j4: (toddler)
Happy New Year! One of my New Year's Resolutions (about which more in a later post) was to post here more often, so here I am. As I said in my LJ Christmas card, the reason I haven't posted more often is that Img is taking up most of my 'spare' time; so it's probably time I did an update on how she's getting on...

altered Img )

On the whole, she's adorable but exhausting (she basically never stops moving or talking while she's awake, and often doesn't stop either while she's asleep). Of course it's impossible to tell what she'll be like when she's older, but early indications suggest that she's going to be small, stubborn, opinionated, and good with words -- no real surprises there given her parents. ;-)

Anyway, there's lots more I could say about Img, but I've probably already written twice as much as anybody except me is interested in reading! I haven't included photos here, to save your friends-list from baby-photo-spam, but there are loads of pics on Flickr if you want to see what she looks like. (My favourites include an unusually contemplative pose and a photo of her trying ice-cream for the first time.)
j4: (imogen)
We're long overdue a proper update here, aren't we?

This got very long. Tl;dr = we're still not dead )

Phew, sorry for rambling on at such length. Apologies in advance if I'm slow to reply to comments -- it's rare that I get both hands free to type, & commenting via the iPhone LJ app involves clumsy one-finger-stabby-stabby typing, so I am a bit rubbish at commenting. (I'm also a bit rubbish at reading other people's journals, sorry. Feel free to use the comments here to tell me things about you that you think I should know & might have missed.)
j4: (badgers)
Gods, I'm tired. Surely some day soon I'll find the time to rest and recover...? (See subject line.) Anyway, earlier this week I managed to get myself into a minor road-rage incident, which wasn't very interesting, actually. )

Fortunately there's been a lot of positive goings-on as well to offset the hassle. In the last couple of weeks we've been to 3 gigs, 2 clubs and 3 plays, most of which have been great (and the rest of which have at least been interesting in one way or another) so it's small wonder I haven't had time to write them up! I'm not actually trying to beat last year's gig-a-week average, but October's a good time for it: lots of stuff happening to convince freshers that Cambridge is great; my finances picking up again after the summer; the weather grey enough outside that hiding away in dark smoky venues full of beer and guitars seems like a good idea; warm enough to not mind being poured out onto the street late at night with sweaty t-shirts, aching feet and ringing ears.

I've also been pretending (in my head, at least) that I'm a fresher, and signing up for loads of new stuff. tap-dancing and choir )

[Things I meant to write about at some point: gigs, patterns, work, spots, lost songs, and flapjacks. Don't hold your breath.]

Today

Feb. 4th, 2005 12:08 am
j4: (southpark)
Just call me Miss Moodswings. Today I have been mostly excited, but also frustrated. But the frustrated is mostly work, and that's boring. No fewer boring than anything else I write, but differently so. See?

So. Today I managed to win a hotly-contested game of Scrabble (not the one against [livejournal.com profile] verlaine, or the one against [livejournal.com profile] sion_a, in both of which I was given the PASTINGS I couldn't play at [livejournal.com profile] addedentry). I also managed to buy useful things at lunchtime, including a proper bag to replace my tattered work bag (an army surplus rucksack that I bought about 5 years ago for a tenner which (the bag, not the tenner) has developed a hole in the bottom THE SIZE OF A MAN'S HEAD [that's the hole that's the size of, etc., not the bottom]). The proper bag is a cunning convertible whatnot which converts, with two unclips and reclips (two of each) of the strap-clips, from a shoulder-bag into a rucksack. (Still with me? Good.) It also has a mobile-phone-shaped pocket into which my mobile phone will undoubtedly fail to fit since it is the size of a small family car (the phone, not the pocket [which is the nature of the problem (that is, the problem is the disparity in size, not the pocket per se, but even more so not the phone [so perhaps after all it is the pocket that is at fault])]). In addition to the bag and all its attendent grammatical complications I bought a stir-fry mix which made a jolly good salad (especially with half of yesterday's can of tuna in it), a haggis, some carrots, and some egg custard tarts.

This evening I tidied up the mountain of paper-based stuff on [livejournal.com profile] sion_a's chair, and did some mending that had been sitting around waiting to be mended for about FIVE YEARS, while [livejournal.com profile] sion_a played Sonic Spinball. (That is, I did the mending while he, not it sat around while he, if you see what I.) This makes it sound like I did all the work while he slacked, but really, normally he does everything while I procrastinate too much to even slack efficiently. The conversation (if you can call it a conversation) went something like this:

S: "Nooooo! That's not fair!!"
J: "God, I've completely messed this up. I'll have to unpick the whole row."
S: "Phew, I've bust through the door, now I've just got to get back up the barrels."
J: "It's only back-stitch, how can I make such a mess of this?"
S: "Aghh! Now I've got to get ALL FOUR HEADS again!"
J: "I'd have to darn this, for fuck's sake. I can't darn corduroy."
S: "OH FOR FUCK'S SAKE!"
J: "GRAHHHHH!"

Men are from Nintendo, women are from haberdashery. After much thread-related frustration on my part and hedgehog-related frustration on his, we went to the pub and drank beer. I came away with one invitation to pancakes, one promise of a cgi tutorial, one plan for a party, and one absence of cornet music. And two pints' worth of drunkenness.

Now I am going to have a bath. Drunken conversations make more sense than normal conversations:

J: "[livejournal.com profile] sion_a?"
S: [silence]
J: "[livejournal.com profile] sion_a!"
S: [silence]
J: "MISTER [livejournal.com profile] sion_a!!!"
S: "Hm?"
J: "Are you having a bath?"
S: "Huh?"
J: "ARE YOU HAVING A BATH?"
S: "No!"
J: "Can I have a bath?"
S: "Yes!"
J: "Great!"

It's like Beckett, but with more baths in it. I have run a bath. My bath is going cold while I type this. It is like Molloy, ONLY WITH BATHS. Really. Take my word for it. Or not.
j4: (kanji)
FIVE PEOPLE YOU MET IN OXFORD

On Saturday I travelled to Oxford with [livejournal.com profile] addedentry, to visit [livejournal.com profile] smallbeds and Kate, and to go (with them) to [livejournal.com profile] truecatachresis's flatwarming. Okay, that's only four people, but all the other people we met there can count as the fifth between them. No offence. I tried to introduce [livejournal.com profile] addedentry to [livejournal.com profile] cleanskies, but I barely know her myself, and wine made me misquote her username. Only by one letter, but the social damage was already done. I think [livejournal.com profile] addedentry would benefit from someone more popular than me to introduce him into exciting new social circles.

MATERIAL, MOSTLY TEXTUAL

Since 1999 [livejournal.com profile] truecatachresis had been hanging on to a bagful of things which he believed to be mine, which I had apparently left when I moved out of our Marston-based seven-person student commune.
> inv
Your knapsack contains:

Unopened junk mail
Chinese-style folded paper wall-hanging
small ladies' wallet (new, empty)
alphabet fridge magnets
The junk mail was opened and mostly thrown away, the rest has accompanied me back to Cambridge. The wallet is, I am fairly sure, not mine; unless perhaps it was cheap or came free with something and I was tempted to keep it. It's possible. The wall-hanging features trees, or perhaps birds, and calligraphy; the lettering is so pictorial that you are tempted to try to read meaning into the shapes of the wildlife. There used to be another matching wall-hanging, blue where this one is red, each 99p from Booksale, both equivalent defence against the magnolia woodchip.

The fridge magnets used to say "FOOD TRANSFER PROTOCOL" where they held the takeaway pizza menus to the boiler, and "AXAXAXAS MLO" (with multiplication signs pressed into service against the deficiencies of ordinary English letter-distribution) across the top of the lesser of two fridges.

REDISTRIBUTION

Saturday morning's shift at Oxfam was unremarkable, except for acquiring some Famous Five hardbacks which I can hopefully re-sell at a profit on eBay. Apart from that, the usual; books were moved from one area of the shop to another, and Roger demonstrated his peculiar gift for the excluded middle:
me: "What shall I price these [modern paperback novels] at?"
R: "Oh ... £4.99."
me: [surprised] "£4.99? They're a bit on the tatty side..."
R: "Well, throw them away, then."
I priced them at £2.99 in the end and put them on the shelves. No, before anybody whinges about Oxfam's prices, I don't actually think 3 quid is an unreasonable amount to give to charity in exchange for a book that would be 7 or 8 quid new and is only a bit worn on the outside from having been read before. Some people buy books because the shiny covers will set off their Ikea furniture nicely: Borders and Waterstones cater more than adequately to their needs. Other people buy books because all those funny black marks inside tell them something interesting.

Lingering in Oxford on Sunday afternoon allowed us to visit the QI Bookshop, which organises the books within its single circular room according to oblique thematic principles, rather like (not remotely coincidentally) the section headings in this post. It is a bookshop for browsing, and we browsed.

RHYTHMS

To the bewilderment of J-P and Kate, Owen and I took bongos to Ian's party, where three other sets of bongos were already plugged in to the Gamecube. Four-way Donkey Konga madness proved even more fun than the one- or two-way variants we'd already experienced, though I was a little concerned for the health of my bongos after watching one over-enthusiastic participant. (My plea for him to be a little more careful fell on deaf ears; it reminded me of why I normally play computer games selfishly, on my own, and why I refrain from lending many books: other people don't give a damn if they break things that don't belong to them.) When we weren't playing, we stopped for a moment to watch the four lines of rhythms and coloured patterns weaving in and out of each other like maypole dancers.

And it snowed this morning, because the seasons have their own rhythms. Nearly every year, snow in January comes as a total surprise -- completely out of the blue (or the grey) -- to the rail networks and the road-gritting lorries. It surprised me, but only because I hadn't realised it was that cold until my fingers went numb in the 3 minutes it took me to de-ice the car windscreen. Driving in the snow feels like playing some kind of space-based videogame; I pilot my small craft along the ribbon of tarmac and the snowflakes stream past like light, like years.

LIGHT

J-P and Kate have a tiny prism hanging on their window, which is caused to spin by a small solar-powered motor. It fills the room with rainbows, unlike Owen's mirrorball, which only fills the room with specks of light. Near the mirrorball these are small, focused, clear squares; further away they are more blurry, more indistinct, their light softer, their corners fading into the walls. Similarly, the rainbows vary from tiny nuggets of vivid, intense colour to vast, diffuse, swathes. Sometimes I saw a rainbow creep over a face or a hand while its owner was talking.

This morning I looked in the mirror and saw a person I did not know. Whether it was a trick of the light or a trick of the mind I don't know, but I have aged overnight, and my eyes are shadowed, and while my hairstyle makes me look slightly like Virginia Woolf (provided I don't open my mouth) this only serves to make me check my pockets for rocks.

My dad had a seizure on Saturday, the second in about 15 years. The last time it happened he was mowing the lawn on a hot summer's day, and said that the last thing he remembered seeing was sunlight coming through the fence in sharp flashes. He's been tested and tested for epilepsy, but all the ECGs have returned negative, though apparently there's a history of epilepsy in the family. This time he claims it was just that he was dehydrated and full of adrenalin as he started broadcasting his new radio show, titled "If she's eclectic...". He says he's fine now, and he's probably right, though I swear he'll be saying that at his own funeral. Still, I wouldn't want to stop him living in order to keep him alive.

This morning's snow has melted, and the sky has finally brightened. Don't tell me this picture is beautiful, don't tell me it makes you ache, don't tell me it makes you remember, for I'll have no sympathy; just for once I would like to see something that didn't mean anything. The sun flashes its beams through the trees. Every picture has its shadows, and it has some source of light.
j4: (dodecahedron)
One of my new year's resolutions was to cook proper meals. Wasn't it? I can't remember now. In one ear, out the other. Anyway, this weekend I actually made some progress in that direction: three proper meals, plus one which my parents brought and cooked, and therefore doesn't really count. food! )

So, gosh, that's more cooking in a weekend than I did in the previous 3 months, probably. Inbetween all the cooking, on Saturday I managed to do a bit of a shift at Oxfam (though I am getting hideously slack about that, and in penance I have promised to get there early next Saturday, i.e. just before 9 a.m.). Then at lunchtime my parents came to visit, bringing soup, bread, and the remainder of my Christmas presents, including my long-awaited iSight, about which more when I have actually set it up etc etc.

Then after parents had left, O. and I headed into town with bags full of my unwanted books, intending to sell some to the Haunted Bookshop (which specialises in children's books) and give the rest to Amnesty. However in the event of it, due to my Hard Bargaining Skillz (aka complete confusion) I managed to sell the lot to the Haunted Bookshop for a grand total of £32. That works out at about a quid a book, but given that I got many of them for under a quid and some for free, I think it's not too bad. And, hell, it meant I didn't have to walk any further with a bagful of books on my back, which has got to be a good thing. Though we did eventually walk to the Amnesty shop anyway and even spend some money there, which assuaged my guilt over cheating them out of books.

In addition to the books I've sold, I've given away about 30 books through ucam.adverts.giveaway; for a couple of weeks now my desk at work has looked like a car boot sale, but it's finally getting under control. I was annoyed by one man who emailed immediately to claim a whole batch of books I was giving away, but then after about a dozen faffy emails over the space of a week and a half totally failed to come and collect the damn things ... offset against that frustration, though, is the satisfaction I felt when I was able to email the people who had mailed me after no-show guy to claim various books (which I'd said at the time were already gone) and tell them "actually this is available again, do you still want it?"

So over all I feel pounds lighter and a few pounds richer. Not quite enough pounds richer to cover the money I owe the Inland Revenue, but I have now actually completed my self-assessment form (with tons of practical help, translation of tax-speak, and moral support from [livejournal.com profile] sion_a). Okay, so I owe them more money than I can pay without exceeding my overdraft limit, but at least I know the worst now... right? I still have thousands of pounds of debts to pay off, I still haven't done half the things I'm supposed to have done, but right now I'm going to drink a bottle of badger beer, eat a coconut macaroon, and relax for a moment. Sufficient unto the day, etc.
j4: (badgers)
If I don't update this soon I never will. Apologies for the slightly rambly diaryism.

So there was Christmas, which was relaxing and great fun, in which nobody falls out ) and then there was a New Year party, which was bizarre and great fun, in which London transport plays a part )

Then last night there was New Year again, or rather it was enthusiastically re-toasted (with, variously, deferred champagne, water, and sticky toffee pudding tea) by myself, [livejournal.com profile] addedentry, [livejournal.com profile] jiggery_pokery, [livejournal.com profile] dezzikitty, [livejournal.com profile] wednesdayschild, and two other people who looked similar to one another, but of whom I can't remember which one is meant to be kept anonymous. I guess you had to be there.

I'm glad to have seen the New Year in surrounded by a) music, which is something on which I want to spend more time and effort, and b) new friends (at least, I hope I may call them that). I just hope I haven't neglected my existing friends too much in favour of the new.

May 2017

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