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

Thursday, 9 July 2009


The name of a book involving an animal who eats oil and ends up eating marmite sandwiches with the queen.

Also wanted. The book

Thanks for Roz for awakening this fascination in a children's book I had forgotten existed. But with a storyline like the one explained above, it can only be good, right?

Monday, 6 July 2009

A month without a post

When you get out of the habit of blogging it feels very strange to come back to it. I can hardly believe it has been almost a month. I have been battling with myself a bit because I don't really know what I should put in a blog post.

Until recently, privacy has not really concerned me. After all, most times we lose our privacy is in a beneficial way to us. We put our information on facebook so that friends can contact us, or to make it easier to exchange photos, and there is a whole load of other information that we might want to share. We have CCTV cameras so that criminals can be caught and keep us safer. I'm pretty law abiding, and surely the police don't have time to watch everyone. They only have time to look at particular sections of the footage where there is something wrong happening. We allow our internet traffic to be monitored for the same reasons, and our bank details are being monitored for our spending patterns to see if they vary suddenly because we have had cards or details stolen. We give companies our details of what we buy every time we buy something online or get a loyalty card. This allows companies to discover what we like so they can target their marketing so we are aware of new products, and they also pay us in loyalty points for the privilege.

Unlike many people, I don't believe there is some big 'evil' socialist agenda to all this. I don't really think that people are collecting information about us all so they can control us better. However, I think the technology is almost there that someone with bad intentions could start to use our information against us. An article in Time magazine (that I only flicked through or didn't buy) got me thinking about it. They say that use of tracking from mobile phones along with shopping habits from banks and loyalty cards would allow companies to target marketing more closely than ever, placing shops in the right locations or making person-specific advertising. At the same time, video analysis software is gettin better and better and could soon allow large amounts of CCTV to be analysed with a lot less hassle than by sitting people in front of screens. It's still a little way off, but probably not that far, if the price of computer processing power keeps decreasing as it is, and with companies like facebook holding onto our details long after we even close our accounts, things that happen now could come back to bite us.

Blogging is not really a part of this, especially because the blog is anonymous to all but the people to whom I tell the address. But it does leave me being careful what goes on here. And just recently my life has got lots of parts to it that I need to be careful about talking too much about.

I couldn't just keep you holding on on without telling you (my loyal readers) what has been going on though. After all, I haven't spoken in Rachel, ChrisE or indeed anyone else for far too long. So here is the rundown, in a slightly more secretive manner. I might tell you more later, when I find an interesting way of telling all the interesting stories attached, because there are interesting stories attached to all of it, especially the last bit of news.

Firstly, we have to move out of our house. That means searching for a new one and all the hassle and panic of househunting with an upcoming deadline after which we are homeless.

Secondly, my job is at risk. So are a lot of people's, but my company has reached the stage where it is culling large amounts of staff and we have been told we are at risk. That would all be fine in times when I could go and live at home for 3 months, find another job and move out again. But right now there are not many jobs, and I might be given the boot just after signing a new six month contract on a new house, which would leave me stranded in The North without any good reason to be there! Urgh!

Thirdly, I had an awesome holiday in France. I went with three people, two of whom I am now much closer to, and one of whom I'm less close to. That's why I don't want to talk about it in detail though. I'd have to be very careful to write about the people who came, and it would be odd to write much about the holiday without mentioning the people I went with. Our holiday was great though, full of variety both in the country or in a city. We had experiences to tick boxes in every section possible - cultural, scenic, awe-inspiring, challenging, celebratory (I had my birthday away), sporty, unexpected, lazy. And it was cool. I'd definitely do a road-trip/camping holiday with friends again. Awesome. I might put something better if I find a good way of writing. I just don't have creative juice today