The following posts have no fixed theme or style, but I hope you enjoy reading them!

Saturday, 27 October 2007

the music's playing on, but something's gone, something's wrong

Yes, I'm deaf.

Hopefully not for long.

So far it's pretty funny, but I hope it'll be better tomorrow morning.

Last Saturday my right ear suddenly blocked. Ever since I have been prodding around with cotton buds, soaking it in olive oil, steaming it in showers and over hot cups of tea, drinking hot cups of tea, popping my ears, yawning, opening my mouth as wide as I can, standing on my head... anything to clear it. But nothing worked. It got more and more frustrating to be deaf on one side. So I finally gave in. I went to the doctor.

I didn't tell him all the things I had been doing, I didn't want him to laugh at me. But he told me that olive oil was a good idea (thank you to Jo and others, for the suggestion) and prodding around was a bad idea (see Advice #14). He said that the largest thing you should put in your ear is your elbow. I tried not to laugh and I didn't tell him that my elbow is one of the few things that I consider impossible to put in my ear. Maybe I could use someone else's elbow.

Anyway, he had a look with his magic machine and told me that although I can hear through one ear, that one's blocked too, so I should put olive oil in both ears. But when I did, the olive oil refused to come out of my good ear. So now I'm completely deaf! And I have been for two hours. I'm hoping it'll come out overnight, because it's really annoying!

Advice #14

Do not use cotton buds to clean your ears.

They tell you "it's dangerous, you'll damage your ear drum".
That's true, if you are an imbecile! You don't need to have much sense to avoid doing that.

They should tell you "it doesn't help, it just makes things worse!".
According to the doctor I saw today, it just pushes the wax further in. You should not put anything, even you finger, into your ear. Wax is fine, it grows out and will only block your ears if you ram it deeper into your ear by poking some object in.

Now I know the second part, I will not use cotton buds in my ears again, and I hope you won't either

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Dear Chris

As one of the (probably) millions of regular readers of this, I have been waiting for the opportunity to greet you personally. Now is just this moment. Hi Chris! I have spent the last few hours thinking of you non-stop, while watching the cars go round and round the Interlagos circuit in Brazil. As a lewis hamilton fan, you must be a little disappointed he didn't win the race and with it the world championship. But watching Ferrari take the lead in the final race over both McLaren drivers is cruel. It's lucky you had Mark's shoulder to cry on - if you have made friends again after Southampton beat Cardiff yesterday, that is!

For me, I am disappointed, but it is nice that the team that has worked together as a team for the whole season, won the championship. Felipe Massa was the hero today in my eyes. At his home circuit, he wanted to win as much as anyone else, but to help the team, he moved over and allowed his teammate through. Whether the team should be allowed to order one team member to slow down is another debate, but Massa showed a huge amount of respect for the team and for his teammate in doing what he did. You can say all you want that he didn't have much choice in the matter, but I don't think Alonso would have done the same thing, and I'm not sure about Hamilton either.

Yeah anyway, there's always next season!

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Advice #13

Don't take up smoking

It's really bad for you. Meaning it might contribute to causing your death (and it is actaully quite likely). And death affects you most, but it affects hundreds of people who have met you in your life too. If it doesn't kill you, it can make you very ill instead.
It stinks.
It's expensive... £5 per pack, once a week is £250 per year. Can you afford that?
Will you be able to stop when you realise it was a bad idea?

Tuesday, 16 October 2007


I am listening to Feist and remembering the gig I saw a few weeks ago. I had intended to write about it, but although I started writing, it never got finished. I thought the post have to get shelved, but listening to it now brings me right back to the concert. My feelings now are knotted into that evening and the atmosphere of a few weeks ago.

In case you don't know, Feist is a singer-songwriter kind of a gal, but she's not afraid of using a backing band and special effects too. Personally, I find it a bit dull when someone just sings with their guitar for an entire career. It is pleasant enough, but it becomes a bit samey after a while. Feist is a Canadian called Leslie, and we'll leave it at that because I want to talk about the gig itself... if you want to know about her you can find out about her on her wikipedia page or on her official site, as well as myspace and things.

The gig was at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London. It's a lovely old venue with balconies from the days when it was a proper theatre, and great acoustics. The warm-up man was unfortunately terrible. Luckily I have forgotten his name. He was slightly funny, although I don't know if it was intentional, and he was bad at singing and playing the guitar. No, there really wasn't much going for him! But when Feist came on, all eyes were on her. The concert had such a warm romantic atmosphere. When a boy came on stage from the audience, played a piano song, read a poem and asked his girlfriend to marry him, it came out well, much to my surprise. It wasn't even wrong to have a break in the music, it just fitted with the atmosphere.

Do you know the feeling when you miss someone; you see a person who looks even slightly like them and your heart beats once extra and a smile starts to form in the corner of your lips before you realise that it is a stranger. Well, that evening, I had that feeling over and over again. The music transformed everyone into familiar, beautiful and friendly people (or so it seemed). Even listening to "My moon, my man" this evening, I was sure it was the voice of a friend, maybe someone I loved at some point in my life. I'm not sure who I thought it was, but everything about the song and the memories that go with it point me into such a feeling. Go listen to Feist, it's great!

Friday, 12 October 2007

It's just a day like any other day, a beautiful day for an accident, let's say

[title is lyrics from Zero 7 - "Waiting to Die"]

Today I gave a rubbish presentation, broke a mug in the tea shop and broke a plate at home (that was not mine). Actually I'm not in a bad mood considering... but I should certainly be in bed by now!

Sunday, 7 October 2007

strange to be on marvel hill / i've walked some years to find

Since moving into a house with sofas and comfy chairs I have come across a new problem. When in a comfy chair with no table nearby, it's really hard to pour tea from a pot into a mug without the lid falling off the teapot ("doing a Mirat"). Of course, I would never do a Mirat, but to pour a good cuppa I have had to perfect the art of balancing a mug on my knee, leaving two hands on the teapot. A blend of Jasmine and "Pure Energy Blend" (a tea containing pineapple) turned out to be a good idea this evening and served as good practice in the above tea technique

I should probably say something more on the subject of my current abode. I moved in several weeks ago, but it wasn't until a week ago that everyone was here together. Living with a bunch of girls means that preparing a big birthday cake party on friday was almost pain-free. We had 11 cakes and some savoury food, with around 25 people to eat it, so unsurprisingly we have all eaten almost nothing but cake all weekend and it's still not finished. Louise gets the prize this evening for cooking a wonderful roast lamb - it's sad for her that Scotland lost a rugby match though. I saw some of the game but I have no comment on it that you couldn't read on the bbc website really - I'm no expert on the subject. On the cooking theme, it seems we have a brownie expert in Ruth, a cookie expert in Louisa, a cheesecake expert in Jo, and a general cooking phenomenon in Maria, in addition to Louise's newfound talent in roast dinner (and all the other wonderful food she makes). Living in a house with a living room, a sofa, a dining table, a new oven, a garden, a TV, wireless internet, and several cupboards of tea; this is going to be a good year!

PS the jelly I made for the party did not all get eaten, but it was a fun thing to make. I'll post a picture sometime

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Global warming explained

There is a lot of confusion about global warming at the moment. Over the last few months I have heard many educated people make very uneducated comments about it, but the time has passed and they are not appearing here for now. Even amongst scientists there is a lot of disagreement on the subject, with people saying it doesn't exist, or that it does, or that it's a problem, or that it isn't, or that it's caused by humans, or that it isn't.

At the moment the following post is just a theory, but I hope you find this explanation of global warming a compelling argument:

Do you remember in school you learned about the seasons? You will have seen a picture like this:

The Earth is tilted and remains tilted for the whole year, during which it moves round the sun once. When the Earth is in the position on the left, northern parts are tilted towards the sun so it is summer, while southern parts are tilted away, making it winter. When the Earth moves round to the right, it is winter in the north and summer in the south. Now have a look at this map:

It is immediately clear that most of the land is in the northern hemisphere. And most of the countries in the southern hemisphere are less industrialised, with the exception being parts of Oceania like Australia. Since the industrial revolution, large industrial chimneys have appeared all over the industrialised countries. It has been shown that the heat that power stations and factories produce is not enough to warm the planet on its own, and yet we are told that the planet seems to be heating up. Also, we see that the weather is becoming more extreme.

Both of these facts can be explained using one theory. The chimneys of the northern hemisphere are blowing the Earth out of its orbit, like a plane being propelled by blowing the air away behind it:

Now, in the northern summer (Left hand side), the north pole is closer to the sun than the southern pole is during its summer (Right hand side). The southern winter becomes colder than any winter before, and accordingly, the northern summer becomes hotter. So you see, this makes the weather vary more across the globe ie, the weather is more extreme. Variations in temperature cause wind so tropical storms become more frequent and more violent, as has been observed. And this phenomenon of extreme weather is becoming more prevalent because of the emergence of China and India, both of which are in the northern hemisphere, building more and more chimneys. We are quite literally being blown away.

Global warming has been caused because we are moving closer to the sun. We use more electricity and heating during the winter, so this gas propulsion occurs more at that time. Winter time is when we are angled away from the sun. We are blowing gas away from the sun, and hence we move towards the sun.

The Earth is not in its natural orbit. It is held out of place by the blowing of industrial chimneys. If the chimneys stopped, the planet would return to its original orbit. Thus global warming can be solved if we reduce the size of our industries.

You are probably wondering if there is any proof of this. Recently I discovered a map in the national geographic magazine. They say

"THE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE IS CLEAR: Surface temperatures on Earth are warming at a pace that signals a decisive shift in the global climate, one expected to last for centuries. Previous epochal changes of climate, such as the Ice Age that ended 11,500 years ago, were set in motion by natural causes—variations in Earth's orbit that affect the amount of sunlight warming the planet. In those cases, the cycles of cooling and warming unfolded slowly, over the course of millennia. This episode is different."

If you can't see the map in the link, it looks similar to this, although this is a little different. This shows the variations in temperature from the average in 2001 alone, rather than for many years, but the trend is the same.

(Image courtesy NASA-Goddard Institute for Space Studies)

The world is generally warmer, but more importantly for the theory, the warming is greatest in the northern hemisphere, as this theory suggests.

So there you have it, this is a possible cause of climate change that explains the facts neatly and logically. Any questions?

Monday, 1 October 2007


Our dog Pip is so cool! I was taking her for a walk the other evening and the shadows stretched out in front of us. As usual, she was off the lead, and walking along a bit ahead of me sniffing the plants on the verge as she went. I reached out to the side and made my shadow stroke Pip's shadow. When she spotted it, she turned round and looked at me, wagged her tail and came for a stroke. She is such a funky animal!