Thursday, 26 March 2009


Meaningless tasks: The washing machine has been on 5 times. The clothes that were dirty this time yesterday are still dirty, the stuff that got washed was all clean then. Its one of those utterly pointless days that would have made no difference to anyone if it hadn't happened.

Look: no one's being sick. The night is mine to sleep in. So I'm blogging as I'm a bit thick.

More pointlessness: The Apprentice. I watched the first episode of this, I figured I had to see, and I can see the attraction. Watching a bunch of luvvies get their ego smashed could indeed be top entertainment. But sadly, they're all a bit crap. That's Britain's brightest business acumen? God help us.

Pointless past: house is off the market.

No. It's still there.
Useless tossbag.

But it will be off. The stuff that has been in storage since LAST JANUARY will be returned. Precious books mostly, because there's just not enough here.

Pointless thought: Oliver Milburn's a bit fit.

If this all seems familiar, maybe it is.

and now to sleep and to dream of doing things differently...

Friday, 20 March 2009

The point?

Gah. I've not blogged much lately.
There's not a lot to say.

Things to talk about:

The news.
We have:
Tributes to non celebrities that aren't dead yet
Shocking revelations that relatives of people that die are sad
(and a special one from the Scotsman...
Outrage that lawns are dug up while the ruined turf is replaced)

I am getting overexcited about music that was released 5 or more years ago.

Washing machines and toilets:
No, I'm not that interested either.


Exciting things that have happened here:
It was sunny. The woman in the papershop went to Benidorm.

Things on TV:
I've been watching Shameless, Mistresses, Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money and I've just missed the new Dave Gorman thing. Doh.

Bitterness and why I am useless today:

So. Not a lot. I'll go and see if I have in fact missed Dave Gorman or if it's just about to start...

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Not read

Mosey mosey round and round the net.

I've come across a list of the top 200 books as voted for in the Big Read by the BBC.

Anyway, here it be:

1. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien*
2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
7. Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller*
12. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë*
13. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks*
14. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens*
18. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernières*
20. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy*
21. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling
23. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling
24. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling
25. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien*
26. Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch by George Eliot
28. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
29. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
31. The Story of Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
35. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion by Jane Austen
39. Dune by Frank Herbert
40. Emma by Jane Austen
41. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
42. Watership Down by Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm by George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
48. Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
53. The Stand by Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy*
55. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
56. The BFG by Roald Dahl
57. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
60. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky*
61. Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden*
63. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
65. Mort by Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
67. The Magus by John Fowles
68. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
69. Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
71. Perfume by Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch by Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda by Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History by Donna Tartt*
77. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins*
78. Ulysses by James Joyce
79. Bleak House by Charles Dickens
80. Double Act by Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits by Roald Dahl
82. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith*
83. Holes by Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake
85. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel by Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
89. Magician by Raymond E. Feist
90. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather by Mario Puzo
92. The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
93. The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine by Anya Seton
96. Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer
97. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls in Love by Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
101. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
102. Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
103. The Beach by Alex Garland
104. Dracula by Bram Stoker
105. Point Blanc by Anthony Horowitz
106. The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
107. Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz
108. The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
109. The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
110. The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson
111. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
112. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend
113. The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsarrat
114. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
115. The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
116. The Dare Game by Jacqueline Wilson
117. Bad Girls by Jacqueline Wilson
118. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
119. Shōgun by James Clavell
120. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
121. Lola Rose by Jacqueline Wilson
122. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray*
123. The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy
124. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
125. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
126. Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett
127. Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
128. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
129. Possession: A Romance by A. S. Byatt
130. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
131. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
132. Danny, the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl
133. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
134. George's Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl
135. Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett
136. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
137. Hogfather by Terry Pratchett
138. The Thirty-nine Steps by John Buchan
139. Girls in Tears by Jacqueline Wilson
140. Sleepovers by Jacqueline Wilson
141. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
142. Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson
143. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
144. It by Stephen King
145. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
146. The Green Mile by Stephen King*
147. Papillon by Henri Charrière
148. Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett
149. Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian
150. Skeleton Key by Anthony Horowitz
151. Soul Music by Terry Pratchett
152. Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett
153. The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett
154. Atonement by Ian McEwan
155. Secrets by Jacqueline Wilson
156. The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier
157. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
158. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
159. Kim by Rudyard Kipling
160. Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon
161. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
162. River God by Wilbur Smith
163. Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon
164. The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx
165. The World According to Garp by John Irving
166. Lorna Doone by R. D. Blackmore
167. Girls Out Late by Jacqueline Wilson
168. The Far Pavilions by M. M. Kaye
169. The Witches by Roald Dahl
170. Charlotte's Web by E. B. White
171. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
172. They Used to Play on Grass by Terry Venables and Gordon Williams
173. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
174. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
175. Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder
176. Dustbin Baby by Jacqueline Wilson
177. Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
178. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
179. Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
180. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
181. The Suitcase Kid by Jacqueline Wilson
182. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
183. The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
184. Silas Marner by George Eliot
185. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
186. Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith
187. Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
188. Goosebumps by R. L. Stine
189. Heidi by Johanna Spyri
190. Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence
191. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
192. Man and Boy by Tony Parsons
193. The Truth by Terry Pratchett
194. The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
195. The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans
196. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
197. Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett
198. The Once and Future King by T. H. White
199. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
200. Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews

Oh how ashamed am I!! This, I think, is even worse than films.

The ones in bold I have read, the starred ones I have started but not finished. I have mostly read children's books. Oh dear. Oh dear. Somebody, somewhere said that the average adult has only read six of these, so I'm possibly marginally better than the average adult. Oh help. I think I really need to take "reading" off my CV.

I think just one of these appears in my 2009 list, so that's not going to help. I've got Great Expectations and Crime and Punishment by email as well, I suppose. I've read some books that would surely have made the list in the 6 years since this was compiled. That Curious Incident dog one. I read that.

I am going to Read. A. Book (or 200).

Monday, 9 March 2009


So Obama un-banned stem cell research.
Which would seem a tad sensible.

View a) of stem cell research
Could provide cures to, or understanding of, a variety of otherwise untreatable diseases.

View b) of stem cell research
Could result in the cloning of evil dictators.

Now, it may just be me, but I find comfort in the fact that one of the most powerful governments in the world doesn't think like the sort of people that think b).

Of course, I could take the opinion, as of one of the journalists in our local press, that all the stuff about American politics is a bit tedious, being as how we're British and not American.

But then again, howthefuckdidshebecomeajournalist?

The words "clueless" and "idiot" are floating around my head.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Oh to have a brain again

Boy, am I rubbish at reading. I have the attention span of a two year old.

Notes on books before I give misleading impressions about books that are most worthy:

Bye Bye Balham by Richard Herring is good. I need escapism and it's all real. Obviously. I'm a tit.
Lottery by Patricia Wood is also good, and interesting. It's been paused because it makes me think too much about things I don't have the energy to think about just now. I'm a wimp.

My brain is weighed down with the things I HAVEN'T read. I am not well read. I used to be, until I was about, ooh, 15. Books now need added to films under "things that everyone else knows about and I just don't".

Sigh. I know a lot about traffic lights. You know, I am actually looking FORWARD to getting my next essays. Osadami.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Lent and the demise of a pointless blog

Hmm. I was writing another blog about my progress in Lent. And it was pointless.
So here's the introduction:

I am not a religious person but I am by birth (and baptism) a Christian. I celebrate Christmas and Easter. I ate pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. I thought I should think about what it's all about:

more chocolate

I'm fairly sure of the Easter story. But the Lent bit is something I don't really know about.

I have learned:

It represents the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert being tempted by Satan. Christians use Lent as a time for prayer, penitence, almsgiving and self denial. Pancake Tuesday is a using up of all the fats and flour before the fasting begins. So called Shrove Tuesday because one is meant to shrive and achieve absolution before Lent begins.

It lasts more than 40 days because it doesn't include Sundays. Sundays during Lent are meant to be minor celebrations of Easter. As Wiki puts it "Jesus' victory over sin and death". Not entirely sure I go with the "victory" concept, but never mind. We celebrate something. That's assuming he was real and anything at all to do with God. If He exists. Whatever.

Unsure what Jesus did on Sundays. Possibly did 40 days straight, but we always needed Sundays off. Unsure also as to whether Sundays are properly exempt and you don't have to fulfil any of the other stuff, or if you just slightly act Easter-y.
Maybe have a Creme Egg on Sundays in Lent?

Right. So. I'm not religious. I said that. But neither are the other people around me who give up things for Lent. I never do. I usually give up something I don't do anyway. It was going to be solvent abuse this year... but I decided to have a think. It's being a parent, it makes you THINK. I never used to think, I merely opined. Now I do this thinking lark. Troublesome.

It's not about having-a-reason-to-diet. It's about grieving. And self atonement. And I'm a bit of the opinion that even though I don't believe in it all, if I'm going to eat chocolate on Easter Sunday, I should really pay attention to the other stuff. And so have answers to the perpetual "why?"

So, for Lent this year, I intended to record each day (except Sunday when I'd ponder other things) what I had done in the way of prayer, penitence, almsgiving and self denial.

However, I have found that I have little to record each day. So, a bit pointless and so bye bye to that.

What I learned:
Self denial: I'm not so good at self denial. Right now I need to go on a health kick so as not to feel cack all the time. So that's little to do with self atonement and a lot to do with survival.
Prayer: not going to happen.
Almsgiving: I give little to charity, I certainly don't do it every day.
Penitence: I would hope I usually make amends for what I have done wrong. I don't think I necessarily want to write it down. Maybe I should. I'm not going to.

Maybe it would be nice to record a daily moment of niceness. Hmm.

Friday, 6 March 2009

In which the author says very little of any importance

Gah. Feeling cack so haven't felt inclined to blog. Now I feel inclined to blog and haven't done anything to blog about. Been sidetracked by the Lent thing which was a dumb idea, it runs out in a couple of weeks and means I jot down daily inanities there. Ah well.

I have been reunited with some of my beloved books, including the two most precious to me. They were in trusted care, perfectly safe, but I was most pleased to see their little covers. Amongst my books were a couple that weren't previously mine, but that the giver wanted to pass on. One of these was one of the collections of round robin letters by Simon Hoggart. I have been completely sidetracked by this and so my quest to read more of my list has been temporary halted. I may cheat a little on that one in a day or two, just because I can. It's my list. Incidentally, Lottery is good, I'm just in a funny mood. I will finish that, it's not cast aside, I've just been distracted.

STV have axed Moving Wallpaper! I know it's not very good, I only watched the last series because I watched Echo Beach, which in turn I only watched because Jason Donovan was in it. But still. I like the cast and it's entertaining and I'd decided to watch it. But STV have dropped some ITV shows, that's one of them, and so tough titties basically. Watch it on, on Microsoft Silverlight (thanks!) or don't watch it. I think I shall be going for the latter option.

I taped that Red Riding thing, mostly because Andrew Collins recommended it. I am convinced it is called Little Red Riding Hood, but then again I am convinced The Tiger Who Came to Tea won the Man Booker Prize. Methinks I spend too much time round small children.

Light at the end of the tunnel: a week on Tuesday the children and I are off to nursery to get them enrolled. They have a place (oh boy do they have a place) but this is the official "what do we do". So I can find out about what to do about the fact that neither of my children like wearing trousers and that one of them has a phobia of public toilets.

Aside from revolting coughs and general malaise, that would be that in MDworld.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Mort, Terry Pratchett and Alzheimer's

I've finished a book on my list! It only took a month!

Mort, by Terry Pratchett.
I really enjoyed this, it's very well written, very enjoyable and has mostly cured my fear of Death, or the personification thereof. I took an inordinate time to read this, partly through losing it and getting diverted by Richard Herring's Bye Bye Balham (which I can't get into for no good reason, I like it, but don't go back for more. Go figure) and partly through not being able to read with one eye.

I loved getting engrossed in the story of this, that's my favourite sort of reading. And so, despite having decided to read Ben Goldacre's book, I'm going to read Lottery by Patricia Wood, just because I want a story.

I finished Mort last night, and shortly before I did I watched the second part of Terry Pratchett's documentary about his Alzheimer's. I found the first installment of this fascinating, and while still moving, not completely heart breaking because they did not feature his family. He had with him his PA, Rob, who was involved and could comment on the changes, but who was not as involved as a family member. The second installment was rather more depressing as it did feature family members, not Pratchett's own family but the family of other sufferers. He also looked at potential treatment and considered the ethics. This is the first programme about Alzheimer's I've been able to watch and it was very informative and interesting.

Reading and enjoying a book by someone who clearly has an untterly brilliantly creative mind, and then watching him accept that he is on a journey which will end with the destruction of that brilliant mind, is all a almost TOO poignant. I feel rather lucky that I have all of his books to read anew, and a bit inclined to kick myself for ignoring them to date, but it will be impossible not to mourn the impending premature deterioration of a genius as I read the product of that genius.