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and my legs are cold.

Do you think there'll be snow this Christmas?

Oxford is horrible today; there are no wearable shoes anywhere (current shoe crisis now means my feet are bruised and blistered) and the roads are sticky with black slime. In the centre of town, the christmas decorations are full of revolting clowns. On Cowley Road, nothing, not even any Diwali lights.

Still playing with spambots; I put smallCAPSsmall into the trash today, but I kept the messages from the translator, unable to resist the abstract glory of:

You can metamorphose to the top-grade c hap for your girlfr iend

This pharmaceuticals is used to heal cavernous dysfunction,
besides famed as an inability to copulate. This is when a someone cannot obtain, or keep,
a rigid vertical phallus good for sexual activity.

This medication is :
  • appropriate to be used as a execution foil
  • has many vantage over other pharmaceuticals
  • can operate for 2 days
  • can construct up in the trunk

I spent the weekend as much in London as was practical, using all the bus-time to read a heavy book rendered portable with a kids' halloween rucksack, trying not to boggle as everywhere I looked livejournallers and friends lifted out of the background detail of streets and gigs and galleries like odd 3D effects; constructs of words and pictures and comments into people, performers, conversations. It was pleasant but unsettling, like a dream where everything is nice enough, but moving too fast.

Also in London I met the new niebling for the first time. Elle pointed at my spots, laughed, and told me the name for sympathetic pregnancy symptoms, which I promptly and disgustedly forgot. Later, some overzealous chef dropped raw green chillies onto my pizza, scraped them off, and tried to pretend nothing had happened. Well, we got a free dessert out of it ... that I was too sick to eat.

Eyes, Lies and Illusions was very interesting, though it suffered a little from low exhibit density* and bland gallery presentation. Of course, you can't turn the Hayward into the Pitt Rivers just like that, but exhibits of this type are natural denizens of the interactive and densely crowded world of Cabinets of Curiosities, and get anxious when they're stranded in vast expanses of whiteness and punctuated with vaguely irritating bits of modern art, and start worrying if they're worth the admission price (£9). Despite my fondness for optical toys, I came away with no merchandise at all, although I was struck by the Hayward's ability to pick the least appealing images from the exhibit for the postcards, which wasn't confined to this exhibition; the sale section was stuffed full of cards from the last few shows, reduced to 25p, and still not worth it. If you decide to go, remember to pack some 5p pieces; there's a pay-per-viewmaster upstairs that's well worth the look. It's opposite the devil's talkshow and the naughty nudie ladies.

The robot cats do not have your interests at heart.

Though causing nowhere near the mess achieved by some people, the damage done by one misplaced mazda does rather leave me wishing that if people feel they have to commit suicide they would do it quietly, at home ...

... and just as I'm sinking into misery, comes the welcome reminder that while sometimes you don't recover from nasty injuries, sometimes you do.

* Which is not to imply that there wasn't much to see. In fact the rooms were stuffed; stereograms of grinning devils with glowing eyes, videos of antique flipbooks with ghosts and little girls in big skirts, a wall covered with flashing colours that made me feel like I was being hypnotised by an evil genius, ancient shadow animation crawling with many-headed demons, walk-around sculptures which changed according to perspective (and a room which did the same), pictures which slid between night and day, prospect and disaster, flowers and people, and (in one case) Napoleon and his tomb, playing cards, tea-cups and tablets with pornographic images hidden inside them, magicians' mirrors, anamorphic discs and much, much more; but something about the way it was presented gave a sparse impression, compounded by the fact that a certain number of exhibits were broken or intentionally static, and the interactive lab contained so little to do that the gallery attendant was performing magic tricks to amuse the bored and confused children. Specifically, she was making money disappear.


( 13 worms — Feed the birds )
8th Nov, 2004 10:00 (UTC)
Robot Cats Say...
"Feed Us! Feed Us Human!"


Guillotine? That's remarkable...I mean, it seems to me that the absence of ready firearms in the UK makes the committed suicide much more decided, disciplined, and inventive. Interesting to note, also, that the statistical preference for suicidal men to use violence (instead of poisoning, say) seems intact. :-/

Also, is that the special Pesh Merga breed of Christmas Tree then? ;-)

8th Nov, 2004 13:43 (UTC)
firearms account for a lot of our rural suicides (owning a shotgun is commonplace in the sticks) ... but the latest reports on suicide suggest that a common feature is a lack of imagination, and poor problem-solving ability (cutting suicide rates is one of our targets, so I've been reading reports!) ... making Boyd such an unusual suicide that I can't help but feel he's edging into the death-by-fetish zone.

8th Nov, 2004 14:39 (UTC)
Re: hmmmm
Links to any statistics of note?

Hereabouts, the Golden Gate Bridge is still a big attraction ... but I wonder about drug overdoses too. Death-by-fetish* - probably, that is just a whole lot of preparation.

*Possible circumstantial evidence might be an accumulation of those bladed paper-cutters? Though I'm just thinking the sound and idea of clean-cuts is the fetishistic attraction, it might be more historical for Boyd.
8th Nov, 2004 15:11 (UTC)
here's the paper I'm quoting

It raises some interesting questions about helplines and suicide awareness education.
8th Nov, 2004 15:53 (UTC)
I quickly scanned the summary. I didn't realise paracetemol was such a big issue ... acetometophin is widely available here, though perhaps not in very great per unit dosage.

I didn't realise that suicide accounted for such a large share of youth deaths! That's really surprising. I know accident & injury (especially auto accidents/ drink driving) have to account for the larger share, but I wasn't expecting suicide to rate so high ... is it higher than drug abuse?
8th Nov, 2004 16:53 (UTC)
paracetemol's a special case
... because you can't change your mind half way through, like you can with some drugs. A toxic dose is surprisingly low; and they can bring you round and pump your stomach and still there's a good chance you'll die.

You have to bear in mind that we're talking a large percentage ... but of a very low figure. Typically, drug deaths kick in when you're a bit older, but I'm not altogether clear on how the figures compare.

Booze and cars continue to be very dangerous -- there's an annual toll of alcohol poisoning and car accidents. I think it's higher than suicides but it comes from groups already classified as risk-taking.

The problem with suicide is that it comes out of the blue.
8th Nov, 2004 14:43 (UTC)
On that Korean arsonist ...

Remember that internet-based suicide meet-up in Japan a few weeks ago?



The danger of loneliness cannot be underestimated I think. Odd too that alienation seems to rise with social complexity evolving from crowded populations. Maybe that's just an unwarranted silly generalisation.
8th Nov, 2004 15:16 (UTC)
we had a very strange suicide pact over here a short while ago -- the parents were quick to point the finger at bullying, but I'm inclined (in this case as in the Japanese car suicides) to blame mutually reinforcing destructive friendships.
8th Nov, 2004 11:19 (UTC)
sympathetic pregnancy symptoms

Is it 'couvade'?

I'm still scared of that exhibit at the Hayward. Eeek.
8th Nov, 2004 13:46 (UTC)
... hm, I think so. Apparently Kean (husband) has some, too. She loves to spread the joy.

It is kind of scary ... well, bits of it are. It's all so very hand-made, and most of the items are things that have been handled and breathed on and peered through a great many times. They have a sort of weight from that ...
8th Nov, 2004 14:45 (UTC)
Speaking of Spam
Had a really freaky spam from someone masquerading as the Washington Mutual bank, alleging someone had spent $619,000 on my credit account, and that I had to click 'decline' to stop it.

Really slick, using all the correct fonts, colours, and logos. I should've sent it to WashMu directly - let their lawyers handle it.
8th Nov, 2004 14:52 (UTC)
to clarify
I have no WashMut account of any kind, so that much eased my worry.
8th Nov, 2004 16:28 (UTC)
Re: to clarify
I've had a few like that,too. 'Official' looking stuff always frightens me. Bastards shouldn't do things like that. It be cruel.
( 13 worms — Feed the birds )