Thursday, June 29, 2006

On this note, with just another 14 posts till the 1200 mark...

I leave you be for the weekend (well probably) as I am off to indulge in copious amounts of guffawing, lusting, and inappropriate conversation with my good friend Helen Lisette. The guffawing will be at each other, the lusting will no doubt come after the wine kicks in and we're watching This Year's Love, Doctor Who (deinitely me), and Gladiator (definitely HL) for the umpteenth times, and the inappropriate conversations will be spread through the weekend far beyond the ears and eyes of family and partners.

Neil, we love you, but some conversations HAVE to be between girlfriends!


Damn. And I SOOOO wanted to be Wilson or Cuddy.

BTW I know, finale tonight. The video is set and I may try and watch anyway. Not as I can't already guess what's going on...

Dr. Robert Chase
65% Eccentricity, 40% Confidence, 40% Kindness

Congratulations, you're Dr. Robert Chase! You're quite the complicated person. While you may seem like a perfectly normal extremely attractive person, there is far more to you than meets the eye. It's quite likely that you've had some unusual experiences in your life, whether it be something along the lines of a stint in seminary school or something along the lines of S&M parties. You are rather insecure, and will often do things you don't want to do to win the good favors of others. While you may seem nice enough, getting ahead and doing what's best for yourself is usually more important to you than much else in life.

Link: The House, MD Personality Test written by freedomdegrees on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Flowers in the garden

Sadly not ours (though ours has had some amongst the overgrown weediness natural wild garden-ness of it all).

No, I suggest for some real good flower pics you hop across the waters to see Joe in Vegas (though you could just visit the blog).

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

If you've not been there lately...

Can I suggest that you check out the unofficial Douglas Henshall website. Like a select number of other fan sites, I think it does a much better job than any 'official' site would do.

But it takes time [lots of it], money, and regular feeds/searching to do such things properly. Sigh. And web know-how. All things I am mostly lacking. Sigh. When I think how much it took to spur me just to take up blogging and try and keep on top of that, running a site is just fantasy for me. Thank goodness there are others who act.


Wow. Go over to Kevin's place to see some wonderful pictures of Jean Cocteau's burial chapel.


Reidski's blog birthday

If he hadn't have started blogging, J.J. would be without her sweetheart.

Somehow the words of "Something Changed" by Pulp come to mind... What would the blogging equivalent be?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Fiskers and blog anniversaries

Just added Fisking Central to the blog roll on the grounds that I cannot think why they were not there earlier.

We should also note Kerron and his year in blogging: though if he keeps crossing swords and purposes with people about women candidates he might be a bit battle-scarred before long!

Those outstanding lines from "25 lines"

Any more takers?

The following remain up for grabs:

2. Well you know it's bigger than me, and you know it's bigger than you

6. I just held on and hoped you'd find the nowhere else you'd find my kind

7. Something has to change and it always does

8. Baby, let me make you a statue, to stand outside the Council House

10. I think about you all the time, I did this and I went there - Codex: Pere Ubu [Cloud got there!]

12. I don't need to need you, tell me what to do, tell me what to say

13. I'm floating with the birds, I'm talking to the weeds, look what you've done to me - Crush in the Ghetto: Jolie Holland [Chris]

14. Something that can make you do wrong, make you do right

16. Heaven is a disaster, and you won't get there any faster

20. This town forgets to draw its blinds, I see the last ditch carnal crimes - Tarmac: Hazeldine [Chrissie! Finally entering the blog world to comment!]

21. No, I sent you that letter, to ask you if the end was worth the means, was there really no inbetween? - Brassneck: The Wedding Present [Col]

22. In the days, the golden days, where everybody knew what they wanted - Half Day Closing: Portishead [Baby Washington got the clue about "being half way there!"]

25. I wouldn't shut your eyes just yet, I wouldn't turn the lights down yet

So there you have it! Just a reminder!

ON being a teenager

Great post over at Actually Existing by Phil on "The Breakfast Club" and being a teenager. Just a really good read.

We're very bad people

Clearly we are adults.

In the comments and posts

Lovely Matt_c proposes a new serial post called "The Best Sentence I've Read Today!" It was fab to see he'd picked Marie, one of the wittiest writers on the block/blog, and one who frequently brings a smile to me (and often a loud guffawing laugh as well).

However, in re-reading Marie ('cos I had read it and howled anyway), I spotted this gem of an exchange in the comments, which - as we know - will disappear into the internetthangether at some point soon.

So if you haven't read them already, here is it is.

I laughed like a drain as you might guess!

Dear Aunt Marie,

My secret girlfriend Mia Maestro doesn't even know I exist! What should I do?! Should I hide in the bushes outside her house, or break into her bedroom to steal her underwear?! Or what?!!
HolyhosesRob | Homepage | 06.23.06 - 10:36 pm | #


Dear HHRob,
Make a friend of yours move into the flat downstairs from her, and offer to shag her for a bowl of sugar.
Aunt Marie
strugglingauthor | Homepage | 06.24.06 - 3:08 am | #

And verily I say, priceless.

PS if you don't get why it's so funny, you need to read the collected back catalogue of Marie. It's all good, but this particular narrative started here.

Dear Lord (of the Rings)

Too funny for words (though more for Skuds' suggestion than the idea itself...)

Monday, June 26, 2006

SimonHolyHoses hits the nail on the head about blokes buying gifts

Okay, not EVERY bloke obviously. Some actually manage the act quite well (feminine side anyone???). But unfortunately there is a lot of truth in SimonHolyHoses' post about gift buying.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

My 25 lines long

Eventually I have gotten around to this using Party Shuffle on i-Tunes. There are just under 5000 tracks available, but it was a lot more complex than you'd think. I didn't want to inflict multiple selections by the same artist, or even from the same compilation CD - that may seem cheating, but sometimes Party Shuffle seems to get very hung up on certain artists and albums out of all proportion to the whole collection on the PC.

With the best will in the world, some lyrics were unintelligible to accurately transcribe and googling didn't help even me, so it seemed horribly unfair for you to have to work with my guesses. I also have a lot more speech pieces on my PC than I thought (and I haven't even uploaded David Tennant reading Quite Ugly One Morning yet). And of course there were also those tracks that helpfully have the title in the first line and instrumentals / non-vocal classical pieces. Eventually scrolling down the list, I did get 25. I hope you get some. I haven't edited it for taste (if I had, several would not have made the cut!)

  1. The soldier asked my name, did I come here very often - Sleep of the Just: The Costello Show (from King of America) [Baby Washington]
  2. Well you know it's bigger than me, and you know it's bigger than you
  3. I'm not the chemistry of chemicals when we think we're apart - Flutter: Amplifico [George]
  4. Take me back to your room, tie me up and strip me naked - Sex is Boring: Ballboy [George]
  5. Looking in your eyes, I see a paradise - Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now: Starship [Gordon]
  6. I just held on and hoped you'd find the nowhere else you'd find my kind
  7. Something has to change and it always does
  8. Baby, let me make you a statue, to stand outside the Council House
  9. Summer's gone, days spent with the grass and sun - Wake Up Boo!: The Boo Radleys [Stu_N]
  10. I think about you all the time, I did this and I went there - Codex: Pere Ubu [Neil]
  11. I hate the world today, you're so good to me I know but I can't change - Bitch: Meredith Brooks [Nat]
  12. I don't need to need you, tell me what to do, tell me what to say
  13. I'm floating with the birds, I'm talking to the weeds, look what you've done to me - Crush in the Ghetto: Jolie Holland [Chris]
  14. Something that can make you do wrong, make you do right
  15. Look outside the window, there's a woman being grabbed - Outside of a Small Circle of Friends: Phil Ochs [EineKleineRob... eventually!]
  16. Heaven is a disaster, and you won't get there any faster
  17. Always when we fight, I try to make you laugh - You and Me Song: The Wannadies [Marie]
  18. This afternoon, your back's not so straight, your eyes aren't too clear - Shark: Throwing Muses [George]
  19. Childhood living is easy to do, the things you wanted I bought them for you - Wild Horses: The Rolling Stones [Gordon]
  20. This town forgets to draw its blinds, I see the last ditch carnal crimes - Tarmac: Hazeldine [Chrissie!!!!]
  21. No, I sent you that letter, to ask you if the end was worth the means, was there really no inbetween? - Brassneck: The Wedding Present [Col]
  22. In the days, the golden days, where everybody knew what they wanted
  23. Sugar daddy, come on and sugar me, I want your loving so come on and give it me - Sugar is Sweeter: CJ Bolland [Marie / Gordon]
  24. I was lost, lost on the bypass road, could be worse, I could be turned to toad - Hometown Unicorn: Super Furry Animals [Billy]
  25. I wouldn't shut your eyes just yet, I wouldn't turn the lights down yet

I will be honest. I would struggle to get many of these on a good day. Others seem so obvious it is almost embarrassing. I'm hoping some will at least persuade you to look up the artist or track, though no offense would be taken in some cases! As per EineKleineRob, when they get correctly answered in the comments I will aim to cross them off.

UPDATE: I'll give credit too:
  • first one goes to Marie (no 17) - she's also half-way there on one (no 23)
  • second in is Nat (no 11), though I KNOW that Joe would have got it too if he had been in sooner...
  • third identifier is Stu_N (no 9)
  • fourth identifier is Gordon who momentarily gets distracted by thoughts of Suzanne Vega's cracking track the The Queen and the Soldier (no 1) before correctly identifying one of the most embarrassing entries (no 5) and then getting two goodies (no 19 - last heard by The Sundays in the classic Buffy episode The Prom; and filling in Marie's gap with no 23)
  • fifth in is Baby Washington going straight to that one Gordon briefly confused (no 1)
  • sixth in is Billy, obviously getting in ahead of EineKleineRob who I was sure would be first on the buzzer (no 24)
  • seventh in line is our erstwhile housemate George with three I was pretty sure he would get - and possibly ONLY he would get - when they popped up on the Party Shuffle radar! (no 3, no 4, and no 18)
  • eighth in is EineKleineRob who finally managed to get the Ohrwurm out of his head for wrongly singing "Flowers on the Wall" (no 18)
  • ninth in - and this is special! - comes Chrissie, longtime blog-reader finally peeping up above the blog-world parapet to contribute! Go Chrissie Go! (no 20)
  • tenth is a return for Baby Washington (no 22)
  • eleventh is Cloudy Neil coming up with the goods from his Pere Ubu-filled mind (no 10)
  • twelfth is Chris in the comments getting in a neat remark about good taste; sadly Party Shuffle is no respector of taste and can pull up the sublime next to the stupid. And remember folks that most of the collection isn't even ON the computer yet... Well done anyway Chris (no 13)
  • thirteenth in is Col to get the much loved track "Brassneck"; ah my days dancing to that at Rock City Nottingham! (no 21)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Anna hits the 200!


What an incredible old gal she was

Brilliant obituary of IM Birtwistle (thanks Cloud).

25 lines

He got the idea from here, but oh this is tough EineKleineRob. I only got two without thinking about it too hard. And I haven't even considered googling...

So 12 August...

J.J., where's me invite?

Damn: she's on holiday...

Futurama returning?

Could it be?

The sign of ?

Matt_c has a thoughtful post on the new Nike ad featuring Rooney painted with the red cross of St George.

My first thought at seeing the ad?

God, what an ugly bugger Rooney is...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Holy Batman

Well, Rob certainly got MY attention!

Those virgin births

Well, you gotta consider this type of thing.

Hat tip to Cloudy Neil

Messy books

We throw away books. We burn books. We throw away people. And we burn people.

Someone has written about this metaphor before I think...

Jarvis news or another ELO fan outed?

Jarvis should get his Vocoder at some point, but this post has something even stranger in the comments than 'fessing up to liking ELO (which seemingly EVERYONE is now doing).

Talking of Medium Rob's blog... Where IS "State of Play 2"?

MediumRob's trying to find out what happened to "State of Play 2", the follow up to the immensely wonderful series "State of Play".

Did you like "State of Play"?

Do you WANT a "State of Play 2"?

Any answers anyone?

Belated anniversary to Medium Rob's Media Blog

I missed this yesterday, but if you don't already pop along to The Medium is Not Enough, then take his anniversary as an invite to start now.

You know it makes sense...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Cultural review: Lowdham Book Festival, Funland, and Jerry Springer - The Opera

Well THAT's a feast of material. It almost reads like a Newsnight Review edition (funnily I nearly typed The Late Show which was its long-since-past predecessor, most fondly remembered by me for when the Stone Roses blew the limited speaker provision and bemoaned "amateurs!").


Lowdham Book Festival

Only been to two events so far and we're scheduled for another on Friday. Yes, as befits most book festivals - especially small ones held in obscure little Notts villages - it was a very white and very Guardian/Independent reading affair. That was pretty depressing. Cloud and I were also probably the youngest (certainly for the opening session with Mike Marqusee, 'lovable' leftie, discussing Bob Dylan).

Nevertheless, the Dylan talk was worth the price of entry for just being able to indulge in someone smart acknowledging le Dylan's ambiguity and contrariness (as well as for intro-ing the talk with a nice amount of Dylan selections playing). A witty, honest and intelligent discussion of lyrics, politics, and the political/personal context of Dylan's work. If you haven't already bought Chimes of Freedom, it's now been reissued in paperback with a new title and some revisions/expansions as Wicked Messenger. Highly recommended.

Next up was Will Hodgkinson talking (and playing) about his book Guitar Man, the story of one person's journey to learn the guitar in 6 months and then do a live concert. Along the way he was advised and taught by some of the great guitar players like Bert Jansch and Johnny Marr (the former helpfully and critically; the latter rather too positive to be useful) and given pertinent - if dismissive - advice by Les Paul ("practice"). He did an admirable rendition of the nigh impossible-to-play Anji by Davey Graham, and reported with much affection how the now raddled Graham met a woman when he was visiting an out-patients mental health centre and, embarrassed at his situation let her believe he was a doctor. Shetold him she was a social worker. Only some time later did each discover they were in fact BOTH out-patients. Very amusing and engaging young man whose looks belied his mid-30s age.

Friday, we go to see Simon Callow talk about Orson Welles. Looking forward to it.


The final episode is on next Sunday (I hope - they booted it from the BBC2 schedules weekend before last, much to our indignation. Still, I called the BBC and got put through to a LOVELY guy called Paul who not only confirmed it would be back this Sunday just gone, but also happily chatted with me about how good it was. He was, as I told him, a sweetie, and made what could have been me ranting at the BBC schedulers into a very pleasant conversation indeed).

I know some of you may have watched this on BBC3, but as you all should know - grumble, grumble - no Freeview in our house. So Cloud and I have picked this up on BBC2. It's not easy viewing it has to be said. In fact, I would happily admit to it being depraved, twisted, sick and full of barking mad characters. It is also horribly, horribly funny and bleak.

Needless to say, we've been loving it! No spoilers please from BBC3 viewers, though I can't imagine there are entirely happy endings.

That bit of depravity neatly brings me to last night's cultural spot:

Jerry Springer - The Opera

Cloud had won two tickets via the council (for an eco-friendliness questionnaire raffle, bizarrely).

Wow. Friends had seen it, either live or on the BBC screening, and both had praised it.

Let us be clear: it IS offensive. It is bawdy, obscene and excessive. It is also hilarious (though I'm not sure whether ALL the audience got that or whether they just appreciated a musical version of an actual Jerry Springer show...)

But it is much more than that. It is, in many respects, a deeply MORAL piece, in so much as medieaval works were usually morality plays. If you imagine that Chaucer is the accommodatable side of medieval writing - with all its bawdiness - imagine all the stuff that didn't make it down through the centuries (partly because of oral traditions).

I doubt I'm the first to say it, but in this instance, viewing it can help you critique it. For example, there was a lot of horse-crap from protesters about how it depicted Jesus in a nappy. Oh lord. NO. That is NOT what you see.

In the first act a black guy confesses to wanting to be treated as baby. He pulls off his suit to show he is wearing a nappy.

In the second act, when Jerry is 'dying' he is called to referee a special Jerry show to arbitrate between Satan and Jesus/God, and the same actor from the first half reappears as Jesus WEARING A LOIN CLOTH. A LOIN CLOTH. Not a nappy (though the visual link is smartly witty).

The best analogy I can think of is how in the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy's imagination of the good and bad guys draws on the real-life counterparts she knows (the quack travelling salesman becomes the wizard, the nasty lady the witch, her friends at the farm her inspirational but flawed travelling companions of metaphorical significance: courage, brains, heart). Sheesh, I can't believe that anyone aware of the tradition of morality plays and the like could ever make such a simple error of reading the play. It really ISN'T Jesus in a nappy!!!!!

Anyway, choreographed Ku Klux Klan dancers aside, it really was a smart satire on the role of television in our lives, the pseudo-morality of reality TV, and - astutely - on even the form of musical theatre, especially opera (lots of knowing bemusement when singers were doing their most excessive operatic stylings: and by the way, the singing was excellent).

And you have to love a show that features a warning "may not be suitable for those without a strong grasp of Judeo-Christian mythology." Provocative genius...

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Widening Participation

Recently, Radio FiveLive, forgetting to say for just a few minutes that they are the official World Cup Radio Station, did a special report on the 'problems' of widening participation strategies at university level. Part of the programme focused on talking to some incredibly smart teenagers who had failed to get interviews/offers at university for courses which, by most standards, are generally accepted to be significantly oversubscribed in terms of applicants. Their beef was that, having been predicted straight "A-triple-stars" (or whatever this week's grading system is) and perhaps even having got excellent work experience, they found that places had been "given away" to students who were predicted far worse grades, offered places requiring lower grades, and who lacked their experience.

"This is outrageous" shrieked their parents; "we've struggled to send our child to a good school, they've always wanted to be a vet/doctor and this is how all their hard work gets rewarded!" Meanwhile in the report, other, more multi-lingual and multi-regional-accented, teenagers fought to develop their articulacy expressing how brilliant it was to get a chance to do such a degree despite not having spent their entire life working towards the right qualifications for the right university for this particular course.

Hmmm. Doesn't seem very fair does it?


Let's clear up two key problems in the argument FiveLive presented.

1. if it wasn't for these pesky upstarts with less wonderful predicted A levels, the lovely hardworking teenagers would be guaranteed their places.


Sorry, but there aren't enough places even if NONE of the "I've been encouraged through widening participation strategies" pupils got anywhere near applying let alone being offered places.

2. certain children were being given an unfair advantage in being offered places with lower predicted grades and offers requiring less perfect achieved grades


There are two issues at stake here. One is to do with the idea of unfairness and lower grades. Is it fair that some students, having been 'lucky' enough to have families who recognise and can act upon giving their children chances to go to good schools (I use the terms advisedly since I know all too many who went to 'good schools' and had the most miserable and destructive experience imaginable because of the competitive ambition and expectations demanded of them) should be 'penalised' for their success?

Well it depends partly on how you see the penalties that are already stacked up against other students: those whose families are unable or unwilling or inexperienced at being able to get their children out of attending less good schools; those who have no family experience of higher education and perhaps would struggle to recognise the value of continued education. One could make an argument that their potential or even actual lower grades have added value - that because things are much harder for them to do well at all, that their achievements should count higher.

Ouch. I know what some of you are thinking, so let's mention the phrase that's no doubt in some readers minds: social engineering.

It seems so simple for some to get indignant about the concept of recognising inequalities and trying to do something to change the impact of those inequalities. Because of course all that is required is harder work. And then they would get the same grades and could properly and fairly compete for the limited places.

Except that this isn't really the case is it? It's like simplistically claiming that if you work hard, you will be rewarded. Hmmm. Your job is a shit shoveller. Chances are that despite working long exhausting hours, your chances of some great reward are slender.

Yes, it is undoubtedly tough to see your motivated hard-working offspring fail to get what they feel they deserve. But it is hardly as if students are being told they can get absolutely rubbish grades to be offered interviews and places ahead of all the predicted-to-be-high achieving students. The difference in their PREDICTIONS (a key point I will come back to shortly) is often less than a couple of overall grades (say three Bs rather than ABB or AAB). Moreover, it was revealing that even amongst the carefully selected students on the programme complaining about not being given a chance despite their hard work and predicted successful grades, all was not lost. Indeed, one young man said that after taking a year out he had since reapplied and HAD been offered a place. Additionally, when he had asked for feedback about why he had not been offered interviews or a place, he was told that his personal statement was flawed. (He actually complained about how short the word limit was to be able to explain and cover all his amazing experience and commitment to doing the course. Hah. Welcome to the world of having to write succinctly, of making careful choices in what you include and what you prioritise. Skills that usually better educated students are well taught in but clearly this one hadn't grasped. There is actually more to getting a place than just good predicted grades).

Which brings me to the second issue within the debate about the 'unfair advantage' in offering places for 'lower predicted grades'.

I have always held that students applying to university before their results is utterly flawed and generally nonsensical. How many people do you know - you may be one yourself - who had great predicted grades and then flunked the entire thing. Cloud did. So did someone else I know. The reasons for flunking are pretty irrelevant, but flunking happens. Illness, a death in the family, just being stoned. Predicted grades are often useless in ascertaining what someone actually achieves in terms of grades.

And that is before we even get to the matter of how helpful A level grades are as an indicator of university level success or even of being inspired by university education (these may not be the same thing). Given that actually many older universities have relatively small proportions of non-traditional A-level route students, for example, it is interesting that still so many can find it difficult to adjust to university life and the requirements of degree-level education. This DESPITE all the perceived preparation of 'good schools' and high A levels. Predicted or even achieved A level grades also do not necessarily tell you much about how wonderful you will be at the job (which is where the topic of work experience etc DOES present some problems but more on that later).

Anyway, my ill-made point is this. Even discounting that for some achieving an excellent set of A-level grades is made easier by their circumstances, the point is that university places are (pre-clearing) NOT offered on actual grades but predicted ones. Less good schools unfortunately often deflate predicted grades, as much as better schools often inflate. It's an expectation thing. So why wouldn't other issues - why SHOULDN'T other issues - count? Potential, for example?

Arguably, where students have not JUST been working to get high predictions (and perhaps achieve those predictions) AND have also got excellent experience, that should clearly count for something, as evidence of potential. But there can be all sorts of reasons why obtaining such experience might also be as shaped by circumstances beyond the control of the student (e.g. not being bought up on a farm) that again have nothing to do with the actual potential and talent a young person may have to contribute to a degree subject and ultimately perhaps the profession. And as the example of the young man from the programme showed, just getting the experience and the high predicted grades does not in itself mean a perfect application: you can still end up screwing up the personal statement.

Now I'm not prepared to go so far as to say that all Widening Participation strategies are good and well thought through. But rarely is it the case that ALL places on a course are set aside for students targeted through Widening Participation - it's usually just a proportion (though thankfully most places have realised that it does have to a reasonable proportion if you're not just going to replicate social division with token non-traditional entrants). And what often lets down Widening Participation is what happens when the students walk through the door of the institution. Transition is also vital. Some universities have received criticism for WP because, looking at some statistics, completion and success can still be hard for students coming through non-standard routes or from non-traditional backgrounds. But let's just take a simple example like obtaining work experience in vacation-time: it is not unreasonable to see that for students from economically more secure backgrounds, for those prepared/able to economically support their offspring through education, obtaining unpaid work experience is going to be much easier. Whilst such work experience might not be deemed essential in terms of university insisting or providing these opportunities - it may be 'optional' - for some it is going to be much harder to take up these valuable 'optional ' opportunities than for others. Does that make those less financially able to take these chances less capable than their counter-parts? I doubt it? So just getting students in through the front door and feeling that the Widening Participation job is done and from now it IS the mythical level playing field is farcical.

I'm going to duck and cover now because I suspect I will just find it easier to slip back into popular and high culture discussions. Rant partially over, but I will be returning to related issues (hopefully before the end of the week) regarding dyslexia.

Rullsenberg Rants

In case people have forgotten that the key purpose of this blog was not to attempt erudite debate but to provide "random discussion" of a number of pop/high culture topics and passions of mine, it is maybe worth interjecting one of my Rullsenberg Rants. Just to remind people that for rants to work, they really do need to be interjected between less diatribe-like mutterings. How else can the reader know that they are being flagged to consider something provocative?

Anyway, I could feel myself from prevented from delving into these dangerous waters by the fear that I'm not articulate enough to deal with such serious topics, that far more eloquent - and some less eloquent - commentators will soon spot the flaws in my arguments, or that my remarks are unnecessary amidst such a cacophany of internet voices.

Well, I kinda don't care. You don't have to read what I write. You never have to do that. I started the blog with NO readers - as we pretty much all do unless we have already established ourselves as commentators elsewhere. And I am daily amazed that anyone should come back here (though I would be happy to see some names/ISPs never again listed on my visitation list). Yet I love doing this, despite all the criticism and disagreements. But you can easily move along if you don't like something. There are already more blogs on even my limited list than I can keep up with regularly and I don't always read everything that even my most favourite writers produce. Sometimes I look at posts and think, "Oh that's just going to wind me up" or "nah... not gripping enough" and frankly if you have any sense you would do the same here. Its your - and my - perogative. Just because all this stuff is there, you don't have to read it.

All this is by way of an introduction to a new Rant.

Love and Monsters and ELO

Anna gets in ahead of me with just a great review of last night's Who. As I say there, I unfortunately suspect that this will divide opinion terribly. But it was warm, quirky, weird, and wrong (and I mean that in a good way - so wrong that it was right). It shouldn't have worked and some will say it didn't, but its heart was on its sleeve and it DID work for me.

By the way, anyone want to bet that RTD loved the trailer for "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and was frustrated that in the film they didn't actually include Mr Blue Sky?

UPDATE: Check out Anna's place for THE debate about Love and Monsters, including a brilliant bit of commentary from Fuzzboy. And if you don't know the drill by now that MediumRob is also the guy to read on these matters, then clearly you don't care about pop culture commentary.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Well, that's a relief

J.J. avoids murder.

Question is, would it have been worth it if he hadn't distracted her...?

On sentencing and castration

EineKleine Rob has an very very good post about the recent 'debate' (ranty row more like) over sentencing. It is too easy to forget that consideration for parole is not the same as getting parole. And it is all too easy to make rape/sexual assault an issue of sex rather than power.

Didn't the Canadians do something on changing the sex laws to be about power rather than about sex? How did that work out? Certainly, I agree with Rob's assertions that such a change should see a shift away from focusing on the sexual history/status of the victim which could certainly be helpful.

Vicarous pleasures

Just been to check some of the first results to go up for the undergraduates. One student, whom I have been working with for just under two years, has got a 2:1! I am so thrilled for her.

And whilst I was there I ran into another student whom I had seen for some dissertation support and he also got a 2:1!

For some students, just getting them to finish their course is such a challenge; so seeing them go on and do well is just brilliant.

Ooh, I feel all parentally proud!

UPDATE: I've just had two more students get in touch to say they have got 2:1 degrees. One of them got a 75 (first class) for her dissertation and advice from an expert in her field to consider postgraduate/PhD research. Lots of tears and lots of chocolates. Brilliant.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

New London Review of Books article about Doctor Who books

This caught Cloudy Neil's eye:
It isn't known why Eccleston decided to leave after only one series - bluffer, carpet-bagger, victim of the (aren't they always?) 'gruelling' production schedule? But the BBC was quick to announce the younger, extraordinarily attractive David Tennant as his successor, with a glow, almost, of parental pride. Fine-boned and wriggly, somehow, like a silky dog, Tennant has a helpless quality, which lends him great adorability. 'My girlfriend is besotted,' leicesterbloke writes on the digitalspy forum. 'When she saw Chris Eccleston turn into him at the end of the last series, she asked me if I could do that.' But it can also get an actor into trouble - as Tennant showed, wearily, in last year's ghastly Secret Smil (ITV), in which his lovely-doggie persona was given an obvious 180 degree wrench, to psychopathic stalker. Children's television has its limitations, but at least you can get a decent wage without having to play underwritten sex criminals in nasty plots involving Rohypnol.
For those after a print copy, it's in the new issue of the London Review of Books (dated 22 June 2006). Hopefully, for those who just want to read the full review by Jenny Turner on the Doctor Who series and Kim Newman's book about Doctor Who for the new BFI television collection, you can check out the page online here.

I think I liked best the line about "fine-boned and wriggly"....

Life changes

As indicated previously, I went out on Monday night. The occasion was a "friend" making their farewell to Nottingham. I say "friend" like that since we had started off on a very bad footing, but over the years each of us has learned - I think - to appreciate in the other certain qualities that may not have been obvious at first glance. Besides, sometimes you cannot beat a bit of barbed wit friendship.

Anyway, having seen this person completely change their life inside two months, it got me thinking about how and why our lives can change: why things happen the way that they do and whether there "is no fate but what we make". Because, let us be honest, how many times have we looked at events and thought, "well, that was just inevitable". I'm not saying that life is simplistically determined, and curve-balls get thrown all the time, but sometimes with a little hindsight the curve-ball seems much less unexpected than maybe was first thought. Like untangling time-travel and parallel worlds, do we know for certain that things wouldn't have been the same even if we had taken a different choice at a particular time? How do we know that taking the same decision in slightly different context wouldn't have led to a completely different conclusion?

Additionally, seeing how this person had completely uprooted their life so quickly made me also think about how we respond to change or the possibility of it. It's easy to sometimes let things slide, let them drift out of a lack of energy or will to make changes. We stick with the familiar because somehow it's easier than leaping into the unknown. We all need to have more hope that change can be good. If, like me, you get unnerved by the process of change, make it quick. Hesitation can kill as many good ideas as it does bad ones. But it is also worth considering how much you value your self alongside other people: without wishing to promote selfishness, is duty and obligation - however, well placed they may be, however deserving the subject - enough to compensate for misery and destructive resentment? Balancing care for yourself alongside care for others, gratitude and obligation is hard work, but running away from dealing with the implications of continuing with something based on negative and destructive feelings could be equally damaging.

Of course for some the choices - and I use that word with a heavy heart in the current political climate - are not straight-forward. Where do you live; what do you live on? These are questions that inhibit people's choices for changing their lives. Despite all the work that has been done by charities, the efforts of carers continues to go largely unrewarded and unnoticed. The hidden contributions of individuals to covering over the inadequacies of the health care system are immense. How do these people manage their lives, let alone change their lives? Similar problems arise for those dealing with domestic abuse: psychological and economic support needs to be in place to enable those caught in the destructiveness of domestic violence to either manage/change or escape the situation.

And what of those who are 'left behind' by life-changes? They too need support; they too are living through a 'life change', and it is often one that they did not actively choose (even if their inaction contributed to its inevitability). We could all do with being more self-aware and more other-aware, because otherwise we might not have our sunglasses to hand when the light changes, and the light can sure burn us to the core.

Stripes on Lisa

Photo by Cloud: Rullsenberg in Victoria Park, Rangiora, South Island, New Zealand
For fans of the stripes.

Photo by Cloud: Rullsenberg in Oxford, New Zealand

And something a little different, patterned tights.

Photo by Neil's dad: Rullsenberg and Cloudy Neil

Hope that helps folks!

Teddy bears

Earlier this week I won a raffle at work for a teddy bear.

Here he is:

Photo by Rullsenberg: new teddy bear

As yet I haven't decided on a name (though as a Russ Bear he does come with the name Cromwell).

He's one of a number of bears in our house, all much loved. Puddum (the greying one on the right) now has most of his nose hanging off. The one on the left was a present from the wonderful Christine (another Russ Bear: given name Geoffrey - though that isn't what I named him and no Neil he doesn't look like a Womble).

Photo by Rullsenberg: teddy bears

And there is also Michael, whom Neil bought for me one Christmas causing women in Sainsbury's to swoon as he walked around the store with this giant bear under his arm. He's a bit of a ladies' man, as you can see by the fawning girls on his lap.

Photo by Rullsenberg: Michael and the girls

I'm a real softy. I love teddy bears.

Meantime, meantime... (oh you get the picture): Beatles stuff

Matt_c directs me to a FABULOUS post about the Beatles, which has a great deal of affection for "Beatles for Sale". I almost cannot find fault with either Matt_c's directing me to it, or the post itself. I expect Fuzzboy and MaximumBob would appreciate it as well.

Meantime, meantime, meantime: Billie leaves

Found out about it first here (of course) and then strategically ignored remarks that the replacement had been cast to consider if Marie will volunteer even more enthusiastically than before...

Rosby: maybe here is your chance. Doctor Who lands at the school and offers to take you away from the forthcoming pain of GCSEs and dental torture and allow you the chance to demonstrate your Tae Kwon Doe skills across the galaxies...

Bless the child with good taste

My friend's grand-daughter can do a great impression of Doctor Who apparantly. During bath-time - she's about 5 - she began talking about it and then did a fab impression of DT from the Christmas Invasion episode, perfectly capturing the rolling eyes, voice intonation and crucially a good demo of satsuma throwing. Mind, nothing gets past a good 5 year old. When my friend collapsed into giggles, child asked her " you think he's handsome?" to which my friend was compelled to respond "I do yeah". At which grand-daughter chuckled and said that she thought he was "VERY handsome".

Bless indeed! Nice to know that some of the younger viewers aren't just there for the adventure excitement!

Lisa’s Self Pen Portrait (with stripes to follow subject to Blogger)

Clare did a wonderful piece of writing that I could never hope to live up to matching, but which I identified with very strongly. In fact, you could probably read hers and get a sense of me identifying with it (if you know me off-blog).

If not, this may give you some sense of me. But please note that despite having an A-level in art, I can't draw - and certainly not with MS Paint - so no self-drawn picture I'm afraid....

Pen Self
Lisa is looking forward to doing less over the summer months but knows that in practice she probably won’t. She always takes on far more than she can ever complete but still finds herself drawn to spending (wasting) time doing things that others might consider unimportant. She tries to keep everyone happy without always paying attention to herself (although she still feels guilty for how much she does try to please herself: she remains as contradictory as ever).

Sometimes Lisa wonders if she took a little too much to heart the Pulp lyric: “why live in the world when you can live in your head?” but then she remembers that reality is far more ridiculous and extreme than almost anything in her head. Besides, she has had more than her fair share of reality thank-you-very-much, and cherishes the small delights of occasional escape.

She is less than 4 months from 40 years old and is far more anxious about that than she thought she would be, despite older friends saying 60 is the one to worry about reaching. She tries not to regret what she has done in her life because at least she has lived occasionally beyond her expectations for appropriate behaviour and making smart choices. She constantly worries about everything and wishes she were more decisive. She likes order and is geekily obsessive about storage but usually lives in chaos.

She has a solidly Germanic nose – well, it looks like her father’s – which she hates, but she would not dream of doing anything to change it. She also has a very gammy front tooth thanks to a dodgy bit of dental work many years ago. She has saggy eyelids that make wearing eye make-up something of a practical joke on her by the cosmetic industry; combined with dark panda circles under her eyes (though not usually bags) she always looks tired. Unsurprisingly she does not feel her face is her best feature – “Monday’s child is fair of face” my ass - and consequently spends far more time behind the camera than in front of it… Otherwise, she is pretty okay about her body and is grateful that by comparison to just a decade ago she now has a vaguely visible pair of boobs. She knows that there would still be room to hold a party in the front of most dresses she tries on, and that her love of chest-focused t-shirts is something of a poor-taste joke by her on male company. But she is happy to laugh off any criticism since she can at least still fit into UK size 10 clothes (though some of her size 8 items are getting a little tighter than she is comfortable admitting). And she loves her legs (apart from her weak ankles and inability to wear any footwear beyond slippers without some socks or tights as otherwise she gets blisters). She still treasures getting admiring glances from under-12s and recalling that an American student used to compliment her on her “amazing hosiery”. Her stomach is getting a little more flabby than she would like, but given how idle she is, she is unlikely to do much about this till the summer vacation kicks in: and besides, she loves her food and eats like a pig.

Her hair is naturally mousey brown and more than 10 years ago, she started occasionally dying it various shades of red/auburn, which she feels suits her temperament much better. Reflecting her aforementioned idleness, she hates shaving and plucking and only does her arms and legs when she absolutely has to, which is essentially when it is too damn hot to wear sleeves or anything more than ankle socks. She wishes that she had been born as Katherine Hepburn circa The Philadelphia Story (with a wardrobe of that character to match). She loves dresses and if she finds one that fits and flatters her, will tend to buy it regardless of whether she has an occasion to wear it (because you never know…). Mostly, she looks back of pictures of her between the ages of 12-23 and squirms with embarrassment at her terrible taste in clothes and thanks the day that she re-acquired the confidence to dress quirkily that she occasionally had at 6th form. Still, she both loves and hates it when people stare at her dress sense (depending on who is staring and why). And she’s always been rubbish at following ‘dress codes’. What is wrong with green and purple? Stripes Rull Okay!

Lisa always blames her desire to please people on being an only child, but that is probably just a bad excuse and she is equally capable of mightily (if unintentionally) pissing people off with her behaviour. She is compassionate to the point of emotionally torturing herself for not being able to make things right for everyone. She tries to believe she holds herself back, but can often be too open for her own good. She puts herself down too easily, hates herself for doing so and says “sorry” more times a day than is psychologically healthy. She hates to let people down, but often feels she does even when it is not her fault. Having sympathy for the underdog – been there, done that – she finds that other underdogs gravitate towards her and she feels bad when she has to find the guts to say ‘no’ to their needs for her own safety and sanity.

If she cannot break the ice fairly quickly at a social gathering, she can easily shrink into herself becoming increasingly silent and unable to join in the conversation. Consequently, she likes it best when she is not the centre of everyone’s attention but is at least the centre of someone’s attention. She can be incredibly shy, which confuses those who do not know her well as they expect that someone so loud – in voice and dress sense – must be both confident and extrovert. She easily lurches from “look at me!” to “oh god, they’re looking at me”.

She loves giving to people – time, comfort, gifts – more than she likes receiving (although she does like receiving, especially surprises) but worries that she might not be being true to the nature of the Emersonian gift. She spouts lots of metaphorical platitudes and aims for empathy but wonders if she is just talking bollocks. She has frequently been told that she is one of the fastest talkers ever, and like Michael Palin leaves trails of three-legged donkeys behind her. She loves making people laugh, even if it is at her own expense – and sometimes especially if it is at her own expense. She loves to encourage people to not dismiss their feelings and experiences, and always tries to make sure she offers a safety-net of support to them if they should fall. She hates to see people drifting along in life and not taking their chances, but accepts that you cannot make decisions for people, only support them in the decisions they do eventually take.

Lisa worries that when someone compliments her that they have misunderstood what she is really like. She hates to do anything wrong and has to fight being defensive when criticised (she usually fails at this!). She can often see all sides of an argument, which leads some to think of her as a liberal fence-sitter with a well-splintered arse, but she is passionate about her opinions. Nevertheless, she hates making choices – particularly about the little things in life like sandwiches. She can be intimidated by the prospect of change, but is also enthusiastic about things when change has occurred (it is the process of upheaval that unnerves her).

She longs to make a difference to others. She believes in the value of education and learning for their own sake, and in the difference that education can make in people’s lives. She has never found writing for academic purposes easy, but she is pleased that she managed to get so far through the academic system without many seeing that she was paddling frantically beneath the water surface. She loves passing on her knowledge and enthusiasm about her academic subject to others, but she is far more comfortable when writing a polemic argument or personal stories.

She admires those with talent and finds intelligence and wit very sexy; she also likes good hair and slender physiques but these do not distract her from being passionately in love with her partner Neil. Besides, anyone who can put up with her crankiness that much has to be amazing. She is constantly delighted by his love, patience and sexiness. She also loves his playfulness and incredible breadth of knowledge (you definitely want him on your trivial pursuit team).

Ultimately, Lisa is driven by her emotions – good and bad – and would not have it any other way. Romantic and hopeful, she tries to live life happily (despite her Eeyore persona) and hopes to make other people happy too.

Hopefully she can manage to post some stripey style pictures of her before the end of the year subject to Blogger playing ball....

Meantime, meantime: Rob Buckley sends Rullsenberg into a tailspin

Boxing shorts...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

In the meantime: Marie's wardrobe

I so understand Marie's latest wardrobe crisis. I went out on Monday night with some friends and struggled choosing something appropriate to the intermittent rain and heat.

Didn’t want to be too posh (pub), didn’t want to be too plain (stripes are my trademark), didn’t want to be too skimpy (despite heat it wouldn’t have been appropriate), but equally didn’t want to overdress (the heat – I sweat something terrible and don’t try and flatter me by saying ‘don’t I mean perspire?’: NO. I am seriously considering whether somewhere in the recesses of my family history there wasn’t a non-urban-legend Catherine the Great style relationship).

Eventually I settled on a halter-neck white summer cotton dress with red flowers on it along with red and white striped socks – no it wasn’t a subtle way of supporting Eng-ur-land. And I took a small cardi as well to avoid looking like that lad’s mum in the advert where she’s getting ready to go out in a strappy dress and her offers her a cardi to cover up but she turns him down saying ‘it’s dirty’ and so he washes it rather than have her embarrass him [am sure J.J. could confirm that no teenage boy would ever do this].

Still, I guess with the countdown being for a potential meeting with DT, my concerns weren’t exactly coming from the same degree of anxiety…

Forthcoming blog posts: June

Yeah, I've had another rough period where paying attention to blogging has slipped slightly. This week alone I've done two DSA Needs Assessments, said a (kind-of) farewell to someone I know, and had a long conversation with a very dear friend. The hours have just slipped by.

So here's an indication of topics I will try and post on over the next few days. Last time I tried this it almost worked except that the planned post on second-hand and independent bookshops got lost off the end. I'll try and get back to that.

Anyway, here's the list

small child impersonating David Tennant
more stripes
pen portrait
why some students think study support is 'cheating' (and how wrong they are)
teddy bears (Chrissie, Lisette: no giggling at the back there!)
thoughts on the World Cup so far

Hmmm... I must eat some dinner... (that's a remark to me and not a post-preview...)

Darren's Quote of the Day


Monday, June 12, 2006

Linguistic problems

As a follow up to the debates about Chris Moyles, Matt_c has a great post about language over at his place, taking some issues with Tim Worstall.


Marie points out something really scary.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

So what HAVE I done????

I can think of many things I have done that are daft, but they're scarcely unique.

For example, I think of being so obsessed about The Beatles at school that I managed to write writ an embarrassing letter based on that obsession for my mock O level English, only to find out afterwards that on a second sheet of paper were the instructions as to what the letter should be about.

Now that may qualify for the list but I think of it just as "idiot girl forgot to read the instructions for her exam and made a fool of herself". Unique to the history of humanity? I think not.

I could also suggest waiting outside the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham to meet Lloyd Cole after a concert only to find I had no paper for him to autograph except a letter from my bank charging me for an unauthorized overdraft. Though I was chuffed to bits to meet him (tall, handsome, floppy hair - sigh) within a short amount of time I had managed to lose the letter and the autograph in a fit of bank paperwork filing and chucking.

Again, "idiot girl manages to get autograph on unexpected surface only to lose it because it is on an unexpected surface". I say again, not unique.

Now you would also spot that in neither instance is the act "cool" (a requirement of the original post). Well that would be easily explained by my complete lack of coolness! I don't do cool! I do geekiness (an insane level of cataloguing books, photocopies, records, CDs, tapes, films etc etc nigh unheard of for a girl); I do clutziness (you want stories of my falling over in stupid places? t-shirts galore for that act); I do embarrassing acts of inappropriate mistakes (more examples than you could ever list).

What I don't do is cool.

Maybe I just need to get another perspective...

Friday, June 09, 2006

Pastures New: HolyHosesRob

As this guy had more blogs to run/contribute towards than was feasible for one human being, it was almost inevitable that with a change of lifestyle and direction, HolyHosesRob would have to leave one of his wonderful writing venues.

Sadly then, HolyHosesRob is leaving the HolyHoses Crew.


There's a really nice elergy to his contributions here by SimonHolyHoses.

Sherlock Holmes collection

Oooh, goodies.

Lots of entertaining hokum (as a good bit of Holmes should be). And for the scene of ordering tea in this, it is well worthwhile. For me anyway.

What have done that's unique to you?

Belated I find, as ever, another excellent post over at EineKleineRob's place. His own contributions to a list of "things you've done no one else has" (excluding sex antics folks: sorry) are wonderfully unique! Go here to add yours.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Radio Four "In Our Time"

Melvyn Bragg's show this week is on Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Today 9am. I've met all three academic contributors. And one of them is rather beloved to me. Sending her BIG HUGS!

Of course SHE was a STAR, MB was an ass and I am the proudest 'sis' in the world. Go CMB!

You can listen again, or sign up for the podcast via the link above.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Simple pleasures

J.J. takes pleasure in simple pleasures. Of course J.J. has "the sun on her face" at the moment from love, the kind that I wake up each morning and pinch myself for still having, even after nearly 16 years. Still, it was a great list and I thought I could at least offer up something similar.

  • feeling someone you love squeeze your hand in public for the first time

  • them doing it for a second time and you realising it wasn't a fluke

  • hearing a voice saying out loud "I love you" and it taking a few seconds for you to recognise your own voice

  • hearing a voice saying out loud "I love you" and feeling your heart skip at your joy of hearing your loved one's voice

  • watching the person you love sleeping next to you, 'counting their eyelashes' [REM's "At My Most Beautiful" has some of the most beautiful lyrics ever written]

  • The love of someone good for you. For me, it's this man. At heart, I only have eyes for my Cloud.

  • Talking of which...

  • Clouds, especially at sunset, or cirrus against a strong blue sky...

  • Following on from that last one to a slightly more prosaic list, I would also offer the following as 'simple pleasures':

  • second hand bookshops

  • independent bookshops like this because just knowing they're there makes you feel better

  • losing yourself in a book

  • finally realising you want to treat food as something more than fuel

  • sitting and listening to music, not just having it as background noise (I like so many different types of music I couldn't decide on just one link)

  • the excitement you feel coming out of a really good gig and just wanting to buy everything by the performer(s) if you haven't already done so (ditto problem to above)

  • Looking at a city's architecture above the 1970s shop-street level (a pleasure my mother taught me well)

  • Watching a good film or TV programme with friends - communal watching; sharing your obsessional geekiness interest and knowledge and seeing them become as impassioned as you

    And a final selection:

  • those whose passing acquaintance rewards you in unexpected ways: smiles, letters, conversations, recollections of conversations you never thought anyone would remember (least of all them), kindness, simple gestures and the touches of friendship

  • Good conversation - the kind that covers the serious to the silly, the mundane trivia to the moral debate, and where you have no idea how you got from your starting point to your current theme of discussion and you'd long since lost track of time but really do not care

  • True friends and treasured contacts - those who will unquestioningly help you out of the holes you dig even if they couldn't stop you digging them; those who will laugh with you at your quirks and faults and manage to make you laugh at them as well; those that you just can't help 'fessing stuff to 'cos you rather like being teased by them; those that you genuinely want to offer your support to because you know they deserve it

  • All of these and more are my treasured simple pleasures.

    It MUST be summer: there's a new countdown

    There's an impending party. Must be time for vicarious lusting by reading the new countdown posts over at Marie's.

    For those late to this narrative, last year started here, progressed to here, hit a bit of a mathematical stumble here, had an almost encounter here, but unfortunately it all ended in a rainy squib here.

    this year, we KNOW things will be different...

    Talking about art

    Tonight Cloud and I will be going to the local library to talk about art - contemporary and other kinds. It's all to do with the British Art Show, which we partially attended here.

    Now, how long before I have to 'fess up that I studied art history...?

    Tuesday, June 06, 2006

    More advanced

    Knew there was an explanation for my hayfever.

    Thanks to Matt_C for explaining it.

    Listen with Clare

    Oh go on - follow the link from here.

    Monday, June 05, 2006

    Rosby strikes again...

    And since in a relatively short while it will vanish into the Haloscan ether of cyberspace, I hope Marie will not mind me reprinting the latest comment-located mind-warp genius from Rosby here at Rullsenberg.

    Oooh...feeling another scenario emerging...

    [Scene: an office; Marie (twitching ever so slightly) is being interviewed by Russell T Davies]

    Russell: So, Marie; why would you like to work on the set of Dr Who?

    Marie: *Well*, I've always been *very* interested in the way that television works.

    Russell: Really? Any specific interests about the, er...workings of television?

    Marie: Well, um...I'd like to see how stuff is done, know...get it onto the box. You know...make-up...costumes...

    Russell: [Slightly unnerved.] Okaaayy. Right. It says here that you're an accomplished author.

    Marie: Indeed I am. In fact, I've written a Dr Who episode for you! [She hands it over.]

    Russell: Hmm...[flicks through it]. do realise that you haven't included Rose in this, *anywhere*?

    Marie: [Unconvincingly.] Really? Good Lord, that...slipped my mind.

    Russell: [Leaning forward.] Marie, please tell me...why do you really want this job?

    Marie: [Exasperated.] OK, OK, fine, I want this job so that I can stare lustfully at David Tennant and hopefully take Sophia's place if she ever buggers off, OK? I know I'm a bad person.

    Russell: Nah, it's all right. That's why I took this job as well.

    Marie: Really?

    Russell: Yeah, of course! I mean, how could you not stare into those gorgeous brown eyes as he does a scene? That wonderful grin...that hair...

    [Suddenly, David Tennant enters the office but Russell, caught up in a daze, doesn't notice.]

    Russell: That lithe, lean, body pressed up against the fabric of that GORGEOUS suit...

    David: [Hand already on the doorknob.] I'll come back later, shall I?
    Genius girl..., utter genius...

    Sunday, June 04, 2006

    TV Today

    Oh go on - make this a place of regular visitation.

    I'm not saying I'm not patriotic but...

    ...this made me laugh aloud.

    I just want the football to be good. And if that means acknowledging that teams other than England may be breathtaking then so be it. I'm not for willful anti-England sentiment (except where it makes me laugh) but equally I hate the Eng-ur-land mentality.

    Will I watch the world cup? 'course I will.

    Being the Doctor and choosing companions

    Paul Burgin tagged me to choose my companions if I was the Doctor.

    My answers are here.

    Yeah, yeah, I know I didn't choose Rose. But given the amount of hugging etc she has had off the Doctor lately I'm rather thinking that in her case I would want to BE Rose.


    Cuteness to cheer

    having no desire at all to breed, I rather like admiring other people's families (hey, it why I adore my niece and nephew so much). So here are som utterly adorable pics of the growing Eli over at Joe's site. Cos you know a grandfather's love is like no other.

    Someone should rally round...

    She's clearly very poorly. This is not good.

    She needs help. Anyone a bit closer to London than me able to offer support?

    On Clare

    For those of you who aren't familiar with the lovely Clare (why? get yourselves over there regular!), there's a nice little overview of why she is so great written by recent blogsitter Zinnia Cyclamen (who apart from having an identity crisis has done a neat* job of the sitting).

    * sorry, use of the word neat there just reminded me of a line I heard from watching the DVD of Scrubs on Friday when JD calls an old lady neat and the retort back was "the 1930s called: they want their lingo back".

    Made me laugh...

    Like we needed more reasons

    But MediumRob finds one.

    Saturday, June 03, 2006

    On medical dramas and comedies

    Okay, a couple of weeks ago we had the finale of series two of Green Wing, which I know some of you hated/didn't get, but which - so help me - I winced and laughed like a drain at on a regular basis. Now it seems that there will be a Christmas Special according to a Guardian Guide report based on remarks from this blog (he's one of the writers). As long as Mac's in it, I really don't care. At least kill him off dramatically, surrealisticly - riding into the sunset on his moody motorbike just doesn't cut it.

    Anyway, last night we sat down to watch the first few episodes of Scrubs Season 1 on DVD. Damn, I really really like that series. And though it seems as if it may have sagged recently (scroll down for 'not-quite-a-spoiler-alert' from Medium Rob), I'm looking forward to watching the rest of season 1 and then probably getting hold of the other series too. And I still want to properly watch the tearbursting genius of John C. McGinley in a particular episode from the last UK-aired season. Anna, you know which one I mean.

    I'm also, unsurprisingly, a bit of a House addict. Although I loved Blackadder, and have fond younger memories of Fry and Laurie, I never really got into the whole Jeeves and Wooster thang so the shift of Laurie's voice to an American-ish accent wasn't really a problem for me (lord knows that half the Guardian staff are still hung up on that - I take it as a further sign of her genius that the adorable Nancy Banks-Smith doesn't appear to be one of them). Anyway, House is a cantankerous genius. Just the way I like them. Now reading Medium Rob's post (as mentioned above - though no need to scroll) I'm not sure how far behind the current Five episodes are with regard to a finale, but I'm interested in how they will deal with a threat to a major character.

    Which brings me to Grey's Anatomy. Medium Rob calls it pants. Well, I can see where he's coming from. Certainly the urge to smack bloody Meredith Grey across the face with a large supply of wet kippers is big with me (how could we tell? can she emote?). But Chandra Wilson as Dr. Miranda Bailey gets tons of great sarky lines and T.R. Knight as George O'Malley has the perfect amount of Xander-esque dorky charm. So laziness on a Thursday night has led GA to appeal to me. Just shoot me (another show I think only I actually liked).

    Which brings me to the big bad god of medical TV, E.R.

    I just don't care anymore. I'm sorry. Over the years I have laughed and loved the characters, but its dedication to the realities (PAH!) that people die and move on and come back and travel the world and have babies and save the world and have political intrigues and oh so help me I JUST DON'T CARE!!!!

    Okay, I'm off to eat.

    See ya after part one of the Who. Possibly. If I'm not behind the sofa.

    Statted out


    Have spent most of the week producing stats from a feedback survey. My brain is fried by checking calculations.

    Hence limited blogging.

    Still, it's the weekend, I'm off out for a meal with friends and it's Doctor Who tonight.