Conor and I had a long talk yesterday about life, the meaning of the universe and settling in to London. The conclusion that we eventually reached was that we should get a cat - preferably 2, as when we had two in the past together they seemed much happier with eachothers company. We'd both prefair a dog, but are in agreement that the time/location/everything else isn't right for the extra responsability - as in, dogs need walks, and training, and all that. Cats don't.
I just tried to log on to work. I need info for an essay I'm writing. And I got told:
HTTP Status 503 - There are too many simultaneous logins - please wait and try again.
I'm sorry - WTF?
Someone tell me is it or is it not the New Year holiday weekend?
The incapacity of the work servers are a long running story, but this is ridiculous. I'm guessing that the server is just down at the moment, not that all staff and students are trying to log in at the same time.
And the very fact that it IS creativity means it's creative in and of itslef - there are no end to the ways that people find to express some from of art in thier lives. For example, the elderly working class steeped-in-hard-masculinity men from around Ballymun who would spend all day tending thier flower beds, and weep like babies if the local thugs came in and vadilised them. Becasue those perfect arraingments of daffodils and tulips organised just so, that was thier art - even if they'd probably hit you for saying so, becasue the accusation that they would do anything artistic would be tantimout to calling them wossy-middle-class-girly men.
I express art myslef through many ways, none of them being traditional fine art - due to the fact that I can't draw a straight line with a ruler. But I garden when I can, and I knit. I hate day to day cooking, but can go on mad spurts of creativity in the kitchen, and being a strongly visual person, really then emphasise the presentation of whatever dishes I have created. I take photographs on occasion, and will put hours into creating the right photo if an idea occurs to me and I can execute it at all with my pathetic point-and-click. And I write fiction when time and the muses allow.
I'm not skilled or tallented in any particular way, and none of what I've just listed ever amounts to 'works of art' in a way that would be meaningful to anyone else. Its probably just dinner. Or maybe a photo stored on a hard drive that no one else ever sees, but thats not the point. The point is that I am finding ways to make the statment to the world 'This is me, this is what matters to me, this is what I'm thinking about' and then let those ideas out. That in turn lets new ideas in, and I can grow as a person.
Where did all this come from, wasn't there a point preceeding this ramble? Oh, yes, there was and this is it. I was buying the annual callendars to use as stocking fillers today, and was struck that the only ones that I would consider 'art' were either historical - ie painted by now dead guys, or they were 'goffic', as in Victoria Francis, Alcamy Gothic and a few others I wasn't as familier with in the same vein, or paintings of fairies and dragons and such. They were all classed together, and took up one stand (that is, the traditional dead guy artist and the gothic paintings all together).
One other stand was also hand-drawn work, and they were all cartoon humor. Dilbert and the ilk. Nothing really good. 2 stands were taken up with kiddie cartoons, disney and so forth. Winnie the Pooh made up over three quarters of that. And not one Mickey Mouse to be seen this year, which is actually quite bizzare.
And there were 20 stands in total, so the other 16 were taken up with photography. Cute animals almost half, footballers at least a third, and geography the rest. (I'm lumping things like 16 shots of John Deere tractors in with geography here, even though they weren't exactly landscape shots)
So, I went home and asked the kid 'why is the only art being currently produced Gothic?' and we went on from there to have a very interesting conversations about it all. The simplest answer, his firt one, is that to be comercially viable as 'an artist' nowadays you need to actually go into film production, game design, web site design etc, and that all of these areas ARE valid art forms, but by the time they get to the pre-christmas calendar stalls they may seem to be nothing more than 12 photos of a particular actor promoting the programme or film.
We went on to talk about whether or not 12 photos of David Beckham, all against similar backgrounds, all with him wearing almost identical clothes in each shot, could ever be considered 'art'. And the snob in me (and the kid as well) says not. But I suppose if it actually expresses something about either the photographer or the viewer, then its time to leave the snobbishness aside, and admit that 'your art is OK, its just not my art', to totally mis-quote and abuse a kinky phrase.
This still leaves lots of (very interlinked) questions:
When did the idea of something needing being visually appealing so completly die, and why is humor often so astetically ugly?
Have we totally and utterly sold our culture to the big corporations?
Why does identity overrule the aestetic (as in buying something ugly with the right brand name/logo/football club etc thats totally ugly, rather than something beautiful with the wrong 'identity')
Why is the only orriginal fine art gothic?
Each individual question is a head-wrecker. I think together they answer eachother. Because its all about idenity, and the way capitalism has taken idenity from individuals and sold back to the masses what was once theirs, at exorbidant prices.
But that STILL doesn't explain teddy-bears.
I think a lot about teddy-bears.
They are quite the unique art form.
And I want one for christmas.
God's total quality management questionnaire
God would like to thank you for your belief and patronage. In order to better serve your needs, God asks that you take a few moments to answer the following questions.
Please keep in mind that your responses will be kept completely confidential, and that you need not disclose your name or address unless you prefer a direct response to comments or suggestions.
1. How did you find out about your deity?
__ Book of Mormon
__ Divine Inspiration
__ Dead Sea Scrolls
__ My Mama Done Tol' Me
__ Near Death Experience
__ Near Life Experience
__ National Public Radio
__ Burning Shrubbery
__ Other (specify): _____________
2. Which model deity did you acquire?
__ Father, Son & Holy Ghost [Trinity Pak]
__ Zeus and entourage [Olympus Pak]
__ Odin and entourage [Valhalla Pak]
__ Gaia/Mother Earth/Mother Nature
__ None of the above, I was taken in by a false god
3. Did your God come to you undamaged, with all parts in good working order and with no obvious breakage or missing attributes?
If no, please describe the problems you initially encountered here. Please indicate all that apply:
__ Not eternal
__ Finite in space/Does not occupy or inhabit the entire cosmos
__ Not omniscient
__ Not omnipotent
__ Not infinitely plastic (incapable of being all things to all reations)
__ Permits sex outside of marriage
__ Prohibits sex outside of marriage
__ Makes mistakes (Geraldo Rivera; Michael Jackson)
__ Makes or permits bad things to happen to good people
__ When beseeched, does not stay beseeched
__ Requires burnt offerings
__ Requires virgin sacrifices
4. What factors were relevant in your decision to acquire a deity? Please check all that apply.
__ Indoctrinated by parents
__ Needed a reason to live
__ Indoctrinated by society
__ Needed focus in whom to despise
__ Imaginary friend grew up
__ Wanted to know Jesus in the Biblical sense
__ Hate to think for myself
__ Wanted to meet girls/boys
__ Fear of death
__ Wanted to piss off parents
__ Needed a day away from work
__ Desperate need for certainty
__ Like Organ Music
__ Need to feel Morally Superior
__ Shit was falling out of the sky
__ My shrubbery caught fire and a loud voice commanded me to do it
5. Have you ever worshipped a deity before? Is so, which false god were you fooled by? Please check all that apply.
__ Mick Jagger
__ The Almighty Dollar
__ Bill Gates
__ Left Wing Liberalism
__ The Radical Right
__ The Great Spirit
__ The Great Pumpkin
__ The Sun
__ Cindy Crawford
__ The Moon
__ A burning shrubbery
__ Other: ________________
6. Are you currently using any other source of inspiration in addition to God? Please check all that apply.
__ Fortune cookies
__ Playboy and/or Playgirl
__ Self-help books
__ Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll
__ Bill Clinton
__ Tea Leaves
__ The Internet
__ Crystals (not including Crystal Gayle)
__ Human Sacrifice
__ Wandering around a desert
__ Insurance policies
__ Burning Shrubbery
7. God employs a limited degree of Divine Intervention to preserve the balanced level of felt presence and blind faith. Which would you prefer (circle one)?
a. More Divine Intervention
b. Less Divine Intervention
c. Current level of Divine Intervention is just right
d. Don't know...what's Divine Intervention?
8. God also attempts to maintain a balanced level of disasters and miracles. Please rate on a scale of 1 - 5 his handling of the following: (1=unsatisfactory, 5=excellent)
flood 1 2 3 4 5
famine 1 2 3 4 5
earthquake 1 2 3 4 5
war 1 2 3 4 5
pestilence 1 2 3 4 5
plague 1 2 3 4 5
SPAM 1 2 3 4 5
AOL 1 2 3 4 5
rescues 1 2 3 4 5
spontaneous remissions 1 2 3 4 5
crying statues 1 2 3 4 5
water changing to wine 1 2 3 4 5
walking on water 1 2 3 4 5
VCRs that set their own clocks 1 2 3 4 5
Saddam Hussein still alive 1 2 3 4 5
getting any sex whatsoever 1 2 3 4 5
9. Do you have any additional comments or suggestions for improving the quality of God's services? (Attach an additional sheet if necessary):
If you are able to complete the questionnaire and return it to one of our conveniently located drop-off boxes by October 30 you will be entered in the One Free Miracle of Your Choice drawing (chances of winning are aproximately one in 6.023 x10 to the 23rd power, depending on number of beings entered).
<p><em>Your result for The Ultimate Buffy Test...</em></p><h3>The One True Slayer</h3><p>### Bites of Slayage</p><p style="text-align:center"><img src="http://is3.okcupid.com/mt_pics/
If you know me well, you can make a request to be added to my friends list
Otherwise, bugger off
Eddited to add, if you are already on my friends list, then obviously nothing changes
Haven't done a meme in I don't know how long. This one suits, as I'm feeling particularly defective today. So here goes:
You are 86% Rational, 0% Extroverted, 29% Brutal, and 29% Arrogant.
You are the Robot! You are characterized by your rationality. In fact, this is really ALL you are characterized by. Like a cold, heartless machine, you are so logical and unemotional that you scarcely seem human. For instance, you are very humble and don't bother thinking of your own interests, you are very gentle and lack emotion, and you are also very introverted and introspective. You may have noticed that these traits are just as applicable to your laptop as they are to a human being. You are not like the robots they show in the movies. Movie robots are make-believe, because they always get all personable and likeable after being struck by lightning, or they are cold, cruel killing machines. In all reality, though, you are much more boring than all that. Real robots just sit there, doing their stupid jobs, and doing little else. If you get struck by lightning, you won't develop a winning personality and heart of gold. (Robots don't have hearts, silly, and if they did, they would probably be made of steel, not gold.) You also won't be likely to terrorize humanity by becoming an ultra-violent killing machine sent into the past to kill the mother of a child who will lead a rebellion against machines, because that movie was dumb as hell, and because real robots don't kill--they horribly maim at best, and they don't even do that on purpose. Real robots are boringly kind and all too rarely try to kill people. In all my years, my laptop has only attacked me once, and that was only because my brother threw it at me. In short, your personality defect is that you don't really HAVE a personality. You are one of those annoying, super-logical people that never gets upset or flustered. Unless, of course, you short circuit. Or if someone throws a pie at you. Pies sure are delicious.
To put it less negatively:
1. You are more RATIONAL than intuitive.
2. You are more INTROVERTED than extroverted.
3. You are more GENTLE than brutal.
4. You are more HUMBLE than arrogant.
1. If your doctor told you TODAY that you were pregnant, what would you say?
Now I KNOW you're nuts
2. Do you trust all of your friends?
If I don't trust them, they are probably not friends
3. Would you move to another county or country to be with the one you love?
I'd have to think about it - more likely I would expect someone to move for my career than the other way around.
4. Do you believe that everything happens for a reason?
5. Can you make a pound/dollar in change right now?
Absolutly not, possibly a Euro, though
6. Which one of your friends do you think would make the best doctor?
Can't think of any.
7. Are you afraid of falling in love?
8. How many cars are on your drive?
none, we don't use the driveway, as its too narrow
9. Is there someone who pops into your mind at random times?
10. Whats your most favourite scar?
get a life, kid. Who has a favourite scar?
11. When was the last time you flew in a plane?
When I went to Cambridge in the summer
12. What did the last text message you sent say and who to?
Can't remember. Haven't had a mobile for months since I lost my last one. Will be getting a new one soon, though
13. What features do you find most attractive in the preferred sex?
14. Fill in the blank. I love:
15. What is a goal you would like to accomplish in the near future?
actually have some output on my PhD. any at all.
16. Did you ever disobey your parents?
17. How many kids do you want to have?
One is the perfect number.
18. Would you make a good parent?
My one kid is a wonder to behold, and fills me with pride. Thats mostly down to his individuality than my parneting though, really, so I'm not sure it counts..
19. Where was your default picture taken?
In a hotel garden
20. Whats your middle name?
21. Honestly, whats on your mind right now?
stop messing on livejournal and get an hours work done before heading home for the day.
22. If you could go back in time and change something, what would it be?
everything and/or nothing. If even something very bad happened and I changed it, would I still be me, not having had that formative moment? Enought philospphy for the day. On to the next question...
23. Who was or will be the maid of honour/ best man at your wedding?
Maybe a sister if I ever get around to it, which is doubtful
24. What are you wearing right now?
black boots purple jeans, lilac jumper
25. Righty or Lefty?
26. Best place to eat?
anywhere that serves cheep food
27. Favourite jeans?
my blue ones I stole from Una. Theya re the only ones that fit properly
28. Favourite animal?
29. Favourite juice?
30. Have you had the chicken pox?
Yes, when I was very small
31. Have you had a sore throat?
32. Ever had a bar fight?
33. Who knows you the best?
Close family - Conor, Conan, Una, John - in that order
34. Shoe size?
35. Do you wear contact lenses or glasses?
no, don't need either
36. Ever been in a fight with your pet?
how does one fight with a pet, exactly? I've tried to free the odd flappy little bird and the neighbours hamster from the cat, but I always coem out the looser
37. Been to Mexico?
38. Did you buy something today?
I got paid today, so you bettya! Picked up Conors main christmas pressie, some text books for his art project, and a few text books for me. Hello wages, bye bye wages.
39. Did you get sick today?
40. Do you miss someone today?
41. Did you get in a fight with someone today?
I don't get in fights.
42. When is the last time you had a massage?
a long time ago
43. Last person to lay in your bed?
the dog, does that count?
44. Last person to see you cry?
45. Who made you cry?
my own stupid inability to walk
46. What was the last TV show you watched?
something for my thesis 'the house of tiny tearaways'.
47. What are your plans for the weekend?
Sleep, study, housework, sleep, and then I'm teaching a day long seminar on Sunday
48. Who do you think will repost this?
49. Who was the last person you hung out with?
some other post grads
50. If your significant other asked you to marry them TODAY what would you say?
get sober, darling
This is the second week of the seminars I'm tutoring, and the structure is that after week one, which was all preparitory, the students themsleves have the lead the seminars. So far, so great. I suppose that the naturally good students are the ones inclined to volunteer to go first, and I can expect a distinct drop off as the term goes on, but this week has been fantastic in terms of the quality of the work the students are doing, so of course I'm totally enjoying being able to call them 'MY students'.