.

In the part I remember, Pinky & the Brain showed up. I didn't get a good look at Pinky, but I unfortunately did for Brain. For those who know your Lovecraft? Brown Jenkins. For those who don't know your Lovecraft, imagine the creations in Island of Dr.Moreau, but critters with human bits instead of humans with critter bits. If you're into pictures:

(image from http://loneanimator.blogspot.com/2009/05/brown-jenkin-comes-alive.html)

...but with a face of a later-year Orson Welles (thank you, Maurice LeMarche).


Random Photoshootery Notion

I’ve had a heck of a time trying to find where this image originated. I found a number of hits with a Google Image Search, but had to check back month by month, since they don’t sort images by chronology. All I can tell is it gets lost in a morass of Tumblr and Soup.Io re-posts back mid-2010.

The reason I want to know is that it gave me the idea of, well… have you seen the draft-shots for modeling magazines, where they’ve taken the basic pictures and then someone has scribbled in notes about what to change post-production (Old-school, airbrush. These days, digital manipulation)? That, but in the picture itself. So there’d be a narrow strip of paper hanging from the hem of a skirt to the ground with “MAKE THESE LEGS LONGER” written on it. Somehow, the person’s hair itself would have, “MORE BODY” written on it.

I really like this idea, and might even do something with it. Just to make life easier, I’ll probably start with finding local folks who like the idea and then ask them what sort of post-production notes they’d like to have with/on them. Emphasis on the -s of ‘notes’, since just one note will make it look like a (de?)motivational poster.

Random Phototrickery Notion

1) Take a long-exposure night-time shot of a scene, with the full (or nearly full) moon in the shot (you'll probably also want to catch some stars or night clouds or something in there).

2) Take a short-exposure day-time shot of the same scene, with the sun in the same location that the moon was in for the long-exposure shot (you'll probably want to catch folks doing day-time things in there).

3) Splice the night-time sky onto the day-time landscape.

4) ???

5) Profit!

I Can Swing My Megaphone

Let us say, hypothetically, that I wanted to post a song online for other folks to hear, and said song could very well violate copyright laws. What's a good place for that?

The song in question, non-hypothetically, is R.E.M's "Turn You Inside Out" and the reason for the "very well" qualifier is that I want to post it at twice normal speed (but with the pitch dropped an octave so Stipe doesn't sound like a chipmunk) since the bass-line's charm is much more obvious when it's twice normal speed (I discovered this when using high-speed tape-to-tape dubbing, back in the day). The qualifier for "good place" is that although I can upload mp3 files to LiveJournal and/or Tumblr, I'd rather not have the entire journal of mine DMCA yanked; just the post containing the file would be fine, if yankage had to happen.

I have the technology to speed it up and drop the bass, no problem. It's just the hosting that I'm unsure about.

Fine Molasses Candy

In order to thank the blue jay (that I've been Tweeting about, appropriately enough) for hanging around my side yard and trying to chase away the squirrels that have been living in my roof, I attempted to re-hang some of the bird-feeders.

I wanted one right about where the jay has been, and I had the dandy idea to tie a length of fishing line to a spark plug and then whing the sucker over a branch. Only took two tries to get it up there! After that, I tied some twine to the line and pulled the twine up over the branch. I tied one end to the top of a full bird-feeder, then wrapped a branch around the other end and started to haul the bird-feeder up into position (far away from any squirrel-access branches), until it was up enough that I could tie off the branch-wrapping end to the fence.

Worked, up until the bird-feeder got about a foot off the ground. That's when the twine gave way. Yes, I tested first to make sure the twine was stronger than the fishing line.

So, it's currently hanging in a spot that the squirrels will figure out how to reach before too long, but my next plan is to take a number of the bicycle brake-lines we have around and weld/splice/whatever them into one twenty foot long (or so) cable and then do the same thing, but with the twine now pulling up the steel cable, and hopefully nothing snapping in the process.

Wouldn't it be a kick in the pants if the branch broke?

PS: Post title origin?


Frosty Winders Have Come Betwinxt Us Again

Dear Windows Live customer,

We're contacting you because we are making a change to the Windows Live alerts feature for Microsoft Hotmail, Microsoft SkyDrive and Windows Live Messenger.

You might be using the alerts feature to have text messages sent to your phone when a new mail, Messenger social or SkyDrive comment arrives. The Windows Live mobile alert feature is being discontinued as of May 31st. This means you will not receive text messages on your phone when a new mail, Messenger social or SkyDrive comment arrives.

Grr!! There's a few things, like FourSquare, who aren't very good about notifying me via my phone about things, so I managed a workaround by having them E-Mail me and then have filters that make those particular E-Mails trigger a text message.

Apparently, those halcyon days are soon to pass. You'd think Gmail could do it, but I was poking around this afternoon and couldn't find anything similar. Anyone have an idea about this (other than 'get a darn smartphone, Will')?


A while ago, I'd read of the cardiovascular virtues of sleeping with one's feet elevated. What with the occasional odd heart stuff (which hasn't gotten any worse, and still comes and goes, and never turns up on any examinations so it might just be me going insane), I though it worth trying out.

Initially, I tried folding up some spare blankets at the foot of the bed, under the sheets. No clue about it having any cardio-benefits, but it certainly did a smashing job at hyper-extending my ankles, so I'd hobble around like I'd tripped in a gopher-hole the day before.

Remembering someone talking about inheriting a bed from their grandfather, who had sawed a few inches off of the headboard-legs of his bed, I tried propping up the footboard-legs. So it wouldn't suddenly throw me for a loop, I made a point of starting with one 1" block under each leg, then another block a couple of weeks later, then yet another one. Didn't seem so bad, other than the majority of folks getting in or out of my bed stubbing their toes on the blocks.

Just last night I was checking for something under my bed (PS: Nope! No monsters found) and realized that my mattress isn't actually supported by the frame. See, it seems it's on a really basic metal frame with wheels, and that is set into the wooden bed-frame (with the headboard and footboard and all). So the reason why it didn't seem that much of a change to jack the bed up was that it wasn't actually jacking anything up, except for the frame around my bed.

With a little work, I managed to hoist up the thing the mattress is on and jam blocks under the wheeled legs, so I should have more to report in the future.

PS: My auto-sphygmomanometer seems to be feeling out of sorts, so no BP/Pulse Mood entry, this time.

The Lost Tribe of Sunburians

Around town, there are little placards put up on cement slabs by... someone. I bet it's the Bangor Historical Society. There's one down along the Kenduskeag near West Market Square that talks about the narrowing of the docks, there's another by the Hannibal Hamlin statue that talks about the pre-1911 Post Office, and there's one by what used to be the Morse Covered Bridge that talks about local stream-critters... (dramatic pause)

...until the other day, when it was replaced by this Onion-type information.


Within the past decade a growing number of artifacts have appeared
along this stretch of the Kenduskeag Stream. From these researchers
have become convinced of the existence of a hidden and possible
ancient culture existing within close proximity to this location.
Although very little is known about this society, researchers have
determined through careful study that they are a gentle, benevolent
people that strive to exist in harmonious balance with theliving local


A large number of clay figurines have appeared on and around bridge footings. These resemble human
forms, are typically several inches in length and are often found in groups of 50 to 200. Analysis of the
clay reveals that it orignates from far away sources. In spite of the great lenghts taken to bring this
material here, it does not appear that any effort whatsoever has been made to harden or preserve the
clay. Examples pictured are rare, pristine specimines; the vast majority of these are usually
be found in various states of decomposition. Frequently, the figurines are accompanied by piles of seed.
It is theorized that the figures with seed may be a form of offering to local wildlife.


Along with the clay figurines, tablets have been found bearing strange inscriptions.
As of yet researchers have been unable to determine the language or nature of the
text. Interestingly enough, the text appears to change direction with each successive
line. This is an archaic writing convention that scholars term 'Boustrophedon.' The
term derives from the greek words for 'ox' and 'turn'. It is a reference to the way in which
directions after the end of each row of ploughing in a field. Other languages written
in a similar style include Ancient Greek, Sabaean (of Ancient Yemen), and Rongorongo
(of Easter Island). While these inscriptions bear some resemblance to known ancient
languages, researchers have been unable to conclusively establish any verifiable
connections. The odd and archaic nature of this writing makes its recent appearance
all the more interesting!


Precariously balanced stones have been observed in this area. The stream is tidal
here and the stones are always below the high water mark. Each high tide
topples the temporary monuments from the repeated appearance of these features
it is concluded tha the culture is active and persists (although for the most part unseen)
in this area. Furthermore, given that no apparent efforts have been made by these people
to make either the clay figurines, or these stone monuments more permanent, it is inferred
that the culture embraces the dynamic and changing character of natural systems.

I'll be adding to this as I get the missing details in future photographs. For now, here's the shots of the text that I took (and transcribed this from).


Applecore Baltimore

Earlier today, someone was talking on Facebook about the potential health benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar on a fairly regular basis.

Obviously, that ended up unresolved (since for every hippie website that says that it's the nectar of the gods, there's a breadhead website that points out folks killing themselves from over-vinegaring), but it led to talking about kombucha, which led to my considering the idea of apple cider kombucha.

I'd toyed with a peach kombucha (by way of a tea with dried peach bits in it) and a raspberry-blueberry kombucha (by way of boiling the heck out of said aforementioned berries and tossing them into the initial tea mix), but not with just plain juice. In doing a bit of checking concerning the sugar content of your standard apple cider, it seems that it has about 416 grams of sugar per gallon. The way I currently make kombucha, it only has around 200 grams of sugar (IE: a cup of standard 'table sugar') per gallon, so that should actually work quite dandilly!

I'll probably try it with straight apple cider (boiled to heck and back first, so there aren't any wild yeasts creeping in) initially, with some teabags steeped in the cider, and then see if it turns out too sweet -- if so, I can just water down the cider.


There seems to be no end to the dubious ideas promoted in the name of rapid weight loss. From July 10 you may begin to notice more, both your own self and the community in order to deduce what is working for the benefit of all and what is to be replaced with a new idea. Unlike capital loss limitations, tax preparer jobs with theft losses subtract only $100 and then take a tax deduction for the amount that exceeds 10 percent of taxpayer adjusted gross income. [URL=http://lopolikuminr.com ]sympathising[/URL] However what if you are at work? As for my experience, I can say that I am convinced it helps me concentrate.


PS: This wasn't an E-Mailed junk mail, but a junk comment on a LJ post. I just really liked the subject, and how it shifts from diet pills, to tax, to pep pills or something.


What Happened to the Other Eight Lives?

Seems one of our two cats (sisters) just died.

According to my Aunt, she (the cat) was at sleeping the foot of my Aunt & Uncle's bed and one of her (the cat's) legs started to flail, not unlike a dog getting scratched. That stopped after a bit, and the cat looked very surprised about it for a while. She went back to sleep, they started to go back to sleep, and then the entire cat started to flail. That kept up for a bit, and then nothing.

They waited a bit, called to her, poked her with a foot, then went to check her pulse and breathing. Nope.

We're guessing a stroke (which, for those wondering, gets its name from the idea that one was struck by an invisible weapon by a passing fairy. Stroke is short for "elf stroke". The more you know!), currently. Before putting her in a box and taking her downstairs to the basement, I opened her mouth and popped her tongue back in, since the tip was sticking out a bit; just because one is a dead cat, one doesn't really have to go to the grave looking like an idiot who can't keep her tongue in her mouth.

Bless Me!

Excerpt from Chapter 12 of Declare, by Tim Powers.

There was no blood on the flat board of the saddle; only, caught in the folds of the blanket and on the saddlebag flap buckles, a scatter of jewelry. Hale stepped from the camel's neck onto the small Oman saddle, and he knelt swayingly up there as he scraped and picked up a handful of the jewelry.

It was tiny sticks, some curved and some straight, made of glass and bone and bright gold; and not until he found a knobby round piece of gold as big as a marble and held it up to the light, and he saw that it was a tiny scale model of a human skull, did he realize that the sticks were probably miniature sculptures of human bones.

He had heard Salim bin Jalawi's footsteps approaching, and now bin Jalawi was up on the saddle of another of the returned camels, and Hale glanced over to see that he too was gathering up scattered jewelry.

"La-ila-il-l'Allah!" bin Jalawi exclaimed abruptly, flinging the handful of gold and glass and bone slivers away from him in the dawn sunlight, "Drop them, bin Sikkah!"

The man's response had startled Hale so badly that he not only scattered the miniature bones but jumped right off the saddle too. He landed unbalanced on his feet and sat down hard in the cold sand, the slung carbine barrel cracking him painfully over the ear. "What the hell?" he said irritably in English, getting quickly to his feet to dispel any impression of panic.

Bin Jalawi had climbed down with more dignity, but he was breathing fast as he led the camel forward toward the camp in the basin. "Djinn," he panted, "duplicate things. If they ponder a thing, sometimes a copy of that thing appears, made of whatever is at hand. In the desert the copies are generally made of glass, which is melted sand, or gold, which is in the sand. Somewhere up near the Um al-Hadid wells I know there is a stretch of sand that is not cold. And hot bare bones, too, though they will have shaved some to make their models of others."

Hale was leading the camel he had jumped off of, and the two others were following placidly. "In miniature," he said.

"In all sizes, bin Sikkah! Djinn cannot comprehend differences in size, only shapes. These small copies stayed on the saddles, caught in folds -- but by the Um al-Hadid wells there are now certainly bones as big as cannon barrels, made of glass -- aye, and skulls as big as chairs, made of gold. We are lucky these camels weren't crushed."

It starts off as a seemingly fairly standard WWII spy story, but then starts jumping back and forth between what's going on in the 1940s and what's going on in the 1960s. And then the djinn start to play into things.

In other news, I saw "Let the Right One In" tonight. Unfortunately, we didn't realize that although the default setting was '...with horrible English overdubbing' and that with a bit of menu navigation beforehand, we could have seen the proper 'In Swedish, with English subtitles' version. Surprisingly, a few fairly major bits of the book were removed and (much like the Fall of Angels from the Old Testament) not very cleanly removed, at that (Frex: Eli asks "What if I wasn't a girl?" and just leaves it at that, in the film).



~325 BC, Pictland (The lands north of the Forth-Clyde valley) The Greek explorer Phytheas referred to the Picts as the "Priteni", the ancient Irish called them "Cruthni". Both mean "The People of the Designs". Pictish design is a rich and wonderful style of art, and can still be seen in the standing stones and cross-slabs of Scotland to this day. The Picts were a Celtic tribal race who defended their land from Roman, Saxon, Briton and Viking invasions. The Picts were also known to be accomplished brewers, the Scottish Dictionary quotes "The Picts brewed some awful grand drink they ca't heather ale from heather and some unknown kind of fog". One legend recorded by Robert Louis Stevenson tells of a Scots king who, after killing all the Picts in battle, wished for the famous heather ale. He found two survivors by a cliff, a Pictish chief and his son, and began to torture them to gain the secret recipe, the Pict agreed to tell if they would kill his son quickly. After the boy's body was thrown from the cliff, the Pictish chief faced the King and said "But now in vain is the torture, fire shall never avail, here dies in my bosom the secret of the heather ale" he then threw himself at the King and they both fell from the cliff.

...which led to Mr.Williams, in Ireland...


The company history goes back to 1829 when the Tullamore Distillery was founded to produce Irish whiskey. In the mid-1940s Desmond E. Williams began the search for an alternative yet related product. The search ended with the discovery of Irish Mist. Its roots can be traced back to an ancient recipe for heather wine which originated over 1000 years ago.

The chieftains and nobles of Ireland’s ancient clans throughout the centuries had drunk heather wine, a spirit combined with honey, spices and herbs. However, the secret of this legendary drink disappeared with the last great exodus of the Irish Earls in 1691, an event that has passed into Irish History as "The Flight of the Wild Geese". The recipe was thought to have been lost forever until a traveller from Europe arrived, quite fortuitously, with an old manuscript he had found. Desmond Williams recognized it as the ancient recipe for heather wine and transformed it into Irish Mist, setting up the Irish Mist Liqueur Company.


In 1954, the decision was made to cease whiskey distillation at Tullamore and to focus all the company’s effort on the production of Irish Mist. In 1963, the company was running out of whisky from the old distillery for their production of Irish Mist and as the decision was taken that it would be too costly to start up the old distillery again, an agreement was reached with the Powers Distillery . Powers acquired the brand name Tullamore Dew, and started producing the brand from their John's Lane Distillery in Dublin and in exchange, they supplied the D.E. Williams company with whisky for the production of Irish Mist. Powers became part of the Irish Distillers Group and all production was transferred to the new Midleton Distillery in 1975, which is where Tullamore Dew is still distilled today. Tullamore Dew is now owned by C&C International, and it is now once again one of Ireland’s most successful Irish Whiskey brands.

...meanwhile, Mr.Williams in Scotland...


While likely there was many a recipe for that proud beverage, heather ale, the renaissance for this semi-lost and legendary brew began in 1986. A Gaelic-speaking informant passed on an old family recipe to a Glasgow shopkeep. Intrigued, the latter began to experiment, developing a remarkable and contemporary heather ale, and named it in Gaelic, Fraoch Leann, based on the information of old.

The rest, as they say, is history, or not exactly, since today you can find a couple notable distilleries of Heather Ale.

Brewers make this ale using flowers from the ubiquitous heather of Scotland, alongside malt. The finished brew is fully malted, comes with a heather-like floral aroma, and a finish similar to that of a dry wine. The old recipe that has been adapted for current-day production also contains both ginger and myrtle (gale), although the latter has been dropped in commercial preparations due to its somewhat medicinal taste. The old recipe also used ocean water, dropped in the favor of fresh. Inland Picts and Scots no doubt used fresh water anyway. Today's commercial product also contains a small amount of hops, which is not a part of the original.


A lady of Gaelic descent came into the Williams owned homebrew shop in Partick, bearing a translation of a 17th century recipe for 'Leanne Fraoch' (Heather Ale), Inherited from her Gaelic family. It was her goal to try to recreate recipe made famous by the old legend of the Pictish king who supposedly threw himself off a cliff after the 'Scot' king captured & tortured his son in an attempt to coax the recipe from the Pict King. This translated recipe was developed in homebrew size quantities by shop owner Bruce Williams to the recipe that is used today.

The company started life in 1988 with Bruce brewing our flagship beer Heather Ale, in a tiny brewery in Taynult, where we could producing no more 5 barrels per batch, just enough to supply 5 pubs across Scotland; 2 in Edinburgh, 2 in Glasgow & The Clachaig Inn in Glencoe. As demand grew the project expanded & a bigger brewery was needed to brew the larger quantities required. So the recipe was taken to the old Maclay's brewery in the traditional Scottish brew town of Alloa.

Now, I'm betting that over a thousand or two years, with a translation from Pictish to English somewhere in there, "Heather Ale" and "Heather Wine" are really talking about the same thing. I'm betting the beer-type brew is largely what's used as the mash for the liquor-type brew, or something along those lines. Alas, this is a case of someone finding an ancient recipe of historical note, deciding to recreate it, and then fiddling with it since making it taste 'not weird' seems more important than accuracy.

I'm unsure if one would then get the closest recreation of the fairy brew by drinking a boilermaker of Fraoch + Irish Mist (which is made from Tullamore Dew), or to call Fraoch a good start (moreso if it's the purist kind that has myrtle and no hops) and distill it down into something more whiskoid.

In other news, I have a new trenchcoat. No pictures yet, since Katrinka totally forgot to take any, tonight (CAVEAT: this could be because I forgot to ask her to).


We Will Spend Fun Time

Subj: Hi
From: sunny_aw@finconsultingms.com
Sent: Thu 11/17/11 4:01 AM

I saw your profile on a dating site, you're a very attractive man. I
know that usually the first step to introducing a man does, but I
decided that we should get to know and so I write to you herself. I am
a long time could not bring myself to write you, but I wrote and I
hope you are not disturbed. i'm Annie and I live in the UK, in a small
town Maidstone, near London, I'm 31 yars old. I'm looking for friend
for good communication, but I'll be happy if it would help me to find
a true love, because now I am alone. I work a lot and it's hard to
find friends in real life. But i'm very much would like to find a
friend with whom I communicate, talk on the phone and meet for cup of
cofee. I am interested only in dating in UK. I was warned that online
dating is a lot of fake profiles, so I hope that you are not fake and
resident of my country, if not, then please delete my post and not
respond. It was a very pity if you do not live in the UK, because I
really like you. I'll wait for your response and hope that it will be
a pleasant acquaintance and we will spend fun time together in future.

UK, Maidstone.


Did y'all see the Bangor Daily News Pigeon article?

Here's the full Q&A I was asked (and answered) concerning it.

When did you first encounter Pigeon's work, and what initially drew you to it? What did you react to?
When you told friends, in person or online, about it, what kinds of reactions did you get? Positive? Negative? What prompted you to begin posting pictures on FB?
What do you think Pigeon says about Bangor?
What kind of impact do you think it might have on future artists or creative people in downtown?

Around early July was when I first noticed the two pairs of wheatpasted gulls, and at the time I presumed they were an art installation that the people who maintain that little alley-garden on Central street had commissioned. But then Gibran Graham of BangPop posted a picture of one of the "I <3 BGR" pigeons a week or two later, which prompted me to try to find it, which led to me noticing a few more of them around town: the yarmulke-wearing one in front of Bagel Central, the sombrero-wearing one in front of Coco Loco, the one in front of the Court building on Hammond, et cetera. This seemed like a pretty good hint that it wasn't a commissioned work, since the owners of many of those establishments seemed to be surprised and pleased with them being there. Although I've seen a fair amount of graffiti around downtown, it had pretty much always just been standard impromptu spraypaint with the rare instance of planned stenciled work (when I moved here in 1990, the most obvious was the "USA out of El Salvador" stencil that was all around). This was the first time I'd actually encountered wheat-paste, and only barely knew about it existing. I have always liked the idea of street-art, but agreed that not everyone would want someone else's expression semi-permanently emblazoned on their property, so the idea of an intentionally temporary art form really seemed new and exciting.

In first telling folks about it, most of them also apparently hadn't encountered wheat-paste before, and had to have it explained to them even with an example right in front of them. Only a few artists that I talked with already knew of the concept, but even they were rather thrilled about someone doing it around Bangor. The only negative reactions I've heard directly from people so far are when it's done on a monument or work of art (I have yet to really work out exactly what would or wouldn't bother them, hypothetically speaking, to see what someone would find so offensive about the one on the Hannibal Hamlin statue, for example). Indirect negative reactions can inferred from property owners removing pigeons from their property upon discovery, but that has mostly seemed limited to when the pigeon was placed in a location that someone going in or out of the establishment couldn't miss (which I could see some property owners worrying about it being taken as a sort of tacit approval).

I started to photograph and post them online mainly to preserve the works, as well as to work out which ones had and hadn't been found (a mix of a useful service and personal bragging rights), and also in the hopes of working out the mystery of who was pasting them up.

The fact that Pigeon is putting up such a "big city" art style around town quite honestly makes me feel like Bangor is a little more metropolitan than one might normally presume. Usually, one gets that from highly politically charged things (the Occupy Bangor movement, for instance) or some distinctly negative indicator (the recent rise in bath salts problems), but Pigeon's works are mostly things that can be appreciated purely for art's sake on its own.

Obviously, I'm personally hoping folks' awareness of the Pigeon postings will lead to similar temporary street-art forms, like yarn-bombing (where you basically make little sweaters for trees and telephone poles) or moss-graffiti. Unfortunately, this could easily lead to folks thinking anything street-art-like is permissible, and deluging walls with rather standard spraypaint graffiti tags, much like copy-cat crimes. But if a few artists were to do planned announcements of public works in the temporary art styles, in cooperation with the owners of the properties, that could easily help deter random permanent scribbling.

Read All The Words

SOURCE: http://twitter.com/#!/ThaWolfie/status/131838311949021185

Can anyone confirm this? For those unfamiliar with the term "bath salts", he's not talking about actual bath salts; it's a street-name for a recently common local drug, also known as monkey dust.

If it's true (which I doubt), then it would be the first recorded instance of it happening, as far as I know.

Nobody has ever legitimately reported evidence of folks handing out poisoned/drugged candy on Halloween. Ever. There are three things that were close to it, but none of them lived up to the rumor.

1) Crazy parents didn't want their kid to go trick or treating, so while the kid was out, they laced Pixie Stix with rat-poison or Comet or something. When the kid returned, they mixed in the toxic candies in with the actual ones on the sly, and then claimed the kid must have gotten them from some crazy down the road (when it was actually the crazies in the house).

2) Kid with his uncle on Halloween. Kid got into the uncle's heroin (or something like that) stash. Uncle didn't want to get busted, so he tried to make it look like the kid had picked up heroin-laced Snickers while trick or treating.

3) Woman got sick and tired of stupid drunk college kids doing half-assed trick or treating, so she had a standard bowl of candy for the little kids, and a bowl of junk for the college kids. The junk included things like corks, mousetraps, etc... and those ant-traps things that are basically toxic wax in a Carmex-sized container (that you can't get into without tin snips and blatantly say RAID ANT-BAIT or suchlike on them, with pictures of cartoon dead ants). She was busted for handing out poison, on a technicality. (PS: This woman is my hero. Nothing against college kids, but I like the idea of junk treats for annoying folks)

Random Affirmation

Hey, hey there Will. I'm not sure that you will remember me, but, i remember you. Not sure we had many conversations, just exchanges of pleasantries mostly, while we both worked at the New Moon. This was back in 2000, I believe, and I had just moved to town. I worked evenings at first, but was not faring well as I wanted to keep sticking my nose in a book while it was slow and neglected customers. Anyway, as I vaguely recall, Paul (owner's name, yes?) was riding my ass one night and I felt like I was about to go nuts and you kindly walked over to me and took whatever I had out of my hands and eased my burden. You were like that, the rest of the night, helping me. And you didn't really say a word, which I appreciated at the time, otherwise I would have started crying my eyes out if you said something kind to me. So, moral of the story: People remember your kindness. Thank you.

The funny thing is, I'm as likely to recall this as I'd be to recall, "Remember that time when you drank a lot of coffee and started to go on a long tangent about etymology?", given how often I do things like that.