Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Number One Reviewer at Amazon

Isn't me, or an academic - but some guy who likes country music and horse racing. Fascinating. Perhaps he owns a horse so he can spare the time to do it. I found it whilst looking at the reviews for Abbey Road. How sad is that? This is the thing. You feel under pressure with *time* because of work then spend it unproductively watching TV and going on the internet, looking at reviews of the blindingly obvious - like to see how good Abbey Road is. I already own it, have listened to it approximately a million times and rate it as the best album ever.

Dishwasher working again - and it may not be the only one

Yep. The Dishwasher is wonderful again. It was the way I was putting the stuff in - hampering the tablet dispenser. It seems to love working in fact, which is a hell of a lot more than I can say for me, who absolutely detests it with a passion. It should be illegal (work). People seem to think it's the best thing since sliced bread - even for me. I don't understand this theory - I haven't been happier the past four months as I've been given a legitimate reason to be off work and I absolutely love it. Under no pressure whatsoever from anyone . I've got enough time to fold washing after it comes out the washing machine, dip into magazines, properly put the washing out, cook, propogate plants, sort out the recycling, write a list every day that I can tick things off. Not really give a hoot about anyone else apart from myself (and Phil).

I don't panic about where my diary or mobile phone is or even what time it is. I'm able to meditate twice a day at whatever time I like and just appreciate the beauty of the sunshine, rain or leaves. There is no one judging me, or trying to get one up on me by putting more time into something I'm doing, there's no one criticising my every move and I'm allowed to criticise whoever I want, wherever I want, whenever I want.

They call this freedom. Freedom to sell your beliefs, sell your soul, sell whatever you want - as long as you're also buying with the money you've earned from all that blasted selling. But the labour you sell has got to be something They want. Generally They don't like what I'm selling. I don't want to get into that vicious cycle of Them buying something I don't want to sell or provide, because it's against everything I stand for, but which I then go and spend on something I don't like or want.

But then actually most of the things, if not all of them I need, so, needs must and I need to go back to work, selling my generally unwanted labour to earn some wonga. [I would print a swear word here, but various parents read this blog so I won't offend anyone.]

Time is the most precious thing of all and the fact that we're persuaded, cajouled, convinced and forced to sell most of ours all our lives is a travesty of the so-called modern world.

Monday, September 25, 2006

I've gone off the Arctic Monkeys

Apparently after a couple of glasses of wine I wouldn't stop going on about the Arctic Monkeys to our lovely friends on Friday night, who took it all in their stride, but packed us off back home earlier than usual.

Rather than take the adult stand, and possibly apologise, yet again, for having too much to drink and too big a gob, I took the opposing stance and proceeded to read their biography [I'll do a review of it later - it's crap - and I want to get to be one of the top 1000 reviewers for Amazon]. Then I thought, to prove what a big fan of theirs I am I'll log onto their website, and go into a 'chat-room'. I did this and was thoroughly annoyed within about two nano seconds. I want to get a signed photo of them, or better still, a visit from one of them when I'm having chemo. So I asked this question and then a dyslexic, autistic, child prostitute proceeded to inform me that they 'chuck all those requests in the bin coz you don't now whooz a fraud'. This was backed up by a more official spokesperson who said that management had not decided what the procedure was for such requests.

Even the Director of the company doing all their stuff looked about 14. After I asked my question 'How do you get a signed photo of the arctic monkeys?' there were questions like 'What was the last thing you said out loud?' 'How did you do in your SATS?'. Since then I've been listening to Classic FM. David Mellor or Simon Bates might send me a signed photo.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I'm going to join the Green Party

My visit to my home town has inspired me to join the Green Party. I've got friends there whose political views are wildly different to mine, yet I went up and could see, with a bit of perspective, time and distance what an amazing positive contribution (some) of their political work has done. For example - better town planning, better streets, promotion of 'Stafforshire Moorlands', positive role models for women, good information. But one of my friends, as all this has taken 15 years or so, just can't see all the positives right now. I think in politics you feel most of the time that it's 2 steps forward 10 steps back, and without a bit of distance it's difficult to see all the smaller, yet very significant changes that one has influenced or even caused.

And I just thought - if they can do it - so can I! I'm the most political person I know, yet I'm not particularly putting that passion to positive use.

I've got to wait until Phil gets back as I can't print anything. I've looked on their website and I agree with most of it.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Is Leek, Staffs [Stafforshire Moorlands] the Centre of the Universe?

When I was about 15 my Dad used to take the Mickey out of me and say 'There's more to Life than Leek you know'. Smiling, in a sort of Dad-ish way. And I used to think, oh how patronising. But secretly I knew that Leek was the centre of the Universe. And it's easy to think that. It's got everything you could possibly want; Staffordshire Oatcakes, people, animals, beautiful countryside.

This week, after Monday when I seemed to have the energy of Russell Crowe on speed (actually rang in work saying I wanted to go back) on Tuesday I was more like Medussa on crack. Probably worse. Terrible abdominal pain combined with a foul mood. I rang the doctors in the Fertility Clnic who said it was perfectly normal, and if I felt really awful I could go in and see them. I should feel better in a few days. I felt marginally better on Tuesday and decided that as Phil was doing his 24 hour shift I would rather spend the night in company. So I went back home to lovely Leek. And it was lovely. I looked at wedding dresses, tried on wedding dresses and saw friends, properly, who I hadn't seen for a while. The distraction was what I needed. Now when I go back to Leek I'm always amazed by how country-ish it is, because of course compared to Hollinsclough where you know everyone who drives past, it's got a certain amount of anonymity (you don't know every single person you walk past).

One of the wedding dress shops was shut so my friend and I casually walked around the shops. Then we bumped into Johnny Waterhouse, from Johnny Waterhouse Blues Band, who I used to absolutely love in the eighties, when we used to go to their gigs, in illicit buildings, underage etc etc. We chatted to him on the street for a good half hour. It was like Eastenders. You always think when you watch Eastenders - people never chat like that on the street, they don't have time. But they do up North. There's no particular deadline, and if there is it can wait a bit. Apparently the Leek Post and Times is giving too much PR to rubbish musicians who've never done any gigs.

Came back refreshed, and there was what I think was a Banksy work of art! On the streets of Leek!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Seven Tatmorgs Conceived!

Yes, it's brilliant news! We've managed to conceive (with a bit of help from Homerton Hospital) seven embryos! It's lovely news, everyone is chuffed. Cookie and Gramps are already calling themselves that plus Granny, Grampa and Nanrick are also pleased. Uncles Jimbo, Wilfred, Tattonmeister & Hong-Kong Phuey are more subdued (probably thinking of all that baby-sitting they'll be doing). The beauty of having the lovely things frozen is that I can now aim to be the oldest mother in the world. But I won't. We've already started the negotiating process. Phil's saying 2014, I'm pushing for 2008.

This great news even makes me feel like I can go back to my true destiny - my other role of Supertatton - saving the NHS. I've already rang in saying that I'm perfectly alright and would like to return to work please.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ovary freezing back on

We've been v impressed with all the (female) consultants; surgeon, oncologist and gynacologist. But last week Miss M the gynacologist said that 'because government regulations have changed we can't freeze your ovary'. Naturally we were a bit disappointed, but Phil did his 'I know everyone' trick and today it looks like it might be back on; somewhere in Manchester will do it apparently. However, it's not a walk in the park and may not be necessary so Phil is going to talk to Dr S, the oncologist to get her view.

Tomorrow is my next thing - egg removal. Phil has to do his business too so hopefully next week we'll have a few embryos! The dishwasher seems to have started working aswell and I've taken some photos of human excrement: People [and I'm really referring to men here] use our parking space as a toilet. I'm going to write a letter to the Council about that and other rubbish in the vicinity.

Me, Mum and Phil went to see Volver as part of his birthday celebrations. I liked it but they didn't.

We suspect Trottems is being fed somewhere else as she weighs about five stone.

I did half an hour of Alexander Technique and meditation (meditation sitting in the Alexander Technique something suppine position)to help me get calm for tomorrow. I've also got some books on 'self-hypnosis' from the library. Quite frankly I can't tell the difference between it all; relaxation, meditation and self-hypnosis.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Dishwasher has broken

Yes, the dishwasher has broken. The flap where you put the tablet is not operating. I'm sorry to admit this but I'm more upset about it than if a close relative had died. Death is, after all, part of life, but if a dishwasher has been rated as a "Best Buy" by Which, of which I am a member, which costs about ten squillion pounds a month, then you don't expect it to break down ever. So why has it? Perhaps someone should do that; on the back of the success of 'Which?' start an organisation called 'Why?' and charge everyone two million squillion quid a month to be a member of that. And come up with the wrong answer. But it has broken, on this day, of all days - a few days after the 9th anniversary of Princess Diana's death and 5 years after what we Brits call 'September the Eleventh'.

On a more happy note we've been celebrating Phil's Birthday. First of all I bought him exactly what he wanted - some very expensive speakers from a shop which brought the meaning of the word "geek" to a whole new dimension: "Human being unrecognisable to those of the feminine gender". Anyway it worked a lot better than last year when I got him a mish-mash of surprises, a lot of which were things that I wanted. Then we had a stroke of inadvertent luck on Thursday. I had a temper tantrum precipitated by my bike chain coming off and allegededly calming yet painful acupuncture. The only solution to cure me of this which presented itself was an alcoholic beverage at the 'Cat and Mutton' which I was right outside quite conveniently. Phil joined me and it was a great success as they were having an 'Oyster Night' to celebrate the start of the oyster season. So we had a dozen each, with different accompaniments and yum yum yum. We had what could possibly be the last Rose of the season, although judging by the ridiculous heat of today, it will probably be November.

Phil cooked a gorgeous Chicken and Leek Pie on Friday and we entertained his best man, Joel, who didn't come to the car boot sale (none of us did) in the end. Instead we all had quite a lot to drink; 'Delirium Tremons' was the order of the day - the strongest beer in the world apparently. I trapped my finger in the front door, and this pain, combined with what is about ten injections a day at the moment is reducing me to tears, in spite of the acupuncture 'seeds' supposedly preventing this in my ears.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Trottems and Marmasuprial

As the kittens have matured, into attractive cats, so have we and decided that their kitten names are no longer appropriate for cat-hood. We don't really call them Trotsky and Marmite much any more. Trotsky isn't much of a revolutionary socialist. She's very friendly, with a good sense of humour but she does like trotting around which is why Trottems suits her more. Marmasuprial isn't keen on advertising and she is definitely black not brown. She likes to appear intelligent even though she probably isn't which is why a longer name suits her more. They both seem to spend 80% of the time sleeping and the rest of the time chasing flies. Marmite still wakes us up every morning by walloping us in the face or attacking our feet and the 'Catlocator' is still a discussion point for any visitors to the house, but we haven't had any new ones recently!

In addition to stroking the cats, and Primarkation treatment we've also tried the Ikea diet. Traditionally not very therapeutic, especially at the weekend, but if done on a weekday then it's not too bad, although the side effects on your bank balance can be quite disturbing. Phil's preference is electroretail therapy - although if I come too it has to be my preferred practitioner Mr John Lewis, as opposed to Dr Ebay, a bit of a con merchant with a lot of DNAing in my view. Phil is over the moon as we have now got a TV that didn't come out of a skip - it's a SONY 40 inch LCD, positioned above the computer with a central speaker so the whole set up on that wall looks like a big space android-robot. Fortunately Phil's Captain Kirk. TRotsky is Spock, Marmite is Uhura and I'm a sexy alien from the Earth's past who likes gardening and other twentieth century activities.

I'm also having acupuncture, which seemed to work brilliantly the first time - it totally got rid of the PMT side effects I was getting from some drug or other. Yesterday it was quite painful. I'm also attempting to review all the books I'm reading on Amazon, but they keep on not publishing my reviews which is a bit annoying. I need to find a place where people write 'Time-out' style reviews on day-time TV as I'm becoming such an expert on it. I find now I'm switching from Jeremy Kyle to 'To buy or not to Buy' with a couple of comedy presenters, 'Dom and Nelly'. Quincy seems to not be on anymore which is a bit of a tradgedy so now I'm watching 'Working Lunch'. I'm looking forward to the FTSE going up to 6k. And I'm not joking. Is there going to be a party? The thing that annoys me about these programmes like Classic FM and Channel Four News is that they always say what the FTSE amount is - every day - but never whether this is an increase or decrease from the previous day and how this contributes to the rate of change. Why not show a graph or say the rate of rise over the past six months? Or the financial year?

Tomorrow's Phil's 30th Birthday and he has assured me that as part of his celebrations that he wants to hold a car boot sale (yep) as I enjoyed the one I did so much. He's confident of getting a hundred quid for more rubbish we've tracked down in the house. As it's his rubbish I'm quietly more optimistic than him. His categorisation of rubbish is a lot more slack than mine. I think this is my main problem with Green economists. They (and here I'm thinking of Zac Goldsmith) essentially promote Carbon Tax - essentially an indirect tax which is much worse on the poor - those on fixed incomes. What this does, and what we're seeing is massive rises in energy costs. Unless this goes hand in hand with rises in things like the pension then people are just going to be thrust into poverty. The government could stimulate demand for recycling at the other end of the market, by improved regulation, more funds on recylcing, green transport etc by raising income tax. With the carbon tax method that Zac and the Tories seem to the think is the be all and end all, what effecxtively happens is that the rich people carry on regardless as they always have done like they always do. The rest of us, and especially the poor start eating grass as that's the only thing we can afford, and never throwing away anything. Then they start rummaging around in other people's rubbish to see what they can sell. That's what the old ladies in Hong Kong do according to Phil. The fact is capitalism just doesn't agree with being green as the two are incompatible as when we're well off we waste more.

The other news is that I'm reading 'Diary of a Nobody'. It's essential reading for bloggers. Also Phil and I didn't realise (pure ignorance) that George Grossmith (the author, with his brother Weedon) knew Gilbert and Sullivan so well, starring in their productions like The Mikado! Topsy Turvy is one of Phil's favourite films and he just got it the other day on DVD!

We haven't seen Paolo for a few days as he's got shingles. I wasn't very welcoming when Phil gave the diagnosis on Sunday. Paolo's the equivalent of Cummings and Gowings in Mr Pooter's house (Nobody).

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Today relatively uneventful. I had another appointment at hsopital - this time to see what benefits I might be entitled to. I didn't have high hopes for this. Luckily. I was put off by the smell to be quite honest in the room where I was with this gentleman, who judging by the smell, needed more help than I did. I just had to get out of there.

I made my excuses, grabbed a few leaflets and despite feeling poor, still had a credit card in my pocket and felt an urgent need for some retail therapy. I haven't bought any new clothes for 3 months - since my operation. I deserve it. Anyway Primark beckoned. At half past ten Primark's quite bearable. Or so I thought. I browsed with a basket, tossing whatever seemed remotely fashionable into it. After about half an hour and trying 50% of it on I totted up and it only came to twenty five quid. At this point, a bit like a gambler or an alcoholic I should have thought - fine, i'll leave it at that. But I thought... that's not much, what else can I get? A fatal mistake. I then put stuff back in that when trying on, hadn't fitted me. Then I spotted some comfy, cheap bras - something I really need for obvious reasons. Then I saw a load of bright red accessories, which of course I don't need, but I thought 'they go with my red hairclip, so I'll get the lot'. My excuse for this rather irrational behaviour (basing your wardrobe on a hairclip) is:
1) I wear the hairclip a lot now I've had my hair cut
2) Bright red is fashionable. Posh Spice wore a bright red dress recently
3) Err.. that's it

Then after I'd bought virtually the whole shop, we queued up. At Primark they cunningly don't have a subtotal-adding up thing on their tills so you can't check how much you're spending. I had to resort to asking the girl to check it for me every now and then. At what I thought was half way through it came to twenty five quid. Then I asked her to add up again - seventy quid. By now I felt under pressure to buy the whole lot. It came to £104 after I ditched a few things.

I'm the Queen of taking things back, I've already put stuff in piles of Yes... Could take back...Doesn't fit....

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Freewriting - A history of Love

Next year I plan to do an MA, hopefully followed by a PhD at the Institute of Contemporary History in London. I'm going to try and prepare for it whilst I'm going through my fertility and cancer treatment.

To help both of us, Phil has got a brilliant book from the library - 'How to write a thesis' by Jenny Murray. To be a good writer you're supposed to write, whatever you want - 'freewriting' every day. The blog is excellent practice for this. I've had lots of ideas over the years, not all of which I want people to nick from this blog. But one, which I'm the only person who seems to be enthusiastic about, which is why I don't ming putting it up here, is 'A History of Love'. Here's Murray's 8 point step to start writing up your thesis:
A History of Love
1) Who are the intended readers?
Feminists, Young men, Historians, Philosophers
2) What did you do?
Read a lot of books and thought that Love hadn't been analysed from a social science or positive feminist perspective. When Greer wrote about Love she was dismissive. Marx and Engels didn't really mention it. The greeks broke it down into different types.
3) Why did you do it?
Because Love had had such a positive impact on my own life so I thought it was strange that social scientists had not analysed this before. I had a theory that Love is a form of secular idealism, which in philosophical terms, as it is mainly women who are the main players, has not been studied. 'Care' has been studied more, as one could argue that provision of health and social care services is the study of 'Care.' I asked people what the difference is between Care and Love.
4) What happened?
I got a diverse range of answers when I asked people what the difference between Care and Love is - Greed, money, quantification, passion, energy. Nobody seemed to understand what I was on about, which I'm still trying to come to terms with and get my ideas understandable.
5) What do the results mean in theory?
That Love is secular idealism, with little recorded to support this until my research, because it is a female domain.
6) What do the results mean in practice?
I hope that the results enable Love to be seen as a philosophy in itself, something that can be made and in its creation, change the world for the better.
7) What is the key benefit for the reader?
Understanding more about positive influences of Love, feminity and feminism on philosophy
8) What remains unresolved?

Boils or Breast Cancer?

No one knows what causes cancer, but there are a few 'risk' factors. And herein lies the difficulty. All these 'risk factors' essentially are about having quite a pleasant life. Take one 'risk factor'. Normal deodorant. I was using some rather innocuous 'Vaseline Intensive Care' roll on before the diagnosis. Then someone tells me, or I read on the internet or the Fulham Breast Cancer Cult tells me that that's a no-no. So I get some what is essentially crystallised salt from Fresh and Wild for ten quid. Not only do I smell, but I start to get boils on my underarm. Like Karl Marx used to on his bottom 150 years ago. Needless to say Ive reverted straight back to some strong men's stuff which Phil uses, and now back to nice and friendly Vaseline and no problems at all with the boils.

Then there's shampoo. I use shampoo that gets rid of dandruff. Now I'm on some seaweed stuff which brings on the dandruff. Dandruff is slightly better than boils and a lot better than breast cancer, but not as good as none of the above, so as a compromise with myself I'm using Head and Shoulders intercepted with seaweed.

Then there's tap water. I love tap water, it's virtually free and unless you get well-meaning people talking about possibly causes of breast cancer, 99% of everyone else says you can't go wrong with it. But then someone tells me, when I didn't ask for their opinion, that tap water has a lot of oestrogen which allegedly could cause breast cancer. So now what am I supposed to do? Shower in bottled Evian? Get a tank of Volvic installed in the backgarden attached to the plumbing system? It's all very well saying this and that causes xyz but it's a bit late now anyway. And even if I do start drinking bottled water with their ten zillion percent profit margins, how do these well-meaning cancer-free people suggest I deal with the side-effects of drinking £5 of bottled water a day - prostitution?