May 27th, 2004


(no subject)

Results of the 2000 US elections
Map of population density

Obvious, innit? If you're used to living packed in with vast amounts of other people then you see the need for society to help those who need it and for laws to take into account the vast differences you see all around you. If you live in smaller communities which are going to be much tighter knit, with less differences, then you want laws that protect that and leave you alone as much as possible.

Test post from hblogger

Warren Ellis mentioned hblogger a week or so ago and this is the first time I've had a chance to play with it. It's a livejournal (and other blogging sites) client for the Palm OS.

It promises to work seamlessly with LJ which means I can update from anywhere I have a phone signal.

Anyone else had any experience with it?

[Posted with hblogger 1.0]

Dogs 1 - on a train

There's a guide dog on this train. Sitting up, paw balanced on it's charge's husband's leg, nose pointed skyward, chest exposed for idle fingers to gently scratch. There's nowhere to go on a train except for the occasional toilet break, so it's free time as far as the dog's concerned, it can stare out the window, watch the other passengers or take a nap. Every few minutes I catch it's eye as I look up and it thinks about moving over here - sometimes it takes a step before it's pulled to a stop, mostly it just looks back, seeming to consider the endless possibilities of _different_ fingers scratching it behind the ear.

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(no subject)

Now in Kent. Have two more LJ entries on the PDA that I will endeavour to get off again when my phone is recharged.

Hope you're all having good evenings and for those of you that aren't, I hope tomorrow is a better day.

Dogs 2 - Last Weekend at Lilian's

Lilian's family never had pets - the idea of non-human intelligence makes her uneasy and while she's adapted to the idea of cats and even managed to cope with the cornucopia of dogs at my family Christmas last year, she still has the kind of reaction that I can see myself having to sentient robots - they may well _be_ safe, but they don't _feel_ safe.

I visited her ancestral family seat last weekend - 20 minutes outside of Glasgow along a railway line so little used that there's only one side to the station there. She moved there over 35 years ago and has orbited it since leaving for university twelve years later.

Her parents had a house built while they stayed in a nearby suburb, all concrete and straight edges, her mother refusing to put up curtains for the first few months because she didn't want anyone to think that it was anything more than temporary accomodation. The house is now being expanded, 70s architecture pushed outwards with more space, garden covered over so that aged bones won't have to care for it as much. Ten minutes walk up the road her sister lives in a converted mews, mazes of rooms leading one into another making it the perfect place to hold a party, you can mingle in so many directions that there's always someone new walking past.

It was between these two homes that we met the dog - taking the long way round so that Lilian could show me her childhood haunts, seeing the changes that had occurred over the thirty year progression from tiny,exclusive village to slightly-less-tiny, exclusive village. There was a new road or two, an unexpected bypass, the further slow dissolution of the ancient remains of some ancestral grounds.

And along the new road, walking slowly sister-wards we came across a dog, or more accurately it came across us, bounding from its master's garden as he slowly toiled in the flower-bed, delighted to see someone new. A large golden labrador it danced in circles around us and, after a moment's terror, even Lilian agreed that this was obviously a friendly dog.

As we walked further down the round it followed us. There was no shout from its owner, no upset that his pet was wandering into the distance, so we assumed that this was an accepted practice and, with the tiny amount of traffic we had seen, probably perfectly safe.

Still, a few minutes later the dog vanished into another garden, head buried in various bushes and I wondered if it would leave us here. We had been chatting all the while and I got lost in conversation for a moment until I heard an explosion of snarls, barks and yelps from inside one of the bushes. Not a good sign, especially when some unhappy owner might decide that we were responsible for 'our' dog eating theirs. It was only when it sprinted in our direction, ears back, looking distinctly unhappy that we saw the cause of the fight - a small but incredibly fluffy cat, stalking from the other side of the bush with an expression even more evil than a moray eel (previously the record holder for evil looks), The dog insisted on taking refuge behind us and I reassured it that it was perfectly safe from the cat.

Having returned the dog to its former state of irrational exuberance we continued on our wander, only to face a mounting sense of unease as we approached Lilian's sister's house. What would we do with the dog? Would it follow us into her garden or continue on its way? Would we be able to deter it from following us, would it be able to retrace its steps?

All of these questions were instantly answered as soon as we passed her sister's driveway. With nary a look behind it to see if this was our destination the dog padded down into the garden, over the patio and in through the conservatory doors. A shriek from a different part of the garden told us that Lilian's sister had noticed this and both I and her husband, Walter, dived into the house after it.

We managed to locate it swiftly, its sense of smell having taken it directly to the kitchen and the previous night's leftover partyfood. However, before it could indulge its doggish appetites we herded it back out into the garden and then attempted to persuade it to leave the property.

Of course, it thought this was the most marvellous game, that we were the most marvellous people and instantly adopted us as new best friends, collapsing into a patch of shade and displaying its new relaxed attitude by washing itself in front of us. This somehow failed to delight the mistress of the house and we were tasked with removing the beast forthwith.

Walter hit upon several plans before finally decided to simply lie to the beast and tell it that we were going for another walk. It gleefully followed Walter and myself as we retraced our steps from the morning walk. Our original intention had been to take it no more than a hundred yards before turning back, leaving it to walk the rest of the way itself, but every time we slowed our pace it bounded back to us, attempting to chivvy us along.

In the end we walked it all the way back to its owner, Walter handed it back while I lurked in the distance and we then swiftly removed ourselves from its vicinity before it could re-attach itself, like some kind of furry leech.

There is, as usual, a lesson to be learned here. I am, as usual, completely at a loss as to what it might be.

Dogs 3 - Travelling Companion

Sitting on the train, heading dogwards. I should be home in Kent by 11-ish, down for a long weekend p Thursday to Sunday. When I head back up I'll be accompanied by Tara - 6 stone of alsatian to be looked after for 3 weeks. Luckily I have Ed to help me out and Hugh/Meredith to share her with.

Not that I'm not looking forward to having her - I like dogs a lot, grew up with them and my parents have always had one. But they mean responsibility - taking on something that you can't just leave to it's own devices. Three weeks is doable, much longer would start to get very wearing, I suspect.

So from the time I walk through the door until I'm dropped off at Kings Cross station on Sunday (because taking her across London would not be fun) she's all mine. I have to learn everything there is to know about looking after her. It's going to be an experience, one that's worrying me somewhat, but I expect to make it out the other side in one piece.

The only question is - three weeks from now will I be thinking "Phew, I'm never doing _that_ again" or "So, where can I get a dog for myself?"

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