Wednesday, August 29, 2007

return from athens (northern branch)

I'm back from Edinburgh now, after a great few days. It was the final weekend of most of the festivals, and I managed to see several plays and a film. Given the huge number of productions on offer, I was very lucky that all of them were good, and three were highly imaginative in completely different ways. It's given me a lot to think about, so I'll post about them another time when I've reached some conclusions.

I also got to see my Mum and Dad, which was great, and, as always when I visit, I ate very well. Excellent all round.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

At long last

OK, it was several weeks ago in real time, but in blog terms it was only the post before last when I wrote about scanning the skin a snake had shed. A couple of people commented that they'd like to see it. Well, here it is. (Sorry about the delay.)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

back to the future

I'm not there yet, but at long last it feels like the end of the tunnel is approaching and that I'm returning to normal. A lot has happened in the last few months, and I think it all got a bit too much, so I retreated back to the very basics - home and work.

I've felt like a fraud recently, because I haven't blogged, I've hardly visited the allotment, I haven't been to see the bees, I've taken very few photographs, and I've contributed little or nothing to the organisations I help. In short, I've generally done little of what's fun.

But things are starting to change. I took a few photographs this afternoon, I've come up with an idea for a new design for my personal website, I feel like blogging again and I'm off to Edinburgh in a few days' time.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

snakes on a desk

Yesterday, someone brought two snake skins to work - not made into anything, just complete, empty skins that had been shed. One was about a foot long, and even had the eye coverings that snakes develop just before they shed their skins (and apparently, because they can't see, that's when they're most dangerous).

The other skin was even more impressive. It was from a boa constrictor, about four feet long, and felt like tissue paper. The pattern varied from small patches on top to much larger ones underneath. I scanned the skin on an A3 scanner, and although I don't know how I'm going to use it yet, I'm sure it has potential for powerful images.

Many years ago, I saw a snake in the process of shedding its skin at Chester Zoo, but handling a complete skin was even better.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

marching as to war

Soldiers from the Stafford regiment marched through Hanley at lunchtime today. Someone in a fancy hat, perhaps the mayor or similar, stood on a raised wooden platform, with a reasonable crowd around who applauded as the 200-odd young lads went past, drums beating.

A Warrior armoured vehicle was parked nearby, and young boys were welcoming the opportunity to climb inside. Recruitment officers were working, as they frequently do in Hanley, one of the areas with low wages which tend to be major suppliers of troops.

I found myself getting confused between anger and sorrow at the whole spectacle. Parading banners is a traditional activity going back hundreds of years, but in these days when the regiment has recently returned from Iraq, there is far more to it.

Young people are lured into a dangerous part of the world with the prospect of 'better' wages or career, and die in a war which we started, supported by an incompetent government and opposition and led by a Prime Minister who at best misled Parliament with false information largely copied from an essay on the Internet and at worst actively and knowingly lied to the country.

There was no public inquiry into the case for invasion, yet young people continue to enlist and their families and neighbours stand applauding them in the street. We will never truly regenerate this city while people feel that the army is their best option, and we will continue to be complicit in war while people keep joining up and accepting orders.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

entropy, entropy, they've all got it entropy

Yesterday I saw a road sign to a 'Classic Car Show & Autojumble'. I think many of my belongings must be autojumble, because I leave them alone for a while and they turn themselves into tangled junk.

Friday, June 01, 2007

how lost is my valley

In a continually-recursive twist, the Valley of Lost Things, my other blog, is now itself lost.

I'd been getting a lot of spam comments on the blog, then yesterday I was informed that my webhost was temporarily locking my web space because it had received many complaints about spam coming from my site. I know very little about the mechanics of spam, but it seems likely that someone had hijacked a vulnerable script.

I could, I suppose, have sorted through the many files in case I found something that shouldn't have been there, but I'm not sure I would have recognised anything suspicious. Since I haven't posted on that site since before Christmas, it just seemed easier to get rid of the lot.

It feels slightly sad, but it wasn't even my first blog, so I'm sure I'll get over it soon.