July 31, 2007


How much information do people who read your blog want to know about you? This question seems odd coming from me since anyone regularly visiting this place already knows more about me than even I do. But there's stuff I don't talk about, of course. My day-to-day life is not eventful enough to provide blogging material and anyway, who really needs to hear daily trivia? Okay, I'll get to the point. I'm about tell you what I did today which was to get a needle stuck into my cheek while a computer screen showed wavy ultrasound pictures of the inside of my face where the needle was being inserted by the X-ray technician.

What goes on there?

The place that my brush is pointing to is where a small lump can be felt, but not seen, and that's where the  needle went in for a biopsy. About two years ago I blogged about getting a first test done on this same lump and it didn't show up anything worrisome. However the thing has grown a bit during that time, hence the new test. It's either a lymph node sitting on top of the parotid gland or a hopefully benign...errm...tumour, inside the parotid gland. Whatever the hell it is, when the results arrive in about a week I will be told what the options are. I'm pretty sure they will say it should be removed. And this is where I'm going to stop talking because the mere words "operation" and "hospital" are enough to put me in a very very bad mood. There. I've done it now.

Let's change the subject. Lalalalala.



I can't believe how fast this month has gone and I don't have any valid summery excuses for slack posting except that there really hasn't been a summer over here. But I did put up the last July post over at OUT OF THE BOX and here's the picture that goes with it.

No identity problems at those times


July 16, 2007

The responses received so far on the theme of IDENTITY are now posted at OUT OF THE BOX. Come on, people, don't be shy: more thoughts are wanted!

July 11, 2007


Check it out now. It's there and awaiting your OOB thoughts. Subscribe to it, or whatever it is that people do on successful sites. Let's see where this goes, it's an adventure. Please only enter comments over there that are relevant to the month's theme, nothing else. Anything you want to say to me about the project, or whatever, is welcome right here as usual.

Another interesting project that has gone live in the last couple of days is BOOKARAZZI (see logo in sidebar on the right) and I'm in it, along with many other much shinier luminaries in the world of published books. It started out as a private email group Bloggers With Book Deals and has now acquired a bright new online presence. It's still in formative stage but there's plenty to browse through so go and see it.


July 8, 2007


Out of the box

Just had an idea, inspired by the comments to my last post.

I would create a separate blog and set a monthly theme - for example Identity for this month - then anyone who has thoughts concerning the given subject can drop them into a  Comments box: thoughts that are 'outside the box' - original ideas, questions, observations or intuitions rather than received opinions. This would be neither a chat-room or a literary project but only a collection of individual cogitations about specific philosophical issues.

The entire contents of a month's Box would be posted on one page at the end of the month, each entry signed by its author (if they wish, or anonymous if they prefer). I might add illustrations for each theme. After a year, if the contents of the Outside The Box Box are sufficiently interesting, we could think about publishing it as a book via print-on-demand and distributing it via the internet and/or any other way.

What do y'all think about this - would you participate in the project if I set it up?

Meanwhile you can see the little video This is where I work on my page. People who were at my Apple talk last Friday saw it at the end of my presentation. The music is all my own work, yes! Am also trying find a way to reduce the ginormous file size of  the presentation itself so I can post it here. If I compress it the text of the slides becomes totally unreadable and if I leave it full size it's over 600 MB. So  I can't even put on YouTube where the limit is 100MB. Any magical suggestions from techies?


July 5, 2007 


I've been so busy converting people to bloggery that I haven't had time to blog. So this is going to be a very mixed bag in no chronological order.

I had written a short introductory speech, complete with jokes, to warm up the audience before switching on my PowerPoint show. I rehearsed it in front of the bathroom mirror, in the street, in the bus, in the taxi and I thought I had it down pat. But as soon as I got up on the platform, facing the cinema-style seats filling up with people who had actually come to hear me, I forgot it completely. Apart from one joke which could have done with better timing:

I see there are some...(pause)....mature faces here tonight. Like mine. Well, I want to tell you that anything you've heard about brain cells dying when you get older is a lie. They don't die. They just get bored....(pause) And then they die. (pause). The way to keep them bouncy is to work on something you love.

Okay it's not that funny. But it's true. I got more relaxed when my slide show started and the audience attention was on that. I will find the way to post most of it as a QuickTime or Flash movie. Meanwhile, let me quote from the personal reports of two people who were there. Why blow your trumpet when others can do it so much better for you?

It was a wonderful and inspiring evening. Natalie was superb - power point presentation with embedded links and video! Wired for sound, she strolled up and down the platform as though she's spent all her life doing it. And gave live demonstrations of some of the techniques she uses to transfer pencil drawing to pdf image. Hugely practical advice about which software to use, different printing options, marketing and sales strategies. The audience space was nearly entirely full and the listeners very engaged, and there were a lot of interesting questions. By the end I was utterly convinced that I not only had a book inside me but that it could emerge into the daylight and hob-nob with its destined audience. R.R.

Natalie was ...tremendous. Absolutely charming and involving and a pro, and inspired me too to want to publish a book, and ended with a joyous, completely off-the-wall video tour of her studio, with loud self-electronically-composed music. Wonderful stuff. J.M.

The car-bomb that was defused earlier that day in the Haymarket, only a short distance from the Apple store, understandably deterred some people from coming to my gig but there was still a good audience - friends, strangers and passers-by. I had fun and I'll do it again, anywhere, anytime, if I'm asked.


Hatshepsut mummy and friend

Anyone who has followed this blog from the start knows that I have a thing about Hatshepsut

Now they've gone and found our mummy so I have to mark the event. Wait a few more years and the ressemblance will be even closer but, embalming having gone out of fashion, you'll never know what my current mummy would look like. An odd thing about that missing tooth: when I was very small I had an extra tooth - really extra - on the gums, high above the normal row of teeth, and when I smiled it was like a fang. Coincidence about Hatshepsut's mummy's missing tooth? Maybe. My extra tooth was extracted when I was about ten or twelve when someone finally noticed that it was rather weird. This whole reincarnation thing gets even weirder. There's more than one of us convinced we were Hatshepsut in a past life: Tina Turner is a well-known contender for the title and there's a woman who wrote quite angrily after I posted my Luxor journal, saying that I couldn't possibly be Hatshep because she was her and could prove it. And I met an artist in Italy who was another ex-Hatshep; her home was filled with Egyptian artefacts and she had built a sarcophagus in which she would lie to meditate, I kid you not. For all I know, there are hundreds of people out there who feel sure they were this particular ancient Egyptian monarch and quite possibly we are all deluded fools with over-active imaginations influenced by art history and low (or excessive) self-esteem. On the other hand, we may all be right. Maybe there's another kind of DNA beyond the usual one. A sort of psychophysical DNA. (I'm just making this up as I go along but let's see where it goes). What if, when an individual dies, their psy-DNA splits into a certain number of clones of itself and those mini-clones get into the appropriate host bodies and are reborn. So, along with normal genetic inheritance we get this other kind of inheritance. Yes, the theory is full of holes and can't be proved. On the other hand........


Double Exposed Myself July 1/07
I've been looking, mostly with horror, at recent photos of me taken by other people then taking some of myself to see if they match the results that others get. Mostly they don't. I'm not quite so horrified by my own snaps. Probably because I can control the lighting and the angle and the expression and the lens of the built-in camera on my computer isn't that sharp.

But the mystery of identity obsesses me. The mind that is inside this body observes itself from within, behind its own skin, and reports to itself on what it sees. This inner image only vaguely ressembles the outer one and the more time passes, the less it ressembles it. But why do we put such emphasis on pictorial 'reality', as if there is only one kind ? An x-ray of me would also be reality. So would my DNA profile. So would a psychological assessment. And if a picture could be taken at the sub-atomic level of my particles whirling round, that would be reality too. Yet none of these versions would be, or would explain, identity. The only tool we have for examining identity, from the inside, is our own inner camera. It's not very reliable but it's all we have.

The mystery of the "me" is that it feels like it's always been there.

The ever-surprising qarrtsiluni has reprinted the "Lost Treasure" chapter from my autobiography. Such a warm glow to see it there and to be in such good company.

Still have more to catch up with. Next post.