Friday, November 06, 2015

Klingons v Romulans, colouring and other pointlessly pleasant things

Tom: Those people who look like Vulcans...
Me: Romulans.
Tom: Do they they fly Warbirds?
Me: No, that's Klingons. Can't remember what Romulans fly, best check.

Turns out Romulans fly [in] Birds of Prey, but then so do Klingons, as well as Warbirds.

Me: They're both always de-cloaking anyway.
Tom: Yeah. I never understood...
Me: ... why the Federation were never allowed to use cloaking devices.
Tom: Mm.
Me: They were just silly to themselves really.


Isabelle/Pam  (as I said, I'm doing better at keeping up with other blogs), remarked lately on the abundance of adult colouring books these days, and how she couldn't imagine being bored enough to want to indulge in such an activity, or indeed in jigsaws, but then she did do (cryptic) crosswords with Mr Life an activity to which there isn't much point either. When I was a kid, but a little too old for colouring books, I saw the first grown-up colouring book, very expensive, rather art nouveau I think, in a London store. I hankered for it, and Az, who I was with, said she'd try to make me one using pen and ink. but then we forgot about it. Now, it's true, they are everywhere. They are often very beautiful, and I can see the appeal, I love playing with colour, many people do, and in truth, the artists who make the colouring books can enable us to produce far more aesthetically pleasing results than most of us could using our own draughtsmanship. I've a friend who loves to paint, but her paintings make me (and doubtless others who have them bestowed on them) make me wish she'd get herself a colouring book and stick with it.

As I was typing this, Tom closed his sudoku book with a sigh, having probably informed me, as usual as if assuming I was someone who had a clue what he was talking about, on the comparative virtues of x and y wings over colouring, bifurcation and other methods. His sudoku practice has become impenetrable and stratospheric.

I'm not really tempted by the colouring books though*. I've never been a great jigsaw puzzler either, though Tom is. the bigger the puzzle and smaller the pieces the better, but only paintings that he likes, often fine art ones. On occasion I have got absorbed in one, usually alongside him or someone else doing it - I've had friends who would often have a puzzle on the go for the duration of a holiday period, say, so anyone could take it up and do a bit for a while. I've been struck at how closely it makes one look at the picture, the blending of colours and brushwork, so you get to know it better than you ever would otherwise, at least in print form.

I also like to do cryptic crosswords sometimes, though again as a shared effort, and now Tom has eschewed all other forms of puzzle in favour of high level sudoku I don't feel motivated to do them on my own, and don't miss them. I think I've only really got any head for pictures and words, other puzzles involving figures, logic or anything very spatial I'm a numpty at, rather as Scrabble is the only board game I can be bothered with, though I'm not that great at it, as anyone who'd played it with me can confirm. Quizzes are OK, of the kind that require straight general knowledge, of which I've a fairly substantial reservoir - so University Challenge rather than Only Connect, which requires lateral thinking and puzzling skills.

Like many people I tend to be automatically disdainful of things I don't like, or don't want to, or can't, do. I might at one time have tried to claim that I could not be doing with such pointless things as the ones I can't do; that I am a free and creative spirit who only occupies myself with activities of real worth. But that's bollocks, akin to saying 'I hate spinach** and I'm glad I hate it, because if I liked it I'd have to eat it and I hate it'. I don't do things because I'm rubbish at them, I lack patience and application and all kinds of clever thinking, so I avoid things which involve them.

Knitting is fairly pointless too, one can buy perfectly good pullovers, scarves, hats, gloves etc cheaper and with considerably less effort, and no doubt some of my knitting's recipients feel a bit like I do about my friend's paintings, but like all these things, it's supposed to be good brain exercise.

That's my very favourite double-ended, bone crochet hook. My lovely sister gave it to me, I think it's very old.

* though I might make an exception for this one.
** or cabbage, or courgettes, or beetroot, or what you will. Except andouillette, any right thinking non-French person can only be grossed out by the very thought of that.


Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

I have no idea what your first paragraph is about but I suspect it refers to a sci-fi saga? Maybe Star Wars? I'm kind of ashamed but also kind of smug that I've never managed to become a fan of fantasy, not even Lord of the Rings etc.

Totally agree with all the rest of this post.

Zhoen said...

I love the circle scarf you knitted me, wearing it happily this week.

Sudoku I do for the numeral muscle practice, if they get too hard, it's rather beside the point. I like regular US crosswords, but if they are too tricky, I can't be bothered. Scrabble is wonderful, especially played cooperatively, with combined total scores at the end to celebrate.

But then, I think games should be fun.

Ellena said...

I'm propelled to make a comment as long as the ones RR has the talent to make but I won't. Good on you dear Lucy on living Az's legacy so deeply, so tireless, so consciously, so generously and and....
And, may I say that in my opinion nothing is pointless, not even 'wasting time'.
Thanks for re-sharing the video you made.

the polish chick said...

so much to say! let's use the alphabet!

1. i adore that you're trekkies!!!! didn't think it was possible, but it makes me like you even more!

2. i never coloured as a child. not ever. i was too busy drawing and couldn't, for the life of me, see the point of colouring what someone else had drawn. plus i was far more comfortable with pens and pencils than colour. these days i recognize the meditative nature of colouring a book - as someone who stopped drawing when i hit my late 20's, the fear of a blank page and the self-imposed pressure to create something significant (or at least not embarrassing) can be assuaged by starting with a beautiful colouring book. i'm pining for an urban one, all about cities, and i don't know why i don't just buy it already!

3. man, i hope those aren't my paintings you're talking about. but if you are, well, there it is. i guess i'll start colouring then!

4. your knitting's hardly pointless. i've gotten so many comments about that gorgeous scarf you made me and i love wearing it, so there.

Zhoen said...

I had my first go at an adult coloring page during my hospital orientation. Offered because research showed people listened better if their hands were busy. I got a set of colored pencils for myself the next day. Got a complex coloring book much later on. Meditative, and soothing, I didn't have to think about what to draw, just pick another color and fill in the space. Soothing and mindless and yet oddly mindful.

Sorry, had to mention.

Roderick Robinson said...

Again trying to catch up for reasons explained in your previous post. I only do cryptic crosswords puzzles (when I do them at all) and my high point occurred during six months in 1972 when we were living with VR's family in Folkestone waiting to move into a house in Kingston, and I had to commute up to London each day for work. I chose the pre-Murdoch Times.

But the fact is you can only do crosswords when you're in crossword mode (ie, doing them daily). VR continues to make stabs at The Guardian but when I try to assist it's as if the whole concept is presented in Choctaw. VR also does does the quickie crossword within a self-imposed limit of 2 minutes. I have suggested she attempts it on one breath.

Your pitiless analysis of the rationalisations that occur when faced with a project we can't do is absolutely on the ball. When needing to pass time (eg, waiting for the computer to boot up) I play solitaire on a handheld electrical device which makes a delightful crunching sound when cards are laid correctly. I tell myself I'm aiming for a fastest time but I lie; I revel in the crunching.

Lucy said...

Thanks again.

Natalie - it's Star Trek. I'm not a great sci-fi or fantasy lover really, only in moderation, but I do rather like a saga. I prefer historical fiction as genres go, but, as with detective stuff, I'll watch things I wouldn't necessarily read, and I always liked the original Star Trek as a childhood thing, like many of my generation. Tom introduced me to the updated one, and other things like LoTR. It's more of a shared thing as far as I'm concerned.

Z - I am glad you like the scarf, I wasn't fishing, really. Handknits aren't necessary, but part of the pleasure is matching the item - colours, texture, design, warmth level! - to the person, I don't know if I always get it right, but people seem to be pleased to get a gift, and at least it's something practical, they don't need to find wall space for it. I've never played co-operative Scrabble, but I did once invent a version with a one-to-one student where she had to make English words and I had to make French ones. You and PC have expressed quite well the appeal and purpose of the colouring, and clearly it isn't a kind of second best to creating one's own original art, but an activity in its own right. Also, rather like jigsaws, when the art work is good, it's a way of looking closely and appreciatively at it.

PC - I hope I have succeeded in reassuring you it is not your wonderful painting I am referring to! And happy to bond over Star Trek :~) I didn't colour much as a kid beyond when I was very young, but then I think drawing was so automatic. Also, most of the colouring books were rubbish, bad art and unappealing, I might have liked the grown up ones. There were Altair design pads, I remember, but they were geometric stuff, beautiful in itself but rather boring and repetitive. When I was teacher training, it was rather frowned upon to occupy kids with colouring, even during in-between or winding down moments after they'd perhaps been working quite hard on something, that one should be engaging them actively and constructively all the time, thereby denying both kids and teachers any much needed down-time.

Robbie - Guardian crosswords were part of my student days, that was my first experience of cryptic, and then as now, it was usually collaborative. Custos was good, well constructed and consistent and relatively easy, Araucania was the best and harder. He died recently I think. Of recent years it's just been the Radio Times one, which is OK but always contains some TV references which are annoying and off-putting. As you say, all these things need regular practice. I love the sound of the sound of the crunching.

Lucy said...

Ellena - I'm sorry, I missed you. I value all comments from friends, regardless of their length (the comments, not the actual friends, though Robbie would, I imagine, exceed you there too, he does most people!)

It was odd reading back over that post about my sister. Much has happened, including a few other losses, in between. As with most resolves, the immediate imperative fades; I don't feel that I am in a very original, creative phase just now, I write little of substance and never draw, but it doesn't seem to matter too much. The knitting seems to fulfil a need. I can pretend it's practical and useful, but it isn't really, which is what I meant by saying it was pointless, I wasn't being self-denigrating. But there's a satisfaction in making something so solid, which requires time and patience and produces something warm! And it's brought me some friends and some local contact too, which I value. I agree it is important to see no time as really wasted, though I suppose all time is lost in the end.