Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Paper Angst

I'm in a quandry. I'm considering buying one of these.


Pros:

1. I will likely read more, simply by dint of convenience.

2. I don't have room in my house for any more books.

3. I will feel whizzy and exciting and a bit greener.


Cons:

1. I like real books. Real paper book-type, sniff-me-I-smell-like-a-book books.

2. I will be decreasing the number of paper books in circulation and thus contributing to the future reduction of the second-hand bookshop industry.*

3. My Mother will disown me.

4. I will be giving money to Amazon, and not my lovely local(ish) independent bookshop.


At this point, I am thinking of a Harry Hill style "FIIIIGHT!" and seeing what happens. I'm aware this is not a complete lifestyle choice. Even if I have a Kindle, I can still buy paper books. But then, what if I want to read the book I have on paper on my Kindle.** But I can't LEND people books I have on a Kindle. Nor have they yet invented a way for me to nose at what other people are reading on the tube with an e-book.

Humph.

Anyone got any thoughts?

* And then where will all the old spinster gay men go? This is my retirement plan!
** They should do what they do with DVDs/Blu-Rays and flog 'triple play' books, with a code to download a digital one. Do they do that? Why do they not do that.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Mincing

If anyone asks, these bad boys are the best Mince Pies in London City.

(But NOT the Waitrose Short Crust ones, or the Luxury ones, FYI.)

I know this, as a friend organised a Mince Pie tasting at the weekend, and the 15-strong Tasting Committee chugged its way through 14 types of mince pies, judging them against a secret and specific set of criteria*.

Just take a moment, and imagine having seven mince pies in a row (we had halves of most). Doesn't sound like much, does it? But it gets quite hard going after a while. Mince Pies are quite.. filling.

OTHER FACTS ESTABLISHED BY THE COMMITTEE:

- Heston's are rubbish (they came last, and the stuff you sprinkle on them smells like one of those tree-shaped air fresheners for cars. Sorry Hesty.)

- We are not a fan of puff pastry in our mince pies (because, basically, that's an eccles cake with festive dellusions)

- Extra sugar is no substitute for taste, darling

- One of the brands from Selfridges tastes slightly of fruity Hubba Bubba. Weird

- The structural integrity of pastry is really rather important

- Nothing says Christmas like a whacking great bottle of Amaretto, does it?

- Home made is really also the way forward, as they came in second, third and fourth (OR The Committee is biased. And lovely.)

- The addition of a tiny wee bit of stilton to the filling before baking can be surprisingly delicious


This is Boz, helping you all have a better Christmas..


* I'll say now that one of the criteria was 'holistic joy' and leave it there.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Well that was stupid, wasn't it.

I can't remember exactly what possessed me. A few months ago I casually mentioned to m'dad that my flatmate was off overseas to see his extended family for Christmas. So if they were in town at any point around the holiday, they could, you know, stay or whatever.

"Oh?"

"Yes."

~manly supping of pints~

Skip forward a week, and my sister rings.

"So I hear we're spending the family Christmas at your place this year? I think this is a great idea."

"Wha..?"

"I said I think this is a GREAT idea."

Yes. It turns out I'm hosting the entire family of six this Christmas. Ah. Right.

All sorts of questions suddenly occur. Where will everyone sleep? Do I have enough bedding? Do I have enough forks?

I strongly suspect that the solution to this problem will be me throwing money at the good people of Sainsbury's, Waitrose and John Lewis, and doing the full Margo Leadbetter by getting Christmas delivered in a van (or not). Things that I have noted down so far:

1. Industrial quantities of toilet paper
2. Wholesale size box of Quality Street
3. Earplugs

It's actually gonna be great (Dad has said he will still cook Christmas dinner). But gettnig there is going to be very interesting. I have not bought an advent calendar this year because it would just feel like counting down to an alcohol and stress induced breakdown.

Look, Mummy, this door has picture of sedatives behind!

Wish me luck.

Friday, September 23, 2011

"There's a turn up for the books, then."

(Apologies, as this is broadly an expanded rumination on a tweet.)

I love some of the mild panic intimated by some of the rational and calm scientific community in this BBC News Online story about CERN.

"We tried to find all possible explanations for this."

I'm sure at some point they'll find that someone forgot to carry the decimal, or they lost a couple of atoms down the back of the fridge or something while someone wasn't looking. Everything may well return to normal.

But watching a whole bunch of quite seriously talented scientists do the collective equavalent of going 'Um..' is a bit good. We're humans. We're not meant to know or understand everything. You can insert the usual bit about people once thinking the earth was flat and the atom was the smallest bit of stuff going here, if you like.

It's nice to have our collective smugness punctured a bit. Look lads, new facts! Re-think EVERYTHING!

Also, being all artsy around the waist and ankles, it struck me how much easier it might be for me to accept this than some people in the scientific community. I have a (very, very) broad understanding of the science bit. But no where near enough to get hindered by any hard and fast rules of physics or owt.

"Stuff goes faster than the fastest we thought it could go? Okay then. Is anyone making tea?"

Alright so even I appreciate that if something is found to go faster than the speed of light, that has potential consequences for all kinds of thinking, theories, clever stuff and (most importantly) sci-fi writing. And I'm not dismissing this lightly. But what I'm saying is, imagination is a really, really important part of anything. Especially science.

I have no real point here - and I'm certainly not saying art is more important than science - nossir. Both have their place in a harmonious universe. I firmly admire all clever maths and science types, simply because it's so far removed from my own abilities!

Right. I'm just wittering now.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Because what this really needs is another ha'pennies worth

I feel like Kate Ashfield in Shaun of the Dead;

"Can everyone! Just calm! The fuck! Down!

I live in South London, but I'm not indulging in much flames-and-smashed-glass rhetoric today. I went to bed fairly normally last night, after sitting in front of Twitter and various news channels for several hours. (I did drift off to sleep to the sound of distant sirens though - more on them in a sec.)

Yes, some pretty violent and unpleasant things have been happening over the last couple of days, showing humans and Londoners definitely not at our best.

But rolling TV news does make it look worse than is. We're not under marshall law just yet; and for those talking about rubber bullets and water cannons, let's try and remember that a lot of the people causing trouble are, well, so very young. In the long-term, is that really going to help?

Of course, that's not to say that a lot of people haven't had their businesses ruined, or faced some pretty scary stuff last night. Because they did. And that's horrible.

It feels like a small tipping point has been reached. However it started, people are looking for any excuse to smash a window and nick some stuff.

Which shows that there are some pretty unhappy people out there, doesn't it? People don't really do that if they are able to live happy and fulfilled lives (here comes the preachy). The further away the people at the top get from the people at the bottom, the less happy society as a whole is going to be. I firmly believe that. Wealth distribution should be even.

(FYI, this piece in today's Grauniad is excellent - and one of the few pieces I've seen not written from some white, middle-aged dude.)

It's hard when buildings are burning down, but the bigger picture is that a lot of things in the way we live are not working, and a lot of people let down by 'the system' are more or less left to get on with it (hey, you all know my lefty vibe).

And it's not everyone, either. Reading Twitter last night (before it got all hysterical and shouty) showed more than handful of positive stories. Kids helping people home and stuff. Let's not demonise everyone under the age of 20. Because if you do that, then that's what they become.

And let's remind ourselves that places like Brixton or Peckham are not war zones, whatever the media says; they are places like any other, where some good stuff happens and some bad stuff happens. (Props to my friend (and Peckham dweller) CheddarChica's ace blog post from last night.)

But as I'm halfway through the very interesting Blood, Sweat & Tea, I can't help thinking about all the people in the emergency services working the last few days*. You know. Although those buggers being laid off and having their pay scruntinised in the press.

I'll be honest, I'm a bit worried about what the response to all this will be once everything has settled down. It's a good excuse for a stronger-than-really-needed attitude, particularly with heavy handed legislation. It may not just be a couple of politicians holiday that get ruined; if this is handled poorly, then reactionaly politics could land us in bigger problems.

Anyway. What do I know? That's all my guff on this. As you were.


**UPDATE: Basically, what LC said, in far fewer words.**



* Although as the book points out, which surprised me a bit, the ambulance service is not technically an emergency service. Really? Really!? Then worrahellisit?!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

..and cheat at tax!

Just read a really interesting thought from a colleague asking whether all the recent scandals mean us hoooymans have become more corrupt and evil, or if we're just all more clued-up about stuff and asking our corporate overlords more awkward questions.

It's probbaly the latter, to be honest, which is a damn good thing too. But Gods dammit one of these days I want to be good and proper evil. Not like, Liz Jones low-grade evil*, but full-on, empire crushing, riotous, don't-give-a-monkeys, launch-the-express-train-to-hell fury of evil malice.

My mid-life crisis has a lot to deliver.

No good will come of this, of course, and as always its seeds of self-destruction will likely lead to my dismal downfall**. But I've spent thirty years being the comparatively holy child. It's time to flip a couple of fingers to the man-slash-universe.***

One day.

In the meantime, here's Eartha Kitt:





* I think I've linked to this outstanding reaction in every possible public forum now. Christ, I've even bought his book. Short of printing it out and handing it to people on the street, I'm done here.

** Possibly in some inapporpriately hilarious way. Like a lower-rent, gayer, Wile E. Coyote. I'm unlikely to be terminated by my own mis-fired ground-to-air missiles, really. But a boy can dream, you know?

*** Unless this involves hurting kittehs. This goes without saying.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Things I have learnt since recovering from chickenpox

1. I got off fairly lightly, especially on the itching front.

2. Contrary to all pretence, I am not in any form vital to the successful operation of the office. Darnit.

3. My ambition to maintain a relaxed and peaceful frame of mind since coming back to work has been, well, a challenge. But this only underlines the fact that something in my life has to change fairly soon. Mmmyeah. It's all been the same for far too long.

4. Sometimes the NT puts on shows that I really don't enjoy at ALL . (NB: This may not have anything to do with the chickenpox.)

Aaaaand that's about it, really. Cheers for all the nice messages - that was nice, that was.

And so life carries on.