Blog Links Just some of the great blogs I keep stumbling on. Go for an explore, and if you see any really good ones, let me know...
- the hottest blogger I know. - I hate knitting. However, I love this blog. Who'd have thought? - If you ask me, it's perpetual brilliance! - 'nuff said. Inspired - inspiring.
- ...into light. Xenouveau - Her from Sadisticland. All Geek To Me - Fun from Scout Finch.
Elven Sarah - Witty and weird, a bit like me (but witty). Sedgefield - A nice blog, which may have died from meme deficiency... - A great lady had a great blog. Hopefully it returns...
superphase - A stick hero for the masses...
Sadly, we have been given the cold Shoulder. - a great blog from the continent, nice and warm there. - Not indulgent any more.
She Speaks - The star-crossed lover is now silent.
Organic Feminism - A tremendous blog. Even though she calls me Scoots *shudder*
You can no longer get your soup fix from souplover.
I had a great idea for a title on this entry. Then I had another one, and another, but I was still reluctant to discard any of them. So, in the interests of fair play, here they are. All three titles in full:
Tales on Rails
Live Feed: Inner Workings of My Mind (Transcript)
Take your pick, and enjoy...
You know what it's like. You sit down with every intention of writing a blog entry, big cup of coffee, shoes off, toes scrunching the carpet for inspiration, and so on. You really get into it, marvelling at the way the words dance together in a balletic whirl of poetic imagery.
And then someone interrupts. "Do this!" "I need that!" "Pleeease help me with the other!"
And of course, you do. Not because of your deeply altruistic nature, but because you're at work, and the person invading your personal space is your boss.
Now, you log out of the PC while you're away, mainly to avoid the practical jokes involving the for sale board, and so you write your entry in a document. A quick save and you haven't lost a thing. Then when it's ready, you simply cut and paste. None of this "typing the whole blog online, at the mercy of network failures" for you! No sir!
But. There's always a but, I know. But (there's another one) you're never truly prepared for the but when it happens along.
Your "errand" takes so long that when you return to the office, it is shrouded in darkness, as the sun slowly dips below the horizon. You have now joined the hellish Lost Legion of Unpaid Overtime. Obviously you're not going to sit down, log back in, and navigate through the tedium of Outlook. Of course not! You're going to grab your..um...scooter, and get the heck out of there, whilst trying to come to terms with the 2 or 3 hour journey ahead, caused by your late departure.
Then you get on the train, and you remember your FANTASTIC blog.
You won't remember what it was about, merely that it was FANTASTIC! This will drive you mad. At first you decide to recreate it from scraps of memory and bits of fluff from your pocket, but this is an abject failure. Instead you pay homage to your FANTASTIC blog, by writing another one, a META-BLOG, if you will. So, you get out your notebook, reach for your pen and...can't reach it, because it's on your desk at work!
(Actually, that last bit wasn't true. I did have a pen. Thank goodness!)
So I'm writing this on the train. Of course, my creative juices are gushing now, so I've remembered what the other blog was about. I won't spoil it, save to tell you the title: "Whoops! I did it again!" make of that what you will...
The station is now so near I can smell the diesel. however, it won't be near enough to disembark for a good five minutes. Actually, a not so good five minutes... Provided I don't have to wait an eternity at the station, I'll continue once I'm on the train.
I'm waiting at the station, but hopefully for no more than 15 minutes.
Anyway, I know what you're thinking. "Notebook? You don't need a pen for that! Just boot up and start typing!" Well, the contraption I'm using incorporates almost 100% accurate handwriting recognition, is impervious to power cuts, and is near permanent. It has high encryption, called "Spidery handwriting", and uses a technology called "paper".
Ah, the old ones are the best. Well, they're the ones you've heard the most, anyway.
The downside to scrawling my blog entries in the pad is that I have to type it up later (which, in case you haven't realised, is exactly what I'm doing now. Oh, boy, he goes on a bit!)
The Train Announcement Board, or as I like to call it, the Optimist Board, assures me that the train is on its way. I must trust it. Trust the Optimist Board...
"On Time". Oh, the air of mystery those two words convey. The phrase has so many meanings: "Up to 5 minutes early"; "Up to 5 minutes late". Odd how it oh so rarely means "at the correct time".
Never mind. It's warmer in here that on the platform.
I wonder if I need to start a new blog: "Optimism and Disappointment - The Train Blog"?
I wouldn't do anything else. Besides, the rail network has enough critics to be getting on with!
What to write...
I suppose I should talk up the forthcoming FANTASTIC blog, but I'm rubbish as a self-publicist.
Now. There's a puzzler.
I'm sitting across from a blind lady on the train. She's just had a conversation on her mobile (listening for the right numbers when she dials) saying she'll be getting off at the next station. Now I feel like an eavesdropper, but I can see from where I sit that the train door she needs is out of order. Do I tell her anyway?
Answers on a postcard to... No wait. By the time I've typed up the blog, received some postcards, and judged the right course of action, we'll have passed the stop. I'm going to tell her.
Well, I've never done that before. I never instigate a conversation on the train! Ever! She thanked me, declined my offer of guidance to the next door along, and disappeared off down the train. In my experience, people with impairments can be tenaciously independent. I just hope I don't read in the news about a blind lady falling off a train...
The ticket inspector passes.
He would have helped her out if she'd needed it. Still, a selfless act is its own reward. Job done!
See? I'm a nice guy. And there I was feeling cynical about myself. I'll be holding doors open for people next. Damn! I already do that!
Forget everything! I'm a doormat! It's my deeply altruistic nature!
SOME TIME LATER
Why do they call it a scooter? I've been totally unable to achieve anything resembling a scoot, having to settle for a running roll. I think I'll call it a Runner-Roller from now on. The wind changed during the day, so this morning AND this evening I was "scooting" into it; like running on a treadmill, a tremendous amount of energy was expended to travel precisely...not very far at all.
Before the car smash (sounds much more exciting than "accident", and it was) I would wait in endless traffic jams, not very patiently, I might add. Since my average speed has been drastically reduced, I'm now endlessly waiting for my train to arrive, although slightly less impatiently.
I got a lift from one of my colleagues today, and arrived at the station at 5:48, pegged it, and made the platform at 5:51 precisely. The train, due at 5:51, was nowhere to be found. So I'm looking up at the board, impatient, but resigned.
Most of my wages are going to Costa Coffee these days, I expect I'll soon be eligible for a "RESERVED" sign at my usual table! ("usual table", that's bad)
The staff are kindly letting me sit here, even though I finished my Ciocolatta about 15 minutes ago - there's only so long the marshmallows can retain structural integrity. I think my hard-luck story plucked some heartstrings or something!
It's now 18:25. I pray to the god of rail travel that the 18:32 is going to buck the trend, and turn up on time. I have learnt an important lesson about the train schedules, though. Apparently the rail operators have deadlines to adhere to, but these only apply to certain stations. And it's not the station at which I'm currently waiting. Which means they are quite happy to leave a station early, and then hang around at the "deadline" station for 10 minutes so they can leave at the exact time. Good for the operators, good for OFRAIL (or whoever), utterly not good for me.
(There was an announcement, saying that the train would now be leaving from a different platform, so I headed there. When the train arrived, it was at the original platform. I just made it, after a 45 minute wait.)
My sister tried to get out of a drinking frenzy on Friday. "I can't, I'm...ummm...going out for a quiet drink with my brother tonight."
She's a popular girl. The booze-hunters decided to come with us on an orgiastic, alcohol-soaked, hedonistic spree.
I got a phonecall. "Erm...you're coming for a drink tonight..."
So, we met for some drinks. I decided not to have too much, as I can't handle my ale...
So, three pints later, I've reached my limit. I'm playing pool, badly, and everyone is now my best friend.
We go to the next pub, which I have recommended, having been there once before. I head for the toilets, get lost (again), and slip on a beer spillage. The resulting ice dancing is worthy of at least a 5.7, as I manfully struggle to keep upright. However, I am crestfallen at the lack of applause.
We drink that pub dry of its contents, as I put the embarrassing incident behind me. Someone suggests we go to a nightclub, and after half an hour of wandering the streets, we get a taxi to the nearest one.
This place is dark, even for a nightclub. I wander around the dancefloor, gyrating, until my sister tells me I dance like my dad. In a sulk, I go to the toilets in here, hoping for more luck when I return. A rather attractive woman passes me, and my gaze follows her. Then she somehow gets taller, as I find myself in a rather more successful plummet to the ground.
She tripped me!
I can't believe she tripped me!
Unless she built the nightclub, she didn't trip me. I had been so intent on her nice short skirt and cleavage that I wasn't watching for a surprise step up, and I had fallen over that. I got up straight away, but the damage was done. Not only to my elbows and left knee, but my reputation in that part of the nightclub was etched in stone as "That guy who fell over the step."
Now some people might say, "Aww, bad luck, could have happened to anyone," but those people are usually the ones who avoid such trip-related embarrassment, and usually find the whole thing somewhat amusing!
So, I must be a freak. I have a defective gene, which causes me to embarrass myself in public. There can be no other explanation...
1. You have crashed your car. Your only means of getting to work is by train, which leaves you 4 miles away (about an hours walk each way each day). Your sister has an inline scooter she doesn't use.
Do you use the scooter?
What? No? I'm sorry, but you're obviously reading the wrong blog!
OK. Let's assume for the moment you decided to use the scooter.
2. Everyone at work now thinks you're insane. Your boss asks to borrow the scooter. Half an hour later, your boss calls you over to his office, where your colleagues have added their own "enhancements to your scooter: mirror (CD), L Plate (CD), Tassles (god knows), strange emu hood ornament, desk fan (for turbo speed). Also a small sticker on the back which says "When I grow up I want to be a moped."
What do you do?
Well, if you're crazy enough to have answered "yes" to the first one, the second one should be fairly obvious, after you've stopped laughing: Ride it round in its "Souped Up" version, until everyone is utterly confident that you're insane...
Had it out with her, she tells me she still loves me. I tell her I need to think.
I set off for work as usual.
10 minutes down the road, i slide on a patch of unseasonal (and unsportsmanlike) ice at 60. I steer into the skid to try and recover it, but i oversteer, and the car fishtails, before going into a spin. I see the wall down the side of the road looming inexoriably towards me, and then I hit it, squarely. There is a orange flash, instantly followed by darkness.
This only lasts for a moment, but i am filled with a sense of calm after the flurry of activity. I feel the cool PVC of the airbag, soft against my face.
And then daylight returns. The car is turning, although much slower now, and the airbag is deflating, having saved my face from an intimate relationship with the steering wheel. It straightens up and drifts down the centre of the road, slowing all the time. I try to brake or steer, but the driver controls have stopped responding, and I come to rest against a small traffic bollard.
Special thanks to the cyclist who hung around to make sure I was OK, the paramedics, and the police who drove me home. Special fishslaps to the police emergency operator, who couldnt see what all the fuss was about!
The rest of the day is largely uneventful, except that my sister offers to drive me to a guy's house for a short movie preproduction meeting. It should be an hour's journey, but due to some misunderstandings and U-Turns, we get within a mile of the house in 2 hours, before admitting defeat and turning back.
Of course, today I have the prospect of a 40 mile car journey without a car. The journey I have is not intended for those without cars, and every possible obstacle has been placed in my way. Bus, Tram, Train, and shanks' pony must all be employed for this epic journey. Had Gandalf the Grey been faced with such an odyssey, I'm sure he would have sat in thought for a minute, and then said, "I suppose asking those eagles to fly us there is out of the question?"
So, I'm having the kind of week they make movies about (Coming Soon - "Bad Week II - This time it's personal"). I'll make a movie about it. Provided I make it to next Monday ;)
No poem today. I'll write one on the train. Or the bus. Or the tram.
About a month ago, I had an epiphany. I'm not a technical person. Fair enough, I almost hear you mumble, lots of us aren't. But I've been working in IT now for nearly 15 years, and I've finally put my finger on why I hate every job I've done.
I'm an intelligent chap (I've got the bruises to prove it!), and so I've never really struggled with turning my hand to things; music, writing, computers, etc. And there lies the problem. I've found computers easy without really trying, and so it never occurred to me that it wasn't a strength. I read an excellent book by Robert Youngson called The Madness of Prince Hamlet and other extraordinary states of mind, and it gave me an insight into the workings of my own mind (thanks, Bob!). I discovered that the solutions to creative problems come to me instinctively, but with technical problems, I work out the same thing in my head every time. So I'm quitting my job to return to college as soon as it's practical. I needed a career change anyway!
But this got me thinking. What are the mental requisites for a master criminal? Do they match mine? Perhaps I've missed my calling yet again, and I should be the scourge of New Scotland Yard! Never mind, I'll stay on this side of the law for now!!
My throat is tighter than it used to be, these days;
My eyes are moister, glistening in other ways.
When I was young I never knew the word "Goodbye",
And people I had not met couldn't make me cry.
My soul was full before and now there's emptiness;
Although I have more friends it feels like there are less.
For deep inside there is a hole the shape of you,
And though the edges blur it always will be true.
I must fill holes like this or I might fall apart,
But when the hole is fresh I don't know where to start;
Though now I feel so cold I'm like a winter breeze,
In time I'll stop the gap with cherished memories.
Despite my grief I still can think of you and smile,
To feel the glow of knowing you a little while.
One day I know the icy pain will start to thaw,
And I'll be happy knowing we will cry no more.
I wrote this after hearing of the death of someone I knew a little over the net. I decided not to refer to him by name, as it might distance a reader from the emotion.
(incidentally, to follow up the previous entry, it took three and a half hours to get home last night...)
Started my new job yesterday. I was pretty nervous, and after an unfortunate experience with the road network, I decided to set off at 7, giving me two whole hours to travel the 40 miles. And so I set my alarms for 6:20 and 6:30.
I've always had a love-hate relationship with alarm clocks. I think the problem is that I find the alarm noises soothing, and so I never get up with just one. When I was at college I had a TV alarm clock over my bed, about 4 feet above the bed. Somehow I would turn the alarm off in my sleep, and miss my lectures...
I woke up and dragged myself out of bed, got myself together, and managed to leave for 6:55.
I arrived at 8:50.
Uh-oh, I thought. I've some 8-4 days to work. I'm gonna have to set off at 6!
So this morning I tried setting off at 6. I used a small crane to lift me out of bed at 6, and stumbled around, bumping into doors, walls, whathaveyou, and set off at 6:20, a personal best!
I arrived at 7:30.
Most people will be perplexed at this, but those of you from the Manchester area will nod sagely...
As promised, another poem...
Worlds Apart, Worlds Together
I reach for your hand,
It feels cold, glassy
Like you're absent.
The keys are rough beneath
My love through the screen.
Our bodies mingle;
Inside a wire.
A copper strand
between us both,
that links our chained hearts.
The eye of the storm,
Where love is born.