An eclectic collection of trivia, observation, cynicism, wit....
and the occasional rant.
Enjoy!

I'm Mark. Older than you imagine, pescetarian, husband, father, professional parent & pedant.

I post some original stuff and a bunch of other things that I like. If you own the rights to something you see here and you're not happy about me sharing it, let me know.

Graduation

Tomorrow I go to see my Princess at her graduation ceremony, which will be held in the beautiful setting of Canterbury Cathedral.

I’m excited. And bursting with pride.

graduation emma 1st class honours

angelclark:

99-Year-Old Lady Sews A Dress A Day For Children In Need 

Lillian Weber, a 99-year-old good Samaritan from Iowa, has spent the last few years sewing a dress a day for the Little Dresses For Africa charity, a Christian organization that distributes dresses to children in need in Africa and elsewhere.

Weber’s goal is to make 1,000 dresses by the time she turns 100 on May 6th. So far, she’s made more than 840. Though she says she could make two a day, she only makes one – but each single dress she makes per day is personalized with careful stitchwork. She hopes that each little girl who receives her dress can take pride in her new garment.

charity awesome africa
We won’t forget, but never lose sight of the fact that are other excellent and much happier reasons to remember 11/9. It’s my sister’s birthday and she lives in Brooklyn. 
In my book, that’s worth celebrating! Please raise your glasses to Jane today. Happy Birthday, Sis!

We won’t forget, but never lose sight of the fact that are other excellent and much happier reasons to remember 11/9. It’s my sister’s birthday and she lives in Brooklyn. 

In my book, that’s worth celebrating! Please raise your glasses to Jane today. Happy Birthday, Sis!

birthday girl 9/11 brooklyn

Apple Officially Discontinues the iPod Classic

The original iPod music player debuted 13 years ago, in October 2001. It remained one of Apple’s core product categories over the years, despite declining sales and a world of listeners increasingly more reliant on streaming subscription services. Now, as Apple moves into larger-screen smartphones and wearable devices for our wrists with the unveiling of the iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch on Tuesday, a standalone MP3 player has become too antiquated to keep alive.

When Apple’s online store came back online this afternoon at around noon Pacific, the iPod classic — the company’s last touchscreen-less music player that first debuted in 2007 — was gone.

It’s no surprise that Apple bid farewell to its sixth-generation iPod. The device eventually held as much as 160 GB of music and accounted for a healthy chunk of the 54.83 million iPod units shipped at the division’s sales peak in 2009. Yet those numbers began steadily sliding downward as Apple’s iPhone and competing Android smartphone sales began to eat into the MP3 market, while new device form factors like the iPad tablet carved out a new product niche.

Through all that the iPod classic persevered. Thanks to a diminishing price tag — $249 for the 160 GB by September 2009 — and position among music enthusiasts as the best all-purpose gadget for those that want a no-frills MP3 player, the iPod classic held a nostalgic place in Apple fans’ hearts. Oh, and who could forget the beloved click-wheel.

The iPod Touch, which debuted in 2007, nine months after the first iPhone, claimed the title of most popular iPod in recent years. That device, which resembles Apple’s smartphone line minus the cellular connection, hasn’t undergone a major overhaul since the fall of 2012, the same time Apple introduced the iPhone 5. It lacks many features found in the newer iPhones, including a TouchID fingerprint sensor and an updated processor that supports more intensive apps and gaming.

Typical. Just as mine packed up.

apple ipod classic gone

steampunktendencies:

Steampunk Herbie ~ Airbrush Bathory

Our first car was a VW beetle. There’s one almost the same age for sale not far from home. Now I know why I want another one.

vw beetle bug paint job airbrush steampunk
Look who came to dinner… 
…we grow them big on the Marsh. This one’s an easy three inches from end to end. (That’s big here in the UK. I know you guys down in Australia are laughing…) 
Now, please excuse me while I reintroduce our friend to the garden (before my wife introduces him/her to the rejuvenated Dyson).

Look who came to dinner…
…we grow them big on the Marsh. This one’s an easy three inches from end to end. (That’s big here in the UK. I know you guys down in Australia are laughing…)
Now, please excuse me while I reintroduce our friend to the garden (before my wife introduces him/her to the rejuvenated Dyson).

spider beastie creepy crawlies bugs

This is entirely the wrong time of day

to discover I’m out of red wine.

disaster woe is me no wine

laughingsquid:

An Animation That Explains How a Bean Becomes a Fart

Here you go. The mechanics of how vegetarianism contributes to global warming explained…

vegetarian global warming environment beans

There’s a first time for everything

This is down to Jann and Kristin


Name: Mark
URL: mings
Nickname: Styxx (childhood). Ming (work).
Birthday: November 16
Gender: Male
Sexuality: I’m a Scorpio. Look it up.
Height: 6’3 & shrinking
What time and date is it there: 21:40, 26 August
Average hours of sleep I get each night: 4, maybe 5 if I’m lucky
The last thing I Googled was: valley lay boards. Yes, seriously.
First word that comes to mind: Dendrochronologist. There’s a reason for that. Ask me if you’re interested.
What I last said to a family member: I fixed the Dyson. Have you eaten?
One place that makes me happy & why: The Western Highlands in Scotland, because it’s the only place where I’ve truly felt at home and at peace. 
How many blankets I sleep under: What are blankets? I have a vague recollection of something scratchy from the time when dinosaurs roamed the planet.
Favorite beverage(s): Green tea, especially Genmaicha.
The last movie I watched in the cinema: I can’t remember. It was horrific. So loud it was painful. I’d rather put up with a small screen, a fatter wallet and volume I can control. 
Three things I can’t live without: If people count as things - my wife, my kids, and I’m stumped for a third. I would have said my dog, but she’s gone. Maybe the mountains, but it’s been a while and I’m still here, so I guess it must be water. 
Something I plan on learning: How to finish building my house. How to play guitar properly, if my arthritic fingers will let me. How to speak Japanese. How to relate to people, if it’s not too late. 
A piece of advice for all my followers: The best things in life are free. Get yourself out into the big wide open and experience them for yourself.

Consider yourself tagged if you took the time to read this :-)

mathcat345 theotherwaytoo15

because sometimes, you just need a little Pink Floyd

Yah, but most of the time I need a lot of Pink Floyd.

pink floyd never bettered
There must be many more important things in the world than a picture that I posted a few months ago of Valais Blacknose Sheep on a Swiss mountainside. Apparently, some of you disagree. More than fifteen thousand of you. Perhaps I should finance one to stand in Thanet for the next election. At this rate, it would gain enough votes to block Nigel Farage…

There must be many more important things in the world than a picture that I posted a few months ago of Valais Blacknose Sheep on a Swiss mountainside. Apparently, some of you disagree. More than fifteen thousand of you. Perhaps I should finance one to stand in Thanet for the next election. At this rate, it would gain enough votes to block Nigel Farage…

valais blacknose sheep mountains sheep politics

Thank you Kevin, whoever you are…

… my Dyson sucks, and I mean that most sincerely.

no loss of suction not any more anyway

I’ve learned many things from the internet…

…but it never ceases to amaze me that there are people out there who make videos about how to fix this, do that, or build the other.

I’m genuinely glad they do so, and even more thankful that they were wiling to donate their time and effort. They’ve helped me build my home. Seriously. The best roof framing video I saw showed a guy with a deep southern drawl. a beaten up old truck in the background and chickens running around his feet. None of that detracted from the sheer quality of his knowledge.

So, when our Dyson vacuum cleaner’s motor self destructed, I went to Youtube, not Dyson. I just replaced the motor in ours for less than £15/$25. That’s pitched against £380/$630 for a new one, or some indeterminate figure for an engineer to visit. (But you can bet your shirt that would have been well over £100/$165, plus parts.)

Notwithstanding, I find myself worrying a little when I realise I spent more time watching a guy called Kevin taking apart a vacuum cleaner than I usually do watching anything on TV….

i guess i'll just leave that there home repairs diy must be an age thing
OK, so I know it’s more baby spam. Get over it, there’ll be more: I’m a proud grandfather. Noah bears striking similarities to his father at the same age. Apart from the obvious good looks, there’s a conspicuous ability to sleep. Runs in the family…
Perhaps I should also take this opportunity to mention sheep. Yes, you knew I couldn’t resist it… so here’s Baby Noah learning to count sheep & taking a nap on his Romney Marsh inspired quilt, courtesy of my infinitely better half.
She’d elevate herself to deity level if she’d make one of those quilts for us.

OK, so I know it’s more baby spam. Get over it, there’ll be more: I’m a proud grandfather. Noah bears striking similarities to his father at the same age. Apart from the obvious good looks, there’s a conspicuous ability to sleep. Runs in the family…

Perhaps I should also take this opportunity to mention sheep. Yes, you knew I couldn’t resist it… so here’s Baby Noah learning to count sheep & taking a nap on his Romney Marsh inspired quilt, courtesy of my infinitely better half.

She’d elevate herself to deity level if she’d make one of those quilts for us.

baby grandson noah sheep quilt quilting

Thinking about Ferguson…

…it occurs to me that the laws here in the UK are so fundamentally different to those of the US that the likelihood of incidents like the tragic death of Michael Brown are almost infinitely lower. (Poor grammar I know, but bear with me.)

The simple fact is that our gun laws are very tight. Always have been, and please, they should stay that way. As long as legal gun ownership remains as low as it is, there is a strong case for the police to remain unarmed. 

Don’t get me wrong. I have the greatest admiration for the work that the Thin Blue Line does on our behalf. They have to wear stab-proof vest at all times in order to stay reasonably safe. They routinely place themselves at levels of risk that are, quite frankly, wholly incommensurate with the relatively meagre wage they earn.

But that doesn’t mean they should be armed. The risk of escalation is preposterous. If our police routinely bore arms, so too would the criminal fraternity. The huge risk that our police already face would increase exponentially, as would the risk to the general public,and not just from the criminal fraternity.

There is little doubt that, given the protection (or Dutch courage) afforded by a loaded gun, innocent bystanders would become victims. Sadly, I have no doubt that, in many cases, those innocents would belong to ethnic minorities. Thus, in my view, racial tension and militancy would increase and stability in society would correspondingly decrease.

I watch in dismay as the news of avoidable situations like the killing of Michael Brown unfold. I worry about how our society may progress (or degenerate) given similar levels of “freedom”. Ask the law abiding citizens of Ferguson about how freedom feels. Take the sting out of the media frenzy, and ask yourself how much was stirred up by one-sided, even bigoted, reportage. Ask yourself how much freedom you actually sacrifice in the name of freedom.

I live on a ridiculously overcrowded island. Overcrowding leads to all sorts of social ills; you only have to look at rats. (Google it, if you don’t believe me.) Tell me I’m wrong, by all means, but as much as the lure of the wide open spaces calls me, I don’t think I’d really want to swap the security of what we have here.

ferguson michael brown police gun laws security freedom shooting