oddballs

We were doing some sorting in the garage yesterday and I discovered another two of my old juggling balls. Or rather, what was left of the juggling balls – the mice had clearly been at them and had feasted on their innards.

I’m still not entirely sure how my collection of juggling balls ended up in the garage – I had at least a dozen which I’ve picked up over the years too. My first set (of four) I got back at university, so were at least 20 years old. I then inherited my brother’s set when he moved out of his student house, so there’s another four. I bought myself a lovely bright set at Greenbelt a couple of years ago, which were ace. They weren’t *quite* luminous, but came quite close.

I’ve got sundry others too – the orange ‘stage’ balls, which are big and bright but go flying if they bump together. A set of proper glow-in-the-dark juggling balls. A large luminous one for contact juggling, and my clear acrylic ball which I also use for photography.

So, I need[1] some new juggling balls. Or, more specifically, thuds. Thuds are those soft, squishy, multicoloured beanbags. Much better for practising, they have a good heft and don’t roll off when you drop them, or bounce apart wildly when the collide mid-air.

I want to get five too – I can juggle three comfortably, and four with a bit of practice to get my eye in. Never quite mastered five though…

Oddballs do some good deals on thuds, especially when you buy several. Trouble is, which colours to get? I like the multi-coloured ones, but they don’t seem to do the semi-luminous ones like in the photo above…

[1] for a given value of ‘need’, obv

a hush of librarians, and other collective nouns

Collective nouns illustrated

via Kottke.org

I like the hush of librarians, though why are they all female? Grr*

* pet peeve, having been a male librarian for some years. Though, on further reflection, it merely shows three people dressed in female clothes. It’s entirely possible that one or more is a transvestite**
** I reckon it’s the one on the right

surreal news story of the day

Surreal news story of the day: Puppy thrown at German biker gang

Now, the headline in itself is pretty off the wall. Someone threw a puppy at a biker gang?

But wait! It gets weirder:

A German student “mooned” a group of Hell’s Angels and hurled a puppy at them before escaping on a stolen bulldozer, police have said.

a. he mooned a group of Hell’s Angels?
b. puppy hurling = bad
c. he escaped on a stolen bulldozer

Let’s look at that last one again. He *escaped* on a bulldozer. Notwithstanding his somewhat foolish, nay reckless initial bare-bottomed insult, followed by a cruel spot of puppy hurling, he then decided to make his escape from a group of leather-glad german bikers on a bulldozer

He actually got away from a bunch of presumably bemused Hell’s Angels, on a large earthmoving machine, which he then ditched and hitch-hiked the rest of the way home.

I suspect the bikers were looking at each other saying “Am I imagining things, or did that actually just happen?”

The puppy is now being cared for in an animal shelter. πŸ™‚

The Plot Thickens

Ah, a nice new blog to talk about my nice new allotment.

We found out on friday – we’ve been on the waiting list for 8 years, give or take. Turns out they had one going spare as the guy who used to have it passed away last year, but the council hadn’t sorted out transferring it to the next person on the list. It would have been nice to have it earlier in the year so we could get some more stuff in this year, but heigh ho.

It’s a half plot, so is about 5m by 20m. And boy, is it overgrown. Poppies to shoulder height, *massive* dock leaves, nettles, the works.

But, it’s only been uncultivated for a year, so nothing *too* serious going on in there. And as we were having a look at it, one of our other neighbours turned up and said that he had a petrol strimmer on loan from the school and would happily strim it all down for us.

Result!

It now looks like this:
allotment - june2010

We’ve gone for the right hand side of the plot – it’s got an apple tree and two damson trees on it already, plus redcurrants.

apples

damsons

The other half had redcurrants and blackcurrants, but no fruit trees. Our half is slightly more shady as the plot next to it has loads of apple trees, but still gets a good lot of sun for most of the day.

Very excited. Lots of hard work, but we’ll finally get to grow decent amounts of our own fruit and veg, and can put the garden back to being a garden rather than having veggies crammed in everywhere. K’s mum is also excited as she’ll be able to use some of it and get her garden back.

Also, our neighbour has just built his own apple press so he can make his own cider. Hmm. Perhaps a pear tree is next…

πŸ™‚

twittering vs blogging vs facebooking

I saw a question over on O’Reilly Answers entitled Twitter vs Facebook: Are Tweets Getting Quieter?, to which I tried to put together an answer. I’ve given it more thought though, which turned into this blog post. It got kind of long though…

Personally, I don’t think either Twitter or Facebook is getting quieter, but I do think that other forms of blogging, especially Livejournal, are losing traffic to both.

I’ve certainly noticed it on Livejournal, and others have mentioned it too – formerly prolific bloggers are falling away to the lure of the 140 character instant update. Instead of spending a bit of time thinking about and composing a post, it’s far easier to fire off a quick thought on Twitter.

I’m not saying it’s wrong. Some of you are also on Twitter and will know that I spend a lot of time on there. Less so Facebook, but that’s another story.

I think that Twitter does have its place in the current online social landscape. Personally, I love the stream of consciousness feel to it, and the variety of people you get posting on there who wouldn’t normally bother with more traditional blogging. It’s great to fire off a tweet with a cool link to something, or a witticism and get immediate feedback. I try and remember to post them up to LJ or here too, but not always.

However, it’s not so good for keeping up to date with everything – the Twitter stream is full and fast-flowing and not really designed for going back through more than the last hour or so’s tweets (depending on the number of people you’re following and how vocal they are, obviously). I’ve had occasions where I’ve only found out that something has happened to someone when they’ve posted on their blog wondering why no-one has commented on them being ill, for example. Turns out they tweeted about it several times, but at times where I wasn’t online, was busy doing something, or was fast asleep. Had the same person posted on their blog that something was up and I’d have been more likely to read the post as I *do* skim back a fair way when I read LJ, or blogs.

So, Twitter has it’s upside, and downside.

On to Facebook. I’m really starting to dislike Facebook. They have a rather cavalier approach to personal privacy, despite protestations that they want to keep your stuff private, and Facebook feels like it’s being taken over by the automated status update. I sorry, but I really couldn’t care less who is doing what on Farmville, Mafiawars or Bejewelled. Yes, you can turn them off, but you shouldn’t have to – I want Facebook to be *actual* updates from my friends.

Then you have the whole ‘friends’ issue. Do you accept the friend request from that guy at work who you sort-of-know but not really? Old school friends pop up and you end up saying ‘Hi! how the devil are you?’, exchange pleasantries for a couple of emails then never speak to them again.

I’m tempted to just nuke the account. But then how would my myriad of FB chums keep in touch with me? πŸ™‚

Would I miss it? Probably, for a week or so. Then I’d get on with life as normal. Perhaps I should harvest emails of people I actually want to keep in touch with, *then* nuke the account. Hmm.

Twitter wins in one regard in that you can follow anyone, and conversely, can *stop* following anyone you’re not interested in. I wonder how many of the accounts following me on Twitter are actual people and not spammers? I assume that a lot of spam accounts end up being blocked and deleted after a while, but are there really 500+ people following my every tweet? Surely not.

Thoughts, comments, queries on a postcard, to the usual address, if you will. πŸ™‚