Archive of October 2008

October 26

A little light religion (honestly!)….

Has it really just been a week since I last made a “religious” post?, It seems so.  This is quite a time of change, and the clocks moving from BST to GMT accentuates that to me.  But I want to share a couple of aphorisms and a context that gives them a more serious context.  So again this will be one of the more (gently) didactic posts. 

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To start with the light side - two jokes:-

What do you get if you cross a Druid with a Bhuddist?

a. Someone who hugs trees that are not there.

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There is a Bhuddist monk on vacation in New York,  He goes up to a Hot Dog vendor and says, “Make me one with everything”.

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OK three jokes technically!:-

The hot dog salesman takes the £100 bill the monk offers and passes him the hot dog with all the trimmings.  The monk waits and then says, “Where’s my change?” to which the vendor replies, “The only change can come from within”.

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Now, I share these not just because I think they are very funny, but to make an observation.  I think I may tell both these jokes to someone next time they ask if I am a Quaker.  If they laugh at neither I shall not try to answer their question, but enquire as to their spiritual progress.  If they laugh at the Druid one only I shall proceed with caution.  If they laugh at both I shall enquire which they prefer, and should it be the Druid one I shall proceed with caution, but if they prefer the Hot Dog joke I shall observe that our humour is as one and they may be closer to Quakerism than they know!

On a seperate subject I apologise for the number of posts which were purely about the site breaking - and I am going to set a lot of them private now - so the detrirus may no longer be visible.

There are also to be some odd posts coming in Movember connected with my NaNoWriMo project, but I have decided to separate these by making them an unusual time - so more than three years away from the here and now, that may confuse you at first, but hopefully shall become clear!

 

Addendum:- My plan seems flawed in it’s thinking having told the jokes to a number of Quaker acquaintances with varying results now!

 

05:44 PM | 0 Comments | Tags: , , ,
October 19

A little light religion

Yes, maybe that is a touch tautological, maybe antonymic (bit of a contradiction in terms) but then that depends on where you are coming from spiritually.  For many faiths light and religion go hand in glove anyway.  In any case, it's Sunday and I'd like to try to lift my head above the domestic disharmony that overshadowed the weekend (nothing serious, just seven year old tantrums and stuff) so for better or worse here is my stab at a post aimed in a vaguely spiritual direction.

A little while ago I "dugg" this article which I somehow googled towards (Disclaimer; that is not my newspaper of choice, and I have no recollection how I chanced on the article).  It prompted me to muse a little on human nature and how Religion and society interact.  I'm participating in a series of Sunday sessions entitled "twelve Quakers and..." which tonight is dealing with "... and God". No doubt that played a part in my looking into the article.  Quakers often have issues with the big G in God and the big R in Religion.  Although Wikipedia defines Quakerism as fundamentally a Christian faith there's actually a bit of a schism over that, with the Universalist Quaker Fellowship at one end of the spectrum and "evangelical" Quakers at the other.  I'll confess I once made a wiki edit to remove Quakers from the Christian category of religions, but it did not even last 12 hours!  Guess that tells you which end of the spectrum I am at (either that or I'm a bit of an anarchist)!.

Coming back to the article, it seems Dorothy Rowe has quite a back catalogue of self-help psychology publications, but this is surely a piggie back on the Richard Dawkins book.  I was most provoked by her assertion that "No religion accepts us as the person we know ourselves to be" because I cannot think of anything that jars more with my Quaker faith!  Of course there does remain the question of how far I "know myself", but setting that to one side I do feel accepted as I am within the Religious Society of Friends.  It is interesting how something has to be provocative to get the thought process going.

I know what she is referring to and I can recognise it in many faiths, particularly fundamentalist ones, but to me this is almost the antithesis of religion.  At the very least it surely shows sloppy thinking on her part?  I do enjoy examining religion from a polytheist or atheist point of view though.  I find it more spiritual and thought provoking than any belief in certainties.

When I tell people I am a Quaker I have to prepare myself for questions like "are you a Christian?" and "what do you believe in?" and "Do you believe in God?" and my responses have evolved and are always changing.  I've never really tried a silent response, the Quaker silence can freak some people out and in this context would be misconstrued.  Early on I might proffer a few Fox quotes like we believe "in that of God in everyone".  I have cited the example of a Quaker who got into a heated parking space dispute before Meeting and when asked - "But how can you fight with me over this space, you're a Quaker?" replied with - "Yes!  That's WHY I'm a Quaker!".  I have tried talking about the sharing of common values (like peace, simplicity, community, discernment, charity).  I have been prepared not to snigger or take offense when people think I am Amish or that I can be polygamous (both have occured!).  People become confused by our lack of sacraments, it seems they need a certain amount of "smoke and mirrors" before they can regard something as "religious".  I think Quakers hold the totallity of life as their sacrament, and since that makes religion somewhat all-pervasive it becomes hard for others to recognise.  I guess it makes Quakers particularly sensitive to Ellas position rather than Siegfrieds?  But the majority of Quakers are very much empowered and driven to aspire to change things in this life, so I think the comparison with Ella ends there.

I am now considering remembering this quote and citing it as the antithesis of what Quakerism means to me.  Perhaps the approach of telling people what Quakers are NOT, whilst exhausting, might be more productive in the long term than trying to sum up what we ARE?  I already see a pitfall though, because the mis-conception that I find the most irritating about Quakers is the commonly held belief that we are "wishy washy" or somehow will not commit or be pinned down on what we do believe.  This misconception is even harder to correct because, believe it or not, Quakers are highly mistrustful of words when it comes to spiritual matters.  If you look into Quaker history you'll soon see they are people of action not afraid to commit and usually highly principled (EG if called to "take an oath" in court Quakers would refuse, George Fox having set a Quaker precedent).

This has probably been one of my longer posts.  I hope it did not seem like a sermon!

I have not adopted one of those blogging "code of ethics"; so I'll say here that any comment other than spam will be allowed to stand.  You can even say "God's a s**t", but that will not be very original in this context!.

You will sometimes find me indulging in a little light word play (as when I began this post).  That is part of the reason I added Wordie to the sidebar.  Similarly the Digg flash widget is partly there so that I can "Digg" things I want to flag as possible future post material.  I would appreciate feedback if anyone finds the site becoming too cluttered - already I think I have reached the limit and possibly exceeded it.  My thinking on that subject is that since many of the extras are there to be handy for me as much as any reader I may have two different sidebars and only load the "bloated" one when someone is logged in - that way first time visitors and casual readers will not be troubled by my twittering or "Digging" etc.  Those that want the extras can log in to get them.

Right - well that will give me some coding to play around with tonight, after me and my Friends have discussed our views on God!  Incidentally God is big enough that we do him for two months in a row!

By the way (if any readers are left!) I'm also aiming to upgrade my Chyrp! Blog software to v2rc2 this week - I'll try to put up a "back soon" page while the work is in progress... But I know I don't have THAT many readers just yet!

12:12 PM | 0 Comments | Tags: , , , , , ,
October 17

Fiction Friday writing

The bottle had been on display for a long time.  Before that the bottle had spent even longer languishing in a dark cellar far away, gathering dust and allowing its contents to complete their final fermentation.  Now the bottle was at last selected proudly by the self-styled 'Wine Wizard' and lovingly rolled on the counter, wrapping it within a cocoon of tissue.

"I think you'll be happy with your choice sir", said the Wine Wizard with a satisfied smile.

"I'm sure you're right, after all it is for a special occasion" answered Jeremy, offering his credit card to complete the transaction.  He would not normally be so extravagant, but it was their anniversary and he longed to please Sarah, particularly since she has invited family for dinner this evening.  When he asked for several bottles the Wine Wizards proprietor had assured him it was not pretentious to serve a magnum sized bottle and that in fact it was quite practical since one only had one bottle to open and the table was less cluttered too.

"Let me know how you liked it next time you are in" said the 'Wizard'.

"Oh, I shall", answered Jeremy as he took the proffered bottle and headed for the door.

Arriving home Jeremy placed the bottle on the counter top in the kitchen and unwrapped it.  The label and the opaque gleam gave the bottle an air of authority added to by it's impressive size.  He thought there would be no need for a centrepiece to the table with this in place.  Surveying the table, already laid when he set out for the wine, and savouring the smells of his cooking which were filling the house he felt a welling up of the love he had for his wife of ten years, Sarah.

The bottle was placed in the centre of the table, atop a cork mat with a napkin close by to help with the pouring.  The cork had been removed just beforehand, a long strenuous pull and a satisfying plop as Jeremy eased it out and released the aroma of the wine within.  Six places were laid around the table, and each had both water and wine glasses.  Both Sarah's and Jeremy's parents were seated at the table, happily exchanging stories of their holidays and remarking on how happy their childrens' marriage seemed.

Sarah smiled at Jeremy in the kitchen, watching him busily ferrying the hot food from the oven to the serving bowls.  She was fetching the bread and water, an excuse to check how he was coping.  The kitchen was normally her domain and she found it hard to give up control.  Her smile was slightly forced, she found these family gatherings a strain and would like a glass of wine to settle her nerves.  Every time the parents gathered she was painfully aware that another year had passed and still she could not seem to give them all what she felt they longed for as much as she did; a child.

Settling the last of the dishes on the table, Jeremy reached over the table and picked up the magnum bottle with relish.  It was natural for him to be showing off a little.  Not every day did he get the chance to make the kitchen his own and cook a dinner.  Without asking he poured everyone a glass of the ruby liquid from the bottle.  The heady aroma of hearty red wine was added to the appetizing smell of his cooking.  Sitting at the head of the table he raised his glass and toasted, "To friends and family, present and future!".  He saw the smile freeze on Sarahs lips and knew he had touched a nerve again.  Cursing himself silently he swallowed his wine and carved the meat, filling the plates carefully.

The meal progressed and the conversation flowed more freely as did the wine.  Step by step the bottles contents lowered until finally it was emptied completely, leaving a faint mottled stain of sediment, the mark of a quality wine.  Jeremy and Sarah could not bring themselves to part with the bottle after the meal, when they had seen their parents to the door.  In any case they knew it would not fit in the recycling bin, which only had an opening for regular sized bottles.  That night their passion seemed almost fuelled to new heights by the wine, which had been both better and more plentiful than they were used to.  Perhaps it was that, perhaps it was because they forgot they were "trying for a baby", or perhaps it was blind luck, but that night Sarah conceived.

Two years later the bottle is still a treasured object in the household - though it is now placed high on the mantel to be safe from the explorations of the young Phillip.  He seems to get everywhere now he was just started walking, but the gleaming bottle on the mantel shelf will always hold a special place in the house, though it is unlikely Phillip shall ever learn why it is quite so special for his mother and father.

11:16 AM | 5 Comments | Tags: , ,
October 15

Blaming Poverty on the Poor

 

Give us your deprived, your malleable muddled masses 
hoping for a gentler taskmaster 
Welcome to the multi-trillion dollar industry, Poverty 
A.K.A, cheapest labor force 

Poverty works, never ever unemployed 
A much needed commodity to justify 
White-collar crime classes 
Teaching dastardly deeds—to procure monetary needs- 
fostering avarice greed 

Give us your deprived, your malleable muddled masses 
hoping for a gentler taskmaster 
Welcome to the multi-trillion dollar industry, Poverty 
A.K.A., cheapest labor force 

Poverty creates jobs for those financing the societal 
Institution of ya godda pay more taxes 
Blaming Poverty on the poor 
Look! what Enron did to those less fortunate 
Blaming Poverty on the poor 

Did not corporations want a billion dollar welfare check 
Blaming Poverty on the poor 
Blaming Poverty on the poor 

Give us your deprived, your malleable muddled masses 
hoping for a gentler taskmaster 
Welcome to the multi-trillion dollar industry, Poverty 
A.K.A., cheapest labor force 

No penance just punishment augmenting the pillar of economic pillaging 
Poor people put in the pillory from the political pulpit 

Poverty is prime property 
Poverty pimps portrayed as political preachers purely punitive but polite 
The pluralization of Poverty provides prestige of the patricians 

Poverty, the promissory note from the bureaucratic infidel 
The Truth will tell—the truth will tell 
Poverty the patriotic prisoner on trial for treason 

Copyright 2001 
 
Josephine DixonBanks 

10:40 PM | 1 Comment | Tags: , ,
October 13
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October 10

Fiction Friday post

I was just notified of something called "Fiction Friday" via my Write Anything feed.  So I thought I would spare five or ten minutes and see what I came up with to participate.  The results are below, and I have abided by the rules they are just as I wrote them.  I'll reread it sometime whan and if I get any comments.

Alice tried to remember who had given her the key but as she felt the smoothly worn edge and the smooth leather fob against her palm she was reassured by the weight of it.  Depressing the button at the other end of the key and activating the wireless signal the thrill ran through her in seeming reponse to the signal as she saw the yellow blinking that signalled to her which car unlocked.  She approached the gleaming yellow sports car with a sense of mounting excitement, although she was in her thirty second year she had never driven any kind of performance car before.  But here before her, crouching like an animal ready to pounce, was a Lotus Elise.

The door openned easily and she lowered herself carefully to the interior.  At once she was aware of being extremely close to the surface of the garage, and of reclining far more than she was used to.  The atmosphere within the car intensified as she closed the door and slid the safety belt over her body to secure herself.  Sliding the key home and turning it she could feel her pulse quicken.  As the key turned the car seemed to come to life before her, flickering indications of readiness showing themseves on the dashboard.  She turned the key before she lost her nerve and the engine caught immediately.  Tentatively she allowed her foot to press the accelerator and the response was a throaty growl and a vibration through the bodywork that hinted already of a controlled power, she thought to herself that perhaps this feeling was what people meant when they spoke of the "need for speed".

Alice lowered the handbrake and slipped the clutch to engage the power as she accelerated.  The effect was immediate and breathtaking; pushed back into her seat the car gave every appearance of eating the road ahead with a ravenous appetite.  She slipped immediately into second gear and steered her way down the ramp to leave the garage and join the highway.  Then moving through the gears she rapidly picked up speed and exhilarated in the grace of the car as it clung to the road and made light work of every twist and turn despite the increasingly rapid progress she was making.

Alice could not remember who had given her the key, and it no longer seemed to matter to her, she immersed herself in the pure exhilaration of moving through the world as quickly, precisely, and smoothly, as she could.  She would remember when the drive ended.  She would find out who gave her the key then drive to them - but for now she was lost in the experience of the drive.  They say life is not a destination but a journey.  For these moments Alice's life existed purely in the travelling and all her other thoughts were cast aside.

08:55 PM | 5 Comments | Tags: ,
October 08

Work, friends, and charity.

Today was undeniably a good day.  After taking my daughter to school and almost being late on account of a missing school jumper which was discovered at the eleventh hour to have been discarded under the hand brake the previous afternoon I meandered along to do a little work.  When I say work, this is not what you could call employment.  Once a week or so I help out a retired gentleman who is coming to grips with a laptop, email, and the internet.  He has made great strides and when I arrived was grappling with the BBC's radio "listen again" service.  I had thought this would be of interest to him earlier, so it was nice to see he had found the facility for himself.  A shame only one of the programs he wanted seemed to be available, we had to report the other missing.

On getting home I was getting ready to cycle over to Islington for a lunch with Marmite Lover, when I took a 'phone call.  I thought it would be a friend calling me back, but it turned out to be a telephone fund raising canvasser for the Childrens Society, whom I used to donate to in the past (when I was working).  I'm not ex-directory, but I had moved so I was mildly impressed they were organised enough to follow up on that.  I explained my circumstances, but at the same time the lady was most persuasive and told me that every five minutes a child "runs away".  I did say that I was not sure about statistics and that perhaps some of these children were not runaways, but returned home.  In any event, when there is no money coming in there is no money to give out, but I said I would give what I could as and when I could.  It occurred to me that something I could do was invite others to give though, so I promised her I would put a button and a link on my blog. So I have. It is there now.

It was a glorious day for cycling, bright sun but not too warm.  So the ride across London was a real pleasure.  I always try to vary my route and crossed Waterloo Bridge heading out and Blackfriars on my return.  Thanks to a mislaid Oyster card I had some time to kill around Chapel Street Market and managed to find a few things I needed going cheap.  Retail therapy always works best for me in charity shops and the like.  On this occasion I acquired some specs to keep the dust out when I cycle, a DVD for my daughter, some bargain teaspoons I can use for her packed lunches, and believe it or not my first Christmas present purchase!  I felt quite bad about that, it used to be a golden rule for me not to buy any presents or much else Christmas related until my birthday had passed on the twelth.  In any case, my daughters mum will be getting a bright pink labelling gizmo, which is brand new in a blister pack and was going for a fiver in a charity shop.  I always check out the charity shops in the more affluent areas, usually they have rich pickings.  An ex acquired me a leather jacket that way for five or ten pounds in Kensington and it's still going strong ten years on.

Sunshine and a half of beer and the prospect of lunch meant I was in a good mood when Marmite Lover turned up.  It's the first time I have met a fellow denizen of the blogosphere and it was great fun. Lunch was a pleasant Chinese buffet with some green tea.  We had plenty to talk about and a lot of shared memories.  I think she is the first person I have met who also saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show in the Kings Road with Tim Curry and Meatloaf.  My uncle took me when I was fourteen and I'm not sure I appreciated it at the time, but I do now.  We had even both had an American Burger nearby, back then such things were a novelty in London, perhaps simply from being similar ages and having parents who let us do pretty much what we wanted to.  We talked about all sorts of things, I found myself telling stories about my youth which I thought were fairly hum drum.  I'm not sure if that was just because to me they are old tales, things I have told friends and people before.  Perhaps to me these memories have become dulled by time.  She was quick to point out to me though that this would make really good subject matter for blog postings.  I cannot help but agree, there is no substitute for hearing from a reader, and another blogger probably gives you some real ideas.  I tend to regard her own blog as a pretty good role model for any aspiring blogger.

I have offered my technical assistance for adding buttons or widgets to her blog.  Of course the setup for Blogger.com is probably more restrictive than my own arrangement with the site hosted on my own server, but I can try out things and see what works.  I like it when I can offer to help people in return for their feedback.  The world would go around a lot more smoothly with a little more cooperation and a little less competition I think.  I keep draft posts pinned on my blog with lists of things it occurs to me to poat about.  These lists seem to get longer and longer though!  Immediately I got back from lunch I dashed off a list of some eight ideas, all of which had come up in conversation over lunch.  So I shall be aiming to make a few nostalgic posts in the future, to ge out of the rut of the hum drum accounts of another day.  Today was a good day and I wanted to just write about it.  It's really nice when you think you've found a new friend.  It's really nice when the sun shines on you.  And it's nice when you feel that your efforts are actually getting you somewhere.

Tomorrow I have to sign on.... I have been wondering what they would say at the job centre in November if I told them I was writing a novel when they asked how my job hunt was going?  I am still not receiving my full benefits despite sending a statement to Belfast THREE times... this is since July, so I am hoping they will backdate it whenever they finally deal with my revised circumstances.

10:27 PM | 0 Comments | Tags: , ,

Historic things to blog about

things to blog about:-

toggle sidebar blog ides - chyrp?

BUGLIFE

German architecture - cf gaudi

Liz Williams

Humans will not evolve further

tag maelstrom

possessive girlfriends

three strikes and you're in (my blogroll)

hrabbit quote (extract kids) - bash.org (to links)

Site "Easter eggs" (CF XFN friendly tag on blogroll)

libraries - Indie online 9/10

thought for the day 8/10 - "forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors" (CF - fRA blog post)

Orange prize and gender bias in publishing (CF blogging)

poetryiamwriting site idea

Google cautionary tale - Edith!

Ephemera (poem) - scattered poem linkage...

Chomosomal inheritance (boys like mother, girls like father)

procrastination versus reward

out of work

flavours of blog

process of writing (Esp. preparation VIZ NaNoWriMo)

http://www.juliettepochin.com/

Parenting and benefit and me

New Deal - parenting thing, highly political, outsourcing - not 10% but 40%

Childrens time perception and heartbeat etc

cybersex stuff - http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/features/cybersex-rules-inside-the-world-of-lsquoteledildonics-1027699.html

The Archers

CD prism stack/rainbow pic (Chirp blog?)

Twitter - feed/guide http://www.caroline-middlebrook.com/blog/twitter-guide/

comments system (WHEN if overhaul especially)

EVEN OLDER (Historic in terms of my life)

Dizzies boogie woogie

Great gigs I have known (oh so many!)

Hood fair

Roger Wilkins cider farm and Joe Strummer

Roundhouse days

 - overheads

 - naked man art

Rocky Horror in Kings Road

Meeting John Lydon

The Glastonbury bread man?  That was me!

Mental health and asylum years

cycling stories (London to Plymouth and London to Brighton)

Carl North

 

 

05:58 PM | 2 Comments | Tags: ,

Thoughts on being "published"

Why the quotes, you may ask?  Well, I have been thinking that writing a blog is a little similar to zero-cost vanity pubishing.  A large part of the impetus for me to start blogging came from a desire to have some sort of motivation for me to write.  I plan to participate in NaNoWriMo and am hoping that after November I shall continue to write.  One of my poems (albeit a piece of doggerel) has already appeared in my blog.  I have addd a number of links to writers resources to my links page and several on my blogroll are there in connection with writing.

But despite all of that my feelings about being published are ambivalent and contradictory. I will openly admit that I pretty much detest J.K. Rowling.  She and Jodi Piccoult might make good examples to typify publication that I feel sense of dismay rather than any cause for celebration.  I do not see them as role model authors, though many would (presumably their agents especially!).  J.M. Coetze, Joseph Heller, the late Kurt Vonnegut, and even Hemmingway and the like - these I hold in high regard.  But they did not shy away from publication.  Perhaps it is a luxury and a vanity to shun publication?  Perhaps I have some weird snobbery going on?

If I dig further back I hold as examples of greatness Swift, Shakespeare, and Goethe. Shakespeares primary medium was the play and for a play to be properly appreciated it must be performed.  For it to be performed publication is more or less required, though I am sure there are plenty of examples of plays being performed and passed on from word of mouth, but is that not a form of oral publication?  Swifts primary mediums were essays and books, and he has a much sharper political and journalistic mind, but there is no doubt he was a brilliant writer. I do not have any particularly negative figures in the past, perhaps they did not stand the test of time?  Will JK Rowling be remembered as more than a footnote in literature come 2200?  Only time shall tell and neither you nor I will ever know.

But thinking on these examples gives me some clue, and actually modifies my feelings about publication.  I recently attended a library visit by a recently published author.  She talked of her experience of the writing process.  Asides from a few cliches which she glossed over like "writing about what you know" I was rather engaged by her description of the process she experience - how she would always dedicate fixed time and attempt to engage in conversations with the characters in her novel, how she felt when she found herself dreaming of the characters, certain motifs and activities, such as the clothes and cooking in the book.  Overall it was a vivid description of not just creating and not especially crafting the book, but rather of animating, of bringing to life.  So surely a books life is incomplete if it belongs only to the author? Surely that is a little like Schroedingers cat and how can one know there is a novel in there or not?  Does not a piece of writing exist only in the mind, and is not the art of it for the writer to have something in their mind and then create something in the minds of the readers?

So perhaps publication is a "necessary evil"?  At least that's my thinking at the moment, that I need to overcome my scruples/foibles/reservations and embrace the possibility of publication wholeheartedly.  After all the prospect is quite likely a remote one.  And a pen name is always a possibility.... I think on making this post it becomes apparent that it is not the actual publication that bothers me, and hopefully not the associated criticism, I think it is the fear of being popular and populist.  I want my writing to transcend that.  But I do not want it to be especially exclusive.  Were I gifted enough, disciplined enough, and dedicated enough with a real talent then I would aspire towards being a poet perhaps, and I believe poetry lives more in the recitation that on the page.  I believe we all have to recite a poem as we read it to grasp it.  I enjoy poetry enough when it is done well to know that my talents in that regard are very limited and I am easily daunted by the prospect of attempting to produce something I feel deserves to be published.

I hope I shall not develop similar feelings about whatever writing I produce from NaNoWriMo.  We shall see.

12:20 AM | 1 Comment | Tags: , , ,
October 07

Publication musings

I came across this post from Belletristic Blogette and it got me thinking.  I am proposing to do a great deal of writing in the rest of this year, but how do I feel about publication and what are my motives and expectations.

I have recently gathered that writers seeking publication are supposed to cultivate "a platform" - perhaps my blog will become that?  Something to bear in mind for the future...

 

11:57 PM | 0 Comments | Tags: ,

Is it a blog without words?

No, I think not.  I think then it turns into a tumblelog or a stumbleupon or something.  So despite the late hour I shall pen a few words.  Today I think, fingers crossed, I have got the blogroll sorted, after more hours than I care to mention tinkering with the php.  It was a simple change, but took me an age.  Anyway, now I can order my blogroll as I choose and hopefully that will be the last we hear on the matter.  I seems to have my personal email is available to me again… But I seem to have to use Thunderbird to access it.  Which is no bad thing. It is a mystery what caused the blip, but I suspect the DNS changes which gave my blog quite a blip too.

Below you will see there has been a bit of a media explosion.  I got my mobile lead and a webcam back, so was able to upload the pics I mentioned from the carnival and capture my awful [Wordia] candidate entry for the word didactic.  The site seems to have some sort of problems, so the upload is not happening, but  it is there on YouTube and maybe it will get to Wordia someday, if they answer my question.

I've also spent a little time on my NaNoWriMo account and that's on the sidebar now too.  The aim is that I am going to write a novel in November.  I had an idea today, the only one so far for the writing.  It is just the germ of an idea at the moment.  I'm not sure if it will bear fruit.  My hope is that I could make a plot device or take some liberties with the literary form to intertwine a blog as a narrative device within a novel. As you may guess the idea is to make that blog actually be this one!  This would be a neat trick as it would mean I can continue to blog whilst working on the novel, and all the words here would also count towards the 50,000 required for NaNoWriMo.  It may make for an unusual blog archive for the month of November, we'll have to see how I can develope the idea.

Incidentally there's a spin off from NaNoWriMo calle NaBloPoMo... I'm still not sure about that one.  Perhaps I shall add it to the sidebar and participate.  It would be easy to do so during November, which is also their main month.  They just want a blog post every day for a month.  During the current month there is a theme and you are invited to blog on the subject of "voting".  I took the view this was a very American take on things and I would not like to be restricted in my blogging scope that way for a month.  But during November I gather there is no thematic requirement, so I may be up for that.

One of the reasons it is so late as to make this post dated the 7th is that  I had choir practice this evening.  I have added a brief excerpt from the piece, though this does not include the choral parts I have to sing it is quite beautiful.  If you'd like to hear the full recording it is available at the moment from a subsidiary page which you could hunt out via the ABOUT ME links, but I keep the audio on the blog shorter than the 130MB download the complete concert takes!

That's about it; a busy day all round.

01:01 AM | 0 Comments | Tags: , , ,
October 04

Posting from a Library...

Right now I am in Castle Carey for the Childrens carnival later today. I shall try to get pictures onto my phone for later… it could be quite visually pleasing if the rain keeps off! This goes to show the blog addiction has hit hard, even though this offers a lovely quiet respite from the inevitable family drama as a bonus! I brought my laptop, but to hope for wireless access was expecting too much (it is pretty much a small rural town).

Anyway, with the country air I arose early. My father is quite the eccentric (you can see him and some of his poems from the "about me" link if you click on far enough and he has been moved to more traditional housing than his old beach hut on wheels!). So in his new abode he insists that visitors leave something in a Visitors Book provided for the purpose.

Arising early I found this book and the muse struck. Occasionally I may feature a poem in my Blog. BUT I am determined that it should not become exclusively a poetry nor exclusively a writing blog… So they will be tagged and archived in a manner of my choosing from time to time….

If there is no poem in this post it has obviously been done…. Likely gone on to a better place… But for the moment you will find it below:-

LOVE OF A POET
==============

Never love a poet
To love one is absurd
A poets love entirely
Being given to the word

Bad poets write of love
A moral for my daughter
Good poets love themselves
Like a fish loves water

The didactic part comes now
Not of love and not of poet
Of happiness and loving life
The poetry's in how you show it!

PAW 4/10/2008

Feeling bashful now - sigh.

As I say - you may have noticed a previous post that has now self-destucted, well think of that poem as being written in an ink that fades very fast, because it too will join collected and selected ephemera in the ether at a future time. Of course copies may have been taken, but I don't want to think about that… I'm weird and shy that way.

I am quite happy to blog and reveal my identity within the blog, but when it comes to publication in any traditional sense I would prefer a "nom de plume". If anyone cares to suggest suitable pen names in comments - that could be fun, perhaps. But please, no Tadalafil based etymology or themes! Oh I just thought, I really need to avoid mentioning the C word, V word or any other pharmacopoeia or else the spiders are going to mark me down down down!

I notice now that being in the library with a timer on my connection really focusses the mind! Perhaps I need to start introducing a fake similar system at home? No question of idling off away to tweaking little corners of the site or googling weird wikipedian linkage chains. Speaking of which I have turned on a Wiki markup (you'll find an example on the ABOUT DIDACTIC link for the word didactic). I've tried to make one on this post too (in the previous paragraph, for Tadalafil), but the internet and browser setup here may make this tricksome.

My next poem was intended to be titled "Ethereal Ephemera", but the muse does not respect my future titles and plans. So there we are. Or here we are.

I can certainly feel the chill of the new season with October, added to the chill of the countryside away from the city heat. The children taking part in the carnival should be fine however - the theme is "Teddy Bears Picnic" and they are all wearing furry outfits… This time the great family drama (there is ALWAYS one) was brewing about the "float" trolley upon which my great niece Jessica (13 months) is due to perch… Anyway, my father has become the grumpiest bear in town with the sorest head…. and now refuses to push the trolley or even lend them his drill to finish the work!!

Sigh - and now I have to proof read, correct, and return to the melée!

Thank goodness I can return to domestic blogging come Sunday night, only 30 hours of this to go!

 

11:38 AM | 0 Comments | Tags: , , , ,
October 03

Spam wonderful spam

OK so I just got my first comment spam.,... sort of makes me want to hide my blog under a frigging great bushel!  There's a positive side to everything though - and in this case it made me reread my first ever blog entry and particularly the closing remark... which was actually linked to this idea.  Now please bear with me, because what I should ideally like to do is take the concept to a whole new level.. in an ideal world I would like to promote people using words like obfuscate and defenestrate (someone should throw that word out the window, it's hardly ever useful!) into some other league at the same time as banning people who use any form of textual contraction (I refuse to say tee ex tee talk!).  So we form a new dictionary to assess literary intellectual achievement and build a meritocracy from it.. but how do we keep the scrabble players and chimpanzees out?  I need to think more.... NO I need to think less... Oh I am not sure... I'll be offline at the weekend and suffering withdrawal symptoms - if I can get online in Glastonbury it will be thanks to a ley line or two and I'll have to blog about them I suppose...  Oh dear I smell burning... which reminds me I am hungry!  I am serious here... this is not like the guy in IRC who announces the house is on fire!  Honest!  Anyway.... collective noun googling is not recommended for your mental health - but this was mildly amusing.  Wieder sehen pets!

12:33 AM | 0 Comments | Tags: , , , ,

Wench: Endearment or Insult?

Hill Avenue County Primary School Unofficial School Song 1970 (To the tune of Oh My Darling Clementine)

Build a bonfire, build a bonfire Put the teachers on the top Put the wenches1 on the bottom And burn the blum'in2 lot.

  1. With gusto
  2. or 'bloody' if feeling particularly brave and grown up

Here at Yampy we are planning to introduce pages specific to our male and female visitors respectively.

Question - could we, following the example of many a Black Country Pub loo sign, call the sections 'Chaps' and 'Wenches'?

The problem is the 'wench' word. To many locals it has always simply meant 'girl', and is just as likely to be used by a woman as a man. On the Black Country Bugle's home page for example, the writer calls herself a true Black Country wench. However, outside the West Midlands the word has had several connotations, including:

1) A girl or (young) woman

2) The same, but probably of low, peasant, or servant status

3) A 'wanton woman'

4) A black woman (U.S.)

The origin of wench is Anglo-Saxon; wencel, meaning child. It probably derives from the Old German winchan, to stagger or totter. Originally, it was applied to either sex, as was 'maid' (remember your old school German lessons, wondering why 'Maedchen' was a neuter noun?) and even 'girl'; to Chaucer, a 'yonge-girl' could easily be a boy, and a 'knave-girl' certainly was.

Shakespeare used the - by now exclusively female - word more than eighty times, often preceded by an adjective denoting occupation (kitchen wench, oyster wench, flax wench), desirability (fair hot wench, lusty wench) or insult (base wench, unstanched wench). The influence of Shakespeare's works no doubt helped wench to dissolve into a number of different meanings.

By the end of the 19th Century, wench was being defined as "now chiefly used derogatorily, and the word wenching is quite offensive.." but "..in the Midland counties, when a peasant addresses his wife as 'my wench', he expresses endearment" (E Cobham Brewer). Thus the Black Country has gradually become isolated in retaining the original sense of the word.

Recently, feminists have picked up on the various uses of wench as a short-hand for men's perceptions of them ; at www.wench.com, the editors note that the range of definitions of wench as young, servant, and slut, are an indication of men's conflicting expectations. Indeed, most internet search listings for wench appear to relate to the 'serving wench' costumes that hang alongside 'naughty nurses' and 'schoolgirls' uniforms in sex shops.

Speaking as a born and bred Black Country chap, I have never heard men use wench with any deliberately derogatory intention, or as a sexual slur. For me, as a child it was a collective noun for a completely alien species; there was Robert, Eric, David, etc., and then there were the wenches. Later, it was simply an informal term for women.

Indeed, it could be argued that there isn't a better word for a young adult female, since 'girl' is sometimes considered patronising. On a recent television programme debating women in the army, a kindly but crusty old male officer was castigated by a member of the audience for referring to his female soldiers as his 'girls'.

"You wouldn't call your male troops 'my boys' would you?" she asked accusingly.

"Er, yes, that's exactly what I call them" he replied, with a quizzical look, as if wondering if he had somehow got off at the wrong stop and the world had carried on by.

I was pleased to learn from my 16 year old son that at Dormston School wench is still in common use, often meaning 'girl-friend' ("'Oy Kieran that's yower wench over theyaa ay it?"). But ultimately, a word means what a person who hears it thinks it means

yampy.co.uk

12:16 AM | 0 Comments | Tags:
October 01

My site of the day today!

*sigh* well this WAS going to be a more exciting post than it is turning out...

You see I heard of this innovative new dictionary site from the Indie today, which in it's online incarnation seems to be throwing out early editions with 'net related news stories a lot these days.  Anyway, the concept is a simple but sort of fun one.  People make short clips offering the definition for a word.  Of course I had to go and check for Didactic (going to put definition in the banner when I get around to it by the way) and lo and behold, no one had done it yet.  So, the plan was that I might record same on my webcam (and no doubt make a cheeky plug for the blog in closing).... But three hours later and WILL my laptop mic record, NO it will not!  Most frustrating!  I'll try to keep an eye out if a definition DOES crop up, might still be worth a link in the blog, but for the moment no video post (though I may browse the site a bit and there's still a chance I'll post one after this for entertainment if I find a worthy word!).

It's like I got all ready for a performance though, then it was cancelled!  I could have persisted and tried to bluetooth my V3 or got out my old Sony digicam, but I can only take so much geek torture, and the thing is I know the internal mic ought to work because I've used it with a chat program in AV mode before...

Oh yeah - and if it SHOULD be a reader of this post that submits a didactic definition to the site... Any chance of plugging the blog at the end? hehe...

01:19 PM | 0 Comments | Tags: , , , , ,