Testing a connection

You know when you need to test a dvd player/TV connection, am I the only person who doesn’t just grab the closest one but who selects one based on what mood I’m in? Am I alone in doing this despite the fact it’s only a few minutes of the film I’ll see?

A fingerwidth

They built a bridge over a wide stream to create the A46 / Junction 21A near us and me and Winston walk under that bridge nearly every day. The bridge may be even on top but underneath the rough concrete pathway is lower at one end than on the other. At one end I reach up and can press my fingers against the bridge. At the other end there is a fingerwidth between the top of my head and the bridge. I have stood up straight there. I have looked up and seen it. Walked along with my fingers on the top of my head and only just felt some of the surface roughness. I know that I can stand under that part of the bridge without fear of banging my head. So why do I tilt my head every time? Or if I make a conscious effort – because it does have to be a deliberate process – to stay standing tall do I tense as if ready for the impending injury? It can’t get me. I can’t get it. So despite my knowing what I do, despite me experiencing what I have I still act in a certain manner. Strange.

Living On

Ages and ages ago I posted something along the lines of “What would happen if I died and how would you know”. I still have no answer, but Myspace has: http://www.mydeathspace.com. A strange place if for no other reason that you know they are dead – and I found a few of the ‘obits’ there upsetting in an odd way. It’s certainly not a site for the unhappy – but then maybe there’s an element of ‘celebrating’ their life to some? Communities like that maybe have more of a way of keeping things together. When Keith Alexander died (if you have never looked around his site, do so) there was a flurry of activity on the rec.arts.bodyart newsgroup part of which centred around his ISP, the website, how to move it, who would host it etc. (You know the thing that I think is very sad is the way spammers have got into the comments on his blog. I’d have thought someone would have got that issue sorted somehow). Obviously they sorted it for Keith’s sites but the mydeathspace brings home – for me – the oddness of the net, how we are connected but are completely remote and no-one actually cares, not really. How can they? I wonder if LJ and Bebo have similar ‘digital graveyards’.. While I was writing this I recalled that a WP user called ‘Sisob’ passed away in January 2004 (about 4 days after I started using WP) so I went looking. His page at advogato still exists but his blog – indeed the whole domain – has gone. In the age of infinite data storage so much of someone’s life is removed at a stroke. Arguably we are truer online and we certainly build a profile that might draw others in but for want of a billing matter the Delete button is clicked.

The Internet – we still don’t live forever

Four Screws

Ages ago I said screws were to be held in greater esteem that I think we do.
In our kitchen there are cupboards on the wall. Nothing strange there. In those cupboards we have glasses, mugs, plates, bowls, more plates, more pots, some wine, a hidden stash of chocolate and a couple of them with lots of foodstuffs in. 4 cupboards. Each cupboard held up with only 4 screws.
4 little bits of metal are holding not just the cupboard but everything I put in it up in the air against a wall. Now I know that seems so very “Yeah… ??” but this stuff is heavy and we aren’t talking coachbolts or industrial type screws – they are just the regular screws that I can buy 8 for 72p at the local hardware. 4 screws are holding a cupboard which is also holding a 6 person dinner set inside it. Don’t you find that amazing? I was putting the pots away earlier and just as I finished stacking it all back I saw one of the screws. Now I know there are only 4, and I know what’s in that cupboard. And I know that if I had fitted the cupboard it would have had bolts, screws and probably legs given what is put in it. I wonder what the ‘strength-test’ is? Some consumer programs do those ‘carrier bag’ tests with tins of baked beans – maybe they use the same – someone must test these things surely.
Screws. Useful.

[Now I know someone might feel the need to comment and supply lots of details about loads, forces, shearing, glue, gravity, static whatever blah blah but there are some things that for some of us always have that little air of “wow”. This for me is such a thing. It’s not a biggie, I know it can be explained and I know it probably makes not the tiniest bit of sense to you. Humour me 🙂 ]

Being English is so …..

I read this post by Gary the other day and it got me pondering. I’m fairly certain that most of the pubs in Leicester aren’t so much celebrating St Patrick’s Day as exploiting a commercial opportunity – though in fairness there are a couple of pubs I know in the city that are ‘Irish’ insofar as management and clientelle are concerned. Anyway – St.P’s day. We get to see all those pictures from the USA (nicely mentioned in Gary’s post) and we get to see and hear a lot of people on the wrong side of several pints of the black stuff. Nothing wrong with this at all. It seems to me that for the actual Irish people involved it becomes a celebration of who they are, where they are from, of all things good about their history, of being Irish. Nothing wrong here either – this isn’t a criticism, just a hopefully correct observation. That’s all really good – and the reason I pondered for two days before posting – because I nearly wrote this in response and thought I ought to think first (sometimes I do think first..) – was to try and think of any situation or event or happening or anything that would make me feel like celebrating me being English / British. I cannot think of anything. At all.

St George’s Day is …. when? April 23 according to wikipedia but I’d not have known. It’s not celebrated in a way I can recall – and even if it were I have not the slightest doubt that someone would deem it grossly offensive to everyone not English and would sue under the Human Rights Act because their sensibilities had been deeply and irreversibly damaged but several thousand pounds would ease the pain so hand it over because I’ve got all you natives over a barrel (oops… getting into another topic there!). But even if it does get celebrated – and I’m confident the breweries and card-making companies are working on it – it still wouldn’t make me feel ‘English’. Maybe it’s because I’m still here? Maybe if I lived in the Rockie Mountains I’d feel more English as I woke on April 23 and brewed myself a nice cup of Earl Grey. Maybe I don’t know what I’ve got – or who I am – until it’s taken away? Maybe the celebrations in the US are so over the bloody top not because they are celebrating but because they are wanting to attach themselves to something so they party harder to try and make it more real? Not having been to Ireland I don’t know how it’s celebrated there – at a guess, more restrained than over the Atlantic.

Maybe it’s because of my attitude and experience so far, but I can’t imagine a situation where I would be either proud to say I’m English or I would celebrate that fact. Is that wrong? Or it is just not right? I would certainly fail Norman Tebbit’s Cricket test partly because the game bores me but mainly because I wouldn’t care who won. I don’t care about such national events and if anything I would want to see a good game, a close game, a game where the best really did win and not just because they were a certain nationality. Wars are meant to ‘bring the nation together’ – Thatcher wanted a war and made one happen to bolster her own political ends and it worked for her. His Tonyness tried the same thing and now wants us all to praise his school agenda and neatly forget the complete mess he has helped create in Iraq. He wanted ‘people’ to be proud to be ‘British’ or ‘English’ because we helped sort Iraq out. No, got that wrong. Very wrong. There is nothing a politician can do to make me feel that way – but they’ll keep trying. They’ll keep trying to attach our hopes to their aspirations.

For some Irish people on the 17th it’ll be just another day. For others an excuse to get pissed, others still just a tradition. But for the last group it really will be a day of pride, of a deep satisfaction of being Irish and the deep roots behind that. That’s a feeling, a something I cannot get close to for myself and I can’t decide what that means.

Just two ears ?

I’ve seen this a few times in shops – “Customers are limited to 1 mobile telephone purchase”. It’s not a shortage because I’ve seen it in so many shops – so why ? Those phones aren’t licensed, they aren’t anything but phones – so why the limit ? Why, if I decided to go buy myself and my two girls new mobiles am I not allowed ? I can’t work out not only why this limit but any sort of reason for it – what can you do with two mobiles phones (or three or more) that you cannot do with one ? Or did I miss a huge news item ?

Harsh profits ?

News items:
Old lady knocked to ground and money for her bills stolen
Family with young kids get burgled / house burns down just before Xmas
Soon-to-be married couple have house burgled and money for honeymoon taken
I’ve seen each of the above – and others similar – in both the local and national news. And on each occasion the person(s) involved have ended up in a better situation than previously. More money is given, more toys, a better holiday is donated etc – so is having a mini-disaster something to be considered ? Maybe go halves with the ‘criminal’ and give a false description ? But then there must be a demographic of some sort at work. It’s proven that if you are white, middle class and female that your disappearance will make national news. It follows that the opposite generates no news at all. So with the items I listed, there must be variations that almost guarantee you will remain worse off. Something to bear in mind ….