j4: (badgers)
There are Gromits in Bristol at the moment. There are also gorillas in Norwich, giraffes in Colchester, bears in Congleton, and toads in Hull.

I first saw this phenomenon in Switzerland, with cows, and Wikipedia confirms that it was the originally-Swiss (now international) Cow Parade that started this trend off. It seems to be getting a bit silly, but I guess it's a fairly harmless silly. The idea of 'collecting' (photographing/visiting) the whole set of $animal in $town appeals to my nerdy side, though realistically I'm not likely to do it while it would involve dragging a recalcitrant toddler around with me. Perhaps I should just 'collect' similar projects and add them to the list in the Wikipedia article, because I can do that after bedtime without leaving the house.

Sadly nowhere yet seems to have filled its streets with giant fibreglass badgers.


Sep. 8th, 2010 04:10 pm
j4: (popup)
I don't know if [livejournal.com profile] ewx meant to start a meme here, but here's what I get from typing a single word in Google Scribe & then hitting return a lot:
"Badgers Forward blog shortly before they were born into and then out of their way to their destination in the world of their owners and are strictly for viewing and printing of these books are nothing but another form of therapy for these patients is not known whether these are the only ones who can not afford to pay for their own users and groups to their Friends / Favorites list yet, so I'ma keep popping up in their own right and do not want to be related to their particular field or industry in which they are attached to their respective owners"
I couldn't agree more.
j4: (running)
So I did the Town & Gown 10k this morning in 54:44 -- it felt like I was pushing myself a lot harder than usual so it was disappointing to end up with a slower time than last year (though admittedly only 24 seconds slower). I think I probably ran faster than usual for the first half, and peaked too soon -- I certainly didn't feel like I had much sprint left for the final stretch, it was more like I was just trying to fall forwards a bit faster. I also kept pace with S (who is normally much faster than me but was running with a hangover, ha ha) for seven kilometres, including actually slowing a bit around the 6k mark to encourage him when he said that he wasn't sure he was going to be able to keep going... then around 7k he got some kind of second wind & began to pull ahead of me, & at first I thought "I'll let him get a little bit ahead, I'll be able to catch up again" & then at 8k I started feeling like my legs were made of lead & I knew I couldn't catch him. (His time was 53:42, so there wasn't that much in it.) So if I hadn't been so sociable, then I might have beaten my time, but I'd've felt like an utter cad.

On the plus side, I did raise more sponsorship money this time than last time, which is a far more useful record to beat - so thank you to everybody who sponsored me despite the sponsorship angst! Or even because of the angst!

There are now three people who want me to run in a badger costume next year. I am ... not dismissing the idea completely.
j4: (badgers)
Today my mum took me and [livejournal.com profile] addedentry to a garden centre and bought us an apple tree (a Worcester Pearmain), as well as some other smaller tasty plants (tomatoes, peppers, and blueberry bushes). Digging a hole big enough for even such a tiny tree takes a surprising amount of time and effort. We also planted the hazel sapling from my parents' garden; meanwhile, the hawthorn saplings [livejournal.com profile] cleanskies gave us are flourishing. We are literally putting down roots here.

The eventual plan for the garden is that everything should be edible; the main exceptions at the moment are the daffodils, crocuses, and rather lurid primulas which we planted hastily to stop the garden looking quite so much like a post-apocalyptic wasteland (it worked!), though our definition of 'edible' includes anything Richard Mabey thinks you can eat, which allows quite a lot of leeway.

The best thing about the garden, though, is that we have a BADGER! OK, we've only actually seen it in next door's garden, not ours (we've seen a fox and a hedgehog in ours, though) but given the mess it's made of theirs I'm quite happy with that. I tried to get a photo but you can only really tell it's a badger if you already know. But, really, an ACTUAL LIVE BADGER!

We've definitely made more progress with the garden than with the house; while the garden's growing, the house is falling down. OK, that's a slight exaggeration: it's suffering from a small amount of subsidence, which has caused cracks to appear all over the place. The buildings insurance people think this is a) probably due to defective drains (as opposed to, say, tunnelling badgers), and b) probably not covered by our insurance because we were sort of warned that it was a possibility in the survey. It has taken them weeks and weeks to do anything, and we're still waiting for the results of the investigation of the drains. I was horribly worried about it at first, and it certainly added to the general hiding-under-a-rock stress; but you can't sustain that level of worry for this long, and the house hasn't actually fallen down, so now I am just wishing they would hurry up and tell us how much it will cost.

The subsidence does mean that pretty much everything else to do with the inside of the house is suffering from planning blight, though; realistically, we weren't going to have redecorated everything by now (my parents still haven't redecorated everything in their house, and they've lived there for 24 years now), but we were hoping to get started on sorting out the kitchen. We still don't have an oven, but it's not a big deal. Maybe we don't need an oven after all (at least two people now have said we should get a Remoska instead). It would feel slightly odd making a deliberate choice not to have an oven, to get the kitchen refitted without leaving room for one; but probably no odder than it would feel to a lot of people not to have a TV.

On the other hand, not having a TV doesn't really mean it's impossible to watch TV; it's just impossible to watch it live. We watched the whole first series of Glee (if you don't know what Glee is -- and given that I don't often watch TV, I don't take it for granted that everybody knows about every TV show -- then the Wikipedia entry will explain with no spoilers above the fold) suffering the indignity of being a week behind the rest of the UK because 4OD didn't release the episodes until they'd shown the repeat. Episodes! Repeats! Things I hadn't thought about at all since I last watched TV regularly, back in the late 1990s. I tried to persuade [livejournal.com profile] addedentry to do the bittorrent thing so we could get the next episodes quicker, but he wouldn't, and I don't know how (honestly! I've just never done it). We also watched the first episode of the new Dr Who (it is probably internet heresy to say that I don't really get Dr Who, but, well) despite nearly being put off by the utterly rubbish bit with the food at the beginning.

There's lots of other things I want to write about but I don't really know where to start, and more and more I feel as though LiveJournal isn't really the place to write about them, because I feel like I don't know anybody here very well any more. I don't have real conversations with very many people any more at all, and that's my fault for not being good at keeping up friendships, but it still feels like I've retreated into a dark empty room somehow and I don't quite know how to come back to the party, because everything is elsewhere, and I'm not totally sure that it wouldn't be better just to slip away home in the dark without another word.
j4: (dodecahedron)
A post about the Perl course I went on a couple of days ago. May contain a couple of paragraphs of mild interest to non-programmers. Contains traces of badgers.

Annoyingly, I wrote that post much better on the train on the way home, but (as mentioned) the iPhone Wordpress app ate it. On the other hand, that version had a very long digression about how I got into writing Perl, which I suspect interests nobody except (possibly) me.

BTW, I notice with amusement that the course tutor has since spotted that I was tweeting about the course, though I'm not sure he knows it was me, if you see what I mean. Wouldn't be hard for him to find out now, though. :-)
j4: (badgers)
Hey, I totally wasn't going to do the diary thing this month because I don't think that counts as Proper Blogging, but I had to get up ridiculously early this morning to get the 7:53 train to London for an excellent Perl course (with added badgers), got back to Oxford in time for another great Oxford Geek Night at the Jericho Tavern, drank some very tasty raspberry beer, and now am really far too tired to blog coherently about anything. Also, I wrote a Wordpress blog post (for one of the other blogs) on the iPhone on the train home, saved it as a local draft, decided I'd be better off uploading it and tried to save it as a full draft, at which point the Wordpress app threw up its hands, showed the spinning wheel of death for a bit, then crashed. Guess where my post ended up? No, I don't know either, but it's not on wordpress.com and it's not on the iPhone. :-( Also, one of our fence-panels got torn off one of our fence-posts, presumably in last night's tempestuous winds (which kept me awake when I was trying to get to sleep in preparation for getting up early); can be fixed, but it'll take more time, more faff, more money.

So, I have a massive list of things I haven't done, minor guilt about things I have done, and general worries about the two sets of things; but I'm feeling enthusiastic about Perl, happy to be in our house even though the fence is falling down, and incredibly positive about the prospect of going to sleep within the next 20 minutes. Good night. :-)
j4: (dirigible)
I urge my friends list to take a look at the first two pages of Old Silver-Grizzle the Badger by E. T. Seton, because I suspect that many of you will be as delighted by the idea of a dirigible badger as I was. A small cheering thing.

The rest of the book is lovely, but mostly nothing to do with badgers, dirigible or otherwise.

(Thank you all for your kind & helpful comments on my previous post. You are all Better Than Badgers.)
j4: (badgers)
Since other people's dreams are just so interesting, I thought I'd post some more of mine. You lucky, lucky people. Dream a little dream of me... )

So long as my dreams have badgers in, though, really, I'm happy. People sometimes ask me if I get bored of people giving me badgers, showing me pictures of badgers, emailing me links to every news story about badgers. Believe it or not, the answer is "NO!" A picture of a badger will always make me smile. Even this picture from a lame poster campaign momentarily gave me the feel-good factor. I'm seriously considering wandering over to the Cotswolds just to visit a tearoom with badgers in the name. The merest sniff of a stripy-faced member of the family mustelidae can lift my heart a little. They're just so damn cute.

And to be honest, my heart could do with a bit of lifting at the moment: LiveJournal hasn't been the cheeriest place to be lately. Not even any really exciting memes, though I like what [livejournal.com profile] keirf did with the age meme. Apropos of memes, or rather LiveJournal's own peculiar brand of misnomemes, I don't think I ever got round to telling anybody that my inner gay man was David Bowie. (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] minkboylove, who thinks too much about quizzes sometimes, for that one.) It's funny how the things that get passed around are always lame, while laugh-out-loud things like Michael Kelly's lateral thinking questions (thanks, [livejournal.com profile] kennedybak!) mostly get passed over .

It gets worse, though: earlier this week it looked as though Dark Side of the Moon was going to be voted the Best Album Ever, though this potential disaster seems to have been temporarily averted. (Though who knows what new horrors the vote for Best Single Ever will throw up?) Meanwhile, all-wimmin community [livejournal.com profile] theladiesloos is going through the teething problems that all new internet communities face; it's currently at the "You stole my safe space" stage, where people realise that they actually have to at least pretend to play nicely with people they don't actually like. (On the positive side, though, all-blerk equivalent [livejournal.com profile] thecompanyofmen proves that boys really can open up and talk honestly about sex, which is truly heartwarming to see.) Not all men are so relaxed, though: I've been enjoying a bizarre bitchfight with a random stranger in the nether commenting regions of [livejournal.com profile] barrysarll's LiveJournal; the which shenanigans have, if nothing else, provided me with the best retort ever: "Now who is the one who knows nothing of which they speak?" (Guys, if you put your playground comebacks through the "talk like a grown-up" filter, you have to proof-read them first or else you end up sounding like a prick.)

Tediously, the whole palaver was an indirect result of the increasingly silly news coverage about Prince Harry's latest gaffe. It may be boring to say that this news story is boring, but I can't help it: it is every bit as boring as I am now meta-boring for talking about it. (Now, if it was Wills, rather than Harry, it would be a different matter: the former Most Desirable Man in Scotland would look positively sizzling in sexy SS gear.)

Predictably, there have already been calls from the baying hordes of peons for fancy dress shops to be banned from selling even the sort of tacky pseudo-Nazi regalia sported by the Party Prince; less predictably, a search on eBay for "Nazi uniform" throws up only a copy of the edition of the Sun containing this non-story, and a predictable overpriced leather trenchcoat given a false frisson of interest by the addition of the words "GOTH NAZI" in the subject line. Surely you can buy anything on eBay? Still, I can't really complain about the internet's biggest jumble sale, when a pair of purple DMs bought for £7 in a charity shop have just fetched me £16, and a copy of the guitar music for "Disintegration" (bought for a fiver in a sale) netted an unbelievable £21. Now that's cheering.
j4: (kanji)
There has been an organisational shakeup in the Ministry of Dreams; they are finally sending me something better with which to beguile my sleeping hours. yawn )

It feels somehow fraudulent describing the emotions of dreams, because of my nagging suspicion that I may be merely projecting waking feelings onto them after the fact. However, when I wake up, while the dream is still fresh in my mind, the emotional afterimages seem very strong; so if I am adding to them rather than remembering them, I am doing it subconsciously and instantaneously on waking. Besides, what does it mean to 'actually' experience an emotion in a dream? Would my body register the same physiological changes in the dream as it would if I experienced that emotion while awake? Is that what defines an emotion? Is there any art to find the mind's construction in the body? It's my body, and I don't mind.

But a dream of fair woman has turned my mind to female matter. I think of the first woman I kissed; I could not call her face to mind in any detail (I remember pre-Raphaelite ringlets and a tender mouth) but I remember the feeling of wonder and delight. The sensation was sweet, but it was the symmetry that held me spellbound: we were mirror-images, for that moment reflecting only one another, sealed in a separate world. With a man I am a space for him to fit into; with a woman I am a positive form, my curves and lines in counterpoint to hers. With a man I have a sense that together we have created a single indivisible whole, greater than the sum of its parts; with a woman, a sense that we are two, divided yet multiplied like the images in opposite mirrors, meeting in the middle of infinity. Neither is a lesser or greater harmony than the other.

It can be hard to believe in anything when all I see is patterns.

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