inspiring quotes and difficult times


a LOT of words in this tumblr

many, many quotes. good ones, too.

life, death, existence. writing, art, cookery. it’s all there.

from letters of note

and now my saved stuff in tumblr is all image based, and it is talking to me in a different way. having done a couple of extemporized posts, a cat one, a dog one, and now ALL THE WORDS new threads suggest themselves. and i am under the 1000 mark of saved stuff.

there are more animals, so i might do an animal post. then what is left? a lot of colour, for one thing. and quite a lot of flowers. in the past i have wondered what i would do if i RAN OUT. all i can say is that no matter how much i blog i never do run out. sometimes i stop posting for a while, but there is never an end to the tumblring. never an end.

what else is new? well, you might have heard that in this country there is a government drive to get all the cripples and crazy persons into work. this, at a time of mass unemployment. go figure. the thing is, though, for me, there is a disconnect. clearly i don’t want to be forced onto the jam factory floor (or, more likely, now, the call centre) whereupon to become iller and iller and become pulp to be scooped into a body bag, but neither do i never want to work again.

yesterday’s interview at the orwellian named job centre i talked to a nice lady whose job it is to find me employment. after talking to me for an hour she had nothing to suggest other than i rest and recuperate as well as i could. she was contracted to tell me, however, that i had to attend a workfare interview ‘voluntarily’ or else it would become mandatory. i don’t really see what is voluntary about something that becomes mandatory, but maybe i am missing something? anyway, i agreed. a nice young chap phoned me today for an initial consult, and i may have rather bewildered him. well he did ask what i would like to do for a living. so i did tell him i wanted to be an anatomical pathology technician. to be honest, if i got handed that on a plate (no pun intended) i would do my level best not to fuck it up. obviously, i am far too ill right now to do a full time job, but i do have improvements sometimes, there are new drugs, new combinations of drugs. you never know.

so i have to go and have an interview with him next week. he is a nice enough guy, and is doing a teacher training course, so he had a grasp of what my cv was about.

there is really nothing to be done. if i am forced to work full time i will have to turn up until the point of failure, and then my employer will have to call an ambulance. i can’t stand for more than 10 minutes without pain, or sit for more than an hour without moving around. i can’t walk around for more than an hour without lying down. i can’t cope with fluorescent lighting, confusing sounds, or strong smells. there is doubtless work i could do, but the conditions of work itself make it unlikely. when i went to tutu’s funeral the other week i spent an hour getting there, an hour and a half there, and an hour getting back. 10 minutes into going home i was horribly fatigued and in pain, and ten had to guide me home. it took me about five days to recover to my usual level of unwellness. i had a veritable jamboree of migraines, diarrhea and deadly fatigue.

i’d love to work, by the way. when i did work i rather defined myself through my career.

you can’t push a river, and if things play out in a way that is impossible for me i will just have to meet them as they arise.

there is nothing to be done.

i heart tea


today’s tumblr is short, but it’s sweet. containing, as it does, lots of hearts. and a surprise. or more than one surprise if you weren’t expecting to see human hearts. DOH! dammit…

also, you never know when you might need to remove a heart from a body, so there’s that. forewarned is forearmed.

today i had an exhausting outing, but ten came with me and walked the dog afterwards, and then i went back to bed with tea because on a day where i don’t do everything in the right order i like to go back to bed and start again. and by ‘doing everything in the right order’ i mean spending a while immersed in the internet. tom wolfe opens the painted word by quoting marshall mcluhan which, i believe, was a very fashion forward thing to do in 1974, since mcluhan has only become a really go-to theorist in the age of multimedia, as far as i know – though perhaps for film/tv students somewhat earlier. but, naturally, i digress. what mcluhan had said was that people don’t read the morning paper, they slip into it like a warm bath. we needn’t worry ourselves about what wolfe wrote next, though i liked the painted word and i liked from bauhaus to our house  too, for that matter. but isn’t that lovely? i will have read the painted word at some time in the early 80’s, when i was at art school, so THIRTY (for god’s sake) years ago, but that image of immersion has stuck with me all this time.

anyway, back to ME.  i wake up early, take my first tranche of medications, make a VERY LARGE mug of tea. and when i say ‘very large’ i mean it. the mug i use that time of the morning is just shy of a pint pot. plain white bone china. just the job.

i put some breakfast out for poppet, who often likes to eat and then go under the covers for a snooze. the dog is hardly chronically underslept, but who am i to argue with her logic?

i get back to bed with the laptop and, like a lady of the victorian era, i attend to my communications. this takes a while, and is an essential part of my morning, breaking the day gently in with words and pictures and TEA.

after this is done it is time to walk the dog, have breakfast and a bath. if all of this is achieved in a timely manner then all is well with the world.

pinterest versus tumblr


i’m not just an early uptaker because i am bleeding edge trendy. though i AM. obviously. but because i am interested in social media, and i like to landgrab all the elaine4queen potential real estate. not that i have ever come across competition for the name, but – okay, whatever, i have no excuse as such, i just join things and then see where it takes me.

at the beginning of things it’s often hard to see what a site is going to be good for. i had my tumblr account for ages before i did anything with it. it just languished there, with a self portrait holding the page, gathering digital dust, for several months. by the time i posted my second picture some other people had started posting and i could start to get my eye in.

this is what i looked like in february 2009. pretty gripping stuff, right? those glasses? £2.

but even then it took over a year before i found the art blogs i would more or less stick with. like darksilenceinsuburbia.

trawling through my early posts i just found this quote

“In the morning Julie sunbathed on the rockery, this time without her radio. Her skin was so dark I thought it would only be another day before it was black. there was several wasps in the kitchen feeding off rubbish that had spilled across the floor. Outside there was a cloud of flies around the overflowing dustbins which had not been emptied for weeks. We thought there might have been a strike but we had heard nothing. A packet of butter melted into a pool. While I watched out the window I dabbed my finger in it and sucked. Today was too hot to clean the kitchen.”

The Cement Garden, Ian McEwan

a favourite quote from a favourite book. nice.

so, anyway. seeing how crap my tumblr was for so long i wonder if pinterest has anything interesting to add to… culture? at all? like i did with tumblr, i joined early, and part of joining was that it suggested i follow some people, so i did. it soon came to my attention that i was NOT INTERESTED in most stuff on pinterest. on the other hand, most of the people i know weren’t on yet, so there was that. the other thing is that the pictures are small. on tumblr you see one picture at a time on the dashboard, and you scroll through. also, it’s really flexible and quicker than twitter to add or discard whoever you do or don’t want to follow whereas pinterest, with all it’s boards is kind of klunky. tumblr has ended up with a vast cache of tagged stuff – recently i trawled through hundreds of fashion posts, hundreds of interiors, at a size on the screen of about postcard size, so more appropriate for visual culture than the fairly pants 2″ wide (on my laptop screen) images all huddled together.

on pinterest i have pinned some recipes. not that i have made any of them, apart from gleaning the idea of cooking pineapples, which is nice, and which i have done several times. so yummy. since chums have joined i have gradually dumped the boring ladeez that i had been following, but it is still a LOT about having stuff or wanting stuff rather than just liking stuff. it seems essentially consumerist rather than essentially creative.

what they do have in common is a tendency towards perky messages like this

for me, these got tired quickly on both sites, although on tumblr they tended to be more abstract and wistful and arty, whereas on pinterest they tend to be more about positive thinking and family. if pushed, i’d say the earliest users on pinterest were mormon housewives and the early uptakers on tumblrs were art students.

so anyway. i hardly follow any friends on tumblr, just people who post images i like. i can’t seem to find much to like about pinterest, despite following some funny and creative people. is it just the structural stuff? you can click through to bigger pictures on pinterest, where the details of the clever thing or the recipe might also be found. which is something, but it is also a bit annoying to have to do. pinterest makes it sort of easier to have a dialogue with people, but is neither snappy like twitter nor realtimey enough to be like IMing.

i dunno. this is not meant to be an extensive review. it’s just been a bit of partial perspective from your sofa based correspondent. i know there are plenty of people who don’t ‘get’ tumblr, either, so no big thing. i will put my hand up to having watched two documentaries today, one about ’70s britain, the other about the baader meinhof gang. the overlap being the emergence of consumer culture, and in germany an immediate radical theoretical response thereof. once i get going on the anti consumerist thing there’s no stopping me, really. except that there is  because i don’t write about these issues, really, do i?

not as such.

ponder, ponder ponder.

muse, muse, muse.

two posts? are you kidding?


i am not kidding. this is my second post today. you’re so welcome.

not satisfied with writing every day for the past few days, here i am writing a second. well. let’s put this in context – i wrote about how i awarded myself a dotty headbanger award and answered her award questions. and that was this morning. a lot has happened since then. i took the dog a totally new walk, round the allotments! more interesting than you’d think. and minutes away from here. it’s going to be my new favourite walk, and there will be pictures.

before coming home i also awarded myself a cut price easter egg. the pinching headache in my forehead might be something to do with the consumption thereof, but the sicky feeling definitely is. i am going to rectify this by quickly dashing to the fridge to get a glass of coke. i am all about the health today. well, it’s the london marathon, we have to make an effort, and after realizing that half my twitter feed were having a #cakeathon i felt i had something to contribute to the culture of scoffing in a hearty manner. and ten is out AT PARTIES. so. it is clearly logical that i should invest in a rolling sugar high and act out.

okay, i am back.

i am back ablog to share this stupid dining idea with you. you know i am a tumblr addict? well, as well as perusing my own feed, i have lately been scrolling through everything tagged interiors. hence i have seen quite a few horrible rooms, and also this perplexing restaurant.

it’s in the phillipines. you dine with your feet in water. click here for more views.

i mean, i get going on a picnic and it being really hot, and putting your feet in a stream, though in the uk that is usually a bit ill advised, since moving water like that will be COLD at all times of year. i like paddling in the sea, myself, so yeah, whatever. but this gives me a series of heebie jeebies.

1. it looks dangerous. what about klutzes? they will slip and fall. if i was there? we will slip and fall. getting our clothes wet and being miserable, bruised, and bad tempered forthwith.

2. i don’t get how it could be fun. sorry. please explain?

3. infection. i see the moving water, but that looks like an invitation to atheletes’ foot to me.

4. how long are we sitting there? will i get a chill? chillblains indeed. whatever blains are.

5. if you work there, do you get trench foot? does nobody care about health and safety at work any more?

talking of work, after my sterling efforts the other day assessing the scene of the dead swan on the towpath, i decided to look and see about jobs in forensics. now, i am totally an ill person, and not likely to work any time soon, but SAY i was suddenly well? i wouldn’t want to go back to teaching art and design, i hate shops, i couldn’t work in a call centre, but i have gutted a fish after only seeing it done once on tv, i watch all the shows, and know what lividity is.

i think i am a NATURAL for the art of the slab.

and it seems that you don’t need to get any new qualifications if you start as an assistant – just pass the pathologist various knives and stuff, and weigh organs and not be a wimp.

i would far rather work with dead bodies than living ones. ill people are busy getting iller or better and they keep CHANGING ALL THE TIME. dead people change, too, but in a less unpredictable way. and they aren’t going anywhere and they won’t sue you if oops butterfingers! PLUS i would never have to wonder what to blog about again! can you imagine? i would have ALL the stories. oh, sure, i would have to sign the official secrets act, but it’s no biggie, i’ve signed it before.


was that a breach of the official secrets act?

10 things from cats to grumbles


1. so, i’ve got some cats for ya. pretty much as an apology in advance for some howling i am going to do later on. have them now or save them for later, the choice is yours.

here’s one to be going on with

2. i am having a total nervo about a benefits interview i have to have on thursday. obviously, it is what it is, but in the meantime i am digesting my own intestines with anxiety. there’s not much more to be said about it, really, but i just want to say HELP HELP. send all soothing vibes my way, because buddha skills aren’t cutting it with the screaming in my head.

3. so you see. we need the calming. i don’t actually listen to much music most of the time, but today i was listening to a radio show and billy bragg was on it. he talked about how he wrote a new england in which he says he doesn’t WANT a new england – then spent his writing career disproving that premis. i am not mad on billy bragg’s singing – he says himself he is rather a ‘busker’ but kirsty maccoll made a lovely job of the song.

4. we’ve been having a quiet time on our own the past few days while ten has been elsewhere doing things. i have got precisely bugger all done in his absence except eat a box of chocolates to myself. that doesn’t count as an achievement, does it? thought not…

5. we did see a dead swan on the towpath, though. some neighbours were looking at it and trying to guess how it had met it’s death. because i am a professional pathologist, having watched all of silent witness and lots of csi and the like, i knelt down and examined it. without doing a post mortem i couldn’t comment on lividity, but i was able to point out that the beak was caked in mud, suggesting the daft bugger had met it’s death face first. i blame pigeons, but that is CONJECTURE and very naughty. i observed that the swan was a juvenile and had quite the buzz when my neighbours asked HOW DO YOU KNOW? do you know how i knew? or is it just my neighbours who have led a sheltered non swan studying life?

6. on twitter, @lahikmajoe mentioned he was playing his uke in the park with a friend. this not only led me to send him an hour long documentary link about george formby, but now i am hearing ukes everywhere. here is the ukelele orchestra of great britain doing teenage kicks.

7. what else? well, i am jealous of everyone getting to watch the hunger games, but last night i did get to see wuthering heights finally. it was a lot better than i thought it would be, and the restricted palette of the film was beautiful rather than cloying. i watched it with my neighbour stephen, and he noticed how good the soundscape was. and it was, really good. i have no idea how they captured/created the wind, because wind is notorious for messing up sound recording bigstyle. here’s the trailer;

8. gosh, i didn’t know how i was going to do ten things, and now i am already on 8. i thought that i would want to really gripe about the benefits agency thing, but i guess there’s nothing to say since it hasn’t happened yet. still, kindly vibes, keep ‘em coming.

9. i thought you might like this infographic. the post itself describing how he made it is also good.

10. i have been posting every day lately. i really didn’t think that would be possible what with the life i lead and everything, but i’ve been enjoying rootling around in tumblr finding stuff to show you. i’ve got more, too. STAY TUNED!

colouring books and crayons – indoors on a rainy day


rainy days are not as frequent as you might think. i notice this because i take the dog out, and she really dislikes rain. a lot. staffies do, i know one who refuses to go out in the rain and his owner begs him just to go out and pee.

a proper rainy day is about staying in and making things. to that end, gentle reader, i have collated some rainy day images on tumblr for you to look at.

Nina Leen

hmm, so i’ve just noticed that tumblr do their dates year/month/day which is a really good compromise between the uk day/month/year and the us month/day/year because the month and day look the same as they always do to american eyes and the whole thing can be simply read backwards by a brit. mind you, it could be that i am unusual in finding this comfortable – as a left handed person i spent my life before computers leafing through magazines and books from the back to the front. it must affect your brain. your basic cognition must get rewired, d’you think?

foam slippers


you may have noticed that i haven’t exactly been blogging my heart out lately. well, there’s been a couple of things. first of all, i spent a couple of days ‘hospitalized’. that is to say; i was in a crazy ward. second of all there was an aftermath, which i am only just beginning to emerge from.

to help you visualize something of my stay, here is a picture of the FOAM SLIPPERS they gave me for my visit.

i saved them for this show and tell moment, because of course i have to blog about it, and somehow the foam slippers seem to signify something about my stay.

now, if this was a locked down personal kind of a blog you would get all  the gory details, or at least a stream of consciousness version of it. but since i have the temerity to categorize and tag my blog with the word ‘humor’ my intention is to keep it light. of course, who knows if i will pull that off, but at least i try to care about you, gentle reader.

obviously, it would be good if i had a fictive bone in my body, because then i could write in a way that would protect the innocent/guilty in public without fearing consequences, whatever those might be, but i am one of those accursed souls who can’t write fiction without sounding like a phoney. a recent twitter conversation about this has led me to realize that i am not alone. and the problem with having a public blog is all the disclosure. or at any rate, all the potential disclosure. it’s a challenge to say enough but not too much. so it is what it is. and what it is is a snapshot, and a little hand in the air and a weak voice crying out “i’m still here! YOO HOO!”

in any case, you have read or seen one flew over the cuckoo’s nest? that.

i’ll be drawing a veil over what led to the visit to the underworld that is a psych ward, and, drugged as i was, this particular veil is actually rather opaque, since my remembered experience of it is at odds with what actually happened, and my memory itself is foggy. however, guess what? when they are assessing you for release they really do ask you what date it is, which i am always a little vague about, and YES they actually do ask you who the prime minister is! such a cliche.

thing is, i don’t listen to, read, or watch the news any more, so pretty much all current affairs come to me through the media of topical news quizzes, twitter, and facebook. so it’s all a bit partial and slanted towards lolcatz. this is fine for everyday life, i do hear about salient topics eventually, and sometimes before people who follow the trad media do, as you doubtless know, my virtual chums. however, in politics in the uk, we currently have some sort of power sharing going on, and now that i am less drugged i can tell you that we have mr cameron and mr clegg at the helm, though it does seem that cameron makes the decisions and is hated, whereas clegg is a powerless puppet man who is satirized as being his lackey. none of this came to me in hospital, though, so i answered the question with a simple yes.

relating this story to a friend i was told a rather more worrying tale about someone who was asked about whether she knew why she was in hospital who also answered ‘yes’ and was released. certainly, she knew why she was in. (it was because of an alien conspiracy, dur.) DUR.

so anyway, i’m on new drugs, and things are swimming into view again. i expect to be somewhat up to normal transmission any time soon.

as you were.