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It's like a message in a bottle: the first hundred words to intrigue someone enough to make them want to read further. You don't know whether anyone is actually going to stumble upon you here at all, but you're not going to pretend there is no audience and you're writing all this for yourself only, because if you did you wouldn't be putting it here.
Why do we need so much to communicate ourselves to others? Maybe this is the basis of all human contacts - the urge to express ourselves and peek into the lives of others to "compare notes"?
Padded shoulders and Nazi regime are a confirmation of human beings' sheep syndrome. Although neither of these, thank goodness, have made a great comeback just yet. What is it that makes people hate something dearly one month (say eighties fashion) and then the next month, all of a sudden, they all grow to love it dearly (eighties fashion again)? I can see what processes might operate behind and influence this transition, but I still can't quite imagine how you can make so many people think so much alike. Are all of our likes and dislikes something we don't really control?
I'm a mild case of a wikipediac. Yes, I've just coined the term, but it seems quite appropriate. A wikipediac is basically a Wikipedia junkie who falls for all these links and ends up reading about subjects completely removed from the original query. I can go without Wikipedia for days, but when I start browsing you could make a scarf if you put next to one another all the tabs I have open in my browser.
Thinking about it makes me wonder why no one gets so hooked on paper encyclopaedias. Is it because accessing the links is more cumbersome?
To what extent is style of writing gender-specific? Can you tell, for example, from a hundred words whether I'm a woman? A man? What about ambigender people? The agender? And, more importantly, who exactly am I, with a female body, according to the definitions: feminine or intergender, with the latter not being a synonym of intersex?
Gender is a social construct into which we get inscribed basing on our sex.
I like carpentry. I also like knitting. As a child I used to climb trees (I still do). I wear trousers with a skirt over them - I refuse to be gender-specific.
I must have a massive need to communicate. For the last Welsh class (beginners) we were supposed to write three simple sentences for each of the four topics we were given. I wrote roughly five, long and complicated ones, intentionally choosing not what I could say with the amount of Welsh I possess but what I was aching to say, no matter whether I knew how or not. In the end the tutor will probably understand only half of it and disregard most – and the funny thing is I don’t mind. It’s the need to communicate, not to be understood...
The canal was frozen this morning and so were the water points. This means that if one wants a decent cup of coffee one should think twice and either do without one or reconsider one's expectations. We chose the latter and the kettle was filled with water from the tank. Whilst there is nothing too obviously wrong with it at first sight or taste, second one usually verifies this opinion - the water is mildly icky and no amount of Milton flushed in and through the pipes seems to make any difference. Apart from making the water smell of Milton.
I'm trying to get my head around "philosophical zombie." According to Wikipedia,
is "a hypothetical being that is indistinguishable from a normal human being except that it lacks conscious experience, qualia, sentience, or sapience. When a zombie is poked with a sharp object, for example, it does not feel any pain. It behaves exactly as if it does feel pain (it may say "Ouch!" and so forth), but it does not actually have the experience of pain as a person normally does." I can't quite grasp what the term really means. I think I’ll do some serious googling...
Mae hi'n bwrw eira.
It's snowing, and with it being London (the UK one) everyone is making a big fuss about it. Public transport is shocked, uni students outside my window are either having snow fights or making snowmen and TFL reports severe delays on the great majority of the tube lines. The only ones not affected are Victoria, as it runs underground all the way, East London (it has only 4 stops) and Waterloo & City (which consists of, well, 2 stops).
Funny how quickly you get over defamiliarisations - it's not strange any more to see everything white.
I'm surprised how little effort it takes to write precisely 100 words, no more, no less. Maybe short texts naturally gravitate towards that number? Maybe this is why the project involves a hundred words, not any other number?
Writing here feels a bit like a prose equivalent of a haiku – something that (ideally) is supposed to be short but meaningful.
By nature I'm an excessive writer: where someone would say something in one sentence it takes me a paragraph, someone else’s paragraph translates into my three and so on. Again - me using words to communicate myself, not only the message.
Walking from Kingston (upon Thames, not Jamaica) towards Richmond and later Kew and its evil twin from across the river - Brentford. You look at all these boats and all these marinas and you wonder about the people living there. That guy with what seemed like at least five dogs on a tiny GRP soapdish of a boat. The boat graveyard in Brentford by the park, some of them lived on probably not that long ago. And my favourite one, a green shed on a rusty hull - occupied only by pigeons who made a vow not to let it die alone.
Even though it's more fiddly, a coal stove is still way better than any other type of heating. I know it's easier to set your timer and forget about where your heating comes from, but the stove challenge is actually quite exciting. And I've always liked to have some centre of warmth - it used to be the radiator in my room, now it is the Squirrel Morso on our narrowboat. It took some time getting used to it though.
It's funny how quickly we start taking for granted new good things in life and how painful the “downgrading” sometimes seems.
There's so many things that bring out the worst in people. The only free sit on the train, sales, anything on the "first come first served" basis. Where I come from, in the past you could also add the omnipresent queues and the permanent shortage of goods.
But there's also the bonding factor in adverse circumstances - it seems like the evil gets lesser if you are able to moan about it together. It's all about craving for equality - if we're all stuck in deep shit it's ok as long as no one gets out of it sooner than the rest...
In the main uni quad in front of the windows of where I work there is a tree. The tree apparently is a ginko, a female ginko. Female ginkos look pretty inconspicuous all year round unless you come into close contact with them in the autumn: on such an occasion you'll notice one peculiarity: they stink to high heaven! Some time ago we've been discussing the intricacies of its behaviour when a puzzled, unsuspecting colleague joined somewhere in the middle of the conversation, commenting with disbelief:
"A rotten prehistoric female tree that smells of sick. Is it April the fist?"
On the way back from work you're listening to "Du är ånga" by Kent, that wonderful Swedish band, and when Jocke Berg gets to the "Och du håller så hårt och när längtan blir svår" you are almost literally swept off your feet. You've heard this song at least a hundred times before and it did move you, but this time it was such an obvious, powerful epiphany that it actually hurt.
Art, whereas not essential for human survival, seems essential for the sake of quality of life experience (however pompous this may sound). At least for me it does.
I remembered trying to solve Notpron a couple of years ago. I daresay it might actually be my all-time favourite when it comes to computer-based games - or any games at all. I also remember that whoever I showed it to didn't really share my enthusiasm. They either couldn't be asked to persevere or were annoyed that the creator was playing a smartarse.
In other circumstances I can imagine myself reacting in the same way, as I don't like being patronised, but it seems I can forgive quite a lot when it comes to a good cryptic riddle. I'm a solver?
The need to communicate yourself to others in public is sometimes conflicting with the need to stay anonymous. It's a tricky one really - it all comes down to the fact that you're somewhat cautious of people either ignoring you or not accepting you and you're not sure which one is worse, so you minimise your active presence on the Internet and resort to being passive. In other words - you read more than you write. You've always been like this - the two diametric traits, one that reaches out to people at all costs and the other that craves for privacy.
It seems like all food we eat these days consists of soya and monosodium glutamate. Or, at least, that's the impression I get. Inspired by chocolate called Dairy Milk (as opposed to what other milk?), I started wondering about soya milk and soya in general. Well - can soya milk be classed as a dairy product? It does get placed in that section in supermarkets...
And then a thought struck me: soya is like a wildcard, a joker in a deck of cards - it can stand for practically anything else in the food department. A skeleton key of all foods.
Spent a lot of time looking at derelictlondon.com today. Ever since I remember I've been absolutely fascinated with derelict buildings and all sorts of abandoned places and would get into them whenever possible, no matter how dangerous it might be (my sense of personal security was always quite high). I remember when at the age of 12 I practically forced my cautious (and unadventurous) cousin to poke around a falling apart, abandoned house with me, short of threatening her that if she didn't join me I'd leave her outside on her own (the place was in the middle of nowhere).
Never praise your stove or it will start playing tricks on you. A few days ago I dared mention that it's a great form of heating, right? Well, wrong! It's great only when it doesn't brew some strange liquid form of soot in the chimney and then vomit it back down the flue (on the outside of it that is, and on the inside of the boat), which seems to be its favourite pastime these days. We'll have a battle of conflicting preferences as soon as we equip ourselves with a bucket of fire cement and I'm determined to win!
I'm reading David Mitchell's
, thinking about characters in fiction. I suppose, just like in life, we tend to prefer maybe not necessarily "good characters", but characters we resonate with in one way or another. Same with atmosphere – if it isn't right, no matter how much I can appreciate style, plot, character development and whatnot – I'll have mixed feelings about that piece of fiction. Will Self and the atmosphere he creates come to mind.
It's not so much that people like characters they can identify with. They like characters they can incorporate into their lives and into their personal inner narratives.
I don't think I've ever met anyone who would, like me, enjoy grey, rainy weather and/or whose favourite weather would be fog. For some strange reason the great majority of human beings seem to think that overcast equals gloomy and unpleasant.
I was quite surprised recently when I heard someone complaining about fog - I was convinced that it's one of these neutral types of weather which you either like or, in the worst case, ignore... Why does everyone go crazy about snow here (which is probably just about as frequent as fog) and go on ignoring or even hating fog?
Some people need acceptance more than others.
There really aren't many things that make me feel jealous. On the whole I'm rather happy with myself and my life, however, there is one small occasion when I can't quite get over saying to myself "I wish I could do that": I grow envious when someone says lightly that they are a writer/a poet/an artist. Why?
If I label myself, say, an artist, there might come someone who will challenge this classification. Better still, what if they're right? What if they convince me that I'm far from being anything even mildly creative?
Thinking about yesterday's entry. It is all because of being (too) responsible for what I say. I'm extremely cautious when it comes to labels in general, especially the "creative" ones. To be able to use a label you need to have its definition sorted out for yourself, to know precisely what you mean when using that label. When it comes to the creative stuff I'm nowhere near having any definition. Consequently, I'm scared to apply any creative label to myself as I have a feeling that if I had a definition I probably wouldn't meet its criteria... Yes, I'm paranoid.
The Battle of the Vomiting Flue finally happened and I'm happy to report that the stove lost. Instead of fire cement the local chandlery, Uxbridge Boat Centre (who are always extremely helpful and deserve a mention), recommended high-temperature silicone with a charming name of "Plumba Flue". Siliconing upwards didn't sound as easy as siliconing downwards, but turned out to be a surprisingly easy and not too messy activity. This is the second time silicone saved our wellbeing - last year it sorted out the grim problem of leaky windows after "rhino tape" has given up the ghost (but not the glue).
I like saving best bits of language. If something said or written moves me, the immediate sensation is not enough, I have to write these things down or, at least, remember them. Since the latter doesn't work for me too well (good memory but short memory syndrome) I tend to write things down and end up with piles of electronic equivalents of post-it notes. It's some progress, it used to be bits of paper. They all sit at the end of whatever I'm writing at the time and may actually turn out to be a better read than my stuff...
Pointless generalising and classification: essentially, there are two types of mp3 player users. Type number one uses white earphones, type number two - black ones. Type one will always use the in-ear headphones (from what I've seen). Type two varies, but the in-ear headphones are the most popular. I naturally empathise with type two, as, coincidentally, the headphones I use are black. If I wanted to be particularly alternative and non-classifiable I'd use some other colour but I couldn't possibly be asked.
Such a minor, unimportant thing - you can barely notice it - and still it enables your sense of belonging, identification.
I wish I could have some sort of a "dreamjob." Half of the time I have a feeling it simply doesn't exist and the other half I'm convinced that it is because I either want to do too many things in life or because I don't have any one specific thing which would fascinate me more than others.
It's not that I hate my job. It's ok for what it is and allows me for a decent amount of free time for Other Things. But then I start thinking of what I could possibly be doing instead... Ennui or disillusionment?
Cyclicity and linearity of time. Concepts we create to be able to grasp what reality around us might be all about.
I almost forgot it's the last day of the month today. I suppose it's cheating if you start your 100 words in the shortest month of the year, I should do at least one more batch to be credible...
Googling for Banksy stencils - for some reason they seem good to finish the month off with. It wouldn't be an altogether bad idea to make some stencils myself, and torture some t-shirts with them. Stencil art is the new red?
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