Friday, August 05, 2005

XanthicSenses are odd things aren't they?

Why, for example, can I visualise things while still seeing something else, and yet be incapable of internally hearing* something when subjected to external sounds? In that silly thing with stage directions on Wednesday (in which I proved that I have no friends, or least none that ring me, and that my phone beeps more because the battery is dieing than it does because someone wants me. The battery lasts for days and days. But then over the past year I have spent just under £5** on it. Ok, six months of free texts helped, and anyway everyone's got email haven't they?) it's quite noticeable the difference between the bit written with general background noise, and the bit written with the radio on. If I'm surrounded in music I can't imagine it; I can't not-listen.

*Is there a word for the notion akin to "visualise"? There ought to be and yet my mind is blank. Maybe there isn't a word for it because it's so hard to do without controlled intent.

** Not related other than by the symbol, but did you know Flickr places the pound sign, comme ca £, between A and B in alphanumeric lists? Lumped in with the symbols I could understand, or even filed under L perhaps. But A-post-z? Maybe they class it as British Pound Symbol, but what symbol denoted Irish punts? And what was the mark of the Italian Lira?

Oh, and be wary of displaying one's mould seeking skills in front of other people. Eating a roll hurriedly made with less than fresh bread, I became aware that all was not well. So I stopped eating and looked it over, taking off the obvious mould (what? Most of it's still edible, and being seen to remove the mould from bread, jam or cheese, and then put it away is a brilliant way to stop flatmates nicking it. Anyway, it's only mould; a little thing like that never killed anyone*** hasn't killed me yet). And then I start sniffing it.

If removing the less palatable sections doesn't get people reacting oddly, smelling a the entire surface of a bread roll will. But I don't understand the shock. Surely if I have two types of testing equipment both of which detect substance M, but each have different strengths and weaknesses - set A picks up obvious cases and can be used with great precision in resultant activities, set B is much more sensitive, picking up smaller cases set A frequently misses, and clarifying status in ambiguous cases (flour or mould?) although it does not work well if used alone in the subsequent action - then what is wrong with using both?

And have had food poisoning a grand total of once. And that was couscous left uncovered overnight in shared fridge, on the shelf below that on which one of my flatmates discovered that marinading doesn't work too well if the bowl the marinading meat is in then has another bowl stacked on top of it, but mostly inside it, so instead of flavouring half a pound of cow it added an extra quality to half the contents of the fridge. The couscous already had tomato in it, so I didn't notice the extra reddish brown liquid which I later noticed streaked the fridge and had frozen where it had got into the top of the freezer. So stuck in the microwave, but something wasn't right, so I get adding spices to try and improve the taste. Eventually I gave up and ate it, quite slowly, literally forcing myself to eat it. About a minute after calling it quits, and putting the fork back on the half empty plate, I decided I needed to run quite urgently out of the room and down the corridor.

Oddly the only difference on the return trip, as it were, was that there was more water around the couscous. It didn't even take very long. There was no crouching down for hours, thinking that I feel sick and am about to be sick; simply one deft movement and "oh, I have been sick. Now what?" Closely followed by "Water, would probably be a good idea. I'm still hungry. But I whenever I was sick when I was young I wasn't allowed to eat for the next 24 hours, although that might just have been my mother retaliating because I'd just eaten a whole packet of Refreshers****.

*** I don't know if it has or it hasn't, but someone probably has succumbed.

**** But they were so tempting. Although frothy vomit did slightly subdue my desire for them. And did anyone else used to eat those Cream of Magnesia tablets because of liking the taste, rather than having indigestion or heartburn? I recently discovered that my brother did that too. But I think we both drew the line at eating actual chalk, or at least I did, although I have sampled green wax crayon, but that was more because I'd forget it wasn't a pencil than curiosity. No idea why I used to chew pencils (and getting the flakes on paint on my lips wasn't nice). But then I always used to (and still do if I forget not to) chew the stick once I'd finished an ice-lolly (either it was a way of extending the very rare experience, or it was a destructive act rebuking the lolly company for not putting a joke on it, or maybe I just eat anything I put my mouth. Unless of course it was a manifestation of my mother's perpetual dieting and I was subconsciously striving to burn off the calories I'd just consumed).

So, hands up if you're coming to a dinner party prepared by me. To start we will have couscous potage a la Blinkboy. The main course be a Chinese inspired, so you can eat the chopsticks as well after you finish the rest of it. And for dessert will be a range of art materials (but remember that the Cadmium Yellow is just for show, so please do not eat it). After dinner a range of antacid and effervescent pills will be presented for your delectation.

Drinks for the evening will be a collection of vintage Soda Stream syrups (circa 1983) to either be drunk neat or fully Soda Streamed. A jar of Marmite and a kettle will also be available for those guests wishing to concoct their own drinks (I profess to being ignorant of the value of fluids generated in such way, and their method of production). In honour of this same guest (assuming she graces us with her presence) a special cocktail know as the "Oh", made to a secret recipe, whose only known ingredients are Baileys and orange juice, will be given to each guest as they arrive. Refills of Oh may be requested throughout, although we usually find one glass is sufficient.

It is with regret that I am as yet unable to off a famous family recipe, as I have yet to discover it, and my mother refuses to divulge it. All that I have been able ascertain about it is that the first [and possibly only] appearance was sometime in early eighties (calculated the relative position of door handles), during one summer. It was a time when microwaves were seen as wonderful new machines, entering kitchens as part of a suite of time saving appliances and ideas. My mother combined two of these ideas; the wholesome and easy-to-use squirty cream, and a brand new recipe for microwave-able meringues. I remember her making a trial batch, and they were nice, like normal meringue. So for the party she prepared many batches of small meringues, each cooked rapidly in the Bejam microwave. Once the guests had arrived and where safely corralled in back garden, my mother returned to the house, to quickly invert half the meringues, cover the flat surface with cream and then complete the sandwich by placing another meringue with the flat side down on top.

Having created dozens of these desserts, my mother enslaves her children in ferrying them round the adults outside. They quickly are taken up, and my brother and I both return rapidly for the next batch.

But then we realise all is not well. Actually it is very well for a while, as there's a lot of laughter. My mother leaves the kitchen, and my brother and I "clear" the platters used for the savoury foods before taking our next load out. But the laughing attracts us, so we peer out of the open door.

At first we cannot see what is causing the commotion, and then realise that one of the adults is miming the cream flying out of a meringue, while the man opposite wipes his shoe. From similar activities in the other clusters, this is a widespread incident. Next time we must remember that squirty cream doesn't have the stability of whipped double cream.

My brother and I return to rationalising the leftovers, when once again we are disturbed by noises from outside. One woman is standing looking shocked while her husband is contorted in laughter. To our left there's another outburst, and another. Eventually we see the reason. A man, having already jettisoned the cream, bit into a meringue, and it was gone.

This is the best magic trick ever. They have food, they try it eat, but it's not there. And then my brother noticed the ground. The lawn looked like David had exploded over it.

Wow. Snow in June. Although it was rather large, jagged, and quite sharp snow as my brother and I found out as we took the next round of meringues out. This time they don't seem be going anywhere near as quickly. We make repeated rounds of the garden, but still no one takes any. And again and still no change.

Eventually I mother sends us indoors to busy ourselves with something else. By the time we get round to moving onto sampling the meringues the squirty cream has melted away into the lower meringue, and the upper one has softened as it gets stale. My brother and I can't understand why the adults were having such problems. They're a bit big, but adults have bigger mouths. And they're sticky, in a cloying way. They're stubbornly not exploding into dust. Adults are odd.

So if you found yourself caught in the false winter of June 1984, dreadfully sorry, but well, these things happen you see.

Moving on to the main distraction of recent days: Photography. Not actual doing, merely the stuff round the edges.

I've updated the photographic index on this site after realising I could crib much of the code generated by Flickr for a set (and if you're the one person who clicked on the "Ignore this" set then I hope you're happy now). I, of course, neglected to realise that 326 is quite a lot, especially when Flickr presents things in various bits of unBloggerable code, and so each image code requires quite a lot of editing (I did it as one change to all, then the next change to all). Add in Flickr losing the ability to count (well it never had it, as lots of sequences run 30,31,32,33,34,35,36,24,25... or worse), and that's quite a lot of mindless editing. All longhand.

I'm sure there must be things out there which I can set to remove every X from every line, or to move Y to be an attribute of Z not A, or to convert all the relative links to absolute links. But unfortunately I don't know what they are nor how to use them, so instead I remove every extraneous " /" by hand, cut and paste bits between brackets, and get so good at deleting the borders code that by the end I know precisely how long to hold the delete key down to avoid having to retype things (and using highlight first was more hassle than it was worth as Wordpad [Notepad was too smallminded to cope] decided that a sequence ending in -xxx"> should split into -xxx and "> no matter what one does with the mouse.

Also while on photography (investigating using a flash. I went on a reccy to various shops, and came out thoroughly bewildered; they've all got tables and dials on the back, and no one seems to know what they mean nor how to use them) I found, via the RPS website, an online photography course. It's quite good (although the author of the online course hasn't quite understood some of the physics), covering some things my tutor never quite got round to such as various aspects of composition (not that I intend to make every shot an arrangement, nor can I, but it's nice now about such things).


Sounds like a bit of a pain trying to change all those texty bits. Was there no way of doing it using Wordpad's 'Find and Replace' gizmo?
Now he tells me...

Oh fiddlesticks. Normally I use Notepad for doing HTML, so if the file is too big it defaults to Wordpad, and so I tend to think of it as just Notepad with italics. I probably should have thought "there is" shortly after thinking "there must be a better way".

Oh well. But I'm too happy to be annoyed right now, because somehow the universe conspired to have Air's Sexy Boy start playing loudly from a house as I started walking down the middle of an empty street.

Best feeling ever.
They must have been looking out for you, Anyhoo :)
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