Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Updates

Dave Rowntree is running for office. You lot of barbarians probably don't know Dave Rowntree; he is Blur's drummer. Good luck to him; he's brave to stand for Labour in the post-Tony UK.

Richard Hammond is depressed. Oh, you don't know who Richard Hammond is either? You people. Richard Hammond is the Top Gear presenter who was very nearly killed in a crash while filming for the show. He took quite a beating, and he's a small person, and brain injuries are a funny business. I am not surprised that he feels out of sorts. Poor bloke. I hope that with time he can sort things out.

For the record, Jeremy Clarkson is obnoxious, and I don't care a whit what he thinks about the Corolla - but he is funny and obnoxious. Wouldn't life be better if all obnoxious people had the sense to at least have a sense of humour about it?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The good

This last Saturday, I contemplated over a beautiful, scrumptious breakfast how a year before I was catatonically hugging a moose and wishing I could calm down enough to eat.

This Saturday, like that Friday last year, was excellent.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Travel, eclipses, and lack thereof

I just finally finished Paul Theroux's The Happy Isles of Oceania. We bought it in a used bookshop on the Big Island a year and a half ago on our honeymoon. It seemed like an apt enough book - something happy and with more curiosity than those big white burned tourists in Lilo & Stitch.

It was not until this January that I picked it up again before my trip to Las Vegas, a particularly incongruous setting for the book. It was not what I expected; and while I don't mind that, I did find its talk of divorce depressing - good thing that I didn't read it back then on Hawai'i. Anywyay, I meandered through the Pacific with Theroux, a little resentful at his misanthropy, or whatever one might call this gloomy attitude.

Two days ago I reached the Hawaiian islands, and I almost forgave him. He is honest, at least, and shows genuine interest and affection. It counts for a lot. Then, however, the end happened. After all this, after all the talk of divorce and dispoiling, there is this fluffy ending, complete with eclipse and epiphany.

*sigh*

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lately

So I'm not writing much intelligent stuff lately. I never did write all that much that made sense, but lately... Well, I blame Java. Java sucks. My Java in 21 Days book sucks a lot. I mean, I know it's good for my brain and all, but programmers, well, I guess this explains a lot. A language written by programmers. Heaven help us. And I am not even talking about the book written about the programming language by the programmers.

It is taking up a lot of my time.

Tonight, I have to play with a shiny new thing. I don't mean the car, though it is shiny and new. This is work-related. Mostly.

It is hard to write intelligently whilst feeling stupid.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Fun with technology

Today was the day of loud whirrings and tappings and all sorts of unpleasantness. The nifty new car facilitated some of this, for which, I guess, I should be grateful. Or something.

Time to have some chocolate.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Given

Given that:
a) I don't care about cars
b) I am a very law-abiding driver
c) I really don't enjoy driving all that much
it is somewhat surprising that I spent the morning driving around picking up tangentially useful groceries, being tempted to drive across town to pick up a cup of the best coffee in town, trying (and failing) not to speed, belting out particularly cheerful Vivaldi, and murmuring "so responsive. so responsive!" like a woman with a new lover.

I didn't think there was a car out there that could put a smile on my face just by how pleasant it is to drive, and I certainly didn't think that that car would be a Toyota Corolla.

Yesterday we were nearing a decision on a used Corolla, a perfectly serviceable 2006, but couldn't find quite what we were looking for. So we ask the sales person for some time to think, and thought it would be a good idea to wander around the lot while doing this.

There were shiny new 2009 Corollas. They had all we wanted and were only a little more than the 2006. So we test-drive one, figuring that this will drive like all of the other Corollas we've test-driven. Only it doesn't. The re-design (I don't really believe in re-designs) is bigger, better equipped where it matters (safety), slightly more fuel efficient and really, really quiet.

So we spent five hours purchasing the darn thing, handed over the keys to the old car, and drove off into the dark night. Will I miss the old car a little? Will I miss the trunk space, the look of it, the memories? Do I feel a little like we've just sold a relative? I do. It is always a little sad. The truth is, though, that driving just got a lot more fun. The future looks good.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Today may be it

Perhaps we finally choose a car today.

My mouth still hurts - bloody stitches, quite literally. More news later. On the car, presumably not the stitches.

Dentisticide indeed.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Today is not a good day to be my mouth

It has stitches. It has dedicated bottles of extra-strong painkillers and an ice pack. It has been poked with sharp, pointy things.

Sleep seems like an excellent idea.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What I really want

I mentioned that I am not a great believer in Valentine's Day. This does not mean that I am not a believer in romance. Romantic dinners, weekends in the countryside, it's all wonderful, and to be done as often as possible. I like surprising and I like being surprised. Yes, I like getting flowers, yes, I've folded poems into origami for an anniversary. I like getting books and music and love and handwritten notes and experiences and dessert and slippers, and all of that stuff, though it doesn't have to be on 2/14.

Here's what doesn't count as romantic on Valentine's day:
- Being brainwashed into thinking that what your girlfriend/wife wants most in life is for you to buy her a rock that some five-year-old dragged out of a mine in South Africa. You don't have to prove your love to the neighbours. Also, they grow diamonds in labs these days, so please leave the five-year-old out of it.
- Long lists on the interwebs of what he/she does/does not want for Valentine's Day. I, for example, am supposed to want:
- Pink underwear (eh?). In a box. With a ribbon.
- A manicure
Somewhere I read that I am not supposed to want a homemade dinner; instead I want a Thing. Well, forget that. I love homemade dinners. Also, for the record, no manicures.

- Waiting for hours for dinner in a packed restaurant
Anyway, I am sick of being told what I want. Most women aren't defined by 10 rules as suggested by Yahoo or Men's Health. Leave me alone already.

To end on a positive note, let me state that I am pretty easy to please, and that many women are, and that what these columns for men and women should be saying is: if you pay attention during the rest of the year, you will already have a pretty good idea of what your partner wants. If you didn't pay attention before, now is a good time to start.

If in doubt, don't be afraid to ask for or give suggestions. Communication is a wonderful thing. Which reminds me that I am bored with Fake Steve, bored bored bored, and this is sad because Fake Steve used to be so funny. What with that and Snape fandom winding down (alas Snapecast, wherefore art thou Snapecast?) and my being really fed up with other people's politics, I am starting to feel like what I really want is a party with lots of happy tipsy liberals - I mean progressives - and Stephen Fry visiting to wisper random joyful comments into my ear and a large, large bowl of sesame blue corn chips and some hyacinths and the Spouse, and some people in cloaks and Slytherin scarves who can recite Snape trivia backwards and lots of bohemian foreigners and a jazz band playing John Coltrane's version of "My Favourite Things" and some balloons and my friend with the fuzzy dinosaur handpuppet and Miss J. and all of my silliest, funnest friends, and some Turkish baklava, and a pink baklava hat. And a gingko tree, so we can all hug it, and Sam West, just because every party needs a man who can cross stitch.

Snowclone: my kingdom for some ruddy peace of mind

Since some of you kindly voted in ze poll, I feel I owe you an update on the car. It looks like it is down to the Corolla and the Prius - we like the Jetta, but it is going to be expensive to own, much more so than the other options. So now just give us a week or so to pick the winner.

Meanwhile it is Monday again. On Friday, a friend gave me a scarf he'd knitted for my birthday. I have awesome friends, and this has been a year of excellentissimo birthday gifts (including Stephen Fry - in audio, not slavery - yay!). Seriously, this has been a year of getting only things I really liked. So, 19 stripes and 11 tassels later I have a Slytherin scarf. It has been useful, considering the plummetting temperatures, and with my lovely World War II coat and wizard shoes, I feel like I look the part.

In the non-TDEC universe, primaries are happening around here. I am obviously not voting, only watching eagerly. My politics are known, but I have to say that I am at a loss for who to support, and glad I don't have to choose. The BBC makes snarky comments about elections and evolution, and I just lie curled on the sofa, watching CNN's millionth chart (the best political team on television!).

And work? Yes, the love-hate relationship is still there. *sighs* They are so vexing some of the time. I really wish I didn't end up wanting to quit every day I don't love my job. I would really like my job if I didn't resent it so much as well.

Also, I hate diamond commercials. Valentine's Day is no excuse for this abomination. I don't even care for Valentine's Day. There are plenty of other days for wooing. There is too much commercial sentimentalism around.

Friday, February 08, 2008

As for

Blogging, I am not, as you can tell. I am instead doing all sorts of useful real life stuff. And I was listening to Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter to me. I love Stephen Fry. He makes me forget all the vexing things about Britain. He brings together two of my fixations - that is to say Harry Potter and himself. It makes everything better, even if it is an expensive luxury.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Resolute

So I guess I should show my true colours and declare my Lent resolutions. They are simple and also really, really stupidly hard:

- Resulotion the first: I shall commit to learning Java. I have a giant book, and no clear reason to learn Java. No matter, I shall devote a minimum of twenty minutes every day to getting through the giant book. Just to torture myself, because my brain has a really hard time with it.

- Resolution the second: I shall cease to feed my inner consumerist until Easter. This means: I shall buy no stuff except necessities. The following are exempt: food, drinks, house products, healthcare, gifts (to others, not self), and yes, a car. Not allowed: badgering the long-suffering Spouse into buying stuff for me. Thanks to Miss J. for the painfully good idea.

Man, it is going to be a long Lent.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

It is Shrove Tuesday/Ash Wednesday

Never mind politics, I need to figure out my Lent resolutions*. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and I haven't made up my mind yet.

Meanwhile, my Ash Wednesday poem has not changed, so I'll post it now for the Europeans:


Ash Wednesday

I

Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the agèd eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessèd face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

...

(T.S. Eliot, "Ash Wednesday", part I)


*I know, not Catholic. So shoot me. I like the idea of exercising restraint.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Warm and fuzzy

I've been away because I have been out having work, and then fun, in warmer places. I was lovely, and warm both in the global warming and in the warm fuzzy feelings sense. My brain is off, but the rest of me, while tired, is very content.

So here's your warm fuzzy moment of the day. Just turn off the weird music.