Saturday, July 31, 2004

I wish somebody wrote a blog about...
I'm sure that someone somewhere is writing a blog that perfectly matches every one of my exacting requirements: recipes; slices of life; a little bit about how enchanting small children are - and how bonkers; a bit of left-wing politics; a bit of science; some thoughtful commentry on the humanities and arts; some pointers to music I've never heard before, but instantly adore; being humble and joyful and, above all, observant and acute about life lived well; someone who writes about maintaining a sense of self in the face of tragedy with dignity and poise; a little bit about society with links to things I'd never have found on my own; describing living in Melbourne (where I want to live too someday soon)... But if there is one person that writes all these things in one blog - on exactly the day I want to read them - I haven't found them yet. It really doesn't matter though because I think that the blogs in my sidebar cover all these bases and more. They are written with integrity, with humour, with an ear for an arresting turn of phrase and an eye for hidden gems. And if I did find a blog that did all of the above I'd certainly add it to my sidebar, but this spookily wonderful blog could never replace my sidebar - it would be like replacing a choir with a virtuoso soloist - I'd lose the wealth of variety, of tones, of surprise. It's good to strike a new note.
(I really struggled with this one Tim!)

Friday, July 30, 2004

monkey puzzle
What follows is a transcript of a dinnertime conversation between myself and TA...
Me: Frankie totally kicked my butt today. He made me laugh while I was on the treadmill and I nearly fell off, again.
TA: [chuckles]
Me: He's evil.
TA: He's supposed to be. You pay him to kick your butt.
Me: He made me balance on the swiss medicine ball again and this time I was supposed to throw a heavy ball at him. I was really worried that there was going to be catching involved too, but luckily it was just throwing.
TA: You can catch you know, I've seen you.
Me: No I can't. They were flukes.
TA: Yes, you can catch as long as you're not thinking about it.
Me: No, sometimes I think really hard about it and manage to catch, most times I miss. I'm not an escapee from Awakenings, I can't catch. You know what they say...
TA: What?
Me: About flukes - an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of typewriters would produce the works of Shakespeare.
TA: [scoffing] No they wouldn't.
Me: You can't prove it. For all you know Shakespeare was a monkey, a gifted monkey with a typewriter who got lucky. Actually, you can prove the bit about the typewriter because they weren't invented then. But you can't prove that Shakespeare wasn't a monkey. Shakespeare could have been a girl monkey. [Referencing an Eddie Izzard skit] With a gun.
TA: You think that Shakespeare could have been a girl monkey with a gun who got lucky?
Me: Yes.
(thanks Shrub - I think it was kismet!)

Thursday, July 29, 2004

choose your own post
Blame Neil. Blame him for picking up my half-thought through nuances and spinning them into something beautiful, fragile and human. I was so pleased with how he took my suggestion for a post title - took it, ran with it and created something wonderful - that I've decided to try the same thing. Here's the plan: suggest a title for a post in the comments box and I will write a post for your title. Simple. All the fun of those choose-your-own-adventure books with none of the now-turn-to-page-52 nonsense.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

core strength
Pilates was fun! The instructor is very attractive and he has a lovely lilting Scottish accent. And - ladies - he is ex-treme-ly flexible. I shall be making my weekly pilates class a high priority from here on in! TA had told me that I'd be in intense pain all the way through but actually it wasn't too bad at all, satisfyingly tough without being terrible. I think that Frankie might get his marching orders.
Meanwhile, my rolling programme to singlehandedly educate my US colleagues coninues apace. Today I introduced my excel teacher to 'feck' and an HR person to 'chuck'. It's the Queen's English, honest. On TA's behalf, and because the HR person was an Aussie (I like to do my bit for cross-cultural understanding), I also managed to write: No worries mate, get a dog up yer (TA instructed me this meant cheers, I'm sensing he was being very Australian with that definition), dry as a dead dingo's donger. Which made her smile, seeing as language like that is usually only heard in the pub.
My favourite Aussie-ism: Brown-eyed mullet.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

curiouser and curiouser
I'm formulating style guide email at the moment re the differences between US and UK English. So far I've sent out two hefty mails to my US editing colleagues based on reading Mighty Fine Words and Smashing Expressions and The "Economist" Style Guide - if anyone would like copies (of my mail, not the books!) let me know at the usual address. These mails are desperately needed - as is the publicising of the differences to US agency staff. A few days ago I received this query: 'do we want this in British or English?'
In other news, housemate C will soon be departing Badger Mansions - he's going to be buying his own place, the lucky blighter - and in the next few weeks we'll have to begin the arduous task of finding a new housemate. This is made more complicated by the fact that I'm going to be in the US for three weeks - two before the lease runs out and one after. It's not that I don't trust TA to make a good decision, well, not exactly...
I've put my name down for tomorrow morning's Pilates class at the gym - here's to a longer, leaner, more flexible and altogether straighter me! I'm determined to have improved in time for Frankie's session this week. This morning I did my usual 15-minute run on the treadmill and then had a lovely relaxing 15 minutes in the sauna, but I think classes will stretch me - dreadful pun intended - more.
Final item in tonight's round up is a load of pork balls courtesy of the Passionate Pilgrim, Karen, who was kind enough to sign my guest map.


Sunday, July 25, 2004

knit one or by hook or by crook
What have I started! First off, I have yet to learn to knit, which is why I was thinking of crocheting a badger, but for those who can knit Carroll has found this little gem - one for all the furries out there. Then I started looking myself. I think this bunny pattern could be adapted, but actually my nighttime pondering was a lot more straightforward. I figured that it would be easy enough to crochet two white paws and then two black legs seperately on two hooks - essentially two tubes. Then I'd join those two tubes together and with black crochet the body and gradually introduce white to make the belly and chest. The arms would be crocheted seperately as might the head - I still pondering that - it may be possible to continue up from the body.
not normal
Last night, before falling asleep, I found myself working out a method for crocheting a badger.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

blankety blank
First off, for American readers, an explanation of the above phrase.
So, since TA's graduation I have been pretty busy. Working, obviously, going to the gym and getting my arse blankety blanked by Frankie. In our last session he made me sit on top of his enormous blankety blank. The trouble was I just couldn't keep my balance. We gave up after a few attempts, but not before my knees were black and blue from blankety blank. We also did some floor work to tighten my blankety blanks. Then he introduced me to the joys of stretchy rubber bands - I had to concentrate really hard on keeping my foot pressed down while I stretched and raised my blankety blank against the resistence. By the end of our blankety blank session I was all of a quiver. I'm still sore now.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

the graduate
My parents are staying with us at Badger Mansions for a couple of days. Today was TA's graduation from Central St Martin's - or the London University of the Arts as it has now become. We all went here for the ceremony, which was very hot, sweaty and - above all - grand. TA looked very, very handsome in his cap and gown. I forced him to have professional photos done - odd, since I've never bothered. We went to the Cork and Bottle for lunch and will soon be heading out to Abeno for dinner. Just don't ask us about our credit card bills!

Monday, July 19, 2004

it's academic
I have now read - what is it Lloyd Grossman used to say? - deliberated, cogitated and digested Ralph's paper and I can tell you I enjoyed it immensely. I do hope he posts it so everyone can comment. Yesterday the badger mansions sett met up with Ralph, Natalie, Tim and Beth for a few pints, which was nice. It's all a bit meta to be writing about people you've met who are writing about meeting you and who you met because all of you write, not to mention dull for everyone else so I'll keep it to a minimum! Of course I had fun and enjoyed meeting new people - although it did remind me a bit of my internet dating days. Also, all the normal openings to conversation are redundant - I kept wracking my brains for things that were interesting enough to talk about, but that I hadn't already mentioned here. I think I failed fairly comprehensively.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

something for the weekend?
Call me old fashioned, but everytime Google introduces a new gizmo to the blogger interface I mourn. My inner Luddite just can't handle all the bells and whistles we bloggers now get treated to, but I digress.
Today has been difficult, I've been wanting to post: to craft, to write, to shape experience into something tangible. To post with thought and feeling in a way that I haven't for a while. And because of this desire every action, every observation took on a depth and significance it might not otherwise have had. We went for coffee. The milk curled and bloomed under the oily, slick surface and I had to pause, my heart skipped a beat at the beauty of it and even as I was focused I knew that I'd never find the words to express how transcendent the moment was - transfixed and aware at the same time that I was ridiculous and unequal to the task. It didn't help that The Guardian's magazine had the most brilliant - in the sense that a diamond is brilliant cut: sharp, sparkling - short stories. Jonathan Safran Foer writes magnificently, his story felt like a magnificat to me. Gifted.
The whole day has been like this - every second has felt momentous, in focus to an uncomfortable degree.
Next up was a discussion with TA, we were walking back to the flat after stopping off to buy CDs at Fopp. We went into Magma and looked at the design books and magazines one was called 'My Parents Don't Know I'm Adopted', which made me smile. The conversation was wide ranging, touching on diverse topics, from my desire to be bought an apron for Christmas - more on this in a moment - to my irrational dislike of compilation albums, but most important to this post, perhaps, I related to TA how I once was honoured enough to see Thor Ewing perform. Anglo-Saxon poetry came alive - even though I only understood one word in ten, it truly was a mythical experience, one I count myself blessed to have seen it. So, the apron. I would like an apron for Christmas. You think I'm wierd or being funny don't you? Well I guess I'm odd, because I'm not joking. Perhaps if I told you that I first started thinking about the apron when I was working at the deli and perhaps if I mentioned that I want one that is heavy; with a bib to cover my chest; with ribbons that I can wrap several times around my waist; that in my mind this apron brings with it the perfume of lavender and a French country kitchen...then would you understand my desire for an apron? Oftentimes TA and I fail to communicate and it is usually times like this when we forget that things are not simply things, but weighted immeasurably with associations and unfulfilled desires. So it was with the apron, it seems I was ripe for teasing - as I often am, so full to the brim with strange leaps of logic, or illogic, and so ready to give physical form to abstract obsessions - TA told me that, yes, he did remember my request and that he'd spotted the perfect apron for me - something about six-packs and naked breasts. I told him he was taking delight at weeing from at great height on my - admittedly pretentious - dreams and that is why I was upset. Gone was the French lavender and slow-cooked, delicious repast. The apron and the conversation are emblematic.
So we came home, but still this heightened awareness didn't fade. I checked my email to find out when James's talk was and discovered I'd already missed it. I tidied our bedroom, but couldn't stop my feelings of dissatifaction from bubbling up as housemate C played on the playstation and TA watched. This isn't the kind of life I want to be living. The French lavender was back - it's perfume haunting me, saying I'm just around the corner, change your life just a little and you will find me. I vacuumed and, taking a glass of wine with me onto the roof, read the review section of the newspaper. Where I found this article and worried that I am pathalogical. There's more, much more and if I had time I'd write all the minutae, but on balance I think I've written enough - today has been difficult.




Saturday, July 17, 2004

meet Freddie
So I should tell you about Freddie my personal trainer. Our session was sort of successful... He asked me about my general levels of fitness, so I did. I have no balance, no coordination and I'm chronically unfit. He looked at me, smiled and said that he thought I was probably doing myself a disservice.
Ha!
We started on the treadmill and - thinking that all treadmills were calibrated the same - I happily turned it up to warp speed 9 (as I had been jogging along quite confidently at this setting on another machine). All treadmills are not created equal and, consequently, I nearly fell off the thing as it propelled me at 4-minute mile pace.
Next came the sit ups. With a ball wedged between my knees and then transferred to my hands. Freddie had to support the weight of my legs - I'm that weak.
In the space of half an hour I also managed to fall over the step I was supposed to be bunny hopping.
We finished up with some boxing and I'm telling you I've got dinosaur arms - they are useless! 
 
Finally, I'd like to apologise to the meme attack yesterday, don't quite know what came over me.


Friday, July 16, 2004

cheat sheet
via Bacon, Cheese and Oatcakes...

The rules are that you copy it, bold those you’ve actually read and add three of your own to the bottom.

The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
1984, George Orwell
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
Catch-22, Joseph Heller
Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
Captain Corellis Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone, JK Rowling
Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling

The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
Tess Of The DUrbervilles, Thomas Hardy

Middlemarch, George Eliot
A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
Alices Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
Persuasion, Jane Austen
Dune, Frank Herbert
Emma, Jane Austen
Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
Watership Down, Richard Adams
The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald

The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
Animal Farm, George Orwell
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
The Stand, Stephen King
Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
The BFG, Roald Dahl
Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
Mort, Terry Pratchett
The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton

The Magus, John Fowles
Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
Perfume, Patrick Susskind

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
Matilda, Roald Dahl
Bridget Jones’ Diary, Helen Fielding
T
he Secret History, Donna Tartt
The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
Ulysses, James Joyce
Bleak House, Charles Dickens
Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
The Twits, Roald Dahl
I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
Holes, Louis Sachar
Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
Magician, Raymond E Feist
On The Road, Jack Kerouac
The Godfather, Mario Puzo
The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
Katherine, Anya Seton
Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
Midnights Children, Salman Rushdie
Three Men In A Boat, Jerome K Jerome
Small Gods, Terry Pratchett
The Beach, Alex Garland
Dracula, Bram Stoker
Point Blanc, Anthony Horowitz
The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens
Stormbreaker, Anthony Horowitz
The Wasp Factory, Iain Banks
The Day Of The Jackal, Frederick Forsyth
The Illustrated Mum, Jacqueline Wilson
Jude The Obscure, Thomas Hardy
The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged, Sue Townsend
The Cruel Sea, Nicholas Monsarrat
Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
The Mayor Of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy
The Dare Game, Jacqueline Wilson
Bad Girls, Jacqueline Wilson
The Picture Of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
Shogun, James Clavell
The Day Of The Triffids, John Wyndham
Lola Rose, Jacqueline Wilson
Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray
The Forsyte Saga, John Galsworthy
House Of Leaves, Mark Z Danielewski
The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
Reaper Man, Terry Pratchett
Angus, Thongs And Full-Frontal Snogging, Louise Rennison
The Hound Of The Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle
Possession, A S Byatt
The Master And Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
The Handmaids Tale, Margaret Atwood
Danny The Champion Of The World, Roald Dahl
East Of Eden, John Steinbeck
Georges Marvellous Medicine, Roald Dahl
Wyrd Sisters, Terry Pratchett
The Color Purple, Alice Walker
Hogfather, Terry Pratchett

The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan
Girls In Tears, Jacqueline Wilson
Sleepovers, Jacqueline Wilson
All Quiet On The Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque
Behind The Scenes At The Museum, Kate Atkinson
High Fidelity, Nick Hornby

It, Stephen King
James And The Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
The Green Mile, Stephen King
Papillon, Henri Charriere
Men At Arms, Terry Pratchett
Master And Commander, Patrick OBrian
Skeleton Key, Anthony Horowitz
Soul Music, Terry Pratchett
Thief Of Time, Terry Pratchett
The Fifth Elephant, Terry Pratchett

Atonement, Ian McEwan
Secrets, Jacqueline Wilson
The Silver Sword, Ian Serraillier
One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, Ken Kesey
Heart Of Darkness, Joseph Conrad

Kim, Rudyard Kipling
Cross Stitch, Diana Gabaldon
Moby Dick, Herman Melville
River God, Wilbur Smith
Sunset Song, Lewis Grassic Gibbon
The Shipping News, Annie Proulx
The World According To Garp, John Irving
Lorna Doone, R D Blackmore
Girls Out Late, Jacqueline Wilson
The Far Pavilions, M M Kaye
The Witches, Roald Dahl
Charlottes Web, E B White
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

They Used To Play On Grass, Terry Venables and Gordon Williams
The Old Man And The Sea, Ernest Hemingway
The Name Of The Rose, Umberto Eco
Sophie’s World, Jostein Gaarder
Dustbin Baby, Jacqueline Wilson
Fantastic Mr Fox, Roald Dahl
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, Richard Bach
The Little Prince, Antoine De Saint-Exupery

The Suitcase Kid, Jacqueline Wilson
Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
The Power Of One, Bryce Courtenay
Silas Marner, George Eliot
American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis
The Diary Of A Nobody, George and Weedon Gross-mith
Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh
Goosebumps, R L Stine
Heidi, Johanna Spyri
Sons And Lovers, D H Lawrence
The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
Man And Boy, Tony Parsons
The Truth, Terry Pratchett
The War Of The Worlds, H G Wells
The Horse Whisperer, Nicholas Evans
A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry
Witches Abroad, Terry Pratchett
The Once And Future King, T H White
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle
Flowers In The Attic, Virginia Andrews
The Silmarillion, JRR Tolkien
The Eye of the World, Robert Jordan
The Great Hunt, Robert Jordan
The Dragon Reborn, Robert Jordan
Fires of Heaven, Robert Jordan
Lord of Chaos, Robert Jordan

Winters Heart, Robert Jordan
A Crown of Swords, Robert Jordan
Crossroads of Twilight, Robert Jordan
A Path of Daggers, Robert Jordan
As Nature Made Him, John Colapinto
Microserfs, Douglas Coupland
The Married Man, Edmund White
Winters Tale, Mark Helprin
The History of Sexuality, Michel Foucault
Cry to Heaven, Anne Rice
Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe, John Boswell
Equus, Peter Shaffer
The Man Who Ate Everything, Jeffrey Steingarten
Letters To A Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke
Ella Minnow Pea, Mark Dunn
The Vampire Lestat, Anne Rice
Anthem, Ayn Rand
The Bridge To Terabithia, Katherine Paterson
Tartuffe, Moliere
The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka
The Crucible, Arthur Miller
The Trial, Franz Kafka
Oedipus Rex, Sophocles
Oedipus at Colonus, Sophocles
Death Be Not Proud, John Gunther
A Dolls House, Henrik Ibsen
Hedda Gabler, Henrik Ibsen

Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton
A Raisin In The Sun, Lorraine Hansberry
ALIVE!, Piers Paul Read
Grapefruit, Yoko Ono
Trickster Makes This World, Lewis Hyde
The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
Chronicles of Thomas Convenant, Unbeliever, Stephen Donaldson

Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon
Summerland, Michael Chabon
A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole
Candide, Voltaire
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, Roald Dahl
Ringworld, Larry Niven
The King Must Die, Mary Renault
Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein
A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline LEngle
The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde
The House Of The Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan
The Great Gilly Hopkins, Katherine Paterson
Chocolate Fever, Robert Kimmel Smith
Xanth The Quest for Magic, Piers Anthony
The Lost Princess of Oz, L Frank Baum
Wonder Boys, Michael Chabon
Lost In A Good Book, Jasper Fforde
Well Of Lost Plots, Jasper Fforde
Life Of Pi, Yann Martel
The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver
A Yellow Rraft In Blue Water, Michael Dorris
Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder
Where The Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls
Griffin & Sabine, Nick Bantock
Witch of Blackbird Pond, Joyce Friedland
Mrs Frisby And The Rats Of NIMH, Robert C OBrien
Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbitt
The Cay, Theodore Taylor
From The Mixed-Up Files Of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler, EL Konigsburg
The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster
The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin
The Kitchen Gods Wife, Amy Tan
The Bone Setters Daughter, Amy Tan
Relic, Duglas Preston & Lincolon Child
Wicked, Gregory Maguire
American Gods, Neil Gaiman
Misty of Chincoteague, Marguerite Henry
The Girl Next Door, Jack Ketchum
Haunted, Judith St George
Singularity, William Sleator
A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
Different Seasons, Stephen King
Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk
About a Boy, Nick Hornby
The Bookmans Wake, John Dunning
The Church of Dead Girls, Stephen Dobyns
Illusions, Richard Bach
Magics Pawn, Mercedes Lackey
Magics Promise, Mercedes Lackey
Magics Price, Mercedes Lackey

The Dancing Wu Li Masters, Gary Zukav
Spirits of Flux and Anchor, Jack L Chalker
Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
The Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices, Brenda Love
Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace
The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison
The Cider House Rules, John Irving
Enders Game, Orson Scott Card
Girlfriend in a Coma, Douglas Coupland
The Lions Game, Nelson Demille
The Sun, The Moon, and the Stars, Stephen Brust
Cyteen, C J Cherryh
Foucaults Pendulum, Umberto Eco
Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson
Invisible Monsters, Chuck Palahniuk
Camber of Culdi, Kathryn Kurtz
The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
War and Rememberance, Herman Wouk
The Art of War, Sun Tzu
The Giver, Lois Lowry
The Telling, Ursula Le Guin
Xenogenesis (or Liliths Brood), Octavia Butler
A Civil Campaign, Lois McMaster Bujold
The Curse of Chalion, Lois McMaster Bujold
The Aeneid, Publius Vergilius Maro (Vergil)
Hanta Yo, Ruth Beebe Hill
The Princess Bride, S Morganstern (or William Goldman)
Beowulf, Anonymous
The Sparrow, Maria Doria Russell
Deerskin, Robin McKinley
Dragonsong, Anne McCaffrey
Passage, Connie Willis
Otherland, Tad Williams
Tigana, Guy Gavriel Kay

Number the Stars, Lois Lowry
Beloved, Toni Morrison
Lamb The Gospel According to Biff, Christs Childhood Pal, Christopher Moore
The mysterious disappearance of Leon, I mean Noel, Ellen Raskin
Summer Sisters, Judy Blume
The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo
The Island on Bird Street, Uri Orlev
Midnight in the Dollhouse, Marjorie Filley Stover
The Miracle Worker, William Gibson
The Genesis Code, John Case
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Robert Louis Stevensen
Paradise Lost, John Milton
Phantom, Susan Kay
The Mummy or Ramses the Damned, Anne Rice
Anno Dracula, Kim Newman
The Dresden Files Grave Peril, Jim Butcher
Tokyo Suckerpunch, Issac Adamson
The Winter of Magics Return, Pamela Service
The Oddkins, Dean R Koontz
My Name is Asher Lev, Chaim Potok
The Last Goodbye, Raymond Chandler
At Swim, Two Boys, Jaime ONeill
Othello, by William Shakespeare
The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas
The Collected Poems of William Butler Yeats
Sati, Christopher Pike
The Inferno, Dante
The Apology, Plato
The Small Rain, Madeline LEngle
The Man Who Tasted Shapes, Richard E Cytowick
Novels, Daniel Pinkwater
The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Juliet Marillier
Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier
To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
Our Town, Thorton Wilder
Green Grass Running Water, Thomas King
The Interpreter, Suzanne Glass
The Moors Last Sigh, Salman Rushdie
The Mother Tongue, Bill Bryson
A Passage to India, EM Forster
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux
Pages for You, Sylvia Brownrigg
The Changeover, Margaret Mahy
Howls Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones
Angels and Demons, Dan Brown
Johnny Got His Gun, Dalton Trumbo
Shosha, Isaac Bashevis Singer
Travels With Charley, John Steinbeck
The Diving-bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
The Lunatic at Large by J Storer Clouston
Time for Bed by David Baddiel
Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold
Quite Ugly One Morning by Christopher Brookmyre
The Bloody Sun by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Sewer, Gas, and Eletric by Matt Ruff
Jhereg by Steven Brust
So You Want To Be A Wizard by Diane Duane
Perdido Street Station, China Mieville
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Bronte

Road-side Dog, Czeslaw Milosz
The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje
Neuromancer, William Gibson
The Epistemology of the Closet, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
A Canticle for Liebowitz, Walter M Miller, Jr
The Mask of Apollo, Mary Renault
The Gunslinger, Stephen King
Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare
Childhoods End, Arthur C Clarke
A Season of Mists, Neil Gaiman
Ivanhoe, Walter Scott
The God Boy, Ian Cross
The Beekeepers Apprentice, Laurie R King
Finn Family Moomintroll, Tove Jansson
Misery, Stephen King
Tipping the Velvet, Sarah Waters
Hood, Emma Donoghue
The Land of Spices, Kate OBrien
The Diary of Anne Frank
Regeneration, Pat Barker
Tender is the Night, F Scott Fitzgerald
Dreaming in Cuban, Cristina Garcia
A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
The View from Saturday, EL Konigsburg
Dealing with Dragons, Patricia Wrede
Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Lynne Truss
A Severed Wasp – Madeleine LEngle
Here Be Dragons – Sharon Kay Penman
The Mabinogion (Ancient Welsh Tales) – translated by Lady Charlotte E Guest
The DaVinci Code – Dan Brown
Desire of the Everlasting Hills – Thomas Cahill
The Cloister Walk – Kathleen Norris
The Things We Carried, Tim OBrien
I Know This Much Is True, Wally Lamb
Choke, Chuck Palahniuk
Enders Shadow, Orson Scott Card
The Memory of Earth, Orson Scott Card
The Iron Tower, Dennis L McKiernen
Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
A Ring of Endless Light, Madeline L’Engle
Lords of Discipline, Pat Conroy
Hyperion, Dan Simmons
If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, Jon McGregor
The Bridge, Iain Banks
Practical Demonkeeping, Christopher Moore
Promethea, Alan Moore
the curious incident of the dog in the night-time, Mark Haddon
archangel – robert harris
vernon god little – dbc pierre
ultimate spiderman – brian michael bendis
The Glamour, Christopher Priest
The Portrait of Mrs Charbuque, Jeffrey Ford
The Third Person, Steve Mosby
Psychoville, Christopher Fowler
The Street of Crocodiles, Bruno Schulz
The Constant Gardener, John Le Carre
The Priestess of Avalon, Marion Bradley
Einstein’s Dreams – Alan Lightman
The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread – Pat Robertson
Abarat – Clive Barker
The City of Beasts – Isabel Allende
The House of Spirits – Isabel Allende
American Gods – Neil Gaiman
Coraline – Neil Gaiman
Like Water for Chocolate – Laura Esquivel
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – JK Rowling
Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code – Eoin Colfer
Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident – Eoin Colfer
The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
The Invisible Man – Ralph Waldo Ellison
Ogre, Ogre – Piers Anthony
Franny and Zooey – JD Salinger
King Rat – James Clavell
Fools Die – Mario Puzo
Solitaire Mystery – Jostein Gaarder
A Walk To Remember – Nicholas Sparks
Falling Leaves – Adeline Yen Mah
Pnin – Vladimir Nabokov
Colors of the Mountain – Da Chen
Women of the Silk – Gail Tsukiyama
Trout Fishing in America – Richard Brautigan
Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About – Mil Millington
Black Tide – Peter Temple
The Palliser Novels - Anthony Trollope
Frenchman’s Creek- Daphne du Maurier
We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson
The Left Hand of Darkness, Usula leGuin
Roughing It, Mark Twain
Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris
The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton
The Road from Coorain, Jill Ker Conway
Ake, Wole Soyinka
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Jeanette Winterson
Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarisa Pinkola Estes
To the North, Elizabeth Bowen



anti-social socks
Neil suggested that people, "Tell me the things you own that you'd rather your friends didn't know about." My list is things I own that other people wish I didn't - I have no shame, so there's no worries about sharing with friends.
Where to begin...
  • socks. These socks were my pride and joy I used to wear them at parties as a talking point. I bought them in Northampton, MA and they were special. First, they were knee high; second, they were like gloves - with each individual toe catered for; and, third, they were furry. Imagine sticking your feet into a pair of cocker spaniels, that's how they both looked and felt. These socks were showstoppers. TA found them physically repellent, after some heated discussion and a few attempts at converting him by placing my spaniels in his lap or stroking him with them, my spaniel socks went to the dog house in the sky.

  • t shirts. I thought wearing novelty print t-shirts to bed was acceptable, what else are they good for after all. TA took to calling them my chastity t-shirts.

  • A-Ha's back catalogue

  • I think this might become an occasional series.

    Thanks Jamie!

    The Fool Card
    You are the Fool card. The Fool fearlessly begins
    the journey into the unknown. To do this, he
    does not regard the world he knows as firm and
    fixed. He has a seemingly reckless disregard
    for obstacles. In the Ryder-Waite deck, he is
    seen stepping off a cliff with his gaze on the
    sky, and a rainbow is there to catch him. In
    order to explore and expand, one must disregard
    convention and conformity. Those in the throes
    of convention look at the unconventional,
    non-conformist personality and think What a
    fool. They lack the point of view to understand
    The Fool's actions. But The Fool has roots in
    tradition as one who is closest to the spirit
    world. In many tribal cultures, those born with
    strange and unusual character traits were held
    in awe. Shamans were people who could see
    visions and go on journeys that we now label
    hallucinations and schizophrenia. Those with
    physical differences had experience and
    knowledge that the average person could not
    understand. The Fool is God. The number of the
    card is zero, which when drawn is a perfect
    circle. This circle represents both emptiness
    and infinity. The Fool is not shackled by
    mountains and valleys or by his physical body.
    He does not accept the appearance of cliff and
    air as being distinct or real. Image from: Mary
    DeLave http://www.marydelave.com/


    Which Tarot Card Are You?
    brought to you by Quizilla

    Thursday, July 15, 2004

    workaday gymboree
    Went to work this morning, worked on a reorg of the folders and content that the office uses for new business pitches - the idea being to streamline the amount of materials that are archived and make putting a new pitch together much more of a cut-and-paste affair. Had a high-powered meeting with the UK office led by the Microsoft account head who is currently visiting, learnt more about internal changes Microsoft is making and the big PR reinvention programme that has seen PR spend reduced by 5 per cent. Left the office to be inducted (induced?) into the gym at lunch time. Induction was very basic and only took half an hour. So. With the rest of my lunch hour I bought shoes! Two pairs of shoes - one green pair and one pinky-purple pair - sensible, round-toed lace ups. Returned to the office. Successfully scavenged in the kitchen for my lunch: banana, bagel and peanut butter and a can of diet coke. Kept working on the reorg and rationalisation of folders, images, templates and documents. At four I had my first Excel lesson. My teacher, having been subjected to dancing badger powerpoint presentations, had created a badger-themed spreadsheet "Bill Gates: the man behind the badger" it said in one cell - I nearly wet myself laughing. Got off that call and went straight into another conference call, this time with the US editing and production team. Left the office and went straight into the gym. I hope you realise that this is a personal triumph. The gym was rammed with people, which was good in a way because I felt a lot less self-conscious. Ran for 20 minutes and then had a lovely long hot shower. The gym has a sauna and I'm planning to try it out soon. Does anyone know the protocol? If it's single sex is it okay to just wrap a towel around oneself or are swimming costumes required? Enquiring minds need to know. I've got the first of three sessions with Freddie my 'personal trainer' (somehow I doubt our relationship is exclusive) at 8am tomorrow. I've packed my work clothes and am planning to get to the gym at 7.30 tomorrow - with any luck there will be time for a quick run before, and a speedy sauna after, my 30 minute session with Freddie.
    In other, more interesting news at Badger Mansions, TA has made a new friend. He met the Soho-based role player tonight and the two of them got on like the Great Fire of London. TA has come home glowing - that wonderful 'it's love' feeling you get when you click with someone. I can see that TA's already planning set-piece battles; romancing elven maidens and cunning ways to appropriate treasure - just to impress his new friend. And, although I'm amused (TA called as he was walking home through the Soho backstreets "...and he told me there's this friend he really likes to play with." You have to laugh don't you?), I'm really, really pleased that TA has found someone on his wavelength.

    Tuesday, July 13, 2004

    google twin
    I'm not the only badgergirl.
    TA is on a role
    TA is out tonight, he's joined something new too. I suggested that he join the gym with me, more on that another time, but no he's joined a different kind of club. Tonight he's at the Green Man on Euston Road. Yes, he's playing Dungeons and Dragons...sigh. After a nine-month drought, TA has finally got around to joining a D&D group. In fact on Friday he's meeting up with another D&D group, this time in Soho, with any luck he'll get to meet some animators through role playing. I've tried to get the whole fantasy game thing - for months i played with TA, housemate C and a couple of other chaps, but really I could never forget how essentially ludicrouse the whole undertaking was. TA on the other hand needs the creative stimulation that role play gives him so I'm so pleased that he's finally found groups to join.
    gym will fix it
    You thought I was kidding didn't you! But no! Today I booked an appointment to join a gym. It just so happens that there are two of this brand of gym between my flat and the office - two within a 20-minute walk! And since I went on an all-day corporate training jolly (free breakfast, lunch, afternoon cake and three-course dinner, with lots of wine) I really need to get some exercise. As TA said to me, 'Accept it, the gravy train is yours to ride,' it's just a shame that I get travel sick.

    Monday, July 12, 2004

    in no particular order
    peanut butter, frangelico, coffee, wine, roast pork, stuffed olives, sherry, tuna salad, earl grey tea, cashew nuts, custard tarts, dairy milk, beef stroganoff, flat bread, yoghurt and peaches, ice cream
    Tomorrow: I join a gym.

    Friday, July 09, 2004

    distance
    I'm trying to create some space between me and the furore/emotion that kicked off yesterday. This blog is a bit like my livingroom - I've decorated it, I like to hang out in it, it's often visited by friends. In the main, I'm not a very political or ranty so yesterday felt a bit upsetting - that feeling of atmosphere after a row.
    Tonight TA and I are going to eat, drink, watch West Wing and be merry.

    Wednesday, July 07, 2004

    In defence of the NHS
    It was a throwaway comment made by someone that knows nothing about my history that got my blood boiling. But then stories like mine are so commonplace, everyday, they don’t make it on to the newsstands.
    When I was born I was diagnosed as hydrocephalic. Sometimes called ‘water on the brain’, hydrocephalus is a fairly serious condition:
    Hydrocephalus is the abnormal build-up of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles of the brain. In most instances, hydrocephalus is a lifelong condition in that the patient is treated rather than "cured". Presently, there is no known way to prevent or cure hydrocephalus and shunts are the primary method to treat hydrocephalus. The one-way calibrated shunt system was introduced in 1952.

    I was fitted with a shunt, a valve. As a result of this surgery, I have a two-inch scar on my neck – near my collarbone – and what feels a little bit like a mini spine behind my right ear. The history of how shunts came about is a sad one:
    The modern shunting era began with Nulson and Spitz, creating a one-way pressure regulated valve which they placed in the atrium via the jugular vein. John Holter, an engineer, was the father of a hydrocephalic child who worked on the early development of the shunt valve.

    Unfortunately, John Holter’s son died before the treatment was perfected. Previously, the standard treatment for hydrocephalus was to tightly bind the patient’s head in the hope that the fluid would be under such a high pressure that it would force its way out through the ventricles – this was not a successful treatment.
    The natural history of untreated hydrocephalus was studied in the classic paper by Lawrence and Coates, demonstrating a 46% ten-year survival with intellectual impairment in 62%. The impact of CSF shunting was shown by Foltz and Shurtleff to be significantly improved. Their 10-year survival of shunted children was nearly 95% with intellectual impairment in only 30% of children. Other studies have shown the improved intellectual development associated with a decrease in the ventricular size. Continued problems, however, are related to shunt dependency, which is usually present for the life of the child. These shunt related problems include shunt malfunction, shunt infection, overdrainage and the "slit ventricle syndrome".

    It worries me then, when I read this from an American site:
    While it is certainly not the most glamorous neurosurgical operation, shunting is one of the basic neurosurgical procedures, and also has the highest failure rate. It has a relatively high complication rate and is probably the most common operation which has to be redone for either malfunction or infection. Shunt operations are often delegated to the most junior and inexperienced member of the neurosurgical team, resulting in suboptimal technique and judgment in the management of shunting. Clearly, one of the best ways of managing shunt problems is avoiding them in the first place. Pediatric shunting should be performed by a pediatric neurosurgeon who is well experienced in the various shunt hardware and techniques, and has experience in thinking through the technical problems of shunt dependency and shunt revisions. These children will require close follow-up to recognize at an early stage some of the complications of shunting, and to pick up on subtle signs of shunt dysfunction. A close working relationship needs to exist between the pediatric neurosurgeon and the families, as well as the child's pediatrician, to provide the best comprehensive evaluation of a shunt problem and recognize at an early stage.

    Let me state unequivocally, I received the best possible care from every consultant, doctor and nurse. Mr David Hardy, who was working at the Southampton General at the time, operated to fit my shunt and followed my progress with regular check ups until I was seven. Hardy is currently the President of the Society of British Neurological Surgeons. My GP was excellent – everyone involved ensured that I had the best chance of survival. Let me also add that Southampton General isn’t a specialist hospital like Great Ormond St – this superb standard of care was delivered at a ‘bog standard’ NHS hospital. Also, without the NHS I would not have received treatment – neither my birth mother nor my adoptive parents would have been able to afford it.
    At the age of two I was back in hospital to have the drainage tube that leads from the shunt to my heart extended. As a result of this surgery I have a second slightly longer and thinner scar on my neck under the first one. Rude people sometimes ask if I tried to commit suicide.
    At the age of seven I was admitted to hospital for a brain scan. The purpose of the scan was to see if I needed another tube extension. Somewhat miraculously, it was discovered that I didn’t need any further surgery. It appeared that the cerebrospinal fluid was finding its own drainage path. It seemed I was cured. I continued to have annual check-ups until I was 12 years old, whereupon I was told it was no longer necessary.
    Within a month of my final appointment I was back in hospital. I’d been run over and broken my arm, fractured my skull and ruptured an eardrum. I was in intensive care for 48 hours and then transferred to the children’s ward. Today the only sign remaining is the three-inch scar at the top of my left arm.
    Since then I have not needed to stay in hospital. I have, however, had regular appointments with my GP, two visits to consultants (a swollen gland next to my shunt caused panic as did a suspicious-looking lump on my leg). I will never forget that the NHS has saved my life at least three times. Yes, the service could and should be improved. The staff that work for the NHS – from the cleaning contractor to the junior doctor and above – are underpaid and grossly undervalued. They are also human – I can well understand that there have been instances of mismanagement and simple error leading to mistreatment. As they say, nobody’s perfect. But please let us not forget that when you are sick, really seriously ill the NHS offers – free at the point of delivery – lifesaving medicine and oftentimes the doctors and consultants involved are at the top of their profession. In teaching hospitals it is possible to gain access to expertise that money can’t buy.
    So next time you want to take a pot shot at our, despite everything, lifesaving health service and the people that sacrifice decent pay and normal hours to work in a highly stressful and difficult environment, where the decisions made really are of life-and-death importance, please remember – there are people walking around today, working in your office, sitting next to you on the tube, people who perhaps bear even fewer scars than me, who wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for the NHS. It’s that simple. And if tomorrow, god forbid, something happened to a friend of yours or a family member – the NHS would be there for them.
    blocked filter, or perhaps blogged filter
    I had a post percolating through the detritus of my brain, almost ready to go - something about all the different vegetables we're eating now thanks to the organic box scheme and featuring some recipes - when suddenly my brain shut down. The cause? An email from my mother. Apparently, it's all go on the Isle. Pretty, beauty therapist friend E has decided to do something of a volte-face. Long-suffering readers may remember this post, where I described how her life was on the up while mine was on the skids. Well, since then it seems things have changed quite a lot. E has pulled out of investing in the shop and has decided to train to become a nurse. Good for her! What a gamble and what a difficult job to do - I admire nurses immensely - how brave, how brilliant. My mother hints that this might be a way for E to move to Australia as it will give her the necessary points. It seems the tables have turned once again. The way I've written this makes me sound like I'm gloating - I'm not, I'm just in shock.

    Tuesday, July 06, 2004

    subs
    When I was in Brownies, at the beginning of each Thursday-night meeting, Brown Owl would call us into a ring and ask for subs (20p) to be paid. To make this fun she'd ask us to balance our twenty-pence pieces on our foreheads or on our shoes, or to roll them into the centre of the ring. After subs had been delivered, any news items concerning the whole pack (Brownies come in packs, from memory, Guides come in troops - Olave Baden-Powell knew about girls: screaming, rabid seven-year olds and thundering twelve year-olds, respectively). This post is going to be a bit like those Brownie ring meetings - although I may return to the reminiscing as, now I've got started, my head is swimming with great stories about my Guiding days (I genuinely loved Guides).
    So... First up a reminder of an upcoming event, James Blogwell's proprietor, Ralph Parfect, PhD, is delivering a paper on blogging for the IES at Senate House on Saturday, 17 July. Details on this event, Literary London, can be found here. I'm contemplating burrowing in at some point if I can.
    Second item on this post's agenda is to tell you all about the progress of Badger Mansions' garden. [At this point Brown Owl does her best Percy Thrower impression.] Now then girls, the story so far: we were lucky enough to overhear one of our neighbours complaining about some dilapidated old window boxes that had been abandoned since one of the residents moved out. I offered to take these old plastic containers and dispose of the nasty geraniums (ugh, don't they smell ghastly). In one window box/container I repotted my Aloe Vera plant (TA and I never tire of saying 'allo, Vera!' as we pass her) and lots of cuttings from my money plant. These tiny money plant offspring are officially TA's career feng shui while the original plant, currently sitting in the kitchen on the windowsill, remains mine. In the second window box/container I have planted some cuttings from our neighbour's potted herbs. Neighbour is away for many weeks at a time and we help water her plants for her, we are on very friendly terms and she has told us repeatedly to help ourselves. There is one container left. I have bought some plant food in case the soil is knackered (I rather suspect it is). I'd like to grow things I can eat - either more herb or perhaps some garlic/spring onions/carrots. Any suggestions? Bear in mind that anything I grow will need to be robust enough to survive the winter outside - Vera did though so I think the spot the plants are in is quite sheltered and it gets a fair amount of sunshine too.
    I hate the term 'window box'. Up until quite recently, the bungalow opposite my parents' place was occupied by a rather 'Keeping Up Appearances' type couple. Soon after they moved in my dad went over to introduce himself. In passing my dad praised their handsome window boxes. 'Oh yes,' said the lady of the house, 'my husband makes them. That's why our old house was called "Window Boxes". I think that we'll get a new plaque for this place.' Sure enough within a month there was a wooden plaque with roses painted on it proudly naming the house 'Window Boxes'. Surely 'Dunroamin' would have been better?
    My guiding anecdotes will have to wait until campfire, as I'm beginning to develop sore fingers from typing. Repeat ging gang googly googly googly wotcha ging gang goo ging gang goo to fade.

    Monday, July 05, 2004

    weekend
    TA is watching 'The Longest Day' I am sobering up after drinking a bottle of red wine that was decidely plonkish. The weekend has been good - TA sorted the 'design feature' (see previous post) while I looked on and tried to learn. I could have done sth similar, but it would have taken me twice as long. Today I cleaned and tidied the flat (cleaner G has moved to Miami - yes, really), read the Observer and have eaten a lot of cheese. Housemate C has been flitting in and out - Wimbledon and the cup final. It's been good. I'm feeling full of love for my fellow man, in particular my fellow blogger. What a nice bunch of people they are - erudite, witty, human in the best way. Lovely. I feel like I should have done more with my day, but I enjoyed every minute of what I chose to do. No big sories to tell, no great revelations, no in-depth observations - just a day, a day spent mostly with TA, my husband, the person who I love most... He's a funny boy, beautiful.

    Saturday, July 03, 2004

    fecking anyway
    Just when I thought things re the new job were settling down, today has been a real pile of pants. You see I'm the new girl and I'm learning lots of programs so that I can do the job I've been hired to do - as well as learning systems, processes - even the phone comes with it's own manual. That said, there are lots of things I CAN do, there are some things even an untrained monkey would be a dab hand at. So today was a mixture of tasks that are so simple really the people palming them off were taking liberties and other things that I couldn't have done a few weeks ago, but I can now thank you and since it's my job why not trust me to do them rather than calling someone in the States who is probably still asleep? Grr. On top of that people keep making changes to documents I've already formatted and messing them up - so why not give me the docs when they are final. Oh and I came up with some design ideas and got told they were stupid only to be tasked with creating those very design elements over the weekend because X came up with this concept and isn't it briliant. It's all politics and building respect and that, but really so very frustrating - next I'll be told that someone needs to supervise me while I tie my laces. And you know I used to run my own department - I wouldn't say I've got a Napoleon complex or anything, but honestly the way I'm being treated is ridiculous.

    Friday, July 02, 2004

    working 9 til 5
    Well, technically nine til six, but Dolly never sang that did she. The point remains the same though - how soon things become routine. Today I was working on a PowerPoint presentation for a new business pitch, in fact I spent most of my day working on the materials for this pitch. I also spent an hour having a PowerPoint lesson - we talk on the phone and via netmeeting my teacher can see my desktop so that she can say, 'No the button on the left, that's it up at the top.' And, much to my delight, I can introduce dancing badgers that make guinea pig noises into my presentations and have a captive audience - the first (and probably last) time I've been able to do that. PowerPoint just begs you to make use of all the whizbang features for nefarious ends - no wonder there are thousands of strange slide shows doing the rounds as email attachments. Anyway, it is routine now, but in a good way. I'm just beginning to feel more comfortable there.

    Thursday, July 01, 2004

    keeping mum
    By the way, my ferevent desire to have babies is a secret okay? Let's keep it between you, me, TA and, grudgingly, housemate C. People tend to look at me funny when I tell them I want lots of children, then they start their stopwatches. Grr.