Saturday, 31 March 2012

Don't be stupid then

I think I love Shea Gunther, not least for having a really cool name.

I'm not sure how old the news is, and I've read lots about it elsewhere, but he purportedly massively offended lots and lots of people by sending a BCC'd email to 900 or so applicants for a job explaining what was wrong with the unsuccessful applicants.

Naturally, the illiterati (a word that I seem to spell differently every time I use it - how many t's do I give it?) are up in arms about being chastised. Which makes me immediate warm to him.

Right, first off if you care, you may wish to read the text of the actual email. You can do this here

And read his response to the outrage

If he'd picked out individuals, then yes, that would have been wrong. Or if he had failed to BCC them and merely CC'd instead, which is a particular bugbear of mine and something many, many people fail to consider. Including, incidentally and digressionally, my children's primary school.

It's good advice, and nobody makes you read emails. It's not like a curtly concise letter of unsuccessfulness makes you happy. Even a gushingly polite and apologetic rejection letter is still a rejection letter. A rejection letter produces the following emotion: rejection.

If it invokes other emotions that's down to the individual.

So if it also gives you some useful tips, where's the harm?

Oh yes, I remember. It's the old elitist element of caring about how things are written.

Note: elitist there is an illiterati term. It usually comes shortly before/after some reference to tyranny.

I ranted recently about the lack of caring about writing properly in those who write for a living. I can't help but admire someone picking them up on it. Sorry, but it's all common sense.

Thursday, 29 March 2012


Hmph. Today is the publication date for Jenny Colgan's latest book, "Welcome to Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop of Dreams". I have pre-ordered it, which means it will arrive on my Kindle automatically. It's not arrived yet and it is 1 hour into today. Shocking.

Edit: it arrived before 2am.

I adore the pre-order feature. There are certain authors whose books I will purchase as close to publication as possible and so to have them just arrive is marvellous. Amazon do this with actual books also, but you are then at the mercy of the postal system. I prefer instant results.

I also have this wistful thought that I will forget a pre-order and just find a book arriving on my Kindle one day. This hasn't happened yet due to overexcitement about publication dates. I'm hoping it happens in June with Freya North's "Rumours" but this is extremely unlikely.

Kindle news: the Kindle touch is to be released in the UK on April 27. Although I am unlikely to get one unless some money comes out of my umpteen attempted money making schemes, I am excited about this. The lack of touchscreen is the one thing I don't like about my Kindle, which is the 2010 one that is now called Kindle keyboard.

Perpetual use of my iPhone means non touch screens seem useless. I have on more than one occasion uselessly pressed monitors screens in anticipation of a response. Incidentally, I have tried touchscreen laptops and been distinctly underwhelmed.

In short, I prefer touchscreens and having to press a physical clicky button instead of swiping to turn a page doesn't please me. Admittedly, a click is infinitely easier than turning a page in a real book, but that is irrelevant now in light of the Kindle.

Other Kindle news: I wholeheartedly recommend "I'd Sooner Starve" by Mark Sinclair, which is an astute and very funny account of a man's experience of establishing and running a delicatessen. I got this for free, I'd have happily paid. It is reassuring, after my last unfunny foray into free literature, to discover that my sense of humour is not missing, I can still chortle at well written observational wit.

And finally: you can just upload your own book to Amazon and start selling it via the Kindle store. Just like that. How very exciting! One day. One day.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Summertime blues

Summer appears to have arrived, which means everyone has gone potty and I'm a grumpy cow.

The two refrains all around are:

1) isn't this FANTASTIC???
2) this will be it of course, we only ever get two weeks of summer.

The former I don't agree with, the latter irks me as it gets said on each sunny day each year, thus proving its inaccuracy simply by its frequency.

I can see how summer can be lovely when you can throw on your lightweight summer clothes and eat and play al fresco. Eating meals outside is a real pleasure, if you excuse the flies and you don't feel compelled to cook the food outside as well.

Summer is not lovely when you have nothing to wear due to inexplicably attempting to recreate the baby bump post pregnancy.

Most pertinently, summer is not pleasant in the absence of a garden. No garden to eat out in or let the children let off steam in, and the joy of summer means that should we go to the park or beach to get outdoors, everyone else is there at the same time.

So we're indoors, with the windows open in order to cope, and the resulting cacophony of stereophonic lawnmowers mingled with shrieking children renders me nearly insane.

The one saving grace is that there aren't many insects yet as it is only March.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Stamping out

In true fickle style, I find myself agreeing with the government once in a while and console myself that the pleasing outcomes must be entirely down to the LibDems, because otherwise I feel a little queasy.

We, as a country and most definitely not representing me, appear to have taken against our government very early on in their power. So we, as represented by the media and probably not representative of Joe Public*, have to hate everything they say or do.

*aside from the fact that Joe Public tends to think what the media tells him to think, but that's another gripe for another day.

So, we had a budget, boohoo, we HATE everything, what utter rubbish rich loving nonsense etc etc.

Except I don't think that. It seems quite reasonable. I don't hate it. I get to keep my child benefit - woo! - and everything else seems kinda sensible from a fiscal point of view. Hot food providing people may feel differently, as might dedicated drinkers and smokers.

Today the sheep are up in arms about the new cost of a first class stamp. It's going up to 60p from 46p, which is a huge increase - 30% to be precise - because Royal Mail can now set their own prices within set maximums.

60p. Woo. 60p can buy you one bar of chocolate, or two cooking apples, or one local newspaper, or a can of juice. In other words, it's not a lot of money.

Furthermore, there are other options. You never actually have to send a first class letter by Royal Mail. You have options, you have choice. You don't have to ever buy a stamp.

According to Ofcom, the household average spend on postage is 50p a week. So that's £26 a year, which would now be increased to £32.50 a year, or 65p a week.

That's how much we use it. We will be out of pocket by precisely £6.50 a year. I can fritter that amount away on absolutely nothing in a matter of milliseconds.

The government may be vile and hate worthy, but that doesn't mean we have to automatically hate it all. There's lots to hate, target your hatred wisely.

Sunday, 25 March 2012


I have a cough. It's horrid. It's not going away. It's making me cross.
That's all.

Saturday, 24 March 2012


For the last 10 days I've been looking after Herman. Herman is a cake, or a cake mixture to be precise, and he is a friendship cake. Unlike some mad people who believe this is like a chain letter, I think this is nice. Chain letters usually contain some ominous warning of things that will happen if you break the chain, this is a rather nice "if you want to" sort of thing.

The boys received theirs from a school friend and three other friends went off home with theirs yesterday.

On day one you are given some cake mixture, named Herman, with instructions.

Or if you wanted to start your own Herman, you make up mixture containing:

2 cups flour
2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup warm water
2 tbsp or 2 packets active dry yeast

Sprinkle 1 tbsp of the sugar over the warm water. Sprinkle yeast over this and leave in a warm place for around 10 minutes so it doubles in size.

Mix the milk, remaining sugar, flour and yeast mixture in a large plastic or glass container and stir using only a wooden spoon.

Cover loosely or place plate over top of container so Herman can breathe and leave in a warm place.

The next day is Day 1 and you now proceed with the following instructions as if you’d been given a friendship cake mixture to grow.


Day 1: receive Herman, place him in a large non metal bowl and cover with a tea towel. Do not put in the fridge as this will kill Herman.

Day 2: stir well (with a non metal spoon)
Day 3: stir well

Day 4: Herman is hungry, give him 1 cup each of plain flour, sugar and milk. Stir well.

Day 5: stir well.
Day 6: stir well.
Day 7: stir well.
Day 8: stir well.

Day 9: Herman is hungry again. Give him the same as you did on day 4, then divide the mixture into 4 equal parts. Keep one part and give the others away to friends with a copy of these instructions.

Day 10: Herman is very hungry. Give him the following:
1 cup sugar
2 cups plain flour
Half tsp of salt
Two thirds cup cooking oil
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 cooking apples cut into chunks
1 cup raisins
2 heaped tsp cinnamon
2 heaped tsp baking powder

Mix and put into a large baking tin. Sprinkle with a quarter cup of sugar and a quarter cup of melted butter. Cook at 180C for 45 mins.

Today was day 10 and Herman is delicious, he tastes like an apple crumble cake.

I shall miss him though :-(

Friday, 23 March 2012

Free to a good home

Free stuff is always nice; something free is worth a try based on the principle of nothing being lost if the thing in question is awful. Should the free something be valuable in content or use, then huzzah!

Principles of clutter are not being considered. We're going to pretend I'm not disappearing under mountains of free, or nearly free, things I did not need and only have because of their lack of expense. We are definitely not going to consider the not free items that were purchased unnecessarily in order to procure the free stuff that was offered with it. Especially not Clinique eyeliners. No.

Anyway. That's not the point.
Yes, I have one. Ssshh.

My Kindle is one of my most precious possessions. I adore books and own many many many of them, to the detriment of my minimalistic ideal. The Kindle is small and neat, and cannot be left in an untidy pile no matter how hard you try. It stores gazillions of e books, as well as putting any other e books you own tidily in Amazon's cloud (the UK version of which I am mystified by as the limitations of same are the given reason for no Kindle Fire here; not sure why this affects the Touch. Different subject, closing bracket now).

One joy of the Kindle is the free books. Totally free. The classics, which are out of copyright, are mostly free, although not every title is available in a free version. "Great Expectations", for example, does not have a free edition, although most of Dickens' other books can be freely bought/downloaded/whatever it is you do with Amazon content.

Amazon also have daily deals, where they have books reduced to a bargainous price, and they periodically offer certain books for free, or 99p, for a limited time. Christopher Hitchens' "God is not Great" was 99p the day after he passed away.

The best feature of Amazon's Kindle shop is the ability to get ("get" is Amazon's term) free samples of any book, which are 10% of the book and can allow you to see if you like it. This is brilliant and avoids most regrettable purchases. Not available on free titles, for obvious reasons.

One day earlier this week, approximately Wednesday I think, I was perusing the free titles in order to get something to read, because the 50 other unread titles on my Kindle didn't appeal. It turned out that some of the books by author Terry Ravenscroft were free that day. I chose "Dear Coca Cola" which is a collection of letters sent to customer services and their responses. I was assured by the reviews and the blurb that this was laugh-out-loud funny.

The book, which has an assurance at the start that all letters are genuine, consists of letters sent to customer service departments and the responses, if any were received.

Some of the customer service departments replied patiently, some to two or more subsequent letters. If a response was received then the author would respond in turn with a more outrageous reply until there were no more replies, noted with "No reply!"

Kindly and accommodating replies were treated with derision and slightly ludicrous scenarios were detailed.

I didn't laugh, except at one poem from a customer service representative. It's just not funny. I found him more and more irritating and found myself routing for the customer service staff.

Which is an alien feeling indeed.

I investigated further, as Terry Ravenscroft has excellent credentials as a comedy writer, and most of the reviews tell of crying with laughter. Maybe I was just in a cruddy mood? I downloaded a (free) sample of one of Mr Ravenscroft (T)'s novels, entitled 'I'm in Heaven' to see if I liked his writing. Not bad, not amusing. That's not down to the subject matter of death, but due to a lack of wit.

Or maybe it IS me. There's oodles of comedy that I simply don't "get" despite the majority of others thinking it hilarious. I don't find Catherine Tate on her show funny, and I don't understand why the Only Fools and Horses Chandelier sketch, or the Fork Handles Two Ronnies sketch, are held in such high regard.

I don't dislike comedy, far from it. Most of my tv watching and my DVD collection are comedy based. I go to see comedians where other people go to see bands. It's a big part of my life.
Nor do I object to winding people up or being rude to people.
Or maybe I do mind. I could never see the appeal of Paul Kaye's "Dennis Pennis", nor did I enjoy Mrs Merton. Yet I find Steve Coogan's Alan Partridge hilarious. Basil Fawlty is the rudest and funniest character ever created.

Winding up stupid people can be funny, and adopting a persona of someone that doesn't know any better and is subsequently rude can be funny. Alan Partridge and David Brent of the Office are both trying to be popular, not rude, they just get it wrong. Brilliantly They are also fictional, as are their interactions, which does help a bit.

What isn't funny is being facetious and winding up good people who don't deserve it.
The issue with Mr Ravenscroft (T)'s book isn't the initial letters, it is the quite horrid subsequent replies to people who have taken the time to write to him. That's cringemongering, and
the whole thing does not carry enough wit to overcome the distaste.

If I found his style more amusing, more Bill Bryson-esque perhaps, and he had stopped with his initial letter and any reply, then this might be what it claims.

As a final thought, imagine my joy to discover on my actual bookshelf a previously unopened book entitled "Dear Customer Services", by Terry Ravenscroft, purchased sometime between 2008 and now. I am actually an idiot, for it is the same book by another name. I might read the final 31% and see if it improves...

Monday, 19 March 2012

Wish list 2012

Dear being in charge of my fate and who speaks to me through traffic lights, care of the cosmic ordering system,

2012 is progressing swiftly, we are nearly at April now and Easter is less than a fortnight away. I feel compelled to put it out there what needs to happen.

First off is a buyer for our existing minuscule property. A miracle on the form of someone else making it shiny and sale worthy would be a nice bonus, but we could perhaps work a deal whereby I get it to the shiny stage and you drop a suitable buyer into the estate agents at the right time? Does that sound fair?

Part two is the exceptionally amazing house we can somehow afford. I'll work out the terms of that deal at a later date.

Many thanks, I look forward to hearing from you.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Demonic foot fetish

We watched Paranormal Activity tonight. It was a perfectly watchable film, but it exactly matched one particular paranoia and will have more or less guaranteed me sleepless (more sleepless) nights for eternity.

One scene showed the supposed demon pulling back the covers and doing something to the girl's foot. I knew it! All my life I've been scared by the something that's going to get my feet; I will not tolerate them being exposed.

He who unwittingly flicks the duvet off my feet must face the wrath of the slightly mental.

The pulling back of the covers in the film has unnerved me somewhat; I have always previously been confident in my foot safety when they are covered.

Misplaced confidence it seems. The unidentified thing that does something can pull the covers back. This is bad, even if fictional.
No I don't know what it is or what it does, just that it wants my feet. I've always known this. Turns out it is a demon, which is not that great news.

I'm going to have to wear shoes to bed. Or maybe socks might suffice, but I do have a massive aversion to hot feet. Fear vs comfort? Hmm.

Then again, the hissy fit that erupts if my feet are stripped of their duvet protection would be sure to make any demon think twice about bothering me.

Friday, 16 March 2012


How sweet it is to say what you want to say for once. Twice in one day is quite something, and that was what happened to me today.

Opportunity number one: I received an email from some e-touchy-feely Lib Dem chap named Tim Farron wanting to know what I would do with the extra £60 a month I would theoretically have if they gave me the moon on a stick, sorry, if the tax allowance was raised to £10k. He urged me, personally, to email my thoughts.

And so I did. These thoughts were not happy daydreams of how I could spend £60 a month sadly, they seemed to come as more of a lament on the amounts I shall be out of pocket by thanks to the Tory changes the Lib Dems have allowed.

Will he read it, take note, reply or even notice I wrote an email? No he will not. Did it make me feel better writing it? Yes it did.

Opportunity number two: there is a Punto that parks on double yellow lines and narrows the entrance to our street every single night. I curse every time I pass him. He leaves enough room for a car to pass, but not enough for a larger vehicle such as a fire engine.

This evening I went out in my car to discover that our roadworks have now grown down our narrow roadway and that this Punto was stopped opposite the roadworks and was thus completely blocking the road. I beeped. The people around moved away from the car. I beeped again, and the car owner appeared and gesticulated wildly about waiting. Once he had moved enough and left me enough room to pull over and let him pull over again so I could pass (I know) he wound his window down and told me to chill out. So I pointed out he always parks in the way. He argued it is necessary and not to piss him off [sic]. I retorted that he pisses me off every single day, why should
I not get to piss him off once? At which point his drunken wife lurched up, slurred at me to chill out and was summarily ignored by both parties. The Punto was then unceremoniously dumped alongside some bollards and my ability to get through was lamented by my new friend.

Did this achieve anything? No it did not. Am I self congratulatory all the same for getting the chance to complain at the perpetrator of daily annoyance? Indeed I am.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012


Equal opportunities. Oh how woefully misunderstood that is.

When will people realise that true equality comes when which gender, race, disability, religion, sexuality, or any other potential divide a person belongs to does not matter in the slightest?

All individuals should have the same opportunities, regardless of who or what they are. That is equality.

Equality does not mean a 50/50 split between groups. Nor does it mean a representative split according to distribution of members of any group.


I find myself in the horrifying situation of agreeing with Theresa May. Women should progress because they are good enough. They should be offered the same opportunities as men, and if they are the best person for a job, then they get the job. The same applies to the disabled, ethnic minorities, and any other groups potentially subject to positive discrimination. Quotas are discriminatory against those that don't meet the quota requirements, which is every bit as unfair as negative discrimination.

Getting a job because you are a woman is no better for society and equality than not getting it because you are a woman.

Incidentally, I don't really personally subscribe to the idea of modern feminism. I would if we didn't have the right to vote, or be educated, or anything else that I mostly take for granted and should give hearty thanks to the feminists of old for achieving for me. I have had my idiocy explained to me, and issues outlined, but I remain unconvinced.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Mathematicians know best

Far be it for me to be against the pedantic. All hail the pedants; force the illiterati to feel foolish for their errors.

Or, as is more often the case, allow the illiterati to mock the pedantic for being anal and subsequently increase hatred on both sides of the grammar divide.

However much I agree with the pedant army, there is one commonly quoted error that irks me.

The pedants state that the use of "less than" is frequently incorrect and should be "fewer than". The usual example is at a fast checkout queue which has signage indicating "20 items or less", causing the hackles to rise in those who argue the following:

Less is used for a non-discrete quantity, for example: less milk. You can reduce the amount of milk by any amount, a drop, a cup, a drizzle, however much you like. If talking about a discrete quantity, such as bottles of milk, which can only be reduced in whole numbers, you should say "fewer than 7 bottles".

And so the mathematical part of my brain comes into action.
I instinctively want to correct that 7 to x, because in that sentence any number at all could fit. 7 is a number plucked from nowhere and which doesn't really belong there.

And so the sentence would read "fewer than x bottles of milk". Better, they say.

Except "fewer than" is not a mathematical term. In mathematics, you would write it as "less than x bottles of milk", because "less than" IS a mathematical term. Of course in maths, you would have discarded most of the words and would simply be dealing with < x, but that is another matter.

In the supermarket queue scenario, the number of items must be less than or equal to 20. Or to be more concise: 20 or less.
A correct mathematical term, and therefore appropriate to me.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Formula Half

I'm quite excited about the new Formula 1 season, which begins next weekend in Melbourne. Sebastian Vettel is a god amongst drivers and I look forward to seeing what he achieves this year. He may be the finest Formula 1 driver ever.

I'm not hugely loyal though, I'll also be keeping a close eye on Lewis Hamilton and Jensen Button. We can pretend that I'm being patriotically British just for a while, even if we have to concede that I really tend to be a bit German about sport.

I'm a little apprehensive about the coverage however. The BBC are how showing half, and Sky are showing half. As a Virgin subscriber, it would cost us £22.50 a month to have Sky Sports, which then gives free F1 coverage. Their website states that what you can do if you don't have Sky Sports and you want to watch F1 is: get Sky Sports.

I am told by a trusted source that this is due to Sky setting prices and further told by another that this is true.

Reason to detest Sky #6,345,311.

In a previous incarnation of my life, I had Sky Sports and watched football on it. Then Sky stopped showing any match you'd want to see and instead made them pay-per-view and that was that. As the bundle with Sky Movies 1-236 is generally negligibly more expensive, we had movies and sport galore. Woo. Not so any more. Sports is mostly boring football featuring diddy team B team vs weeny team B team from 1976. Woo. Movies show the same blockbusters over and over and over and over and...

Mostly actually due to having children and little time to stare at the tellybox, we don't have the full Sky works any more and so £22.50 to watch half the grand prix doesn't seem good value at all.

I don't follow how it works anyway, mostly because I haven't found out. I'll buy the Radio Times this week and find out.

"It" being the split coverage incidentally, I follow how the Grand Prix works. Obviously.

As far as I've gleaned, the live races will be split; half will be broadcast live on the BBC. What happens to the other half - being shown live on Sky - for terrestrial and non-Sky viewers I don't know. They should get a non-live version of the race as I understand it. Non-live is fine when they're on at crazy hours, but knowing Sky, they'll have all the European races live, and the BBC will be left with all the races run at silly o'clock to broadcast live. Maybe just highlights, which isn't worthy of the licence fee, but which is better than nothing. Just.

I also have no idea what will be broadcast, or where, of the qualifying et al. I don't know much really. Hopefully when the first race begins in fractionally (7 hours) over a week's time, I'll be better informed.

We'll see.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Scots, or how not to speak your own language

For some reason there seems to be a thing going on about Scots, the language, and why we should embrace it. Which is at least an improvement on wanting to reclaim Gaelic, given that we as a majority do speak a form of Scots.

The first I've seen of this new revival is with my children. In consecutive years, the twins have been selected to recite at the Burns' day hoo-ha. The poems were in Scots and I had the boys telling me things such as "flair is Scottish for floor" and other things that, I'm sorry, grated. On the first year, twin one gained first place and received a certificate in English commemorating this. Year two and twin two was third, with a certificate in Scots. "Weel done" and "oor schuil" both irked me.

A week or so ago I saw the end of a programme (presumably only for the delight of BBC2 Scotland viewers) called Scots Schuil, and this caught my eye. To be precise it screamed out "incorrect!!!" in the same manner as the certificate. But I turned over anyway.

This programme made me think. It featured some pleasantly spoken children going to learn Scots, learning about the language and how it has been left behind. At one point they performed a sketch where one of the children was talking about "hunners" and the headmistress was saying "it's hundreds!" (as I would). The parents afterwards were discussing whether we should embrace the Scots language and encourage the use of such words.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. I don't want to stamp out my heritage, but at the same time it doesn't sound nice to me. Pronouncing anything with the "ow" sound - our, town, house - as "oo" instead sounds kind of rough, as does dropping the consonants.

I live in Fife, although I'm originally from Edinburgh, and I genuinely can't pronounce some of the Fife words. While I'd be happy to refer to potatoes as "tatties", I can't form the local pronunciation, which is more or less "toi'ees".

Having placed myself in a dilemma as to whether I should celebrate my heritage and stop correcting "ma" to "my" in my sons, I watched another programme tonight about Scots words and their brilliance.

For all my worries about pronunciation, there is many's a word that I consider absolutely normal that are Scots words:
Jiggered and blether haven't been underlined by the phone. Maybe they're not uniquely Scottish?

They're just everyday words as far as I'm concerned. Or not. I only found out relatively recently that you don't get tablet anywhere else, unless it's made by/for a Scot.

There's a way of speaking and a turn of phrase which is pure Scots. Some of which I use and don't even notice, much I find offensive to my pedantic ears.
I conclude that I have my own rules. They work for me. There's no lingual difference in how and when you use an apostrophe though.

Finally, I feel the need to irrelevantly point out that the first line of Auld Lyne Syne is not a question.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Can't stop ranting

Why don't I have a mountain of medicine spoons? Since 2006 when Calpol was first suitable for my boys, I have never consciously thrown out the spoon that comes with medicine. Given how much Calpol we go through, not to mention Calprofen, Benylin (me), Benadryl, antibiotics etc, I figure I should have approximately 100, if not more. I have about 10. Where are the rest of them? I blame the sock gremlins again.

Grammar rant alert: why can't people, whose job it is to talk or write, not learn simple grammar rules? I spend half my time saying "did" to my son when he says that such and such done something. He hears people say "done" and so he repeats it.

So it irks me something rotten when I'm watching television and hear Jane McDonald say "talking don't get tougher than this" to Gregg Wallace, in humorous reference to his infamous "cooking DOESN'T get tougher than this" line on Masterchef. Care, people, care. It's not hard.

And lose doesn't have two o's in it.

I'm not sure about that apostrophe. I care about them too UNLIKE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO DON'T BOTHER. That's not the usual correct use, but without it, the word would be os. Hmm.
See, I think about it. And it's not my job.

Another thing that I wonder about is words that change meaning.

Ignorance: means lack of knowledge; used to mean rudeness. I assume this refers to lack of knowledge of how to behave. But it is constantly used to simply describe inappropriate behaviour. Unless used as an adjective and accompanied by the word "fool", in which case it gloriously refers to lack of knowledge.

Irony: this has been well covered. Ed Byrne notably has a very amusing stand up routine detailing how each scenario in Allanis Morrisette's song "Ironic" isn't ironic.

The Guardian wrote about it many many (9) years ago.

Yeah. I can't remember the HTML for links. I might fix that later.

Finally, as I've moved from a harmless spoon ponder to an all out attack on the illiteratti, I do wonder about those who give their children wacky names. With a made up name, they are ensuring their child forever gets preconceived ideas about them and called by the wrong name.

Others take regular names and spell them wackily. Not cute. Stupid. My friend knows a Jorja and an Ollyver. Those kids will gain nothing other than the fact that their name will constantly be spelt incorrectly.

My three children have standard issue, traditional names. Two of them are very popular names, one isn't particularly popular any more. I know that many think I'm boring, that they're awful and unimaginative names. I was mocked by someone for my choice for my daughter; her suggestions were off the wall.

My argument is that it isn't an extension of your creativity, it is the name of a person who will grow up and introduce themselves to important people, fill out forms and generally be hassled by having a stupid name. That's not to say unusual names aren't sometimes really nice, I just wish people would stick to names that work as names.

I think I'm done now.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Kitchen devils

In the never ending kitchen appliance saga, which has been ongoing for the last seven years and which has seen a new cooker, a new washing machine, a new fridge door, two new microwaves and a new panel for the dishwasher, we have a new fault. We have a care plan for our kitchen appliances (best ever monthly spend) so my old mate the repairman will be returning tomorrow.

What now? I hear you ask excitedly.

The dishwasher door falls open part way through a cycle. Which isn't all that useful on an appliance that relies on being watertight. The door is currently held shut with parcel tape, following in the manner of the fridge door and car bonnet before it. Along with many other temporary fixes that became permanent. And indeed anything else that ever needs taped, because parcel tape doesn't hide the way Sellotape does.

It does hide. It can become irrevocably lost halfway through wrapping a parcel. I don't know how, the sock gremlins must be involved somehow.

I hope it's a simple fault. If the dishwasher is condemned then I fear I may have to face a dishwasherless life, and that is quite terrifying. I would have to fling myself mercilessly to my parents who thankfully see a dishwasher as a necessity.

I don't have a tumble dryer. I'm not all bad and we do use a lot of dishes. Yes, I could. I don't want to.

My husband pointed out disingenuously that if we are to be dishwasherless, I would have to stand and wash dishes, which did not merit a response.

The repairman is to come tomorrow afternoon, not between the hours of 14.50 and 15.20 as that's school run time. And sense would indicate that arriving at 14.45 isn't all that useful.

I have my money on a 15.00 arrival.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

And then there was monkey

The last two entries were a bit rubbish, I know this.

C'mon phone. Surely it is obvious that I mean "rubbish" when I type "burrish"?

So words. I was going to have a rant about the Guardian's campaign to shame Facebook for their policy on what is acceptable and how that may not agree with the breast feeding nazis. But it comes across a bit like I approve of censorship which I don't*, so I'll leave that one.

*as long as things are spelt correctly and are accurate.

Yesterday I got in conversation with some Mormons who were intent on converting mums on the way home from school. I stopped, because I can't help it. Talk to me and I will talk back.


This was the gist of our conversation:

Evolution is infinitely more probable than the creation.
Evolution may exist, in that animals can adapt to their environment, but we are not evolved from monkeys.

There is evidence to support evolution. There is no evidence of God.
The evidence to support the existence of God comes from God himself. The mechanisms of this are too complicated to explain.

I wouldn't want to follow God, he's not very nice.
God sending plague, death and general smiting for any non conformity is pretty much the same as any parent disciplining their child.

Religion is based on not asking questions, to question is sinful.
God loves questions, He will answer them. Ask him in prayer and he will answer.
In a variety of ways. Like feelings.
Me: like when you ask the traffic light a question and it goes green. Is that God?
No, that is just a traffic light.

I remain unconverted.

Thursday, 1 March 2012


Oh I see. I'm supposed to write something here?


That could be a problem.