Pastimes of the urban cat-lady

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Collective nouns for cats: Clowder, Clutter, Pounce, Nuisance, Glorying, Glare

Some of you might remember I found a stone cat in the railing at work with a message on the back to contact Facebook and re-hide the cat. Well, I have now added a few new cats to the collection and I need to work out where to put them.

I’m thinking the story is that original cat has been missing for a week because she’s been playing around with other cats, and now she has a family of cats with her (her own babies? a cat cult? a Top Cat gang?) .

I’ve been trying to work out where to put them. Any ideas? It has to be somewhere secluded enough for me to not be noticed putting them out, but not so secluded no one finds them. Another park railing might be good or under a bush. Although neither is very inspired.

Oh and I found this important letter today, sadly no one was around to return it to, but I feel its message will resonate with younger sisters everywhere.

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Text:

Dear older sister

you are mean

your yonger sister

Mystery solved?

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The tube seat pattern

‘I guess, just be careful you don’t wear any negative shoes, or they might get lifted?’

Comment from A gorilla’s existential crisis

Well, it’s looking like the mystery of the black star has been solved. Although the answer itself may be a diversion, a trick to pacify us. Claims of Illuminati, black holes and aliens are still under consideration.

Weather: blazing!

Mood: chirpy

Word of the day: Hypogeal – underground

So the black star update:

The gorilla blogger, Matt Johnson (unusual name for a gorilla) did some searching around and came up with a theory to explain the star (for anyone who missed the beginning of this, there are stars on the ceiling of tube trains in London and NOBODY else appeared to have noticed them or knew what they were).

The website he linked to had this comment, which I didn’t read properly at the time.

And look out for the little star on the ceiling, that indicates the floor hatch for lifting Negative shoes.

Then after posting on a London underground forum, I got lead to another post, which led to some comments under an article about the underground, and this said basically the same as Matt’s research.

The blue stars are an indication of where the shoes are on the train, in case they need to be lifted. They were on all the old Victoria line trains and are on the baker loo as the trains are basically the same.

For anyone confused about negative shoes, this is the wiki description of shoes. Somebody had fun coming up with names for stuff.

Electric railways with third rails, or fourth rails, in tunnels carry collector shoes projecting laterally (sideways), or vertically, from their bogies. The contact shoe may slide on top of the third rail (top running), on the bottom (bottom running) or on the side (side running). The side running contact shoe is used against the guide bars on rubber-tired metros. A vertical contact shoe is used on ground-level power supply systems, stud contact systems and fourth rail systems.

I suspect it’s the vertical contact shoe that needs lifting and is marked by the star (which I still say is black.)

So I’m going to leave the mystery alone for now, but it won’t be forgotten. I suspect London is full of odd little mysteries, I’d like to connect some of them up. Any ideas how?

 

 

A failed attempt

 

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The ongoing mystery of the black star on the tube.

Weather: much sun, some cloud

Mood: vague

Word of the day: scintillometer – instrument measuring scintillation of star

I tried asking the information desk at the train station if she knew about the black star. She said ‘Oh maybe.’ And my heart leapt, she began searching through different message boards on her two phones. ‘I’m sure I saw something here,’ she said, flicking through. So I pulled out my phone to show her the photo I’d taken. Her expression went cold, ‘Oh no, I’ve never seen that before,’ she said.

So then I asked a young, efficient-looking guard in the tube station, his shirt said Happy to help, but he looked at me very oddly, ‘What star? Where? What tube?’ He was annoyed. Another, slightly older guard was walking past, so I asked him, he looked at me like I was mad.

So either I’m mad, or nobody but me is observant, or this is a huge conspiracy to hide the truth about the black star – presumably some secret organisation leaving its mark to watch over us. Any ideas? Of course if it’s the conspiracy explanation I have now warned officials of my presence.

 

Shut Up, Millennials are Great!

A Positive Monday Post

Ok, so I’ve been mulling this post over for some time, all the while reading the bitchy comments about  millennials across the Internet and hearing people complain about them in real life. The usual criticisms are millennials are lazy, self-absorbed, always on their phones, narcissistic, spoilt, irresponsible and whiny.

I (aged 43) work with quite a few of this generation (people now in their teens and twenties), and while there are a few who fit that description, most are delightful; a total contrast to my own ridiculous generation when we were in that age. So here’s my response to the criticisms based on my personal experience, but no scientific analysis whatsoever.

Lazy – IME millennials tend to be oddly focused. They have an actual career plan worked out, they even know what a career plan is. Sometimes that focus can get in the way – they are wary of wasting time on anything that won’t be of benefit in the future; but that is largely because they have so little guaranteed future. Unlike my generation, who took basic survival for granted so instead of planning, could just bum around getting wasted and dreaming of success.

Self-absorbed – wow, young people being self-absorbed? Who’d have thunk it? This just seems like a massive distortion of the past to me. My generation were self absorbed, we didn’t have Facebook and selfies to help us prove it, but the trait was still there. The evidence of this can be seen in the number of people in their forties and fifties who have leapt onto Facebook with glee, despite being old enough to have filled their lives with all the other stuff life has to offer.

Always on phones – as am I and everybody else who has a smart phone (which means everybody), we’re connected to the whole world, a constant stream of fascinating information. And young people have been desperately trying to find a way to  avoid eye-contact and conversation for decades, we just didn’t have the technology to do it before. I didn’t even have a walkman til I was fifteen, and even then I was stuck awkwardly trying to squirm out of the attention of others, it was awful.

Narcissistic – there are some alarming statistics about this, that narcissistic personality disorder is far higher – I do wonder if that’s something to do with increased diagnosis though, the same way that autism appears to be more prevalent. To be honest, even if millennials are more narcissistic, it’s only because my generation flooded the media with celebrity guff and consumer “you’re worth it!” delusions. It’s our fault, we started it. And we were just as hungry for fame as young people are now, we simply didn’t know how to go about getting it.

Spoilt – there’s a definite theme in my response to these. We were spoilt too. Every single generation has seemed spoilt when compared to the previous generation because every generation has had more than the previous generation. I remember how disgusted my nan was at all the toys I had, she thought I was ruined for life. Ironically that situation of increased wealth seems to be finally ending, so as this generation grows older they won’t have more than us. Most of them seem very aware of this and try to appreciate what they do have.

Irresponsible – nope. They don’t drink as much as the previous generation, do as many drugs, sleep around as much as my generation (and this is one backed up by statistics). They take education more seriously and think about pensions at an age when I barely knew what one was. Compared to how millennials look to me now, I was a wasted mess of thoughtless behaviour.

Whiny – I think this comes mostly from the PC movement, I certainly don’t see evidence of it elsewhere. And there is a lot of SJW style complaint about language and behaviour that seems extreme, but maybe it needs to be. I remember when PC culture first happened in the eighties, and even though I was very anti-racist, anti-homophobic and so on, I thought that the PC movement was dictatorial and uptight. I thought that it made the idea off treating people with respect a joke and so would never help, but the truth is, it did. I see how open minded and accepting young people are now and it’s beautiful, and it certainly didn’t come about as a result of reasonable discussion, that never gets anyone anywhere (I would really like it to, but when it comes to changing the thinking of a whole society, it’s useless). So if some nagging, whining and fuss leads to us eventually becoming a better more accepting society, then I’m all for it.

As I’ve stated this is just my view, seen from my singular perspective, if you see things differently, or even if you agree, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.