Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Still haven't found what they're looking for..

I don't get this Google indexing thing.

I mean, for ages I got loads of hits from hapless people looking for all manner of weird and wonderful things (I like to think there's more of the wonderful and less of the weird on here, but I know I'm only fooling myself). For the last two or three months there's been a real drought and now, for some reason, the random Googlers are back with a vengeance.

Here, for your boredom delight, are some of my favouritist from recently. I've taken the time and trouble to link you through to whichever post* these poor people ended up at, in order that you might appreciate secondhand the confusion and/or vague sense of disgust and pity they must have felt on arriving at the Chime Bar. Please, enjoy. Or click off somewhere else. Whatever.

In no particular order (grammar and punctuation model's own):

  • Worlds smallest lady giving birth Um. On the one hand, that's sort of a horrible thing to be searching for. On the other hand....
  • Dog the Bounty Hunter hair extensions Oh dear. Sadly (or thankfully, depending on your point of view) I suspect that Dog's hair is Not Available In Any Shops. I think it probably comes from a catalogue. Or a bin. Or a morgue. Or something.
  • Noel Edmonds kills elephant Sadly, there's not a shred of truth in this. I would personally prefer the rumour to read the other way round, but then I am pathetically afraid of Noel's eerily tidy beard. Maybe that's why the elephants stay away. Who knows?
  • Trampoline reparation Do you know, I'm so pathetic that I got through fifteen pages of Google searches before giving up on this one. I did write a post about next door's trampoline though, and know in my heart of hearts that there is No Such Thing as trampoline reparation apart from building a giant, roaring pyre and sacrificing both trampoline and irritating neighbour-child who spies on you intermittently over your garden fence on it. In my opinion.
  • Do a poo ladies Number one, this just links back to another post I did about search engine queries and number two (yes, I put this one in just to be able to write that), stop googling poo, citizens of teh internets. It's wrong, and disturbing. Brr.
  • Ray Mears bastard Not much to add to that, really. Oh, apart from "utter".
  • Girls toenail smell Made only slightly odder by the person searching this being from the Islamic Republic of Iran. I do not want to end up in Guantanamo Bay. Please.
  • Ed stewpot stewart marriage No!! Say it isn't so!!

And that, apart from all the people trying to find out if the Frosties boy is dead (I wish), or whether one or more or all of the Pussycat Dolls used to have/still have cocks (as yet unproven), is that. Mainly because I am tired and my eyes hurt and all I can taste is hummous and I might just go and have another glass of wine.


*Is there no end** to my narcissism?

** No.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Where was I again?

Hmm. Let's look at the evidence:

  • People running across the roof of my office for most of the morning? Check!
  • A water balloon fight that culminated in a hospitalisation, an arrest and lots of emergency-type-people in uniforms wandering around this afternoon? Check!
  • Tears, recriminations and at least one person ending up fully clothed in a river? Check!
  • Ending my working day in a bizarre hostage situation which involved being locked into an office and lightly threatened with a fire extinguisher? Check!

Ah. It must be Monday.

How was your day?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


So. Counselling.

I know. I bet you can’t wait for me to talk about myself some more. Hell, maybe I should just publish me some mis-lit* and have done with it.

The thing about counselling is that it hurts. While on the one hand there’s a sort of validation that I have a right to be this fucked up, it’s also incredibly painful to sit and talk about how I feel. That’s the one thing I don’t do, you see – talk about how I really feel. I’m what my (scarily psych-educated) ex-boss calls “insecure avoidant”, which basically means that, although I want my head to shut up, I can’t engage with anyone who might put me in touch with my feelings. Bit of a Mexican stand-off, really.

Until today, when my therapist tried a bit of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy with me. I really am a fuckup – encourage me to discuss my past and accept that I am the product of my upbringing and I’ll clam up tighter than a nun’s chuff. However, give me a piece of paper and ask me to objectively assess the positives in my life and I’ll happily spend fifteen minutes crying like Gwyneth at the Oscars and wailing about how sick and tired of everything I am. Such a conundrum, me.

If I’m honest, I hate the counselling. But a little tiny bit of me knows that if I stop I’ll end up in a very scary place and I don’t want that to happen. So I keep on trucking, and every week my therapist looks that little bit closer** to calling for the men with the butterfly nets and those comfy jackets that do up at the back.

I mean, something has to work, doesn’t it?

Doesn’t it?

* Ugh. Please stop.

** Seriously. This afternoon I think I was about ten minutes away from being bundled into the back of a black van and driven to the loony bin. eep.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Ah, another splendidly grown-up night out.

We went to an excellent venue in our local-ish university town to see the one of our favourite bands, the incomparable Hayseed Dixie. It was all good, and since I'd been out on Tuesday night and put myself on the outside about a gallon of cheap white wine I was more than happy to drive.

Well. I say happy.

In fact, I was in a murderous, glowering mood, of the sort that frightens children and makes old ladies fork the sign of the evil eye. It was nobody’s fault but mine – I am way, way too old to have two late nights in a row. Still, I had a short, head-rolling sleep in the car on the way there and by the time we arrived was feeling a little more chipper.

And it all started really, really well. A couple of drinks in the Union bar to start with (where I sat and quietly mourned not having had the foresight at sixteen to carry on with my academic career – I would have been aces at drinking snakebite and black and attending three lectures a week), then into the venue itself. It’s a top place – the stage faces a sort of mini-amphitheatre with steps on three sides, so it’s always relatively easy to find a good spot to stand if you don’t fancy getting sweaty with the students in the pit. The band were fantastic as always – if you’ve never heard a bluegrass cover of Cliff Richard’s 'Devil Woman' you haven’t lived. I was on the diet coke, the Other Half was necking Stella like it was Prohibition tomorrow. All good.

And then it happened.

Out of the darkness, preceded by a waft of dirty t-shirt, stumbled a dishevelled being seemingly on the point of collapse. Now, it’s an occupational hazard of gig-going – at some point someone will piss you off, even as you yourself are pissing someone else off. The trick, of course, is to quietly fade away if someone is tetchy enough to point this out to you. So, when Dirty-T-Shirt-Man barged his way into a perfectly content group of people and proceeded to do sort of far-out stumbly festival-dancing, ricocheting and waving his arms around, it was initially ignored. It’s the British way, don’t you know?


The Other Half is not famed for keeping his temper. An exchange followed in which OH informed Dirty-T-Shirt-Man that really, he was being quite annoying by continually barging into people. DTSM smiled in a glassy-eyed way, explained that he really didn’t want to “spoil anyone’s vibe” and carried on flailing around and leaning against random people for support, all the while smelling like a tramp’s vest. The Other Half seethed. I went for a wee, hoping that by just ignoring the situation it might go away. And do you know, after a little while it did. Dirty-T-Shirt-Man stumbled into the pit to fall against a whole new set of people. We watched the rest of the set in peace, bought a t-shirt and headed for the car. A happy ending, then.

Until the Other Half came out of the loos on the way to the car and explained triumphantly that he’d seen the guy in there and laid him out. Nice.

Cut to the journey home, with the Other Half asking every five minutes if I hated him, and me replying through gritted teeth that of course I didn’t, but could he try not hitting people in future if they weren’t actually threatening his physical welfare?

Boys, eh?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Impotent self-loathing on a stick. And rhinos.

The older I get, the less I care.

I mean, the less I care about important things. I should qualify. I care passionately, as I grow older, about things like my overdraft, and whether Tesco will have any hummous in next time, and other people's children annoying me in pubs, and whether I've gained a pound since yesterday, and why does my hair keep doing that thing, and how can we stop next door's cat yowling in our garden at four o'clock in the morning, and, you know, deeply unimportant stuff.

This bothers me slightly.

I used to care. I used to be passionate. I cared about politics, and the rights of people to live in freedom as long as they weren't compromising other people's freedoms and rights. I protested about the Criminal Justice Bill. I listened to impassioned speeches by the Gipsy Council of Great Britain and, because the laws that subjugated them affected me (in my right-on, dreadlocked living-in-a-lorry stage), I supported them. I was vegetarian. I cared deeply about animal rights. I recycled, and composted, and shopped responsibly, and thought about the planet we live on and how it's not our right but our privilege to be the dominant species - making it our responsibility to care for and nurture the earth.

It's not that I don't care about any of that any more - I still rail against racism, and homophobia, and slavery and imprisonment and famine and war. I just don't do anything about it any more. I know that this should make me feel bad, and it does. If everyone was apathetic the world would be in a much worse state than it is now, and I don't think anyone needs me to tell them how catastrophic that would be. The thing is, I don't know where to find the time or the energy any more. I justifiy it by telling myself that I'm just one of those people who has been subsumed into working hard -that I have so little time to myself it's only natural I resent the intrusion of my conscience into my desire to have a good time.

See - it's easy, isn't it? It's easy to acknowledge my failings, to blithely blog and put it out there that I don't do the things I should. It's crap though, isn't it? I've found the time to write about it. Later, I'm going for a drink with friends. Excuses. I know I should do more, I just can't be arsed.

Christ. Shoot me now.

In other news: never go to the zoo in the Spring. Rest assured that, if you do, the rhinocerouses will shag and shag and shag for hours and you will have a very puzzled almost-seven-year-old on your hands. Yes darling, they were playing leapfrog and one got stuck. I think we may need to have That Talk soon.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Nothing to see here...

Do you ever wish you'd never started something?

I am spending the afternoon googling leeks. I bought some on Wednesday, in a fit of Doing Proper Cooking. We are having roast chicken, with all the trimmings, and I thought it might be nice to have leeks. Which it probably would be, if I had any fucking idea at all about how to cook the fucking things. Boiling them seems wrong, somehow. Braising, although it sounds lovely, is out as I don't know how to do it. I am rubbish at sauces.

And if that wasn't bad enough, I am blogging about leeks.

I might go back to bed.


UPDATE: I made sauce! Cheese sauce! It rocked! Next time in this exciting series - help me decide what to have in my sandwich!


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Conversations with my daughter

So there we were, enjoying a sunshiny, blustery walk along the seafront at [local Seaside Town] in the company of Zanna, her two Small People and about a million grumpy-looking pensioners (a bit too bright, wasn’t it? Too cheerful. What’s wrong with some nice rain?), when the following exchange took place:

Small Person (out of left field): Mummy, what does “gay” mean?

Me (caught utterly off-guard): Eh? What do you mean?

SP: “Gay”, Mummy. What does it mean?

Me: Um. Well. I’d have to know what sort of sentence it was in.

SP: Rachel said my hat was gay, and she laughed.

Me (with that feeling of middle-class liberal relief that washes over you when you realise that all you have to do is go all sociological on a Small Person and the world instantly becomes a better place): Oh, I see. Well, you know we had that conversation where we talked about how it isn’t just men and women who fall in love with each other*? And we talked about how men can love men and women can love women? And how they can get married** now? Well, the word that describes that is “gay”. And some people think it’s funny to use that word in a way that means something is silly, or wrong, or something you shouldn’t do. It isn’t funny, because being gay is just part of who a person is, and there’s nothing at all wrong with it. Does that make sense?

SP (thinks): Oh. Rachel said it meant “happy”.

Me: …………………………

* What? Doesn’t everyone have this conversation with their six-year-old?
** I know. But “Civil Partnership” is surely a topic for when she’s older. Maybe when she’s seven….

Sunday, April 01, 2007

And you wrote to The Times because....??


Winston Fletcher's disappointment (letter, March 29) with web logs, or blogs, as they are irritatingly known, is well founded, in that the topics the authors normally choose to write about are mundane and of little interest to anyone but themselves. The matter is exacerbated by those who have a poor grasp of the written word and there is little wonder many make dull reading.

Oh. I can see, Tom and Rose Wells from Brighton, that you are not enamoured of the world of blogging. That's a shame. Mind you, a lot of people feel that way, as if the only reason that anyone should blog is to entertain everybody else. I mean, blogging as a means of communication with far-flung family or friends, or as a way of working through things anonymously that become easier by the very act of writing them down - that shouldn't be allowed, should it? No. And it's a good job that people like you are prepared to shoulder the burden of writing to a national newspaper to add your personal condemnation of those people who shouldn't be allowed to write a shopping list, never mind a journal. While we're on the subject of poor writing, though, you might want to revise that first sentence and take a couple of commas out. Just a thought. Oh, hold on - you hadn't finished yet, had you?

A blog, when written properly, albeit spontaneously, can be cathartic for the author, and informative for those choosing to follow it.

I'm a little bit confused now. On the one hand you seem to be acknowledging that blogs can be helpful, or even interesting. But then there's that qualification again, isn't there? Blogs can only be helpful or informative if they are Written Properly. You don't seem to want to share your views on what might constitute "properly", but I'm sure we might start to see the angle you're coming from in a moment.

We have set up a blog -

Well. I wasn't expecting that.

- [seehowwepublishourURLinthe] - which records our one-year-old son's treatment for leukaemia and the highs and lows for us each day.

Oh. I'm genuinely sorry to hear that your son is ill. I'm still a bit unsure what your actual point is though - are you allowed to have a blog because your son has a serious illness? Does this somehow validate your blogging, while the people who are just sort of enjoying having an outlet for whatever crowds their mind should realise how trite and boring they are? Did you, I wonder, consider writing this letter without publishing your URL? Why did you include it, exactly? Is it some sort of public service? You see, the sad fact of your son's illness aside, this is beginning to feel just a little bit like a self-serving come-and-see-how-to-do-it-properly lecture. Are you hoping for a book deal, I wonder? Hmm. Anyway, do carry on.

"Get Well Felix" has received more than 68,000 page views in the eight months since his diagnosis, and he has a small community of supporters who comment regularly and provide encouragement.

Some are people we do not know, but they have all been given a detailed insight into a topic that they knew nothing about at the outset, just like us.

Um. What? You see, Tom and Rose, this was the part that I really struggled with. Let's try and break this down, shall we? Blogs (or Web Logs, as you would prefer them to be called), are crap. Millions of people who don't even have any formal journalistic training are all over the place, writing their thoughts and feelings without even checking that what they are producing is Proper Writing. You seem annoyed that these people haven't realised that they are bothering you. It just shouldn't be allowed. You, however, are allowed to blog, because you have a child with a serious illness. This helps you because you are getting the warm fuzzies from the thing that makes blogging appealing in the first place - acknowledgement and support. All good so far.

But you couldn't help yourselves, could you? You had to pop your URL in and start crowing about page views. You admit that it's only been eight months since his diagnosis. Did you take a laptop to the hospital when you met with the consultant? The thing is, Tom and Rose, that not only are you telling me off, but I'm also starting to suspect that this might not be the first time you've written to a newspaper to discuss this. I mean, I'm happy that you're doing well and all, but I really, genuinely don't understand your motives. I'm also a little taken aback at the perceived notion that if it weren't for you and your superior blogging skills, the world and it's intellect would be a poorer place.

I'm going to leave it there, Tom and Rose. I sincerely hope that things work out and that your son makes a full recovery. It must be heartbreaking to think of him suffering. I'm genuinely pleased that your blog on the subject brings you comfort and support.

You might want to ease up on the self-righteousness a bit though. You know, just a bit.

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