Alterna-Front

Gone!

After nearly 15 years on Twitter, I’m gone. I’ve never used it that much anyway and was always more of a lurker than active antagonist on the platform. I followed a small number of people, mostly from education, writing and comics. I didn’t post very much. When I added something...

What a Draft idea!

Trying to save money has meant ending small subscriptions for services I’ve enjoyed using for years. I’ve just cancelled Drafts, the text capture app that I’ve used as a starting point for all my notes and writing. As much as I find Drafts an excellent app, I don’t use the actions – which are really its killer feature – nearly enough to warrant a monthly subscription. I use Drafts to keep notes and write longer pieces that I then move into other apps like Obsidian and IA Writer. It’s possible to do that using 1Writer, an app I already own on iOS, and Sublime Text on Mac and keeping them in shared folders accessed by the other apps. I’m going to see whether this works over the next month before deciding whether or not this will be permanent. After that, I’m looking to end my reliance on Microsoft (for OneNote) and – less so – Apple (for iCloud).

Paying Attention

Every time I think I have how Mastodon works in my head, I find a feature that is so unexpected and welcome. My natural inclination is towards organisation (eg. tying in my blog posts to Mastodon so they become a natural part of the conversation rather than forcing links to be clicked etc.) but it might do some good to be a little chaotic with this.

Walk in King’s Wood

Postponed from earlier in the week, we went for a walk in King’s Wood this morning. So quiet! So many mushrooms!

On the way to Horrid Hill

Took the boys for a walk along the river and up to Horrid Hill this morning. Tide turned as we walked back.

The Passenger

Started Cormac McCarthy’s The Passenger. His last novel, The Road, was published 16 years ago. There’s an expectational attitude you have to take when you read one of McCarthy’s novels…

“children… have a right to high-quality care and education that meets their social and emotional needs”

Excellent piece by Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett about childcare in the UK (second most expensive in the developed world that our European neighbours put to shame). Cosslett is right in linking child-care to aspirations of a fairer society and child-neglect as a political policy. She points out: “far more important is the wellbeing and education of children, who have a right to high-quality care and education that meets their social and emotional needs.

Older Microblog entries HERE

Gillen’s A.X.E.

Find myself agreeing with Chad Nevitt’s fierce admiration for Kieron Gillen’s coordination of Marvel’s A.X.E. event: “I was stunned by the complexity of the narrative he is telling. It is absolutely stunning to see the various threads weave in and out of different comics, pulling together all of these characters....

60 Years Ago Today: Love Me Do by The Beatles

Someone to love. Somebody new. Someone to love. Someone like you. Time plays odd tricks. It’s 60 years ago that The Beatles released Love Me Do on 5th October 1962. The opening harmonica hook remains haunting and evokes the grainy black and white early Sixties. Melancholic images of fog on...

In your restless dreams, do you see that town?

Exciting to find out that – after 10 years – we are returning to Silent Hill. Four games seem to be in development. I’m most interested in Silent Hill F, set in 1960s rural Japan. There’s even a sequel to the fairly enjoyable 2006 movie. All very exciting.

Stories

More as a reference for me: Laird Barron’s short story recommendations. I’ve not read the Paul Tremblay story so will hunt it down RIGHT NOW!

2000AD, Prog 2295

Final part of Abnett & Culbard’s Brink: Mercury Retrograde in this week’s 2000AD. Brink continues to be a fascinating comic and this book/series/season has approached the story from a very different (and thoroughly engaging) perspective. I’m in the process of re-reading the first four book atm.

Moonwatching 3

Another snap of the Moon. It’s amazing to see the detail and begin to navigate locations. Here the three large “bruised” areas are Mare Serenitatis, Mare Tranquillitatis and Mare Fecunditatis. To their right, Mare Crisium and to their lower-left, Mare Nectaris. On the left is the top of the Apennines mountain range. (I also just about saw the rings of Saturn. My telescope is not powerful enough. Just a beginner’s!)

Moonwatching 2

Very surprised how easy it is to take a snap of the Moon using a phone just by holding the camera up to the eyepiece of the telescope.

Moonwatching

Dug out the telescope we bought a few years ago.

FURTHER DOWN THE STREAM...

60 Years Ago Today: Love Me Do by The Beatles

Someone to love. Somebody new. Someone to love. Someone like you. Time plays odd tricks. It’s 60 years ago that The Beatles released Love Me Do on 5th October 1962. The opening harmonica hook remains haunting and evokes the grainy black and white early Sixties. Melancholic images of fog on...

October comes with rain whipping around the ankles / In waves of white at night

Autumn is definitely here. Not the lingering, warm Autumn of early September, but the damp, wet Autumn that points with trembling finger towards Hallowe’en and the first chill winds of Winter. For me, September has been one of reading tales by Algernon Blackwood that seem to anticipate this change of...

Indicators of an Effective Teacher?

Digging through one of my boxes of stuff, I found this copy of Elizabeth Perrott’s 1982 Effective Teaching, a book I’d bought and intended to read but had put away for the future. It’s a weirdly prescient book: outling many of the approaches to teaching that are currently being promoted...

Fantastic Four No.1 Panel by Panel

Comparing Panel by Panel with Maximum FF suggests the change in the way that the November 1961 first issue of Fantastic Four seems to be viewed (at least by Marvel). In 2005, Walter Mosley’s presentation of the issue is as an art object: something that “crystallized an art form that...

Black Beth and the Devils of Al-Kadesh

Very glad I found this in W.H. Smiths. Written by Alec Worley with art by Dani, Black Beth is the revival by Rebellion of an obscure British comic originally created in the 1970s (but unused at the time) with one published story appearing in the Scream! Holiday Special in 1988....

Maintaining a #digitalgarden

Since the mid-1990s, I’ve maintained a personal web site of some sort. Originally my sites were constructed using Frontpage and Dreamweaver, then I used Blogger for a period until around 2010 when I moved over to keeping self-hosted WordPress sites. There was a period when I used it as a...

Robert Aickman’s Introduction to The 5th Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories (1969)

Aickman’s fifth introduction is brief. He summarises his previous views: that ghost stories are separate from both horror and SF and that its “true affinity” is with poetry as it is “a projection and symbolisation of thoughts and feelings” that are excluded from usual written discourse. Ghost stories, he believes,...

Then we danced the dance ’til the menace got out

Positively pleased with my new Synology DS220+ NAS. Last week, part of my old NAS, a WD My Book Live, was remotely wiped. WD’s solution is to tell users to disconnect until they investigated the issue. It was clearly too late for me and I was worried that the other...

Talk for Learning

Notes from A Dialogic Teaching Companion by Robin Alexander (2020). Chapter 2 – Talk for Learning In this chapter, Alexander explores the relationship between talk and the development of a child. He examines the shift in the 1970s between the child as “lone scientist” to “apprentice”. The persistence of recitation...

Prologue to A Dialogic Teaching Companion

Notes from A Dialogic Teaching Companion by Robin Alexander (2020) Chapter 1 – Prologue In the Prologue, Robin Alexander gives a case for teaching talk as an essential tool in teaching and learning. He describes the positive value of dialogic teaching and asserts that there is a strong evidence base...

Robert Aickman’s Introduction to The 4th Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories (1967)

Aickman leads his fourth introduction to the Fontana Ghost Stories collection with a renewed attack on modern rationalism: “science will end the world,” he asserts. He goes on: “Even if there is no big bang, we shall destroy the world in no time, if we go on as we are....

“build a ladder of opportunity so that the able can get ahead”

Provocative New Statesman article by Adrian Wooldridge which insists that the key to the “reinvention” of the Labour Party is by going back to basics – appealing to the “new working class that is growing alongside the old one” – and reinstating a belief in meritocracy, “the belief that individuals...

To Coalition and Beyond: Back to the Future?

Notes from English and Its Teachers by Simon Gibbons (2017) In Chapter 6, Simon Gibbons brings the book up to date (to 2017 which – after Covid 19 and the lockdowns – seems an age ago). He presets a largely bleak and somewhat dispiriting picture of current English teaching in schools...

Writing Wrongs, TES

Great article in this week’s TES about the teaching of writing. Liz Chamberlain (Open University) and Rob Drane (English subject lead at the University of Cambridge) argue that writing is being taught in primary schools causes “a disconnect between how we view writing in the real world, and how writing...

New Labour, New Policies

Notes from English and Its Teachers by Simon Gibbons (2017) In Chapter 5, Gibbons focuses on New Labour’s impact on English. The Labour government sought to tackle the underachievement of poorer children. This was when I started teaching and remember all too well the exhausting period of the National Strategies....

“Honestly, I think I would know if there were aliens”

It’s a long time since I’ve read anything interesting about UFOs, but this article for NBC by Rizwan Virk, founder of Play Labs at MIT, seems to indicate that – while the area of ufology is generally mocked by scientists and big tech – there’s obviously something significant happening. Virk...

Denial and Delusion of the Thatcher Years

As someone who grew up in Thatcher’s Britain, it’s hard not to see the parallels between how fragmented and bleak things seem now and how it was back then. I’m not the only one. Very good piece by Guardian columnist John Harris who notes how the visible decline of Britain...

Some Thoughts About Caitlin R Kiernan’s Black Helicopters

Professor Zeh sits in his office in Heidelberg. It’s 1969. Rain falls outside and Zeh’s office window is nothing but a dark grey rectangle. He’s smudged the ink in his notebook, jotting down a thought about Bohr’s interpretation of measurement he had while staring at his reflection in a mirror...

Popular Opinion

Frightening – and yet unsurprising – report explaining how Facebook is used by politicians to unduly influence public opinion through the creation of incredible numbers of fake comments and likes from a tiny number of users. The report is based around an interview with Sophie Zhang, a former data scientist...

Hauntology Defined

An excellent definition of hauntology by the A Year in the Country site. “This is an area of culture where the use, appreciation and romance of often older electronic music technologies, reference points and inspirations segues and intertwines with the more bucolic wanderings and landscapes of exploratory, otherly pastoralism and...