BY jfs

06/01 Direct Link
"Let me drop everything and deal with your problem." A sarcastic tee shirt seen crossing the bridge on the chest of a boy destined for a lifetime of customer service. The defiant look in his eyes reflected the last gasp of bravery on his chest as he and his friends dived from the bank of childhood into the turbulent river of uncertain adulthood. Enjoy your summer. Enjoy the light. Enjoy your final unfettered freedom. Then don the uniform and say: "All that we ask is that you let us serve it your way." Irony has no price when you're young.
06/02 Direct Link
Day two of my desire to drabble and I am denuded of desire. Despite the drive to delve into the dark depths of my despair, I decline, decay, and dwindle. Do I deceive myself? Defraud and delude myself? I can debate dualistically with my inner demons, damning my dearth of delight in describing this dream while dragging my delirium into the light of day. What remains? Death? I deny Death her due - that dark aspected darling will not dash at me. Destiny?


This drabble has been brought to you by the letters ‘D' and ‘Y' and the number ‘2'.
06/03 Direct Link
Writing by hand is an interesting discipline in this time of keyboards and text messaging. Slower than typing, untidy, and yet personal - the uniqueness of handwriting a footprint. I do not know how much stock I put in the opinions of graphologists, but I would still be interested in an analysis of my hand. There is a large amount of ego in that, obviously. But "an unexamined life is not worth living"and any perspective on ourselves that is not our own teaches us something. Even a distorting mirror shows us something of ourselves. I should write by hand more.
06/04 Direct Link
I had a completely psychotic dream. I rarely remember my dreams - the ones I do are where the colour yellow features - in 10 years I have two dreams which were much more real than my waking life, and in both cases, it was yellow that I remembered and which made them real. But my dream last night had me paranoid with a gun in my hand, shooting a number of my friends, running through a house, hunting them down and killing them in cold blood. There was no yellow. I hope I don't remember this one in ten years time.
06/05 Direct Link
I am fast becoming a convert to owning a laptop, especially when combined with wireless networking. Sitting down in a cafe at work and having my computer connect me to the Internet with a minimum of handshaking was a science fiction moment. I get those all the time - little things like having access to the resources I do on my lap, or being able to carry around sufficient music in my pocket to not listen to the same tune 10 days running ... I don't want a jet-pack or a space suit. I'm happy with the future I am in.
06/06 Direct Link
We're being trained to do things I already know how to do or don't care about and don't need to know. It's hardly surprising that I flick from mail to blog to news to mail - a clicking cycle keeping me connected to my friends as the trainer tells us about server installs and backup and recovery procedures. He knows I'm only half paying attention - any good trainer can tell. He also knows I'm paying enough attention so that I don't miss anything I need to know. So he doesn't bug me, and I don't scrape my eyes out with boredom.
06/07 Direct Link
Another dream remembered from last night. When I was a teenager at a Catholic secondary school we had a 'faith' week - a time for priests, nuns and monks to come in and preach to us. Back then I stood up for myself, argued with a nun, got kicked out of the class and as punishment got made a cup of tea by my RE teacher, Maria Ivko. In my dream, as the dull woman droned on and on at the front of a grey hall and the fire in the souls of the people around me guttered, I sat still.
06/08 Direct Link
There is a bright blue sky outside, and the reassuring hum of traffic - we're just far enough away from the road for it to be a pleasant sound rather than an oppressive one. My work is not too difficult, my plans for the evening are pleasant - a little shopping and then a meal with the woman I love. We will drink cool wine and eat meze, and wander hand in hand through the cooling city as night falls. The buildings will light up like fireflies and the river will flow gently along. It would be hard for life to improve.
06/09 Direct Link
In that synchronous way that it sometimes does, my iPod started playing the Adagio in G Minor by Thomaso Albioni as I walked across to lunch, and the phrase ‘Death in Venice' swam across my mind. It may have something to do with the fact I'm reading a Venitian murder mystery at present, but there was the strongest sense of place I've had from a piece of music for a long time. The music is not used in that film - it's in Rollerball and Gallipoli. But Wikipedia tells me that Thomaso was born, lived and died VÃÆ'¨neto. I didn't know.
06/10 Direct Link
I left the nightclub this morning in bright sunshine - the day already warm at 7am. The new venue is 100 feet from the bank of the Thames and fuzzy contented clubbers congregated on the embankment to watch the river flow and to put off going home for just a little longer. At the old venue we would all meet up again at London Bridge station - a gaggle of fluorescent travellers trying to negotiate the complexities of London Underground (and at that time of the day, they can be very complex). The new venue has yet to create its own rituals.
06/11 Direct Link
I took my first ride in an ambulance last night, accompanying my father to hospital in the middle of the night. He's had a history of heart troubles and a triple bypass five years ago, so when he complained of chest pains and shortness of breath late at night, we called 999. On the way, the driver said to me "Please don't take this the wrong way, but it's nice not coming out to treat a drunk or the victim of an assault.- England's first World Cup match had been on earlier. The ambulance crew had been busy all day.
06/12 Direct Link
I'm still tired from the weekend - partying Friday, being driven to my parents Saturday, then taking my father to the hospital and not really sleeping very well. Last night the heat was oppressive enough to keep me drifting in and out of consciousness.

I may end up sleeping in the cellar tonight if the temperature doesn't break. It's cold and dark down there, even at the height of summer. When we move, the cellar is something that I'll miss most, I think - if nothing else, it's so cool (sorry) to be able to say "oh, it's down in the cellar."
06/13 Direct Link
Tedward Thebear had, it must be said, a quite unusual name. It had been a matter of some discussion between his parents; though when we say discussion, it had been more of a monologue on the part of his mother, interspersed with grunts in the appropriate places from his father.

She had began one evening, while they were both sitting in front of the fire, with an opening salvo concerning her great-uncle Tedward, who had fought bravely in the Peleponisian War - though, she had pointed out sadly, not without injury. Her Ursine Majesty had decorated him with a medal.
06/14 Direct Link
Tedward's father had harumphed at that. He harumphed a lot, usually when he was reading the Daily Tellagiraffe. He had been an habitual reader of the Spines, even though the news in it was almost always concerned with the doings of the Erinaceinae family and their disreputable relatives. However, since they had shrank the paper (too many complaints from their smaller readers, if the letters page was anything to go by), he had found it too fiddly for his paws. Luckily, the Tellagiraffe had sworn that they would not fall prey to this new fangled wish for microsization and smallisitude.
06/15 Direct Link
So, being a wise bear and not prone to taking notice of harumphs, whilst still being aware of heffalumps, those being a completely different beast, Tedward's mother had made her decision. When he was born, Tedward was named Tedward. "After my Great Uncle-, Tedward's mother would say. "Harrumph-, Tedward's father would reply, and if he had a copy of the Tellagiraffe to hand, he would rustle it. Sometimes he would even peer over his gold rimmed half moon spectacles, as if he couldn't quite see what he was looking at. But he never complained, and so Tedward was raised thus.
06/16 Direct Link
The fate of the iguanas has being weighing heavily on our office. We are moving location in September, and the room we are moving to is being transformed from a science lab to an office as I write. Various biological specimens, living and dead, are being re-homed, but at our team meeting yesterday, it was announced that no-one wanted the iguanas, and that we were not allowed keep them as mascots for our new software project.

Today, we are told, the removals man has taken them; one for him, one for his brother. There is much relief in our office.
06/17 Direct Link
We are going out, and the litany of preparation is somewhat different to a normal dance club. Instead of the most comfortable trousers and shoes I can, with a tee-shirt that raises a smile, I am wearing clothing chosen to cause comment. The evening will count as less than a success if someone does not compliment me on what I am wearing.

Of course, I should reply "What, this old thing?" to anyone who dares to come up and praise me. But I won't. It takes too much courage to approach a stranger for me to knock them back.
06/18 Direct Link
As we drove north across London Bridge at 4.30am, I looked to the left and saw a group of Orthodox Jews, wearing tallit and tefillin, standing quietly by the side of the river. Morning prayers begin when the sun rises, I guess, and as we drove past, they were obviously finishing; tefillin being unwrapped, tallit being folded with reverence.

God is in the silence. He called Samuel in the dark of the night. And these men were praying at one of the few times that the city is silent - as silent as it gets, anyway. I hope they heard Him.
06/19 Direct Link
I am so tired today. I got to sleep yesterday at 7pm, after being up all night Saturday. I dozed for a couple of hours, then woke and chatted to my girlfriend. I did not get to sleep again until midnight, and I woke intermittently during the night. Consequently, I feel out of kilter today. Either the rest of the world or I am 3 degrees off centre, and they all seem to be in agreement that it is me.

It is the tyranny of the masses, and the subjugation of the individual. I hate getting outvoted by consensual reality.
06/20 Direct Link
The first time I did 100words, I kept a notebook. Each time I thought of an idea for a drabble, I wrote it down. I think of them all the time; needing just a few words to remind me what I was thinking of and to act as a seed for an entry.

I've got out of the habit - when I was lying on the sofa on Sunday, unable to sleep, I thought of several entries i enough that when inspiration ran dry I could look at them and write on, refreshed. Of course, I didn't write any of them down.
06/21 Direct Link
I've been learning to program in Java today, and it was going really well up until the point where the trainer accelerated. You're there, following all the steps, and then suddenly he takes a step that is impossible. He jumps from where you are to where he is and there's nothing between you and him but a gaping chasm that you can't cross. Oh, it's obviously doable - he's just done it, after all. But he hasn't explained the trick of it, and you can't see it. So you stand on your side of the gulf and feel like a fool.
06/22 Direct Link
The java is getting easier, I guess, though I'm still not certain why I'm doing certain things, at least I'm starting to recognise how to read things like the API and actually get meaning from it instead of just staring blankly at it. Of course, now the PC I'm using is resetting itself on a regular basis - nothing like a challenge to make it interesting.

If I can find a copy of the Java API to download to my Mac, or if the wireless network starts working in the training room, I might well suggest that I use my Mac.
06/23 Direct Link
I hate feeling tharn, but I'm glad I know the word. I love words where someone has encapsulated a concept so perfectly. Does being able to identify the state make things better? It makes communication easier, anyhow. I can mail a friend and say "I'm feeling tharn", because that's all that I have head space for, and know that she understands, and hopefully sympathises.

The headlights are bearing down on me and I'm going to have to face them all for at least a week more. And all I can do is stare at them, and hope the wheels miss.
06/24 Direct Link
I was phoned by my old boss yesterday - they've 'broken' the front page of the intranet and no-one there knows how to fix it. So I went in to the centre of London to do them a favour and then on to a leaving party. I'm so glad I got away from that company - all the good people are leaving or have left, bar a few. What's left is the bad managers, the reasons that everyone else is going. And they won't admit that they're the problem. So they'll keep hiring people, who won't stay long before they quit.
06/25 Direct Link
My girlfriend has gone to Leeds Castle, which isn't in Leeds. It's got a moat, and a maze, and an historic collection of dog collars, going back 500 years. She has taken a picnic and drinks, and has left food for my while she does tourist things with her work colleagues. She kept asking me if I was okay on my own? Did I mind that she was going out with friends?

I have watched several hours of crap TV, ironed and am (carefully) typing this in the nude. I am amused at what I do when I am alone.
06/26 Direct Link
I don't want to phone two people. I don't know why - in both cases it will be of benefit. In one case, it will result in me being £100 better off (eventually). In the other, it will provide me with something that will make my life better. But in both cases, I've been putting it off for a while. What's stopping me? Why don't I just pick up the phone? I don't even have to stand up - it's there in front of me.

Why am I mute all of a sudden? Where has my voice gone? Why can't I speak?
06/27 Direct Link
I used to give blood regularly - three times a year from 1986 to 2001. It was habit, as so many of these things are - go to a church hall or library somewhere, suffer through some bureaucracy, and lie down for ten minutes while my blood was drained. I fell out of the habit when in Hastings, and have only recently returned. There's still bureaucracy, still faff. And still the tiny thrill of civic pride in doing something that is as close to altruistic as most people manage. It's not much to do to get that thrill, three times a year.
06/28 Direct Link
We have ABC1 as part of our cable package, and it's good ironing TV - half hour packages of brain candy; plots you can pick up and drop without thinking. There's a different rhythm to US TV though - the first ad break is a couple of minutes after the show starts, with almost no gap between programmes. I guess there's a need to get you in to the next show and engaged, to stop you thinking 'I wonder what else is on?'. It's easy to spend hours just letting them guide your brain, with occasional interruptions of 'I'm not buying that!'.
06/29 Direct Link
I am addicted to soft sweets. Penny chews, not that they've cost a penny for a long while. The sort of sweets you buy in handfuls, and which you don't dare look at the ingredients because you know that it will include more ‘E's than a clubful of raver kids on their big night out. I know they're bad for me, and that they have all the nutritional content of shoe leather, but I can't get enough of them. When I go to our local shop to pick up a sixpack, I grab half a dozen sweets with the change.
06/30 Direct Link
A night of dancing, hugging, dreaming, talking - sitting in a hot hot club and listening to a friend tell me of her fears, loves and hopes. Touching skin briefly with many people, rhythm passing through the crowd from sternum to sternum, the bass bins beating and breathing, the air moving at 120 BPM. For me it was a dancing day, for others, one of quiet words and still contentment. It doesn't matter. We're still connected by the bonds of friendship and love, even if she's chatting in a corner and I'm on the dance floor. It's our third anniversary today.