I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of writing recently. Not here on this blog, although I’m trying to do that too (it’s not going so well – I wrote a whole, slow, post about Iron Man yesterday but I don’t think it will ever see the light of day), but in various other places. Firstly, I have become a ghostwriter. I had to an article for someone else, as if it was them writing it, and under their direction. It was a bit weird, and tested my control freak-ness somewhat. I had lots of information to use, and there were some specific things they wanted me to include, but we had quite a small word limit so it was tricky to write it in a way they were happy with and keep to the word limit. It was hard to write it the way the person I was writing for wanted it and not the way I wanted to write it!
Secondly, I’ve been writing an evaluation report at work. It seemed like a bit of a slog, even though it got written fairly quickly. I think it was just a bit of a struggle because I hadn’t written an evaluation report before, and hadn’t written anything so lengthy for a while. I enjoyed writing it, although I’m quite glad it’s finished…well, it’s finished unless anyone tells me there are changes they want me to make!
I’ve also been doing more proof reading than usual. I had some articles to proof read for the Somerville Foundation, and around the same time a friend of my mum’s sent some more proof reading me way, in the shape of the booklet/book she had been writing It was quite long (17,000 words), but, fortunately, also very interesting!
For leisure purposes, I’ve been reading The Finkler Question, by Howard Jacobson, which is supposed to be a comic novel, but I found it rather depressing (apart from one sentence and I can’t remember now what that sentence said). I also read Sunday the Rabbi Stayed Home, one installment of Harry Kemelman’s Rabbi Small mysteries; a series I’d never heard of before. Not quite sure how I missed it since I’m a fan of mystery stories and interested in Judaism! Although the book feels slightly dated now (it was written and is set in the 1960s) and occasionally displays an interesting lack of political correctness, I enjoyed it overall.
Pattern on the sand, caused by the tide/wave motions (I think)
As the song says, “At words poetic I’m so pathetic”, but I’m going to attempt to write a very short review of Canterbury Operatic Society’s production of Anything Goes, which I and quite a few other librarians went to see over the weekend. I’d seen the show before, many years ago when I was a student, but I couldn’t really remember what happened, apart from the fact that it was a bit mad. I remembered a few of the songs, but that was about it. There are a lot of great songs in Anything Goes, including You’re the Top, which is possibly my favourite, although it’s close run things between it and Easy to Love, or De-Lovely…It’s hard to choose.
Anyway, the plot was even more bonkers than I remembered – how could I have forgotten all the dog-related silliness? I almost lost track of who had got mixed-up with who and what their real names were, but such is the nature of farce. The thing about farce is that you have to be able to pull it off well and, thankfully, Canterbury Operatic proved that they can do farce very well indeed. The title of this post just about sums it up, really: Lines were delivered with excellent timing, facial expressions were used to great effect, songs (one in particular!) contained sounds which were possibly some of the most unusual I’ve ever heard – but in a very good way that helped me chortle my way through the show.
The cast gave an immense amount of energy in both the singing (which was excellent, on the whole), and the dancing…I just do not know how they do it! Actually, I do – lots of hard work! It was such a professional, well-executed show. The cast and crew should be very proud of themselves.
If you’re ever in Kent and Canterbury Operatic Society are putting on a show please go and see it!
a person whose physiological functioning is aided by
or dependent upon a mechanical or electronic device.
There are plenty of us out there who fall into this category; people with pacemakers, mechanical valves, artificial legs, eyes, hands, whatever. Some people would argue that even people who wear glasses are cyborgs. A discussion about someone wearing glasses being a cyborg was actually what started me off thinking about this whole subject of cybernetic humans. Here is a bit of it:
I don’t know whether people who wear glasses really count as cyborgs, though. Mainly because the glasses are not a part of them in the same way that the pacemaker is part of me – it’s in me and literally intertwined with me. I can never be without it. It’s part of the mechanics of my body in a way that is very different to the interaction between someone and their spectacles. However, I see the flaws in my argument – what about people with removable prosthetic limbs? for one.
The idea of people-technology hybrids as being “more than human” is an intriguing one. Cyborgs are more than human in that we’re humans with ‘add-ons’, as it were, but not usually in the sense that we’re enhanced beyond normal human capabilities. However, we are also not less than human (which was Simon’s point). We usually think of cyborgs in the context of science fiction, where they’re quite often portrayed as the bad guys; and we think of them as being somehow less than human – robots, rather than people enhanced with machinery – so the term ‘cyborg’ can carry quite negative connotations. [I'm not sure whether the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica really count as cyborgs, but there is an excellent and fascinating case in point if they do.] As well as this, some people can get a bit freaked out when thinking about machine-human hybrids. Being part-machine is not natural, it’s not ‘normal’, and humans tend not to like things or people that don’t fit their ideas about what is natural or normal. Bizarrely, when I went to see the surgeon before my heart surgery in 2008 the thing he said that upset me most was that I might have to have a pacemaker. I still can’t coherently explain why, but I think it was just the idea of having something in me that wasn’t me. It just seemed wrong. But now I know it’s perfectly alright, and being a cyborg has improved my life tremendously!
It seems that the definition of who or what is a cyborg has moved far beyond my personal opinion and what the original definition of the word referred to. If I remember rightly, the conversation on Twitter went on to discuss cyborgs and librarianship. If you’re interested in such things you might want to have a look at Simon’s post on the subject. Further afield, at least one person is arguing that “we’re all cyborgs now”:
What do you think?
*Although I may be paranoid, this is not to be confused with an android.
** Interestingly, not every dictionary defines “cyborg” in the same way. Some define cyborgs as being fictional or hypothetical, and as someone who is technologically enhanced beyond normal human capabilities. However, if one goes back to the original of cyborg (cybernetic organism) as someone who is part-machine and part-human then cyborgs certainly do exist, although most ‘real’ cyborgs are only enhanced ‘up’ to, rather than beyond, normal human capabilities (if that). Even with my pacemaker I’m not going to win any races! However, I’m pretty sure I exist…
Well, it’s been here for a while really…We’ve had a couple of warm days, but mainly it’s been quite cold, still. But then, it is only April. I have, at last, been to B&Q today and bought some plants. I went on the bus. I bought some heathers, some pansies, some lavender, and a pathetic-looking tulip because it was on the sale shelf and I felt sorry for it, but also partly because it’s called “Für Elise”, and our friends have a daughter called Elise. I might give her the tulip to look after if it doesn’t die. So, this afternoon I did some weeding and planted a couple of the heathers. Then it got too cold, so I went in. Things are starting to look more spring-like; the forsythia is now in full bloom, the daffodils have been and gone. The tulips’ leaves have come out, but no sign of flowers yet. I discovered some kind of narcissi in a couple of pots I’d piled up in a corner near the shed (this is where pots go when there is no room in the shed), so that was a nice surprise!
Last weekend, Mr C and I went to the British Museum with my mum. She wanted to go to see the Ice Age Art exhibition, which we did, and very fascinating it was too. I found it quite hard to take in how old the objects were. I hadn’t been to the British Museum at all before, so I was quite excited to go, and I really loved it. Now we know how easy it is to get there we will go again (I hope). I think the Lion Man in the Ice Age Art exhibition was my favourite object of the ones I saw, but I also liked the huge Assyrian lion (and lots of other things). Last night I dreamed that I was holding a large cat. Not as big as a lion, more like the size of our neighbour, Big Cat (AKA Fat Cat).
Other things I’ve been doing include knitting gloves and waiting for trains. At least we had a nice double rainbow to look at when the trains were delayed on Thursday: