Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Oh...the last post seems to have fallen somewhere down the back of the ether [don't ya just love mixed metaphors].
Oh well, it was pretty much me apologising for the maudlinity (or is that maudlinness?) of yesterday's post. And for the esoteric impenetrability of the Bridget Riley stuff.

Anyway...did you know golf clubs look bemused when you go and hand in handfuls of golfballs, that you've found on the ground next their land (don't worry the wasn't any player hacking about the undergrowth looking for them, so I didn't ruin anyone's game - which as some of them had algae on might have been going on a bit long anyway).

And how addicted am I? Yesterday at about dusk the tatty old television went kaput. So fiddled with the plugs and wires trying to get it to work again. No luck. Think "not impressed", and worry because the last TV to do that suddenly produced lots of smoke and pretty flames. And then I notice the display on the radio's off. And it all feels quite quiet. And there aren't any lights on in any building I can see (including the ones with back-up generators so they must have been happy). Right so it's a power cut. I'll go and see if I can find out how big it is (well given the recent stuff about London, Italy and the US you never know). And how was I going to do this - by looking on the internet of course. Only computers don't work when there's no electricity (you think they'd tell you, wouldn't you?). Hands up who feels incredibly dappy?

So move on to finding an actual wireless radio, and trying to find some candles and stuff to light them with. And then discovered a one of the unknown wonders of the universe (or at least potential PhD thesis) - does the scent of a candle effect the light generated? Does an Alpine Glade burn quicker than an Ocean Spume? Is vanilla brighter than cinnamon? How does the emission spectrum vary between a Nordic Maelstrom and Morrocan Tempest? And does a thick layer of dust create sootier emissions (possibly this only applies to a subsect of the candle world)?

But before I could investigate (or indulge my pyromaniac tendencies) everything went gr-thunk, and I discovered the joys of things that don't tell you they only do 24hrs, not am and pm (does it matter if it says 7:05 not 19:05? Provided you never look at it in the morning). So a sore thumb and much leaning on buttons later, everything was back to how it was. How utterly dull. Routine maintence isn't anywhere near as much fun as monumental mistakes (apparently it was the substation behind the doctors').

Random link of the day: Vasectomy cuts Tube services. Bad puns intended.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Other stuff:
B3ta and coherence engine - linked how? It's just odd that this studiously opinionated man (and I mean that in a good way) ends up relaying stuff that nestled alongside the scatological and surreal collections of random people in London. And yes I know the sequence may have branched way before then...but it seems more fun to try and connect stuff.

Someone else's blog - poor [gay model living in Amsterdam, with messy relationships] guy. And it took me ages to remember where the lyrics across the top of his page come from - though at least it stopped the Manic's version of Suicide is painless echoing around my head. Except now I have angry merging into gloriously happy songs of early studenthood stuck there [but they're kaput, and she's got hair (yet the same name), now].

And why are mothers so damaging?

Scanning Blogger's newly published list - Singaporean punk. Er...? Somehow it just doesn't work.

Why is internet chat such a poor means of communication? Eventually got round to chatting to an australian guy I've been emailing for a while...and then just sit there struggling to go beyond monosyllabic. It's just such a stilted and stagnant way of communicating - it loses the thought and composition of email, yet doesn't gain subtlety, improvisation and immediacy of talking. This is a guy with whom I've battered out huge moral and political arguements, gone into such detail on incredibly sensitive things, and yet in making him more real we end up discussing the chances of Brisbane beating Collingwood in the AFL finals. I'm not a great fan of English football [soccer], let alone the Australian version, and I don't even know where Collingwood is. Admittedly the fact it was the early hours of the morning for him probably didn't help. But then I'm bad at doing small talk in real life, plus I think both of us were trying not to discuss stuff in the emails. It's just frustrating that it can be reduced to such awkwardness. And you lot of course have no idea what this is about.

Where did the energy go? Whatever happened to the hope of happy confidence? I just feel I'm mired in anonymity - the world is big, dynamic, vibrant and varied, and I'm still in this great pretensious nothingness. Twee is not enough.

And I'd better be off to pay homage to the great god rejection.
Can one do success without allying to the evil harridens of capitalism?
Why is pity only self-pity?
Sorry, I'm just tired of this waste.

[Somewhat belated - so the exhibition this was written about has now finished. And it's fairly first drafty anyway].

Bridget Riley
OK so I'm going to be stunningly original and do this as it was
So one walks in an is struck by a cacophony of circles. A huge
battlefield strewn the remains of a feuding spirograph and a slinky.
Apparently chaotic, patterns begin to emerge but then scatter as one
focuses. Fleetingly investigate the other pictures in the room, but all
are dwarfed by the stampede of cup marks, like some great staff-room
table. As one moves round the room one is drawn into the next by an
apparent wake streaming across ribbons, tones, and monochromes. Yet the
stepping waves are offset as they surge outwards, through the battleship
blues and greys.
Going further into the second room, on one side one is confronted by the
confusion and pain of Blaze, the other by a series of shifting shards.
Blaze appears as a drilling spiral, yet is a series of increasingly
offset rings, slung between twisted spokes. Black winding white.
The series of swinging triangles, ticking in unison through waves of
points. Obvious inspiration for HSBC's cascading fragmented world,
staring black to the advert's hopeful red. Further round one finds chess
boards flowing off tables, the grid remaining regardless of fluidity.
This section also carries a series of works that suggest great magnets
behind the walls toying with the iron fillings illustrated with paint.
Some markings suggest a shimmering dress fabric twisting and floating,
dots catching the light where there's none to catch. Others reminiscent
of industrial steel fire-escapes with their non-slip blocks of twisted
One so reduced that it appears a grid of dots like those cruel patterns
used to show the blindspot, yet with hinted whorls. But it was submerged
by its solitary lack of instantaneous pain.
Overwhelming bemusement, resorting to disregarding most to see all.
Searching out the corners like a quilt cover or a jigsaw puzzle, hoping
to follow the pattern.
More images playing with black and white and perhaps the in between.
Pictures that are essentially idle doodles glorified to holes in
Further on the printing starts to slip and colours burrow through, as
cracks in a shattered surface clip the light.
Moving in the third section and the colour is the toy not tone and
shape. Deckchair stripes pinned to the wall. Yet they blend and harden
taunting the mind. One eye sees one thing and the other something else.
One true rigidly separate parallel lines, the other the peripheral mood.
Order forever sought, perception only gained.
One must to choose to feel or think.
The images invite breaking down the pattern, seeing beyond the full
impression, seeking the source. Yet they are ever cheating symmetry, and
traditional aesthetics, centring patterns between the midway line and a
third, the expected logic stumbles. The rational broken down image
steadfastly incompatible with the sensed whole. The patterns are flung
upon the self amending society of colours. The fleeting glimpse round a
corner juddering the walls. Continuing on the patterns progress through
ripples, waves and twisting plaited braids. The simplicity and
repetition gaining momentum, bending the world. Each asking for
analysis, the underlying themes emerging, followed like threads in
weaving, producing tartan blocks of colour repeated across the sea of
weft. As the complexity boils the forms wash behind the colour, mingled
in a haze of mood. Some relax, some cajole, some bicker. A plethora of
sensations from limited repetitive mechanisms.

And then one hits the preparatory work, grinding engineering into art,
the logic, reason, rhythm and structure reflecting or correcting one's
earlier diagnoses. The rigid forms amplified, transposed, tuning, and
swinging within their phases. The effect of the arbitrary trials of
colour on the designed form. This room should destroy the magic of the
work, yet it juxtaposes the basis and the result, and heightens the
sense of impossibility.

Leaving the dragon's lair, one emerges into strummed barcodes of playing
in Aztec or art deco colours. The magic seems to be leaching away. Next
comes an angry frenzy of diagonals slashing across verticals, in a
myriad of colours. Part 80s fabrics, part zips, part woven rope, they
appear to be trying to jump away from rhythm and pattern, battering the
viewer in blizzard of markings. Maybe it's just me, but there's nothing
And then the resurgence of curves, arguing with verticals. With glimpses
of reason, the colours skip and slid, as if trying throw any follower.
It just seems that the artist is either trying too hard, or is actively
seeking to dismiss the audience. It appears as if she uses a pattern
because that is how she works, but she does not want the pattern to be
present in the work. But the pattern invites and the holds the observer,
without any knowledge of it the colours are just indiscriminate blocks
of colour. There may be nice colours and a few nice shapes, but after
the rest of it, it's not enough.
And then back to the great entrance, dominated by the coded rings.
Having seen the plan it feels less of a melee, and one can begin to
decipher it. But now it seems as though it's the circles turn to be
upstaged by the streams within a wake calling form the next room.

Basically I like her earlier work, and don't think I get some of her
later stuff.
Now to find some links for this thing:
- Tate - well timed cos it ends this weekend. Oh well.
- Roland collection video - a bit open university, but it was made in 1979 (and thus lacks the second half of the exhibition).
- G review.
- Assorted visuals (but her work doesn't lend itself to compression) from various poster sites - go google.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Well...somehow I don't think I'll be hearing from the job peeps anytime soon.
Very odd - both the people and their methods. Interview of 3 questions each allocated 10 mins precisely. If you try to get more information they respond "perhaps I'll read the question again". They seemed to expect the candidates to have already done the job and know all the specifics - which given that to do that I'd already have to be doing the job I'm applying for, because it's pretty much the only one like it in the country...
And when I asked the generic "what colour is your parachute"/every single other self-help book's standard question - "what do you think are the best and worst aspects of this role?", the guy responded "are you trying to get revenge?". Er...?
Odd, worrying and downright weird.
I know I stuffed up, but they really didn't seem to want to have to be doing this.

Tourist bowling in oxford street's quite good for relieving bemused anger (walk fast in a dead straight line in a very determined way, and watch the map wielders scatter).

And why do all the shops along there seem to have the identical stock to last November? Some of them even have exactly the same displays.
Everything just seems like a vague rehash of the past. I know I like dull colours, but it gets a bit strange when all bar one shop only does navy, beige and muddy olive. And the one exception is the one that sells the cheapest clothes that fall apart quickest (which was also the busiest). Does this mean fashion's finally hit Permanent Global Summertime? (PGS = the phenomenon that allows supermarkets to sell the same vegetation all year round).

And when did American accents become normal? In a "taking far too long to notice the accent and identify it" way.
Getting asked directions by a quite nice American, and trying to work out why I was picked (do I look like I live in London?), and then remembering the whole wearing a suit thing. Possibly I was having a just being dappy day. Oh and sorry to the random tourist for giving what in hindsight must have been thoroughly unhelpful directions (but everything would be shut by the time you got there, so I don't suppose it matters).

Speaking of annoying shutting things - why's it only Wednesdays that the National Gallery's open till 9? So people watched in Trafalgar Sq instead. So basically watching tourists take exactly the same pictures every 3 minutes. And then you notice the groups have the same dynamic - the short jokey one, the thin nervous one, the one who believes they are the one and only. And they all do fill the roles, poses and actions, ever repeated movements as a great cascade of humanity. Apparent frentic chaos, individually confusing, yet locked into the same pattern as the past, the solid image only developing with time. And I never know if that's worrying or comforting.

The individual particle. Statistically insignificant. There is no master plan. Everyday annoyances are mere happenings: it's nothing personal, it's just nobody counts. The universe doesn't do malice aforethought. Do what you want, safe in the knowledge it will be forgotten. Everything is emphemeral.

Everything is ephemeral: but it that good or bad? Does it matter either way?

Hmm, I start by trying to say that I like London, and somehow go all impartial philosophical.
Speaking of which that "I [London Underground Logo] London". Can NY sue? And what does it mean? I-please stand to the right-London? I-delays on the Northern Line due to signal failure at Tooting Broadway-London? I-when will short people learn that they can fit under the curved doors but tall people can't, so if they don't like people leaning over them why don't they swap places-London? I-studiously avoid eye contact, and have even brought a book to pretend read-London? I-how the hell does one find the way out of Oxford Circus Station-London? I-travelcard in rear pocket-London? I-watching people on the opposite escalator-London? I-why do the station and train doors on the Jubilee line never line up-London? I-whatever happened to Mind the Gap-London? I-where did that pigeon come from-London?
Actually the last is fairly apt for London. But Trafalgar Square is much nicer with only a few (and not being a roundabout).

And remind me to vet my brother's girlfriends - or at least make him think objectively. Listening to him talk, and trying not to laugh, and also thinking "and how did you not notice this at the time?".
Basically she didn't even like the building for Tate Modern, let alone the contents. Not good for compatibility.

And would applying to the company my brother works for be downright rude?

Random link of the day: Most of the blurb is rubbish.
Other linky thing. Sometimes good. Sometimes annoying. Possibly wrong, but when you want to argue you start feeling like you're trying to find the end of the roll of Sellotape [Durex or Scotch Tape for our overseas viewers] when it's made as a Mobius strip.
And I nearly typed that as a Mondrian strip. Which I'm now trying to visualise. This make take a while, and please ignore me if I start screaming like a pressure cooker.
And I have a hunch GC is quite possibly annoyingly bright.

Reminder for later/next time:
- Bridget Riley. I will get round to this (eventually).
- The wrongness of blogs in french.
- Birthday cards for 9 year old boys.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

10 days later...

Opps, it wasn't meant to be quite this long, but I'm back now, and this blog's now out of contention for the most unused blog award. And I've just realised I still haven't got the banana drippage thing sorted (it still does, and it's still getting bigger).

Trying to think of what's happened since last time. [cheating by looking through emails]. Right so we have:
- Me being all pragmatic on taxing greener fuels. (long story, which usually means "me talk, other person run away"). Speaking of which: LRP prices - how random are they? 50p/L there, 80p/L other there.
- Discovering according to a forward that English words (and presumably some over languages) only have to have the first and last letters in place and the rest of the letters can be in a random order (Mcuh lkie tihs. But as they're only four letter words, it's not going to be that hard. Aidsinbathsimianratesilentim possibly might be (and I had a hard enough time figuring out the right version before adjusting it). For those who haven't got it yet, A. become dyslexic, it helps, B. You need to watch more Countdown. C. HINT: debatably the longest word in the OED (proteins, or other chemicals not included). And yes that sequence of letters could occur randomly, it just so happens to look like other words joined together (just because it doesn't look haphazard doesn't mean it's not random). And I never knew it was a C of E thing.
- IDS thinks he's Howard to Blair's Keating, or that's what he wants to become. Oh dear god. For those who don't know: IDS = leader of the Consevative Party here (aka the Tories), Howard = Aussie PM and leader of their tories (helpfully called the Liberals), Blair = UK PM and leader of [New] Labour (much spinnage, see the Hutton Inquiry), and Keating used to be Aussie PM (and leader of the Australian Labor Party), got caught up in some kafuffle about stuff politicians always get caught in, and was ousted by a huge electoral swing. So IDS (no relation to the Israeli "Defense" Service) hopes the same will happen here. But going on the Brent East thing, that doesn't look too promising.
- Being reminded of the cooking music-ness of Ozomatli (some full tracks off 1st album on website)>.
- Watching last night of the proms. Well when it's only one night a year patriotism seems far less scary than the compulsory american version. Admittedly some of the people in the audience do seem a little scary (in an art-teachery way).
- And why is the only opera I like Carmen? Ok so the only other opera I've seen all of is La Boheme, which was in a very cold and cramped theatre, and being performed by people who were 30 years older than the characters and still couldn't act.
- The joys of washing cars, trying to get things on them working, and other expensive MOT fun.
- The immense fun that is direct marketing collation. This company uses "fulfilment" without any irony. How exactly does one fulfil an envelope?
- Autumnal foggy mornings, mingling with the smell of open fires glowing merrily in living rooms. Or having the town wreathed in the smoke from heath fires that manage to get the soil 3 ft down to catch alight, and close major roads. At least I can walk to work.
- Returning to the Sacred Land of the Black Nostrils, to see the Bridget Riley exhibition at the old-school Tate. More on this story later.
- Swampton Boat Show. Getting bought a bouyancy aid apparently by accident. And it's the improved version of my brother's [new(ish) showy-offy] one. I think he may be a tad infuriated. Oh well.
- Going Argh! Interview with unseen presentation as well, next week. Woohoo! Preparation? Um, well...
- Discovering I've got safety boat duty tomorrow, cos my brother opted out and volunteered me. Woohooness incarnate.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Er....manic glitching at this end.
blogger keeps telling the last post had errors in it, and then telling me it doesn't exist.
If it has, sorry I'll try to get them sorted, if it'll let me near it.
Suppose it's my fault for trying to find a player the french clips play in, so they might screw up the player at your end as well. Quicktime = not me error message (hardly surprising), Real = keeps defaulting to trying to play through this, and will load the clip, but won't do anything with it, WMP = keeps changing its mind which "-ing" it's doing, (contacting, connecting, playing, downloading), take ages to anything (whilst thinking hard about it), and then jams, and either goes really sluggish or falls over.
And now the AMV BBDO thing won't work. Hmm. Not impressed.

You know when I said that my banana plant grows fast - it actually does. Somewhat insane amounts.

And wow, feel the power of the BBC promos [article,damn BBC - can't find it on their site so here's something else]. Um that's thrown me a bit. I was expecting to show you the BBC's Rush Hour Ident - but can't (I suppose it is quite old, but...). Basically imagine good looking man deciding to get bored and run across London rooftops, and do all sorts of incredible things [another link, but I can't get it to work]. Um, I'm not doing well at this. Basically a while back there was a stunning ident on BBC 1. Last night there was a documentary(ish) showing more people from the same group doing similar things, all round famous bits of London. Much insanely beautiful movement, effortless fluidity, graceful power. Basically one of those "I want to do that" things.
Apparently les parkouristes (the programme called them free runners), do quite a lot of this type of thing in Paris. Urbanised cirque de soleil.

Sorry, I'm making a hash of this, I had this grand eloquent spiel, which has all gone to pot, cos I can't get anything to work to demonstrate what I'm talking about. So those that saw it will probably know what I’m trying to say (which makes it a bit pointless actually saying it), and those that didn't still won't. [added later] Guardian has a
review of it (how dare the professionals do it better).
And it's so going to cause broken ankles up and down the country.

On other stuff - I wish the BBC would tell you what things are - they plug something as a one off, and then at the end of it talk about tomorrow's programme, and do the same on the next programme. And it's on insanely late (post Newsnight), and long, so it's even late enough that you have to say up to start the video recorder. Yes I know VCR's should be able to be programmed, but this one usually defaults to trying to use the Videoplus codes, which of course it doesn't pick up because of the dodgy signal, so it doesn't bother recording anything.
So mesopotamiafest (can't be arsed to find BBC link now, might do later) = impressive, worrying, but much too tired to concentrate (it comes of the night before watching the afghan version, mixed with the tail end of The Talented Mr Ripley (It's got Miles [This Life] in it!), followed by Muse being much more serious rock than when I saw them).

And were the pics in G2 the actual Salam Pax? They're only in Tuesday's print version. If so, he's older than I imagined, but that's only because I forgot half the details (like him being 30ish).
And the whole dichotomy between what TB (The Dear Leader, if that's not too North Korea) said to the trade union bosses and what the press office said he would say. The latter fairly vitriolic, the former nothing of the sort (well according to the 10 DS press office it was necessarily the words but it was the feel of the speech, according to people listening it was somewhat milder). Except of course this disparity only emerged after most papers had started running with the officially released version. I wonder what they'll say tomorrow.

Hmm, half ranting tired ramblings. Well it's good exercise for my fingers, if not my brain. Oh sorry for the rantiness of yesterday as well. Waiting's annoying.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

New stuff:
Um...well I've got a banana plant.
Which is somewhat odd (and fairly diddy). Originally bought this oh-so-simple kit thing from Hawkins Bazaar in Exeter about 3 years ago. Much blurb about incredibly quick foolproof stuff. So did as it said...and waited, and waited a bit more, and then waited. Repeated for quite a long time, and then started forgetting about it. So would remember it's existence every so often, dunk then entire thing in water overnight, take out and leave for 3 months. Occasionally forget. Then remember again, studiously ignoring the large amounts of mould that have appeared, and repeat the process. Then semi-bury it under junk, go and holiday for a fortnight, come back, still not thinking of it. Then decide to tidy up, rediscover it and think "there's a lot of algae in that". Open, and go "Oh!". And then happily go off and plant in a bigger pot. And it's growing quite fast.
So for all horticultural success, all you need to do is be vaguely optimistic, and absent-minded [and have a ridiculous heat-wave for ages]. So what saved the potential plant from being chucked out aeons ago? Idleness or hope? Don't know, but I have a plant now. The venus fly traps are still in hiding though. But hope springs eternal even if germination doesn't. And why does that phrase sound like it ought to be somewhere in America? Yep I've just moved to Hope Springs, Eternal (EL 45281), 2 hours out of Denver, on the I95. And for the pedants out there, yes I know there probably isn't an I95 anywhere near Denver, and 2 hours out would probably still be part of the suburbs, and the Zip code's wrong...but well, it's not like America's a real place anyway - it's one of those made-up places like Outer Mongolia and Timbuktu.

Oh dear, just had an eek! moment [and no I'm not saying "also" in Chaucerish]. Did you know that a random combination of keystrokes in the lower left part of the keyboard will publish this?

And now I can't remember what I was going to say. Except mmm...pie! In joke, sorry. But why's the nicest part of pies (of the cold actual meat-containing, not flour dissolving in gravy, variety), the technically least appetising. I am of course referring to the weird squidgy jelly bit that comes between the pastry and meat. Yay for salty gelatine, and who cares that it's about the only thing you can make out of the animal's hooves. And if you look hard enough you'll find it's in most nice stuff anyway. Like chocolate. And why does Walls make ice cream as well as sausages? Except they use the much healthier sounding "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil" instead now. So that'll be direct from sun drenched palm trees, or peanuts, or sunflowers, or the sludgy remains of olives, or those wonderful yellow fields of oilseed rape (but obviously not any of that GM stuff, even though rape pollen can spread rather large distances on the wind. Just study the insect pollinated transfer routes and it'll be fine). How long before someone makes WD40 flavour ice cream?
Reverting to chocolate, apparently Cadbury's is made with Irish milk because it's thicker. Bit of a non-sequitur, but when has that stopped me? Not sure where the rest of the stuff in it comes from, but like most things it tastes nice, and that's all that matters. Except with some products it actually is.

Other stuff. Dan Cruickshank. Gets about a bit doesn't he? First the World Trade Centre thing, then last night's Afghan odyssey. [clunkingly insensitive on] Two big things get blown up, people get very upset. WTC or the umpteen centuries old Buddhas that the Taliban didn't like? Which is the greater loss? Depends how you measure it (or who you ask). Both seem to be such pointlessly tragic epic follies. Just realised that could be misinterpreted - I was referring to the destruction of the WTC towers, not their construction (although that could equally be argued, if it wasn't for the current blasphemous implications of that). But speaking of follies: the whole succession of replacement suggestions, and the mechanisms of the competition. Of the ones demonstrated on the LMDC's website (it says there were 9, I make it seven shown, so go fig [but hey I am somewhat late in doing this - Blame the BBC for only showing it on Sunday])...well there's the SOM, SANAA "left in the sun too long" clutter. Nah, it just isn't really anything, it manages to be fairly bland and bad at the same time. Next! Peterson/Littenberg. Okish, but distinctly Sim City. Amphitheatre - cool idea, but...US public opinion not to keen one the filling in, plus, it's New York. Open air theatre? Thought it was all steam rising though rain, sleet and snow? So: United's steroidal version of Portcullis house, one giant chimney. Leaden and clunky, and does New York need what looks like an industrial incinerator on the skyline? Well it would be apt for the site, but possibly a bit too apt. On to Meier et al's effort, Noughts and Crosses House. Maybe if you were building an entirely new city and everything looked like this...maybe. Not sure how shipping would react to the green peninsulas, drawing a line in towards the target for next time.
So that leaves us Foster, THINK and Libeskind. THINK may have got through to the final two but...it's just a mix of the usual team-building/school technology project of building stuff with spaghetti, with a hint of DNA on acid. It's a bit art student's project, art for the sake of it. An Easter egg here, an Ikea uplighter there, and a bit of Blu-tack to hold it all together. Somehow you'd expect the shapes to move within the tubes, like lifts in shafts, or pistons in their cylinders. A scaffolding to what can never be.
Foster: there's just something about the sheer gung-ho-ness of it. Yes some of his stuff is just taking the piss, but it's damn impressive none the less (Jubilee line stuff, The Gherkin, half the cool stuff in London). Somehow it works, more gracious and less unthinking than the predecessors, yet still there. Referencing the past, yet not aping it. Ok so it does seem that something should fold out from it like the solar panels, or water lily-like dishes on satellites, but it just is delicate yet resoundingly definite. Ok so the subterranean warrens juxtaposed with the light-leaking voids doesn't really seem a good idea, but then I don't like places devoid of an outside.
Libeskind: Well he seemed a nicer man than the THINK Italian on the film. Seriously...the liberation aware hypodermic, the Stongehengeing layout, both so...continually alternating between inspired and downright tacky. It fits New York though - the ramping skyline (from across the Hudson), with each building doffing it's cap in recognition, crystal shards refusing to conform beneath. Interesting reaction to the leaseholder's (Silverstein) suggestion that the move the tower to make it more profitable.

Now all we need to do is wait to see what emerges, and how unlike the intention it is.

And how many years before it becomes a folly? Or am I not allowed to ask that yet? (and have I cancelled the clunkingly insenstive bit yet?).
And it's strange how so many architects desperately want to go and plant trees all round Manhattan.

And back to the Buddhas and the rest of that Afghan programme - v impressive, v worrying, but maybe for a later date as I've been typing to long.
Anyhoo, I'll give up on the bananas and Buddhas, and pies and plans, for the time being.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

And why's it seem apt that the ad at the top of my blog is for latin learning courses. You too can learn to speak fluently - just like the natives. So that'll be think of the french word and fudge the ending. As I'm struggling to remember what comes after amo, amas, amat...amamus, amatis, amant? But as the likelihood of me needing to say I love, you love,...and I can't remember the order for we, they, he, she and it love[s], isn't really all that high. Languages never really where my forte, regardless of how many times I try to read lemonade (and invariably resort to babelfish).

Odd scenario thing: two young men in suits, in convertible Audi, hair up the road, slam on the brakes, stop in the middle of the road. Driver gets digital camera, points towards neighbours' house, oblivious to traffic trying to get round him. Small pause, shoot off again. Guess someone'll be moving soon then. It just seemed so typical of estate agents that the guy doesn't even turn the engine off, let alone go and park to take the pic. Hmm, doesn't sound so odd now. I don't know. Oh well.

Oh and with reference to the utter wrongness thing of the last post: triple J (odd aussie radio, but then I only get it during their night) had a version of "Je t'aime" [Orig: Serge Gainsbourg and some English actress] being sung by Brian Molko, as in he of Placebo fame. Quite strange. Trying to work out if he was taking the piss. But given they also had a Goldfrapped version of Marilyn Manson's latest...I guess anything goes at 2am.

Speaking of the land of Oz (that mean most people who live there are Friends of Dorothy then?), apparently they're going to get some Bush action. Ya think the much hyped moonfest will go international?

And speaking of arses (or asses for the US peeps who don't know that one's a donkey)...David Blaine. Well he was quite good when he was just a magician doing card trick things. So man + just a box + a long time = what exactly? Does it matter if someone can survive intact for that long? And 44 days, well that gets us to mid-October. When do we start getting the usual autumnal miserable weather? And what will they do if Fabian bangs a right, and scuds it's way up the Gulf Stream? And how many satellite or cable TV channels are doing live footage direct from the box (if only because it's a damn sight cheaper than conventional scheduling)?And if you don't know what I'm talking about, then A. how did you manage that? B. Go google. It's been on pretty much everything (AP, AFP, Reuters).

Which reminds me: Do you Yahoo? No, I google. One aggressively marketed to get people to use the brand-name as a verb, and the other which did it unintentionally. And Google don't want it become a verb because then they lose the trademark (a la Hoover), so there'd be nothing to stop Microsoft Google being launched. Can the OED count that little (TM) symbol as a letter and thus a part of the name?

Other than that it's just been the usual got bored, read rubbish on the internet. So now I know that there's pretty pointless stockmarket in blogs. And why Ikea furniture has such odd, rude or unpronounceable names (apart from the shelving system called Journalist - that's just cheating). Looking at their website: why's it seem so disconcerting to discover that there's Ikea in China. Delving a little further, it seems that the top 5 countries for sales do not correspond to the top five for purchasing. So as sales are usually measured in value, and purchasing in volume, this appears to imply that the countries where they sell the most aren't the most profitable. So Germany represents 20% of sales, but 6% of purchasing, and the other sales leaders (UK, USA, France) aren't in the top of the purchasing group. Which I think confirms what we already knew.

Anyway, Ikea names are themed after places, people, jobs, etc depending on what it is. So if you have a dining table named after a Finnish village (Lokka), is that an epotoponym then? (See Coherence Engine for where that term came from). Or is it only epotoponymic if it's intrinsically linked with the area, such as things made or originally developed within a place, eg. Cheddar/Edam/Roquefort cheese, rather than at the whim of a multinational?

And the Ikea catalogue - you know how they had a whole advertising campaign with the theme "chuck out the chintz" [chintz being visually fiddly flowery patterned material], well guess what costs £325 and is called Rosalinda...a wonderful 3 seater sofa decked out in particularly stunning material. And after a minor foray into being incredibly anal, I have discovered that one should never buy furniture in Australia, because a UK price of £325 is £385 there. But it's £314 in the good ole US of A (no fair, that's cheaper than us), £358 in Russia (it's amazing the way Ektorp looks like Ektorp in Cyrillic), and £337 in native Sweden [Current exchange rates according to Yahoo]. Obviously no one told IKEA that they're supposed to charge the UK more, and it's ok, we don't mind being ripped off (or is that just car makers and supermarkets?). Or maybe they just overcharge the world.

And why does Yahoo's currency converter default to US Dollars to Yen? Studiously avoiding the Euro, or am I just being unkind? Well probably yes, but it's just it always annoys me because it has £'s listed as British Pounds, symbol GBP, and no mention of Sterling, so you inevitably look in the wrong place in the list. Flicking through it - you don't get many ounces of gold to the pound (sterling). And what exactly is the Reuters currency?
Anyhow, as it's much later than it was supposed to be I'd better go and cook and stuff.

Friday, September 05, 2003

[a wee bit later]
Stuff from this week:
Tues: had thing in London, met up with friend afterward.

Why can I never get my head round the concept that some things in London are actually quite big? Clapham common in this case - or maybe it just seemed it went on for ages cos it was hot, the ground's insanely hard (guess that's what a couple of centuries of people walking the same routes will do for ya), and I had on my nice clacky shoes (otherwise known as the hardest soles known to mankind).

It's also impressive how far you can get on trains and tubes whilst waving a very elderly travelcard - I didn't know, I'd forgotten which pocket I'd put the new one in. Guess I probably should empty my suit pockets a bit more regularly.

And yay for people who get a penthouse apartment on Harley Street as part of their work deal. OK so it's got mice, umpteen ever narrowing stairs, and some fairly dodgy bits. Though it is big, and you can see Regent's Park in one direction and John Lewis's in the other if you lean out of the window.
Bizarre highlight: feeding the assorted birdlife in Regent's Park with spare communion [Tesco value] bread. Just as well it was C of E representational, not Catholic actual body of Christ, bread. And did you know that you can get white communion wine (that'll be just the plasma then?), and apparently one chain of bookshops stocks it. Having friends who work for churches has it's advantages. Except for people trying to convert you over pizza. Look I'm trying to figure out what to do with the anchovies, I'm not going to be concentrating on the veracity of sections of the bible. Incredibly cheap pizza though (Goodge Street, beware the crusts that seem stronger than the plates).

Oh and fairly interesting photo exhibition in the park - except like most exhibitions, the people watching was more fun. And is there anywhere in the world with a greater diversity of accents (or languages) than London?

Waterloo when tired at night, just seems really strange, especially when the train you just missed appears back on the boards, and then is still up there when the platform for the later train is announced. And why is it that only people on this line run to the train the moment the platform goes up, regardless of the time of day? Now can't find the poem/writing thing I was going to plug here, ay well.

And it's amazing how many people on trains will pretend they're asleep when in the stations and suddenly wake up when the train moves. Could it be they don't want someone in the seat next to them?

Random link: Pure utter wrongness. Apparently Richard Cheese has done some other stuff, though don't know where you can find it, go google yourself. Various other scary, worrying or cringeworthy stuff on B3ta's boards. Mr Hopkins what have you done? Kinda kills the brain-eating menacing thing.

And random postcards rock. Especially when they're from unknown places, possibly in Alabama.

Oooh the dongy things call, better go. Ok so that'll be spell checks and remembering stuff permitting.

Monday, September 01, 2003

So, back here again.
And what has the weekend taught me?
That we've used up our ration of heat during the summer, and that the end of August has been redesignated as autumn. So much cold damp air and pretty misty wispy things tracking the shadows.

Also that Indian films seem remarkably like rubbishy 80s films. Ok so this is based on a sample of one (Dil Chahta Hai). They also feature a bemusing amount of english, so you hear half a sentence and get the other half in subtitles. And they have nice songs, which are nice because they last about the same length as a commercial break and therefore allow you time to go to the loo, or put the kettle on, without missing anything. And for some reason I hope the lyrics lost something in the translation. We are of today. Why should our style be old? Quite. Oh and everyone in India is incredibly rich, and buys most of their furnishings from Ikea. Ok, so there's western films that do the same, and it's not necessarily bad, it's just when you've missed a bit and are trying to work out whether this bit's in India or Australia, it might come in handyto have some hint. So basically, yep foreign films can be rubbish as well. Speaking of which: Scream 3 - a multitasking film, if ever there was one. Or maybe I just thought that because I was doing other stuff at the same time, and that didn't seem to make any difference.

And now I'm about to sound like I watch too much television: well ok so I was yesterday. The Mitford-Mosley thing [sorry can't find C4 link]. Um, well. Don't know if it seems to be anything. Someone aware of mistakes, possibly regrets them, but then the past has happened. Whereas Death Belt. US justice. Not good. People's lives get decided by whether the judge and lawyer are on speaking terms, or on how unstable the mental health of the public defense is. And they wonder why English people think their [or even our] country's better? Well ok so similar stuff probably happens here, but A. people don't tend to be executed due to it, B. We don't get TV progs made about it. Capital punishment, nicht zer gut.

But on a happier note - look what someone sent me: WB apparently have put The Flaming Lips latest album, Yoshimi, on their website. And I think it's the entire thing, and it seems to be free! Which'll do until I have some money (and it gets old enough to be cheap).

Oh and for those of you who haven't seen it (but it is quite elderly now) much Honda goodness, and now all I need to do is find the office 4s one. Actually they seem to be doing quite well on the ads front - if only I knew what IMA was...
Oooh, that's not good, it's gone all weird and glitchy. Take two...

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