January 4th, 2004


Catching up

So many things I want to talk about, but I want to clear up matters that I've started discussing in the past before I move ahead with new things.

1. Before Christmas, I issued a pernickety yes-and-no poll. Collapse )

2. Collapse )

3. You've probably seen the "2003 in review" list of questions going around. (Loads of people have done it, but mostly friends-locked, so finding public examples to point to is tricky.) I'm hugely impressed by those who do it; it asks a lot of very large, very deep questions for which I cannot dash off quick answers. Let's just take one example:
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
iii. richer or poorer? - Collapse )
ii. thinner or fatter? - Collapse )
i. happier or sadder? - Collapse )
4. Yes, I'm happier than I was last year. However, I've also been looking into the following matters, on the basis that now is a better time to do so than when I'm less able to cope:The last one is particularly interesting - a recommendation for all, not just those who struggle with depression or distress. On the other hand, I'm not sure whether it represents good advice or not. If you were to be named as one of someone's five relied-upon, would you take it well? I do have my five in mind (and know what data I am missing) but am not sure whether making the list and distributing it to the five in question really would be taken well. I also find the section in part two about "Get clear in your mind what your own personal limitations are as a friend and a support system. Because when the crisis hits is not the time to suss that out." scary, but probably very relevant. Thoughts welcome, please. How would you go about doing that for yourself? (The results aren't my business - I'm interested in the thought process.) Does the advice and the process seem sound to you?

5. It's cheap travel season! Look out for flight bargains. Brits pay attention to the British Airways Sale, though the prices look like they could be beaten by 10%-20% by other operators yet. (BA examples: LHR to NYC return for £199 inc. tax; LHR to ORD return for £269 inc. tax. Book by 27th January, fly out by end April, stay for between a weekend and a month, not available at Easter.) Virgin's sale is about £10 cheaper across the board. Collapse )

6. A couple of weeks old now, but the results of the Guardian's second British Blog Awards are up. The choice for "best written", Belle de Jour (a prostitute's blog) - well, I was hoping something a little less well-known and a bit more, well, bloggish would win. It's certainly well written, with a neat point of view, good tales and very tight self-editing. The less explicit entries are sweet and charming. There have been accusations of it being fictional, but that is frankly almost completely irrelevant. :-) However, it's by no means outstanding for links, for personality (all but anonymous due to a deliberate business decision) or for any sense of community other than occasional appeals for e-mail. That doesn't add up to a great blog to me.

However, it's an easier judgement to take when you realise that the award was just for "best written", not for "best blog" - indeed, there is no "best blog" award. Perhaps I'm not interested in "best written" as the criterion if I were to crown a single winner; I care more about "most personally interesting subject material", "most attractive/desirable/pleasant-seeming personality", "most interesting discussions sparked", "biggest impact on other journals", "most interesting ideas", "biggest impact on the rest of the world", "best gimmicks", "silliest jokes" and things like that. It's a good illustration of the difference between a LiveJournal and a blog - and why LiveJournal is better than other blogging systems. (OK, better for me, but probably better for many or most.) Their unenthusiastic but fair review of LJ does at least lead off with LiveJournal is the most community-oriented of the blogging systems, though alas does not immediately conclude and therefore it is the one you should use.

7. Remember discussion of different ages of consent for types of sexual acts? As pledged, I mailed Peter Tatchell. Four days later, he sent a polite and interested reply, suggesting that he wasn't aware of any research on the subject and inviting me to write a paper on the matter. Which was nice.

8. mrstrellis and parents took me bowling yesterday! It was a lot of fun, especially as it was the first time I had bowled for, at a guess, over five years. I scored 85, which is simultaneously nothing special and satisfactorily close to what I used to get. Unfortunately, in about frame four, I somehow pulled or twisted or otherwise graunched the lower front of my thigh, just above my knee, and consequently putting weight on the left leg (as I do when I'm bending to, er, bowl the ball) became rather painful; accordingly, I sat out of the second game. (mrstrellis got a studly 132.) On top of that, I have a definite case of "bowler's base-of-the-thumb", so I conclude that my technique leaves a lot to be desired.

Lesson for next time: make sure you warm up - even for bowling!
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