ducks on the lido

General reminder

Still alive, just elsewhere. The number of elsewheres has increased since I last posted about them, so here is a list:

Listing to Port, My writing blog. It has daily posts and is about making lists and spouting bollocks, mostly.

Gnimmel's House of Maps, my art blog. Only sporadically updated at the moment.

Othergnimmel, an only very occasionally updated blog about life stuff (mostly about having babies).

I still read here but usually on my phone, which is not great for commenting, so I hardly ever comment.
ducks on the lido

Dropping back in briefly

So, I seem to remember back in the day when I buggered off from the LJ, I said I'd make one last post if I started posting art stuff anywhere else. Somewhat later, I lost the notebook in which I'd been writing down ideas for said art stuff. So I decided I would take all the ideas and part-finished things from it that I could remember and actually finish them (even the really rubbish ones). That turned out to be about 30 things, which seemed comfortingly close to the number of days in a month, which suggested that maybe I should do these things and pick a month and post them once-a-day.

That month is this month, and the place I am doing it is here. The reason that I'm posting about it now[1] is because I'd previously been putting up the less good things, on account of everyone being away for the Jubilee holidays. Today's one, however, I rather enjoyed doing. It's
kind of a flowchart. About Shakespeare. It's here (although you may have to click about a bit to get the readable version).

[1] The reason I am doing June at all is because I'm 7 months pregnant. Which means it's pretty much now or never...
ducks on the lido


A few things it may be useful to know wrt this livejournal at the moment:
1) I've been away the past 2-3 weeks and not reading LJ at all.
2) I get on quite well not reading LJ. I think my sense of online community these days mainly comes from twitter and facebook. TBH, I don't really foresee posting here much in future, although I might try rebooting my blogging elsewhere (in which case I may post a notification here that that has occurred).
3) Whilst I'm not going to stop reading it entirely just yet (because there are great people with whom my only point of contact is LJ, and because sometimes there are filtered posts on which my input is wanted), if you want me to read or comment on something specific you may have to prod me to do so.
4) Just in case anyone is worried, this isn't a personal-crisis type change in internet usage - it's something I've been moving towards for a long time. I just thought it might be useful to clarify that my use of LJ has become rather sporadic, and it is better to try and get hold of me elsewhere if you need to.
ducks on the lido

The lives of perfect creatures

Thank you for all your comments on the previous post. It was an interesting exercise; much more in the way of nature and music and travelling, and perhaps less about relationships that I was expecting. Sunlight and the lonely sea, the sound of birds and the scent of pine trees. I don't know if that's a selection effect (the sort of people who still read this journal, the sort of things people are comfortable expressing in a public post) but the sorts of things that make you happy are rather lovely.

I find the contagiousness of feelings interesting. I was going to write something unpleasant about how bedbugs mate and the non-one-to-one relationship between long-term happiness and what gets a species to survive. But having reread the last post comments, I have a feeling of gentle Aww, and don't particularly want to. So hurrah for gardens[1] and spooning-before-sleep, for silliness and high lonely hills, and for the smell of warm blackcurrant bushes. Hurrah for music. Hurrah for pop music, even[2]. I'm sure there will be other days for the bedbugs. I don't know if reading about other people being happy is triggering the whole social group says stuff is good compliance thing[3] but yes. Contagiousness! Jolly good, folks.

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ducks on the lido

The Happiness Project

I'm interested in happiness.
I mean, everyone is, I guess[1]. But I've been reading discussions like this, and this, and this. And I was thinking about the cheese and pickled onion sandwich.

The thing about the cheese and pickled onion sandwich is this: provided it is the right cheese and pickled onion sandwich (that is to say one with crispy white bread, big, sour pickled onions, and cheese sufficiently mature enough to come to well-reasoned, sensible decisions about its own tragically brief life), it's a surprisingly good medication. It makes life seem that little bit better. It promotes a feeling of warm comfortableness, of everything being basically OK. I guess this must stem from eating a lot of them at a comfortable, optimistic part of my life (probably when I was in 6th form?). There is a sort of contagiousness to happiness, whether it exists in ones own past or in other people's stories.

I was also thinking about websites which focus on only good news. I have sought them out in the past for the purposes of cheering people up, but they tend to be a bit, well,
"8-year-old boy, who is currently losing his battle with an excruciating, disfiguring form of cancer, goes to Disneyland!",
"Crippling recession slightly less bad than thought!",
"Study shows survivors of genocide still able to laugh from time to time!",
which tends to leave me feeling a bit depressed, all things considered, and in possible need of a cheering sandwich.

So here's an experiment. Tell me about a time when you were happy. Fiercely, wonderingly, comfortably, paradoxically, disgustingly[2] or miraculously happy. In awe of the awesomeness of the world, or in spite of its incredible suckage. About knowing that life was basically OK, and that the bad stuff didn't matter, and that there were good times still to come. About being secure and loved and welcome. Whatever happens to float your boat. I thought about applying some rules, to stop the risk of it getting all my heart swelled with the fierce joy of revenge as my hands finally closed around my enemy's throat, but on reflection that's part of the whole glorious messy mix, too.

NOTE: this is a public post. However, anonymous (or anonymised) comments are perfectly welcome (like postsecret, but with less pictures and more happy, as it were).

[1] "A vote for me is a vote in favour of happiness, kittens and lining up to punch immigrants in the face", as some of our political worthies might opine.
[2] Happy from a great height, even.
ducks on the lido

Not the Protagonist

I'm reading the Decameron at the moment. It's bizarrely hard going.
To explain a little further: the Decameron is a set of one hundred stories, told by ten storytellers over ten days, written around the time of the Black Death. Translated, it's actually surprisingly readable and snappy. It was the go-to source for plots for any number of later writers, including Chaucer and Shakespeare. The stories mostly comprise series of jolly japes involving lovers, nuns, saucy friars, etc. But... well.

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A candle for Laika

So it turned into a long weekend of pandas, hummingbirds, margaritas, sealions, curious beans, rainswept neon and red carpets, sunburn, peruvian tea, pelicans, Mexican maximalist decor, manga shops, blisters, the pacific, enormous fibreglass elephants &c. Which is all well and good. However, none of these things were the best thing about Southern California. The best thing was unequivocally the Museum of Jurassic Technology. See, I'd never wondered before what a museum which had been built to specifically cater to my tastes would be like. Turns out I didn't need to, because someone appears to have already built it. Admittedly they have built it in a not-frightfully-accessible bit of Los Angeles and you have to ring a bell to gain entrance, but I had a bus timetable and a finger, and between us we prevailed.

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ducks on the lido

Don't go to Mexico

As people of a more twittery or facebooky nature may be aware, I'm currently at a conference in San Diego. Now, I have a little time for tourism at the end of the conference, and San Diego is right on the Mexican border, and on the other side of the Mexican border is Tijuana. Tijuana is, at least in popular myth, a seedy, decadent place, home to Tijuana bibles[1], knockoff goods, drugs, drink, probably-apocryphal in the present day donkey shows and so forth. So for a while I considered the possibility of pootling over the border and wandering around the safer parts, in a social-anthropology kind of way. Now, it turns out that the US government has a warning out not to go there because of recently-increased border-related drug trade violence, and is also turns out that my fine university-provided insurance doesn't include Mexico. So my 1 1/2 days tourism in San Diego are likely to include cuddlier things such as pandas and lighthouses instead. But just out of interest I started asking people at the conference what they thought of the day-trip idea. The results were kind of interesting from a perception-of-risk standpoint.

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ducks on the lido

And so is King William

I'm carrying out a slow clearout of old vector images for projects that are now so far down the todo list that they will clearly never be finished. To wit:

Marginally relatedly, and in the spirit of intentional misreadings (and/or crash blossoms), I opened my notebook today to find two, um, atmospheric, BBC headlines I wrote down last year:
"Invisibility cloak edges closer", and
"Book page thief sentence halved".
Both of which pale somewhat before this masterful work of headlining, as pointed out by roz_mclure.