a touch of poetry

2007-02-08 at 16:29 (musings, poetry)

a touch of poetry never goes amiss
with the contours of its words and in its subtle twist
of subtext under meaning and the meter under rhyme
the last words of a sentence close its motion over time.

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Ephemeral

2007-01-11 at 19:08 (bestof, creation, managing, musings, notes, time, uncategorised, wardrobe)

I have this problem of managing all the things I create or buy.

Once upon a time, I was a real hoarder — the mantra was “never throw anything away, never let an idea go”. I realised that I ran the risk of keeping too much stuff and not having the room for it all.

These days, I like keeping the number of clothes I own on the low side, because it makes it much easier to decide what to wear on a given day. At any given time, my wardrobe is like a “best of” of all the clothes I’ve ever owned. If I get something new and I don’t like it as much as something that’s old, then it tends to find its way to the charity shop quicker.

When you have eighty-five pieces of poetry, it’s like having a cluttered wardrobe. There’s some stuff that you really like, some that you don’t like much, some stuff that you used to like now but wonder what you were thinking, and so on. So, with clothes, I try keep only things that I really like by doing a periodic cull. But when it comes to art (whether photos or poetry), I just don’t feel right getting rid of it. It’s stronger than that, actually: it feels wrong. On the other hand, I also feel like some of it just cruft cluttering up the world.

I have no idea why this is the case. Do I worry too much about keeping a record of the past? Would I really be losing anything if I went back and clicked “delete” on old poetry which doesn’t mean anything to me anymore? On some level, is deleting old poetry or unfinished ideas which will never be finished the same to me as deleting my past or my potential in the future?

I’m considering putting together “best of” categories which link the poems thematically or chronologically together, but even if I do that, there’s still that feeling of some of it just being cruft that might as well get chucked out. I wonder if I’ll ever find a solution.

(I’ve been meaning to make this a real blog for a while. That means linking to other sites, writing regularly, acquiring regular readers, possibly using a spellchecker, and perhaps posting more than just poetry. This post represents the beginning of trying that, though I’m aware I’ve done none of the above except the last one yet.)

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tech: one thing for a better commenting system

2006-12-27 at 13:24 (lists, musings, notes, uncategorised)

A “Thanks” button that records thanks when people don’t have anything else to say in a comment.

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relationship-killers: number one

2006-12-09 at 22:10 (commentry, musings)

Assuming that you’ll break up at some point.
If you assume that you’re going to break up, or that it won’t last very long, why bother putting any effort in at all?

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meaning and assigning it.

2006-11-05 at 00:26 (musings)

we assign meaning to things so casually, i think it must be part of being human

one can say that humans’ biological purpose is to reproduce, or that they were designed to reproduce.
but we’re not designed — there’s no intentionality behind that reproduction, it’s just how things have turned out.
and purpose also suggests intent. so many words in the english language, at least, are loaded with the idea of intention.
so it’s really heard to see things without prejudice.

i think some of the reason people prefer to put creation down to a god is because they find the concept of meaninglessness scarey, or somehow unnatural perhaps. i think it’s neither.

(meta-departure:) does anyone else find the idea of the concept of meaningless ironic?

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integrity in the moment

2006-09-28 at 00:46 (article, musings)

Does the past actually exist? Can you touch it? STOP TIME NOW!

Pretend you that everything up to the last sentence was actually just “planted” in your head — never had any real substance or reality. Reality starts from that moment. Would you act differently to how you act now? Would you change things in your life? If so, why?

We must act with thoughtfulness and intent in each moment: we must do what we feel is “the right thing” to be doing. Else, we act without integrity. If one’s true beliefs and actions take no notice of each other, unhappiness must follow — you’re unbalanced, unaligned, and have no hope of true internal freedom and happiness. Even if there is more immediate unhappiness in taking action rooted in your beliefs, when you get to that blissful state of balance, it is easy to maintain. Your personal universe will resonate with the single, unifed tune that you produce in every moment.

Only when your actions are in line with your beliefs do you get a sense of personal integrity, and from that, freedom. If not everything you do is in tune with who you feel yourself to be, there’s something wrong.

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why people take photos

2006-09-03 at 16:51 (article, musings, photos)

  1. art
  2. memory
  3. amusement

I’m certainly an art person, not a memory person. It’s nice to have shots of places you’ve been; but taking them all the time, with you in front of the sea just to show you’ve been there — that seems like a waste of time and effort. Unless a picture is beautiful in and of itself, I don’t feel the need to make it exist.

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amusement on a warm day

2006-07-18 at 13:28 (lists, musings)

it’s too hot to write. the temperature is 33 C (91 F) and in England, we normally don’t have airconed houses. for some people, this might be fine, but we’re not really used to it over here. that’s what you get for global warming though.

now i’ve kick-started this post by talking about the weather (smalltalk rule #1), I present you with some collective nouns, which i guarantee you’ll read and use every day for the rest of your life. if you have some, don’t hesistate to add them in the comments. this could even become the world’s number one resource for unusual collective nouns! (highly unlikely, but we must be optimistic.)

a salad of vegetarians
a walk of pedestrians
a drum of percussionists
a shine of streelights
a shade of curtains
a fall of leaves

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simplicity

2006-07-18 at 00:33 (musings, poetry)

draw a simple white line
between the black and the grey.
draw a watertight box
and file me away.

— everyone’s said this once, about how easy it is to look for simple solutions to complex problems. It manifests in people coming up with ever more complex names to label bands. People ask me what kind of music I play, I say “rock”. Most people leave it there, but some say “what kind of rock? experimental? rock’n’roll? metal? indie? electronica-indie-dance-synth-technorave-crossover [not a real genre]?”. Maybe being able to say exactly what something is gives some a sense of security. I just get annoyed by talking about generalities. Yet here I am, generalising away.

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how to learn, relearn, and revise for exams

2006-04-24 at 23:46 (in-progress, musings, notes)

  1. Get an overview of everything you need to know for the exam, and nothing more (if you’re with an examination board, at least in the UK, the examination board should have a specification for your subject online, listing this).

  2. Get a book which covers the entire topic, and possibly any other related material. Read it through as if it’s a light girlie novel. Find any other, related, interesting and hopefully not too dry books which take your fancy and read them too, as if they’re light girlie novels. Don’t worry about learning anything, or memorising, but think more about trying to understand. (In some subjects, this is more important than others. Physics, for example, understanding is more important than the other two.)

  3. Leave that subject alone for a week or so. This lets your subconscious brain figure things out, arrange, rearrange, change the furniture, the tiles and maybe get some new lights fitted. Basically, you’re letting yourself forget most of the detail. Don’t worry about the subject at all during this week. Rest at ease, knowing you can leave it alone.

  4. Now you get out your specification, textbook, any course notes, revision guidelets or worksheets or anything that you have related to the subject, really.

  5. Get your course overview/specification, and split it up into useful chunks. Topics and subtopics kind of thing. Keep this on paper somewhere fairly close by; it gives you an important guide to progress.

  6. Get some little bits of paper/card to write on. Go through each subtopic on your list and write the bare essentials on these cards, using your textbook/other reference materials to figure it out. One subtopic per card only, and preferably in big writing. Keep as little as possible in each one, and use the simplest possible words.

  7. Leave to simmer for one week.

  8. Read through your cards. As you do this, get another set of (empty) cards and write things out again, except this time simpler and bigger. This is the final set of notes; you’ve done most of the work now. Relax for a bit.

  9. Read through these sets regularly, comparing with textbooks, adding memory aids, etc. as neccessay. By this, you’ve probably got an understanding of most of the material, and you’ve probably learnt and memorised quite a bit without actually trying. Now is the time to attack the bits you don’t grasp so easily and use more aggressive techniques on them.

Yeah, this is quite a lazy way of doing things. It relies on the idea of forgetting three times before you remember things (semi-)permanently, and relying on your natural ability to learn and memorise (which are different) with repetition, and to gain a better understanding whilst learning. While doing your card notes, you should probably employ mnemonics where useful, and silly drawings to grab your attention, or over-the-top language to achieve a similar result. Don’t try to consciously memorise, though, because that builds up stress when you can’t recall straight away.

If you can set aside distraction-free chunks of time, this is a fairly efficient way to learn, too. You can memorise multiple subjects at once by doing them in the gaps between the others. This way you might be utilitising your subconscious mind better, but it’s still a good idea to leave in some breaks.

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