Sunday 31 August 2008

Male synchronised swimming

MJ's last post reminded me that I'd meant to post something about synchronised swimming, mainly the lack of men taking part in it. Oh, and if you're expecting any nudity, you can forget it - This is a wholesome post. Go back to MJ's for your kicks.

I scoured the internets for information about male synchronised swimming, but came up with very little. Well, very little that was actually any good. There were several 'mockumentaries', comedy sketches and completely hopeless, amateur teams. However, the following videos are some of the best:

This first one is a profile of Kenyon Smith, a member of the Santa Clara Aquamaids. Before you ask, he's not gay and I don't fancy him (he was 16 in this video, for goodness sakes).

This one is Kenyon's Tech Solo routine. Just look how far out of the water he gets in his vertical postion (that's when he's upside down with both legs out of the water) - up to his waist!

This one is quite light-hearted, but is a serious routine starring Bill May and Anna Kozlova. Bill was the one of the first recognised U.S. male synchronised swimmers, paving the way for Kenyon Smith.

There is certainly some consternation over the inequality in competitive synchronised swimming. A case can be made for the greater strength inherent in men, enabling them to do higher lifts, etc. However, women are naturally more buoyant and graceful, making the men appear somewhat oafish if they're not exceptionally precise.
Then there are the swimming costumes and trowel-fuls of make up the women have on. They immediately look more spectacular than the men. I was thinking that to counteract this, the men could have some kind of temporary body tattoos?

If anyone needs me, I'll be down at the Riverside pool in my leopard print bikini and pearls, practising for the 2012 Olympics.

Thanks for the picture, MJ.

Thursday 28 August 2008

Star Selection 2

Because I can't be bothered to post anything of value...

Tuesday 26 August 2008

The Continuing Adventures of Librarian Girl

Dinah stared in horror as the advancing Bookwyrm opened its reality devouring maw, displaying a frighteningly beautiful array of rotating diamond-like teeth.

"We've got to get out of here!" she yelled, looking around wildly for a means of escape. "Quick. Through the door!"

The Continuity Girl raced for the door to Pride and Prejudice bookworld but it refused to open. A small cathode ray display screen set into the locking mechanism flashed the warning:

Security Lockdown: Bookwyrm detected

"It won't open. We're trapped!"

Dinah took a step back, her heel coming into contact with a brass latch set into the deck. The latch clicked and a panel slid aside revealing various levers and a wheel, not unlike that of an old sailing ship, which slowly swung up from their horizontal position beneath the platform.

"A helm" Dinah breathed. "I suppose there had to be some way of maneuvering this thing up and down the tower?"

The Continuity Girl started to pull at levers frantically. The platform lurched and rose about a foot before suddenly plummeting towards the monstrous Bookwyrm.

"Aaaiiieee! Stop doing that!"

The Continuity Girl obeyed and the platform clanked to a halt. Dinah looked at the levers. By some good fortune, they were labelled, all be it in an old fashioned script: Brake, Up and Down. The wheel bore the initials W and T, which on closer inspection, had smaller, fainter letters following them, so they read Widdershins and Turnwise.
She pulled the Up lever and the platform groaned, straining to rise. Oops! The brakes, she remembered, and disengaged them. The platform shot upwards, away from the nearing 'wyrm. Dinah swung the wheel around to the left, or widdershins, and the platform began to arc around the central column as it ascended. "This thing is even more difficult to maneuver than my dad's old Crown Victoria" she muttered.

"Will it go any faster?" the Continuity Girl asked plaintively. "The Bookwyrm is gaining on us."

"I don't think so. The lever's pulled back as far as it'll go."

"Oh, no! We're doomed!" the Continuity Girl wailed rather too dramatically. "The Bookwyrm will devour us, then start boring through the bookworlds, consuming each one it passes through!"

The thought of books being destroyed galvanised Dinah. She surfaced from her panic, forcibly calming herself. "Perhaps we can kill it, or trap it somehow?"

"We?" The Continuity Girl was aghast. "You're the Librarian - You do it!"

Dinah rolled her eyes at the hysterical young woman and turned the wheel a bit further, steering them further around the tower, out of sight of the 'wyrm - If it even had eyes, that is.

"Look up there" she suddenly announced, pointing to what looked like open doors in the tower's walls above them. "Maybe we can escape through one of those?"

"Oh, God, I hope so."

Dinah steered the platform towards the open doors, which, as they got closer, they could see were actually corridors branching off the main tower. She slowed their approach, but still overshot the first corridor which she thought was labelled eBooks. The next corridor was labelled Blogs. Excellent, she thought. A way home!
The platform shuddered to a clanking, groaning halt just off centre of the Blog corridor. The girls leapt into it just as the Bookwyrm surged over the edge of their platform, crushing the railing as it undulated towards them.
Dinah turned at an audible snap, and saw the Continuity Girl sprawled on the floor having fallen after one of her, quite frankly, ridiculous heels had broken following her leap into the corridor. She started to run back for her but the 'wyrm was faster and reached the Continuity Girl first, who screamed as the 'wyrm's crystal teeth tore apart her reality.
Dinah clapped her hands over her mouth and watched in mute, fascinated horror as the Continuity Girl seemed to stretch in every direction at once, before unravelling in a really quite beautiful, slow flash of rainbow light. Then there was nothing left but a fading ink black shadow of her which the advancing 'wyrm smeared into the floor as it passed.
Dinah turned and ran trying to forget the scene she'd just witnessed: Yes, Meredith the Continuity Girl was annoying - rather like Meredith from Grey's Anatomy - but she didn't deserve a fate like that. She pelted past translucent, frosted glass doors bearing familiar Dewey Decimal Classification coordinates until one in particular caught her eyes.
Skidding to a halt, she tapped in new coordinates on the electronic panel, thankful that these newer doors had simpler coordinate locks than the old wooden ones. She pushed open the door and darted inside, the Bookwyrm on her heels. However, she didn't run into the world before her, instead, she clung to the door as it opened wide, swinging her away from the following 'wyrm.
After it had barrelled into the dark, almost empty world beyond the door, Dinah retreated back into the corridor, shutting the door behind her. She gasped for breath as she locked the coordinates and placed a warning over the legend screen which read:

She just hoped she could escape from this place in time to tell IDV what lurked in his yet to be used post before he actually opened it up to use it!
With that in mind, and recovering her breath, Dinah walked along the door-lined corridor until she found the door she hoped would get her home. The coordinates were correct, and the screen legend showed just what she expected to see:

Opening the door, she stepped over the threshold but the tip of her shoe caught on something that was not quite there.

"Oh, blast!" she spat as she tripped over. "A damn Cusp interface..."

To be continued... In a roundabout way.

Monday 25 August 2008

Librarian Girl*

Arriving early at the library for her shift, Dinah let herself in and walked across the empty foyer towards the main desk. She liked to be the first one in before the library opened. She liked the quiet, the press of books and the motes of dust that caught the early morning light, glittering and glinting in the air around her.
Rounding the desk to leave her coat and bag in the staff room beyond, Dinah stopped short. Someone had left a cart of books out. Perhaps she wasn't the first one here after all? Leaving her coat and bag on a chair, she approached the cart. The topmost book was a weighty tome, blackened and covered in dust. It looked old. Very old. Curious, Dinah blew some of the dust off, then wiped her hand over the cover, revealing the title:

Dinah's 50 Book Challenge

A 500 leng? What on Earth...? Dinah thought to herself. I wonder if this is anything to do with Timothy Elizabeth Leng? She tried to rub off more of the black residue that obscured the rest of the title but was unsuccessful. So, instead, she opened the book.
On the page before her was a full size illustration that she couldn't quite make out. It was almost entirely black, but there appeared to be various entwined and writhing shapes, all in different shades of black. Dinah leaned over for a closer look. The picture really did have an extraordinary depth to it, so much so that an attack of vertigo overcame her, and she overbalanced and fell in.

"Aaaiiieee!" she screamed as she hurtled through the blackness.

Sssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh... came a whispered reply that seemed to emanate from all around her.

"Aaaiiieee!" a reprimanded Dinah screamed quietly before passing out.

~ ~ ~

Golden light attempted to force its way through Dinah's tightly closed eyelids. She wasn't falling anymore. Instead she seemed to be leaning against something hard and rough and it felt like her hands were resting on grass. Slowly, she opened her eyes. As her vision adjusted to the light, she saw that she was sitting on an expanse of grass against a tree. In the distance was an old mansion and between it and herself was a lake.
Dinah got to her feet and suddenly started as a hand clutched her shoulder lightly. She whirled around and was confronted with a dark haired young woman wearing black framed glasses and carrying a clipboard.

"Who are you?" Dinah gasped at the woman. "And where am I?"

"My name's Meredith. I'm the Continuity Girl" Meredith smiled weakly in greeting. "You're in the Norland estate."

"The... The Norland estate?" Dinah questionned. "As in from Sense and Sensibility?"

"Yes" the Continuity Girl answered after glancing at her clipboard. "Where else?" She gave that weak smile again.

"I'm-" Dinah started to introduce herself, but was interrupted.

"I know" the Continuity Girl said with faint triumph. "You're a Librarian! One of the guardians."

Before she could question her further, Dinah was distracted by a dour faced but handsome man coming out of the lake, his white shirt plastered to his torso. She spun around and confronted the Continuity Girl.

"That's Mr Darcy!" she cried, pointing at the soaked man who was wandering off.

"Umm..." Another intent look at the clipboard followed. "Yes."

"But Mr Darcy's from Pride and Prejudice, not Sense and Sensibility."


Dinah rolled her eyes in despair and looked out at the lake again. A rowing boat had come into view with two passengers. A blonde woman and a dark haired man in a blue shirt. They appeared to be having a quarrel as she heard the woman say, in a suspiciously British accent: I never liked you. This was followed by the man offering her something with his outstretched arm and saying, in a far more relaxed and natural British accent: My Darling, my hamburger.
Realisation suddenly dawned. Somehow, she'd fallen into her own 50 Book Challenge, but things weren't working out as she thought they should, as the people in the boat appeared to be Rene Zellweger's Bridget Jones and Hugh Grant's Daniel Cleaver, each uttering the title of Dinah's third and fourth read book this year, respectively.

"Look" she said to the Continuity Girl. "This isn't right. If I'm in my own 50 Book Challenge, why is Bridget Jones here? I haven't read Bridget Jones' Diary this year. And this bit" she pointed out to the lake "looks like it's from the film adaptation. And that Mr Darcy scene earlier was from the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, not the book! This whole set-up has a suspiciously IDV quality about it. Is he here? Messing about with the Cusp interface again?"

"Oh, I give up!" the Continuity Girl snapped, dropping her clipboard and stamping her foot on it petulantly. "You think IDV's actually going to read all these books just to make your experience here more realistic? Ha!
"You should know better than that. He's a lazy, lazy witch who left his AutoPolite to do all this based on the titles of the books you've read, and what he'd learned from TV. And so, I'm afraid you're going to have to put up with what you get. And me."

"But... But it's my birthday!"

"Which is why you've got even this half-hearted attempt at a birthday post."

Dinah folded her arms and sighed, turning away from her tainted 50 Book Challenge.

"What's that?" she asked, pointing to a tower in the middle distance.


"That funny looking tower-thing over there."

"Oh, the Spine Tower" the Continuity Girl answered. "I forgot you'd be able to see it as you're a Librarian." Again, she managed to say librarian reverently with a capital L. "It's supposed to be a nexus to every book, to every thing, that has ever been written."

"Is it now?" Dinah said quietly. "Come on. We're going to take a look."

"Oh, but we can't! It's forbidden!"

"Forbidden, eh? We'll see about that. Librarians can go wherever they like!" Even trainee librarians Dinah hoped to herself as she set off for the tower, closely followed by the Continuity Girl.

Having been a member of The Coven for long enough to know how these things worked, Dinah tied her hair up into a bun and balanced her glasses on the tip of her nose in a stereotypical librarian fashion as she approached the tower and it's armed guard.

The guard visibly trembled as he saw a Guardian storming directly toward him.

"Halt" he managed to say unconvincingly, and barred the way with his rifle.

"Do you know who I am?" Dinah asked imperiously, glaring at the poor guard over the top of her glasses.

"A... A Librarian, Miss?"

"That's right. Now let us pass."

"Well, Miss... You see..." the guard started to object.

Dinah drew herself up and narrowed her eyes as she brought her index finger to her lips.

"Ssssshhhhhhhhh!" she hissed.

The guard's eyes rolled back in his head and he collapsed in a terrified faint.

"There" Dinah said smugly. "That took care of that."

"Wow!" the Continuity Girl gasped at the power of Librarianship, and they stepped over the prone guard and into the Spine Tower.

"Wow!" This time it was Dinah's turn to gasp in awe. The two of them stood on a wooden platform that stretched from the door they'd just entered to the centre of the tower, where there was a circular wooden column inset with thousands upon thousands of little drawers. Encircling the wooden column were the stone walls of the Spine Tower, which were themselves inset with thousands upon thousands of wooden doors just like the one they arrived through. A network of ladders, platforms and catwalks, all linked to an interlacing gridwork of bronze tracks and rails on the inner wall and central column, provided access to each door and each drawer.
Looking behind her at the door, Dinah noticed an intricate brass clockwork device attached to it, a bit like a combination lock. One tumbler showed a complex set of numbers, remarkably similar to the Dewey Decimal Classification System. Next to it were two dials, one showed a name, the other a title. Dinah gently spun the last dial. The Sense and Sensibility legend rotated out of sight to be replaced with one baring the words Pride and Prejudice with a very precise 'click'. Opening the door slightly, she peered through. The landscape out there certainly wasn't that which she was in before entering the tower. How curious, she thought.
Carefully walking along the centre of the wooden platform that led to the central drawer column, and grateful for the elegant brass railings that would prevent a nasty fall to however far down the bottom of this tower was, Dinah approached the Continuity Girl, who had opened a drawer and was looking at the cards inside.

"How far up this tower do you think we are?" the Continuity Girl asked. "Do you think it's bottomless?"

"No. It has a bottom" Dinah replied, taking a card from Meredith. "The numbers have to start somewhere" she said as she studied the card. "Somewhere very, very far down. Don't let's fall, OK?"

"OK" the Continuity Girl gulped.

Looking up, the drawer column and the tower walls disappeared into a hazy golden-brown light. "I just don't think it has a top..." Dinah trailed off. "At least, not yet" she added.

As she put the card back in its drawer, Dinah noticed her hand shaking slightly. Must be the height, she thought to herself. Then she noticed that it wasn't her that was shaking, it was the card drawer. In fact, it was the entire central column. Each drawer was rattling against its runners as the column vibrated.

"What's causing that?" she asked. The Continuity Girl just shrugged. Dinah looked around, then gingerly peered over the railing, down into the depths of the tower. "Shit! What the Hell is that?"

The Continuity Girl also looked over the railing, and there, undulating quickly up the central column, one hundred or so feet below, was a gigantic grub-like creature.

"Oh my gods!" she gasped. "It's a Bookwyrm! We've got to get out of here. Now!"

To be continued...

* Not affiliated with Michael Jackson in any way, thank goodness.

Saturday 23 August 2008

Gone Away

I had a dream about Beaky last night. 

I dreamt that I left the house with a handful of chopped sultanas to put out for the birds and Beaky flew down, landed on my outstretched hand, and began to eat them. He didn't screech or attempt to peck my fingers off or have my eyes out, he just calmly ate a few sultanas. I continued to walk out into the back garden to put the leftover sultanas on and around the bird feeder, and Beaky hopped up onto my shoulder. I left the garden and began to walk down the road with Beaky still on my shoulder.  

Suddenly, I was at The Parent's old house, sitting by the pond. Beaky was washing himself in the shallows as I spoke to Indescribable, who was also sitting by the pond. Then I noticed that Beaky was drowning! I quickly scooped him up and laid him on the grass at the water's edge. He seemed to be ok, so I carried on talking to my sister.  

When I looked down again, he was gone. There were ripples on the surface of the pond, and a dark shape was slowly sinking to the bottom. Beaky! I thrust my hand into the water again, but it had turned almost black, as had the weeds growing beneath the surface. There were also strange fish and other creatures gliding ominously about in the depths. Frantically, I attempted to retrieve the blackbird, but I couldn't find him amongst the pondweed. I tried again and again, but my fingers only felt the slimy weeds. After what seemed like an eternity, and close to tears, I gave up, knowing Beaky must have drowned.  

Then I woke up. 

I think Beaky, my arch-nemesis and tormenter, is no more. 


This is not the whole reason for my blog-absence over the last few days. I have felt particularly curmudgeonly and antisocial lately, only venturing out when I sensed semi-nudity and chlorine - Both at Tim's and Dinah's. I noted that Tim has neglected to post any pictures of himself looking dreamy in Speedos, though... 

However, I believe the worst of my mood swing is over now (helped by the imminent arrival of another Victoria sponge cake - As long as Apocalypse Oven doesn't burn it to a cinder). As such, I will be back on Monday for the birthday of one of the Coven.  

Stay tuned!  



I might be missing Beaky a tiny, little bit...

Tuesday 19 August 2008

AWOL: Beaky

Not that I'm concerned for his safety or anything, but I haven't seen Beaky in over a week. Come to think of it, I haven't seen Mrs Beaky, their horrible offspring or Beaky's clone, either.

I put some sultanas out for hi- *ahem* the other birds, but Beaky usually frightens them off and eats the sultanas himself, however, the sultanas are still laying around where I sprinkled them.

* sigh *

I suppose I'd better put up the old poster from the last time he went missing...

Sunday 17 August 2008

Aaack! Too bright!

OK. These'll have to do:

Saturday 16 August 2008

Crappy lighting, Ahoy!

Tim wanted to see what 'monstrosities' I'd bought yesterday. I only bought one item, and it isn't a monstrosity, it's a delightful piece of finery - It's the jacket I'd ooh-ed and ahh-ed about last week (along with the jeans from Topman).

Umm... Sorry about the bad lighting. I'll see if I can take a better pic tomorrow if the sun ever deigns to come out.

Thursday 14 August 2008

A week in pictures

Or rather, A week at the pictures...

Tuesday: I saw The X-Files: I Want To Believe

I really liked it! I must admit, I was mostly watching the interplay between Mulder and Scully. The subtle facial expressions, the comfortable interaction, the familiarity between them both. I've missed them since I stopped watching the series.
The good thing about this film is that it really is a standalone piece. One only needs to have some knowledge of who Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are, to enjoy this film.
Billy Connolly is excellent as the psychic ex-priest, and even the slightly ridiculous stem-cell storyline wasn't so preposterous that it spoiled the film.
My advice, if you haven't watched this film, is to watch it for Mulder & Scully, and don't take it too seriously. And sit through the end credits for a sweetly amusing extra.

Wednesday: Wall.E

Despite the cinema being full of pesky kids, I loved this latest offering from Pixar. I was more than a little cynical when it started, but Wall.E and EVE are just so endearing that my cynicism soon evaporated. I was even welling up, ready to cry near the end, when one child started bawling. The whole cinema 'Ahhhh'ed, which prompted me to get a grip of my self. It wouldn't do to lose one's composure whilst surrounded by (mostly well behaved, actually) little monsters.

Today: The Dark Knight

Booooorrrrring. Gosh, what a miserable, gloomy affair that was. It was very well done, but rather over the top and far too long. At one point, I thought it was going to end, but it just started up again and ran for another 45 mins, or so. I don't have any idea if it's Oscar-worthy or not, but Heath Ledger did pull a strikingly good turn as the Joker. Oh, and Batman's voice was just ludicrous! At least Aaron Eckhart looked yummy in it (pre-facelift).

That's all for now. No cinema tomorrow. Instead, I'm meeting The Wiggler for more shopping and lunch (yes, we both have another day off together), then going for lots and lots of drinks with the work Coven.

Wednesday 13 August 2008

How many civil servants does it take to...?

Pandemonium ensued at work yesterday, when a terrifying thing happened:

It was lunch time, so luckily the office was only approximately half-staffed, otherwise I dread to think of the chaos that could have occurred. An animated, yet quiet conversation was taking place between a couple of the Work Hags, two managers were discussing something boring at their adjacent desks and the rest of us were getting on with our work.
Suddenly, a shrill, piercing, alarm sounded twice in quick succession. Then a pause and it sounded again. Another pause and the alarm went off again.
The Work Hags immediately ceased their chatter, their heads snapping around in the direction of the strident alarm. The managers also stopped talking, one of them standing up to see over the baffle board in front of their desk. All over the office, heads rose from desks, popping up like meerkats after sensing danger, all the while, the alarm kept sounding.
It wasn't the fire alarm, and it certainly wasn't the bomb alarm. Instead, it was something that's very rarely heard, something from a bygone age. Something that we had almost forgotten.

"Shit" said one of the Work Hags. "That phone is ringing!" And she pointed to the desk next to hers in almost abject horror.

Confusion reigned as questions and hypotheses were fired back and forth as to what could be causing this infernal noise to emanate from the telephonic machine. The managers didn't have an answer. They just looked at each other helplessly.
The other Work Hag, after much wailing and gnashing of teeth, suddenly cried: "Who is it?"
Someone gingerly approached the telephone and looked at the caller display screen.
"I don't recognise the number" they said.
"Why is it ringing? Why?!"
Then it stopped. The silence was blissful, but it didn't last, The phone continued to ring again. And again. And again!

I looked over my computer monitor, rolling my eyes. "Why don't you just bloody answer it?!"

- - -

Ever since we had a new phone system installed that's linked to the computers, everyone's had to wear headsets, which when we're logged into the system, beep to signal an incoming call. We've only had this set-up for a couple of months, but we're now so used to not hearing phones ring, that when one does start its incessant caterwauling, because someone unplugs their headset and forgets to log out when they leave their desk, we're practically helpless as to figure out what to do.


Sunday 10 August 2008

Britain from Above

Thanks to the BBC, you can now see what I have to deal with when piloting Broom:

Somewhat tellingly, backwards Norwich is absent from the mapping information:

At 1:17 into the video, in the bottom right corner, is Norwich, with nary a glimmer of dataflow.

This was an absolutely fascinating program about the way Britain functions. If any of you have the chance to see it, I definitely recommend it. Next weeks program is called Manmade Britain, and it's about how some of the greenest landscapes were shaped by humans. Consider me unobtainable from 9-10pm next Sunday.

And for those wondering about how all those seamen get to the docks:

EDIT 11.08.08 06:43 Uh oh. After several of you commented that you can't see the videos, I checked the terms & conditions. It seems that The BBC may limit access to the video clips to users in the UK.


I'll see if I can find them on YouTube later, but for now, the swimming pool beckons...

EDIT 11.08.08 14:11 Well, I had a look on YouTube after I got back from swimming, but the three videos I posted seem to be the only three that aren't on there. Try clicking on the first BBC link in this post and select the videos from there - I think the Information Mapping one is the the first one on the second row (the other two will have links at the end of the video). If that doesn't work, you're plum out of luck!

Friday 8 August 2008

An apology

I had the day off today and spent the afternoon wandering around Norwich (at least twice) shopping with The Wiggler. We laughed about fat people, orange (the colour, not the fruit), falling over, brown being the colour of poo, headstones, 100 chicken fajitas and cruising, and we just about managed to buy some clothes, too.

The apology is to Tim: I bought some jeans from TopMan after ridiculing Tim for doing the exact same thing. However, it wasn't my choice to go in there. Wiggler was getting desperate - We'd been shopping for hours and he hadn't bought anything, so we were down to 'The Last Resorts' (TopMan, NEXT and Burton). As he rifled through the sales racks (we'd already looked through the rest of the shop and found nothing of interest), I idly flicked my fingers across the size labels of the bootcut jeans, when suddenly, a fanfare of trumpets sounded as my fingers found a 32W 36L label. And only £12! How could I refuse? The trumpets were in my head, but still, TopMan actually do sell 36 inch leg jeans! I immediately pulled them off the rack, along with the 34W 36L jeans next to them (in case I'd got fat, or they were sparing with their waist sizes). In the boiling hot changing rooms (why are all changing rooms boiling hot?), I went for the 34W jeans first, reasoning that the 32s would probably be too small and that I'm kidding myselves if I think I can comfortably get into them. Just as I was taking them off the hanger, I noticed the style: Slim fit! Bugger. My legs would look like twigs. More so. Sighing, I rehung them and went for the 32s. They pulled on easily, felt fine and buttoned up with room to spare! Yay! So I bought them after flinging the dreadful Slim fit ones back at the changing room attendant.
While waiting for The Wiggler to try on his jeans & T-shirts (none of which he bought), I happened to notice a rather nice ginger! Tallish, fit-looking, short non-pube-like hair, handsome... The only problem was that he was trailing around a child, so he was probably a breeder.

Eventually, we went to H&M in Chapelfield Mall where, after trailing after him, carrying his bags like a lackey, The Wiggler bought a white roundneck T-shirt and two orange tops to go over it: A rolled-up sleeve shirt and a V-neck jersey. He managed to carry them off marvellously, the lucky git. I pointed out the orange & silver T-Shirt I bought a week or two ago and he just scoffed. How rude!

We also spent an inordinate amount of time in Zara trying on jackets. Yes, I know it's summer, but these jackets were absolutely divine! The Wiggler picked up a navy blue bomber-type jacket which looked really good on him, if a little like something a bouncer would wear. I found a military-esque brown jacket that fitted perfectly, and was rather enamoured with it. Then we swapped, and to my chagrin, the military jacket looked better on him. However, the bomber jacket looked better on me!
Now we're dilly-dallying about whether to buy them - They're £80 each, which is a lot of money for something we're not going to wear until autumn, at least. I was going to post pictures of them to get your opinion, but the Zara website is bloody useless and doesn't show them. Needless to say, we didn't take photos of ourselves wearing them in the shop...

I've just spent the last hour and a half writing this in between baking a cake for a friend's birthday tomorrow. I've made another Victoria sponge (I'll fill it with jam and cream tomorrow) as we're due to have afternoon tea in her garden. The weather may thwart us, though - Apparently, it's supposed to tip it down all day! British summertime, eh?

Thursday 7 August 2008

The Bookulator Strikes Back

Calvin & Hobbes: Weirdos From Another Planet by Bill Watterson

This volume of strips contains such gems as the origin of Stupendous Man and the feature debuts of both Rosalyn (aka the fiendish Baby Sitter Girl) and Calvin's killer bicycle. Bill Watterson had originally intended for Rosalyn to be a one off character, but he liked her relationship with Calvin so much that he brought her back again and again, thankfully. She's about the only person Calvin's afraid of!
There're some hilarious strips about Calvin being taken on a camping holiday by his parents - I especially like his mom's reaction to the idea of getting up at the crack of dawn to go fishing. It's clear she'd rather be in a nice hotel with room service, totally undermining her husband's enthusiasm for the 'character building' trip!

Star Trek Terok Nor: Dawn of the Eagles, by S D Perry and Britta Dennison

This is the final book of the Deep Space Nine Lost Era saga. It spans the years between 2360 and 2369 as the Bajorans liberated their world from the Cardassians.
Like the previous book in the series, I didn't find this one as engaging as James Swallow's Day of the Vipers, but that's not to say I didn't like it. It focused mainly on Kira Nerys, Odo, the Cardassian dissenters and the Bajoran Resistance's efforts to drive off the Cardassian oppressors. One thing I found especially interesting, was the continuing look at the Cardassian way of life. The way they think, act, interact, their beliefs and their conviction that service of the state comes before all else, even their family which they hold in high regard. This ongoing glimpse into the Cardassian ethos actually made me sympathise with them somewhat, even with the 'evil' Gul Skrain Dukat, prefect of the Occupation.
The various storylines are neatly interwoven and brought some light to events that had been only briefly mentioned during the television series.
Some readers might find this annoying, but I quite enjoyed the fact that a lot of things were left to the reader's imagination. After all, the authors couldn't possibly have elaborated on every story thread, otherwise the book would likely have been over one thousand pages long!

And that brings to an end to the 'Calvin & Hobbes vs Deep Space Nine' trilogy.

Wednesday 6 August 2008

Happy birthday Tazzy!

And here's one I made earlier:

Have a great day Tazzy - Well, as great as you possibly can while stuck in Smunt country...

EDIT 18:37 : I'd hoped to post a story from over the Cusp for your birthday Tazzy, but try as I might, I haven't been able to trip over the Cusp Interface to get there. I've purposefully fallen over so many times in the past week, that I'm just one big bruise. You can guarantee that I'll accidently trip over and into the Cusp as soon as this day is out when it'll be too late. Never mind, though. I'm sure your 'adventures' with the Smunts will make up for it.

Sunday 3 August 2008

"Who makes Steve Guttenburg, a star? We do. We do!"

Shit. I've just blah-ed while watching Cocoon. Stupid old people and their emotion provoking acting. And James Horner, too. What right do composers have playing with our feelings by penning haunting film scores?

Of course, there was an upside. Steve Guttenberg as Jack Bonner. Topless.

Never did I think I'd hear myselves saying that. Well, not in this millenium, anyway. However, it did get me thinking: 23 years ago, Steve Guttenberg was a star. And a pretty hot one at that! So then, I thought about other fading actors who, in their day, were just the ticket. In fact, some still are.

Tom Skerritt as Dallas in Alien.

Fred Ward as Earl in Tremors.

Harrison Ford as both Rick Deckard and Han Solo in Blade Runner and Star Wars, respectively.

Dennis Quaid as Michael Brody and Tuck Pendleton in Jaws 3-D and Innerspace, respectively. That smile... Those abs!

Casey Biggs as Damar in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Yes, even in the Cardassian make-up. Especially in the Cardassian make-up!

Phew! I'm going to have to go for a gin and a lie down...

Feel free to leave your own nominations for last millenium's hot bods and starlets while I'm recuperating.

Friday 1 August 2008

You're gorgeous

I've been a bit of a mardy git the last couple of days, ever since this song popped into my head:

The video isn't the best quality, but it's as good as I can be bothered to find.

When Baby Bird released this, I, the Host, was working in a supermarket after deferring my graphic design degree for a year. That gap year soon turned into my life - I liked earning money too much to fart-arse about at art school for another three years.
Anyway, while working there, I fell in lust with a co-worker. A shelf-stacker, no less. And a ginger one at that! He was the first ginger I ever fancied: tall, handsome, a bit of a lad, and a fantastic body! He had an amazing six pack, as I recall, and a very manly smell.
I remember one evening after the store had closed, I'd closed down all the tills and was making my way through the aisles to the rear of the store, when I saw him, topless (it must have been a hot day, and after the air con was switched off), stacking cans of something-or-other. As I neared him, he nodded in greeting then turned back to the shelves. I remember smiling faintly in return and inhaling the smell of him as I passed behind him - Not in a pervy Hannibal Lector style, just breathing it in as part of the air. He smelt of Man, of testosterone.
I could still smell him as I gathered my things from my locker and left the store for my car. I switched the radio on (no tape deck, and certainly no CD player - it was 1996, after all) and Baby Bird's 'You're gorgeous' came on.
Ever since then, I attributed the song to my memories of him that evening, and every other sight of him afterwards.

He wasn't quite Damian Lewis, but he's close enough.

I don't quite know where I'm going with this, other than: Shit. I need a man!