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Sunday, 24 September 2017

Bradleya

Have been looking through the list of subjects for this years Bradleya yearbook in this quarters journal.  There is a few new things there that are quite interesting to me as well as a few things that are obscure enough for this blog of sorts.

For one a brief bit of history about Bradleya, its our cactus yearbook as I've already said, but also is much, much more technical than regular issue of Cactus world and for one about 4 times as thick.

If you like taxonomy and have the requisite smarts to work out the obtuse botanical language used (seriously, there's quite a few technical papers here detailing new discoveries) then its for you.  For the most of you, its not gonna be worth it to be honest.

First up is Cremnocereus a cliff dwelling cactus from Bolivia.  Quite odd flowering on this one, reminds me of some of the other short flowered Cereus types (believe its bat pollinated too). It does look quite impressive growing on a cliff face as well.

 I've read a little bit of the article via issu and its quite good.  Mostly its stuff on Crassulaceae with a few parts on Kalanchoe and some more on the taxonomy of the money plant (Crassula Argentea and Ovata). And some stuff on Tylecodon too including a new species.

As a mesemb man myself, there are a few articles to kickstart the old almonds.  Leaf structure in Conophytums, a treatise on the hypothesis of the evolutionary origin and polymorphism of Lithops (you see why we keep these in Bradleya now). 

But mostly what I'm interested in is a new genus from the Western Cape called Roosia.  There's no information on line about it.  It sounds like it was part of the super group Ruschia (if you were a pink flowered and shrubby mesemb, chances are you were placed there) and split off when it was given a taxonomic revision.  As I don't have access to it I'll just have to troll around the net to see if anything is posted about it.  Ironically the only Bradleya I do have is the big taxonomic revision of Ruschia itself done by Heidi Hartmann.  If I ever get to read this I will post an update.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

R.I.P Spider

We have some sad news here. My cat passed away on Thursday. He was 17 or so, though getting an accurate age is problematic due to him being adopted from neighbours one dead and one now in sheltered housing.  He was a contemporary of my old cat Ginger, now passed and used to clean up his food that he left.  They never really fought or fell out though, even if they were neighbours and that.

I don't know how he died but could sense his decline and such, as being an out cat he spent most of his time indoors over the past week and slept most of the time by the front doors (both main and basement, where sadly he finally passed on).

Spider in better days.
The weird thing is that shortly after his passing, there was a rainbow outside and new agers always go on about pets crossing the Rainbow Bridge, whenever they die.

If you squint a bit, it looks like the central TV logo.
I don't believe in all that shit mind, so in my eyes its more like Bifrost and he's being welcomed into Valhalla, with the chosen and such.  Besides where there is food there is always cats and such, it makes sense. 

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Superplay Returns

It may have escaped your attention but Future publishing have brought back a classic magazine for one final special issue.  Superplay is or rather was the best Snes magazine in existence for those that didn't know.  A mix of fair, well written reviews, encylcopaedic knowledge, and Anime aesthetics helped immensely too. 

Our first issue was the Pop N Twinbee cover of Issue 8 (with the tagline Pop 'em Twinbee on the spine) and over time I've managed to collect the whole set.  They've survived my school bag and most of my formative years laying up on the shelf, I'll never part with them.

I know its mainly to promote the Snes Mini as it has re reviews of all the releases as well as a preview look of the non prototype version of Starfox 2 which is bundled with it, but damn its exactly how I remember it.  The art style is exactly the same with full colour box outs of all the games, up for review.  There are some import reviews of the games for the Super Famicom Mini as there were import reviews back in the day, but more importantly it has all the characters you remember.  Though the original Neko, who asked you to sub back in the day died in 2004.  His son Neko Jr takes up the mantle.

Helen McCarthy's Anime World returns for a look back at the scene's origins back in the early 90's and what cart looks at some essential Snes games for you and marks the official acknowledgement of Terranigma and Streetfighter Alpha 2 for Snes, both were released after it had folded and not reviewed.   Also you get a great Wil Overton cover as well (its Starfox 2)

You don't get a letters page (Obviously) and Mode 7 tips are scattered over each of the reviews now.  There's no Fantasy Quest so I won't have to update the FAQ nor Final Fantasy Forum but you didn't get them at the end either so its no great loss.

In all its a great throwback to the golden age of Gaming, glad I have my copy.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

3 years of Gamergate.

Apparently this milestone passed me by, its not if our side has been keeping score and such but its been 3 years.  Zoe Quinn has a book out called Crash Override How Gamergate Nearly Destroyed my life and that, unbiased reviews here. Its £19 or about $25 bucks or so, it peddles her victim narrative and shills her online advocacy the Crash Override Network. 

If you are broke or don't wish to donate £19 in victim bucks here is an alternative a free ebook explaining what it is and that. I haven't read it or such but works from the other side of the debate are few and far between.  If Sargon could write about it I'd snap it up in a heartbeat, but all we have are the official sources from the Guardian which are hardly impartial and fair. 

Can remember the old Internet Aristocrat videos about the whole affair and such, it was a cluster fuck with paid shilling of games and such and the hassling of the fine young capitalists was perhaps the final straw for me. Maybe one day we'll have the authoritative book on the subject.  Which explores each side but as anyone who has dealt with these people know anything that goes against there narrative is of course "harassment" and trolling.

That the wicked "MRA broflake army" and such keeping women down and out of gaming, is nothing we would love you to come over and play games and such.  We won't judge you, we won't troll you all we wanna do is game.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Agony and The Ecstasy

Not a lot to say about this except that Sky Arts have a big documentary about rave culture and such. Called Agony & The Ecstasy how the U.K imported house and acid and made it our own.

Part one is beginnings with Norman Jay and a whole host of pioneers of the UK Rave scene such as Fabio and Grooverider, Orbital, Danny Rampling banging on about Ibiza and someone who looked a whole lot like dear old Babs Windsor.

Part 2 is more political looking at the fall of the illegal rave and the whole Criminal Justice Act brought in to stop peoples right to party.  Some epic scenery chewing there from Goldie as a judge and we have our first look at dear old Oakie (Paul Oakenfold) who in hindsight looks thick as mince.

Part 3 is the rise of the superstar DJ and there is definitely a saucer of milk required for some of the catty comments put out there for most modern posers.  To be honest I think the same way, didn't realise that the whole repackage shit from Ibiza we had going on.  We essentially sold America back shit Europop after they turned their backs on the whole culture and that. 

A few sticking points there is not one mention of Ron Hardy here, a few shout outs to Larry Levan and Frankie Knuckles R.I.P but nothing about Ron.   Ibiza gets a mention as well as sound systems but apart from this nothing about Italo Disco and the whole selling back of Disco to America to make house.  Also precious little yanks in this only Roger Sanchez and The Black Madonna make it.  Fucking hate EDM, seriously this is what killed Kiss FM chasing the youth market


Third part is overtly political too which I really don't like, we are not punk we don't do politics much on a whole.  Apart from that you can laugh at how old everyone looks which is nice as they say.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

CBM Calculator vs Sanitary Product

This should have come out last week but our internet was down, so you'll have to read this now instead. We scrapped the PC in question below btw, and picked up another dell, a laptop this time. I'm just a sucker for pain sometimes



Have spent most of the day trying to rebuild an old Dell PC with all the added stupidity
that Dell bakes into every one.  This time they bolted the motherboard to the case so
couldn't do nothing with it.  To cap it all our internet is down and have to slum it
by surfing via the phone. 

We do have a few things from clearing out my aunts old place, and while we have mostly
books brought back and a few old photos and such these two are for the most bizarre.

First up is a Nikini Pocket sanitary towel holder, found along with the second item
its from the 60's I guess. When I got it home I did do a search for it to see if they
were still going and it seems that they aren't.  There is a Museum of Menstruation
dedicated to jam rag paraphenalia and such, though its closed for painters once a month.

My aunt used to be a health visitor so it may be connected with that and such, here are
some photos of it.


Second item is probably my uncles, an odd guy who was Canadian and used to paint. He
worked at the dye factory down near the tip and can remember my aunt picking him up
in her Skoda with me in the back reading.  Its a Commodore calculator, complete with
instruction manual.  CBM started out doing these before their line of computers such
as the PET, VIC 2O and later the C64 and Amiga line before going belly up in 1994.

When my C64 had to be repaired they gave us a commodore branded camera as a thank you
which is pretty cool, would love to see if it was a rebrand or if they really did go
into photographic equipment. Here are some pics of the calc and will when we get a
PC to run the printer, some scans of the manual.


Sunday, 6 August 2017

Peyote and other Psychoactive Cacti

A biased book review of sorts.

Picked this up from a charity shop in Camden for a quid.  Judging from the price on the cover someone initially paid £20 for this and really can't think why. 

First of all are you a stoner, a pot head or a hippie, then you may get £20 worth from this. Especially if you are actually going to use a plant, that is from the UK perspective, better off grown as a show plant.  There are a few chapters that I've not read yet, mostly about preparing mescaline from the raw Peyote, but what I have read its that its mostly written from the standpoint of a psychonaut.

Here are some facts about Lophophora Williamsii here (wiki article actually goes into more depth than the book) and if you want some pics, here's cactus guide with a few notes on forms and varieties. 

To be honest its not just Peyote as there is a few bits on San Pedro Cactus (A.K.A grafting stock) too as well as some of the smaller genera of plants, Ariocarpus, Aztekium and Obregonia that contain psycho active ingredients to some degree.  Mostly though they are just broken down to their constituent chemicals, in the description and such and yes, any sane person would grow them to show, as all three species are alsochoice, small plants that take up very little room and are known for slowness of growth.  

As the book was printed in 1997 the names need updating, so Dolicothele is much better known as part of Mammilaria today (and was back then, seriously did they grab them from Britton and Rose).  Cultivation wise its not bad though we don't need a shade house here in the UK as light levels are pitiful at best. Hydroponic growth is mainly used for stuff that are tricky on their own roots such as the more tender ! Asclepiads and Melocacti, I've had no problem growing Peyote on its own roots even surviving in an unheated greenhouse and the kill winter of 2010.

Legality its a grey area for stuff, you can get the taller Echinopsis sometimes as well as the smaller species.  I got my Lophophora as a kid from Syon House garden center back in the 80's but its available from cactus sellers from time to time and yes they know all about this too.

Finally, and this is anecdotal evidence, from talks and listening in to conversations.  There is bugger all peyote in cultivated specimens, plus its a really horrible trip, bitter, puking and shitting everywhere apparently not that I've tried. 

The book isn't bad, its going to give you the basics on growing and grafting which will help up the growth rate (did I say its slow growing) and a bit on law and shamanic usage.  Its not bad but more of a curiosity.

Finally, I'll leave you with a pic of when my plant flowered many moons ago, (it's still clinging on).

Much more shrivelled now.