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Tuesday, 25 May 2010

No spoilers: LOST

There will be reviews of the finale springing up all over the internet in the coming days. They will range from "It was AWFUL" to "it was AWESOME," but that's not what I want to cover here. I want to talk about the part it's played in my life.

One of the main reasons I'm sorry to see Lost go is that it has served as a very effective, if transparent, excuse for hanging out with people I like for many years now. My family got me into it, having decided after the first three episodes that they liked it. I'm sure that, for them, the novelty wore off several seasons ago; and perhaps I'd have lost interest too, if it weren't for Stephen.

Stephen Wills is my honorary big brother. I've known him for my whole life, and craved his approval for about as long; in fact I'd say he was pretty instrumental in inspiring my lifelong love of geeks. I knew him when he was a blond-haired little boy playing with marbles, when he discovered Sonic the Hedgehog, when he was learning to drum and getting girlfriends... I'm a couple of years younger than him, so there was quite a while when we didn't really talk, but then we found out we had Lost in common. For a couple of seasons, my brother and sister and I would go to his flat to watch it with him. Then when he moved back to Newport, and I started doing my gap year work there, I'd watch it alone with him (and believe me, if I'd known how to hit on guys when I was 19, I would have done).

I grew up and moved away, although possibly not in that order; first to Plymouth, where I was alone, and then to Cardiff. In Cardiff I met Dan X. I picked up more or less where I'd left off with Stephen; going round to see him on a weekly basis and watching the latest episode. That's continued, sometimes with more people and sometimes not, right up until tonight. It's one of the things that helped me get to know a few people in Cardiff, so I guess it's one of the reasons this feels like home now.

This obsession has fuelled many discussions with my friends, ranging from vapid soap-opera style drama conversations through to philosophy and metaphysics. I'm helping to indoctrinate my friend Ben into the world of Lost, through which he's getting to know Dan as well. It's good to know that it's still doing that.

So I suppose it's time I found something new to obsess over. Any suggestions?

Sunday, 23 May 2010


Today I woke up. Today I bought a new skirt, from a charity shop: drapey and interesting, £2.99.
Today I went to the park and sat in the sun with friends.
Today I read some more of American Gods.
Today I had dinner and drank cider with friends, and played a Cardiff-based game of Monopoly that I lost and enjoyed.
Today, on my way home at midnight, I didn't so much as shiver. Barelegged and still warm in the middle of the night.

Summer days really do last longer. That's not nostalgia, that's the light. Today, there was so much light.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Copyright and the future

Information wants to be free. Copyrighted information, government information, my information.
I can't locate the quote, frustratingly, but someone once said that computer memory will never get more expensive, slower, or less convenient. The world is opening up for people to share ideas, books, movies, and personal data across the world almost instantly.

To do so in the case of movies, for example, is definitely illegal; arguably immoral; but still very easy. And likely to get easier.

Did you know that copyright law, when first invented in 1709, applied for 14 years? By contrast, Paul McCartney (and thousands of other artists) hold the view that 50 years of royalty cheques aren't enough. (Please discount my opinion, but if you're not currently earning, maybe you don't need to live a life of luxury.) Most performers around today are aware that customers have the option to pirate their songs, and their responses range from the overzealous ('let's sue them into the ground as an example') to the cool ('I make this awesome stuff you might like, oh and also I need to eat.').

This blog is licensed under an Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Creative Commons license. Click on the CC license at the bottom of the page for more info.

I bring this all up because I'm trying to picture the future. It seems to me that, whether the privacy activists and lawyers like it or not, our society is tending towards total freedom of information. Everything about us will be available to anybody who cares enough to look. It will fundamentally change the nature of our society. It will change how we treat others (because we'll know we're being 'reviewed' online); it will change why we create things (because anything we write or film or draw will instantly be available to everyone); and it will change how we keep secrets (if we even have them at all).

I'm not trying to present some horrendous dystopia here; nor am I condoning illegal downloading or the abolition of copyright law. I'm only trying to sort out, in my own head, where I think the human race is going, and (accidentally, in the process) who's stopping us from getting there. If I knew no other life, would I really mind living in a world like that? I think my answer is no.

What do you think? Where are we heading?

Wednesday, 12 May 2010


I feel oddly restless when I come online. There was a time I'd go to a forum, but I've more or less abandoned those. Or I'd log in to IRC, but I don't do that any more. And since I restarted my twitter account (foolish, foolish me), there aren't many people to talk to there either. So I fire up my laptop, open firefox, and feel...

Unsettled. Unhomed.

My dissertation is going to be about home, and what that means. As a student, I move from house to house every year, so that's not home. My parents' house isn't home, not any more. Home has become something a bit more elusive, a bit less defined.

So, I suppose part of me is looking for something to get obsessed about. A website or event or group of people I can relate to, connect with, belong with. Likeminded people. Ah well, I can keep dreaming. There may well be thousands of people with minds a lot like mine, but I wouldn't know where to find them.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Who am I and what have I done with me?

I have a rad dress!

My boyfriend, Gavin, had been keeping a secret from me for weeks. He insisted that I keep last Saturday free, and it wasn't until the morning that he told me why: he was paying for me to go on a shopping trip! His sister-in-law, Leonie, is an awesome lady and she was my style guru for the day. I got lots of lovely things, but I was most excited about the dress. Here is a picture of it on someone who isn't me:

It looks better on me. Sorry for the tiny pictures, these are literally the only pictures of it online as far as I can tell! I guess it's new. Makes sense, one of the girls who works at River Island asked me how it looked on. So: yay! Rad new dress!

I'm now looking for shoes to go with it (sorry guys, I'll talk about something a bit less fashion-based next time), and I'm getting hugely excited by a range Leonie introduced me to called Irregular Choice. They're very unusual. Some of them are just plain bizarre, but I am getting unfamiliar twinges of shoe-lust for some of their designs. Looky:
The best kind of weird, in my opinion. I know some of you may be thinking "Wow, she says how much she hates fashion disasters, and then says she likes these?" in which case I would formulate my reply thusly: LOOK! Look at the pretties!

So anyway I'm just going to hold my head in a bucket of ice water until I clearly see what I've become.

Ooh, I nearly forgot. Links.
River Island
Irregular Choice

Monday, 3 May 2010

Nellie the Elephant

I'm rereading Unseen Academicals at the moment, by Terry Pratchett. The main character, Nutt, is obsessed with having Worth. He creates things, and he learns, and he helps, because he needs to be worthy. I understand how he feels.

I restarted my twitter account today. It was complicated - I had to change my username and details and delete that account, then start a new one with my original information. It was a bit of a snap decision, but I decided that I've let it matter to me far too much. Twitter doesn't matter, not really.

I'm relieved that I've been able to let go of that obsession with rank. I no longer care how many people read my blog, to be honest, since the only important thing for me was to write it. I wanted to prove that I could keep it up, and I've done that, by my standards.

I'm hoping that, once I've finished uni for the summer, I'll be able to spend the summer doing worthwhile things. Not spending all day on twitter; not reading dozens of blogs; but learning things, and doing things, and meeting people. That's what really matters to me. I want to practice playing the ukulele more, and I want to get better at calligraphy, and I want to read and write more. I know I say these things fairly often, but that's because it's good to remind yourself where you want to be heading once in a while.

And above all, I want to be ready for the adventures when they happen. A couple of weeks ago (I intended to write more about this, but the time has passed), I went to the beach. My friends asked if I fancied going. I was at Gav's, but dressed for adventure: jeans, trainers, everything I need in my rucksack; so I said yes, and we went.

I splashed about in rock pools, went paddling, sat on rocks, climbed into a cave, found spiral fossils embedded in the rock floor, and had maybe the best day I've had for many years. Because I was ready for adventure.
It's all very well to wait for these things to happen, but I think it's time I started doing random scary things again. Goodbye to the circus of internet drama, hello to making the most of my free time. Fingers crossed.