Thursday, 30 October 2008

Mental Moments

Finally, it rained. Both Vancouver and Richmond are beautiful in the rain. The five day forecast is all about the rainfall. The leaves were tumbling from the trees today and being gently cushioned by a light wind as they fell.

There was a picture of Baghdad on the news this morning. Women are starting to abandon the hijab. That's a great sign.
Taking off the horror costumes for Halloween.

The Graun asks, 'Who should replace Ross and Brand on radio 2?' My answer is, 'Sleepy and me'. Apart from the fact that for some reason it's radio 2, I mean, hello? Isn't this the supermarket music channel? Sleepy could pitch and I'd rein in. We're much cheaper, in fact, even if we were as famous as them, we'd be cheaper because we're lasses.

Actually, if they don't want us, Rossie has a stunning (yeah, I know, it's radio), intelligent and articulate wife. Maybe she could do it.

Darcey Burner, we're told on the TV ads, doesn't have an Economics degree. That's it, that's the WHOLE message. Another candidate called Christine Gregoire, sets fire to money. The whole bloody thing is nuts right now. Who pays for these ads? Why, 'Dino Rossi for Governor' of course.

Have I introduced you to Witch Hazel? She's a Mensch. She rocks. And she's bloody exhausting. I welcome her visits, but I'm glad when she goes back into the box. Bless her.
Tomorrow will be mental.
You can ask any kid here 'what they are wearing for Halloween' and you'll get an answer, just as if it were an actual, complete question. Manana, they'll be in costume when they come in to see the play.
Like the Rocky Horror Show for ankle-biters.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008


Reading the headlines quickly I thought Madonna was going to be manager of the Argentinian footer team, seemed believable that she'd get Argentina in the divorce settlement.

Walking home through the Park, I saw a big Northwestern Garter Snake on the trail. It didn't slither off straight away, but before I could find my camera it had gone. I'm thinking that'll be the last one of the year.

The snakes in my office - I try not to anthropomorphise them. But I feed them and change their foliage, I control their environment.
I try to imagine what it would be like to be a creature with only limited ability to perceive or feel things, limited memory span, in short, limited sentience. I have a hard time with them being in captivity, but then I need them to teach kids about snakes, to become less afraid, less inclined to kill without thinking.

Who controls our environment? Are we in captivity? Are we barely sentient by the standards of others?

I was perturbed to read of this whole fiasco with Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand. Brand I couldn't care less for, but Ross, Wossy, should have known better. Why only the other day he was in the kitchen with Gordon Ramsey in the F-Word (not sure why Ramsey would have a show about feminism but whatever.)

Good TV news for us exiles is that the second series of Gavin and Stacey is finally airing on BBC Canada, superb.
And in Little Britain USA, the lads, however watered down, are still breaking ground. The new naked male bodysuits, complete with erectable micro-penises, are brilliant and balances Bubbles de Vere.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Fish Paste

Shippam's fish paste and cucumber sarnies. I know, there's no excuse really, but perhaps an explanation is called for.

Last time I went to Ikea, I bought some crab paste. It came in a squeezy tube, like Primula cheese, and I thought, 'yummers!'
But I was wrong.
'It's too salty,' said Kev, and he was right.
And yet....
I am compelled to eat it, because it tastes like Shippam's fish paste, and I want cucumber to complete it. It takes me back to those horrid little glass jars with the metal lids of childhood.
Ah...the metal lids of childhood.

The train carriages. Do they need explanation? Perhaps. They stopped me from getting out of the Park yesterday. Each carriage contains ten fully-grown cars. There are forty carriages, it goes slowly and it goes on forever.
It's funny, the British train experience is quite different, it has given rise to poetry, books, songs, films. But then so has the North American one, but it is quite, quite different.

Kevin thought that the picture of Sarah Palin and Boring Osama required some explanation. Me, I thought it was self-explanatory, 'much sport to be had at the weekend.' Perhaps he's right. It just...amused me.
Kevin designed the winning T-shirt in the company's this-year's competition. I thought it was easily the best, and in fact it wasn't a closely-run thing. All he gets is glory, but, well, glory he deserves. Eventually he'll get a T-shirt and so will everyone else.

BC still lags behind in the twenty-first century, as Ontario prepares to drag itself there by banning the use of cellphones whilst driving. Bear in mind that Québec has long since done so, as has Newfoundland, Labrador and Nova Scotia.

I was thinking. Well, actually, it was while we were rehearsing the Halloween play in French, so does that mean I wasn't thinking, but rather scrolling across the bottom of my own inner-screen?
Now I've confused myself, in fact, that's what I was thinking about. If I said I had mind-ache, you'd kinda know what I meant, methinks. But if I tried to say it in French, it wouldn't really work. I'd have to say I had ache of the spirit, or, getting even more literal, 'evil of the spirit'. Not the same. And yet usually, here, like I always say, the French is often more accurate.
Clearly, only up to a point.

Vampires again. I'm learning so much about them from 'True Blood'. It's so....earthy.
For example. In most vampire lit, the person being fed on becomes limp, listless, anaemic. By contrast, in True Blood, Sookie Stackhouse is energised by it, given clarity and heightened awareness. Sure, she has to take vitamin B12, but then many of us could do with some of that.
Conversely, humans who take vampire blood, V, as a drug, gain super-strength, sexual prowess and also heightened awareness. But they also experience symptoms of withdrawal if they can't feed their addiction.
Also, they seem to have a BIG problem with silver. There are trace elements of silver in the human body, but maybe not enough to affect a vampire who drinks human blood, on the other hand, if you do fear vamps feeding on you - in spite of the obvious health benefits - maybe you should take the controversial colloidal silver.

Or fishpaste. That'd probably put anyone and anything off.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

At the Weekend

I've been watching a trio of Chinese people wending their way down the street, knocking on doors, none have been opened to them. Round their necks are some kind of labels; perhaps like Paddington Bear's they say, 'Please look after these people,' but more likely they are selling something, some new take on God or remotely-accessed Chinese babies or a new gas supplier.

Coming up the street is a Chinese couple, as they get closer I can see that what I took to be a Zimmer frame with empty plastic bags ballooning as they walk, is in fact a wire basket on a pushchair frame, and they are distributing local papers.
All trying to make a crust by bothering others.

My supplier rang me up on Thursday.
In Toronto there has been snow.
We chatted on the firm's dollar.
'I'm envious of the snow,' I said,
'We were taken by surprise,' she said, 'no-one was quite prepared. It's gone now.' But still, they had it. They were able to open the curtains in the morning and witness the miracle.
We got down to business.

'Are you interested in another Swiss?' she asked,
'Oh yes, the others were great. Any chance of French Swiss?'
'Probably not, mostly we get German,'
'German Swiss are fantastic, just, you know, with the French you've got the extra function,'
'I'll look into it,'
'The Japanese were phenomenal,'
'I'm glad, we felt bad about the one Parisian, we had a meeting...'
'Don't give it another thought.'

The Chinese trio are coming up the street now, maybe they're about to pounce. Maybe today I only speak French, or German, so much sport to be had at the weekend.
But I'll be at work in an hour.
Yes, even at the weekend.

Friday, 24 October 2008


Changing habits is difficult. I'm trying to remember to cough into the crook of my arm rather than my hand. The kids that come in for programmes already do it, but they don't have something to unlearn.

Using one of those portaloos - it's automatic to reach for the non existent chain. And then you get the hand sanitiser instead of water. Your hands are probably way cleaner but not washing in water just feels wrong.

Refusing to be addressed as 'guys', I get that it's a difficult habit for people to break, but it must be done, male is not the default gender, and not to challenge is to acquiesce.

One habit that I think I have broken is judging other women on looks and what they wear. Well, maybe the 'what they wear' just a little. And I still read 'Go Fug Yourself' every day, but then that only targets stars.

One habit that I'm pleased to hear has been broken, is the habit of large corporations not involving themselves in politics. Both Apple and Google are opposing the bill in California that seeks to chemically castrate any future attempt to allow gay marriage. Just to run that again, to withhold ordinary rights from some section of society based on an arbitrary prejudice. In California.

But there are habits I never want to break, I will always challenge misogyny and the dismissal of women, disgusting, putrid inhumanity towards individual sectors of society.

And yet, I feel that as I get older and more objective, less swayed by distracting irrelevancies, I am listened to less, because the ear will always turn to the line-free face or the male.
We all say we want to be the lady who wears the purple hat and does what she likes, but those ladies are not treated in general like the amazing, fabulous, creative people they are.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008


I never remembered what it was.
October rolls along in a pumpkin coloured haze. Preparations for Hallowe'en take longer than preparations for Christmas. Not, I might say, at Schloss Schneewittchen, where the party line remains that Hallowe'en is for serious darkness and has nothing to do with children or sweeties.

The autumn TV schedules are shaping up as the nights draw in.
At least two evenings have shockingly good TV line-ups.

Sunday - Mad Men, True Blood, Dexter. The only way I could improve this would be to switch the last two. End with the sultry mysticism and sensuality of the Deep South.

Monday - Corner Gas, How I Met your Mother, Rent-a-Goalie. Order doesn't matter, Monday viewing has to be recorded. Oh, and Boston Legal, but I have to save that, Monday being Monday.

The website continues to be visited by disappointed searchers after the truth about baboons. I even considered...well, considering it. But it's a two-liner, not worth the effort to type.

The best of times, the worst of times. Up and down like a see-saw. Glorious sunshine, torrential rain; markets haemorrhaging, markets climbing.

The premier of BC, Other Gordon, is giving us an income tax reduction. The NDP criticised him for not cutting the carbon tax. The carbon tax is 2 cents on a litre of petrol. So it is paid by those who use more. The reduction in income tax is 3 cents per dollar for every dollar over the threshold at which income becomes taxable. Thus benefiting everyone who earns.

I have curtains now in at two of the windows where they are needed. The rooms feel complete, especially with the drawing in of days, draw the curtains, shut it all out.
But having the two sets intensifies the need for others.
Soon, very soon.

More misogyny. Zoe Williams, writing about The Madonna - Ritchie split, just gets acid spattered in woman-hating spleen from the commentators.
I thought the split was well-handled, low-key, unspectacular. I hope they'll both be happier.
Feminists, it seems, hate Sarah Palin. I think Feminists hate misogyny myself - just a thought.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008


Jeez, I had something I wanted to say, but can't remember what it was.

So I'll just leave it at the breathtakingly beuatiful autumn colours.

Sunday, 19 October 2008


I used to check the visitor stats on the site quite frequently, and then the novelty wore off and now I check them just on the odd occasion.
Yesterday was one of those odd occasions. And I was surprised to discover that I had had a recent spate of Aussie visitors. Every single one of them, plus a couple of Stateside callers and some 'unknowns' had done a google search for 'are baboons evil?'

Interesting. I have to assume that Grahame Norton shows in Australia before he shows here. The most interesting searches for my site however, to me remain 'two hippos, 'I keep thinking it's Tuesday.' I gave this as an example of a cartoon I had seen some, well, many years ago, that just tickled me, for days afterwards, the two hippos swimming in their mud hole and one says to the other,'I keep thinking it's Tuesday,' would pop into my head and I would laugh out loud.
But why, I wonder, from time to time, do random people perform searches on that?
Probably this will never be answered.

The whole 'are baboons evil?' thing however, got me to thinking about memes.

According to Oxford online,
"Meme/meem/ • noun Biology an element of behaviour or culture passed on by imitation or other non-genetic means. "

In Blogging, the term is often used to pass on something, like tag. A questionnaire, or a task or even a thought to add something to.

But in Science-Fiction, memes are ideas which exist in some form outside of people's heads, not as a brainwave, but like a bubble, floating off independently.

I like the theoretical meme. It gives it a different dimension. It allows for more than mimicry, writing or speech, it allows for the sphere of human thought to have some hidden layer, like viewing your webpage as html. It explains the inexplicable, just as quantum particles and dark matter do for physicists. Wherever there is some vector for human communication, that communication can happen almost without intention.
I have noticed how women who communicate frequently over the internet, synch up. This shouldn't be possible, we're supposed to be sniffing each other's hormones for that to happen. And we get sick in the same way thousands of kilometres apart.

And then there's quite simply, 'the spookiness'. I do love me the spookiness.

But, it seems that so far as the moral turpitude of baboons is concerned, it isn't memes, it's just the TV. Unless I now get people googling 'moral turpitude of baboons'.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Little Gem

I have discovered a little gem.
I'm sure I'm the last person on the planet to do so but right now, I'm chuffed with the Book Depository. Yeah, no obviously not that book depository.
I didn't mention it until the book arrived, but ten days or so ago, I wanted to get a book from the UK. I compared prices on; and then found out about this place. It undercut both on price and delivers anywhere free.
They delivered one book (ie I didn't have to buy enough to make up $30 or whatever) free to me from Quedgeley in Gloucester, UK to Richmond, BC, Canada.
To say I'm impressed would be a major understatement.

The Book Depository.
No U.S. President has been ever shot from its windows and Schneewittchen endorses it.

Having been scornful about the Canadian Liberal Party, I have to say that I do have time for the Province's top banana, Gordon Campbell, a liberal who has shown some actual leadership and pioneered the unpopular Carbon Tax on gas. You really have to live here to understand why that's exceptional, 'being unpopular' is usually an argument for stopping doing something here.
He has also been on TV a couple of times, as he was this morning, pushing green actions, reminding us of what we can all be doing.
Good man, I respect that.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Counting Crows

The BBC reports that girls are already educationally ahead of boys by the age of five.
I wasn't surprised by this. Yesterday, after Jo had explained to all the children in the class how to tell whether a spider was female or male, I asked each of them in turn to tell me what gender they thought the spider I showed them was. All but one of the girls looked at the spider and then said it was female. All but two of the boys didn't look at the spider but said straight away that it was a boy. The two who looked said it was female and they were correct.
And yet, if we could follow this class through to adulthood, inevitably the men will outearn the women, except the two who already showed signs of objectivity, because they are more likely to consider women as their equals.
I didn't make any of that up.

Yesterday was my first day of being green again. Welcome back Witch Hazel, how have you been? I think you're becoming darker, unworried about what people think, more crotchety. I think I like you even more this year.

This case of a British couple being sent to gaol in Dubai for having sex on the beach should send out a message. Don't go there, don't work there, don't give them your money.

The leader of the Liberal Party in this country, is conspicuously failing to fall on his sword. I guess he will, just a matter of time. The thing is, it's kind of all too boring. I mean, it's not like the Liberal Party has any real political stance. The middle kid. Neither a lefty nor a righty. They need someone spectacular to misdirect like a good magician does. I don't mean someone with chutzpah like Miriam Margolyes or a real statesperson like Hillary Clinton, no, they need a showstopper, a wham, bam, thank-you Ma'am.
They need shazam.
They need a red baron.

Or maybe Witch Hazel, the old crow.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


Weddings - never been a fan.
If anything, I thought mine and Kev's was as cool as it gets. We were married in the dining room - well, more of an Essecke - at Schloss Schnee with just five other people present, but webcast throughout the world - well, Schneewelt.

We had had to time it carefully. It had to be late enough that Kev's best friend could get back from whatever acting assignment he was on, and it had to be early enough for the UK to still be awake.
It could, of course, have been anytime of night for Sleepy, who has Extreme Insomnia, but for the rest of our friends and rellies, it seemed reasonable to not keep them up past the witching hour, so we plumped for 15.00 our time, 23.00 GMT.

By the end of our evening, I had photos sent from Sleepy Mansions, of the Housemates sitting on their sofa and watching us on their TV screen. So cool.

But last night, I saw on TV, an even cooler wedding than ours, or cool. I have never seen anything quite as delightful and magical as the wedding of Natasha and Spike on Jam and Jerusalem. Everyone wore fairy wings as though they were the most natural thing in the world - which they are - and the fun of it made everyone un-self-conscious and all were smiling and laughing.

Yeeeees. I know they're actors.

I wish more real weddings were whimsical like that.

At work, I have a Richmond City calendar, which is crammed with every conceivable important day from every conceivable religion. Well maybe not Jedi, but I'm thinking of putting in a complaint about that being missed out.
Anyway, I noticed that 22nd October is Simchat Torah. That'll mean something to someone.

Every time I publish a new blog post, blogger reminds me that it now keeps all of my photos in a gallery and I can view them as a slideshow. Finally I got around to doing that and I am spellbound by it.
Every picture, as they say, tells a story.
I can't even remember whose album that was.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Full Moon

Well, the polls are about to close even in tardy BC, sluggards that we are, and I've no doubt we'll still have the same Prime Minister as we had when they opened.

But if the Full Moon isn't having any undue influence on Canadian politics, it has Gordon Brown baying at the moon, and God bless ye sir.

My son, Austen, had been selected to sit on the board that sets the English Key Stage 3 S.A.T.s paper this year. He had weathered all the jokes about being sent to Coventry (even, sad to say, from me). As he was preparing to travel to Coventry to do this, the news came that the government had abolished the KS3 SATs. It must be said that there had been a massive marking debacle this year and the general pfaffing about that these cause is legendary. I was therefore, annoyed yet again at the Graun for reporting this as 'a U-turn.'
Do what Squire?
It's not like they had been trying to push for them to be introduced, a more accurate way of reporting this would be 'unexpected reform'.

Way to go Gordon. (And yer still lucky you don't live here mate, because they'd call you 'Gord' or 'Gordie' and we'd all have to laugh).

Ah well. The Canadian financial markets seem to have had a good day. Let's hope it continues.
I was excessively smug about Gordon saying yesterday that executives of Banks that had been to the government for handouts, would not be getting bonuses. Good man, it needed saying, it needed doing.

Ah, politics, I miss it.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Rest, Relaxation and Recovery

A rainy Thanksgiving Day of rest, relaxation and recovery.

Leftovers and TV, lots of TV.

Sex and the City movie. Lightweight but enjoyable. Unlike so much TV, well-written dialogue.
M.Night Shamalayan's latest, 'The Happening' - disappointing, although the Dutch subtitles provided a layer of interest.
Back episodes of Eureka. Fun.
Dexter. *Shivers*; Jimmy Smits - intense, Dex's sister's new haircut makes her look no less mannish.
The Mentalist. Mental.
How I met your mother - next on the list.

One day confined to barracks is lovely, a treat, more than that, and I get cabin fever to go with the physical one.

Baroness Thatcher's birthday, how fitting that the global markets should come back to life on the Queen of Monetary Policy's special day, or is it irony that the Labour Party played a fiscal blinder?

Sunday, 12 October 2008


Today I am giving thanks that we have a day off tomorrow, (for Thanksgiving) since I seem to have picked up a watered down version of the lurgy that Kevin's been fighting all week.
I'm also giving thanks that Austen's friend from childhood, Stuart, is back from his second tour in Iraq.
And that Ben seems to be settled in Brighton.
And that Alex has a new flat in London to go to.
And that I don't work at a cranberry bagging plant.

On Friday, Jo and I had to go and bag cranberries at the Ocean Spray plant. It's fun for a couple of hours, but after that, meh, past our sell-by date. Yesterday I had to go in to work for the afternoon to sell the blighters. Last year - almost horizontal rain, this year - sunshine. Last year, miserable people stopping by to tell us they weren't going to buy our cranberries because they're selling them cheaper down the road. This year, people asking if they are Canadian cranberries.
'Yes,' we said, 'and they've been harvested by being flooded by the smelly, dirty Fraser river, so make sure you wash 'em.'

Afterwards, I felt feverish and my throat started feeling like it had been cut.

This morning I didn't feel too good either and decided that although I had a need to go and get my spiritual centre ...well, wasn't really fair to send my germs out to all the seniors that make up the larger part of the congregation, so I stayed home and planted my snowdrops instead.

Friday, 10 October 2008


You know when some downmarket mass clothing store takes a fashion from the catwalks of Paris and knocks it out in some synthetic fabric sewn in Taiwan so that everyone on the high street can wear it? Yeah, well, this isn't like that.

This is more like....taking a fine recipe, French cuisine say, and adapting it so that it can be doled out in two-portion microwaveable containers from Tesco.

Yes, they're doing it again. The American TV industry is stealing and downgrading British and Aussie TV programmes.
Life on Mars. Great cast, looked hopeful from the trailers, but seeing a couple of scenes and...well, even with Harvey Keitel and Michael Imperioli, it just seemed flat.

Kath and Kim. One of the best comedies EVER, but its humour was based largely on an already established Aussie comedy duo making fun of a certain layer of their own society. I haven't been able to bring myself to watch an ep, but the trailers just look dismal.

It would be like trying to set Dan and Roseanne outside of working class USA, it wouldn't be viable, it would die on the operating table.

BUT....we watched an ep of Little Britain USA, and there were laughs to be had. Yes, it was watered down, no, Daffyd wasn't in it - at least this week, but Lucas and Walliams are still doing it and have introduced some American characters. It might just live.

We'll see.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Fairy Tales

Manners maketh the...well, person. I have difficulty explaining to the less able why good manners from men towards women do not undermine feminism. It's because they are not connected of course, but it seems difficult for some to appreciate that.
Frequently, here, husband and general supporters notwithstanding, men don't wait for you to go through a door first, so it is always refreshing to have visitors from Europe.
Recently of course, Seth was here, and during the summer, my French helper seemed actually physically unable to walk in front of me, even when carrying a box of leaflets that was almost as big as himself, and bidden to do so, it kind of blew his diodes to try to deal with the concept.

Kevin is still ill, so today, I had to go and bottle the wine myself. Usually, we both rinse the bottles and then we have division of labour.
Normally, we just get on with it, but today, there seemed to be a chap on hand to gently make helpful suggestions, to smooth things along. And whilst I did feel that this was because I am a woman, I think it was because a woman is more approachable, we'll take the help.

The general election is next Tuesday. I know! Fancy being able to vote on not-a-Thursday, weird.
So election fever is upon us and as so often with fevers, there are going to be deaths. Tonight, there were groups of supporters on the corner of every intersection. People holding huge boards and being rowdy. Now add that to the lack of driving skills in Richmond, plus the habit of using mobile phones while driving badly, and it doesn't bode well.

And I had readied myself to meet more candidates outside of Superstore, but alas, I was frustrated in my anticipated debate in French, or about Richmond's gay community.
One candidate looks worryingly like someone I know, whom I wouldn't want to see in charge of a supermarket trolley only with better hair, another, I was told by a friend with the same surname as the candidate, is some kind of Über-bigot.

I've had a bit of a disagreement with my friend over the true meaning of Halloween. For me, it is not for children, and there is no possible reason for giving children piles of sweets. Plus, that has nothing to do with Halloween.
No, Halloween is for grown-ups, it is an adult festival with dark and dreadful implications.
And that's another thing I prefer about Europeans, we know that sometimes, children need to have the bejabers scared out of them. Grimm's Fairy Tales and in fact, Fairy Tales in general, are there to scare kids and introduce them to monsters that will lurk in each one's personal darkness for a lifetime. Without that, life becomes unreal.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008


Each day we think it's the last day of the good weather, autumn wine. Today was no exception whilst being indeed, exceptional.

Vampires. Not especially Octobersome, more....Decemberish...or perhaps Augusterly... and yet that new Vamp series, 'True Blood' is as addictive as its fictional drug, 'V'. It is as it should be. Blood, sex, magic. Note how I leave out the sugar, no sugar. Vamps live openly among us, out of the coffin they are reviled and blamed for every crime, yet fascinating to all.

Waiting tonight for 'Bones', eating Kevin's favourite Fast Food in an attempt to tempt, to get the patient, impatient patient to at least eat, we saw the end of an ep of series four of Deadliest Catch in HD. This is why we have actors, real people don't look well on TV.
Captain Sig looks wrecked in HD, better to watch the grainy Captain on a grainier channel.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008


Feeling a little Octoberish and I don't want to waste it.
I have made soup, this doesn't come into the category of cooking for me, soup, I can do.
If only it were a little cooler, I'd be wearing a long scarf in the style of the Romantic Poets.
I feel like going for long walks, although since that's more or less what my job entails, that's not too hard most of the time.
I feel like I could poke the membrane that separates the worlds and cause a dimple.

The walk to work this morning however, saw Richmond drivers yet again at their worst. I arrived at the main road to witness this. The intersection has a fire engine, an ambulance and a police car blocking the road, all with full array of lights going. It is not possible from any direction, to not see this. Someone is being loaded onto a stretcher. So what do the waiting motorists do? Yep, yep, that's right, they all honk their freaking car horns. It was one of those situations where you wish a huge, honking great Monty Python foot would descend from the sky and just squash the feckers.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Are Baboons Evil?

Departure. Always the sad day.

It was sunny for most of the day and then it started to rain just before we had to go to the airport. On arrival, there was one case between two, on departure, three massive ones and bulging hand luggage. I don't envy them getting that lot across London.

Oh well.

But Sleepy gave me a great laugh this afternoon. She told me to look on YouTube for Eddie Izzard on the Grahame Norton show. Remember that we're about two years behind here as far as the Norton fix is concerned.
Grahame had found a service that you could text and ask any question of and within minutes, an answer would come back.
So he asked,
'Are baboons evil?' (Something much discussed earlier in the show;)
Quickly, the reply came back,
'Yes, baboons are evil. Anything that steals your windscreen wipers while waving a red bum in your face is the work of the dark side.'
Pure mischief ! Love it :)

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Blustery Day

If your offspring or other guests wish to cross the border for...whatever reason, go on a blustery day. In both directions, there was hardly any wait.

We left yesterday afternoon, I skived off work early and although my own visa waiver lasts until November, Alex and Seth had to have one. To be fair, the homeland security at one of the crossings we use are usually helpful and polite; yesterday we had not-polite, but ruthlessly efficient. I guess you can shrug off the lack of courtesy.

I like being in the in-laws' RV when the rain is drumming on the roof, and especially when the wind is disturbing the trees. It finds the brown leaves in the evergreen cedar and in the morning there is a carpet of it.

This morning, Mount Baker, so huge that when you see it makes you go 'WHOA!' was hiding. You wouldn't have known it was there at all. The sun came out for a little wave and a smile and then let the rain take over again.

Abercrombie and Fitch. What's with that shop? Why does it smell of Lynx aftershave (Axe here) and how the feck do they keep it so drenched the whole time? You can taste it as you approach the store, it's like a perfumed force field. You go in and the music is so loud you feel obliged to dance. Well, I do, no-one else seems to have the same compulsion.
But A&F was the object of the expedition. My twenty-somethings spent much money in there. It's not as if they don't have one in London, but then, only one, and it's twice as expensive.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Cooking and Writing

I don't get cooking and yet I do.

Tonight, I had set myself up to cook. I wanted a friend of mine to come round to meet Alex, but I knew there was a possibility Kevin might not be there. Mostly he cooks, so I don't have to. When I was in Britain, Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Marks and Sparks were kind enough to cook for me, so it was never an issue.

I don't enjoy it. The best I ever get out of it is a sense of relief sometimes when the thing is edible at the end of the process. I want people who come to my house to be fed, and be happy about what they are eating, I just don't get any personal satisfaction from the cooking of same.
Yet I know people who really do engage with the art and seem to like just doing it. See I get that, because I see a reflection of it in writing. I like writing, I like just doing it. I love the feeling of the blending of the words, sometimes I feel satisfied with the end product. The positive response of others is nice, but not necessary, because I have enjoyed the process and I can often savour some of it myself.
The palette of words produces colour and emotion. I love the recipes of style.

But what of the cooking?
No-one was sick.
I decided to make a dish Sleepy made last year. I seemed to have plenty of vegetables, I found a dish big enough.
Then the first obstacle. I only ever cook things in the toaster oven, but for this I needed the grown up one. Sadly, this, it seems, operates in Fahrenheit. When my friend arrived, we managed to work out the conversion.

The end was decent. It's a forgiving recipe, with the cardammom, the roast garlic and then lemons. Oh yes, I was convinced that SLeepy had used quarters of lemons. When Kev got home and saw this, he was surprised, and pointed out that SLeepy had actually used yellow peppers.
Oops. But it did taste good.

Cooking for me is a chore, writing is a pleasure.
Cooking is a sociable activity, writing a solitary one.
Cooking - I wish I liked it.
But I don't.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008


Is it wrong to stand and watch someone backing their BOAT of a car into the disabled parking space, shouting,
'That's the disabled space and you're not disabled!'? Of course not, so long as you say the, 'except mentally, obviously,' in a lower voice.

A teacher who brought a school group to the Nature Park today deserves a big, gold star. He walked them in a good old-fashioned crocodile from the school. He wore a safety vest and the front two children carried bright orange flags. His teaching assistant brought up the rear.

I met our parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Party today, Raymond Chan. He proffered his hand as I went in to Superstore and attempted to thrust a leaflet at me. His assistant tried to do the same, but she remembered me from last week.
'Thank-you Raymond,' said I, staring at the artificial whiteness of his teeth, 'but I can't vote.' He continued to poke the leaflet in my direction, so I repeated my position in the kind of tones used on foreigners by Britons of my parents' generation.
I went around the pumpkin display and selected one. When I got right the way round, Mr. Chan approached me again with his leaflet and we went through the whole thing over again.
When I came out of the store, same scenario. I felt at this point, that had it been an option, I would have voted for the assistant.