devi: (poi)
Hello again Livejournal! This is what all that what-are-you-thinking-about stuff earlier this year was in aid of:

I have an exhibition, starting on Sunday 4th October, in a vacant shop in Templars Square mall in East Oxford, along with 17 other local artists (that number keeps changing) as part of The Oxford Empty Spaces Project. It features the results of my livejournal survey turned into a big hanging structure made of string and wire, plus some more normal pieces of artwork hanging on the wall. All the details are here.

Come and see! Or come to the launch party on Saturday 10th! Party start time's not settled but there will definitely be one (the organisers are a bit Tony-Wilson-ish, all "no rules! whatever! do what you want!", so I have DECREED that there will be a launch party), perhaps moving on to the Marsh Harrier when the shopping centre closes.

I'll be invigilating at the exhibition quite a lot over its run - if you let me know you're coming, I can give you the guided tour.

Big thanks to everyone who contributed. And especially to [ profile] secretrebel, who put me in touch with the TOES people.

(Please excuse half-made state of website, obligatory art-wanky blurbage, and simultaneous LJ/facebook/twitter spamming. That's it for now.)
devi: (Default)
It's like my experiment, but in the 60s and with cute googly eyes...

[ profile] muffledsqueak pointed me at the Oobi site. Oobi was a little plastic egg-shape with cartoon eyes. You put a message inside it, addressed it and left it somewhere, and the idea was that it would get carried a little way by one passer-by, then another and another, till it arrived at its destination. That was the idea. In practice, people hated it. That's actually the word they use, hated. The few that were sent vanished without trace.

I'm annoyed with the site for being so cynical and snide about the whole thing. I think it's a beautiful idea. I'd go well out of my way to transport an Oobi if I found one.

Thinking about how things like bookcrossing have caught on, and how many people have signed up for my letter stunt, it almost seems people are more open to an idea like this than they were in the 60s. Is it the Internet? Would people be more willing to release Oobis or carry them some of the way if they could come online and track them, or report having found one?

Maybe the little critter's time has come.
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I've just updated, so you can go and read all about my embarrassing incident while staggering to Oxford Circus tube last night, after a lovely evening in the Glassblower celebrating [ profile] haggisthesecond's new job. I am a terrible liar. I don't think I can bear to go into it here.

I've cancelled the kid who was going "gimme free half hour! gimme! Okay, I'll sulk if you won't!" Suddenly I'm not dreading Wednesdays any more. Should have done that ages ago.

Currently devouring Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. All the reviews when it first came out said it was a sort of cerebral puzzle with no heart. They are so wrong. (Plus the middle of it contains a large chunk of what I can only describe as sci-fi. It gives me hope for my own stuff.)

And I think it's finally spring. I can smell it.
devi: (Default)
Last night I went to [ profile] kesstrel's for Heathers and enthusiasm soup, and when I left to walk up the hill everything was silent and frozen, with an almost-full moon shining, and some weird compulsion made me draw stars and faces and things with my finger on car windscreens, the tops of wheely bins, and any other flat surface I could see that had snow on it.

That morning on my way to the bus I'd passed another windscreen with "ZAPPA!" written across it in the snow.


I'd been worrying that he'd been locked up in a detention centre for illegal aliens and not made it to America at all, but [ profile] verlaine just phoned from Miami. Apparently triple-breasted women swim around town totally naked, but he can't get on LJ because his local library has declared it to be "tasteless".


It was a day of small embarrassments.

I teach this boy GCSE English. This is the demanding one I've ranted to some of you about, who rings me up at all hours of the night to ask me to set him essays. Last week he asked if I'd give him an extra half-hour each week. Fine, I said. That would be an extra x quid. "No, free," he said, "as a favour. All my other tutors agreed happily to do it." Hmm, said I, I dunno. This week he asked again. I said I was quite skint and couldn't just go around handing out free half-hours that I could be spending earning money. Or going home for a rest. (I might have done it if I liked the kid, but something about him always puts me on edge.)

He got his dad in to back him up. Dad makes me even edgier than Kid. "All the others are very pleased to do it," he said, "and they live further away than you." I still said no. "Well, then," said Dad sulkily, sounding younger than his son, "one hour, not a single minute more, if you want to be like that." He flounced out. I was expecting him to kick something on his way.

I went to the tube, alternately feeling triumphant and brooding that maybe I was a horrible person (am I? Answers on a postcard, please), and in mid-brood completely failed to recognise [ profile] eviltwinemma. Her hair is short and red and I've hardly seen her since 2001 when my hair was blue, but still. Duh.

Then I timed my return home perfectly so I could run into Mad Claire Downstairs in the hall as she was going out. She smiled a stretched smile that clearly pained her. "I haven't seen you in a while," she tinkled laboriously. "No indeed," said I, and went on up the stairs.


Can I have a new womb, please? Do they sell them on eBay?


Oh, the fun of dropping letters for The thrill of standing behind things and watching people examining them, or ignoring them. Today I dropped three in the Science Museum and two in the Natural History Museum. Last I saw them, one was being treated as suspicious by a security guard, who seemed to be scanning it with some sort of raygun thing. Another was snatched up almost as soon as I dropped it, which was cool, because I'd put it in front of an ecology display which announced that we were connected to all other living things. Another, sadly, was being repeatedly trodden on.

I think I'm going to update the site every week from now on. I'll try to incorporate some sort of experiment blog. A lot of you seemed quite interested to see how it progressed, so I was thinking of setting up a mailing list to notify people when an update's been done. If you'd like to be on it, put your email in the box. I won't spam your inbox; in fact I won't mail you more than once a week, promise.

[Poll #443184]

And [ profile] miss_newham, of course you can have another go.
devi: (Default)
There's an article about my letter experiment in The Independent today. Oh my. I am apparently "writer Deirdre Ruane", or just "Ruane", which is very weird.

Go read it, and then go to, which is the website I've been asking for help with this week. And for pity's sake, if you participated (or even if you didn't) and you can think of something to say, post something on the message board! It's got tumbleweeds blowing through it.

Thank you again to everyone who joined in - I've still got letters to go out to some of you! - and everyone who helped me test the site. And to [ profile] rhodri, who did a great job.

I'm in the paper. Holy cow.
devi: (Default)
Livejournal Choose Your Own Adventure: It's coming along. Hopefully I'll be able to post up the first few bits in maybe a week. I'd like some of the threads to be longer before we start, in case they improbably turn out to be the wildly popular ones.

Pennydreadfuls: So I've quixotically decided to do four new PD chapters *along with* the CYOA novel. I've been switching between them, it makes my head sore, but I've got one done and should finish the second chapter tonight. I might start posting them up in December, so I'll always be four weeks ahead. Or that's the theory.

Random acts of Wodehouseness: Several more letters dropped since the last Great Big Table. Proper update on that to come. I need to sit down and write to about another dozen of you. But - and this made my day - [ profile] kasku got her letter, replied with one of her own left on the W3 bus, and I got it this morning!

The postmark seems to say "Greenford". Hmm. Those of you who got yours, and who have them to hand - can you make out the postmark on them?

Mix CD: Stalled while the iMac's been offline in the spodhole. But I've got Thursday off, so I can haul it back into the livingroom and download some mp3s. Those of you who kindly offered to put some up for me, I'll give you a mail to arrange - thanks. And thanks very much also to the people who said they'd send me a mix.

Oof. I am far too busy.
devi: (Default)
Letters dropped: 25
Letters arrived: 10
Recipients: [ profile] mzdt, [ profile] cartographer, [ profile] sparktastic, [ profile] smorgasbord, [ profile] davefish, [ profile] thessalian, [ profile] boingley, [ profile] inskauldrak, [ profile] clarisinda, and a late addition of [ profile] ghoti
Country scores so far: England 8, Ireland 1, Scotland 1, America 0, Australia 0, Japan 0
Of 6 dropped on public transport, 2 have got through so far
Two new drops yesterday: [ profile] niallm just off Oxford Street, and [ profile] plasticsturgeon on a tube heading into town to pick up a load of rush-hour passengers
25 more letters to go
Stamps bought: Lots
Strange looks received: Lots

It's a pity that [ profile] randalf's hasn't got through - I managed to write half of it in Japanese. I even signed it in katakana.

And another boring techie moan, sorry. The Panther upgrade won't work and I don't know why. So I'm revising my question - anyone know of a downloadable word processor that'll run on Mac OS X 10.1? Or just (sigh) have Word for Mac that I could borrow? :)
devi: (Default)
Feeling slightly less bitter now that [ profile] kesstrel has fed me Double Chocolate Stout.

Letters dropped (with a snarl) today:
[ profile] carbonunit: on a wall near the Gloucester Road Holiday Inn. It was gone when I came back that way at the end of the day, and not visibly in a gutter or anything, so I have hopes for that one.
[ profile] mzdt: on a leafy corner in swanky South Ken.
[ profile] inskauldrak: in front of Gloucester Road tube station.

All of these are actually within sight of postboxes. Come on, world! Repay my leap of faith, damnit!
devi: (Default)
Some more distributed tonight on the way to, at and on the way back from a rather fun Nano-warmup-meet:

[ profile] neil_scott: on the Piccadilly line at Bounds Green. I thought someone had picked it up almost right away, but they just put it in the windowsill.
[ profile] dakeyras, [ profile] kesstrel, [ profile] mooism, [ profile] davefish: given to another wonderful research assistant [ profile] arachne to be distributed in Shepherd's Bush.
[ profile] the_maenad: on the tube back home, left at Holloway Road. I'm getting better at this 'looking like I've dropped it accidentally' schtick.

Lots more to go!
devi: (Default)
I spent today running round town, pulling letters out of my bag at random. Because it was indecisively raining, I had to abandon the 'in sight of a postbox' plan, so I put them in indoor or fairly sheltered places:

[ profile] tokyo_mb: Your letter was left on a wall on Chrisp Street in East London.
[ profile] clarisinda: On a chair in Chrisp Street Idea Store.
[ profile] mouse262: In an East End pub called The Widow's Son.
[ profile] cartographer: On a glass table in the lobby of 1 Canada Square (the tall, pointy Canary Wharf building).
[ profile] casca_2u: On a Northern Line train at Highgate, heading north.
[ profile] randalf, [ profile] smorgasbord, [ profile] boingley, [ profile] sparktastic: all left in and around the British Museum by my esteemed research assistant [ profile] elethe.
[ profile] primavera: given to my new research assistant [ profile] hoshuteki to be left somewhere in Brixton.
[ profile] thessalian, I tried to leave yours on the tube at St John's Wood, but the whole bloody carriageful of people chased after me going 'you forgot your letter, you forgot your letter', and I had to look grateful at them. :) So points for social responsibility go to them, and I'll find somewhere else to leave yours!
devi: (Default)
I've got a batch of 20 letters (recipients chosen at random) stamped, addressed and ready to go. If only it would stop bloody raining.

I'll probably only be able to do two or three a day, because if I drop too many in a certain area people will start to wonder what's going on, but I'll post them up as they go so you'll know to expect them. Tomorrow is a Tube Walk, so I should be able to deposit some between All Saints and Devons Road, or wherever it is.

Mad scientists usually specialise in areas like chemistry and physics, but can I be a Mad Sociologist? (Igor! Bring me stamps!)
devi: (Default)
How much faith do you have in human nature? Are people helpful and socially responsible in general, or lazy self-serving bastards? I've had a nice idea, but I'll need helpers, and now with my new poll capabilities I can try and recruit.

This is it: Apparently PG Wodehouse never went to a postbox. He just dropped his letters out of his window on to the street. He said that they all, without exception, made it to their destinations - posted by nice helpful passers-by. I'm sceptical - I find it hard to imagine it working then, let alone now. I want to try it out.

So anyone who would like a snailmail from me, put your address in here (I've set it up so only I can see the results). It doesn't matter where in the world you are. In fact, faraway people, you'll be even better - maybe someone coming across a letter stamped and addressed to Australia would make more of an effort to post it than if it was addressed to Croydon. Or would they? Let's find out.

I will write letters, stamp them, and leave them at various locations. To make it easier, they will all be within sight of a postbox. If you get yours, let me know. The letters will also contain a slip of paper saying 'If you are not (the recipient), you have just failed a test of social responsibility' or something. Heh heh.

So come one, come all. It'll cost me a few quid in stamps, but no matter: I'm curious.

(Edit: Duh. I thought it was Evelyn Waugh, but apparently it was PG Wodehouse - but I can't figure out how to change the name of a poll. Oops.)

[Poll #366408]

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