Friday, December 15, 2006
Alfie has returned! There I was cleaning my kitchen, I opened the door to take out some rubbish and in she wandered, not a care in the world. We have noticed a few changes in her behaviour, like when she goes to sleep she'll wake up in a panic and she won't be left alone and every time I leave the room she screams but apart from that...
Aaah old people. Dontcha love 'em? Erm...no. Stinky gits the lot of 'em. Apart from my dear old Gran, bless her poor deceased cotton socks.
Spend two minutes now and name me five people over the age of 60 - apart from immediate family you have a scarily unnecessary emotional attachment to - who deserve to carry on breathing......Can't do it can you? The truth of the matter is, that despite the usual protests that these literal degenerates have amassed years of useful experience, they don't have any meaningful purpose. What do they choose to do with their collective selves? Do they go around schools explaining why they're so decrepit, telling all the innocent children where they're going wrong in life, how they managed to single-handedly win the war (if they're American obviously) or even visiting sad and lonely tossers in hospital, who, lying in cancerificly awful pain, yearn for just someone to talk to? Do they bum. (That's not a question by the way). They decide, for it is so clearly a choice, to sit and watch DAYTIME TELEVISION. Admittedly this isn't a bad thing in itself, DT being highly addictive but it's such a waste of experience...
And why should they persist in clogging up the supermarkets everyday with their urine stinkiness? If they must micturate in their clothes, surely they must have learned that one trip a week allows them to vegetate even more??
There are distinct flavours of Homo Senilis. My particular favourite is that of the female variety with "Big Bottom Disease". Much like the theory of evolution, there doesn't seem to be an intermediate stage for BBD. There goes a middle-aged lady walking down the street, with her relatively pert rear-end when she is suddenly afflicted with BBD (not that you'll ever see this happen). It must be made clear that BBD is not just for those ladies of a more...obese nature. BBD happens irrespective of general body size and is distinctly more pronounced in those who are in fact quite small. Notice how the have to lean forward to compensate for the rear weight. Notice also how the affected area can balance a tray of pint glasses, something which old women fail to appreciate, adding further credence to the argument above.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
No spoilers shall be revealed.
The story revolves around two Paul Daniels magician types having personal and professional rivalries, helped along by one killing the wife of the other. On the one hand this is an excellent film. Christopher Nolan has put together another brilliant piece of storytelling and the two lead actors (Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale) are as fine as you could wish.
On the other hand, the final reveal is a bit...meh. I saw it coming way before the end, having been looking out for it from the word GO! which maybe spoiled the effect. Having seen countless SF&F films the ending is a bit obvious but jars with the rest of the period-set film.
9/10 (loses a point for the ending alone)
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Alas, my baby has gone. Left us. Disappeared. Alfie went out on Thursday night and has not been seen since. If you see her, email me. This is the only post I have time for at the moment but more grief sharing will follow when I eventually get my house sorted - wireless broadband! WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Alfie, my lovely tabby pussy cat who I dote on, has had a heart-stopping adventure. Heart stopping for me that is, she probably couldn't have cared less.
Never one to let anything faze her, Alfie lurves to explore. The day after we moved in our cats were getting on our royal tits (two weeks?? Which masochistic arse decided you should keep a cat in for two weeks when they enter a new home? They obviously never met Nana) so against the wife's express wishes (she's a real have a cake and take five extra portions kinda girl) I let them out. Wife was in bed. What did she know? It took all of two days for them to be left out over night. NB There is no bigger joy than to watch your cat in a new environment.
So, I wake up at ooh seven-ish and after the obligatory nee demanded wifey-cuddle, I toddle downstairs, remembering my slippers in case my feet freeze to the cermaic tiles on the kitchen floor. I swear, this will happen come winter. Tea and toast in hand I open the kitchen door having just rembered my err...beloved Alfie has been out in sub-zero temperatures all night. Well she's not at the door...although I can hear a distinct crying above me. Up I looks, and she's on the utility room roof, a seperate garage size construction not three feet from the back door. Unfortunately there's no where for her to easily jump down apart from a 2mm wide fence and even she's not that brave. So I runs around loking for something to stand on - eureka! thinks I, I'll get the grey filing box, so I run upstairs.
While there I remember the previous day she'd somehow found her way onto the conservatory roof and into this same room. Genius! I'll open the window and in she'll pop. Bad idea. Big Bad Idea. You may have read earlier, if you were paying attention, that it had been sub-zero temperatures. This didn't occur to me.
Alfie tends to follow me wherever I go, so true to form, when she saw me she made the leap (two feet) from solid flat rooftop to icy tilted glass. I felt 'the fear'. Never has a semi-naked man ran so fast through a house with a grey box (got the image?). Needless to say all was well in the end. Once Alfie was out of arms she just sauntered very cooly over to her food and chowed down. As she does.
Reading other peoples blogs as I sometimes do (you lucky things) it occurs that I should try to just post on one subject a day but my mind wanders so much and new thoughts occur so often I have to end what I'm typing quickly so I can write on my new subject (so, so tempted to stop mid sentence there. Wouldn't that have been sooo funny?)
How do other cope with the staying on subject? Some people write thousands of words ON ONE SUBJECT. Jeez. Write a book why dontcha? Personally, if my musings were funny nee humorous, this is what I'd prefer - bang! you're in and bang! you're out. Insert your own reference to sex 'here'.
I, [insert name here], do swear to go through hell, to push my lungs to their full capacity in the pursuit of bodily masochism. No longer shall these buttocks be flabby; no more shall my gut wobble when I walk. For today and from now infinitum, I shall exercise. For my heart is in the hands of my treadmill, my brain is in the pit of my pants and my lungs hurtsoveryfuckingmuchpleasemakethepainstopsoon.
Today, I weigh 204 pounds. Let the record show this to be approximately true.
Monday, November 06, 2006
My sister-in law 'Kate' lives with her much elder boyfriend 'Ben' in Devonport, Plymouth. In a flat.
Now 'Kate' and 'Ben' earn far more than my wife and I ever did, even when the wife was working full-time. Despite this, they scrimp, scrounge and generally act like they're their own branch of Oxfam. They take pretty much anything we're giving away. Personally I'd prefer to sell it but my wife is STUPID!! and is perfectly happy to give it to them. For free. Nada.
Why do they act this way? Why does it seem like they have no self-respect? I have no idea and I have realised tonight that I don't actually care. You see, I now live in Leigham, many rungs higher on the social scale than Devonport. It's not quite Chaddlewood or even Mainstone but both are only a short walk away. Devonport however is on the other side of Plymouth. Bizarrely this has bought about a sudden excess of visits from 'Kate'. I'd always out down her lack of visits to the prescence of...me basically. I even offered to buy her pizza and go out for the evening if she visited my wife who was desperately lonely at that point and missed her greatly but no. She went to her mother, who told the wife who had a go at me for interfering and making 'Kate' feel bad! Women! (Any female readers might wish to know I love them all).
Incidentally, in a plot twist worthy of Douglas Adams, Jordan ('Ben's ADHD son) has now returned to his psycho mother in Wales and Olivia ('Ben's daughter by some other bint) is now refusing to stay the night and threatening to never visit. All of which is making him feel great. Oh, and Kate's a nagging biatch apparently.
In my quest for new readers, I have convinced that fool Scaryduck to add me to his link-o-matic. I'm hoping this will increase my faithful readership up beyond the dizzy heights of five before Christmas. Perhaps SD will take pity and involved me in one of his tales of mirth - or woe - thus promoting me in the blogosphere.
I need to formulate a plan whereby I increase my internet prescence and yet spend time away from the computer. Now I have Direct Payments, I don't have a need to trawl the SFX forum (to avoid the tedium of my job - I can now read! or watch TV! all while getting paid! MWAHAHAA) and my domineering hold of conversation is falling by the wayside which leaves me wan-needing readers but not being arsed to spend the time talking to other people in the juvenile nee pathetic hope that they read this tripe. Hmm.
Thinking is needed. And a less demanding wife. Oh yes.
I'm so happy to have moved house. I got rid of all my disgusting throw-food-out-the-window neighbours and moved in to my new abode on the momentous day of 27th October 2006. In the style of the football reports at my Primary School 'everyone played well'. There was a slight bit of indecision on the part of the solicitors when at 1345 our sale had taken place but our purchase had yet to happen - "No, it now won't take place until after two". We were sat twiddling our thumbs in a cold, lonely and very empty apartment. Literally three minutes later "It's now gone through". Cue a mad dash to the estate agent f0r keys. It's lurvely.
I now have yet more additions to take me away from reading and slobbing. I have a garden and decorating and a conservatory and get to play "Just what does this plug in this socket do?". You see, much as I love my new house, the electrics seem to have beenput in by someone who just threw darts around a darkened room "Just there for the socket and all the way over there I'll put the light switch". I'm down to single figures now though for sockets and switches of which I know not the function. Not one of these operates the lights underneath the kitchen cupboard. Answers on a postcard. Please.
It took a whole seven days to unpack. Three months it takes some people! How??
In the garden last week we had a squirrel. The wife saw it as cute. I saw it as potential cat food. Speaking of which, Nana has found a new source of mice to torment.
So, many things have happened.
I've moved house. No problems experienced. Yay.
We have finally received Direct Payments so I now get paid to care for wife full-time at your expense. Yay.
Voltan is no more. Boo.
My cats have surveyed their new 'yard' and seem to be happy.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Much has happened in the past couple of weeks since my former promised return. It shall be covered in detail over the next few days. Having just spent three hours catching up on my blog and forum reading (the product of packing, moving, un-packing and being generally too busy to even take part in onanism) I'm a little 'screen tired' ie I can't be arsed*.
* Nothing to do with anal sex and/or concrete.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Friday, October 20, 2006
A woman goes into hospital for surgery on her cancerous innards. They remove, amongst others, her kidneys and uterus. These bits get sent to the fridge for storage until such time as they can be examined and tested thus gaining insight into the patients medical condition. But they don't make it to the fridge. Oh, no. They get put in a warming cabinet. For nine days. Rendering them useless dry husks. Treatment options? Erm....None.
This is in no way related to my job in a hospital. I must stress that or my bottom will burn from a tanning.
Well huzzah. My solicitor has called and suggested a date for my move. Next Friday, a full seven days from now. Not going to be stressed at all in the next week then...He has to phone my sellers and agree it with them first but with any luck...*fingers crossed*
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Today I have been introduced to the concept of 'Rodeo Sex '.
I may try this tonight or, if I consider I may wish to have ‘relations’ ever again, I may not. Not that I wouldn’t necessarily say no to my Sister-in-law’s advances but I’d probably be too busy imagining doing her bodily harm to gain a certain….rigidity, so the wife would suss it from the get go. I’d like to think she’d see the humour of the situation but like most ‘I’d like to think...’s about the wife, I would be disastrously wrong.
Such as Christmas 2003; I thought that she’d like her Christmas presents. Looking back the electric blanket, gloves, socks and water bottle cover had a theme but is it too much to ask of her undying love that she appreciates these gestures? She feels the cold incessantly (and oh she whinges so) and I thought I was doing what was best. For my nerves and tits, that she was getting on top of like a wheelchair bound Edmund Hilary, as well as her warmth. Apparently so. Three years later I’m still threatened that this year had better not be a repeat performance. I search in vain for the perfect ie cheap yet not tacky, present.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Henceforth I am going on a mission. A quest. For new readers. I'm sorry to betray you single, solitary reader but I feel you need company. I need people that can genuflect properly. And leave comments. Lot's of comments that I may show to others as proof of my fawnability. Any sort of advice would be welcome...
Are you ready yet? Have you suffered the humiliation of being pounded in the buttocks by the granny behind you, eager for that last piece of plastic crap for dear Jason? There's only 67 days to go! Aaaaah! Or not. You see the sensible among us ie those under 40 with a sense of the technical use this 'ere internet. Last year I was proud, I stood up!, to have not stepped into one single, solitary shop for a present. It helped that the wife got most of it admittedly but not even her presents were shoplifted or purloined from the high street.
Where might this technological time-saver go next? Could we order own funeral on our death-bed? Might one just log-on during fornication to get the ever needed mornig after pill? Time can only tell and I wish it would for my body clock is ticking and time is running out.
Tick-tick-tick....life is running past. Not jogging, not walking but sprinting like Linford Christie on a souped up pimping bling mobile, with go zoooooooooooooooom stripes. Next year I may be dead and then I wouldn't get to find out what the frig Lost is all about and THAT is my biggest regret. Not that I'd leave my grieving widow (she'd better grieve!!) for I'd be dead and wouldn't know what state she's got herself in but we put so much time and effort into watching these things, if we died before the climax, like so many pensioners, what would be the point of it all? There, that's my big guide to life - make sure you see the end of any TV programs you're following or books you're reading otherwise your life has been pointless. That's deep that is.
A second title for this latest Nick Hornby could be Suicide: The Hardway - It's never a good way to do something difficult by doing it as a group which is where the people of the novel go wrong.
Meeting by chance on New Year's Eve on top of a tower block four people have their own reasons for jumping, with varying factors of relevance. Mr Hornby covers a lot of the pop culture references in his group: the celebrity, the carer, the failed rock god and the chav, so from the get-go you're rooting for them just to get on with it and jump.
I won't spoil wether they do or not, suffice to say things happen along the way to drag the book out. Often funny, sometimes melancholy, it's possibly too blase about the subject matter, relying on comedy rather than reality to show people in emotional pain. Imagine a Joss Whedon TV program on suicide and you have the book; full of witticisms at a time when death is steps away, one of the characters even comments that they're talking like they're in a London Soap.
It would be difficult for a book on this subject to show motive if it wasn't in the first person, which is lucky as we read what amounts to four different monolgues, intertwining their story with different perspectives. Bizarrely though, the personalites barely change, with only Jess, being the most extreme, having any sort of different vocabulary and most of that derogatory.
I'd recommend it to fans of Mr Hornby's work but certainly not as a starting point. 3 out of 5
Christopher Moore is a writer on the edge. Like a man with a penis is almost a woman, Mr Moore is almost a writer of pulp; he's pre-op. His ideas and characters belong in weighty tomes, 300 pages thick, while his writing style aid the words' trip through the mind. While not a book to rival a 'classic' this is TV in novel form.
Coyote Blue rockets along veering from surreal action piece to romantic interlude, while the reader looks on in the style of Mr. T ie a crazy fool. Most of his books can be described with a single strange soundbite and this is no exception: Indian with his own god has an existential crisis. OK the crisis might not actually exist until the Coyote of the title shows up in the opening pages, which makes for detached reading later on, but once he's there the turns and twists keep coming. One particularly memorable scene involves Sam's apartment and the Coyote in the form of...a coyote wreaking havoc. Manimal was never like this.
Coyote, the trickster, having visited Sam as a child in a vision quest, helps him with his life by destroying it and thus building it back up again. Out goes Sam's life, job and apartment and in comes a more fulfilling one as husband and potential father.By the end of the book you know how it's going to end up but it's a great ride getting there. It would have been nice to find out more of why Sam's life was so awful; he's only rich and successful after all. Similarly Coyote takes a sudden shift in personality in the final chapters which jars with what came earlier.
3 out of 5
The one where...Jack stops the virus #
The superhuman CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit) agent that is Jack Bauer serves his country once more. Along the way, people die, get tortured, kidnapped and generally don't have a nice time but then you probably knew that.
Season 3 sees Jack back at CTU having recovered from ordeals of dealing with the nuke and the death of Terry, his wife. He's subordinate to Tony Almeda the new Director of CTU but in charge of Field-Ops, a seemingly new addition to the team. For the past year Jack's been working under cover with a group of drug traffickers to buy a 'Weaponised' virus, that kills people in about 18 hours and it's effects are nasty to say the least. Needless to say, things go wrong. Big time. President Palmer is back (yawn) and has his own subplot this time, involving Sherry Palmer and the President's new Chief of Staff, Wayne Palmer, David's brother.
As ever, the action comes thick and fast, with contrived story devices thrown left and right like Plot Grenades. No other show has quite so many cliff hangers, not just in the final few minutes but also in the twentieth, twenty first and every other damn minute of screentime. For a man having heart trouble the last time we saw him Jack bounds around kicking three bells out of anyone and anything to get his *gruff voice* "job done". We even see a softer side, something we've not seen since the first few scenes of season 1 before the Presidents life was threatened. Old characters make a welcome return and some leave in a meh kind of way. Blink and you'll miss the death of a Big Bad which is the one major disappointment of this year.
No amount of disappointment however can prepare you for the blandness of David Palmer's B story. Much of the action revolves around Wayne Palmer and he has to shoulder the blame, as an actor. DB Woodside portrays Wayne like an arrogant younger sibling, petulantly throwing his toys out of the pram. Not even Penny Johnson Jerald as Sherry can liven up proceedings as we've seen her evil-woman-pretending-to-be-nice routine too often. Just how many times can the president use her, only to regret it? American Presidents have a reputation for being stupid but it would be nice to see even the fictitious ones be clever now and again. Time and again he makes choices which you feel he'd never make - you're the President David! Never heard of a pardon?
You'll be relieved to hear Kim Bauer's not put in danger umpteen times an episode having been given a job at CTU by her oh, so loving Dad, where she falls in love with...Jack's partner. Hop aboard the cliché train! New IT people jump in - do you need to be an IT specialist to work in CTU? - and work miracles with their 'future' technology. Paul Blackthorne is perhaps the best addition to this year as token English bad guy Stephen Saunders, playing malice for all he can get.
As usual characters and plot strands abound, revolving around each other with abandon; bluffs and double occur with all too common frequency and there's not a lot you think you haven't seen before - how many times can they play the "Someone’s hacked into CTU and/or are working undercover" card? Just how secure are the computers and staff in American Intelligence?
So, three seasons in and jack's looking tired. Let's hope season 4 re-invigorates the show as there's not a lot else as exciting. Dropping a point for unoriginality, 3 and a half out of 5.
Being better than it has any right to be, House of Wax is a decent teen-slasher. It seems to tick most ‘slasher’ boxes: pretty cast (Elisha Cuthbert, Paris Hilton, Jared Padalecki), camping in the woods, a road trip, creepy family, brother & sister, amongst others, which handily also sums up the plot if you chuck in copious amounts of wax. The only glaringly obvious omission is gratuitous nudity, especially given it’s rating and Ms Hilton’s extra-curricular internet videos.
The performances are (amazingly) solid, the effects are acceptable and the death scenes suitably gruesome, one of which features the best use of a javelin, ever. In fact, it’s the stuff that happens behind the camera that lets it down: The continuity is shocking, the directing tiresome and the editing slow.
3 out of 5
Superhuman strength, sleeping all day, cool mist effects, immortality: what’s not to love about being a vampire? As Jody discovers it’s a pretty lonely affair. How can you love someone when you treat them as your next meal?
Such is the premise for the Christopher Moore’s vampire opus. Referencing many of the vampire classics, including Anne Rice’s Lestat series, Moore creates his vampire and leaves her for dead under a dumpster. Who did it and why, are questions explored during the course of the book and makes for compelling reading. Unfortunately the pay-off isn’t quite justified. Yes, we have fun along the way: Jody’s boyfriend and his work mates AKA ‘The Animals’, learning Jody’s powers and limitations via bizarre experiments, the best littlest hobo in town and one of the best uses for Turtles in literature today, makes for fun reading, right up until the closings chapter when we find out the justification for the Big Bad being the Big Bad. He’s not really that bad after all, he just wants to get laid…
It might be a big change to your life being a vampire but once through the process, Jody seems to forget about her previous life, one scene with her mother notwithstanding. Her job is barely mentioned, her friends certainly aren’t. Would it hurt Christopher Moore to fill in back story now and again? It seems to be a recurring trend in his books that you get to know what is happening now, how it affects now but none of the repercussions, or events that led to it.
Thus, while it’s a humorous read, it’s an ultimately unfulfilling one. 2 and a half out of 5.
OK, I'm making no bones about it. It doesn't happen often but I failed this book. I got to page 117 and gave up. Before I go further,to give a sense of the book's prose I'm going to quote from the authors blog, something that had I read, and his blog is pretty much like this all the way through, I might never have bought it.
Now, the book starts fantastically; it has an urgency, an immedicacy, a need to get the story out. It reads like the final reel of a thriller, the killer about to strike and I sat there thinking 'Wow'. Not since reading Stephen King's Dark Tower - with it's superb prose after years of him producing guff, which I since realised he wrote Dark Tower way before his 'guff' which gives you a sense of how his career his gone dontchathink? - have I had that feeling.
Then the second plotline kicks in. And the second. And the third, fourth and possibly fifth (I'm no longer quite sure). All of which occur at different times, in different places, in different perspectives and in different styles of writing. Headfuck? Oh yeah. And this would be fine, I'm not a dullard, I can cope with this complicated stuff, except for the schizophrenic nature of it. At no point is it clear just what the hell is going on. The plot, apparently (having taken this from various sources) is about armageddon and Heaven and Hell are searching for people to join their sid, including Big Good, Metatron. It's just so damn hard to give a toss when the narrative intertwines mid paragraph with the fate of characters in different timelines, when the prose makes no semantic, grammatic or plot-ic sense.
Some describe this as the best book of 2005 and for a short period I agreed. Unfortunately I'd describe it as Most Obtuse 20th Century.
The one where...We get an Adult Isabelle and like a club foot, it drags.
The American TV networks are a strange thing to behold. One the otherhand you have Firefly, a show beloved by fans and critically acclaimed, even by those who normally abhor the Whedonite cause (like me!) that gets cancelled half way though the first season. On the other, you get The 4400, with far from stratospheric ratings and mediocre reviews, now in it's third season with the fourth confirmed before the third had even finished.
This year should have been the end for many reasons. The major addition this year was Adult Isabelle, miraculously grown from a baby to late teen at the the end of last year through some sort of 4400 ability. Daughter of Lily and Richard, she'd been signposted as a Big Bad to come, being able to communicate and destroy from an early age IE birth. While played by the admittedly beautiful Megalyn Echikunwoke Isabelle is perhaps one of the most obnoxious characters ever created. Evil people should have charm and style, not throw tantrums and sulk. it wouldn't be so bad if she was played well; you can't lay all the blame at the feet of the writers but Ms Echikunwoke tries to act like the two year old person she technically, instead of giving her character a defined purpose.
Much of this year focuses on the characters and suffers because of it. Isabelle ponders her role in the coming war far too often and can't make up her damned mind which side she's going to be on. Despite the viewer knowing it way before the climax.Too much of what happens is signposted, too much is just bland. Matthew, Sean, Kyle...why should you care about them when they're just so boring! Matthew it turns out is an agent of the future and what do they do with him? NOTHING!
In the first two years this was an exciting program, you didn't know where it was going but it was good to watch them get there. This year you knew exactly where they were going and they took far too long about it. The entire middle third of the season could be excised and make a much better season. I actually stopped watching and only came back to it for want of something better to do - "What have they done to this program??!!" I cried.
In the final few episodes Jordan Collier returns from the dead and impacts like the Tunguskan Meteor. Boy did he save this series; he should have been bought back at least four episodes earlier and allowed to develop. Instead, he's in, he schemes, he's possibly Jesus Christ and he makes the program exciting once more but even for a season climax it's a damp squib.
The main stable of actors are satisfactory enough, Diana gets a new love interest, Maia is her normal great Child Actor Who Doesn't Annoy, Jeffrey Combs (he's got his own fan club dontchaknow) is one of the Sci-Fi alumni obviously and Summer Glau is now a semi-regular.
Final mark? Big disappointment. Must try harder. 5/10.
Monday, October 16, 2006
If you ever get bored of where you live, especially if it's a flat with a rubbish management company for a landlord, get over it. It's far less stressful to hear your upstairs neighbours running up and down stairs at 3am or watch them throwing endless cigarette butts and food from their window to beneath yours, than it is to cope with endless paperwork, threatened deadlines and slow solicitors, believe me.
We started the process of moving (note this doesn't include the time spent looking for a house in the first place) in June. JUNE!! It's not the middle of October and we're nowehere near completion. My buyer keeps askign bizarre questions (Are there any medieval churches in the area? WTF??). It wouldn't be so bad if she could ask them directly but they via ger solicitor, to ours and then to us before being bounced back along the chain, so a simple question takes a week. To be fair we don't know if it's her asking the questions or her solicitor being thorough. Either way our 'seller' (new word for me!), is on the verge of pulling out as they're getting fed up of delays. Unfortunately we can't do anything but sit on our hands as we wait for our management company's solicitor (the third in this sorry affair) to sort out the answeres to yet more questions.
As far as we're aware our buyer really wants to move (she set-up her new phone bill three months ago), we're desperate (technically the weakest link but were ready first!!) and our sellers, as indicated are frothing like an over-excited cappucino. This is the state of play and it's not fun anymore. Once it was, once I was excited, but that soon gave way to boredom. We're now desperate to move as our neighbours are pissing us off. I used to go around picking litter up off the communal grass but as I was the only one doing it and I was moving I stopped. Now it looks like we may be staying AND I DON'T WANT TO GO BACK TO PICKING UP LITTER. I want my own garden that only I'm responsible for goddamnit!
The first book in Jaspar Fforde's Nursery Crime Division, detective series gets off to a roaring start. Written in ooh, 2003?, I'm a bit late reading this, let alone reviewing it but it's set in 'almost' the same universe as his Thursday Next books ie you get a lot of weirdness with a soupcon of modern and contemporary gubbins thrown in.
The main story focuses on Detective Inspector Jack Spratt and the murder of Humpty Dumpty, the large anthromorphosised egg. Did he jump or was he pushed? Or shot? Or poisoned? Or something else? There are a lot of elements combined into one here. On one level it's a straight whodunnit, albeit a certain definition for straight ie a bit bent. On the other, it's also a parody of the great sleuths Morse, Marple, Holmes, Poirot and I'm sure countless others I've missed. And that's as well as being a story of rivalry bewteen former friends, of ambition and morality, all in a world where the three little pigs are up for attempted broiling of the wolf and the Gingerbreadman is a psychotic inmate of the local nuthouse.
So, not the usual run-of-the-mill book then. But then if you've read any of Mr Fforde's works you'll know what to expect. There are puns galore, most of the characters names are plays on words (Friedland Chymes! Genius!) and jokes a plenty. Like Terry Pratchett his books are frequently described as 'hilarious' but I never find myself laughing out loud at them but it should be noted by the end my cheek muscles needed replacing from smiling so much.
Friday, October 13, 2006
The wife and I sat down last night and went through the list of undeserving causes we should give presents to for Christmas and ended up not deciding anything. This was a wasted half hour in which we could have done something more fruitful with our time. I could have been playing Full Spectrum Warrior on my XBOX. I could have found out who killed Humpty Dumpty in Jaspar Fforde's NCD opus. I could have cut out my tongue and fried it - not with onions and a nice chianti - but in a flambe type bearnaise sauce. This I would have fed to my cat quite happiily, in the knowledge I hadn't JUST WASTED HALF AN HOUR OF MY PRECIOUS LIFE. Why can't the wife do these things?? I though we had a deal. I deal with the important housey stuff and she deals with the crud I couldn't give a toss about. Words will be had.
Sorry. I know, I know. I've not been here for awhile. My apologies. My reader, for they are singular (prove me wrong! write a comment!) has been let down by my inactivity these past weeks.
What delightful occurencies have been going on? Well, my house sale is on the verge of falling through, my wife is getting more ill and I hate my job. Apart from that, life's peachy. Specifics to follow...
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Have a job, a mortgage and live your life watching TV, reading books and have a long, stressful life.
Sell your house for the proceeds, buy a pushbike and a tent, and go travelling until the money runs out at which point you find yourself at the edge of the Grand Canyon. Having lived a life of adventure, doing something fulfilling, you throw yourself off the edge.
What do you choose?
Friday, September 08, 2006
Thursday, September 07, 2006
The story so far:- 'Kate's boyfriend 'Ben', has moved his formerly autistic but now with ADHD (possibly some confusion on my part, or theirs) son, in. 'Kate' is not happy.
Over the past few days, 'Kate' has moved in, out and back in and no doubt if stress reaches acceptable levels, which is magnitudes higher than she can cope with - She's got epilepsy! Oh my God! She might have another fit like she did.....six months ago! Dear God...then she'll probably be out once more. 'Ben' is desperate for help. 'Psycho' wouldn't be too strong a word for Jordan. He's uncontrollable and runs around the house with knives in hand, kicking, screaming and throwing abuse at whoever is on the same planet. They literally pin him down. 'Kate' feels 'unsafe' - wuss. Does she not like excitement??
Plymouth Social Services, Snail like Sloths that they are, are dragging their feet in providing day care or 'school' as it's known. 'Ben' would like to put Jordan into care but Plymouth won't do it because Jordan comes from Wales and Wales won't do it because he's not being abused. Just doing the abusing himself, which is fine.
This is like a soap opera on my doorstep. Never did I imagine the entertainment value of my sister-in-law. I feel better as a person just watching her flap selfishly. Only last night she and her mother were deriding 'Ben' for not coping better. 'Ben' was almost begging Jenny for some support and she refused. A more loving woman you're very likely to meet.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Seemingly the fashionable thing of the moment to blog about is the death of The Greatest Showman Formerly Alive Steve 'Mad as a Croc' Irwin.
I'm sure you all know by now that he got stung in the heart by a Sting Ray, just as you all surely know this was only beaten in the likely stakes by the one-legged man playing chicken.
Steve, we loved ya for your bravery and courage but mostly your stupidity. You'll be missed.
Having been made redundant we've become aware of the need to save as much money as possible. This becomes a tad difficult when your cupboards are bare though, as we've been ruinning them down in time for our Big Move. Mis-timed it as it happens.
So off we toddled to the shops with the intention of doing a 'small shop'. Experience should have told me this would never happen, especially if I'm going with the wife. After a new cardigan and various pots, pans, kitchen accessories were put in the basket we then did the shop proper and it came to £127.93. A small shop indeed.
Saturday, September 02, 2006
I don't know who to aim this at. It could be Plymouth City Council who will ultimately pay (not in a vengeance type way but that'd be nice), Social Workers in general for being too slow, or the Government for making an overly complex system.
One of those three is responsible for me not being able to care for my wife via the system of Direct Payments (If you live with the person you care for, they won't pay you the quoted £8.44 per hour. Instead, they'll draft in someone under-qualified who my wife doesn't know or trust for...£15 per hour. Sense? Not in local government.) which is about giving control to the person that needs the money - instead of giving you products and services they'll give you the money instead. Easier said than done. Five months down the line with my wife's health ever deteriorating, they're still dragging their feet and going to yet another meeting (their fourth) before coming back to us for a meeting (our fifth) with more hollow promises that it'll 'be soon'. And monkeys might flight out of my butt.
It's only this week, since I was made semi-redundant, leaving me to scrabble for other temporary locum work at the Hospital, that I've appreciated the low level 'scum' jobs that people do.
My life currently involves a combination of a sick wife I care for, moving house, two cats and no proper job, all of which combines to mean I don't have the time to work somewhere that pays a decent wedge, I don't have the time to work somewhere that wants a commitment to staying on the promises for more than three hours at a time, or indeed turn up at all. My former temporary boss (temporary meaning there for eighteen months in this case) didn't care, when or if I turned up. It was a job that could be done at midnight and if I didn't turn up, it meant he didn't have to pay me out of his budget.
Now, I'm taking whatever work I can get in the Hospital, which generally means 'Dogs Body'. This week I've been mostly working in Physiotherapy as Receptionist. Me, 30 year old, semi-intelligent male as a receptionist...I'll take you through my day. I arrive. I sit at my computer/window and say the following: "Hi. Name? What time's your appointment? OK, that's fine. Take a seat in the waiting room down the hall to the right. If you're still waiting ten minutes after your appointment time, let us know. Thank you". A hundred times a day. I did this for 6 hours which, although coma inducing is all the time I can get. Next week, I'm working at the Notes store, doing something with notes presumably but I've got no idea what. And this is for £6.40 an hour!! Admittedly it's better than minimum wage but if someone wanted to make use of my talents while I worked from home I could earn much more but no one does, so I'm stuffed.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Teacher: And what did you do today, Jamie?
Me: Today, I got made redundant. Kinda.
I work for the local NHS trust on the locum bank where I theoretically fill in for clerical and admin staff on leave. I say technically because for the last eighteen months I've been doing the same job. Today, I was told my services would no longer be required. This is no big surprise as NHS Trusts up and down the country are copmbusting under the weight of their budgets, due in no small part to the over-excessive eages paid to doctors and nurses (but not to the clerical staff, oh no, cuz we're no "sexy"). Plymouth is no exception and over the past few months locum staff have been dwinfdling.
I had thought I was fairly safe although I was aware the axe could technically swing in my direction. See you could argue that my job, although one of the lowest paid, most mundane and highly menial, is also one of the most important.
Everyday, 'incidents' happen. They're not publicised but they do. Every so often you'll hear on the news about some new scandal and everytime I sit back and think "That happens 10 times a day!". Incidents range from nurses complaining about being short staffed (and most of the time that's all it is - complaining. Little do they stop to think that's how most of the working population exists), needle sticks, patients being given the wrong drugs, babies being weighed incorrectly leading to them getting ten times the medication and accidents in theatre. Like a drill slipping into someones brain during neurosurgery. For example. It's my job to read about these incidents and input them onto a database. Why's that so important you ask?
Well reports get run off the database. Imagine a Beverley Allit-type nurse. This is hopw she'd get caught out, from having her name gflagged up against too many deaths. Departments get to know which type of incident is more likely and where they need to train. If a department has been complaining of being short-staffed and something happens, there's just cause. These reports go out to hundreds of people, all from the one database.
The Trust gets assessed against certain standards one of which is this: http://www.nhsla.com/Claims/Schemes/CNST/ This saved the trust half a million punds this year, based on me doing my job. If I don't do it, the Trust isn't covered for insurance against litigation.
It's only a matter of time before someone dies, not just from me losing my job because that'd be arrogant, but from lack of funding and ill thought out ideas on how to save money.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
I had an argument with the wife yesterday. I say argument, she argued, I just stood there in bewilderment as I tend to do at these ‘special’ times.
She was going to her sisters, now the wife being in a wheelchair she needs ramps to get in, which we felt sure were down at 'Kate's. I knew from experience that we wouldn’t get a proper answer from 'Kate' if we were to ask her. She’d either ask a hundred questions before doing anything – once the wife and I urgently i.e. an emergency situation, needed a lift and we had to endure these questions! – or just deny it, it being the easier option. And this is, indeed, what happened. Now while the wife wrangled with her sister via text, I did what I thought to be the best option – I text 'Ben', knowing I’d get a proper answer and I did.
This was apparently the wrong thing to do. I was being ‘deceitful’ and ‘manipulative’ by not saying what I was doing. I may never understand this or women in general. If you have any answers, please email me.
The story so far:- 'Ben' has had his autistic son foisted upon him and 'Kate' is throwing a selfish strop.
'Ben' returned from Cardiff, many bags and son & step-daughter (you know, his brothers daughter) in tow past midnight and stayed at his mothers. Within two days he was going nuts at Jordan’s behaviour; he couldn’t control him. Not once did he and 'Kate' speak.
'Kate' has agreed that Jordan can stay in her house, realising what she’d lose if he didn’t i.e. everything including her house. This left a bit of a conundrum: where do two adults, a pubescent boy and a pre-pubescent girl all sleep, in a two bedroom flat? My god, you wouldn’t believe how long it took them to work it out. In the space of a few minutes I’d come up with three different solutions but it was only my wife’s intervention that prevented a meltdown.
They’ve had our spare bed (for which we’ll probably not see the money for months, if ever) and Jordan will sleep on the mattress in the living room for the time being. Just what a confused, autistic boy who was abused in a non-specific way needs. A more stable environment you’d never find.
This leaves my wife and her family (categorically not MY family, that’s been made very clear before now – perhaps in another post) panicking about 'Kate' having an epileptic fit; she has them when put under massive stress, which for 'Kate' is defined as anything greater than ‘What to make for Dinner?’. Neither 'Kate' nor John is the calmest of people, so I dread to think the bedlam that’s happened overnight. The next few days are going to be VERY interesting.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
I enjoy being paid for working but I’m considering suing my employer for emotional stress. There’s surely got to be a law against giving your employees unlimited Internet access during working hours.
Since I’ve had this blog I’ve got worse. I might have formerly bummed around on the SFX forum on and off. This week I’ve just been reading blogs, updating my own ie fannying around with HTML and reading the links on other peoples! I HAVE DONE NO WORK FOR THREE DAYS. I’m scared of getting the sack but it’s certainly not my fault, surely.
The story so far:- My sister-in-law aged 19 moved in with 'Ben', aged 33. 'Ben' has baggage in the form of massive money debts and three children, all with different mothers. Having known each other for six months and going out for two, they bought a house, purely in her name. They fiddled a mortgage as she only earned £7000 so borrowed £105,000 over 40 years. The monthly repayment was just about what she was being paid.
There are many things I find objectionable about 'Kate', not least of which is her selfishness, followed shortly by her immaturity (despite my wife and mother-in laws insistence on the contrary) swiftly backed up her stupidness. This tends to compound any sort of problem.
Yesterday, 'Ben's 11 year-old autistic son, got taken into care temporarily (he lived in Wales with his mother, who it turns out wasn't the most loving parent). While 'Ben' was running around arranging a car to get to Wales to pick up his one and only son, you know cuz he cares, 'Kate' was asserting that Jordan couldn't stay in 'her' house. Did she even think this through?? I fully believe she meant it as a threat: it's your son or me. 'Ben' chose to move out with his Son. Hurrah. Having spoken to my wife, her sister, 'Kate' soon realised this might mean she could no longer afford her house and a swift about face was taken, so that they're now 'going to talk'.
They've never talked. 'Ben' had a conversation on the phone on Sunday apparently in which he spent most of his time, asking what the problem was [with Jordan]. Jenny asked not one question when he came off.
I found this all highly amusing when my wife told me. It made my day in fact. I may learn more soon.
Jordan's mother also had a daughter. By John's brother. I'll let you know how many fingers Jordan has, when I see him.
Where does it say that a white male must participate in the social exercise of getting drunk? People find it hard to believe that I might not want to wake up feeling like Death with a capital Duh, spending my hard-earned money which could otherwise be spent on more satisfying and worthy sugar-based products. They find it inconceivable that I might not like the taste of the brown sludge that is lager, that I might flinch at the thought of downing hard spirits. Alcohol is technically poison, you know?
I actually prefer sitting down with a nice, cool, glass of coke. Failing that a cup of tea, milk, one sugar. Lovely. Old? Me?
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
SFX is the biggest selling SF magazine in Europe and is constantly the best of them. In an ever-growing internet environment it's a credit to the magazine that it's news sections contain information that I've never heard about, albeit some tend to be a littleÃ…obscure. ItÃ’s reviews are normally spot-on, although I've still not forgiven them for their review of Clone Wars (4 stars?? My arse).
All of which is a shame as recently they seem to be resting on their laurels. They've always had a slanted/laid-back attitude, not laden with the serious tone of Dreamwatch, a magazine so dry it's got no need for a catheter. The past few months, maybe six, they're taking this jokey tone to extremes. It's pervading every corner of the magazine, from the letters page to an infamous page in Issue 147 pitting Daleks vs Cybermen in a war of vulgar wit. They may just be testing how the readership reacts. Judging by the comments on the forum, not very well.
A recent thread, started by myself, made a comparison between the current and former editor, he having left 12 months ago. It's felt the former did have a moracerbicic, sterner angle to his editorial style. Lets hope the current Ed, Dave Bradley, takes note of what I feel is general opinion. Of course, outside the forum, or indeed outside my head, the magazine might be gaining readership in the millions. Apologies to Future and Dave Bradley but if that's true, I'll be leaving this here stable.
Over the past few years we’ve had one incredibly successful show (Lost), a few doing alright (BSG, Life on Mars, New Who) and a lot that just haven’t cut the mustard.
Too many shows jumped on the Lost bandwagon and once again over-loaded the schedules. The general TV viewing public, god love ‘em, can’t watch more than a few things that make you think, which is why soaps are so popular. When the TV execs realise this, the better off we’ll all be. By ‘we’ I mean the SF&F loving community. Couldn’t give a monkey’s bottom rash for the rest of ya.
Do we really want Surface? Was there a need for it? What gap did it fill exactly? Who sat in the meeting that commissioned this tripe? I want names, a wall and an over powerful, metaphysical gun.
I’m left in the current situation where I refuse to watch anything new because no matter what I watch I know it’ll be cancelled and I’ll have wasted a few more precious minutes of my life. I do enough of that on the loo when I forget a book.
If you take a dog sailing, as certain yuppy types are prone to do (see the film Dead Calm) where does it go toilet?
You're not going to want it to poop on your poop-deck, it being crispy white. So do you make it swim around and around the dinghy? How then do you know it's 'been'? And imagine if it gets seasick...
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Who's bloody idea was this anyway? Either the Blogger.Com website was spawned by Satan or the servers where I work are buggered nightly. Two hours later I think I'm there. How does this look? Nice? Cuz I can't tell.
Goodamn work. Who do they think they are, denying me the chance to see my