Friday, 5 August 2011

The home-again ramble.

Aye, pure dead classy or what, pal?

Home at last. I managed to sell a few books although the short stories book sold faster than the novel. Probably because it's cheaper. Still, the good thing about signed copies is that everyone likes to say they have one but nobody wants to loan them. Excellent advertising.

While offline I managed to get some work in on the dystopia with some ideas even the government haven't yet thought of - I won't say, they'll just steal them. I might have to self-publish it because the delays in real-publishing mean it could be out of date before anyone reads it.

I also started on a short story which has now passed 6000 words so isn't really all that short any more. It'll be in the next collection along with those that have appeared here but weren't in the first one.

My last Email check was Sunday night. Scouting through the far-too-many accounts I have, I was looking for work stuff that had to be dealt with and for spam, which is never hard to find. Even so I had over 300 new mails when I came home tonight and most of them were spam. I now know where all the world's money has gone. It's all in dead people's bank accounts in Nigeria.

On Monday I flew out of St. Boyo Airport in Cardiff. I was on the 8:15 pm flight, the last one of the evening. An interesting thing happened. I was disassembled, as usual, to pass through the security circus. While I was reassembling, one of the security blokes asked if I minded him swabbing my laptop.

I didn't mind at all. It could do with a clean. He then put the swab into a machine which bleeped and said 'Nothing here'. It was the first time I had seen this so I asked what it was all about. He became evasive and said something about 'checking it hadn't been in contact with something it shouldn't have'.

My guess is drugs or explosives and I wondered how long it would be before his machine was calibrated for tobacco and alcohol and salt and fat and...

Why the laptop? Why not my fingers or clothes? He didn't swab the keyboard, just the outside, which was a shame because the keyboard could do with a wipe.

The funny part was that there were only three more flights out that evening. One to Newcastle, one to Edinburgh and one to Glasgow. If you were transporting drugs to any of those places, the last mode of transport you'd choose would be air. It's the only one with the checks. Go by bus, car or train and nobody cares what you're carrying.

The next flight was to somewhere in Spain at 6 am, check-in 3 am and the place was closed between my boarding time (8 pm) and then. His swabbing was futile but then he'll have targets to meet for the day.

I was in Ayr for a few days. I met an old friend who has also written a book and is now trying for publication. His book (fiction) deals with the aftermath of a total collapse of money worldwide. I told him that if he gets it published I know some people who'd be interested in reading it. One of them is me.

It's the exact opposite of what I'm working on. In my tale of woe, all money is electronic and on embedded chips. The chips are also passport, identity, even house keys. Step out of line and a few keystrokes can render you homeless, skint and unable to leave the country. One of us might well turn out to be horribly right.

Finally, I'm home, with regular internet access and far too little whisky in the house so I'm having to bulk up on cider. Tomorow is shopping day. Regular rage can now resume.

Tobacco plants survived my absence. Two had fallen over, they had broken free of the wind-resistant stakes but they survived. I've propped them back up. Unfortunately the slugs could get at them while they were prone so I have a few holed leaves. They are close to the top of that six-foot fence now. The ones in the ground have not done well, it seems that for me at least the best option is a bucket full of compost for each plant. There will be plenty of good leaves to attempt the drying and curing part.

Oh, my ride stopped at Stracathro services on the way back for a pee-break. That's where the classiest ashtray in the UK (pictured above) is to be found. I must make one for myself.

They do a decent bacon sandwich too.


Chief_Sceptic said...

Sequel to "Jessica's Trap" ? ...

Leg-iron said...

CS - it's first-drafted. I'm collecting opinions if you fancy being a critic ;)

TheFatBigot said...

I first encountered the keyboard swab in America seven or eight years ago. It is a test for cocaine (now perhaps other drugs too, but only cocaine in those days) but not to catch users who have spilled a bit.

If there is some on the keyboard they will then take it apart to see if a supply is being transported inside the laptop. Although there is no necessary correlation between powder on the keyboard and a package inside, a positive swab gives "probable cause" to search the laptop which could not, under Federal US laws, be done absent evidence of it being used in some way in connection with illegal activities.

Here endeth today's outline (and probably only vaguely accurate) lesson.

TheFatBigot said...

Woops, I've just noticed you said the keyboard was not swabbed. Oh well, my explanation might hold true nonetheless.

Leg-iron said...

FB - considering the remaining flights, I suspect he was just racking up the targets for the day.

Anonymous said...

That's one classy butt-end smoking area at Shithole services.

Did it have an ASH or CRUK logo on the arse of it?

jones said...


As before I'd be v.happy to have a squint at jessica sequel but you never got back to me after I emailed you my view on the first.

Just so's you know mate would still be happy to.


jones said...

With respect to the classy ashy it occurs to me that it would also multifunction as a decent shitter too if needs must..

Leg-iron said...

Jonesey - I try to respond to Emails but sometimes I miss them, and sometimes there are too many and I forget to get back to those I missed.

I'll go back and look again.

jones said...

That's ok

I'll re-send.

jones said...


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