Thursday, November 18, 2004

And the eyes in the wall are watching now.

(Biko. The song, not a quote from the South African activist himself)

Today we made soup and this took up about 2 hours including buying lots of vegetables from Safeway and chopping them. Anyway, we now have an ice cream tub and three muller-rice tubs full of vegetable and lentil soup chilling before I freeze them. I also cooked food my lunch and dinner (no readymeals today, oh no) so I now feel like I have spent most of the day in what we politely call our "kitchenette."

It has been a bad twenty-four hours for losing work. Nothing, so far, university related thankfully. I’ve taken to writing my blog entries in Word of the day then sticking them online in the evening and last night I copied and pasted, closed Word and promptly managed to do that thing where you navigate away from an Internet window and can’t get the page back that all your writing was in. The Word file had gone, so I had to just write it again and try to remember everything I’d put in. Maybe it was better second time around, maybe I should do all my blog entries that way as a kind of filter (if it’s worth remembering, it’s worth putting in).

The other one was the ringtone I’m currently working on. My part time job just now is creating the basic files from which ringtones are later derived. I’m not especially proud but it’s music-related (and I use music in the loosest terms here) and I get paid for it. Ethics are generally most useful for people who don’t need the money and I have friends working for Wallmart-related companies and call-centres who would hopefully agree. Anyway, having made the basic music I have to organise things in the file so that phones that can only play four notes at once play the correct four notes, the phones which play eight notes at once get the four notes and a little extra, etc., up to the twenty-four note beasts. I had moved things around and it was all looking good so I saved, and then the file wouldn’t play correctly. Quit, re-open the application, re-open the file and it’s corrupted and won’t open. Three hours of work gone, me = not happy.

So I let Malek (see notes about flatmates in previous blog entries) convince me to go to a café for coffee and cake. I actually had hot chocolate but let’s not get bogged down in details here (“too late”), but when we went outside in the dark we found that it was snowing which was rather lovely. We wandered along the alleyway to the main road singing “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” (problem is that we only really know that line of the song, but it’s a short alleyway so no one cared) then let the snow melt and run off our coats as we drank hot things in a café. Nice.

Thank you to Andrea for introducing me to the word "Mondegreens." For anyone who, like me, didn't know what it was I have filched an explanation from

For those of you who have not yet received the pamphlet (mailed free to anyone who buys me an automobile), the word Mondegreen, meaning a mishearing of a popular phrase or song lyric, was coined by the writer Sylvia Wright.

As a child she had heard the Scottish ballad "The Bonny Earl of Murray" and had believed that one stanza went like this:

Ye Highlands and Ye Lowlands
Oh where hae you been?
They hae slay the Earl of Murray,
And Lady Mondegreen.

Poor Lady Mondegreen, thought Sylvia Wright. A tragic heroine dying with her liege; how poetic. When it turned out, some years later, that what they had actually done was slay the Earl of Murray and lay him on the green, Wright was so distraught by the sudden disappearance of her heroine that she memorialized her with a neologism.

This space has been for some years the chief publicity agent for Mondegreens. The Oxford English Dictionary has not yet seen the light, but it will, it will.


Jonathan said...

Still enthusiastically following your blog every day - but, blimey, getting more surreal with every posting.

Not a complaint: indeed, an endorsement - keep it up.

'Mon the surrealism!

BTW, if you want to know more lyrics to ITMWTOTY, I seem to remember it having some 'ding-dong's in it somewhere. So you'll know for next time.

Enjoy these happy student days, you'll miss them when they're gone.... :...-( but not being permanently skint has it's advantages.



Matthew Cochrane said...

What do you mean surreal? This all really happens, I'll have you know, it's just taken out of context and that.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Matt!

About the mondegreens: You're welcome:) I could've sent you an explaination, but I just assumed you already knew what it meant. The text you found was more thorough and entertaining that I could be on that topic anyhow. Google is our friend :)

Hey, since I know you love ringtones, I have a question for ya? What do I have to do to get "Solsbury Hill" to play on my polyphonic Nokia 5160? I know I can download a midi file, but I have no way to get it from my computer to my phone. I stumbled across several websites that will "sell" me the ringtone and sent it to my phone directly, but most of these places look shady and want my credit card number.

Rock on, Matt!

Gabrielfully yours,


Matthew Cochrane said...

I only really take ringtones as far as computer files that are compatible with phones (I've never actually heard a real phone play one of my ringtones), I'm not entirely sure how they actually get the files on to the phones I'm afraid.

Sorry I can't help more.