Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Power Of Words

Sorry for the short absence, amongst other things I lost my internet connection for 5 days. I can do a bit of web surfing at work, but whenever I'm home I normally have the laptop fired up while I'm watching the tv. Without it, oh em gee. Cut off! Is this what being on Survivor feels like? Without the poor hygiene, rice rations and scheming. I'd like an immunity necklace though. Tribal accessories, so hot right now. Sorry, where was I?

I spent some time over the past couple of days thinking about the power of words. Words can hurt and heal. Inspire and disempower.

Peter and I already have a whole list of cute names for each other. Yes, we are those people. A harsh word at work can make for a bad day. Recently Peter and I were walking down the street holding hands (as we usually do) when an older lady came up to us and told us we were a sweet couple, making our day with just a couple of kind words. (Mind you we've also had at least 3 occasions when Mumblers, as we've come to label them, walk past and mumble chicken shit insults at us as they pass. Here's a heads up Mumblers, enunciate.)

At this point, lets have some musical relief before passing on:

What are words worth? Indeed.

I'm also currently reading (and enjoying) Embassytown by China Miéville, a novel that places language and communication at the very centre of the story. I find Miéville one of the most incredibly creative writers working in science fiction today, and this book about Language uses language in a creative way to examine the dramatic and unexpected effects that communication can have. There is a fantastic review in The Guardian by science fiction heavy hitter Ursula K. Le Guin

(And if you have a moment, check out Miéville's tumblr too, where he posts all sorts of interesting stuff. Then spend a moment contemplating the fact that he's also the humpiest piece of sex on legs working in science fiction today.)

Every week I download podcasts and vodcasts (speaking of words, because language is an organic creature we sometimes make them up!) by the guys at Monocle Magazine. This week there was a fantastic vodcast called Class Acts about some interesting goings on in Bogotá, Columbia.

The second story on the vodcast really affected me, and it was about an organisation whose name means The Power of Words. Don José Alberto Gutierrez is a rubbish truck driver, who lives with his wife in a disadvantaged suburb of Bogotá. Over the years he would rescue books that he found in the rubbish, until he amassed a collection of over 10,000 volumes. Along the way he used rescued books to educate himself, and now the ground floor of his house has become a community library

Watch the vodcast and have a look for the website of La Fuerza de la Palabras because they explain the amazing feat this man has achieved, and his noble aims to bring literacy, culture and advancement to his (and other) communities. [Note: click the little language flag widgets on the right hand side of their web page for an English Translation.] Watch it and let your cold dead heart melt a little/lot.

Then read a good book, or say a kind word to someone.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Interim Birthday Post

I celebrated my birthday last weekend, and I had a fabulous time. Really, it was an embarrassment of riches. Amongst the gifts both physical and emotional, I also received a cracker of a head cold. Ugh. I struggled into the office on Monday, but yesterday and today I've rarely moved from the bed or the sofa. Possibly the worst cold I've had in years! And it's gorgeous and sunny outside!

I call no fair!

Anyhoo, I'm struggling to do much of anything that involves a thought process, so I'll post some pics and thoughts about the weekend sometime in the next day or so. See you then.

Friday, September 02, 2011

This Never Happens In My Office

Why does this never happen? This should happen!

An Open Letter To My Sinuses

Dear Sinus,
Wow. Is this how things are going to be between us now?

I mean, how am I supposed to fix whatever this thing is that has gone so wrong between us if you won't be honest with me about what's the problem? One minute you're all "we made out with this hot rhinovirus and now we have a cold", and next you're just being all stuffy and uncommunicative. That really blows, you know? I've apologised for that thing with the finger, and anyway that was years and years ago. I think the time is right to move on, don't you? Unclench a little, we might both feel better for it.

And I really don't see why you get so irritated by pollen, she can be really sweet. At least she doesn't stab me in the forehead with a thousand fingers of pain just because I drank a frozen lychee slushy.