Monday, February 24, 2003

"...Your ideas are like snowflakes - if you try to grab them too quickly, too harshly they'll crumble. And each idea is unique, beautiful. Yes, that's right! Beautiful and unique, just like a snowflake!"
So, this Saturday I was once again in work, this time for a training day on how to run creative "ideas" meetings. The whole team stumbled in, blinking in the bright, crisp sunshine that was lending a dazzling Spring-like air to the..air. We stood around, embarrassedly wolfing down the free coffee and croissants, making excruciatingly mind-numbing small talk with the training course leaders and tried to look enthusiastic. An appearance by David Brent, Gareth and/or anyone else from The Office was anticipated in every agonising silence throughout the day.

Despite the nice sandwiches and salads at lunch and the chance to get some sun when having a fag outside, the day was pretty fucking awful. We sat and ground our teeth through frickin' hours of nonsense like the opening quote to this entry and then went surging on to cover:

The Discount Revenge Cycle
The Intent-Effect Gap
In/Out Listening
The Person in the Pit
Steps for Giving Itemised Responses
How to Share Intention and Win Commitment
The Risk/Pay Off Matrix
The Comfort Rating
How to Drive the Team Apart on a Staff Bonding Day by Making Them Hold a Fake Meeting Where Everyone Gets the Chance to Make Thinly Veiled Snide Comments About One Another with Ample Opportunities to Breed More Contempt.

One staff member came back after lunch, moved his chair into a sunbeam, took off his shoes and fell asleep. He had to be woken up and asked to leave.

The whole thing was so horrific, I had to harass good ole August Dangerlove for food and shelter until the cringe-worthy shadows of The Office-style staff-training day had worn off. Thanks, August D!

How were *your* weekends, dear readers?

Thursday, February 20, 2003

"I will go where I am wanted, where there's room for one or two,
And the men are none too many for the work there is to do;
Where the standing line wears thinner and the dropping dead lie thick;
And the enemies of England they shall see me and be sick."
- A. E Housman, The New Mistress, from A Shropshire Lad
And I wanted to read some poetry to cheer myself up in the midst of all this war talk. I've now got images of all the places in the world where "the dropping dead lie thick" - I may not be able to sleep tonight.

In other news: I've finally discovered what a Blackberry looks like. This little gadget has been a mystery to me since I heard its praises sung in a LiveJournal - I just couldn't figure out how this thing worked until Big Bro pointed out that it was a wireless device. I'd been imagining some kind of PDA with email capability that still required being hooked up to a main computer that was online, dependent on downloading stuff into it, dealing with it all offline and in a mobile fashiopn and then docking it with the main computer again to send stuff online. BUT - I now know it's a kind of hiptop thing and all the raving about the joys of emailing while walking through the park and doing the laundry suddenly made sense. Ideal for mobile blogging if you can upload new entries via email, so I was particularly gratified to finally see what the hell this thing actually did and what it looked like.

Fascinating. No, really; I find it fascinating.

It was a quiet day in the office and I was all alone in the flat this evening, okay? Pheh.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

"So use that finger to pull your eyelid down, then use that finger to slide the lens off the coloured part of your eye, then insert your thumb and pinch the contact lens off and pull it out. It shouldn't hurt. (Pause) Well, it will if you do it like that. Here, have a tissue."
In the last four weeks I have...1) been promoted 2) had my haircut 3) rearranged my room 4) paid council tax 5) got contact lenses. I now have...1) my own desk and a much more interesting job description 2) shorter hair 3) what feels like better feng shui 4) less money 5) better sight and marks where I keep jabbing my face trying to push up the glasses that are no longer there.

Oh, and also in the last four weeks, we seem to have crept ever closer to War and London now has a tax for cars entering the centre during the day.

We live in interesting times; I find it occasionally surprisingly easy to forget that. ::hugs self warmly in the winter sun::

Monday, February 17, 2003

"Oh yes!, more man sauce on my love kebab, yes!, yes!"
My sister's debut contribution to the ongoing soft-porn commentary. Soon we shall be a family of Smut-Speakers and spawn a dynasty of innuendo generating, nudging and winking, lecherous and drooling cum-guzzling gutter-sluts!

Heh. "Cum-guzzling gutter-sluts." I just had to slip that one in there. And another innuendo; stolen fake Rolexes to the first five who spotted it.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

W in Instant Messenger this evening: "Hang on, my flatmate's just walked into the room..."
Hypatia says: "Is he naked with his todger sandwiched between two slices of wholemeal bread with a pickle and some mustard and the look on his face that begs the question: "Are you hungry W? D'ya fancy a bite?"
W says: "No he's sitting here looking at the screen."

Whoops. Indeed.

"Hmmmm.... Say that I affactionately refer to him as 'fucknut' ."
August D on wanting me to refer to his "nut-eating beardy yoga freak" friend on the Avenue. I had my reservations initially, but I just had to have the word "fucknut" on this blog.

Fucknut.

Yeah.

In other news, I slept through the Anti-War march today. I didn't mean to, but I did. It was fascinating to see just how many people were out there, showing their support for *not* going to war - and all kinds of people too (unless the tv crews were deliberately compiling shots of the "diversity" of the event). *Nobody* wants war - so why is it so frickin' inevitable? Because one redneck with an itchy trigger finger (and the champagne socialist whose mouth is clamped firmly to his warmongering cock) has a Daddy complex and wants to relive the glory days of bombing the fuck out of people and ensuring everyone knows just who has the best pencilcase in the schoolyard. I can't bear the justifications the Blair/Bush combo keep offering as reasons to go to war; even the most transparent and blatantly false reasons ar dispensed as gospel, as hard to believe in and yet held to as faithfully as words from God's book.
I keep recalling the amazing one-off Newsnight program wherein Tony Blair was facing a panel of ordinary people from Gateshead who were all questioning him about the impending and "inevitable" war - and he just couldn't answer the questions. I actually felt embarrassed for him because there was so little he could say or do to convince anyone in the room, or at home, that war is 1) inevitable 2) good 3) of any use to us as the UK or as part of the slightly larger organisation called the World. I've said it before and I'll say it again: we need a leader who is willing to get off his knees and take that Yankee cock out of his mouth, wipe the cash-tinged oil mist from his eyes and get to grips with the idea that in the 21st century there are more sophisticated and convenient ways to get what you want than by going into a country and killing all the people there while simultaneously putting at risk all the people who only a few years ago had enough faith in him to *choose* him for leadership.

Gosh, that was a bit of war-blogging slipping out accidentally; I've deliberately avoided it so far. Nonetheless, the city is filled with anti-war sentiment at the moment and it's seeped in here - no apologies.

Friday, February 14, 2003

"...it's like a shovel being dragged along the pavement..."
August D's heart warming description of my snoring. I am touched. Quite.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

" When Friedrich Nietzsche looked for a practice which might dismantle the opposition between freedom and determinism, it was to the expereience of making art that he turned, which for the artist feels not only free and necessary, creative and constrained, but each of these in terms of the other, and so appears to press there rather tattered old polarities to the point of undecidability."
Fascinating observation of how it feels when you're an artistic type, from Terry Eagleton in Ideas of Culture - he da man, wid a lotta base and superstructure, innit. Wicked.
"Were you patting down his fuzzy love-bongos while he waggled his dripping rhythm stick at you? Did you play his pink piccolo and toot his kazoo?"
Yes, the inappropriate headers are back, as well as the pain of my wisdom tooth. Dammit, it hurts and as I had run out of paracetamol yesterday and Medic Flatmate B wasn't around to dispense "borrowed" post-surgery painkillers, I almost cracked and drank the comedy Ouzo straight from the bottle. I didn't, however, which is why I am here to tell the tale.

To ease the nagging pain of my aching, cramped jaw, today will be a day of quotes and comments, not necessarily all from the Silly Smut archives but probably woefully out of context and smut-driven nonetheless. You have been warned.

Friday, February 07, 2003

"... age is not a problem for evil..."
No matter how cerebral and intellectual I am trying to be regarding IM and blogging, my actual IMing doesn't amount to much more than this... I cut the section where we were talking in Gollum speech, mainly because it got kind of tedious when we started renaming everyone in the office as "silly fat hobbit always watching us." It was, nonetheless, precious.

Hypatia says:
Imagine if Yoda got hold of the Ring.
Colleague1 says:
that thought is too much
Hypatia says:
Would he take it to Mordor to destroy it or would he use it to let the Force rule the world for the better?
Colleague1 says:
no one can control thr ring it one turn him to the dark side and can in imagine yoda in darth vader suit
Hypatia says:
Too big. The cloak would just trail on teh floor and get dirty
Colleague1 says:
so yada could not bare such a think he is 500 years old
Hypatia says:
he could use a walking stick under his cloak and no one would know
Hypatia says:
age is not a problem for evil
Colleague1 says:
old is new and new is old good is bad bad is good no is yes yes is no
Hypatia says:
?????
Colleague1 says:
confuses i have
Hypatia says:
Yes.

What would happen if Cartman got hold of the ring? Or Frasier? Or... My Big Brother? That's one cross-genre notion I can't deal with; in comparison, rule by Sauron would be like frolicking on grassy slopes in the sunshine as it rains fluffy kittens and lollipops out of the clear blue sky. ::shudder::

"But you can't see what I'm wearing."
"That's why it's so sexy."
- me and August D in chat last night.
Well, carrying on from my musing about IM, I've begun to muse about blogging too. Yes, I write this for people to read - and I've got a comments service, a link to my email and a series of cunningly placed questions and hints throughout my entries to encourage people to not just read but to tell me they're reading as well. Even when there is no response to what I've written, I get a buzz from knowing that if anyone wants to know what I've been doing, what I've been thinking, what I've been getting angry/upset/terribly excited about, then they can get it here, in my language, on my terms. This blog is my property and is entirely*my* thing - it's basically *me* tailored for the net and for public access.

Yes, it is narcissistic and a text-based form of ego-baiting. But this isn't the only reason why I take up so much cyberspace with my rambling. Why did I start blogging? Well, are you sitting comfortably...?

initially, I got hooked on the LiveJournals of some fanfic writers, who were using their LJs to run trailers and hints and clues to their stories with diversions into describing their RLs. Then I got to know a few blogs and their bloggers and loved the fact I was reading their thoughts and thinking in their style and personality - and I got thinking...

I write. Not as much or as often as I would like, but I've always got my illegible handwriting in my paper diary, I've always got my notebooks, I've always got the back of used envelopes, post-it notes, till receipts and, on one memorable, the last five verses of a poem I was writing on half a roll of toilet tissue which was used in a gut-wrenchingly ill-timed coffee spillage before I could transfer my verse to a less absorbent medium. I have my "real" writing, my private writing and lots of it. What I'm lacking is some public writing - and as I have yet to secure any contracts with newspapers and/or magazines, theatres, TV companies or websites to get my words and thoughts to the public, I've got this blog. It keeps my private writing, well...private. And better organised and far less insular and agonising than before the blog, because I've got this public forum to sort out what I want to keep to myself from what I want to cover with the world.

I also used this blog as a way to learn how to be a techie geek. Did you know, I treated this blog as a "Learn HTML and other Techie Stuff" project and, though the seasoned bloggers may scoff and scorn, I *did* research all sorts of blogs and LJs and read as much as I could on how they worked, what I could change in them, what codes, tags, XML and syndication were, CSS and so on.It was a chance to be academic as well as to nuture my self-esteem.

So, I set up the Avenue and let my imagination, webskills and general red-faced ranting run free, for yours and my reading pleasure. This is my blog: welcome to my playground. Be careful on the swings and roundabouts, okay?

Thursday, February 06, 2003

"He has frankfurters with everything, even vegetarian dishes. It's driving me mad." - whispered commentary on Papa's cooking this evening.
Just as I was recovering from the BigFatWobblyArse(tm) spread of Christmas and beginning to squeeze back into my size 10 smart black bootcut trousers, Chinese New Year has come upon me and encouraged fleshly growth in unwanted areas. Not that I'm complaining as this is an excellent and much appreciated break from the tooth-grindingly depressing passage of time from piss-poor January through still-broke February to holy-shit-I've-got-to-sort-out-my-taxes March - but still, a girl can have too much sweet and sour pork. And frankfurters. Contrary to my father's belief, you really can have too many frankfurters. Oh yes.

In other news, I've been considering the etiquette of Instant Messaging. If I log on and see my IM friends are online and they can see me, is it more or less polite to say hello? Personally, when I log on and see people are online, I will say hello, no matter how busy I am and no matter how unlikely it is that I will be able to keep up a conversation, and regardless of whether or not I am guaranteed to get a reply - just because... well. Hmmm. How to say it...?

It's lame, but I think logging into IM is a bit like walking into a room or a public place; if you see someone you recognise, you say hello. I won't cut them, as the delightful Oxbridge phrase goes. However, this personal preference really only works when the involved parties are all crossing paths in and around the internet. If I'm logged on all day as I am at work (and I actually *have* to be logged on because our office is spread over two floors and several poky rooms... like, open-plan office my arse), it becomes less the case of passing people in cyber space and stopping to have a pleasant chat while web-hopping, and more like I'm some sad git hanging around an information superhighway street corner heckling everyone who logs on and is visible to me. My self-imposed IM etiquette suddenly collapses and I'm confused as to what the correct and commonly appreciated approach to IM actually is.

Why did I start thinking about this? Two reasons: I got stopped by a Bible-basher on the Tube home this evening and saw a slight parallel between his behaviour in RL and mine in IM: he was wandering up and down the same carriage and probably had been there all day, approaching every person who happened to board this train and this particular carriage with his own brand of god's word: "Don't be a sinner, be a winner, let god guide you today and be saved tomorrow!"

And then I came home and surfed through some Livejournals, one in particular caught my eye, I saw this person was online and logged in for IM so out of the blue, unsolicited and possibly unwelcome, I said hello and commented on the LJ. It all went well but was hardly the start of a beautiful relationship and it got me wondering - even if I can see a person is logged on for IM, does it mean unsolicited IM is acceptable? Is that the point of the "online now" icons and IM visibility, to advertise you're available for communication to whoever and for whatever? Or is it more subtle than that and there's actually some unspoken but widely known rulebook of how, when and why it is acceptable to get in touch?

Hmmm. I'm off to ponder meaningfully and stroke my imaginary beard. Discussion, debate and defamation to the usual place please.

Monday, February 03, 2003

“That’s the worst of girls,” said Edmund to Peter and the Dwarf. “They never carry a map in their heads.”
“That’s because our heads have something inside them,” said Lucy.
- from Prince Caspian in the Narnia series by C S Lewis.
An eventful weekend.

Thursday

Called an old friend from my late teens while at work, ostensibly about a film festival she’s planning but really to catch up on news. And, oh, oh, oh, she has news: she’s engaged. I almost choked on my screams of surprise and delight - my ceaseless best wishes and blessings to you both!

Friday

Got a promotion (or at least a significant step sideways). Went out to see the “fireworks” on the Thames for Chinese New Year but missed them because I blinked. Ended up bar-hopping with Flatmates A and B and Former Flatmate G in a part of South East London that is full of unattractive men who are all, each and every one of them, unable to communicate with a group of unattached women without offending, boring or outstaying their welcome with them.
“ Hi, my name is Olaf.”
“And I am the Prince of Darkness!”
“No you’re not, you’re just a knob.”
“I’m Richard, I’m an IT consultant and this is my brother Tony who is a complete tosser.”
“We noticed, please - leave us alone. You’re wasting your money buying us shots of blue Aftershock, because 1) we’re not interested, 2) we’re really not interested and 3) we’re feeling embarrassed for you. Please stop.”

One of these unfortunate creatures followed us home and, I think, lived to see another day. I’m not sure as we put him in a corner and ignored him all night and when we all regained consciousness the next day, he was no longer there. I will check under the sofa later. Perhaps I will find our TV remote in my hunt for the errant man - a much more fruitful find as we would be able to find a use for the TV remote but not for the mystery man. Muahahahahahaha.

Saturday

Met up with some friends from my mid-teens and caught up with their news - another engagement, a new and very pretty girlfriend, new job, new babies and new gossip on all the people we knew, travel plans, living plans, short reviews on all the years that have passed since we were all at school together. Lots of coffee, cakes and ice cream accompanied the catching up until we went our separate ways and I was introduced to August Dangerlove’s new computer. I have clearly been usurped in his league table of love interests but I vow to win back favour by speaking only in the language of Dungeon Keeper - “Your minions are under attack! Do you wish to save this game Y/N?”
After trying (and failing) to draw attention to myself, even though I have no built-in modem card or gaming capabilities, went to the parents’ for Chinese New Year dinner, where I ate too much, got lucky red envelopes and played with Girl Toddler until I almost fainted with exhaustion. Not only did I have to undo my belt during the meal, I also had to undo the zip on my fitted top - Papa is a retired cook, doncha know? I may eat my own body weight of his cooking every time I visit, but I am sure, dear reader, that you would too...

Sunday

Cooked, cleaned, dragged home the world’s smallest yet heaviest weekly groceries, did more cleaning, fell asleep, went out for dinner and admired new computer.

A busy weekend, in the midst of what has been an extremely busy time ::sigh::

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