Sunday, 28 February 2010

Some truths.

I feel it is my duty to set readers straight on a few facts in light of certain rumours flying around that deny simple science.

For example, it has been suggested that there is a substance which is more adhesive than a cornflake soaked in milk that has been left to dry out on a cereal bowl. Utterly ridiculous.

Nutritionists try to deny that there are zero calories in food that doesn't cost you any money, disputing even that if you purchase 8 cupcakes for the price of 6, 2 of those cupcakes are entirely calorie free. Furthermore, some so-called experts recently produced a report claiming that carrot cake is not a salad item.

There is nothing that can reach a greater temperature than a tomato heated inside a toasted sandwich. Reports of molten lava, or similar, being found to be at higher temperatures are unfounded. The only substances that come even slightly close in terms of burnability are hot beverages which have been reheated in the microwave.

While childbirth, serious injury, chronic diseases etc may cause some levels of pain, it cannot be ignored that a paper cut is the sorest infliction ever to happen to mankind, closely followed by a stubbed toe.

Rest assured that the truths are as you have always known.

Disclaimer: it wasn't me.

Saturday, 27 February 2010


Blogpress will not publish a tedious monologue about the greatness of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food Frozen Yoghurt and why I need to win at Trivial Pursuit.

It would seem unnecessary to be censured by a piece of software.

So. Indeed. What's a girl to do?

Complain. Blame. Whine. Sleep.

(actually a full and frank analysis of a day in the life of a me).

Here goes posting this...

Friday, 26 February 2010

Poor me

No. Not interesting. I don't feel like being interesting. I feel like wallowing in self pity instead.

I have a (very) sore neck AND HAVE DONE FOR NEARLY ELEVEN MONTHS which is more than a little TEDIOUS.

Yes. I know.

Thursday, 25 February 2010


Masterchef is back!
Dance of joy!! Happiness abounds!!
I've missed 4 episodes, that's how happy I am!!

Doh. I must get round to watching TV roughly when things are actually on. Iplayer has saved me and so I can catch up; one episode caught, three to go. Series link now set. Phe-yew.

Watching Masterchef brings out my inner chef. So much so that I have previously filled in an application to be on it - at the wrong time. Confusion arose as to the start of this series as last week I was invited to apply for the next series. Which I haven't because, well, what was I thinking?

Being on TV is pretty much the last thing I'd ever want to do - I don't even like having my photo taken, and I wouldn't actually want to be a professional chef. Hideous hours and immense hard work. No, I'd like to cook in a posh kitchen with posh ingredients for people who appreciated it - for fun. As a career, well, making lunches would be nice but possibly not exactly richmaking.

So why apply? It's a daydream. I have my Masterchef style menus planned in my head, and as I cook I imagine John and Greg asking me questions and my wondrously witty responses.i have perfected my canapé choices, and know exactly what I'd cook with certain mystery ingredients. My head is full of rehearsed snippets of "why I want to win Masterchef", none of which are true.

Then naturally, TV reviewers would be charmed by my marvellousness and I'd be able to read how great/lovely/talented I am.

Ahem. Yes. More vanity.

Not remotely in the real world because in the real world it would be me, the me that is terrified of speaking in front of a lecture theatre. Not the me in my head that does the perpetual imaginary cookery show in my kitchen.

So. Watching it on TV and having ridiculous flights of fancy is as good as it gets.

It has flaws. India Fisher is one, her narration is efficient but annoying. John Torode is another, he has single handedly undone any love for Australian accents with his nasal drone, and the way he tastes food as if he was capturing it off the spoon make me want to throw things.

But what he says is brilliant and despite the aforementioned, I love him. Greg Wallace is the good guy, he's the voice of niceness and positivity and is adorable when presented with a pudding.

I love Masterchef. I love it being on. There is something deliciously decadent about watching glorious food being prepared. I copy ideas and every single time they say something is hard to make, assuming it's something I eat, I have to try making it. Oh, chocolate fondants don't work, huh? MINE do. Scallops not cooked properly? MINE are divine.

Masterchef season is show off in the kitchen time.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to lie back and watch episode 2 on my phone - oh yes - before it disappears forever.

Something interesting and not me me tomorrow, promise.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

iPhone stuff for UK people

Yes. IPhone. Yes. UK.
Sorry. You're reading it aren't you? Can't say you're unwarned.

For several pounds you can purchase a book telling you such gems as to how to navigate the hugely complex app store and how to choose the apps that are right for you. Yes, really! You can get reviews of apps and general guidelines but to date these seem to be written by people with little concept for real life.

Ah yes. They're aimed at iPhone owners. I forgot.

Well, I have an iPhone too, a plebian 3G not a glittering 3GS but still... And I naturally have marvellous taste so here is (da da da da daaaa) my list of apps that are splendid for my iBaby. Some free, some paid, I can't remember which. They don't cost much.

Most importantly, games:

Flight Control.
You draw a line on the screen to guide the planes to their runways. Simple but great.

Guide a ball down gaps in lines before the screen moves down and squashes the ball. Even simpler, still great.

Everest: The Hidden Expedition
Vague adventure guides you through various screens where you have to find various objects hidden amongst an array of miscellany. Short, but repeatable and enjoyable.

Yahtzee Adventure
Because Yahtzee is possible the greatest game on earth.

Not actually a game, just a thing to draw purdy pics. Mindless timewasting at it's mindleast.

Less important than games, but still important, utility type apps that make life easier:

Sleep Cycle
Put your phone next to you while you sleep and it monitors your movement. The alarm wakes you when you are in a phase of light sleep, which enables you to wake up refreshed. It also shows you a graph of your sleep phases and keeps track of how much sleep you've had. It does seem to work. Many reviews of this state that it can't work if you share a bed but luckily my husband spends little time on the far side of my pillow so it's ok. So far, I have woken easily with the alarm, but have discovered I don't sleep enough (really??!!) and that I have very little deep sleep.

Radio Times
It tells you what's on the TV.

Because there's nothing that makes you look quite so much as a tosser as ticking off your shopping on your iPhone. But it works well, useful if you have a rapidly diminishing memory.

Allows blogging for those who are insane and/or who can't use a real computer. Not perfect, but pretty good and as Blogger Does Not Work (very well) via the usual website on iPhone, this is the best alternative to the real thing.

Good for using Twitter. Not that much use for anything else.

Keeps track of psychotic days.

Ok, so everyone's already got that, I'm still impressed. Hear song, get told what it is, buy it. Just like that. I love.

Sky Sports Football
Keeps track of husband's psychotic days

Surprisingly useful movies app. Facebook makes you get it.

Lego Photo
Turns any photo into a Lego picture. Why would anyone not want that?

The Weather Channel
Because the built in weather app is rubbish.

RAC Traffic
Load it up, tells you what traffic problems are in the area, which is knows via GPS. Brilliant. Some people say it's useless, I propose they get burnt at the stake.

Ikea UK
The entire Ikea catalogue on your phone. Yes. That's it.

Sadly it has been categorically proven that anyone who reviews apps is a moron, therefore I am a moron and all the above should be disregarded.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Seeing clearly

I don't like spectacles. A very small number of people who have huge noses or tiny eyes look much better with specs on. Other people look perfectly nice with specs on, they suit them and have nice enough rest-of-them to allow for the hiding of their eyes.

I am not one of those people. I look and feel yuk with specs on. Some specs are ok, they are relatively discreet and don't take over your head; they can look almost as nice as no specs. These type of specs are not currently fashionable. At all.

Specs in opticians at present are on first glance all pretty much of a muchness. And they all have a big corner on them. They are very much there and they make the place where your eyes are into one big display of Frame. They all look a little Eric Morecombe. While he was brilliant, I have never harboured a desire to look like him.

I discovered a secret last week though. There are specs that have the discreet ok-ness of old stylee specs, but still have the requisite styling to look like they weren't purchased last century. These are the ones that people that still look nice wear. They are not the £59 complete price ones. No. They are the designer ones. The most expensive designer ones.

They don't have a giant corner. They look Nice. They enhance the face instead of uglifying it.

They cost a LOT of money.

I have a pair of £59 complete price specs - the nicest of the whole range - giant corner and all. They were fine when I was a lardy lump and hid behind a huge cloud of hair. Now I have short hair and my face is on display, I have to choose between wearing these and seeing the fine detail of life, or not wearing them and looking relatively ok. Eyesight is not fantastic, but it's just detail. I can legally drive sans specs, but things are a bit soft focus and bland. Contact lenses are out due to having floating retina cells that are more than ready to float off again. Pah.

Solution: squint and see the world in soft focus.

I tried on the really expensive glasses. They do look nice, I want want want them, I want to see properly. But, I have to be bought them due to lack of any money at all. I would be bought them, my husband is not a monster, but I have to demonstrate that I would actually wear them before money will be parted with. I have, I suppose, pout, had a FEW pairs of MOSTLY unworn specs over the years.

So I have to wear the monstrous specs of hideousness.

Don't get me wrong, the look is quite ok. If my hair is done properly, I look sort of trendy and cool; you wouldn't mess with me. It suits the sarcastic element of my personality.

But they don't make me look...erm, er, how to say this without sounding ridiculous... pretty. At all. It's not like I go around normally thinking I'm gorgeous, but it's reassuring to feel a bit nice, get flirted with occasionally, feel feminine. And these specs of doom make me asexual: I don't register on anyone's radar and women are nice to me. My "thing" is my eyes and they are hidden behind frames of gigantic cornerness.

Yes. I am extraordinarily vain. So shoot me.

I hate them. Hate hate hate hate. But I like to see properly and so I need to "earn" nice specs.

Sigh. It's a hard life.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Dangerous topic

I have learned not to ever express any opinion whatsoever on the topic of politics. People never agree, whatever you say, always decide your loyalties lie somewhere iffy and it's all generally more hassle than it's worth.

So. Here goes. Misunderstand at will.

This upcoming election. Where I live, which so happens to be Gordon Brown's constituency, is pretty much Labour's safest seat. So the result here is a given, unless the people that never vote get off their ample posteriors and vote, in which case a glorious victory for Liberal/SNP would knock the world off its axis.

But as to most other places, the dedicated media hatred for Mr Brown would seem to have stamped home a message that it would not be A Good Thing if Labour were to stay in.
Which generally means the other guys get in. The other guys in this case being the Tories and *we* would bag ourselves a Tory government, who would presumably implement Tory policies.

Tory may not all be "Tory", and all Tories don't share the same views (bigoted, in other words) but they're still Tory, so they'll be Tory. No? They're not secretly Tory, they're perfectly willing to admit they're Tory, they are presenting themselves as the Tory Party.

Which all appears to be stating the obvious, and displaying excessive usage of the word "Tory" (Conservative way too long to type 56 times) but to be frank, it's a bit tedious that the shouty types don't occasionally think of the future, rather than shouting a lot about what's in existence, voting it out and shouting equally about its replacement. After the joyous ejection of the current hated ones and the deification of the incomers, the faults of the new guys - generally being what they are and doing what they are expected to do - just goes round and round in one boring circle and the beloved get the blame (for whatever happens at the time that whoever is in charge just bumble their way through) and become the devil's minions.

So, having grown up hearing all the shouty types shouting about the "terrible, terrible, awful pure dead evil" things that the previous Tory government did, it's a bit galling to look forward to the shouty types shouting about how much they hate any future Tory policies that would be unleashed on the public that appear poised to vote them in.

But what do I know? I've never been effectively brainwashed.

Sunday, 21 February 2010


Not for the first time, I have been today referred to as a groupie. (Or posing as a groupie, which is a concept too bizarre to contemplate). This is the first time however that such a reference to myself has not been made by myself. Furthermore bizarrement was the indication that being a groupie was in fact harmless and nice.

Self confessed groupieness stems from a tendency to become obsessive about people to the extent that I talk about little else. People to whom I form a groupie-esque attachment become oracles of all truths. Should a God-of-the-moment (very fickle, me) say something is so, then that is Fact. (Charlie Brooker is my current Oracle). The most potent incidence of groupie-age in myself was an obsession with Bernard Butler, but that can be dismissed as I was pregnant at the time and all women (as well as some canny men) know that hormones can be blamed for EVERYTHING.

So. Casual bandyage (possible question as to the existence of the previous word) of the word "groupie" and the context in which I was (immodestly) called a groupie today would seem to be of the same meaning: ardent admirer.

A consultation with Wiki on the subject yields the following definition:

A groupie is a person who seeks emotional and sexual intimacy with a musician or other celebrity. "Groupie" is derived from group in reference to a musical group, but the word is also used in a more general sense, especially in casual conversation.


There is an overwhelming need to point out that I very rarely veer from casual conversation therefore the general sense is the one being referred to.


Readers may correctly deduce that I have no ideas of my own. I thus feel it is only fair to throw a subject out there for others to
steal, should they need to. But being unable to think of ideas, I shall ask me old matey Wiki again...

Nope. Can't even offer a stealable idea. Random does appear to be truly random.

I did find a glorious reference to Scotland beating England which is ALWAYS fun.

Stop now.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Mr Men

A renewed love of the Mr Men, totally excluding the Little Misses, coincides with a vicious slur being recommenced over on It Is What It Is. Which I can't properly link to but I'm sure it's mentioned over there on your right.


The love, incidentally, does not extend to the rather bizarre Mr Men Show which is presently being shown. Nuh uh. Old school Mr Men all the way. The only benefit of this show is that Mr Men merchandise is available, except they all look wrong.

The Mr Men books are, in short, genius. Long have I adored them and have gifted them to many's a bemused adult. The reaction of the adult to the book cements my opinion of said adult.

The boys (ok, me) had a small collection going until the other day when a windfall, erm, fell.

Untold joy to discover that on that dark, dark day (at the age of 15) when all of my books were given away in error, every last book had not been lost to me forever. Some had survived, and included in this wondrous booty were all of my very own Mr Men books. Only a handful of duplicates and ok, my old books don't say "My Mr Men Library" along the spines if you have them all, but goodness! I had most of them! And now I once more have Mr Slow to ensure my translation of Monsieur Lent isn't too rusty. Sadly there is no English version of Monsieur Non, which is the greatest Mr Men story of them all.

Digress? Moi?

Tonight's bedtime story was the heartening tale of Mr Nosey. One of the green ones, incidentally, if you are interested in such things. Not as funny as others, but still a grand story to read. This copy cost 20p and suggested that if you enjoyed it you might also enjoy one of the other SIX Mr Men titles.

I am so old. Which probably explains why I don't fit into my sons' Mr Tickle costume.

Yes. Mr Tickle. The undisputed leader. Tickle power defeats all.

Friday, 19 February 2010


There are days when things, people and places are all meh.

This was one of them.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

How to lose a kitchen appliance

Dishwasher was *fixed* on Monday. *Fixed* being: it was made to work by tipping some water out. Reason unestablished as to water - no leak found.

Wednesday: dishwasher software crashes at end of cycle. Engineer* called out again.

*Local Scottish Gas Homecare engineer, who comes out for free as part of a seemingly great scheme.
Engineer who has to date:
1) come to test the electrics and fused the fridge.
2) come to fix the fridge and broken the door off.
3) sawed the door in half so we could use the fridge while a new one was ordered. Ummm. Seal?
4) come to fix a leaky washing machine, found nothing and necessitated...
5) come to reattach the belt knocked off the washing machine.

And most recently:
6) not fixed the dishwasher.

So, the joy on seeing him arriving is immense.

Conclusion by him: dishwasher is leaking into base and activating float switch safety cut out.

Conflicting evidence:
The dishwasher isn't leaking.
The software is bonkers and has been iffy for months.

Suggestion by me that it may be software problem.


Two hours spent not finding a leak. Much bumbling done. Random parts ordered to fix the leak. The computer is contained in a replaceable unit with a massive crack in it. Replacement would seem rather obvious.

But I'm not a Scottish Gas engineer.


Donations to the New Dishwasher fund welcome.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Bad programming

While I am quick to wax lyrical about the greatness of children's television, which incidentally was quite definitely NOT better in our day, there are many which cause great upset at their sheer awfulness.

Top of the list: In the Night Garden. Aaaaargh. Babies love this. Preschoolers and parents who have watched it for 4 years don't. They used to. They gradually went off the episodes with headache inducing noise clashes, then got fed up by constant repeats, then got mildly psychotic at the sight of any of it. Trippy, weird and more than immensely annoying, it's on every single day and has totally usurped Teletubbies which is superior in every way. Pah! Babies love it. Merchandise is expansive.

Balamory and Me Too!, which are the same programme with slight differences like the name and location. Intensely annoying and starring simpletons. Garish songs and most annoying of all, a hatable main character. Balamory has the perky and punchable Miss Hoolie; Me Too! has the abominable "come on in Honey Pie" 35 year old Granny Murray. Nauseous doesn't even begin to cover it.

The Wiggles: never have 4 perky Australians been so annoying. And Australian* children's presenters generally do a great line in being annoying and perky while singing twee songs. But the Wiggles do it worst, and add an additional element of campness to complete the joy. The only thing worse than the Wiggles is Barney and, thank the lord, that is not broadcast here.

*they may be Kiwi. While I normally care lots to find out, I can't stomach them long enough to suss the accent, and if I listened too hard I'd start fancying the Wiggles and that would be so so very wrong.

Imagination Movers is a cross between the Wiggles and the Monkees if you remove all elements that were good in the Monkees. I don't know/care what the story is but the gist is 4 men in overalls singing a lot accompanied by an annoying side cast.

Yo Gabba Gabba is what you would get if you took neon pink, green and orange, fed them too much Haribo and made them into a TV programme. Noise! Bright colours! Shouting! Ohmygodwhatisthis?!! It has a very bright! and jolly! man and his made up bright! and jolly! world with bright! and loud! toy things and it's so very bright! and shouty! and wheeeeee!!!!! and it gives you a headache. It is intravenous hyperactivity.

And of course there is the Cartoon Network in its entirety which is just A Noise interspersed with shouty adverts for crap things.

What's the story in Balamory? Nobody gives a toss.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Cheesy tip

The greatest cheese on earth has been discovered. It was previously believed to be, a still strong runner up, creamy gorgonzola, but this new entrant is the true holder of the title.

I give you:

Couer de Lion, Pié d' Angloys.

Which I am informed, and my French confirms (ish) means "feet of the English".

Heaven in a circular box.

It tells me on said circular box:

"Created by Cistercian Monks in the 14th century, Pié d'Angloys is an important part of French gastronomic tradition. Creamy and full bodied with a hint of honey, this unique cheese is a great addition to a cheeseboard or simply served with crusty bread"

Yum. In actual fact it tastes like a most palatable marriage of Brie and Dairylea. Yumptious.

Unlike most champion cheeses, this is not expensive and is available in the supermarket. Huzzah for magnificent cheeses and the discovery thereof!!

Monday, 15 February 2010

Wedding day

Today I attended a wedding. More of a "wedding" to be exact. This was the nursery wedding, for 3 and 4 year olds. Yes, you did read that correctly. One of the bizarrest things ever, but rather handy for boys who have a real wedding next month.

Some of the children were selected, and dressed up, to be the bride, groom, bridesmaids and best man. Very cute, but verrrrrry weird. And off they trooped, including a very small number of parents, to church. The minister explained all the elements of a wedding, without actually doing any of it, or referring to the God chap who is remaining a mystery for now.

And the photographer showed up and spent twice as long as the "ceremony" took taking photos for the local paper. Just like a real wedding!

For those of you who can, see this week's Fife Free Press for photos.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Valentines Day

Awww. Valentines Day is cute.
Valentines day is also a merchandising vomit fest of cutesie ick that costs a small fortune. But that aside, it's nice.

Yes, it is.

For couples, it's an excuse to spoil each other a little and find some couple time. Or just think about love and why you're together.

For singletons: it's an opportunity to tell the one you'd like to be with that you like them without (necessarily) looking like an idiot.

For those uninterested: spend time with other uninterested types and appreciate your mates.

For those really really uninterested: just ignore it, the way the motherless ignore mothers day, the fatherless ignore fathers day and the way non Christians ignore Christmas and Easter.

And everyone can stock up on cheap chocs (and ick) on 15 Feb.

Saturday, 13 February 2010


Mightily grumpy.

Dishwasher has died. While this is not an undue disaster given that it is in fact possible to wash dishes by hand, not so true with most other appliances - and Scottish Gas will send their bloke to fix it for nothing - it is still Very Annoying. Not least because washing dishes by hand sort of requires a functioning neck and...

Neck is defunct. Driving to Edinburgh (30 miles away) and back is apparently too much to ask of a neck and mine is back to being useless and very sore, as opposed to very sore and sort of bearable with painkillers. Very Annoyed about this, it is MEANT to be getting BETTER.

Obsessions with Mario get a bit wearing when all waking child hours consist of talking about Nothing Else.

Back to dishwasher... One day it will be jolly pleasant to be in a financial position so as not to always have the cheapest of everything and to keep them all until they have been fixed to death. The thought of buying something new just for the sake of it and not because it's essential and the old one has completely broken is a luxury to be dreamed of.

Yes, I know. Poor me, life's so tough, bla bla bla. Aware of many blessings, doesn't mean things don't annoy.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Humble pie

Oh pah. I was all set to write a vicious rant about She magazine and to dissect one of their articles. Disarmingly, I received a professional and helpful email from the subscriptions manager, and so my displeasure has dissipated. I feel no animosity towards them.

Damned staff of women's magazines being Nice. How am I supposed to write a blog if everything's NICE? Nice is dull.

I have a rant based on the article I was going to dissect but that can wait for another day and be unrelated to She. Sigh.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Feel good and think

Asda have a wheen of books at the moment for £1. A lot of them are actually really good, most of them I have already read (low brow in other words) or own but haven't read (more high brow, and accounting for 99% of my books). But irresistible for merely one hundred pennies.

And so I found myself reading a book entitled "The Self Preservation Society" by Kate Harrison, which I was pleasantly surprised (dreadful cover) to really enjoy.

The protagonist is one Jo Morgan, who leads a very safe life, taking no risks and taking many, many precautions in case of the unthinkable. Until she almost dies in an unlikely accident and begins to realise how much of life she was missing out on by refusing to take any risks in any way.

The story of Jo's healing, and the people in her life helping or adapting to her changing perspectives, is an amusing, poignant and a thoroughly good read. It makes the reader consider their own life and for anyone who may be reluctant to take risks, or who live in fear of perceived risks, would quite possibly benefit from reading this.

Pop to Asda, or ask me for a loan of it if you know where to find me. And if you wait a wee while, I can report back on the second £1 book, The Brown Owl's Guide to Life by the same author.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010


Today was a momentous day for a particular Vectra.

It got washed by hand for the first time ever. Which was remarkably easy and it turns out it doesn't have to always go to the carwash.

It achieved 100,000 miles, with an unnecessary 10.6 mile round trip to make it so.

I have a love/hate relationship
with this car. It was purchased on the rebound from the best car in the world - a Volvo V40 - and one of the main criteria for choosing it was, erm, the colour. And a fateful gravitation towards Vauxhall of course, my first car being a Corsa and ruining all decent cars for me forever. Clarkson would mock heavily, and yes, I would like his approval for entirely rubbish reasons.

Not my car, but the same:

Things I love about my car:

1) the colour
2) the bigness (except when parking)
3) how good it is to drive
4) it's fairly well specced
5) it's mine

Things I hate about my car:

1) it tried to kill me by skidding horribly - twice
2) it has rubbish seats/headrests which is why I got such bad whiplash
3) the driver's window sticks
4) it rattles rather a lot
5) the brakes never feel like they're working. I would prefer not to have to hold my breath every time I braked.

The hate should outweigh the love, the love is mostly shallow.
Except for "It's good to drive". Really, it's very, very good. Other cars just aren't a driveable. Rattle, squeak, skid, swerve... proper.

Conclusion: I need a new(er) Vauxhall. In Satin Red.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

The eyes have it

Day 2 of a 2 day week. Children dispatched to nursery. (Or possibly despatched, confusion reigns). A very short time later, thoughts were being mulled as to what to do. Housework? Watch series 6? Sleep?

Nope. Answer phone, the school number ominously being displayed. Gloopy eye, suspected conjunctivitis, please collect both children immediately and get them to a chemist.


Boots give away free stuff to chiddlers under the minor ailments thing. I registered the boys in 2006 and haven't been back since. Until yesterday, as is the joyous way of life, when I got some cream, and then today. Yes, me again. Different child today! More free stuff please! Ahem.

Eye drops working good, everyone is quite healthy, except for one member of the household who is VERRRRY nervous of eye infections and who therefore has the cleanest hands in Scotland.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Sadness and hatred for fellow human beings

*****Apologies, this is a self indulgent, cathartic post*****

This evening I was driving along a busy main road. I saw an animal dart across the road, then horrifyingly saw that the animal in question had been hit, was thrashing and leaping about on the carriageway, and was identifiably a cat. The driver - who would have definitely noticed as part of their car was knocked off in the impact - drove off, as did at least one following vehicle. I stopped for two reasons: 1) my car stopped anyone else running over the poor creature and 2) there was a (faint) possibility that a vet could have been called to do something. A driver in the opposite direction also stopped and she and her (adult) daughter stood alongside myself as we stood uselessly watching this animal die, while wringing our hands and wondering what to do. That process took only around a minute, suggesting although thrashing, the cat would almost certainly have been unconscious, and was probably pretty much dead on impact. Nicer than imagining the albeit brief but horrific suffering it would have had if aware.

Due simply to having a throw thing in my boot and being entirely unsqueamish (isn't blood amazingly bright red??), I lifted the cat off the carriageway onto the verge, my primary concern being for the owner should they find it. And having a need to always take-charge-and-do. A small mutter to the other stopper about Other People, and retarded ponderings on my part as to it not actually being sadder if it was a young cat, then we went on our wobbly ways.

I felt compelled to phone the vet. Do something! Be useful!

Yes, sorry to bother you at 10pm given that a dead animal doesn't exactly construe an emergency, but what is the protocol for a dead cat? Er, no, I can't take it home and bring it in to be scanned tomorrow and I do realise you're not actually asking me to do that. So nothing, and I shouldn't have phoned you.

The vet was lovely and exactly who I needed to speak to in order to stop jittering, even thought that's NOT what the emergency line's for.

Now, I don't consider that stopping, or moving the cat, was anything other than common courtesy to fellow humans. That was a living creature and deserved not to be suffering, and it was someone's pet and should not have been left to be macerated by passing vehicles.

What I cannot get my head round was that the driver didn't stop - I saw the cat before impact, and we were slowing down for a red light, stopping to avoid an animal wouldn't have been at all dangerous. Even giving the driver the benefit of the doubt that they didn't see the cat before impact, they sure would have felt it. What sort of person doesn't stop, even briefly, to see what's happened? I'm not too enamoured by the car(s??) that drove round the thrashing cat either.

Most people disgust me. Someone lost a pet tonight and the person responsible didn't care.

Sunday, 7 February 2010


Conversation with kids first thing Sunday morning:
Sleepy parent: so, who wants to go to the cinema?
Marginally elder child: nah
Marginally younger child: I don't want to see Up!
SP: no, no, it's a different film. Come and see *pats bed*

Children assemble round phone. Sleepy parent puts on trailer for Alvin/Chipmunk/Squeakquel.
MEC: that's rubbish
MYC: that's rubbish *leaves room*
Sleepy parent puts on trailer for Astroboy.
MEC: that boy's flying! *watches intently till end* can we look at YouTube now?
SP: so do you want to go and see Astroboy at the cinema?
MEC: is Astroboy the flying boy?
SP: yes
MEC: nah

Sleepy parent admits defeat.

Later on, new approach...

Wearied parent: So. Who fancies going out for something to eat?
Both children: nah
WP: or we could get a DVD
MYC: I don't want to see Up!
WP: no, we could get Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs?
BC: nah.

So. Nothing was done. Mario was played.

Lack of enthusiasm for films is blamed entirely on Up. On their sole outing (to date) trip to the cinema, stupid parent decided on Up, being Disney/Pixar and all, great for 3 year olds, as they were at the time. Younger twin was scared by the main character and the dogs, older twin was just bored.

Yes. Pixar are great. Toy Story and Cars are fantastic. They have less good films, but they're generally impressive.

Disney have a duty (ahem) to make kids' films. For kids. Actual kids of a young age, not overage kids.

Wall-e is not-that-great for kids. Fairly complicated story, not enough kid stuff to keep them entertained. But it's ok, kids quite enjoy it, even though it's leaning towards the adults. Disney/Pixar films, of which Toy Story is the best examples, usually have the brilliance to work on two levels, one for children and one for adults, with some elements that appeal to both.

Or they used to. Wall-e misses out the kids' element but scrapes through on the appeals to both bit. Scores fantastically on adults' appeal: homages for film geeks, stunning visuals, humour, good story.

Up fails entirely to appeal to kids, small kids anyway. Story, complex. Woman dies at start, breaking husband's heart. Great!! Action, sort of scary, not a lot. Humour: nope, unless you're 8. Cute characters: one. We liked Doug. The others were pretty poor. There's not much for adults and I really think there's a finite audience age. Of 8-12.

Sometimes it seems there should be another classification of "probably won't appeal to littleys", maybe an 8. PG would do I guess. But Wall-e and Up, and the likes of Hannah Montana and High School Musical, are rated U. On the - fair enough - basis that they contain nothing objectionable. (Which is patently not true for HSM but that's another matter). But can't there be an indication that it may not be objectionable but possibly still isn't ideal for small children? Yes, parental discretion should be able to decide - no, we won't go and see High School Musical 77 - but that discretion tends to assume that animated offerings from Disney/Pixar would be ok.

Idiotic parent chose - based on reviews - to see Up, rather than Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Big mistake. The cinema is now a despised thing.

And goes to show:

Reviewers review on the wrong criteria. Five star films should always be enjoyable. Also, Cars is wayyyyy superior to Wall-e. Wayyy. Oh, what do reviewers know? More on that another time...

And Disney? Please think of the kids rather than the Oscars.

Although, to be fair, the Princess and the Frog seems suitably saccharine, but I think allegiance here has permanently shifted to Dreamworks.


Saturday, 6 February 2010

Films, mostly starting with A

An idea is forming (arising from drooling over Frankie and Benny's quite astonishingly tempting menu, ok, I'm only human) for taking les enfants terrible for a bonza half term/valentines-for-the-babysittingly-challenged premature grand day out. Consisting of film and food, if he-what-pays agrees.

So, food not too much trauma based on the "look, bacon followed by apple crumble" argument, but there is a definite issue of film choice. A consultation with Flixster - which has got surprisingly useful all of a sudden, wikipedia stylee - tells me, trailers and all, of the following films that could possibly be suitable for chiddlers.

Avatar. Looks quite shiny, 3D is intriguing (ish), quite interested to see. Kids may well enjoy...
2 hours 40 long???? Yikes! Why why why? There is undoubtedly a whole hour's worth of padding, can't you get a "Fidgeter's Cut" with all the waffle/scenic nothingness cut out? Suitable for children and people that have issues with too long films?

So Avatar's out. I would quite possibly like it but might be prone to a snooze in the middle so will wait for DVD.

The Princess and the Frog. Disney's latest, cute, lots of singing and... erm, I'm the only girl. So 3 out of 4 members of the party wouldn't like it, and I'm not sure I've even got the stomach for Randy Newman, x chromosome or not.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: the Squeakuel. Yikes. Singing chipmunks? Which we have free child tickets for due to some shockingly evil, bad, contemptible person taking My Children to McDonalds. (It may quite possibly have been their mother. Um). The boys might well like this and I could float onto a plane of tolerance and cute liking and "ooh look, it's Earl!!!"ness. But the remaining member of the party, purchaser of tickets and required adult to accompany free second child, is unlikely to agree. Ever. May bribe with DS if he promises not to show the other children.

Astroboy seems ideal. Not too cute for grumpy old men or princess hating boys, doesn't appear to have songs and does have Nicolas Cage as a character's voice. But gets terrible reviews and doesn't have free tickets.

These are the projected outcomes for family outing tomorrow:

Option 1: there isn't any outing. Mother type gets mocked for ridiculous (or dericulous depending if the speaker is 4 or not) ideas.

Option 2: Astroboy is watched. May be good (looks good and Up got fabulous reviews so *they* clearly don't have a clue). No food on account of crippling costs of cinema tickets.


Excuse me, I need to plant ideas in the children's minds while they sleep...

Friday, 5 February 2010

Genius simplicity

Assuming you can, do a Genius playlist on Sloop John B by the Beach Boys.

You will rewarded with 25 of the best known, most overplayed songs in your music selection. The ones that you used to like, but got sick of once they were in a film, or an advert, or just generally played to a painful, drawn out, miserable death, but still can't help but sing along to.

If any of the following scenarios apply, then I'm sorry, I can't help you.

1) you don't have Sloop John B
2) you don't have iTunes
3) you don't use Genius
4) Genius tells you there aren't enough similar songs.

What? No, seriously: what? Like I care?

Thursday, 4 February 2010


A brand new website of greatness!

Well. It's been there since 2007; but it's new to here!

It is this,, which is a quite lovely, and addictive, site where you can design your own dresses, tops and skirts, get them to make it up for you to your exact measurements, and send it to you within 10 days.

For impending bridesmaid duties, I have a rather stunning mermaid style aqua silk dress with matching shrug. Perfect. Disaster may be imminent, the dress was ordered yesterday so in approximately 9 days the fit and quality will be ascertained. Ug.

But in the meantime, there is an awful lot of fun to be had designing new clothes and getting them modelled by a virtual mannequin. Should they be as fine as they seem to be, then it's almost as good, quite probably cheaper and infinitely easier, as making your own.

Sometimes it's fab to be a girl.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

The missing

Hmm. A post for February 3rd appears to be a-missing.
Not so clever.
Perhaps writing an entry each day instead of a few every few days would be easier.
Or maybe this whole daily drivel is a stupid idea.
Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.


Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Perfect programming

Smug parenting. Oh yes. How I despise those who drive their kids to school and give the reason not as:

It's too far
We're too lazy

but for the following self satisfied reason:

Because they "love their children too much" and they can't bear the thought of anything bad happening to them so they have to take them right to the school gates.

Uh huh. And that can't be done on foot because...?

Smug. I told you.

And smug it is when parents sniffily state that their children's precious eyes are never tainted by viewing - shock - television, whilst muttering about other, lesser, parents using the television as a "babysitter".

Smugly, I conclude that the reports indicating any damage caused to children is referring to garish, loud, unsuitable tv. Or tv being prioritised above things that children just do, like run around. Not saintly CBeebies, for the amount of time before some guff like Mama Mirabelle comes on.

CBeebies can be quite wonderful, and I can credit it with my (genius) children learning the following:


Which is no bad thing. Ok, so I reinforce it forcibly, but how marvellous to have initial ideas placed in their minds in a colourful and cheerful manner. I have waxed lyrical before about the greatness of CBeebies. But there's news!!

Conveniently, for we are at the perpetual questioning stage of "what does *** start with mummy?" while nursery intros their names and what they start with, CBeebies has a new programme entitled Alphablocks.

Oh my.

There are - spookily - 26 characters, each a letter of the alphabet. They hold hands to form sounds and words and are animated charmingly. Each speaks in a manner to most emphasise their letter sound; they have stories whereby they try and solve a problem by linking up to each other to form words until they find the word that solves the problem.

They make more sense than that and form a quite wonderful introduction to letters and words, where I had failed to get across any more than the names of the letters.

There is much cuteness. Q is portrayed as a mad woman constantly pursuing U. T is a doddery old man who loves tea. X is an "exciting" superhero who writes an x in the air with a "cks cks" sound. O is overexcitable and says "oh!" a lot. C is annoyed by K for stealing her sound. And so on.

I love this. It's brilliant. Click the pic, excuse the twee titles, and see for yourself:

As to the "babysitting" element? You have to watch with the kids - which is why this house no longer shows In the Night Garden - or they'll know more than you. When demanded to make something, you had better remember how Mister Maker did it...

Monday, 1 February 2010

Googly brained

Periodically you realise that you've finished the internet again. So to pass the time, amusement can be gleaned from seeing how other people use it.

Chris Addison pointed out today that if you type "why does" into Google and read the first autosuggest, you are likely to exclaim "what????!!!!???!!!" and echo his sentiment of "why????"

If it's changed, sorry, I am not repeating.

Forums and whatever you call the likes of wikianswers provide many joyous search results from utter buffoons. Members of the public displaying their lack of knowledge, sometimes so spectacularly misinformed and yet arguing or being authoritative about things. Arguments between people that know nothing can be truly entertaining. The ignorant dismissal of scientific fact is quite beautifully inept.

But the biggest joy, which thankfully doesn't require anything more than a scan of search results, is from the questions asked.

My two favourite tonight were:

"Are Durex condoms bigger than average?"


yes, really

"Do flavoured condoms contain sugar?"

I could/should give examples here all night but I'm tired so will be uncharacteristically concise.

Luckily I'm brilliant and NEVER say anything stupid.