For no better reason than wanting to keep up with the neighbours, I’m writing this evening from the kitchen worktop whilst waiting for some dough to rise, risking the ingress of flour with every key tap. It’s not quite the same as Stuart’s recent entry from the bath, but the acknowledgement of my actions lends a certain character, don’t you think? Mercifully, Stuart is sure to include a description of his state of dress during the event, you may click the link without fear.

I, on the other hand, am completely naked.

Why is it, do you think, that the terrible events of the last week might have had a much greater effect on me than any other piece of news I’ve heard in a long time? I’ve been moved in ways that stories of war, murder and rape – the usual contents of the day’s broadcasts – have never achieved. Am I simply becoming hardened to the truth about the darkness in men’s hearts? Is the intentional causing of pain to others becoming nothing more than a fact of life to be accepted? From the danger I’ve put myself in this week, using power tools whilst half blind from the tears welling up in my eyes as CNN plays in the background, it would seem this is the case. I doubt I’m alone. It’s a pathetic comparison, but when the wave machine at the local swimming pool started up this weekend I’m sure I wasn’t the only one in the pool who felt deeply uncomfortable with the idea that we were supposed to be having fun.

Onwards to 2005. The money I had earmarked for some new books and a PDA will be heading to south-east Asia (probably via the charity I added to the linklog a couple of nights ago), so I’ve made a trip to the bookshelf and chosen from the books that I already own in order to create the proposed reading list for 2005. In no particular order they are:

  • Thirteen Ways by Robert Harbison
  • The Future Of Ideas by Lawrence Lessig
  • Jane Eyre by like-you-need-to-ask
  • Urban Space and Representation by M.Balshaw and L.Kennedy
  • Aristotle’s Poetics and Rhetoric
  • Dude, Where’s My Country? by Michael Moore
  • Faust (Part II) by Goethe
  • The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard
  • Design for the Real World by Victor Papanek
  • The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell
  • What is Architecture? by Paul Shepheard
  • Changing the Earth by Emmet Gowin

Some I shall endeavour to make notes about here, other’s I shall keep to myself. I try to avoid Politics (with a capital P) in this journal, so I doubt I shall comment on Moore’s book for instance. I look forward to any further suggestions you might have and any proposals for inter-blog reading groups. The last one was quite successful. I’ve made promises about some of the books in the past but failed to deliver, let’s hope I fair a little better this year. Bachelard is bloody hard to read and I find it’s easy to get distracted from Lessig. I’ve managed two others over the last month – The Paul Jennings Reader and How To Be Alone by Jonathan Franzen – so I shall start with notes on those over the next couple of weeks. Both were a joy to read.

And so to my 2005 resolution. There is only one. At least there is only one that concerns you. This year I resolve to resist the temptation to allow hyperlinks in entries to screw up the structure of a sentence. Hyperlinks aren’t a structural part of a sentence, they are a layer that sits above or below the surface of the words and unlike the way I’ve previously described the relationship between the content at either end of the link I don’t want the act of clicking to deform the delivery of the words.

Here’s an example; a little while ago I wrote about the recent lunar eclipse and in one of the updates I wrote this:

The second trip outdoors only provided more clouds. I never saw the eclipse, unlike Joel and all these smug people.

The reference to Joel isn’t too offensive as there are other entries that had previously qualified who Joel is, but the second? Who the hell am I talking about? Which smug people? It assumes you will click on the link to find out and it assumes you will leave all your reading skills at the door and ignore incongruous sentences that have no relationship to anything else on the page. It’s Bad and It Has To Go. If you catch me making this mistake again, be sure to point it out.

I hope you had a good New Year, I’m off now to put my dough in the oven and wait for a loaf of bread to appear.