Hey Nostradamus

September 29, 2006

heycover2.gif    I am ashamed to confess that I have never read one of Douglas Coupland’s books after trying and failing miserably to get into Generation X.  But Hey! now I can’t say that any more.  After paying a flying visit to casa Doppelganger, I returned to London bearing generous booty (in the piratical sense) from the treasure troves/library shelves of the description defying mme Doppelganger herself.

Almost brand new still shiny and delicious smelling copies of Hey Nostradamus and Black Swan Green, both of which have already been devoured in the midnight midsts of my jetlag.

I was really surprised by Hey Nostradamus – it confounded my preconceived expectations of slick, glib hipness and pop pastiche that for some reason I was expecting from Douglas Copeland.  The book tackles big questions of belief, faith and the nature of humanity without dropping into sugary cliches, sentimental fumbling, or whitewashing over darkness and suffering.  For a more considered review – see 50 books.

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This is a live clip from my mobile during this event. I am happy to report that the return trip to London was as smooth and uneventful as, well, as most of my other flights have ever been.

Skin

September 22, 2006

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Via Regine – Two garments prototyped by Phillips: Bubelle, the “blushing dress” comprises two layers, the inner one is equipped with sensors that respond to changes in the wearer’s emotions and projects them onto the outer textile.
Frison, a body suit that reacts to being blown on by igniting a private constellation of tiny LEDs. Both measure skin signals and change light emission through biometric sensing technology.
hmmm, sounds a lot like electric skin – if only i had had a whole research team and big budget too …

The Naked Truth

September 22, 2006

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Not too sure who’s the maker behind these images, but let’s hope its always summer when we fly

Aah, Vancouver

September 20, 2006

horseshoe-bay-hillside-1a_900.jpg Wide awake at 4:30 am, the joys of jetlag. Although my new resolution is to avoid intercontinental travel, it is so wonderful to be home, even for just a little while. Vancouver is one of the most beautiful places in the world to me. Not just because of friends and family, but the land itself feels so vast. Human intervention here is relatively small, and even in the heart of downtown Vancouver, you are only half an hour away from the silvery seas and crouching mountains of the North Shore.
It is so different from the dirty grey metropolis of London, where you have to travel for hours just to get a glimpse of a few fields. I’m sure that there is some wildness in England, but I am far more aware of thousands of years of cultivation and containment
As a woman who loves her espresso and pesto and truffle oil, I have no desire to actually live in the wilderness, but I do love to know it’s there, to have space to breathe and dream and feed my being. No wonder Vancouver was the birthplace of Greenpeace

British Airways Flight debacle

September 19, 2006

pl6717.jpgAs a global mongrel who has moved from South Africa to Canada to London, leaving bits of family scattered in my wake, I am no stranger to intercontinental flights. For the most part, things have proceeded smoothly, but I have just had the worst travel experience of my life trying to fly from London to Vancouver on British Airways, and I feel mad.
I was expecting a long wait to get through security at Heathrow. I had very little hand baggage and had removed all toiletries, cosmetics including lip balm and lighters. I made it on board having just had enough time to stock up on duty free fags and drink, and settled in for the tedious 9 hour flight. Thank goodness you can still take books in your hand luggage.
So far everything was normal.
One hour out of Heathrow, the pilot reported that we would have to turn around and go back to Heathrow due to technical malfunctions. Great. For the most part when flying, it is easy to forget that there are three hundred or more humans packed in a little sardine can flying at 1000 kms per hour, thousands of feet in the air. When said sardine can starts releasing all the fuel on board in mid air, that feeling of safety is eroded along with the white plumes spraying from the wings. Landing with fire trucks and emergency vehicles surrounding the runway feels even more scary.
Having landed with a feeling of relief that the plane hadn’t exploded, moods were high although people were generally a little annoyed. This level of annoyance escalated dramatically over the next 24 hours, in no little part due to the incompetence and inefficiency of British Airways in dealing with the situation.
The flight was cancelled until 9 am the following day, and we had to disembark, collect our luggage, go back through British customs, wait in line to collect a hotel voucher, wait in line for a bus to shuttle us to the hotel, wait in line to check in to the hotel, wait in line for dinner. Sadly to say there was not much cameraderie among the passengers – everyone pushing and fuming and trying to get ahead of everyone else. This whole process took 8 hours.
After an early morning wake-up call at 4:30, the whole process was repeated in reverse: wait in line for breakfast, wait in line for the bus back to the airport, wait in line to check in, wait in line to go back through security, wait for hours in the departure halls until finally bording the flight all over again.
Hooray! I finally arrived in Vancouver, went through customs and waited for my luggage. And waited and waited and waited some more. Not only had my already short trip lost a day, but my luggage too is still lost as I write this post, dressed in borrowed knickers and various other borrowed elements. (me, not the luggage)
Conclusion: intercontinental flights are not fun any more with all the severe delays, security procedures and potential mishaps.
Now if only I didn’t have to do this all over again on Sunday.

Smart Hugs

September 16, 2006

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The highlight of yesterday’s How Smart Are We symposium for me was definitely cutecircuit’s hug shirt, which has received loads of awards and well-deserved attention.

Cute, fun and hip, the idea is that you can send hugs between two shirts via mobile phone, rather like a warm and vibrating smiley.

It does raise the question though, of why you would want to send a virtual hug instead of being body-to-body for a ‘real’ hug