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Had the slightly unusual experience last night of going to a Guy Fawkes Night in a neighbour's garden, in which all the fireworks used were garden-sized, rather than display-sized. Rather than cowering by the back door, we were craning forward to peer at them. I can't remember when that last happened.

It seems that my neighbours are very different from my friends in this regard -- over the last n years I seem to have more or less alternated between going to public displays and going to friends, and in all the friends cases it's been "if you're going to have bangs in your back garden, you want big bangs"1.

Guy Faux )

1 Yes, even since that infamous occasion at Eastwick of which we do not speak.
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Just a quick note to say "I aten't dead". Just returned to PC after a long week of assorted skiving. Thanks ever so much to everyone who helped make my birthday an excellent one, and also thanks to everyone who made sure I had a great time at DuckCon. Proper post about these later, after I've read the "skip=[several billion]" posts with which you've all cluttered up my friends page in the interim.

I dreamt last night that I was trying to find a copy of The Letters of John Donne, to replace the 1984 edition my mother had lent me, as I knew a large stash of new items had been discovered since. In the dream Donne was an exciting polymath, in secret correspondence with a range of artists, scientists and politicians across Europe, including John Dee and Caravaggio. I found not only that there was no new edition, but that the editor had mysteriously disappeared! No doubt this was all the prelude to a grand Da-Vinci-Code-style romp through a variety of scenic locations, but unfortunately at that point the cats woke me up demanding breakfast.

Books etc

Apr. 25th, 2007 02:59 pm
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We had the voting session for our book group at the weekend, where we decide what will be read over the next 18 months or so. It was combined with "cook group", a one-off variant in which we all brough along some food of a literary nature, rather than reading a book as normal. (My effort was a pie with the words "Life of" in pastry on the top.)

You might remember I asked you for suggestions a little while ago -- thanks to everyone, especially to [livejournal.com profile] secondhand_rick whose offering won popular approval with the group.

Bookage )

If I was a good person I'd link each of them to the appropriate Amazon page, but I'm not, so I haven't.

Etceterage )


Apr. 2nd, 2007 06:54 pm
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Marathon )

Damson )

Deer )

Don't stand on Zanzibar )

Hope you all had a good weekend too!
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The streets )

A shedload )

Social )
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I'm in a state of woe today, with a stinking cold, not much sleep, and would really like to take the morning off -- particularly as will be driving up to Derbyshire this afternoon -- but unfortunately I have some complicated urgent stuff that needs doing before the weekend. Ho hum. To cheer up, some snippets.
  • An interesting piece here by Scott Adams about hypnosis and how he uses it in his writing. If you've never read his blog or think of him as just the guy who draws Dilbert, you might want to take a look: he covers some interesting thoughts. (Best to ignore the comments, though.) Also available at [livejournal.com profile] dilbert_blog.
  • An excellent webcomic I've been reading lately is the rather beautiful Minus, with art reminiscent of The Little Prince. (Also at [livejournal.com profile] kiwifeed). And yesterday this led me to discover Jonny Crossbones, a kind of surreal Tintin homage, accompanied by Little Jonny Crossbones which is nicely Photoshopped to look like a vintage kids' comic. It is not clear whether Jonny is actually a skeleton or just looks like one. (Or what either of those options might mean.) [livejournal.com profile] lesmcclaine is the creator.
OK, better get to work now.


Jul. 10th, 2006 05:35 pm
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Nice sociable weekend! Friday evening we went to dinner with some of T's old friends in Woolpit, not as exciting a village as it sounds (although it does have a very interesting and appealing church).

Saturday to Cambridge, to the Cambridge Blue in fact, where [livejournal.com profile] ginger_ratbag and Al were having their 10th anniversary celebrations. Lovely pub, lovely weather, lovely people, including [livejournal.com profile] cuthebertcross and the very smiley [livejournal.com profile] babysaxon (who had come to visit us in Ips the previous weekend, together with [livejournal.com profile] dr_bob, fresh from being Anglo-Saxons at Sutton Hoo).

Then yesterday there was an afternoon garden party at our book group friend Roy's -- he has a garden that is even longer than ours, and backs onto a piece of wild woodland that sed to be a quarry. More nice food, nice people etc.

This is all rather low-key and domesticated, I know, but that's my life just at the moment. Next week's journey into the wilds of Northumbria with a gang of crazed role-players will be a bit different, I suspect.
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I've always had my doubts about Valentine's Day. And this is why )

So, to sum up, Bah Rose-flavoured-Humbug -- although ymmv of course, do feel free to tell me I'm talking nonsense.
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Interesting thing I stumbled across recently which you might not have seen if you're not on [livejournal.com profile] mos_oddities -- http://www.spatial-literacy.org/UCLnames/Surnames.aspx -- investigate the distribution of your surname across the UK in 1881 and 1998, its popularity in other countries, how high status its modal Mosaic class is, and more importantly compare it with your friends' surnames.

Sadly mine is too uncommon to feature, it needs at least 100 people in the country :-( but I've been vicariously investigating T's (which I suspect has been dragged up-status by the hifi guy...).
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I wa laid up all weekend with a stinking cold, meaning that I missed a friend's 40th do on Saturday. As if that wasn't bad enough I've got to go to the dentist this afternoon. I bit down too hard on something a while back (curse you home-made bread!), and managed to crack one of my molars, and now they're going to drill out that whole cusp to prevent the crack spreading further.

Last time I had something done on my teeth was wisdom removal around ten years ago, so I guess it's about time maybe, but it's still kind of galling and I'm really not looking forward to it. Hopefully sweet anaesthetic will ease the pain...

This got me thinking about dental insurance. In general I'm not a great believer in specialized insurance like this. I figure that they wouldn't be running it if they didn't expect to make a profit, so unless you're particularly risk-averse (eg. you don't have any way of covering a possible layout) you're better off just saving the money.

However it struck me that dental insurance is a bit different, because with a dentist it's effectively up to them what treatment you have. If you don't have insurance but just pay on a job basis, it's in the dentist's interest to recommend excessive or unnecessary treatment, because that's how they make their profit. (I'm sure most of them wouldn't do so, but that's always going to be at the back of your mind, isn't it?) Whereas if they're also providing your dental insurance, it's actually not in their interest to recommend treatment unless it would prevent more expensive and unavoidable treatment later. Of course if you take this too far they would never give you any treatment at all, just keep raking in the premiums, but in practice under our particular plan we do have to pay some money towards the fillings etc, so presumably that covers their costs at least. (Please tell me that [livejournal.com profile] adamsmithjr's already done an Under the Covers Economist on this...)

This does make me think though that dentistry is a dream business provided you don't mind having to bend over people's fetid breath all day long. But that's quite a big proviso, isn't it?

Edit: Had the filling done now, and it wasn't too bad -- seems to have come on quite a way since the last one I had, which must have been upwards of 20 years ago now.
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Hope you're having a good one wherever you are old chum!

Cambridge )

Narnia )

TV comedy )


Dec. 19th, 2005 07:45 am
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Just a quickie -- got back from India last night. Fantastic time, we're both well and happy, hope you all are too!
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Busyness, but also lots of nice things, so here's a brief rundown:
Details )
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It struck me the other day what a very nice activity giving blood is. (Apart from the pain, bruising, etc, that is.) The mood in the room is uplifting; everyone, donors and staff, is pleasant, friendly and appreciative of each other; there's a good mix of people of all descriptions among the donors; basically it comes across a bit like the ideal utopian society.
(At least, that's been the case in the various places where I've been. If it's different round you, maybe I've just been lucky.)
It made me wonder: when else do we get to have such a generally pleasant experience, apart from things involving one's near and dear and/or mind-altering substances? People at work, in shops, in pubs etc might be reasonably OK to be around, but you don't come out of those feeling uplifted and positive about life in general.
I wondered whether part of this mood is because this is the closest that most of us get to genuine altruism. Maybe the endorphin rush of for once being relatively unselfish, and being around other people in a similar rush, is responsible.
(Or maybe light-headedness from being shy a pint?)
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Nothing too desperately exciting, but this is no bad thing.

House viewing )

London pubbing )

Garden clearing )

Cricket watching )
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A bit of zipping about, and a much-needed holiday. Nothing very startling, but that's August for you.

T's family )

Tony S )

Sister )

Peak practice )

Books )
Got back here to find still another two days before going back to work, which seems very civilized. And here I am now supposedly at work but actually writing this, so I'll stop there for now.
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Well, it wasn't quite the embarassment that it could have been. Nice bunch of people, I wasn't the worst, we got severly thrashed by the opposition -- partly thanks to being two players short.

I was indeed a bit rusty, as my first four balls went for 6, 6, 6, 4... but then I got the guy's off bail with one that actually landed on the right length ;-) Finished with 1-26. Not so good with the bat, I scored 1 before playing a solid forward defensive just inside the line of a nippy off-cutter.

They've asked me if I'm available for future games, so there may be more such to come...
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I've been asked to make up the numbers in a 15 * 8-ball-overs match this evening, playing for a BT team captained by the husband of a friend of T's. Yikes! I've not laid hand on bat or ball since the stag weekend two years ago -- and I was very hungover then, so even that probably doesn't count.

I have now managed to drag my various kit out of the loft, shed, and cupboard under the stairs where it had been lurking... hmm, need to clean spikes...

The captain hinted ominously that, as I can't bat at the best of times, I'll probably have to bowl 3 overs. Hmm, I've never bowled an 8-ball over -- sounds kind of tiring. Plus of course I'm (a) terribly unfit, and (b) likely to drop any ball that comes near me. Now would be a good point to make a crack about the England team, except that they seem to be dong pretty well at the moment. (There, that's death-cursed 'em...)

Wish me luck!
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A lovely sunny weekend over here, which made the garden go completely mad after the extensive rain of the week. All the nicer for sitting out in!

Murder mystery party )

Beer and quizzage )

Kleptomania playtest )
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One of those weekends when things seem to cluster together, and you end up only spending an hour or so loafing around reading the paper (which is surely what weekends are supposed to be for).

Book group )

Oysterband )


Neighbours )


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