Monday, December 31, 2007

Sunday, December 30, 2007


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.