A toilet seat with fish in it just fell on my foot.
Went down to Borough Market at lunchtime yesterday, coughing up goo at the world, and I only had my cameraphone with me – I have to go back there at some point with a proper camera, and maybe a camcorder as well. I like the hideous monkfish but I do also like the gormless red snapper. The fish stall was next to the rabbit/pheasant stall, which also had deer with heads and feet removed, and the two were attracting camera and cameraphone users constantly. Despite the fantastic mushrooms, Borough Market is not really a place for sensitive animal-lovers. (Short video.)
I was saying last night that I've spent so long trying to get every last piece of photographic goodness out of where I was in Manayunk that now, I feel hyper-attuned to random life images. I walk along a street and I'm constantly thinking “that would make a perfect picture” – if I actually went anywhere that was notably photogenic I'd probably pass out. (Right now I'm looking out of the window at the frayed corner of a neighbour's shed and thinking “beautiful”.) If I'm not careful I will at best end up with fifty gig of random pictures of… things… and at worst get mugged for my camera or run over while trying to get a closeup of a zebra crossing.
Later versions of Firefox, including 1.0 which just came out, have an RSS reading function in them which people seem to be noticing. I'd just like to make the point that this will only discover RSS feeds on a site if it is specifically told about them. Just linking to them on the page isn't enough – it's not that smart.
My site, for instance, has the following in the
<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="XML feed for journal, pictures and links" href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/fridgemagnet" />
If you're using Firefox you'll see an icon bottom right of the window. If you click on this it will give you the option to subscribe to the feed as a “live bookmark”.
Just a little note for those of you who are discovering RSS feeds, blogging and wanting to use them to publish yourself. (Do, please. It makes reading blogs much more convenient. I barely ever read things which don't have RSS feeds these days.)
Still snotting everywhere. I've never quite worked out the point of snot. What on earth is it supposed to do?
It's an odd feeling to basically kill one life and move on to another one that doesn't really exist. Normally, people do things in stages – quit your job having looked for a new one already so you just slide between offices, just changing desks really; move house having identified where you're going to go rather than sitting in a friend's spare room surrounded by cigarettes, clothes and cables. Emigrate with some idea of what you'll be doing when you get there. Generally, not all at once, either.
There were certain practical considerations preventing me from effectively achieving some of these goals of course (British companies not that keen on accepting candidates based on phone interviews, me not that keen on moving into a flat which I haven't seen) but I could really have done a bit more. While I was preparing to leave my co-workers were astonished that I didn't have anything lined up to do. They thought it was some sort of cultural difference – “Chinese people are very careful not to leave their job unless they have another one to go to”. I didn't say “well, yes, English people usually are too” so there is now a corner of Pennsylvania where the impression of the English is of strange unmarried men who shave their heads, spill lunch all over their computers and casually move from country to country without a care.
I'm not really like this. I have the whole middle-class life-consolidation instinct – make sure you're set up and secure before moving on to the next thing, don't take any risks you can't get out of. Get an education before doing anything. Build up some savings. Read the small print carefully. And yet clearly I am like this, given that it's what I'm doing, and given that the word “mortgage” or the idea of living in one place for more than a year make me break out in hives and open another bottle of wine.
So I'm really trying to tell myself something here, and trying to reconstruct myself in some way, only I have no idea what the end product is supposed to be and I'm certainly not there yet. I was playing with match.com last night and came to see that my answers were mostly contradictory. I must be a nightmare to go out with – simultaneously overcautious and (grits teeth) commitment-phobic as well as easily bored and unhappy with the status quo.
But basically, yeah, I killed off my old life all at once, at least those parts of it that were outside of me. Inside I'm still the same person. At the moment it still feels like being on holiday and I have this feeling that, sooner or later, I'll be going back to work, doing the same things as before. I've not had any of those moments of clarity where you realise that actually, the only that's keeping you doing what you're doing is you, and you could walk out of the door at any time. All that that reflects itself in is the occasional thought that I could actually spend my entire day in the pub rather than sitting around internetting and bullshitting to IT recruitment people on an erratic pay-as-you-go. I have few responsibilities and I find it hard to know what to do without them. Thank God I'm actually in a friend's house rather than on my own, because at least now I have an impetus to keep the place reasonably clean rather than fill it up with beer cans.
I feel that I should really do something different rather than just get another job, go back into the whole routine that I just left, but I doubt that will happen this time. I don't think I've hit rock bottom quite yet.
The petty thing: Google for bush mandate and see what comes out on top.
The annoying thing: I am sick of news organisations pretending that there is any real difference between the “Iraqi interim government” and the US forces there. The references to US forces “waiting for Iraqi permission” before attacking Fallujah… yeah. Sure. They're basically the same thing. Allawi is a puppet, a former CIA asset and now a US government asset; he does what he is told, and if he didn't, he would be removed and someone else put in. The planned elections are to legitimise the occupation, if you think anything else you are, frankly, either breathtakingly naive or self-deluding, and while I don't expect much more from the media I do frequently get utterly sick of their continual pandering to the accepted fictions and need to express this.
Currently snotting all over the place, with one of those colds that you feel embarassed to complain about (it's just a cold, after all, think of all those people with degenerative arse syndrome and Morecambe's Trumpet) but still makes you feel like unmotivated shit. Yeah, yeah, paracetemol fluids vitamin C etc etc, or possibly senna pods. Maybe I shouldn't go out drinking and watching fireworks and drinking in the company of thousands upon thousands of potential cold-bearers.
I blame David Blunkett.
Oh yeah, and
we are bombing the crap out of lots of people in a city on the other side of the world, closing down (or levelling) hospitals because they were giving out civilian casualty figures and we don't “do” those, in an attack which was timed to begin just after the elections so as not to scare anyone with dead babies and dead soldiers. According to Donald Rumsfeld:
“Innocent civilians in that city have all the guidance they need as to how they can avoid getting into trouble”
“Getting into trouble” is a nice euphemism, isn't it? “I'm afraid your son has got into trouble, Mrs Hamid. With a 500-lb bomb.” Apart from developing mutant powers of invulnerability I can't really see how innocent civilians in that city can really avoid getting into trouble, but doubtless Donald Rumsfeld, being such a smart man, has issued guidance on the subject that I'm simply too stupid to imagine.
“Every minute, hundreds of bombs and shells are exploding,” Fadril al-Badrani, a resident who lives in the center of Fallujah, said after nightfall Monday. “The north of the city is in flames. I can also see fire and smoke … Fallujah has become like hell.”
I just need to remind myself of this stuff every now and then.
Oh, and I mentioned elsewhere how disillusioned I was when I discovered that gold stars weren't carefully licenced and distributed to teachers by the Gold Star Committee, but were in fact just bought in bags from WHSmiths. When I become World Dictator I will do something about it.
Customs want to charge me VAT on my own Gamecube (and Parcelforce want to charge me an eight pound “handling fee”, presumably to compensate them for the terrible strain of not delivering my parcel). There must be something in the European Declaration Of Human Rights about this.
And here are some more videos of fireworks, taken last night, with my Dimage Xg and compressed down from massive multi-megabyte MOVs into much smaller ones that won't make my hosts rub their hands with avaricious glee.