Friday, March 21, 2014

The Royal Cyphers: G VI R in Bermuda

Readers may remember my July adventures with Navigator on the Aberdeenshire Circuit. Navigator returned to the States a few days after that outing, though we keep in sporadic touch via Facebook.

Navigator recently posted a bunch of pictures from her recent trip to Bermuda, and she shared this exciting picture with me. Readers may also remember my discussion of the G VI R cypher. Bermuda, a British Overseas Territory, apparently hosts post boxes (in various states of maintenance, as evidenced by the fatigued paint on this example); this example bearing the cypher of King George VI dates back to at least 1952. When Navigator sent it via Facebook, I was immediately chuffed, and thanked her profusely. Now, I share it with you, the valued blog audience.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Photo Selection: Marischal College Selfie

In early August, I was sitting on a bench outside Marischal College for Gin Afficionado to finish her shift at Starbucks so that we could go out for a drink. I decided to screw around with my mobile's camera and try to take a unique selfie. Marischal's Gothic spires and the puffy white clouds overhead made for a perfect backdrop. I frequently use this picture as my Facebook profile picture with the caption "Go boldly forth." (Gray 1 asked the obvious question: "Towards the next split infinitive?") This is definitely one of my favorite pictures of myself from my time in Scotland (though, to be fair, most of my favorite pictures aren't of myself).

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Photo Selection: CN Vlad versus Shite Piper

In July, CN GBU-16 sent me a picture that had been posted on Facebook by some random denizen of Aberdeen. What's noteworthy about this picture is that it features a woman wearing a sort of ridiculous pink outfit, right next to her (then-)boyfriend, CN Vlad. For those of you who are new or rusty, CN Vlad was my Romanian coursemate who first introduced himself as being "from Transylvania, the same as Dracula!"

There's something else in the picture that's worth mentioning. See that sort of broad guy behind the pedestrian signal pole? That, dear friends, is Shite Piper. Shite Piper is a guy from Georgia - like, the American state of Georgia - who stands there on the corner of Union Street and Union Terrace Gardens, at the base of the statue of King Edward VII. Why is he called "Shite Piper"? Because he's absolutely awful. Behold, a Facebook post and ensuing conversation from August...
To the guy from Georgia who plays the bagpipes daily on the corner of Union Street and Union Terrace: please stop. You're awful, you're embarrassing yourself, the locals call you a "shite piper", and your "music" makes everyone uncomfortable. Your piping makes angry cats sound melodic by comparison. I'm begging you: please desist immediately.

KH: Might have more impact if you said this to his face...
Tom: I've learned to avoid people from Georgia.
CS: He's American? Bloody immigrants coming over here and destroying our music. That's our job. Wearing skirts and being overweight. That's our fucking job!
JF: Tom, will this persuade you to stop wearing skirts?
HM: He plays really stereotypical music and even then can get the notes right. He never shuts up even late at night which makes me feel for the people staying around that area
Tom: JF: No.
HM: I put one of my friends up in the Caledonian Hotel, and his rubbish piping was my only concern.
DD: Shite Piper is a GREAT name for a band!
DD: JF, Tom, SW and DD, AKA, Shite Piper! Let's get the band back together!
KM: He could nae join with Guitar wifey the famous musician frae Aberdeen and be called Wifey N shitey! .x.
LM: no that is an insult to the legend that is wifey
Just to clarify: KH is a girl I dated briefly in college, CS was one of my coursemates, JF and DD (and SW) are former co-workers from when I worked in Virginia, and HM, LM, and KM are two sisters and their father whom I met in Aberdeen. The "wifey" is Aberdeen's Guitar Wifey, a popular busker who plays a guitar (maybe a ukelele?) on Aberdeen's sidewalks.

I have to agree with DD, though - "Shite Piper" is a great name for a band.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Scottish Secession: A Narrative Win for Better Together

On Sunday, Critical Mass shared something from the Better Together campaign's Facebook page, and I immediately loved it, because it's absolutely dead on. The Scottish National Party and its leader, Alex Salmond, are responsible for convincing Scots (not to mention the rest of Europe and the rest of the world) why Scotland would be better off as an independent state. Thus far, many relevant individuals have raised one issue or another, and their questions and/or concerns have yet to be addressed in any substantive manner. One of the biggest recent issues has been the SNP's claim that Scotland will continue using the British pound, without any corresponding influence on the administration of the pound. First Minister Salmond, his subordinates, and their supporters in the general public answer such questions with vague appeals to patriotism, rather than detailed explanations.

Later, I saw this article: Shell boss: Scots should stay in UK. The tagline reads: "The chief executive of the oil company Shell says he would like Scotland to 'remain part of the UK'." It seems significant to me that the Scottish nationalists see themselves as a potential petrostate on the order of Norway or Sweden, but the actual energy companies think that secession is a bad idea.

E posted this article, too: 5 Reasons Why Scottish Independence Would Be A Disaster.

As I keep writing this post (this is technically now an update, I find more and more items of note to post. For example, the BBC reports that Scottish independence: Citigroup says formal currency union 'unlikely'. Notes the Better Together campaign...
A new report from Citigroup says it is "astonishing" that Alex Salmond has failed to spell out a Plan B on what would replace the Pound if we left the UK.

The report goes on to say that 'Scotland's fiscal deficit was "now significantly above UK levels" because of a recent fall in oil revenues.' This is likely to be confirmed by the Scottish Government's own figures next week.

Alex Salmond wants us to take a big leap into the unknown, but it's a risk we don't have to take. As part of the UK we have the strength, security and stability of the Pound, and can take advantage of North Sea revenues without putting our public services at risk.
In case you're interested (and on Facebook), you can subscribe to Better Together's Facebook page. In the interest of balance, you can also subscribe to the Yes Campaign. I remain skeptical of the proposed Scottish secession referendum, but I'm also willing to be convinced that the SNP has a plan and a justification for secession. The wait continues, and the SNP is running out of time to convince me or anyone else.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Demobilization: The Prodigal Package Arrives!

I could have just as easily posted it here, but I wanted to let you folks know that my final box of stuff finally arrived from Scotland yesterday. It took nearly two and a half months to arrive! Holy smokes! Go have a look at the post on the BJT blog for more information.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Photo Selection: Wideford Hill Sunset

A few weeks before I left Orkney, Rock Sniffer and I rented a car for a day and did some geocaching. December featured some gorgeous sunsets in Orkney, and Rock Sniffer and I headed to the top of Wideford Hill. We weren't disappointed, and the sunset pictures I took from the Orkney Mainland's highest point are some of my favorite images from Operation Highlander.