Friday, March 28, 2008

Dinner in the Sky

If anyone has a spare few thousand pounds, this doesn't seem like a bad way to spend it.

Yes please.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

DIY and technical stuffs

There's an article in Wired magazine about the decline of technical knowledge amongst average people. It's an interesting read, although I don't necessarily agree with all the points raised.

My dad and I were talking about this phenomenon recently. He's had to take the car to the shop because the power steering light comes on intermittently, and he can't take a look at it because it's all sealed off in a block. The garage just said they'd plug it in for a diagnostics test but if nothing showed up they couldn't do anything. When even the Fiat garage can't take a look inside their cars, something is wrong.

The main problem is that products today aren't designed to be user serviceable, which makes it nigh impossible to do anything because a) there's not the information available since it comes under trade copyright and b) you void the warranty.

I still want to take a basic mechanic course - changing a tyre, fan belt etc. Or I might just get my dad to teach me in the summer. He's always been good at stuff like that - his workshop in the loft is full of bits and pieces of electronics.

However, with regards DIY and stuff, my Mum and I are willing to try most things rather than getting someone in. We've always done the painting and decorating, we've polished up the floorboards, we've laid carpet, lino and vinyl floor tiles. The latest thing is tiling the kitchen, which neither of us have done before but which is coming out pretty well. It just needs grouting now, which we have done before and which is fairly simple. The only thing we've not done is plastering, because that's a skill we simply don't have. The old plaster was terrible, so we needed a professional to make it look good.

I'm not sure I have a point with this one. Never mind.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Unexpected Beauty

Earlier I was in the kitchen, and the sun was in just the right position to turn the water from the tap into gleaming liquid crystal. When this sparkling river fell into the little silver teapot-shaped infuser I was rinsing the sun caught everything and made it shine like the crowns in the Tower of London. It was incredibly beautiful, for an office moment.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


I was browsing the Internet, as I very often do, when I came across a site dedicated to documenting abandoned buildings (mostly psychiatric hospitals and asylums [asylae?]) through photographs and text. The site is called Opacity and it's honestly beautiful.

I think we are that used to seeing buildings whole, being in them and having them fade into the background, that seeing abandoned ones is almost like seeing a corpse. Something that was once living, if only vicariously, is dead. The very words we use to describe them - abandoned, derelict - tell us that the building has lost something and wants our love, like an abandoned puppy. The eerie atmosphere of a derelict building, of something being not quite as we expect is something that you never forget; it's not for nothing that many horror films are set in them.

What intrigue me almost more than the photographs, however, are the comments made on them. There are some who are simply idiots (following the Greater Internet Dickwad Theory), but there are also mental healthcare professionals who comment on why things are the way they are in those photos. Given my own interest in the profession, it's good to hear these people giving some insight on what it's really like. (As opposed to, for example, spidergirl's comments. After you read a couple, it sounds like she's looking for evidence of abuse where there is none, and actually seems quite excited to get it. See, for example, this comment from this photo.)