devi: (Default)
The trouble with polls, especially ones with results only I can see, is that I want to respond to what people say and can't. God the results of that 'what are you thinking about?' poll were fascinating, the whole glorious jumble of it. I've been messing about with the data and think I'll be able to use it the way I was planning. So - anyone who didn't fill it in the first time care to tell me what you're thinking about today? It's here.


The term's winding down towards the long summer holiday. Right now there's a gap in my day because two lessons were cancelled (due to people who've already done their exams deciding to stay in bed. Can't really blame them) and I'm sitting in the old wobbly-floored, woodworm-beamed Cafe Pret on Cornmarket, hoping no one saw me licking the last of the lemon cake crumbs out of the wrapper (om nom nom nom).

So I usually work from home in the summer (SO looking forward to it. My choice of music, proper coffee when I want it, no bloody teenagers - ah I love them really but they can get a bit wearing sometimes). The last three years I had an annual contract proofreading a book for Brookes Uni around this time of year, but it's not being outsourced this year, so I'm casting about for other stuff to do. I've got some short contracts lined up and a possible or two, but I could use a few more. What I do is basically information-wrangling - proofing, editing, writing, handling web content, and a bit of design (HTML/PHP/CSS/Photoshop mostly). I've done proofing/editing professionally on a fairly regular basis since 2002, so I know how much more there is to it than getting rid of spelling mistakes (though I can spot and destroy a typo at fifty paces). I can also type like the wind and have lots of experience doing stuff like audio transcription. Apologies to those who've already seen me touting myself around on Facebook - just putting it out there however I can. If you know of someone who wants this sort of work done, I'd be much obliged if you could punt them my way. This next academic year's going to be very cool but expensive. I get several different kinds of shivers thinking about it.

Man, I should really do a life update and explain why, but I've got to go back to school...
devi: (Default)

21:48 Vicariously Eurovisioning. #

Automatically shipped by LoudTwitter

Edit: ...and I think I'll turn off LoudTwitter again now. I thought it'd annoy people when they were still sending tweets to phones, because anyone on twitter would see the same messages at least twice. When they stopped sending to phones it seemed like a much better idea. But now it seems like lots more people are following Twitter at the webpage, so sending them to LJ seems redundant again.

I might turn it back on the next time I'm travelling, though. My travelling tweets are usually a bit more interesting than my stationary ones, and it's likely there'll be more of them in a day, so together they're more like an actual post with, y'know, actual content. So there seems more justification in sending them to LJ. And I enjoy the LoudTwitter digests of people out doing stuff - exploring strange places, or doing 140-character gig reviews from Down The Front.

What do you think? Do you always hate LoudTwitter like poison? Or does it make a difference how contentful the posts are?
devi: (Default)

07:50 #whyitweet: because it's refreshing to only have room for your main point, without the surrounding waffle. Helps break my verbosity habit. #

19:32 Spar Trek #creditcrunchtv #

Automatically shipped by LoudTwitter
devi: (sunhead)
actual actually ah awesome bag band big bike birthday blue book bought boy brain brother bus busy buy buying classroom coach coffee cold college come comics coming dad dan day dead did does dog doing drink drinking dublin early earth ew face feel festival fireworks folk free friend fun gets getting glade glasto gloucester god going good gosh great green guitar guy hair half happy having head heading high home hour hours house lady laptop late listening little london long look looking lost love lunch make man minutes miss morning mum music need new night nom oh old omg oxford paint paper people phone place playing point poor pub quiet quite rain read reading really red road round sad says sending shop shouty sleep small song sound spirit spray station student students stuff suddenly sun sunshine talking there's thing think time tiny tired today train trousers truck trying turn twitter voice want watching way weird window wine woods words work working world yay years yes

*

I love this TweetStats list of the words I use most on Twitter. It feels colourful and busy and enthusiastic, like someone who does things and describes things - not full of bet-hedging, punch-pulling words and pointless introspection, like some other stuff I've written.

This is of course because I only twitter when I'm away from my computer - in transit, on holidays or at work - and see something I have to describe. But I like the effect.
devi: (Default)

12:12 It is impossible to undergo a school inspection without getting that Leftfield song in your head. Fact. #

16:15 Inspection over! Bizarrely, everyting does appear to be ship-shape an' shine. #

22:27 I had an idea like tipjoy.com a while ago, but I have no internet business or programming skills. Wait, someone's already done it! Cool. #

Automatically shipped by LoudTwitter

webs

May. 11th, 2009 10:59 pm
devi: (mirror eyes)
Hello all. This is an exploratory poll for my new Sekrit Art Project. I've been wondering what I could do to follow the collaborative maps project. I wanted to do something else that would involve contributions from lots of people. I'm not going to tell you what it is yet, in case that prejudices the answers I get, but I'd really appreciate it if you could take a minute to fill this in and help me build something cool. The more contributions I get, the more potentially cool it will be. Once I see how this poll goes, I'll either refine it and try again or come back with Phase Two.

So: Without thinking about it too hard, tell me some things that have passed through your mind lately. In single words or short phrases, if you can. As many as you like - the relevant text boxes are maximum length (255 characters). If any of them are people, please tell me roughly what relationship that person has to you (eg "Barbara (evil boss)", "Brian (best friend)").

Some of this may end up in a viewable - but much altered - form at some stage, but if you say you'd like to be anonymous I promise you won't be identifiable in any way. Your secrets are safe with me.

Thank you!

Edit: Great stuff so far, keep it coming!

[Poll #1398294]
devi: (Default)

20:11 Stuffing my face with sushi and my mind with an excellent haul of beautiful, weird small-press comics on a sunny evening in Bristol. #

Automatically shipped by LoudTwitter
devi: (Default)

balcony garden
Originally uploaded by bluedevi

Since February I've been growing stuff on my balcony. Windowsills full of seedling trays to begin with, gradually moving outside. I'd kind of wanted to grow things for a while but there didn't seem much point while I was all weird and vegetable-phobic. Then, last summer, something shifted, and I found out you could grow veg and flowers in containers, and... well. The picture is from three weeks ago. Now the tulips are all gone but everything else is burgeoning. Peas, lettuce, strawberries, spinach, various herbs, all bursting out of their pots. The little green bastards, much as I love them, are taking over the balcony and looking appraisingly at the house. It's an entirely commonplace thing, of course, but if you've never done it before it's like magic.

On the other hand, it'd be nice if we could both sit on the balcony at the same time again. So. Would any Oxford people like some plants? Many of them are in small pots and easy to transport - I've delivered some already on my bike and on the bus. I've got chives, coriander, lavender (sprouting so fast I think they want to be triffids when they grow up. They have flower buds and everything), lettuce (the kind without hearts), a few marigolds and - if anyone wants a charity case - some yellowish basil which I think would be doing much better if it were somewhere with more sunshine. Everything else is disgustingly healthy. Let me know if you want to take some.

I've spent hours and hours sitting on the balcony doorstep staring at them as they grew. Seedlings all look the same at first and get more complex and different every day. Who knew?

YAY

May. 3rd, 2009 02:43 pm
devi: (Default)
I get to be just devi again.

It's odd looking around and seeing all the names, short and snappy and fresh. They're unburdened by numbers, underscores or tactical misspellings, unless their owners have chosen that they be that way. Communities' names are simply the words they're about. The number of this entry only has three digits in it.

Fresh start. Reset. Or maybe a revival of something older. When I was devi before, my online diary was more honest, more open, less choked in caveats and hedging, less embarrassed, than it's been in the years since. Maybe I can get some of that back.
devi: (Default)

09:17 I've got a ticket to Rye and I don't care. #

Automatically shipped by LoudTwitter
devi: (Default)

20:12 There's a huge completely blank billboard near Hillingdon. WHY CAN'T I DRAW ON IT *twitch twitch* #

21:08 Arriving back in Oxford with a bag full of dead glowsticks and an abstracted smile. #

21:22 Oh, and a beautiful, fluffy, serendipitous blue-green scarf knitted by Kake. Thank you! #

Automatically shipped by LoudTwitter
devi: (Default)

22:14 Standing in a pub in Borough where I once spent a quiet afternoon playing Scrabble. It ain't quiet now, hence the standing. #

Automatically shipped by LoudTwitter
devi: (railway)
- Out the window you will not see clouds, which are pretty but get old fast. You will see rolling hills, spring buds, gambolling lambs, picturesque canals with colourful boats, interestingly decrepit old factories and rusting industry, daffodils, castles, primroses, ponies and rainbows.
- And the windows are bigger.
- Train food is a hell of a lot nicer and cheaper than plane food. Or you can bring your own yummy food and eat it when you like, when you feel hungry...
- because you have your bag with you for almost the whole journey.
- You know your bag is in the same country as you.
- You can throw your razor, your tweezers, hairspray and a bottle of perfume in it without getting arrested.
- Less than 10 minutes standing in queues, total.
- No one will make you take your shoes off.
- No one will search right down to inside the caps of your markers in your pencil case, while you hold your trousers up with one hand and hold your shoes in the other, because you've been told not to put them back on yet as there's a secondary shoe check up ahead.
- Generally, you will not be treated like a strange hybrid of potential terrorist and cash cow.
- You spend most of the journey actually getting closer to your destination, not rattling round in a consumer Habitrail with nothing to entertain your eyes but ads for stupid aspirational shit you don't need.
- You can bring a musical instrument or other fragile thing without it being taken from you, losing its Fragile sticker as it bumps down the belt, and tumbling out on to the baggage carousel in several pieces at the far end.
- No one is going to make you listen to tinny jingles that go 'let's fly let's fly let's fly Ryanair' over the most mindless stupid-house beat you can imagine, while you sit trapped in a narrow seat with your elbows scrunched in, unable to escape.
- You can listen to music when you want, not just in a twenty-minute window in the middle of the flight while the seatbelt sign is briefly off and you can barely hear it anyway.
- They won't charge you ten quid to check in and twenty for each of your bags.
- You can sprawl in the bigger seats and put your stuff all over the table.
- Tables.
- You get to go on an actual boat! On the actual sea!
- Catamaran go wheeeee! Crosses Irish Sea in two hours!
- Sailing into Dublin Bay on a beautiful cloudy-bright evening is, just, wow.
- You will actually get a sense of the size and the texture of the land you're passing through.
- It doesn't cost £25 just to get to your train.
- Drinks on trains and boats don't come in disturbing let's-patronise-the-poor foil bags with "BUY ONE GET ONE FREE FREE FREE FREE!!!!" written all over them. Also, they are normal size.
- No weird nose-desiccating dry stale air or ear-popping.
- If the airport bus gets snarled up on the M25 and you miss your plane, you have to pay loads of money to change your flight. If you miss your boat, you shrug and get on the next one.
- Counting airport taxes, baggage charges and airport bus, it works out about the same price as if you'd got 1p flights each way. Except it always costs that, no matter when you book. (Edit: this is just for the Oxford-Dublin journey. For some reason the sail/rail price is much less than just rail to Holyhead, and it seems to be fixed at £58.)
- It took me six hours door-to-door to fly home for Christmas, and I was left a frazzled rage-filled sore-eared wreck. Oxford to Dublin over land takes eight to ten hours, not that much of a difference, and I floated off the boat like a blissed-out Buddha.

Seriously, guys, it was awesome. And that's without even going near the greenness of it. I want to go on trains all over Europe now.
devi: (Default)

08:13 Off on the boat in my hippy trousers, my fiddle slung over my back. If I were any more of a crusty I would actually be in The Levellers. #

Automatically shipped by LoudTwitter
devi: (Default)

20:06 I remember the Swords-Balbriggan bus as long queasy rattly misery. Today it gets in half an hour early and I go paddling in the sea. #

21:48 Yay me: twelve hours of this trip home left and the constant casual racism and narrowmindedness only just started to get me down. #

21:52 Mum on Obama: 'Isn't he eye candy?' Gay Uncle: 'A n*****'s a n***** to me.' #

Automatically shipped by LoudTwitter
devi: (Default)

16:49 Walking moodily round backstreets of Dublin listening to My Bloody Valentine, like the cool teenager I never was. #

Automatically shipped by LoudTwitter
devi: (Default)

14:44 My cousin just got married by a Young Earth Creationist priest. "Marriage has been around for a few thousand years, since Genesis..." #

Automatically shipped by LoudTwitter
devi: (Default)

08:47 God, that poster urging shoppers to report people "studying the cctv cameras" to the police makes my hands itch for a paintball gun. #

11:05 Over land to Ireland for my cousin's wedding. Bowling gently through Wales in sun and showers. SO MUCH NICER THAN FLYING #

17:08 On ferry deck sailing into dublin bay, being buffeted by wind, silver sun rays slanting through cloud over the city. Frozen but enthralled. #

Automatically shipped by LoudTwitter
devi: (bookish)
Thing One: Who else watched Margaret, the feature-length drama about the last days of Margaret Thatcher with flashbacks from her career, last week? It was great - if very slow - but the focus was weird. It was all on the pecking-order upheavals and the personalities of the people involved. Every so often someone would make an oblique reference to some policy or other - congratulating her on her economic programme or saying "you're tearing the country apart for a theory!" - or there'd be two seconds of poll tax protesters on a TV in the background, but that was it. And I was like, wot no miners' strike? Wot no Falklands? Etc.

Someone who didn't know any recent history would have been at a loss to say anything she stood for, on the basis of the drama. The zoom was always tight on her - the brilliant Lindsay Duncan, swinging from chilly to neurotic to vulnerable to sometimes actually kind of awesome. But I wanted to wrestle the camera away from the crew and swing it around, zoom it out, to point at all the stuff going on off-screen, and I was left confused as to how we were meant to feel. Scared or sympathetic? I wondered if it was part of a rehabilitation - a swing back towards thinking she was all right really, in preparation for the next election. (Which seems weird to me, that we should be looking more positively at her right now. Didn't her free market policies do a lot to get us in this current mess?) Dan and I mused that it felt as if there had been more about her policies which had been edited out.

And look! We were right! The script did have more specific, critical stuff, including an anti-war speech by hubby Denis, and it was defanged in the final draft. Hmmmm.

Thing Two is Three Worlds Collide, a thought experiment in the guise of an old-fashioned SF story about first contact between future humans and two different alien species (thanks [livejournal.com profile] amuchmoreexotic). It's not very well written - hackwork at best - but it's full of interesting concepts and moral dilemmas. One of the species has based their whole system of goodness and morality around eating their own babies. The others are telepathic, regard the happiness of all as the most important thing (because what hurts one hurts them all, through the freaky and squishy communal psychic sex thing they refer to as untranslatable 2), and thus think not doing one's utmost to eliminate unhappiness is evil. It has a lot of thought-provoking stuff about how difficult it is to conceive of things outside of our evolutionary and cultural worldview. I liked that the baby-eating aliens had science fiction in which all their imaginary other races, however bizarre, also ate their own babies.

(Edit: hey [livejournal.com profile] gothwalk, you might enjoy it, given that economics is one of your Fannish Things. The ship uses a model economic system, with things and ideas constantly rising and falling in value, to help make decisions.)

So that's the good kind of hmmmmm, with one exception. The writer says in the comments that he wanted to include some shocking things in his future human society, since the future will almost certainly include things which are normal for the future people but would be appalling and disgusting to us. Fair enough. Unfortunately, his example of this is that in the future, rape is legal.

warning: icky future-society rape stuff )

This is occupying my mind because it's something I've been wondering about in general for years. When you come up against people of former generations who seem to be closed-minded and set in their ways and suspicious of anything new, it's easy to declare that will never happen to you. You'll always keep up with the new stuff and move with the times. But I suspect everyone thinks that when they're young, then encounters new things they can't cope with. I had been trying to come up with changes that would make me uncomfortable, make me want to huddle up with people my age and complain about the young folks. But "rape is the new socially acceptable fun thing!" isn't the sort of thing I mean. It wouldn't be the shock of the new and inconceivable, it would be the gloom of same-shit-different-century.

I bet between us we can come up with some genuinely shocking possible future developments. Ones that, if they came about when we were all old fogeys, would make us feel the ground had melted away under our feet and we no longer had any place in this crazy new world. Ones which were unknown in recent history and challenged things we had always taken for granted as part of the basic rules of being human.

Just off the top of my head, perhaps medical technology advances - to the point where you can regenerate from almost any damage like Claire in Heroes - have made grievous bodily harm a normal way of expressing annoyance at someone the way swearing at them would be today. Lovers and friends routinely stab and mutilate each other for fun, because internal organs are just so interesting to examine, and it's a different kind of intimacy. Duels to the death, person-hunts and jumping out of planes without parachutes are popular extreme sports.

Or perhaps plastic surgery is standard for all. Or the written word disappears and only the most dedicated scholars learn to read. Or (like in The Meme Machine and the end of The Invisibles) the very idea of the individual self disappears. That sort of thing.

Not, y'know, a 'shocking future development' which reverses something which only changed relatively recently and which is still the case in many parts of the world.

What would you be shocked and horrified to find had changed if you woke up in the future?
devi: (Default)

fat-bottomed girl
Originally uploaded by bluedevi

I wasn't intending to make a snowman. Snowperson. I just sort of found myself doing it. I got off work early - none of my afternoon students showed up. (The rest were having a snowball fight in the little patch of park next to the canal.) So I got off the bus a few stops early, went through a hedge and up the hill to the golf course, where there were expanses so blank and white they confused my eyes, and that mixture of weird breath-caught hush nearby and distant shrieks of delight from sledding kids, which I do realise has already been described by everybody on LJ but is still wonderful first-hand.

Earlier today I arrived at the cafe on Gloucester Green where I have my lunch to find a massive snowman maybe seven feet tall, counting the traffic cone on his head, and several middle-aged men in hi-viz jackets lounging in the chairs in front of the cafe, laughing and taking pictures. I stopped and stared and asked them "who made that?" and they said, proudly, "We did!" He was your classic snowman, three big snowballs in a stack and twig arms, pennies for buttons down his front. There was another one in the courtyard of the flats this morning, with an umbrella and a bikini and bits of dead grass stuck to its head in an approximation of sun-bleached surfer hair.

So I wasn't planning to make a snowman, and then I was just going to make a standard three-snowballs one. Then I stood back and hmmmed at the hip-waist ratio and spent the next half hour or so feverishly sculpting, soaking my gloves through, remembering The Snowman cartoon from my childhood and wondering why there are so few snow-women. Thinking of a conversation with [livejournal.com profile] parallelgirl after the Antony Gormley exhibition in London a couple of years ago, about how a male statue can be seen as just generic-human, while female ones are assumed to be about specific things - femininity or sexuality. Then I came home to find she'd been out building snowmen too, and had had almost the same thought process while watching a kid anxiously removing accidental breasts from a snowman, because heaven forbid it'd look like a snowwoman!

I was sorry to part with the snowwoman. She looks sort of calm and stable to me. But by then my boots were leaking.



More pictures... )

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags

Profile

devi: (Default)
devi

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Page generated Jul. 22nd, 2017 02:36 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios
June 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 2017