Saturday, April 30, 2005


Despite the hugest white band in the world ever gracing my blog, I haven't actually mentioned the make poverty history campaign for a while. Nevertheless, it seems my support for the cause didn't go unnoticed, with whitebandblog giving me a mention. Apparently, I ought to be "immortalised in cyberspace." Oh, the glory. Which is of course so not what this is about.

As for me, I'm wearing my white band with pride these days ever since it arrived on the door mat in a beam of heavenly white light.

The plan was to post a photo of it adorning my wrist, but my digital camera has gone walkies with a friend. Soon, soon you will be able to see how magnificent the band looks. Which again is so not what this is about. Did I mention I got a silicon one? Gold dust, absolute gold dust.


Friday, April 29, 2005

Tagging libarians

Yesterday I discovered tags at Technorati. Now I'm obsessed.

Would it be overly soul-bearing of me to admit that my main motivation for writing this post is not the desire to enlighten, entertain or educate the world, but the need to satisfy a sudden and overwhelming craving for a new form of subject analysis and indexing? I'm a librarian, you know. Have I mentioned that before?

I spent half of last night thinking up and applying tags to days old posts, then clicking and testing and testing and clicking and comparing my posts with other posts on the same tag pages. I felt a wonderful sense of satisfaction as I sorted my posts into sensible and meaningful catagories in the knowledge that this will help people find posts that interest them. My mouth is already watering at the prospect of tagging this post.

This is the stuff that librarians are made of. If you too are religiously tagging your posts, then firstIy, congratulations. Secondly, if you aren't already engaged in the working world of information, I suggest you consider a career change. Seriously, I classify things every day and get paid for it.

I think it was Cliff in Cheers who once said that inside every mailman there's a librarian waiting to get out. It seems that inside every tagger there's a bit of an information professional too. And in my case, vice versa.


Thursday, April 28, 2005

What I didn't

Inspired part by 10 things I did today and part by my the what might have been track of my imagination, here's my list of ten things I didn't do today. Trust me, it's far more interesting that what I did do.

I didn't:

1. Get up at dawn and go for a brisk stroll in the fresh spring air
2. Hop, or stand on one leg in any manner
3. Get a paper cut from an overly aggressive book
4. Need to use my umbrella
5. Spend any money
6. Laugh out loud in inappropriate circumstances
7. Expend any physical effort other than was absolutely necessary
8. Learn how to fly
9. Write a letter
10. Bring people's of all nations together in peace and harmony


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

First time voters

Over the past few days the British media have been deluging us with stories of small children who have received polling cards for the general election. To the gleeful parents of said children, I have a few things to say.

To receive a polling card, a person must be on the electoral register. If your baby has received a polling card, then they have clearly been registered to vote as though they were adults.

There are only two ways I can see this happening. The most obvious explanation is that you were unable to follow simple instructions when filling in the registration form that came through your door, and are now basking in inadvertant glory without a hint of shame at your incapability.

The more cynical explanation is that you knew exactly what you were doing when you filled in that form with your baby's name, and were already thinking which newspapers you could contact when the inevitable polling card dropped through the letterbox.

Either way, I must thank you for pointing out yet another flaw in our electoral system. Of course, no baby, no matter how cute and dribbly, is going to be able to turn up at the polling station with their card clutched in a tiny tight fist and be allowed to vote. But if one year old people can be registered to vote, what's to stop imaginary people being registered? Some unscrupulous person could get three cards in three different names and go along three times. You'd hope someone might notice the same face showing up more than once, but you wouldn't put money on it.

Don't even get me started on postal voting, which seems to me to be about as secure as sending off for a free sample...Try democracy for one election, and if you don't get the desired results, next time you can sell your vote to your neighbour!


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Little things

As I was wandering around Oxford in my lunch hour, stretching my bony legs and dodging the raindrops, two things made me smile. They were little things, so little that on other days I may not even have noticed them, but today was clearly a day for finding amusement in everything.

First, I walked past a middle aged couple who were standing in the street huddled under an umbrella, straining their heads inwards to keep dry. The woman had a mobile phone pressed to her ear, her eyes squinting in that way they involuntarily do when you're caught in a downpour.

What crucial conversation could have caused these people to stand in the rain and focus intently on the words emanating from their phone, while others hurried by into shops and warmth? As the cascading precipitation bounced around them, I heard the woman say, "If you need kitchen towel it's in the cleaning closet."

Then, a few moments later, I ran into my favourite book shop (I'm a librarian, you know) and discovered another source of mild amusement. On a display table by the door, the Labour and Conservative party manifestos sat happily next to a small book titled On bullshit. I applaud you, Blackwells, because that was surely deliberate.

Sometimes, its the small things that make your day. Which is good, because the big things don't some along that often.


Monday, April 25, 2005

Let's communicate

The way we communicate has changed so much in such a very short time. Here I am blogging, tapping out my thoughts for the whole world (all two of you) to see, while simultaneously trying to communicate with my sibling via picture message. Ninety per cent of my communication at work takes place via email.

Fifteen years ago I'd never heard of the internet and my Dad was the envy of many with a mobile phone the size of several bricks. Try sticking that in your handbag. Or anywhere else for that matter.

Five years ago blogging was the domain of technogeeks, internet chatting was decidedly esoteric and there were more people in Britain than mobile phones.

The question is, is all this communication doing us any good? We seem to communicate more these days, but are we communicating better? Are we losing quality for the sake of quantity?

To be honest, I can't tell you. The rapid rise of modern communication technologies has happened parallel to my rise from child to teenager to student to fully fledged working librarian, all stages of life that probably would have been marked by different levels and modes of communication whatever the technology available. There's no way of knowing what my social interaction would be like now without my mobile phone and internet connection, because when I didn't have those things I was a different person with different desires and needs.

I know that I wouldn't be sitting here in my magnolia room writing words that millions (cough, cough) of people all around the world will be able to see within seconds of me writing them if it wasn't for the rapid changes that have taken place in the way we speak to each other. But if the technology wasn't there, would I want to? I have become who I am alongside this technology, and maybe the technology is shaping us as much as we are shaping it.


Thursday, April 21, 2005


I'm a patient person. I like to think I can remain calm, focused and objective when everyone around me is getting chickenheady and throwing things. I don't like to get angry. My mind is an oasis of calm.

Calm, however, is gradually giving way to more negative emotions. To be frank, I don't think my serene manner can last much longer. This librarian's everlasting patience is now being tested on a regular basis by the incessant ringing of my chirpy telephone. Ring ring ring ring ring ring ring ring ring ring ring.

You might think I'd be happy to have so many people wanting to talk to me. If their sole objective wasn't to sell me something, I would be. However, considering I don't get many real calls on my landline at all, a call once a night from some rival telecom company's chirpiest/miserablist (miserablist? I think I invented a word!) employee reading overenthusiastically/with no enthusiasm at all from a script that means they always have a smart reply to the word No is getting a little ridiculous.

To be honest, I've given up answering the phone. I don't want to waste one more minute of my life saying I'm really not interested, thank you.

What has infuriated me enough to write this post is that the number 08700130624 has phoned me three times tonight. An internet search reveals that this is indeed the devil's number. That's 08700130624. 0870 0130624. If it rings me again I swear I'll... moan a lot. Arrgggh.


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Run, little seeds

My sweet peas are dying.

This is not an unusual occurance, as my previous posts may have indicated. I thought by planting them out in the garden I was saving them from myself, but alas, they are now no more than barely green, slightly shrivelled shadows of their former selves. I am also now the proud owner of two dead venus flytraps, which was probably a situation predetermined as soon as I got them to the till in B & Q. Ficus is doing good though, as are the other sweet peas that live in my window box.

Still, my lack of green fingers is painfully apparent. The packet of sunflower seeds that has yet to be opened shudders as I type, as the clever seeds realise what awaits them and try to escape. Run, little seeds, run!

Maybe I should just eat them and be done with the killing.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Building cities

I'm building a city, a green city, a happy paradise of well cared for people. If only it weren't so bland, regimented and ultimately souless. Thank the world that real life isn't like Sim City 4.


Monday, April 18, 2005

Who should you vote for?

I never intended this blog to be political, and I still don't.

But that doesn't mean I can't mention politics. If you live in the UK, you may have noticed that there's a general election coming up, and that's worth a mention. It's not like this happens every day. If you don't know who to vote for, or even if you think you do, give a try. You get to say how you feel about different policies, and the results give each party a ranking based on how well they fit your opinions. It may suprise you. Right now I'm trying to solve the terrifying mystery of why the United Kingdom Independence Party aren't right at the bottom of my list. Here's my result:

Who Should You Vote For?

Who should I vote for?

Your expected outcome:

Liberal Democrat

Your actual outcome:

Labour -14     
Conservative -41     
     Liberal Democrat 78
UK Independence Party -7     
     Green 33

You should vote: Liberal Democrat

The LibDems take a strong stand against tax cuts and a strong one in favour of public services: they would make long-term residential care for the elderly free across the UK, and scrap university tuition fees. They are in favour of a ban on smoking in public places, but would relax laws on cannabis. They propose to change vehicle taxation to be based on usage rather than ownership.


Sunday, April 17, 2005

White band rejoicing

Best news in the world ever - it looks like my silicon white wrist band might finally be on the way! Yes, that's where I've been for the past ten days, wading through cyberspace trying to find a place that hadn't sold out and didn't crash when I tried to order it... The soul-saving place that took pity on me finally was Traidcraft. Email confirmation has arrived and everything! I'm so excited it's sad. Cleary these things are like goldust, so look busy, get over there and order one while you still can. Show the world you care, like it seems so many people are already. We're great, aren't we?


Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Buying bands

My blog has a white band, but I don't. I've been holding out for a silicon one, and they seem to have been sold out for ever. Until yesterday, when I found them finally in stock on the net... only to see the payment system crash and my order fail to complete.

Methinks I'm relying on the internet too much. I bet they have them in Oxfam.

Or maybe I should stop being so fashion conscious (did I just say that about myself?), tie a white rag round my wrist and be done with it. Of course, it doesn't have to be on my wrist - how about a bandana? I could walk around with Make Poverty History emblazoned across my forehead. That'd make people take notice.


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

What do I know?

Blogger not working!

Well, it is now, but it wasn't for long enough to drain me of my inspiration, which was an assortment of whimsical thoughts about consciousness and cognition thrown into my head by a book I came across today. I'm a librarian, you know. Lets just say who knows what I don't know.

What I know I do know is that all of my plants survived my ten day absence... so watch them die now I'm back.

Well, when I say all, I mean all except the one that was practically already dead, so it was really a non-plant when I left it. And now even less of one. Just a black tangle of rotting flesh, really.

I know it's dead, because I've seen dead plants before, and even though I've never seen a dead venus flytrap before, the experience is suffiently similar for me to know it's dead. What is it like to see a dead plant for the first time? Did I always know that plants could die? These are the questions we must ponder... these and the more important ones like Where did put that chocolate?