Concerning socks…

The Alternative Advent: Day 5

socks gps etcStrange things are afoot—

And far far stranger than feet…

The disappearance of socks is an enduring mystery for sure. As far as phenomena go, it is quite simply the Linear B of domestic curiosities. I’m not sure if it’s a complex which manifests as frustration owing to the bewilderment that surrounds it; its very odd ubiquitousness that gives it its general appeal thus adding to an already confounding character; or the fact this vicious cycle is in some-way exacerbated by the spinning nature of washing the things in the first place. Whatever it is, it is the exception to the rule of what goes around, comes around, because all too frequently, socks forget to do the latter.

It certainly isn’t an occurrence isolated by a dip in landmass, since no mater how far from the edge of whatever body of water one may loiter, the chasm of lost socks is a deep and peculiar one.

It’s so peculiar in fact, that I couldn’t possibly hazard a say as to where they go either— not even if I was in the mood to inkle readily; and this despite years of spying on them. It’s an embarrassing thing to admit: being outwitted by foot-sheaths, but there you go— I can say it’s been a trait of my own laundry-blues where ever I goand it is this, above all else which seems to be its most irritating irony.

How is it that lost socks seem to follow a person despite being so utterly incapable of staying in the one place?

It would be all too convenient to dismiss the disappearance of socks after a good spin in the same way we do the the appearance of bright lights in the sky— you wouldn’t normally associate high jinx with an item of clothing after all; but there is something otherworldly about it. So much so, the thought of attaching GPS to something meant to comfort you whilst walking, instead of causing unrest by walking off— would be pointless, particularly when there are far more useful ways to examine the limits of these devices.

I’ve often wondered what time is it at the North Pole exactly, and whether there is something about 90 degrees North that’d cause the signal to malfunction. It’s the romantic in me that’d like to believe these devices would think of this latitude as an infinite.

In many ways, it’s thought trains like this that’ve always had me wondering whether there are more practical uses for such equipment. For instance, I’ve long imagined modifying underwater sonar technology to produce the world’s most powerful, independently targeted loud speakers. Just the thought of being able to pick out a particular person with a focused packet of sound that remained inaudible until bouncing would be highly jinxing indeed…

But such a fleeting mention seems a waste of an Alternative Advent to me, and unless I’m very much mistaken nothing whatsoever to do with socks.

Five minutes with a laptop however is quite adequate to put that right— and there’s nowhere more chuckle inducing than a quick browse of the patents pages, as the lengths that some will go to describe their ‘inventions’ is truly comic…

There are radiation-free boat socks; two-way socks, described as a sock structure with two sides both capable of being worn; shoes with socks which may have additional miniature stylish designs; toe-independent antibiosis and stink prevention socks which describe the ‘processing process thereof’; outdoor waterproof non-slip Pet Socks;the antibacterial warm-keeping wearable sock; latex toe sock; Acupoint therapy socks, which you could be forgiven for thinking they’re to be recycled after use in the kitchen

However, in keeping with the issue of hungry white appliances with a taste for tubular threads, I did find a device for keeping paired socks and similar before, during and after washing, imaginatively called: A device for keeping paired socks and similar before, during and after washing.

But no mention whatsoever of GPS…

A noted poet was once asked in an interview if he could explain one of his poems, in ordinary terms. He replied with some feeling:

If I could say what I meant in ordinary terms I would not have had to write the poem…

I feel exactly the same way about blogging

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Who wants to be foretold the weather? It is bad enough when it comes, without our having the misery of knowing about it beforehand…

The Alternative Advent: Day 4

weather banner 2Everyone talks about the weather—

But no one does anything about it…

I managed to find time for a refresher shower shortly before the cat decided it was morning for the third time, knowing full well I’d either soon be summoned back to bed by her or unnecessarily shoved there by the brass monkeys.

You know the sort of thing— the 30 minute wake-up plunge squeezed into 90 seconds, with water that’s underdone for this time of year. I was hopping about chattering in fear of being caught short and shorter between a bout of hypothermia and an outdoors at its worst, in the chops.

We’ve had some particularly serious and chapping weather today; and it’s been miserable. Last night it was howling around the garden, in the way and of the type that used to smoke my cigarettes for me— all whilst slapping me about for good measure. Liveners they may be, but they’re insolent all the same.

It is observations such as these that really can inspire one to start looking at such things in a hurtful way, as though its infliction of injury is quite deliberate.

I can certainly imagine worse ways of looking at weather, but none quite so British or appropriately condescending as categorising it in terms of their manners.

And as such, it really would require a condescending name:

A formalities forecast perhaps?

I’ll leave it to you to imagine the extent to which a bag of Atlantic wind would have on your patience; or how amused you’d be were it on someone else’s, but I assure you there really are weather equivalents to:

  • speaking in a manner considered over-voluminously.
  • or with a mouth full of cake.
  • being called a little on the heavy side.
  • entering a room without so much as a tap first.
  • sneezing all over the place and you.
  • then not thinking to apologise
  • laughing at a small child when they’ve walked into something— as long as it’s not a road.

Obviously, I’ve allowed myself several moments to savour some of the more beastly behaviours of the uncontrollably uncultured and pondered their meteorological twins— and I must confess to much delight in doing so.

There would be something endearing about a forecast focussing on how noisy the weather was going to be; on its brashness; whether it would be rude, brazen, vulgar, impudent, discourteous, unmannerly, uncivil, cheeky, uncouth, crude, crass, gross, rustic, rough, common or churlish…

Or to what percent we ought expect a state of being or funny-business to swirl about us. How it may veer from a general gentlemanliness to being distinctly unladylike, lacking in gallantry, spine, spirit, heroism, pluck or consideration, or in a moment— being chock full of it!

It’s not what I had in mind exactly once the cat had finished her nonsense earlier, but I’ve decided there’s little virtue in describing how to make smash out of chewing gum— or spoiling how amusing applying good etiquette to shitty weather can be.

I always carry a spoon in my pocket. You know, just in case it rains…

Jarod Kintz

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If Einstein had’ve had Scurvy…

The Alternative Advent: Day 3

einstein alternative advent 3

The Trials of Chip:

Autistic boy genius…

It had been Chip’s turn to impress the judges of the science fair for as long as he could remember; you were born for this he told himself, just five short minutes and it’s over…

He took the stand, avoiding the small damp patch left over from the experiment Tina had performed with the goldfish and bag of washing powder only seconds before— took a deep breath and began.

“If Einstein had’ve had scurvy the world would be a different place— however, he did not and so the ‘model of the universe’ is incomplete. It’s almost as if the way we’ve looked at the sky because of this, has been determined by the very darkness of space itself— and in doing so— left darkness occupying the thoughts in spaces we should have left retaining their brightness. Take the apple for instance— the true ‘model of the universe’ and inspiration for centuries of health, thought and enlightenment. If [they] hadn’t been so eager to get to ground, then Newton wouldn’t have been so inspired to’ve been so quixotic with his numerals; William Tell wouldn’t have been immortalised by a cowboy and sailors wouldn’t have had so far to go with only a paddle to skull to shore.”

It’s going well he thought, not daring to look up… right then—

“Instead of looking to numbers, which is understandable since mathematicians seem to like them; which is foolish, since there are few of us who know what to do with them besides pulling the odd face and nodding knowingly— and smirking. We should look elsewhere.

“So, if Einstein had been a poet, he’d have chosen a different route, and perhaps weighed his own impressions with his own collection of grimaces. Had he been a carpenter instead of a clerk, or perhaps a gardener with a keen interest in botany— the development of something tangible, like explaining the movement of clouds, would have been cultivated instead. He would also have found the apple and in it— the solutions he wanted so desperately to prove; since a mathematician without proof is just a scientist practising; a gardener without a crop just goes hungry for a little while— so the ‘knowing’ is preferable to the ‘perhaps’ of thought.

“An apple has a core, a seed, a skin, a stalk and a leaf; through which a branch, a trunk and a network of roots affiliate. They connect, create and make anew— much in the same way a human conditions itself in similar circumstances. So I ask you: how would a scar affect a dream? You sleep to heal and dream to co-ordinate but: a scar is a tissue that disrupts the surface: it is a raised imperfection; imperfections are distortions which need negotiating, meaning obstacles, meaning what?”

Chip surveyed his audience, having paused dramatically. That’ll get ’em he thought—

The purpose of the rough, is to reproduce without the impediment of a lumpy bed. The bark, the ground, the leaves— the skin of the apple— and it’s through which and its cycles we come to the ‘model of the universe’…

“Let’s throw away the universal constant because we don’t need it, not today— because although ‘the speed of light’ is inextricably wrapped up with the ‘time’ we need for the fruition of proof— and not least because I’m burdened by using a two dimensional ‘model of the universe’— combined with the long-time over-looked projection of ‘apple-time’— which is like space-time but better for you; both nutritionally and for the purposes of understanding. Especially if you happen to be a lesser exponent of ‘mathematical aptitudes’. This is mainly because there are none required whatsoever.”

He took a small pause and though he observed a distinct lack of fidgeting; he found some of the bewildered gawping a little discomforting. He took some water and continued…

“The nineteenth-century author Charles Lamb wrote: “Nothing puzzles me like time and space, because I never think of them.” Had he considered the benefits of consuming more fruit in his adolescence, he just might have been pondering differently— realising how ultimately fruit-ile and flawed his reasoning, or lack of it was. You see time flies like an arrow— and just because I like the sound of it: ‘fruit flies like a banana’. But what if they did not and what if ‘time’ could not fly at all. What if it fell?

“Let us consider the implications of such a concept shall we? If ‘time’ falls, it means that ‘time’ can be caught— meaning the future is tangible and can be stopped. In other words: if an arrow was aimed at an apple and [it] moved— the arrow would move to hit [it]. The probability of a hand interfering with the natural determinant of an apple striking the ground by catching it, would also curve the trajectory of the arrow— although, because the interruption could be construed as a ‘distortion’— by the rules we’ve already conceived of— though slight and tersely I may add— it’s of worth to note which would be struck first— ‘the hand’ thus resolving the offending variable— or ‘the apple’ to which the attraction originated…”

Chip looked up from the pages he’d been shuffling to a blank room filled with blank faces. The judges at the front of the hall began whispering amongst them selves— twitching their eyebrows as they did so, before the tall gentleman with the distinguished forehead took to his feet.

“Let me see if I’m understanding you correctly; you say the universe can be explained using an apple. And you prefer this method, to that of one of mathematics? In fact you’d dispense with mathematics altogether!”

“That’s correct sir.” said Chip.

“Then why may I ask, an apple? Couldn’t the same be said about an orange— or anything else that grows on trees for that matter?”

“Well, no sir. I do not believe you could.” said Chip. “Not only is it unlikely that Sir Isaac Newton even ever saw an orange— not up close or anything. But I don’t even like oranges…”

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently…

Friedrich Nietzsche

27218_originalI’m exhausted and’ve barely made a dent catching up, but I’ll get there eventually!

I think my blog-watching will take a few days yet…

A lot of people chew up the scenery. I’m a firm believer in less is more…

The Alternative Advent: Day 2

alternative advent day 2bThe object of art is to give life shape & something to chew over—

It also works the other way…

Skill without imagination is craftsmanship. Just as, imagination without skill gives us modern art. Tom Stoppard made that observation, no doubt with, The Prudence and the Pill in mind: Nothing unites the English like war. Nothing divides them like Picasso.

Modern Art, it’s true— is considered with derision by many and as absurd by most, typified by nothing better than The Turner Prize. It is greeted each year with anticipation and enthusiasm, but for all the wrong reasons. With a glint in their eyes and half-baked chuckles wrestling in their throats, our newsreaders announce the short-list and their creators’ achievements, knowing full well that that we: the unenlightened ones, will be hooting and cursing in equal portions wondering what on Earth it’s all about?

Rachel Whiteread won the award in 1993, with her creation “House”. You may remember it: a Victorian Terrace was filled with concrete then its outsides were taken away, and so astonishing was its impact, the local council waited an entire year before tearing it down.

More recently though we had my personal favourite: Simon Starling, who ingeniously turned a boat into a shed, then back into a boat. Imaginatively titled: Shedboatshed (Mobile Architecture No 2). It was supposed represent the, slowing of things down, and about trying to retard the incredible speed with which we live.

The only thing I could tell was being slowed however, was the boat’s ability to float.

But of course it did. It made perfect sense. It made as much of it as being described ‘eccentric’ did to Mr Starling— which wasn’t a great deal, in fact he took great umbrage at the description— an act I found more bewildering than his former dinghy.

There’s little wrong with ‘form’ of any kind going hand-in-hand with hand and head, but when hands and bloockls become inseparable, even indistinguishable from the bullshit and bafflement which surrounds it; perhaps it’s worth trying to take the intellectual out of the art, or better still, away from it altogether.

How about bringing a little accessibility back? How about something like:

Bubble Gum Art?

I’d have galleries handing out different coloured gum upon entering, to be chewed; there’s a little ‘shaping’ for you right there, where it matters— on the building blocks. It’s contemporary, very pop; and like all art— not everyone’s cup of tea— so it’ll either be chewed over or not—  with verbals or mandibles, it doesn’t matter…

Towards the end of the gallery I would have a canvas for the used gum and a bin for that which was not. I like the irony but none of the significance which could easily be spun— but it’s as close as I can imagine, art for art’s sake, becoming more than a spectator sport, at least indoors anyway; and the kids would love it…

It’s clever—

But is it art?

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A quick introduction to The Alternative Advent, update on the monkeys & an animated tree…

The Alternative Advent: Day 1

day one of aaGreat ideas often receive violent opposition from mediocre minds—

Constantly…

As true as this little ditty may be, I’m a great believer in giving the mediocre mind a voice so their ideas can be violently laughed at by greater ones, just so I can put these awful people in their place, instil a few manners and bring a little order and decorum to world. I would however prefer a little less barracking, a little more embracing; and positively no snootiness at all. Especially, when it is an ideas month.

It is because for the fourth time I have declared it so. Gone are the days once more of the advent countdown where we feast on miniature chocolates and welcome to the 21st Century count up, complete with animated tree. And as before, I intend to invent a brilliant idea per day until Christmas— as Linus Pauling said, the best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas and bollocks to the chocolate.

Update on the monkeys:

It’s been a while since I took leave with the many monkeys I had under my wing and allowed them room to flap into hat shops in search of the perfect fitting trilby. No mean feat— in fact it’s a deliberately assaulting one, since their heads are a little on the petite side.

And post hoc ergo propter hoc— they tend to require certain necessitations previously unheard of in respectable outfitters, as their clientèle are traditionally more evolved. Hat sizes in the 32th inch for instance are a curiosity that extends beyond their woolly bodies and into the vast canyons of their toothy grins. For they must ‘eek’ and ‘akk’ loquaciously and skittle mannequins before catching so much as a glimpse from a tape measure; and though they may hold out for a tickle up the inside-leg, they generally make do with some brand spanking head-wear.

So, with that cleared up and as we’re already on day one, I felt like warming up to the task with an idea that is far from warm but very, very cool…

We’ve had the book, the film and we’ve had the rock opera. But we haven’t had:

War of the Worldson ice

It’s such a novel concept— because we wouldn’t have to wait for the Martians to catch a cold. Just trick them into using the Heat Ray and wait for them to sink!

If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas…

George Bernard Shaw

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I must make packing and ready t’other preparations to trip up North for cricket Down Under…

In a few moments we begin the thrashing over an urn just six inches high—

Sport. Cricket. 1882. One of the most famous sporting trophies, The Ashes. It was in 1882 after the bowling of "Demon" Spofforth and Boyle had bowled England out for 77 and brought off a seemingly impossible Australian victory by 7 runs, that the Ashes we
I may be a few days in the wilderness, just to be social— I have no idea as to how long— a day or two most probably but with the prospect of a long rail journey tomorrow, there’s bound to be something which catches the eye.
I always carry a pen.
I’ve a few pieces just about finished— they’re there or there abouts, so if I have time I’ll get them typed and up; I’ve tangents to fill after all and I’m not in the habit of leaving things unfinished.
It is a pity— I had hoped not to miss a day.
But in-case I do, I really would appreciate it if you didn’t go anywhere…
Thanks chaps!

It’s time for The Ashes…