Main | May 2002

April 30, 2002

I'm sure Alanis is


I'm sure Alanis is lovely, by the way. But having seen Dogma, she certainly seemed little.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 09:25 PM | Comments (0)

Americans and Irony


Americans and Irony

Was reminded by a comment on not.so.soft that we all like a good cackle at Americans and their lack of understanding of the true meaning of the word. Particularly Alanis Morrisette and her song "Ironic", which should really have been called "Bit of a Pisser".


But did you ever stop to consider the double layer to this? Cunning little Alanis is playing games with us you know. She's thought "Aha, I've got a quirky catchy song here, I'm a bit odd-looking, bound to be a hit in Britain, lets make a song that is going to deliberately get them all agitated about those Americans who don't get it...


"only to remind them on my deathbed that I'm CANADIAN. Who's the fool now you limey arses?"

Posted by Tom Dolan at 07:29 PM | Comments (0)

Thanks to bluetealeaf once


Thanks to bluetealeaf once again for finding this list of amusing things. There's some old favourites in there, some new ones that are genuinely hilarious, and for some obscure reason a set of scanned fronts of "naughty birthday cards". Go figure.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 07:10 PM | Comments (0)

New Definitions #1: Screensaver


New Definitions #1: Screensaver


[n] - The device which stops your boss seeing the abusive instant messages about him sent by colleagues who don't know you're away from your desk.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 02:10 PM | Comments (1)

Modern Rites Of Passage


Modern Rites Of Passage


At the weekend I (deep breath) disconnected and changed all the innards of a toilet cistern. I feel like a true man.


I also (with a bit of tweaking last night - hence the delayed post) laid a new bathroom carpet. And I already knew I could take radiators off walls to paint and paper behind them.


I'm not interested in this because I'm turning into a DIY bore, though it's entirely possible I am; it's the lack of suitable other equivalents in this day and age. In the olden days, you had to go and fight wolves, kill your own sheep, build a shelter, hit women over the head with rocks *and* carry them all the way to your cave.


Now it's whether you've unblocked a drain yourself. Or put in your own kitchen. I guess the only other one that springs to mind is taking serious drugs, but I think someone better qualified would have to let me know if that fits emotionally. Any other equivalents in a wider context to tom@sparklefluff.com.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 10:41 AM | Comments (0)

Fear of Virtual Space


Fear of Virtual Space


Virtual communities may not be real, but they certainly have all the same physiological and emotional properties of a real one. We're all familiar with this in terms of the here and now (and I believe there's good money to be made out of it :-) but what I certainly wasn't expecting was to feel it over a long period of time.


When I first joined the net revolution back in 1994, using a 14.4k modem and an MS-DOS-based set of packages, I subscribed to a whole bunch of newsgroups and mailing lists. Some fell by the wayside almost immediately, others burnt bright and then disappeared over the course of a year. And then there are the 'comfortable jacket' ones. Which you hang on to , stay subscribed to, and once a fortnight skim through as you delete them.


Which you can carry on doing for years, without ever wondering why you're still doing it.


But this community - about a band - has a reason to get together at last. There's finally going to be a tour after years and years. And no doubt lots of us will be meeting at the gig nearest me.


So I started to post an article asking who was going to be there...and I had to sit and consider whether I was going to press 'send' because it felt so odd.


The nearest equivalents I can think of are


There was a real feeling of participating in a space that only made sense with the old me. That there was a lot of baggage associated with it, and that I'd moved on so far since then. Would the locals assume I was still exactly the same - they don't seem to have changed in my years of lurking? Or does my speed-reading not really allow me to pick up on the nuances of how they've developed like me?


Eventually, I did press 'send'. It feels very odd. I'll post if anything interesting comes of it.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

April 28, 2002

Washing Paintwork


Washing Paintwork


Why is it that while washing gloss paint to make it look all lovely and clean again (so, for example, you might be able to con people into thinking that your house is naturally like that and should be bought instantly) contains such contradictions? The work you do seems to have absolutely no effect whatsoever when you're actually at the coalface, scrubbing away. But then, stepping back, you can't help but say "Coo Wow!" at the overall effect it's had. And it somehow manages to lighten the effect of the whole room, and you in the way you live in it.


So that was yesterday. Ironically, today I'm going to my outside wall to paint mud onto a newly painted bit so that it doesnt look as new any more.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)

Coastillo's still growing on


Coastillo's still growing on me. Must nag Colskee to bring more stuff into work.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)

April 26, 2002

I'm also aware that


I'm also aware that I seem to only be raising questions at the moment. I should stick it out and try to answer the damn things.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 08:38 PM | Comments (0)

I seem to have


I seem to have given Colskee's blog a nudge of revitalisation. And I finally got round to downloading his track Coastillo off mp3.com. Jolly good it was too!

Posted by Tom Dolan at 08:36 PM | Comments (0)

Little Black and White Sods


Little Black and White Sods


I'm having a problem with Magpies. All the recent changes have somehow made me very suspicious. (In a kind of optimistic forward-looking way) And I think this has coincided with the Magpie seasonal equivalent of "but I always go down the pub with the lads on a Thursday!"


For some reason they just never seem to appear in pairs at the moment. And they're bloody everywhere. Taunting me with their little pecky faces.


Right now, my sense of self is so young and fragile that I need all the help I can get, and trying not to worry about just about everything in a life-consuming way takes all my concentration. But I'm worrying about whether my house is going to have been vandalised when I get home - and there's a single magpie. Will the car start - a single magpie. Will anyone realise I'm spending far too much time blogging when I should be doing some real work? Single magpie, sitting on the fence, staring at me.


So of course, all this ties in with the (very potential, I have to keep reminding myself) new house. This place we're trying to take on has problems. A few worrying cracks that are probably okay for its age, but you never know.


Now the car battery wasn't flat, and our current house hasn't been vandalised, and I can still keep my head above water at work.


So are all those single magpies conspiring to warn me off buying the house instead? It makes you think...

Posted by Tom Dolan at 08:35 PM | Comments (0)

Huge thanks to bluetealeaf


Huge thanks to bluetealeaf for linking me through to The Ikea Conversation. Having read that through, I'm really not sure that Cluetrain is right... :-)


And when you get art created from that non-human rubbish, where do we all stand? Thanks to splorp for the Poems made from Subject Lines of Spam.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 06:13 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2002

Perhaps all this feeling


Perhaps all this feeling of dislocatedness is just because I'm missing my Titanium i-book. It had a fight with a glass of Dashwood New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, which I was particularly looking forward to, and has been at the doctors for over a fortnight now. *sniff*


I suppose it's a bit like that adage about never mixing your drugs. Or will only Apple users understand that?

Posted by Tom Dolan at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)

This subtle 18-30 spoof


This subtle 18-30 spoof ad made me laugh. Found it a couple of jumps off www.whereveryouare.org but closed the window and lost the source. Sorry, whoever you were!

Posted by Tom Dolan at 01:28 PM | Comments (0)

At the moment I'm


At the moment I'm trying to work out whether blogging is an inherently male thing. Even though a lot of it seems to be about us showing our female sides.


In a macho competitive roaming conquering discovering kind of way. :-)


I've taken a lot of heart from this piece on why you shouldn't have to worry about how to write a better weblog.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 12:49 PM | Comments (0)

Have been rereading Cluetrain


Have been rereading Cluetrain - the wood version.


Chapter 3 - all about the search for 'voice', and how humans need authenticity and credibility seems very much like the editorial concerns I face in content production every day. How to make the content true, yet interesting. Yet when I speak to my audience about that wacky stuff I'm paid to produce, I lapse into the same old corporate monotone.


Odd that.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 10:56 AM | Comments (0)

I'm definitely feeling more


I'm definitely feeling more adventurous.


An emotional break has occurred with my past, and some of it's to do with blogging, and some of it's to do with what started me blogging.


As I said at the start - a lot of this is to do with the realisation that I might not actually be a complete twat. I emphasise the *might*. When Rageboy listens to you talking without that look in his eyes that empirically means 'nope, you haven't got it yet', you start to feel that perhaps your self-esteem needs a health-check.


The old saying (is it an old saying? No idea, I'm a scientist, me!) "The unexamined life is not worth living" seems to ring doubly true. I realised that I'd spent most of my life thinking that my net value to the world wasn't actually that much, so what was the point of examining it. Now I've started to sift things through - blimey have I found some stuff that needs sorting out. Hence the two days leave-of-absence. There was a lot to mull.


I feel like I'm in a stage of converting bitter experience into wisdom. And I'm finding that there's a hell of a lot of stuff I can just throw out. Which is odd, for someone who always acted by the mantra 'Indecision is the key to flexibility' and 'Handle each piece of paper as many times as it takes you to do something with it through sheer guilt'. This sort of life change is very hard, but the people around me seem to be reacting to it surprisingly well. There was always a bit of me that believed I could only survive through style over substance - I think I've now realised that the style was actually getting in the way!


Oh, and all that stuff about "where I think it's all going" is coming, honestly!

Posted by Tom Dolan at 01:01 AM | Comments (0)

April 22, 2002

Some of us have


Some of us have perfect complexions. Some of us have always had perfect complexions. The rest of us, for better or worse, occasionally get the odd spot. And there's nothing worse than "The Mountain Spot"


Mountain Spots are those ones that don't quite burst. Lurking under the skin, you squeeze them in the hope that it'll all go pop, and you can sit there - pusfree - panting slightly from the pain. But the Mountain Spot knows better. You still have all that pain, and the panting which ought to be of relief, but the knowledge that you've got to go through it all again.


I'm trying to move house.


The last 18 months in my current house have been awful. An ongoing torrent of invasions of personal space that have made me scared to go home. Have left me terrified of hearing the thump of another football against the wall of my house. Tired of having the sound of a child's raised voice making my shoulders go into stress-related spasm.


Today, we rehearsed our 'new journey into work'.


We drove from our house to the road we'd most dearly like to live in - even though we don't quite yet know how we can afford it - and walked to what will be our new tube station. We got on, and went to work. And then, in the evening, we came 'home' again. (It makes a little bubble of tearfulness well up inside me to put those quotation marks round it).


We walked past green parks. We heard birdsong. We saw nice people. We breathed cleaner air. And nowhere was there a single cluster of teenagers hanging around waiting for something to happen - possibly you.


For a chunk of today, and for the first time in ages, I wasn't scared - and it was almost too much to bear.


Because, at the end of it, I had to go back to my real home. This house we've done so much to, taken such care of, made into the perfect nest. Which we can't bring ourselves to live in any more. But have to for another 6 months.


As I say, Mountain Spots. Panting after the pain, and wondering why it's not over yet.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 11:01 PM | Comments (0)

A weekend to change


A weekend to change and to inspire. And a morning that seems so full of promise that I'm almost too paralysed to do any work.


Have found a route into the blogs of some close friends at work (well, I asked them), and have found so much tenderness lurking behind their scary facades that I'm shocked at how people who behave so differently in one environment can actually be so similar in their attitude to life. Have the same worries, concerns and above all broken circuitry that I do.


I'm glad I started this. I've just got to make sure I keep finding the time.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 10:21 AM | Comments (2)

April 19, 2002

So, I've finally cracked.


So, I've finally cracked. I've finally been persuaded by all my friends who said 'you should write all this stuff down'. This is my go at overcoming my absolute terror of criticism and hoping that they knew something I didn't. Oh, and Chris Locke laughed at my jokes and nodded at my opinions too. So it's all his fault.


There are two threads that are likely to unite this blog:


1) Work - I work in iTV and "new" media. Where on earth is it all going to go?

2) Getting away from work. My attempts at dealing with the stresses, strains of work as a paranoid guilty lazy person. And the fact that I'm in a none-too ideal environment when I get home.


actually, make that three.


3) whether I'm a complete twat or not.


Having spend most of my life functioning as "a brain on a stick", as the missus puts it, I'm the first stage of my post-30s self-evaluation. I've started at the gym, got a massage therapist to sort my shoulders out, drinking less, going to bed early and considering children. And as a paranoind guilty lazy person, I'm finding it kind of hard.


Hmmm. Need to think about this.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 05:14 PM | Comments (1)