Sunday, 27 May 2012

Before I Could Write - Part 5

The first time anyone noticed I had a personality seemed to be when I was about ten.  Although most people skimmed over me as simply a ‘quiet’ child, The Teacher did at least acknowledge
‘The Hill has a dry sense of humour and this is evident in The Creative Writing as well as in drama sessions when The Hill performs with confidence’
 and I admitted that the highlight of the year was
‘writing storys’ (sic). 

I remember that class.  It was in a shabby hut with pillars in the middle of the room and during a lightning storm felt as safe as a paper box on top of a large metal rod.  I sat with The Butler, another best friend and an interchangeable fourth next to the fire exit and we kept a pet spider in our pencil pot.  Fridays were the best day because on Fridays we were allowed to be creative.  It was the first regular time set aside since I had started school that encouraged the artistic.

And yet I can only find one thing that I wrote from this year of The Life.  And it’s a pile of rubbish (still).  The difference between the rubbish I wrote before I was ten and this rubbish is that I thought this was a pile of rubbish when I wrote it.

But it’s all I have of a ten-year-old me, so here it is:

Self Portrait


Once long ago a man named Blue Dove sat in his chair, gun in hand, baby on back and love in his heart, but before you think it’s a soppy love story read on.

Blue Dove had married a young girl but she fell sick and died two weeks ago and all he had to remember her by was Oso her daughter.

Neana was his ex-wife’s name, she was 29 when she died.  Blue Dove was 36.

Now to jump 20 years on.

Blue Dove was 56, his daughter 20, and her daughter was 2, Oso’s daughter was called Osotis which is shortened to Tis.

One day when Blue Dove went hunting Tis followed him and every time he turned round she hid.  First she hid in a bush, then in a swamp and last in a giant flower, but when she tried to get out she couldn’t!

In the middle was a sort of fire and out of the fire came a plant person.  She was green as a stem, her hair was blue and looked like petals.

“My name is Mymy, you must save my brother and my village,” said the plant person.

“But how, I’m just a 2 year old?  I cannot,” said Tis.

“You must, kill Prince Weed and I’ll let you go.”  And with that Mymy pushed Tis into the fire.

Tis found herself in plant land.

Just then a crowd walked by so Tis followed them, eventually they stopped at a stand and people shouted for a new leader, so different people walked up but each got an egg in the face.

Tis walked up and held her hand in the air for silence and to her amazement fire flew from her hands.

“Witch, witch,” screamed the crowd.

Tis stamped her foot in anger and sparks flew.

“Witch, witch, witch, witch,” screamed the crowd.

Now Tis was very upset by all the screaming and glared at the crowd and they fell under a spell.

“Rid yourself of Prince Weed and save Mymy’s brother.”

“Wee neeed aaa leeaadeeerr,” said the crowd.

“No, you only need courage,” said Tis, she didn’t know what she was saying, come on she was only two.

“MAKE WAY FOR PRINCE WEED” “if not we’ll kill you,” someone shouted as Prince Weed suddenly walked by.

“Now,” said Tis.  She held her hands in the air and burnt Weed.

“Stop stop,” screamed Weed.  “O.K. but take me to Mymy’s brother,” said Tis.

So Tis set Menot free which was Mymy’s brother.

Menot fell in love with Osotis and lived with her for 30 years then he fell ill and died.  His last words were My Osotis and he gave her a flower.

“Myosotis what a lovely name,” said Osotis “Think I’ll call this flower Myosotis.”

Osotis went home.  Blue Dove and Oso hugged her.  She tried to tell them about Menot but Oso said “forget Menot.” “Never,” said Osotis but she changed the name Myosotis to forget Menot, But over the years people changed it to Forget-me-not.


As you can see, I really captured how a two-year-old speaks and acts.

I can remember The Embarrassment when The Teacher made me read this out to the class because she thought the first line was really good.  I also thought the first line was good, but then didn't know how to continue, which is why it suddenly skips twenty years.  I felt that the actual story was a betrayal of my promise.

But good news, at least I managed to get across the vital information of how old the characters were.

Hmm.  Beginning to regret The Plan to post up stories I wrote as a child.  The sheer rubbish-ness of the stories was meant to be funny but The Epiphany didn’t happen until I was 20, so that’s at least ten more years of rubbish to dig through.  I don’t think I can take much more.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Is That A Squirrel?

I got a real letter in the post the other day.  It was brilliant.  Today I’m going to set aside some time to write a reply, so The Frivolous Writing Time must be spent on that and not on a blog entry, so here are some pictures of squirrels instead.

Friday, 25 May 2012


As revenge for the weekend of watching all the Harry Potter films that The Housemate inflicted on me earlier this year, I decided I would make him watch the Pride And Prejudice and Jane Eyre mini series in one day.  We finally got around to it on Saturday.

The day was supposed to go:
six hours of Pride and Prejudice,
four hours of Jane Eyre,
an hour and a half of Goodnight, Mister Tom.

It actually went:
six hours of Pride and Prejudice in which I ate a whole bag of poppadums,
searching for the Jane Eyre DVD,
giving up,
realising where The Housemate had hidden it (in ‘The Box’),
watching forty minutes of Jane Eyre,
watching Big,
further dejection,
reading a really boring book (Torch),
daydreaming about... stuff (not Loki, if that’s what you think),
staying up into the early hours watching episode after episdoe of 30 Rock.

So, first,

Pride and Prejudice 

Some of it was good, but that doesn't make up for the six hours part.  Overall I guess I’d say it was somewhere between good and meh.  Sort of:


Lizzy and Jane spend most of the series in their bedroom chatting and Mr Darcy spends three solid hours glaring like he can smell horse manure, and then the next three episodes being the cuddliest, schmooiest guy there ever lived (probably nursing sick puppies back to health in his spare time), with absolutely no explanation.  It’s kind of a let down.  I don’t mind him turning out to not be a total jerk and having inner depth, but if he just starts acting differently that’s cheating.  Why was he being a total jerk in the first place?

Anyway, after six hours I can give a detailed breakdown of the plot of the Pride and Prejudice mini series:

Episode one: Walking, walking, dancing, walking, dancing, a letter, walking, Mr Darcy has a bath. 

Episode two: Walking, Lizzy looks at some birds while walking, a letter, walking, dancing, walking, dancing, Mr Collins proposes. 

Episode three: A letter, walking, dancing, a letter, walking, walking, a letter, walking, a letter, Mr Darcy proposes. 

Episode four: A letter, walking, a letter, fencing, Mr Darcy jumps in a pond and has a lobotomy/complete personality transplant. 

Episode five: A letter, Mr Wickam 'elopes', a letter. 

Episode six: Walking, a letter, walking, Mr Bingley proposes, a letter, walking, happy ending double wedding (barf).

The Housemate and I both liked evil-Darcy.  Colin Firth can do a lot with a scowl.  We both generally like Firthy anyway (except in Dorian Gray), but I’m not allowed to say I think he’s sexy or I get accused thus:

Whereas The Housemate is allowed to point out how boobelicious Jullia Sawalha is without reproach.

So as a rational adult, I felt it only fair to immediately accuse him of fancying Colin Firth when he complimented the guy's acting.

Still, even though the plot only progresses by going for a walk, having a dance, reading a letter, or having a chat in a nightie and there’s little actual depth on screen, Mr Darcy’s proposal is brilliant and at least three hours of dancing and walking is worth it to hear a man say as part of a declaration of love,

“I am fully aware that I will be going expressly against the wishes of my family, my friends, and, I hardly need add, my own better judgement.”


“any alliance between us must be regarded as a highly reprehensible connection.”

and still look surprised when she tells him to sod off.

Jane Eyre

was less fun. 

Technically since I turned it off, it gets this reaction:

Had To Turn It Off
But I didn’t turn it off because it disturbed me.  I turned it off because it was

I love the book and I’ve seen two hopeless film adaptations.  The trouble is as with all book-to-film adaptations that there just isn’t room to explore it all and it becomes rushed and shallow.  But I really thought that a mini series would fare better.  If anything Pride and Prejudice could have done with being shorter (although it still completely rushed the ending – six hours of walking back and forth and they skimped on the important bit).

I was really, really wrong.  I don’t think I have ever seen a more rushed story.

The first five minutes of the mini series = the first ten chapters of the novel.

It’s like some drunk elderly guy is trying to recount a story as you go past each other on opposite escalators. 

The back of the DVD case mentions beauty, colour, drama, great dialogue, horror, humour, madness, passion, sadness and sexual tension, which I agree are all elements of the book.  But I did not detect any in this adaptation.  With a breathless pace and insane direction, it’s hard to even grasp what’s going on, let alone why, there’s absolutely no depth and Jane is totally vapid.

I wasn’t enjoying it, and I couldn’t bear the thought of ruining the book for The Housemate.

After that, The Housemate didn’t have the stamina for any more period dramas and I didn’t have the stamina for any more poor adaptations of good books, so we skipped Goodnight, Mister Tom and watched The Latest Rental instead.



It has all the substance of a cream puff.  No set up, no conclusion, little plot and two creepy as hell elements (parents think he’s been kidnapped and child in sexual relationship with adult).  Tom Hanks is convincing and there’s a giant piano in it, but that’s not enough.  I knew that, because I’ve seen it within living memory, but The Housemate hadn’t seen it in years and was expecting… well, he was disappointed.

So I guess, actually, as a day of revenge, things worked out kinda well.

Thursday, 24 May 2012


I’m trying to keep up with The Blog, but there’s this pigeon.  When I’m on the laptop, I’m facing the doors out on to the garden and I can see this:

And every time, this pigeon with fluffy legs flies down and lands on the metal hook and tries to reach the bird feeder.

And every time, just as it reaches the angle where maybe, maybe it could reach the feeder, it overbalances.  It tries every time, but it always ends up here:

with no food.

And I swear, that damn pigeon…

It gets to me, man.

I’m a sucker. 

It’s like the wasps.

One morning, several years ago, I woke up.

And noticed something was different.

Definitely different.

Turns out there was a wasps’ nest in the guttering outside The Window and the wasps could get into The Room through holes in the wall around the windowsill.  The Choices were to call an exterminator or to live with the wasps.

I lived with the wasps.

And they never stung me.  Not once.

When I was about four or five or something, there was a wasp in the playground at school and all the children tried to kill it, and I stopped them and protected the wasp for the whole of playtime.  I like to think since then we’ve had an agreement. 

Although I still run like hell when I see one.

Damn it.  I’m going to have to put out some birdseed now.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012


I have a cold.  I seem to be mostly over it, except that when I go to sleep I keep waking up because I stop breathing.  My head has become a sludge sandwich.  And in this muscusy (?) mucoid (?) mucous (?) mucinous (?) state, the thing that The Mind has chosen to dwell on is the Avengers.

I couldn’t be bothered to watch Captain America or Thor before I saw Avengers Assemble because they sounded boring (heck, I only went to see the Avengers because I was trying to annoy The Housemate).  In hindsight though, I do wonder if they would have explained any of the plot holes.  I bet not, but since I don’t know, I’m inclined to give the benefit of the doubt. 

I’m always giving things the benefit of the doubt.  I’m nice like that.

But I’m beginning to think I need more than benefited doubt to understand the Avengers.  When there’s a big flashing spectacle in front of you, you don’t necessarily, uh, think.  But I have this cold and I haven’t been able to think about much else.  And I keep remembering bits I didn’t understand.

(Skip past these bullets if you wish to avoid spoilers...)
  • Why does evil alien Wesley even need Loki?
  • Why does Hawkeye know that blue thing is a portal?
  • What’s with the bit where Loki has a bit of a sit down and is suddenly on that space rock getting touched by evil alien Wesley and having a cry?
  • Who thought the line ‘We need a plan of attack’ ‘I have a plan.  Attack’ should make it into the final cut?
  • Why does Thor try to murder Iron Man and Captain America in that dumb-ass fight scene?
  • What’s the point designing a glass prison that only works by logical rationalisation with the prisoner (don’t smash the glass or you’ll fall) for the Hulk?
  • What’s the point designing a prison that smashes you to oblivion if the only people you put in it are invincible?
  • Was Loki using the ‘Q-word’ supposed to be threatening and not hilarious?
  • What the hell is Loki’s plan regarding getting captured – does he even need to be on Cloud Base for it to happen, or is he just trying to make the best out of a bad situation because he was dumb enough to get caught and he thinks standing in a glass prison somehow makes him akin to Hannibal Lecter?
  • Why does Bruce pick up the magic staff during the argument scene?
  • How did Thor not see Loki coming up behind Agent Coulson?
  • What’s with the bit where Thor reaches for his mallet and it doesn’t move, since next time we see him, everything is fine?
  • How did that old guy know the Hulk would shrink to normal size?
  • How does Iron Man manage not to burn the faces off those people he nearly falls on?
  • How bad is it that Iron Man’s computer Paul Bettany is a more interesting character than Captain America and Thor put together?
  • How can the Hulk tell allies from enemies at the end when he couldn’t earlier on?
  • Since the lightning bottleneck idea works so well, why does Thor just stop doing it?
  • Do all Hawkeye’s arrows each do all the zillion different things he uses them for throughout the film or is each one specific, in which case, how incredibly lucky is it that the last one he fires happens to be a grappling hook, allowing him to grab it back and escape an explosion?
  • How come scientist guy made a failsafe while he was hypnotised?
  • How did he manage to put it in the magic staff since Loki always had it on him?
  • Is it okay to murder a race of aliens if they look all gross and don’t have any lines?
  • And since they all drop dead as soon as the mothership gets blown up, does that mean they are actually robots or clones or something, definitely making it okay to kill them all?
  • Why aren’t after-credit sequences actually after the credits any more?
  • Who the hell is that guy?  (It’s Thanos.)  Oh.  Who the hell is that guy?
  • Phil’s going to get better, right?
  • And much, much more!
At least if I had watched Thor first, it would have explained who the hell Thor and Loki were.  I’m not even sure if they have superpowers.


And what’s with Loki’s hat? 

Why does it vanish and reappear?  Is it a hologram/decoy thing?  Does it teleport?  Can he teleport? 

Ugh, I know.  I’ll have to watch Thor and then I’ll have to watch the Avengers again.  Money-making jerks.


Stupid cold, giving me a stupid one-track mind.  I can’t believe I’m ill so soon after having been ill.  Okay, this time it is only a cold, but I never get colds.  Only when The Housemate brings germs into the house. 

But he appears to be perfectly healthy.

As part of The Bid To Read Every Book I Own To Make Some Space By Only Keeping The Good Ones, I’ve been reading Schott’s Almanac 2008.  I have flicked through it before, but this time I’m actually sitting down and reading it from cover to cover because it’s ‘written to be read’.  Because stats are so interesting and opinion polls so accurate.


But there is a diagram in there on how to wash your hands properly, so I have started washing The Hands in a more elaborate fashion.  And now I catch a cold?  Am I washing the germs off so thoroughly that they become airborne and go for the throat?  That must be it.  There was a situation at the start of the week

 but I can’t see why that’s relevant.

(That Grape)

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Yeah, About That

I think we all saw it coming.  The Sunday before the Sunday before last I claimed I had a new, weekly, feature for The Blog.  The chances that I’d manage to do anything with a regular formality were about… uh…


I did start a post last Sunday, but the feature is supposed to be interesting things I’ve seen during the week, i.e. sharing the work of others, and it turns out a week isn’t a very long time, so I couldn’t actually come up with anything.  Not to say that hundreds of interesting things aren’t created (or rather, reposted by someone I know) every week, just, y’know, I didn’t see them, coz I’m…  What was it again?

It seems that The Blog is becoming a receptacle in which I write

rather than something I actually write anything in.

So I will stop doing that.

And stop being so easily distracted — Like by those two hairs on the desk in front of me that have fallen in such a way that they look like a bum —


Friday, 11 May 2012

Loathe Film

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine, hereinafter referred to as The Prune

(if it makes you feel any better, another (possibly multiple) girl(s) danced with him just to make up for me turning him down there, and I did intend to dance with him next time a dancing song came on, how was I to know that at the entire Prom there would only be one slow song, and I finally appeased The Guilt by dancing with him at his 18th birthday, okay, so I can move on now)

…bought me a six-month subscription to LoveFilm for The Birthday.

One of those really great, thoughtful presents you get sometimes.  I’m not good at presents.  I tend to open them up and just stare at them and forget to either profusely thank the thoughtful giver, or forget to pretend to profusely thank the bizarre person who’s just handed me…

I kept LoveFilm up after the six months ran out and have rented about fifty DVDs so far. 

But after last night’s rental, The Housemate has been going about glaring at me and cursing my name, which is what he did the rental before that too. 

Which gets me to wondering how many good films we’ve actually managed to see so far.

The Rating System is pretty simple, as can be seen from the below scale.  The further to the left of the scale the film makes me feel, the more likely I am to watch it again, the further to the right of the scale, the more likely I am to pass out.

There’s also this:

which means I turned it off before the end, but that’s generally reserved for violent films where people scream a lot and not films I pay to watch.

So here is a list of the films (the TV shows I've rented can wait for another post) I have rented in the last couple of years.  I’ve tried to put them in a vague, broad order of how much I enjoyed them, top being the most fun and bottom being the most soul-destroying (and by judging how much you enjoy my humour or agree with my opinions in The Blog, you can work out how useful this list will be to you when picking a film to watch).

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs

The Paleface

Road To Singapore
Definitely, Maybe
Monsters Vs. Aliens
That Thing You Do!
Nim’s Island

42nd Street
The War Of The Worlds
                                  Honey, I Shrunk The Kids
                                      The Wild
                                        The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus
The Brothers Bloom
Wild About Harry
Starter For 10
A Christmas Carol
Blast From The Past
Cool Hand Luke
                                          The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou
                                          Breakfast At Tiffany’s

Dorian Gray

Last night’s rental was Breakfast At Tiffany’s.  I wanted to watch it because a) it has a cat in it, b) it’s really famous, c) George Peppard.

I have learnt that a) I shouldn’t  watch films just because there are cats in them – if I like cats so much, I can go outside, there’re loads out there, b) every time I watch a really famous film I nearly slip into a coma, LEARN THE LESSON ALREADY, c) if George Peppard isn’t standing next to Dirk Benedict then I don’t care what he’s saying.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Before I Could Write - Part 4

Here continues, mostly for my own amusement (and presumably the amusement of my 11, yes ELEVEN, crazed fans, (and yes, I will pretend not to notice that at least two of those are duplicate accounts)), the next instalment of stories I wrote as a child.

This one I managed when I was about nine years old.  Well, it’s more of a paragraph than a story, but what it lacks in stability, it makes up for in gibberish.

Self Portrait

(Pretty sure there's nothing wrong with that picture for The Housemate to complain about.) (The Housemate's biting criticism of my childhood artistic ability first noted here The 'me not feel well' Post)

My Tall Story

I was walking down the hall when I tripped up.  Then the walls turned into monsters.  The monsters took me to their master who was a house, and he ate me.  When I got inside it, I saw a frog.  The frog said “I am a prince.  If you go to sleep with me I will turn into a prince.”  “Push off,” I said, and I dug a hole in the steel floor.  After a while water came up.  I saw a dolphin and it walked home with me.  Then it called a badger the badger told me to go to sleep.  I said “I can’t because this is a dream.”  But the badger said “go to sleep anyway.”


Yeah!  Take that sleazy frog! 

And as a bonus, here is a poem I also wrote when I was nine:

Pet Poem

My cat is tabby and white
He is quite light
He loves to sleep
And hates to run and leap
Except when he’s running
Away from my brother

And as an extra bonus, here’s what would happen if skinks were eagles: