Monday, July 31, 2006

Psalms, Bogs and the Apocalypse

Recently a medieval Psalter was discovered in an Irish bog. Which is interesting in itself. "Irish Dead Sea Scrolls"

But it's causing more of a stir than would be expected, since the book was apparently open at Psalm 83, which tells of Israel being beset by enemies.

There's a rather neat coincidence here, given what is presently going on in the Middle East. #It's a sign!# 8)

The kicker is, however, that actually the text visible on the Psalter is about the "Vale of Tears", and is from a psalm now usually numbered 84, but in early versions was 83. The National Museum of Ireland has confirmed this in a press release.

I hope CNN and other news agencies have made the appropriate corrections. This is just the sort of material from which worrying misinformation & urban legend can arise.

Mel Gibson: in vino veritas?

Entertainment news site BBC story Ynet story

The first site I linked to, has some very unflattering shots of Mr G. :D

Mel Gibson was caught drink-driving and tried to escape arrest, also making some virulently anti-semitic remarks, presumably under the impression the policemen concerned were Jewish.

He has apologised for everything he said and his belligerent behaviour. He said he was deeply ashamed.

I am aware that his father is widely viewed as a huge anti-semite and he has never distanced himself from those views. Would it be a family betrayal to say, "I love my Dad but I don't agree with him?" Does silence mean condoning his views or sharing them?

Also his film The Passion of Christ was accused of anti-semitism. Not having seen the film, I can't comment on that, other than to say that this issue has risen with Gibson previously.

Despite the topic, I'm not all that interested in Mel Gibson and whether he is an anti-semite (although it seems very likely), but I am interested in the notion of "in vino veritas". Is it true that when drunk, your true self, your true feelings come out?

Alcohol affects inhibition. It's a social lubricant: sometimes shy people are emboldened to talk more. People are more likely to rant on about things, be aggressive & belligerent, more prone to exaggerate and dramatise? Sometimes I think the rants are based on underlying concerns which haven't been brought up out of tact, or not-wanting-to-rock-the-boat, or not feeling it important enough to discuss. Sometimes they seem to come out of nowhere. But presumably there's something underlying it?

Hmmph. I may come back to this.

The Truman Show

The Truman Show was on Channel 4 last night. It's been a long time time since I first saw it. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

It's one of the few films Jim Carrey has done where gurning with his manic & mobile face doesn't dominate the film. He was much more restrained and showed he can act, & he was actually quite good-looking in it too. I don't know whether he had a director that held him back, or whether he was eager to show himself in a more straight-acting role.

A friend has frequently recommended him as an actor, especially in a film called The Majestic. I haven't actually had the opportunity to watch that film all the way through, although I've seen parts of it. I shall look out for it a bit more.

Anyway, I love the premise of the film and it kept me up until the end, where I often abandon films on telly when it gets around to 11 (the children rise at 6).

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The world outside my window

Somebody thought he was coming to tea, just because he was in the garden. :D

He's daft enough to come into the house and nosy enough to root through our rubbish bins outside. Back to his field for him, methinks.

This was post 200! #curtseys to rounds of applause#


Babbling bats

Apparently baby bats practise their vocal skills.


This morning I went to lurk briefly at my ex-forum, and saw that someone from my town has just joined, and is looking for people to meet.

I'm glad I've left! :D

I'm not finding it hard to leave, ...(although I suppose, lurking means what?)... leaving that aside, I'm not having to resist posting or anything, I don't have the inclination at all. Even if I could.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


I'm quite pleased with myself, because I've figured out how to put in less ugly links, transforming them from long strings of "http://www.. etc etc" into words or phrases.

It's very simple indeed, but when I didn't know how to do it, it didn't seem so.

Of course. :D

So I have spent another lengthy session on my blog, changing all links into prettier versions. I'm very anally retentive sometimes :D. But that's more information that you need. :P

Friday, July 28, 2006

Another daft thing I did

I had been following "What happens when an ignoramus reads the Good Book?" (David Plotz's Blogging the Bible project on the Slate site). I bunged it on my favourites to make it easy to find. But although I kept checking back, he never seemed to update after "Why Joseph is my hero".

I was getting a bit irked by this apparently lackadaisical approach, until I realised today that I was looking in the wrong place. He's got separate entries for each book of the Bible and had gone onto the next part. D'oh.

He's now up to Numbers. On the bright side, it gave me plenty to read today.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Why We're Fatter

This article points out other reasons that obesity is on the rise in the West, apart from the obvious of a more sedentary lifestyle and more highly processed foods.

These are things like:

  • not enough sleep: sleep deprivation messes with the hormones for appetite
  • contamination of water and food with excess female hormone, or chemicals which mimic female hormones and prevent male hormones functioning
  • heating and air conditioning: people's bodies don't have to work as hard to keep their body temperature at the right level, which would otherwise burn up calories
  • drugs: antidepressants, hormonal contraceptives, blood pressure medication and such-like, which are associated with weight-gain.

I must get more sleep! :D

Little tacker

T's favourite words/phrases are "Mine!", "help" "car" and "Where's S?"

Money can and can't buy me

"The Things Money Can Buy & What It Can't! ...

The 2 things which would most improve your quality of life: the first must be something that money can buy - though it can't cost more than 50K so sadly, mayfair appartments and carribean islands are out!

The second must be something that simply can't be bought - but it must not mean someone else having to do something against their will. "

I saw this somewhere, and thought I'd answer it here.

Money could give us a deposit on a house and an affordable mortgage. I'd like to have somewhere permanent to live. Just a small family home, somewhere we don't have to leave.

Money couldn't give me the nerve to take some risks: to try to get to know some more people & let them get to know me, to really go after the career I would like without being put off by the possibility of failing or not being good enough.

I'm pathetic! :D

Presto, change-o!

Last night I thought I'd change the appearance of my blog. Once I had done it, I regretted it a little, because the colours I have used for quotes in my writing clashed horribly with the colour scheme. But rather than change it back, I have gone through the entire thing, changing the colours of text to make them more readable.

I have written 191 posts! Not counting this one :). It was a bit of a slog, and I'm not sure I'll have the determination to change it all again, should I get fed up of the new look.

I must grow to love it. I must! :D

Immoral Noddy

I'm not getting onto the subject of the original Enid Blyton books, although I may be hard-pressed to resist. :D

Today I watched an episode of Make Way for Noddy on Channel 5, with my children.

The plot went like this: Dinah Doll asked Noddy to look after her stall while she took some time off. Noddy accepted but while she was away, he started eating some of the googleberries she had in stock. In fact he ate a whole crate of them.

When she returned and wondered what had happened to them all, he realised he'd been naughty to eat them, but instead of paying for them, he lied and told her that a monster had eaten them. The whole town believed this story, including PC Plod, who organised night patrols to look out for this scary creature. Noddy didn't confess the truth until the whole town was in a panic and mistook Mr Jumbo for the monster.

At this point, everyone was relieved and congratulated him on owning up. And then he was basically rewarded with lots of attention as they asked him to retell the story, as it had been so convincing/exciting.

The little git had stolen a crate of googleberries, lied about it and had the whole town in an uproar, but simple confession was enough. If it had been the goblins, they would have ended up in jail. Goblinist! Where's the justice?

Ahem. What does this teach us?

As long as we tell the truth eventually and feel a little bit off about what we did, we can behave as badly as we like and fear no consequences? #Sigh# Not even a stomach ache for his greediness.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Stem cell research and Bush

Bush 'Out of Touch' on Stem Cells

"The stated reason for President Bush's objection to embryonic stem cell research is that 'murder is wrong'; why then does he not intervene to regulate or ban [embryonic] stem cell research carried out with private funds and which is happening across the US?" he asked.

"It is a strange morality indeed that pins the moral status and life of the embryo on the question of who is paying for the research."

Strange indeed. :(

Aside from that, I have great difficulty with the apparent contradiction between being so eager to protect embryos and at the same time being able to support war, blanket bombing and the death penalty. I don't understand how these things can be reconciled without a person's head imploding.

If you can justify the death penalty by saying it saves lives "I think the reason to support the death penalty is because it saves other people’s lives." Bush on Crime Bush Supports Death Penalty: a 'greater good' argument, then how come research that will save lives and improve quality of life doesn't become the 'greater good'? I find it bizarre.

I've been reading a lot of news today and it gives me a cold feeling & a stillness. What is happening in the Middle East is just awful.

Must find something light-hearted.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Pirates and Tom Cruise.

In the cinema, last weekend, I saw Pirates of The Caribbean 2.

Oh, it was fun. :D Johnny Depp channeling Keith Richards as Cap'n Jack Sparrow is bliss. I like a man in mascara. It was a rip roar rollicking rampant roistering roller-coaster of a film, (and all things beginning with r :D). I loved all the large rolling devices the characters had to fight in/escape from, such as a water-wheel and cages made of bones, bones, human bones, I tell ye. Arrrr. Aharrrr. Avast ye, foul sea-dogs. Yo ho.

It's nice to see that actor from This Life making out alright in films: I think he played Miles and he plays the commodore in Pirates. I refuse to look up his actual name, that would be making any readers' lives too easy. :P

M insisted on renting out War Of the Worlds with Tom Cruise last night, which I have not wanted to see. M has for ages, but in the face of my resistance, rented other things. However, he brought it home eventually.

I felt sure it would be pants, as first of all, it has Tom Cruise in it. He is an actor I don't particularly like, partially because I think he's always been a bit of a pretty face rather than good actor. He's not such a pretty face anymore and I'm starting to think he ought to be giving up action roles, leaving it to the younger guys. I'm terrible, I know. Ageist! Also, in all honesty, because I have been swayed by the press reaction to his leaping about on sofas, beating his chest about lurrrveeee (How very unruly and exuberant. Not quite cricket, there, old chap). Not to mention his, erm, dubious views on mental health, accompanied by his scientology.

I take dislikes to actors quite easily: I don't like Richard Gere, Christian Slater, Michael Douglas, Kevin Costner or Mel Gibson either. I could probably think of some more if you give me time. :D I might watch their films, but wouldn't choose to see them specifically.

The other and more relevant reason I didn't want to watch it, was because the story of War of the Worlds has been done to death. They don't even have the excuse of remaking it just because they have better technology for special effects now: Independence Day was plainly a re-working of the story.

Anyway, although the special effects were good, they fouled up the story, the protagonist was unlikeable, the ending was pat. What?! The son survived obliteration and got to Boston ahead of them?! It is just total Hollywood-we-can't-have-a-sad-part-to-the-ending. Piffle.

And that's my considered review. Apologies to those who liked it. :D

My daft thing of the day

was to mistake a cabbage for lettuce. I bought it this morning for salad-ing purposes.

I didn't actually twig on until I ate some of it in a sandwich. :D

I wonder if it's my age

I'm becoming increasingly fond of musicals.

I think my favourites are Fiddler on the Roof, Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats and The King and I. I reckon they are often associated in my mind with Christmas, which has become exciting and interesting again with children.

I'm reviewing the situation

So is it a version of me, am I pretending to be something I'm not, or is it the real me?

Well, I am a leftie, an atheist, a sceptic, a feminist and a generally trying-to-be politically correct type of person. I do think that the use of language should be considered carefully and that it does matter. Howls of derisive laughter, mate. PC gorn mad, etc. :P

And the stupid joke making, daft responses are also me. And randomly talking Klingon or song lyrics are also me. I always wanted to post complete non sequiturs in threads but I knew it was unlikely to go down too well.

I think maybe I started not to stand up where I should have, because I'd become inured to it and felt nothing I could say would change anything. It would just go full-circle again. I also felt I had become associated with the old guard or cliqués, to newer people anyway, since I knew the site well and its in-jokes, and since the more PC posters seem to have gathered strength on there.

And that was weak of me, and I don't like to think of myself as the type of person who takes the path of least resistance. But perhaps by denying that weakness as part of myself, I'm doing it again. Arse.

I think I better think it out again.

A man's got a heart, hasn't he?
Joking apart -- hasn't he?
And though I'd be the first one to say that I wasn't a saint
I'm finding it hard to be really as black as they paint
I'm reviewing the situation
Can a fellow be a villain all his life
All the trials, the tribulation
Better settle down and get meself a wife
And a wife would cook and sew for me
And come for me, and go for me
And go for me and nag at me
The fingers she will wag at me
The money she will take from me
A misery, she'll make from me...
I think I'd better think it out again!
A wife you can keep, anyway
I'd rather sleep, anyway
Left without anyone in the world and I'm starting from now
So how to win friends and to influence people, so how
I'm reviewing the situation
I must quickly look up ev'ryone I know
Titled people, with a station
Who can help me make a real impressive show
I will own a suite at Claridge's
And run a fleet of carriages
And wave at all the duchesses
With friendliness, as much as is
Befitting of my new estate
"Good morrow to you, magistrate!" ...
I think I'd better think it out again
So where shall I go -- somebody?
Who do I know? Nobody!
All my dearest companions have always been villains and thieves
So at my time of life I should start turning over new leaves
I'm reviewing the situation
If you want to eat, you've got to earn a bob
Is it such a humiliation
For a robber to perform an honest job
So a job I'm getting, possiblyI wonder who the boss'll be?
I wonder if he'll take to me?
What bonuses he'll make to me?
I'll start at eight and finish late
At normal rate, and all, but wait
I think I'd better think it out again
What happens when I'm seventy
Must come a time, seventy
When you're old, and it's cold and who cares if you live or you die
The one consolation's the money you may have put by
I'm reviewing the situation
I'm a bad 'un and a bad 'un I shall stay
You'll be seeing no transformation
But it's wrong to be a rogue in ev'ry way
I don't want nobody hurt for me
Or made to do the dirt for me
This rotten life is not for me
It's getting far too hot for me
Don't want no one to rob for me
But who will find a job for me
There is no in between for me
But who will change the scene for me?
I think I'd better think it out again!

And so it begins...

The term has ended. S had a half-day to end school, and that's it for weeks!

Now I must find ways of entertaining the two of them and preventing them from biting each other's legs off, with no respite except bed-time.

I've got a few things in mind: there's a local animal centre, Gran wants to take us on a steam engine trip, plus beaches, parks, swimming, and I'm hoping to take them on a boat trip. I shall have to work out a budget for all this, of course.

S has some activity days I've signed her up for as well, at least one a week, so it won't really be all on me. The council are providing these opportunities, so they're only a quid. Bargain! :D I hope she likes them, anyway.

We started off the summer holidays today with a picnic in the park, which was very pleasant. We ate in the shade of a horse-chestnut tree, and both children sat and ate nicely. After they were full, they went haring off across the grass. Well, S hared and T staggered.

Later we went to the play area, and T found he could climb up the ladder to the slide. At first he slid with his sister, and then he went alone for the first time! He loved it, and the perennial Teletubby cry of "Again, again" was heard across the land. We were there ages and it was fun. I would have liked to sit in the shade, but the slide was the wrong side of the playground for such luxuries. My shoulders have acquired a charming red hue, for as ever, having slopped on the sun cream and slapped on hats for the kids, I completely forgot about having skin myself. 8)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Paranoia, the internet and its cronies

I got an email from the moderators of my ex-forum saying that they would simply suspend my membership for the time being. I had asked them to remove me. Grummock. Do as I ask, for Boohbah's sake!

So my profile is still up instead of deleted. But I guess I can understand their point of view, since they get so many people leaving then returning. Of the four people (not counting me) that have "left" publicly (I haven't done it publicly) in the past couple of weeks, all but one have returned. I can imagine it seems like a waste of energy removing me, when the ratio of returns is so high. However, this time there's no going back for me.

I've been looking at a huge thread on there tonight and it simply reinforces the fact that I'm better off out of there. That's apart from the fact that either I'm pretending to be someone I'm not on that forum, or that a part of myself I don't like is drawn out by it. Which is it? I don't know. I'm hoping it's the former.

Also I have been thinking about the pictures I put up on this blog. So far they tend to be pretty indeterminate ones, where if I put up one of the children, you can't really see their faces. This is out of concern for my own privacy and my children's privacy & safety, given that this is something that could be read by anyone who happens upon it. I'd like to put up better pictures in some ways, and having flicked through some other blogs on, I've seen that other people have no problem with it. But I am not comfortable with being too easily identifiable on-line. I'm deliberately vague about things I think might make me easier to track. Although who would want to be all stalkerish towards me?! :D

Sometimes I wonder if I'm being overly paranoid. On the other hand, maybe it's impossible to be too paranoid on the internet. :D

Sports Day

This morning we had sports day for S's school. It was quite fun, although it was hard to tell who was winning, since it was all relay races, which seemed to last forever. S was running well and I cheered for her and her class.

Her teacher seemed to get very excited and enthusiastic, and I liked that about her. I hope next year's teacher is as nice.

So many mothers came forward for the parents races, that they had to have two heats. The same happened for the dad's race. A lot of them seemed rather competitive, dressed appropriately and even warming up! Me and M just lurked, although we had been considering taking part. But with so many apparently taking it somewhat seriously, we chickened out :D.

They really went for it, but embarrassingly for the unfortunates concerned, in each of the parents' races there was a faller!

We did enter T in the toddler race, and he started off well, but lost interest half way along and headed for the children, probably looking for S. :D

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Young T is a bit of a daredevil. Here he is leading the first assault on the north face of the climbing frame.

He continued to the very top rung. What he would do from there, I don't know. He seems pretty firmly glued when he is climbing, as it's hard getting him to release his grip so I can lift him down.

But considering that he can't manage to descend the stairs without assistance, it's definitely a worrying hobby for him to take up. I admire his efforts, of course, but yikes!

Supernova in the making

Star 'Soon to Become Supernova'

Ready to blow :D. Any minute now, or maybe in a few thousand years.

Artist's impression of what it may look like. Beautiful, isn't it?

The news today, oh boy

I don't really understand what is happening in the Middle East: I'm no political analyst.

But I don't think bombing the shit out of the Lebanon will eradicate Hezbollah. Surely it will just be like cutting off one of Hydra's heads, except it'll grow dozens in its place? After all, if you were just someone with no particular political leanings, but then your country was getting obliterated and your family & friends being killed around you, would you go "Oh well, the bombing side must be right" or would you feel angry and resentful as well as terrified?

I find it alarming that Tony Blair & Bush are united in their positions on this, again. As though Iraq and Afghanistan having been working out so well.

It's all very frightening and sad.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

My Mum & Billy Graham

I talked to my Mum about religion and what she believes a few days ago. She told me that she once went to see Billy Graham, with a friend. This, of course, interested me greatly, as he's one of the most famous evangelists. His ex-colleague Charles Templeton features in the apologetics book I was reading recently.

At a certain point in the service, everyone was called forward to accept God, and my Mum and her friend went forward too. She said she was moved by the moment and didn't want not to be a part of it. After that, the mission used to send her credit card sized notes containing inspiring advice or scripture, or something. I wasn't clear on what exactly it was. She said she found these unhelpful, as she said it seemed to be assumed that having had that experience, she would completely and unquestioningly believe. But she didn't. She still had a lot of questions.

Anyway, that was interesting.

From what I can gather, she isn't a Christian as such. She wants to believe in a god, but she has difficulty with the god of the Bible and the church. But when looking at a flower, she thinks there must be a god behind such beauty. She also says that she knows so many intelligent people, smarter than her, who believe, that it makes her think she must be missing something.

It continues to puzzle me why she wants the children christened, however.

And so and so and so

I *think* I'm getting better.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


The gym was great today. I broke into a glow :D, and for once didn't mind.

The pool afterwards was gorgeous. There was hardly anyone there: in fact, I had the pool to myself completely for a while. I must remember how good I feel, so that I can drag myself there again tomorrow. It's too easy to back-slide and not do it.

Hopefully giving up most of my forums will stop the computer being a distraction and way of putting things off. I once gave them up for about a month, and I didn't actually miss them much at all - but I made the damn fool mistake of starting to post "a little bit", which turned into rather a lot. And I was being a version of me all the time, rather than the real me.

I'll keep on my other forum, tho, as it often gives me interesting things to think about (it gave me the link to the pictures of Andromeda, which I find so amazing). Also, it doesn't move so fast that I start checking it more than once a day - and because they all seem so formidably intelligent, I rarely post. Ideal conditions. :)


I do find it mildly amusing that if you google for anything, the Ebay ad always appears on the right offering whatever you asked for.

Today it offered me New and Used Gooseberries. :)

I have a gooseberry bush and such is my ignorance, I didn't know that there is a red variety. I had wanted to know how long it would take for them to turn green and presumably ripe. :D D'oh!

I think it's gooseberry fool for me.

Losing. :)

I feel pretty good because I weighed myself today and to my surprise, I have lost a couple of kilos since last time. Huzzah!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Turned out right nice again

After all the belly-aching and fear-mongering, the weather didn't live up to its "rep", here, anyway. It was sweltering this morning, and the school was allowing parents to take their children home at midday if they wanted, in anticipation of ludicrously hot temperatures. But instead it clouded over and occasionally gave some light rain.

M went to see if S wanted to come home, on his way to work at around noon. She had said she would only want to stay at school if her best friends were staying too, when I discussed it with her in the morning. But I hadn't seen those parents that morning to ask, so that's why M had to take a detour to see what she wanted to do. I was really indecisive this morning. Anyway, they were staying on, so she decided she would too. M saw her best friend's Mum, who asked S to tea after school. Which was nice. I shall have to ask her over at the weekend.

It did mean that S missed her football, but I don't suppose it matters.

It just struck me how odd it is to be blogging about the weather, but oh well. :)


Jellyfish, it seems, are much maligned creatures. I went googling their pictures and they're incredibly beautiful. Of course, I only usually see them dead and disgusting on the shore-line, like mini versions of The Blob.

So I feel I've rather insulted jellyfish by comparing myself to one.


Y's baby is up to 5lbs, so that's good news. They are hoping she can come out in a week or so.

I've quit two of my forums, and done it properly, emailing the moderators and all that. For too long they have caused a rift and I should have done it a long time ago. I should have left way back when, I don't know why I stayed.

It's very late, I should go to bed.


The new series of CSI Miami was on tonight. I wasn't happy with it, it seemed to have exchanged a strong plot-line for lots of slow-mo looks at the pretty actors and flashy light effects. Horatio shot someone dead that he could have probably merely wounded, and stuck his fingers in the blood. Then he went into a church and was looking at his bloodied fingers in a quasi-Lady MacBeth way. Quite expected an "Out out damn spot".

I've always seen him as a relentlessly straight-up good guy doing what he thinks to be right, no matter what, so I found these scenes a bit unexpected.

I wonder if this series has a new director or writers. The actual forensic work seemed very much pushed to the background.

CSI NY was good though.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Try try try again

Keep on trying, I think.

It's T sketched from life, while asleep, obviously. :D

Oh quiescent brain!

Thinking about the "contradictions and the brain" post, if the results applied beyond politics, say to religion, it would go some way to explaining why debate on the subject tends to go round and round in circles.

If a person's brain is capable of basically sticking its fingers in its ears and singing "la la la" when faced with contrary information, it at least means that it isn't a deliberate thing.

I guess it would apply to atheists as well as theists, reluctant though I am to say it. :D :P

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Contradictions and the brain

The Political Brain

"During the run-up to the 2004 presidential election, while undergoing an fMRI bran scan, 30 men--half self-described as "strong" Republicans and half as "strong" Democrats--were tasked with assessing statements by both George W. Bush and John Kerry in which the candidates clearly contradicted themselves. Not surprisingly, in their assessments Republican subjects were as critical of Kerry as Democratic subjects were of Bush, yet both let their own candidate off the hook.

The neuroimaging results, however, revealed that the part of the brain most associated with reasoning--the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex--was quiescent. Most active were the orbital frontal cortex, which is involved in the processing of emotions; the anterior cingulate, which is associated with conflict resolution; the posterior cingulate, which is concerned with making judgments about moral accountability; and--once subjects had arrived at a conclusion that made them emotionally comfortable--the ventral striatum, which is related to reward and pleasure.

"We did not see any increased activation of the parts of the brain normally engaged during reasoning," Westen is quoted as saying in an Emory University press release. "What we saw instead was a network of emotion circuits lighting up, including circuits hypothesized to be involved in regulating emotion, and circuits known to be involved in resolving conflicts." Interestingly, neural circuits engaged in rewarding selective behaviors were activated. "Essentially, it appears as if partisans twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they get the conclusions they want, and then they get massively reinforced for it, with the elimination of negative emotional states and activation of positive ones," Westen said. "

I guess this also has implications for more than politics. Interesting.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

But anyway, any one of us could be dead tomorrow

I like living in my own little world, where I don't have to think too hard or worry too much. What good does worrying do?

What would you choose if it was to be a short life but a merry one, or one where you denied yourself things that make you happy, only to extend your life an undetermined length of time?

If you're on an escalator but don't know how far up it you are, and by stopping doing something, you can only slow it a little. At the top of the escalator is a drop that no-one can save you from. If you're at the bottom of the escalator, you can make your ride to the top a very slow one at the cost of not living freely. If you're near the top, you might save yourself only moments.

What do you choose when you don't know where on the escalator you are?

But anyway, any one of us could be dead tomorrow.

Itchy itchy itchy scratchy scratchy

Yesterday was our 7th wedding anniversary and M is now on holiday for a few days.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

33%, 43% or 53%

33%, 43% or 53% of women apparently want to be, or want to look like, glamour models, according to The Wright Stuff.

I didn't catch which figure was true allegedly, but any of them appals me.

How can that be an aspiration? To have an inflatable chest and lips, to have bleach blonde extensions and to be famous for showing your body or for who you have sex with? Nothing to offer, but artifice and the superficial.

I hope for more from my daughter as she grows up.

If at first you don't succeed...

My first attempt at drawing in ages. I need a lot of practice.

It's one from a photo of S as a baby.



Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Here comes another one, just like the other one

It was the school's country dance today. I got there early this time, since last year had been a bit of a débacle.

I found a space to put T's pushchair, next to C's mum and her son in his pushchair, so the two could eye each other and blow raspberries. I was standing, but that was ok. We were right behind the children's seats, so could actually see something this year. :D

A rather inconsiderate woman put her massive pushchair next to me, and buggered off with her baby to get seats elsewhere. It was one of those 3-wheeled cross-country type things, with virtually bicycle-size wheels, that look as though off-roading across the Pennines would be no trouble. The SUVs of the pushchair world. It effectively took up four or five standing places for other parents, and I was tempted to move the thing in her absence. But then I had visions of her raging out of the crowd to complain about anyone touching it and I also feared moving would allow a surge of people into my space. I tried to say to the couple who were being kept back by the beast, that she was sitting elsewhere and perhaps wouldn't mind if they shifted it (? Maybe! :D), but they didn't hear me, and I didn't feel inclined to repeat myself.

In the end I profited by her lack of consideration for others, as I had plenty of room and wasn't in danger of losing my place. No crowding, no blocking, no heads in the way of my photos. :D Although my camera is hopeless for these types of events, as it has no zoom, so the best I can ever get is a vague shot of children milling about in the distance.

I actually enjoyed the event this time, when last year it had been awful (although S had done very well). I chatted a little with C's mum and I really enjoyed watching the children dance.

Highlights, for me, were Reception doing "Here comes Sally coming down the alley", which was cute and funny, Nursery doing "Penguins" and of course, S's year doing their dances. S was dancing away nicely, but her partner looked really unenthusiastic. I think he might have been getting bossed. :)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Is it art?

Yesterday we did painting in the morning, and it went really well for a change.

T has got the idea now and was happy to have a good go. He did some handprints with my help and then went crazy with it. :D S was enjoying herself too, and it didn't end up with a mess or a squabble as these things are often prone to.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Playing favourites

I worry about favouring one of my children over the other.

T is easy, as a toddler, he is easily pleased and his needs are pretty quickly ascertained. He still has the cuteness, quick smile and laugh of a baby. His temper tantrums are short-lived and distracting him is simple.

S is harder, as she is older and more complicated. She's lovely and smart. But we expect more of her, and I think it's harder for her to gain approval.

He just has to join in with "Twinkle twinkle little star" and he gets a round of applause.

There's such a big age gap, it's hard to treat them equally, because their understanding levels and needs are so different. Also, if I try to do an activity with her, if he can't join in, he cries, (which is only natural, as who wants to be excluded?)

I worry because it is so easy for him to get positive attention from everyone, and she has to work harder for it. :( I don't really know how to address this. Maybe as he grows older and loses his baby privileges, it'll even out. Maybe I should spend more time alone with her.

She loves him and enjoys playing with him a lot, and she's his idol.

I think I'll just have to be aware of the pitfalls and try to avoid them.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Hatred of blogs

I was reading a page by Maddox about how he hates the word blog and its variations. Maddox

"Blogging: If minds had anuses, blogging would be what your mind would do when it had to take a dump."

Which made me laugh and also made me think about why I blog. But naturally I don't think my blog is the mental equivalent of emptying my bowels.

Maybe it is self-indulgent, but so what? It's no more self-indulgent than his site. :D

And I acknowledge that I write this for myself primarily, although I'm happy to share it with friends. Probably bore them shitless, if they read it regularly, but it's just stuff I want to express or note down. I think he's wrong if he thinks everyone is aiming for lots of approval from strangers through their blogs, I think a lot are just done for people's own amusement and to keep in touch with their friends' lives.

He does make me laugh tho, with his rants, even tho I disagree on some things.

The Invasion of Silas Greenback

This morning I came into the living room and as I turned on the light, something scuttled under the sofa.

Being of infinite courage :P, I carefully raised the bottom of the sofa and peered under. And there I saw a toad's backside. He moved pretty quickly when I tried to grab him, but eventually I captured the beast. :D

I showed him to T, who was profoundly unimpressed, until it tried to do a death-defying leap from my hand, which he thought hilarious. I was tempted to keep it for S to look at when she comes home from school, but M pointed out she might want to keep it. So I released the misadventuring creature back into the wilds of the garden and it vanished into the grass. Without so much as a "poop poop" or backward glance.

I think it may have come in while M was having a fag at the door last night. #Channeling Python# He's a very naughty boy.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Reading: Father Unknown

Today I finished Father Unknown by Lesley Pearse.

The unknown father didn't really come into it: it was about a character's search for her biological mother.

I suspected the twist way before the dénouement, so it took away a bit of the impact of the narrative, but it was a good fun read.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Ding dong the bells are gonna chime

We've been invited to a wedding. Well, blessing of a wedding. It's my cousin's.

They don't have a wedding list, but they would like money towards their honeymoon. I'm not sure about wedding lists and stuff. The etiquette is trickier than it might first appear, I think. With ours, we had a list with a store. It was a big list I think, cos we got carried away :D. Not that we expected much of it, it was just to give ideas really. But it seemed weird at the time to be doing it. Should presents be an expectation of getting wed? I don't know, it just strikes me as an odd tradition to keep, especially in these days when a lot of people live together before they marry and therefore have already set up home...

I'm not sure what I think about it. It's nice to give people something to celebrate a happy occasion, but if you don't know the people well enough to know what they'd like, it seems odd to be giving them presents. I suppose it's normal to have relatives there who may not know you well, and I suppose neither family will know the respective spouse-to-be that well.

I'm rambling.

I'm definitely not that keen on the giving money thing, because they will know exactly how much their marriage is worth to us! :D Which ain't a lot :P. It's hard to work out how much to give: how much can we afford versus the fear of looking stingy? A tenner sounds too little. Twenty is probably too little too? I'm not giving £50.

The thing is, I don't even like them.

But I suppose it's a day out. So it may be cheap at the price! :D

Forgive me if I'm obscure

I always advise people not to google illnesses. But today I wiki-ed cirrhosis of the liver.

It's not the same as googling! :P ;)

It wasn't too horrifying, because I only skimmed it and refused to take in the full details. But on the bright side, actually I think it's given me a less judgemental response to it. I didn't realise that haemochromatosis can be responsible for cirrhosis and for diabetes mellitus.

I guess it's normal to associate cirrhosis with alcoholism: I imagine it's most people's first thought.

And I'm not saying alcoholism isn't implicated in this case, of course. I think it would be foolish to pretend it's not in there somewhere.

But I think I understand more.

Sneezles & Wheezels

I had to make an emergency appointment today for T, as he was wheezy with his cold. Yet another one.

The Doc said that he probably will be officially described as asthmatic in the near future: they don't diagnose that in under-twos, but after that age, they feel free to slap on the label. He prescribed some of the evil pink tablets (steroids) which you have to dissolve and disguise, or squirt down the back of the throat unexpectedly, as they taste disgusting. We also got a refill of the blue inhaler the hospital gave him last time.

And back we will go in a month, to see whether to get him on a preventer inhaler.

At least he's not as bad as S was with it at this age, and I know what to do. I'm not worried particularly: I'm an old hand at this. If we can control it, we won't have to do the A&E dashes we did with her.

So here's hoping.

Reading: Compulsion

I finished Compulsion by Keith Ablow (I could make some jokes about *that* name, but I'll resist: they wouldn't be that funny anyway :D).

It was OK, but I found the narrative voice very resistible: he was a shrink whose work in forensic psychology (and his childhood) had screwed him up - and he was so self-absorbed I wanted to give him a kick. I didn't feel anything for him in his so-called "struggles" against alcoholism, drug abuse and "falling in love" with every woman he saw, virtually. He didn't seem to struggle very hard and he just seemed very smug. Blah.

I did care enough to read to the end to find out who the killer was, but I had guessed the twist quite early on. Anti-climactic.

I won't be running out to borrow any more of his. :D

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Baby Mindreader

There was nothing on telly last night, except a repeat of Waking The Dead, Big Brother or the Baby Mindreader: I remembered the Waking The Dead episode too well to watch it a second time, and Big Brother makes me feel slightly soiled :D.

So I switched over to watch this so-called psychic do his thing.

What a lot of absolute hooey.

The things he said sound specific, but when you really think about it, like newspaper horoscopes, it could apply to virtually anyone. The victim was supposed to give him no clues other than yes or no, but he had her body language to go on and when he was getting no response he would keep repeating words out of his initial sentence, making them vaguer. Once she made a connection, she didn't stick to yes, she did expand, giving him something to work with and positive-looking feedback.

So for example, he started "cutting a hedge, cutting, cutting" and getting a blank, but continued to pursue it until she did make a connection.

Another thing he said was "handcuffs, I see someone in handcuffs" and she jumped on that as her ex's arrest before the child was born. It does sound like a link, but is it really?

I'd find it a lot more convincing if he specified who was arrested. After all, if your baby was aware of her father being arrested, and understanding enough (to be able to picture handcuffs?) while in the womb, (which seems an absolutely massive stretch of the elastic) why wouldn't the word "daddy" get in there? And a lot of us have seen people arrested, know someone who's been in trouble, had some sort of interaction with the police or indulged in some handcuff-play ;) at some point during our lives. If that part of the conversation hadn't got a hit, I'm sure he would have moved on, as he did with other things.

When people get a reading they tend to only remember the hits.

The narrator emphasised that the mindreader knew nothing of the woman's life, but things like her being a single mother would be fair guesses, for she had no wedding ring or anything and was unaccompanied. Not that I am aware he made any such statements about her.

Also given the mother's age and socio-economic group, which you could make a good guess at from her clothing, hairstyle and the child's, you could make some pretty good stabs at her background. Not that I am aware he made any such statements about her.

I got increasingly angry with the programme as it went on, as it became clear that the mother was having serious difficulties with her child and need some help with her parenting skills. The toddler was hitting her out of frustration, as young children sometimes do, and she was just taking it and asking the baby why she was hitting her. 8)

I think what she needed was to put the child down when she hits and say "No!" in a firm tone.

And she was eating her cereal and the child came over, crying and trying to put her hands in her bowl. Well, small children do that - they want whatever someone else has - and maybe she was hungry, she wanted to be part of what was going on. So what you do is you give her a taste of yours, or get her a bowl of her own and eat together. You don't shrug her off and expect her to understand. Of course she doesn't understand.

The mother seemed to have much too high expectations of her toddler's abilities and at the same time, because the father had been violent towards her, seemed to have the idea that her child was re-enacting those things and doesn't love her. When actually it's a false connection, and lots of young children hit out of frustration, with no darker reason than they are unable to express themselves. It's quite normal, and can be addressed reasonably easily.

I turned off after a while as I couldn't stick any more of the psychic: just before he went to see them a second time, he was pacing about and scratching his head in a Rainman-esque manner, and I was wholly repelled. I felt he was a fake and that what he was doing was very irresponsible.

I hope that he actually gave her some good advice to deal with the problems with her parenting in the end, cos I felt she needed practical help, not telling that her daughter was freaked out by things that happened before she was even born 8). She came over as somewhat depressed as well, I felt.

I think there's a lot to be said for SuperNanny and those sort of programmes, having watched this show.

Monday, July 03, 2006

It's too darn hot

I love this track, especially the version Erasure did on a raising money/awareness of AIDS record some time ago. It was modern bands doing versions of Cole Porter songs, called Red Hot and Blue.

It's too darn hot
It's too darn hot
I'd like to sup with my baby tonight
and play the pup with my baby tonight
I'd like to sup with my baby tonight
and play the pup with my baby tonight
but I ain't up to my baby tonight
cause it's too darn hot

It's too darn hot
It's too darn hot
I'd like to stop for my baby tonight
and blow my top with my baby tonight
I'd like to stop with my baby tonight
and blow my top with my baby tonight
but I'd be a flop with my baby tonight
cause it's too darn hot,

it's too darn hot
it's too darn hot
I'd like to fool with my baby tonight
break ev'ry rule with my baby tonight
I'd like to fool with my baby tonight
break ev'ry rule with my baby tonight
but pillow you'll be my baby tonight
cause it's too darn hot
it's too darn hot

According to the Kinsey report
ev'ry average man you know
much prefers to play his favorite sport
when the temperature is low
but when the thermometer goes way up
and the weather is sizzling hot
Mister Adam for his madam is not
cause it's too too

it's too darn hot,
it's too darn hot
It's too too too too darn hot

I'd like to call on my baby tonight
and give my all to my baby tonight
I'd like to call on my baby tonight
and give my all to my baby tonight
but I can't play ball with my baby tonight
cause it's too darn hot

it's too darn hot
I'd like to meet with my baby tonight
get off my feet with my baby tonight
I'd like to meet with my baby tonight
get off my feet with my baby tonight
but no repeat with my baby tonight
cause it's too darn hot

it's too darn hot
I'd like to coo with my baby tonight
and pitch some woo with my baby tonight
I'd like to coo with my baby tonight
and pitch some woo with my baby tonight
but sister you fight my baby tonight
cause it's too darn hot

it's too darn hot
According to the Kinsey report
ev'ry average man you know
much prefers to play his favorite sport
when the temperature is low
but when the thermometer goes way up
and the weather is sizzling hot
Mister GOB for his squab,
a marine for his queen
a G.I. for his cutie-pie is not
Cause it's too too too darn hot
It's too darn hot
It's too darn hot

The man on the radio is complaining about the heat. A lot of people seem to be complaining about the weather. I know it's a British tradition, complaining and talking at length about our weather, but me, I'm happy. Yes, it was uncomfortable walking into school today, yes it is sweltering, but it's summer and I'm loving the sunshine and even the stickiness.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


Today was the christening of our neighbour's grand-daughter.

I realised that should S still want to get christened, I would have to say publicly that I would promote Christianity, that I renounce the devil and so on. I had hoped that it was just the Godparents who had to do that, but from this service it would appear not. It may be different with older children and adults tho, I suppose.

This makes me pretty certain I don't want to do this. I think she will have to wait until she is old enough to make her own decisions, make her own way to church and all that, if she remains interested.

I can't stand there and say a load of things I don't mean.

Or can I?

I don't think so. Hmmm.