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


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
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
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


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.


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


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.