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Saturday, 27 March 2004

Travel Narrows the Soul


Topic: Yidaho

If I had a wife
Plague o' me life
I tell you what I would do
I'd buy her a boat
Set her afloat
And paddle me own canoe ... hoy!


I was working for peanuts in a hotel in Athens aged seventeen, and on a cold bright autumn morning, I sang that to a bunch of guys who were both patrons, and co-workers. French guy, customer, bit slimy, but no more so than most, stood behind me, and hugged me after I sang it.
Behind the bar, Moroccan guy, co-worker, sweet as anything, turned to my dappy English boyfriend, usually too blasted on drink or hangover to do anything but squint at the world, and silently handed him a seven inch carving knife, nodding towards the Frenchman.

Or me. I'm not sure which.

The more I ever travelled, the more parochial I became, and the more I realised we're never going to all get along.

I'm off to Birmingham for the weekend.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 10:53 AM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 8 April 2004 3:31 PM BST
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Friday, 26 March 2004

Act Your Shoe Size


Topic: Creepy Lesbo

Tonight I was initiated into a secret corporate society of older Irish scary women. It was scary and hilarious, all wrapped up. The average age was 52, and they were more ribald and dangerous than most women a quarter of their age. And getting away with it. If I were passing out cold with my face in the curry at any of my local restaurants, I'd not live it down as fast, for sure.

I'm hoping if I hang around them long enough, I'll find out where the bodies are buried at work (taken me damn near a decade to infiltrate this far), and learn to be utterly dominating like they are.

When a taxi driver turned up, all scarlet too tight tracksuit, spiky blond hairdo and blaring ragga at a million decibels from his boy racer, speeding his tits off and giggling fit to bust, he was no match for them, no match at all.

"Are you Australian?" they grilled him as he took a corner on two wheels.

"I'm from Mile End, love." Giggle giggle. "Why do you think I'm Australian?"

"Ah, well, near enough," colleague spits, "you're all convicts."

It wasn't enough of a warning shot across the bows, though, for a nuthead cab driver quite this ripped off his tits, and the poor fool continued his manic banter, unaware of just how few strips had been torn off him.

"Final tip, love: you're a cab driver. Try shutting your trap."

This page graced by sarsparilla at 10:59 PM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 8 April 2004 3:37 PM BST
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Thursday, 25 March 2004

True Love


Topic: Belle de Jour

Never done this before (repeated something from a dating website on my blog, I mean), and please forgive me for being so malicious and crass, grovel, grovel, but I must just share with you one or two traits I found unappealing about someone whom I was mailed by an online dating thingy as being a particularly good match for me. Far from reading as a potential shag, several things struck me as hitting bullseye on my 'cross the street there's a lunatic coming' radar.

I dunno, what do you think? Could this be my perfect significant other? Does she sound my type?

Strike 1: Gabrielle seeks her Xena
Strike 2: located in: Nottingham
Strike 3: my bust is 104ff
Strike 4: I am a huge fan of multi-culturalism, and make it my business to embrace as much of different ways of life as possible
Strike 5: When I go out, I dress in bright colors, such as sarees, & other eastern dress, however when I'm in all-female company, where allowed, I just go naked, it's very liberating.
Strike 6: I also indulge in white witchcraft, watch talk/reality tv shows
Strike 7: My big trademark, though is my fetish for other womens feet and shoes, which really turn me on
Strike 8: I have even learnt to use my feet as I do, my hands, writing & doing my hair & make-up with my feet.
Strike 9: I already have hundreds of pairs of sandals & mules, I'm a bit like a lesbian Sex & The City girl
Strike 10: The lady I'm looking for has dark/ish skin, is feminine, could be gay,bi or straight, If the latter, I'd still like friendship. I'd also like to get to know other white ladies, who are like me
Strike 11: I'd like to get to know other women with bi-racial children we can discuss the issues surrounding that
Strike 12: Oh and I 'd like a tall woman, with long hair or short hair
Strike 13: Body Art: Visible tattoo, Strategically placed tattoo, Inked all over, Belly button ring, Piercings you?ll have to ask about, Fanged
Strike 14: Best Feature: Feet
Strike 15: I practice yoga, & practice my pschic skills. I'm also into clubbing, & latin dancing
Strike 16: Favourite Things: Basically, womens feet/shoes, TV talk shows, like |Trisha, reality shows, the books I read are mostly about feminism, nature and spirituality.
Strike 17: Last Read: The Female Eunach
Strike 18: I keep Reptiles, Birds, Exotic pets
Strike 19: Education: PhD Post Doctoral - I garduated in Nootingham, UK [I *swear* I didn't edit that bit]
Strike 20: About My Date: only requirement is ehtnicity: Black / African descent, Asian, Latino / Hispanic
Strike 21: My turn ons: Tattoos, Body piercings, Long hair, Skinny dipping, Flirting, Thrills, Public displays of affection, Dancing, Sarcasm

Good God! And my profile appealed to this freako undoubtedly kind and worthwhile individual?!

This page graced by sarsparilla at 1:08 AM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 8 April 2004 3:49 PM BST
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Wednesday, 24 March 2004

Under a bloody armchair, I tell you


Topic: Creepy Lesbo

Wednesday's agenda was: into work early to plan failsafe Plan B's for if colleagues fuck up while I'm out, four hour intense brain-draining meeting in Forest Hill this morning, same old crap back in Catford this afternoon, verbal warning from Hippie Boss at three o 'clock, run around feeding underlings who are doing shit tasks because I mis-scheduled their day for an hour, then two hour serious big sensible meetings with a billion customers.

The sort of day that calls for a pinstripe suit, in other words.

The sort of day where being unable to get out of your flat because you've locked yourself in and lost the key till around ten o'clock may cause some minor inconveniences to you, and may make you so damn stressed you have to sit down and do some breathing exercises quick before you start gouging strips out of your arms with stubby desperate fingernails.

The sort of day where the key has rolled under a nasty pink armchair in the bedroom. You know, that room where I never ever take keys. Of course I'd look under never moved furniture in there.

The sort of day where it will seem like elegantly symmetrical retribution that all of Hippie Boss's plans and work turn out to be useless at the morning meeting, and you can demand that this incompetence be officially noted, and warnings given.
And offer to be the person who delivers the dressing down to Hippie Boss.
Even though you know you've drunk too much coffee and everyone else is gulping and trying not to say anything that might be repeated.

The sort of day where you might embarrass yourself when you reach for four chocolate eclairs in a row, decide your pinstripe suit is warmer if you huddle under your dad's old oversized duvet style coat at the conference table, then sneeze coffee explosively over the official papers.

The sort of day, where, hatchet job completed, you will return to site to receive your expected dressing down, but protected by the knowledge of the morning's public Hippie Boss humiliation - only Hippie Boss confounds you utterly by not giving you any warning at all, and professing that the meeting was merely to have a chance to catch up** and make sure you were all right.

The sort of day the fickle finger of fate decides this is exactly the moment that you should lose your voice entirely, and be reduced to a guttural croaking sound.

**Shyah, sure it was. Suuuuuuuuuuuure. That's exactly the sort of meeting that gets cc'ed in triplicate to all your line managers.
Paranoid? Moi? Twenty points to me, I think.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 10:07 PM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 8 April 2004 3:51 PM BST
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Tuesday, 23 March 2004

Now I'm Warning You


Now Playing: Muse
Topic: Creepy Lesbo

I have loads to blog, but no time to do it properly.
I've been waylaid by work.
Trapped and taunted by stress.
Fingered by the requirement that somebody do all the overtime that's been mounting up round here. (Aargh, just reminded myself of the twelve hour shift tomorrow.)
It's verbal warning time of year again, and, as I get one every bloody year - a meaningless one, as they really don't want to jeopardise my loyalty to them - I'm counting not only the minutes, but the ways; will it be the skiving, the insurrection, the bunking, the tardiness, the lying, the lack of organisation, the sickies, or the deceit? Who knows?
Senior manglement have been found publicly wanting, again, as they have every year in the last ten, and so they need to tug the strings , to rustle the red curtain, to jostle the scenery and prove that 'it's not them without imagination, drive, or dedication, it's these bloody underlings' (which is where I come in).
'Nobody could work with them'.
Who cares, really, you learn not to expect feedback in public service jobs (well, I suppose getting kicked in the face by a customer today was some sort of feedback, but still, the corporate ethos is to pretend that *that thing*, *then*, did not happen) but my internal dialogues continue in heavy preparation - it's irritating to keep rehearsing these blatantly insouciant rebuttals.

Can one be actively apathetic?
It seems an ambition I might effectively strive for.

Today I saw a raven trapped inside Sainsbury's. It was quietly hopping above the cigarette kiosk, hoping not to be noticed.
It looked too powerful and real-worldish to be inside a consumerist disneyland in miniature like that.
Made me think of Creepy's foxes.
And of the ravens in 'The Human Stain', a book full of gigantically meaningful random quotations:

"I will go to America and be the author of my life, she says: I will construct myself outside of the orthodoxy of my family's given, I will fight against the given, impassioned subjectivity carried to the limit, individualism at its best -- and she winds up instead in a drama beyond her control. She winds up as the author of nothing. There is the drive to master things, and the thing that is mastered is oneself."
I suppose everybody feels out of place sometimes, like that raven trapped in an airless, airconditioned supermarket, trying to avoid being pointed out, and therefore noticed. Hounded, perhaps. In fact, I know they do.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 11:34 PM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 8 April 2004 3:57 PM BST
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Monday, 22 March 2004

Nasal


Now Playing: Broken Social Scene - Pacific Scene
Topic: Empty Fridge Light

I think I have a phantom pregnancy.
Not only do I have a belly the size of Wales, but I can smell *everything*, you know, the way hounds do. Yeah, yeah, laugh on your own time.
I can't stop smelling the reek of old fat from greasy spoon cafe's on my coats, and I nearly went into olfactory raptures on the train yesterday, when some uppity snooty cow got on and hogged all the seats while wearing my first girlfriend's favourite perfume.
Virgin birth, anyone?

Smells no-one should like, but I do:

Warm flagstones in the sun
Petrol
Parmesan
Metal zips
The nape of someone's neck
Plastic wrappers
New books when you crack the spine open
Broken crackers
Short hair
Other people's washing powder
Dirt under fingernails
Waterproof coats
Teddy bears and cat fur
Lipstick
The space between fingers
Gravy
Cat happyfarts
Tar
Dead skin along the side of your thumb nail
Oats
BO (but only if it smells of onions, not vinegar)
Newsprint - papers and magazines
Soil
The smell orange pith leaves on your hands
Sudden drops in pollution levels
A big pig sty
Lap top cases
Water

This page graced by sarsparilla at 10:15 PM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 8 April 2004 3:59 PM BST
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Sunday, 21 March 2004

The Simple Journey


Topic: Yidaho

I had, like, wow, this rilly normalistical blog ready, and then, like, this rilly big bomb scare at Paddington, that was like, totally seriously awesome, and it, like, meant I was stuck on a train all evening instead of being able to, like, blog about it all? And I, like, totally watched The Simple Life reunion on cable before I left? And now, like, ohmigod, wow, bereft of any normal non-transport focused interaction, right? Rilly, I can't speak, like, any other way? I mean, ohmigod, whatever?

This page graced by sarsparilla at 11:43 PM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 8 April 2004 4:04 PM BST
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Saturday, 20 March 2004

Euphoria Transit


Topic: Yidaho

It is ages since I blogged from the train. Usually I'm prevented from reflection by travelling everywhere on shanks' pony, which leaves me pink palmed, breathless, practising the tendons and trying to feel alert to the muscles that are warming up - trying in fact to feel anything other than the cold rain on my nose, and the blister forming beneath the callouses on my sole. Walking's a more solitary activity - your interaction limited to shrugged greetings, fleetingly awkward manoeuvres which rarely progress beyond 'shall I catch her eye', 'has he seen me' or 'shall I overtake yet'.

Train travel, and I'm bombarded by other's phone calls home, excited conversations, wild clothing combinations, faces both animated and bored.
In two minutes I've been treated to four SE London fight narratives, enthusiastically mimed in replay, and a host of tips on how to avoid paying the fare (apparently saying 'sorry, me fohh-ren' to the ticket inspecter yields least success.)

Safe in my seat I can stare out at a dramatic, lowering blue sunset, Canary Wharf in granite blue and silver outlined on the cold pink horizon as wash after wash of navy thunderheads gloom threateningly above.
I can listen to the rails' repeated rumbling energy, trying to decipher a rhythm, a tune, words, from its weighty creaking rattle.
Or look the other way, avoiding the picturesque sunset, and see greenish flickering gold window reflections jewelling against the dried blood coloured boxes of inner city tenements.
Peer into the still lit offices, emptied of their usual occupants, each tenth window revealing a thin moving figure who looks like me.
Or watch the sky in the oily gun metal platform puddles as the train slows to a judder, the surface calm but cold, the bridge platform frozen in space, the Thames churning below.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 1:06 PM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 8 April 2004 4:08 PM BST
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Friday, 19 March 2004

That Bandwagon that was rolling by a while ago...


Now Playing: the chitter chatter of internet munnikeys chimping their wares

Topic: Vic Jameson

Sometimes the story just won't die ...

This page graced by sarsparilla at 5:06 PM GMT
Updated: Friday, 19 March 2004 5:18 PM GMT
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Turns out, nobody asks permission, see . . .


Topic: Vic Jameson

The results of the MIT Media Lab Blog Survey are in. Apposite timing, too, what with events snowballing around BdJ (always a little too near to BDSM for my taste), and Creepy being hounded out of her blog [by evil witchy schoolmarmy types who think it infringes the privacy of their previously unknown online pseudonym].
"Formerly viewed as a marginal activity restricted to the technically savvy, blogging is slowly becoming more of a mainstream phenomenon on the Internet. Thanks to much media hype and some high profile blog sites, these online journals have captured the public?s imagination. As novice authors plunge into the thrilling world of blog publishing, they soon realize that publicly writing about one?s life and interests is not as simple as it might seem at first. As they become prolific writers, more bloggers find themselves having to deal with issues of privacy and liability. Accounts of bloggers either hurting friends? feelings or losing jobs because of materials published on their sites are becoming more frequent.

"Here we report the findings from an online survey conducted between January 14th and January 21st, 2004. During that time, 486 respondents answered questions about their blogging practices and their expectations of privacy and accountability for the entries they publish online:

- the great majority of bloggers identify themselves on their sites: 55% of respondents provide their real names on their blogs; another 20% provide some variant of the real name (first name only, first name and initial of surname, a pseudonym friends would know, etc.)

- 76% of bloggers do not limit access (i.e. readership) to their entries in any way

- 36% of respondents have gotten in trouble because of things they have written on their blogs

- 34% of respondents know other bloggers who have gotten in trouble with family and friends

- 12% of respondents know other bloggers who have gotten in legal or professional problems because of things they wrote on their blogs

- when blogging about people they know personally: 66% of respondents almost never asked permission to do so; whereas, only 9% said they never blogged about people they knew personally.

- 83% of respondents characterized their entries as personal ramblings whereas 20% said they mostly publish lists of useful/interesting links (respondents could check multiple options for this answer). This indicates that the nature of blogs might be changing from being mostly lists of links to becoming sites that contain more personal stories and commentaries.

- the frequency with which a blogger writes highly personal things is positively and significantly correlated to how often they get in trouble because of their postings; (r = 0.3, p < 0.01); generally speaking, people have gotten in trouble both with friends and family as well as employers.

- there is no correlation between how often a blogger writes about highly personal things and how concerned they are about the 'persistence' [ie, longevity when cached online] of their entries

- checking one?s access log files isn?t correlated to how well a blogger feels they know their audience

- despite believing that they are liable for what they publish online (58% of respondents believed they were highly liable), in general, bloggers do not believe people could sue them for what they have written on their blogs.

"The findings in this survey suggest that blogging is a world in flux where social norms are starting to flourish. For instance, many bloggers reveal the names of companies and products when they blog about them, except when they write about a company for which they currently work or have worked in the past. More bloggers are becoming sensitive about revealing the full names of friends on postings as well. But for all of the careful publishing guidelines that are starting to evolve, bloggers still do not feel like they know their audience. For the most part, they have no control over who reads their postings. The study also shows that bloggers usually have some idea of their ?core? audience (readers who post comments on the site) without really knowing who the rest of their readers are ? in many cases, this latter group makes up the majority of their readers.

When confronted with questions of defamation and legal liability, respondents in this survey paint a conflicting picture. In general, they believe that they are liable for what they publish online. However, bloggers in this study were not concerned about the 'persistent' nature of what they publish ? which tends to be a major aspect of liability ? nor did they believe someone would sue them for things they had written on their blogs. Moreover, 75% of respondents said they have edited the contents of their entries in the past. Even though most respondents explained that they usually edit typos and grammatical errors, 35% of respondents said they had edited for content as well: entries they decided were too personal, entries they thought were ?mean?, some respondents mentioned having gone back to entries to obfuscate names of people. These results reveal a certain naivete in how most bloggers view 'persistence' and how it can operate in networked environments such as the net, where information is being constantly cached. As blogs become more pervasive and their audiences grow, the ever-'persistent' nature of entries and the direct link to defamation and liability are likely to become even more of a burning issue."

MORE

This page graced by sarsparilla at 12:08 AM GMT
Updated: Friday, 19 March 2004 12:10 AM GMT
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Thursday, 18 March 2004

The Strange Tale of How I Told Mrs Opposite to Learn Some Fucking Manners


Topic: Yidaho

Okay, in person I'm quite mild mannered and polite. Almost to a fault, in fact.
I like turning the other cheek and being magnanimous, and for one reason; it's a stance.
A few weeks ago, I was parking my car in alternate positions in the huge, rather empty off street private car parks we have here, and relishing the security of it all. No more annual break-ins, no more monthly drilling of your locks in that ole East End stylee. I can park numerous places, now, all of them totally utterly parking permit free, bird shit free and crime free.
Parked up a slightly awkward incline, next to the outhouse where all the rubbish gets lobbed, I returned to my car one morning to find a post-it note stuck to the windscreen.

THIS SPACE IS

RESERVED

DONT

PARK.HERE.AGAIN.

Well, you know, I haven't worked alongside the great unwashed of Catford / Enfield for ten years to knock my knees together and quail at some retard threatening me on my doorstep. One of the great side effects of the crisis management and general abuse that so addicts me to my thrilling job is that I'm scared of no one. No one.
You can come at me with whatever weapon you like, you can try to hurt me however you want, and there is no way in hell that I'm going to turn away until I've disarmed you literally and metaphorically. That's right. You're going to apologise.
One of my best such moments was aged 24 in the race-riot-strewn estates behind Euston, when a gang of chemically altered teenagers decided to bottle my head in for being gay. I loved the look of horror on their faces when instead of running away, I turned and walked towards them. I made damn sure they apologised before I left.
I read that inane post-it note, left on the car that, given an option, I'd prefer never to have parked in the same spot twice, and laughed at the world of hurt unfolding in my imagination.
This is probably how squillion decade long neighbourly disputes begin.

I got me a post-it note from my own secret poison pen stronghold, and left a fairly terse message on the miscreant's own grimy windscreen. Something along the lines of 'I don't see a fucking sign, do you?' and 'Learn some fucking manners' (particularly proud of the oxymoron there).

Oh how I prayed the anonymous note writer would go further. I wanted a show down. A full blooded barney at dawn. I was quite happy to go toe to toe and twat the owner of the grimy grey shitmobile. Preferably police called.
Dammit, I have nine months of untapped dead-relationship rage inside me, I wanted to rip my fingernails along someone's face.
No joy - the reply disappeared, grey grubby shitmobile hogged the space possessively, and eventually the opportunistic rage subsided into a mere burst of 'and another fucking thing' rantation if I was having a grim day.

I don't think I've particularly wound my neighbours, so far. I play the radio pretty loud in the bathroom once a day, but it's Radio 4, it's hardly eardrum shattering. My bogus landlady had told me her old schoolfriend, Pilchard, lived upstairs, and had a cat. Poor bloke looked freaked when he walked towards the stairs with some cat litter and a strange woman in a pink fluffy hat yelled 'you're Pilchard, aren't you?'
But aside from my usual slight stalkerish tendencies, nothing to suggest I was a newly planted sociopath in their midst.

Polite beyond the broadest definition, I tried to avoid a meeting with Mrs Opposite this week - Bogus had told me she was an old dear - slightly deaf, and extremely quiet. On Monday, I could hear Mrs Opposite across the hallway slamming her door to run in and out of the flat. This is London, I don't want anything more than frosty civility towards neighbours - so I decided to wait a moment before charging out to begin my two mile morning constitutional.
The coast seemed clear, but as I stumbled towards the hall light, I nearly broke my ankle on some grey dusty car cleaning materials in a grey dusty bucket. So that's what the crashing and slamming had been in aid of. Early morning car wash.

The horror - the palpable gut lurching horror - as I emerged from the front door directly in the path of the mystery note writer's grimy grey shitmobile. As Mrs Opposite looked up from her grubby bucket seat behind the steering wheel.

Me heap big Sarf Lahnnun hard woman, eh? I did my Moron's Best shiteating grin, limply waved hello, and scampered.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 5:52 PM GMT
Updated: Friday, 19 March 2004 12:13 AM GMT
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Wednesday, 17 March 2004

Contained


Topic: Vic Jameson

I had to read some (mostly powerful) poetry written by a colleague today, and this one line sticks in my head, and won't go away.

"I don't belong to these grey walls"

Creepy Lesbo has come up against the obstacle of friend's objections to her blog, and is inviting ideas about what to do. I say, up sticks, shut the blog down, start a new one - new links, new pseudonyms, new everything. We'll all find it eventually, Creepy. You don't belong to blogspot, you don't belong to your readers, and you don't need to be held hostage to someone else's sense of propriety.

I dunno, I just can't imagine William Burroughs shooting his wife in the face, and his mother saying "you're not going to put that in your damn blog book".

Creepy's writing is honest, and it's good because it's excoriatingly honest. Painfully, brutally honest. She reminds me of Dickens in a weird way, because I hang on waiting for the next instalment to slice up another part of lesbian life, lance another pompous fart's asinine self-serving behaviour, dissect it and boil it in acid flavoured blog-jelly for me to read about.
Nobody could sit and knowingly be a topic for unforgiving focus like that. So I say move it. If she's censoring herself, she'd be censoring more than just a few words. She'd be censoring the writing, the unburdening, and the talent that keeps improving every time she publishes another instalment.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 4:18 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 17 March 2004 4:29 PM GMT
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Tuesday, 16 March 2004

Mosaic


Topic: Belle de Jour

Forewarning: I only just this week discovered how to do a < strike > html2 thingumah, so I'm going to over use it even more than the italicising for the next few months.

If you have two hours of sleep over a three day period, then you see a grey lady walking through the kitchen at the corner of your vision, sudden holographic large spiders scuttly up walls, and even indoors, it looks like a fine rain is falling.

Last Thursday, someone at work puked in technicolour down a stairwell, mananging to splatter three flights of stairs, vertically. I was the most senior person onsite, so of course I did the senior thing, and walked away, pretending not to have noticed the streaming puke shower behind me.

Yesterday I was sat researching something on the office pc at work when I fell off the chair. The whole thing tipped on its side.
There was nothing wrong with the chair. Some subconscious part of me simply decided to sink in a south westerly direction, and take the comfy wheelie chair with me.

I just about managed to quell a fit of sheer, futile pointless fury on Monday morning, on the grounds that it was stupid. Somehow I became incensed that most British blogs I've read this weekend (excepting four bloggers whom I've already thanked) didn't bother to abate their tales of deoderant and how supercilious they were when they went to Sheffield for even one millisecond to mention what happened in Madrid.
I swear, I was shaking with pent up rage about it - I was all set to delete every link apart from the four who mentioned there'd been a terrorist massacre, like, next door.
Dunno where that came from. I can't surely have pre- mid- post- and inter- menstrual ferociousness tension, can I?

When I don't sleep, my stomach bulges into this perfectly round, protruding pot belly very rapidly, until I do. I've been patting it and feeding it Snickers all day. Seriously, today I had to wear an old oversized gap skirt of Tybalt's, because not one single pair of jeans or trousers I owned (in a wide range of sizes!) would close over the pot. Me! In a skirt! With a bowling ball belly! What larks, Pip, what larks.

If I hide my sock drawer in the hallway, and sit in the space, I can pretend I have a very low very uncomfortable desk, and imagine the pain in my legs is because I'm not used to Japanese furniture.

I'm trying to resist the impulse to take my walkman on the morning / afternoon walk to and from work. It's not like the deep throaty rowrrr of traffic is particularly precious to me. I just want to hold off the wealthy isolation that music affords me as long as possible. This morning, not having a walkman as I walked to the area office, unsure of my way and stumbling slightly to make my deadlines, I heard:
A loon-grinned pretty older woman asking me if I'd like to share a tract about Jesus.
The morning chorus being shattered by a particularly resonant and hoarsely grouching crow.
My footsteps, which made me look at the mist hanging aroung the fountain in Mayow Park as I passed it.
The sound of a street sweeper on almost every single street corner of Lewisham. Come on, Mister Mayor, you blobby self congratulatory tosser (I met him last week, this is true) - six street sweepers in one mile of quiet side streets is more than entropy. No-one could chuck out empty crisp packets fast enough to keep them all employed, surely?
The three or four pairs of small boys wrestling.
It's obscene to have so much energy as small boys do.
The office workers who are quietly, insanely singing to themselves. But not quite quietly enough. I like to think of them as nascent Jeffrey Dahmers - I imagine that the tedium of their cubicle-centric environments have unhinged them six years ago, and today is the day they'll allow the other staff to notice; the day of becoming - of taking back their stapler and burning down the building.
(Well, you have to have some way of feeling superior of a morning.)

Someone in my building lobs half a loaf of mouldy bread into the communal garden outside my window every day, and I get to sit and watch Cyril and five wood pigeons (my most hated feathered foe) fight for it.


Cyril

Frosty brought her (to be fair, very pretty and well behaved) newborn baby into work today and asked me to hold it. It was involuntary, I swear. The flinching: "eww, no! What if I drop it?"
Anyway, she swears she's dropped it, too.

Back on the coldest night of February, I ordered a large mink blanket (fake fur, though) online, to curb the shivers. It still hasn't arrived, and now every day I walk past the nasty nylon cyan navy and turquoise spattered fleece throws labelled "MINK!" in their plastic carry cases in the fifty pee shop window, and shiver a little inside.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 4:37 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 17 March 2004 4:34 PM GMT
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Monday, 15 March 2004

11/M Reading Material


Topic: Vic Jameson

"Frequently the personalised, subjective, unpolished viewpoint [ of a blog ] strikes me as far more engaging than the Soho House arse licking of your average journalists' take on life."

Therefore, in no particular order, and tending to no particular style, geography being the only defining component, the news from Spain:

Iberian Notes
Puerta del Sol Blog
Santificarnos
First Conditional
Think Back
A Fistful of Euros
Tim Blair hosted english versions of guest blogs from the authors of Hispa Libertas
Baldie (Catalan)
Jeroen Sangers
The Fruitman Chronicles
Living in Europe
Xikita
Buscaraons (Catalan)
Euro Pundits

This page graced by sarsparilla at 2:14 AM GMT
Updated: Monday, 15 March 2004 3:31 AM GMT
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Sunday, 14 March 2004

sub text: a meta-morpho-blog


Topic: Shy Lux

I still have this seventeen hour project to get started finished by Tuesday, so procrastination is rampant, hereabouts. There is absolutely no substitute for a genuine lack of preparation. Hence, the past two weeks have involved mucho reading, film watching, and browsing of blogs. And the more blogs I read, somehow the less I want to keep one myself.
It's not that I don't find blogs interesting - frequently the personalised, subjective, unpolished viewpoint strikes me as far more engaging than the Soho House arse licking of your average journalists' take on life. What unnerves me is that feeling of knowing something that isn't deliberately told. It's when you've read a blog for a while, looked at patterns and repetitions, and somehow the blogger has unintentionally revealed too much.

I've got to circumvent the navelgazing, though to point out my context: that right now, I'm plagued by repeated nightmares. They work about at about a 60:40 ratio of 'I hate Tybalt with every fibre of my being' to 'I hate blogging'. The latter species have me waking up yelling in shock (although still prefereable to the quiet unerring antipathy of the former.) My morning coffee is regularly interrupted by a dizzying surprise at my strength of negative emotion about both.
Derby says that dreams and nightmares are a safe environment in which to work out and process unsafe emotions. She thinks they're about expelling ideas and feelings, in order to create a space, into which new experiences and people can move. A contained environment to co-ordinate your most feared responses to uncontained things.
Funny, that's what I would have thought the blog was. Apparently not.

My first (and best) degree subject was Literature, and I - like most people - enjoy reading the subtext of any written or spoken communication. I have to practise this anyway at work, and to exacerbate this, I'm not that good at going with my instincts in real life situations, so I guess I've over developed my tendency to do it with the written word.
It's difficult, when reading blogs, not to provide an imaginary face behind the html, or to pad things out with a few hidden truths that read against the dominant narrative.
The blogs that have put the willies up me lately (to whom I don't and am not going to link), are the ones where it's not so hard to read between the lines.
The ones where you find yourself trying not to see a human torn up in the struggle to avoid realising his behaviour is selfish and nasty to others. (I mean, really, can I blame them? Who ever blogs an argument and paints themselves honestly in the wrong?)
The ones where all the commenting and and cliquey patronage reveal a desire to be more important and worthy than the blogger fears they actually are.
I know these people do want feedback, because they invite comments. Somehow I also know they don't want brutal feedback, or honest-but-unfriendly comments. They've laid bare what they like to think of as their soul on the screen - if a more realistic, warts and all portrait of themselves at the same time flows into the margins, well; they don't want you 'trolling' by pointing out that the emperor has no clothes, and his liposuction scars are getting ropey.
Jesus, I wouldn't want it.
It's an obvious truism that everyone feels a social pressure to maintain a facade - the man slitting his own throat even as he calls for help - but can I maintain a convincing facade? Would I even want to? And that's what today's rather badly written, badly thought out, crappy post is about. If I can see these other blogs and be fairly sure that their owners are lying through their happy-go-lucky teeth about who they are - then what unpalatable truths can people read here about me?
And the scariest thing is that I'm pretty sure I know what they read. They read the interior narrative of someone absolutely unutterably neverendingly fascinated with herself.

That's the bit that I find shameful. And that's the bit I don't like about my blog.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 6:48 PM GMT
Updated: Sunday, 14 March 2004 9:28 PM GMT
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Saturday, 13 March 2004

Homage


"Life stopped in the winter drizzle of Madrid yesterday. Offices, shops and cafes emptied, as funeral candles were lit in moving scenes of solidarity. Black bows of mourning appeared on shop windows, the cabs of commuter trains, and on lapels. People looking at the wreckage in Atocha burst into tears. As dusk fell, every street around the railway station was crammed with people standing in the rain. The silence was overpowering. [...] the Israeli mass circulation Yediot Ahronoth could not restrain itself: "Welcome to the real world", it declared unsubtly." ~ Editorial

"The outpouring of sympathy didn't wait for names: it was for somebody's son, somebody's daughter, somebody's wife or mother, husband or father. The very anonymity underlined the simplicity of this kind of human solidarity; it was enough that lives were lost. Whose lives they were will come later. It seemed so quintessentially Spanish; the country of the paseo, the promenade, has an instinctively social culture, and its faith in public solidarity has proved vibrant at the very point of most threat. Fear of more attacks could have forced the Spanish off the streets, could have scared them into their homes. Instead, with a remarkable defiance of the terrorists who deliberately targeted the crowded commuter trains, the crowds refused to be cowed.

"Cities have become our battlegrounds; where once they were places of safety to which countryfolk retreated in times of war, they are now where the war is conducted. After 3/11 every citizen of a western European city, of Paris, Rome, Berlin or London, nervously enters the packed tube, the busy commuter train or the high-rise office block. Fear could empty the city and cauterise the mass transit systems that are its lifeblood. One is haunted by an image of shut-down tube stations, of empty streets where weeds break up the Tarmac and everyone retreats home to their laptops, and we look back on the conviviality of the era before mass terrorism with nostalgic disbelief.

"What's at stake is a long history of the city, that exchange point for trade and ideas that has been the crux of all civilisations. The city orders how large numbers of human beings live in close proximity. In so doing, it civilises and turns strangers into citizens who belong to a civil society in which they treat each other with (more or less) civility. All these words have the same Latin root, civitas.

"What the demonstrations in Spain remind us is that civility - the measure of goodwill from one stranger to another - is ultimately what makes a city's spirit. It is the accumulation of tiny, daily interactions with bus conductors, fellow commuters, newspaper sellers and coffee-shop waitresses - the humour, the greetings, the gestures of help." ~ Comment


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Vanessa/Female/31-35. Lives in United Kingdom/London/East London/Bow, speaks English and German. Spends 40% of daytime online. Uses a Normal (56k) connection. And likes Literature / Movies/Food / Eating / Drinking.
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This page graced by sarsparilla at 9:04 PM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 1 April 2004 7:37 AM GMT
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Friday, 12 March 2004

Somnambulent


Topic: Casino Avenue

I can't keep my eyes open. Literally, I find myself practically in a foetal position on Pink Nasty, blogging from a laptop leaned against one raised knee, as my nostrils beocome dry and parched, my breathing grows irregular, and somewhat rasping, and my eyes don't so much close as blink rapidly light beatingly sideways - flashing their new invisible alligator lids, for periods of around twenty ... um ... winks.
My chin sinks into my chest like an eighty year old, and jerks up alarmingly as if I were still sixteen, and this were still the first hot minute of the first slow dry faint of my life, still trapped in the sunny spot on that first ten hour bus journey home from a bone shatteringly lively hippy nudey festival.
Blink.
I'd arrived home from the cinema in a snowed over black cab at midnight, cold, romantically blustery, dark, with a cosy eiderdown awaiting me. So I've no idea what possessed me to stay up till three, then get up at five to go to work early.

In fact the utter redundancy of turning up at my Friday office to work at that ungodly, criminal hour was emphasised when I ran into an ex-client on the way in. She cast a shadowed bruised looking lid over me and said: 'I have personal issues at the moment. That's why I'm here early today, and why I've been staying so late. I'd rather be here than home right now. So what's your problem?'

It's a little embarrassing to just say 'procrastination' faced with a dramatic intro like that.

Every time I listen to my self breathe, or watch my chest rising and falling, I'm hypnotised again, and halfway there, into another realm where I don't have the slightest hope of control over things like lifting my neck, co-ordinating my fingers to type in sequence, plain old looking forward. Eyes closing ... blink. Blink blink.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 5:59 PM GMT
Updated: Friday, 12 March 2004 6:03 PM GMT
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Thursday, 11 March 2004

Massacre


Mood:  incredulous

Everything I was going to say today was blown out of the water by news from Spain. I don't usually blog politics on here (I have other outlets for my rabid liberalism, slowly morphing with age into drooling toryness), but I can't square it with myself to blog some crap about toenails or salt, when one hundred and ninety people have been killed on their way to work for no bloody reason.

So instead of me wanking on about something pointless, I'm going to quote an email from Tris, about this outrage. Tristan, as well as being a generally all round great bloke, is part Spanish, and was replying to Looby's question: Al-Quaeda or ETA?

It's the Spanish general election this Sunday, with the horrible ruling conservative PP party currently just only about a percentage point ahead in the polls, as opposed to 6 or 7 percent last week.

I imagine therefore that it is ETA, although I don't think anyone's claimed responsibility yet.

As you may know, the Spanish government recently closed down the Basque language newspapers which was read by many Basque people, because ETA used it to announce stuff.

I know that occasionally the newspaper was a mouthpiece for ETA but this was because ETA came to them, they are reporters reporting the news, and the paper carried all sorts of news.

This decision outraged many people. It would be like the Irish government closing down "An phoeblacht/Republican News" or the Saudis closing down "Al Jazeera" because the IRA and Al-Qaeda, repectively, used it for announcing stuff. The Spanish government also outlawed Herri Batasuna, the alleged political wing of ETA (which, to make analogies, would be as outrageous as the British government outlawing Sinn Fein) and closed down their offices, nicked their computers, etc.

This outraged people as it smacked of the old Franco days when people were not even allowed to speak non-Spanish languages in Spain, let alone have newspapers written in it.

The bomb attacks, if they are ETA, are very very stupid and horrible, set off by lamebrains. If it is ETA then, this may be a backlash of the recent right-wing PP attacks on their freedom. But to do these attacks three days before a General Election, with the conservatives looking like they may lose power (a couple of polls even had the socialists slightly ahead!) then this is surely one of the most classic cases of Schadenfreude or however the feck it's spelt.

This will push the vote back towards the hardline PP. Had PSOE got in, I dare say that they would have not been as anti-Basque. Idiots.

That is, of course, if it IS ETA. The government is saying it's ETA. Which is of course what the government would like the Spanish to think.

If it is Al-Qaeda, and if the Spanish government know it is and are saying it's ETA (hey I'm a wannabe screenwriter I'm allowed to think laterally) then this would be a major scandal. As an Al-Qaeda attack like this would mean that PP would almost definitely lose the election, as 91% of Spaniards were against the Iraq war in the first place. They believe that the Spanish government have made Spain more vulnerable by sticking their noses in where we're not needed, and by supporting a phoney war against a country that was no threat to us.

I dare say that until it's confirmed it's ETA, we won't know. And if it's the government confirming it's ETA, well.....!


This page graced by sarsparilla at 6:20 PM GMT
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Oopsy


Topic: Creepy Lesbo
Umm, sorry. I missed a day. I was working (for variety) and mostly sleeping too much.

Is it wrong to wake up at one in the morning and make yourself pancakes?

This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:33 AM GMT
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Tuesday, 9 March 2004

Bored Now


Topic: Looby

Think I have to go into work tomorrow, whether I'm well or not, just to halt the rot of immobility that a week of staying indoors sick infects you with.

Wish the damn cat was immobile. This week, the cat has entertained me by:
1. Leaping on top of the wardrobe to destroy it. Successfully.
2. Jumping out of the window and running away.
3. Watching me scale the nearby six foot fence to look for it, when actually, it's behind me.
4. Getting lost on a ground floor windowsill and forgetting how to jump down.
5. Spending its three am time by hooking a paw into the wardrobe door, and pulling all my clothes out forcibly through the crack.
6. Jumping into the full bath.
7. Climbing inside the wardrobe, and then using claws alone to attempt a vertical scaling challenge up the face of a silk shirt.
8. Once grooming the bath water from legs is done, jumping into a full bath again. And standing in it, meowing at the plug chain.
9. Jumping into a full bath a third time. This joke can never get old, right?
10. The proper way to dry off is to curl up and sleep in a human's lap.

I need external stimulus that isn't cat related.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 5:38 PM GMT
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