Symbolic Forest

A homage to loading screens.

Blog : Posts from August 2006


In which we listen to music

And the year starts with a long pause, whilst I enjoy a bit of a holiday. It’s all very well taking time off work, but the real way to take a break is a sudden, unexpected trip to stay with someone who doesn’t have internet access.*

We popped out to see a couple of local bands last night, in a pub just up the road from the Railway Museum. The pub was full of teenage emo kids in tight trousers, chains and handcuffs hanging from their belts and hair across their faces. I bet they’ve never actually used the handcuffs they all seem to have, any of them. Sitting there in plain trousers and a t-shirt, it made me feel rather old. Mind you, one of the bands seemed to take their fashion style** from Simon Le Bon circa 1982, so they must have long memories too. They weren’t as good as the openers, who didn’t do anything more imaginative than late-80s hair metal, but did it well.

The main band weren’t bad for that sort of gig,*** but they didn’t jump out at me. Their sound levels didn’t seem great, with the singers hardly audible. Maybe that’s the sound they were going for. The lead singer ran offstage and disappeared into the loo during the final song. I’m not sure if that was planned beforehand, or if he was just really, really desperate, and couldn’t wait another 32 bars. He waited until the music had died away, and emerged to a cheering crowd.

* If it hadn’t been sudden and unexpected, I’d have put some effort into writing blog posts in advance.

** but not the music

*** the sort where everyone in the audience was either a friend, or a friend of a friend.


In which a year has passed

One year ago today, I wrote:

This post is the first post. The first real post on SymbolicForest.com

Yes, this site has been going now for a whole year. I haven’t quite managed the original target – a proper post every day – but the amount I have produced isn’t bad going.

From before day one, this site has promised “restlessness, whinging, perversity, opinion, and bad jokes.” I like to think that, over the year, it’s been borne out. I’m definitely still restless, still whinging regularly, and always tell bad jokes. My life, though, has changed a lot over the past year; I’m not sure how much of that has been reflected in my writing, but it has. I’ve found a new social scene, and made new friends. In fact, I’m writing this sitting in the living room of two friends I didn’t even know a year ago. I’m a lot more comfortable with who I am, even though I’m still finding new things out about myself all the time. I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

I don’t know how my life is going to change in the next year. I know how I’d like it to go, but I have no way of knowing if it will. Change is going to keep happening, though, and I’m going to try and keep writing about it.

End of the week

In which we take some time off

Not just end of the week, but start of the holidays – I’ve got an entire week, and more, off work. Hurrah! I’ve been winding Big Dave up about it all day.

It seems, though, that half the office has all decided to take the same week off work. So Dave won’t have to worry too much about me being off; he should only have half as many stupid questions to answer anyway.*

I don’t have any particular plans for the week. Tidy up a few things here and there. Go on the odd outing. But, most importantly, it’s a chance to rest a little. The universe has been far too nice to me in the past 7 days; something bad is bound to come along and hit me soon, and I will need a rest before I have to cope with it.

* Yes, I know there’s a flaw here – not everyone asks quite as many stupid questions. Some people are far, far worse than others.

Books I Haven’t Read (part six)

In which we fail to read “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson

As I said last time this series popped up, it was originally supposed to be a bit more regular than this. This entry, too, feels slightly like I’m repeating what I’ve said before. Not only is it a science fiction book like the last one, it’s by an author who has cropped up previously. Today’s Book I Haven’t Read is Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.

I’m not sure what it is about Stephenson books that makes them hard to get through on the first attempt. I certainly didn’t have any problem with the first one I read, Cryptonomicon, but for some reason the others have gone past much more slowly.

It’s not that it isn’t a good book; it’s just that it demands to be read slowly. The terminology, the language, the realised world, all demand effort on the reader’s part. I’m a lazy reader, especially if I’m reading last thing at night; the book was too difficult to make me care about it.

Now, I’m reading it again, as a lunchbreak book instead of an evening book. And, I’m appreciating the start of it much more on second reading. There are awkward passages; but not enough to distract a SF almost-novice. It’s a fast-moving book; which conflicts with its density. It’s still not an easy read, but this time I think I’m going to finish it.

Still here

In which there has not been a nuclear war

Well, the world hasn’t ended yet, then.

I wasn’t really expecting it to, to be honest. Surprisingly, though, some people, specifically American historian Bernard Lewis were expecting nuclear war to start yesterday. I doubt that too many people took them seriously, but you never know. The worry, though, is that the people with the most nuclear weapons of all are likely to believe Lewis more than other, less inflammatory experts.


In which we watch

There was Art going on in Trafalgar Square the other weekend. You could tell it was Art, because it couldn’t really have been anything else. Other than an alien landing, Doctor Who filmshoot, or something similar.

Art in Trafalgar Square

Art in Trafalgar Square

A bit of searching, and I’ve discovered I was watching a performance of Miniatora, by the Candoco Dance Company. As usual, I found watching the crowd more interesting than watching the performance itself.

Crowds in Trafalgar Square

Busy life

In which eating the leftovers is ill-advised

Note to self: be more careful with the leftovers in future. Two day old Chinese food with prawns in isn’t good for my stomach, clearly. That was at least part of the reason for my absence over the past couple of days. There were other reasons, too, of course – when I wasn’t in bed or throwing up, I was travelling round half of Yorkshire, escorting kissograms and delivering cats. Despite my illness, despite still spending most of the weekend in bed, I didn’t get much sleep.

Old standby

In which we still know what you're looking for

As I haven’t done it for a while – stop sniggering at the back there – it’s time for Recent Search Requests.

neverwhere – look here, or possibly here.
have you tried turning it off and on again poster – if you give me ten minutes I’m sure I could knock one up
symptoms of hypoxia in dog – I’d imagine they’re fairly similar to the symptoms in humans – irritability, aggression, light-headedness, inability to concentrate, and eventually fainting.
movie shoot on millennium bridgeI took a photo, but beyond that I know nothing
public domain sailing ship images – sorry, none of those here.
british railways sign font – you’re probably after either Gill Sans or Rail Alphabet.
bagpiping sexual practise – I really have no idea. Does it involve horrible screechy noises, and men in skirts? Or is it related to teabagging? The mind boggles.
angel london underground strawberry beer – see, despite staying near The Angel recently, I still don’t know any pubs round there that sell it. Better do some fieldwork, I think.
Takin’ Over The Asylum was the classic BBC Scotland drama series starring Ken Stott and David Tennant, back before he was famous. It really was very good indeed, and I wish I could see it again some time.
naked norfolk girl – that’s definitely enough search requests for today, I think.

Brring brring

In which I'm on my own

Big Dave’s on holiday all this week, and most of next week too. I’ve been getting on with my work, have coped on my own, and haven’t had to call him up for anything.

This might not sound unusual to you – how many of you call your co-workers for help when they’re on holiday? Indeed, it’s not unusual to me either. The other way round, though, it’s routine. When I’m on holiday, I end up with Dave on the phone at least once a week, usually more.

The last holiday I took, in fact, he managed to pull a blinder. It was my first morning on holiday. I woke up, went to a greasy spoon for a fry-up, and wandered back to my room for a shower. I strip off, get in the bathroom, turn on the shower, get in…

“Your phone’s ringing!”

I turn the shower off again: and, indeed, brrring brrring. It’s Dave, of course, having trouble with something that has to be done every day. I have to talk him through some basic computer commands that he really, really should know how to use.

What’s galling is that he’s above me, officially. He gets paid more than me, too. He still needs to phone me for help, though. I wonder when he’ll next be getting in the shower…

A subtle shift in gravity

In which we visit London

Or, photo-post of the week.

I had to go out shopping for new trainers on Sunday. I took the camera along too, though, which meant I went on a bit of a detour.

Arnos Grove station

North Woolwich ferry terminal

Clouds over London

Fire exits

I like the third one best – the thumbnail doesn’t do it justice.