The Bran Report

It's good for parts of you that you'd probably rather not think about.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

64 St. Clemet's Street

Dear Will,

I am sorry I did not arrive at your party yesterday night. I tried.

I rapdily arrived at the front door, but that has a message taped in the window saying something to the effect of "This is not a real door. Go around to find the other one." Well, I could see through a shuttered basement window that a bunch of people I half-recognised were sitting around in a room that was twenty metres by one, and that looked like a very elongated party to me.

I strolled up and down the street for a bit, looking for the entrance. A dude cycled by me at high speed, using both hands to swig from a red wine bottle. For some reason I decided that you might be in the Duke, so I had a look in there. The clientele looked at me and said "Boyy, you ain't even nearly cool enough to be in here, not even with those kickin' sandals".

I wandered down Boulter street and Bath street hoping there'd be a obvious way to the back of the house and hopefully an inviting back garden, maybe with some spanish guitar music and tapas. Instead, there was a murder alley with a dog and a hobo. The dog started barking, but I was wearing the aforementioned kickin' sandals that prevented me from leaving as rapidly as I might otherwise have done. I tried to assert control of the situation by looking kind of stern. The homeless dude decided to leap over the wall and, judging by the sound, crashed through an ivy bush into someone's garden. The dog was as nonplussed by this as I was, and stopped barking.

At this point, homeowners were starting to look out their darkened windows in judgemental ways. "Screw this" I thought, "I'm going home to drink Kentish Ale and drink Knights of the Old Republic until the early hours".

It was a good Friday night.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Fortune's Fool

The Fool

I've always loved the image of The Fool, because it's a fair analogy for my understanding of life.

Firstly, I believe that the natural state of humanity is ignorance, and we're always fighting it- lighting a candle in a universe of darkness. I've yet to see a revelation that I thought was worth a damn, but slow and careful reasoning lets us creep forward, like the blind leading the blind. Don't get too attached to certainty you think you've found, though, because the fool in the illustration isn't the first one to step over a precipice.Secrets!

Maybe the fool is the Socrotean fool: the only wisdom I have is a grasp of the extent of my ignorance.

That precipice could also be death, of course. And we cynics and nihilists and hedonists walk towards it, forever struggling to understand and knowing that our task is probably impossible. We look up to the sky and see nothing but lifeless stars. Emotion is ultimately meaningless, we say to ourselves, so why not be happy? And so, sweet smell of flowers in the air, we whistle our way through life.

We walk unremarked by the universe, so absurd in the mere fact of our existence as to be entertainers for the dogs and mountains. We cannot peer ahead through the gathering dusk to see what is up ahead: our temporal nature means guesses are our guides.

For example, I planned to give you a great update about Dracula two days ago, but the internet ate it and my connection stopped working.

I am fortune's fool.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Glad I didn't say it

The setting
Oxford's Radcliffe Science Library, where I am working over the summer to pay for beer and biscuits. We were stacking obsolete science journals in shelving deep beneath the earth's surface. Now, you may not know this, but scientific journals vary widely in
how easy they are to stack. There's the coefficient of friction on the cover, there's the centre of mass*... some are easy to stack, some are not. The Journal of Applied Physics is awful.

What I didn't say:
"Man, I hate the JAPS".

How it might have played out:
Anlin Wang: "Actually, I'm chinese."

*Is it ironic that I describe how to stack scientific journals using terms like "Mass" and 'Coefficient"? Is it ironic that the journals most prone to disastrous landslides are the Annals of Geology?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Theoretical justification of the Bran Report

Well, here's the skinny. Or should I say, gimmick? It'll be blog posts written while I'm eating bran cereal. It's delicious, and good for parts of you you'd probably rather not think about! So yeah, whatever you read by me here you can recontextualise by imagining that if I was saying it, I'd be mumbling on account of all the bran and semi-skimmed in my mouth. I'd claim to be the first blogger to do this, but in all honesty I'm so jaded by the internet I just assume that somewhere out there there's a forum committed to sharing images and stories about just such a practice.

I know the old page looks kind of rubbish right now, and I would work on it, but you see: I've already finished my breakfast today.

That's how committed to this gimmick I am.