Sunday, September 27, 2009

DSC_6913 - Uckle AberrationsOn the grounds that I've just been accused of being an ex-blogger I suppose I better not be.

*He clicks "Save Now" while he wonders what to write*

So what's happened since last time? In roughly chronological order:
- Saw the Queen of the Desert. 'Twas good, if bombastic.
- Managed to find myself wandering the streets of London with glowsticks. This is not linked to the above although it is linked to a punch made of Irn-Bru (which in terms of wrongness is like Berocca in gin, Irish prairie oysters or a bloody mary [hang on, that last one...]).
- Despatched a friend to Finland (it was the only way I could stop her drunken compliments, though hindsight torrents of praise are occasionally needed).
- Not moved down a floor.
- Taken many illegal photographs of Cheers-Sick House (our international [looking] cluster latching onto a tour helped on the easier-not-to-disrupt front), though I failed to explain to a Italian Catholic in hushed whispers why a Catholic king would be a bad thing ('the king over the water' being an oft repeated phrase in the guide's notes). Many spaces on the ground floor and in the basement have excellent echoes; it's like a maroon going off after each syllable. I managed a twenty-one gun salute just by asking where the loos where.
- Discovered the Masons do a fiendish chocolate pudding (not the Dan Brown-able group, but a pub in Ham's Ted). Do not allow anyone to suggest sharing this as it will not. Now need to figure how to make all of it (I suspect the amaretto ice cream is the easy part).
- Met sundry bloggers. Or ex-bloggers. But I can't tell you who because there's a Net/IRL crossover. Had my first Snog though again I can't tell you with whom (and it's a eyeball-aching creation with fantastic lighting but poor blackberries in Soso).
- Open Housed ineffectually. Ran ten minutes late to meet at the tube station on the Saturday, so arranged to see the friend at the far end. Got to the far end to find the friend had taken the bus, which had broken down, so filled time with a camera. Went to Yeltsin's Hall of the Chicken Satay Kebabs (I'd been to the top before having managed to be unintentionally invited [it's not gatecrashing if your name is on the list] to a Le-Bore Party networking event), which turns pink if polarised, seems to have gained some stick solar-panels since last time (oddly the south-facing glass penthouse tended to get a bit warm), failed to impress Little Miss It's-Not-Italian, scored an excellently gerrymandered 99 on its DEC (100 being the arbitrary boundary for a bad building). Being a much celebrated Aussie-beer building it was meant to be... rather better.

After reflectioning out we went up to Spittleyields for INI to meet a couple of her friends/my acquaintances for lunch. Except the pub had ran out of food after we'd bought drinks, so I then fled west to meet... Mr Green (a recurrent character who I can't name for reasons above) under Freddie. Except I was late (as per usual, but I did have to stumble into London Below to pass the half–oil-drum barbecue), scampering along Hoburn amidst flurried phone calls.

Which is how I came to be drinking in Soso Square with Mr Green, the one with the brave eye-shadow (under the Penguin code it was viewpoints, which is I suppose apt), the spinnaker-clad, and the two cider-bringers. And having failed to follow most of that we parted.

The next day I ambled into the Foreign Office (no queue!), spent an age in there (Gilbert-Scott set to stun is quite fun and they have a certain 10 outside the back door), then went up to Uckle (BTW, are none of the fourth-plinthers learning from each other? Unamplified voice versus taxis idling, flip-charts legible from 3-foot away. Best I've seen was some guy lying down occasionally sticking out a hand or a foot; you could tell he was doing more, it's just we couldn't see it, which probably made it more intriguing) via a still-open-ery to get more alcohol and to assist a suicide. In the quad (it feels so weird not clambering to the top of the steps to get the sun with my free vegan broccoli curry collected while wearing my warmest coat which happens to be leather) Mr Green was waiting with Mr Blue (think airy music). And there was talking. And shrinking, because Mr Green was incredulous that plaid could be back in, having just seen a very plaid-clad clan pass, while I happened to be wearing a checked shirt. And finding my studentiness revoked because I failed to open a bottle of wine with a pencil (having forgotten the instructions I'd been given for buying it), though I did manage to open the pencil. And then I had to flee this (at about the same time others had to to) for a family thing at my brother's (it turns out that if you say seven and they say "oh, any time after six" they actually mean six) at which I arrived only slightly exuberant.

And then came another meeting with Mr Green, Mr Blue and Mr White (I could say Mr Attenborough but that doesn't fit with the theme), who, as one might expect, are all delightful and fearsomely intimidating (clearly I need to work on my overcompensating). And so to the ice crystals growing from my teeth through my cheeks to my eyes.

And then...

Hmm, this is turning into a car-journey list (yesterday I ate an apple, bought a banana, cut a cucumber, disembowelled a doughnut) not a decent post. Sorry, it's hard saying things without saying any of them.

But there's not a lot else to tell. Forgotten how much I haven't blogged. Have I done books recently (I didn't realise I was meant to take notes when Mr Green spoke)? Most recent, which managed to coin the glorious phrase "white knowledge" (sound much like Radio 4?) was my first Gaiman. It was Neverwhere and having had to step round the praise heaped on his books I thought I ought to try. Though I do think the library shouldn't really stamp the name of the villain of the piece on the edge of the book.

Other book news: Is it wrong that I skipped the explanation of the 3-4-5 triangle question at the back of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time? And can I use the excuse of having 500-odd-pages of close-print to finish before they have to go back (don't point the renewing option as that just means I'll be trying to finish it from about the same position in 8-weeks' time)?

That better be it for now.


Monday, September 21, 2009

DSC_9539 - Back CatalogueAs it's been doing the rounds of Facebook, but think it'll get less judgemental exposure here (what with being accessible to most of the world, rather than only the friendship-and-beyond cluster). Purportedly from the BBC, but a bit weak for that.

Have you read more than 6 of these books?
[Um, it's a list of 100 of the best known of the things; if the answer's "No" then don't worry, big school's not that bad (ok, that's a lie, but it's what adults are meant to do).]

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?
[Seriously? If you're going to publish stats like that you could at least give a list of countries worth fleeing to.]

Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES BLOG. Look at the list and put an 'Yes' after those you have read. Tag other book nerds. Tag me as well so i can see your responses!
[you didn't capitalise yourself, so "no, shan't"]

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen - N (but the BBC's version is the same, right?).
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien - Y (ploughed through it just before the film came out).
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte - Y (at school, loathed).
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling - N
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee - Y (at school, got told off for reading the whole thing in one sitting because we were only meant to go up to the end of chapter 2).

6 The Bible - N (I tried but got lost with all the begatting).
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte - Y (at school, not a fan of merry tales of incest).
8 1984 - George Orwell - Y
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman - Y
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens - N

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott - N
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy - Y (Guessing Hardy wasn't that keen on women).
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller - Y (Gets repetitive).
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare - N (is one meant to /read/ these?)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier - N

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien - N (My father used to read it to us as a bedtime story. There were continuity issues).
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk - Y (Quite good).
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger - Y (Think I missed something).
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger - N
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot - Y (Stodge).

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell - N (It's a book?)
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald - Y
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens - N
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy - Y (Once you get past the triple-layered names it's good, at least until the Masons turn up).
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams - Y.

26 Tess Of The D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy - Y (I'm taking this to mean 'Far from the madding crowd').
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky - N
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck - Y (Brilliant).
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll - Y
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame - Y (Weren't they a series?)

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy - N
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens - N
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis - Y (Well, most of the collection but it was tedious).
34 Emma - Jane Austen - N
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen - N (right, so that's Austen and Dickens I need to do).

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis - Y (Isn't this 3 up?)
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hossein - Y
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres - Y (Why the fuss?)
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden - Y
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne - Y (Was that the name of a book? Anyway, most if not all the series).

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell - Y
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown - Y (This man teaches English?)
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - N
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving - N
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins - N

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery - N
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy - Y (Except I've already counted this, so this'll be for the 'Mayor of Casterbridge').
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood - N
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding - N
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan - N (but have it ready to read)

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel - Y (Superb, even with the printing fault at the end)
52 Dune - Frank Herbert - N
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons - N
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen - N
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth - Y (Glorious).

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon - N
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens - N
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley - Y (Death in Puttenham? Whodathunkit?)
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon - N
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - N

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck - Y
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov - N
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt - N
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold - N
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas - N

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac - N
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy - N
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding - N
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie - Y (Dull)
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville - Y (Ditto. The best thing to come out of it was the Guinness ad)

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens - N (But knowing half the songs is the same, surely?)
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker - N (I was about say I started it, but that was Frankenstein).
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett - N
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson - Y (Who hasn't?)
75 Ulysses - James Joyce - N

76 The Inferno - Dante - N
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome - Y
78 Germinal - Emile Zola - N
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray - N
80 Possession - AS Byatt - N

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens - N (Very Dickens-heavy list).
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell - N
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker - Y (at school, hideously patronising)
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro - N
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert - N

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry - N
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White - Y (I'd forgotten this).
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom - N
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - N
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton - N (Famous Five & Secret Seven = Y)

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad - N (Even though it was a present)
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery - N
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks - Y
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams - N
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole - N

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute - Y
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas - N
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare - N
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl - Y
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo - N
[Make that 41 by the time I publish this. #59 BTW. Working on #97]


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