Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Only A Few Hours Ago, In A Galaxy Quite Close By

Sorry for the hiatus in posting, I've been temporarily neglecting the blog in order to have much fun talking nonsense and catching up with old friends over at Channel 4's spanking new Green Wing chat forum.

[start public service announcement]

The Series 1 repeats are on all this week circa 11pm, which is really too late for me, but I did watch the whole of ep 2 last night. I'd forgotten quite how gloriously silly and rude it is. And for anyone who has yet to discover how gloriously silly and rude it is, might I remind you that the ridiculously long-awaited Series 2 starts next Friday 31st March at 9pm on Channel 4. Miss it at your peril.

[end public service announcement]

In order to justify talking rubbish on a chat forum at all hours of the day and night, I like to think of it as research for my future PhD*. The subject of which remains nebulous in my mind, but it's something to do with the existence of parallel universes, whether they are as "valid" as the "real" world, and how we behave and interact in them.

As far as I'm concerned, all online "worlds" - from chat forums to instant messenger conversations to online role-playing games - are equally valid parallel universes that we dip into and out of without really thinking that each time we do so, we're entering a completely different plane of existence. So people think of things like the holo-deck in Star Trek Voyager as science fiction, when in fact it's right there in front of you all the time, you big fools.

The GW forum is particularly interesting because almost everyone in there is female (which may or may not have something to do with this chap), and as it's a new forum but most of us know each other already, it's a lovely example of how women go about organising themselves in a new community.

Which is interesting, because a self-organising female community isn't something you see a lot of in "real" life. Well, it's not something *I* see a lot of in real life, anyway - you may beg to differ, and I'd be interested to hear it.

I shouldn't really go on, as everyone'll get paranoid and/or hate me. Also because I haven't worked out what it means yet, and I've got a brochure about middleware to write.

Bloody real life. Hmph.


* This is the kind of sentence that I'll re-read in six months' time** and think "Why? Why must I always be such a twat?". Heigh ho.

** Or indeed, now.


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30 comments:

surly girl said...

sadly, i am equally excited about moving house and the new series of GW. quite what this says about me i don't know.

mmmm. julian rhind-tutt.....

the Beep said...

Middleware?

Is that something I need to be interested in?

Do you meant hat female communities are not normally self-organising, or you don't see a lot of female communities? Says he who was brought up in a completely organised female community and is in no way bitter.

patroclus said...

Beep: You can probably live a full and satisfying life without ever taking an interest in middleware, but this Wikipedia entry may help to make up your mind.

You were brought up in a self-organising female community? All sounds very John Wyndham. Tell more!

cello said...

I have often thought how lovely it would be to be a nun. Lots of amusing pals, an inspiring yet stress-free ambience, simple tasks, regular healthy meals and cosy, warm clothing. I am imagining it like The Sound of Music - but without the Nazis - rather than The Magdalene Sisters.

There's just the little problem of lots of religion and no sex (with men), but otherwise it would be perfect.

patroclus said...

Oo no, I imagine being a nun as like being in the Brownies, but far, far worse. Uniforms! Hierarchies! Rules for this and that! Enforced singing! Awful.

Hence the emphasis on self-organising, rather than organised "from above".

cello said...

I think it's the enforced singing that really does it for me.

Marsha Klein said...

In my (very, rather - I'm in a positive mood!) limited experience of life self-organising female communities tend to revolve around the care of young children (go Playgroup mums!) and when the children grow up we all go back to being organised, top-down, by men (so to speak!). Anyway, this discussion reminded me of Spike Milligan's, sadly untried, solution for bringing a speedy end to WW2, which was to drop a plane-load of British char-ladies on the Fuhrer's (sp?) bunker!! A splendid image, I think you'll agree and eminently laudable into the bargain.

Marsha Klein said...

Sorry, that first bit should read:
(very, no "rather" - I'm in a positive mood). At least I think it should...

patroclus said...

Marsha, glad to hear you're in a positive mood. But what is a char-lady, exactly? I've never been sure.

Dave again said...

I was required to visit a convent on a fairly frequent basis a few yaers ago (for work purposes) which involved, inter alia, eating in the canteen with a load of penguins (in absolute silence).

It was one of the most unsettling experiences in my life. After my third visit I started bringing a packed lunch.

chuffy! said...

I know it was a typo, but the idea from the beep's post about "hat female communities" must surely connect somehow, and possibly be written up into a Margaret Atwood fable.

Meanwhile...in "reasons I hate Wikipedia"...why must the phrase "the term middleware is often considered a buzzword" hyperlink to "buzzword"? Why not link it to "term" too? Sheesh. Meaningless intertextuality will destroy that place, and if my fist could reach as far as Stanford, then whoever wrote that entry would learn the definition of regret, without even having to look it up.

Maybe one day there'll be an trustworthy encyclopaedia with a consistent style and tone and an editorial team of experts and, oh, right.

patroclus said...

Oo, hey Chuffy! Er, but isn't the whole point of Wikipedia that you can edit the bits you don't like? Not that I've ever tried.

I do like the phrase "meaningless intertextuality will destroy that place", though. Maybe in the latter days of WW2 we should have launched an attack of meaningless intertextuality on Der Fuehrer's bunker!

chuffy! said...

Like Groucho and his clubs, I certainly wouldn't trust any Encyclopaedia that I'd written.

Urban Chick said...

i've seen a number of self-organising female communities both online and IRL, as marsha says, mostly kiddy-related

or did you say self-feminising communal organisations? 'cause i've seen a lot of them too

patroclus said...

OK, speaking as a resolutely non-maternal type, does anyone have any examples of self-organising female communities that don't revolve around kids?

...is the kind of question I never thought I'd find myself asking.

ScroobiousScrivener said...

My experience of nuns consists mostly of one year lived in a convent school (I didn't attend this school, my (un-nunly) mother worked there). Observing the nunly staff of four, I formed a rule that I have never yet seen disproved: young nuns are lovely and sweet and Maria-like, but with age they become increasingly bitter and sadistic. I think this tells us all we need to know about the enjoyability of a life without men. At least, one organised top-down by a patriarchal and misogynistic church. A self-feminising community (thanks Urban Chick!) would no doubt be *much* better.

patroclus said...

Yes indeed, very sorry UC, I didn't mean to sound all disparaging there. I blame my non-maternally-inclined inferiority complex. Damn you, non-maternally-inclined inferiority complex!

Dave again said...

Most women's blogs seem to be self-organising female communities - in that my comments usually get ignored, while the ladies chat amongst themselves.

entropy said...

Example of self-organising *mostly* female communities: the Stitch 'n' Bitch movement. Mind you, if no-one can make it again this week I'm probably giving up on the work one.

ScroobiousScrivener said...

Good example, Entropy. Why didn't I think of that? And why don't I have more knitters in my office?

patroclus said...

Oo, entropy and Scroob, do you have any theories on why knitting suddenly became really popular?

the Beep said...

it's just when you say 'a self-organinsing female community isn't something you see a lot of in life' that my eyebrow lifted a millimetre. It's axiomatic: females involved = organised.
And as I grew up in a home with only women, no other men folk (but I was only a baby for some of the time) that was all I saw. But true, it does revolve around kids. Me and the three girls and our two mums. Is that a community? We all lived in one place.

Aaaaaaaaargh

*runs from the room, clutching ears*

Actually I was very happy then.
If somewhat over organised.


*Tips That at Chuffy*

Interpreter Pavlov said...

I've just spent 30 minutes having a look through The Princess, where Tennyson invents a self-organised women-only university, later parodied by W.S.Gilbert, which is secretly penetrated by three men in drag. First thing Princess Ida (the boss) does is put the men into uniform. H'm. (Brownie uniform isn't specified.)

Interpreter Pavlov said...

However . . . according to a report on Télématin this morning there's a self-organised women's commercial community (Damenkolonie or some such) housed in a large block of former east Berlin flats. Restaurants, shops, offices, insurance agencies, a driving school, fashion designers, even a sex shop selling among things what the commentator (a man) was pleased to call 'olé-olé' underwear.

I quite like the idea of olé-olé middleware, too. And as for an all-female driving school . . .

patroclus said...

Hmm, that's interesting. I wonder if the Damenkolonie organises itself differently from a predominantly male commercial environment.

As for olé olé middleware, that's not actually far off, as OLE (object linking and embedding) was a primitive - and rubbish - form of Microsoft middleware. Oh, it all links (ha) in a Neal Stephenson words + technology + culture-type way.

Pashmina said...

*ignores technological direction in which this comments box is veering*
Most book groups tend to be largely female, self-organising communities. Or are they a bit '90s?

entropy said...

You could read Debbie Stoller's book(s) for her take on it (in amongst the handy instructions), on reclaiming it as a craft and various other things.

I suspect the Internet might have something to do with changing perceptions - instead of just knitting patterns in magazines your gran gets, or specialised mags from the yarn companies, now there are also mailing lists for people to swap ideas and arrange to meet up, blogs everywhere talking about it and people posting their own patterns. Demystifies it and offers help for anyone who wants to knit but doesn't know anyone else who does.

In my case, my old housemate taught me a couple of years ago, then I couldn't think of anything I wanted to knit, then new flatmate started again and I found the SnB books. Plus it is very hypnotic once you get the hang of it.

entropy said...

Scroobius - offer to teach 'em. Or knit in your lunch break and see who stops to admire.

smoo2 said...

It's been nice to talk with you about rubbish (rubbish, what do you mean, rubbish...?).

The trouble with female communities is, that their time of the month starts to synchronize to around the same time of the month. That means we're all going to get very grumpy and irritable all at the same time. Could be a problem. Also, we'll all be knocking things over and bumping into objects that others have left lying around. Chaos will ensue.

*I'm also ignoring the complicated comments of this comment box, Pashmina. It's much safer.

patroclus said...

Ahh, smoo2, lovely to see you back!

I wonder if that synchronisation thing works virtually. That *would* be interesting. There's a conversation for the boxes if ever there were one!