Saturday, 31 January 2009


New reading plan: book 1 of 43 or so.


Such goodness in not opening the new arrival books. Such enjoyment of the book (Mort). Such despair at the fact that it has Vanished. Off. The. Face. Of. The. Earth.

I checked the usual places: under the bed, down the back of the sofa, left on a table somewhere etc.
No joy.
I checked the unusual places: inside a cupboard, on top of the toilet, inside the washing basket etc.
No joy.

I thought carefully when I last had it. Either 4am when ambitiously thinking I could recognise words while my son was awake and needing cuddled or at about 9am when I was ambitiously thinking I was awake enough to recognise words after very little sleep. Either way, I've put it down in a state of almost asleepness and thus it could theoretically be anywhere. And if it is anywhere, it could have been found by little people, so it could really be anywhere.

I obsessed. I moved everything. I checked the bookcase a thousand times, it might have been put back. I checked the books I sorted out to go away today a hundred times.

I've looked (roughly, it's icky) in the bin. I've had the sofa out, I've searched through every pile of stuff (house is kinda sorted, looks a bit like a bomb landed).

Now I'm at the stage where I have a flash of inspiration and think "ah yes! if I had been on my way to such and such, it would be THERE..." but to no avail. And each time I walk past anything, I check it for a book. I've found so many books. Not it. Not Mort. I was really enjoying it as well, I was ceasing to be at all scared of Death and was getting right into it. But the new one-at-a-time rule decrees that I cannot read another book at the same time. So either I read nothing till Mort comes home, or I start another book and cast Mort aside even should he return. He would have to wait till the next one was finished.

So be it. Mort will be a later book to read. Sigh. And so onward, with Bye Bye Balham, by the very lovely Mr Herring (it was under the bed, which was why I hadn't gone to it already as promised in a previous bloggery. And I started it before, I just got distracted, so it's not a whole book to read. Mort will not have to wait long for Richard to finish, I'm sure. This tangent is getting odd.)

I have found my hedgehog though, I lost it briefly in the mayhem, but he came out on top. Hurrah for Hedgehog the hedgehog.

Friday, 30 January 2009

Twitter while you work

I'm giving this Twitter thing a go. Almost a year ago, I was asked to join Twitter, which I did, and thought "it doesn't do anything".

However, someone whose opinion is worthy on account of their non-fluffiness has convinced me to give it a go. Or to be precise, she suggested that those who don't get Twitter are dorks. I don't want to be a dork!!

In answer to the question, "why?" I was told: "it's like chatting to the whole world".

Well. That's enough for me. I like chatting, it doesn't need to be at anyone specific. The fact that I don't DO anything is neither here nor there, and that I will be likely to put "eating lunch" or "going to Sainsburys" is quite, quite irrelevant.

Oooh. Synchronicity. Type into Twitter, update here (see right) and Facebook as if by magic. Supreme laziness. Huzzah. Button on home screen, off we go. New addiction ahoy. Ooh, hello, I can put a button to ANY website on my home screen (on the phone)? I can? Oh, that's so much better than bookmarks, I LIKE buttons. Ooh. Ooh.

Right. Now I need to see who I can stalk, no, follow...

Thursday, 29 January 2009

A pictorial day

We are thrilled to announce the safe arrival of a precious little bundle.
Mother and child are both well, following a routine postal delivery.

This amused me, for obvious reasons.
I'm not tagging it, for obvious reasons.

I wonder if they know?
They can't. I wonder if anyone will ever tell them? They couldn't.

Whilst in Kinghorn, which is where that is, I went down to the beach, for it is one of my favourites:

If you lived in one of these houses...

...this would be your view

I want that.

And so to "my" beach, not visited today, but must be noted amongst others. Pathhead beach in Kirkcaldy, in the shadows of the ruins of Ravenscraig Castle, across the road from where I lived for many years, and so where many's a tear was shed and decision was made.


I done run out of words... Feel very small.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Thoughts of the day, brought to you by Kenco

Shameless is quite probably the best thing ever. I love Frank. Every episode has me sighing in a way that would be tearful if I cried like a normal person, and laughing like a lunatic repeatedly.

I am the only person in the world (assuming "the world" is the same as "my inbox") who thinks kisses are superior to hugs.

The perfect number of layers of filo pastry is 2, and it should always be folded not scrunched. Olive oil may be easier than butter to put between the layers, but it doesn't taste so good.

My sense of humour has left home but didn't tell me, I carried on as normal. Bah.

It is two months, 3 weeks and 1 day until my children start nursery. I am sure the fact that I just worked that out makes me a bad mother.

It's not even the end of January yet and I've done every single one of the things I wasn't going to do this year. Positivity, having been welcomed back as the prodigal emotion, sneaked out one morning at 3am just before the exams and is now feared to be lost forever in the wilderness of gah. Feeling: superfluous.

I'm still reading Mort. I got scared on page 21. I need to read through the fear before I even try to go to sleep.

Where's Heroes gone?

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Goodliness and the art of miscommunication

Being goodly:

My books arrived today. "Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities" by Ian Stewart and "Bad Science" by Ben Goldacre. I sooooooo want to read both of them immediately, one is about mathsy things and problems (and by Ian Stewart who is fabulously fabulous) and the other is about ranting and mentions the 'MMR hoax' on the back cover. Oh yes!

I get so angry any time I THINK about the MMR thing; it is appalling that such a furore was allowed to happen and I was furious that when my children came to get theirs, I had a moment of "should I...?" when of COURSE I should, there is NO LINK and it was WRONG but the furore was such to put doubt in the mind of all mothers. Even one who disbelieves everything and is supposedly educated in such things. Grrr. I may have mentioned this, it's one of those "ready, steady, RANT" subjects.

So, a whole book of rants like that (not like that rant, rants on subjects such as that. I'm guessing Mr Goldacre rants more eloquently than I).

Bring it on! And other things I don't usually say!

But look. She is goodly. She hasn't opened either book yet

I am continuing to read Mort by Terry Pratchett. I am on page 17 (I don't get much chance to read, ok? I'm going to crack on once I'm done ranting) and so far... not put off or scared out of my tiny mind. I am not casting it aside for no crime other than not being the book I've taken a fancy to reading. I will stick to One Book at a Time. I will!

NB: my love* for Andrew Collins endures (terribly terrible taste in music aside),
even though I've switched to the "other side" all round. I'm fickle, but not totally fickle.

The art of miscommunication:

This internet lark is frustrating most of the time. Mostly because it is populated (not entirely) by idiots, and lotsly because sarcasm isn't immediately apparent when unaccompanied by facial expressions and intonation. If it wasn't for encountering splendidly splendid people (virtually all of whom love* either Andrew Collins or Bernard Butler) in amongst the waves of vacousness, I would be packing up my fingers and flouncing offline.

I have been reading with interest the debate sparked by Richard Herring's declaration of love* for his iPhone.

We have la:

Subject: Re: iPhone [ REPLY ]
Posted by: JJ on 26/Jan/09

On 26/Jan/09, angrygadgetphobe wrote:
> Right, that's it. If he posts one more thing about his fecking iPhone I'm taking a hiatus from reading this blog. I had enough of it from Stephen Fry in 2007 (
> You can find out about any song just by playing it to your phone. I can (somehow) figure out how to make my food budget of just £15 last over 5 days. They're both admirable processes. One is of zero interest to somebody who collects 5ps of the street to feed a meter.
> I don't care about the phone. I care about the people you meet and the gigs that you do and daft things that happen.
>Am I alone in thinking that iPhones were invented so that grown men without families have something to spend their money on?

I may be grown, but I am not a man, I do have a family, and I love* both the iPhone and Richard Herring, I cannot remain silent. And so I posted this, in which I forgot everything I know about the English language:

Subject: iSmug [ REPLY ]
Posted by: MD on 27/Jan/09

Interestingly the iPhone doesn't actually DO anything, it's all a Emperor's New Clothes thing and none of us are prepared to admit that we've been duped. It's pyramid selling thing though, we have to get other people to buy it to recoup our losses.

Incidentally, please don't review or indeed refer anything in London, I can't afford to go so find it exclusive. If I'm not interested, I think it safe to say: no one is.

Not expecting this as a reply:

Subject: Re: iSmug [ REPLY ]
Posted by: Darren on 27/Jan/09 Bloody hell, there's been a few posts in the last few days criticising Warming Up, which I find ridiculous.

Rich doesn't give a shit what we think of his blog, and I hope it stays that way. Unlike his stand-up, or the podcasts, it's not here for our entertainment, it's here to help him write. Even if he writes a load of balls on some days, sometimes it's the rubbish that can lead to something better.

>>Quoting moi, just to make sure that it was clear what he was referring to.
Give me the strength to tolerate fools...

So I conclude from this:

1) I'm not very funny
2) Sarcasm not apparent


3) People, like Darren, are stupid

and regardless

4) I'm not very nice

It is also apparent, due to my renewed love* for Mr H, that loving* an iPhone is quite enough to pull someone. If you're Richard Herring**. And you're not actually pulling someone because they're married and you're attached. And that someone is someone like me. But y'know, in (quite) different circumstances.

*love: possible overenthusiastic term. Muchos admiration of.
**he has other attributes.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Lost in Berkshire

Today I joined myself and my children to the library. I have no idea why I hadn't done this long since, but I hadn't, and today I did. I love libraries, full of books and quietness. And I can now take up to 45 books out at any one time. The possibilities make me tingle with anticipation of all the books I can order online! How good is that? Like Amazon,but free!! They didn't do that when I last was a member of a library. Which was at least 6 years ago, fool that I am.

I didn't take any books for myself out though, just some for the kids. Why? Because I have 40 odd books on my bookshelves that I own, some gifts, most bought by me. Books that I want to read. That I have read some of and given up on. That are by some of my most favourite authors. Two I don't yet own, by Ben Goldacre and Ian Stewart, but they're in the post and so will be read, probably first.

Now, an exercise in humility: I have posted this list on this blog. Right below the latest post. There, look, down there. Fascinating stuff, huh? It's a mix of stuff that I haven't read yet, some I have started and not got into but not disliked, some I haven't opened, some I loved and just got distracted. Jasper Fforde's in there! Three of them!!!!!!!! Don't ask me why. Derron Brown, Mark Watson, John Humphrys, Val McDermid - all brilliant. Andrew Collins? No, I don't understand THAT one at all. There's nothing I dislike, I purged myself of all of those in one of my many book sorteries of the last year. They are in the order I saw them in, which is no order whatsoever, other than putting an author's work together.

The reason for posting this is not that I expect anyone to have any interest, but because I feel that by putting it on the public domain I may feel compelled to try and dent the list rather than just ploughing through the entire chart section of the supermarkets endlessly while making the list longer. Although some of the list is chart stuff, I'm not in the least bit elitist about what I give up on.

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.
Mark Twain

Sunday, 25 January 2009


There are precisely 3 reasons for not owning an iPhone:

1) you can't afford it and/or don't want/need a phone.
2) you are a developer and want to write apps.
3) you want a decent camera phone as the primary use

For those to whom 3) applies, get a camera. The very best camera phone is not as good a camera as a camera.

Any other reason, for those that spend an equivalent amount of money on a phone that isn't an iPhone, you have denied yourself the sheer pleasure of owning one. I have not met a single iPhone owner who doesn't think it's the best thing since sliced jalapeños.

It's the screen. The screen sets it apart from anything else.

Friday, 23 January 2009

I love...

1) My toilet

I didn't realise how damned lovely it was to have the full use of a toilet in one's house until I spent nearly 24 hours with a useless toilet and a bucket to flush with. A new toilet was installed today and oh boy is it nice to have. Sadly it took them rather too many hours with the water off and by the end I was in desperate need of a coffee and a pee. I was not amused by the suggestion that I could in fact solve both requirements in one unpleasant go.

2) Richard Herring

I'm not bonkers. Or I'm no more bonkers than he is anyway, which is *distinctly* unbonkersy. He got an iPhone and he gets it! He does! He realises the love! Read here to see that I am not alone in my belovedness of the bestest ever gadgetry.
He blogged about sleep one time at virtually the exact same moment I did. And he pondered about getting old the day after my birthday. So to show my utmost respect for things that are most definitely not complete coincidence, I'm putting him second to a toilet in a list of meaninglessness.

3) Books

I have read 3 books in a little over a week. Oh yes. Finished completely. Three separate books. All chick lit, all from the charts in Tesco. I've started another 3 but they went the way of most books (into the later pile) on account of needing a brain. No offence to any of the books I did read, but sometimes (the week after exams) you really need to switch off and into easy reading. Three different books, but strangely all came down to the same point: appreciate what you've got.

So I have been. For all that is crap, if I changed anything at all in my past, I might not be here now with two amazing children and I wouldn't change them for any of the things I think I need.

And now I'm going to read a book entitled Bye Bye Balham, which I may read sitting on the toilet just to celebrate this list.

***I know I should be talking about Obama, Tony Hart, Patrick McGoohan and other things that matter, but I'd be a bit "what they said" which makes for unnecessity. So all noted, all thought about, words not forthcoming through no fault of their own.***

Saturday, 17 January 2009


Delayed: 0900

That's what the arrivals board says about the plane I was to meet someone off at 0835. One would assume that means "expected at 0900" but as it is now 0855, it's not looking so likely. Maybe it's leaving East Midlands at 0900? Or at 0900 it will officially be delayed? Or it means nothing, is a rounded up time and they've lost the plane? Most informative.

I needed a drink, so I thought I'd buy a drink from the machine. £1.20, takes 5ps. Not my 5ps, I fed in about 7 before I accepted it didn't want to sell me juice. No worries, WH Smith will sell me one. £1.59. Bargain.

It is now 0900. Arrivals board tells me:

Delayed: 0900

Good. So they're keeping up to date and informative. Super.

That's a 9.

Delayed: 0909

If it was landing in 5 minutes, you'd think it would be on approach, no? What's wrong with "estimating 0909"?

I could a) ask or b) look up the flight online, but it's not going to tell me more.

It's nearly 0909. I can hardly contain myself.

Well, at least it doesn't cost £3 every half hour I park. Oh no, wait, it does.

It's not updated 0909. That's got to be good. Or bad. One of those.

I'm going to ask. I may get shot for going to Passenger Information when I'm not a passenger, but it's worth a try.

It's arrived. They're just not telling.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Peter Smith

This started off as a general preamble about art what I done seen yesterday.
I'll briefly mention Jeff Rowland (I love his snowy paintings: one day I will own the Paris one) and Rob Ford, and Bob Dylan the artist, as they are well worth mentioning for painting pictures of sheer aestheticism (is that a word? I care not) and who are displayed in the art gallery in Jenners, Edinburgh. Lovely, lovely.

But. Something FAR more exciting than that.

I have this little print that I bought from a gallery a couple or more years ago. I walked past it time and time again and thought "I likes that". One day, I bought it.

It looks like this:

and is called "Tunnel of Love".

For my birthday this year, I got given a present of another print of one of these pictures, which looks like this:

and is called "Fool for your Love" which is sighably awwwwwsome.

I was not incidentally given this by my husband. He does not like, I do not care.

The little animals appear to be called Impossimals and they are cute as cute can be. I saw one of these paintings in the flesh in Jenners and was literally beside myself. They are by an artist called Peter Smith, who it turns out is marvellously splendid.

He's got a website! And a blog! And paints things like this! How great is that?

Monday, 12 January 2009

Adventures in Examsitting

And off to the big city today, like a proper person and all. £11.30 it cost me for the privilege. £11.30!! But I do try to practice as I preach, so public transport at twice the cost and twice the time for me. Ho hum.

On arrival in said city I was forced to lie to a monk.

Hare Krishna monk (choosing me out of a crowd of people, I have that sort of face - muglike): Do you have a minute?
Me: No
GM: Oh, I'm a monk (yes, I noticed that) and we're collecting today (like every day) for underprivileged people.
Me: Sorry, I don't have any money on me. (a lie, but only just)
GM: You have no money on you at all? You have no change at all?
Me: I have 2 pound coins and 2 ten pences for my bus fare.
GM: Your bus fare is £2.20?
Me: No, it's £1.10 each way
GM: You could walk one of the ways...
Me: Then I'd miss my exam
GM: Ah, but you could walk back
Me: Then I'd miss my train
GM: Oh. What's your exam in?
Me: Transport Engineering and Control, mostly about these (pointing to traffic lights)
GM: Oh (moving away swifter than a swift thing), well, good luck!
Me: Thanks. (I should have said gouranga, but I didn't)

A long time ago, when I was nice and uncynical, I used to happily trot along Princes Street giving my hard scrounged money to anyone that asked. The gouranga people used to ask again and again and again, and whatever you gave them (probably a pound, it's an easy amount) they would say "most people are giving £5 today". And then they'd make you say gouranga like an idiot.

Incidentally, I don't give money to people on Princes Street any more. I give money to buskers if they're good. I'm not averse to giving, I'm just averse to being asked. Yesterday I was reading a precise wish list for donations, which seems wrong somehow. Whatever, I made a pledge to myself that I'm not going to give to people that ask (within reason). No. It's wrong. It puts people on the spot. If they want to help, they will, if you ask them, you are making them.

I then watched the most stupid act of kindness I've seen in a while. A blind lady was standing on the other side of the road from me with her guide dog. The dog seemed unable to judge when it was safe to cross as it wasn't a crossing and the lady seemed stuck as a result. A kindly driver stopped and waved at her to go across. Unsurprisingly, she didn't move. So he waved again more vigorously. Still nothing, still unsurprisingly. He then got a little annoyed, shrugged and drove off. I did assist the lady across the road I may add, I'm not completely mercenary.

And then to the exam...

Having completely freaked out this morning about being completely unable to do the exam, I had managed to relax a bit and feel relatively confident about what I did know. This continued into the exam when I read the questions and established the subjects I wanted were all in there. Huzzah. Except about half an hour later when I ran out of memory, I realised my confidence was misplaced. It is incredibly annoying when you know you know something and you just can't remember it, far more annoying than not knowing in the first place and winging it.

Almost as annoying as talking invigilators. It's an exam! We're all supposed to be quiet, you included. Why are you having a conversation? You're not even whispering! Shut up! Shut up! "Shut up!". Oh, that one came out as a sound, or a clenched teethed whispered snarl anyway. Ah. Well, it worked. Until I went to leave and the smiley invigilator came over, asked me (not in a whisper) if she could check my paper, then talked her way through her checks and said "bye!" to me. All very nice, but, erm, everyone else is still writing, I just cocked up an exam paper and this smile is hurting me now; not the bestest time for a chat really.

Huge grumpiness this evening and I have to do more work on Transport Policy for Wednesday as I don't think I can JUST write about congestion charging. Head hurts. Need sleep. Gah.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Flappety flap

Well, I have had a quite spectacularly good day; for one I am now 34, which is probably the most excited I have been about turning any age ever (except maybe 17, either because of being desperate to learn how to drive or an inexplicable obsession about multiples of 17). Also, people are quite lovely and made a lovely effort to have lunch with me or otherwise get in touch (I do understand that it's not entirely practical to demand visits from the Cayman Islands) and I got a whole pile of thoughtful, generous and carefully chosen presents. I feel muchly spoilt in a very good way.

Charlotte Church had a baby today. On my birthday! I hope they name him Jasper.

Flappingly: I have an exam in 15 hours, and approximately one hour ago I started to panic.

The reason for this is simple:

I haven't done enough work.

This is a feeling most familiar to me for I have never once gone into an exam having done enough work, and I haven't failed an exam since 1995. But still.

Thought process:

I don't know anything!!!!!!!!!!!
except all the stuff you've read and understood, plus there's the maths ones that you know how to do and get the formulas for and what not
OK, I know that stuff, but what if I don't remember it, or the questions are horrible?
It's unlikely that all the questions will be un-doable
It's possible!!
Not really
It's not helping getting in a state
I'm not getting in a state on purpose!
Might I suggest you have a coffee?
Excellent plan, would you like one too?
Well, that would be somewhat inevitable
You're nice and calm, would you like to take the exam and I'll write a silly blog?
Ok then, as long as you make that coffee

Right then, onward and examward. It's ok, it's ok, it's ok. I am expected to waffle for three hours, I'm good at that.


I'm not 33 any more!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, 10 January 2009

One Day Like This

I'm appalling bad at hearing lyrics, I just don't take them in. So I've been listening to Elbow's fantastic song, One Day Like This, for months and months and just realised (ie. looked up) the lyrics, they're good.

Drinking in the morning sun
Blinking in the morning sun
Shaking off the heavy one
Heavy like a loaded gun

What made me behave that way?
Using words I never say
I can only think it must be love
Oh, anyway, it’s looking like a beautiful day

Someone tell me how I feel
It’s silly wrong but vivid right
Oh, kiss me like the final meal
Yeah, kiss me like we die tonight

Cause holy cow, I love your eyes
And only now I see the light
Yeah, lying with me half-awake
Oh, anyway, it’s looking like a beautiful day

When my face is chamois-creased
If you think I’ll wink, I did
Laugh politely at repeats
Yeah, kiss me when my lips are thin

Cause holy cow, I love your eyes
And only now I see you like
Yeah, lying with me half-awake
Stumbling over what to say
Well, anyway, it’s looking like a beautiful day

So throw those curtains wide!
One day like this a year’d see me right!


This is a particularly nice day. It's pouring with rain, blustery with wind and I'm studying, but I feel strangely contented. The last day of 33 goes out in quiet harmony, and I am immensely shallow and got nice stuff from nice people today.

I may investigate what Wires by Athlete is about.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Blogging along

Why blog? It's sort of impersonal while shouting out to the world, "notice me!! me!! yes, me, the one saying nothing much over here!"

The impersonal bit:

People are mostly busy. So if you send an email of the inane thoughts you have had of a day, they quite probably won't have time/energy/inclination to reply with same. And if it's something bigger, then by emailing you are saying "You. Yes you, recipient of this email. Here is my problem. Please think on it and send me a response. I am relying on you to say the right thing and will be mortally offended if you do not". And then they are genuinely too busy or unable to say the right thing, or worried about your reaction, or some other reason, yet you assume they either don't care or that they have decided you unworthy of any further communication.

If you blog it, then you're not usually aiming it at anyone in particular, contrary to the belief of those reading it. Anyone that wants to read and respond can, but if one particular person can't or doesn't want to, there's nothing personal about that. It's safe, even if you have to be generic to remain safe.

The notice-me bit:
Being noticed for what you've written is rather good. It's damned nice when someone who thinks like you or shares an interest contacts you to say so. Blogging allows both, as well as the slim possibility that someone you'd want to read it stumbles on your blog. Of course, there's the other 99.9% of the time when you are entirely insignificant. But still. There's moments that wouldn't happen otherwise.

Other immensely shallow reasons for blogging:

it's nice to see your own words written down
it's nice to talk incessantly
every post is about something you at least cared about at that moment
when you forget things, you can look back at what you blogged about them

That was me learning about traffic volumes and forecasting.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Probably the best playlist in the world... ever

Gotta love Genius.

And another day again

Well, it is now midnight. Exactly so according to the post options. Stinky bad day is finished. And people were generally nice which I must admit and grudgingly accept that it's not all that bad. Positivity back now. For at least an hour.

I am totally ready for my exams: I have four pens, three mechanical pencils, one eraser, one ruler, one scientific calculator, one large notebook for notes, past papers, course notes. All I need to do now is, er, read the notes and do the past papers. No problem!

I have previously read the notes. It's not quite as bad as it sounds. I just don't remember any of it.

Going back to previous ponderages:

1) I have the new issue of Psychologies magazine. I'm kind of scared to open it as I am totally duty bound to love every word of this month's issue after last month's foot in blog incident. I really liked an article in Easy Living by Shane Watson and I can't remember a word of what it was about. So easily unimpressed, so fleetingly impressed. Fairness decrees that I should praise an article this month - and it should really be one from Psychologies, unfortunately as I'm scared of that particular magazine now, I can only open it under the cover of darkness and then I won't be able to read it - but that would go unnoticed. Ho hum. I'm going to turn into one of these people that goes out of their way to experience terrible things so they can be funny about them. Well, I suppose that's marginally better than doing nothing at all.

2) iTunes and I are no longer happy together. I think I am being punished for my lack of Macness but until Apple charge £32 for a new Mac, I will continue to be Macally challenged. To indicate its displeasure, iTunes thought it would be a laugh to lose all the music files. Can't find, can't find. To make it look better, the resident boffin renamed all the files and actually ensured that iTunes was telling the truth, which filled me with immense joy and gratitude. I readded the files and then ran a script to delete the old ones. Nothing. Re-adding the files involves the analysis of gapless playback data, which takes approximately 72 hours. I would like to pick the "don't bother, I never ever will want gapless playback" option, but no, you have no choice. So I have done this three times, the third time after deleting the old library. iTunes is now happy(ish). But it's a new library, so it has to overwrite the songs on the iPhone. Of course. Because it would be useful to add to it, wouldn't it, and it's not like anyone ever uses more than one computer, or gets a new computer or anything like that. I have 4 of my 5 allocated computers used up, 2 of which are dead and gone and one of which is this one but it doesn't know that as it had been Linuxed by the boffin between then and now. It has been adding 367 songs, which isn't a huge amount, for 2 HOURS. It's connected directly by a wire into the USB port of the computer so I can't even blame the slow hub or network connection.

I get it. I need a Mac. Ok? I won't be getting one for a while.

Where's my magazine? Seven steps to make this my year?
Step 1) Overcome fear of magazine and open it.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Another day

Today is an anniversary. Not a good one and it is the first time in 18 years I actually remembered at the right time.

Today I have a splitting headache and feel achey and sore and tired and I would really like to have a lie down.

Today the children are overtired and bouncing off the walls.

Today I have 4 days left before my exams, for which I've read 6 pages.

Today I would like to be the sort of person that gets baths run and hugs given.

Done venting.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

No comment

Oh. I have noticed something. It's not good. On the blogs that I read, if I comment, no one else does. On the ones where I think "I'm too dumb/uninformed/grumpy/sleepy to comment, other people do.

I must scare people off. I'm not scary. I like kittens. And not on toast.

I think I'm going to construct this entirely as responses to other people's blogs. Just random responses. See how that works...

Edit: it seems I say it best when I say nothing at all. Boo shucks.

Love me

I'm sorry for talking about bridges.

Topical rantage

If I blog about what I'm studying then it counts as study, right?

Right. Thank you for reassuring me.

Through my studies I'm coming to realise that some of the decision taken re: transport aren't actually bonkers after all, that some of them are due to legislation and even that legislation has some sound basis for being. A slow understanding that probably means I'm on my way to being one of them. Cycling's the future, you know. Yeah. That was me that said that.

And so I appreciate how I used to think, and that everyone possibly doesn't read the same policy documents I do. But my opinions were never printed in a national magazine. Ray Winstone's have been. Today I read how he hates the congestion charge because there's all that money being taken and where's all the money for hospitals? Errr. Ok.
Answer to Mr Winstone: because the money is for transport. The legislation to allow for congestion charges was brought in in order to attempt to improve the appalling transport system we have. The money has to be sunk back into transport. It's the law. It's what it's for. And yes, theoretically the money could be clawed back from elsewhere and reallocated for hospitals, but that would defeat the purpose of introducing a scheme to improve transport.

When you see all the bus and cycle improvements that have been done so far, oh yes they have, it's a bit hard necked to whine on about the cost to the car driver. We do have a problem. We do have to do something about it. We have to stop being lazy fat arsed whiners that drive to the end of the road. We need to car share to the end of the road. Or do that perambulation thing people used to do before the car was invented. Boris is wrong: Ken was right.

Even Boris might have a clue about the Forth Bridge. It is not news that it's coming to the end of its life, I think it's been known since around about when it was built. The new plans are spectacularly short sighted and the funding to be borrowed from the Treasury against budgets up to 2018 was always a little optimistic. So the Treasury said no, we're not going to be in power then so we can't say (or something like that) and now we're up in arms because we'll have to use our own funds and business investments to build a stupid new bridge that isn't what we need and that we've needed for a damn sight longer than the plans have been in process so we can't turn round and say that it's because of the crunchy nut credit.

I'm still a bit confused about the other new bridge at Clackmannanshire. What's that for? It goes across the same bit of river in the same direction (more or less) to end up pretty much at the same place as the existing Kincardine Bridge. Why did they keep it a secret? Does it have a reason? Can't it be used to relieve the Forth Bridge? Could it not have been built somewhere less on top of the existing bridge? Couldn't it have been combined with the needs of the new crossing that isn't going to ever be? It is very nice and shiny, I do like it, and went across it completely unecessarily and drove the 2 feet back to Kincardine just for the hell of it.

facetiousness aside, I believe there is good logic for this bridge but it seems a little shortsighted (again) not to allow some sort of link up for the crossings

You know when you type a word so often it becomes weird and doesn't look like a word any more? That just happened with bridge, I need to stop talking about bridges now, although the word does look satisfyingly like a bridge between the b and the d. They should be called brids. Much better. Maybe sbrids to get the approaches in. Hmm.

25 marks for bridge planning? I feel confident.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

A moment to be morbid

I have a fear, it is of death. I'm always convinced that people are going to die horribly, and I have a perpetual fear of my own death. It doesn't stop me doing things, oh no, I'll cheerfully risk my health and my safety without giving a moment's notice to survival, but it does make me have nightmares and causes an amount of entirely unnecessary fretting.

There's a number of things I do that I "have" to do right there and then in case I or the other person(s) involved should die and then I'd never have the chance. Which is completely illogical. I get the heeby jeebies about any mention of death; this post is probably going to give me a coronary. I joked about being murdered (laugh a minute, me) the other day and have been having kittens ever since about the increased likelihood of my being murdered as a direct result of having mentioned it. I just got a shiver down my spine right there thinking about it. I'm back to checking the back seat before I get in my car in case my assailant is hiding there. Not logical, not positive, not sensible, not very me.

I have a complete fear of Death the person/creature/being (that there pic is scary scary when it's big). I'm not that scared by horror films but I did however get competely freaked out by both Last Action Hero and Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, neither of which are notoriously scary, but which both contain Death. I literally had nightmares about the Dementors in Harry Potter because they're a lot like the image of Death. I quite want to read Mort by Terry Pratchett to see if maybe getting to know the character might help... but I'm too scared.

Any time I get ill, I think "this is it". Headache: brain tumour. Stomach ache: bowel cancer. Indigestion: heart attack. I don't take myself off to the doctor or even mention it to anyone else so I'm not a total hypochondriac, but I do fret about it at 3am. Likewise, I fret about other people who have anything whatsoever wrong with them, maybe that perpetual sore throat is throat cancer, John Diamond didn't live very long at all and he had an excellent prognosis initially.

Having a general anaesthetic is my number one fear, I've had one twice, once as a child and once as a very nervous adult that was desperately praying to something-that-isn't-god that I would wake up afterwards. Anyone else having a GA probably thinks I'm insane because I do all the "I love you"s prior to the op and insist on being notified instantly upon their awakening. Which quite probably freaks them out themselves and isn't the reassurance someone needs at that time.

Why so morbid? Well, I blame the dead people. Inconsiderate swines.

Spin me right round

Ho hum. So it's that time of year. For birthdays in this house, but for "oh crap I spent too much money and I've got a million things to think about and it's too cold and I really ought to be studying" as well. And the lingering nuisances from the previous year.

But not negative things. No. No. No. I've thought myself some positive thoughts tonight.

Worrying doesn't change anything, and I don't believe being prepared makes it easier in the event of disaster. Worrying about people isn't going to help them or change their actions.

Success at something requires actually having a shot at doing it. And in the event of failure then there is always the reassurance of having tried.

It doesn't really matter what people think. Asking them isn't going to change their mind. If people don't like the way I am, well I'll talk to the people that do.

The harder something is going to be to do, the better I'm going to feel when it's done. Nothing is unsurmountable and I look forward to feeling proud instead of helpless.

Everytime something bad happens, I'm going to banish the negative thoughts and concentrate on the positives.

Noone will want to strangle me and I'll still be like this next week. Oh yes.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Three today

My babies are three. That makes me sort of middle aged or something, it's weird. They're not babies, they're quite grown up really. Three years!

The living room: 8.30 am:

My youngest child and his favourite present:

My eldest child and his

Exciting new scooters from godmothers:

And skates from a favourite aunt

I have an issue or twenty with drinking. As such, I didn't buy wine for a party I wasn't having for three year olds. So when the inevitable party started, someone inevitably wanted wine. I had one bottle of wine: a bottle of rosé received for Christmas. Not cold. And due to deciding that I neither had the dishes nor the willingness to wash up, I was using disposable cups and plates.

Ahem. That's a good quality rosé you know...

...classy chick that I am.

And a spectacular cake, with spectacular sparklers, ruined by a daft cow taking photos and blocking everyone else's view:

Much gratitude to people for caring enough to visit and for being generous enough to buy lovely gifts.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy 2009!

Happy New Year!

This is going to be the year things happen. This is going to be the year where it all comes together. This is going to be the beginning. You're going to look back on 2009 as the year where everything started to make sense.

Have a good one. Make a wish, and make it happen.

This does not apply to people born in 1976. Sorry, you'll be 33.