Hello to those of you who found this blog post because you were googling naughty things. Shame on you. Today I’ll be talking about dog walking.
This week, I’ve been looking after my mum’s dog, Dusky, whilst my mum and dad are on the Isle of Wight celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary. OK, I’ve sort of been looking after their dog – I brought her up to Suffolk, but because my new house (renting, not bought, for everyone that keeps asking) requires a “pet addendum” to keep pets, I didn’t think I’d risk asking this early in the game if I can have sleepovers with my friends, the animals.
Luckily, Ben’s parents (also in Suffolk) generously allowed Dusky to stay with them. They have a dog already (Jimmy, a grumpy Jack Russell Terrier), and he wasn’t pleased to see another dog enter the premises, but Ben’s parents LOVE her. She was initially a bit nervous (she is a rescue dog, so god only knows what happened to her before my mum took her in), but has settled in beautifully.
She’s had adventures aplenty. As well as walking around Southwold common, meeting other dogs, being frightened of bikes and freaking out at the sea, my brave little girl has been for a walk, OFF THE LEAD, for the first time ever:
I was a bit worried to start with, as she has no recall to speak of, and I’m not her real mummy, so I wasn’t sure if she’d make a run for it and never come back. But I kept the faith, and we’ve bonded quite well over the last few days, so she kept quite close most of the time.
But even more exciting than this, is she had her first ever play date. And what a play date it was.
I think I’ve mentioned my friend Vin and her two enormous Newfoundlands before. Well, they’re about a year old now, and sodding enormous. Thor, the boy, is about 12 stone, whilst his sister Jester is (only! Hah!) 9 stone.
Despite their size advantage, and the fact there was two of them and one of her (and it was THEIR turf, not hers), Dusky surprisingly put them in their place and ran rings around them. Jester was actually AFRAID of this minute lurcher, retreating behind Vin’s legs every time Dusky went to say hello. Thor, on the other hand, fell deeply in love – he followed Dusky everywhere, licking her ears and generally dribbling all over her (Newfoundlands are drooly dogs).
There were only three dogs, but with their size and her speed, it felt like there were at least a dozen dogs. A fun time had by all – we must do it again some time!
Oh, final excitement: Dusky also caught her first rabbit whilst at Vin’s. It had mixamatosis, so it was probably better off dead anyway, poor thing. Luckily, Dusky broke its neck pretty swiftly, but we had to chase her around the garden for a while to get it off her. Vin had the honour of disposing of the corpse. Fun. Times.
August 25, 2011 | Categories: Britain, car, exercise, family, holiday, philosophy, photography, sociable, Suffolk | Tags: animals, dog, excitement, exercise, family, funny, holiday, humans, I love, me me me, mum, optimism, philosophy, shiny, sociable, Suffolk | Leave A Comment »
I’m free! Had my last exam yesterday, and now all that stands between me and MSc-dom is a lengthy research project. But that’s fine. That’ll be fine.
Sorry about the lack of post yesterday (and you might want to get used to the idea of a post every other day, or so, rather than every single day: things are only set to get busier). But obviously, I was cramming in the morning, and drinking in the evening.
Well, not strictly true. I shared a few drinks with classmates (and my supervisor – he definitely is a social creature) after the exam and then headed back home to… the Streatham knitting group. Arguably, it was a very subdued way to celebrate exams-over, but I don’t care. I love knitting. And the people in that group are super lovely.
But yes. Research now. It’s going to be a shockingly short 10 weeks…
June 1, 2011 | Categories: books, brain, Britain, holiday, London, Psychology, sociable, university | Tags: debate, dissertation, excitement, funny, humans, I love, London, me me me, new, optimism, psychology, sociable, UEL, university | Leave A Comment »
Those of you following me on Twitter might have seen me “fess up” yesterday. I bought a car. Hmm.
I’ve been thinking about getting my own car for a while now – with Ben’s Capri being a classic car (and recently polished to perfection), I didn’t feel comfortable driving it (should the worst happen) plus, putting me on the insurance quadrupled the price of the premium.
But now I have my own car. It’s a little baby jeep. Huzzah!
And you’ll be pleased to hear that, even after more than 3 years without being behind the wheel, I still remember how to drive. I drove it all the way home from Basingstoke, no problem. I even ate crisps.
Holy mother-load, Batman.
I have been charity shopping. Having been on a knitting binge, I remember that my local Trinity Hospice shop used to have a big mug full of donated needles. When I went there, the mug had gone. Sad face. So I asked the staff if they’d sold them all – no, they weren’t selling, so they had been moved to the store room. They went and got me a massive tangle of well over 200 needles. I bought the lot for a tenner – they were happy to be rid of the mismatched assortment of unsellable pointy things.
After a sort through, about 70 needles are unpaired. A shame. Unless someone wants a bundle of odd needles (I’m sure SOMEONE in the ‘verse can think of something to do with them…) they will be chucked out.
BUT. I now have a mass of knitting needles. Yay! Mainly standard straights and a mass of dpns, but I also found one circular needles, 4 crochet hooks (like I need more of those…) and three stitch counters.
Obviously, some are doubles. I have, for example, 10 sets of 3.75mm needles. So here’s my proposal: if you knit or know someone who knits (or wants to take it up), then have a look at my needle collection on Ravelry. I am happy to get rid of sets for as little as 50p (plus a nominal charge to cover p&p, if you want me to post them out to you). Please note: I’m only willing to sell on needles I have DOUBLES or more of. Please don’t ask for things I only have one of.
And if you fancy that bucket load of odd-needles, I’ll let you have the lot for a quid.
May 24, 2011 | Categories: Britain, charity, crafts, knit, London, money, photography, sociable | Tags: charity, comedy, crafts, diy, excitement, funny, I love, knit, money, needle, philosophy, shiny, sociable | 1 Comment »
A lot of you will have seen this already, but I just had a poster project assessment and can’t be bothered with hard blogging right now.
So me, with comedian Ross Noble! Rock on.
Holy crap, look what just arrived in the post (in one piece!)
I told you my sister-in-law was a master baker (sorry, I can’t resist saying that).
Ben would like to say: he whooped my ass at this. It’s true. He did. Painfully.
It probably doesn’t help that I am awful to racing games. Fun though.
MS:A sees a loose plot around petrol-heads making a racetrack out of a collapsing city (suffering earthquakes and the like – I know, poor taste, but unfortunate timing is not their fault, really). There’s the usual storyline game to play through, and then a whole bunch of freeplay stuff (including multiplayer options – yay!)
I enjoyed watching Ben play through MS:A. Like other MS games, it was hugely visually appealing, and the cut scenes were amusing (in a moving-comic books style which was unusual and worked well). Oh, and the character Tyler was hot stuff (you know, until he started talking. That’s him, above. Brum brum!)
As far as gameplay is concerned, it’s much the same as MotorStorm: Pacific Rift – the same sorts of vehicles which handle in the same sort of way (yay for the Mudplugger and Monster Truck – big cars that don’t go terribly fast but are also fairly hard to total). A good selection of different race types – eliminators are a good challenge, because if you fall behind, you explode.
However, I wasn’t too fond of the tracks – there’s a lot of floating debris, a lot of things to fall off (seems to be happening a LOT with the games I’ve played recently) and it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I much preferred playing in the jungle of MS:PR – less things falling from collapsing buildings. There’s a lot of jumping from roof top to rooftop, and the track can even change between laps due to earthquake related damage (buildings falling over, roads sinking, etc.) – it’s great fun to watch someone who knows how it’s done, but maddening if you suck.
Definitely worth a go if you like your racing games. Not worth a go if you suck at racing games like I do – the extent to which your car explodes will just become frustrating.
Ben and I had marvellous designs to escape London before the royal wedding. We’re not big on royalty or crowds or any of that, so we thought we’d run away to the coast. There is a cave at Broadstairs that Ben has wanted to sleep in for years, and now seemed as good a time as any.
We left London at 6:50 yesterday morning. We got to Margate around 9. It was frigging freezing. We stopped at Angela’s Cafe (no customer toilets? Hmm.) by the seafront for some breakfast, then made our way to the supermarket for supplies. We decided to buy some burgers to cook on the little camping stove for dinner, as well as getting a lot of biscuits and so forth.
We then headed on the Joss Bay. It was super cold, so on went the winter coats (cry – I thought I was done with mine until October).
We went for a wander down the beach – aside from us, the only brave souls out and about were dog walkers. There were some insane surfers at about 9pm that night, but little during the day.
A walk up to the intended cave showed us a not so promising start: the chalk roof over the entrance had caved in, leaving a massive pile of rubble and a foreboding sign. Of course, Ben pays signs no heed…
And after a hell of a lot of convincing, I am helped up to the cave, too (good photo opportunity). It was clear we weren’t the only ones that ignore notices – there were signs that someone had recently been up there for a drink and a little campfire.
We weren’t so insane as to hop into the sea at this point – the wind was quite something, and it was overcast. Instead, we thought we’d head back to Margate for a dander. A bit of shopping (including Primark – it just seemed right, in Margate), and then the all-important fish and chips at Beano’s (we were by the sea, afterall). Well, I say fish and chips. I had scampi and chips (with gravy, om nom) whilst Ben had chips and a battered sausage.
Then (because outside London, shops SHUT at unreasonably early times) we wandered down the seafront to look at the old amusement arcades (Ben loves arcades – yay for arcade games!). We shot a few things (House of the Dead 2 is good fun) and had a laugh at the lameness of the prizes available.
After this, we drove back to Joss Bay. And it started raining. And it was still cold. And we wussed out. Fine, there, you win. It was just too bloody miserable for sleeping on the beach, even in a cave (which gets tide-locked). And London (and home) was just too temptingly close. So here we are, in London, on D-day.
I have so far managed to not watch any Royal Wedding stuff on the telly (I really have no interest – I bear the lovely couple no ill will, but they are just people… I don’t know them or anything). In fact, I stayed in bed until about 10 – yay for Bank Holiday Friday.
We’re still thinking about driving out to the country side this afternoon to make those burgers.
Today’s post revolves around the food wot I et in Dubai. Yes, it does merit its own post.
Food is in abundance in Dubai. Emaraties have a particularly sweet tooth (my mum argues that this is because they don’t drink alcohol, but personally I think they’re right to accept that sugar is awesome). There are cakes and sweets available pretty much everywhere, but not really chocolate so much (it’s a hot country – I may have mentioned this before).
So that explains the huge sweet shop -
But we ate surprisingly little by way of puddings. Maybe that’s because there was meat to be had, and I am way more susceptible to meat than sweets (and that’s saying something).
One of the restaurants we dropped into was the Butcher’s Shop, down at the Jumeirah Beach Resort. Here, like a butcher’s shop, you could buy cuts of meat to take away. Or you could select a cut of meat to eat there in the restaurant. And it can be bigger than “standard size” if you really want. Standard size was big enough for me, to be honest -
Another restaurant we went to was in the China District in Dubai’s International City. International City is on the outskirts of Dubai, essentially providing cheap accommodation to Dubai’s foreign workers. It’s made up of some generic looking buildings, each slightly architecturally personalised to represent different cultural districts (e.g. the Moroccan District had Moorish doorways).
We went to a restaurant called Little Sheep for a Chinese food experience ENTIRELY new to me – Hot Pot.
Essentially, you get a massive pot of stock, which is set on a hot plate that’s built into your table. The hot plate keeps the pot bubbling gently, whilst you prepare your food. You can order a variety of dipping dishes, including thinly sliced cuts of meat, noodles, mushrooms, vegetables, seaweed knots.. We went for beef, black fungus, knotted seaweed, and a couple of salad leaf dishes (which don’t so much cook as wilt dramatically). It’s a really fun and sociable meal, and since getting back into the UK, I’ve found a shop in Brixton that sells Hot Pot stock, and even a restaurant in London that does Mongolian hotpot…
Oh, but the big finalé of the week… The Fairmont Brunch. Oh yes oh yes oh yes! My mum and dad were so excited to take me to this (they’ve been a few times before). For a small fortune, you gain access to three hours of gluttonny and as much Moet et Chandon as you can pour down your gullet.
The food comprises every conceivable cuisine under the sun, including sushi bars, a huge pudding bar, and even a shawarma kebab rotisserie. I was in heaven. Needless to say I had about a dozen courses, and was rightly stuffed and drunk as a skunk by kicking out time.
Friday brunches are becoming more and more popular in the hotels in Dubai, but Fairmont is reknowed for being the original and best. My parents do spoil me. And I ain’t complainin’.
Tomorrow: Yes, but what is there to do in Dubai..?
On Facebook a few days ago, I mentioned that my life had changed inconceivably in the past few years. So it was lovely to have the chance to catch up with a group of old friends yesterday, and pretend I’m not almost, basically, an adult.
I hadn’t gotten together with Beth, Naseeb and Sarah (not as a group, anyway) for about four years, so the chance to have lunch and a proper catch up was awesome. I don’t think we’ve changed much at all (a conversation I had with Beth & John’s friend Gareth last week – do we change much at all over our lifetimes? Intrinsically, I mean?)
Sure, our circumstances have changed a fair bit (in a few months time, they’ll join me in the wonderful world of being graduates) but we’re still the same people. Which is reassuring. And awesome.
I have awesome friends <3
April 16, 2011 | Categories: debate, food, London, philosophy, sociable, university | Tags: excitement, food, funny, humans, I love, London, optimism, philosophy, shiny, sociable, university | 3 Comments »
What the hell is this I spy down in the basement of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, in London’s Queen Square? @bengoldacre would be displeased…
Yesterday, the University of East London had the pleasure of welcoming Ed Hubbard from Vanderbilt University, USA to give a talk about synaesthesia. It was a free public lecture, lasting about 90 minutes, and we had a pretty great turn out.
The lecture signalled the start of the annual UK Synaesthesia Association conference (this year hosted by UEL) – whilst the conference is still open to the public, they need to be paying public, so this free lecture was a bit more accessible to armchair psychologists.
Here’s the blurb from the talk:
What do David Hockney, Richard Feynman, Nabokov, Messiaen and Stevie Wonder all have in common? They all experience synaesthesia, a “union of the senses”.
For some synaesthetes, listening to a piece of music may also cause them to see specific colours while for others letters or numbers are always tinged a certain colour. Although synaesthesia has been known about for over 100 years, interest in synaesthesia has undergone resurgence in the past decade. This talk will discuss recent research, showing what synaesthetes already know: synaesthesia is real, and synaesthetes are neither telling stories, nor are they “crazy.”
More information about synaesthesia can be found here: www.uel.ac.uk/psychology/research/synaesthesia
I really enjoyed Ed’s talk – he’s a great speaker, and was very obviously passionate about his area of research. He’s also keen to get all you American synaesthetes involved with his research, so please don’t hesitate to get in contact with him: edhubbard [at] gmail [dot] com
More about synaesthesia to follow tomorrow, as I am, at this moment in time, at the conference. Need to rush off now – lectures to attend. Exciting stuff!
March 26, 2011 | Categories: art, brain, Britain, debate, London, music, neuroscience, philosophy, Psychology, science, sociable, statistics, university | Tags: art, biology, debate, dissertation, excitement, funny, humans, I love, London, me me me, neuropsychology, neuroscience, optimism, philosophy, psychology, science, shiny, sociable, UEL, university | Leave A Comment »
That’s it. My transformation to “girl” is complete.
Look, pink and purple. Argh.
The bedsheets were £16, Matalan, the bag was from a discount store in Suffolk.
Doctor, journalist, science cheerleader – Ben Goldacre is perfectly positioned to expose malpractice in the world of science and medicine. And how well he does it.
Bad Science is, at its heart, a light-hearted non-fiction read. It made me laugh a lot (Brain Gym? Really?) but, I have to be honest, it made me a bit depressed. Although it made me feel smug and self-righteous (yes, detox and homeopathy are bunk! And here’s why…), it also made me despair – particularly the new chapter (unpublishable in the first edition, as Goldacre was going through a court case at the time) about Matthius Rath and AIDS in South Africa. You might think Big Pharma is evil. It is, but you ain’t seen nothing yet…
Goldacre doesn’t just make sweeping claims – he supports his views with example after example of evidence. With a comprehensive reference list and suggested further reading at the end of the book, Goldacre has nothing to hide. But it’s hard to feel empowered when he admits that the quacks have won, and things will always be this way – Bad Science is entrenched.
A thoroughly recommended read: very accessible, enlightening, funny, and realistic.
March 23, 2011 | Categories: books, Britain, debate, London, philosophy, Psychology, science, sociable | Tags: books, comedy, complaining, debate, dissatisfaction, excitement, funny, humans, I love, London, philosophy, psychology, rant, sadness, science, sociable | 1 Comment »
Hoho. Gotcha. No porno here.
As I said in my post yesterday, I went to visit the NHM with my friend Vin last Thursday, with the express intention of seeing this temporary exhibition (and going the gift shop, ofc.)
I’ve read mixed reviews of “Sexual Nature”, so wasn’t sure what to expect, but at only £4 for students, it’s not really money wasted, regardless.
I have to say, I was really pleasantly surprised by the exhibition – if a little weirded out, too.
You see, when you pass through the big, frosted glass doors behind the ticket desk, it feels a bit like you’ve just walked into a seedy sex shop: there are long curtains to walk around, and what I can only describe as “mood music” softly playing in the background. But do not be alarmed: behind the curtains awaits a wonderland of facts and figures, with slightly unnerving multimedia support. First up is the giant video screen showing chimps fornicating (and my lord, some of them look bored), which you can’t fail to notice as you walk in.
All around you are display cabinets with bizarre artefacts: penis bones, insects “caught in the act”, and even a pair of unfortunate locked foxes (if you don’t know what I mean by this, please go and look it up).
I think the strength of the exhibition lies in its variety: there are a multitude of of different ways the information is displayed, from the written boards (which are very readable), to the pictures, videos, display cabinets and even the slightly disturbing “Green Porno” – the image of Isabella Rosellini dressed as a snail will stay with me always (for good or for ill).
I don’t want to say much more, as it’ll spoil the surprises in store. In conclusion: I loved it. £4 well spent.
Sexual Nature is on display from now until 2nd October.
Open 10.00-17.50 daily, last admission 17.15.
Adult £8, Child and concessions £4, Family £21
Free to Members, Patrons and children aged 3 and under.
This exhibition contains frank information and imagery about sex.
March 7, 2011 | Categories: art, debate, film, London, museum, Natural History Museum, philosophy, photography, science, sociable | Tags: animals, art, biology, debate, excitement, funny, I love, London, museum, optimism, philosophy, science, sex, sociable | 1 Comment »
I’ve got Ben watching Firefly.
Rather than tell you about the show, I’m going to share some merchandise that I waaaant. All from ThinkGeek, so off you go.
March 2, 2011 | Categories: art, clothes, I Want Never Gets, sociable, TV | Tags: clothes, cowboy, excitement, fandom, Firefly, fox, funny, humans, I love, merchandise, shiny, sociable, space, TV | 3 Comments »
Mighty unusual film, this. Yes, there is a degree of goat-staring, but that is not the entire plot.
A dark comedy, based around true events (Americans are weeeeeird), we follow the story of the PSYOP movement. Some of it is frighteningly believable (and historically ineffective in terms of interrogation methods) such as the brainwashing techniques (Barney the Dinosaur, anyone?), but some of it, I find hard to swallow (I’m not into the whole “psychic” thing. Although I know people who are, so I will not pass judgement).
However, believable or not, this film is very fast-paced, pretty whacky (Clooney seems to be doing a lot of whacky at the moment) and very entertaining.
Drugs! Goats! Moustache! And dancing. Lots of dancing.
Get with it.
March 1, 2011 | Categories: film, mental illness, philosophy, Psychology | Tags: animals, comedy, drugs, excitement, film, funny, goat, humans, I love, LSD, mind control, philosophy, psychology, psyop | Leave A Comment »
Terry Pratchett is back on form. This is the best book he’s written in a long while, no argument. This is back to the hard-as-nails, philosophical, quick-firing Discworld that we all originally fell in love with.
And there is football.
Wait. What? I hate football.
But don’t fret – it’s not all about football. In fact, football is just a vehicle for the moral story (as it should be). I can’t reveal to you too much, but if I liked it, it can’t be that football heavy, right?
The wizards are back (and it’s lovely to see them again) – even Rincewind makes an appearance, which is good fun, but I’m glad he was just background colour, as I feel his days in the limelight are over (and I think he thinks so too). The Watch are everpresent, but again, this is not their Moment.
In fact, the main characters are new: the working class! Hurrah. They have names and personalities, now. And one of those is the delightful Mister Nutt, a goblin with a mysterious past…
OK, enough teasing. Go read it.
February 28, 2011 | Categories: books, London, philosophy | Tags: books, comedy, Discworld, excitement, football, funny, goblin, humans, I love, London, optimism, philosophy, shiny, Terry Pratchett, wizard | Leave A Comment »
Apparently, information just wants to be free. Does it? And do we want to liberate it?
I was hoping Jack Klaff of Intelligence Squared and his panel of experts would be able to give us some insight, but we didn’t seem to get anywhere close to a firm answer. As one speaker, Murad Ahmed (technology correspondent, The Times) tweeted mid-debate -
@muradahmed: Member of the audience at #iq2infofree says she’s confused about what we’re talking about. Oh dear
And, loathe to admit it, I’m sure that’s how many of us felt. The 90min open conversation bounded from research data, to WikiLeaks, to the current state of Libya and Egypt, to freedom of expression, to something about Inuits (I’m sorry, Nicola Triscott – I didn’t really follow, and you spoke so briefly! As the only woman on the panel, I would have liked you to have had more part in the discussion).
As the heated discussion was so varied, I think I’ll stick to what I know best: the availability of scientific research data. It’s notoriously difficult to get hold of, and Daniel Glaser (of the Wellcome Trust) explained why: when a scientist has been slogging away with his research for ten years, and comes up with a nugget of worthwhile info, that scientist would find it pretty galling if another person looked at their data, and used it to produce their own nugget of worthwhile scientific info. They produce a similar glorious breakthrough, but without having to do the time-consuming monkey work.
So what’s the problem here? Resentment between scientists? If scientists shared their research data, they would theoretically save a lot of effort all around and reach valuable conclusions faster. But then they’d have to share the glory – and unfortunately, as Dr Layla McCay put it -
@laylamccay: Of course. Altruism is not the most reliable motivator, and people do want to eat and feed their families…
But let’s not write off all scientists – as I pointed out on Twitter (and several people RTed, so I can only assume they agree), some scientists have a pure love of scientific knowledge, and are not just doing their research for money and glory. But, sadly, they are increasingly few and far between.
I won’t dwell on the subject of info released all over social networking sites (we’ve heard it all before – at one point in the evening, behaviour on Facebook and Twitter was coupled with the words “idiotic” and “naive”), but just to say: common sense, people. As with all things in life, if you don’t want people to know, then DON’T SAY IT.
What do you think? Do you think more information should be made public? Where do we draw the line? An article published in the Lancet in January suggested that it should be a condition of research funding that the research data is made freely available. Do you agree?
Read more about last night’s debate (and listen to it yourself, should you be so inclined!) on the IQsquared website.
You can go to many other IQsquared events around London – see their website for details.
The Dana Centre (where last night’s debate was hosted) is in South Kensington (down the road from the Natural History Museum), and is part of the Science Museum. They run regular talks and other events, most of them free. See their website for further details.
The hashtag from last night’s debate was #iq2infofree – feel free to have a look at what people were saying during the talk.
February 23, 2011 | Categories: Britain, debate, London, philosophy, science | Tags: comedy, Dana Centre, debate, dissatisfaction, excitement, funny, humans, information, IQsquared, London, optimism, philosophy, rant, science, Science Museum, sociable | 2 Comments »
I’m sorry – I realise I haven’t been blogging about much “intellectual” stuff recently (talks, exhibitions, and the like). It’s because I’ve spent most of my free time brain dead (because the study/work side of things is a bit intense at the moment).
But I have been out of the house a fair bit, and that has been a REAL treat! Yesterday’s trip to St Mary Cray threw up this selection of Banksy-esque glory, just outside the station. Enjoy!
HAH. Weren’t expecting that one, were you? Well, think again. I’m not all angst and darkness. No, contrary to popular belief, I love Disney films. Well, some of them, at any rate.
And Tangled is definitely one of those that I love. I was beginning to get a bit jaded as far as “modern” Disney was concerned, but Rapunzel, her “magic hair that glows when she sings”, the charming Flynn Rider (who, trust me, has more depth than he originally lets on), the brave horse Maximus and the BRILLIANT chameleon Pascal, have most certainly won me over.
OK, OK, this is a pretty saccharine twist on the original Brothers Grimm incarnation, but then, that is the fate of the fairy tale in the modern age – it must be sweet and light (with some mild peril), and of course, it must be moral.
And I’m happy to say, Tangled ticks all the boxes. The goodies are good, the baddies are bad, there are reformed criminals and heroic animals. Someone is called Eugene (a name that has sadly been too long forgotten). There are a lot of very well written songs (yes, it’s semi-musical) including the fantaaaaastic “Mother Knows Best” (brilliant, as I was at the cinema with my mum). I’m still confused as to why Rapunzel had no shoes, but I’m willing to overlook that. It is all beautifully animated (works well in 3D!) and the script is very sweet.
Oh, and there is lots of hair. That’s a given.
Cheers for more reminders that long hair is, in fact, awesome.
February 13, 2011 | Categories: art, books, debate, film, philosophy, sociable, Sussex | Tags: animals, animation, art, books, cartoon, comedy, debate, Disney, excitement, fairy tale, film, films, funny, horse, humans, I love, kids, moral, mum, philosophy, Rapunzel, sociable | 2 Comments »
The workplace can be an impersonal place. I find it makes work easier if you make you work station a bit more fun, a bit more “you”. I think it’s really important to personalise your surroundings, especially those where you spend the majority of your waking hours. For me, that would be my desk at home, and for Ben, that’s his desk at work.
As a result, my desk is overflowing with stickers and brightly coloured things (including some pheasant feathers in my pen pot). But you can’t go too over-the-top in the office – it has to be small and subtle.
With that in mind, I’ve gifted Ben with various bits and pieces for his work desk – a little blue wolf from IKEA (I liked his funny grin), a tin of Stewie mints from Cyber Candy (he LOVES Family Guy) and…. a diplodocus.
I’ll explain the diplodocus. He’s the newest addition, having joined Ben’s desk-gang only yesterday. Ben was having a tough day at work on Tuesday, and sent me a message telling me so. Then he sent me a message saying “if you loved me, you’d buy me a dinosaur!”
Naturally, I asked him to specify what kind.
And one afternoon detour via the Natural History Museum left me with old dippy.
I hope the wolf isn’t mean to him. He’s a big softie.
What about you? What little trinkets or personal touches have you brought to your workplace?
February 10, 2011 | Categories: family, London, museum, Natural History Museum, sociable | Tags: animals, comedy, dinosaur, dog, excitement, fox, funny, I love, London, new, shiny, sociable, soft toy, wolf | 1 Comment »
Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na…
Man, I love Batman. Pretty much all Batman stuff is awesome, right? Well, the less said about “Batman & Robin” (with Mr Freeze) and the awful Halle Berry “Catwoman” films, the better.
But even Adam West’s camp crusader was charming. The modern Christian Bale incarnation is awesome, but the cheesey films with Michael Keaton and Val Kilmer will always hold a special place in my heart.
And I think this is one of the main reasons Lego Batman won me over so much – it’s a cheese fest! You get to play a whole host of characters, including the adorable Harley Quinn and the infamous “Mr Freeze”. Look out for the cringe-worthy Man-bat and Killer Moth, too. And of course, you get to be the Caped Crusader himself, or, if you’re so inclined, his bumbling sidekick, Robin.
Every character has their pros and cons – my personal favourite is to play Poison Ivy, but the Joker is good fun too.
I got VERY sucked into the Batman world – lots of things to smash up (in order to collect “studs”, “mini-kit” and Power Blocks, which all unlock extra goodies in the game) and plenty of little puzzles to solve.
Certain parts of the game are off-limits the first time you play through, but once you have unlocked “free play” in a chapter, you can switch between characters at your leisure, therefore making previously unobtainable goodies accessible (e.g. if something was too high up for Batman to get, then use Poison Ivy – she can double-jump).
The game is not without its faults – lots of things to fall off, which gets frustrating rather than just challenging, and I got “stuck” several times. Also, the two-player mode is not perfect – when you go in opposite directions, you can only go so far, because the game does not go split screen. So be prepared to argue about who is in charge – but then, I suppose that’s why they call it co-op.
All in all, a fine romp. Ben and his sister tell me that it’s the lest fun of the Lego games, which bodes well for the others – because I love it.
Woo! I’ve had a fun couple of days, despite it all being based in Chatham, of all places.
Friday saw me trek to Kent, alongside my friends Sarah and Matt. When there, we found our way to Bridgewood Manor Hotel – a 4* hotel on the edge of Chatham (yes! Chatham has a 4*!)
After a bit of faffing and madness, I left Sas and Matt to shower and went down to prop up the bar. Louise arrived just as I got downstairs, so we went to pester the barman together! A G&T for me, a large glass of red for her, and we chin-wagged until the married couple came downstairs. Soon after, the fifth and final member of our party (Callum) pulled up a chair, and we celebrated a long-awaited reunion get-together.
Dark photo yoinked off Matt. DON’T SUE!!
Bridgewood Manor Hotel was surprisingly nice. All the staff I encountered were very friendly and great service, and the hotel itself was spacious and tidy. Whilst I didn’t stay the night at the hotel, Sas and Matt did – their room was the standard hotel room layout, but pleasingly neat and tidy. You’d have to ask them if the bed was squishy and the shower wet enough. As far as facilities are concerned, a rental of the room gave access to the hotel’s own swimming pool (meaning Sas nipped to the Asda next door to buy herself swimwear!)
But our main calling to Bridgewood Manor was to filter into one of their many conference halls (the Hythe suite) to experience their Comedy Club experience. For a mere £23.95, we were treated to a 2-course meal and two comedy acts (plus a brash and crass lady-compère). The food was a generic crowd pleaser – roast chicken with veg and sautéed new potatoes for the mains, and muddled summer fruits with whipped cream for dessert. Nothing special, but it was well executed (although some bread to sop up my gravy would have been appreciated).
The comedy acts, more importantly, were a mixed bag. As I said, the compère, whilst not terrible, was at times a bit of a cringe. But she soon introduced the first act, Joe Rowntree – very satisfying start. His observational comedy was spot on – even if the story about being thrown up on by a drunk on a night bus was revolting! The second act though, needed a lot of polishing. I’m sorry, I can’t remember his name. He was an impressionist, and he tried to do a gimmicky thing with 50 impersonations in 20 minutes, but it didn’t really work. He was good, but the act itself needs polishing. And he got heckled something rotten by the audience – I felt really bad for him. But rather than fight back, he would’ve done better to ignore them.
Ah well – all’s well that ends well. Had a great night out with friends, and it was all polished off with Krispy Kremes courtesy of Sas. Huzzah!
February 6, 2011 | Categories: Britain, debate, food, sociable | Tags: comedy, complaining, debate, excitement, food, funny, gluttony, humans, I love, optimism, rant, shiny, sociable | Leave A Comment »