Friday, May 27, 2005

bye bye life

Well I have had an amazingly productive past 3 days.
Got reports written for work, studied some and done some other stuff that needed doing. But this rare bout of efficiency will end at 9pm tonight. If you don't see much of me for the next few weeks, you'll probably find me over here.
panda hat
Not gonna be the same without panda *sigh*.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

bizarre phone call of the day

Ring Ring
Me: Hello?
Complete stranger: Hello, my name is Lucia, I am ringing you from Spain as part of some research.
Me: ummmm
Complete stranger: Have you drunk any beer during the past month?
Me: No1
Complete stranger: Thank you very much, goodbye


1. S'true. I drink only wine. Me is classy innit.

Monday, May 23, 2005

wtf was i thinking?

O has been lobying for this pop jr cd pop jrhe's seen advertised on the telly box, so I 'obtained' it for him. Yuck. Apologies in advance to Trin et al. At least our copy comes without the Fast Food Rockers. One has to maintain some standards.

I will be mostly spending this evening disinfecting my brain by listening to the new SOAD album very very loud thro' headphones. I laff in the face of tinitus. I might be a bit pished, listening to Tony Christie over and over again has filled me wth an urge to nip to the corner shop for half a pint of sherry.

miracle diet?

The key to successful weight loss revealed: one must ask ones self What Would Jesus Eat?
If you truly want to follow Jesus in every area of your life you cannot ignore your eating habits. ... He followed the Levitical laws. He would not have eaten pigs and rabbits or fish that did not have scales, such as crabs and shrimps

Must be eating all those gier eagles and chameleons that's made me fat, then. Maybe I should commission Danz to make me a WWJE? wrist band out of scoubies. I wonder what the biblical position on Pringles is?

Saturday, May 21, 2005

this could be a job for ....

.... SuperDanz! I know two poor deprived little girls whose mum only bought them scoubies the day after they were banned at school. So the poor little things have no-one to learn scoubie-skills from. They need a visiting scoubie expert to guide them.

so many books, so little time

Bloomin' Waterstones and their 3 for 2 offers. Get me every time. Went in for 2 books, came out with 8. My bad, cos I shouldn't have any other reading materials apart from my course books in the house right now.

Commotion in the Ocean Dig, Dig, Digging The two books I originally went in for - birthday presents for friend's two-year old twins, as loved and recommended by O. They come with free cd of the books and obv it would be v bad to copy the cds before giving the books so I won't.

Fleshmarket Close

The latest Ian Rankin, out in paperback at last yay. But I officially bought it as a gift for R so I will have to wait my turn to read it booo.

The Mapmaker's Wife

Another one for R. Caught my eye on the 3-for-2 table, about maps and the amazon and such, so I thought he'd like it.

(Gave him these by way of an acknowledgement and 'thank you' for how ace he is, particularly when I was freaking out a bit recently).

Boudica: Dreaming the Bull

Because it was sitting on the 3-for-2 piles looking interesting, and I think I heard a good review of it a while back.

Empress Orchid

"strong on both sexual chicanery and violent conspiracy". Oooooh.

Aberystwyth Mon Amour
EDIT (added because I forgot to include this book in original post d'oh) Not a 3-for-2 book shock. The first one in a series - I've read Last Tango in Aberystwyth, picked up on a previous 3-for-2 without realising it was the second in a series. I really hate reading a series out of order bah. But anyways Last Tango was excellently bizarre Welsh-noir detective fiction with added druids. Looking forward to reading the first one now, then onto the third.

Eye Wonder: Eye Wonderfor O. I've always loved DK, they publish the most excellent, inspiring, fascinating reference books. O loves them too. He has Eye Wonder Ocean & Eye Wonder Rainforest, and said he wanted the others in the series (Space & Dinosaurs). He loves non-fiction, he adores gathering facts and information about things. He's such a boy. Mind you, if I get through this course it will be partly thanks to O's DK books. And partly thanks to everyone who's helped make Wikipedia's science entries. The entry on ecosystem productivity is really helping me out right now.

Can you tell we've got some money at last? Actually we don't have any real money in our pockets yet, but I banked a cheque yesterday so cheques written from now on will be safe hurrah.

Sleep over went well yesterday, despite bouts of crying and wanting to go home from the various parties concerned. My sister said I'm such a Progressive Parent, letting my son sleep with his beloved under my roof.

Friday, May 20, 2005

the excitement mounts

O is so excited he's fit to burst. Tonight has three (three? THREE? wtf was I thinking ?) coming for a sleep over - including our future daughter-in-law. On Sunday he has a party to go to. And the week after next, at half-term, Trin and gurls are coming to visit. Every day he asks 'is it half-term tomorrow?' The only cloud on his horizon is that Trin's not bringing her kitten with her.

Me, I am struggling womanfully to catch up with my course work. I didn't go belly dancing last night, so I could do some. My eating's still shot. Must get on scales soon but I know they'll say something bad. Ah well, back to oak woodland ecosystems.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

and when they were up they were up

Starting to get back on top of things, and feel like my life is under some kind of (very poor quality) control. Got my work finished and emailed off, got my OU assigment handed in at tutorial last night, can see the floor for toys, and know that there is money in the pipeline for me soon. So things looking better hurrah.

My OU tutor is ace. She is very understanding and encouraging with me when I get behind, her mobile ring tone is 'Paranoid' and she comes up with great activities and experiments - last night we were making fruit salad to illustrate some fundamental concepts in chemistry. I'm really enjoying this course, science is definitely more 'me' than social sciences (all that post-moderism *shudder*). I am still behind tho, so I have to whack quickly thro the next couple of units to catch up. So, back to the books ....

Monday, May 16, 2005

your children are not your children

Walking to school this morning, I was telling O I could smell one of my favourite smells - how the world smells after rain when it's been dry for days. O replied that his favourite smell is meatburgers.

Big Sigh. We've been having this conversation on and off for weeks now, about how he wants to be Meat. He says he's tried meat and likes it. I've explained why I don't eat meat, told him over and over that meat comes from dead animals and they kill lambs and fishes and such to make it. He still wants to eat meat. "Daddy is Meat" he says and it's true. We are vegetarian at home but R is a meat eater sometimes, and has meat and fish when we eat out. If we were both veggies it would be easier to stand firm against O's carnivorous desires. As it is, if he keeps on about it, we might say he can eat meat at other people's houses and possibly when we eat out. But our house is staying veggie, and ideally I would like him to stay on veggie school dinners. Ethics aside, I suspect that veggie school dinners are less suspect than meat ones.

Network news: now I am the household network admin, I am understanding where the BOFH is coming from. This morning R complained that he couldn't access the main pc from the laptop. I start running through what the problems could be before it occurs to me to ask "is the main pc switched on?" D'oh.

Your children are not your children
They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself
They come through you but they are not from you
And though they are with you
They belong not to you
You can give them your love but not your thoughts
They have their own thoughts
You can house their bodies but not their souls
For their souls dwell in a place of tomorrow
Which you cannot visit not even in your dreams
You can strive to be like them
But you cannot make them just like you
Strive to be like them
But you cannot make them just like you

'On Children' : performed by Sweet Honey in the Rock
Lyrics: Kahlil Gibran, Music: Ysaye M. Barnwell
listen to an mp3 at

Sunday, May 15, 2005

my bad

Yesterday was my mum's birthday, so we spent the day with her. My parents are the only people they know on their street who don't vote Tory and don't read the Daily Mail. So of course O and I both wore evul hoodies. O on swingboat

I did wonder if we'd get slapped with an asbo before we even entered the village, but no we were allowed in and even allowed to be the only chavs at the village festival. Festival was v nice, O loved the old fashioned swing boat rides and the puppet show was ace.annoying flashing spinning noisy ball thing

My mum got her own back on my for the hoodies by buying O the type of horrible vile tacky toy we would never have been allowed as kids, a spinning light-up ball thingy that plays the same 2 lines from a bangin' choon over and over again. It's like having a fun fair in your living room, deep joy. The mean cow even bought spare batteries for it! Wish we'd kept that chocolate cake we made her for ourselves, now.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

emergency: send chocolate

It's looking like I will be up all night finishing some work that absolutely has to be finished tomorrow morning. This is entirely due to my ability to never do something today that can be put off till next week/month/year. I have coffee but there is no chocolate in the house and I need chocolate. Need. Chocolate. Now.

thursday randomness

slap happy: last week, O announced that something 'very sad' was happening at school. The Head had spoken to the whole school at assembly about incidents of 'happy slapping' in the playground. O didn't really know what it was, but this week it's been all over the meedja. Turns out Happy Slapping is the latest evul yoof craze. That and wearing a hoodie in a threatening manner. Young people today, asbo the lot of 'em, like what that nice Mr Blair says. It's a disgrace, didn't happen in ye goode olde dayes oh no. Bloomin' chavs, bet they can't even spell deviancy amplification spiral.

whale watching: there were some amazing photographs of whales in last Saturday's gruaniad magazine, and they're available to see on-line.

hair envy: the Afro-Caribbean girls in O's class have the most fantastic hair. They have braids and cornrows and mini-dreads and styles I don't know the names of, and they change the style and pattern every week. Their mums/sisters/aunties/grannies must spend hours on it, and they end up looking completely gorgeous. I think I have dreadlock envy. Not that I'm going to be growing my own - generally speaking they lookie pretty naff on us white folks. That said, one of my neighbours has beautiful long blonde dreads but in looking cool rather than crusty (or, even worse, Hoxton), she's very much the exception.

now for the science bit: if it's Thursday it must be Gruaniad Science Day. Bad Science column rocks, as ever. This week: can molecules speak English? Elsewhere, they publish extracts from Richard Feynman's letters:
I am sure of nothing, and find myself having to say "I don't know" very often. After all, I was born not knowing and have only had a little time to change that here and there. It is fun to find things you thought you knew, and then to discover you didn't really understand it after all.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

not teacher's pet

O has 2 class teachers, who teach half a week each. One of them has gone on maternity leave. Since she went off there have been supply teachers covering the class, and now we have a 'permanent' (til the end of term) replacement.

Each week the kids have a reading book to take home, and letters or words to learn. O's reading day is Monday, when he's supposed to have his reading heard, his spellings tested, get a new book and new words, and generally (so I thought) have an opportunity for someone to spend a bit of one-to-one time assessing his progress.

Since his teacher went off to have her baby, his reading has been heard (when someone remembers or we remind them) not by the supply teacher, not by the teaching assistant, but by the learning assistant who is there primarily to support a child with special needs. Well OK, things were a bit up in the air but I assumed once the replacement teacher was in place, the teacher or teaching assistant would hear the reading. But no. So I asked the teacher about it and she seems to intend to carry on with having this support worker doing the reading, because there isn't time for her to do it and run the class.

Well how did the last teacher manage? And how can the teacher know how my child is doing if she spends no one-to-one time with him in the course of the school week? So now the first-half-of-week teacher doesn't like me for being too stroppy, and I am scouring websites and wondering if I should take it up with the second-half-of-week teacher or even with the head.

I'm cross and frustrated and don't know what to do for the best. Apart from the issue of how she can know how my child is doing, I also find it frustrating that hearing the children read is something to be fitted in where you can and devolved to the lowliest adult in the classroom - how does that help children value reading, and feel valued for work they have put in on their reading and spellings at home? I feel like saying if she can't be @rsed to hear his homework then I can't be @rsed to do it with him. Obv I'm not going to do that, it would be counter productive, but I'm just so peed off with the situation. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Monday, May 09, 2005

I, like, totally rawk

for I have configured firewalls and routers and all sorts and now my network totally cooks on charcoal yay.


Cycled 48 miles yesterday and things hurt this morning. We rode with a group to Lower Loxley Arley Hall, had lunch there then pootled to Tatton Park for coffee & cakes. Cafe stops v. important in the life of the cyclist.

Am still making no progress whatsoever on the d**t front. Haven't been to fat club, haven't even weighed myself at home for the past 2 - 3 weeks. Motivation in temporary abeyance.

Network news: I figured out that it's my firewall making things go buggrup. If I turn it off network is lovely. Now I just have to fathom how to set the firewall to let the network work.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

my new best friend

why I am a Bad Mother: reason #253: I spent more time today talking to tech support mens in India that I did talking to my own child. And my network still isn't working quite right booo. Tech support mens v helpful tho, which was a nice change. I'm not going to blame India for all the woes of the modern world, but I find it deeply annoying that call centre staff have to pretend not to be Indian. Why do they have to say 'Hi this is Michael' when they're really Metin or Mohammed or Mohan? Are my compatriots really that narrow minded, that they'd rather not be helped by someone with a foreign name?

Gotta go bed now, got first 40 mile bike ride in the morning eep.

Friday, May 06, 2005


My network won't work properly and I have no idea what I am doing and my tech support hippy has gone to a field somewhere. Gah. Worse, R is going out for the day tomorrow and taking the laptop with him! Nooo. We need 2 laptops.

O is a very happy bunny this evening. He's been to his beloved's to play. His future mother-in-law's a goth, complete with pet snakes.

Election news: insert witty/satirical observations here.

and the big question is ...

whose bright idea was it to give Peter Snow the virtual giant Risk set?

Other news: 421 feckers in my consituency voted for the BNP. Meanwhile, lots of recounts going on and it's looking like Labour have lost to George Galloway in the East End, and have lost Enfield Southgate to the Tories. Bah.

as it happens

no blow by blow coverage here, go read the gruaniad weblog instead.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

now we're cooking on dilithium crystals!

Wayhey! Laptop is here, wireless network is installed, now I can blog from the sofa in front of the tv hurrah!

geeky, moi?

R has gone out to buy The Laptop. He was determined to get it today and it's his money so I have to be satisfied with giving him detailed information about what we do and don't need, including what doings will be needed for wireless connectivity, and strict instructions to ring me if any shopyouth tries to bamboozle him.

Even I am slightly embarrassed at just how excited I am about being able to watch the election night coverage on tv while simultaneously browsing election results on line. Don't all point and laff.

if you're still undecided ...

Don't know who to vote for? Don't waste valuable Heat-reading time on all those boring newspapers and manifestos. Rustie Lee Just take advice from your fave celeb.

Will you be like Joan Collins, Clarissa Dickson Wright and Nicky Haslam and vote Tory? Or be a 'red' like Tony Blair's mates Sir Alex, Vera Duckworth and Dickie Attenborough? Perhaps Brian Eno, Nicholas Parsons and Fran Healey will tempt you to back the LibDems? Me, I was very tempted by Rustie Lee's stand for UKIP. But in the end, I'm with Tracy Barlow.

democracy in action

Went to vote on the way back from taking O to school, and put my X in the box1. Our polling station's at the library but judging by the turn out at school today, lots of parents have assumed that the school would be used as a polling station and so would be closed.

last time, our constituency had the second lowest turn out in the country - only 39.1% of registered voters voted. They've really been pushing postal voting this year, but it seems to me that if possible (and obv all polling stations should be accessible), you should make the effort to get along and vote in person. And even leaving aside the potential for fraud provided by postal voting, it seems to me that it potentially undermines the right to a secret ballot.

To this day my mum will not tell anyone how she votes. I can make a pretty good guess, she doesn't hide her views, but she insists on her right to keep her vote secret. That was drummed into her by her own parents, who grew up in a time when men tried to tell their wives how to vote. At a polling station, whatever you've told anyone about how you vote, no-one can see where your X actually goes. But if you are filling in a postal vote at home, I reckon it would be hard to keep your paper secret from a pushy spouse/friend/relative.

So anyways I've voted. Not that it will make much difference, as I don't live in one of these key marginals. No visits from John Prescott for the voters of Madcity Central - Labour majority in 2001 of 13,742. Our MP's not bad I s'pose, as Labour politicians go, but I could not vote Labour this time. For a whole raft of reasons, Iraq and immigration/asylum being just two. But then living in such a safe seat, I have the luxury of being able to make a protest vote. I don't know what I'd do if I lived somewhere there was a risk of letting the tories in. Like, say, Enfield Southgate.

were you still up for portillo?Anyways, it's all over now bar the election-night-athon (incl. Dead Ringers election speshul) Which is the best bit.

Yes I was. May 97. Best. Election Night. Ever. They don't make 'em like that any more.

1. Peter Snow's done a handy guide on how to vote in UK general elections & the basics of the UK parliamentary system, for anyone who doesn't know how tis done - click here, then click on "how to vote guide" - or read about it here

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

poverty is relative

Today I bumped into a teenage lad I know slightly, who lives near me. We were both waiting ages in the doctors so I tried to make small talk with him, and asked him what he's going to do after his GCSEs this summer. I nearly fell off my chair when he told me he's volunteering on a project to help deprived kids. His mam's an alkie, both his step-dad & his real dad are smackheads and are both in & out of prison, he lives with a shifting population of half-siblings, step-siblings, cousins, and probably one or two kids no-one's can remember who they belong to. He is deprived kids ffs. He's also a very nice kid.

I hope the person who came here looking for the party is having a nice time. And if the person googling s103 answers finds what they were looking for, do let me know, I could do with some help meself.

Random thing I am proud of O for today: he knows that spiders are not insects. And he knows the key difference between spiders and insects. There's quite a lot of adults who think that spiders are insects. Tsk. They probably also think that penguins and polar bears live together and didn't have pedants for parents. They too were deprived, poor things.

And finally, a message for Trin

Baby Milk Action: Fight the Nestle Monster

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

does my bum look big on this?

Although I love it as a method of transport, my bike is in fact a piece of cheap cr@p which doesn't even fit me properly. Pending purchase of a shiny new bike, I'm tinkering with it to try and get the best out of it. CB has kindly donated me one of her old saddles, which is a bit narrower, a bit harder1 and generally a bit nicer than the one that came with the bike. Did 33 miles on Sunday.

Monday being a bank holiday, we hitched up the trailer bike and went for a family ride and a picnic in the woods. We did 11.5 miles in all, the furthest O has ever ridden in one day. Le Tour 2020, here he comes.

So, exercise is still happening. I am making a half-arsed attempt at my assigment today and will settle for scraping a few marks here and there. Work is going very very slowly. Eating well let's not talk about eating for now.

And finally, a message for impatient car drivers honking their horns and getting irate because our family peloton cost them valuable seconds of journey time ...
critical mass: we are traffic

P.S. for Trin: my fave blog-about-neighbours

1. Common bike saddle fallacy no. 1: "wider & squishier = betterer". That's not to say everyone should ride summat out of that yellow pages ad, tho.
For everything you never wanted to know about saddles, ask Sheldon.