Monday, December 31, 2007

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Inundated

The guinea pig saga continues...

On the bright side, I know now that we definitely bought two female guinea pigs and that I wasn't going mad to think that Nibbles looked pregnant.

On the down side, I am inundated by guinea pigs. Everywhere I look, guinea pigs! Squeak squeak squeak!

We started with two female guineas. We now have seven, yes, seven babies. Three belonging to Bubbles: Noel, Holly and Mist(letoe). Four belonging to Nibbles: Sam, Phalanx (or at least that's what I thought T said), Tulla and Conti. T's names are inventive - I didn't know he knew of the Greek infantry and Tom(?). I have nine, read it and weep, nine whole guinea pigs.

No more please...



Friday, December 28, 2007

Ad rage

The bartender in the Disarrono advert is a terrible barman. He attempts to remove this pouty woman's glass while it is barely touched.

I fume on behalf of drinkers and maligned barkeeps. Also that pouty woman annoys me. I'm probably missing the inherent sexiness of the pout: I just long for fish-slapping dances.


Part of the joy of the season are all the peculiar perfume ads as well. They seem to glory in their pretensions. The most cringeworthy is the one called "the one" (oddly enough), where the divaesque model is getting puffed up for her walk: "ouch", "do you think they're ready for me", "what time is it?" ... and discordant saxophonings... blah. I want to stick a few pins into her myself.

In the mood for a meme

Taken from Atheist in A MiniVan

Well... I have a bit of a meme (I'm starting it).I love giving gifts...and I don't mind receiving them. So, I'm curious...

1. What was the best gift you received ever?
I suspect it may be the camcorder M bought me this year for the purposes of capturing the children on film. Excellent.

2. What was the worst? Oh, probably a load of clothes that were too small one year. I suppose on the one hand it was flattering that the giver thought I was that size, but it was very depressing to feel ginormous.

3. What's the best gift you've given someone else? I bought T an ice mountain thingy for his cars for Mum to give to him, which he absolutely loves - and the best thing is that it's given both of them great pleasure, because Mum is chuffed to bits that he loves her present most.

4. What's the worst? When I was a child, I bought a friend a stone frog. In my defence, my only opportunity to shop had been a garden centre, but still, it was rather inappropriate and mind-bogglingly heavy to carry in a school satchel. Ha ha! I remember her face! Oh dear.

5. What did you get this holiday season? A camcorder and a new mobile, greatest hits of The Who and book tokens.

6. Where did it fit on the best to worst scale (best being 1 and worst being a 10)? As a celebration or rating of gifts? Gifts were excellent: 1; day was harder work and more stressful than it needed to be: 8.

I tag me old mucker Twizi and anyone else who'd care to indulge in some memery.

Catching up a bit on a number of things

In a puzzling turn of events, I have come to the conclusion that Nibbles is just fat (or perhaps also pregnant) and Bubbles is in fact the momma, although she never waxed large. I assumed Nibbles had to be the mum because she/he/it is enormous, but you know what the word assume makes. Pshaw. Well, it doesn't because it only works if you're American. Arse is the correct word, not ass, for goodness sake. Arses are hairy, brazen, meaty and goose-worthy, spankable and solid. An ass is pallid, soggy and limp, if it's anything at all.

Talking of arses, it cheered me right up to discover Blair has converted to Catholicism a while back. Living right down to my expectations.

Xmarse brought us four binbags of recycling (cardboard and paper) and two binbags of sundries and miscellanous rubbish (wires, plastics etc), which makes the outside of our house look like a mini-landfill. 'Course it's very windy today, so I suspect the whole neighbourhood may soon have a share of our cardboard booty.

And why oh why do toy manufacturers screw their toys into the cardboard? Wiring them isn't enough? Lacing them and effing sewing their hair into it isn't enough? They needs must provide you with a reason to be grateful for the tiny screwdriver set you got from a cracker last year into the bargain. I should remember next year to spend one evening removing everything from its cardboard imprisonment and the next evening wrapping it without it all, so the children can actually unwrap their presents and start to play straightaway.

I'd like to post the packaging back to the shops/factories with some choice expletives elegantly calligraphed (I know it's not a verb, but damn it, Janet, I'm going to use it like it is) thereupon.

And I was upset to learn of Benazir Bhutto's murder, although not surprised. Whatever her flaws, she represented something hopeful.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Noel noel noel?

Hope everyone had a good Christmas. Me, I could do without it. It's harder work than it's worth.

We had an unexpected, although somewhat suspected, gift from the guinea pigs on Christmas day. Three more guinea pigs.

Presumably Nibbles was pregnant when we got her. I think we've had the guineas just over a month and their gestation period is about two months, which means that it's likely. However, the piglets look exactly like Bubbles... I think I require someone more knowledgeable to sex them before we have a repeat perfomance. I've already explained to S that when they're old enough, they will have to be rehomed, which she took quite well. But then it hasn't happened yet. And if Bubbles turns out to be the dad, I guess we'd rehome him and keep one of the female (if any) babies instead? Oh, I don't know.

I may write a stiff letter to the pet shop.

Monday, December 24, 2007

And another thing

... about Amy Winehouse again: she seems a bit of a theme with me of late. She made number one in a telly programme's list of annoying people. Which is understandable, given the wall-to-wall coverage of everything little thing she does. Yawn.

What really annoyed me, however, is that the very first commentator on her "win" started on about her appearance: saying that her success equals money so why not spend it on how she looks. I like that she has "ugly tattooes" and her hair is like a big ole rat's nest and that she may or may not have perfect dentistry. She's individual at least, whereas largely, other sleb women are glossy and polished and fake as cubic zirconia. With interchangeable androgynous faces and "tasteful" tattooes of butterflies/flowers/celtic symbols on their backbones.

If that's all you've got against her, you need to read a book or buy yourself some depth.

Underneath one of the YouTube videos of her performances, someone felt moved enough to comment about her teeth. Appearance is not everything, you arse! Whatever you think about her as a person, she has an incredible voice and in a singer, what more do you really need?

The "whole package" stuff is what gives us insipid clone bands. Bah.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Woolly wonderings

On the radio they bleep out the word 'blow' in Amy Winehouse's song "back to black". The lyric goes "you love blow and I love puff". I don't understand why really. If it's about getting rid of drug references, why leave in the puff?

I'm probably way out of touch with drug slang, but I thought they were the same thing. Only I suppose that way the song doesn't make sense - unless he likes resin and she likes weed. Songs often don't make sense, of course.

Oh oh, blow can be cocaine, especially in the US, according to Google. All hail Google. So it might be hard drugs vs soft drugs. That makes a bit more sense, but still seems a bit random. Of course arbitrary decisions are the territory of the curious beast that is the censor.

Oh well.

On being an irritable, impatient and unsympathetic person

Cough cough cough. Cough cough cough. Cough cough cough.

My nerves are frayed and I feel like shouting at the children for their incessant coughing.

Cough cough cough.

And when M is in, he takes the baritone lead in the coughing choir. I may have to kill him. I don't see that there is much choice.

Cough cough cough, hack, retch, spit, cough cough cough.

He was lovely with me when I was feeling rough. But there's no other way.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Of flu, Father Ted and not much of note

The good thing about the 'flu is an excuse to lie around not doing much. The bad thing is not being able to do much else but lie about. Proper poorly I would declare myself as, over the weekend. It was the head-ache that was the killer. When that lifted last night, everything started looking up. So hurrah.

In intervals that were not occupied with running a fever or running after other people with fevers, I did manage to do quite a bit of reading over the last week and it's a nice feeling. I always feel guilty if I don't have a book on the go or haven't read much for a while. I stuck to fiction, and not particularly demanding reads: a couple of Sue Graftons, the Pullman Dark Materials trilogy and a Ben Elton novel.

The Pullman books are completely the power of protest reads: I saw that there is much controversy around the film because of supposed god-killing themes and thus was intrigued. I am a Craggy Islander from the plot of the Father Ted episode (The Passion of St Tibulus) where the priests are charged with protesting a film.

"Down with that sort of thing"
"Careful Now!"

Friday, December 14, 2007

The making of a shepherd costume


I actually dug out the sewing machine and made the shepherd costume for the nativity play, which oddly is an experience I have felt cheated of before. Previous schools and nurseries have provided suitable garb for plays my daughter was in, and I suppose it makes sense. Some parents might not have the time or inclination to make costumes, and bought ones look strange intermingled with the homemade. If the school provides, then no-one forgets their costume or writes in complaining that they had to make one.
But it's something I have a strange yearning to do, even though my skills are not great. I remember my mum having to make a policeman's outfit for me and rolling her eyes a lot, and I guess I aspire to that. With less of the eye-rolling.

Anyway, I made the costume from a pillow-case and old sheet. In case you couldn't tell.

The pillow-case I snipped in half, and then hemmed along the edges to create the head-cover, as I had no suitable tea-towels for the purpose.

The sheet was a small one from a cot-bed, and I folded it in half and cut out a simple robe shape, with the fold at the top, thus making both front and back at the same time. I then stitched along the outsides.


Spot the mistake!

I realised afterwards that my time-saving/sewing-avoiding idea of using the material doubled up, simply made it much much harder to do the neckline. I would have been better cutting out the two sides altogether, instead of leaving them joined at the top in the humorous belief that this would save me a bit of sewing. The seaming of the neck problem never occurred to me until I thought, "Ooh, I've just about finished.. Hang on, where's his head going to come out?" However, I cut a slit in the top edge for his head, and because it was too gappy when worn, put in a couple of pieces of velcro to make it more snug. This worked reasonably well and certainly did fine for a one-off costume.

Heh, I never pretended to any skills in the clothes-making department, I just wanted to have a go, and frankly I wouldn't dream of learning other than by trial and error. Patterns, preparation, knowing what the hell you're doing: I scoff at such notions!

And well, it turned out rather well, for a "hey let's just chop and sew and see what happens" thing from a person who but rarely, but rarely touches a sewing machine. Passable. It passes muster, mister.

We live and learn. Or at any rate we live. [Douglas Adams]

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tv stardom and bowling

T was in a nativity play: a bit part actor ("Bit part actor, bit part actor": Oh Stump, I have only a tape of you and nothing to play you on) and he appeared on local tv.

Or so I'm told, as this evening his appearance was bumped for another cute story of children helping the elderly. Damn their worthiness and do-gooding! He was on tv this morning, but I missed it. Arse. I have been searching the station's website for the bulletin, but to no avail, as yet. Arse.

In other child-related news, I took seven little girls ten-pin bowling as a birthday treat for S. They all had a great time and it went really well. In their show and share session at school, apparently all the party-goers wanted to talk about it to their class, so I'm rather chuffed that they liked it that much.

I am taking some Brownies next week.

I must be a glutton for punishment. At least the Owls will be in charge of that and I can skulk.

Having the painters in

It's jolly good that the painters are doing the external woodwork and all that.

It's blue-pencilled December 'though and having the doors open all day is less good.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Body fascism

Last night I came across a programme called "My Body Hell". The subject was female hair removal and I was thoroughly wound up within about five minutes. As a caveat, warning, rejoinder, to this blog-post, in fairness I should say I only watched part of it, so there may have been good and thoughtful journalism in the bits I didn't see. There's always hope.

With a title like "body hell", I would have thought the subject matter would be something serious, something medical (in which case I would have switched off sooner, given my queasy nature), something I would call a real problem. Hair removal can be uncomfortable and tedious and all that, but it's not hell. I struggled with the programme's apparent acceptance of our fashion for hair removal without questioning of it in the vox pops and so on. There was, however, sneering at the continentals who don't consider it part of normal grooming and sniggering at Julia Roberts, most famous of hairy armpitted females.

A fellow who had gone out with a Swedish woman looked surprised with himself that it hadn't mattered to him that she didn't shave her armpits. Well, durrrrr. Could've crowned him with a shovel.

I think what really riled me about the programme is that it seemed to take itself so seriously, when the subject matter is utterly utterly frivolous. Not but what it does raise questions about why we see body hair as unfeminine, when clearly other Europeans do not. Body hair, menses and boobs are all indicators of accession to womanhood, to put it rather floridly, so why is the former seen as undesirable once attained? I just take issue with the premise that normal body hair represents in any way shape or form "body hell". Gerrova it.

I was horrified by the young woman who said that her relationship and life generally was blighted by in-growing hairs; she would only wear skirts when she had made-up her legs and she was delighted into tears by the news that electrolysis would probably solve her problem. No-one should let a few blemishes on their legs affect their life like that. No potential mate with half a brain would care that you have a few spotty bits ... and you will find a zillion tiny (and large) imperfections if you spend all your time examining yourself.

I suppose the programme makers would necessarily want someone to show, (or would prime her and edit in order to show), what horror in-growing hair can be, not someone who would shrug it off. No story if it's no big deal. There's always hope.

If you think I'm unsympathetic, you'd be right. It seems extremely self-indulgent to me to put so much emphasis on one aspect of one's appearance.

It's not that I don't understand being self-conscious, because I do, but there's no way I can sympathise with those priorities. To begin with, I was very self-conscious of the scar on my forehead, but I came to terms with it. At the time when it was really getting me down, M got me to shave my head. Extreme, but it stopped me hiding, and the hiding and thinking about hiding it was what used up the energy and fuelled the anxiety. You have to put the brakes on somewhere: accept yourself and enjoy your body & life. I am what I am, as that great philosopher #cough# Popeye said.

We can't carry air-brushes with us and get the right lighting and a bit of tweaking from Photoshop as we walk down the street. And fortunately it's unnecessary as well as impossible. People don't have to be perfect.

Maybe the programme was just a wind-up. There's always hope.


And this was post 600 on my bloggy ogg. Taa daaa!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

On being inane

It sure is windy living on a cliff-top.

Who'd have thunk it?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Chills of the future

Gran has been scaring us over the weekend.

She kept jumping out wearing a sheet over her head, shrieking "Boo!"

Or rather, she ended up in hospital on a drip. The doctor said it could go one of two ways. Fortunately she seems to be taking the "getting better" option presently.

M thinks I should prepare myself to lose her, and at 93, I suppose he's right. But that isn't what I want to hear really. She's one hell of an old bird, my gran, and I don't want to part company with her just yet. And she may well carry on anyway; tough as old boots, stubborn and beloved.

I want to go and see her, but worried that we may still be carrying chicken pox - the last thing she needs is shingles.


Added later... Curiously, the NHS website says that chicken poxy people don't give people shingles, the virus reactivates when the immune system is compromised and sufferers can then give others chicken pox.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Towelling elephants


I have learnt a new skill.
You never know when you might need to be able to fold a towel elephant, so think on.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Dogrubbish

On bin day, one of the neighbour's dogs was out ripping up bags and chowing down. Most of the neighbours cover their bags with tarps or lean bits of wood over them to deter seagulls, but it's not a successful technique against raiders of the furry kind. Alas, the council do not provide us with bins and clearly it's unfashionable or outré to buy your own. Or perhaps they get nicked? I am the proud possessor of two bins nonetheless, one of which I put the recycling in, otherwise we'd have bags of crap inside or outside the house, neither of which options appeal.

The lid from one has gone. I do not know if it was stolen or whether it flew away.

I told the scavenging canine in authoritative tones that it was a "bad dog" and should "go home". It curled its lip at me scornfully. This made me a bit nervous for my ankles, and for the kiddie-winks so I shoved them in the car (not my ankles, how would I keep my feet on?)

I suppose it saw me as a threat to its rootling. A dog and its dinner.

I don't like it wandering about like that 'though, if it's going to have the cheek to show its teeth to me. It probably thought I had a bloody cheek telling it off, of course. From the safety of behind the car, I told it again it was a bad dog which should go home and then I think its people must have cottoned on, for it started sloping off homewards as if it had been called or perhaps heard its door open.

Dogs that wander about up to no good should be tail-waggy types or suitably-guilty skulk-er-off-erers.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Non-gigs with Amy Winehouse and varicella fun

Our night away did not go to plan.

Hilariously:

  1. we brought the receipts, envelope and brochures that came with our tickets, and left the actual tickets at home!
  2. And it wasn't as though we could nip back home and get them.
  3. Ms Winehouse cancelled her tour that very night.
  4. our son came down with chicken pox the next morning.
On the bright side, only having the crap that came with our tickets with us to prove we'd bought them, had meant whether we could get in at all had been in doubt all afternoon. Thus when we found the gig was cancelled, it wasn't as though we were counting on seeing her anyway. We had talked to the management, and they were going to let us in, we think; probably only after everyone else got in as long as the head-count wasn't at capacity. It would have been a lot of hanging about and stressing.

So in a strange way, it was a bit of a relief.

Since we did have our receipt, they could refund our card for the tickets alright on the spot, and, ah well... It's probably the best choice for the singer at the moment, and I hope she can get some time and pull it together.

As an alternative way of spending the evening, we chose Mexican food, cocktails and bars. It was rather nice and a personage of the male persuasion tried to pick me up while the husband was in the loo. Which was an ego-boost for me. Not that the guy had a chance, but you have to admire his taste (mwhahaha).

We tootled round and had a lot of fun, and it was nice to be out in a different place just together.

The hotel was rather lovely, plush even. In the morning I availed myself of the swimming pool and we had a most pleasant breakfast. Our further plans for wandering and gandering followed by leisurely luncheon and troll on home had to be abandoned when the dreaded 'child-is-ill' phone call came through. T had come out in a beauteous array of chicken pox lesions while at nursery, and they called us to pick him up, obviously forgetting the grandparents were in charge, in their terror of watery spots. We passed the message on, and got in the car. Alas, we headed home lunch-less. But T was ever so pleased to see us and gorgeous, although he is pickled.

Let this be a lesson to you all, do not go out with us. Our arrangements almost inevitably become unarranged! We did have a great time, notwithstanding.

It's a bit of a pain being confined to barracks now, for T will be infectious for a few days. After such a taste of freedom, I may go stark stare raving mad.

Well, that's my plan for the moment.

Monday, November 26, 2007

To the Winehouse

I am very excited about going away overnight to my first gig in years, tomorrow! We're leaving the children with the grandparents and pegging it to a hotel. It's got an indoor swimming pool and saunas and gym, et cetera et cetera [/Yul] (not to mention the existence of such marvels as pubs, clubs and restaurants in the vicinity thereof), so if the gig disappoints, all will not be lost.

And that's all I have to say about that.

The Vintner's Luck

This is the second of two novels I've been loaned recently by someone who had heard I was an atheist and thought they'd interest me. I'm not sure why: I suppose both feature spirituality of one kind or another. The first was The Alchemist, which was all omens and fate, and the twist of the protagonist's treasure being right back where he started. Gah.

I enjoyed the Vintner's Luck far more than The Alchemist. But while this amazon reviewer gushes "Love, murder, madness, and a singular theology that would make a believer out of the most hardened atheist all add up, in The Vintner's Luck, to a novel that will break your heart yet leave you wishing for more" , I beg to differ. I may be tungsten coated, of course.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I can sing a rainbow


Pretty pretty rainbow, and T definitely saw it. I don't know if it was the first he's seen, but it's the first I know for sure he wasn't just saying yes to humour me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Introducing...

Nibbles

The best way to get over a pet's death is to replace it. It might seem a bit heartless, and you still need to have the commitment to look after the creature(s), but it works a treat as a salve.

We have swapped our hamster-keeping ways for guinea-pig-keeping ways, so that both children could choose one. Hamsters are solitary and they are also nocturnal & bitey sort of beasties, so while decent enough pets, we thought something rather bigger, more cuddly and gregarious might be the route to take this time.

I'm very pleased with them: already they are giving the children a lot of fun and pleasure. They are both rather nervous at the moment, the guinea pigs, not the children. So much so that I was only able to take an unblurred photo of the slightly bolder one, Nibbles. Bubbles seemed under the impression that having her image taken would remove her soul and scooted round at high speed, breathing "no cameras, no pictures, bloody paparazzo!"

It's a bit of a bum buying pets for the children, 'though. I don't get to name anything anymore. I used to love naming my pets as a child and came up with some humdingers, such as Honeybee Peachy Tuft, which name was longer than the hamster afflicted with it.

Rosie, Sam, Pinky and ...

My daughter is miffed with me for always referring to one of the fish as the Brain. She named them Rosie, Sam, Pinky and ... well, you can see why I started calling the last one the Brain. And now even she has forgotten what she originally called it, but she is determined not to have the Brain. She decided today it would be called Millicent. Well she didn't, but I can't remember what it was now, and anyway, it's called the Brain!

It's not fair, I don't get to name anything*.

Sulk.



* except my cacti: Spike (imaginative, eh?) & Drusilla.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My considered review of The Alchemist

I read Paulo Coelho's 'best-selling novel of 2003' yesterday.

It was pants.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Attenborough, parasites and icky stuff

In my internet wanderings, I came across an interview with David Attenborough at a blog called Godsnot*. I'd never thought about his beliefs or lack thereof before, and it was interesting to discover his personal view. I was gratified to learn that in his private life he has vigorous correspondence with creationists.

Awe in/of nature is sometimes cited as a point in favour of creation by god: it's one of the reasons my mother still would describe herself as a Christian. I'm not fond of the premise myself, because I see the implication being that as an atheist I don't or can't appreciate the natural beauty in the world. Which is patently untrue as demonstrated in Attenborough's case, and in mine too, since skies, seas, nature, even the much-maligned dandelion fill me with enthusiasm.

Of course the awe/beauty of the natural world is accompanied by some rather disgusting things as well, like mucus (!) and as Attenborough rather more meaningfully points out, pain and parasites. He says "I can't believe god created parasites in order to torture small children." And while my personal experience of parasites is limited to nits primarily, there are far worse and more vomit-worthy beasties out there. I'm not going to tell you about them cos if you're interested you can jfgi, like I say, I have a weak stomach!

One Christian response to this (the parasites, rather than pain, which is a whole other argument) that I have seen is that this is a 'Fallen World'. Ie. since Adam & Eve & PinchMeQuick, everything's gone down the swanny and so animals eat each other and die in tortuous ways.

It might seem a neat answer on the face of it, but what did nits and worms and nasty little bugoids of hideous aspect do before 'the Fall'? What did they supposedly do with their little gnashy teeth and burrowing through skin abilities prior to that? What was their alternative lifestyle? Or were they created just to make the 'Fallen World' that much more fun, or did they adapt post-'Fall'?

If the latter, isn't that, da-da-dum, drum roll, evolution? And if you're going to start accepting evolution when it's convenient, you might as well hold your hands up and accept the whole kit and caboodle. It doesn't necessarily kill off the notion of a god anyway, so what's the beef? The alleged microevolution/macroevolution distinction is such a red herring: what would be the mechanism that stopped a whole raft of tiny adaptions adding up to big ones?



* Question: why do I have to come across references to mucus, secretions and such, all the time? And I've seen some vagina dentatas as profile pictures and so on, and it's all a bit "ewww, my poor eyes!" Why not pretty and/or pleasant things, people? (Although I suppose I'm one to talk, having renamed myself after a noxious stench. Nevertheless, undeterred...) I've never been able to stomach all that. I can talk about bodily functions et al, but only when I'm mentally prepared for it and it's all my choice.

I remember in school, one of my so-called friends used to point out in assembly the boy with his finger up his nose every single time. Every single assembly he spent with his finger rootling about and every assembly she scanned the crowds for him, just to point him out to me to make me bilious. Scarred for life by that, I was, scarred for life!

How come it took me years to realise she was no true friend?!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

CSWhy Mihammy?

I rather like the CSI programmes, whichever series. However, Tuesday's episode of CSI: Miami just stretched things far too far. I'm forgiving, I have stretchy woolly suspenders of disbelief. But... Identical triplets who conspired to kill a husband (who didn't know his wife was one of triplets) and mistakenly killing his look-a-like (who routinely substituted for him at social functions), but of whom they knew nothing?

Oh please!

This was then followed by the one about an illusionist killing his staff and adoptive mother in ways similar to tricks he was performing.

Oh please.

I know the twist and the unusual method or situation are part of what makes CSI fun, but I'm not keen on the utterly silly. I'm sure the series could be interesting without being quite so daft.

And if Horatio turns moodily for the camera and poses with his shades much more, I may even switch over to something else.

That'd show him.

The hazards of Heat and the hunt for Makka Pakka

I nearly bought a sleb gossip magazine today.

In order to obtain a hand-puppet of Makka Pakka (don't ask), I was in the unhappy position of being amongst magazine racks in a so-called newsagents, when I saw three separate titles claiming that they had the real story of the break-up of Ziggy and Chanelle. Two claimed that he dumped her and a third argued vociferously that she dumped him. There may have been captions about chainsaws and splattered blood... or I may have imagined that part.

For a fleeting moment I contemplated purchasing one (or more!) of said publications: after all, I needed to know what happened with their relationship. Who dumped who?!

Then I came to my senses and remembered that not only do I sincerely loathe Big Brother and all its little Frankenstein-monster/munchkin-creations and do not care about their love-lives, but I have a raging snobbery against such magazines. It probably all fits under the same umbrella indeed - anti-BB, anti-sleb, anti-fashion, antifreeze.

Although perhaps snobbery isn't the right word, because I don't look down on them wot loikes that sort of thing. Everyone's allowed their frivolities, especially me. As long as they have the decency to be just a little shame-faced about them*, just as I am a little of my frivolities (which don't usually include sleb stuff, more run to computer games and trashy (and good!) s-f).

The impulse to buy Heat or something like it came as a bit of shock to me today.

What next? Am I turning into a woman**?


*Actually being wholly unashamed and brazen works too. I'm not fussy.

**This last line is meant to be funny, since I am a woman.***

***I am only explaining this line as it amuses me to do so. ****

****I could go on and on like this, you know. *****

*****But I won't.

Classy bird

When we lived in cities, the pigeons were truly flying rats and not pleasant to look upon, often missing toes, making me wince in sympathy. Plus their plumage ("Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, isn't it, eh? Beautiful plumage!" [/Monty Python]) has a dullish metallic shine to match the dullish metallic city.

We've gradually moved out into more & more rural areas, more by accident than design, and while pigeons feature largely in ornithological observation, they seem a better class of bird.

In our last house, it was wood-pigeons hanging around outside, coo-cooing and flapping about (as you do when you're a pigeon). Now they were altogether more plumptious, scrumptious and looked pretty darned edible. You wouldn't eat a city pigeon, would you? Well, I wouldn't. They'd taste of petrol and MacDonalds.

Now we have collared doves, which must surely be a step up again. Perhaps even going beyond looking rather like dinner to looking almost too good to eat.


What's this obsession with eating pigeons, you may be wondering?

It's past lunch.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Break ups

A propos of nothing much, I've been considering classic clichéd break-up lines.

The number one has to be:
It's not you, it's me. It's just great, I can see no flaw in that one at all. You say it to a person and they know, they know exactly what you're about, without any further ado: even if they're a Big Brother contestant they get your drift. You probably deserve a glass of wine in the face for using it, of course. Apart from that being a dreadful waste of wine. And a cliché in itself.

I love you, but I'm not in love with you. That's just rubbish, isn't it? It's probably the most pants break-up cliché there is and makes me want to sing Howard Jones' "What is loooove anyway?" Which you wouldn't want. Not because it's a terrible song (although it's debatable, I suppose) but because I'm a terrible singer.

Let's just be friends. Yeah right. Not bloody likely, you sack of shit.

I just need some time to find myself. Ahem. Code for I'm a pretentious tosser and need more time with my mirror.

I think we need to see other people is code for I've already slept with all your friends and I'm working my way through your relatives, one(or more) of whom is threatening to tell you so I thought I'd get in there first.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Midsummer's Night Dream

We had a night of culture for once, this weekend. We went to see a production of Midsummer's Night Dream at the theatre. It was Tim Supple's version, performed in a number of Indian and Asian languages as well as English, with acrobatics, dance, martial arts and amazing spectacle: it was absolutely brilliant. I loved it. Purists would probably hate it, but I thought it was a refreshing and exciting take on the story.

I suspect that if you didn't know the Shakespeare you might have had a hard time following what was going on, but frankly you should know the Shakespeare and I have no sympathy.

Plus you could have read the synopsis in the programme. Lazy git.

Alas,

poor Tommy Thomas, I knew him well, Horatio. Poor chap he always loved larking and now he’s dead. It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way, [/Stevie Smith]. His heart stopped? Ah well, sometimes it's god's way of telling you you're dead [/Mrs Overall?].

We shall have a hamster funeral this afternoon. The corpse has been decanted into a Black Magic box for the occasion: it's suitably sombre in colour, although a bit larger than strictly necessary.

Last one had a toilet roll tube...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Scurvy survey

I did a survey today that asked if the media is too liberal and various questions about immigration and so on.

It seemed a bit unbalanced and leading to me, why not ask if it is too rightwing as well? Or give a choice as to which way I think the media is slanted, instead?

If it wanted particular answers, I got them all wrong.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Belatedly annoyed

An ex-boyfriend of mine came up in conversation with my Mum last night, and she told me that he'd phoned her up to tell her how awful M was. This was years ago, but the first I'd heard of it.

Now of course, this fellow's behaviour is somewhat explicable, given I rather brutally dumped him for M and had treated him rather badly throughout the relationship. I was a great practitioner of the Wonder Stuff's "don't let me down (gently)" school of break-ups.

Apparently he said M was a druggie and a sexual prevert "contaminating our precious bodily fluids" [/Dr Strangelove] and a nasty piece of work and a terrorist and a deadbeat and a fraudster and a whoremonger and a ... well, you get the picture...

...and I may be exaggerating slightly.

But honestly, what on earth did he think he'd achieve? I was an adult, living away from home. The only thing he could possibly have done was create a rift between me and my Mum, had she not had the sense either not to believe it or keep schtum anyway. You can give advice to your kids once they've grown up, but it's best to be wary of interfering in their relationships. Picking up the pieces afterwards is usually all there is. As if my Mum didn't have enough to worry about!

Anyway, over a decade later, 'though it hasn't all been plain sailing (but then what ever is), M and I are happily married with two kids and no drugs or semtex in sight, so I'd like to respond with an
"in your face!"
and some vigorous v-signs.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Respectable

Respecting people's beliefs is something one hears a lot about and sounds plausible in theory. In practice, I'm not so sure.

Is it perhaps saner to differentiate between the person and the thing to which they subscribe? Is saying I think what you believe in is a pile of old wank, the same as calling that person a wanker? I would say not, although I wouldn't expect anyone to thank me for either statement!


But things like blowing people up, or genital mutilation for example, are not what I would call respectable activities and I'm very disinclined to be respectful there. I'm also not that what you might say impressed (ahem) with the Jehovah's Witness belief with regard to blood transfusion, which of course has been very much in the news today.


As far as I understand it, the full facts are not yet in and it's possible that she would have died even had she accepted blood, but it's probable that this unfortunate woman's refusal of transfusion contributed to her death. It's a tragic story - she was young and had just given birth to twins, and leaves a devastated husband and other family. Such a waste.

Of course there was no real alternative to letting her have her way on the issue; the idea of forcing someone to accept treatment is repugnant.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Crealy great adventure park

The Cornish half-term is through and I will be a little sad when S is back to school. Sort of glad too, for the temporary cessation in hostilities over sofas.

We went to Cornwall's Crealy this week, and it was good. It has a couple of "big rides" and a lot of climbing frames and slides, of the kind where one has to sit within a hessian sack, like a Maris Piper.

We went on Thunder Falls, which little T enjoyed, but S cried because she got wet.

Raging Rivers went down ok with T the first time, but the second time I rode with him instead of M and we went down the wavy slide instead of the straight-down shute. He reckoned nowt to it, and cried. S had gone with M, and she was crying too. The whole getting splashed with water thing obviously did not equal fun in her eyes. Although it is October, the weather was great and warm, so it's not as cruel as it may sound to duck our children.

Big rides aside, the children had a great time. The Megaslide went down particularly well, althought the adults found it a bit exhausting after several thousand climbs up the thing, since T is too young to go alone. The coming down was great, of course. It scared the wotsits out of me the first few times, as it's been a long while since I rode a slide and I'm not sure I've ever been on one that high anyway. My legs were all jellified, wimp that I am. I was much more afraid on that than I was on Thunder Falls. Still, I persisted, so my determination for the kids to have fun outweighed my abject physical fear, so hurrah, harrumph and ahem.


The Pony Express ride was fun although since M took T and S rode alone, I felt a bit daft once my horse left the station and wondered why, as an over-grown woman, I was indulging such foolishness as to ride a fake horse round a track. Especially given I had to strategically arrange my skirt to avoid giving raunchy eyefulls to unfortunate on-lookers. I displaced my general and specific embarrassment by taking lots of pictures of the others as I jiggled up and down on the mechanical beast.

We did have a very nice time and there were plenty of things that we didn't get round to seeing, such as the heavy horses.

FYI

I was bored with my blogging name, so I have changed it.

This has been a public service message of a rather uninteresting nature.

Diseases you can live with

While I don't think I could be altogether comfortable living with the clap, I shall never think of bad breath nor scum in quite the same way again.

Sofa so bleeding marvellous


Now this is a perfectly acceptable piece of furniture. Whether you like the colour or not, it is inoffensive. It's not the kind of sofa that is going to jump out at you and vomit on your shoes. It's not the kind of sofa that sits in a corner, farting loudly and shouting racist remarks at the television. It's not obscenely loud, it's not excessively large. It doesn't dominate the room saying 'I am sofa, hear me roar' and interrupting you when you're trying to describe how to set the video through elaborate metaphor and semaphore in order to tell you a long involved and very uninteresting tale of two goats and a rice pudding.

Yet at every turn it is spurned, rejected, despised. It goes unnoticed, unloved, ignored.

Its very slightly bigger brother is the one who gets all the attention, fought over more or less constantly. That sofa is apparently the comfiest, the best for driving and parking cars on, the best for eating crisps and shedding a million crumbs on, the best for resting open water-bottles on, the best for everything. If there's a shriek downstairs while I'm upstairs writing nonsense in my blog, the cause will be some injustice of the sofa. Either some movement caused a car to roll out of position, or there isn't enough room for two children. They are gigantic children, you see, and their personal space boundaries stretch galaxy-wide and are surrounded by electrified wire and highly tuned alarms.

The other sofa also happens to be a lighter colour.

Cowboy builder

Bob the builder seemed extraordinarily surreal this morning. He and his machines were in the wild west on holiday. There's willing suspension of disbelief... but somehow that was a bridge too far. He must be raking it in to be able to ship his crane, roller, dumper-truck, cement mixer and some scarecrow over to the US for a holiday.

There was also singing in it and the opportunity for a song about cowboy builders did not go to waste, which was obviously a highlight.

Except Neil Morrissey should not be allowed to sing.

Something should be done.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Bit wet

Flood was a really terrible movie. It ticked all the formulaic disaster movie boxes, with the ignored obsessive scientist finding redemption, the family/relationship rift sub-plot, the oh-so-wrong big-bug. It was extremely predictable and the special effects weren't up to scratch.

Begbie was not very convincing as the hero. I couldn't believe in the storyline about his fractured relationship with his father nor why his mother died broken-hearted over his father's obsession: how did it supposedly manifest in such a way as to destroy his family? All a bit "huh?" And the wrecked marriage too, sort of tacked-on to make the emotional situation and love interest angle complicated & intriguing, but failing miserably.

The only refreshing part of the movie was that all the characters' motivations were good, that greed and pr concerns took a back-seat to doing the right thing in the end. Which was nice.

Is that what you'd want to view



I'm really love-love-loving the work of the Flight of the Conchords after having being introduced to them through NWM's blog.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Hmmph

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Monday, October 29, 2007

In which I give my husband the horn


Mail-order crime

Was it naive of me to be initially gobsmacked by this story covered by various bloggers?

If true, it's "a new low" to borrow a much-loved media phrase. Although as the cynicism kicks in again, probably not even new.

I went to read some of the Daily M*!l provoked by this, and was reminded of why I do not like to read the Daily M*!l ... and am glad that other people (such as 5CC) do & pick it apart & rage, so that I do not have to. Not that I would really, as I'm far too lazy, but I am grateful for their energy.

When Northcliffe allegedly said that his aim for his paper was to give the people a "daily hate"; well, it works for me, my daily hate is that bloody awful tabloid.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Smartie pants

I had a parents evening with S's teacher and he is very pleased with her ability and behaviour. She is a year 3 and he says that she is year 6 level academically. She is as good in maths and science as she is in English.

So I'm chuffed to bits with her and for her.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Why cleaning toilets is a harrowing job

I fought the poo and the poo won...

Yeuch, well, at least the title gives away what this post is about, so if you like it not, you have no-one but yourself to blame for reading further.

I wandered to work today, feeling a little peaky for unspecified reasons. I hoped that my loos would be reasonably clean and easy in order not to encourage my peakiness to a zenith. At first I was relieved, and then I discovered a submarine of the brown and ... well, you know what kind. So I flushed it. And I flushed it. And it gripped the bottom and sang "We shall not, we shall not be moved." I went away and attended to the other cleaning jobs.

Then I returned. It gloated.

I flushed it some more.

It gloated some more, peering up at me from the bottom.

I decided to break it up with a pointed stick. It unleashed noxious fumes of the kind to make the pit of eternal stench weep. "Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling..." I flushed it. It vanished. I came back with the blue toilet cleaner and in my absence, it had slipped back into position from its hiding place, apparently unaffected. This cycle repeated three times.

I fought on, retching half the while. Eventually I created such a foam in the toilet that it could no longer be seen. I fear, however, that it is still there, lurking.

I hope that by next Tuesday it will have decided to seek its fortune elsewhere.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Two things of mild amusement

1. M pointed out our tv goes to wide-screen when an advert about Pavarotti comes on.

2. I found this rather odd postcard. It's twee and saccharine with the meaning of the flower inscribed, and it contains Cornish piskies.


And their bottoms.





Friday, October 19, 2007

Ahhh

Ah sweet relief.

I have had an underlying anxiety about an item I sold on Ebay, which unfortunately I posted about an hour before the recent postal strike began. I informed the buyer of the possible delay, and of course the strike was public knowledge, but I've been waiting and waiting and waiting for news of this parcel. It hasn't been making me break out in a sweat nor keeping me awake at night, but I kept worrying and thinking I should look for the proof of posting and so on.

And today, what joy, happy feedback. Phew. As I'm pretty sure I didn't put that particular receipt and recorded counterfoil where it shoulda oughta went.

And I rather liked the forty odd quid it had earned me.

Filmy films

I thought I would add a "films I have watched" post, since I seem to fancy myself Jonathon Ross at times. Please do not misread that as my fancying Jonathon Ross, that would be just wrong...

Bee Movie (DVD)
Monster House (DVD)
High School Musical 3 (cinema)
Wanted (DVD)
Igor (cinema)
Meet the Spartans (DVD)
The Cottage (DVD)
Brokeback Mountain (tv)
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (cinema)
Run Lola Run (tv)
Hancock (DVD)
Rambo IV (DVD)
Ocean's 13 (DVD)
Jumper (DVD)
No Country for Old Men (DVD)
Juno (DVD)
30 Days of Night
(DVD)
Rocky Balboa (DVD)
The Transporter 2 (tv)
The Transporter (tv)
Die Hard 4.0 (DVD)
The Condemned (DVD)
Black Sheep (DVD)
Chaos (DVD)
Planet Terror (DVD)
Sweeney Todd (cinema)
Michael Clayton (DVD)
War (DVD)
1408 (DVD)
Shoot 'Em Up (DVD)
The Last Legion (DVD)
Million Dollar Baby (tv)
Butterfly Effect (tv)
Dirty Harry (tv)
DeathProof (DVD)
Highlander - the source (DVD)
The Forgotten (tv)
The Bourne Ultimatum (DVD)
Life of Brian (tv)
Ipcress File (tv)
Mona Lisa Smile (tv)
Pirates of the Caribbean (tv)
21 Grams (tv)
Independence Day (tv)
Courage under Fire (tv)
Poison Ivy (tv)
Evolution (tv)
10 Days to lose a Guy (tv)
Nothing to Lose (tv)
Flood (DVD)
Bridge to Terabithia (DVD)
StepMom (tv)
Higher Learning
(tv)
Pathfinder (DVD)
Ratatouille (cinema)
Spiderman 3 (DVD)
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (DVD)
300 (DVD)
X-Men's Last Stand (tv)
28 Weeks Later (DVD)
Apocalypto (DVD)
The Simpsons Movie (cinema)
GhostRider (DVD)
Hot Fuzz (DVD)
Pan's Labyrinth (DVD)
Smokin' Aces (DVD)
The Craft (tv)
Shrek the 3rd (DVD)
DOA (tv)
Dawn of the Dead (remake) (tv)
Crank (DVD)
The Man Who Sued God (tv)
Superman Returns (DVD)
Casino Royale (cinema)
Half Past Dead (tv)

And that's as far back through my blog I'm going, as I had a momentary flash of just how anal I was being.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ratatatatatatouille

In the weekend we went en famille to watch Ratatouille. It was jolly good, I say.

I was impressed by how well it was done, the fur and so on.

Our viewing pleasure was interrupted by the film burning away at one of the most dramatic moments and everybody got to see the shadow of melted celluloid on screen for a while. I've never had that happen before. It kind of spoiled the absorption of S, who seemed very restless afterwards. T had been restless for some time before, whispering that he wanted to go home at five minute intervals once he had finished his popcorn. It seemed quite a long film, but maybe it was the unfortunate break that made it seem so. I possibly enjoyed it more than the children.

Last night we watched Pathfinder on DVD which was quite gory but watchable.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

On being witness

This morning as I was driving back from the school run, a taxi pulled out of the road and a motorbike went smack into it. This was a bit of a shock for me. Doubtless rather more so for the taxi driver and motorcyclist...

He seemed alright, uninjured, I don't think his bike was much harmed either. She was upset and angry, which I suppose is natural. It's lucky they were both going so very slowly.

Not much of a story I guess. Just something that gave me a bit of a jolt this morning.

The other day I was in town with the children and there was a bit of a hoo-haa going on between a man and a woman. Lots of people were standing around just watching. I was worried that it would turn to violence, and in fact she was kicking at him. He wasn't hitting her, but he wasn't letting her leave either and I was afraid it was going to escalate. I didn't have my phone with me, and I had the kids to think about, so I did nothing, I just walked away. I hope someone else phoned the cops. I expect they did, the shopkeepers were in their doorways and lots of people were just standing around watching? And they might not have been needed anyway, it may just have blown over.

I think I need to keep my phone with me more. It's more of a static than a mobile.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Wife swap, but not in that way.

I watched an episode of Wife Swap or rather, the Aftermath show came on and intrigued me, so I found the episode repeated to watch it. It featured a chauvinistic domineering husband and his rather cowed family and a domineering lesbian and her unusual set-up with husband sleeping on the sofa and her girlfriend upstairs with her.

While both seemed to have their issues, the woman won me over because when she saw bits of herself and her behaviour reflected in the way the man behaved, she was quite horrified and appeared to want to make some changes. He, on the other hand, seemed either oblivious or uncaring that there might be something amiss: in fact utterly convinced he was incapable of error.

I was disturbed by him feeding meat to his vegetarian visitor unbeknownst to her and not seeming to see anything wrong in that. It's a bit like a waiter peeing in your soup. Or perhaps given the strength of her convictions on the subject, more like wiping your arse on a patriotic person's flag or spitting on a holy book. You may not share someone's beliefs/ethical concerns but doing something like that is an act of aggression and displays utter contempt for their feelings.

I was also perturbed by his tipping his medicated son out of bed and spraying something on him to wake him, swearing most foully at the same time. If you can do that in front of cameras what would you do without surveillance? And his relationship with his wife made me wince. She was smiling, smiling, smiling and smiling, and laughing at it just being "his way"...

All in all I was quite freaked out by him and the programme. It seems to me to be yet more exploitation television and on very dodgy ground morally. And yes, the participants choose to go on and it's all their own fault and they're horrible people anyway so deserve all they get. Possibly.

I can see the draw to watching it: after all, I did! But I turn off feeling slightly soiled by the experience. A bit like when I watch Dirt, a show I feel I probably shouldn't like or enjoy (given that it is gratuitous, salacious and bent on glamourising the sleb gossip-mongery machine of which I do not approve, not to mention it has Courtney Cox in it, looking far too thin.*), but I do anyway.


* These poor 30-something actresses who seem to have to be ridiculously thin, like that blonde woman in Cold Case, who used to look quite attractive but now looks like she would shatter if you spoke too loudly in her vicinity. She couldn't chase down a killer, she'd snap her legs if she tried to run.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Cover girl

In yet more things that I love love love, I really love the cover art of older science fiction novels. They are just fabulous. The copy of The Humanoids by Jack Williamson, shown below, is a particularly fine example.




Cake or death?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

When you go retro

In other things I love love love, I love Amy Winehouse's "Me and Mr Jones". It's the juxtaposition of the retro sound and the naughty words - I like the backing singers crooning "don't mean dick to me" and so on. Oh it amuses me.

Superpowered

I just love love love Heroes.

And in other watching activity, we saw Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer last night. It was ok, but nothing to write home about. So this is going to be a very short post.

M wasn't too impressed - having read the comics, he was not amused by the gaseous planet-munching entity. Apparently it was really a giant robot-thingy with exciting weaponry and whizz-bangery and the Silver Surfer wasn't supposed to die, he was supposed to be banished to Earth for all time for his disobedience to the planet-muncher.

So there you are.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Cross Bones

I've decided I don't really like Kathy Reichs as an author. I have just finished Cross Bones and I have the same sort of gripes with it that I had with Monday Mourning but more...

I wasn't that swept away by the premise of the book, which was basically about the search for a killer and an archeologically/theologically important skeleton in Israel. I had to slap my forehead a bit when I realised the pun in the book title late on in reading. The significance of it was supposedly so great that it would disprove the resurrection and show that Jesus actually survived and went on to raise a family, probably with Mary Magdalene.

Yada yada, I'm a bit bored by this sort of storyline as it just reeks of Da Vinci Code, which I loved so so much (NOT!) The plot is inspired by Dr James Tabor's work on the Jesus Dynasty, which I know nothing about presently, so perhaps my gut reaction is unjustified.

I just don't really believe that an archeological find of that nature would have the assumed mammoth impact upon the Abrahamic religions. I know the resurrection is the central pillar of Christianity but would it really be catastrophic for them or would it just be subject to counter-claim and irrevocably & endlessly disputed? Surely by simply existing a Jesus skeleton could not be the Jesus of scripture, as far as a believer would be concerned? I'm not sure how you could prove a skeleton was the biblical Jesus not some other stray bloke of the same monicker. Even if it was pretty darned convincing, I suspect there'd still be wiggle room. It might be a body blow to the religion, but I doubt it would be fatal.

Anyway, I was not really impressed by the book and I don't particularly enjoy Tempe Brennan or the writing style, so I don't think Reichs will be amongst my next library choices.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Red Arrows - rubbish about pc gorn mad again... Sigh, yawn, roll eyes.

There's a rumour doing the rounds that the Red Arrows will not be permitted to perform at the London Olympics because they are too militaristic. This is complete cobblers, as the Red Arrows themselves explain on their website.

It irritates me that people will pass on disinformation garnered from chain emails/internet petitions, gossip and it's pc-gorn-mad, foaming-at-the-mouth rants without even considering checking for actual facts. In this case it is readily remedied by googling for the Red Arrows themselves.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

#ankers

If you phone up the bank, they tell you they can't do anything, you have to apply on-line.

Go on-line and the site says you cannot apply on-line at present please use telephone banking.

Now that's what I call customer disservice.



That's me, that is ^.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Today I shall be mostly pretending to be Jonathan Ross

Last night we watched 300, which was a rip-roaring, bloody tale of the Spartan resistance to Xerxes. It has a lot of rather muscular chaps running about mangling other muscular chaps, which was nice... Not the mangling so much.

It uses the deformity=bad guy card, which I find troubling and it's such an old and suspect filmic device, it should really be put out to pasture. The decadent "bad" Persians (although led by very tall demi-god/king) accept within their ranks the less than physically perfect, while the Spartans do not. This leads to rejected wannabe-Spartan warrior, Ephialtes, betraying his people and causing the 300's defeat. The priest caste's corruption is reflected in their appearance and sickness, too. Of course, the rejection of physically disabled children probably reflects the realities of Spartan times; however, I'm uncomfortable with the depiction of the Persians as morally bankrupt while the fascistic military state of Sparta is heroic. But leaving aside these problems of East vs West and so on, it was visually a very impressive and well-told film.

Our viewing pleasure was somewhat compromised by the DVD deciding to play only in black and white, and so, knowing it should have been in colour, we were a tiny bit miffed throughout. I wonder whether viewing it in black and white affected the potential shock/gore value and whether I would have felt differently about it, for as it was, I enjoyed the film. I had been concerned that I might have to leave the room as I had done with Gibson's Apocalypto (hawk, spit). But then 300 was rather cartoonish and did not involve violence to children. Only after we'd watched the whole thing did M decide to have a jiggle of the connecting wires, whereupon we got to watch the credits in colour.

This caused some hilarity, and we repented of our grumpy thoughts towards the DVD vendor.

Then we watched the X-Men's Last Stand, as M had run mad with DVD purchasing desire, and it was good fun. M is still cross about it ending with Magneto wiggling a metal chess-piece, however, just as he was the first time we saw it.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Book bags

On the face of it, the book bag would appear to be a most elegant solution to the question, "how shall I carry my school books?" The old style satchel or even rucksack was heavy, ungainly and gave every single solitary user a hump, you see. Its benefits include its colour-scheme & logo fitting in with uniform to give all children a pleasing conformity.

But in fact it creates more questions than it ultimately answers, such as "how shall I carry my lunch", "where shall I put my snack", "is it wise to put my water bottle in with my homework" and "can you carry my coat, Mum"?

And the conformity value is defenestrated when children end up carrying a worrying array of different sizes of bag and sundries in a rainbow of colours as well as said book bag. I had to stop and help a little girl who was carrying about 16 million bags this very morning, as she was very late and very over-loaded.*

I purchased a rucksack for S into which her bookbag fits. Which undercuts the whole purpose of book bags, I presume, but never mind...



*Yes, I did very much over-use the word very in that very sentence. Very sorry.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Red man

It amused me (perhaps rather too much) to contribute to NonWorking Monkey's Traffic Light People yesterday.

I would urge all reasonable, discerning people to immediately rush to their nearest street crossing and photograph their traffic light people for her delectation.

Scary certainty

I had a conversation with someone who believes she is psychic.

A wardrobe gave her bad feelings and she came to the conclusion that it was made from wood from a tree that had been used as gallows. She seemed very sincere in her belief and convinced she "knew" it to be true. She certainly sounds very authoritative, and I can see how one might get swept along, but then I think "Hold the phone - where is there anything but her personal internal experience?" You can't trace back the wood, you haven't even got the evil wardrobe, so it's totally founded on what she says she feels.

I can't trust blindly in someone else's personal experience. Is that all you've got?!

You "know" there's a supernatural, I "know" there's not. He says, she says, mahna mahna mahnum. My personal experience is that there are natural explanations for lots of things. (Eg. auras? Ever had a migraine? Etc etc). If that's all there is, if it's all point of view, then I will stick to my own: that where there is a natural explanation, it is far more likely than that there is a supernatural force at work. (Ghostly footsteps in the attic? You need a plumber, my friend. Door slams? Shut the bathroom window. Heheh). The supernatural explanation is generally surplus to requirements.

She claims her psychic ability is accompanied by a stomach flip and mental images. I got the sense that she felt her physical response strengthened her case. Of course, I only have her word for it that she feels this as well, so it's still all internal personal experience.

Now the last day or so, I've been thinking about sudden stomach churning (and apart from plenty of sprouts), there are lots of ways to induce them. It helps if you're of a nervous disposition! I can make my own stomach flip by thinking about past emotions, future possibilities, and notably, when I'm stressed about various things, it will also flip when I am not consciously thinking about whatever issues I have. This is somewhat annoying, but interesting.

I can get the free-fall stomach feeling when ostensibly thinking about something else that shouldn't cause me anxiety. I don't think I'm a particularly unusual sort of person, so I imagine that anyone can do the same. I can also work myself up into palpitations - now that's what I call fun!

You can build an expectation and response in yourself, you can train your body. Perhaps while honing her abilities, "tuning in", she trained herself. I'm not saying it's a deliberate deception/self-deception, because it's not as black-and-white as that. And this is where I struggle with wording... It reminds me of the flawed CS Lewis trilemma argument, you may or may not be familiar with. Liar, lord or lunatic it goes: Jesus was deliberately lying about himself, he was telling the truth or he was mad. One of the flaws in the argument is that it only works if those are the only possibilities, and they are not. There are other possibilities, such as the one which relates to the point I am slowly getting to, honest, which is 'just wrong, sincere but wrong'. Ie. it is possible to genuinely believe something and yet still be mistaken about it. You don't have to be mad to be mistaken.

What I'm trying to say is that I do think that she genuinely believes she is psychic, but at the same time, her certainty does not make me agree she is psychic. I don't think she's mad or stupid either.

Anyway, where's the harm, you may be thinking? So what if someone thinks a wardrobe is sinister...

I'd agree if it ended there, but what I found particularly disturbing is that she claimed to have met someone and through one of her psychic moments, concluded that this person was abusing her position as a carer for old people. Now we all make snap judgements about people and can take instant dislikes, but if we don't have the certainty of "psychic ability", we're not going to broadcast our gut reactions (usually). If we did have that 'certainty', however, what harm could we do a complete stranger's reputation?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Whoooo

Today some papers arrived that I had been grumpily thinking about last night.

Spooky!

Except the other myriad times they didn't turn up when I'd been thinking about them grumpily in the night kind of outweighs the one time they did.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Little things...

Flicking through channels last night we came across a show called My Penis and Everyone Else's. This provided, in the 10 seconds we had it on, a laugh in the fact that "some men will go to extreme lengths", according to the interviewee as he put aside an ominous-looking contraption.

Heh heh, and another in my choice of title for this post.

Oh yes, even ten seconds of that show was a positive juggernaut of opportunities for juvenile sniggering on my part.


On the radio news, there was also a presenter arguing that the prices paid to farmers are, er, poultry...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sabotage/Camouflage it's all the same to me

This song was in my mind this morning, but I thought it was "Sabotage" rather than "Camouflage". The latter makes more sense in the context of the song, of course, if not in real life.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Doddery rodent

The hamster, who has featured before in this post is making squeaking noises a lot. Now this is unusual in such a beast, they usually only squeak when scared or enraged, but he seems to have developed a mumbling squeak to himself and grumbles round the cage doing it.

It could be old age and in his dotage he has begun to talk to himself. "Pesky sawdust getting in between my toes, significantly annoying sunflower seeds that I have to crack open myself, at my age. In my day tunnels were only horizontal, but look at the angle on this, etc etc..."

Maybe I should take him to the vet.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Ich bin a blogger

As I blog, all its links, instructions et al appear entirely in English as I construct the fabulous, erudite posts, which form the base material of my bloggage. Ha ha.

That is up until the point I publish my inane ramblings (which also form the base material of my bloggage) and then, a curious glitch, it goes all German on me: "Blog anzeigen (in einem neuen Fenster)" it gloats in guttural tones.

Bit like a beloved friend when she's drunk.

Woods for the trees

For the first time *** has acknowledged her husband is an alcoholic, and I think it was a revelation to her. It actually shocked me to realise that she didn't realise.

It seems blindingly obvious from the outside.

But I'm not sure what difference it makes, other than giving her another thing to worry about, as he is still so far in denial, he's up to his neck in crocodiles. Perhaps ignorance is bliss.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Meme

A meme-y thing via Primitive People (from Felinebird).

1. Go to http://www.careercruising.com/
2. Put in Username: nycareers, Password: landmark.
3. Take their "Career Matchmaker" questions.
4. Post the results.


1. Cartoonist / Comic Illustrator
2. Fashion Designer
3. Writer
4. Political Aide
5. Activist
6. Print Journalist
7. Market Research Analyst
8. Medical Illustrator
9. Translator
10. Desktop Publisher
11. Graphic Designer
12. Artist
13. Communications Specialist
14. Public Policy Analyst
15. Criminologist
16. Critic
17. Anthropologist
18. Horticulturist
19. Zookeeper
20. Historian
21. Taxidermist
22. Sign Maker
23. Animal Caretaker
24. Horse Trainer
25. Computer Trainer
26. Animal Trainer
27. Pet Groomer
28. Nursery / Greenhouse Grower
29. Stock Clerk
30. Housekeeper
31. Auto Detailer
32. Aquaculturist
33. Fruit and Vegetable Grower
34. Painter
35. Picture Framer
36. Furniture Finisher
37. Professional Athlete
38. Archivist
39. Upholsterer
40. Veterinarian


The taxidermist one is a bit of a surprise... Er no.

And quite a few require some actual talent, I'd have thought. Still, it was interesting.

Moscow State Circus

On Monday we went to see the circus and it was brilliant. I was moved to take lots of out-of-focus and blurry photos: no flash as I didn't want to be responsible for the sudden death of trapeze artists and the like. Cover her face, mine eyes dazzle! She died young... [/Duchess of Malfi]


The children really enjoyed it. The first set of acrobats began their act on a huge swing, and when the first flew off it into the air, T gave a gasp, thinking the man had fallen off accidentally, I think. S absolutely loved it, especially the clowns and trapeze.

The adults really enjoyed it too: me and my mother-in-law.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

D*I*V*O*R*C*E

It's been a bit of a surprise to hear that one of M's siblings is getting a divorce. And I'm sad about it, even though I don't know them very well. Of course it's the children, of similar ages to my own, that I feel for most. It sounds like it's going to be very acrimonious as well, with threats about withholding access already.

And in very bad-taste, at least that's the one in three marriages, I suppose. Not that statistics work that way.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

A v-neck

The Littlewoods adverts that feature Trinny and Susannah are set in some James Bond style guerilla/smugglers camps.

I wonder what that's saying about the ethical side of their products - yes, so good we stole them from illegal exporters who no doubt used slave labour and are buying plutonium with the profits... heh heh.