Monday, October 29, 2007

Im Not Dedd Yet.

But I'm in some kind of doldrums, where I'm paddling furiously but don't seem to be getting anywhere fast.

Anyhow, in my "to blog" list appears the following:
1. Extended posting extravaganza on "The Colour Purple", including why I spell it wrong.
2. Some really good series books I've read lately (like, in the past year).
3. Spreading book love to a bunch of standalones too.
4. Kyrse of the Whamphyre Pt. 3278, rev.7a, or "If I skim read the LKH releases in hardback in Borders instead of buying them, it's a) not tight and mean, and b) doesn't count in the rotting of grey matter stakes (like calories from food you don't like, or eat standing up. Pun unintentional.).
5. Sausages.
6. Things that people miss in the Czech Rep. with a very long digression by a French person on seafood.
7. The Appalling Behaviour Of My New Ex-Flatmate Who Has Done A Runner. And she seemed so normal, too.
8. Should I get flying lessons?
9. Does anyone else always look to see who's listed in the copyright of a book?
10. House. Better in small chunks as otherwise, you see the joins.
11. Hair. Tralalala.
12. Greetings (not Hallmark).
13. Burčak. Drink it before it brews. It's cultural.

14. I'm hungry.

Problem is of course, that the more I don't write about them, the more I don't want to write about them. So I think I might jettison some of the trivia, and when someone takes this bloody grindstone off my neck (nose has slipped) I'll just do number 1.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Oooohhhh, ye'll take the high road...

Warning: This post is also going to be another one of those definitely-not-a-book-review-picky-harridan-spouting-bad-puns rants. Not a review, 'cos then I'd be adding my 2p/80 hellers to Amazon instead, and talking about characterisation and plot and whatnot, but 42 others have done this, with the average rating coming out pretty… average. Which would be my opinion, except for, well, what follows. Bear (hurhur) with me.

There's an episode in one of the Paddington Bear books (and I googled until I was getting very red-faced from some of the sites that did appear, but couldn't find the name) where the marmalade-munching bundle of good-yet-furry intentions goes to Scotland Yard to report a crime. Confusion, mishaps and hard stares ensue, followed by a swift resolution and a warming mug of hot cocoa. Awww...

But there's a clue to my dismay at my latest commute book here, because Paddington Bear lives with the Greens at 32 Windsor Gardens. This is located in Notting Hill. That would be Notting Hill, London, England. Like the film and the carnival. It's quite posh, actually. But the key point? Is the "England" bit. Note how it's not "Scotland". Scotland is a long way on paws (although not as far as Peru).

But of course, Paddington is anthropomorphosized bear, so perhaps we shouldn't rely on his sense of orientation. After all, who knows what kind of funny practices he might have picked up in Darkest Peru? That supra-cranial stash marmalade sandwiches is definitely suspicious.

So take the case of the most famous dope-addled detective of them all, Sherlock Holmes, who famously puffed on his pipe at 221b Baker Street. Again, in London, England. Where he would periodically show up his rival in detecting, Inspector Lestrade, who worked for Scotland Yard. Presumably also in London unless he had a very fast horse.

But shockingly (perhaps it's a cunning ruse to lull local criminal masterminds into a false sense of security by convincing them that the police have moved and are busy looking for nefarious deeds elsewhere) the Metropolitan Police Force, who police Greater London, have an HQ called, "New Scotland Yard". In England. Not Scotland. There's a big triangular sign in front that goes round and round and round and round... I've gone past it on the bus (yes, a red double-decker one).

Or perhaps it's just that 180 years ago, the public entrance of the police HQ was in Great Scotland Yard, and London being London, the name stuck, even after it moved few times (but only within London). What this says about Londoners, I'm not sure. It's probably not flattering. At least they stuck the "New" on at the beginning. Anyhow, keeping the name wasn't so much about foiling dastardly villains, but dastardly villainous filing. (oh help)

So if, say, a writer of contemporary romantic suspense were to feature a psychotic serial killer going on a mad rampage through the modern-day Highlands, I'm pretty damn sure that the local laird (uuurrgggh) wouldn't be calling for and/or dodging the attention of Inspector MacTypecast from Scotland Yard. There's that whole 12-plus hours journey on a very dull motorway with nothing but boiled sweets and local radio for sustenance for one.

Instead, Laird MacTitebreeks o' Leathern (uuuurrggh) would be enjoying a visit by representatives of the Northern Constabulary CID. Probably a whole bunch of them with forensic investigators and everything. Maybe a task force in fluorescent vests. Maybe even a secret subdivision of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency staffed by a brotherhood of vampires. Ian Rankin probably knows best.

Someone, somewhere is very glad I dumped that business about UK police ranks and how they're referred to in the vernacular.

In case anyone was looking to for the terrifyingly-long first draft mentioned elsewhere...

I have to apologise because I did promise elsewhere that I would attempt to tame the unfeasibly long first draft of my commentary-thing on The Color Purple and present it, nicely trimmed (possibly with lavender ribbons) in manageable chunks here this weekend. And I really did mean to. Had it all planned in my head and everything.

Problem is that I'm over HERE. And the laptop is over THERE. And the back-up server with all these personal doodads and mumblings is JUST A BIT TO THE RIGHT, NO WAIT, UP A BIT… LEFT… LEFT… NO! RIGHT! RIGHT! But the whole thing was just too huge for me to reconstruct over the weekend, so guess what this week's filling-in-the-gaps project will be? By next Sunday, there will be something along these lines, 'kay?


Then I started an entirely different rant, but that's another post for another time. Probably about 5 minutes from now.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


So last weekend, still in the grip of my emotional maelstrom, and made reckless by a clutch of last month's unused food vouchers* I went a little wild and experimental in the bio-food emporium owned by the 7th Day Adventists (closed on Saturdays - it's very disconcerting. No trading on Sundays is still the norm here for smaller shops).

I should probably add that as a tree-hugging, muesli-crunching, hemp-sandal-wearing herbivore I am a regular patron of this and other bio-shops. It's just that I normally confine my purchases to things I recognise and know how to cook. You know where you are with tofu - it's not usually going to do anything more vicious than wobble alarmingly and take on lurid hues when it's past the sell-by date. And green leafy stuff is pretty much universally manageable.

But all those little bags of dried things can be a little intimidating, and most of the powdered stuff comes hand-labelled with vocabulary that doesn't feature in my "Czech Step-by-Step". They frown on the sniff test in there, too.

However, novelty is a many-splendoured thing, and last Sunday the "novinky" section was filled to the bursting with little (recycled) plastic pots of crackery-biscuitty type things. So after much deliberation I picked up box of "orange-lemon-ginger flax rolls". Sounds yummy. Mmmmm…

Luckily, as a small child I used to eat paper, so the principal texture and flavour didn't come as a total shock. And then, the flax seeds added a certain je ne sais quoi to the whole chewing experience which can only be described as "mucilage". (Is that a word? I have done that thing with soaked flaxseeds as a substitute for egg whites but was never very convinced by it.)

But I did learn the Czech for "Slowly dehydrated at 48 degrees centigrade for several hours to preserve health and vitality." And this made me realise that rather than delighting in biscuitty-goodness itself, I was basically eating the mummified husks of biscuits. The only thing is that I'm not sure if they're meant to reincarnate of their own accord or if I need to stand under a pyramid holding a razor and a dead mouse first. Pass the natron.

*Is this a Czech thing? Because pretty much every company here seems to pay a small fraction of your salary in food vouchers. Just like luncheon vouchers, but they're far more widely accepted, and you can use them in most restaurants, cafés and even supermarkets… Rules and checkout ladies permitting

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Gone through the wringer have I...yes...

So... as of ten o'clock this morning, I am a real, genuine Evil Auntie. Words cannot describe (although I'm sure I'll recover shortly).

I've also just finished re-reading The Color Purple for banned books week at Smart Bitches'.

I have snot down my face and my favorite bookshop just gave me free promotional mug.

All in all, I'm an emotional yo-yo. Or is that Yoda? Yogurt?

Monday, October 01, 2007

There's a theme here... if I can just put my finger on it...

Obviously, I would be the one with wings.

I suppose it's one of those millenial things, but like a lot of people I know, the title used to describe what I do to keep the weresturgeon from the door doesn't really convey the vivid actuality my day-to-day existence.

Luckily, I've found a photo.

Afterthought: Is it just me, or does horror seem more horrible when spelled "horor"?