Monday, June 20, 2005


The problem is, it's so hot I can barely think. I'd like to say this is my excuse for not blogging for several days, but alas, evening swelter has only been afflicting us for three nights. Seriously, how can it be this warm when it's dark outside?

That's it. I'm done. I was going to write more but I don't know what when where or why. Can I have a swimming pool, please?

Monday, June 13, 2005

Ironing is dangerous!

I write this one handed, since my left thumb is currently throbbing with a shiny iron-shaped burn, and is so currently occupied with an ice cube.

Ironing is now added to my list of things that should come with a health warning. It's right up there with the internet, except it doesn't have the redeeming feature of allowing me to procrasinate spectacularly. I only managed to procrastinate for about twenty minutes by ironing, and most of that involved getting out all the necessary equipment and putting it away again.

All in all, household chores are a pretty dangerous business. Nobody should be allowed to iron without first completing a thorough safety course, a course hard enough for me to fail and therefore never have to iron ever again. As it is, I manage to do it remarkably infrequently. Managing to wear creased clothes without looking like a lazy article is surely a skill in itself, a skill perhaps even more valuable than being able to iron without burning your thumb.

I may never iron again - it's just not worth the risk. And what about vacuuming? There's another household task that could be dangerous when undertaken by unqualified individuals. Like me.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Harry Potter and Bluenettle's shame

After the ambling through The Da Vinci code, I finally sucumbed to persuasion and picked up a copy of another book I've been resisting for a while. Years, in fact. Yes, Harry Potter and the philosopher's stone has finally made it onto my bookshelves. After being unimpressed with the films and uninspired by all I've heard so far, a copy was ultimately thrust upon me, and I gave in.

All done and dusted in fact, since the first in the series is remarkably thin compared to later offerings. I imagine if J.K. Rowling had gone along to a publisher with a six hundred page long children's novel a few years ago they would have laughed in her face. Fortunately for me, this makes HPATPS (people call it that, right?) a fairly short-lived affair.

So, what can I say? I firstly must congratulate the author for managing to use an apostrophe of possession correctly, because I don't think I could have got past the first page for worrying about it if she hadn't. As for the story... ultimately I'm left feeling cold.

I really hate to admit that, because generally I find things are never half as bad as I think they're going to be. That's not to say I think the book is bad; it was well written, had a well thought out plot, and was reasonably humorous to boot. It just it did nothing for me. Much as I try, I'm can't raise any enthusiasm for a story about a gang of children waving wands about and chasing monsters.

Don't get me wrong here - I'm not an unimaginative dullard immune to fantasy. I think I crave something more intelligent than this, which I suppose is more than I'm entitled to expect from a children's novel. Now, if you spiced up the plot a bit, made the main characters over eighteen and threw in a bit of gratuitous allegory that I only half get, then I'd probably be raving. Some morally ambiguous characters would be great too. The whole good versus evil storyline is overhyped and overated.

Cast a spell on me if you like, curse me forever and condemn me to the dungeons until the next full moon, but I'm just not a Harry Potter fan. Is there something wrong with me?

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Keep thinking about poverty

On the same day as G8 leaders apparently reach a deal on relieving debt in third world countries, I read a news story about diamond encrusted dress worth $1.5 million. The dress was ruined when its celebrity wearer spilt red wine on it at a glitzy showbiz party. Apparently the diamonds can be salvaged though, so a major disaster was averted.

What would we all do without our diamond dresses? I must go out and buy myself one right now - I'll just stop by on the way and rob several million of the worlds poorest people of the money they earned today. That might just be enough.

Something is wrong somewhere. Can you tell what it is yet?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Superfluous soliloquy

Words are fantastic things. A jumble of letters on a page in the right order have meaning, and not only meaning but a corresponding sound, which also has meaning. Sometimes, it's the sound that gets you, a tantilising rhythm of syllables. So, here's a list of some of the best sounding words in the world. In my opinion, in no particular order, the best sounding words in the world are...

...serendipity (not very original, I know)

...and probably many others that my late night brain has neglected to remember.

This post was brought to you by the letter O and the letter S.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Twenty years of washing

Yesterday, my Ecoballs went for their first spin. Pun indended. Well, initially not indended but quickly realised, giggled at and deliberately kept, which is pretty close to being intended. Am I straying from the point?

I have to say, they did their job. Stick three weird round balls in the machine with your washing, and hey presto your clothes come out clean. They don't have that artificial outdoorsy flowery smell that detergent gives you, but who cares, really? Tomorrow I may try them on something tougher, just to test their mettle.

I also did some maths and realised that at one wash per week these things are going to last me twenty years. Twenty years. I'm going to be in my forties before I have to buy new ones. Think about that next time you're lugging home a box of powder.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Invisible queuing

In the pub there is an invisible queue. I say so and so does Kate Fox in her book Watching the English.

Everybody waiting to be served in the apparently random cluster of people knows who was there first, and the staff behind the bar know it too. Any person who tries to jump the queue by smiling, gesturing or otherwise trying to attract the bar person's attention will recieve nothing except a polite smile in reply. A polite smile means wait your turn, you impatient so and so. Thus is pub harmony acheived.

A similar system operates in the travel centre at Oxford train station. That jumble of people in chairs is really a queue and everyone in it knows it, everyone joining it recognises it and anyone attempting to jump it will be politely smiled at.

The moral of the tale is this: no one ever said queues have to be a straight line. No one ever said anything.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Finding my white band

The mystery of the missing white band has been solved! I found it stuffed up the sleeve of a pair of pyjamas, which of course is the obvious place I should have looked. Except said pyjamas were two hundred miles away from where I was looking, but let's not get bogged down in the details.

The important thing here is that I now have two white bands, which makes me twice as committed, obviously. For a while there I even wore them both at the same time. Now one is languishing as a spare, ready to be called into action the next time my wrist proves too skinny to keep a simple white band attached. Note to self: never wear expensive bracelets. Another note to self: never wear expensive jewellery because there are much better things to do with your spare money. If you ever have any.