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Stratton School Biggleswade 1975

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This is the sports pavilion, rarely used...


...except by pupils who smoked. My whole family smoked, so I didn't, but I stayed with my friends company as they puffed away.
Which has reminded me that there were two common rooms at Stratton School, the one for non-smoking teachers and the one for smoking teachers. The corridor near the later teacher's common room was always full of the smell of tabaco and smoke.

What is this cloud of unknowing?

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Sometimes, between a morning of programming and an afternoon of programming I have thirty minutes of complete rest, horizontal, eyes closed.
Programming is an art and a craft, so problems swirl around in the brain, unless you distract it. I need the "distraction" to get the most out of my half an hour.

Somehow I've come to merge two religious phrases into one.

The first is from Buddhism: "What is this?" It is a question which you are supposed to ask yourself intently and honestly. As far as I can tell "this" has never been specified. But oddly enough it does concentrate the mind.
The second is from a 14th century work called "The Cloud of Unknowing". In that book it is suggested that you forget a rational or logical or even religiously proscribed way of thinking of God, and just try to pierce the cloud of unknowing (of what God is) with...what...love?
Anyway, together the two phrases form a single question:
What is this cloud of unknowing?
And as…

Will the Philips A60 7W E27 220-240V CL LED light bulb really last 15 years?

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I bought this Philips LED light bulb and noticed the words "15 years"...




...really Philips? I haven't met a LED bulb which last more than 3 years so far. The light is on for 12 hours a day, so it should last 30 years don't you think? Well, we'll see, I think though the 15 years a a downright lie.
(OK, OK, I have nothing else to do today. O rather nothing else I want to do)

Covid This Covid That, Dystopia This Dystopia That

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The recent months have shown just how unimaginative 99% of the "creatives", "artists", "writers" and "comedians" of the world are. Their "unique" points of view, their reactions, their jokes are exactly the same as everybody else's.
It's Covid this and Covid that, dystopia this and dystopia that. What a bore.
Quiet a few celebrities/famous people have been making podcasts. Often they are one one famous person talking to another famous person. Twiggy's is an example...

...but it is not interesting, maybe because the interviewer and the interviewee are friends.

Then there are quite a few blokey podcasts, again boring because there is no tension in the discussion, they are just two or three blokes having a chat.
The first exception is Grounded with Louis Theroux...

Almost all the episodes have been good, filling an hour with interesting and novel conversation. There is one exception, the one with Chris O'Dowd. It fails maybe fo…

"To lack a persuasive theory is to lack something crucial"

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Tom Wolfe saw the phrase "To lack a persuasive theory is to lack something crucial" in a New York Times review of an exhibition of realist art. He describes this in "The Painted Word", a book which reveals the Emperor's New Clothes of 20th and 21st century art. In 197?

Nobody can just look any more. There has to be a theory behind the artwork, else it is worthless. And the theory must be explained. However incomprehensibly.

I just do art as a hobby, but I came across a person at my last exhibition who insisted that I needed a theory, else my artworks were just "OK".

He was a small old bloke in a crisp suit who came on the last Sunday of the exhibition and picked me up on a phrase in the leaflet. I say there that all I want to do is make art that talks directly to the mind and the eye, without need for explanation. All that is needed is the image, the title and the observer, a perfect triangle. 

(“Voglio creare un’arte che parli direttamente alla me…

My will.

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"My will is hitching a ride on my body, and my body goes where the hell it likes"
   - Owen Ransen, blog post "My Will".

This phrase popped into my head as I ate my ninth biscuit while reading "Apathy, and other small victories" by Paul Neilan.




 I read it and enjoyed it in 2006 when it first came out. And I'm reading it again and enjoying it again.

"Apathy" seems to have been his first and only novel.

But where is Paul Neilan now? If he's reading this (he isn't, only I read these blog posts) I think he is a real writer, and I'd like him to write another book for me to enjoy.

Wikipedia has a strange entry on him, which finishes in an odd way:

"Paul has three brothers, John, Michael, and Ryan. He is the second oldest, followed by Michael and then Ryan. He has 3 nieces and a nephew. Lily Neilan, Lucy Neilan, Avery Neilan, and Quinn Neilan. He lives in New Jersey."

3 nieces and a nephew? What has that got to do with anythi…