31 October 2006

I Hab A Code

It has snuck upon me like the mother of all colds. I should be at home in bed. Am I? No. I'm at work. Going to a very important meeting with the GLA this afternoon and meeting with our Energy/Environmental consultants beforehand. Why? Because there is absolutely no one else who can fucking go. P is in Sheffield, and that leaves, well, me. Mother fuckers. I do not get any fucking credit for the work I do here. I want to go be in bed and be miserable. I hab a code!!!!!!

30 October 2006

Battersea Bicycle Decay

Yesterday I had a very entertaining day with SA. We went to the Serpentine Gallery: China Power Station: Part 1 which, funny enough, was held at the power station. Although we had booked tickets in advance, we still had to wait in line because the British, while very good at waiting in lines are very bad at organizing their lines. There were people who had pre-booked and people who wanted to buy tickets all jumbled up together. But it didn't take too long, and we were inside.
Once inside we headed to the Toyo Ito pavilion from 2002 which had been relocated to the power station site a while back. I remember seeing it on the bus journey from Vauxhall to Mr.Aloof's warehouse thinking it was a really funky bit of architecture as it lights up all different colors with some clever LED lighting as well. At any rate, for this exhibition it had been turned into a dim sum tea house so SA and I had a very yummy lunch.One of the best bits about the exhibit was that they had bicycles you could ride between the things. So when we walked in we got bikes and cycled the short jaunt to the tea house, then we cycled back to get in line for the main exhibit in the station itself.
Waiting in line there was ample opportunity to get a good look at the decaying station. It's amazing how much it's fallen into complete ruin in such a short time. It really tells you how much maintenance a building of that size continuously requires to stay viable, and how quickly it can all fall apart.
Once inside you could get a very good look at the ruined and decaying bits before heading into the dark office floors to see the exhibit which was okay, but paled in comparison to the sheer dark magnitude of the building itself.I wish I was a better photographer. I would have spent an entire day making photographs of the moment. I wish I had the place to myself for an entire week with nudes scattered amongst the debris. It was all so surreal. It was fantastic.
I'm so glad I went.

26 October 2006

Very Annoyed

About three months ago I won an eBay auction for a portfolio of work by Craig Cowling aka Naughty James. I wasn't sure I could even afford to bid on it, but was lucky that the final price came in under my max, and I won the item. I was actually really excited about it, having before that recently bought some prints from CJC, I thought it would be nice to add to the collection.

Then of course the nightmare began. I sent a check for payment which included shipping, and then.... nothing. I send emails, 'Have you received my payment?'. Finally I got a response. Payment received, need to arrange pick-up/delivery (even though my payment included ten pounds for 'shipping').

Thus began the horrific, annoying, and disheartening journey of someone stealing my money and not delivering the goods. Of course the 60 day eBay period came and went, and it wasn't through paypal, so I can't go there for any claims. Now I have to go to the fucking police because this jerk who literally lives two blocks from my house can't be bothered to do the right thing and has actually stolen from me.

I can't actually believe that someone would be so.... shit really. I figured, maybe he doesn't want to part with his prints after all, I said he could just give me the money back and fair would be fair. But he hasn't said anything at all. Just ignores me, like I'm going to go away and leave him with my cash, nothing more than a thief and a fraud.

And anyone who knows me, knows that I'm usually pretty generous and fair about stuff. And not always so naive. You just figure that when someone fucking sells you something, that they aren't going to take your fucking money and run. Of course, like I said, he IS only two blocks from my house. I think a house call may be in order.... Bastard.

25 October 2006

Very Strange Dreams

Strange moon? Raging hormones? Stress at work? Stress in my personal life? All I can say is, my dreams have been a bit nuts.

Three nights ago I dreamt that I was on a staircase in the rain, under an umbrella. Pressing up against the person I was with, feeling intimate, we kissed. Now in my dream, I identified this person as Mr.Aloof- but the visual that went along with it was P my boss. I woke up horrified.

Two nights ago I dreamt I was part of some sort of study that I had been part of before, but this time it was all new people, and they had all started and gotten to know each other before I arrived. So I tried to get to know people and share my knowledge of stuff since I'd did it all before, but when I went to meet with the counselor, she told me that the people in the group didn't like me very much, that I was very self centered, and that I seemed to be a very angry person.

Last night I had a dream I lived in this house that was being renovated or restored. Mr.Aloof came over to spend the night, he'd never been to my house and was interested in buying a place to fix up for himself, though I told him the landlord bought it ages ago before the property values skyrocketed. I needed to take a shower, but people from work arrived and I had to do some work standing wrapped in a towel in a bathtub in a meeting room. Mr.Aloof couldn't wait for me to shower and make breakfast so he left me there in the shower. Then I met up with my friend SA and we went to some free exhibit London was putting on about New York and Muslim culture, and they were providing everyone with free Arabic attire to wear and take home. I remember we were in a line trying to buy dolmas.

23 October 2006

So Quiet

This is how I feel about things. I sort of feel like I'm living in a bubble at the moment. I look out at all the other people and feel strangely disconnected from them. It's a bit related to my earlier post about people being gone both temporarily and more permanently. Have I really made very many friends or a good social network here? Sometimes I wonder.

This weekend I had a consultation so really I only had one day to my weekend, Sunday. It really wasn't enough to recharge the batteries and so today I am being generally unproductive because I can't get my brain to do what it's supposed to do, I'd rather just zone out. I'm watching my boss P play super nice with the new guy in my department M who is junior to me, but P is of course cozying up to him because HE is a HIM and that pisses me off. But I don't even have the energy to care that much about it right now.

Other things of passing interest these days- I want to go on the giant slides at the Tate Modern, I still want to go see the China exhibit at Battersea, and um oh well uh I'm supposed to meet Mr.Aloof for drinks next week.

See, nothing much new or of interest going on at all.

18 October 2006

I Keep Trying

I am so very busy. Went away to Madrid and came back. Work is killing me. Too much to do, not enough time to do it in. My life is just flying past. Soon it will be New Years and I won't know where it all went.

Everything seems different as well. Tlsd is away for practically an entire month traveling. My office is filled with new people. Old friends have left and work elsewhere now. I was just thinking how I bought my flat over two years ago now. That seems so long ago! Madness, simply madness!

I really need to get back to working, so I'm going to keep this one short. If something truly momentous happens however, I'll be sure to make note of it. I would have posted some pictures, but blogger was acting up. Next time.

09 October 2006

Walking on Water

This weekend was a pretty busy one for me. Lots of stuff happening and meeting up with various people which was all good and productive. But I'm not really going to focus on that right now.

I want to make mention of an exhibit I went to see at Dilston Grove at Southwark Park. Up until the exhibit changes, you can scroll down to the bottom of this page to read the formal description. I initially think I saw something about the exhibit on boing boing and I just thought it looked really cool and wanted to go see it. So seeing as how I was up and out of my house by 8:40 on Sunday, I thought that it would be good to head over there and see it while I had the chance.

I didn't know what to expect in any way. From reading the description, it was clear that only one person could go at a time. I wasn't sure about any of the detail or how it would work. I sort of expected a queue of some sort, or that you had to get an advance ticket, though none of this was the case. When I arrived there was a waiver you had to sign which I did, and then I was into the church shell itself with the piece before me.

To be completely fair I was at first maybe slightly disappointed. There was a bridge you walked across to reach the first step of the pool. But the construction of the pool was visible, so you could clearly see a pool had been constructed 'into' the space of the church. With additional funding (I'm sure it all comes down to funding) I would have suggested 'finishing' the edges of the piece so that it was more integrated with the building. The second thing I noticed was that the steps were somewhat small, and that you had to wear a life jacket and that the designer himself (Michael Cross) was walking along in the pool with the person to make sure that the steps functioned properly and to be a shoulder to lean on when needed. This of course obscures slightly the idea that it's a solo meditative journey. Oh, and third, because I was afraid of either possibly falling in or dropping anything I was holding, I didn't take my camera out with me, though that had been my original intent. And because I came to the exhibit on my own, there was no one to photograph me out in the pool, so that was unfortunate. However, I found someone else's good photograph here so that you get the idea.

Now, that was what was wrong with the piece. But let me tell you what was right about it. It was really fucking cool. I was lucky in that when I arrived there were two couples ahead of me. One was just finishing and then in the next pair, only the woman went- the man didn't want to try. So when it was my turn, there was no one else. This was good because it allowed me to focus on myself in the space with the water and not be bothered about someone waiting for me to hurry up, or as a comment on the link above suggests, there was no one 'clapping' when I reached the middle. Plus, I could stand and appreciate the final step for as long as I wanted.

The motion of the steps, how there was a slight bubble before they emerged from the inky water and then slowly moved crossways in front of you to their final stepping position was also an impressive and serene detail. There was a little bit of dye added to the water to increase it's 'blackness'. Being about 60cm deep, I couldn't see the mechanisms below, all I could see looking down was the reflection of the church above, and the steps just as they appeared. Very nice.

Having a brief chat with the designer after, I learned that they have had double the expected turnout so far, and there are still three weeks left to the exhibit. I think he was overwhelmed with the interest and popularity which was sort of charming, as he wasn't at all insincere. Unfortunately this meant the mechanisms were a little more worn than expected as well, but having done the walk myself, I don't think it at all matters.

I'd love to do the same piece at night, with candles lit in the church or moonlight coming through and the blackness even more exposed. I'd like to try it without someone walking next to me, even if I did fall in. I'd like to have the space completely to myself for a meditative moment just to contemplate the way you feel standing in the middle of the pool.

Well, at least with all this publicity, Michael Cross should get funding to expand the concept and hopefully there will be further applications of the concept that will be open to the public to come and experience.

02 October 2006

Considering Mortality

Overall my weekend was very good. Starting with Friday night when me and a couple of others went to the new Rich Mix cinema in Bethnal Green. I only have good things to say about this new building. The movies are cheap - £6 and concessions even cheaper. I got a large fresh popcorn for 2.80. Yes, that's right and not a typo. I will be going back to this cinema with regularity. If they had a member pass, I'd buy one now. Hopefully when word gets out about how great it is, they won't do anything stupid like raise their prices.

Saturday I met up with another friend in Camden and we went to see An Inconvenient Truth. This was perhaps the first flash of Mortality I had over the weekend. In fact, it was highly depressing. But I don't mean depressing in a bad way. You just wonder about life and the world and what the hell is going to happen. I think I just felt like crying at one point. I encourage everyone to see this movie. I think it should be mandatory viewing actually. Before it's too late, if it isn't already.

Sunday saw me on the bus to help a friend of a friend with a project where they needed to talk to an honest to god American. So I volunteered to help out. On the bus ride there I saw a man who had collapsed on the sidewalk. There was a group of people with him, trying to help him. Calling for help obviously, putting him in the rescue position, staying with him until help arrived. It was a bit disturbing, but at the same time encouraging. That strangers will, when pressed, rush to the aid of another person. Still, I wondered what had happened, as the man was stiff and clearly unconscious. I wondered if he was going to make it, or if he had died.

Helping the friend of the friend with their project was actually very enjoyable. It's nice to use your brain. It's nice to be told you have skills you didn't really know you had. I suppose it could have all been smoke and mirrors, but I don't actually think so. So that was cool. Long, but cool.

Sunday night I spoke to my dad who told me he was going to Kol Nidre services. I thought this was a bit strange seeing as how my dad is very non-religious. So we chatted for a bit but he had to go. Then I suddenly started to miss that I wasn't going to Kol Nidre services. So I googled a couple versions of the Kol Nidre and listened to them while I dug out my High Holy Days prayer book and read through the evening service. Around this time I also made the decision to fast.

I'm not always very practicing about my religion. I've been various stages of observant in my past. But sine coming to London it's something I let fall by the wayside mostly. I tried to go to a synagogue once, but they were rude and obnoxious and very unwelcoming and to be honest, it completely put me off trying anywhere else here again. Still, when it comes to my own spirituality, I vaguely follow my own system of 'how to practice'. Which tends to involve sporadic picking and choosing of the available traditions.

So I'm fasting. For Yom Kippur. And this morning I read through the morning service. And again thought to myself about my weekend. About the movie I'd see about how we're destroying our planet. About the man I'd seen who had collapsed in the street. I'm not sure what I think about all of these things, except to say that I feel very introspective today. Yom Kippur is the day that you embrace your mortality. Admit your wrongdoings. Your faults. Your sins. Not necessarily against other people- you cannot seek atonement from God for wrongs to others, only wrongs to God, which, in my mind really amounts to wrongs to yourself.

To me, Yom Kippur is a way of forgiving yourself for your flaws and faults. And trying to find the renewed strength to try and be a better person. With the added hope that you are given another year to do it in. Ken yehi ratzon.