Bitchy TV review

Not sure what ITV are aiming for with James Martin’s new show but they are missing.
Linda Robson looks disinterested when the camera flicks to her without warning. (If they ever do a show about the later life of Wendy Richards btw, or Eastenders needs a ghost, you heard it here first.) Whoever thought that way too long segment with cooked birds (oh I just got that as well) with feathers was a good idea needs to get out more.
JM needs to shave and think how he appears, he’s not got a good look for tv.
I may try it again with the sound on (I’m listening to awesome soul at the mo’) so it may improve but there are way too many food shows on already and this adds precisely zero.
I like JM usually, but this needs serious rethinking imo.

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Just read…

The Big Nowhere (L.A. Quartet, #2)The Big Nowhere by James Ellroy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just finished this one, once you get the hang of Ellroy’s style you can burn through them quickly as he has a distinctive rhythm. There is so much detail and minutiae to get a grip of and the rhythm helps with this.

The story revolves around three law enforcement types covering american obsession with communism in the 40’s and 50’s and a series of very grisly murders. (If you’ve read The Black Dahlia be advised that it’s a step up from the gore in that one…)

One odd follow on is the character of Turner ‘Buzz’ Meeks. If you’ve seen LA Confidential, you’ll know Meeks as a low-life ex-cop who’s a bagman and driver for the lookalike escort service. His character is much redeemed in this. I’ll read White Jazz next and see if he appears in that one and where his character goes.

Good fun, recommended.

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Sunshiney Day…


Some older pictures of South Stack and Peibio Beach… Enjoy.

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Pootle Pootle Pootle…

Having one of those days where you find yourself just drifting about, thought-wise.

Best news I have had for a long time is the news that Jali is coming in October. Simply cannot wait to see her again. Looking forward to getting out and about as we’ll be mobile for a change! 🙂

Seems the chemo treatment has done what it was meant to (or at least all signs point that way). I’m still feeling really tired but that may be partly due to trying to adjust to using a sleep apnea machine… jeez that is a weird thing. When it blows air right in your face when you’re asleep it feels like you’re drowning. For the past two weeks I have been sleeping on the sofa as I couldn’t sleep at all… no wonder I am tired.

I still have to wait before I can get a cat. The reasoning is, if this treatment *doesn’t* take then I’ll have to restart a new programme of chemo and begin with the steroids again and the immunity will disappear again… I told the consultant that if things are going well after the first check-up (in about 5 weeks) then I don’t care, I am getting a fucking cat. He said to me “is it that important?” with the impression he thought it rather ridiculous. Yes it is that important to me, thank you. Why do people feel the need to diminish things I want for fucks sake… Grr.

Getting on top of the flat. Re-jigged everything this week and now working on getting the resultant chaos organised. Feels like there is more room now, hurray etc.

It’s been rather humid and overcast here a bit in the last week or so but when the sun is out (as it is now) the island just looks incredible. Might take a walk with the camera a bit later and stick a few pictures up…

Pootle, Pootle, Pootle…

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Local Papers in the USA.

As well as a love for reading, another thing I am incredibly grateful for having in my life is the love of travelling. Seeing different places and experiencing their culture(s) is just an amazing thing. Thanks to being in a military family, I was well used to travelling to different places and I was lucky enough to keep doing that when I started earning money.

I’ve been to the States three times. First time was to NYC (stayed at The New Yorker Hotel and it was most ossum,) I discovered some things I never knew. First I discovered, on getting to my room on the 34th floor, how to instantly develop vertigo. I dumped my cases, checked out the room and went to look out the window. As I did this I leaned on the air conditioning unit, not realising that these machines are not fixed into place. When I looked and leaned the damn thing shifted and I suddenly felt like I was about to crash out of the window… Then later in the holiday me and the ever awesome Sarah Watford (with whom I went) reinforced this new fear by going up the Empire State Building. Holy crap. The beautiful thing about the New Yorker of course is that it is a wonderful statement of Art Deco.
New Yorker Hotel
One other memory I have is seeing Salt n Pepa arrive there too. Heh.

Second time I went to the US was a two week trip to San Diego (which is where the point of this post comes in (you’ll be glad to hear!)), I stayed with a friend in Front Street. Had a great time pootling about in Old Town and just wandering around. In the middle weekend I took a trip to Tijuana and was gobsmacked at the local crafts, the leather and metal craftshops (and the cheap prices!) were absolutely gorgeous.

I was also slightly amused at the fact I needed my passport so I could get back into the states… (the appalling poverty that attends the incredibly long queues to leave the Mexican border is something I won’t ever forget I think…)

Anyhoo, I took to reading The San Diego Union Tribune. I am a sucker for broadsheet papers anyway but the quality of journalism was really high, compared to our local papers was like chalk and cheese. Our papers have all of the depth that goes with reporting about coffee mornings and funny shaped vegetables, whereas the UTSD journo’s actually wrote about what was happening in a much more in-depth way on a local, national and global way.

The last time I went to the States was a two week driving holiday. I have many stories about that but driving around California & Nevada was terrific for picking up local papers and, again, the quality was great.

Of course, when Jali was living in Atlanta I took to reading The Atlanta Journal & Constitution website.

I haven’t checked out Delaware papers yet but I will. The reason I am waffling about all this is due to the aftershock of the awful events in Charleston. The major media outlets are doing what they do in their insensitive and downright ugly way. But the local paper is knocking them out of the park.

Under its masthead, the Post & Courier proudly states that it has won the Pulitzer Prize. I am not at all surprised. Even a mis-step (like the unfortunate blunder of a gun ad sticker appearing on the front page on the day the shooting was reported) was immediately apologised for which is how it ought to be. Mistakes happen unfortunately, the trick is, own up, do what you can to make it not happen again.

Have a look at the site and read the proper background to what happened and the people affected.

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Mixes through the decades…

Seventies to Eighties…

Some good stuff here.

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Take some responsibility.

I have never been a parent. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate how hard it is to be one. Nobody gets an instruction manual, you have to go by trial and error and hope that somehow, you’ll raise a kid who knows how to navigate through life.

I know some parents who make it look ridiculously easy. That’s the thing tho’, it *isn’t* actually easy, they just have that skill of making it appear so, but it’s partly the fault of our perception as much as it is their annoying brilliance. 🙂 I also know of people who could not give a shit or were blissfully awful at it. That their kids turn out to be as well adjusted as they are is a testament to the strength of those kids more than anything. Sometimes, however, the lack of parental guidance leads to less great outcomes.

Here’s what puzzles me. When your child, to a great extent due to your abject lack of parental intervention, tuition and guidance, turns out to be what many would consider our worst nightmare, your first reaction is to blame anything but that key element.

These two stories illustrate what I mean. Why is it the responsibility, at a point when the damage has been done, of the UK border agency (who god knows have their share of justified criticisms) to take control of your radicalised child? I can’t mourn for that young man when I imagine what he could conceivably have done to others, but I feel very sad that his parents let him down. If they had done everything that they could then my view would be different, but clearly they didn’t. They were just glad he wasn’t getting into trouble anymore…

As for the US story, what *is* going on in America? I should start a tag for amazingly crackers / scary shit that the US does… I don’t know that this blog is big enough to contain it all…

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Why I stopped buying the Independent

In a rare example of my knowing what actually *is* good taste I have never bought the Sun. My mum used to buy it and I wouldn’t even read it. This was many years before Hillsborough and phone hacking but when those events happened I was coloured… unsurprised.

I could never get on with the Guardian in my youth, all a bit shouty socialist in my (then) very fucking far from humble opinion. Weirdly (or not) I am more comfortable with it these days. Maybe I’m just happier that it is editing out the spelling mistakes more effectively.

So, my paper of choice was the Independent. Brought about with Andreas Whittam-Smith at the helm, it was a great read. It had a balance of opinions, not all of them ones I agreed with by a very long chalk but ones that I could read and get an understanding of the other point of view. It challenged the establishment in a proper way, it held people and itself to account. Plus, it had a terrific sports section. Martin Johnson on cricket (and on checking I see he’s back there again! Well that’s cool…) until he buggered off to the Telegraph. Then Derek Pringle who spoke from experience and wrote really well. Anyway, I liked that it educated me and broadened my outlook on subjects old and new.

Then, in the early naughties, like all newsprint with a shrinking readership, it felt compelled to try new stuff out in a desperate attempt to please everybody. By this time AW-S was long gone, the marketeers were let loose and a distinctly London-centric air was beginning to permeate the paper. Similarly, my outlook on life was changing in fairly dramatic ways. I had been homeless, I was developing a very focused (for me!) social conscience. I would read the Indy when I had a chance and so much of what they were writing about, as well as *how* they were writing about it, was getting further and further away from the reality of life as I saw it. It struck me that the paper had become an echo chamber for the privileged class of any stripe. Old money, new money, old establishment, new… You were guaranteed a platform in the paper if you added cachet to the paper because of your background.

Bono was regally appointed visiting editor to add a certain edginess to the social voice of the paper. The effect was to inspire nausea in me for one and I am pretty sure I wasn’t alone.

So it’s safe to say I fell out of love with the paper. Like all spurned friends I would see it occasionally and take a look to see if things had changed and, with a sad shake of my head, realise that, if anything, it had worsened.

To confirm this I present today’s article by Grace Dent that should be called My Posh Mates. This is precisely why I don’t buy it anymore…

Having said that, as I write this here blog a bit more I shall refer to examples from the Indy (good and bad) as I go. (And before you ask, I’ll be looking online!)

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On a happy note…

…a (very! :p ) late phone call last night from Jali telling me she is coming over in October for a week! Hurray! Things have been a bit gloomy the past 6 months what with all the chemo and whatnot but things seem to be on an upward trend again without having descended too far into the gloop…

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Getting There…

I have now finished my third week of employment and things are, in the main, going really well. People have different drivers and one of mine is to feel useful and now I do, very much. It’s a quite profound feeling to be helping people at a point when they really need it.

On a personal level, feeling that I can finally get things sorted out and “return” to a sense of normality is a great relief. To have that through doing something I enjoy is cream on top.

Jali is settling into her new job too. I miss her like crazy but we are both very busy getting sorted and that makes the weekend much more fun 🙂 It is awesome that she is getting to spend so much time with her family (soon to be expanded by 1! 😀 ) The only downside I can see so far is it appears to have inspired her to create evil questions in the trivia game…

I finally know what the hell is up with my kidneys. Hurray. They are bad. Boo.

This is what I have… http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000472.htm

It’s good to know what you’re up against as you then know what you can do to fight it.

There is a reason for the weird juxtaposing of the last two subjects. After I told Jali about the kidney thing, she chucked in at the end of the conversation that if I needed one of her kidneys I could have one…

I think the phrase is “gobsmacked”… and moved beyond measure… Thankfully, that potentiality is far from certain and as I said knowing the enemy is a key weapon but how wonderful to be offered a gift like that? I love you sweetie x

I’m very lucky that I have made contact with many of my extended family this year. My cousin Liz was married to her long time partner Michael. I wasn’t in a position to go, sadly, but once I am sorted out I’m gonna be visiting! Can’t wait to see Tracey and Rachael and everyone.

Maybe one day reconciliation’s might happen with others but that will be in the future.

Life on a personal level is good…

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